London-based human rights group Amnesty International has got a bashing from anti-war initiative RootsAction that says Amnesty is applying double standards on human rights and war with a bias in favor of the US-led military interventions.
RootsAction has launched an online petition saying Amnesty is reporting a one-sided story from Syria, refusing to make any mention of the Syrian anti-government terrorists’ crimes apparently because they are backed by the US and its allies.
“We are concerned that you seem to have forgotten to oppose all violations of human rights — by all sides — in war,” the online petition read.
“You are highlighting war-making in Syria’s civil war by one side only. This one-sided treatment by a group avowedly dedicated to all human rights is fueling the fires of a wider war from which the people of Syria can only suffer,” it added.
The group called on Amnesty to report all instances of human rights violations in the conflicts and avoid whitewashing the situation in favor of the US.
“We urge you to assertively expose and condemn all wartime violations of human rights — without downplaying or ignoring the violations committed by the U.S. government and its allies,” it said.
Amnesty has a record of making things easier for the US.
It promoted the false reports that the Iraqi soldiers removed 312 babies from their incubators and left them to die on the fold hospital floors of Kuwait city before the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
Recently, it has been also campaigning to pretend the US-led invasion of Afghanistan had to do with upholding women’s rights.
The group has, however, refused to condemn the killing of civilians by the US and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.
- A Contender for Dumbest Statement Ever by Amnesty USA? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Obama’s Second Term: Selling Death and Buying Assassins In the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia
As President Obama enters his second term with a new Cabinet, the foreign policy legacy of the past four years weighs heavily on their strategic decisions and their empire-building efforts. Central to the analysis of the next period is an evaluation of the past policies especially in regions where Washington expended its greatest financial and military resources, namely the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.
We will proceed by examining the accomplishments and failures of the Obama-Clinton regime. We will then turn to the ongoing policy efforts to sustain the empire-building project. We will take account of the constraints and opportunities, which define the parameters resulting from imperial military ambitions, Israeli-Zionist influence in shaping policy and the ongoing anti-imperialist struggles. We will conclude by examining likely polices and outcomes resulting from current strategies.
The Clinton-Obama Imperial Legacy: The Accomplishments
The greatest success of the Obama-Clinton (OC) imperial legacy was the virtual elimination of organized domestic anti-war dissent, the demise of the peace movement and the co-optation of virtually the entire ‘progressive’ leadership in the US – while multiplying the number of proxy wars, overt and covert military operations and ‘defense’ spending. As a result, the entire political spectrum moved further to the right toward greater militarization abroad and increased police-state measures at home.
Facing mass revolts and the overthrow of long-standing client regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, the Obama-Clinton (OC) Administration moved rapidly to reconfigure new client regimes while preserving the state apparatus – the military, intelligence, police, judicial and civilian bureaucracy. The empire dumped incumbent regimes in order to save the repressive state, the key guarantor of US strategic interests. Washington reminded its client rulers that ‘There are no permanent alliances, there are only permanent imperial interests’. Washington successfully engineered a political pact between conservative Islamist leaders and parties and the old military elite. The new political blocs in Egypt upheld Israeli annexation of Palestine, the brutal blockade of Gaza and the neo-liberal economic order. Washington repeated the ‘reshuffle of clients’ in Yemen and Tunisia. The OC intervention temporarily aborted the pro-democracy, anti-Zionist and anti-corruption popular revolt. The OC policies secured a temporary respite, but the subsequent effort by Egypt to secure an IMF loan has led to a stalemate amid deteriorating economic conditions and rising political protest. The successful imposition of new client regimes amenable to US hegemony in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, in the face of popular revolts, marked the beginning of a series of favorable political-military outcomes in the region for the OC regime.
Facing Israeli annexation of ever-widening swaths of Palestinian land and the end of any pretense of ‘peace negotiations’, Washington continued to provide Israel with massive military assistance, modern weapons systems and unconditional political support in the UN. By submitting to Israel the OC regime succeeded in retaining the political support of the domestic Zionist power configuration (ZPC). The OC regime’s economic handouts supported the puppet Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as it policed the West Bank for Israel. Despite losing the vote to seat the Palestinians as a non-voting member in the UN, Washington succeeded in blocking full membership. The OC regime succeeded in fulfilling its role as Israel’s handmaiden, despite opposition from the vast majority of UN members.
The OC regime succeeded in tightening sanctions on Iran, by securing Russian, Chinese and Arab League support, without provoking a potentially destructive war. The US sanction policy toward Iran is largely designed and implemented by key Zionist appointees in the Treasury (formerly Stuart Levy, now David Cohen) and in Congress, by legislators bought and directed by the powerful America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The US, under Obama-Clinton, destroyed the independent nationalist Gadhafi government via a joint air war with the EU and tried to set up a client regime. In turn, Libya became a key recruiting ground for violent Islamist mercenaries invading Syria and weapons depot supplying Islamist terrorists. The OC regime’s military success in Libya was part of a general strategy to accelerate the expansion of US and European military operations in Africa. This includes setting up drone bases and promoting African mercenary armies from Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia to expand imperial control in Somalia, Mali and elsewhere.
In the Gulf region the US succeeded in propping up the autocratic Bahrain monarchy, as it killed and jailed opponents and outlawed the mass pro-democracy social movement among its oppressed Shi’a majority population. The OC regime successfully secured Gulf state financing for the Libyan and Syrian wars.
In Iraq, the US has succeeded in dividing the devastated nation into fragments of warring fiefdoms, Shi’a, Sunni, Kurd and subsets of each. It succeeded in destroying a once modern and secular society, an advanced economy and independent nationalist regime. Initially the OC regime hoped to establish a client outpost in Iraq from which to secure Washington’s wealthy petro-clients in the Gulf, especially among the patrimonial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Washington, in alliance with other NATO powers and its Gulf state clients, succeeded in converting a peaceful civilian protest movement in Syria into a full scale civil war and military invasion, increasingly dominated by armed Al Qaeda ‘internationalists’. The US-EU-Gulf State-Turkey-Israeli alliance has armed, financed, trained and advised Islamist and mercenary terrorists to effectively destroy the Syrian state, society and economy, dispossessing and uprooting a million refugees across the border and resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands. The US promoted invasion of Syria has seriously weakened one of the last governments defending the Palestinians, opposing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and providing a refuge for persecuted Palestinian leaders. By virtually destroying the Syrian state, the OC regime has driven a wedge between Hezbollah, the leading nationalist force in Lebanon and its ally Iran, while tightening the military encirclement of Teheran and exerting cross-border pressure against Iraq. A brutal Islamist regime in Syria will [could] replace the secular state with prospects of massive ethnic cleansing against minority populations, especially Christians and Allevis.
Obama and Clinton successfully expanded the drone assassination program throughout the Middle East and South Asia, killing more civilian non-combatants than suspected adversaries especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The OC regime successfully imposed the presidential doctrine of killing of US citizens via drones with the support or acquiescence of the US Congress, judiciary and most of the mass media and without a shred of judicial due process. Accompanying the license to assassinate civilians via drones, Obama/Clinton successfully expanded the use of Special Operations death squads, dispatching them to seventy countries to assassinate political adversaries, destabilize independent governments and bolster client regimes.
The OC regime has spent tens of billions of dollars and succeeded in building a 350,000 man mercenary army in Afghanistan to defend US strategic interests, sustain its military bases and destroy the nationalist-Islamic opposition (‘Taliban’). OC hoped to cover Washington’s retreat from the combat front. Despite the military build-up and in the face of a sharply deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, the OC regime has been negotiating with political sectors of the ‘Taliban’, to dump the current client ruler, Karzai, and ‘reshuffle the regime to save the state’, hoping to pull-off a coalition-collaborator Islamist-military regime such as has been shoe-horned in place in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
Vulnerability and Failures of the Obama-Clinton Legacy
The apparent and real empire-building successes of the Obama-Clinton regime are fraught with vulnerabilities and are based on fragile political and socio-economic foundations. Temporary tactical gains reveal strategic weaknesses and high military costs without commensurate imperial economic gains.
The Obama-Clinton counter-revolutionary offensive and its political military successes are driven by a military conception of empire building without a shred of economic thinking. It is not surprising that many of the key decision-makers promoting military-driven empire building are militarist ideologues and Zionist policy-makers, who specialize in utterly destroying adversaries (of Israel) and not in promoting or protecting US imperial oil, manufacturing and service interests.
A telegraphic point-by-point analysis and critique of the major policy interventions of the Obama-Clinton regime highlights strategic weaknesses and failures, even in areas that the empire-builders currently celebrate as ‘successes’.
While the OC regime succeeded in procuring close to fifteen billion US tax payer dollars in tribute payments to Israel, they failed to secure a neo-colonial settlement of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, even one based on conceding a truncated part of the West Bank composed of disconnected enclaves (‘Bantustans’). As a result of the total dominance of US Middle East policy by the Zionist power configuration (representing less than 1% of the US populace), the OC regime was repeatedly ‘humiliated’ by their Israeli overlords. The supremely confident, beefy Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu launched and flaunted massive new exclusive Jews-only colonial settlements on Palestinian land, despite near universal condemnation, knowing he could count on the veto power of Washington in the United Nations and its political leverage over EU allies and Arab clients. Strategically, the OC regime’s deep links to the Zionist power configuration includes the appointment of Israel Firsters to top positions in the US foreign policy establishment. These appointments ensured that Israeli interests would continue to determine US policies in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region. The Zionist appointees designated which political clients would be acceptable and which adversaries would be targeted for destruction. The OC regime’s biggest failure as US empire-builders was their inability to achieve independence from the Zionist incubus and accommodate the emergence of new socio-political forces as well as its failure to reap economic gains commensurate with its budget-busting military expenditures.
The successful imposition of new client regimes in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) is a short-term victory, based on force and the continuation of the authoritarian repressive state apparatus. The introduction of regressive neo-liberal policies will doom this short-term success. If the US ‘won’ the first round in the ‘Arab Spring’, its client rulers face a more radical social upheaval, one which goes beyond the earlier anti-dictatorial struggle and which explicitly targets the US, EU and the IMF. The new clients’ prospects of achieving stability via economic recovery are virtually non-existent. The full implementation of the OC-IMF agenda of ending popular food and fuel subsidies, increasing regressive taxation and wide spread privatizations will create a powder-key among the Arab masses. Under pressure from new waves of mass uprisings against brutal neo-liberal economic policies, the Arab clients’ US-mandated complicity with Israel may end.
The OC regime’s successful overthrow and assassination of President Gadhafi was accompanied by the utter destruction of the Libyan nationalist state, its economy and social fabric. The OC policy of total war has produced a miserable, lawless, chaotic society ‘headed’ by powerless expat neo-liberals at the top and run by local tribal chiefs, Islamist thugs and criminal gangs on the ground. They specialize in running guns, dispatching armed mercenaries abroad (especially to Syria), trafficking in migrant workers, drugs and sex slavery. The oil industry enclave has partially recovered but few if any oil profits make it to the US. Meanwhile, even US Embassy personnel (including the Ambassador) have been murdered and visiting US officials only travel in heavily armed conveys. Instead of a political victory, Washington has lost a potential oil partner for its own extractive industry. One might say the only real ‘beneficiary’ of the US-EU war to destroy Libya was Israel: Gadhafi had been a staunch ally and supporter of the Palestinian people. The invasion of Libya led to the massive displacement of armed ethnic communities, which has exacerbated conflicts in resource-rich sub-Sahara neo-colonies.
The Zionist power configuration, embedded in Congress, Treasury and inside the OC regime, has succeeded in imposing new and harsher economic sanctions on 75 million Iranians in support of Israel’s goal of ‘regime change’ in Teheran. However, the effect has been to strengthen the unity of the ethnically diverse Iranian population, especially when overt military threats, emanating from nuclear-armed Israel, are amplified by the White house and the Zionist-occupied US Congress.
Iran’s peaceful nuclear program continues; oil and gas sales to China, Japan, India and Korea and Pakistan continue. A new billion-dollar gas pipeline agreement with Pakistan has been signed. Iran has replaced the US as the major foreign influence in Iraq.
In other words the Obama-Clinton diplomatic success (‘sanctions against Iran’) have not enhanced US power nor achieved any strategic goals. Moreover Zionist-designed sanctions have had a negative effect on US energy prices and oil company profits. The OC regime’s policy toward Iran has ‘succeeded’ in maintaining Israel as the only nuclear power in the Middle East, a goal of Tel Aviv.
Obama and Clinton’s success in expanding outposts, missions, drone platforms and mercenary armies in Africa has been costly, politically destabilizing and has not prevented large-scale long-term Chinese economic penetration in the most lucrative resource sectors of the region. The US may have closer ties with African generals and dictators; its bankers come and go; but capital flight out of Africa accompanies inflows of US foreign aid. While the OC regime were building drone platforms, thousands of Chinese miners, investors, construction and transport companies were establishing an economic empire that over time will enhance China’s power, long after the US military empire has collapsed.
The OC regime claims ‘military victory’ in Iraq when, in fact, what we see is ‘defeat via retreat’ on the ground. The US has spent $2 trillion dollars in order to overthrow and execute the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The Bush and Obama-Clinton regimes have made absolute fools out of the entire executive branch of the US government by justifying the war on the basis of crudely manufactured intelligence (falsely claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction) through a series of lies cooked up by Israeli-collaborators in the Pentagon, White House and New York Times (especially the infamous propagandist Judith Miller). The end result is a failed state: savage ethnic-religious divisions, millions of dead, displaced and injured, daily terror bombings against a brutalized population, and a great leap backward in terms of Iraq’s economic, scientific and social development. In political terms, Iraq is now ruled by a thuggish Shia elite closely tied to Iran – which is the biggest beneficiary of the US invasion of Iraq and principal adversary of US empire building. The OC regime’s post-war Iraq is composed of an overwhelmingly hostile population, a divided and fragmented country pitting Arabs against Kurds, where the most qualified and educated have been driven out or assassinated and entire ancient Christian communities have been obliterated. The OC regime claims to ‘success in Iraq’, in fact, show a weakening of the overall US presence in the Gulf region. Economically, Turkey has become Iraq’s main trading partner with trade growing by double and triple digits each year.
In other words, the US invasion of Iraq destroyed an adversary of Israel, broke the US economy ($2 trillion and counting), increased the influence of Iran and handed Iraq’s petro-dollar consumer market and lucrative reconstruction contracts over to Turkey. The Obama-Clinton regime’s claims of military victory ring hollow in the empty coffers of the US Treasury – where are the ‘spoils of this imperial war’? Most of the intellectual authors of the invasion of Iraq have departed from the US government and are now comfortably ensconced within Zionist think tanks (propaganda mills) in Washington or flaunt lucrative ‘consultant’ contracts in Wall Street and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, the American taxpayers are left to struggle with an enormous war debt and to grieve the several hundred thousand American casualties – soldiers who lost their lives, limbs and minds – all for a blatant lie perpetrated at the behest of a foreign power, Israel.
The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria – serial victims of the US-EU military machines and their Islamist mercenaries – face an increasingly militarized Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, out of which new wars are already emerging, like pus from festering wounds. In Libya, the US and EU diplomats cringe in their bunkers and travel only in armed convoys, the consequences of their ‘humanitarian’ imperial-Islamist alliances.
As the US and EU supply arms to Islamist terrorists and murderous gangsters who plunder Syrian cities, decapitate captured government soldiers and execute civilian suspects (civilian government functionaries, such as school teachers), Syria’s diverse secular society is on the brink of extinction. Islamist fanatics bristling with advanced weaponry bought by the Saudi monarch and Gulf petro-oligarchs capture sophisticated Syrian cities and impose medieval Sharia law on what was one of the region’s most diverse and sophisticated secular societies. The large communities of Alawites, Orthodox and Syriac Christians, Kurds and educated secular Syrians face mass extermination or expulsion by Saudi-funded Wahhabi fanatics. The EU-US backed ‘secular’ clients (mostly ex-pat Syrians with US or UK passports) serve as propaganda cover for the armed Islamists thugs and mercenaries. Authoritarian Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, himself a ‘soft-core’ Islamist, provides bases, training, and logistical support for the Syrian invasion. Turkey has become the Islamist pivot for fundamentalist power taking over Syria and the Levant. Islamist terrorist violence is spilling over the border into Lebanon today, Jordan tomorrow and may eventually lead to multiple wars involving vulnerable Gulf clients.
Yes, the Obama-Clinton regime undermined an independent, secular, nationalist adversary in President Assad and by doing so they destroy an advocate of Palestinian self-determination, but the ultimate results will not favor US imperial military, economic or diplomatic interests. The OC regime’s wars have destroyed US commercial prospects for decades ahead; the victory of their mercenary Islamist ‘rebels’ is setting in motion a more virulent armed version of Al Qaeda with a territorial base and access to immense quantities of modern weapons in areas contiguous to US client regimes.
The OC regime claim to have discovered a low-cost (in terms of American blood) technique to project US military power: killing anti-imperial opponents by drone and Special Forces. According to the OC regime’s strategists the advantages of assassination by drone warfare is that it would not result in the death of US combat soldiers and the Special Forces, whose high-intensity, low visibility operations are ‘off-budget’ would not elicit any public or legislative scrutiny. But drones have become highly visible, even to the usually complacent and highly myopic US Congress and are routinely condemned even by client regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The United Nations has publically condemned drones as civilian casualties have far exceeded the number of so-called ‘terrorist’ targets. Most experts agree that drone assassinations have vastly increased the number of opponents and facilitated the recruitment of resistance fighters. Drone warfare has increasingly isolated client regimes like Yemen that permit US drone attacks against its citizens. The strategy of foreign policy by ‘drone and death squad’ has not replaced the need for ground troops in the task of empire building. Once US troops do withdraw, its mercenary armies have proved incapable or unwilling to obey US advisors, trainers or Special Forces.
The clearest expression of the failed strategy is the rising number of defections from Afghan security forces and the killing of NATO and US officers by Afghan soldiers and officers – even those with the highest security clearance. This infiltration into the highest ranks of the Afghan military and police points clearly to the near-future demise of the puppet Karzai regime. The various ministers in the Afghan client regime and their banker cronies know they have no chance of surviving a post-US withdrawal situation: they have multiple passports in hand and millions in stolen funds stashed in Gulf State bank accounts; their families are safely housed abroad; and their private planes are ready to take off at a moment’s notice. We may witness the panic scenes at the US Embassy, reminiscent of the last days in Saigon (Viet Nam), with local ‘small-fry’ collaborators clamoring to board the ‘last flights out’ before the advancing Taliban insurgents – if our jaded media even bother to cover the debacle. The current attempt by the US to strike a face-saving deal with the ‘political Taliban’ (under auspices of ‘our friends’, the Saudi autocrats) has infuriated our current puppet in Kabul, Hamid Karzai. As a result he is publically condemning Special Forces operations and their arbitrary killing and torture of villagers, as well as US drone attacks against Afghan civilians.
The OC regime’s overtures to the Taliban have so far failed because the sine quo non-condition of the Islamist nationalists is the total withdrawal of all US military and civilian occupation forces: in other words an unconditional collapse of US power in Afghanistan. The Taliban do not need to offer Obama a ‘face-saving’ formula allowing for a ‘residual’ US presence. As the withdrawal proceeds, more and more Afghan military officers will switch sides, dumping the losers and building bridges toward the new rulers. If the US decides to reverse course and retain ‘garrison bunkers’ in Afghanistan, they will face a continuing and deepening war of attrition under conditions of growing budgetary constraints and US electoral hostility.
Results and Perspectives: The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) Era
The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) regime has few imperial assets with which to confront the next four years of US empire building and has powerful constraints against devising strategic innovations or even tactical advances, capable of limiting US losses.
The most significant obstacle to any shift from costly and ineffective military-driven empire building to economic and diplomatic informed policies is the influence of the Zionist power configurations (ZPC) over the ‘troika’ (OKH) and the Congress. The new Israeli coalition regime is even more extreme and militarist, as indicated by the powerful presence of a radical settler-colonist party intent on violently annexing what remains of the Palestinian West Bank. The effective Israeli veto over US foreign policy in the Middle East is enforced by the Presidents of the Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations (representing over 50 powerful Zionist groups) that exclude any possibility that the Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime can even paste a tiny fig leaf ‘peace process’ onto Israel’s accelerating seizure of Palestinian land. The OKH regime, under war-mongering ZPC tutelage, will never attempt any reasonable negotiations with Iran.
The OKH regime is openly committed to entering a war on Israel’s behalf, if the Jewish state unilaterally decides to attack Teheran. Obama’s visit to Israel, and his obligatory ‘consultation’ with leading Jewish-Zionist leaders prior to the trip, was designed ‘to fix’ the White House agenda: US lock-step conformity with Netanyahu’s policy of provoking war against Iran and Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. The Zionists have even dictated Obama’s own body language toward Netanyahu: no public spats, only smiles and handshakes, the lapdog US President agreed. If anything, the OKH regime will be even more servile to Israeli demands over the next four years because the Zionist occupied US Congress has given Israel a ‘free hand’ in deciding US foreign policy in the Middle East, including the timing of war and the substance of negotiations.
Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are unconditional lifetime Zionists who can be expected to advance economic sanctions against Iran in hopes of strangling its economy and provoking a military confrontation.
Given Washington’s costly commitment to Israeli war plans and the constraints of US budget cuts, the new OKH regime will try to ‘coordinate’ policies with the other NATO powers, including sharing material resources and devising complementary strategies in counter-insurgency operations in sub-Sahara Africa, Islamist mercenary operations in Syria and managing ‘Muslim–neo-liberal’ regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Kerry’s visit to Europe was designed to strengthen inter-imperial efforts and especially to bolster French ‘Socialist’ President Hollande’s imperial war policies in Mali and Niger and the ‘Franco-Saudi’ efforts against Syria.
Under pressures from the puppet Syrian mercenary army invading Syria, British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Hollande, the OKH regime will step-up the flow of US arms in an attempt to forestall the advance of the Wahhabi Islamist terrorists who have effectively taken over regions of Syria with backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf petro-dictatorships. The great fear in Washington is that its modern weapons will not just contribute to overthrowing the secular nationalist Assad regime but will put in power a new Al Qaeda-type regime on the borders of the most vulnerable client rulers in Jordan and Lebanon. An Islamist fundamentalist Syria could serve as a ‘headquarters’ and trampoline for cross border attacks on US bases throughout the region. Israel will finally annex the strategic Syrian ‘Golan Heights’, which it has occupied since 1967, on the pretext of protecting itself from the Islamists it worked hard to put in power. The Kurds will try to seize regions of Northern Syria as part of ‘Greater Kurdistan’, to Ankara’s consternation. Turkey will traffic its ‘gentler’ version of ‘Islamist nationalism’. Washington, London and Paris will be unable to enthrone their London-based ex-pat clients in Damascus … The OKH regime may have ousted the secular, nationalist President Assad but it will certainly reap the whirlwind of long-term bloody strife pitting regional powers, rival clients and Al Qaeda terrorists all intent on pillaging the war-ravaged Syria.
Faced with its dubious prospects in Syria, unable to secure a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and impotent to regain influence over Shi’a Iraq, the new OKH regime will make an effort to bolster the military-Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia by co-opting sectors of the liberal secular opposition. This won’t be an easy task given the growing socio-political polarization. Washington’s prospects for consolidating a new set of client regimes will be severely tested by its support for brutal IMF demands on Morsi to eliminate popular food and fuel subsidies – a policy guaranteed to provoke large-scale rioting among impoverished Egyptians and even the threat of a mass national uprising, uniting secular leftists and poor Muslims. The key concern in Washington is that the ouster of its Islamist client Morsi might jeopardize Egypt’s subservient deal with Israel to enforce the economic blockade of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and to accept the Jewish State’s seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank.
So far the OKH regime has relied on the combined repressive power of the intact Mubarak military, police and intelligence services to prop-up its client Morsi. But in a pinch, if he falls, the US may try to reshuffle the deck and seek a new set of ‘liberal’ political clients or impose an outright military dictatorship on the Egyptians.
In Obama’s never-ending pursuit on behalf of Israeli interests, his new Secretary of State John Kerry made a point of directly attacking Prime Minister Erdogan for equating Zionism with fascism as soon as he landed in Turkey. While his ham-fisted tirade made little headway in achieving a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation, Obama convinced Erdogan to accept a pro-forma apology from Netanyahu. Erdogan now has to face the political reality that 90% of the Turkish people clearly oppose Israel’s savage repression of the Palestinians. In the meantime, Turkish capital has been the main beneficiary of the US military-imposed ‘partition’ of Iraq. Turkish traders and oil speculators dominate the market in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’. The US may have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in the invasion but the Turks have made many billions in profits from a war they did not support and immensely increased Turkey’s regional influence. The OKH regime can do nothing about Turkey, an opponent of Washington’s Iraq invasion, reaping huge profits from that $2 trillion-plus investment of US treasure and blood. The OKH regime may have secured Erdogan’s support for the violent overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria … but it will be for Turkey’s own hegemonic interests. Erdogan’s interest in overthrowing the secular-nationalist Assad is based on his plans to establish a compliant client Islamist regime in Damascus and market to be dominated by Turkish business leaders and policy makers. Erdogan has taken a page from the Israeli playbook of manipulating the US military machine for its own regional interests and profit.
Washington will continue to rely on Saudi and Qatari financing of mercenary armies and Islamist terrorists to destabilize and invade anti-imperialist regimes but with the caveat that the battle-hardened mercenaries are also fanatics – profoundly hostile to the US and the EU.
Qatar’s billions of petro-dollars are like a venereal disease, ‘here, there and everywhere’, infecting a region through the funding and arming of Islamist terrorists in tandem with NATO missiles and bombs to destroy Gaddafi’s nationalist welfare state in Libya, savaging the independent secular government in Syria and providing billions of dollars to prop up the puppet Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p.7). Qatar’s autocratic monarchy enriches its extended royal family and the foreign imperial protectors – namely the US and UK, in exchange for buying and distributing weapons to Islamist mercenaries attacking independent nationalist regimes.
The OKH regime will retain the presence of its naval armada in the Gulf and its training missions and military bases in order to prop-up the decadent Gulf petro-monarcho-dictatorships. However, the entire Gulf-US complex could become the scene of a grisly military conflagaration if the extremist Israeli regime decides to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran and provoke a generalized regional war. As it stands, the stability of the entire US-Gulf oil alliance rests on the whims of a ‘third party’ (Israel) and its Fifth Column embedded in the US Congress and Executive branch.
Obama’s second term depends on a precarious set of alliances, conditioned by the decisions of a fanatical ultra- militarist foreign power (Israel) and subject to a rising tide of mass pro-democracy movements in an arc extending from Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen over to Pakistan. Moreover, many of the crucial outcomes are beyond the control of the US White House. The OKH regime does not control the mass movements in North Africa and the mercenary Islamists currently taking over Syria are sworn enemies of both Washington and Damascus. Washington may retain, within a shrinking budget and in concert with the EU, the power to brutally destroy independent regimes. However, in the process they rip the very fabric of complex societies and shatter their economies, thus undermining their own capacity to reap the economic spoils of imperial conquest. Indeed the main ‘booty’ extracted from Washington’s imperial wars has derived from the US Treasury, as rapacious contractors, corrupt politicians and US military officials pillage billions of US taxpayer dollars in ‘aid and reconstruction programs’ for themselves.
A 2011 report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that defense contractors had wasted or lost to fraud as much as $60 billion dollars – or $12 million a day since 2001 (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p. 4). The biggest military contractor ($39.5 billion dollars) is Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton – formerly run by George W. Bush’s Vice President Richard Cheney. Cheney was a co-architect of the Iraq war along with the Pentagon Zionists Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Corrupt war profiteers and Zionist Fifth Columnists (for Israel) teamed up to pillage the US Treasury for self-enrichment and to destroy Iraq, a key ally of Palestinian liberation and consolidate what Obama hails as Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East.
The legacy of the Bush regime and Obama’s first term is one of pyrrhic military victories: an Iraq shredded by sectarian wars and the reversal of half a century of socio-economic, educational and scientific progress under a secular nationalist government. The OKH regime cannot undo the growing ties between Iraq and Iran. Nor can they reverse the growing commercial, gas and energy ties between Iran and Pakistan. The US has secured greater Israeli military links with NATO and the European Union, but a growing popular European and North American boycott against Israeli goods and investments is taking its toll on the Jewish state. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime shows no sign of making even a partial break with the costly policy of ‘military driven imperialism’ in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, it lacks economic resources to prop up its new clients in North Africa. While they scurry to fund the current brutal war against Syria, they will have to prepare for new wars against Lebanon and Iran. The OKH regime will have to rely on low-cost, high-risk, mercenary warfare in Syria. It will try to carve out defense perimeters around its political and petroleum enclaves in Libya. It will have to concede even greater economic and Islamist ideological influence to Turkey. Above all, it will need to appease the Jewish State’s annexation of the West Bank, under pressure from the ZPC!
The old RCA Victor Company marketed its Victorolas, ancient phonograph players with huge horn-like amplifiers, with the image of an attentive dog sitting before the machine in eager anticipation of ‘his master’s voice’. The recent trip by Obama to Israel evokes such an image. Obama’s speech to Jewish students in Jerusalem included such ecstatic praise of everything Israeli or Jewish that he exceeded any propagandistic AIPAC press release, surpassed any fabrication by Netanyahu and embellished (almost to the point of caricature) every racist myth of Jewish superiority. He lauded Israel as a ‘land of peace and democracy’ in the face of 45 years of brutal military rule and expropriation of 60% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He spoke of ‘negotiations without conditions’, a euphemism for giving Israel the green light to annex what remains of Palestinian land in the West Bank. He praised Israel’s creativity and courage in founding the Jewish State, ignoring the violent ethnic cleansing and expulsion of over 850,000 Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians. He spoke of Israeli technological genius, forgetting that Israel’s main exports are weapons of massive destruction. No US leader, past or present (or any other imperial ruler), has so faithfully echoed and embellished the lies of such a bloody colonial power and its US-based Fifth Column with greater fervor than Obama’s degrading effort to satisfy his Zionist handlers in Washington. His performance far exceeded their highest expectations of US servility. In style and substance he fulfilled and over-fulfilled their demands for unconditional US subordination to the Jewish state. In fact, one might suspect that in doing so he set a new standard for the boot-licking belly crawl so familiar to observers of US Congressional servants to Israel. Needless to say, the entire Zionist propaganda apparatus from neo-cons to liberals were ecstatic. Here was a Shabbat goy out-Zionizing the most fanatical Zionist.
The day Obama spoke in Jerusalem will be remembered as a day of shame for all Americans who believe in freedom and dignity and peace with social justice. To listen to the President of the United States grovel before a racist colonial power is degrading. It was also a day of anger for the five billion people of the world who have broken their chains of colonial racist oppression. Obama has made his choice: His administration will have to live with this for the next four years.
The OKH regime’s attempt to penetrate Africa via military missions and the promotion of Pan-African mercenary forces will require an accommodation of France’s rising imperial militarism. It will have to acknowledge China’s increasing economic supremacy in Africa’s extractive sectors, infrastructure and trade. The OKH regime’s ‘pivot to Asia’ involving trans-Pacific free trade agreements excluding China, military bases encircling Beijing and encouraging Japan’s provocation over disputed territory has had no impact on China’s economic growth and burgeoning trade relations. China’s trade with Asia now surpasses its trade with the US. The two way flow of investments into and out of China trump all the OKH regime’s offshore war mongering. The OKH regime’s Asian ‘pivot’ has failed to produce any imperial economic rewards for Washington’s coffers. However, it has incited greater military tensions between Japan and China and between North and South Korea. This is occurring at a time when the Pentagon faces major budget cuts and US Treasury Secretary Lew is trying to drum up greater trade with China.
In sum, the past military commitments, the links to Israel, the legacies of political failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragility of new client rulers mean that the OKH regime will play an increasingly marginal economic role in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel troika will do their best to salvage the US military bases and political influence among autocratic petro-states in the Gulf.
- A Zionist Friendly, Right-wing Texan Islamist to Lead Syria? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Hezbollah: Obama Stances Prove Correctness of Resistance Path (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- President Chavez: A 21st Century Renaissance Man (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The recent hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel have to be viewed in context of a broader geopolitical chessboard. The events in Gaza are tied to Syria and the US’s regional maneuvers against Iran and its regional alliance system.
Syria has been compromised as a conduit for weapons to Gaza, because of its domestic instability. Israel has capitalized on this politically and militarily. Benjamin Netanyahu has not only tried to secure his own election victory in the Knesset through an attack on Gaza, but has used the US-sponsored instability in Syria as an opportunity to try and target the arms stockpiles of the Palestinians.
Netanyahu calculated that Gaza will not be able to rearm itself while Syria and its allies are distracted. The bombing of the Yarmouk arms factory in Sudan, which Israel says was owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was probably part of this plan and a prelude to Israel’s attack on Gaza.
In this chess game, sit the so-called “Moderates”— a misleading label jointly utilized by Messrs George W. Bush Jr. and Tony Blair to whitewash their regional cabal of tyrants and backward regimes — alongside the Obama Administration and NATO. These so-called Moderates include the desert dictators of the feudal Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, and Turkey. In 2011, the ranks of the Moderates were augmented by the NATO-installed government of Libya and the GCC/NATO-supported anti-government militias that were unleashed in Syria.
On the other side of the chessboard defiantly sits the Resistance Bloc composed of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah (and Hezbollah’s partners in Lebanon, like Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement), the so-called Palestinian Rejectionists, and increasingly Iraq. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as a new regional force, is being increasingly prodded into the Moderate camp by the US and the GCC in an attempt to ultimately play the sectarian card against the Resistance Bloc.
Stark contrasts between Gaza and Syria
Israel’s attack on Gaza was a litmus test. All those voices continuously pushing for America’s McJihad against the Syrian government in the name of freedom vanished from their podiums or suddenly went silent when Israel attacked Gaza. Al Jazeera’s tele-preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Saudi Arabia’s dictator-selected Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz went silent. Adnan Al-Arour — the Saudi-based exiled kooky Syrian cleric who, as one of the spiritual heads of the Syrian anti-government forces, has threatened to punish anyone that says that Al-Qaeda is among their ranks — even berated Hamas and the Palestinians for fighting Israel.
The fighting in Gaza really placed them in a fix. Here we see the contradictions in their “Arab Spring.” We now see who really pays lip service to Palestinian liberation and who does not. Moreover, the foreign supporters of the Syrian National Coalition, a rehash of the Syrian National Council, are ironically all supporters of Israel.
This is why mentioning the support that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have provided for Gaza has become a taboo among the supporters of the anti-government forces in Syria. All they can say is that any acknowledgment of the support that Tehran, Damascus, and Hezbollah have provided to Gaza is an attempt to sanitize “Bashar Al-Assad and his supporters.”
Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah helped the Palestinians in Gaza
The Iranian Fijr-5 symbolically ingrains Tehran’s support for Palestine. Despite the fact that Israel and Gaza are by far not equal, it was predominately Iranian arms and technology that changed the balance of power. Tehran has been the main ally and supporter of the Palestinian resistance. The US, Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Iran itself have all acknowledged this in different ways.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is unapologetically pro-Iranian, has openly stated that everything Gaza used in the fight against Israel, from its bullets to missiles, has been generously provided by Tehran. It was even reported during the fighting that Hezbollah, using a special unit dedicated to arming the Palestinians, resupplied the Gaza Strip with some of its own long-range missiles.
This has all taken place while the cads in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have instead armed the Syrian anti-government militias. Egypt and Jordan continue to be major partners in preventing Iranian arms from reaching the Palestinians.
Palestinian fighters have also been trained in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Ironically, the anti-government forces in Syria are also targeting members of the Palestinian Liberation Army in Syria.
The support that the Resistance Bloc has given the Palestinians puts those actors, like Turkey and Qatar, opposed to the Syrian government in a real predicament. These so-called Sunni states were embarrassed; not only did they fail to help a predominately Sunni population, but their insincerity was exposed. This is why there is an active effort to deny the support that Iran and its allies have provided for Gaza.
A boy looks up as he walks in the rubble of a destroyed shop in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mahmud Hams)
A boy looks up as he walks in the rubble of a destroyed shop in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mahmud Hams)
De-linking Hamas from Resistance Bloc to start a Muslim Civil War
As a back story to all this, the Israeli attack on Gaza and the Moderate’s wooing of Hamas is more than just about neutralizing Gaza. Hamas leaders are being tempted to choose between the Moderate and Resistance camps and increasingly between governing or active resistance to the Israeli occupation. Through this, some form of accommodation to the US and Israel is being sought from Hamas. The aims are to de-link the Palestinians, particularly Hamas, from the Resistance Bloc in order to portray Iran and its allies as a Shiite alliance bent on dominating the Sunnis.
If you are foolish enough to fall prey to it, welcome to the unfolding “American fitna” (schism) that aims to ignite a regional Muslim civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis. The Obama administration is trying to construct and line up a Sunni axis against the region’s Shiite Muslims.
It is a classic strategy of divide and conquer that envisions America and Israel dominating the region as the Muslims are incapacitated by their bloodletting. The Shia are systematically being vilified courtesy of the new media war: Iran, Hezbollah, Bashar Al-Assad (an Alawi who is increasingly labeled a Shiite for the benefit of this project), and Nouri Maliki’s administration in Iraq are being portrayed as the new oppressors of the Sunnis. In their place Turkey, with its virtually stillborn neo-Ottomanism foreign policy, and Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood are being presented as the champions of the Sunnis. Never mind that Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has continued the blockade of Gaza for Israel or that Turkey’s Erdogan lost his voice for a while when Israel began bombing Gaza.
The US is trying to use Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to control Hamas, because it was Cairo that established a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. While Iran offers military technology, logistical support, and finance the Egyptians are being presented as Gaza’s ticket to establishing some form of normality and the GCC as alternative funding. This is why Qatar’s Emir Al-Thani visited Gaza to tempt Hamas with his declining supply of petro-dollars.
Shiite and Sunni divisions are political constructs
Inside Hamas there are internal differences over this. While Damascus, Tehran, and Hezbollah desired some form of public acknowledgment about their vital assistance to Hamas and the Palestinians, Hamas officials were careful about their statements. When Khaled Meshaal thanked Egypt, Qatar, and Tunisia during an important press conference, he narrowly mentioned Iran.
Meshaal’s politicking was not lost on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who responded hours later by rhetorically asking who supplied and painstakingly transferred the Fajr-5 missiles into Gaza? Nasrallah asked people to look past Gaza’s fair-weather friends, like the Qataris and Saudis who think they can buy their ways into the grace of the Palestinians, but to look at Gaza’s tested friends who allowed Gaza to stand on its own two feet. Then the Lebanese leader reaffirmed the ongoing support of the Resistance Bloc for the Palestinian people.
Despite its politburo’s position on Syria, Hamas is still a part of the Resistance Bloc. There is a new format now. If Greece and Turkey were at odds with one another as two NATO allies, then Hamas can have its differences with Syria and still be allied with the Resistance Bloc against Israel.
The divide in the Middle East is not a sectarian one between Shiites and Sunnis, but fundamentally political. The alliance of the predominately Sunni Muslim Palestinian resistance movements and the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanon’s largest Christian political party, with predominately Shiite Muslim Iran and Hezbollah should defuse such a perception that the US and its allies are trying to cultivate.
- A Different War in Gaza, and the war ahead (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Libyan city of Bani Walid is reported to be under heavy attack from pro-government forces and militias. Witnesses say that more civilians are being killed by shelling, while houses are engulfed in flames.
Earlier reports suggested that the city had fallen, but continuing reports of wide-scale killing and armed gangs and militias patrolling the streets and looting people’s homes indicate that those reports are not true.
An individual in Italy who claims to have relatives in Bani Walid told RT earlier that over 600 people have so far been killed while the number of people in hospitals is over 1,000.
A local told RT that the troops patrolling the streets were bulldozing homes and setting them on fire.
“Bani Walid was invaded by militias from Misrata,” a local woman said. “They destroyed everything; brought chaos, death and destruction with them. When families wanted to return to their homes these militias directed their guns towards them, shot at them, and they were all forced to flee.”
She also confirmed that the local hospital is incapable of treating the number of wounded.
“We are unable to move the injured to other places for treatment because Misrata militias and their allies threaten to kill everybody who does so,” she said.
A local journalist reporting from the town’s outskirts amidst a media blackout in the city proper told RT that thousands of people are stranded on the desert highway just outside of Bani Walid. Those stranded had attempted to return to Bani Walid amidst confusion over whether or not the city had actually fallen.
Refugees are being prevented from going back into the city by army roadblocks.
While the army claims that it is targeting the city in order to rid it of pro-Gaddafi forces, many who have been injured or killed are children, women and the elderly. Meanwhile, reports continue to emerge about troops using unconventional weapons in the city. A local activist told RT that the army is preventing media from entering Bani Walid simply because they fear the press might report their “crimes and terrible deeds.”
“I can confirm that pro-government militias used internationally prohibited weapons. They used phosphorus bombs and nerve gas,” Afaf Yusef, an activist from Bani Walid, told RT. “We have documented all this in videos – we recorded the missiles they used and the white phosphorus raining down from these missiles.”
Many people died without being wounded or shot but as a result of gases, he said.
“The whole world needs to see who they are targeting,” he added. “Are they really Gaddafi’s men? Are the children, women and old men killed, Gaddafi’s men?”
Those trapped in Bani Walid have been crying out to the United Nations for help, but they are not being heard, with the UN Mission in Libya saying it has no men in the city and cannot provide any additional information on what is happening on the ground. The director of the UN mission refused to comment on why they were not inside the city.
Meanwhile, when asked why the West is ignoring the massacres in Bani Walid, US Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland told RT that Washington is “watching the situation very closely” while its position on the matter remains “absolutely clear.”
“We support the efforts of the Libyan government to get control of militias and to provide security throughout the country, including in Bani Walid, and to do so in a way that is respectful of the human rights of all citizens and allows humanitarian organizations to get in,” Nuland said.
Despite the claims that it is following the situation closely, the last time Bani Walid was mentioned on the US State Department’s website was at the beginning of this year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he is not concerned by the fact that the Libyan Army is deployed inside the city, but rather worried about the authorities and human rights violations that are reportedly taking place. He also urged the United Nations to provide information on what is really going on the ground.
As the United States and other powers have remained silent on reports of excessive force and other human rights abuses in the city, Washington blocked a draft statement proposed by Russia on the resolution calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Bani Walid earlier this week.
- ’600 killed in Bani Walid fighting in one day’ – source (rt.com)
- Seige of Bani Walid, Day 20: ‘Militia committing genocide’ – RT source (rt.com)
- Libya – Urgent Bani Walid – Urgent Bani Walid – Urgent Bani Walid – Urgent Bani Walid (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com)
The attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya dealt a huge blow to US intelligence operations because CIA agents and contractors were among the Americans evacuated afterward, the New York Times reported late Sunday.
The CIA’s intelligence targets in unstable Libya included an Islamist militia that some have blamed for the September 11 attack in the eastern city of Benghazi and suspected members of al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate, the paper said.
More than two dozen Americans were rushed out of Libya after the attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens, three other Americans and 10 Libyan security officers.
They included about a dozen CIA operatives and contractors monitoring a variety of armed groups in the city, the paper reported.
“It is a catastrophic intelligence loss,” it quoted an American official who has served in Libya as saying. “We got our eyes poked out.”
However, the paper quoted another official as saying the United States was still collecting information via other techniques such as informants, intercepting mobile phone conversations and use of satellite images.
“The United States isn’t close to being blind in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” the second official said.
The paper also said that contrary to initial accounts, a consulate annex that was also attacked was never meant to be a “safe house” for the CIA.
Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an official review of security at the US mission in Libya.
President Barack Obama’s administration initially said it believed extremists had not really planned the attack in Libya but simply taken advantage of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic trailer to mix in and attack.
The White House for the first time Thursday described the assault as a “terrorist attack” and said it could have links to al-Qaeda.
But a Republican lawmaker, Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, cast doubt Sunday over whether the protests even happened.
- Libya lawmaker says Benghazi attack planned (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Crimes Against Reality in Libya, part 3 | April 17, 2011
Misrata: An Illusion Under Siege
Misrata (alt: Misurata, Arabic: مصراتة) is Libya’s third largest city (after Tripoli and Benghazi), boasting in peacetime about 550,000 people.  Considered Libya’s commercial capital, it lies in the west of the country about 130 miles east of the capitol Tripoli. It was among the amazing number of Libyan cities, east and west, that fell to rebel control within just a few days of the revolt’s start on February 17. This flash of activity was much more violent and pre-planned than the world public realizes, but that was needed to seed the impression that the whole country had “voted” by popular action to secede from the capitol.
After the initial shock of this unprecedented mutiny, the loyalists in the army and within the “liberated” cities re-grouped with an early-March roll-back. In general, rebel support was too weak to last in the west, and caved easily, and by the 19th rebel control was limited to their de facto capitol Benghazi and points eastward. The only exception to this rule was vital and sizeable Misrata, then and for the last month the only western city even partially held by rebels.
As the last bastion of illusion against this being an East-West civil war as opposed to a nationwide popular revolt, Misrata’s fate is second only to Benghazi’s. One holds the key to the east, the other maybe half a key to the whole nation. Just as a threat of losing Benghazi spurred the first western airstrikes on March 19, the continued siege of Misrata is apparently ushering in another phase entirely. With its neighborhood-scale fighting, snipers, and mortars and rockets from afar, the city has been much changed. It’s been described as a living hell, with “unimaginable carnage,” hospitals overflowing, bodies piling up uncounted in the streets, as many as 2,000 killed. It’s been said Gaddafi is flattening the city, strangling it, and intends to slaughter every person in it.
However, on April 14, Professor Alan J. Kuperman wrote an excellent analysis citing Human Rights Watch information on Misrata “revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.” It does seem a bit more sloppy than he makes it sound, but Kuperman is probably closer to the truth of the matter than most. Since the fighting there started nearly two months earlier, he finds from HRW’s numbers:
[O]nly 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties. 
In the roughly 45 days since the siege began, 257 is only about six deaths per day, on average. That isn’t likely a complete number, but no more likely to be very far off. In reality it looks less like a genocidal massacre than the six weeks of low-level but NATO-prolonged urban warfare it is. Even presuming a gross margin of unreported deaths, 400 or even 500 dead is really not that high – at most about 0.1% of the population. If the government were trying to kill “as many people as possible,” with this much time to have done it, they are failing badly.
The last few days, April 14-16, have however seen a brutal new offensive by the government’s forces, by rebel reports, with a few dozen more killed in rocket attacks on Misrata, indiscriminately including women, children, and elderly.  Cluster bombs have reportedly been found.  The harbor was attacked again. The rebels predict a total slaughter will finally befall them without more NATO involvement soon. What they really mean is Misrata will no longer be a rebel town.
All these concerns, taken in context, helped the leaders of the US, UK, and France, who happened to be meeting in these bloody days, to jointly denounce, among other things, the “medieval siege” of Misrata. And it finally allowed them to make some new decisions (which we’ll be seeing shortly) on a core realization that all three nations have agreed on for four decades now. Essentially, Gaddafi must go. “It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power,” they lied jointly on the 15th. 
Mystery Snipers Killing Kids?
Worse than the fairly indiscriminate death of distance shelling, the most incendiary new allegation is the mad tyrant Gaddafi sending snipers to Misrata to sit on rooftops, picking out children to shoot dead. Or so we hear. On April 8, a statement was issued in Switzerland:
“What we have are reliable and consistent reports of children being among the people targeted by snipers in Misrata,” UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva. The information was based on local sources, Mercado said. She was unable to say how many children have been wounded or killed in this way. 
UNICEF, the United Nations wing for caring about children’s health and well-being, was naturally alarmed enough by these reports to announce they existed but weren’t verified – they’d go and have a look and then, perhaps, we’d hear about corroboration.
A cynic might see in this echoes of the incubator-baby stories of 1991 Gulf War fame. The tale of an Iraqi atrocity in Kuwait, killing dozens of premature babies for no clear reason, gave massive and emotional public support to the war effort. Later, the story was proven to be a complete lie, concocted by the Kuwaiti royal family and public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, Inc.  Again, the first part of that is happening with this news spreading like wildfire. And we shall see, and in short order, that the second half is already coming into focus along similar lines.
There’s no great reason to doubt the presence of snipers in the city, given the situation. Rebels allege African mercenaries as usual, military snipers from elite battalions, and most recently special female sharpshooters from Colombia’s FARC army.  One Libyan exile with contact in Misrata said the snipers were “Libyan mercenaries,” as well as some “from Mauritania, 2 from Colombia, 2 women, some from Chad, and others from origins of which we are not sure.” (more from this expert below). 
As far as people capable of making bullets fly in a war-torn city, we also cannot rule out armed loyalist citizens, possibly gone loco and trying to demoralize the traitors by killing their young. That wouldn’t exactly be a government strategy requiring regime change, but close enough for most. Or it could be a black-hearted rebel supporter trying to create another humanitarian disaster to be blamed on the regime. And it would be, of course, with no questions asked. The government itself claims snipers exist in Misrata – brought in by the rebels and affiliated with Hezbollah, says spokesman Khaled Kaim. Hezbollah denies this, and the evidence has yet to be shown 
Yousef bin Youssef on Snipers, Kids, and/or Targeting
A video from the Al Aan channel of the United Arab Emirates was posted April 9, with English subtitles, on rebel site LibyaFeb17.info. Entitled “Batallion snipers targeting children in Misurata,” the content is an interview with Yousef bin Youssef, onetime Misrata resident, in touch with others still there and amazingly informed (he’s the one with the sniper nationalities list). 
Asked if “children were actually being targeted by snipers there,” Youssef makes a long presentation with heavy use of the word for “targeted,” but only gives one bit of an answer to that question at the end. He starts with the government shelling of the city:
“[T]here are very serious risks when these populated zones are targeted – many injuries could occur … Families are being targeted daily … the targeting of children and civilians in large numbers … the targeting of Misrata is happening in every residential area … Gaddafi’s forces are systematically killing the entire population of the city of Misrata.”
He does get to children, noting that “a car with four children in it was targeted,” in fact a disputable incident at a check-point, killing one child an wounding another.  This is quite common in places like Iraq where a government is up against an insurgency. “In another neighborhood near Tripoli street,” Youssef added, “a child of two years was also targeted” in some unspecified way. He also lists several names with ages of “just a few” of the youngest “martyrs” killed by anything at all so far in this conflict.
He also brought cell-phone video footage of three injured children evacuated, from Misrata and Benghazi, to Turkey. One is a boy with his right arm amputated and the left one locked in a full cast, and one eye swollen shut. Another older boy is shown with both hands in casts. Both look more like mishaps in handling explosives than any sniper’s work. Their injuries are not explained. 
The Girl in Turkey: Right for the Heart
The only time in all Youssef’s interview where any sign of a sniper appears is with the third child, which he describes as:
“a small girl, no older than 4 years, who was targeted by a sniper’s bullet near the heart. But thank God, they removed the bullet, as you can see.” 
The hefty bullet is shown in a vial, and a precious little girl is shown curled up asleep in the hospital bed, barely saved from the government’s mad designs. And as proof the two were once together, her x-ray is also shown to the camera. A rib cage is visible, with a bullet appearing in the upper center (top image). That looks like medical proof she was shot by someone or other. And certainly the whole medical clinic setting lends credence to it.
Luckily I happen to have a clearer blow-up of this same image (see below, explained further below) to get some better detail. It looks like possibly a sniper bullet, but with an odd orientation. Unless the kid was doing cartwheels at the moment of impact, it was apparently fired up from a low angle, an inherently illogical scenario.
Further, the bullet is perfectly shaped, with no apparent deformation from entry and plowing through tissues firm enough to stop it entirely only halfway through.
This in turn might have something to with absolutely no sign of entry revealed by the x-rays. Following back the apparent bullet track suggests it must have entered her body on the left side (lower right in the image). Any possible “hole” in her side would be invisible from a frontal view. We should, however, see any broken chunks or deformation to the curve of her ribs where at least one should have been shattered. But not a single arc of this delicate 4-year-old rib-cage is disturbed that we can see.
While I don’t have the expertise to credibly rule out a real gunshot here, It seems to me that this image shows two things:
1) The girl was never shot.
2) A bullet was made to appear in her chest.
The fakery could be done in any photo-editing program, then sent to a device for developing the image on transluscent film to look real. Or it could be a simple x-ray image of the child with a bullet laid on her chest. But that’s sure as hell not how it was preseted to the world at almost exactly the same time as that April 8 UNICEF report.
The Boy in Misrata with the Same X-Ray Proof
Furthermore, at the same time, there was another child with a family claiming proof of a very similar sniper shot. The April 10 Human Rights Watch dispatch related the story of a five-year-old boy. He’s not in the main article for some reason, but is shown in the bottom picture with his mother and an x-ray image, with this extended caption:
Five-and-a-half year old Rakan Ahmed was playing in the street opposite the Italian Consulate on March 19 when a bullet entered his shoulder and passed by his heart, according to his parents, Hanan Faraj and Ahmed Muftah Burjid. There was fighting at the time about 500 meters away, they said, but no sound of gunfire close by. “Rakan’s uncle carried him inside,” Ahmed Muftah Burjid said. “We thought he fainted. There was no sound of a gunshot, no blood.” When the family arrived at the hospital, they saw the bullet from the x-rays, which the family shared with Human Rights Watch. “We were shocked,” Ahmed recalled. “We just thought he was tired.” 
This might sound strange, but is remarkably akin to what happened to WPC Yvonne Fletcher in London, 1984. Standing across from the Libyan embassy, she was shot by a high-powered bullet that entered the right shoulder at a steep angle, hit the heart, lung, and other vital organs, and passed out her lower left rib cage.  She died from all this within short order, but from the outside, she just collapsed, with no visible blood and officers at first acting as if she’d just fainted.  Gaddafi thug snipers pulled the trigger, it was decided, in both of these cases. Women and children were slaughtered, publics enraged. We have a precedent.
By the photo HRW ran (right), little Rakan does seem to be injured. He has bandages on his left side over the owie (the exit wound after the entry on his right shoulder?). His mom helps show us by pulling up his arm and his shirt. He looks unhappy, but quite healthy and limber for only three weeks healing time after such a massive injury to the upper body.
The x-ray image shown to the right, shared by the family, reveals a bullet is or was once in there, stopped just where it was in the girl’s x-ray. It did not exit through his side or at all. Hmmm…
The bullet shown here has the same pristine profile, same orientation and implied, illogical, low-level entry. It clearly did not enter via his shoulder, as reported, in fact just stopping in the middle of him, halfway to his right shoulder. Beside the bullet match, this x-ray shows the same strange line running across, same light and dark patches, same … undisturbed rib cage.
It’s the same image, I can safely say, (aside from the circled left shoulder in Rakan’s print). See the comparison at left, complicated by low-resolution video, the different angles of view, and different backgrounds behind the translucent images (these are all corrected somewhat for the left image). Clearly they are too consistent to be anything other than the same, so this is of course my source for the above blow-up of the little girl’s chest shot.
The image could still be of a genuine child shooting, as my pathologist friend Rolfe at the JREF forum points out, but as she also notes with basic logic, it can’t be evidence for both of those kids being shot.  Nonetheless, it was presented within the same few-days span as just that. It should of course be noted that this doubling up is enough to change “child” to “children,” and leave the public imagining just how many. Imaginations over here tend to ignore the “reported” part and presume hundreds of things like this. But we have this kind of evidence for only two, one recovering in Turkey, the other all healed up in Misrata, neither with a single broken rib, judging by the single x-ray image between them.
All I can say is I’m glad the rebels are still able to fake these things in Photoshop and have it believed. If the international agencies like UNICEF and HRW were more exacting, we might see rebels actually shooting each others’ children to leverage stronger support for regime change efforts. At the moment, I wish Gaddafi would just step down and hand his country over to Wall Street and these manipulative little domestic proxies so this absurdity can finally stop.
 Wikipedia. Misrata. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misrata
 Kuperman, Alan J. “False pretense for war in Libya?” Boston Globe. April 14 2011. http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-14/bostonglobe/29418371_1_rebel-stronghold-civilians-rebel-positions
 “Rocket barrage hits Misrata, NATO says Gaddafi must go” Times of India, April 15. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Obama-Sarko-Cameron-seal-deal-Oust-Gaddafi/articleshow/7996431.cms
 Murray, Craig. “Clusters of Hypocrisy.” April 16 2011. http://craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/04/clusters-of-hypocrisy/
 Washington Post. UNICEF: Snipers targeting children in besieged Libyan city of Misrata. April 8. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/unicef-snipers-targeting-children-in-besieged-libyan-city-of-misrata/2011/04/08/AF5jO4zC_story.html
 Daily Mail. April 15. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377349/Libya-16-women-children-rocket-blitz-Gaddafis-troops.html
 “Batallion snipers targeting children in Misurata.” April 9 posting of video interview with Yousef bin Youssef, on al Aan news. (Undated). http://feb17.info/media/video-interview-battalion-snipers-targeting-children-in-misurata-translated/
 Hezbollah denies any role in Libya’s uprising. Ya Libnan. April 14 2011. http://www.yalibnan.com/2011/04/14/hezbollah-denies-any-role-in-libyas-uprising/
 Human Rights Watch. “Libya: Government Attacks in Misrata Kill Civilians.” April 10 2011. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/10/libya-government-attacks-misrata-kill-civilians
 “Baby Snipers…Propaganda? Or are they just that evil?” JREF discussion forum. Thread started April 8. http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=205780
The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results.
– Ed Husein, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
It has been said that America’s last liberal President was Richard Nixon. Nixon set up the EPA, OSHA, and created the Clean Water Act. Additionally, he had a better health plan than Obamacare, and proposed a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon also implemented price controls, which notably — in recent history — Hugo Chavez, has been attacked in Western media, for introducing on basic foodstuffs and household goods.
1981 is said to be the breaking point of when the modern Republican Party began its failure in accepting that government has a role to play in propping up — and, moreover, aiding and abetting — Americans’ livelihood and well-being: the much ballyhooed advent of the so-called Reagan Revolution. This began the coalescing of a system of essentially two neoliberal, militarist, Wall Street political parties largely indifferent to the needs of significant sections of the American population.
We should keep this in mind considering that we have just been enduring the revolting, gross, and gratuitously self-congratulatory (taxpayer funded) spectacles of the — decrepit, moribund and abounding with cretinism — duopoly conventions. So, what are we to make of things after envisaging these überlurid, radically self-aggrandizing, and entirely putrefactive celebrations? For one it’s clear to me that a battle royale between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson would be a marked improvement over the bromides, platitudes, and, undoubtedly, soon-to-be-broken promises of the plutocracy’s kept candidates of their choosing.
Clearing brush, pork rinds, arithmetic, surreptitious tax returns, “presidential” beer recipes and gaffing vice presidential candidates, are about the utmost the level of “cerebreality” that these folks, unequivocally, want to “ascend” toward. Celebreality is much more important anyhow! That is to say, what kerfluffle has a prominent Scientologist befallen him or herself into at the present moment! This stock in trade is all the more important than wars and peace, progressive taxation (or a Tobin tax), guaranteeing health care, poverty, the Great Recession, unemployment, and the greatest disparity of wealth in all of the Western world!
On the foreign affairs front, the French have lurched forward into the preeminent imperialist role in the decapitation, sacking and dismemberment of the Arab Republic of Syria. The “socialist” Hollande is now planning to arm Islamist guerrillas who include voluminous battle-hardened Salafis, and even — the sometime NATO/Western mortal enemy/adversary — Al Qaeda. The neocon enemy image, in fact, which has eroded so many civil liberties in America; cast aside the Constitution and metamorphosized the country into a police/surveillance society and/or (take your pick!) ultra-security state.
Now, of course, Al Qaeda has been reborn as an ally planting “American” values against a regime that is unequivocally authoritarian, but not without its positive attributes. Which includes tolerance of a mosaic of religious and faith traditions, exceedingly low cost university-level education, and government subsidy of many basic provisions, foodstuffs, household items, and everyday wares. In fact, in 2005 the Christian Science Monitor ran an article about what an agreeable experience — that so many Americans were having — studying Arabic in the capital city of Damascus. The Arab Republic of Syria, even with all of its drawbacks, is certainly preferable to the theocratic, anachronistic, strict sharia caliphate “alternative” proffered by precisely the wild-eyed militants that the NATO/Western countries are currently so myopically and narrow-mindedly backing, and so vehemently in support of. (Many of them are not from Syria by the way. They are being brought in from Libya, Chechnya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere — about 60% according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor, who was only recently in the country.)
The French are no doubt stepping up the brazen adventure/interventionism, whilst the American political silly season places handcuffs on some of America’s hegemony; that might spell trouble for Beltway spin doctors to massage, repackage, gussy up, and/or twist or otherwise festoon for the voting “riffraff”, “the great unwashed”, and “the rabble”. Better off not to patently and intentionally seriously over-complicate, a (previously) unsophisticated and garden variety flimflam/deception.
In Libya some Muslim radicals, that are now readily operating in that country — and exceedingly armed-to-the-gills — recently destroyed some sacred Sufi sites, to no doubt christen the US/NATO-brought “freedom” to that country. This, undoubtedly, reminds one of the benighted mentality that led the Taliban to bringing about the batty-headed, incoherent, and lunatic bombing of the Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan.
Of course, the ignominious Ronald Reagan christened the inordinately fanatical mujaheddin, as much like America’s own Founding Fathers. And perhaps, ironically, today our “democrats” in Libya would seem to be of rather similar rearing, upbringing, tack, style, attitude, worldview and overall demeanor. No doubt, anyone of any other faith would have a difficult run-in with these folks — should they encounter them in a dark alleyway — or, for that matter, any place at all! And moreover, anyone who has been persistently following the events in Libya since the “mainstream” media lost all interest in them, was not, of course, surprised at all to the see the Benghazi consulate attack — and the needless deaths that occurred there (sadly), as a result.
The Christians in Syria, who predominantly support Dr. Bashar al-Assad, know precisely what kind of “freedom fighters” that the West has taken great relish in seemingly infallibly, consistently and unflinchingly backing. In fact, Patriarch Gregorios III of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, has cautioned against foreign interventionism in his country, and furthermore accused the Western media of negligently misreporting on the conflict. A Syrian nun, Sister Agnes Mariam, has recently recounted that she personally witnessed the beheading of nine Alawite Syrians. According to the Sister, they were murdered simply for being Alawite, by, of course, the Western-backed “democratic”, and indeed, raucous proxy forces.
Clearly, an agenda of stopping development on a multitude of levels is an aspect of the pernicious strategy that appears to be at work here. Freedom, human rights, women’s rights, and rights of speech and expression are thinly veiled patinas for domination and “creative destruction” of a ravenous, retrograde, ignoble, antediluvian, and in-illustrious breed. Of course, America has never acted truly consistently toward Wilsonianism, but this is, certainly, a far cry from it, indeed!
Seemingly, that once great beacon on a hilltop has become a beacon of benightedness, for sure. Allied with some of the most backward absolutist monarchies, and the most obtuse of “pious” militants, death squads, and “Godly” roving “religious” warriors, miscreants, and thugs. Unfortunately, for Americans and non-Americans alike, Americans have virtually no choice in this matter at their polling places in the ongoing presidential election/food fight/sham. Either of the two candidates that are capable of winning will continue on with this sordid trash.
Fortunately, we seem to see other nations (and blocs) rising, unalike that of which we have envisioned in some time. Some examples, of course, include the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the BRICS. This sort of thing, I think, is most probably the beacon lying abreast of today’s enlightened hilltop for all to look upon with great positive portent, and the highest and the utmost of regard.
The wanting of a world with the ending of these vicious cycles of domination, with “great powers” dictating schemes to “lesser”, and “inferior” subsidiary client nations. Of course, the new power configurations aren’t going to be any guarantee of rule by the diminutive, the genteel, the dignified, the noble — and the altruistically and the courageously strong. But at least there is new hope within these nascent rising power configurations. There is hope for elements to originate and to fully consummate that will far outweigh, if it even had any, the positive elements of the previous (ancien) global de facto administration/regime.
Sean Fenley is an independent progressive who would like to see the end of the dictatorial duopoly of the so-called two party adversarial system. He would also like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future U.S. military, economic, foreign and domestic policies.
- The Terrorist War Against Syria (intifada-palestine.com)
What is the world’s most powerful and violent “ism”? The question will summon the usual demons such as Islamism, now that communism has left the stage. The answer, wrote Harold Pinter, is only “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged,” because only one ideology claims to be non-ideological, neither left nor right, the supreme way. This is liberalism.
In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire. “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians,” he wrote, “provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required. The French liberal Alexis de Tocqueville also believed in the bloody conquest of others as “a triumph of Christianity and civilisation” that was “clearly preordained in the sight of Providence.”
“It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open ended nature – its conviction that it represents a superior form of life [while denying its] self righteous fanaticism.” He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which Blair promised to “reorder this world around us” according to his “moral values.” At least a million dead later – in Iraq alone – this tribune of liberalism is today employed by the tyranny in Kazakhstan for a fee of $13m.
Blair’s crimes are not unusual. Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. This has been principally the project of the liberal flame carrier, the United States, whose celebrated “progressive” president John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962. “If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton, “it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.” How succinctly she defines modern, violent liberalism.
Syria is an enduring project. This is a leaked joint US-UK intelligence file:
“In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces… a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals… a necessary degree of fear… frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS should use… capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”
That was written in 1957, though it might have come from a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute, A Collision Course for Intervention, whose author says, with witty understatement: “It is highly likely that some western special forces and intelligence sources have been in Syria for a considerable time.” And so a world war beckons in Syria and Iran.
Israel, the violent creation of the west, already occupies part of Syria. This is not news: Israelis take picnics to the Golan Heights and watch a civil war directed by western intelligence from Turkey and bankrolled and armed by the medievalists in Saudi Arabia. Having stolen most of Palestine, attacked Lebanon, starved the people of Gaza and built an illegal nuclear arsenal, Israel is exempt from the current disinformation campaign aimed at installing western clients in Damascus and Tehran.
On 21 July, the Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland warned that “the west will not stay aloof for long… Both the US and Israel are also anxiously eyeing Syria’s supply of chemical and nuclear weapons, now said to be unlocked and on the move, fearing Assad may choose to go down in a lethal blaze of glory.” Said by whom? The usual “experts” and spooks.
Like them, Freedland desires “a revolution without the full-blown intervention required in Libya.” According to its own records, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. Look at the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the Unicef report on the children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten.” Like the destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, these crimes were not news, because news as disinformation is a fully integrated weapon of attack.
On 14 July, the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights, which opposed the Gaddafi regime, reported, “The human rights situation in Libya now is far worse than under Gaddafi.” Ethnic cleansing is rife. According to Amnesty, the entire population of the town of Tawargha “are still barred from returning [while] their homes have been looted and burned down”.
In Anglo-American scholarship, influential theorists known as “liberal realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use – are the world’s peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit) and “rogue states” (nations resistant to western dominance). Whether or not the regime is a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevant. The same is true of those contracted to do the dirty work. In the Middle East, from Nasser’s time to Syria today, western liberalism’s collaborators have been Islamists, lately al-Qaeda, while long discredited notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for conquest, “as required.” Plus ça change.
- West Scripting Scary Scenario In Syria by Finian Cunningham (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
A woman has been killed and a soldier seriously injured after an unexploded cluster bomb detonated in Nabatiye Governorate in southern Lebanon, Press TV reports.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when a bomblet exploded in Bint Jbeil, the second largest town in the in southern Lebanon.
The injured soldier was rushed to the nearest hospital.
US reports say Israel dropped some 4.5 million cluster munitions in Lebanon during the last days of its military offensive on the country in 2006.
The move made Lebanon one of the worst affected countries by the internationally-banned arms, along with Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.
Six years after the 2006 war, Lebanon has not yet finished clearing the cluster munitions and landmines in the south, with Israel refusing to provide UN authorities with maps of the locations of the munitions it dropped.
- Canada turns blind eye to cluster bomb treaty (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli troops steal 1000 goats from southern Lebanon (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Two Serbian Soldiers Killed By Old NATO Cluster Bomb (rferl.org)
What’s behind the Jason Puracal campaign?
World champions in arbitrary detention, the United States and the European Union, are now behind a campaign to free a person convicted for drug trafficking in Nicaragua. The US is notorious for its prisons at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and for its global network of secret detention centers. Its overseas accomplice, the EU, is also notorious, for having collaborated in setting up that network as well as for its own detention centers wherein tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants languish. Their support for the Puracal campaign is just one more political ploy, another clear example of the US-EU tandem at work to co-opt and corrupt the entire international human rights system.
“Midnight Express” in Central America
On August 2011, U.S. citizen Jason Puracal Zachary was convicted in a Nicaraguan Court of Justice to 22 years in prison for narcotics trafficking and money laundering along with 10 Nicaraguans, also sentenced to long prison terms.
Nine months earlier, Puracal’s home and office had been raided by Nicaraguan authorities without a warrant, an extraordinary procedure permitted in the country’s criminal code for serious cases in which there is suspicion that the investigation risks having evidence destroyed or concealed. Using the latest technology (provided, incidentally, by the United States) traces of narcotics were found in Puracal’s vehicle along with extensive documentation supporting the investigation, which the Nicaraguan judicial authorities argue justifies the charges against him and the other members of the network in which he participated.
As a U.S. national, Puracal has appealed the sentence and hearings begin this week in the district appeals court in Granada.
Jason Puracal is a former Peace Corps volunteer for the United States in Nicaragua. After having met and married a Nicaraguan, he decided to stay in the country, buying a real estate franchise after his volunteer service tour ended. His arrest has led to an unprecedented international campaign in the form of a petition organized in favour of his release which has gathered more than 90 thousand signatures on the internet.
The sentiment is understandable given the ease with which the situation can be turned into a parallel of the famous film Midnight Express (1978), by Alan Parker, from the screenplay by Oliver Stone. In the film, an American drugs trafficker is sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish prison. Over the decades the film, based on a true story, has become a classic of Islamophobia with all the clichés that portray countries of the non-Western “periphery” as lawless places where whites are exposed to all kinds of torture, including sexual abuse, at the hands of corrupt, ruthless and unpredictable locals. After years of enduring inhumane conditions and abandoning all hope of support from the U.S. government, Billy Hayes, the film’s protagonist, decides to escape from prison on his own.
Puracal’s case has been supported by groups in U.S. such as the Innocence Project and has received support from such influential persons as the former director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Tom Cash (who helped prosecute Colombian narcotics kingpin Pablo Escobar) and Irwin Cotler, former Canadian justice minister and Attorney General. Cotler wrote an inflammatory letter to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega referring to the Puracal case as one of “arbitrary detention” and “a serious abuse of justice”, according to Nicaragua Dispatch. Even the supposedly prestigious UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions recommends the “immediate release” of Jason Puracal.
According to the version of events put forward by the defenders of Puracal, Puracal’s rights were violated by Nicaraguan authorities in their failure to produce a search warrant when entering his home and business office. They also argue that he was denied the right to a proper defense and that his prison sentence is longer than Nicaraguan law allows. Finally they allege that he has been forced to live with seven other prisoners in the same cell, and that at one point he suffered burns from a water kettle used in the prison.
All of these allegations have been rejected outright by the President of the Court of Appeal, Dr. Norman Miranda Castillo, who in turn accused the U.S. Embassy in Managua of interfering in the course of Nicaraguan justice.
“Responsibility to Protect” the Narcos
This past May 24, the Secretary for the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, Miguel De la Lama, sent a letter in response to a request by Jared Genser, on behalf of the “non-profit organization” Perseus Strategies LLC. In the letter, Lama informs Genser that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in its sixty-third session issued a “text of opinion”, number 10/2012 on Puracal.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by Resolution 1991/42 of the now superseded UN Commission on Human Rights, among other things to investigate cases of arbitrary detention inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a task that according to the United Nations should be carried out “with discretion, objectivity and independence.”
The “text of opinion“, sent by the UN Group to the Government of Nicaragua, clarifies that the human rights body cannot comment on the charges against Puracal, nor about the evidence presented against him by the State of Nicaragua. However, given that the Nicaraguan government did not respond to the allegations made by the group within the stipulated period of two months, the Council recommended Puracal’s immediate release, and for a new trial to be conducted if deemed necessary, along with with an indemnity to Puracal for alleged damage to his person. Clearly, this letter from the UN body immediately became a powerful media weapon.
The Working Group’s members are Malick El Hadji Sow from Senegal, Shaheen Sardar Ali from Pakistan, Roberto Garreton of Chile, Mads Andenas from Norway and Vladimir Tochilovsky, from the Ukraine. It is not difficult to discern the influence of the European Union and NATO prevalent in this UN Working Group.
The Working Group chairman Malick Sow, is a Supreme Court judge in Senegal, a strong regional ally of France and a country lauded as a “strong and stable democracy” by the European Union. Senegal ranks 155th of the 169 countries that make up the Human Development Index, and is heavily reliant on EU aid, which exceeds 10% of the national budget. Meanwhile, the Working Group’s Pakistani vice-president is actually a law professor at the University of Warwick in England and at the University of Oslo, in Norway. It is hardly possible to expect actions deviating from the official line by a Chilean representative who, although a recognized human rights defender during the Pinochet era, today represents a state that practices arbitrary detention of indigenous Mapuche of all ages, as if it were a sport. Nor can one expect independent action from a Ukrainian trial lawyer involved in the first stages of organizing the International Criminal Court, widely criticized for its bias against any head of State identified by Washington as an enemy, and for its reluctance to investigate the crimes by allies of the White House.
Lastly, the Norwegian, Andenas is, like the Pakistani Shaheen Ali, a professor at the University of Oslo’s Law Faculty, but he has also been a member of the board of a very exclusive organization, the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) of the European Union. This group, funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) organization, brings together some 41 universities in Europe to conduct research in the area of human rights. In December 2010, with funding from COST, AHRI conducted the seminar “International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect – Synergies and Tensions.” One of the seminar themes was the suggestive name of “The Way Ahead”, a “discussion of the ways in which the “international community could coordinate their future actions” to implement the doctrine known as R2P.
The Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, is an idea that NATO countries have been promoting for several years within the United Nations. The basic concept of R2P is that when a state fails to protect its population, either deliberately or through being unable to, it is the responsibility of the “entire international community” to intervene, even when this is in contradiction with one of fundamental principles of the United Nations: non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. At the UN World Summit in September 2005, a majority of member states, under pressure from NATO countries accepted the idea of R2P in principle, but recommended a more extensive discussion of the topic. Little more than five years later, that doctrine would be put into practice by NATO forces through a war of aggression against the Libyan people.
Within the stretch of a few days in March 2011, Soliman Bouchuiguir of the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) released a statement to an assembly of more than 70 NGOs for the 15th Special Session of the UN’s Human Rights Council beginning February 25, 2011. The session for the first time in its history decided to expel a member state, Libya, for alleged bombings against its civilian population. A few weeks later would mark the beginning of a NATO slaughter against the North African country.
“To be honest, it’s was not a very difficult undertaking because all these NGOs are known to each other (…) and finally, the session of the UN Human Rights Council made it all come together in Geneva, and so the statement was launched, signed by all members,” said Bouchuiguir interviewed for the documentary film “The Humanitarian War”, directed by Julien Teil.
The figures that Bouchuiguir convinced the other members of the Council of were shocking: March 17, 2011, reported 6,000 dead, 12,000 wounded, 500 missing, 700 rapes and 75,000 refugees. Just two weeks later, Bouchuiguir spoke of 18,000 dead, 46,000 wounded, 28,000 missing, 1600 sexual assaults. It was these figures that were used to justify the “no fly zone” and NATO bombing that resulted in a veritable slaughter. All these figures were invented.
Remember that on March 2, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S., Mike Mullen, testified before Congress: “we could not confirm that Libyan planes had opened fire on their own population.” Around the same time, the Russian Joint Chief of Staff reported that satellite monitoring over Libyan territory since the crisis’ beginning in mid-February, failed to detect any kind of bombing.
“There is no way to do it”, replied Bouchuiguir to Teil’s question about how to check whether the figures he had given the UN were true. “The Libyan government never, ever, gives information on human rights (…) so you have to do an estimate,” he said. “… his information (on the number of civilian casualties in Libya) I did not receive from just anyone. I received it from The Libyan Prime Minister – on the other side,” added Bouchuiguir referring to the National Transitional Council (NTC) sponsored by the so-called “rebels” in turn supported by NATO.
“It was Mr. Mahmoud… of the tribe Warfallah. It was he who gave me these figures. I used them, though with some caution,” he adds. Bouchuiguir was referring to Mahmoud Jibril, the “Prime Minister” of the “Libyan rebels” designated by NATO and the CIA.
Ali Zeidan, introduced in early March as the LLHR spokesman, would also become spokesman for the NTC. Later, when pressed by Teil, Bouchuiguir recognized that several members of the NTC were also members of the above mentioned “human rights” organization. “You know, these people in the government (the NTC), we are all part of the same group! They are members of the Libyan League for Human Rights! The Minister of Information, for example, the Education Minister, the Minister for Oil, the Finance Minister, all are members of our league! … None occupy positions of responsibility, but are members of our league,” he explains.
The true scale of the slaughter committed against the Libyan people may some day be known. For now, though, through some heavily embellished figures from NATO itself, detailing the use of 7,700 missiles and bombs on some more than 10,000 flights, one can get an idea, one that would very probably pale against the horror of the true facts. As long as those in charge of the task of counting the bodies on the ground continue to show the same unethical behaviour as individuals such as Bouchuiguir Soliman and the officials of the 70 “human rights” NGOs – who without even thinking voted so that others would execute their “responsibility to bomb” the Libyan people – the truth may never be known, simply because there are interests to ensure it never does.
All this begs the question: If these kinds of humanitarian bureaucrats have no qualms about inventing a genocide so as to sanction their own genocide in accordance with the interests of Western powers, why would they refrain from demanding the release of a convicted drug dealer like Jason Puracal?
Many other important cases await attention from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, such as the recently passed law by U.S. President Barak Obama in late 2011, which allows for the indefinite detention of persons without charge, and imprisonment without trial, alongside the widely reported cases at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the many other secret CIA prisons around the world. Or there is the case of the 7,000 Palestinian children that Israel has had behind bars since 2000, or the case of more than 200 immigrant detention centers in which the European Union today detains tens of thousands of people who have not committed any crime, and so on.
What are the chances that the UN Working Group will deal seriously with these issues? None whatsoever, because its members are totally supportive of countries that are known human rights violators. Israel, arguably the closest ally of the United States, and it’s largest recipient of military aid, is also a de facto member of the European Union under generous trade and other agreements of cooperation and association.
Nothing happens spontaneously in the corrupt world of institutional “human rights”, controlled by NATO. As an example, one should ask, who is the person charged with requesting the UN Working Group to investigate the case of Jason Puracal?
Jared Genser, named by the National Law Journal as one of the “40 rising stars under 40 in Washington”, is the manager of Perseus Strategies, LLC and founder of Freedom Now, an “independent”, “non-profit ” organization devoted to defending alleged prisoners of conscience worldwide. Genser worked for the law firm DLA Piper LLP and the famous consulting firm McKinsey & Company, among whose clients are several multinational companies and governments along with their militaries. One detail in this bright star’s career: In 2006-2007 he was a visiting professor at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), one of whose founders, Allen Weinstein, said back in 1991, “much of what we do today is what the CIA was doing covertly 25 years ago.” Another detail: amongst his official clients are former Czech president Vaclav Havel, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, the Chinese Nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the Hungarian-Jewish Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Genser is a graduate from prestigious universities such as Cornell, Harvard and Michigan. Nor should one omit from his curriculum a year spent as Raoul Wallenberg Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Genser is also the author of “Review and Practical Guide” for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (to be published in 2013) and co-editor of another work on the R2P doctrine: “The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Times “(Oxford University Press, 2012). Who was the editor of that book? None other than the former Canadian justice minister who sent the inflammatory letter to President Daniel Ortega demanding the immediate release of drug trafficker Jason Puracal in the first place: Irwin Cotler. With such a backdrop, it’s not surprising that the Nicaraguan Government has not paid much attention to the Puracal campaign, nor replied to the letter from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. When a group of influential allies with close contacts within the most powerful circles of the empire begin a campaign of letters and statements to the media, this is not a social movement, but a conspiracy.
One of Genser’s partners in Perseus Strategies, LLC, is Chris Fletcher, more a CIA agent than an idealistic lawyer. Fletcher is an expert on human rights and corporate social responsibility with office experience within the UN, he participated in the trials of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and worked for the NGO Oxfam in the United States among other organizations. Furthermore, Fletcher has been involved in “Tibet Forum, Governance and Practice”, at the University of Virginia. This university is a well-known CIA recruiting ground with professors active in national security and intelligence circles for decades, such as Frederick P . Hitz, at the university’s law school. Other temporary appointments of Chris Fletcher have been at the State Department and the World Bank.
Perseus Strategies, LLC, is a company dedicated to providing legal consulting services to large NGOs, multinational corporations and governments in the field of human rights, corporate social responsibility and the implementation of R2P. Their activities often include the promotion of U.S. interests in various countries, and the preparation of various documents to justify the application of imperialist aggression under the guise of R2P against target, as in the case of North Korea.
In parallel, or indeed as a special division within the organization, Genser and Fletcher operate a sui generis “social movement”, Freedom Now. This organization works to free “prisoners of conscience” from around the world by giving them “pro bono” legal assistance. It is no surprise that the list of Freedom Now defendants fails to include cases such as the Cuban-American citizens René González and his four Cuban comrades unjustly incarcerated in maximum security prisons for working to obtain information in order to prevent terrorist acts against Cuba from Miami. Incidentally, this August 13, within three days of Puracal initiating his appeal in Nicaragua, René González turned 56 years old somewhere in the U.S., unable to be with most of his family still living in Cuba.
These cases are of little or no interest or concern for the UN Working Group, for Genser, or for Fletcher and other individuals like them. They are only interested in cases that promote US government interests: for now, these include Chinese dissidents, Iranian “activists”, perhaps some journalists in some dark nether region of the Third World, or convicted U.S. drug traffickers in countries like Nicaragua, or some other nation being targeted by White House smear campaigns.
Genser is just one member of the Freedom Now board. Another, the president of Freedom Now, is the lawyer Jeremy Zucker, a former law clerk at the International Criminal Court and a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations, where the elite of American power, both Democrats and Republicans, decide United States and allied foreign policy. In Norway, the Cuban-American Teresita Alvarez-Bjelland, works as a specialist “non-profit” consultant with the directors of the Norwegian-American Association, positioned to exert pressure on the UN Working Group through their strong Norwegian influence there. Peter Magyar, the attorney in charge of expanding the activity of Freedom Now in Europe, is an influential lawyer in the fields of privatization and international capital markets.
Freedom Now does not defend just anybody. Their work is designed “strategically” so as to promote political changes in the countries where they have selected defendants. Nor is their work limited to the courts, but is also devoted to developing public relations and propaganda campaigns with a broad range of agents and actors.
Freedom Now say they only defend prisoners of conscience. But in the case of Jason Puracal, convicted for drug trafficking, it is difficult if not impossible, to use that argument. In short, their activity is merely one more way, under the guise of human rights campaigns, to intervene with political motives in countries targeted by the United States.
Innocence? What innocence?
One of the most influential organizations sponsoring the campaign for Puracal is the group called the Innocence Project, whose mission is to protect the rights of American citizens unjustly imprisoned inside and outside the United States. In addition to media support, the organization has given Puracal legal support through its network of lawyers in the United States. This organization in 2011 received a grant of $ 400,000 for two years for overhead as part of US financial magnate George Soros’ “Open Society Foundations”, belonging to his Open Society Institute.
According to U.S. investigator Eva Golinger, the Open Society Institute has been involved in the destabilization of governments that have withstood the post-Soviet colour revolution offensive. The Open Society Institute was active in Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Georgia, working closely with both Freedom House and the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) to overthrow governments by financing media and opposition groups. While the area of most interest for the Open Society Institute is Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, it is also very active in Africa and Latin America.
According to Barry C. Scheck in the New York Times late last year, the new director of Soros’ “philanthropic empire”, Christopher Stone, “has a passion to change things and a great vision and understanding of how to build institutions and re-engineer them to endure”. Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, is notorious as O. J. Simpson’s lawyer in the highly publicized 1995 case.
Scheck’s organization is just another in the dozens of NGOs and other groups that Soros has co-opted throughout the world to follow the empire’s agenda with his millions, last year alone, some 860 of them. An expert in breaking central banks around the world via speculative attacks on vulnerable national currencies, Soros criticizes the excesses of the financial system and advocates regulation, yet, he says, “not excessive regulation. Regulators are human beings who are fallible and are also bureaucrats who make decisions slowly and are subject to political influence.”
Soros’s speech about open societies, free markets and his criticisms of Bush have made him popular among Democrats, but he is by no means progressive. With respect to the strategy of empire, Soros is a leading player among the global power elite. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg, the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch, all organizations working to achieve U.S. geopolitical goals, often using “human rights” as a pretext for US and NATO interventions.
The white rags of the DEA
The “recommendation” by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention turned out to be political engineering at the highest levels of the U.S. government’s self-interested, politicized, corrupt “human rights” network. The former Canadian Justice Minister who so severely criticized Commandante Daniel Ortega, turns out to be an old friend of Jared Genser, the network’s orchestrator. Soros provides far-from-innocent funding to the international human rights “Innocence” organization
Likewise, there is more than meets the eye to former DEA chief Tom Cash as regards his support for Puracal. Thomas V. Cash is one of the men who helped prosecute Pablo Escobar. When he left the DEA, Cash went to work at the information and intelligence consulting company Kroll Inc., becoming head of it’s Miami office. Among its services Kroll offers advice to governments of various tax haven countries on how to improve their image and get themselves removed from the anti-money laundering lists of the Organization fro Economic Cooperation and Development.
Kroll hires former intelligence officers when they leave public office to go into the private sector. Kroll assigned Cash to whitewash the tax haven of Antigua by giving it a financial facelift and creating the loopholes through which contemporary Pablo Escobars can continue flushing drug revenues. What made Tom Cash fall from grace, however, was a different matter.
Last June, the fraudster R. Allen Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison. An investigation into his Ponzi scheme found that over a period of 20 years he stole $7 billion from 30,000 depositors, promising fabulous interest rates on their deposits at the Stanford International Bank in Antigua. The case first burst open three years ago, in 2009, when federal authorities raided the offices of the Stanford Group to investigate fraud.
In late July of that year, Cash left his position at Kroll. The reason? As a consultant working for Kroll, Cash gave investors the green light to invest in Stanford, but never bothered to report that his company had once been “hired and paid” as a consultant for Stanford. An electricians’ organization which lost more than $6 million in the Ponzi scheme then denounced Cash. Cash never told the electricians that Stanford had been penalized by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Nor did he inform them that a former Stanford employee had sued the company charging that the scheme was all a scam.
Among Cash’s credentials, according to the New York Post, he has served as chairman of the Fraud Prevention International Bankers Association of Florida. The newspaper adds that the connections amongst the circles between Cash and state police were so large that a judge assigned to the electricians’ demand against Kroll, had to give up the case because he had been a personal friend of Cash for many years.
On August 16th the appeal hearing begins in Nicaragua in the case of Jason Puracal. The Granada district appeal court will decide whether or not there are enough elements to declare a mistrial in the original trial that ended with his prison sentence of 22 years based on the procedures in Nicaragua’s Constitution and Penal Code. Even so, via their networks of political interference, false US human rights groups are using Puracal’s case for blatant anti-Nicaraguan propaganda. That in its turn does very little to help Puracal’s defense.
The campaign to free Jason Puracal, a convicted narcotics dealer, perfectly illustrates, yet again, the extent of the corrupt manipulation of human rights by the United States and its allies around the world.
* Translated by: Leandro E. Silva and toni solo
TEHRAN — The recent political and military turmoil in the region is following a predictable pattern, which starts with so-called activism and ends with military intervention to topple sovereign governments.
Following is a brief scenario of the chain of the events:
“A” phase: The pseudo-prodemocracy movement builds up steam and starts to develop. This development is either in the streets or in the media or both. The participants in the movement in this phase are called “activists” and the media starts to call the target government a “regime”.
“R” phase: After weeks and months of trying soft techniques to topple the government, the main approach is escalated to the militaristic stage and those once called “activists” are now called “rebels”. They usually receive assistance from regional military channels. The targeted government starts to react militarily, and the media starts labeling it a “brutal regime” or some other similar tag.
Second “A” phase: The usually decentralized rebel-guerrilla style movement upgrades to the “army” level. The “new army” receives intelligence and military support from extra-regional powers and/or their proxies, a massive amount of disinformation is disseminated, and military personnel are encouraged to defect or join the new army. The media starts comparing the opposition army to the conventional state army.
Second “R” phase: If the opposition army fails to topple the government by itself, plan B is put into effect, in which the media pushes the need for international intervention and the NATO/UN Security Council “raid” starts.
This ARAR formula — Activism/Rebelism/Army building/Multilateral Raid — was first implemented in Libya and is now in its final stages in Syria. The main players behind the game are the media — in this case, Qatari and Saudi media outlets in cooperation with Western media outlets — extra-regional powers such as the United States and Britain and their European allies, and finally, regional proxies such as Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
The key to foil the plan is both hard and simple: know the phase, inform public opinion about it, build up a coalition, discredit biased media outlets, cut and weaken regional procurement and logistics channels, balance the power, and “resist”.
The situation in Mali, the country most closely located to the “zone of stability and security” purportedly created by NATO in Libya, is far from being stable or secure. The international news agencies and world press are reporting horror stories about the rule of terror, established by the jihadist movements in the north-east of this country, previously dominated by the local Tuaregs.
There are two interesting conclusions that the world’s politicians and experts draw from the developments in Mali. First, it is recognized that destabilization of Mali was one of the results of the military intervention of NATO in Libya (the Tuaregs, who in fact unleashed the military action, were armed by weapons from colonel Qaddafi’s ransacked arsenals). Second, the proposed solution to the crisis, heavily lobbied by France, is… another military intervention, this time in Mali. Obviously, the “zone of stability and security” has for some reason got a unique ability to spawn new conflicts.
The only “political heavyweight” on the world stage who predicted undesirable developments in Mali in the immediate aftermath of the Libyan coup was the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. In April this year, during a visit to Azerbaijan, he sketched the negative scenario which unfortunately proved to be true: “The Libyan story is far from over. We see how the statehood of Mali is being destroyed under our very eyes. What is the reason for that? Besides the unending skirmishes in Libya itself, instability is flowing into neighboring states via arms smuggling, infiltration of fighters. What we see in Mali is just the result of these processes.”
What is indeed astounding is the fact that the NATO countries continue to trumpet their operation in Libya as a great success. State secretary Hillary Clinton, for example, praised the victory of “secular liberals” at recently held elections in Libya (which would indeed be great, if “secularists” had not had a discussion on an innocent point – whether sharia should be the main law of the country or, even better, the only law). In her comments, Mrs. Clinton carefully avoids making a link between the destruction of Qaddafi’s regime and the sudden replenishment of the arsenals of AQMI (the French abbreviation for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Ansar Dine, the two most violent groups of the jihadist movement in Northern Africa, which ultimately took control of north-eastern Mali.
“During Qaddafi’s rule, we did not know about these groups,” says from Mali’s capital Bamako Caroline Tuina-Ouanre, a journalist from neighboring Burkina Fasso, specializing on covering the developments in Sahel, a region in Africa where both Mali and Burkina Fasso belong. “Obviously, they did not get their arms from nowhere. They got them profiting from the collapse of the Libyan regime, which in itself was a result of the Western intervention. It made AQMI much stronger, this is a proven fact, long reported by the French-language press of Africa, from Morocco to Burkina.”
France, the country that actually engineered the Western intervention in Libya, is now the primary supporter of an intervention in Mali. However, the French president Francois Hollande said that “for obvious reasons” (meaning, obviously, the history of French colonialism in the region) France was unwilling to intervene on its own. “The intervention should take place in the framework of the African Union and under the auspices of the United Nations.” Hollande said.
The irony of the situation is that the African Union was resolutely opposed to the Western intervention in Libya in 2011, saying that such an intervention would undermine regional security. The South African leader Jacob Zuma, a key figure in the AU, and the Algerian president Abdelaziz Buteflica were among the most vocal opponents of the physical destruction of colonel Qaddafi. And now France wants Buteflica’s Algeria to spearhead the eventual intervention in Mali. In 2011, both U.S. and the EU ignored the African Union’s protests, trumpeting the removal of Qaddafi as a 100 percent positive development, a “victory for democracy.” So, now France is asking the African Union to make up for its misdeeds in the area – misdeeds that the AU never approved.
- US vows to back French military intervention in former colony Mali (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- French troops begin military intervention in Mali: Hollande (alethonews.wordpress.com)