Over the past 15 years the US has been engaged in a series of wars, which has led many writers to refer to the ‘rise of militarism’ – the growth of an empire, built primarily by and for the projection of military power – and only secondarily to advance economic imperialism.
The rise of a military-based empire, however, does not preclude the emergence of competing, conflicting, and convergent power configurations within the imperial state. These factions of the Washington elite define the objectives and targets of imperialist warfare, often on their own terms.
Having stated the obvious general fact of the power of militarism within the imperialist state, it is necessary to recognize that the key policy-makers, who direct the wars and military policy, will vary according to the country targeted, type of warfare engaged in and their conception of the war. In other words, while US policy is imperialist and highly militaristic, the key policymakers, their approach and the outcomes of their policies will differ. There is no fixed strategy devised by a cohesive Washington policy elite guided by a unified strategic vision of the US Empire.
In order to understand the current, seemingly endless wars, we have to examine the shifting coalitions of elites, who make decisions in Washington but not always primarily for Washington. Some factions of the policy elite have clear conceptions of the American empire, but others improvise and rely on superior ‘political’ or ‘lobbying’ power to successfully push their agenda in the face of repeated failures and suffer no consequences or costs.
We will start by listing US imperialist wars during the last decade and a half. We will then identify the main policy-making faction which has been the driving force in each war. We will discuss their successes and failures as imperial policy makers and conclude with an evaluation of “the state of the empire” and its future.
Imperial Wars: From 2001-2015
The current war cycle started in late 2001 with the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. This was followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003, the US arms support for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the proxy invasion of Somalia in 2006/7; the massive re-escalation of war in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007-2009; the bombing, invasion ‘regime change’ in Libya in 2011; the ongoing proxy-mercenary war against Syria (since 2012), and the ongoing 2015 Saudi-US invasion and destruction of Yemen. In Europe, the US was behind the 2014 proxy putsch and violent ‘regime change’ in Ukraine which has led to an ongoing war against ethnic Russian speakers in south-east Ukraine, especially the populous industrial heartland of the Donbas region.
Over the past 15 years, there have been overt and covert military interventions, accompanied by an intense, provocative military build-up along Russia’s borders in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe (especially Poland), the Balkans (Bulgaria and Romania) and the mammoth US base in Kosovo; in Central Europe with nuclear missiles in Germany and, of course, the annexation of Ukraine and Georgia as US-NATO clients.
Parallel to the military provocations encircling Russia, Washington has launched a major military, political, economic and diplomatic offensive aimed at isolating China and affirming US supremacy in the Pacific.
In South America, US military intervention found expression via Washington-orchestrated business-military coup attempts in Venezuela in 2002 and Bolivia in 2008, and a successful ‘regime change’ in Honduras in 2009, overthrowing its elected president and installing a US puppet.
In summary, the US has been engaged in two, three or more wars since 2001, defining an almost exclusively militarist empire, run by an imperial state directed by civilian and military officials seeking unchallenged global dominance through violence.
Washington: Military Workshop of the World
War and violent regime change are the exclusive means through which the US now advances its foreign policy. However, the various Washington war-makers among the power elite do not form a unified bloc with common priorities. Washington provides the weapons, soldiers and financing for whichever power configuration or faction among the elite is in a position, by design or default, to seize the initiative and push their own war agenda.
The invasion of Afghanistan was significant in so far as it was seen by all sectors of the militarist elite, as the first in a series of wars. Afghanistan was to set the stage for the launching of higher priority wars elsewhere.
Afghanistan was followed by the infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ speech, dictated by Tel Aviv, penned by presidential speech-writer, David Frum and mouthed by the brainless President Bush, II. The ‘Global War on Terror’ was the thinly veiled slogan for serial wars around the world. Washington measured the loyalty of its vassals among the nations of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America by their support for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan invasion provided the template for future wars. It led to an unprecedented increase in the military budget and ushered in Caesar-like dictatorial presidential powers to order and execute wars, silencing domestic critics and sending scores of thousands of US and NATO troops to the Hindu Kush.
In itself, Afghanistan was never any threat and certainly no economic prize for plunder and profit. The Taliban had not attacked the US. Osama Bin Laden could have been turned over to a judicial tribunal – as the governing Taliban had insisted.
The US military (with its Coalition of the Willing or COW) successfully invaded and occupied Afghanistan and set up a vassal regime in Kabul. It built scores of military bases and attempted to form an obedient colonial army. In the meantime, the Washington militarist elite had moved on to bigger and, for the Israel-centric Zionist elite, higher priority wars, namely Iraq.
The decision to invade Afghanistan was not opposed by any of Washington’s militarist elite factions. They all shared the idea of using a successful military blitz or ‘cake-walk’ against the abysmally impoverished Afghanistan as a way to rabble rouse the American masses into accepting a long period of intense and costly global warfare throughout the world.
Washington’s militarist elites fabricated the link between the attacks on 9/11/2001 and Afghanistan’s governing Taliban and the presence of the Saudi warlord Osama Bin Laden. Despite the ‘fact’ that most of the ‘hijackers’ were from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and none were Afghans, invading and destroying Afghanistan was to be the initial test to gauge the highly manipulated and frightened American public’s willingness to shoulder the burden of a huge new cycle of imperial wars. This has been the only aspect of the invasion of Afghanistan that could be viewed as a policy success – it made the costs of endless wars ‘acceptable’ to a relentlessly propagandized public.
Flush with their military victories in the Hindu Kush, the Washington militarists turned to Iraq and fabricated a series of increasingly preposterous pretexts for war: Linking the 9/11 ‘jihadi’ hijackers with the secular regime of Saddam Hussein, whose intolerance for violent Islamists (especially the Saudi variety) was well documented, and concocting a whole fabric of lies about Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which provided the propaganda basis for invading an already disarmed, blockaded and starved Iraq in March 2003.
Leading the Washington militarists in designing the war to destroy Iraq were the Zionists, including Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle, and a few Israel-centric Gentile militarists, such as Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The Zionists had a powerful entourage in key positions in the State Department, Treasury and the Pentagon.
There were ‘outsiders’ – non-Zionists and militarists within these institutions, especially the Pentagon, who voiced reservations – but they were brushed aside, not consulted and ‘encouraged’ to retire.
None of the ‘old hands’ in the State Department or Pentagon bought into the hysteria about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, but to voice reservations was to risk one’s career. The manufacture and dissemination of the pretext for invading Iraq was orchestrated by a small team of operatives linking Tel Aviv and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz’s Office of Special Plans, a tight group of Zionists and some Israelis headed by Abram Shulsky (Sept. 2002-June 2003).
The US war on Iraq was an important part of Israel’s agenda to ‘re-make the Middle East’ to establish its unchallenged regional hegemony and execute a ‘final solution’ for its own vexing ‘Arab (native Palestinian) problem’: It was made operational by the powerful Zionist faction within the Executive (White House), which had assumed almost dictatorial powers after the attack on 9/11/2001. Zionists planned the war, designed the ‘occupation policy’ and ‘succeeded wildly’ with the eventual dismemberment of a once modern secular nationalist Arab state.
In order to smash the Iraqi state – the US occupation policy was to eliminate (through mass firings, jailing and assassination) all high level, experienced Iraqi civil, military and scientific personnel – down to high school principals. They dismantled any vital infrastructure (which had not been already destroyed by the decades of US sanctions and bombing under President Clinton) and reduced an agriculturally advanced Iraq to a barren wasteland which would take centuries to recover and could never challenge Israel’s colonization of Palestine, let alone its military supremacy in the Middle East. Naturally, the large Palestinian Diaspora refugee population in Iraq was targeted for ‘special treatment’.
But Zionist policymakers had a much larger agenda than erasing Iraq as a viable country: They had a longer list of targets: Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Libya, whose destruction was to be carried out with US and NATO blood and treasure (and not a single Israeli soldier).
Despite the fact that Iraq did not even possess a functioning air force or navy in March 2003 and Afghanistan in late 2001 was rather primitive, the invasions of both countries turned out to be very costly to the US. The US completely failed to benefit from its ‘victory and occupation’, despite Paul Wolfowitz’ boasts that the pillage of Iraq’s oil fields would pay for the entire project in a ‘few months’. This was because the real Zionist plan was to destroy these nations – beyond any possibility for a quick or cheap imperialist economic gain. Scorching the earth and salting the fields is not a very profitable policy for empire builders.
Israel has been the biggest winner with no cost for the ‘Jewish State’. The American Zionist policy elite literally handed them the services of the largest and richest armed forces in history: the US. Israel-Firsters played a decisive role among Washington policy-makers and Tel Aviv celebrated in the streets! They came, they dominated policy and they accomplished their mission: Iraq (and millions of its people)was destroyed.
The US gained an unreliable, broken colony, with a devastated economy and systematically destroyed infrastructure and without the functioning civil service needed for a modern state. To pay for the mess, the American people faced a spiraling budget deficit, tens of thousands of American war casualties and massive cuts in their own social programs. Crowning the Washington war-makers’ victory was the disarticulation of American civil and constitutional rights and liberties and the construction of a enormous domestic police state.
After the Iraq disaster, the same influential Zionist faction in Washington lost no time in demanding a new war against Israel’s bigger enemy – namely Iran. In the ensuing years, they failed to push the US to attack Tehran but they succeeded in imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. The Zionist faction secured massive US military support for Israel’s abortive invasion of Lebanon and its devastating series of blitzkriegs against the impoverished and trapped people of Gaza.
The Zionist faction successfully shaped US military interventions to meet Israel’s regional ambitions against three Arab countries: Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The Zionists were not able to manipulate the US into attacking Iran because the traditional militarist faction in Washington balked: With instability in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US was not well positioned to face a major conflagration throughout the Middle East, South Asia and beyond – which a ground and air war with Iran would involve. However, the Zionist factions did secure brutal economic sanctions and the appointment of key Israel-Centric officials within the US Treasury. Secretary Stuart Levey, at the start of the Obama regime, and David Cohen afterwards, were positioned to enforce the sanctions.
Even before the ascendancy of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Tel Aviv’s military objectives after Iraq, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen had to be spaced over time, because the non-Zionist factions among Washington’s elite had been unable to integrate occupied Afghanistan and Iraq into the empire.
Resistance, armed conflict and military advances in both Afghanistan and Iraq never ceased and are continuing into their 2nd decade. As soon as the US would withdraw from a region, declaring it ‘pacified’, the armed resistance would move back in and the local sepoys would defect to the rebels or take off for London or Washington with millions in pillaged loot.
‘Unfinished wars’, mounting casualties and spiraling costs, with no end in sight, undermined the agreement between the militarist and the Zionist factions in the Executive branch. However, the massively powerful Zionist presence in the US Congress provided a platform to bray for new and even bigger wars.
Israel’s vicious invasion of Lebanon in 2006 was defeated despite receiving massive US arms supplies, a US funded ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system and intelligence assistance. Tel Aviv could not defeat the highly disciplined and motivated Hezbollah fighters in South Lebanon despite resorting to carpet bombing of civilian neighborhoods with millions of banned cluster munitions and picking off ambulances and churches sheltering refugees. Israelis have been much more triumphal murdering lightly armed Palestinian resistance fighters and stone-throwing children.
Libya: A Multi-faction War for the Militarists (without Big Oil)
The war against Libya was a result of multiple factions among the Washington militarist elite, including the Zionists, coming together with French, English and German militarists to smash the most modern, secular, independent state in Africa under President Muammar Gaddafi.
The aerial campaign against the Gaddafi regime had virtually no organized support within Libya with which to reconstruct a viable neo-colonial state ripe for pillage. This was another ‘planned dismemberment’ of a complex, modern republic which had been independent of the US Empire.
The war succeeded wildly in shredding Libya’s economy, state, and society. It unleashed scores of armed terrorist groups, (who appropriated the modern weapons of Gaddafi’s army and police) and uprooted two million black contract workers and Libyan citizens of South Saharan origin forcing them to flee the rampaging racist militias to the refugee camps of Europe. Untold thousands died in rickety boats in the Mediterranean Sea.
The entire war was carried out to the publicly giddy delight of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her ‘humanitarian interventionist’ lieutenants (Susan Rice and Samantha Power), who were utterly ignorant as to who and what the Libyan “opposition” represented. Eventually, even Hillary’s own Ambassador to Libya would be slaughtered by … the same victorious US-backed ‘rebels’ (sic) in the newly liberated Bengazi!
The Zionist faction destroyed Gaddafi (whose capture, grotesque torture and murder was filmed and widely disseminated), eliminating another real adversary of Israel and supporter of Palestinian rights. The US militarist faction, which led the war, got nothing positive – not even a secure naval, air, or training base – only a dead Ambassador, millions of desperate refugees flooding Europe, and thousands of trained and armed jihadists for the next target: Syria.
For a while Libya became the main supply-line for Islamist mercenaries and arms to invade Syria and fight the secular nationalist government in Damascus.
Once again the least influential faction in Washington turned out to be the oil and gas industry, which lost lucrative contracts it had already signed with the Gaddafi regime. Thousands of highly trained foreign oil workers were withdrawn. After Iraq, it should have been obvious that these wars were not ‘for oil’!
Ukraine: Coups, Wars, and Russia’s ‘Underbelly’
With the US-orchestrated coup and intervention in Ukraine, the militarist factions once again seized the initiative, establishing a puppet regime in Kiev and targeting Russia’s strategic ‘soft underbelly’. The plan had been to take over Russia’s strategic military bases in Crimea and cut Russia from the vital military-industrial complexes in the Donbas region with its vast iron and coal reserves.
The mechanics of the power grab were relatively well planned, the political clients were put in power, but the US militarists had made no contingencies for propping up the Ukrainian economy, cut loose from its main trading partner and oil and gas supplier, Russia.
The coup led to a ‘proxy war’ in the ethnic-Russian majority regions in the south east (the Donbas) with four ‘unanticipated consequences’. 1) a country divided east and west along ethno-linguistic lines, (2) a bankrupt economy made even worse by the imposition of an IMF austerity program, (3) a corrupt crony capitalist elite, which was ‘pro-West by bank account’, (4) and, after two years, mass disaffection among voters toward the US puppet regime.
The militarists in Washington and Brussels succeeded in engineering the coup in Ukraine but lacked the domestic allies, plans and preparations to run the country and successfully annex it to the EU and NATO as a viable country.
Apparently the militarist factions in the State Department and Pentagon are much more proficient in stage managing coups and invasions than in establishing a stable regime as part of a New World Order. They succeed in the former and fail repeatedly in the latter.
The Pivot to Asia and the Pirouette to Syria
During most of the previous decade, traditional global strategists in Washington increasingly objected to the Zionist faction’s domination and direction of US war policies focused on the Middle East for the benefit of Israel, instead of meeting the growing challenge of the new world economic superpower in Asia, China.
US economic supremacy in Asia had been deeply eroded as China’s economy grew at double digits. Beijing was displacing the US as the major trade partner in the Latin American and African markets. Meanwhile, the top 500 US MNCs were heavily invested in China. Three years into President Obama’s first term the ‘China militarist faction’ announced a shift from the Middle East and the Israel-centric agenda to a ‘pivot to Asia’, the source of 40% of the world’s industrial output.
But it was not profits and markets that motivated Washington’s Asia faction among the militarist elites – it was military power. Even trade agreements, like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), were viewed as tools to encircle and weaken China militarily and undermine its regional influence.
Led by the hysterical Pentagon boss Ashton Carter, Washington prepared a series of major military confrontations with Beijing off the coast of China.
The US signed expanded military base agreements with the Philippines, Japan, and Australia; it participated in military exercises with Vietnam, South Korea, and Malaysia; it dispatched battleships and aircraft carriers into Chinese territorial waters.
The US confrontational trade policy was formulated by the Zionist trio: Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, Trade Negotiator Michael Froman (who works for both the Asia militarist and Zionist factions), and Treasury Secretary Jake Lew. The result was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involving 12 Pacific countries while deliberating excluding China. Washington’s Asian militarist faction planned to militarize the entire Pacific Basin, in order to dominate the maritime trade routes and, at a moment’s notice, choke off all of China’s overseas markets and suppliers – shades of the series of US provocations against Japan leading up to the US entering WW2.
The ‘Asia-militarist faction’ successfully demanded a bigger military budget to accommodate its vastly more aggressive posture toward China.
Predictably, China has insisted on defending its maritime routes and has increased its naval and air base building and sea and air patrols. Also, predictably, China has countered the US-dominated TPP by setting-up a one hundred billion dollar Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), while contributing to the multi-billion dollar BRICS Bank. Meanwhile, China even signed a separate $30 billion dollar trade agreement with Washington’s strategic ‘partner’, Britain. In fact, Britain followed the rest of the EU and joined the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank – despite objections from Washington’s “Asia faction”.
While the US depends heavily on its military pacts with South Korea and Japan, the latter nations have been meeting with China – their most significant trading partner – to work on expanding and deepening economic ties.
Up until 2014, the “business-with-China faction” of the Washington elite played a key role in the making of US-Asia policy. However, they have been eclipsed by the Asia militarist-faction, which is taking US policy in a totally different direction: Pushing China out as Asia’s economic superpower and escalating military confrontation with Beijing now heads Washington’s agenda.
Ashton Carter, the US Defense Secretary, has China, the second most important economy in the world in the Pentagon’s ‘cross-hairs’. When the TPP failed to curtail China’s expansion, the militarist faction shifted Washington toward a high risk military course, which could destabilize the region and risk a nuclear confrontation.
The Pirouette: China and Syria
Meanwhile in the Levant, Washington’s Zionist faction has been busy running a proxy war in Syria. The pivot to Asia has had to compete with the pirouette to Syria and Yemen.
The US joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf Emirates, and the EU in sponsoring a replay of the Libyan ‘regime change’ — sponsoring proxy terrorists from around the globe into invading and devastating Syria. Damascus has been attacked from all sides for the ‘crime’ of being secular and multi-ethnic; for being pro-Palestinian; for being allied with Iran and Lebanon; for having an independent foreign policy; and for maintaining a limited representative (but not necessarily democratic) government. For these crimes, the West, Israel and the Saudis would have Syria fractured into an ethnically cleansed ‘tribal state’ – something they had accomplished in Iraq and Libya.
The US militarist faction (personified by Secretary of Defense Carter and Senators McCain and Graham) have funded, trained and equipped the terrorists, whom they call ‘moderates’ and had clearly expected their progeny to follow Washington’s directions. The emergence of ISIS showed just how close these ‘moderates’ stuck to Washington’s script.
Initially, the traditional militarist wing of Washington’s elite resisted the Zionist faction’s demand for direct US military intervention (American ‘boots on the ground’). That is changing with recent (very convenient) events in Paris.
Warfare: From Piecemeal Interventions to Nuclear Confrontation
The Washington militarists have again committed more US soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan; American fighter planes and Special Forces are in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, US naval armadas aggressively patrol the coasts of China and Iran. The militarist-Zionist ‘compromise’ over Syria was comprised of an initial contingent of 50 US Special Forces to join in ‘limited’ combat roles with (“loyal” sic) Islamist mercenaries – the so-called moderates. There are commitments for greater and heavier weaponry to come, including ground to air missiles capable of shooting down Russian and Syrian military jets.
Elite Factional Politics: An Overview
How does the record of these competing factions, formulating US imperial war policies in the Middle East over the past 15 years stack up? Clearly there has been no coherent imperial economic strategy.
The policy toward Afghanistan is remarkable for its failure to end the longest war in US history – over 14 years of occupation! The recent attempts by US-led client NATO forces to withdraw have been immediately followed by military advances by the nationalist-Islamist resistance militia – the Taliban, which controls much of the countryside. The possibility of a collapse of the current puppet in Kabul has forced the militarists in Washington to retain US bases – surrounded by completely hostile rural populations.
The Afghan war’s initial appearance of success triggered new wars – inter alia Iraq. But taking the long view, the Afghan war, has been a miserable failure in terms of the stated strategic goal of establishing a stable client government. The Afghan economy collapsed: opium production (which had been significantly suppressed by the Taliban’s poppy eradication campaign in 2000-2001) is the now predominant crop – with cheap heroin flooding Europe and beyond. Under the weight of massive and all pervasive corruption by ‘loyal’ client officials – the Afghan treasury is empty. The puppet rulers are totally disconnected from the most important regional, ethnic, religious and family clans and associations.
Washington could not ‘find’ any viable economic classes in Afghanistan with which to anchor a development strategy. They did not come to terms with the deep ethno-religious consciousness rooted in rural communities and fought the most popular political force among the majority Pashtu, the Taliban, which had no role in the attack on ‘9/11’.
They artificially slapped together a massive army of surly illiterates under Western imperial command and watched it fall apart at the seams, defect to the Taliban or turn their own guns on the foreign occupation troops. These “mistakes”, which accounted for the failure of the militarist faction in the Afghanistan war were due, in no small part, to the pressure and influence of the Zionist faction who wanted to quickly move on to their highest priority, a US war against Israel’s first priority enemy – Iraq – without consolidating the US control in Afghanistan. For the Zionists, Afghanistan (envisioned as a ‘cake-walk’ or quick victory) was just a tool to set the stage for a much larger sequence of US wars against Israel’s regional Arab and Persian adversaries.
Before the militarists could establish any viable order and an enduring governmental structure in Afghanistan, attention shifted to a Zionist-centered war against Iraq.
The build-up for the US war against Iraq has to be understood as a project wholly engineered by and for the state of Israel, mostly through its agents within the US government and Washington policy elite. The goal was to establish Israel as the unchallenged political-military power in the region using American troops and money and preparing the ground for Tel Aviv’s “final solution” for the Palestinian ‘problem’; total expulsion…
The US military and occupation campaign included the wholesale and systematic destruction of Iraq: Its law and order, culture, economy and society – so there would be no possibility of recovery. Such a vicious campaign did not resonate with any productive sector of the US economy (or for that matter with any Israeli economic interest).
Washington’s Zionist faction set about in a parody of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge to identify and destroy any competent, experienced Iraqi professional, civil servant, scientist, intellectual, or military official capable of re-organizing and re-building the county and war-battered society. They were assassinated, arrested, tortured, or driven into exile. The occupation deliberately encouraged religious parties and traditional tribes to engage in inter-communal massacres and ethnic cleansing. In other words, the Zionist faction did not pursue the traditionally understood policy of empire building which would incorporate the second tier functionaries of a conquered state to form a competent client regime and use Iraq’s great oil and gas wealth to build its economy. Instead they chose to impose a scorched earth policy; setting loose organized sectarian armies, imposing the rule of grotesquely corrupt ex-pats and placing the most venal, sectarian clients in positions of power. The effect has been to transform the most advanced, secular Arab country into an ‘Afghanistan’ and in less than 15 years destroying centuries of culture and community.
The goal of the ‘Zionist strategy’ was to destroy Iraq as Israel’s regional rival. The cost of over a million Iraqi dead and many millions of refugees did not prick any conscience in Washington or Tel Aviv.
After all, Washington’s traditional ‘militarist faction’ picked up the bill (costing hundreds of billions) which they passed on to the American taxpayers (well over one trillion dollars) and used the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of American troops to provide a pretext for spreading more chaos. The result of their mayhem includes the specter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which they may consider to be a success – since hysteria over ISIS pushes the West ‘closer to Israel’.
The sheer scale of death and destruction inflicted on the Iraqi population by the Zionist faction led to thousands of highly competent Ba’athist officers, who had survived ‘Shock and Awe’ and the sectarian massacres, to join armed Islamist Sunnis and eventually form the ISIS. This group of experienced Iraqi military officers formed the strategic technical core of ISIS which launched a devastating offensive in Iraq in 2014 – taking major cities in the north and completely routing the US-trained puppet armies of the ‘government’ in Baghdad. From there they moved into Syria and beyond. It is fundamental to understanding the roots of ISIS: The Zionist faction among US militarist policymakers imposed a deliberate ‘scorched earth’ occupation policy, which united highly trained nationalist Ba’athist military officers with young Sunni fighters ,both locals and increasingly foreign jihadist mercenaries. These deracinated members of the traditional Iraqi nationalist military elite had lost their families to the sectarian massacres; they were persecuted, tortured, driven underground, and highly motivated. They literally had nothing left to lose!
This core of ISIS leadership stands in stark contrast to the colonial, corrupt, and demoralized army slapped together by the US military with more cash than morale. ISIS quickly swept through half of Iraq and came within 40 miles of Baghdad.
The US militarist faction faced military defeat after eight years of war. They mobilized, financed, and armed their client Kurdish mercenaries in northern Iraq and recruited the Shia Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to appeal to the Shia militia.
ISIS exploited the Western-backed Islamist uprising in Syria and extended their sweep well across the border. Syria had accepted a million Iraqi refugees from the US invasion, including many of Iraq’s surviving experienced nationalist administrative elite. The US militarists are in a dilemma – another full-scale war would not be politically feasible, and its military outcome uncertain… Moreover the US was aligned with dubious allies – especially the Saudis – who had their own regional ambitions. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Kurds were each eager to expand their power territorially and politically.
In the midst of this, the traditional Washington militarists are left with no overall viable imperialist strategy. Instead they improvise with faux ‘rebels’, who claim to be moderates and democrats, while taking US guns and dollars and ultimately joining the most powerful Islamist groups – like ISIS.
Throwing a wrench into the machinery of Israeli-Saudi hegemonic ambitions, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have sided with the secular Syrian government. Russia finally moved to bomb ISIS strongholds – after identifying a significant ISIS contingent of militant Chechens whose ultimate aims are to bring war and terror back to Russia.
The US-EU war against Libya unleashed all the retrograde mercenary forces from three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) and Washington finds itself with no means to control them. Washington could not even protect its own consulate in their ‘liberated’ regional capital of Benghazi – the US ambassador and two intelligence aides were killed by Washington’s own ‘rebels’. The competing and cooperating factions of the Washington militarist elite placed Libya on a steaming platter: Serving up invasion, regicide and hundreds of thousands of refugees, which they did not bother to even ‘season’ with any plan or strategy – just unadulterated scorched earth against another opponent of Zionism. And a potentially lucrative strategic neo-colony in North Africa has been lost with no accountability for the Washington architects of such barbarism.
Latin America: The Last Outpost of the Multi-Nationals
As we have seen, the major theaters of imperial policy (the Middle East and Asia) have been dominated by militarists, not professional diplomats-linked to the multi-national corporations. Latin America stands as something of an exception. In Latin America, US policymakers have been guided by big business interests. Their main focus has been on pushing the neo-liberal agenda. Eventually this has meant promoting the US-centered ‘free trade’ agreements, joint military exercises, shared military bases, and political backing for the US global military agenda.
The ‘militarist faction’ in Washington worked with the traditional business faction in support of the unsuccessful military coups in Venezuela (2002 and 2014), the attempted coup in Bolivia 2008, and a successful regime change in Honduras (2010).
To harass the independent Argentine government which was developing closer diplomatic and trade ties with Iran, a sector of the US Zionist financial elite (the ‘vulture fund’ magnate Paul Singer) joined forces with the Zionist militarist faction to raise hysterical accusations against President Cristina Kirchner over the ‘mysterious’ suicide of a Israel-linked Argentine prosecutor. The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, had devoted his career to ‘cooking up a case’ against Iran with the aid of the Mossad and CIA for the unsolved, bombing the Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994. Various investigations had exonerated Iran and the Nisman Affair was an intense effort to keep Argentina from trading with Iran.
The Washington business faction operated in a mildly hostile Latin America for most of the past decade. However, it was able to recover influence, via a series of bilateral free trade agreements and took advantage of the end of the commodity cycle. The latter weakened the center-left regimes and moved them closer to Washington.
The ‘excesses’ committed by the US backed military dictatorships during the nineteen sixties through eighties, and the crisis of the neo-liberal nineties, set the stage for the rise of a relatively moderate business-diplomatic faction to come to the fore in Washington. It is also the case that the various militarist and Zionist factions in Washington were focused elsewhere (Europe, Middle East and Asia). In any case the US political elite operates in Latin America mostly via political and business proxies, for the time being.
From our brief survey, it is clear that wars play a key role in US foreign policy in most regions of the world. However, war policies in different regions respond to different factions in the governing elite.
The traditional militarist faction predominates creating confrontations in Ukraine, Asia and along the Russian border. Within that framework the US Army, Air Force, and Special Forces play a leading, and fairly conventional, role. In the Far East, the Navy and Air Force predominate.
In the Middle East and South Asia, the military (Army and Air Force) factions share power with the Zionist faction. Fundamentally the Zionists dictate policy on Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and the militarists follow.
Both factions overlapped in creating the debacle in Libya.
The factions form shifting coalitions, supporting wars of interest to their respective power centers. The militarists and Zionists worked together in launching the Afghan war; but once launched, the Zionists abandoned Kabul and concentrated on preparing for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which was of far greater interest to Israel.
It should be noted that at no point did the oil and business elite play any significant role in war policy. The Zionist faction pushed hard to secure direct US ground intervention in Libya and Syria, but was not able to force the US to send large contingents of ground troops due to opposition from the Russians as well as a growing sector of the US electorate. Likewise, the Zionists played a leading role in successfully imposing sanctions against Iran and a major role in prosecuting banks around the world accused of violating the sanctions. However, they were not able to block the military faction from securing a diplomatic agreement with Iran over its uranium enrichment program – without going to war.
Clearly, the business faction plays a major role in promoting US trade agreements and tries to lift or avoid sanctions against important real and potential trade partners like China, Iran and Cuba.
The Zionist faction among Washington elite policymakers takes positions which consistently push for wars and aggressive policies against any regime targeted by Israel. The differences between the traditional militarist and Zionist factions are blurred by most writers who scrupulously avoid identifying Zionist decision-makers, but there is no question of who benefits and who loses.
The kind of war which the Zionists promote and implement – the utter destruction of enemy countries – undermines any plans by the traditional militarist faction and the military to consolidate power in an occupied country and incorporate it into a stable empire.
It is a serious error to lump these factions together: the business, Zionist, and various militarist factions of the Washington policy making elite are not one homogeneous group. They may overlap at times, but they also differ as to interests, liabilities, ideology, and loyalties. They also differ in their institutional allegiances.
The overarching militarist ideology which permeates US imperialist foreign policy obscures a deep and recurrent weakness – US policymakers master the mechanics of war but have no strategy for ruling after intervening. This has been glaringly evident in all recent wars: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, etc. Improvisation has repeatedly led to monumental failures: from financing phantom armies to bleeding billions to prop-up incompetent, kleptocratic puppet regimes. Despite the hundreds of billions of public money wasted in these serial disasters, no policymaker has been held to account.
Long wars and short memories are the norm for Washington’s militarist rulers who do not lose sleep over their blunders. The Zionists, for their part, do not even need a strategy for rule. They push the US into wars for Israel, and once having destroyed ‘the enemy country’ they leave a vacuum to be filled by chaos. The American public provides the gold and blood for these misadventures and reaps nothing but domestic deterioration and greater international strife.
By John Chuckman | Aletho News | November 19, 2015
Mass murder, as that which just occurred in Paris, is always distressing, but that does not mean we should stop thinking.
Isn’t it rather remarkable that President Hollande, immediately after the event, declared ISIS responsible? How did he know that? And if he was aware of a serious threat from ISIS, why did he not take serious measures in advance?
Within days of Friday 13, French forces assaulted an apartment with literally thousands of bullets being fired, killing a so-called mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Just how are you instantly elevated to the rank of “mastermind”? And if security people were previously aware of his exalted status, why did they wait until after a disaster to go after him?
Well, the ugly underlying truth is that, willy-nilly, France for years has been a supporter of ISIS, even while claiming to be fighting it. How do I know that? Because France’s foreign policy has virtually no independence from America’s. It could be described as a subset of American foreign policy. Hollande marches around with his head held stiffly up after getting off the phone at the Élysée Palace, having received the day’s expectations from Washington. He has been a rather pathetic figure.
So long as it is doing work the United States wishes done, ISIS remains an American protectorate, and regardless of Hollande’s past rhetoric, he has acted according to that reality. But something may just have changed now.
It is important to note the disproportionate attention in the West to events in Paris. I say disproportionate because there are equally ugly things going on in a number of places in the Middle East, but we do not see the coverage given to Paris. We have bombs in Lebanon and Iraq. We have daily bombings and shootings in Syria. We have cluster bombs and other horrors being used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. And of course, there are the ongoing horrors of Israel against Palestinians.
We have endless interviews with ordinary people in Paris, people who know nothing factual to help our understanding, about their reaction to the terror, but when was the last time you saw personal reactions broadcast from Gaza City or Damascus? It just does not happen, and it does raise the suspicion that the press’s concern with Paris is deliberately out of proportion. After all, Israel killed about twenty times as many people in Gaza not very long ago, and the toll was heavily weighted with children, many hundreds of them. Events in Paris clearly are being exploited for highly emotional leverage.
Leverage against what? Arabs in general and Muslims in particular, just part of the continuing saga of deliberately-channeled hate we have experienced since a group of what proved (after their arrest) to be Israeli spies were reported on top of a truck, snapping pictures and high-fiving each other as the planes hit the World Trade Center in 2001. What those spies were doing has never been explained to the public. I’m not saying Israel is responsible for 9/11, but clearly some Israeli government interests were extremely happy about events, and we have been bombarded ever since with hate propaganda about Muslims, serving as a kind of constant noise covering the crimes Israel does commit against Palestinians and other neighbors.
It is impossible to know whether the attack in Paris was actually the work of ISIS or a covert operation by the secret service of an ISIS supporter. The point is a bit like arguing over angels on a pinhead. When you are dealing with this kind of warfare – thugs and lunatics of every description lured into service and given deadly toys and lots of encouragement to use them – things can and do go wrong. But even when nothing goes wrong in the eyes of sponsors for an outfit like ISIS, terrible things are still happening. It’s just that they’re happening where the sponsors want them to happen and in places from which our press carefully excludes itself. Terrible things, for example, have been happening in the beautiful land of Syria for four or five years, violence equivalent to about two hundred Paris attacks, causing immense damage, the entire point of which is to topple a popularly-supported president and turn Syria into the kind of rump states we see now in Iraq.
A covert operation in the name of ISIS is at least as likely as an attack by ISIS. The United States, Israel, Turkey, and France are none of them strangers to violent covert activities, and, yes, there have been instances before when a country’s own citizens were murdered by its secret services to achieve a goal. The CIA pushed Italian secret services into undertaking a series of murderous attacks on their own people during the 1960s in order to shake up Italy’s “threatening” left-wing politics. It was part of something called Operation Gladio. Operation Northwoods, in the early 1960s, was a CIA-planned series of terrorist acts on American civilians to be blamed on Cuba, providing an excuse for another invasion. It was not carried out, but that was not owing to any qualms in the CIA about murdering their own, otherwise no plan would have ever existed. The CIA was involved in many other operations inside the United States, from experiments with drugs to ones with disease, using innocent people as its subject-victims.
There have been no differences worth mentioning between Hollande’s France and America concerning the Middle East. Whatever America wants, America gets, unlike the days when Jacques Chirac opposed the invasion of Iraq, or earlier, when de Gaulle removed France’s armed forces from integration within NATO or bravely faced immense hostility, including a coup attempt undertaken by French military with CIA cooperation, when he abandoned colonialism in Algeria.
If anything, Hollande has been as cloyingly obsequious towards America’s chief interest in the Middle East, Israel, as a group of Republican Party hopefuls at a Texas barbecue fund-raiser sniffing out campaign contributions. After the Charlie Hebdo attack, Hollande honored four Jewish victims of the thugs who attacked a neighborhood grocery store with France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor. I don’t recall the mere fact of being murdered by thugs ever before being regarded as a heroic distinction. After all, in the United States more than twenty thousand a year suffer that fate without recognition.
Israel’s Netanyahu at the time of the Charlie Hebdo attack actually outdid himself in manic behavior. He barged into France against a specific request that he stay home and pushed himself, uninvited, to the front row of the big parade down the Champs-Élysées which was supposed to honor free speech. He wanted those cameras to be on him for voters back home watching.
Free speech, you might ask, from the leaders of Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, and Israel, who all marched in front? Well, after the free-speech parody parade, the Madman of Tel Aviv raced around someone else’s country making calls and speeches for Jewish Frenchmen to leave “dangerous” France and migrate “home” to Israel. It would in fact be illegal in Israel for someone to speak that way in Israel to Israelis, but illegality has never bothered Netanyahu. Was he in any way corrected for this world-class asinine behavior? No, Hollande just kept marching around with his head stiffly up. I guess he was trying to prove just how free “free speech” is in France.
But speech really isn’t all that free in France, and the marching about free speech was a fraud. Not only is Charlie Hebdo, the publication in whose honor all the tramping around was done, not an outlet for free speech, being highly selective in choosing targets for its obscene attacks, but many of the people marching at the head of the parade were hardly representatives of the general principle.
France itself has outlawed many kinds of free speech. Speech and peaceful demonstrations which advocate a boycott of Israel are illegal in France. So a French citizen today cannot advocate peacefully against a repressive state which regularly abuses, arrests, and kills some of the millions it holds in a form of bondage. And Hollande’s France enforces this repressive law with at least as much vigor as Israel does with its own version, in a kind of “Look, me too,” spirit. France also has a law which is exactly the equivalent of a law against anyone’s saying the earth is flat: a law against denying or questioning the Holocaust. France also is a country, quite disgracefully, which has banned the niqab.
Now, America’s policy in the Mideast is pretty straightforward: subsidize and protect its colony Israel and never criticize it even on the many occasions when it has committed genuine atrocities. American campaign finance laws being what the are, politics back home simply permits no other policy. The invasion of Iraq, which largely was intended to benefit Israel through the elimination of a major and implacable opponent, has like so many dark operations backfired. I call the invasion a dark operation because although the war was as public as could be, all of America’s, and Britain’s, supposed intelligence about Iraq was crudely manufactured and the reasons for undertaking an act which would kill a million people and cripple an entire country were complete lies.
America’s stupid invasion created new room for Iran to exert its influence in the region – hence, the endless noise in Israel and Saudi Arabia about Iran – and it led directly to the growth of armed rabble groups like ISIS. There were no terrorists of any description in Saddam’s Iraq, just as there were no terrorists in Gadhafi’s Libya, a place now so infested with them that even an American ambassador is not safe.
Some Americans assert that ISIS happened almost accidentally, popping out of the dessert when no one was looking, a bit like Athena from the head of Zeus, arising from the bitterness and discontents of a splintered society, but that view is fatuous. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens by accident in this part of the world. Israel’s spies keep informed of every shadowy movement, and America always listens closely to what they say.
It is silly to believe ISIS just crept up on America, suddenly a huge and powerful force, because ISIS was easy for any military to stop at its early stages, as when it was a couple of thousand men waving AK-47s from the backs of Japanese pick-up trucks tearing around Iraq. Those pick-up trucks and those AK-47s and the gasoline and the ammunition and the food and the pay required for a bunch of goons came from somewhere, and it wasn’t from Allah.
A corollary to America’s first principle about protecting Israel is that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in Israel’s neighborhood that is not approved, at least tacitly, by the United States. So whether,
in any given instance of supply and support for ISIS, it was Israel or Saudi Arabia or Turkey or America – all involved in this ugly business – is almost immaterial. It all had to happen with American approval. Quite simply, there would be hell to pay otherwise.
As usual in the region, Saudi Arabia’s role was to supply money, buying weapons from America and others and transshipping them to ISIS. Ever since 9/11, Saudi Arabia has been an almost pathetically loyal supporter of America, even to the extent now of often cooperating with Israel. That couldn’t happen before an event in which the majority of perpetrators proved to be Saudi citizens and which led to the discovery that large amounts of Saudi “go away” money had been paid to Osama bin Laden for years. But after 9/11, the Saudis feared for the continuation of their regime and now do what they are told. They are assisted in performing the banking function by Qatar, another wealthy, absolute state aligned with the United States and opposing the rise of any possibly threatening new forces in its region.
Of course, it wasn’t just the discoveries of 9/11 that motivated Saudi Arabia. It intensely dislikes the growing influence of Iran, and Iran’s Shia Muslim identity is regarded by Sunni sects in Saudi Arabia in much the way 17th century Protestantism was viewed by an ultramontane Catholic state like Spain. The mass of genuine jihadists fighting in Syria – those who are not just mercenaries and adventurers or agents of Israel or Turkey or the Saudis – are mentally-unbalanced Sunni who believe they are fighting godlessness. The fact that Assad keeps a secular state with religious freedom for all just adds to their motivation.
ISIS first achievement was toppling an Iraqi government which had been excessively friendly to Iran in the view of Israel, and thereby the United States. Iraq’s army could have stopped them easily early on but was bribed to run away, leaving weapons such as tanks behind. Just two heavy tanks could have crushed all the loons in pick-up trucks. That’s why there was all the grotesque propaganda about beheadings and extreme cruelty to cover the fact of modern soldiers running from a mob. ISIS gathered weapons, territory, and a fierce reputation in an operation which saw President al-Maliki – a man disliked by the United States for his associations with Iran and his criticism of American atrocities – hurriedly leave office.
From that base, ISIS was able to gain sufficient foothold to begin financing itself through, for example, stolen crude sold at a discount or stolen antiquities. The effective splitting up of Iraq meant that its Kurdish population in the north could sell, as it does today, large volumes of oil to Israel, an unheard of arrangement in Iraq’s past. ISIS then crossed into Syria in some force to go after Assad. The reasons for this attack were several: Assad runs a secular state and defends religious minorities but mainly because the paymasters of ISIS wanted Assad destroyed and Syria reduced in the fashion of Iraq.
Few people in the press seem to have noted that ISIS never attacks Israel or Israeli interests. Neither does it attack the wheezingly-corrupt rulers of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic equivalent of ancient Rome’s Emperor Nero. Yet those are the very targets a group of genuine, independent warrior-fundamentalists would attack. But ISIS is not genuine, being supplied and bankrolled by people who do not want to see attacks on Israel or Saudi Arabia, including, notably, Israel and Saudi Arabia. ISIS also is assisted, and in some cases led, by foreign covert operators and special forces.
There does seem to be a good deal of news around the idea of France becoming serious in fighting ISIS, but I think we must be cautious about accepting it at face value. Putin is reported as telling ship commanders in the Mediterranean to cooperate and help cover the French aircraft carrier approaching. Hollande keeps calling for American cooperation too, as Putin has done for a very long time, but America’s position remains deliberately ambiguous. A new American announcement of cooperation with Turkey in creating a “safe zone” across the border with northern Syria is a development with unclear intentions. Is this to stop the Kurds Erdogan so despises fighting in the north of Syria from establishing themselves and controlling the border or is it a method for continued support of ISIS along the that border? Only time will tell.
I do think it at least possible Hollande may have come around to Putin’s view of ISIS, but America has not, and the situation only grows more fraught with dangerous possibilities. I’ve long believed that likely America, in its typically cynical fashion, planned to destroy ISIS, along with others like al-Nusra, once they had finished the dirty work of destroying Syria’s government and Balkanizing the country. In any event, Israel – and therefore, automatically, America – wants Assad destroyed, so it would be surprising to see America at this point join honestly with Putin and Hollande.
America has until now refused Russia any real support, including such basic stuff as sharing intelligence. It cooperates only in the most essential matters such avoiding attacks on each other’s planes. It also has made some very belligerent statements about what Russia has been doing, some from the America’s Secretary of Defense sounding a lot like threats. Just the American establishment’s bully-boy attitude about doing anything which resembles joining a Russian initiative does not bode well.
After all, Putin has been portrayed as a kind of Slavic Satan by American propaganda cranking stuff out overtime in support of Ukraine’s incompetent coup-government and with the aim of terrifying Eastern Europe into accepting more American weapons and troops near Russia’s border, this last having nothing to do with any Russian threat and everything to do with America’s aggressive desire to shift the balance of power. How do you turn on a dime and admit Putin is right about Syria and follow his lead?
And there are still the daily unpleasant telephone calls from Israel about Assad. How do you manoeuvre around that when most independent observers today recognize Assad as the best alternative to any other possible government. He has the army’s trust, and in the end it is the Syrian army which is going to destroy ISIS and the other psychopaths. Air strikes alone can never do that. The same great difficulty for Hollande leaves much ambiguity around what he truly means by “going to war against ISIS.”
It is an extremely complicated world in which we live with great powers putting vast resources towards destroying the lives of others, almost killing thousands on a whim, while pretending not to be doing so. We live in an era shaped by former CIA Director Allen Dulles, a quiet psychopath who never saw an opportunity for chaos he did not embrace.
The only way to end terror is to stop playing with the lives of tens of millions in the Middle East, as America has done for so long, and stop supporting the behaviors of a repressive state which has killed far greater numbers than the madmen of ISIS could dream of doing, demanding instead that that state make peace and live within its borders. But, at least at this stage, that is all the stuff of dreams.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” – Mossad Motto
On the 13th November 2015 during the Paris attacks, 4.1 million people submitted their personal details to the Facebook Safety App, 360 million people received Facebook messages reassuring them of their friends and family’s safety. This information may well have been deposited into an Israeli intelligence bank.
Paris 13/11 aftershocks.
As the dust settles and the pall of grief envelops the scenes of the 13/11 Paris attacks, information begins to seep through the inevitable cracks in the mainstream media, security apparatus narrative.
Very few “subversive” media outlets in France do as good a job of deconstruction as Panamza. Their reporting on the Charlie Hebdo affair blazed a trail of evidence to counter the sprawling inaccuracies of the “official” storyline. Their articles over the last two days have motivated my investigation into the insidious drivers possibly behind the 13/11 attacks on the French capital.
Unsurprisingly the common denominator connecting both Charlie Hebdo and Paris 13/11 appears to be the covert involvement of the Israeli security apparatus.
Lets return to the scene of mayhem and bloodshed in Paris on Friday night. The panic that spread like wildfire across social media, tearful messages and desperate attempts to connect with loved ones, suspected to be in the firing zone.
Then suddenly, Facebook “sympathetically” employed its Safety Check APP, to enable terrified families to reconnect with their missing relatives and to reassure themselves of their safety as the bullets ricocheted off the walls & streets of Paris.
The Safety Check APP was originally named the Disaster Message Board and was introduced on October 15, 2014. Its first major deployment was on Saturday April 25 2015 in the wake of the April 2015 Nepal Earthquake. The tool has since been utilised after the May 2015 Nepal earthquake and the Pacific Hurricane Patricia October 2015.
The 13/11 Paris attack was the first time that this Safety Check APP was deployed for an “unnatural” disaster. Over 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives, a total of 360 million people received messages that their loved ones were “safe”.
Alex Schultz: Facebook’s vice president of Growth:
“We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones… This activation will change our policy around Safety Check and when we activate it for other serious and tragic incidents in the future. We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help.”
Wonderful, I hear you exclaim! Wonderful for whom?
“During the 24 hours after the terror attack, 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives using Facebook Safety Check, a technology developed by Facebook Israel’s research and development department,” said a spokesperson for Facebook Israel. “A total of 360 million people received messages that their loved ones were safe.”
Perhaps coincidence but this acquistion slots neatly into the timeline with the long since debunked Ghouta Chemical weapons claims against the Syrian Government and the seed funding of White House, UK Foreign Office, CIA, Soros backed and funded Syria Civil Defence Group aka the White Helmets.
Roi Tiger Facebook Profile Picture.
Roi Tiger is a graduate of IDC Herzliya, Tel Aviv, a “non profit” education organisation dedicated to the promotion of Zionist ideology and the fortification of the illegal state of Israel.
IDC HERZLIYA is committed to the fundamental values of a free and tolerant society, while maintaining a Zionist philosophy – first and foremost, freedom of the individual for self-realization in all realms of thought and action, while striving to strengthen the State of Israel.
Roi Tiger then went on to join the IOF Elite 8200 division, an Israeli Intelligence Corps responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption, described in 2010 by Le Monde diplomatique, as a massive spying operation. Also in 2010, implicated by US Intelligence in Operation Orchard, the 2007 Israeli air strikes on an alleged nuclear reactor in the Deir Ezzor region of Syria.
Full background to this 2007 Israeli illegal incursion into Syrian airspace here.
So, when people innocently clicked “safe” or put a name of their loved ones into the search box of the Facebook Safety app, it is quite probable that they fed a stream of information directly into the Israeli Intelligence data banks.
Web front page of Internet.org
Onavo, a relatively small start-up comprising 40 employees, was based in Tel Aviv and was bought by Mark Zuckerburg as part of his all consuming internet.org project which has as its objective, to create universal access to the Internet.
The significance of this purchase is manifold.
It is Facebook’s first foray onto Israeli territory. In 2012 they purchased Face.com, an Israeli company focused on powerful facial recognition but this had not precipitated an actual base in Israel. With the acquisition of Onavo, Facebook Israel was born.
According to TechCrunch, there’s no official figure attached to the deal, but Israeli paper Calcalist reports between $150-200 million and other sources put the figure closer to $100 million. Whether the real sum is closer to the low end or the high end of that range, it’s a massive amount of money for Onavo, which started three years ago and has previously raised around $13 million in venture funding. – www.digitaltrends.com
This purchase of Onavo and the development of the Safety APP will give Facebook increased capability of compiling one of the most extensive personal data bases in existence in the world today.
On November 11th, 2 days before the Paris attacks, Facebook published a blog report.
“This report, which covers the first half of 2015, provides information about the number of government requests we receive for data, as well as the number of pieces of content restricted for violating local law in countries around the world where we provide service. The report also includes updated information about the national security requests we received from US authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and through National Security Letters.
Overall, we continue to see an increase in content restrictions and government requests for data globally. The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased by 112% over the second half of 2014, to 20,568 pieces of content, up from 9,707. Government requests for account data increased across all countries by 18% over the same period, from 35,051 requests to 41,214″
The full report is here. This is a deliberate policy of obscurantism by Facebook. When one reads their data policy it is obvious that there are no restraints on information sharing. Their figures cannot truthfully reflect the number of Government requests in France that would have spiked, following Charlie Hebdo and even if they do, out of a claimed 2,500+ Government requests for information, only a meagre 295 were “restricted” with very little explanation of what “restricted” actually means.
“We restricted access in France to content reported under local laws prohibiting Holocaust denial and the condoning of terrorism.”
This statement is rendered portentous by the wave of arrests and house searches sweeping France before the blood is even dry on the streets of Paris and certainly prior to the conducting of a full and objective investigation into the perpetrators of the “greatest atrocity committed on French soil since WWII.” This, according to media pundits reporting from Paris as the propaganda wagon rolls smoothly into its habitual groove.
It must be noted that this deliberately emotive media claim is an insult to the 200+ Algerians massacred by Paris police, during protests against France’s brutal neocolonialist war in Algeria, on the streets of Paris in 1961. Colonialist selective memory fails to honour the ghosts of these oppressed and marginalised souls, forbidden from protesting the genocide of their people and punished for daring to stand in solidarity with Algerian resistance against French hegemony. Paris police dumped the murdered bodies into the cold waters of the Seine, over 11,500 Algerians were arrested, beaten, starved and later tortured in the Palais des Sports.
The 13/11 Paris attacks with all the accompanying media frenzy will surely lead us further down the path to the implementation of Patriot Act equivalents in Europe.
“Debate on Govt Spying and Privacy Rights, now off the table. As expected, politicians looking to appear ‘tough on terror’ and the growing gaggle of security lobbyists, and other assorted corporate fascists, have called for something akin to a ‘European Patriot Act’ – an end to the ‘Post-Snowden’ debate over bulk data collection and privacy – covering issues like NSA and GCHQ blanket spying on all citizens, and imposing more regulations and government monitoring of mandatory manufacturer ‘back doors’ for computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and also calls to make encryption illegal, except for government.”
“Special” police forces in St Denis, Paris 18/11/2015
CIA & Intelligence Connections
We must also take into consideration the worrying Cyber security developments in the UK:
Lord Mendelsohn: We welcome the appointment of the former British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who will have a key role in cyber security inside the Cabinet Office – a very useful and important position – Look Who’s in Charge of UK Government Cyber Security.
Matthew Gould, self proclaimed “passionate Zionist”, first Jewish British Ambassador in Tel Aviv and co creator of the controversial UK Israel Tech-Hub which was established to:
“Promote partnerships in technology and innovation between Israel and the UK, and is the first initiative of its kind for the British government and for an embassy in Israel. The hub’s creation followed an agreement between prime ministers David Cameron and Binyamin Netanyahu to build a UK-Israel partnership in technology.”
For full details on this burgeoning UK-Israel cyber marriage, read this excellent piece by Stuart Littlewood.
Now lets add a little more spice into the evolving narrative.
Two weeks prior to the 13/11 attacks on the 27th of October 2015, Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius was moderator for the CIA-GW [George Washington University] Conference.
Included on the panel of the “Shared 21st Century International Mission” were:
CIA Director John Brennan, former UK MI6 Chief John Sawers, Director of the French Directorate for External Security Bernard Bajolet, and former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaacov Amidror
Perhaps even more concerning is the subliminal message that can be interpreted from DGSE Director, Bernard Bajolet’s remarks, endorsed by CIA Director John Brennan.
“The Middle East will never go back to how it was. Syria and Iraq will never retrieve their pre-existing features and culture
Syria is already “partitioned”. The Syrian regime only controls a tiny part, perhaps less than one third of the country established post WWII.
The North is under Kurdish control and “we” have the central region under ISIS control [I have deliberately translated the French exactly as it was written]
The situation in Iraq is the same.”
“When I look at the devastation in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen it is hard to envisage a central government that would be capable of controlling and governing these post WWII territories.
It appears that the partitioning plan for the Middle East is resisting all efforts to reduce its holy grail status. The partitioning plan that best serves the Israeli Yinon plan for Greater Israel and ensures permanent sectarian strife and division in countries bursting at the seams with economic, resource and geopolitical jewels for the Imperialist crown.
The timing of this conference, a mere two weeks prior to the 13/11 Paris attacks that would almost certainly propel France and allies towards increased intervention in Syria & ensure revived calls for a No Fly Zone, must be considered a little more than purely coincidental.
While we must stress that no concrete conclusions may be drawn at this stage, previous Gladio operations, and we would include Charlie Hebdo in that list, lead us to see very clear parallels emerging between the events surrounding Paris 13/11 and those preceding other such attacks.
The omnipresence of the Israeli Intelligence apparatus in its many forms should, at least, motivate us to suspect foul play and to question the white noise mainstream media accounts. The tsunami of propaganda, the conversion of all icons to a French flag, even including Skype heart emoticons, must ring alarm bells.
Experience teaches us that, propaganda is intrinsically linked to government agendas and that terror attacks invariably engender an increase in global oppression, conflict, sectarian division and the suffering of the very peoples universally judged and condemned by scraps of evidence that bear no resemblance to the truth.
As Sayed Nasrallah has said we are living in the age predicted by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, the propaganda serves to ensure our rapid descent through the layers of social conditioning, from regionalism to individualism, a state of mind where there is potential for the fabric of society to be shredded and scattered into the winds of the brewing “perfect storm”
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
St Denis, Paris 18/11/2015.
Police forces operate in Saint-Denis on Wednesday, November 18. Police say two suspects in last week’s Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital.
I generally feel that the questioning by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now could be a lot stronger, but today, she did ask a good question of Rep. Barbara Lee: “The U.S. has just sealed, the Obama administration, yet another arms deal with Saudi Arabia, in the last year signed the biggest arms deals in the history of the world with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia behind a lot of the militant activism from al-Qaeda to ISIS. Do you condemn these sales?”
This is Lee’s full response: “Well, first, we need to reduce the sale of arms throughout the world. Also, I think when you look at the—for example, trying to rid Iran of the ability to develop nuclear weapons, we engaged in a strong, robust diplomatic effort. Many years ago, I introduced the first resolution calling for the end of no contact policy, for a special envoy and for us to begin to negotiate with Iran the elimination of their program of developing nuclear weapons. So far, those negotiations and that Iranian deal has worked. And so I think that we need to move in that direction in terms of diplomacy, in terms of trying to seek global peace and security without selling arms to all countries, because what you will have is an arms buildup throughout the world, and then weapons will be pointed at—each country will have weapons—of course, a nuclear weapon is the ultimate weapon—pointed in all directions. And so, we need to determine ways, as the president has done with regard to Iran, ways in which to engage to reduce the threats and to reduce the sale and the use of force and armaments and military weapons, because these can only make the world more dangerous.”
Notice Lee does not condemn the weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, she doesn’t utter the word “Saudi”. Instead, she talks about alleged Iranian nuclear weapons designs — a total staple of officialdom — and speaks generally against arms sales.
Nor do the hosts highlight this. Juan Gonzalez, who I think often asks more probing questions that Goodman, immediately proceeded to ask a somewhat fawning question: “And I’m wondering what advice you might have to parliamentarians in France now, as France is going through the same kind of crisis that this country went through after the attacks of 2001. The president is now seeking authorization from the French Parliament for extraordinary measures in his country. What advice might you give to the parliamentarians of France?”
We’re not going to get very far if we’re looking to politicos for leadership who can’t condemn policies like the U.S. government has to the Saudis. And we’re not going to get very far if presumably tough, independent programs like “Democracy Now” can’t keep officials accountable about that.
The US State Department has signed off on the deal to sell $1.29 billion worth of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia, according to the Pentagon. The 22,000 bombs are to be used in the Saudis’ military campaigns in Yemen and Syria.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in charge of overseeing foreign arms sales, said in a statement that deal with the Saudis has been approved. The US Congress still has 30 days to block the deal, but is unlikely to do so.
The agency said that the sale would keep the Royal Saudi Air Force from running out of weapons, as well as provide sufficient weapons stocks for its military campaign in Yemen and Syria.
“This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, improve [the ability of Saudi forces to work] with the United States, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves,” the statement said.
According to RT website, the $1.29 billion deal consists of 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, which include 1,000 GBU-10 Paveway II laser guided bombs, as well as over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits, which convert older bombs into precision-guided weapons via GPS.
The sale comes after President Barack Obama promised in May to work with Persian Gulf Arab States on increased security cooperation, particularly “on fast-tracking arms transfers… counter terrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity and ballistic missile defense.”
Persian Gulf States have shown increased interest in US weaponry following the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in July.
In October, the US government approved an $11 billion sale to Saudi Arabia for up to four Lockheed Martin Corp.’s warships, along with weapons, training and logistics support. In September, Washington approved a $5.4 billion sale of 600 advanced Patriot missiles to Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 236 days now to restore power to fugitive President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-US aggression has so far killed at least 6,579 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Yemeni national military, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
The recent events in Paris were undoubtedly horrific, and our thoughts are with those affected by these atrocious acts. The victims and their families, innocent people who did not volunteer to fight in any war, these defenseless civilians were attacked in the most heinous way possible.
And while the world’s media turns its gaze to Paris, there is another act of terrorism happening every day that the corporate media chooses to ignore.
It seems the main export of the USA and UK is terrorism, but sugar coated and wrapped in the PR-friendly guise of ‘promoting democracy’ and ‘protecting our freedoms’, making the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians easier to swallow, or more frequently, completely ignore.
Perhaps ironically then, is the fact that these acts are of course illegal and a violation of international law, and the sad truth is that these rouge nations, the USA and UK themselves are the biggest threats to freedom and democracy. We are witnessing doublespeak in action.
To date, the USA has been responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million people since the end of World War II, in 37 nations. A report by James A. Lucas of Counter Currents explains:
This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.
The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
These figures do not include the full figures of more recent violations, such as drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Statistics obtained by the Bureau Investigates reveal that approximately 2,464 – 7,177 people have been murdered in these nations. It is also estimated that 90% of those killed in these attacks are innocent civilians.
Make no mistake, each one of these 500-plus drone strikes is nothing less than a tax-payer funded terrorist attack.
At the time of publication, there are also a high number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the illegal invasions, which has cost in excess of a staggering $1,500,000,000,000.
This means nothing to the corporations who profit from global terrorism.
While the little amount of corporate media coverage that is devoted to exposing profiteering remains largely focused on oil firms, there are trillions of dollars being made in the supply of arms.
Companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and BAE Systems as well as many others – often with government connections, are raking in billions of dollars from government contracts.
For example, Lockheed Martin received $36 billion in contracts in a single year.
So while my heart goes out to the victims and families of those affected by the despicable acts carried out in Paris, should we not also turn our outrage and contempt for these cowardly acts towards our own governments – who not only obliterate innocent lives on a daily basis, but actually allow profiteering from mass-murder, resulting in a never-ending cycle of destruction that we’re funding with our taxes.
The ending of terrorism begins with us.
Arab nations, who initially took part in the US-led airstrikes against ISIL, have grown wary of Washington’s scheming in the Middle East and have switched their efforts to tackle what they perceive as real threats, military expert Vladimir Prohvatilov told Radio Sputnik.
“Many know perfectly well that the US is not really interested in defeating ISIL. Washington’s true aim is to create a zone of controlled chaos in the Middle East to deal with geopolitical and geo-economic issues. America’s task is to spark a bloody conflict and drag others into it,” the analyst asserted.
Washington’s plans for the Middle East, according to Prohvatilov, prompted Canada’s newly elected prime minister to pull out of the anti-ISIL bombing campaign. Delivering on this promise would mean that Justin Trudeau does not view the operation led by the US as beneficial for Canada.
This stance is not exclusive to Ottawa, the expert maintains. Many Arab countries which nominally take part in the US-led efforts share this position.
“People [in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar] are used to high living standards and do not want to take part in a war. The Saudi Army is essentially manned by Pakistani mercenaries. Saudi nationals have no wish to fight,” he asserted.
Washington’s Arab allies have switched their attention to Yemen and see tackling the Houthis as a priority.
“Riyadh views the Houthis as a threat since they are capable of calling to arms as many as 200,000 seasoned fighters. The same goes for Jordan and Qatar. They perceive Yemen as a real threat while ISIL is a subtle game engineered by the US,” Prohvatilov noted.
Washington’s stance towards Moscow’s counterterrorism efforts in Syria is also a part of this game.
“The Americans want the Russians either to stop the campaign (so that Washington could accuse Moscow of a military defeat or cowardice) or to expand it so that Russia would bear all the cost” of a major military engagement, he added.
[This is a translation of an article that recently appeared in Al Akhbar.]
Ansar Allah detain two Americans on Espionage Charges
Two Americans have been under surveillance who have regularly visited the site that is the current temporary residence of the UN team. The UN are based in the Sheraton Hotel in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.
This hotel had been used previously by the US diplomatic mission until it’s evacuation from Sanaa early 2015. The U.S. Diplomatic Mission allowed the UN to work from these premises temporarily until it could be considered safe for the Mission to return to Yemen once the hostilities had ceased.
The UN does not pay anything for the use of the facility and is not responsible for the maintenance of the premises that belong to the US Foreign Affairs Ministry but events over the last two weeks reveal that perhaps the UN repays Washington in more ways than one for the use of these premises.
The UN mission in Yemen operates with a very small staff, probably less than a hundred, consisting of Yemeni nationals, non Yemeni Arab nationals and foreign nationals.
These UN staff members travel between Yemen and Djibouti on UN-chartered private planes. Djibouti is now the only gateway to the world for Yemenis who are under an internationally supported blockade.
The two Americans who were under surveillance were transported using UN vehicles despite the fact that UN law prohibits the use of their vehicles for the transportation of any non-UN staff regardless of the situation, in order to maintain its neutral status.
On the evening of the 20th of October, a private UN plane arrived in Sanaa, from Djibouti. On board were two American citizens, Mark McAllister and John Hamen, who were ostensibly working for a maintenance company, Al Rafideen, contracted by the US Mission to provide services to their now vacated offices in the Sheraton Hotel, Sanaa.
At this point, Yemen National Security moved in and arrested the two men, taking them to an unknown location.
Attempts were made by the chief of staff of the UN mission in Sanaa to intervene and secure the release of the two Americans. The UN engaged in direct talks with the Yemeni government and Ansar Allah. The response from the Yemeni side was curt and to the point stating that this was not within the UN’s jurisdiction and the UN has nothing to do with the two men in question.
The UN official confirmed to the local government and AnsarAllah that the two men were working for a company now contracted by the UN and had been invited to Sanaa by the UN to maintain premises [that they do not pay for and where the UN is not responsible for maintenance – edit]. Unsurprisingly all UN efforts to secure the release of McAllister and Hamen have been unsuccessful.
The UN was then informed that one of the two men was recognised as a “security agent” who had been working with the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Sanaa prior to their departure. The UN was informed by the relevant local Yemeni authorities that the UN’s involvement with any foreign intelligence is in direct violation of its fundamental principles and lawful activities in Yemen. This puts the UN in a very precarious and embarrassing position in Yemen.
Al-Akhbar asked the official spokesman on behalf of the UN Secretary General whether UN staff members were facing any hardships in Yemen:
“Yes, we face hardships due to the security situation and we are unable to distribute relief aid to Yemenis as we would be able to under normal circumstances.”
Responding to the question of whether or not the UN is in communication with the Saudi-led coalition, the UN official stated:
“As in the case of every war-torn area, the UN maintains communication with all factions involved in the conflict to guarantee UN convoy security.”
Al-Akhbar also asked the UN official why the UN had allowed two non UN operatives, now in Yemeni & AnsarAllah custody, to travel to Yemen in a UN privately chartered plane. This contravenes all internationally agreed upon protocols that strictly prohibit the use of UN transportation for non UN staff. The seriousness of the situation is intensified by the fact that Yemen authorities have accused both men of being Washington intelligence agents.
The UN official responded cautiously, stating that he is aware of the two men whom he believes to be UN contractors. He is aware of their situation but has no update on the incident. He added that the UN would not have transported any such operatives into or out of Yemen without using the proper channels of communication. He reiterated the official line that the two men are likely to be service contractors brought in to carry out maintenance on the adopted UN premises. [edit: despite the UN not being responsible for the premises]
The incident is highly sensitive. It does not only involve McAllister and Hamen, still in custody, but raises the uncomfortable question, what role is the UN playing in Yemen and for that matter, in other war torn countries in the region?
Yemeni citizens working for the UN have expressed their frustration at not being allowed to implement solutions to the dire humanitarian situation in their country, and have complained of having their movements and activities closely surveyed.
Yemeni security have informed the UN directly that this particular case violates the sovereignty of their country and its security.
A local security official informed the UN in Yemen that such actions will have serious repercussions upon their activities within Yemen. Initial investigations into the two Washington assets in custody have shown that both men are linked to activities suspected to be espionage and investigations have exposed one of the men as a Washington intelligence agent who had already worked with Yemeni agents and who was well known to Yemen’s security officials.
The second man is an officer in the US Marines who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The naturally concerned Yemeni authorities have informed the UN that the UN has no jurisdiction over these two men and should not interfere in Yemen’s security matters.
As a consequence, all UN vehicles are being carefully and systematically inspected in the capital Sanaa. UN drivers are being checked and all passenger passports demanded for verification. This is now routine both at the airport and on the streets of Sanaa.
The matter was further complicated when a shot was fired at a UN vehicle and the bullet penetrated the car on October 22, 2015 while it was travelling towards Sanaa airport. No casualties were reported but its quite possible that this was a warning shot across UN bows.
What is certain however, is that both Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress party in Yemen are highly displeased with UN Peace Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh’s recent role in siding with the Saudi-led coalition and disregarding all the points agreed upon in the Muscat talks.
Both parties are also understandably enraged by Washington’s role in supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s aggression on Yemen that is devastating the country. Washington has provided direct support to the Saudi coalition by supplying weapons, intelligence information, air surveillance and logistic support for air strikes. This support has been widely documented in the media.
Yemeni officials in Sanaa are on high alert regarding any intelligence network that could provide support to the Saudi-led coalition air strikes that have predominantly targeted civilians. This, despite continuous UN communications with the Saudi coalition’s operations room in the Saudi capital Al-Riyadh informing them of the co-ordinates of the UN location and areas of work.
Riyadh however, does not seem to be overly concerned with that information as was clearly seen when the Saudis directly targeted and bombed the UN Development Project in Aden. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed criticism of Riyadh’s disregard and called for an investigation into the strikes but to date no such investigation has been initiated.
Riyadh came under criticism again for the disregard it showed by directly bombing the World Food Programmes’s storage facility, and several hospitals operating under international organizations directly affiliated with the UN.
Yemen was an early victim of the US led war on terror. The first targeted assassination by a US drone occurred there in November 2002. Yemen’s mountains and deserts were where the US developed and tested its flawed drone-centric counter-terrorism strategy. A combination of indifference, faulty intelligence, and incompetence has led to the deaths of hundreds of Yemeni civilians.
As tragic as these deaths are, they pale in comparison with the death and destruction unleashed by the current war in Yemen, a war that US foreign and counter-terrorism policies are partially responsible for.
As in most parts of the world where the US has waged its war on terror, the supposed targets—terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State—are the primary beneficiaries.
These organizations exploit and feed off the chaotic and divisive environments that arise from short-sighted and uninformed “whack a mole” counter-terrorism strategies. Such an outcome is perfectly acceptable to the thriving military-industrial complex that drives and profits from US foreign policy.
Yemen is one of the countries where the disastrous consequences of the war on terror are most evident and potentially most consequential. Yemen’s strategic location across from the Bab al-Mandeb—a critical shipping corridor—and its long border with Saudi Arabia ensure that the chaos that has engulfed the country will not be easily contained.
The war has already spread across Saudi Arabia’s southern border where Houthi forces and elements of the Yemeni Army have repeatedly attacked military targets deep within Saudi territory. The same forces have reportedly launched anti-ship missiles—which the Yemeni Armed Forces have in their inventory—at ships belonging to the Saudi Navy.
Much of southern Yemen, which includes areas that Saudi Arabia and its allies claim to have “liberated,” is being infiltrated by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State. Parts of Aden—Yemen’s major port city—are now under the control of AQAP and allied bands of militant Salafis who are enforcing their version of Sharia law on the once cosmopolitan and relatively liberal city.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government—most of whose members remain in their villas in Saudi Arabia—has been unable to assert its authority in the liberated areas. As one of the better organized forces in the country, AQAP is filling the void. This is undoubtedly being facilitated by Saudi Arabia and its allies who view AQAP and militant Salafis as useful proxies. Just as they view groups like al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in Syria as allies in their war against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
So how have US foreign policy and its counter-terrorism strategies contributed to the chaos that has engulfed Yemen?
In the wake of September 11th, then Yemeni President Saleh—a wily political survivor—recognized that the US’ war on terror was going to be a gift to corrupt governments like his. Saleh promised to be an ally in what he knew would be a war without end against organizations that are easily manipulated by intelligence services.
Thanks to the generosity of US tax payers, weapons and US Special Forces trainers poured into Yemen. There was little effective oversight of how the weapons and newly trained soldiers would be used. Rather than targeting al-Qaeda—an organization that the security services of Saleh’s government had already thoroughly penetrated—Saleh used his US supplied and trained special and counter-terrorism forces against his real enemies: namely the Houthis and those in south Yemen who opposed Saleh’s corrupt northerner dominated government.
In exchange for weapons and training, Saleh also agreed to let US drones hunt down and kill Yemeni citizens. It mattered little to him that the strikes strengthened AQAP. AQAP benefited from the cycles of revenge that resulted from the deaths of what were most often civilians. The drone strikes also weakened and de-legitimized tribal authority, one of the few constraints on the growth of AQAP and Saleh’s corrupt government.
US policies in Yemen—which were narrowly focused on killing the “bad guys” in the parlance of George W. Bush—altered the balance of power and helped set in motion the country’s rapid descent into chaos. With support from the US, Saleh was emboldened and rather than falling back on negotiations and patronage, which are long-established traditions in Yemen, he pursued his enemies. However, he and his forces were not powerful enough to prevail. Saleh, who is a student of Yemeni history, forgot that there are few periods when one man or a government has exercised control over the entirety of the country.
Rather than being defeated, Yemen’s Houthi rebels fought back and in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” in Yemen, they took over a large part of northwest Yemen. In the south, southern separatists, who were routinely imprisoned and disappeared by the security services and “counter-terrorism” forces, were further radicalized. Now, in southern Yemen, the flag of a unified Yemen is nowhere to be seen. It has been replaced by the flag of the formerly independent south Yemen and the black flags of al-Qaeda.
The US has spent billions of dollars—the actual amount is unknown—on its war on terror in Yemen. It is worth contemplating what the political situation in Yemen would look like if even a fraction of that money had been spent on programs that tackled the real issues that drive instability in Yemen like water shortages, government corruption, a lack of schools and medical facilities, and food insecurity. And what if this aid had been linked to meaningful reform within government institutions?
While it is of course unlikely that Yemen would be a bastion of stability and transparent government, it is just as unlikely that the country would be mired in a brutal civil war that has drawn in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Unfortunately, US policy makers have learned nothing from fourteen years of trillion dollar failures in Afghanistan and Iraq and now Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Rather than rethinking its policies in Yemen and pushing for a negotiated end to hostilities, the US is aiding and enabling Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen. This war has killed thousands, impoverished millions, and effectively ceded control of large parts of Yemen to AQAP and other militant Salafi organizations.
The US’ war on terror in Yemen has done nothing but increase instability, embolden terrorist organizations, and ensure years—likely decades—of healthy profits for the companies that make up the military-industrial complex. These companies—not the American or Yemeni people—are reaping the fruits of a war without end.
Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says efforts to convene UN-backed peace talks to find a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the Arab country have failed.
“All understandings for a political solution leading to the cessation of aggression have failed,” Houthi spokesman Saleh al-Samad wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.
Last week, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he was hoping to begin separate preliminary talks with the Houthis and the government of Yemen’s fugitive President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, expecting formal negotiations between the two sides “in the coming weeks.”
The UN envoy wants the talks to focus on the main parts of UN Resolution 2216 — the withdrawal of Ansarullah fighters from the areas under their control, the release of prisoners, the improvement of humanitarian situation, and the resumption of political dialogue.
In early October, Houthi leaders announced that they would accept the UN-brokered peace plan, which also requires adherence to Resolution 2216, if other parties to the conflict also commit to the initiative.
In his Facebook post, Samad also called on the Houthis to resist the Saudi aggression against their country.
“We should be patient and move with strength and courage in the face of aggression, to fortify our country against domination,” he wrote, adding, “We must redouble our efforts and exert ourselves to the utmost, ensuring the sacrifices made by our people over the past months do not go to waste.”
Previous attempt to hold peace talks in Yemen failed in June as loyalists to Hadi backed away from the negotiations insisting that Ansarullah fighters and their army allies first withdraw.
Saudi Arabia began its deadly military aggression against Yemen – without a UN mandate – on March 26. The strikes are meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and restore power to Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
At least 7,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi strikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured so far.
On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh that the attacks may end soon, noting the acceptance of Resolution 2216 by the Houthis and affiliated groups.
The Ansarullah fighters took control of Sana’a in September 2014 and are currently in control of large parts of the country. The revolutionaries said Hadi’s government was incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and containing the growing wave of corruption and terror.
Hadi, along with the cabinet of former Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, stepped down in January.
On February 21, Hadi escaped house arrest in Sana’a and fled to his hometown Aden, where he withdrew his resignation and highlighted his intention to resume duties. He later fled the port city to Saudi Arabia.
Doctors without Borders (MSF) says a hospital run by the international medical group in Yemen has been hit by Saudi airstrikes.
“MSF facility in Saada [sic] Yemen was hit by several airstrikes last night with patients and staff inside the facility,” the group said in a tweet on Tuesday.
MSF spokeswoman Malak Shaher separately said that there were “no casualties” in the attacks.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s state news agency Saba quoted the Heedan hospital director as saying that several people were injured in Saudi attacks on the hospital – which is also located in Sa’ada – last night.
“The air raids resulted in the destruction of the entire hospital with all that was inside – devices and medical supplies – and the moderate wounding of several people,” Doctor Ali Mughli said.
It was not immediately clear, however, whether the Heedan hospital was the one operated by the MSF and targeted by Saudi warplanes.
The Saudi military has been engaged in heavy strikes against Yemen since late March. The strikes are supposedly meant to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch Saudi ally.
About 7,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi airstrikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured since March 26.
It is the second time this month that an MSF facility has been hit in a conflict zone.
Earlier, on October 3, an MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was bombed by US forces, killing about 30 people.
Officials at the humanitarian organization have blamed the United States, calling for “independent investigation” into the incident, which the US says occurred as a result of a “mistake” made “within the US chain of command.”