Monthly Archives: July 2011
By Victor Kotsev
The most recent source of suspense in the Turkish-Israeli relationship is an important upcoming report by a United Nations inquiry into Israeli raid of the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara. The incident in international waters on May 31, 2010, left nine activists dead and over 50 people, including several Israeli soldiers, wounded.
The media intrigue, boosted by numerous leaks from politicians, is being loudly drummed up in both countries (and, to a lesser extent, in the international media), but it is important to keep in mind that both Ankara and Tel Aviv face more pressing challenges at home and abroad. The question looms large, therefore, whether or not this spat is much more than a smokescreen designed to divert attention and to serve indirectly related agendas of the two countries.
The upcoming report was originally intended to help mend Turkish-Israeli ties which have been in decline since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-2009, and under incredible strain after the Mavi Marmara raid. However, its final draft is said to hurt both countries, and its impact to seriously endanger their ties. If Ankara and Tel Aviv can reach an understanding on their own, the report could be toned down; intensive negotiations are underway.
The sticking issue is Turkey’s demand that Israel apologizes for the raid and pays compensation to the families of the victims. Israel, which claims that its soldiers acted in self-defense, has so far balked at the idea of issuing any kind of apology, even though its government has been discussing this possibility over the last few days. Some reports claim that Israel has quietly agreed to pay compensation in the past, but that an apology remains a red line for many in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right coalition.
The four-member inquiry panel, backed by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, includes both an Israeli and a Turkish representative, and was launched in August 2010. Its conclusions examine and draw on investigations that both countries conducted independently, and are considered more authoritative than those of a previous report, released by the United Nations Human Rights Council last September, which squarely laid blame on Israel. 
Arguably, the Turks are responsible for most of the noise surrounding the inquiry itself. Israel conducted a high-powered investigation into the incident, headed by retired Israeli Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel and including two prominent international observers. Its findings, signed also by international legal experts, were released in January. The Turkel report criticized the Israeli army for operational failures, but concluded that “the actions taken [by Israel] were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.” 
Turkey reacted angrily to the Israeli report, but its own investigation into the incident was much less extensive and seemingly carried much less weight. The Recep Tayyip Erdogan administration, nevertheless, stuck to its guns. “We expect the UN investigation to be balanced so we won’t get what we want and Israel won’t get what it wants, but apology and compensation are a red line for us,” a Turkish official told Reuters in February.
By May, however, the full extent of the damage done to Turkey’s position by the Turkel report and Israeli diplomacy became visible. An alarmed Ankara threatened to pull out of the United Nations investigation, claiming a pro-Israeli bias of the draft. 
In June, after the parliamentary elections in Turkey which were won by the ruling AKP (Justice and Development) party, intensive negotiations to resolve the crisis started between the two countries. The United States played an important role behind the curtains, allegedly promising Ankara “a major role in Mideast [peace] talks” if it stopped the Turkish participants in the Freedom Flotilla movement from sailing again to Gaza this year. 
The move worked spectacularly, and for a while it seemed that the Turkish-Israeli rift was almost over (see my article Gandhians come thundering, Asia Times Online, July 8, 2011). However, the issue of the apology remained unresolved, and the upcoming report elevated it again to a crisis status.
According to information provided to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz by anonymous Israeli officials, the UN draft report justifies the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and criticizes the actions of the Turkish government, but also accuses Israel of using disproportionate force. It does not demand an apology from Israel. 
According to leaks in the Turkish press, however, the report accuses Israel of sending its commandos “to kill”. 
Turkey remains adamant about the apology, and it has been dangling both carrots and sticks in front of the Israeli government. On the one hand stands the promise of full normalization of diplomatic, military, intelligence, and economic ties between the two countries.  On the other hand stands the threat of “diplomatic action”. 
Such measures could include a visit to Gaza by Erdogan (lending international legitimacy to Hamas), further downgrades in diplomatic representation (there has been no Turkish ambassador in Israel for over a year), and possibly international lawsuits against Israeli soldiers.
The Israeli government is holding intensive debates on its course of action. Last week, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein advised Netanyahu to apologize, and expressed his belief that Turkey could be persuaded not to file any lawsuits against Israeli soldiers in exchange.  This has been a problematic issue so far, and some Israeli analysts have claimed that an apology might in fact make lawsuits more likely.
Hardliners in the Israeli government have been more vocal in the media about the debates, indicating that they perceive a danger that they may lose the argument. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned Netanyahu for “his inclination to agree to an Israeli apology to Turkey over the deadly IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] raid on a Gaza-bound ship last year,” as a Ha’aretz report has it. 
According to other media reports, it was the Israeli officials who requested the latest postponement of the release of the UN report. It is important to see how this crisis plays out, not so much because of its intrinsic importance, but because it is indicative of the course of several larger crises in the Middle East which are gathering steam.
There is, for example, the Syrian crisis. It was a major incentive for both Israel and Turkey, which are Syria’s neighbors, to pursue a reconciliation, since it threatens to destabilize the entire region; the only way to avoid a serious spillover would be for regional powers to act together and with determination.
Syria was likely also on the mind of the United States as it pushed Jerusalem and Ankara to mend fences. The Syrian upheaval is gradually sliding toward a proxy conflict between Iran and the United States and its allies; even a possible Turkish military intervention is reportedly in the works.
The Iranian nuclear crisis is also at a critical point. The United States clearly is eager to resolve any outstanding issues between its allies in this moment.
On the other hand, however, stands Turkey’s desire for a prominent role in the Muslim world. After the fall of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Ankara arguably received a boost in this ambition. Still, it is reluctant to challenge its other main competitors – Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has domestic troubles of its own, including a restive Kurdish population, and an economic crisis that is bound to be exacerbated by the problems in Syria and the rest of the Arab world.
A cheap way for Erdogan to get credit with the Arab street is to pick a fight with Israel; the more symbolic the fight, the better. The Mavi Marmara incident seems like a gold mine in this respect, and this likely explains a large part of the Turkish reticence to accept anything less than an apology.
Prominent in Israel’s calculations, on the other hand, are both the Iranian crisis and the upcoming Palestinian declaration of independence. Netanyahu has held his cards close to his chest on both issues. It remains to be seen whether he will seek to mend his international standing as much as possible prior to September, indicating that he is committed to a purely diplomatic exit from all the different crises, or if he will escalate further all fronts, gambling on the assumption that a military flare-up anywhere in the region will reshuffle all the cards and make an apology superfluous.
It could be that Netanyahu ends up being unable to twist the arms of his unruly right-wing coalition partners into agreeing to an apology. It could also be that a military flare-up, in Syria, Iran, Lebanon or Gaza, is imminent.
While the current crisis between Israel and Turkey is hardly significant in the long run in and of itself, it could provide important clues to these questions.
1. UN’s Gaza flotilla probe finds Israeli soldiers committed ‘willful killing’, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 September 2010
2. Israel Flotilla Raid Was Legal, Turkel Commission Report States, Huffington Post, 23 January 2011
3. Report: Turkey threatens to leave UN Gaza flotilla inquiry panel over ‘Israel-favored’ draft, Ha’aretz, 14 May 2011
4. Report: US to offer Turkey major role in Mideast talks if it stops Gaza flotilla, Ha’aretz, 3 June 2011
5. UN report: Gaza blockade legal, Israel doesn’t owe Turkey apology for Marmara, Ha’aretz, 7 July 2011
6. Report: UN panel rules IDF boarded Marmara ‘to kill’, ynetnews.com 24 July 2011
7. Turkey set on fully mending ties with Israel, says Erdogan’s aide, Ha’aretz, 21 July 2011
8. Turkey threatens diplomatic action pending Israel apology for Gaza flotilla raid, Ha’aretz, 25 July 2011
9. AG to Netanyahu: Apologize to Turkey or face indictments for IDF troops, Ha’aretz, 21 July 2011
10. Lieberman deplores Netanyahu for leaning toward apology to Turkey, Ha’aretz, 21 July 2011
Victor Kotsev is a journalist and political analyst based in Tel Aviv.
(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
By Paul Craig Roberts
July 27, 2011 “Information Clearing House” – A reader responded to my recent column about how the US president was becoming a Caesar with a question: “Wouldn’t a Caesar be preferable to a democracy in which the people are too ignorant, disinterested, and stupid to engage in self-government?”
Before I became a widely read columnist with many reader responses, I would have disagreed with the reader’s characterization of the American people. Today, I cannot answer the reader’s question with a “no” as confidently as I would like.
I receive appreciative words from many readers who are well aware of what is going on.
I also hear from many who are so partisan and have such strong emotional responses that they are unable to follow an argument. I don’t know what percentage these groups comprise in the population, but there seem to be a number of Americans, both on the left and the right, who are prepared to censor and even to kill in order to defend their illusions and delusions.
I remain a suspect bogyman for some on the left, because of my association with the Kemp-Roth bill and Reaganomics. As I, and others, have explained so many times, Supply-Side economics reversed the monetary/fiscal policy mix in order to cure stagflation. But some leftists persist in their insistence that it was all a trick to cut taxes for the rich–the rich being those with more money than they. A stressed-out $100,000 a year guy with a family in a high-cost city is thrown into the rich class with the hedge fund manager who paid himself one billion dollars.
To give the leftists their due, at least they know that I was a member of the Reagan administration. However, the right-wing zealots think that I am a pinko-liberal-commie.
Recently I wrote an article pointing out that the Republicans had picked a bad time, when the world was already concerned about US financial credibility, to make an issue over the routine increase of the debt ceiling, thus creating an impasse that threatens default. The Republicans see in the debt ceiling issue an opportunity to cut social spending as the price of allowing an increase in the national debt.
One can’t blame the Republicans for trying to do something about the growth of the public debt. However, there is a risk in the Republican’s intransigency, and that risk is
that, thanks to presidential directives put on the books by President Bush, President Obama has the authority to declare the prospect of default a national emergency. Obama can simply set aside the debt ceiling limit and seize the power of the purse from Congress. The transformation of the president into Caesar would take another large step forward.
I wrote that I regarded this risk to be greater than the risk of additional public debt.
Several Republicans never reached the point of the article. I had taken for granted that everyone knew, especially Republicans, of the Republicans’ concern with entitlements and unfunded liabilities. I assumed that Republicans were aware of their party’s long history of reacting against the debts that are being piled upon our grandchildren, that they knew of the Grace Commission during the Reagan years, that they knew of Republican Pete Peterson’s many dramatic warnings and proposals, that they knew of David Walker’s accounting of the unfunded liabilities and the Republican Party’s determination to do something about the heavily-hyped cost of Social Security and Medicare. .
I assumed that Republicans knew that during the Reagan years David Stockman and Alan Greenspan had accelerated the payroll tax increases that President Carter had put in place to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and had spent the money for current operating expenses, leaving unfunded IOUs in the Social Security “trust fund.” I Assumed that Republicans knew that Republican Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Michael Boskin, and his Boskin Commission had reconfigured the Consumer Price Index in order to understate inflation and, thereby, reduce the cost-of-living-adjustments in Social Security checks.
I assumed that Republicans somewhere along the way had read at least one paper by a Republican policy analyst or think-tank member about the Social Security “Ponzi scheme” and the unaffordability of Medicare.
But, no, the Republican partisans who denounced me as an anti-Republican liberal propagandist for saying what is widely reported in the media–that the Republicans want large cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as the price of their agreement to an increase in the debt limit–know nothing whatsoever of their party’s position on social spending. Apparently, they don’t even watch Fox News.
These same partisans apparently have not noticed that the $1.2 trillion military/security expenditures are “off the table” when it comes to controlling spending. The Republicans and also the Democrats regard war as more important than old age pensions and medical care for the poor and the elderly. My Republican critics have also failed to noticed that House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor has made certain that tax increases on mega-high incomes are also “off the table.” According to mega-billionaire Warren Buffet, in America today we have the situation in which Buffet’s secretary pays a larger share of her income in taxes than does Buffet.
When I wrote that the Republicans’ fixation with slashing the social safety net–a throw away line that is in every news report on the debt ceiling imbroglio–could turn out to be a threat to the separation of powers, several Republican partisans took extraordinary offense. Only a no-good liberal propagandist would claim that Republicans wanted to slash the safety net. My statement of an obvious fact reflected in the Republicans own proposals was all that it took for my critics to conclude that a notorious Reaganite was a Republican-hating liberal.
It is annoying that people who have no idea what they are talking about are so ready to pop off. But it is discouraging to a writer that people are so emotional that they cannot follow an argument. Discouraged, in part by block-headed readers and from censorship of my writings by various Internet sites, I quit my column a while back and signed off.
I was beset by thousands of emails pleading and demanding that I continue to write.
I relented, and the emails from thoughtful readers keep me going.
It is rewarding to hear from intelligent and open-minded people. But as the weeks and months go by, I find it ever more tiresome to tolerate closed minds spewing hate and ignorance. I have become convinced that there are enough frustrated and ignorant people out there to constitute a movement for a Fuhrer.
Washington, which has produced a long list of disastrous policy decisions since the collapse of the Soviet Empire two decades ago, will no doubt continue making incredible mistakes about everything, and we will end up with a Caesar or a Fuhrer.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was appointed by President Reagan Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and confirmed by the US Senate. He was Associate Editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, and he served on the personal staffs of Representative Jack Kemp and Senator Orrin Hatch. He was staff associate of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, staff associate of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, and Chief Economist, Republican Staff, House Budget Committee. He wrote the Kemp-Roth tax rate reduction bill, and was a leader in the supply-side revolution. He was professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books and scholarly contributions. He has testified before committees of Congress on 30 occasions.
By Brian M Downing
Iraq is less violent and more stable than it was at the height of the insurgency, but it is still plagued by bombings and sectarian tensions. In recent weeks, Shi’ite militias have been attacking United States troops – perhaps on the direction of Iran, perhaps simply to take claim for their departure scheduled for the end of this year.
Sunni forces have been at work as well, targeting Shi’ite marketplaces and security personnel. Sunni militancy is no longer the diffuse anti-US insurgency it was after the fall of Baghdad, nor is it held in check any longer by benefits that the US surge once bestowed upon it.
Over the past year or two, the Sunni resistance has demonstrated considerable discipline and control in attacking Shi’ite targets and, most remarkably and puzzlingly, in not attacking US personnel. For an answer to this puzzle one might look next door to Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni insurgency, 2003-2007
In the four years between the fall of Baghdad and the success of the surge, various groups fought the Western forces. The Shi’ite militias were led by a handful of indigenous leaders and supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Leadership in the Sunni movement, however, was less concentrated. It was based on a confused array of former army officers, tribal chieftains, Ba’ath party figures, religious authorities, local power holders, and al-Qaeda lieutenants.
The rank and file came from former soldiers angered by the US’s demobilization of the army, Salafist faithful who opposed the Western presence, foreign fighters from across the Middle East, and tribal youth seeking pay and adventure when elders lost the revenue and patronage system that Saddam Hussein had given them. All found a cause and steady pay.
Most fighters were undisciplined, and the insurgency showed it. Attacks demonstrated little knowledge of small-unit tactics and US troops often described Sunni fighters as no more than armed gangs. Coordination among rival Sunni groups was limited to sharing bomb-making skills and some supplies, though some tactical coordination emerged.
The Sunni insurgency was funded by Ba’ath party caches secreted about the country, wealthy contractors who had benefited from the old regime, and foreign sources in the Sunni Arab world. The money of the Ba’ath party and the contractors are thought to be long gone.
The Sunni opposition today
Most of the conditions that brought the old insurgency are still in existence. The Sunnis endure loss of privilege and status as the regimes they dominated since the 1920s are gone. Salafism remains strong and indeed it has strengthened as Sunnis turn to austere religion to explain their defeats and offer answers.
Perhaps most significantly, young men from the tribes have lost the jobs that Saddam’s state and later the US surge had given them. The Shi’ite state ended these support systems and many young men are once again available – or they are supported through clandestine revenues from abroad.
Yet Sunni militants today operate in a far more controlled manner than in the past. They bomb Shi’ite markets and security forces, but refrain from the violent firefights and ambushes. The rivalries that divided various insurgent groups five years ago and led to rash competition for popular support are no longer in evidence. Whereas foreign fighters once fought openly with locals, they cooperate today.
There are few if any boastful manifestoes or propaganda videos from sundry leaders. The days of former colonels, neighborhood toughs, and foreign jihadis issuing proclamation after proclamation are gone. There is sufficient structure to prevent Sunni groups from attacking US troops.
This discipline and restraint cannot be rightly attributed to Iraqi political leadership. Sunni leaders are largely excluded from power. They are hounded, jailed, or even killed by Shi’ite security forces. Tribal elders no longer have the state or US revenue to keep their young men in line.
Why are al-Qaeda forces refraining from attacking US troops? They are not known for restraint. They despise the US intensely and generally follow the strategy of tying US forces down across the world so as to ruin the US financially – a goal that might seem less than far-fetched just now. Perhaps al-Qaeda in Iraq has come to an understanding with a foreign power reluctant to be tied to killing US soldiers.
All roads in the Gulf region lead to Riyadh. With the rising Shi’ite fortunes of late, Saudi Arabia is repaving and expanding those roads, especially the financial and intelligence ones running into Iraq’s Sunni triangle. The Saudis are enlisting co-religionists – former soldiers, Salafists, and tribal elders of the old insurgency – to serve in their sacred cause of containing Shi’ism and Iran.
Saudi involvement in Iraq is deep and longstanding, dating back at least to supporting Saddam’s war with Iran (1980-1988). Later, at the height of the insurgency, US intelligence detected money coming in from Sunni states in the region, though it wasn’t clear if the money came from governments or prosperous individuals.
The Saudi government played an important role in easing the insurgency and sectarian violence that threatened to spread into other countries and expand Iranian power. Saudi diplomacy and money pressed the Dulayim tribes, a highly militarized confederation that straddles the Iraqi-Saudi border and predominates in Anbar province – the center of the insurgency. Saudi efforts, largely overshadowed by parallel US ones, greatly reduced the fighting.
The Sunnis of Iraq now play an important role in Riyadh’s policy of containing Iran – a policy given more urgency by the perception – almost certainly erroneous – that Tehran has been encouraging uprisings by disaffected Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere in the Gulf.
The Saudis support the Kurds of northwestern Iran, the Arabs of Khuzestan in western Iran, and the Balochi in the southeast. Saudi Arabia is encouraging opposition among other non-Persian tribes with long histories of opposing Tehran whether a shah or mullah is in power. In Afghanistan, the Saudis are also enlisting Pashtun tribes to counter Iranian influence in the north and west. Iraq is but one front.
The Sunni campaign may seek to establish an autonomous region in Iraq for the increasingly marginalized Sunni Arabs. Perhaps a fully separate state is in mind, one that will serve as a buffer between Shi’ite states and Sunni ones. Such a country could rely on financial support from Sunni petro-states for quite some time, though Anbar province is thought to hold impressive hydrocarbon resources.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq?
The position of al-Qaeda in all this is puzzling. The dogged enemy of both the United States and Saudi Arabia is thought to be operating in substantial numbers in Iraq, yet it refrains from attacking the former and accepts the latter. Clearly, this is a different al-Qaeda than the one the world has come to know over the last ten years – so much so that it might be better seen as a different entity altogether.
The implication is that Saudi Arabia and the foreign fighters inside Iraq have established common ground and that these foreign fighters have been diverted from an anti-Western cause to an anti-Shi’ite one – at least temporarily, one must add. This might initially seem good news to many in the West, but it augurs poorly for stability in the Gulf as it implies protracted and well-funded irregular warfare in Iraq and with Iran.
The mechanics of such an arrangement are not hard to define. Saudi security forces have for years maintained ties with fellow countrymen who served in the ranks of the anti-Soviet mujahideen. Some of them joined or knew members in Osama bin Laden’s veteran league, which of course became al-Qaeda. Wahhabi clerics, through their interrelated preaching and recruiting, have been important parts of jihadi networks since the Afghan war emerged in 1980.
Further, Saudi security forces were able to infiltrate and defeat al-Qaeda-Arabian Peninsula when it turned on the House of Saud following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many of those fighters were captured or turned themselves in and have since provided useful intelligence.
If indeed the Saudis have converted a guerrilla force inside Iraq into a partner against Shi’ite power, they would do well to remain on guard. Working with zealous fighters has proven problematic over the years as the Arab mujahideen have turned against Pashtun mujahideen, the United States, the Afghan north, and now increasingly Pakistan. And of course they have in the past turned against the House of Saud as well.
Brian M Downing is the author of The Military Revolution and Political Change and The Paths of Glory: War and Social Change in America from the Great War to Vietnam. He can be reached at email@example.com
(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
By William Bowles
“Unfortunately, a minority of groups or individuals who present themselves as opponents of war spend more time cataloguing Gadhafi’s past real or alleged shortcomings than rallying people to respond to this criminal, all-out U.S. attack. Their influence would be small, except that it coincides with the opinions of the U.S. ruling class. Thus it is important to thoroughly answer their arguments.”
Then she writes:
“The response to this colonial war of aggression should be the same as the response to a racist mobilization, a racist lynch mob or a police attack on an oppressed community: Mobilize all possible forces to stand up to the crime and say “no!” Refuse to take part in the orchestrated campaign of vilification.
“This may not be an easy position to take. But it is essential to reject the racist political onslaught that accompanies the military onslaught.”
I get the impression that Sarah feels caught between a rock and an alleged leftie, else why say ‘This may not be an easy position to take’? Why is it not an easy position to take if it’s so clearly a imperialist and racist attack on a sovereign country? Flounders continues:
“Of course, such misguided groups are a small minority in the progressive movement. But there are those political organizations, which six months ago had not bothered to mention Libya, that now suddenly seek out respectable venues to add their own reasons that the dictator Gadhafi “must go” — an echo of the imperialist demand. Some even insist that in order to be part of the political discourse, every anti-war voice must first join in condemnation of Gadhafi.”
But nowhere do I find Flounders asking the question why? And it’s not merely “misguided groups [who] are a small minority” who fell (again) into the Imperial trap. We saw the same ‘misguided minority’ do it over Yugoslavia and Kosovo. At the the end of the 60s it was Nigeria and the Biafra War (over oil of course with surprise-surprise, Shell, at the centre of it).
But why is the ‘misguided minority’ even regarded as being a part of a (real) left in the West? Or does it reflect a general loss of direction, even motivation for wanting real change within what’s left of the left?
I think it’s time to take a look at the timeline of the latest barbarian attack on the defenceless of the world. I think it reveals far more about how the left in the West operates, what are its motivations, than it does about the aims of the Empire (which should surely by now be apparent even to a reluctant leftie).
First, the ‘Arab Spring’ which was in fact an ‘African Spring’ as it kicked off in Tunisia then spread to Egypt. But this is par for the course. It used to be that all of Africa was actually in Africa but in the 19th century the Western colonialists starting moving things around a bit and all of a sudden, Egypt was an Arab country, as was Algeria, indeed all of the Mahgreb.
We see the same sleight of hand used in the Sudan (now successfully partitioned, eg Balkanized), whereby the country is split between the ‘Arab’ North and the Christian and ‘Black’ South. But they are all Africans in Africa! Most African countries had their current boundaries decided not by them but by their Western colonizers. Most didn’t even exist within their current boundaries before they were colonized and then successfully neo-colonized.
In any case, the popular insurrections in Africa and the Middle East were the setting, the context for what was in Libya, clearly an attempted coup masquerading as a popular insurrection carried along on the wave of the ‘Arab Spring’. This is where it gets interesting.
First, it should have been apparent that unlike the other ‘revolutions’, the Empire was gung ho for the Libyan version, that should have been a warning sign. But for the ‘established’ Western Left Gaddafi is a bit of a Gadfly (in the Western media they can’t even bother to spell his name right, I must have seen at least four varieties and now I’m not sure how it’s spelt either). He didn’t fit the mould of liberation fighter. He was peddling this weird (to lefties) Green Book, neither capitalist nor socialist, floating somewhere inbetween. And he ‘switched’ sides thus he wasn’t to be trusted.
In reality of course the Empire said either you do as we say or we’ll destroy you. So Gaddafi, Khadafi, Ghaddafi or Qhadafi did a deal. It wasn’t the first time and unfortunately it won’t be the last and anyway it didn’t help him, they got his oil, or nearly so.
‘Britain [to Gaddafi]: We’ll let you stay if you step down’ – The Times front page headline, 26 July 2011
Hence the initial response on the left and not just a minority, was to support the ‘rebellion’, after all it appeared to have all the right credentials, unless you looked very closely. For me, as soon as I saw that a main player in the rebel camp was a CIA asset based in Washington DC, that was it for me. Game over.
In any case, this ‘assessing’ by the Western Left generally of all those actually engaged in struggle, as to whether or not it’s ‘supportable’ reflects the arrogance of Empire. Who are we to judge? What business is it of ours anyway? This is especially galling when we can’t get our own act together and are still conducting a never-ending fraticidal struggle with each other over who has the ‘real’ socialist vision, let alone who or what to support.
Then came UN Resolution 1973 and the ‘no-fly zone’, itself a clear act of war, period. This got some on the left thinking a little more clearly, but not all. Some actually felt it might compel Gaddafi, Khadafi, Ghaddafi or Qhadafi to go, leave town, disappear. Outrageous but true as it’s predicated on the idea that we have the right to decide whether Gaddafi, Khadafi, Ghaddafi or Qhadafi should live or die.
The setting for this was the propaganda war launched by the West with allegations of ‘African mercenaries’ (note not Arab mercenaries), then mass rapes and slaughter from the air. You know the thing, none of it true and simply airbrushed out of the equation. It had had the intended effect and thus could be conveniently ditched. ‘Black ops’ that many on the Left swallowed hook, line and sinker.
Even Flounders falls into the trap of making apologies for Gaddafi, Khadafi, Ghaddafi or Qhadafi when she writes:
“Whatever mistakes made by the leaders of a small, underdeveloped country facing U.S. sanctions, sabotage and assassination attempts, they are not the reason the U.S. is hell-bent on destroying Libya today.’
Whatever ‘mistakes’ Gaddafi, Khadafi, Ghaddafi or Qhadafi has made are to be deplored, no doubt, but unless you want to invade and overthrow him, there is little that can be done about it except by the Libyans themselves and right now they come out in marches a million strong in support of the guy, and apparently they are all armed. But what if they didn’t? What then?
We all live in a world dominated by Capital as for example Venezuela, the first post-Soviet country to attempt to embark on some kind of quasi-socialist road but it does it in a world dominated in every sense of the word, by its northern neighbour. Building a genuinely socialist economy in Venezuela is all but impossible, there are simply too many obstacles placed in the path of the Bolivarian revolution. Chavez treads a narrow line, able to initiate genuine reforms in some areas but limited by all manner of factors in others. Some because of ‘internal’ contradictions and others from the outside (which in any case feed back on to internal events).
Thus whatever even vaguely anti-imperialist countries do to resist the predations of the Empire should be supported, even Iran, a capitalist country run by the Mullahs. Let the Iranians sort out their own government, a task made all the easier if we do our job and change our governments whose attacks directly drive internal repression in Iran, in part it’s their function.
Should we not support Russia when it objects to NATO expansion right up to its borders? It doesn’t mean we support Russian capitalism or its own lack of human rights or whatever, so why is it so difficult to apply the same reasoning to Libya or Iran? Surely it should be a reflex by now?
If you cast your mind back to the post-war period with its multitude of liberation movements, especially in Africa, virtually all the successful ones were led by Marxists of one flavour or another and even those that weren’t adopted central planning and state intervention in the economy. Many called themselves socialist or ‘African socialist’ and thus most were locked out of the global economy and doomed to fail. Did we in the West not support them even if we didn’t like what they were doing? Did we stop supporting the ANC when it embarked on an armed struggle and in the process killed civilians?
When I worked with and later for the ANC, I was under no illusions about it not having a socialist vision or indeed socialist platform but that didn’t stop me working for the ANC to win power. After that it’s up to South Africans to sort it out one way or the other.
Either way, we have to make the decision about which side we are on. If you think it’s our business to decide what kind of government a country should have then you must surely support armed intervention by the Empire. If you don’t then it’s incumbent on you to try get your government not to do it. All else is merely opinion.
William Bowles, Editor/Publisher http://williambowles.info/
By Chris Hedges
“Truthdig” — The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.
The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.
We live in a fundamentalist culture. Our utopian visions of inevitable human progress, obsession with endless consumption, and fetish for power and unlimited growth are fed by illusions that are as dangerous as fantasies about the Second Coming. These beliefs are the newest expression of the infatuation with the apocalypse, one first articulated to Western culture by the early church. This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians. The historian Arnold Toynbee argues that racism in Anglo-American culture was given a special virulence after the publication of the King James Bible. The concept of “the chosen people” was quickly adopted, he wrote, by British and American imperialists. It fed the disease of white supremacy. It gave them the moral sanction to dominate and destroy other races, from the Native Americans to those on the subcontinent.
Our secular and religious fundamentalists come out of this twisted yearning for the apocalypse and belief in the “chosen people.” They advocate, in the language of religion and scientific rationalism, the divine right of our domination, the clash of civilizations. They assure us that we are headed into the broad, uplifting world of universal democracy and a global free market once we sign on for the subjugation and extermination of those who oppose us. They insist—as the fascists and the communists did—that this call for a new world is based on reason, factual evidence and science or divine will. But schemes for universal human advancement, no matter what language is used to justify them, are always mythic. They are designed to satisfy a yearning for meaning and purpose. They give the proponents of these myths the status of soothsayers and prophets. And, when acted upon, they fill the Earth with mass graves, bombed cities, widespread misery and penal colonies. The extent of this fundamentalism is evident in the strident utterances of the Christian right as well as those of the so-called New Atheists.
“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” asks in a passage that I suspect Breivik would have enjoyed. “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”
“We are at war with Islam,” Harris goes on. “It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, and further elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and teachings of the Prophet.”
Harris assures us that “the Koran mandates such hatred,” that “the problem is with Islam itself.” He writes that “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.”
A culture that exalts its own moral certitude and engages in uncritical self-worship at the expense of conscience commits moral and finally physical suicide. Our fundamentalists busy themselves with their pathetic little monuments to Jesus, to reason, to science, to Western civilization and to new imperial glory. They peddle a binary view of the world that divides reality between black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. We are taught in a fundamentalist culture to view other human beings, especially Muslims, not as ends but as means. We abrogate the right to exterminate all who do not conform.
Fundamentalists have no interest in history, culture or social or linguistic differences. They are a remarkably uncurious, self-satisfied group. Anything outside their own narrow bourgeois life, petty concerns and physical comforts bores them. They are provincials. They do not investigate or seek to understand the endemic flaws in human nature. The only thing that matters is the coming salvation of humanity, or at least that segment of humanity they deem worthy of salvation. They peddle a route to assured collective deliverance. And they sanction violence and the physical extermination of other human beings to get there.
All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. They worship the future prospect of their own empowerment. They view this empowerment as a necessity for the advancement and protection of civilization or the Christian state. They sanctify the nation. They hold up the ability the industrial state has handed to them as a group and as individuals to shape the world according to their vision as evidence of their own superiority. Fundamentalists express the frustrations of a myopic and morally stunted middle class. They cling, under their religious or scientific veneer, to the worst values of the petite bourgeois. They are suburban mutations, products of an American landscape that has been perverted by a destruction of community and a long and successful war against complex thought. The self-absorbed worldview of these fundamentalists brings smiles of indulgence from the corporatists who profit, at our expense, from the obliteration of moral and intellectual inquiry.
Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” acidly condemned all schemes to purify the world and serve human progress through violence. He said that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Dedalus in the same passage responded to the schoolmaster Deasy’s claim that “the ways of the Creator are not our ways,” and that “all history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.” A soccer goal is jubilantly scored by boys in the yard outside the school window as Deasy expounds on divine will. God, Dedalus tells Deasy as the players yell in glee over the goal, is no more than the screams from the schoolyard —“a shout in the street.” Joyce, like Samuel Beckett, excoriated the Western belief in historical teleology—the notion that history has a purpose or is moving toward a goal. The absurdity of this belief, they wrote, always feeds fanatics and undermines the possibility of human community. These writers warned us about all those—religious and secular—who call for salvation through history.
There are tens of millions of Americans who in their desperation and insecurity yearn for the assurance and empowerment offered by a clearly defined war against an external evil. They are taught in our fundamentalist culture that this evil is the root of their misery. They embrace a war against this evil as a solution to the drift in their lives, their economic deprivation and the moral and economic morass of the nation. They see in this conflict with these dark forces a way to overcome their own alienation. They find in it certitude, meaning and structure. They believe that once this evil is vanquished, an evil that extends from Muslims to undocumented workers, liberals, intellectuals, homosexuals and feminists, they can transform America into a land of plenty and virtue. But this fundamentalism, which cloaks itself in the jargon of scientific rationality, Christian piety and nativism, is a recipe for fanaticism. All those who embrace other ways of being and believing are viewed, as Breivik apparently viewed his victims, as contaminates that must be eliminated.
This fundamentalist ideology, because it is contradictory and filled with myth, is immune to critiques based on reason, fact and logic. This is part of its appeal. It obliterates doubt, nuance, intellectual and scientific rigor and moral conscience. All has been predicted or decided. Life is reduced to following a simple black-and-white road map. The contradictions in these belief systems—for example the championing of the “rights of the unborn” while calling for wider use of the death penalty or the damning of Muslim terrorists while promoting pre-emptive war, which delivers more death and misery in the Middle East than any jihadist organization—inoculate followers from rational discourse. Life becomes a crusade.
All fundamentalists, religious and secular, are ignoramuses. They follow the lines of least resistance. They already know what is true and what is untrue. They do not need to challenge their own beliefs or investigate the beliefs of others. They do not need to bother with the hard and laborious work of religious, linguistic, historical and cultural understanding. They do not need to engage in self-criticism or self-reflection. It spoils the game. It ruins the entertainment. They see all people, and especially themselves, as clearly and starkly defined. The world is divided into those who embrace or reject their belief systems. Those who support these belief systems are good and forces for human progress. Those who oppose these belief systems are stupid, at best, and usually evil. Fundamentalists have no interest in real debate, real dialogue, real intellectual thought. Fundamentalism, at its core, is about self-worship. It is about feeling holier, smarter and more powerful than everyone else. And this comes directly out of the sickness of our advertising age and its exaltation of the cult of the self. It is a product of our deep and unreflective cultural narcissism.
Our faith in the inevitability of human progress constitutes an inability to grasp the tragic nature of history. Human history is one of constant conflict between the will to power and the will to nurture and protect life. Our greatest achievements are always intertwined with our greatest failures. Our most exalted accomplishments are always coupled with our most egregious barbarities. Science and industry serve as instruments of progress as well as instruments of destruction. The Industrial Age has provided feats of engineering and technology, yet it has also destroyed community, spread the plague of urbanization, uprooted us all, turned human beings into cogs and made possible the total war and wholesale industrial killing that has marked the last century. These technologies, even as we see them as our salvation, are rapidly destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life.
There is no linear movement in history. Morality and ethics are static. Human nature does not change. Barbarism is part of the human condition and we can all succumb to its basest dimensions. This is the tragedy of history. Human will is morally ambiguous. The freedom to act as often results in the construction of new prisons and systems of repression as it does the safeguarding of universal human rights. The competing forces of love and of power define us, what Sigmund Freud termed Eros and Thanatos. Societies have, throughout history, ignored calls for altruism and mutuality in times of social upheaval and turmoil. They have wasted their freedom in the self-destructive urges that currently envelope us. These urges are very human and very dangerous. They are fired by utopian visions of inevitable human progress. When this progress stalls or is reversed, when the dreams of advancement and financial stability are thwarted, when a people confronts its own inevitable downward spiral, dark forces of vengeance and retribution are unleashed. Fundamentalists serve an evil that is unseen and unexamined. And the longer this evil is ignored the more dangerous and deadly it becomes. Those who seek through violence the Garden of Eden usher in the apocalypse.
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. http://www.truthdig.com/
“I was one of those who survived those kinds of torture. They used electroshocks on me because I would not sign papers.”
German Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz has publicly spoken about being subjected to electroshock torture, lethal beatings and humiliation during his years of unlawful detention.
In an exclusive interview with Russia Today news network on Monday, the former detainee said he was held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for five years before being released without charges.
Kurnaz went on to say that Americans have not apologized for his years of torment at the notorious detainment facility, and he doesn’t think they would ever do so.
He further explained that he was arrested in Pakistan in 2001, and turned to the Americans after he had visited a school run by Tablighi Jamaat — a religious movement hated by the al-Qaeda and the Taliban for its non-political stature — in the Asian country.
Kurnaz had earlier become familiar with Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement through its assistance to homeless people and youth, who had problems with drugs.
He added that when he got booked, Pakistani forces didn’t tell him anything about what was going on.
“They didn’t tell me that they were looking for terrorists or whatever. They said we’re just going to check your passport. I didn’t know at that time they get a bounty of $3,000 for each person. Not under my name, but for anyone turned over to the Americans as terrorist they get $3,000, and $3,000 in Pakistan is a lot of money,” Kurnaz said.
He noted that after being transferred to Kandahar in Afghanistan, he witnessed all kinds of things that one can imagine as torture.
“I saw many killed under torture. I was one of those who survived those kinds of torture. They used electroshocks on me because I would not sign papers.”
“I was forced to agree I was a member of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda and I said I’m not. Really I didn’t know at that time what al-Qaeda was, I didn’t know [anything] about al-Qaeda. So when they asked me about al-Qaeda and Taliban, I said I’m not a member of them. And they brought me papers, forced me to sign. I refused,” the former Gitmo prisoner said.
“That’s why they tried to make me sign by electroshocks. And another time they forced me by water boarding. Another time they hanged me on chains. I was hanging on the ceiling. They were pulling me on the ceiling with the chain, and until my feet were over the floor. After a few days I started to pass out, because in that situation I couldn’t eat or drink and it was freezing cold. It was wintertime and I had no clothes on,” he added.
Kurnaz said Guantanamo detainees were chained hand to foot in a fatal position on the floor with no chair, food, or water for 24 hours or more.
He also said that the youngest Gitmo prisoner was nine years old, and the second underage detainee in Guantanamo was 12.
Upon taking office, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order to stop military commissions in order to close down the facility by 2010. However, this has not happened yet.
It started with Georgia, it ended with Libya. NATO has lost the capacity to whitewash its evil schemes by manipulating the truth. Despite desperate attempts to control the Internet, the flow of information is free enough for the truth to come out and for the millions of activists around the world to use this freedom to divulge what is happening.
I am proud to say that I saw through this NATO campaign in Libya before it started – the western and eastern borders were secured through the “revolutions” in Tunisia and Egypt, the flags had already been mass produced and shipped to Libya’s eastern frontier (those flags from the time when Libya was the poorest country in the world, before Colonel Gaddafi made it the richest in Africa), the “rebels” had been armed in Benghazi and shipped in from other theatres of war where they were attacking NATO (Iraq, Afghanistan) and allegedly, some of them released from Guantanamo to become allies of the United States of America.
The target was obviously Colonel Muammar al-Qathafi himself, whose tremendous social programs in Africa had cheesed off the banking lobby, the energy lobby and the arms lobby, whose criticism of the excesses in Islam had inflamed the hard-line Islamists (their power base being in Benghazi in particular and Cyrenaica in general), whose distribution of the oil wealth directly into the bank accounts of the Libyan people frustrated those echelons in Libyan society as he by-passed their corruption schemes, whose pan-Africanism struck a dissonant chord with the racism endemic in certain parts of Libyan society.
Therefore it came as no surprise at all when we were suddenly hit by a media barrage of “unarmed civilians” being “attacked” by the “bloodthirsty tyrant and dictator” “Gaddafy” who was “mad” and whose “regime” was “hated” and would be overthrown “within weeks” by the “people” as he witnessed “mass defections” from his “compound”. Yes, all the key words are there. Then all we needed was an image of a screaming child and right on cue there it was on day two – dug up from the archives, some such video shot of a thirteen-month-old boy screaming in terror as he was vaccinated for MMR without a mark on his body looking at the syringe just off camera.
The camera doesn’t lie? These days it can and does. And so can the media.
How millions of people were duped by this orchestration of lies defies logic, how politicians such as the CHOCS (Clinton, Hague, Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy) could look the camera in the eye and lie through their teeth is an indication of how false and evil they really are, or else a signal that they themselves are controlled by that invisible clique of lobbyists representing the weapons, banking and energy sectors which control their economies, in which case our western democracies are, in a word, a sham.
Saying from the outset that I would not sit back and let NATO deride Muammar al-Qathafi with gratuitous derogatory labels and aware of his tremendous legacy in Africa – his telemedicine programmes benefit the entire continent, his e-learning programme reaches all corners of Africa – and aware of his excellent humanitarian record for which he was to receive a UNO award in March 2011, I set about writing the truth and in doing so encountered a tsunami of popular indignation against NATO and in favour of Muammar al-Qathafi.
Happily, I saw that I was not alone. The millions of individuals and groups around the world spreading the truth about Libya are fighting the victorious media campaign outside Libya; the millions of Libyans inside the country taking to the streets against NATO and in favour of their Brother Leader and the Jamahiriya bear witness to the fact that from the outset, NATO was telling lies.
Therefore today it comes as no surprise that there exists a wealth of information plastered across the Internet about the real origins of this movement (a false flag event in which terrorists fired on the population and blamed Colonel Gaddafi), about the real identity of the “unarmed civilians” (heavily armed terrorists led by a convicted terrorist, Hasidi), about the human rights abuses coming from the rebel side (and not Colonel Gaddafi’s forces), about the tremendous amount of time Muammar al-Qathafi spends before a campaign calling on his opponents (many of whom are mercenaries brought in from abroad, even NATO countries) to lay down their arms and making sure civilian casualties are kept to a minimum (and not the nonsense NATO speaks about).
It comes as no surprise that even the corporate (bought) media are now starting to carry stories of NATO’s massacres (another one yesterday precision-bombed a hospital murdering seven civilians), and about NATO’s flouting of international law (1).
So now we see: a senior NATO official apparently calling for NATO to target civilian structures to break the population (as they did in Serbia, targeting electricity and water supplies), NATO bombing the main water pipeline which carries water to 70% of the population, then the following day the factory making the pipes to repair it, NATO precision bombing family homes and murdering children. If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is.
NATO has lost the media war. For every bullshit story they spin, another thousand websites open up with the truth – documented and with photographs and films as evidence.
In short, Google up or call up on you tube Libya+rebels and see what you see. Are these unarmed civilians? Then why is NATO siding with terrorists? Why did NATO not heed Colonel Gaddafi’s call for a free and fair internationally monitored election? Because they knew he would win. So NATO does not stand for democracy.
This campaign is about destroying the African Union which Muammar al-Qathafi sponsored, re-colonising Africa after he freed large swathes of business and trade from western domination, substituting the African Union with AFRICOM, stealing Libya’s oil, destroying the Jamahiriya (government through real democracy, people’s congresses) and taking the money from Libya’s sovereign fund and gold reserves.
It is about funding and arming terrorists to achieve the aim, it is about violating the UN Resolutions and international law covering the event through illegally supplying the terrorists with weapons and through boots on the ground.
The international community is at a crucial turning point in world history, which will never be the same again. Either the governments of the world do something and stop examining their navels pretending nothing is happening or else the people of the world will do something about it themselves. Future generations will look upon this as the time NATO was stopped in its tracks, the time the evil war-mongering greedy self-interests of the faceless cliques ceased to be policy…or as the time when collectively, humanity swallowed the toad in silence in a sickening sea of collective snivelling and yellow-bellied cowardice.
I sincerely hope it is the former.
(1) Indictment of NATO for war crimes
By Pepe Escobar
Imagine if Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old pale, blond, blue-eyed, 100% Norwegian, gun-crazy ultra right-wing Christian fundamentalist responsible for the car bombing in Oslo and the meticulous targeted assassinations at the island of Utoya that killed 93 people, was a Muslim immigrant.
One does not even have to imagine it – as the concentric Western circles of the Islamophobia industry immediately attributed the massacre in Norway to “al-Qaeda”, until facts got in the way.
Wait a minute. “Targeted assassinations?” It had to cross the killer’s mind that if the Barack Obama administration could do it – in AfPak, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, all in the name of Western civilization – there’s nothing to prevent a cool Scandinavian from exercising the same rights on his own soil.
The overlapping strands of al-Qaeda ideology can be examined in detail in volumes such as Al-Qaeda in Its Own Words, edited by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli, and published in English by Harvard University Press. Lone Breivik also concocted his own hefty, 1,500-page hate manifesto , titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, where he equally thrashes liberalism, multiculturalism and “cultural Marxism”, which are allegedly destroying European Christian civilization.
As much as al-Qaeda – under the ideological guidance of now leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri – embarked on defensive (and occasionally offensive) jihad against Christians and Jews, Breivik calls for no less than a Christian jihad to defend Europe from yet another Muslim invasion.
The return of the Christian crusaders
What reveals that Breivik is no lone freak is that the ideology behind the manifesto overwhelmingly condemns not only Islam per se, Muslim immigration in Europe, and multiculturalism, but also all the neo-Nazi, racial supremacist rants against these “evils”.
Breivik, the mass bomber who loves crappy Eurovision songs and the US cop show The Shield, and owns legitimate licenses for a Glock pistol, an automatic rifle and a shotgun is a typical convert of the new, slightly more sophisticated pan-European ultra-right narrative – according to which the battle for the soul of Europe will be fought on cultural grounds.
After a brief visit to Denmark and southern Sweden in the autumn of 2010, I had already touched on these broader themes in Letter from Islamophobistan (Asia Times Online, October 22, 2010).
Breivik goes one step ahead by weaponizing the new thinking – according to which it’s not a question of Muslims being biologically inferior to the Christian West; the problem is the tenets of Islam are absolutely incompatible with the West.
It’s all about culture. “They” don’t share “our values” and our way of life. As a shrewd public relations move, this culturalist explanation is bound to attract even moderate Europeans.
Breivik and his ilk blame Western parliamentary democracy as a whole – political correctness included – for allowing Muslims in Europe to establish themselves as Trojan horses. Everything and everyone is a threat – from al-Qaeda to the bureaucratic European Union (EU) and the multicultural United Nations (UN). Breivik and his kind are Huntingtonesque all the way – fearing a clash of civilizations right at home.
No wonder the next logical step was for Breivik to become a modern-day version of the Knights Templars extolled in his rambling manifesto – and thus set an example. The Knights’ agenda; to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda”.
“Al-Qaeda” – or the nebula of franchises and copycats commonly bundled as “al-Qaeda” – does not have the resources to attack Europe, and this is not the priority anyway; the priority is AfPak, Central Asia and India, as detailed by al-Qaeda’s military commander Ilyas Kashmiri. But the priority of Christian fundamentalist terror is definitely Europe. And the attacks will come via loners such as Breivik as well as organized groups.
Western progressives must be on red alert. Taboos will have to be smashed – especially by identifying the contorted but most of the time crude strategies employed by ultra-right Christian fundamentalism and Zionists to foment Islamophobia in the West.
For instance, both Islamophobes and hardcore Zionists see the Israeli subjugation of Palestine as Israel defending itself in a clash of civilizations. Model disciple Breivik hails notorious American Islamophobes such as Pam Geller and Daniel Pipes as much as he abhors Norwegian support for an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.
Breivik wrote, “It’s very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists different from each other. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies. Not all Muslims, Nazis and Marxists are conservative; most of them are moderate. But does it matter?”
It doesn’t; fascism is an equal-opportunity seducer. There will be blood – a lot more blood, as Europe confronts its own heart of darkness. Beware the return – en masse – of the pale blue-eyed Christian crusader.
1. See key extracts here
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
By Pierre Tristam
July 25, 2011 “Flagler Live” — Timothy McVeigh, meet Anders Behring Breivik. Those two jihadists—two right-wing reactionaries, two terrorists, two anti-government white supremacists, two Christians—have a lot in common, down to the way the massacres they carried out were first mistaken for the work of Islamists by an American press rich in zealotry of its own. And they have a lot more in common with the fundamentalist politicians and ideologues among us who pretend to have nothing to do with the demons they inspire.
After the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, speculation flew on television news stations about Arab terrorists seen in the vicinity of the federal building. The thought that a home-grown, Midwestern Army veteran of the first Gulf war could possibly murder 168 people, including 19 children at a day care center, seemed as foreign as those Islamic lands that were then inspiring so much of bigotry’s latest American mutant. McVeigh turned out to be as all-American as he could possibly be, with extras. His paradoxical worship of the Second Amendment was the faith that fueled his hatred of a government he felt had betrayed American ideals by enabling what he called “Socialist wannabe slaves.” His idealism of a golden-age white America was the Christian translation of al-Qaeda’s idealized caliphate.
It became quickly evident that the bombing in Oslo and the massacre on Utoya Island on Friday had been carried out by Anders Breivik, who surrendered to police 40 minutes after beginning his killing spree on the island. Yet the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on Saturday putting the blame for the attack on Islamist extremists, because “in jihadist eyes,” the paper said, “it will forever remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy and every other freedom that still defines the West.”
The paper subsequently amended its editorial to concede that Breivik “was an ethnic Norwegian with no previously known ties to Islamist groups.” But the rest of the piece still framed the attack in the context of Islamist terrorism. It’s a common tactic at the Journal and Fox News—co-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-riddled News Corp.—where facts are incidental to ideology. It is enough for the Journal to insinuate a connection for its Foxified audience to catch the drift and run with it. Breivik may be Norwegian. But he wouldn’t be doing what he did if it weren’t for the pollution of white, Christian European blood by Muslims and multiculturalists, by leftists, by Socialist wannabe slaves.
McVeigh and Breivik are bloody reminders that Western culture’s original sin—the presumption of supremacy—is alive and well and clenching many a trigger. It’ll be easy in coming days, as it was in 1995, to categorize the demons as exceptions unrepresentative of their societies. Easy, but false. Norway, like much of Europe, like the United States, is in the grips of a disturbing resurgence of right-wing fanaticism. “The success of populist parties appealing to a sense of lost national identity,” The Times reports, “has brought criticism of minorities, immigrants and in particular Muslims out of the beer halls and Internet chat rooms and into mainstream politics. While the parties themselves generally do not condone violence, some experts say a climate of hatred in the political discourse has encouraged violent individuals.”
It’s convenient duplicity. The parties don’t explicitly condone violence. But they would have no appeal without explicitly endorsing beliefs of supremacy and projecting the sort of scorn and hatred for those who fall outside the tribe that cannot but lead to violence or the sort of fractured society we’ve become so familiar with. Those “Take Back America” bumper stickers share most of their DNA with the same strain of rejectionist white Europeans who think their culture is being bankrupted by Socialism and immigrants. Those idiotic anti-Sharia laws creeping up in Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida take their cues from the likes of Geert Wilder, the Dutch People’s Party leader who compares the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Florida’s own Koran-burning Terry Jones or the Rev. Franklin Graham’s velvety crusade against Islam are Wilder’s American clones.
Timothy McVeigh’s rhetoric may have been more extreme, but it was indistinguishable from the more college-polished and aged rhetoric of anti-government reactionaries now pretending to speak for American ideals under the banner of patriots, tea parties, Fox News’s hacking of the “fair and balanced” parody, or more establishment oriented zealots in Congress. The common denominator is exclusion and heresy: those who supposedly belong to “true” American values, and those who don’t. Al-Qaeda’s loyalty oath is identical: those who belong to “true” Islamic values and those who don’t. Either way, the inclusive, tolerant, broad-minded, and yes, multicultural outlook is under siege by fundamentalism in virtually every part of society as we know it: cultural, political, economic, religious. Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik used bombs and rifles. More seasoned zealots use rhetoric and policies. The ongoing march of folly over the national debt is merely one example among many.
“We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack,” the columnist Nicholas Kristof writes today. “But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.”
Islamists who may want us harm need only sit back and enjoy the view. They might as well have outsourced the job to their Christian brethren, with plenty of assists from mainstream conservatives. There’s no segregating these demons and maniacs. They’re an integral part of western culture. They’re us.
Here is one more video showing a murderous crime of the racist lynch mob, which western and arab propaganda dubs „peaceful protesters“:
Written by Adam Booth Monday, 25 July 2011
As the earthquake of economic crisis sweeps across the globe, the political establishment in country after country is being shaken to the core. “Strong” governments have been exposed as, in fact, being extremely weak, both at the ballot box and on the streets. The ruling class is beginning to lose its political grip on society and people are beginning to question the traditional pillars that society has rested upon for centuries.
At its heart, this political crisis is a reflection of the deep crisis of capitalism, which leaves no rock unturned as its tremors spread across the world. Marx and Engels explained in their writings that at the heart of society is the economic base: the mode of production and distribution; the relationship between the different classes and the means of production. Upon this base is built the “superstructure” of forms and ideology within society: the state, the law, the family, religion, morality, culture, etc. As a result, changes to the economic base are, in the long run, generally reflected by changes within the superstructure.
In normal periods, when the productive forces are developing and living standards are improving, society’s economic base is generally speaking not questioned by the majority of people. Up until recently, capitalism was, for many, a sacred cow. All of that changed with the current economic crisis, which has thrown society backwards. As people begin to question the fundamental base of society – capitalism itself – they are led, inevitably, to question everything else that once seemed unquestionable: all the old morals and ideas; the various arms of the state; the political establishment and even our so-called “democracy”. As Marx and Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto:
“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” (The Communist Manifesto; Chapter One; Marx and Engels)
This questioning is nothing new, and is a symptom of a social and economic system that is in decay – that has entered its death agony. A similar process occurred in the later stages of feudalism, which was reflected in the art of the time (Hieronymus Bosch and the art of the death agony of Feudalism), and during the decline of the Roman Empire, when all the traditional culture, morality, and religion was suddenly thrown into question (Class struggle in the Roman Repulic).
The current crisis of capitalism has already shaken many pillars of society. In Britain, the establishment has been rocked on numerous occasions over the past few years, beginning with the MPs’ expenses scandal. Splits in the ruling class have emerged recently, with members of the church and the army speaking out against the coalition government, and now all the sordid links between the media, the police, and politicians have been exposed by the revelations of the phone hacking scandal (see Phone hacking scandal rocks establishment and News of the World Scandal: the ugly face of Capitalism). Internationally, people have been stunned and governments have been rattled by the invention of WikiLeaks, which has helped to play a major role in exposing the backroom deals and machinations of international “diplomacy” and foreign affairs.
The ruling class is finding it increasingly difficult to rule. All of the usual mechanisms of the state – the media, the police, the army, etc. – are in crisis. Faced with the prospect of having to carry out the most severe austerity programme in the history of capitalism, the bourgeoisie can no longer find support through the usual “democratic” channels of the ballot box. Like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, the ruling class is quickly finding that when the rains come down, their base of support is less reliable than previously assumed. In country after country, the ruling class is facing a political crisis. That the crisis of capitalism is reflected most visibly through a political crisis, should come as no surprise – as Lenin famously remarked, politics is just concentrated economics.
This political crisis is clear in countries such as Britain and Ireland, where long standing governments that presided over an economic boom, found themselves kicked out of office at the first possible opportunity as boom turned into bust, only to be replaced by weak coalitions. In Britain, the 2010 general election returned the first hung parliament since WWII, despite the first-past-the-post electoral system that is supposed to guarantee “strong” and “stable” governments. The ruling class were desperate for a strong Tory government to emerge from the elections, in order to implement a vicious austerity programme. In the end, however, the Tories failed to achieve a majority, resulting in the first peacetime coalition government since the National Government that was formed between the three main parties in the 1930’s under similar conditions of economic crisis.
The coalition seemed strong, and the Tories and Lib Dems seemed like natural bedfellows. As The Economist commented, “Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, was caught joking with David Cameron, the Tory prime minister, that the pair would never find anything to disagree on. It was even suggested that coalition could lead to an electoral pact or outright merger” (The Economist, 28th April 2011). But pressure from the masses has exposed the weakness in the coalition – first with the student movement against tuition fees and education cuts, then with the outcry against planned changes to the National Health Service, and now with the strike action of the unions in defence of public sector pensions. Despite a full-on media onslaught and smear campaign against the unions over the recent strikes on the 30th June, public support for the strikes remained steady, and in fact increased nearer to the date itself. Now the government – and especially David Cameron – are on the back foot, as their links to the scandals of the tabloid press are being brought out into the light.
Despite its weaknesses, however, the British ruling class must stick with the coalition, for they have no other option. The government is ploughing on with its austerity programme, but is facing increased resistance from the labour movement, and a breakup of the coalition would signal a major retreat and would be a tremendous spur to the working class in Britain.
The coalition government formed recently in Ireland after a general election in February is in no better shape. The new coalition of Fine Gael and Labour is historic in that it has broken the dominance of Fianna Fail over Irish politics. Fianna Fail, a right-wing bourgeois party, has shaped Ireland’s political landscape for the last 80 years. It has been in power for 75% of the time since 1932 when it was first elected in, and had been in office continuously since 1997 (with various coalition partners). As The Economist stated bluntly, “its utter rejection by voters now is a humiliation. Fianna Fail lost three-quarters of its seats (dropping from 78 to 20) to become the third party in parliament. Many ministers, including Brian Cowen, the outgoing prime minister, wisely did not seek re-election. Most of those who did stand were defeated.” (The Economist, 3rd March 2011).
Fine Gael (another right-wing bourgeois party!) will hardly be overjoyed with being in power. With Ireland at the forefront of the Euro crisis, Fine Gael – in coalition with Labour – will be forced to carry on going with the brutal austerity programme that they have already been implementing for years. This will bring all the contradictions within the coalition – between the bourgeois representatives of Fine Gael and the working class that forms the basis of Labour’s support – to the fore, and can only be a recipe for class struggle. As the Marxists in Ireland argued at the time of the elections, Labour should not have gone into coalition, but should have stayed in opposition and led a mass movement to fight for socialism.
A crisis of Social Democracy
The political crisis is also manifested as a crisis of social democracy; in other words, as a crisis of reformism. The ideology of the social democratic parties has, since the turn away from Marxist ideas in the late 19th– and early 20th centuries, been that of reformism. But the ideology of reformism – like any ideology – has always required a material base to support itself. In the case of reformism, the material base lay in conditions of boom, such as those in the 1950’s and 60’s or 1990’s and early 2000’s, when the economy was growing and the class struggle was blunted.
With the onset of the economic crisis in 2007-08, however, this material basis for reformism has been cut away from under the feet of the reformist politicians. They are now reformists with no reforms to offer. The crisis of capitalism has polarised society, sharpened the class struggle, and posed the options available to the reformists concretely: either you carry out cuts on behalf of the ruling class, or you fight for a transformation of society; that is, you fight for socialism. The right reformists cannot bear to break with capitalism; in turn, the left reformists cling to the right reformists and carry out the cuts that Capital dictates.
Nowhere is this crisis of social democracy clearer than in Greece, where the supposedly “socialist” government of PASOK is now carrying out the most vicious attack against the working class since the fall of the military junta in 1974, with a programme of cuts, tax increases, and mass privatisation. This is the logical conclusion of the ideology of reformism, whose adherents preach “pragmatism” and “realism”, but who in fact behave no differently than the traditional representatives of the bourgeoisie in times of crisis.
Similar processes can be seen in Portugal and Spain, where social democratic governments have been carrying out the cuts in response to the sovereign debt crisis that threatens nation after nation in Europe. In Spain, the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), facing the threat of economic contagion and the current reality of over 40% youth unemployment, is deeply unpopular and has seen wave after wave of mass protests. Yet Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister clings to capitalism, and is sticking to an austerity programme that aims to reduce the budget deficit from 11.1% of GDP to 4.4% in the space of three years.
Dishonourable cowards and bully nations of NATO are trying to mass murder Libyans with bombs to solve problems. Actually in the case of Libya, as in others previously, there are no problems, except that the people and/or leadership will not bow to the dictates of the Empire.
I would like to ask those dastardly fools that fly those planes the question: do you know what you’re doing? No, you do not. Do you know who you are killing and what you are destroying? No, you do not. Do you know why you are being sent on these missions? No you do not. Have you heard of the Nuremberg Trials?
It seems the countries of the west have forgotten Nuremberg. The main theme was the guilty had committed crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. It also was declared that military personnel cannot use “following orders” as an excuse for their behavior.
Perhaps the pilots should make a note of that and get answers to these questions before another mission is flown. You will be prosecuted for war crimes for killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure and for violating international law. NATO is committing crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.
On Friday, July 22nd, some of these mindless war criminals dropped bombs on Libya’s vital water pipeline, that supplies water to 70 percent of Libya’s population. Since when is a vital necessity for the sustaining of life a legitimate military target? Never!
Those mindless criminals are now going to be the subject of an international search to find their identities so that they may be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
That bombing was an attempt at genocide, nothing less. The human being cannot live without water and no stretch of the imagination is going to excuse this horrendous crime.
If that were not enough, then another bombing mission on the following day hit the factory that makes replacement pipes for the water system. It seems someone wanted to deliberately make sure the water system would stay non-functional.
The U.N.is hereby on notice to lift a ban on importing spare parts so the water supply may be restored. The ill conceived U.N. Security Council resolutions ban imports of many items into Libya. These resolutions were passed under the conditions of fraud and disinformation.
“The Libyan leader Moammar Al Gaddafi informed members of the Security Council in his message that the alliance decided to carry out mass murder against the Libyan people by targeting their only drinking water source, where billions were invested and without it life stops in Libya. He wondered what’s the relation between this factory and the protection of civilians that NATO claims it is carrying out?”
The purpose of these bombs is not to “protect civilians” but to cause maximum suffering to the civilian population, which by international law is COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT.
Collective punishment such as what these NATO pilots are guilty of is equal to or worse than anything perpetrated by the Nazis during the war.
The Libyan people have been coming out in the millions, despite the plague in the sky…to demonstrate support for their government, leader and way of life. They will not go quietly into the night to be absorbed by the Empire. Libya and the Libyan people are not for sale.
The terrorist force, when not in-fighting, is weak, demoralized and incompetent. Their head was recently cut off. *”According to press reports on Sunday, Major General Abdel Fattah Younes, head of the rebel forces army in Libya, was killed in the fighting in the Brega area some 10 days ago in what was described as “mysterious circumstances.”
This self-appointed terrorist collection known as the National Transitional Council was recognized by some pretentious devil worhsipping countries in violation of every international law. They have violated the sovereignty of Libya and the Libyan people.
For their information, power to rule a country comes from the people who live in that country, not some garbage abroad, but enjoy your fantasy while you can, you have recognized nothing but dead men. But you certainly can’t tell a bunch of pig headed fascists anything. Beware to those countries and leaders who go along with this farce!
This NATO war against Libya is illegal. It was only supposed to be a no-fly zone and even that was agreed to under false pretenses. Since the entire operation was approved due to false pretenses, it is illegal and must be stopped immediately.
There is no doubt that besides oil, water is a crucial resource particularly in the Middle East, as the 2006 war against Lebanon by Israel was a water grab by Israel. No doubt the fascists would like to seize this wonder of the world under the Sahara desert in Libya.
Unless the people on this planet descend upon their leaders like an avalanche, they will continue to act with gutless cowardice. It must be demonstrated that the wrath of the people will be more terrible than anything the Empire can concoct.
Failing to act, to speak out, is cowardice. There is a moral obligation here to contact one’s leaders, to contact the United Nations missions of the various countries, particularly those countries that did not vote in favor of those UN Resolutions so that maybe they might take notice at how costly their cowardice will be for not using the power of the veto.
Demand that NATO be dragged before the UN to answer for its crimes and the flaunting of international law.
Don’t ever complain in the future when the law of the jungle decides it’s time to eat you alive if you are silent and do nothing now. Stand up for international law or be eaten by lawlessness and the law of the jungle.
Negotiations have intensified between Libya and the United States to reach an agreement on a cease-fire that would allow NATO to save face. But far from giving up its ambitions to reshape North Africa, the Obama administration is already preparing the second round, reports Thierry Meyssan from Tripoli.
As I explained in these columns, NATO lost the war politically in Libya on July 1, when 1.7 million Libyans took to the streets of Tripoli to jeer the Alliance and to rally behind Muammar Gaddafi 
The consequences of the defeat had still to be drawn. That’s what Washington has quickly done without bothering to inform its allies about its sudden shift, or its new strategy.
Stealing the assets and preparing the looting
First, the White House decided to get its hands on all the Libyan assets it could, lest it had incurred expenses for nothing. Hillary Clinton was informed of this decision when she was aboard her flight to Istanbul. She had no say in the matter, just to obey.
Note that the Turks and the French were given the same treatment as the Secretary of State. They came with their own proposals which they had to leave outside the door, without even being allowed to present them.
The summit was reduced to a rubber-stamp exercise. The members of the Contact Group were informed of the White House decision to make an inventory of Libyan assets and to place them in the hands of the Libyan National Transitional Council. This applies to financial assets, as much as to the authorization to broadcast on the Nilesat satellite, or to oil exploitation in the area controlled by the Alliance. To carry out this spoliation, the members of the Contact Group that had not yet done so were asked to recognize the CNT as the sole representative of the Libyan people replacing the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya . They were informed that the operation was overseen by the Libyan Information Exchange Mechanism (LIEM), whose “activation” was briefly announced at the previous meeting (Abu Dhabi, June 9).
However, no information was provided about the legal status of the National Transitional Council or LIEM. Everything suggests that the White House is setting up a device similar to the one that proved so effective in Iraq 
In Baghdad, Washington had first installed the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance – ORHA, headed by General Jay Garner. It was later discovered that OHRA had been created by a secret presidential directive signed before Iraq war debate at the Security Council. Contrary to what its title might suggest, this organization was attached to the Pentagon.
In all likelihood, the same applies to LIEM although, officially, its director is an Italian.
In Baghdad, ORHA was quickly absorbed by the Coalition Provisional Authority – CPA, headed by L. Paul Bremer III, who exercised all the powers for one year. I demonstrated that the CPA was neither an international law nor U.S. law entity, but a private company. However, it still remains unclear where it was registered and who were the shareholders. The only thing we know for sure is that the CPA was engaged in the systematic looting of the country and did not withdraw until it forced the future Iraqi government to accept a spate of asymmetrical laws guaranteeing to multinationals the right to exploit the country for 99 more years.
Not surprisingly, one can expect that, once a cease-fire is in force, the LIEM will be absorbed in Benghazi by a kind of CPA.
Negotiating a military exit
Second, immediately after the summit, Washington opened direct talks with Tripoli, which took place in Tunis. The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, Jeffrey Feltman.
In the Empire’s vocabulary, Near East refers to all the Arab states of North Africa, the Levant and Gulf, plus Israel. And the title of Assistant Secretary of State designates a proconsul. Thus, whenever Jeffrey Feltman receives visitors in his Washington office, he is in the habit of introducing himself by a sweeping hand gesture across a wall map of the “Middle East” saying: “This is my jurisdiction.”
By initiating direct talks, Washington cut off the permanent channel of negotiations that had been opened by Paris. Since the beginning of the armed conflict, Colonel Gaddafi had kept an ongoing dialogue with President Nicolas Sarkozy and his minister Alain Juppe. Together, they had elaborated a series of plans to end the crisis, each enhanced by the promise of fabulous under-the-table deals, but each one boycotted by the White House.
Jeffrey Feltman addressed the Tunis meeting as if he had come to serve an ultimatum instead of someone who had come to take part in a diplomatic process. This is how proconsuls typically behave, but being arrogant and terse is Feltman’s second nature; it has been his way of life ever since his wife, a brilliant art historian, walked out on him.
As soon as his tough-guy performance was over, little Jeffrey Feltman quickly became more conciliatory. In fact, Washington admitted to having lost the game and feigns to be abandoning its local ambitions. The White House would apparently settle for a cease-fire in which NATO would not control Cyrenaica as a whole, but only three enclaves, including Benghazi (but probably not Misrata). NATO would consent to withdraw in favor of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
In terms of the calendar, Ramadan (which falls this year from 1 to 29 August) would be an opportunity to stop the bombing and enact the transition.
Washington’s only conditions: largesse when it comes to oil and gas concessions, and arranging for the early retirement of Libya’s leader. From the Libyan side, the first requirement can be discussed, but the second is an affront, Muammar Gaddafi having grown into the symbol of unity and resistance to the “crossed aggression.” The delegation considers that requirement as a humiliation.
In response, a Libyan whose brother was killed in action, just sold his farm to finance the erection of a huge monument to the national hero on Tripoli’s Green Square, Friday, 21 July.
Preparing the second round
Third, NATO’s withdrawal does not spell the permanent abandonment of Washington’s ambitions. The preparation of the second round is already under way. After the cease-fire takes effect, the United States will deploy an intense secret activity to reverse the political equation.
On the basis of a partial analysis made by the British, Washington was convinced that the tribes hostile to Muammar Gaddafi would rally to the National Transitional Council. Experts from the National Security Council were surprised to see them instead reconciling with the “Revolutionary Guide” and joining the struggle against foreign interference. During the ceasefire, we should therefore expect to see direct contacts being established to convince them to choose the Western camp should a new opportunity arise.
On the other hand, under the guise of humanitarian operations undertaken by supposedly “non-governmental” organizations or by those NATO states that did not participate in military operations, the CIA and the Pentagon intend to deploy agents of destabilization. As of now, there is already talk of humanitarian corridors, planes, support teams, etc. that will be as many covers for covert actions. The idea is to hijack the process of reform that Saif el-Islam el-Qaddafi had initiated before the war to foment a color revolution. This could be enough for a power takeover. And if it fails, it would provide the pretext for the resumption of military operations.
Be that as it may, Washington refuses to conform to the status quo and is preparing its revenge. By uniting together, the Libyan people have held it in check. To win, the Empire will first have to divide them.
 “Fourth Meeting of the Libya Contact Group Chair’s Statement”, Voltaire Network, 15 July 2011
I hereby present evidence of NATO war crimes in Libya against international legally binding agreements, presenting the facts and allegations open for investigation by the competent bodies; in the name of humanity I request those with powers to take this one stage further, confirming that Humankind has reached an acceptable level of civilization.
I allege that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has once again breached international law and has committed war crimes in Libya. The international community has the duty to take this matter seriously, investigate the allegations and begin legal proceedings to bring those accused before due legal process and justice.
I hereby present a report of several instances of war crimes and breach of international law by NATO in the current conflict in Libya in 2011.
1. Article 3 of the Statute of The Hague International Penal Court states clearly that one criterion for indictment for war crimes is:
“Attack or bombardment, by whatever means, against undefended cities, towns, villages, buildings or houses”.
NATO’s continuous use of civilian targets for military purposes, a scenario which this military organization wantonly and callously calls “collateral damage”, fits this clause exactly and would be the cornerstone of a case accusing this organisation of being guilty of war crimes;
2. Another clause of the same Article 3 could also be used:
“Massive destruction of cities, towns or villages or destruction not justified by military necessity”.
The attack on Libya’s water supply network on Friday July 22 and the attack on the factory making pipes for the supply system on Saturday July 23 in al-Brega were not covered under “military necessity” in which case, under Article 3, this was an act of wanton destruction of civilian structures with military hardware. This renders NATO liable for trial by its own court, the ICC at The Hague;
3. UNSC Resolution 2131 (XX) of 21 December 1965, containing the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States was backed up by Resolutions 31/91 of 14 December 1976, 32/153 of 19 December 1977, 33/74 of 15 December 1978, 34/101 of 14 December 1979 and 35/159 of 12 December 1980 on non-interference in the internal affairs of States;
NATO is hereby accused of taking sides in a civil war inside Libya, moreover there are indications that this is a civil war started by NATO member states:
3.1 There is evidence that armed groups fighting inside Libya include the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which according to the British Government: “The LIFG seeks to replace the current Libyan regime with a hard-line Islamic state. The group is also part of the wider global Islamist extremist movement, as inspired by Al Qa’ida. The group has mounted several operations inside Libya, including a 1996 attempt to assassinate Mu’ammar Qadhafi” and for which reason is on the Home Office list of proscribed terrorist groups (1);
Why then is NATO supporting this terrorist group and others in an internal conflict?
4. Under the UN Charter, Chapter VI, Article 33, member states must “seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice”.
Did NATO do this in the case of Libya? No, it used a false flag event, namely the massacre of civilians by “rebel” forces (the allegations must be investigated) (2) (3);
5. Under the UN Charter, Chapter VII, Article 46: “Plans for the application of armed force shall be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee”. Such committee was never convened.
This is a violation of the UN Charter rendering Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011) void, as indeed rendered also the reaction from NATO after the above-mentioned false flag events;
6. Chapter VII, Article 51 refers to the right of States to defend themselves against armed insurgency:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security”
in which case NATO had no reason to attack the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;
7. NATO’s remit in Libya comes under UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011) which, summarised, concentrated on no boots on the ground in Libya among NATO forces and this is not the case – in the recent battle of Al-Brega, hundreds of French and British troops are alleged to have been caught (pending investigation);
8. Without any formal declaration of war, NATO’s strikes against civilian structures come outside any possible conditions imposed by rules of engagement, in which case the armed attack against a civilian residence occasioning the murder of Muammar al-Qathafi’s son Saif al-Arab al-Qathafi and three of his grandchildren would occasion a case for prosecution; furthermore other strikes against structures where Muammar al-Qathafi was alleged to have been would constitute cases for prosecution for attempted murder;
9. Violation of the Geneva Conventions by NATO: Under the Geneva Convention IV, Article 3 (a): “To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds:”
Armed attacks with military hardware against civilian structures occasioning murder, grievous bodily harm of actual bodily harm render NATO liable under this clause.
10. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits the use of chemical weapons. Therefore it is imperative to investigate the allegations that NATO used phosphorous in the battle of al-Brega between July 17 and July 24 2011.
For these ten (10) cases of violation or possible violation of international law, I hereby request that the competent authorities, upholders of international law perform their duty in investigating these allegations through due legal process and bring to a court of justice the perpetrators of these crimes;
For which I also call upon the UNO and the Member States party to its Charter to end the current conflict in Libya immediately as of July 24 2011 and for the proper institutions for crisis management to be used, as it was intended in the UN Charter.
In the name of Humankind, I subscribe,
A NATO terrorist attack has hit a water pipes factory in al-Brega, murdering six guards, this being the factory which makes pipes for the great man-made irrigation system across the desert which brings water to seventy per cent of Libyan homes, according to sources in Libya. The factory was hit after the water supply network was destroyed on Friday.
July 22 2011. A date for humanity to remember. NATO hit the Libyan water supply pipeline. It will take months to repair. Then on Saturday they hit the pipeline factory producing pipes to repair it.
Since when is a water pipes factory in al-Brega a legitimate target to impose a no-fly zone to protect civilians? Sine when is the water supply pipeline itself a legitimate target?
NATO has committed another war crime, targeting a civilian water supply network which brings water to 70% of Libya’s population, according to Pravda.Ru sources in Libya. The general manager of the Man Made River Corporation which controls the pipeline reports it was hit in a NATO strike on Friday. In another clear violation of the law, a consignment from Italy of 19 000 AK-47’s was caught in Ajdabiyah by the Libyan authorities, according to Libyan military sources.
The international community has two choices: to turn a blind eye like cowards and allow NATO to murder Libyan children, murder Libyan civilians and support terrorists with their strikes – we have received information that white phosphorous is being used against Libyan government positions now that NATO is getting desperate- remember Napalm anyone?? The second option is for the international community to use the proper channels to bring pressure on NATO itself and on the politicians in its member states to stop this murderous atrocity, this outrage against civilization and international law, now.
You vote for this campaign? Then you are a child murderer, or sympathise with child murderers. Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy have the blood of hundreds of innocent people on their hands.
If NATO’s contribution to protecting civilians is bombing their water supply then the international community will respond to this heinous war crime, whether or not the politicians do. Will anyone please do something about this horrendous war crime? Or will we all sit back while NATO destroys water supply lines, a civilian structure? Is this protecting civilians or is this an act of revenge because NATO is losing?
Information from the ground in Libya is very clear. Here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: no conjecture, no myths and no propaganda. The fresh news, crystalline pure. No hype, no lies. Ladies and gentlemen, the corporate media have been lying about Libya.
NATO’s remit is to protect civilians from being attacked by the Libyan Armed Forces. There is not yet a shred of evidence that such was happening, indeed the evidence is that the terrorists who NATO is supporting perpetrated massacres (Google up Libya rebels + massacre) and then blamed them on the Libyan Government.
Google up Libya rebels + images. Are these unarmed civilians?
Has any journalist who wrote or stated that the Libyan government is attacking civilians actually bothered to speak to people inside Libya? Erm…
Tell you what. Go to Facebook and ask America’s Cynthia McKinney, ex-candidate for the President of the USA, who has been there. And now today’s truth.
Why is NATO bombing Libyan Army positions so that the terrorists (whose main organization is banned by the UK) can advance? Why is the USA aiding Al-Qaeda terrorists? Why is David Cameron spending MILLIONS per day on slaughtering children in hospitals (what, your press hasn’t said?) and then his government says he cannot afford treatment for breast cancer?
Isn’t it illegal to take sides in an internal conflict?
The NATO bombing campaign has united the people of Libya in a bond of seething hatred and mutual support. Colonel Gaddafi could have launched horrendous strikes against NATO countries, but he didn’t. He said “Let us give them a chance”.
The Warfala tribe is moving to the Mountains in the West to dislodge terrorist elements there. Brega is firmly in the hands of Libyan Government forces despite western media lies it had fallen. The terrorists were routed, and many western mercenaries and soldiers were captured. They are being treated humanely, many are French and British.
In al-Brega 400 terrorists were liquidated, 900 wounded. There proceeds a conflict in Benghazi among groups of terrorists from different factions and the civilian population in Benghazi that is starting to revolt against the terrorists, who are supported by NATO.
It appears that Messrs. Cameron, Sarkozy and…what’s his name? The American chappie…have gotten way in over their heads for different reasons.
How about NATO pulls out now? Claim the no fly zone was successfully implemented and allow the Libyans and African Union to sort it out for themselves.
If not, ancient fault lines are going to be drawn up, tribal warfare will proceed (Gaddafi has stood against this), Al-Qaeda will take advantage of it and as Muammar Gaddafi said, NATO will create a Somalia at the gates of Europe.
Maybe this would favour the USA in destabilising Europe and the Euro (after all the White House states clearly that NATO’s involvement saves the US taxpayer money and US families lives…yes they actually said that) but what about Europe?
And do Cameron and Sarkozy speak for Europe? No? Did the people of Europe vote for NATO? No? Therefore it is unconstitutional.
A close-up look at who holds America’s debt.
By Thomas Mucha
“GlobalPost” — Truth is elusive. But it’s a good thing we have math.
Our friends at Business Insider know this, and put those two principles to work today in this excellent and highly informative little slideshow, made even more timely by the ongoing talks in Washington, D.C. aimed at staving off a U.S. debt default.
Here’s the big idea:
Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.
But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.
Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:
- Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
- Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
- Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
- Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
- Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
- Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
- Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
- State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
- Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
- United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
- Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
- State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
- Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
- U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
- China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
- The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
- Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)
So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.
By Alex Kane
July 23, 2011 “Mondoweiss” – – Details on the culprit behind yesterday’s massacre in Norway, which saw car bombings in Oslo and a mass shooting attack on the island of Utoya that caused the deaths of at least 91 people, have begun to emerge. While it is still too early for a complete portrait of the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, there are enough details to begin to piece together what’s behind the attack.
Although initial media reports, spurred on by the tweets of former State Department adviser on violent extremism Will McCants, linked the attacks to Islamist extremists, it was in fact an anti-Muslim zealot who committed the murders. An examination of Breivik’s views, and his support for far-right European political movements, makes it clear that only by interrogating the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism can one understand the political beliefs behind the terrorist attack.
Breivik is apparently an avid fan of U.S.-based anti-Muslim activists such as Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, and has repeatedly professed his ardent support for Israel. Breivik’s political ideology is illuminated by looking at comments he posted to the right-wing site document.no, which author and journalist Doug Sanders put up.
And then we have the relationship between conservative Muslims and so-called “moderate Muslims”.
There is moderate Nazis, too, that does not support fumigation of rooms and Jews. But they’re still Nazis and will only sit and watch as the conservatives Nazis strike (if it ever happens). If we accept the moderate Nazis as long as they distance themselves from the fumigation of rooms and Jews?
Now it unfortunately already cut himself with Marxists who have already inﬁltrated-culture, media and educational organizations. These individuals will be tolerated and will even work asprofessors and lecturers at colleges / universities and are thus able to spread their propaganda.
For me it is very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists differ. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies…(page 2-3)
What is globalization and modernity to do with mass Muslim immigration?
And you may not have heard and Japan and South Korea? These are successful and modern regimes even if they rejected multiculturalism in the 70’s. Are Japanese and South Koreans goblins?
Can you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam is involved? The only historical example is the society without a welfare state with only non-Muslim minorities (U.S.)…(page 7)
We have selected the Vienna School of Thought as the ideological basis. This implies opposition to multiculturalism and Islamization (on cultural grounds). All ideological arguments based on anti-racism. This has proven to be very successful which explains why the modern cultural conservative movement / parties that use the Vienna School of Thought is so successful: the Progress Party,Geert Wilders, document and many others…(page 13)
I consider the future consolidation of the cultural conservative forces on all seven fronts as the most important in Norway and in all Western European countries. It is essential that we work to ensure that all these 7 fronts using the Vienna school of thought, or at least parts of the grunlag for 20-70 year-struggle that lies in front of us.
The book is called, by the way 2083 and is in English, 1100 pages).
To sums up the Vienna school of thought:
-Cultural Conservatism (anti-multiculturalism)
-Anti-authoritarian (resistance to all authoritarian ideologies of hate)
-Pro-Israel/forsvarer of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries
– Defender of the cultural aspects of Christianity
– To reveal the Eurabia project and the Frankfurt School (ny-marxisme/kulturmarxisme/multikulturalisme)
– Is not an economic policy and can collect everything from socialists to capitalists…(page 20)
Daniel Pipes: Leftism and Islam. Muslims, the warriors Marxists Have Been praying for.
The following summarizes the agenda of many kulturmarxister with Islam, it explains also why those on death and life protecting them. It explains so well why we, the cultural conservatives,are against Islamization and the implementation of these agendas… (page 27)
We must therefore make sure to inﬂuence other cultural conservatives to come to our anti-rasistiske/pro-homser/pro-Israel line. When they reach this line, one can take it to the next level…(page 41)
Breivik’s right-wing pro-Israel line, combined with his antipathy to Muslims, is just one example of the European far-right’s ideology, exemplified by groups such as the English Defense League (EDL). The EDL, a group Breivik praises, along with the anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, share with Breivik an admiration for Israel.
Anti-Muslim activists and right-wing Zionists share a political narrative that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a “clash of civilizations,” one in which Judeo-Christian culture is under attack by Islam. Israel, in this narrative, is the West’s bulwark against the threat that Islam is posing to Europe and the United States. The nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism was clearly on display during last summer’s“Ground Zero mosque” hysteria, which culminated in a rally where Geller and Wilders addressed a crowd that included members of the EDL waving Israeli flags.
This comment by Breivik is one example of the twisted way in which Islamophobia and a militant pro-Israel ideology fit together:
Cultural conservatives disagree when they believe the conﬂict is based on Islamic imperialism,that Islam is a political ideology and not a race.
Cultural conservatives believe Israel has a right to protect themselves against the Jihad.
Kulturmarxistene refuses to recognize the fact that Islam’s political doctrine is relevant and essential. They can never admit to or support this because they believe that this is primarily about a race war – that Israel hates Arabs (breed).
As long as you can not agree on the fundamental perceptions of reality are too naive to expect that one to come to any conclusion.Before one at all can begin to discuss this conﬂict must ﬁrst agree on the fundamental truths of Islam’s political doctrine.
Most people here have great insight in key Muslim concepts that al-taqiiya (political deceit), naskh (Quranic abrogation) and Jihad. The problem is that kulturmarxister refuses to recognizet hese concepts.They can not recognize these key Muslim concepts. For if they do so erodes the primary argument that Israel is a “racist state” and that this is a race war (Israelis vs. Arabs) and not defense against Jihad (Kafr vs. Ummah)
Breivik’s admiration for the likes of Daniel Pipes is also telling, and should serve as a warning that, while it would be extremely unfair and wrong to link Pipes in any way to the massacre in Norway, Breivik’s views are not so far off from some establishment neoconservative voices in the U.S. For instance, both Pipes and Breivik share a concern with Muslim demographics in Europe. In 1990, Pipes wrotein the National Review that “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”
Pipes’ and Breivik’s concern about Muslim and Arab demographics also recall the remarks of Harvard Fellow Martin Kramer, who infamously told the Herzliya Conference in Israel last year that the West should “stop providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status…Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have.”
Adding to the Israel/Palestine angle here is the fact that the day before the attack on the island of Utoya, a Palestine solidarity event was held there.
Why Breivik, and his accomplices if he had any, would attack young Norwegians remains unclear. But it probably had something to do with Breivik’s belief that European governments, and the Norwegian government, were run by “Marxists” allied with Islamist extremists who were bent on destroying Europe through “multiculturalism.”
Of course, support for Israel and its current right-wing policies do not automatically translate into support for extremist right-wing violence. But Palestinians, and the larger Arab and Muslim world, know far too well the consequences of Islamophobia and far right-wing Zionism. Now, it seems that Norwegians do too. While much remains to be learned about the attacks in Norway, it has exposed the dangerous nexus of Islamophobia, neoconservatism and right-wing Zionism, and what could happen when the wrong person subscribes to those toxic beliefs.
Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at http://alexbkane.wordpress.com/.
By Thomas C. Mountain
July 23, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — Asmara, Eritrea: The lies used to justify the NATO war against Libya have surpassed those created to justify the invasion of Iraq. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both had honest observers on the ground for months following the rebellion in eastern Libya and both have repudiated every major charge used to justify the NATO war on Libya.
According to the Amnesty observer, who is fluent in Arabic, there is not one confirmed instance of rape by the pro-Gadaffi fighters, not even a doctor who knew of one. All the Viagra mass rape stories were fabrications.
Amnesty could not verify a single “African mercenary” fighting for Gaddafi story, and the highly charged international satellite television accounts of African mercenaries raping women that were used to panic much of the eastern Libyan population into fleeing their homes were fabrications.
There were no confirmed accounts of helicopter gun ships attacking civilians and no jet fighters bombing people which completely invalidates any justification for the No-Fly Zone inSecurity Council resolution used as an excuse for NATO to launch its attacks on Libya.
After three months on the ground in rebel controlled territory, the Amnesty investigator could only confirm 110 deaths in Benghazi which included Gadaffi supporters.
Only 110 dead in Benghazi? Wait a minute, we were told thousands had died there, ten thousand even. No, only 110 lost their lives including pro-government people.
No rapes, no African mercenaries, no helicopter gun ships or bombers, and only 110 ten deaths prior to the launch of the NATO bombing campaign, every reason was based on a lie.
Today according to the Libyan Red Crescent Society, over 1,100 civilians have been killed by NATO bombs including over 400 women and children. Over 6,000 Libyan civilians have been injured or wounded by the bombing, many very seriously.
Compared to the war on Iraq, these numbers are tiny, but the reasons for the Libyan war have no merit in any form.
Saddam Hussein was evil, he invaded his neighbors in wars that killed up to a million. He used Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) in the form of poison gas on both his neighbors and his own people, killing tens of thousands. He was brutal and corrupt and when American tanks rolled into Iraq the Iraqi people refused to fight for him, simply put their weapons down and went home.
Libya under Col. Gadaffi hasn’t invaded their neighbors. Gadaffi never used WMD’s on anyone, let alone his own people. As for Gadaffi being brutal, in Libya’s neighbor Algeria, the Algerian military fought a counterinsurgency for a decade in the 1990’s that witnessed the deaths of some 200,000 Algerians. Now that is brutal and nothing anywhere near this has happened in Libya.
In Egypt and Tunisia, western puppets like Mubarak and Ben Ali had almost no support amongst their people with few if anyone willing to fight and die to defend them.
The majority of the Libyan people are rallying behind the Libyan government and “the leader”, Muammar Gadaffi, with over one million people demonstrating in support on July 1 in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Thousands of Libyan youth are on the front lines fighting the rebels and despite thousands of NATO air strikes authentic journalists on the ground in western Libya report their morale remains high.
In Egypt the popular explosion that resulted in the Army seizing power from Mubarak began in the very poorest neighborhoods in Cairo and other Egyptian cities where the price of basic food items like bread, sugar and cooking oil had skyrocketed and lead to widespread hunger. In many parts of Egypt’s poor neighborhoods gasoline/benzene is easier to find then clean drinking water. Medical care and education is only for those with the money to pay for it. Life for the people of Tunisia is not that much better.
In contrast, the Libyan people have the longest life expectancy in the Arab world. The Libyan people have the best, free public health system in the Arab world. The Libyan people have the best, free public education system in the Arab world. Most Libyan families own their own home and most Libyan families own their own automobile. Libya is so much better off then its neighbors every year tens of thousands of Egyptians and Tunisians migrated to Libya to earn money to feed their families, doing the dirty work the Libyan people refused to do.
When it comes to how Gadaffi oversaw a dramatic rise in the standard of living for the Libyan people despite decades of UN inSecurity Council sanctions against the Libyan economy honest observers acknowledge that Gadaffi stands head and shoulders above the kings, sheiks, emirs and various dictators who rule the rest of the Arab world.
So why did NATO launch this war against Libya?
First of all Gadaffi was on the verge of creating a new banking system in Africa that was going to put the IMF, World Bank and assorted other western banksters out of business in Africa. No more predatory western loans used to cripple African economies, instead a $42 billion dollar African Investment Bank would be supplying major loans at little or even zero interest rates.
LIbya has funded major infrastructure projects across Africa that have begun to link up African economies and break the perpetual dependency on the western countries for imports have been taking place. Here in Eritrea the new road connecting Eritrea and Sudan is just one small example.
What seem to have finally tipped the balance in favor of direct western military intervention was the reported demand by Gadaffi that the USA oil companies who have long been major players in the Libyan petroleum industry were going to have to compensate Libya to the tune of tens of billions of dollars for the damage done to the Libyan economy by the USA instigated “Lockerbie Bombing” sanctions imposed by the UN inSecurity Council throughout the 1990’s into early 2000’s. This is based on the unearthing of evidence that the CIA paid millions of dollars to witnesses in the Lockerbie Bombing trial to change their stories to implicate Libya which was used as the basis for the very damaging UN sanctions against Libya. The government of the USA lied and damaged Libya so the USA oil companies were going to have to pay up to cover the cost of their governments actions. Not hard to see why Gadaffi had to go isn’t it?
Add the fact that Gadaffi had signaled clearly that he saw both Libya’s and Africa’s future economic development linked more to China and Russia rather than the west and it was just a matter of time before the CIA’s contingency plan to overthrow the Libyan government was put on the front burner.
NATO’s war against Libya has much more in common with NATO’s Kosovo war against Serbia. But one still cannot compare Gadaffi to Saddam or even the much smaller time criminals in the Serbian leadership. The Libyan War lies are worse than Iraq.
Thomas C. Mountain – Asmara, Eritrea – thomascmountain at yahoo dot com – Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He was a member of the 1st US Peace Delegation to Libya in 1987.
By Derek Henry Flood
Though the concept of Afghan and Western reconciliation with the Mullah Omar-led Taliban has gained much momentum, the consequences of some kind of ad hoc settlement between the Islamists and the government of President Hamid Karzai have not been clearly defined.
Opposition is growing within some quarters in Afghanistan to a settlement that would give the Taliban access to power. Much of this opposition is being led by heirs to the late anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, particularly former foreign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah and the former head of the Afghan National Directorate of Security, Amrullah Saleh.
As Saleh recently told a rally in Kabul: “We have not forgotten the burning of our homeland and the humiliation of the men and women of Afghanistan … But you [Karzai] are still calling these people [the Taliban] ‘brother’.”
A bitter legacy
Since the Taliban were ejected from central Kabul in November 2001 in the face of the United States-led invasion, the movement has transformed itself from a mostly unrecognized government to a Pashtun ethno-nationalist insurgency with its roots in the anti-Soviet jihad that consumed the country throughout the 1980s.
In Abdullah’s recent open letter to Karzai, he states emphatically, “In the reconciliation process, one of the clear red lines for any negotiated settlement has been that the reconcilable Taliban must accept the constitution.”  Abdullah, by drawing such a red line, has been interpreted by many as rejecting the very notion of reconciling with a movement whose raison d’etre is the implementation of a brutal interpretation of Islamic law at any cost.
Abdullah’s colleague, Amrullah Saleh, is one of the most ardent anti-Taliban figures in Afghanistan and is outraged by Karzai’s overtures to senior Taliban leaders, making no effort to hide his disdain after serving alongside the president for years.
Saleh, now in opposition to Karzai after an abrupt departure from his post in June 2010, has formed a nascent movement based on his Panjshiri Tajik power base calling itself the Basij-e-Melli (BeM). Saleh is keen to insist that his movement is not solely a Tajik one as it also contains a number of Shi’ite Hazaras and anti-Taliban Pashtuns from eastern Afghanistan.
The bedrock belief of BeM, according to Saleh, is that the Taliban are not simply misguided Afghan “brothers” (as Karzai has been known to term them), but a nefarious group directly controlled by the Pakistani state, with which it seeks to control Afghanistan by proxy when foreign forces finally depart.
Together, Adbullah and Saleh represent a sector of the Afghan population that does not want to see a decline in the gains made by women and ethnic and religious minorities since the Taliban’s ouster.
While much has been made of the idea of bringing Taliban leaders in from the cold, Afghans directly affected by the former regime’s vengeful ethnic cleansing of Tajiks in the Shomali plain and Hazaras in Mazar-e-Sharif have no desire to see these men brought back to power in even the most modest fashion.
In a June 2011 op-ed, Amrullah Saleh countered Karzai’s dubious overtures to the Taliban’s Quetta shura (consultative council), stating that Karzai risked creating a “Hezbollah-type entity” out of the Taliban if they were not entirely disarmed in southern Afghanistan.
Skeptics of American and British intentions for the future of Afghanistan suggest that the delayed drawdown of a large-scale foreign troop presence coupled with the co-opting of certain amenable Taliban elements is part of a convoluted ruse to establish permanent military installations in Afghanistan.
With the killing of Osama bin Laden and the decoupling of the United Nations’ al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions list, some in Afghanistan believe the Western powers want to get out of the business of war-fighting and into the business of energy, using a rump occupation force as a hammer-like guarantor of their interests.
The role of energy in reconciliation
The Taliban have once again become an important player in the seemingly unending regional competition between two large-scale natural gas pipeline proposals.
The competing projects, known as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) and the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI), have been the topic of much speculation in this fitfully integrating mega-region for years.
Both proposals are fraught with inherent security dilemmas. TAPI has been affected by a resurgent Taliban throughout much of its planned route in Afghanistan while IPI is plagued by the unending Balochi nationalist rebellion in the Pakistan section of its route.
The transit countries that would be involved are experiencing constant energy shortages in their major urban centers and both TAPI and IPI have promised to relieve these fuel gaps.
Recently, a rapprochement of sorts has taken place between Kabul and Islamabad with the signing of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, which one commentary described as holding “great promise for the prosperity of the whole region”.
Though enthusiasm for TAPI has appeared to be outpacing that for IPI concurrently with the talk of Taliban reconciliation, Tehran is far from leaving the playing field. Iranian officials told their Indian counterparts that their plan only ran into one insurgency; that of Pakistan’s restive Balochis, and that TAPI, beginning in Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas fields and terminating in the Indian state of Punjab, is much more vulnerable to attacks by non-state actors.
Iranian government officials have tried to sell IPI as the less dangerous of the two projects, stating that Balochistan will, over time, reap the benefits of transit fees that will eventually calm the insurrection there as the local inhabitants see improvements in their quality of life.
The role of Pakistan as the swing state between the two proposals is both critical and complex. The government of President Asif Ali Zardari is viewed domestically as being under immense pressure to implement TAPI and abandon IPI, thereby further isolating their neighbors on the Iranian plateau. Taut bilateral relations already exist between Pakistan and Iran from years of sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite proxy conflict and the anti-Shi’ite pogroms conducted by the Sunni-chauvinist Taliban during their five years in power in Afghanistan.
A retired Pakistani army brigadier suggested that for TAPI to leave the drawing board and become a ground reality, the project’s planners would require the “cooperation and support of the Afghan Taliban” to secure a route through the volatile provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.
Though Islamabad is officially supportive of TAPI, it has not entirely abandoned IPI as an option should the former project collapse. At times, Islamabad’s precise position can appear ambiguous; Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani said that both TAPI and “joint gas and electricity projects with Iran were in [the] pipeline”.
The elusive notion of Afghanistan becoming an energy corridor began in the mid-1990s, as interest in Turkmenistan’s natural gas reserves set off a largely unrealistic competition among Western companies to court the Taliban led by the reclusive Mullah Omar in Kandahar. Today, the natural gas dream has been set alight once again by a host of indigenous political actors across the region.
Deep divisions over the US military presence
In a joint March press conference with former interior minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar, Amrullah Saleh stated that the Taliban were an unrepentant organization that, if given the chance, would renew a scorched earth policy without hesitation.
Saleh said that if the West were to pull out of Afghanistan entirely following some kind of settlement with the Taliban, Afghanistan would once again suffer in the throes of a proxy war. Saleh’s rhetoric is seen as increasingly divisive by the pro-talks camp in Kabul that views his opposition to all things Taliban as a stumbling block on the road to a cessation of hostilities.
Those allies of Karzai who are pushing for increased contacts with the Taliban leadership believe that former Afghan government officials now embittered with the president are purposefully sabotaging the very concept of peace talks because they are unfavorable to their personal agendas.
Saleh and Atmar stressed the need for a continued US military mission in Afghanistan beyond the scope of Operation Enduring Freedom, likely as a means of keeping meddling neighbors at bay. Atmar believes that Kabul would do better to keep the US military in the country guiding it towards an Afghans-first policy rather than have them abandon the country altogether, thereby turning it into a regional battleground.
There has been intense debate in recent months in the Afghan media over the future role of the United States inside Afghanistan contrasted against what some see as the overwhelming leverage of the Pakistani state among both the Afghan polity and the Afghan Taliban.
The Saleh-Atmar narrative paints the continued US presence, if carried out with increasing sensitivity to local desires, as a means of emancipating Afghanistan from the influence of neighboring states that seek to dominate it while delicately avoiding being subsumed by an American agenda.
If Afghans can get Washington to commit to certain obligations that will guarantee a balance between sovereignty and security in their country, then many believe that the benefits of an entrenched US presence there would far outweigh its potential negative impact domestically.
As the ill-defined concept of Taliban reconciliation moves forward in fits and starts, those who were once part of a comparatively hopeful, if ineffective, unity government in Kabul are now disaffected with one another in a vastly unproductive fashion. All the elements of the web of interlocking and competing interests at work in Afghanistan today will be impossible to satisfy simultaneously.
Domestic political and economic pressures within the US are making a never-ending military commitment in Afghanistan unsustainable while a host of coalition allies are looking for the exit, such as Canada, which formally declared an end to its combat mission on July 7.
Pakistan seeks to hold a tether on the Afghan Taliban even as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban – TTP) and other domestic insurgent groups are shredding the social fabric of Pakistani society with each suicide attack.
Iran is loath to see the re-emergence of the Deobandi Sunni Taliban in any form that may threaten its Shi’ite and Persian-speaking Afghan clients even though it has been asserted Tehran provides military assistance to some Taliban elements along its border in southwestern Afghanistan to act as an irritant to foreign troops there.
The Taliban continue to vigorously deny claims that they have entered into direct talks with either the US or the United Kingdom as doing so would contravene their oft-stated condition that negotiations may only take place once all foreign troops have departed.
As a Taliban spokesman said, “It is clear as the broad daylight that we consider negotiation in [the] presence of foreign forces as a war stratagem of the Americans and their futile efforts.”.
Karzai has created a series of initiatives aimed at courting or co-opting the “reconcilable” Afghan Taliban. Karzai, along with former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, has established a Joint Peace Commission with the Pakistani government. Premier Gilani stated, “I fully endorse that statement [in which Zardari] said that a war in Afghanistan can destabilize Pakistan and it is vice versa so the war on terrorism is directly affecting Pakistan not only in [the] form of casualties but in [the] form of economy as well.”
Karzai has also formed the High Council of Peace as a multi-ethnic mechanism to facilitate talks with his adversaries. The council has become a controversial effort for including several notorious Taliban figures, including Maulvi Mohammed Qalamuddin, the former head of the Islamic Emirates religious police.
Other reviled officials in the Taliban regime have been included in the peace-building body by Karzai to lend credibility to those still following Mullah Omar and the original shura leaders.
Over the course of the past several years, talks between the Karzai government and the Afghan Taliban have been reported in various locales, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and somewhat incongruously a stunning holiday resort in the Maldives.
In each instance, Taliban spokesmen consistently deny they have made such contacts, perhaps for fear of losing the confidence of active guerillas engaging in contact with Afghan security forces and foreign troops. When former finance minister Ashraf Ghani confirmed that talks were indeed taking place with certain Taliban factions, Taliban commander Doran Safi shot back, “I confirm that none of us will lay down arms even if he is paid mountains of money; none of us would abandon the right path.”
The earlier strategy of a hammer-and-anvil approach of defeating the Taliban – with the US military and the Afghan National Army as the hammer and the Pakistani army on the other side of the Durand Line as the anvil – was a failure.
Pakistani village-flattening military incursions in the tribal regions led to the further Talibanization of large swathes of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province, resulting in a series of suicide attacks in many of Pakistan’s major urban centers.
The current strategy of assassinating mid-level Taliban field commanders while reaching out to those willing to talk to Kabul and Washington was promulgated by now former defense secretary Robert Gates as the only means of ending the war.
However, defining the “end of the war” as the withdrawal of Western troops ignores the fact several very prominent Karzai opponents do not appear ready to accept the return of the Taliban in any form.
This may take the war in a new direction, one in which ethnic and religious factions are reconstituted along barely dormant fault lines, leaving no end in sight to this decades-long power struggle in the heart of Asia.
1. Dr Abdullah Abdullah, “Upholding Constitutional Principles and Rule of Law in Afghanistan,” Open Letter to President Hamid Karzai, July 5, 2011.
(This article first appeared in The Jamestown Foundation. Used with permission.)
(Copyright 2011 The Jamestown Foundation.)
Before they try to link Friday’s blast in Oslo with Libya, do not let them get away with any more lies. Do not let NATO shape public opinion with any more nonsensical manipulations of facts so as to whitewash their murderous acts of greed. Before NATO starts using Oslo to accuse Libya, please read this piece.
As soon as I head of the bomb blast in Oslo on Friday afternoon, I said to myself: “OK now watch them link this to Libya. Watch them present the story, then slide it in beside the Libya story to create a sublime association, then after that to start asking experts questions if they thought Libya was involved, then concoct blatant lies and present them as facts”.
I have information that such a bullshit story is already being presented in the United States of America by some spokespersons from some Centre for Strategic Intelligence Studies. For every crime, there is usually a motive and in this case, this particular piece of nonsense has a very clear motive: To galvanise smaller countries to join the fight against Libya by presenting Oslo as a Libyan initiative.
It was not. For a start Colonel Gaddafi himself had said he would not take the war to Europe, because he would “give them time to think”, before anyone starts misquoting his defiant speech of two weeks ago.
And before anyone starts bandying around names and accusations, there is such a thing as LIBEL and those engaging in attacks without any evidence at all will be liable for prosecution. I have already been passed the name of a man who has claimed responsibility for the attacks and he is not a Libyan. He is from the Balkans. He has links to Afghanistan and wants the Norwegians out. Unlike the guttersnipe press, I will not reveal a name I am not sure about and shall investigate it further until I have hard evidence.
There is also chatter on the internet about the possible involvement of a French Jewish gentleman whose name I also have. His movements in the last two weeks should be easy enough to follow. However, once again, I do not engage in libel. Let us examine NATO’s recent history and check their credibility before they start the mud slinging:
Before the illegal attack against Yugoslavia in 1999, they insinuated that the Serbian authorities were attacking ethnic Albanian civilians. There is a difference between an innocent civilian and an armed terrorist belonging to the KLA, which NATO helped launch just like NATO helped launch the Mujahedin movement in Afghanistan which morphed into the Taliban.
Before the attack on Iraq, they lied that Baghdad was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from “Nigeria”. Wrong country. It’s Niger and the documents were forged according to the IAEA. Then they said Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction. So, where are they then?
They lied at the UNO building in New York saying they had “magnificent foreign intelligence” about Iraq’s WMD, which turned out to be a document copied and pasted from the net, ten years out of date.
As for Lockerbie, before they start resurrecting that story, there is a wealth of evidence contrary to what was claimed regarding Libya, namely involving other countries and their intelligence agencies. And if they bring up the IRA again, why, who was NORAID funding? Google them up.
And Google up “Libyan rebels”, call up on “You Tube Libya rebels atrocities war crimes”.
The Libyan authorities have taken great care not to involve civilians, the civilians look to the army as freeing them from the terrorist scourge which commits atrocities in the few (and fewer and fewer) towns they hold, the terrorists themselves opened fire on civilians to blame Gaddafi. This has been documented. NATO lied about Libyan air strikes against civilians, there were none. The Russian satellites scotched that story from day 1. The western media lied about air attacks on civilians in Tripoli, when asked to show them, they couldn’t find any, not even hours after the supposed “attack” when taken to the place they said it happened.
Now, do not let yourselves be duped by another false flag operation especially now when NATO is getting desperate and is looking to involve other smaller countries in its war. In the forthcoming days, maybe Oslo will not be alone. It sure as hell won’t be Libya involved.
Finally, ask yourselves another question: Why at the end of 2010 were 40 top French executives spirited to Benghazi? Was it to defend civilians from being attacked? And why didn’t NATO accept Muammar al-Qathafi’s offer of a free and fair democratic election monitored by the UNO? Because they support democracy? Or terrorists to gain them oil contracts?
Never ever believe a serial liar. Pass the word round.
Agitating Iran, Snatching the Dead for DNA
by John Stanton
These are gruesome days: the Single Bullet Doctrinerules. The world is truly adrift and on the brink of a global “something”. Everyone can feel it here in the USA.
The US system of government is often described as a layer cake: federal on top, state in the middle, and local at the bottom. That cake is a mess. The frosting-the sweet taste of the American Way of Life–has melted away; the bitter taste of economic insecurity/uncertainty is everywhere in the country. The federal government has slid off the top of the cake and occupies a place completely disconnected from the remaining two layers–state and local. The state and local layers of the cake are drying up and crumbling as the economic crisis in the USA is causing them to jettison all sorts of labor and safety net programs. And cost to care for returning military personnel and the heavy burden on communities that involves makes life all the more difficult in 2011.
Listening to America’s “leaders”, one is tempted to think that their grand solution to all of the USA’s problems is to start World War III. Is there a better way to do that than invade Iran based on divine or mythological guidance? Will Obama look to George W. Bush for guidance leading up to the invasion? Is the country being prepared for a “longer war”?
And now the USA is engaging in the interesting practice of taking the corpses of dead “terrorists” offed in SWAT like kill-capture raids for DNA retrieval purposes.
A Mid-Summer’s Daydream
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta-described early in his career by a veteran Washington, DC politico as a “dangerous idiot”-trots off to Iraq and tells the US soldiers there that “you guys” are here because of 911. Great!
What is CIA Director David Petraeus going to say next? Fortunately, the former General’s version of the Iraq “success” is being challenged from within. Nonetheless, if Obama ascends to the Presidency again, Petraeus will likely become Secretary of Defense.
A daydream here: perhaps President Barak Obama is secretly negotiating with Iranian leaders behind the scenes and as the USA’s election cycle starts to spin fast we’ll hear the “Breaking News”, a sort of “Nixon in China” announcement that a breathtaking series of agreements have been signed between the Iranians and Americans. Can you hear Obama speaking on national television at the post-breakthrough press conference? “I am pleased to announce that, at long last, we have come to terms with Iran. It is in America’s strategic interest to work with the Iranians. It has been far too long since we sat directly across from each other and extended hands of friendship across the table. The negotiations were brutal for both sides. But, talk was not cheap in this case. But make no mistake……”
That would be a groundbreaking event that Obama and all Americans could take a lot pride in. The fallout would be stunning as it would change the global geopolitical balance and put the USA one-up in the Great Game underway in South Central Asia.
In the daydream world, the US and Iran could work together in Iraq and help diffuse the violence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries in the region. A solid relationship would counterbalance the nefarious interests of Saudi Arabia and its support of violent Sunni extremists. It would force Israel to the negotiating table and with the USA and Iran leading the way, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians may be resolved peacefully. Economically, the USA and Iran, teaming up with Turkey, Russia, China and India, could bring to bear massive investments in the region stretching from Iran to Egypt and other countries on the North African continent, employing millions/creating new markets. On that note, it may alter, to the USA’s advantage, the peer competition between the USA and China.
There are so many positives that a USA and Iran partnership would produce that it seems to be a no- brainer for both sides to “get it done”. But that’s exactly the point: there are no-brains, apparently, on both sides, willing to give up living in the past.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
So, instead of diplomatic breakthroughs, we get a press conference in which Obama stated, “We killed Bin Laden last evening”. Is that the stuff of national celebration, pride? To literally blow one man’s brains out, take a blood sample from the corpse for DNA purposes, and then dump the guy in the ocean? Did they retrieve any internal organs (like the brain) for study? What happens to his children/wives? Are they imprisoned for life, stuck in a Dungeon, for fear that they would avenge the father? Where did their DNA end up?
And, for that matter, what becomes of all the DNA samples and bodies that JSOC, CIA, et al, pick up after a kill-capture raid? Is there a “Terrorist DNA Database”? Is the USA sequencing genetic material at a university defense contractor like Johns Hopkins? At some point the DNA, the bio-scans, the cultural data from Human Terrain Teams, Female Engagement Teams, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and Village Stability Operators will make its way into many Geospatial Maps in intelligence agencies, military commands, and executive offices. This is Joshua Project meets Global Human Terrain Map. Makes sense, the way things work these days.
Getting back to Panetta, the US State Department had to put him in check for his statement suggesting that the USA would respond militarily to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs. Where has that guy been? The Iranians are ascendant in Iran. This comes on the heels, or at the same time, as the US Congress held a session with the MEK, listed as a terrorist group by the US State Department. The National Iranian American Council in Washington, DC reported extensively on that event and a visit to their website should be in order for anyone interested in a balanced view of Iran and US relations, their tireless efforts to prevent a US-Iran war, and their activities for American Iranians.
NIAC reports this on the MEK “A decision is imminent regarding whether the MEK will stay on the terrorist list or if it will be permitted to receive U.S. Government funding and support. The State Department has been ordered to review the MEK’s terrorist designation as result of a legal appeal by the MEK and a decision is expected in August 2011. The MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents and communications firms to orchestrate an unprecedented political campaign to pressure its way off the terrorist list. High profile former U.S. officials have received payment to advocate publicly for the MEK, and Members of Congress have introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the FTO list. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to issue a decision on whether the MEK will continue to be listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in August 2011.
If MEK is removed from the State Department’s list, the NIAC correctly notes that the USA will be repeating the war formula for Iraq. “Disastrous repercussions in Iran and the US will take place to include empowering anti-democratic hardliners in Iran and devastating the pro-democracy movement in Iran; paving a pathway to covert action and war, repeating the mistakes of Iraq; empowering pro-war hardliners in Washington and destroying US credibility among Iranians; and enabling the MEK to control US policy towards Iran and silencing the Iranian-American community.”
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at email@example.com
By Tom Engelhardt
In the method, there is madness; in the comedy, nightmare; in the tragedy, farce.
And despite everything, there’s still good news when it comes to what Americans can accomplish in the face of the impossible! No, not a debt-ceiling deal in Washington. So much better than that.
According to Thom Shanker of the New York Times, the United States military has gathered biometric data – “digital scans of eyes, photographs of the face and fingerprints” – on 2.2 million Iraqis and 1.5 million Afghans, with an emphasis on men of an age to become insurgents, and has saved all of it in the Automated Biometric Information System, a vast computerized database. Imagine: we’re talking about one of every 14 Iraqis and one of every 20 Afghans. Who says America’s a can’t-do nation?
The Pentagon is pouring an estimated US$3.5 billion into its biometric programs (2007 through 2015). And though it’s been a couple of rough weeks when it comes to money in Washington, at least no one can claim that taxpayer dollars have been ill-spent on this project. Give the Pentagon just another five to 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and the biometric endeavor of a lifetime should be complete. Then Washington will be able to identify any Iraqi or Afghan on the planet by eye-scan alone.
Be proud, America!
And consider that feat a bright spot of American accomplishment (and not the only one either) in a couple of weeks of can’t-do news from the Greater Middle East. After all, despite those biometric scans, an assassin managed to gun down Our Man in Kandahar (OMK), Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s half-brother, in his own residence. He was the warlord the US military buddied up with as US troops were surging south in 2009 and who helped bring American-style “progress” to the Taliban heartland.
Before he was OMK and our great ally in southern Afghanistan, he was OEK (Our Enemy in Kandahar), the down-and-dirty, election-fixing, drug-running evil dude whom one American military official more or less threatened to take out. (“The only way to clean up Chicago is to get rid of Capone” was the way that Major General Michael Flynn, the top US military intelligence officer in the country, put it at the time.)
And before he was OEK, he was CMK (the Central Intelligence Agency’s Man in Kandahar), right up there on the agency’s payroll; and even before that, speaking of Chicago, he was a restaurateur in that city who … but I’m losing track of my point, as Americans have a knack for doing in Afghanistan.
Anyway, as I think I was saying, OMK-OEK-CMK was assassinated by Sardar Mohammad, a man he trusted and saw six days a week, a local “police commander” who, according to the Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow, “spent years as an ally of the United States in the war against the Taliban”. He was also reputedly a “trusted CIA contact” who had worked closely with US Special Forces. He had, so associates believe, either been turned by the Taliban in the past few months or was a long-time sleeper agent.
And then when security couldn’t have been tighter, at a service in a Kandahar mosque where hundreds (including top government officials from the region) had gathered to pay their respects to the dead capo, a suicide bomber wearing a turban-bomb somehow slipped inside and blew himself up, killing among others the chief of the Kandahar province religious council.
In other words, even though the US military tried to flood the zone in southern Afghanistan, its claims of progress and improved security are already giving way to a nowhere-to-hide Taliban world. These events could certainly be considered the insurgency’s symbolic goodbye to General David Petraeus, the US “surge” commander there, who was just handing over command and readying himself to return to Washington to become CIA director.
In a further sign of deteriorating security, an advisor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated (along with a member of parliament) in heavily guarded Kabul when a squad of Taliban gunmen stormed his walled compound.
To look on the bright side, though, that turban bomb may prove useful indeed to the Homeland Security lobby and the Transportation Security Administration back in the US. After all, it’s one more thing to strip off in airports along with the usual assortment of wallets, belts, baseball caps and footwear; and it’s a surefire Homeland Security Department fear-stoker, hence fundraiser, to add to suppository bombs and possibly mythical but well-publicized surgically implanted bombs. (And bad news for any Sikhs with air travel in mind.)
Franchising a no-friends policy
Biometrics aside, there were some other startling numbers out of the Greater Middle East recently. As it happened, some non-military types were also looking into eyes, not for retinal patterns, but patterns of thought. Pollsters from IBOPE Zogby International checked out 4,000 sets of eyes in six Middle Eastern countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco – at least five of which qualify as US allies, and in none of which has the US bombed, invaded, or carried out a night raid in recent memory.
And still, favorable opinion about the United States had plunged dismally since the early, heady days of the Barack Obama presidency. In many cases, the numbers are now below those registered in the last year of the George W Bush era (and you can imagine what they were). Only 5% of post-Arab-Spring Egyptians, for instance, claimed to have a “favorable view” of the United States, and across the six countries, only 10% of respondents “described themselves as having a favorable view of Obama”.
This spring, Pew pollsters found similarly plunging favorability ratings in the Greater Middle East. More recently, they asked Pakistanis about the CIA drone strikes in that country’s tribal borderlands and came up with a polling near-impossibility: 97% of Pakistanis looked on them negatively!
Consider that another remarkable American accomplishment of the Obama era – creating such unity of opinion in an otherwise fractious land!
Once upon a time, American accomplishments involved the building of vast highway systems or massive steel mills or even the winning of a world war, but in tougher times you take your accomplishments where you find them. And these polls emphasize one thing: that what Washington continues to do in the Greater Middle East with relentless brilliance and on an almost unimaginable scale is to make no friends.
Nor is it just in popularity terms that Washington has been racking up mind-boggling numbers in the no-friends business. In a study it just released, the “Costs of War” project at Brown University found that Washington’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will, in the end, eat $3.2 trillion to $4 trillion in taxpayer money – and that’s without adding in the air war in Libya (perhaps a chump-change billion dollars), the “war on terror” (in places like Yemen and Somalia where, as Jeremy Scahill reports in the Nation magazine, the CIA is running quite a covert operation from a walled compound in the confines of Mogadishu’s international airport), our continuing frenzy of base-building and ally supporting in the Persian Gulf area, military aid to the region, and so on.
In other words, not making friends in the Greater Middle East turns out to be a spectacularly budget-busting undertaking – and so an accomplishment in its own right. And rest assured, Washington isn’t likely to settle for 10% or 5% on those favorability figures either, not when absolute perfection in unpopularity is within reach.
Just in the past weeks, in a clear effort to lower those numbers, Washington has launched air attacks in Somalia (at least two wounded), Yemen (50 dead), Pakistan (at least 48 dead), Libya (no count), and Afghanistan (at least 40, including children). Despite what Washington officials imagine, drones are, in practice, neither precise nor effective weapons. But they are radicalizing instruments in an American war that, again in practice, is not just on but for terror.
In the same period, ex-CIA director and now Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta landed in Iraq and promptly launched a volley of threats at the Iranians, Shi’ite militias in Iraq, and the Iraqi government. Meanwhile, just to make sure Washington doesn’t lose its unique unpopularity franchise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the State Department issued a “stern warning” to and threatened prosecution of those Americans who boarded boats in the blockade-busting Gaza flotilla, almost none of which ever made it out of Greek harbors.
If those favorability numbers haven’t gone lower in the brief period since the Zogby pollsters finished their latest round of polling, one thing can be said: it wasn’t for lack of trying.
A modern Gordian knot
Nor should we leave the subject of no-friends franchises without making special mention of the remarkable American one in Pakistan. Not so long ago, an elite SEAL team set off “SEAL-mania” in the US by launching a strike on Osama bin Laden’s hideout-in-plain-sight in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the al-Qaeda leader without a warning to the Pakistani government or military.
The response there seems to have been a new round of America-phobia – thus undoubtedly fulfilling Bin Laden’s fondest dream: that even in death he would sink Washington deeper into the quagmire of the Greater Middle East.)
A farcical ballet followed between the Pakistani military, its intelligence services, its civilian government and the Obama administration. The Pakistanis promptly ordered 120 US special operations forces training the paramilitary Frontier Corps in those tribal areas out of the country. It refused to issue visas for US “equipment technicians” and arrested five men who had aided the CIA in tracking down bin Laden.
Washington responded with the usual “stern warnings”, accused the Pakistanis of tipping off al-Qaeda bomb-makers in those borderlands before they could be caught, and held back equipment meant for the Frontier Corps. Congress began to balk on the Pakistani aid package.
The Pakistanis, in turn, threatened to halt CIA drone flights from the biggest of the three air bases the agency borrows in that country. The Obama administration responded that, with or without those bases, its air campaign would go on, and then sent in the drones repeatedly to hammer the point home.
It also held back $800 million in military aid – not enough to truly matter, but just enough to further tick off the Pakistanis. Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar jabbed back by threatening to withdraw his country’s troops from the Afghan border areas. “We cannot afford to keep our military out in the mountains for such a long period of time,” he said in a TV interview.
Meanwhile, envoys ferried back and forth with the usual grab bag of threats, bribes, pleas and meaningless statements of unity between allies. And so it went.
Think of the Washington-Islamabad relationship, wrapped in the disaster of the Afghan war, as a classic can’t-live-with-’em-or-without-’em marriage made in hell. Or, if you prefer, think of it, now so many decades and two Afghan wars old, as a kind of Gordian knot.
In 333 BC, with a single swift stroke of his sword, Alexander the Great famously solved the problem of a knot on an ox cart in Gordium (in modern Turkey) that no one could untie. He sliced it open, so the story goes, in what has always been considered an ingenious response to an otherwise insoluble problem.
America’s Gordian knot in Pakistan, as in Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East, is beyond untying. Hold back that $800 million, send in the drones, cajole, plead, threaten, issue stern warnings, train, equip, bribe, kill. None of it does the trick. None of it will. Alexander would have known what to do. Washington is clueless.
Thought about a certain way, this might be the ultimate American accomplishment of the present moment.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of the Cold War and beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. He also edited The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), an alternative history of the mad Bush years. His latest book is The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s (Haymarket Books),
(Used by permission Tomdispatch)
(Copyright 2011 Tom Engelhardt.)
Part of the massive mainstream media campaign of lies and disinformation is the attempt to declare that Muammar Gaddafi is going to agree to go off somewhere into exile, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
It is the slimy, amoral, soulless, gutless wonders of NATO trying to project their own personal cowardice onto a man whom, frankly they are not fit to lick the dust off of the bottom of his shoe.
Evil people like those of NATO are always incapable of seeing the personal qualities of others, those that they themselves never possessed. It takes a certain kind of person to murder a child, to destroy a way of life, to irradiate an environment for upwards of 4 billion years with depleted uranium. To insanely conduct well over ten thousand bombing missions like a crazed lunatic on an overdose of amphetamines.
The last idiot corporate media rant goes as follows:
“…according to the Sunday Times, European officials have cooked up a plan to banish him to Malabo. It’s a question of Equatorial Guinea making him a serious offer, a source told the paper. We think that he might accept it.”
The most ridiculous thing I ever heard, at least since the Venezuela story. Naturally, Colonel Gaddafi categorically rejects any such plan.
The international community also needs to be put on notice as to its responsibilities towards UN Resolutions 1970 and 1973. The main thrust of action for those resolutions was for the protection of civilian life in Libya. This must not be forgotten.
Given the following statistics, action against NATO is called for.
From March 19th until July 8th, 1,108 Libyans were killed by the attacks of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and 4,537 were injured, of whom 717 were seriously injured, reports the Ministry of Health in Libya and reported by TeleSUR special envoy on the North African country, Rolando Segura, through their social network account on Twitter.
The resolution authorises “all necessary measures” (that is military action) to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack. Repeating, “all necessary measures.”
Therefore, the international community is put on notice that since deaths, injuries and destruction to civilian infratruture are being caused by NATO, countries should begin to implement plans to provide the government of Libya with all means of air defense weapons, as well as other weapons designed for self defense, in order to prevent further NATO attacks.
This has translated from a short war of conquest to a war of desperation. NATO has not and will not achieve its objective of conquest. NATO is now a wounded beast, dangerous because it is dying and striking out, just for the sake of striking out and killing and destroying whatever it can without regard to international law.
They murdered the son and young grandchildren of Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the family of one of Libya’s heroes, that included children.
“I never knew garbage could fly.”
“Yes, indeed, look at those NATO nazi planes.”
The world needs to do more than seethe with contempt and hatred for NATO and its murderous blitzkrieg.
It is immoral for any country to stand idly by and not provide Libya with all means of self defense in the most expeditious manner possible. Get those S-300s rolling! If your country fails to act, then you are equally responsible for the murder of civilians in Libya.
Colonialism is dead. NATO has lost the war. There will be no regime change, but free and fair elections, including giving the people of Libya the choice to continue with the current government. Their wishes are the priority.
Now is the time for healing and restoration. Libya will defend itself until a ceasefire is declared, with no preconditions of surrender by the people of Libya to the Hitlerite nazis of NATO.
This war must end like the last big war, with the utter defeat of fascism and the hanging of war criminals. Wash your necks, Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron. However, you may also choose the gunshot to the mouth in the bunker scene as well. Especially you, Monsieur Napoleon.
By John Daly
July 21, 2011 —- The last three years of global recession have dealt a major blow to American capitalist ideas trumpeted throughout the world on the value of “free markets.” Wall St has been revealed as a form of casino economy, with the bankster insiders gambling with other people’s, and eventually, the government’s money in the form of bailouts. As the Republicans in Congress, scenting victory in the 2012 presidential elections, hold a gun to the Obama administration’s head and rating agencies consider downgrading U.S. government bonds in light of Washington’s possible defaulting, many ideas around the world that previously seemed implausible because of the dominance of the U.S. economy are garnering renewed interest.
Not surprisingly, many of these concepts originate in countries not enamored with Washington’s influence, perhaps none so more than “Axis of Evil” charter member Iran, which has seen its economy hammered by more than three decades of U.S.-led sanctions. Now Iran is working a program, that, if it succeeds, could help undermine the dollar’s preeminence as the world’s reserve currency more effectively than a Republican filibuster.
Iran’s sly weapon against the Great Satan’s currency? An oil bourse on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which has now begun selling high-grade Iranian crude oil.
Mohsen Qamsari, deputy director for international affairs of the Iranian National Oil Company was modest about the exchange’s initial capabilities, saying, “The commodity stock exchange has been pursuing a mechanism for offering crude oil on the stock exchange for a long time, and it has taken the preliminary steps, to the extent possible. Considering the existing banking problems, foreign customers are not expected to be taking part in the first phase of offering crude oil on the stock exchange, and this will be done on a trial basis. Today Bahregan heavy, high quality, low sulfur crude oil with less sourness will be offered on the stock exchange for the first time. In the first phase, a 600,000 barrel shipment will be offered.”
Given that the world currently consumes roughly 83 million barrels of crude oil each day, the initial oil offerings at the Iranian stock exchange are hardly going to make or break the market, but they do represent an attempt by a significant oil producer to divert revenue streams from New York Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange, which handles West Texas Intermediate benchmark futures, and London’s Intercontinental Exchange, which deals in North Sea Brent. All trades are in dollars, effectively giving the U.S. currency a monopoly.
The Kish Exchange dates back to February 2008, when instead of Tehran, Kish was chosen because it had designated as a free trade zone. The Exchange was set up to trade contracts in euros, Iranian rials and a basket of other currencies other than dollars. The previous year, Iran had requested that its petroleum customers pay in non-dollar currencies. But the Exchange initially traded contracts only for oil-derived products, such as those used as feedstocks for plastics and pharmaceuticals. Now the institution has taken the next step.
Even as Congress remains tone-deaf to the recession’s effect on American jobs and the economy, others have taken careful note. On 17 June 2008, addressing the 29th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OPEC Fund for International Development in the Iranian city of Isfahan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told those in attendance, “The fall in the value of the dollar is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. The damage caused by this has already affected the global economy, particularly those of the energy-exporting countries. … Therefore, I repeat my earlier suggestion, that a combination of the world’s valid currencies should become a basis for oil transactions, or (OPEC) member countries should determine a new currency for oil transactions.”
What it would take for Iran’s new exchange to survive and flourish are some heavy-duty customers that Washington would be wary of picking a fight with, and Tehran already has one – China.
China, the world’s largest buyer of Iranian crude oil, has renewed its annual import pacts for 2011. In 2010 Iran supplied about 12 percent of China’s total crude imports. According to the latest report of the China Customs Organization, Iran’s total oil exports to China stood at 8.549 million tons between January and April 2011, up 32 percent compared with the same period last year. Iran is currently China’s third largest supplier of crude oil, providing China with nearly one million barrels per day.
China simply ignores Washington’s squeals about sanctions, but it is concerned about the bottom line, and unless Iran makes its oil prices more attractive versus competing supplies from the rest of the Middle East or South American exporters, it may be hard for the OPEC member to boost its share in the rapidly expanding Chinese market.
Enter the Kish Exchange.
China’s Ambassador to Tehran Yu Hung Yang, addressing the Iran-China trade conference in Tehran on Monday, said that the value of the two countries’ trade exchanges surged 55 percent during the first four months of 2011 over the same period a year ago to $13.28 billion and further predicted that the figure would surpass $40 billion by the end of the year.
So much for sanctions, eh?
So, while Washington prepares to commit political hara-kiri, Iran is preparing to take away a little of the capitalist glow from New York and London. If the Chinese decide to start paying for their Iranian purchases strictly in yuan, expect the trickle away from the dollar in energy pricing to become a stampede. That ought to give Washington politicos an issue to think about besides gay marriage.
By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com
The five corpses floated disfigured and bloating in the murky bottom of the water tank. Wearing green soldiers’ uniforms, the men lay belly down, decomposing in the putrid water.
By Ruth Sherlock, Al-Qawalish
July 21, 2011 “The Telegraph” – -The streaks of blood, smeared along the sides of this impromptu mass grave suggested a rushed operation, a hurried attempt to dispose of the victims.
Who the men were and what happened to them, close to the Libyan rebels’ western front line town of Al-Qawalish in the Nafusa Mountains, remains unknown.
But the evidence of a brutal end were clear. One of the corpses had been cleanly decapitated, while the trousers of another had been ripped down to his ankles, a way of humiliating a dead enemy.
The green uniforms were the same as those worn by loyalists fighting for Col. Muammer Gaddafi in Libya’s civil war. No one from the rebel side claimed the corpses, or declared their loved ones missing.
There was no funeral, or call to the media by the rebels to see the ‘atrocities committed by the regime’.
Since the bodies were seen by the Daily Telegraph attempts to discover their identities have been unsuccessful, in part because of obstruction by rebel authorities in the area. Having highlighted the discovery to those authorities the area was subsequently bulldozed and the bodies dissappeared.
The find will add to concerns highlighted in recent days over human rights violations by rebel forces. Human Rights Watch last week said that had looted homes, shops and hospitals and beaten captives as they advanced.
The Daily Telegraph found homes in the village of al-Awaniya ransacked, and shops and schools smashed and looted. The town, now empty, was inhabited by the Mashaashia, a traditionally loyalist tribe that has long been involved in land disputes with surrounding towns.
Human rights groups fear that reprisals may get worse as the rebels advance on towns nearer the capital such as Al-Sabaa and Gheryan which are loyalist strongholds.
The author of the HRW report, Sidney Kwiram, last night called on rebel leaders to investigate the latest find. “It is critical that the authorities investigate what happened to these five men.”
The bodies were discovered in a water tank just off the main road between Zintan, the main town in the area, and Al-Qawalish as the rebels consolidated their advance.
At the time, rebel commanders, including former government troops who had defected, claimed that the men were most probably killed by Col Gaddafi forces for trying to defect – a common allegation.
“The day of our first assault on Al Qawalish we found the bodies there, and they were already in bad shape,” said Col. Osama Ojweli, the military coordinator for the region.
“This is not unusual in Gaddafi’s army. In other battles we have found men, their hands tied behind their backs with dusty wire and executed – we found them shot in the head by the regime.”
A colonel, who defected last month and cannot be named, said: “If they think you might leave, they will shoot you.” His claim was backed up by loyalists captured and held prisoner in the nearby town of Yafran.
But suspicions have been raised after the rebel authorities disposed of the bodies and bull-dozed the site where they were found.
Drivers also said they had military orders not to take journalists to the site. “If you go there I will ditch you in the desert,” the driver of another news organisation reportedly said.
The rebel army is aware that NATO intervention on their side was justified by concern at regime human rights abuses in western capitals.
The Libyan Transitional National Council has now flown officials, including Abdulbaset Abumzirig, deputy minister of justice, to the Nafusa to investigate abuse claims.
“From what I have seen they are treating prisoners very well,” he said. “We have promised to hand them back to their families after the war.”
But Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both said there were documented cases of extra-judicial killings by rebel forces, including deaths in custody under torture.
In particular, in the early phases of the uprising, loyalists and sub-Saharan Africans accused of being mercenaries were lynched. Since then, men in rebel-held areas suspected of being members of Col Gaddafi’s security services have been taken from the homes, and subsequently found dead with their hands tied.
Both organisations say these are not on the scale of the abuses perpetrated by the regime. “We have come across a number of cases of executions of suspected Gaddafi fighters in both the east and the west,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of HRW.
“I does fit a consistent pattern, though I don’t think these killings are authorised by the rebel authorities in Benghazi.”
Diana Eltahawy, of Amnesty, said members of the Transitional National Council, the rebel government, had admitted to there being a problem with some of their troops but had not done enough to tackle it.
“There is no comparison with the Gaddafi side. But the concern is that there is not sufficient will to address this in the leadership,” she said. “It needs to be stopped before it becomes worse.”
By Dinesh Sharma
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India on July 18-19 could not have come at a more opportune time. The expressed purpose was to advance the civil nuclear deal between the countries; provide an update on the AfPak region; offer cooperation on the recent Mumbai bombings and discuss upcoming India-Pakistan meetings.
While her visit seems to have met these objectives, the deteriorating relationship with Pakistan in the post-Osama bin Laden world formed the chaotic backdrop to the strategic dialogue.
In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks that claimed the lives of at least 20 people, as tensions escalate between India and Pakistan, on the one hand, and the US and Pakistan on the other, there are many reasons why the Indian psyche would have resonated positively to a strong female protagonist who could take charge of the situation, or at least give reassurances that the future will turn out fine no matter how terrifying the times.
Indians by habit are conditioned to idealize female authority figures and elevate them to the status of demigods. This is certainly true of politics, where women candidates have a long history of running and winning against the staunchest of male opponents; former premier Indira Gandhi; the chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jayaram; Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state; Sonia Gandhi, the head of the Congress party that heads the ruling coalition government; Indian President Pratibha Patil, come to mind.
As a leading woman politician in the world, Clinton found a welcome reception in India, feeding off the reservoir of projective identifications that Indians shower on her – adoration, respect, deification – especially now that such praise may be in short supply at home.
Interestingly, Sonia Gandhi and Clinton are both products of the post-World War II generation, both born in 1947 – the year India gained independence from Britain. Gandhi hails from a small village in Italy, while Clinton is from the Midwest. Both are cosmopolitan, educated, Western women who have seen the world from the perspective of other people.
Both entered politics later in life, following on the trails of their husband’s political careers. In the case of Sonia, her spouse was the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi; Hillary is married to former president Bill Clinton.
The allure of dynastic power still holds sway in India. This is the country over which Indira Gandhi ruled throughout the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s with an iron fist. Throughout her reign, “India is Indira and Indira is India” was the commonly heard slogan, even from the mouths of very young children.
Thus, the space Hillary Clinton occupies in the minds of Indians is elevated not only by the political culture that is hospitable to women politicians, but the archeology of womanhood where goddess-worship has been central to the Hindu cosmology for thousands of years. Unlike the West, where monotheism has written women out of everyday religion and scriptures, in India the gods are oftentimes females, or at least androgynous.
However, with the onset of globalization, India has opened the door not just to direct foreign investment but to the ever-changing conceptions of womanhood and family life. As a result, the power of the devi or goddess in the household, with 10 arms and various guises, has only increased.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the stockpile of images circulated by Bollywoood, where Western women are no longer simply typecast as tramps and cabaret dancers, but increasingly play supporting roles alongside leading heroines. Indeed, globalization in India has opened inroads not just for Indian women, but for their Western counterparts as well.
It is hard to tell these days who is the real feerangi or a foreigner: do the Indians want everything Western or do the Westerners want to be Indian, to adopt Indian names, dress, customs and lifestyles?
Across the border in Pakistan, the increasing pace of globalization has created a backlash against everything American and Western. Clinton’s recent trip is a reminder once again of how India is moving ahead while Pakistan needs to catch up.
Women have never held power in Pakistan for any significant duration to impact the social structure. The military instead has dominated the affairs of state. In neighboring Bangladesh, another Islamic society, women have had much longer tenures as the heads of state and the country seems much better for it.
As Clinton was flying off to India, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, was wrapping up negotiations with Marc Grossman, the head of the US’s AfPak policy, about the curtailment of US$800 million in US aid to Pakistan.
When asked about the exact nature of the discussions, a State Department spokesmen said, “I mean, you can imagine that they talked about our relationship going forward, both the challenges that we’re facing but also the cooperation that remains and the importance of that cooperation in terms of counter-terrorism assistance but also in terms of civilian assistance.”
Pasha demanded that Pakistan’s sovereignty should not be compromised again, according to Daniel Markey of the Center for Foreign Relations. This is something the US is willing to grant, but only with strict conditions. Pakistan wanted the reversal of the $800 million aid, but that is contingent on specific demands, given the saga of Abbotabad, the Pakistani town in which US special forces killed al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden under the noses of Pakistani security.
The United States demanded that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) training officials be allowed back into Pakistan, with greater oversight over local military and police officials, and greater cooperation and investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bin Laden’s former compound.
While 87 CIA officials have been granted visas to go back into Pakistan, the greater cooperation surrounding the investigation of Bin Laden’s compound has not yet materialized. Pakistan has not been willing to release the doctor, Shakil Afridi, who infiltrated the compound to collect Bin Laden’s biological evidence. Also left unresolved has been the effort Pakistan is willing to make against the Pakistani-based Haqqani militant network that plays a key role in the Afghan insurgency.
A few days after Pasha’s visit, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation released yet another damaging report implicating the role of the ISI in lobbying the US government. Two Pakistani Americans have been charged with secretly working for the ISI in the shadows of Washington. According to the US Department of Justice:
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a US citizen and resident of Fairfax, Va, and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, a US citizen and resident of Pakistan, are charged in a one-count criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint alleges that the defendants have conspired to: 1) act as an agent of a foreign principal without registering with the Attorney General in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); and 2) falsify, conceal, and cover up material facts they had a duty to disclose in matters within the jurisdiction of Executive Branch agencies of the US government.
The complaint claims that Fai has been involved in a decades-long scheme to hide Pakistan’s involvement to shape the US government’s position on disputed Kashmir with India through a lobbying think-tank. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to US elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
It is difficult to estimate how far the carrot and stick approach deployed by the US will succeed in changing the hearts and minds inside Pakistan or the ISI. According to Daniel Markey of the Center for Foreign Relations, there is a real sense of frustration in the US government about Pakistan.
Certainly, any strategic dialogue between the US, India and Pakistan will only improve once the root cause of the conflict has been shown the light of day. As Aatish Taseer, son of the slain Pakistani governor of Punjab province has described, the clash between India and Pakistan is rooted in their differing visions of national identity.
In 1947, India chose to define itself as a secular nation, led by people like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and others. In reaction to a multicultural, multi-religious and pluralistic India, which is consistent with the linguistic, ethnographic and religious demography of the region before any lines were drawn in the sand and with the coming pace of globalization, Pakistan chose an exclusively Islamic path, envisioned by the poet Mohammad Iqbal.
This alternative vision of Pakistan has run into trouble from both within and without, due in large part to a lack of representative democracy and military rule.
India’s rise over the past two decades and the reversal in the fortunes of Pakistan, seen as “the calamity of Mohammad Iqbal’s unrealized utopia” might explain the bitterness and rage that many Pakistanis feel towards India and the US.
While the carrot and stick approach to diplomacy might force Pakistan to conform to US demands, it may not substantively resolve the problem of terrorism rooted in a radically different vision of the world. This is the hard task that awaits many modern Pakistani men and women.
Dinesh Sharma is the author of Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia: the Making of a Global President (ABC-CLIO/Praeger, 2011.