Monthly Archives: December 2011
Official U.S. intelligence is the true leader of the “Syrian Free Army”
The Muslim Brotherhood party, is calling for military intervention…Turkey against Syria, has a militia trained by the U.S.
The Egyptian newspaper al-Arabi said on Friday that a colonel in the U.S. with the last name Cleveland is overseeing the operations of training and weaponry, and is the real leader of the “Syrian Free Army.” The publication says that Cleveland is moving between the fields of training his organization.
The colonel in charge of creating an army consisting of armed men opposed to the Syrian government, called “Syrian Free Army,” said the U.S. had created training bases in Turkey to the north, in eastern Lebanon, and Arbil in Iraq.
The Muslim Brotherhood party, which is demanding Turkey’s military intervention against Syria, has a militia trained by the U.S. and their intelligence services. They are providing data and technical equipment to them.
The newspaper added that the intelligence services that are funding and arming mercenaries to fight the army of Syria require that all armed groups call themselves “free army.”
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood admitted to being behind the protests in the province of Daraa in the south and Jisr al-Shughour in the north, and that they intend to form buffer zones as a prologue to military intervention. The article states that the page “Syrian revolution” on Facebook is managed by an intelligence network from Brussels, which had formed even before the events in Syria.
Translated from the Portuguese version by:
The year 2011 provided us with a telling insight into where our planet is going, into how our community of nations is developing and to what extent hypocritical international relations compromise the western regimes which have spent decades bawling obscenities about human rights but which then present study cases into the worst type of crisis management possible.
The year 2011 also provided us with the most noble example of human bravery, namely the controlled and courageous response of the Japanese people after the tsunami and nuclear crisis yet also the most vile example of human hypocrisy as western powers attacked Libya, trying to destroy the Jamahiriya system of government, targeting civilian structures with military hardware, supporting terrorists and breaking every law in the book in terms of international relations.
The year 2011 provided us with proof, once and for all, that NATO is a terrorist organization, that NATO cavorts with terrorists, that NATO strafes water supplies with military hardware, that NATO aids and abets and finances forces led by people (?) such as Bel Hadj, himself on NATO terrorist lists. It provides us with proof that NATO does not respect international law, it provides us with proof that NATO does not respect the UN Charter, it provides us with proof that NATO does not respect the terms of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions it signs, it provides us with proof that NATO is a criminal organization which panders to the whims of the lobbies which surround Washington’s foreign policy.
In 2011, the most horrendous and disgusting flouting of international law, breach of international conventions and the most clear violation and insult of diplomatic norms took place in the rape of Libya by the United States of America, by the United Kingdom and by the Republic of France, and their poodle states.
The indictment served against this act was received by the International Criminal Court and was received by the European Court of Human Rights. It is annexed to this article (*). It did not receive even the courtesy of a reply from either institution, meaning that these two legal institutions and more in legion with flouting the law than defending it, because for those who read the terms of the indictment, the truth is clear for all to see.
Shame on those who perpetrated these crimes against humanity, shame on those who derided Muammar al-Qathafi in the international media without referring to his immense good deeds, his Green Book and his humanitarian record which was going to see him honoured by the UNO.
International law exists and despite the fact that there are pariah states in the world which wish to flout it, it exists to be respected and implemented. On one side we have the ascendant BRIC block, Brazil, Russia, India and China. On the other, we have the descendant ex-colonial powers, Britain, France and Italy, whose places in the G7 will be taken by the BRIC countries within the next decade.
Guess who respects international law, and guess who flouts it? And let us wonder why…
For every New Year that comes and goes, the ascendance of the BRIC block and the demise of the former imperial powers will be more and more marked. Happy New Year. Maybe it will be happier for the world if the BRIC group takes more control over the former imperialist powers.
31 December 2011
The Obama administration’s bellicose stance towards Iran is setting the stage for a dangerous slide towards war in the Persian Gulf. Having provoked Tehran with legislation for what amounts to an oil embargo, the US is threatening Iran with military action if it retaliates by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz.
The press immediately added fuel to the flames by backing Washington and vilifying the Iranian regime. An editorial in the New York Times on Thursday fully supported the Obama administration’s threat of military action against any Iranian attempt to block the Persian Gulf. The editorial condemned Iran for “its recklessness and its contempt for international law,” declaring, “This is not a government any country should want to see acquire nuclear weapons.”
Other sections of the media went one step further, giving voice to the clamour in ruling circles in the US and Israel for a pre-emptive attack on Iran to destroy its nuclear and military facilities. The Wall Street Journal editorial seized on the tensions over the Strait of Hormuz to warn of the dangers of an Iranian regime “fortified by a nuclear threat,” concluding that it would be “better to act now to stop Iran.”
The cynicism is staggering. Having waged wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq and backed the NATO bombing of Libya, the US is now deliberately and recklessly raising tensions in the Persian Gulf by threatening severe penalties against any foreign company doing business with Iran’s central bank, thereby effectively blocking Iranian oil exports. It is hardly surprising that Tehran has reacted to an act of economic war that would collapse its already fragile economy.
The US and Israel are already engaged in a dirty covert war against Iran’s nuclear and missile programs that involves computer viruses, bombings and assassinations. Any one of these illegal acts of sabotage and murder could have precipitated a slide into military conflict. The US has not only drawn up its own detailed war plans, but is arming its allies in the Gulf against Iran. The White House gave great media prominence on Thursday to a huge $30 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, including 84 of the latest F-15SA fighter aircraft.
As for the Iranian “nuclear threat,” it is necessary to recall the lies about WMDs that were used to justify the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The modus operandi of the Obama administration, acting with the bipartisan support of Congress, is no different. Dubious and dated “evidence” is being deliberately distorted and magnified, with the complicity of the new International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Yukiya Amano, into claims that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Tehran’s denials are dismissed out of hand.
The media is silent on Washington’s rank hypocrisy in demanding an end to Iran’s nuclear programs while fully backing the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East—its ally Israel, which is notorious for its wars of aggression. The glaring double standard only underscores the fact that Obama’s belligerence towards Iran is no more about the “nuclear threat” than the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were about “terrorism” and WMDs.
US aggression against all three countries has been driven by longstanding American ambitions to consolidate its dominance over the region. Iran not only has its own huge oil and gas reserves but forms the strategic bridge between the energy-rich areas of the Middle East and Central Asia. US imperialism has never reconciled itself to the loss of American hegemony in Tehran that followed the overthrow its ally, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979. The Bush administration backed away from more aggressive action against Iran only because the American military was bogged down in quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now the Obama administration is exploiting the political upheavals in the Middle East to refashion the region in line with its strategic and economic interests. Having ousted Gaddafi in Libya, the US and its allies are applying similar methods to Syria, where oppositional Sunni factions, supported and armed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are exploiting popular discontent to force out the pro-Iranian regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The anti-Assad opposition is now pushing for foreign military intervention along the lines of NATO’s war against Libya.
In neighbouring Iraq, the US and its regional allies are fanning sectarian hostility to the Maliki government, which rests on Shiite parties sympathetic to Tehran. Washington is exploiting the Sunni-based Iraqiya coalition as a means for pressuring, or if need be refashioning, the Iraqi government to distance it from Iran. At the same time, the US maintains a studied silence on the repressive measures used by its Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, to suppress political opposition to their autocratic regimes.
The central focus of these machinations in the Middle East is the Iranian regime, which is regarded in Washington as the key obstacle to American ambitions—despite its efforts on more than one occasion to reach an accommodation with the US. In 2009, the Obama administration was centrally involved in orchestrating the international cacophony in support of the failed “Green Revolution”—a movement largely composed of more privileged sections of the Iranian upper middle class. Now US military plans are being dusted off.
The relentless intensification of tensions always poses the danger of precipitating conflict, even if at a particular point in time it is unintended. A war against Iran, a country that is crucial to the geopolitical calculations not only of the US, but also major rivals such as Russia and China, inevitably risks escalating into a far broader regional and international conflict with catastrophic implications for humanity.
The driving force behind the eruption of American militarism is the economic decline of the United States, now compounded by the worsening global economic crisis. The only social force capable of preventing the slide into new and more horrific wars is the international working class, through the overthrow of the bankrupt profit system and its outmoded nation-state system and their replacement by a planned world socialist economy.
The US is struggling with a paradox: while its military power retains global reach, its role as world leader is gradually ending
December 30, 2011 “The Guardian” — The time has long since past when it became fashionable to talk about a new world order. The collapse of the Soviet Union provided an opportunity to fashion one. But instead of using that opportunity to create a new security architecture in Europe, Nato expanded eastwards as the military anchor for democracy promotion. Not content to have seen off one global military competitor in the Soviet Union, the western military industrial complex and the think-tanks they funded scurried around for a worthy replacement. When 11 September happened, they thought they were in business again. For a brief moment, al-Qaida seemed to fulfil some of the characteristics of communism: it could pop up anywhere in the world; it was an existential enemy, driven ideologically and uncontainable through negotiation; and it was potentially voluminous. Neither the doctrines of the pre-emptive strike, nor attacking a foreign country abroad to ensure security at home, were new. Swap the domino theory of the Vietnam era for the crescent of crisis of the Bush and Obama eras, and you had the same formula for a foe that hopscotched across the globe.
But here’s the curious thing. Al-Qaida failed, not by being bombed out of the tribal areas of Pakistan or by losing its video-hugging leader. It failed as an ideological alternative, in its own terms and for its own people. It failed in Egypt, the country that mattered most to its chief thinker, the Egyptian-born doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri. When the opportunity arose for millions of Muslims to shed their brutal Arab yoke (this was supposed to be the fourth phase in the construction of the Caliphate, to be accompanied by physical attacks against oil suppliers and cyber ones on the US economy), nothing of the sort happened. Islam is indeed winning the day, but it is political rather than military. It seeks alliances with the apostate and says it is committed to democratic partnership and the rule of law.
Al-Qaida’s failure was all the more significant because the western response, the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, also failed. Not because the enemy was especially daunting, but because the mission was impossible to start with. Mission creep started with democracy promotion, continued as state-building, and ended with withdrawal at any cost, by the appointed date. The quality of life in the country US combat troops left behind – most likely one that in Iraq will break up into a loose federation on sectarian lines – became less important than the fact of departure itself. Military ceremonies proclaiming victory in the war in Iraq had as much sense of reality as Kim Jong-il’s funeral. This is the next feature of the world we live in. It is an age of the self-defeating intervention. The quests through military means to build stable states out of a dictatorship in Iraq or a failed state in Afghanistan did not and are not failing at the hands of a conventional enemy. They implode. They self-destruct.
Military overreach and serial economic crises have bequeathed us a generation of small leaders who battle with events that outsize them. They have stopped trying to fashion them, but appeal instead to a defensive desire. Protectionism not internationalism rules the day. The Middle East has been transformed from a zone of allies to one in which Washington has been reduced to the role of spectator. It is now largely a taker of Middle Eastern policy, not one of its makers. There are other parts of the globe where US power projection finds natural allies, such as the Pacific, where China’s rise is feared. So the paradox is that while US military power retains global reach (it is working on supersonic cruise missiles, and long-range drones) its stewardship as world leader, as a generator of the next big idea, is gradually ending. There may come a time when international institutions are rebuilt to fill this vacuum. But that time is not yet. Until then, a new world disorder would be nearer the mark.
By Jack Random
December 30, 2011 —The lies of war are forgotten as easily and readily as the wrappings of Christmas or the resolutions of a new year. Like a child still in diapers, the lessons of war must be learned again and again until finally they are taken to heart.
The lies of the war in Iraq are so easily buried that six out of seven Republican candidates for president of the United States have publicly pledged to go to war in Iran based on the identical unsubstantiated claims that led us to war in Iraq. The lessons of that ill-fated war, the largest strategic blunder since Vietnam, are so readily put behind us that even before that colossal disaster officially ended, six of seven Republican candidates pledged his and her allegiance to the same neoconservative brain trust that guided us into the snake pit. And the White House is not far behind.
Those of us who remember the war in Vietnam and the years we committed to ending it will find the bipartisan rationalizations of the Iraq War all too familiar and profoundly disturbing.
The lie that drove the Vietnam War was the Domino Theory: If we lose one nation to the red menace of communism, then we will lose them all. On that basis, three generations of western powers (Britain, France and America) chose a little country on the doorstep of China as their playground of war.
It required over three million lives to prove that a child’s game was not a legitimate basis for a foreign policy. It only made sense because it fit on a bumper sticker and because our leaders were dominated by military minds in search of power, glory and the spoils of empire.
The great postwar lie of Vietnam was that we lost the war because we were never fully committed. The politicians in Washington held our generals back. Between 1965 and 1968 we dropped over a million tons of missiles, bombs and rockets on North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia but we were never fully committed. We sprayed 12 million gallons of the deadly chemical defoliant Agent Orange over wide swaths of Southeast Asia but we were not fully committed. At the height of the war in 1968 we deployed over half a million soldiers, including the first conscripts since the Korean War, but we were not fully committed.
Short of nuclear bombs, we were as committed to that unjustifiable war as any nation could have been yet the lies of war survive. The lies of war take on mythological characteristics and believing them becomes a ritual of patriotism.
Little wonder we commit the same strategic mistakes, the same errors in judgment, the same acts of criminal inhumanity, the same ultimately desperate and self-destroying measures over and over again.
In the wake of Vietnam, America’s leaders were confined to small-scale interventions until George Herbert Walker Bush, former Director of the CIA, conspired to wage war in Iraq. Though the Gulf War was short-lived, its military success inspired President Bush to announce: “The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula.”
Forever was not a long time as his eldest son was to initiate two wars that brought the specter of Vietnam back into focus. One was the ongoing ten-year war in Afghanistan and the other was a return to his father’s war in Iraq.
Few will recall the lies of the father but the lies of the son are too fresh to be so soon forgotten. They include not only the infamous weapons of mass destruction but also the later claim that virtually all the world believed the lie. For the record, we lost our appeal before the United Nations Security Council to justify military action on the basis of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The International Atomic Energy Agency thoroughly debunked our claims and the measure was withdrawn when it became clear that the Council would vote overwhelmingly against our cause for war.
Members of the Bush administration falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein was a party to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. They falsely claimed that Iraq harbored and worked with Al Qaeda operatives. These claims were so clearly and demonstrably false that even President Bush was forced ultimately to disavow them.
The lies of war had served their purpose. Once the first bombs lit up the Baghdad skyline, supporting the war became a matter of patriotism.
The next lie was that our actions had nothing to do with Iraqi oil and everything to do with establishing democracy in the Arab world. That lie was exposed when our first action was to protect the oil fields. Well before an Iraqi government could be established we contracted Iraqi oil to the highest corporate bidders. Mission accomplished.
The lies of war are really not that difficult to detect. It only requires an open mind, an appetite for facts, and a willingness to think.
The lies of the Iraq War will survive unless those of us who witnessed them, from the soldiers who sacrificed to the citizens who supported and opposed them, unless each of us vows to accept the truth and pass that horrid account forward to future generations.
We can be grateful that a president elected largely on the promise of ending the Iraq War has officially done so, though we remain mindful that thousands of American-hired mercenaries remain behind to guard the largest diplomatic embassy on earth.
We understand at our stage of development that a president cannot apologize for the harm done in the name of our nation.
We understand the wisdom of separating the war from the warrior.
We know the president cannot inform our soldiers that they were fighting the wrong war for the wrong reasons.
But when the president announces that we have created an opportunity for the Iraqis to thrive and prosper as a democratic nation, he is not only being disingenuous; he is perpetuating the lies of war. When the president declares that our fight in Iraq was for Iraqi freedom and international justice, he is paving the way for another unjust war in America’s future. He is attempting to bury the specter of Vietnam.
Leaving Afghanistan for another day, we should all agree that the Iraq War was wrong from its inception. It was never about democracy. It was never about justice. It was always about oil and strategic advantage.
Wrong is wrong.
Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books).
December 30, 2011 Market Oracle” — Is Iran truly a country so bent on murdering innocent Americans it embraces its own nuclear annihilation, unlike any other nation now or previously, utter, complete defeat at war?
This is the claim made by the pro-warfare wing of the Republicrat Party, seven out of eight candidates seeking the Republican nomination for President. It is a given within this frightened circle that Iranians are willing to commit mass suicide as a people just to make a negative point about the freedoms enjoyed in the United States.
The warfare candidates in their many words on the subject betray little personal knowledge of Iranian history or proclivities. The main evidence cited in favor of a US military attack on Iran is the rants of the staged showman of the mullah empire, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even he has never stated that Iran is willing to die as a nation just to launch one nuclear attack of its own on Israel or the United States. With an impoverished economy, a strong protest movement, no known weapons of mass destruction and no direct capacity to deliver a nuclear missile even close to Tel Aviv, Iran seems an odd nation for the West to be so frightened of.
It was only fifty years ago the US Congress- Industrial-Pentagon Machine attacked demon North Vietnam for its war to reunify the nation, split apart by WWII and by years of French imperial domination. In 1964 it was a plain certainty in Washington, D.C. the Vietnam War the nation was prosecuting was the unfortunate burden of Americans, especially young people subject to the military draft. The alternative was to have Communist China and the Soviet Union consume all of Southeast Asia within its godless, combined empire. This would lead to the communists winning the global cold war in the end. Even the United States may eventually fall to the Soviet-Sino monolith. Therefore, this was a quite necessary war in Vietnam, well worth fighting.
After the US ended its puppet government in South Vietnam and withdrew, North Vietnam quickly unified the country by force in 1974. What occurred thereafter was quite different from the Pentagon’s longtime vision.
Vietnam engaged in three land wars with China, its traditional enemy. Rather than falling to communism, Southeast Asia became the center of globalization, free trade and capitalism. The Soviet Union never exercised influence again in Southeast Asia after the Americans withdrew from Vietnam. The Soviets went on to their own disastrous foreign invasion in Afghanistan. At times during the 1980’s it appeared the Soviet Union was on the brink of war with China.
The government of Ho Chi Minh still rules Vietnam today under so-called communism, now as a de-facto ally of the United States. If there were any negative effects on the United States by the unification of Vietnam under Ho Chi Ming, none are apparent, despite our wasting of untold lives and treasure for more than a decade. The fears and dire predictions could not have been more wrong.
Learning no lessons from the Vietnam fiasco, the US in 2003 went on to invade another nation, Iraq, based on unfounded fears. The US withdrawal this year from Iraq has been followed by the prospect of immediate civil war and chaos across the ethnically divided nation we leave behind. No actual gains from the Iraq War can be cited. Had he not been deposed by the US invasion of Iraq already, Saddam Hussein would have been the most unlikely Middle East dictator to survive this year’s Arab spring revolutions.
Is the new saber-rattling fixation on Iran by US leaders setting America up for yet another disastrous foreign war based on false assumptions? Is a trumped up new war with Iran the way the coming implosion the US dollar is going to be covered over by our failed elite?
Iran: Crossroad of Empires: Center of Learning, Arts and Diplomacy
Human civilization was born to present knowledge along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in Mesopotamia, circa 10,000 B.C, Assyria and Babylonia, present day Iraq and Iran. Millennia later, the region also came to be called Persia by European geographers. The proper name of the nation, Iran, was firmly established diplomatically across the world in 1935.
A warrior people known as the Menes were the first to consolidate the Iranian plateau and the surrounding regions. As an ethnic group the Menes were called “Aryans”, more like Vikings than Mongols. Largely under the rule of King Cyaxares (633-584 B.C.), the Medes finally put an end to centuries of war. The Menes victory at Niniva in 612 B.C. destroyed the remnants of the archenemy Assyrian Empire. See http://www.art-arena.com/medes.html The Menian Empire at its peak stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan.
Another warrior people led by Cyrus the Great (559-530 B.C.), starting in Iran, built the greatest empire known to the ancient world. The last ruler of the Medes, Astyages, was defeated and captured by Cyrus in 549 B.C. Cyrus’ armies went on dominate most of the Middle East, including Egypt and parts of Europe. The empire was named after Cyrus’ mentor, the Achaemenian Empire.
Cyrus’ imperial successor, Xerxes, led the invasion of Greece beginning in 481 B.C. in retaliation for an Athenian attack on the forces of Emperor Darius at the Battle of Marathon a number of years earlier. Despite the heroics of the King Leonidas led Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, Xerxes’ armies marched through the whole of Greece sacking Sparta and Athens. See http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/300-spartans-battle-thermopylae-herodotus-real-history#sect-background
There was something quite unique about the Achaemenian Empire for its deadly brutal times. Cyrus did not engage in the mass extinction of defeated peoples as practiced by all earlier dynasties. Cyrus and his successors allowed a degree of self-governance in defeated lands, even allowing local religions to remain in place. Many of the cities captured by the Achaemenians greeted the new emperor as a savior. As recounted in the Old Testament, Jewish leaders in Samaria, fighting for survival among hostile peoples, referred to Cyrus as the “Lord’s Annointed” for his peaceful ways. See http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/264-cyrus-the-great-in-biblical-prophecy Cyrus was a builder of cities and the guarantor of safe commerce between nations.
It was Greek Macedonia in the person of Alexander the Great that ultimately defeated the Achaemenian Empire. The greatest general ever used brilliant cavalry tactics to overwhelm much larger Persian armies led by Darius at the Battles of Issus and Gaugamela, ending forever the use of chariots as a platform of war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gaugamela Alexander campaigned successfully until his death three years later in 331 B.C. from illness, age 32 with no heir to the several thrones he held.
During his reign Alexander in part adopted from Cyrus the policies of magnanimity and generosity that had expanded and improved the Achaemenian Empire. The formula proved once again to be a catalyst to empire building.
Following his death, Alexander’s Middle Eastern empire devolved into three parts before coming apart altogether. In the region of Iran the Seleucids inherited power, but suffered a decisive defeat to the Romans in 189 B.C. at the battle of Magnesia. Though Iran never came under the direct control of Rome the region was not to be united again until a people from the north like The Medes, the Parthians led by Mithridates I (171-138 B.C.), slowly stitched together a new Iranian empire.
The Parthians battled with Rome for the next three hundred years over Syria, Mesopotamia and Armenia, with no lasting results.
With the rise of the Sassanians in 124 A.D. from an internal rebellion under new King Ardeshir, power and empire in Iran switched once again to peoples native to Babylon and Mesopotamia. At the height of the Sassanian Empire, Ardeshir’s son Shapur, in 259 A.D., defeated the Roman emperor Valerian at the battle of Edessa where more than 70,000 Roman soldiers were captured. Beset on all sides from war and pillage the Sassarians became a martial form of governance as they ruled Iran for 400 years.
Islamists of Nigeria associated with the Afghan Taliban and the fundamentalist Algerians will continue unleashing their war against the government of this country to a complete victory and the establishment of Sharia throughout its territory.
This is how they commented on the terrorist attacks that occurred during the Catholic Christmas in several cities of the country against the Christian churches and police stations. On December 25-26, extremists killed at least 40 people.
The biggest victims were recorded in the explosion of the Church of St. Therese on the outskirts of the capital Abuja, killing 35 people. The power of the explosion was such that the church roof collapsed. After this, the bombs were dropped at churches in the cities of Jos (center) and Gadaka in the north. In the town of Damaturu, also located in the north, there were two explosions at police stations. As a result, three policemen were killed.
The extremists did not stop there. On December 26, they set on fire 30 stores owned by Christians in Potiskum and the house of the leader of the local Christian community. After that, local sources have reported the escape of the Christian population, not only from Potiskum, but also from Damaturu. Experts do not rule out the possibility that if the authorities hesitate to restore order, sectarian unrest could reach a much more serious scale, as it has happened before.
A number of Western experts have linked the activity of the Islamists with the results of the presidential elections held in May, won by the Christian Goodluck Jonathan, after which the country was engulfed by violence. Over the last six months there have been dozens of attacks in Nigeria, which killed hundreds of people. The biggest one was the August attack at UN headquarters in Abuja that killed over 20 people.
It should be noted that the Christmas attacks on Christian churches have become tradition for the local Islamists. For example, in 2010, 38 people fell victims of violances. The problem in the country did not emerge in May. Major role in this exacerbation was played by a radical Islamist group “Boko Haram” (“Western Sin”), or as the militants like to call themselves, “Jamaat ahlis Sunnah wal-Jihad Liddaavati” (“Society of adherents who spread the teachings of the Prophet and Jihad”), seeking destruction of the secular state, the western model of education and the introduction of Sharia law throughout Nigeria.
This organization was founded in 2002 by the “preacher” Mohammad Yousuf in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. With the money of the Gulf Arab sheikhs who made their generous donations to the Afghan mujahideen, Yusuf had built a religious complex, including a mosque and a school “to educate” children. But in reality, it became the center of recruiting and training of fighters. Nigeria interested the “customers” as a country with major human and energy resources that plays a major role on the continent.
Finally, in 2004, having obtained the desired number of followers, Yusuf moved to the area of Gangnam (Yobe State), where they created a base with the eloquent title “Afghanistan”, where the Islamists started attacking the police.
However, the first really serious attack of its fighters was carried out on July 26, 2009, when they tried to seize power in northern Nigeria. The attacks that started in Bauchi State with successful attacks on the Anglican Church and police stations have failed.
Three days later, on July 29, the authorities turned the tide in their favor. The police stormed the old base groups in Maiduguri, and Mohammed Yusu died on August 9 in unclear circumstances.
However, this failure did not lead to the destruction of the terrorist group. On September 7, 2010 50 militants of “Boko Haram” suddenly attacked a prison in the state of Bauchi with over 700 of their associates, and freed them.
After that, the Islamists markedly increased the number of attacks. According to local sources, in 2011 Boko Haram killed 465 people. The main reasons why the Islamists cannot be destroyed is the corruption when the officials abuse their power, and poverty. The latter creates nearly unlimited room for the radicals who have large finances.
What are the prospects of the fight for power? In the future, we cannot rule out the fact that the Islamists in a favorable scenario will be able to break off the northern part of the most populous country in Africa (160 million).
“Boko Haram” has many trump cards, including the availability of sponsors of the Arab Gulf countries and the support of the “Al Qaeda” and its North African branch of AQIM. At least, this was reported by Algerian security forces, which indicated that the Islamists have managed to transfer some weapons seized in Libya to its Nigerian allies.
However, “Boko Haram” has its weaknesses hindering its ability of a victory of a secular regime. First, it failed to enlist the support of the majority of Muslims of Nigeria, who do not want to rush into extremes and live according to Sharia. Recently “Boko Haram” declared “war on the influence of moderate Islam.”
Second, it would be much harder to seize power in the south, where Christians are historically concentrated. Without the South the victory will not matter much to the Islamists because it is there the major oil fields are and it is the place that to a large extent supplies the rest of Nigeria’s with food and other goods.
For a long time the monopoly on the publication of such reports belonged to the United States. The Americans tend to present certain countries as outcasts. Year after year Russia is highlighted in the reports of the State Department. According to them, Russia has issues with the elections, freedom of speech and religious minorities. Something similar is published by the European Union. At one time, Chinese Foreign Ministry published a report on human rights in the United States.
Russian foreign policy was clearly defensive. Russia always had to justify itself, responding to attacks from the West. And then, finally, Russia published a nearly 100-page document describing human rights violations in the United States, Canada, EU and NATO, as well as allied Georgia. The actions of the West during the war in Libya have not been overlooked in the report either. Each region is assigned a separate section.
The largest section is devoted to the U.S. – the country which has declared itself “the standard of democracy.” “The situation there is far from the ideals proclaimed by Washington. The main unresolved issue is an odious prison at Guantanamo Bay … President Obama has legalized indefinite terms without trial… The current administration continues to use most of the methods of social control and interference with the privacy of Americans,” the document says.
“There are continued violations of international humanitarian law in armed conflict and during anti-terrorist operations. Chronic systemic problems in the American society are getting more acute, including racial discrimination, xenophobia, overcrowding in jails, unreasonable use of the death penalty … The U.S. has one of the weakest in the West security systems for workers’ rights for Collective Bargaining”, stated Russian diplomats.
“The extraterritorial application of the American law does the greatest harm in terms of US-Russian relations. It leads to a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, including arbitrary arrests and abductions from third countries (the most obvious examples are the cases of Viktor Bout and K. Yaroshenko),” says the report. The authors also note “a very acute problem of violence against adopted children from Russia in American families.”
Further the report lists such things as violation of the rights of prisoners in CIA prisons, the problems with freedom of expression and harassment of employees and the founder of the website WikiLeaks, the death of at least 111,000 Iraqis and 14 thousands of Afghans in the wars unleashed by the United States. There is racial discrimination of blacks and Hispanics, and religious discrimination against American Muslims.
Not everything is well in the U.S. with human rights, freedom of speech and racism, and especially with the wars. Of course, one can parry that in Russia the labor laws are less than perfect, and there are problems with the media, and national relationships are not perfect as well. However, Russia is not instructing the world how to live, and does not throw bombs on other countries. The presence of problems in Russia does not change the fact that the U.S. is far from ideal.
With regard to the European Union, the Russian Foreign Ministry has supported human rights criticism from Human Rights Watch on the rights of immigrants from Asia and Africa and the anti-Muslim rhetoric. “The main conclusion is the overall growth of xenophobia and intolerance in the EU, promotion of far-right rhetoric … European governments do not try to fight it, but, rather, vice versa, use the trend in domestic purposes,” the Russian diplomats said.
“According to the AOHR (EU Agency for Fundamental Human Rights – Ed.) in 2009 more than any others the following nationalities were discriminated at work: North Africans in Italy (30 percent), Roma in Greece (29 percent), Roma in the Czech Republic (27 percent), Africans in Malta (27 percent), Africans in Ireland (26 percent), Roma in Hungary (25 percent), Brazilians in Portugal (24 percent), Turks in Denmark (22 percent), Roma in Poland (22 percent),” the report says.
It is important that Russia described the problem that the EU remained silent about for years. They say that they do not have problems with the Muslims or Roma. They do have them, however, and last year they demonstrated it by the shooting in Norway or the influx of refugees from North Africa. Yet, there is another side to the issue: can Muslims or blacks demand the same rights as the indigenous people? Can they pointedly ignore laws and customs accepted in Europe? Would Roma themselves be willing to adapt to a normal society? Therefore, complaints to the authorities of European countries are still excessive.
Sections on Germany, France, Britain and Sweden, report on the growth of xenophobia and the issues of Muslims. Swedes, among other things, are accused of supporting the Chechen rebels. Finland is also mentioned in connection with the endless stories about taking children away from Russian mothers. In the case of Hungary there is a mention of an attempt to revise the results of the Second World War. Poland, Bulgaria and Romania “only” suffer from inadequate legislation.
A separate section is devoted to the Baltic. “The discriminatory policy of the authorities of the Baltic states against the Russian minority living there remains nearly unchanged. Of particular concern is the unresolved problem of mass statelessness in Latvia (nearly 330 thousand “aliens”) and Estonia (nearly 100 thousand “aliens”) and consequent violation of the rights of Russian-speaking minorities in these countries,” stated the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Reduction of the Russian-language news and cultural and educational space, as well as the persecution of World War II veterans and law enforcement agencies of the former USSR is also observed in Lithuania. Of particular concern is the continuation of the trend to rewrite the history of the Second World War Baltic states,” Russian diplomat said.
Problems in Georgia were very clearly outlined in the report. There are a lot of cases when Russian citizens (including ethnic Georgians) fell victims of provocations of local security forces. Attention is drawn to the dispersal of the protests. Particularly highlighted is the largest violation of the rights of national minorities of the country – the Armenian and Azerbaijani.
“Armenian-populated region of Samtskhe-Javakheti (in Armenian Javakheti) is in dire socio-economic situation … Administrative positions in local government are occupied predominantly by Georgian. The Georgian authorities have deliberately carried out a discriminatory policy against Azerbaijanis. Resettlement of Azerbaijanis in neighboring Azerbaijan is becoming mass in nature,” the Russian diplomats stated.
The next section of the report is on Canada. The country was berated for the brutality against the demonstrators, for the oppression of Indians and Eskimos, and lack of security of Canadian citizens abroad. However, there is not a single word in the report about endless military exercises in the Arctic and threats of Canadian authorities to Russia.
The last section is devoted to NATO operations in Libya. “NATO leaders officially deny the facts of civilian deaths as a result of air strikes by coalition forces, indirect victims, which was the reason for the blockade of the western regions of Libya, the destruction of civilian infrastructure,” the diplomat said.
Then follows a list of deaths of civilians from NATO attacks and atrocities of Western-backed rebels. The highlights are “extrajudicial execution of the representatives of the former regime and its supporters with the tacit consent of NATO members,” numerous cases of “crimes of the former Libyan armed opposition.”
The document is not without drawbacks. Thus, it has no foreword or conclusion. Sections on the United States, the Baltic States, Georgia, Libya, and the largest countries in Europe are very detailed. However, the sections of the smaller European countries, as well as the entire EU and Canada raise questions and seem to be rather “raw”. The publication of the report seems untimely. During Christmas and New Year holidays even the politicians are not particularly into policy.
However, the first attempt was pretty good. Russia has shown that it will not always have to justify its behavior after publication of the American and European reports. It can provide pre-emptive strikes in its foreign policy. Hopefully, such reports from the Foreign Ministry of Russia will become commonplace and improve with time.
By Nadir Mir
US – NATO attack on Pakistan
US – NATO attacked a non NATO Ally Pakistan!
The attack was unprovoked, wanton, cowardly and ruthless. It was open aggression and violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. US – NATO aggression was condemned or Pakistan received support and sympathy from China, Russia, Iran, OIC (Saudi Arabia) – Turkey. Even UK expressed regrets; France supports an inquiry into the issue. Germany was obviously disappointed by Pakistan’s cancellation of participation at Bonn Conference
US filled with hubris even refused to apologize, while Delhi was gloating over the death of Pakistani Soldiers and its predicament. The Pakistani Nation is livid with rage and united to defend Pakistan. The American sanctioned attack (no other power on the planet can dare to attack Pakistan at its own) is radicalizing Pakistan. The beleaguered (mini minority) corrupt and treacherous elite in Pakistan are finding excuses to explain American aggression.
The time has come to end the Geopolitics of Confusion!
Firstly why was this aggression launched?
A long list of answers can be compiled, some are presented here:
- A strategy of deflection to keep away from the ‘Memo’.
- Gunship raid, attack (live) rehearsal – against Pakistan’s nuclear sites.
- (Helicopters at night used even earlier for ‘snatch operations’ like the Abbotabad Raid).
- Daily Beast article which claims this as ‘Obama’s Foreign Policy Doctrine’ and terms it as ‘Off Shore Balancing’ (with money and bravado in short supply, avoid land battle. Use of heliborne/drone/air power for foreign policy ends of USA).
- Condition Pakistan to stay prostrate during expected ‘war against Iran’ by Israel / US (urgency of expected strike on Persia)
- Intimidate Pakistan before Bonn Conference. (Absurd but irrational Globalists can do anything)
- Pakistan’s (offensive) containment. Degrade, disgrace Pakistan Army and drive a wedge in the Pakistani Nation. (The opposite effects have been achieved. The Pakistani Nation stands united and supports the Army vehemently)
Secondly who is with and against Pakistan?
With Pakistan stand its brave plus patriotic Armed Forces, and the nationalistically motivated people of Pakistan. The soldiers and masses stand together against foreign threats. Externally to varying – degrees Pakistan is supported by China – Russia – Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia – OIC. Almost the entire region is against US sponsored wars, or longevity for its military presence. The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are already in a state of war with USA. Most of the world respects Pakistan (Pakistan’s nomination to Security Council seat was testament). India is of course completely untrustworthy. It can always launch ‘Cold Start’ offensive on any pretext in harmony with US MILITARY STRIKE – against Pakistan. (In December a major Indian Army Exercise is underway in the deserts against Pakistan). Still the regional Geopolitics would have to be viewed by Delhi, more than Pakistan’s offer of MFN.
Russian support can prove a game changer for Pakistan. It would tilt the scales, Russia – China and not only China supporting Pakistan. Deterring USA to an extent, while inhibiting India from joining US for an attack on Pakistan. (Besides Pakistan’s conventional forces and nuclear deterrent – tactical weapons included, could keep India at bay)
The British even as America’s most Allied Ally are not openly clashing with Pakistan. (Both due to British Policy and British vulnerability at home. More so, the fate of the British Embassy in Tehran clearly indicates an Iranian – British clash). In fact Pakistan’s relations with the British, French and Germans (major NATO members) have been good. They could even be better if NATO withdraws from Afghanistan. (There would be little to have friction on). Pakistan – German friendship should improve further. Germany is the true and future leader of Europe and respected by Pakistanis.
Now the question who is against Pakistan?
A brutally candid answer is:
Firstly, Pakistan’s own corrupt, treacherous and incompetent elite, a mini minority which wants to keep robbing and exploiting the Pakistani Nation. They seek solace and work for foreign powers (USA – India). The treacherous elite would sell the Motherland for a song. They want to serve as slave overseers for a shackled Nation. Selling it to the first bidder. Yesterday it was USA alone but now it is USA – India. This is the Pakistan Corruption – Treachery Nexus, who are more loyal to Washington – Delhi than many Americans and Indians and of course Anti Pakistan. (After all in USA, Americans are challenging the system – Occupy Wall Street, LA etc or Anna Hazara ‘Anti corruption Drive’ in India)
Secondly the cabal of America’s Globalists, military – industrial complex, left over Neo cons who still want to conquer the world. (Despite being chastened in Iraq – Afghanistan). On the contrary, the good hearted, charity giving and amiable people of America many of whom are now questioning this perpetual war quest. They seek jobs and living at home rather than wars abroad! The White House and State Department are confused in the Geopolitical labyrinth of Afghanistan.
The war lovers of course love war. They want to continue the war in Afghanistan and start new ones in Iran – Pakistan! (Not divining that the combined Geopolitical space of Afghanistan – Pakistan – Iran – Iraq will prove a Giant Black hole (even for Uncle Sam).
Thirdly, Delhi the serpent, is always bidding its time to strike Pakistan. Still the complex and multi faceted (Delhi does not want to lose Tehran / Moscow affinity) regional Geopolitics weighs heavy on Indian minds. As does the fear of nuclear holocaust from a Pakistani response.
Veteran Indian Diplomat MK Bhadrakumar had predicted a ‘Persian Response’ by Pakistan for this attack, (asymmetrical plus Strategic Defiance). Simon Tisdall warning in ‘Pakistan has had enough’ had opinioned that an Iranian type Revolution in Pakistan could be one outcome in future.
‘A hot flash in the Cold War with Pakistan’ is how the Atlantic titled its article. The only people who still think in terms of an alliance in the Global War on terror are Pakistan’s dimwitted, thieving, treacherous elite! The rest of the world is quite clear on the real issues, which are:
- Pakistan’s Denuclearization (through ‘Memo of Treachery’ or American Geo strategy)
- America’s partial withdrawal from Afghanistan
From the MemoGate to Gunship attack etc, are all tactics of one supreme over arching strategy to denuke Pakistan. (War hawks controlled, Indian influenced).
Washington wants to keep its ‘Strike or Nuclear Grab Option’ open against Pakistan (before or after war with Iran). For this herculean task there are three pre requisites.
- Treacherous elite support within Pakistan. (Memo and related kind)
- Prepositioning, maintaining secret – clandestine forces, Special Forces in Pakistan in disguise. (To act as path finders, initial strike force)
- Afghanistan Bases (operations for denuking strike)
Without these three pre requisites any Strategic Denuclearization Scenario remains fiction and outside the realm of feasibility. (Any attempt against Pakistan’s nuclear sites will have catastrophic consequences any way).
Strategic logic dictates that all three pre requisites (for denuclearization attempt) be denied to foreign forces.
- The treacherous elite have to be marginalized.
- Secretly positioned clandestine foreign forces eliminated or expelled.
- Afghan Bases Denied. (Complete pull out of all foreign forces from Afghanistan has to be Pakistan’s avowed policy)
Besides Pakistan’s brave soldiers, the Nation stands united. China, Russia and Iran at the very least seek Pakistan’s strategic autonomy from NATO. EU – NATO can be divided more so with Turkish support. British are cautious, French non hostile, Germans Peace Seeking. In America, the Afghan war has divided them, even as they unite for the war against Iran.
Pakistan should lobby for:
- An immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan and Pakistan – Afghanistan border.
- The political face of Taliban for talks.
- Early resolution of Baluch problem, where Empire (US – NATO) will strike back in Pakistan. (The next front being attacked by western – Indian Geo-strategy – Charter of Freedom for Baluchistan etc)
- Complete and early withdrawal of all US – NATO forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Disagree to any stay behind NATO forces in Afghanistan).
- Moscow – Islamabad synergism can prove a game changer. Supply routes to NATO in Afghanistan should be jointly blocked by Pakistan and Russia as part of a Peace Policy.
(‘Next War – Iran’ written by this scribe for Opinion Maker has been published by Pravda Ru and Windows to Russia. A view in Moscow is that Pakistan and Russia can together choke NATO in Afghanistan!)
- Pakistan needs to muster more tangible support from China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey on Afghanistan while keeping it cool with India for the present (through diplomacy – deterrence).
The problem in Afghanistan is very simple.
The Americans lost the war, but do not want to admit it.
There is still time for them to declare victory and go home today. Tomorrow may be a different day!
Author of the book “Gwadar on the Global Chessboard”
Blog: Pakistan and Geopolitics wwwpakistangeopolitics.blogspot.com/
The author is a retired Brigadier of the Pakistan Army.
By Peter Symonds
30 December 2011
The Obama administration has issued what amounts to a threat of war against Iran following comments by senior Iranian officials that Tehran would close the Strait of Hormuz in response to an embargo on its oil exports. To reinforce the point, the US navy sent two of its warships—the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mobile Bay—on a “routine transit” through the strategic waterway where the Iranian navy is currently holding exercises.
The growing tensions in the Persian Gulf are the result of provocative steps by the US and its European allies towards blocking Iranian oil exports. President Obama is about to sign a measure into law that would freeze the US assets of foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran’s central bank—moves that would seriously impede Iranian oil exports. At the same time, Britain and France are pressing the European Union to adopt an embargo on the import of Iranian oil.
Any restriction on Iran’s energy exports would seriously damage the country’s economy, which is already under pressure from previous sanctions imposed both unilaterally by the US and its allies and by the UN Security Council.
The value of the Iranian currency has fallen by about 20 percent against the US dollar in the past few months. Last week, the US Treasury Department continued to tighten the economic noose around Iran by blacklisting 10 companies in Malta accused of acting as fronts for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
Confronting potential economic chaos, Iranian vice president Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned on Tuesday: “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department and the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is based in the Gulf State of Bahrain, both issued statements warning that any step to inhibit “freedom of navigation” through the waterway would “not be tolerated”—a tacit threat of military action.
The US and international media immediately seized on Rahimi’s remarks to paint Iran as the belligerent power. However, it is the Obama administration that has been deliberately heightening tensions with Iran, setting the stage for a possible military confrontation. The threatened oil embargo is itself an act of aggression—a point that is uniformly ignored in the compliant American press.
The move towards oil sanctions takes place in the context of nearly a decade of US military threats against Iran over unsubstantiated claims that it seeks to build nuclear weapons. Moreover, it is all but openly acknowledged that Israel and the US have over the past two years been engaged in acts of sabotage directed at Iran’s nuclear program and its military—including the use of computer viruses, explosions at key facilities and the murder of nuclear scientists.
Over the past month, the Obama administration has taken a markedly more aggressive stance. Using an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report published in November as the pretext, the White House has pushed for tougher international sanctions against Iran and emphasized that all options—including military strikes—would be used to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons.
The IAEA report was in every way a political document. Produced under pressure from Washington, it contained a key appendix arguing that Iran had carried out research related to nuclear weapons. Most of the activities ended almost a decade ago. Some of the “evidence” has been challenged by Iran as having been fabricated by Israeli or US intelligence agencies—an issue passed over by the IAEA.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta upped the ante last week by declaring in a CBS interview that Iran could have a nuclear weapon within a year or “perhaps a little less”—if there was a hidden uranium enrichment facility somewhere inside Iran. He offered no evidence either that Iran had such a plant or was building a bomb. But that did not stop Panetta from declaring that acquiring a nuclear weapon would be a “red line” for the US, which would “take whatever steps necessary to deal with it.”
As if to spell out what Panetta meant, US Joint Chief of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey told the media the following day that the Pentagon had drawn up military options that were reaching the point of being “executable if necessary”. He warned Iran against underestimating US resolve, saying: “Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world.”
Behind the scenes there is clearly an intense debate taking place in Washington over a US military attack on Iran. A Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday urged the White House to declare that it would consider any restriction on oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz as an act of war warranting a military response. “That response would be robust and immediate, and it would target Iran’s military and nuclear assets, perhaps even its regime,” the newspaper declared.
A detailed article by security analyst Eli Lake in the Daily Beast on Wednesday pointed to intense discussions between the US and Israel in recent weeks over the prerequisites for a military attack. In the context of a well-publicized debate in Israel over military strikes, Lake noted that the White House had been “reassuring the Israelis that the administration had its own ‘red lines’ that would trigger military action against Iran, and that there is no need for Jerusalem to act unilaterally.”
In addition, an essay entitled “Time to Attack Iran” has just been published in Foreign Affairs, the premier journal of the American foreign policy establishment, calling for the US to take military action now. In answering critics, it argued that “a carefully managed US attack” could destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities without provoking an all-out war that threatened to engulf the region. Significantly, the author of this plan for military aggression is Matthew Kroenig, who was until July a special advisor to the Office of the US Secretary of Defense, responsible for Iran.
While Kroenig and other advocates of war focus on the purported danger of Iranian nuclear weapons, the real purpose of any military action is to advance longstanding US ambitions for regime change in Tehran as part of broader aims for domination of the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. Washington’s latest menacing moves take place as the US seeks to exploit the oppositional movements throughout the regions—most recently in Syria—to install regimes more amenable to American interests.
US efforts to ensure regional hegemony are above all aimed at its rivals, chiefly China, which is heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil imports including from Iran. It is precisely this intersection of any conflict over Iran with wider geopolitical rivalries that heightens the risk of a local war in the Persian Gulf becoming an international catastrophe.
The author also recommends:
US covert operations threaten war with Iran
[10 December 2011]
Israeli leaders press for attack on Iran
[7 November 2011]
By Stephen Lendman December 29, 2011 “Information Clearing House” – Syria remains the region’s only independent secular state. Washington aims to replace its regime with a client one.
Libya’s model was replicated. Months of externally generated violence followed. So far it’s short of war. For how long is uncertain. Obama can’t wait to wage another one to keep ravaging the world one country at a time.
Months of violence, sanctions and isolation have taken a toll. Deaths mount. No one knows how many. Western media reported numbers come from opposition forces, not independent observers. Nothing they say is reliable.
Assad’s government says 2,000 security forces have been killed. “Terrorist gangs” are blamed. Whatever the actual number, they’ve been many. Heavily armed insurgents are responsible. Conflict resolution isn’t imminent.
Syria’s economy deteriorates steadily. In 2011, its GDP collapsed 30% – from around $55 billion to $37 billion. Its currency also plunged from 47 to 62 to the dollar. Basic goods and services are in short supply. Heating and cooking oil are scarce. Electricity is on and off.
Assad’s regime is weakening. National institutions are eroding. Opposition forces are locally organized. Neighborhood committees and armed groups were formed. At issue is usurping state power despite divisions of strategy, especially over peaceful or violent conflict resolution and pro or con advocacy for outside intervention.
After months of turmoil, heightened fear prevails. On December 23, Syrian state television reported two suicide car bombings, the first ones in Damascus since conflict began. Kfar Sousa district was targeted. It’s where state security and intelligence facilities are located. Heavy gunfire followed. Syria reported 40 or more killed and 100 wounded.
The attacks came a day after 60 Arab League observers arrived. They’re an advance monitoring team with hundreds more to come. Whether they’ll help or hurt is uncertain. More on that below.
Their mission will last a month unless renewed. It wants all security forces withdrawn from urban areas and detainees released. Nothing is said about heavily armed insurgent terrorists doing much of the killing. Conflict resolution depends on stopping all of it equitably.
Of concern is that monitors are a step short of occupation. It’s reminiscent of events preceding NATO’s 1999 Serbia/Kosovo war. In March 1999, Slobodon Milosovic got an unacceptable ultimatum, the so-called Rambouillet Agreement. It was a take-it-or-leave it deal no responsible leader would accept.
It involved surrendering Serbia’s sovereignty to NATO occupation with unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), including its airspace and territorial waters. Moreover, NATO demanded use of areas and facilities therein for its mission, irrespective of FRY laws.
It also required Milosevic’s full cooperation. It was an offer designed to reject. War, mass destruction and slaughter followed. Serbia’s sovereign Kosovo territory was lost. It’s now Washington/NATO occupied territory, run by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, an unindicted drug trafficker with known organized crime ties.
Washington, Israel, and key NATO partners have similar designs on Syria. War’s perhaps planned. Pro-Western Arab League despots supported NATO’s Libya war, mass slaughter and destruction. At the same time, they ignore ongoing atrocities in Bahrain, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, elsewhere in the region, and internally.
Calls for military intervention are increasing. In late November on CNN’s State of the Union, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice accused Assad of “driving his country to the brink of civil war. (He’s) no friend of the United States.”
“Syria is the handmaiden of the Iranians throughout the region and so the fall of (Assad) would be a great thing not just for the Syrian people….but also for the policies of the United States and those who want a more peaceful Middle East.”
She also called for tough sanctions, isolation and intervention, adding that if Russia and China won’t agree, “then we (and allies) have to do it on our own.” Stopping short of suggesting war, the implication is striking.
A Syrian National Council (SNC) was established. It’s similar to Libya’s puppet Transitional National Council (TNC). Originally formed in 2005, it was revived on August 23, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. It represents Western-backed internal opposition elements against the rights and interests of most Syrians.
It called for a Libyan-style no-fly zone and foreign intervention. It supplies intelligence to Washington and other Western nations. If unconventional tactics fail, stepped up violence and war remain options.
Since early 2011, NATO countries used regional bases to provide anti-regime support. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon’s March 14 alliance, Turkey, Jordan and Israel are financing and arming insurgents.
So far, Russia and China blocked a Libyan-style “humanitarian intervention.” Washington, however, wants regime change. Huge challenges remain to stop it.
SNC members want the Security Council to establish “protected zone” cover in violent prone areas. Free Syrian Army (FSA) security force defectors and insurgents also want no-fly zone protection and foreign military involvement. Deferring so far from direct NATO action, Washington backs Turkey and Arab League partners intervening.
America’s Media War on Syria
A New York Times attack piece is typical. On December 22, its editorial headlined, “Get Tougher on Assad,” saying:
After months of conflict, Assad’s “still killing his people. And leaders in Russia, China and Arab states still haven’t done enough to pressure him to stop.” Claiming 5,000 unsubstantiated deaths, The Times blames “the brutal government crackdown in nine months of protests.”
Unmentioned was Washington’s long planned regime change, replicating the Libya model, replacing an independent regime with a client one, and using heavily armed insurgents to destabilize Syria violently.
Assad’s willingness to dialogue with opposition elements “seems like another ploy to buy time as he tries to beat Syrians into submission.”
Throughout the conflict, Assad made conciliatory offers. Opposition forces dismissed them out of hand, much like Libya’s TNC rejected Gaddafi’s overtures earlier.
On state television several times since last spring, Assad promised reforms. In June, he announced a 100-member panel to draft parliamentary election law changes, press freedoms, and a new constitution. He also said he’d prosecute those responsible for violence.
“There is little reason to believe Mr. Assad will allow (Arab League) observer(s) unrestricted access to all conflict areas (and be free to) make all of its findings public.”
“Meanwhile, Russia is still tying the… Security Council in knots and preventing it from doing what it should have done months ago (through) tough economic and trade sanctions,” condemnation, and more. Assad “left no doubt that he is willing to destroy his country to maintain his hold on power, which would be a disaster for the region.”
The Times stopped short of endorsing war. Expect it if NATO intervenes directly or indirectly. When Washington’s involved militarily, America’s media march supportively in lockstep without debate on who benefits and loses, rule of law issues, and other right and wrong considerations.
Throughout the AfPak, Iraq and Libyan conflicts, disputing their legitimacy was verboten.
Instead, Times and other major media opinion pieces suppress truths and manipulate public opinion to support Washington/NATO attacking nonbelligerent countries lawlessly. Perhaps Syria and Iran are next.
Matthew Kroenig titled his Foreign Affairs January/February 2012 article, “Time to Attack Iran.” Doing so let his advocacy pose as analysis.
Harvard International Affairs Professor Stephen Walt called his article “a textbook example of war-wongering disguised as analysis. It is a remarkably poor piece of advocacy… This is not fair-minded ‘analysis;’ it is simply a brief for war designed to reach a predetermined conclusion.”
In his article, Kroenig said waging war is “the least bad option. (For years), American pundits and policymakers have been debating whether the United States should attack Iran and attempt to eliminate its nuclear facilities.”
“Proponents (say) the only thing worse than military action (is) Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Critics” warn doing so won’t work and “would spark a full-fledged war and a global economic crisis.
Iran’s not aggressive or imperial. It poses no regional threat. It hasn’t attacked another nation in over 200 years. It maintains a strong military for self-defense. It’s vital given repeated Washington and Israeli threats.
No evidence whatever suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program. US intelligence assessments through March 2011 found none.
During his December 1, 1997 – November 30, 2009 tenure as IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei concurred. Current head, Yukiya Amano, politicized IAEA policy for Western interests, mainly America’s.
Washington manipulated his appointment. He was enlisted to lie. He hasn’t disappoint. Ahead of his report suggesting an Iranian nuclear weapons program, he visited Washington for instructions.
“….(S)keptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran poses to US interests in the Middle East and beyond… The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.”
Kroenig’s a former Secretary of Defense Office strategist. He’s also a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow. CFR is an influential US organization. From its 1921 beginnings, it’s advocated one-world government run by dominant financial interests.
Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called it a “front organization (for) the heart of the American establishment.” It meets privately and publishes only what it wishes the public to know. Since 1922, Foreign Affairs has been its flagship publication.
Its members represent imperial Washington’s interests, including its longstanding objective for unchallenged global dominance. Achieving it depends on replacing independent regimes with client ones and eliminating all military and economic rivals.
War’s a frequently used option. Waging it against Iran could embroil the entire region and threaten general war, possibly with nuclear weapons.
In his rage to attack nonbelligerent Iran lawlessly, Kroenig omitted the possibility and said nothing about Israel being nuclear armed and dangerous.
He represents imperial America’s quest for world dominance, even if destroying it happens in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.
Engineering Consent For Attack On Iran?
The Obama administration is trying to assure Israel privately that it would strike Iran militarily if Tehran’s nuclear program crosses certain “red lines”—while attempting to dissuade the Israelis from acting unilaterally.
By Eli Lake
December 29, 2011 “Daily Beast” — When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opined earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret,” the Israelis went ballistic behind the scenes. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, lodged a formal diplomatic protest known as a demarche. And the White House was thrust into action, reassuring the Israelis that the administration had its own “red lines” that would trigger military action against Iran, and that there is no need for Jerusalem to act unilaterally.
The stakes are immensely high, and the distrust that Israelis feel toward the president remains a complicating factor. Those sentiments were laid bare in a speech Netanyahu’s minister of strategic affairs, Moshe Ya’alon, gave on Christmas Eve in Jerusalem, in which he used Panetta’s remarks to cast doubt on the U.S.’s willingness to launch its own military strike.
Ya’alon told the Anglo-Likud, an organization within Netanyahu’s Likud party that caters to native English speakers, that the Western strategy to stop Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons must include four elements, with the last resort being a military strike.
“The fourth element of this combined strategy is the credible military strike,” Ya’alon said, according to a recording of the speech provided to The Daily Beast. “There is no credible military action when we hear leaders from the West, saying, ‘this is not a real option,’ saying, ‘the price of military action is too high.’
Matthew Kroenig, who served as special adviser on Iran to the Office of the Secretary of Defense between July 2010 and July 2011, offered some of the possible “red lines” for a military strike in a recent Foreign Affairs article he wrote. He argued that the U.S should attack Iran’s facilities if Iran expels international nuclear weapons inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its main uranium-enrichment facility in Qom.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kroenig also noted that Iran announced in 2009 that it was set to construct 10 new uranium enrichment sites. “I doubt they are building ten new sites, but I would be surprised if Iran was not racing to build some secret enrichment facilities,” Kroenig said. “Progress on new facilities would be a major factor in our assessment of Iran’s nuclear program and shape all aspects of our policy towards this including the decision to use force.”
Until recently, current and former Obama administration officials would barely broach the topic in public, only hinting vaguely that all options are on the table to stop Iran’s program. Part of the reason for this was that Obama came into office committed to pursuing negotiations with Iran. When the diplomatic approach petered out, the White House began building international and economic pressure on Iran, often in close coordination with Israel.
All the while, secret sabotage initiatives like a computer worm known as Stuxnet that infected the Siemens-made logic boards at the Natanz centrifuge facility in Iran, continued apace. New U.S. estimates say that Stuxnet delayed Iran’s nuclear enrichment work by at most a year, despite earlier estimates that suggested the damage was more extensive.
Last week in a CBS interview, Panetta said Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon is a “red line.” White House advisers have more recently broached the subject more specifically in private conversations with outside experts on the subject.
Ironically, Panetta often is the official the Obama administration uses to engage Israel. “Panetta has been straightforward with the Israelis and they seem to appreciate that,” one senior administration official said. “The Israelis view Panetta as an honest broker.” In some ways that is why his remarks stung Netanyahu’s government so much.
Complicating matters, the Dec. 2 remarks also came at the same time a high-level delegation of Israeli diplomats, military officers and intelligence officials were in Washington for an annual meeting called the strategic dialogue. At the meeting, the Israeli side offered a new presentation on Iran’s nuclear program suggesting that Iran’s efforts to build secret reactors for producing nuclear fuel were further along than the United States has publicly said. Some of the intelligence was based on soil samples collected near the suspected sites.
A senior administration official told The Daily Beast, “Both Americans and Israelis agree that some research and design work is probably continuing in the event the Iranians decide to move ahead with weaponization.”
The intelligence disagreement is significant in part because one of the factors in drawing up red lines on Iran’s program is how much progress Iran has made in constructing secret enrichment facilities outside of Natanz, where IAEA inspectors still monitor the centrifuge cascades. In 2009, the Obama administration exposed such a facility carved into a mountain outside of the Shiite holy city of Qom. The IAEA has chastised the Iranians for not fully disclosing their work on the Qom site until the United States forced the regime’s hand.
Eli Lake is the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo, Egypt, and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.
Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, reflected on Wednesday (28th) on the strange coincidence and unexplained health conditions experienced by many Latin American leaders in recent times.
During an act of promotion and salute to the soldiers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), the head of state questioned the possibility that the United States and other world powers have developed a technology that induces cancer.
However, he clarified that his reflection on the situation was due to the coincidence around the suffering from several types of cancer by leaders of the South American left, and he does not want to accuse anyone in a reckless form.
Chavez took, as a starting point of his discussion, the recent statements of the ruler of Guatemala, Alvaro Colon, who called on Washington, at a mass event, to assume responsibility for the chemical, biological and radiological operations conducted half a century ago, launched against this country, where many citizens were affected.
“It’s very difficult to explain away the law of averages of what has happened to some Latin American leaders, at least this is strange,” Chavez said.
He expressed that it would not be unusual to develop a technology to induce cancer and that it was discovered within the last 50 years.
He considered a difficult situation to think that the presidents of Paraguay (Fernando Lugo), Brazil (Dilma Rousseff) as a candidate, the former Brazilian president Lula, and now the Argentinian Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, besides himself, have developed cancerous diseases within a short time.
“We must take good care of Evo Morales (President of Bolivia) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador),” he added.
Finally, he sent a message of encouragement and support to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who announced on Tuesday the presence of a papillary carcinoma.
Ed. Note: Nothing far fetched about Hugo Chavez’ suspicions. After all, we witnessed what they did to the people of Yugoslavia and even worse, what they have done and are doing to the people of Libya.
They have thought nothing of using chemical and biological weapons on civilians, depleted uranium, poisoning and destroying water supplies, and completely destroying cities just because the people refuse to accept their puppet government imposition. The empire’s history is littered with constant murder and genocide, assassinations, supporting terrorism and terrorists.
Translated from the Portuguese version and appended by: