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Pentagon Chief Rallies Arab, Israeli Allies Against Syria, Iran

July 31, 2012 6 comments

Stop NATO
July 30, 2012

Pentagon Chief Rallies Arab, Israeli Allies Against Syria, Iran
Rick Rozoff

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a five-day, four-nation tour of North Africa and the Middle East to consolidate military ties with traditional allies against the backdrop of mounting Western pressure aimed at the governments of Syria and Iran.

His first two stops are to Tunisia and Egypt, long-standing American military client states and members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program. The next two are to Israel and Jordan, also Mediterranean Dialogue members, the first the main and the second one of the largest recipients of American military aid.

The two North African countries were the bellwethers of the so-called Arab Spring, a topic Panetta dwelled on at some length during his visit to Tunisia, though in relation to following Pentagon diktat Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak might well still be in power for all the difference that now exists. Last year’s biennial joint U.S.-Egyptian Bright Star military exercise was cancelled during the early months of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but there is no reason to believe next year’s won’t go ahead as usual.

Four months ago Washington released $1.3 billion in military assistance to the Egyptian junta, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waiving congressional conditions introduced last year and State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stating, “These decisions reflect America’s over-arching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.” 

The strategic partnership is one that began with the Carter-Brzezinski administration buying off President Anwar Sadat in 1978 and in so doing switching the largest and militarily most powerful Arab nation from non-alignment (Egypt under President Gamal Abdel Nasser was a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement) and close state-to-state relations with the Soviet Union to the U.S.’s major military client state in Africa and the Arab world. It was also initiated to break the back of Arab unity in relation to Israel and Palestine.

Because of its unique value to the Pentagon, Egypt is the only African nation not to be assigned to the Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), instead remaining in Central Command. The latter, launched in 1983, grew out of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, which had been established to counter Soviet bloc influence in Northeast Africa: Egypt, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.

Similarly and for complementary geopolitical purposes, Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation not in Central Command’s area of responsibility, instead being assigned to that of European Command.

Since the Camp David Accords of 1978, Egypt has been one of the two largest recipients of annual American aid (almost all of it military) and a dependable Pentagon ally bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip to the east, Libya to the west and Sudan to the south as well as controlling the Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Mediterranean is the route through which U.S. warships, including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and their assigned strike groups, pass after leaving the eastern coast of the U.S. en route to the Suez, whence they pass through the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the broader Indian Ocean for air strikes in Afghanistan.

Panetta, no matter what he says formally, is visiting Egypt to ensure it remains in the American political and, especially, military column.

According to the Pentagon website, “The United States has had a strong military-to-military relationship with Egypt since the 1970s, and Panetta said he wants that relationship to continue and grow.”

En route to Tunisia, Panetta stated to reporters: “Our goal is to advance security by supporting peaceful change throughout the region. This means establishing strong partnerships with new democratic governments in the region.”

He also said that the recent Syrian government offensive against armed insurgents in Aleppo will be – will be made to be – “a nail in Assad’s coffin.” He, like his civilian opposite number Hillary Clinton (“Wow!…We came, we saw, he died”), is not noted for excelling in the powers of abstract thinking, so his comment is not to be interpreted as merely a metaphor.

As though alleged humanitarian intervention was not casus belli enough, Panetta also invoked the Iraq war-style menace of “chemical and biological warfare sites in Syria that U.S. planners say need to be secured.”

About those exaggerated threats, he said, “We’ve been in close coordination with countries in the region to ensure that this is happening.”

He also pledged to strengthen the “very close partnership” with Israel, particularly in respect to Iran. According to the Pentagon, “Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons technology will be a discussion point at all stops.”

The defense chief added:

“My view is that when I sit down with my counterpart in Israel, we are unified in our view with regards to Iran. We’re unified in the position that they should not obtain a nuclear weapon, (and) we’re unified in our position that we have to bring every bit of pressure on them to change their ways.”

“The more we are working together, the more unified we are in the effort against Iran, the better off we will be in convincing Iran that there is no room here for them to do anything other than to back away from the nuclear program they are engaged in.”

Panetta will inspect the U.S.-funded Iron Dome anti-missile system while in Israel.

Again according to the Defense Department’s account of his position while on the way to Tunisia, “Peaceful, democratic change has taken place since the Arab Spring, but Syria, Iran and extremism in general have continued to pose challenges.”

That is, Panetta’s mission is to recruit America’s Tunisian, Egyptian, Israeli and Jordanian military allies to confront Syria and Iran.

The Pentagon’s website cited an unnamed senior Defense Department official affirming that “Panetta plans to lay out the roadmap for the future military-to-military relationship between the United States and Tunisia.” He was quoted asserting that “The military has played a positive role in Tunisia and we want that to continue.” 

During the press conference aboard the aircraft taking him to Tunisia, Panetta explained what Washington understands to be both the means and the ends of so-called democracy promotion in stating, “The United States continues to support efforts to strengthen Tunisia’s democracy, and DOD [the Department of Defense] will play an important role in that effort.”

In Egypt Panetta will meet with newly installed President Muhammad Mursi and Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi – “Panetta has been in constant touch with Tantawi since former President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown” – who led the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces from February 11, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

In Israel he will consult with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Then he will hold talks on bilateral military cooperation with King Abdullah in Jordan. According to the above-cited Pentagon official, “Syria will obviously be a topic of conversation, as the Jordanians are on the front line of that.”

As with his visits earlier this year to South America and Asia, Panetta’s trip to North Africa and the Middle East has a concrete objective: To solidify military ties with states bordering or near the remaining handful of nations in the world not enmeshed in the Pentagon’s global network.

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Moving Beyond Militarization: Northeast Asia Need Peace, Not Conflict

July 30, 2012 1 comment

The Hankyoreh
July 25, 2012

Moving Beyond Militarization: Northeast Asia needs collective security, not conflict
By Honda Hirokuni
Professor of Economics, Dokkyo University

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Japanese administrations over recent decades have accepted US demands and transformed the original self-defense forces from a purely defensive role to one of both defense and active capability that is integrated with the United States military system

The current redeployment of the United States military is aimed at increasing the effectiveness and speed of the deployment to the region of US troops currently stationed in Guam and Hawaii.

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Korea and Japan recently drafted GSOMIA (General Security Of Military Information Agreement), an agreement for closer military cooperation. The proposed agreement caused tremendous backlash in Korea. Media reports in Japan suggest that the Korean people are opposed because of anti-Japanese sentiment. But I personally feel that for Japan and Korea to take a military approach to their role in supporting the geopolitical order in Asia, under the supervision of the United States, is in no way a positive development for the stability of East Asia.

The American government over the last few decades has supported efforts to increase the overseas activities of the Japanese self-defense forces and strived to draw South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia into military cooperation agreements as part of its effort to maintain a robust military presence in Northeast Asia. The current redeployment of the United States military is aimed at increasing the effectiveness and speed of the deployment to the region of US troops currently stationed in Guam and Hawaii. The relocation of the Futenma base in Okinawa and the demands from the United States for increased intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) concerning North Korea and China from the Self Defense Forces are part of this overall change in American posture.

Japanese administrations over recent decades have accepted US demands and transformed the original self-defense forces from a purely defensive role to one of both defense and active capability that is integrated with the United States military system. Japan has systematically developed a new military system both in preparation for a possible military conflict and also for the proactive sharing of intelligence and the division of labor with the United States in future conflicts.

In addition, the Japanese government claims that the American forces stationed in Japan are meant as deterrence to maintain order in the Pacific Region, thus recognizing the need for US bases throughout Japan and even establishing a so-called “good will budget” of 200 billion Won to support the costs of US troops. The whole situation is rather humiliating for Japan.

Even as economic interdependency increases in Asia, the US-Japan alliance priority for military relations increases the overall insecurity in the whole region and increases distrust between the China and the United States and a tendency to think of responses to problems in military terms.

What is really needed for peace and prosperity in Asia is not a system that supports military responses to all problems between nations based on collective defense capacity, but rather a security architecture for the mutual inhibition of military build ups and of military intimidation. That depends on a collective security assurance regime to resolve conflicts through open means.

Moreover, with regard to historical issues, territorial issues, and other disputes, we need exchanges in terms of collaborative research on history, scholarly and cultural exchange, tourism and economic interaction. We need to assure the safety of fishermen in their work. At the same time we need to work towards mutual prosperity through the systematic pursuit of mutual plans for the development of undersea resources in the region. I feel that the critical role in this process lies with Asia‘s scholars and scientists.

British military affairs analyst Michael Howard has pointed out that the peace in Europe after the Second World War can be attributed primarily to a massive shift in the culture of Europe after the terror of the First and Second World Wars. Howard suggests in his book “War in European History” (2009) that the people of Europe came to the conclusion that war was certainly not the unavoidable fate of humanity, but not even a powerful political tool. The terrible price that Europe paid for two world wars led to the formulation of a completely different deterrence architecture than had existed previously over centuries of unending conflict.

So what about East Asia? Before the end of the war in East Asia, the leaders of the allies gathered in Yalta and established a blueprint for the post-war order. That vision clearly was not enough to prevent the Korean War, or the Vietnam War and to some degree America’s overreaction to the spread of socialism at Yalta meant that democratization of East Asia was constrained.

Whereas the economic development in Europe took place within the context of the Cold War and a balance of power, in the Asian case, although there was some variation between countries, the distorted developmental model that countries found themselves following ineluctably was a combination of a developmental authoritarian government system paired with a model for economic development based on exports.

And yet, although the feelings may have been slightly weaker than the case in Europe, there was also a tremendous desire to avoid war in Asia after the Second World War. Japan established a peace constitution, which included Article 9, which renounces the right to declare war or use military force.

Of course Japan and the United States signed a mutual defense treaty and the Self-Defense Forces were established with the encouragement of the United States thereafter, so Japan did in fact have a military. Nonetheless, the restrictions imposed by the constitution meant that for many years Japan‘s military was exclusively defensive in nature as a matter of policy. As a result, the role of the Self-Defense Forces was quite limited.

There are already many organizations formed by citizens, scholars, journalists and local governments dedicated to creating a peaceful future for the Asian region. Some recent examples include the response to the problem of assured security by constitutional law scholars written up in the study “Research on a Comprehensive Peace Assurance Policy that can replace military power” and “The Campaign for a United Nations Declaration for the right to peaceful existence.” In addition, Korean, Chinese and Japanese historians have been working on a joint history of the region since 2004. 

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Aggressive U.S. Policy From East To South Asia, Gulf To Russia

July 30, 2012 3 comments

The News
July 28, 2012

Aggressive US foreign policy
Brian Cloughley

Air travel isn’t much fun these days, what with searches, pat-downs, holdups, crowds and queues, so it’s good when sometimes you can have a laugh while travelling, which I did when reading a newspaper report. It made me hoot with mirth in the airport lounge, thus attracting a few raised eyebrows, but I couldn’t stop for a few moments, such was the wackiness of a statement by Hillary Clinton.

It wasn’t intended as humour, of course. It was one of the usual self-righteous scolding sermons to which Washington figures are so addicted. When lecturing the world from Phnom Penh she declared that “the nations of the [South China Sea] region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without use of force.” Which prompts the question: in that case why does the United States of America, which has no justification for any presence in the South China Sea, have a vast fleet, including carrier strike groups and Marine Expeditionary Units, menacing the area? And it doesn’t explain why the US refuses to ratify a UN Treaty relevant to the China Sea which, inter alia, expresses the “desire to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, all issues relating to the law of the sea.”

As the Asia Times noted about American military expansion in Asia, “The US also intends to station four new US Navy Littoral Combat ships and increase ship visits and base surveillance aircraft in Singapore. In addition, upgraded military relations with Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei will support already existing US plans with Australia, Singapore and the Philippines.”

And US Defence Secretary Panetta, never one to ignore an opportunity to increase international tension, declared to Fox News during a visit to Vietnam that “The more I am out here, the more critical I view this region in terms of our national defence and the defence of the world. This is an area that is critical to the future security and prosperity of our country and the world. For that reason we need to be rightly focused on playing a bigger role here in the Asia Pacific.”

US confrontation with China looms ever closer, and it’s hardly the fault of the Chinese, whose position, in the words of Beijing, is that “the tree craves calm but the wind keeps blowing.” But there’s one thing certain: the Chinese tree will whip back if the Washington wind increases its intensity. As the Chinese well understand, the world in general craves calm, but the out-of-control US military machine, in an expansionist wave of unprecedented energy, is hell-bent on domination.

The Chinese can look after themselves, of course, even if their defence spending is only an eighth of that of America, and if the US is foolish enough to provoke a military engagement there will be interesting developments, not the least of which could be massive cyber attacks on the US systems. Washington’s intimidating posture and threats are taken seriously in Beijing, and China is concentrating on advanced weapons systems specifically intended to engage enemy warships.

The Chinese navy is nowhere near as powerful as the USN (United States Navy) – but it is capable of resisting attempted US domination in its own backyard. The Iranian navy, on the other hand, is far from being in a similar position.

It would be absurd to try to claim that there is no coercion intended or threat presented by the huge US fleet, 10,000 troops and vast aerial strike capability in the Persian Gulf region, where some 400 combat aircraft and 50 ships are ready to join Israel in attacking Iran. It was reported that on July 15 “the Pentagon confirmed it had brought forward the deployment of a third strike group, led by the carrier USS John Stennis, by four months, in order to further bolster its presence [in the Gulf].”

It seems that the US foreign policy concerning avoidance of coercion and threats does not extend to its dealings with Tehran. In May Israel’s Haaretz reported Vice President Biden’s threats to Iran, made at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, to the effect that “the US takes ‘no options off [the] table,’ and that the ‘window has not closed to Israelis if they chose to act militarily’.” The message to Iran was unmistakable, and the US wind keeps blowing hard against the Iranian tree.

And so it goes on, round the world – from Cuba to the South China Sea, by way of the determined military encirclement of Russia – the constant US menace to nations which seek to pursue policies deemed inconvenient to Washington.

In Pakistan’s case the campaign of coercion includes Clinton’s threat to destroy the economy by sanctions if Pakistan and Iran build the gas pipeline which is so vital for Pakistan to reduce power cuts. It doesn’t sound much in international terms, but it’s a vitally important matter for Pakistan. Let’s hope this tree can resist the wind.

The writer is a South Asian affairs analyst. Website is http://www.beecluff.com

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Afghanistan: U.S., NATO, Pax Americana Face Defeat

July 29, 2012 2 comments

Frontier Post
July 28, 2012

American and NATO misadventures
Abid Mustafa

After having fought for more than a decade in Afghanistan, America has yet to show any considerable gains for its brutal occupation. Nonetheless, there are some diehard American strategists who beg to differ, and argue that America has achieved its primary objective, which was to establish a few military bases in Afghanistan to counter Russia, China and the future Caliphate state for eventual supremacy over Eurasia.

But, even this lofty ideal when measured against the reality on the ground appears too remote to be categorized as a worthy accomplishment. On the contrary, the rampant instability in Afghanistan not only puts into jeopardy the viability of such strategic objectives, but more importantly raises questions about how long can America afford to stay stuck in the Afghan quagmire and continue to report failure after failure.

Clues about this very prospect were provided at the NATO summit convened in Chicago back in May 2012. Speaking about America’s ubiquitous nemesis the Taliban, Obama candidly admitted that they were a hardened opponent and whatever gains NATO had made could easily be undone.

He said, “The Taliban is still a robust enemy, and the gains are still fragile. But think about it. We’ve been there now 10 years. Ten years in a country that’s very different, that’s a strain, not only on our folks but also on that country, which at a point is going to be very sensitive about its own sovereignty.”

Just how much time does the world’s lone superpower need with all of its sophisticated weaponry to defeat a ragtag army of no more than 25,000 or so? Did America not assemble under its supervision 400,000 soldiers – not to mentions the tens of thousands of private contractors – on both side of the Afghan-Pakistan border? After several years of warfare, America is still unable to crush their avowed adversary. Outgunned and outmanned Taliban are definitely proving to be more than a ‘robust enemy’.

Equally unfathomable is that it has taken several years for the US to accept the fact that NATO is not only fighting the Taliban but also the Afghan people. The reference to “be[ing] very sensitive about its own sovereignty” is an admission by President Obama that NATO faces a popular resistance which cuts right across ethnic fault lines and trumps traditional tribal loyalties.

Another fiasco of America’s Afghan war is its exorbitant cost, which has placed a huge toll on the defense budget and this has been further exacerbated by the economic crisis of 2008. America has spent circa $550 billion on the Afghan war since 2001.

Other NATO member states like Britain have spent in the region of $20 billion. Yet despite squandering billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, NATO has very little to show. Karzai’s government is corrupt to the core and hated by ordinary Afghans.

Karzai’s writ does not extend beyond parts of Kabul, and if it does exist elsewhere, it is totally reliant on foreign forces. According to some estimates Taliban controls around 80% of Afghanistan. This probably explains why it is so difficult for NATO to hold on to territorial gains. All attempts to coopt the Taliban into a political solution have likewise failed.

The Financial Times summed up the West’s sorry state: “Five years ago the Americans were refusing to speak to the Taliban. Now the Taliban are refusing to speak to the Americans. That is a measure of how the balance of power has shifted in Afghanistan. The western intervention there has failed.”

Added to this is the human toll on NATO forces, which cannot be quantified in monetary terms. So it came as no surprise to find that the joint communique issued at the end of the Chicago summit expressed the collective desire of all the NATO countries to draw the curtain on their Afghan misadventure. The statement read: “After 10 years of war and with the global economy reeling, the nations of the West no longer want to pay, either in treasure or in lives, the costs of their efforts in a place that for centuries has resisted foreign attempts to tame it”.

Whilst 2014 (a date revised several times) is the final withdrawal date for most NATO countries, America and her opportunist partner Britain both steeped in arrogance have still not learnt their lesson and plan to stay beyond this date.

No doubt they will do their utmost to delay the inevitable collapse of Karzai’s government and try and save face with their domestic audience.

Concluding, the writing is on the wall; America and NATO are heading for a catastrophic defeat and no matter how hard they try to dress up their failings, their only success will be to unite and embolden Afghans along with their brethren across the border in Pakistan to claim the scalp of Pax-Americana and deal a devastating blow to NATO’s first ever mission in Eurasia.

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Interview on Syria and U.S.-Saudi Arabia-Qatar-Turkey axis

KGNU (Boulder, Colorado)
July 27, 2012

Hemispheres

Interview with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince

AUDIO

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U.S. Campaign Against Syria: Years In The Making

Stop NATO
July 28, 2012

U.S. Campaign Against Syria: Years In The Making
Rick Rozoff

Those occupying seats of power in Western capitals and their complicit film editors of politics and history in the corporate mass media, who decide when the narrative begins, how it proceeds and where it inevitably ends, have provided the world with a crude but consistent account of the current Syrian crisis. It is a sequel to, or better a remake of, last year’s Libyan crusade, a six-month NATO bombing onslaught and naval blockade culminating in the gruesome slaying of the nation’s head of state and the securing of Western control of the country and its resources.

The script reads as follows, with a signal absence of subplots, reversals, believable characterizations, political verisimilitude and the merest hint of complexity or subtlety:

Peaceful demonstrations by Syrian opposition forces last year met with a disproportionate and ruthless crackdown by government security and military personnel, who embarked on a gratuitous bloodbath against the Syrian population as whole. A scenario that might evoke, for the uninstructed observer, the situations in Bahrain and now Saudi Arabia, but which is to be applied exclusively to Syria for the moment…until it’s revived for the next targeted government in the Middle East or elsewhere.

One of the myriad problems with that version of affairs is that U.S. and allied attempts to effect regime change in Damascus precede by several years what NATO powers portray as its opening scene.

From President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatching the U.S. Sixth Fleet and 15,000 troops to Lebanon in 1958 to counteract Syrian influence in the nation to the 2004 move in the United Nations Security Council by the U.S. and its NATO allies to secure the withdrawal of Syrian armed forces from Lebanon, there is plentiful thematic material for what in contemporary cinema lingo would be deemed a prequel.

The campaign for overthrowing the Syrian government is part, is the current phase, of the relentless project to supplant ruling powers and substitute a new generation of political vassals and military clients in what Washington has alternatively referred to as the Greater, Broader and New Middle East – from Mauritania on the Atlantic Ocean to Kazakhstan on the Chinese and Russian borders.

Syria being only one of four Mediterranean Sea littoral and islands nations not a member of NATO and its Partnership for Peace and Mediterranean Dialogue programs – the others are, though for how long is not certain, Libya, Lebanon and Cyprus – its incorporation into the U.S.-led military bloc is a necessary Western objective. Libya is on its way to joining the Mediterranean Dialogue, Cyprus is being pressured to join the Partnership for Peace and Lebanon will follow Syria into the Mediterranean Dialogue if Western plans proceed as planned, thus completing the transformation of the Mediterranean into a private NATO preserve.

Russia will lose its only military facility outside former Soviet space and its only firm ally in the Arab world; Iran will lose its only governmental ally in the Arab World as well. Both will be driven out of the Mediterranean, which will be patrolled uncontested by the U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor naval forces.

Almost eight years ago the U.S. and France, Syria’s former colonial master, introduced a resolution in the United Nations Security Council which called on “all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon.”

NATO allies Britain, Germany, Romania and Spain voted for what became Resolution 1559 in September 2004 and Russia, China and Algeria were among six Security Council members abstaining.

Five months later former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a bomb attack against his motorcade in Beirut, which his supporters and the West attempted to blame on both Hezbollah and Syria and which resulted in the so-called Cedar Revolution which brought about the collapse of a pro-Syrian government.

By April 26 Syria had withdrawn all 14,000 troops it had stationed in Lebanon, ending a 29-year mission. Israeli troops remain in the Shebaa Farms area in Southern Lebanon and fifteen months after the last Syrian troops departed the nation Israel launched 34 days of air and artillery attacks and a ground invasion in Lebanon, as there were then no “remaining foreign forces” in the country. 

A week and a half after the completion of the Syrian withdrawal then-President George W. Bush extended sanctions against Syria, claiming the nation of slightly over 20 million people continued to present a threat to American national security by allegedly “supporting terrorism” and “by continuing its invasion in Lebanon, and weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.” Bush could not have been unaware of the fact that no Syrian forces remained in Lebanon as he issued his denunciation and barely veiled threat, all the more serious and urgent because of its mention of weapons of mass destruction, along with “supporting terrorism” the pretext employed to invade neighboring Iraq only two years before.

As an indication of what has since become a major U.S.-Russian conflict over the fate of Syria, later in the same month, May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov met with Lebanon’s prime minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker in Beirut and they collectively warned that exerting further pressure on Syria after it had withdrawn it troops from Lebanon would endanger security and stability in the region.

Later in the month Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a similar warning, recalling that “Significant progress has been made in implementing Resolution 1559, in particular the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, the formation of a government there on the basis of a consensus, and organization of parliamentary elections on a date prescribed by the constitution.”

In fact the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon was heralded in Western circles at the time as the beginning of the end of the government of President Bashar Assad.

A May 1, 2005 article in the Financial Times disclosed American plans at the time, which have now reached full fruition. Reporting from Washington, Guy Dinmore wrote:

“The US will keep up pressure on Syria long after the withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon, US officials say, outlining a policy that analysts believe is aimed at destabilising the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad.”

The feature quoted former President George H.W. Bush administration official Flynt Leverett stating the new U.S. policy toward Syria was “basically regime change.”   

Leverett, at the time an official at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, was paraphrased as adding “US officials were now inclined [to accept] that forcing Syria out of Lebanon would cause the regime to start to unravel” and that Washington could spare itself the expenditure of blood and treasure the Iraq model – attack, invasion and occupation – entailed, as it “believed regime change could be done ‘on the cheap’ through destabilisation.”

During the summer of 2005 U.S. troops in Iraq engaged in several skirmishes with Syrian counterparts near the two countries’ border, according to the New York Times resulting in the deaths of several Syrian soldiers.

As another portent of current developments, in June Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington to meet with President Bush in the White House, where the two heads of state emphasized the “important strategic relation” between their nations.

Among other commons concerns discussed – the counterinsurgency war against the Kurdistan Workers Party and Cyprus – Bush praised Erdogan for “strong support” of the Broader Middle East Initiative.

Already indicating Turkey’s new intended role in the Arab world in general and in Syria in particular, Erdogan stated: “Syria is our neighbor and we have a 800 km border with them. We talked about how we will bring Syria to our own line of action. [The prime minister had recently completed visits to Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.] They talked with our President about a troop withdrawal from Lebanon. They said, ‘we will pull them out’ and they did.”


Bush and Erdogan meet to discuss Broader Middle East

The month before, Bush had visited Georgia and his speech there contained words that were unfortunately ignored at the time and have been since, though their pertinence need hardly be stressed.


George W. Bush in Georgia promoting “color revolutions” in the Broader Middle East

Referring to the U.S.-backed “Rose Revolution” of late 2003 and early 2004, the prototype for the so-called color revolutions in Ukraine in 2004 and in Lebanon and in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 (to be followed by the Twitter Revolution in Moldova in 2009 and attempts to replicate the model in Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Venezuela), Bush ticked off and celebrated his geopolitical victories:

“Your courage is inspiring democratic reformers and sending a message that echoes across the world.

“Now, across the Caucasus, in Central Asia and the Broader Middle East, we see the same desire for liberty burning in the hearts of young people.

“In recent months, the world has marveled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek [the Kyrgyz capital]. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq, or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was the Rose Revolution in Georgia.”

On November 11, 2005 President Assad delivered a speech at Damascus University in which he reflected on the retreat from Lebanon and what even then was the challenge his nation would face in the future.

His comments included these:

“A number of international circles, and their agents in our Arab establishment, have been trying to promote their destructive political schemes under exciting names which touch people’s feelings and emotions and have been targeting people’s minds and souls before targeting their countries and invading their cultural identity and national existence before invading their national borders.”

“The danger lies in the fact that they target the intellectual, psychological and moral structure of Arabs, within the framework of a media, cultural and scientific war which targets our young generation in particular with the aim of separating them from their identity, heritage and history and making them lose confidence in themselves and their capabilities, and consequently pushing them to surrender to the illusion of certain defeat at the first attempt to confront and stand fast before outside pressure put on the whole region, and on Syria in particular.”

Washington announced and Damascus understood years in advance what the intended endgame in Syria would be. The past sixteen months’ unrest and violence in Syria are both partially the result of and the opportunity to complete the Broader Middle East strategy of the U.S. and NATO. And to escalate the most dangerous diplomatic and political, perhaps ultimately military, confrontation with Russia and China since the Cold War.

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U.S. Foreign Policy Adventurism Approaching All-Time High

July 28, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
July 28, 2012

US foreign policy adventurism approaching an all-time high
Christoph R. Hörstel

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It seems as if the Kuwaiti “incubator plot” of the “Desert Storm” operation and the Serbian “concentration camps” cast their shadows any time the global community is involved in decision-making in US-claimed areas of interest.

[T]hose well-versed in the history of the thought and planning of US foreign policy know that Syria scenarios are more than 100 years old and include complete re-drawings of the regional political map.

What is badly needed is a “joint counter-vision” from those who do not intend to fall victim to this challenge without a struggle. Right now the first challenge is to unify the non-aligned movement to withstand all US/NATO/Arab efforts to win a majority in the UN assembly to back US-led aggression in the region.

Those who ponder projects like abandoning Syria may be reminded that Iran and Russia are under direct present threat, while US gunboat diplomacy also starts haunting China’s coastline.

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Whenever the US warns there is an imminent danger of violence, even of a massacre or atrocities, it pays to take notice. Such predictions seem to have an almost uncanny knack of turning out to be accurate. So recent US “concerns” could mean bad news.

The world is just getting over the shock of accounts of massacres emerging from Syria, like the one in al-Houla at the end of May this year. The novelty of the outrage lies in the astonishing fact that from the mainstream conservative German daily FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Christian clergy, a shock wave went through major Western media. New grizzly details of the plot were uncovered, namely that known loyalist families, including dozens of women, children and the elderly, who denied support to the insurgents fell victim to the carnage.

According to intercepted rebel phone calls, massacres and other incidents are being perpetrated with the intention of later putting the blame on the government.

But what happened on Thursday seems to be yet another remarkable pointer as to how far the US is ready to go: “This is the concern, that we will see a massacre in Aleppo, and that’s what the regime appears to be lining up for,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said – and the news spread quickly around the world. The announcement raises global fears as much as disgust, since several recent official international gatherings on the Syrian issue were preceded by mass killings on the ground, whether massacres or house-to-house fighting in major Syrian towns, with the brunt of the blame duly attributed to the Syrian government by the usual suspects in Western mainstream media in the usual media hype style. It seems as if the Kuwaiti “incubator plot” of the “Desert Storm” operation and the Serbian “concentration camps” cast their shadows any time the global community is involved in decision-making in US-claimed areas of interest.

Looking back at recent history, we may summarize thus: ever since Hillary Clinton’s like-minded predecessor, the gifted piano player Condoleezza Rice, threatened the whole Middle East with democracy in 2008, clearly defined strategic steps have been taken by the US to get the process going.

Rice received the most popular Egyptian bloggers, whose work helped facilitate the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring”, which in fact looks more like a blossom time for the CIA and other related US and aligned agencies. However, actions under cover look much more serious: a retired senior officer of the Egyptian army residing in Tunisia appears to have been functional in completing training for US-guided mercenaries and “Al-Qaeda” personnel since 2009. In the same year, the first advance parties of US agents arrived in Turkey to get acquainted with the area and its people. This information was obtained by Syrian officers from the not-so-small number of captured foreign fighters. Their various ID cards from Turkey, Libya, Lebanon and Jordan, among others, have been presented in many TV reports.

About the hundreds of armed but non-uniformed personnel crossing freely, uncounted and unchecked, into Syria across all borders in March 2011 the defected correspondents of Al-Jazeera – among others – have amply spoken out.

Since an operation of this size does not appear to be set up on an ad-hoc basis – nor could it be – it is no wonder that those well-versed in the history of the thought and planning of US foreign policy know that Syria scenarios are more than 100 years old and include complete re-drawings of the regional political map.

Against this background, recent US State Department utterings appear to be little other than a thinly veiled threat to the Syrian people, its rightful government and its international allies. The threat bears all the marks of complete bigotry, since many observers are aware that it is mostly US policy management that stages most of the killings in the region and beyond in the last 20-plus years, cooperation from all sorts of allies notwithstanding.

Starting from the Balkans in the late 90s, to the still shadowy 9/11 affair and pumped-up justifications for the 2003 war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the US record of staging media hypes looks impressive by now.

Those who wonder about the perfect integration of media, policies, secret services and the military may be advised to help themselves to a most interesting pamphlet on the Internet entitled “Joint Vision 2020”, which, in an update to “Joint Vision 2010”, incorporates asymmetrical warfare and extensive public relations scheming through the reliable media. The main line is that increasingly highly integrated machinery always works. “Peace” has stopped, the US Army fulfils its tasks all the time; war in all shapes and colors is permanent.

What is badly needed is a “joint counter-vision” from those who do not intend to fall victim to this challenge without a struggle. Right now the first challenge is to unify the non-aligned movement to withstand all US/NATO/Arab efforts to win a majority in the UN assembly to back US-led aggression in the region.

As this author has outlined, Syria needs to take successful action on five challenges: public relations in NATO countries; winning back a few members of the defected/disgruntled circles, namely the Islamic movement; large-scale reconstruction on war damages all over the country; large-scale efforts towards better care for refugees and needy people; and indisputable successes against brutalities committed by government-appointed personnel of all sorts and againstrampant corruption.

This outline of Syrian government homework comes with a firm prediction – that failure to achieve two of the five will have dire consequences for the survival of the Assad regime.

The war in Syria will not be won militarily but in the civilian arena.

Military contributions can only buy time for implementation. Today’s threats by Syrian insurgents against the Russian naval base in Tartus are just a reminder how far the situation can deteriorate without a firm and sustainable strategy-based response.

UN UNSMIS commander General Robert Mood’s statement on the imminent fall of President Assad shows the way.

Those who ponder projects like abandoning Syria may be reminded that Iran and Russia are under direct present threat, while US gunboat diplomacy also starts haunting China’s coastline. Mid-term requirements are that the peacefully-minded global majority develops a coherent joint vision of how to counter the ever-growing challenge by a debt-driven hyper-power in decline.

“Crime doesn’t pay” is a central message to maintain state order. The same applies to our troubled blue planet, whether we fight for that or not at all. Troubles unfortunately do not tend to go away if they are ignored.

There are many more people in NATO countries hoping for a stabilizing response than may be assumed today.

Сhristoph R. Hörstel is managing director at Hörstel Networks, Government & Business Consulting. http://syria-help.blogspot.de/

Categories: Uncategorized

“Islamic NATO” As New Step Toward Ottoman Empire Revival

July 28, 2012 3 comments

PanArmenian.net
July 28, 2012

Islamic NATO as a new step towards Ottoman Empire revival
The new organization first targets the Arab world, which Turkey is eager to attract under the “democracy protection” cover
Karine Ter-Sahakian

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It should be noted that “Islamic NATO” first of all targets the Arab world, which Turkey is eager to attract under the “democracy protection” cover. This “democracy” was quite apparent in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt; tragically, Syria is following the same path.

“Islamic NATO” will definitely never lack funding: Saudi Arabia and Qatar will gladly undertake the financing of this formation, despite a certain theological discrepancy between Sunnis of the Gulf monarchies and Turkey.

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Turkey is trying to become a more active player in the Near East, voicing ideas which then appear to be alarming, if not dangerous. The complete failure of its foreign policy pushes Ankara to seek new ways of implementing “neo-Ottomanism”. This, first of all, assumes the endorsement of a caliphate and restoration of the following title:

“Sultan (given name) Khan, Sovereign of the House of Osman, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe, Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem”, et cetera, et cetera.

This was not just a detailed listing of the sultan’s titles. A huge army that conquered vast territories in 400 years including Mecca and Medina, now under the rule of the Al Saudi dynasty, was of major importance for the Ottoman Empire. Establishment of a new caliphate needs an army as well – united Islamic forces, if possible.

Mustafa Kamalak, chairman of the Turkish Saadet (Felicity) Party voiced this idea in Morocco last week. Saadet is the hardline wing of the former Turkish Refah (Welfare) Party, the moderate Eurocentric wing of which is now Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Kamalak declared that “Islamic NATO” and Islamic peacekeeping forces need to be established urgently.

“Today’s events in Islamic countries again prove that the former Turkish PM Necmettin Erbakan was right in his urging the creation of Islamic peacekeeping forces. We heartily welcome the awakening in Islamic states and pray for their success. Still, the Western states are trying to benefit from it. We must first push forward unity and integrity, rather than our conflicts,” Kamalak noted.

Former prime minister of Turkey Necmettin Erbakan is known as the author of the “universal caliphate” concept. Ideologically, the caliphate is based on Islam, while its martial aspect relies on an independent military-political bloc. Erbakan named this bloc the “Islamic peacekeeping forces” and its supporters “Islamic NATO”. The North Atlantic Alliance is facing hard times now; meanwhile, Turkey is increasingly gaining weight, entitling it to come up with such statements. No doubt, Azerbaijan will be the first to join an Islamic NATO in case it does emerge. Baku will definitely attempt to thus settle its issues; otherwise, it will lose a second Karabakh war as well if it relies on its own resources.

It should be noted that “Islamic NATO” first of all targets the Arab world, which Turkey is eager to attract under the “democracy protection” cover. This “democracy” was quite apparent in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt; tragically, Syria is following the same path.

“Islamic NATO” will definitely never lack funding: Saudi Arabia and Qatar will gladly undertake the financing of this formation, despite a certain theological discrepancy between Sunnis of the Gulf monarchies and Turkey.

However, these obstacles can be overcome: monarchies, particularly Saudi Arabia dominated by the Wahhabi branch of Islam, will hardly insist on the Sunnism they practice.

The new structure will also try to move away from the West and just ignore Iran. The West may also welcome the new bloc, hoping it will help settle the Syrian and Iranian issues. In a word, everybody will be happy.

Just one minor note: is the Arab world willing to see Turkey take the lead of their united forces? History hints the answer is negative. The thing is that the ideas Ankara is coming up with every now and then may once become a reality. So, one has to rely on Saudi Arabia and Qatar in this. Formal support to Erdogan with his sultanic aspirations is one thing, while tolerating, so to say, such a leader of the Islamic world is quite another.

Saudi Arabia’s kingdom rightfully believes this to be its prerogative and is not going to step down as yet. “As yet” being the key phrase here…

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview on Syria, Turkey and U.S.-dominated global order

July 27, 2012 1 comment

Progressive Radio News Hour
July 26, 2012

Stephen Lendman

Audio at bottom of the page

Rick Rozoff’s an activist, anti-war supporter, and editor of the web site Stop NATO.

It “document(s) and oppose(s) global militarist trends and an expanding theater of war that began” by balkanizing Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

It then expanded to South Asia, and now ravages the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: Regional and global implications of Syrian crisis

Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Public Network
July 26, 2012

Video

Interview on Syria begins at about the seven-minute point.

*****

Categories: Uncategorized

“When We Talk About Syria, We Talk About Iran And Russia”

July 27, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
July 27, 2012

Russia to keep Tartus base
Konstantin Garibov

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“If Russia loses that base, it will have nowhere in the Mediterranean to fuel or repair its ships. The moment Russia loses the Tartus base, it will also lose Syria. Consequently, and I deem it quite possible, military actions against Iran may begin. That scenario will create very complicated problems for Russian troops stationed in the Caucasus. Therefore, and it should be admitted frankly, when we talk about Syria, we talk about Iran and the Russian troops in the Caucasus.”

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Russia will maintain its logistics naval station in the Syrian port of Tartus. Commenting on the issue earlier this week, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov accentuated the importance of the Tartus base in providing logistics services to the anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

He said that there were ten Russian warships and ten support ships in the Mediterranean now, as part of planned maneuvers announced last year.

On July 10, a combined squad of Russia’s Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets entered the Mediterranean on a three-month-long training mission to practice anti-piracy and rescue efforts. Some of the ships will call at Tartus.

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said in an interview that as long as Russia positioned itself as a naval power, it must have ports, mooring sites or, preferably, naval bases abroad. Russia pulled out of Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam and also out of Aden. Tartus is the only site where Russian ships can dock for refueling and repairs and allow their crews to rest a little, he said.

“Strictly speaking, the Tartus station is not a naval base. We only have a floating repair dock there. The port is not equipped to be a base, but potential changes are possible. If we maintain our presence there, modernization will be needed.”

Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Military Forecast Center, echoes that with tension mounting around Syria and military intervention not altogether unlikely, the Russian base in Tartus acquires vital geopolitical significance.

“If Russia loses that base, it will have nowhere in the Mediterranean to fuel or repair its ships. The moment Russia loses the Tartus base, it will also lose Syria. Consequently, and I deem it quite possible, military actions against Iran may begin. That scenario will create very complicated problems for Russian troops stationed in the Caucasus. Therefore, and it should be admitted frankly, when we talk about Syria, we talk about Iran and the Russian troops in the Caucasus.”

Russia has never made a secret of its intention to keep its logistics base in Tartus.

Built by the former Soviet Union in 1971, the Tartus station was conceived as a supply and maintenance center for the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean. It has two floating docks, a repair workshop, storage and other facilities, and several small barracks. Its personnel currently numbers 50 servicemen. After the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the 5th Mediterranean Squadron was dissolved, but the base remained. Today, it’s Russia’s only naval station in the region.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Uses NATO For Black Sea Military Buildup

July 27, 2012 3 comments

Stop NATO
July 26, 2012

U.S. Uses NATO For Black Sea Military Buildup
Rick Rozoff

With permanent access to eight air and other military bases and training facilities in Bulgaria and Romania acquired over the past seven years, and advanced interceptor missiles to be stationed in the second country in three years, the Pentagon is establishing a firm foothold in the Black Sea region from which to continue current and initiate new military operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

The U.S. Marines Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force and the U.S. Army’s Task Force-East are assigned to the region on a regular basis and American warships are frequent visitors to the Black Sea, notwithstanding the 1936 Montreux Convention which limits the passage of non-littoral nations’ military vessels through the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits to the Black Sea.

Last year the flagship of the U.S.-NATO interceptor missile system, the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey, participated in the U.S.-led Sea Breeze naval exercise in the Black Sea – a NATO Partnership for Peace initiative – coordinated from Odessa, Ukraine, only 187 miles from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.


USS Monterey

This year’s Sea Breeze, held from July 9-21, was the largest naval exercise held in the Black Sea this year and featured personnel from 17 nations, NATO members and partners (not always publicly acknowledged): The U.S., Ukraine, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Turkey, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Qatar, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Algeria, Bangladesh, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates participated for the first time. The last two states, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnership, provided NATO with warplanes for the six-month air war against Libya last year. The United Arab Emirates also has troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan.


USS Jason Dunham guided missile destroyer at the Sea Breeze 2012 exercise

Overlapping with the above maneuvers, another NATO Partnership for Peace exercise run by U.S. European Command, Rapid Trident 2012, was launched in Western Ukraine on July 16 and will run to July 28.

An estimated 1,400 service members from 16 countries – the U.S., Ukraine, Austria, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Sweden – are participating.

The Dacian Thunder 2012 exercise is being conducted by the U.S., Britain and Romania from July 10-31 in the third nation. Led by the U.S. 81st Fighter Squadron and Marines, the three NATO allies are training for, in the words of the U.S. Air Force website, “air-to-air, air-to-ground, combat search and rescue, air defense, air security, air intelligence, tactical command, and cross service logistical support and operations” in preparation for “future contingency operations.”

Earlier this month U.S. Army Europe commander Lieutenant General Mark Phillip Hertling visited Georgia, on the other end of the Black Sea, to meet with the country’s new defense minister, Dimitri Shashkin, and top military commanders.

This week Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, Deputy Director of Plans, Policy and Strategy for U.S. European Command, met with Defense Minister Shashkin to begin the implementation of this year’s agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to upgrade Georgia’s military capabilities.

This week Saakashvili’s spouse, Netherlands-born Sandra Roelofs, visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to meet with six Georgian soldiers being treated there for injuries sustained in NATO’s Afghan war.

Last week Saakashvili met with Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and stated:

“You know that 2014 has been declared as the year of NATO expansion, and Georgia already has a real chance for full membership in NATO, which represents an important long-term security guarantee for us.”

The Georgian head of state added:

“Turkey is one of the major supporters in our drive to join NATO and for that we are very grateful, because it represents a historic chance for Georgia, for the region and for our good neighborly relations to [have] Georgia protected within this international organization.

“Recently it (Georgia’s NATO membership) became more realistic than it has ever been in history.”

In 2005, the year after Romania became a member of NATO, the Pentagon acquired several military installations in the nation including the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, previously employed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The following year it gained bases in neighboring Bulgaria, including the Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer air bases. The above are the first American military bases on the territory of former members of the Warsaw Pact.

The Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force, which as of this year is spending six months in the greater Black Sea region, frequently operates from the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, as has the Task Force-East.


Black Sea Rotational Force Marines and Georgian troops in Agile Spirit exercise in Georgia in March

The Black Sea Rotational Force’s area of operations is formally the Black Sea region, the Balkans and the Caucasus, though in fact it extends into Moldova and Greece as well. That is, it has defined a geostrategically vital area of the world, the junction of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as its purview, one which includes all the so-called frozen conflicts in former Soviet space: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

The Black Sea region was completely inaccessible, was terra prohibita, to the Pentagon during the Cold War era. NATO expansion, with the incorporation of new members and partners, has opened the sea to U.S. military penetration, presence and use for what are termed downrange operations – armed interventions – to the east and the south. 
   

Categories: Uncategorized

China Opposes West’s Bid To Overthrow Syrian Government, International Order

July 26, 2012 2 comments

China Daily
July 26, 2012

Right to decide own future
By Zheng Xiwen

China supports the Syrian people’s freedom to choose its leadership and opposes outside intervention to force regime change

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Over the past decade, the US-led Western world has been preaching the notion of “human rights above sovereignty”. The US launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and engineered a war to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi in Libya. In reality, what the US-led defense forces brought to these countries were death, destitution and humanitarian crises. The truth is, by emphasizing self-proclaimed efforts to promote democracy and protect human rights, the West is trying to eliminate dissenting voices and fulfill its geopolitical interests.

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China and Russia have come under fire again for vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution, brokered by the West, on July 19 that would have paved the way for imposing sanctions on Syria.

As usual, the Western media have held China and Russia accountable for the escalating conflict in Syria. Susan Rice, US permanent representative to the UN, has criticized China and Russia, saying that “history will judge those that three times have blocked (Security) Council action quite harshly”.

Despite the West’s attempt to blame China and Russia, people can tell which countries are actually on the right side of history, act responsibly and truly care for the Syrian people.

As a responsible country, China has been consistent in its position and will never seek to fulfill its own interests on the Syrian issue by supporting or opposing anyone. Instead, China upholds justice and remains committed to maintaining peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East by adhering to the principles governing international relations.

Above all, China adheres to the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of Syria and opposes any foreign intervention in the meanwhile.

Sovereign equality is a principle enshrined in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which is widely recognized as the foundation of modern international relations and also serves as the founding principle of the UN. The maintenance of the international order and world peace and stability, to a great extent, depends on whether we stick to this principle.

Just as former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger wrote in an article earlier this year, intervention in the Syrian issue risks upsetting the global order. Noninterference in another country’s internal affairs is an iron principle that should be abided by all nations to maintain the global order.

Besides, China respects the independent choice of the Syrian people and opposes any outside attempt to forcibly promote regime change in Syria. A country’s leadership should be decided by its own people, not by any outsider. There is no legitimate reason for any country or group of countries to decide the leadership of another country.

For a recent example we have to look at Greece. Although the Greek turmoil worsened and threatened to touch off a domino effect across Europe, European Union leaders could not force leadership change in Greece. It was the Greek people who decided the country’s fate through the ballot. Likewise, the fate of Syria is in the hands of its people, and China will respect any decision that is reached within that country and is supported by the Syrian people.

Moreover, China has always stressed that the Syrian issue should be resolved through political means and strongly opposes any military intervention. The Syrian crisis can only be resolved politically, not under outside military intervention.

Over the past decade, the US-led Western world has been preaching the notion of “human rights above sovereignty”. The US launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and engineered a war to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi in Libya. In reality, what the US-led defense forces brought to these countries were death, destitution and humanitarian crises. The truth is, by emphasizing self-proclaimed efforts to promote democracy and protect human rights, the West is trying to eliminate dissenting voices and fulfill its geopolitical interests.

The West is now resorting to the “Libyan model” to intervene in Syria and seek the UN Security Council’s authorization for military intervention. It’s for this reason that the US and its Western allies keep demonizing the Syrian government and supporting the Syrian opposition.

Actually, the US and its allies should be held responsible for the prolonged unrest in Syria.

The good news is that the UN Security Council has passed a rollover resolution that gives the UN Supervision Mission in Syria a final 30-day extension, which indicates that the Security Council is back on the “right track” of supporting UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts in Syria and settling the Syrian crisis through political means.

The Syrian situation has entered a critical phase and the international community should urge all parties to give up violence to facilitate the establishment of long-term peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East.

The author is an international affairs analyst based in Beijing.

Categories: Uncategorized

Roger Martin du Gard: Nothing worse than war and all it involves

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

roger_martin_du_gard

“I know your theory that war and peace must alternate in the life of nations, like the movement of a pendulum. A monstrous theory! We’ve got to stop that pendulum for good and all. Humanity must somehow be got out of this fatal rhythm and be allowed to devote its energies to building up a better social order. War doesn’t solve a single one of man’s vital problems. It only makes the worker’s plight worse than before. During a war he’s mere cannon fodder, and afterward more cruelly enslaved than ever. That’s all war means for him…It’s quite simple: I see nothing, literally nothing, that could be worse for a nation than a war and all it involves.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO articles

July 25, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO articles

Africa: Laboratory and Battleground for Pentagon’s 21st Century Warfare
May 29, 2014

Second Stage Interoperability: NATO Trains For Combat In Europe
May 26, 2014

U.S. Tests Advanced Missile For NATO Interceptor System
May 23, 2014

NATO, U.S. Seek to Consolidate Western Military Blockade of Russia in Finland
May 19, 2014

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Trojan Horse and Battering Ram In Former Soviet Space
May 15, 2014

NATO to Train Ukraine Regime Troops for Southeast Operation
May 14, 2014

NATO’s Southern Front: Mr. Alasania’s Week In Washington
May 14, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Exposes NATO’s Eastward Expansion Drive
May 13, 2014

Silence of the Wolves: Ukraine and the Moral Stultification of the West
May 5, 2014

NATO’s Incremental But Inexorable Absorption of Ukraine
April 25, 2014

USAID and “Democracy Promotion” in Ukraine
April 25, 2014

NATO: 65 Years Later
April 4, 2014

NATO’s Worldwide Expansion in the Post-Cold World Era (revised)
October 12, 2013

Leader of Exceptional Nation: U.S. Military Doesn’t Do Pinpricks
September 10, 2013

NATO’s Worldwide Expansion in the Post-Cold World Era
April 26, 2013

Post-Election: Expect More Drone And Space War
November 20, 2012

U.S. Intensifies Military Encirclement of China
November 18, 2012

Turkey Plotting NATO Attack on Syria
October 8, 2012

Partners Across the Asia-Pacific: NATO Reinforces Pentagon’s Shift to East
September 25, 2012

U.S. Deploys Warships, Marines To Libya
September 12, 2012

Turkey: NATO’s Neo-Ottoman Spearhead in the Middle East
August 7, 2012

General Assembly Vote On Syria: World Gone Unipolar – And Mad
August 3, 2012

NATO’s Secret Kurdish War: Turkey Prepares Iraq-Style Attacks Inside Syria
August 1, 2012

Hillary Clinton Embarks on Neo-Colonial Tour of Africa
July 31, 2012

Pentagon Chief Rallies Arab, Israeli Allies Against Syria, Iran
July 30, 2012

U.S. Campaign Against Syria: Years In The Making
July 28, 2012

U.S. Uses NATO For Black Sea Military Buildup
July 26, 2012

U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf
July 17, 2012

Clinton Engineers Expansion of Asian NATO to Contain China
July 14, 2012

The Template: NATO Consolidates Grip On Former Yugoslavia
July 12, 2012

U.S.’s Georgian Satrapy Prepares For “Total Defense”
July 11, 2012

NATO Steps Up Activity In Mediterranean, Syria Responds
July 10, 2012

Imperial Hubris: Clinton Demands Russia And China “Pay The Price”
July 6, 2012

Georgia Gets New U.S.-Approved Defense Chief
July 6, 2012

NATO’s Global Open Door Policy
July 5, 2012

U.S. Marines: New Deployments From Black Sea To Africa And Beyond
July 4, 2012

Donald Rumsfeld Returns to Georgia
July 3, 2012

Pentagon and NATO Rehearse for War in the Baltic Sea
July 2, 2012

Africa: U.S. And NATO Build Neo-Colonial Proxy Forces
July 1, 2012

Romania: U.S. Escalates Missile Brinkmanship Against Russia
June 30, 2012

Combined Maritime Forces: U.S.’s Global Naval Force in the Arabian Sea
June 29, 2012

U.S. Tests New Interceptor Missile For NATO System Deployment
June 28, 2012

NATO Expands Caucasus Presence As Broader War Looms
June 27, 2012

NATO War Council To Target Syria
June 26, 2012

NATO Expands Military Network To All Continents
June 22, 2012

Iraq: NATO Forges New Strategic Partnership In Persian Gulf
June 20, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Persian Gulf Of Strategic Interest To NATO
June 19, 2012

U.S. Implementing Afghanistan And Kosovo Models For Syria
June 18, 2012

Libya: New AFRICOM And NATO Beachhead In Africa
June 16, 2012

U.S. Exploits Syrian Situation For Showdown With Russia
June 14, 2012

Pentagon’s Last Frontier: Battle-Hardened Troops Headed To Africa
June 12, 2012

Southeast Asia: U.S. Revives And Expands Cold War Military Alliances Against China
June 8, 2012

Clinton Pledges Increased Military Assistance To Georgia For New Conflicts
June 7, 2012

NATO: From the North Atlantic to the South Pacific
June 5, 2012

Pentagon Prepares for Confrontation in the Asia-Pacific
June 2, 2012

Pentagon Consolidates Control Over Balkans
May 30, 2012

White House Touts War-Tested Global NATO Force
May 10, 2012

Pentagon: Wars Used To Train Global NATO Expeditionary Force
May 6, 2012

Commander: NATO Provides Pentagon Base For Global Operations
May 5, 2012

British Defence Chief: NATO Absolves Germany Of Nazi Past
May 4, 2012

Chicago Summit: NATO To Announce Activation Of European Missile Shield
May 2, 2012

Balkans To Caspian: U.S. And NATO Continue Cold War
April 30, 2012

State Department Reveals 21st Century NATO’s Global Priorities
April 27, 2012

Partners Across The Globe: NATO Consolidates Worldwide Military Force
April 26, 2012

NATO Chief Recruits European Union For Global Interventions
April 25, 2012

U.S. Leads Largest Air Combat Exercises In Bulgaria’s History
April 24, 2012

U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia
April 23, 2012

Malta: Case Study In NATO Subversion And Coercion
April 22, 2012

Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic
April 21, 2012

NATO Baltic Buildup Threatens Belarus And Russia
April 21, 2012

Chicago Summit: NATO Prepares For Operations Until 2020 And Beyond…Throughout The Galaxy
April 19, 2012

Chicago Summit: NATO To Complete Domination Of Arab World
April 18, 2012

NATO Summit: Obama To Fete 50-Nation Expeditionary Military Force
April 17, 2012

Chicago Brainwashes Grade Schoolers For New Generation Of NATO Warfare
April 13, 2012

Turkey-Syria: New NATO Intervention Ahead Of Chicago Summit?
April 12, 2012

Aunt Maddie Of Hamelin Leads Chicago Students Down NATO’s Garden Path
April 11, 2012

Hillary Clinton Promotes 22nd Century NATO Ahead Of Chicago Summit
April 11, 2012

NATO: The Military Enforcement Wing Of The West’s 1%
April 9, 2012

NATO: Global Police Force Or Hegemonic Interventionist?
April 7, 2012

NATO Summit In Chicago: The Dead Don’t Dine
April 6, 2012

Chicago Summit: Nuclear NATO, Global Missile Shield, Cyber Warfare, Energy Wars
April 6, 2012

NATO Summit: $55 Million To Turn Chicago Into Armed Camp
April 5, 2012

Mali: U.S. Africa Command’s New War?
February 15, 2012

U.S. Prepares Georgia for New Wars in Caucasus and Iran
February 10, 2012

U.S. Arms Persian Gulf Allies For Conflict With Iran
November 18, 2011

Syria In Western Strategy For Global Military Supremacy
November 15, 2011

Southeast Asia: U.S. Completing Asian NATO To Confront China
November 6, 2011

Sole Military Super-Bloc: NATO Issues Daily Reprieves To The World
November 4, 2011

In Past Ten Years U.S. Has Expanded Military Network Throughout The World
July 22, 2011

Risk-Free And Above The Law: U.S. Globalizes Drone Warfare
July 7, 2011

U.S. And NATO Allies Expanding Global Military Footprint
July 4, 2011

Libya And Millennium Of War
July 2, 2011

Turkish Actions Designed To Trigger NATO Confrontation With Syria?
June 21, 2011

NATO Incorporates Libyan Experience For Global War Template
June 18, 2011

NATO’s Afrika Korps Escalates War Of Attrition Against Libya
June 11, 2011

Gulf State Gendarmes: West Backs Holy Alliance For Control Of Arab World And Persian Gulf
May 25, 2011

Africa: Battleground For NATO’s 21st Century Strategic Concept
May 20, 2011

NATO Continues Killing Spree in Africa And Asia
May 15, 2011

Libya: NATO Transitions To Terror Bombing Phase Of War
May 3, 2011

U.S. And NATO Allies Initiate Libyan Scenario For Syria
April 30, 2011

NATO Observes Easter By Intensifying Bombardment Of Libya
April 26, 2011

From Ivory Coast To Libya And Beyond: Africa Threatened With Western Military Subjugation
April 8, 2011

Libyan War In Third Week As NATO Takes Command
April 3, 2011

NATO Wages War On Third Continent
March 30, 2011

Libyan War And Control Of The Mediterranean
March 25, 2011

Libya: Obama’s Latest, AFRICOM’s First, NATO’s African War
March 20, 2011

Bahrain: U.S. Backs Saudi Military Intervention, Conflict With Iran
March 16, 2011

Point Of No Return: U.S. And NATO Prepare For War With Libya
March 8, 2011

Cyprus: U.S. To Dominate All Europe, Mediterranean Through NATO
March 3, 2011

U.S. And NATO Escalate World’s Deadliest War On Both Sides Of Afghan-Pakistani Border
March 1, 2011

U.S. Backs Japan In Looming Confrontation With Russia
February 24, 2011

Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners
February 20, 2011

NATO Surrenders Europe To U.S. Global Missile Shield Project
February 5, 2011

Egypt: Will U.S. And NATO Launch Second Suez Intervention?
February 2, 2011

Washington Intensifies Push Into Central Asia
January 29, 2011

Afghanistan: War Without End In A World Without Conscience
January 27, 2011

Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force
January 23, 2011

Britain Spearheads “Mini-NATO” In Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea
January 22, 2011

Washington To Rearm Georgia For New Conflicts
January 14, 2011

U.S. Enlists Japan As Global Military Partner
January 12, 2011

Militarization Of Energy Policy: U.S. Africa Command And Gulf Of Guinea
January 8, 2011

U.S. Employs Afghan War To Build Global NATO
January 6, 2011

Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa
January 2, 2011

New Year To Mark Intensification Of West’s War In Afghanistan And Pakistan
December 31, 2010

Washington Uses Arms Sales To Achieve Global Supremacy
December 30, 2010

2011: U.S. And NATO To Extend And Expand Afghan War
December 24, 2010

Pentagon’s Christmas Present: Largest Military Budget Since World War II
December 23, 2010

NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
December 19, 2010

U.S. Prepares For New Decade Of War In Asia
December 16, 2010

U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The East
December 14, 2010

White House Intensifies Military Buildup In Poland
December 10, 2010

NATO Develops Plans For Military Confrontation With Russia In Baltic
December 8, 2010

U.S. And NATO Allies Escalate Military Buildup Against Iran
December 6, 2010

North Korea As Pretext: U.S. Builds Asian Military Alliance Against China And Russia
December 3, 2010

U.S. And NATO Prolong And Expand Greater Afghan War
December 2, 2010

U.S. Recruits Russia As Junior Partner To Maintain Global Dominance
November 24, 2010

Lisbon Summit: NATO Proclaims Itself Global Military Force
November 22, 2010

NATO: Afghan War Model For Future 21st Century Operations
November 19, 2010

After NATO Summit, U.S. To Intensify Military Drive Into Asia
November 17, 2010

Timetable Abandoned: U.S. And NATO To Wage Endless War In Afghanistan
November 12, 2010

Lisbon Summit: NATO To Retain Nuclear Arms, Build Missile Shield In Europe
November 10, 2010

Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The East
November 7, 2010

U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
November 4, 2010

Pentagon Forges NATO Proxy Armies In Eastern Europe
October 30, 2010

U.S. And NATO Drag Asia Into Afghan Quagmire
October 29, 2010

Arabian Sea: Center Of West’s 21st Century War
October 25, 2010

Southeast Asia: West Completes Plans For Asian NATO
October 21, 2010

New War Rumors: U.S. Plans To Seize Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal
October 15, 2010

Afghanistan: Global NATO’s First Ground War In Its Tenth Year
October 10, 2010

Pentagon Partners With NATO To Create Global Cyber Warfare System
October 8, 2010

U.S. And NATO To Wage War 15-Year War In Afghanistan And Pakistan
October 6, 2010

Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars
September 30, 2010

Bangladesh: U.S. And NATO Forge New Military Partnership In South Asia
September 29, 2010

NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan
September 28, 2010

America’s Undeclared War: Deadly Drone Attacks In Pakistan Reach Record High
September 26, 2010

U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
September 23, 2010

NATO Provides Pentagon Nuclear, Missile And Cyber Shields Over Europe
September 22, 2010

Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil
September 17, 2010

U.S. And NATO Strengthen Positions Along Russia’s Southern Flank
September 16, 2010

Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs
September 14, 2010

Global Grandiosity: America’s 21st Century World Architecture
September 13, 2010

India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure
September 10, 2010

Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals
September 2, 2010

Book Review: The Politics Of Genocide
September 1, 2010

Afghanistan: North Atlantic Military Bloc’s Ten-Year War In South Asia
August 31, 2010

Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
August 29, 2010

Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden
August 25, 2010

U.S. Marshals Military Might To Challenge Asian Century
August 21, 2010

U.S. Global Strategy: Defeating Potential Challengers In Eurasia
August 19, 2010

Part II: U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation
August 17, 2010

U.S.-China Conflict: From War Of Words To Talk Of War, Part I
August 15, 2010

Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
August 13, 2010

Central Asia: U.S. Military Buildup On Chinese, Iranian And Russian Borders
August 11, 2010

U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
August 7, 2010

Europe And Beyond: U.S. Consolidates Global Missile Shield
August 3, 2010

Uganda: U.S., NATO Allies Prepare New Invasion Of Somalia
July 28, 2010

NATO Pulls Pakistan Into Its Global Network
July 23, 2010

U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea
July 16, 2010

Pentagon Provokes New Crisis With China
July 10, 2010

Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
July 7, 2010

Afghan War: Petraeus Expands U.S. Military Presence Throughout Eurasia
July 4, 2010

West’s Afghan Debacle: Commander Dismissed As War Deaths Reach Record Level
June 25, 2010

Kyrgyzstan: Bloodstained Geopolitical Chessboard
June 16, 2010

Military Watershed: Longest War In U.S. And Afghan History
June 9, 2010

Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And Caucasus
June 8, 2010

Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
May 29, 2010

U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace
May 26, 2010

U.S. And NATO Accelerate Military Build-Up In Black Sea Region
May 20, 2010

NATO In Afghanistan: World War In One Country
May 13, 2010

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies
May 10, 2010

NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine
May 8, 2010

New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones
May 5, 2010

Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
April 30, 2010

U.S. Consolidates Military Network In Asia-Pacific Region
April 28, 2010

Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
April 25, 2010

Nuclear Weapons And Interceptor Missiles: Twin Pillars Of U.S.-NATO Military Strategy In Europe
April 23, 2010

Relentless Global Drive: NATO On Six Continents In Seven Days
April 20, 2010

NATO: Pentagon’s Gateway Into Former Warsaw Pact And Soviet Union
April 15, 2010

Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
April 14, 2010

U.S. Reserves Use Of Nuclear Arms, Missile Shield To Defend Global Empire
April 13, 2010

Prompt Global Strike: World Military Superiority Without Nuclear Weapons
April 10, 2010

Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
April 7, 2010

War In Afghanistan Evokes Second World War Parallels
April 6, 2010

Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
March 31, 2010

As Obama Talks Of Arms Control, Russians View U.S. As Global Aggressor
March 28, 2010

U.S. Plunges Central America Back To Era Of Coups And Death Squads
March 26, 2010

Full Circle: NATO Completes Takeover Of Former Yugoslavia
March 23, 2010

NATO: AFRICOM’s Partner In Military Penetration Of Africa
March 20, 2010

Eleven Years Later: NATO Powers Prepare Final Solution In Kosovo
March 18, 2010

Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?
March 16, 2010

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
March 14, 2010

AFRICOM’s First War: U.S. Directs Large-Scale Offensive In Somalia
March 11, 2010

Decade Of The Drone: America’s Aerial Assassins
March 9, 2010

U.S., NATO Intensify War Games Around Russia’s Perimeter
March 6, 2010

U.S. Tightens Missile Shield Encirclement Of China And Russia
March 4, 2010

U.S. Black Sea Military Buildup Could Trigger Missile WarMarch 2, 2010

21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
February 26, 2010

South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina
February 23, 2010

Impending Explosion: U.S. Intensifies Threats To Russia And Iran
February 18, 2010

Afghanistan: Charlie Wilson And America’s 30-Year War
February 15, 2010

NATO Expansion, Missile Deployments And Russia’s New Military Doctrine
February 12, 2010

NATO’s Role In The Military Encirclement Of Iran
February 10, 2010

Romania: U.S. Expands Missile Shield Into Black Sea
February 6, 2010

Brussels, London, Istanbul: A Week Of Western War Councils
February 5, 2010

U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
February 3, 2010

Hillary Clinton’s Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate
January 31, 2010

Pentagon Confronts Russia In The Baltic Sea
January 28, 2010

Bases, Missiles, Wars: U.S. Consolidates Global Military Network
January 26, 2010

With Nuclear, Conventional Arms Pacts Stalled, U.S. Moves Missiles And Troops To Russian Border
January 22, 2010

U.S.-China Military Tensions Grow
January 19, 2010

Israel: Global NATO’s 29th Member
January 17, 2010

Afghanistan: NATO Intensifies Its First Asian War
January 13, 2010

U.S., NATO Expand Afghan War To Horn Of Africa And Indian Ocean
January 8, 2010

West’s Afghan War: From Conquest To Bloodbath
January 5, 2010

2010: U.S. To Wage War Throughout The World
December 31, 2009

End Of The Year: U.S. Recruits Worldwide For Afghan War
December 23, 2009

World’s Sole Military Superpower’s 2 Million-Troop, $1 Trillion Wars
December 21, 2009

Afghanistan: World’s Lengthiest War Has Just Begun
December 18, 2009

Yemen: Pentagon’s War On The Arabian Peninsula
December 15, 2009

Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
December 10, 2009

Nobel Committee Celebrates War As Peace
December 8, 2009

U.S., NATO War In Afghanistan: Antecedents And Precedents
December 5, 2009

NATO’s Secret Transatlantic Bond: Nuclear Weapons In Europe
December 3, 2009

Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare
December 1, 2009

Geopolitical Crossroads: Pentagon, NATO Complete Conquest Of Balkans
November 28, 2009

Christmas 2009: U.S., NATO To Expand New Millennium’s Longest War
November 25, 2009

Former Soviet States: Battleground For Global Domination
November 23, 2009

Rumors Of Coups And War: U.S., NATO Target Latin America
November 18, 2009

Pentagon’s Global Reach: Around The World In 12 Days
November 13, 2009

Fort Hood, Veterans Day And Defending America
November 11, 2009

Berlin Wall: From Europe Whole And Free To New World Order
November 9, 2009

1989-2009: Moving The Berlin Wall To Russia’s Borders
November 7, 2009

Israel: Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran
November 5, 2009

Twenty Years After End Of The Cold War: Pentagon’s Buildup In Latin America
November 4, 2009

Kosovo: Marking Ten Years Of Worldwide Wars
October 31, 2009

ABC Of West’s Global Military Network: Afghanistan, Baltics, Caucasus
October 28, 2009

Bulgaria, Romania: U.S., NATO Bases For War In The East
October 24, 2009

AFRICOM Year Two: Seizing The Helm Of The Entire World
October 22, 2009

U.S. Expands Asian NATO Against China, Russia
October 16, 2009

Afghanistan: West’s 21st Century War Risks Regional Conflagration
October 12, 2009

Threat Of New Conflict In Europe: Western-Sponsored Greater Albania
October 8, 2009

Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude On New Global Doctrine
October 2, 2009

Dangerous Missile Battle In Space Over Europe: Fifth Act In U.S. Missile Shield Drama
September 29, 2009

U.S. Missile Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader
September 27, 2009

U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History
September 24, 2009

West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources
September 22, 2009

Black Sea, Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East
September 19, 2009

U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance?
September 17, 2009

Black Sea Crisis Deepens As Threat To Iran Grows
September 16, 2009

Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
September 14, 2009

U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
September 11, 2009

Broader Strategy: West’s Afghan War Targets Russia, China, Iran
September 8, 2009

Following Afghan Election, NATO Intensifies Deployments, Carnage
September 6, 2009

U.S. Marines In The Caucasus As West Widens Afghan War
September 3, 2009

AFRICOM: Pentagon Prepares Direct Military Intervention In Africa
August 24, 2009

Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
August 22, 2009

U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System
August 19, 2009

Politicizing Ethnicity: U.S. Plan To Repeat Yugoslav Scenario In Caucasus Could Cause World War
August 14, 2009

Former Axis Nations Abandon Post-World War II Military Restrictions
August 12, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army
August 9, 2009

Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With Russia In North
August 5, 2009

South Asia, Latin America: Pentagon’s 21st Century Counterinsurgency Wars
July 29, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia
July 26, 2009

Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
July 24, 2009

Colombia: U.S. Escalates War Plans In Latin America
July 22, 2009

Germany And NATO’s Nuclear Nexus
July 18, 2009

Germany: First New Post-Cold War World Military Power
July 16, 2009

From World War II To World War III: Global NATO And Remilitarized Germany
July 14, 2009

New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage
July 12, 2009

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin
July 10, 2009

Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
June 18, 2009

Scandinavia And The Baltic Sea: NATO’s War Plans For The High North
June 14, 2009

Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
June 10, 2009

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
June 3, 2009

NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica
May 30, 2009

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
May 27, 2009

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World
May 21, 2009

Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica
May 16, 2009

Pentagon Preparing For War With The Enemy: Russia
May 14, 2009

Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO
May 13, 2009

NATO War Games In Georgia: Threat Of New Caucasus War
May 8, 2009

Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
May 6, 2009

Cold War Origins Of The Somalia Crisis And Control Of The Indian Ocean
May 3, 2009

Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad
April 16, 2009

End of Scandinavian Neutrality: NATO’s Militarization Of Europe
April 10, 2009

Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In U.S.-NATO War Plans
April 7, 2009

NATO’s Sixty-Year Legacy: Threat Of Nuclear War In Europe
March 31, 2009

Afghanistan: U.S., NATO Wage World’s Largest, Longest War
March 24, 2009

White House And Pentagon: Change, Continuity And Escalation
March 19, 2009

Tenth Anniversary Of NATO’s Drive Into Eastern Europe
March 13, 2009

Recent Words Aside, U.S. Continues Military Encirclement Of Russia
March 7, 2009

Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
March 4, 2009

Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict
February 27, 2009

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East
February 21, 2009

EU, NATO, US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination
February 19, 2009

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union
February 13, 2009

Balkans: Staging Ground For NATO’s Post-Cold War Order
February 9, 2009

NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul
February 6, 2009

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
February 2, 2009

Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of World’s Oceans, Prelude To War
January 29, 2009

Global Military Bloc: NATO’s Drive Into Asia
January 24, 2009

Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Pla
ns
January 22, 2009

21st Century Star Wars And NATO’s 60th Anniversary
January 15, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Syria: Russia Accuses West Of Encouraging Terrorism To Pressure UN

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 25, 2012

Russia Hits Out at West’s ‘Chilling’ Syria Stance

MOSCOW: Russia accused Western powers on Wednesday of encouraging terrorism over their refusal to condemn the suicide bombing that killed Syria’s defense minister last week.

“In other words, they are saying: ‘We will continue to support such terrorist acts until the UN Security Council does what we want it to,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists. “This is a chilling position.”

Four top Syrian security officials, including Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, were killed when a rebel suicide bomber managed to infiltrate the government building where they were meeting in the capital, Damascus, on July 18.

The United States envoy to the UN, Susan Rice, said after the bombing that the attack was further proof of the necessity to adopt a Security Council resolution against the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…

Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed UN resolution on Syria on July 19 over fears that it would lead to foreign military intervention in the Middle East country, a stance that United States envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice called “paranoid if not disingenuous.”

The resolution was tied to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which would have provided for the use of force to put an end to the rapidly escalating conflict.

This was the third time that Russia and China had vetoed a UN resolution on Syria.

Russia says it has no special interest in seeing Assad remain in power, but that the “Syrian people” should decide his fate. And Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed earlier this year not to allow a repeat of the “Libya scenario” which saw the ouster and murder of…Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign.

Speaking as fighting continued to rage in both Damascus and Syria’s second city of Aleppo, Lavrov also criticized new unilateral European Union sanctions against Syria introduced on Monday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier in the day that the sanctions were “counter-productive” and “incapable of resolving the situation in Syria.”
EU foreign ministers decided at Monday’s meeting in Brussels to introduce rules obliging the organization’s 27 member states to search airplanes and ships suspected of carrying weapons to Syria. Assets freezes and visa bans were also introduced against Syrian officials.

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Voice of Russia
Agencies
July 25, 2012

US justifies terrorism in Syria – Russian official

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed as unacceptable the failure of some Western top officials to condemn the deadly terror attack on Damascus on July 18, slamming it as a downright justification of terrorism.
Mr. Lavrov cited US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who went so far as to say that this terror act proved the UN Security Council must hurry and adopt a resolution on Syria.

Sergei Lavrov pointed out this stand of the US effectively meant it would be backing terror attacks on Syria until the UN caved in to its demands.

Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that the West’s support of the armed Syrian opposition amounts to turning a blind eye to terrorism.

He spoke about this in Moscow Wednesday after American UN Ambassador Susan Rice refused to condemn the Damascus terror attack that killed several Syrian Ministers, and State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of plotting to torpedo Western-tabled Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Lavrov said he believes these statements make the American accusations that Russia and China are fanning the Syrian conflict sound insincere and hollow.

The July 18 bomb destroyed the Damascus headquarters of Syria’s national security service and killed several top Syrian officials, including Defence Minister Daoud Rajiha and national security chief Hisham Bakhtiyar.The Free Syrian Army said at the time that it was responsible.

Moscow accuses EU of Syria ‘blockade’

Moscow has said it will not back up a fresh package of unilateral sanctions against Syria, which it referred to as a virtual “sea and air blockade.”

This came today in the Russian Foreign Ministry white paper, published on its official site.

The Russian foreign office slammed the new round of sanctions as “counterproductive” to the peace settlement process in the region, adding it was contradictory to UN special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan, as well as to the final communiqué issued by the action group meeting in Geneva.
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Interfax
July 25, 2012

EU’s fresh sanctions a declaration of sea and air blockade against Syria – Russia

MOSCOW: The Russian Foreign Ministry sees the EU oreign Affairs Council’s decision to impose the 17th package of sanctions on Syria as the declaration of a sea and air blockade against that country.

“This package must be examined by experts for its compliance with international law, first of all the EU provisions dealing with “the EU member-states’ duty to inspect third countries’ aircraft and ships heading to Syria, if the member-states suspect that the cargo transported contains weapons or riot gear,” The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Wednesday.

“In fact, the measures being taken by the European Union may be qualified as the declaration of a sea and air blockade against Syria. Our position on unilateral sanctions is well known. Russia does not recognize them and sees them as counterproductive, as hampering normalization in Syria and going against the letter and spirit of the UN/LAS envoy Kofi Annan’s plan and the Final Communique of the Action Group’s Geneva meeting,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Persian Gulf: USS Ponce In Place

July 25, 2012 5 comments

Frontline
July 28-August 10, 2012

Ponce in place
Vijay Prashad

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A friendly international media enabled the U.S. to paint Iran as the deterrent to the democratic ambitions of the Arab peoples, given Iran’s links to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus. A military build-up, in this context, appears not as the authoritarian hand of U.S. power but as a mechanism to ensure “democracy” against “Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions”. The monarchical Gulf Cooperation Council, the so-called Arab NATO, has expanded military ties with the U.S., and its six members, along with 11 other countries, will join the U.S. in a massive military exercise off the Iranian coast in September.

The oil blockade is in place, the “kinetic actions” (computer worms, sabotage, assassinations) are ongoing, and the show of force is now in the Strait of Hormuz as USS Ponce drops anchor. “We believe a military strike is a feasible option,” says the 2008 report, “and must remain a last resort to retard Iran’s nuclear programme.” The time of the “last resort” seems to have presented itself.

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In early July, the United States Navy moved a converted transport ship, USS Ponce, into the Persian Gulf to its temporary home off Bahrain’s waters. The Ponce is a floating forward base for military operations in the region. This ship, originally built in 1966 but now retrofitted, is a platform for U.S. Special Forces in the region. It uses an array of helicopters as well as marine divers whose putative work is to assist minesweeping ships but whose other purpose is underwater sabotage.

The Ponce joins USS Enterprise and USS Lincoln, both first class warships that are supported by a considerable battle group. Alongside these vessels are the U.S. Air Force’s quotient of F-22 bombers and F-15C warplanes and the various marine and amphibious Task Forces of the U.S. Fifth Fleet based at the Naval Support Activity station in Manama, Bahrain.

There is a traffic jam of American power in the Persian Gulf. The arrival of the Ponce, the first of a number of “afloat forward staging bases”, raises the capacity of the U.S. forces in the region. It can hover in international waters, housing hundreds of Special Forces troops who can be taken anywhere in the region in helicopters or on fast boats. If the al-Khalifa regime in Bahrain or the Nouri al-Maliki government in Iraq decides that it will not sanction a U.S. attack from its territory, the Ponce will become crucial. It allows the U.S. government freedom to decide when and where it will launch its next assault.

The military build-up in the Gulf comes in the context of a stalemate in the diplomatic effort and an intensified U.S.-European sanctions regime on Iran. The P5+1 (the U.S., United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany) meetings with Iran have largely collapsed through an impossible agenda: the U.S. wants maximum concessions (ending uranium enrichment to the 20 per cent level), which Iran finds unreasonable.

Meanwhile, on July 1, the U.S.-European intensified sanctions went into effect. Its immediate outcome has been a catastrophic decline of up to 40 per cent of Iran’s oil exports. Pressure on India to curtail its import of Iranian oil, if successful, would reduce Iran’s exports further. That India’s General Insurance Corporation has agreed to provide limited cover to tankers carrying Iranian oil to India is an indication that this pipeline may not be secure.

It was always going to be tough to have a genuine dialogue about Iran’s nuclear programme when the U.S. and Europe ramped up their belligerent rhetoric and consolidated their plans to isolate Iran economically. The use of various computer worms (Stuxnet and the Flame malware) combined with the assassination of Iranian scientists reduced the possibility of trust in diplomatic negotiations.

The arrival of the Ponce in the Persian Gulf is not simply about Iran’s nuclear programme. When asked to explain the endgame, a senior Defence Department official told The New York Times, “This is not about Iranian nuclear ambitions, but about Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions.” The military cognate of this statement is in a 2008 report, which notes that a U.S. military strike “would have to target not only Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but also its conventional military infrastructure in order to suppress an Iranian response”.

The Obama administration has erased U.S. complicity with the Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali regimes, using the Arab Spring to its advantage and positioning itself as the champion of democracy, mainly through the Syrian theatre. A friendly international media enabled the U.S. to paint Iran as the deterrent to the democratic ambitions of the Arab peoples, given Iran’s links to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus. A military build-up, in this context, appears not as the authoritarian hand of U.S. power but as a mechanism to ensure “democracy” against “Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions”. The monarchical Gulf Cooperation Council, the so-called Arab NATO, has expanded military ties with the U.S., and its six members, along with 11 other countries, will join the U.S. in a massive military exercise off the Iranian coast in September.

Ajax, part 2

Diplomacy was fated to fail. In the U.S., there is a bipartisan consensus that Iran is beyond conversation. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provides the caricature of the Oriental despot, and Israel’s siege mentality enables grotesque exaggerations of Iranian intentions to stifle reasonable debate on U.S. policy towards Iran. Like conjoined twins, the Republicans and the Democrats battle each other to appear tougher in the fight against Iran. With the domestic economy in the doldrums, President Barack Obama is running for re-election as the more sane political choice who is tough on foreign policy (illustrated by the drones and the extrajudicial assassinations). This is a much better platform than health care or job creation. The Republican’s Mitt Romney can only tail Obama’s belligerent foreign policy. A U.S. peace bloc vis-à-vis Iran effectively does not exist.

The Gulf of Hormuz provides a theatre for U.S. power in the absence of any discomfort among the U.S. political class. It also provides the two leading political candidates a platform to demonstrate their fealty to Israel and its own ambitions in the region.

Not many people care to articulate or to understand the Iranian position on the conflict, and few realise that Obama’s rhetoric is seen amongst the Iranian intelligentsia and the ruling clerics as a sequel to the Central Intelligence Agency’s 1953 Operation Ajax, which overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. It suits the ruling clerics to maintain a level of ambiguity regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, particularly given the example before them of Libya. Muammar Qaddafi ended his country’s programme in 2004 and turned over his centrifuges and other materials to the U.S. (it was on these Iranian designed centrifuges that the U.S. scientists first tested the Stuxnet worm, used against Iran in 2011). His fate reinforces the policy of nuclear ambiguity. Many Iranians see the U.S. demands for a drawdown of its nuclear programme as precisely the first salvo in a new kind of Operation Ajax.

The Iranians do have cause for concern. Obama’s foreign policy advisers in the election campaign of 2008 (Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Dennis Ross) made common cause with the neoconservatives on the issue of Iran. The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy’s (WINEP) 2008 Presidential Task Force included Lake and Susan Rice and it produced an acidic report called “Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge”. The report cautioned that the U.S. might “be reconciling itself to the idea of ‘living with an Iranian nuclear bomb’”, and so proposed “preventative military action” to circumvent such a situation. The lessons of Iraq had not deterred the neoconservatives or the interventionist liberals. Both wanted a repeat performance in Iran.

The WINEP report appears timid beside the September 2008 Bipartisan Policy Centre report (“Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development”), which included in its drafting Obama’s close Middle East (West Asia) adviser, Dennis Ross. This report debunked diplomacy and called for a muscular, military showdown with Iran. “It must be clear,” the report noted, “that any U.S.-Iranian talks will not be open-ended but will be limited to a pre-determined time period so that Teheran does not try to ‘run out the clock’.” In other words use the time of diplomacy to hasten its nuclear programme.

Since the talks are fated to fail, the report noted, the U.S. needs to “preposition military assets” and to use these for a “show of force” in the waters around Iran. Iran’s oil exports had to be blockaded and the U.S. needed to conduct the mysteriously worded “kinetic actions”.

All this has come to pass. The oil blockade is in place, the “kinetic actions” (computer worms, sabotage, assassinations) are ongoing, and the show of force is now in the Strait of Hormuz as USS Ponce drops anchor. “We believe a military strike is a feasible option,” says the 2008 report, “and must remain a last resort to retard Iran’s nuclear programme.” The time of the “last resort” seems to have presented itself.

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Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence

Friends: Hello.—

Edward S. Herman and I have just completed a 39,000-word critique of Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking).

Two versions of the document now exist online: The first, at ColdType, is a 148-page e-book in readily printable PDF format; and the second, a richly hyperlinked version of the same document, posted to ZNet.

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, ColdType, July 24, 2012.

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence,” ZNet, July 24, 2012.

If you think it worthwhile, please share our critique with colleagues and friends.
Thanks.

David Peterson
Chicago, USA
davidepet@comcast.net

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Unprecedentedly Dirty Work: U.S. Army Shares Responsibility With Mercenaries, Paramilitaries

Voice of Russia
July 22, 2011

 

US army shares responsibility with mercenaries
Yekaterina Kudashkina

 

Audio: Download

 

“When we come to outsourcing, we find that this allows Americans to hire local people for money, of course, for very dirty work inside their own country. I think it is a dangerous thing and it really removes the barrier between the violation by American army and those people who work for American paramilitary institutions” Gennady Yevstafiev, retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, said in a Voice of Russia interview.

The American army is not participating in supply lines, for example, through Pakistan to Afghanistan. The protection of the supply lines is done by private military companies. What is this? This is a sort of institution which hires very qualified, very often retired people from the American armed forces and the CIA and it is keeping them as participators in American aggression all through the world. But they are not uniformed, they are paid in a different way. So, when it comes to casualties of the American army for example in Afghanistan it is about 4,000 people through these ten years. But the private paramilitary companies are not counted into these losses, whereas during these ten years American private paramilitary companies have lost almost a thousand people.

So, it is not counted into the overall number of American army losses. And the CIA in its turn is doing the same thing. For example, you remember Abu Ghraib in Iraq. The prisoners of Abu Ghraib were kept by private paramilitary forces and that’s why there was a tremendous excess in the violation of human rights. Not only the military of the American army violated but mostly the paramilitary private companies were violating the rights of the prisoners and they have inflicted so many insults on the national religion and character.

So, this development is taking a growing role in American military expeditions. The administration is in a position to minimize military losses. Various American institutions are using them for rather dirty work. You remember that there was a lot of discussion about the American secret prisons in Europe, including in Eastern Europe, and in other parts of the world, especially in Asian and Arab countries. They were kept by paramilitary forces and the representatives of the CIA only brought and left them there under the guard of the private paramilitary representatives.

And when we come to outsourcing, we find that this allows Americans to hire local people for money, of course, for very dirty work inside their own country. The natives are working for the Americans and in this sense they are considered to be part of the whole exercise. I think it is a dangerous thing and it really removes the barrier between the violation by the American army of the human rights of prisoners and POWs and so on and a simple and irresponsible…They are not committed to anybody except for their companies, I mean these people who work for American paramilitary institutions.

And mind you, the American army has a manual of war operations and this manual of war operations prescribes what kind of behavior the American army should follow against the enemy, against POWs and what is allowed and what is not. And in this manual they are keeping the main elements of Geneva Convention.

But these private paramilitary institutions are not bound by these kinds of things and this allows the American administration and certain representatives to use them to carry out unprecedentedly dirty work with all kinds of violations of human rights. And somehow it has not yet become a certain problem which is being discussed. But the time will come and the Americans will be forced to explain what kind of thing it is this private paramilitary force, by which laws they operate and who is responsible for them in the long run. Let’s wait for this time when the international community will touch upon this very sensitive issue.

Mr. Yevstafiev, but is there any international regulation perhaps looking into the issue now? If we talk about, for example, the presence of the US, say in Iraq or in Afghanistan, the US is pledging to reduce their presence there to certain numbers, etc. Do I get it right that those private military contractors are not taken into account?

No, you see, the outsourcing goes further. It brings these private paramilitary institutions into the American foreign policy because it has been announced that some private paramilitary institutions are going to participate in the training of the Afghan army and Iraqi detachments and this allows Mr. Obama to claim that he is moving out American military people. Of course he is moving because he pledged to do this but nobody speaks about the fact that instead of this army with private contracts and agreements with the local governments they introduce private paramilitary institutions for defending the perimeter of very sensitive buildings, installations and so on.

And on the surface it appears that there already 10,000 Americans in Kabul, for example, but if you look into the matter you will see that there are thousands of people who are connected to the idea of making, as this was recently announced, of making Afghanistan their strategic ally.

I think it is a dangerous thing and it really removes the barrier between the violation by the American army of human rights of prisoners and POWs and so on and a simple and irresponsible, they are not committed to anybody except for their companies. I mean these people who work for American paramilitary institutions. And mind you, the American army has a manual of war operations and this manual of war operations prescribes what kind of behavior the American army should follow against the enemy, against POWs and what is allowed and what is not. And in this manual they are keeping the main elements of Geneva Convention.

But these private paramilitary institutions are not bound by this kind of things and this allows the American administrations and certain representatives to use them to carry unprecedentedly dirty work with all kinds of violations of human rights.

Sir, thank you so much. And just to remind you our guest speaker this time was our expert Gennady Yevstafiev, retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

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Syria Crisis: Russia Must Consider Military Role

July 24, 2012 1 comment

Strategic Culture Foundation
July 24, 2012

Syria Fighting Off Terrorism
Boris Dolgov

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The position adopted by Moscow – rejection of intervention, calls for dialog between the administration and the reasonable part of the opposition – is completely adequate. It takes into account the interests of the Syrian nation and also those of Russia. An alternative scenario on the horizon is the partition of Syria along ethnic and religious lines, the seizure of power in the resulting national fragments by radical Muslim groups, with Syrian arsenals likely turned against Russia, a broader regional destabilization prompting an ever more inclusive international military campaign, and, potentially, a major war fought by Iran, Israel, and Turkey.

Russia’s protecting its legitimate national interests does not at all promise a replay of the Cold War. The West’s aggressions – against Yugoslavia, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Libya – follow with increasing frequency, and Moscow needs to build up its military muscles and to safeguard its geopolitical status in order to stay secure and to remain immune to any kind of “Russian Spring”.

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The July 18 terrorist attack on the headquarters of the security ministry in Damascus took the lives of several high-ranking Syrian government officials and military commanders, including the defense minister, his deputy, the minister of the interior, and the head of the army intelligence department (Bashar Assad’s son-in-law). Syrian foreign minister Walid al Muallem and the director of the counter-espionage agency were hospitalized and reported to be in critical condition.

A kamikaze, who evidently served in the defense ministry, delivered a bomb to the building which is sited across the street from the US embassy, and detonated it in the office where the Syrian administration was holding a meeting with the security chiefs. Two groups of insurgents – the Free Syrian Army and Allah’s Brigades – claimed responsibility for the terrorist act which prompted an outpouring of positive emotions from the Itanbul-based Syrian National Council.

It must be noted in the context that, pressing for regime change in Syria at any cost, the Syrian opposition leaders who visited Moscow on July 10-11, among them the Council’s president Abdulbaset Sieda and Michael Kilo, the leader of the Free Tribune established in Cairo last year, did subscribe to the Geneva connections.

It was fairly clear during the rounds of negotiations in Russia, in one of which I took part, that the only real objective behind the guests’ agenda was to talk Moscow into supporting the course aimed at the ouster of the current administration in Syria. In fact, the envoys of the Syrian National Council admitted coordinating activities with the Free Syrian Army, which, in the light of the recent developments automatically means complicity in terrorism.

The assassination of key security and government officials came as a heavy blow to Syria, but, contrary to the expectations of those who had planned the attack, did not destabilize the regime in the country. In the wake of the drama, various global media, with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya leading as usual, spilled the news that Bashar Assad was en route to the airport in an attempt to flee and that Syrian army servicemen were en masse switching to the side of the opposition.

In reality, Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij, whom Assad appointed as the new defense minister, pledged that the forces under his command would decisively clean the country from the bandit formations, and, indeed, over the past week or so the Syrian army managed to squeeze the insurgents out of the suburbs of Damascus, plus launch several successful raids in the city of Hama and in the regions adjacent to the borders with Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey, killing hundreds of guerrillas.

The West’s reaction to the terrorist act was consonant with its wider policy vis-a-vis Syria. Having cursorily condemned terrorism, the diplomatic chiefs of Great Britain, France, and Italy went on to blame the escalation on the Syrian administration and to assert that nothing short of removing President Assad from his post would help defuse the crisis.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he hoped the international community would grow more “aggressive” in its attempts to end the crisis in Syria. In contrast, head of the UN mission Maj. General Robert Mood must be credited with sticking to a balanced position as, voicing his disapproval of the recent terrorist act, he urged both parties to the conflict to abandon violence and to open talks.

Russia’ foreign ministry envoy released a strongly worded statement in connection with the terrorist attack, delivered condolences to the families of the victims, and stressed that the perpetrators should be duly punished.

The Russian and the US leaders discussed the situation over the phone, the shared view being that the Geneva Conventions must be fully observed. A few days ago, respect for the Geneva Conventions was similarly expressed by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish premier Recep Erdogan when they met in Moscow. Some time earlier, Ankara indicated that, from its perspective, an intervention in Syria would be an acceptable option.

Russia confirmed its opposition to any intervention in Syria when the UN Security Council cast ballots over the resolution which was floated by Great Britain. The document, vetoed in concert by Russia and China, suggested sanctions against the Syrian administration and, with a reference to Article 7 of the UN Charter, stated that an intervention in Syria was a possibility. 

An alternative resolution was eventually passed which reflected a compromise between the Western approach and that taken by Russia and China. It addressed both sides in the Syrian conflict with a call to end violence and extended by a month the mandate of the current UN mission.

A segment of the Russian media makes serious efforts to offer objective and unbiased coverage of what is happening in Syria. Vesti TV channel correspondent A. Popov, for example, presented eyewitness accounts from Syrian citizens that insurgents from the Free Syrian Army took relatives of the residents of a village near Hama hostage and killed some of them to coerce the villagers into firing on a checkpoint of government forces under the threat that the rest of the hostages would be shot. Russia’ foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, later cited the report in a media briefing.

The July 18 terrorist attack in Damascus marked the opening of a new phase in the spiraling Syrian crisis. The opposition groups which claimed responsibility for the blast – the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council which chose to fully back it in the case – showed their a priori aversion to all forms of dialog with the administration and, as a part of the package, demonstrated that they brush off any pertinent international agreements, be it the Geneva Conventions or the Kofi Annan plan.

The recent terrorist act, along with multiple previous ones, made it clear that the opposition’s goal is to eliminate, politically and physically, the current Syrian leadership, and it is dubious that a wider political agenda can be found behind the insurgency in Syria. Under the circumstances, dialog or more far-reaching moves like the formation of a transitional authority with representatives of the opposition involved are definitely off the table.

The only reasonable approach to groups practicing terrorism is that they must either quit terrorist activities and put down arms or be destroyed. Various countries had to clamp down on terrorist groups in the past, as Italy on the Red Brigades in the 1960s-1970s, Spain on the ETA in the 1980-1990s, France on the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in the 1990s, Algeria on the Islamic Salvation Front and the Armed Islamic Group in the 1990s-2000s and on Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in a still rolling campaign.

The position adopted by Moscow – rejection of intervention, calls for dialog between the administration and the reasonable part of the opposition – is completely adequate. It takes into account the interests of the Syrian nation and also those of Russia. An alternative scenario on the horizon is the partition of Syria along ethnic and religious lines, the seizure of power in the resulting national fragments by radical Muslim groups, with Syrian arsenals likely turned against Russia, a broader regional destabilization prompting an ever more inclusive international military campaign, and, potentially, a major war fought by Iran, Israel, and Turkey.

The strengthening of the Russian military presence in the region is of key importance at the moment. It would be a timely move to reinforce the military facilities Russia maintains in Syria’s Tartus, perhaps to the point of converting them into a full-scale military base to be used to ensure permanent Russian military presence in Syria and the wider Mediterranean region.

The outcry from the West that will likely follow does not have to be taken close to heart – the US network of military bases spans much of the world, and Washington sells the arrangement as conductive to global democracy.

Russia’s protecting its legitimate national interests does not at all promise a replay of the Cold War. The West’s aggressions – against Yugoslavia, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Libya – follow with increasing frequency, and Moscow needs to build up its military muscles and to safeguard its geopolitical status in order to stay secure and to remain immune to any kind of “Russian Spring”. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Imperialism, Old and New

July 24, 2012 1 comment

Dawn
July 13, 2012

Imperialism, old and new
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

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It is in the production of arms that the US still enjoys productive superiority over other countries, and the munitions and related industries exercise tremendous influence, in conjunction with the corporate media, over Washington’s political posture towards the rest of the world.

In the post-Cold War period, humanitarian interventions have become the imperialist wars of choice.

Beyond the relatively high-profile examples of Iraq and Afghanistan, the self-anointed liberal democratic beacons of hope for the world, with Washington in the lead, have bombed and/or intervened in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Venezuela, Chechnya, Georgia and East Timor, just to name a few.

More recently there is Libya and, less directly, Syria. There will surely be more in the future.

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For the best part of the past decade an overly simplistic polemic has abounded with regard to Pakistan’s relationship with the US. Reactionaries depict themselves as the only committed patriots in the country and America as evil incarnate.

Liberals insist that it is the reactionaries that must be resisted at all costs and laud America’s commitment to doing so. The reopening of the Nato supply route has simply confirmed the hopelessly facile nature of this ‘debate’.

I take the subject of this column from a treatise written in 1965 by Hamza Alavi, one of the finest intellectuals that Pakistan has produced. Alavi was amongst the stand-out Marxist thinkers of the late 20th century who is unfortunately still not recognised as such in the country that he called home.

Like his contemporary Eqbal Ahmad, Alavi gained laurels for his intellectual and political pursuits the world over, and remained a committed anti-imperialist until his death in 2002.

The word ‘imperialism’ has, of course, gone somewhat out of fashion since the end of the Cold War, with the exception of those on the left of the political spectrum and certain right-wing academicians in the US that harbour no pretence about the role that Washington plays in global affairs.

In Pakistan the word has become almost exclusively associated with the religious right, especially since 9/11 and subsequent developments.

What is particularly unfortunate about this particular confluence of events (and interests) is the fact that progressives in this country have quite willingly ceded this ground to the right-wing, not only politically but also intellectually. There is now no consensus position of progressives vis-à-vis the US and its purported jihadi nemesis. We might not have reached this point if the cutting-edge ideas of thinkers like Alavi were not so alien to us.

Critically analysing what was more than half a century ago an already substantial body of Marxist literature on modern imperialism, Alavi confirmed the dialectical relationship between modern imperialism and the indefatigable, expansionary impulse of capitalism.

Yet he moved beyond the classic Marxist exposition of ‘imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism’ and emphasised the need to understand the linkages (and tensions) between economic and political domination (a theme that has been taken forward by subsequent radical thinkers into the realms of culture and ideology).

It is easy to forget in today’s Pakistan — especially for those who covet their liberal lifestyles and unbridled consumption of leisure goods — that the US and its allies have objectives beyond those that they otherwise claim. They say they are committed to the elimination of ‘terrorism’, promotion of democratic forms of government and infusion of liberal values into civil society.

But is that all there is to it?

Over the past four decades or so the US has, for all intents and purposes, ceded its global economic advantage to East Asia and China in particular. It has maintained its global power largely on account of its mighty military machine, and the fact that the US dollar is the default global currency.

It is in the production of arms that the US still enjoys productive superiority over other countries, and the munitions and related industries exercise tremendous influence, in conjunction with the corporate media, over Washington’s political posture towards the rest of the world.

In the post-Cold War period, humanitarian interventions have become the imperialist wars of choice.

Beyond the relatively high-profile examples of Iraq and Afghanistan, the self-anointed liberal democratic beacons of hope for the world, with Washington in the lead, have bombed and/or intervened in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Venezuela, Chechnya, Georgia and East Timor, just to name a few.

More recently there is Libya and, less directly, Syria. There will surely be more in the future.

It could be that erstwhile anti-imperialists really do believe that illiberal regimes and non-state actors must be dealt with through such interventions. But what of the economic and military logics that sustain such interventions? Are progressives now willing to support the capitalist ‘part’ of the modern imperialist project that in a bygone era was considered indefensible?

If so, they are effectively saying that anti-imperialism — like other planks of a leftist political programme — is now nothing less than an anachronism (or the preserve of the religious right).

In fact, it is intellectually dishonest to deny that imperial projects continue to shape our world in multi-dimensional ways. Notwithstanding what we would like to believe, these projects, as has been the case throughout history, will never benefit humanity at large because imperialisms, old and new, at best seek a kind of progress which inevitably leaves the mass of humanity to pick up the pieces (along with the ecosystem that sustains us).

Even if we can agree on nothing else we have to recognise that imperialism in the 21st century is another name for the power to declare exceptions.

Prominent thinkers in the western academy as diverse as Giorgio Agamben and Partha Chatterjee have made this point of view quite popular in recent times. Their basic contention is that imperial forces arrogate to themselves at one and the same time the right to declare what is the norm and also to engage in exceptional acts with impunity.

In our specific context, the US, China and Saudi Arabia (others could also be listed) pursue various imperialist objectives with relative freedom. The sad truth is that very few amongst the progressive intelligentsia concern themselves with the nature and consequences of these imperial projects (and their consequences), let alone agree on an appropriate political posture in this regard.

Indeed, I want to reiterate that the absence of a coherent and principled political position amongst those who consider themselves as progressives in today’s Pakistan is explained in large part by a superficial understanding of imperialism and the imperatives motivating the various imperialist forces that have set out their stall in the present conjuncture.

And where straightforward analyses would suffice, we are not willing to undertake them because they do not correspond to our biases. Take, for example, the cosy relationship between American and Saudi imperialisms. We take refuge in Washington’s grandiose proclamations of the cause of freedom and progress, while insisting that Riyadh is the bane of our existence. And never the twain shall meet?

The writer teaches at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Categories: Uncategorized

Imperialism and “Dictators’

OpEdNews
July 23, 2012

Imperialism and “dictators’
By Tim Anderson

The ‘new dictatorships’ targeted by the empire are the independent, or semi-independent, post-colonial states, which have simply managed to achieve and maintain some political will outside imperial grand strategy

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The imperial powers have never tried to reshape the post-colonial peoples “in their own image’. That would be to create competitors. Great power prefers weak, divided, ethnically fractious groups with little independent will. In that way their resources, markets and populations are more easily dominated.

Without discounting the many problems of post-colonial states, we can safely assume that imperialism is far happier with a divided Balkans, a fractious Iraq, coup-ridden Latin American states, tribally-torn Libya and a fragmented Syria. If Washington could “balkanise’ or at least isolate Russia and China it would be happier still.

The vilification of the Syrian government has cowardly packs, world-wide, baying for blood. These advocates of “humanitarian intervention’ seemed only partly satisfied, last year, with the pitiful sight of the Libyan leader publicly tortured and murdered.

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In its drive for a “New Middle East’ the great power is moving against every single independent state in the oil-rich region. One by one they are being set up for destruction.

Strategic control is pursued through two linked Pentagon doctrines: “broad spectrum dominance’, a military, economic and ideological subjugation; and the globalist “destroying disconnectedness’.

In its ideological war imperialism tries to legitimise itself with human rights claims: the protection of civilian populations and women; its targets are “dictatorships’.

But given that the imperial power is the grand dictator – unaccountable, brutal and overwhelming – who or what are these other “dictatorships’?

Anyone with a little history would recall that the empire itself, not that long ago, actually set up or backed a large number of subordinate military dictatorships: for example in South Korea, pre-revolutionary Cuba, Iran, Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Egypt. They can’t be referring to these.

So who or what are these new “dictatorships’?

They are the independent, or semi-independent, post-colonial states, almost always with civil and elected governments, which have simply managed to achieve and maintain some political will outside imperial grand strategy.

In the imperial cultures, even amongst critical thinkers, it is not well understood that post-colonial peoples need strong and independent states, along with widespread popular participation to defend them. These states are indispensable for building achievements in participation, education, health and social security, and in defending those achievements.

The imperial powers have never tried to reshape the post-colonial peoples “in their own image’. That would be to create competitors. Great power prefers weak, divided, ethnically fractious groups with little independent will. In that way their resources, markets and populations are more easily dominated.

Without discounting the many problems of post-colonial states, we can safely assume that imperialism is far happier with a divided Balkans, a fractious Iraq, coup-ridden Latin American states, tribally-torn Libya and a fragmented Syria. If Washington could “balkanise’ or at least isolate Russia and China it would be happier still.

With divided countries the great power has its way; but the dreams of wider cooperation, pan-Arabism, pan-Africanism and a united Latin America are crushed. Further, nothing substantial in social capacity can be built in the absence of strong political will and in the presence of great power intervention.

In the imperial cultures, liberals, syndicalists and anarchists poorly recognise this need for strong post-colonial states. They tend to see all states through the lens of their own: tightly locked into the imperial network of corporate subsidy, privatisation and war; states “captured’ by the ambitions of giant corporations.

However, post-colonial states can be rather different. It required significant independent political will, for example, back in the 1950s, for the Arbenz government of Guatemala to undertake agrarian reform and for the Mossadegh government of Iran to nationalise oil. Similarly, the Allende government in Chile (1970-73) required substantial independent strength and popular support to carry out its agrarian reform and nationalisations. Yet neither these governments nor their states were sufficiently strong to survive imperial reaction and intervention.

More recently, the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia have embarked on significant social democratic reforms which break with the imperial model. They have all been branded “dictatorships’, for their defiance of the neoliberal order. The word “dictatorship’ now signals an imperial-backed campaign of delegitimation and subversion.

The reasons for the “dictatorship’ tag have included confronting oil monopolies, rejecting US military bases, interfering with the prerogatives of media monopolies, rejecting IMF programs, rejecting “war on drugs’ programs, and so on. In recent years Washington has (unsuccessfully) tried coups in each of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, despite winning election after election, is branded a “dictator’ by most of the corporate media. Ecuador’s Rafael Correa is branded a “dictator’ for introducing some modest measures of democratic accountability on the very undemocratic corporate media.

Cuba, with the most far-reaching programs of social inclusion, has been branded a “dictatorship’ for decades, because it has a socialist constitution and its representative democracy does not allow for capitalist restoration. The pejorative labels attached to Cuba have sought to legitimise an attempted invasion, terrorist bombings, attempted assassinations and half a century of economic blockade.

In Syria a secular government which has made substantial advances for its people and enjoys wide popular support is now targeted as a “dictatorship’. A US-NATO-Gulf Council plot, begun several years back and now masquerading as a popular uprising, relies on delegitimation as the foreign intervention deepens.

The vilification of the Syrian government has cowardly packs, world-wide, baying for blood. These advocates of “humanitarian intervention’ seemed only partly satisfied, last year, with the pitiful sight of the Libyan leader publicly tortured and murdered.

Such is the vilification campaign against Syria’s legitimate President, Bashar Al Assad, that the loudest accusations of “brutal dictator’ seem to come from those with the least understanding of contemporary Syria. Bashar Al Assad is a very long way from the empire’s favourites, like Suharto, Batista, Somoza, Duvalier, Pinochet and Mubarak.

In any case, and in this climate, many forget the founding principle of both human rights and international law: the right of a people to self-determination. It is not for outsiders to say who governs another people.

Not for nothing did Ernesto Che Guevara call imperialism an “insatiable beast’, one that could not be trusted “one iota’. Not for nothing does the 118 member non-aligned movement continually stress sovereignty and non-intervention – the foundations of international law, but seen as obstacles to “human rights intervention’ in the imperial cultures.

Yet the former colonies know the risks and costs of a return to colonialism.

Present day “dictators’ and “dictatorships’ have become the registered trademarks of a grand dictatorship which does not share power. When the word “dictator’ is used, we should understand who is pointing the gun at whom.

Tim Anderson is an academic and social activist based in Sydney, Australia

Categories: Uncategorized

Regional Powers Must Supplant U.S. To Bring Peace To South Asia

The News
July 23, 2012

Regional powers
Colonel (r) Nazir Ahmed
Islamabad

Imran Khan frequently asserts the need to get out of the US war on terror. Such a measure would need serious preparations which I am sure his associates would be working on. Trapped in a complex situation, Pakistan cannot get out of this fatal embrace without the support of regional powers, particularly its immediate neighbours. While India needs to be assured that the PTI, if voted to power, will work to strengthen trade relations with India and negotiate settlement of the outstanding disputes foreclosing chances of renewed armed conflict. There is a need to improve relations with Iran. Relations with Afghanistan need to be kept most formal to avoid giving any impression of being intrusive or patronising.

Amongst the regional powers, Russia is in a position to help us throw away the American blanket. As the interests of both countries coincide, we should join Russian efforts to promote regional peace conducive to promotion of trade and commerce between Russia, Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent.

The Chinese will support our efforts as US intervention in the region retarded their effort to get access to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.

The conditions are most favourable to correct the course. The PTI must work to make good use of the opportunity which will not only save Pakistan from further damage but will be in the interest of the whole region.

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International Criminal Court: A Court for the Savages

July 24, 2012 1 comment

Southern Times (Namibia)
July 12, 2012

A court for the savages

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What we have then, in the ICC, is a minority court set up for the express purpose of not touching the leaders of the UK and the US, and imposing the will of these same untouchables on the rest of the world.

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Does anyone recall this statement: “If I may say so, this is not a court set up to bring to book Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom or Presidents of the United States”?

Those words are from none other than the late Former UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Robin Cook, live on television.

He had been asked in an interview if the UK did not fear prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its actions during and after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

How much more bluntly can it be put? With such a plain explanation from such a powerful man, no one should bother about why the US and its European buddies are not prosecuted for their massive crimes against humanity in the decade that the ICC has been in existence.

But let us side-track a little.

Do we ever pause to consider the fact that the total membership of the ICC consists of just one-third of the world’s population?

We are often told that two-thirds of the members of the United Nations have ratified the Rome Statute that set up the ICC.

But this two-thirds of the UN membership, if we look at the populations of their countries, constitutes just 33 percent of the world’s population.

In essence, the ICC is made up of a group of small countries.

One analysis – as reported elsewhere in this paper – represents a minority of the world’s population despite the claim to being an “international” institution.

Says one analyst, “When you start down the list of the world’s largest countries, the first four, and six of the top 10, are not members of the Court.

“In addition, very significant regions of the world — Asia, the Middle East and North Africa — are woefully underrepresented in the Court’s membership.

“How do you create a significant international institution without the involvement of strategic powers such as China, India, Russia, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, and the United States (a list that includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council)?”

What we have then, in the ICC, is a minority court set up for the express purpose of not touching the leaders of the UK and the US, and imposing the will of these same untouchables on the rest of the world.

And while Robin Cook’s – and by extension the UK governing establishment’s ‑ attitude to the ICC is frankly disconcerting, more alarming is that of the United States.

Throughout the 1990s, the US Congress passed several resolutions supporting the creation of an international criminal court but one which provides safeguards to protect Americans from prosecution.

In between Monica Lewinsky and other shenanigans, Bill Clinton was involved in the negotiations leading to 1998 Rome Statute, which in turn led to the ICC’s creation on July 1, 2002.

But Clinton’s participation ‑ true to form – was to try and ensure an outcome that would not result in Americans being tried in an international court.

Clinton said, “I will not and do not recommend that my successor submit the treaty to the Senate … until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.”

His successor was to be George W Bush. And Bush’s reaction to the ICC was typical of the gung-ho cowboy with a nuclear arsenal who invaded Iraq because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

He not only declined to put the Rome Statue before the US Senate, he went a step further and – together with that dyed-in-the-wool rightwing Senator called Jesse Helms ‑ initiated what is known as the American Service-members’ Protection Act.

This law is also referred to as the Hague Invasion Act, and with good cause.

The Hague Invasion Act is an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act and its stated purpose is “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party”.

The law gives the US President authority to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”.

This means the US can and will bomb The Hague in Holland – where the ICC is housed – if any American is brought before that court.

So there you have it: a minority court that survives at the mercy of the US and the UK is supposed to be responsible for maintaining global law and order.

Stephen Asiimwe, writing for the New Vision newspaper of Uganda ahead of the court’s 10th anniversary on July 1, 2012 said: “ICC will continue to pick the weak people, take them to The Hague and hang them.”

And Africa, as divided and lily-livered as we are, will not do anything about it, In fact, a la Joyce Banda, we will tell fellow Africans that they are not welcome in our countries if they are indicted by this minority court.

Not surprising at all.

Geoffrey Robertson, a prominent UK lawyer and a Queen’s Counsel, said at the time of the ICC’s inception, [Cuts off in the original – RR]

Categories: Uncategorized

Western Campaign To Isolate China, Russia Over Syria To Fail

July 23, 2012 1 comment

Global Times
July 23, 2012

West wrong on Chinese public’s Syria view

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With their massive soft power, Western organizations can easily besiege China and Russia through verbal assaults.

However, they don’t really have the power to launch an actual retaliation against the two countries.

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China and Russia are facing a new round of finger pointing since their double veto of a UN resolution threatening to impose new sanctions on Syria Thursday.

The US-led West loudly touts slogans of democracy and human rights during their grand strategic deployment in the Middle East. But the key target is still their geopolitical interests in this region.

In comparison, by sticking to its long-held stance on Syria, China is holding on not only to its own diplomatic principles, but also basic prerequisites for world peace and justice.

Western politicians are trying to isolate China and Russia by insisting that the two are making the wrong choice. However, the Chinese should stay cool-headed and see the essence of China’s attitude.

The UN resolution, citing the seventh chapter of the UN Charter, laid a foundation for military intervention in Syria. This was what China vetoed.

China also opposes the UN Security Council openly picking sides in Syria’s internal conflict. It insists that the Syrians should seek a political solution through their own negotiations.

This is a bottom line that must be upheld so as to prevent the West from overthrowing any regime at will.

With their massive soft power, Western organizations can easily besiege China and Russia through verbal assaults.

However, they don’t really have the power to launch an actual retaliation against the two countries.

In the future, Western politics and public opinion may exert even more pressure on China.

We have no choice but to face up to all kinds of complexities in international politics.

But as long as our public unites and collectively supports our diplomatic policy, external forces will not dare to underestimate the policy’s strength.

The West may think China’s public opinion on issues including Syria, under the influence of universal values preached by the West, can sway China’s diplomatic stance.

This is a misjudgment. The majority of Chinese oppose military intervention against a small country.

A few Western diplomats or correspondents are naïvely taking Weibo messages as a reflection of popular public opinion. But individual opinions, assisted by technology, can indeed wield a much bigger influence on a country’s diplomacy.

Diplomacy involves a high degree of professionalism. It is difficult to make the foreign policies thoroughly understood by the public.

To win over trust from ordinary people, the media has to have a full understanding of the nation’s interests. Of course, the credibility of the government is also crucial.

The West can always delude a few, but it cannot deceive the majority of the Chinese people. The insincerity of the West is exposed by the sheer pursuit of their own interests.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: U.S. Attempting To Pull Former Soviet Allies Into NATO

Voice of Russia
July 22, 2012

US attempting to pull former Soviet allies in NATO – interview
John Robles

Audio: Download

In the second part of an interview with the Voice of Russia, NATO expert Rick Rozoff outlines U.S. plans to bring former Soviet Republics and allies into the alliance’s sphere of influence and away from Russia, isolating Russia and China, and eventually surrounding them with NATO member countries. Mr. Rozoff also speaks of U.S. plans to stay in Afghanistan

This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with Mr. Rick Rozoff – the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list, and a contributing writer to http://www.globalresearch.ca

An article appeared in one of the major newspapers – I’ve heard it referred to as the major newspaper – in Slovenia a couple of weeks ago that stated that the largest and worst mistake made by the government of Slovenia was joining NATO That what that has entailed is, far from defending the territory of NATO’s member states, that it is simply waging wars worldwide. That was followed very shortly thereafter, a couple of days ago, by the head of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro, the Metropolitan, who made a similar statement. He said the NATO should break up, that it is guilty of waging aggression upon people throughout the world.

So, I think what you are starting to see even in Southeast Europe and perhaps other nations that have been dragooned into NATO without first thoroughly explaining to the population what NATO membership entails. And what it entails in the case of countries like Slovenia and Montenegro is sending their sons and daughters off to some endless and useless war like that in Afghanistan. And what is happening in Pakistan is not dissimilar to that. It is a case where if a government, if a regime, accommodates NATO demands, they are violating the trust and undermining the wellbeing of their own nation and their own people, and this is in fact what is going on in Pakistan.

We heard a statement by Hillary Clinton before that supply route was opened.

Yes, I haven’t read the complete text by Hillary Clinton but I’ll bet anything the substance of it was that she regrets the unfortunate incident, or words to that effect, that occurred in Salala where 24 Pakistani military personnel were killed last November. But certainly something short of acknowledging that the U.S. had committed a crime. We have to recall that wasn’t too long of Hillary Clinton made a tour to Central Asia where she went to, I believe, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. And shortly thereafter, as your listeners know, Uzbekistan suspended its participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Armenia.

So, it appears that the State Department has succeeded once again in pulling a country out of an organization of which Russia is a member and through which, that organization, the country, Uzbekistan, was allied with Russia, to separate it from Russia – and China – and to pull it into the US orbit. After Clinton left Paris on July 6 we know she went to Afghanistan where she proclaimed Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally of the United States, meaning they get preferential arrangements with weapons and so forth. But identifying Afghanistan then as a strategic American military ally indefinitely. So, that hardly suggests the U.S. intends to leave the area.

But I think even more significant than that was after having left Afghanistan and gone for a one-day conference on Afghanistan to Japan, that she then went to Mongolia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. And if your listeners are as old as me, or older, they recall that all four of those countries were political allies of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period, Mongolia going back since almost to the formation of the Soviet Union, but in the case of Vietnam – unified Vietnam – and Laos from 1975, and Cambodia after the overthrow of the pro-Chinese Khmer Rouge in 1979.

So, if we need any further evidence that the U.S., far from having ended the Cold War, it is simply consummating its victory of 20-some years ago by moving into territory that is geographically close, in many cases, as in Laos and Vietnam, bordering China, and in the case of Mongolia bordering both Russia and China. And recruiting not only political and economic, but ultimately military, allies throughout the world, but more particularly now in Eurasia and in the backyard of Russia and China. Central Asia fits into that pattern. If the five former Soviet Central Asian republics are increasingly integrated into the U.S. sphere of influence, then this essentially isolates Russia and China in Eurasia.

Hillary Clinton said that the US had never planned to leave Afghanistan.

You know, the U.S.’s cards are truly not on the table when it comes to Afghanistan. I heard the same statement and it is remarkable because a few years ago, perhaps when she first became Secretary of State, about that time, she made what on the surface was one of the more candid statements I’ve heard by any U.S. official about the genesis of the crisis in Afghanistan. Acknowledging in so many words that it was the U.S. support for the so-called Mujahidin forces in, operating out of northwest Pakistan, from the late 70ss through to 1992, that was really the basis for all the disorganization and the conflict that has occurred in Afghanistan since then. She made that statement maybe three or four years ago.

But, she then mouthed the conventional American wisdom on the subject, saying our mistake – I’m paraphrasing her – our mistake was then to have pulled out and left the country to internecine fighting between the U.S.’s former Mujahidin allies, and in fact that occurred as we know after 1992 when they were rocketing parts of the capital of Kabul in rivalry amongst each other. And subsequent to that by four years the Taliban marches in and takes control of the country. So, what Clinton’s most recent statement at the donor’s conference, or the Conference on Afghanistan in Japan, seems to be simply a reiteration of that – we won’t make the same mistake. If we overthrow a government in Afghanistan and allow our clients to take over we will this time stay there and support them, is how I read that.

Moving on to Syria. A Syrian general, Major General Adnan Salo, he was the former Head of the Chemical Weapons Unit of the Syrian Army, he’s made public statements calling for NATO intervention, although he says limited military intervention is needed. He said that they need two air strikes on the presidential palace to get rid of Assad. Do you think this is going to happen?

I sincerely hope it doesn’t. And I similarly hope that this is simply bravado. But it could be, too, a trial balloon to see what the world’s reaction is to inflammatory statements of this sort. The idea that you bomb the presidential palace in the name of protecting civilians or humanitarian concerns and so forth shows you just how far down the road to barbarism the world has evolved over the past twenty years. It won’t be the first time that’s happened of course; efforts to bomb the presidential palace in Yugoslavia in 1999. And apparently anything is fair game at this point.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO: Digest for July 13-July 21

July 21, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO: Digest for July 13-July 21

Why NATO States’ Syria Resolution Failed Again

Rebel “Storm” In Damascus: Reality Or A Show?

U.S. Plans To Act Against Syria Outside UN Troubling: Russian Diplomat

Russian Envoy On Syria: More Western Geopolitics Than Humanitarianism

Syria and Bulgaria: U.S. Double Standards on Terrorism

NATO Praises Libyan Puppet Regime, War

NATO Supports Suicide Bombers

Opposing Military Interventon: China, Russia Veto Third Syria Resolution

Interview: Ukraine Dragged Into NATO

U.S. Missile Shield May Spark Chinese Nuclear Upgrade

March on Damascus: Precedents

Mali: Next Victim Of Western “Peace Crusade”

Nothing Civil about Washington’s War on Syria

Experience of NATO States Provides Stark Warning To Scotland

Scotland: NATO and Nuclear Hypocrisy

U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf

Interview: Call for global outcry against U.S. drone killings

U.S. Policy in the Balkans: Imperial Ambition or Side Issue?

U.S. Dilemma In Encircling And Targeting China

Pentagon Accelerates Carrier Group Deployment To Persian Gulf

U.S. Drones Recognize No Miranda Rights

Strategically Timed Syrian Massacre

Afghan Endgame: The Dilemma

NATO Supplies And The Common Man

Montenegrin Prelate: NATO Should Break Up

Washington’s Man in Tripoli

Clinton Engineers Expansion of Asian NATO to Contain China

U.S. Intervention Not Conducive To Asia-Pacific Stability

Another Congo War

Paraguay: Velvet Coup

NGOs On Steroids: U.S.’s “Victory Without War” In Russia

August War? U.S. Deploys Fourth Aircraft Carrier To Persian Gulf

NATO Not Delivering For Gulf Cooperation Council

The Template: NATO Consolidates Grip On Former Yugoslavia

Categories: Uncategorized

Why NATO States’ Syria Resolution Failed Again

July 21, 2012 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
July 20, 2012

Why Western-backed Syria draft resolution fails again     
By Wei Wei

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During intensive negotiations in the past several days, the Security Council’s consultation room has turned into a fierce diplomatic battle zone and the core disagreement is whether to invoke Chapter VII of the Charter.

A diplomatic source told Xinhua that on the issue of Chapter VII, the Western powers showed no sincerity and acted in a rigid and arrogant way, ignoring other countries’ concerns, thus undermining the common basis for further negotiations.

[W]ithout putting much thought on extending the UNSMIS mandate, the Western-proposed draft resolution raised the issue as an excuse to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs via mandatory actions and thus clear the way for military intervention.

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UNITED NATIONS: Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, wielded their veto power Thursday over a Western-proposed draft resolution which threatens sanction measures against the Syrian government if it fails to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from populated areas within 10 days. This is the third time since October 2011 that Russia and China used a veto to block a Security Council draft resolution on the Middle East nation.

Analysts said that the failed draft resolution indicated a foiled attempt of the Western countries trying to use sanctions to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs. It also showed deep division within the Security Council, which may prolong the process of settling the Syria crisis.

CHAPTER VII AS “RED LINE”

The Security Council approved in April the establishing of a UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) of 300 unarmed military observers to oversee a ceasefire in Syria and monitor the implementation of UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan. As the mandate of the mission expires on July 20, the Council must decide whether to extend it or not by then.

On July 11, more than a week before the due expiration date, France, Germany, Portugal, Britain and the United States co-sponsored a draft resolution which grants extension of UNSMIS for a period of 45 days and threatens non-military sanctions by invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter should the Syrian government fail to pull out troops and heavy weapons from populated areas within 10 days.

During intensive negotiations in the past several days, the Security Council’s consultation room has turned into a fierce diplomatic battle zone and the core disagreement is whether to invoke Chapter VII of the Charter.

Chapter VII gives the Council the right to employ measures ranging from economic and diplomatic sanctions to military intervention to give effect to its decision.

Russia has repeatedly warned that it would not agree to a resolution containing any threat of sanctions against Syria. After Security Council consultations late Tuesday, Russian deputy permanent representative to the UN Alexander Pankin said no mention of sanctions in the draft remains “red lines”.

In an effort to break the deadlock, Russia put forward its alternative draft resolution which proposed extending the mandate of UNSMIS for another three months, reducing the number of military observers and asking the operation to take on a more political mission without any threat of sanctions.

However, Western countries insisted on invoking Chapter VII and refused to make any revision to the draft regarding the issue.

A diplomatic source told Xinhua that on the issue of Chapter VII, the Western powers showed no sincerity and acted in a rigid and arrogant way, ignoring other countries’ concerns, thus undermining the common basis for further negotiations.

WHY VETO IS JUSTIFIED

Russia and China had long made it clear that they support extension of UNSMIS and the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan. Yet the Western countries pegged the issue to unilateral sanctions against the Syrian government, and pressed for a vote when there was still time for consultation.

Li Baodong, China’s UN envoy, said in his explanatory statements that “under circumstances when parties were still seriously divided and there was still enough time for continued consultation, the sponsoring countries refused to heed the call of China, some other Security Council members and Special Envoy Annan for further consultation until a text acceptable to all parties was formed and pressed for a vote on the draft resolution”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday ahead of Anna’s second visit to Moscow that the Western-proposed draft resolution contains “elements of blackmail.”

In fact, without putting much thought on extending the UNSMIS mandate, the Western-proposed draft resolution raised the issue as an excuse to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs via mandatory actions and thus clear the way for military intervention.

The Western countries also calculated that if Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution, they could shift the blame for failing to renew the mandate of UNSMIS to the two countries.

Had such a biased, flawed draft resolution passed the council, it could have increased the possibility of a civil war in Syria and destabilized other countries in the region, analysts said.

While Russia does have strategic interests in Syria which serves its Middle East policy, China has no self-interest in Syria.

“We have all along maintained that the prospect and destiny of Syria should be independently determined by the Syrian people, rather than imposed by outside forces. We believe the Syrian issue must be resolved through political means, and military means would go nowhere,” Li said. “This is China’s consistent position on international affairs. It is not targeted at a particular incident or at a certain time. Our purpose is to safeguard the interests of the Syrian people and Arab countries, the interests of all countries, the small and medium-sized countries in particular, the role and authority of the United Nations and its Security Council, as well as the basic norms governing international relations.”

CONTINUED DIPLOMATIC BATTLE

It is notable that failure of this draft resolution does not mean the death of UNSMIS nor the end of Annan’s mediation efforts and a political solution to the Syrian crisis, analysts said.

First, the mandate of UNSMIS expires at 12:00 p.m., July 20 which gives the Council more than one day to agree on a rollover resolution.

Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin suggested the Council on Thursday adopt a “brief, depoliticized” resolution on a technical extension of UNSMIS’ mandate for a specific period of time with a view to “preserving the useful potential” of the mission.

Diplomatic sources close to the council told Xinhua that Pakistan and South Africa, two non-permanent members of the Council, have introduced a draft resolution demanding extension of UNSMIS for 45 days.

Secondly, the mandate of Annan was authorized by the UN General Assembly not the Security Council. The unadopted draft resolution on Syria would not affect Annan’s ability to continue conducting his mediation efforts as special envoy. In fact, it is the vetoed resolution with unbalanced content that fundamentally violated the consensus reached at the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Action Group in Geneva and disrupted the new round of mediation efforts made by Annan.

Analysts observed that the diplomatic battle around Syria will continue as long as the Western countries, out of their own interests, try to push for a regime change in Syria, which is doomed to meet objections by most countries in the world upholding basic norms governing international relations.

Categories: Uncategorized

Rebel “Storm” In Damascus: Reality Or A Show?

July 21, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
July 21, 2012

“Storm of Damascus” – a reality or a show?
Andrei Ontikov

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It is well-known that the generous financing of the rebels also comes from some of the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Besides, according to some experts, the Syrian revolution is paid for with the money from Muammar Gaddafi’s accounts. At issue is the sum of 150-200 billion dollars, which were frozen at the beginning of the Libyan crisis, and then disappeared without a trace.

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Russia and China have vetoed the West’s draft of the UN Security Council’s resolution on Syria providing for tough sanctions against the authorities in Damascus in case they do not fulfill a number of demands. Russia’s permanent representative in the UN Vitaly Churkin has cleared up the Moscow’s position: “It was a singularly one-sided draft. Threats of pressure and sanctions were exclusively addressed to the Syrian government. This does not reflect the actual situation in the country.”

And the reality is that it is not the Syrian government that should be deterred, but the implacable opposition. Its detachments have openly announced the beginning of the “volcano in Damascus – earthquake in Syria” plan implementation. In accordance with this plan, the rebels, in their own words, have flung about 30 thousand fighters on the capital of the country.

However, many observers, both in the region and abroad, consider this number to be tens of times overstated, and at issue is some kind of propaganda operation.

Russian orientalist Leonid Isaev comments:

“Until now the Syrian rebels could not establish long-time control over a single city. If they manage to fulfill their plans, and Damascus surrenders, then, of course, the situation will change overnight. However, in point of fact, the current offensive is a gesture of despair. The Syrian army is still strong, and rebel forces are not being replenished. Except money and weapons, there is no other help from the West so far. At least, as long as the Russian position remains tough.

“Nevertheless, as for the money, the Syrian opposition is receiving plenty of it. Meanwhile, the last meeting of the opposition in Cairo, just like the previous one, has ended with a quarrel between the oppositionists who have failed to reach an agreement. The sponsors of the opposition are already beginning to doubt whether this project is worth their generous financial assistance. And rebels in Syria are beginning to run out of forces. Therefore, the so-called ‘storm of Damascus’ is a show, designed for restoring the financing of the irreconcilable opposition.”

It is not surprising that the budget of the Syrian Spring project has long exceeded the preliminary calculations of the sponsors. The original scenario of the Syrian crisis development had apparently presupposed a quick outcome.

According to certain information, the radical oppositionists have been thoroughly trained for several years. Many people in the leadership of the Syrian National Council (SNA) are linked with Western intelligence services. For example, Basma Kodmani, a member of the SNA Executive Bureau, has worked for U.S. research organizations associated with the CIA. Another SNA leader, Rudvan Ziyade, took part in the meeting of the Syrian opposition in Washington back in 2008. The opposition is being financed by organizations from the United States and the United Kingdom, and it goes without saying that these are public organizations.

It is well-known that the generous financing of the rebels also comes from some of the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Besides, according to some experts, the Syrian revolution is paid for with the money from Muammar Gaddafi’s accounts. At issue is the sum of 150-200 billion dollars, which were frozen at the beginning of the Libyan crisis, and then disappeared without a trace.

In any case, the “Syrian project” absorbs a lot of money, but there is no result yet. The regime in Damascus still parries blows and keeps its firm position. As a result, the implacable opposition begins to organize performances in order to support its reputation in the eyes of the sponsors,. This also applies to the so-called “storm of Damascus,” believes Syrian military analyst Mohammed Isa:

“Now there are small armed groups in Damascus that are obviously under the control of Saudi Arabia. They are making sallies and shooting. But as soon as security forces appear, the rebels immediately get lost, and after some time those who have survived make a sally in another quarter. They are making a lot of noise, but without any practical result. But at the same time, a detached observer may decide that a full-scale war is under way in Damascus.”

Today it is difficult to assess the real scale of the Syrian rebels’ operations – the informational “smoke screen” over the places of the incidents is even denser than smoke from real fires. And yet there is an impression that the script is coming to an end. And the question of the winner will be decided in the near future.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Plans To Act Against Syria Outside UN Troubling: Russian Diplomat

July 20, 2012 6 comments

Interfax
July 20, 2012

U.S. plans to act on Syria bypassing UN send troubling signal – Russian diplomat

MOSCOW: Russia is concerned over plans announced by the United States to influence Damascus bypassing the UN Security Council.

“If such statements and such plans are elements of real politics, it sends quite a troubling signal to all of us, prompting us to think how the international community is going to respond to international conflicts,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

A task facing all foreign players, “especially the members of the UN Security Council, is to use all of their resources and abide by decisions that were adopted collectively earlier,” he said.

Lukashevich said he was speaking about decisions adopted by the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and subsequently supported by the entire international community – Resolutions 2024 and 2043 and the Geneva communique.

U.S. Department of State spokesman Patrick Ventrell earlier gave a positive answer to a question about Washington’s possible plans to act bypassing the UN Security Council.

Russia and China have blocked the resolution three times, he said.

The U.S. would like these countries to change their position, but they refuse to do so, Ventrell said.

The U.S. would continue working through the UN if there were a chance for new prospects regarding the position of Russia and China, he said.

But the U.S. has a broader strategy, and it has no intention of stopping to do what it has been doing because there is no resolution, he said.

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Interfax
July 20, 2012

EU has no right to inspect Russian planes, ships bound for Syria – expert

MOSCOW: The European Union’s plans to inspect aircraft and ships for violations of the arms embargo imposed on Syria cannot be applied to Russian planes and ships, Roman Pukhov, the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technology, told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

“Only aircraft and ships of the European Union are subject to this requirement. The EU has no international legal right to inspect aircraft and ships belonging to countries that are not its members, including Russia,” Pukhov said.

Pukhov was commenting on media reports saying that the EU plans to adopt a resolution in Brussels on Monday to inspect aircraft and ships suspected of violating the arms embargo imposed on Syria.

It is impossible to imagine a situation in which a Russian ship sailing to Syria, whichever cargo it may be carrying, would be stopped and searched, he said.

“This is impossible in terms of law and in the military-technical context. It is absolutely impossible to imagine EU servicemen boarding Russian ships,” he said.

Russian-Syrian military-technical cooperation is proceeding in strict compliance with international law, he said. “Syria is not under UN Security Council sanctions. Therefore arms deliveries to the Syrian authorities are not banned,” Pukhov said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russian Envoy On Syria: More Western Geopolitics Than Humanitarianism

RT
July 20, 2012

‘Don’t be duped by Western humanitarian rhetoric on Syria’ – Russia’s UN ambassador

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[H]umanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world – the US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused – 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism.

[C]urbing Iranian influence in the Middle East…is also a major motivation of the other Middle Eastern fighters for democracy – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who are concerned about what they see as Iranian interests; in Bahrain as well. 

[A]bout vetoes – if I am not mistaken, the US has cast 60 vetoes on the Palestinian issue alone. So, why don’t you question my American colleagues about the impact of the image of the US in the Middle East of those continuous vetoes? 

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Russia and China have for the third time vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria which would entail tragic consequences for Damascus. Russia’s ambassador to the UN told RT why a diplomatic solution to the crisis remains the only option.

In an exclusive interview with RT, Vitaly Churkin gave his explanation of what is going on in Syria and why he thinks the conflict has spread beyond that country’s borders. 

RT: Russia’s decision to veto this latest resolution has caused consternation and widespread criticism of Moscow’s stance – is Russia supporting the Assad regime?

Vitaly Churkin: Of course not. It is all about what needs to be done in order to settle the crisis. Unfortunately, the strategy of our Western colleagues seems to be to try to whip up tensions in and around Syria at every opportunity. And this time they took the occasion of the need to extend the mandate of the monitoring mission in Syria and attached a number of unacceptable clauses to their draft resolution. So, we needed to veto together with China that unacceptable draft to allow Kofi Annan more space to work on the document which was adopted by foreign ministers of a number of countries of the so-called “action group”, which calls for setting up transitional national body and that requires of course the dialogue between various parties. So, in this context, to introduce a resolution which would only entail pressure and almost inevitable sanctions on the Syrian government did not look like a good idea to us at all and we blocked the decision, which in our view was counter-productive.      

RT: So, Moscow is not supporting the Assad regime, but America, Britain and France say Russia’s failed the Syrian people – how do you react to that? 

VC: You know, they are quite good and bad and loud about their propaganda. I think that’s what they have been doing by criticizing Russia and China stridently. Today it was the British and French [UN] perm reps who went out of their way, unfortunately, piling all sorts of falsehoods on the foreign policies of Russia and China. They should focus more on the need to help Kofi Annan. 

Unfortunately, they have not done anything at all in order to set and train a productive and positive process in Syria. Instead, they have been working with the so-called “Friends of Syria”. In fact, this is a group of countries who are enemies of the Syrian government, I would not call them the enemies of the Syrian people, but certainly those who want to topple the Syrian government, disregarding the consequences which are extremely tragic; such a policy inevitably entails [tragedy] because the government or President Assad is not simply one individual or a group of individuals. They represent a certain segment of the Syrian population, of  a certain power structure, which has existed there for decades. To break it would cause and is causing considerable trouble and bloodshed. To reform it through dialogue, this would be a much more reasonable line of action and this is what Russia has been advocating. 

RT: But dialogue has not achieved anything so far. Isn’t there now an overwhelming global sense that something has to be done to stop the killing of innocent people – what about intervention on humanitarian grounds, is that not acceptable to Moscow? I know that Moscow is very concerned about Chapter 7 leading to perhaps military intervention. But what about some form of intervention to stop the killing?

VC: In a way, the monitoring group which we are trying to maintain is a way of political intervention – of practical intervention –  in trying to deter violence. Unfortunately, it has not happened, it has not been successful. 

You said the dialogue has not achieved anything. The problem is the dialogue has not started yet. The opposition groups refuse to enter into dialogue with the Syrian government, which says it is prepared for dialogue. They should try that offer of the Syrian government to enter into dialogue. And this is a major missing link, a major impediment in the way of Kofi Annan’s activity. 

You know, humanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world – the US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused – 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism. Unfortunately, the practical consequences of their policies there are that the conflict and bloodshed is not abating.   
           
RT: You’ve mentioned geopolitics and I understand you mentioned the fact that what’s happening in Syria is going to spread to Iran eventually. Can you explain that? That Iran is the eventual goal?

VC: I did refer to Iran, but in a slightly different context. I would not rule out that then they would move on to Iran, but I was not referring to that. In my remarks at the [Security] Council of the United Nations earlier today I was referring to their clear interest. And this is a major motivation of their policy and their effort to topple President Assad – in curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East and that entire region. And it is also a major motivation of the other Middle Eastern fighters for democracy – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who are concerned about what they see as Iranian interests; in Bahrain as well. 

They claim the Shia protests there is sort of Iranian-sponsored even though some observers – including your colleagues and journalists who have experience on the ground –  believe that they happen to be genuine protests against a system which is not entirely democratic, to put it mildly. So, a clear geopolitical dimension is there in the policies of a number of countries, who are extremely aggressive vis-a-vis Syria. And it has nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people.     
   
RT: What is the worry for Moscow, all these geopolitical implications you’ve explained so clearly, why is Moscow so worried about this? In what way could Moscow be affected?

VC: We are not worried about geopolitical implications even though we believe that greater confrontation with Iran is hurting, is unnecessary and  we are directly involved in efforts to resolve peacefully the problem of the Iranian nuclear program. And this growing tension between Iran, the West and the Saudis is not helpful. 

Our concern is that the Syrian people have to suffer the consequences of this geopolitical struggle and our concern is that the focus of everybody’s policy must be the benefit of the Syrian people. And the only way they can put an end to this tragic conflict is to get to the negotiating table. 

And there is good ground, there is a document which was a consensus document adopted by the “action group” – foreign ministers in Geneva – two and a half weeks ago which says that a transitional national body needs to be set up and it can not be set up by sanctions, it can not be set up by more pressure on just one side – the Syrian government, which is claiming that it is ready for such dialogue; it designated its representative for such a dialogue. 

But so far the interest from the opposition is not there and we see extreme opposition groups; armed opposition groups resorting to more and more violence and even terrorist attacks like the one we saw yesterday in Damascus. This is not to say that the Syrian government has not resorted to excessive violence at times; they made very serious mistakes and blunders over the months but the time to end it is now. Unless we want to continue it for years, [we need to] enter into a dialogue.   

RT: Russia is really stuck by its principles of non-intervention. Is there not a danger of being isolated, bearing in mind the continual vetoing of the sanctions of the UN Security Council and the supplying of military hardware to Syria. Of course Moscow says it is not being used against civilians, but what is it to do for Russia’s reputation and, indeed, its relations after this crisis is over? 

VC: We’ll see. I think doing the right thing and not simply following somebody’s catastrophic policy is something which makes me proud and something which eventually will be borne out as the right course of action and the right policy under these very difficult circumstances. And about vetoes – if I am not mistaken, the US has cast 60 vetoes on the Palestinian issue alone. So, why don’t you question my American colleagues about the impact of the image of the US in the Middle East of those continuous vetoes? 

Sometimes even vetoing their own presidential and secretary of state’s public statements. So, the veto is a part of the UN Charter and there is nothing wrong about casting it when you feel the need to do so.   

RT: Can we talk about what happens next now? No agreement in the UN Security Council, but Russia has said that it would like to see the extension of the UN observer mission to Syria. But the monitors haven’t made any visible impact on the mission so far. So what’s the point in keeping the mission alive when so far it has failed?

VC: What would be the point of their departure? We think that we have at least more chances to get objective information if it is there  If the situation were to improve, they would be on the ground already, so, they would be able to participate more actively in political process and also in dealing with the humanitarian situation. Pulling them out is going to entail negative consequences. Unfortunately, now and again we seem to be entering another diplomatic battle. Now we are going to have a discussion about really making it technically rollover without loading it with political conditions and implications.

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Syria and Bulgaria: U.S. Double Standards on Terrorism

Voice of Russia
July 20, 2012

New confirmation of US double-standard policy
Konstantin Garibov

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“The US has once again confirmed its position regarding the priorities of its foreign policy. It supports its ally on any issues and ignores the negative events their opponents live through. This time Washington repeatedly made it clear that it would not revise its foreign policy. Actually it never did so in its history. The goals and priorities of US foreign policy on the Middle East are unchangeable and they won’t change. It sounds trivial but it is so. The US reaction to the events in Burgas and Damascus has confirmed it.”

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On July 20, the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria expires. After the intrigue regarding the mission’s prolongation lingered in the UN Security Council, now it looks like 300 unarmed servicemen will stay in that country.

It is quite likely that on Friday the UN Security Council will approve the resolution on the technical prolongation of the mission for 30 more days. By now the mission has worked for 90 days in Syria. Russia’s permanent ambassador in the UN Vitaly Churkin expressed confidence that the mission would be prolonged. The diplomat also welcomed Pakistan’s intention to submit its draft on the technical prolongation of the mission to the UN Security Council.

Russia plans to increase its monitoring mission in Syria by 30 servicemen. President Putin signed a ruling to that effect about Russia’s willingness to dispatch up to 30 liaison and staff officers, as well as military observers to the UN monitor mission at the expense of the United Nations.

The intrigue regarding the mission’s prolongation lingered after Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution on Syria proposed by the UK. That draft contained a proposal to prolong the UN mission but also an initiative to introduce tough sanctions against the regime in Damascus and an option to use military force if Damascus did not withdraw troops from Syrian cities. Russia and China’s veto of that unilateral resolution suspended the question about the mission’s technical prolongation. However, right after the vote the ambassadors of Russia and China in the UN Vitaly Churkin and Li Baodong said that they would vote for the prolongation.

The US reaction to it was inadequate. Washington said that it would support the prolongation of the mission’s mandate only if a tough anti-Syrian resolution is approved, in other words a resolution aimed at overthrowing Bashar Assad’s regime. In fact the UN supervision mission served as a bargaining chip for US plans on Syria. Later the US position slightly changed. Washington made a statement that it was ready to consider the mission’s prolongation.

The US reaction to the terrorist attacks in Damascus, in which three generals were killed including Syria’s Defense Minister, was quite remarkable. The US statement did not contain any condemnation of the attacks. Moreover Barack Obama accused Bashar Assad of what had happened, saying that the assassinations of the ministers were the consequences of his policy.

At the same time Barack Obama condemned the terrorist attack in Bulgaria where a suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed eight people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists, because that attack concerned Israel’s international image. Obama’s statement expressed firm determination to support its Mideast ally. Again the US activates its double-standard policy mechanism, fighting terrorism when it is targeted against its allies and ignoring attacks when the targets are US opponents. We hear from Sergey Demidenko, an analyst at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

“The US has once again confirmed its position regarding the priorities of its foreign policy. It supports its ally on any issues and ignores the negative events their opponents live through. This time Washington repeatedly made it clear that it would not revise its foreign policy. Actually it never did so in its history. The goals and priorities of US foreign policy on the Middle East are unchangeable and they won’t change. It sounds trivial but it is so. The US reaction to the events in Burgas and Damascus has confirmed it.”

Meanwhile reports about ongoing military actions in Syria are controversial. The opposition claims that it has taken control over all the checkpoints on the border with Iraq and two check points on the border with Turkey. The authorities deny this information. It has been rumored that Damascus is preparing repressions in response to the murders of Bashar Assad’s associates. The authorities have warned the population that in some regions the insurgents dressed in the uniforms of government troops are going to perpetrate massacres and later shift the blame onto the military.

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NATO Praises Libyan Puppet Regime, War

July 20, 2012 6 comments

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
July 19, 2012

NATO praises Libya vote, says it is “proud” of military campaign

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[Rasmussen] said the military alliance stood “ready to assist, if requested, in building the modern security and defence institutions that the new Libya needs.”

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Brussels: NATO congratulated Lybians on Wednesday, after it was announced that a liberal alliance had won the country‘s first elections since Moamer Gaddafi‘s ouster, and said it was “proud” of the military campaign that helped bring down the former dictator.

“This election marks an impressive step forward in Libya‘s transition to democracy, after over forty years of dictatorship,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.

“NATO is proud of the role that we played, together with our partners, in protecting the Libyan people under the mandate of the United Nations Security Council,” Rasmussen added.

He said the military alliance stood “ready to assist, if requested, in building the modern security and defence institutions that the new Libya needs.”

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Reuters
July 19, 2012

Family protest over missing Libya Olympic chief

TRIPOLI: Family and colleagues of Libya’s Olympic Committee president protested outside the prime minister’s office on Thursday, urging the government to do more to find him, four days after he was taken from his car by gunmen in Tripoli.

Nabil Elalem was with a colleague when two cars carrying armed men in military-style clothing blocked the road, other colleagues have said. The men told him he had to go with them and sped away, leaving his colleague behind. There has been no news about his whereabouts since.

Carrying pictures of the Olympic Committee chief as well as banners that read “Where is Nabil Elalem?”, a few dozen of the committee’s staff stood silently alongside his relatives outside Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib’s office.

“We are here to ask – what is the government doing?” Elalem’s brother Salah said. “The whole world is asking about him. We want the government to do its duty.”

“We are still waiting to see how the problem will be sorted,” Elalem’s colleague Arafat Jwan said. “There is nothing for now.” A group of the demonstrators later met with Keib.

Elalem, a former Libyan judo champion, took charge of the Olympic body after its president Mohammed Gaddafi, one of the deposed leader’s sons, fled to Algeria last August.

“This is an important person, the state should guarantee his security,” Mahmoud Jehani, a former soccer player and coach said. “I hope it will end soon.”

(Reporting by Ali Shuaib and Ayman Al-Sahli; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Pravin Char)

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RT
June 21, 2012

Libya tribal hack and slash: Hundreds killed and wounded in ­week

Clashes between warring factions are heating up in western Libya. Tribes that once supported the country’s uprising are battling each other and pro-Gaddafi rival tribes – all against the background of freebee arms.

Press secretary of the Libyan government Nasser al-Manaa reported that clashes between three tribes from Az Zintan, Mizda and Al-Shegaiga village resulted in at least 105 deaths and more than 500 wounded just last week.

The conflict reportedly flared over a strip of land repossessed by one of the tribes.

Al-Manaa revealed that the violence was stopped only after a government military presence was established in the region.

The number of dead and injured in Libya is comparable to the body count in Syria and following UN rhetoric, the ongoing violence in Libya strikingly resembles a civil (tribal) war.

Supported from abroad, an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi started in February 2011. Severe fighting between rebels and Gaddafi supporters lasted till October 20, when Colonel Gaddafi was killed by a raging mob near the city of Sirte after rebels took control of the capital Tripoli.

Libya appears to be so flooded with arms right now that even the grandchildren of today’s fighters will have enough thirty-round banana clips to sort things out for years to come.

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NATO Supports Suicide Bombers

July 20, 2012 2 comments

Pakistan Observer
July 20, 2012

NATO supports suicide bombers
Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat

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It is dismaying to watch while television channels such as BBC and CNN turn into cheerleaders for suicide bombers. In most NATO capitals, there is not even a ritual condemnation of such methods, nor indeed mention of the fact that the murdered Defense Minister of Syria was a Christian.

Clearly, David Cameron, Francois Hollande and Hillary Clinton approve of the methods of the FSA. What would be their reaction if similar tactics were to be carried out during the London Olympic ceremonies, or in Paris or Washington?

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Terrorism in any form and for whatever cause is unpardonable. The use of deadly violence against innocents, which is what terrorism implies, is morally completely at variance with the tenets that are enshrined in the Holy Qur’an. Because there were more than 120,000 prophets before Prophet Mohammad [PBUH], several faiths other than Islam contain tenets that are similar to those enunciated more their fifteen centuries ago, all of which stress the need for compassion, mercy and tolerance, qualities that were best practiced during the golden age of Islam. In contrast, the use of terror has never in a single instance delivered anything other than temporary success to the perpetrator.

The LTTE, after three decades of waging a campaign in which suicide bombers played a key role, was defeated by the Sri Lankan army in 2009. The Taliban was speedily vanquished in 2001 and despite NATO’s errors will never regain control of Afghanistan. In the Holy Land, the use of terror against Israeli civilians has meant nothing other than misery for the residents of Gaza and the West Bank. There is nothing specifically related to any single faith about suicide bombing, whose practitioners have come from numerous religious backgrounds.

LTTE cadres were overwhelmingly Hindu, while Japanese “kamikaze” pilots (who killed themselves on the decks of enemy ships) were mostly Shinto. Some members of the IRA – all of whom were Catholic – were in effect suicide bombers. Hence it may be said with accuracy that the cult of the suicide bomber is independent of religion. However, because of NATO’s focus on Muslim-majority states these days, suicide bombing is being regarded as being the monopoly of a single faith. Unfortunately, some within that faith give credibility to such false charges by resorting to the use of terror, including through suicide bombing.

After 9/11 showed the blowback inherent in the US-led effort to create and sustain the Taliban in the 1990s, NATO capitals adopted a Zero Tolerance policy towards suicide bombers, refusing to accept that any situation justified the use of such an extreme and inhuman measure. Countries where there was a rash of suicide bombers and attacks began to be targetted, including by drone strikes. However, cracks began to develop in this – correct – policy when NATO began giving tacit backing to Jundallah in Iran. The extreme Wahabi militia regularly carries out terror attacks in Iran, and does so without any condemnation by NATO capitals.

However, a far more serious breach of the Zero Tolerance (towards suicide bombers) policy has occurred in Syria. The July 17 suicide bombing in the heart of the Bashar Assad regime was conducted by the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA). It is no secret that this “army” (exactly as its counterpart in Libya) makes extensive use of terror operations in order to force the fall of the present Syrian government. Even more than in Libya, suicide bombings have been regularly carried out. Despite this self-declared link with terrorism, NATO continues to encourage its regional allies to arm the “Free Syrian Army” and provide it with lavish funding.

It is dismaying to watch while television channels such as BBC and CNN turn into cheerleaders for suicide bombers. In most NATO capitals, there is not even a ritual condemnation of such methods, nor indeed mention of the fact that the murdered Defense Minister of Syria was a Christian.

Clearly, David Cameron, Francois Hollande and Hillary Clinton approve of the methods of the FSA. What would be their reaction if similar tactics were to be carried out during the London Olympic ceremonies, or in Paris or Washington? Terror is evil, and suicide bombing is morally wrong. Years ago, Indira Gandhi trained and funded the LTTE, the organisation that killed her son Rajiv in 1991. NATO’s backing for terrorism in Syria will soon come back to haunt an alliance that ought to know better.

The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

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Opposing Military Interventon: China, Russia Veto Third Syria Resolution

Itar-Tass
July 19, 2012

RF, China vetoe UN SC draft resolution on Syria

UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION: Russia and China have vetoed the U.N. Security Council draft resolution on the settlement of the conflict in Syria.

The draft document has been prepared by Western countries and contains sanctions against Damascus. Eleven members of the U.N. Security Council voted for the draft resolution, two abstained. Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution.

So, Russia’s draft resolution will be submitted for voting. The document envisions the extension of the mandate of the U.N. Supervision Mission for three months.

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Global Times
July 20, 2012

China sticks to non-military intervention on Syrian crisis

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Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Western nations, anti-Assad forces in the Arab world and Syrian opposition groups have formed an unusual alliance that has caused the crisis to evolve from small-scale clashes to large-scale conflicts.

The Syrian situation already tells us that the West is powerful in catalyzing political changes in a country. As long as the changes are in accordance with their interests, they don’t really care if they are brought about peacefully or harm the well-being of locals.

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Russia and China vetoed another UN resolution on Thursday which threatened to impose sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is the third double veto against a Western-backed Syria resolution.

Western countries are again blaming Russia and China for a split UNSC vote. They seem to have forgotten that one of the most important principles of the UN is opposing military intervention in a country’s internal affairs.

It is a shameless lie to attribute the escalating tension in Syria to China and Russia. Without the West’s support, the small-scale conflict wouldn’t have turned into today’s bloody confrontation. If the West had truly backed Kofi Annan’s peace plan and responded to calls from Russia and China, Syria could have avoided the situation it is in now.

It’s likely that the Assad administration will be overthrown. But China does not necessarily need to change its policy and principle of opposing foreign military intervention in Syria. China should stick to this attitude until the last day before UNSC’s intervention in the Syrian situation is needed.

The suicide bombing Wednesday showed that the intensity of conflicts in Syria has reached a new level and the chances of a political solution are becoming increasingly small.

The Syrian opposition and the West will certainly be encouraged by the situation, which helps reaffirm their belief that the ouster of Assad is the only option.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Western nations, anti-Assad forces in the Arab world and Syrian opposition groups have formed an unusual alliance that has caused the crisis to evolve from small-scale clashes to large-scale conflicts.

How the Syrian issue develops in the future is largely up to how much public support Assad has at home. Changes in Syria might come rapidly, unless Assad’s supporters are strong enough to continue fully backing the Syrian government.

There are people who believe that China will be embarrassed once opposition groups come to power in Syria or that China might even face revenge attacks from these groups. Such an idea is completely baseless. Nations that stick to their principles and wish for peace will never be shamed.

That said, however, China does need contingency plans to deal with developments in Syria. China is not taking sides, but merely opposed to war and killing.

The Syrian situation already tells us that the West is powerful in catalyzing political changes in a country. As long as the changes are in accordance with their interests, they don’t really care if they are brought about peacefully or harm the well-being of locals.

No matter how the Syrian situation proceeds, we hope ordinary Syrians will suffer less from the process.

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Interview: Ukraine Dragged Into NATO

Voice of Russia
July 19, 2012

 

Ukraine dragged into NATO

 

Audio: Download

In a recent interview, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Ukraine to settle the issue of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and remove obstacles in relations with the alliance, in what can be viewed as yet another NATO attempt to steer Ukraine towards the integration of this former Soviet state in the US-led military bloc. Rick Rozoff, the manager of Stop NATO, believes NATO has not relented in its ambition to incorporate Ukraine into NATO ultimately as a full member.

Secretary General of NATO Rasmussen is urging Kiev to remove obstacles in relation to NATO. Can you tell us about that?

It’s NATO’s intention, and that of the United States, to bring Ukraine into NATO as a full member, which is why there’s a special NATO-Ukraine Commission that was set up roughly four years ago, three and a half years ago with the express purpose of doing that. At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Ukraine and Georgia had both been not given the green light if you will to join NATO as full members or to be granted what’s called a Membership Action Program, which is the final stage before full NATO accession. So a compensatory mechanism was set up, which is the commission I mentioned both for Ukraine and Georgia, and despite the change in government where Yanukovich has replaced Yushchenko as head of state of the country. NATO has not relented in its ambition to incorporate Ukraine into NATO, ultimately as a full member. So Rasmussen’s comments are in line with that policy of NATO.

And of course two military exercises in Ukraine have recently been concluded, this month, including the annual Operation Sea Breeze which is run by the United States. It’s supposedly a joint U.S.-Ukrainian military exercise, naval, in the Black Sea, not too far from the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. And included the participation, last heard for me at any rate, of 20 some odd countries, which are NATO members and NATO partner states. Given Ukraine’s location, its size, its role in the armaments industry in post Soviet space and so forth, it’s a key acquisition for NATO. It doesn’t surprise me that Rasmussen is laying down his terms to Ukraine.

They talk about human rights, the Timoshenko case, Lutsenko, what do you think about their claims?

They’re going to overrule decisions made by the parliament in Ukraine, by the president. They’re going to trample on the laws of Ukraine in order to support their clients. Yulia Timoshenko, the gas princess, in the first instance of course. The sort of diktat, almost, that’s emanating from the West in relation to Timoshenko, all but ordering the Yanukovich government to release her and so forth is a further example of the interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations that epitomizes Western behavior. It’s not unlike what they’re doing in several other countries in the world. They want their allies, or their operatives, the former Viktor Yushchenkos and the current Yulia Timoshenkos, to be free and to operate, furthering the Western agenda in Ukraine.

Hillary Clinton keeps making statements – it’s kind of become a habit for her – towards Russia. What about her last statement? Can you comment on this?

The most recent rather may be the worst. It’s probably a new low even for Hillary Clinton and that’s saying quite a bit. And what we’re speaking about of course is her talk at the so-called Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on July, 6th, where she stated to the representatives of ane estimated 100 nations and organizations – transparently in attempt to rally them against Russia and China for having the temerity to defend international law and as we just mentioned noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations vis-à-vis Syria and stated that the problem was in her estimate – and one has to watch her as she’s making these statements, waving her hand in the air and being almost hysterical. She stated that the problem was that Russia and China were not paying a price for their position in relation to Syria and that they would have to pay a price and that the so-called world community would have to ensure that they do. So, I mean, this is the crudest form of threat, intimidation, vituperation.

What do you think she meant exactly by ‘paying a price’?

It’s hard to say. Diplomatically, of course. Economically, perhaps. Maybe the U.S. and its Western allies want to do to Russia and China in relation to Syria what they’ve done to several countries including Russia and China in relation to Iran, which is to say they slap increasingly onerous sanctions on a country like Iran or Syria and then start sanctioning countries dealing with them. Something like this situation obtained in the lead-in to the war against Iraq in 2003 when the George W. Bush administration started accusing perhaps dozens of countries of selling so-called “dual-use” equipment to the government of Iraq and threatening them with, if you will, second-generation sanctions. She could have been alluding to that, economically as well as diplomatically punishing Russia and China. However, the tone and the vociferousness of what she stated suggested she was talking about something yet more, almost threatening Russia and China politically and who knows what? But it was the furthest thing removed from diplomatic language that one can imagine.

But given the fact that she’s the Secretary of State of an administration that proudly proclaims itself, and I’m using President Obama’s own words, “the world’s sole military superpower,” she evidently feels she can make statements like that with impunity and that nobody is going to hold her to account for them.

Unfortunately, the world has not.

It gets worse, I suppose, with each successive Secretary of State, but this is a new low point. She made a comparable statement in February of this year, the second time that Russia and China jointly vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed against Syria, where, to use her own word, she referred to Russia and China as being ‘despicable’. I think the rest of the world should take note of how the U.S. treats even major powers, the world’s second economic power, China, and one of the world’s two major military powers, Russia. If they can be referred to in such derogatory and abrasive terms then you don’t need a WikiLeaks’ revelation to understand what the U.S. thinks of the governments of other nations.

Can you tell our listeners about the recent attack on a NATO convoy to Afghanistan through Pakistan?

It’s being attributed to a Pakistani Taliban group or the Haqqani network – I’m not sure who’s being accused of having torched the 12 NATO tankers – but I would say, John, more than anything else this is indicative, I believe, of the general sentiment within Pakistan, which is not in favor – the popular sentiment – of renewing transit or NATO convoys from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

There’s overwhelming opposition to collaboration with NATO for the war in Afghanistan if for no other reason that the people in Western Pakistan, ethnic Pashtuns, don’t relish the thought of their the cousins on the other side of the border being killed by NATO helicopter gunship attacks or in other military attacks including some of the horrible atrocities that have occurred just this year, for example. And what we’re seeing again is that to accommodate NATO is to betray one’s own nation and one’s people no matter where it occurs.

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U.S. Missile Shield May Spark Chinese Nuclear Upgrade

The News International
July 19, 2012

Missile shield may spark China nuclear upgrade

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Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, said any American military planner in Zhu’s position would say the same. Planned anti-missile systems and other advanced weapons in the future could “make it theoretically possible for the US to launch a first strike on China, knock out most of its 40 or so long-range missiles, and intercept any left that were launched in response,” he said.

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VIENNA: China may need to modernise its nuclear arsenal to respond to the destabilising effect of a planned US-backed missile defence system, a senior Chinese military officer said on Wednesday.

“It undermines the strategic stability,” said Major GeneralZhu Chenghu of China’s National Defence University about the US-led development of a missile shield, which has also alarmed Russia. “We have to maintain the credibility of deterrence,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a panel discussion on nuclear disarmament, referring to the military doctrine that an enemy will be deterred from using atomic arms as long as he can be destroyed as a consequence.

The United States is spending about $10 billion a year to develop, test and deploy missile defences, which would include a European shield as part of a layered system. The defences would also include ship-based interceptors that could be deployed in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific – for instance as a hedge against North Korea – plus ground-based missile interceptors in silos in Alaska and California.

The United States says the system in Europe – which is to be deployed in four phases by about 2020 – is intended to counter a potential threat from Iran and poses no risk to Russia. But Moscow says the interceptors that the United States and Nato are deploying will be able to destroy its own warheads in flight by about 2018, upsetting the post-Cold War balance of power.

The comments by Zhu – who stirred controversy in 2005 by suggesting China could use nuclear weapons if the United States intervened militarily in a conflict over Taiwan – indicated this is an argument that also resonates in China.

China “will have to modernise its nuclear arsenal” because the deployment of a missile defence system “may reduce the credibility of its nuclear deterrence,” Zhu told the seminar. “Therefore Beijing will have to improve its capabilities of survival, penetration…otherwise it is very difficult for us to maintain the credibility of nuclear deterrence.”

Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, said any American military planner in Zhu’s position would say the same. Planned anti-missile systems and other advanced weapons in the future could “make it theoretically possible for the US to launch a first strike on China, knock out most of its 40 or so long-range missiles, and intercept any left that were launched in response,” he said.

“Missile defences, however benign they appear to the side building them, always force others nations to improve and increase their offensive weapons,” Cirincione, who also took part in Wednesday’s discussion in Vienna, said in an e-mail. The European system is to include interceptor missile installations in Poland and Romania and radar in Turkey as well as interceptors and radars on ships based in the Mediterranean Sea.

The United States and Russia hold the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons. China, France and Britain are the three other officially recognised nuclear-armed countries, but their arsenals are much smaller. China closely guards information about its nuclear weapons. However, the US Department of Defence has said that China has about 130-195 deployed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

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March on Damascus: Precedents

July 19, 2012 3 comments

Rome 1922

Munich 1923

Madrid 1939

Hillary Clinton with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal

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Mali: Next Victim Of Western “Peace Crusade”

July 18, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
July 18, 2012

Mali – one more victim of the Western “peace crusade”?
Dmitry Babich

====

What is indeed astounding is the fact that the NATO countries continue to trumpet their operation in Libya as a great success. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, praised the victory of “secular liberals” at recently held elections in Libya. (Which would indeed be great, if “secularists” had not had a discussion on an innocent point – whether sharia should be the main law of the country or, even better, the only law.)

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The situation in Mali, the country most closely located to the “zone of stability and security” purportedly created by NATO in Libya, is far from being stable or secure. The international news agencies and world press are reporting horror stories about the rule of terror established by jihadist movements in the northeast of this country, previously dominated by local Tuaregs.

There are two interesting conclusions that the world’s politicians and experts draw from the developments in Mali. First, it is recognized that destabilization of Mali was one of the results of the military intervention of NATO in Libya. (The Tuaregs, who in fact unleashed the military action, were armed by weapons from colonel Qaddafi’s ransacked arsenals.) Second, the proposed solution to the crisis, heavily lobbied by France, is…another military intervention, this time in Mali. Obviously, the “zone of stability and security” has for some reason possesses a unique ability to spawn new conflicts.

The only “political heavyweight” on the world stage who predicted undesirable developments in Mali in the immediate aftermath of the Libyan coup was the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. In April of this year, during a visit to Azerbaijan, he sketched the negative scenario which unfortunately proved to be true: “The Libyan story is far from over. We see how the statehood of Mali is being destroyed under our very eyes. What is the reason for that? Besides the unending skirmishes in Libya itself, instability is flowing into neighboring states via arms smuggling and infiltration of fighters. What we see in Mali is just the result of these processes.”

What is indeed astounding is the fact that the NATO countries continue to trumpet their operation in Libya as a great success. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, praised the victory of “secular liberals” at recently held elections in Libya. (Which would indeed be great, if “secularists” had not had a discussion on an innocent point – whether sharia should be the main law of the country or, even better, the only law.) In her comments, Mrs. Clinton carefully avoided making a link between the destruction of Qaddafi’s regime and the sudden replenishments of the arsenals of the AQMI (the French abbreviation for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Ansar Dine, the two most violent groups of the jihadist movement in Northern Africa, which ultimately took control of northeastern Mali.

“During Qaddafi’s rule, we did not know about these groups,” says from Mali’s capital Bamako Caroline Tuina-Ouanre, a journalist from neighboring Burkina Fasso, specializing on covering developments in the Sahel, a region in Africa where both Mali and Burkina Fasso belong. “Obviously, they did not get their arms from nowhere. They got them profiting from the collapse of the Libyan regime, which in itself was a result of the Western intervention. It made AQMI much stronger, this is a proven fact, long reported by the French-language press of Africa, from Morocco to Burkina Faso.”

France, the country that actually engineered the Western intervention in Libya, is now the primary supporter of an intervention in Mali. However, the French president, Francois Hollande, said that “for obvious reasons” (meaning, obviously, the history of French colonialism in the region) France was unwilling to intervene on its own. “The intervention should take place in the framework of the African Union and under the auspices of the United Nations.” Hollande said.

The irony of the situation is that the African Union was resolutely opposed to the Western intervention in Libya in 2011, saying that such an intervention would undermine regional security.

South African leader Jacob Zuma, a key figure in the AU, and the Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika were among the most vocal opponents of the physical destruction of Colonel Qaddafi. And now France wants Bouteflika’s Algeria to spearhead the eventual intervention in Mali. In 2011, both U.S. and the EU ignored the African Union’s protests, trumpeting the removal of Qaddafi as a 100 percent positive development, a “victory for democracy.” So, now France is asking the African Union to make up for its misdeeds in the area – misdeeds that the AU never approved.

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Nothing Civil about Washington’s War on Syria

July 18, 2012 3 comments

SteveLendman Blog
July 18, 2012

Nothing Civil about Washington’s War on Syria
By Stephen Lendman

Insurgents are Washington proxies. Key NATO partners, rogue Arab League states, and Israel are very much involved. 

The same dirty game repeats. Independent states are targeted for regime change. All options are used. They include full-scale war, mass killing, and turning nations into charnel houses on the pretext of liberating them.

American-style freedom is slavery. Mainstream discourse doesn’t explain. It repeats long ago discredited notions about humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P). Protracted violence and bloodshed hardly reflect it.

Washington-led Western generated violence ravages Syria. On Sunday, The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) declared ongoing conflict a civil war. 

It’s not civil when mostly imported proxies are used. Most Syrians deplore violence and oppose internal and external groups committing it.

According to the ICRC, Syria is involved in a “non-international armed conflict.” Previous statements said violence occurred only in certain hotspots. “Hostilities have spread to other areas of the country,” said ICRC.

“International humanitarian law applies to all areas where hostilities are taking place.”

War rages in Syria. The laws of war apply. ICRC’s statement changes nothing.

In times of war, international law and international humanitarian law apply. Gertrude Stein’s most famous quote is relevant. “A rose is a rose is a rose,” she said. She meant “things are what they are.”

A war crime is a war crime is a war crime. So are crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Charter calls a crime against peace:

(1) “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;” and

(2) “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned” above.

It defines war crimes as:

“Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.”

Crimes against humanity are:

“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity….is a crime under international law.”

Since last year, all of the above apply in Syria.

The 1907 Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities includes similar laws of war.

The US Army Field Manuel 27-10 covers “The Law of Land Warfare.” Section II explains Crimes Under International Law. Paragraph 498 states:

“Any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian, who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Such offenses in connection with war comprise:

Crimes against peace.

Crimes against humanity.

War crimes.”

Paragraph 499 defines War Crimes, saying:

“The term ‘war crime’ is the technical expression for a violation of the law of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. Every violation of the law of war is a war crime.”

Paragraph 500 covers Conspiracy, Incitement, Attempts, and Complicity, saying:

“Conspiracy, direct incitement, and attempts to commit, as well as complicity in the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are punishable.”

These provisions apply to all US military and civilian personnel. They include top commanders, the Secretary of Defense, his subordinates, and the President and Vice President of the United States.

Moreover, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, paragraph 2), all international laws and treaties are the “supreme Law of the Land.”

The UN Charter’s Article 2 states:

“The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members….”

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Article 33 states:

“The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, 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.”

In other words, nations may not settle disputes by planning, instigating, or becoming involved in war. All other means must be used. Only the Security Council can authorize military action in cases when one or more nations attack another.

America, key NATO partners, and complicit regional states violated the laws of war by using proxy forces against Syria. Waging war this way isn’t “civil.”

Belligerent states bear full responsibility. Under international law, they’re guilty of crimes of war and against humanity. 

The Geneva Conventions and Protocol 1 Additional to the Geneva Conventions also apply. Their provisions are explicit with regard to crimes of war and against humanity. 

Attacking civilians is strictly prohibited. Western-directed insurgents target them.

They’re victims. So is Syria’s government. It threatens no one. Nonetheless, it’s been willfully and illegally attacked. Whether by NATO or proxy forces makes no difference. Killing is killing is killing whatever elements are involved.

They’re entitled to sue belligerent states at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It’s the UN’s primary judicial organ. It’s charged with settling legal disputes between nations and providing advisory opinions received from authorized international organizations, agencies and the General Assembly.

According to Francis Boyle, countries like Iran and Syria can request emergency hearings. At issue is preventing further economic sanctions, blockades and/or war.

Washington obstructs peace. It refuses good faith negotiations. It bears full responsibility for violence ravaging Syria. The ICJ has legal authority to hold guilty states accountable.

Hoped for never again became perpetual war. It’s official US policy. Holding it responsible is long overdue. 

So is prosecuting culpable officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Established by the July 1, 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it has jurisdiction over individuals in its 121 member states. 

When they’re unable or unwilling, it’s charged with investigating and trying them for genocide, crimes of war and against humanity. This type lawlessness is too grave to ignore.

ICC prosecutors function largely as imperial tools. Victims, not perpetrators are accused. US officials are flagrantly guilty. It’s vital to hold them accountable. Only then might never again be possible. 

Cut off the head of rogue lawlessness and maybe complicit partners will back off. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Top US officials behind bars may be the best deterrent to war.

A Final Comment

Daily events advance the ball for war. On July 15, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined “Assad receives last warning to stop moving his WMD(s): Top generals defect.” 

Alleged defections of generals, other officers, and entire army units are spurious. So are reports about Syria moving nerve agents, mustard gas and cyanide to northern and central locations for possible use.

At issue is hyping fear and advancing the ball for war. DF claims Western “intelligence channels” gave Assad a “last warning.” Leave these alleged weapons in storage or they’ll “be destroyed from the air.”

This type threat comes perilously close to declaring war. Pretexts are easy to invent. It could come any time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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

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Experience of NATO States Provides Stark Warning To Scotland

July 18, 2012 1 comment

Ekklesia
July 17, 2012

Experience of NATO states provides ‘stark warning’ to SNP

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has today (17 July) expressed concern at the news that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is to reconsider its stance against NATO membership.

The SNP has revealed that a motion on NATO membership, put forward by the party’s leadership, will be considered at its conference in the autumn. The announcement comes amid serious questions over the future of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system in the event of Scottish independence.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, praised the SNP’s long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons as “admirable” but warned that NATO membership could scupper efforts to remove Trident from the Clyde.

“The SNP has a long and admirable history of opposition to nuclear weapons – which has been a fundamental pillar in SNP policy and a strong source of support over the years.” she said.

“Their commitment to the rejection of Trident from the Clyde has been welcomed both north and south of the border. But they must be aware that in reconsidering NATO membership, they are potentially jeopardising their ability to remove Trident from an independent Scotland.

“NATO reaffirmed its status as a nuclear alliance in its most recent ‘Strategic Concept’ in 2010. While Norway and Denmark have both been presented as potential models for Scotland – as NATO members without nuclear weapons – more salient lessons are to be learnt from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“In the first instance, Norway and Denmark were never nuclear weapons states – and it is rather a different matter for a country to reject nuclear weapons which form part of NATO’s nuclear framework and then ask to become a member.”

She concluded: “But more worryingly, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have all called for the removal of US nuclear weapons from their countries and have been unable to extricate themselves from the nuclear obligations of NATO: thus remaining hosts to US tactical nukes. Their experience should provide a stark warning to the SNP of the realities of NATO membership.”

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Scotland: NATO and Nuclear Hypocrisy

July 18, 2012 1 comment

The Courier
July 18, 2012

Letter
Nato stance casts SNP as hypocrites

Sir, – A decision by the SNP to endorse membership of Nato while at the same time rejecting Trident would be immoral and hypocritical. Nato is an alliance that relies on a conditional threat to use weapons of mass destruction.

While not all Nato members have weapons of mass destruction based in their countries, all members are signed up to nuclear weapons being used on their behalf. So in principle, Nato membership carries with it an acceptance of the morality of using weapons of mass destruction. Further, Nato has never even promised not to initiate the use of nuclear weapons.

All those countries that have signed up to the non-proliferation treaties, including the United Kingdom, have promised to work towards nuclear disarmament. The signatories have recognised how disastrous a nuclear war would be. Innocents and non-combatants would be indiscriminately killed and wounded, the environmental damage and a nuclear winter would add thousands of millions more casualties – and Scotland would cease to exist.

The catechism of the Roman Catholic church summarises widely-held Christian belief when it states that: ”Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”

Membership of Nato would also erode the possibility of a principled objection to Trident on moral grounds.

Advocacy of Scottish membership of an alliance such as Nato, which is prepared to use weapons of mass destruction, makes it much more difficult for Scotland, credibly and with integrity, to oppose such weapons and to work towards nuclear disarmament.

Rev David Mumford,
St Andrew’s Rectory,
Castle Street,
Brechin.

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U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf

July 18, 2012 3 comments

Stop NATO
July 17, 2012

U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf
Rick Rozoff

The July 17 edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is establishing an interceptor missile radar station in Qatar, citing unnamed American officials.

When operational, the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance – Model 2 (AN/TPY-2), what its manufacturer Raytheon describes as “the world’s most advanced mobile radar,” will be based in Qatar, analysts cited by the Wall Street Journal said, because the state is host to the largest American air base in the Persian Gulf, the Al Udeid Air Base. An estimated 8,000 U.S. troops are stationed there and at another Qatari base.

The radar will be linked up with the same model X-band radars deployed in Israel in 2008 and activated in Turkey in January of this year.

The AN/TPY-2 radar deployed to Israel’s Negev Desert was accompanied by 120 personnel from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, the first long-term basing of foreign service members in the host country’s history. The radar has a range of 2,900 miles/4,300 kilometers.

Its equivalent in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya is part of the NATO continental European missile shield, though staffed and operated by the Pentagon.

The three radar deployments describe a crescent to the west of Iran.

The only other AN/TPY-2 deployed is in Japan, where it was sent in 2006. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency reports that seven AN/TPY-2s have been produced and three more are currently in production. The destinations for the six not already deployed have not been revealed.

The radar system was designed to support the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile system, though is now being activated to also work in conjunction with the U.S. Navy’s Standard Missile-3 interceptors, both the current ship-based models and the planned land-based versions to be stationed in Romania, Poland and as yet unidentified or undisclosed locations in the next few years.

On Christmas Day last year the U.S. formalized a $3.48 billion arms agreement with the United Arab Emirates which includes selling the Persian Gulf state two Lockheed Martin-produced THAAD batteries, with 96 interceptor missiles, worth $1.96 billion; a $582.5 million contract awarded to Raytheon to produce two AN/TPY-2 radars; and a related Pentagon deal to produce two additional AN/TPY radars worth as much as $363.9 million.

The THAAD missiles deployed to the United Arab Emirates will be the first based outside the U.S., as the only other battery in operation (with two AN/TPY-2 radars) is at Fort Bliss, Texas. They will be integrated with, in addition to the AN/TPY-2 radars in Qatar and Israel, Patriot missile batteries in several Persian Gulf Arab states and U.S. guided missile cruisers and destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors deployed to the area as needed.

The AN/TPY-2 sent to Israel four years ago in September was employed for the Juniper Cobra 10 joint U.S.-Israeli large-scale interceptor missile exercise, unprecedented in scope and intent, which test-fired four missile defense systems and their interceptor components – Israeli-U.S. Arrow 2 and U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3, Standard Missile-3 and THAAD missiles – in the largest joint U.S.-Israeli exercise ever held and the most ambitious, and aggressive, interceptor missile drills held to date.

Juniper Cobra 10 began the month after the Barack Obama administration unveiled its Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile program, one which  substituted for the previous administration’s plans for ten Ground-based Midcourse Defense missiles in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic, both to be bilateral arrangements, a “stronger, smarter, and swifter” – Obama’s words – system that would cover all of NATO territory in Europe and be a NATO project.

At this May’s summit in Chicago, NATO announced initial capability for the missile system with the establishment of a command and control center at the American air base in Ramstein, Germany, the deployment of the Standard Missile-3-equipped guided missile cruiser USS Monterey to the Mediterranean Sea and the activation of the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey.

But the third component, the deployment of a forward-based X-band radar, had, as noted earlier, already been achieved with the missile radar installation in Israel in 2008 which was inaugurated during Juniper Cobra 10.

During the close of the missile exercises the Jerusalem Post cited Pentagon officials stating they would “be used by the US Defense Department to help formulate a new NATO missile shield for Europe.” 

America’s leading news agencies reported the same information during the course of the war games.

Reuters
October 22, 2009

“A major air defense exercise launched with Israel this week will help the United States craft its European missile shield, a U.S. commander said…Featuring in the three weeks of maneuvers is Aegis, a U.S. Navy anti-missile system that the administration of President Barack Obama plans to deploy in the eastern Mediterranean as the first part of a missile shield for Europe announced last month.”

Associated Press
October 27, 2009

“A U.S. military officer said Tuesday that a major missile defense exercise staged by American and Israeli forces will help the development of a planned NATO missile shield for Europe.”

The officer in question explicitly stated, “We’re going to learn a lot of lessons here that will definitely apply to that later system.”

United Press International
October 30, 2009

“On a wider perspective, what the Americans learn from these complex exercises will help shape a NATO defense shield for Europe.”

The Jerusalem Post added:

“Results of the Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise staged by Israeli and American forces…will be used by the US Defense Department to help formulate a new NATO missile shield for Europe, senior defense officials said…The drill was also relevant for a potential European missile shield, since the Americans would need to test their systems in different weather conditions.

“[A] new plan under consideration will include the deployment of US navy ships equipped with Aegis missile defense systems to form a front line in the Mediterranean Sea alongside a few land-based missile systems in Europe.

“The Americans are currently considering which land-based system to use. NATO is pushing for the SM-3, the missile that is the backbone of the Aegis ship-based system, but the US military will likely review other systems as well, including Israel’s Arrow and Arrow 3, development of which began recently and which is being funded by the [Obama] administration.” 

Juniper Cobra 10 will be superseded by this October’s Austere Challenge 12 joint exercise in October which will combine the Israeli four-tiered Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 system with the U.S.’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3, Standard Missile-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense counterparts.

The increasingly advanced, stratified, integrated global interceptor missile grid being developed by the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners is in no manner intended to be defensive in nature. Rather it is designed to neutralize the deterrence capabilities of other nations, their ability to fire missiles in retaliation for first-strike attacks, thereby heightening the threat of such attacks being launched.

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Interview: Call for global outcry against U.S. drone killings

Press TV
July 17, 2012

Activist calls for “a global outcry” against US drone campaign

Audio

Rick Rozoff from Stop NATO has slammed the United States over its drone strikes overseas and called for “a global outcry” against the deadly attacks.

The U.S. has decided to use unmanned drone aircraft to target suspected militants in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and a couple of other countries because firstly, the air strikes cost the U.S. military little, and secondly, no military troops need to risk their lives in the operations, Rozoff told the U.S. Desk on Tuesday.

He said “U.S. drone warfare is murderous,” adding that the targeted assassinations are “in violation of U.S. federal law”.

Since seven years ago, U.S. drone strikes have killed as many as 2,800 civilians in northwestern Pakistan alone, according to Shahzad Akbar, Pakistani attorney and director of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights – an organization that has investigated the U.S. drone operations in Pakistan.

Recent media reports say Pakistan has offered the U.S. a new mechanism encompassing ‘surveillance’ of targeted operations against suspected militants as an alternative to drone strikes in the country’s tribal regions.

The plan, as crafted by Islamabad, involves both the identification of targets by the CIA in the tribal areas and swapping of information with the Pakistani security agencies.

The mechanism is currently figuring in behind-the-scene discussions between Pakistan and the U.S.

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U.S. Policy in the Balkans: Imperial Ambition or Side Issue?

July 17, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
July 16, 2012

US Policy in the Balkans: Imperial ambition or side issue of no great importance?
John Robles

Many questions remain as to the real reasons for the NATO and US bombing of the former Yugoslavia. Was it a test run for an even grander plan of world domination? Was it a political move to draw attention away from a US president’s infidelities? Recently the site Wikileaks began publishing the Statfor e-mails, some of them contain bombshells, others an inside look into the often twisted thinking behind US policy. You decide which one this is.

Recently while going through some information on the Wikileaks site, as many journalists I am sure do, trying to find something of interest or perhaps a bombshell, I came across an e-mail regarding an article by the founder, CEO and self-described chief intelligence officer of the private intelligence corporation Stratfor. The original can be seen here: http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/299114_geopolitical-intelligence-report-russia-kosovo-and-the.html

The reason Stratfor is an important organization to watch, in my opinion, is because they provide intelligence to private individuals and corporations worldwide that is used in the implementation of policy and the formation of plans and goals. Stratfor also closely echoes the official and often unspoken position of the U.S. on issues that have global impact. Those two points and the fact that Stratfor has, or at least wants you to believe they have, close connections to the U.S. intelligence community may allow the observer to obtain a look at the thinking that is used in the formulation of U.S. policy and/or activities.

As a piece currently published on their site shows Stratfor does not hide the U.S.’ imperial ambitions or its plans at world domination, which brings me back to the subject of the e-mail I mentioned above. The article by George Friedman, about which the e-mail was written, was disturbing as it describes in an open, candid and arrogant manner U.S. policy regarding Kosovo, the Balkans and the former Yugoslavia.

The article itself was written in December of 2007 but is still revealing enough to be of historical significance as it shows the attitude of the U.S. towards Russia as well, during a time when Russia welcomed the U.S. with (for lack of a better expression) open arms.

His first claim regarding Kosovo, is that it is an “archaic topic”, he also says it isn’t regarded seriously and that you “… hear about it but you don’t care.” This is definitely a point that the Serb people would have a problem with and clearly shows a belittling attitude toward the whole conflict.

His comments about Russia are no better and he states that at the time of the Yugoslavia campaign, Russia was weak and its wishes were irrelevant. He goes on to describe how the U.S. intentionally lied to Russia so Russia would end the war the U.S. started, and was apparently helpless to stop, by promising Russia a peacekeeping role in Kosovo which the U.S. never allowed. He also repeats how the events in Kosovo “fly in the face of Russia” as if this alone is reason enough for what they are doing in Serbia.

Mr. Friedman goes on to admit that the so called “atrocities” that were supposed to have occurred in Kosovo and what the Clinton administration said was taking place were all fabrications and that this “was not the point”. So what was the point? The point was that the U.S. and NATO had geopolitical plans for the Balkans and were set on dividing and remaking the region to their own advantage or as Mr. Friedman put it “continue the policy of re-engineering Yugoslavia.”

Regarding supporting the independence of Kosovo he admits in perfectly clear terms that the U.S. and NATO (KFOR) are operating “… without either a U.N. or NATO mandate.”

The arrogance continues with opinions-presented-as-fact regarding Russia and Russian thinking or beliefs. Mr. Friedman also makes several statements and claims regarding what President Vladimir Putin was thinking or feeling as if he had access to the President’s thoughts or emotions. Something completely inappropriate when speaking about a head of state, a leader which it was clear the writer knew almost nothing about.

The piece ends with the following and I quote, “But here is the basic fact: For the United States and its allies, Kosovo is a side issue of no great importance.” I am sure that for the Serbian people, who view Kosovo as an integral and extremely important part of their heritage and country, such a statement and such thinking would be cause for alarm, to say the least.

Neither Mr. Friedman nor Startfor responded to requests for comments or an interview regarding the e-mail in question.

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U.S. Dilemma In Encircling And Targeting China

July 17, 2012 4 comments

Global Times
July 17, 2012

Clinton trip highlights weak points of US return to Asia
By Liu Zongyi*

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Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam attempt to grab islands and waters which don’t belong to them by riding the back of the tiger. They hope to get massive military assistance from the US, which the US can’t afford to provide.

India and Japan have their own strategic considerations. The US sees India, the biggest democracy in the world, as a mainstay of its Asia-Pacific strategy and a chess piece to balance China.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a trip encircling China recently. From Japan to Mongolia then to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Clinton mainly focused on three things: backing Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines in disputes with China over maritime territorial sovereignty, balancing China’s economic influence in Asia by enhancing trade and economic ties with Southeast Asian countries, and promoting support for democracy and human rights as the core of US Asian strategy while attacking China’s development model.

Her every topic targeted China by insinuation. It seems the US is tightening its encirclement of China, but on the other hand we can see the weakness of the US “back to Asia” strategy.

The Obama administration’s “back to Asia” strategy covers political and military fields as well as trade and the economy. But the strategy seemingly is gradually losing its edge.

From the military perspective, in recent years the US has enhanced its deployment in the Asia-Pacific region and interfered in territorial disputes between China and relevant countries. The South China Sea disputes and the Diaoyu Islands dispute have been intensified as the US wedges in. But the US aims at checking China by taking advantage of these disputes rather than directly confronting China. Getting involved in an armed conflict with China is the least desirable option.

But things won’t happen as the US wants. Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam attempt to grab islands and waters which don’t belong to them by riding the back of the tiger. They hope to get massive military assistance from the US, which the US can’t afford to provide.

India and Japan have their own strategic considerations. The US sees India, the biggest democracy in the world, as a mainstay of its Asia-Pacific strategy and a chess piece to balance China. However, India has clearly demonstrated that its policy approach toward China should be a balance of competition and cooperation, which greatly frustrates the US.

On the Diaoyu Islands issue, the US claims the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan is applicable to the Diaoyu Islands. But it also states it won’t adopt any stand in the dispute. The US takes an ambiguous attitude and hopes to maintain tension between China and Japan. Meanwhile, it worries that extreme right-wing Japanese politicians might unscrupulously trigger an armed conflict.

As for most East Asian countries, they neither want to see instability caused by the US Asian strategy nor to choose sides between China and the US. All these suggest that the US is facing a dilemma.

Clinton’s Asian tour mainly focused on promoting trade and economic relations, catering to some Asian countries’ pleasure. Clinton visited Southeast Asian countries like Laos and Cambodia to enhance economic assistance to these countries. The US hopes to block the economic integration of East Asia and compete with China for economic influence. But if the US could really shift its competition focus with China from the political and military fields to the economic field, this would benefit regional stability and prosperity in East Asia.

Enhancing economic and trade ties could be taken as an insightful strategic choice, but value diplomacy has been outdated. The empty remarks on democracy by Clinton and attacks on China’s development model mirror the weak US economy and its stranded politics. Realizing democracy needs certain conditions. However, an undisputable fact is that many countries fell into chaos as the US imposed its democratic model on them.

Some countries become victims of populism after adopting the democratic system, like Mongolia, which is rich in natural resources while greatly lags behind economically.

Even developed Western countries are deeply mired in financial and economic crises because social and economic reform cannot be promoted due to factionalism.

China’s development model is not sound, but China is on the path of economic and social reform and development, which makes the Chinese model more attractive against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

The US Asian strategy has its deficiencies and constraints from military, economic and ideological perspectives. More questions and doubts will be poured out on the sustainability of the US “back to Asia” strategy.

China advocates establishing a new type of relationship between China and the US in which the overall pattern cannot be influenced by specific problems. Clinton also stated that the US is willing to have constructive relations with China in a meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently. Avoiding conflicts is the first step. The Sino-US relationship should develop based on mutual respect, mutual promotion, and peaceful competition.

*The author is a research fellow of the Center for South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

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Pentagon Accelerates Carrier Group Deployment To Persian Gulf

July 17, 2012 3 comments

Xinhua News Agency
July 17, 2012

Pentagon accelerates carrier group deployment to Gulf


USS John C. Stennis

WASHINGTON: U.S. Navy will deploy the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and its strike group four months earlier than previously scheduled and shift its destination to the Gulf region, maintaining two carrier strike groups in that area, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Monday.

The deployment will take place late this summer in response to the Central Command’s requirement for an extended carrier presence, Little said. The Central Command oversees the Gulf region.

The move affects 5,500 sailors aboard the Stennis and the Aegis cruiser USS Mobile Bay. The deployment was requested by Central Command commander James Mattis, and was approved last week by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

“The decision will help support existing naval force requirements in the Middle East and reduce the gap caused by the upcoming departure of the USS Enterprise Strike Group,” Little said. “It is in keeping with our long-standing commitments to the region.”

The Stennis strike group was due to deploy at the end of the year to U.S. Pacific Command. The group returned from duty in the Middle East in March. Currently, the USS Enterprise and USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups are deployed to U.S. Central Command. The USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is due to relieve the Lincoln group shortly. The Stennis group will relieve Enterprise.

Little said the accelerated deployment to the Central Command area of responsibility is not aimed at any specific threat, nor is it a direct response to tensions with Iran.

The U.S. military is “always mindful of the challenges posed by Iran, but …this is not a decision based solely on the challenges posed by Iran,” Little said.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Drones Recognize No Miranda Rights

July 17, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
July 16, 2012

Do drones know Miranda rights?
Dmitry Babich

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Under Obama, American drones reportedly killed hundreds of suspects, destroying in the process thousands of civilians, with only ONE MORE PERSON being put in the infamous Guantanamo camp, which “humanistic” candidate Obama had promised to close during his electoral campaign.

Now, how would THIS president Obama react to some unknown “militants” (let’s use the Western media’s preferred term) setting off bombs near U.S. government buildings in the country’s capital every day, killing children on their way to school in the process? And this is what happens in Damascus. How would Obama treat the “combatants” who make “targeted liquidations” of U.S. army officers? (“Targeted liquidations” is the term used by the French daily Le Figaro to describe the drive-by shootings of Syrian general Mohammed Omar al-Derbas and colonels Abdel Karim al-Raei and Fouad Shaaban, assassinated before the bombardments of Homs and Houla)?

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During a short press conference before meeting UN envoy Koffi Annan today, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made some emotional remarks about the “moral” accusations leveled at Russia and China by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While not mentioning madam secretary’s name, Lavrov said it is “incorrect” to put all the blame for the situation in Syria on Russia and China, not to speak about “the threats that they [Russia and China] will pay for it.”

Lavrov was obviously referring to Mrs. Clinton’s recent statement at the so called “Friends of Syria” conference in France. Mrs. Clinton said there Russia and China would “pay a price” for allegedly supporting Annan’s regime.

One should not shy away from moral dilemmas, but one is automatically confronted with the question: who are the judges? What makes president Obama and secretary Clinton qualified to pass moral judgments on the indeed intricate problem of the moral responsibility of the Russian or, for that matter, Syrian government? What enables the Western press to take such a high moral ground on “Russia’s responsibility” for developments in Syria (with the questions of the moral responsibility of the Syrian opposition and its foreign sponsors wisely avoided). The question is made ever more timely by the fact that Mrs. Clinton in recent months has returned to some of the “tough” policies of former president George W. Bush, who had based his approach to the Middle East on unlimited use of warfare (something Mr. Obama now euphemistically calls “leaving all options on the table”).

“It is interesting to note that Hillary Clinton, who started her career as foreign secretary stressing a certain contrast between herself and the former president George W. Bush, in the end of her tenure returned to some of Bush’s approaches,” notes Yelena Suponina, the head of department of Asian and Middle eastern Studies at the Russian Institute for Strategic Research. “Obviously, there are some patterns in American Middle East policies that cannot be changed for long.”

And were they ever changed? If we believe the recently published stories in American media, some of the morally questionable traits of this policy in fact never changed. A series of articles published in the New York Times reveals even a certain stiffening of the White House’s approach. For example, Obama in fact adopted a “take no prisoners policy” towards terrorist suspects in the Middle East. Under Obama, American drones reportedly killed hundreds of suspects, destroying in the process thousands of civilians, with only ONE MORE PERSON being put in the infamous Guantanamo camp, which “humanistic” candidate Obama had promised to close during his electoral campaign.

“While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantanamo,” NYT’s Jo Becker and Scott Shane wrote in their review of Obama’s drone strategy.

Both authors point out that Obama’s “killing lists” got longer and longer despite the fact that Obama’s America did not suffer from large-scale terrorist acts, unlike George W. Bush’s America which went through the 9/11 disaster in 2001. “What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough,” the New York Times kindly notes, adding that Mr. Obama’s own system of evaluating civilian casualties “in effect counts all military-age males in strike zone as combatants.” Obviously, the U.S. is still at war with terrorism, despite having had no hostile action on its territory for the last 10 years.

Now, how would THIS president Obama react to some unknown “militants” (let’s use the Western media’s preferred term) setting off bombs near U.S. government buildings in the country’s capital every day, killing children on their way to school in the process? And this is what happens in Damascus. How would Obama treat the “combatants” who make “targeted liquidations” of U.S. army officers? (“Targeted liquidations” is the term used by the French daily Le Figaro to describe the drive-by shootings of Syrian general Mohammed Omar al-Derbas and colonels Abdel Karim al-Raei and Fouad Shaaban, assassinated before the bombardments of Homs and Houla)? How would he react to someone’s taking a whole detachment of American servicemen as hostages? (And such was the Free Syrian Army’s action that unleashed the battle for Homs).

So, how would Obama react to such actions? The answer would be: drones at least, nuclear bombs at most. But somehow Obama and Clinton deny the same luxury of self-defense to Assad. Is it just because his bombs are not as smart as American ones? Yes, American bombs are smarter, but smart weapons put their owners before ever more terrible moral choices. The New York Times reports that Obama, when deciding to “liquidate” Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistani Taliban, knew that Mehsud’s wife and in-laws were in the same home. But the American president still preferred “the killing option.” In a way, his moral position in this situation is even more compromised than that of Assad’s artillerists, who at least don’t know for sure which family their shells are going to kill.

Amnesty International looks somewhat less smart than American bombs when it requires Assad, in the current situation, to hold “fair trials” for terrorists. As if the U.S., with its death squads of drones and “signature strikes” against “suspicious compounds,” bothers to have such trials. Gone are the days when former Vice President Richard Cheney suspected Obama of “giving the terrorists the rights of Americans, letting them lawyer up and reading them their Miranda rights.” Drones know no lawyers and “smart missiles” recognize no Miranda rights.

Categories: Uncategorized

Strategically Timed Syrian Massacre

July 16, 2012 5 comments

SteveLendmanBlog
July 15, 2012

Strategically Timed Syrian Massacre
By Stephen Lendman

Insurgents are enlisted, armed, funded, trained, and directed by Western and regional special forces.

They decide strategy, targets, and timing. Armies need leadership to operate effectively. So do killer gangs.

Special forces have tactical expertise. They’re directing Washington’s war on Syria. They plan and lead attacks and bombings.

Treimseh’s massacre was strategically timed. Questions about it remained unanswered. More on that below. 

Coming when the Security Council considered harsher anti-Assad measures raises obvious red flags. 

Why then is clear. At issue is pressuring Russia and China to bend. So far both countries hold firm. They oppose further sanctions and outside intervention.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was clear, saying.

“In case (Western countries) decided to submit the draft resolution for voting on Thursday although they already know that it is rejected, Russia will veto the draft resolution.”

Washington won’t quit trying. Hillary Clinton is an unabashed war criminal. She had direct involvement in America’s war on Libya. She’s at it again targeting Iran and Syria.

She’s pushing for Security Council authorization for war without saying so. On July 13, a State Department Press Statement headlined “Assad Regime Massacre in Traymseh,” saying:

She’s “outraged (about) another massacre committed by the Syrian regime” she claims killed “over 200 men, women, and children….”

Official death toll numbers aren’t known. Reports suggest insurgents comprised most of them. 

Despite no corroborating evidence, she claims “the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians. Syria cannot be peaceful, stable, or democratic until Assad goes and a political transition begins.”

“Those who committed these atrocities will be identified and held accountable.”

“(T)he international community must keep increasing the pressure on the regime….”

“The Security Council should put its full weight behind” regime change.

There must “be consequences for non-compliance.”

“History will judge this Council. Its members must ask themselves whether continuing to allow the Assad regime to commit unspeakable violence against its own people is the legacy they want to leave.”

Washington’s bloodstained hands are all over the Treimseh massacre. Obama officials also bear direct responsibility for earlier Houla and Qubair ones. 

Expect much more ahead. Likely larger-scale false flags are planned. Assad will be wrongfully blamed. 

Washington will either get Security Council authorization for intervention or circumvent it. None approved war on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.

International law is clear. The UN Charter prohibits attacking another nation except in self-defense – until the Security Council acts. It has final say. 

The right of self-defense is limited solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression, such as heavily armed Western-backed Syrian insurgents.

International law supports Assad. He’s obligated to defend his people under armed attack.

At the same time, he must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality.

Necessity permits only attacking military targets.

Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones.

Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.

A fourth consideration requires preventing unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatant civilians.

If these objective aren’t possible, attacks are prohibited, but not when civilian lives are threatened by hostile elements doing most of the killing.

Clearly that’s the case in Syria. 

Just war, humanitarian intervention, and/or responsibility to protect (R2P) notions don’t wash. International law is clear and unequivocal. So is constitutional law. Only Congress can declare war, not presidents. 

It hasn’t deterred America’s permanent war policy. Multiple direct and proxy ones rage illegally. Obama itches for more. So does Clinton. Media scoundrels support them.

On July 13, the Washington Post published an AP report headlined ” ‘Outraged’ Clinton demands UN Security Council action after new Syria massacre,” saying:

She demands Security Council action. Without naming either country, she effectively blamed Russia and China for blocking Washington’s rage for war.

She wants Security Council language authorizing stiffer sanctions and clear steps for regime change. Noncompliance assures consequences, she warned.

Ban Ki-moon played his usual complicit role. On July 13, he said:

He’s “outraged by reports of horrific (Treimseh) mass killings.”

Despite no evidence whatever, he “condemn(ed), in the strongest possible terms, the indiscriminate use of heavy artillery and shelling….including by firing from helicopters.”

Again he pointed fingers the wrong way. Assad was wrongfully blamed for Western-backed killings.

“The Syrian Government must halt this bloodshed,” he said.

“I call upon all Member States to take collective and decisive action to immediately and fully stop the tragedy unfolding in Syria. Inaction becomes a license for further massacres.”  

“Members of the Security Council must build on the Action Group communiqué and follow through on their promises to act accordingly.”

He wants regime change. He suggested outside intervention. Initiating it means war. NATO or third party belligerence violates international law. He’s sworn to uphold it.

Like Kofi Annan, his predecessor, his record reflects failure and betrayal. They’re both imperial tools. They spurned their mandate to promote peace. They’re complicit with Washington-led NATO’s crimes of war and against humanity.

They’re both at it again. They’re advancing the ball for war. On Friday, the Security Council met in closed session. Talks got nowhere. Russia and China won’t play Washington’s game.

An unnamed Western diplomat blamed Moscow, saying:

“The problem is Russia. I’m not saying they are not working behind the scenes, but clearly it hasn’t worked and they have to admit that either they haven’t been pushing Assad hard enough or they have and they have failed to persuade him.” 

“At the moment, the effect of what they are doing, maybe not the intention, but the effect, is just to give space for the massacres to continue.”

French President Francois Hollande added:

“A regime has decided to use force to crush its own people.” By blocking tougher action, Russia and China let “chaos and war take hold in Syria.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said:

“Without anticipating the results of the investigation of the crime, on which we insist, we would like to stress that we have no doubt that this atrocity benefits the forces that do not seek peace but obstinately keep trying to sow the seeds of sectarian strife and civil conflict in Syria, and those for whom the grief and suffering of the Syrian people mean nothing.”

He added that reports suggest civilians were shot at point blank range “by unidentified monsters.”

He emphasized that killings occurred while Security Council members met behind closed doors. Without saying so, he likely inferred its suspicious timing.

Russia’s UN envoy Alexander Pankin said:

“We are prepared for various compromises, but there is the ‘red line’ that we cannot step over.” 

Conflict resolution can’t succeed “with the stick of sanctions directed against only one party to the Syrian process – the government.”

Russia drafted a resolution extending UNSMIS observers another three months.

Washington, Britain, and France want it limited to 45 days. They also insist on a 10 day deadline imposed solely on Syria to end violence and withdraw all troops from cities and towns.

Otherwise they demand Security Council action under the UN Charter’s Chapter VII. They range from economic sanctions to blockades or military intervention if other measures fail.

Pankin knows the risks. He warned about “harsher steps (including) the use of military force” Moscow opposes.

Events in Treimseh are still being sorted out. Insurgents attacked the village and nearby Syrian troops. They counterattacked. Killer gangs were routed. They suffered heavy casualties. 

SANA state media reported it. Many insurgents were captured.

SANA said terrorists “spread across the town before the army entered it, and that this was based on orders they received to attack law-enforcement forces and prevent civilians from going to work.”

Four captured insurgents appeared on Syrian television. They participated with “around 250 gunmen.”

They acted on direct orders. They were surprised when security forces confronted them. Many insurgents were killed. Scores were arrested. Clashes lasted around 90 minutes.

Gunmen had been gathering in and around the town for nearly three weeks. On Thursday, they heard that army forces encircled it. They got orders to attack.

Insurgent Mohammad Sattouf said “he was in charge of fabricating videos of protests and uploading them to YouTube.”

On July 14, SANA said security forces acted “in response to” Treimseh residents calls for help. Death squads were attacking civilians and “exploding a number of houses.”

Large weapons supplies were seized. They include:

“45 machine guns, 13 Nato sniper rifles, 9 RPG launchers, 7 BKC machineguns, 3 mortars, 3 hand-made rockets, 14 pump-action rifles, 10 military pistols, 24 mortar shells, 32 RPG shells, 53 machinegun chargers, 30 sniper rifle chargers, 8 explosive devices, 10 grenades, 150 detonators, 1500 sniper rifle bullets, 5000 BKC machinegun bullets, 4200 machinegun bullets, 500 pistol bullets, 7 gas masks, 5 prism binoculars, 25 satellite wireless devices, 30 shields, in addition to materials for making explosive devices, explosives and large amounts of gunpowder, TNT templates, highly explosive C4 material, a field hospital and an amount of military equipment, stolen cars and registration licenses.”

Eyewitnesses said over 50 civilians were killed and many more injured before security forces arrived. Most deaths likely were insurgents.

Western accounts are entirely fabricated. They’re bald-faced lies. Media scoundrels regurgitate them. They’re complicit in Washington’s rage for war. Attacking Syria could happen any time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghan Endgame: The Dilemma

July 15, 2012 2 comments

The Nation
July 15, 2012

Afghan endgame – the dilemma
By Imran Malik

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The US would like to see a self-serving conducive environment prevail over the South Central Asian Region (SCAR) and APR (Afghanistan-Pakistan Region)…It would also like to ensure that Russia and China remain contained and blocked out of the region with no direct access to a marginalised Iran or the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean…[I]n the final analysis the US would like to see itself directly ascendant, dominant and in exclusive control of the geopolitical/strategic/economic destinies of the SCAR and the APR in particular.

[T]he US will retain its foothold in the APR and SCAR through the establishment of US/Nato bases all around Afghanistan ostensibly to train and support the emerging Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Ideally, it [the US] would like to link Europe to India, including all the regions in between in a seamless trade corridor under its sole oversight and to its sole advantage. The US would also want to encourage the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline while blocking the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, which potentially could have been extended to India and China as well.

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Pakistan blinked!

In a blatant display of overwhelming power and clout, the US forced Pakistan’s hand in the nerve-wracking and vital battle of wits for Nato supply routes and by implication the future of its Afghan campaign. The US’s pressure tactics included a double pincer movement of sorts, comprising a strategic and an economic prong targeting Pakistan’s obvious vulnerabilities.

The strategic prong mainly threatened to declare the Haqqani Network (HN) a terrorist organisation and by implication Pakistan a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’.

The USS Enterprise-led aircraft carrier group was moved off Gwadar to add weight to the argument. The other prong mainly threatened military and economic sanctions, while withholding about $1.2 billion owed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Under pressure the weak and bankrupt Pakistan government capitulated rather spinelessly. The Nato supply routes were reopened – and the first step in the endgame for Afghanistan had been taken!

US design for the Afghanistan-Pakistan Region (APR)

The Geopolitical Dimension: The US would like to see a self-serving conducive environment prevail over the South Central Asian Region (SCAR) and APR. It would like to see a stable Afghanistan and a compliant Pakistan at peace with themselves and with their neighbours. It would also like to ensure that Russia and China remain contained and blocked out of the region with no direct access to a marginalised Iran or the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean. It would also like to see India emerge as a major player in Afghanistan at least, if not in the SCAR.

However, in the final analysis the US would like to see itself directly ascendant, dominant and in exclusive control of the geopolitical/strategic/economic destinies of the SCAR and the APR in particular.

The Geostrategic Dimension: The US has already set about crafting the geostrategic environment for the endgame in Afghanistan. In the next step herein, it will require Pakistan to play a proactive and decisive role in eliminating the terrorist threat (Al-Qaeda, HN, TTP-?) across the APR. It could mean undertaking unilateral/combined military operations against them or bringing/coercing them around to the negotiating table.

Either way, the US will expect Pakistan to play a vital role in neutralising/eliminating this cross-border threat – under the pain of being declared a state sponsoring terrorism and its attendant ramifications!

Further, the US will retain its foothold in the APR and SCAR through the establishment of US/Nato bases all around Afghanistan ostensibly to train and support the emerging Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

The Geo-economic Dimension: The US would like to be the sole determinant of the economic destiny of the region, controlling the mining, flow, transportation, refining and marketing of the minerals/fossil fuels of the region. Further, it would like to have absolute control over the emerging (north-south and east-west) trade routes going across the region like the New Silk Road Project (NSRP).

Ideally, it would like to link Europe to India, including all the regions in between in a seamless trade corridor under its sole oversight and to its sole advantage. The US would also want to encourage the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline while blocking the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, which potentially could have been extended to India and China as well.

It would require Pakistan to mould its policies and fall in line. The economic development of the region will thus remain subject to the vagaries of US national interests.

The Afghan Political Dimension: The US would further want a Northern Alliance (NA) government to be firmly in power in a peaceful and secure Afghanistan with its writ extending far beyond the municipal limits of Kabul to the extremities of Afghanistan’s vast badlands – albeit an unsustainable and patently unfair and undemocratic political dispensation with a minority ruling roughshod over the majority Pashtuns.

Furthermore, the US would like to see the elimination of terrorists, warlords and drug czars and their fiefdoms/businesses. The regional players, including Pakistan, will be expected to remain non-interfering. The US would also expect the international community to help sustain Afghanistan beyond the 2014 Tokyo Conference.

The Dilemma/Pakistan Factor: The main US demand from Pakistan would be for it to unconditionally support all US initiatives in the region, even to the peril of its own national interests. Not only would the US want Pakistan to help the US/Nato/Isaf combine egress from the region safely and securely, but also to ensure that the scourge of international terrorism is eliminated once and for all. Furthermore, it would want Pakistan to support it and its proxies’ continued residual presence in the region.

The national interests of the US and Pakistan in the APR-SCAR remain generally divergent. It may have been relatively easy for Pakistan to concede on the reopening of the Nato supply routes. It will not be so in the case of further US imperatives in the APR/SCAR.

The answer to this dilemma lies in the USA’s acceptance of Pakistan’s genuine national interests. Pakistan desires a friendly government in Kabul with no Indian influence at all and would like to see the majority Pashtuns get their rightful democratic place in any political dispensation in Afghanistan. Pakistan too would like to see the terrorist threat neutralised, but in toto and not selectively.

Pakistan would want the mineral riches of the region to be exploited to the benefit of the people of the region and a continuing mutually beneficial relationship with the US and all countries in the region.

Now, will the US want a willing or an unwilling Pakistan for the endgame? Does the US want to succeed hereon? Will the US still use arrogant, coercive diplomacy, the sickening carrot and stick routine, or will it take a genuine reality check of the emerging geostrategic environment of the APR and modify its policy/strategy accordingly?

It may be time for the US to blink now!

The writer is a retired brigadier and a former defence attaché to Australia and New Zealand.

Categories: Uncategorized
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