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Ha’aretz: Bring Israel Into NATO

August 31, 2012 3 comments

Ha’aretz
August 31, 2012

Bring Israel into NATO
Israeli membership in NATO is a type of long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider.
By Yehuda Lukacs

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Israel, already a de-facto member of the alliance, maintains close ties with several member states. Germany, for example, has built for the Israeli navy several Dolphin-class submarines, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads – viewed as Israel’s second-strike capability.

Normalization of relations with Turkey – NATO’s largest Muslim member – is a vital Israeli national interest. Such a rapprochement is also a NATO interest.

Perhaps Israeli membership in NATO could become part of the “reconciliation package” between the two countries.

Israeli membership in NATO is a type of a bold, long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider as the foundations of a new security system in the most volatile region of the world.

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A nuclear Iran is virtually a fait accompli. A military strike by Israel, the United States or both may delay but will not prevent the Islamic Republic from eventually acquiring such capability.

Decision-makers ought to consider devising a new security architecture, one that would deter Iran and guarantee Israel’s long-term survival. A radical alternative to war is required – one that would make Israel a member of NATO, protected by the “one-for-all, all-for-one” policy of the 28-member alliance.

Injecting the alliance’s reach into the Middle East could provide it with a renewed sense of mission in the post-Cold War environment, especially as the NATO combat presence in Afghanistan is about to draw down in two years.

Iran’s quest for a nuclear option dates back to 1957, when it signed a civil-technical cooperation agreement with the United States under the “Atoms for Peace” program. However, eventual development of nuclear weapons was regarded as reflecting the nation’s greatness and its ambitions to become the region’s preeminent power. After the 1979 revolution, such weapons were also viewed as a potential deterrent vis-a-vis Israel’s nuclear arsenal or other external threats. No credible evidence exists that the regime is irrational or suicidal – as claimed by some – but the current Iranian leadership’s true intentions are unknown and therefore Israel’s concerns are legitimate.

It seems that all the alternatives advocated to deal with the present crisis – sanctions and negotiations, a military strike, or deterrence – will be insufficient by themselves to address Israel’s long-term security. Even if Iran acquires an atomic bomb, it would not dare to attack a NATO member. By itself, an explicit guarantee by the United States to defend Israel might not be taken seriously by the Iranians. But Iran cannot ignore a NATO commitment backed by the full membership.

Israel, already a de-facto member of the alliance, maintains close ties with several member states. Germany, for example, has built for the Israeli navy several Dolphin-class submarines, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads – viewed as Israel’s second-strike capability.

During an interview with this writer in January 2012, a senior member of the German Bundestag acknowledged his country’s commitment: “We subsidize and build these submarines for Israel because guaranteeing Israel’s security has become an integral part of Germany’s identity.”

Notwithstanding the unique German-Israeli relationship, the clear obstacles confronting an Israeli membership in NATO include: Turkey, Israel’s estranged ally, the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel’s own image as a self-reliant power.

Israeli-Turkish ties deteriorated significantly due to the Gaza flotilla incident in May 2010, among other reasons. In all likelihood, Turkey would veto Israel’s accession to NATO (all existing members of the alliance must approve the admission of a new member ). Sooner or later, however, Jerusalem will have to cede to Ankara’s demands for a formal apology for the killing of the pro-Palestinian activists on the Turkish boat and compensation to the victims’ families. Normalization of relations with Turkey – NATO’s largest Muslim member – is a vital Israeli national interest. Such a rapprochement is also a NATO interest.

Perhaps Israeli membership in NATO could become part of the “reconciliation package” between the two countries. A possible incentive for Turkey is to link renewed efforts to seriously address the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to the accession process. Failure to make real progress on the Palestinian issue, as even Defense Minister Ehud Barak has reportedly warned recently in Israel, will likely result in resumption of large-scale violence in the occupied territories, a development dreaded by most Israelis, and could lead to a serious overload on the overstretched Israel Defense Forces. Turkey, which regards itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, could be offered a special role in restarting the derailed peace process.

Ironically, though, Israel could prove to be the staunchest opponent of its own NATO membership. Its national ethos espouses self-reliance and the motto “never again” is ingrained in the nation’s collective psyche. The notion that the international community is taking responsibility for the country’s security and survival might be difficult for Israelis to swallow, especially if a genuine compromise on the Palestinian question is also linked to Israeli membership in NATO.

Israelis may have to face up to the fact that despite their potent military, the threats against their country are at such a level that Israel must become a member of a regional security system. Moreover, they also have to realize that as long as the Palestine issue remains unresolved, the survival of Israel as a Jewish state will continue to be challenged, as is the case now with Iran.

Israeli membership in NATO is a type of a bold, long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider as the foundations of a new security system in the most volatile region of the world.

“A bomb or to bomb” – the popular Hebrew expression meaning living with a bomb or bombing Iran – need not be the only options available.

*Yehuda Lukacs is associate provost for international programs and director of the Center for Global Education at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia.

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“Buffer Zones,” Special Forces: NATO Plans War Against Syria

August 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 31, 2012

UN Security Council urges humanitarian support for Syria
Konstantin Garibov

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“This is an attempt to create safe havens for Syrian militants who will be under protection of NATO aircraft. Needless to say, such an approach to creating security zones is unacceptable, for this will become an attempt to oust Assad and extend most favored nation treatment to militants. Such a strategy is also unacceptable because it will weaken the legitimate Syrian government and consolidate the opposition.”

Meanwhile, more than 200 British special forces have been sent to Syria, according to the UK’s The Daily Star…Experts recall that this month also saw the deployment of US and French special forces in Syria.

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The UN has requested 180 million dollars for humanitarian operations in Syria, with half of this sum already allocated. A statement to this effect was made by Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, during the UN Security Council emergency session on Syria on Friday. According to him, at least 2.5 million Syrians now badly need humanitarian support.

The diplomat urged countries to pump more money into programs pertaining to Syria. He said that Syrians do not need arms, supplied by those who want to further destabilize this Middle Eastern country. He said that he deems it necessary to deploy more UN humanitarian bodies and non-governmental organizations in Syria. Their security should be ensured by both parties to the conflict, according to Eliasson.

For his part, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that a spate of economic sanctions, slapped on Syria by a number of countries without being endorsed by the UN, makes the lives of ordinary Syrians more complicated. He added that the economic blockade makes it impossible for Syrians to meet their basic needs and duly use their basic human rights.

The Friday session focused on the creation in Syria of “buffer zones” or “corridors”. Earlier, the idea was floated by Turkey which stressed the necessity of protecting at least one million Syrians who have been displaced as a result of the war.

For his part, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres referred to the international community’s experience which he said showed that the idea failed to prove its feasibility, a statement that was echoed by Vitaly Churkin. Moscow-based political analyst Pavel Svyatenkov described a proposal on creating buffer zones as a new attempt to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs.

“This is an attempt to create safe havens for Syrian militants who will be under protection of NATO aircraft,” Svyatenkov says, not ruling out these militants’ possible attacks on the Syrian army in the future. “Needless to say, such an approach to creating security zones is unacceptable, for this will become an attempt to oust Assad and extend most favored nation treatment to militants. Such a strategy is also unacceptable because it will weaken the legitimate Syrian government and consolidate the opposition,” Svyatenkov concludes.

Meanwhile, more than 200 British special forces have been sent to Syria, according to the UK’s The Daily Star. The troops are tasked with destroying possible arsenals of chemical and biological weapons there, the newspaper reported. Experts recall that this month also saw the deployment of US and French special forces in Syria.

Analysts draw parallels between the latest developments in Syria and last year’s events in Libya, where the West was involved in a military operation to topple Muammar Gaddafi. The deployment of foreign special forces to Syria came right after the withdrawal of a UN observer mission from the country, something that was initiated by the Unites States, France and Britain. Russia was up in arms against the pullout that Moscow warned might be fraught with an outside interference in Syria’s domestic affairs. It seems, analysts say, that the forecast currently comes true.

Friday sees the expiration of a mandate of UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, whose successor Lakhdar Brahimi is yet to announce an exact plan of his trip to Syria, scheduled for later next month. Earlier this week, Brahimi held talks with representatives of those countries which are interested in the resolution of the Syrian crisis. During the talks, Brahimi specifically urged the diplomats to lend support to his mission.

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Non-Aligned Movement and the Preservation of Peace

August 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
August 31, 2012

NAM, voice of developing countries in a time of drastic change
By Yang Shuyi, Zhu Xiaolong, Du Yuanjiang

TEHRAN: “The preservation of peace…It is in the pursuit of this policy that we have chosen the path of nonalignment in any military or like pact of alliance.” Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and prominent advocate of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), delivered a well-known speech in 1956 explaining why developing countries should follow the non-alignment course.

With NAM’s 16th summit held in Iran’s capital of Tehran from Aug. 26 to 31, heads of states or governments and high officials from over 100 countries and regions, many of which bear little economic or political similarities except that they are from the developing world, gathered again to speak in one voice on major challenges the world is facing, especially in this time of drastic change.

Twenty years after the last days of Cold War, the very scenario that prompts the birth of non-alignment concept, the purpose of NAM’s summit, or of the NAM organization itself, is just as solid as ever: giving a voice to the developing world, so as to promote world peace and cooperation.

As the largest grouping of countries outside of the United Nations, NAM’s membership is particularly concentrated in developing countries.

So far, NAM consists of 120 members, 17 observer countries and 10 observer organizations, representing nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members, or about 55 percent of the world population, which makes its decisions influential.

As the grouping of developing countries, “we should contribute to the solution of the problems in the world today,” Z. Jerkic, a senior official from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s foreign ministry, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Tehran.

“There are so many issues that are of the interest of the members of the Movement, but certainly political crisis are the ones that the focus of attention should be, and also economic issues,” he noted.

Consisting of countries and regions with different economic and political interests, NAM features a loose organizational structure. The one thing that links all the members together, notably, is their common belief in the world peace and cooperation.

Over the years, members of NAM adopt synchronized policies in dealing with various international issues, which leaves a huge impact on the process of policy making at the global level.

NAM’s commitment to peace even predates its establishment in 1961, as in the 1950s prominent leaders such as Indonesian President Sukarno and Indian Prime Minister Nehru already echoed the five principles put forth by late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, which includes mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non- interference in domestic affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.

The world is experiencing dramatic changes, especially the Middle East region that has been witnessing a widespread transformational thunderstorm over the past year and a half. The upheaval in Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, among others, as well as the Iranian nuclear issue, not only affects regional countries but also the whole world.

In May, ministers of NAM countries agreed that the present global scenario pose great challenges in the areas of peace and security, economic development, social progress, as well as rule of law. They also realized that many new areas of concern and challenges have emerged, particularly the global financial and economic crisis.

“It’s a very challenging global environment at the moment. The Movement needs to remain true to its principles, but at the same time must adapt to changing global circumstances,” Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 16th NAM summit.

During the summit, one of the main topics is how to ensure a more just global governance, said the Indonesian minister. “The global governance, the global framework, must allow for the contribution by Non-Aligned Movement countries in the promotion of international peace and security, promotion of social and economic development, promotion of good governance and human rights.”

As the voice of developing countries, NAM continues to strive for the maintenance of international peace and security, a goal that could not be achieved without strengthening and revitalizing NAM in this time of drastic change. Benin’s President Yayi Boni said during the summit that NAM is not against any specific country or government, and called on NAM members to forget about their differences and become “one political voice.”

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U.S. Playing With Balkans-Style Powder Keg In East Asia

August 31, 2012 Leave a comment

China Daily
August 30, 2012

Tread with caution in the East
By Yang Danzhi

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The US is likely to lose its credibility with its faithful ally Japan if it sides with China. But by siding with Japan, it may risk a China-US conflict. Once the situation gets out of control and leads to an armed conflict, will Washington honor the US-Japan security treaty and confront Beijing?

Because of a decline in its hegemony in recent years, the US wants Japan to shoulder more regional responsibilities and play a more proactive role in East Asia, especially to counterbalance the rise of China.

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Amid the intensified diplomatic row over the Diaoyu Islands dispute, Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan’s senior vice-minister of foreign affairs, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday carrying a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to President Hu Jintao.

Noda was reported to emphasize the importance of “maintaining the strategic and beneficial relationship” in the letter, which indicates Japan’s efforts to play down the dispute.

However, to properly handle the dispute, not only Japan and China should deal with each other with calm and reason, but also the US should no longer add fuel to the fire.

For a long time, the United States has considered itself a provider of common security in East Asia and some East Asian countries have appreciated its role. People who advocate the “hegemonic stability theory” believe the US’ presence in East Asia is a prerequisite for peace and security in the region after the end of the Cold War.

The maritime disputes in East Asia, especially the escalation of the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands between China and Japan and the Dokdo Island (called Takeshima Island in Japan) between the Republic of Korea and Japan, are testing the US’ capability of managing a complicated regional situation.

Although the US has repeatedly emphasized the importance of developing and consolidating its ties with China, it recently reiterated that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and Japan, sending a wrong signal to Japan.

In fact, Noda’s government had to act tough on China, because a weak stance could lead to a further decline in his domestic support rate to the delight of Japanese right-wingers, and the Japanese government assumed it could count on the strong support of the US. To some extent, the Diaoyu Islands dispute provides an opportunity for Washington to play its role as Tokyo’s patron and mediator.

Washington should know that it would create suspicion and discontent in one country if it takes the side of the other in the Sino-Japanese dispute. The US is likely to lose its credibility with its faithful ally Japan if it sides with China. But by siding with Japan, it may risk a China-US conflict. Once the situation gets out of control and leads to an armed conflict, will Washington honor the US-Japan security treaty and confront Beijing? No, it will not, even though it is more powerful than China. There are several reasons for that.

Over the past 20 years, the US has been cementing its ties with Japan as the basic shaft of its East Asia strategy. Because of a decline in its hegemony in recent years, the US wants Japan to shoulder more regional responsibilities and play a more proactive role in East Asia, especially to counterbalance the rise of China.

But the US has ignored a basic fact: Though Japan is used to allying with the stronger of two countries, it lacks systematic strategic thinking. Japan wants to become a political power, but it does not have the ability to cope with the complex regional situation independently and cannot even handle its relations with neighbors that have historical grievances. For one, it refuses to genuinely introspect on its atrocities that brought grave disaster on people in East and Southeast Asian countries in the past.

In recent years, China’s rise has added to Japan’s strategic anxiety and has had an impact on Sino-Japanese relations. In this sense, the Diaoyu Islands dispute is a reflection of the structural contradictions between Japan and China.

The possibility of the dispute spinning out of control can’t be ruled out as the nationalist sentiment is still strong in both countries. To respond to the Japanese right-wingers’ provocations and Japan’s continuous plan to “nationalize” the Diaoyu Islands, there were protests against Japan across China and calls for the boycotting of Japanese goods. The Japanese flag was even pulled down from the car of the Japanese ambassador to China, making it even harder for both countries to resolve the dispute.

Hence, it is high time the US stopped adding to the tension, for it doesn’t serve its own interests. Though the US has declared that it will not support either party in the Diaoyu Islands dispute, developments are making it increasingly difficult to remain its neutrality and continue its strategic ambiguity. So structural contradictions between China and the US and between China and Japan could erupt simultaneously, which is the biggest risk to peace in East Asia.

In the long term, the intensifying of the Diaoyu Islands dispute will narrow the room for maneuvering between China and the US, which does not conform to the interests of the two countries.

For the US, the ROK-Japan island dispute is easier to control than the one over the Diaoyu Islands.

First, despite having historical grievances against Japan, the ROK is not deeply worried about Japan’s existing strategic policies. And Japan has no reason to be wary of the ROK’s strategies. In fact, domestic political factors to a large extent determine the two countries’ foreign policies.

Recently, ROK President Lee Myung-bak and Noda saw their domestic support rate slip below 30 percent. But the two governments know that they can divert people’s attention from immediate domestic issues, garner more public support and enhance the reputation of their leaders and parties by resorting to hard-line foreign policies in times of rising nationalist sentiments. Hence, the ROK-Japan island dispute is likely to cool down gradually.

Second, the ROK and Japan are not only eager to guard against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but also are reluctant to see a too powerful China even in the long run.

Also, Japan and the ROK have common interests in the security field and their dispute has not damaged the original framework of security cooperation between them.

Third, the ROK and Japan are part of the US-led security alliance. Since 2010, the US has been trying to build a trilateral – US-ROK-Japan – security cooperation mechanism in Northeast Asia, to which neither the ROK nor Japan has objected.

Such a mechanism can help prevent the ROK-Japan bilateral dispute from escalating. So long as the US continues to pressure, as well as appease the ROK and Japan, they will get back onto the diplomatic track.

Regional cooperation in East Asia has reached a critical stage, while frequent and escalating maritime disputes are impeding the process of regional integration. This may ease Washington’s concerns over East Asian regionalism forming spontaneously.

But an East Asia without cooperation but with a surfeit of disputes could become another Balkans, where nobody can predict accurately when the powder keg is going to explode. And the day it does, it will be disastrous for the countries in the region as well as the US.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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U.S. Carrier Rotation In The Gulf: Preparations For War?

August 31, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 30, 2012

Shift rotation in Gulf: preparations for war?
Ilya Kramnik


USS John Stennis nuclear-powered supercarrier

The US is sending its aircraft carrier John Stennis, accompanied by warships and a submarine, to the Persian Gulf, where it will replace the Enterprise aircraft carrier. The John Stennis will start its mission in the Gulf four months ahead of schedule, and its deployment will allow the US Central Command to keep two aircraft carriers in the region.

A possibility of a new conflict in the Middle East remains high, with Washington seeking to continue to have a free hand, according to Moscow-based Middle East expert Yevgeny Satanovsky.

“All signs point to the strong possibility of a war in the Gulf,” Satanovsky says, praising an array of attempts to prevent this war. “Right now, efforts are being made to ease pressure on Iran, improve ties between Tehran and Arab countries and unblock the Iranian-Israeli conflict. I don’t rule out that the US president will have to take a decision to meddle in a military conflict or launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran, something that stipulates the US president having a host of relevant instruments for the purpose.”

At present, the possibility of a conflict remains as high as at the beginning of this year, when many believed that war was inevitable. At the time, all those war-related speculations prompted the US to dispatch the Enterprise aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf even though the warship was to be mothballed in the spring of 2012, says Moscow-based defense expert Konstantin Bogdanov.

“This is little more than a planned rotation,” Bogdanov says. “The Enterprise’s terms of service has repeatedly been prolonged, and it is only natural that it will be replaced with the John Stennis aircraft carrier. This is a sign that Americans are poised to keep its naval task force of two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region,” he concludes.

Meanwhile, experts say that the two carriers’ arsenal will hardly be enough to launch a full-blown air campaign against Iran. In this vein, speaking of a possible war in the Gulf is now irrelevant, they say, adding, however, that the potential deployment of a third US aircraft carrier would add significantly to the possibility of a war.

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Havelock Ellis: War, a relapse from civilisation into barbarism, if not savagery

August 31, 2012 4 comments

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

Havelock Ellis
From Essays in War-Time (1917)

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Evolution and War

It has sometimes been maintained — never more energetically than to-day, especially among the nations which most eagerly entered the present conflict — that war is a biological necessity. War, we are told, is a manifestation of the “Struggle for Life”; it is the inevitable application to mankind of the Darwinian “law” of natural selection. There are, however, two capital and final objections to this view. On the one hand it is not supported by anything that Darwin himself said, and on the other hand it is denied as a fact by those authorities on natural history who speak with most knowledge. That Darwin regarded war as an insignificant or even non-existent part of natural selection must be clear to all who have read his books.

The case is altered when we turn from savagery to civilisation. The new and more complex social order while, on the one hand, it presents substitutes for war in so far as war is a source of virtues, on the other hand, renders war a much more dangerous performance both to the individual and to the community, becoming indeed, progressively more dangerous to both, until it reaches such a climax of world-wide injury as we witness to-day. The claim made in primitive societies that warfare is necessary to the maintenance of virility and courage, a claim so fully admitted that only the youth furnished with trophies of heads or scalps can hope to become an accepted lover, is out of date in civilisation. For under civilised conditions there are hundreds of avocations which furnish exactly the same conditions as warfare for the cultivation of all the manly virtues of enterprise and courage and endurance, physical or moral. Not only are these new avocations equally potent for the cultivation of virility, but far more useful for the social ends of civilisation. For these ends warfare is altogether less adapted than it is for the social ends of savagery. It is much less congenial to the tastes and aptitudes of the individual, while at the same time it is incomparably more injurious to Society. In savagery little is risked by war, for the precious heirlooms of humanity have not yet been created, and war can destroy nothing which cannot easily be remade by the people who first made it. But civilisation possesses — and in that possession, indeed, civilisation largely consists — the precious traditions of past ages that can never live again, embodied in part in exquisite productions of varied beauty which are a continual joy and inspiration to mankind, and in part in slowly evolved habits and laws of social amenity, and reasonable freedom, and mutual independence, which under civilised conditions war, whether between nations or between classes, tends to destroy, and in so destroying to inflict a permanent loss in the material heirlooms of Mankind and a serious injury to the spiritual traditions of civilisation.

It is possible to go further and to declare that warfare is in contradiction with the whole of the influences which build up and organise civilisation…As soon as civilised society realised that it was necessary to forbid two persons to settle their disputes by individual fighting, or by initiating blood-feuds, or by arming friends and followers, setting up courts of justice for the peaceable settlement of disputes, the death-blow of all war was struck. For all the arguments that proved strong enough to condemn war between two individuals are infinitely stronger to condemn war between the populations of two-thirds of the earth. But, while it was a comparatively easy task for a State to abolish war and impose peace within its own boundaries — and nearly all over Europe the process was begun and for the most part ended centuries ago — it is a vastly more difficult task to abolish war and impose peace between powerful States. Yet at the point at which we stand to-day civilisation can make no further progress until this is done. Solitary thinkers, like the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, and even great practical statesmen like Sully and Penn, have from time to time realised this fact during the past four centuries, and attempted to convert it into actuality. But it cannot be done until the great democracies are won over to a conviction of its inevitable necessity.

War is not a permanent factor of national evolution, but for the most part has no place in Nature at all; it has played a part in the early development of primitive human society, but, as savagery passes into civilisation, its beneficial effects are lost, and, on the highest stages of human progress, mankind once more tends to be enfolded, this time consciously and deliberately, in the general harmony of Nature.

War and Eugenics

“Wars are not paid for in war-time,” said Benjamin Franklin, “the bill comes later.”

It is scarcely necessary to add that all [the] bald estimates of the number of direct victims to war give no clue to the moral and material damage — apart from all question of injury to the race — done by the sudden or slow destruction of so large a proportion of the young manhood of the world, the ever widening circles of anguish and misery and destitution which every fatal bullet imposes on humanity, for it is probable that for every ten million soldiers who fall on the field, fifty million other persons at home are plunged into grief or poverty, or some form of life-diminishing trouble.

This consideration brings us to those “moral equivalents of war” which William James was once concerned over, when he advocated, in place of military conscription, “a conscription of the whole youthful population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature.” Such a method of formally organising in the cause of civilisation, instead of in the cause of savagery, the old military traditions of hardihood and discipline may well have its value. But the present war has shown us that in no case need we fear that these high qualities will perish in any vitally progressive civilisation. For they are qualities that lie in the heart of humanity itself. They are not created by the drill-sergeant; he merely utilises them for his own, as we may perhaps think, disastrous ends.

Morality in Warfare

There are some idealistic persons who believe that morality and war are incompatible. War is bestial, they hold, war is devilish; in its presence it is absurd, almost farcical, to talk about morality. That would be so if morality meant the code, for ever unattained, of the Sermon on the Mount. But there is not only the morality of Jesus, there is the morality of Mumbo Jumbo. In other words, and limiting ourselves to the narrower range of the civilised world, there is the morality of Machiavelli and Bismarck, and the morality of St. Francis and Tolstoy.

As a matter of fact, this charge of “barbarism” against those methods of warfare which shock our moral sense must not be taken too literally. The methods of real barbarians in war are not especially “barbarous.” They have sometimes committed acts of cruelty which are revolting to us to-day, but for the most part the excesses of barbarous warfare have been looting and burning, together with more or less raping of women, and these excesses have been so frequent within the last century, and still to-day, that they may as well be called “civilised” as “barbarous.”

The fact seems to be that while war is nowadays less chronic than of old, less prolonged, and less easily provoked, it is a serious fallacy to suppose that it is also less barbarous. We imagine that it must be so simply because we believe, on more or less plausible grounds, that our life generally is growing less barbarous and more civilised. But war, by its very nature, always means a relapse from civilisation into barbarism, if not savagery. We may sympathise with the endeavour of the European soldiers of old to civilise warfare, and we may admire the remarkable extent to which they succeeded in doing so. But we cannot help feeling that their romantic and chivalrous notions of warfare were absurdly incongruous.

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U.S. Plays Double Game In China-Japan Island Dispute

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
August 30, 2012

Commentary: U.S. should stop playing double game
Edited by RR

BEIJING: An awkward moment was seen Tuesday when a U.S. State Department spokeswoman shunned a question from a Xinhua reporter regarding the territorial status of the Diaoyu Islands.

At a regular briefing, Victoria Nuland ignited a controversy by saying that the U.S.’s official name for the Diaoyu Islands is the Senkakus, Japan’s naming for the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

She then moved hastily to the next question without explaining the contradiction between Washington’s self-proclaimed neutrality and its commitment to Japan to provide necessary security support for the islands should they come under attack.

It is the double game the United States plays that reduces Nuland to silence.

Though asserting it does not take a position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, Washington has never ceased to employ gamesmanship to roil the waters in the region.

Take the naming of the islands for example. It is a normal practice and a show of neutrality for a third party to simultaneously mention the names used by all the claimants when it comes to a disputed territory, but Washington refuses to follow that practice.

Though the choice of name possesses no legal effect, it does have a political connotation, which is explained by Washington’s series of moves.

As tensions between China and Japan continued to rise and opened a huge rift within the region, Washington staged a 37-day joint drill with Tokyo, stirring up the already volatile waters.

What’s more, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will discuss tensions in the South China Sea during an upcoming trip to China, suggested the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the Japan-U.S. security pact, lending veiled support to Tokyo’s claim over the islands.

All these moves show that Washington has strayed off its commitment to not taking sides in the territorial dispute between China and Japan, which, in part, stemmed from U.S. strategic concerns that a rising China would be a threat.

Cold War thinking would be detrimental to China-U.S. relations, which are increasingly important for both regional and world peace and stability.

To be trustworthy partner, the United State should back up its words with actions and abandon the double game.

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Serving NATO: Most Australian Combat Deaths Since Vietnam

August 30, 2012 3 comments

Agence France-Presse
August 30, 2012

Australian military suffers worst day since Vietnam

Five Australian troops were killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan in what Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday described as the nation’s deadliest day in combat since the Vietnam War.

The deaths, which included three killings in an “insider attack” by an Afghan solider, brought to 38 the number of Australian lives lost in the conflict.

“This is a very big toll…this is our single worst day in Afghanistan,” said Gillard, who cut short a trip to the Pacific Islands Forum to return home and deal with the fallout.

“Indeed this is the most lost in combat since the days of the Vietnam War.”

Australia’s acting defence chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin said the first incident occurred inside a patrol base near Tirin Kot in the restive southern Uruzgan province where about 1,500 Australian troops are deployed.

In the second, two Australian special forces soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed in Helmand province.

“Three Australian soldiers from the 3RAR task group were shot and killed when an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire with an automatic weapon from close range,” he told reporters.

The dead soldiers were aged 40, 23, and 21 and were relaxing at the end of the day when the Afghan opened fire, he added.

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NATO Secretly Authorizes Syrian Attack

August 30, 2012 3 comments

Press TV
August 29, 2012

NATO secretly authorizes Syrian attack
By Gordon Duff

No announcement was made, no plans or timetable published, simply a vote on authorization of force which passed unanimously by member and included non-member states unanimously.”

Yesterday afternoon, Monday, August 28, 2012, in a meeting in Brussels, NATO military leaders in consultation with “telephonic liaison” with officers of military forces in several former Soviet Republics, major African states, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states came to a combined decision to act against Syria.

Two issues were on the agenda: 

1. How climate change in Greenland will effect geopolitics, immigration and military affairs for the EU 

2. Syria and the potential for Russian and Chinese intervention.

3. Iran was not an official agenda item but it is an unspoken conclusion that, if China and/or Russia stand aside for interference by NATO in Syria’s internal affairs, this will be seen as an authorization for incursions into Iran, a systematic “Balkanization” based on a prescribed formula of “manufactured and simulated internal political and social strife.”

No announcement was made, no plans or timetable published, simply a vote on authorization of force which passed unanimously by member and included non-member states unanimously. 

News stories throughout North America and Europe earlier in the day were filled with reports of mass killings by the Syrian Army and the presence of Iranian troops in Syria. True or not, these stories represent a pre-staging for the NATO conference. 

The critical reporting issue involves rhetoric. We moved, yesterday, from discussions of “fighting” to “systematic execution of hundreds of civilians.” 

No video nor photos were included to verify neither claims nor sources given other than reports from “rebel forces.” 

Recent consultation with friends in the Pentagon as to Syria’s air defense system indicated that the US has, in place, a play to destroy the command and control capability of Syria’s system. 

The problems are twofold: 

1. Russian technicians man the Syrian system 

2. The S300P2 system Syria uses is extremely “robust” 

An additional political consideration is a simple one, there is no UN authorization. Both Russia and China have vetoed even sanctions against Syria much less authorized an attack. 

Thus, there is no existing authority capable of justifying an attack. 

In an interview this week at the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) conference in Tehran, attended by 120 member states, a huge defeat for NATO interests in the area, this interview yielded some substantive and surprising facts.

Press TV: Certain powers have been trying to isolate Iran, actually, by not holding such a conference at such a high ranking level. As you said, this all has failed. 

Now tell us about all the sanctions against Iran which have propagated against Iran, that Iran should be isolated, but as you said it’s all been failed. What is really important is that the agenda of the 688-point draft document which talked about, as you call and urge all countries to make the world free from any nuclear weapons. 

You were a senior expert in the IAEA as an inspector. Tell us about that and also with the particular focus on Israel which has not yet signed up to the NPT. 

Abu Shadi: I oppose strongly any kind of accusation on any state based on intelligence information. All the accusations given to the nuclear program in Iran is based only on intelligence information. There is no single proof that Iran is deviating from its commitment from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

I am very surprised that the Security Council took four decisions, sanctions against Iran just because of rumors that the intelligence source may think there is something. 

I think this policy should be changed. The Security Council and its way of veto, and its limited number only to the big powers should be changed. I think that will also be one of the points to be addressed in this conference. I believe strongly that that situation, which is actually politically influenced by the West, should be changed. 

With respect to your second part about the NPT, in fact, almost all the states in the world respects the Non-Proliferation [Treaty] except the five weaponized states, which they should reduce their weapons which didn’t happen up until today, and the three or four states which did not sign the NPT including Israel. Israel is the only state in the Middle East who did not sign the NPT. 

None of the Western countries who are accusing not only Iran but before also Iraq, Libya, Syria and even Egypt, considered any accusation to what the Israelis are doing. I believe this bias in the international organization should be stopped. 

Shadi makes some particularly interesting points and raises some concerns few had noticed. His most damning statement, of course, is that the Security Council, a carryover from a war 70 years ago, certainly a demonstration of oligarchic rule at the United Nations, has been directed at Iran. 

In particular, he notes that the council’s unilateral and undemocratic decisions, followed by nations, China and Russia, who defended Syria, were aimed at Iran but backed by no presentation of facts or even qualified intelligence assessments. In fact, since Colin Powell’s humiliating WMD presentation before the UN, no “American fact” has been taken seriously nor is likely to. 

CNN quotes a top Powell aid: 

A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state’s presentation to the United Nations on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was “the lowest point” in his life. 

“I wish I had not been involved in it,” says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. “I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life.” 

Actual risks and ramifications 

Top intelligence analysts in private consultation fear a larger Middle East war. “Russia and China won’t stand back, not with the US planning a unilateral moves on Africa and its resources. It’s like 1947 again with Truman and the Marshall plan, encirclement, but a war over, not just resources, but a world war against what has now seen as the real threat, what Americans call the “middle class.” 

Thus, taking Syria without taking Iran is “not in the cards.” Here I return to the words of H. G. Wells, in his War of the Worlds. His grasp in this fiction well over a century old reflects on our times in a curious and wonderfully literate manner: 

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. 

“Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. 

“The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts. And looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of… 

“And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety–their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours–and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity.” 

Martians, this is how NATO and Israel look on the world, as expressed through the prose of Wells. Their gaze “cool and unsympathetic,” as drone warfare and their plans, calculated acts of false flag terror, kidnappings, assassinations, the abomination of mythical news reporting.

The end of the road, this path of “hubris” could well be world war, least of all fuel price increases that collapse the currencies and economies. 

Talking of death is nothing as we are now pre-staged to look on life as nothing, all victims are “militants” if you want them dead or “collateral damage” when you err. 

Iran’s position chairing NAM makes them a harder target. The general criticism by many NAM members, the dictatorial rule of the United Nations by the Security Council, has not prevented the Syrian conflict from becoming a threat to world peace. 

For Iran, their choice seems, on the surface, to be in aiding Syria, negotiations, using oil leverage with India, China and others and predicting how the west is plotting. 

If Iran falls, it will be only another domino. 

 
Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic representative for UN humanitarian and economic development efforts. Gordon Duff has traveled to over 80 nations. His articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest. 

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Energy Strategy And U.S. Support Of Authoritarian Regimes

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 29, 2012

US and support of authoritarian regimes

The United States has repeatedly touted its mission of spreading democracy across the world. In reality, it is the United States that remains the main source of support for authoritarian rulers, among them Washington’s friends and foes. Here, it is worth quoting one of the US presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, as saying that “he [Nicaraguan dictator Somoza] is, of course, a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch”.

At present, authoritarianism on post-Soviet space is mainly financed and backed by the West and the United States. Washington is boosting relations with the Turkmen authorities and is involved in a complicated political game with Kazakhstan. Also, the United States supports authoritarian methods by the Georgian president and develops cooperation with Azerbaijan. US authorities hail the authoritarian regimes of these countries, which are closely intertwined in terms of the development of the oil and gas sector.

For example, during recent talks between members of the Turkmen delegation and chief executives of the leading US oil and gas companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips, in Washington, representative of US business circles signaled their readiness to help Turkmenistan fulfill a strategy of diversification of its energy exports to the international market.

The US business people also indicated the intent to take an active part in rendering services and implementing a host of projects to construct new trans-national pipelines and new facilities related to the oil and gas sector. During the talks, the sides also discussed the US businessmen’s possible participation in a variety of projects in Turkmenistan, such as the development of new technologies and investments. Also, Washington said that “the United States appreciates Turkmen’s role in maintaining good neighborly relations with neighboring countries”, in particular when it comes to dealing with a raft of issues related to Afghanistan.

As for US-Kazakh relations, they are based on a strategic partnership which is characterized by a wide spectrum and a deep degree of interaction. Bilateral relations rest on a solid international treaty framework. Annual US-Kazakh political consultations add significantly to bolstering bilateral ties.

In 2012, a decision was made to upgrade bilateral political consultations to the Kazakh-US Commission for Strategic Partnership. During the first session of the consultations in September 2010, the US State Department touted Kazakhstan as “the only Central Asian country with which the United States has such a comprehensive and detailed bilateral cooperation agenda”. The United States remains one of Kazakhstan’s largest trade partners. In 2011, the two countries’ trade turnover amounted to 2,743 billion dollars, a 26-percent increase as compared to 2010, when the figure stood at 2,181 billion dollars. In addition, the United States has repeatedly endorsed Kazakhstan’s drive to join the WTO before the end of 2012.

It is common knowledge that US authorities support the policy pursued by Mikheil Saakashvili. The United States backs Tbilisi’s push for entering NATO as Georgia currently takes part in an array of NATO operations in Afghanistan. Speaking during the opening of the Georgian-US Commission for Strategic Partnership in Batumi in June 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Georgia makes its own contribution to ensuring global security by taking part in NATO operations in Afghanistan, where it will soon be the first contributor among non-NATO members. We welcome and appreciate this”.

As for Azerbaijan, it has long been a supporter of the United States in post-Soviet space and a main entity to implement the Greater Caspian strategy. Back in September 1994, the United States and Azerbaijan signed what was billed as a “contract of the century” – an agreement on dividing production related to the development of the Azeri Chirag and Guneshi oil fields over thirty years.

In 2006, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in the Caspian region was put into operation. The pipeline began to deliver oil supplies bypassing Russia. Despite the fact that the project’s economic feasibility was never confirmed because of false information about the real natural resources of Azerbaijan, the United States signaled its readiness to render financial assistance to the project, if necessary.

Also, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline was constructed in the South Caucasus. In this vein, Azerbaijan’s participation was seen by the United States as the first step in implementing the Greater Caspian strategy. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline were to become a link to be used to create unified systems of main oil and gas transportation pipelines which are designed to deliver Kazakh oil and Turkmen gas.

Aside from supporting authoritarian regimes on post-Soviet space, the United States also backs South Sudan’s authoritarian regime in its war with Sudan despite the fact that South Sudan’s actions were condemned by the United Nations. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit holds a hard-line position because he is constantly supported by the United States, which helped South Sudan deal with “a dictatorship regime in Khartoum”.

Speculation is rife that a US military base will soon be stationed on the territory of the new state. It is already touted as the US’ largest base in Africa. Also, US companies are lobbying for the construction of an oil pipeline which will link South Sudan’s deposits with the Kenyan port of Lamu on the Indian Ocean coast.

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2012: Year Of U.S. Africa Command Juggernaut

August 30, 2012 1 comment

Southern Times
August 28, 2012

AFRICOM juggernaut comes to town
Edited by RR

Windhoek: The US already has more than 2,000 troops at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti to combat “terrorism and piracy”.

America also has agreements with Gabon, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia for use of local military bases, dubbed “lily pads”, as and when it needs.

Since 2007, Washington has made a concerted push to permanently house AFRICOM in Africa.

The US believes 2012 is the year that the dream becomes a reality.

In 2010 Peter Pham, a neoconservative African policy “expert” and US military advisor, said Africa was a “neglected stepchild” of Washington’s foreign policy.

“Myself and a few other academics had been kicking around the idea of a combatant command for Africa since the late 1990s, without much success.

“When the (George W.) Bush administration suddenly saw these ungoverned spaces as a cause for concern, I thought, if you are looking for ungoverned areas, porous borders and weak states, then look no further than Africa.

“That created a buzz,” Pham said.

The following year, Pham told the US Congress: “This natural wealth makes Africa an inviting target for the attentions of the People’s Republic of China, whose dynamic economy, averaging nine percent growth per annum over the last two decades, has an almost insatiable thirst for oil as well as a need for other natural resources to sustain it.

“It seems AFRICOM is off to a strong start as the opposition to China in Africa.

“The litmus test will be who Obama selects as his Africa person and whether he tries to weaken Congo President Joseph Kabila in favour of backing Nkunda’s death squads, naturally in the name of ‘restoring democracy.’”

And then in July last year, as previously reported by The Southern Times, a US Congressional Research Service paper for members and committees said AFRICOM would have an African home in 2012.

The paper, “AFRICOM: US Strategic Interests and the Role of the US Military on Africa”, was presented by Lauren Ploch, an American “expert” on African affairs.

She said, “A decision on AFRICOM’s final headquarters location has been postponed to 2012 to allow the command to gain greater understanding of its long-term operational requirements.”

The “humanitarian” card has already been used to deploy the military in Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, East Africa and the Horn of Africa in the last year alone.

Lysias Dodd Gilbert and Christopher Isike – doctoral candidates at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa – have said the US is being driven by resource greed in Africa.

In a research paper titled “USAFRICOM: Security for Whom?”, which they co-authored with Ufo Okeke Uzodike (Associate Professor of International Relations and head of the School of Politics at KwaZulu Natal University), they said: “Can a military command of an imperial power be truly as benign and contributive (socially and economically) as suggested by the American declarations about AFRICOM?

“Why did Africa suddenly become an area of ‘vital interest’ to the US, deserving the creation of a full-fledged military command?

“Was AFRICOM established for the development, and alleviation of vulnerabilities and human security challenges in Africa or was it created for the pursuit of US hegemonic and state-centric security interests?

“A cursory understanding of the imperialistic and hegemonic inclinations of the US explains vividly the reasons why AFRICOM was established.

“Put simply, AFRICOM was introduced to further America’s national security objectives…

“(T)he US has demonstrated increased readiness to use its power unilaterally in pursuit of its national interests as evidenced by its invasion of Iraq despite non-endorsement by the UN.

“AFRICOM was unilaterally created for the furtherance and consolidation of US state-centric security interests but packaged in human security paraphernalia for the twin purpose of credibility and acceptability by African statesmen.”

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Eugene O’Neill: The hell that follows war

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Eugene O’Neill
From Shell Shock (1918)

images

You’ve been hearing the rumble and crash of the big guns, the rat-a-pet rivetting of the machine-guns, the crack of rifles, the whine of bullets, the roar of bursting shells. Everything whirls in a constant feverish movement around you; the earth trembles and quakes beneath your feet; even the darkness is only an intermittent phenomenon snatching greedily at the earth between the wane of one star shell and the bursting brilliance of the next; even the night is goaded into insomnia by the everlasting fireworks. Nothing is fixed or certain. The next moment of your life never attains to the stability of even a probable occurrence. It hits you with the speed of a bullet, passes through you, is gone. And then you come out into the old peaceful world you once knew — for a rest — and it seems as if you were buried in the tomb of a pyramid erected before the stars were born. Time has died of old age; and the silence, like the old Chinese water torture, drips leadenly drop by drop — on your brain — and then you think — you have to think — about the things you ought to forget —

Terrible? No word for it! Man alive, you couldn’t know! We’d crouch down in the mud with the trench rats squeaking and scampering with fright over our feet — nipping at your legs — while we waited for the next counter attack, wondering if the Bosche would get through the next time, gritting our teeth to stick it out. Their artillery played hell with us. The world seemed flying to bits. The concussions of the bursting shells — all about us — would jar your heart right back against your spine. It rained shell splinters. Men kept falling, writhing and groaning in the muck — one’s friends! — and nothing to do. A little Italian private — Tony — he used to sing for us in camp — don’t know his second name — used to be a bootblack here at home — was standing near me. A shell fragment came down on his skull — his brains spattered all over my face. And all that time not a cigarette — not a damned smoke of any kind — to take your mind off — all that!

You’ve got to know about it, all you others — then you’ll send us the things we need, smokes and the rest. And at nights it was frightful, expecting a surprise attack every minute — watching — straining your eyes! We had to pile the dead up against the rear wall of the trench; and when you’d stumble in the dark you’d put your hand out and touch a — a face, or a leg — or — something sticky with blood. Not a wink of sleep! You couldn’t! Even when the guns let up for a moment there were the screams of the wounded out in No Mans Land. They’d keep the dead awake — lying out there dying by bits. And you couldn’t go out to get them in that fire. It was suicide. I told the men that. They wanted to go out and get their friends, and I couldn’t give permission. We needed every man. It was suicide. I told them so. They wept and cursed. It was my duty. They would have been killed — uselessly.

I thought I’d go mad. No place for the wounded to be cared for — groans and shrieks on all sides! And not a thing to smoke! You had to think — think about it! And the stench of the bodies rotting in the sun between the Bosche trench and ours! God! And not a single cigarette, do you understand? Not one! You’d feel sick clear down to the soles of your feet. You finally came to believe you were putrefying yourself — alive! — and the living men around you — they too — rotten!

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U.S. In Afghanistan: Who Is The Real Savage?

August 29, 2012 3 comments

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2012

US in Afghanistan: who’s the “savage”?
John Robles

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These are facts the West would rather we did not know because in Afghanistan as in Iraq every move against the citizenry and every bomb dropped has been done illegally. Both of these countries were attacked in illegal acts of military aggression for involvement in events they had nothing to do with, namely the events of 9-11; both of the countries never threatened or even posed a threat to the US, yet they have paid the price and have been illegally occupied, so it is not surprising that the people are fighting back.

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Another case of US forces desecrating human remains ends with a slap on the wrist for some of the perpetrators while others received no disciplinary action and on the same day the burning of Korans was also brushed off with those guilty also escaping serious punishment. Against the backdrop of increased Afghan-on-NATO violence and the beheading of 17 partygoers by Islamists, the question as to who really are the “savages” in Afghanistan begs to be asked.

Once again, as with almost every case involving egregious misconduct by US troops who have committed what can only be characterized as war crimes, those involved have received nothing more than the proverbial slap on the wrist, and the cases are in the hundreds if not thousands. We do not know the accurate figures because most such events are hidden and not reported.

This time the events in question could be called benign by US standards. For some reason, probably to minimize the backlash, both judgments came at the same time, namely rulings on cases of soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses and the burning of Korans.

In the case of the urinating Marines some of them received unspecified administrative “discipline,” it was reported on Monday, despite the US claiming that it was a “huge” embarrassment and caused a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation, as well as condemnation and an apology from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and even US Secretary of State Clinton, who vowed that the culprits would be found and punished.

The other judgment also released on Monday, involved the burning of Korans by US troops, an event which caused widespread riots, multiple deaths and calls from the Taliban and Islamists to kill foreign troops in Afghanistan and Americans in order to defend Islam’s Holy Book.

Despite the outrage and deaths caused by their actions, nothing “criminal” really occurred, according to the US.

Like I said, these were benign events by US standards, after Abu Ghraib and similar events in Iraq, the mass murders of almost 20 civilians while they slept in their homes earlier this year by a “deranged” sergeant, cases of cutting off body parts as trophies (including the cutting off of fingers, noses, ears and even the peeling off of faces), families being set on fire, denial of medical care to mass numbers of civilians leading to their deaths, snipers posing with Nazi symbols, multiple cases of rape, sodomy and massacre after massacre after massacre, sure Marines simply urinating on corpses seems almost comic.

The Taliban are almost no better, however they trail far behind compared to the overall creativity and level of atrocity of NATO’s finest. Their savagery is just as brutal as that committed by some of the NATO forces but less widespread and frequent. The latest event attributed to the Taliban but denied by them and quite possibly carried out by “insurgents,” was the beheading of 15 men and 2 women for having a party with dancing and music, something they view as immoral and un-Islamic.

Afghan authorities have launched an investigation with President Hamid Karzai saying,”the attack shows that there are irresponsible members among the Taliban.”

The beheading of the partygoers occurred in an area of Musa Qala district which is almost totally under Taliban control. The governor of Musa Qala, Nematullah Khan, said, “They were having a music party and the Taliban came and killed them and cut off their heads.”

On the same day, to the south, ten Afghan soldiers were killed at a checkpoint and two NATO soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier while they were on joint patrol, bringing the number of victims of Afghan soldier on NATO soldier violence to 42 this year alone. Now called “green-on-blue-killings,” a further sign of the utter failure of almost 12 years of “coalition” occupation.

These are facts the West would rather we did not know because in Afghanistan as in Iraq every move against the citizenry and every bomb dropped has been done illegally. Both of these countries were attacked in illegal acts of military aggression for involvement in events they had nothing to do with, namely the events of 9-11; both of the countries never threatened or even posed a threat to the US, yet they have paid the price and have been illegally occupied, so it is not surprising that the people are fighting back.

Going back to the subject of slaps on the wrists for those committing atrocities, for me the reason they never pay the price for their illegal behavior has been clear for a long time. How on earth could the US judicial system or the US military deem anything their own killing machines do to be illegal if the whole war and occupation of Afghanistan is in and of itself illegal to begin with?

The truth is an extremely dangerous thing, especially when it is something that might end plans for world domination, and that is what it is all about, but it looks like they may be failing.

In Afghanistan, a country decimated by close to 12 years of war, the truths are hidden on a daily basis and as sites such as Wikileaks have found out (the hard way), reporting on the facts is something the US Empire will not allow.

The destruction and atrocities that the US has unleashed on the Afghan people continue on a daily basis and have been something the US has attempted time and time again to hide. As they continue, so will the response from the Afghan side.

In Afghanistan the US obfuscates, hides and doctors the facts at every turn so that even finding an accurate count of the number of civilian deaths in the country is almost an impossibility, with numbers ranging from the tens of thousands to the millions. Yet one thing is crystal clear: the US has failed in Afghanistan and there is little likelihood that there is a way out.

One question that I feel truly begs to be answered is quite a simple one: who in fact are the real “savages” in Afghanistan?

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Syria And Formation Of Multi-Polar, Post-American World

August 29, 2012 3 comments

Russia & India Report
August 23, 2012

The Syrian crisis and the future of the global economy
Andrei Volodin

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[China] realises that an attack on Damascus is a blow to the positions of Tehran, a strategic ally to Syria, and an attempt to cut off Iranian oil from China. Such a scenario would help the U.S. meet its primary objective – to contain ‘Chinese expansion’ in the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. has to work in several directions at once. One of them is countering the ‘expansion’ of China in the Asia-Pacific. America’s ‘anti-terrorist’ mission in Afghanistan is far from being over. Some Western analysts suggest that participation of the U.S. in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s regime indicates the new strand in Washington’s policy: the ‘fight for Africa’, supposedly against China again.

The aggravation of tension in the Middle East has an apparent political agenda: to distract people from helplessness of the Western European elite against the progressing economic and financial crisis.

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We are witnessing in real-time the formation of the polycentric, post-American world. Naturally, this process is non-linear, and its trajectory, as forecasted back in the 1990s by one of the most outstanding economists of our time, Charles Kindleberger, will inevitably run through conflicts of varying intensity.

The Middle East has the largest amount of conflicts in the world today, hosting several groups of dramatically developing disputes: historic, confessional/denominational, national/ethnic. And while until recently these disputes remained latent under local authoritarian regimes, today, following the Arab revolutions of 2011, they have become overt. Logically, these disputes and problems require a systematic approach and a solution that would help preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the various countries in the Middle East. Otherwise the historical Pandora’s box (an image we could use to describe the societies in the region), once opened, will be impossible to close. This could bring about clear destabilisation not just in Syria, but also to other countries in the region.

It is obvious that the U.S. and its junior partners are trying to use the Syrian crisis to maintain their positions in the global system and simultaneously to weaken their primary rival and principal creditor, China. Beijing, however, realises that an attack on Damascus is a blow to the positions of Tehran, a strategic ally to Syria, and an attempt to cut off Iranian oil from China. Such a scenario would help the U.S. meet its primary objective – to contain ‘Chinese expansion’ in the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. has to work in several directions at once. One of them is countering the ‘expansion’ of China in the Asia-Pacific. America’s ‘anti-terrorist’ mission in Afghanistan is far from being over. Some Western analysts suggest that participation of the U.S. in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s regime indicates the new strand in Washington’s policy: the ‘fight for Africa’, supposedly against China again.

All of this leads to an obvious overload – in financial, economic and physical terms. American experts warn the acting administration that direct participation in the Syrian conflict can be very costly in case it proves to be lengthy.

Fueled by the continuing Syrian conflict, anxiety is building up in the West, placed in the wider context of the role played by the North Atlantic civilization in the global economy and politics. Driven by its most discerning representatives, a part of the American foreign policy establishment is questioning what the current Washington administration is looking for in a faraway land? And what consequences of this ‘experimentation’ could follow for America and its role in the transforming global system? These questions are, clearly, rhetorical, and the answers to them are exhaustively practical.

Henry Kissinger suggests articulating America’s new strategy in the Arab world in place of the fierce desire to remove Bashar al-Assad from his position. This idea found new momentum in the maestro’s American diplomacy address to his less experienced colleagues where he urged them to keep in mind the ‘unfinished mission’ in Afghanistan and the essential role of the economy in the development of the American foreign strategy.

The uncertainty concerning the resolution of the ‘Syrian riddle’ and the inevitable historic parallels cannot but influence America’s actions in the region. In the past, the imprisonment of Americans and the failed rescue attempt worked, among other factors, in favour of the Republicans during the 1980 elections (when Ronald Reagan was elected as president). Which gives rise to the question of what will happen today if the U.S. gets involved in the Syrian crisis directly? It bears noting that the hasty, ill-considered actions of the West can result in further strengthening of Iran (and Egypt, recovering from revolutionary unrest). We can’t forget that in 2003, George Bush Junior, obsessed with the idea of destroying Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, has conferred a truly fantastic favour to Tehran by solving the problem of the ‘accursed’ Saddam Hussein for Iran. And today there is a new question of a Hamletian proportion; can it happen that Iran will benefit from demolition of the decrepit political system of the ‘petroleum monarchies’ in the Persian Gulf?

Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft are clearly pondering over such a prospect. It would be interesting to know what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to say about this scenario. One of the most distinguished social economists of our days John Kenneth Galbraith once said: “Politics… consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable”. I believe that today the West is facing the problem in exactly this perspective.

Today the biggest problem the West is facing is not the removal of Bashar al-Assad from his position (amid total uncertainty regarding Syria’s future), but restarting economic growth in America and Western Europe. The splendid ideas of the ‘economic growth pact’ require that domestic efforts must be focused on nothing but economic growth. Growth that predominantly results from domestic factors and the strategy of economic development in this area cannot focus exclusively on support of the most viable economy in the EU, i.e. Germany. A joint effort to restore the economies of Western Europe will lead to the reduced relevance of the Syrian crisis to the citizens of the West. The aggravation of tension in the Middle East has an apparent political agenda: to distract people from helplessness of the Western European elite against the progressing economic and financial crisis.

The Indian Equation

Naturally, this gives rise to a question: what role could be assigned to India in resolution of the Syrian crisis? I would say a potentially significant one. With Pranab Mukherjee, one of the country’s most experienced and distinguished political figures, elected as President of India, its foreign policy seems to be developing coherence and genuine independence from the interests and the agendas of foreign forces. This independence is assuming the shape of specific foreign-policy initiatives. I believe that India realizes that the situation is not about a crisis in a remote country, but about the principles of modern politics that are sacred for Indians – the unity and territorial integrity of modern states.

The Libyan model of crisis resolution has proven to be utterly nonviable. That is why there is a need for new mechanism and new initiatives for the global system. The West is no longer the hub of the universe. The new global order will form through the development of horizontal cooperation between countries and regions. Also in store is the establishment of new regional and trans-regional economic and political institutions and development of their networks. Any attempt to reshape the global map by a group of states provokes a response from institutions, such as the Nonaligned Movement and BRICS.

The Indian strategic elite recognises the importance of close cooperation with Iran in economics and geopolitics. Globalization as it was at the time of the Washington Consensus has fallen into oblivion. Protracted globalization (B.R. Nayar) is being replaced by global regionalization, opening new and inviting opportunities to India.

Speculation about the possible economic union of four countries, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, has been doing the rounds for years. This refers to the future of a common market with the tendency towards compression of economic space. I think that India, Russia and Pakistan are displaying ever-growing interest in economic diplomacy. This mutually beneficial strengthening of relations holds one of the keys to resolution of conflicts and transition to the multi-polar, post-American world.

Andrei Volodin, Dr. Sc. (History), is Chief Research Fellow with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS) Institute of World Economy and International Relations.

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France Echoes U.S. In Demanding Libyan Scenario For Syria

August 29, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2012

Hollande repeats after Obama, or Libyan scenario for Syria
Oleg Severgin
Edited by RR

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It has been said many times that the rebels are guided by secret service professionals primarily from Great Britain, as well as from Germany and other NATO countries. It seems that authorities in those countries are willing to use in Syria the Libyan pattern, only on a larger scale. During her recent visit to Turkey, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought up the subject of creating a no-fly zone over Syria. Other NATO partners, who also use direct appeals to Bashar al-Assad to voluntarily give up his position, support that idea. It all looks familiar.

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In his annual address to the national diplomatic corps, French president Francois Hollande announced that his country together with its partners is “closely watching” the situation in Syria in regards to al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. “For the international community the fact of use of the weapons of mass destruction would be a legitimate reason for a direct military intervention,” he said.

The announcement made by the French leader is remarkable not only in its content and its tone of an ultimatum. In fact Francois Hollande repeated word for word a similar threat made by the head of the White House, Barack Obama, shortly before that. France’s senior partner in NATO threatened to strike against al-Assad even if chemical weapons are simply moved from one place to another. And still, Hollande’s and Obama’s statements are remarkable not in their tone as much as in their readiness for military interference as well as in the lack of any mention of the UN’s role in the event of a potential military intervention by the West in Syria.

Naturally, experts could not fail to notice that detail. Also notable is the fact that lately the European mass media have openly voiced calls for a direct military intervention in the conflict in Syria. “Intervention in Syria is inevitable,” stated the German weekly Die Zeit. “Will the UN Security Council lean to this or that side, will it take the risk,” writes the weekly, “in any event the international community will be forced to intervene in the foreseeable future.”

A verdict also peremptory in a similar way was made by the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. “Syria will become yet another country in the Middle East that awaits a change of regime,” says the publication. “Of all the Arab dictators, only Gaddafi fought for preserving his power as frantically as does Bashar al-Assad.”

It is hard to tell whether it is a forecast or an obscure hint to those who are empowered to make decisions about the use of military force. The comparison of al-Assad to Gaddafi is quite demonstrative. The Austrian Die Presse has recently published an interesting article. It is called “A gunman from Dublin.” The main character in the article is Najjair, an Irishman of Libyan origin. First he fought in Libya, and then he illegally moved to Syria where he joined the rebels. He crossed the border along with hundreds of other hired guns that go there through the borders with Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. Najjair received military training in Libya with the so-called Tripoli brigade. The newspaper writes that the training was conducted by “commandos” from Great Britain and Qatar. According to the publication, the “veterans” from Libya are passing their experience onto the rebels from the so-called Free Syrian Army.

It has been said many times that the rebels are guided by secret service professionals primarily from Great Britain, as well as from Germany and other NATO countries. It seems that authorities in those countries are willing to use in Syria the Libyan pattern, only on a larger scale. During her recent visit to Turkey, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought up the subject of creating a no-fly zone over Syria. Other NATO partners, who also use direct appeals to Bashar al-Assad to voluntarily give up his position, support that idea. It all looks familiar.

But Vladimir Anokhin, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Issues is skeptical.

“It would be fine and good for NATO to conduct this arrogant operation according to the Libyan scenario,” says the expert. “However, the situation is absolutely different. It is like in the saying ‘All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws.’ Why is Europe so cautious? Because there has been a precedent set. It seemed that all was set up in Libya for the oil to start pouring. But no, nothing like that happened.”

Nevertheless, the Die Zeit forecast about an imminent intervention in Syria gave out a warning: “Everybody has to be clear that what the world community is facing will be a lot more large-scale, long-term and expensive than the 7,587 air strikes made by NATO against Libya.” Nothing else need be added here.

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U.S. Uses Contractors To Bypass International Humanitarian Laws

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
August 28, 2012

US uses contractors to bypass international humanitarian laws

The use of private contractors allows the US to evade responsibility for violations of international humanitarian legislation, a top Russian diplomat for human rights and democracy said.

The comment came from Foreign Ministry Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov as the US Justice Department halted an investigation into the attempted bribing of Iraqi police officials by employees of the Blackwater security company (re-branded as ‘Academi’ in late 2011).

Blackwater attempted to pay $1 million in bribes for new contracts in Iraq, and also to block an investigation into the 2007 murder of 17 Iraqi civilians, including several children, by Blackwater operatives, a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website said.

The US State Department didn’t end its relationship with Blackwater for two years after the tragedy, Dolgov said.

“Despite the scandalous experience with the Blackwater company, the US military and foreign policy agencies continue to attract contractors for doing the ‘dirty work’ in the zone of armed conflicts,” Dolgov said. “Such outsourcing of state functions to private firms allows the US government to evade the responsibility for violation of international humanitarian norms.

“The Blackwater case is a vivid example of impunity enjoyed by the employees of private security companies, despite blatant violations of international Human Rights standards. The current situation is a result of the inconsistent and selective actions of the US authorities, who ignore the rights of Iraqis who fall victim to the employees of private security companies. We expect that the US authorities will at last take some measures to punish the responsible contractors of the company formerly known as Blackwater,” the statement read.

Dolgov added that a US court had sentenced Russian citizen Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison for his alleged intention to sell weapons to Colombian rebels, while the “company that succeeded Blackwater” received no punishment after confessing to illegally supplying weapons to Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. “Is not it a very visual demonstration of double standards used by the US justice?” he said.

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George Moore: Murder pure and simple, impossible to revive the methods of Tamburlaine

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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

George Moore
From Ave (1911)

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The pictures on the easels were forgotten, and the manuscripts in Victoria Street, so obsessed were we by the thought that, while we were talking, De Wet’s army might be caught in one of Kitchener’s wire entanglements, and the war be brought to an end, and I remember that very often as I stared at Sickert across the studio my thoughts would resolve into a prayer that the means might be put into my hands to humiliate this detestable England, this brutal people! A prayer not very likely to be answered, and I wondered at my folly while I prayed. Yet it was answered.

Every week letters came to me from South Africa, as they came to every other Englishman, Irishman, and Scotchman, and it is not likely that any of these letters contained news that others did not read in their letters or in the newspapers; but soon after my prayer in Sickert’s studio, a letter was put into my hands containing news so terrific that for a long time I sat, unable to think, bewildered, holding myself in check, resisting the passion that nearly compelled me to run into the street and cry aloud the plan that an English General had devised. De Wet was in the angle formed by the junction of two rivers; the rivers were in flood; he could go neither back nor forwards; and troops were being marched along either bank, the superior officers of every regiment receiving orders, so my correspondent informed me, that firing was not to cease when De Wet was caught in the triangle and the white flag raised. My correspondent said, and said justly, that if notice had been given at the beginning of the war that quarter would not be asked for nor given, we might have said, “This is too horrible,” and covered our faces, but we should not have been able to charge our Generals with treachery. But no such notice had been given, and he reminded me that we were accepting quarter from the Boers at the rate of eight hundred a day. “A murder plot, pure and simple, having nothing in common with any warfare waged by Europeans for many centuries. It must be stopped, and publication will stop it. But is there a newspaper in London that will publish it?” One or two were tried, and in vain. And while you dally with me, I cried, “De Wet and his army may be massacred. Only in Ireland is there any sense of right.”

And next day, in Dublin, I dictated the story to the editor of the Freeman’s Journal. The Times reprinted it, and the editor of a Cape paper copied it from the Times, upon which the military authorities in South Africa disowned and repudiated the plot. If they had not done so, the whole of Cape Colony, as I thought, would have risen against us; and once the plot was repudiated, the Boers were safe; it would be impossible to revive the methods of Tamburlaine on another occasion. The Boer nation was saved and England punished, and in her capacious pocket that she loves so well….

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Exceeding Cold War Levels: U.S. Pushes New Phase Of Arms Race

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2012

US pushes for a new phase of arms race

Click to enlarge

After Russia refused to support the UN Security Council resolution on Syria the US Congress forbade the Pentagon to deal with Russia’s arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport until Moscow stops supplying weapons to Damascus. Russia was quickly tagged as a country which supplies weapons to evil dictatorial regimes.

In reality, however, it’s the United States that is the largest supplier of weapons on the global marketplace, including countries with authoritarian rule.

Of course, some of the deliveries are made indirectly, through a large network of intermediaries. Curiously enough, in the Lord of War movie the main hero who illegally sells arms to dictatorial regimes plainly states that he deals with those regimes which the US government would like to deal with but must avoid in order to keep their hands clean. So at present it is the United States that stands behind the ongoing arms race, being the leading death merchant in the global marketplace. On the average, the US earns $25 billion in annual arms sales. Over the last five years the US accounted for nearly 30% of the world’s arms deals.

Legally and illegally, arms are delivered to countries engulfed in civil war. For instance, in July 2012 US President Barak Obama declared Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally, which means that the Arms Export Control Act no longer applies there. It means a sharp growth in US arms deliveries to that country. The US is a leading exporter to developing countries: in 2010 alone it earned $14.9 billion in arms sales, and this is just the official figure.

It should be kept in mind that enormous money is spent on weapons production for the US military; the Army then actively uses those weapons in a large number of military conflicts. According to Yearbook 2012 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, the US share in the world’s arms spending is 41%. In 2011 US arms spending was US$ 711 billion (4,7% of GDP), which is 5 times greater than in China, which is the second largest arms spender (US$ 143 billion).

According to the US Department of Defense, military spending in 2001 was $ 687 billion, slightly less than indicated by SIPRI. Even this figure, however, is incredible. It should be compared to Russia’s military spending ($71.9 billion) in order to realize who is really behind the world’s bloodiest conflicts. Even the budgets of four of the world’s five leading countries taken together ($340,1 billion) are shy of half the US budget. Over nearly the last ten years (2002 to 2011) US military spending went up 59%.

The US spends enormous wealth on developing cutting edge weapons such as F-35 fighters and a number of other expensive programs. Over the last ten years a total of $66 billion has been spent on the F-35 fifth-generation jet fighter. For 2013 alone the Pentagon requested $179 billion for weapons upgrades. The US has 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and can conduct naval operations throughout the world.

The February 2011 budget request sent by the Department of Defense to the US Congress also asked for $118 billion to conduct military operations abroad: $110 billion to wage the war in Afghanistan and $16 billion to maintain the US presence in Iraq. In financial years 2010 and 2011 war costs were estimated at $130 billion and $160 billion, respectively. During the presidency of George Bush Jr. as much as $180 billion was spent on those wars annually.

US-based companies retain top rankings on SIPRI’s Top-100 and are responsible for more than 60% of the world’s arms sales. 44 out of the 100 top arms dealers are US-based companies. 30 companies are based throughout Western Europe, 12 are based in other OECD countries and only 8 are in Russia.

The US has the highest ranking among nuclear states. The total number of nuclear warheads is approximately 8,500.

According to the US Department of Defense, current arms spending in “peaceful” times is even greater than during the Cold War era.

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Syria: West Playing With Fire

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Chronicle Herald
August 27, 2012

No easy solution to Syrian quagmire
Scott Taylor: On Target

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In a complete twist of the stated facts, or in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public, U.S. President Barack Obama subsequently claimed that Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross “a red line” and an international intervention would be unavoidable.

Some of the more alarming Internet posts by supporters of the anti-Assad movement threaten that they will first give the Syrian president “the Gadhafi treatment” — that is beat him to death in the street…

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In recent weeks, as the violence in Syria continues to escalate, those Western nations supporting the rebel faction have raised the spectre of embattled President Bashar al-Assad employing his chemical weapons against his own people.

This forced the Assad regime to make the declaration that it would never employ such weapons on Syrian rebels, but they would not hesitate to do so against foreign military forces if they attempt armed intervention.

This in turn led a gleeful U.S. State Department to issue their own “gotcha!” statement, wherein the Syrian threat was tantamount to a confession that Assad possesses chemical weapons of mass destruction and, if pressed, he will employ them.

In a complete twist of the stated facts, or in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public, U.S. President Barack Obama subsequently claimed that Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross “a red line” and an international intervention would be unavoidable.

Israel’s reaction to the confirmation of Assad’s chemical arsenal was to sound the alarm bell over what would happen if the Syrian rebels are able to seize control of such lethal munitions.

To allay Israeli fears, there have been subsequent reports in the media that Britain, France and the U.S all have military contingency plans in place to enter Syria and secure the chemical weapons in the event that Assad’s regime loses control.

In other words, despite the rhetoric and demonization of the Assad regime during the 18-month uprising, there are still enough rational thinkers in Western military circles to understand that elements of the rebel force are far more dangerous to regional stability than the hard-pressed government forces.

Fanatical factions of the Free Syrian Army openly flaunt their links to al-Qaida and they denounce Assad for his secular policies, not to mention his British-born wife.

Some of the more alarming Internet posts by supporters of the anti-Assad movement threaten that they will first give the Syrian president “the Gadhafi treatment” — that is beat him to death in the street — and then move on to reclaim the Golan Heights from the Israeli occupying forces.

The Free Syrian Army propaganda paints Assad as being a Zionist and this pro-Israel sentiment has led him and his father, who ruled Syria before him, to neglect their obligation in regaining these strategic heights for the past four decades.

Such bold objectives being claimed by the Syrian rebels must cause a headache for John Baird, Canada’s deep-thinking foreign affairs minister.

Almost since the outset of hostilities, Baird has been among the most bellicose of international voices demanding that Assad must go. He has done his utmost to curry favour with the hodgepodge collection of rebel leaders, going so far as to demand the ouster of all Syrian diplomats from Ottawa last May.

Now, we are slowly learning that there could be a far worse scenario in store for Syria, namely that the very same rebels Baird so openly supports, might actually seize power.

This of course could prove not only confusing for Baird, but also embarrassing for Canada given that under the Conservative government we have taken a decidedly pro-Israeli platform on all Middle East policy issues.

A harbinger to this current dilemma popped up during the opening phases of the uprising in Libya. After the rebel forces had seized control of Benghazi, international media and politicians, including Baird, ventured into this eastern city to express their support for the anti-Gadhafi fighters.

One story that caught my attention at the time was a feature about how the newly liberated citizens of Benghazi were now able to openly demonstrate their hostility toward Gadhafi.

A local Benghazi artist was, in fact, conducting a brisk business in cranking out cartoons depicting Gadhafi as a Zionist, complete with a Star of David emblazoned on his flamboyant headgear.

Baird was presumably too breathless from bellowing “Gadhafi must go!” to have given much thought as to the Islamic fundamentalists’ anti-Zionist sentiments that pervaded the ranks of the ragtag rebel Libyan forces.

In another ironic twist, many of those same al-Qaida linked Libyan rebel brigades are now in Syria fighting to depose yet another Arab president whom they deem to be a pro-Israeli Zionist.

With Western military forces now poised to intervene to prevent the anti-Assad rebels from acquiring chemical weapons that they could use to attack Israel, poor old Baird must be wondering just who he should be cheering for now.

Scott Taylor is an author and editor of Esprit de Corps magazine.

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Libya, Syria and Now Lebanon?

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2012

Libya, Syria and now Lebanon?
Konstantin Garibov

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“They are interested in upsetting a balance that has been in place in Syria for decades. I think that these interests are dictated by those of US companies,” Filonik says, singling out huge liquid hydrocarbon reserves that have allegedly been discovered in Lebanon. “Of course,” he concludes, “this information is yet to be officially confirmed, but we all get used to the situation when many turbulent events or revolutions have an oil smell, so to speak.”

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The ever-growing flame of the Syrian conflict may spill into neighboring Lebanon, Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported on Tuesday. The newspaper particularly points to the fact that a recent conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in northern Lebanon was defused only because of the army’s intervention in the matter.

In light of this, Milliyet points out the high probability of an armed conflict in Lebanon in the near future. Speaking of preconditions for the ouster of the regime there is irrelevant, the newspaper says, adding that the main problem in Lebanon is that the country’s conflicting parties are endorsed and supported by outside forces.

Many in Lebanon refer to the ‘Syrian trace’ when mentioning an array of arsons, abductions and protest rallies that have taken place in their country in the past. They were echoed by former Information Minister Michel Salaha who had earlier collaborated with the government of Bashar Assad. After his arrest, Salaha claimed that Damascus had allegedly nourished plans to draw Lebanon into chaos by notably sending a host of Syrian security agents there.

Moscow-based political analyst Stanislav Tarasov says, in turn, that Salaha’s allegations about Syria’s role in the Lebanese conflict hold no water. Pointing the finger at the West is also irrelevant, Tarasov says and elaborates.

“There is a factor of the third forces,” Tarasov says, referring to radical Islam-related forces ready to capitalize on a standoff between the West and the Syrian regime in order to fulfill their own scenario, aimed at toppling secular power in Lebanon. “There is a certain radical Muslim force which is keen to seize power in Lebanon, something which might be the case with Syria. In Egypt, this scenario has already been implemented.”

Another Moscow-based political analyst, Alexander Filonik, says that the latest events in Syria could not but affect Lebanon, where many remain at odds over the Syrian crisis.

“In Lebanon, there are both supporters and opponents of the existing regime,” Filonik says, pointing to the ongoing strife inside Lebanese society that reflects the current situation in Syria. “In this vein, I’m not surprised about the latest developments in Lebanon,” Filonik adds, mentioning those poised to destabilize and destroy Syria. “They are interested in upsetting a balance that has been in place in Syria for decades. I think that these interests are dictated by those of US companies,” Filonik says, singling out huge liquid hydrocarbon reserves that have allegedly been discovered in Lebanon. “Of course,” he concludes, “this information is yet to be officially confirmed, but we all get used to the situation when many turbulent events or revolutions have an oil smell, so to speak.”

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Somalia To Syria: U.S. Contact Group Industry Toppling Governments

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

RT
August 27, 2012

With ‘Friends’ like these: Contact group industry in overthrowing govts
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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Somalia’s status as a divided, lawless, and unstable state has been the model for the now divided and lawless Libya and what the US sees in the cards for a Syria plagued with civil war — 1975-1990 Lebanon-style. Somalia-ization is at play here.

The US and NATO also have a role to play in the emergence of the pirates phenomenon that has turned the Gulf of Aden into “pirate alley.”

The destruction of the Libyan economy has also created an unemployed armed class, which is now being exported for America’s McJihad in Syria — and then possibly Algeria, Lebanon, Iranian Baluchistan, China’s Xinjiang, or Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District?

In Somalia, African Union forces were deployed under NATO supervision with the primary mission of protecting the STFG, just as NATO has stood on guard as subordinate foreign-controlled institutions have been erected in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and now Libya.

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Anybody who has studied how the US and NATO worked to topple the Jamahiriya in Libya knows that the US has tried to replicate the same regime-change mechanism in Syria.

The formation of multilateral contact groups supporting proxy oppositions has been a key to this process. What most people do not know is that the Americans’ contact group industry started in Somalia.

2006 was a critical year for Somalia, because by its end it appeared the war-torn African country was going to be stable once more after decades of civil war. Somalia’s autonomous northern regions, Puntland and Somaliland, had been run relatively peacefully. The south, however, had seen continuous fighting since 1991. The Islamic Court Union (ICU) defeated most the warlords and united most the south under its rule, managing to bring law and order. Peace talks were also in the works to unite Somalia. There was high anticipation that a period of relative peace in 2007 was about to begin.

Then the US and its regional ally Ethiopia launched major hostilities on December 20, 2006. General John Abizaid, the commander of CENTCOM who was directing the wars in Iraq and NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, had visited Ethiopia about three weeks earlier to hold low-profile meetings with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on December 4. The two had planned what would become the US-Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. US warplanes, ships, intelligence, and special force units all took part in the war while the Ethiopians sent the bulk of the ground force to fight the ICU.

To justify the invasion the US invoked the Global War on Terror and portrayed the ICU as an affiliate of Al-Qaeda.

The ICU would fall into disarray and a power vacuum would emerge as a result of the US-Ethiopian invasion. The Somali Transitional Federal Government (STFG), a rival US-supported foreign group that declared itself Somalia’s legitimate government, would be imported to take the ICU’s place. Sounds familiar? It should. This is essentially what would happen — only on a larger scale and with an armed opposition — to Libya four years later when NATO would usher in the National Transitional Council (NTC). This is also what the US, NATO, and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms want to do in Syria with the Syrian National Council (SNC).

Somalia’s status as a divided, lawless, and unstable state has been the model for the now divided and lawless Libya and what the US sees in the cards for a Syria plagued with civil war — 1975-1990 Lebanon-style. Somalia-ization is at play here.

The US and NATO also have a role to play in the emergence of the pirates phenomenon that has turned the Gulf of Aden into “pirate alley.” They have watched as foreign vessels looted Somalia’s fisheries and as foreign corporations dumped deadly toxins off Somalia’s shores that transformed desperate local fisherman into armed pirates. The destruction of the Libyan economy has also created an unemployed armed class, which is now being exported for America’s McJihad in Syria — and then possibly Algeria, Lebanon, Iranian Baluchistan, China’s Xinjiang, or Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District?

In Somalia, several African countries planned on sending a US-backed multinational contingent, but were foiled in June 2006 when the ICU took full control of Mogadishu. It was at this point that the US and its allies formed their regime-change “template” with the Somalia Contact Group.

Through the Somalia Contact Group an appearance of international legitimacy was given to the ICU government’s STFG rivals and to foreign intervention. Sound more and more familiar? This “contact group” would become the basis for the NATO-dominated Libya Contact Group (Friends of Libya) created in 2011, which imposed the NTC through “missile diplomacy” in Tripoli, and later the Syria Contact Group (Friends of the Syrian People) created in 2012 to impose the SNC on Damascus.

America’s contact group industry has undemocratically imposed foreign-based collaborationist clients on to states where the Atlanticist cabal from NATOistan has a strategic or economic interest of expanding their influence. The usual suspects have all been involved.

Aside from the US, the Somalia Contact Group’s members included the UK, EU, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. NATO would join in June 2009, to secure its military role in Somalia and the waters off the Horn of Africa. All these players would have recurring star roles in Libya. Now they are trying to recreate the same scenario in Syria against the backdrop of a foreign-armed and supervised insurgency that has been deliberately targeting civilians to pave the way for interventionism.

In Somalia, African Union forces were deployed under NATO supervision with the primary mission of protecting the STFG, just as NATO has stood on guard as subordinate foreign-controlled institutions have been erected in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and now Libya.

The agenda of the STFG was set by the US to “reconstruct Somalia’s institutions and economy” with the help of so-called “foreign experts.” The program is the same for the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated SNC and NTC. The NTC has privatized Libya’s assets and siphoned off its wealth under the management of Libyan-American neo-liberal economist turned “oil and finance minister” Ali Tarhouni. Libya’s oil is no longer in the hands of Libyans, who are now too busy fighting one another with RPG launchers, armored vests, and light infantry rifles, courtesy of NATO.

In Somalia and Libya what has replaced the ICU and Jamahiriya is a never-ending state of “transition” and enclaves of guarded bureaucrats tied to Washington, Brussels, the IMF, and World Bank, who are detached from the violent reality in their countries.

Outside of these bureaucratic offices, the rule of law has crumpled and the streets are run by militias and thugs. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) took over in Libya and Al-Shaabab ran wild in Somalia, both with the help of foreign fighters. This is the future that is in store for the Syrian Arab Republic if Hillary “Bomb ’em” Clinton and Obama are successful in installing the SNC.

We can see a sneak peak from the destroyed streets of Aleppo to the scarred landscape of the Damascene countryside, the persecution of Syrian minorities, desecration of churches, murder of Syrian civil servants, extrajudicial executions of government supporters, exodus of Syrian professionals, abduction and murder of journalists, terrorist bombings of civilian centers, killing of doctors, and kidnapping of foreign nationals that has taken place under the Syrian Free Army.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a sociologist and research associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montréal and author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press).

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U.S. Arms Sales Abroad More Than Tripled Last Year

August 28, 2012 2 comments

RT
August 28, 2012

Rocket-propelled sales figures: US arms sales abroad triple to record highs

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All in all, US arms sales amounted to 78 per cent of the global foreign weapons sales.

Thus, 2011 marks the largest figures in arms sales in US history, with Congressional Research Service study pointing out that sales have seen an “extraordinary increase” since 2010, when America sold $21.4 billion worth of weapons to foreign states.

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American weapons sales abroad tripled in 2011, reaching US$66.3 billion. Persian Gulf Arab countries are listed as the principal purchasers, with the largest customer being its ally Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf state bought weapons worth $33 billion, with the goods ranging from F-15 fighter jets to missiles, a new study for Congress reveals.

The United Arab Emirates purchased a cutting-edge Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, the anti-missile system worth $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for almost $1 billion.

Experts say that the skyrocketing US sales may be explained by the purchasing countries’ concerns over growing Iranian influence in the region.
“The Gulf states are buying arms because they are frightened by the Arab Spring and the revolt in Bahrain, and they are part of the US led military buildup against Iran,” political analyst Chris Bambery told RT. He added that Saudi Arabia has become America’s key ally in the Arab world after the fall of Mubarak, “and US arms sales reflect that.”

Tensions between Iran and Israel have been flaring recently, with reports that Tel Aviv is viewing a strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential election in November.

Hundreds of prominent Israelis signed a petition opposing the alleged government’s move, which is, however, fully backed by the US, which does not put the military option off the table.

Other important American customers in arms sales, according to the Congressional study, include India ($4 billion) and Taiwan ($2 billion).
America also concluded a $4-billion agreement with the biggest Asian economy, China. The deal finds Washington benefiting from Beijing’s cash flow while still actively working against its military.

According to Bambery, the US is caught over China. While Washington works to counter Beijing’s military in the Pacific, it also depends on the country economically – so it finds itself selling some arms to it, but not too much.
All in all, US arms sales amounted to 78 per cent of the global foreign weapons sales.

Thus, 2011 marks the largest figures in arms sales in US history, with Congressional Research Service study pointing out that sales have seen an “extraordinary increase” since 2010, when America sold $21.4 billion worth of weapons to foreign states.

“When we look at all the conflicts in the world, it is the West which provides the bulk of the weaponry. The ‘US Century’ post-1945 has been one of permanent war,” Bambery said.

Russia made it to second place in the study’s ranking, but with only $4.8 billion in arms deals abroad.

‘US military industrial complex looking for new markets’

Retired US lieutenant-colonel Anthony Shaffer, a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, believes the dramatic rise in weapon sales shows that the weapons industry is seeking to offset a loss in profits.
“I hate to say that we have a huge military industrial complex which requires all sorts of care and feeding, but that’s part of the deal,” he told RT. “Frankly, as we start looking at diminished military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the brutal truth is this: we have an industry that is looking for new markets.”

Shaffer also noted that one of the reasons Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations are leading the list of weapons purchasers is that the US wants to make sure it receives a steady supply of oil.

“The theory has been is that if we maintain good relations with all these countries, especially Saudi Arabia, as we saw during the Gulf War of 1991, the idea is that they will maintain stability of their own oil fields and oil exports,” he said.

Another important reason for arming these countries could be that the US is already preparing to go to war with Iran, which Shaffer believes is “inevitable”.

“I think that right now, unless something dramatic happens, we may see war within the next 18 months, if not sooner,” he stated. “The theory is that by arming and helping arm our allies, these allies would essentially be able to do a form of proxy war.”

At the same time, the United States does not have a long-term strategy for the volatile area to which it is supplying arms in such large amounts, Shaffer noted.

“Right now there is no global strategy for the United States,” he remarked.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in Syria. So without a clear and cohesive strategy, other than trying to isolate the Iranians at this point, and supporting the Israelis, there’s no clear path forward.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Is The U.S. Really Going To Withdraw From Afghanistan?

August 28, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 27, 2012

Is the US really going to withdraw from Afghanistan?
Boris Volkhonsky
Edited by RR

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[T]he 400 bases allegedly “closed or handed to Afghan security forces” are small combat outposts and observation positions of minor importance. The big ones, like the Shindand air base in Herat province (in close vicinity to Iran) or the Kandahar and Bagram air bases remain basically untouched. And there is every reason to believe that the highly publicized pullout does not concern these major installations which play a crucial role in the US strategy of establishing its dominance in the “Greater Middle East,” enabling the American military to control a vast territory far beyond Afghanistan.

However unpopular the war might be, the role of the global gendarme is much more important than public opinion.

====

On Sunday, as reported by Reuters, a senior US logistics commander in charge of transferring excess non-military equipment to Afghan forces, Brigadier-General Steven Shapiro, rejected accusations from frontline combat troops that the complicated rollback from bases across Afghanistan was disrupting NATO-led operations against insurgents.

He said that around 400 bases had been already successfully closed or handed to Afghan security forces from a high of around 800 last October as part of a withdrawal of foreign troops from combat operations winding up in 2014.

The story goes on to say that the pullout of more than $60 billion worth of war-fighting equipment from Afghanistan is expected to be one of the most complicated logistical exercises in recent history, much more difficult than the pullout from Iraq.

It is calculated that getting ready one armored vehicle to transport takes days or sometimes weeks, and there are more than 60,000 vehicles to shift. Also, by September the US administration is planning to cut the number of US troops by 28,000 servicemen, which is regarded as a major PR action ahead of the November presidential election.

All this hardly makes US servicemen remaining in Afghanistan too happy.

“It’s a nightmare. We barely have enough guys to cover our area, let alone get ready to pack up,” a US officer in volatile eastern Kunar province recently told Reuters.

Indeed, the whole situation poses too many questions for most of which there are no ready answers.

First, the only visible result of the already started pullout process is the increasing number of defections among Afghan military and security forces, and correspondingly a growing number of insider (so called “green-on-blue”) attacks by people clad in Afghan uniforms on NATO soldiers.

The diminishing number of Western troops is likely to encourage Afghans trained and equipped by their mentors to turn their arms even more frequently against their former patrons.

Second, all military – combat and non-combat – equipment has been accumulated in Afghanistan for more than ten years. Now the task is to withdraw it in less than two years. The task itself seems unrealistic, especially with the strained relationship between the US and Pakistan – the only country capable of providing the shortest way for the pullout.

Despite the fact that recently Pakistan agreed to reopen the southern supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan, even the present Pakistani leadership is under constant pressure from society and political parties in order to reassess the relationship with the US. And taking into consideration that no later than 2013 the current leadership is more than likely to lose power, the prospects for a much more anti-American force to prevail is more than real. This will definitely pose additional difficulties for the NATO command.

This leaves few options open. One of them is using the northern route via Central Asia and Russia, which is much more expensive and not likely to make most of the transit countries happy. The other implies leaving most of the equipment at the Afghans’ disposal. But this variant is fraught with the risks that the equipment and arms will be used by those very forces the US is taking so much pain to fight.

Taking all these factors into consideration, one may easily come to the conclusion that whatever is explicitly said about the US plans concerning Afghanistan hardly reflects the truth.

And the truth is that the 400 bases allegedly “closed or handed to Afghan security forces” are small combat outposts and observation positions of minor importance. The big ones, like the Shindand air base in Herat province (in close vicinity to Iran) or the Kandahar and Bagram air bases remain basically untouched. And there is every reason to believe that the highly publicized pullout does not concern these major installations which play a crucial role in the US strategy of establishing its dominance in the “Greater Middle East,” enabling the American military to control a vast territory far beyond Afghanistan.

This also explains why both contenders in the US presidential race keep mum on the issue of Afghanistan. In reality, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is going to fulfill Obama’s imprudent promise to withdraw from Afghanistan. However unpopular the war might be, the role of the global gendarme is much more important than public opinion.

Categories: Uncategorized

Keep Space for Peace Week List Grows

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

October 6-13, 2012

 

Keep Space for Peace Week

International Week of Protest to

Stop the Militarization of Space

No Missile Defense

End Afghanistan War

No to NATO Expansion

Stop the Drones

Convert the Military Industrial Complex

Bring Our War $$ Home

End Corporate Domination of Foreign/Military Policy

 

 List in formation (please share with your local email lists)

 

 

  • Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 6) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Navy Aegis destroyers built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am   Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm   (207) 763-4062
  • Bhubhaneswar (Orissa state), India (Oct 6) Space issues education and awareness program.  Coordinated by Ramchandra Patro  rama_bm@yahoo.com
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Oct 8) Bruce Gagnon speaks at evening potluck supper/program sponsored by BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action, and, earlier in the day possibility of talk at local community college and vigil at Lockheed Martin plant in Newtown.  brandywine@juno.com
  • RAF Croughton, England (Oct 6) Rally at U.S. communication base, March to main gate 1 mile – starts Croughton village 12.00 midday, Returns 3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign, oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk 
  • Fylingdales, England (Oct 7)Begin bicycle trip from Fylingdales U.S. radar facility to Menwith Hill to highlight their connections with US missile defense and the use of space technology.   Overnight peace camp the night before.  info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk
  • King of Prussia/Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (Oct 12-13) Brandywine Peace Community’s annual Keep Space for Peace Week demonstration (and observance of U.S. Afghan war anniversary) at Lockheed Martin.  Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer, a primary contractor of space weaponry as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones (including the Hell Fire missiles they carry) and the satellites which enable their remote control from the continental U.S.  brandywine@juno.com
  • Malton, England (Oct 7) Peace in space cycle journey we will be stopping overnight at theYorkshire Market Town  info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk
  • Menwith Hill, England (Oct 9) Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire at 6-8 pm.   Will be welcoming the cyclists from Yorkshire CND when they arrive at Menwith Hill from Fylingdales.  Sponsored by CAAB  mail@caab.corner.org.uk  or 01423 884076
  • Nagpur, (Maharashtra state) India (Oct 9) Space issues education and awareness program at Women’s College, Nandanwant Lay out.  Coordinator Mrunalini Fadnavis mrunalinifadnavis@gmail.com
  • Nagpur, (Maharashtra state), India (Oct 12) Students rally at Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work.  Coordinated by Prof. Geetha Thachil  geethathachil@gmail.com

 

  • Nagpur, (Maharashtra state), India (Oct 13) A massive Dharna (Squating) will
    be held jointly with several organisations at Nagpur.  
    rao.jnrao36@sofy.com
  • Newton, Massachusetts (Oct 21)  Bruce Gagnon speaks at First Unitarian Church,  1326 Washington Street, West Newton, 7:00 pm  Ncwrenn@aol.com   
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Oct 9) Bruce Gagnon speaks at a program observing the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and Keep Space for Peace Week.  6:30p.m. Friends Center/American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street. Co-sponsored by Brandywine Peace Community. Earlier in the day, possibility of class talk/meeting at University of Pennsylvania, a major drone researcher in Philadelphia, and protest of UPENN’s drones research.  brandywine@juno.com
  • Ponidcherry University, India (Oct 7-8) Space issues education and awareness campaign Coordinator J. Narayana Rao rao.jnrao36@sofy.com
  • Portland, Maine (Oct 8) Die-In with CODEPINK. People concerned about the use of drones to kill civilians, including many children, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Philippines, etc. Meet at Obama campaign HQ, 533 Forest Ave,  (across from USM) from noon-1pm.  lsavage3@gmail.com
  • Springfield, Pennsylvania (Oct 7) Anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Bruce Gagnon speaks at the Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Road, www.delcopeacecenter.org   5:30 pm. Potluck Supper; 6:30 p.m. Presentation and Discussion: A Decade plus of War…Drones, and more: Empire and the Militarization of Space.  Evening co-sponsored by the Brandywine Peace Community  brandywine@juno.com
  • Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 28) Swedish Peace Council seminar about The Militarization of the North: How the Arctic has become a dangerous field for war preparations. Speakers from northern Russia, Bard Wormdal from Vardö (northern Norway) on satellite war, from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sweden is present chair of Arctic Council) and Agneta Norberg on drone testing in Northern Sweden.    lappland.norberg@gmail.com

 

  • York, England (Oct 8)Peace in space cycle journey we will be stopping to meet and talk with public. info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

Keep Space for Peace Week is co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK), Swedish Peace Council, and the Drone Campaign Network (UK).

 

Download the full space week poster at:  http://www.space4peace.org/actions/Keep%20Space%20for%20Peacer%20Poster%202012.pdf

 

The award winning documentary Pax Americana & the Weaponization of Space is now available online at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tRA5bEO0cUg#!

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
globalnet@mindspring.com
www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/  (blog)
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.  ~Henry David Thoreau
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Georges Bernanos: Wars like epidemics, with neither beginning nor end

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Georges Bernanos
From The European Spirit and the World of Machines (1946)
Translated by Joan and Barry Ulanov

images

It’s no use pretending to believe that total wars resemble all other wars, with the slight difference that many more are killed in total wars thanks to the perfecting of the techniques of destruction. Whatever trouble one takes to glorify the spirit of sacrifice of the victims of these gigantic cataclysms, everybody knows very well – although without daring to say so – that modern wars are not military conflicts, but crises each time more violent, the true nature of which we ourselves don’t quite understand. One can neither prevent nor control these wars, as the failure of pretended peace negotiations proves only too well…Actually, these wars are a great deal more like epidemics than like wars. They are epidemics which take the lives of our best people, as if humanity, by an inverted scale of values, sought to create little by little a type of man abridged and crude enough to survive the total collapse of the rights of the individual and of all his freedoms.

For a hundred and fifty years, money has been the only sign and symbol of the collapse of spiritual values and the despair latent in man which is suddenly revealed in these wars of ours which have neither beginning nor end.

If science had not made such gigantic leaps forward, under the lashing of all the greed which burns to make use of science, the discovery of the atomic fission of plutonium would certainly have come a good deal later and would not have surprised humanity in the full crisis of the moral nihilism which makes any madness possible, and above all that of self-destruction. If the Egyptians or the Greeks had been guided in their work by a concept of man and life just like – or in any way comparable with – ours, we should undoubtedly never have known the dialogues of Plato, and the planetary catastrophe that threatens us now would have occurred a long time ago.

One may think what one will of the modern world, but I think the time has come to know whether the modern world was made for men or men for it, that is, whether or not we have the right to allow the modern world to try to save itself at the expense of men. We understand quite well that the modern world, or at least the kind of mechanical and centralized civilization we call by that name, is engaged, not in saving itself, of course – I beg your pardon for having used that phrase – but in staying alive, again at the expense of men, millions and millions of the massacred, the imprisoned, the starving. At the expense of millions of men, yes, and even more at the expense of bread and wine, of rivers, forests and great cities that crumble, one after another, under the bombs. What frightens me – God grant that I may share my fright with you! – is not that the modern world destroys everything, but that it gains nothing from what it destroys. In destroying, it consumes itself. This civilization is a civilization of consumption which will last as long as there is something to consume. Oh, I know it’s quite an effort for you to consider it this way, even though its only law seems to be the law of production to the bitter end, limitless production. But this monstrous production, this elephantiasis of production, is the exact indication of the disorder to which, sooner or later, it cannot help succumbing. In destroying, it consumes itself. In producing, it destroys itself. Machine civilization produces commodities and eats up men. One cannot limit the production of commodities. Machine civilization will not stop producing commodities until it has devoured all men. It will eat them up in wars in huge masses, in heaps, but also one by one, draining them one by one of their backbone, of their soul, of the spiritual substance that made them men.

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Non-Aligned Movement In Spotlight As Global South Reemerges

August 27, 2012 3 comments

Global Times
August 27, 2012

NAM in spotlight as global South reemerges
By Paul Cochrane

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summits have typically been treated as non-newsworthy events by Western media. But this NAM summit, which began Sunday in Tehran, has aroused unusual interest.

The attention focused on the 16th NAM summit is not due to the movement’s founding principles of peaceful coexistence and standing against Western hegemony and neo-colonialism. After all, such aims are not deemed newsworthy, but are instead considered as rather wishy-washy utopian and naive ideals, if not downright knee-jerk anti-Western rhetoric.

The significance of NAM, set up in 1961 in Belgrade to provide a voice for the Third World and create some political talking space in a bipolar world, has admittedly waned in the two decades after the end of the Cold War and US triumphalism in a unipolar world.

While NAM has struggled to find its footing in a new world order, it has shown that the people of the global South still have a voice and that the desire for equal footing in global affairs is still there. Over the past decade the movement has been given a boost by the economic rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the political swing against the US and institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in South America, and the gradual shift eastward of economic power since the 2007 financial crisis.

One only has to recall how obsequious former British prime minister Gordon Brown was in 2008 when he went to the Persian Gulf cap in hand to beg for bailouts and financial assistance for the IMF. When the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, both NAM members, stumped up cash, Brown was forced to concede that countries that contributed in this way should have a greater say in the overall governance of the IMF.

While nothing has changed in the IMF’s governance, Brown’s statement is indicative of potential changes in the economic order. Likewise, foreign creditors of US federal debt has ballooned since 2007, going from $2.4 trillion, or 53.5 percent of total debt, to approximately $5 trillion, or 56.9 percent of total debt in 2011. If change is to happen in the relations between the North and the global South, then it may well come through economic leverage rather than political demands.

But while changing capital flows may make some in the West sit up and take more notice of the “darker nations,” this NAM summit is getting attention for political reasons. The recently elected president of post-revolutionary Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, snubbed an invitation to visit Washington in favor of a visit to China and then to attend NAM.

While this is diplomatically significant, the main reason for the renewed focus on NAM is that it is being held in a country the West has tried to isolate for three decades, recently slapped on tough economic sanctions, and is threatening conflict over its alleged nuclear weapons program. Unsurprisingly the US and Israel have condemned the summit, with the US State Department stating Iran was not “deserving” of being the host. Both countries have urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to not go to Iran.

However, the place for the head of the UN is certainly at a gathering of leaders that represent the majority of the world’s population. It would in fact go against the founding principles of what the UN is supposed to be about, uniting nations, for Ban to not be there.

What riles the US and Israel is that the summit may undermine their efforts to isolate Tehran at this time, that there has been overwhelming support among NAM members for Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and that NAM supports a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

That Iran will try to maximize its position as the host and next leader of NAM to bolster its international standing is a given, but what member states will decide upon is another matter. Indeed, Tehran will try to rally support for its ally Syria at the summit, but this may prove hard to do, with 70 out of the 119 NAM members in favor of a UN General Assembly vote in early August condemning the Syrian government’s violence against its people, and only eight voting with Syria, Iran, China and Russia.

What is certain is that under Iran’s leadership, NAM is likely to be more vocal on the world stage than it has been for decades, and because of that may very well garner more media coverage outside of the global South.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Plan for a Base in Uzbekistan to Materialize?

August 27, 2012 1 comment

Strategic Culture Foundation
August 27, 2012

US Plan for a Base in Uzbekistan to Materialize?
Aleksandr Shustov
Edited by RR

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Uzbekistan shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan and sits fairly close to Iran and China, all of the countries potentially falling within reach of US forces to be dispatched to the new base.

====

Geopolitically, the dust is settling in Central Asia in the wake of the noisy Arab Spring. Part of the outcome is likely to be Uzbekistan’s policy swing that would place it solidly in the camp of the US military and its allies as the next leap after the republic put on hold its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In the meantime, Washington is making vigorous efforts to reset to zero Russian influence over Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the two Central Asian republics where Russia currently maintains military bases.

US Undersecretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake toured the region on August 15-17. Initially, his itinerary included stays in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. In Astana [Kazakhstan], he was supposed to be selling the New Silk Road project propped up by the US and clearly aimed to exclude Russia from the Eurasian transit web. In a last-moment adjustment, Blake’s priorities tilted towards Tashkent – on August 15, he met with Uzbek president Islam Karimov and on August 16 Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry hosted a third round of talks with the US coupled with a US-Uzbek business forum. The official account of the negotiations mentioned a wide range of political, economic, and security issues being touched upon, with no specific deals previously unheard of, but, in fact, those have likely been sealed under wraps.

During Blake’s visit, the intrigue revolved around a hypothetical US plan, recently cited by the Kazakh Liter newspaper, to plant a military base in Uzbekistan. The point set forth in Liter was that the arrangement would fit neatly with Uzbekistan’s foreign policy logic, considering that the republic only briefly flirted with Russia after coming under fiery criticism in the West over the handling of the 2005 Andijan drama.

By signaling a green light to a US military base on its territory, Uzbekistan would earn the status of Washington’s key regional partner, with generous economic and military aid, important guarantees, and a fresh sense of confidence vis-a-vis its neighbors with whom Tashkent occasionally gets locked in bitter resources-related disputes. For the US, the benefit of the partnership would be to have a foothold in Uzbekistan with an eye to muscling Russia and China in and beyond Central Asia.

By all means, the article in Liter, an outlet of Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party, saw the light of day for serious reasons. On August 23, Russia’s Kommersant business daily quoted sources with connections within the Uzbek foreign ministry as saying that Washington and Tashkent opened talks on the creation of an Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan charged with the mission of tight coordination to be launched if trouble starts to spill over after the 2014 US withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Kommersant, the facility would be the biggest one to be run by the US in Central Asia. That, among other things, explains how and why the US plans to distribute much of the army materiel pulled out of Afghanistan among the Central Asian republics: some would be supplied for free to Uzbekistan on a permanent basis to reinforce the Center and some passed to the republic temporarily.

The US has a record of deploying military infrastructures in Uzbekistan. There used to be one – the Karshi-Khanabad base – in 2001-2005 at the Khanabad military aerodrome sited at a distance of 10 km from Karshi in the Qashqadaryo province. Its status was defined by an accord signed in October, 2001, and the US had to rebuild the facility from scratch to later keep there a fleet comprised of a group of S-130 transports, a dozen Black Hawks, and around 1,500 servicemen.

The Karshi-Khanabad base was used to support US operations in Afghanistan, but the US-Uzbek honeymoon came to an end as, under public pressure, Washington urged a fair probe into the 2005 Andijan unrest. In response, Tashkent stated in July, 2005 that US forces were to leave Karshi-Khanabad within a span of six months, which they did by November of the same year, with the homeless aircraft relocating to Bagram airfield in Afghanistan or the Manas airbase leased to the US by Kyrgyzstan.

The plan for an Operative Reaction Center described by Kommersant implies a US military presence of more impressive proportions, as much of the US power would be shifted to the post-Soviet space. If the US get a go-ahead in Uzbekistan, the new base would be packed with aircraft, armored vehicles, and support infrastructures like arsenals and food depots, while US forces on the premises would far outnumber those that formerly inhabited Karshi-Khanabad. Washington evidently hopes to engage with Uzbekistan as Central Asia’s most populous republic and second-biggest economy strategically positioned in the region. Uzbekistan shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan and sits fairly close to Iran and China, all of the countries potentially falling within reach of US forces to be dispatched to the new base.

Under the circumstances, Moscow simply must take steps to dig into Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A two-day negotiating marathon between Kyrgyz leader Almazbek Atambayev and Russia’s deputy premier Igor Shuvalov took place in Bishkek this month, and at that time a package of three agreements – on military, economic, and energy cooperation – was scheduled to be inked next fall. Chances are that deals on the construction of the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant and the Upper Naryn hydropower cascade – both of key importance to Bishkek – will go through earlier than September 15. Above all, Kyrgyzstan said OK to a Russian military base on its soil (with a lease term of 15 years). Against that background, it does remain unclear whether the US airbase in Manas is there to stay or will be closed in line with Atambayev’s campaign pledge.

A question mark also hangs over the role of Tajikistan in the disposition now taking shape. Talks between Moscow and Dushanbe meant to hammer out an agreement on the lease term for Russia’s 201th base in the republic are deadlocked, and at the moment unofficial reports indicate that the Tajik administration has offered to renew the existing contract till 2016 instead of having it replaced, and promises greater flexibility later on. The problem, though, is that Tajikistan is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013-2014, the incumbent Emomali Rahmonov is being challenged by a cohort of rivals, some of them US-backed, and, given the prospects for regime change in Tajikistan, Moscow might raise strong objections to the delay.

No doubt, Moscow would be confronted with a situation calling for a tougher than ever strategy if the Operative Reaction Center – a US military base to stay indefinitely in post-Soviet space regarding which Russia has serious ambitions – pops up in Uzbekistan. Following upon several makeshift bases narrowly geared to supply the Western coalition in Afghanistan, the facility would come as a slap in the face to Moscow, a humiliation comparable to what Washington would have experienced seeing Russia install a military base in Mexico, Nicaragua, or Cuba.

Categories: Uncategorized

East China Sea: U.S. Backs Japan As Military Confrontation With China Nears

August 27, 2012 1 comment

Global Times
August 27, 2012

Diaoyu slowly drifting into crosshairs

The PLA Nanjing Military Region has been conducting a navy-air force joint exercise in the East China Sea. The drill comes against the backdrop of military exercises between the US and Japan in defending the Diaoyu Islands.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has stressed that Washington will cover Diaoyu as part of the US-Japan Security Treaty. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has repeatedly stated the possibility of deploying Self-Defense Forces in the Diaoyu conflict.

The drill of Nanjing Military Region, whether it is a routine exercise or is considering Diaoyu, has come at the right time.

Japan’s increasingly radical approach over the island disputes is pushing the Diaoyu issue toward a military confrontation. The Japanese government is dangerously fanning the flames in East Asia.

Both China and Japan should be cautious in mentioning military clashes. Creating a war scenario should be a taboo for officials. Japan has to be clear that the hatred of Japan’s invasion is still buried in the Chinese consciousness. A rising China will by no means allow military humiliation by Japan to happen again.

World War II is long over for the Chinese. But Japan repeatedly reminds us of that history. Tokyo has never honestly faced that war. No sincere remorse can be felt in its attitude toward China. On the contrary, it tries to make up for defeat in the past with new sources of conflict with its neighbor.

If a new war breaks out between China and Japan, it may well take on an aspect of revenge. Let it be said, however, that China has no plan to square up with Japan. Hatred toward Japan has been a topic of restraint in Chinese media and in remarks by officials. On the Diaoyu issue, Japan has repeatedly mentioned the deployment of Self-Defense Forces.

Japan mustn’t go too far in provoking China. Japanese officials should think twice before uttering provocative words. In modern history, all the conflicts between China and Japan were caused by Japanese invasion. Japan has no right to attack China bitterly as it does today. The Chinese public has boundless antipathy toward Japan.

While both sides are claiming sovereignty over Diaoyu, Japan is escalating the situation as its Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto warned against Chinese side moving one millimeter closer to Diaoyu and threatened the use of Self-Defense Forces. It is inviting the participation of the Chinese navy.

The wise strategy for Japan is to keep the conflict under control. Japan will pay a huge price if it continues this insanity.

Categories: Uncategorized

Vladimir Mayakovsky: Hurl a question to their faces: Why are we fighting?

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Russian writers on war

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Vladimir Mayakovsky
Call To Account! (1917)
Translated by Lika Galkina with Jasper Goss

images

The drum of war thunders and thunders.
It calls: thrust iron into the living.
From every country
slave after slave
are thrown onto bayonet steel.
For the sake of what?
The earth shivers
hungry
and stripped.
Mankind is vapourised in a blood bath
only so
someone
somewhere
can get hold of Albania.
Human gangs bound in malice,
blow after blow strikes the world
only for
someone’s vessels
to pass without charge
through the Bosporus.
Soon
the world
won’t have a rib intact.
And its soul will be pulled out.
And trampled down
only for someone,
to lay
their hands on
Mesopotamia.
Why does
a boot
crush the Earth – fissured and rough?
What is above the battles’ sky -
Freedom?
God?
Money!
When will you stand to your full height,
you,
giving them your life?
When will you hurl a question to their faces:
Why are we fighting?

Categories: Uncategorized

The Dirty War on Syria

August 26, 2012 2 comments

Progressive Press
August 25, 2012

The Dirty War on Syria
John-Paul Leonard

The Not so Independent Independent?

Robert Fisk has been starting to doubt the official line a little in the pieces he’s writing from Damascus for the Independent. I submitted two comments to his latest article, “The bloody truth about Syria’s uncivil war – Those trying to topple Assad have surprised the army with their firepower and brutal tactics.”

(The first comment showed up after a few minutes, presumably it had passed computerized vetting for bad language, but it disappeared in an hour or two. Not sure if they ran afoul of the thought police, or if there is a rule against URL’s in posts. So here they are again without the URL’s, let’s hope they stay up. Most of the comments so far are pro-Syria and anti-US death squads.)

1. I hope this comment somehow reaches the Syrian Arab Army leadership. Fisk’s reports often give indications that the Syrian army needs a well-thought-out counter-insurgency doctrine on how to deal with terrorists, who take over urban districts and use civilians as human shields. That is a war crime, and the FSA are a criminal gang. Nonetheless, tanks and artillery are not really suitable for taking out snipers. Why not empower more civilians and army veterans to defend their own neighborhoods? For more details see the blog “The Dirty War on Syria”.

2. Dear Mr Fisk,
I’d like to ask if in repeating that “the revolt began after secret police officers tortured to death a 13-year-old boy,” have you checked into this or are you trusting the media – the corrupt warmongering mainstream media? There are two sides to every story and every time I dig out the Syrian side, I find that the tale put out everywhere by the CIA-trained FSA is a Big Lie.
In the case of Hamza al Khateeb, he was 17, not 13, and he was not arrested and tortured for writing graffiti. He joined by an armed mob that was firing at a police station, and was killed by three bullets – whether fired by the police or perhaps even by provocateurs, commandos tasked with stoking violence. The cause of death – gunshot wounds, and not torture – was established by the coroner before it was known who Hamza was. His body was taken from the scene of the shootings directly to the hospital.

The Syrian government narrative “True Story of Hamza al-Khateeb’s Death Belies Media Fabrications” can be found online as well as a youtube video “Medical Examiner Interview about Hamza Al-Khateeb.”

I think you too, the more you dig into the Syria story, the more you will find it is a dirty war based on a Big Lie against a small, proud, nation that dares to be INDEPENDENT.

Aug 24

Give Us Each Day Our Fill of Lies

A top story on Yahoo yesterday blared the headline, “Assad’s War on Syria’s Children.” The casual viewer will assume that Assad is massacring 1000s of kids. Read it and come to find out all they have is two kids who exhibit violent behavior, after their rebel father and uncle fought back against the army instead of evacuating. Moral: terrorists make terrible parents.

Typical, twisted, Goebbelsian MSM war propaganda, from the aptly named “Daily Beast.”

For that false flag the US is planning in order to get their war on Syria, I bet you their proxy insurgents the FSA Fanatic Saudi Assassins wipe out a school full of kids with chemical weapons and blame it on Assad. No war propaganda more potent than the killing of babies.

They have already recycled the phony Kuwait/Iraq incubator babies deaths tale from 1990 against Syria now. The FSA massacre at Houla was blamed on the Syrian government and used to justify sanctions against Syria – even after the truth had come out that it was done by US-sponsored death squads and not the Syrian Army.

They make up their own truth – and it’s the Big Lie every time.

Aug. 22

Turnabout is Fair Play – Syria should set up Local Militias, and put a Bounty on Terrorist Heads too

By now I’ve seen innumerable reports and videos of the gratitude of Syrians for the protection of their Army against the depredations of FSA terrorist gangs. The latest one appeared in The Telegraph, Aug. 21, Robert Fisk reporting:

At least a dozen civilians emerged from their homes, retirees in their 70s, shopkeepers and local businessmen with their families and, unaware that a foreign journalist was watching, put their arms round Syrian troops.

I also just came across a report from June in Global Research on how the largesse of the oil emirates Qatar and KSA trickles down to the smallest pawns in the game

The young people no longer want to work in the field. You can earn every day 5000, 8000, 1000 pounds, if they kill policemen. A man from Qusseir (Qusair), who has recently reported himself to the authorities, has confessed, that he has 150 000 Syrian pounds for committing the kidnapping and murder of six soldiers.

Syrian soldiers have said that they have received about 180 000 Syrian pounds [about $3000 US], to desert (from the Army), what is a fortune here in Syria.

Fisk also quotes an Army general on the terrorists:

They snipe at us and then they run and hide and in the sewers. Foreigners, Turks, Chechens, Afghans, Libyans, Sudanese.” And Syrians, I said. “Yes, Syrians too, but smugglers and criminals,” he said.

Juxtaposing these three facts, a tactic occurred to me that could help Syria win the counter-insurgency. Rather than making civilians wait for the army to save them, why not recruit trustworthy veterans or reservists for a neighborhood militia in civilian dress? Some neighborhoods and clans have already done this on their own, Christians in particular, setting up checkpoints with armed guards to protect themselves. Most Syrian men serve two years in the army, so they know how to fire a gun.

As an incentive, declare a bounty for the killing or capture of foreign terrorists. Of course, such a program needs to be well-planned to avoid abuses. Candidates for neighborhood counter-insurgency commando service would need to be vetted and trained to avoid chaos and killings of ordinary civilians, or infiltration by FSA sympathizers. But we already have those problems with the FSA. So with judicious application, such a program could be a game-changer.

Bounties should either be higher, or paid exclusively for, foreign combatants. For their protection, foreign journalists should wear Press jackets, carry a visa, and make themselves known to authorities in the areas where they are working. Reservists might need special training in stalking snipers, and their identities might need to be kept secret, to avoid being singled out by terrorists.

Chairman Mao said, “The guerrilla must swim among the people as the fish swims.” The same holds true for counter-insurgents. Well-targeted, hand-in-glove methods will also greatly reduce the physical and moral damage from the use of heavy weapons, which are at any rate poorly suited to hit-and-run guerrilla tactics.

It is understandable if the Syrian authorities may experience anxiety about loss of direct control over each weapon and soldier under such a policy, but adequate control can be maintained. The fact remains that the heroic Syrian Arab Army was built for a conventional war with Israel. Today’s war waged by the US and proxies is an insidious, unconventional model, requiring innovation and cunning to combat it.

Update Aug. 24. When i see a single FSA sniper terrorizing a whole neighborhood, or one terrorist blowing up a tank with an RPG, I really have to ask if the SAA are using the best mix of weapons. True, they keep killing terrorists, but can they afford the cost? NATO can send more insurgents and wear Syria down in a war of attrition.

Nowadays is the age of open source – you can’t concentrate all tasks and do everything yourself – got to harness the power of the people. The Evil Empire got to be as big as it is because it learned this long ago. Syria is under attack by a CIA People Power Coup, among other things. The Syrian people are so thankful to their army, I’m sure they would be glad to help.

A comment on Twitter today by @FadiSalem, quoting an Aleppo activist about the FSA: “They have no regards what so ever for civilian life. They hide among them, leave them when shelling starts.”

Aug. 20

REALITY AND DEMONOLOGY IN THE WAR ON SYRIA

It seems the real situation in Syria is never as bad as the hysteria pushed by the Western media. Of course, no news is always bad news for the media, but with Syria, there is an added motive – catastrophic reports raise the pressure for intervention.

That’s why I liked the concluding words of this unusually low-key, level-headed “Despatch from Damascus” by a German journalist, posted on Aug. 4th:

Damascus itself was placid, and normal life went on…I walked through the city, speaking to shop owners, taxi drivers, people on the streets, policemen, women in headscarves and in Western outfits. The answer was always the same – the international media completely distort what is happening. They singled out the Qatar-based TV station Al-Jazeera for particular criticism…

A final surprise came at the Lebanese side of the border. There I saw the first time the black-white-green rebel flag waving in the wind. Immediately beyond the Lebanese border station were a dozen Western TV teams, waiting for the ‘refugees’. Some of them were paying interviewees in dollars for short interviews; and the wilder the story, the better they seemed to like it. It seems that reality doesn’t mean all that much when the Western media talk about Syria.

From this account we not only learn of the exaggeration of violence, but also that the people overwhelmingly support the government.

In a recent interview, Alex Jones agreed with guest Syrian Girl Partisan that short of a chemical weapons false flag attack, the empire has few options open to intervene. The latest attempt to drum up such a pretext was aimed as much at Iran as Syria. The claim by Dep’t of Offense Secretary Panetta that Iran is training militias in Syria was a masterpiece of duplicity

- the US itself has already invaded both Iran and Syria with commandos, death squads and proxies,
– the allegation of a military intervention by Iran in Syria could be a pretext for an overt attack on either country.
– claims of a loyalist militia are constantly used to shift blame for killings by US proxy death squads onto the Syrian government, and to cover up the fact that Syrian civilians themselves are rejecting and even opposing the US-backed militants

Perhaps the US will be content just do as much damage to Syria as it can using the jihadist cannon fodder available, and let the conflict splutter on. They have been trying to crack Syria for 65 years now. Syria’s electoral reform will make it easier to buy influence in the country. Already in 2014, they can try to create a scandal over the question whether the constitution allows Assad to run for president again or not. While one school of thought was that Syria needed to be taken out before tackling Iran, tying up Syria with low-intensity warfare may be enough.

Facts vs. Acts — Analyzing Activist Assumptions

Let us look at some of the reasons given by opposition activists for supporting armed violence against the Syrian state.
– 42 years of rule by the Assad family
– Security forces allegedly firing on unarmed demonstrators
– Torture
– Shelling in civilian areas

Like Father Like Son?

When you ask Syria opposition activists, “Why not give the new reforms a chance?” they often answer, “Too little, too late. We suffered 42 years under the Assad dictatorship.” When you then ask why they are not supporting the protests against the Al Khalifa family of Bahrain, who have ruled there for over 200 years, you get no answer.

The opposition likes to conflate Hafez Assad the strongman with his son. Bashar Assad was chosen to be president by the Baath party, and does not appear to wield absolute, personal power. Yet the opposition blames him for everything from the houseflies to the weather.

My impression is that Bashar is on the soft side for a leader, rather than the strongman dictator type. In interviews, he conscientiously rejects any notion of his own personal power, speaking always of the constitution, the party, the office.

When Bashar was first elected, he announced plans for reforms. Unfortunately, they were too long in coming, true enough. Perhaps he couldn’t push them through over the old guard in the Baath party.

Another point of softness was B. Assad’s attempt to win Western favor by making concessions. A few years back, he let in the IMF austerity shamans — an entering wedge for destabilization. This spring, he tried to respect the UN ceasefire, which only let terrorists get more deeply entrenched.
If the US and the activists they support wanted reform, they could have pushed for reform and got it. Instead, the protests immediately turned to violence. Nevertheless, as soon as the protests started in Spring 2011, the Baathists saw the writing on the wall and started the political reform process.

Who pulled the trigger first? Who had the motive and the plan?

Another favorite opposition argument is that peaceful protesters restrained themselves for a long time, until the “brutal crack-down by the Assad regime” stoked their rage and they started to fight back. However, the facts show that violence began almost from the start, so quickly that it is very hard to figure out who fired first. Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research analysed the evidence in a May 2011 article, “Syria: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention.'” He writes,

The Western media has presented the events in Syria as part of the broader Arab pro-democracy protest movement, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria.

Media coverage has focussed on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed “pro-democracy” demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators there were armed gunmen as well as snipers who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters.

Chossudovsky notes that the protests started not in Damascus, where the authentic internal opposition is based, but in Daraa (or Deraa), a small town of 75,000 souls on the border with Jordan. The pattern has held throughout — the FSA always concentrates on targets near borders, as they must be supplied from foreign countries.

The first fatalities in Daraa were seven policemen and four armed protesters. Some or all of the dead may have been shot by mysterious snipers on rooftops, who were shooting at BOTH police and protesters. In Syrian state TV footage used by the BBC, it says on the screen, “You are seeing gunmen shooting at unarmed civilians and security forces.”

Why shoot at both sides? To stoke enmity and violence between the two sides. What would be the motive? For violent elements to take over the protest movement and overthrow the state.

In other words, as the BBC put it in their emotion-charged video “Inside the Secret Revolution,” the snipers were “agents provocateur.” But the BBC claims these provocateurs were plainclothes government thugs — the “Shabiha.” The word means “spooks,” and refers to a gang of Latakia port smugglers, among them a nephew of Hafez Assad, during the 70’s and ’80s. Hafez Assad suppressed them in the 90s, and they were disbanded in 2000.

Up until the stage of open warfare this summer made it impossible, drumbeaters for war on Syria have blamed all killings by terrorists on the Shabiha. Yet there is very little evidence for their “ghostly” existence (other than the usual “unconfirmed activist reports” and dubious videos).

Of course, the last thing a government wants to do is stoke internal violence, and even less, to kill its own security forces. The Syrian authorities were doing what any state does, to try and restore law and order, not to pour oil on flames and engulf itself.

Rather than “cracking down,” the authorities immediately tried to calm the situation by offering to release the students who had been arrested, but the mobs went ahead and set fire to government buildings. Were they paid or incited to do this?

The Biased Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC

The BBC don’t try to explain why the government would want to provoke violence. We know, however, from the US Unconventional Warfare manual TC 18-01, that the US does use this kind of violent destabilization tactic. The BBC then present a “witness” (with face dramatically hidden from the camera), allegedly a Syrian army defector. His wild story would have fetched a good price on the Lebanese border. Officers allegedly ordered their men at gunpoint to shoot, saying, “Don’t shoot the ‘armed groups,’ they are with us. There are no rebels, no conspirators, just the people. Shoot the people.” According to this Hollywood-cartoon-villain self-indictment, the officers shot dead seven men because they had refused to shoot the protesters! A shocking but inherently absurd script with a slick presentation that still makes a strong impression.

A month later, as the army occupies Daraa to try to restore order, Al-Jazeera reports this hellish scenario: people don’t dare to go in the streets because “plain clothes thugs and secret police” snipers on rooftops are shooting both civilians and soldiers. Based on “unconfirmed activist reports” of course. But we have a report from Webster Tarpley on the same situation in Homs in November. Tarpley told that the people of Homs begged for the Army to come restore orde. Meanwhile the Big Lie Media pinned blame on Assad for the havoc wreaked by the FSA there, always claiming the rooftop snipers were Assad’s – one form of their video lies.

Tarpley on Russia Today, Nov. 2011:

I’ve just completed about one week of fact-finding tour of the country and I’ve been in Homs, I’ve been in Tartus, Banias, I’ve been in the military hospital here in Baghdad, and I can tell you what average everyday Syrians of all ethnic groups – Christian, Sunni, Shiite, Alawite, Druze – what they say about this, is that they are being shot at by snipers. In Homs in particular they are saying that there are terrorist snipers shooting at civilians, men women and children. Blind terrorism, random killing, simply for the purpose of destabilizing the country. I would not call this a civil war by any stretch of the imagination. I think that’s a very, very misleading term in the following sense. What you’re dealing with here are death squads. You’re dealing here with terror commandos, the kind of thing that everybody remembers from Argentina and Central America. This is a typical CIA method. In this case it’s a joint production of the CIA, MI-6, Mossad, DGSE of the French. It’s got money coming from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

All throughout 2011 and up until the surge on Damascus and Aleppo, the MSM try to pretend that all killings have been carried out either by the army or the Shabiha, never by the FSA. FSA terrorists sometimes even dress in Syrian Army uniforms, to reflect blame for their terror acts on army. Total casualty figures are inflated, packaged as civilian deaths and laid at the government’s door in full, without detailing how many were combatants.

It takes careful analysis, but when the effort is made, it never seems to fail: the MSM narrative is always a Big Lie, where atrocities are groundlessly blamed on government forces. One is tempted to simply ignore the MSM.

When a government carries out a false flag, they are always quick to point the blame at their target. Thus the BBC was quick to blame “government death squads,” but the Syrians were puzzled. They did not leap to tell the story that would work for them and say, these are CIA death squads – they just called them “protesters.” A similar time lapse was seen after the Houla massacre, where the media accused the Syrian army of shelling civilians. The government was non-plussed and could only protest innocence. It took a while for the truth to come out – that the massacre was carried out by FSA jihadists, who had cut the throats of Assad supporters with knives. No traces of government shelling were to be seen, and the photo they had shown of bodies strewn everywhere was from a scene in Baghdad…But the media had scored their points, and the USUK had used the massacre to tighten sanctions on Syria, with no looking back. This is full-blooded war propaganda, creating facts on the ground, and the Anglo-Americans have always been the top specialists at it.

The “Shabiha” – Ghosts of Ghosts

I have seen innumerable cases where photos of civilians killed by “shabiha” were debunked as fakes, and not one confirmed one yet. If real photos were available, “activists” would not resort to faking them, with the risk of being found out. This leads to the conclusion that there are no real photos, and I have been assured by an anti-FSA activist who checked into this in the first few months and found that all photos of government atrocities were fakes.

It’s logical that the intentional civilian killings are carried out by the FSA, as they have the motive – it destabilizes Syria. One, they can blame the killings on “Shabiha.” Two, they hope to terrorize the populace into supporting them. Three, it weakens the country and may weaken the people’s will to resist takeover by the US proxies. Some grief-stricken families may turn against the government for not stopping the FSA from killing their loved ones. This is all tried and true insurrectionary tactics.

Meanwhile the government has every motive and makes every effort not to kill civilians, but it must defeat armed insurrection.

Torture

Another reason given for opposition to Assad is torture.
Torture is a bad thing, no question about it.
It causes psychological damage to victims, and even to its practitioners. And to no purpose – it doesn’t even work nearly as well as soft indoctrination.
Torture should be eliminated. However, it is not the reason the US wants to topple Assad.
A few years ago, under the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” the US even sent “terrorist suspects” to Syria to be tortured. The US also tortures inmates in Guantanamo. Torture is a worldwide problem.
If activists want to end torture, is making war on Syria the best way to go about it? No. Allowing reforms to take root, allowing a multiparty democracy to develop, is the best hope to end the practice.
War on Syria will lead to more, not less terror. Government officials lack experts in soft indoctrination methods, yet feel the need to find out if detainees are just “peaceful protesters” or armed militants. And the torture of civilians by the FSA is much more brutal than that by the state. The Al Berri clan were beaten and bloodied before being shredded in a machine gun fusillade.

Shelling Residential Areas

This is an issue that has worried me, as seen in earlier blog entries below.
The media like to call this “Assad using the army to attack his own people,” as they are fishing for a UN resolution under the R2P “responsibility to protect” theory.

Let’s ask opposition activists why the FSA is using residential areas as human shields? The activists will probably say it’s OK for revolutionaries.
Do they know this is a war crime, as security expert Charles Shoebridge pointed out the other day, in a tweet to Human Rights Watch reminding them of their own position – “all sides must avoid deploying military targets such as fighters or weapons in or near densely populated areas, and they must try to remove civilians from areas of military operations.”

In other words, endangering civilians by mounting a guerrilla warfare operation in cities and towns is a war crime in itself, not to mention the acts of terror against non-combatants by the invading mercenaries.
While sharing my sentiment that we’d like it if a more limited type of response could eradicate the insurgents’ occupation of urban areas, Shoebridge also noted, “A person who knows about military matters knows this is what happens in urban war. Rebels condemned by UN for exactly this.”

Sometimes the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shells areas where FSA snipers have occupied the rooftops. Under cover of artillery fire, SAA is able to take back the high ground. It’s a question of tactics.

The army has made statements that they are striving to minimize civilian casualties, by advancing slowly on terrorist nests, giving civilians a chance to flee.

The FSA also do have some heavy weapons and mortars, which they are known to lob unprovoked into peaceful civilian areas.

According to carefully-laid plans

We’ve seen now that the motivation for violence rests squarely with the Evil Empire, not with the Syrian state. As for the Empire’s evil plan, an updated version of it was published by Michel Chossudovsky on Aug. 3 in “Towards A ‘Soft Invasion’? The Launching of a ‘Humanitarian War’ against Syria”. He writes,

Rather than carrying out an all out Blitzkrieg, the US-NATO-Israel military alliance has chosen to intervene under the diabolical R2P frame of “humanitarian warfare”. Modelled on Libya, the following broad stages are envisaged:

1) A US-NATO backed insurgency [involving] by death squads is launched under the disguise of a “protest movement” (mid-March 2011 in Daraa)

2) British, French, Qatari and Turkish Special Forces are on the ground in Syria, advising and training the rebels as well as overseeing special operations. Mercenaries hired by private security companies are also involved in supporting rebels forces

3) The killings of innocent civilians by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are deliberately carried out as part of a covert intelligence operation. (See SYRIA: Killing Innocent Civilians as part of a US Covert Op. Mobilizing Public Support for a R2P War against Syria, Global Research, May 2012)

4) The Syrian government is then blamed for the resulting atrocities. Media disinformation is geared towards demonizing the Syrian government. Public opinion is led into endorsing a military intervention on humanitarian grounds.

5) Responding to public outrage, US-NATO is then “forced to step in” under a Humanitarian “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) mandate. Media propaganda goes into high gear. “The International Community” comes to the rescue of the Syrian people.”

6) Warships and fighter jets are then deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean. These actions are coordinated with logistical support to the rebels and Special forces on the ground.

7) The final objective is “regime change” leading to the “break-up of the country” along sectarian lines and/or the installation of an “Islamist-dominated or influenced regime” modelled on Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

8) War plans in relation to Syria are integrated with those pertaining to Iran. The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. The broader implications of US-NATO intervention are military escalation and the possible unleashing of a regional war extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to Central Asia, in which China and Russia could be directly or indirectly involved.

Stages 1 through 4 have already been implemented.

Stage 5 has been announced.

Progressives for and Against Assad Want the Same Things After All

If you ask progressive pro- and anti-government activists what is their vision for Syria, it probably comes down to the same shopping list:

- secular, pluralist, parliamentary democracy
– freedom of speech and political association
– security and safety, human rights, women’s rights, no police brutality
– continuation of the policy of resistance to Zionism, no peace without the Golan Heights
– national unity, economic independence and development

For some progressives like me, it was clear before the fiasco of Aleppo and Damascus that the best chance for Syria to reach these goals was to give the reform constitution a chance. After Aleppo, it became clear to many more people that the armed militants would deliver just the opposite. They represent the worst of all possible worlds – a descent into the kind of hell the Ugly American Empire has left behind in Somalia or Afghanistan. A shattered landscape of feuding warlords, a human rights catastrophe that makes feudalism look like Utopia, Syria as a pariah and an appendage of Israel, carved up like the map under the French mandate, and ironically under the same flag.

Why do Revolutions Backfire?

Like begets like. Due process leads to democracy. Violence leads to tyranny.

It’s not clear though how many “opposition activists” really are inspired by revolutionary or democratic sentiment, and how many are trolls. Neo-con wolves in lefty clothing reflect perfectly the duplicitous essence of Color Revolution Technology.

Categories: Uncategorized

The NAM Summit, Iran and Syria: A Coup Against the West?

August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Global Research
Press TV
August 26, 2012

The NAM Summit, Iran, and Syria: A Coup against the West?
Can the NAM Summit bridge the Iran-Egypt Gap?
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will be held in Tehran from August 26 to 31, 2012. The NAM and its summit are mostly ignored in the Atlanticist world of the United States and NATO, but this year’s gathering has gotten the attention of the Atlanticists and their press. The reason is that the NAM summit’s venue has upset the political establishment in Washington, DC.

The US government has gotten its feathers ruffled and even gone out of its way to berate NAM leaders for gathering in Iran. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland – the spouse of neo-con Project for the New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and arch-imperialist Robert Kagan – has asked Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, and even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Washington’s own steward at the UN, not to travel to Tehran. Nuland and the US State Department have bitterly declared that Iran is not deserving of such “high-level presences.” The US, however, is forced to grin and bear the gathering of world leaders in Tehran.

What will take place is an international extravaganza, minus NATO and its key de facto members – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea – in the Asia-Pacific and Israel. African, Asian, Caribbean, and Latin America officials will be there in full strength. The Chinese, who have the status of observers in the NAM, will be there. The Russians, who are not part of the NAM, have been invited as Iran’s special guests and will be represented by Konstantin Shuvalov, Russian ambassador-at-large and Vladimir Putin’s envoy. Even non-NAM member Turkey has been given an invitation from Tehran. To help the Palestinians, Hamas will also be given a special seat at the table under an invitation sent from Iran to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to participate at the summit alongside the US-Israeli puppet Mahmoud Abbas. Alongside the Russian Federation, most members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will be attending as either full members or observers. Aside from the Chinese and Russians, the other three members of the BRICS grouping – Brazil, India, and South Africa – that is becoming the new engine shaping the world will also be in attendance.

The NAM Summit, Iran, and Syria: A Coup against the West?

The gathering of NAM leaders will doubtlessly be an important event for Iran’s international prestige and status. For almost a week Tehran will be a key center of the world alongside the offices of the UN in New York City and Geneva. Not only will Iran be the venue for one of the largest international get-togethers of world leaders, but it will also be handed over the organization’s chairmanship from Arab powerhouse Egypt. Iran will retain this position as the leader of the NAM for the next few years and will be able to speak on behalf of the international organization. Up to a certain degree this position will allow Tehran to have more influence in world affairs. At least this is the view in Tehran where none of the significance of the NAM summit has been lost on Iranian politicians and officials who one after another are pointing out the importance of the NAM summit for their country.

The NAM is the second largest international organization and body in the world after the United Nations. With 120 full members and 17 observer members it includes most the countries and governments of the world. About two-thirds of the UN’s member states are full NAM members. The African Union (AU), Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization, Commonwealth of Nations, Hostosian National Independence Movement, Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front, Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), South Center, United Nations, and World Peace Council are all observers too.

The US and NATO which very generously and misleadingly throw around the term “international community” when they are referring to themselves are really a global minority that pale in comparison to the international grouping formed by the NAM. Any agreements or consensuses drilled out by the NAM represent not only the bulk of the international community, but also the non-imperialist international majority or those countries that have traditionally been viewed as the “have-nots.” Unlike at the UN, the “silent majority” will have its voice heard with little adulteration and perversion from the confederates of NATOistan.

The NAM gathering in Tehran signifies an important event. It demonstrates that Iran is genuinely not internationally isolated like the images that the United States and major European Union powers, such as the UK and France, like to continuously project. Atlanticist media are scrambling to explain this situation and the Israelis are clearly upset.

Undoubtedly, Iran will use the international gathering to its advantage and make use of the NAM to garnish support for its international positions and to help try to end the crisis in Syria. The US-supported siege of Syria will be denounced at the NAM conference and diplomatic blows will be dealt against the US and its clients and satellites. Already the hurried ministerial conference about the fighting in Syria organized by the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran before the emergency summit held by the OIC in Mecca was a prelude to the diplomatic support that Iran will give the Syrian Arab Republic at the 2012 NAM summit.

Despite Algerian and Iranian opposition, Syria was expelled from the OIC at the behest of Saudi Arabia and the petro-monarchies. While the OIC emergency summit in Mecca may have been a political and diplomatic blow to Damascus, the situation is expected to be much difference at the NAM summit in Tehran. The Syrians will also be present in Tehran and able to face their Arab antagonists from the petro-monarchies of the Persian Gulf.

The Genesis of the Non-Aligned Movement and Third World

The Non-Aligned Movement and concept of a “Third World” have their roots in the period of de-colonization after the Second World War when the empires of Western Europe began to crumble and formally end. This superficially represented an end to the domination of the weak by the strong. In reality, colonialism was merely substituted with foreign aid and loans by the declining empires. In this context, the British would offer aid to their former colonies while the French and Dutch would do the same with their former colonies to maintain control over them. Thus, the exploitation never truly ended and the world was maintained in a state of disequilibrium. The United Nations was also hostage to the big powers and ignored many important issues concerning places like Africa and Latin America.

What brought the formation of the NAM about was firstly the rejection of domination and interference by the countries of the “Global North” – a term that will be defined shortly – and the concept of co-existence that India and China carved out in 1954 when New Delhi recognized Tibet as a part of China.

The NAM started as an Asian initiative, which sought to address the tense relations between China and the US on one hand and China’s relations with other Asian powers on the other hand. The newly independent Asian states wanted to avoid any ratcheting up of the Cold War in their continent, especially after the disastrous US-led military intervention in Korea, or the manipulation of India and Indonesia as buffer states against the People’s Republic of China. This Asian initiative quickly broadened and gained the support of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Egypt, and the various leaders of the nationalist independence movements in Africa that were fighting for their liberation against NATO countries like Britain, France, and Portugal.

Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser were the three main forces behind the organization’s creation. Kwame Nkrumah, the Marxist pan-African leader of Ghana, and Ahmed Sukarno, the leader of Indonesia, would also put their weight behind the NAM and join Tito, Nehru, and Nasser. These leaders and their countries did not view the Cold War as an ideological struggle. This was a smokescreen. The Cold War was a power struggle from their perspectives and ideology was merely used as a justification.

The Different Worlds of the Cold War

The word “non-alignment” was first used on the world stage by Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon, India’s ambassador to the United Nations, while the term “Third World” was first used by the French scholar Alfred Sauvy. Third World is a debated political term and some find it both deregulatory and ethnocentric. To the point of confusion the phrase Third World is inextricably intertwined with concept of non-alignment and the NAM.

Both the NAM and, especially, Third World are wrongly and carelessly used as synonyms for the Developing and Under-Developed Worlds or as economic indicators. Most Third World countries were underprivileged former colonies or less affluent states in places like Africa and Latin America that were the victims of imperialism and exploitation. This has led to the general identification or misidentification of the NAM countries and the Third World with concepts of poverty. This is wrong and not what either of the terms means.

Third World was a concept that developed during the Cold War period to distinguish those countries that were not formally a part of the First World that was formed by the Western Bloc and either the Eastern/Soviet Bloc and Communist World that formed the Second World. In theory most of these Third Worlders were neutral and joining the NAM was a formal expression of this position of non-alignment.

Aside from being considered Second Worlders, communist states like the People’s Republic of China and Cuba have widely been classified as parts of the Third World and have considered themselves as parts of the third global force. Chairman Mao’s views defined through his concept of Three Worlds also supported the classification of communist states like Angola, China, Cuba, and Mozambique as Third Worlders, because they did not belong to the Soviet Bloc like Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

In the most orthodox of interpretations of the political meaning of Third World, the communist state of Yugoslavia was a part of the Third World. In the same context, Iran due to its ties to NATO and its membership in the US-controlled Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) was politically a part of the First World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Thus, reference to Yugoslavia as a Second World country and Iran as a Third World country prior to 1979 are incorrect.

The term Third World has also given rise to the phrase “Global South.” This name is based on the geographically southward situation of the Third World on the map as opposed to the geographically northward situation of the First and Second Worlds, which both began to collectively be called the “Global North.” The names Global North and Global South came to slowly replace the terms First, Second, and Third World, especially since the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Bandung, Belgrade, and Non-Aligned Institution Building

The NAM formed when the Third Worlders who were caught between the Atlanticists and the Soviets during the Cold War tried to formalize their third way or force. The NAM would be born after the Bandung Conference in 1955, which infuriated the US and Western Bloc who saw it as a sin against their global interests.

Contrarily to Western Bloc views, the Soviet Union was much more predisposed to accepting the NAM. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev even proposed in 1960 that the UN be managed by a “troika” composed of the First, Second, and Third Worlds instead of its Western-influenced secretariat in New York City that was colluding with the US to remove Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as other independent world leaders.

Fidel Castro and Cuba, which hosted the NAM’s summit in 1979 when Iran joined as its eighty-eighth member, would actually argue that the Second World and communist movements were the “natural allies” of the Third World and the NAM. The favorable attitudes of Nasser and Nehru towards the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc’s support for various national liberation movements also lends credence towards the Cuban argument about the Second and Third World alliance against the capitalist exploitation and imperialist policies of the First World.

The first NAM summit would be held in the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade in 1961 under the chairmanship of Marshall Tito. The summit in Belgrade would call for an end to all empires and colonization. Tito, Nehru, Nasser, Nkrumah, Sukarno and other NAM leaders would demand that Western Europeans end their colonial roles in Africa and let African peoples decide their own fates.

A preparatory conference was also held a few months earlier in Cairo by Gamal Abdel Nasser. At the preparatory meetings non-alignment was defined by five points:

(1) Non-aligned countries must follow an independent policy of co-existence of nations with varied political and social systems;

(2) Non-aligned countries must be consistent in their support for national independence;

(3) Non-aligned countries must not belong to a multilateral alliance concluded in the context of superpower or big power politics;

(4) If non-aligned countries have bilateral agreement with big powers or belonged to a regional defense pact, these agreements should not have been concluded in context of the Cold War;

(5) If non-aligned states cede military bases to a big power, these bases should not be granted in the context of the Cold War.
All the NAM conferences to follow would cover vital issues in the years to come that ranged from the inclusion of the People’s Republic of China in the UN, the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, African wars of independence against Western European countries, opposition to apartheid and racism, and nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, the NAM has traditionally been hostile to Zionism and condemned the occupation of Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Egyptian territories by Israel, which has earned it the seamlessly never-ending aversion of Tel Aviv.

Making NAM Relevant Again

Many people ask what relevance the Non-Aligned Movement has today. Since the end of the Cold War the NAM’s strength has been eroded as the US, neoliberal economic reforms, the IMF, and the World Bank have gained more and more control over NAM members. In many cases NAM members have reverted back to de facto colonies in all but name. Many members of NAM, such as Belarus, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, are actually fully aligned states.

There is no question about it that Iran wants to make NAM relevant again to use it fight off the expansionist Atlanticist world. So do the Russians and the Chinese. The NAM after all has provided Iran important diplomatic support in its politicized nuclear dispute with the Atlanticists. The NAM is also the closest alternative to the Atlanticist-infiltrated and perverted United Nations.

The NAM summit will be capitalized on by Iran and its allies to try and develop some sort of strategy to fight and circumvent the unilateral US and European Union sanctions against the Iranian economy and to show the Atlanticists in the US and the EU that their powers in the world are limited and declining. One small step in this direction is that Iran will begin negotiations with 60 NAM countries to drop bilateral visa requirements with Iran. A universal statement may also be released asking for the anti-Iranian sanctions to be dropped or modified. Other steps would include proposals for a new and alternative financial global structure, which would evade the Atlanticist chokehold on international financial transactions.

An important event at the NAM summit will be the arrival of Morsi in Tehran as a sign of warming relations. Ties between Cairo and Tehran will not be restored overnight either, because there are restrictions on Morsi. Whatever happens between Egypt and Iran at the NAM summit in Tehran will be just steps in an unrushed process. The Egyptians are taking pains not to antagonize their Western and Arab paymasters and the Iranians have opted to be patient. Morsi’s presence in Iran, however, is still symbolically very important. Tehran indeed has reason to be very optimistic as all its stars are aligning at its NAM gala.

Diplomatic circles are looking at Egypt on the eve of the NAM summit. Before it was announced that Morsi would go to Iran, it was expected that Egyptian Vice-President Mahmoud Mekki would represent Egypt at the NAM summit as a demonstration of Egypt’s estrangement from Iran.

Cairo’s relationship with Tehran and what develops from Morsi’s trip to Iran is what all Arabdom, Israel, and the US will be watching carefully.

Some analysts are asserting that Egypt’s stance could “make or break” the project to isolate Iran, especially in sectarian terms involving a Shiite-Sunni divide. This is actually wrong, because there is nothing specifically significant that Egypt can do to break or isolate Iran. After all, Cairo and Tehran have essentially had no ties since 1980 and Mubarak was a staunch ally of the US who put Egypt to work with Saudi Arabia and Israel to curb Iranian influence.

In the worst case scenario the relationship between the two countries will stay as it was during the Mubarak era. This is not a losing situation for Iran, albeit the situation in Syria has catalyzed the Iranian desire for faster rapprochement. Egyptian-Iranian relations have nowhere to go except upward.

The Tahrir (Liberation) Square protests that dethroned Mubarak and helped bring about the elections that brought the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood into power are part of what Iranian officials call an “Islamic Awakening” in contrast to an “Arab Spring.” Iran did not hide its belief either that Egypt and it could eventually form a new regional axis after dictator-for-life Mubarak was booted out from power. If there is any man that can make the leap from the conception of an Arab Spring to an Islamic Awakening, at least publicly, it is President Morsi through an alliance with Iran.

On August 8, Iran sent Hamid Baqaei to deliver Morsi’s invitation to attend the NAM summit in Tehran. Along the way the international press and pundits gave higher attribution to Baqaei’s governmental rank, because they failed to realize or mention that he was the most senior of eleven junior or assistant vice-presidents and essentially the cabinet minister responsible for the Iranian presidency’s executive affairs.

First Vice-President Mohammed-Reza Rahimi, the former governor of the Iranian province of Kurdistan and himself a former junior vice-president, is Iran’s senior vice-president. Regardless, Baqaei’s visit to Cairo as both a presidential envoy and a close presidential aide was important. Iran could have delivered the invitation letter through its interest section in the Swiss Embassy to Egypt or other diplomatic channels, but made a significant gesture by sending Baqaei directly to Egypt. The move made all the countries conspiring against Iran and Syria very anxious. For these anxious countries the NAM get-together in Tehran will be all about Egypt, Iran, and Syria.

Are Saudi, Qatari, and IMF moves in Egypt tied to the NAM Summit in Tehran?

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have offered Egypt their financial aid before Morsi’s visits to Beijing, where he is expected to ask for Chinese help. Aside from the use of Saudi and Qatari aid to shape the way that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood interacts with Iran, the offers of aid from the petro-despots of Doha and Riyadh are part of the Arab competition over influence in Cairo.

Morsi is widely seen as Qatar’s man and relations between Riyadh and Cairo have been uneasy for some time. The Saudi Embassy in Cairo was even temporarily closed after Egyptian protests against Saudi Arabia flared up. More importantly, the House of Saud opposed Morsi in support of longstanding Mubarak henchman Ahmed Shafik during the Egyptian presidential elections. In addition, the House of Saud has propped up its own political clients inside Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood. The House of Saud’s Egyptian clients, the Nour Party and the their parliamentary coalition called the Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc), trailed in second place behind the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary coalition, the Democratic Alliance.

Despite the fact that Doha and Riyadh are both serving US interests, the two sheikhdoms have a rivalry with one another. This Qatari-Saudi rivalry picked up again after a brief pause that saw both sides invade the island-kingdom of Bahrain to support the Khalifa regime and to work together against the governments of Libya and Syria.

The Saud and Al-Thani rivalry has seen both sides supporting different armed groups in Libya and competing anti-government forces during the so-called Arab Spring (or Islamic Awakening in Tehran). The elections in Egypt, where Doha and Riyadh supported different sides, just added fuel to the Qatari-Saudi fire.

Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has made it a point to support the Muslim Brotherhood almost wherever they are as a means of expanding Qatari influence. Just days after the ousting of Mubarak, Qatar’s Al Jazeera showed great foresight when it launched Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a news channel dedicated exclusively to Egypt. While Qatar and its media have put their weight behind the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia and its media have not.

This has also been the reason that the Saudi-controlled media, like Al Arabiya, have continued to level criticisms against President Morsi even after the elections in Egypt. To alleviate the House of Saud’s tensions with Egypt, Morsi made his first foreign trip as president to Saudi Arabia.

Aside from favorable news coverage, it is also widely believed that Qatar helped finance the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during elections. In addition, Qatari investments in Egypt grew by 74% according to figures released by the Egyptian Central Bank in July 2012. On August 11, Emir Al-Thani and a Qatari delegation also travelled to Egypt for a one-day visit with Morsi. The next day, on August 12, Morsi politely dismissed or “retired” Field Marshal Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and Sami Anan, the Egyptian Armed Forces chief of staff and Tantawi’s number two. After Al-Thani’s visit, rumors also began to circulate in Egypt that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning to lease the Suez Canal to Emir Al-Thani, which was denied by Morsi and his presidential staff.

An outcome of Emir Al-Thani’s Egyptian visit was that it was announced that Qatar gave Cairo two billion dollars (US). In reality, the Qataris only gave Egypt 500 million dollars (US) and said that the remainder will be given in installments, which will start after the NAM summit in Tehran. Does the payment schedule say anything?

The timing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visit to Cairo to negotiate a loan on the eve of the NAM summit in Tehran is also suspicious. After a year of uncertainty and begging, Qatar and the IMF have opened their pockets to the Egyptians (although Qatar sent some money earlier). The Libyan Transitional Council government has even offered to pitch in financially, even when its own coffers are in disarray as a result of the NATO war on Libya and the looting of Libya’s treasury and assets by the Atlanticists with the help of US neoliberal economist turned Libyan “minister of oil and finance” Ali Tarhouni. As for the House of Saud everyone understands that their terms for financial aid to Egypt include the continuation of anti-Iranian policies in Cairo.

Everyone will be Watching Morsi in Tehran

Readings on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which govern under the banner of the Freedom and Justice Party, vary. On the one hand the Egyptian government has maintained the closure of the borders with the Palestinians in Gaza. It has also pledged to honor its international treaties, a sly reference to its peace treaty with Israel that seeks to avoid mentioning Israel and prevent a media fuss. On the other hand, Morsi made positive gestures to Tehran at Mecca’s emergency Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit about forming an Ankara-Cairo-Riyadh-Tehran contact group to discuss the Syrian crisis and has said he wants amendments to be made to the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel.

Like most politicians, Morsi has watered-down his election promises. He has had to walk a fine line surrounded by enemies and competitors alike while he has worked to slowly accumulate power. When he was elected there was a delay in announcing the outcome of the Egyptian election. Field Marshal Tantawi and the Egyptian military junta were taking their time to think over on deciding whether to keep Morsi as a president or to impose a new round of martial law while forcibly installing their fellow general Ahmed Shafik as the country’s civilian president.

Morsi is at odds with Egypt’s military commanders who are the longstanding allies of Israel and the US, as well as allies of the House of Saud. Aside from retiring the two most important members of the Egyptian military junta, Morsi has also reversed the Egyptian military’s decisions to subordinate his presidency and amend the post-Mubarak constitution of Egypt. This power play has been widely described as a pre-emptive counter-coup against the Egyptian military junta. Doha may have supported the move to make sure that its Muslim Brotherhood racehorse stays in power, as opposed to the Saudi’s Egyptian military and Nour Party racehorses. Whether the counter-coup was a move made in the context of Qatari-Saudi rivalries or strictly a move to attain political freedom for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is a ten million Qatari riyal question.

Looking East Policy Shift in Cairo?

Where Morsi’s foreign policy is going after the NAM conference in Tehran is the other important question. Where he stands will begin to crystallize from the NAM meeting onwards. The fear of rapprochement between Iran and Egypt certainly keeps a lot of people up at night in Riyadh, Tel Aviv, London, and Washington, DC. Everyone is waiting to see what Cairo and Tehran will do and for many the expectations of rapprochement are running high, but the leverage and restrictions that exist over Morsi should not be forgotten either.

Although there is far less fanfare and attention being paid to Morsi’s trip to China, what he does there will also be very important. Some say he plans on slowly shifting Cairo’s foreign policy away from the Atlanticist camp, with Washington as its capital, towards the Eurasianist camp that includes China and Iran. Certainly Chinese foreign aid will reduce Egyptian dependency on the Atlanticists and their Arab petro-monarch partners. What we are dealing with here is an intricate web of multiple relations between different groups who are interacting with one another in different ways and through changing relationships.

Addendum – August 25, 2012

The unelected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to boycott the NAM summit after the Iranian media and Hamas both announced that Prime Minister Haniyeh, the democratically-elected representative of the Palestinians, was going to attend the NAM summit. Subsequently the Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Haniyeh was never invited to Tehran.

An award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy. He has also addressed the Middle East and international relations issues on various news networks including Al Jazeera, teleSUR, and Russia Today. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2011 he was awarded the First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club for his work in international investigative journalism. The above article is from his Press TV column.

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Scotland: The Case for Leaving NATO

August 26, 2012 2 comments

Sunday Herald
August 26, 2012

The Case for Leaving NATO
Dave Thompson
SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch

In Scotland today, I think there is just cause for optimism because when I envision this country’s future, I see great potential and great opportunity for us as a nation to choose what is good and right. In just over two years, in the 2014 independence referendum, we will be given the chance to choose who we want to be, what we want to do and where we want to go. The independence referendum is, however, about more than just standing on our own two feet, and managing our own affairs.

It is also about harnessing the potential of our nation and shaping the future, and there are few issues as pressing and urgent as Trident.

The Trident nuclear weapons system is unjustifiable, immoral and grossly expensive and we must use this opportunity to get rid of it. One of the great prizes of Independence, for all nuclear disarmers in the whole of UK, will be the consequence for the UK’s Trident programme. In essence, it will be stopped in its tracks.

For decades, anti-nuclear has been the heart and soul of the Scottish National Party and the 2011 manifesto made reference to continued opposition to UK plans for new nuclear weapons.

This brings us to the crux of the debate about Nato membership which will, of course, be decided by the first Scottish Government after the independence elections in 2016.

Will Scotland be able to get rid of Trident if it remains a member of Nato? Current SNP policy is that an independent Scotland should not be a full member of Nato as it is a nuclear alliance with a first strike policy, a position which Nato affirmed in May of this year at the Chicago conference.

Nato’s position on nuclear weapons has not, therefore, changed since the SNP reviewed its decades-old policy in 2002 and I believe that it will be much more difficult to get rid of Trident if Scotland stays in Nato.

The experience of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands provides a clear warning to Scotland. Each of them still has American nuclear weapons on its soil despite efforts to get rid of them.

In 2010, a concerted effort was made by them to urge Nato to rethink its nuclear policy but this initiative has run into the sand.

Scotland would find itself in exactly the same position if it remained a member of Nato.

The good news is there is an alternative which could pave the way for a nuclear-free Britain, which might, in turn, be the start of real nuclear disarmament in Europe with a knock on effect across the rest of the world.

This is because Trident has nowhere to go when Scotland says goodbye to it after independence, a case which is convincingly argued in the CND paper of that name published in February.

There is no viable alternative site for Trident in the rest of the UK, the US or France, so it will be decommissioned and a huge leap forward will take place on nuclear disarmament.

Scotland has a chance to make a real difference after independence and we should have the confidence to project ourselves as a modern nation, with a vision which is rooted in our concern for humanity.

What better way to do that than to insist on the end of Trident nuclear weapons.

We should not let Nato membership cloud that vision, as it undoubtedly will, but we should be bold and show leadership to the rest of the world as we embark on the next exciting chapter of Scotland’s history.

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U.S., NATO Connive To Remain In Central Asia

August 26, 2012 3 comments

Uznews.net
August 24, 2012

Uzbekistan USA’s strategic partner again

The USA has decided with its partners to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Uzbekistan will become a key country, which will host a special military centre.

This was discussed at recent talks between US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent on 15 August.

It was the bank accounts of President Karimov’s family that influenced his willingness to agree to cooperate with the USA, a reliable source has said.

The Americans threatened that they might create problems with funds of the president’s elder daughter, Gulnara Karimova, that are deposited in Western bank accounts.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will also provide air and land routes for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

Retreat ways

The use of Central Asia to withdraw NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 was first discussed in March, during a visit by US Secretary of Defence Leon Penetta to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Then, the Kyrgyz defence minister was offered military equipment and weapons by the USA free of charge. Consequently, the same topic was discussed by Pentagon officials in Dushanbe and Tashkent.

Now NATO troops are using about 7,000 M-ATV wheeled armoured personnel carriers, 8,000 MRAP armoured vehicles with mine protection, over 10,000 HMMWV off-road vehicles and auxiliary equipment.

In addition, the Pentagon is ready to hand over medical equipment, communication facilities, fire extinguishing equipment

Kyrgyz Defence Ministry officials then agreed to accept military vehicles and communication facilities.

The Kyrgyz Defence Ministry explained that it would be very expensive to use other equipment, namely small arms taken out of battle fields.

American diplomats continued talks with Tashkent and Dushanbe.

Impossible to manage independently

US military top brass believe that hotbeds of instability may emerge on the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Uzbek borders after 2014.

In their opinion, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will not be able to overcome supposed terrorist threats.

CSTO rapid reaction forces will not be able to rebuff Afghan fighters either, the US military believe.

In the opinion of US diplomats, NATO forces can be used to ensure stability in Central Asia.

It is suggested that most of equipment should be given free of charge, and some for storage to Uzbekistan.

At the same time, the matter concerns the possibility of setting up a special military centre to maintain equipment and ensure stability in the region. It will be based in Uzbekistan.

Possibly, later this centre may become another foreign military base in Central Asia.

Leaving bases behind

Americans are not concealing their desire to keep their Manas base in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. President Almazbek Atambayev last year said that the military base in Bishkek’s Manas airport would be closed in 2014.

But the Kyrgyz government explained that, most likely, the base would remain but under a different name.

The USA will mainly use the territory of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

The diligence of American diplomats in Central Asia has noticeably increased because of the approaching deadline for the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.

After his visit to Tashkent, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said that in October he would visit Kyrgyzstan for a second round of talks.

A meeting with Kyrgyz authorities will touch upon the topic of the future presence of NATO troops in Central Asia.

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Mikhail Lermontov: Still you’re fighting: Why, what for?

August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Russian writers on war

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Mikhail Lermontov
From Valerik (1840)
Translator unknown

images

The fight was over. All was still.
The bodies made a grisly hill.
Blood trickled from them, steaming, smoking…
“Just tell me, my kunak,
What do they call this little river?”
“They call it Valerik”, he said,
“Which means The River of the Dead.
Those who named it are in Heaven…”
Then someone else’s voice I heard,
“This day is for the war decisive”.
I caught the mountaineer’s glance derisive.
He grinned but did not say a word.
And there I was; my heart so pained with pity.
I thought: “Poor man, what are you after?
The sky’s so blue. The world so endless.
And still you’re fighting: Why, what for?!”

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Scottish National Party Group Hosts Anti-NATO Seminar

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The Press Association
August 25, 2012

SNP group hosts anti-Nato seminar


Trident missile fired from a Vanguard class nuclear-powered submarine

Anti-Nato campaigners will try to persuade SNP members at a conference to uphold the party’s long-standing position of keeping an independent Scotland out of the alliance.

The party’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) group opposes moves by the leadership, including First Minister Alex Salmond, to swing the party behind Nato in the event of Scottish independence.

It is hosting a seminar in Glasgow to “educate” nationalists about what the about-turn in policy could mean for the party and its chances of securing a Yes vote in the referendum in two years.

Gareth Finn, SNP CND group convener, said: “The main aim is to educate SNP members about what membership of Nato would look like. I’d like to think they’re all anti-nuclear but when it comes to Nato, there’s a small number of people that seek to change policy.”

While Mr Finn sees Nato as a nuclear alliance, the leadership argues that Scotland could join on condition that no nuclear weapons are allowed in the country. This would be used to force the removal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent from the Clyde.

Mr Finn pointed to the experience of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, all Nato countries which host US nuclear weapons but are having to argue for their removal.

The conference is expected to be attended by some MSPs opposed to the proposed change of direction. They include backbenchers Sandra White, John Finnie, Dave Thompson and Jean Urquhart. The SNP’s youth wing has already resolved to oppose the pro-Nato motion, due to be debated at the party’s annual conference in October.

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STV
August 25, 2012

SNP nuclear activists to call for Scotland to be kept out of Nato

Anti-Nato activists in the SNP are meeting to urge the party leadership not to ditch its policy of keeping Scotland out of the alliance.

The SNP leadership has put the issue of Nato on the agenda for its autumn conference, with defence spokesman Angus Robertson proposing a motion in favour of inheriting the UK’s membership.

Mr Robertson has insisted the motion would not change the SNP’s anti-nuclear stance, but some campaigners have accused the party of “buckling” over its pledge to remove the Trident submarines from Scottish waters.

The party’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) group is holding a seminar in Glasgow to “educate” nationalists about what the about-turn could mean.

Gareth Finn, SNP CND group convener, said: “The main aim is to educate SNP members about what membership of Nato would look like. I’d like to think they’re all anti-nuclear but when it comes to Nato, there’s a small number of people that seek to change policy.”

The conference is expected to be attended by some MSPs who oppose the proposed change of direction. They include backbenchers Sandra White, John Finnie, Dave Thompson and Jean Urquhart.

The SNP’s youth wing has already resolved to oppose the pro-Nato motion, due to be debated at the party’s annual conference in October.

First Minister Alex Salmond has said the party remains firmly anti-nuclear and the SNP would seek to “trade in” the nuclear submarines at Faslane if Scotland became independent.

The Trident Ploughshares anti-nuclear group has accused the leadership of showing a “slowly buckling resolve to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons”.

A spokesman said: “To join Nato while claiming that you want rid of Trident just does not make any sense: Nato is a nuclear weapons alliance. If your state does not have nuclear weapons, as a member it means you accept that other members of the alliance are ready to use them to commit mass murder on your behalf.

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Russia Alarmed Over U.S.-Turkish “Operational Meeting” On Syria

August 25, 2012 4 comments

Voice of Russia
August 24, 2012

Moscow alarmed as Turkey and West hold “Operational Meeting” on Syria
John Robles

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Turkey wishes to be one of the main players for NATO, the West and its Middle East Allies in the region and has many times failed to support the positions of its once allies and friends, including Syria as well as Russia.

Now the anti-Assad bloc is attempting to terrorize the world into allowing it to invade Syria by using the pre-Iraq-invasion claim of chemical weapons. This has been repeated many times over the past two months and appears to be the new “point of contention” after the provocative airspace violation did not bring about the result sought by the West.

Turkey, the West and their Persian Gulf allies are in violation of international law and internationally accepted norms and should be facing serious international resistance, yet the United Nations and the world continue to allow such infringements on the territorial sovereignty of Syria.

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Syria’s claims that the uprising on its sovereign territory is being orchestrated from outside the country were given further credibility by an eight-hour operational meeting held in Ankara behind closed doors between US Ambassador to Turkey Elisabeth Jones, Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Under-Secretary Halit Cevik, diplomats, military representatives and intelligence agency representatives.

Detailed self-avowed plans for bringing about the hasty collapse of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were discussed.

Since the beginning of the crisis Turkey has positioned itself as one of the staunchest opponents of President Bashar al-Assad who was once seen as a “friend and brother” according to a recent statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey wishes to be one of the main players for NATO, the West and its Middle East Allies in the region and has many times failed to support the positions of its once allies and friends, including Syria as well as Russia. Recent statements in support of Russia’s position against an armed outside intervention into Syria were obviously carefully staged lies to attempt to appease Moscow which will protect its interests in the region.

The meeting follows the recent provocation by Turkey where a Turkish F-4 Phantom Fighter was shot down in Syrian airspace but which did not bring about the planned result.

Ankara and the Western “architects” had hoped to draw NATO into the conflict by claiming Turkey was being threatened by Syria. Unfortunately for NATO and Turkey the real facts behind the incident came out and even though Turkey claimed the plane was shot down in international airspace and the wreckage somehow flew into Syrian territory, no one was buying it.

The aircraft was in violation of Syrian airspace and was shot down in Syrian airspace by Syrian anti-aircraft batteries with a range of only a few kilometers. Those are the facts and no matter how Ankara wanted to repaint the picture that is how events occurred.

Now the anti-Assad bloc is attempting to terrorize the world into allowing it to invade Syria by using the pre-Iraq-invasion claim of chemical weapons. This has been repeated many times over the past two months and appears to be the new “point of contention” after the provocative airspace violation did not bring about the result sought by the West.

The fact that Turkey and the West have been openly funding and supplying violent insurgents, introducing jihadists and every type of foreign mercenary and terrorist, into Syria to continue the bloodshed is a point that should be causing international outrage, yet the West operates unimpeded and openly admits to such violations of international law and international norms.

Turkey has admitted that along with Washington and a number of Arab countries in the Persian Gulf they are training and providing support for foreign fighters on its territory, fighters that are being sent into Syria to support and aid the insurgents. There are reports that as many as 15,000 such foreign fighters are ranged along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Moscow has been opposed to foreign military intervention into the Syrian conflict since the very beginning and this includes “secret” armies being funded and trained by the West in their continuing attempt to force violent regime change in Syria.

The West has never held talks or in any way promoted the bringing about of a peaceful resolution to the internal Syrian conflict and this has alarmingly become completely and totally evident by all the steps that the West has taken and all of the statements issued by Western Officials over the past few months. This includes an August 11th joint statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on their joint planning to implement mechanisms to bring about the hasty termination of the current Syrian government.

Turkey, the West and their Persian Gulf allies are in violation of international law and internationally accepted norms and should be facing serious international resistance, yet the United Nations and the world continue to allow such infringements on the territorial sovereignty of Syria.

All contentions by the West and United States that they are the world’s “moral policemen” and “guardians of humanity” now seem to be outrageous.

The violent overthrow of a sovereign government can only be called an egregious violation of international norms. Russia has always called for stopping bloodshed by establishing peace in order for the Syrian people themselves to decide the fate of their own country.

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Wilhelm Lamszus: The Human Slaughter-House

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Wilhelm Lamszus
From The Human Slaughter-House
Scenes from the War that is Sure to Come (1912)
Translated by Oakley Williams

images

War! War is declared! So the news speeds hollow-eyed through the streets. We are at war. It’s the real thing this time.

Mobilization!

The ominous word dominates the placards on the hoardings. The newspapers reproduce the proclamations in their heaviest type, and rumors and dispatches flutter like a ruffled dovecote round this day of Blood and Iron.

It is deadly earnest now. And this sense of the seriousness of it has numbed the State like a stroke of paralysis. But then a jar, as of a lever thrown over, goes through the vast iron fabric. And every one has got to yield to this jar. The time for anxiety and hesitation is over, for doubts and oscillation. The moment has now come when we cease to be citizens, from henceforward we are only soldiers – soldiers who have no time to think, who only have time to die.

Not one of us has probably ever, with his own eyes, seen a field of battle. But we have heard about it from others, and we have read in books of other men what a battlefield looked like in 1870-71, and, as though with our own eyes, we have watched the shells shattering human bodies. And another thing we know is that forty years ago in spite of inferior guns and rifles, over a hundred and twenty thousand dead stayed behind on the field of honor. What percentage of the living will modern warfare claim? Armies are being marshalled vaster than the world has ever seen. Germany alone can put six million soldiers in the field; France as many. Then the war of ’70-’71 was nothing more than a long-drawn affair of outposts! My brain reels when I try to visualize these masses starting to march against one another; I seem to choke for breath.

There probably won’t be many among us who believe in the Resurrection, who believe that our mangled bodies will rise again in new splendor. Nor do we believe that our Father in Heaven will have pleasure in our murderous doings, that in that better world He will regard us other than as our brothers’ murderers…

How the experts have, day in, day out, been inventing and constructing new marvels of mechanism. The mechanical side of war has been raised to a high standard of genius and a fine art. Two hundred and forty bullets and more to the minute! What a marvel of mechanism one of those machine-guns is. You set it buzzing, and it spurts out bullets thicker than rain can fall. And the automaton licks its lips hungrily and sweeps from right to left. It is pointed on the middle of the body, and sprays the whole firing-line with one sweep. It is as though Death had scrapped his scythe for old iron; as if nowadays he had graduated as expert mechanic. They have ceased to mow corn by hand nowadays. By this time of day even the sheaves are gathered up by machinery. And so they will have to shovel our millions of bodies underground with burying machines.

They have grown rigid in death in grotesque postures as if Death had been trying to pose figures here. There are certain schemes of Death that are always recurring. Hands out-stretched — fingers clawing the grass — fallen forward on to the face — that fellow over there lying on his back is holding his hand pressed tight against his abdomen, as if he were trying to staunch the wound.

In the country I was once watching them killing sheep. There a beast lay, and was waiting for the butcher, and as the short knife cut through its windpipe and jugular vein, and the blood leaped hot from its neck, I could see nothing but the big eye, how it enlarged in its head to a fearsome stare, until at last it turned to a dull glass.

All the bodies lying about here, as if bleating up to heaven, have got these glazed eyes, they are lying as if they were outstretched in the abattoir. Well, to be hit and to fall down dead, there’s nothing to make a fuss about that! But to be shot through the chest, to be shot through the belly, to burn for hours in the fever of your wounds, to cool your mangled body in the wet grass, and to stare up into the pitiless blue heavens because your accursed eyes go on refusing to glaze over yet -

I turn away from them. I force myself to look past these mocking, grotesque posés plastiques of Death.

….

And then a spectral vision rises before my eyes…I see red Death standing outside there on the plain…the clouds reveal a face grinning down on the symphony…and suddenly a clear note detaches itself from the darkness — a tune which enraptured Death is playing to himself till his fiddle splits…is that a human being coming up, running, here?…he is coming with a rush…he will leap upon our backs…halt! halt! halt! He stumbles upright into the trenches, and tumbles sobbing and howling, among our rifles. He strikes out at us with hands and feet…he is crying and struggling like a child, and yet no man dares go up to him…for now he is rising on his knee…and then we see! Half his face has been torn away…one eye gone…the twitching muscle of the cheek is hanging down…he is kneeling, and opening and closing his hands, and is howling to us for mercy.

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NATO’s Libyan Protectorate: War Of All Against All

August 24, 2012 5 comments

Voice of Russia
August 24, 2012

Libya: war of all against all?
Svetlana Kalmykova

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Clashes between tribes sometimes happened under Gaddafi as well. But after he was ousted, they became much more frequent. As a rule, the conflicting sides are very well armed, because during the revolution, many foreign countries, helping Gaddafi’s opponents, flooded Libya with arms.

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Twelve people were killed and dozens wounded as a result of a clash between representatives of two antagonistic tribes in Libya’s northeast.
The country’s security services do not say why these people clashed, but say that when the security forces suppressed the conflict, they confiscated more than 100 tanks and 26 missile launchers from one of these clans, which is opposed to Libya’s current authorities.

According to preliminary data, the conflict, which took place in the town of Zliten, was a clash of two family clans. A source in the Libyan police says that the conflicting sides used heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft machine-gun devices. The bloodshed stopped only after government forces entered the town.

Clashes like this take place nearly every day all over Libya.

“The reasons for these clashes can be very different,” Russian expert in Middle Eastern affairs Evgeny Satanovsky says.

“It can be said without much exaggeration that a war of all against all is now taking place in Libya. The country is populated by several hundred various tribes, who are, as a rule, positioned very antagonistically towards each other. A conflict can emerge over any reason – a dispute over a pasture-land or a water pond, or, say, out of blood revenge.”

“But, probably, most frequently, conflicts occur over oil,” Mr. Satanovsky continues. “Before the revolution, Libya was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of oil. But when the country was, in fact, ruled by one man, Muammar Gaddafi, he decided it single-handedly (or, maybe, sometimes he consulted with the Ministry of Oil) who would have control over the country’s oil. Now, in a situation of a total chaos, nearly everyone in Libya is trying to seize control of the oil.”

Clashes between tribes sometimes happened under Gaddafi as well. But after he was ousted, they became much more frequent. As a rule, the conflicting sides are very well armed, because during the revolution, many foreign countries, helping Gaddafi’s opponents, flooded Libya with arms.

Terrorist acts have also become frequent in Libya. For example, on August 19, three cars exploded in Tripoli’s center. Three passers-by were killed and five others wounded. On August 20, an attempt to kill an Egyptian diplomat took place in Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Fortunately, neither the diplomat nor anyone else suffered.

Libya’s authorities have two suppositions about who was behind these terror acts – either Al Qaeda or supporters of the ousted Gaddafi.

“After Gaddafi was ousted, Libya, in fact, started to fall apart – although, officially, it is still one state,” Vladimir Isaev from the Institute of Oriental Studies says.

“It is no secret that Libya’s current authorities, in fact, have little control over the country. The old army exists no more, and a new one has not been formed yet. The same is true about the police. Every chief of a small tribe is now trying to arm his supporters. It is very easy now to get nearly any kind of weapon in Libya, because during the revolution, large arsenals were pillaged. Now, weapons from these arsenals may emerge in any place – for example, in Sudan or Mali, which are now also gripped with internal conflicts.”

The instability in Libya will, most likely, last for long. The new authorities are obviously not strong enough to stop the war of tribes once and forever.

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U.S. Mulls Interceptor Missile Radar Deployments To Japan, Philippines

August 24, 2012 1 comment

Itar-Tass
August 24, 2012

US considers another X-band radar in Japan – Morimoto


Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance

US may deploy yet another early-warning missile defense radar in Japan, Satoshi Morimoto, Japan’s Minister of Defense said at a press conference in Tokyo.

He confirmed that the radar in question is of the so-called X-band type. There’s already one such radar system in the Aomori prefecture in the north of Japan’s central island of Honshu.

According to American media, two more X-band radars are to be deployed in the south of Japan, as well as somewhere in South East Asia, most likely in the Philippines.

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The Philippine Star
August 24, 2012

US missile defense plan in Asia slammed
Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines: The militant group Bayan on Friday raised alarms over the plans of the United States to set up a missile defense system in Asia.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said this could probably involved the Philippine government, dragging the country into armed conflicts and war posturing.

Quoting an Wall Street Journal article, which described the US missile defense system “a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China’s military, Reyes said the US ultimately wants to take control over the region.

“The US wants to remain the top military power in the region even if they are not part of this region. The US wants us to believe that China and North Korea pose a military threat to countries like the Philippines. However, we don’t see any imminent missile threat from these countries,”Reyes said.

Reyes also scored the so-called “deceptive justification” used allegedly by the US in installing a land-based radar in the country.

“In the beginning, they said that the radar system was to intended to help in maritime surveillance, but it’s turning out to be much worse. The radar will be part of the US’ Asia-wide missile system. This practically makes the Philippines a de facto host to US bases,” Reyes said.

“With a radar in place, having land and sea-based missiles onboard US ships can’t be far behind,” Reyes added.

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Bulatlat
August 24, 2012

Docking of warship part of US’s plan for Asian missile defense system

Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of US Congress, was quoted as saying that the U.S. is “laying the foundations” for a region-wide missile defense system that would combine U.S. ballistic missile defenses with those of regional powers, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia.
By Marya Salamat

MANILA: As the United States “pivots” a bigger part of its overseas armed presence toward the Asia-Pacific region, patriotic Filipinos are alarmed by the increasingly more frequent dockings and visits in the country of likely nuke-armed American warships, submarines and airplanes. Unfortunately, based on plans of US defense officials, these are just some of the many aspects of increased US power projection coming this country’s way.

This week, a missile destroyer – the first of its kind to dock here – arrived in Manila. The Philippine Navy said it is just for a four-day “replenishment,” but progressive groups opposed to US government’s use of the Philippines as an unofficial military base refuse to belittle such dockings.

The 505-foot vessel USS Milius (DDG 69), a guided missile destroyer, docked at the South Harbor in Manila Aug 19. The Philippine Navy spokesman, Col. Omar Tonsay, told the media, a day before, that the docking is not an official visit. He said the missile destroyer will stay at the port from August 18 to 21. On Aug 23, in its official Facebook page, USS Milius posted a photo of the missile destroyer showing it “moored in Manila, Philippines with up and over flags flying and a barge tied up outboard.”

Its crew welcomed what they call as their “liberty” in the Philippines.

Milius has been deployed to the Pacific Ocean since January this year. At the time it left the US for this deployment, its skipper, Cmdr. Nikki Bufkin, reportedly said the destroyer “expects to conduct maritime security and ballistic missile defense operations during the deployment.” Their last deployment was in 2010, guarding an Iraqi oil terminal.

“As a multi-mission AEGIS (ballistic missile defense system) destroyer, Milius is prepared to execute a full range of missions in support of U.S., partner and coalition objectives,” Bufkin said.

Ahead of Milius, two other US nuke-powered submarines visited Subic, Zambales, former site of the largest US naval base outside the mainland. A large ship-building and repair facility here reportedly has contract with the US military to condition or repair US warships.

Not just for replenishment

The revolutionary Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) cautioned Filipinos against being “desensitized” by this regular and increasingly frequent dockings of US military warships and submarines, as well as by the constant presence of American troops and intelligence agents who operate with the Philippine government and military around the country.

“The Filipino people must not let down their patriotic vigilance for even one moment,” the CPP said in a statement.

The US Embassy in Manila has praised the missile destroyer’s visit, saying it “highlights the strong historic, community and military connections between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.”

But that “connection,” in fact, is what the patriotic Filipinos are condemning as “puppetry and servility of the Philippine reactionary state,” currently led by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Why the Aquino’s government has been allowing the US government “to use the Philippines as a platform for its interventionism in the Asia-Pacific region” defies and “stains” the memory of Filipino heroes such as Apolinario Mabini and the Katipuneros, the CPP said.

Mabini and the Katipuneros whose heroism are enshrined in holidays such as National Heroes Day, had fought for national independence and an independent and peace-loving foreign policy. This is the opposite of what the Aquino regime has been pursuing.

The Aquino regime has announced its wholehearted embrace of the US government’s effort to build a network of military outposts in the Asia-Pacific region, from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Aquino government officials have announced early this year that they “invited” the US government and military to use the Philippines in service of the fleet of US warships under the US Pacific Command.

“The docking of the USS Milius further reinforces US control over the Philippines as a military stronghold in its effort to secure its economic and political interests in the region, especially the sea lanes from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific to ensure the flow of US products to the vast Asian market,” said the CPP.

Philippines in US plans to build new Asia missile ‘defense’

Aside from being increasingly used as transit points for refueling and repairs of US military warships and warplanes, as well as in serving as venues for increased US troops’ “rotational” deployment, the Philippines is also being eyed to host important US military facilities.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal yesterday, it was disclosed that the U.S. is planning a major expansion of missile defenses in Asia, a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China’s military.

US defense officials are quoted as saying that “a centerpiece” of its new missile ‘defense’ would be the deployment of a powerful early-warning radar, known as an X-Band, in an undisclosed southern Japanese island and in the Philippines.

These two new radars are to be installed to supplement the first one already installed in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan in 2006. Reports said the US and Japanese officials only disclosed that the radar would be “somewhere in Japan,” but not in southern Okinawa where residents have long chafed at the presence of the US troops.

Some U.S. defense officials have reportedly focused on the Philippines as the potential site for the third X-Band, which is manufactured by Raytheon Co. According to Pentagon officials, a location has yet to be determined and the discussions are still at an early stage.

Recall that when President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III went on a state visit to US early this year, and in the high-level talks held by his defense officials with American defense and security officials, they have agreed to build in the country a US-funded and US-equipped “National Coast Watch Center” that would include a powerful radar, purportedly to help the Philippines watch over its coastlines 24/7.

It was presented like a US “support” to an ally who is trying to build a “minimum credible defense posture” particularly against China. But between the Philippines and the US, it is the US who has been more wary of what its defense planners call as “the elephant in the room, which is China.”

In fear of possible Chinese threats to US Navy fleet, crucial to US power projection in the Asia-Pacific, US defense planners are now intending to install two more X-Band radars to create an arc that would allow the U.S. and its regional allies to more accurately track, and launch, too, ballistic missiles against North Korea and China.

Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of US Congress, was quoted as saying that the U.S. is “laying the foundations” for a region-wide missile defense system that would combine U.S. ballistic missile defenses with those of regional powers, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia.

The radar could be installed within months of Japan’s agreement, American officials reportedly said. As for the Philippines, no details have yet been disclosed. But the CPP warned Filipinos especially the patriotic among them to be on guard, considering that “Under the Aquino regime, the puppetry and servility of the Philippine reactionary state has reached its highest levels in recent times.”

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U.S. Military Build-Up In Asia Pacific: Threat Of Regional Conflict

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
August 24, 2012

US should stop military build-up in Asia Pacific


U.S. Sea-Based X-Band Radar

BEIJING: Senior military officials of the United States and Japan confirmed on Thursday that the two countries were discussing the option of adding another X-band early-warning radar at the island nation’s northern Shariki base to contain missile threats.

Though the US State Department promptly denied that the missile defense hardware is targeted against China, yet considering the US’ persistently deliberate exaggeration of “China’s military threat,” the denial is at best a poor lie.

With intensive joint military drills and insidious arms deployment, the US moves to expand military presence in the Asia-Pacific are detrimental to regional peace and stability.

Right at the moment, when Tokyo is wrestling with Beijing over China’s Diaoyu Islands and a number of other territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific are still boiling, Washington’s military build-up in the area would further fuel the already flaring antagonism.

It has become a tradition for the United States to identify an “enemy country”. With the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, a rising China has appeared to be the next choice.

By driving wedges between China and its neighboring countries, the United States intends to undermine the conditions that could favor China’s development, so as to keep its self-claimed leadership in the region unrivaled.

Washington is playing a double game by diplomatically welcoming China’s rise on the world stage on one hand, and covertly curbing the latter’s development on the other.

Beijing has been explicit in its commitment to peaceful development and insists on bilateral talks to solve territorial disputes with its neighbors. A peaceful neighborhood is in China’s own interests.

US politicians have to understand that the biggest enemy their country faces is not China’s rise, which is inevitable. It is Washington’s inability to co-exist and cooperate with an emerging power.

Washington should revise its false-hearted China policy, and keep good faith with the “stay-neutral” stance toward the regional territorial disputes.

If the United States allows its Cold-War thoughts to go unchecked, there is a real danger that those disputes could spiral out of control and the whole region be sucked into military confrontation.

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U.S. Military Base In Uzbekistan To Counter Russia In Central Asia

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Interfax-Military
August 24, 2012

U.S. base deployment in Uzbekistan will dent Russia’s influence in Central Asia – general

MOSCOW: Washington’s plans to deploy a military base on Uzbek territory could entail negative political and economic consequences for Moscow, Lt. Gen. Leonid Sazhin, a Russian military expert, told Interfax-AVN.

According to recent media reports, Washington launched negotiations with Tashkent addressing the possible establishment of a so-called Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan, which could accommodate warehouses storing weapons and military hardware following the U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Such a scenario is “quite probable,” Sazhin said.

“A tentative decision on this matter was most likely adopted before Mr. Karimov [Uzbek President Islam Karimov] turned his back on Russia once again – too many overseas visitors traveled there,” the expert said.

Uzbekistan quit the Collective Security Treaty Organization in June 2012.

“The deployment of such an American facility, no matter what they call it, will entail negative political and economic consequences both for Russia and the Central Asian region in general,” he said.

“Although Americans claims that they are fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan today, it will be them who, by deploying their facility in Uzbekistan, will lead Taliban members there,” Sazhin said.

“Taliban ideologists will inevitably take advantage of the American presence in Uzbekistan to fuel anti-American sentiments among the local population and win some of them over to their side. As a result, anti-American sentiments will spill over into anti-government demonstrations,” the Russian expert said.

“This problem also has a military-economic component. Americans know how to count money. It is more profitable for them to store weapons withdrawn from Afghanistan nearby than drag them all the way to [America],” he said.

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France Preparing For No-Fly Zone Over Syria

August 24, 2012 4 comments

RT
August 24, 2012

France preparing for no-fly zone in Syria?


Rafale fighters


Mirages

Paris said it is considering helping to enact a partial no-fly zone over Syria, proposed earlier by the US. The move adds yet more pressure on Damascus as the fiery rhetoric increases.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signaled that the possibility of establishing a no-fly zone in the area, between the Turkish border and the flashpoint city of Aleppo, should be considered.

“The idea of a no-fly zone over a particular part of Syria, as suggested by Hillary Clinton, should be examined,” he said in an interview with France24.

Le Drian stressed that the Syrian crisis would never be resolved unless President Bashar Assad steps down.

Noting that the Syrian opposition is “is not yet entirely solidified”, the Defense Minister reasserted France’s support of anti-government forces.

“We are increasing our efforts to support a robust Syrian opposition that is capable of taking the reins of the country…,” he said.

The statement comes after the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, indicated earlier this month that a no-fly zone was an option in resolving the ongoing crisis.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to oppose any military action against Syria and calls for a peaceful solution and further dialogue

On Thursday, Moscow said it was working closely with Damascus to ensure that its arsenal of chemical weapons remains under firm control and has won promises that the weapons of mass destruction will not be used or relocated, AP reports, citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.

Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that military action in Syria will end in catastrophe and stressed that the solution to the ongoing conflict is the Geneva accord peace plan.

“Statements, saying the document [Geneva accord] is as good as dead imply that someone seeks a pretext for military intervention. This is worrying as it can only lead to catastrophe in the region,” Lavrov said in an interview with Sky News Arabic.

Back in June the international community reached an agreement at a summit in Geneva, calling for a transitional government in Syria to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the country.

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U.S. Moving Global Interceptor Missile System To Asia

August 24, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 23, 2012

US to expand missile defense in Asia
Andrey Ilyashenko


Standard Missile-3 launch

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[E]xperts say that the US missile defense system is already capable of directly damaging China’s nuclear deterrent…China’s having no early-warning systems makes the Chinese nuclear forces rather vulnerable to the US’ pre-emptive strike.

Washington is currently able to launch a first-strike disarming attack against China with the help of about 130 ballistic missiles, installed on submarines and equipped with more than 500 nuclear warheads.

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The United States is taking another step aimed at creating a global missile defense system. Earlier this week, Washington signaled readiness to deploy elements of the US missile shield in Asia and the Far East.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the US plans to deploy its two early-warning radars on one of the eastern islands in Japan and in one of the South-East Asian countries. Additionally, the US intends to increase its fleet of warships equipped with missile interceptors to 36 vessels by 2018, with most of them due to be on missions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The US pointed to North Korea’s missile program as a reason to beef up its military potential. Moscow-based defense expert Alexander Perendzhiyev, however, believes that Washington first of all wants to contain China.

“The US cannot openly express its intent to create a missile shield targeting China because this would show Washington’s clear-cut intentions and lead to a conflict. In contrast, touting the shield as a protective measure against North Korea enables them to avoid a conflict given that the North currently faces international isolation,” Perendzhiyev says.

Meanwhile, experts say that the US missile defense system is already capable of directly damaging China’s nuclear deterrent. Right now, China possesses about 200 nuclear warheads, with only 50 of them capable of reaching US territory. At the same time, China’s having no early-warning systems makes the Chinese nuclear forces rather vulnerable to the US’ pre-emptive strike.

According to the Moscow-based Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Washington is currently able to launch a first-strike disarming attack against China with the help of about 130 ballistic missiles, installed on submarines and equipped with more than 500 nuclear warheads. As for China’s short- and medium-range missiles, they can be intercepted by the Patriot surface-to-air missile systems that the US is now supplying to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Also adding to the purpose are the Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, deployed on US destroyers.

Ivetta Frolova of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Studies’ Asia and Middle East department mentions the absence of China’s evident military threats toward the US.

“Such threats are unlikely to be issued in the immediate future,” Frolocva says. “Washington’s intention to create a missile defense system in Asia, namely, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines is first of all the continuation of the US’ policy to contain China, something that focuses on economic rather than military goals.”

China and Russia have repeatedly criticized Washington’s plans pertaining to the expansion of the missile defense system. This year, Moscow and Beijing were supported by an array of Asian countries. In June 2012, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization adopted a declaration where it slammed Washington’s missile defense push. “A unilateral and unrestricted build-up of a missile defense by one state or a group of states can damage the global security and strategic stability”, the declaration, in particular, said.

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Anaconda And Central Asia: U.S. To Surround Eurasia With Bases

August 24, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 23, 2012

Is Afghanistan a cover-up?
Olga Denisova

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“The US is interested in staying in the region. A military base would provide it with a pivot aimed, primarily, against Russia and China whose position on Syria, for example, raises Washington’s displeasure.”

The US sees the post-Soviet space as a ground for political manoeuvre.

“The US is implementing its Anaconda geopolitical strategy adopted several years ago. It consists in surrounding Eurasia with US military bases for the economic and strategic stifling of a large territory with Russia in the middle. Now we are witnessing the implementation of one of the stages of this project, which is already several decades old.”

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The US is hastily looking for partners in Central Asia. Washington obviously does not intend to leave the main role in that region to Russia. US experts in international politics believe that the West’s access to Central Asia is at stake. The Washington Times forecasts Washington’s geopolitical duel with Moscow for Tajikistan.

At present, that country bordering on Afghanistan is especially important for the US. The contingent of the International Security Assistance Force reaches Afghanistan along the so-called northern route across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. US Congressman Dan Burton said recently that the US could deploy a base in Tajikistan instead of the existing one in Kyrgyzstan.

At present, the US has an opportunity to use Afghanistan and the need to provide the withdrawal of the troops as a ‘shield’, General Director of the Centre of Political Information Alexey Mukhin said on the air of The Voice of Russia.

“The US is interested in staying in the region. A military base would provide it with a pivot aimed, primarily, against Russia and China whose position on Syria, for example, raises Washington’s displeasure.”

The US sees the post-Soviet space as a ground for political manoeuvre. It is true, though, that some Central Asian republics encourage this attitude. US interests clash with Russia’s interests in that region where Russia historically took a special place and which it considered to be an area of its influence. Some countries hope to benefit by this rivalry, Alexey Mukhin says.

“Tajikistan historically depends on external influence. Its economy depends on the surrounding countries, including Russia. It would demand certain preferences in exchange for sovereignty and the deployment of military bases. Tajikistan would pay more attention to those countries that promise to give more.”

Last year, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan composed the programme of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Central Asian tour. Her visit was preceded by senior US diplomats’ trips to those countries. It is worth mentioning that the US has recently been in a lively dialogue with Uzbekistan. Tashkent has even suspended its participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

The Russian media report talks between Tashkent and Washington on setting up a rapid deployment centre in Uzbekistan which is to become a US military base after 2014. NATO’s military equipment will also mostly remain in Uzbekistan after the withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan.

Obviously, the processes of the current Eurasian integration do not comply with US plans. Washington has a large-scale geopolitical project of its own, Director of the Centre for Geopolitical Expertise Valery Korovin says.

“The US is implementing its Anaconda geopolitical strategy adopted several years ago. It consists in surrounding Eurasia with US military bases for the economic and strategic stifling of a large territory with Russia in the middle. Now we are witnessing the implementation of one of the stages of this project, which is already several decades old.”

Russian military presence in the region is represented by the Kant base in Kyrgyzstan and 201 Base in Tajikistan. Moscow is not at all happy with the US plans to oust Russia from the region.

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Russia Must React to Hostile U.S., NATO Actions in the Caucasus

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Republic News Agency (South Ossetia)
August 23, 2012

The attempts of the West to create the anti-Russian sentiments in the Caucasus require more active and effective reaction of Russia
Edited by RR

Western countries, which maintain the leading positions in the aggressive military-political bloc of NATO, actively continue to intervene in the internal affairs of Russia.

Their goal, in particular, is the expulsion of Russia from South Ossetia, the destruction of the South Ossetian State (and also, as in 1991-2008, the holocaust of the people of South Ossetia) as well as destabilization of the situation in the North Caucasus in order to separate it from Russia and make it their protectorate and a springboard for further military actions against the rest of the Russian state.

In this case, the myth of the imposition of some sort of “Russian occupation” of South Ossetia and Abkhazia ranks first. Amazingly, not only Russian propaganda, but in some cases even Russian officials in international organizations completely ignore the danger that lurks in this. This is evidenced by the fact that one of them “abstained” from voting for a resolution containing calumnious inventions about “occupation” [of South Ossetia asnd Abkhazia].

Meanwhile, the political activities of the Western officials that are the component parts of advocacy for representing Russia as the aggressor are increasing, which pose a threat to peace and stability in Georgia and in the Caucasus region as a whole.

Thus, the OSCE Secretary General has proposed to discuss “the risk of recurrence of Russia’s military aggression against Georgia” within the framework of the “Forum on Cooperation and Security.”

“If the Georgian side is concerned about it, we will consider this issue at the conference, which will be held soon in France,” said Lamberto Zannier in Tbilisi. For some reason, he has mentioned some concerns of Georgia, though only Georgia is the aggressor and the source of destabilization in the Caucasus.

And the well-grounded apprehension of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Russia, whose soldiers and civilians were killed by the NATO arms of the Georgian army, is hypocritically ignored by the Western politicians. It’s safe to say that the representatives of South Ossetia will not be invited to this event and the neocolonialists will be speaking whatever they want behind our back.

A powerful U.S. senator, John McCain, is “concerned” about the Russian threat to Georgia. He spoke about it in his interview to Georgian journalists within the framework of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Monaco: “I am very concerned about the overt threat of Russia to Georgia and military exercises at the border with Georgia scheduled for autumn; we in Congress are doing everything to supply Georgia with defensive weapons.”

This statement sounds in unison with the first, where he has said that these politicians are not voicing their own opinion; directives on what to say and what phrases to use are sent them centrally.

Moreover, with his statement McCain has recognized unwittingly that till now the West was sending to Georgia not defensive but offensive weapons, so it considered it a country which had to attack and attack, but not to defend itself. The reaction of Russia in 2008 was rejected by the West, so Georgia had not been supplied with defensive arms – just with offensive ones.

All these military-raising activities are aimed at supporting the American stooge, Mikhail Saakashvili, on whom the West is placing high expectations in its fight against Russia. With some hidden design, expressing the true reason of his “concern”, the U.S. Senator emphasized that he was “confident in the Georgian people, and they will make the right choice at the fall elections to the parliament of Georgia.”

These actions require the creation of favorable conditions for the public and non-governmental organizations in Russia and South Ossetia for more active participation in international forums and more effective protection of the interests of Russia and South Ossetia at the international level and in the international media space.

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Victor Hugo: The black eagle waits with claws outspread

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Victor Hugo: Selections on war

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Victor Hugo
From Sedan (1871)
Translated by Henry Carrington

images

Sedan! Death-name, which all has darkened o’er,
Spit forth! so never to pronounce it more.
Fierce was the strife! The carnage large and dire
Gave to the combatants a glance of fire.
Shrieking, the fell Furies at distance stood;
In a dark cloud, all spattered o’er with blood,
Mitrailleuses, mortars, cannons, belch their war.
Ravens, those busy workers, come from far;
Banquets are slaughter, massacre a feast.
Rage filled the gloom, and spread from breast to breast.
All Nature part in the fierce battle takes,
From man who maddens, to the tree that shakes;
The fatal field itself seemed frenzied o’er;
One is repulsed, one driven on before.
Now France, now Germany successful cope;
All either had of death the tragic hope,
Or hideous joy of killing. No man shrunk;
All with the acrid scent of blood were drunk.
None yield; each this the fatal hour knows.
That seed an arm of fearful power sows;
Bullets rained down upon the darkened sod;
The wounded groaned, the nearest on them trod;
The hoarse-mouthed cannon on the melee blew
A vast, thick smoke, which on the breezes flew.

Sudden — in all this mist, ‘mid thunder’s breath.
In the vast gloom where laughs imagined death;
In clash of epic shocks, and in the hell
Of brass and copper which on iron fell;
The crash, the crush, of hurtling shell and bomb.
In rain and rave of that wild hecatomb;
While the harsh clarions sound their dismal cry

A shudder through the haggard standards pours;
While waiting the decree of destiny
(All bleed, fight bravely, strive, or nobly die),
They heard the monstrous words, “I wish to live!”
The cannons are struck dumb; no longer strive
The blood-drunk hosts, — the abysmal word was said.
And the black eagle waits with claws outspread.

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Cyprus Demands Britain Explain Use Of Base For Syrian Operations

August 23, 2012 2 comments

Xinhua News Agency
August 23, 2012

Cyprus displeased at reports that British bases provide help to Syrian rebels

NICOSIA: Cyprus said on Thursday it had asked Britain to give an official explanation for a Sunday Times report alleging that the British Sovereign Bases in Cyprus provide intelligence to Syrian rebels which helped them deal effective strikes against the Syrian army.

Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli told the state radio that she had instructed the Cypriot High Commissioner (Ambassador) in London to make a demarche to the British Foreign Ministry asking for official information on the report.

“It is a very serious issue if the bases are being used for purposes other than those explicitly set out in the Treaty of Establishment,” Markouli said.

She said she expected a British reply by the end of the day.

Markoulli added that the 1960 Treaty of Establishment under which Cyprus was granted independence states that two bases retained by Britain can only be used for defensive purposes.

British paper the Sunday Times claimed on Sunday that British agents operating in the British bases were collecting intelligence on Syrian army movements which is then channeled through Turkey to forces fighting the the Syrian army.

A spokesman for the British High Commission in Cyprus on Monday refused to confirm or deny the report, citing the official government position not to comment on intelligence or operational matters.

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Xinhua News Agency
August 23, 2012

Western countries discuss further support for Syrian rebels

• French, UK and US leaders held phone talks to discuss how to provide further support for opposition.
• Russia Wednesday accused Western countries of engaging in “open incitement” of Syrian opposition.
• Iraq Wednesday closed a major border checkpoint with Syria in its western Anbar province.

DAMASCUS: Leaders of France, Britain and the United States have held phone conversations to discuss how to provide further support for Syria’s opposition, which is fighting an increasingly fierce war with government forces.

A statement by the White House on Wednesday said a phone call between President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron covered a “wide array of global issues,” including the conflict in Syria and the need for increased participation from other countries to support the Syrian opposition.

The two leaders exchanged views on “ways the international community can assist those displaced by the conflict, apply pressure on the Assad regime, and support the opposition so that the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people can be realized,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a statement from Cameron’s office said the two leaders agreed that the use or threat of use of chemical weapons by Syria was “completely unacceptable” and would force them to “revisit their approach” to the conflict.

“As with (French President) Hollande, the prime minister and Obama discussed how to build on the support already given to the opposition…,” the statement said.

Western countries and some of its Arab allies have agreed in early July at a “Friends of Syria” meeting to “greatly increase assistance to the opposition” by giving them tools to communicate more securely with each other and the outside world.

Some of the Arab countries have also been reportedly providing weaponry to Syria’s rebels. All the countries accused of arming the opposition by the Syrian government have so far denied the allegation.

Also on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Western countries of engaging in “open incitement” of the Syrian opposition.

“Our Western partners still have done nothing to influence the opposition and to encourage it for dialogue with the government. Instead, they are engaged in open incitement to continue the armed struggle,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Moscow has received this week a delegation headed by Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, who had visited the Russian capital only two weeks before.

In another related development, Iraq on Wednesday closed a major border checkpoint with Syria in its western Anbar province.

“Iraq closed the al-Qaim checkpoint early morning Wednesday with a three-meter concrete wall blocking the entry while forces of the Syrian opposition still hold control of the other side of the checkpoint,” the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The source did not specify why the checkpoint was closed and when it would be re-opened.

Related:

Obama’s “red line” warnings merely aimed to seek new pretext for Syria intervention
August 22, 2012

BEIJING: Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country, as U.S. President Barack Obama warned Monday that the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s government would change his “calculus.”

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U.S. Military Chief Latest Target Of West’s South-Central Asian Plans

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 22, 2012

The Taliban salutes General Dempsey
Boris Volkhonsky

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Even now, when almost 100,000 US troops are present in Afghanistan, the number of defections and insider attacks is growing, and it would be naïve to expect that with the reduction of foreign presence the situation will be any better.

Karzai can hardly be called anything more that the Butler of the Presidential Palace. But as it turns out, his foreign mentors are not at all different, and the US troops cannot even guarantee safety for the country’s topmost commander at the most heavily guarded military base in Afghanistan.

The US is persistent in its intention to stay in Afghanistan long after 2014, allegedly with the aim of fighting terrorism, in practice in order to exert pressure on neighboring countries, including Iran, Pakistan and former Soviet Central Asia.

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Early Tuesday morning, the Taliban launched an attack on the US military in Afghanistan, which might have yielded minor results from the purely military point of view, but has definitely become a major PR win. Two rockets hit the heavily guarded Bagram airbase – right at the time the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey was visiting it.

General Dempsey and his team were not hurt – they were in their sleeping quarters away from the affected spot. Only two US soldiers were slightly wounded. But the major impact the attack had was the damage inflicted on General Dempsey’s plane. The damage was significant enough for the general to use another plane when leaving the Bagram airbase.

The Taliban claimed that the attack was targeted and they knew where General Dempsey’s plane was. US officials tried to contradict the claim, saying that the plane bore no distinct marks that would distinguish it from other planes in the field.

In any case, the story is much more than just an isolated incident.

First of all, why did General Dempsey fly to Afghanistan? The main topic of his talks with Afghan officials was far from being a routine one. He was discussing the so called “green-on-blue” attacks which have become common in the recent months. A growing number of US and other foreign soldiers are getting killed by people clad in Afghan security forces uniforms (and presumably, members of Afghan police or security forces).

This in itself puts in doubt all talks of the US withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan by 2014, when Afghan security forces will be ready to take the responsibility upon themselves. Even now, when almost 100,000 US troops are present in Afghanistan, the number of defections and insider attacks is growing, and it would be naïve to expect that with the reduction of foreign presence the situation will be any better.

Second, assuming that the Taliban claim that the attack was targeted is true, one has to come to the conclusion that Taliban informers have infiltrated Afghan security forces much more deeply than Afghan officials and their foreign supervisors would like to admit.

This poses a question of governability in today’s (and tomorrow’s) Afghanistan. When foreign occupation began back in early 2002 and for several years after Afghan President Hamid Karzai was labeled by his ill-wishers “the mayor of Kabul”. Terrorist attacks that have swept Kabul have shown that even that is an exaggeration, and Karzai can hardly be called anything more that the Butler of the Presidential Palace. But as it turns out, his foreign mentors are not at all different, and the US troops cannot even guarantee safety for the country’s topmost commander at the most heavily guarded military base in Afghanistan.

And last, but definitely not least. The incident should be looked upon in a much broader context of US politics. The strange thing about the current presidential campaign is that neither of the two main candidates is eager to say anything on the issue. It could be understandable in the case of the incumbent president Barack Obama, who might not be willing to comment on his unfulfilled promise of 2008 to end the war. But what about Mitt Romney – isn’t it a lucrative occasion to tarnish Obama’s image of a peacemaker?

The explanation is simple. A recent analysis published by the Huffington Post draws a clear conclusion: “Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney will say it out loud, but the unpopular, 11-year war in Afghanistan is not drawing to a close. Instead, substantial numbers of U.S. troops likely will be committed there for years, no matter who wins.”

Indeed, now that the number of Americans killed in the war has reached 2,000, polls show that more than two-thirds of US citizens oppose the war and are in favor of a speedy pullout – even before the 2014 deadline. But this is not on the mind of Washington strategists – no matter what their partisan affiliation is. The US is persistent in its intention to stay in Afghanistan long after 2014, allegedly with the aim of fighting terrorism, in practice in order to exert pressure on neighboring countries, including Iran, Pakistan and former Soviet Central Asia.

Since the cost of the operation “Enduring Pressure” is going to be high (and the Bagram attack is just one of numerous proofs of it), both candidates prefer to keep a low profile and not annoy the American public before it is too late for the latter to object.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

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Jules Vallès: I hate war and its sinister glory

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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

Jules Vallès
Translated by Mitchell Abidor

imagesCAAWFOCP

From Rome (1867)

I hate war, war that attaches nations by the knot of a flag, whether victorious or vanquished; that attaches nations to the tail of a horse spurred on by a passing general or a captain of the engineering corps. I hate that sinister glory that lives above battlefields like a vulture on the flesh of men and gulps down the blood of men.

From Peace (1871)

All war does is dress in carnival costumes warriors of twenty or thirty who wear a blue or a white jacket. For six months or a year they exercise the profession of heroes. At the end of this time peace is signed to the benefit of the one or the other. A laurel wreath or funeral crepe is hung from the end of the rifle.

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The U.S., China and Africa

August 23, 2012 1 comment

The Vanguard
August 22, 2012

The US, China and Africa
Charles Onunaiju

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[S]ecluded in the opulence of presidential palaces, the august Washington visitor delivered her homilies, paying tribute to the brilliant success of the years of painstaking neo-liberal economic reforms, evident in the bulging tummies and robust cheeks of her official hosts.

Since the notorious Berlin Conference in the 1880s, where Africa was arbitrarily partitioned and carved up among European powers, the legacy of the ruthless and savage exploitation of the continent has endured to keep the continent not only physically apart and the later vicious American imperialism ensured that Africa’s need and desire to act in unison is shorn of any enabling capacity and capability.

Such a state of affairs in Africa could embolden the US and its militarist allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, to ride roughshod over the continent and take out regimes that are not in their good books as in Libya or put pressure on others through damaging sanctions as in Zimbabwe and little Eritrea.

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Abuja: As usual, the largely symbolic and valedictory 11-day tour of 10 African states by the US Secretary of State, Mrs Hillary Clinton, grabbed headlines and prime airtime on major media outlets across the continent. Mrs Clinton, ostensibly on her last tour of Africa as Secretary of State, delivered pulsating messages.

Apart from cajoling her hosts to remain loyal to Washington’s prescriptions of democratic practice, she urged them to take ‘tough decisions’ on economic measures, an allusion to neo-liberal economic policy which has been ruthlessly enforced by several regimes in Africa in collusion with the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Thirty years into the neo-liberal economic reforms, whose major components includes privatisation whose obvious result has been massive asset-stripping of public utilities, deregulation and its consequence of a free-fall of the local currency, wage freezes, massive lay-offs of workers and the sustainable trend of de-industrialization across the continent.

As usual with such high-level visits, as Mrs Clinton made her way to the various presidential palaces, roads are cleared of destitutes, child labourers who hawk assorted wares to sustain their families, former workers-turned-beggars and other “social miscreants” who hardly make it to official statistics of the unemployed.

Then, secluded in the opulence of presidential palaces, the august Washington visitor delivered her homilies, paying tribute to the brilliant success of the years of painstaking neo-liberal economic reforms, evident in the bulging tummies and robust cheeks of her official hosts.

With nothing to offer, since there is really nothing to give, the American Secretary issued rebuttals about some a certain international partnership with the continent that might aim to “extract resources” and even urged the Nigeria president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, beleaguered and almost over-run by a local insurgency, to stay focused on making the tough decision on economic reforms.

With the continent reeking from infrastructural decay, depletion of human capital and down on all human development indexes as contained in the recent report of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the former US first lady who has only words for all her hosts across the continent and the words, which ranged from rebuttals, homilies and subtle threats, made headlines across the continent.

American leaders have ways of ventilating outside when the domestic political situation becomes cagey. Before Mrs Clinton’s foray into Africa, the Republican challenger of his principal, Mr Mitt Romney, has taken time off the domestic brouhaha of his sleazy tax profile to venture abroad.

From London to Tel-Aviv in Israel and Poland, Mr Romney did his best to provoke a world outrage, ostensibly to sell to his American audience an image of a tough guy. Not to be outdone in the international dimension of the looming US presidential election, Mr Barack Obama sent his erudite and glamorous Secretary of State to Africa, where she could re-echo American political ideals and Washington’s determination to ensure its triumph on a universal scale, without challenge.

As the media lauded and laundered Mrs Clinton’s 11-day foray to the continent was in full bloom, a far more significant and life-changing event in Africa, which held earlier in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China got very modest media attention. Between the 19th and 20th of July, the Forum for China-Africa Co-operation, FOCAC, held its fifth ministerial conference in Beijing.

At the conference of China and Africa, a review of the past three years since the fourth ministerial conference was held in the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, concluded that Beijing has remained faithful to all its commitments to Africa, including the disbursement of $10 billion in concessionary grants to African countries and has in addition built over 100 schools, 30 hospitals and agricultural demonstration centres as was contained in the eight-point practical measures read out by Premier Wen Jiabao to boost China-African co-operation.

More significantly and even symbolically, China finished and handed over the new African Union Secretariat and office complexes in practical demonstration of Beijing’s effort to enhance African institutional capacity and forging of Pan-African institutions to effectively tackle the challenges in the continent.

In fact, the Beijing conference concluded that in spite of the political turbulence in some countries in the continent, China swiftly and on schedule met all its commitments to the strengthening and boosting of co-operation between the two sides.

A key component of the commitment of zero or very low tariffs of African products to the Chinese market was fulfilled. In comparison to the much- hyped American Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, the preferential non-tariff entry of African products into China’s market has been hugely successful.

At the Beijing conference last month, China‘s President, Mr Hu Jintao, outlined a practical road map to further strengthen and boost the China-Africa new type of partnership. He announced five-point priority areas where he said China and Africa would work together.

Among the priority areas, the Chinese leader promised that Beijing would provide $20 billion in concessionary grants to enhance infrastructure, boosting small- and medium-scale business among others. More significantly, he promised that China would participate in transnational and trans-regional infrastructure development in Africa that would provide functional linkages to practical integration efforts in Africa.

Since the notorious Berlin Conference in the 1880s, where Africa was arbitrarily partitioned and carved up among European powers, the legacy of the ruthless and savage exploitation of the continent has endured to keep the continent not only physically apart and the later vicious American imperialism ensured that Africa’s need and desire to act in unison is shorn of any enabling capacity and capability.

Such a state of affairs in Africa could embolden the US and its militarist allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, to ride roughshod over the continent and take out regimes that are not in their good books as in Libya or put pressure on others through damaging sanctions as in Zimbabwe and little Eritrea.

With China’s robust engagement in Africa affecting the critical areas that would boost the continent’s capacity and capabilities, the West’s standard response has been to instigate scare-mongering and hype the ‘resource extraction’ mantra.

Mrs Clinton at the start of her African tour in Dakar, Senegal hinted darkly of the partnership for the extraction of natural resource, a deliberate misrepresentation of the China-Africa partnership. China and the United States are key players in the contemporary global arena and have a clearly remarkable impact in Africa. The US has been the traditional player in the continent along with her European allies, and nearly six decades after the West’s involvement in post-colonial Africa, the legacy mostly consists of the scares of proxy wars, fragile states characterized by weak and dysfunctional institutions and a social landscape dotted with excruciating poverty, disease and hunger.

China, a fairly new entrant to the continent, is redefining the socio-economic landscape with critical interventions in such strategic sectors as infrastructure, health, agriculture and education facilities, in addition to giving real value to Africa’s resources through robust trade that stood at over 163 billion US dollars in 2011, making China Africa’s largest trading partner.

Categories: Uncategorized
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