Saturday, 29 November 2014

Shaker Aamer

Episode 054

George Galloway and RT who employ him have become active accomplices in Assad's genocide in Syria*, so while it is good to see Andy Worthington's invaluable work on behalf on Guantanamo inmates getting publicity, the channel and the show here dirty everything associated with it.

When you eradicate the middle ground, people will have no place to go but extremes
"When the U.S. and U.K. decided to launch a war against Iraq, millions from around the world warned that this would lead to many evils, including the emergence of such groups as al-Qaida and others. Unfortunately, this was ignored and the Iraqi people have suffered for more than 11 years now from such groups as well as a corrupt and failed government that pursued sectarian policies. ISIS comes as a result of another failed policy in Syria and the unethical stand of the international community in respect to the mass slaughter carried out by the Syrian dictator [Bashar Assad] against his own people. As long as injustice, whether internally or internationally, continues, we will continue to see such groups emerge, grow, play havoc and unleash terrible violence against everyone."


Sarah Parker: "The stronger the independent, or relatively independent forces are, the more solidarity they have, the less easy it is for them to be co-opted by imperialism in one way or another."
Gilbert Achcar says in his talk, if I've got him right, that the régimes of the region, and the Muslim Brotherhoods in those countries, are equally counter-revolutionary, which doesn't seem quite right, Morsi seeming more like a classical social democrat when compared to al-Sisi for example.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Agree to disagree on Syria
This is more positive.
' “We have to stand up a viable ground force in Syria to be able to do that. That’s not the regime. It’s got to be the moderate Syrian opposition. And we need to facilitate a political transition. I think where we still need to get across the goal line in terms of our agreement is how our military-to-military cooperation is going to be synced up in those areas. But that’s not disagreement. I just think that – now that I think we are in a good place about what we’re trying to accomplish, we need to figure out what’s the best way for our militaries to work together to make that happen.”
According to sources close to the meeting, Biden and Davutoğlu have agreed on the prospects of taking al-Assad out of the political equilibrium. But Turkey’s urgency creates jitters in Washington. The nuclear deal with Iran seems more important and the Obama Administration would do very little to shake the boat for at least several months.
As Iran gets closer to the international scene as a major player, there will be little relevance of al-Assad anymore. Iran may not need him, Russia may not need him.'

Senay Ozden
There is always that one person at a conference or a talk who asks: "but are the syrians now- both refugees and inside Syria- living in better conditions than they were under Asad? Is this what they wanted?" This is the most disgusting position a human being can take: instead of accusing the killers, accusing a people being killed for demanding freedom and an honorable life
David Cameron speaking in the West Midlands

David Cameron urges EU support for migration plans
"We have offered sanctuary."
To ninety Syrians. When the refugees are in their millions. As some Syrian pointed out on Facebook yesterday, more than that would have arrived if the British government had not slapped on visa restrictions to stop Syrians escape from Bashar al-Assad, his Russian weapons and his Lebanese and Iranian mercernaries. Arming the FSA with anti-aircraft weapons would have reduced the flood to a trickle, we wouldn't have the chaos with ISIS running rampant if that had been done, and it is still the only way out of hell on Earth for Syria. Every day that goes by and the Syrian people are not allowed to defend themselves and the disaster gets worse.
There are some other reasons why Cameron's talking shit, but this is the most important right now, not to be discovered by those who go along with the idea that if we allowed our governments to help the Free Syrian Army, or anyone else who wants to fight Assad (and ISIS, but let's understand how the tolerance of one fuelled the other), they would just be creating blowback of mad jihadis ready to come back to Britain and blow us all up in our beds. Get real.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Professionals - Heroes

"A grenade launcher. I can't say who gave it to him, but I must say I'm inordinately happy about it."

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Chuck Hagel walks down the steps of the Pentagon. (AFP/Getty Images/Mark Wilson)

Hagel-ian dialectic

"If there is no alternative to ISIS’ fighters, they will continue to be able to command unwarranted and unearned support from angry and desperate Sunni communities that have faced a regime that has had no compunction in using all forms of conventional firepower, as well as chemical weapons, to dispense with at least 200,000 of its own citizens in the past three years.
And if those same communities conclude that the anti-ISIS coalition effort either wittingly or unwittingly benefits that regime, rather than stands as a new challenge against it, there is no way for them to embrace the effort. To the contrary, as Obama himself recently noted, such an impression would serve to drive Sunni Arabs in Syria toward ISIS, however reluctantly, and away from any support for the coalition's efforts.
...the fundamental contradiction that Hagel has identified — that the battle against ISIS cannot be won as long as US policy towards Assad remains ambiguous and ambivalent — remains unavoidable.
As I've written many times in the past, the inescapable bottom line is that the administration will ultimately have to choose between presiding over a campaign against ISIS that achieves much less than the stated "degrade and ultimately destroy" goal, or finally biting the bullet and making regime change in Syria an inextricable part of the American project. Getting rid of people who irksomely point this out isn't going to alter an equation, like this one, that is hardwired into the reality of the problem."
Best online source for global strategic Intelligence & competitive Intelligence

Assad brings down Chuck Hagel
You have to subscribe to see content, but here's the whole thing:
"US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s resigned on November 24 against a backdrop of profound disagreement with the White House and Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, over US strategy against Islamic State (IS) also known as ISIS or Daesh. Hagel was in favour of air strikes against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, to destroy Daesh’s principal recruiting ground and legitimacy. For several weeks Hagel had also pleaded for drastic reinforcements for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in accordance with the analysis of Saudi Arabia’s GID and Turkey’s MIT (IOL 722). Sources who accompanied Mutaib bin Abdullah, the head of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, to Washington last week say that a disillusioned Hagel complained that the US Air Force had become Assad’s proxy. His departure marks the victory of Dempsey’s strategy. The US military chief is in favour or rehabilitating the Damascus regime as the last rampart in the region against jihadism."

The big picture in Syria is bigger than any one group

"In light of these developments, do you not think that ISIS and the PYD are taking advantage of the situation and are just focusing on their own political interests while the Assad regime is still standing and fuelling the inhuman internal conflict. The preceding statement might be harsh from the Kurdish perspective since they have been oppressed for longer than a century - but what about the Sunni majority and their historical memory of Assad's killings? Therefore, opposition groups leaving ideological obsessions aside and concentrating on their common enemies - ISIS and Assad - seems to be the path to take."
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List of Terrorist organizations fighting on behalf of the Assad regime
'The group, which analyzes international terrorists' messages, quoted a tweet by a prominent Dutch jihadi in Syria as saying: "March against tyranny and arm yourselves against the true terrorists of our time: The US Government.‪#‎FergusonDecision‬." '*
I checked to see who this "prominent Dutch jihadi" might be, and discovered that his previous tweet was to retweet this chart of terrorist organisations fighting for Assad. You might find out more from this NYT profile**, though as it has him labelled as a supporter of ISIS, I'd take even the news of his love for cats with a pinch of salt. Isrāfīl Yılmaz's twitter feed is here.***
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Heartbreaking... Children's toys scattered among human flesh in Raqqa after the regime massacred nearly 100 people The US State Department had the following to say:
"Government in ‪#‎Syria‬ has launched airstrikes designed to hit ‪#‎ISIS‬ in‪#‎Raqqa‬; civilians caught in the crossfire."* If they hadn't been Arab children, would this have gone down exactly the same way?
Syria's southern rebels draw up new game plan in fight against ISIL

Syria’s southern rebels draw up new game plan

What the article makes clear is that the West and the Gulf countries have not been backing the rebels in the sense that they want them to succeed, but because to do nothing would be considered an outrage by their own people. The idea that the rebels were proxy forces that would carry out some unidentified policy of their masters rather than the revolution against Assad was always impossible to take seriously, all that could be done was neuter them by promising support and not delivering. That is still the threat, that the US will use the threat of the rebels to negotiate a transition that maintains Russian and Iranian domination of Syria without Assad, and sell out Syria permanently if they can get a deal.
"In contrast to the north and east, where Syria shares frontiers with Turkey and Iraq, the southern border with Jordan has been relatively well policed, preventing the kind of influx of foreign extremists that have aided the rise of ISIL and Al Nusra.
That had made the southern front the best hope for the West and Gulf States, and the moderate rebel groups they are backing, to bring pressure to bear on Iranian reinforced, Russian supplied regime forces in and around the capital, Damascus."

Monday, 24 November 2014

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Millions in Aleppo under threat of siege

" “People have grown accustomed to the barrel bombs; we are nearing a year of this regular bombardment,” said Hamdi, referring to the near-daily government airstrikes using a particularly indiscriminate weapon. “But people fear the thought of siege, the thought of hunger, the thought of being cold - this is what people fear the most.”
For more than two years, the government has employed siege tactics - what the opposition calls “kneel or starve” - to retake or pacify areas it was unable to seize militarily.
Earlier this year, the government reached truces with opposition-held communities around Damascus, the capital, and in Homs, Syria’s central city, once called “the capital of the revolution,” which had been under siege for months. Before the deals were made, some residents had died for lack of food or medicine, local activists reported.
The cease-fire agreements were seen as a blow to the rebels and a victory for President Bashar Al Assad in that they pacified individuals and groups who had called for his ouster. Whereas the government portrayed the deals as part of a broader effort at national reconciliation, the opposition viewed them as an effort to undermine its support among the population."
Nice rainbow on Friday.