ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Russian and Chinese Navies To Conduct Joint Exercises In Mediterranean In 2015

China’s President Xi Jinping (right) and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, attend a welcome ceremony at the Xijiao State Guest Hotel, before the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai, on May 20, 2014. Reuters/Carlos Barria

The navies of Russia and China have agreed to conduct naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean in spring 2015, according to a statement issued by the Russian navy on Wednesday. That brings two potential U.S. adversaries closer together and sees China assert its presence in a region, the Mediterranean, far from its shores in another development that marks its emergence as a serious military power.

Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu made the announcement after holding talks with his Chinese counterpart, Col. General Chang Wanquan, on Tuesday in Beijing. “We plan to hold another joint naval exercise in the spring of next year in the Mediterranean Sea and also joint doctrine navy exercises are planned in the Pacific,” said Shoigu.

Shoigu remarked that cooperation between the two countries’ militaries has improved in recent years and joint exercises are now a regular military feature. An exercise in May marked the third time the two had worked together and the first time sailors worked on combat exercises in mixed groups.

The planned exercises are part of a new military relationship between Russia and China that has become warmer in recent years, and they represent a shift from Mao Zedong’s army-centric military to a more flexible and capable fighting force that includes the navy and air force. In 2014, a Chinese crew performed in the World Championships Tank Biathlon and in Aviadarts, a large-scale aerial gunnery, navigation, formation and reconnaissance competition. Both were held in Russia. And while having conducted exercises in the Mediterranean as recently as January 2014 and July 2012, Chinese warships appearing in the region is still a relatively new development for an area that normally just supports NATO exercises.

Speaking of China’s armed forces, Shoigu said, “They have demonstrated that the morale and training of Chinese soldiers meet the highest standards.” He also expressed the view that such joint activities “are a good format for the exchange of experiences,” concluding that “our cooperation in the military field has great potential, and the Russian side is ready for its development on a wide range of areas.”

TTP Commander Allied with ISIS Dispatches Truckloads of Explosives From Karachi

[SEE: Six Pakistan Taliban Leaders Swear Allegiance to ISIS: Spokesman ; Blast at rally in Kurram region kills at least 18 ]

Family members stand near a boy injured in an explosion at a local hospital in Pakistani tribal area of Parachinar on Monday, May 6, 2013. – AP Photo—[Hafiz Ahmed‘s previous bombing]

Intelligence agencies warn of terror threat to Rawalpindi, Islamabad during upcoming PTI rally

siasat daily

Intelligence agencies have reportedly warned the law enforcement agencies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to step-up security as truckloads of explosive material are being transported to the cities from Karachi to target sensitive locations, sources said.

The intelligence sources also said on Wednesday that the terror group headed by Hafiz Ahmed, linked with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP), is involved, reported The News.

They added that the explosives are being transported via a truck, bearing registration number AK-707. The lorry is believed to have left Karachi last night, they said.

The sources warned that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ( PTI ) rally could be a possible target at D-Chowk on November 30. (ANI)

Our Syrian Moderates Eliminated By Our Barbarians

[Outstanding, informational piece of insight!  In overcoming the trend of violence for violence' sake, we have to deal conclusively with gangsterism in all of its forms, whether that be in cities torn apart by gang violence or nations beset by the transnational terrorist, who fights in any name or place that allows wanton killing.  The ISIS/al-Qaeda phenomenon started as state intervention, using proxy "jihadists," but rapidly unraveled as terrorist masterminds became rich from their enterprise.  Preventing the rise of warlordism for profit must become the primary directive for all world government efforts.  If world govt of some kind is inevitable, then it must be one which eliminates terrorism without employing terrorists.]

Foreign militants: Rebels without a cause

the straits times

Young people who are drawn to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s cause need to realise that lasting change can never be wrought through violence.

Published on Nov 19, 2014 9:20 AM
 35  127  0  0 PRINT EMAIL
– ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

For reasons that are complex, there has always been a morbid fascination with lost causes and the “bad guys”.

A cursory glance at what is on offer in cinemas will show that we are fascinated with mafioso gangsters, thugs, gun-slingers and ne’er-do-wells of all hues and shapes.

Today, the same macabre fascination has resulted in another development that is equally disturbing – that of young, angry and frustrated men and women who have chosen to travel across the globe to take part in what they regard as a conflict driven by causes that are higher than the law, nationhood and civic obligation.

The situation has been compounded by the fact that the foreign fighters who have gone to places like Iraq and Syria do not come from a single community, but from different nations of different backgrounds – from Muslim youth from the Muslim world to biker gangs from West European countries.

To oppose – violently – seems to be the in thing at the moment, for it is there that these individuals hope to discover their sense of identity and purpose.

These legions of angry souls feel that there is no other alternative than to resist whatever they perceive to be wrong or unjust via violent means. However, there are some simple truths that ought to be considered by those who think that social change can come about simply through violent opposition, or who feel that only violent opposition brings about any real change in the world.

For beyond the actual acts of violence that are committed in the name of change (whether for the sake of progress or a nostalgic longing to return to “another world”) lies an even more powerful, more hegemonic, order of knowledge and power that already dictates which kinds of violence are permitted and deemed sensible, and which kinds of violence will always be regarded as unethical and wrong.

States, for instance, do not beg the consent of the international community to defend themselves when they come under attack, any more than a victim of a robbery would need to ask permission to defend himself.

The hegemonic consensus that exists in the real world we live in already gives value to self-preservation under both circumstances and, thus, acts of self-defence are often accepted as understandable. The same, however, cannot be said of an individual who leaves the comfort zone of his own country to travel to another place and carry out acts of killing in the name of others.

Having lost before they left

THE foreign militants have failed to note that in this instance, their identities and status have been determined even before they left, for the wider consensus is that the violence being committed by the fighters in places like Iraq and Syria has no justification whatsoever.

Here, the consensus is wider than ever before: For starters, thousands of Muslim scholars, theologians and legal experts have opined that the movement calling itself the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” should never have associated its deeds with the religion it professes in the first place, for Muslim theological opinion is united in the view that there is nothing Islamic about beheading prisoners or attacking civilians.

Secondly, all the governments of all the countries concerned have unanimously declared that this is a violent, radical, militant organisation that is more an anti-state movement of belligerents than a group of individuals fighting for a more humane universal cause.

Thirdly, the militants have done themselves in by falling into the trap of oppositional dialectics, and by deliberately positioning themselves as a radical group that has set out to attack and destabilise the states they oppose.

As a radical militant fringe that has chosen to locate itself in opposition to its own faith community, states and governments, it seems to have lost on all counts.

Thus, while the militants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria may claim victories on the battlefield, they have lost the war even before it began. For from the beginning, they have already been configured as the negative Other, as radical extremists, and a militant threat.

Without the consensus of the international community, and crucially of their own co-religionists whom they claim to represent, these militants speak for no one but themselves and have painted themselves into a political and epistemic corner. How on earth could they claim to be “heroes of their faith”, when the mainstream voice of their own faith community has rejected them?

Between constructive change and self-destruction

DEALING with such groups will remain a challenge for states and societies in times to come, for in the globalised world we live in today, we are likely to see more instances of trans-border causes demanding the loyalty and support of people all over the globe.

Should the flashpoints that dot the globe continue to burn, in the future we may witness the rise of even more groups of an internationalist nature, from a range of religious and ethnic communities.

But in the course of deradicalising these militants, we need to emphasise, time and again, the simple logical fact that their choice of violent opposition – spectacular though it may be in terms of its gruesome outcomes – has also doomed them from the start.

Related to this is the need to understand the psychology of those who seem to be attracted to lost causes and assuming negative subject-positions; and this is not unique to the question of religious militancy, for it has also manifested itself in non-religious conflicts in the past.

We have seen the same during the Spanish Civil War (where thousands of other Europeans joined in) and in the mujahideen struggle against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. In all these cases, there is the lingering legal-philosophical question of what to do with those who have left their countries to commit acts of violence that would otherwise not be accepted back home.

None of this denies the need to discuss and understand the process of socio-political change, nor even the necessity of change at times. But for any kind of change to happen in a constructive, meaningful and sustainable way, it has to take place along modes and routes that are civil and emancipatory, not through senseless destruction and wanton violence.

The radical militants who are fighting their proxy war in Syria and Iraq may justify their actions in the name of a higher supra-state cause or a longing for past greatness lost, but what kind of society will there be left to build if, in the course of this violence, universities, libraries and houses of knowledge – that contain books of science, philosophy and theology of great value – are destroyed in their wake?

What kind of “civilisational victory” can they hope to attain if they effectively destroy the very foundations of that civilisation themselves?

In the same way gangsta rap often reproduces and perpetuates negative stereotypes that are demeaning and dehumanising, likewise the label of “radical militant” does nothing to improve the understanding of the complexities of the Arab-Muslim world today. Both are caught in the vicious circle of oppositional dialectics and, in both cases, they were lost causes even before they began.

stopinion@sph.com.sg

The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/invitation/story/foreign-militants-rebels-without-cause-20141119#sthash.3Cu6rEA5.dpuf

Free Syrian Army Flees Aleppo, Leaving Behind Saudi-Supplied Weapons for Nusra

Layout 1 source

Reportedly, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi commented on an alleged reunion of Al-Nusra with the Islamic State, that they “had nothing to discuss with munafiqs [hypocrites of Islam].”

Free Syrian Army abandons Aleppo, leader flees to Turkey

hurriyet

Some 14,000 militants of the Syrian rebel group have abandoned Aleppo, while its commander has fled to Turkey, according to Turkish security sources

Murat Yetkin

fsa bomb
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a locally-made weapon launcher during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on the Amerya front in Aleppo November 5, 2014. REUTERS Photo

 

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the recognized armed opposition group against the Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has ceased its resistance in Aleppo, Syria’s second biggest city, withdrawing its 14,000 militia from the city, a ranking Turkish security source told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 17.

“Its leader Jamal Marouf has fled to Turkey,” confirmed the source, who asked not to be named. “He is currently being hosted and protected by the Turkish state.”

The source did not give an exact date of the escape but said it was within the last two weeks, that is, the first half of November. The source declined to give Marouf’s whereabouts in Turkey.

As a result, the FSA has lost control over the Bab al-Hawa border gate (opposite from Turkey’s Cilvegözü in Reyhanlı), which is now being held by a weak coalition of smaller groups led by Ahrar al-Sham.

The source said some of the weaponry delivered to the FSA by the U.S.-led coalition in its fight against both Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria might have fallen into the hands of Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra, the Syria branch of al-Qaeda.

A weakening Western-supported opposition in Syria could not only put Aleppo in jeopardy, but also weaken the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq, which might affect the positions of other important players in the region, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

Is the fall of Aleppo near?

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan warned the international community on Nov. 6 that the fall of Aleppo, which is just 60 kilometers from Turkey, could expose Turkey to another wave of refugees.

Already hosting more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria, Turkish authorities worry that if Aleppo falls into the hands of ISIL or is subjected to a massive attack, a refugee flood of the same size could take place in a week’s time.

On the other hand, Turkey and the U.S. agreed during talks in Ankara on Nov. 12 for Turkish security forces to give military training to around 2,000 members of the FSA in a military facility near Kırşehir in Central Anatolia.

Now it could be understood in retrospect that Erdoğan was giving the heads up based on intelligence reports from the field.

Al-Nusra and ISIL alignment?

The news about the FSA evacuation came as claims in the Western media intensified about a rapprochement between al-Nusra and ISIL, which is denied by Turkish government sources.

One source talking on the condition of anonymity gave details about talks between al-Nusra and ISIL last week – information that was not possible to corroborate based on another source. According to field reports in Ankara, Abu Mohammad al-Gulani of al-Nusra has asked the leader of another Jihadist group (Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar – Army of Emigrants and Supporters) in Syria, Salahaddin al-Shishani (The Chechen), to intermediate for a cease-fire between his organization and ISIL.

The idea was that each of them fight against their “own enemy,” not each other. The contact was established in Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold in Syria (on Nov. 13, according to Turkish sources) and was rejected by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on the basis that they “had nothing to discuss with munafiqs [hypocrites of Islam].”

That might mean more bad news since it may lead to a dissolution in the ranks of both al-Nusra and other smaller groups that have been fighting in the Syrian civil war since 2011 and a growth for ISIL.

A recent statement on Nov. 10 by the outlawed Egyptian group of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Supporters of Quds, or Jerusalem) to join ISIL and rename themselves as the Sinai Province (wilayat) of the Islamic State could be regarded as a signal that its influence is growing. In a recent attack, Ansar killed 33 Egyptian security personnel on Oct. 24 near İsmailia in the Sinai Peninsula.

Halliburton Becomes Biggest Shark In Oilfield Services Pool, By Eating No. 3

 Halliburton goes hostile in big oil takeover bid

wdbj7

Baker Hughes says oil giant attempting take over board of directors

By Gregory Wallace

 

Halliburton

Jonathan Schaer/CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -

 

Month-long merger talks between rival energy giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes aren’t going smoothly.

In a public statement Friday, Baker Hughes said Halliburton is attempting to “pressure” it into a deal “on Halliburton’s terms” and take over its board of directors.

Baker Hughes also released three written messages from its CEO, Martin Craighead, to Halliburton — messages that appear to show the talks have been strained.

For instance, Craighead wrote that a Baker Hughes attorney “offered to rearrange her schedule to meet three days earlier” than scheduled, but that Halliburton complained Baker Hughes’ lawyers were unavailable.

Five days later, Baker Hughes turned down Halliburton’s offer. The Baker Hughes letters say Halliburton was unwilling to budge.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

Craighead then wrote back to Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar.

“Your intransigence is not a reasonable response,” he wrote, “and your demand that we accept your offer in the next four hours … (is) entirely inappropriate.”

The talks come as the price of crude oil plummets, pressuring profits at oil exploration companies.

A merger could help the combined company cut costs, but even Baker Hughes acknowledged the deal would face intense scrutiny from government regulators in the U.S. and other countries.

Halliburton has been publicly silent on the matter. Neither company responded to requests for comment on Sunday.

Do Good Men Follow the Written Traditions Or the Living Word?

“People describe God as if they know what it is they’re describing. Or they deny God as if they have any comprehension of what it is they are denying.”Eckhart Tolle/”A New Earth”

“Not only is there an amazing willingness in the human mind to invest credence and faith in unproven facts, but there is more evil, more readiness than ever on the part of various sophisticated groups, to use this human weakness as a tool in controlling others.”
Jacques ValleeRevelations

The Insane Failures We Call US Foreign Policy

[SEE: The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?]

‘Sending troops back to Iraq is insanity’

Russia-Today
.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornet jets leave to support military operations against ISIL after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq (Reuters/Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel)

U.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornet jets leave to support military operations against ISIL after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq (Reuters/Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel)

There’s a conflict within the US leadership over the anti-IS strategy and they don’t know which way to turn, while the American public is weary of endless wars and sponsoring senseless military operations, antiwar activist Tighe Barry told RT.

RT: Do you believe there’s a conflict in the White House over the US and coalition anti-ISIS strategy?

Tighe Barry: There is a conflict within the White House, within Congress. The leaders of our country today don’t know which way to turn. They have had a completely failed policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and various other countries; they are reaching out and just trying to play whack-a-mole. This policy is not working. They need a grand strategy, they won’t get a grand strategy without including the voices of those on the peacemakers’ side. There are many people in this country that have the intelligence to work out the situation that we can politically get rid of a group like ISIS, where we can politically bring peace to places like Iraq, where if the US continues to back despotic leaders, prop up despotic leaders for 30-40 years and help them out, continue with this policy of torture, of jailing people in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib – this policy will look to the people that are fighting the people in the US and this coalition as if they are being invaded by a horde of haters, a crusade. I think that inside the White House there is much conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry has a different view, the president and even secretary of defense has a different view, General Dempsey has a different view, and they all are trying to figure out how just to whack this one mole and they can’t do it.

RT: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey acknowledged at Thursday’s hearing before Congress that anti-ISIS operation will require roughly 80,000 US-trained local forces. Basically, it means that US involvement will be much larger and longer than it was supposed. What’s your take on this?

TB: Absolutely! General Dempsey is not being naïve, and this is why the so-called hawks in Congress are trying to lead General Dempsey [to] commit the US to more boots on the ground. There are troops already, up to 3,800 that we know about because the US government has never been honest about troops throughout these 14 years of crusade in the Middle East. What we do know is that there are pilots and helicopter pilots there. And should one of these pilots go down, US troops will go in to save this person, they will be fired at and they will suddenly become combat troops. This will lead to the next domino – “We need these troops to defend those troops,” which means we are going to fund this war. The American public is wary of endless war, we are tired of sponsoring, of destroying our own economy to sponsor the military which is ill-equipped to fight. This is a political battle that needs to be fought by intelligent people, people that know how to use their politics and their minds to get us into the position where we can agree to find other peaceful means, to find the ends to these conflicts.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey (Reuters)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey (Reuters)

RT: What does the US public think about military operations in Iraq and Syria? Would it be difficult to get the public onside in this matter?

TB: It’s so easy to persuade American people right now. One year ago, I was sleeping on the streets in front of Congress and we stopped the war in Syria. These days all you need to do is to show a beheading video and now we are going to go to war once again with a mysterious group that we know nothing about. American public is unaware of what the real grievances are. Just like anyone who has been attacked, their families have been killed, their villages destroyed, they are angry and they want their voices heard. These are the political solutions I’m talking about. We can’t bring these people to the table, we can’t talk to them. But what the American public is hearing is, “You are in danger.” I heard a congressman in hearing today say: “We will all be beheaded if we don’t fight ISIS right now”. These people are ignorant, they are trying to sell their military equipment and power, they are not looking out for the best interest of Americans that are saying “no” to this war.

RT: How likely is it that the US will end up sending combat troops into Iraq again? If America’s aim really is destroying ISIS, shouldn’t it consider looking to Assad’s government and Iran?

TB: This is not our war. We are saying “no more war”, “no more boots on the ground”, “get these so-called advisers” as it was how they started the war in Vietnam; we are saying “no more” to this. We are not being sucked into this, [we have been] trying to push the American government to stop these crazy out-of-control wars. We finally have got our troops out of there and now they want to put them right back in. This is insanity. The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same bad results. The US people are tired of this and we believe that working with the government in Syria, finding a political solution to that problem, working with the people in northern Syria, working with the Iraqi government, working with the Iranians, working with the people in the region, talking to Turkey as if it was a sovereign nation and not the puppet of the US, having everybody come to the table – these are political solutions. But it can’t be done by a country whose first reaction to a video is to bomb. We have bombed thousands of times so far in Syria, in Iraq, and we have killed only 200 supposedly of their military personnel. This is a crazy war, we need to use the best minds in the world to end these conflicts once and for all, bring peace to the Middle East, solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, solve the conflict in Syria, allow the Syrian people and President Assad to come to the table and talk. And we can do this, we have the capability. We are America, supposedly we are very courageous; we should be able to be courageous enough to bring people to the table and not be the only voice at the table.

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014 (Reuters)

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014 (Reuters)

RT: What is causing the US to reconsider its policy on the Islamic State? (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)

TB: I don’t know if it has a policy on the IS. Assad said from the very beginning that he was fighting terrorism, and it has become quite clear that Assad was actually fighting terrorism. Not that it was a legitimate argument for the people of Syria – they wanted more freedom, they wanted more democracy – but the only way you can do these things is by bringing all the governments to the table. For some reason the Assad government that the US supported and propped up for so many years became its enemy, and now we can’t talk to Assad. This attitude where the US controls the governments of other countries has destroyed the entire world. The entire world economy has been destroyed by these crazy war efforts of the US and its so-called coalition. I still don’t see these coalitions, and if it’s a coalition, it’s a coalition with the governments like Saudi Arabia, which has a horrible human rights record; it has probably one of the worst human rights record in the world. They are partners in trying to take down ISIS, trying to stabilize the Middle East. Very bad policy… I don’t believe the US does have a policy.

RT: There are reports that ISIS has joined forces with the Al Nusra Front. If true, how much of a concern is this?

TB: I personally don’t see a big difference. Statements like “ISIS is joining with Al-Qaeda, Al Nusra in joining with Al-Qaeda”… I think US intelligence has been bad from the very beginning. Didn’t US intelligence tell us that Saddam Hussein, [with all his] weapons of mass destruction, was going to kill every American if he had the opportunity? I traveled in the Middle East, I’ve traveled to countries like Yemen, I’ve been to Pakistan, I’ve been to other countries – they do not hate us for our life style. They like Americans, they all want prosperity, good jobs, good homes, they want to feel safe in their communities. Safety has been hampered by the conflict that the US is bringing to these parts of the world.

If ISIS goes, there will be another group behind them that will be even more fierce, even more revenge. They’ll try a crazier stance to get the world’s attention for what should be gotten right now by using diplomacy, political powers in the region, bringing everyone to the table, talking to Russia and Iran, not creating more and more enemies. We have solutions, there are people in this world who are incredibly intelligent, and they can find solutions to the grand strategy that will finally bring peace.

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