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American Resistance To Empire

US Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Abysmal Failure…But We Still Follow It

COIN Is a Proven Failure

the American Conservative

America risks shoveling more troops into Iraq to replicate a strategy that never worked in the first place.

In late October MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow asked retired Army Lt. Col. John Nagl to give viewers a deeper understanding of the fight between the Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish fighters around Kobane. Widely credited with “writing the book” on successful counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, Mr. Nagl said, “we’ve got 1,500 guys on the ground, but they’re not as far forward as they need to be to make a real, immediate impact on the battlefield.” He and a number of COIN experts argue that along with 15,000 U.S. ground troops, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Syrian rebel soldiers can defeat ISIS. Before making any decisions, American leaders should first consider this: despite what is often claimed by a host of advocates, the COIN theories upon which these recommendations are based were in fact demonstrable failures in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We must not sacrifice any more American lives and harm American interests any further by acting on theories that are likely to fail again.

It has been taken as an “obvious truth” by many Americans and major media outlets that the counterinsurgency strategy brought to Iraq by former general David Petraeus in 2007 turned a near-certain defeat into an historic victory. There were two key fundamentals from which many believe victory sprang. The first was that American troops needed to leave U.S. bases and “live in the neighborhoods” with Iraqi citizens, the second that a surge of troops would give Baghdad “breathing space” to form an inclusive government. Instead of leading to success, however, these twin pillars may have contributed to the failure.

In a study published earlier this year by the National Defense University, authors Sterling Jensen and former Iraqi general Najim al-Jabouri wrote this of the Americans’ effectiveness in Anbar province cities: “[t]he surge did not have a role in the Anbar Awakening. Surge troops that came to Anbar in 2007 were not seen as useful… In fact, U.S. troops in general were not seen as useful even before the surge…”

But the authors’ possibly most pointed finding was that the causal factor behind the eventual drop in violence had little to do with either the increase in U.S. troops or the new strategy: “If not for al Qaeda’s murder and intimidation campaign on Sunnis, and its tactic of creating a sectarian war, the Anbar Awakening—a fundamental factor in the success of the 2007 surge—most probably would not have occurred, and it would have been difficult for the United States in 2006 to convince Sunnis to partner with them in a fight against al Qaeda…”

The Sunni-initiated Anbar Awakening, followed by the Petraeus-led “Sons of Iraq” program, resulted in a dramatic drop in violence. The breathing space purchased with considerable American blood was intended to facilitate the development of Iraqi democracy. Kelley Vlahos, contributing editor for The American Conservative, recently wrote, “in hindsight, the only meaningful space created was for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki” to use America to rid him of political enemies, not the least of which were many Iraqi Sunni leaders and groups.

Maliki’s oppressive rule, which alienated much of the Sunni population in the Western part of the country, was a key factor in the rise of ISIS; his penchant to dismiss Sunni officers and pack the senior ranks of the Iraqi Security Force (ISF) with inexperienced political patrons played a major role in the disintegration of the ISF when the Islamic State began its offensive.

I served in Iraq as a military trainer in 2009, and have twice deployed to Afghanistan (2005, 2010-11). Between my 2009 Iraq deployment and the last Afghanistan deployment—at the height of that surge—I traveled over 14,000 miles throughout both countries, going on mounted and dismounted patrols, with U.S., allied, Iraqi, and Afghan troops, and led a team to train an Iraqi border battalion. I can conclusively state that outside the wire, the counterinsurgency theories were an unqualified failure at the strategic level. The populations were never protected in either country. The insurgent forces were never fully defeated in either country—and are stronger now than they have been at any time since 9/11. The Afghan and Iraqi governments remain the third and seventh most corrupt governments in the world, and do not have the support of their people. The armed forces for both countries, despite the decade-long effort and tens of billions of dollars that the U.S. spent training them, are virtually incapable of conducting even basic security.

It is incomprehensible that with such an extensive, publicly available record of failure—which cost the United States $2 trillion in direct outlays, 6,842 U.S. troops killed and 52,281 wounded in action—that the designers of this failed concept are given any credibility. The conclusive evidence of the failure is on graphic display right now, in both countries: after six full years and tens of billions spent, the U.S.-trained Iraqi army melted away before a few thousand irregular fighters; after the U.S. pulled out of Helmand province in Afghanistan, the Afghan National Security Forces were incapable of preventing an immediate return of the Taliban.

As the president’s national security team continues to develop a new strategy to deal with ISIS—and now also searches for a new secretary of defense—it is more important than ever to make a no-holds-barred analysis of the past decade of combat experience before settling on a new strategy. No matter how many U.S. boots might be placed on the ground in Iraq or Syria in this current environment, they would not be able to accomplish the president’s previously stated objectives. All the additional causalities we would suffer would be in vain.

We must not send any more Americans into the morass of Iraq and Syria with as little concern as one might show shoveling coal into a furnace. They deserve better than to be asked to risk their lives to conduct a no-win tactical mission.

The opinion expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or U.S. Army.

Daniel L. Davis is a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army stationed in the Washington, D.C. area. He has been deployed into combat zones four times, winning the Bronze Star Medal for Valor in Desert Storm.

ISIS Must Have An Identifiable STATE SPONSOR To Claim “Self-Defense” Under Article 51

[So, unless Obama is willing to admit that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (among others) are the sponsors of ISIS, he cannot invoke UN Article 51, under the “self-defense” clause.]

Article 51

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

US, Turkey reportedly close to agreement on joint mission against ISIS

foxnews

The U.S. and Turkey are close to an agreement on a joint military action against the Islamic State militant group in northern Syria, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials from both countries, reported that the proposed deal would allow the U.S. and its coalition partners access to Turkish air bases to use as launch points for air strikes. The agreement would also provide for a protected zone along part of the Syria-Turkey border that would be off limits to Syrian government aircraft and provide protection for moderate Syrian rebels and refugees fleeing the country’s bloody, three-year-long civil war.

Turkey has already agreed to allow 2,000 moderate Syrian rebels to be trained on its own soil, and has sent members of its special forces to northern Iraq to train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

The Journal reported that Turkey had proposed a far more extensive no-fly zone over northern Syria, only to be rebuffed by the Obama administration, which said that the proposal would constitute an act of war by the U.S. against the Damascus government of Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials told the paper that talks between the two nations were still in a preliminary stage, and a final deal may not be agreed upon for weeks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Joe Biden in Turkey last week for discussions about the civil war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State, better known as ISIS. The Al Qaeda-inspired terror group’s months-long offensive in northern Syria has helped push between 1.5 million and 1.8 million refugees into Turkey, with millions more arrivals possible.

NATO officials told the Journal that Turkey could justify opening its bases to coalition jets under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which provides a right to collective self-defense. Technically, the ongoing strikes in Syria are being carried out in support of operations in Iraq based on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ’s Article 51 letter invoking collective self-defense.–[editor–SEE following citation]

“Absent a legally cognizable connection to a state, the non-state actor that threatens or actually undertook the attack lacks the legal characteristics in international law even to launch an “armed attack” within its legal meaning.  All of this is irrespective of the extent of the actual attack or its real-world consequences. (Cf. 9/11.)”–LAWFARE.BLOG

[editor–in this context, Obama’s/NATO’s contention that he can justify attacks on ISIS within Syria, without Syria’s permission, ONLY if ISIS is officially backed by a STATE SPONSOR, and that Sponsor MUST BE IDENTIFIED.  So, unless Obama is willing to admit that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (among others) are the sponsors of ISIS, he cannot invoke UN Article 51, under the “self-defense” clause.  If this principle of international law is upheld, then Obama has already committed multiple “acts of war…against the Damascus government of Bashar al-Assad.]

News of the progress in talks between the U.S. and Turkey comes after Syrian activists said the U.S.-led coalition targeted ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa in northeastern Syria with as many as 30 airstrikes Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes also targeted the Division 17 air base, which the ISIS seized earlier this year from Iraqi government forces.

The U.S. military did not confirm the airstrikes to the Associated Press.

The monitoring group, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, reported at least 30 coalition strikes in all. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, also confirmed the airstrikes. Neither group had casualty figures.

Royal Arab Scum Decreases By Two, One Unknown Saudi, Another Unknown Kuwaiti

Doha: The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has sent a cable of condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on the death of Prince Saad bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Saud.

The Deputy Emir H H Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani have also sent cables of condolences to the Saudi King.

The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable of condolences to the Emir of Kuwait H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah on the death of Sheikha Fatima Al Athbi Al Mohamed Al Sabah.

The Deputy Emir H H Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani have also sent cables of condolences to  Kuwait Emir.

City of London Freaks, Frantic with Fear Over Impending Anti-Capitalist World Revolution

We-will-not-tolerate-this-system-any-more-it-is-time-for-a-world-revolution-together-we-will-change-the-world-join-us

Inclusive Capitalism Initiative is Trojan Horse to quell coming global revolt

guardian

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, before the start of the Inclusive Capitalism Conference at the Mansion House on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, before the start of the Inclusive Capitalism Conference at the Mansion House on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Yesterday’s Conference on Inclusive Capitalism co-hosted by the City of London Corporation and EL Rothschild investment firm, brought together the people who control a third of the world’s liquid assets – the most powerful financial and business elites – to discuss the need for a more socially responsible form of capitalism that benefits everyone, not just a wealthy minority.

Leading financiers referred to statistics on rising global inequalities and the role of banks and corporations in marginalising the majority while accelerating systemic financial risk – vindicating the need for change.

While the self-reflective recognition by global capitalism’s leaders that business-as-usual cannot continue is welcome, sadly the event represented less a meaningful shift of direction than a barely transparent effort to rehabilitate a parasitical economic system on the brink of facing a global uprising.

Central to the proceedings was an undercurrent of elite fear that the increasing disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the planetary population under decades of capitalist business-as-usual could well be its own undoing.

The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism is the brainchild of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a little-known but influential British think tank with distinctly neoconservative and xenophobic leanings. In May 2012, HJS executive director Alan Mendoza explained the thinking behind the project:

“… we felt that such was public disgust with the system, there was a very real danger that politicians could seek to remedy the situation by legislating capitalism out of business.”

He claimed that HJS research showed that “the only real solutions that can be put forward to restore trust in the system, and which actually stand a chance of bringing economic prosperity, are being led by the private, rather than the public, sector.”

The Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism’s recommendations for reform seem well-meaning at first glance, but in reality barely skim the surface of capitalism’s growing crisis tendencies: giant corporations should invest in more job training, should encourage positive relationships and partnerships with small- and medium-sized businesses, and – while not jettisoning quarterly turnovers – should also account for ways of sustaining long-term value for shareholders.

The impetus for this, however, lies in the growing recognition that if such reforms are not pursued, global capitalists will be overthrown by the very populations currently overwhelmingly marginalised by their self-serving activity. As co-chair of the HJS Inclusive Capitalism taskforce, McKinsey managing director Dominic Barton, explained from his meetings with over 400 business and government leaders worldwide that:

“… there is growing concern that if the fundamental issues revealed in the crisis remain unaddressed and the system fails again, the social contract between the capitalist system and the citizenry may truly rupture, with unpredictable but severely damaging results.”

Among those “damaging results” – apart from the potential disruption to profits and the capitalist system itself – is the potential failure to capitalise on the finding by “corporate-finance experts” that “70 to 90 percent of a company’s value is related to cash flows expected three or more years out.”

Indeed, as the New York Observer reported after the US launch of the Henry Jackson Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism, the rather thin proposals for reform “seemed less important than bringing business leaders together to address a more central concern: In an era of rising income inequality and grim economic outlook, people seemed to be losing confidence in capitalism altogether.”

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who co-hosted yesterday’s conference, told the NY Observer why she was concerned:

“I think that a lot of kids have neither money nor hope, and that’s really bad. Because then they’re going to get mad at America. What our hope for this initiative, is that through all the efforts of all of the decent CEOs, all the decent kids without a job feel optimistic.”

Yep. Feel optimistic. PR is the name of the game.

“I believe that it is our duty to help make all people believe that the elevator is working for them… that whatever the station of your birth, you can get on that elevator to success,” de Rothschild told Chinese business leaders last year:

“At the moment, that faith and confidence is under siege in America… As business people, we have a pragmatic reason to get it right for everyone – so that the government does not intervene in unproductive ways with business… I think that it is imperative for us to restore faith in capitalism and in free markets.”

According to the very 2011 City of London Corporation report which recommended funding the HJS inclusive capitalism project, one of its core goals is undermining public support for “increased regulation” and “greater state” involvement in the economy, while simultaneously deterring calls to “punish those deemed responsible for having caused the crisis”:

“Following the financial crisis of 2008, the Western capitalist system has been perceived to be in crisis. Although the financial recovery is now underway in Europe and America, albeit unevenly and in some cases with the risk of further adjustments, the legacy of the sudden nature of the crash lives on.”

The report, written by the City of London’s director of public relations, continues to note that “the fabric of the capitalist system has come in for protracted scrutiny,” causing governments to “confuse the need for reasoned and rational change” with “the desire to punish those deemed responsible for having caused the crisis.” But this would mean that “the capitalist model is liable to have the freedoms and ideology essential to its success corroded.”

Far from acknowledging the predatory and unequalising impact of neoliberal capitalism, the document shows that the inclusive capitalism project is concerned with PR to promote “a more nuanced view of society,” without which “there is a risk that… we will be led down a policy path of increased regulation and greater state control of institutions, businesses and the people at the heart of them, which will fatally cripple the very system that has been responsible for economic prosperity.”

The project is thus designed “to influence political and business opinion” and to target public opinion through a “media campaign that seeks to engage major outlets.”

The Henry Jackson Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism is therefore an elite response to the recognition that capitalism in its current form is unsustainable, likely to hit another crisis, and already generating massive popular resistance.

Its proposed reforms therefore amount to token PR moves to appease the disenfranchised masses. Consequently, they fail to address the very same accelerating profit-oriented systemic risks that will lead to another financial crash before decade’s end.

Their focus, in de Rothschild’s words in the Wall Street Journal, is cosmetic: repairing “capitalism’s bruised image” in order to protect the “common long-term interests of investors and of the capitalist system.”

That is why the Inclusive Capitalism Initiative has nothing to say about reversing the neoliberal pseudo-development policies which, during capitalism’s so-called ‘Golden Age’, widened inequality and retarded growth for “the vast majority of low income and middle-income countries” according to a UN report – including “reduced progress for almost all the social indicators that are available to measure health and educational outcomes” from 1980 to 2005.

Instead, proposed ‘reforms’ offer ways to rehabilitate perceptions of powerful businesses and corporations, in order to head-off rising worker discontent and thus keep the system going, while continuing to maximise profits for the few at the expense of the planet.

This is not a surprise considering the parochial financial and political interests the Henry Jackson Society appears to represent: the very same neoconservative elites that lobbied for the Iraq War and endorse mass NSA surveillance of western and non-western citizens alike.

Indeed, there is little “inclusive” about the capitalism that HJS’ risk consultancy project, Strategic Analysis, seeks to protect, when it advertises its quarterly research reports on “the oil and gas sector in all twenty” countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Those reports aim to highlight “the opportunities for investors” as well as “risks to their business.”

Just last month, HJS organised a conference on mitigating risks in the Arab world to discuss “methods for protecting your business interests, assets and people,” including “how to plan against and mitigate losses… caused by business interruption.” The focus of the conference was protecting the invariably fossil fueled interests of British and American investors and corporates in MENA – the interests and wishes of local populations was not a relevant ‘security’ concern.

The conference’s several corporate sponsors included the Control Risks Group, a British private defence contractor that has serviced Halliburton and the UK Foreign Office in postwar Iraq, and is a member of the Energy Industry Council – the largest trade association for British companies servicing the world’s energy industries.

The “inclusivity” of this new brand of capitalism is also apparent in HJS’ longtime employment of climate denier Raheem Kassam, who now runs the UK branch of the American Breitbart news network, one of whose contributors called for Americans “to start slaughtering Muslims in the street, all of them.”

Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of HJS’ vision of capitalist “inclusivity” is associate director Douglas Murray’s views about Europe’s alleged Muslim problem, of which he said in Dutch Parliament: “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.”

Earlier this year, Murray’s fear-mongering targeted the supposed “startling rise in Muslim infants” in Britain, a problem that explains why “white British people” are “losing their country.” London, Murray wrote, “has become a foreign country” in which “‘white Britons’ are now in a minority,” and “there aren’t enough white people around” to make its boroughs “diverse.”

So abhorrent did the Conservative front-bench find Murray’s innumerable xenophobic remarks about European Muslims, reported Paul Goodman, the Tory Party broke off relations with his Center for Social Cohesion before he revitalised himself by joining forces with HJS.

Yet this is the same neocon ideology of “inclusive” market freedom around which the forces of global capitalism are remobilising, in the name of “sustainable” prosperity for all.

They must be having a laugh.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, Zero Point. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed. [Emphasis in quotes was added]

Jews Want “Reparations” for Displacement After Palestinian Nakba, May 15, 1948

NAKBA

“An intricate and determined programme of ethnic cleansing at all levels of society and with all forms of suppression continues until this day against the Palestinian people inside Israel and within the Occupied Palestinian Territories: the construction of illegal Jewish settlements and their exclusive network of roads and highways that connects them, the building of the prison Wall robbing more Palestinians of their land and cutting off communities from their farms and groves, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of olive trees, the forced evictions, the destruction of essential civilian infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation, the segregationist ‘legal’ system that favours Jews over Palestinians, the arbitrary arrests and detentions of civilians and their elected leaders and, to crown it all, the flagrant and consistent Israeli violations of International Law and all UN Resolutions.”

[(SEE:  What about the Jewish Nakba? )Why don’t they ask for their own “right of return” for Jews to Iran and Arab countries?  The link is here and in the title below, if you need to read such garbage.]

Israel calls for reparations for Middle Eastern Jews

times of israel

President says the voices of the immigrants from Arab countries ‘were muted,’ world must ‘mend the historical injustice’

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a ceremony marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. November 30, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a ceremony marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. November 30, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)