ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Royal Saudi Press Calls For Yemen Coalition To “Liberate” Khuzestan, Iran

[The fact that this editorial appears at all in the Royal Saudi Al-Arabiya, is an indicator that Saudi adverturism under the new king Salmon is set to go far beyond the Yemen battlefield. 

king salmonThe royal coalition will never hold together for an attack upon Iran, when it cannot even agree upon doing the same thing for Libya that the Arabs are now trying to do in Yemen (SEE: Arab Coalition Divides On Syria and Libya).]

Arab Ahwaz must be liberated from Iran

al arabiya

Whenever the Arab world is discussed, forgotten are the five million Arabs struggling to survive under the Persian yoke in an Arab region bordering Iraq and the Arabian Gulf, rich with oil and gas. Once an autonomous area, separated from Persia by the Zagros mountain range, under the governance of Sheikh Khazaal bin Jabber – whose family had ruled for over a century – it was grabbed by Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1925 with a nod and a wink from Britain eager to preserve its relationship with Iran due to its oil interests.

Formerly known as Arabistan, the Iranian occupiers wasted no time in changing the name of this new Iranian province to Khuzestan, rejected by its Arab residents even today. Arabs and Persians have little in common and as Sir Arnold Wilson, a British colonial administrator, once said: Arabistan is “a country as different from Persia as is Spain from Germany.”

Although Arabistan provides Iran with 80 percent of its oil requirements as well as half of its gas, its sons are exploited and oppressed; their human rights tramped upon, their very identity in danger of being obliterated. Iran’s policy of ethnic discrimination combined with its Persian resettlement endeavors has resulted in turning the Ahwazi Arabs into an economic and social underclass.

Numerous Arab villages are without schools and those ‘lucky’ enough to attend school are educated in Farsi. Some 80 percent of Ahwazi Arab women are illiterate as opposed to 50 percent of Ahwazi men. Over thirty percent of the under-30s are unemployed in this heavily industrialized region, primarily because Persians receive priority and jobs often advertised outside the governorate.

Thousands are without access to drinking water, because rivers have been diverted to arid Persian provinces. Their streets open sewers; many are deprived of electricity and gas. In 2013, Arabistan’s capital, Ahwaz, was classed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most polluted city on earth partly due to desertification and industrial smog. Arab farmers are regularly stripped of agricultural land and although there has been loud international condemnation of Israel’s separation walls, there have been no media headlines about the segregation walls hiding squalid Arab ghettos from wealthier Persian settlements and glossy new towns.

Driven to protest

It’s no wonder that Ahwazi Arabs are now driven to protest against such blatant discrimination. According to the Ahwaz Studies Center, “increasing joblessness and rising poverty is creating a humanitarian crisis among Ahwazi Arabs that threatens to lead to widespread unrest…” The authorities use a heavy hand against demonstrators and rights activists.

Although Arabistan provides Iran with 80 percent of its oil requirements as well as half of its gas, its sons are exploited and oppressed; their human rights tramped upon, their very identity in danger of being obliterated

Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor

However, one of the central reasons behind the Ahwazis’ discontent is their evaporating sense of who they are; the erosion of their roots, their language, their Arab identity. That was brought home to me a few days ago as I watched a video of Iranian security forces attacking Ahwazi football fans for wearing traditional Arab dress while celebrating the triumph of the visiting Saudi al-Hilal team against the local Foolad Khuzestan side. In truth, the video touched an emotional chord in me.

The authorities were alerted when Ahwazis referred to the Saudi players as “their Arab Brothers” and welcomed them to “Arab lands.” The forces attempted to move the Arabs away from the cameras, provoking resistance. The crowd responded by destroying posters of Iran’s Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei, in the face of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and threw stones at police. This resulted in arbitrary arrests when peaceful protestors were also swept-up. “Iran will never be able to smother our voice and our Arab identity,” say the demonstrators.

For me, this was emotional because despite all Iran’s measures to choke the Ahwazi’s inner being and stifle all dissent over the past 90 years – even to the extent of forcing them to give their babies Persian names – they remain proud to be Arab.

It also saddens me when I remember that those Arabs, our own people, have been abandoned to fend for themselves. Why isn’t the United Nations taking up their cause? Why are those western countries, endlessly trumpeting human rights to the Middle East, not only turning a blind eye but actively wooing Iran’s ayatollahs? Most importantly, we can no longer stay silent when five million Ahwazi Arabs equates to a population three times bigger than that of Gaza?

Standing tall

Here I would call on Arab countries – especially GCC states and their allies – to stand tall with our Ahwazi brothers so as to empower them on their journey to freedom. Apart from the fact that this is our moral duty, it could also off strategic benefits at a time when Iranian officials boast of a new Persian empire that includes four Arab capitals.

Help Arabistan gain its independence and Tehran can kiss goodbye to its oil exports and the revenue it uses to fund its terror proxies.

Iran’s meddling in Arab countries is rife and unrestrained. Yemen is just one example and I’m gratified that Saudi partnered with GCC states, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and Pakistan, has launched a military intervention to free this historic Arab heartland from Iranian-backed Shiite militias; this action is one that I’ve long called-for. Iran deserves to be treated in kind.

The first step towards freeing the people of Ahwaz is a vigorous and determined campaign by GCC leaderships to undermine the Iranian fist on this dear Arab land involving billions of dollars in direct financial aid to support the development of al-Ahwaz.

Secondly, the Arab League and/or the GCC should bring the forgotten truth that al-Ahwaz is, indeed, Arab territory to the international spotlight so as to raise awareness.

Thirdly, the file should be lodged with the United Nations Security Council for investigation with the aim of procuring a resolution to the effect that Ahwaz has been and is under illegal occupation and, thus, has a right to self-determination. Such applications have been lodged by Ahwazis previously but haven’t been taken with the seriousness they deserve. The GCC should use its power to ensure the Ahwazi cause can no longer be swept under the carpet.

Just a year ago, I would have had little hope that this appeal would be heard. But, thankfully, GCC states and its Arab friends have at last resolved to be proactive in defending Arab peoples and lands. Operation “Decisive Storm” in Yemen is just the beginning, signaling Iran’s hitherto clear path towards regional domination is now strewn with roadblocks.

I still bristle when I recall a conversation I had, many years ago, with former U.S. Ambassador Richard W. Murphy, who informed me that America was now responsible for Gulf security. When I asked him on what authority, he answered without flinching, saying, that the Brits handed the region to us. In response, I remember thinking: What are we, sheep? Today, we are emerging as lions. We are standing with our Yemeni brothers in distress and proving to the Islamic Republic of Iran, its militias and proxies that we will never be parceled-off to any country’s hegemonic ambitions ever again.

Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group – one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf.

Arab Coalition Divides On Syria and Libya

Saudi Arabia, Egypt show discord over Syria

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(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell). Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi chairs an Arab foreign ministers meeting during an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015. Arab League member states have agreed in principle to for...
(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell). Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi chairs an Arab foreign ministers meeting during an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015. Arab League member states have agreed in principle to for… (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell).
(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell). Saudi Foreign Minister Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reviews a document during an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015. Arab League member states at a summit i...
(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell). Saudi Foreign Minister Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reviews a document during an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015. Arab League member states at a summit i… (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell).

 

By SARAH EL DEEB
Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt and Saudi Arabia are cooperating militarily to thwart a power grab in Yemen by Shiite rebels, but the agreement on how to deal with the region’s complex and intertwined conflicts may stop there. The two countries’ diverging interests were evident at the Arab summit over the weekend, particularly over the crises in Syria and Libya.

In Syria’s civil war, Saudi Arabia has staunchly stuck by its demands for President Bashar Assad’s removal. In a speech to the summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Saudi King Salman railed against “those with blood on their hands” and said he cannot be any part of a resolution to the war, now in its fifth year.

In contrast, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in his speech urged a political solution, pointing to the need to “confront terrorist organizations” and prevent the collapse of Syrian state institutions. He said Egypt would host a conference of Syria’s opposition aimed at unifying its position for political talks.

The speech reflected what el-Sissi has made his top priority since rising to office last year – fighting Islamic militants. Egypt’s rhetoric has emphasized the need to preserve Syria as a bulwark against terrorists over the need to remove Assad, though the government has avoided saying that outright. On Friday, a government official told The Associated Press that the Egyptian stance is that Assad’s regime “must be part of the negotiations and the transitional period.”

“It is not about personalities,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the diplomatic efforts.

The differences led to an embarrassing moment after el-Sissi proudly had a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin read out loud at the summit’s closing session Sunday. Russia is a key supporter of Assad and has strong ties to el-Sissi, who gave Putin a lavish welcome in Egypt last month.

In his letter, Putin urged a political solution to the Syria war. After it was read, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal took the microphone and lashed out at Russia in a speech aired live on TV.

“They (Russians) speak about the misery the situation in Syria while they are a main part of the miseries that affects the Syrian people,” al-Faisal said, pointing to Moscow’s arms sales to Damascus.

El-Sissi thanked al-Faisal for his remarks and, in an apparent attempt to put the best spin on the awkward situation, commented that all Arab leaders emphasize that they seek solutions to regional crises in their contacts with international players. El-Sissi then gave a closing speech praising the new hopes for future joint action sparked by the summit, where the leaders agreed to create a new joint Arab military force. Egypt has been the strongest advocate for the force.

In Libya, el-Sissi wants regional action against the growing power of Islamic militants, whom Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have already hit with airstrikes several times the past year. In his opening speech to the summit, el-Sissi repeatedly spoke of the need for action in Libya. In contrast, the Saudi king hardly mentioned it – a sign of their differing priorities.

Egyptian columnist Abdullah el-Sinnawi, who is close to the military and el-Sissi, said the lack of agreement is likely to paralyze any future communal action, including through the joint military force.

The two sides don’t agree on who the “enemy is, how to hit and what is the priority,” el-Sinnawi told AP.

Notably, Assad – who did not attend the summit – told Russian reporters ahead of the gathering that Egypt understands the crisis in Syria and that there is limited security cooperation between the two countries. “We hope to see closer Syrian-Egyptian relations,” he said.

After al-Faisal’s speech, a prominent Egyptian TV political show host lay into Saudi Arabia, saying it was equally to blame for Syria’s bloodshed with its support of anti-Assad rebels.

“Will you keep lying to us and yourself and the world?” Eissa barked. “Yes, the repressive dictator is killing his people. And this Gulf Arab oil money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar is also killing the Syrian people.”

That prompted an angry response from prominent Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who said in a tweet that Eissa’s “excesses” required action.

“If the media there (in Egypt) was free, I wouldn’t have said that. But it is the regime’s media,” Khashoggi wrote.

__________

Associated Press Zeina Karam contributed to this report from Beirut.

Houthi Militants Reject Yemen Talks In Doha–Qataris and Saudis The Same

Militants to boycott Yemen Doha talks

yemen-post

The Houthi militant group announced on Tuesday it will not participate talks between Yemeni factions which are expected to take place in Doha later this month.
Spokesperson for the group Mohammed Abdulsalam said they don’t accept to go to Doha because there is no difference between its position and Saudi position toward their status or rather revolution.
GCC states described the Houthi takeover as a coup and reiterated their full support to the legitimate president and government.
He accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of backing Al-Qaeda financially and logistically along with their support to the legitimacy of president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The remarks came a few days after the UN special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar said all factions had agreed to change the venue of the talks into Doha.
Hadi suggested to change the talks venue from the capital Sanaa into Riyadh after he escaped house arrest by Houthi militants.
The Houthi group and the General People’s Congress, which is led by ex-president Saleh, rejected that talks be held in Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Hadi is appealing for military support as Houthi militants and dissident forces loyal to Saleh are fighting the army in a bid to invade the south.
The president fled to Aden last month and he declared Aden as a temporary capital and Sanaa as an occupied capital.
After Houthis and Saleh tightened grip on power and placed Hadi and government under house arrest, Benomar announced all transition accomplishments had vanished.
The UN continued to affirm only political solutions can resolve the crisis.


YEMEN POST STAFF

New Era of American Financial Warfare

New Era of Financial Warfare

bodhita

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph, reports on new ways the U.S. is carrying out financial warfare against Russia by stealth. He writes that the U.S. has created a financial “neutron bomb” that can target any country and is now targeting Russia. He claims that for the past 12 years an “elite cell” at the U.S. Treasury has been designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot.

“It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies’ financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness,” says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who led the policy after 9/11. “The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

This includes shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies, and state bodies with $714 billion of debt. He calls it the “scarlet letter,” created under Section 311 of the U.S. Patriot Act, which was devised to be used against terrorist financiers. Once a bank is named, it will be caught in a “boa constrictor’s lethal embrace,” as Zarate puts it. Even if the bank has no operations in the U.S., European banks will not violate it.

Evans-Pritchard continues, “The U.S. Treasury faces a more formidable prey with Russia, the world’s biggest producer of energy with a $2 trillion economy, superb scientists, and a first-strike nuclear arsenal. It is also tightly linked to the German and East European economies,” and therefore the U.S. risks destabilizing its own alliance system. Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin knows this as well and no doubt is prepared to take counter-moves.

Zarate now advises HSBC on how to stop in-house money laundering, which is a laugh in itself.

Evans-Pritchard’s column cites Princeton Professor Harold James, who compares such actions to the pre-First World War attempts by Britain and France to use financial warfare against Germany. Warning of the dangers of such action, James said, in a piece for Project Syndicate, “Lehman was a small institution compared with the Austrian, French, and German banks that have become highly exposed to Russia’s financial system. A Russian asset freeze could be catastrophic for European — indeed, global — financial markets.”

Evans-Pritchard seems to be familiarizing himself with the Classics, as he cites how the sanction imposed by Pericles turned out badly. “So are the salutary lessons. Pericles tried to cow the city state of Megara in 432 B.C. by cutting off trade access to markets of the Athenian Empire. He set off the Peloponnesian Wars, bringing Sparta’s Hoplite infantry crashing down on Athens. Greece’s economic system was left in ruins, at the mercy of Persia. That was a taste of asymmetry.”

Bodhita | News & Analysis

China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Putting Real Heat On World Bank

All of the countries joining China’s alternative to the World Bank

QUARTZ

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Russia, the Netherlands, and Australia announced over the weekend that they will be joining the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), whose membership has become something of a test of diplomatic clout between China and the United States. The development bank is seen as a challenger to existing institutions like the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.

Unable to increase its voice in the current institutions—China commands just 6.47% of the vote in the Asian Development Bank, 5.17% in the World Bank, and 3.81% in the International Monetary Fund—China is building its own alternative. The bank is intended to make up for the gap in funding the region needs—about $800 billion a year in infrastructure investment, according to the Asian Development Bank. It is expected to launch later this year.

So far, just over 40 countries have joined AIIB, with one day left before the deadline to join as a founding member expires. The United States and only one of its main allies, Japan, remain absent from that list. The US and other critics question whether the Beijing-led institution will uphold international standards of transparency, debt sustainability, and environmental and social protections, or just turn into an arm of Chinese foreign policy. Last week, Japan’s finance minister said, “Unless [China] clarifies these matters, which are not clear at all, Japan remains cautious.”

But as more countries join the bank, the more likely AIIB will have to follow international standards, observers have noted, and the less likely China will be able to use a multilateral institution to wield influence in the region. Here are all the countries that have joined or applied to join the AIIB aside from Spain, which said late last week that it would also apply to be a member (link in Spanish).

US Policy Is Driving Force Behind the Call To Jihad

[A very strong case is made that it is US foreign policy which fuels Islamist anger and drives the call to “jihad.”  American policy has been humiliating to every Muslim since 2001, in particular, the policies of torture, secret renditions and drone assassinations, all of which have been designed to destroy the collective psyche of all Muslim males.  

Murder by drone and rendition have demonstrated to every Muslim family that none of them are safe in their beds, or in their homes anymore.  What more reason would a sensible young man need than this, to drive him to take-up arms against the American aggressors?   Yemen hosted a US drone/counter-insurgency base, allegedly used to “hunt al-Qaeda,” which was probably the driving force in Yemen’s destabilization.  The more the US and the Saudis bombed Yemen, the greater grew the unrest of all sectarian derivations. 

The ease of recruitment for ISIS (and the Middle Eastern radicals in general) is a pretty direct measure of the effectiveness of US psychological warfare.  The more we humiliate Muslims, the more jihadis answer the call to battle. 

But, I would argue that that has been the objective of the entire war on terror since its inception…find those who would be jihadis and kill them all.  It doesn’t matter to the Pentagon/CIA that they are feeding the cycle that they have been fighting to stop?  Instead of trying to kill the Muslim world to get all the survivors to “LIKE” us, we should try to disengage long enough for the Arabs to fight among themselves and settle their tribal/religious feuds which we had no right to interfere with, at all.]

Smith College religion professor, historian says US should stay out of Middle East battles

MASS live

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By Diane Lederman | dlederman@repub.com

 

Smith College religion professor Suleiman A. Mourad believes the United States should not be involved in the Middle East. (Diane Lederman/The Republican)

 

NORTHAMPTON – This week, Saudi Arabia took on rebels in Yemen, the latest action in the escalating conflict in the Middle East. It’s a confusing muddle of alliances.

As the New York Times reports the United States is supporting the Saudi campaign to dislodge Iranian-backed Houthi rebels but in Iraq and Syria, the United States is on the same side as Iran in the fight against the Islamic State.

And while some Congress debate whether to send in ground troops, Smith College religion professor Suleiman A. Mourad believes the United States should not be involved.

In fact anger against the United States is fueling the antagonism and serves as a recruiting tool for Isis and other extremists.

Mourad, who also studies jihad, explained some of the roots of the conflict and the reasons he believes that it needs to play out there without United States intervention.

He doesn’t think the warring parties are ready or able to talk to each other nor does he see any diplomat in the United States able to bring the parties to the table.

In fact, he said the United States is hated abroad. A native of Lebanon he returned recently and said the level of animosity between Sunnis and Shia towards the United States was extreme.

Middle Eastern leaders don’t trust or respect the United States.

The wars between Sunnis and the Shia – different sects within the Muslim community with different customs – have both modern and historical roots.
According to the BBC, most of the Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85 to 90 percent.

Historically, Sunnis consider themselves as the orthodox or traditional form of Islam where the Shia the political faction, according to the BBC.

“There are historical grievances historical reasons that speak to the current grievances,” Mourad said, much in the way slavery here is linked to issue of race in America.

He said at the same time, some Shia are aligned with some Sunnis and vice versa. Also he said Shias in Yemen are different than the Shias of Iran. “They don’t have a common history. There’s much animosity.”

Each political leader has his own agenda and uses the rebel groups to support that just as long they don’t topple their own regime. “Every dictator has interests.”

While the Middle East was under the control of such leaders as Saddam Hussein, the militant factions were squelched but as those leaders were toppled the militant groups were able to emerge.
And what makes the modern conflict unprecedented is how widespread the uprisings are. The battle “across the Muslim world is unprecedented.”

He said the modern day Sunni militant movements began in the 1960s-1970s with the ideas of Sayyid Qutb of Egypt and Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi of Pakistan being put into practice.

They believed that Muslims rulers “were in the pockets of the West.:” And he said those militant ideologues were in “pursuit of a great Islam” and urged Muslims to jihad and unity.

Later there was a split where one group wanted a less militant approach and instead advocated for activism. The idea was “to just do activism to take control of the Sunnis. Teach ideas to ultimately unify Islam.”

But with such things as the overthrow of the Shah in Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini becoming the supreme leader and the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, these militants groups realized they had power and could demonstrate that militarism could achieve their goals.

Isis too feels like it has power with the attention it garners with the beheadings of Americans or its connection to attacks in France at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine in January.

“(In their minds) It puts them on equal footing with the west,” Mourad said. And if “we are equal to the West, we can defeat the West.”

Each regime, meanwhile, in the Middle East has its own agenda but leaders are not able or willing right now to talk about what that is and how to meet their needs. Some take advantage of groups like Isis to push for their respective interests and agendas.

So the wars have to play out until they are willing to talk. Meanwhile he said, “We have no business being (there.)”

He said the Iranians during the overthrow of the Shah said, “America is Satan” and wanted to destroy the country. That hatred has only worsened as the United States has gotten more involved in the battles of the countries in the Middle East.

UN Calling Humanitarian Disaster In Syria A “Situation”

 

UN: Humanitarian situation in Syria dramatically worsened

daily sabah
Istanbul
UN: Humanitarian situation in Syria dramatically worsened

The United Nations has more than doubled its estimate of Syrians who are living in besieged areas, who risk death by starvation, dehydration and a lack of medical care, to roughly 440,000. The U.N.’s top humanitarian official said that the life expectancy of a Syrian is expected to be 20 years lower than when the conflict started. The U.N. also said that the war, which has recently entered its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people. It was also claimed that at least $8.5 billion is needed this year to meet the needs of Syrians.

The Arab uprisings, which euphorically swept across the Middle East and North Africa, attracted Syrians who had lived under the dictatorship of the Assad family since 1970, when Bashar’s father Hafiz Assad seized power. Since then the majority Sunnis were forced to live in a police state that tried to control every movement, organization or business through the use a wide-ranging intelligence service. In March of 2011, Syrians were emboldened enough to raise their voices against the dictatorship. However, the regime’s response was not as peaceful as the protests. And the country was subsequently dragged into a deadly civil war after opposition groups took up arms against the government. The opposition groups have also been divided internally. While moderate opposition groups like the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) were struggling for a democratic Syria where all religious and political groups would be free to exist, radical elements like al-Qaida’s Syrian branch Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) aimed to establish a new Syria, ruled by an extremist religious jurisprudence.

The fate of the country was changed since the war started. United Nations’ top humanitarian official said that the inability of the international community to stop the war means millions of Syrians will continue to suffer. Valerie Amos said the situation has “dramatically worsened.” In just the past month, she noted that the number of Syrians living in what are considered “besieged” areas has doubled, from 212,000 to 440,000. Nearly 5 million Syrians live in hard-to-reach areas. “The inability of this Council, and countries with influence over the different parties at war in Syria, to agree on the elements for a political solution in the country means that the humanitarian consequences will continue to be dire for millions of Syrians,” said Amos. As the world has taken stock this month of Syria on the anniversary of the conflict, Amos pointed out some of the more grim findings: “Today, a Syrian’s life expectancy is estimated to be 20 years less than when the conflict started,” she said. “Unemployment is around 58 percent, up from around 10 percent in 2010; nearly two-thirds of all Syrians are now estimated to be living in extreme poverty.” Amos later told reporters that $8.5 billion is needed this year to address the crisis both in and outside Syria, whose neighbors say they are overwhelmed by millions of refugees. Many aid groups and others in the international community say the divided council has failed the Syrian people on this and other issues. Russia, Syria’s ally, has blocked actions such as an attempted referral of the country’s situation to the International Criminal Court, though some diplomats say they’d like to try again for a referral.

Doing To The Entire Islamic World What We Have Done To Iraq

Instability in the Islamic world

The Hindu

G PARTHASARATHY

Three major developments require careful attention. These are the emergence of the ISIS, the growing Persian-Arab and sectarian Shia-Sunni tensions, and the possibility of a negotiated end to the Iranian nuclear impasse. All this is occurring amidst the fall in global oil and gas prices, which is imposing a strain on the economies of countries in the Persian Gulf.

American subversion

The entire polity of what is known as the ‘Greater Middle East’ (extending from Pakistan to Turkey) has been destabilised by American-led subversion and invasions in Iraq, Syria and Libya, to oust secular but authoritarian governments, without having viable alternatives in sight. In Syria, American-supported destabilisation efforts have led to millions fleeing their homes and the emergence of diverse groups embroiled in a seemingly neverending civil war. The invasion of Iraq has led to Shia-Sunni bloodletting that has spread across the entire region. Libya has been fragmented by similar intervention and has emerged as another centre of Shia-Sunni conflict. More importantly, the intervention in Syria has led to the emergence of the Islamic State of Levant (ISIS). It now controls large parts of Syria and northern Iraq and has made inroads in Libya while establishing links with religious extremists in Nigeria, Somalia and elsewhere.

The world has seldom, if ever, seen a group as fanatical, revivalist and ruthless as the ISIS, which has drawn thousands of armed cadres, not just from Arab and Islamic countries but from across Europe and America. Its practices include arbitrary killing of non-Muslims and Shias. It forcibly takes non-Muslim women as slaves, extorts payment of jiziya tax by non-Muslims, and practises beheading and crucifixion. The only other recent case of similar behaviour was by the Afghan Taliban which persecuted Shias and required Hindus to display their identity by sporting yellow scarves/armbands.

Another barbaric trait the two share is the destruction of ancient shrines, artefacts, statues and art. If the Taliban vandalised and dynamited the historic Bamiyan Buddha statues, the ISIS destroyed or sold the priceless ancient treasures of Nimrud, Tikrit and Mosul.

The Sunni Arab alliance

The escalating tensions in the Greater Middle East have resulted in a Sunni Arab Alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, facing off a Shia, Iranian-led grouping, including Iraq and Syria. We also have the strange situation of Iran and the US making common cause, to assist Iraqi security forces to drive out the ISIS from the Sunni majority Tikrit, Mosul and across the Anbar province. The US provides the air power, while the Iranian Revolutionary Guards train, arm, equip and fight alongside the Iraqi Shia militia.

Yet another strange meeting of minds is that of Israel and the Sunni Arab leadership from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. While the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US congress in Washington to voice his opposition to an agreement being negotiated between the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany, on the one hand, and Iran on the other, to end sanctions against Iran, the Sunni Arab countries launched a diplomatic offensive to get the US to scuttle the proposed deal.

Quite obviously chary of an Iranian ‘Shia bomb’, Saudi Arabia and its Arab Gulf partners held discussions with the US Secretary of State John Kerry on March 4 and voiced their reservations about a prospective US-led Iranian nuclear deal. The Saudis simultaneously fear not only an American-Iranian rapprochement, but also the prospects of the growing ISIS presence along their borders and in the Arab world. They know that the US is no longer dependent on them for oil supplies. The Americans, in fact, now have oil and gas reserves to meet current levels of demand for 85 years. Saudi Arabian oil is no longer vital for meeting the US’ energy needs.

It is in these circumstances that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was received at Riyadh airport on March 3 by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Mukri and the entire Saudi cabinet. This was a rare honour for a head of government, especially from a bankrupt country that has survived on Saudi and American doles for decades. Interestingly, barely a month earlier, the chairman of Pakistan’s joint chiefs of staff committee Gen Rashad Mahmoud, the seniormost military officer in Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority which has operational command and control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, visited Saudi Arabia.

Old ties

Pak-Saudi nuclear links go back to the 1990s when AQ Khan paid visits to Saudi Arabia, following a visit to the Kahuta nuclear and missile facilities by the Saudi defence minister, Prince Salman. Interestingly, Pakistan tested, for the first time, a nuclear capable missile, Shaheen 3, with a range of 2,750 km, capable of striking targets beyond India, just after Sharif’s visit to Riyadh. This missile could be an asset to target Iran from Saudi Arabia. The already complicated situation in the Greater Middle East could become more tense if Pakistan agrees to send troops to guard Saudi Arabia’s frontiers, or provides the desert kingdom a ‘Sunni nuclear shield’ to counter Iran. Given the tensions on its borders with India, Afghanistan and Iran, it remains to be seen how Pakistan responds to Saudi requests for military assistance, conventional and nuclear.

New Delhi has just gone through a significant effort in building viable security architecture with neighbouring Indian Ocean island-states. There is now need for careful consideration of the impact of recent developments across the Islamic world on India’s security, and the welfare of its nationals in the Arab Gulf states.

The author is a former High Commissioner to Pakistan

Qatari Emir Warns Arab Coalition To Stay Away From Africa–Bombing Yemen Is OK

Qatari emir rejects military solution in Libya

ahram online

Speaking at the Arab League summit, Qatar’s emir backs military offensive against Yemen but warns against intervention in Libya

Hana Afifi

Qatar

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, right, attends a meeting of Arab heads of state, in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani told the Arab League summit on Saturday that his country believes “there is no military solution” in war-torn Libya.

Tamim called for a political solution to the Libyan crisis through the participation of all political forces.

Libya is currently divided between an internationally recognised government in the east and Islamist-oriented rebels that control the capital Tripoli and other parts of the country.

Addressing the ongoing crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi-led military offensive has been targeting Houthi rebel sites with airstrikes since Thursday, the emir called for respect for the country’s legitimate regime.

He called on the rebel militias to stand down in order to allow for the completion of a political solution that would gurantee security and stability for the Yemeni population.

He said that Qatar is ready to offer any needed support to achieve these ends.

The emir said that both the Houthi rebels, who are Shia Muslims, and Houthi ally and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, violated the process of the search for a political solution and the legitimacy of the regime of President Hadi.

This led, according to the emir, to to the rise of phenomenon that had not been present before in Yemen: “sectarian politics.”

The Qatari head of state stressed the importance of good relations with neighbour Iran, which some critics accuse of arming the Houthi rebels.

Tamim said Iran is part of the Islamic umma, calling on Tehran to respect neighbouring countries’ sovereignty.

“The multiplicity of sects and doctrines is part of our Arab identity, and should not be used as a reason for intervention in our internal affairs,” he said.

No room for Assad in Syria resolution

The Qatari leader also expressed his opposition to allowing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad to be part of the political solution to the Syrian crisis.

“A political solution means that the people make their own choices,” he stated.

He said the Syrian regime had wreaked havoc in the embattled country, accusing it of carrying out “the most brutal forms of savage killings.”

“When will we move, us Arabs, to end this tragedy?” he said.

The Syrian conflict has claimed at least 215,000 lives and displaced half of the country’s population since 2011.

The Qatari emir also said that the Palestinian issue is at the forefront of the challenges in the region.

“Reaching a fair and comprehensive settlement” is a must for peace and security, he said, calling for the implementation of the two-state solution.

“Israel is continuing its aggression against the Palestinian people,” said the emir.

He called on the UN Security Council to “carry out its ethical and legal responsibility to end the Israeli occupation.

He also called on Arab countries and the international community to pressure Israel to achieve that goal.

The Qatari ruler also said that solidarity with Iraq is an Arab responsibility , calling for a comprehensive political solution to resolve the region’s sectarian troubles.

Saudi Arabia Leads Meltdown of Middle East

Middle East prepares for meltdown as Sunni states bomb Yemen

malaysia insider

– Afshin Shahi

 

Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East and known to have more weapons than citizens, has been a security nightmare for some time – but its recent downturn has finally spurred its neighbours to military action.

An unprecedented coalition of Sunni states has lined up to preserve what they consider as the legitimate Yemeni government. On the night of March 25, the Saudi ambassador in Washington announced the start of Operation Storm of Resolve at a news conference. The following day, the Saudi media confirmed that a coalition of states comprising Qatar, Morocco, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, and Sudan were sending aircraft to target the Shia-led rebels in Yemen.

On top of that, Egypt, Sudan and Pakistan also confirmed that they were ready to send ground forces into the country to save the government of President Hadi.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, also expressed support for the Saudi-led mission. Announcing that he was considering whether to provide “logistical support” to the new coalition, Erdogan warned Iran against trying to achieve dominance in the region.

His words cut to the heart of a very dangerous situation. While most Sunni states in the Middle East have allied themselves with Riyadh against what they consider a Shia takeover of Yemen, Tehran and its allies clearly see this as an open act of aggression – setting up a proxy conflict that could pave the way for a full-on regional meltdown.

Tinderbox

Although there is a long history of distrust between Shia Iran and its Sunni neighbours, the conflict in Yemen will seriously inflame the problem. With the coalition explicitly organised on sectarian lines, foreign policy in the Middle East will get more and more sectarian as religious identity becomes an important basis on which it is made.

The Houthi uprising in Yemen and its links to Tehran will pave the way for further securitisation of Shia minorities in the Sunni states, which will pour fuel on some long-smouldering inter-state sectarian rivalries. And worse still, the conflict could well provide a newly hospitable climate for violent sub-state actors, who are already changing the geopolitical landscape of the region beyond recognition.

Over the last year or so Isis has been able to turn itself into the most successful brand in the world of trans-national Jihadism. Its phenomenal success both in Syria and Iraq has created a great challenge for al-Qaeda, which previously enjoyed something like a monopoly.

Accordingly, there have been numerous defections from al-Qaeda to Isis, although al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is still very effective in Yemen – and as the already very weak Yemeni state becomes increasingly ineffective, the group will be able to expand its sphere of influence and reassert itself in the country. That may in turn reinvigorate its wider regional and global operations.

The same vacuum will also provide the Houthis with a new opportunity to redefine themselves. The Saudi-led military operation in Yemen could allow them to portray themselves as a persecuted sectarian minority, and in turn help them to re-mobilise Zaydi Shias, who make up around 40% of Yemen’s population. Many of them could be easily drawn into the conflict to resist both AQAP and the Saudi-led military operation.

In another twist in the situation, Isis is clearly interested in winning its share of the Yemeni spoils. Its raison d’être depends upon controlling territory and expansion, and it now finds itself on the defensive on several fronts in Iraq and Syria. But although the group is losing some battles, the war is far from over.

The security crisis in Yemen provides it with a unique opportunity to expand its territory. This could compensate for territorial losses in Iraq and reinvigorate the organisation – setting up a thorny conflict with AQAP, which of course will not tolerate a takeover of what it sees as its territory by Isis.

New chapter

Of course, the Middle East has been in serious security and political turmoil for decades, and the last 15 years in particular. But the conflict in Yemen could profoundly change the region at large.

Whereas the Syrian civil war unleashed sectarian hostilities in the region, the military escalation in Yemen will sediment sectarianism as a force to redefine regional alliances and rivalries. This could be the start of a new era, where identity politics more than ever determine who holds the Middle East’s balance of power.

And while the direct military involvement of the Sunni states in Yemen is drawing a new battleground for a regional proxy war with Shia states, it also heralds a new era for the rise of sub-state actors. The chaos in Yemen will only provide new opportunities for groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda. In other words, the escalation in Yemen could be the start of a multi-dimensional war, one that comprises conflicts among states, spats between sub-state actors, and combinations of the two.

Rivals such as Iran and Saudi Arabia may or may not realise they are opening yet another Pandora’s box, one just as dangerous as the Syrian civil war – but make no mistake, this could be the start of a whole new chapter in Middle Eastern history. – The Conversation, March 29, 2015.

* Afshin Shahi is the director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam & Lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Saudis Make No Pretense About Bombing “Al-Qaeda,” Since This War Is All About Iran

[Are Iranian leaders without BALLS?  Saudis are bombing Shiites to oblivion in the “name of God,” but the Mullahs merely watch them die.  What the hell, you bearded old goats?]

Saudi-led Yemen offensive targets Houthi militias, missiles: spokesman

al arabiya

In this Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 file photo, an F-15 warplane of the Saudi Air Force flies over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University. (AP)

The Saudi Arabia-led offensive in Yemen on Friday targeted Houthi militia movements and ballistic missile platforms, and multiple positions of the Iranian-backed rebels across the north and south of the country, a military spokesman said on Friday.

Operation “Decisive Storm,” led by Saudi and a coalition of regional allies against Iranian-backed Houthi militias who are attempting to oust Yemen’s internationally recognized government, had finished its second day.

Saudi warplanes targeted Houthi positions in both south and north of the country, with a focus on Houthi forces attempting to deploy along the Yemen-Saudi border, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition forces Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri as saying.

Alliance forces also targeted all air defense armaments, including surface-to-air missiles systems, anti-aircraft artillery and ballistic missiles platforms, the spokesman – who was speaking at an airbase in the Saudi capital Riyadh – added.

Additionally, coalition fighter jets on Friday targeted the Houthi-controlled al-Anad airbase outside of the southern port city of Aden, the last main stronghold of Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.

A bridge intensively used by the Houthi militias to transport supplies and portable ballistic missiles was also targeted, disclosing that the Houthi militias were trying to move their reinforcements between the northern Saada Province towards the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition had maintained complete air supremacy, making Houthi forces vulnerable and allowing all movements on the ground to be monitored around the clock, said the spokesman.

UAE air force jets had also carried out a mission over Yemen on Friday, the spokesman said.

Due to the heavy volume of air strikes, the spokesman urged Yemeni civilians to keep away from the wide array of Houthi targets, including militia concentrations, convoys and logistics vehicles across the north and south of the country, adding that Houthi fighters may attempt to use civilians as human shields.

The operation would continue until it achieves its military goals – in particular the severing of Houthi logistics and supplies, the spokesman added.

On the same day, Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, the minister of the national guard, visited the airbase and met with military officials.

Saudi National Guard Minister Mutaib bin Abdullah (AP)

Saudi “Decisive Storm” Doesn’t Include Pak. Army

[Pakistan has not committed to the Saudi war on Yemen, despite proclamations made by royal spokesmen.  How much of the overly-publicized operation “Decisive Storm” is real, meaning how much of this Storm exists on the ground after the cameras, bright lights and fancy editorials are turned off?  (SEE: Pakistan Declines to Join Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Iran Alliance).]

Yemen turmoil: No decision on joining Saudi-led coalition, says Asif

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has made no decision on whether to commit military support to a Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told lawmakers on Friday, while pledging to defend the oil-rich kingdom against any threat to its sovereignty.

“We have made no decision to participate in this war. We didn’t make any promise. We have not promised any military support to the Saudi-led coalition against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen,” he said while speaking in the National Assembly.

“In Syria, Yemen and Iraq, division is being fuelled and it needs to be contained. The crisis has its fault lines in Pakistan too, [we] don’t want to disturb them,” he said. “Pakistan cannot take part in any conflict that might divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines.”

However, Asif reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to defending the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. “Pakistan will stand by Saudi Arabia by all means if the kingdom’s territorial sovereignty is in danger.”

The statement came a day after Riyadh claimed that five Muslim countries – including Egypt and Pakistan – have expressed willingness to join the military coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Subsequently, a top civil- military huddle at the Prime Minister House decided that “any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will evoke a strong response from Pakistan.”

“We have an affiliation with the Saudi land and if there is a need to commit forces at any stage, then a decision will be taken in consultation with the parliament,” he added. Since sectarian fault-lines exist in Pakistan, the defence minister said the government would preempt any sectarian backlash of the move. Some commentators believe such a move could ignite sectarian conflict at home.

Earlier opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah warned the government that jumping into the complex Middle Eastern fray could have serious consequences for Pakistan. “Don’t take decisions behind closed doors,” Shah advised the government. “Before joining this war, convene a joint sitting of parliament or an all parties’ conference to discuss this matter publicly.”

He said the government should pursue the policy of “Amn Karo, Laro Matt [restore peace, don’t fight].” Referring to the diplomacy of PPP’s founding chairman ZA Bhutto, Shah said: “[In this conflict] we favour the role of lead negotiator for Pakistan.

The defence minister clarified that the government has only pledged to defend Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity. “A delegation that the government is sending to Riyadh will assess defence-related needs of the kingdom,” he said, adding that a session of the Arab League will be convened shortly which, he hoped, would find a peaceful solution to the problem.

Asif agreed with Shah that there was need to bring unity among Muslim states and discourage sectarianism. Citing the bitter experiences of the past, the defence minister said: “We will not take any decision that could have repercussions for Pakistan.”

Shah said no Muslim could remain silent if the Saudi land was in danger. “Our own house is not in order. We are busy in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and cannot afford any sectarian unrest,” he said. “While following in the footsteps of ZA Bhutto, you may go there and invite all Muslim leaders to come under one roof for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.”

A delegation, comprising Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and PM’s Advisor on National Security Tariq Fatmi and senior representatives from the armed forces, was scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to assess the situation. The visit was, however, put off for some reasons. And the defence minister told the lawmakers that he had no intention of visiting the kingdom in the near future.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan took to the social media to urge that Pakistan should merely assist and be part of peace negotiations instead of becoming a participant in the US-Saudi alliance.

Saudis Using “Al-CIA-da” As An Excuse To Kill Huthis In Yemen?

[SEE: The Eleven Saudi Guantanamo Veterans Returning to the Fight]

[The Saudi bombing of Yemen could best be understood as the periodic Saudi clean-up of their threatening militant problem, i.e., “Al-Qaeda,” were it not for the obvious attempts to make Yemen all about Iran.  King Salman seems to be a little more aggressive than his brother was, preferring action to threats.  The danger of this is the entanglement of royal militant house-cleaning with the Zionist war on Iran.

In order to counter Iranian breakthroughs on the diplomatic battlefield, proxy warfare is underway in Yemen, as it is in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and other choice locations.  This is a chess move, intended to endanger the Iranian queen.  Iran must not be allowed equilibrium.  Situations between Sunni and Shia cannot be allowed peaceful resolution, other than the sweeping, absolute peace obtained via holy war throughout the region.  The Saudis have acted as the hands of the CIA in all of this, channeling their radical Sunni militants into Yemen and Iraq, where they have served the Empire’s strategy of regime change and sowing sectarian warfare.  The Saudis have created the most radical Islamic militants in the world, their leadership spawning the most notorious of all Sunni terrorist cells in the Middle East and N. Africa. 

The cell known as “Al-Qaeda In Yemen (Arabian Peninsula)” is a direct creation of the Saudi terrorist rehabilitation/reconditioning program, whether that is inadvertent or intentional.  The Eleven top leaders in the terrorist organization  (branded most dangerous by US Govt) have all graduated with honors from the Saudi rehab program, after spending years in Guantanamo prison.  If anybody has reason to be pissed-off at the royals and us, it is these guys.  Same goes for the so-called “Islamic State” bitches, their top guys all went through the Saudi rehab program at Camp Bucca prison camp in Iraq.  Whatever the Saudis did to these guys, it made them determined to kill Saudis and Westerners.  One of the grads of this program, who claimed that he wished to “repent”, personally, to the head of the rehab program, where he blew himself up with an internal bomb (ass) as he stood near Prince Nayef/Naif, on August 31, 2009.
King Abdullah, left, meets Prince Mohammed bin Nayef after the attack on him in Jeddah.
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef 

Hunting the Al-Qaeda Eleven and their friends has served the Pentagon well, justifying Special Forces and drone bases in Yemen.  Huthi rebels recently forced the Americans to abandon these bases.  The Saudi Air Force and friends are now allegedly trying to dislodge the Huthis from the same bases.

Al Anad air base, Yemen

For many years, Western researchers have been charging that the Saudi royals have paid Al-Qaeda millions as “protection money,” buying immunity from terrorist attacks by exporting the militants to their neighbors…like Yemen.  The entire deranged arrangement may be unravelling.]

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

 [The following originates at Wash. Post, so perhaps the map is the only informative part of the article.]

Fears of all-out civil war in Yemen as rebels eye oil-rich province

  yemen foxYemen Fox

HUGH NAYLOR AND CAROL J. WILLIAMS
The Shiite insurgents who have toppled Yemen’s government are threatening to take over a key oil-producing province to the east of the capital, triggering fears that the country could explode in all-out civil war.
The rebels, known as Houthis, have already seized much of the country’s north with relative ease. But they are likely to encounter stiff resistance if they move into Marib province. Already, the largely Sunni tribes in the region are arming themselves with tanks and rocket-propelled grenades, according to tribal leaders, and the governor has ringed the area with tribal fighters and military units.
“It will be civil war if they come here,” said Mohammed al-Wills, a leader of the Murad tribe in Marib, who has begun coordinating with fellow tribesmen and soldiers to defend the province.
The Houthis say they want to protect residents of Marib from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose fighters have launched periodic attacks in the province. But diplomats and analysts say a conflict could wind up strengthening Yemen’s franchise of al Qaeda, which has plotted high-profile attacks on the United States. A battle could also draw in tribesmen and Sunni fighters from other provinces.
Sectarian tensions are inflaming the situation. The Houthis follow the Zaydi branch of Shiite Islam, but the majority of Yemen’s 24 million citizens are Sunni. While Yemen has a history of conflict, it has been spared the kind of Sunni-Shiite rivalry that has torn apart Syria and Iraq.
Many Yemenis believe that the Houthi rebels are backed by Iran, a majority-Shiite nation. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia – a Sunni powerhouse – has long seen Yemen as within its sphere of influence. Now, Houthi officials and Western diplomats say, Saudi Arabia is providing cash to Marib residents to arm themselves for a confrontation.
“This is becoming a sectarian-driven war because of these outside powers,” said Ali Saif Hassan, a Yemeni political analyst.
The Houthis swept into Sanaa in the fall and effectively forced out the pro-US government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in January. The rebels recently seized a military base on the way to Marib, and they have taken over parts of the province to its south, heightening speculation that they might soon move on to the important oil-producing province.
Marib is a strategic prize. Yemen is a small petroleum producer compared with some of its neighbours. But the national government’s budget is overwhelmingly dependent on oil sales. Marib is also home to power plants that provide electricity to Sanaa and other areas of the country, giving whoever controls the province a chokehold over Yemen’s energy supply.
“Everybody’s bracing for a clash there. It’s about the resources,” said a Western diplomat who until recently was based in Yemen, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The governor of Marib, Sultan al-Arada, said in a telephone interview that the Houthis had carried out an Iranian-backed “coup” against the Yemeni government. He said his office is coordinating the defense of the province and its oil installations with local tribes as well as military units that are not loyal to the Houthis. He denied that the Saudis were pouring money into the area to parry a rebel advance.
Tribesmen from neighbouring regions have pledged to help the province hold off the Houthis, he said.
“We have thousands of people from the tribes forming a security belt on the edges of the province, and the military is coordinating with us and preparing to defend us, too,” he said.
The Houthis have called on Arada to step down. Last month, before forcing the resignation of the national government, the insurgents’ leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi, warned that his fighters could intervene in Marib. He said the potential operation might be necessary to fight al Qaeda and “support the honorable people of Marib.”
Located about 120km east of the capital, Marib is poor even by Yemeni standards. The government in Sanaa has long been accused by residents of taking the area’s resources but offering few public services in return. In the political void created by the government’s collapse, the role of the area’s already powerful tribes appears to have been strengthened.
Hussein Hazeb, 50, another leader of the Murad tribe, said that tribesmen in the Marib area had armed themselves in part by seizing weapons from a military unit that recently passed through the province.
Some tribal leaders have long received financial support from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, he said, but the recent influxes of cash have been noticeably large.
“All of a sudden you’re seeing people with brand-new pickup trucks and new guns, and you know that they’re getting this from Saudi (Arabia),” Hazeb said.
An official at the Saudi Embassy in Sanaa declined last week to comment on the issue. The embassy closed its operations in Yemen on Friday.
Houthi officials also say that cash is being smuggled from the Saudi border to Marib. The Houthis deny that they are backed by Iran.
Analysts, diplomats and many Yemenis fear that the escalating violence could strengthen al-Qaeda’s franchise here by enabling it to portray itself as a champion of the Sunnis. Already, AQAP fighters may be moving from other parts of Yemen into Marib in advance of a fight, diplomats and analysts say.
On Thursday, militants from the radical Sunni group stormed a military base about 100km from Marib in a southern province, saying that they wanted to protect it from Houthi attacks.
In Marib, some tribes have fought AQAP, but the extremist group’s sectarian rhetoric appears to be resonating even among those Sunnis who have been its enemies.
The Houthis “are Shiites and they reject Islam,” said Hamed Wahaed, a Marib tribal leader. He has been storing weapons in preparation for a Houthi assault; he boasted by telephone that he owns 10 Toyota pickup trucks mounted with machine guns, two artillery pieces, and rocket-propelled grenades.
He added that Marib has “to fight the Shiite-Iranian terrorists.” Still, he said he opposed al Qaeda and wouldn’t accept its support.
Some tribal officials have threatened to blow up power lines and oil installations in the province to deter a Houthi attack. That would be a serious blow to Yemen’s already weak economy.
“There is no doubt that such an attack on the oil and gas pipelines, as well as on the power plant, will cause a huge crisis for Yemen,” said Hassan Thabet, a professor of economics at Sanaa University.
Wills, the tribal leader, said he opposes damaging the oil and power lines, but he described the threats as a last-resort measure against the Houthis.
“Some of the tribes see this as something like, ‘You may try to take us down, but we’ll take down the whole country if you try,’ ” he said.
REJECTING UN RESOLUTION
Also Monday, Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militia rejected a unanimous appeal from the UN Security Council to restore constitutional order in the country after months of chaos, Middle Eastern media reported.
At a special meeting of the 15-member Security Council on Sunday, the diplomats adopted a resolution calling on the Houthis to return control of the government to elected leaders and release President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who has been under house arrest since January 22.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council also met over the weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and warned that Yemen’s neighbors would take action themselves if the Shiite militants continue to engage in clashes with other Yemenis and fail to allow government functions to resume.
“Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. We cannot stand by and watch,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned during a Security Council briefing last week.
On Monday, the Houthi rebels refused either to cede power or to release Hadi, the Al-Arabiya news agency reported from Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.
It quoted a Houthi statement as saying the outside world needed to “respect the will and sovereignty of the Yemeni people, and to be accurate and objective”. The Houthis also reportedly warned the Security Council “not to follow the lead of regional powers that aim tirelessly to eliminate the will of the Yemeni people in a flagrant violation of international conventions that criminalize meddling in internal affairs,” the news agency reported.
A UN special envoy visited Hadi at his Sanaa home Monday to discuss the international efforts to secure his freedom and avert further bloodshed in a country where badly deteriorating security has prompted an exodus of diplomats.
Special UN adviser Jamal Benomar told Yemen’s Saba News Agency that he assured Hadi that the international community was working for his release. He also urged all parties to Yemen’s turmoil to engage in negotiations to avert a full-scale sectarian war.

“Either the country will descend into civil war and disintegration, or the country will find a way to put the transition back on track,” Benomar was quoted as saying by Saba. “This largely depends on the political will of Yemeni leaders. They all bear responsibility for the current state of affairs, as well as responsibility for finding a way to pull the country from the brink.”
Nadia Sakkaf, who was information minister in the government, announced via Twitter on Monday that Hadi needs to travel abroad “immediately” for medical treatment of a heart condition that has been aggravated by his detention.

Saudi ‘Decisive Storm’

[The article claims that 150,000 ground forces are involved in “Decisive Storm,”  but doesn’t clarify the status of those forces, whether they have begun to move, or even if this Arab army actually exists on the ground, and not just promises put to paper.  Despite the following claims made by the Saudi press, we have no way of knowing who the Saudi bombers are really striking.  Are these strikes actually upon Huthis only, intended to weaken the Shia fighters, giving “Al-Qaeda In Iraq” time to recruit more killers?  Is this an anti-Shia war, or a war against both Sunni and Shia streams of extremism?] 

Saudi ‘Decisive Storm’ waged to save Yemen

al arabiya

Yemen air space is currently under full control of the Saudi Royal Air Force. (File photo: AP)

Saudi Arabia waged early Thursday “Operation Decisive Storm” against the Houthi coup in Yemen and in support of legitimate President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A Saudi air campaign was launched overnight which has already resulted in the elimination of several Houthi leaders.

Yemen air space is currently under full control of the Saudi Royal Air Force.

As the operation continues, a coalition of all GCC countries, barring Oman, is taking part in the campaign, including Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia has deployed 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Meanwhile, Yemen shut its major seaports on Thursday while Saudi Arabia halted flights to seven airports south of the Kingdom, Reuters news agency reported.

Infographic: The ‘Decisive Storm’ coalition

(Design by Farwa Rizwan/ Al Arabiya News)

White House backs campaign

The White House has voiced support for the campaign against the Houthis. Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced the kingdom had launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where Hadi had taken refuge.

WATCH: Ambassador al-Jubeir: ‘Having Yemen fail cannot be an option’

Jubeir told reporters that a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Hadi.

“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Jubeir said.

The U.S. has said it is coordinating closely with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir. (Reuters)

“President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Saudi-led military coalition declared Yemen’s airspace as a “restricted area” after King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the airstrikes on the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Thursday at 12 a.m. Riyadh time.

Yemeni forces and loyalists to Hadi have already managed to take control of Aden airport from Houthi militias, Al Arabiya News Channel reported citing sources.

Hadi, who has remained in Aden, is in high spirits after the launch of the operation against the Houthi rebel group opposed to his rule, an aide said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemend the operation on Thursday and demanded an immediate halt what it described as “military aggression,” semi-Official Fars news agency reported.

‘Repel Houthi aggression’


Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, commander of the Republican Guard Forces

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman had warned Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, against advancing toward Aden.

The Houthis had joined forces with the loyalists of former President Saleh in their offensive to take control of Yemen.

Operation ‘Decisive Storm’ to continue

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassine told Al Arabiya News Channel that the operations would continue until the Houthis agreed to join peace talks and backtrack on all measures taken since their occupation of the capital Sanaa last September.

“We do not recognize any of what happened after September 21,” Yassine told Al Arabiya News, saying the military operation would help the southern Yemenis “regain confidence.”

Demonstrations reportedly broke out in Yemen’s Hadramout and Aden in support of the Saudi airstrikes on the Houthi militia.

The military operation came shortly after Arab Gulf states, barring Oman, announced that they have decided to “repel Houthi aggression” in neighboring Yemen, following a request from Hadi.

In a joint statement Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait said they “decided to repel Houthi militias, al-Qaeda and ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in the country.”

The Gulf states warned that the Houthi coup in Yemen represented a “major threat” to the region’s stability.

The Gulf states also accused the Iranian-backed militia of conducting military drills on the border of Saudi Arabia with “heavy weapons.”

In an apparent reference to Iran, the Gulf statement said the “Houthi militia is backed by regional powers in order for it to be their base of influence.”

The Gulf states said they had monitored the situation and the Houthi coup in Yemen with “great pain” and accused the Shiite militia of failing to respond to warnings from the United Nations Security Council as well as the GCC.

The statement stressed that the Arab states had sought over the previous period to restore stability in Yemen, noting the last initiative to host peace talks under the auspices of the GCC.

Call for U.N. action

In a letter sent the U.N. Security Council seen by Al Arabiya News, Hadi requested “immediate support for the legitimate authority with all means and necessary measures to protect Yemen, and repel the aggression of the Houthi militia that is expected at any time on the city of Aden and the province of Taiz, Marib, al-Jouf [and] an-Baidah.”

In his letter Hadi said such support was also needed to control “the missile capability that was looted” by the Houthi militias.

Hadi also told the Council that he had requested from the Arab Gulf states and the Arab League “immediate support with all means and necessary measures, including the military intervention to protect Yemen and its people from the ongoing Houthi aggression.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has halted flights at seven airports near the Yemeni border, the civil aviation department said.

“The General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia announced a temporary suspension of international and domestic flights to and from airports in the south of the kingdom,” from dawn on Thursday, the department said in a statement.

The U.S. and Gulf are confused over Yemen and Iraq

The U.S. and Gulf are confused over Yemen and Iraq

yemen fox

Raghida Dergham
Writes/ Raghida Dergham

The return of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bloodily shaping the country’s history has not come overnight, on the eve of the house arrest imposed by the Houthis on current President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi before they allowed him to flee to Aden – the capital of South Yemen before reunification. Ali Abdullah Saleh, since he agreed to step down three years ago, has been planning to return to power either on the Houthi bandwagon or through elements in the military establishment, not to mention deploying his huge influence and financial assets to buy loyalty and empower his party, family, and son to retake power at any cost.
Another man in the Arab region preparing behind the scenes and plotting in secret to return to his devastating role in Iraq’s history is former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The common denominator between Yemen’s strongman and Iraq’s strongman is that they both left power as a result of regional and international pressures and bargains in which the United States and the GCC countries, as well as Iran, played important roles. The difference is that the Iraqi event attested that Tehran had to sacrifice Nouri al-Maliki in what appeared as signs of strategic accords between Iran and key Gulf powers, especially Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States. By contrast, the event in Yemen is a clear indication of the absence of accords and reconciliatory strategies.
Parallels
The Iranian role backing the Houthis in Yemen emerged in parallel with the Iraqi event, in tandem with the determination of Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter into an alliance with the Houthis and Iran to settle scores with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, which had helped remove him from power. The two men have an ugly agenda for Iraq and Yemen. If the Gulf leaders are serious and vigilant, they must develop a comprehensive strategy for both Iraq and Yemen, two majorly important countries for the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. Otherwise, the GCC countries will pay a heavy price, and not just Iraq and Yemen.
The common denominator between Yemen’s strongman and Iraq’s strongman is that they both left power as a result of regional and international pressures and bargains in which the United States and the GCC countries, as well as Iran, played important roles
This week, a U.N. Security Council expert team said in a report that Saleh had amassed close to $60 billion in 30 years as Yemen’s president, through corruption, embezzlement, and commissions imposed on oil companies. According to the experts, he has stashed away these funds across 20 countries using other figures and companies as fronts.
The experts who report to the U.N. Yemen sanctions panel told the Security Council that Saleh facilitated it for the Houthis and al-Qaeda to expand their control in northern and southern Yemen, and that he continues to run a broad network of financial, security, military, and political interests in Yemen that allowed him effectively to avoid the effects of the sanctions imposed on him under U.N. Security Council resolution 2140. The panel’s report said, “It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his friends, his family and his associates stole money from the fuel subsidy program, which uses up to 10 per cent of Yemen’s gross domestic product, as well as other ventures involving abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement.” “The result of these illegal activities for private gain is estimated to have amounted to nearly $2 billion a year over the last three decades,” it adds.
Changing loyalties
These funds were instrumental in changing the partisan loyalties to the extent of forming “unexpected alliances between former enemies, such as the Houthis and former President Saleh; the weakening of dominant political parties like the Islah party; the departure of leading political and influential figures like Hamid al-Ahmar and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar from Yemen; an increase in al-Qaeda activities in the south and Hadramaut; and an increased call for separation by the south,” the report argues.
So how did a panel of experts with a specific mission manage to understand the equations and developments in Yemen, while Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia were not able to ascertain and prepare for what was obvious in Yemen?
The question is important to identify whether the flaw is fundamental, or whether it was an exception, and – as it is being said – was possibly related to the health of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the transition in the kingdom.
Either way, what happened is extremely dangerous, not only for Yemen, but also for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. However, if the events in Yemen are the result of a deliberate policy based on mutual attrition, then this is an unwise policy similar to the unwise policy on Syria. Its risks would be twofold for Yemen and the Gulf region, led by the Saudi kingdom.
Mutual attrition
Indeed, mutual attrition or destruction has failed in Syria, and has helped destroy the present, future, and even past of the nation – if we consider the archaeological and cultural heritage of the country now in ruins – at the hands of the regime and the terrorists like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front, with local, regional, and international enablement from which no-one emerges innocent. Attrition is a foolish policy because it helped terrorism grow, and created an opportunity for ISIS to proliferate until it drew attention away from what is happening in Syria.
If an international team was able to obtain detailed information and produce a logical and realistic analysis of the Yemeni situation, while the Gulf countries – as it is claimed – were taken by surprise by the events in Yemen and are still unable to develop a strategy to deal with them, then this is a frightening testimony of the utter lack of intelligence and analysis capabilities in the Gulf region.
The international report to the U.N. Security Council stated that according to a confidential source, al-Qaeda is taking advantage of such sensitivities and is recruiting Sunni tribesmen to fight on its side against the Houthis. The report also states, “The geographical proximity of Eritrea to Yemen lends itself to licit and illicit activities, and several trusted interlocutors mentioned confidentially the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) training of Houthi forces on a small island off the Eritrean coast.”
Close ties
According to the same report as well, there is a close relationship between Saleh, his family and al-Qaeda. The report quotes sources as saying that Mohammad Nasser Ahmed, the former Minister of Defense, saw al-Qaeda leader Sami Dayan in the-then President Saleh’s office with the president, in 2012. This is in addition to the quasi-alliance between Saleh and the Houthis.
That’s right. The paragraph may need to be read two or three times to comprehend the strange alliances in Yemen today, with a central role played by a former president who wants to return to power. He is completely disregarding the sanctions imposed on him under a U.N. Security Council resolution, moving ahead with a clear strategy and goals, with a calculated cost.
If the Gulf countries have a deliberate strategy to address the agendas of Saleh, the Houthis, and al-Qaeda – the three are enemies and not allies – then this strategy requires elucidation. The GCC countries appear today in a state of loss, denial, and dithering. This carries a bad message on multiple levels.
Today, Saleh in Yemen, and tomorrow Maliki in Iraq both intend to return to power. Both have partners or allies in Iran. In Yemen, there is a transitional alliance between the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, Saleh, and al-Qaeda for transient mutual interests, and a structural alliance between Tehran and the Houthis. The Houthis can claim to be the party that defeated a major regional power like Saudi Arabia, and that it can threaten it at its border. The Houthis are the group that toppled a legitimate government and put Yemen on the road to secession and fragmentation. Yet this is not the sin of the Houthis alone, because of the failure of the Gulf and the U.S. in Yemen contributed greatly in stoking its internal tragedies and exacerbating geopolitical risks beyond its borders.
Faltering policies
U.S. and Gulf policies are faltering in both Yemen and Iraq. Iranian policies in Iraq and Yemen will either produce strategic advantages with huge benefits for the regime in Tehran, or could implicate Iran in one quagmire after the other, from Yemen to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
The pace of the coming shifts in the balance of achievements vs. implication will be dictated to some degree by the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China).
No one knows accurately if these negotiations are on the brink of collapse or are on the eve of making history. If they produce an agreement, this would be the first time both the West and the East agree to give a non-nuclear state the right to possess military nuclear capabilities in return for postponing the manufacturing date of said capabilities. In turn, this will give Iran the euphoria of belonging to the nuclear club, which will most likely increase its confidence in fulfilling its regional ambitions, however, there is a small possibility that reining in regional ambitions would be part of the nuclear accords.
However, if the nuclear deal fails, the United States will lay trap after trap to implicate Iran in regional quagmires, to create Iran’s own version of Vietnam in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.The region is entering a critical phase soon, during which men addicted to power are aligning with tribes taking advantage of alliance in the regional absence of strategies.
This article was first published in al-Hayat on Feb. 27, 2015 and was translated by Karim Traboulsi.

Time For the Latest Episode of “Taliban Peace Talks”

[SEE:   China will negotiate peace in Afghanistan; Arresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass ; Taliban ready to negotiate ; Taliban secret participant in peace courses in Oslo “Taliban Negotiators” In Doha Are ISI “Ringers,” Who Have Not Seen Mullah Omar In 12 Years ; Taliban say not involved in Kabul peace talks]

Sorry, what? Afghan president says time to apologize to Taliban

Russia-Today

Afghan President Ashraf Ghaniю (Reuters / Gary Cameron)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghaniю (Reuters / Gary Cameron)

After 13 years of war aimed at rooting out the Taliban, the Afghan president declared in Washington that torture and mistreatment only intensified resentment in some members of the Taliban, so it’s time to heal wounds and apologize.

Speaking during his first visit to Washington, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who became president last year, said peace with the insurgents was “essential” and that some Taliban members suffered legitimate grievances.

“People were falsely imprisoned, people were tortured. They were tortured in private homes or private prisons,” he said, Reuters reported.

“How do you tell these people that you are sorry?” he lamented.

In a speech to the US Congress on Wednesday Ghani said that Taliban members could even find their way back into Afghan society, if they agreed to respect the constitution.

Reuters / Lucas JacksonReuters / Lucas JacksonThe Taliban “members” said earlier this week they had no alternative but to continue its fight against the US. They made the statement after President Barack Obama delayed withdrawal of the American troops until the end of 2015.

“Obama’s announcement to continue to keep troops in Afghanistan is a response to the peace efforts,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujaahid told AFP.

The US president was initially planning to cut the number of troops to 5,000 by the end of this year, withdrawing completely by the end of 2016. But – with the full backing of his Afghan counterpart – Obama decided to slow the withdrawal, leaving all 9,800 in place through 2015.

Why is there such unity and accord between Ghani and Obama? Former State Department official Matthew Hoh believes it’s as easy as pie: both need each other for their “political survival.”

“[Ghani’s] survival as president of Afghanistan is directly related to the mass of influx of American cash and Western money that his government receives, as well, as the presence of American soldiers to keep him in power,” Hoh told RT.

The US president, meanwhile, needs Ghani because Obama is “facing a lot of difficulties due to his failed policy choices in the Middle East whether it be Libya, Yemen or going after the Islamic State… So he needs Ghani, he needs Afghanistan to show that he is still successful, that he hasn’t given up, that the US is still committed to fighting terrorism,” Hoh says.

Such “commitment” – the Afghanistan war – has cost the US taxpayer nearly $1 trillion, according to Financial Times’ calculations, and will require spending several hundred billion dollars more after it officially ended in December.

US lawmakers, meanwhile, keep showing support for a slower drawdown of troops.

“Iraq has shown us the consequences of leaving a fragile ally too early,” US Representative Mac Thornberry said in a statement. “The bottom line is that our own security is at stake,” the Republican, who leads the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, added.

According to independent journalist Sergey Strokan, security is a myth. The RT contributor says the American operation in Afghanistan – the longest overseas conflict in American history – has eventually led to a paradoxical result. As never before the fate of Afghanistan currently lies more in the hands of external forces – regional powers and superpowers – than in the hands of the Afghans themselves, Strokan says.

“It is obvious that if the Americans complete their withdrawal, it will embolden Islamic militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, giving new steam to radical Islamic movements not only in these two countries, but also in the rest of Central Asia and even China, with the potential to create a major threat for the nearby former Soviet republics,” Strokan maintains.

The other key factor which will hardly allow the Americans to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans is the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the journalist says.

“With the emergence of ISIS, the Middle East has turned into a testing ground for a destabilization model that will be exported to other regions. The Syrian or Iraqi ‘model of destabilization’ can be effectively applied in Afghanistan, with external forces playing a key role,” he warns.

2014 was the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since the UN began compiling figures in 2009. A report published by the United Nations in February revealed 3,699 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014, which is a rise of 730 from the previous year. Perhaps more worryingly, there has been an increase every year in the number of civilian deaths since 2009, figures from the UN report show.

A powerful blast rocked central Kabul on Wednesday. Security officials said at least six people were killed and 31 others injured. The suicide bombing occurred in front of the Finance Ministry and near the city’s 2nd Police Station.

Armed confrontations between militants and security forces in Afghanistan have also intensified in recent years, as the number of Taliban fighters has skyrocketed from 2,000 to up to 60,000, since the US-led invasion in 2001.

On top of that, a report by Human Rights Watch in early March said the US’s desire to have security at any cost actually gives Afghan authorities an opportunity to act with impunity, allowing them to get away with murder and torture.

“The previous Afghan government and the United States enabled powerful and abusive individuals and their forces to commit atrocities for too long without being held to account,” HRW’s deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said.

Musharraf Admits His Part In Creating Neo-Taliban From Ashes of Real Taliban

[No Sunglasses has featured reports on the two faces of Musharraf and his single-handed resurrection of the “Neo-Taliban,” after Coalition forces decimated the original Taliban in 2001 (SEE:  Waging War Upon Ourselves).]

“In 2003, at the instance of the ISI, Mulla Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, reconstituted the Taliban army to launch a new jihad in Afghanistan—this time against the Western forces. He asked Mulla Dadullah, who continued to enjoy the confidence of the ISI, to act as the chief military commander of the new Taliban army, which consisted of experienced jihadi fighters of the pre-October 7,2001, vintage as well as new recruits from the madrasas and Afghan refugee camps of Pakistan. The new Taliban army was trained by the ISI and started operating in the Pashtun majority areas of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan from sanctuaries in Balochistan and in the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Within a short period of time, Dadullah raised not only a well-motivated army, but also constituted a suicide squad of Afghan and Pakistani nationals for undertaking suicide missions against the Afghan army and the Western forces.

The total strength of the Neo Taliban army raised by him with the help of the ISI is estimated by reliable sources as about 5,000, but Dadullah himself has been claiming that it has a strength of about 20,000.”–B.Raman

In interview with the Guardian, former Pakistan president voices his support for Ashraf Ghani and hints that he cultivated the Taliban

1000Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf during an interview in November. Photograph: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military ruler accused of sheltering and supporting the Taliban after 2001, has called for an end to the backing of militant “proxies” in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Guardian, Musharraf admitted that when he was in power, Pakistan sought to undermine the government of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai because Karzai had “helped India stab Pakistan in the back”. But now the time had come to “totally cooperate” with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president since September, who Musharraf believes is “the last hope for peace in the region”.

“In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore we were working against his interest. Obviously we had to protect our own interest,” Musharraf said. “But now President Ashraf Ghani has come and he is trying to restore balance in Afghanistan. We must totally cooperate with him.”

In his first months in office, Ghani has sought to woo Pakistan in a way Musharraf could only have dreamed of in the critical years between the US-led intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, and 2008, when Musharraf was finally forced from power. Ghani has not only suspended a planned weapons deal with India, but also diverted troops to fight against anti-Pakistan militant groups in eastern Afghanistan.

For Musharraf, the most welcome development was Ghani’s decision this month to send six army cadets for training at Pakistan’s officer academy in the town of Abbottabad. Karzai infuriated both Musharraf and Ashfaq Kayani, his successor as army chief, by spurning offers to help train Afghanistan’s embryonic army. Instead, Karzai sent cadets to India, where Musharraf believes they were “indoctrinated” against Pakistan.

Speaking in his luxurious Karachi home, the former army chief repeatedly hinted at what is now widely accepted among diplomats and analysts: that the nominal western ally assisted both Nato forces in Afghanistan and the Taliban they were fighting against in a bid to counter the perceived influence of arch-rival India. “Pakistan had its own proxies, India had its proxies, which is unhealthy. I do admit this, it is most unhealthy. It is not in favour of Afghanistan, or Pakistan or India. It must stop,” he said.
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Musharraf said Pakistani spies in the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) cultivated the Taliban after 2001 because Karzai’s government was dominated by non-Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic group, and officials who were thought to favour India. “Obviously we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan,” he said. “That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely they were in contact, and they should be.”

The army remains deeply suspicious of India, a country that has beaten Pakistan in three conflicts since independence and played a critical role in the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. Musharraf insists he is not an “India hater”, but bristles at what he says is western bias towards Pakistan’s giant neighbour. “‘India is the greatest democracy, promoter of human rights and democratic culture’? All bullshit,” he said. “There is no human rights. The religion itself is anti-human rights. In the rural areas, if even the shadow of an untouchable goes on a pandit, that man can be killed.”

Like many soldiers, he is convinced that India, through its Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), backs regional separatists in an effort to break up Pakistan. “The RAW of India, the ISI of Pakistan have always been fighting against each other since our independence. That is how it continued, it continues now also.

“It must stop, but it can only stop when leaderships on both sides show the will to resolve disputes and stop confrontation in favour of compromise and accommodation.”

Musharraf has become increasingly vocal in recent months as his position in the country steadily improves after he suffered a series of setbacks in the wake of his disastrous return from self-exile in 2013. A ban on standing in elections quashed his hopes of entering parliament. He was ensnared by a series of legal cases, including one murder charge. Most seriously of all, Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister Musharraf ousted in a coup in 1999, won a landslide victory and initiated a treason trial for which the former dictator could be hanged if found guilty.

But Sharif’s power has been curbed by a series of bruising fights with Pakistan’s powerful military establishment and the treason case now appears tied up in legal wrangling. Musharraf is still banned from leaving the country, which he says deprives him not just of the lucrative international lecture circuit, but also access to his homes in London and Dubai. He says he misses his old life in his two favourite cities, where he could go to restaurants alone without the vast security required to protect him in Pakistan.

But he says his problems are nearly behind him, and that he has the army to thank. “I’m very proud of my institution. Whatever they are doing to help me, to protect the honour and dignity of their ex-chief, I’m proud of that,” he said.

Porky Fires Zionist Oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, After Oil Co. Standoff

Poroshenko fires oligarch governor amid oil company standoff

Russia-Today
Igor Kolomoysky, billionaire and governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree relieving Dnepropetrovsk Governor Igor Kolomoysky from his post, the president’s website said. The resignation came after a meeting between the two, amid the ongoing standoff around oil giant Ukrnafta.

According to the presidential website, Kolomoysky decided to hand in his resignation, which the president accepted.

“We need to ensure peace, stability and tranquility. Dnepropetrovsk region should remain a bastion of Ukraine in the east,” Poroshenko said while commenting on his decision. Meanwhile, Valentin Reznichenko was named acting governor of the eastern region.

The seemingly peaceful resolution came in stark contrast with statements voiced earlier by Kolomoysky’s deputy, Gennady Korban, who on Tuesday said that “Kiev is occupied by thieves, and these thieves must go and free the way for honest people” and accused Poroshenko’s government of “lying” about decentralization of power in the country and success in the so-called anti-terror operation in the east.

Earlier, media speculated on possible threats posed by Kolomoysky to Kiev after the oligarch was quoted as expressing support for decentralization reforms and talking about the possibility of separatist uprisings in Dnepropetrovsk. “I don’t want that…but anything can happen,” he told France 24 TV channel.

The conflict involving Kolomoysky, whose net worth is estimated at US$1.3 billion by Forbes, erupted after the Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, on Thursday passed a law stipulating that the state could manage any company in which it has a majority share.

Kolomoysky’s companies own about 43 percent of Ukrnafta, the country’s biggest oil company, and the government controls just over half the shares. According to previous legislation, the state needs 60 percent ownership to exercise active control over a part-private company, which meant that Kolomoysky could treat Ukrnafta as his own property – including withholding dividends from the state and sabotaging quorums at board meetings.

After the government fired Kolomoysky’s protégé from Ukrtransnafta – an energy company in which the oligarch also has a stake – Kolomoysky occupied its office with camouflaged men on Friday, accusing the government of being “Russian saboteurs” and “corporate raiders.” He also reportedly threatened to “bring 2,000 volunteer fighters to Kiev” before being persuaded to stand down.

On Saturday, Ukrainian media reported that Kolomoysky’s Privatbank had blocked Poroshenko’s account of $50 million after the president – a major oligarch himself – scolded the ex-governor for “professional misconduct.”

Then on Sunday, fighters of the Dnepr-1 battalion funded by Kolomoysky took control of Ukrnafta’s central Kiev offices.

The Ukrainian government has given the masked men a day to lay down their weapons. They have so far refused to leave, denying there are any firearms in the building other than “sports guns.”

Meanwhile, the National Guard has denied earlier reports that two additional battalions have been dispatched to Dnepropetrovsk to diffuse “rising tension in the region.”

The head of the Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), Valentin Nalyvaychenko, demanded that Kolomoysky be prosecuted for seizing Ukrnafta.

“Government officials or official, who appears alongside armed men to make a commercial or other statements, should be held accountable,” Nalyvaychenko told Ukraine’s Channel 5.

H.R.1466 Would Repeal the 2001 Patriot Act–it was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday

Bipartisan bill would repeal Patriot Act, cut down American surveillance

Russia-Today
Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The bipartisan Surveillance State Repeal Act, if passed, would repeal dragnet surveillance of Americans’ personal communications, overhaul the federal domestic surveillance program, and provide protections for whistleblowers.

House lawmakers Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) are co-sponsoring bill H.R.1466, which was introduced on Tuesday and would repeal the 2001 Patriot Act, limit powers of the FISA Amendments Act, and prohibit retaliation against federal national security whistleblowers, according to The Hill.

The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have led to a dramatic expansion of our domestic surveillance state,” said Rep. Massie in a statement. “Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans.”

Specifically, the bill would revoke all the powers of the Patriot Act, and instruct the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to destroy any information collected under the FISA Amendments Act concerning any US person not under investigation.

It would repeal provisions of the FISA Amendments Act to ensure surveillance of email data only occurs with a valid warrant based on probable cause. The bill would also prohibit the government from mandating that manufacturers build mechanisms allowing the government to bypass encryption in order to conduct surveillance.

READ MORE: ‘You are surveillance target’ – Snowden to IT specialists

Additionally, the bill would protect a federal whistleblower’s efforts to expose mismanagement, waste, fraud, abuse, or criminal behavior. It would also make retaliation against anyone interfering with those efforts – such as threatening them with punishment or termination – illegal.

Really, what we need are new whistleblower protections so that the next Edward Snowden doesn’t have to go to Russia or Hong Kong or whatever the case may be just for disclosing this,” Massie said.

There have been previous attempts to limit dragnet surveillance under the Patriot Act since former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden leaked information regarding the programs in 2013, but the Senate bill introduced in 2013 never reached the floor for a vote.

The warrantless collection of millions of personal communications from innocent Americans is a direct violation of our constitutional right to privacy,” said Rep. Pocan in a statement.

READ MORE: DARPA launches new-tech program to protect online privacy

Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security – we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change.”

Portions of the Patriot Act are due for renewal on June 1.

 

Introduced in House (07/24/2013)

113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2818

To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 24, 2013

Mr. Holt introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Select Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce, Education and the Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Surveillance State Repeal Act”.

SEC. 2. Repeal of USA PATRIOT Act.

The USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107–56) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.

SEC. 3. Repeal of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

(a) Repeal.—The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–261; 122 Stat. 2477) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.

(b) Exception.—Subsection (a) of this Act shall not apply to sections 103 and 110 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–261; 122 Stat. 2477).

SEC. 4. Terms of judges on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; reappointment; Special Masters.

(a) Terms; reappointment.—Section 103(d) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(d)) is amended—

(1) by striking “maximum of seven” and inserting “maximum of ten”; and

(2) by striking “and shall not be eligible for redesignation”.

(b) Special Masters.—Section 103(f) of such Act, as amended by section 3 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(4) Special Masters.—

“(A) The courts established pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) may appoint one or more Special Masters to advise the courts on technical issues raised during proceedings before the courts.

“(B) In this paragraph, the term ‘Special Master’ means an individual who has technological expertise in the subject matter of a proceeding before a court established pursuant to subsection (a) or (b).”.

SEC. 5. Electronic surveillance of specified persons without regard to specific device.

Section 105(c)(2)(B) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1805(c)(2)(B)) is amended to read as follows:

“(B) that, upon the request of the applicant, any person or entity shall furnish the applicant forthwith all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the electronic surveillance in such a manner as will protect its secrecy and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such carrier, landlord, custodian, or other person is providing that target of electronic surveillance;”.

SEC. 6. Additional provisions for collections under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

(a) In general.—Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as amended by section 3 of this Act, is further amended to read as follows:

“TITLE VIIAdditional Provisions

“SEC. 701. Warrant requirement.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no information relating to a United States person may be acquired pursuant to this Act without a valid warrant based on probable cause.”.

(b) Table of contents amendments.—The table of contents in the first section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as amended by section 3 of this Act, is further amended by striking the items relating to title VII and section 701 and inserting the following new items:

“TITLE VII—ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS”.


“701. Warrant requirement.”.

SEC. 7. Encryption and privacy technology of electronic devices and software.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not mandate that the manufacturer of an electronic device or software for an electronic device build into such device or software a mechanism that allows the Federal Government to bypass the encryption or privacy technology of such device or software.

SEC. 8. GAO compliance evaluations.

(a) In general.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall annually evaluate compliance by the Federal Government with the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

(b) Report.—The Comptroller General shall annually submit to Congress a report containing the results of the evaluation conducted under subsection (a).

SEC. 9. Whistleblower complaints.

(a) Authorization To report complaints or information.—An employee of or contractor to an element of the intelligence community that has knowledge of the programs and activities authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) may submit a covered complaint—

(1) to the Comptroller General of the United States;

(2) to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives;

(3) to the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate; or

(4) in accordance with the process established under section 103H(k)(5) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3033(k)(5)).

(b) Investigations and reports to Congress.—The Comptroller General shall investigate a covered complaint submitted pursuant to subsection (b)(1) and shall submit to Congress a report containing the results of the investigation.

(c) Covered complaint defined.—In this section, the term “covered complaint” means a complaint or information concerning programs and activities authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) that an employee or contractor reasonably believes is evidence of—

(1) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; or

(2) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

SEC. 10. Prohibition on interference with reporting of waste, fraud, abuse, or criminal behavior.

(a) In general.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an officer or employee of an element of the intelligence community shall be subject to administrative sanctions, up to and including termination, for taking retaliatory action against an employee of or contractor to an element of the intelligence community who seeks to disclose or discloses covered information to—

(1) the Comptroller General;

(2) the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives;

(3) the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate; or

(4) the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

(b) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) COVERED INFORMATION.—The term “covered information” means any information (including classified or sensitive information) that an employee or contractor reasonably believes is evidence of—

(A) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; or

(B) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

(2) INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.—The term “intelligence community” has the meaning given the term in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003).

How the CIA made Google

How the CIA made Google

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet— part 1

Medium .net Medium News

By Nafeez Ahmed

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

THIS IS PART ONE. READ PART TWO HERE.


This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I’d like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.


In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.

There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.

As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.

The shadow network

For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.

Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.

In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

Read PART 1 and PART 2 HERE

Pentagon Forcing Nurses/Doctors To Participate In Torturous Forced Feedings

guantanamo forced feeding source

Pentagon Panel Proposes Sweeping Changes that Could Impact Guantanamo Force-Feeding

vice

By Jason Leopold

A federal committee that advises the Secretary of Defense on health policy has recommended that the Pentagon allow military healthcare workers to bow out of performing medical procedures that would violate their profession’s code of ethics, or their religious and moral beliefs. Personnel that decline to participate in the procedures should not face retribution.

The recommendation is one of more dozen suggested changes to military medical ethical policies contained in a sweeping 104-page report drafted by the Defense Health Board’s medical ethics subcommittee and quietly released last week. If the Pentagon accepts the committee’s guidance, it could potentially have a huge impact on the operations at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where hunger-striking detainees are routinely force-fed by Navy nurses who have been accused of violating their medical code of ethics.

Since the onset of the global war on terror, the military has been blamed for gross violations of standard medical ethical principles to avoid the infliction of harm by forcing doctors and nurses to participate not only in the widely condemned practice of force-feeding of detainees, but also in interrogations where prisoners were abused and tortured.

The military’s medical ethical practices came under intense scrutiny in 2013 during the height of a mass hunger strike at Guantanamo where dozens of detainees were restrained and forced to ingest a liquid nutritional supplement through their nostrils. Detainees, through their attorneys, said the tube feedings, administered by nurses, were extremely painful and dehumanizing. Professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, rebuked the practice, noting that it “violates core ethical values of the medical profession.” The United Nations said it was a breach of international law. Military officials defended the medical procedure, saying it’s Guantanamo’s policy to administer force-feeds as a last resort in order to prevent detainees who refuse to eat from dying.

In January, VICE News obtained a two-page document in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that contained the first known acknowledgement by the US military that force-feeding people who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

Some military medical personnel who have objected to participating in the procedures faced the threat of a dishonorable discharge. Such is the case of a former Guantanamo Navy nurse who last year declined to continue force-feeding detainees. The nurse now faces the possibility of being kicked out of the Navy and the loss of pension and benefits for refusing to abide by the orders.

But the medical ethics subcommittee’s new policy proposals advise the Pentagon against punishing doctors and nurses who choose to opt out of medical procedures if they believe the practices are unethical or immoral. The Defense Health Board, whose members include Retired Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during George W. Bush’s presidency, unanimously approved the report last month.

‘A mechanism should exist to excuse healthcare workers from participating in force feedings.’

Department of Defense (DOD) “leadership, particularly the line commands, should excuse health care professionals from performing medical procedures that violate their professional code of ethics, State medical board standards of conduct, or the core tenets of their religious or moral beliefs,” one of the recommendations states. “However, to maintain morale and discipline, this excusal should not result in an individual being relieved from participating in hardship duty.”

The subcommittee also noted, “If the operation is illegal, every military member of every specialty has an obligation to do all in his or her power to stop it or refuse participation.”

The panel found that the DOD does not have an explicit code of ethics for healthcare professionals, and recommended that the Pentagon formulate and regularly update an “overarching code of military medical ethics based on accepted codes from various healthcare professions.”

It’s unclear what lead the committee to undertake the review. A Defense Health Board spokeswoman told VICE News the military health officials decided a “proactive evaluation” on issues of “dual loyalty would assist in improving knowledge, understanding, and performance when medical personnel are faced with such challenges.”

In May 2011, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs requested that the Defense Health Board review “medical professional practice policies and guidelines” and come up with recommendations for two questions in particular:

  • How can military medical professionals most appropriately balance their obligations to their patients against their obligations as military officers to help commanders maintain military readiness?
  • How much latitude should military medical professionals be given to refuse participation in medical procedures or request excusal from military operations with which they have ethical reservations or disagreement?

But Dr. Adil Shamoo, a biochemistry professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and the chair of the Defense Health Board’s medical ethics subcommittee, said the review “basically just went dormant because someone didn’t want us to continue.”

Then, in January 2013, just a month before the Guantanamo hunger strike began, Jessica Wright, then the acting under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, tasked the subcommittee to revamp its review.

Shamoo told VICE News that he believes the most plausible explanation for the revamping was that the critical media coverage about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo “was the motivator.”

“To me that makes the most sense,” he said, adding that the committee didn’t start working until August 2013, a couple of months after Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that said the force-feeding policies “are out of step with international norms, medical ethics, and the practices of US Bureau of Prisons.”

The committee obtained testimony from 20 experts on medical ethics, including many who have been harshly critical about Guantanamo’s detainee operations. The group also met confidentially with active duty and retired US military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We in the subcommittee discussed Guantanamo a great deal,” Shamoo said.

Shamoo, who noted that he was not speaking on behalf of the subcommittee, said the “backbone” of the report is the two recommendations that say healthcare providers’ first loyalty is to the patient, and that the Department of Defense cannot force military medical personnel to participate in a procedure if it violates professional medical ethics, or is immoral.

“If something is not in the interest of the patient or will harm the patient or is immoral that will give moral force to that individual saying I cannot do it,” he said.

The context in the report for the recommended policies revolves around a lengthy discussion about ethical guidelines that were previously issued by medical organizations about force-feeding competent patients, and the role of physicians in the interrogation and torture of detainees.

Shamoo said if the Pentagon accepts the recommendations, it will likely go a long way toward helping the Navy nurse threatened with dishonorable discharge for objecting to the forced-feedings of Guantanamo captives.

The unnamed nurse, identified as a lieutenant who has spent 18 years in the Navy, was sent to the Naval Health Clinic New England in Rhode Island and now faces a possible administrative hearing before a three-officer board that will decide his fate.

“His case was part of our discussion,” Shamoo said. “My thinking is if the Department of Defense adopts our report, it will strengthen the nurse’s case of acquittal. If the protocols we recommended had been in place last year this nurse would not have had to face any ramifications from his decision.”

Capt. Tom Gresback, a Guantanamo spokesman, said he is unaware of any recent cases “of a medical provider refusing to participate in enteral feedings of a detainee at the detention facilities at Guantanamo.” He said it would be inappropriate to speculate as to how the Defense Health Board’s report, if accepted by the Pentagon, could affect the operations at the detention facility.

“Standard operating policy and procedure applicable to all facets of detention operations at Guantanamo Bay are in compliance with US law,” he said.

Ronald Meister, an attorney for the embattled nurse, told VICE News that the medical ethics committee “has recognized what we’ve been saying all along: that medical ethics in war is identical to medical ethics in peace.

“The Department of Defense has to ensure that ethics are complied with, that nurses principal commitment is to the patient and part of all that is excusing healthcare workers from performing medical procedures that violate their code of ethics,” he said.

Guantanamo’s former head of nursing, Commander Jane French, said in 2007 that medical personnel who objected to tube feedings would be excused and someone else would administer the procedures.

‘If the Department of Defense does not act on the recommendations and simply lets them sit, that will be a major indication that they have undermined military medicine.’

Shamoo said the medical ethics subcommittee discovered that French’s policy was not carried over by military officials who succeeded her.

“As much as it would have been nice [for the subcommittee] to say that we recommend that nurse X not be discharged from doing what we say is the right thing, I think this report is pretty much on point,” Meister said of the panel’s recommendations. “A mechanism should exist to excuse healthcare workers from participating in force feedings. This says the military has an obligation to excuse healthcare professionals from performing procedures that violates codes of ethics. That’s what we’re asking them to do in our case.”

Len Rubenstein, a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights, is one of the experts who spoke with the subcommittee. He told VICE News he emphasized that Department of Defense policies are inconsistent with ethical requirements.

“There’s been so much focus on how health professionals have breached their ethical duties, and that’s an important point in the war on terror but the focus needs to be to the degree to which the government agencies themselves required those breaches,” Rubenstein said.

He said he would have preferred if the committee went further in its report and tackled the hunger strike issues at Guantanamo directly, “because it is the most blatant conflict between military practice and civilian life practice.”

Still, Rubenstein said the subcommittee’s “simple principle that the Department of Defense must ensure that their first obligation is to the patient is extremely important and would require the Defense Department to alter its practices.

“I see this as a test for the Department of Defense,” Rubenstein continued. “It’s a test whether they will take seriously these recommendations and end the deviation from professional ethical standards and become part of mainstream American medicine. If the Department of Defense does not act on the recommendations and simply lets them sit, that will be a major indication that they have undermined military medicine.”

But even if the Pentagon accepts the subcommittee’s recommendations and overhauls military medical ethics, that likely won’t be enough to solve the hunger strike problem at Guantanamo. That’s an issue that Rubenstein said still needs to be addressed.

“You would basically have to change the policy on hunger strikes,” he said, referring to the protocols that dictate when and how detainees are force-fed. “That is the ultimate implication here. That’s the part of the test for the Department of Defense.”

The medical ethics committee’s report has to go through another layer of bureaucracy before a decision is made as to whether the Pentagon will accept some or none of the recommendations.

“The next step is for the Defense Health Agency’s internal ethics subject matter experts to thoroughly review [the] recommendations and develop a plan of action for leadership review and approval,” said Laura Seal, a spokeswoman at the Defense Department’s personnel and readiness office.

Ethical Guidelines and Practices for U.S. Military Medical Professionals

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/259591564/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

Biden’s Boy About To Lose His Company’s Private Army In Ukraine

[SEE:  Son of Biden Joins Cyprus-Based Corp. with Ukrainian “Fracking” Contract In Crimea and Dneper-Donetsk Basin]

Ukraine’s interior minister gives armed people seizing oil company 24 hours to disarm

tass russian news

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered to send two National Guard battalions to Dnipropetrovsk

 

National Guard battalions military

National Guard battalions military © EPA/SERGEI KOZLOV

KIEV, March 23 /TASS/. The armed assaulters who have taken the Ukrnafta company headquarters under control should lay down arms in 24 hours, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.

“Personal security groups, armed with firearms, that guard businessmen and politicians will not roam the streets of towns and cities,” Avakov said adding that his order applied to everybody without exception, including Igor Kolomoisky, Viktor Pinchuk, Rinat Akhmetov, etc.

“I give all security firms 24 hours – to get rid of double or triple interpretations – to bring their activities impeccably in line with the letter and spirit of the law. References to war-time alarms will not justify these crimes and will even be considered as an aggravating circumstance,” Avakov wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, Sergey Leshchenko, a deputy from the Poroshenko Bloc party, wrote on Facebook that members of the Dnepr-1 battalion had blocked the building of the Ukrnafta company.

Ukrnafta is Ukraine’s biggest oil producer, which extracts more than 86% of oil; 28% of gas condensate and 16% of all hydrocarbons in Ukraine. Naftogaz Ukrainy holds the controlling block of shares in Ukrnafta (50%+1); Igor Kolomoisky owns 42% of Ukrnafta’s shares while 8% of the company’s shares are registered in Cyprus.

The head office of Ukrtransnafta, another enterprise belonging to Igor Kolomoisky, the governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, became the scene of a conflict on March 19. Ukrtransnafta’s Supervisory Council dismissed the oligarch’s protege Alexander Lazorenko as the head of the company’s board of directors. Later reports said that a group of submachine-gunners led by Kolomoisky seized the company’s building. After that, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Kiev’s law enforcers had established control over Ukrtransnafta’s office.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered to send two National Guard battalions to Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine’s National Guard wrote on Twitter. The Ukrainian president’s website has not published any such decrees as of yet.

According to media reports, in April-May 2014 Ukrtransnafta siphoned off 675,000 tons of process oil from the main oil pipeline without permission from Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining Industry.

Syrian Army Targets Terrorist Build-Up In Qalamoun

Syrian Army Targets Terrorists in Flita Barrens in Qalamoun

almanar

Syrian Army

The Syrian army targeted on Monday the terrorists’ gatherings in Flita barrens in Qalamoun, inflicting heavy losses upon them, well-informed sources told Al-Manar.

The sources denied the circulated news which claimed that the terrorists could storm the town of Flita.

The Syrian Army also directed severe blows to the armed terrorist organizations in various provinces, killing and injuring scores of militants.

EU Commits €17.1m For Malta’s “Boat People” Problem

[SEE: Obama’s War-Generated Tsunami of Dark-Skinned People Turning Mediterranean Into Massive Watery Cemetery]

EU approves €17.1m fund for use by Malta on migration and integration

times of malta

The European Commission has approved Malta’s €17 million National Programme Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund for 2014-2020.

The fund will be used to improve the capacity of the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees and finance voluntary and forced return actions, the parliamentary secretariat for EU funds said.

Funds will also be used to promote cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin; to improve the return procedures; assist in the integration of migrants in Malta and provide them with accommodation, food and medical care.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg said that €17,178,877 million obtained will therefore continue to build on the various actions which are currently being implemented under the current funds envisaged to be completed by June 2015.

Obama’s “al-CIA-da” Strategy–Fight ISIS To Give Al-Nusra Time To Grow Strong

[Al Golani is a creation of the intelligence agencies (SEE: The layers of fiction surrounding Al Nusra chief Abu Mohammed Al Jolani).  He is credited with leading one of the currents generated by the break-up of Al-Qaida In Iraq, the same terrorist outfit which has been holding Lebanese soldiers hostage, after beheading 4 of them.  Nusra is fighting a holding action on the Leb. Army, giving ISIS time to lay in supplies the mountains of the east, preparing for an anticipated major assault upon Lebanon from Qalamoun in Syria.  Lebanon is expected to join a US anti-ISIS coalition, while it fights al-Nusra without proper weapons. 

Truth be told, Lebanon is expected to fold-up and play dead in the face of a sustained assault by the offspring of al-Q In Iraq.  Both ISIS  and al-Nusra are “al-CIA-da.”]

Nusra Front Quietly Rises in Syria as Islamic State Targeted

daily star LEB

W460

The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.

But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.

“The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

The Islamic State group helped create the Nusra Front, providing financing, manpower and military hardware in 2012. But the group and its patron eventually had a falling out in 2013 for ideological as well as strategic reasons. The Nusra Front, while loyal to al-Qaida, has cooperated with other Syrian rebel factions in the fight to oust Assad.

In recent months, the group has overrun rebel strongholds in Syria’s Idlib province, trouncing two prominent, U.S.-backed rebel factions, Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Following the deadly clashes, SRF leader Jamal Maarouf fled to Turkey and Hazm announced it was dissolving.

A Middle East-based Western diplomat said the Nusra Front began its attacks on moderate, U.S.-backed rebel factions after the American-led coalition began airstrikes in September targeting both the Islamic State group and the Khorasan group, which Washington says is a special cell within Nusra plotting attacks against Western interests. U.S. officials last week said airstrikes have hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to the Khorasan group.

The Nusra Front responded with a series of spectacular attacks targeting moderate rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad in northwestern Syria, the diplomat said.

It “has now created coherent control of a strategic area between Idlib and Hama (provinces) in northwestern and central Syria,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists.

At the same time, the group has become increasingly aggressive toward local populations. In January, members of the group reportedly shot a woman dead in front of a crowd in Idlib after they accused her of being a prostitute. The group also has carried out public lashings, crucifixions and kidnappings — though it has not publicized the atrocities like the Islamic State group.

Activists in southern Syria say the Nusra Front was behind the January bombing that destroyed the shrine of a 13th century Muslim scholar. The Nusra Front issued a statement denying it was involved but activists say its members were seen placing the bombs.

“They’re trying to come across as rational, moderate, more dynamic,” Gerges said. “They don’t celebrate savagery in the same way like the Islamic State group.”

Residents say among the group’s most worrisome action so far is forcing members of the minority Druze sect living in Idlib’s Jabal al-Summaq region to convert to Sunni Islam.

The Druze, a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, made up about 5 percent of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million people. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Israel have large Druze communities.

“The Druze in Idlib are being subjected today to religious persecution. The Nusra Front carried out shameful acts. They have dug graves and damaged shrines,” said former Lebanese Cabinet minister Wiam Wahhab, a Druze politician with close ties to the community in Syria.

Activists estimate several hundred Druze have been forced to convert. A purported Nusra Front document, posted online and dated Feb. 1, outlined an agreement that saw Druze in 14 villages in Idlib convert. Under the deal, the Druze will implement Islamic laws, destroy tombs, impose Islamic dress on women and stop having mixed-sex schools. Idlib-based activist Asaad Kanjo said many Druze there have fled.

“You are likely to see this sort of behavior from Nusra in Idlib province because they are increasingly the dominant party in this part of Syria, and are in the midst of a concerted effort to eliminate rivals there,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Nusra ultimately wants to rule Syria.”

An opposition activist in Kafranbel, a town in Idlib, said the group has established an elaborate network of social services and Shariah courts and rules uncontested. Remaining rebel groups in the province operate only with Nusra’s approval, he said.

However, the group’s increasingly belligerent approach toward other rebel groups is starting to alienate former allies, said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The main Western-backed Syrian group, the Syrian National Coalition, which in the past has been wary not to criticize Nusra, has changed its tune.

“We are concerned over Al Nusra’s latest actions and abuses against civilians and (Free Syrian Army) fighters,” said spokesman Salem al-Meslet, adding that the abuses were akin to the Islamic State group and Syrian government forces’ “criminal behavior.”

The criticism has led the Nusra Front to issue a rare statement defending itself, saying its target are only those proven to have committed “crimes” against Muslims and fighters.

“It was not our intention on any day to spread influence and expand and control the worshippers and the country,” the statement from its Al-Manara Al-Bayda media arm said. “Rather, our goal and aim is to lift injustice from the oppressed, and push away every enemy that attacks the honor, religion, and sanctities of the Muslims.”

9748 Security Issues, “Trj/CI.A” + 2 Other Viruses = dead computer

[The cyber-attack happened when copying the following article from RT Russia Today (UPDATED)Brits Now On the Ground Preparing Ukrainians To Kill Russians, Pentagon Troops To Follow).]

Virus Encyclopedia

Welcome to the Virus Encyclopedia of Panda Security.

Trj/CI.A

Threat LevelLow threatDamageHighDistributionNot widespread
Common name: Trj/CI.A
Technical name: Trj/CI.A
Threat level: Medium
Type: Trojan
Effects: It allows to get into the affected computer. It does not spread automatically using its own means.
Affected platforms: Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95
First detected on: June 16, 2008
Detection updated on: June 16, 2008
Statistics No

Brief Description

Trj/CI.A is a Trojan, which although seemingly inoffensive, can actually carry out attacks and intrusions: screenlogging, stealing personal data, etc.

Trj/CI.A uses the following propagation or distribution methods:

  • Exploiting vulnerabilities with the intervention of the user: exploiting vulnerabilities in file formats or applications. To exploit them successfully it needs the intervention of the user: opening files, viewing malicious web pages, reading emails, etc.
  • It is dropped or downloaded to the computer by other malware specimens, for example: Multidropper.RGN, Dropper.XW, Multidropper.RHU, Multidropper.RIS, Multidropper.RLF, Multidropper.RMA, Multidropper.RMB.

Sen. Rand Paul Says Hillary Takes Political “Bribery” from Head-Chopping Wahhabis

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to students during a discussion on criminal justice reform at Bowie State University, in Bowie, Md., Friday, March 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
AP Photo

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told POLITICO on Friday that foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation are “thinly veiled bribes,” and said Hillary Clinton should return any donations from Saudi Arabia or other countries that abuse the rights of women.

“The normal Clinton response is to cover up, deny, refuse to acknowledge,” Paul said in a telephone interview as he was being driven through New Hampshire. “But the question is whether the country will rise up and respond to the unseemly nature of accepting foreign donations. “

Paul said that in addition to Saudi Arabia, the foundation should return donations from the United Arab Emirates and Brunei.

“In countries that stone people to death for adultery and imprison people for adultery, this is the kind of thing you would think someone for women’s rights would be standing up against, instead of accepting thinly veiled bribes,” the senator added.

In remarks for delivery to Republican activists Friday night at the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner in North Conway, N.H., Paul will say: “There has been much talk of a war on women. There is indeed a war on women — in Saudi Arabia. When Hillary Clinton claims she will support women’s rights, ask her why she accepted millions of dollars from” — and then he plans to mention specific countries.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night that the Clinton Foundation received $7.3 million from Saudi Arabians from 1999 to 2014, based on contributions of more than $50,000. The Clinton Foundation says the money has gone to good projects that are “improving the lives of millions of people around the globe.”

Adrienne E. Watson, deputy communications director and director of surrogates for American Bridge’s Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton group, said: “This is rich coming from Rand Paul, who defends individual liberties only when it suits him, and not when these rights extend to the pay discrimination or healthcare of women. Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of women, children and their families. Throughout her life and through the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation and programs like No Ceilings, she has helped improve the lives of millions of women throughout the world.”

 

Russia delivers nuclear threat to Denmark

Russia delivers nuclear threat to Denmark

A 2008 photo shows Russian Topol ICBMs missiles during a rehearsal for the nation’s annual May 9 Victory Day parade. Photo: Dima Korotayev

Russia delivers nuclear threat to Denmark

the local dk


Tensions between Denmark and Russia were ratcheted up a notch on Saturday.

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, wrote in an opinion piece published by Jyllands-Posten that Denmark has made itself a target of a potential nuclear attack by joining Nato’s missile defence system.
“I don’t think the Danes fully understand the consequences of what will happen if Denmark joins the American-controlled missile defence. If it happens, Danish war ships will become targets for Russian atomic missiles,” Vanin wrote.
Denmark announced in August that it will will contribute at least one frigate to Nato’s defence system. At the time, Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen said that joining the missile defence system was not a move aimed at Russia.
“That Denmark will join the missile defence system with radar capacity on one or more of our frigates is not an action that is targeted against Russia, but rather to protect us against rogues states, terrorist organisations and others that have the capacity to fire missiles at Europe and the US,” Wammen told Jyllands-Posten in August.
Vanin’s op-ed made it clear that Russia doesn’t share that interpretation.
“Denmark will become a part of the threat against Russia. It will be less peaceful and the relationship with Russia will be harmed. It is of course your decision – I want to simply remind you that it will cost you both money and security,” Vanin wrote.
“At the same time, Russia has missiles that are guaranteed to break through future global missile defence systems,” he continued.
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard called Vanin’s statements “unacceptable”.
“Russia knows fully well that Nato’s missile defence is not aimed at them. We are in disagreement with Russia on a number of important things but it is important that the tone between us does not escalate,” Lidegaard told Jyllands-Posten.
The US ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, also responded to Vanin’s remarks.
“We stand with our staunch Nato ally Denmark in condemning the unacceptable statements made by Russia’s Ambassador to Denmark. We have made clear that Nato’s ballistic missile defence is not directed at any country, but is meant to defend against missile threats,” Gifford wrote on Facebook.

Denmark’s relationship with Russia has been strained by increased Russian airspace activity over and near Denmark.

In December a Russian military jet nearly collided with a SAS passenger plane out of Copenhagen. An October report from the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste) revealed that Russia carried out a simulated attack on the island of Bornholm last summer, and in March last year a Swedish SAS pilot said his plane was “just seconds” from crashing into a Russian jet.
Vanin is not exactly a stranger to controversial statements. Following the December near-miss with the SAS, he suggested that Swedish authorities may have imagined the whole thing after smoking too much cannabis.
“The Swedish authorities also recently said there was a submarine in their waters. There wasn’t. Now they say again that they have seen something. I’m afraid the Swedes visit Pusher Street very often,” Vanin told Berlingske, referring to the Christiania neighbourhood in Copenhagen known for its cannabis trade.
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said in November that Denmark is not overly concerned about Russian aggression.
“In terms of our territory, we are not worried. We keep our heads calm and the cockpit warm,” she said.
Wammen has also said that Denmark would not hesitate to stand up to Russia telling the Financial Times that “the Russians know we will do what is necessary.”

For more stories about Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Putin’s Mobilization Rehearsal, Obama Blinks, Mobilization Called Off—Putin Win

[Putin should have insisted that Obama reverse the following two provocations before letting up on the pressure, but then, we don’t know what happened yet.  We will have to wait and see how Pentagon provocation proceeds from here (SEE: (UPDATED)Brits Now On the Ground Preparing Ukrainians To Kill Russians, Pentagon Troops To FollowObama’s Russian War Resolution Passes By 411 to 23).]

Russia Says Ending Huge Military Drills that Rattled West

daily star LEB

W460

Russia said it was ending military drills Saturday that saw over 80,000 troops mobilised from the Pacific to the Black Sea in a show of force amid tensions with the West.

A senior military official said that the nationwide exercises — that included sending nuclear bombers to Crimea and ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad in the heart of Europe — would end on Saturday afternoon.

President Vladimir Putin gave the order for them to start on Monday.

“Troops have been given the order to return to their permanent bases,” Lieutenant general Andrei Kartapolov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

The massive military exercises — some of the biggest by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union — have givem leaders across Eastern Europe the jitters.

Moscow and the West are locked in a bitter showdown over the crisis in Ukraine that has pushed relations to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

Kiev and its allies accuse the Kremlin of pouring arms and troops across its border to spearhead a bloody pro-Russian rebellion, allegations that Moscow denies.

NATO members including the United States and Germany have beefed up exercises with the alliance’s eastern nations, such as Poland and Lithuania, in a bid to reassure allies anxious over a bullish Russia.

(UPDATED)Brits Now On the Ground Preparing Ukrainians To Kill Russians, Pentagon Troops To Follow

[A funny thing happened on the way to this article’s posting yesterday…NOT REALLY…I was cyber-attacked while on the Russia Today site obtaining this post.  My new computer (courtesy of my computer guru) seized-up and became inoperable.  After the second try at a “hard boot,” I managed to get things working well enough to post the post.  The rest of the day, was marked by several more seizures, before retiring.  Today, the computer will not boot-up, period.  My daughter guru managed to get it functioning somewhat after a complete restart and wipe of the computer.  It is trying to recompile itself now, standing at 15%, after an hour at it.  Whoever planted the virus or trojan, wanted to disable my computer completely and they did that…but this is not the first time that this has happened, nor is it the same computer…computer #3 for this scenario.  Two older XPs could not be recovered.  This latest one is Vista 8.1.

Considering the article subject, UK TROOPS, then I can only assume that this latest breech of my right to occupy Internet space was by the British Government, or by their CIA masters.

FUCK THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.]

UK troops start training Ukraine’s army, US confirms own mission

Russia-Today
British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

UK military personnel have arrived in Ukraine and are beginning their training mission there, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has announced. Meanwhile the US will send nearly 300 paratroopers to start training the country’s national guard next month.

The deployment of foreign troops has started amid a barely holding cease-fire in the country’s east.

With the aim of helping Kiev’s army to fight anti-government forces, according to the UK MoD, its training mission is now operating in Ukraine, with the numbers of involved personnel “depending on the schedule.”

“The first elements of the training package began in March…we have got troops out there training,” a ministry spokeswoman told AP. According to the BBC, 35 personnel are now in the country’s south, deployed as part of a two-month mission.

Last month, British ministers announced that up to 75 troops at a time would be involved in a six-month-long mission, training Kiev’s military “to strengthen the defensive capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and build the resilience that they need.”

The UK also announced plans to send a “gift” of non-lethal equipment to support president Poroshenko’s forces, but has ruled out any lethal aid supplies to the country.

Russia has expressed its concerns over the military training missions, saying such actions do not support the conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine.

“[The move] certainly does not contribute neither to strengthening of trust, nor to de-escalation of tensions in the conflict,” Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

US training mission to begin ‘late April’

The US also plans to launch military training mission in Ukraine soon. American vice-president Joe Biden has spoken to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko over the phone and informed him about the start of such a mission in the near future, the Ukrainian presidential press service announced. According to the statement, Biden informed Poroshenko of President Obama’s decision to train 780 Ukrainian military by US specialists.

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed on Thursday that US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy, will travel to western Ukraine sometime in late April.

“This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” Lainez said as quoted by the Hill. An exact date for the US training mission initially announced last year has not yet been finalized.

After a final review of the mission, it now includes 290 American military trainers, according to Lainez. The training will take place in the western town of Yavoriv, near the Polish border.

The training will include six Ukrainian national guard units, “with a focus on internal security and territorial defense,” Lainez added, according to AFP.

Last week Washington announced an additional $75 million worth of non-lethal military aid which includes armored and unarmored Humvees, Raven drones, anti-mortar radars and night vision goggles.

Sweden + Human Rights vs Kingdom of Wahhabi Terror

[A war of words breaks-out between Sweden and the Wahhabi king and suddenly, gang violence explodes in the Scandinavian country (SEE:  Swedish citizens grapple with bombSweden Shooting: Two Dead, Up to 15 Wounded in Goteborg’s Var Krog Och Bar).  Is anyone naive enough to believe that these things are all unrelated?  Saudi Arabia is the fountainhead of all world terror.]

Saudis halt Sweden visas as tensions escalate
Saudi King Salman in March 2015. Photo: TT

Pushing Putin Into An Existential Confrontation

Putin

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends the World Health Organisation meeting on healthy lifestyle in Moscow, April 28, 2011.

Vladimir Putin sees Russia and the West as being locked in “an existential struggle,” reports USNI News, citing an expert at a Heritage Foundation event on Tuesday.

Eugene Rumer, the director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Russia and Eurasia Program, told the audience at the event that the rising tensions between Russia and the NATO-orientated West was a cause for concern. Particularly at stake in any ramping up of hostilities are the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

Both Latvia and Estonia have large ethnic Russian populations which Rumer believes Putin “is not adverse to using … to make domestic trouble.”

If Putin starts using ethnic Russians to stir up trouble in those countries as he has done in Ukraine, then war just may be NATO’s only possible response, predicted Rumer. As Moscow becomes more assertive, this likelihood increases.

Russia “is more prone than before to look less kindly on engagement with the West,” Rumer said at the event.

This is especially true given the Russian military’s new doctrine. Signed into practice on December 26, 2014, it lists the expansion of NATO as the main external threat facing the stability and territorial integrity of Russia.

In a translation of the doctrine by Defence News, Russia states that NATO is “undermining global stability and violating the balance of power in the nuclear-missile sphere.”

To counter NATO’s influence, Russia’s military doctrine envisions the expansion of bilateral alliances between Moscow and potentially friendly countries such as China and Brazil, as well as the military reinforcement of three areas that Russia sees as geopolitical front lines — the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the Crimean peninsula, and the Arctic.

Russian soldiers in CrimeaA Russian soldier hold his weapon at Belbek airport in the Crimea region March 4, 2014.

Each of these regions can serve as a buffer against what Russia portrays as NATO’s aggressive expansion, while also functioning as a potential launching pad for Moscow-directed military excursions. NATO’s supreme commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned at the beginning of March that Russia was already in the process of turning Crimea into a forward operating base against the alliance.

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, Russia has been holding snap military drills along its borders with the Baltic States at an increasing pace raising concerns that the exercises could one day be used as a cover to launch a quick invasion of the Baltics.

The Telegraph reported on February 20 that General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of NATO forces in Europe and one of Britain’s most senior generals, warned that Russian snap exercises could lead to a possible invasion of NATO territory.

Bradshaw warned that the drills could be used “not only for intimidation and coercion but potentially to seize NATO territory, after which the threat of escalation might be used to prevent re-establishment of territorial integrity.”

If such an invasion were to occur, NATO would either be forced to respond — leading to an unpredictable military conflict in Europe — or the alliance would not respond and NATO would cease to function as a treaty-bound entity.

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

russia insider

Leading Russian intellectual Starikov believes the unsustainable nature of amoral finance capitalism is driving western countries to a catastrophic war, which he sees as an existential threat to peace for Russia and the rest of the world

To Russian eyes the west is on a war footing
In the course of life today, we’ve grown accustomed to using terms whose meaning we might not fully understand. We throw them around casually, not realizing that they lose their meaning and sometimes even come around to stand for their exact opposite. This is precisely why the sense has arisen today in society that there is a need to determine in a clear and understandable manner exactly what is happening on the global chessboard in front of all of our eyes – the Big Story, written online.

Even those people the very furthest from politics are feeling the need for understanding and explaining to themselves the reasons for the things they encounter even just moving through their own lives. Why have prices in stores started to go up? What’s the reason for the fact that, quietly and nearly unnoticed, belief in a brighter tomorrow is slipping? When and why did talk about a possible war stop being speculative and distant? These and dozens of other questions have driven millions of yesterday-apolitical citizens to seek answers. They feel the need to find those answers and to construct a new worldview in which what-comes-tomorrow is not simply a lottery ticket, but a predictable and logical continuation of today. Predictable and, hopefully, not frightening.

This atmosphere, unfortunately, is a breeding grounds for attempts to brainwash our citizens and to stuff their heads with ideas which will be devastating to them personally. But this devastation will come hidden within banal attempts stubbornly do good. So let’s try to dissect the methods and means of manipulating the people’s conscience which we have already started to encounter. And, which will grow in direct proportion to the problems being encountered by our geopolitical opponents.

1. THE ROOTS AND SOURCE OF TODAY’S ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS.

Today, the world is in a situation that can be characterized as a dead end that the liberal financial-oriented world economy drove itself into after remaining the dominant economic system following the collapse of the USSR. Not going into much more detail on that theme, since doing so would require a whole other in-depth discussion, I will simply point out that, as historical experience and logical consideration confirm, this economic system cannot work without theft. On its own, without infusions from outside, it is not able to sustain itself, therefore a long period in which no one goes to war and no one is robbed, for countries sitting at the top of the liberal “food chain”, will always mean a crisis of the economic system itself. The need for war or theft is a matter of life and death for many (if not for all) countries of the West. The danger for the West today is that “potential victims” are nowhere to be found. In the world of today, the approximate parity of strength is like it was before two world wars, which itself increases many times over the risk of a new world conflict. A classical conflict, as during the previous two world wars, or as a hybrid, hidden beneath a large number of local conflicts (the main goal of which will be not to allow the nuclear weapons deterrent to be used!) together with informational and economic aggression.

What goals are the wars’ organizers aiming for? 

First and foremost is a breaking of established economic ties, a deepening everywhere of the economic slide, except for in agreed-upon “economic growth spots”. In the First and Second World Wars this zone was the USA and once again they are trying to repeat this scenario. In addition, a goal of starting wars is the nullification or depreciation of “pre-war” debts and a restart of the world economy. An analysis of the upcoming conflict’s probable zones of destruction and (or) thievery which will permit the world economy to be restarted while preserving the existing economic model and the currently-constituted “economic food chain” for the existing financial elites shows that the level of accumulated contradictions can only be resolved at the expense of Russia and her demolition. The situation in the disparate and ailing enclaves of Europe and Asia, surrounded by the raging chaos that will come from the destruction of our country, will allow the United States to retain for itself the role of regulator of the world’s economy, island of stability, and the source point for new growth. Growth for itself, for Europe, and for Asia under the USAs security guarantees, paid for by the robbery of our country and our people.

How do the interests balance in the quadrilateral: USA, Europe, Russia, and China? 

The USA and Russia in this are antagonists. Why? Because retaining the privileged role of the USA is only possible at the expense of Russia, and under the circumstances of a weakened China and Europe. That being the case, such aspirations make it very unlikely that there will be an “amicable” consensus between Russia and the USA without a change (or a solidifying via Russia’s defeat) in the established order of things. That means that in the absence of a “Neo-Gorbachevism” we will inevitably be forced to stand against the States — just to be able to survive and retain ourselves. This is unavoidable. Europe in this case is the sole ally of the United States. Today’s “European submissiveness” to the will of the USA is the result of deeper causes, and unlikely solely due to “bought and blackmailed” leadership. Europe, lacking its own combat-capable armed forces and its own independent financial system capable of providing a sufficient level of financial sovereignty, is forced to follow in America’s wake. Which, for better or worse, is providing her both the first and the second.

Is this situation final and irrevocable? It seems to me that it isn’t. Europe will cry, but will eat the cactuses like the mice in the joke, for just as long as the USA is able to guarantee her safety and economic stability (though maybe in lesser amounts). The threat of losing all of this can flip Europe from the USA’s side in search of new guarantors of its separate and privileged position. In the event of a “fall of Russia”, Europe will become “frontline” territory at whose borders there will be aggressive instability. Europe will be most satisfied with Russia in a “USSR variant”, where the state, in “Gorbachev’s manner”, withdraws and enthusiastically permits itself to be robbed like a masochist. But the variant where Russia resists, and from this the country springs up as, not a “zone of robbery”, but a “zone exporting aggressive instability” (like today in the former Ukraine) will not please Europe. In sum, we will have a situation where Europe supported the USA in its attempted “blitzkrieg” against Russia as the better of its available courses. However, continuing Russian resistance changes the situation and in the future will inevitably lead to Europe, though with numerous reservations and attempts to negotiate preferential treatment, having to distance itself from the American policies directed towards the destruction of Russia. China in this quadrilateral (USA-Europe-Russia-China) is our natural and situational ally in its own opposition to the collective West. After all, today it is becoming a competitor to China in the economic as well as the political sphere. Any kind of strengthening of Russia will automatically result in a weakening of the West as a competitor to China. Therefore, so long as China can trust that it will no longer have to run up against Khrushchev-Gorbachev-Yeltsin-type “wiggly” unpredictable policies from Moscow, we can count on the economic and political support of China. Let’s sum it up. We are dealing with opposition between the USA and Russia, in which Europe and China play the part of tactical (within certain bounds) allies of the battling sides as they pursue their own goals in the confrontation. Therefore, neither Europe nor China is interested – unlike the USA – in the total destruction of Russia. After all, in that event both Europe and China would be weakened and would stand alone against a strengthened USA, as well as surrounded territorially by Eurasian chaos.

The USA needs Russia to die quickly. Europe was ready for a blitzkrieg under the management of the USA, but Europe is not ready for a drawn-out, long, and “expensive” conflict. China is prepared for a “game of debts” and is prepared to weaken both the USA and Europe in economical and political support of Russia, but is not prepared in this conflict to “take the bit between their teeth”, since it is still not ready to throw its entire weight into opposition, burdened as it is with its own problems and a worries due to the “Gorbachev effect”.

Given the shortage of time, the only path to survival for the USA is to demolish Russia from within and have her collapse. Either that, or a radical change of power in Russia which would abruptly turn the country’s ship of state around and permit the subsequent chaos and war. This would, in turn, give the States the necessary conditions for breaking the financial and economic channels of interaction in Eurasia and the weakening of both Europe and China, but at the “fault” of the new Russian government. We have a situation where the organization of an internal explosion in Russia displacing the legal government is for the USA a question of its own survival.

2. INFORMATION WARFARE IN RUSSIA – A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL FOR THE USA.

In the beginning of the article I mentioned that the current situation is forcing Russian citizens to actively seek answers to many questions. This pursuit of information, this struggle between various points of view, opinions and ideas opens a “window of opportunity” for those attempting to influence foreign policies of the country by influencing internal political situation. Chaos and war are once again becoming the one and only weapon of choice for the dollar. Russia, despite being subject to Western economic and information aggression, still:

  • continues to strengthen its economy;
  • continues its shift towards East;
  • retains the role of an economic and political bridge between Europe and Asia;
  • preserves its leading military and political position on the continent;
  • possesses decisive energy, scientific and manufacturing potential;
  • continues to adapt to hostile economic and political relations with a certain part of the world;

Such Russia is not in the interests of the USA. Stronger Russia will play a stronger stabilizing role in the world. Not only it is not going to become the source of chaos and war in Eurasia, it also has a high potential to distance Europe from the “leading and directing” role of the USA, which is totally unacceptable for America. Hence the question – what can US do in this situation?

First, US needs to instill chaos and war in the minds of Russian citizens, to have this chaos reach the “critical mass” needed to enable them to either influence the actions of the government on international stage or, which would be even “better”, tear down the government altogether, similar to how it was done in February of 1917 or August of 1991. Today, citizens of Russia have many questions, which is a great opportunity to provide answers which will lead them to actions that would ultimately be in US interests.

And such “answers” have already been prepared by the all-knowing well-wishers…

3. CAUTION: MANIPULATION!

Let’s reiterate that this is very important. In order to survive and preserve its leading role on international stage, US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, to cut economic ties between Europe and APR (Asia-Pacific Region). The States need to turn the territory that lies between them (Russia, Central Asia, Middle East) into a zone with local armed conflicts, falling economies, deficient governments and general instability. Middle East is already very close to a state of total chaos, US-created ISIL is working to further complicate the situation in that region. Central Asia is a potentially very unstable region and it has been “farmed out” to the revived Taliban, but so far it has kept the appearance of stability. Russia is the only territory within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance, shifting its foreign policy – is a vitally important task for America.

How can this be achieved given that the will of the President of Russia can be clearly defined as anti-American and the ability to realize this will is as strong as ever, thanks to the stability of the ruling establishment? The only way to achieve this is to drag the leadership of the country into a long and debilitating stand-off with its own people.

Liberal scenario (ineffective) 

In the long term, the unity of Russian people and their leadership can be broken by providing liberal answers to questions that are important for the apolitical majority. To achieve this, long forgotten “weathered soldiers” of ideological battles, who were not part of the events of 2011-12, have been brought out of nonexistence (Stankevich, Nadezhin and others). They are working to convince the Russian society that today’s Russia is “in over its head”. In other words, Russia, by protecting its geopolitical interests and by breaking every imaginable international rule, is behaving in a way that is unacceptable for a “gas station” country. Therefore, not having the required economic potential and sufficient international weight, Russia is bound to end up in international economic and political isolation. This will impact the lives of average citizens by significantly lowering their standard of living, the government will lose control over the state affairs and, ultimately, the state itself will be torn apart. Of course the proposed remedy for all these ailments is this: “fold” to US, recognize the leading role of US in the world and generally follow in the footsteps of American policies. This means that Russia must give up its national geopolitical interests, return Crimea, take on the burden of supporting Ukraine and then, just like in the 90’s, follow directions of Western advisors who will determine the path of political and economic development of the country.

Today, the level of “immunity” of Russian society against this liberal scenario is quite high. The nineties and the “liberal shift” attempt in 2011-12 served well to create a stable “anti-liberal” sentiment within Russian society. That’s why realization of this scenario is not possible in the short term, but our Anglo-Saxon enemies always plan well ahead. This liberal point of view will be kept alive and will be cultivated among a certain type of urban intellectuals who are traditionally aligned with Western values. And, in case society becomes fed up with patriotism, these intellectuals will be the ones to present Russian society with a point of view that will be in line with Western interests.

Patriotic scenario (main) 

The States don’t really care what particular scenario will sink the territory of Eurasia (Russia – Customs Union) into chaos or what will cut the strong economic ties along the EU-Russia-Customs Union-China line. Whether Russia follows the liberal scenario described above, dissolves the way USSR did or willingly plunges into chaos and localized armed conflicts – makes no difference to US. If Russia starts throwing its weight around and using force to assert its own views and interpretations of international rules of co-existence, the US will just as well reach its intended goals. The important expression here is “using force”. That will result in chaos and war in Eurasia, which is all US needs.

Russian society has overcome the virus of liberalism and is not ready to become infected with it again, and that is exactly why instead of the “liberal scenario of voluntary dissolution” they are being offered the “patriotic scenario” that instills in their minds an arrogant faith in success. In practice, this translates into certain public figures, who are consistently viewed as being patriotic, persistently offering… scenarios which require use of force in future developments in Eurasia. They are also interpreting past events using assumptions that every event was dealt with from the position of force, position of power. These interpretations are exactly what US needs. As a matter of fact, these interpretations, and the part of Russian society that is behind them, are so closely aligned with US interests that Western political and public figures have been focusing solely on this particular part of Russian society, using them in propaganda and diplomatic efforts directed against the current leadership of the President in the Russian Federation. It is possible to assert that a certain part of those who consider themselves to be patriots of Russia willingly or unwillingly are working in the interests of Western aggressors. Interpreting the events of 2014 as “Russia using force to apply pressure on Ukraine”, calling for a wider and more profound use of force in Ukraine in the future and accusing Russian leadership of not providing sufficient military and technical support for Donbass militia, they are allowing Western diplomats to interpret all their statements as “proof of Russian aggression”. And a very valuable proof at that, because, according to Western views and practice of legal precedents, a witness account of Russian use of force in Ukraine, coming from those who took part in the events (Strelkov-Girkin), is an indisputable and necessary proof that the USA and the collective West are acting appropriately against “aggressor Russia”. This is a case of remedy being more dangerous than the ailment. This “proof of Russian aggression” is allowing Washington to justify sanctions and cutting relations with Moscow. The logic of confrontation with Russia includes mechanisms designed to rupture Eurasian economic ties, which will inevitably lead to chaos across the entire Eurasian continent. And that is exactly what the US is trying to achieve.

Russian “patriots”, who are, in reality, defending US interests (regardless of what they themselves think), in fact… are probing the Russian society to figure out just how possible it is to organize mass protests in the country. With today’s strong leadership that is stirring Russia towards absolute sovereignty, this task seems nearly impossible. But if their point of view starts affecting the mindset of the majority of Russian citizens, an attempt to use “street democracy” to push Russia towards “use of force” scenario in Ukraine can be made. And that will be a 100% American victory over Europe and China. Therefore, we can safely conclude that “street democracy” using popular “patriotic” slogans instead of the unpopular liberal ones is the most desired development within Russia for the USA. So desirable that the States will nurture and support (financially, using media and PR) those “patriotic” Russian figures who, willingly or unwillingly, are acting in line with American interests. Impartial analysis of information and media shows that this is exactly how events are unfolding in Russia.

How can this be fought and how can the ill-fated path of 1914-style “destructive patriotism” be averted? The victory over the minds and hearts of Russian citizens can only be achieved by spreading the truth and disclosing the methods of manipulation used by Russian “patriots” who are currently helping our eternal enemies in their information war against Russia.

Some Examples of Manipulation. 

The mass manipulation of consciousness, in the first-order is the implicit substitution of desires from genuine goals to manufactured goals. Any conscious ‘exposure’ of this process, even though it identifies these first-order manufactured goals, is itself manufactured (‘second order’) on the very basis of this ‘exposure’. The methodolical manufacture of this second order phenomenon logically enables a pure inversion of genuine desires and thus by direct implication, reality.

For example, those ‘ultra-patriotic’ chaps working, doubtlessly part-time, for the U.S. State Department will state that ‘We should militarily intervene in the Ukraine. Working on an emotional level (the most commonly applied method of ‘softening up’ for manipulation) they will tell us of the unspeakable ordeals endured by the people of the Donbass. It is surely the healthy reaction of any human being to wish to give assistance and support. An example would be the incursion of Russian troops into the Ukraine with the aim of averting a humanitarian catastrophe and putting a halt to the genocide of the Russian population. Moreover, we can confirm that this incursion cannot be dangerous for Russia insofar as Russia is already under the most onerous sanction regime imaginable which the Russian people bear unjustly. Simultaneously the public is ‘calmed’ by the belief that NATO will under no circumstances allow itself to be drawn into armed conflict with Russia, in possession of nuclear weapons which can be used as a ‘trump card’ in any negotiations. Strelkov-Girkin has developed the knack of projecting a statesmanly wisdom. He endlessly affirms that those speaking of peace are in denial about the ongoing war scares Russians with the spectre of NATO forces. These self-same NATO forces, in turn, simply swallow any half-baked statements and perceive any movement of Russian forces as having the goal of overthrowing the regime in Kiev. Why? Because it allegedly can’t directly oppose Russia because of her well supplied army and her nuclear forces.

So how do we apply, to the current situation, the concept of the implicit substitution of desires to manufactured goals? Well the point is that instead of the actual escalating Hybrid war, being fought with the aim of exhausting the enemy, using the full spectrum of potential threats with the exception of Nuclear weapons, we see that the public is presented with the traditional threat of a second world war confrontation (replete with Nazis and Swastikas).

Such wars can be characterized by opponents openly trying to destroy each other mainly by military confrontation. In such conflicts, the aim is simply to destroy or take control of the opposition center of political decision making by military means. This was sufficient as it destroyed the ‘brain’ of the enemy. In modern hybrid war the political decisions will be taken in the Western Centers remote from the military conflict (Brussels, Washington). The military conflicts will be delegated to peripheral centers (the Kievan ‘Junta’; the Donbass ‘Novorossiya’; ISIS (Islamic State) active in the North Caucasus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, perpetrating terrorist activities in the Volga region; the Taliban active in Central Asia, the Urals and the far east of Russia). Correspondingly, economic aggression will be applied from the financial bloc controlled by the West. Engaging militarily in the Donbass, Russia in the short term will be on the receiving end of a series of strikes in the above regions and in its urban centers. Countering these blows (dependent on the scale of the territory destabilized) will demand the dramatic strengthening of the Russian military including the special services and the transformation of the economy as well as everyday life onto a war footing, which of course is neglected in the patriotic narrative projected by the ‘manipulators’. Such ‘surprises’ for the Russian society, who are simply geared up for a “small victorious war in the Donbas” under the current patriotic narrative will incline public opinion towards direction the liberal activists, those supporters of the “peaceful dissolution” of Russia. Such appeals will sound repeatedly to “rest under the wing” under the American world order and the popularity of such ideas will dramatically grow. In summary, we witness the re-emergence of the provocateurs of the sort we had in 1914, these ‘Hurray Patriots’ who paved the way for the provocateurs of February 1917.

These same liberal capitalists are ready for the widest possible cooperation with the West on its terms in the ordering of Russian life. However, even if against the odds, Russia will pull off another “Russian miracle” and be able resolve, through military means, the numerous military conflicts both along its borders and within its territory, even this great victory will not destroy the Western center of decision-making. Washington and Brussels will remain out of reach of the Russian army, as they are not directly participating in any of these conflicts.

While Russia will face outside the military and terrorist aggression forming an existential threat to the state, Europe without an efficient army, dogged by controversy and lack of a single center of decision-making will be in no better straites. Europe will be forced, against the background of a Russia “which is on fire,” to simply forget about their own geopolitical interests and stand in line with the Americans. At the same time, Europeans will be forced to acquiesce to a significant decline in their living standards, and be subordinated to all the other American adventures. As a direct consequence, economic cooperation through Europe – Russia – Trans-Siberian will decline to an absolute minimum, if it survives at all.

China, similarly faced with instability in its own underbelly in Central Asia and facing growing aggression from NATO allies in Taiwan and Japan, will be forced to limit its military, political and economic support to Russia, awaiting the outcome of the confrontation and eventually breaking its ties with the United States. As a result, we see the realization of the US plan: economic cooperation between Europe – Russia – TC – China, minimized or neutralized, and the existence between China and Europe of zone of global instability and local wars. Russia will have to exert all its strength to survive, which will eliminate its opportunities for political maneuver and peace-building and economic development.

4. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

Firstly, we need to look objectively, without emotions at the root cause of the issue. Collectively, the West enslaved by its ineffective liberal, finance oriented economic model, will inevitably be forced to engage in local or planetary plunder to fulfil its own dynamic requirements for existence. A suitable metaphor would be a car running out of fuel with the engine running. Any delay will dramatically increase the chances of the engine ‘seizing up’ which will render further motion impossible. The driver of the car facing such threats is prone to panic and make mistaken decisions when trying to refuel. Assuming that one is not inclined to help the driver the natural course of action would be to let the driver make all these mistakes and for the engine to be allowed to seize up.

Russia’s actions in the contemporary situation should be based on several principles: 

First, we must understand that every day we delay the onset of full scale hybrid war strengthens us and weaken our enemies. Each day of delay – allows us to establish economic ties to the Eurasian space, making Russia less vulnerable. Each day of delay – it is an additional burden on the “western car” and its fuel consumption.

Today, the West and the United States are incurring significant costs maintaining its hybrid “War Infrastructure” (the junta in Kiev, Islamic State, the Taliban, 5th Columns inside China and Russia), but it is still investing without accruing dividends. Each day of delay signifies a new weapon for the Russian army, new production in Russia and an increase in readiness for difficult times.

Secondly, using the tactics of “viscous defense” when every new step on the occupied territory carries obvious loss for the occupier, Russia increases the chance of a split in the “Euro-Atlantic Coalition” The weak point of the West is that it is not monolithic. I.e. the “slaves” are always ready to betray the “masters” if the cost / risk associated with coalition leads to an unjustified increase in the level of risk. Today, the West is stuck in Ukraine. “Blitzkrieg” failed. The original plan to separate the Ukraine from Russia, reorientation its markets to Europe, while maintaining the previous level of Russian economic support for Ukraine, is now firmly in the past. For the US the Ukraine forms and outstanding catalyst for Eurasian Chaos. However for Europe, Ukraine is a “White Elephant” with severe and infectious behavioral issues which has kindly donated by the Americans to them. For the sake of countering “Russian Aggression” Europe is ready to consolidate and bear hardships, but to preserver Poroshenko and Co., still less, for the sake of geopolitical dispute between Russia and the United States, the willingness to bear hardships becomes a lot less.

Thirdly, we must remember that the advantage in war is to those who choose their time and terrain. This is critical. Start a war when we see the result will not be to win these peripheral conflicts i.e. the Kievan ‘Junta’, the Islamic state or the Taliban, but rather to achieve victory over the “center of real political decision making” in Washington. A war should be fought for this goal and none other.

On the basis of the above, we can see that every victory of Assad in Syria, and every victory of the militia of the Donbass and Lugansk Republics saves lives of Russian soldiers and Russian territory from ruin. We see a unique situation, the first time in Russian history, when the forces of aggression against Russia are based on the distant outskirts of our country. Russia is obliged, according to her own interests, to furnish every assistance and support, to weaken the Western Coalition, thus expanding the cracks of various interests in the allegedly monolithic Euro-American unity.

5. CONCERNING “PATRIOTIC” MANIPULATORS.

On January 28, 2015 in St. Petersburg, the Russian party “Great Society” organized a cultural gathering with the writer, essayist and translator Dmitry Y. Puchkov as keynote speaker. Dmitry Y. was predictably humble, consumed by his own thoughts and interests, which were genuinely, without excessive sophistication, quite profound. I was unfortunately unable to attend this meeting, as due to a business trip in Nizhny Novgorod.

However, when I watched recordings of the proceedings, I was immediately struck by the savage accuracy of the metaphor of the Russian intelligentsia, worshiping the West, with the liberal intelligencia playing the role of “Evil Shepherds”, leading their flock of sheep to the slaughter. The allegory is devastatingly accurate. The West have maintained their dominance by the means of murder and robbery on a planetary scale. They “manufacture their image” in the eyes of future victims, using these “evil shepherds” from the intelligentsia. Without these “Evil Shepherds”, any potential victim from the Soviet Union to Ukraine today, could be saved from plunder and mobilize their own self-preservation instinct. It is only the conscious and pro-active manipulation that these, “intellectuals” practice, performing the role of administrators of “spiritual chloroform”, which has allowed public opinion to be so manipulated.

Events of the last year and especially the last few months have unfortunately led me to be convinced that that the existence of the “Evil Shepherds” may not only be among those enthralled by the west, but also among those administrating “patriotic” rhetoric to the public.

However, I am deeply convinced that our Russian society, representatives of all the peoples of our country have a sufficient high level of consciousness to counter this pseudo-patriotic manipulation which works for the benefit of the United States. After all, our people were able to emerge from the liberal manipulation of a few years earlier. The memory “of Greeks bearing gifts” battered us in the 90s, battered us until our pores wept sweat and blood.  As for me, I will, to the best of my ability, resist these new attempts to deceive our society under the renewed and pseudo-patriotic slogans.

 

Nikolai Starikov is Russian writer, political activist and influential public intellectual. For a wider introduction see here.

Right or wrong, he is an indicator of what thousands or millions of Russians believe.

This article originally appeared at the author’s blog. It was translated by: DzhMM, Mikhael and Gideon at The Vineyard of the Saker 

Pakistan Denies Saudi Request For Pak Army Troops Guarding Saudi Borders

Pakistan Declines to Join Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Iran Alliance

Pakistan won’t help guard Saudi Arabia’s border with northern Yemen, which is controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite forces.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives at the Chancellery to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Nov. 11, 2014, in Berlin, Germany.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives in Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Nov. 11, 2014.

By: Bruce Riedel, Contributor for Al-Monitor
Al-Monitor

Saudi Arabia’s campaign to build a broad Sunni alliance to contain Iran has apparently suffered at least a setback from Pakistan. Islamabad has opted, at least for now, to avoid becoming entangled in the sectarian cold war between Riyadh and Tehran.

Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited to the kingdom for urgent talks with King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his advisers. The king met Sharif at the airport to underscore the importance of the talks. The main topic was Iranian aggression in the Arab world and the impending deadline for the P5+1 negotiations on Iran’s nuclear project. The king wanted firm assurances from Sharif that Pakistan would align itself with Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies against Iran, especially in the proxy war now underway in Yemen.

Salman specifically wanted a Pakistani military contingent to deploy to the kingdom to help defend the vulnerable southwest border with Zaydi Houthi-controlled north Yemen and serve as a trip-wire force to deter Iranian aggression. There is precedent for a Pakistani army expeditionary force in Saudi Arabia. After the Iranian Revolution, Pakistani dictator Mohammad Zia ul-Haq deployed an elite Pakistani armored brigade to the kingdom at King Fahd’s request to deter any threats to the country. In all, some 40,000 Pakistanis served in the brigade over most of a decade. Today only some Pakistani advisers and experts serve in the kingdom.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, is received by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia at King Khalid International Airport on February 23, 2015 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

RELATED

Saudi Arabia Prepares for Iranian Nuclear Deal

According to Pakistani sources, Sharif has reluctantly decided not to send troops to Saudi Arabia for now. Sharif promised closer counterterrorism and military cooperation but no troops for the immediate future. Pakistan also declined to move its embassy in Yemen from Sanaa to Aden as the Saudis and the Gulf Cooperation Council states have done to distance themselves from the Houthis.

The Pakistanis are arguing their military is already overstretched facing the traditional enemy, India, and the increasing threat from the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan has its own serious sectarian tensions and violence. About 20% of Pakistanis are Shiite and sectarian violence has been intensifying in recent years. Groups linked to al-Qaeda such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have targeted Shiite mosques and schools for suicide bombings. Iran also has proxies in Pakistan that have attacked Sunni targets in the past. Faced with these difficulties at home, Sharif is telling Salman not now for troops.

Sharif is by nature a cautious man and a very deliberate decision-maker. He is carefully leaving open the option of deploying troops to the kingdom in the future if the security situation gets worse. He will also be clear with the king that Pakistan remains a close Saudi ally. The ambiguous and mysterious Pakistani nuclear connection with Saudi Arabia will remain in the background.

The king has doubled down on his Egyptian connection this month. Crown Prince Muqrin pledged $4 billion in investment in Egypt at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference this week, and Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each pledged the same. But Egypt, too, is reluctant to send troops, especially for operations around Yemen. Egyptians still have bitter memories of their disastrous intervention in Yemen in the 1960s. Ironically, the Egyptians then were fighting Saudi-backed Zaydi royalists.

So for now Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s son, will have to plan on dealing with Houthi threats on the border alone with Saudi troops. They have not fared well in past clashes with the Houthis.

Cyprus Gas Opens for Export–Natural Gas Find Aphrodite Pronounced “Viable”

NICOSIA, March 17 (Reuters) – Noble Energy is expected to declare its Aphrodite natural gas reserve off Cyprus commercially viable within weeks, paving the way for exports, Cyprus’s energy minister said on Tuesday.

The move would be an important milestone for Cyprus, which required an international bailout in 2013 and is now looking at an economic turnaround based partly on offshore reserves.

“This is very important for Cyprus because it will be the first time we go beyond the phase of hydrocarbons exploration to development and exploitation,” Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said after a meeting with Noble executives and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

“This sends a message to foreign buyers that we have natural gas to sell,” Lakkotrypis said.

Cyprus is seeking to develop the energy sector to bolster an economy that relies mostly on tourism, business services and shipping.

Cyprus and Egypt are looking into the possibility of transferring gas from the Aphrodite deposit to Egypt via an undersea pipeline. The island has, for now, shelved plans to create its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Noble is the only company licensed by Cyprus to have made a discovery, with an estimated 4.54 trillion cubic feet in its Aphrodite field.

Keith Elliot, senior vice-president for Noble in the Eastern Mediterranean, described the field’s prospects as a tremendous opportunity.

“We hope (it) will bring prosperity to both the people of Cyprus and the government of Cyprus, as well as the other countries in the region,” Elliot said.

(Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)

Aramco Hiring Laid-Off US Fracking Oil Engineers To Help Saudis Develop “Dry-Fracking”

US shale boom may be over by end of 2015 – OPEC

Saudi Arabia Woos Fired U.S. Shale Workers

BLOOMBERG

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/saudi-arabia-recruiting-american-shale-131037709.html

(Bloomberg) — Workers fired from U.S. shale fields after the collapse in oil prices could soon have a new boss: the nation some blame for driving that decline.

The state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, is posting new job ads online aiming to snap up experts in extracting oil from shale as the country seeks to become a leader in that rapidly expanding effort. Tens of thousands of U.S. workers have been fired since November as oil prices plunged because of oversupplies, driven in part by an OPEC decision supported by Saudi Arabia.

That’s now giving Saudi Aramco a better chance to lure experienced workers to its own shale formations. Difficult living conditions had previously made the country a hard sell, said Tobias Read, chief executive officer of Swift Worldwide Resources, a recruiting firm.

“We’ve seen people who have historically been reticent to look at Saudi Arabia who are now more accepting of a job there,” Read said in an interview.

For decades, the Saudis have recruited workers from the U.S. for its conventional drilling programs, offering hefty salaries and benefits as lures. Even so, “it’s been hard for us to put people there,” Read said. “The conditions are just quite difficult.”

Previously, Saudi Aramco didn’t need expertise in shale oil and natural gas exploration because it has large conventional oil reserves that don’t require expensive extra steps to develop, such as the hydraulic fracturing or horizontal drilling used in shale rock.

‘Unconventional’ Oil

As those highly productive fields age, however, development of shale resources, along with other hard-to-reach oil categorized as “unconventional,” may help Saudi Aramco maintain its dominance in the oil market, according to John Kingston, president of the McGraw Hill Financial Institute.

“With the layoffs, it’s a great time to do it,” he said about the recruitment effort.

Nigel O’Connor, a spokesman for Saudi Aramco didn’t answer questions on the specifics of the company’s campaign, or its timing. “To support the implementation of our strategy and continued growth, Saudi Aramco continues to hire expertise in a number of technical areas across the unconventional gas resource value-chain,” he said by e-mail.

In November, the Saudis led a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production levels of its 12 member countries despite falling prices. The hiring campaign comes after some U.S. oil chiefs, including Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm, blamed the Saudis for causing the North American cutbacks.

New Ads

In February, Saudi Aramco posted several new ads on websites including Rigzone and LinkedIn that focused on shale expertise. One recent LinkedIn listing for a petroleum engineer with shale experience drew 160 applicants in a month, according to data from the professional networking website.

“Consider the opportunity to join our team and help shape the future of key global unconventional resource development,” the ads say, referring to shale-rock exploration that’s led to a renaissance in U.S. oil and natural gas production.

Additionally, since the start of the year, Saudi Aramco has added an “unconventionals” category to its recruiting website, where 35 job listings require specific experience in shale. A recruiting company, Whitney Human Resources, has also written directly to prospective employees on Saudi Aramco’s behalf.

A February letter from Whitney obtained by Bloomberg News said there are three areas of the country where Saudi Aramco has an “active exploration program” for unconventional gas resources.

‘Exciting Development’

“Senior managers from the company will be in North America in the forthcoming months to meet professionals with your background who are interested in joining this exciting development,” the letter said.

A recruiting professional at Whitney declined to answer questions about its work with Saudi Aramco.

The nation is interested in developing natural gas in its shale formations to help replace the equivalent of 900,000 barrels a day of domestic crude and fuel oil used to generate local electricity supplies, according to a March 10 research note by a team of Barclays Plc analysts including David Anderson in New York.

On a recent trip to the region, the analysts learned that Saudi Arabia fears damaging its oil- and-gas-rich formations with shale drilling, which could hurt future production, Barclays said in the note. To date, only eight shale gas wells have been drilled in the country with plans to drill 135 wells over the next 3 years.

Recruiting Efforts

“Soon, Saudi Aramco will be known not just for conventional oil and gas production, but as a leader in full life-cycle unconventional gas development,” the company said in a recent ad.

Saudi Aramco’s shale recruiting efforts are akin to a Chinese factory running a U.S. factory out of business, then trying to hire the unemployed workers to improve operations in China, said Michael Webber, an associate professor at the University of Texas and deputy director of the Energy Institute.

After watching the U.S. shale revolution collapse on low prices, Saudi Aramco is seizing the opportunity to bolster its own expertise in shale.

“They don’t want to start from scratch,” Webber said. “They have no experience with shale and they have to hire outside workers. It’s a way to leapfrog.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Gilblom in New York at kgilblom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net Will Wade

U.S. Omits Iran and Hezbollah From Terror Threat List

U.S. Omits Iran and Hezbollah From Terror Threat List

Newsweek-logo

 

Hezbollah
Lebanese Hezbollah supporters gesture as they march during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut’s suburbs November 14, 2013. Sharif Karim/REUTERS

 

An annual security assessment presented to the U.S. Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, has excluded Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from its list of terror threats to U.S. interests, despite both being consistently included as threats in previous years.

The unclassified report, issued by Clapper on February 26 and entitled the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities, was published by the Times of Israel amid Israeli concerns that Iran was omitted simply because of Tehran’s efforts to combat ISIS.

In a previous report from January 2014, Clapper included Iran and Hezbollah in the ‘Terrorism’ section, writing that both “continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s”. Iran was also given its own sub-heading in the ‘Terrorism’ section of such assessments in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Yet in the latest report, Clapper omits both Iran and Hezbollah from this section, only mentioning the Shiite Muslim militant group once in reference to the threat it faces from radical Sunni groups – such as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front – on Lebanon’s borders. In regard to Iran, the report names it as both a cyber and regional threat to the U.S. because of its support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

However, the report speaks of Tehran’s assistance in preventing “ISIL [another term for ISIS] from gaining large swaths of additional territory” in Iraq. It adds that the Islamic Republic has “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia”.

The report fails to mention that Hezbollah is labelled as a terrorist organisation by both the U.S. and the European Union, while it receives the majority of its funding from Tehran. The omission comes as Washington and other world powers continue to negotiate with Iran to strike a deal over its nuclear program and capabilities.

The assessment adds that Iran has “overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige, and regional influence [that] have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so.”

The Israeli thinktank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has claimed that the removal of both actors from the U.S. terror assessment comes amid Iranian support in the fight against ISIS, where Tehran’s shadowy former spymaster Qasem Soleimani is directing the offensive on the Sunni-majority city of Tikrit.

“We believe that this results from a combination of diplomatic interests (the United States’ talks with Iran about a nuclear deal) with the idea that Iran could assist in the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and maybe even in the battle against jihadist terrorism in other countries,” the NGO’s assessment of the report said.

Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations, believes that the omission signals a “quid pro quo” between Washington and Tehran.

“I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” says Abrahms. “The world has changed. The Sunni threat has gotten worse, the Islamic State is a greater danger than al-Qaeda ever was, and the Iranians have really come up big in terms of helping us out in combating the Islamic State.”

Hezbollah has been accused of responsibility for a number of terror attacks against U.S. or its partners interests, such as the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy and American military barracks in the Lebanese capital, Beirut; the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina and the 2012 Burgas bus bomb on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

Heavily-Armed Venezuelan Civilian Militias Prepare For Potential US Invasion

“I can’t imagine why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s,” Rumsfeld told reporters

“In 2012…equipment acquired by Caracas from the Russian defense industry at $4.4 billion…includes…100,000 AK-103 machine guns…and 5,000 SVD sniper rifles.”

Massive military drills in Venezuela as govt stands up to perceived US threat (VIDEO)

Russia-Today

Executive Order – Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela

white house

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

BLOCKING PROPERTY AND SUSPENDING ENTRY OF CERTAIN PERSONS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-278) (the “Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act”) (the “Act”), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)) (INA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the situation in Venezuela, including the Government of Venezuela’s erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant public corruption, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:

(i) the persons listed in the Annex to this order; and

(ii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have participated in, directly or indirectly, any of the following in or in relation to Venezuela:

(1) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions; 2

(2) significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;

(3) actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or

(4) public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela;

(B) to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii)(A) of this section or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;

(C) to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;

(D) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:

(1) a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(2) an activity described in subsection (a)(ii)(A) of this section; or

(E) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.

Sec. 2. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in subsection 1(a) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons, except where the Secretary of State determines that the person’s entry is in the national interest of the United States. This section shall not apply to an alien if admitting the alien into the United States is necessary to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, or other applicable international obligations. 3

Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 5. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States;

(d) the term “Government of Venezuela” means the Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela, and any person owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of Venezuela.

Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA and 4

section 5 of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act, other than the authorities contained in sections 5(b)(1)(B) and 5(c) of that Act, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order, with the exception of section 2 of this order, and the relevant provisions of section 5 of that Act. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 9. The Secretary of State is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, the INA, and section 5 of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act, including the authorities set forth in sections 5(b)(1)(B), 5(c), and 5(d) of that Act, as may be necessary to carry out section 2 of this order and the relevant provisions of section 5 of that Act. The Secretary of State may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law.

Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to determine that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of a person listed in the Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect to that determination.

Sec. 11. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

Sec. 12. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 13. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 9, 2015.

BARACK OBAMA

Kuwait arrests political leader over Saudi ‘insult’

[Muhammad Bin Saad Al delightful ( الشيخ محمد آل مفرح ) was the head of the revolutionary “moderate Islamist” “Ummah Party,” before he suddenly died under mysterious circumstances in an Istanbul hospital.  He spread his message to UAE, Kuwait and Turkey, preached jihad in Syria, and called for democratic revolution in Saudi Arabia.  He was the father of Major General Ahmed bin Saeed Al delightful (اللواء ركن احمد بن سعيد ال مفرح), air defense commander of the Saudi National Guard.  Prof. Hakem Al Mutairi was arrested for joining-in with the Arab chorus of popular opinion, claiming on public TV that “al delightful” was poisoned in Turkey by Saudi intelligence…HOW IS THIS AN INSULT TO THE ROYAL VANITY?  Certainly, every political murder or assassination in the Middle East or anywhere else is blamed on intelligence agencies.

WHAT IS THE MAN’S CRIME, AND WHEN CAN WE EXPECT HIM TO BE BEHEADED?]

Kuwait arrests political leader over Saudi ‘insult’

Kuwait City // Kuwait has arrested the leader of the conservative Ummah Party for allegedly insulting the neighbouring Gulf state of Saudi Arabia on television.

Al-Mutairi
Hakem Al Mutairi
was arrested at the instruction of the public prosecutor for “grossly insulting Saudi Arabia” during an interview, the ministry said in a statement.

Mr Al Mutairi is the head of the Ummah Party, a group of conservative politicians founded in 2005 but still not officially recognised.

The group said Mr Al Mutairi was arrested by the secret police on Friday and interrogated over remarks he made on television in December about the death of the Ummah Party’s former leader, Mohammed Al Mufreh, in Saudi Arabia.

It said Mr Al Mutairi raised questions that Al Mufreh may have died from poisoning at a hospital in Turkey.

In recent months, Kuwait has cracked down on online activists for criticising Arab leaders, especially those of Gulf states and Egypt.

Authorities have detained and questioned several activists and former MPs for “insulting” Egyptian, Saudi and Emirati leaders.

* Agence France-Presse

Umma Party/Hakim Al Mtayri

الشيخ محمد آل مفرح

Vision reformist Islamic Umma Party
The name of God the Merciful, Praise be to God alone, and blessings and peace be upon the Prophet after him .. After ..

This vision of the Islamic Umma Party for political reform every Arab public and Islamic country, and for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia especially, a project (the government an adult) pursuant to said peace be upon him (you my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Caliphs after me cling fast, and beware of newly invented matters), has been interpreted by the Prophet God bless him and those Talks that are contrary to his Sunan and Sunan Caliphs after he said (the prophecy, then the succession on a platform of prophecy, then it will become Edaudha, then king algebraically, then return succession on a platform of prophecy), all except the caliphate of the King algebraic or king Edod based on non-Shura of the nation and selected is invalid, no legitimacy, and in the right (from the latest in a hurry This is what is not part of it), and the nation today needs political discourse Rashidi, based on the Quran and Sunnah in the affairs of the nation’s policy, and the origins of this discourse Rashidi:

1. to be constitutional, political, legislative, judicial, economic and media reference and all the affairs of state is the Islamic Sharia Bmusdriha the Quran and Sunnah, as he says {and judge them by what Allah has revealed}, and {said Obey Allah and obey the Messenger}.

2. The right of the nation to choose the government and power, choice free directly, as the Almighty said, and ordered them to counsel them}, as Umar told him (the emirate Shura among Muslims), and the pledge of allegiance to the authority of the pledge of allegiance to the satisfaction and choice without coercion or force, of the nation or represented true of deputies and Arafaúha representative, he said, peace be upon him (O people, I do not know who bless you who are not satisfied Varjawa even raise us Arafaakm commanded), and as Omar said in his speech – as in Bukhari – (from the oath of allegiance to a man without Shura Muslims do not sell them to him and who pledged allegiance Taken in to kill), and that was all the minutes of the Companions consensus was categorically agree with the book and the Sunnah.

3. The right of the nation in the Shura Council in all its affairs, with no text in it, not the government cut a general order in domestic and foreign affairs, and does not issue regulations and decisions only with the consent of the nation and Houraha, through his representative it represented a real Shura Council representative-elect freely, and refer to the people of competence in the specialty, as he says {and} go ahead it.

4. The right of the nation through its representative control of public funds revenue and spending, and the government is taking and ministers unless imposed by their nation of salaries and allowances, they are entrusted with the power and wealth, the Secretariat of the nation in their hands {God commands that trusts to their owners, and if you are going among the people you judge with justice}, and said God bless him and for the emirate and the state (it’s Secretariat), and do not have to be exercised in trade during the discharge of their duties in managing state affairs, as companions did with Abu Bakr, the first day he took the caliphate, they said (Suppose you from the house of money is enough for you and your household), and the policy of age (from where did you get this) with both took public office.

5. separation of powers, the executive, legislative, judicial and financial institutions, as did the Caliphs, was Abu Bakr, the first of the separation of powers, he chose the life of the judiciary, and chose Abu Obeida the house money, to ensure justice to the fullest in the judiciary and tender, and the nation from behind everyone through deputies hold them accountable and watched and Tsddhm, as in modern Allegiance (to the right and we are not afraid in God to anybody as long), and also said Abu Bakr (if done well Voaenoni though mispronounce Vqmona).

6. Ensure the independence of the judiciary and ensure its comprehensiveness and referentiality legitimate, and not subject to the executive administratively or financially, and inflict all departments to investigate and bodies of justice for the judiciary, and the right of appeal and litigation for all before the courts in each case, as he says {If you judge between people you judge with justice} and the implementation of the provisions on everyone, he said, peace be upon him (Ochwa in the limits of God and God, if that Fatima girl Mohammed stolen to cut off her hand, but your family came before you that if they stole them Sharif left him and if it is stolen including a weak set up by the limit).

7. Maintenance rights and public and private freedoms, Vllba right to enjoin what is good, and the call to the good, and the rejection of injustice, and the gap to the right, as he says {I am not of a nation claiming to do good enjoin right and forbid what is evil}, and as he says {Allah loves not speak evil of say only the injustice}, and also in the modern (if the right holder an article), and giving advice to the authority and the public alike as in the modern (debt advice .. and leaders of the Muslims and their common folk), and the right to meet in mosques and public and private places for consultation in the affairs of the nation, as Muslims was doing at the time of the Caliphs, nothing prohibits which has permitted God, and thus are not to be legitimate, but it, such as ordering the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

8. Respect for human rights and dignity, as he says {We have honored the sons of Adam}, and maintenance of liberty, he said Farouk (When did you enslave people were born free), and to ensure the financial rights, securing his living as in modern (from left both Valley Ali) and ensure the rights of justice, there is no crime and no punishment without text {those limits God is not Tatduha}, and paid the penalty of the compromise (Adraua border suspicions), the origin of the human innocence discharged, nor imprisoned man without a face right, and does not count the recognition under duress, as he prayed God be upon him (raising my ummah for mistakes and forgetting what they are forced upon him), as Umar said (Man is not the same Secretary of the jailed or beaten or Odjath that recognizes the same as not doing), and prohibits the use of torture, as in the correct (if your blood and Ibharkm haram you).

9. protect individual freedoms and privacy in their homes, and their meetings, and their contacts, and do not spy on them, or the violation of their sanctities, as he says {not} spied.

10. Returns Amosobh grievances and rights to their owners, as in the modern (not to sweat unjust right), is not waived the rights of limitations, and repeal the unfair and revocation provisions, and compensation of the damage as much as for the right of damage.

11. achieve justice, equality and equal opportunities for all, in public office, and before the courts, and in all that is shared by all, without distinction of any kind, as he says {believers are brothers}, and said peace be upon him (Muslims commensurate with blood), he prayed God him (people are equal no preferred Arabic to non-Arab nor white on black only piety).

And promoting the role of women in society, and promote the positive role, and approve all their legitimate rights, political, social, economic, scientific and professional, as stated in the modern (women are the sisters of men).

12. humans care, as he says {We have honored the sons of Adam}, and development capabilities of scientific and physical, psychological and spiritual skills, and create opportunities for him, according to his talents, by making a priority to spend on education and the development of curricula, at all levels, and take care of universities, institutes and research centers, and through attention to mosques and educational role, moral and social, and care in hospitals and health care.

13. carry the message of Islam to the world, and an invitation to him, in every way, in word and deed, and to promote the status of scholars, scientists and advocates, and to provide whatever help them carry out their responsibilities, in a statement of science and publication, advocacy and communicated {Invite to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching}, and the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice {I am not of a nation claiming to do good and enjoin}, and the promotion of moral values ​​(was sent to complete morals), and the protection of the family and young people, and to promote science, culture and knowledge, and care in the Arabic language and literature, connecting the nation to their religion and faith, identity, history and culture.

14. Development of Awqaf and take care of it, and not infringed upon, or confiscated, or cashed in non-banks, for their role in the service of society and civil institutions.

15. field open for civil society to do whatever activity he needs, whether politically or professionally, culturally, or a jurist, by allowing the establishment of gatherings advocacy, charities, trade unions, political organizations, and all the work needed to the community to achieve it, as he says {and cooperated righteousness and piety} and {those saying Hezbollah but Hezbollah are the successful}.

16. development of economic resources and development and conservation, and investment of natural resources, and the reconstruction of the Earth {brought you forth from the land and Astamrkm}, and diversify sources of income, and the distribution of wealth equitably for all regions and groups, and mainstream development, roads, transportation and service projects in all areas, as Umar said (and God if an animal found in Iraq for fear that God did not ask me about the way I worship her).

17. protection of private property, and the maintenance of public funds to the nation {money that God made you standing}, and enjoyment by all public utilities, and their participation in natural resources in the pasture and water, roads and energy, as in the modern (people partners in the three water and pasture and Fire).

18. residential, agricultural and pastoral land protection, no fever, but God and His Messenger, as Umar said (no fever, but God and His Messenger, and Allah it to land them fought in ignorance and they converted to Islam, and Allah does not Ebel charity is protected from land Shubra), and secure residential care for every family and the distribution of land to everyone equally, and not to feudalism a thing of the land unlawfully, make revival of the land commons for all, he said, peace be upon him (from the revived land Muata it to him), but the power function to organize this right to equality between the deserving, and opportunities for everyone to invest in natural resources, and every economic activities, according to the law regulating it among the beneficiaries, and the jurisdiction of the bodies before watching it.

19. provide employment opportunities, and to encourage the private sector to be found, and to facilitate investment in the interior.

20. Industry care and development, technology transfer and indigenization, and encourage domestic and foreign investment, and to provide facilities to them, and the establishment of scientific studies and research centers, vocational training, and all that would achieve the strength of the nation scientifically, politically, economically and militarily {and prepared them what you can of power}, and Modern (strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak) insured ..

21. Maintenance of the rule of the nation, the state and its independence from any external influence, and power setting, and attention to the army, and to strengthen its military capabilities, to face external threats, as he says {and prepared them what you can of power, including horse monks the enemy of Allah and your enemy}.

22. promote unity and union between the countries of the Islamic world, and promote the integration of political, economic and military with him and cooperation, to gain access to the full meaning unity {and this is your nation one}, the verse and the rope of Allah and do not dispersed}, to regain the whole nation and its unity, sovereignty and succession in the land of the new as he says {God promised you who believe and do good deeds for the land Istkhalvenhm}.

23. lend a helping hand for each Islamic country is exposed to external aggression, and defend it, and help people, and Igatth saying to God’s peace be upon him (Muslim brother does not oppress him nor betray him nor forsake him).

24. reject any foreign aggression against any Islamic country, and the right of the nation to resist reported aggression, and the liberalization of its territory, as he says {Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you not transgress}, and the District of the Zionist entity, and refused to deal with him, and to work for the liberation of the land of Palestine, and retrieval of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and ensure the right of the Palestinian people, the Diaspora by reference to the land, and statehood, and to reject any agreements or treaties through which the waiver of any rights of the nation or an inch of its land or interests, and non-recognition of those treaties.

25. establish relations with the countries of the world and its peoples on the basis of the values ​​and principles of Islam, and to achieve justice and interest and cooperation with them on what to achieve the good of humanity, and the rejection of all forms of injustice and aggression, and the support of oppressed peoples, and provide relief to the affected people, he said the Almighty, and say to the people Well}, in Modern (O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and made it forbidden amongst you, do not oppress one another), and in the modern right is championing the oppressed and ATD, and take advantage of human civilization and development, science and knowledge, and mechanisms and tools, and contribute to, and benefited the age of administrative systems and the codification of the offices of the Persians and Romans, Pursuant to the right to speak (you know things your world) ..

This is the vision (Party of Islamic nation) for political reform in accordance with the origins of speech Rashidi, as is true for the government, which is committed to doing it (adult Government), is obligatory for the whole nation and its people, and in every state, the work of these assets as possible, as the right to speak ( What I commanded him they brought it what you will), and the party reach out to anyone who wants reform whether partial reform or completely, as he says {virtue, righteousness and piety}, legitimate policy is all the work of the nation him closer to righteousness and justice, including corruption and injustice, God bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and him.

Umma Islamic Party

Why the Open Disagreement Between NATO and Canadian Def. Dept. Over Claims That Russian Jets Are Still Buzzing War Ships In Black Sea?

Date modified:
2015-03-14

Recent articles from the Ottawa Citizen question whether Russian military aircraft followed HMCS Fredericton in the Black Sea. These stories also allege that claims about HMCS Fredericton being trailed by a Russian naval vessel are unsubstantiated.

As the Minister of National Defence has said, there have been a number of interactions between the Russian Federation and the NATO fleet in the Black Sea.

One such incident occurred on March 6 when the aircraft passed within 500 feet overhead. This was the second air interaction during this deployment.

In addition, on March 5, a confirmed Russian military intelligence vessel trailed HMCS Fredericton at a distance of 6 km in direct response to it being there.

Such encounters have not been uncommon. Last October, during the deployment of HMCS Toronto in the Black Sea, the ship was circled by one Russian surveillance plane and two fighter jets.

Canada continues to stand with NATO allies in Eastern Europe.

Contacts

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: (613) 996-2353
Toll-Free: 1 866 377-0811

NATO disputes warships incident in Black Sea

the star phoenix  saskatoon

The federal government has ratcheted up its war of words over Ukraine, with the parliamentary defence secretary claiming Russian warships confronted a Canadian frigate in the Black Sea.

NATO officials, however, say no such thing happened.

James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney, told the House of Commons this week: “Since arriving in the Black Sea, Royal Canadian Navy sailors have been confronted by Russian warships and buzzed by Russian fighter jets.”

Kenney also repeated the claim the next day, stating that a Russian jet buzzed the Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton at low altitude.

But NATO officials say the frigate, part of a NATO naval task group, was not buzzed and there was no confrontation.

The Russian vessels could be seen far off on the horizon, kilometres away.

Russian aircraft had flown over the task group at high altitudes and at one point a Russian surveillance aircraft got as close as 69 nautical miles (128 kilometres) from the ships, NATO said.

U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Williamson, commander of the maritime group, said at another point two Russian ships were spotted in the distance. The Russians followed all regulations required of vessels in international waters, NATO added.

NATO officials said the encounter wasn’t unusual and if Russian ships showed up on Canada’s coasts, the Royal Canadian Navy would have followed similar procedures for keeping an eye on foreign vessel traffic.

The NATO ships are in the region to send a message to Russia’s government about its annexation of Crimea and activities in Ukraine.

Ukrainians have been fighting each other for the past year, with government troops battling rebels who want to separate. Russia has provided support to the separatist forces and Canada and NATO have accused Russia of sending troops and equipment to support the separatists.

Canada has been one of the most vocal nations condemning Russia’s action. Some former Canadian diplomats have suggested the government’s position on Ukraine is aimed at winning votes from Ukrainian-Canadians in the federal election this year.

Kenney’s statement is not the first time the government has made claims of Russian aggression against Canada.

In 2010, the Conservatives warned that Russian aircraft had significantly increased their attempts to enter Canadian airspace. But the North American Aerospace Defence Command released statistics showing most Russian patrols were near U.S. air space and were considered routine.

“coalition who claim to be combating the takfiri scheme are not honest.”

Hezbollah deputy chief slams anti-ISIS coalition

daily star LEB

Hezbollah’s deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem. (File/The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah’s deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem Friday blasted the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, accusing Washington and partner countries of creating the militant group.

“We hear the world wants to confront ISIS because it represents takfiri terrorism. Who created ISIS? Those who want to fight [ISIS] are the ones who raised and funded ISIS,” Qassem told a local prize distributing ceremony.

His comments came in a statement released by Hezbollah Friday.

Qassem said the U.S. has provided ISIS with weapons and training “starting from Afghanistan all the way to Syria and Iraq.”

Gulf countries, on the other hand, according to the Hezbollah official, “paid a lot of money to make them [ISIS] strong in order to [carry out acts of] sabotage in their name and on behalf of America.”

“And Israel opened hospitals [to ISIS casualties]; and contact between takfiris in Syria’s Qunaitra and Israel is constantly ongoing, uninterrupted, because they are part of this scheme,” Qassem said.

“Therefore, those from the [U.S.-led] coalition who claim to be combating the takfiri scheme are not honest.”

He said the world today was witnessing a confrontation between two schemes: the resistance scheme which is honest, sincere and divine; and the scheme led by the U.S. and Israel, which seeks to plunge men into destruction at all intellectual, political and economic levels.

“God willing, victory shall be the resistance’s,” Qassem added.

POLL–US Trust In Government and Its Lapdog Media Flatline

[There is a simple explanation for this trend…Most Americans have learned the hard way that government and US media only deal in lies. Government officials spoon-feed us the lies in “soundbite” format, while media expands upon govt. lies, fleshing-out the fabricated details of the latest “news” that they want us to believe. Neither can be trusted, yet the govt. keeps on making even bigger mistakes on our behalf, while the media creates the false narrative that is used to steer us all away from any real truth. We need citizens investigative committees to out the liars and correct the false “history” that they have been able to construct.]

US trust in govt, media at record low – poll

Russia-Today
Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

Americans are less confident in the government than ever before and consider it a bigger problem than the economy and unemployment, according to a comprehensive social survey for 2014 and a just-released Gallup poll.

Only 10 percent of Americans consider the nation’s job situation to be the top problem. Eleven percent are most worried about the economy, according to a Gallup poll published Thursday. Meanwhile, 18 percent say the government is the biggest problem the country is facing.

‘Analysis of the General Social Survey for 2014,’ published Wednesday by the Associated Press, indicates that confidence in the government is at an all-time low. Only 11 percent of adult Americans interviewed had high confidence in the executive branch, and a record-high 44 percent said they had “hardly any confidence at all.”

AP-NORC Center and GSS

AP-NORC Center and GSS

Confidence in the US Supreme Court is at 23 percent, while only five percent are confident in Congress. Both are historical lows since the GSS survey was first conducted in 1972 by the NORC Center for Public Affairs at the University of Chicago.

While confidence in the White House tends to vary depending on party affiliation, the new survey reveals that confidence among Democrats decreased from 25 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2014.

Over half of Americans express hardly any confidence at all, while only 7 percent of Democrats, 5 percent of independents and 3 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in Congress,” said the analysis by AP and NORC.

Though confidence in the US military is dropping, it remains above 50 percent.

AP-NORC Center and GSS

AP-NORC Center and GSS

Trust in the media is low as well. Only seven percent of Americans polled have a large amount of confidence, while 44 percent have hardly any at all. Only three percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats have a lot of confidence in the press. Only one in 10 Americans has a lot of confidence in television.

While only 10 percent are confident in organized labor, more Americans trust banks and financial institutions than before – 15 percent now, up from an all-time low of 11 percent in 2010. Only 10 percent have a lot of confidence in organized labor.

Not everything seems bleak, however. Thursday’s Gallup poll showed that 31 percent of Americans are satisfied with the country’s direction – a small drop from 33 percent during the 2012 presidential campaign. The all-time low was seven percent during the financial crisis in 2008, and the all-time high was in February 1999, during the dot-com boom.

Gallup polled 1,025 adults between March 5-8. The General Social Survey was based on interviews with a representative sample of 2,538 adults, conducted between March and October 2014.

Yemeni Houthi Leader Blasts Saudis for Bringing-In “al-Qaeda” To Justify US Intervention and Hegemony

[SEE: Yemen dialogue “likely” to take place abroad: JMP spokesman]

Houthi leader accuses Gulf states of backing al Qaeda in Yemen

Reuters

SANAA(Reuters) – The head of Yemen’s Houthis accused Gulf Arab states on Tuesday of supplying weapons and funds to Islamist militants, in an effort to create an environment in the southern part of the country where al Qaeda could flourish.

Speaking in a speech broadcast on al-Maseerah television, a media outlet of Ansarullah, the Houthi political wing, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also accused unnamed parties of recruiting al Qaeda militants from abroad to justify a Western operation to occupy Yemen.

“Is there a just and equitable position for Gulf Arab states toward the Yemeni people?” Abdel-Malek said in the speech.

“Is there any position other than to send support, money and weapons, to the takfiri elements, and to facilitate the atmosphere for al Qaeda in the southern provinces,” he added, using an Arabic expression to describe Sunni Muslim militants.

Yemen, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has been in turmoil since protests in 2011 forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The turmoil worsened in September when the Shi’ite Houthi captured Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, a move that Gulf states condemned as a coup.

The Houthi then took over the presidential palace in Sanaa and put President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi under house arrest, forcing him and his government to resign. Hadi has since fled to Aden and reclaimed the presidency, a move welcomed by Gulf states, who have shifted their embassies to the southern city.

Most of the Gulf states are enemies of al Qaeda, and several have taken part in U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and in Syria.

Abdel-Malek also denounced the Sunni Islamist Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the party had been working with unnamed parties “to recruit takfiris from abroad”.

“Our country, Yemen, is at the forefront of countries that are being targeted by takfiri forces,” to justify extending Western hegemony over the country.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa and Ali Abdelaty in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Larry King)

Bemoaning the Human Tragedy of Syria, Without Blaming Obama For It

[The US military has created so many new wars throughout the region that it should have fully absorbed the lessons of those wars by now, in particular, the grieveous human cost of ill-advised, or outright foolish military adventurism. Unleashing tnunamis of war refugees is a bi-product of all war, contingencies should have been prepared years ago (before starting new wars) to humanely deal with the refugees in surrounding countries. Blaming any of this upon ISIS should be unacceptable since it was the US/Saudi sponsorship of Islamists within Syria that created the monster in the first place. The ISIS/refugee problems which arose offer proof that the Pentagon either suffers from a total lack of foresight or the slightest degree human compassion. It is no wonder that so many returning war vets suffer from PTSD. Any legislation passed to deal with the refugee crisis now, should have already been enacted after the first regime-change disaster in Iraq, or before the consecutive disasters in Libya, Syria, Yeman, and Ukraine (?).]

npr
Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light compared to four years ago.

Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light compared to four years ago.  Zein al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images

 

The conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year, and two new reports suggest it just keeps getting worse for civilians there.

One United Nations agency says life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years in the once-developed nation, while another new study based on nighttime satellite imagery finds that, in the past four years, 83 percent of the country’s lights have gone off.

And that’s just the average, says Michael Klosson, vice president for policy at aid group Save the Children. In areas like Aleppo, where much of the populace has fled and infrastructure has been pulverized, researchers found that light has been reduced as much as 97 percent.

Klosson says he thinks the satellite images illustrate that the hopes for Syria’s children — his aid group’s focus — are darkening.

“You’ve got 5.5 million kids who need humanitarian assistance — that’s equivalent to the population of the entire state of Maryland,” he says. “That’s a lot of kids in need.”

Meanwhile the U.N. report says life expectancy has fallen from nearly 76 years to under 56 in Syria, that the nation’s education system has collapsed and that the country is descending into poverty.All that despite a UN Security Council resolution passed last year to open up aid routes. Activists say it’s had little impact.

“The U.N. and the world have failed, and things have gotten worse for civilians,” says Gawain Kripke, director of policy and research at Oxfam America. “Our ability to provide assistance has been limited, and there are more people in places that are hard to reach now, than there were before the U.N. took action.”

Aid groups can’t get to about 4.8 million people in Syria, Kripke says, 2.5 percent higher than in 2013. The rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State certainly plays a role, but Kripke says Washington has been too focused on that.

“We’re spending a lot of time, money and resources focusing on parts of the problem — like ISIS — but it’s not a comprehensive solution to the conflict,” he says. “And it’s ignoring the suffering that’s going on.”

The problem is so enormous — former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday said, “What is happening on the ground in Syria is a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe of the first order” — that some worry people may decide it’s a lost cause.

“It has the danger of people switching off, because it’s hard to imagine what can be done,” says Nigel Pont, who is stationed in Beirut for Mercy Corps. “While we are not able to put an end to this war, and while we can’t alleviate everyone’s suffering, we are able to help millions of people a year.”

Save the Children’s Klosson also worries that the world’s attention is shifting away, and is urging the U.S. and other world powers to step up humanitarian assistance and work harder to find a solution the conflict.

“That’s how you get the lights back on,” he says.

Dumb-Ass Republican Leadership Frothing At the Mouth For MORE WAR!

[SEE:  Half of the US Senate Publicly Undermines and Embarasses the President of the United States (Cotton and 46 Fellow Senators to Send Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran)]

GOP’s New Foreign Policy Hero Is a Surveillance-Loving Interventionist Nightmare

reason

In soviet America, Cotton picks you! |||
Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton wants to invade Iran and Syria, jail journalists and whistleblowers, eavesdrop on Americans, and keep the ‘savages’ locked up in Gitmo.

Matt Welch

He’s “the star of the 2014 Senate class,” proclaims The Washington Post. A “conservative superstar,” deems The Atlantic. The “leading GOP national security hawk,” says The Washington Post again. Even a “dark horse” 2016 candidate for president, says The New Republic. So just who exactly is the new letter-writing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee, and what does his prominence say about the contemporary GOP?

Beyond being a Harvard-educated Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol’s biggest new political protégé, and also a target of sustained affection from National Review, Cotton is a politician who has already taken plenty of policy positions. Among them:

* That the U.S. should pre-emptively invade Iran, topple the mullahs, and ensure “replacement with [a] pro-western regime.”

* That “we should be proud for the way we treated these savages at Guantanamo Bay,” and that “the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is that there are too many empty beds.”

* That we should keep at least 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the forseeable future to finally get the job done there.

* That the U.S. should deploy ground troops against ISIS.

* That President Barack Obama should have taken “decisive, effective military action” against Syria after the regime crossed the administration’s “red line” in 2013.

* That the National Security Agency needs to be able to collect bulk metadata on unsuspecting Americans, because “Folks, we are at war. You may not like that truth … Do not take this tool away from our warriors on the front lines.”

* That Edward Snowden is a “traitor.”

* That defense spending needs to be jacked up: “We need to restore money not only cut by the sequester but the $1 trillion [reduced before that].”

* That, “Far from restraining the use of drones […] through unwise and unconstitutional mechanisms, we should continue and probably expand their use in our war against radical Islam.”

* That Iraq was a “just and noble war.”

* That, concerning pre-emptive military intervention, “George Bush largely did have it right, that we can’t wait for dangers to gather on the horizon, that we can’t let the world’s most dangerous people get the world’s most dangerous weapons, and that we have to be willing to defend our interests and the safety of our citizens abroad even if we don’t get the approval of the United Nations.”

* That ending President Barack Obama’s negotiations with Iran “is very much an intended consequence” of Cotton’s efforts in the Senate; “a feature, not a bug.”

* That, concerning the Obama administration’s November 2013 agreement with Iran in Geneva, “I fear that future generations may view what happened in Geneva as we have viewed Munich for 75 years. What makes this moment worse is that the West appeased Hitler at Munich out of fear and weakness. President Obama capitulated at Geneva even though we were in a position of strength given the sanctions regime. One can only imagine the thinking behind this grievous, historic mistake.”

Cotton first came to prominence as an Army lieutenant in Iraq in 2006, when he wrote a soon-to-be-viral open letter to then-New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau criticizing the paper’s investigative piece about administration efforts to disrupt terrorist financing. The letter closes with a desire to see the journalists deprived of their freedom:

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others — laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

It is no wonder that neoconservatives such as Washington Free Beacon founder Michael Goldfarb wish “there were 20 Tom Cottons.” The open question, as it pertains to the new GOP majority, is whether Goldfarb is correct in his assessment that “At the end of the day, the Republican base is for bombing bad people.”

 

Kerry Denies Obvious US Destabilization/Civil War Agenda

Kerry Re-writes History of U.S. Support for Color Revolutions

strategic culture foundation

Wayne MADSEN | 06.03.2015 | 00:00

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry either has a blind spot when it comes to the last 15 years of U.S. foreign policy or he told a big whopping lie in Geneva. Kerry, in defining U.S. action in Ukraine, said that «We [the United States] are not involved in multiple color revolutions». Someone in Kerry’s position should know better. After all, he is not only the chief foreign policy officer of the United States but he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the committee from the very outset of America’s «themed» or «color» revolutions, beginning with the October 5th Revolution, which overthrew Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

The chief of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, correctly said that the United States is funding Russian opposition groups and using sanctions over Ukraine to promote civil society discontent leading to a color revolution in Russia. The alarming record of U.S. support for color revolutions around the world speaks for itself.

What is even more galling about Kerry’s denial of U.S. operations aimed at overthrowing various governments is that it was he who chaired a series of hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1989 on the covert Central Intelligence Agency war to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. In 25 years, Kerry has gone from a firebrand opponent of CIA coup d’état and destabilization operations to a consummate cover-up artist for these activities.

After the overthrow of Milosevic in 2000 in a street protest-turned-revolution that followed the Gene Sharp/CIA manual to the tee and which was backed by the granddaddy of all NGO protest groups, OTPOR!, there were some 20 themed revolutions in rapid succession. These were followed by the «Arab Spring» themed revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Soros and his NGOs’ fingerprints were found on smaller attempted revolutions from Honduras to Maldives. OTPOR personnel were even dispatched to some of these countries, courtesy of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to assist in the fomenting of rebellion.

 

Mr. Kerry says Washington was not involved in «multiple color revolutions». Why did he use the term «multiple color revolutions?» Because there has been repeated U.S. support for multiple color revolutions as the following list attests:

The United States supported the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Olive Tree Revolution in Palestine (that saw Hamas come to power and effectively split the Palestinian independence movement), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Purple Revolution in Iraq (that saw a Shi’a-dominated government friendly to Iran come to power, spelling the end of the unified Iraqi state), Blue Revolution in Kuwait, Saffron Revolution in Burma (one that was crushed by the military) and the Crimson Revolution in Tibet (put down by the Chinese security forces), and the abortive Green Revolution in Iran. There were also attempted themed revolutions in Moldova (the Grape Revolution), Mongolia (the Yellow Revolution, which was partially successful), Uzbekistan (the Cotton Revolution), the autonomous Russian Republic of Bashkortostan (Orange Revolution), Ecuador (the Police Revolution), Bolivia (the Gas Revolution in the four secessionist natural gas-producing provinces), and Belarus (the Denim Revolution).

Not to be omitted is the Orange Democratic Movement’s uprising in Kenya, one that saw thousands murdered before the Orange movement’s leader Raila Odinga became Prime Minister in a power-sharing government. These color revolutions were followed by the U.S. – and Soros – supported Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, the Lotus Revolution in Egypt, the Twitter Revolution in Syria, and the uprising in Yemen. From the Middle East, the revolution engineers set out to attempt themed coups in Maldives (Yellow Revolution), Indonesia (the ill-fated «Sandal Revolution»), and the «Pots and Pans Revolution in Venezuela. Soros’s “Yellow Revolution” government in Maldives was ousted in a counter-coup by the vice president and police.

After the CIA-engineered coup against the democratically-elected president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya in 2009, the military-backed junta received the support of the wealthy elites who marched in the streets in support of the junta and adopted the color white in support of the military-installed president Roberto Micheletti. What did then-Senator Kerry say about that themed coup, the first carried out by the Obama administration? Kerry supported Zelaya’s goal of returning to power because Zelaya was the democratically-elected president of Honduras. Today, Kerry does not support the return of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to power in Kiev even though he too was democratically-elected and forced out unconstitutionally. When the Law Library of the U.S. Congress concluded that Zelaya’s removal was unconstitutional, it was Senator Kerry who demanded that the finding be reversed. Surely, Mr. Kerry learned the meaning of the word «hypocrite» while attending Yale and Boston College.

The history of U.S. support for themed revolutions continued well after the Arab Spring. After the second Ukrainian themed revolution against the Yanukovych presidency, the so-called «Euromaidan Revolution,» there were also attempted themed uprisings in Russia (the «Blue Bucket Revolution») and Macedonia.

There is no way on earth that Kerry can deny the themed color nature of U.S.-funded uprisings. As first seen with the Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004, which was most definitely a Soros- and CIA-funded revolution that denied presidential winner Yanukovych the presidency and installed pro-U.S. Viktor Yushchenko and the corrupt Yulia Tymoshenko into power, flags and orange banners were ubiquitous on Kiev’s Central Square. In the most recent Ukrainian «Euromaidan» revolution, revealed by America’s bread-distributing maven of European affairs, Victoria Nuland, to have cost the U.S. taxpayers $5 billion, factory fresh red and black Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) flags appeared on Kiev’s Central Square, renamed Maidan Square, and throughout Kiev.

In the NED- and USAID-financed themed revolutions in Libya and Syria, factory-fresh flags of the former regimes, the King Idris regime of Libya and post-colonial and pro-French «Syrian Republic,» respectively, appeared practically overnight on the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli, as well as Aleppo, Homs, and Damascus. The old Kingdom of Libya standard is now the national flag of the dysfunctional “Republic of Libya,” which is split between rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk. In the case of Syria, the pre-Assad flag is now used by the Salafist-allied Free Syrian Army and is recognized as the flag of Syria by the United States, NATO, and the European Union.

China has not been immune to the American color revolutions. China’s defenses against such operations were tested first in Tibet and most recently in Hong Kong. Soros’s daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel, is the founder and president of the Trace Foundation and the co-founder, along with her husband, of the Tsadra Foundation. Both organizations directly support the Tibetan government-in-exile and their fingerprints were on the 2008 bloody rebellion in Tibet. Soros’s OSI Burma Project/Southeast Asia also had its fingerprints on the 2007 Buddhist monks’ rebellion in Burma, the so-called Saffron Revolution, the same theme applied to the Tibetan uprising in 2008. In 2011, a call went out for a Jasmine Revolution from the U.S.-based Chinese-language website Boxun.com.

The color revolution concept was on display in Calgary, Alberta where Conservative Naheed Nenshi, a Shi’a Ismaili, rode into the mayor’s office in a so-called «Purple Revolution». While not a coup, the elevation of Nenshi was heralded as a great «multicultural» success for an otherwise xenophobic and racist political party. Nenshi made no secret of his support for the Keystone XL pipeline and his disdain for the First Nation treaties that govern Ottawa’s relations with native tribal territories. Nenshi and his Conservatives are now trying to abrogate treaties with the First Nations and seize their hydrocarbon resources, something that is akin to a coup d’état against tribal sovereignty.

Kerry’s entire State Department top echelon has supported color revolutions under the Obama administration’s R2P (Responsibility to Protect) rubric since 2009. Many of the interventionists, including Nuland, her human rights point man Thomas Melia, and Jeffrey Feltman (now the Political Undersecretary General under UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after having served as the chief point man for the Arab Spring at the State Department) are either holdovers from the discredited George W. Bush administration or well-known neo-conservative political hacks. They are joined by the «neo-liberal» R2P architects, most notably national security adviser Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power.

John Kerry claims there has been no U.S. support for multiple color revolutions. Mr. Kerry should be sent Crayola’s 64 crayon pack as a reminder that there has been at least that number of color revolutions either hatched or planned by the United States since the October 5th Revolution in Belgrade.

Is Human Compassion Weakness In A World Ruled By Psychopathy?

Beyond Insanity

seren6

By Amos M. Gunsberg

We used to call them psychopaths — these creatures that appear on our planet physically in human form, but are not human beings.

We noted they are amoral. That should have given us a clue.

We noted they do not FEEL feelings. That should have instructed us.

We noted they are heartless. That should have set off the alarm.

These creatures lack elements which distinguish the human being. They exhibit no connection with, no understanding of what we call “morality,” “honesty,” “decency,” “fair play,” etc. They lack the faculty we call empathy. They lack the faculty we call introspection.

Mankind has spent centuries trying to make sense of these creatures as some form of human being. All in vain. Not only in vain, but at enormous on-going cost to our civilization. These creatures are not human beings gone wrong. They are a different species … dedicated to the murder of human values … as a prelude to the murder of human beings … e.g., the tactics used by Nazis, past and present.

They laugh at us. They say: “No one understands us. People can’t put themselves in the minds of men who act without a conscience. They try to understand, but they can’t.”

These creatures do not THINK human. They do not SPEAK human. They do not know what it is to BE human.

We classify them as “humanoid.”

Yes, they have human form. If we manage to resist their onslaught long enough, we will eventually develop technical scanning equipment which will measure how different they are from human beings, despite their similarity of form.

In the meantime, the quality of our lives … and often our very lives … depends on our recognizing these creatures for what they are, and taking steps to neutralize their attempts to destroy us.

EVIDENCE OF HUMANOID BEHAVIOR

They make pronouncements without substantiation. To them, these pronouncements represent what reality is … pronouncement by pronouncement. The present pronouncement may contradict what they said a moment ago. This means nothing to them. They make no attempt to deal with the contradiction.

They demonstrate a total lack of understanding what we mean by a “fact.” In their writings and in their speech, they do not use that word.

We humans find this hard to believe. The use of facts is such a basic part of our lives. We base our conclusions and our actions on them. We go on from there to test things and establish more facts. When we debate, we present facts, and show how we derive our observations and our positions from them.

Without facts, all we have is what we call “fantasy.”

Since these creatures have a human appearance, we assume they must think like us … be aware of what we are aware. We think they MUST know what facts are. When they don’t address the facts, we say they are playing a game. We think they do know what the facts are, but don’t want to admit it.

Not so! They DON’T know what a fact is. When we speak of facts and ask them to address the facts, they look at us with vacant eyes. They don’t know what we’re talking about.

They study us because their strategy is to pass as human. They hear us use the words — facts, evidence, substantiation. They lack the human capacity to understand what we mean. What they do is ignore our reference to facts, ignore our requests for them to supply facts, and hope we won’t notice it’s due to their lack of comprehension.

Let’s look at examples of what THEY use for what WE mean by “facts.”

The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (AAGT) held an open conference at which three “master” therapists worked with three volunteers. Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler published a critique entitled “BAD THERAPY” in which he cited examples not only of bad therapy, but also of systematic abuse of a volunteer by the “master” therapist. (The Interpsych Newsletter, Vol 2, Issue 9, Nov 95.) On their official Internet mail list (aagt@netride.com), members of the Association launched an attack on Dr. Schaler, culminating in their adoption of the slogan: “Saving Gestalt Therapy from Jeff Schaler,” used as the subject line in a discussion thread. Under this heading they “SAVED” Gestalt therapy by sending in e-mails labeling Jeff Schaler as “arrogant, snide, hair-splitting, nit-picking, disturbed, meanspirited, ranting, self-serving,” etc.

When asked how this labeling “SAVED” Gestalt therapy, they ignored the question. When asked in what way Gestalt therapy was endangered by Jeff Schaler, they ignored the question.

It became clear they thoroughly believed their pronouncements erased not only the evidence presented but also erased Jeff Schaler himself. They “pronounced” him to be no longer in existence. For them, whatever they “declare” is what’s real. What WE call reality is not real to them. THEY “pronounce” what is to be considered real.

Here’s another example. I asked a psychotherapy client to look at a chair which was situated about six feet away near a wall. I then asked her to describe the chair. She did, in rather complete detail, except for the legs. THE CHAIR SHE DESCRIBED HAD NO LEGS!

I pointed this out, and asked how the chair could be suspended in air, with no legs to support it. She said: “I put it there.” I asked: “If you look away, will it fall to the floor?” She said: “No. If I look away, the chair is no longer there.” I asked: “If you look away … and it turns out the chair is still there?” She ignored the question.

Here’s another example. During a discussion on CD@maelstrom.stjohns.edu earlier this year, the statement was made: “If enough people believe something to be true, then what they believe is what reality IS.”

A question was then asked: “There was a time when everyone, as far as we know, believed the sun revolved around the earth. Are you saying at that time the sun did, in fact, revolve around the earth … and it was only in obedience to a change in what people believed that the earth came to revolve around the sun?”

The question was ignored.

You might think their refusals to answer constitute an admission … an admission what they are saying is totally outlandish and indefensible. Experience has shown you would be wrong. Experience has shown they go right on making the same statements, even after evidence is produced to the contrary.

You see how different these creatures are? You see how far off their thinking and behavior are from human thinking and behavior?

Nothing of what WE call reality is real to THEM.

I repeat.

Nothing of what we call reality is REAL to them.

When a human being mentions a chair, the reference is to a chair that sits there on its own legs. It’s there whether anyone sees it or not, whether anyone mentions it or not, whether anyone “declares” it to be there or not. It’s there ON ITS OWN.

A basic element in the profile of humanoids is their lack of comprehension that anything exists on its own, separate from their say-so. They don’t SEE it. The only objects humanoids see are the ones they “declare” … the ones they imagine.

We use the phrase “my perception” to mean an appraisal, a measurement of something separate from ourselves. We don’t announce it as “fact.” We are open to consider other views if given facts to consider.

Humanoids use the phrase “my perception” as a buzz word. They imagine what they choose, and tell us it is their “perception” … which, in their minds, ESTABLISHES reality. What we call “facts” do not exist for them. That’s why they whine and claim they are being attacked whenever substantiation is requested.

Humanoids claim their statements are valid simply because they make them!!! They elaborate on this: “I honor integrity in this regard. As an egoist, I make statements which are valid to me. Validity to my ‘self’ comes first. I grant other people this same respect assuming they say things valid to themselves.”

Among human beings, for something to be deemed valid it has to be substantiated with facts. Nothing is valid simply because someone says it.

When humanoids are asked how they determine what someone says is valid to that person, and not something made up or imagined, they ignore the question.

Note the strange use of the word “integrity.” Humans define integrity as uprightness of character; probity; honesty. We refer to sticking to the facts, sticking to the truth, not selling out. Humanoids use “integrity” to mean insisting what they imagine is what’s real. No measurement. No evaluation.

When the demand is made for their pronouncements to be evaluated, they claim the confronter is the one who has no integrity … meaning the confronter is not upholding THEIR position: what THEY imagine is what’s real.

On what basis do they claim this? Humanoids treat the world as if it were their own private holodeck. They “declare” things into being. Everything is a hologram. They program the holograms. They interact with them in any way they choose. They have them under total control. When they decide to cancel a hologram, it vanishes.

A hologram is a hologram is a hologram. A hologram is not supposed to have the ability to think for itself. A hologram is not supposed to have the ability to measure, evaluate, appraise, etc. Most importantly, a hologram is not supposed to be able to break out of its holographic state and critique its master.

When this does happen, they first chastise it to bring it back into line. If that doesn’t work, they “vanish” it. When that fails, they run for cover by abandoning the program and calling up another one.

Experience has shown no matter what we say, no matter what we point out, no matter how much evidence is given, it has no meaning for these creatures. They have one goal: to fool us into classifying them as human so they can concentrate on murdering our human values. Without human values, the next step is murdering human beings.

In the film “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” aliens are shown to be taking over by occupying the bodies of human beings. The aliens take over not only the physical body but also the mind, memories, abilities, etc. In every way the people seem to be the same as always, except for one thing. They mention events, but with no feeling of them or about them. THEY DO NOT FEEL FEELINGS.

We see a child struggling to get away from what appears to be its mother. The next day they walk hand-in-hand. The child has been taken over.

The lovers in the film try to stay awake so they won’t be taken over. She succumbs … and “she,” now a creature, tries to fool him. When she doesn’t fool him, she tries to betray him.

These creatures do not FEEL alive. They do not FEEL feelings. In order to pass as humans, they know they have to give the appearance of knowing they are alive. Their only recourse is to DECLARE they are alive.

The declaration does not produce the quality of FEELING alive. They still don’t FEEL feelings. The only thing they have to go on, to refer to, is their own declaration. If “declaring” is shown to be insufficient … if they are called upon to discuss feelings, give evidence of feelings, distinguish between feelings, etc., they are lost. Their inner emptiness is apparent. Their un-human status is exposed.

Here’s a final example. In the course of a discussion on psych-ci@maelstrom.stjohns.edu some time ago, a humanoid said: “You hurt my feelings.” The humanoid was asked to identify the exact statements, and explain in what way these statements caused hurt to what particular feelings. Answer: (Whining) “I’ve said you hurt my feelings. I don’t know what else to say. … You are attacking.”

Question: “In what way do you a consider a request for substantiation and clarification to be an attack?”

No answer.

AN OVERVIEW

Humanoids:

  1. Make pronouncements without substantiation. These pronouncements are to be accepted as defining what reality is . . moment by moment.
  2. Ignore requests to provide the basis for their pronouncements.
  3. Sneer at the human valuing of facts, honesty, decency, fair play.
  4. Applaud the use of lies, deceit, etc.
  5. Whine they are being “attacked” whenever they are questioned. Give no explanation of what the “attack” is or of what is being attacked.
  6. Do not FEEL feelings.
  7. View the world as their private holodeck.
  8. Apply themselves to keeping humans in their place — namely, insignificance.

FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Humanoids do not understand the distinction we humans make between good and evil. When they harm us, they do not understand why we call them evil. They do not understand why we have laws against murder. Their approach is to boast, even moralize over their victims.

Since they do not understand the reason for such laws, they argue they cannot be held accountable for their actions.

Not so. While they take the position the law does not apply to them, they do know the law was enacted to apply to everyone. Furthermore, if they try to claim they didn’t know there was such a law, we respond with a firmly established principle: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

When they use those arguments, they make it clear they will continue to operate in accordance with their structure. We may look for remorse (a human capacity). We find none. They do not think of themselves as promulgating evil. They are simply doing what it is in their structure to do. The rattlesnake does not think of itself as evil when it injects poison. It is simply doing what it is in its structure to do.

Experience has shown humanoids continue to behave in the ways of their species . . murdering human values as a prelude to murdering human beings. Nazis demonstrate this graphically.

The issue as to whether to hold them “accountable,” in our human sense of the word, has to be divided into two parts. We do not hold them accountable for BEING what they are. We do hold them accountable for the damage they DO.

When a dog gets rabies, we don’t hold the dog accountable for becoming rabid. What we do, as a matter of self-protection, is put the dog down BEFORE it bites us, BEFORE it infects us.

We do not hold the rattlesnake accountable for HAVING poison fangs. What we do, as a matter of self-protection, is kill the rattlesnake BEFORE it kills us.

So with the humanoid. We need to be on our guard at the first sign of a murder of human values.


Amos M. Gunsberg is a psychotherapist and trainer
of psychotherapists in New York City since 1950.
He is a founder of the School for Quality Being.

This article originally appeared in Volume 2, Issue 5, of PSYCHNEWS INTERNATIONAL.


Comment by Peter Meyer, 2006-07-24:

Here is a short list of the most obvious humanoids:

George W. Bush Donald Rumsfeld
Richard Cheney Tony Blair
Condoleezza Rice John Bolton
Ehud Olmert Tzipi Livni

Next time you hear them speaking note how they make pronouncements about how things are which are totally inconsistent with the way normal humans see things, and note how they state these things as if it were self-evident, as it is — to them, since they do not distiguish between reality and their ideas about reality. These individuals are insane.

Consider John (‘Mad Dog’) Bolton. On 2006-07-23 he was interviewed on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” and was asked to reply to the statement by Louise Arbour (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights) that the leaders of the Israeli government, by bombing and destroying the infrastructure of Lebanon and thereby killing hundreds of civilians (many of them children) and creating half a million civilian refugees, were possibly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and might later face criminal prosecution. In his reply Bolton totally ignored both the fact of Israel’s devastation of Lebanon’s infrastructure and the suggestion that the Israelis were committing crimes of any kind (according to his perverse logic they could not be doing this because the U.S. supports Israel and the U.S. does not — in his “reality” — condone crimes against humanity) and instead huffed about whether Arbour was acting improperly by (as he said) “threatening criminal charges based on press accounts.” Bolton is insane, appointed (despite congressional objections) as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. by a U.S. President who is also insane. Psychopaths, not merely among us, but in positions of power where they exercise huge influence and by their actions can cause the deaths of millions of people.

But that appears to be exactly their intention: to exterminate (or enslave) all humans — their “final solution”. The question is: Will the humans, like the European Jews in the 1940s, put up little resistance, and allow themselves to be slaughtered? There is now a major difference: We now know what they intend for us, so if they succeed we have only ourselves to blame. We would do well to heed the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller.

 

ATF Reconsiders .223 Ammo Ban, After Outpouring of Popular Outrage

March 10, 2015

Contact: Public Affairs Division

www.atf.gov

Notice to those Commenting on the Armor Piercing Ammunition Exemption Framework

Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are “primarily intended for sporting purposes” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C). The informal comment period will close on Monday, March 16, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as practicable.

Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.

Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ATF Seal United States Department of Justice

The system launches another major attack on Greece

The system launches another major attack on Greece

failed revolution
Special target: The popular acceptance of Tsipras administration
by system failure

 

The new narrative by the mainstream media in Greece and abroad, is that the coalition government of the Leftist party, SYRIZA, is actually fully retreated to the eurocrats and the German leadership when actually the opposite has happened. The propaganda is so intense that the Greek government officials find very difficult to tell the real stories behind every distortion. Only a tiny example, was the false information according to which the current FinMin, Yanis Varoufakis, was about to be replaced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Yannis Dragasakis, in the negotiations with the lenders. Several mainstream media implied that this was done after lenders’ demand, as Dragasakis is presented being more experienced and moderate. Dragasakis immediately denied it.
The target of this false information flow was double. The first target was to enhance the impression that the Greek government retreats in lenders’ demands not only in the level of the agreement terms, but also in the level of the choice of negotiators. The second target was to break the solid front inside the Greek government, which is being tested already by the Left platform, the section of MPs which are closer to the radical Left.
Not only the Greek government managed to take a four-month truce to prepare better for a Grexit, but it’s been done with totally different terms compared to the timeline that has been set for the “successful” completion of the Greek experiment. Remember, some key elements of the final schedule according to the experiment, was the sell-off of the public property in a Treuhand-type operation (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/04/official-merkel-wants-treuhand-for.html), the further shrinking of the minimum wage at 300 euros, and further reduction of pensions, as well as, social state. The system launched a propaganda war to help Samaras stay in power and complete the experiment, while Tsipras recently revealed the dirty war by the conservative powers in Europe to destabilize his government. (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/03/tsipras-european-conservative-forces.html)
The biggest achievement of the Varoufakis list (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/02/varoufakis-list-significant-for.html), is that contains a separate section related to the humanitarian crisis which means that the lenders officially accepted that the previous program actually failed. The government already proceeded in actions to vote a bill for the humanitarian crisis, vote for the re-opening of the public broadcaster (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/06/june-11-2013-neoliberal-dictatorship.html), while there are also some moves towards the audit of the public debt. Privatizations in major sectors like energy and water supply networks have been postponed.
Inside the new narrative, the system tries to pass the impression that the Troika has returned to Greece, which is quite far from reality. This picture of medium-level officials with the arrogant style, who were coming and telling ministers what to do, is finished. Most importantly, the officials of the new Greek government show that they know very well what’s been happening so far, and they will not tolerate such a situation anymore. A characteristic example, is a statement made by the current Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, in 2011, who revealed the real role of the Troika in Greece and was confirmed three years later by an official of Samaras administration: http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/03/official-troika-in-greece-serves.html
Now, three major questions come up from all this situation. First, why the lenders finally retreated in Greece’s new policy lines? Second, why they use such a type of propaganda, according to which the Greek government retreated, in the current moment? Third, who are the carriers of this propaganda??
The answer to the first question should be searched mostly among the political branch of the dominant system in Brussels. The most probable conclusion, is that the politicians deregulated the system to such an extent that in reality they have absolutely no clue what could happen in the case of a Greek “accident”. Most of the possibilities of a final default inside the eurozone appear to be disastrous for their plans, as well as, the case of a Grexit. Therefore, to keep the same intransigent stance against the unknown X, which is the current Greek government, would be a huge risk.
The answer to the second question, is obviously that they don’t want to signal to the rest of the eurozone members, who suffer from the cruel austerity measures, that they are going to retreat under pressure in case that a member will choose to reject their policies. Therefore, the only option would be to use a narrative according to which the Greek government is actually the one that has retreated. A part of this “operation” is the communicative game being played mostly by the Germans, who insist on the term Troika, especially when they give interviews and make statements to the mainstream media.
The answer to the third question, is that the main carriers are of course the mainstream media and the eurocrats who are completely controlled by the bankers and the lobbyists. Next to them, others who contribute to this propaganda are some market “anarchists” who have conveniently adjusted to the neoliberal domination and became hostile against any state taxation in the financial transactions, obviously because they make a lot of money. Also, there are some people who dogmatically stand against any government because they don’t understand that a new government is not necessarily attached to the system of power. This system may fiercely fight any government that is a threat to its interests. Finally, people from the radical Left adopt such a perception simply because they don’t believe in any compromise and consider every negotiation as a retreat.
So, the ultimate goal of the plutocrats, is to throw Tsipras administration into a kind of “hypnosis” and make it gradually and smoothly come closer to their lines, so that to be able to finish the experiment without risks. They use the necessary tools, blackmails (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/02/banksters-threaten-greece-through-ecb.html) and all kinds of tactics (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/02/euro-puppets-dirty-games-exposed.html). This is an operation that the dominant system actually started even before SYRIZA come to power (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/09/a-new-attempt-to-domesticate-left-in.html).
Meanwhile, they hope that the Greek government will be losing continuously its popularity in the Greek society because this is actually its strongest weapon. As long as the great majority of the Greek people show that they support government’s actions, and, as long as we are getting closer to the Spanish national elections with Podemos precede the polls, the propaganda will becoming wilder.
On the other side, Tsipras should take advantage of the four-month truce, build the necessary coalitions and prepare for Grexit. Things may become more clear after his visit to Moscow in May …

White House Blasts Senate Attempt To Undercut Obama Foreign Policy

Neocon push for ‘military option’ in Iran hurts US – White House

Russia-Today
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.(AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.(AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

The White House blasted Senate Republicans’ open letter to Iran on Monday, comparing it to “efforts of neocons in the previous administration” to prefer military options over diplomacy, thereby harming America’s standing in the world.

President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, said that regarding negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, congressional Republicans are “ready to fast-forward to the military approach before the diplomatic approach has been given the opportunity to succeed.” This is consistent with the pattern of foreign policy decisions the Republicans have made over the past two decades, he said.

Forty-seven Republican senators sent an open letter to the Iranian government Monday morning, claiming that any agreement would have to face ratification in Congress, and could be revoked by the next occupant of the White House “with the stroke of a pen.”

Earnest’s comments echoed an earlier statement by Senate minority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who pointed out that the failure of the talks would make a military response to Iran’s nuclear efforts more likely. He also said the Republican senators should “think twice about whether their political stunt is worth the threat of another war in the Middle East.”

The White House spokesman disagreed that an agreement with Iran would have to be subject to ratification in Congress, citing several instances of international “commitments” to prove his point, including treaties with Japan and the Republic of Korea about the stationing of US troops there. However, he explained the administration’s view that Congress would have the final word on lifting the sanctions if and when Iran lived up to the deal.

The Obama administration does not envision substantial sanctions relief until it sees a “demonstrated commitment” from Iran “for years” to accept “intrusive” inspections of nuclear facilities, factories, and uranium mines, Earnest said. If Iran somehow did not live up to the terms of the agreement, the White House would have a “full range of options on the table,” including the military option, he added.

The best way for us to resolve international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program is to get Iran’s own commitment to not develop a nuclear weapon,” Earnest told reporters. “The rush to war, to military option that Republicans are advocating, is not in the best interest of the US.”

Referring to the recent authorization to use military force, which Obama requested from Congress to wage war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Earnest pointed out that the “common thread” between that and the Iran situation is “a Republican Party that is eager to direct almost unlimited authority to the President of the United States to wage war, but to try to repeatedly tie his hands when he is trying to conduct diplomacy.”

Saudi King Reinforces Middle Eastern Sectarian Lines In the Sand

Saudi Arabia Consolidates its Alliance Against Iran

alakhbar

1243306A handout picture released by the Yemeni Presidency on February 28, 2015, shows President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, right, meeting Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Said Al-Jaber in Aden. AFP.

New Saudi king Salman bin Abdul Aziz is widely considered a hardliner, more hawkish than his predecessors on both domestic and foreign affairs, and his first few weeks in office have confirmed this reputation. He started off by getting his house in order, reassuring his American ally about the recent rejiggering of the royal hierarchy, ostensibly meant to pave the way for a new generation of leaders. He promoted the leaders of the kingdom’s counter-terrorism establishment, finding among them a new crown prince, a new deputy crown prince, and executives for various other administrations. And, after downsizing advisory circles throughout the royal court, he devoted himself to what Saudi Arabia calls “the blatant Iranian expansion” into the Saudi sphere of influence.

Salman offered a first glimpse of his policy toward Yemen and the Houthis by refusing to allow former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to attend King Abdullah’s funeral. Saudi Arabia did not appreciate the assistance Saleh gave the Houthis. By moving the Saudi embassy from Sanaa to Aden, and the subsequent relocation of other Gulf embassies, King Salman raised the level of confrontation with the Houthis and Iran.

The Gulf embassies were relocated shortly after the Western embassies closed their doors. This suggests that the US and its Saudi ally coordinated the decision. Saudi Arabia wants to change the rules of the game in Yemen, while the US wants to pressure Iran to speed up the signing of an agreement. The lead US nuclear negotiator, Wendy Sherman, said: “Whether or not a nuclear deal is reached, the United States will continue to voice its longstanding concerns about Iranian policies that undermine regional stability.” That statement was likely intended, first and foremost, to reassure Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The Saudis had given the green light to the Houthis to fight terrorism and undermine the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, but that policy no longer stands after recent Houthi actions and rhetoric intimated that they seek to control all of Yemen. The Houthis responded swiftly, launching the first direct flight from Tehran to Sanah, and there is talk of more surprises on the way. Yemen is thus expected to witness more bloodshed against the backdrop of the regional conflict.

The second message dispatched by the new Saudi regime was directed at Egypt. King Salman has indicated a desire to temper the political and financial zeal shown by the late King Abdullah towards Cairo. Saudi Arabia does not want to see the situation in Egypt disintegrate, but at the same time, it is not going to allow Egypt to return to its old Arab leadership role. Leaked phone conversations between the Egyptian president and his military leaders have raised concerns about Sisi’s real intentions. These leaks are not likely to be forgotten in the Gulf anytime soon, just as it has not been forgotten that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad once called several Saudi leaders “half men.”

A Saudi warning was discernible in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) statement, criticizing Egypt’s accusations that Qatar supports terrorism. Even though another statement was issued confirming Gulf support for Egypt, it is hard to believe that the matter was a mistake. Apparently, Saudi Arabia was annoyed by Egyptian accusations, because they coincided with the Qatari prince Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s visit to Saudi Arabia. President Sisi realized that the new Saudi position is a source of some concern. He repeated his famous statement that Egypt’s national security is linked to the Gulf’s security and vice versa, and his other statement about the Egyptian army’s readiness — taking only the time needed to traverse the distance — to help its Gulf and Arab brethren if they are ever in danger. It is nice to repeat these statements, even if the claim that it will only “take the time needed to traverse the distance” fell by the wayside when Israel rained down bombs, death and destruction on Egypt’s own back yard in Gaza, embarrassing Sisi in the process.

Another issue of disagreement between Saudi Arabia about Egypt that has not been greatly publicized, but has been festering in the dark, has to do with the Syrian opposition. Cairo hosted a conference to bring the opposition together, but it deliberately marginalized the Syrian National Coalition and it still has not replied to a request for a visit by its president Khaled Khoja (as he himself told Ahmad Ali in the Qatari daily al-Watan). There is also speculation that the Egyptian army is keen on preserving the Syrian army’s resolve, and that Egypt wants to bring Syria back to the Arab League. Saudi Arabia is opposed to the idea and might threaten to withdraw financial aid to prevent such a development. Sisi, however, found common ground. On the eve of his trip to Riyadh, he talked about the need for “a political solution, maintaining Syrian territorial unity and fighting terrorism,” while avoiding questions about Assad’s future in this solution.

Egypt will soon host an economic summit and an Arab summit, which will shed further light on the nature of the Saudi-Egyptian relationship. It appears that both sides are eager to preserve the relationship, even if they have diverging goals and hopes. The Egyptian eagerness came through in Sisi’s statements, while Saudi eagerness manifested in in the king’s decision to go to the airport in person to welcome President Sisi. The key question, however, is: will the financial aid arrive?

Saudi Arabia needs Egypt and Turkey politically and militarily in its confrontation with Iran. The relationship with Cairo is stable even if it undergoes some changes. Talk about reviving the Muslim Brotherhood under US pressure, and out of an Arab and international need to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), may be greatly exaggerated. Hours before Sisi headed to Riyadh, death sentences were issued in Cairo against the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an Egyptian court classified Hamas as a terrorist organization.

These rulings further angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and perhaps Egypt wanted to anger him on purpose. Before heading from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, he announced that he will not meet with Sisi in Riyadh, demanding serious steps from Cairo before such a meeting could take place. It is hard to imagine Erdogan and Sisi shaking hands as long as the Egyptian president continues to pursue the Muslim Brotherhood. The turkish project in the Middle East depends on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite this Egyptian-Turkish antagonism, Saudi Arabia is trying to become the center of a regional mobilization against the Iranian project, with its rising momentum from Iraq to Yemen, down to the military changes taking place on Syria’s northern and southern fronts.

This mobilization is critical amid talk of an imminent Iranian-American agreement. President Barack Obama, who headed a large delegation to Saudi Arabia in a show of support for King Salman, hours after King Abdullah’s death, hosted the Qatari prince,whose relationship with Saudi Arabia has significantly improved in the past few weeks. In addition, Washington announced an agreement with Erdogan to train the “moderate” Syrian opposition. It is clear that Washington is meticulously delineating the contours of a regional balance even at the height of its blunders in the region.

Where will the first repercussions of this Saudi mobilization manifest?

Let’s watch Yemen closely (the South itself might split over the Gulf presence). Let’s also watch the Syrian fronts. Iraq on the other hand has been ordained by the West to fight terrorism, so it is difficult to allow regional players to change the rules of the game there at this point.

Half of the US Senate Publicly Undermines and Embarasses the President of the United States

[47 Republican Senators move to undermine presidential nuclear negotiations with Iran]

Cotton and 46 Fellow Senators to Send Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran

US Senate
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with 46 of his Republican colleagues in the Senate will today release an open letter to the the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the ongoing nuclear negotiations between their country and the United States. A PDF of the official letter can be found here.  The  text of the letter can be found below: 
An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.
First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.
Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.
What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.
We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.
Sincerely,
Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT  
Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA       
Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY      
Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL         
Senator John McCain, R-AZ 
Senator James Inhofe, R-OK           
Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS   
Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL  
Senator Michael Enzi, R-WY
Senator Michael Crapo, R-ID           
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC       
Senator John Cornyn, R-TX             
Senator Richard Burr, R-NC
Senator John Thune, R-SD  
Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GA
Senator David Vitter, R-LA  
Senator John A. Barrasso, R-WY     
Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS           
Senator Jim Risch, R-ID
Senator Mark Kirk, R-IL       
Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO     
Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS
Senator Rob Portman, R-OH           
Senator John Boozman, R-AR          
Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA  
Senator John Hoeven, R-ND
Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL  
Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI 
Senator Rand Paul, R-KY
Senator Mike Lee, R-UT       
Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH 
Senator Dean Heller, R-NV  
Senator Tim Scott, R-SC       
Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX       
Senator Deb Fischer, R-NE  
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV         
Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA    
Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO           
Senator James Lankford, R-OK       
Senator Steve Daines, R-MT
Senator Mike Rounds, R-SD
Senator David Perdue, R-GA           
Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC   
Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA       
Senator Ben Sasse, R-NE     
Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK

Click here for a PDF Of the official letter. 

Republican Letter To Iran6.pppRepublican Letter To Iran5.ppp Republican Letter To 4 Republican Letter To Iran3.ppp Republican Letter To Iran2.pppRepublican Letter To Iran1.ppp

Syria Concentrates On Clearing-Out Qalamoun Ahead of Arab Summit

Syria-based jihadis prepare for Lebanon offensive

daily star LEB

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File – A Lebanese army officer from a commandos unit, center, gives orders to his soldiers after they blew up a bomb-packed parked car in a field outside the village of Fakiha, near the Lebanese and Syria border, in northeast Lebanon, Monday, March 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Syria-based terrorist groups are preparing to resume their attacks against Lebanese territories on the northeastern border with Syria with the advent of spring in the next few weeks, according to reports received by military and security institutions in Lebanon based on Western intelligence information.

The anticipated terrorist attacks prompted the Lebanese Army to launch a series of pre-emptive operations against jihadis holed up in rugged areas near the border with Lebanon. The Army’s pre-emptive strikes against ISIS and the Nusra Front have been praised by several foreign security agencies.

The battle for the rugged outskirts stretching from Syria’s Qalamoun region to the Lebanese northeastern town of Arsal, including mountains overlooking the main international highway linking Lebanon to Syria, is inevitable, a high-ranking military source told The Daily Star.

This battle could flare up in a matter of days, especially after the two sides, the Lebanese Army on the one hand, and ISIS and the Nusra Front and those revolving in their orbit on the other, have gathered the necessary military and field information for it, the source said.

According to the source, several Lebanese and Syria factors led to the acceleration of what is known as the “snow-melting” battle in the rugged areas along the Lebanese-Syria borders.

At the forefront of these factors is the Syrian regime’s push to seize control of the largest area in Syria, especially areas that had been under the grip of opposition and extremist groups, the source said, speaking at his office where he was surrounded by geographical maps of areas that were the scene of clashes between the Army and takfiri groups.

Giving another reason that could speed up the battle for the rugged outskirts along the Lebanese-Syrian frontier, the source cited detailed information about dissent and differences that burst out into the open through clashes between some factions affiliated with the Nusra Front and others affiliated with ISIS, and the possibility of Lebanon and Syria, in the absence of coordination between them, separately launching painful strikes against these groups in order to prevent them from achieving their calculated goal to take control of some strategic hills between Lebanon and Syria.

A third reason for the battle is the increasing number of people who are demanding that the Lebanese Army carry out a qualitative military operation against terrorist groups for reasons related to the fate of 25 Lebanese soldiers and policemen held hostage by ISIS and the Nusra Front, the source said.

The supporters of such a military operation are confident of its success, judging by successful pre-emptive battles fought by the Army in the northeastern town of Ras Baalbek last month during which troops managed to wrest control of hilltop positions held by terrorist groups, the source added.

Lebanese officials are well aware that the battles fought by military and security forces against terrorist groups in the rugged areas overlooking Arsal and Ras Baalbek, and stretching along the range of eastern mountains and the northern Bekaa area, to prevent them from making a breakthrough in this region, have given extremist organizations a chance to attempt to cross from Syria into Lebanon through the northern Lebanese territory spanning from Nahr al-Kabir to Akkar and its outskirts, up to Halba and its surroundings.

Security sources said armed militants, estimated at more than 10,000, are in control of territory in northeastern rugged areas up to the coast, where they exercise their religious beliefs and traditions and are trying to impose them on local residents.

Both Lebanon and Syria are eager to liberate their common border from Islamist militants ahead of the Arab summit scheduled to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt at the end of this month and which would discuss the possibility of establishing a joint Arab force to fight terrorism, the military source said.

With this, Beirut and Damascus would try to get Arab leaders meeting in Egypt to face their responsibilities, given that the two countries have been exposed to terrorist attacks, the source said.

2009 German Analysis Documenting US Plan To Unleash Civil War In Ukraine

Imperial Geopolitics: Ukraine, Georgia and the New Cold War between NATO and Russia

IMI german

von: Martin Hantke | Veröffentlicht am:

1. Januar 2009

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand current and future U.S., EU and NATO policy. Over ten years ago the former National Security Advisor gave a graphic description of the imperatives of imperial geopolitics. He argued that the U.S.A.’s position of supremacy should be preserved under all circumstances. To this end NATO, acting as a “bridgehead” of the U.S.A., should expand into Eurasia and take control of geostrategically important regions so as to prevent Russia’s resurgence as a powerful political force.

Brzezinski had in mind two countries or regions in particular: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians, who would then be supported by their fellow Islamic states to the south.” […] “However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”1 Brzezinski argued further that there was an imperative need to gain control of the southern Caucasus, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, on Russia’s southern flank. The past master of U.S. geopolitics set out the aim and purpose of NATO policy with impressive clarity: “The United States and the NATO countries – while sparing Russia’s self-esteem to the extent possible, but nevertheless firmly and consistently – are destroying the geopolitical foundations which could, at least in theory, allow Russia to hope to acquire the status as the number two power in world politics that belonged to the Soviet Union.”2

In the years that followed, these words were systematically put into political practice with NATO taking its eastward expansion right up to Moscow’s borders. Furthermore, active Western support for the “colourful revolutions” in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004) led to the sitting pro-Russian or neutral governments and presidents being ousted by pro-Western candidates.3 Russia regarded NATO’s policy as crossing the “red line”. As the war between Russia and Georgia in the summer of 2008 showed, Russia is no longer prepared to stand idly by in the face of further attempts at expansion. Nevertheless, the Western military alliance is doggedly pursuing its escalation policy, in which Ukraine and Georgia are now being offered NATO membership as a means of safeguarding the “successes” that have been scored. U.S. President Barack Obama is also in favour of these two countries joining NATO.4 The announcement that Michael McFaul, a hardliner on policy towards Moscow, is to be appointed senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council gives little cause for hope that Washington under its new president will abandon its aggressive, anti-Russian policy. This amounts to tacit acceptance that the New Cold War between NATO and Russia, invoked so frequently of late, will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ukraine: “On someone else’s arse”

Even now, the approach to Ukraine is evidently still determined by Brzezinski’s recipes from the devil’s workshop of geopolitics. NATO accession and Europe’s energy supply are issues that are closely intertwined. Writing in Handelsblatt, Peter Zeihan from Strategic Forecast, the think-tank often referred to as the “shadow CIA”, described the complex geopolitical situation as follows: “On the one hand, the ‘orange’ revolution of 2004 led to the installation of a Ukrainian government hostile to Russia’s objectives. President Viktor Yushchenko would like to integrate his country into the European Union and NATO. For Russia that would be the kiss of death. Most of the infrastructure linking Russia with Europe – from pipelines to railway lines and high-voltage cables – is located in Ukraine. Industry and agriculture in both countries are closely interlinked. There are more Russians living in eastern Ukraine than anywhere else in the world outside Russia. The Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol because there are no reasonable alternatives. Ukraine stretches so far into southern Russia that a hostile power in the country could pose a threat to Moscow. Moreover, the country stretches so far eastwards that an antagonistic government there could even threaten Russia’s connections with the Caucasus. In a nutshell, if Ukraine slips out of Russia’s sphere of influence Russia will be forced completely onto the defensive in strategic terms. Vice versa, if Russia regains control in Kiev, the country could set itself up as a regional – and perhaps even a global – power.”5 It was to obviate such a scenario that Washington engaged in a further round of frenzied activity shortly before the end of U.S. President George W. Bush’s period in office. This activity was aimed at advancing Ukraine’s future membership of NATO. Martin Luther’s words to the effect that “Riding through a fire is easy on someone else’s arse” might perhaps have flashed through the mind of the then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as she walked up with Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko, to sign the United States-Ukraine Charta on Strategic Partnership on 19 December 2008. Rice said: “The United States supports Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures. And in that regard, I want to assure you that the declaration at Bucharest which foresees that Ukraine will be a member of NATO when it can meet those standards is very much at the center of our policy.” The Ukrainian Foreign Minister set great store by a strengthening of the presence of the United States in Ukraine, in particular through a diplomatic mission on the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.6

In addition to a programme of enhanced security cooperation intended to strengthen Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO membership, agreement was reached on close collaboration on energy issues. It was resolved inter alia that “In recognition of the importance of a well functioning energy sector, the parties intend to work closely together on rehabilitating and modernizing the capacity of Ukraine’s gas transit infrastructure.”7 This Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed against the backdrop of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Given Ukraine’s failure to pay its debts and the lack of any new agreement on deliveries of gas to Ukraine, supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine were stopped as of 1 January 2009. Within a few days the dispute began to have an effect on energy supplies throughout Europe. On 6 January 2009, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia reported that deliveries through the Ukrainian transit pipelines had come to a halt. Supplies to Austria fell by 90%. There are a number of indications that Ukraine’s actions can only be explained by reference to the support it received from the U.S.A. That was the Russian view too: “The Russian gas company Gazprom has pinned responsibility for the gas dispute with Ukraine on the U.S.A. Gazprom declared on Tuesday that Ukraine’s actions are being directed by the U.S. government. Despite the deployment of EU observers the Ukraine is again removing gas from the transit pipelines. Russia is therefore unable to deliver supplies to the EU countries. Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Russian energy giant, has accused the U.S.A. of fuelling the conflict.”8

In the case of both Georgia and Ukraine there is a close link between the gas dispute and support for their admission to NATO. In April 2008 the Bertelsmann Foundation concluded that Ukraine and Georgia were already closely integrated into “NATO’s working processes”. “Ever since it was founded in 1994, both countries have been part of the Partnership for Peace programme of the North Atlantic Alliance which is intended to promote individual cooperation between NATO and non-NATO countries. Cooperation has subsequently been extended. […] In their bilateral cooperation agreements with NATO both countries see far-reaching domestic reforms as a means of moving closer to the defence alliance. Such reforms principally concern the consolidation of internal democratic structures, but priority is also given to the fight against global terrorism and support for the operations and missions of the North Atlantic Alliance. The latter was one reason why U.S. President George W. Bush emphasized his efforts to have Ukraine and Georgia included in the Membership Action Plan. The progress made in integration into NATO’s defence structures puts into perspective the question that arose at the Bucharest summit about the steps Ukraine and Georgia will take after the provisional ‘no’ to their admission to the Membership Action Plan. Their path will inevitably take them into NATO.”9

Germany is playing a double role here. On the one hand it has joined France in rejecting an accelerated accession procedure for Ukraine, which the U.S.A. favoured; on the other hand it is playing a risky game by not placing any obstacles in the path of fundamental approval of Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The German Foreign Office has itself provided an apt description of this double role: “At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 Ukraine was in principle given the prospect of membership (‘We agreed today that these countries (i.e. Ukraine and Georgia) will become members of NATO’). Ukraine was not granted a Membership Action Plan (MAP); instead, a comprehensive review process was initiated.”10 This granting of prospective membership to Ukraine for the first time, combined with Georgia’s aggression shortly afterwards against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, proved the last straw for Moscow.

Georgia: a geopolitical prize

A look at the map quickly makes it clear why the Southern Caucasus is so important. Georgia provides the only opportunity of supplying Europe with gas and oil from the resource-rich countries of Central Asia and of transporting goods and products to Europe by land from China and Kazakhstan. The Nabucco pipeline project is intended to help reduce Europe’s “dependence” on Russian gas imports, which currently account for 40% of its supplies and are expected to climb to even higher levels. According to the European press service EurActiv, “The US has long been pushing for the construction of oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian basin that would bypass Russia, especially via Georgia.”11 The project is a top priority for the European Union, too. During his period as representative of the EU Council President in 2006 the Austrian Minister of Economics Martin Bartenstein said: “[The] Nabucco pipeline is Europe’s most important energy project.”12

For both the EU Member States and the NATO countries Georgia provides the geographical terrain that is essential to cutting Russia off from the purchasers of its energy exports. Russia’s countermeasures include three pipeline projects – Nord Stream (Baltic Sea pipeline), South Stream (Russian-Italian gas pipeline through the Black Sea via Varna in Bulgaria) and Blue Stream (from Russia through the Black Sea into Turkey) – as well as the building of direct energy lines to western and southern Europe to ensure the unobstructed export of energy free from any checks or controls by former Eastern Bloc states very favourably disposed to the U.S.A. This was why the U.S.A., in particular, played the Georgian card in the hope of containing Russia’s political influence in Europe and preventing its rise to the status of an industrial power.

Western support for the war

Germany continues to play a significant part in the arming of Georgia. The Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) mostly train Georgian officers as part of the general staff training course which includes participants from other countries. Over the past few years the Bundeswehr has been host to a steady stream of high-ranking military delegations from Georgia. In addition, G 36 rifles manufactured by Heckler & Koch have been delivered to Georgia. The bulk of the training has been carried out by the U.S.A., however. The U.S. Army has trained Georgian soldiers “to bring the armed forces of Georgia, a loyal ally of Washington, up to NATO standards as an outpost in the Caucasus.”13 In 2006 alone, says the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the U.S.A. supported Georgia to the tune of 80 million U.S. dollars, 13 million of which went on the payment of “military supplies and services” as well as the training of soldiers. In addition the U.S.A. has helped Georgia by regularly modernising its fleet and delivering helicopters free of charge.14 The considerable extent of U.S. military assistance, which has “enabled the Pentagon to overhaul Georgia’s forces from bottom to top”, is described by the New York Times as follows: “At senior levels, the United States helped rewrite Georgian military doctrine and train its commanders and staff officers. At the squad level, American marines and soldiers trained Georgian soldiers in the fundamentals of battle.”15
All told, therefore, the Georgian armed forces have over five infantry brigades each numbering 2,000 men. In addition there are the reservist units whose level of training is far inferior. The Georgian government talks officially of 37,000 soldiers and 100,000 reservists. Since Mikhail Saakashvili took office, Georgia’s military spending has increased significantly: “In 2003 it amounted to 52 million lari (24 million U.S. dollars), whereas in 2006 that figure had tripled to 139 million lari (78 million U.S. dollars). Real expenditure is much higher, however. Anyone liable to be called up for military service, for example, can buy themselves out of the army – four-fifths of the money goes straight to the ministry.”16

There is also brisk cooperation between Georgia and NATO. In July 2008, a joint manoeuvre was held as part of the Partnership for Peace Programme in which a total of 1,630 military personnel, including 1,000 Americans and 600 Georgians, took part.17 In addition, the Georgian army has been – and still is – prominently involved in the war in Iraq, which is in contravention of international law, as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 2008, Georgia had 2,000 solders in Iraq, the third-largest contingent of the “Coalition of the Willing”. However, after the Georgian army had been repulsed in South Ossetia in August 2008, the U.S. Air Force flew the Georgian units stationed in Iraq back to the home front to provide help while the fighting was still in progress. Given the massive campaign undertaken by the U.S.A. and its allies to build up the country’s military, it is barely credible that, while the U.S.A. might not actually have given the green light, it was not fully informed of the pending attack and subsequently kept silent about it.

At any rate, the Russians are certain that the attack took place with support from Washington. The Russian ambassador to NATO, Dimitri Rogozin, made a statement to the effect that Saakashvili agreed the attack with his “backers”. It is clear to whom he was referring.18 Vladimir Vasilyev, Chairman of the Duma Security Committee, summed up the Russian point of view as follows: “The longer the matter goes on, the better the world will come to understand that Georgia would never have been capable of it [the attack on South Ossetia] without the United States”.19 In an interview for the German TV station ARD the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his views of the U.S.A.’s behaviour perfectly clear: “One cannot help thinking that the American leadership knew of the planned action and, indeed, participated in it […] in order to organise a small-scale but successful war. And, if things went wrong, to force Russia into the role of the enemy.”20

Russia’s counter-attack

It is, indeed, hard to believe that the Georgian attack took place without any prior consultation with the U.S.A. Yet it must have been clear to the U.S. government that the Georgian army would be crushed in battle, which was precisely what happened. The question arises, therefore, as to Washington’s motives. Did it simply miscalculate in assuming that Russia would quietly accept the Georgian advance? It is hard to imagine but conceivable nonetheless. The other explanation is that the primary objective was to stir up a conflict with Russia so as to make the European Union toe an even more anti-Russian line and that Saakashvili came in handy here in the role of useful idiot, albeit at the expense of the people in the region. The matter cannot be clarified with any degree of certainty, although the latter explanation would appear more plausible.

At all events, the calculation backfired, because Russia seized the opportunity provided by the Georgian attack to improve its own position in the Caucasus. It is also very hard to imagine that Moscow was not informed of Georgia’s invasion plans. It was evidently well prepared for such an eventuality. In July, 8,000 Russian soldiers carried out an exercise simulating the repulsion of a Georgian attack. That might also explain why the Georgian troops were halted within 24 hours and the Russian troops gained the upper hand relatively quickly. Hence to describe Georgia’s war of aggression as the result of President Saakashvili stumbling into a Russian trap is not very convincing. Whether the Russians were well prepared or not, the fact of the matter is that Georgia engaged in a war of aggression.

In the course of the conflict Russia succeeded in shattering confidence in Georgia’s reliability as a transit country for future Caspian energy supplies. Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili himself said that “one of the main reasons for the Russian attack was that Georgia already has the Baku-Tblissi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), which has been laid one metre underground from end to end. This is intended to circumvent Russia.”21 That suspicion is not as mistaken as it might seem. After all, the opening of the BTC pipeline in May 2006, over which Washington and Moscow had wrangled bitterly for almost a decade, was one of the biggest geopolitical successes in the U.S.A.’s plans to roll back Russian influence in the region. “The Georgian security adviser, Alexander Lomaia, says that the Russians dropped six bombs but failed to hit the pipeline. If that is true, it would indicate that Russia’s military action was conducted in pursuit of other, more far-reaching strategic goals than merely preventing a humanitarian crisis in South Ossetia.”22

The Nabucco project was also dealt a heavy blow. According to Ed Chow from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Russia has raised serious doubts in the minds of Western lenders and investors […] as to whether a pipeline through Georgia is safe from attacks or beyond the control of the Kremlin.”23 Nevertheless, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attempted to give an assurance that the EU was sticking to its plan to build the Nabucco pipeline through Georgia despite the Caucasus conflict: “This infrastructure is needed”, Piebalgs said.24

For the first time since the end of the (old) Cold War Russia has thus ended a Western attempt at expansion by military means. That alone is sufficient to underline the dimensions of the Russian-Georgian war. At the same time the invasion of Georgia is a clear signal to the West that in future Russia will once again have to be taken into account in international power politics. A Strategic Forecast analysis says: “Russia has demonstrated three things with its operation in South Ossetia. Firstly, its army can carry out successful operations, which foreign observers have doubted. Secondly, the Russians can defeat forces trained by U.S. military instructors. Thirdly, Russia has shown that the U.S.A. and NATO are not in a position that would enable them to intervene militarily in this conflict.”25

Astonishing one-sidedness

It is hardly surprising that the Russian response to the Georgian invasion was fiercely criticised by the U.S., which almost unreservedly took Georgia’s side. Zbigniew Brzezinski was vociferous in his response, comparing Putin’s actions with those of Hitler. He went on to say that Moscow’s behaviour “can lead to exclusion and economic and financial sanctions. If Russia continues down this road it must ultimately be isolated within the community of states.”26
The European Union adopted an equally one-sided stance: “The European Council is gravely concerned by the open conflict which has broken out in Georgia, by the resulting violence and by the disproportionate reaction of Russia.”27 These were the words used by the European heads of state and government on 1 September in commenting on the events in the Caucasus. They failed to mention, let alone criticise, the fact that Georgia’s aggression was clearly what had unleashed the war. The statement continues by severely criticising Russia alone. Thus the heads of state and government “strongly condemn Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” In stark contrast to the policy of recognizing Kosovo that was pursued by the vast majority of EU Member States, the European Council “recalls that a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia must be based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognised by international law, the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and United Nations Security Council resolutions.”27

There were occasional vehement demands for even more drastic action against Russia. The Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP), advocated an EU position that is “tougher than that of NATO.”28 The fact that the hardliners were not able to have their way entirely has to do with the specific constellation of interests that have made this appear inopportune, particularly from a German perspective. On the one hand there is a desire to show Moscow who is in charge in Europe but, on the other, there is a wish not to spoil things completely with Russia, because business there is simply too profitable.29 Nevertheless, Germany is in almost full accord with NATO’s escalation policy.

(Energy) NATO is put into position

In November 2006 U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, a leading NATO strategist, literally went on the offensive. On the fringes of the NATO summit in Riga he criticised Moscow for its attempts to use oil as a “weapon” against the West and proposed the setting up of an “Energy NATO”. The underlying idea is that in future NATO should treat any interruption of oil and gas supplies as it would a military attack (see article by Tobias Pflüger).

In January 2008, five high-ranking NATO generals published a position paper that was specifically introduced into the debate in the form of a catalogue of requirements for the forthcoming updating of NATO’s strategic concept, the idea being that it could serve as a blueprint for the NATO summit on 3/4 April 2009: “ There will be an increase in global competition for scarce resources, and this will certainly be the case for fossil fuel, which will swell the possibility of suppliers abusing their position and their leverage.. […]Dependency on oil and gas is a vulnerability that some governments will seek to exploit – the Gazprom crisis demonstrated how easily demand can be manipulated. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is – and is likely to remain – a mechanism for keeping the price of oil artificially high, and recently Russia and the United Arab Emirates have been exploring the idea of setting up a ‘Gas OPEC’. […] For this reason, it might well be worth considering using NATO as an instrument of energy security.”30

Shortly afterwards, in June 2008, Richard Lugar, who for a time was under discussion as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State for Defense, repeated his threats against Russia at a hearing of the Senate and vigorously advocated the building of the Nabucco pipeline.31 At the same hearing the new U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden expressly praised Lugar’s work on energy policy and emphasised the importance of the conflicts in the Caspian region: “The stakes involve hundreds of billions of dollars in oil and infrastructure, the resurgence of Russia, and the energy security of Europe.. […] Russians love chess. Our strategic response on the chess board of Central Asia must be to establish a presence on parts of the board they do not yet control. That means laying down new pipelines that add alternatives […] to the monopoly Russia has enjoyed.”32

Biden is therefore likely to have welcomed one of the last major security policy initiatives launched by the Bush administration which aimed at drawing Georgia further into the Western orbit by means of a joint declaration on partnership: “The United States and Georgia officially became “strategic partners” under a charter signed by the two governments on January 9 [2009]. […] Few details have been publicized about the charter, which was signed four months after Georgia’s disastrous war with Russia. It has been widely reported, however, that the Georgian pact resembles a strategic partnership charter signed by the United States and Ukraine in December.”33 Like the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership the agreement with Georgia is likely to comprise intensified military cooperation and measures to expedite Ukraine’s membership of NATO. On 15 September 2008 NATO resolved to set up a commission to deepen relations with Georgia. This is intended “to coordinate Alliance efforts to assist Georgia in recovering from the recent conflict”.34

Cold War as a self-fulfilling prophecy

The aim of the policy pursued by the U.S.A. in Ukraine and Georgia is to wage a new Cold War against Russia. Russia is to be challenged by a policy of pinpricks involving “colourful revolutions”, energy blockades, NATO expansion and the stationing of missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. By disrupting economic relations with Western Europe Washington aims to contain Russia’s global political influence and thwart its advance as a new industrial power. Should this scenario turn out to be a success, it would simultaneously ensure that the NATO allies in Western Europe are tied into a joint strategy of escalation and have to become even more heavily involved in projects designed to secure energy supplies.
Since this strategy has thus far proved successful and it cannot, unfortunately, be assumed that there will be a move away from a policy of U.S. confrontation under President Obama, there is a renewed threat of bloc confrontation. At the height of the Georgian war Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sent out a clear message to the West: “We are not afraid of anything, not even the prospect of a Cold War.”35 The anti-war movement will have to adjust to the realities of the New Cold War. The strategy of imperialism pursued by NATO and the EU must be opposed here and now in a calm and collected fashion.

Endnotes

1 Brzezinski, Zbigniew: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York 1997, p. 24 (Seitenangabe in der englischen Fassung unsicher)
2 ibid., p.27 (s.o.)
3 On Western support for the “colourful revolutions” cf. Chauvier, Jean-Marc: Westlich werden und östlich bleiben, Le Monde diplomatique, 14 January 2005
4 Carpenter, Ted: Worse than Bush? National Interest Online, 11 July 2008
5 Zeihan, Peter: Moskau wird Kiew nie dem Westen überlassen [Moscow will never leave Kiev to the West], Handelsblatt, 20 January 2009
6 United States, Ukraine Sign Security Charter, America.gov, 19 December 2008
7 United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, 22 December 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/agqc4k
8 Befeuern die USA den Gasstreit? [Is the U.S. fuelling the gas dispute?], heute.de, 13 January 2009
9 Isic, Mirela: Ein „Vielleicht” für die Ukraine und Georgien [A “maybe” for Ukraine and Georgia], Center for Applied Policy Research, CAP News, 10 April 2008
10 Auswärtiges Amt [German Foreign Office]: Ukraine, Stand: Oktober 2008 [Ukraine, status as of October 2008], URL: http://tinyurl.com/b3gvbg
11 Nabucco: ‘Pie in the sky’ after Georgia crisis?, EurActiv, 25 August 2008
12 ibid.
13 Friedmann, Matti: Sie waren nicht bereit für den Krieg mit Russland [They weren’t prepared for war with Russia], AP, 19 August 2008
14 Schröder gibt Saakaschwili die Schuld [Schröder puts the blame on Saakashvili], Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
15 Grey, Barry: Bush escalates confrontation with Russia over Georgia, World Socialist Web Site, 13 August 2008
16 Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
17 Georgien stockt Armee mit Blick auf NATO-Beitritt deutlich auf [Georgia boosts its army with a view to NATO membership], russland.ru, 16 July 2008
18 Nuclear Nightmares: The Return of M.A.D., Huffington Post, 19 August 2008
19 Chin, Larry: South Ossetia: superpower oil war, Online Journal, 13 August 2008
20 This and many other critical remarks made by Putin were cut out of the ARD broadcast. A full transcript of the interview can be found at http://www.spiegelfechter.com/wordpress/392/das-interview
21 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
22 Rosenbaum, Kaspar: Südossetien: Der Westen in der Propagandaschlacht [South Ossetia: The West in a propaganda battle], ef-online, 11 August 2008
23 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
24 Energie-Agentur sagt wachsende EU-Abhängigkeit von Importen voraus [Energy agency predicts growing EU dependence on imports], Yahoo News Finanzen, 4 September 2008
25 Stratfor: Russland hat Stärke gezeigt und wird nur auf Stärke hören [Russia has shown its strength and will only respond to strength], RIA Novosti, 11 August 2008
26 “Russlands Vorgehen ähnelt dem von Hitler” [Russia’s actions resemble those of Hitler], Die Welt, 11 August 2008
27 Extraordinary European Council, Brussels, 1 September 2008, 12594/08
28 Pflüger, Tobias: EU eskaliert den Konflikt mit Russland weiter [EU escalates the conflict with Russia], IMI-Standpunkt 2008/052
29 On Germany’s role cf. Hantke, Martin: The Georgian War and Imperial Geopolitics, in: AUSDRUCK (October 2008).
30 Naumann, Klaus et al.: Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, URL: http://tinyurl. com/5buj19, p. 47 et seq.
31 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Richard G. Lugar Opening Statement for Hearing on Oil, Oligarchs and Opportunity: Energy from Central Asia to Europe, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/df7tg8
32 BIDEN: We Need to Confront Russia’s Oil Dominance with Aggressive, High Level Diplomacy, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/crjhol
33 Corso, Molly: Georgia: Washington and Tbilisi sign Strategic Pact sure to irk the Kremlin, Eurasia Insight, 9 January 2009
34 Framework document on the establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission, Tbilisi, 15 September 2008
35 Dimitri Medvedev raises spectre of new Cold War, The Times Online, 26 August 2008

How Is Venezuela A “Threat To US Foreign Policy,”and Why Does This Constitute A “National Emergency”?

  • President Barack Obama and Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro.

    President Barack Obama and Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro. | Photo: Reuters


UPDATE: Venezuela’s foreign minister says Caracas will soon respond to Washington’s statements.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order against Venezuela Monday aimed at interfering in the country’s sovereignty by declaring a national emergency based on arguments claiming that the South American nation is a threat to national security because of alleged human rights violations and widespread corruption.

“I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the situation in Venezuela, including the Government of Venezuela’s erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to anti-government protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant public corruption, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat,” the order reads. ​

​Immediately after, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry announced the government of President Nicolas Maduro would “soon” respond to Obama’s executive action against the Latin American country.

“We will soon make Venezuela’s response to the extent and reach of these statements,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a news conference.

Also read: US Aggression Against Venezuela Fact Not Fiction

​Obamaalsoordered sanctionsagainstsevenVenezuelanofficials, sayingthat they all would be bannedfrom traveling to the United States and any and all assets and propertiesbelonging to themwould be frozen.

The officials affected by Obama’s sanctions are Antonio Jose Benavides Torres, Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB); Gustavo Enrique Gonzalez Lopez, Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland (CESPPA).

Also, Justo Jose Noguera Pietri, President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), a state-owned entity, and Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron, a national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry, as well as Manuel Eduardo Perez Urdaneta, Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police; Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martinez, Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army; Bernal Martínez, who was the head of SEBIN on February 12, 2014, and against Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino, Inspector General of the FANB.

“We now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela’s problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent,” Earnest added.

Earnest said Washington has consistently called on the Venezuelan government to release opposition member they claim to be unjustly jailed.

“The Venezuelan government should release all political prisoners, including dozens of students, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Mayors Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma,” he stated, completely ignoring all the conclusive evidence presented by the Venezuelan government against the these and other members of the right-wing opposition.

These statements come despite the fact that grave human rights violations have been reported in the United States, including the police killing of various unarmed African-Americans and hispanics without any legal consequences against the perpetrators.

The U.S. is also responsible for serious human rights violations against dozens of arbitrarily detained people in Guantanamo.

The Obama administration has also opted to ignore the extremely serious human rights issues in allied countries such as Mexico, despite the fact that international organizations, including the United Nations, have continuosly criticized the Mexican government for human rights abuses and impunity.

Iran’s New Cruise Missile Originally Came From Ukraine Arms Black Market–updated 9/15/19

[SEE:  Facts About Kh-55 Cruise Missile Sale to Iran and China ; Obama and the Intelligence CabalBypassing the National Missile Defence System – The Cruise Missile Proliferation Problem ]

new iranian missile

According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian current TRDD-30 engine or the original R95, produced in the Ukraine, the missile could be able to carry a warhead of 410 kg to hit targets beyond 2,000 km. The strategic version of the missile (Kh55) used by the Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian current TRDD-30 engine or the original R95, produced in the Ukraine, the missile could be able to carry a warhead of 410 kg to hit targets beyond 2,000 km. The strategic version of the missile (Kh55) used by the Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

Iran unveiled yesterday a new, long range surface-launched land attack cruise missile. The new missile called ‘Soumar’ was presented yesterday to the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier general Hossein Dehqan. Unveiling the missile developed by Iranian scientists Dehqan said the new weapon ‘will increase Iran’s deterrence might’.

raduga_kh555
Radug Kh555 cruise missile loaded onto a Tu-95 bomber.

No details about the weapon’s specifications, performance or payload were provided but according to the Iranian media, Tehran plans to introduce an enhanced model of the missile this year, that will increase the range, accuracy and warhead capability of the current version.

The missile seems to be one of the variants of the ‘Meshkat’ cruise missile, announced by the director of the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Organization, Brigadier General Mehdi Farahi three years ago. “Meshkat cruise missile, which God willing will be unveiled soon, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers.” Farahi told the Iranian media in 2012, “it will be the upper hand of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

A line of completed Soumar cruise missiles displayed to Defense Minister Brig. General  yesterday at the A line of completed Soumar cruise missiles displayed to Defense Minister Brig. General Hossein Dehqan yesterday by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). Photo: Mehr News Agency

As mentioned above, most of the Iranian coastal and naval attack missiles are based on Chinese C-series (C-701, 704, and 802). Unlike these, Soumar do not resemble any Chinese weapon, but bears close similarity to the Russian Kh55SM cruise missile. Iran acquired 12 such missiles from the Ukraine in 2001. These missiles were also sold to China in 2000 and more were delivered to an undisclosed customer, presumably North Korea.

TRDD-50_450
The Saturn TRDD-50 miniature turbofan engine was designed specifically for cruise missiles.

One of the factors determining the missile’s range is likely to be the miniature turbofan. The original weapon delivered to Iran was powered by the Russian designed, Ukraine made R95-300 mini-turbofan, but in the mid 2000s, as Russia transferred the production of critical systems to its industry, equipping its new production missiles Kh55 with TRDD-50 turbofans made by the Russian Saturn company. According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian engine or the original R95-300 produced in the Ukraine, the missile could reach an operational range of 2,000 km, carrying a warhead of 410kg weight. The strategic version used by Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

This small, fuel efficient turbofan delivers the thrust and size class required to power cruise missiles, standoff missiles and UAVs. The cited thrust rating is 400 to 500 kp (880 to 1,000 lbf), with a dry mass of 95 kg (210 lb), a Specific Fuel Consumption of 0.65, a length of 0.85 m (33.5 in) and diameter of 0.33 m (13 in).

Russia is not likely to allow the export of such engines to equip foreign weapons programs, since it will be considered a violation of the MTCR regime. But Moscow agreed to supply such engines to power the Indian target drone ‘Lakshya’. However, the mini turbofans are believed to have also powered the Indian cruise missile Nirbhay on its maiden flight in October 2014.

soumar_with_general_Dehqan725Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier general Hossein Dehqan (right) with IRGC’s aerospace commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh at the new missile. “It will be the upper hand of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran”

Launched from land-based or naval surface based platform, Soumar uses a booster to accelerate for cruising speed. The folded lattice tail controls are used to stabilize it as it accelerates from zero to the cruising speed, when the missile gain enough speed to enable efficient use of conventional control surfaces.                                       Launched from land-based or naval surface based platforms, Soumar uses a booster for the initial acceleration. The folded lattice tail controls are used to stabilize it as it accelerates from zero to cruising speed, when the missile gain enough speed to enable efficient use of conventional control surfaces.

As a variant of the Kh55, the Iranians could also pursue the course the Russian designers paved, turning their cruise missile into a versatile strike weapon launched from submarines, surface ships and ground based launchers. Unlike the fixed engine configuration of the Kh55, the 3R-54 ‘Club’ uses a ‘drop down’ engine, thus packing the cylindrical missile more efficiently in storage canisters, ensuring unobstructed launch procedure, particularly from the confined space of submarine launchers.

An interesting capability introduced by the missile manufacturer ‘AGAT’ is the containerized version – Club K, enabling the launching of cruise missiles from ‘innocent looking’ cargo ships, rail cars or trucks, a practice the Iranians, Syrians and their Hezbollah proxy have practiced many times in the past.

 

EU President Calls For Multinational European Army

Juncker wants EU army

Die_Welt_Logo


EU-Kommissionschef Jean-Claude Juncker
Foto: Sander de Wilde EU-Kommissionschef Jean-Claude Juncker will Russland den Eindruck vermitteln, “dass wir es ernst meinen mit der Verteidigung der Werte der Europäischen Union”  

Experts of the SPD and CDU require rapid implementation

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has called for the creation of a European army. “Such an army would help us to build a common foreign and security policy and jointly assume the responsibilities of Europe in the world,” Juncker said. With its own army, the Luxembourg continue, Europe could react credibly to a threat to peace in a Member State or in a neighboring EU country. So could you give the impression of Russia, “that we are serious about upholding the values ​​of the European Union”.

The advance of experiences from different sides support. “A joint Army is a European vision whose time has come,” said Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen (CDU). “Europeans spend together enormous sums of money for the military, many times. But our military capabilities remain security policy inadequate as compared to Russia, as long as we maintain national small armies that also do the same thing in miniature in many parts and purchase.” The army as an expression of nationhood had survived as an idea and politically, Röttgen said. In the interests of European security, which is violated by the hegemonic policy of Russia, this anachronism had to be overcome.

May feel vindicated Juncker also by former EU High Representative and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. The Spaniard is in Brussels on Monday the results of an international group of experts. The developed in six months paper (“More European Defence Union”) recommends a new European security strategy, a “political and military ability to conduct autonomous intervention operations outside the borders of Europe” and the establishment of a military EU headquarters in Brussels. “The past ten years have seen little to Europe’s defense. It needs a boost,” said Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag, who has worked on the paper. “I therefore welcome the thrust Junckers. It is important that we now swiftly implement concrete measures. We should not wait for an overall concept of all 28 EU members, but start with agreements between the nation states.”

The Bundeswehr is setting a as a model. On Friday, the German army announced for the first time in its history, a battalion of 600 soldiers to be put under Polish command. In return, take command of a Polish battalion, a German Brigade. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), traveling to Warsaw on Wednesday, said the EU needed in the foreseeable future a European army. 2014, the Netherlands had already made 2100 soldiers under German command. The Bundeswehr plans in return, the Dutch naval forces to insinuate.

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