ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Obama’s Insanity Becoming Obvious

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US formally accuses Russia of cyber attacks ahead of election

International Business Times UK

Obama: cyberattacks to be treated as acts of war

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Arms dealer says administration made him scapegoat on Libya operation to ‘protect’ Clinton

Arms dealer says administration made him scapegoat on Libya operation to ‘protect’ Clinton

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US/Taliban Stalement–Year 15

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After 15 years, Taliban still control as much Afghanistan area as when war started

times-of-india

| TNN

  • The resurgent Taliban now control more territory and population than it did in 2001, experts said
  • The situation is worsening with each passing year since it started functioning in 2009, said the UN mission in Afghanistan

Representative image

NEW DELHI: Fifteen years have passed since US armed forces invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, to flush out the al-Qaida backers of those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks. In the occupation that followed, the ruling Taliban were dislodged, the al-Qaida leadership fled across the border to Pakistan where it was ultimately killed, and an elected government under NATO protection was established.But resistance to foreign occupation grew afresh and the Taliban are back.

Analysts, including US officials, agree that the resurgent Taliban now control more territory and population than it did in 2001. About a third of Afghanistan is controlled by Taliban, according to various US government reports, and analysis by pro-West security experts like Stratfor and the Long War Journal.

These 15 years of war, preceded by 20 years of wars against the Soviet Union and between warlords has taken a devastating toll. A latest estimate of direct war related casualties by Neta Crawford says, professor at Boston University, some 111,000 people have died and 116,000 injured.

Meanwhile, the Afghan war has spilled over across the border into Pakistan’s volatile tribal regions, where 62,000 people have been killed and 67,000 injured in the same period. The regions are contiguous, the people – mostly Pashtuns – live on both sides, and the US is trying to turn the tide on both sides. US spending on both these wars – part of its global war on terror – has been staggering. An estimated $800 billion have been spent on both the wars put together. They have lost 2,371 troops and over 3,000 private contractors in Afghanistan.

Besides those killed by direct war related causes like bullets, airstrikes or IED explosions, at least an equal number, if not more, must have died because of causes indirectly related to the war Crawford told TOI.

“Wars are extremely destructive of infrastructure -hospitals, roads, water treatment, electricity -and this harms civilians. In addition, it is very hard to raise crops or travel. The greatest source of indirect harm is likely to be adverse health effects during the war or that continue after the conclusion of fighting,” she said.

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan in its latest half yearly report released this September says that the situation is worsening with each passing year since it started functioning in 2009.Civilian casualty figures for the first half of 2016 stand at a record 5,166 (1,601 dead, 3,565 injured) up 4 per cent from 2015.These include 1,509 children casualties, up by a staggering 18 per cent since 2015.

Meanwhile, in a 70-country conference in Brussels on Wednesday promised aid worth $15.2 billion to Afghanistan, lasting up to 2020.

“We’re buying four more years for Afghanistan,” said EU special representative Franz-Michael Mellbin.

Afghanistan AND Pakistan Understand That Development Is For Everybody

[SEE:  Obama’s Practical Joke On Gen. Kayani–“Quick Impact Projects” Don’t Repopulate Ghost Towns ; LIFE OR DEATH ECONOMIC CORRIDORS FOR PAKISTAN AND INDIA? ; Analysis–Pakistan army tries to win over population in war-torn tribal region]

Afghanistan eager to join Sino-Pak economic corridor

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PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Afghanistan on Friday evinced a keen interest in becoming part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), assuring stout support for the multi-billion project.

“The CPEC is a great project that is equally relevant to Afghanistan like Pakistan, and anything that will be good for Pakistan will be good for the entire region,” Ambassador Dr. Omer Zakhilwal said.

Speaking to a Pakistani TV channel, the diplomat remarked the Afghans were “thirsty for development” and desired to see their conflict-devastated homeland prosper.

He said: “I think CPEC is not limited to Pakistan, it is for the entire region, particularly Central Asia, CPEC is very much relevant to Afghanistan and it takes much interest in the project.” said

Zakhilwal, also a former finance minister, believed Afghanistan could recover from the devastation it had suffered during decades of war by joining the project.

Investment in the project rose to more than $51.5 billion in September when China and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to lend $8 billion for upgrading the main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar.

PAN Monitor/mud

The DNA of Aggression–gpolit.com

The DNA of Aggression

gpolit

by Manoj Kumar Gupta

Anti-war movement in the US during aggression against Vietnam was not because millions of Vietnamese were dying. It developed because body-bag numbers were rising.

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A Gpolit.com Exclusive!

Many wonder why the citizens of hegemonic countries keep quiet when their ‘democratically elected’ ‘modern’ governments go on to destroy other weaker countries and at times, entire civilizations. The issue becomes somewhat intriguing when the mighty nations vouch by principles of equality, freedom, democracy, altruism etc. They sometimes even stretch it to their actions drawing legitimacy from religion and spirituality. Remember the Bible sessions of Bush Jr.? A sizeable section of humanity watches aghast, as militarily powerful nations go on rampaging from one country to other.

Why do their masses agree with such brutality ???

Recent history

Slavery

In ancient times, royalty and the privileged used to keep slaves. In America, slavery formally ended as recently as in 1865. A casual look at the treatment of non-whites today in the USA at the hands of law enforcement officials is enough to give one an idea about the mindset of the empowered today. There is a good chunk of humanity which thinks that it is superior and entitled enough to demean, torture and even kill in hordes. Forget the reasons of Iraq invasion (the decisions were made by certain powerful interests); just recall what the ordinary soldiers were doing in Abu Gharib prison and the graphic pictures leaked thereof. It would be a mistake to think that the attitudes have changed. When they attack a country, they do so with the righteous swagger of a knight and attitude of Chenghez Khan.

Colonialism

Colonialism was the raw power projection of hegemons aiming for maximum profits for their aristocracy and trading classes. Military annexation was followed by the colony being turned into a raw materials production backyard. Centuries of exploitation are well documented. India gained its independence only about seventy years ago in 1947. The economic fabric of the country was bleached irreparably.

The colonial powers however learned a lesson very well – It paid to be militarily razor-sharp. Military projection as a tool for easy economic dividends has continued till this day. Their citizens are aware of their history when they were the ‘rulers’ of such and such country. Do they feel superior on account of that? Yes, they do. Just follow any racist rant on the social media and the issue will be crystal clear. Or ask any South-East Asian worker in an Arab country about their treatment. The airs of superiority inherited from culture and history are hard to get rid of.

Interpretation of history and culture

The history of colonial era was written by self-anointed scholars from Europe who travelled to distant lands, caught hold of local tomes and documents and interpreted them as per the convenience of the colonial powers’ necessities. Hence the ‘fall of Bastille’ (1789) marked ushering in of ‘equality’ for the ‘endowed’, but an armed uprising against the British in India(1857) was termed ‘mutiny’ and ‘rebellion by disenfranchised aristocracy’. Local knowledge, traditions and culture were presented as being inferior and great romance and altruism was associated to concepts of ‘white man’s burden’. (It is another story that the burdened white man had Bible in one hand but invariably a blazing six-pack in the other) The genocide of native Americans (some estimate it at 100 million) was helped along by distribution of purposefully disease infected blankets by the settlers. Devoid of their natural resources, the malnourished natives were again blamed as having ‘low immunity’ against various afflictions. The narrative is constantly and meticulously changed to keep bleeding hearts, if any, amongst the masses in check. All actions of depredatory nations and their citizens remain beyond reproach.

Patriotism

If ever any of their citizens raise their voices against wars of aggression, a common refrain is to bring up the holy cow ideal of ‘patriotism’. The majority is silenced by being asked to support the troops who are fighting for their ‘freedom’ and ‘way of life’. Hollywood churns out grand productions where western ‘heroes’ make great personal sacrifices to crush evil doers in lands ranging from North Korea, Russia, China, Middle East etc. Their governments, their armed forces, their leaders can do no wrong, is the common theme. The wrong doers are all in distant lands. Their great nation is fighting the villains and the diehard patriots are cheering. The mood is akin to that when exterminating vermin. Who cares if one and a half millions Iraqis are dead; let us support our troops.

The farce of sovereignty

The concept of sovereignty is for the west and its allies, and is savoured with much gusto. No one is supposed to question this ideal. This ideal, propagated by their great political scientists, helped avoid wars between the developing nation states of Europe! But when it came to Yugoslavia, the ideal was conveniently shoved aside and a new concept of ‘right to protect’ and ‘ethnic self-determination’ was conjured out of the blue and the country dismembered into small ‘manageable’ statelets. Now each one of them is being encouraged to join the supranational entity of ‘European Union’. Their ‘European identity’ is at the forefront of propaganda. Just in case they feel insecure, further insurance can be bought at attractive premiums by way of NATO membership. Wow!

North Korea, which had a quarter of its population annihilated only a few decades ago, is despised by major nuclear powers for securing its sovereignty by a nuclear tipped middle finger. The impoverished nation is projected as being a threat and its leader insane (on lines of Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein). Both Libya and Iraq, once prosperous secular nations, lie in ruins today, but the sentiment in western public is that they brought it upon themselves! On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is allowed to bomb with impunity the poor Yemen. Sovereignty is for the privileged. The privileged citizens are aware that there are ‘lesser’ nations where ‘problems’ exist and where their ‘benevolent’ governments are doing ‘noble’ deeds. What if a couple of millions lesser mortals die.

The innocent bystander myth

The populations of marauding countries are no unwilling participants. They have a stake in military interventions and warmongering by their respective countries, by virtue of which they lead hedonistic lifestyles. They have not been brainwashed by their governments or some secret financial cartels. They are the direct beneficiaries of the rapine and plunder. They love the media which helps in maintaining this picture. They choose which side to be on.

Anti-war movement in the US during aggression against Vietnam was not because millions of Vietnamese were dying. It developed because body-bag numbers were rising. Now nobody bats an eyelid when western drones and aircrafts destroy one country after other.

Their citizens are aware of the same. But they demand the ‘Kardashians’ and ‘double cheese double bacon Mac’. Don’t interrupt the party please.

Under International Pressure, Pakistan Ends Persecution of Dawn Writer

[SEE: Pak. Press (Dawn) Defended By Indian Press, Against Assault By Pak Army Dictatorship]

THE message has been delivered; it has been received coolly; so we’re left with two questions: why now and what next?

Let’s get down to it.

Nawaz and the N-League are wrong on militancy. They’ve been wrong since they got back Punjab in 2008 and they’ve been wrong since they captured the centre in 2013.

Either they don’t get it or they refuse to get it, but they’re not interested in a war on militancy and don’t see detoxifying society as a core part of their agenda.

But three things have changed.


The worse things have got, the more Nawaz has chafed at what he perceives as the original problem: sidelining him in foreign policy.


One, Raheel snatched foreign policy from Nawaz and screwed it up. Two, militancy became a threat to the core agenda: the N-League’s version of economic growth. And three, the boys have tried to muscle their way into Punjab.

Lost in the paeans to Raheel is a less salutary reality: he has presided over a downturn in relations with three regional countries, Afghanistan, Iran and India.

On Afghanistan, Raheel seems to have been serious and sincere, but appears to have lost the argument with his side. The Ghani opening is gone.

On Iran, Raheel decided to double down on Saudi. Because the relations are old, the bargain settled and the Saudi demands insistent. Forget an opening to Iran.

On India, Raheel kneecapped Nawaz early and has been intent on keeping India at a distance. Modi’s silliness and bluster have helped — it’s easier to scuttle what was never on the cards anyway.

Nawaz’s preference is for a path to regional stability. With China already on board, stabilising relations with Afghanistan, Iran and India would give Pakistan a normal-ish neighbourhood with steady-ish neighbour relations.

So the worse things have got, the more Nawaz has chafed at what he perceives as the original problem: sidelining him in foreign policy.

He wants back in.

Then there’s the core agenda, the economy. The policies may be flawed, but the goal is clear: steady economic growth via fixing electricity, infrastructure spending and, eventually, trade.

But that’s not compatible with a huge jihad enterprise and an Afghanistan, Iran and India that are miffed and interested in stoking trouble domestically.

So militancy has forced itself into the N-League’s core agenda.

Finally, there’s Punjab. With major military operations in Fata winding down, the boys have wanted to amp up the fight against anti-Pakistan militants in Punjab

But Punjab is all Nawaz has. Let the boys into Punjab and it could be like lowering the drawbridge to the N-League’s eventual political demise.

The only answer is to get in on the fight against militancy. Take the fight to the militants yourself, lest not fighting becomes a reason for the boys to force themselves into Punjab on their terms.

If we can guess why, we can also guess why now.

If the big picture was already converging, recent events caused an acceleration. The US, still seeing Pakistan primarily through the Afghan prism, has been annoyed.

The world has tired of jihadis. The risk of conflict with India has caused diplomatic disquiet. And a chief is set to retire in November.

Put all of that together and you have a reason to start the conversation now. The possibility of a drift towards isolation is real — so the conversation is factual.

The chap on his way out can’t push back too hard and the parameters of the conversation can be defined before the new guy comes in.

And the conversation is what the new guy in November will find the lie of land to be as he settles in. By the middle of next year, he’ll be well settled and the government turning to election mode.

Now, to what the response has been.

There hasn’t been just one meeting and one presentation. There have been several meetings and the presentation has been made to the chief too.

Initially, the response was cool and a little dismissive — we’ve got China, Saudi, Turkey, etc.

But Nawaz has been adamant and others, almost certainly at his direction, have spoken up too. Doing nothing is no longer an option, the boys have been told.

That’s triggered a game of cat and mouse. The boys have suggested that perhaps parliament should get involved — why not get a resolution against some of the groups, it has been mooted.

But the N-League has resisted the idea — the groups weren’t created with parliament’s consent, so why involve parliament now has been the answer.

The PML-N is also trying to cover its flanks. The N-League talking point being peddled most furiously: Punjab is not Karachi.

That’s as much a plea as it is an argument. The N-League knows that the conversation can quickly steer towards the party being an impediment to getting the job done.

In getting some action against some groups, the N-League doesn’t want to open the door to Punjab.

Where is it all headed?

Between now and November, there should be some more clues. Nobody thinks there’ll be a policy U-turn or that there’ll be one soon, but Nawaz is pushing for some quick actions.

If he gets them in the next few weeks, we’ll know which way the conversation is headed. If he doesn’t and political pressure suddenly appears again, paranoia may get the better of the government.

The chief too has a final few cards to play: a shuffle of senior commanders, perhaps at the ISI too, and a say in the selection of the next chief.

Interesting days are here again.

The writer is a member of staff.

cyril.a@gmail.com

Twitter: @cyalm

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2016

National Dialogue Creates New Potential for Sudan

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image copyright L. Freeman

National Dialogue Creates New Potential for Sudan

african perspective

By Lawrence Freeman, Political-Economic Analyst for Africa

Khartoum

On Monday October 10, Sudan celebrated the conclusion of the historic National Dialogue intended to give birth to a New Sudan and new constitution. Joining Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir on the dais were the heads of state from Egypt, Uganda, Chad and Mauritania, all who spoke in support of the agreement along with representatives from Russia, China, Ethiopia, and the Islamic Cooperation Organization.

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image copyright L. Freeman

The following day, President Bashir was seen dancing at an outdoor rally in front of cheering crowds. A senior member of the ruling National Congress Party-(NCP) told this author that the significance of this agreement is  second only to the founding of Sudan in 1956 when Sudan liberated itself from British colonialism.

 

President Bashir also announced extending the cease fire between government forces and military opposition groups in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordorfan until the end of the year. Resolving the long standing internal armed conflict is essential for Sudan to proceed to the vital task of developing its flailing economy improving the living standards of its people.

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image copyright L. Freeman

The lack of attendance and press coverage by the United States and Europe was notable, but not surprising. The US led sanctions against Sudan that are inflicting undue hardships on the population and strangling the Sudan economy remains a critical obstacle for Sudan’s advancement on the path of progress following the remarkable accomplishment of the National Dialogue.
The Monday conference and signing of the National Document in Friendship Hall is the culmination of a more than two year process that began in July 2013. Recognizing the need for the NCP to initiate a transformation of the country after suffering economic and political difficulties following the separation of South Sudan, President Bashir called for a far reaching and transparent National Dialogue in January 2014 to re-examine fundamental concerns of the population. These included issues of peace, unity, the economy, external relations, freedom of speech and press. One of the most important concepts that was addressed is that of citizenship and identity. As one member of the Umma Federal Party participating in the National Dialogue told me that they decided to reaffirm that “we are not Arab nor African, but Sudanese in Africa.”

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image copyright L. Freeman

Seventy-four political parties and thirty-four armed movements joined the dialogue. Three armed rebel groups refused to sign the National Document; the JEM, the SLA, and the SPLM-N, but the opportunity for them to sign will remain open. The political side of the dialogue was conducted in the “seven plus seven plus one” discussions between the NCP and the opposition parties and movements. For the society at large, tribal leaders, religious groups, NGOs, unions, civil society, respected individuals, and citizens were invited to join the dialogue. Women represented a large minority-33% of participants in the process.
Sudanese from all parties and sections of society are hopeful that National Dialogue will finally lead to peace and stability in Sudan, which has been hampered by internal strife for approximately fifty of their sixty years of independence.

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image copyright L. Freeman

A new constitution will be written with new laws to embody the fresh conceptions that have emerged from this multi-year process. Supported by the platform created by the National Dialogue, Sudan has a propitious moment to articulate and implement a visionary national economic program to realize its full economic potential and lift its people out of poverty.

To help unify the nation, which has suffered from years of civil conflict, all parties should coalesce around a program for investment in the most vital categories of infrastructure; electrical power, railroads, water management, roads and finally cultivate Sudan’s huge amount of fertile land that has never been fully exploited. Such an infrastructure led developmental approach will not only increase the productivity of the economy for the benefit of all citizens, but will provide meaningful productive employment that will give the youth hope for the future.
Sudan’s current participation in China’s Maritime Silk Road through Port Sudan provides an advantage for economic growth as China’s “One Belt-One Road” global infrastructure policy is already transforming the world. President, Xi Jinping has announced China’s intention to eliminate poverty in Africa. Let the New Sudan adopt this mission as well.

by Lawrence Freeman

contact author ikfreeman@prodigy.net

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