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American Resistance To Empire

Brit Press Amplifies the Lie of “Taliban Independence From Pakistan”

[Taliban (religious students) have always been tools of the CIA and the ISI, there to project Pakistan’s power into Afghanistan, without projecting blame for the murderous war crimes committed by them (SEE:  Taliban Have Always Been ISI Foot Soldiers, Working For the CIA).  There can be no independence from their parent paramilitary institutions in Islamabad. 

Afghan Pres. Ghani is just like Hamid Karzai, in that, both of them were there because the Pentagon/CIA wanted them there, to serve Western will.  It is a calculated seduction, intended to seduce the Afghan people into surrendering to Taliban fascism once again, and to seduce the American people into surrendering to Pentagon plans for permanent war in Southeast Asia and a permanent US presence in Afghanistan.  The Western peace ploy was never intended to foster peace in Afghanistan, but merely to make possible the placement of (some other nations’) military forces along planned pipeline routes and highways, in sufficient numbers to limit property damage to Western and Arab-financed development projects.  Everything else is just play-acting and media disinformation, intended to push the broadway production, disguised as “war” to people in love with war and Hollywood-style entertainment.  War movies have always fascinated the American public.]

In Secret Meetings, Taliban Rejected Pakistan Pressure On Peace Process

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Reuters

In Secret Meetings, Taliban Rejected Pakistan Pressure On Peace Process

File photo: A member of Afghan security forces holding up his rifle as he walks at the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan February 27, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Islamabad/Peshawar, Pakistan:  Pakistani officials threatened to expel Afghanistan’s Taliban from bases in Pakistan if they did not join peace talks this month, but the militants rebuffed their traditional patron, two officials said, casting doubt on how much influence Islamabad retains over them.

After the secret meetings with Pakistani officials about two weeks ago, the Taliban’s Supreme Council met at an undisclosed location and voted to reject the talks scheduled for early March with the Afghan government, according to a council member.

Instead, the insurgents are now pouring back into Afghanistan for what they say will be a fierce spring offensive to be launched soon.

Pakistan’s influence over the insurgents is the lynchpin to the peace plan developed over last few months by Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China to bring an end to the 15-year-old war in Afghanistan.

A Pakistani official in Islamabad said the Taliban’s recent success on the battlefield inside Afghanistan had changed the equation.

“They no longer need their Pakistan bases in the same way, so if Pakistan threatens to expel them, it does not have the same effect,” said the official, a retired military officer close to the talks.

The insurgents have won new zones of influence – if not outright control – from Afghan security forces since the United States and its allies pulled most combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, Afghan and Western officials acknowledge.

“Pakistan’s trump card – safe havens on its soil – is in danger of being snatched away,” said Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

“The Taliban have little incentive to step off the battlefield now, given recent gains and those likely to come in the next few months. In effect, why quit while you’re ahead?”

Nafees Zakaria, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office, said he had no knowledge of meetings with the Taliban but added, “We usually don’t know who has met with whom” in the sensitive and high-level peace initiative.

In Kabul, however, members of the Afghan government were sceptical about Pakistan’s assertions.

“Pakistan’s honesty and sincerity with regard to the Afghan peace process has always been a question,” said an Afghan cabinet member, echoing the sentiment of several officials interviewed there.

Pakistan’s military has long been accused of fostering the Taliban as a way of pursuing regional rivalry with India.

Pakistani officials, however, deny the charge and insist the government and military recognise that Afghanistan’s war threatens their own security .

“Their Dream”

A member of the Taliban’s leadership council, or shura, whose members are mostly based in Pakistan and Afghanistan but also travel between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said rebel representatives met in Islamabad with Pakistani officials a little more than two weeks ago.

“They have asked our representatives to bring more decision-making people to the next meeting … to the meeting with U.S. and Afghan officials. This is their dream, but they will not be able to see our senior commanders,” the Taliban council member said.

A senior Pakistani security official with knowledge of the talks said: “I don’t think the talks are dead, but they are definitely plagued by a serious illness.

“The ones who are in Pakistan … We have told them repeatedly that they will have to leave if they don’t participate in the process,” the Pakistani official said..

“We have done what we can … but influence does not mean control. Those days are long gone.”

The Taliban source had knowledge of, but did not attend, the meeting with Pakistani officials in Islamabad. He was at the subsequent Taliban council meeting to decide on whether to join the peace talks.

The pro-talks camp largely comprised supporters of nominal Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, believed to be hiding in Pakistan after being shot in a leadership dispute last year and rumoured killed, and his chief rival, Mullah Mohammad Rasoul, who is believed to be in Afghanistan.

“I personally feel that Mullah Mansour and some other leaders are in favour of peace talks and they don’t want to annoy Pakistan … but they can’t make decisions without approval of other shura members,” said the Taliban council member.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid declined to comment on any meetings with Pakistani representatives. He confirmed the Leadership Council meeting but would not give details.

Publicly, both the Afghan and Pakistani government are expressing hopes that peace talks can begin before the traditional Taliban spring offensive .

Pakistan’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz spoke last week of progress in restarting talks “in coming days”.

However, Taliban commanders told Reuters that with the council’s decision, they are focusing on launching their annual fighting season with the hopes of grabbing more territory.

“We already have started focusing on the spring offensive, and that’s why the majority of the fighters and commanders are going there (Afghanistan),” said a senior Taliban figure, based in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Comic-Strip Nation

[SEE:  Guts & glory: the making of the American military image in film One Minute to Zero: Camp Carson ;‘LET THERE BE LIGHT,’ JOHN HUSTON VS. THE ARMY ]

Comic-Strip Propaganda

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How Washington officials inserted ideas into the funny pages

The U.S. government has a history of inserting propaganda into popular culture, sometimes overtly and sometimes behind the scenes. Comics historian Jeet Heer has dug up a particularly interesting example: Roy Crane’s strip Buz Sawyer. Crane not only coordinated his storylines with Washington during World War II and the Cold War, but he sometimes allowed officials to dictate the details of his plots.

In 1952, for example—just a year before a CIA-assisted coup in Iran—Crane set a story in that country. As part of the process of producing it,

And then to get Mosaddeq out, amirite? 

Roy Cranea State Department official named Eugene V. Brown sent Crane a ten-page memo, explaining in precise detail the plot points the government wanted for Buz Sawyer, along with what purpose those points served. These included finding a way to “stress [the] importance of Private Enterprise” and to portray “the manner in which Communism attempts to discredit development and improvement programs of the West.” Crane, meanwhile, should do his best to steer clear of certain delicate topics. “It would be best to avoid any reference to OIL in discussing Iran.” Because winning hearts and minds was key, Brown wanted a story showing “a strong bond of friendship” between Buz and an Iranian pilot named Sandhu, the purpose of which was to “provide entry of Buz into local situation on common level with indigenous forces.” (Crane followed this direction, although he used the name Ali instead of Sandhu.) Other plot points were designed to provide “further evidence of machinations of Communism” and “display American individual’s ingenuity in coping with operations.” Six months after the strip appeared, Crane praised Brown’s contribution in a letter to Dean Acheson, Truman’s secretary of state and one of the key architects of the cold war…

As Heer notes, the “millions of Americans who read Buz Sawyer in 1952 would have gotten a very distorted image of Iran. They would have seen a country where Americans were chiefly helping to avert a famine, where the major threat of disorder came from Soviet spies, where Americans were good-hearted aid officials, where control of the oil supply wasn’t a factor, and where the U.S. government had no conflict with the democratically elected government.” Such storylines weren’t good for the cartoonist’s craft either, Heer argues: “As Crane became more concerned with tailoring his strips to a political message, they lost the spark that had once made them special.”

To read Heer’s whole article, go here. To read about the government’s efforts to influence radio programs during World War II, go here. For a more recent story of this sort—the messages that the Clinton-era Office of National Drug Control Policy inserted into prime-time TV shows—go here.

US Judge Rules Saudi Arabia Has Complete Immunity for Sept. 11, 2001

Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity from 9/11 damage claims, judge rules

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Information from imprisoned Zacarias Moussaoui ruled irrelevant due to immunity

By Nate Raymond, Thomson Reuters

This undated file photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff Office shows Zacharias Moussaoui, who figured in the lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims.

This undated file photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff Office shows Zacharias Moussaoui, who figured in the lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims. (Sherburne County, Minn., Sheriff’s Office/AP)

A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, who accused the country of providing material support to al Qaeda.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity from damage claims by families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.

“The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants,” Daniels wrote.

The victims had sought to supplement their case with new allegations to avoid that result, including based on testimony they secured from Zacarias Moussaoui, a former al-Qaeda operative imprisoned for his role in the attacks.

Daniels said even if he allowed the plaintiffs to assert those new claims, doing so would be “futile, however, because the additional allegations do not strip defendants of sovereign immunity.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they would appeal. Sean Carter, one the lawyers, said he believed the ruling was also the consequence of the U.S. government’s decision to keep classified evidence that could be favourable to their cause.

“Obviously, we respectfully disagree with Judge Daniels’s ruling,” he said

A lawyer for Saudi Arabia declined comment.

The ruling came just over 14 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which airliners hijacked by al Qaeda militants brought death and destruction upon the United States.

Most of the 19 attackers were Saudi nationals who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted.

The case against Saudi Arabia has had a complicated history, with trial judges including Daniels twice before ruling that Saudi Arabia was entitled to immunity under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

But in 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revived the lawsuit, in light of a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to proceed against Afghanistan.

The case is In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 03-md-01570.

The Imperial Demolition of the Middle East—Western ace in the hole

[The author of the following does an excellent job of laying-out the primary strands of the Middle East knot.  The architects of the “Arab Spring” understood these strands and many more, giving them intimate knowledge of the primary “buttons” to be pushed, in order to set the Middle East on fire.  This is what the amazing CIA psywarriors did, by intention, NOT by accident. 

The problem has been in getting Western leaders to admit that their policies have been wrong since the beginning of the terror war, following policies which multiplied terrorism wherever US counter-terrorism took hold.  It is not just that Obama’s policies which have been misguided, because he has continued to follow the same Pentagon policies which managed Bush’s war.  American policies in general, since 2001, have been to tear countries apart, without consideration for what would come next. 

Now that the contradictions between America’s words and actions have become apparent to the people of the world, popular opinion is turning against the Empire, breaking the American global dictatorship (new world order).  Next comes worldwide realization that this has all been intentional, NOT by accident, or through a series of devastating mistakes.  The objective of the “Arab Spring” has always been to create chaos throughout the Muslim world, to be achieved through total destruction.

Convincing Western leaders to admit that the demolition of the existing order has been intentional all along will prove to be an existential struggle for anyone willing to make the attempt to reason with power.  The power elite can never admit that their objective has been to sow chaos in foreign lands, because doing so would create conscious linkage to our own Nation’s internal demolition.  We stand a better chance of witnessing a global realization about American intentions to create disorder, than we do of seeing changes arising from within.  It has now become clear to the rest of humanity that there has been NO real “regime change,” only regime destruction. The world is about to rightfully blame America for everything

The emergence of new, more rational world leadership comes in the person of Vladimir Putin.  Screams of outrage and urgency immediately rise-up against him from the usual warmongering crowd, while a hushed silence descends upon the rest of the world, where saner minds join together to pray, once more, for WORLD PEACE.  Putting an end to the Imperial destruction of Syria, Libya and Yemen is the first step towards finding that lasting peace in the Middle East.]

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The Roots of Conflict in the Middle East 

FAIR OBSERVER

Only rule of law and a culture of diversity can overthrow autocracy and religious fundamentalism in the Middle East.

One fundamental problem for Middle Eastern countries is that a majority of the rulers are illegitimate. While each country has its own history and trajectory, common patterns prevail across the region: Those in power have not received their positions from a fair and transparent electoral process. They see themselves as above the law and misuse their absolute power.

These autocrats act as a guardian of the people or treat them as an enemy. Sets of tribal and religious convictions replace law in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and power is fundamentally linked to tribalism or religion.

How have power struggles, religious conflict, discrimination, security issues, colonialism and Western hegemony, values and intervention shaped the Middle East? This author spoke to PhD students, academics and university lecturers to learn more.

Muhammad Waladbagi, a PhD candidate at Durham University working on Turkey-Iraqi Kurdistan relations, states that the modern history of the Middle East has witnessed frequent interstate wars, numerous revolutions, coup d’états, civil wars and economic problems:

“These are signs of fundamental problems in the region’s political culture that at times has set the ruling regimes against their people. It is quite difficult to identify and explain the reasons behind such phenomena in a few sentences as the origins of the problems differ in each specific case, and Middle Eastern states are not homogeneous as they have many differences.”

The role of religion

The feeling of attachment to tribalism and fake patriotism under the umbrella of religion is stronger and more apparent than respect for human rights and pluralism in the Middle East. Patriotism is used as a tool to accumulate wealth and oppress the rights of minorities, while religion and tribalism are often militarized, making the use of violence legitimate and normal.

Sabir Hasan, a lecturer at the University of Human Development and a PhD student at the University of Leeds, says religion—specifically Islam—is an inseparable part of Middle Eastern society, and it is one of the most influential domains of Kurdish social life:

“It is not surprising that different tribal and so-called patriotic groups resort to religion to gain legacy and popularity. As for ‘fake patriotism’, as you termed it, we need a simple glance at the contemporary history of Middle Eastern regimes, including Kurdistan, to see what abuses and scandals have been committed in the name of patriotism. It is axiomatic that those who first claimed to be loyal patriots have eventually become millionaires, all at the expense of the public. Those who misuse religion and patriotism can be regarded, at best, as opportunists.” 

In a region where exchange of power often causes destruction and chaos, the psychology of the rulers is structured in such a way that they consider themselves to always be right, thus there is no need for an election. Humans are not seen as humans, but as either friend or foe. Ironically, one has to act like an enemy to be a friend and a friend to be an enemy. That is to say, one has to be the enemy of freedom to be the friend of an oppressor, and to be a protector of an oppressor to be the enemy of democracy.

Middle East

Power struggles

Analyzing the issue of power struggles from a psychoanalytic perspective, Mohammed Akoi, an assistant lecturer in Raparin University in Sulaymaniyah, says:

“Sigmund Freud talks in detail about the Oedipus complex; that is, the unconscious rivalry between the father and the son. I see a similar type of complex when it comes to rulers in the Middle East. There is a myth in Kurdish folklore that could say a lot about father-son rivalry in the Middle-Eastern context.

“The story goes that a father, after having lost all his sons but one, arranges a wedding for his last son, Saidawan. As the party ends, Saidawan goes hunting to the mountains, and so does his father. Saidawan dresses in a wild goat’s clothing in order to attract other goats and thus hunt them. His father, on the other hand, seeing a supposed wild goat and not knowing it is his son in disguise, kills him and thus loses his last son.

“The story is often told as a tragic misfortune on the part of the father. However, approaching the incident from a Freudian interpretation, it is the father who kills his son unconsciously. Much has been said about the Middle Eastern father as an example of divine authority who is always there to punish the son.”

Akoi argues that rulers in the Middle East play the role of a typical superior who enjoys the authority of the father. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that democracy, the product of Western consciousness, always fails to shake the Middle Eastern father’s position.

The dictators of Middle Eastern countries see armed struggle as a pathway to their eternal need for power. Instead of promoting coexistence, they embrace war and military confrontation; instead of building legitimate institutions, they destroy the country’s infrastructure; and instead of organizing an inclusive, lawful military force, they establish militia units for the sake of adding fuel to the sectarian disputes. This paves the way for the dictators to remain in power as long as they want or until they are forcefully deposed.

For Sarkawt Shamsulddin, a political analyst at the Kurdish Policy Foundation specializing in governance and security and NRT TV’s bureau chief in Washington DC, two issues are of pivotal importance: the abuse of religion and a lack of good governance. The focus here is on governance.

“The rulers in the Middle East have been oppressing their people for decades and they have used different means to do so, such as undermining human rights, democracy, freedom of speech and civil society as a whole. They have undermined opposition groups. They have mostly invested in military and security institutions. Therefore, when revolutions or what is called the ‘Arab Spring’ emerged, they use their military capability to stay in power.”  

In the underdeveloped countries of the Middle East, security and military forces are dominated and ruled by tribal chiefs and religious figures. Infringement of political rights is authorized through elastic rules, and the confiscation of democratic values is fallaciously considered a religious duty. The public sphere is in total chaos, and the government has too much influence through the media, economy, education and even on the private lives of the people. This abuse of power has become an inherent part of governments’ mechanism to uproot any kind of freedom—be it freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience or freedom of the press.

Zubir Rasool, a PhD candidate of Middle East politics at the University of Exeter, argues that there are numerous problematic issues that can contribute to the structure of current conflict in the Middle East. The main issue in this regard has to do with the structure of the so-called “nation-state” on the one hand, and its political, social and economic functions on the other hand.

“The evolution of the nation-state did not come from a natural process in the Middle East. Large groups of Middle Eastern countries were the results of colonial operations—whether it was from the Ottoman Empire or European colonialism. Both of these historical moments’ legacies share a responsibility for the creative chaos in the Middle East nowadays. The terms nation-building or state-building was just a figurative cover for the combination of different ethnic, tribal, linguistic and cultural identities. The legacy of the Ottoman Empire is based on the distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims; also, non-Muslims were divided among their ethnicities and religious sects.”

The middle-class has deteriorated and the professional workforce is almost non-existent. A lack of public facilities, low income and high unemployment keep people frustrated. A lack of food quality and stable electricity, poor health care and stagnant education keep people over-occupied and struggling. This way, people do not have the means to revolt. They are more occupied with providing the basic needs to survive, let alone the strenuous dangers of migration and the perpetual challenges of resettlement, identity, discrimination and cultural integration.

Refugees

Ramyar Hassani, a human rights observer in Latin America, Europe and Kurdistan, says that in a Middle East that is burning because of sectarian wars and extremist organizations, being a refugee has become a normal phenomenon.

“On the one hand, the proxy wars of regional powers have forced thousands of Middle Easterners to flee and leave everything behind. On the other hand, the wrong policies of Western and world powers led the Middle East into a clash of extremists, which resulted in thousands of refugees [heading] to a safer country [and] dreaming of a life without violence.”

With that in mind, whenever there is a revolution, the faces change, but the mentalities are the same. That is to say, a new despotic clan will take over power, establishing the same sort of mechanism to replace and then rule in the same manner as the ousted autocrat. Each clan or tribe controls a certain territory with their own armed force and militia in hand and their own rules in place.

That being said, constitutional legitimacy is threatened by political outbidding and revolution. The legitimate exchange or handover of power and social justice are vulnerable in the face of political and economic corruption, which is why disorder, instability and war have always been part of the autocrat’s culture and mentality.

Sherko Kirmanj, a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Utara Malaysia and the author of Identity and Nation in Iraq, believes the question of legitimacy is one problem that faces the Middle East.

“One of the major problems confronting Middle Eastern societies is that the process of modernity in the region is not home-grown, but rather an imposed one. Modernity with all its dimensions and outcomes, including the nation-state, secularism, democratization, freedom, etc, were alien concepts introduced into Middle Eastern societies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The introduction of these concepts and the values that embrace such equality, justice, fairness, freedom of speech and freedom of religion—just to name a few—led to a clash with local and traditional values of these societies.”

In the End

Western leaders and institutions have a limited understanding and familiarity with Middle Eastern societies, cultures and politics. This often leads to a focus on increasing arms and ammunition supplies and offering military training, especially in times of a violent insurgency, instead of the much-needed humanitarian, educational and developmental aid. This creates an ongoing cycle, wherein whoever has the most military strength holds power and steps into the same pattern of governmental rule.

What has blinded the West is the age-old misconception that Middle Eastern societies are anti-civil society, anti-democracy and anti-multiculturalism. This thinking leads to the conclusion that these societies are doomed to remain in bloodshed, where the best treatment is the importing of more and more weapons. This approach fails to address the root problems and instead contributes to the cycle of violence.

The West must realize that the real danger lies in the empowerment of religious fanatics and systemic corruption that have replaced true critical thinking, quality education and effective institutions.

By publishing and glamorizing radical groups’ propaganda on media platforms such as YouTube, the West can demonstrate how significant a culture of diversity and rule of law is for consolidating democracy. These two elements—rule of law and a culture of diversity—are the only means through which autocracy and religious fundamentalism can be overthrown.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Robert Hale / StrelsShutterstock.com

Aras Ahmed MhamadAras Ahmed Mhamad is a freelance journalist and regular contributor for Fair Observer.

Destroying the Syrian Nation For the Sake of Gas

Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration flow of people heading into the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration flow of people heading into the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)


 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect recent Wikileaks revelations of US State Department leaks that show plans to destabilize Syria and overthrow the Syrian government as early as 2006.  The leaks reveal that these plans were given to the US directly from the Israeli government and would be formalized through instigating civil strife and sectarianism through partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt to break down the power structue in Syria to essentially to weaken Iran and Hezbolla. The leaks also reveal Israeli plans to use this crisis to expand it’s occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration and military expansion. 


 

MINNEAPOLIS — Images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up dead on Mediterranean shores in his family’s attempt to flee war-torn Syria, have grabbed the attention of people around the world, sparking outrage about the true costs of war.

The heart-wrenching refugee crisis unfolding across the Middle East and at European borders has ignited a much needed conversation on the ongoing strife and instability that’s driving people from their homes in countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq. It’s brought international attention to the inhumane treatment these refugees are receiving if — and it is a major “if” — they arrive at Europe’s door.

In Syria, for example, foreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.

Other Syrians fleeing the chaos at home have turned to neighboring Arab Muslim countries. Jordan alone has absorbed over half a million Syrian refugees; Lebanon has accepted nearly 1.5 million; and Iraq and Egypt have taken in several hundred thousand.

Although it’s not an Arab nation or even part of the Middle East, Iran sent 150 tons of humanitarian goods, including 3,000 tents and 10,000 blankets, to the Red Crescents of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon via land routes to be distributed among the Syrian refugees residing in the three countries last year.

Turkey has taken in nearly 2 million refugees to date. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan made international headlines for opening his nation’s arms to migrants, positioning himself as a kind of savior in the process.

A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi after he drowned when the boat he and his family members were in capsized near the Turkish resort of Bodrum early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (Photo: Nilüfer Demir/DHA)

Meanwhile, Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have provided refuge to zero Syrian refugees.

While there’s certainly a conversation taking place about refugees — who they are, where they’re going, who’s helping them, and who isn’t — what’s absent is a discussion on how to prevent these wars from starting in the first place. Media outlets and political talking heads have found many opportunities to point fingers in the blame game, but not one media organization has accurately broken down what’s driving the chaos: control over gas, oil and resources.

Indeed, it’s worth asking: How did demonstrations held by “hundreds” of protesters demanding economic change in Syria four years ago devolve into a deadly sectarian civil war, fanning the flames of extremism haunting the world today and creating the world’s second largest refugee crisis?

While the media points its finger to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and political analysts call for more airstrikes against ISIS and harsher sanctions against Syria, we’re four years into the crisis and most people have no idea how this war even got started.

This “civil war” is not about religion

Citing a lack of access on the ground, the United Nations stopped regularly updating its numbers of casualties in the Syrian civil war in January 2014. Estimates put the death toll between 140,200 and 330,380, with as many as 6 million Syrians displaced, according to the U.N.

While there is no question that the Syrian government is responsible for many of the casualties resulting from its brutal crackdown, this is not just a Syrian problem.

Foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted.  Wikieaks released leaked US State Department cables from 2006 revealing US plans to overthrow the Syrian government through instigating civil strife, and receiving these very orders straight from Tel Aviv.  The leaks reveal the United State’s partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt to use sectarianism to divide Syria through the Sunni and Shiite divide to destabilize the nation to weaken Iran and Hezbolla.  Israel is also revealed to attempt to use this crisis to expand it’s occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration.

According to major media outlets like the BBC and the Associated Press, the demonstrations that supposedly swept Syria were comprised of only hundreds of people, but additional Wikileaks cables reveal CIA involvement on the ground in Syria to instigate these very demonstrations as early as March 2011.

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 file photo, Syrians hold a large poster depicting Syria's President Bashar Assad during a rally in Damascus, Syria. Some activists expressed regret that one year later their "revolution" against President Bashar Assad's rule had become mired in violence. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman, File)

 

Just a few months into the demonstrations which now consisted of hundreds of armed protesters with CIA ties, demonstrations grew larger, armed non-Syrian rebel groups swarmed into Syria, and a severe government crackdown swept through the country to deter this foreign meddling. It became evident that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would be jumping on the opportunity to organize, arm and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army as outlined in the State Department plans to destabilize Syria. (Just a few months ago, WikiLeaks confirmed this when it released Saudi intelligence that revealed Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been working hand in hand to arm and finance rebels to overthrow the Syrian government since 2012.)

These foreign nations created a pact in 2012 called “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People,” a name that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their agenda was to divide and conquer in order to wreak havoc across Syria in view of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A Free Syrian Army soldier carries his weapon at the northern town of Sarmada, in Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. (AP Photo)

The true agenda to hijack Syria’s revolt quickly became evident, with talking heads inserting Syria’s alliance with Iran as a threat to the security and interests of the United States and its allies in the region. It’s no secret that Syria’s government is a major arms, oil and gas, and weapons ally of Iran and Lebanon’s resistance political group Hezbollah.

But it’s important to note the timing: This coalition and meddling in Syria came about immediately on the heels of discussions of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market.

Perhaps the most accurate description of the current crisis over gas, oil and pipelines that is raging in Syria has been described by Dmitry Minin, writing for the Strategic Cultural Foundation in May 2013:

“A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan’s reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leans in favor of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change.

It’s the oil, gas and pipelines, stupid!

Indeed, tensions were building between Russia, the U.S. and the European Union amid concerns that the European gas market would be held hostage to Russian gas giant Gazprom. The proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversifying Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.

Turkey is Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The entire Turkish energy security structure relies on gas from Russia and Iran. Plus, Turkey was harboring Ottoman-like ambitions of becoming a strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and even gas to Europe.

The Guardian reported in August 2013:

“Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar and Turkey that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was ‘to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.’”

Note the purple line which traces the proposed Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline and note that all of the countries highlighted in red are part of a new coalition hastily put together after Turkey finally (in exchange for NATO’s acquiescence on Erdogan’s politically-motivated war with the PKK) agreed to allow the US to fly combat missions against ISIS targets from Incirlik. Now note which country along the purple line is not highlighted in red. That’s because Bashar al-Assad didn’t support the pipeline and now we’re seeing what happens when you’re a Mid-East strongman and you decide not to support something the US and Saudi Arabia want to get done.

Knowing Syria was a critical piece in its energy strategy, Turkey attempted to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to reform this Iranian pipeline and to work with the proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline, which would ultimately satisfy Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations’ quest for dominance over gas supplies. But after Assad refused Turkey’s proposal, Turkey and its allies became the major architects of Syria’s “civil war.”

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/G1p_tFnKqMA?rel=0&showinfo=0

Much of the strategy currently at play was described back in a 2008 U.S. Army-funded RAND report, “Unfolding the Future of the Long War”:

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized. … For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources. … The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

In this context, the report identifies the divide and conquer strategy while exploiting the Sunni-Shiite divide to protect Gulf oil and gas supplies while maintaining a Gulf Arab state dominance over oil markets.

“Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces. … the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace. … U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the ‘Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world…. possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

The report notes that another option would be “to take sides in the conflict, possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

This framework crafted an interesting axis: Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S., Britain and France vs. Syria, Iran and Russia.

Divide and conquer: A path to regime change

With the U.S., France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — aka, the new “Friends of Syria” coalition — publicly calling for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad between  2011 and 2012 after Assad’s refusal to sign onto the gas pipeline, the funds and arms flowing into Syria to feed the so-called “moderate” rebels were pushing Syria into a humanitarian crisis. Rebel groups were being organized left and right, many of which featured foreign fighters and many of which had allied with al-Qaida.

Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the League of Arab States Ahmad al-Qattan, center, attends the Arab League summit in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, March, 29, 2012. The annual Arab summit meeting opened in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday with only 10 of the leaders of the 22-member Arab League in attendance and amid a growing rift between Arab countries over how far they should go to end the one-year conflict in Syria. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

The Syrian government responded with a heavy hand, targeting rebel held areas and killing civilians in the process.

Since Syria is religiously diverse, the so-called “Friends of Syria” pushed sectarianism as their official “divide and conquer” strategy to oust Assad. Claiming that Alawites ruled over a majority Sunni nation, the call by the “moderate” U.S.-backed rebels became one about Sunni liberation.

Although the war is being sold to the public as a Sunni-Shiite conflict, so-called Sunni groups like ISIS,  the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) and even the “moderate” Free Syrian Army have indiscriminately targeted Syria’s Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Jews. At the same time, these same foreign nations supported and even armed the Bahraini government, which claims to be Sunni, in its violent crackdown on the majority Shiite pro-democracy demonstrations that swept the nation.

The Syrian government army itself is over 80 percent Sunni, which indicates that the true agenda has been politically — not religiously — motivated.

In addition to this, the Assad family is Alawite, an Islamic sect that the media has clumped in with Shiites, though most Shiites would agree that the two are unrelated. Further, the Assad family is described as secular and running a secular nation. Counting Alawites as Shiites was simply another way to push a sectarian framework for the conflict: It allowed for the premise that the Syria-Iran alliance was based on religion, when, in fact, it was an economic relationship.

This framework carefully crafted the Syrian conflict as a Sunni revolution to liberate itself from Shiite influence that Iran was supposedly spreading to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

But the truth is, Syria’s Sunni community is divided, and many defected to join groups like the Free Syrian Army, ISIS and al-Qaida. And as mentioned earlier, over 80 percent of Assad’s military is Sunni.

As early as 2012, additional rebels armed and financed by Arab Gulf nations and Turkey like al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, declared all-out war against Shiites. They even threatened to attack Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s government after they had overthrown the Assad government.

Soon after, the majority of the Muslim Brotherhood rebels became part of al-Qaida-affiliated groups. Together, they announced that they would destroy all shrines — not just those ones which hold particular importance to Shiites.

Hezbollah entered the scene in 2012 and allied itself with the Syrian government to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, which were officially being armed and financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And all the arms were actively being sold to these nations by the United States. Thus, US arms were falling into the hands of the same terror group the US claims to be fighting in its broader War on Terror.

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffin of Hezbollah member Mohammad Issa who was killed in an airstrike that killed six members of the Lebanese militant group and an Iranian general in Syria, during his funeral procession, in the southern village of Arab Salim, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Hezbollah has accused Israel of carrying out Sunday's airstrike, which occurred on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Issa was the highest-ranking among the group, and was among the senior cadres who headed the group's operations in Syria against the Sunni-led rebellion. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

According to reports, Hezbollah was and has been been active in preventing rebel penetration from Syria to Lebanon, being one of the most active forces in the Syrian civil war spillover in Lebanon. Despite this, the U.S. sanctioned both the Syrian government and Hezbollah in 2012.

Also that year, Russia and Iran sent military advisers to assist the Syrian government in quelling the terror groups, but Iranian troops were not on the ground fighting during this time.

What was once a secular, diverse and peaceful nation, was looking more like it was on its way to becoming the next Afghanistan; its people living under Taliban-style rule as jihadists took over more land and conquered more cities.

Effects of foreign meddling outweigh self-determination

If you think that was hard to follow, you’re certainly not alone.

Most sectarian civil wars are purposely crafted to pit sides against one another to allow for a “divide and conquer” approach that breaks larger concentrations of power into smaller factions that have more difficulty linking up. It’s a colonial doctrine that the British Empire famously used, and what we see taking place in Syria is no different.

So, let’s get one thing straight: This is not about religion. It might be convenient to say that Arabs or Muslims kill each other, and it’s easy to frame these conflicts as sectarian to paint the region and its people as barbaric. But this Orientalist, overly simplistic view of conflict in the Middle East dehumanizes the victims of these wars to justify direct and indirect military action.

If the truth was presented to the public from the perspective that these wars are about economic interests, most people would not support any covert funding and arming of rebels or direct intervention. In fact, the majority of the public would protest against war. But when something is presented to the public as a matter of good versus evil, we are naturally inclined to side with the “good” and justify war to fight off the supposed “evil.”

The political rhetoric has been carefully crafted to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. Ultimately, no matter the agendas, the alliances or instability brought on by foreign meddling, the calls for freedom, democracy and equality that erupted in 2011 were real then and they’re real today. And let’s not forget that the lack of freedom, democracy and equality have been brought on more by foreign meddling to prop up brutal dictators and arm terror groups than by self-determination.

Migrant men help a fellow migrant man holding a boy as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Macedonian special police forces have fired stun grenades to disperse thousands of migrants stuck on a no-man's land with Greece, a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency on its borders to deal with a massive influx of migrants heading north to Europe. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

The people in the Middle East once stood united and strong together against foreign meddling, exploitation and colonialism no matter their religious or cultural background. But today, the Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion. The ensuing chaos provides ample cover to install a new regime that’s more amenable to opening up oil pipelines and ensuring favorable routes for the highest bidders.

And in this push for energy, it’s the people who suffer most. In Syria, they are fleeing en masse. They’re waking up, putting sneakers on their little boys and girls, and hopping on boats without life jackets, hoping just to make it to another shore. They’re risking their lives, knowing full well that they may never reach that other shore, because the hope of somewhere else is better than the reality at home.

Barbaric Saudi Bastards Set To Behead and Crucify Shia Boy

IN many respects, Saudi Arabia is one of the most advanced nations in the world.

It’s the world’s largest oil producer and its cities are glitz and glamour — thriving metropolis’ in the middle of the desert.

In other ways, the desert kingdom is far from advanced, a place where barbaric rituals still occur and where the country’s citizens are subjected to horrific punishments.

saudibeheading

It’s hard to imagine that in Saudi Arabia this week preparations are being made to not only execute a young man but to crucify him. Literally.

The world is pleading with the Saudi government to reconsider. Advocates say what’s about to take place makes them feel physically ill.

The boy at the centre of it all — Ali Mohammed al-Nimr — says he’s done nothing wrong.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr has been sentenced to death by crucifixion.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr has been sentenced to death by crucifixion.Source:Facebook

‘BARBARIC, INHUMANE, MERCILESS’

Al-Nimr was 17 when he went to an anti-government protest in the Saudi Arabian province of Qatif.

He was accused by the government of carrying a firearm, attacking security forces and even armed robbery. None of those charges could be proven but he confessed nonetheless. He didn’t have a lawyer and some say the confession was drawn from the teenager via torture.

He was demonstrating at the wrong time in the wrong place — in the middle of a violent government crackdown against detractors.

That was February, 2012. Fast forward three years and the charges have stuck, despite a recent appeal.

His sentence is due to be carried out by beheading and crucifixion, a method that involves removing the head of the prisoner and tying their headless body to a cross.

Often, the crucifixion is carried out in a public place. It sends a strong message to others: We will not stand for criticism, no matter who the person and no matter what their age.

‘HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN 2015?’

A Scottish politician raised al-Nimr’s case in parliament this week. She spoke eloquently and she spoke in strong opposition to a practice that has no place in our modern world.

“How in 2015 can a supposedly civilised country impose such an inhumane and merciless penalty on any of its citizens, let alone one so young?” MP Margaret Ferrier said.

“It’s an absolute outrage and I intend to write to the minister and ask for urgent action to be taken.

“Ali’s sentence is due to be barbarically carried out by crucifixion. I feel for this young man and his family. Reading Ali’s story this morning filled me with grief for his life about to be savagely and abruptly ended.”

Savagery is nothing new in Saudi Arabia, a country which between 1985 and 2013 executed more than 2000 people. In 2013, 79 people were put to death. Most of them had their heads cut off with large, sharp swords.

In January this year, a woman protested her innocence until the final moment when a sword fell across her neck. She was writhing on the hard ground in a very public place trying to escape her executioner. Not once but twice did the sword fall upon her neck, the first blow clearly not getting the job done.

Elsewhere, blogger Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years recently after starting a website for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia. Raif will receive 50 lashings a week for a year for setting up the Saudi Arabian Liberals website.

The prosecution first called for him to be tried for apostasy (when a person abandons their religion), which carries a death sentence in Saudi Arabia. Then, in May this year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fine of over $300,000 AUD and 1000 lashes. When he is finally released, Raif faces a 10-year travel ban which would keep him from his wife and three young children in Canada, according to Amnesty International.

A spokesman for Amnesty International told news.com.au the last time men were strapped to crosses and killed was in 2013.

“Five Yemeni men were beheaded and crucified, with pictures emerging on social media showing five decapitated bodies hanging from a horizontal pole with their heads wrapped in bags.

“The beheading and ‘crucifixion’ took place in front of the University of Jizan where students were taking exams.”

The Saudi city of Riyadh.

The Saudi city of Riyadh.Source:AP

DOES SAUDI ARABIA HAVE AN AXE TO GRIND?

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is not the only family member under the careful watch of the Saudi government.

Ali’s uncle Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was arrested in July, 2012. A self-described campaigner for human rights for minorities, the 53-year-old has a strong following online where a website and Facebook page have been set up to rally support for his defence.

His crimes, including speaking out against the government, carry the death penalty.

Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at legal charity Reprieve, told the International Business Times nobody should have to go through what Ali is going through.

“Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution — based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests — would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

force West Asian nations to “stop deadly politics in the name of Islam”

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Refugee crisis: RSS hits out at ‘oil-rich’ Arab nations

siasat daily

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing refugee crisis, RSS mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ has called for building international opinion to force West Asian nations to “stop deadly politics in the name of Islam”.

It also hit out at Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for refusing to help the refugees from strife-torn Syria despite having capacities and resources.

“…Not only Europe but even countries like Bharat (India) and China cannot afford to sit back and wait for the crisis to subside. The time is ripe to build international opinion and force West Asian countries to stop deadly politics in the name of Islam,” it said.

An editorial, “Refuge behind refugees”, in the RSS organ also said Indian “clerics issuing fatwa against the inhuman actions of IS is exemplary in this regard”.

Hitting out at the Arab countries, it said, “The worst culprits are the Arab countries. After financing terrorist groups in many countries, the oil rich West Asian countries have shamed the ‘Arab Conscience’ by refusing to take in any refugee.”

“…Why are some Muslim governments seemingly indifferent to the plight of refugees? They have all the capacities, resources and space but for them the cause espoused by IS is greater than the humanitarian concerns,” it said.

The organ said Saudi Arabia has openly declared that it will not allow any Syrian refugee into the kingdom, while Kuwaiti official argued that ‘they would not fit in’ with the Kuwaiti culture.

The ‘Organiser’ said European powers, who are planning refugee quotas and are now vouching for the humanitarian laws, cannot forget the fact that the situation in Syria or other West Asian countries is the outcome of their colonial legacy.

“They had redrawn the boundaries and created Assads and Saddams under the US leadership. Taliban and IS are their ‘liberal’ contributions to the world. Now when the humanitarian crisis is at the zenith, they cannot overlook the real menace that is barbarism of IS,” it said.

It said the Syrian conflict has created over four million refugees and two million more are expected to flee due to persecution in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen.

“There are reports that Islamic State (IS) militants are being smuggled in Europe in the guise of refugees. The IS operative claimed some 4,000 fighters were already waiting in Europe aiming to attack around the globe,” the RSS organ said.

Noting that more than 2,50,000 people have already died and many are being tortured, it said asylum to refugees can be a temporary solution but not a permanent one.

“Europe cannot hide behind the garb of refugees and neglect the real problem,” it said.

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