ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND–Truth About Isis

[THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND, when it comes to ISIS.  No authority has protested in the past, nor do they protest today, the fact that ISIS is wholly a US/SAUDI-owned entity.  They nurtured it together in the prison camps of Iraq and Saudi, until it was ready to stand on its own two legs in Syria.  There is no surprise here, except for the great astonishment everyone experiences when learning the truth about this state-sponsored terrorism, and the fact that no government (‘cept Russia) dares to mention this dire truth.]

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‘No one can bury heads in sand:’ Hezbollah leader calls for help fighting ISIS in Syria

Russia-Today
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.(Reuters / Sharif Karim)
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.(Reuters / Sharif Karim)

 

Calling it a global existential threat, Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has urged supporters to join the fight against the Islamic State, confirming that his Shiite militant group has been fighting the Sunni extremists all across Syria.

READ MORE: ‘No will’ to fight ISIS? US Defense Sec blasts Iraqi troops

“Today we are facing a kind of danger that is unprecedented in history, which targets humanity itself,” Nasrallah said Sunday during a televised broadcast referring to Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL).

“This is not just a threat to the resistance in Lebanon or to the regime in Syria or the government in Iraq or a group in Yemen,” the Shiite movement’s head continued. “This is a danger to everyone. No one should bury their heads in the sand.”

He called on volunteers to stand up against IS extremist fighters: “We invite everyone in Lebanon and the region to take responsibility and confront this danger and end their silence and hesitation and neutrality.”

Read more
First confession: Pentagon admits 2 Syrian children killed in US airstrikes

Nasrallah’s comments were made ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the retreat of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000.

The leader has confirmed for the very first time that Hezbollah members are fighting Islamic State together with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in various parts of Syria and not just around the border regions.

“We are fighting alongside our Syrian brothers, alongside the army and the people and the popular resistance in Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Qusayr and Hasakeh and Idlib,” he said. “We are present today in many places and we will be present in all the places in Syria that this battle requires.”

READ MORE: Mortar attack on Russian embassy in Damascus an ‘act of terror’ – Moscow

Nasrallah also expressed disappointment with the US-led coalition against Islamic State, saying it was not effective and had not stopped jihadists from moving around freely.

Read more
​ISIS taking advantage of Syrian conflict, opposition & govt should cease fire – UN envoy tells RT

At the same time, he addressed the opposition, stressing that any support for the anti-Assad movement within Syria would only lead to more power in the hands of jihadists.

Sunni forces in Lebanon have been critical of Hezbollah’s role in Syria, as the group has not supported uprisings against Assad.

Lebanon is heavily affected by the Syrian conflict, as the majority of the refugees seeking shelter there are from the bordering war-torn state, with their number currently estimated at over 1.2 million.

The civil war in Syria started four years ago, when the Western-backed opposition began an armed rebellion against Assad’s government. By 2013, large portions of eastern Syria and western Iraq had fallen under control of militants from the Islamic State, which emerged amid the turmoil of the conflict, along with other extremist groups fighting against both Assad and the opposition. The conflict in Syria has claimed over 200,000 lives so far.

Fighting Terrorists By Creating Terrorists

[We have armed every nation in the Middle East “to the teeth,” yet now we fight to keep them from murdering each other with those very same weapons.  We have intentionally ramped-up local antagonisms, in order to create the desire for more weapons.  Every Middle Eastern nation spends most of its money and everything that it can borrow to purchase every weapon that they can get, because that is what American leaders want.  American militarists and Empire Builders have pushed through every political barrier, in order to entangle American interests in this morass, so that later we could play at “world policeman.”  Why would American leaders have acted so maliciously towards future victims of their policies? 

Why do they purposely create the circumstances which will compel future military interventions?  If the goal is simply the introduction of American forces, then why not just move those forces in, instead of trying to arm every side and then send in American forces to keep the killing below an “acceptable” threshold as justification for impending aggression?  Answering certain questions exposes the aggression in American humanitarianism.  Human lives mean nothing to an unrestrained military aggressor, except when they prove to be an embarassment or reveal America’s true nature.]

America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

ForeignPolicyLogo

America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

Throughout the 13-plus years of the war on terrorism, one line of effort that everyone in Washington agrees on is the necessity to counter the ideology put forth by terrorist groups. Unfortunately, everyone also agrees that U.S. government agencies have done a terrible job at achieving this. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) recently derided the State Department’s counter-ideology efforts as “laughable” compared with the propaganda of the Islamic State. Whether termed “strategic communications,” “counter-messaging,” or “countering violent extremism,” there is a rare Washington consensus that this essential task is also the one that the United States has been the worst at accomplishing. But it’s not just about building a less-pathetic State Department Twitter feed. By extension, “success” mandates changing how terrorist groups think and communicate, and influencing individuals deemed susceptible to terrorists’ messaging.

Focusing on terrorists’ ideology is attractive because it requires altering the brains of enemies and neutral third parties, while, more importantly, requiring no change in America’s own thinking. Yet in the past six months there has been a little noticed, but significant, shift in America’s own counterterrorism ideology.

The language senior officials and policymakers are increasingly using to characterize terrorist threats — and to describe the projected length of the war on terrorism — has diversified and metastasized. The enemy, once identified as simply al Qaeda and affiliated groups, now includes amorphous concepts like “Islamic extremism” or “violent extremists.” Meanwhile, any shared understanding of when the war might end has basically vanished from public discourse. Where there was once an aspiration in Washington to wind down the era of “perpetual war,” there is now an agreement that America faces a “multigenerational” threat.

With little awareness of the consequences of this shift in discourse, U.S. counterterrorism ideology has become far more nebulous, less concrete, and gradually more open-ended. The war on terrorism is going poorly: The number, estimated strength, lethality (within countries they operate in, not against Americans), and social media influence of jihadi terrorist groups is growing. Yet, the same tough-sounding clichés and wholly implausible objectives are repeated over and over, with no indication of any strategic learning or policy adjustments. If this virulent and extremist — virulent in that it’s poisonous and harmful and that repeatedly espousing it ensures continued strategic failure, and extremist in that it proclaims the most extreme objectives that will never be achieved — U.S. counterterrorism ideology goes unchecked, it will further delude government officials and U.S. citizens into the false belief that the current courses of action are normal and acceptable and require no modification.

This latest ideological change is most conspicuous in descriptions of who the United States is at war with. The enemy has always been overly classified and somewhat hidden, but at least there was once a recognized list of discrete groups. Now, the adversary is an undefined and contested category of groups or people allegedly connected with the act of terrorism. If the U.S. government were as imprecise with its bombs as with its descriptions of its terrorist enemies, it would be a war crime. This matters: If you cannot name your opponents, you certainly cannot know them, much less measure progress in defeating them.

Consider the nebulous jumble of abstract enemies that officials have pronounced. In February, President Barack Obama said, “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam” and said that the international community must “eradicate this scourge of violent extremism.” Similarly, when attempting to describe the enemy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, claimed that the United States is in a fight “against the group that has perverted Islam.” In February, National Security Advisor Susan Rice contextualized the U.S. mission as “to cut off violent extremism at the knees.” Earlier that month, she attempted to describe the undefined enemy: “As al Qaeda core has been decimated, we have seen the diffusion of the threat to al Qaeda affiliates, ISIL, local militia[s], and homegrown violent extremists.” Eric Holder, then the attorney general, claimed, also in February, that the United States is simply “combating the threat of violent extremism.” Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the enemy is “ISIL and other violent extremist groups.”

Some policymakers have been even vaguer. When asked to define the enemy, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I call them the enemy of Islam.” Let’s set aside the fact that Kerry is now presuming to interpret what is legitimate faith for 1 billion Muslims. Just who is this enemy precisely?

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates are outdoing one another in blurring the enemy and exponentially expanding the number of individuals whom the United States must defeat. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) coined the Taken doctrine: “On our strategy on global jihadists and terrorists, I refer them to the movie Taken … Liam Neeson. He had a line, and this is what our strategy should be: ‘We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you.’” Less theatrically, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) merely pledged, “We will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “We are in the early years of a struggle with violent Islamic extremists that will last many decades.” Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), while touting his alleged willingness to name the enemy, called them “radical Islam” and “haters of mankind.” Again, it’s fine, though meaningless, to talk tough, but whom are these threats being made against?

The other threatening recent shift in U.S. counterterrorism ideology relates to the end state in the war on terrorism and when this might come about. Although Obama once claimed that this war, “like all wars, must end,” officials and policymakers no longer pretend that the war on terrorism will ever end; nor do they offer any narrative for how this war would end. Rather, they are attempting to normalize the war on terrorism as something all Americans should accept and get used to. As Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted, “We need to be thinking about terrorism more generally as a more enduring part of our national security mission.”

This shift was crystallized in a remarkable recent observation by CIA Director John Brennan. Three years ago, Brennan, then Obama’s closest counterterrorism advisor, pledged, “We’re not going to rest until al Qaeda the organization is destroyed and is eliminated from areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa, and other areas. We’re determined to do that.” Yet, last month, when asked at Harvard University when the war on terrorism will end, he responded philosophically: “It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia.… So this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about.” In other words, defeating terrorism is eschatological and eternal.

Similarly, Obama and his senior aides have come to repeatedly reframe the war in decades. The new National Security Strategy describes it as “a generational struggle in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and 2011 Arab uprisings, which will redefine the region as well as relationships among communities and between citizens and their governments.” Meanwhile, Dempsey, the most senior uniformed military official, warned of Islamic terrorism: “I think this threat is probably a 30-year issue.”

Likewise, on Capitol Hill, this view has become standardized. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said it is a “multigenerational struggle” with “no cheap way to win this fight.” Similarly, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it “a generational fight for civilization against brutal enemies.” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) went even further than Brennan, noting, “We’ve been fighting this radical Islamist ideology for 1,400 years.” In other words, long before the United States was even established. Forget who the enemy is; who is this “we”?

What is most disheartening about this radicalized counterterrorism discourse is that these same officials and policymakers still pretend that these diffuse terrorist threats will be “destroyed,” “defeated,” or “eliminated.” This quite simply will not happen because the United States and its partners keep applying the same strategies and policies while foolishly hoping for a different result. Officials claim that terrorists’ ideology is their “center of gravity,” a term the Pentagon defines as: “The source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.” Yet, again, because nothing has succeeded at countering that ideology, we are supposed to become accustomed to an endless war against a nondescript concept.

The only ideology that the United States can influence or control is its own. Instead, Washington has busied itself conflating local militancy with threats to the homeland, refusing to identify the enemy, proclaiming tough-sounding and implausible strategic objectives, and demonstrating no meaningful learning or adjustments over 13 years. The lack of precision employed when defining America’s adversaries in the war on terrorism and the absence of any end state (combined with those unachievable objectives) comprise a dangerous and extremist set of beliefs for U.S. officials and policymakers to hold. If the war on terrorism is really all about ideology and ideas, then the United States should spend as much time analyzing its own ideology as it does its enemies’. The emerging counterterrorism ideology that Washington is expressing is hazardous, illusory, and sadly unchallenged.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick–“Israeli…society lacks basic belief in equal human value”

Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick:

“You Are Showing Yourself to be Profoundly Ignorant of What Has Happened in Palestine Since 1947″
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Roger Waters, what a stand up guy! Or really I should say this is a good man!

Dionne Warwick called me out by name in asserting she’d play Tel Aviv. Here’s what she misunderstands

inger and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, “never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

“Waters’ political views are of no concern,” I assume she means to her, the statement read. “Art,” she added, “has no boundaries.”
Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately. But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.
First, in my view, Dionne Warwick is a truly great singer. Secondly, I doubt not that she is deeply committed to her family and her fans.
But, ultimately, this whole conversation is not about her, her gig in Tel Aviv, or even her conception of boundaries and art, though I will touch on that conception later. This is about human rights and, more specifically, this is about the dystopia that can develop, as it has in Israel, when society lacks basic belief in equal human value, when it strays from the ability to feel empathy for our brothers and sisters of different faiths, nationalities, creeds or colors.
It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here. The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.
I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries. In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights – social, political and religious – on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.
Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement. In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa. Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, “I Ain’t Gonna play Sun City,” showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.
Those artists helped win that battle, and we, in the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will win this one against the similarly racist and colonialist policies of the Israeli government of occupation. We will continue to press forward in favor of equal rights for all the peoples of the Holy Land. Just as musicians weren’t going to play Sun City, increasingly we’re not going to play Tel Aviv. There is no place today in this world for another racist, apartheid regime.
As I’m sure you know, Lauryn Hill canceled her gig in Tel Aviv last week. She did not explicitly cite Israeli oppression of Palestinians as her reason for canceling, but the subtext of her actions is clear and we thank her for her principled stand.
Dionne, I am of your generation. I remember the road to Montgomery, I remember Selma, I remember the struggles against the Jim Crow laws here. Sadly, we are still fighting those battles, whether here in the USA in Ferguson or Baltimore, or in Gaza or the Negev, wherever the oppressed need us to raise our voices unafraid. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with them, our brothers and sisters, until true equality and justice are won.
Remember, “Operation Protective Edge,” the Israeli bombing of Gaza last summer, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 500 Palestinian children. It is hard for us over here to imagine what it is like to be exiled, disenfranchised, imprisoned, rendered homeless and then slaughtered, with no place to flee. Hopefully, in the end, love will triumph. But love will not triumph unless we stand up to such injustice and fight it tooth and nail, together.
Dionne, your words indicate that part of you is set on going through with your concert. I am appealing to another part of you, to implore that other part to join us. We will welcome you. It is more than likely that you harbor reservations in your heart about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, that when you see a mother’s child in ruins you wonder what if that child were mine? It is not too late to hear those reservations, to listen to that other voice, to value freedom and equality for all over the value you place on your concert in Tel Aviv.
When global pressure finally forces Israel to end its occupation, when the apartheid wall comes down, when justice is served to Palestinian refugees and all people there are free and equal, I will gladly join you in concert in the Holy Land, cross all the boundaries and share our music with all the people.

The Evil within—The truth we dare not see about Saudi Arabia

The Evil within: The truth we dare not see about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

Russia-Today
An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 12, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)

An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen’s capital Sanaa May 12, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)

On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Nazi Germany, fascism is far from dead. As Yemen bleeds under Saudi Arabia’s grand war, it is really the annihilation of one people we are seeing play out – the Zaidis of Yemen.

If Saudi Arabia, a regional super-power strong with its trillions of petrodollars, has ruled unchallenged over the Middle East and to an extent over the Islamic world, it has done so at the expense of people’s freedom and prosperity. Yemen, more than any other country in the region has suffered under its powerful and rich tyrant of a neighbor.

Coerced into assuming the role of a passive vassal, Yemen was prevented from rising to its true potential through a clever network of bribery, religious sponsoring and social engineering. Ever since this poorest nation of South Arabia attempted to break away from the shackles of tyranny back in 1962, Riyadh has preyed on Yemen, sabotaging and manipulating, invading its lands and eroding its institutions, all to the tune of a disruptive and perverse game of tribalism with sectarian undertones.

The overlord of Arabia, the Kingdom is responsible for much, if not all of the unrest we have seen play out in the region.

But back to Yemen!

Yemen has always been a thorn in Al Saud’s thigh, a threat to its hegemonic ambitions.

As professed by Ibn Saud (the patriarch of the house of Saud) all those decades ago – left unchecked Yemen would spell the end of Saudi Arabia as the region’s hegemon. One might argue that this one warning actually shaped Riyadh’s policy towards Yemen, feeding its paranoia over this most unruly and now poorest nation in the peninsula.

Ravaged by pandemic corruption, insecurity, political instability, social injustices and an over-bearing, ever-spreading sense of despair, Yemen has become but a shell of its former self, an institutional husk with no social cohesion left to hold it together.

But if Yemen has become what it is today, it is by Saudi design. Yemen’s demise, its very unraveling has been engineered by Saudi Arabia ever since 1994 when then-King Fahd bin Abdulaziz propped a loose coalition of tribes and Sunni radical factions to act as a counter-power to then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in exchange for military back up against Al Hirak – the Southern Secessionist Movement. For the sake of territorial unity President Saleh delivered Yemen’s future to the rapacious hands of the Kingdom, not realizing just how much this alliance would cost him in the end.

And so Al Islah – which acts as an umbrella for the now infamous Muslim Brotherhood – was born to act as Riyadh’s proxy in Sana’a.

This one party would serve as a catalyst, a protective shield and a nurturing hand for Wahhabis and Salafis alike, which religious movements we know now have inspired terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

But if Saudi Arabia has played a role in the crumbling of Yemen from afar, a dark cloud above the once clear sky of Felix Arabia, March 25, 2015 shattered whatever restraint Riyadh could master. Faced with an increasingly politically independent Yemen, Riyadh chose to intervene before the Houthis could actually manifest a grand political and tribal coalition and fulfill Yemenis’ calls for fairer political representation.

At the risk of upsetting the Western media narrative and Saudi Arabia’ self-proclaimed intentions in Yemen, democracy and constitutional legitimacy were never part of Riyadh’s equation, more worldly ambitions have animated Al Saud royals: natural resources and geopolitics figuring high on the list.

But that is not all – ideology, rather, clashing religious ideology has played a trigger to this Saudi-led war against Yemen, and there lies an evil which the world has yet to wake up to.

More than a month into this unilateral and grand military intervention on Yemen and it appears clear that Saudi Arabia has singled out not just the Houthis as its target of choice but the entire Yemeni Zaidi community.

Because of their rejection of Wahhabism, the Yemen Zaidi community has been labeled as “apostate” by all Salafi and Wahhabi clerics; a religious aberration to be dealt with by annihilation. Back in 2009 during a live TV interview with BBC Arabic, Adel Al Kalbani, the Imam of Mecca professed his hatred of all Shia Muslims when he called for their hunting down and death. More recently, in April 2013, Saad Al Durihim, a Saudi cleric, posted a series of comments on Twitter in which he advocated that militias in Iraq demonstrate a more “heavy handed” approach when dealing with Shia Muslims and kill any Shias they might encounter – women, men and children. Such statements are the expression of Saudi Arabia’s strict theocratic reactionary regime.

It needs to be pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s official line vis-a-vis Shia Islam echoes that of both Al- Qaeda and ISIS, which groups, Stephen Lendman, a prominent US political analyst and writer has said are but the offshoots of the Kingdom’s religious fascist construct.

But if Saudi Arabia’s religious “policy” has failed to raise even an eyebrow in Western capitals, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the ongoing cultural and religious genocide which is taking place in Yemen.

For weeks now Saudi Arabia has pounded Sa’ada and several neighboring regions, oblivious to civilians’ safety in its desire to lay flat Zaidi Islam.

One might argue that Riyadh is actually specifically targeting civilians. Why else would the Kingdom have resorted to using cluster bombs in heavily populated areas, especially when studies have established that such weapons stand a lethal threat to civilians? According to handicap international 27 percent of all recorded cluster bombs victims are children.

Activists in Yemen, among which Hussain Al Bukhaiti, have also accused Riyadh of using chemical agents such as chlorine and white phosphorus in Sa’ada, Haja and even the capital Sana’a.

Following an attack on Saudi soil by the Houthis earlier last week, Saudi coalition spokesman Brig-Gen Ahmed Al Asiri warned Riyadh’s revenge would be swift and radical. And indeed it was – hundreds of thousands of civilians were put in harm’s way, trapped in Sa’ada, under relentless bombing. For 24 hours Saudi Arabia would rain bombs on this one “Zaidi” region of Yemen, unchallenged and unquestioned, cloaked by Western powers’ deafening silence.

But if civilian casualties are often the first victims of war what about cultural genocide? How can any nation ever justify the destruction of historical and religious landmarks? On May 8, Saudi Arabia reduced late Sheikh Hussein Badreddin Al Houthi’s shrine to rubble. A few days after that, another sacred Yemeni monument was destroyed – Al Hadi Mosque, the third mosque to have been built in Yemen over a thousand years ago. If not hate what could justify such actions?

If the world came together to decry ISIS’ rampage against Iraq and Syria heritage, why stay silent over Saudi Arabia’s crimes? Or is it that money white-washes war crimes these days?

On the 70th anniversary of the fall of fascism the US and the EU might want to open their eyes to their allies’ intrinsic nature.

Catherine Shakdam for RT.

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special emphasis on Yemen and radical movements.

A consultant with Anderson Consulting and leading analyst for the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies, her writings have appeared in MintPress, Foreign Policy Journal, Open-Democracy, the Guardian, the Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye and many others.In 2015 her research and analysis on Yemen was used by the UN Security Council in a situation report.

“Pushing Back” the Boat People In Asia and In Europe, Symptom of Universal Insanity

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Fransiska Nangoy

BANGKOK/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia gave no response on Wednesday to a United Nations appeal for them to rescue thousands of migrants, many of them hungry and sick, adrift in boats in Southeast Asian seas.

There were conflicting statements on whether regional governments would continue to push back migrant boats in the face of the UN warning that they risked a “massive humanitarian crisis”.

“Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have decided not to receive boat people, as far as I am aware,” Major General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, spokesman for Thailand’s ruling junta, told Reuters.

He declined to comment on the UN refugee agency UNHCR’s appeal on Tuesday for an international search and rescue operation for the many stranded on the seas between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The UN has said several thousand migrants were abandoned at sea by smugglers following a Thai government crackdown on human trafficking.

Malaysia’s Home Ministry also declined to comment on the U.N. rescue appeal.

The issue would be discussed at a meeting of 15 countries, to be held in Bangkok on May 29, Thai junta spokesman Werachon said.

But the Royal Thai Navy said on Wednesday that its policy was not to send the boats back to sea.

“If they come to Thai waters we must help them and provide food and water,” Rear Admiral Kan Deeubol told Reuters. “For human rights reasons, we will not send them back to sea.”

Earlier this week, a junta spokesman said that a surge in migrants to Indonesia and Malaysia from Bangladesh and Myanmar had been caused by the crackdown and by Thai authorities blocking boats from landing.

Thailand ordered a clean-up of suspected traffickers’ camps last week after 33 bodies, believed to be of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were found in shallow graves near the Malaysian border.

That has made traffickers wary of landing in Thailand, the preferred destination for the region’s people smuggling networks, leading to many migrants being left out at sea.

‘IT’S A POLICY MATTER’

A senior Malaysian maritime official said on Tuesday, after more than 1,000 people arrived on the Malaysian island of Langkawi at the weekend, that any more boats trying to land would be turned back

“We don’t allow them in,” said First Admiral Tan Kok Kwee, northern region head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. “It’s a policy matter.”

Indonesia provided food, water and medical supplies to around 500 passengers on a boat off the coast of the northwestern province of Aceh on Monday, before sending the vessel towards Malaysia.

The Indonesian Navy said the passengers of the boat they sent onwards wanted to go to Malaysia, not Indonesia.

A day earlier and also in Aceh, Indonesia rescued nearly 600 migrants from overcrowded wooden boats. Those migrants were brought ashore and remain on Aceh.

The Indonesian policy was to offer food and shelter to refugees and coordinate with international migrant and refugee bodies, Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir told reporters on Wednesday. This it had done with the nearly 600 migrants it rescued on Sunday, he added.

“What we do not do is load them on to the ship and push it to the ocean,” he said.

But advocacy group ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights criticised the Indonesian government for sending the boat back to sea on Monday.

“Towing migrants out to sea and declaring that they aren’t your problem any more is not a solution to the wider regional crisis,” ABHR Chairperson and Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago said in a statement.

Many of the arrivals are Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority from Myanmar described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

‘BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS’

An estimated 25,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya boarded rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the UNHCR has said.

“When countries such as Thailand implement a push back policy, we find Rohingya bodies washing ashore,” said Sunai Phasuk at Human Rights Watch in Thailand.

“If these three countries move forward with push backs, blood will be on their hands.”

Malaysia’s police chief said that joint work with the Thai police force had helped Malaysian police smash seven syndicates involved in smuggling and trafficking in March and April.

The syndicates operated in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand, Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters on the Thai island of Phuket, where members of the two police forces met this week for annual talks on international crime.

Among 38 people arrested were two Malaysian policemen, he said.

As well as trafficking, Malaysian police believe the syndicates were involved in forging UNHCR documents, he said.

(Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in JAKARTA and Apichai Thornoi in PHUKET, Thailand; Writing by Simon Webb; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)

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US Repeatedly Provokes Albanian Extremism with Ideas of ‘Greater Albania’

[The unimaginative CIA goons keep repeating the same pattern throughout the world, wherever there are unrealized dreams of some “greater glory,” there are fiendish, fevered spooks twisting things into a volatile scenario.  It is the same story from “Greater Balochistan,” to “Greater Kurdistan,” to “Greater Albania,” to the greatest concentration of unrestrained evil and idiocy, the nightmarish vision of “Greater Israel.”  All of these false visions are played upon by the CIA master deceivers, to keep the world in flames.

Playing with terrorists and manufacturing even more of the deranged mother-f—— is the CIA’s plan for creating an American world order.  Use state-manipulated terrorism to burn the world down, so that American corporations can rule over the ashes.]

Global Energy Game: ‘Greater Albania’ Used by West to Destabilize Balkans

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The recent spike in violence and tension between Macedonian security forces and groups of ethnic Albanians is an ongoing product of western intervention and NATO bombing of the region in the 1990s, according to Balkan political analysts.

Photo from: militaryphotos.net

The issue of ethnic tension within Macedonia has gained global headlines after eight police officers and 14 others were killed during a two-day shootout between police and what the Macedonian government described as an armed paramilitary group of ethnic Albanians in the northern city of Kumanovo.

The incident is the latest and bloodiest in a string of clashes between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians, who make up approximately 30 percent of the country’s population.

These deaths have once again raised fears of rising ethnic tensions and concerns that the country may be heading for another civil war, similar to one fought between Macedonian forces and Albanian paramilitary groups in 2001.

Fear of ‘Greater Albania’

Photo: Tanjug

Many analysts suggest that central to the conflict is the idea within Macedonia and other Balkan states that ethnic Albanian groups are aiming to create a ‘Greater Albania’ as part of expansionist ambitions.

Although Albanian officials have dismissed the concept, there has been a heightened concern of potential Albanian expansion, particularly after Prime Minister Edi Rama recently said the unification of his country and the former Serbian province of Kosovo — which has a majority Albanian population — was “inevitable.”

Political analyst Andrew Korybko told Sputnik that the mistrust and division between Albania and other states in the Balkans was exacerbated by the late 1990s US and UK-led intervention in the region.

He said that the West’s decision to take sides in the conflict and back Albanian groups has further destabilized the region and spurred on ethnic tensions.

“The important thing to understand here is that it [NATO intervention] showed outside support for Albanian separatism, and afterwards, all Albanians,” Korybko said.

Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration

Hasim-Taci-Bernar-Kusner-Agim-Ceku-Vesli-Klark-1-650x4911

Korybko also says the decision to protect the Macedonian state during the conflict, and further negotiate a generous agreement for Albanian groups, following the 2001 Macedonian war, was a strategic move by the West, aimed at trying to increase their influence in the area.

“Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration so that the ethnic explosion [of violence] could be externally activated at a future time if need be.”

Just why western powers would want to leave the option of ‘Greater Albania’ open and further destabilize countries in the Balkans is down to greater geopolitical games, analysts say.

The Global Energy Game

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Dusan Prorokovic, an expert in Balkan affairs told Sputnik that the recent trouble in Macedonia has been stirred up to try and prevent the creation of the proposed ‘Turkish stream’ project, which plans to transport Russian gas to Europe via Turkey and the Balkans.

“The concept of Greater Albania is once again relevant but it won’t see any progress without the help of the North Atlantic bloc. I think why all of that happened is more linked to the ‘Turkish stream’ and the defeat of the US in Ukraine, than to local Albanian interests.”

Andrew Korybko agrees, saying: “Greater Albania is a geopolitical tool to be deployed in stopping not only Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline [northern extension of the Turkish stream] but also China’s Balkan Silk Road.”

Violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo

Photo from: Novosti.rs

The violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo-Metohija, especially as individuals from Kosovo-Metohija are involved in the clashes there, Serbian and ethnic Albanian analysts in Kosovo-Metohija have warned.

Analyst Zivojin Rakocevic told Tanjug Monday that Kosovo-Metohija has essentially been destabilised, with chaos just spilling over into the surrounding systems which, basically, only formally exist for ethnic Albanians.

“Most ethnic Albanians in Macedonia do not recognise Macedonia, most ethnic Albanians in the south of central Serbia do not recognise Serbia, and most ethnic Albanians in Montenegro do not see the Montenegrin system as a part of their system,” he said.

It is no surprise that ethnic Albanians from Kosovo are involved in the clashes in Macedonia because practically no borders exist for them, Rakocevic said.

Analyst Nedzmedin Spahiu told Tanjug that, after Macedonia, Kosovo could be the next to be destabilised, which is not in the interest of the citizens.

“Things that are going on at your neighbour’s are something you can also expect to see in your own house, especially because some of the protagonists of the events there are from Kosovo,” Spahiu warned, noting that the situation in Kosovo-Metohija is very fragile.

Dangers of violence overflowing

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic warned on Tuesday against the danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans, noting that everything should be done to stabilise the situation in Macedonia.

In an interview for Tanjug, Stojanovic said that there is always a danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans and that the past has shown that borders do not mean anything in such events.

It is important for the situation in Macedonia to calm down as soon as possible and for all bodies in charge of security to be hired, Stojanovic said.

He underscored that it is especially important for the international bodies to be alert and pay attention to everything that should jeopardise the safety of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Valerie Hopkins ‏@VALERIEin140 May 10
    .@PeterKGeoghegan I understand why they can’t write everything, hard to prove conspiracy theories. But looks like there are 50 ppl hostage..
    0 retweets 1 favorite
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    novinar napise ovo i niko ne zna o cemu je rec niti kaze o cemu se radi

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TSIPRAS TO FIRE BANK OF GREECE BOSS FOR ‘UNDERMINING SYRIZA POSITION’

GREECE EXCLUSIVE: TSIPRAS TO FIRE BANK OF GREECE BOSS FOR ‘UNDERMINING SYRIZA POSITION’

the slog

gunptnet

Syriza aims smoking gun at Central Bank Governor

Former Nia Demokrita Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras asked to leave BoG

Sources within Athens media and finance told The Slog last night that Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras will be quitting his post today (Sunday). Alexis Tsipras will ask for his resignation in the light of documentary proof that the former New Democracy Finance Minister personally gave specific briefs to a top journalist about “putting the most negative spin possible on the news” about Greek finances.

Influential Greeks have long suspected that Troika sympathisers in the banking system were working in close-knit coordination with the creditors to destabilise the Syriza government led by Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. But the smoking gun apparently emerged last week in the shape of briefing documents from the central bank’s Governor to “a leading influential Greek journalist”.

The Slog has posted before about coordinated withdrawals from Athenian banks, and high net worth customers being encouraged to withdraw funds soon after the Syriza election victory. This case, however, is infinitely more insidious because it potentially opens up a trail of deliberate destabilisation and dirty tricks all the way back to Brussels, Berlin….and Washington.

1. YannisStournaris was the Greek Minister of Finance from 5 July 2012 until he moved to the BoG last year. It is unlikely bordering on unthinkable that senior New Democracy colleagues didn’t have any idea this briefing was going on.

2. As a senior consultant to the BoG, he was personally involved in the entry of Greece into the euro. This is now widely known to have involved corruption on a grand scale. So Stournaras has every motive for urgently destabilising the government now investigating all aspects of EMU and Greek debt.

3. Stouranaras is a senior Governor who sits on the Board of the IMF. This gives him a serious conflict of interest….but also ready access to Christine Lagarde should he need it.

4. His media ‘order-taker’ (who is known to the Athenian cognoscenti) regularly passes these briefings on to a number of neoliberal global publications…notably Reuters.

Meanwhile, the forensic investigation into debt overstatement in 2010 and how much Greek debt can be objectively defined as ‘odious’ continues.

Hat-tip to Archie X for giving me the lead on this exclusive.

The Slog would like to thank all senior members of the Eurobnoxious tendency in the British Labour Party for its unstinting support of the Greeks, and virile attacks on the bullying control freaks of Brussels-am-Berlin. It will stand forever as a beacon of apathy among progressives in the UK, and got the reward it so richly deserved in last Thursday’s British General Election.

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