Saturday, 27 September 2014

George Galloway tells Jacqui Smith: 'You killed a million people in Iraq'




Iraq: George Galloway and Jacqui Smith on Labour action
26 September 2014 Last updated at 11:24 BST
George Galloway told a former member of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's cabinets she killed one million people in Iraq.
The former Labour MP, now a Respect MP, turned on Jacqui Smith as they looked ahead to Friday's vote in Parliament on possible UK military action in the Middle East.
Mr Galloway told her that "all the perfumes of Arabia" would not help wash her hands of past UK action's in Iraq.
But Ms Smith told him that if she were still an MP, she would be taking part in Friday's vote and "living up to my responsibility to answer the call of the Iraqi government and people".
And she told her former colleague that "all of your poetry" was not stopping people being killed in Iraq and Syria.
They were talking to Andrew Neil on Thursday's night's This Week, hours ahead of the vote in Parliament.


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Khorasan - Toothpaste Bombers from Nowhere

Khorasan - Toothpaste Bombers from Nowhere
Global Research, September 24, 2014
tomahawk
Image Credits: U.S. Navy
The supposed al-Qaeda splinter group more dangerous than ISIS, Khorasan, has taken center stage in Obama’s effort to legitimize the U.S. bombing campaign in Syria.
As we reported September 18, Khorasan, which supposedly consists of a handful of terrorists, is public relations gimmick for an illegal and unconstitutional violation of Syria’s national sovereignty. Prior to its roll out in the lead-up to the Syrian bombing campaign, only the government knew about Khorasan. It was a secret.
“It was supposed to be top secret, classified, and it wasn’t until last week that an AP story had it in there,” said Rep. Peter King. “But we weren’t supposed to talk about it.” The AP story preceded the U.S. bombing campaign by a few days.
From Business Insider:
Though they initially had a relationship with ISIS, like Al Qaeda, the Khorasan Group is said to have distanced itself from the so-called Islamic State. Reportedly, the Khorasan Group is working with Jabhat al-Nusra, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and attempting to obtain bombs from Yemen that can be detonated by new Western recruits.
However, according to media reports, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria met up with ISIS in the border town of Albu Kamal in June and pledged allegiance to the group.
Now that the bombing is underway, we are warned Khorasan poses a threat to aviation with its specially designed explosive dipped clothing and bomber toothpaste tubes. This is purportedly the work of Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is al-Qaeda’s master bomb maker. Mr. al-Asiri has yet to successfully blow anything up with the exception of a suicide bomberwho concealed a PETN bomb in his rectum. The intended target of the derrière bomber, Prince Muhammed Bin Naif, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs in Saudi Arabia, escaped with a few scratches.
Recall, back in 2009 after the butt-bomb caper, the media had a field day. “Air travelers could face even more intrusive security checks amid fears that Al Qaeda is planning a terror campaign using suicide bombers carrying explosives hidden in their bodies,” theDaily Mail reported. In order to stop the threat, “draconian and potentially costly measures such as full X-ray screening or a requirement for all passengers to hand in electronic equipment that could possibly be used as detonators would cause chaos and massive delays” were contemplated.
According to the government, attacks by Khorasan bombers are imminent – or maybe they are not. One senior official told CNN on Tuesday the shadowy group was about to attack with toothpaste and underwear bombs (à la Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab), while another said the “threat was not imminent in the sense that there were no known targets or attacks expected in the next few weeks.”
The track record of the U.S. military is much better. So far, around 50 people, mostly civilians, have died after the Pentagon unleashed around 50 pricey Tomahawk missiles from warships in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf. This, the Pentagon boasted, was a “very, very successful” mission.
From Telesur:
Footage shows how U.S. missiles destroyed residential neighborhoods filled with civilians. Videos distributed by Reuters show Syrians sifting through rubble, apparently seeking to rescue trapped people, after one airstrike in the town of Kfar Daryan in the northern of Syria.
A couple al-Nusra types were allegedly killed in the attack that also killed 13 civilians, three of them children:
Other towns were targeted, including Dair Elzur, Hasakah, and Abu Kamal, so we can assume additional civilians were killed, although the Pentagon notes only “fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles” were hit.
“The United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans — sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group — who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices, and recruit Westerners to conduct operations,” the Pentagon said.
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US Strike on Syria is Desperation Incarnate

Global Research, September 27, 2014

US_Carrier_NEOThe West was racing against the clock – attempting to justify war with Syria by allegedly “fighting” the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Syrian before the world fully realized the West and its allies had in fact created ISIS in the first place and was to this day arming, funding, and directing them. In haste that can only be described as desperation bordering criminal insanity, the West announced that it has begun air and missile attacks on Syrian territory.
It alleges that it is attacking ISIS, however – and unlike its campaign in neighboring Iraq – the US in particular refuses to provide any details as to what it is actually doing in Syria.
Reuters would report in its article, U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes on IS in Syria,” that:
The United States and several Gulf Arab allies launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State strongholds in Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the battle against the militants.
“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.
It is these very “Arab partners” that are also on record, arming and funding terrorism along Syria’s borders as well as backing terrorist organizations operating in Syria itself. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular, have been providing money and cash, while the US CIA distributed it mainly along Turkey’s border with Syria in the north, and Jordan’s border with Syria to the south.
Despite years of rhetoric attempting to differentiate what the West calls “moderates” from known terrorist organizations including US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organizations Al Nusra, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it is clear that literally days before ISIS crossed into Iraq triggering the latest geopolitical crisis in the region, ISIS was fighting alongside so-called moderates in an attack on Syria’s town of Kassab along the border with Turkey. Turkey, a NATO member, would even go as far as providing aircover for the attack which was in fact launched from Turkish territory.
The fact remains that the only genuine fight against Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups in the region, has been led by the Syrian government and its military.
Carving Off a “Terror Capital” for the West’s Proxies
Whatever it is that the US and its “Arab partners” are attacking in Syria at the moment, it is assuredly not ISIS. When the smoke clears, we will likely see Syria’s Raqqa region carved off and firmly in the hands of the very terrorists the US claims it is attacking. The only change will be that they now benefit from US airpower, and the Western media will no longer label them ISIS, but rather, as “moderates.” Carving off Aleppo would also be likely, though loftier goal for the West – transforming either it or Raqqa into an “opposition capital” like Benghazi was in Libya.
Carving off territory from Syria and creating “bufferzones” was part of the US agenda in Syria for years – long before the threat of ISIS was wielded as a potential pretext for direct US military intervention. ISIS is simply the latest construct being used to implement the strategy.
While the idea of a buffer zone is meant to look like the latest honest attempt to solve a growing regional crisis and to “win” the war in Syria, in reality this has been planned since at least March of 2012, where the idea was proposed by the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution in their “Middle East Memo #21″ “Assessing Options for Regime Change” where it stated specifically (emphasis added):
“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.”
Image: Brookings Institution's Middle East Memo #21 "Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf)," makes no secret that the humanitarian "responsibility to protect" is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.
Image: Brookings Institution’s Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.
The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change. Failing to sell the “humanitarian intervention,” the old “War on Terror” has been dusted off and utilized as a pretext.
Brookings continues by describing how Turkey’s aligning of vast amounts of weapons and troops along its border in coordination with Israeli efforts in the south of Syria, could help effect violent regime change in Syria:
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
Clearly, a “buffer zone” is the next step for Western designs aimed at exacting regime change in Syria and would be a move the Syrian government would not readily agree to. It was also a step that merely needed a pretext to move forward. In 2012, fabricated border incidents with Turkey were being used to help implement this strategy but failed. Now the threat of ISIS is being used to resell the exact same scheme.
While Turkey and Israel continue applying pressure on Syria’s borders, America’s assault on Syrian territory itself will begin carving out the safe havens and corridors described by Brookings in 2012.
Before Syria and its allies could fill the geostrategic void Western-backed terrorists created in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, the West has moved – but perhaps what would have become a trap for Syrian, Iranian, and other regional forces, may end up a trap instead for Western forces and their “Arab partners.” This however, depends entirely on Syria and its allies’ ability to mire the West in protracted fighting – fighting that may eventually lead to America’s Persian Gulf allies’ doorsteps.
For now, Syria and its allies must formulate carefully a strategy that resists overreaction to immense provocations, understand the true nature of America’s aggression, determining whether it was exercised from a position of strength or immense weakness, and devise countermeasures that accommodate long-term consequences of America’s current campaign. A balance between allowing the West to exhaust its last desperate options, but preventing long-term entrenchment of Western-backed proxies must be struck.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.
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About the war between Obama and his generals:


US generals challenge Obama on ground troops in Iraq, Syria

By Bill Van Auken 
20 September 2014
The accelerating drive to a new US war in the Middle East, extending from Iraq to Syria and potentially beyond, has laid bare a stark contradiction between President Barack Obama’s public rejection of any US “boots on the ground” and increasingly assertive statements by top generals that such deployments cannot be ruled out.
Underlying this semi-public dispute between theUS president—the titular “commander-in-chief”—and the military brass are the realities underlying another war of aggression being launched on the basis of lies for the second time in barely a decade.
It is being foisted on the American public as an extension of the 13-year-old “global war on terror,” with Obama warning this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “if left unchecked… could pose a growing threat to the United States.”
In reality, the ISIS threat, such as it is, stems entirely from US imperialist interventions that have ravaged first Iraq, through a war and occupation that claimed some one million lives, and then Syria, in a US-backed sectarian war for regime-change—in which ISIS was the beneficiary of arms and aid from the US and its regional allies—that has killed well over 100,000 and turned millions into refugees.
The collapse of Iraq’s security forces in the face of an ISIS offensive that was part of a broader Sunni revolt against Iraq’s US-installed Shi’ite sectarian government is now being used as the justification for a US military intervention aimed at reasserting US military dominance in Iraq, intensifying the war to overthrow the Assad regime in neighboring Syria, and escalating the confrontations with the key allies of Damascus—Iran and Russia.
Such strategic ambitions cannot be achieved with such unreliable proxy forces as the Iraqi military and the so-called Syrian “rebels.” They require the unrestrained use of Washington’s military might. This is why the generals are publicly challenging the blanket commitment made by Obama ruling out any US ground war in Iraq or Syria.
Over the past several days, both White House and Pentagon spokesmen have issued “clarifying” statements in an attempt to smooth over what increasingly suggests something close to insubordination by the top uniformed brass against the president.
The Washington Post pointed to the conflict Friday in a lead article entitled “In military, skepticism of Obama’s plan,” writing, “Flashes of disagreement over how to fight the Islamic State are mounting between President Obama and US military leaders, the latest sign of strain in what often has been an awkward and uneasy relationship.”
The first major public airing of the divisions between the military command and the White House came Tuesday in congressional testimony in which Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that circumstances in Iraq and Syria could require the introduction of US ground troops and he would not rule out their deployment. He added that the commander of CENTCOM, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, had already proposed the intervention of US troops in the campaign to retake the Mosul dam last month, but had been overruled by the White House.
A day later, Obama appeared to rule out such action even more categorically, telling a captive audience of US troops at MacDill Air Force Base Wednesday:
“As your commander-in-chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
This hardly settled the question, however. Speaking on the same day as the president, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff and former top US commander in Iraq, told journalists that air strikes would prove insufficient to achieve Washington’s ostensible goal of destroying ISIS. “You’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said.
Odierno intensified his argument on Friday, telling reporters that air strikes alone would grow increasingly problematic as ISIS forces intermingled with Iraq’s civilian population.
“When you target, you want to make sure you are targeting the right people,” the Army commander said. “The worst thing that can happen for us is if we start killing innocent Iraqis, innocent civilians.” He added that US ground forces would be needed to direct the bombing campaign.
Odierno referred to the 1,600 US troops the Obama administration has already deployed to Iraq as “a good start,” but added that as the US military campaign developed, so too could the demand for further deployments. “Based on that assessment we’ll make further decisions,” he said.
The Army chief warned that the US was embarking on a protracted war in the region. “This is going to go on,” he said. “This is not a short term—I think the president said three years. I agree with that—three years, maybe longer. And so what we want to do is do this right. Assess it properly, see how it’s going, adjust as we go along, to make sure we can sustain this.”
As to US ground troops entering combat together with Iraqi units, Odierno stated, “I don’t rule anything out. I don’t ever rule anything out, personally.”
Even more blunt was Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, the former commander of CENTCOM, who retired only last year. Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, he directly attacked Obama’s public position of “no boots on the ground,” stating, “You just don’t take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do.”
Mattis added:
“If a brigade of our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines would strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose.”
Even Obama’s defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, appeared to contradict the president’s assertion about no ground troops, telling the House Armed Services Committee Thursday, “We are at war and everything is on the table.” Hagel also revealed that the 1,600 “trainers” and “advisers” who have been deployed to Iraq are receiving combat pay.
It is apparent that the Obama administration is using a hyper-technical definition of “combat troops” to exclude the military’s special operation units from this category, even if they end up engaged in combat.
The position taken by the generals has found ample political support from the right-wing editorial board of the Wall Street Journal as well as congressional Republicans. TheJournalargued in an editorial Friday that Obama’s “promise never to put ground troops into Iraq or Syria is already undermining the campaign before serious fighting begins against the Islamic State. Few believe him, and they shouldn’t if Mr. Obama wants to defeat the jihadists.”
The editorial compared Obama’s denial about “combat troops” to the claims made at the beginning of the Vietnam War that US troops were acting only as “advisers,” warning that the president could face the same fate as Lyndon Johnson, who “gave the impression of looming victory… only to have to escalate again and again.”
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (Republican of California), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told theWashington Post that Obama should “follow the … professional advice of the military” and “not take options off the table.”
The assertiveness of the top military brass in contradicting the White House is fed by the subservience and cowardice of civilian authorities, including the president and Congress. The latter adjourned this week after voting in both the House and Senate for Obama’s plan to shift $500 million in Pentagon funding to the arming and training of so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria. The measure was inserted as an amendment to a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through mid-December.
No serious debate, much less direct vote, was taken on the region-wide war that Washington is launching in the Middle East. The legislators have no inclination to be seen taking a position on this action—much less an interest in exercising their constitutional power—for fear that it will reverberate against them at the polls in November. Any debate has been postponed until Congress reconvenes after the elections and, undoubtedly, after the war is well under way in both Syria and Iraq.
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A Look Inside The Secret Deal With Saudi Arabia That Unleashed The Syrian Bombing


Tyler Durden's picture

For those to whom the recent US campaign against Syria seems a deja vu of last summer's "near-war" attempt to ouster its president Bashar al-Assad, which was stopped in the last minute due to some very forceful Russian intervention and the near breakout of war in the Mediterranean between US and Russian navies, it is because they are. And as a reminder, just like last year, the biggest wildcard in this, and that, direct intervention into sovereign Syrian territory, or as some would call it invasion or even war, was not the US but Saudi Arabia - recall from August of 2013 - "Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War." Bin Sultan was officially let go shortly after the 2013 campaign to replace Syria's leadership with a more "amenable" regime failed if not unofficially (see below), but Saudi ambitions over Syria remained.

That much is revealed by the WSJ today in a piece exposing the backdoor dealings that the US conducted with Saudi Arabia to get the "green light" to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US' side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory "took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority."

In other words, John Kerry came, saw and promised everything he could, up to and including the missing piece of the puzzle - Syria itself on a silver platter - in order to prevent another diplomatic humiliation.
When Mr. Kerry touched down in Jeddah to meet with King Abdullah on Sept. 11, he didn't know for sure what else the Saudis were prepared to do. The Saudis had informed their American counterparts before the visit that they would be ready to commit air power—but only if they were convinced the Americans were serious about a sustained effort in Syria. The Saudis, for their part, weren't sure how far Mr. Obama would be willing to go, according to diplomats.


Said otherwise, the pound of flesh demanded by Saudi Arabia to "bless" US airstrikes and make them appear as an act of some coalition, is the removal of the Assad regime. Why? So that, as we also explained last year, the holdings of the great Qatar natural gas fields can finally make their way onward to Europe, which incidentally is also America's desire - what better way to punish Putin for his recent actions than by crushing the main leverage the Kremlin has over Europe?

But back to the Saudis and how the deal to bomb Syria was cobbled together:
The Americans knew a lot was riding on a Sept. 11 meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia at his summer palace on the Red Sea.  
A year earlier, King Abdullah had fumed when President Barack Obama called off strikes against the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. This time, the U.S. needed the king's commitment to support a different Syrian mission—against the extremist group Islamic State—knowing there was little hope of assembling an Arab front without it. 
At the palace, Secretary of State John Kerry requested assistance up to and including air strikes, according to U.S. and Gulf officials. "We will provide any support you need," the king said.
But only after the Saudis got the abovementioned assurances that Assad will fall. And to do that they would have to strongarm Obama:
Wary of a repeat of Mr. Obama's earlier reversal, the Saudis and United Arab Emirates decided on a strategy aimed at making it harder for Mr. Obama to change course. "Whatever they ask for, you say 'yes,'" an adviser to the Gulf bloc said of its strategy. "The goal was not to give them any reason to slow down or back out."  
Arab participation in the strikes is of more symbolic than military value. The Americans have taken the lead and have dropped far more bombs than their Arab counterparts. But the show of support from a major Sunni state for a campaign against a Sunni militant group, U.S. officials said, made Mr. Obama comfortable with authorizing a campaign he had previously resisted.
To be sure, so far Obama has refrained from directly bombing Assad, it is only a matter of time: "How the alliance fares will depend on how the two sides reconcile their fundamental differences over Syria and other issues. Saudi leaders and members of the moderate Syrian opposition are betting the U.S. could eventually be pulled in the direction of strikes supporting moderate rebel fighters against Mr. Assad in addition to Islamic State. U.S. officials say the administration has no intention of bombing Mr. Assad's forces"... for now.
But why is Saudi Arabia so adamant to remove Assad? Here is the WSJ's take:
For the Saudis, Syria had become a critical frontline in the battle for regional influence with Iran, an Assad ally. As Mr. Assad stepped up his domestic crackdown, the king decided to do whatever was needed to bring the Syrian leader down, Arab diplomats say. 
In the last week of August, a U.S. military and State Department delegation flew to Riyadh to lay the ground for a military program to train the moderate Syrian opposition to fight both the Assad regime and Islamic State—something the Saudis have long requested. The U.S. team wanted permission to use Saudi facilities for the training. Top Saudi ministers, after consulting overnight with the king, agreed and offered to foot much of the bill. Mr. Jubeir went to Capitol Hill to pressed key lawmakers to approve legislation authorizing the training.
And once the US once again folded to Saudi demands to attack another sovereign, it was merely a matter of planning:
Hours before the military campaign was set to begin, U.S. officials held a conference call to discuss final preparations. On the call, military officers raised last-minute questions about whether Qatar would take part and whether the countries would make their actions public.  
Mr. Kerry was staying in a suite on the 34th floor of New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel, where he was meeting leaders attending United Nations gatherings. He called his Gulf counterparts to make sure they were still onboard. They were.  
The UAE, which some defense officials refer to as "Little Sparta" because of its outsized military strength, had the most robust role. One of the UAE's pilots was a woman. Two of the F-15 pilots were members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Khaled bin Salman, son of the crown prince. In the third wave of the initial attack, half of the attack airplanes in the sky were from Arab countries.
The best news for Obama: it is now just a matter of time to recreate the same false flag that the Saudi-US alliance pushed so hard on the world in the summer of 2013 to justify the first attempt to remove Assad, and once again get the "sympathy" public cote behind him, naturally with the support of the US media.
But how does one know it is once again nothing but a stage? The following blurb should explain everything:
Saudi players in attendance for the Sept. 11 meeting included Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as the king's spymaster last year ran afoul of Mr. Kerry over Syria and Iraq policy. U.S. officials interpreted his presence as a sign the king wanted to make sure the court was united, U.S. officials said.
Actually, his presence is a sign that the same puppetmaster who pulled the strings, and failed, in 2013 to remove Assad, and as noted above was at least officially removed from the stage subsequently, is once again the person in charge of the Syrian campaign, only this time unofficially, and this time has Obama entirely wrapped around his finger.

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The Man Without Irony: Obama Rewrites History at the UN


CounterPunch 
This week US President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly and the unintended irony in his speech would be humorous if it were not so cruel—and dangerous. Obama touched on a variety of global issues from the Ebola epidemic to the Ukraine to the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS). So what was this unintended irony so prevalent in Obama’s speech?
Well, here are a few choice nuggets for you to consider:
“We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort.”
Obama neglected to note that the reason that the future may seem out of control is directly related to US interventionist actions in faraway regions such as Iraq and the Ukraine. The illegal and unilateral action—rather than a legal collective effort through the United Nations—to conquer and occupy Iraq lies at the root of the new US intervention in that country and in Syria.
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed.”
This is a shocking misrepresentation of the “facts,” but one that is believable to most Americans because it is the tale we have been repeatedly fed by the corporate media. After being told by our political leaders and the corporate media at the time that the protests by the Euromaidan movement in Ukraine constituted a popular uprising, the events that followed laid bare that lie. The Euromaidan movement represented a section of the Ukrainian population that was allied with US and EU interests. Furthermore, it was being supported by Washington long before the protests began in order to destabilize the country and overthrow the democratically-elected president because he was more closely-aligned with Russia than Western Europe. While Russia is undoubtedly meddling in the Ukraine, at least it is a neighbour with intimate and even ethnic ties to many
Ukranians. Imagine Washington’s response if Russia were to politically intervene in Canada in order to install an anti-US government.
And Crimea was not “annexed,” the Crimean people voted to secede in a referendum. The fact that the new illegal and unelected government in the Ukraine argued that the secession of Crimea violated the Ukrainian Constitution was truly ironic given that same government came to power through the unconstitutional overthrow of the country’s democratically-elected president. And given the number of people in Crimea who voted to secede and the vast numbers of people in Eastern Ukraine who are fighting for secession rather than live under the new US and EU backed government, it is clear that the Euromaidan movement did not speak for all Ukrainians.
“This is a vision of the world in which might makes right — a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might — that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future.”
Where to begin with this one? Without a doubt the most graphic example of a nation’s borders being redrawn by another over the past half century is not ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but Israel in Palestine. Following World War Two, Palestinians lived in 94% of the territory known as Palestine. Today, they reside in 15% of the territory and more than 5 million of them live in refugee camps in surrounding countries. Meanwhile, Israel continues to militarily occupy the West Bank and move Jewish settlers into the Occupied Territories in violation of international law. The primary supporter of Israel politically, militarily and economically is the United States.
Obama’s statement that “bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones” directly contradicts the reality of US foreign policy in recent decades. Since 1980, the United States has military intervened 37 times in 27 countries. In his five years as president, Obama himself has ordered US attacks against seven nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and now Syria). Among the other countries bombed and/or invaded during this period are Panama, Haiti and Grenada, hardly equals to the United States in either geographic size or military power. In fact, there is no other country over the past half century that has even come close to the United States when it comes to “bullying smaller nations.”
“Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss. The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence.”
Obama came close to the truth with this statement, but he completely omitted the most crucial aspect of what took Iraq to the abyss: the US invasion and occupation. The abyss that Obama referred to was the period during which the Iraqi insurgency fought against the illegal US military occupation of the country. It was the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, in violation of international law, that opened the door for al-Qaeda to enter the country and that also eventually gave birth to ISIS. It was the imperialist actions of the United States against a nation that posed no threat to it that created a “fertile recruiting ground for terrorists.” Let’s not forget, there were no Islamic extremist groups in Iraq before the US invaded.
“The countries of the Arab and Muslim world must focus on the extraordinary potential of their people — especially the youth.”
This statement is not so much ironic as incredibly arrogant. The same imperialist arrogance that fuels Washington’s military interventions in the Middle East and around the world also allows Obama to believe he has the right to tell the Arab and Muslim world what it “must” focus on.
“No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds.  But America will be a respectful and constructive partner.”
I’m not sure that the thousands of families whose loved ones have been blown to bits by US bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria view the United States as a “respectful and constructive partner” in the quest to combat extremism. And, as a matter of fact, the United States has brought about a “transformation of hearts and minds” in the Middle East; its military aggression in the region and its unconditional support for Israel has radicalized significant numbers of Muslims. The day before Obama’s UN speech, the initial US airstrikes against Syria killed 31 civilians. The continued slaughter of civilians in this manner will likely radicalize increasing numbers of Syrians. In short, the very same tactics that have bred extremism will not eliminate extremism; they will only breed more extremism.
“The United States will never shy away from defending our interests.”
Perhaps the truest statement uttered by Obama in his speech. After all, US military intervention in the Middle East is primarily motivated by US interests rather than the promotion of democracy and human rights. After all, if US foreign policy were motivated at all by the latter then Washington would have long ago overthrown the ruthless dictatorship that governs its close ally Saudi Arabia as well as its other authoritarian friends. Oh, and by the way, the Saudi government beheaded eight citizens last month.
Garry Leech is an independent journalist and author of numerous books including Capitalism: A Structural Genocide (Zed Books, 2012); Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia (Beacon Press, 2009); and Crude Interventions: The United States Oil and the New World Disorder (Zed Books, 2006). ). He is also a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Cape Breton University in Canada.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

US Bombed ‘Empty Buildings’ in Airstrikes on ISIL (ISIS) in Syria

21st Century Wire 24 September 2014

isistroops
The US fanfare surrounding Washington’s bombing raid over Syria was immense. WIth all the hype, you’d have thought that it was a new Pearl Harbor.
With a risk of popping President Obama and the US State Department’s bubble, we need to ask: did the US bomb a load of empty buildings in Syria on Tuesday?
According CNN Middle East correspondent Arwa Damon (photo, above), residents from the town of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria had “mixed reactions to US strikes”. The reason given was a real shocker:
Damon revealed on air early Wednesday that ISIL terrorists who were held up in the town may have been tipped off weeks in advance to the US airstrikes on Tuesday. According to Damon:
“15-20 days before the airstrikes, (ISIL) buildings were evacuated, and fighters then mixed in with the local population”.
Maybe Damon let the truth slip out by accident, or maybe she was trying to do what US journalists so often are not allowed to do by challenging Washington’s prefabricated narrative. Regardless, CNN’s chief war enthusiast Wolf Blitzer did not feel the need to pursue the point.
This surprising admission by CNN would mean that the US military may have only destroyed empty buildings in Raqqa, and that Washington’s inflated claims of dead ISIL fighters are probably exaggerated. In other words, it was all a big show, and ISIL’s capabilities were not degraded at all by Obama’s celebrated US blitzkrieg in Syria.
EMPTY BUILDINGS: CNN’s report suggest a hollow victory by US on Tuesday.

CENTCOM Has a Leak
If ISIS/ISIL operatives did indeed have advanced warning of US airstrikes in Syria – as this CNN report definitely suggests, then we also have to ask, where was the leak? The most likely source of a leak would be from US CENTCOM located in Doha, Qatar.
The other possibility is that ISIS/ISIL financial sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar had received word of the coming US operation and were instructed to vacate any potential targets.
No Chance of Transparency
Many military experts have questioned the US airstrikes as ‘ineffective’ because targeting static venues will not deter ISIS/ISIL, and these latest revelations will only reinforce that skepticism.
So how much can the public trust US reports of its own bombing campaigns? As far as gathering and verifying intelligence goes, how can we know if  US operatives knew who was where? Usually Washington can say anything and the mainstream press will not question it.
If you are a bona fide intelligence analysts, it can’t be easy – with political busy bodies and State Department geniuses revising their work, and then going back to the intelligence community asking for ‘authentification’ of various Tweets and ‘very chilling’ YouTube videos the White House has scraped-up off the web. As a result, assessments are often conflicting, and patchy – a running mess by anyone’s account.
Given that Washington DC has a diabolical no track record of being highly politicized when it comes to ‘intelligence’, it’s hard swallow anything coming out of Pennsylvania Ave.
At the end of the day, they tell us what they want us to hear.
“When war is declared, Truth is the first casualty.” – Philip Snowden (1916)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!