No reference yet in the WWW news outlets, but on ABC radio today Andrew Wilkie was quoted to tell the Australian leaders (a big word for a bunch of winkers), "not to get involved in the latest conflict in Iraq. Enough damage has been done already..." More when copy comes in... Ah here is the link just uploaded on the ABC
But what is extraordinary is that it seems the US — despite its massive intelligence networks — had no clue as to what was going to happen... Either they knew and let it go under the magic carpet because of their friends the Saudi or they had no idea... In order to mount an offensive the size of this one, the rebels (Al Qaeda Sunni Wahhabist terrorists who would be getting moneys from friendly Wahhabist Arab nations) had to "prepare" and then shift across long distances, knowing that the Iraqi army in some of the city would basically melt into the sand OR JOIN IN.
For example it takes a skilled pilot to fly a military chopper — and in my little head, I am prepared to believe that the yank chopper celebrating victory above one of the fallen cities, was being flown by a trained pilot of the Iraqi army who had defected...
BAGHDAD — A senior Iraqi official on Friday warned that his country might be forced to turn to Iran for military help if none were forthcoming from the United States, but he insisted he was unaware of any Iranian military units in his country so far.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to make statements to the media, was severely critical of the Obama administration for its handling of the Iraq crisis, and for failing, in his view, to better prepare the country’s military for an emergency.
“If you’re in an antique shop there’s a sign, ‘If you broke it, you bought it,' ” the official, who is an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, said. “I am not saying the Americans are responsible for everything, but they did not leave a well-trained army and they left us without any real air support, and the Obama administration really shares much of the blame.”
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/world/middleeast/iraq-may-turn-to-iran-for-help-maliki-aide-says.html?_r=0
Hey... Don't blame Obama for you having troops that are not worth their sandals. Blame sectarian "religions". See if you have Sunnis in your troops, they are going to be first and foremost Sunnis before being soldiers. Simple. Cannot get this out of their heads, can you? They will give up fighting, not because they are badly trained, but because the "enemy" is Sunni — extreme Sunni but Sunni nonetheless. Calling for help from Iran might become necessary... The Russian might oblige as well... Who knows. The present mess was DEFINITIVELY created by Georgie Bushie and his coalition of the willing (including Blair and Howard who should be in prison for the deed)... The Yanks tried to sell you "democracy" like an out-of-date packet of chewing-gum... no bubbles, just a sticky mess...
The price of Brent crude spiked on Friday over concerns about the ongoing insurgency in Iraq.
Oil prices settled down, but at $4 per barrel higher than at the beginning of the week.
Reassurances about the flow of oil supplies went some way to calming market jitters.
Brent crude futures stabilised at $112.32 per barrel, while US crude levelled to $106.55, after the highest reading for both since September.
Insurgents have taken over two Iraqi cities, prompting the US to say it was considering "all options" to help Iraq.
Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) group.
read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27836376#
The higher the price, the more the Saudis cash in... Good, hey?
From Chris Floyd...
UPDATE: A new article out today by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett underscores the insanity of the policies that have produced the situation in Iraq today. They pay special attention to the role of the Syrian conflict, which I only glanced at above. It is an important angle -- and one of the best illustrations of the madness now raging through the halls of power in the West. Once again, as in Afghanistan, Washington and its European and Saudi partners have poured massive amounts of money and weapons into an insurgency led by violent religious extremists -- and are now shocked to see this extremist insurgency spread throughout the region, particularly in Iraq, where a corrupt, crippled, invader-installed regime has led the country into further division and degradation. Meanwhile, as I noted above and the Leveretts underscore here, in Washington the only response being offered is more of the same: more intervention to combat the extremists in Iraq, more funding and weapons for the extremists in Syria (and often the groups are the same), more war, more death, more violence. They literally do not know anything else. Here's an excerpt from the article:
In Iraq, the resurgence of sectarian violence stems not from the 2011 American withdrawal. It is, rather, the fruit of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, the subsequent U.S. occupation, and the much vaunted “surge” of 2007-2008. The U.S. invasion and occupation destroyed the Iraqi state and ignited tensions among Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic communities. The surge sought to empower certain Sunni militias while paying them (temporarily) not to kill American soldiers; this ended up giving Sunni militants the means to press their grievances through escalating violence once U.S. forces were no longer around.Unfortunately, Washington seems determined to compound its appalling policy choices in Iraq with equally grievous choices regarding Syria. For over three years, America has provided Syrian oppositionists with “nonlethal” aid, trained opposition fighters, coordinated with others openly providing lethal aid for U.S.-vetted recipients, and extended high-level political backing to the anti-Assad campaign – including serially reiterated public demands from Obama that Assad “must go.” Yet, from the conflict’s start it has been clear that opposition fighters would not dislodge Assad, no matter how much external help they received – because, from the beginning, the constituencies supporting Assad and his government have added up to well over half of Syrian society. …These realities were readily observable in spring 2011; we have been writing and speaking about them for over three years. Yet the Obama administration decided, within weeks after the outbreak unrest in parts of Syria in March 2011, to support oppositionists seeking to overthrow Assad. It did so – as administration officials told the New York Times in April 2011 – because it calculated that destabilizing Assad’s government would undermine Iran’s regional position.This was a colossally irresponsible exercise in policymaking-by-wishful-thinking, for two reasons. First, outside support for opposition fighters – a sizable percentage of whom are not even Syrian – has taken what began as small-scale, indigenously generated protests over particular grievances and turned them into a heavily militarized insurgency that could sustain high levels of violence but could not actually win. The Obama administration prides itself on overthrowing Libya’s Muammar al-Qadhafi in 2011 without putting U.S. boots on the ground (though the results are comparable to those in Iraq: the destruction of a functioning state and the arming of militias that kill with impunity – including the U.S. ambassador in 2012). Assad is a vastly tougher target. Stepped up support for anti-Assad fighters will not accomplish anything positive strategically; it will, however, perpetuate conditions in which even more Syrians die.
read more: http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2403-hells-gate-the-iraqi-blitzkrieg-and-the-cult-of-violence.html
ERBIL, Iraq — Meeting with the American ambassador some years ago in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki detailed what he believed was the latest threat of a coup orchestrated by former officers of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.
“Don’t waste your time on this coup by the Baathists,” the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, chided him, dismissing his conspiracy theories as fantasy.
Now, though, with Iraq facing its gravest crisis in years, as Sunni insurgents have swept through northern and central Iraq, Mr. Maliki’s claims about Baathist plots have been at least partly vindicated. While fighters for the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, once an offshoot of Al Qaeda, have taken on the most prominent role in the new insurgency, they have done so in alliance with a deeply rooted network of former loyalists to Saddam Hussein.
The involvement of the Baathists helps explain why just a few thousand Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters, many of them fresh off the battlefields of Syria, have been able to capture so much territory so quickly. It sheds light on the complexity of the forces aligned against Baghdad in the conflict — not just the foreign-influenced group known as ISIS, but many homegrown groups, too. And with the Baathists’ deep social and cultural ties to many areas now under insurgent control, it stands as a warning of how hard it might be for the government to regain territory and restore order.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/world/middleeast/former-loyalists-of-saddam-hussein-crucial-in-helping-isis.html?hp&_r=0
Blair, Bush and Howard got it sooooo wrong, it's not funny. They should be in prison.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after all these years, has finally come down hard on terrorism in their country - by declaring anyone who is an atheist, who associates with atheists, or even seeks information about atheism, to be criminals subject to criminal prosecution!
This, by a country that has not only openly encouraged and financed radical Islamist sects such as al-Qaeda for decades, but was also recently appointed to the UN's Human Rights Commission!
Don't let the Saudis get away with this. In a country where the Pew Research International estimates that 10-15% of Saudis are non-religious, this law will put millions of Saudi citizens at risk of arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture, and even execution.
Sign AAI's petition denouncing these outrageous new laws and calling for world leaders to demand that they be rescinded!
This is a bit rich when we know that terror in the Middle East is coming from strict Wahhabism and other extremist Muslim organisations, mostly supported by the Saudis.
From Mike Carlton, SMH
WMD doubts are ludicrous'. Headline, The Australian, July 10, 2003.
"Obviously, the immensely difficult situation in Iraq is not resolved. Despite the election for the national assembly and provincial legislators, full democracy is still some time off ... But, now, at least Iraq has a chance of establishing a system of representative government ... There is a real possibility now that Iraq might become one of the few representative governments in the Middle East. – Gerard Henderson, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 1, 2005.
"The Iraq war was the right war against the right enemy at the right time, and waged for broadly the right reasons. There is no need to apologise about it. Notwithstanding many mistakes in execution in the peace-keeping phase, provided the coalition of the willing retains its nerve there is every chance of achieving a reasonable outcome still ... the decision to go to war was the right one. George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard deserve praise for their courage." – Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor, The Australian, March 22, 2006.
"The battle is actually over. Iraq has been won. I know this will seem to many of you an insane claim. Ridiculous! After all, haven't you read countless stories that Iraq is a "disaster", turned by a "civil war" into a "killing field"? You have. And you have been misled ... Violence is falling fast. Al Qaeda has been crippled. There is no civil war. The Kurds have not broken away. Iran has not turned Iraq into its puppet. And the country's institutions are getting stronger. The Iraqi army is now at full strength, at least in numbers. Iraq not only remains a democracy, but shows no sign of collapse. I repeat: the battle for a free Iraq has been won." – Andrew Bolt, the Herald Sun, November 2, 2007.
Sorry to inflict this drivel upon you, but there are some points to be made. George W. Bush and the neo-cons of Washington who fomented the war in Iraq bear a heavy responsibility for the catastrophe engulfing the country today. So, too, the principal leaders of that now risible coalition of the willing, including Britain's Tony Blair and our own John Howard (Dubya's Man of Steel.)
In prosecuting that war they were cheered all the way by the unquestioning Tory toadies of the Australian media, principally –although not solely – in the Murdoch press. The hubris, the evasions, the lies, the errors, the lethal incompetence – the whole ghastly march of folly – was trumpeted to the skies by these people even as the ground shifted and chasms of fact and logic opened beneath them.
They seized upon any piece of official idiocy to make their case. And not just Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Vice-President Dick Cheney's boast that US soldiers would be garlanded with flowers in Baghdad and welcomed as liberators ... George Bush's "mission accomplished" ... Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns, John Howard's claim that Saddam Hussein operated a "people-shredder" ... nothing was too bizarre to be pressed into service by the media propagandists.
If you dared to question the war, in concept or execution, they branded you anti-American. Ideological claptrap, of course, but the worst of Tory insults. You were disloyal, even treasonous. Anti-war marches were organised by communists, Bolt claimed, and the protesters were full of "self loathing hatred of our civilisation and its freedoms".
The Iraq war was supported by the Saudis... Such wars are not fought for overnight results. There are undercurrents and true desires that are withheld while SOMEONE ELSE is doing your bidding. There are opportunities to be cultivated, secretly... Do the sums... At every turn, the game is the price of oil and who controls the place...
For example some people have suggest that there are many Saudis fighting for the "rebels' in Iraq and the Saudi government is worried that when these come back to Saudi Arabia, they would ferment terrorism... Let me laugh for a minute. The Saudi government would not receive them as heroes. They would be placed in prison and then executed without trial, as fodder always is.
Once the 'rebels" have done the deed and turned Iraq into a Wahhabi kingdom, those who think they have the support of their own kind, would have to watch their back... The process of revolution is never clear cut. Someone pulls the strings of puppets...
BAGHDAD — In a darkened living room in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, a gray-haired militia commander picked up his phone Friday to read a text message from one of his colleagues on the battlefield.
“Captured six ISIS members in an ambush,” it said, referring to militants from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al-Qaeda splinter group whose advance over the past 10 days has nearly brought the Iraqi state to its knees. “At dawn I killed two, four I gave to the army.”
The message was an example of what members of Iraq’s Shiite militias describe as growing cooperation with the country’s army. As Iraq spirals into chaos, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is now relying on the militias, which once carried out hundreds of attacks on U.S. soldiers, to help him cling to power.
The lines between Shiite militias and the Iraqi armed forces have been increasingly blurred since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. Now, as the ISIS threat reinvigorates militias and the United States dispatches 300 military advisers to the fracturing country, the overlap is raising questions about increased American support for Iraqi forces.
“Potentially what this could amount to is the U.S. arming or advising Iranian proxies, some of which are on the terror list,” said Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland specializing in Shiite Islamist groups.
Speaking in London, retired Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former head of coalition forces in Iraq, raised similar concerns on Wednesday. “This cannot be the United States being the air force of Shia militias,” he said of potential U.S. strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.
read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqi-army-increasingly-bolstered-by-shiite-militias-as-isis-advances/2014/06/20/0eabaf3a-f8b5-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html
All this mess of course is the child of president Simpleton Bush and his cronies, Weasel Blair and Lying Howard... No debate about this.
From the Independent
The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.
In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as "spoils of war". Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.
There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa'ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar's words, saying that they constituted "a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed".
read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html
See toon at top and note publishing date...
The United States has signed an agreement with Qatar to sell Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defence systems valued at $11bn.
The agreement was signed at the Pentagon by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatar's defense minister, Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah.
"Today's signing ceremony underscores the strong partnership between the United States and Qatar in the area of security and defence and will help improve our bilateral cooperation across arange of military operations," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement on Monday.
The deal is reported to be the biggest US arms sale so far this year.
Hagel visited Qatar in December when he and Attiyah signed a 10-year Defence Cooperation Agreement to govern interaction between US and Qatari forces and enable the continued assignment of American troops to installations in the area, including the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base.
"This is a critically important relationship in the region," said Kirby. "And the secretary is pleased to be able to continue to make it stronger."
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of that clique that support the ISIS terrorists in Iraq and those fighting in Syria... What are the Yanks thinking!??
Ah yes I know... If they did not sell weapons to these official supporters of terrorism, these would buy somewhere else and business is business...
Israel’s disproportionate and increasingly pernicious role in American politics and policies is well-known. But Washington’s decades-long collusion of corruption with the repressive, retrograde regime of Saudi Arabia has if anything been even more disastrous for the world.Historians of the next millennium will look back on the fatal bargain that humanity has made with fossil fuels as one of the great wrong turnings in the history of homo sapiens. By the end of this century it will have burned or drowned vast portions of the planet and plunged billions of people into ruin and suffering. The benefits that arose from our oil-based civilization cannot be denied — yes, I too am glad that an ambulance can get me quickly to the hospital or fly me across the ocean to see my children — but the cost of these benefits has been immense, and there is far worse to come in the years ahead … not least for those same beloved children.One of the most deleterious effects of fossil-fuelled civilization has been the prominence that geographical happenstance has given to Saudi Arabia. Its vast reserves of oil has meant that governments of every stripe have overlooked its horrendous oppression and its global propagation of one of the most narrow and ignorant perversions of Islam. This is particularly striking given the fact that for the past 30 years, “Islamic extremism” has been the chief bugbear and bloody shirt waved by Western powers seeking to maintain and extend their dominance of world affairs. All of these powers — Washington especially — have always known that the greatest backing, financing and arming of “Islamic extremism” have come from the elite of Saudi Arabia … the same elite that the Western powers have cravenly courted, decade after decade. Without oil, Saudi Arabia would be one of the world’s pariah states, where women are oppressed to a degree unseen in any other nation, where clerics wearing 17th-century blinkers behead people for the crime of falling in love with the “wrong” person, where the political freedom of ordinary people is stifled on a level nearly commensurate with that of North Korea. But Saudi Arabia does have oil. And so its oppression, misogyny, brutality and tyranny is not only excused by the West’s great champions of democracy; it is honored, celebrated and sustained with arms deals and diplomatic support — and, of course, the trillions of dollars that have flowed to the kingdom from every corner gas station in America for decades.
The inability of the United States government to anticipate the ISIS offensive that has succeeded in taking control of a large part of Iraq is already being referred to as an “intelligence failure.” To be sure, Washington has unparalleled technical capabilities to track money movements and to obtain information from the airwaves. It is adept at employing surveillance drones and other highly classified intrusive electronic methods, but there is an inherent problem with that kind of information collection: knowing how the process works in even the most general way can make it relatively easy to counter by an opponent who can go low tech.
Terrorists now know that using cell phones is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected, that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal, and that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted and exposed even when encrypted. So they rely on couriers to communicate and move money while also avoiding the use of the vulnerable technologies whenever they can, sometimes using public phones and computers only when they are many miles away from their operational locations, and changing addresses, SIM cards, and telephone numbers frequently to confuse the monitoring.
Technical intelligence has another limitation: while it is excellent on picking up bits and pieces and using sophisticated computers to work through the bulk collection of chatter, it is largely unable to learn the intentions of terrorist groups and leaders. To do that you need spies, ideally someone who is placed in the inner circle of an organization and who is therefore privy to decision making.
Since 9/11 U.S. intelligence has had a poor record in recruiting agents to run inside terrorist organizations—or even less toxic groups that are similarly structured—in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Information collected relating to the internal workings of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, dissident Sunni groups in Iraq, and now ISIS has been, to say the least, disappointing. To be fair this is often because security concerns limit the ability of American case officers to operate in areas that are considered too dangerous, which is generally speaking where the terrorist targets are actually located. Also, hostile groups frequently run their operations through franchise arrangements where much of the decision making is both local and funded without large cash transfers from a central organization, making the activity hard to detect.
read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-isis-evades-the-cia/
BAMAKO, Mali — The cash filled three suitcases: 5 million euros.
The German official charged with delivering this cargo arrived here aboard a nearly empty military plane and was whisked away to a secret meeting with the president of Mali, who had offered Europe a face-saving solution to a vexing problem.
Officially, Germany had budgeted the money as humanitarian aid for the poor, landlocked nation of Mali.
In truth, all sides understood that the cash was bound for an obscure group of Islamic extremists who were holding 32 European hostages, according to six senior diplomats directly involved in the exchange.
The suitcases were loaded onto pickup trucks and driven hundreds of miles north into the Sahara, where the bearded fighters, who would soon become an official arm of Al Qaeda, counted the money on a blanket thrown on the sand. The 2003 episode was a learning experience for both sides. Eleven years later, the handoff in Bamako has become a well-rehearsed ritual, one of dozens of such transactions repeated all over the world.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/world/africa/ransoming-citizens-europe-becomes-al-qaedas-patron.html?_r=0
Up to a quarter of Iraq's Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority group's biggest town.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
IS has been gaining ground in northern Iraq since June, and also controls some of Syria.
The US has warned that the situation for Iraq's minority groups threatens to become a "humanitarian catastrophe".
``We are gravely concerned for their health and safety," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28686998
The United Arab Emirates, a small wealthy Gulf state, has been secretly bombing targets in Libya, from bases in Egypt without the knowledge of the US. We explain how the raids reflect new rivalries in the region and are likely to trigger new strains between the west and its increasingly assertive Arab allies.
The question is while the west is trying to save people in Iraq, the Saudis and the other gulf states are DOING NOTHING TO HELP... which can be translated as supporting Isis and its ruthless ways, by default or secretly... And the Saudis are our "friends"...
The so-called war on terror is nearly 13 years old, but which rational human being will be cheering its success? We’ve had crackdowns on civil liberties across the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and, of course, military interventions whose consequences have ranged from the disastrous to the catastrophic. And where have we ended up? Wars that Britons believe have made them less safe; jihadists too extreme even for al-Qaida’s tastes running amok in Iraq and Syria; and nations like Libya succumbing to Islamist militias. There are failures, and then there are calamities.
But as the British government ramps up the terror alert to “severe” and yet more anti-terror legislation is proposed, some reflection after 13 years of disaster is surely needed. One element has been missing, and that is the west’s relationship with Middle Eastern dictatorships that have played a pernicious role in the rise of Islamist fundamentalist terrorism. And no wonder: the west is militarily, economically and diplomatically allied with these often brutal regimes, and our media all too often reflects the foreign policy objectives of our governments.
Take Qatar. There is evidence that, as the US magazine The Atlanticputs it, “Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra”, an al-Qaida group operating in Syria. Less than two weeks ago, Germany’s development minister, Gerd Mueller, was slapped down after pointing the finger at Qatar for funding Islamic State (Isis).
While there is no evidence to suggest Qatar’s regime is directly funding Isis, powerful private individuals within the state certainly are, and arms intended for other jihadi groups are likely to have fallen into their hands. According to a secret memo signed by Hillary Clinton, released by Wikileaks, Qatar has the worst record of counter-terrorism cooperation with the US.
And yet, where are the western demands for Qatar to stop funding international terrorism or being complicit in the rise of jihadi groups? Instead, Britain arms Qatar’s dictatorship, selling it millions of pounds worth of weaponry including “crowd-control ammunition” and missile parts. There are other reasons for Britain to keep stumm, too. Qatar owns lucrative chunks of Britain such as the Shard, a big portion of Sainsbury’s and a slice of the London Stock Exchange.
Then there’s Kuwait, slammed by Amnesty International for curtailing freedom of expression, beating and torturing demonstrators and discriminating against women. Hundreds of millions have been channelled by wealthy Kuwaitis to Syria, again ending up with groups like Jabhat al-Nusra.
Kuwait has refused to ban the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a supposed charity designated by the US Treasury as an al-Qaida bankroller. David Cohen, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has even described Kuwait as the “epicentre of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria”. As Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, an associate fellow at Chatham House, told me: “High profile Kuwaiti clerics were quite openly supporting groups like al-Nusra, using TV programmes in Kuwait to grandstand on it.” All of this is helped by lax laws on financing and money laundering, he says.
But don’t expect any concerted action from the British government. Kuwait is “an important British ally in the region”, as the British government officially puts it. Tony Blair has become the must-have accessory of every self-respecting dictator, ranging from Kazakhstan to Egypt; Kuwait was Tony Blair Associates’ first client in a deal worth £27m. Britain has approved hundreds of arms licences to Kuwait since 2003, recently including military software and anti-riot shields.
Tony Abbott is using the atrocities of the Islamic State (ISIlL) to justify a warlike foreign policy, but ISIL did not emerge from a vacuum, writes Rodney E. Lever.
THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA and Tony Abbott’s ragtag band don’t want you to know this, but it is time to be realistic about the awful events that have taken place this year with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — or Isis for short.
The gruesome beheading of a young journalist gave the Murdoch papers a horrifying opportunity to expose a terrible crime in all its gruesome truth. But like so many events, the real story is hidden in a fog of duplicity.
It was enough recently to add one point to the dismal poll figures of the Abbott government. Then another point appeared when Abbott offered Australia’s flight of F/A18F RAAF Hornets to the U.S. for a joint attack on Isis. President Obama wisely rejected the offer. He understood through his own sources how closely his presidential predecessor, George W Bush, was linked with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and how it has directly caused the multiplication of the wealth and power of Isis.
The Islamic State is a land of some 60,000 square kilometres — about the size of Tasmania. It occupies an area between the borders of Syria and Turkey, and north-east of Baghdad. It gained both its size and its enormous wealth as a direct result of the Iraq war.
As one of the million or so who marched in every Australian capital city in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, I had a personal interest in the protest at that time. The Australian Labor Party helped organise the March. Prime Minister John Howard called all of us traitors to our country. His decision to go to war, under pressure from Rupert Murdoch, was useless and unnecessary. All of us who marched were well aware of that.
John Howard, Tony Blair, George W. Bush and Rupert Murdoch were all instigators of an event that had not the least justification. There were lies about weapons of mass destruction that did not exist and there were lies about the Iraq leader, who had close links to the U.S. until the Republican administration decided they wanted to remove him.
Iraq remained occupied in the years that followed the war, until it established its new government, again principally under the auspices of the United States, supported by Britain and Australia.
See also: the trilogy...
BAGHDAD — With American bombs raining down from the sky, Shiite militia fighters aligned with Iran battled Sunni extremists over the weekend, punching through their defenses to break the weekslong siege of Amerli, a cluster of farming villages whose Shiite residents faced possible slaughter.
The fight in northern Iraq appeared to be the first time American warplanes and militias backed by Iran had worked with a common purpose on a battlefield against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even though the Obama administration said there was no direct coordination with the militias.
Should such military actions continue, they could signal a dramatic shift for the United States and Iran, which have long vied for control in Iraq. They could also align the interests of the Americans with their longtime sworn enemies in the Shiite militias, whose fighters killed many United States soldiers during the long occupation of Iraq.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/world/middleeast/iraq.html?_r=0
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has given tacit backing to the Federal Government's plan to airlift weapons to Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State in northern Iraq.
The Government has been defending its plan to use Australian transport planes to deliver the arms and munitions, with frontbencher Scott Morrison saying the plan has been agreed to in coordination with Iraq's government.
At a media conference in Auckland today, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon thanked nations which he said were taking decisive action to address the security threat posed by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq.
"Without addressing this issue through certain means, including some military and counter-terrorist actions, we will just end up allowing these terrorist activities to continue," he said.
Meanwhile, Iraq's ambassador to Australia has backed down from comments criticising the plan to arm Kurdish troops.
In arming the Kurdish regional government, Tony Abbott is helping a proscribed terrorist organisation and placing Australians at greater risk of terrorist attack.
So, to be clear about what the Australian government is doing in Iraq, we will be providing arms not to the government of that country, but to a breakaway province whose forces include a terrorist group, the PPK,
read more: http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/09/01/government-breaches-its-own-terror-laws-in-returning-to-iraq/
CAIRO — Standing at the front of a conference hall in Doha, the visiting sheikh told his audience of wealthy Qataris that to help the battered residents of Syria, they should not bother with donations to humanitarian programs or the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.
“Give your money to the ones who will spend it on jihad, not aid,” implored the sheikh, Hajaj al-Ajmi, recently identified by the United States government as a fund-raiser for Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
Qatar is a tiny, petroleum-rich Persian Gulf monarchy where the United States has its largest military base in the Middle East. But for years it has tacitly consented to open fund-raising by Sheikh Ajmi and others like him. After his pitch, which he recorded in 2012 and which still circulates on the Internet, a sportscaster from the government-owned network, Al Jazeera, lauded him. “Sheikh Ajmi knows best” about helping Syrians, the sportscaster, Mohamed Sadoun El-Kawary, declared from the same stage.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/world/middleeast/qatars-support-of-extremists-alienates-allies-near-and-far.html?_r=0
No surprise since we've already mentioned the caper here a while ago. Read from top...
From Robert Fisk
Bill Clinton refused an Iranian offer of battalions of regular troops to defend Bosnia – this would be unwarranted intervention in the affairs of Europe – but no one objected when guns arrived for Bosnian forces from Muslim countries. Hezbollah in Lebanon – though Shia – initially sent 150 volunteers to Bosnia, then Algerians arrived, fresh from fighting their own government. An entire mujahedin battalion emerged in the forests of Bosnia – the “muj” we journalists called them, rather superciliously – while individual Iranian fighters paid their own way to Sarajevo. The face of one of their martyrs occupies an entire apartment bloc wall in Tehran today.
Yet while the US State Department privately told us in Bosnia that “fundamentalism” – the horror word of the time – might take root in Bosnia, no one spoke of “radicalisation”. It was regarded as quite natural that Arab Muslims might want to help their Bosnian brothers and sisters, not least because, for at least two years, we intended to do nothing about it. It even worked for the “Christian” side in the war. I remember an ex-British soldier serving as a mercenary for the Croats – wearing his former Marine uniform, complete with green beret.
Odd, isn’t it, how we took a vaguely similar view of those Muslims who originally travelled to Syria to help overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The peaceful revolution was being ruthlessly suppressed and we were happy to send money and guns to the opposition – and turn a blind eye if Muslim “humanitarian” workers were so angered by events that they joined the rebels. Only when the toughened fighters of Afghanistan and Chechnya and other Muslim nations turned up to take over the battle did we suddenly express our horror.
We did nothing about the Saudi money that still flowed towards the opposition – as indeed it had towards the Bosnians in the 1990s, which is why that beautiful country is now littered with the ugliest Saudi-style mosque architecture the Balkans have ever witnessed. Only when the opposition to Assad turned out to be as hostile towards us – the West – as it was towards his regime did we suddenly throw up our hands in horror. Ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia went on for years before we intervened. Ethnic cleansing of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq – and the murder of American hostages in Syria – brought an almost immediate response. US planes bombed Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, American leaders spoke of “apocalypse” and “end-of-the-world theology” – as if we had only just discovered that the deviant al-Qa'ida killers of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were a crucifying, head-chopping Sunni sectarian gang. There is, after all, no difference between the executions of Iraqis in Raqqa last year, the beheading of journalists in Syria in the last three weeks and the decapitation of another Lebanese soldier – a Shia, of course – this weekend.
Read all: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/after-the-atrocities-committed-against-muslims-in-bosnia-it-is-nowonder-todays-jihadis-have-set-out-on-the-path-to-war-in-syria-9717384.html
See toon at top...
Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, says the contribution of Arab League nations will be critical to combating the strategic threat posed by Islamic State (Isis) militants.
Bishop told the ABC on Tuesday her expectation was that Arab states would join an American-led effort in northern Iraq, and that regional contribution would be “absolutely vital.”
The foreign minister said the contribution may not be military “but it could well be targeting the financial flow, the recruitment activity and the social media campaigns” of Isis and similar groups.
“The United States has called for many nations to come together to develop a plan to disrupt and degrade [Isis] and to contain its activities and to protect the innocent civilians that it’s targeting,” Bishop said.
“In defining the resources and assets that will be required, and determining a realistic set of goals, it’s important that many countries contribute to the effort. And my expectation is that the Arab states will join the effort.”
The Arab League, meeting in Cairo Monday, passed a resolution agreeing to combat Islamic State extremism, but the resolution did not explicitly back US military action.
read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/09/julie-bishop-arab-league-nations-crucial-isis
I could give many evidence supported reasons to say that Julie Bishop has not understood a single thing about what is happening in Iraq and Syria... Our Bishop is in total lalaland while trying to appear serious on the subject.
AMMAN, Jordan — Saudi Arabia has agreed to an American request to provide a base to train moderate Syrian opposition fighters, American officials said on Wednesday.
“We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort — the train-and-equip program — to host that program,” said a senior Obama administration official, who added that discussions were underway to determine the specific site and other details.
The Saudi willingness to host a training program comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing to fly to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday morning for a high-level strategy session on how to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The meeting that is being hosted by the Saudis will also include senior officials from Arab states in the Persian Gulf region, as well as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
A senior State Department official said a number of initiatives to weaken ISIS would be stepped up, including efforts to stop the flow of money to the terrorist group by cracking down on oil smuggling and curtailing contributions from private donors.
Am I getting more cynical or are the US getting more naive? Excuse me... I am laughing so much, I need to go and get a refill for my pants liners.
Is John Kerry so enthusiastically blind? The Saudi are delighted to provide training of "moderate" Syrian Sunni rebel fighters (all Wahhabi nonetheless) who will go on fighting against the shia Assad... And all paid for the good old US of A...
My eyes are crying from laughing so much...
It’s also strange that we are unquestionably calling the Free Syrian Army (FSA) the “moderate” opposition and putting our faith in their abilities, despite many actual experts claiming they’re far from moderate and far from a cohesive army. As George Washington University’s Marc Lynch wrote in the Washington Post recently, “The FSA was always more fiction than reality, with a structure on paper masking the reality of highly localized and fragmented fighting groups on the ground.”
The New York Times reported two weeks ago that FSA has a penchant for beheading its enemy captives as well, and now the family of Steven Sotloff, the courageous journalist who was barbarically beheaded by Isis, says that someone from the “moderate” opposition sold their son to Isis before he was killed....
read more : http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2418-breach-birth-bipartisan-bull-brings-new-war.html
BAGHDAD — Caliph Ibrahim, the leader of the Islamic State, appeared to come out of nowhere when he matter-of-factly proclaimed himself the ruler of all Muslims in the middle of an otherwise typical Ramadan sermon. Muslim scholars from the most moderate to the most militant all denounced him as a grandiose pretender, and the world gaped at his growing following and its vicious killings.
His ruthless creed, though, has clear roots in the 18th-century Arabian Peninsula. It was there that the Saud clan formed an alliance with the puritanical scholar Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab. And as they conquered the warring tribes of the desert, his austere interpretation of Islam became the foundation of the Saudi state.
Much to Saudi Arabia’s embarrassment, the same thought has now been revived by the caliph, better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the foundation of the Islamic State.
“It is a kind of untamed Wahhabism,” said Bernard Haykel, a scholar at Princeton. “Wahhabism is the closest religious cognate.”
From the beginning, the way the war against Saddam was waged was crook. Saddam was a bad guy. But sometimes "you need bad guys" to do the dirty work... What was Saddam's dirty work? Making sure the religious extremist Muslims, Sunnis and Shiite, did not get a foothold in Iraq. But because Saddam was selling his oil in Euros and Roubles instead of Dollars, the US helped with the poms and the kangaroos threw him out with glorious fanfare TO TAKE THE OIL... So what was going to happen next? Roses and elegant perfumes to the "liberators"? Naw... A bloody mess and an obvious kick in the butt.
Any second rate drover's dog would have to know that the dynamics of "de-mo-cra-cy alla Americana" were not going to stay firm in the land of quick-sands, backshish, religious rivalry and humiliations... One or all the other groups, especially those that had been disenfranchised, would create trouble...
By now, instead of having a bad guy to fight the crooked fight, we've got to fight it ourselves... Idiots... Greedy idiots... But we don't have to fight it and this is the point... By fighting, all we're doing is stirring more resentment against us for no reason, and we've got no chance of winning.
Only idiots think that war is a way to peace... See toon at top... Note the date...
World leaders are due to arrive in Saudi Arabia to pay their respects in person after the death on Friday of King Abdullah.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande will be in Riyadh. The US delegation is led by Vice-President Joe Biden.
King Abdullah died aged 90. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Riyadh after Friday prayers.
King Salman, 79, pledged continuity after his accession to the throne.
He also moved swiftly to appoint heirs and ministers, including one prince from the ruling dynasty's third generation.
Why Saudi matters - in 90 seconds
On Saturday, Mr Cameron, Mr Hollande and Mr Biden will take part in official ceremonies in the Saudi capital.
Iran will be represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
These visitors will be looking to take the measure of the character, mood and intentions of the new monarch, BBC Arab Affairs editor Alan Johnston reports.
King Abdullah died weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection.
His body was wrapped in a shroud, and buried in a public cemetery after prayers attended by Gulf heads of state and some foreign leaders.
read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30962740
Last week, though, after more than 12 years of grindingly slow legal wrangling, Mr. Motley’s long-running lawsuit suddenly drew headlines. Lawyers representing the families of Sept. 11 victims disclosed that Zacarias Moussaoui, a former operative for Al Qaeda now in federal prison, had told them that prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family had been major donors to the terrorist organization in the late 1990s.
While Mr. Moussaoui’s statements were quickly challenged by some foreign policy experts and rejected by Saudi officials, the assertions helped bring the once-simmering issue of possible Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks back into the national consciousness. They also gained widespread notice for the long-stalled lawsuit, which has occupied the federal court docket for almost the entire 21st century.
“When I began this, I would never have guessed that I would have spent so much of my legal career on one case,” said Sean Carter, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the case. “There are times when it is exhausting, but everyone is committed to see it through.”
see toon at top
The truth about Islamic State: what it is, where it is going, how we can fight it
In the light of late afternoon on a beach in Libya, the black-clad assassins of the so-called Islamic State are at work – they behead 21 Egyptian Christians and the barbarity is captured with all the high-tech wizardry of an MTV clip.
In London, by contrast, the images are grainy and stilted - what you'd expect from a security camera. They show three British teenagers, Muslims of migrant origin, sashaying through an airport terminal. But the image has its own horror: apparently these young things are bound for Syria, to sign on as IS brides.
Such is the daily grind of news in the Iraq-Syria conflict. But a consensus is emerging that the "state" of the self-anointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, cannot sustain itself. Sure, it will continue to horrify, but it cannot last.
In Raqqa, the Syrian city that is the nominal capital of IS, bookshops sell pamphlets on "permissible" sexual practices with one's female slaves. Punishment, often dispensed summarily, is brutal – human heads are stuck on stakes in the central square, sometimes with a sign explaining the victim's crime.
There is a semblance of government – separate military and bureaucratic hierarchies, ministries, courts and police forces. Pre-existing education, health, telco and electrical systems have been co-opted – but water and electricity are erratic to non-existent; drugs are in short supply; and many schools are shuttered.
In a peculiar twist, some services in the IS-controlled areas of Syria are reportedly still run by Damascus. Another peculiarity: in Iraq, $US130 million ($165 million) for monthly public service pay cheques are still couriered into IS-controlled Mosul by Baghdad – and as much as half is skimmed by IS.
IS has extensive weapons stores and an estimated 30,000 fighters, with foreign volunteers pouring in. But it doesn't have the professional, technical and managerial class it needs to run whole cities and territory with a combined population of more than 6 million people.
A resident of IS-controlled Mosul, in the north of Iraq, told The Financial Times: "When I was seven years old, the war against Iran started. Since then we've been at war. We've endured international sanctions, poverty and injustice. But it was never worse than it is now."
IS Inc is a diverse, self-funding entity. It sells oil on the regional black market, even as world prices have tumbled. US air strikes have damaged many of its oil facilities, but it has reportedly acquired modular mini-refineries to replace them. It trades in antiquities and smuggles cigarettes and other goods; it extorts, abducts and demands ransom.
Taking extremism seriously
Middle East history is proof enough that a thug with an army can survive in the desert, bending and breaking others to his will. So perhaps the real surprise in the gory saga of IS is that we are surprised.
In grappling to explain and to understand, there are continual efforts to make Islam the problem, most notably a treatise published in the March issue of The Atlantic by Canadian journalist Graeme Wood. Most of its 10,000 words were devoted to a painstaking analysis of the IS interpretation of Islam – and ipso facto, Islam is the problem.
"The reality is that IS is Islamic, very Islamic," Wood writes. "Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam."
But when an earlier iteration of IS rose up in Iraq in the aftermath of the US-led invasion in 2003, the tribes in western Anbar province - fellow Sunnis - revolted and with American help vanquished the movement that called itself al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). If the Iraqi tribes were willing to see off AQI, why do they acquiesce in the face of the greater horror of IS?
The answer is in Baghdad, not in the Koran. The Bush administration was able to peel dozens of Sunni tribes away from AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the troop surge of 2007. But writing in the March-April edition of Foreign Affairs, Professor Audrey Kurth Cronin of George Mason University warns that the logic of US counterinsurgency then does not suit the IS conflict, because "the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government has so badly undercut its own political legitimacy that it might be impossible to restore it . . . and [Washington] cannot lend legitimacy to a government it no longer controls".
The flawed logic of The Atlantic piece demands that the West and the region must take IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seriously – as opposed to being serious about how they confront his deranged movement.
IS is utterly alone in the world. The Afghan Taliban had generous allies in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE, but diplomatically, Baghdadi is on his own. Similarly, nothing approximating loyalty or respect informs the IS relationship with communities it controls – either it imposes itself by bloody, brute force, or it is embraced by Sunnis who see it as protection against what they perceive as the more menacing barrel-bomber Bashar al-Assad or the Iranian-backed Shiite militias that have become the spearhead in Baghdad's defence – hence the presence in the ranks of IS of so many from the security forces of Saddam Hussein.
The former Baathist military men and Sunni tribal sheikhs are essential to IS. The sheikhs deliver grassroots compliance, if not loyalty; and the Baathists offer knowledge of how to run a fighting force and an understanding of Baghdad's sprawling security apparatus.
There is a degree of pragmatism in how IS deals with Iraq's tribes. Late last year, I had it explained to me by people living under IS in Fallujah, Iraq; and Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassanlay it out in their book ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror: IS deftly manages tribal politics, offering itself as an objective arbiter in local disputes and playing off young turks against their more seasoned, cautious elders.
To focus on IS as Islamic is to allow religion to obscure what the movement's other characteristics reveal about cause and effect in the region. IS is Sunni, it has strong Baathist elements and it is tribal. All these tell us something.
A tragedy of errors
Much of The Atlantic's controversial piece turned on the views of Princeton academic Bernard Haykel, but in subsequent interviews Haykel disowns the notion that Islamic texts and theology necessitated the creation of groups like IS or that Muslims who challenge its perverted interpretations of Islam are somehow un-Muslim. "I think that [IS] is a product of very contingent, contextual, historical factors," Haykel told the ThinkProgress blog. "There's nothing predetermined in Islam that would lead to [IS].
"Sunni Muslims feel really beleaguered . . . it's very hard for Sunnis to say, today, 'let's go and fight [IS] militarily', when you also have, let's say, the Assad regime killing hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims, or Iran and its forces in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon attacking Sunnis at the same time.
"I see [IS] as a symptom of a much deeper structural set of problems in the Sunni Arab world. [It has] to do with politics, with education and the lack thereof, with authoritarianism, with foreign intervention, with the curse of oil . . . I think that even if [IS] were to disappear, the underlying causes that produced [IS] would not disappear."
Washington and its allies seem resigned to a belief that their choices in the region are limited to anarchy or autocracy. But the Brookings Institution's Shadi Hamid sees a way out: "If [IS] and what will surely be a growing list of imitators are to be defeated, then statehood and, more importantly, states that are inclusive and accountable to their own people, are essential."
Despite all IS' "end of days" rhetoric and its taunting of the West, the movement's savagery is more calculated than it is apocalyptic. As noted by Taliban scholar Ahmed Rashid, IS was born in ungovernable chaos; is more interested in regional territorial gains than in global jihad; it sucks in foreign fighters by the thousand, but its enemy is local and Muslim; it's militarily competent – it has good command and control, intelligence, logistics and mobility. And just as the Taliban danced on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, so too does IS on the line that was the Iraq-Syria border.
But IS also relies on great good luck, mostly in the form of the incompetence of others – who would have thought that after the US invested $25 billion in standing up a new Iraqi national army, that that force would collapse so quickly to reveal the hollowness of the new Iraqi state? Who could have banked on Iran's investment in a new, parallel Iraqi security force – a network of Shiite militias, effectively Washington and Canberra's allies in this war - whose bloodthirsty and brutal tactics have caused many of the Sunni tribes of Iraq to opt for what they see as a lesser evil in IS?
Who could have relied on Syria's Bashar al-Assad to preside over the death of hundreds of thousands of his own people, abandoning Syria's eastern flank because he wanted to fight for the more populous, richer west of the country?
The regional powers have also stoked this orgy of violence, in a desperate bid to score points off each other. They insist that IS represents an existential threat, but they are only bit players in the fight against it – they send a few aircraft, but none of them will send their armies to fight on the ground.
Similarly, the trillion-dollar security machine built by Washington in the wake of the 9/11 attacks leaves the US wrong-footed in confronting IS – as a self-funding quasi-state with a near-conventional army, IS is not the same terrorist beast as al-Qaeda, so all "the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies that greatly diminished the threat from al-Qaeda will not work against [IS]", says Kurth Cronin.
Ahmed Rashid raps Western knuckles for a knee-jerk resort to military operations instead of seeking new regional alliances and prodding Muslim leaders to deal with their own problems. He writes: "The lack of leadership is most visible in the Muslim world . . . there is silence, helplessness and hopelessness . . . nowhere is civil society strong enough to demand greater action against extremism."
Mapping a new Middle East
Washington, meanwhile, is disturbingly confident that its retraining of the Iraqi Army - which it had already trained once - will forge a force capable of retaking Mosul, the northern city it abandoned so quickly last year. American plans to train supposedly "moderate" rebels to fight the forces of Assad and IS in Syria remain embryonic.
It seems that containment will likely emerge as the default response, with IS having probably reached its territorial extremities. Ramzy Mardini, a fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Centre for the Middle East, says: "It's no coincidence that the militants' gains have been limited to areas populated by disenfranchised Sunnis eager for protection from Shiite forces.
"[IS] is thriving in the midst of sectarian cleavages, established insurgencies, and weak or non-existent state institutions. Hence, its support in Iraq and Syria is not the rule – it is the exception."
One of the keys is convincing the Sunni sheikhs of Iraq to break their Faustian pact with IS – and to achieve that, Washington needs to step out as what Kurth Cronin calls a "diplomatic superpower", not a military one. But winning the tribes over will in all likelihood require that they get what Washington delivered in 1991 for the similarly-sized Kurdish community in the north of Iraq – a degree of autonomy and a cut of the oil revenue that pretty well allows them to make their own way. And regionally there can be no resolution unless Iran is brought into the tent of nations – and that won't happen unless Tehran gets a nuclear deal it can live with, and Washington can in turn sell that deal to Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
We think that dealing with IS is an enormous task. But that it exists is symptomatic of a still more compelling challenge – the disintegration of the near-century-old Western construct that is today's Middle East. Sarah Chayes, author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, writes: "Nothing feeds extremism more than the in-your-face corruption and injustice" suffered by the people of so many of Washington's closest allies in the region.
As Syria and Iraq teeter towards disintegration, others warn of an even greater unravelling. Based in Beirut, former British intelligence agent and diplomat Alastair Crooke depicts IS as "a veritable time bomb inserted into the heart of the Middle East". "[IS'] real potential for destruction," he warns, "lies . . . in the implosion of Saudi Arabia as a foundation stone of the modern Middle East."
read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/the-truth-about-islamic-state-what-it-is-where-it-is-going-how-we-can-fight-it-20150306-13r7b6.html
Gus: Here I see a good historical perspective, but a conclusion that shows that Paul McGeough, usually close to the bull's-eye could have missed the target — unless he subtly tells us to stop pandering to "our friends" the Saudis.
For little unwise old Gus, there are two key words in IS — Islamic and State. This could be as pissy propaganda as all get out, but these words are there to define a power status, even if only an illusion thereof. Without Islam, Islamic State would vanish overnight. Thus Paul's argument that Islam may not be as important as we make out does not hold water.
One has to realise that until one reaches the ripen old-age of 25, one is usually a plastic moron... That is too say one young person, as intelligent as one may be in the neurones, is easily going to be swayed to do something either silly or be enticed to believe in a cause without proper self-philosophical insight.
The wars of religion in Europe, some lasting more than one hundred years, were part of this affirmation of belonging to a sect, a group or a state, or raving lunatics... Many young men were conned to participate in the melee (mob lynching mentality). How?
Key words are god (allah) protestants/non believers (infidels) and guns/pitchfork/glory (defend the faith/martyrdom).
Now an outfit like IS ain't going to make traction in the minds of Shia. But it will gain traction in the minds of Sunnis, because basically IS is Sunni sponsored and deliberately aimed at. Some "moderate" Sunnis may not like IS but they will submit to it, against the imperial (US/Australia/etc) and Iranian (Shia) forces which removed their former status — even if this former status was quite moderate in comparison.
The process was ugly. People like Wolfowitz — a great-arse visionary in hindsight — Cheney, Abbott, Blair, Bush (Dubya), Howard, Rumsfeld and more should all be in prison — not only for war crimes, but for GREAT STUPIDITY at removing their only buffer a) against Iran and b) against IS (evolved from Al qaeda in Iraq — which did not exist until the US invaded Iraq) under the name of Saddam Hussein. If you want to have someone to wash your international dirty laundry, you need someone like Saddam to do it for you. His price was moderate, so why go and bash him up, which led to the far more serious situation now, where you have to do the dirty laundry yourself and deal with angry wasps. Idiots. Not an ounce of strategic diplomacy in their underpants. Only aggressive crap, like our own Turdy. But is it possible that the "fucups" were deliberate in order to continue robbing the Middle-East by creating confusion and continue the "war on terror" forever (to KEEP US IN A STATE OF FEAR)... But it seems that the "fucups" have gone out of hand...
So armed with the keywords (god, infidel, martyrdom, gunpowder) and promises of sex, the young men feel it's their duty to join, as all their Christmas bells have rung at once. Being shot at only adds to the glory of "belonging" to a format of "improved" social behaviour with a very strict religious code where fear and glory reigns, compared to the decadence of the western "debauchery". What would you prefer?... Indoctrination works.
Ask anyone who has had a family member caught in a "Christian" religious sect, how hard it is to remove them from there and to show them how silly they are to be in it. Most would say the task is impossible, but it is hard work nonetheless. So, for IS (or anyone who controls a "religious" state) the indoctrination is IMPORTANT and cannot be dismissed a priori. The word here is "Islam" and the version thereof — WAHABBISM.
Barbaric hordes defeated the Roman Empire.
Who owns the license of Wahabbism? Saudi Arabia of course. Come on! Add two and two... The Saudis have seen Iraq as a threat since the Shia (Iran's religious mob) controlled the country. Beforehand they did not like Saddam because he was not committed to the cause of Sunni Wahabbism, but used Sunnis as his tool of control. The Saudis helped the US to defeat Saddam. Now they are "helping" IS to defeat Baghdad.
As well, the Saudis would not mind a bit more influence in the world. They control the price of oil, but they know this mana will run out eventually. They need a fiefdom of influence and new resources to control, from Afghanistan to Africa (Boko et al)
To cut a long story short, what should we do?
"We think that dealing with IS is an enormous task. But that it exists is symptomatic of a still more compelling challenge – the disintegration of the near-century-old Western construct that is today's Middle East. Sarah Chayes, author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, writes: "Nothing feeds extremism more than the in-your-face corruption and injustice" suffered by the people of so many of Washington's closest allies in the region."
Yes, corruption feed discontentment, but "extremism"? Not really.
But give faith and a gun to poor sods under the age of 25, they don't need to understand what corruption is or does... They get fed, indoctrinated against something — could be tomatoes or evil fruit — uniformed and polarised, rather than wondering what their life in the gutter of no-prospect is going to be... Easy choice. They become primed to become extremists, just with the words: Islam and State, in which becoming aggressive is a way to be superior (being someone versus being a poor sod). And some women love this "macho". They also join the cause, though some women are forced into it and they have no recourse.
So what do we do? Back to the question which I believe Paul McGeough has no answer for. But he mentions an article where "the implosion of Saudi Arabia..." is suggested... Would that be enough?
My guess is "not enough". We mucked up Libya as well... The Saudis are strong, laughing at us while controlling very well their own destiny with some sticks.
We also think with our own testosterones. They pollute our brains. We send more troops to "train" troops that already have had 10 years of army training and would now be mostly Shia. So we're helping one brand of polarised religious nuts against the other. Because?
The IS people are bad news, they do beheading, kill Christians, demolish old cultural symbols... They defy us — deliberately. They tempt us to do something stupid...
Unless we're prepared to do something MASSIVELY stupid but efective to shut them up, there is bugger all we can do. Anything else might be "good for the soul" (I don't believe in the soul) but in reality it would be like pissing in the wind.
When people become "extremists" under whatever brand of faith, they become impossible to dislodge, especially in the short term.
The faith driven revolution becomes a habit of gore, boots and indoctrination, even when there is nothing to fight anymore, there are new fights developing in the minds of the ruling psychos — often targeting the viscera of the revolution itself. The French revolution is an example of willy-nilly executions used to maintain the fear in a disorderly order, until a little general saw an opportunity for glory by fighting other countries, or other "alien" groups. Hitler saw it too.
But it is easier to defeat an "organised" fighting troop under the rules of war, than defeat "barbaric hordes" of young men with the fear of god in their butt and the promise of recompense in their eyes. It's complicated but it's the crux of the matter...
Thus, a strict faith is essential to maintain the value of IS. The reconstruction of the territory (state) as a non-capitalistic, camel-trading, enslaving society, becomes similar to the original values that helped the Saudi kings become who they are (remember Lawrence of whatever). Softening on the social edges does not come instantly in such circumstances. Harsh realities take years to find a smiling outlook, after the dust settles...
But presently, IT WON'T SETTLE BECAUSE SOME IDIOT DECLARED "WAR ON TERROR". And we're still buying this tainted concept... Anger and aggression drives the testosterone. And the more you try to chase the "extremists", the more empowered the testosteroned-clowns become.
Gus proposes to stop this misdirected manhood by showering the IS controlled cities with oestrogen and pure ethyl alcohol (ethanol) — and a few pig carcasses for good measure. Or lace their coffee with such compounds, as long as it does not leech into the rivers and pollute the oceans...
Otherwise, we can do nothing but contain the spread of religious stupidity (fervour), including our own. Faith is our stupidity in purpose.
Faith is the damnation of Faust... Without faith there is no hell, no heaven either, but a little planet that we should care about, before, without any inbuilt spacial revenge, it bites us in the bum...
Idiots? Yes we are....
You Middle Earth expert
... Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, the retired former vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, who said of the nuclear accord: “What I don’t like about this is, the number one leading radical Islamic group in the world is the Iranians. They are purveyors of radical Islam throughout the region and throughout the world. And we are going to enable them to get nuclear weapons.”
Sorry, General, but the title greatest “purveyors of radical Islam” does not belong to the Iranians. Not even close. That belongs to our putative ally Saudi Arabia.
When it comes to Iran’s involvement in terrorism, I have no illusions: I covered firsthand the 1983 suicide bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, both believed to be the handiwork of Iran’s cat’s paw, Hezbollah. Iran’s terrorism, though — vis-à-vis the U.S. — has always been of the geopolitical variety: war by other means to push the U.S. out of the region so Iran can dominate it, not us.
I support the Iran nuclear deal because it reduces the chances of Iran building a bomb for 15 years and creates the possibility that Iran’s radical religious regime can be moderated through more integration with the world.
But if you think Iran is the only source of trouble in the Middle East, you must have slept through 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam — the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions — and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment.
It is not an accident that several thousand Saudis have joined the Islamic State or that Arab Gulf charities have sent ISIS donations. It is because all these Sunni jihadist groups — ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front — are the ideological offspring of the Wahhabism injected by Saudi Arabia into mosques and madrasas from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia.
And we, America, have never called them on that — because we’re addicted to their oil and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/02/opinion/thomas-friedman-our-radical-islamic-bff-saudi-arabia.html
I trust you would know by now that we've been on this case for a while... Read from top.
The woman’s voice rose higher and began to crack. It broke through the apparent frustration—and to a lesser extent, anger—which permeated the packed room at the National Press Club in Washington last week.
“We are being massacred and I don’t know how much further we can go,” she said, the tears finally coming. Murmurs and nods, then applause, rushed in with a sort of catharsis. Nahren Anweya was among friends.
An Assyrian Christian activist, Anweya says she has family living under persecution by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. She had taken the microphone at a press conference held in Washington by In Defense of Christians (IDC), which brings together scholars, elected officials, advocates, and clergy to discuss urgent threats to their faith in the Middle East. They meet once a year to lobby Congress, and include the most ancient of Christians—the ethnic Assyrians, who still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus—along with the Syriacs, Chaldean Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Copts, Maronites, Melkite Greek Catholic, Protestants and more.
Beyond the ongoing conflict in Iraq, which has driven tens of thousands of Christians out of the region since 2003, the issue has taken on a particular urgency as the Islamic State has accelerated brutal attacks and kidnappings of minority Christians in Iraq and Syria. Families have been sent into hiding and across borders.
The New York Times recently asked, “Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?” For many at the conference this week, such statements are the canary in the proverbial coal mine. To them, time is running out. The pre-2003 Christian population in Iraq numbered about 1.5 million. Today, it is less than 300,000 and shrinking rapidly. In Syria, Christians once accounted for 10 percent of the population, but today their numbers have declined to an estimated 1 million or less. ISIS and other Muslim insurgents target them not only for their faith, but for their traditional support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has in turn insulated them. Years ago the Christians there thrived; in recent months, however, that sanctuary has proven brittle: Most recently, after a summer of kidnappings and killings, 150 Christians were taken from the town of Qaryatain after it was seized by IS soldiers from government forces in August. Word quickly spread of women and children who were raped and sold into slavery.
“The world has watched and witnessed the targeted persecution of Christians, suffering violence, displacement, rape, enslavement, and even death,” said Kirsten Evans, executive director of IDC. “Do these crimes constitute genocide under international law, and if so, what the so what are the options the international community has in order to respond?”
read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-most-invisible-christians-in-washington/
The true question here "is the Saudi oil more important than Christian in the middle East?"
Read from top
Samuel Oakford has further details on the U.S. role in blocking an investigation into war crimes in Yemen:
A Dutch-led effort to create a human rights mission for Yemen was abandoned Wednesday amid intense Saudi opposition at the UN, but human rights experts are laying blame in part at the feet of the United States, which failed to vigorously back the Netherlands — and may have worked behind the scenes to head off the independent investigation.
According to Oakford’s report, the U.S. paid lip service to supporting the Dutch resolution, but then “simply let it die.” It’s not exactly shocking that our government wasn’t willing to back up an effort to investigate war crimes in a conflict in which its clients have been committing multiple violations of international law for months with U.S. help. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand the lengths to which the U.S. is prepared to go to back up the indefensible Saudi-led campaign. The U.S. has once again shamefully aided the Saudis and their allies yet again in their reckless intervention. In this case, the administration is aiding them in covering up the coalition’s excesses and abuses.
This part of the article sums things up pretty well:
“The resolution tabled by the Arab group represents a shameful capitulation to Saudi Arabia and has denied Yemeni victims their first real opportunity for justice,” said Balkees Jarrah, senior council at Human Rights Watch. “By failing to establish a UN inquiry, the Human Rights Council has squandered an opportunity to deter ongoing abuses in Yemen.”
read more http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/helping-the-saudis-to-cover-up-their-abuses/
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia must come to terms with the fact that Iran has increased its influence in the region and abandon inappropriate behavior because Tehran's patience is not limitless, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Tuesday.
"If certain developments have happened in Iraq that have increased Iran's weight in the region compared with Saudi Arabia, it is not a result of Iran's interest in imposing its hegemony, but the result of natural developments in the region. If Saudi Arabia cannot bear these developments, it is not our fault… We hope that it can overcome this symptom and start constructive interactions with its neighbors, specially Iran," Qassemi was quoted as saying by FARS news agency.
He added that the Saudi Arabian approach is unacceptable and "any country had a limited degree of patience and tolerance."
Earlier in August, the Arab Human Rights Forum, an Arab Gulf parliamentary initiative, held a meeting dedicated to the "Iranian threats."
Read from top.... This of course is what the Syrian war is about. The Saudis want to take Syria over by discreet and not so discreet means including support for Salafist mercenaries ("moderate" Sunnis, Al Qaeda, al Nusra, ISIS)...
“You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface. True. You are 100 percent right, there is a strong… externally, a strong de-radicalization program,” a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, told a Gitmo parole board (which assesses whether Guantanamo prisoners can be released) at his hearing earlier this year, according to recently declassified documents.
“But make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program,” al-Sharbi added, referring to the Saudi terrorist reform facility, officially known as the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.
The Riyadh rehab center, which has been compared to a resort, spreads over an area equivalent to around 10 football pitches (over 10 hectares) and includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, table tennis, a sauna, a gym and a television hall. As a bonus for good behavior, the prisoners get breaks in apartments reserved for conjugal visits with their other halves.
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