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The Perilous New Age of Imperial Wars

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Kurdish Women’s Radical Self-Defense: Armed and Political

The Women Combatants of Rojava

Millennium Development Goals vs Imperialist Wars, World Capitalism

Gender, Resistance and Radical Democracy : Meet the Women of the HDP

United States Foreign Policy a Reflection of the Legacy of Racism and National Oppression

Imperialism and the Making of the Migration Crisis

From Africa, Middle East, Latin America to Ukraine – Snowden & Human Rights : Theatre vs Reality

By Tortilla Con Sal

Recent legislative theatricals in the US Congress once again brought the issue of mass surveillance into the corporate media headlines and with it the continuing hype around Edward Snowden. Ever since Snowden made his revelations, his supporters have claimed his actions constitute a heroic defence of fundamental civil rights in the United States and countries of the European Union.

The latest corporate media reports argue that Snowden has been largely responsible for a major change in Western country legislation defending fundamental civil rights. But the reality behind this extraordinary campaign of exaggeration and illusion looks very different in the light of actual events and a critical look at their media diffusion.

Whatever Edward Snowden’s own intentions may have been, his revelations have been exploited by the psychological warfare apparatus of the United States government and its allies. The media and political management of his revelations have helped the US government consolidate and legitimize existing covert mass surveillance practices in the United States and overseas.

USA Today reported on June 2nd, “The Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to end the controversial bulk collection of the phone data of millions of Americans who have no ties to terrorism.” The USA Today report included a tweet from President Obama “Glad the Senate finally passed the USA Freedom Act. It protects civil liberties and our national security. I’ll sign it as soon as I get it.”

However, Barack Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any President before him. So it seems rational to infer that he will sign off on what is nothing more than a procedural administrative tweak. Let’s face it: substantially, it changes nothing. Even the New York Times reported the day before the vote “Even if Congress ultimately restricts domestic surveillance, it will leave intact the vast majority of the post-Sept. 11 programs authorized by two presidents.

Numerous writers have correctly noted that the new law merely places the formality of a routine administrative procedure – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) tribunal – between the US government’s spies and the mass data they previously collected unhindered. The corporate media and non-governmental Edward Snowden industry spin this as a vindication of Snowden’s revelations.

But Edward Snowden’s support network is almost completely compromised, one way or another, by most of its members’ relations with the the political and corporate establishment of the US and its NATO allies. For example, film-maker Laura Poitras in 2012 received a US$500,000 fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, whose then President Robert Gallucci was previously a very high level strategic adviser to the US government.

Glenn Greenwald has been the main proselytizer managing what in many ways is a Snowden cult. Greenwald moved swiftly from his work managing Edward Snowden’s material for the Guardian to working for billionaire Pierre Omidyaar, whose own business empire has corporate links to the US government intelligence network, in particular Booz Allen Hamilton, for whom Snowden used to work.

Edward Snowden himself is an espionage professional, so what he says or does should certainly not be taken at face value. That said, it does seem clear that far from having radical progressive politics he is very much a US patriot with staunch libertarian views, not at all opposed to US foreign policy as such.

While the North American and European progressives who promote Edward Snowden congratulate themselves on their commitment to human rights, almost everywhere else in the world their human rights agenda has been made to look hollow, self-serving and hypocritical. The psy-warfare exploitation of Edward Snowden’s revelations categorically confirms the truism that human rights concerns derive from political, not humanitarian concerns, as events in Palestine, Libya, Syria, Ukraine demonstrate

In Libya, among many other even more extreme examples, hundreds of former officials of the Libyan Jamahiriya have been tortured and abused prior to the sinister farce of judicial process under the control of ISIL terrorists who make a mockery of Islam. Those Libyans, including Saif Gaddhafi, face the death sentence. But Western human rights advocates have nothing to say about these phony trials or their governments’ destruction of Libya because they were cheerleaders for it.

In Palestine, the UN General Secretary has just decided not to include the Israeli government on the list of governments harming children through armed conflict, despite overwhelming evidence including the repeated genocidal massacres in Gaza. Western human rights advocates tend to play down this kind of shameful, indefensible decision and other examples like it, because they fear zionist accusations of “anti-semitism”.

In Ukraine, the fascist regime there has overseen the murder of dozens of journalists, like Oles Buzyna, and anti-regime activists like Oleg Kalashnikov under cover of almost complete silence from the US government and its European Union allies. Western human rights organizations too have next-to-nothing to say beyond ritual denunciations because they are reluctant to seem “pro-Russian”.

In Syria, as in Libya, Western human rights organizations and liberal and progressive NATO country media outlets have vociferously promoted one falsehood after another, that government military arbitrarily murdered large numbers of “peaceful demonstrators”, that “Assad” used chemical weapons in Ghouta or that “Assad” deliberately targets civilians.

It is hard to believe mere coincidence leads the same corporate media and human rights networks to promote Edward Snowden’s revelations ostensibly against government policy, alongside the propaganda line of those same governments targeting Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China and so on. That only adds up if one goes to sleep each night listening to the fairy tale of “objective reporting” as read by the BBC or CBS, or Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – an organization funded (and founded) by George Soros, the same man who destabilized the Ukraine and is a close associate to President Petró Poroshenko.

Edward Snowden’s revelations can be looked at in any number of ways, some more plausible than others. A credible view on the available evidence to date is that the material he has made available has been managed to legitimize long standing covert practice by Western intelligence gathering agencies while also providing a handy human rights and democracy alibi to Western media.

Western government support for their corporate oligarchies following the crash of 2008 compounded Western media embarrassment at their governments’ well-documented human rights abuses, from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Guantanamo and the US corporate industrial penal system. The Snowden revelations have been exploited by Western corporate media so as to offer a theatrical human rights and democracy distraction from past and current crimes by the US government and its NATO allies.

Those governments are guilty of murdering many hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Libya, as well as more current support for genocidal Nazi militias in Ukraine and for takfiri terrorists across the Arab world and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, they are also determined enemies of the emancipatory processes of change in Latin America and the Caribbean, targeting especially the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Now the same corporate media and human rights networks that attack Venezuela and its allies are falsely reporting, with all the unison of an accomplished choir, an important civil rights victory thanks to Edward Snowden. That should give decisive pause for thought, because by now few will disagree that the underlying reality of the management of Edward Snowden’s revelations is very different from their superficial appearance.
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Related:
Psy-warfare and NATO Country Terrorism – Ukraine, Venezuela, Snowden
Snowden: Overlooking the Obvious
Snowden Revisited
Inculcating Stupidity: Syria and Edward Snowden
Reflections on the category “journalism” and the revelations by Edward Snowden
Snowden: Behind NATO’s propaganda outlet for progressives – the Guardian’s board members
Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out and Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions
The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

African American and Palestine Liberation

War, Imperialism and the People’s Struggle in the Middle East and Africa

United States continues its occupation of the region

Author’s Comment: This paper was presented at the Left Forum held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY) during May 29-31, 2015. The panel was chaired by Bill Dores of the International Action Center. Kazem Azin of Solidarity Iran was also a participant.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Libya 360°

Since March 26 the Saudi Arabian monarchy along with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been waging war on the nation of Yemen. Daily bombing raids against residential areas and infrastructure are ostensibly designed to push back the Ansurallah (Houthis) movement which has taken over large sections of the country, one of the most underdeveloped in the region.

This war has been largely hidden from the view of people inside the United States. Nonetheless, this is a U.S. war aimed at maintaining Washington’s dominant position within the Arabian Peninsula extending to the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

Prior to the beginning of the airstrikes by the Saudi-GCC Coalition, the administration of President Barack Obama withdrew its diplomatic personnel along with Special Forces operating inside the country. For many years the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has viewed Yemen as a key area for its so-called “war on terrorism.”

Regular drone strikes have killed many Yemenis along with at least three of whom were U.S. citizens. Washington has said that the Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is major threat to American interests in an attempt to justify the drone attacks which have killed more civilians than supposed “armed combatants.”

However, in recent months the Islamic Republic of Iran has been designated by Washington and its allies as the principal threat in Yemen. The Ansurallah, which is a Shiite branch of Islam, is supported politically by Tehran. The Saudi monarchy views Iran as its major impediment in controlling the region on behalf of U.S. oil and financial interests.

The current hostilities in Yemen have been described as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the GCC on one side and Iran and its allies on the other. The total war strategy against Yemen consists of the banning of humanitarian assistance from Iran and others who oppose the bombing and ground offensive by militias which are financed by Riyadh.

According to an article published by the Telegraph in Britain, it says that “As Saudi Arabia has maintained an air and naval blockade on Yemeni territory, gas supplies have run perilously low. Even a five day humanitarian pause was not enough to bring in the necessary aid. Fuel prices have spiked as the casualty count mounts, and some hospitals have been forced to close altogether because they are unable to keep medical supplies refrigerated or perform operations since they can’t run backup generators.”

Reports of the number of Yemenis killed in the fighting range from 2,000-4,000 with many more injured and displaced. Yemeni-Americans who have been attempting to leave the country since late March have been abandoned by Washington.

Many Yeminis have taken refuge across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into Djibouti where the U.S. has its largest military base in Africa. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is expanding its operations at Camp Lemonnier which is utilized as a staging ground for military strikes inside Somalia and other countries on the continent.

This same above-mentioned Telegraph article also notes that “The UNHCR says a total of 5,000 Yemeni refugees have made it to Djibouti, including 3,000 in the capital, Djibouti city, and 1,000 in Obock, 300 kilometers (187 miles) to the north — making it currently the biggest Yemeni refugee population. The influx has hiked up local prices, with markets, hotels, and drivers trying to make the most of the situation in an already struggling economy.”

Yemen and the Imperialist Regional War

The war in Yemen is part and parcel of a broader regional war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, occupied Palestine and Iran. In Iraq where the U.S. occupied the country for over eight years, the Pentagon has redeployed 3,100 troops to the area. These troops are purportedly training Iraqi military forces although the Defense Department cannot claim any real successes.

When Islamic State fighters confronted Iraqi units in Mosul and other cities they fled. A similar situation was reported in Ramadi in Anbar Province. The Obama administration played down these events in order to deflect the attention of the U.S. public away from its failures in Iraq.

The Kurdish fighters seem to have fought with far greater commitment and vigor yet they are not privy to the military assistance in their struggle against IS. Fierce battles in Kobane on the border with Turkey revealed that the Kurds were a force to be reckoned with in the regional war against IS.

In neighboring Syria, the U.S. is behind efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Since 2011, an estimated 200,000 people have died and several million dislocated both inside and outside of Syria.

The U.S. is bombing both Iraq and Syria under the guise of degrading and destroying IS bases. However, the impact of this aerial war is to create broader avenues of operation for the IS forces which were built up during the initial years of the destabilization campaign against Syria. At present IS military units have seized large areas of territory within Syria and Iraq, while the strategy of the White House is to continue the bombing targeting Daesh but at the same time opposing the continued existence of the Assad government in Damascus.

A massive air assault on Syria was planned for August-September 2013. However, public outrage in Britain and the U.S. stopped the president in his tracks. The effect of recent wars waged by Washington through successive administrations has resulted in greater instability and dislocation.

In Lebanon Hezbollah has maintained its strength against the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. The party and mass movement have also intervened in solidarity with the people of Syria and may escalate its involvement based upon developments taking place inside the country.

The plight of Palestinians has been negatively impacted by the wars in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, many Palestinian refugees were divided over support for the Assad government. A major camp housing Palestinians has been the focal point of IS attacks seeking to gain control of the area.

Israel is supported to the tune of billions every year from the tax dollars of the American people. U.S. warplanes and other defense technology are given to Tel Aviv where it is tested against the people of Gaza and other occupied territories.

Although the U.S. administration has signed an agreement on Iran nuclear energy program, the Obama White House is continuing the 36 years of hostility towards Tehran since the popular revolution of 1979. Washington’s coordination of the Saudi-GCC war in Yemen is a clear testament to the ongoing war against Iran.

Africa and the Middle East

As we mentioned earlier, Djibouti, the pivotal staging ground for AFRICOM on the continent is located right across from Yemen. Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya are in close proximity. The artificial divisions between Africa and the so-called Middle East are merely constructs of colonialism and imperialism for the purpose dividing the regions in regard to spheres of influence for western powers.

Peoples who reside on either side of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden fundamentally want the U.S. out of their countries. They desire to live in peace and to determine their own destiny in the quest for development and unity. Washington and Wall Street dominate through their military prowess and economic machinations that bribe leaders making them dependent upon U.S. and European patronage and privilege.

The fueled hostility between various branches of Islam is indispensable in the imperialist strategy for the Middle East and Africa. Only when the peoples of Africa and the Middle East unite on an anti-imperialist basis will there be a genuine atmosphere of lasting peace and social stability.


Abayomi Azikiwe has written extensively on African affairs with specific reference to historical studies and political economy. He has done research on the origins and political ideology of the African National Congress, its leaders as well as other national liberation movements and regional organizations  in Southern Africa.

Peace Negotiations or War Preparations? Colombia, Iran, China, Cuba, Ukraine, Yemen and Syria

By James Petras
Libya 360°

Jairo-Fabian.jpg
IN REMEMBRANCE OF JAIRO MARTINEZ AND ROMAN RUIZ
FIGHTERS AND VICTIMS OF “WAR THROUGH PEACE NEGOTIATIONS”


Introduction

On May 21, 2015, the Colombian Air Force (FAC) bombed the base camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killing 26 guerrillas. Three days later the FAC bombed other FARC bases killing 14 more guerrillas. This was part of an official offensive, launched by President Juan Manuel Santos, the US’s most loyal client in Latin America. Among the victims were FARC Commanders Jairo Martinez, a participant in the ongoing peace negotiations in Havana and Roman Ruiz.

Colombia works closely with the US, through Bernard Aronson, a very intrusive neo-conservative ‘overseer’, who is Washington’s coordinator in the Colombian counter-insurgency war. The US maintains seven military bases and has stationed over one thousand US ‘advisers’ in the field and within the Colombian Defense Ministry. The military offensive was launched by the Santos regime precisely when it was officially engaged in two and a half year-long ‘peace negotiations’, during which three of five items on the ‘peace agenda’ had been agreed to and the FARC had ordered a unilateral cease fire. Two months earlier, President Santos treacherously set-up the FARC to lower their defenses by appearing to ‘reciprocate’ when he ordered “the suspension of air force bombing of FARC field camps”. In other words, the Santos government and US adviser Aronson used the ‘cover of peace negotiations’ and the FARC’s unilateral ‘cease fire’ to launch a major military offensive. The FARC ended its cease fire and resumed combat in ten regional ‘departments’, as the regime intensified its offensive by bombing villages in FARC-controlled regions. While Santos and Aronson escalated their military offensive in Colombia, the FARC negotiators in Havana continued their “peace” negotiations….

President Santos and Aronson have used the cover of “peace negotiations” as a propaganda ploy to launch a full scale military offensive. Concessions and agreements served to lower the FARC’s guard, identify its officials and secure intelligence on FARC base camps. US adviser Aronson’s role is to ensure that the Colombian government destroys the popular armed resistance, and forces the FARC to accept a ‘peace accord’ that does not change the status of US bases, lucrativecontracts with international mining companies and promotes ‘free trade’. The Santos regime announced that the ‘peace negotiations’ would continue in Havana . . . even as it intensifies the war in Colombia, killing FARC members and supporters. Aronson and Santos pursue a ‘peace of the cemetery’.

The Colombia and Washington regimes are conducting a two-pronged ‘peace negotiations and brutal war policy’ against the FARC as part of a general world-wide politico-military campaign against mass popular movements that oppose neo-liberal economic policies, US-initiated wars and military bases and onerous ‘free trade’ agreements.

In each region the US has developed a very ‘special relation’ with key governments that serve as ‘strategic allies’. These include Israel in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf and southwest Asia, Japan in the Far East and Colombia in Latin America.

For the past two decades Colombia has served as the key US operational base for US naval and air surveillance in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean countries and the launching pad for destabilization campaigns and intervention against the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Honduras. Washington’s use of ‘peace negotiations’ as a prelude to a military offensive in Colombia is the prototype of US strategic policy in several other contentious regions of the world.

In the essay, we will identify the countries where the US is engaged in ‘peace negotiations’ as a prelude to military aggression and political subversion and we will describe in detail the strategy and implementation of this policy in the most ‘advanced case’ of Colombia. We will focus on how erstwhile leftist governments, eager to improve relations with the US, contribute to furthering Washington’s strategic goals of subversion and ‘regime change’.

Finally, we will evaluate the possible outcomes of this strategy both in terms of advancing US imperial interests and in developing effective anti-imperialist politics.

Peace Negotiations: the New Face of Empire-building

Throughout the world, Washington is engaged in some sort of direct or indirect ‘peace negotiations’ even as it expands and intensifies its military operations.

US and Iran: Unilateral Disarmament and Military Encirclement

The mass media and official Washington spokespersons would have us believe that the US and Iran are within reach of a ‘peace accord’, contingent on Teheran surrendering its nuclear capability (repeatedly proven to be non-military in nature) and the US lifting its ‘economic sanctions’. The media’s ‘narrow focus approach’ to the Persian Gulf conveniently ignores contradictory regional developments.

First, the US has embarked on devastating wars against key Iranian regional allies: The US funds and supplies arms to terrorists who have invaded and bombed Syria and Yemen. Washington is expanding military bases surrounding Iran while increasing its naval presence in the Persian Gulf. President Obama has expanded military agreements with the Gulf monarchies. Congress is increasing the flow of offensive arms to Israel as it openly threatens to attack Iran. In reality, while engaged in ‘peace negotiations’ with Teheran, Washington is waging war with Iran’s allies and threatens its security.

Equally important, the US has vetoed numerous attempts to finally rid the Middle East of nuclear arms. This veto safeguards the far-right, militarist Israeli regime’s enormous offensive nuclear stockpile, while outlawing any possibility of an Iranian deterrent.

The so-called ‘peace negotiations’ allows the US to engage in pervasive and frequent espionage of Iranian military installations (so-called ‘inspections’ by the US controlled International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) with no reciprocal inspection of US or Israeli military bases or that of any of its Gulf client states. Furthermore, and crucial to a sudden military assault, Washington assumes in its ongoing ‘peace negotiations’, the unilateral ‘right’ to suspend the talks at a moment’s notice under any pretext and launch a military attack.

In sum, the US ‘negotiates peace’ with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, while it supplies Saudi Arabia with bombs and intelligence in its war against Yemen and finances armed Jihadi terrorists seizing half of Syria and large contiguous parts of Iraq.

The Iranian officials, ensconced in Switzerland while negotiating with the US, have played down the military threat to their country resulting from the massive re-entry of US armed forces in Iraq and the installation of the new puppet Haider Abidi regime.

How will the US conclude a ‘peace settlement’ with Iran while it engages in wars against Iran’s neighbors and allies and when Iranian negotiations are framed in military terms?

Are the ‘peace negotiations’ merely a ploy designed to destroy Iran’s regional allies, isolate and weaken its military defenses and set it up for attack ‘down the road’? How does this fit into Obama’s global strategy?

US-China Diplomatic Negotiations: Military Encirclement and Encroachment

Over the past decade, President Obama and top State and Treasury Department officials have met with Chinese leaders, promising greater economic co-operation and exchanging diplomatic niceties.

Parallel to these conciliatory gestures, Washington has escalated its military encirclement of China by enlarging its military presence in Australia, Japan, and the Philippines and increasing its aggressive patrols of adjoining airspace and vital maritime routes.

The State Department has been inciting border-states, including Vietnam, Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, to contest Chinese maritime borders and its transformation of off-shore atolls into military bases.

The White House has proposed the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, which specifically excludes China. It has signed off on nuclear weapons agreements with India, hoping to secure an Indo-American military pact on China’s southwestern flank.

Obama’s so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ is best understood as a rapid escalation of military threats and exclusionary trade pacts designed to provoke, isolate, weaken and degrade China and push back its rise to economic supremacy in Asia.

So far the US strategy has failed. Washington’s diplomatic gestures have lacked the necessary economic substance and incentives to its ‘allies’; its much-ballyhooed trade agreements have floundered in the face of far superior and inclusive Chinese initiatives, including its new $100 billion-dollar Infrastructure Investment Bank and its more than $40 billion dollar economic agreements with the government of India.

In the face of its economic failures the Pentagon has opted for flagrant military encroachments on Chinese airspace. Specifically, US warplanes are directed to overfly China’s ongoing construction of military installations on atolls in the South China Sea. The Chinese Foreign Office and Defense Ministry have vigorously protested these violations of its sovereignty. The Obama regime has brashly rejected China’s diplomatic protests and affirmed Washington’s ‘right’ to encroach on Chinese territorial waters.

After a quarter of a century of failing to dominate China via economic penetration by US multi-nationals and through the liberalization of its financial system, Washington has discarded its ‘softer’ diplomatic approach and adopted a ‘proto-war’ stand. This policy uses economic boycotts, military encirclement and encroachment on Chinese maritime, aerial and land sovereignty in the hope of provoking a military response and then evoking a second ‘Pearl Harbor’ as a pretext for a full scale war engulfing its Asian allies (and Australia) in a major war in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s market successes have replaced the US as the dominant economic power in Asia, Latin America and Africa. In the face of this ‘usurpation’ the US has dropped the velvet glove of diplomacy in favor of the iron fist of military provocation and escalation. The US military budget is five times greater than China’s, whereas China’s investments and financing of economic projects throughout Asia, Latin America and the BRIC countries are ten times greater than those of the US.

China’s ‘economic pivot’ will clearly enhance Beijing’s global position over the medium and long-run, if the US’s reckless and short-term military superiority and territorial aggression does not lead to a devastating world war!

In the meantime, China is developing its military capacity to confront the ‘US pivot to war’. China’s leaders have devised a new defensive strategy, boosting its naval capacity and shifting from strictly territorial defense to both defense and offense on land, air and sea. Off shore defense is combined with open sea protection to enhance China’s capability for a strategic deterrent and counter-attack. China’s annual military spending had increased on average ten percent per annum in anticipation of the Pentagon shifting 60% of its fleet to the Pacific over the next five years.

US-Cuba Diplomatic Negotiations: The ‘Trojan Horse’ Approach

For over fifty years the US has mounted a concerted terrorist-sabotage campaign, economic embargo and diplomatic war against its Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. In the face of near total diplomatic isolation in the United Nations (185 to 3 against the US-imposed blockade), universal opposition to belligerent US policy toward Cuba at the Summit of the Americas and in the Organization of American States and surprisingly favorable public opinion toward Cuba among the domestic US citizenry, Washington decided to open negotiations to establish diplomatic and commercial relations with Havana.

On the surface, the apparent shift from military confrontation and economic sanctions to diplomatic negotiations would register as a move toward peaceful co-existence between opposing social systems. However, a closer reading of Washington’s tactical concessions and strategic goals argues for a mere ‘change of methods’ for reversing advances of the socialist revolution rather than a diplomatic accommodation.

Under the cover of a diplomatic agreement, the US will directly or indirectly channel millions of dollars into Cuba’s private sector, strengthening its weight in the economy, and forming partnerships with Cuban public and private sector counter-parts. The US Embassy’s economic policy will be directed toward expanding the business sectors open to US capital. In other words, Washington will pursue a strategy of incremental privatization to create economic and political allies.

Secondly, the US embassy will greatly expand its role as financial backer, recruiter and protector of counter-revolutionary, self-styled Cuban ‘dissidents’ in its ‘civil society.

Thirdly, the vast influx of US-controlled telecommunications, cultural programs and exchanges, and commercial sales will have the effect of de-radicalizing the Cuban public (from socialism and egalitarianism to gross consumerism) and reducing Cuba’s fraternal ties to Latin America. Anti-imperialist solidarity with popular Latin American movements and governments will diminish as the Cubans adopt the ‘Miami mentality’.

Fourthly, Cuba’s economic and political ties with Venezuela will remain but the US efforts to subvert or ‘moderate’ the Bolivarian government may face less opposition from Havana.

Fifth, Washington will foster cheap mass tourism in order to promote a one-sided dependent economy, which over time will replace socialist consciousness with a ‘comprador consciousness’ – a decadent mentality, which encourages the emergence of a class of intermediaries or ‘brokers’ engaged in economic exchanges between the ‘sender’(the US) and ‘receiver’(Cuba) country. Cuban ‘intermediaries’ between the imperial US and dependent Cuba could become strategic political actors in Havana.

In other words, the concessions Washington have secured via diplomatic politics will form the ‘Trojan Horse’ to facilitate a ‘subversion from within approach’ designed to subvert the social economy and to secure Cuban co-operation in de-radicalizing Latin America.

Fidel Castro has rightly expressed his distrust of the new US approach. Castro’s pointed criticisms of Washington’s highly militarized interventions in the Middle East, the Ukraine and the South China Sea is designed to influence Cuban policymakers, who are overzealous in conceding political concessions to the US.

Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen: Negotiations as Prelude to Wars

Negotiations between Libyan President Gadhafi and Washington led to a dismantling of the country’s advanced military defense programs. Once essentially defenseless from NATO attack, the US and its European and Gulf allies embarked on a full-scale bombing campaign for ‘regime change’ in support of tribal and sectarian warlords destroying the country’s infrastructure, ending the life of its leader and tens of thousands of Libyans and driving hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from sub-Sahara Africa into exile as refugees.

Negotiations between the democratically-elected leader of the Ukraine and the US-NATO based opposition led to political concessions that were quickly exploited by US funded foreign NGOs and domestic neo-Nazis. Street mobs took over government buildings in Kiev leading to a putsch and ‘regime change’, as well as detonating a brutal ethnic war against eastern Russian speaking Ukrainians, opposed to NATO and favoring continued traditional ties with Russia. Despite ‘negotiations’ between the NATO-backed regime and Donbass federalists leading to a European-brokered cease fire, the government in Kiev continues to bomb the self-governing regions.

The US, EU, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (the “Quartet”) back armed Islamist mercenaries and jihadist terrorists seeking to overthrow the Bashar Assad government in Damascus and rebel Houthi government coalition in Yemen. Under the guise of seeking a ‘negotiated political solution’, the ‘Quartet’ has consistently pursued a military solution.

Negotiations and diplomacy have become chosen tactical ploys in Washington’s repertory for pursing war.

Wars are preceded by or accompany diplomacy and negotiations which act to weaken the target adversary, as was the case in Libya, the Ukraine and Colombia.

Diplomatic overtures to China are accompanied by a ‘military pivot’, aggressive military encirclement, and provocative acts such as the recent arrest of visiting Chinese scholars and repeated violations of Chinese airspace.

The diplomatic overtures to Cuba are accompanied by demands for greater “access” to proselytize and subvert Cuban officials,and its people .

US negotiators demand the unilateral demilitarization and pervasive oversight of Iran’s strategic military defenses even as the US expands its proxy wars against Teheran’s allies in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile Washington rejects the comprehensive ending of economic sanctions against the Iranians.

Negotiations, under the Obama regime, are simply tactics to intensify and expand the strategy of war. The “peace negotiations” between the US-backed Santos regime and the FARC follows the global script outlined above.

Through phony ‘partial agreements’, which are never seriously intended to be implemented, the US-backed Colombian military and their paramilitary allies continue to ravage the countryside. Displaced peasants and farmers attempting to return and reclaim farmland continue to be assassinated. Human rights lawyers and workers are still murdered.

The Santos regime escalates its military offensive against the FARC, taking full advantage of the “unilateral ceasefire” declared by FARC leaders in Havana.

The true intentions of the Santos regime toward the FARC were revealed in the aftermath of the assassination of 40 guerrilla combatants: The regime demonized the FARC, justifying the offensive by criminalizing the insurgents, linking them to drug and human traffickers.

The gap between what the regime negotiators say in Havana and what the military commanders do in the Colombian countryside has never been greater. The disconnect between the peace talks in Havana and the military offensive in Colombia is the best indicator of what can be expected if an agreement is signed.

Santos and the US adviser Aronson envision a highly militarized state advised by thousands of US agents and mercenaries. The disarmament of the FARC will be followed by the persecution of former guerrilla combatants and the expansion of mining contracts in former guerrilla controlled territory. The military command will increase its sponsorship of cross border paramilitary attacks on Venezuela. The Santos regime will find a pretext to continue the incarceration of the majority of political prisoners. There will be no agrarian reform or repossession of illegally seized land. There will be no reversal of the US-Colombian free trade agreement. The hundreds of thousands of displaced peasants will remain without land or justice.

Very little of what is agreed in Havana will be implemented. FARC leaders will be confined to playing the electoral game, providing that they are not assassinated by ‘sicarios on motorcycles’. Guerrilla militants without land, employment or security may join the drug traffickers – in a re-play of the so-called “Peace Accords” in El Salvador.

Under these circumstances why does the FARC’s current leadership proceed toward a suicidal agreement and its own extinction? In past conversations with leading Cuban foreign policy officials, including former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, I was told that the Cuban government was deeply hostile to FARC and was eager to end hostilities in order to improve Cuban relations with the US. Likewise members of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry told me that they co-operated with the Colombian government in arresting and deporting FARC officials and sympathizers in order “to secure their borders from Colombian military and paramilitary incursions”.

In other words, there are valid grounds for viewing the FARC negotiators as operating under intense pressure from its supposed allies to continue ‘talks’ and reach a ‘peace agreement’, even if the results will be neither peace or justice!

Conclusion

The US strategy of “war through peace negotiations” is an ongoing process. So far the US military build-up against China has failed to intimidate China. Beijing has responded by launching its own strategic military response and by financing a huge number of Asian economic projects which, in the long-run, will isolate the US and undermine its offensive capacity.

The ‘war through negotiation’ strategy succeeded in destroying a nationalist adversary in Libya, while also devastating a profitable oil and gas producer, creating a ‘failed state’ on the Mediterranean and unleashing jihadist groups throughout North Africa. The NATO-Obama campaign for ‘regime change’ in Libya led to the mass exodus of millions of sub-Saharan workers formerly employed in Libya with untold thousands drowning in the Mediterranean in their desperate flight.

The US ‘war and negotiations policy’ toward Iran remains inconclusive: Washington has encircled Iran with proxy wars against Yemen and Syria but Iran continues to gain influence in Iraq. The US has spent $40 billion on arms and training on an Iraqi army whose soldiers refuse to fight and die for US interests, allowing the neo-Baathist- ‘ISIS’ coalition of Sunni insurgents to seize one-third of the country. The more serious and motivated militia defending Baghdad is composed of the Shia volunteers, influenced by Teheran. The horrific break-up of what was once sovereign secular republic continues.

Washington’s dual strategy of negotiating with the Rohani regime while encircling the country is intended to degrade Teheran’s defense capability while minimizing any relief from the economic sanctions. Whether this one-sided process will lead to a ‘final agreement’ remains to be seen. In the final analysis, the US relations with Iran are subject to the power and influence of the Zionist power configuration in the US, acting on behalf of Israel, over and against the European Union’s interest to develop trade with the 80 million strong Iranian market.

The US “subversion via negotiations” approach to Cuba has moved forward slowly. The Cuban security apparatus, military, and, especially, important contingents of Fidelista officials, militants and intellectuals serve as an important counter-weight to the zealous liberal “modernizers” who envision “market solutions”. Washington does not expect a rapid transition to capitalism. It is banking on a ‘war of positions’, securing joint ventures with state officials; a massive infusion of consumerist propaganda to counter socialist values; funding private capitalists as potential strategic political allies; encouraging Cuban foreign policy officials to cut off support for leftist movements and governments. Cuba’s leaders, at all costs, must not return to an economically dependent relation with the US – which is the strategic goal of the US. Washington is seeking through diplomacy to secure what 50 years of warfare failed to achieve: a regime change and a reversal of the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

The US strategy of war through negotiations has mixed results. Where it confronts a burgeoning world power, such as China, it has failed. With a weak, disarmed state like Libya, it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams (or nightmares). With “middle level powers” like Cuba and Iran, it has secured political concessions but has not yet eroded the security and defense capabilities of the governments. In the case of Colombia, Washington is deeply embedded in the regime and has openly embraced a naked military solution.

The FARC’s ‘inner leadership’ cannot continue with the unilateral ‘cease fire’ unless it wishes for suicide; the ‘outside leadership’ appears committed to negotiations even as the war escalates. The results are uncertain, but what is obvious is that the Aronson – Santos regime have no tolerance for a ‘peace with social justice’. Their goal for the long struggling Colombian people is the ‘peace of the cemetery’, as the historic FARC leader Manual Marulanda declared in the aftermath of the broken peace negotiations of 1999-2002.

France : Surveillance Law and Government-backed Terrorism

France’s new surveillance laws will not stop terrorism at home nor quell the legions of terror they are backing, ravaging lands abroad – instead – they will ensure the uncontested expansion of terror used to coerce the French population at home while justifying and carrying out extraterritorial conquest abroad.

By Tony Cartalucci

France has announced that in the wake of the so-called “Charlie Hebdo Shooting,” it will be passing a controversial new bill granting security agencies unprecedented powers to tap the communications of France’s population without judicial overview.

Impossible to pass without having first provoked fear, hatred, division, and hysteria across the French population, and still facing stiff resistance from civil liberty activists, the bill’s passage raises further suspicions regarding the fatal January 2015 shooting in regards to who organized the incident and who stood most to benefit.

The Guardian in its article, “France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack,” would report:

The French parliament has overwhelmingly approved sweeping new surveillance powers in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January that killed 17 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris. 

The new bill, which allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge, sparked protests from rights groups who claimed it would legalise highly intrusive surveillance methods without guarantees for individual freedom and privacy.

The Guardian would also claim that:

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, defended the bill as “necessary and proportionate”, saying that to compare it to the mass surveillance Patriot Act introduced in the United States after the 9/11 attacks was a lie.  He said that the previous French law on wiretapping dated back to 1991, “when there were no mobile phones or internet,” and the new bill was crucial in the face of extremist threats.

Not a Lack of Surveillance 

As seen in nearly every recent terror attack both in Europe and North America including the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” and the more recent Garland, Texas attack, the alleged suspects behind the attacks all have one thread in common – they were all already under the watch of security agencies for years, some even imprisoned one or more times for terror-related and/or other violent offenses, some even having traveled overseas to fight alongside Western-backed terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and beyond.

The Guardian itself admits that the French government alone has over 1,400 people under watch, including hundreds of terrorists who have recently returned from fighting alongside Western-backed terrorists including Al Qaeda and its regional franchise, the “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Among these monitored potential risks were in fact the suspects behind the “Charlie Hebdo shooting.”

Slate Magazine would report in their article, “The Details of Paris Suspect Cherif Kouachi’s 2008 Terrorism Conviction,” that:

Kouachi was arrested in January 2005, accused of planning to join jihadists in Iraq. He was said to have fallen under the sway of Farid Benyettou, a young “self-taught preacher” who advocated violence, but had not actually yet traveled to Iraq or committed any acts of terror. Lawyers at the time said he had not received weapons training and “had begun having second thoughts,” going so far as to express “relief” that he’d been apprehended.

Kourachi and his brother would be reported to have traveled to the Middle East to receive training from Al Qaeda, then to have fought in Syria in a war backed in part by France, before returning home and carrying out their grisly terror attack, all while being tracked by French intelligence. If Kouachi previously could be arrested for “association with wrongdoers with the intention of committing a terrorist act,” why wasn’t he arrested immediately upon his return to France for having received and employed military training by a terrorist organization?

CNN would report in an article titled, “France tells U.S. Paris suspect trained with al Qaeda in Yemen,” that:

Western intelligence officials are scrambling to learn more about possible travel of the two Paris terror attack suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, with new information suggesting one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with al Qaeda in that country, U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Additional information from a French source close to the French security services puts one of the brothers in Syria.

To explain how terrorists well-known to France’s legal system and intelligence community could simply “disappear,” the Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Overburdened French Dropped Surveillance of Brothers,” would attempt to claim:

The terror attacks in Paris that have killed 17 people over three days this week represent one of the worst fears—and failures—of counterterrorist officials: a successful plot coordinated by people who had once been under surveillance but who were later dropped as a top priority.  The U.S. provided France with intelligence showing that the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo massacre received training in Yemen in 2011, prompting French authorities to begin monitoring the two brothers, according to U.S. officials. But that surveillance of Said and Chérif Kouachi came to an end last spring, U.S. officials said, after several years of monitoring turned up nothing suspicious.

Image: Terrorists waging the West’s proxy war in Syria have been provided cash, weapons, and equipment by several European nations, chief among them, France. 

It is a narrative that begs to be believed – considering the brothers had already tangled with the law, already traveled to Yemen to receive training from Al Qaeda, and with evidence suggesting they were indeed still being tracked since it is now known they have recently returned from Syria. The Wall Street Journal would also claim that France depends heavily on US intelligence, contradicting US intelligence officials who have said their information came from their French counterparts.

France reportedly has over 1,000 citizens under surveillance who have recently traveled to Iraq and Syria, believed to have fought alongside terrorists France itself has been arming. In an NBC article titled, “French Intelligence Is Tracking 1,000 Who Have Been to Iraq, Syria: Expert,” it is reported that:

“French intelligence is mostly focused today on more than 1,000 French citizens that traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2012,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, the author of “Zarqawi: The New Face of Al-Qaeda.” He added that one-fifth of them were being tracked around the clock. “This is a problem of resources,” he added. “We cannot follow everyone.” Brisard said the brothers had been “well known to French intelligence [for] several years now.”

The problem that led up to the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” was clearly not a lack of intelligence or surveillance. French security agencies more than adequately identified the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” perpetrators as potential threats and tracked them for years beforehand. The problem was what appears to be a deliberate effort to keep these terrorists roaming freely among society. Free to join French-backed mercenary forces abroad, and free to commit heinous acts of terror at home, both serving the singular agenda of expanding Western hegemony abroad while preserving the primacy of select special interests at home.
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New Surveillance is For Crushing Freedom, Not Terror

As already explained in painstaking detail, had the French government been interested in actually stopping terrorism, including the flight of its own citizens to the Middle East to participate in a war the French government itself is backing, it could have done so easily. Existing laws and France’s current security agencies successfully identified the impending threat that led to the “Charlie Hebdo shooting,” but willfully failed to stop it – with certain factions of French intelligence having even played a potential role in executing it.
Image: French planes took part in the utter devastation of Libya in 2011, leaving the nation in ruins and handing it over to Al Qaeda, whom NATO, with French assistance, provided air cover and even weapons, cash, and political backing to. 

Therefore, clearly the solution to stopping terrorism is in fact evicting the criminal special interests occupying power throughout the French government, and more broadly, from across the Western World. However, such an eviction will now become exponentially more difficult to execute, thanks to France’s new surveillance laws that give them virtually unhindered access to their citizenry’s data, granting them an unparalleled strategic advantage.

Indeed, France’s new surveillance laws will not stop terrorism at home nor quell the legions of terror they are backing, ravaging lands abroad – instead – they will ensure the uncontested expansion of terror used to coerce the French population at home while justifying and carrying out extraterritorial conquest abroad.

The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

PART I

YEMEN
The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became very uneasy when the Yemenese or Yemenite movement of the Houthi or Ansarallah (meaning the supporters of God in Arabic) gained control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa/Sana, in September 2014. The US-supported Yemenite President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi was humiliatingly forced to share power with the Houthis and the coalition of northern Yemenese tribes that had helped them enter Sana. Al-Hadi declared that negotiations for a Yemeni national unity government would take place and his allies the US and Saudi Arabia tried to use a new national dialogue and mediated talks to co-opt and pacify the Houthis.

The truth has been turned on its head about the war in Yemen. The war and ousting of President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi in Yemen are not the results of «Houthi coup» in Yemen. It is the opposite. Al-Hadi was ousted, because with Saudi and US support he tried to backtrack on the power sharing agreements he had made and return Yemen to authoritarian rule. The ousting of President Al-Hadi by the Houthis and their political allies was an unexpected reaction to the takeover Al-Hadi was planning with Washington and the House of Saudi.

The Houthis and their allies represent a diverse cross-section of Yemeni society and the majority of Yemenites. The Houthi movement’s domestic alliance against Al-Hadi includes Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims alike. The US and House of Saud never thought that they Houthis would assert themselves by removing Al-Hadi from power, but this reaction had been a decade in the making. With the House of Saud, Al-Hadi had been involved in the persecution of the Houthis and the manipulation of tribal politics in Yemen even before he became president. When he became Yemeni president he dragged his feet and was working against the implement the arrangements that had been arranged through consensus and negotiations in Yemen’s National Dialogue, which convened after Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over his powers in 2011.

Coup or Counter-Coup: What Happened in Yemen?

At first, when they took over Sana in late-2014, the Houthis rejected Al-Hadi’s proposals and his new offers for a formal power sharing agreement, calling him a morally bankrupt figure that had actually been reneging previous promises of sharing political power. At that point, President Al-Hadi’s pandering to Washington and the House of Saud had made him deeply unpopular in Yemen with the majority of the population. Two months later, on November 8, President Al-Hadi’s own party, the Yemenite General People’s Congress, would eject Al-Hadi as its leader too.

The Houthis eventually detained President Al-Hadi and seized the presidential palace and other Yemeni government buildings on January 20. With popular support, a little over two weeks later, the Houthis formally formed a Yemense transitional government on February 6. Al-Hadi was forced to resign. The Houthis declared that Al-Hadi, the US, and Saudi Arabia were planning on devastating Yemen on February 26.

Al-Hadi’s resignation was a setback for US foreign policy. It resulted in a military and operational retreat for the CIA and the Pentagon, which were forced to remove US military personnel and intelligence operatives from Yemen. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 25, citing US officials, that the Houthis had got their hands on numerous secret documents when the seized the Yemeni National Security Bureau, which was working closely with the CIA, that compromised Washington’s operations in Yemen.

Al-Hadi fled the Yemeni capital Sana to Aden n February 21 and declared it the temporary capital of Yemen on March 7. The US, France, Turkey, and their Western European allies closed their embassies. Soon afterwards, in what was probably a coordinated move with the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates all relocated the embassies to Aden from Sana. Al-Hadi rescinded his letter of resignation as president and declared that he was forming a government-in-exile.

The Houthis and their political allies refused to fall into line with the demands of the US and Saudi Arabia, which were being articulated through Al-Hadi in Aden and by an increasingly hysteric Riyadh. As a result, Al-Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, called for Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikdoms to militarily intervene to prevent the Houthis from getting control of Yemen’s airspace on March 23. Yaseen told the Saudi mouthpiece Al-Sharg Al-Awsa that a bombing campaign was needed and that a no-fly zone had to be imposed over Yemen.

The Houthis realized that a military struggle was going to begin. This is why the Houthis and their allies in the Yemenite military rushed to control as many Yemeni military airfields and airbases, such as Al-Anad, as quickly as possible. They rushed to neutralize Al-Hadi and entered Aden on March 25.

By the time the Houthis and their allies entered Aden, Al-Hadi had fled the Yemeni port city. Al-Hadi would resurface in Saudi Arabia when the House of Saud started attacking Yemen on March 26. From Saudi Arabia, Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi would then fly to Egypt for a meeting of the Arab League to legitimize the war on Yemen.

Yemen and the Changing Strategic Equation in the Middle East

The Houthi takeover of Sana took place in the same timeframe as a series of success or regional victories for Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and the Resistance Bloc that they and other local actors form collectively. In Syria, the Syrian government managed to entrench its position while in Iraq the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh movement was being pushed back by Iraq with the noticeable help of Iran and local Iraqi militias allied to Tehran.

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana – and that something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran and its regional allies. «When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people should pay attention», Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told Fox News about the alignment of Israel and Saudi Arabia on March 5.

The Israeli and Saudi fear mongering has not worked. According to Gallup poll, only 9% of US citizens viewed Iran as a greatest enemy of the US at the time that Netanyahu arrived t Washington to speak against a deal between the US and Iran.Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

The Geo-Strategic Objectives of the US and Saudis Behind the War in Yemen

While the House of Saudi has long considered Yemen a subordinate province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence, the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off Israel’s access to Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran. This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.

Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally align to Iran and that the evens there could result in new rebellions in the Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.

Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to either Iran, Russia, or China.

In a public position that totally contradicts Riyadh’s Syria policy, the Saudis threatened to take military action if the Houthis and their political allies did not negotiate with Al-Hadi. As a result of the Saudi threats, protests erupted across Yemen against the House of Saud on March 25. Thus, the wheels were set in motion for another Middle Eastern war as the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait began to prepare to reinstall Al-Hadi.

The Saudi March to War in Yemen and a New Front against Iran

For all the talk about Saudi Arabia as a regional power, it is too weak to confront Iran alone. The House of Saud’s strategy has been to erect or reinforce a regional alliance system for a drawn confrontation with Iran and the Resistance Bloc. In this regard Saudi Arabia needs Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan —a misnamed so-called «Sunni» alliance or axis — to help it confront Iran and its regional allies.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE’s military, would visit Morocco to talk about a collective military response to Yemen by the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt on March 17. On March 21, Mohammed bin Zayed met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss a military response to Yemen. This was while Al-Hadi was calling for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help him by militarily intervening in Yemen. The meetings were followed by talk about a new regional security pact for the Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Out of the GCC’s five members, the Sultanate of Oman stayed away. Oman refused to join the war on Yemen. Muscat has friendly relations with Tehran. Moreover, the Omanis are weary of the Saudi and GCC project to use sectarianism to ignite confrontation with Iran and its allies. The majority of Omanis are neither Sunni Muslims nor Shiite Muslims; they are Ibadi Muslims, and they fear the fanning of sectarian sedition by the House of Saud and the other Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Saudi propagandists went into over drive falsely claiming that the war was a response to Iranian encroachment on the borders of Saudi Arabia. Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen. On the day the war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were getting annoyed.

During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.

In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards Iran.

The US and Israeli Roles in the War in Yemen

On March 27, it was announced in Yemen that Israel was helping Saudi Arabia attack the Arab country. «This is the first time that the Zionists [Israelis] are conducting a joint operation in collaborations with Arabs,» Hassan Zayd, the head of Yemen’s Al-Haq Party, wrote on the internet to point out the convergence of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Israeli-Saudi alliance over Yemen, however, is not new. The Israelis helped the House of Saud during the North Yemen Civil War that started in 1962 by providing Saudi Arabia with weapons to help the royalists against the republicans in North Yemen.

The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC has been on Yemen unleashed by the US.

There has long been talk about the formation of a pan-Arab military force, but proposals for creating it were renewed on March 9 by the rubberstamp Arab League. The proposals for a united Arab military serve US, Israeli, and Saudi interests. Talk about a pan-Arab military has been motivated by their preparations to attack Yemen to return Al-Hadi and to regionally confront Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Resistance Bloc.

PART II

«Battle lines are being drawn in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country and the Middle East’s latest candidate for state failure. If, as looks increasingly probable, open warfare breaks out soon, it will only be made worse by the contest for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both powers have proven eager to arm groups they believe they can control, despite the legacy this destructive rivalry has already wrought in Syria and Iraq», the magazine Foreign Policy claimed on March 6.

The Houthi Alliance with Iran: Pragmatism or Sectarianism?

The Houthis are not Iranian proxies whatsoever. The Houthi movement is an independent political actor that emerged as a result of repression. To call the Houthis Iranian proxies is unempirical and ignores the history and politics of Yemen. «If a war breaks out along sectarian lines, it will not be because that is where historical divisions have lain in Yemen; it will be because the war’s foreign funders are inflaming previously unimportant divisions», Foreign Policy even admits.

Houthi leaders have admittedly rejected claims that they take orders from Tehran. This has not stopped Saudi and Khaliji (Gulf) officials and media have used and manipulated the statements of Iranian officials, like the comparison of the Houthis to Iran’s Basij, to portray the Houthis as Iranian agents or clients.

Just like how the Houthis are not Iranian proxies, there is no Shia alliance between Tehran and them in Yemen either. Talk that focuses on this simplistic sectarian narrative hides the political nature and motivations of the conflict in Yemen and insultingly obfuscated the struggle of the Houthis against repression. Until the 1970s the House of Saud had actually been a major supporter of the royalist factions in Yemen, which were predominately Shiite Muslims.

Moreover, the Shiite Muslims in Yemen are not Jaffaris (Twelvers) like the majority of Shia Muslims in Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf region. Aside from pockets of Ismaili Shiites – which can arguably be called Seveners – in the governorates of Saada, Hajja, Amran, Al-Mahwit, Sana, Ibb, and Al-Jawf most the Shia Muslims in Yemen are Zaidis/Zaydis. The Ismailis in Yemen are mostly members of the Dawoodi (Davidian) and Sulaimani (Solomonian) sects of Mustali Ismailism that moved away from the larger Nizari Ismailis.

The US and Saudi hostility towards the Houthi movement is what has inadvertently made the Houthis pragmatically turn to Iran for help as a counterbalance. In the words of the Wall Street journal, «Houthi militants controlling Yemen’s capital are trying to build ties with Iran, Russia and China to offset Western and Saudi support for the country’s ousted president.» «The Houthis’ interim government has sent delegations to Iran in search of fuel supplies and to Russia to look for investment in energy projects, according to two senior Houthi officials. Another delegation is planning to visit China in the coming weeks, they said», the Wall Street journal also reported on March 6.

As a result of the Houthi movement’s reaching out, Iran and Yemen announced that daily flights would take place between Tehran and Sana on March 2. This is an important lifeline of support for the Houthi movement.

The Sectarian Narrative and Sectarian Card

The instability in Yemen is being caused not by Iran or the Houthis, but by US and Saudi interference in Yemen — from Saudi Arabia’s 2009 invasion to US drone attacks — and the decades of support that Saudi Arabia has provided for authoritarian and unpopular rule in Yemen.

Yemen is not an inherently divided country. Aside from the nurturing of Al-Qaeda by Saudi Arabia and the US, there is no real Shia-Sunni split or tensions. To pre-empt Yemen from being independent, the Saudis and US have supported sectarianism with the hope of creating a Shia-Sunni divide in Yemen.

Unlike the false narrative, Iran’s alliances in the Middle East are actually not sectarian. All of Tehran’s Palestinian allies are predominately Sunni Muslims while in Iraq and Syria, aside from the governments, Iran supports a cross-section of ethnic and faith groups that include non-Arabs and Christians. This includes the predominately Sunni Muslim Syrian and Iraqi Kurds and the Assyrian Sutoro wing of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria. In Lebanon, aside from Hezbollah, the Iranians are also allied to Sunni Muslim, Druze, and Christian parties, including Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement—which is the largest Christian party in Lebanon.

If anyone is engaged in sectarianism as a policy, it is the US and its Arab petro-sheikdom allies. Both the US and Saudi Arabia had engaged the Houthis earlier and used them against the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. Additionally, during the Cold War both Washington and the House of Saud tried to use the Yemeni Shiites against the republicans in North Yemen and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the south. It is when the Houthi movement demonstrated that it was not going to be a client to Washington or Riyadh, that the US ad Saudi Arabia became hostile towards it.

Preparing the Invasion of Yemen

On 20 March, suicide bombers attacked the Al-Badr and Al-Hashoosh mosques during asr salat (afternoon prayers). Over three hundred people were killed. Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorist attacks and both the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Saudi Arabia was also blamed.

While there was silence in Morocco, Jordan, and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen. In one way or another, Syria, Iraq, Russia, and China all condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen too. To show Tehran’s support for Yemen, two Iranian cargo plans with humanitarian aid were sent to Yemen and the Iranian Red Crescent Society flew over fifty Yemenis victims of the terrorist attacks to hospitals inside Iran for medical treatment.

The House of Saud’s Failure in Yemen

The Houthis movement is the result of Saudi Arabia’s policies in Yemen and its support for authoritarian rule. In this regard, the Houthis are a reaction to Saudi brutality and the House of Saud’s support for Yemeni authoritarianism. They emerged as part of a rebellion that was led by Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi in 2004 against the Yemenite government.

The Yemeni and Saudi regimes falsely claimed that the Houthis wanted to establish a Zaidi imamate in Arabia as a means of demonizing the movement. This, however, failed to stop them from getting stronger. The Yemeni military would not be able to handle them in 2009, which resulted in a Saudi intervention called Operation Scorched Earth being launched on August 11, 2009.

Saudi Arabia failed to defeat the Houthis when it sent its military into Yemen to fight them in 2009 and 2010. It has failed to force Yemen and the Houthi movement to kneel in obedience. When it demanded that the Houthis and Yemeni transitional government play to the Saudi tune and go to Riyadh for negotiations, it was flatly rejected by the Houthis and Yemen’s Revolutionary Committees, because the negotiations and any Saudi-supported power sharing scheme would really sideline the Houthis and other political forces in Yemen. This is why the Popular Forces Union, Al-Hadi’s own General People’s Congress, and the Baath Party of Yemen have all supported the Houthi position against Saudi Arabia.

Dividing Yemen?

Yemen has seen numerous insurrections, military intervention by the US and Saudi Arabia, and a separatist movement strengthen in its southern governorates. Yemen’s military has become fragmented and tribal tensions exist. There has been increasing talk about it becoming an Arab failed state.

In 2013, the New York Times proposed that Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen be split. In the case of Yemen, the proposition was that it divided into two again. The New York Times said that this could or would happen following a potential referendum in the southern governorates. The New York Times also proposed that «all or part of South Yemen could then become part of Saudi Arabia. Nearly all Saudi commerce is via sea, and direct access to the Arabian Sea would diminish dependence on the Persian Gulf — and fears of Iran’s ability to cut off the Strait of Hormuz».

Saudi Arabia and Al-Hadi are now courting the southern separatists in Yemen, which have the support of about one-tenth of the population. The next option for the US and Saudi Arabia may be to divide Yemen as a means of mitigating the strategic shift from a Houthi victory. This would ensure that Saudi Arabia and the GCC have a southern transit point to the Indian Ocean and that the US would maintain a foothold in the Gulf of Aden.


Related:

Yemen, Ukraine, and the Hypocrisy of ‘Aggression’

By Eric Draitser

The military intervention in Yemen by a US-backed coalition of Arab states will undoubtedly inflame the conflict both in Yemen, and throughout the region. It is likely to be a protracted war involving many actors, each of which is interested in furthering its own political and geopolitical agenda.

However, it is the international reaction to this new regional war which is of particular interest; specifically, the way in which the United States has reacted to this undeniable aggression by its Gulf allies. While Washington has gone to great lengths to paint Russia’s reunification with Crimea and its limited support for the anti-Kiev rebels of eastern Ukraine as “aggression,” it has allowed that same loaded term to be completely left out of the narrative about the new war in Yemen.

So it seems that, according to Washington, aggression is not defined by any objective indicators: use of military hardware, initiation of hostilities, etc. Rather, the United States defines aggression by the relationship of a given conflict to its own strategic interests. In Crimea and Ukraine, Russia is the aggressor because, in defending its own interests and those of Russian people, it has acted against the perceived geopolitical interests of the US. While in Yemen, the initiation by Saudi Arabia and other US-backed countries of an unprovoked war with the expressed goal of regime change, this is not aggression as it furthers Washington’s interests.

Language Versus Reality

On March 25, 2015 a coalition of Arab states initiated an aerial bombardment (as of writing there has yet to be a ground invasion, though it is expected) of Yemen for the purposes of dislodging the Houthi rebel government which had weeks before toppled the US and Saudi-backed puppet government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The war initiated by Saudi Arabia, along with its fellow Gulf monarchies and Egypt, was motivated purely by Saudi Arabia’s, and by extension the United States’, perceived interests.

Within hours of the commencement of the bombardment, reports from Yemen indicated that dozens, if not scores, of Yemenis had been killed in the airstrikes. Despite the immediate loss of life, to say nothing of the destruction of infrastructure, buildings, homes, and communities, the United States praised the operation as necessary for regional security. Indeed it has been confirmed that, while not providing direct military support in the form of troops or air support, the United States has been intimately involved in the operation.

Speaking directly on behalf of the White House and the Obama administration, the National Security Council spokesperson announced:

Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others will undertake military action to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government…In support of GCC actions…President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations.  While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support…the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition…can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.

So, in Washington’s own words, the aggressive military intervention into Yemen is both legitimate and supported by the US. Moreover, the US has openly acknowledged their direct participation in the campaign in the form of intelligence and logistical support. Exactly what is entailed in “intelligence” and “logistical support” is certainly open to interpretation. Undoubtedly, the US has its covert forces involved in the operation, likely on the ground in Yemen, to say nothing of its vast presence throughout the region.

In fact, it is universally recognized that the CIA has been intimately involved in Yemen for at least the last several years, with CIA Director Brennan having been integral in fostering the relationship. As the NY Times reported in 2012, the Obama administration’s approach in Yemen was “to employ small numbers of Special Operations troops, Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary teams and drones.” It should be further remembered that Hadi himself was handpicked by Washington in the wake of the fall of former President Saleh’s government, and that Hadi, described by the US as the “legitimate” president ran unopposed in a farcically described “democratic transition” sponsored by the US.

Taken in total then, it is objectively true that the United States has been involved militarily in Yemen since at least 2012, propping up their man in Sanaa in order to bolster their geopolitical and strategic position in the region, naturally under the aegis of “fighting terrorism.” So it stands to reason that the White House would refer to the Saudi aggression as legitimate, and praise it as such. It is equally true that the so called “legitimacy” of the military operation, and the Hadi government itself, is dependent on US interests, nothing less.

Now compare the language employed by the US vis-à-vis this war against Yemen, with the talking points endlessly repeated by all US officials, and nearly all media pundits, regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine. Everyone from Republican warmongers like John McCain, to State Department spokesperson (and unwitting comedic icon) Jen Psaki, have all described Moscow’s moves as “Russian aggression.” Indeed, it seems that phrase alone has become something of a mantra in Washington, and on the airwaves of its servile and compliant corporate media, framing the narrative as “clear and unmistakable aggression against Ukraine’s territorial integrity” and other such vacuous phrases.

But consider for a moment the objective facts. Russia’s direct military interests in Crimea, not to mention the safety and freedom of Russian-speakers, was under direct threat after the US-sponsored coup in Kiev toppled the corrupt, but democratically elected, government in February 2014. In response, Russia launched a limited military operation to secure Crimea and its interests. This is critical because this operation was carried out with no bloodshed, no airstrikes, and not a single shot fired. While this aspect may be forgotten amid the din of belligerent shouts and incredulousness from Washington, it must not be forgotten by keen political observers. In point of fact, Russia’s “aggression” in Crimea was entirely peaceful, and as is self-evident, entirely defensive.

On the other hand, the “legitimate” actions of the US, Saudi Arabia and its allies do not constitute aggression. Well, it is clear that the dozens (by now likely far more) of families who have lost fathers and sons, wives and daughters in the airstrikes would certainly call it aggression.

It should also be noted that, unlike in Crimea where the people were given the opportunity to decide their own fate democratically, the people of Yemen are being given no such opportunity. There has been a domestic insurgency for years in the wake of the civil wars and reunification of North and South Yemen, and whatever stability might have been provided by the new Houthi-led dispensation has now fallen by the wayside. Moreover, the notion that Yemen was a functioning country under Hadi would be like saying that France was a functioning country under the Vichy regime. The overthrow of Hadi opened the possibility for a truly independent nation to emerge. This Saudi Arabia and its allies simply could not abide, as it would set a dangerous precedent for its own domestic opposition which, quite correctly, sees the House of Saud as little more than a proxy of the US and Israel.

Consider also the rhetoric of “aggression” regarding Russia’s very limited support for the anti-Kiev rebels of Donetsk and Lugansk. Listening to western media, one would think that Russian military had invaded en masse in those regions and was fighting a war against Kiev’s military. The reality is that, despite dozens of accusations and hundreds of news stories, there is still no evidence of any direct Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. It is true that there are Russian volunteers and some Russian hardware, but these are hardly evidence of any invasion, let alone even military support of the scale that the US has just authorized sending to Kiev. Even a Russophobic perspective would have to admit, however reluctantly, that Russia’s presence in eastern Ukraine is minimal and indirect.

Now compare that to the outright bombardment using massive military capabilities being carried out by the Saudis and their allies in Yemen. In a matter of hours, this US-backed alliance has employed more military hardware, and wreaked more devastation, than Russia has in more than 12 months. The question of scale is critical. Russia quite correctly perceives a threat to its own borders and interests from the US-sponsored Kiev regime, and it has acted with a great degree of restraint. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, which also perceives a Houthi-controlled Yemen as a threat to its borders and interests, has unleashed a massive military campaign to destroy the movement and effect its own regime change to reinstall Hadi.

It could not be clearer the level of hypocrisy from the US, its allies, and the compliant media. Russia is an “aggressor” while Saudi Arabia is a “defender.” Iran is sponsoring regime change in Yemen, while the US merely supported “democratic forces” in Ukraine. Assad must go, but Hadi must stay. Not to belabor the point, as it is obvious on its face, but legitimacy and illegitimacy is conferred by the US based on its interests, not international law or objective facts.

That this is well known in the non-Western world is undeniably true. However here in the US, and in the West more broadly, the narrative is shaped by those in power who seek to further their own agendas. They choose the words, and they dictate what is and is not acceptable. They are the Ministry of Truth, and the thought-criminals who question their narratives are dangerous subversives and propagandists. In truth however, those who question those narratives are the ones who have consistently been on the right side of history, from Vietnam to Iraq to Libya, Syria, and Yemen. And I, for one, am proud to count myself among them.



Debating the Saudi War on Yemen


Related:

 



Communication Security Establishment’s Cyberwarfare Toolbox Revealed

1297423615318_ORIGINALMexico, North Africa, Middle East among targets of cyber-spy hacking

By Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira and Dave Seglins
CBC News

Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

The little known Communications Security Establishment wanted to become more aggressive by 2015, the documents also said.

Revelations about the agency’s prowess should serve as a “major wakeup call for all Canadians,” particularly in the context of the current parliamentary debate over whether to give intelligence officials the power to disrupt national security threats, says Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, the respected internet research group at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

“These are awesome powers that should only be granted to the government with enormous trepidation and only with a correspondingly massive investment in equally powerful systems of oversight, review and public accountability,” says Deibert.

Details of the CSE’s capabilities are revealed in several top-secret documents analyzed by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, a U.S. news website co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who obtained the documents from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The CSE toolbox includes the ability to redirect someone to a fake website, create unrest by pretending to be another government or hacker, and siphon classified information out of computer networks, according to experts who viewed the documents.

The agency refused to answer questions about whether it’s using all the tools listed, citing the Security of Information Act as preventing it from commenting on such classified matters.

In a written statement, though, it did say that some of the documents obtained by CBC News were dated and do “not necessarily reflect current CSE practices or programs.”

Hacking spans globe

Canada’s electronic spy agency and the U.S. National Security Agency “cooperate closely” in “computer network access and exploitation” of certain targets, according to an April 2013 briefing note for the NSA.

Their targets are located in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Mexico, plus other unnamed countries connected to the two agencies’ counterterrorism goals, the documents say. Specific techniques used against the targets are not revealed.

Deibert notes that previous Snowden leaks have disclosed that the CSE uses the highly sophisticated WARRIORPRIDE malware to target cellphones, and maintains a network of infected private computers — what’s called a botnet ​— that it uses to disguise itself when hacking targets.

Other leaked documents revealed back in 2013 that the CSE spied on computers or smartphones connected to Brazil’s mining and energy ministry to get economic intelligence.

But the latest top-secret documents released to CBC News and The Intercept illustrate the development of a large stockpile of Canadian cyber-spy capabilities that go beyond hacking for intelligence, including:

  • destroying infrastructure, which could include electricity, transportation or banking systems;
  • creating unrest by using false-flags — ie. making a target think another country conducted the operation;
  • disrupting online traffic by such techniques as deleting emails, freezing internet connections, blocking websites and redirecting wire money transfers.

It’s unclear which of the 32 cyber tactics listed in the 2011 document are actively used or in development.

‘In Canada’s interests’

Some of the capabilities mirror what CSE’s U.S. counterpart, the NSA, can do under a powerful hacking program called QUANTUM, which was created by the NSA’s elite cyberwarfare unit, Tailored Access Operations, says Christopher Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow at the Citizen Lab, one of the groups CBC News asked to help decipher the CSE documents. QUANTUM is mentioned in the list of CSE cyber capabilities.

A 2011 presentation by a CSE analyst outlines 32 tactics that the spy agency has developed. Click on the photo to see an explainer on some of them.

Publicizing details of QUANTUM’s attack techniques fuelled debate south of the border about the project’s constitutionality, says Parsons, who feels a debate is needed here in Canada as well.

“Our network has been turned into a battlefield without any Canadian being asked: Should it be done? How should it be done?” says Parsons.

National security expert Christian Leuprecht says the wide spectrum of cyber capabilities should come as no surprise, considering Canada’s stature as an industrialized country and partner in the influential Five Eyes spying network, which also includes the U.S., U.K., New Zealand and Australia.

“I think it’s in Canada’s interest to have full-spectrum capability, because if or when the issue does arise, then we want to make sure we can be a major player in taking our collective security interest into our hands,” says Leuprecht, a fellow at Queen’s University’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and professor at the Royal Military College.

Leuprecht adds, however, that “simply having that capability doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to deploy” it.

He also claims Canada has “very explicitly” decided — for now — not to become embroiled in a dangerous cyberwar by using its most destructive tools to attack other countries, citing the example of the mysterious shutdown of North Korea’s internet following that country’s alleged hacking of Sony Pictures.

Canada also faces practical limitations in deploying some of these tools, such as money and strict laws, he says.

Seeking approval for more disruption

According to the documents, the CSE wanted more aggressive powers for use both at home and abroad.

In 2011, the Canadian agency presented its vision for 2015 to the Five Eyes allies at a conference.

CSE CASCADE presentation

“We will seek the authority to conduct a wide spectrum of Effects operations in support of our mandates,” the top-secret presentation says.

Effects operations refer to manipulating and disrupting computers or devices.

CSE said in a written statement: “In moving from ideas or concepts to planning and implementation, we examine proposals closely to ensure that they comply with the law and internal policies, and that they ultimately lead to effective and efficient ways to protect Canada and Canadians against threats.”

Experts say the Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51, currently being debated, could legalize use of some of the capabilities outlined in these classified documents.

Though the act would give CSIS, Canada’s domestic intelligence agency, the power to disrupt threats to the security of Canada both at home and abroad, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service relies on its sister service, the CSE, for technical help with surveillance and infiltration of cellphones and computers.

“With Bill C-51, we’re seeing increased powers being provided to CSIS, and that could mean that they would be able to more readily use or exploit the latent domestic capabilities that CSE has built up,” says Parsons.

A ‘perimeter around Canada’

In an increasingly hostile cyberspace, Canada has also turned its attention to figuring out ways to better protect itself against such attacks.

‘If we wish to enable defence, we must have intelligence to know when attacks enter our national infrastructure.’- CSE presentation

Back in 2011, CSE envisioned creating a “perimeter around Canada” to better defend the country’s interests from potential threats from other countries and criminals, raising the prospect the agency was preparing a broad surveillance program to target Canadians’ online traffic.

At the time, “full visibility of our national infrastructure” was among its goals, according to a planning document for 2015. Security analysts wanted the means to detect an attack before it hit a target like a government website.

“If we wish to enable defence, we must have intelligence to know when attacks enter our national infrastructure,” the 2011 top-secret CSE presentation says.

The agency would not answer how far it got with the 2015 plan. A spokesman called some of the documents obtained by CBC dated and said they “explored possible ideas.”

As a result, the information “does not necessarily reflect current CSE practices or programs,” the agency said in a written statement.

“Logically, it makes perfect sense” that CSE wanted to monitor all traffic coming in and out of the country, says Deibert.

“The problem is the techniques they have at their disposal, the capabilities, if they are indeed in place, are dual use and could be abused.”

List of documents:


CBC is working with U.S. news site The Intercept to shed light on Canada-related files in the cache of documents obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The CBC News team — Dave Seglins, Amber Hildebrandt and Michael Pereira —collaborated with The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher to analyze the documents.

With files from The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald


Related:
Canada’s Orwellian C-51 Anti-Terrorist Act of 2015 Criminalizes Dissent (Update)
Canadian Terror Wave a Modern-Day Gladio
Canadian Government and Media Creating a Moral Panic as ISIL Attacks Ottawa
CSIS Agent Helped British Girls Join ISIS in Syria

The U.S. Empire and ISIS: A Tale of Two Death Cults

Turkey, Terrorism, and the Global Proxy War

Brutalized by Decades of Violence, Many Iraqi Youth Seek Suicide to Escape

Washington’s Secret Negotiations with Havana and Tehran

Da’esh : Washington’s Proxy Army Trained to “Occupy” Syria

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Smoke rises from the the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, after a strike from the US-led coalition as it seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on October 14, 2014. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

Is the US planning the occupation of Syria by training an unconventional insurgent invasion force?

Think regime change in Syria is off the drawing board? Think again. The bombing of the ISIL or ISIS in Syria is part of a brinkmanship campaign leading up to a potential non-conventional invasion, parallel to the re-introduction of the US military to Iraq.

The ISIL and the other anti-government forces in Iraq and Syria are not the only ones to disregard the Iraqi-Syrian border drawn by the British and French by Sykes-Picot in 1916. The US also disregarded the border and international law when it began to illegally bomb Syria.

The bombing campaign was not enough for some in the US Congress. In a joint statement on September 23, the arch-hawks US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for US troops to be sent into Syria too. Both of them praised the Pentagon’s illegal airstrikes in Syria and then argued for US ground troops as well.

Although McCain and Graham went out of their way to say that this would not be an occupation of either Syria or Iraq, this is almost exactly what they were calling for when they said that the military campaign had to also be directed against the Syrian government.

Since, and even before the calls for an invasion of Syria by McCain and Graham different suggestions have circulated about an invasion of Syria.

The dilemma is that Washington does not want the Pentagon to directly invade Syria itself. It wants to pull the strings while another force does the work on the ground. Candidates for an outsourced invasion of Syria include the Turkish military or other US regional allies. There, however is also an impasse here as Washington’s allies are also afraid of the consequences of an invasion of Syria.

This is where a third opinion comes into the picture: the construction of a multinational insurgent army by the US.

Using non-state actors to invade and occupy Syria

While there seems to be no consensus on a Syrian strategy within the US political, intelligence, and military establishments, the objective of regime change is universally adhered to across the board. Regardless of the existence of a consensus, the US is moving ahead with the creation of an anti-government invasion force.

The third option is slowly emerging.

A few days after the US began the bombing of Syria, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey made it clear that the Pentagon also planned on creating a viable anti-government army in Syria consisting of 12,000 to 15,000 insurgents.

There also seems to be a growing consensus among the realist and neocons for US President Obama’s preference of using a rebel army to invade Syria. The Brookings Institute has been a major cheerleader for this.

During this same timeframe, the Brookings Institute released an opinion piece clearly calling for US intervention. The text, authored, by former CIA analyst for monitoring the Persian Gulf and US National Security Council official Kenneth Pollack, stipulated that Washington’s “strategy cannot require sending U.S. troops into combat. Funds, advisers, and even air power are all fair game — but only insofar as they do not lead to American boots on the ground.”

Pollack played an influential role in getting support for the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. He worked at the Council of Foreign Relations as its director of national security studies. He made the above statement as the director of research for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and goes well beyond it by publishing a drawn-out October 2014 proposal for creating a US-made rebel invasion force as a means of taking over Syria and eventually conducting regime change in Damascus.

The Brookings Institute proposal suggests that a rebel Syrian army “is best not done in Syria itself. At least not at first” (p.9). The report points to the US and NATO success in “covertly” creating armed forces around the world, including the assembly of a Croat military, and deduces that these experiences would make it “entirely realistic for the United States to build a new Syrian opposition army” (p.8). It also says that the ideology of the fighters does not matter by stating the following: “A great many of those recruited may well be religious, even highly religious, including Salafist. That is not the issue” (p.9).

Welcome to the Brookings Institute and its Saban Center

What is the Brookings Institute exactly and why do suggestions from this think tank and others like it, matter?

The Brookings Institute is an influential think tank that has a revolving door of personnel with the US government and major corporations. All that one needs to do is look at its trustees and executives, which include interlocked directorships with the Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase.

Brookings also has ties to Israel and a full branch dedicated to Washington’s Middle East strategies and policies called the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy. Martin Indyk – the former US ambassador to Israel, a former high-level lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the founder of AIPAC’s research arm (the Washington Institute for Near East Policy) – is the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Like Indyk, Kenneth Pollack was involved in shaping the Middle East policies of the Clinton Administration.

It is also worth noting that the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center is named after US-Israeli businessman and media mogul Haim Saban. Saban himself is on the board of trustees for Brookings.

There is a Qatari connection too. One may remember that Washington was hostile towards Al Jazeera when it first emerged as a news broadcaster, because of its coverage of US actions in the Middle East.

Saban tried to buy half of the Al Jazeera network from Qatar in 2004 and 2009, but failed. In the same timeframe as the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the first set of negotiations happened when he went to Qatar with Bill Clinton in 2003.

It is possible that Brookings may have played a role in pacifying Al Jazeera. In 2009, the Institute setup an overseas branch in Qatar called the Brookings Doha Center. The new chapter in Doha included Qatar’s ruling Al-Thani family alongside people like Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Fareed Zakaria as chairs and advisors.

It was in the same year that the Brookings Institute published a report, which included Pollack and Indyk as authors, called Which Path to Persia? The report outlined a map for confronting Iran and alluded to the neutralization of Syria, in one way or another (including the procurement of a peace agreement with Damascus by Israel), to “mitigate blowback” from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinians, specifically Hamas, as a prerequisite for an enabling an attack on Iran.

All in all, the ideas that come out of the Brookings Institute are discussed at the highest levels within policymaking and corporate circles.

Is the Syrian Invasion Force Slowly Emerging?

Is a rebel invasion force emerging to attack Syria? In no uncertain terms, Brookings argues that it is.

Pollack’s report stipulates the following: “Adopting such a strategy would mean first and foremost that Washington would have to commit itself to building a new Syrian army that will rule Syria when the war is over. Although [Obama’s] description of his new Syria policy was more modest and tepid than his explanation of the Iraq piece of the strategy, he does appear to have committed the United States to just that course. More than that, it will mean putting the resources, prestige and credibility of the United States behind this effort. The $500 million now appropriated is a good start, but it is only a down payment on a much larger project” (p.8).

The US goal of training rebels in Saudi Arabia and Turkey is an indication of this too. On September 10, about two weeks before it started bombing Syria, Washington declared that Saudi Arabia had given it the green light to train a rebel army in the Arabian Peninsula. “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,” one official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

The Brookings Institute in its proposal for an invasion of Syria: “The Saudi offer to provide facilities to train 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters is one of reasonable possibility, although one of Syria’s neighbors would probably be preferable. Jordan already serves as a training ground for America’s current training program and it would be an ideal locale to build a real Syrian army. However, Turkey could also conceivably serve that purpose if the Turks were willing” (p.10).

About two months later, in November, after US Vice President Joe Biden met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, it was announced that Kirsehir would be used by Turkey to train Syrian anti-government forces that the US would equip against Damascus.

The report also makes it clear that building the new opposition army “should not mean bolstering the existing ‘Free Syrian Army’” (p.10). Instead, the existing US-backed insurgent groups will slowly be swallowed or destroyed by the new opposition force that the US and its allies are constructing.

In mid-November, the Pentagon also presented a proposal to the US Congress, saying that it wants to arm Iraqi tribesmen with Kalashnikov rifles, rocked propelled grenades, and mortars. What is omitted is the cross-border dispersion of these tribes in both Iraq and Syria and the possibility that these weapons could be used in an attack on the Syrian government.

What moderates?

The talk about supporting “moderates” is very misleading. It is already clear that the ideology of the proposed insurgent army is not a key issue in practice for many US officials. There is also enough evidence to show that the Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra, the ISIL, and the other insurgent forces are also collaborating and trading fighters.

The Telegraph, for example, had this to say on November 10 about Saddam Jamal, a US-backed Free Syrian Army commander that became an ISIL commander: “Before joining ISIL, Jamal had been a drug dealer, then a commander in the western-backed Free Syrian Army, claiming contacts in the CIA.

It is also clear that religion is a mask for the ISIL too. The same British article writes the following testimony from Saddam Jamal’s body guard about his massacre of a Syrian family: “The ISIL commander felt no remorse for killing this Syrian family, his bodyguard said, nor did he believe he was fulfilling a God-given creed: for him being a member of the extremist group was a matter of business, not religion.

In the end the ISIL may be used to incubate fighters or collapse, like the Free Syrian Army, into the proposed invasion force to occupy Syria.

Invasion army or armies?

General Dempsey said that “the anti-ISIL campaign could take several years to accomplish.” Leon Panetta, the former head of the CIA and Pentagon, has also claimed that this war will turn into a thirty-year US military project that will extend to North Africa, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

According to Brookings: “At some point, such a new Syrian army would have to move into Syria, but only when it was ready. Only when a force large enough to conquer and hold territory – something on the order of two to three brigades -were ready should it be sent in” (p.11).

A war of attrition that that will take years of fighting is underway. This matches up with the ideas about training an insurgent invasion force over the years.

In their joint statement Senators McCain and Graham said that President Bashar Assad will not stop fighting the so-called “moderate” US-backed insurgents “that remain committed to his ousting- especially when the United States and [its] partners still, correctly, share the same goal and will now be arming and training Assad’s moderate opponents.” In other words, the US-trained Syrian forces will ultimately target the Syrian government.


Related:
The War in Rojava: The US and Turkish Roles in the Battle of Kobani
The War in Rojava: Kobani’s Fall is a Prerequisite to an Invasion of Syria

School of the Americas Goes Global

The US Never Intended to Defeat ISIS

Editorial Comment:

Please see the following article: John McCain admitted he is regular contact with Islamic State


By Tony Cartalucci


A torrent of “foiled” terror plots have recently undulated headlines across the Western World. In Rochester New York, the FBI netted a man they claimed was plotting a shooting spree targeting US service members. In Australia, over 800 security agents swooped in on 15 ISIS suspects whom the Australian government claimed were plotting to randomly behead a member of the public. In the UK, 4 suspects allegedly linked to ISIS were arrested before carrying out a plot Scotland Yards claims was aimed at the Queen of England herself.

According to Western security agencies, in addition to ISIS’ regional campaign of brutality stretching from Lebanon, across Syria, and into Iraq, it is also working ceaselessly to carry out attacks against targets within the US, across Europe, and even in the Pacific.

US Policymakers Claim ISIS is Neither a Threat Nor Necessary to Defeat

Considering the hysteria generated by ISIS’ alleged global exploits, it should then be infinitely curious to readers who happen across US policymakers claiming that ISIS may pose a threat, but constitutes by far a lesser threat than Iran or Syria – the two principle nations leading the real fight against ISIS and its international sponsors. Furthermore, US policymakers claim there is no urgency to defeat ISIS, and it should instead be “contained.” Of course, this “containment” will be within states targeted by US-backed regime change, serving as a convenient agent of destruction, destabilization, and perhaps even regime change itself.


Image: A growing chorus among US policymakers and the Western media are claiming that ISIS poses a minimal threat even amid simaltaneous efforts to ratchet up public hysteria. The West also claims it is no longer necessary to “defeat” ISIS and it should instead be “contained” – instead nations targeted for regime change by the US, allowed to continue fighting America’s enemies by proxy … or in other words, ISIS should continue serving as the West’s private mercenary army.


More troubling still, such policymakers hail from the US-based Brookings Institution, a prominent corporate-financier funded policy think-tank that has helped direct American foreign policy for decades. Brookings “Federal Executive Fellow” Robert Hein, a career US Navy officer, has presented analysis under an article titled, “The Big Questions on ISIS.” After diminishing the threat ISIS actually poses to the US and suggesting that the battle against the terrorist organization will be perpetual – without qualification he claims:

There are other hard questions for even bigger threats in the Middle East, such as how to ensure a nuclear free Iran and how to deal with the Assad regime in Syria. For ISIS, though, we may have it right.

It would have been interesting if Hein did qualify that final statement – explaining how an extraterritorial terrorist army armed and funded by some of the largest, most influential nation-states on Earth, currently ravaging three nations while allegedly plotting against the rest of the planet is somehow a lesser threat than Iran and Syria – both of which have not threatened the United States, and in fact, according to the Brookings Institution itself, have expressed a specific desire to avoid a confrontation with the West.

ISIS is a Lesser Threat – But a Lesser Threat to Whom? 

As bizarre as Hein’s analysis may seem, it strikes at a troubling but undeniable truth. If by “US” Hein meant the American people, America’s service members, and victims of various staged attacks aimed at justifying foreign wars, then ISIS is a threat. For the many millions living in the Middle East or North Africa, ISIS is undoubtedly a threat. For corporate-financiers on Wall Street, the many corrupt politicians in Wall Street’s pocket in Washington, or corporate-financier funded policymakers like Hein himself, ISIS is not only not a threat, but an indispensable asset.

As such, prioritizing ISIS’ destruction is not part of Wall Street or Washington’s agenda – rather – perpetuating this threat for as long as possible is. Hein is unabashed about this notion, claiming:

Should we defeat ISIS? Rather than defeat, containing their activities within failed or near-failing states is the best option for the foreseeable future. The United States has no desire to build nations, and without a stable Middle East, terror groups will continue to find safe haven; if not in western Iraq or Afghanistan, then in Yemen or Somalia. The Middle East and Africa have no shortage of ungoverned or poorly governed territories. The current strategy of prolonged engagement, development and training of local militias, logistic support and air strikes against real targets may be the best solution after all.

Hein’s strategy also works exceedingly well if ISIS was intentionally created as a proxy mercenary force, deployed by the West against its enemies. Such a notion, while dismissed out of hand by many as a “conspiracy theory” is not only plausible, but in fact a documented fact. The use of terrorists and sectarian extremists is a reoccurring feature in Western foreign policy – including its most notorious use in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980’s where the US created Al Qaeda to begin with. As recently as 2007, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh documented a conspiracy to once again use sectarian extremists aligned with Al Qaeda to target, undermine, and overthrow the government of Syria and wage a proxy war against Iran.

His report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” stated (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

It would be difficult to read Hersh’s 2007 report and attempt to deny that is not precisely what has unfolded, verbatim, beginning under the cover of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” up to and including the creation of “ISIS” and its growing fighting capabilities possible only through an immense, coordinated multinational effort.

The creation of ISIS and what appears to be concerted attempts to justify the slow burn prescribed to “stop it” are echoed in Hein’s proposal of “not stopping ISIS to stop it.”

Why Syria and Iran are Bigger “Threats” 

Ironically, it was an extensive policy paper produced by the very think tank Hein belongs to – Brookings Institution – that noted Iran (and therefore Syria) not only did not want war with the West, but was willing to weather endless covert provocations to avoid giving the West an excuse to wage hegemonic war against the nations. Within the pages of Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” report published in 2009, it was stated:

With only one real exception, since the 1978 revolution, the Islamic Republic has never willingly provoked an American military response, although it certainly has taken actions that could have done so if Washington had been looking for a fight.

Thus it is not impossible that Tehran might take some action that would justify an American invasion and it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The report would also state:

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

The entire report is a documented conspiracy to justify and provoke war with a nation actively seeking to avoid war even at the cost of suffering innumerable humiliations, covert attacks, assassinations, decades-spanning sanctions, and other forms of terroristic provocations.  When Hein and other US policymakers refer to Iran and Syria as a “greater threat” than ISIS, they do not mean a threat to the national security of the American people or the territory of the United States itself – but rather a threat to their own hegemonic interests well beyond America’s borders and even interests that lie within the borders of Iran and Syria themselves.

Deciphering the deceptive, criminal language used by US policymakers illuminates the ongoing conspiracy in which ISIS plays a central part. ISIS is considered not a threat – not because the US can manage what they claim is an inherently “anti-Western” terrorist organization – but rather because the US itself created and controls it. Syria and Iran, while not actual threats to the West, are considered instead “threats” to US interests – more specifically – the interests of the corporate-financier elite on Wall Street and their lobbyists in Washington D.C.

The War in Rojava: Kobani’s Fall is a Prerequisite to an Invasion of Syria

The Bases of War in the Middle East

The Kurdish Women’s Movement, Primitive Nationalism & Fratricidal Sell-out Politics

Editorial Comment:

Recent developments in Kobanê have resulted in the withdrawal of much of the global activist community’s support for the Kurdish Women’s Movement and the YPG-YPJ defense forces.

The turning point was the signing of the Dohuk agreement . Upon close analysis, it is clear that the key benefactors of this agreement are Turkey and ISIL, to whom the FSA have sworn allegiance.

Today’s announcement confirmed that the YPG defense forces had formed an alliance with the “Free Syrian Army”.

The Turkish government in collaboration with pro-imperialist Kurdish factions has unleashed a diabolical plot against both Syria and the Kurdish Revolutionary Movement.

That this has happened in spite of repeated claims that the Turkish plan would be rejected (also see here) increases speculation regarding the hidden agenda and|or direct enemy infiltration of the YPG-YPJ forces. Why else would they sacrifice their revolutionary principles?

(Civil Democratic Gathering of Syrian Kurds: Ayn al-Arab will continue to raise the Syrian flag | Syria condemns Turkish government’s violation of its border in Ayn al-Arab area | Da’ash and the Turkish-American Plot to Destroy the Kurdish Revolutionary Experiment in Direct Democracy| ISIS Seen Through the Eyes of PKK Guerrilla Forces |The Double Standards of the Western World According to PKK)

To comprehend the dynamics of the conflicting factions within the Kurdish community which are being implemented to destroy a genuine revolutionary movement, I publish an except from an article by Dilar Dikirk.

What will remain of the PKK and the Kurdish Women’s Movement following this apparent subversion? 

Will Islamists, primitive nationalists and  fratricidal sell-outs triumph or will a stronger revolutionary women’s movement emerge from the ashes of the dream of stateless democracy that cannot and never will be compromised?

Alexandra Valiente
Editor of Libya 360°

Excerpt of an article by Şengal: Islamic State, Kurdish (In)dependence, Western hypocrisy, and the failure of the nation-state paradigmFor a long time, the KDP and their leader, the KRG president Masoud Barzanî, have been engaging in a campaign for Kurdish independent statehood. In doing so, they actively marginalized the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, and Iran. One of the closest allies of the KDP is Turkey, a country in which 10.000 Kurds are held as hostages in prisons and where Kurds still struggle to be recognized as equal citizens. Another state that dominates the KRG’s policies is Iran, where Kurdish activists are executed on a regular basis. The KDP’s opportunism to consolidate its own power reached its peak, when it adopted a very hostile attitude towards Kurds in Rojava, created three autonomous cantons for regional self-governance. Apart from aggressive propaganda language, the KDP closed the border to refugees from Rojava fleeing from IS-massacres and held humanitarian goods back. In April, the party even went as far as digging a border trench between West and South Kurdistan and had peshmerga fighters point weapons at the people protesting the border.
The people perceived this as a major manifestation of treason, calling it a “Second Lausanne” [The Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 divided Kurdistan into four].

How ironic to advocate Kurdish independent statehood and being called a Second Lausanne by fellow Kurds. The KDP’s concept of liberation is based on economic, capitalist growth, idealized through “independent” oil sales, luxury hotels, and shopping malls, while actively reinforcing the borders drawn in Lausanne by contributing to the oppression of other Kurds. With that in mind, the withdrawal of the peshmergas does not seem to be too surprising either. The peshmergas have been instrumentalized for the independence propaganda, to symbolize the masculinity of the “undefeatable” de-facto state. There is a mystification of peshmerga-ness that associates this identity with Kurdish courage and the freedom struggle. But what once used to be truly “confronting death” against the army of Saddam Hussein has been turned into a regular job tied to a salary. Apart from that, the peshmerga units largely operate along partisan loyalties, leading to the two dominant Kurdish parties, KDP and PUK having their own militias. Hence, it is not surprising that many elderly retired peshmergas listed themselves to fight IS, while the younger generation with no combat experience had fewer motivations, especially since many of them have not been paid regularly, due to the central Iraqi government’s budget cuts to the KRG. The protection of the people, otherwise glorified when its suits the propaganda, is reduced to yet another ordinary part of the apparatus of the state institution.

Ideologically, the tribal-feudal, conservative KDP stands in stark contrast with the leftist-feminist ideology of the Kurdish political movement affiliated with the PKK, the KDP’s traditional rival. The revolution in Rojava is ideologically close to the PKK and the system that is being established there is founded on the PKK’s ideological representative Abdullah Öcalan’s concept of “Democratic Confederalism”. Though the PKK started out with the aim of an independent Kurdish state in the late 70s, it has long transformed its vision and now promotes radical local grass-roots self-governance, gender equality, and ecology, which aims at deeming existing arbitrary borders as meaningless. It rejects the institution of the state as inherently oppressive and hegemonic and discards nationalism as a primitive, backward concept. This move away from statehood as the ultimate manifesto of “independence” has made nationalist sections like the KDP accuse the PKK-affiliated movement of having given up on the “Kurdish dream”.

But is it really true that ideology doesn’t matter in politics, as many claim? No. Even if critical situations often require some pragmatism, in many ways, the events in Şengal illustrate the failure of the nation-state paradigm and the implementation of democratic confederalism in action. In trying to define liberation in terms of capitalist growth, leading to odd pride in oil sales that really only benefit a few multi-millionaire tribes, instead of developing society in a meaningful way, and in trying to assert independence only within the restrictive parameters of the nation-state, which necessitates reliance on some larger power for backup, the KDP has enslaved itself completely and was left absolutely dependent on others.

In spite of its macho attempts to declare independence on the backs of other Kurds and other peoples in the region, it failed to protect its citizens and illustrated that the subscription to the dominant order means the opposite of independence.Those who are now in complete denial over the fact that their heroes withdrew now try to save their face by shunning any kind of criticism against the KDP by appealing to this mysterious thing called “Kurdish unity”. Of course it is very convenient to portray criticism of the KDP as promoting disunity. But in reality, it is very open and clear, who has been dividing the Kurds with their opportunistic policies.

The KDP has contributed to the rise of IS with its hostilities against Rojava.

When IS massacred Kurds in Rojava, the KDP dug a border trench and pointed guns at the people. And now that IS threatened the KRG, it was not the border-trench-digging, oil-selling, wealthy, established, and internationally favored Kurdish party of statehood, the KDP, which rescued ten thousands of lives in its sphere of control, in spite of its arrogant independence campaign. The ones that reject the nation-state independently started a rescue mission, independently fought IS without foreign political, economic, or military support, and independently set up a refugee camp for ten thousands of Yezîdîs, because their understanding of self-determination, freedom, autonomy, and independence recognizes the restrictive, oppressive framework within which the institution of the state operates. Their focus on self-reliance and self-sustainability displayed a more meaningful concept of independence, while, though criticizing nationalism as a backward principle, also illustrating real unity.

After all, the PKK guerrillas and their affiliated fighters, i.e. YPG/YPJ from Rojava and PJAK guerrillas from Rojhelat (East Kurdistan/Western Iran) had also previously declared their support for the people in South Kurdistan immediately, when Mosul and Kirkuk were attacked, just as they are now protecting South Kurdistan, regardless of the KDP’s opportunistic actions. Their ideology and political practices also commit to the unity of all peoples, not just nationalist unity among Kurds. Clearly there is a massive difference between different understandings of “independence” and “unity” at hand.

The KDP’s policies exploit the understandable emotional attachment of people, who have lived through a genocide under Saddam Hussein in their living collective memory. This mentality distorts the consciousness of the people so much that every challenge to its corrupt rule are painted as “trying to destroy what we hardly earned”. This understanding of freedom is to have what everyone else does, power, establishment, and hegemony, when in reality, absolutely no state in the Middle East is autonomous and independent in a meaningful way.

What makes people think that the KRG, which is still bound to the Iraqi government, a government which itself is a puppet of the US, will be anything worthy of being called independent?

If the people want to subscribe to a system like this, based on chauvinist empty nationalism and complete dependency by being a puppet of foreign powers, in the illusion of being independent, then they should accept the nation-state paradigm with all the ugliness and corruptions that come with it. They should decide whether it is a worthy “Kurdish dream”, when an Iranian embassy in the KRG can issue a statement that says “Kurdish is not a language”. Or whether it should be a source of pride to see Turkish foreign minister Davutoglu address the people in South Kurdistan in Kurdish, when there are thousands of political prisoners in Turkish prisons, because they want the Kurdish language to have a legal base in Turkey.

If this is the kind of Kurdistan people dream of, they should be less surprised that this sort of “independence” means having to desperately wait for American aid, when Yezîdî citizens are massacred. But then they also should not have laughed at the Iraqi army for deserting Mosul and Kirkuk. Or perhaps they should just stop abusing the word independence. But the KDP’s clever backstabbing propaganda of statehood, which uses terms like “independence” -clever terminology no reasonable Kurd would seem to say no to- to assert its power, should be an insult for people, who have been bravely fighting against Saddam Hussein, in the hope for freedom.

It is no surprise that the same statehood-obsessed mentality enthusiastically praised Netanyahu for his support for Kurdish statehood in June. Although one would think that Kurds would understand the suffering of the Palestinians under the apartheid fascist occupation of the state of Israel very well, it is yet again the dogma of the state that defines morality in terms of interest, leading to the odd conclusion of having to ally with Israel. Perhaps the Kurds, who had applauded Netanyahu, felt ashamed of themselves, when the mass murderous military campaign on the Palestinian people was launched by Israel, briefly after Netanyahu’s statement in support of Kurdish statehood.

This same mentality that relies on the illusion of independence as statehood puts the people into such a deep state of false consciousness that they almost scream “Thank you for your bombs, America!”, as if U.S. foreign policy was out there handing out bombs out of their random, unconditional love for the Kurdish people. First of all, the current discourse in international media, which treats Kurds as discardable objects, while calculating whether or not they are deserving of support, based on how “loyal” to the West they could be, is absolutely shameless, ruthless, and degrading. Over the top of the heads of people, who stare in the face of a genocide, Western analysts speculate which people would be more available to serve Western interests and whether they are deserving of being blessed with the same weapons that they had previously sold to other corrupt governments which have passed them on to the jihadists. Secondly, global arms trade and US policies are some of the factors that created this horrible situation that is World War III in everything but in name, in the first place. Thus, it is hard to conceive how they could be the solution. The heavy weapons in the possession of IS were mostly captured when they invaded Mossul; they are mainly American weapons.

Believing that IS will be eradicated with a few air strikes or the arming of puppet regimes on the ground is wishful thinking. At least it is for those, who want to feel like they have accomplished something useful, in order to be able to sleep with a better conscience. But for the dominant powers, it is the cleverest way of reproducing their interests in the region. Just let that sink in for a moment: After having started an unjust war in Iraq, playing the second Cold War in Syria, ignoring the Kurdish cantons in Syria, which have established very progressive structures in spite of their extreme situation, and closing eyes to obvious support for jihadists by its allies, the US now bombs the area again to destroy a jihadist group which holds American weapons and which would have never come so far without foreign support (esp. from US allies like Turkey, Saudi and Qatar) and so many deliberately closed eyes – the U.S. is yet again engaging in military action, still labeling the ones who rescued the Yezîdîs as terrorists – and we are expected to stage standing ovations! The Americans are yet again praised as the saviors of the Middle East, even though their aid arrived on mount Sinjar, long after those that they designate as terrorists had already rescued the people! How kafkaesque!

Apart from that, air strikes are an extreme short-term attempt of a solution and will only defer the decline of the region to a later date. Blunt military action ignores the fact that the IS enjoys a decent support base especially among Sunnis, who have been alienated and marginalized from Maliki’s Shiite regime, as well as Assad’s Alawite regime. U.S. and European policies have actively exploited these existing sectarian divides. IS was able to seize heavy US artillery in Mosul so easily, partly because of these sectarian tensions. It ignores the fact that IS does not consist of a bunch of crazy, irrational bandits, but that it is a well-organized group that uses rhetorics and technology in a very sophisticated manner. It ignores the fact that the so-called “collateral damages” in unjust wars in Muslim-majority countries were actually losses of the lives of hundred thousands of real people, whose communities now want to take revenge. It ignores the fact that many of the jihadists join from European countries, after Islamophobia and xenophobia have discriminated against them in societies that teach equal opportunity. Of course absolutely NONE of these aspects justify the barbaric mass murders of IS, but it becomes obvious that a mere bombing of the symptom will not get rid of the disease. A disease which has been fueled by U.S. and European foreign policy, global arms trade, and support for jihadists by NATO-allies, on top of the existing sectarian tensions. The peoples of the Middle East, as well as EU and US citizens deserve to know that.

The solution cannot be just to bomb IS, the solution must be radical and political and must include the recognition of actors such as the cantons in Rojava, as well as the PKK, who have been the main parties to rescue the Yezidis and who have been fighting jihadists for two years. Not because they “deserve” support, but because they have the people’s legitimacy through popular support from millions of people, who regard them as their representatives. This must include the delisting of the PKK from the EU and US lists of terrorist organizations. As with many other cases of “terror listing”, the labeling of the PKK as “terrorist” is a foreign policy of appeasement and control, an inter-NATO present for Turkey. At least the delisting would relieve the confused public and media who scratch their heads over how terrorists could be fighting terrorists, after they have been conditioned to subscribe to a black-and-white world. Terror listings make no distinction between cruel, barbaric, inhumane thugs or political actors, who challenge the interests of the status quo. And in the case of the PKK, the terror designation criminalizes entire communities of ordinary people. Similarly, Rojava has to be recognized. The co-presidents of the PYD in Rojava have been trying to engage in diplomatic contacts with political actors, but have been refused visas into some EU countries as well as the USA several times.

Independence and Freedom

Bombing the area for a short-term solution, but still engaging in the same political strategies will perpetuate the same corrupt, sectarian system of dependency in the region and just prolong the process of the slow death of the Middle East. Letting go off the dogma of the nation-state and hegemonic power thus also has the potential to liberate the peoples of the Middle East from the Stockholm syndrome-like straight jacket, which looks Westward whenever a crisis emerges. Of course the state of statelessness makes entire communities vulnerable, in a system that denies entire lived realities by recognizing only a few institutionalized forms of power, called states. The Kurds know this best. However, the problem is not statelessness, but the state. Rejecting the state does not mean surrender, because the state is not to be confused with autonomy, freedom, or independence. On the contrary, the events in Şengal clearly show the shortcomings of this idea. As PKK commander Duran Kalkan puts it: “The essence of the state is a force for organised suppression and exploitation. The state is a system, to be a state means to be a part of the system. This means dependence and collaboration. Small states are dependent on larger states, and they are all dependent to the state system. It is very clear that the state cannot be free and independent. The statist paradigm has no room for independence and freedom. Only societies with a free and independent consciousness can truly be free and independent. This can only be achieved through the organised individual and society, which will lead to a democratic individual and society.”

The insitution of the state has indoctrinated our thought patterns so much that we are unable to conceive of an alternative system. However, when we look at the cantons in Rojava, we can see a hopeful example of how, in spite of some shortcomings due to inexperience and the lack of resources due to economic and political embargoes, democratic, secular, and gender-egalitarian structures of self-determination can evolve. In the midst of the Syrian civil war, the people of Rojava have declared three cantons with 22 ministries each, where each minister has two deputies, one Kurd, one Arab, one Assyrian, at least one of which has to be a woman. They have built people’s councils in cities, villages, and neighborhoods, as well as farming and living cooperatives, women’s councils, and women’s academies. The PKK-inspired co-presidency principle, which splits the chair between one woman and one man, as well as a 50-50 split among women and men in all administrative levels are enforced. Even if media perpetuates this claim, the Rojava revolution does not aim to secede from Syria, because it no longer considers the borders of Sykes-Picot as valid. This sort of independence and autonomy relies on itself, regardless of the arbitrary statist structures imposed from the outside. Hence, in spite of international marginalization, while fighting Assad and IS under bad conditions, it was fighters from Rojava, who came to the rescue of the Yezîdis in South Kurdistan. This should be a much more desirable aim than being able to say “I have a state, I am part of the system.

And last but not least, the feminicidal IS-groups wage a war on women. They specifically dehumanize women as means to an end, enslaving them for one or two hour-long lasting so-called “jihad marriages” to rape them with so-called “religious approval”. In their war on women, they have declared it as “halal” (i.e. “permissible”) to rape the women on the side of their enemies, using sexual violence as a systematic tool of war. It is estimated that thousands of women have been kidnapped, raped or sold in slave markets by IS. According to delegations that visited Şengal, hundreds of women have committed suicide, in order not to fall into the hands of IS. Against this ultra-patriarchal hell, the concept of democratic confederalism and the PKK’s women’s liberation ideology are also a strong and radical counter-force to the disgusting mentality of IS.

According to YPG/YPJ fighters, jihadists believe to lose their status as martyrs when dying from a woman’s hand. The Kurdish women’s movement however does not only struggle against the ultra-patriarchal jihadi mentality on the military terrain; the struggle is a wider social emancipatory project and has already challenged and changed patriarchy in Kurdistan to a remarkable degree. Transforming society’s gender awareness and founding its freedom on fundamental principles like gender equality, as manifested in all elements of the movement, [be this in Rojava’s administration or in North Kurdistan (East Turkey), where Kurdish women make up more than 60% of all women mayors in all of Turkey (more than 80% if the co-presidents are counted), thanks to the movement’s efforts to transform society – something which again, stands in stark contrast to the KDP’s feudal-patriarchal tribal characteristics], is a much more sustainable form of struggle against the mentality of IS. After all, IS exploited the conservative notion of “honor” as the control over women’s sexualities and bodies, which was already prevalent in the region, to assert its feminicide. Challenging the state as the institutional extension of patriarchy has contributed immensely to the liberation of women in Kurdistan. This is the ideology behind the women fighters, who cause so much fear in IS jihadists that they wage a war on women.

The fighters of the Kurdish defense forces from Rojava (West Kurdistan/Syria), who have been internationally marginalized and ostracized for two years, and guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, which is labelled as a terrorist organization, have taught the international community a lesson in humanitarian intervention. They have further taught the KDP, the macho of statehood, what real independence and autonomy mean. The people can only liberate themselves and these past couple of days have illustrated that being a puppet of the global capitalist, nation-state-oriented order, a policy of Barzanî’s party, leads to complete dependency and unfreedom, while those outside of the dominant system have efficiently and impressively saved thousands of lives. It is high time that we reconsider what kind of freedom we envision. I believe that we owe this to all the human beings that now suffer in this hell on earth.


The first presenter is Dilar Dikirk.

In the second segment, YPJ Commander, Dilşah Osman, provides historical context  regarding the origins of the Kurdish Women’s Movement and the Rojava revolution.

She describes their meeting with the Syrian National Council at the beginning of the war against Syria and states that they saw nothing of benefit for the people of Rojava in particular, or Syria at large.

The women determined that the SNC was nothing more than a backwards Muslim Brotherhood initiative, which they wanted no part of.

That the SNC are takfiris, is an irrefutable fact.

That the FSA has coordinated with the SNC since its formation in 2011 is also true.

Vladimir Putin: The US is Destabilizing the Entire World

Da’ash and the Turkish-American Plot to Destroy the Kurdish Revolutionary Experiment in Direct Democracy

Turmoil in Hong Kong, Terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s Covert War on China

Iran and the Proxy War in Kurdistan

Malalai Joya: Fiery Salutations to the Brave Women of Koubani

US Army Special Operations Command Counter-Unconventional Warfare White Paper

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