Embracing the Saudi War on Yemen

April 28, 2015
Consortium News, April 25, 2015

Exclusive: Fearful of further offending the powerful Saudi-Israeli alliance, President Obama is deploying the U.S. Navy to seal off poverty-stricken Yemen so the Saudi air force has free rein to pummel its regional rivals from the air while the population faces a humanitarian crisis on the ground, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Obama administration seems less concerned about the plight of the desperate Yemeni people than the feelings of the Saudi royals who have spent the last month indiscriminately bombing a nearly defenseless Yemen, using high-tech U.S. jets and bombs to reportedly kill hundreds of civilians and damage its ancient cities.

On Friday, the Obama administration took credit for blocking nine Iranian ships from reaching Yemen with relief supplies, claiming that the ships may have carried weapons that the Yemenis could use in their civil war or to defend against Saudi attacks. President Barack Obama had dispatched a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet to the Yemeni coast to enforce an embargo that has helped the Saudis seal off the country from outside help.

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Commemorating the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan

April 26, 2015

Nasir Khan, April 27, 2015

Today is the anniversary of the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan. On 27 April 1978, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took over power. The socialist friends of Afghanistan are aware of the historic significance of this revolution in Afghanistan and for the people of the neighbouring countries.

What happened to the Afghan Revolution and the revolutionaries is the story of the US intervention with the help of other US-friendly countries, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc., and the American help to create and arm the so-called Afghan Mujahidin to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.

In this way, the US and the Mujahidin were able to extinguish the candle of fraternity, social and political reforms, women’s equal rights and people’s power that the Afghan revolution had lit. After destroying the revolution, the US imperialism fought a 13-year long destructive war in Afghanistan against the same forces of religious fanaticism and Islamism that it had helped to create to use against Afghanistan and revolution’s Soviet backers.

Now America is happy. It controls the destiny of Afghanistan with the help of its nominal rulers who are closely allied to Washington. But the Islamist Taliban are still there and are a potential threat to the political arrangement the US had chartered for Afghanistan.

US presence in Ukraine in breach of Minsk accord: Russia

April 25, 2015
Press TV, Apr 23, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov © AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov © AFP

The presence of US paratroops in Ukraine to train government forces is in violation of the Minsk agreement on the Kiev side, Russia’s foreign minister says.

Sergei Lavrov made the remarks during a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Lavrov drew [Kerry’s] attention to the fact that the arrival of [US] soldiers … indicates that Kiev has violated its commitments to withdraw all foreign units, military hardware and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” the ministry added.

Earlier this month about 300 US troops from the US 173rd Airborne Brigade for Operation Fearless Guardian arrived in Ukraine’s western city of Yavoriv to train the Ukrainian National Guard in their fight against pro-Russia forces in the country’s eastern provinces.

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EU’s Israel-Palestine Policy Is Out Of Touch With Reality

April 23, 2015

Alan Hart, Information Clearing House, April 22, 2015

In a letter calling on European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to promote and implement a 2012 plan to mark produce and products for the European marketplace from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 16 EU foreign ministers stated that what they are requesting is “an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution”.

If that’s what they truly believe, the 16 who signed the letter – they included the foreign ministers of Britain and France but not Germany – are clearly out of touch with reality because the two-state solution has long been dead, killed by Israel’s on-going colonisation and ethnic cleansing by stealth.

There are, of course, two other possible explanations.

One is that those who signed the letter (as well as their EU ministerial colleagues who didn’t) are entertaining the hope that the Palestinian Authority can be bullied and bribed into accepting a two-state solution on Israel’s terms – terms which would leave Israel in occupation of large chunks of the West Bank and the Palestinian “state” little more than a collection of disconnected Bantustans, with Israel’s various security services still in overall control.

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Causing genocide to protect us from terror

April 18, 2015

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

Published time: March 30, 2015 12:52

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007.  (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.

In the comprehensive 101 pagedocument ‘Body Count,’

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.

The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen – and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.

“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says.

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Richard Falk: Weakening and Discrediting the UN: The Mission of Israeli QGOs

April 17, 2015

 

Richard Falk,  GLOBAL JUSTICE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, April 17, 2015

 

[Prefatory Note: This post is the full text of my presentation at an excellent conference “The Israeli Lobby: Is it good for US? Is it Good for Israel?” National Press Club, Washington, D.C., April 10, 2015; the conference was sponsored and organized by the editorial leadership of the magazine Washington Report, which brings together some of the best writing on the Israel/Palestine struggle. I encourage readers of this blog to look at the full conference either at the YouTube website or the audio recording at http://www.israellobbyus.org Although there were many illuminating presentations during the day, and I would call particular attention to the memorable remarks of two highly informed Israelis, Gideon Levy and Miko Peled.]


There are no better texts for assessing the damage done to the role and reputation of the UN by the Israeli Lobby than to consider Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent statements boasting about the U.S. success in protecting Israel from criticisms arising from its non-fulfillment of responsibilities under international law and as a member of the United Nations. It should be understood that the lobby does not act in a vacuum, and its leverage is greatly enhanced in global settings to the considerable extent that its priorities overlap with the strategic and economic interests of the United States in the Middle East.

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Religion and Morality – Can We Be Moral Without Believing in Supernatural?

April 16, 2015

 

Dr Reza Varjavand, Iranian.com,  July 21, 2013

While imperative, morality is a subjective matter that involves judgment about right and wrong. Like the concept of rationality, morality entails behaving in a certain way that is consistent with a specific objective that may be personal gratification or primarily religious conviction. Historically, religion has served as a source of morality. A religious morality system is designed to guide and control the conducts of the believers. The problem with religious morality scheme, however, is that it is derived from a supernatural deity and believed to be irrefutable, timeless, and no one can challenge its preeminence. Ergo, those who do not believe in supernatural power, like secular/atheists, will be ostracized by religion and labeled as depraved. As I argue below, such stereotyping is as unsubstantiated as claiming that students who attend religious colleges cheat less than those who attend secular universities.

Is immorality really an outgrowth of secularism/atheism? There are 7 billion people living in the world today, almost 14 percent of them do not believe in supernatural. Are they any less moral than religious people? The primary motive why religious enthusiasts try to link secularity /atheism to immorality and even social anarchy is to create fear or to prey on the gullibility of regular folks.  Frankly, the accusation that irreligiosity is the source of immorality in the society is nothing but wishful thinking for three reasons.

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Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel

April 16, 2015

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Featured photo - Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel

A new poll from Bloomberg Politics contains a finding that, if you really think about it, is quite remarkable:

Almost half of all Americans want to support Israel even if its interests diverge from the interests of their own country. Only a minority of Americans (47 percent) say that their country should pursue their own interests over supporting Israel’s when the two choices collide. It’s the ultimate violation of George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address warning that “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded. … The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

It is inconceivable that a substantial portion of Americans would want to support any other foreign country even where doing so was contrary to U.S. interests. Only Israel commands anything near that level of devoted, self-sacrificing fervor on the part of Americans. So it’s certainly worth asking what accounts for this bizarre aspect of American public opinion.

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Hyping the Iranian ‘Threat’

April 13, 2015

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Consortium News, April 9, 2015

Iran hasn’t invaded another country for centuries and is helping the U.S. push back against the Islamic State in Iraq, but Israeli leaders and American neocons want to enlist the West in the Saudi cause of promoting Sunni Islam over Shiite Islam, while America’s interests suffer, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

By Paul R. Pillar

The idea of Iran as a regional marauder that is gobbling up other countries in the Middle East and against which pressure must therefore be unrelenting has become one of the favorite themes of those determined to kill the nuclear agreement with Tehran. As an argument for rejecting the nuclear deal, this approach has always suffered from major factual and logical flaws.

Given the casual and automatic manner in which references to Iran supposedly sowing mayhem all over the region are routinely worked into almost any discussion of policy toward Iran, it perhaps is too much to expect many people to stop and study the flaws. Perhaps we should just remind people who make those casual references that if Iran really were bent on causing all that mayhem, that is all the more reason to support an agreement to assure that the marauder does not get a nuclear weapon.

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NATO rearmament increases risk of war in Europe

April 11, 2015
By Johannes Stern , wsws, 11 April 2015

NATO’s rearmament in Eastern Europe is increasingly taking on the form of open war preparations against Russia, raising the danger of a nuclear war between the Western powers and Moscow.

On Friday, the Western military alliance completed the first test of its new super-rapid reaction force, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). As part of the “Noble Jump” manoeuvres, the chain of command from NATO Headquarters SHAPE in Belgium was tested via the NATO command in Naples, the German-Netherlands Corps in Münster, and the units in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic. There were troop movements in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

The exercise is part of the systematic military rearmament of NATO in Eastern Europe following the pro-Western coup in Ukraine and the subsequent military offensive by Kiev in the east of the country.

Western heads of state and government agreed to the establishment of the VJTF at the NATO summit in September last year in Wales. It belongs to the NATO Response Force (NRF), the NATO rapid reaction force, whose troop strength was doubled in early February to 30,000 soldiers. In an emergency, the 5,000-strong so-called “spearhead” of the NRF can be operational within 48 hours.

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