Afghanistan

Noam Chomsky:The United States still thinks it rules the world but it is losing control

Noam Chomsky

"The principle on which the international system is based is that the US is entitled to use force at will and talk of it violating international law is completely silly."

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab spring is limited, but it's not insignificant.
The western-controlled dictatorial system is being eroded. In fact, it's been being eroded for some time.

So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources – the main concern of US planners – have been mostly nationalised. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.
Take the US invasion of Iraq, for example.

To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq not because of our love of democracy but because it's maybe the second- or third-largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy-producing region. You're not supposed to say this. It's considered a conspiracy theory.

The United States was seriously defeated in Iraq by Iraqi nationalism – mostly by nonviolent resistance. The United States could kill the insurgents, but they couldn't deal with half a million people demonstrating in the streets. Step by step, Iraq was able to dismantle the controls put in place by the occupying forces.

Obamas Perpetual War

Micah Zenko - Foreign Policy

"The United States is in a state of perpetual war, spending $633 billion this year on defense, with over 200,000 US servicemembers deployed around the world."

During his second inaugural address on 21 January 2013, President Obama offered two aspirational statements that struck many observers as incongruous with administration policies: "A decade of war is now ending" and "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

We should question these observations, not least because of the string of US government plans and activities that increasingly blur the conventional definition of war.

My own list of war-like activities since Obama's inaugural would include:
four drone strikes that killed 16 people (all in Yemen);
the acknowledgement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding drones, "We've done that in Pakistan. We're doing it in Yemen and elsewhere. I think the reality is its going to be a continuing tool of national defense in the future";

the announcement that the US military would provide intelligence, transportation, and refueling support for the French intervention in Mali;
the signing of a US-Niger status of forces agreement that will likely include a drone base for surveillance missions, although US officials "have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point";
the forthcoming expansion (perhaps quintupling) of US Cyber Command, including "combat mission forces" for offensive cyberattacks;
the executive branch's secret legal review determining that Obama "has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad";
the Marine commandant's announcement of a new "crisis response unit" that would be "rapidly employable" to "address crises";

Owen Jones: The War 10 Years On

Owen Jones: After The Iraq War - Never Again

Owen Jones - The Independent [UK]

"The hawks were wrong on every count. Wrong about the weapons; wrong about being greeted with flowers; wrong about the human cost; wrong about Iraq becoming a flourishing democracy."

Almost exactly a decade ago, on a bitingly cold February day, we marched in our hundreds of thousands to stop a catastrophe.

The historic demonstration against the Iraq war was more of a shuffle than a march: the streets were too crammed to walk very fast. The coach to London was packed full of car workers. Lollipop ladies, firefighters, supermarket shelf stackers, lecturers, shopkeepers marched: there was a euphoria that people power brings.

When we left for our pick-up points, placards scattering the street, chants still echoing in the evening air, we thought we had won. How could the greatest mass of demonstrators to have ever swarmed through Britain’s streets be tossed aside?

It is a memory now punctured with bitterness. Yes, we helped trigger one of the greatest parliamentary rebellions in history as 139 Labour MPs defied the Whip, but the largely united Tories came to Tony Blair’s rescue.

When I visit schools, students who were six, seven or eight years old when we marched ask how they can change anything if up to two million demonstrators couldn’t. And forget the expenses scandal: it was Iraq that exploded what trust millions had in our political establishment.

But the real anguish lies elsewhere. The consequences of the Iraq obscenity were far worse than those of us who yelled “Not In Our Name” imagined. Years of blood and chaos followed. There can be no sense of triumphalism or vindication.

AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan story in modern times is one of invasion and division, but Tamim Ansary believes that urban modernisers.

History interrupted

 

BEN ANDERSON REVIEW IN IRISH TIMES, 090213.

AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan story in modern times is one of invasion and division, but Tamim Ansary believes that urban modernisers can coax the rural population into a better future

Games Without Rules, By Tamim Ansary, Public Affairs, 416pp, £17.99 

Tamim Ansary’s new book is about the “often interrupted” history of Afghanistan, focusing on the past 250 years. “Five times in the last two centuries,” he writes in the introduction, “some great power has tried to invade, occupy, conquer or otherwise take control of Afghanistan . . . These interventions have all come to grief in much the same way and for much the same reasons.”

Oh no, I thought, another book about that? There have been almost as many “graveyard of empires” books as there have been soldiers’ own accounts of the six-months-in-hell variety, and rarely does either offer anything new.

Open Society Justice Initiative report confirm 'Ireland facilitated CIA renditions'

Eoin Burke Kennedy - The Irish Times

Ireland was one of 54 countries which helped facilitate the CIA's secret detention, rendition and interrogation programme in the years after the 9/11 attacks, according a new report.

The report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group, said foreign governments aided the US’s counterterrorism offensive in various ways including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing, and abusing individuals; assisting in the capture and transport of detainees; permitting the use of domestic airspace and airports for secret flights transporting detainees.

Its Globalising Torture report identified 136 people who had been held or transferred illegally by the CIA, the largest list compiled to date.

It also provided new information about the handling of both al-Qaeda suspects and innocent people caught up in the counterterrorism programme.

The report said Ireland permitted the use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations.

Its evidence against Ireland was based on a number of sources including three high-level reports from the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the United Nations which expressed concern about the country’s "alleged co-operation" in the CIA rendition program.

It also cited documents from a legal case brought by extraordinary rendition victims against Jeppesen Dataplan, a company that provided flight planning and logistical support services for CIA extraordinary rendition flights, and which indicated that Ireland allowed use of its airspace and use of Shannon airport for CIA rendition flights.

US court records from another case involving Richmor Aviation, a company that operated CIA extraordinary rendition flights, also show that at least 13 flights operated by Richmor involving US personnel landed in Ireland between 2002 and 2004.

Syndicate content