Afghanistan

Six Nato troops and eight women killed in Afghanistan - IRISH TIMES / GUARDIAN

Six Nato troops and eight women killed in Afghanistan

EMMA GRAHAM-HARRISON in Kabul

IN A WEEKEND that highlighted the strains on the international mission in Afghanistan the Taliban mounted an audacious and deadly assault on the main British base in Helmand, six Nato troops were killed by Afghan allies, and an airstrike yesterday killed eight women who were out collecting pine nuts.

On Friday night an attack on Camp Bastion caught commanders by surprise, when a 15-strong suicide squad wearing US military uniforms and armed with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles punched through the wall of a base considered almost impregnable because of its isolated location and heavily fortified perimeter.

Inside, the attackers killed two US soldiers, destroyed six multi-million pound Harrier jets and three refuelling stations, “significantly damaged” two other jets, and hit six aircraft hangars.

Nato commanders often talk of the insurgency being weakened. In May, the top UK officer in Afghanistan, Lieut Gen Adrian Bradshaw, said the Taliban’s weapon supplies and financing were under pressure. “I would say that we have clear evidence that the momentum has been reversed,” he said.

But Friday’s sophisticated, destructive and high-profile assault served as a reminder of the resources and discipline of the Taliban, at a time when Nato troops are streaming home for good, sometimes at a rate of hundreds a day. The attack may even affect combat operations in the south, because there are now eight fewer aircraft to support troops spread out across Helmand.

“We couldn’t afford this loss,” a US marine aviation officer told the Long War Journal website.

Nato expresses "regret" over civilian deaths in airstrike - claim initially rejected by US coalition.

Nato expresses "regret" over civilian deaths in airstrike - claim initially rejected by US coalition.

Time to ask on anniversary of 9/11: who pays and who profits from endless US wars?

JOHNNY BARBER - COUNTERPUNCH

On average, one US soldier dies everyday. Not an enormous sum, unless it is your mother, father, son or daughter that has perished. Few Americans notice. Afghan loses are not reported.

ELEVEN YEARS LATER, we are still at war. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born will continue to pay for decades to come.

On a single day in Iraq last week there were 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilians and wounding another 235. On Sept 9th, reports indicate 88 people were killed and another 270 injured in 30 attacks all across the country. Iraq continues in a seemingly endless death spiral into chaos. In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, Obama claimed he ended the war in Iraq, well… not quite.

The city of Fallujah remains under siege. Not from US troops, but from a deluge of birth defects that have plagued families since the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus by US forces in 2004. No government studies have provided a direct link to the use of these weapons because no government studies have been undertaken, and none are contemplated.

Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, told Al Jazeera,

From Nazi uniform to army fatigues -- can Prince Harry rehabillitate the war in Afghanistan?

From Nazi uniform to army fatigues -- can Prince Harry rehabillitate the war in Afghanistan?
07 September 2012 Lindsey German Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Royal Family has traditionally dressed up in uniforms to pretend that we’re all in this together. That’s why Prince Harry’s return is being so widely publicised.
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By Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
7 September 2012

SO PRINCE HARRY is back in Afghanistan. Fresh from a strenuous summer celebrating the Jubilee, watching the Olympics and partying in Las Vegas, he is now engaged in flying Apache helicopters in Camp Bastion.

Rehabillitating the reputation of the third in line to the throne has been a full time task for many years -- his most notorious fall from grace being when he dressed up as a Nazi for a friend's party.

No doubt the royal publicity machine and Harry's military commanders will hope that this time he isn't caught on video calling Asian colleagues in the army "our little Paki friend" or using racist terms like "raghead", as he was in 2006.

Unlike his last tour of duty in the war zone, when there was complete press silence over his presence while he was there, this time his return is heralded in a blaze of publicity. Compliant media, including the Guardian, are happy to write sympathetic pieces, in return for future (no doubt sympathetic) coverage when he leaves in four months time.

No doubt The Sun will have no end of "Prince Harry fights Taliban" headlines, like it did following the last time he was in Afghanistan.

Desmond Tutu: Blair & Bush should face trial over Iraq War

TOBY HELM - THE OBSERVER

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the international criminal court in The Hague and delivered a damning critique of the physical and moral devastation caused by the Iraq war.

Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner and hero of the anti-apartheid movement, accuses the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and says the invasion left the world more destabilised and divided "than any other conflict in history".

Writing in the Observer, Tutu also suggests the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.

"The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain," Tutu argues, "fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us."

But it is Tutu's call for Blair and Bush to face justice in The Hague that is most startling. Claiming that different standards appear to be set for prosecuting African leaders and western ones, he says the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict is sufficient on its own for Blair and Bush to be tried at the ICC.

"On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague," he says.

The court hears cases on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. To date, 16 cases have been brought before the court but only one, that of Thomas Lubanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been completed. He was sentenced earlier this year to 14 years' imprisonment for his part in war crimes in his home country.

Islamophobia, the left and the Arab Spring

John Molyneux - Irish Anti-War Movement committee member

[N.B - this article is the view of the author and does not necessarily represent those of movement as a whole]

One of the strengths of the Irish Anti-War Movement (and, it should be said, of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain) is the clear stand it has taken against Islamophobia, as both a condition and a consequence of its alliance with anti- war elements in the muslim community.in mobilising against the Iraq War and the ‘War on Terror’.

This is important because Islamophobia has become the main, or one of the main, forms of racism (along with Anti-Gipsy racism in Eastern Europe) in contemporary Europe.

Historically racism has passed through several phases each building on but also modifying the previous phase: 1) anti-black racism that arose out of and justified the slave trade in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; 2) the racism of imperialism (including anti- Irish racism, at its height in the late 19th and early 20th century; 3) anti – immigrant racism, especially in the second half of the 20th century. The first emphasised the sub-human and savage nature of black people so as to exclude them from the ‘rights of man’ being fought for by the European bourgeoisie at this time. The second shifted the emphasis to “childlike” and “immature” character of non- European peoples to justify their being taken under the wing of their colonial masters. The third focussed less on biological inferiority and more on cultural difference, making the economically required presence of immigrants in Europe into a “problem”.

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