Category Archives: Middle East & North Africa

Vladimir Putin: U.S. actions in Iraq and Libya examples of ‘doomed’ unilateralism

2011 NATO Bombing of Libya Led to Rise of Militias Now Fighting for Oil-Rich Land: Interview with Vijay Prashad

‘Libya is experiencing its most intense fighting since the 2011 NATO-backed campaign to remove Muammar Gaddafi. On Monday, the Libyan parliament that was replaced in an election in June reconvened and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as the new prime minister. This now leaves Libya with two rival leaders and assemblies, each backed by armed factions. Meanwhile the New York Times has revealed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes twice in the last week against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli. Despite the strikes, the Islamist militants managed to solidify control of the capital of Tripoli by taking over the main airport. “[The U.S. and NATO] bombed the country and opened the door for the different militias to now compete against each other,” says Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College. “So the day Gaddafi was killed, from then onwards, the militias have basically been at each other’s throats.”’ (Democracy Now!)

How Hillary Clinton’s ‘smart power’ turned Libya into a dumpster fire

Michael Brendan Dougherty writes for The Week:

Beware politicians waving peace signs.‘Nearly three years ago, then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waved a peace sign to cameras in Tripoli as she celebrated the U.S.-aided overthrow of the kleptocratic government of Moammar Gadhafi. Clinton claimed victory for her philosophy of “smart power,” the self-regarding name for bombing people on behalf of rebel groups in a war that would be cheap and easily forgotten.

That wasn’t long ago.

Today, Libya has two nominal governments that pretend to preside over an anarchic, stateless region that is being pillaged and harassed by terror gangs. One parliament, dominated by non-Islamists, meets in Tobruk, an eastern city 1,000 miles away from Tripoli. An Islamist-dominated parliament, previously elected, does meet in Tripoli, but is hardly in control there; Operation Dawn, an Islamist rebel group, seized control of Tripoli’s airport this week, setting the place ablaze. And Operation Dawn isn’t even the biggest “winner” on the ground; that honor would probably go to Ansar al-Shariah, another Islamic extremist group. Meanwhile, the country is also reportedly being bombarded by Egyptian and Emirati airstrikes, according to The New York Times, as the conflict goes regional.’

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Alastair Crooke: You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

Former MI6 Agent Alastair Crooke writes for The Huffington Post:

‘The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse. Saudi Arabia’s internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom’s doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.’

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The Powers Behind The Islamic State: Interview with Nafeez Ahmed

‘Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed gives specific examples of how Saudi, Qatari, and American interests have supported the group formerly known as ISIS, and what the global community can do now to reign them in.’ (The Real News)

BT alleged to have supplied high-speed fibre-optic cable to aid US drone strikes

Juliette Garside reports for The Guardian:

domestic high speed fibre optic network in close up‘The government has been asked to investigate whether BT is aiding drone strikes with a specially built military internet cable connecting US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

Evidence is mounting that the $23m (£13m) fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones, according to a complaint filed by the human rights group Reprieve.

The circuit runs from RAF Croughton, a base where US air force personnel staff a command, control, communications and computer support hub for global operations organised by the US military.’

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The Decline of the Fifth Republic: A Legacy of Imperialism

Alexander Reid Ross writes for CounterPunch:

‘After just two years in power, French Socialist François Hollande has become one of the least popular leaders in Europe. He has taken much of the blame for chipping away at France’s social wage and for the rise of the radical right wing. Rather than listening to his economy minister Arnaud Montebourg’s recap of Paul Krugman’s critique of “absurd” fiscal cuts, Hollande has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Emanuel Valls, dissolved his entire government, and ordered Valls to form a new cabinet. The question is not only whether Hollande can still call himself a socialist, but whether the French Fifth Republic can hold on.

The immediate response is that this is just a shakeup, typical of the rebellious style of French political life. But what if there is something much deeper at play? When the Fourth Republic fell in 1958, it was due to the coming dissolution of France’s colonial empire, beginning with Algeria. The French army swept through the backdoors of the French Republic, and in a rapid coup d’etat, overthrew the republican system, reinstating Charles de Gaulle as leader.

Although de Gaulle allowed the government to return to a quasi-democratic process, Gaullism has remained a hard kernel in French politics, emerging powerfully in the 1970s and again for 17 years through the Party for a Popular Movement’s big hitters, Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy, after a window of Socialist governance by François Mitterand in the 1980s. The chief reason for the recent shakeup in the French government is not only Montebourg’s claims that financial matters have been mishandled, but his insistence on comparing Hollande unfavorable to Margaret Thatcher and to de Gaulle, himself!’

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Biden Pushes Federalism in Iraq, But US Remains Pro-Centralization in Ukraine

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘The Obama Admniistration has for months been railing against Russian “interference” because the Russian Federation has been advocating a federal system in Ukraine as a way of increasing regional autonomy in the face of secessionist rebellions.

Never let it be said they won’t be openly hypocritical. Vice President Joe Biden penned an entire op-ed today in which he pushed for a federal system to be declared in Iraq, and that the US would “help” Iraq in implementing it. The US efforts is the mirror of the Russian effort, trying to satisfy its allied factions in the nation while tamping down a civil war that those factions are likely to lose.’

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Egypt and UAE strike Islamist militias in Libya

Anne Gearan reports for The Washington Post:

‘The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have carried out a series of airstrikes in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, U.S. officials said Monday, marking an escalation in the chaotic war among Libya’s rival militias that has driven American and other diplomats from the country.

The Obama administration did not know ahead of time about the highly unusual military intervention, although the United States was aware that action by Arab states might come as the crisis in Libya worsened, said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The airstrikes appear tied to fear over the growing muscle of Islamist militias. The region’s monarchies and secular dictatorships are increasingly alarmed about Islamist gains from Libya to Syria and Iraq. And the airstrikes may signal a new willingness by some Arab states to take on a more direct military role in the region’s conflicts.

Various groups in Libya have been battling for control of the main Tripoli airport, and the strikes may have been a failed attempt to keep the strategic facility from falling to extremists.’

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What Wannabe Jihadists Order on Amazon Before Leaving for Syria

Mehdi Hasan writes for the New Statesman:

The cast of Chris Morris’s black comedy Four Lions. Photo: Magnolia Pictures‘Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.

Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war”but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.’

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Suspect Identified in James Foley Beheading Is Failed Rapper

Rachel Browne reports for the Sydney Morning Herald:

‘British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have identified the man suspected of the horrific beheading of American journalist James Foley, according to British media reports. The hooded man with an English accent is believed to be 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, known to fellow Islamic State militants as Jihadi John.

The former rapper left his family home in an affluent west London suburb last year to fight in the civil war in Syria. In early August he tweeted a photo of himself wearing military camouflage and a black hood, while holding a severed head in his left hand. British SAS forces are hunting Foley’s killer, using a range of high-tech equipment to track him down and potentially free other hostages.’

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Foley murder video ‘may have been staged’

Bill Gardner reports for The Telegraph:

Still from video which shows the beheading of American journalist James Foley‘The video of James Foley’s execution may have been staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, it has emerged. Forensic analysis of the footage of the journalist’s death has suggested that the British jihadist in the film may have been the frontman rather than the killer.

The clip, which apparently depicts Mr Foley’s brutal beheading, has been widely seen as a propaganda coup for Islamic State miltant group. But a study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used.’

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A War on Gaza’s Future? Israeli Assault Leaves 500 Kids Dead, 3,000 Injured, 373,000 Traumatized

‘As the Israeli offensive in Gaza resumes, we look at the impact the military campaign has had on the children of Gaza. More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July. That is more than the combined number of child fatalities in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a life-long disability. The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. And, based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children’s right to an education has also been severely compromised with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. We speak to Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office. “There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” Ironside says. “The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children.”’ (Democracy Now!)

Gaza counts cost of war as more than 360 factories destroyed or damaged

Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian:

Gaza‘s economy will take years to recover from the devastating impact of the war, in which more than 360 factories have been destroyed or badly damaged and thousands of acres of farmland ruined by tanks, shelling and air strikes, according to analysts. Israeli air strikes on Gaza have resumed since a temporary ceasefire brokedown on Tuesday after rockets were fired from Gaza. The Israeli Defence Force said it launched air stikes on 20 sites on Friday morning and Gaza health officials said two Palestinians were killed in an attack on a farm.

Almost 10% of Gaza’s factories have been put out of action, said the Palestinian Federation of Industries. Most other industrial plants have halted production during the conflict, causing losses estimated at more than $70m (£42m), said the union of Palestinian industries. The UN’s food and agriculture organisation (FAO) said about 42,000 acres of croplands had sustained substantial direct damage and half of Gaza’s poultry stock has been lost due to direct hits or lack of care as access to farmlands along the border with Israel became impossible. More than 9% of the annual fishing catch was lost between 9 July and 10 August, it added.’

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Israel Mobilizes 10,000 More Reservists for Gaza War

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

‘With signs the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip is again escalating, the Israeli government has ordered the mobilization of another 10,000 reservists, bringing the number called up so far during the war to 96,000.

Israeli military officials say that the 10,000 will replace other reservists who are being temporarily sent home for rest, which also suggests that they are planning the war to be long enough they have to do troop rotations.’

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Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

The Independent reports:

‘Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July. In an open letter released by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and published as an advert in The New York Times, the group calls for a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel over its “wholesale effort to destroy Gaza”.

“Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the statement reads, “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.” The statement also condemns the United States for its financial and diplomatic support of Israel. The signatories express alarm at “the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever pitch.”’

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Netanyahu warns Gaza civilians after Israel destroys apartment block

Reuters reports:

Image AP Photo/Adel Hana‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. Israeli aircraft fired a non-explosive rocket at the building as a signal to residents to get out before attacking it on Saturday. Seventeen people were wounded in the strike on the structure, which Israel said had housed a Hamas command centre.

“I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us,” Netanyahu said in public remarks at a cabinet meeting. With no end in sight to fighting in its seventh week, Netanyahu’s tough talk seemed to indicate a move towards bolder strikes against Hamas targets in densely populated neighbourhoods, even at the risk of raising more international alarm.’

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Iran displays Israeli drone allegedly shot down near nuclear facility

The Jerusalem Post/Reuters reports:

‘The Iranian media released footage Monday of the Israeli spy drone it claimed to have shot down Sunday as it was heading for its Natanz nuclear enrichment site. The Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed Monday that it was working to extract intelligence and data from the drone’s remains. According to an Iranian military official, the drone was a Hermes model with a combat radius of 800 kilometers.

IRGC’s Public Relations Department General Ramezan Sharif was quoted by Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency as saying that some of the parts of the downed aircraft are working, “and our experts are studying the information and intelligence of these parts. We are now analyzing the information of this plane. The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” state news agency ISNA said, citing a statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.’

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FBI informant led cyberattacks on Turkey’s government

Dell Cameron reports for The Kernal:

‘After Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Hector Xavier Monsegur’s Manhattan apartment in June 2011, the FBI gave him a choice: Help take down the international hacktivist collective Anonymous, or go to prison for the rest of your life. He promptly flipped. What followed was a high-profile hacking spree that included attacks on Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the FBI’s own Virtual Academy, among others. Monsegur, better known by his alias Sabu, helped ensnare eight of the world’s top hackers in the process.

Monsegur’s exact role, however, and the FBI’s implicit involvement in the attacks have come under serious scrutiny in recent months. The Daily Dot previously revealed that, contrary to official reports, Monsegur, 30, orchestrated the devastating attack on Stratfor in December 2011. The breach caused an estimated $3.78 million in damages and left thousands of customers vulnerable to fraud. For the first time, The Kernel can now confirm Monsegur also led cyberattacks on Turkey’s government. The revelation further calls into question the role of federal investigators and their apparent willingness to exploit both hackers and major security flaws.’

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Focus magazine: Germany has spied on Turkey since 1976

Reuters reports:

‘Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies. The details about the duration of possible surveillance and on the decision-making surrounding it go further than first reports earlier this week. Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara on Monday after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years.

Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step. The magazine also cited government sources as saying the BND’s current mandate to monitor Turkish political and state institutions had been agreed by a government working group. That included representatives of the chancellor’s office, the defense, foreign and economy ministries. A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report.’

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The World’s Most Repressive Regimes Delight In U.S. Crack Down In Ferguson

Hayes Brown writes for Think Progress:

Police advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of protesters in Ferguson, MO on Sunday‘After years of being critiqued for its own crackdowns against dissidents, China has begun to use the ongoing clashes between police and protesters and police in Ferguson, MO as a way to lambaste the United States for hypocrisy, joining other repressive regimes in expressing no small amount of schadenfreude at the current situation.

The Chinese government either directly owns or oversees all media within the country, including the Xinhua news service. As such, the op-ed published on Monday from commentator Li Li can be read as being an unofficial statement from Beijing. In the article, Li takes the United States to task for not yet realizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, noting that “despite the progress, racial divide still remains a deeply-rooted chronic disease that keeps tearing U.S. society apart, just as manifested by the latest racial riot in Missouri.”’

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Foreign Oil Interests in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Rise of ISIS: Interview with Nafeez Ahmed and Antonia Juhasz

Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent:

‘The “caliphate” has some pretty tough theatrical producers. They write a bleak and savage script. Our job is now to respond to each line, and they understand us well enough to know just what we’ll say. So they beheaded James Foley and threatened to do the same to one of his colleagues, and what do we do? Exactly what I predicted 24 hours ago: turn Foley’s murder into a further reason to go on bombing the Isis “caliphate”. And what else did they provoke from us – or at least from America’s vacationing President? A battle on strictly religious terms, which is exactly what they wanted.

Yes, Barack Obama – before he headed back to the golf links – informed the world that “No just God would stand for what they [Isis] did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.” So there you have it: Obama turned the “caliphate’s” savagery into an inter-religious battle of rival Gods, “ours” [ie the West’s] against “theirs” [the Muslim God, of course]. This was the nearest Obama has yet come in rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 in which he said that “we” are going to go on a “Crusade”.’

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Obama makes ISIS enemy number one

Justin Sink reports for The Hill:

‘The Obama administration has elevated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to enemy No. 1 following the brutal murder of the American journalist James Foley. Top administration officials in recent days have denounced that the group in the strongest possible terms while warning it poses an imminent threat to American interests.

Officials have hinted that the U.S. might consider expanding the scope and intensity of airstrikes to take on ISIS, potentially by moving the bombing campaign in Iraq across the border into Syria. But whether the administration’s rhetorical shift will be matched by action remains to be seen.

The president’s own aides on Friday acknowledged that it would take “a long time” to fully defeat ISIS, and President Obama was elected in no small part due to his opposition to the war in Iraq and skepticism toward costly international entanglements.’

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U.S. Weighs Direct Military Action Against ISIS in Syria

Peter Baker And Michael D Shear report for The New York Times:

‘The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible American airstrikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilized neighboring Iraq and killed an American journalist, officials said Friday.

While President Obama has long resisted being drawn into Syria’s bloody civil war, officials said recent advances by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had made clear that it represents a threat to the interests of the United States and its allies. The beheading of James Foley, the American journalist, has contributed to what officials called a “new context” for a challenge that has long divided the president’s team.

Officials said the options include speeding up and intensifying limited American efforts to train and arm moderate Syrian rebel forces that have been fighting both ISIS as well as the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Another option would be to bolster other partners on the ground to take on ISIS, including the Syrian Kurds.

But American officials said they would also take a look at airstrikes by fighter jets and bombers as well as potentially sending Special Operations forces into Syria, like those who tried to rescue Mr. Foley and other hostages on a mission in July. One possibility officials have discussed for Iraq that could be translated to Syria would be a series of unmanned drone strikes targeting ISIS leaders, much like those conducted in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.’

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Was Putin right about Syria?

Ishaan Tharoor writes for The Washington Post:

‘What a difference a year makes. Around this time last year, the West was gearing up for military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks on his own people. That intervention never came to pass, not least because domestic public opinion in countries such as Britain and the United States was opposed to further entanglements in the Middle East.

Now, the U.S. is contemplating extending airstrikes on Islamic State militants operating in Iraq in Syria — fighters belonging to a terrorist organization that is leading the war against Assad. The Islamic State’s territorial gains in Iraq and continued repression and slaughter of religious minorities there and in Syria have rightly triggered global condemnation. “I am no apologist for the Assad regime,” Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, told NPR. “But in terms of our security, [the Islamic State] is by far the greatest threat.”

The irony of the moment is tragic. But to some, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Many cautioned against the earlier insistence of the Obama administration (as well as other governments) that Assad must go, fearing what would take hold in the vacuum. One of those critics happened to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned against U.S. intervention in Syria in a New York Times op-ed last September.’

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Islamic State fighters surround Syrian airbase in rapid drive to recapture lost territory

Martin Chulov reports for The Guardian:

‘Islamic State extremists rampaging through Iraq have now turned their sights back towards Syria, where only a besieged airbase stands between the terror group and a rush for the Mediterranean coast that could split the country in two. The attack on the Tabqa airbase in eastern Syria comes as Isis continues to move back towards areas it controlled north of Aleppo until February. Using weapons the group looted from abandoned Iraqi military bases, Isis has returned with a vengeance to the area, stunning regional powers with its rapid advances.

Less than three months after taking Iraq’s second and fourth biggest cities, much of Anbar province and the Syrian border, the group is establishing itself with extraordinary speed as a regional power that will determine the fate of both countries. There are growing fears across the Middle East that no regional military can slow the group’s momentum. Isis now controls a swath of land slightly larger than the UK, from Aleppo to central Iraq, and holds sway over a population of at least four million people. The group’s rapid ability to organise and consolidate continues to splinter a fractured body politic in Iraq and Syria and is fast causing ramifications for the broader Middle East.’

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Foreign Secretary: UK won’t work with Assad in Islamic State battle

BBC News reports:

‘Britain will not work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle against Islamic State (IS) extremists, the foreign secretary has told the BBC. Philip Hammond said to do so would not be “practical, sensible or helpful”. Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt and ex-Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for the move following the beheading of US journalist James Foley by IS militants. Mr Hammond also defended the monitoring of suspected extremists in the UK.

The UK government has called for President Assad to be removed as Syrian leader as a result of his actions during the country’s civil war. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, the foreign secretary said to co-operate with the Syrian regime would “poison” what the UK was trying to achieve. He said: “We may very well find that we are fighting, on some occasions, the same people that he is but that doesn’t make us his ally.” Earlier, Lord Dannatt called for a dialogue.’

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What links Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine? US and NATO foreign policy

Chris Nineham writes for Stop The War:

NatoUN agencies and leading charities confirmed over the weekend what many people are thinking and feeling about the state of the world – we are witnessing  an unprecendented  level of global  turmoil and violence. The UN added a series of countries to its extreme crisis list and a senior foreign policy advisor at Oxfam briefed “I haven’t seen anything of this scale before…across the board, the humanitarian community sees this as one of the worst moments we’ve ever had to confront in terms of simultaneous, mostly man-made crises.” This follows a UN announcement a few weeks ago that for the first time since World War II, the number displaced people worldwide exceeded 50 million.

This is the disturbing context in which the leaders of the Western world will be coming to Newport in South Wales for a high-profile NATO summit. The crises in Gaza, Iraq, Eastern Europe and beyond tend to be reported as entirely separate cases with little or no investigation of either wider context or history.  Palestinian representatives – on the few occiasions have been given air time – have argued that the long history of Israeli expansionism backed by Britain and the US is key to comprehending current events. Invariably they have been brusquely brought up to date, told that ‘we are where we are’ and that they should concentrate on finding  solutions. But there is no prospect of solutions to any of these terrible crises without understanding what is driving them.’

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Chuck Hagel Goes Full Fearmonger: “ISIS Poses Greater Threat Than 9/11, Prepare For Everything”

Zero Hedge reports:

‘US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talks about the “imminent threat” ISIS poses to the US and the World.. .and pulls no punches in his total fearmongery…”ISIL poses a threat greater than 9/11. ISIL is as sophisticated and well funded as any group we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology with a sophisticated strategic and tactical military prowess and they’re tremendously well-funded. This is way beyond anything we have seen. We must prepare for everything. Get Ready!” Time for some QE-funded deficit-busting war spending…’

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