Archive for the Sarkozy Category

Obama pushes war on Syria with new tactic [Workers World]

Posted in Bill Clinton, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, CIA, France, Germany, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lenin, Media smear campaign, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, Sarkozy, Syria, Tony Blair, U.K., UNSC, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Zionism on September 8, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Fred Goldstein
Sept. 9, 2013

* Another step to war *

On Sept. 3, Republican senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, brokers for the Pentagon hawks, met with President Obama and came away saying that they now support plans for missile strikes against Syria. Graham said the attacks were going to be “a little more robust” than he had thought. There was talk of attacks on Syrian aircraft, artillery and rockets, and assurances from Obama that the attacks would be aimed at “shifting the momentum on the battlefield.” McCain called the meeting “encouraging” and said it would be “catastrophic” not to support the strikes.

This message signifies a convergence between the Obama administration and the aggressive militarists in the Pentagon and the ruling class. It is another dangerous step toward a military adventure.

+ Mass skepticism +

Sept. 2 — President Barack Obama and his administration are demanding that Congress underwrite a military adventure that will bring death and destruction to the Syrian masses, despite all the smooth, sanitizing phrases about so-called precision cruise missile “surgical strikes,” “limited targets,” and “deter and degrade.”

The intended attack on Syria holds the potential to trigger a much wider conflict, which will bring suffering and hardship not only to the people of the Middle East but to the workers and the oppressed in the U.S.

The whole world expected Obama to announce missile strikes on Syria on Aug. 31. But at the last minute he decided to opt for the tactic of dragging Congress into an endorsement intended to legitimize an act of imperialist aggression that has already been decided upon.

The fact that his move to take it to Congress has become controversial is a measure of the degree to which the Pentagon and previous presidents have obliterated constitutional legality, which says clearly that only Congress can declare war. But in his speech, Obama did not formally surrender the right to make war without congressional authority, he only said it would produce a “stronger” mandate — if the Congress does what it is legally required to do and votes on the question.

This stratagem of pressuring Congress into becoming an open accomplice to a military strike was made necessary when the attempt to drum up support for war with a battery of lies alleging Syrian government chemical warfare “atrocities” flopped.

+ Danger signals from London +

A powerful signal of impending U.S. isolation came when the British Parliament voted against participating in the attack. The British capitalist government, which during the Iraq war was called a “U.S. poodle” by the British masses, backed away from being drawn into the U.S. military adventure.

In addition, the German imperialists distanced themselves from the adventure. NATO will not go along. The normally docile Arab League did not endorse the strikes. The U.N. Security Council would not endorse the strikes. And the ruling class in the U.S. is divided over what to do.

Only the French imperialists, the former colonial rulers of Syria with strong interests in the country, were willing to endorse the attack.

This time around, the imperialist allies are afraid of being dragged into a U.S. military adventure at a time when the working classes of the capitalist world are suffering mass unemployment, declining wages, growing poverty and inequality. The U.S. has engaged in at least three major wars in the last decade and the population knows that trillions of dollars have been spent on these military adventures. Yet austerity for the workers is deepening as the criminal bankers and bosses pile up record profits and incomes.

Still in the minds of the masses are images of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell standing before the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, pointing to charts, reports and satellite photos that allegedly proved the existence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. They also haunt the minds of bourgeois politicians, like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose reputations and/or careers were ruined because they hitched themselves to the fraudulent deceptions of the U.S. imperialist establishment. Ten more years of war followed the Powell speech.

Flash forward to today. The allies all know that U.S. charges defy all logic and they fear future exposure. The Syrian government would not gas its own people — right in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus — at the very moment that it welcomed U.N. inspectors on to the site of the alleged attack. Nor would it resort to such weapons at the moment when it is making military progress against the counterrevolutionary forces.

In the struggle for world support, it would be suicidal for the government in Damascus to risk alienating world opinion by carrying out such an act. No one in the Middle East, except for the puppet governments of the Arab League and other allies of U.S. imperialism, even pretends to believe it.

The only ones to benefit from such an act, if it took place, would be Washington, which has long planned to overthrow the government in Damascus and now feels it necessary to carry out direct military aggression, after all else failed.

+ Masses suffering from ‘intervention fatigue’ +

The Wall Street Journal of Sept. 2 aptly quoted James Lindsay, a former Clinton administration official: “The public has a clear case of intervention fatigue after 12 years of engagement overseas, the longest stretch in U.S. history.”

In fact, a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken the week that all the horrific reports of alleged Syrian atrocities were headlined in the capitalist media said that only 9 percent of respondents were for military intervention.

Rumors about a difficult upcoming vote for the strikes in Congress are being attributed to partisanship, factionalism, etc. But politics aside, in spite of the pressure for war, the politicians still need to get elected and many may not want to be tied to another disastrous military adventure.

For the anti-imperialist movement, the most significant political development to emerge from this crisis is this: The material basis of popular support for imperialist war has been eroded by previous wars and by the devastating global economic crisis.

This greatly strengthens the long-term prospects for mobilizing the masses against the Pentagon’s adventures, in Syria or elsewhere. The hawks in the Pentagon are moving in the opposite direction than the masses of people, and a clash is inevitable.

+ ‘Chemical weapons’ frame-up long in making +

There is a tendency in the capitalist media to call Obama inept for getting the U.S. into a bind. The fact is that the foundation of this crisis was laid back in March 2011, when Washington decided to foment an anti-government opposition in Syria with the aim of overthrowing the sovereign government of Bashar al-Assad.

In August 2011, after consultations at the highest level, with the hawkish secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, playing a leading role, Obama announced that President Assad had to go. In quick succession, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nikolas Sarkozy and German President Angela Merkel followed suit, calling for Assad to step down.

This was a definitive signal that U.S. imperialism intended to go all the way with “regime change” in Syria.

Washington and the Pentagon undoubtedly thought this was going to be easily achieved. But exactly one year after saying Assad must go, the government in Damascus was still there and fighting off the imperialist-sponsored counterrevolutionaries as well as the al-Nusra jihadists.

Thus, on Aug. 20, 2011, the Obama administration rolled out the “chemical weapons” frame-up plan. Obama, based on nothing, announced out of the blue that if Damascus used chemical weapons, it would have crossed a “red line” and changed his “calculus.” Such warnings and subsequent lies about the use of chemical weapons were repeated over and over by the administration and in the capitalist media, laying the groundwork for this latest frame-up.

What triggered this talk of chemical weapons was the military progress that the Assad forces were making against the reactionary forces, who were also suffering splits on the ground. This frame-up was prepared long in advance, and it is part of a larger goal of destroying the government of Syria.

+ War against Syria as preparation for wider war +

But the war against Syria and the preparation for intervention must be seen as part of a broader Pentagon strategy. Syria is the front line of a de facto alliance of the forces of resistance to imperialism in the Middle East, including Hezbollah and Iran.

Many hawks in the Pentagon and in the capitalist government have wanted to attack Iran ever since it announced its nuclear program. Hezbollah delivered a defeat to the Israeli Zionist state and has played a key role in helping the Syrian government take back territory from the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” which is an instrument of the Pentagon and the CIA.

Russia has supported Syria diplomatically and militarily. Furthermore, Syria is Russia’s primary ally in the Middle East and, with Iran, one of only two countries in the region where Russian warships can dock. This relationship goes back to the days of the USSR and has been continued by the present reactionary capitalist leaders of Russia on a pragmatic basis since the overthrow of the Soviet Union.

In addition to supporting Syria, Russia, in defiance of Washington, has given refuge to Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who exposed the global spy network of the National Security Agency. In addition, President Vladimir Putin has been persecuting pro-U.S. businessmen and politicians in Russia. There has also been antagonism over the U.S. anti-ballistic missile systems and other issues.

On different levels, the war against Syria is both a war and an opener for a wider war, a proxy war against Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. The aim is to overthrow the Syrian government, break up the nexus of resistance which centers on Damascus, set up a regime that would threaten Hezbollah, close down Russia’s naval facility and port privileges, and drive the Russians out of the country. And this could set the stage for U.S. aggression against Iran.

This is the broader geopolitics of the struggle against Syria.

+ Syria and post-Soviet era of ‘reconquest’ +

This broader struggle must be understood in terms of the nature of imperialism. It is a permanently aggressive, war-like and expansionary system, as Vladimir Lenin described in his classic work, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” written in 1916.

Syria is one of a number of countries that achieved independence and were able to partially or fully break with imperialism during the Soviet era. With all its contradictions, the Soviet Union was an alternative socialist system that was antagonistic to imperialism and gave varying degrees of economic, political and military support and protection to oppressed countries struggling for independence. The very existence of the USSR made it possible for hundreds of millions of people to break with imperialism.

The collapse of the USSR set the stage for the imperialists to try to take back all the territory and influence that they had lost during the three-quarters of a century marking the Soviet era.

The post-Soviet era has been the era of reconquest. This is what has driven imperialist war and intervention since the collapse of the USSR and Eastern Europe — just as the Cold War and the struggle between the two antagonistic social systems drove imperialist war and militarism after World II. And it was the struggle among the imperialist powers for domination of the globe that drove the two world wars in the first half of the 20th century.

This is what accounts for the wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, the permanent threats to Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and now the war against Syria.

+ Capitalist politics as the art of deception +

Capitalist politics is the art of deception and, above all, deceiving the masses. W hen the decision to go to war approaches, the level of deception reaches staggering heights.

No one should be deceived for a moment by the lies told by Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the entire capitalist media, which are beginning to march in lock step towards war.

Every word uttered by the administration is designed to conceal its predatory aims. The claim that cruise missile strikes — launching powerful warheads that can cause massive destruction — is not aimed at “regime change” is a complete falsehood. That is the fundamental U.S. government goal and has been since March 2011, when the counterrevolutionary campaign began.

Minimally, the strikes are aimed at helping the U.S.-supported forces on the ground regain the military initiative they have lost to government forces. Strikes would also be aimed at pushing back al-Nusra. But the main aim of regaining the military initiative is the overthrow of the Assad government, pure and simple — i.e., “regime change.” Washington has to deny this.

A time-tested part of capitalist pre-war deception is the attempt to create war fever by framing up the intended target of aggression as the aggressor. This “aggressor” invariably then carries out “atrocities,” possesses “weapons of mass destruction” or commits other acts that require imperialism to wage war.

Before or during every war since the invasion of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898, down to the Gulf of Tonkin frame-up of the Vietnamese in 1964 that resulted in the deployment of 500,000 troops to Vietnam, to the wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, the victims of U.S. aggression have been put in the dock by the politicians and propagandists of the war machine.

But they haven’t succeeded this time around. The attempt to drum up international and domestic war fever to get approval for an attack on Syria has fallen flat. Washington has been growing more and more isolated.

Whatever the immediate outcome of the vote in Congress, and whether the strikes are carried out as planned, Washington and the Pentagon will not give up their designs on ruling the entire Middle East.

Nor will the system change its nature. Under imperialism, periods of peace are only interludes between wars. And the last two decades, since the collapse of the USSR, have been a period of perpetual war and intervention.

The only way to stop war is to destroy imperialism root and branch and the monopoly capitalist system on which it rests.

Fred Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End,” which has been translated into Spanish as “El capitalismo en un callejón sin salida.”

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Chicago NATO Summit: Obama Showcases American Fascism [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Afghanistan, Denmark, Economic crisis & decline, Fascism, France, Greece, NATO, Pentagon, Sarkozy, U.K., US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on May 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Wayne Madsen

25.05.2012

President Obama wanted to showcase his adopted hometown of Chicago to the leaders of 60 NATO members and partnership countries. Instead, with his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel holding the political reins as mayor of Chicago, Obama showed the foreign heads of state and the international media a city in total police state lockdown.

Perhaps the fascist display of law enforcement brute force suppression of largely peaceful demonstrators and the pre-emptive arrest of protesters who were hit with trumped up charges of “terrorism” prior to the start of the summit, were in keeping with NATO’s new mission: projecting to all parts of the globe a U.S.-centric military force that seeks to defend the financial elites and “new world order” from popular political change.

Why else would Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari be present at the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization summit? Afghanistan and Pakistan are far from the North Atlantic. In effect, NATO, which, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and Soviet Union, should gone the way of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) into the ash heap of history, has become a “Global Treaty Organization.” The mission of this global “defense” organization has little to do with defense but is a modern-day offensive centurion force with the mission of protecting arcane empires that are collapsing faster than the Roman Empire [sic].

Much has been written and spoken about NATO’s mission after the end of International Security Assistance Force military operations in Afghanistan in 2014. However, based on the rhetoric from U.S., British, and NATO officials, NATO will be a key component in enforcing the “Obama Doctrine,” [sic] which sees NATO as an enforcement arm for the imposition of pro-Western regimes in nations that don’t measure up to Western standards of “democracy.” The Obama Doctrine, which considers it in America’s and NATO’s interest to take on a “responsibility to protect” U.S.-supported opposition forces in targeted nations such as Libya and Syria, will be used to interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and Caribbean,[…]

NATO also seeks to maintain the Cold War by placing an anti-ballistic missile shield in eastern Europe that is, despite statements to the contrary, aimed at Russia, in addition to Iran. And it should not be forgotten that Chicago is the corporate headquarters of top Pentagon war contractor Boeing Corporation whose annual profits exceed the yearly gross domestic products of a number of NATO member states.

NATO is a huge racket for defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and other companies that benefit from NATO’s military spending. At a time when banker dictated austerity measures are squeezing the life blood out of NATO members like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, and Belgium, NATO has reached an agreement that will see thirteen member states contribute to the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will be shared among all 28 member states. One of the chief beneficiaries of the deal is Northrop Grumman, which will sell NATO five Global Hawk unmanned drones at a whopping cost of $1.4 billion. The drone deal comes at a time when Greece is slashing pensions for retirees and Portugal is canceling public holidays at the behest of the Shylockian central bankers of Frankfurt, London, New York, and Washington.

Robert Gates, before stepping down last year as Obama’s Defense Secretary, warned that NATO would descend into “collective military irrelevance” unless its member states boosted defense spending. With European nations barely able to maintain their social service programs and public infrastructure support in the face of banker-imposed draconian austerity budgets, defense spending is a low priority. However, NATO has come up with a way to pool declining defense budgets to award lucrative contracts for “shared” defense systems for NAO [sic] members. The chief architect of this new “smart defense” initiative is Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary General and former Danish Prime Minister who committed Danish troops to foolhardy military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rasmussen, a cheerleader for NATO’s defense contractors, spent part of his time in Chicago visiting defense contractor exhibits set up in the media area of Chicago’s McCormick Place, the venue for the NATO summit.

NATO has approved two dozen shared defense projects that include, in addition to the drone project, common use of new maritime patrol aircraft, interoperability of weapons systems on fighter aircraft, and a common ground surveillance system…

…Rasmussen has a personal interest in maintaining his stewardship of NATO in Brussels and his good relations with the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, and other NATO member states. Europe has not had a United Nations Secretary General since Kurt Waldheim of Austria held the post. After Secretaries General from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, it is Europe’s turn next. Neo-conservatives have been quietly pushing Rasmussen as a candidate for the top UN post after South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon’s second term expires. Rasmussen, meanwhile, is able to curry favor with members of NATO and the European Union, an influential voting bloc in the United Nations, from his NATO perch in Brussels.

Although much was reported about France’s new Socialist President Francois Hollande remaining committed to a withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, two years ahead of NATO’s planned withdrawal date, it should be noted that Hollande remains a committed Atlanticist who will not reverse the decision of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, to reintegrate French troops into NATO command structures. Just as Socialist President Francois Mitterand was more pro-NATO than his conservative predecessors, Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou, Hollande is more pro-NATO than conservative Jacques Chirac.

In the face of Europe’s declining defense budgets, with Britain trimming its defense spending by 8 percent and economically hard hit countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Latvia, and Portugal showing no appetite for spending on unneeded war machinery, NATO still plans to expand. Although expansion was not a top priority in Chicago, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Georgia are all waiting to join NATO.

NATO’s Partnership for Peace and cooperation agreements has brought Sweden, Finland, Austria, Malta, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, and other nations into the organization as de facto associate members. NATO is also pressuring Scotland’s Scottish National Party to commit to maintaining an independent Scotland’s membership in the alliance even though the SNP’s platform calls for withdrawal from NATO.

The anti-NATO protesters understood that NATO is an anachronism and should be abolished during a time when workers and students are seeing pensions, social security programs, college tuition aid, and health care programs being slashed while Obama, Rasmussen, David Cameron, and other Western leaders advance continued spending on irrelevant and redundant military hardware. Protest marches on Boeing’s headquarters in Chicago, the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the NATO summit venue at McCormick Place indicates to the world that the protesters targeted the real threats to security in the United States and the other member states of NATO.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/05/25/chicago-nato-summit-obama-showcases-american-fascism.html

Europeans protest austerity at May Day rallies [Reuters]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, France, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Italy, May 1, Portugal, Sarkozy, Spain on May 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS | Tue May 1, 2012 7:42pm BST

ATHENS (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of workers across southern Europe protested against spending cuts at May Day rallies on Tuesday, before weekend elections in Greece and France where voters are expected to punish leaders for austerity.

Unions in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Greece used the traditional marches to express anger over a savings drive across the euro zone, aimed at shoring up public finances but criticised for forcing countries deeper into recession…

…President Nicolas Sarkozy attracted almost 100,000 to a rival Paris rally for “real workers” after the largest union, the CGT, advised members to vote him out of power on Sunday, the first time a union has openly urged a vote against a candidate.

In Madrid, tens of thousands headed in the rain to the main square waving signs opposing cuts, while thousands turned out in Lisbon. In Athens around 5,000 workers, pensioners and students marched with banners reading “Revolt now” and “Tax the rich”.

Greece will vote on Sunday in a parliamentary election that risks derailing the international bailout keeping the country afloat by punishing the parties that backed the package.

…Maria Drakaki, 45, a public sector worker whose salary has been cut [said]…”There’s no way I’m voting for one of the two main parties…”

DESPAIR

The marches come against a backdrop of growing frustration towards austerity that more fiscally conservative northern euro zone members say is necessary to bring deficits down to meet EU limits and end the debt crisis.

Unemployment has soared and loan defaults are on the rise. In Italy there are frequent reports of suicides as people lose their jobs or their businesses fail…

…In Portugal, thousands of people rallied in Lisbon, some with placards saying “Stop the robbery, no more stolen wages”.

The 700,000-strong CGTP union, which refused to sign a pact on labour market reforms required under a 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout this year, rallied across Portugal under the slogan “Against exploitation and impoverishment, for a policy change”.

“Austerity is not a solution for Portugal or Europe,” said Joao Proenca, chief of the UGT union, the second biggest. “The pivotal issue is to promote job creation.”

Portugal is implementing tough austerity measures, which have deepened its recession and pushed unemployment to all-time highs of around 15 percent.

Spain’s jobless rate rose to near 25 percent in the first quarter, more than double the EU average, as the economy sank into recession. Some economists, including those at the International Monetary Fund, have questioned whether deep cuts should be made at the expense of growth.

POOR GETTING POORER

In Greece, repeated rounds of cuts have slashed wages and pensions and deepened a recession that is now in its fifth year. Private sector wages shrunk by a quarter last year alone and one Greek youth in two is out of work.

“These politicians cannot help us,” said Dina Bitsi, 58, a pensioner with two unemployed sons. “They approved the austerity package and the bailout. We are turning our backs on them.”

The two biggest Greek parties, the Socialist PASOK and the conservative New Democracy, have ruled Greece for decades but are expected to struggle to win enough support to renew their pro-bailout coalition…

(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris, Andrei Khalip in Lisbon, Deepa Babington in Athens, Philip Pullella in Rome, Paul Day in Madrid and David Cutler in London; writing by Anna Willard; editing by Elizabeth Piper and Philippa Fletcher)

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]
Full article link: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/01/uk-protests-greece-idUKBRE8400CA20120501

Nicolas Sarkozy takes shelter from egg-throwing mob [Telegraph]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, France, Sarkozy on March 7, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“…Sarkozy is used to angry crowds…” Ridiculously unpopular politicians, that’s 21st Century bourgeois democracy in a nutshell… – Zuo Shou

Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to hide in a bar after protestors threatened to beat him up during a campaign trip.

02 March 2012

by Peter Allen

* Excerpted *

The 57-year-old French president, who is standing for re-election in April, was campaigning in the Basque country, in the south west.

Eggs and stones were thrown at the 5ft 5ins head of state, who at one stage looked as though he would disappear under a crowd of people in the city of Bayonne.

His security staff instead ushered him into a bar, where the teetotal president had to drink coffee for more than hour while riot police dispersed the protesters.

“The protestors said they wanted to beat him up – they said they wanted him to resign,” said an eye-witness.

“He looked very concerned indeed. Sarkozy is used to angry crowds, but this one was very threatening…”

…Opinion polls regularly show that Mr Sarkozy is by far the most unpopular head of state in the history of modern France.

He is widely expected to lose the April/May election to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

Full article link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nicolas-sarkozy/9118178/Nicolas-Sarkozy-takes-shelter-from-egg-throwing-mob.html

“China halts ‘one-sided’ draft” – On veto of Western-led attempts to subvert Syria in UNSC [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, France, Russia, Sarkozy, Syria, U.K., UNSC, US imperialism, USA on February 10, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhu Shanshan (Global Times)
February 06, 2012

Experts called for unified international efforts to promote peaceful negotiations as a way to stop the violence and settle disputes in Syria, after Russia and China jointly vetoed an Arab-European draft UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution concerning Syria on Saturday.

Proposed by European and Arab nations, the draft aimed to give strong backing to an Arab League plan to ask Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Russia and China used their second ever double-veto to block the plan in the UNSC as the two countries believed that it was not the best way to promote peace in the Middle Eastern country, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

After the vote, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice criticized Russia and China..

British Permanent Representative to the UN Mark Lyall Grant [and] French President Nicolas Sarkozy [similarly barked at] the decision by Russia and China.

Hours before the vote on the draft, Russia issued an amended resolution, which sought “to fix two basic problems” – the first was the imposition of conditions on dialogue; the second was that measures must be taken to influence not only the government but also anti-government armed groups.

“The draft resolution did not adequately reflect the real state of affairs in Syria and has sent an unbalanced signal to the Syrian parties,” Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after the vote.

“Russia and China were forced to vote against the unbalanced draft resolution,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

Li Baodong, Chinese permanent representative to the UN, expressed regret that the Russian proposal was ignored and said that China supports the revised proposal raised by Russia…

Full article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90883/7720407.html

Is there yet another crisis on the horizon of South Caucasus? [Xinhua]

Posted in EU, European Union, France, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, NATO, Russia, Sarkozy, Turkey, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR on January 13, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Gaochao Yi

TBILISI, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — South Caucasus, after the Balkans and North Africa, is presenting itself as a hotbed for another crisis which may well involve all the three nations in the region and players from the outside.

Ethnicity-related territorial disputes that have arisen during and after the Soviet era are the direct causes of the South Caucasus crises long in the making.

Such disputes have caused a flash conflict between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 in the north of the region and triggered on-again-off-again border sniper warfare between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the south, which claimed thousands of victims.

The three Caucasian countries combined cover an area of slightly over 186,000 square km, accounting for 0.12 percent of the global land area. Yet on this strip sandwiched between the major and minor Caucasus mountain ranges, there are other dormant conflicts.

For example, there has been a genocidal conflict between Armenia and Turkey, but the “football diplomacy” between the two nations has done a lot to ease the tension.

Local players aside, outsiders with energy, security and strategy interests in this region are also trying to take advantage of the situation there, further complicating the Caucasus chaos.

NATO, for one, is a big player in this region. To cash in its Bucharest Summit promise of eventually allowing Georgia into the military alliance, it may have to reset and perhaps even reinvent its relations with the former Cold War nemesis, not only in the South Caucasus but in all those areas where NATO and Russia have their respective interests to claim and verify.

Georgia and the entire South Caucasus can serve as the bridge to Central Asia and the Middle East for NATO, once U.S.-led international forces pull their troops out of Iraq at the end of year.

The trans-Caucasian pipeline is already starting to serve as a counterweight diversion of energy to Europe, and the European Union needs the tally to bargain with Russia for pricing as well as for supplying its own natural gas and oil to the West.

Russia, another big player in the region, now has its farthest outpost to attend to after Georgia decided in the middle of this year to shut its airspace for Russian transport to its military base in Armenia.

Even though it may use the bypass via Azerbaijan or Iran or even Turkey, Russia will have to sacrifice or at least trade some of its key interests to secure the passable air route to Armenia, its major ally in the region.

This year saw another variable in the South Caucasus: Georgia, the one and only of the 153 World Trade Organization members up to now which has barred Russian accession. Yet now Georgia has signed an agreement with Russia which facilitated the conclusion of Russia’s 18-year efforts to get into the world trade club.

The West, be it the European Union or NATO or the United States, may have used quite a few IOU’s to get Georgia to sign the accord with Russia in Geneva in November.

And when the time has come to pay back these debts, and when the timing is not right nor convenient, things can go wrong.

The scheduled elections in South Caucasus are a case in point.

Both Georgia and Armenia will hold their parliamentary elections next year and presidential elections the following year. For the election campaigns, both the ruling and opposition parties may resort to strong rhetorics and even symbolic acts, which may also lead to turmoil in the region.

During his brief visit to South Caucasus in October, French President Nicolas Sarkozy brought forth something which may be the South Caucasus part of his foreign policy manifesto for his French presidential election campaign.

The “take-for-granted” policy toward the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region may cause another round of heated arguments between Armenia and Azerbaijan and renewed sniper border skirmishes.

Though Azerbaijan held its parliamentary elections in late 2010, the country will still hold its presidential elections in 2013, which will have to have the incumbent president and potential vying opponent align their foreign policy in and outside the region to strive for a better footing on both regional and international issues.

No matter what happens as responses to whatever provocations, the South Caucasus crisis can remain a mere regional battle or develop into a full-blown war.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/26/c_131326753.htm

America’s Death Pornography Culture: Celebrating brutal deaths of Qaddafi and Saddam [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Australia, Cameron, CIA, France, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Libya, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Sarkozy, U.K., US drone strikes, USA, War crimes, Yemen on November 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Oct. 29, 2011

by Wayne Madsen

The United States government and military revels in death and pornographic intimidation. The videos and photographs of howling Iraqis celebrating the hanging of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein after his U.S.-administered kangaroo court trial in Iraq and the physical abuse, alleged sodomizing, and execution of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi by NATO-armed and directed rebels after his convoy in Sirte was reportedly struck by a U.S. drone-launched missile, exemplify America’s fixation with pornographic death scenes…

The George Walker Bush and Barack Hussein Obama administrations share a fascination for displaying the dead bodies of their vanquished enemies. For Bush, it was the gruesome stone-slabbed corpses of Qusay and Uday Hussein, Saddam’s sons, after they were killed in a firefight with U.S. troops in. That was followed by the body of Sadaam after his hanging…

Of course, it did not suit President Obama to broadcast a photograph of Osama Bin Laden, allegedly killed while resisting arrest in Abbotabad, Pakistan. In the case of Bin Laden, there is a strong reason to believe that Osama’s body could not be shown because there was no body of Osama. Whether an Osama Bin Laden look-a-like was killed or not may never be known, but what is certain is that the Obama administration’s explanation for ”Osama’s” burial at sea from a U.S. aircraft carrier appears dubious.

There was also the curious designation of the operation to kill Bin Laden as “Geronimo.” President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were in the White House Situation Room when they heard the news from the strike team: “We’ve ID’d Geronimo,” followed by “Geronimo EKIA” or “Geronimo enemy killed in action.”

There was outrage among Native Americans over the designation of Bin Laden as Geronimo. But the code name has its own ghastly history. In 1918, in another macabre display of ghoulishness by America’s political elite, Prescott Bush, the future U.S. senator and father and grandfather of two future presidents, allegedly dug up the grave of the famed Apache leader Geronimo and stole his skull and some bones. The remains are said to be among the prized possession of Yale’s elite and secretive Skull and Bones society, along with the skull of former President Martin van Buren…

As Qaddafi’s body, along with those of his son, Mo’tassim, and the former Libyan army commander, Abu Bakr Yunis, rotted in a meat freezer in Misrata – for the whole world to see — more details emerged about Qaddafi’s last hours in Sirte. On October 19, at around 8:00 am in Sirte, a convoy of 70 vehicles departed the heavily-bombed out city, heading west. There were also Twitter messages coming out of Sirte reporting that several white flags of surrender were seen in the city at day break. However, a CIA Predator drone tracking the convoy passed its coordinates on to NATO. French and other NATO jets pounded the convoy, incinerating many of the drivers and passengers. Many of those killed were black Libyans. There are now reports of mass graves in Sirte containing the bodies of scores of Qaddafi supporters and fellow tribal members.

There have been some reports that a truce and a surrender by Qaddafi and his forces was worked out between some rebel leaders and Qaddafi’s entourage through the auspices of the Qaddadfa (the tribe to which Qaddafi belonged) tribal leaders in Sirte. After the convoy was on the highway heading west, with reported white flags from some of the vehicles, the motorcade, which was not engaging in fire with rebel or NATO forces, was set upon by NATO forces. Witnesses to the surrender and/or safe passage negotiations will be hard to come by, since one of those murdered in his home in Sirte by Libyan rebels was reportedly the chief of the Qaddadfa tribe who was part of the negotiations for surrender and safe passage.

Reports that Qaddafi and his group were trying to make a dash through the offensive lines around Sirte make no sense since the convoy left after sun up and in broad daylight, when white flags could clearly be seen by the belligerents, and the Twitter messages out of Sirte indicated that rebels, pro-Qaddafi forces, and neutral observers could all see the white flags. If Qaddafi wanted to make a break for it, he would have done so at night with headlights out.

One of the last things Qaddafi is heard asking his captors is “Do you know right from wrong?” If the rebels or NATO reneged on a promise of safe passage and ignored the universally-recognized white flag signifying truce and surrender, it would constitute a gross violation of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and would, therefore, be a war crime. Under the conventions, the white flag is protected as a sign that an approaching party intends to surrender or negotiate the terms of surrender. Those displaying a white flag may not fire or be fired upon.

If NATO and the rebels violated the white flag in Sirte, it would represent one of the first major violations of a practice that began with the Eastern Han dynasty in China in the year 25, and was recognized by the Roman Empire, armies during the Middle Ages, and every major and minor nation since. A violation by NATO of the flag of truce would represent a flagrant return to barbarism by the “collective defensive” organization.

Hillary Clinton reacted to news of Qaddafi’s death by chortling like a school girl. Preparing for an interview with CBS News, Clinton, who had just paid a visit to Libya, joked, “We came, we saw, he died.” Other NATO leaders, including Obama, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who all self-identify themselves as Christians, expressed relief and joy at the news of Qaddafi’s death, a very “un-Christian” trait.

The brutal treatment of Qaddafi and his forces matches the treatment meted out by American forces to detainees in Iraq, including the pornographic abuse of prisoners, including minors, at Abu Ghraib and other prisons. In the report by U.S. Army General Antonio Taguba, there are instances of U.S. guards forcing male and female prisoners into naked and explicit positions, including human piles, and taking photographs and video shots, forcing male prisoners to wear women’s underwear, forcing male prisoners to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped, and sodomizing detainees with broom sticks and chemical lights. One prisoner murdered by U.S. forces, Manadel al-Jamadi, was kept on ice to prevent decomposition and spirited away from investigators to cover up his suffocation by U.S. prison guards.

The abuse at Abu Ghraib continues to have ramifications and has resulted in a lawsuit in California, Ford v. CAARNG (California Army Reserve National Guard). The suit charges that “retired Sergeant Frank G. Ford who, in 2003, was assigned to Iraq with the 223 Military Intelligence Unit under the 205 Military Intelligence Brigade as a Counter Intelligence Agent and Medic, was strapped to a gurney against his will and kidnapped. He was then sent from a war zone [Iraq] to Germany . . . because he reported the torture going on at Abu Ghraib prison as well as the death by torture of a prisoner while in custody.” The suit also alleges that “Ford cared for and treated, as an onsite medic, numerous victims of torture.”

A video currently circulating of a Libyan rebel sodomizing Qaddafi with what appears to be a rifle barrel brings back the scenes of the U.S. house of horrors at Abu Ghraib. Obama’s decision to become judge, jury, and executioner in the death sentences (“targeted killings”) carried out by a CIA drone flying over Yemen on September 30, on U.S. citizens Anwar al Awalaki (a former Islamic confidante of the Pentagon), and Samir Khan, and an additional October 14 drone strike in Yemen that killed Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also a U.S. citizen, reinforces a growing belief that Obama lords over a voodoo-like death cult that has taken over U.S. military and foreign policy.

By word and action, the U.S. military and its NATO underlings have discarded thousands of years of chivalric military tradition, common practices, and law against a backdrop of ghoulish and pornographic behavior.

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/10/29/americas-death-pornography-culture-celebrating-brutal-deaths-of-qaddafi-and-saddam.html