Archive for the Lebanon Category

“Saudi oil and U.S. hypocrisy” Death of King Abdullah, feudal Saud tyrant and imperialists’ best friend [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-communism, Cameron, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, Spain, State Department, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US imperialism, USA, Yemen on March 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Sara Flounders January 27, 2015

Few events expose the utter hypocrisy of U.S. politicians’ grand words about democracy so starkly as their praise for the recently deceased King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. For decades U.S. imperialism and all the imperialist powers have given political, military and diplomatic support to the corrupt feudal family that rules Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil.

Heads of state abruptly changed plans and rushed to Riyadh to greet the 79-year-old new ruler King Salman. President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron accompanied by Prince Charles, French President Hollande, Afghanistan President Ghani, Spain’s King Felipe VI, Turkish President Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif were all anxious to be assured of the regime’s continuation.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute and brutal dictatorship. The country is named after the royal Saud family that has expropriated the country’s fabulous oil wealth, and treats it as a wholly owned family asset. Their control is maintained by massive state-organized repression. All forms of political dissent and social organization, from political parties to trade unions, are banned under pain of death.

Executions by decapitation in public squares are held on average once every four days. Capital crimes include adultery, homosexuality and political opposition to the regime. Public stonings are also a common form of execution. Other punishments include eye gouging, limb amputation, tooth extraction, surgical paralysis and public lashings.

~ Wealth and poverty ~

Government departments are treated as fiefdoms. Their enormous budgets are unaudited and at the family’s personal disposal. Personal and state funds are completely commingled. All family members are guaranteed astronomical monthly allowances from birth, the amount depending on their proximity to the king’s inner circle. The Saud family, with almost 4,000 members, extends privileges up to 30,000 others related by marriage.

The cabinet is made up of Saud family members. The key ministries — interior, foreign affairs, the military commands, National Guard and regional governorships — are held exclusively by family members.

The government does not gather data on poverty, literacy, unemployment or health coverage. However, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported in July 2012 that 60 percent of the population lived below the poverty line.

A third of the country’s population of 27 million are immigrants with no rights, no status and no social benefits, who make up 80 percent of the work force.

Saudi unemployment is estimated at 10 percent by the CIA World Factbook, but 28 percent among young men aged 15 to 24, who lack needed skills. Women are not considered part of the work force.

~ Women enslaved ~

Women in Saudi Arabia have the lowest literacy in the region. More than 1.5 million migrant women work in domestic slavery. A 2012 report from the International Trade Union Confederation on workers’ rights in Saudi Arabia reported alarming levels of child labor, discrimination and forced labor.

All women, regardless of their class position, have no rights to employment, property or education. They cannot step one foot out of their homes unless covered head to toe in a long black abaya and accompanied by a male family member.

Women in powerful positions in the West ignore the reality of Saudi women. For example, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, hailed King Abdullah as “a strong advocate for women.” (Washington Post, Jan. 23) U.N. World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin praised King Abdullah: “He was a true humanitarian leader, always on the side of the world’s hungry poor.” (www.un.org, Jan 23)

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined in the imperialist outpouring of praise, expressing in the same statement his gratitude for the king’s “generous humanitarian and developmental support” throughout the Middle East.

Because Wall Street, U.S. oil corporations, military industries and banks reap such enormous profits from this gang of thieves, they have done everything possible to arm, train and reinforce the Saudi military. The role of the corporate media is to provide a veneer of respectability to this family of looters.

This narrow ruling elite relies on five U.S. military bases, Western arms and military training for its protection and survival. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in nearby Bahrain, defends the status quo with aircraft carriers, 20 ships, nuclear submarines, 103 strike aircraft and 20,000 sailors and marines.

In return, the Saudi royal family pays protection money to U.S. military industries like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing. Billions also go to British, French and German military corporations. The Saudi military budget in 2013 was $67 billion, the fourth largest in the world, after the U.S., China and Russia.

Saudi spending on weapons comes to 9.3 percent of its gross national product, the highest in the world. The economy is the least diversified of any oil-producing country, with more than 90 percent of its export earnings coming from oil. Virtually everything else must be imported.

Until the 1970s, four U.S. companies were the sole owners of Saudi oil — free and clear of taxes and duties. As revolutionary upheavals in the region led many countries to demand full control of their resources, Saudi oil was carefully nationalized into a conglomerate called Aramco. Exploration, drilling, pumping, transport and the building of pipelines, ports and terminals were all structured to return maximum profits to U.S. corporations. While the Saud family can take immense wealth for themselves, the vast majority of these funds must be held in U.S. banks or be used to purchase U.S. materials.

~ Contras and terror militias ~

This opaque, unaudited economy makes Saudi Arabia a perfect conduit and funding source for U.S. wars, military adventures and secret agencies. At the same time, the U.S. State Department can claim that it knows nothing about who is funding terrorist militias — from the Nicaraguan contras in 1983 to ISIS in 2015.

When Congress denied funding for the reactionary contras in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan covertly arranged for the Saudis to send them weapons to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Saudi money was a key component in the CIA’s war against the progressive Afghan regime that began in 1979. Working with Washington, it has also funded reactionary militias in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon that have metastasized into a viciously sectarian and destabilizing force throughout the Middle East.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005, is considered a mastermind of the Saudi terror network. He is now director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency.

Saudi wealth also keeps other military dictatorships in the region afloat. In Egypt, the Saudis provided $1 billion to help General al-Sisi’s coup against the elected Morsi government. After the coup they pledged an immediate $8 billion to stabilize the military regime and have now committed more than $20 billion to maintaining that dictatorship.

The continued rule of the House of Saud is based on a thin, corrupt layer of extreme privilege. Dependent on immigrant labor, foreign trainers and technical experts, it is hated by its own people. U.S. imperialism has staked its continued domination of the region on a detested and narrow grouping that lacks popular support or legitimacy.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/27/saudi-oil-and-u-s-hypocrisy/

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Related article: “Saudi Dictator’s Death Shows NYT as Pawn of Power”

http://fair.org/home/saudi-dictators-death-shows-nyt-as-pawn-of-power/

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How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity [counterpunch]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Allende, Bolivia, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Nukes, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, U.K., Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen, Zelaya coup on March 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 28, 2014

by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites, in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigated insurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote include the promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment.

What is relatively new, and seems to be the main driving force behind the recent wars of regime change, is that, as the U.S. and other major capitalist powers have lately embarked on austerity economic policies at home they also expect and, indeed, demand that other countries follow suit. In other words, it is no longer enough for a country to open its markets to investment and trade with Western economic powers. It seems equally important to these powers that that country also dismantle its public welfare programs and implement austerity measures of neoliberalism.

For example, after resisting imperialist pressures for years, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi eventually relented in 1993, and granted major oil and other transnational corporations of Western powers lucrative investment and trade deals. Under pressure, he even dismantled his country’s nuclear technology altogether in the hope that this would please them to “leave him” alone, so to speak. None of the concessions he made, however, proved satisfactory to the U.S. and its allies, as his regime was violently overthrown in 2011and he was literally butchered by the thuggish gangs that were trained and armed by Western powers.

Why? Because the U.S. and its allies expected more; they wanted him to follow the economic guidelines of the “experts” of global finance, that is, of the U.S. and European economic “advisors,” of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Trade Organization—in short, to dismantle his country’s rather robust state welfare programs and to restructure its economy after the model of neoliberalism.

The criminal treatment of al-Gaddafi can help explain why imperialist powers have also been scheming to overthrow the populist/socialist regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor in Venezuela, of the Castro brothers in Cuba, of Rafael Correa Delgado in Ecuador, of Bashar Al-assad in Syria and of Evo Morales in Bolivia. It also helps explain why they overthrew the popularly elected nationalist governments of Mohammad Mossadeq in Iran, of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, of Kusno Sukarno in Indonesia, of Salvador Allende in Chile, of Sandinistas in Nicaragua, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

The imperialist agenda of overthrowing al-Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living conditions of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale. Whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is concerned.

The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.

In a moment of honesty, former U.S. President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [1].

In a similar fashion, Lord Cecil Rhodes, who conquered much of Africa for the British Empire, is reported to have suggested during the heydays of the Empire that the simplest way to achieve peace was for England to convert and add the rest of the world (except the United States, Germany and few other Western powers of the time) to its colonies.

The Mafia equivalent of Truman’s or Rhodes’ statements would be something like this: “You do it our way, or we break your leg.”ismaelhz

The mindset behind Truman’s blunt statement that the rest of the world “should adopt the American system” has indeed served as something akin to a sacred mission that has guided the foreign policy of the United States ever since it supplanted the British authority as the major world power…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/how-international-financial-elites-change-governments-to-implement-austerity/

How the Boston Bombings May Change the World for the Worse [James Petras Website]

Posted in China, CIA, DPR Korea, FBI, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Obama, Pentagon, Police, Police State, Russia, Syria, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on May 5, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

04.30.2013

The relation between the suspected Boston Marathon bombers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) and the Boston Police (BP) is a point of contention and controversy.

The FBI, at first, claimed no knowledge of the bombing suspects but later was forced to admit having received at least two sets of intelligence reports, one from Russian officials and another from the CIA, identifying one of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as a potential security threat -linked to a Chechen terrorist organization. Testimony from Tsarnaev’s mother and father indicates that the FBI was active in following, harassing and interrogating the suspect before the bombing. Despite general directives from the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security mandating US security to aggressively pursue ‘Islamist terrorists’, the FBI claims to have made no effort to follow-up on the Russian and CIA security alerts, especially after Tamerlan Tsarnaev returned from Russian state of Dagestan last year where he allegedly met six times with a known Chechen terrorist, Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, in a fundamentalist Salafi mosque.

The official government and corporate media versions claim the FBI may have ‘over-looked’ the security risk posed by Tsarnaev. Congressional critics argue that the FBI was ‘negligent’ in following up leads provided by the Russians and the CIA. A more likely explanation is that the FBI was actively engaged with Tsarnaev and deliberately encouraged the conspiracy for self-serving purposes.

[A…]hypothesis is that the FBI was using Tsarnaev as a means of infiltrating and securing intelligence on other possible ‘terrorists’. A[nother…] hypothesis is that the Boston office of the FBI had set the pair of brothers up for a sting operation in order to enhance their anti-terrorist credentials – and that the ‘operation’ got out of hand – with Tamarlan having his own agenda. [A third] hypothesis is that the FBI facilitated the bombing in order to revive the flagging fortunes of the ‘war on terror’ foisted on a war-weary and economically depressed American public.

The FBI in Boston has a long and notorious history of working with and protecting certain leaders of organized crime in return for information about targeted rivals: The most notorious example is the FBI’s 20-year ‘partnership’ with one of Boston’s most feared gangland killers, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, where the mobster was provided with protection and collaboration in return for his information about a rival crime family and other competitors. In 2012, Bulger was finally indicted for 19 murders mostly committed under FBI ‘protection’ – although one of his closest mob-partners claims he murdered 40 people in his lifetime.

The ‘Boston Bombings’ served as a detonator to mobilize the entire US security apparatus; it has led to the suspension of constitutional guaranties. It has been accompanied by an intense mass media campaign glorifying police state operations and the imposition of virtual martial law in the Boston metropolitan area of over 4.5 million inhabitants. The military police operation and media campaign aroused fear and terror among the public. Instant psychodrama produced mass worship of the ‘heroic’ police: they were portrayed as having saved the public from unknown numbers of armed terrorists lurking in their neighborhoods. The police, the FBI and the entire Security Apparatus – were repeatedly ‘honored’ at public spectacles, sports and civic events, lauded as ‘guardians’ and ‘saviors’. The sordid role of FBI in organizing entrapment operations was never mentioned. The hundreds of billions wasted in futile overseas ‘wars against terror’ went down the memory hole. The opposition to Washington’s cuts in social programs was diverted almost overnight to support new funding for US military intervention in Syria and North Korea, a greater arms build-up in Israel and domestic security.

The ‘Boston Bombings’ coincided with the White House dictating a new round of domestic police state measures and launching a series of aggressive military moves in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The Pentagon has organized its biggest and most threatening air, sea and land military exercises right on the borders of North Korea. The White House has encouraged and promoted Japan’s belligerent military posture toward China regarding disputed islands in the South China Sea. Secretary of State Kerry has increased military aid to the Syrian terrorists by at least $130 million and dispatched hundreds of Special Forces to Jordan to train the jihadi-mercenaries against the Syrian government. The White House concocted charges that Damascus deployed chemical weapons against the rebels to justify direct US military intervention in Syria. Closer to home, the White House has given unconditional support to the violent Venezuelan opposition’s post-election campaign designed to provoke a civil war– while refusing to recognize the internationally certified election victory of President Maduro.

It is very clear the Obama regime wants to turn the clock back a decade to recreate the terrible political climate of 2001 – 02. He seeks to fabricate a sense of an imminent terrorist threat based on the ‘Boston Bombings’ in order to re-launch another global military campaign. Instead of Iraq – the ‘threat’ is now Syria, Iran and Lebanon. Today, the threat is North Korea – tomorrow it could be China. Today, it is Venezuela – next it could be Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador …and the entire edifice of Latin American regional integration.

The civilian casualties and deaths resulting from the ‘Boston Bombings’, linked to the US backing and sheltering of Chechen terrorists, are a small price for Washington to pay if it results in escalating global wars and greater impunity for the National Police State.

Re-launching a new and more virulent version of militarized global empire building is of the highest priority. The targeted countries have global significance: Venezuela and Iran are oil producing giants, the backbone of OPEC and adversaries of Israel. China is the second biggest economy in the world and the principle challenger to US economic dominance. Cowering and confusing millions of downwardly mobile Americans weakens the principle domestic obstacle to bigger and more comprehensive cuts in social programs in order to finance global wars.

Indeed, the ‘Boston Bombings’ have larger political and economic consequences; they set the stage for a new round of wars abroad and regressive (and repressive) changes at home.

Website link: http://www.petras.lahaine.org/

Khmer Rouge Trial Opens in Cambodia [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Cambodia, Lebanon, Rwanda, Yugoslavia - former FRY on December 8, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This article raises just a few of the proliferate questions about the prosecution of the alleged crimes of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge are often offered up as a premier case to damn “Communism”; interesting, given that the actual court case for all but Pol Pot is just now getting underway. People who play that particular angle seem to always forget to mention that the Khmer Rouge publicly repudiated Communism not long after taking power [see William Shawcross’ “Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia”]…so how Communist were they? – Zuo Shou

Alexander MEZYAEV | 23.11.2011

The International Tribunal for Cambodia started a historical trial on November 21st. This is a second and key process for which the tribunal itself was established: the case against the members of Pol Pot`s government. Pot himself died in 1998, but his major aides are now facing trial. They are former head of state Khieu Samphan, 80; former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, 86; Nuon Chea, 85, who used to be the Khmer Rouge’s second-highest leader after Pol Pot… Just a week before the trial, a fourth defendant, the Khmer Rouge’s social affairs minister, the 79-year-old Ieng Thirith, was ruled unfit to stand trial because of Alzheimer’s disease. All the defendants are charged with crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, genocide, religious persecution, homicide and torture. The International Tribunal for Cambodia was established in 2006. Its staff includes both Cambodian and international experts, prosecutors and judges. By now, the tribunal has tried just one case, convicting the Khmer Rouge commandant of Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng prison Kaing Guek Eav for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other offenses. Last year he was sentenced to 35 years in prison, shortened to 19 years because of time served and in compensation for a period of illegal detention by a military court, the New York Times reports.

The first day of the trial aginst three senior surviving Khmer Roger leaders was spent by the court reading out half of the indictment. It says that the former leaders of the Pol Pot regime breached not only Cambodian criminal law but he international legislation as well. Among other charges, the former ministers are accused of ordering executions of members of the Lon Nol regime, which had been installed in 1970. Nevertheless, the indictment claims that many executions were ‘unintentional’, as a result of the defendants` neglect. Other charges include deporation of people, mainly the Vietnamese, illegal imprisoning and torture of tens of thousands of citizens, maltreatment of Buddhist monks and the Cham people. The indictment also blames the Khmer Rouge-controlled Democratic Kampuchea Socialist organization (which ruled Cambodia in 1975-1979) for an unprecedented genocide campaign which led to annihilation of about 20% of the country’s population. The defendants deny all the charges.

It must be mentioned that unlike media reports claiming that the Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for a genocide against its own nation, the court`s indictment tells us about the extermination of the Vietnamese people, not the Khmer (who make nealry [sic] 5% of Cambodian population). Also, unlike newspaper articles which say that the Khmer Rouge movement persecuted everyone who they believed was unloyal [sic] to their ideology, the indictment gives cautious statements, which describe the victims of the regime as people who ‘died of starvation and malnutrition caused by the Socialist policies’. A few weeks which preceded the beginning of the process were quite tense for both the court and the UN which, actually, established the tribunal…the Cambodian authorities had been trying to control the court`s procedures, while the Tribunal`s aim is to maintain independence. A conflict of interest is obvious. In view of this, it should be stressed that the current Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has been in office for more than 25 years already, after serving as a foreign minister for the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea starting from 1979! And prior to that, he was among the Khmer Rouge leaders. That is why further investigation may have tragic consequences for Hun Sen as well as for many of his allies. One should not rule out that the financing for the Tribunal was approved only in hope for unseating the longest-ruling Asian leader, who is just 59.

All existing international tribunals, especially those established for this or that country, are being used as a tool for external interference into a state`s home policies, sometimes rather diplomatically, and sometimes in a more dictatorial way. Look at the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Lebanon. Cambodia is not an exception…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/11/23/khmer-rouge-trial-opens-in-cambodia.html

“UN Security Council Vote Challenges Hidden Agenda on Syria” by Rhonda Hauben [Blogs.taz.de / Netizenblog]

Posted in Afghanistan, France, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, NATO, Portugal, Russia, Syria, U.K., US imperialism, USA on November 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

10.27.2011

I – Introduction

On Tuesday, October 4, the UN Security Council announced it would take up a draft resolution on Syria. This meeting was to be an instance, when the lessons some Security Council members had drawn from the experience with the resolutions on Libya could be reflected in their action on a draft resolution against Syria.

Several weeks earlier, journalists had been told that there were two different draft resolutions about Syria tabled at the Security Council.

One draft resolution on Syria had been proposed by Russia and China. Russia and China said their resolution had been designed to encourage a peaceful process to help the Syrian government deal both with its stated desire for reforms and with the extremist violence against the Syrian government that was making such reform difficult.

The other draft resolution was tabled by four of the European members of the Security Council – France, UK, Germany and Portugal. (1) This draft condemned the actions of the Syrian government. It did not oppose foreign intervention into Syria’s domestic affairs. The European draft called on all states to deny the Syrian government arms, but made no such call to deny weapons to the armed opposition.

The European draft framed the problem as the Syrian government, similar to how Resolution 1973 framed the problem in Libya as being due to the government guided by Muammar Gaddafi.

Coming to the stakeout area where the journalists were congregated, the four European Security Council members informed journalists that they had called for a vote on their resolution that evening at a meeting scheduled to start at 6 pm.

II – The Security Council Vote on the European Draft Resolution

At 6:20 pm, the Nigerian Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu as the President of the Security Council for the month of October, opened the meeting.(2) Under Rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council, she invited the Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari to participate in the meeting.(3)

The Security Council President called for a vote on the European draft resolution. No members spoke before the vote.

There were nine votes in favor of the resolution, two votes opposed and four abstentions. Voting in favor of the draft resolution were Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, France, Gabon, Germany, Nigeria, Portugal, the UK, and the US . Voting against were China and Russia. Abstaining were Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa. The ‘no’ votes by China and Russia, as permanent members of the Security Council, represented a double veto of the European draft resolution. The European draft resolution failed to pass.

III – Comments by Nations Voting ‘No’ on the Resolution

What was different in this situation from the vote on Security Council Resolution 1973 about Libya, is that instead of the two permanent members Russia and China abstaining, as they had done on the Libyan resolution in March, this time they both voted ‘no’.

Russian Federation UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin explained his vote. He said that working with China, Russia had prepared a draft resolution which was supported by Brazil, India and South Africa. The fundamental philosophy of the draft resolution he had worked on, he explained, was to support a respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and the principle of non intervention in its internal affairs. These are key principles of the UN Charter. Such an effort, he argued, necessitated the need to refrain from confrontation. There should be no threats, ultimatums, or sanctions against the Syrian government.

“The situation in Syria cannot be considered in the Council separately from the Libyan experience, “ Ambassador Churkin said. (Transcript, p. 4) He referred to the alarm expressed in the international community at NATO statements that Security Council resolutions on Libya provided a model for future actions by NATO.

Churkin specifically pointed to how the language of Resolutions 1970 and 1973 on Libya was turned into its opposite by some members of the Council. The language calling for a quick cease fire, he said was turned into a full-fledged civil war. The provision of a no fly zone, he explained, “has morphed into the bombing of (Libyan) oil refineries, television stations and other civilian sites.”(Transcript, p. 4) The arms embargo was used as a pretext for a naval blockade affecting humanitarian goods. The call to prevent a tragedy in Benghazi led to a tragedy in Sirte and Bani Walid, observed the Ambassador.

Though Churkin did not present a specific description of this tragedy, NATO bombing campaigns were being waged against civilians in Bani Walid and Sirte, even as the Council met. “These types of models should be excluded from global practices once and for all,” said Churkin.

One of the reasons Churkin gave for voting against the European draft, was that those writing the resolution had refused to build in a prohibition against foreign intervention into the Syrian conflict. “Our proposals for wording on the non-acceptability of foreign intervention were not taken into account and, based on the well-known events in North Africa that can only put us on our guard,” Churkin told the Council.

While the Russian Ambassador condemned Syrian government repression of non-violent demonstrations, he also pointed to the need to condemn the extremists’ violent actions against the Syrian government taken outside the law and aimed at gaining foreign sponsors for their actions. Churkin offered to continue to work on the Russian-Chinese draft resolution to support a process toward a peaceful resolution of the internal Syrian conflict.

China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong, explaining his own vote against the European draft resolution, called on all parties in Syria to avoid violence. Whether the Security Council takes further action on the question of Syria, he said, should depend on whether such action would facilitate the easing of tension in Syria, help to defuse differences through political dialogue, and contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East.

Important for China was whether the Security Council’s efforts comply with the UN Charter and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, “which has a bearing upon the security and survival of developing countries, in particular small and medium sized countries,” Ambassador Li told the Security Council.

China’s Ambassador reminded the Council that there were two draft resolutions, one of which China supported because “it advocates respect for the sovereignty of Syria and resolving the crisis through political dialogue.” The other draft, the one that was voted down, focused “solely on exerting pressure on Syria, even threatening to impose sanctions,” he explained.

IV – Nations Abstaining Explain their Vote

The four nations that had abstained also spoke to the Council about the reasons for their votes…

…The Indian Ambassador cautioned that the international community should “not complicate the situation by threats of sanctions, regime change, et cetera.”

Ambassador Basu Sagqu of South Africa explained his nation’s abstention. He observed, “We have seen recently that Security Council resolutions have been abused, and that their implementation has gone far beyond the mandate of what was intended.” (Transcript, p. 11)

He questioned whether the plans of the European sponsors of the draft resolution were not part of “a hidden agenda aimed at once again instituting regime change which has been an objective clearly stated by some.” He referred to the rejection by the European Security Council members of “language that clearly excluded the possibility of military intervention in the resolution….” He proposed that, “the Security Council should proceed with caution on Syria lest we exacerbate an already volatile situation.”

Lebanon’s Ambassador Nawwaf Salam said his country had abstained to defend Syria’s right to sovereignty and “the integrity of its people and land” and in protection of Syria’s unity and stability. (Transcript, p. 9)…

V – Votes of Nations Sponsoring the Draft Resolution

Explaining their votes in favor of the resolution, France, the UK, Germany and Portugal portrayed what is happening in Syria mainly as a movement for “freedom and democracy” essentially denying that there have been violent attacks against the Syrian government or foreign intervention which encourages these attacks. Their response to the concerns raised by Russia and China and other Council members was to dismiss the issues that they raised. The four European members brought their draft resolution to a vote without resolving the disagreements. While it is likely they had anticipated a veto, they claimed to be surprised at the results of the vote. UK Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant maintained that their text “contained nothing that any member of this Council should have felt the need to oppose.” (Transcript, p. 7)

VI – Other Council Members Voting in Favor Draft Resolution

The US Ambassador Susan Rice said that the US was “outraged” by the action of the Council.(Transcript, p.8 ) The US offered no specific responses to concerns raised by other council members about the resolution, such as Ambassador Churkin’s concern about how the words of the Libyan resolution were turned into their opposites, or the South African concern that the draft European resolution on Syria would be used for actions far beyond any mandates intended by all members of the Council…

…Nowhere in her comments was there any response to the problem other Council members raised about alleged foreign intervention, like that of Turkey and other States which are repeating with Syria the pattern of what NATO nations had done in the case of Libya. Colombia and Bosnia expressed their support for the resolution condemning the Syrian government. Gabon and Nigeria did not speak to explain why they voted in favor of the European resolution.

VII – Syrian Comments to the Council

After all of the Council members who had asked to speak, had been given the floor, Syrian Ambassador Ja’afari was called on to present his comments to the Council. It is the usual Security Council practice to allow a UN member with a material interest in an issue being considered, to present its position, but only after a vote is taken.

The Syrian Ambassador proposed that the reason the NATO countries are targeting his country for hostile action is not because of any humanitarian concerns. The basis for their hostile actions, he said, is “due to our independent political position which does not conform to the agendas of those capitals.” (Transcript, p. 12) Pointing to massacres and human rights violations by the US and other western nations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Algeria, many African countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Ja’afari said he did not see how anyone could ignore these. The implication was that the nations bringing the draft resolution to the Council had a double standard about whose human rights violations they asked the Council to condemn. While he acknowledged the need and desire of the Syrian people and government for economic, political and social reforms, he denounced the misuse of such demands to try “to facilitate external opposition,” and to “pave the way for external intervention.”

He proposed that, “encouraging the radical demands of the opposition in Syria to topple the government by force of arms, violence and terrorism amounts to a coup supported by outside powers….” (Transcript, p. 14)

He argued that “the intervention of the Security Council in Syrian internal affairs further aggravates the situation and sends a message to extremists and terrorists – that their acts of deliberate sabotage and violence…are encouraged and supported by the Security Council.” (Transcript, p. 14)

Concluding his comments, he expressed his appreciation to the States that had rejected what he characterized as abuse of the Council. “If we are optimistic about the Council,” he said, “it is because we continue to hear the voice of the wise echoing in the Chamber.”

The Security Council meeting ended at 7:45 pm.

VIII – Some Examples of Netizen Comments on the Resolution

While much of the mainstream Western media portrayed the October 4 Security Council meeting in the terms offered by the US and European members of the Council, several responses posted on the Internet demonstrated that there are many people who oppose the actions of the western members of the Security Council.(4)

…Some netizens wrote that Russia and China “should also have vetoed the Libyan resolution.” One netizen explained the view that “they (Russia and China) just allowed NATO to kill Libyans, and destroy the country so they can make big money in reconstruction contracts. “

A US netizen who expressed a similar view said, referring to the US President Obama, “So I guess our Nobel Peace Prize winner wants to spread more peace around the globe. He will have to do it Bush style without UN approval.”

Another netizen said that such a veto a few months ago in the Libyan situation would have prevented the “now ongoing genocide and catastrophe that the US, France and so-called UK have brought the Libyan nation via NATO bombings and flagrant – shameless support of armed revolt. Perhaps there’s still a chance for the ‘United Nations’ to vindicate itself historically and salvage its long lost credibility and honorable standing.”

Expressing a similar viewpoint, a netizen ended his comment, “If a ‘no-fly zone’ is interpreted by Obama and Sarkozy as 6 months of unlimited bombing (of Libya), how could China and Russia risk allowing any kind of resolution on another country.”

IX – Conclusion

Comparing the October 4 Security Council meeting which rejected the hostile European draft resolution against Syria with the March 17 meeting approving Resolution 1973 against Libya, what stands out is that on October 4, some members of the Security Council acknowledged the violent actions of some of the internal opposition against the Syrian government. In March the Council had failed to acknowledge the armed insurrection against the Libyan government.

One lesson that several members of the Council appear to have drawn from the Security Council action on Libya, was the need to avoid passing a vague or hostile resolution which could be abused by powerful nations as a pretext to carry out a hidden agenda of regime change.

The opposition on the Security Council to the European draft demonstrated a determination to prevent a NATO type intervention against Syria, similar to that which had been carried out by the US, France, and the UK against Libya using NATO. The Libyan experience had shown that these powerful western governments would do as they wished using a Security Council resolution as a pretext and the Security Council had no means to stop such abuse of its resolutions.

The UN Charter obligation of the Security Council is to work for the peaceful resolution of conflicts affecting peace and security in the international arena. The situation in Syria, as it was in Libya, is a domestic affair complicated by foreign intervention. The fact that many Libyan civilians have been and continued to be killed by NATO bombing missions in Libya as the Council considered a similar resolution against Syria, offered a grotesque backdrop to the fact that some NATO members who are members of the Security Council have continued to try to use the Security Council to claim legal authority for their clearly illegal attack on the sovereignty of UN member nations.(5)

Netizen comments in response to western media reports in support of such illegal actions demonstrate a rejection by these netizens of the kind of action NATO has undertaken against Libya. The effort of NATO members of the Security Council to use the Libya resolution as a model to support their attack on Syria, was met by a double veto and four abstentions in the Security Council. It was also met by netizens posting articles and comments on the Internet to oppose NATO’s actions and to welcome the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the European draft resolution.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Footnotes available at original article’s webpage: http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2011/10/27/security_council_veto_on_syria/

“The Brutal Murder of Gaddafi and the Implications for All Who Stand in the Way of the War Criminals” by Matthias Chiang [Future FastForward]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Al Jazeera bias, distortion and lies, Cameron, China, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, NATO, Obama, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Syria, Tony Blair, Turkey, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, UNSC, USA, War crimes, Zionism on November 3, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

22nd October 2011

* Toe the line or be the next victim of the colonial plunder and rape! *

Gaddafi died a martyr, murdered by the war criminals of US, France, Britain and NATO led by President Obama, President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron. Although NATO spearheaded the military campaign against Libya, the strategic planning was prepared by US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

AFRICOM was set up to further the US interest in Africa, more precisely the Global Military-Industrial-Financial Complex’s interests in securing and plundering the resources of Africa. Behind AFRICOM’s curtain are the hidden hands of Zionist Israel.

The first victim of this agenda is Libya.

When the UN Security Council sanctioned the attack on Libya under the guise of imposing a No-Fly zone to protect the alleged killing of civilians by Gaddafi who was fighting an armed rebellion supported and financed by the abovementioned war criminals, Russia and China could have vetoed the resolution and thwart the destruction and plunder of Libya.

But these two permanent members of the Security Council caved in and abstained.

China has a major presence in Libya and her intelligence services would have known whether Gaddafi enjoyed wide popular support from his people. The Libyan government was stable and successful in implementing development projects for the benefit of the people. It was the most developed country in the entire African continent and Gaddafi’s efforts were duly recognised by the UN weeks before the barbaric aerial bombardment of Libya.

China invested billions of dollars in Libya.

Yet, without a whimper of resistance at the highest diplomatic level, she evacuated 30,000 Chinese workers from Libya and left in a hurry. China and Russia knew in advance that there would be an undeclared war against Libya. Everything was up for grabs!

Even after the full invasion and wanton destruction of Libya, China and Russia made perfunctory and lame criticisms of NATO’s criminal actions. Surely, it cannot be said that Russia and China were misled by the war criminals that they had no intentions to destroy Libya and oust Gaddafi and to seize the oil resources. They must have known that war preparations were in place long before the matter came before the UN Security Council. That was their excuse in not vetoing the UN Security Council resolution authorising NATO’s military action. A load of rubbish.

So why did China and Russia cave in? This is the US$ trillion question.

It reminds me of the story of a man who owed a debt of gratitude to two rival gangs. The man was asked by the more notorious gang to assassinate the leader of the other gang but the attempt failed. When confronted by the victim as to the reasons to be the hired killer, the man replied that he owed a greater debt of gratitude to the other gang leader.

Libya under Gaddafi welcomed China with open arms, but China turned a blind eye to the destruction of Libya because she owed a greater debt of gratitude to Zionist Israel and the global financial elites for past favours, as well as narrow selfinterests [sic]. China had too much toilet paper money (US Federal Reserve notes) and the sale of Libyan oil in the intended gold dinar by Gaddafi would literally destroy the US dollar. This cannot be allowed! Period!

The same can be said of Sarkozy and Tony Blair and his copycat Cameron. They all turned their backs on Gaddafi for the same reasons.

It must be said that the leading members of the African Union were courageous enough to make a stand against the invasion and wanton destruction and did not extend “recognition” to NATO’s quisling regime until forced by circumstances to do so. Members of the Arab League and the OIC were cowards and opportunists and they pride themselves as righteous Muslims. But Qatar must be singled out for special condemnation. Can anyone still believe that Al-Jazeera is the voice of the Arab / Muslim communities? Until exposed as the barking dog of NATO, Al-Jazeera was the major “Arab” propaganda tool to demonise Gaddafi and to misrepresent the actual situation in Libya – an armed rebellion financed by war criminals. Al-Qaeda played a leading role in the armed rebellion.

Iran, Syria and Lebanon should learn from this experience and the mistakes of Gaddafi. They are the next targets of the Zionists / Neo-Conservatives global agenda. If they entertain any thoughts of making compromises with these war criminals, by abandoning their right of self-defence and to be armed with every conceivable weapon, including nuclear weapons, they will end up like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. In defending their country, all options should be on the table in like manner as the war criminals have declared in their war agenda against them. They will collapse one by one like dominoes if they strategise [sic] otherwise!

To the leaders of countries under immediate threat as well as those on the fringes, your previous strategy of inviting China and Russia to invest on preferential basis and to purchase massive amount of arms to counter-balance the threat of the Zionist Anglo-American Axis will no longer be effective because US$ billions worth of investments and military purchase count for nothing when US$ trillions worth of foreign reserves are at stake.

The investing countries will run for cover for short-term preservation and will not be willing to commit their resources for a military conflict unless and until they themselves are under a direct threat. This is a given. To the leaders of China and Russia – this is your wake up call. Stop strutting like a peacock just because you have abundant dollar reserves. The Federal Reserve Notes are all toilet papers and will not be bargaining chips when the deal placed on the table is – surrender or war.

There is still time yet to mount a Global Counter-Alliance against this fascist triad of Israel / US / UK war criminals.

As for Iran and Turkey, stop aspiring to be regional powers, as you cannot hope to achieve this grand vision so long as Zionist Israel continues to wag the US dog. Be realistic. Without nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and revolutionary social forces on your side, global public opinion cannot be mobilised to first isolate and then annihilate your enemies. Turkey cannot take comfort that as a member of NATO it will be immune to the machinations of the war criminals.

The countdown has started.

The new normal and preferred mode of regime change is to use the pretext of Humanitarian Intervention as a cover for outright military intervention.

In the African continent, it will be U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) as the Planner and NATO as the military Bully.

In the next escalation in the Middle East and South Asia wars (i.e. the overspill from Afghanistan to Pakistan), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) will be the Planner and the combined might of NATO, Israel and Arab Lackeys will provide the military manpower.

In South-East Asia and the Pacific, U.S Pacific Command (USPACOM) will lead and coordinate all military campaigns.

In South America, the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) will plan and lead, with narco states providing the ground troops.

In all of the above war scenarios, mercenaries and special forces will be in the forefront in fomenting sectarian wars and religious armed conflicts.

2012 will usher in The World War of the 21st Century – the perverse solution of the war criminals in their futile attempt to overcome the final phase of the Global Financial Tsunami!

* Matthias Chang is a distinguished Malaysian lawyer, author and adviser to former Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohamad *

Article link: http://futurefastforward.com/images/stories/featurearticles/THE_BRUTAL_MURDER_OF_GADDAFI.pdf

“Not a real victory for NATO” – Former PR China ambassador to Middle East on Libya [China Daily]

Posted in Algeria, Egypt, France, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, NATO, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, U.K. on September 15, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

September 1, 2011

On July 31, British Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox said Libyan rebel forces “have very limited ground potential”, while French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet told reporters that they were prepared for a “protracted conflict”. But only three weeks later, the rebel forces entered Tripoli. There is little doubt they did so with immense support from Western powers.

According to The New York Times, European countries such as the United Kingdom and France sent their special forces to train the rebels in Libya. It was a move which, CNN quoting a NATO official said, helped the rebels gain massive strength in such a short time. In fact, on Aug 23, Longuet admitted to having sent weapons and “technical staff” to Libya.

Apart from helping the Libyan rebels in every way possible, Western countries also bribed some of Muammar Gadhafi’s officials, which is exactly what the United States had done with Iraqi officials before invading that country in 2003.

The People’s Daily has reported that most of Gadhafi’s senior military officers, including a brigadier in charge of Gadhafi’s personal security, had been bribed. No wonder, the brigadier ordered surrender of his troops at a critical time to allow the rebel forces to enter Tripoli without much resistance.

It is clear, too, that NATO helped the rebels throughout their push toward Tripoli. But that does not necessarily mean NATO has been successful in the civil war.

NATO may have helped the rebels seize power but it is a loser in terms of morality and justice. The United Nations Security Council authorized NATO to impose a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent loss of civilian lives. But NATO has defeated this purpose by prolonging and expanding the civil conflict that has cost thousands of civilians their lives and rendered tens of thousands homeless. The US-based National Catholic Register’s comment on the Libyan civil war, made earlier, seems apt: “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” But that is exactly what has happened.

Instead of demonstrating NATO’s strength, the capture of Tripoli has exposed its deficiencies and weaknesses. Under the heavy fire of NATO jets, Gadhafi’s troops armed with not-so-modern weapons stood their ground for five months, forcing Western powers to intervene directly. As some Western newspapers said earlier, whether or not Gadhafi loses power, the Western alliance is already a loser for wasting huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.

The situation in Libya can be described, to quote a phrase generally used inside NATO, as a “catastrophic success”. The mess in Libya has all the symptoms of becoming a lasting headache for leaders in Brussels and Washington.

The rebel forces comprise several people with different, even contradicting, interests including tribes from Libya’s eastern region, former officials who betrayed Gadhafi, pro-Western democrats, Islamic extremists and Al-Qaida terrorists. It is hard to imagine that they will remain united in post-Gadhafi Libya.

Besides, the civil war has intensified tribal rivalry, for long a feature of Libyan body politic. The tribes that supported Gadhafi are not likely to take things lying down as the new game for power is played out. Many observers fear that Libya could go the way of Somalia or Iraq. That definitely cannot be good news for the Western powers. Experience tells us how easy it is for a country with Muslim majority population to fall prey to Islamic extremists, and there is every possibility of post-Gadhafi Libya becoming one.

So does Libya teach us something?

Western observers love to say that NATO’s “success” in Libya will encourage protesters in other Middle East and North African countries such as Syria. But they refuse to see or hear what Syrian protesters want. It is true that Syrian protesters shouted “Bye Gaddafi, Bashar next” after Libyan rebels captured Tripoli, but it is also true that they don’t want foreign forces to intervene in their country. They realize that political problems should be solved through political means rather than violence or foreign intervention. After all, they know that all foreign intervening forces serve their own purpose not the victims’. This is as true today as it was in the past.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen the US led Western forces into two wars to topple regimes, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Western forces, no doubt, have overthrown regimes. But are they true victors? The war in Iraq was the turning point for US hegemony, and the decade-long war in Afghanistan has put the US and its allies in a dilemma. Libya, too, is a bad example of Western intervention in developing countries.

Political problems can no longer be solved with force. The US should learn from its past experiences and stop regaling in its mythical glory, for it will benefit none and harm all.

China has long been advocating the use of negotiations to solve political problems, and has always opposed foreign intervention in any country. China respects the choice of the Libyan people and is willing to play a role in the reconstruction of their country, for irrespective of what happens in Libya, China will always remain a friend of the Libyan people.

The author is a researcher with Beijing-based China Foundation for International Studies, and China’s former ambassador to Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt.

Article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-09/01/content_13569515.htm