|Al Qaeda||Afghanistan||Iraq||Iran||Israel & Palestine|
Juan Cole - y Juan Cole
Ever since George W. Bush invaded Iraq and created the circumstances under which al-Qaeda could take root and flourish there from 2003 forward, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (which later styled itself the Islamic State of Iraq) has taken captives and has beheaded them on film. It was doing this in 2004
These acts of public brutality against a helpless individual are intended in part to announce that despite their military superiority, Westerners are not 10 feet tall and can be cut down to size. They announce leadership and encourage angry young men to join ISIL rather than one of its many rivals. They also push Western publics to demand reprisals. Reprisals in turn can be used by the radical group as proof to its followers that it really is being unjustly targeted by the big bad superpower. It is a passive aggressive form of terrorism.
For these reasons, I dont typically talk about kidnappings or beheadings of captives at this blog. It is an artificial phenomenon carried out precisely for people to talk about ISIL.
... It seems to me that editors should refuse to play along with this sick game.
The fact is that almost no news organization covers the killing of American troops in Afghanistan any more. If it happens it is on page 17, and this had been the case for years. So lets get this straight. The Taliban can actually kill US troops without our headlining the fact. But the slaughter of an innocent captive is front page news. These are editorial decisions, not acts of nature.
Matthew Hoh - : The Presidents citing of the success of American military policy in Somalia and Yemen show how intellectually and morally dishonest this administration, like the previous administration, is. Both nations are chaotic and violent and American military action, particularly drone strikes that often kill innocents have not diminished al Shabaab in Somalia or al-Qaeda in Yemen, rather those groups continue to operate and enjoy the recruitment benefits of American airstrikes against Somalia and Yemeni civilians, as well as how American actions play into their propaganda narratives and raison dêtre.
A more apt comparison would have been Afghanistan, where a continued U.S. military policy of picking sides in a foreign civil war has seen American troops beginning their 13th year in combat in Afghanistan, violence against civilians at its highest level, the Taliban stronger and more confident than they have ever been, and Afghanistans government in Kabul in its most severe political crisis since 2001.
What President Obama stated, which if put into policy will in effect be a re-invasion of Sunni lands by Shia and Kurdish forces backed by American firepower, will greatly exacerbate the Iraqi Civil War and will revert Iraq to the bloody days of 2006.
Hoh, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was subsequently appointed Senior Civilian Representative of the U.S. government for Zabul Province in Afghanistan. Five months into his year-long contract in 2009, Hoh resigned and became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Hoh was awarded The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2010.
Eli Lake, Dailly Beast - Obama pledged that the war against ISIS wont be fought with U.S. ground troops. He didnt say anything about contractors, who see this as the next big meal ticket.
... At the height of the Iraq war, these firms hired hundreds of thousands of people: guns-for-hire, IT geeks, logistics specialists, interrogators, and short order cooks to ladle out the slop at the military cafeteria. Over time, some of those contractors became the symbol for everything that was wrong with the Iraq war: hugely expensive, ineffective, and indifferent to Iraqi life. Contractors were at the middle of the wars biggest scandals, from Abu Ghraib to Nissour Square. And it was the abductions and murder of Blackwater contractors that sparked one of Iraq's biggest battles.
None of the five current and former contractors who spoke with The Daily Beast expected a replay of last decades Iraq war. But they all said a major opportunity was comingboth for them, and for Obama, who could use the private armies as a way to conceal just how many people will be fighting in this new conflict.
... President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $500 million to train a new Syrian opposition out of Saudi Arabia. That money would be part of a $5 billion fund Obama requested this spring from Congress to help train and equip U.S. allies to fight terrorists.
Sam Smith The leaders of NATO are behaving in as dangerous way as weve seen since the heat of the Cold War. In threatening Russia at its very borders, these narcissistic politicians are trying to prove how tough they are at considerable risk to everyone else. They are being encouraged by the very force that created them in the first place, the media, and are treating this as though it was just another domestic political campaign.
Listen to the language, as reported b the Christian Science Monitor
Leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization member gathered in Wales pledged today to contribute troops to an alliance-wide "rapid reaction" force. The calls are prompted by what NATO members allege is Russian military support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
In a speech, British Prime Minister David Cameron complained that "Russia is ripping up the rulebook with its annexation of Crimea and its troops on the sovereign soil of Ukraine." Mr. Cameron vowed 1,000 British soldiers would be attached to the rapid reaction force.
"This would be part of a reformed NATO response force with headquarters in Poland, forward units in the eastern allies and pre-positioned equipment and infrastructure to allow more exercises and, if necessary, rapid reinforcement."
Over the last decade, NATO's expansion into eastern Europe has been a major point of friction with Russia. President Vladimir Putin has complained of a bellicose expansion of a Cold War alliance created to contain the Soviet Union that now appears to be targeting Russia. Moscow's view is that NATO countries funded the Ukrainian opposition and fueled the protests that toppled a pro-Russian leader in Kiev in February. It sees pledges to position more NATO forces closer to the Russian frontier as an escalation.
And from the Guardian:
The unit would be able to deploy a "spearhead group" within 48 hours to reinforce the Baltic states in the event of a Russian invasion, followed by reinforcements. But Nato officials said it could also be used anywhere else in the world.
The new force is aimed at meeting criticism that Nato is too slow and unwieldy and increasingly irrelevant. Nato hopes the main components of the force will be in place by the end of the year.
Here's one of the dangerous game NATO is playing:
Nato is reluctant to break a 1997 treaty with Russia that forbids placing permanent bases in the Baltic states and is getting round this by holding permanent exercises, which have largely the same impact of reassuring the Baltic governments.
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron ... challenged NATO to not turn inward in the face of the threat.Those who want to adopt an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century, Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint editorial in the Times of London.
Sam Smith, 2002 - Fifty years ago this month, world attention was fixed on a U.S.-Soviet confrontation over the placement of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba, probably the most dangerous and perhaps the most studied moment of the Cold War. What came to be known as the Cuban missile crisis raised, as never before and probably since, the specter of global nuclear war.
At the time I was a young officer in the Coast Guard, which I had joined to avoid the draft, not to fight World War III. For some months the possible consequences of the Cuban missile crisis became extremely personal.
But we got through it and I haven't thought about it in decades. Then the Ukrainian story broke and I had the sense I was seeing it again, only with the players reversed.
And the lesson to be learned was the same: don't play your macho games too close to the other guy's turf.
56% of Americans support an interim deal with Iran that would ease some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear program.
Name one significant thing the American government has done since 9/11 to make it less likely that some in the MId East would want to attack it.
The good old days
Infrequently asked qustions:
When in history has a country as powerful as America been as afraid of a force as small as Al Qaeda?
How do we tell when we're meant to surrender our Constitution to fight Al Queda and when we're meant to give them more arms?
.@Harpers - Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking disability benefits: 45
A 12 year old who should be running
for president of Egypt
Just a reminder
PROGRESSIVE REVIEW STORIES
Australian - In one of three interviews yesterday, Mr Obama said the rebels were saying the right things so far. Most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors, people who appear to be credible, he told CBS.
Great former thoughts of Barack Obama: President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a dumb war and should be opposed. The dumb war Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. - CNS