|Israel & Palestine||
Robert Fisk, Stop the War Coalition, UK - Last month US warships fired $65.8m worth of Tomahawk missiles within just 24 hours: if we spent as promiscuously on Ebola cures, there would be no more Ebola.
So who is winning the war? Isis? Us? The Kurds (remember them?) The Syrians? The Iraqis? Do we even remember the war? Not at all. We must tell the truth. So let us now praise famous weapons and the manufacturers that begat them.
Share prices are soaring in America for those who produce the coalition bombs and missiles and drones and aircraft participating in this latest war which for all who are involved (except for the recipients of the bombs and missiles and those they are fighting) is Hollywood from start to finish.
Shares in Lockheed Martin maker of the All for One and One for All Hellfire missiles are up 9.3 per cent in the past three months. Raytheon which has a big Israeli arm has gone up 3.8 per cent. Northrop Grumman shares swooped up the same 3.8 per cent. And General Dynamics shares have risen 4.3 per cent. Lockheed Martin which really does steal Alexandre Dumas Three Musketeers quotation on its publicity material makes the rockets carried by the Reaper drones, famous for destroying wedding parties over Afghanistan and Pakistan, and by Iraqi aircraft.
And dont be downhearted. The profits go on soaring. When the Americans decided to extend their bombing into Syria in September to attack President Assads enemies scarcely a year after they first proposed to bomb President Assad himself Raytheon was awarded a $251m contract to supply the US navy with more Tomahawk cruise missiles. Agence France-Presse, which does the job that Reuters used to do when it was a real news agency, informed us that on 23 September, American warships fired 47 Tomahawk missiles. Each one costs about $1.4m. And if we spent as promiscuously on Ebola cures, believe me, there would be no more Ebola.
Patrick Coburn, Independent, UK - America's plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group's fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad.
The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama's plan to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.
Isis reinforcements have been rushing towards Kobani in the past few days to ensure that they win a decisive victory over the Syrian Kurdish town's remaining defenders. The group is willing to take heavy casualties in street fighting and from air attacks in order to add to the string of victories it has won in the four months since its forces captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on 10 June. Part of the strength of the fundamentalist movement is a sense that there is something inevitable and divinely inspired about its victories, whether it is against superior numbers in Mosul or US airpower at Kobani.
... Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn't the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.
Today, only the city of Haditha and two bases, Al-Assad military base near Hit, and Camp Mazrah outside Fallujah, are still in Iraqi government hands.
.... The US's failure to save Kobani, if it falls, will be a political as well as military disaster. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the loss of the beleaguered town are even more significant than the inability so far of air strikes to stop Isis taking 40 per cent of it. At the start of the bombing in Syria, President Obama boasted of putting together a coalition of Sunni powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to oppose Isis, but these all have different agendas to the US in which destroying IS is not the first priority. The Sunni Arab monarchies may not like Isis, which threatens the political status quo, but, as one Iraqi observer put it, "they like the fact that Isis creates more problems for the Shia than it does for them".
... In the course of the past week it has become clear that Turkey considers the Syrian Kurd political and military organisations, the PYD and YPG, as posing a greater threat to it than the Islamic fundamentalists. Moreover, the PYD is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984.
Peter Certo, Counterpunch - Under international lawat least as defined by the UN Charter, to which the United States is a founding signatoryone country can only legally launch attacks inside another under one of three conditions: if the intervention is authorized by the UN Security Council; if its a cut-and-dry case of self-defense; or if assistance is requested by the other countrys government.
Its true that in Iraq at least, the government requested U.S. assistance in stemming the spread of ISan intervention promoted in Washington as part of an effort to prevent the genocide of Iraqi religious minorities like the Yazidis (remember them?). Yet the United States has continued launching strikes on IS positions in Iraq long after the crisis on Mt. Sinjar was putatively resolved.
But in Syria, not a single one of these conditions applies.
In a letter to the United Nations explaining its strikes on Syria, the Obama administration claimed that it had the right to attack IS positions that the Syrian regime was unable or unwilling to eradicate itself. IS, the administration argues, has used its strategic depth in Syriawhere no U.S. intervention has been formally invited by the still-sovereign Assad regimeto attack Iraq, which has requested U.S. assistance.
Common Dreams - The U.S. government's new war in Iraq that now also includes Syria has already cost American taxpayers between $780 and $930 million, and could amount to over $1 billion a month if U.S. efforts intensify on the scale demanded by war hawks in Congress, according to a think tank analysis published this week.
According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments:
Assuming a moderate level of air operations and 2,000 deployed ground forces, the costs would likely run between $200 and $320 million per month. If air operations are conducted at a higher pace and 5,000 ground forces are deployed, the costs would be between $350 and $570 million per month. If operations expand significantly to include the deployment of 25,000 U.S. troops on the ground, as some have recommended, costs would likely reach $1.1 to $1.8 billion per month.
On an annual basis, CSBA estimates, the U.S. military's operation against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) could cost as much as $22 billion dollars a year.
The Pentagon is currently funding the attack through a controversial war fund, dubbed the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which is exempt from federal budget caps. The fund was originally created to fund the previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan though defense officials say it will likely be around for the "long-term.
1. Hamas has foresworn attacks on the United States and other Western countries, presenting itself as a national liberation movement against Israeli military occupation (an occupation that has lasted since 1967 in Gaza). ISIL on the other hand has called on radicals to attack the US and Europe.
2. Hamas has joined a national unity government with the PLO. Some Hamas legislators hold that this step automatically results in an implicit Hamas recognition of Israel, insofar as Hamas delegates will be bound by PLO rules of discourse, and the latter recognize Israel. In contrast, no high-profile member of ISIL has done anything but attempt to foment more violence and to break all political deals.
3. Hamas has not concertedly attacked non-Muslims, and, in fact there has sometimes been good cooperation between it and the Eastern Orthodox church. In contrast, ISIL attempted to ethnically cleanse the Yazidis and has threatened Christians and other minorities.
4. Hamas has concluded ceasefires with Israel, however imperfect on both sides. ISIL was kicked out of al-Qaeda for declining ever to make a truce even with its own allies.
5. Hamas has a civilian wing that ran for elective office in 2006 and won the Palestine elections. That civilian wing represented itself as liberal and more secular. ISIL has no civil wing and is profoundly opposed to holding elections by party.
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