MID EAST UNDERNEWS

The Progressive Review

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Syria

Obama's ISIS strategy in tatters

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.

Why the war on ISIS is illegal

Peter Certo, Counterpunch - Under international law—at least as defined by the UN Charter, to which the United States is a founding signatory—one country can only legally launch attacks inside another under one of three conditions: if the intervention is authorized by the UN Security Council; if it’s a cut-and-dry case of self-defense; or if assistance is requested by the other country’s government.

It’s true that in Iraq at least, the government requested U.S. assistance in stemming the spread of IS—an 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 Syria—where no U.S. intervention has been formally invited by the still-sovereign Assad regime—to attack Iraq, which has requested U.S. assistance.

War on ISIS could cost $22 billion a year

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.

Why Netanyahu is full of it about Hamas and ISIS/ISIL

Juan Cole:

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.

I'm confused

Sam Smith - If beheadings are what have us so upset, why aren't we bombing Saudi Arabia?

If the killing of innocent Americans is what has us so upset, why aren't we bombing Ferguson, Missouri?

If the largest military force in the world is so afraid of ten to thirty thousand rebels, why are we so aggressive towards the Russians?

Why we have we done virtually nothing in over a decade to make Mid Eastern moderates feel better about us?

Why will our current strategy work better than it did previously in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Vietnam?

Does it bother anyone in Washington that our strategy is serving as a recruitment tool for ISIS?

Why were we so opposed to South African apartheid but don't mind it a bit in Israel?

What non-military strategies were examined by the Obama administration and why were they rejected?

Might supporting Palestinian nationhood and opposing Israeli invasion of same not be a good one?

If we had public campaign financing, how would our policy towards Israel change?

Word: Mid East

Word: A Quaker look at the Mid East

Time for Kurdistan?

40 maps that explain the Mid East

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.

Former CIA official shocks House committee with the truth about Mid East policy

The Mid East explained

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.

2012

The wars in the Middle East are not just about oil; they're about gas

The good old days

LEGITGOV

What Arab Spring was really about

The truth is that the Arab Spring uprisings, not just in Libya but across the Arab world, drew much of their explosive strength from the combination of very different people and strands of opinion united by hatred of oppressive and corrupt autocracies.

Infrequently asked qustions:

If Osama bin Laden was so important, why haven't we done better against Al Qaeda without him?

American Mid East terrorism since 1981

Proportional representation key to a new Mid East

U.S. insisted U.N. exempt mercenary murders from prosecution

American hypocrisy in the Middle East

TEN GREAT COMMANDMENTS FOR MID EAST POLICY

OASES IN THE DESERT OF MID EAST DEBATE

Study finds little difference in Obama and Bush troop deployment

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera director resigns amidst 'US intelligence links' row

Al Jazeera uncovers another anti-Muslim course by US military for its officers

Al Qaeda

What difference has Osama bin Laden's death made?

When in history has a country as powerful as America been as afraid of a force as small as Al Qaeda?

If Bin Laden is dead why aren't we safer?

Personal to NSA: Forget Snowden, the president is cutting deals with 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?

Recovered history: Back when we liked At Qaeda's predecessors

America's strange ally: Al Qaeda

.@Harpers - Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking disability benefits: 45

How Bush and Obama strengthened Al Qaeda

The Al Qaeda scorecard

Obama Has Awlaki’s 16-year old son, friends killed at dinner

Navy Seals did die in vain

What Al Qaeda really accomplished

The Al Qaeda Myth: Never has American spent so much and lost so many to defeat so few

The unnoticed, unreported part of the Bin Laden story
 
Bin Laden cost us $3 trillion
 
Bin Laden: The monster America built
 
Oh shucks, Bin Laden not quite the cause of all our problems

What Bin Laden was really up to

Forgotten tales of Bin Laden
 
Now that Bin Laden's dead, can we have our country back again?
 
WHERE'S BIN BEEN?

Dubai

WHY YOU MAY NOT WISH TO GO TO DUBAI

Egypt

The Egypt back story


A 12 year old who should be running
for president of Egypt

TSA Chief Pistole helped train Mubarak's thugs

Eric Holder: One reason Obama waffled on Egypt

The roots of the revolution

The CIA's role in Egypt

Iraq

IRAQ NEWS & ARTICLES

Iran

Word: Some sense about Iran and America

Juan Cole on where Iran stands now

Ten reasons Netanyahu is full of it on Iran

Uh oh, Iran's new president isn't quite behaving the way the American elite want

Surprise support for milder approach to Iran

Iran's Former Nuclear Negotiator Gives 'Ten Reasons Iran Doesn't Want the Bomb'

How many would die in attack on Iran?

Plops in the Iranian plot

Just a reminder

Israeli officials simmer down about Iran after meeting with US aides

Five top Israeli figures who don't want to bomb Iran

Obamadmin sending signals of no war against Iran

Iran and the 2012 election

AC/DC song used to hack Iran nuclear plant computers

The global dangers of our Iran strategy

US funded and trained Iranian group on terror list


INTERNETOCRACY

Three reasons not to attack Iran

Only 13% of Americans want military action against Iran

British preparing for possible U.S. attack on Iran

A plea from Iran

Haaretz says Peres is only politician who can stop Iran attack

OUR STRANGE HISTORY WITH IRAN

ISRAELI GENERALS AND INTEL CHIEFS OPPOSE ATTACK ON IRAN

OBAMA CHICKENS OUT ON A DEBATE WITH AHMADINEJAD

IRAN AYATOLLAH WANTS TONE DEAF RELIGION

SAUDI ARABIA GIVES ISRAEL CLEAR SKIES TO ATTACK IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES

THE MYTH OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR POWER

TOP GENERAL: IRAN WOULD HAVE TO BE INVADED AND OCCUPIED TO STOP NUKE PROGRAM

THE REAL DANGER WE FACE IN IRAN

DOES THE IRANIAN THREAT SOUND FAMILIAR?

TOP WRONG BELIEFS ABOUT IRAN

AHMADINEJAD READY TO TALK WITH U.S.. . .BUT ONLY IN PUBLIC

BIG FEDERAL CONTRACTORS HELPING IRAN SPY ON ITS CITIZENS

AND NOW A WORD ABOUT THAT FAMOUS IRANIAN REFORM GROUP: THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE IRANIAN ELECTIONS

THE MOUSAVI HIS SUPPORTERS DON'T REMEMBER

THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION IS NOT 14O CHARACTERS LONG

WESTERN MISCONCEPTIONS MEET IRANIAN REALITY

HILLARY CLINTON THREATENS IRAQ-TYPE WAR AGAINST IRAN

AHMADINEJAD SAYS TWO STATE SOLUTION IS FINE WITH HIM

IRAN WILLING TO ABANDON URANIUM ENRICHMENT, ENVOY SUGGESTS

FIVE FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE SUPPORT DIRECT TALKS WITH IRAN

MAJOR ARMADA PREPARES FOR IRAN BLOCKADE

FORMER ISRAELI SPY CHIEF SAYS LAY OFF IRAN ATTACK

BUSH GIVES ISRAEL OKAY TO PREPARE FOR ATTACK ON IRAN

IRAN COUNTDOWN: OBAMA DOES TOUGH TALK

MAKING DEMOCRATS FACE THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN AN IRANIAN WAR

IF WE INVADE IRAN. . . . DAY BY DAY

BUSH REGIME THREATENS COMPANIES TO GET OUT OF IRAN

GALLERY: THE LAND WE'RE GETTING READY
TO BOMB

BUSH'S IRAN BAITING COULD LEAD TO DISASTER
SAYS UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG

WHY IRAN SANCTIONS WON'T WORK

IN PRIVATE TALKS, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER DOWNPLAYS IRANIAN NUKE THREAT

IRAN SAYS IT WILL FIRE OFF 11,000 ROCKETS WITHIN A MINUTE OF U.S. ATTACK

JOINT CHIEFS HEAD SAYS U.S. HAS ENOUGH FORCE TO ATTACK IRAN

A FEW THINGS OUR CANDIDATES DON'T KNOW ABOUT IRAN

TOP PENTAGON OFFICIAL "I HATE ALL IRANIANS"

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW STORIES

Israel & Palestine

ISIS

Obama telling us one thing about ground troops, his generals another

Obama didn't say anything about privatized boots on the ground

Something they forget to tell you about beheadings

Obama's no win approach to the Mid East

ISIS: Another US Mid East plot gone astray

We interrupt the panic for a few facts about ISIS

 Jordan

Jordan gets a Green Party

Why Jordan shies away from reform

Libya

Benghazi vs. Iraq War: Compare the lies and the deaths

CIA worked closely with Libya on tortures and renditions

Secret cables reveal America’s cozy relationship with Gaddafi

Why Libya isn't quite the moral issue Obama claims

Hillary Clinton: Obama ready to ignore Constitution & Congress on Libya

Media hiding CIA ties of Libyan rebel leader

Al Jazeera finds foreign troops on the ground in Libya

Obama's illegal war

Libya: Humanitarian neo-colonialism

U.S, aided Qaddafi with billions in loans through a covert banking operation

The CIA in Libya

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

Amazing video of Obama sampling Bush

Cost of Libya Intervention $600 Million for First Week

Libya: Another war that could go on forever 

The most comprehensive study of how to write and pronounce that Libyan thug's name

When Biden said president should be impeached for starting war without congressional approval

Obama violates Constitution with undeclared war

The dangers of intervention in Libya

Arab League shaken by shift from no-fly to you-die zone

US supports Libyan war crimes resolution as long as it doesn't include Americans

Muslims

138 MUSLIM SCHOLARS CALL FOR PEACE TALKS WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOR THE "SURVIVAL OF THE WORLD"

MUSLIMS FEEL SNUBBED BY OBAMA

Why Pastor Jones didn't cause deaths in Afghanistan

MUSLIMS PRAY 80 FEET FROM PENTAGON 9/11 SITE

GALLERY: STUFF THE SAME DISTANCE FROM GROUND ZERO
AS THE PROPOSED MUSLIM CENTER

ANTI-MOSQUE CROWD ALIGNS ITSELF WITH AL QAEDA

Pakistan

GOP senator talks up possiblity of war with Pakistan

Guardian: Pakistan agreed to Bin Laden deal a decade ago. . .complete with simulated outrage
 
Saudi Arabia

Questions about how one goes about blowing up a Saudi Arabian ambassador in an overpriced Washington restaurant

New questions about Saudi figures and 9/11

Lloyds' mysteriously drops suit against Saudi Arabia over 9/11

United Arab Emirates
 
Why does U.S. have mercenaries in the United Arab Emirates?

GROUPS

MIDDLE EAST
ABRAHAM FUND
AD HOC COMMITTEE TO DEFEND THE UNIVERSITY

ANTI-WAR CELEBS
ARAB-AMERICAN DISCRIMINATION LEAGUE

ARTISTS FOR PEACE
BLACK VOICES FOR PEACE
BRING THEM HOME NOW

CALL TO CONSCIENCE
CAMPAIGN AGAINST SANCTIONS
COALITION OF WOMEN FOR PEACE
CODE PINK

COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS
DIVEST FROM ISRAEL
END THE OCCUPATION

FOUNDATION FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
GLOSSARY OF OCCUPATION

GUSH SHALOM
HISTORIANS AGAINST THE WAR
INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER
ISRAELI BOYCOTT

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
IRAQ PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE
JEWS FOR PEACE IN PALESTINE  & ISRAEL
JEWISH UNITY FOR A JUST PEACE
JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE

JEWISH VOICES AGAINST THE OCCUPATION
LABOR AND THE WAR
MEDIA WORKERS AGAINST WAR
MIDDLE EAST REALITIES

MIDDLE EAST RSRCH & INFO PROJECT
MIDDLE EAST TIME LINE
MUSLIM PEACE FELLOWSHIP

NOT IN MY NAME
NATIONAL YOUTH & STUDENT PEACE COALITION
NOT IN MY NAME
NOT IN OUR NAME
OCCUPATION WATCH CENTER
ONE STATE SOLUTION

PALESTINIAN SOCIETY FOR PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS & ENVIROMENT
PEACEFUL ENDS THROUGH PEACEFUL MEANS

POETS AGAINST THE WAR
SOLDIERS FOR THE TRUTH
STOP WORLD WAR 3

STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE
SUSTAIN (STOP AID TO ISRAEL)

TARGET OIL
WOMEN IN BLACK
VETERANS AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR
VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE
VISIONS OF PEACE WITH JUSTICE IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
US LABOR AGAINST THE WAR

WALK OUT ON WAR
WAR STRIKE
WIN WITHOUT WAR

WOMEN IN BLACK

MID EAST INFORMATION

BODY COUNT
CHICKENHAWK DATABASE
COOPERATIVE RESEARCH
COST OF IRAQ WAR BY STATE
CRADLE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
FACTS ABOUT ARABS
GLOBAL SECURITY

GULF WAR I ARCHIVES
HOW MUCH WILL WAR
    COST YOUR STATE?
MAP OF MIDDLE EAST

PEACE MOVEMENT INFO
POP QUIZ
RELIEF WEB
TEACHING THE WAR
WHAT IS ISLAM?

MID EAST MEDiA

AL-JAZEERA
ANTI-WAR
ARAB NEWS

ARAB NEWSPAPERS
ARUTZ SHEVA NEWS SERVICE

BEIRUT DAILY STAR
DAWN - PAKISTAN

DEBKA FILE
DEMOCRACY NOW

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ELECTRONIC IRAQ
GULF TIMES

HAARETZ
IRANIAN

JANG - PAKISTAN
JERUSALEM POST
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
TEHRAN TIMES
TURKISH DAILY NEWS

WAR REPORT
WAR TIMES