MID EAST UNDERNEWS

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Something they forget to tell you about beheadings

The United States Justice

We interrupt the panic for a few facts about ISIS

Gary Brecher, Pando - The “Iraqi Army” routed by ISIS wasn’t really a national army, and ISIS isn’t really a dominant military force. It was able to occupy those cities because they were vacuums, abandoned by a weak, sectarian force. Moving into vacuums like this is what ISIS is good at. And that’s the only thing ISIS is good at.

ISIS is a sectarian Sunni militia—that’s all. A big one, as militias go, with something like 10,000 fighters. Most of them are Iraqi, a few are Syrian, and a few hundred are those famous “European jihadis” who draw press attention out of all relation to their negligible combat value. The real strength of ISIS comes from its Chechen fighters, up to a thousand of them. A thousand Chechens is a serious force, and a terrifying one if they’re bearing down on your neighborhood. Chechens are the scariest fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world.

But we’re still talking about a conventional military force smaller than a division. That’s a real but very limited amount of combat power. What this means is that, no matter how many scare headlines you read, ISIS will never take Baghdad, let alone Shia cities to the south like Karbala. It won’t be able to dent the Kurds’ territory to the north, either. All it can do—all it has been doing, by moving into Sunni cities like Mosul and Tikrit—is to complete the partition of Iraq begun by our dear ex-president Bush in 2003. By crushing Saddam’s Sunni-led Iraq, the Americans made partition inevitable. In fact, Iraq has been partitioned ever since the invasion; it’s just been partitioned badly, into two parts instead of the natural three: the Kurdish north, and the remainder occupied by a weak sectarian Shia force going by the name of “The Iraqi Army.” The center of the country, the so-called “Sunni Triangle,” had no share in this partition and was under the inept, weak rule of the Shia army.

By occupying the Sunni cities, ISIS has simply made a more rational partition, adding a third part, putting the Sunni Triangle back under Sunni rule. The Shia troops who fled as soon as they heard that the ISIS was on the way seem to have anticipated that the Sunni would claim their own territory someday. That’s why they fled without giving even a pretense of battle.

So, Iraq is now partitioned on more natural, sensible lines, thanks to ISIS. It’s going to be a messy transition, as Iraqi transitions tend to be, with mass executions of collaborators like those already happening in Mosul and Tikrit.

But in the long run, ISIS has simply swept into a power vacuum, like it’s done from the start.

Obama's no win approach to the Mid East

Shamus Cooke, Truth Out - By attacking the Islamic State in Syria, Obama will become a de facto ally of the Syrian government, just as Obama and ISIS were de facto allies when they were both targeting Bashar al-Assad. Most Americans are likely fed up with Obama’s zig-zagging foreign policy, and with each new u-turn support drops for the next war.

But the US has no plans to leave the Middle East to its own devices, and “fixing” the current problems will mean that Obama will need to tear up the patchwork of alliances previously pieced together amid past US wars. The next US-led “solution” will only compound the catastrophe, and continue the senseless logic of permanent war.

The situation has become so absurd that the US is now spending millions of dollars bombing US-made military equipment in Iraq — itself worth millions, previously gifted to the Iraqi government and then taken by ISIS.

Obama’s constant Middle East flip-flops have made it difficult to keep allies. After having built a coalition of nations to wage a proxy war against Bashar al-Assad, Obama backed out of his promised air strikes last year, in effect abandoning his anti-Syrian partners, many of whom still bear a grudge.

As a result, Obama faces a “credibility gap,” as does anyone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do. Obama also said he supported a two-state solution in Palestine, but then backed Israel 100 percent in its ongoing slaughter against the Palestinians and its continued building of settlements.

Obama also promised to wage a “war on terror,” but allowed the growth of jihadi movements in his fight against the Libyan and Syrian governments, since they were de facto allies against the targeted governments. This is one of the reasons given by Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn on why the “war on terror” failed.

But there are other reasons Obama has few allies to fight ISIS. The unbreakable bond between the US and the Saudi dictatorship can never be too public, since the overwhelming majority of Saudis hate the United States government, as do the vast majority of people across the Middle East, according to a recent poll.

Why do they hate the US government? Unlike the American media perception of US foreign policy goofily stumbling from one good-intentioned mishap to the next, the average person in the Middle East views the American military as a sociopathic power hell-bent on annihilation.

Word: A Quaker look at the Mid East

Aed Jarrar, American Friends Service committee, Chicago Tribune - No one can deny that Iraq is in crisis. There is a political, humanitarian and military catastrophe taking place in the country, and it is only getting worse. The Sunni extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State has been involved in massive violations of human rights, including murder, ethnic cleansing and torture. But the Iraqi government forces, government-backed Shiite militias and other ethnic and sectarian militias have also been committing gross human rights abuses.

“In the last decade or so, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed, and almost 5 million have been displaced — one of the largest ethnic and sectarian cleansing campaigns in the history of the Middle East. Serious crimes have been committed by almost every political faction in Iraq. While focusing on the actions of one terrorist group might be good for an easy narrative where the United States and its allies step in to save the day, the other participants in Iraq’s civil war are literally getting away with murder. A new U.S. military intervention in such a complex conflict is not sustainable and will not help Iraqis build their nation or fight extremism.

Humanitarian assistance is much needed and welcomed, but it should go through legitimate UN and other international agencies. As it stands, it is being used as a pretext to sneak in military strikes and more arms to some of Iraq’s fighting factions. …

The United States, for its part, is not a charity organization, nor is it a neutral bystander. Washington is an active participant in the conflict. In addition to authorizing direct strikes, the Obama administration continues to arm the Iraqi government forces and ethnic Iraqi militias and paramilitary groups. Even since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, Washington has continued its intervention in Iraq by selectively arming and training some sides of the civil conflict. The practical implications of this policy are devastating for the future of Iraq because it increases divisions and makes it harder for Iraqis to unite. Arming Iraqi factions is also a path of dubious legality, and it is illegal under U.S. and international law to arm and train groups implicated in gross human rights violations.

“The crisis in today’s Iraq is not a result of a natural disaster — it is a direct consequence of earlier U.S. military interventions. Much of the destruction in Iraq’s infrastructure, state legitimacy and national identity was either caused directly by the United States or happened under its watch. The United States also played a lead role in installing the current ethno-sectarian political system that continues to be one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional in the world.

ISIS: Another US Mid East plot gone astray

Tony Cartalucci Activist Post - In reality, US special forces and other Western operatives have been inside and operating in Syria for years. The only missing ingredient the US seeks to justify is direct, open military intervention including airstrikes on Syrian territory.

It was the United States itself that intentionally created ISIS, beginning as early as 2007 for the expressed purpose of overthrowing the government of Syria and confronting pro-Iranian forces across the Middle East from Lebanon to Iran's very doorstep. Veteran journalists and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh noted in his prophetic 2007 New Yorker article, "The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It would be difficult for anyone today not to call ISIS one of several "extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda." The clandestine nature of this support from 2007, to 2011 when widespread violence erupted across Syria and soon began spreading beyond its borders, was less obvious.

The support to these sectarian extremist mercenaries became much more apparent after 2011, with monthly admissions published in the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other prominent newspapers across the West of the US CIA arming and funding terrorists along the Syrian-Turkish border for years - in the very areas now clearly serving as safe havens and conduits for ISIS.

Time for Kurdistan?

DS Wright, Firedog Lake - One of the unintended beneficiaries of the current crisis in Iraq has been the Kurds of Northern Iraq. With the Shitte dominated government focused on Sunni fighters, the Kurds have already been able to retake historic and oil rich territory such as Kirkuk. And now Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has said “The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold.”

The creation of Kurdistan in present day Northern Iraq, a nation for the Kurdish people, was unthinkable even just a few years ago. Partly due to neighboring states such as Turkey who have a large Kurdish population and at one time believed the existence of Kurdistan would create instability in their country. But now Turkey has changed its tune and come close to outright supporting the creation of Kurdistan, likely due to the realization that the threat of Sunni extremist forces coming north is more of a threat to the country’s stability than the Kurds living in Turkey having a homeland. From Turkey’s perspective, Kurdistan could serve as a buffer state.

Regardless of the swirling circumstances that put the opportunity before the Kurds, they seem amenable to taking it while they can and forming a state of their own after generations of being denied.

Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani gave his strongest-ever indication on Monday that his region would seek formal independence from the rest of Iraq. “Iraq is obviously falling apart,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview. “And it’s obvious that the federal or central government has lost control over everything. Everything is collapsing – the army, the troops, the police.”

“We did not cause the collapse of Iraq. It is others who did. And we cannot remain hostages for the unknown,” he said through an interpreter. “The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold.”

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

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