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Tag Archive: Islamic State


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ISIL Ringleader’s Mobile Phone Speaks Loud of Turkey’s Support for Terrorism

ISIL Ringleader's Mobile Phone Speaks Loud of Turkey's Support for Terrorism

TEHRAN (FNA)- A commander of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) revealed that a mobile phone found with one of the killed ISIL ringleaders proved the Turkish spy agency’s support for the terrorist group.

“The mobile phone was found with one of the killed ISIL leaders in the Northern parts of Salahuddin province two days ago,” Jabbar al-Ma’mouri told Soumeriya news on Monday.

He said that the mobile set and history files contain messages from the Turkish intelligence agency which show that Ankara supports the ISIL terrorist group through providing security at the points of entry used by ISIL militants from Turkey to Iraq.

“The mobile phone also contains other important information which cannot be disclosed now, and it has been delivered to the specialized security groups for further scrutiny,” Ma’mouri said.

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Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:33

Russian Warplanes Destroy ISIL’s Tanker Column, 100 Fuel-Transfer Stations in Syria

Russian Warplanes Destroy ISIL's Tanker Column, 100 Fuel-Transfer Stations in Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Air Force has conducted 59 combat missions hitting 200 ISIL targets in 7 Syrian provinces over the past 24 hours, the Russian Defense ministry said.

“Over the past 24 hours Russian warplanes have conducted 59 sorties, hitting 212 ISIL targets in the Syrian province of Aleppo, Idlib, Lattakia, Hama, Homs, al-Hasakah an Raqqa,” the Defense Ministry spokesman told journalists.

Aircraft from Russia’s Aerospace Forces in Syria have also destroyed more than 300 militants and scores of armored vehicles over the last 24 hours, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday, Sputnik reported.

“More than 320 militants and 34 armored vehicles of terrorists, including two tanks, one infantry fighting vehicle, 15 jeeps equipped with large-caliber guns were destroyed,” Konashenkov told journalists in Syria’s Lattakia.

In the past 24 hours, Russian jets have also destroyed a column of tanker trucks and more than 100 fuel-transfer stations used by terrorists, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov added.

“In order to disrupt terrorists’ sources of income, Russian Su-34 bomber jets destroyed 94 fuel-transfer stations near Deir Ezzur,” he said.

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:29AM
The Obama administration relies heavily on Daesh (ISIL) to push ahead with its psychological warfare, Grossman says.

US President Barack Obama’s government has no intention of destroying the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri group and is using the terror organization as an instrument to push ahead with its agenda through psychological warfare, an American analyst says.

It was announced on Monday that Obama was planning to visit Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later in the day to review the US-led military campaign against Daesh with his national security advisers.

This would be the American leader’s first visit to the Pentagon since the recent terrorist attacks in California and Paris.

The attacks that left scores of people dead are believed to have been carried out by people who share ideologies with the terrorist group.

“Few things in this mess are more clear than the fact that White House policy has been to contain and, many people argue, use ISIS (Daesh) to spread insecurity and perhaps to force regime change, rather than to destroy the phenomena,”  Barry Grossman, an international lawyer, told Press TV on Monday.

 

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ISIS driving Toyotas a little too often, US Treasury wonders why

© Stringer
 
ISIS has many faults, but it sure knows a good car when it sees one. The US Treasury is now pressing Toyota about why so many of its vehicles are being driven around by the terrorist group, as evidenced in their propaganda videos.

Toyota has issued a statement to explain that this is part of a wider probe into terrorist supply chains and capital flow, according to ABC. The company also says it does not know how its trucks ended up in ISIS hands in such a quantity, and is “supporting” the inquiry.

 

The model most popular with Islamic State drivers seems to be the Hilux, similar to Tacomas and Land Cruisers. This overseas version is a mainstay in ISIS propaganda videos, often loaded to the brim with heavy weapons.

The company says the cars in the videos aren’t recent models, but ABC spoke to the Iraqi ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily, who said that in addition to re-purposing old vehicles, the terrorist group has been acquiring “hundreds” of “brand new” ones in recent years.

“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” the ambassador said. “How could these brand new trucks… these four-wheel drives, hundreds of them – where are they coming from?”

Some of the other cars paraded in victory parade videos include Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu.

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations. Wallace is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, a group specializing in tracking terrorist finance channels.

“ISIS has used these vehicles in order to engage in military-type activities, terror activities, and the like,” he said. “But in nearly every ISIS video, they show a fleet – a convoy of Toyota vehicles and that’s very concerning to us.”

But according to Lewis, “It is impossible for Toyota to completely control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated.”

The current inquiry isn’t the first time somebody’s asked about Toyota popping up frequently in IS hands. A report last year by Public Radio International exposed a delivery by the US State Department of 43 Toyota trucks to Syrian rebels – the “moderate” ones, as has been the Western line since the start of the Syrian war in 2011. Australian media has also this year been circulating reports of some 800 vehicles stolen, and authorities believing they may have been shipped to war zones in the Middle East.

 

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This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban

 

Hilux_FSA_.jpg

Rebels operating under the Free Syrian Army sit in a Hilux pickup truck on one of the battlefronts in Jobar, Damascus, August 2013

Credit: REUTERS/ Mohamed Abdullah

 

The Hilux, a pickup truck Toyota has built since the late 1960s, isn’t available in the US, but it’s popular around the globe, including with insurgent groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

 

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks.

Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army’s wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.

“Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.

“You can absolutely expect for many of those trucks to be mounted with crew-served machine guns or other type of equipment, military equipment, that the opposition forces have access to. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why the Toyota Hilux is such an important force multiplier, because it could be used both for humanitarian purposes and for operational purposes as well.”

Syria is only the latest war zone where the Hilux has been a vehicle of choice. The BBC’s Kabul correspondent, David Loyn, saw the Hilux put through its paces by the Taliban in the 1990s, and credits the truck with having given Taliban forces a battlefield edge.

 

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Texas plumber wants $1 million from dealership that sold his truck to jihadists

A December 2014 photo of the Ford truck used by jihadists in Syria. The "Mark-1 Plumbing" sign is clearly visible © Twitter
 
A Texas plumber has dealt with death threats and abusive phone calls after the Ford truck he sold to a local dealership showed up in the hands of jihadists in Syria ‒ with his company sign intact. Now he is suing for at least $1 million in damages.

Mark Oberholtzer, who runs Mark-1 Plumbing in Galveston, Texas, says that Autonation Ford Gulf Freeway, a dealership in Houston, resold his 2005 Ford F-250 pick-up without removing the decal with his company’s name and phone number. After the truck ended up in the hands of a Syrian rebel group, a photo of it showed up on Twitter and was featured on the final episode of Comedy Central’s ‘Colbert Report’.

Colbert joked that Syria “is going down the toilet, but for the first time, they know who to call to unclog it.”

By the end of that day, “Mark-1’s office, Mark-1’s business phone, and Mark’s personal cell phone had received over 1,000 phone calls from around the nation,” ranging from degrading to expletive-laced death threats, according to the lawsuit filed in Harris County by Oberholtzer’s attorneys. Up to 200 calls per day continued to come in over the next three weeks, and the plumber still gets calls to this day, especially after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) commits an atrocity somewhere, the lawsuit said.

Chechen Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar using plumbing truck against regime in

In the complaint, Oberholtzer says the dealership stopped him from removing the decal, claiming that doing so would damage the paint. At no time did anyone at the dealership inform Oberholtzer that they would “leave the decals on the truck, which would be transferred in some fashion to international jihadists conducting warfare upon innocents in Syria,” the lawsuit stated, calling what happened an “incomprehensible and horrific eventuality.”

Noting that the plumber had sold several of his old trucks to dealerships in Texas over the years, the lawsuit goes on to add: “On none of these occasions have any of those dealers transferred to international jihadists the traded-in vehicle with Plaintiffs’ identifying marking still upon them.”

According to Carfax vehicle history reports, attached to the lawsuit as evidence, the truck was sold at an auction on November 11, 2013. It was exported from Houston and ended up in Mersin, a port in southeastern Turkey. On December 15, 2014, a photo of the truck posted on Twitter showed it being used as a weapons platform by a jihadist group in Syria – with the “Mark-1 Plumbing” sign still there.

 

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‘Turkey acts like ISIS ally, should not be EU member’– Czech president

Czech President Milos Zeman. © Petr Josek
Turkey should not become an EU member, said Czech President Milos Zeman, adding that Ankara sometimes behaves like an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) ally, even though Turkey is part of NATO.

I think Turkey is indeed a member of NATO, but sometimes behaves as if it’s more an ally of Islamic State. It removes oil from Syria which finances Islamic State,” Zeman said, as quoted by Czech newspaper Parlamentni Listy.

The president’s remarks came on Tuesday while addressing voters at the end of a three-day visit to the Czech town of Kadan, North Bohemia, local media reported.

Zeman suggested Turkish policy stems from the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” referring to Turkey’s suppression of the Kurds, “who are the only ones who have fought effectively with IS,” the newspaper reported.

The president maintained this is the reason why Turkey should be approached with caution and has no reason to be an EU member.

 

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Turkey to help EU stem migrant crisis for €3bn and membership talks

© Francois Lenoir
Turkey has signed an agreement with the EU at a summit in Brussels in which the country will help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for €3 billion ($3.18bn) of support and the reestablishing of talks on EU accession.

Key points of Turkey-EU refugee deal:
1. The EU agrees to provide “an initial” €3 billion ($3.18bn) over two years for Turkey to better cater for the needs of 2.2 million Syrian refugees in the country.
2. The EU promises to open a new chapter in negotiations regarding Turkey’s EU ascension and to bring the country’s standards in economic and financial policies up to scratch.
3. The EU pledges to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone by October 2016 once all the requirements set forth in the EU roadmap are met.

The European Union, struggling with the flow of refugees coming from the war-torn Middle East and North Africa, will allocate €3 billion of initial aid to Turkey that will help with managing the crisis by taking in some 1.5 million migrants, Chancellor Merkel has confirmed, Reuters reports. The sum can be adjusted with time depending on circumstances.

Apart from that, the EU has promised to renew talks on Turkey’s EU membership that haven’t seen much progress since 2005. The new chapter of discussions will open in December while further chapters are expected to come in the first three months of 2016.

“We agreed that [Turkey’s] accession process needs to be re-energized,” European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference after the summit, Reuters reported.

 

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Among the many scholars, diplomats, and political figures who warned of such consequences was a then-Illinois state senator named Barack Obama, who noted that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would “only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al-Qaeda” and other like-minded extremists.

The US and the Rise of ISIS   byStephen Zunes

 

Interesting that Obama be  credited with  such  foresight and yet be as responsible for said invasions and fanning of  flames  as his predecessor.  I do not see that he himself took his words to heart.  The  leanings towards Interventionist  Foreign Policy has  continued  under the  Obama administration.  It is obvious  that those who have  always believed in this  interventionist viewpoint would continue to do so.  Expecting them to change  is naive.  Unless of  course it is a  change  on the campaign trail, where  politicians will promise all kinds of   things that they  never  intend to  honor.  So I  fail to see how using Obama as an example  of the  voice of  reason could be  considered unbiased , let alone  honest.   When his  every move in the  middle east  has been quite the opposite.  All one need do is look to Yemen and the work that has been allowed, one could dare say  encouraged  by the  Obama administration.  The  Yemeni people are  being  killed with  cluster  bombs  used  by the  Saudi’s with the  US’ blessings.    The  poisoned gas  that was  used by the pro Assad  forces  which then turned out to be a fabrication  meant  to cover up the  fact that US  and  coalition backed anti-Assad  forces were  indeed the  ones  responsible  for the  poisoned gases that  had  been  unleashed  on the  civilian population of  Syria. 

It is ironic, then, that most of those who went ahead and supported the invasion of Iraq anyway are now trying to blame him for the rise of ISIS. These include Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, who was among the minority of Congressional Democrats to vote for war authorization. In an August 2014 interview in The Atlantic, she claimed that Obama’s refusal to get the United States more heavily involved in the Syrian civil war “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

The US and the Rise of ISIS   byStephen Zunes

 

The  long  drawn out conflict in Syria  surgical strikes, bombings, supplies of  weaponry , ammunition and  death  peddling are at the  heart  of  US strategies there.  A sovereign people who’s legitimately  elected  President  has been  deemed  unworthy by forces that  have  neither  been asked  for their  opinion , nor have they the  authority to intervene, morally  or  otherwise.  How  can one  write  about the  criminal  Interventionist  Foreign Policy that  has  been a  staple of  the  US for the  last two decades blaming the  neo-cons , scholars, legislators and  politicians that have beat  the  drum  for the last  20 years  or so and  not refer to Obama in the  same light as  Bush? 

The Russians were invited  by  the  legitimate   government  of  Syria.  Their campaign has  brought to  light  the  kind  of  cruel  cat  and  mouse  game  the  Obama  administration  has  been  playing  with the Syrian  peoples  lives.  Dealing  death and  destruction while  doing  next  to  nothing  to  correct the problem  the US caused.  Yet  the  Russians  are viewed as evil and double dealing.  I suppose that  would  be  a  direct  correlation to the  first  article  listed  here.  The  US dealing  out  terror, perpetrating  terrorist acts dealing  horrific  pain and  loss to a civilian  population and calling it  democracy.  While  Russia has  made  great  strides is  winning  back all the  lost  territory from the  Islamic  State.  Only those  who choose to  lie to themselves can legitimately  look at the  events  that have  taken place in  Syria  during the  last   3 months  or  so and  believe   the  propaganda.  The US  now  deals in Terror  not  democracy abroad and anyone  who follows  suit calling it  an  honorable pursuit is  guilty  of Terror as well.

Still early in Obama’s first term, more than one commentator remarked that Obama hadn’t “changed much of substance from the late Bush practices.” And it gets worse for the Democrats who guard their reputation as liberals so well. Follow this condemnation: “Republicans are right about the fact that while it was Bush officials who led the way in implementing these radical and lawless policies, most of the country’s institutions — particularly the Democratic Party leadership and the media — acquiesced to it, endorsed it, and enabled it. And they still do.” (My emphasis) Further, “ ‘much of the other half of the country, the one that once opposed those policies – Democrats, Obama supporters — are now reciting the same lines, adopting the same mentality, because doing so is necessary to justify what Obama is doing,” namely spreading terror.

The US’ Language of Terror and a History of Preemptive Aggression

Democrat or Republican a War  Criminal is  still a War  Criminal and there is  no amount of  white washing (no racial pun intended, for all you race-baiters out there) that can extricate  Obama’s guilt and  responsibility from the  crimes  perpetrated  against  humanity  in the name  of  greed and power.

Desert Rose

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The US’ Language of Terror and a History of Preemptive Aggression

US President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism and the United States fight against Isis during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sunday, December 7, 2015. (Reuters)

Following the recent horrific and brutal San Bernardino slaying, President Obama took to the Oval Office and reminded Americans, “our nation has been at war with terrorists since al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.” He also reminded us “we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home.” Nevertheless, his thesis held, we have no choice but to increase war efforts, even though the United States “cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology.” We cannot do anything to totally prevent the problem of terror, therefore, we “will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary,” whether a country agrees to it or not, according to recent and historic US foreign policy.

But what motivates the United States to take such seemingly irrational and “uncivilized” courses of violence? Profits it seems. Stoking the flames of war abroad will not only benefit terrorist efforts universally, that is, for all sides using terror, but it will also benefit the wealthy-corporate class. Executive Vice President of Boeing, for instance, Bruce Tanner, raves that “ ‘conflicts would lead to increased sales for their company.’ “ Indeed, “with the ISIS threat growing, there are more countries interested in buying Oshkosh-made M-ATV armored vehicles.” Accordingly, business is booming for Western-war profiteers. Which was further illustrated when the war “contractors also celebrated the fact that the defense sector was recently granted a $607 billion budget by the government.” Thus, there remains a distinct correlation between “terrorism” and Western profits; “Glenn Greenwald pointed out stock prices for weapons manufacturers sharply increased just after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month.”

The propaganda campaign that’s been wrought through political rhetoric and mass-corporatized media, which is the US’ political machine for the most wealthy amongst us, has done great work to keep the public in a constant state of fear and paranoia. Indeed, “more voters than ever think terrorists have the advantage over the United States and its allies.” Indeed, a striking “forty-six percent of 1,000 likely voters…thought terrorists were winning, while only 26% believed the United States and its allies” have “the upper hand.” Thus, whatever Washington’s doing, it’s clearly working, the public’ absolutely terrorized by the prospects of terror. Yet for some of the greatest hand wringers, those most “civilized people,” for them, Americas centuries old “terrorist” question remains a pesky and “sour subject.” How to deal with the “confident savages,” continues to perplex even the most hawkish of our leaders. Moreover, the threat of global anti-imperialism seems to be growing within as well as without the US. For example, “a disturbing number of young Americans” are “joining ISIS.” It seems, that Americans cannot escape even our own “savagery.” Whether it’s violence from a white-supremacist terrorist, like Dylan Roof or Timothy McVeigh, or one of the “confident savages” the world over, it’s clear, that the West, without question, is in the business of producing terror and terrorism, evidently.

Lets look at a portion of the record.

Still early in Obama’s first term, more than one commentator remarked that Obama hadn’t “changed much of substance from the late Bush practices.” And it gets worse for the Democrats who guard their reputation as liberals so well. Follow this condemnation: “Republicans are right about the fact that while it was Bush officials who led the way in implementing these radical and lawless policies, most of the country’s institutions — particularly the Democratic Party leadership and the media — acquiesced to it, endorsed it, and enabled it. And they still do.” (My emphasis) Further, “ ‘much of the other half of the country, the one that once opposed those policies – Democrats, Obama supporters — are now reciting the same lines, adopting the same mentality, because doing so is necessary to justify what Obama is doing,” namely spreading terror.

But how do our US maintainers of civilization ensure that “the masses of people” do not become inquisitive, or perhaps, dangerously, informed? Well one way is to continue the policies of secrecy and “public security,” which Bush II’s “thugs” did so well, as has been well documented by many intellectuals and scholars, Glenn Greenwald not an exception. Thus, he relay’s, that Obama’s programs were “inherited from Mr. Bush” II, “ they were “literally just Bush [II] redux.” In fact, “Mr. Obama’s Justice Department…’told an appeals court that the Bush administration was right to invoke “state secrets’ to shut down a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees who say a Boeing subsidiary helped fly them to places where they were tortured.’ ” It seems that secrecy would serve Obama’s Washington no less than it did his predecessors.

Another War on Terror

Twenty years before Bush II declared a “War on Terror,” says Chomsky, “the Reagan administration came into office announcing that a primary concern of US foreign policy would be a ‘war on terror.’ ” Apparently, back then, the threat to Washington policy was little different. Reagan administration moderate, George Shultz, said that the “terrorists” are “ ‘depraved opponents of civilization itself,’ “ who wish for “ ‘a return to barbarism in the modern age.’ ” But, as currently, the domestic problem had to be addressed as well, we had to exercise “the ‘cancer,’ “ which was “ ‘right here in our land mass.’ ” Obama thus echoes Reagan era ideology in his most recent address to the world when he said, we’re “confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure.”

Others reacting to US war with terror, however, is not a new phenomenon. In fact, Woodrow Wilson was echoed by Reaganites when they proclaimed a war against the “barbarians” of the day in the Philippines saying that, in ‘our interest,” the USA “must march forward’ ” and n provocations are to be tolerated. Decades later, “the Reagan–Shultz doctrine held that the UN Charter entitles the US to resort to force in ‘self-defense against future attack.’ ” Bush I followed similar doctrine. His Washington argued its right to pre-emptive violence and terror as it “justified the invasion of Panama,” for instance, because the US must, through its own powers, must have the right to “defend our interests and our people.” (my emphasis) However, this approach to terror is nothing new for the USA, “the doctrine of preemptive strike has much earlier origins.” Looking back to another example, president Bill Clinton’s administration followed its duty to the imperialist hegemon. His “Strategic Command also advocated ‘preemptive response,’ with nuclear weapons if deemed appropriate.” Moreover, looking back forty years prior, “President Eisenhower and his staff discussed what he called the ‘campaign of hatred against us’ in the Arab world, ‘not by the governments but by the people.’ ” Chomsky reminds us, however soberly, that “they do not ‘hate us,’ but rather policies of the US government, something quite different,” indeed. By the time we reach BUSH II era policy on barbarism, Colin Powell’s State Department had declared Cuba a “terrorist state.”

Looking back again to the “terror” policies into the 60’s, President John F. Kennedy, “ordered his staff to subject Cubans to the ‘terrors of the earth.’ ” Obviously, he was addressing the “barbarians” of the day, the “terrorists” off the coast of Florida, who were, by virtue of existing in “successful defiance of the US,” being “a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half,” who must therefor be subjected to the “terrors of the earth.” Thus, it was John F. Kennedy who, quite astutely, however unwittingly, named the real terrorists, us. We were ordered to deliver the terrors, not “them.”

Like much of the world today, evidently, the “uncivilized,” had refused to adhere to the “principle of subordination to US will.” Under JFK’s Washington, Cuba refused to affirm a subordinate place, and when “a US-backed South African invasion was coming close to conquering newly independent Angola, Cuba sent troops on its own initiative, scarcely even notifying Russia, and beat back the invaders” who’re being funded by US tax payers. Thus, what would follow for years was, as Chomsky notes, “some of the worst terrorist attacks against Cuba, with no slight US role.”

Reagan’s Terror

Another staggering example of US’ monopoly on terrorizing the world over was illustrated in a 1987 UN resolution, which condemned “terrorism in the strongest terms,” and which called “on all nations to combat the plague,” which “passed 153–2,” the US and Israel, accordingly, the loan wolves, or hawks rather, voted against it. For how could the US, which funded and “recruited radical Islamists from many countries and organized them into a military and terrorist force that Reagan anointed ‘the moral equivalent of the founding fathers,’ ” vote against our own policy? We don’t and we didn’t. In fact, we’ve “ ‘supported every possible anti-democratic government in the Arab–Islamic world.’ ” However, long after Reagan’s rule, the war came home, and thus, Americans “were subjected, on home soil, to atrocities of the kind that are all too familiar elsewhere.”

What was it, then, that the US-Israel partnership took issue with? They simply couldn’t allow their subject states, or any “other” state, for that matter, “the right to self-determination, freedom, and independence, as derived from the Charter of the United Nations…particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes and foreign occupation,” which for US-Israel, cannot be true, not for those who’s interests “must march forward,” for “the self-anointed ‘enlightened states’ will serve as global enforcers.”

Thus, for any thing, it’s clear, whether a state or non-state faction, if it contests US power and hegemony, which includes capitalist wont’s of “free trade,” neo-liberal policies and unimpeded access, surveillance, and control — whether, it be an individual, a group, or state — it shall, invariably, present an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” and therefor, constitutes terrorism, and thus, it follows, however illogically, that we must, “eradicate the plague” of anti-imperialist terror stemming from the “uncivilized” corners of the planet. Accordingly, we must “eradicate” “ ‘the evil scourge of terrorism.’ ”

But what has the propaganda and the non-transparency wrought for contemporary Washington? Well, for one, it’s brought the politically left and right of our country together forcing many to face our country’s internal contradictions. In other words, if relatively little’s changed in terms of war policy over the centuries, then many democrats, and republicans alike, have been forced to admit that while they stand fundamentally opposed on certain issues, the end result of global hegemony and effective internal population control remains intact, however deadly and oppressive the means may be. Indeed, “now that it’s not just an unpopular Republican President but also a highly charismatic and popular Democratic President advocating and defending these core Bush/Cheney policies, they do become the political consensus of the United States.”

Nevertheless, Obama reassured us this week that the US is “cooperating with Muslim-majority countries — and with our Muslim communities here at home.” Thus, to ensure the safety and “security” of Muslims everywhere, he’s “ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa (waiver) program,” which is certain to follow with more stringent controls on Muslims and many others who don’t fit the label “ordinary American.” Furthermore, Obama “will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology,” what that means I shutter to think. He goes on, “we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa.” And Congress “should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force” against the “thugs and killers,” who’re “part of a cult of death.” Nevertheless, he maintains, that “we are on the right side of history,” and may we “never forget what makes us exceptional.”

Thus, accordingly, if it’s US’ policy to fund and depend upon known terror-sponsoring states, such as, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, then it follows that the US policy would also be, to counter any movement or policy designed to limit Washington’s “enemies.” The inferences, should one be willing to follow them are, that the US, empirically, and through its own admissions, is perhaps, the greatest “threat to world peace,” as the world believes; however, and perhaps even more sobering, the United States of America is also the largest supporter of terrorism in the world. There’s little argument against that fact if one applies universal determinations to what constitutes “Terrorism.”

Thus, said Chomsky, rather soberly in 2003, “we basically have two choices. Either history is bunk, including current history, and we can march forward with confidence that the global enforcer will drive evil from the world much as the President’s speech writers declare, plagiarizing ancient epics and children’s tales. Or we can subject the doctrines of the proclaimed grand new era to scrutiny, drawing rational conclusions, perhaps gaining some sense of the emerging reality.”

What is it, then, that we must ask ourselves if we’re to honestly address the moral consequences of our actions? Why is it invariably the case that what others do is “terror,” but what we do is not? I’ll leave you with these final thoughts from Chomsky. “If an action is right for us, it is right for others; and if wrong for others, it is wrong for us. Those who reject that standard can be ignored in any discussion of appropriateness of action, of right or wrong.” Thus, just as he’d advised in 2003, “we can approach these questions with the rational standards we apply to others, or we can dismiss the historical and contemporary record on some grounds or other.”

It seems Washington’s choosing to continue the recreation of ancient myths and children’s tails. In response to the San Bernardino tragedy, Obama said that, “we will succeed in this mission…we are on the right side of history. We were founded upon a belief in human dignity…equal in the eyes of God and equal in the eyes of the law…let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional…freedom is more powerful than fear…God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.” Lastly, as the United States draws on every aspect of American power,” and as “we march forward,” especially in repayment for our investors and profiteers, and to wittingly beholden the “barbarians” of the world, a sour subject indeed, although terrifying to say the least, we continue to sew the ancient tails, and they continue thusly, evidently.

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Russell Webster

Russell Webster is a student of philosophy, a freelance journalist, social critique, and activist who supports #BlackLivesMatter movement. Twitter: @russellwebster

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The US and the Rise of ISIS

Isis fighters parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armoured vehicle in Mosul. (Photograph: AP)

The rise of ISIS (also known as Daesh, ISIL, or the “Islamic State”) is a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. While there are a number of other contributing factors as well, that fateful decision is paramount.

Had Congress not authorized President George W. Bush the authority to illegally invade a country on the far side of the world that was no threat to us, and to fund the occupation and bloody counter-insurgency war that followed, the reign of terror ISIS has imposed upon large swathes of Syria and Iraq and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, the Sinai, and elsewhere would never have happened.

Among the many scholars, diplomats, and political figures who warned of such consequences was a then-Illinois state senator named Barack Obama, who noted that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would “only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda” and other like-minded extremists.

It is ironic, then, that most of those who went ahead and supported the invasion of Iraq anyway are now trying to blame him for the rise of ISIS. These include Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, who was among the minority of Congressional Democrats to vote for war authorization. In an August 2014 interview in The Atlantic, she claimed that Obama’s refusal to get the United States more heavily involved in the Syrian civil war “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

There are serious questions as to whether providing additional military support to some of the motley and disorganized local Syrian militias labeled “moderates” by Washington could have done much to prevent the takeover of parts of Syria by ISIS. It is a powerful organized force led by experienced veterans of the former Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein and flush with advanced American weaponry captured from the new U.S.-organized army.

 

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Why the Gulf States, the Kurds, the Turks, the Sunnis, and the Shia Won’t Fight America’s War

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. In a rare Oval Office address, Obama vowed the United States would overcome a terror threat that has entered a “new phase” as he sought to reassure Americans shaken by recent attacks in Paris and California. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AP)

In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best — and this varies depending on which pseudo-strategist you cite — if the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunnis, and/or Shias would please step in soon and get America off the hook.

The idea of seeing other-than-American boots on the ground, like Washington’s recently deep-sixed scheme to create some “moderate” Syrian rebels out of whole cloth, is attractive on paper. Let someone else fight America’s wars for American goals. Put an Arab face on the conflict, or if not that at least a Kurdish one (since, though they may not be Arabs, they’re close enough in an American calculus). Let the U.S. focus on its “bloodless” use of air power and covert ops. Somebody else, Washington’s top brains repeatedly suggest, should put their feet on the embattled, contested ground of Syria and Iraq. Why, the U.S. might even gift them with nice, new boots as a thank-you.

Is this, however, a realistic strategy for winning America’s war(s) in the Middle East?

The Great Champions of the Grand Strategy

Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly called for the U.S. to round up some Arab allies, Kurds, and Iraqi Sunnis to drive the Islamic State’s fighters out of Iraq and Syria. On the same day that Clinton made her proposal, Bernie Sanders called for “destroying” the Islamic State, but suggested that it “must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” It’s doubtful he meant Indonesia or Malaysia.

Among the Republican contenders, Marco Rubio proposed that the U.S. “provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces.” Ted Cruz threw his support behind arming the Kurds, while Donald Trump appeared to favor more violence in the region by whoever might be willing to jump in.

The Pentagon has long been in favor of arming both the Kurds and whatever Sunni tribal groups it could round up in Iraq or Syria. Variouspundits across the political spectrum say much the same.

They may all mean well, but their plans are guaranteed to fail. Here’s why, group by group.

The Gulf Arabs

 

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The collapse of medical services in terrorist-controlled parts of Syria has caused the spread of a flesh-eating virus transmitted by parasites munching on corpses dumped in the streets.

“As a result of abominable acts by ISIS that included the killing of innocent people and dumping their corpses in streets, this is the leading factor behind the rapid spread of Leishmanisis disease,” Dilqash Isa, the head of the Kurdish Red Crescent told the Kurdish Rudaw news.

Kurdish fighters in Syria claimed the disease, spread by sand flies, was not noticed until Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) influence and atrocities spread across Syria. Leishmaniasis, which is rarely deadly but leads to disfiguring lesions on the skin, was particularly bad in war-torn parts of Syria, one unnamed militant told the publication.

“We have been fighting on the battlefield for almost four years and this disease basically generated from embattled areas of Tal Hamis, Hon and Qosa,” he claimed.

“It is very possible in the area where there is a lot of military activity and population movement, those are circumstances in which an outbreak of the leishmaniasis can occur,” Dr. William Schaffner (MD) told RT.

 

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Activist Post

Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

originalBy Derrick Broze

While much of the media has focused on the recent violence in Paris, Georgia, and San Bernardino, as well as the escalating conflicts in Iraq and Syria, another profound and troubling domestic issue seems to have been overlooked.

Indeed, the issue at hand was first reported on November 24th — and covered for roughly a day — before it was quickly forgotten in the daily barrage of news stories. But we should not be so quick to dismiss the possibility of a future president (maybe one with fascist leanings?) choosing to exercise “targeted killings” against the American public. This practice, of course, is embodied by the Obama administration’s program of assassinating individuals suspected of terrorism, also known as the “disposition matrix.”

The Washington Post first reported on the disposition matrix in 2012:

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix.’

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

For the last four years, New York Times journalist Charlie Savage has waged a legal battle against the Obama administration, seeking to reveal the government’s legal justifications for assassinating terror suspects without a trial. Specifically, Savage sued the Obama administration in an attempt to obtain details about the murder of al-Qaeda affiliated cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico and eventually found himself on the U.S. government’s radar under suspicion of terrorism.

 

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