Syria ** Iraq ** Pakistan ** Afghanistan ** Venezuela ** Ukraine ** Russia
Obama has requested an authorization for war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While Congress is gearing up to talk about it, the U.S. is already bombing there daily. We have several hundred ‘advisors’ on the ground, who admit to engaging in battle at times. The U.S. is building a new airbase (read, ‘drone’ base) outside of Erbil in Kurdish northern Iraq, and making plans to retake Mosul following our grand success supporting the Kurds in Kobane. Seems like I’ve said this before, but there is no comparison between a rural city of 35,000 with surrounding villages and a city of nearly 3 million.
Foreign Affairs addresses the subject in an article titled “ISIS on the Run“. Not being a member I can’t read the whole thing, but in the first few paragraphs they are already veering off the path of logic and reason. They point out that so far, only a tiny fraction of ISIS territory has been challenged. They go on to say that the U.S. is planning to work with Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army on the ground, However, we have to be careful not to upset the largely Sunni population of Mosul and cause them to side with their ISIS captors against liberation because they feel threatened by Shia and Kurds. So, perhaps we shouldn’t let the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army go into the city. Hunh?
In a BBC Interview, Syrian President Assad is questioned repeatedly about the use of ‘barrel’ bombs, often cited in western anti-Assad propaganda. He replies that he doesn’t know what a ‘barrel’ bomb is. He says that wars are fought with bullets and bombs and missiles. That is the way it is. No one asks what he thinks about the U.S, use of cluster bombs in all the areas around the globe where they are fighting. Assad says that he is fighting for Syria, and for the security and well being of the vast majority of Syrians. He explains that the people who are in the areas under attack or seige by the government have chosen to stay there, or are held hostage by the militants. He says that this is a war, and bad things happen in war. He would like nothing more than to see the war end and Syria restored to peace and prosperity.
According the the New York Times, U.S. is Escalating a Secretive War in Afghanistan. What about the much advertised plan to withdraw this year? Well, now that we have a friendly President in Afghanistan, the U.S. will be able to “show some flexibility”. they recently found a laptop with critical intelligence about Al Qaeda;s actions “on both sides of the border”. Then, they got more great intelligence on a raid. Suddenly, just when they are supposed to quit, all these new leads pop up to follow. Why quit when you’re on a roll, eh?
More seriously, some of the language used to describe those leads is quite disturbing. There no longer seems to be any boundary on the war in Afghanistan. We’ve already crossed it. It says the new intelligence is related to “Qaeda operations on both sides of the border”. Which border isn’t specified. Of course we can draw our own conclusions, but why should the facts be taken for granted. It is surprising that they are now chasing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan because I had thought that Al Qaeda was pretty much dead there. The Taliban, who come from tribes with traditional homelands on both sides of the border have been our primary targets for some time.
The President has decided to send weapons to support the Kiev government in Ukraine, and there are American advisors on the ground there as well, while Russia, under fierce pressure for a year now due to the unrest on its border and U.S. sanctions and provocations, is starting to boil. I have, or some time, been a fan of Russia Today, which goes for a youthful attitude and presents perspectives you will never see on U.S. Mainstream Media. However, they are losing their balance on Ukraine. It’s disappointing in a way, but you might say that fact alone is a message worth considering.
It doesn’t change the fact that the U.,S, and E,U, triggered the coup that set current events in motion by backing fascist forces against a legitimately elected government in an important country on Russias border. The Ukraine, composed in the 40s and 50s of a Soviet substate and a Russian province, has been weak and poorly integrated since the breakup of the Soviety Union, and Russia has been supporting it to avoid a collapse on it’s border. Crimea, ceded to Ukraine in the 50s while it was still part of the Soviet Union, is a Russian area and hosts one of Russia’ s most important military bases. The Kiev government has been attacking civilians in the Easternn part of Ukraine for nearly a year, and from the day of their election, the current parliament has gone out of its way to antagonize the Russian speaking peoples in the east of the country and made no sincere effort to reconcile with them. Hence, a full blown civil war is in the making with Russia backing the Eastern provinces and the United States backing the bankrupt Kiev government which does not have the resources of its own to win the war.
According to Telsur, the South American News Service, There was a Coup Plot Thwarted in Venezuela. Apparently the plot was revealed by some members of the military who were invited to participate, but chose not to do so. It sounds pretty complicated, but all the various factors are occurring in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Maduro blamed the U.S. for supporting and funding the coup. U.S. officials have responded not only by denying complicity in a coup, but by mocking the Venezuelan President and accusing him of a paranoid repetition of the same old complaints. However, there is public proof that the Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, USAID and other U.S, organizations have funneled a small fortune into unseating Mr. Maduro.
Zaman, a Turkish News Outlet featured an interview with Alastair Crooke this week. An ex British diplomat and founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, an organisation that advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West, Crooke is a long time expert on the greater Middle east. Crooke says that Turkey is playing the same role with ISIS that Pakistan played in developing and training Al Qaeda, and they risk the same consequences. This is something I have been thinking for some time.
So there you have it. Happy Valentines Day to the world, Love and Peace for all.