Nowruz with a Global Family

Nowruz, celebrated on the spring equinox each year in Afghanistan, Iran and Kurdish regions everywhere is a very special holiday that celebrates the New Year, literally, New Day. Families and friends gather on Nowruz to celebrate and to appreciate the beginning of a new cycle. The Global Days of Listening Skype Call also broadcast on Livestream on March 21 was very much a celebration of Nowruz with friends and peace lovers around the world sharing ideas and actions in solidarity.

Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) facilitated the discussion from Chicago. Over the course of three hours, Dr. Hakim Young with Zarguna in Bamyan and Hoor and the APVs (Afghan Peace Volunteers) joined the conversation from Bamyan and Kabul. Sherri Maurin called in with Dr. Fatih Faiz from Erbil, Iraq with his students Chra and Husan. Madelyn MacKay from rural British Columbia, Canada joined to talk about Nonviolent Peace Force. Bernie Myer from Olympia Washington shared his experiences as the American Gandhi in India, and George Fisher and Susan Peretti, Quakers from long Island discussed the atrocities at Kunduz Hospital and what can we do now.

“We are no longer in a system which allows us to hold the authorities accountable. I don’t feel that Afghans and the people of the Middle East are patient any more. I feel that we cannot wait for the authorities to act. I feel that the active thing to be done that would make us happiest is just to connect with one another and to flood our circles and relationships with what we know and what we can see because what we see in reality is so very different from anything that any politician today would say officially. So what we would say in our relationships and our communities would ring a bell. It would harness great support.

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Syrian Kurds Alliances with the US and Russia

An article in the Russian blog, Russia Behind the Headlines asks the question “Why does Moscow need Syrian Kurdistan?”   I think they are asking the wrong question.   The Russians initially allied with the Kurds to make sure that the Syrian border with Turkey would be sealed.   To end the Syrian war, it is necessary to bar the flow of fighters and goods for ISIS and al Nusra crossing the border.   It is necessary to end the flow of oil crossing into Turkey from Syrian wells under ISIS control.   There was no problem with being allied both with the Syrian central government (with Assad as President) and with the Kurds, because the Kurds have been allied with the central government throughout the war.   They may have wavered for a moment when the U.S. came in and supported them in Kobani, but that is an old story now.  

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US Boilerplate Foreign Policy

I noticed the following in this morning’s Foreign Policy newsletter:

Jordan’s stability is a high priority for the United States. It is a main partner in fighting the Islamic State, in confronting Iranian expansionism, and in supporting a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jordan’s quiet cooperation with its treaty partner, Israel, is a plus for U.S. regional interests. Domestic instability in Jordan — especially turmoil that threatens the leadership status quo — would endanger these important U.S. interests. Mounting pressures on Jordan’s meager resources from refugees — as well as corresponding austerity measures — could feed destabilizing anti-regime sentiment. Although Islamic State-inspired terrorist attacks in the kingdom would likely produce a rally-around-the-flag effect,  security incidents could further damage an already strained economy. Any further flow of refugees could tip the scales, triggering a crisis — potentially from malcontents among the refugee population and/or from disaffected Jordanians.”  (emphasis is mine)

So they actually consider ISIS attacks as a way to shore up the rule of the puppet Jordanian KIng.   Hmmmmm.  What to do – what to do?

You could turn the minuses into plusses and replace the name Jordan with Syria to see the planning of the status quo. I have written it below.

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At the CodePink Saudi Symposium

On the 5th and 6th of March, I attended the CodePink Saudi Summit at David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington DC.    Saturday was jam packed with interesting speakers.   Sunday we put our heads together to work out ways to address the multiple issues currently swirling around Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud. You can learn more about what is going on at End the US Saudi Alliance.

Rather than attempt to summarize an incredibly complex and nuanced conversation, I am going to post some recordings of the panel discussions.   Rather than post the second rate videos from my Flip, I have posted my audio recordings, for those of you who would like to listen as you go about your day, at the end of this page.

If you have the time and the interest, CodePink has the entire set of recordings on the RealNews website.   RealNews did an outstanding job of livestreaming the entire days worth of panels on Saturday and posting the reasonably high quality recordings on their website:

2016 Saudi Summit: Understanding The Saudi Kingdom and Its Global Role

To go with the audio recordings below, I’ve pulled in the excellent, wonderful, brilliant Keynote by Vijay Prashad:

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Oil Price Manipulation and the Global Capitalist Crisis

Oil Price Manipulation and the Global Capitalist Crisis

Presentation given by Caleb Maupin at the Second Congress of the Trade Union Center of Brazil, February 25, 2016 in Brasilia.

Who is the richest person in the world? The international media often tries to answer that question for us. Names get floated around like Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet — sometimes they’ll mention an Arab sultan or prince. Forbes magazine publishes a list of the richest people in the world.

All of this utter nonsense.

Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet, the king of Saudi Arabia, all of these people are poor men compared to the ones who have real power. These people are listed as the richest people in the world, because they are so poor, that they have all of their money listed in their own name.

Those who are really rich, those with the most wealth, power and influence, have astronomical amounts of wealth, often so much money that their total net worth cannot even be calculated.

The richest people in the world can be described in two words: oil bankers.

The House of Rockefeller, the House of Morgan, the Carnegies, the Rothschilds, the Mellons, the Du Ponts —

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Aleppo Update on the Syrian Ceasefire

News from a friend in Aleppo:

Following the ceasefire, my associate wrote from his home in Aleppo  to update his friends in the west on the circumstances there.

Hopes for Syrian Cease Fire Dim as Turkey Shells Kurds
Hopes for Syrian Cease Fire Dim as Turkey Shells Kurds

-: Aleppo city is much more calmer since the beginning of the agreement, except for some violations that took place the first hours of the agreement, and yesterday at 21:50, when 2 mortars shelled on the government held area, followed by ambulance sirens around 22:00. In general, so far, Aleppo city is much calmer than before. No shells, no jets in the sky, no clashes. 80% better than before.

– Situation in Aleppo province didn’t change much, according to news. The terrorists attacked the liberated villages of Nobbol & az-Zahraa with rockets, but there were no casualties. In other areas of the province, fighting is still on going: SAA  (The Syrian Arab Army) vs. Nusra & Da’esh; Kurds vs. Turks from the borders; Kurds vs. Terrorists; terrorists vs. other terrorists… Violations of the ceasefire are from the terrorist groups and Turkey.

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