Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | September 2, 2011
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IN THIS ISSUE
- Rebels struggle as NATO keeps bombing Libya
- War crimes in Iraq
- Afghanistan’s deadliest month
- Assad may be losing it
- The decade since 9/11
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
Round Up the Blacks, Continue the Bombs
The week began with Libyan rebels on the road to Gadhafi’s hometown and last bastion of support in coastal Sirte, where failed negotiations were likely to turn into fighting. Later, as rebels drew up battle plans for Sirte, NATO continued giving air support, bombing Sirte to make way for an easy rebel capture of the town.
A leaked document revealed the United Nations’ plan for post-Gadhafi Libya, complete with plans for foreign military observers and U.N.-run elections. The rebel council has said publicly, as a U.N. envoy relayed this week, that it rejects any military deployment in Libya. In response, at a Paris conference on Libya, Western officials insisted their role going forward would be largely advisory, with a focus on carving up Libya’s oil assets for incoming corporations. A recent Fox News poll showed that a majority of Americans oppose U.S. involvement in the Libyan war, despite pro-war media bias.
Rebel groups, now struggling to secure their authority, have come under heavy criticism as they continue to round up, imprison, and abuse black Africans they suspect of being mercenaries for Gadhafi. The African Union, despite the West’s eager recognition of the rebels’ legitimacy, has refused to recognize the rebels, citing human rights abuses. Concerns about their inability to secure weapons stockpiles increased when Israeli officials claimed that Palestinians in Gaza acquired weapons from Libyan rebels. Even different factions within the rebel group have protested the rebels’ Transitional National Council.
War Crimes and Milestones in Iraq
In U.S. State Department diplomatic cables released this week, a war crime committed by U.S. troops in Iraq in 2006 was revealed in which one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed. The incident took place during a night raid, which has become the primary tool in the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In another revelation, the British intelligence service MI5 warned former Prime Minister Tony Blair against invading Iraq on the grounds that it did not present a threat and would be made much less safe.
Iraq ran into trouble with its neighbors this week. Iraqis began protests against the Kuwaiti decision to build up the Mubarak al-Kabir port, and rockets were reportedly fired in Kuwait’s direction, although none crossed the border. Meanwhile, the Turkish military killed 160 and wounded 100 in northern Iraq in attacks on Kurdish rebel groups. Indigenous sectarian violence continued in Iraq, as at least 29 people were killed and 38 others were wounded when a suicide bomber attacked Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad.
Despite ongoing violence and the failures of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the media hailed as a remarkable milestone the first month (August) since the 2003 invasion in which no U.S. soldier died in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki promised a U.S. pullout would occur on schedule, although the status of the so-called U.S. trainers being left behind has not yet been publicly settled.
Afghanistan Violence Soars
In contrast to the mainstream applause regarding the zero American casualties in Iraq for the month of August, the same month proved to be the deadliest month ever for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Killings of Afghan police have soared to record highs, as the true number of civilian casualties goes uncounted. Despite promises that the war would dramatically improve women’s rights and well-being, the status of women is dismal in Afghanistan today. Meanwhile, further evidence that U.S. forces killed an Afghan BBC journalist gained more credibility.
Taliban leader Mullah Omar confirmed in a statement that U.S.-Taliban negotiations are taking place, lending credence to the notion that there is a viable political settlement. But since both sides are currently entrenched and engaged in the war at full throttle, the statement maintained a hard line and predicted imminent victory against the Western occupiers.
Syria’s Increasing Isolation
Government violence against civilian protesters continued in Syria this week. But the edifice upon which President Bashar al-Assad’s authority rests may be cracking. Numerous army defections have taken place, and in some cases defectors have fought against Assad’s security forces and on behalf of protesters. A group of Syrian exiles met in Istanbul this week to form a National Transitional Council aimed at pushing for the ouster of Assad. Syria faced increasing international isolation, not just from the West, but from key allies like Turkey and Iran.
As this chorus accumulates against Assad and his brutal crackdown, many are concerned that calls for a U.S. or NATO intervention in Syria, along with scaremongering about international threats posed by Assad, are gaining more credibility.
The Decade Since 9/11
At the American Legion, this week, President Barack Obama praised the military, what he dubbed "the 9/11 generation" and its "extraordinary decade of service" in fighting several wars. Obama’s officials have been lauding U.S. efforts since the attacks, claiming al-Qaeda is on the verge of defeat. Left out of the speech was any mention of how much of a disaster those wars have been. It lacked details, such as the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in no-bid contracts to defense corporations by the Pentagon, a problem that has tripled since 9/11. John Glaser appeared on Russia Today to talk about such waste and fraud.
The CIA has changed since 9/11, turning into a killing machine instead of an intelligence gatherer. One of the newest war zones, strictly under CIA dominion, is Yemen, where drones this week killed 30 people, all described as al-Qaeda suspects.
Angela Keaton was interviewed byThe Daily Caller about the antiwar movement, the decade since 9/11, and how America sealed the deal in the transition from republic to empire.
Assorted News From the Empire
Israel: After the Netanyahu administration tried again to postpone the release of a United Nations report on Israel’s raid of the Gaza flotilla back in the summer of 2010, the Turkish government said it would not tolerate another delay, and unless Israel apologized for the incident, which killed 19 people, Turkey would respond with sanctions. That report, which was soon leaked, concluded that Israel used excessive force.
John Glaser blogged about a WikiLeaks diplomatic cable that detailed the Israeli right’s undemocratic plans for the future of Israel and Palestine. Matt Barganier poked fun at Israel’s intentions for a new peace map.
Iran: A top Israeli official declared that one military strike on Iran would not be enough to satisfy Israel or, by extension, the U.S. A State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks revealed that the U.S. and Australia plotted to oust Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei’s election to a third term as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2005 for not being hard enough on Iran.
What’s New at the Blog?
Jeremy Sapienza wrote of the blunders of Gen. David Petraeus, which seem to always be rewarded. Brian Beyer speculated about terrorism in Nigeria and whether it is a future target of the U.S. Matt Barganier directed attention to the Hollywood-Pentagon link. James Bovard blogged about the incompetence of the FBI. John Glaser blogged about the expensive maintenance costs of the torture prison at Guantanamo Bay, the pitiful irony of the IRS’s investigation of peace activist Cindy Sheehan, the U.S.’s record of torture compared to Gadhafi’s, and the ongoing U.S.-supported repression in Bahrain. Glaser also guest-blogged at the Silver Circle Underground on U.S. foreign policy in the future.
Justin Raimondo wrote of America as a force for evil in the world and the blowback from drug war policy in Mexico. Phil Giraldi explained Israel’s lawfare against the Gaza flotilla. Ivan Eland analyzed how expansive and interventionist foreign policy is leading to America’s ruin. Kelley B. Vlahos uncovered Obama’s handling of greed, guns, and cash flow to war contractors, namely Blackwater.
Scott Horton spoke with Eli Clifton about the coordinated effort to foment Islamophobia in America. John Glaser was on the show to talk about the travails of empire in Libya. Gareth Porter discussed his recent trip to Pakistan to investigate drone attacks and the Hariri assassination. And Pat Buchanan discussed the Senate resolution declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia the property of Georgia and demanding a Russian withdrawal.
Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton speak at Liberty Fest II in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 10. He will also speak at an October event in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., which is expected to be the biggest antiwar protest demonstration since Obama’s election.
Antiwar.com Development Director Angela Keaton will speak at L.A. vs. War: Art for Peace in the Hope Era, Sept. 9-11. Other participating organizations include Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War. She will have a booth at the 2011 Liberty Political Action Conference in Reno, Nev., Sept. 15-18 and will speak about Come Home America from 3:40-4:05 p.m. on the 16th. Antiwar.com Columnist Philip Giraldi will speak on foreign policy from 1:00-1:45 p.m.
Keaton will also discuss ComeHomeAmerica.us and the new peace movement in a breakout event at this year’s Libertopia in San Diego, Oct. 21-23. Libertopia is an annual festival of peace, freedom, music, community, and ideas that will change the world. Keaton will give a 30-minute speech and a 15-minute Q&A at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21.