Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | September 16, 2011
Don’t forget to sign the open letter to Obama and Congress to end the wars: ComeHomeAmerica.us
IN THIS ISSUE
- Mission unaccomplished in Libya
- Ongoing violence, poor performance in Afghanistan
- Iraqi torture uncovered
- The impending U.S. veto of a Palestinian state
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
Still fighting, weary of occupation
Rebel and NATO forces continued their push for control of Libya this week, closing in on the remaining bastions of Gadhafi support. Rebel forces descended on the cities of Sirte, Bani Walid, and Sabha aided by NATO warplanes performing reconnaissance and bombings, while Libyan civilians fled the attacked areas, which were already suffering humanitarian crises. At the blog, John Glaser reported that the rebels issued a deadline to Libyan civilians to evacuate Bani Walid or else get caught up in indiscriminate attacks against loyalist fighters. A similar warning from Gadhafi to the residents of Benghazi was what prompted the NATO intervention.
Splits within the rebel factions are prompting some Western concern, as Gadhafi-regime defectors and Islamist fighters vie for dominance. Islamist factions of the rebel group are reportedly plotting to remove National Transitional Council Prime Minister Mahmoud Jabril from power. Meanwhile, the rebels’ treatment of Libya’s black population continues to be a stain on the "popular revolution." The responsibility of the rebels continues to be questioned, as Russia declared this week that al-Qaeda has probably received weapons in the black-market arms trade that has arisen in rebel-held Libya.
Four American troops were sent into Libya this week to secure the U.S. Embassy, breaking an early promise by the Obama administration to not have U.S. boots on the ground there. Such developments have begun to test the U.S.-NATO appetite for another long-term nation-building effort, with senior NATO officials expressing reservations about another such mission.
Not everone is tired of fighting and occupation. John Glaser takes on the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein. Glaser writes that “Embarrassingly, his rejection lies in stark contrast to the conclusions reached by the CIA, the State Department, virtually all of the academic literature written on the subject and al Qaeda members’ own explanations of their motivations.”
U.S. militias and Taliban attacks
The Pentagon was quick to ignore claims of responsibility by the Afghan Taliban and to lay blame on the Haqqani network for this past weekend’s bombing of a U.S. combat outpost in Wardak province. The attack killed five Afghans and wounded 108 people, including 77 U.S. soldiers. In a string of Taliban offensives, a police station, a high school, NATO headquarters, the U.S. embassy, and the airport were attacked by shooters and suicide bombers. Twenty-seven people were killed in Kabul attacks, displaying yet again the Karzai government’s inability to secure stability on its own after a decade of U.S. nation-building.
Indeed, the occupation is so messy that U.S. contractor funds are still finding their way into Taliban hands, helping to sustain the insurgency. Meanwhile, U.S.-supported Afghan militias, including Afghan local police, have been ravaging villages throughout the country.
Iraq War putters on
A car bombing hit a restaurant and hotel in the city of Hilla in central Iraq Wednesday, killing at least 17 people. Despite familiar talk of an end to the war, violence across Iraq has continued unabated. The Iraqi government this week officially approved keeping U.S. "trainers" in Iraq at least through the end of 2013, despite the 2008 agreement mandating a complete exit in December 2011.
Uncovered from WikiLeaks diplomatic cables this week was a report about a detention center in Iraq in 2006, where the U.S.-supported Iraqi Ministry implemented and oversaw the systematic torture and abuse of over 1,400 detainees, many of whom were detained illegally. Severe beatings, stress positions, rape, and other creative forms of torture took place at the overcrowded, unsanitary prison. Although serious violations of basic human rights were reported to the State Department, no thorough investigation took place, and it is unclear whether any of those responsible were held accountable.
The impending U.S. veto of Palestine
Palestinians announced this week that they will submit their request for statehood recognition to the United Nations on Sept. 23. The U.S. is expected to veto the resolution at the Security Council, despite broad international support and the pledged backing of over 120 countries. A Saudi official this week published an op-ed in which he warned that the U.S. would lose Saudi Arabia as an ally if it vetoed the Palestinian bid for statehood.
The Israeli spy agency Shin Bet said it was increasingly concerned that Israeli settlers in the West Bank could respond to the Palestinian bid at the U.N. with heightened violence and even coordinated terrorist attacks against Palestinians.
A U.N. panel declared Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza to be in violation of international law this week and expressed grave concern for the humanitarian crisis facing Gazans as a result of harsh Israeli policies.
Assorted news from the empire
- U.S. AFRICOM commanders have requested more Special Operations Forces for various sites in throughout Africa under the pretext of fighting terrorism and training African militaries.
- Jordanian protesters demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy in Amman, burning American and Israeli flags and chanting "The people want the Americans out!"
- More Bahraini protesters were injured in clashes with security forces firing tear gas, but U.S. support for the dictatorship remains steadfast.
- Egypt responds to U.S. pressure and reactivates Mubarak-style emergency law, to the detriment of the democracy movement.
- Anti-government protests and factional gun battles proceed in Yemen as the Saleh regime continues bombing civilians.
- A Kenyan activist is suing the FBI for its involvement in his unwarranted detention in Uganda.
- The U.S. arms industry is lobbying hard against cutting defense spending.
What’s new at the blog?
John Walsh blogged about the morally blind 9/11 commemorations and about Veterans for Peace calling for the impeachment of Obama for war crimes, on which Mike Ferner gave further details. Eric Garris touched on the rather embarrassing U.S. response to non-threats on 9/11 and the unfortunate death of antiwar activist Carl Oglesby. Matt Barganier highlighted the strange politics of pro-war libertarians. Jeremy Sapienza lamented the continuing habit of the left to be duped by Obama’s antiwar campaign pledges. Brian Beyer explained how not to provoke new anti-American terrorists in Boko Haram. Coleen Rowley made clear the dangers of government secrecy. James Bovard wondered if the new Islamist power grab in Libyan rebel groups would provoke more U.S. bombs. Alison Weir wrote about Israeli interests being the driver of U.S. Middle East policy. John Glaser wrote on the creeping militarization of civil life since 9/11, Michael Chertoff’s lies about rendition, and elite complicity in a dangerous foreign policy.
Justin Raimondo wrote about Rachel Maddow’s blind bias against Ron Paul’s facts as well as the failure of law enforcement to protect Americans from terrorist threats. Ran HaCohen uncovered the nefarious intentions of neocon Elliott Abrams. Philip Giraldi lamented the clueless Republican demands for more militarism. Ivan Eland reviewed the government’s blunders in fighting terror since 9/11. Kelley B. Vlahos discussed the truth about the war that is hiding behind the worship of Gen. David Petraeus.
Jason Ditz spoke to Scott Horton about the perils of U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. James Bamford talked about the "war on terror" and government surveillance. Patrick Cockburn discussed the dangers posed by keeping U.S. soldiers in Iraq passed the December deadline. Philip Giraldi offered insight into 9/11 intelligence failures and the Palestinian bid for statehood. Chris Floyd warned about the imperial hubris of U.S. policy in Somalia. Richard Silverstein elaborated on the secret trial that caused a U.S.-Israeli diplomatic storm. Mark Sheffield discussed what the Arab Spring means for Israel. Kevin Zeese talked about Come Home America and the need for a broad-based peace movement. Dean Ahmad explained Islam in the context of the Arab Spring and terrorism. Michael Scheuer will speak to Scott Horton Friday night on KPFK from 6:30-7:00 ET.
Angela Keaton will 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.