Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | November 4, 2011
IN THIS ISSUE
- Aggressive postures toward Iran
- Punishing Palestine for UNESCO
- Iraq and the new "security architecture"
- Recognizing failure in Afghanistan?
- Libya in flux
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Opinion and analysis
- Antiwar Radio
Dangerously Aggressive Postures Toward Iran
Western powers and Israel are ratcheting up the pressure on Iran ahead of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report due to be released early next week. Instead of reassuring Iran that it does not need a nuclear deterrent, the U.S., Israel, and others have hinted at a possible military strike on Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has allegedly been pushing his cabinet to support a unilateral attack on Iran, and on Wednesday Israel tested a ballistic missile while making public statements about an Iranian nuclear threat. Reports the following day revealed that Netanyahu ordered an investigation into a leak of plans to attack Iran, with the prime suspects being two former Israeli intelligence officials with a history of advocating against such a unilateral attack.
Meanwhile, Britain unveiled preparations and plans to attack Iran, supposedly in case of a U.S. attack in which they would play an assisting role. Additionally, a bipartisan House committee unanimously pushed forward two bills that would impose harsher sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sector.
Punishing Palestine for UNESCO
Israel also increased the pressure on Palestinians, threatening tough sanctions after the Palestinian Authority was approved as a member of UNESCO. Calling the approval a "tragedy," Israel announced a dramatic escalation in settlement construction and even "green-lighted" an attack on the Gaza Strip. The U.S. also fumed at Palestine’s recognition at the U.N. body and immediately moved to defund UNESCO.
At the same time, another aid flotilla is on its way to Gaza carrying humanitarian supplies in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade. The U.S. sternly warned against any Americans participating in it, and Israel sent its navy to block the aid ship.
Iraq Drawdown and the New "Security Architecture"
As U.S. troops continue to exit Iraq, the withdrawal increasingly seems more like a drawdown, as U.S. officials announce a surge in the broader Middle East. The U.S. plans to expand military ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. The Pentagon estimates that perhaps more than 40,000 troops will be stationed across the Middle East as they attempt to foster a new "security architecture" for the Persian Gulf.
Recognizing Failure in Afghanistan?
Violent insurgent attacks continue to highlight the failure of the war in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing this week killed up to 17 people, including 14 Americans.
Even amid reports that Afghan security and police forces are unprepared to take over security from the U.S. and NATO, the Obama administration announced that it is considering a shift in strategy in the war. The shift would include a much smaller footprint, more focus on training, and an increase in targeted kill/capture missions by the largely covert Joint Special Operations Command. Whether the shift will take place is likely to be decided after May of next year.
An Unstable Post-Gadhafi Libya
Gun battles in Tripoli at the beginning of the week raised concerns about continuing instability in post-Gadhafi Libya, especially when an al-Qaeda flag was raised over the center of Benghazi. Local NTC militias have refused to disarm and are demanding more autonomy than the council seems prepared to give. The NTC is trying, so far unsuccessfully, to stop weapons smuggling from Libya’s many loose stockpiles. The appointment of a dual U.S.-Libyan citizen with ties to the energy industry to be the next interim prime minister has thrust further controversy into Libya’s nascent government.
The International Criminal Court has announced that it will investigate war crimes allegedly committed by NATO during the bombing of Libya.
Assorted News From the Empire
- New U.S. wars in Africa continent indicate a shift deeper into the shadows for U.S. foreign policy.
- Deadly violence persists in Yemen as Saleh continues to make perfunctory moves to step down.
- Scores more civilians have been killed in Syria as the Arab League gives Bashar al-Assad a deadline to implement reform plan and end the crackdown.
- Honduras becomes cocaine hub as the U.S. supports the military regime, drug lords, and violent corporatists.
- Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect announced that his country will not renew the lease for the U.S. airbase to remain past 2014.
- A Bahrain probe into Arab Spring abuses found that torture was "systematic."
- The U.S. announced that even if a high-level Guantanamo detainee was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges, it still might never release him from prison.
What’s New at the Blog?
Matt Barganier again pointed out the false belief that the Iraq War had nothing to do with Democrats. John Glaser pointed out that the Obama administration’s propaganda about Middle East foreign policy is as transparent as any common dictator’s, demonstrated the lie that Barack Obama believes in transparent government, pushed against Paul Wolfowitz’s so-called "Plan Afghanistan," blogged about Obama’s tragic legacy on Gitmo, noted America’s new African ally — Uganda — is sharpening its domestic repression, pointed out the State Department’s pathetic opposition to Palestine at the U.N. as well as the prospects for Palestine’s UNESCO victory to lead to prosecution of Israeli war crimes, and discussed the economic reasons behind the expansion of the empire in Asia-Pacific. Glaser also blogged about America’s largely secret war in east Africa, homicidal Colombian generals trained by the U.S., and Libyans’ concerns about a nascent post-Gadhafi dictatorship.
Opinion and Analysis
Justin Raimondo wrote about America’s newfound friendship with Uzbekistan, Herman Cain’s lying, warmongering presidential campaign, and Israel’s dangerous tactics with Iran. Kelley B. Vlahos explored the nutty reaction among Republican presidential candidates to Obama’s Iraq policy. Philip Giraldi explained the mentality behind America fueling an arms race in the Middle East. Ivan Eland warned that the Libya "victory" portends endless U.S. intervention throughout the world. Nebojsa Malic wrote about how "glitchy" the U.S./NATO Empire has been, from the Balkans to North Africa. Nicholas Kramer argued that military success does not erase moral questions.
Scott Horton had Charles Goyette on the show to discuss the farce that is the two-party system and the danger of America’s debt. Eric Margolis talked about U.S. military intervention in the Middle East from Libya to Syria to Iran. Former Guantanamo prison guard Brandon Neely was on to give testimony about his time at the torture prison. Adam Morrow analyzed the upcoming Egyptian election. Becky Akers revealed the perversity of the TSA and its screeners. John Glaser talked about Obama’s war in east Africa and the war rally against Iran. Brian Phillips discussed his article on militarism abroad breeding tyranny at home.
On Saturday, Dec. 3 the Libertarian Party of Ventura County will hold a protest against the escalating wars our government is involved in all over the world. The aim is to demand accountability from both parties on the war issue.
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