Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | December 9, 2011
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IN THIS ISSUE
- Iran recovers U.S. spy drone
- U.S. relationship with Pakistan dissolving
- In Afghanistan until 2025?
- Interventions in Africa
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Columns and Viewpoints
- Antiwar Radio
Spy Drones Over Iran Portend Attack
Iran claimed this week to have shot down an American spy drone flying over Iranian airspace in what Iranian officials called a "blatant territorial violation." After initially lying about it, the U.S. admitted the drone was spying on Iran and Iran was in possession of it, although whether it was shot down or crash-landed is still in dispute. The downed U.S. drone revealed a broader covert war against Iran, serving as another piece of the puzzle of America’s campaign of cyber warfare, commercial sabotage, targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, support for Iranian terrorists aiming to undermine the regime, and harsh economic sanctions.
The constant barrage of such activities in addition to bellicose rhetoric from both the United States and Israel has had worrying effects in Iran. The Revolutionary Guard ratcheted up its combat readiness after recovering the drone, and ordinary Iranian people are expressing fear for their safety and concern for humanitarian conditions in case of war or harsher sanctions.
U.S. and Pakistan: Allies at War
Nine days after U.S. airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, President Obama called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to express "regret," reportedly telling him it was "not deliberate." For an illustration of how tense the U.S.-Pakistani relationship is, a few days later when speaking to a Senate defense committee, Pakistan’s Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem said he had concluded that the U.S. attack was not only deliberate but "pre-planned." Pakistan has closed the Shamsi airbase used by the U.S. and has shut down supply routes into Afghanistan for NATO troops. Pakistani assailants set ablaze stranded NATO supply trucks on Thursday.
An Even Deadlier Afghanistan
Almost 60 Shi’ite Afghans were killed in bombings in Kabul during an observance of the Islamic holy day Ashura, prompting concerns of a rising sectarianism in the country. The Pakistani group Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ), which often targets Shi’ites in Pakistan, claimed credit for the attacks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the attack was planned in Pakistan and warned he would seek answers. Just one day after the Kabul bombings, a roadside bomb killed another 19 Afghan civilians.
At the European Bonn conference on Afghanistan, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged the international community to pledge both "practical and financial support" through at least 2025 to the current Afghan government. In another signal that the occupation of Afghanistan will last well beyond 2014, the Pentagon has been facilitating contracts for the Afghan government to mine its valuable and vast mineral deposits.
Interventions in Africa
In Nigeria, where the U.S. has been lending military aid and support to the government, the militant group Boko Haram continued to step up attacks — killing six this week — likely as a response to increased Western intervention.
The Kenyan government’s assault on its northern neighbor Somalia continued this week with an announcement that it would deploy troops in Mogadishu to fight al Shabab. Many believe this has U.S. backing as well.
The United Nations Security Council agreed to impose harsh economic sanctions on Eritrea, also a neighbor of Somalia, for its alleged ties to al Shabab. The Eritrean government issued a statement warning that this "will heighten tensions and stoke an already explosive situation in the Horn of Africa."
Assorted News From the Empire
- The crackdown on Yemeni protesters continues, and, despite Saleh’s stepping down from power, he is still directing most of it.
- The U.S. is in talks with Libya’s interim government for a deal to help build, arm, and train a new Libyan national army.
- Egypt’s military junta and the rising party of the Muslim Brotherhood are jostling over the drafting of the new constitution while secular liberals are sidelined.
- Amid continuing unrest, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned Syria’s Bashar al-Assad as either "disconnected" or "crazy" and said he needs to resign his office immediately.
- Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency have been laundering illicit drug money.
- U.S.-supported security forces attacked peaceful protesters in Bahrain with rubber bullets and tear gas.
What’s New at the Blog?
Coleen Rowley noted the detainment policy in the latest National Defense Authorization Act could mean the end of the American republic. Matt Barganier noted the absurd nationalistic emotions left over from Pearl Harbor and pushed back against some libertarians’ unfortunate embrace of Jon Huntsman. Jeremy Sapienza lamented the State Department’s supposed effort to fund gay rights abroad all while ignoring the homophobic brutality of our allies. Frida Berrigan posted a blog on her late father, Phil Berrigan, "a peaceful warrior." John Glaser blogged about ongoing U.S. support for repression in Bahrain and in Egyptas well, how the GOP is secretly enamored with Obama’s foreign policy, how dangerous the surveillance-industrial complex revealed by WikiLeaks is for journalists, Israel’s "one-state solution" and ongoing price-tag attacks, and what secret war means for the Constitution.
Columns and Viewpoints
Justin Raimondo wrote about whether libertarians "do" foreign policy and about elite immunity in the age of imperialism. Philip Giraldi exposed a dangerous set of presidential findings that authorize covert war on Iran. Ivan Eland wrote about the difference between "pro-business" and "pro-market." Kelley B. Vlahos discussed Bradley Manning’s long-sought day in court. John W. Whitehead warned of the end of the rule of law. Jacob Huebert shared a chapter from his book Libertarianism Today. John V. Walsh analyzed the findings of Georgetown University China researchers and found them lacking.
Scott Horton had on James Bovard to talk about the most corrupt government in the world: America’s Afghanistan. John Glaser discussed Iran, WikiLeaks, and America’s quiet slip into Africa. Pepe Escobar explained the "shadow war in Syria." The Other Scott Horton was on to talk about the Senate provision outlining indefinite detainment of American citizens. Gareth Porter talked about failing U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Michael Klare lamented Obama’s aggressive postures toward China. M.J. Rosenberg challenged the neocon assertion that Iran presents a threat.
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