IN THIS ISSUE
- Navy warships and sanctions provoke Iran
- War and peace at the Iowa caucuses
- U.S. approves Maliki’s purges
- Af-Pak standing up to the U.S.?
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
U.S. Provocations Destabilizing Persian Gulf
The combination of U.S. covert activities inside Iran, harsh economic sanctions, and provocative military postures in surrounding territories has led to Tehran issuing warnings about closing the Strait of Hormuz and protesting America’s naval presence in the Persian Gulf. But the Obama administration responded by insisting that warships would indeed remain in the Persian Gulf. The European Union is also considering a full ban on the importation of Iranian crude oil, which has caused a spike in oil prices.
Iran successfully produced its first domestically-made fuel rod for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), although experts say this won’t put Iran closer to producing nuclear weapons. High-level nuclear negotiations are expected to restart soon between Tehran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany), and the IAEA is expected to again visit Iran for inspections this month.
2012 Iowa Republican Caucus
The Iowa caucus produced mixed results for the prospect of peace. On the one hand, antiwar Republican candidate Ron Paul came in a healthy third place and has arguably brought the antiwar, noninterventionist message into the mainstream.
On the other hand, Rick Santorum practically tied for first place with Mitt Romney. Santorum represents the ultra-nationalist pro-war wing of the GOP, and his rise is a sign that the antiwar message still has a long way to go. Santorum made headlines this week when he said he would, if elected, bomb Iran if they refused to dismantle their nuclear program, which evidence suggests is civilian in nature. He then was caught on camera saying that the West Bank belongs to Israel and that "there are no Palestinians."
U.S. Approves of Maliki as Dictator
An emergency session of Iraqi Parliament took place this week, as representatives returned after boycotting the Maliki regime’s sectarian incitements and corrupt consolidation of political power of late. Maliki has attempted to marginalize Sunni authorities, accusing everyone from the president and vice president of terrorism and raising sectarian tensions, of which the U.S. has so far approved.
Iraq Body Count, a British nongovernmental agency that tracks only confirmed deaths, released its estimate of war fatalities this week, calculating that about 162,000 people were killed since the beginning of the war in 2003 until its formal end last month. At least 114,000 of those were civilians.
Af-Pak Standing Up to the U.S.?
While Taliban leader Mullah Omar confirmed this week that negotiations with the U.S. are taking place, and while top Pakistani Taliban leaders are reportedly at each other’s throats, the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan are outweighing these signs of progress for the U.S.
Pakistan has yet to reopen the NATO supply routes into Afghanistan that it recently shut down, leaving the U.S. just hoping they’ll reconsider soon. In addition, Pakistani militants this week announced a truce with the Pakistani army, planning to stop fighting each other and unite against NATO. Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well seems to be standing up to the U.S. more, as he demanded this week that the U.S. cede control of the Bagram prison, which holds thousands of supposed terrorists and insurgents but is also a legal black hole known for continuing human rights abuses.
Assorted News From the Empire
- Inter-militia fighting in Libya this week killed at least four people as the NTC chief warned of impending civil war.
- Both the Yemeni opposition and officials within the ruling party agree that President Saleh intends to maintain his power despite agreeing to step down.
- A pro-Bahraini regime op-ed in the Washington Times by a former U.S. 5th Fleet commander-turned-Lockheed Martin executive was published at the behest of a lobbying firm working for the Bahraini government itself.
- Lebanese MP and Hezbollah member has filed a formal request for information on recently uncovered CIA spying operations inside Lebanon.
- The Obama administration unveiled a not-so-new defense strategy focusing on drones, small elite forces, and probably much more secrecy.
What’s New on the Blog?
Coleen Rowley posted an open letter to President Obama from the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) urging against war with Iran. Matt Barganier explained Kevin Drum’s definition of "crackpot" as anyone who disagrees with the D.C. consensus and his marginalization of even Democratic noninterventionists. John Glaser blogged about the scope of U.S. defense spending, how the real legacy of the Iraq war is impunity, the incredible push for intervention into Syria, how Washington lies about cutting defense, Obama’s not-so-savvy policy of weapons welfare to tyrants, important questions to answer before bombing Iran, and the nationalistic memorializing of government’s greatest crimes.
Opinion and Analysis
Justin Raimondo wrote about the dangerous teetering toward war in the Persian Gulf and Ron Paul’s precedent-setting performance in the Iowa Caucus. Charles V. Pena discussed the dangerous and illogical U.S. provocations toward Iran in the Persian Gulf. Philip Giraldi warned that America’s penchant to intervene everywhere under the guise of humanitarianism will lead to blunder and bankruptcy. Kelley B. Vlahos profiled whistleblower Tom Drake and illuminated the government crackdown on truth-tellers. Ivan Eland wrote of the rising sectarianism and instability in Iraq and urged against a re-occupation.
Scott Horton interviewed Anthony Gregory about how war is just legalized mass murder and a boon for the state. Jason Ditz discussed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s purging of Sunnis from government and Turkey’s deadly airstrike on Kurdish civilians. Gareth Porter talked about the Iranian non-threat and the folly of intervening in Syria.
Antiwar.com Director of Operations Angela Keaton will be speaking at Freedom Law School’s 2012 Freedom Rally on March 16-19, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Irvine, Calif., along with Anthony Gregory, Butler Shaffer, and many others.
Young Americans for Liberty will host a February campus tour on "The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution." It will bring together left, right, and libertarian, featuring Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Fein, Jacob Hornberger, and Jack Hunter. Find dates and locations here.
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