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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on July 17, 2021

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/07/15/bomber-joe-biden-strikes-iraq-and-syria-retaliation-breeds-more-incidents/

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

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The progressive civil war over Syria and Assad exposes an astonishing lack of intellectual curiosity by some on the American Left — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on July 8, 2021

detailed forensic analysis of the rocket used in the Ghouta attack – an improvised 330mm-to-350mm rocket equipped with a large receptacle on its nose to hold chemicals—by Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, undermined the claims made by the US government assigning culpability for the attack. Not only were the weapons used not included in the arsenal of chemical weapons declared by the Syrian government to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which oversaw the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons capability between 2013-2014, but the short range of the weapon made its being fired from government-held territory impossible.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/528531-progressive-war-syria-american-left/

Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

Truth and politics are often mutually exclusive concepts when dealing with the progressive American Left. This unfortunate fact is being driven home in spades in an ongoing spat between two lefty online personalities.

Anyone following Aaron Maté (149K followers on Twitter); The Young Turks (TYT, with 440K followers as an institution, and as many followers each tracking the activity of co-hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian); the comedian Jimmy Dore (274K followers); or any number of other Twitter personalities whose online paths have crossed with any of the above; knows these left-leaning social media stars have been engaged in a vicious feud. Full disclosure, I have appeared on both Maté’s podcast, Pushback, as well as The Young Turks radio show. At issue is Syria and, more pointedly, the contention by both Uygur and Kasparian that Maté is shilling for President Bashar Assad.

A tale of two narratives

The sheer drama and vitriol which has emerged as a result of this feud has been entertaining for those who get a kick out of leftwing internecine warfare. Maté’s use of Jimmy Dore’s popular online program The Jimmy Dore Show as a platform for promoting his arguments has torn the scab off old wounds created when Dore left The Young Turks and struck out on his own, appears to underpin at least some of Uygur and Kasparian’s anti-Maté invective. However, more interesting is the fact that, as Maté pointed out in a recent interview with The Hill, the progressive wing of the American Left has hit a brick wall over the issue of Syria. Criticism of Assad has run up against the lies used to sustain US military hegemony in the Middle East.

“I think,” Maté noted, “that that meltdown reflects just like a general hostility they [The Young Turks] have towards people who are upholding actual progressive values and upholding actual journalism standards.” While the smear campaign waged by Uygur and Kasparian has been as unconscionable as it has been factually wrong, the fact that there is controversy among the progressive wing of the American political Left should not surprise anyone.As Maté observed, “[t]he reason why they slandered me at that time is because I was in Syria and Syria is a, you know, touchy subject for many people on the Left. It has been divisive.”

Syria is a touchy subject, especially for progressives who primarily focus on notions of human rights and democratic values. Maté has come under attack for taking a contrarian stance on two of the most hot-button issues surrounding Assad: allegations of chemical weapons use, and the suppression of political free will through the conduct of elections designed to keep the reins of political power in Syria firmly in his hands. (It should be pointed out that Maté is joined by other outstanding progressive journalists, including Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Rania Khalek, and many others whose informative work predates Maté’s on the issue of Syria.)

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Politicians Concerned about Violence Should Start by Ending Their Wars and Their Police State | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/politicians-concerned-about-violence-should-start-ending-their-wars-and-their-police-state

David R. Iglesias

On April 8, 2021, President Biden addressed the public concerning new executive orders he is planning on putting through. This will be on top of the forty-eight other executive orders that have already come from the man who just last October was saying, “I have this strange notion—we are a democracy … [there are] things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. We’re a democracy, we need consensus.” He’s already surpassed both Trump and Obama in executive orders issued during the first four months of their respective presidencies.

It looks like the next EOs Biden aims at mandating are related to the topic of gun control: “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again. Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.” This is ironic coming from the former vice president of the Obama administration, which started regime change wars in countries like Yemen, Libya, and Syria which in large part included supplying certain “moderate” rebel groups like al-Nusra and ISIS with weapons, cash, and intelligence support that was ultimately used to slaughter innocent men, women, and children.

Weapons to Libya

In his most recent book, Enough Already, Scott Horton (2021) fully displays just how devastating the foreign policies of all the US presidents going back to Jimmy Carter have been for people living in the Middle East. For example, in Libya, the Obama administration had been secretly allowing weapons to arrive from Qatar during the attempted overthrow of then dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The story was that the US was helping “moderate” Libyan rebels overthrow their brutal dictator in order to bring liberty and democracy to the turmoiled country. However, as Scott makes abundantly clear: this was completely false and the Obama administration was really “taking the terrorists’ side against Gaddafi in Libya … they were Libyans who had just come home from fighting America in Afghanistan and Iraq War II” (2021, pp. 163, 165). It is especially worth pointing out that some of these terrorist groups receiving support from Obama were “a bunch of horrible anti-black racists” who had “cleansed the predominantly black town of Tawergha … many of whom were tortured and killed, their property put to the torch” (2021, p. 166). Apart from the murder and rape of innocents in Libya, the US government’s actions under Obama and Biden left the country in a state of devastating civil war and also opened the doors for modern-day chattel slave auctions. Even Obama admits that Libya was a “shit show.”

Weapons to Syria

Libya became a weapons pipeline for rebels in Syria—who were also being backed by the United States government—and it was headed by the CIA’s own director, David Petraeus. Again, Scott Horton, quoting journalist Seymour Hersh, points out that these weapons were being delivered to “jihadists, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda” (2021, p. 172). In Syria, a similar regime change was occurring just as had happened to Gaddafi. This time the target was President Bashar al-Assad. The hope was that if the US could overthrow Assad, they’d “further isolate Iran” by removing “Iran’s only Arab ally,” Syria (Horton 2021, p. 182). It should come as no surprise, however, that in the US’s endeavor to conduct another regime change, they would again be caught up in giving weapons and support to terrorists who also wanted to overthrow Assad. During this time (2012), Libya’s insurgency was basically controlled by terrorist organization al-Nusra. When the US worked to get weapons into the hands of these “moderate” rebels, they were really just ending back up in the hands of Islamist extremists whom the US had been going to war against just years before. Once again, the Obama administration made the US responsible for aiding the some of the most horrific insurgency groups, who

murdered children, used suicide car and truck bombs against civilian and military targets, blindly shelled civilian neighborhoods, used torture, carried out mass-executions of captured army soldiers, executed people with crucifixions and beheadings. (Horton 2021, p. 196)

In 2014, then vice president Biden even admitted to the absurdity of trying to find and support “moderate” rebel groups in Syria, although he tried to frame it as if it were all the United States’s alies’ fault. Thanks in large part to the US’s involvement in Syria, the country has been devastated and

the terrorists ha[ve] carved a new Islamist Caliphate the size of Great Britain out of the sands of western Iraq and Eastern Syria. [Bin Laden] could never have done it without the assistance of the United States of America in the hands of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (Horton 2021, p. 202)

Weapons to Yemen

In 2015, Obama started yet another unauthorized war alongside the Saudis against the Houthis in Yemen—this being shortly after the Houthis had ousted their “democratically”1 elected president Hadi in 2014. The reason? The never-ending desire to gain more leverage against Iran, as well as to “placate the Saudis“ while the US was in the middle of the Iran Nuclear Deal (Horton 2021, p. 241). The US government was directly supplying the Saudis with bombs, parts for the aircraft dropping those bombs, fuel for tankers, and satellite intelligence over targets (Horton 2021, p. 241); more recently it has been shown that they are still sending shipments of US weapons and armored vehicles into Yemen—as reported by CNN. The US-Saudi coalition against the relatively small country has created what many have called the worst humanitarian crisis.

The destruction that the American politicians and their allies left with the Yemenis is unimaginable. After deliberately targeting nonmilitary infrastructure such as hospitals, water treatment plants, schools (including a school bus full of children), and food production systems, and then placing blockades on the country to further cripple its people, Yemen has been turned into a complete disaster. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, an estimated one hundred thousand people have been killed since 2015. Countless children are suffering and dying from cholera and other diseases. Scott Horton predicts that the number will really turn out to be something like “half a million or more civilians who have been killed by this war, beyond the tens of thousands killed in direct violence.” (2021, p. 252)

Violence at Home

Biden’s newest executive orders come just shortly after the Colorado shooting on March 22. The significance of this event is that the shooter, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was born in Syria and moved to the US when he was still a child. Less than a month before the Colorado tragedy, Biden ordered his first strike on Syria as president in retaliation to an Iranian missile attack on a military base in Iraq. While there hasn’t been any clear evidence that Alissa was motivated by the Syrian bombing, one outlet reported that a Facebook post by Alissa from 2019 addressed in part the “genocide in Syria.” Considering the long list of retaliatory terrorist attacks in the US over the years—e.g., the 2009 Ft. Hood massacre, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Florida, the 2017 Ariana Grande concert bombing (Horton 2021, pp. 271–76)—it isn’t a stretch to believe that Colorado is another tragedy following the trend. The longer the US continues its intervention overseas, the more likely we are going to see the violence come home.

Additionally, violence in the US has been exacerbated by policies like those supported and put forward by people like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Biden has a very lengthy and controversial history in his time as a “public servant.” He is notorious for contributing to the tough-on-crime attitude in the US as well as the war on drugs. Harris worked as a prosecutor for California and was rightfully called out by Tulsi Gabbard during the presidential debates for the 2020 elections for locking people up over marijuana charges. Such rhetoric and policies have devastated millions of lives. It was reported that in 2019 alone over 1.5 million arrests were made for drug violations—over 85 percent of those being for mere possession—and a significant portion of those arrests were in relation to marijuana. A 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report showed that between 2011 and 2012, 62 percent of SWAT raids were drug searches. One such raid was conducted on a family who was growing tea leaves. More recently we saw the murder of Breonna Taylor when the Louisville Metro Police Department also conducted a no-knock home invasion over drug charges. Duncan Lemp was murdered just twenty-four hours before Breonna Taylor in the same fashion.

The greatest irony about the claims against United States citizens having “weapons of war” is that while these claims refer to semiautomatic rifles, law enforcement inside the US actually receives equipment from the military thanks to the 1033 program. This program gets military equipment like mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP)2 vehicles, M-16 rifles, helicopters, and even grenade launchers into the hands of local police agencies. During his presidency, Obama used an EO to put an end to the pipeline between police and military, but Trump, in 2017, revived the program. It seems that in all of his work via EOs to reverse certain policies by Trump, Biden has yet to undo the resurrection of the 1033 program. In fact, one statistic shows that in Q1 of Biden’s first year as president there’s been an increase in “flow of military gear.”

Reason to Doubt

While they might claim to be on the “right” side of certain issues now, it is hard to take seriously the words of politicians who claim to care about the people and their safety while they are supporting policies—or at least not making as much a fuss about them as they do about “domestic gun violence” or “Asian hate”—that put weapons and money into the hands of terrorists who help the US government slaughter innocent people overseas or starve children to death while causing others to die of disease because their country’s infrastructure has been blown to bits and blockades prevent the necessary medical aid to save them, tragedy that then inspires people of those countries to retaliate and bring more death upon the rest of us. The absurdity becomes even more apparent when these same “public servants” cry about “weapons of war” being placed into the hands of the people while actual military equipment is being funneled into law enforcement. They might cry and appear outraged about the deaths of victims like Breonna Taylor, but her death comes from the legacy of tough-on-crime and drug war policies that these politicians at one point supported and helped enforce.

  • 1. Democratic in this context meaning that his name was the only one on the ballot.
  • 2. In 2014 it was reported that thirteen thousand of these tanklike vehicles were given to police departments. Dan Parsons, “Repurposed MRAPs Find New Life in Police Agencies,” National Defense, April 2014.

Author:

David R. Iglesias

David Iglesias is a writer and undergraduate student majoring in Economics in Utah.

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The Banality of Blinken’s Evil – RPI 31 March Update

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2021

He does not say this as an apology for his murderous Syria policy beginning under Obama. Nor as an apology for the sanctions that have only caused suffering among the most innocent, in tandem with the arming and training of psychotic jihadists to burn the sectarian, multi-confessional Syria to the ground.

No, the empty-eyed Blinken cries crocodile tears for the Syrian children as political cover for his re-introduction of policies that killed their country and their parents in the first place.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/blinken?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

The 1963, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, written by Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, introduced the world to perhaps the most chilling aspect of the Nazi mass murder of so many Jews, Christians, other religious minorities – and so many others – at the hands of the national socialism of Hitler’s murder machine: the fact that the horror of mass killing on a colossal scale could be undertaken not with the fiery dramatics of drooling monsters, but rather could easily be carried out with the cold precision of the unthinking bureaucrat. The cog in the machine. The Eichmanns of the world, whose defense was, with a shrug, “I was only doing my job.”

For a period after the Nuremburg trials, which sought to criminalize such a defense of evil, it was accepted that the initiation of unprovoked aggression against others could no longer be justified with the excuse, “I was only doing my job.”

Arendt horrified us with the tale of Eichmann’s intellectual emptiness and the moral black hole that appeared at the center of his heart. He was not exceptional in his evil. He was just part of the machine. A bureaucrat.

As she put it:

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.

Which brings us to current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This is not to compare Blinken with Eichmann or to suggest that he is a Nazi. Rather it is to point out that he shares the very same traits with those who actually feel a sense of moral superiority while implementing policies that result in the horrible deaths of tens of thousands – indeed hundreds of thousands and even millions – of innocents in the name of pursuing a “noble cause.”

So here we have this video Tweeted by Blinken’s office where he – shockingly – seeks to lecture us on the morality of his long-time Syria policy (while a senior official in the Obama Administration and now as Biden’s Secretary of State) that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and the displacement of millions. All in the pursuit of “regime change” in Syria.

Is it mere banality – or is it actual malevolence – that leads the co-author of Syria’s misery to Tweet the following about the victims of his criminal foreign policy:

When I think of the suffering of the Syrian people, including Syrian children, I think of my own two children. How could we not take action to help them? Our common humanity demands it. Shame on us if we don’t. 

He does not say this as an apology for his murderous Syria policy beginning under Obama. Nor as an apology for the sanctions that have only caused suffering among the most innocent, in tandem with the arming and training of psychotic jihadists to burn the sectarian, multi-confessional Syria to the ground.

No, the empty-eyed Blinken cries crocodile tears for the Syrian children as political cover for his re-introduction of policies that killed their country and their parents in the first place.

“We have to find a way to do something to take action to help people,” he says, with carefully rehearsed deep emotion, in the video.

But Blinken’s “do something” is no act of contrition for supporting jihadists and sanctioning the country into a hell on earth. It does not mean the US reversing course on “regime change” in Syria and leaving the desperate Syrians to rebuild their country.

No. It means that he intends to reinvigorate a policy gone flaccid under Trump – with some disgusting exceptions – that the US, led again by neocons and demonic “humanitarian” interventionists, would wander about Syria seeking the ruin of innocent lives.

But don’t worry: Blinken justifies the coming slaughter of innocent Syrian children by telling us he thinks of his kids when he thinks of the Syrian children. What a comfort.

As C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Somewhere Blinken’s mentor, Madeleine “it was worth it” Albright, cackles with glee…

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Bipartisan Senators Seek to Strip Biden of War Powers

Posted by M. C. on March 6, 2021

At long last we see action to kill war power authorizations used by three presidents.

Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

https://www.thestreet.com/mishtalk/economics/bipartisan-senators-seek-to-strip-biden-of-war-powers

Mish

Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal decades-old authorizations for the use of military force in the Middle East, amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the region.

Kaine (D-Va.) and Young (R-Ind.) unveiled the measure as lawmakers have expressed frustration with President Joe Biden’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria last week without first seeking congressional approval. It also comes just hours after an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops and civilian contractors was hit by rocket attacks.

The bill would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations that cleared the way for a prolonged military conflict in Iraq, culminating in calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to end the so-called “forever wars” in the region.

Senators from across the ideological spectrum signed onto the Kaine-Young bill as co-sponsors on Wednesday, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary.”

Biden angered congressional Democrats when he launched airstrikes against Iran-backed military installations in Syria, with lawmakers lamenting that the White House did not consult with Congress ahead of time and did not properly notify them about the strikes.

Congress has largely abdicated its constitutional authority to declare war, and presidents from both parties have used outdated authorizations to legally justify U.S. military action — including, and perhaps most notably, the 2001 authorization for the use of military force against al Qaeda and the Taliban, which was approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Kaine-Young bill, though, only deals with the 1991 and 2002 measures, which are entirely focused on Iraq.

No Longer Necessary?!

Not quite. Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

Bush, Obama, and Trump all made terrible use of those bills. 

Congress and Congress alone should authorize war and be damn careful when it does. 

Warmongers on both sides, notably Hillary Clinton, agreed to fight a stupid second war with Iraq on what any reasonable person should have seen as a pack of lies by Bush and Cheney. 

We are still there needlessly and senselessly. 

Republicans would not strip Trump but some will be happy to strip Biden. Better late than never, but still not enough.

One Step Further

Congress should go one step further and set a timeline for all troops to return from everywhere starting with the Mideast and Cuba, preferably immediately.

Mish

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Breaking: Biden Bombing Syria! – RPI 25 Feb Update

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2021

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/syriabomb?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

According to breaking news reports, including by Reuters, President Biden has ordered and the Pentagon has carried out military airstrikes on Syria, attacking a structure inside the country that the US government claims houses “Iranian-backed” militia.

US missiles struck tonight near the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, on the Iraqi border. The strike is said to be in retaliation for recent rocket attacks against US facilities in Iraq. After another rocket attack earlier this month, the US State Department pointed the finger at Iran and threatened a US military response.

The Iraqi parliament voted in January, 2020, to expel US troops from the country after then-President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The US government ignored the vote of the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament, however Trump later announced his decision to pull US troops out of Iraq. 

President Biden wasted no time in reversing Trump’s disengagement strategy for the Middle East. After just over a month in office, President Biden is re-igniting the failed US intervention launched in 2014 against Syria under the Obama Administration.

Within 24 hours of Biden being inaugurated commander-in-chief, US military convoys began pouring into northern Syria. His Administration, from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on down, enthusiastically supported the US “regime change” policy for Syria under President Obama – a policy that only benefitted al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region,

Earlier this month it was reported that the US was building a new military base in Syria, near the Iraq and Turkey borders. New military bases carry with them new missions, so there is plenty of reason to believe that Biden plans to return the US to the “Assad must go” policy of his former boss.

Biden coming out of the gate with bombs blazing should be of little surprise to those who have watched his early foreign policy appointments. For example, he tapped noted neocon and aggressive interventionist Dana Stroul to head his Middle East Desk at the Pentagon and no doubt this airstrike at least indirectly reflects her influence and that of many others like her who have taken up positions in the Biden Administration.

Stroul hails from the AIPAC-founded “think tank,” the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where, as former CIA official Phil Giradi writes, “she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.” She is an extreme Iran hawk and has advocated and worked for regime change in Syria and US retention of large areas of Syrian territory.

So within a month of assuming office, President Biden looks to be on the cusp of launching a new Middle East war. Will a Left-Right-and-beyond peace coalition emerge to challenge the hawks driving this new push to war? We must remain open to any alliance and be willing to put other issues of potential disagreement aside. There are plenty of antiwar progressives who will increasingly find themselves uncomfortable with this Administration. We must be willing to work with them in good faith.

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists!
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Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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Why the U.S. needs to lose in Syria

Posted by M. C. on February 23, 2021

https://mailchi.mp/6c7e10276b1b/the-us-celebrates-30-years-of-bombing-iraq-4205261?e=de2d0eded6

The U.S. supported Al Qaeda in Syria. John McCain called them “moderates,” in the same way the Washington Post called ISIS leaders “austere religious scholars.”It is hard to believe that U.S. intervention in Syria is not a satire written by someone with a truly dark sense of humor.The Al Qaeda moderates that the U.S. supported cut off the heads of children, eat dead mens’ hearts, and sell journalists to ISIS to be beheaded.The Republican and Democratic establishment are allied with Al Qaeda, the butchers of New York City, who spilt innocent American blood.In Chapter 11 of Gus Cantavero’s video adaptation of Scott’s new book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, Scott explains why the U.S. is in Syria and how we know our politicians supported Al Qaeda there.
https://youtu.be/dK7U5OmGU_A
Arm yourself with knowledge so you can fight for peace. Buy Scott’s new book, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism

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What Biden’s Warmongering Will Actually Look Like – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/24/what-bidens-warmongering-will-actually-look-like/

author: Caitlin Johnstone

There’s a news story about a US military convoy entering Syria being shared around social media with captions claiming that President Biden is already “invading” Syria which is getting tons of shares in both right-wing and left anti-imperialist circles. The virality of these shares has inspired clickbait titles like “Joe Biden Invades Syria with Convoy of US Troops and Choppers on First Full Day as President“, which are being shared with equal virality.

But if you read the original report everyone jumped on, accurately titled “US military convoy enters northeast Syria: report”, you don’t have to read too far to get to this line: “Other local media report that such maneuvers are not unusual as the US often moves transfers equipment between Iraq and Syria.”

So while this is a movement of troops between illegitimate military occupations which have no business existing in either country, it is nothing new and would have been happening regardless of which candidate had won the last US presidential election.

Another inaccurate narrative that’s gone completely viral is the claim that Biden is sending more troops to Iraq. This one traces back to a single Twitter post by some Trumpy account with the handle “@amuse” who shared a Jerusalem Post article with the caption “BREAKING: President Biden is considering reversing Trump’s drawdown in Iraq by adding thousands of troops to combat growing terror threats in the region as evidenced by Thursday’s attack near the US embassy.”

If you read the actual JPost article titled “Baghdad bombing could be the Biden admin’s first challenge” you will see that it contains no such claim, and if you were to search a bit you would find @amuse claiming that they were sharing something they’d learned from “sources” in DC instead of accurately summarizing the contents of the article. Unless you know this person and know them to be consistently trustworthy, there is no valid reason to believe claims allegedly said by alleged anonymous sources to some openly partisan anonymous account on Twitter.

But the bogus tweet was amplified by many influential accounts, most notably by Donald Trump Jr with the caption “Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now.” Its virality then caused it to work its way outward to dupe many well-meaning anti-imperialists (myself included until I looked into it) who are vigilant against Biden’s notorious warmongering, and now there’s a widespread narrative throughout every part of the ideological spectrum that Biden is escalating warmongering in both Syria and Iraq.

It is entirely possible–probable even–that reliable warmonger Joe Biden will end up sending more US troops to Iraq and Syria at some point during his administration. But if the antiwar community keeps staring at the movement of ground troops with hypervigilant intensity, they won’t be paying enough attention to the areas where the more deadly aspects of Biden’s hawkishness are likely to manifest.

Donald Trump is the first president in modern history did not start a new war.

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 22, 2021

Trump’s base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn’t start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from US-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening cold war escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran, greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes. Trump may not have started any “new wars”, but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don’t start any new wars doesn’t mean you’re not a warmonger.

Rather than a throwback to “new wars” and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we’ll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.

It is certainly possible that Biden could launch a new full-scale war; the empire is in desperate straits right now, and it could turn out that a very desperate maneuver is needed to maintain global domination. But that isn’t the method that it has favored lately. The US empire much prefers nowadays to pour its resources into less visible acts of violence like economic siege warfare and arming proxy militias; the Iraq invasion left Americans so bitter toward conventional war that any more of it would increase the risk of an actual antiwar movement in the United States, which would be disastrous for the empire. So rather than tempt fate with the bad publicity of flag-draped coffins flying home by the thousands again imperialism is now served up with a bit more subtlety, with the military playing more of a backup role to guard the infrastructure of this new approach.

It appears clear that this would be the Biden administration’s preferred method of warmongering if given the choice based on who’s going to be in it. The incoming Secretary of State Tony Blinken now advocates replacing the old Bush model of full-scale war with “discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors”. Biden’s nominee for CIA Director William Burns urged caution in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and later expressed regret that he didn’t push back against it. Rather than picking bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy for Defense Secretary as many expected, Biden went with the less cartoonishly evil Raytheon board member Lloyd J. Austin III. All this while depraved coupmonger Victoria Nuland is being added to the administration and the murderous Venezuela coup is folded into its policy.

Nominee to lead State Department Tony Blinken recently explained that Biden’s pledge to “end the forever wars” means the US will reduce large-scale deployments while expanding secret wars waged by special forces and proxies.

Watch the full exposé here: https://t.co/1lY62RBl9X https://t.co/QHccVwnqSl pic.twitter.com/bW8DQc4bbk

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) November 23, 2020

Too much of the antiwar community is still stuck in the early 2000s. The western war machine just doesn’t generally kill that way anymore, and we need to adjust our perspectives if we want to address the actual murderousness as it is actually showing up. If you keep looking out for obsolete ground invasions, you’re going to miss the new form of warmongering completely.

Trump supporters who claim to oppose war missed this completely throughout the entirety of his presidency, confining the concept of “war” solely to its most blatant iterations in order to feel like their president was a peacemaker instead of a warmonger. One of the few positive developments that could potentially arise from the Biden administration is helping such people to recognize acts of violence like starvation sanctions as war, since they will be opposing Biden and that is how this new administration will be manifesting much of its murderousness.

The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden’s warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump’s–just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways–despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals. Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next.

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World Braces for New Round of ‘American Leadership’ – RPI 24 Jan Update

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/usleadership?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

Say what you will about President Biden’s foreign policy team, they’re no slouches. Biden had not been president for one full day when a convoy full of military equipment and a reported hundreds of US troops rolled (illegally) into Syria from Iraq.

Readers will recall that it was the Obama/Biden Administration that came up with the brilliant idea that funding, arming, training, and equipping jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East would be a terrific way of bringing democracy to Syria.

As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad faced defeat at the hands of US-backed rebels (often, as with al-Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaeda) and ISIS, he in 2015 formally requested Russian assistance. Facing the prospect of al-Qaeda and ISIS on its doorstep if they succeeded in Syria, Russia accepted the request and Assad was able to slowly regain much of Syrian territory. 

The hysterical warnings that Assad would genocide his people if he re-took control of the major cities proved to be all hot air – or more likely just pure war propaganda.

The US retained military control of parts of Syria, predominantly Kurdish areas, and proceeded to help itself to the Syrian oil in those areas. Though President Trump did order two attacks on Syria in response to bogus charges that Assad gassed his own people, he more or less gave up on the Obama/Biden “Assad must go” policy. Or at the least he was less enthusiastic about it than the neocons he put in charge of Middle East policy.

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

Four years of the US mainstream media relentlessly parroting the bogus “Russiagate” narrative has resulted in many if not most Americans still believing the utterly shredded conspiracy theory that somehow former President Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin and that the Russians were conspiring to impurify our precious bodily fluids

With the anti-Russia hysteria still – incredibly – at a fever pitch, imagine what would have happened if it came out that the Russian Embassy in Washington had posted information that made it easier for the perpetrators of the January 6th “melee at the Capitol” to launch their “insurrection” (or…as Schumer calls it), 

Anybody doubt the war drums would be at a fever pitch, particularly from the Democrat and mainstream media circles?

But that is just what the US Embassy in Moscow did for the violent anti-government protests in Russia yesterday. Though Washington has long wanted to crown the deeply unpopular Alexei Navalny the Juan Guaido of Russia, taking down the Russian government has unsurprisingly proven a bit more tricky than Hillary Clinton’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Honduras.

But the US Embassy, Moscow, is never discouraged by its failures. Under the guise of warning US citizens to avoid the planned demonstrations across Russia, the US Embassy published on its website all of the specific locations of the protests and the times they were to take place.

The US posting even included a strangely familiar helpful mention of a planned “march towards the Kremlin” – sounds like the “march on the Capitol” on the infamous 1/6 “insurrection day.”

Unsurprisingly, Russian officials were not amused over US officials encouraging an unauthorized protest in Moscow just a few days after those same US officials were calling for the identification and arrest of Americans participating in an unauthorized protest in the US Capitol.

Hypocrisy has always been the central organizing principle of US interventionist foreign policy. And boy it is back in vogue these days!

Oh, and the neocon buffoon Juan Guaido? The Biden Administration has announced that it will continue Trump’s boneheaded policy of recognizing the corrupt (and unelected) Venezuelan politician as that country’s legitimate president. 

Plus ça change

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Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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How rock star Roger Waters was hung out to dry by Amnesty and Bellingcat for his views on Syrian ‘chemical attack’ — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2020

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/503461-roger-waters-douma-syria/

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist.

A leaked phone call reveals that outside pressure caused Amnesty to pull its promotion of a webinar featuring Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters – a vocal skeptic of the Douma ‘chemical attack’ that prompted Western powers to bomb Syria.

In August this year, environmental pressure group Amazon Watch broadcast an online panel discussion in support of Steven Donziger, a crusading attorney who dared try to hold US energy giant Chevron to account for widespread environmental destruction in the Amazon, and was left fighting for his life, livelihood and liberty as a result.

In February 2011, Chevron was found liable by an Ecuadorian court for contamination resulting from crude oil production in the region by its subsidiary Texaco between 1964 and 1992, in a legal action that was many years in the making and led by Donziger.

Chevron is yet to pay a penny of the settlement though, for the landmark ruling was overturned in March 2014 by a US Federal Court on highly dubious grounds – in reaching his decision, presiding Judge Lewis A. Kaplan relied heavily on the evidence of a former Ecuadorian justice who subsequently admitted to fabricating his testimony. Donziger has since been charged with contempt of court and sat under house arrest for over a year awaiting trial.

Donziger himself was present on the Amazon Watch webinar that August evening, and was joined by a number of prominent campaigners, including Simon Taylor, founder of NGO Global Witness, and Roger Waters, co-founder of rock institution Pink Floyd.

The talk was widely promoted in advance by a number of prominent human rights activists, and NGOs, perhaps most prominently Amnesty International.

However, the organization’s endorsement triggered a deluge of criticism on social media from a number of notorious advocates for regime change in Syria. This led to a post advertising the webinar published by Amnesty USA’s official Twitter account the day before broadcast to mysteriously disappear without explanation.

I would appeal to @amnestyusa not to promote this event given Roger Waters participation because slandered #WhiteHelmets repeating Russian propaganda putting their lives at risk when saved over 150,000 lives & cannot remain silent as know them well as a filmmaker @SyriaCivilDefhttps://t.co/8e311Xcj2S— Ronan L Tynan (@RonanLTynan) August 5, 2020

In response to one critic, Amnesty UK Campaigns Manager Kristyan Benedict said promoting the talk was “not good at all” and confirmed that the offending tweet had “been deleted.”

Yep – not good at all – it’s been deleted.— kristyan benedict (@KreaseChan) August 5, 2020

A leaked recording of a September 25 phone call between Waters and two senior staffers at Amnesty International USA – Matt Vogel, head of artist relations, and Tamara Draut, chief impact officer – sheds fascinating light on the episode.

At the start of the conversation, Waters recalls he was not only informed Amnesty would promote the panel discussion on Twitter in advance, but also personally retweeted the endorsement so it reached his circa 375,000 followers at the organization’s express request.

However, an associate informed him just before the webinar began that they couldn’t locate the post. When the talk was over, he went about getting to the bottom of the tweet’s absence.

After conducting “a bit of sleuthing,” he determined that the removal followed pressure being brought to bear by a number of individuals, in particular his “old adversary” Eliot Higgins, founder of controversial website Bellingcat, due to Waters’ views on the Syrian Civil Defense, aka White Helmets. Seeking answers, he attempted to reach out to Amnesty, but was repeatedly stonewalled before finally being put in touch with Vogel and Draut.

In response, Draut confirmed that the tweet’s removal was indeed prompted by a “difference of opinion” on the White Helmets. “We believe they’re really champions for human rights, and have fought for their protection and freedom. When the tweet went up on our end, it wasn’t fully vetted as it should’ve been, and immediately we heard from folks in the White Helmets, asking why we were promoting you, due to comments you’ve made about them. We also heard from other Syrian human rights activists, who were quite hurt by our support of you…” she began, before Waters interrupts, asking what relevance his views on the group has to “the plight of rainforest dwellers in northern Ecuador.”

“People interpreted our promotion of an event at which you were speaking as promoting your position on the White Helmets. I got involved in this process too late, I wouldn’t have taken down the tweet, that’s not the policy I like to follow, I would’ve much rather dealt with this openly and honestly…” Draut explains.

Waters made headlines the world over in April 2018, when he stopped mid-set during a concert in Barcelona to talk about a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, which had allegedly taken place six days earlier.

Branding the White Helmets a “fake organization” creating “propaganda for jihadists and terrorists,” he suggested that Western public opinion was being manipulated in order that “we would be encouraged to encourage our governments to go and start dropping bombs on people.” Mere hours later, his prediction came to pass, as France, the UK and US carried out a series of military strikes against multiple government sites in the country.

In May 2019, Waters was again the subject of intense criticism when he claimed on his official Facebook page that a leaked document had vindicated his position. The file in question was an engineering report produced by an Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding team that visited Douma in the days following the contested strike, which concluded there was a “higher probability” that cylinders found at two locations in Douma, alleged by the White Helmets to have been dropped from Syrian Air Force helicopters, were “manually placed… rather than being delivered from aircraft.”

Photos of the cylinders circulated widely in the Western media and on social networks in the wake of the claimed incident. Such images, along with footage of Douma residents being hosed down in hospitals, children seemingly foaming at the mouth, and piles of dead bodies in a housing complex – all produced and disseminated by the White Helmets – were all damning evidence offered in favor of the idea that the Syrian government had targeted civilians with chemical weapons, a notion which in turn provided Paris, London and Washington with a pretext for military intervention.

The OPCW team’s dissenting appraisal was, for reasons unclear, entirely unmentioned in the organization’s final report on Douma, published two months prior to Waters’ Facebook post.

Despite making few if any public comments about the White Helmets or the ongoing crisis in Syria since, Waters has nonetheless been subject to an unending deluge of online abuse from their Western supporters.

Back on the call, an indignant Waters cites a since-deleted tweet from Eliot Higgins, which stated that Amnesty International “needs to explain why Roger Waters is an appropriate person to talk about human rights.” Rather than responding constructively to the question, the organization opted to simply yield to critical pressure.

Read the rest here

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