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In Iraq, ISIS was forced from cities and towns over a year ago and largely defeated. But U.S. and Iraqi forces are still trying to track down the remnants of the group in remote areas.
          International Criminal Court 'facing US threats'      Cache   Translate Page      

ICC member countries should reaffirm the court’s mandate in the face of United States threats to weaken its essential role in international justice, Human Rights Watch says.

International Criminal Court (ICC) member countries should reaffirm the court’s mandate in the face of United States threats to weaken its essential role in international justice, says Human Rights Watch. The 17th session of the court’s annual meeting, the Assembly of States Parties, will take place in The Hague from 5 to 12 December 2018.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has sought to undermine the court’s legitimacy and threatened to thwart investigations involving the US or its allies. On September 10, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, declared that the US would not cooperate with the ICC. He threatened a number of retaliatory steps if the court investigated US citizens or citizens of allied countries, including against court officials and governments cooperating with the ICC. Trump also made critical remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.

“US threats against the ICC are an affront to every victim seeking justice before this court”, said Elizabeth Evenson, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “ICC member countries should demonstrate at their annual meeting their resolve to oppose any effort to undermine the court’s investigations and prosecutions.”

The ICC prosecutor’s request to open an investigation in Afghanistan, which could include crimes committed by Taliban forces and the Afghan government, as well as US military and Central Intelligence Agency personnel, is pending before the court. An ICC investigation in Afghanistan would advance accountability and provide victims with a path to justice, while putting those responsible for serious crimes on notice that they could face prosecution, Human Rights Watch said.

ICC member countries responded to the US threats with strong statements of support for the court. Similar efforts in the past to undermine the court’s work have also been met by firm resistance from members, including a hostile US campaign by the administration of George W. Bush.

Given the broader pressure on the international rule of law, it is all the more important for ICC member countries to defend the court’s mandate with clear statements and actions, Human Rights Watch said. ICC members should seize opportunities during the meeting’s general debate in the language of resolutions adopted, in discussions on state cooperation, and at other moments to show their resolve to ensure that the court can do its job.

Members will mark the 20th anniversary of the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, during a dedicated debate at the session, capping a year of anniversary commemorations. They will also discuss victim rights. Governments and court officials should use discussions to address the court’s challenges, including improving court investigations, deepening the court’s impact in affected communities, and securing arrests based on its warrants since the court depends on member countries to make the arrests. On 17 November 2018, Alfred Yékatom, known as “Rombhot,” was surrendered to the court in a case arising out of its investigation in the Central African Republic, the second arrest in 2018 for the court. But 17 arrest warrants remain outstanding, at the expense of victims and their families.

“The ICC has struggled to deliver on expectations”, Evenson said. “It’s precisely because the court’s role is so crucial in bringing justice that court officials need to step up their performance and member governments need to increase their support.”

Human Rights Watch issued a briefing note in advance of the session, with recommendations to ICC states parties, including for the election of the court’s next prosecutor. The term of the current prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, expires in June 2021. Early preparations and a strictly merit-based approach to the election is needed, Human Rights Watch said.

Negotiations about the court’s annual budget, with funds provided by its member countries, will be part of the agenda. Some member countries have demanded 'zero growth' in the court’s budget, but other countries have increasingly insisted that the court should have the resources it needs to manage its growing workload. During 2018, the ICC prosecutor opened three new preliminary examinations – into the situations in the Philippines, Bangladesh/Myanmar, and Venezuela – and received two referrals from member countries to examine the situations in Palestine and Venezuela.

The ICC is the first permanent global court mandated to bring to justice people responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so. It is a court of last resort and has 123 member countries. In addition to the request to open an investigation in Afghanistan, the ICC prosecutor has opened investigations in Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Darfur region of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, and northern Uganda. The prosecutor is also examining allegations of crimes committed in a number of places to determine whether to open investigations. In addition to Venezuela, Bangladesh/Myanmar, and the Philippines, these include Colombia, Guinea, Nigeria, Palestine, Ukraine, and alleged abuses by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq.

“The court is a crucial yet vulnerable component of the rule-based global order, and has a vital role to play in backstopping victims’ access to justice”,  Evenson said. “Members should take every opportunity to make clear that they will provide the support it needs.”

* Read Briefing Note for the Seventeenth Session of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties here

* Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/

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          Quando un paese si martella le gonadi per compiacere chi gli ha venduto il martello----- GAS PER TAFFAZZI      Cache   Translate Page      


C’è chi martella chi se lo merita

Francia, specchio dei tempi e dello scontro di classe le cui nuove forme le cosiddette sinistre radicali non vogliono capire: quelle della guerra sociale, culturale e geopolitica dei popoli, pressochè tutti proletarizzati dal globalismo neoliberista, contro le élites. Lotta insurrezionale che presenta affinità stretta con quella del 1789, per la sovranità del popolo (lavoratore, operaio, contadino, intellettuale) contro la sovranità del sovrano e dei ceti alle sue fortune legati e dai suoi poteri beneficiati e che, ammaestrata dalla rivolte soprattutto contadine e dalle insubordinazioni dei barbari nel fine-impero, si accoppia al monopolio della forza. Sovranità e monopolio di cui i gruppi dell’accumulazione e della predazione, della menzogna e della cospirazione, sono tornati padroni, dopo che rivoluzioni e rafforzamento in varie forme della volontà, coscienza, conoscenza, forza, dei dominati se l’erano conquistata, o, quanto meno, l’avevano condivisa. Vedi, da noi, le costituzioni, dallo Statuto Albertino a quella antifascista del 1948. Vedi la cubana, quella di Thomas Sankara nel Burkina Faso e la venezuelana, la migliore in assoluto.



Lo strumento di corruzione psicologica impiegato dai gruppi di potere, oggi contestati in varie forme, è la criminalizzazione del termine sovranità, spesso deformato e, nelle intenzioni, vilipeso, in “sovranismo”. Poi si arriva alla separazione tra manifestanti buoni e cattivi, a volte sfruttando l’inserimento di provocatori di regime. Nel caso francese, tra i fermati non si sono trovati i famigerati Black Block, ma solo infermiere, camionisti, contadini e altra gente ridotta allo stremo dagli assiomi della globalizzazione. Di fronte hanno l’uomo di Goldman Sachs, cioè della cima della Piramide. Quello che avevamo noi, in sinergia con le mafie, con tutti i governi degli ultimi trent’anni, prima dell’attuale, non il migliore sognato, ma il meno peggio di tutti (almeno per la parte 5 Stelle). Come dice il collega Marco Cedolin, in Francia abbiamo un popolo di populisti antimondialisti contro il regime neoliberista; da noi siamo un passo avanti: abbiamo una canea euro-mediatica contro un governo populista. Ci siamo portati avanti col lavoro con il voto, anziché con la sollevazione di popolo. Quella era venuta prima, anche se più soft di quella dei fratelli francesi.


Souvranité, parolaccia o salvezza?
Il tema che affronto in questo articolo sta al cuore della questione. Per cui, senza se e senza ma, lunga vita ai Gilè Gialli e alla loro parola d’ordine: “Libertè, egalitè e souvranitè”.


Conoscendo qualche lingua, molti paesi europei, avendo vissuto in alcuni (Germania, Olanda, Regno Unito, Irlanda) credo di permettermi di valutare il sistema mediatico italiano il più sgarruppato dal punto di vista sociale, il più corrotto da conflitti d’interesse, e quello più degradato da coloro che ne condizionano la narrazione. Se ne ha dimostrazione quotidiana. Come vi spiegate che la quasi totalità della stampa-radio-televisione sosteneva con passione più o meno fervida i precedenti governi, quelli della tratta degli schiavi, dell’austerità, dei trattati capestro EU, della devastazione ambientale, del precariato, e oggi si abbatte con furia degna di miglior causa sull’attuale, che qualche latrato, o guaito, contro quei delitti lo emette? Come vi spiegate gli spazi chilometrici dati ai gabbiotti di lamiera, ai quattro mattoni in nero e alla piscina gonfiabile di papà Di Maio, non inquisito, e gli spazi ristretti come un golfino di pessima lana regalati a papà Renzi plurinquisito?

Come vi spiegate che su alcuni accadimenti, per loro natura meritevoli di dibattito e pluralismo di analisi, tipo il caso Giulio Regeni, la stessa, neanche più quasi, totalità esprima un giudizio uniforme e del tutto apodittico? Non è sintomatico che coloro che contro i pentastellati (e il finto nemico Salvini) mettono in campo pressioni, gazzettieri, minacce di obliterazione del paese, siano gli stessi che in questi termini affrontano ogni opposizione all’eurogangsterismo, compresa la rivolta dei Gilet Gialli il cui urlo è souvranité? Non vi dice nulla, a vantaggio e onore dei gialli nel Gialloverde, che l’apparato padronale italiano abbia fatto ricorso ad un’adunata, mai vista prima, di tutti i vertici a Torino, per attivare catapulte di ferro e fuoco sui 5Stelle e non solo per il Tav? E nella scia di questo gesto volutamente drammatico, l’ancor più drammatico grido di dolore dei più grossi cementific tori italiani, Condotte, CMC, Tecnis, Astaldi, Grandi Lavori e altri, che proprio nel momento della messa in discussione di appena una grande opera o due lamentano di trovarsi all’orlo del default e del rischio di decine di migliaia di licenziamenti. Puzza di ricatto, o no?

Treni e catorci di riserva



A fianco di questa locomotiva globale, che ha invertito la marcia di Guccini e si sta lanciando contro chiunque non le fornisca carbone, corre (si fa per dire) in analoga direzione un nostro trabiccolo locale. Succede che, con l’atomino dell’estrema “sinistra radicale” in costante bilico tra scissione dello stesso, ricomposizione, o epifania di una nuova, inedita, micro-unità da un lato e, dall’altro, una destra confindustriale, sedicente centrosinistra, da questo pulviscolo sorga il taumaturgo, il messia rosso da lunga pezza atteso.

Potrebbe chiamarsi Giggino o’ sindaco, oppure Robertino o’ presidente. Il primo amoreggiava con i 5 Stelle, ma s’è ricreduto. Il secondo è la mina vagante dentro i 5 Stelle, fa il presidente della Camera, ma anche il ministro degli Esteri quando rompe con l’Egitto, ma anche il catalizzatore di nano particelle. Un po’ Pizzarotti, un po’ forse Scilipoti. Ha ottenuto il master dalla cattedra “Come ti sposto i popoli” dei luminari Boldrini e Bonino. Si è laureato a pieni voti e lode con una tesi “Per un globalismo dalla faccia umana, fondato sul lancio del cuore verso il Global Compact Migrazioni e il guanto di sfida in faccia al presidente egiziano Al Sisi”.

Grida e sussurri

C’è stato in questi giorni un susseguirsi e un sovrapporsi frenetico di avvenimenti di grande portata per tutti, ma parzialmente oscurati da episodi come il totalmente inconsistente festino G20 a Buenos Aires, riuscito a rilegittimare uno psicopatico assassino seriale in dishdash con tanti pozzi di petrolio, o la captatio benevolentiae dei suoi militi nazisti e degli armaioli Usa che Poroshenko ha messo in atto nello stretto di Kerch. La Merkel, con il gasdotto North Stream, che sta per unire Russia e Germania attraverso il Baltico, è stata messa per l’ennesima volta sul banco degli imputati di filo-russismo. Per quanto la poveretta abbia sostenuto l’aggressività Usa e Nato mettendole a disposizione tutto il suo paese, ella cerca almeno di parare qualche ulteriore abbandono di elettori grazie a un’energia a basso costo. Che è quella del gas russo e non di quello liquefatto e da scisti statunitense che le imporrebbe altro che gli aumenti di Macron.


Poi, quatta quatta, come una talpa che fa capolino dalla tana, è sbucata la notizia dell’EastMed Pipeline, il gasdotto che dovrebbe collegare i giacimenti del Mediterraneo Orientale alla solita bistrattata Puglia, passando per Cipro e Grecia. Si affiancherebbe al TAP, quello dall’Azerbaijan amerikano al Salento, che già aveva compensato il blocco del South Stream, dalla Russia all’Italia e all’Europa centrale, blocco ordinato al cliente bulgaro. I quattro paesi coinvolti lo stavano negoziando in gran segreto da un paio d’anni, ma Israele, giorni fa, ha infranto il pissi pissi bau bau, annunciandolo all’universo mondo. Per Italia, Grecia e Cipro, l’EastMed, come già il TAP, è la classica mazzata di Taffazzi sulle parti molli, da non più indurirsi. 



Fornendo, secondo il costruttore IGI Poseidon, appena 10 miliardi di metricubi di gas, molto meno del meno costoso gas russo in arrivo da più vicino, il TAP è già una formidabile fregatura. Figuriamoci l’EastMed, che sarebbe il più lungo e profondo del mondo e, date queste caratteristiche, più il rischioso passaggio sui fondomare vulcanici tra Cipro e Grecia, sarebbe anche di gran lunga il più costoso, pur fornendo la stessa modesta quantità del TAP o STC. Ma, ovviamente, non sono i costi il problema. La questione è al cento per cento politica e, lì, dollari o euro non contano, anche perché escano dalle tasche dei Gilet Gialli e di tutti noi.

EastMed, i suoi padrini, le sue vittime

Da chi partono da questi meravigliosi progetti che promettono di fare dell’Italia, sismica soprattutto là dove passa la rete di tutti questi gasdotti, impianti di depressurazione, liquefazione, stoccaggi, per un gas che non ci serve ma che viene venduto all’estero dalle compagnie? Domanda oziosa: l’input è ovviamente degli Usa, il progetto è dell’UE e del suo “Connecting Europe Facility Program”. Ed è l’UE che ci mette gran parte dei soldi, nostri. Vuoi che non ci dia addosso sui deficit da impiegare per la pappa dei bambini di 5 milioni di poveri assoluti, anziché far fare soldi a Snam e Shell con la vendita del gas a Vienna e Amsterdam?

Si ciancia di monopolio russo del gas europeo, una specie di garrota sul cranio del continente. Non è vero. La Russia fornisce all’Europa tra il 30 e il 40% del suo fabbisogno. E lo fornisce ai prezzi più bassi di tutti gli altri fornitori. Ma i gas di Tap e EastMed daranno utili solo una volta che quello russo, e magari quello arabo, saranno ridotti ai minimi termini e le nostre tasse ai massimi. A proposito di solidarietà europea, della quale abbiamo già conosciuto i benefici nella distribuzione delle vittime della tratta, edificante il confronto tra la Germania che avrà il ricco gas a basso prezzo del North Stream, checché gli Usa si agitino, l’Italia quello costoso da lontano per il quale fungerà da inquinatissimo hub per i potenti del Nord. La Merkel ne gode quanto della cancellazione della Grecia dai registri d’Europa. Controllare l’energia, per parafrasare Kissinger che, umanamente, parlava di cibo, significa controllare gli altri. In ispecie, il Sud Europa. Merkel e Macron, cioè per l’UE “Italia delenda est”, finchè ci sono questi “cialtroni” a governarla.



Pensate che la vicenda EastMed finisca qui? Gli israeliani pescano da un gigantesco giacimento che si estende dalle coste libiche fino alla Turchia. Qualcosa pertiene alla Turchia, grazie alla sua occupazione di Cipro Nord (ricordate la nave ENI presa a schiaffi dai turchi?), qualcosa a Cipro, parecchia alla Palestina davanti a Gaza e la massima parte all’Egitto dove opera l’ENI. Ed ecco che vi si accende una lampadina quando tutte queste cose le mettete accanto al furibondo rilancio della campagna Regeni contro l’Egitto. E un assordante sbattere di sciabole alle porte della Russia. Un Egitto potenzialmente massimo concorrente di Israele e una Russia troppo pacifica, ma resistente, con troppo buon gas a buon prezzo, ecco le pompe di carburante da abbattere.

Perché Giulio Regeni?

Riassumiamo. Giulio Regeni, dopo aver frequentato studi di intelligence negli Usa, si arruola alla Cambridge University e, intanto lavora per due anni per Oxford Analytica, multinazionale potentissima, 4000 dipendenti in tutto il mondo, specializzata in spionaggio, specie industriale, diretta da personaggi con tratti gangsteristici come John Negroponte, inventore degli Squadroni della Morte in Nicaragua e Iraq e altri grandi bonzi dello spionaggio. Arriva in Egitto con visto turistico per sviare dal suo ruolo di ricercatore in rapporto con l’Università Americana e alla ricerca di contatti con oppositori. Trova un sindacalista che ritiene di opposizione. Ma Mohamed Abdallah è un agente dei servizi e registra una conversazione del tutto compromettente. Abdallah gli chiede soldi per la moglie ammalata di cancro, per sondarne la solidarietà umana. Regeni rifiuta e gli promette invece 10mila dollari (da quale fonte?) in cambio di un non meglio precisato “progetto”. Subito dopo, il 25 gennaio 2016, il giovane ricercatore sparisce. Ne vien ritrovato la salma, con i segni della tortura lungo uno stradone, il 3 febbraio, lo stesso giorno in cui la ministra Guidi e una serie di industriali italiani si incontrano con il presidente Al Sisi per chiuder contratti miliardari, anche relativi ai giacimenti di idrocarburi. L’università di Cambridge si avvolge nella sua tunica e tace.



A chi è convenuta questa zeppa tra i piedi dell’Egitto, risollevatosi a furor di popolo dalla tirannia integralista dei terroristi Fratelli musulmani, e del suo partner privilegiato Italia? Uno Stato dai servizi segreti più temuti della regione araba si fa scoprire con le mani nel sacco non avendo saputo disfarsi di un ingombrante cadavere? O piuttosto dei mandanti, visto che il loro delegato è stato bruciato dal controspionaggio nemico, hanno rimediato il risultato della missione – demolire il nemico dei loro amici Fratelli Musulmani - gettandolo tra i piedi di Al Sisi, concorrente importuno sia per la Libia, con Haftar, amico dei russi, sia per il gas, con Israele. Via libera a EastMed, per la soddisfazione del taffazzismo italiota e delle quinte colonne tipo "manifesto".


Fico, fatti una domanda e datti una risposta

Roberto Fico, che hai deciso per lo Stato italiano di rompere i rapporti tra la Camera dei Deputati italiana e quella egiziana, costringendo a rincorrerti il vero ministro degli Esteri, Moavero Milanesi, non vuoi farti una domanda e darti una risposta? Ci sono sul tavolo almeno due ipotesi, una però più fondata dell’altra. Allora, un minimo di cautela, prima di tagliare ad Al Sisi il filo delle Moire no? La tratta dei migranti che si va ad organizzare globalmente a Marrakesh con il Global Compact e la menomazione dei diritti e interessi italiani con il gioco del gas, imposto dai vampiri, tra chi è vicino e ci costa poco e chi è lontano e ci costa un botto, sono un giusto prezzo per remare contro un movimento che difende la nostra sovranità?

Quanto alla decisione della Procura di Roma di inquisire funzionari dello Stato egiziano e di pretendere un processo “entro sei mesi”, sulla base esclusivamente di illazioni scaturite da una campagna di stampa forsennata, con in testa “il manifesto”, beh, si chiama colonialismo. E quando si tratta di quella Procura, il pensiero corre a Virginia Raggi. E alla sentenza che “Mafiacapitale” non è mafia.

          Why Do Political Journalists Think It’s Their Job to Portray George H.W. Bush as America’s Benign, Saintly Grandpa?      Cache   Translate Page      

NBC sends out a daily newsletter called “First Read” that’s co-bylined by Meet the Press host Chuck Todd—a first draft of history, if you will, put together by a group that includes the guy with the most prestigious job in political journalism. Here’s how Tuesday’s First Read opened:

For all the talk of honor, dignity and respect as the country mourns and remembers former President George H.W. Bush, the exact opposite of honor, dignity and respect is playing out in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina — reminders of how rotten our politics have become.

The contemporary examples the newsletter went on to describe involve Republican politicians who appear to have suppressed Southern black votes via coordinated fraud and are trying to essentially overturn recent elections by passing absurd and anti-democratic restrictions on the Democrats who just won them. These actions stand in contrast, the newsletter says, with the “honor, dignity, and respect” with which George H.W. Bush conducted his political career.

George H.W. Bush? The George H.W. Bush? The one who denounced the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed public segregation, as a “radical” bill that was passed to “protect 14 percent of the people” at the expense of the white majority? The one who unilaterally ended a federal investigation into the rich tapestry of illegal arms sales and perjury committed by his associates in the Reagan administration by issuing six pardons just before he left office? Yes, that one!

Obviously, those incidents don’t demonstrate “honor” and “dignity.” But that’s also not to say that H.W. Bush was a purely partisan scumbag or a lifelong white supremacist. He supported the cause of civil rights in other contexts, demonstrated nonpartisan political courage on occasion, and was generally committed to a style of public comportment and practical governance that doesn’t exist in today’s GOP. Like almost every public figure and human, he did some things that were obviously good, some things that were obviously bad, and many things whose merits are seen differently by different people.

What I just wrote is really a banal observation about human nature that only qualifies as a contrarian claim in the context of a Beltway-TV-pundit consensus that analyzes American history at the level of a toddlers’ picture book about the first Thanksgiving. The political past, in this milieu, is exclusively a place in which one learns inspiring lessons in a state of reverence. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews responded to Bush’s death by celebrating him for having personally charmed Matthews’ parents and understanding that the “office of the presidency” is a “perfect” institution. Former Newsweek editor-in-chief and presidential biographer Jon Meacham eulogized Bush on the Today show as a figure of clergy-like idealism who, in his private moments, ruminated about the essence of service. “As he put it in a prayer he wrote himself,” Meacham said of Bush, a former CIA director who at various points in his career helped provide military support to Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Afghan faction that included the founders of the Taliban and al-Qaida, “his motto was ‘use power to help people.’ “

This kind of powerful selective amnesia doesn’t emerge only when someone dies. On CNN, ubiquitous D.C. media-politics figure David Gergen recently said that 1960s protesters were more “civil in tone” than the woman who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her Virginia restaurant in June. In reality, civil rights and Vietnam protesters seized buildings, instigated mass arrests, and were involved in violent and even fatal confrontations, as Gergen should remember given that he was alive while it was all taking place. But he seems to have mentally condensed that chaotic era into a nice story about national progress in the same way that Meacham, Matthews, and Todd are now describing George H.W. Bush as a political version of Mr. Rogers. These pundits talk about America as if it’s a sports team and their readers and viewers are the team’s fans—celebrating highlights and big wins, downplaying the losses to rivals, tactfully declining to bring up the coach’s arrest for driving drunk with a 21-year-old marketing intern in the passenger seat. It’s an understandable impulse—for humans to process distant events into positive-trending narratives involving characters we know (and like) personally. But that doesn’t mean historians and journalists have to indulge that impulse. It’s ultimately a disservice to the country we all share, and to the goal of actually improving that country, to talk to us like we’re its fans, because we aren’t. We’re its citizens, and we should be able to handle the whole story.


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          Debatable Lives      Cache   Translate Page      

The costs of polarization are many and they are deep. In a polarized society, politics inspires more hatred than hope. In a polarized society, there is little friendship across partisan divides. And as a result, in a polarized society, the continuation of democratic institutions will always be in doubt because each side will become more and more willing to ignore the key rules and norms of democracy if it helps them win the next battle.

Given the deep costs of polarization, it may seem strange, and perhaps even downright frivolous, to focus on the effect these divisions have on the quality of thought. But for anybody who wants to preserve the space to think about what is actually happening in the world with an open mind, it is difficult to ignore yet another cost of the growing partisan rancor in the United States: It has made many essays published in the pages of the country’s leading publications, and tweets composed by the country’s leading commentators, depressingly predictable.

Take, for an example, the death of George H. W. Bush. One side of my Twitter feed was respectful but monochrome. The Bush it portrayed was a war hero who had ended the Cold War and faced down Saddam Hussein—all the while playing by an imperturbable code of honor encapsulated in the noble letter he left for Bill Clinton in the desk of the Oval Office. The backlash to these remembrances was equally predictable: gleeful attacks on Bush’s record and character. Within a few hours of his passing, critics had reduced Bush to the alleged lowlights of his career. To judge by some of the comments, he was little more than an old, white, male patrician who enjoyed race-baiting and seeing gay men die of AIDS.

What struck me most in this shouting competition was the proud simplicity of it all. Bush was one of the most influential figures of postwar American politics. During his half-century of public service, he acquired both great achievements and serious failings to his name. But instead of struggling to make sense of this multifaceted legacy, the leading intellectual lights of our time immediately pressed his death into the service of our relentless culture war.

This goes for the many commentators on the right who are unwilling to acknowledge the late president’s shortcomings. Bush rose to prominence in Texan politics in the 1960s by seeking to reach an uneasy truce with the far-right John Birch Society. He is responsible for the “Willie Horton” ad, one of the nastier pieces of political propaganda produced by a major party presidential candidate prior to the ascendancy of Donald Trump. And he made a serious error in judgment when he encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein, only to leave the sadistic dictator free to take cruel revenge.

It is perfectly appropriate to appraise the legacy of a deceased president in a forthright manner—warts and all. And yet, those on the left who defy the supposed stricture not to speak ill of the dead, with all the glee and subtlety of a 5-year-old playing with his own excrement, miss something even more important: It is intellectually lazy and morally callous to reduce any person to a malicious caricature—whether they are dead or alive.

This is true of many portrayals of Bush’s substantive political legacy. Yes, he was at times troublingly complicit with the Republican Party’s most extreme. But this does not erase the fact that he prioritized outreach to minority communities from the start of his career; that he defended a reasonably liberal immigration policy as president; or that he oversaw the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is even more true of many portrayals of Bush’s character. Yes, he was an old white man who hailed from a long lineage of privilege. But the all-too-common implication that he never endured real hardship in his life in laughable on its face. Is this sneer a morally considerate way to describe a man who lost his first daughter to leukemia when she was 3 years old? And is it an intellectually respectable way to describe a man who volunteered for dangerous military duties at age 18 because he felt a moral—and yes, perhaps patrician—duty to contribute in the fight against fascism?

When I first came to the United States in 2005, I was amazed by how freewheeling the public discourse was compared to the staid, consensual debates I’d witnessed in France and Germany. There were, of course, very deep political divisions at that time as well. But while the op-ed pages of the New York Times would very rarely laud George W. Bush, and the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal would very rarely criticize him, most topics were not infected by the same extent of partisan rancor. If I wanted to know what stance a magazine took on the latest geopolitical development, how a critic felt about the latest movie, or even what thoughts might occur to them on the occasion of a celebrity’s death, I actually have to, you know, read what they wrote.

Today, by contrast, the vast majority of both writers and publications have become brands that are always on-message. This leaves depressingly little room over for the inherent complexity of the world. And so, instead of grappling with contradictory facts, too many of us prefer to preach to an ever-more righteous choir.

This is a great shame. For attempting to think through the complexity of the world is not just one of life’s great pleasures; it is also a prerequisite for affording our political adversaries the minimal amount of consideration without which we will, sooner or later, come to think of even the most well-meaning and mild-mannered of political adversaries as an evil enemy to be destroyed.


          November Was the Deadliest Month Since 2015 of the 17-Years-and-Counting War in Afghanistan      Cache   Translate Page      

A fourth service member has died from injuries sustained when a Taliban-claimed roadside bomb exploded near U.S. troops in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province on Nov. 27, the Department of Defense says. Army Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary of Export, Pennsylvania, passed away Sunday in Landstuhl, Germany. He was 24.

In addition to the three service members killed immediately in the Nov. 27 attack, two other U.S. troops died in Afghanistan earlier in the month—an Army Ranger who was shot to death in western Afghanistan on Nov. 24 and a National Guardsman who was killed in Kabul on Nov. 3. According to the iCasualties database, those five deaths in November proper make the month the deadliest for U.S. forces in the country since December 2015.

The first deaths related to the U.S. military’s Afghanistan engagement were recorded in October 2001, shortly after 9/11. As Slate’s Fred Kaplan noted in October 2018, that means that U.S. armed forces can now recruit 17-year-olds (who can enlist with parental consent) who weren’t yet born when the conflict began. In addition to our original Afghanistan enemies, the Taliban and al-Qaida, the U.S. is now fighting ISIS insurgents in the country as well. Wrote Kaplan: “We are no closer than we have ever been to accomplishing our objectives [in Afghanistan], in part because those objectives have been so sketchily, inconsistently, and unrealistically defined.”

Relatedly, here’s one memorable paragraph from a memorable piece in the New Yorker earlier this year about a CIA officer who worked in Afghanistan and Iraq, became disillusioned, quit his job, and joined the police force in his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, as a beat cop:

“We write these strategic white papers, saying things like ‘Get the local Sunni population on our side,’ ” Skinner said. “Cool. Got it. But, then, if I say, ‘Get the people who live at Thirty-eighth and Bulloch on our side,’ you realize, man, that’s fucking hard—and it’s just a city block. It sounds so stupid when you apply the rhetoric over here. Who’s the leader of the white community in Live Oak neighborhood? Or the poor community?” Skinner shook his head. “ ‘Leader of the Iraqi community.’ What the fuck does that mean?”

Well … anyway … onward to victory!


           SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE Prince William invited Tony Blair to Kensington Palace talk about Middle East       Cache   Translate Page      
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Prince Charles is said to have privately condemned Tony Blair’s role in the 2003 military invasion of Iraq.
          Israele, la guerra dei tunnel apre la campagna elettorale di "Bibi"      Cache   Translate Page      

La "guerra dei tunnel" è solo l'inizio di una resa dei conti fra Israele e Hezbollah pianificata da tempo e che spiega le ragioni per le quali Benjamin Netanyahu aveva voluto, nonostante le critiche piovutegli addosso dalla destra più radicale, negoziare una tregua a Gaza con Hamas. Operazione in codice "Scudo del Nord": è quella che Tsahal, l'esercito dello Stato ebraico, ha avviato a partire dalla scorsa notte per distruggere tunnel di attacco degli Hezbollah che dal Libano si addentrano oltre il confine in territorio israeliano. Ad annunciarlo è stato il portavoce militare di Gerusalemme, tenente colonnello Jonathan Conricus "La costruzione di questi tunnel di attacco che Israele ha scoperto, prima che diventassero operativi e fossero una imminente minaccia per la sicurezza di civili israeliani - ha spiegato il portavoce militare aggiungendo che l'operazione è in corso da questa notte - costituisce una evidente e grave violazione della sovranità israeliana ed è un ulteriore prova del mancato rispetto da parte dell'organizzazione terroristica Hezbollah delle Risoluzione Onu, prima fra tutte la 1701".

Le attività degli Hezbollah, ha aggiunto il portavoce, sono condotte "dai villaggi del sud Libano mettendo in pericolo sia il Paese stesso sia i suoi civili per mettere in piedi queste strutture del terrore". Da quel poco che filtra si sa che il centro dell'operazione è la città di Metulla (al confine tra i due Paesi) e che alcune aree vicine al confine sono state chiuse. Secondo una fonte militare, inoltre,l'operazione potrebbe richiedere settimane prima di essere completata. Un video dell'esercito pubblicato oggi mostra alcuni militari israeliani impegnati in alcune località non meglio precisate e sostiene che si tratta di "preparazioni tattiche per mostrare il progetto dei tunnel di Hezbollah". Tunnel che per ora, fa sapere l'esercito, non sono ancora operativi ma che comunque pongono "una minaccia immediata" ai civili israeliani oltre a costituire una "violazione grave e palese della sovranità israeliana".Perciò, afferma, Israele ha "aumentato la sua presenza e la sua prontezza" nell'area ricordando al nemico sciita che è "pronto a qualunque scenario. La tensione è altissima. L'esercito libanese è stato posto, da questa mattina, in stato di "massima allerta", anche se le operazioni israeliane sono al momento limitate al lato israeliano del confine.

Quattro giorni fa il leader di Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah aveva minacciato di portare la guerra "in Galilea", cioè nel Nord di Israele, dopo un attacco missilistico alla base della milizia sciita in Siria, nella cittadina di Kiswah, a 20 chilometri da Damasco. Era il primo attacco di questo tipo da settembre. Netanyahu è convinto che Israele non possa condurre una guerra su due fronti – Sud-Hamas, Nord-Hezbollah - e ha deciso di concentrarsi in una offensiva diplomatica e militare contro Hezbollah e l'Iran. Ieri è volato a Bruxelles per incontrare il segretario di Stato americano Mike Pompeo e controparti europee. Ha avvertito del rischio di una guerra in Libano se "non saranno trovate soluzioni". All'escalation militare si aggiunge quella delle dichiarazioni. Stiamo prendendo azioni determinate e responsabili simultaneamente in tutti i settori e continueremo con altre operazioni, aperte e coperte, in modo da assicurare la sicurezza di Israele", dichiara Netanyahu, "Chiunque attacchi Israele - ha aggiunto - pagherà un prezzo pesante". Il premier israeliano ha detto di aver informato il segretario di Stato Usa sull'operazione in corso. E da Washington è arrivato il pieno sostegno all'alleato israeliano. "Gli Stati Uniti sostengono con forza l'iniziativa d'Israele per difendere la sua sovranità e chiediamo ad Hezbollah di porre fine alla costruzione di tunnel verso Israele e a qualsiasi azione che inneschi una spirale di violenza", dichiara John Bolton, consigliere per la Sicurezza nazionale di Donald Trump. Secondo un recente rapporto dell'intelligence militare di Gerusalemme, attualmente Hezbollah disporrebbe di oltre 100mila missili, rispetto ai circa 12mila che aveva prima della guerra dell'estate 2006.

Ma c'è dell'altro. E a metterlo in luce con HuffPost è Anthony Samrani, uno dei più autorevoli analisti militari libanesi: "Oltre ad un incremento significativo, in quantità e in qualità, del suo arsenale militare, i miliziani sciiti hanno acquisito nuove tecniche di guerriglia urbano combattendo in Siria, a fianco dei pasdaran iraniani, dei russi e dell'esercito di Assad. In cinque anni, Hezbollah è divenuto un attore regionale capace di dispiegare rapidamente le proprie forze dal Libano all'Iraq e ora anche in Yemen". Secondo il sito French Intelligence, gli Hezbollah starebbero costruendo almeno due installazioni in Libano, dove produrre missili ed armamenti. Sebbene questa notizia circolasse da tempo sui siti arabi, il magazine francese ha fornito maggiori dettagli su queste due strutture, indicandone la posizione e la tipologia di armamenti prodotti. Una prima struttura si troverebbe nei pressi di Hermel, nella Beqaa, mentre la seconda sarebbe posizionata tra Sidone e Tiro. Nella prima installazione verrebbero prodotti razzi Fateh 110 capaci di colpire quasi tutto il territorio israeliano, con una gittata di 300 km e un discreto livello di precisione. Nel complesso situato sulla costa mediterranea invece verrebbero fabbricate munizioni di piccolo calibro. La valenza di "Scudo del Nord" va oltre gli obiettivi ufficialmente dichiarati da Israele. Perché dietro la "guerra dei tunnel" vi è una strategia politico-militare da parte israeliana che ha nel mirino non solo Hezbollah quanto il "Grande Nemico di Gerusalemme": l'Iran. Sul piano militare, dicono ad HuffPost fonti della difesa israeliane a Tel Aviv, l'operazione in corso sposta, o comunque estende, il fronte anti-Iran dalla Siria al Libano.

Fino a ieri, le operazioni militari condotte dall'Idf (le Forze di difesa israeliane) contro Hezbollah avevano come teatro d'azione quello siriano. Con "Scudo del Nord" le cose cambiano: Israele ha posto delle "linee rosse" che coinvolgono anche il governo e l'esercito libanesi. "Scudo del Nord" è parte di una strategia che Israele condivide con l'Arabia Saudita e l'amministrazione Usa: contenere l'espansionismo sciita-iraniano che si dispiega sulla direttrice Baghdad-Damasco-Beirut. La prova di forza voluta da Netanyahu ha anche spiegazioni di politica interna. Per la tregua a Gaza, "Bibi" era stato accusato di "cedimento ai terroristi" dal super falco e alleato di governo, Avigdor Lieberman, che in polemica con la "mollezza" del premier si era dimesso da ministro della Difesa, incarico che Netanyahu ha avocato a sé, nonostante le dichiarate ambizioni del leader di "Focolare ebraico", e attuale ministro dell'Educazione, Naftali Bennet. "Mr Sicurezza", al secolo Benjamin Netanyahu sa di essere di fatto in campagna elettorale e intende giocarsi le sue carte esercitando il pugno di ferro a Nord. Una scelta rischiosa, ma calcolata. Una scelta che può investire direttamente l'Italia. La ragione è nella presenza di caschi blu italiani nella missione Unifil 2, dislocata proprio al confine tra il Libano e Israele.

L'Unifil ha annunciato oggi di avere aumentato i suoi pattugliamenti alla frontiera con Israele in coordinamento con l'esercito libanese. Non è ancora allarme rosso, ma le affermazioni del portavoce militare israeliano destano preoccupazione anche al quartier generale dell'Unifil, in particolare la sottolineatura, da parte israeliana, che le attività degli Hezbollah, sono condotte "dai villaggi del sud Libano mettendo in pericolo sia il Paese stesso sia i suoi civili per mettere in piedi queste strutture del terrore". D'altro canto, quella di Unifil, è una missione contestata da tempo e a più riprese da Israele e dall'amministrazione Trump. Uno degli attacchi più duri era stato sferrato dall''allora ambasciatrice all'Onu, Nikki Haley, che aveva accusato la missione di lasciar transitare le armi che Hezbollah invia al regime siriano. La forza di pace di 10.500 uomini, di cui 1.125 italiani, "non sta svolgendo il suo lavoro in modo efficace", aveva sostenuto Haley. Washington ha chiesto che i caschi blu, oltre a monitorare il rispetto del cessate il fuoco lungo il confine con Israele, contrastino il traffico di armi che dall'Iran, attraverso la Siria, giungono alle milizie sciite di Hezbollah, come denunciato più volte dal governo israeliano. Un'idea già bocciata dalla Francia per la quale si rischierebbe di mettere a rischio l'esistenza stessa della forza Onu e la sua legittimazione, nonché la sicurezza dei caschi blu schierati nel cuore del territorio controllato da Hezbollah nel sud del Paese dei Cedri, che non dispongono di mezzi e armamenti adatti al combattimento ma solo a perlustrare il territorio e la Linea blu che segna il confine con Israele. Se i venti di guerra tornassero a spirare in Libano, e "Scudo del Nord" ne è una concreta avvisaglia, a rischiare sarebbero anche i nostri 1.125 caschi blu.


          Il Qatar esce dall'Opec: lo strappo di Doha è l'ultima sfida a Riad      Cache   Translate Page      

Lo strappo di Doha è di quelli destinati a lasciare il segno su più versanti: su quello della partita petrolifera, ma anche sul piano più strettamente geopolitico e nello scontro intersunnita. Dal primo gennaio 2019 il Qatar uscirà dall'Opec. La decisione di ritirarsi dall'organizzazione dei Paesi esportatori di petrolio è stata annunciata dal ministro dell'Energia Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi: "Il Qatar ha deciso di ritirare la sua membership dall'Opec a partire dal gennaio 2019", dichiara al-Kaabi in conferenza stampa a Doha, aggiungendo che all'Opec è già stata comunicata la decisione. Intanto in avvio di giornata si registra un rimbalzo sostenuto per i prezzi del greggio. Sui mercati asiatici i future sul Light crude Wti (West Texas Intermediate) crescono a 53,5 dollari, quelli sul Brent a 62,16 dollari. A trainare il rimbalzo, dopo i recenti crolli, la notizia che Russia e Arabia Saudita sono d'accordo nell'estendere fino al 2019 il loro accordo per gestire il mercato petrolifero.

Ufficialmente il Qatar ha spiegato di volersi concentrare sul gas naturale liquefatto, di cui è il maggior fornitore con quasi il 30% della produzione mondiale. Ma le motivazioni "tecniche" lasciano il tempo che trovano, perché ben altre, e più corpose, sono le motivazioni che hanno spinto il Qatar a questa decisione. A rimarcarlo è l'autorevole Financial Times, secondo cui la decisione segue un peggioramento dei rapporti di Doha con i suoi vicini.

La "Guerra delle petromonarchie" ha una data di inizio, 5 giugno 2017: Arabia Saudita, Emirati Arabi Uniti, Bahrein ed Egitto annunciano la rottura delle relazioni diplomatiche con Doha, ritirando i propri ambasciatori e imponendo l'espulsione dei cittadini del Qatar. E questo dopo che il Qatar aveva respinto la lista di 13 condizioni imposta dal "fronte dei Quattro" per l'abolizione delle sanzioni contro Doha definendola "irrealistica". Tra le richieste avanzate dal fronte guidato da Riad figuravano quella di chiudere la tv Al Jazeera, interrompere i rapporti con l'Iran e con la Fratellanza musulmana, rinunciare ad una base militare turca. Una lista che andava ben oltre le accuse iniziali di sostenere il terrorismo e che impone di fatto all'emirato una limitazione della sua sovranità. La mossa ha visto anche la chiusura dello spazio aereo, che per i Paesi del Golfo ha implicato l'interdizione delle acque territoriali. Riad ha inoltre chiuso il proprio confine terrestre con il Qatar impedendo di fatto qualsiasi transito di merci. Alle misure hanno aderito tra gli altri anche Eritrea, Mauritania, Maldive, Senegal, il governo yemenita del presidente Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi e l'esecutivo libico non riconosciuto di Al Baida. Giordania, Gibuti, Ciad, Niger hanno declassato invece le proprie rappresentanze diplomatiche. E lo scontro si veste anche di guerra di religione con l'Arabia Saudita che vieta ai qatarini di entrare nella più sacra delle moschee, quella della Kaaba alla Mecca. L'accusa mossa al Qatar, in sintonia con la dottrina-Trump, è di supportare al-Qaeda, i Fratelli musulmani e, più recentemente, anche gruppi filo-iraniani. Questa strumentalizzazione del termine non è certamente nuova. È sufficiente ricordare l'esempio eclatante di quando Saddam Hussein fu accusato di finanziare il terrorismo internazionale per giustificare e legittimare l'intervento in Iraq.

Al fianco del Qatar si schiera il "Sultano di Ankara": nella notte dell'8 giugno, il presidente Recep Tayyp Erdogan ha controfirmato la legge che gli permette di inviare soldati turchi e addestratori nell'emirato, un primo contingente di 5 mila uomini che potrebbe salire a 15 mila. Il sostegno di Ankara a Doha si spiega soprattutto esaminando il versante economico: secondo le cifre pubblicate dai media gli investimenti qatarini in Turchia ammontano a 1,5 miliardi di dollari. Compagnie turche hanno ottenuto contratti per più di 13 miliardi di dollari per i progetti in vista della Coppa del Mondo di calcio prevista nel 2022. La Turchia, inoltre, ha già aperto una base militare in Qatar e presto verrà stabilito anche un comando divisionale congiunto a Doha. Tra le 13 richieste-ultimatum c'è anche la chiusura della base turca. Anche questa richiesta suona come inaccettabile. Non solo per Doha ma soprattutto per Ankara. Aperta l'anno scorso dopo l'accordo del 2014 fra l'emiro Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani e il presidente turco Erdogan, la base militare turca dista 30 chilometri da Doha. Prima della crisi accoglieva 300 soldati i turchi. Ma il ponte aereo in corso dovrebbe portare in tempi molto brevi il loro numero fino a 5mila militari, con l'appoggio anche di aerei e navi da guerra. Soprattutto, ai Sauditi non sono mai piaciute le "relazioni normali" che il Qatar tradizionalmente intrattiene con l'Iran: relazioni basate su solidi interessi economici comuni, a cominciare dallo sfruttamento congiunto del giacimento gasifero di South Pars/North Dome, il più grande del mondo". Il Golfo – rimarca Eleonora Ardemagni, in un documentato report per l'ISPI - complice la rivalità storica tra sauditi e iraniani e quella intra-sunnita tra Arabia Saudita e Qatar, è stato ed è il primo artefice, il demiurgo -seppure per vie indirette- dell'attuale disordine mediorientale: attraverso i suoi proxies, esso ha partecipato allo scardinamento dell'ordine regionale. Un processo aggravato dalle linee rosse disattese (Stati Uniti in Siria) oppure dagli ambigui interventi militari (Russia in Siria) delle potenze internazionali. Perché molto di ciò che accade oggi in Siria, Iraq, Yemen, Libia, Egitto, dipende primariamente dalle scelte politiche di Arabia Saudita, Iran, Qatar ed Emirati Arabi Uniti....". Geopolitica, affari, e non solo. Quel che è già evidente, - riflette Rami Khouri, tra i più autorevoli giornalisti libanesi - è la determinazione di alcuni Paesi arabi, guidati dall'Arabia Saudita, a ricorrere alla guerra economica e militare, a tattiche di deprivazione alimentare e ad altri mezzi pur di mantenere il mondo arabo nella sua fatiscente condizione attuale. È questa la reale minaccia che pende sui cittadini e le società del mondo arabo. Anche se lo spazio politico per esprimere simili opinioni, nella regione e altrove, si fa sempre più esiguo". E quello spazio rischia di chiudersi completamente se alle macerie siriane si aggiungessero quelle provocate da una nuova Guerra del Golfo.

Di certo, il Qatar vede ormai il suo futuro al di fuori dell'Opec, dominato dall'Arabia Saudita, il maggior produttore dell'organizzazione con oltre 11 milioni di barili al giorno. Le "crisi passano", ma vi sono cicatrici che "durano nel tempo" come la controversia economica e diplomatica che, da oltre un anno, vede opposte Doha e Arabia Saudita È quanto aveva sottolineato l'emiro del Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani nell'annuale discorso alla nazione, lo scorso 6 novembre, rivolgendosi anche alle nazioni alleate di Riyadh nell'area e chiedendo loro di rispettare la sovranità del proprio Paese e "non interferire" negli affari interni. "La storia ci insegna – aveva sostenuto nel suo discorso al-Thani - che le crisi passano, ma una loro cattiva gestione si lascia alle spalle effetti che poi durano nel tempo". "È davvero deplorevole - ha proseguito l'emiro del Qatar - che il perpetrarsi della crisi mostri in tutta la sua portata il fallimento del Consiglio di cooperazione dei Paesi del Golfo (Gcc) nel raggiungere i propri obiettivi e nel soddisfare le aspirazioni del nostro popolo". Egli ha quindi voluto rassicurare i cittadini, sostenendo che la nazione non ha subito effetti negativi dal boicottaggio e continuerà a mantenere il primato mondiale nell'esportazione di idrocarburi. "Il blocco - ha detto - non ha provocato alcuna ripercussione sulla vendita del nostro petrolio e del gas naturale". Lo Stato, ha concluso l'emiro, "è entusiasta di adempiere a tutti i suoi obblighi derivanti dai contratti in essere" e ne ha firmati altri "a lungo termine, l'ultimo dei quali con Petro China", gigante cinese dell'energia.

Le mosse di Doha sono monitorate con particolare attenzione dall'Italia. E la ragione è molto prosaica, e si lega fortemente alla "diplomazia degli affari" che va oltre il pur fondamentale settore energetico. Al Qatar, infatti, piace tanto lo "shopping" italiano. Tra i colpi messi a segno c'è quello in Sardegna dove la Qatar Airways si è presa il 49% di Meridiana. Nel 2011 gli Al-Thani, la dinastia che regna il Paese, hanno acquisito l'Hotel Gallia a Milano, nel 2012 il fondo sovrano ha praticamente rilevato la Costa Smeralda. Nello stesso anno, attraverso la "Mayhoola for investment", i reali del Qatar hanno comprato la maison Valentino per 700 milioni di euro. E più di recente la stessa QIA, che ha comprato Porta Nuova, è entrata con un investimento di 165 milioni nel capitale di Inalca, la società del gruppo Cremonini, insieme al Fondo Strategico italiano. In Italia hanno comprato alcuni dei più prestigiosi alberghi di Firenze: acquisiti il Four Season, all'interno del Palazzo della Gherardesca, che fa tuttora parte della Compagnia italiana alberghi. A Milano, il Qatar Investment Authority si è concentrato sulle sedi delle banche come il palazzo di via Santa Margherita che ospita gli uffici di Credit Suisse. Oltre ad aver partecipato a un fondo costruito ad hoc per valorizzare un portafoglio di filiali di Deutsche Bank. Alberghi, maison di moda, compagne aeree, palazzi. E non solo. Lo shopping dello Sceicco Al-Thani. investe anche un settore alquanto delicato: quello degli armamenti. In poco più di un anno l'Italia ha venduto a Doha sette navi da guerra Fincantieri per 4 miliardi di euro, 28 elicotteri NH 90 (ex Agusta Westland) per 3 miliardi di euro, inoltre è stata siglata un'intesa da oltre 6 miliardi di euro per 24 caccia Typhoon del consorzio Eurofighter, di cui Leonardo-Finmeccanica ha una quota del 36%. E anche i nostri produttori agricoli hanno registrato un aumento dell'export, con un volume di esportazioni quadruplicato negli ultimi 10 anni e certificato dall'ultimo accordo siglato da Coldiretti con l'emirato per la distribuzione dei prodotti italiani.

"I rapporti tra Italia e Qatar – ha recentemente detto all'Adnkronos l'ambasciatore a Doha, Pasquale Salzano - sono veramente ottimi, nell'ultimo anno abbiamo aumentato di circa l'11% il nostro interscambio. Nell'emirato c'è una grande richiesta di Italia, presente in modo massiccio già con i grandi gruppi, come Salini Impregilo, Saipem, Eni, Fincantieri, Rizzani de Eccher, Leonardo, che riguarda le piccole e medie imprese, l'artigianato, i prodotti di lusso e dell'agroalimentare, senz'altro una novità per le dimensioni nelle quali ci viene richiesto".

Nella disputa tra Arabia Saudita e Qatar, Roma tifa per Doha. E per il suo shopping miliardario.


          On 41's Passing, Recalling "Bush's Bishop"      Cache   Translate Page      
Given the tide of mourning over Friday's death at 94 of George H.W. Bush, when it comes to this beat, one piece of the 41st President's legacy bears particular note, all the more as its impact extends into the present.

At its core, next year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of full relations between the Holy See and the US. Though the bilateral ties are easily taken for granted today, if anything – fraught as it was with anti-Catholic prejudice and conspiracy theories – the path to Washington's diplomatic recognition of the Pope took almost a century to accomplish, and were it not for Bush, odds are the wait would've stretched even longer.

In a way, that owed itself to a quirk of history... well, one among others.

In 1974, six years before the Texas bureaucrat's election as Ronald Reagan's Vice President, the Federal government finally got around to giving its #2 an official residence: a house on the grounds of the Naval Observatory, located along the Massachusetts Avenue heart of "Embassy Row." Yet as it happened, the move would be an unwitting boon for the Vatican – since 1939, the Holy See's base of operations in the States, then known as the Apostolic Delegation, was located right across the street.

At the time, the state of affairs meant that, in the absence of formal relations, the Apostolic Delegates – in place since 1893 – were the Pope's emissary solely to the US church, with no status before the government. (On the flip-side, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt proved unable to establish full relations due to lingering suspicion toward the church from Protestant senators, the late 1930s saw FDR institute a "personal representative" of the President to the Holy See, who served as an ambassador in all but name.) Yet by the time the Bushes arrived at the VP's house, their presence joined other sea-changes on the global front in giving the century-old impasse the momentum to shift.

Despite the absence of full diplomatic ties, the early 1980s already saw a tightening of American and Vatican interests. In 1978, the election of John Paul II brought to Peter's Chair a figure whose deep personal experience with the States was without precedent for a Pope, an attribute born from multiple extended visits, and just as much through a network of Polish-American contacts who quietly funneled sizable aid for their homeland's suffering church and its resistance to the Communist regime in large part through the cardinal-archbishop of Krakow.

In that light, per custom at the change of pontificates, the new Pope made the Washington posting a key early target of his geopolitical strategy, naming Archbishop Pio Laghi – whose prior assignments in the Holy Land and Argentina made him a heavyweight of the Vatican's foreign service – as his Delegate to the US within days of Reagan's election. And while the courtly Italian, whose patrician bearing masked his simple upbringing, would openly execute one revolution – stacking the American hierarchy with prelates who reflected a bolstered sense of Catholic identity – a second, stealth effort would fuse Pope and President in a multi-front campaign to dismantle the Iron Curtain, a push in which Reagan's deputy would play a linchpin role long before Bush's own administration presided over its formal demise.

Having moved into their respective sides of Mass Av at the same time in early 1981, in typical Bush form, the Vice President's bond with Laghi was forged on the tennis court. Both in their mid-50s, the new neighbors were longtime avid players – and as Maureen Dowd's appreciation of Bush in today's New York Times put it, just as "H.W. used sports as a way to do personal diplomacy," in the Pope's Delegate, the high-church Episcopalian had met his match. (With Bush as Vice President, the duo are seen above in an undated photo aboard Air Force Two – Laghi at far left – along with Barbara Bush and one of the archbishop's key US appointees, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.)

Given Bush's own strong-suit in foreign policy, burnished by stints as ambassador to China and the United Nations, the dynamic between the Vice President and Apostolic Delegate made for a symbiotic fit, so much so that Laghi would come to be seen as "a close family friend." And with the church's on-the-ground presence across the Communist bloc – not to mention Latin America, another "hothouse" of the time – providing key intelligence networks for the US to tap into, the synergy of personal ties and shared priorities arguably made for the halcyon period of the Rome-Washington axis, which finally secured the establishment of full bilateral relations in 1984, granting Laghi ambassadorial status as Pro-Nuncio. (At the time, the Holy See's practice was to reserve the title "Nuncio" solely to the Catholic countries where, by law, its representative was ex officio dean of the diplomatic corps; the distinction was abolished in the late 1990s.)

Having remained in the post through his friend's election to the Presidency and the fall of the Berlin Wall – while internally overseeing a sweeping recast of the Stateside bench in John Paul's image and likeness – Laghi was recalled to Rome in 1990 as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and made a cardinal months later.

Since his departure, no occupant of the Washington posting has approached his length of tenure in it.

Almost always seen as the most influential Vatican legate the US has known in its era as a hegemonic superpower, Laghi's decade in the capital still endures as a point of reference, and the man himself was discreetly sought out for high-level American efforts or advice in Rome practically until his own passing in 2009.

In the best-known of those moments, as the White House push for a second war in Iraq gathered steam in early 2003, the former Pro-Nuncio was tapped by John Paul as his personal emissary to President George W. Bush, tasked with returning to Washington to convey the Pope's intense opposition to the campaign.

While the choice of messenger indicated the most concerted engagement for peace that the Vatican could make, of course, the mission (carried out during 40-minute Oval Office talks with "43") proved futile. Upon departing the capital, the cardinal "realized that the Bush administration was very naïve about the consequences of war" – a sense that would only be revealed after his death.

Though all but a handful of Laghi's appointees are long gone from office, several of the young local aides from his US posting were subsequently named to the bench and remain atop the American hierarchy: a group led by the sitting cardinal-archbishops of New York and Chicago, two of the nation's three largest dioceses.

Of all the "Laghini," however, the DC aide invariably described as the most beloved was Msgr Bernie Yarrish, a son of Scranton whose own elevation was precluded by a two-decade battle with multiple sclerosis. At 67, Yarrish died of the disease in June, with Tim Dolan – who brought his onetime Nunciature-mate to Rome as his Vice-Rector at the North American College (Yarrish's final major assignment) – leading the sendoff at the fallen cleric's boyhood parish.

Laghi's fifth successor at 3339 Massachusetts, the current Nuncio to the US, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be the Holy See's representative at Wednesday's state funeral for Bush in Washington National Cathedral – sitting not with the delegations of ecumenical clergy, but the diplomatic corps.

In keeping with the procedures on the death of a former President, President Trump has declared Wednesday as a national day of mourning; among other entities, the Federal government will be closed in tribute, as will the financial markets, and mail delivery will be suspended.

On another protocol note, church institutions with flagpoles are advised that the US flag is to be flown at half-staff until sunset on New Year's Eve – 30 days from 41's passing. However, where applicable, the custom does not extend to the Vatican flag – as it represents a sovereign entity, the Holy See's banner is lowered solely upon the death of the Roman pontiff through the subsequent Novemdiales, the nine-day mourning period that precedes a Conclave.

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          UN appeals for record $4 billion to help the people of Yemen      Cache   Translate Page      

The UN appealed Tuesday for $4 billion to cover humanitarian needs in Yemen in 2019 – its largest country appeal ever – and announced its first appeal related to Venezuela, calling for $738 million to help those who have fled the country’s economic meltdown and health crisis.

 

The UN appeal to help some 2.2 million Venezuelans living in neighbouring South American countries was one of 31 humanitarian response plans released for 2019 by the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, in an overall $21.9 billion donor funding request.

 

The total price tag is swollen by Yemen, where the UN’s call to help 15 million people is the largest country appeal in the UN’s history. The equivalent appeal for aid within Syria was $3.64 billion in 2018, while costs for Syrian refugees across multiple countries was an additional $5.6 billion.

 

Intensifying conflict and displacement, hunger, irregular imports, and a macro-economic crunch have driven 24 million people – nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s population – into need, and half of those may require food assistance in the months ahead, according to the UN.

 

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said “the extreme edge could get taken off the suffering” in Yemen if peace talks and the military outlook improve, but the UN planning is looking at “what the situation will actually be, rather than wishful thinking”.

 

Vittorio Infante, humanitarian advocacy advisor for the NGO Islamic Relief, said that given the scale of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, especially in the province of Hodeidah where recent fighting has made conditions worse, the UN’s record ask was merited.

 

“$4 billion is a lot of money, but this pales in comparison to the dire need in Yemen, where [the majority] of the population are relying on humanitarian aid to survive,” Infante told IRIN.

 

“Our staff in Hodeidah are helping people with literally nothing left because they have sold all their belongings just to make sure that their families are fed. However, as long as this conflict continues, this amount will merely be a plaster on a fragile humanitarian situation.”

 

The Venezuelan appeal, meanwhile, is set to help Colombia and other host countries, but it does not cover needs inside Venezuela, where the government resists any labelling of events as a humanitarian crisis.

 

A UN-managed emergency fund released $9.2 million to UN agencies to step up humanitarian-related responses within Venezuela in November.

 

“People describe what’s going on in different ways,” Lowcock told IRIN, referring to Venezuela’s reluctance to term it a humanitarian crisis, adding that inside the country the UN is only “trying to scale up our support” and expand its “normal activity”.

 

Mixed picture

In Geneva to launch the package, dubbed the Global Humanitarian Overview, Lowcock said the UN and its NGO and governmental partners had drawn up plans to help 93.6 million people in 2019 – about one in 70 of the world population. The number of people in need and the value of total appeals would be about the same as in 2018, reaching a price tag of around $25 billion once Syria’s plan was completed, he said.

 

Syria’s response plan is as yet uncosted. Lowcock said finishing it was delayed until February while the UN attempts to gather fresh data on needs inside the country. The update will require Syrian government flexibility on in-country surveys and access to boost the credibility and data behind funding requests – a measure demanded by donors on which Lowcock has been seeking Damascus’ cooperation.

 

According to OCHA, a number of situations around the world have eased this year, including in Burundi, Iraq, and Somalia. Others have improved and no longer require emergency plans: Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal.

 

But some situations have worsened. in Cameroon, the number of people in need has jumped 77 percent thanks to a brewing civil war, while Afghanistan’s appeal, due in part to conflict and drought, is 41 percent higher.

 

A third category contains countries where the situation remains serious but relatively unchanged: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Sudan.

 

 

UN-coordinated humanitarian response plans are a compendium of projects from UN agencies and NGOs on the assistance they will provide, such as supplying food, running clinics, providing clean water, and setting up shelter.

 

Even though they are presented as meeting only the highest priority needs, the plans are, on average, only 56 percent funded in 2018. Some emergencies struggle to capture donor interest (Haiti got only 11.2 percent of the requested funding), while others, like Afghanistan and Iraq, which command greater international attention, tend to do better.

 

Separately on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced its 2019 emergency appeal, for 2.1 billion Swiss Francs, for which Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq are the largest country operations.

(TOP PHOTO: Displaced families from Hodeidah receive UNHCR assistance in Bajil district, Hodeidah province, Yemen. CREDIT: Haitham al-Akhali/UNHCR)

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Displacement from Hodeidah News Aid and Policy UN appeals for record $4 billion to help the people of Yemen Ben Parker IRIN Cameroon's conflict and Venezuela’s exodus also highlighted by 2019 fundraising drive Geneva Cameroon Venezuela United Nations HQ Yemen
          Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote      Cache   Translate Page      

A Security Council resolution that allows the UN to deliver aid across Syria’s borders into opposition-held areas without the permission of President Bashar al-Assad is up for renewal and, as with so many diplomatic manoeuvres in the seven-year war, all eyes are on Russia.

 

The UN relies on Resolution 2165, first passed in 2014, to use two crossings with Turkey to bring aid to millions of civilians in Syria’s rebel-held northwest, many of whom have fled their homes elsewhere in the country. A government offensive to retake the area, which includes Idlib province, is currently on hold after a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

 

The lion’s share of cross-border assistance is delivered by groups outside the UN system, but humanitarians say the UN provides a reputational and organisational backbone that bolsters the entire aid operation – one that risks being lost if Russia vetoes the resolution.

 

In an interview on Monday with IRIN’s Ben Parker, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said there is “no plan B” for delivering UN assistance without the backing of UN resolutions, as the Syrian government is “not willing” to allow aid to cross its front lines to reach rebel-held areas.

 

☰ Read more: The backstory of Resolution 2165

 

UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, which is the basis for all UN international humanitarian action, states “humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country”. The Geneva Conventions also say the consent of affected states is required but may not be arbitrarily withheld.

In the early years of Syria’s war, many NGOs said that aid was being arbitrarily withheld to border regions and argued that by bringing aid in across borders they were therefore safely within the bounds of the Geneva Conventions.

But that wasn’t good enough for the UN, which had an assertive member state – Syria – saying no to assistance; to work under 46/182 the body needed a Security Council resolution. They got it with 2165, which said that UN agencies no longer had to request permission from al-Assad, they only had to notify Damascus before crossing the border through one of four entry points:

  • Bab al-Hawa, from Turkey into Idlib in northwestern Syria
  • Bab al-Salameh, also from Turkey into northwestern Syria
  • Ramtha, from Jordan into southern Syria
  • Yaroubiyeh, from Iraq into northeastern Syria

In 2018, the Ramtha crossing with Jordan was retaken by the Syrian army. Yaroubiyeh has been used sparingly, partly because of insecurity in Iraq.

As a result, 2165 now mostly matters for northwestern Syria – an area which, according to statistics compiled by the Mercy Corps Humanitarian Access Team and made available to IRIN, holds some 3.3 million Syrians, three quarters of whom live in the wider Idlib area. (However, population statistics in Syria are highly unreliable.)

Although 2165 does not require permission from Damascus, a demanding apparatus of border inspections came with the resolution, staffed by the UN and funded by donors.

New UN hubs sprang up in the Turkish city of Gaziantep and in Amman, from where UN agencies began to organise a regular supply chain for civilians in border areas outside al-Assad’s control.

 

With 2165 set to expire 10 January, Kuwait and Sweden are readying a one-year renewal. The two Security Council members will circulate a draft “soon”, Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN said on Friday.

 

“The resolution allows the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid through the most direct routes to people in need in Syria,” Per Örnéus, Sweden’s special envoy for the Syria crisis, told IRIN. “The mandate is strictly humanitarian, offering a lifeline for millions of people,” he added. “It must be extended.”

 

The resolution has been renewed annually since 2014, but last year’s vote caused friction – and nail-biting for humanitarians working on Syrian aid operations – when Russia singled it out for harsh criticism, saying it threatened Syria’s sovereignty.

 

While al-Assad’s top ally on the Security Council opted not to veto last year, Moscow is sending out mixed signals as the January deadline approaches. Renewal looks more likely than not, but it is far from a sure thing.

 

Major impact

Resolution 2165 was first mooted at a time in the war when Damascus regularly denied UN requests to bring help across its borders to areas dominated by the opposition. It allows the UN to bring shipments in at specific points, as long as it notifies the Syrian government.

 

Humanitarians insist 2165 is crucial, and stress that its importance should not be measured just in terms of the actual quantities of aid delivered.

In 2017, UN agencies like WFP or UNHCR provided only around 20 percent of the cross-border aid deliveries to Syria. NGOs outside of the UN system brought in the rest, often delivering it through local Syrian organisations and importing their aid mostly through commercial channels (the official Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh crossings with Turkey) or a separate network of crossings monitored by the Turkish Red Crescent.

Map of Syria border crossings with Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon

 

Most goods – like food and fuel – enter northwestern Syria on a for-profit basis, imported by Turkish or Syrian businessmen.

Aid agencies say more than three million people live in northwestern areas not controlled by the Syrian government, though population estimates in Syria are notoriously unreliable and have in the past often suffered from overcounting.

Without 2165, private traders and NGOs could still bring goods in, as long as Ankara approved. But UN involvement would likely end immediately if Damascus objected, and, while NGOs might be able to fill the tonnage gap created by a UN pull-out, losing 2165 would be a big blow to the humanitarian relief effort.

A source with significant experience of the Syrian aid operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 2165 brought a “significant increase in the overall response” by helping “what was a fragmented humanitarian community come closer together, coordinate, build institutions, and deliver a more joined-up and effective response as of 2015.”

Mathieu Rouquette of the Syria International NGO Regional Forum, a network of 70 aid groups working in Syria, said the resolution “still underpins access to millions of people in areas that we are not able to reach from Damascus.”

There would be other impacts too.

Aid operations would likely suffer if the UN stopped planning and coordinating deliveries in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep, as many NGOs rely on the UN hub for logistical support.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response,” explained Rouquette. “So an end to that would necessarily mean a return to a fragmented humanitarian response.”

Moving to Damascus

Aid workers said the loss of a UN role in the cross-border response would also accelerate the shift of international NGOs from opposition-held areas towards parts of Syria controlled by al-Assad’s government, while enhancing Ankara’s influence over cross-border operations.

The Syrian government has told most NGOs that in order to register in Damascus they must end their “illegal” cross-border work under 2165.

Many international NGOs were originally drawn into cross-border work early in the war by US and EU funding streams geared to shore up opposition regions, while others branched out from working with Syrian refugees. They also filled in the gaps before 2165 when the UN could only assist Syrians in state-controlled areas, except for very rare “cross-line” exceptions, like convoys from Damascus to besieged areas.

Some chafe under the rules laid down by Turkey: Ankara has told international NGOs they can either provide cross-border assistance from Turkey to Syrians in the rebel-held northwest, or work in in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by US-backed Kurdish groups hostile to the Turkish government. They can’t do both.

In 2017, Turkish authorities ordered Mercy Corps to leave the country, apparently as punishment for its work in the Kurdish-held regions.

With al-Assad now back in charge of most of Syria, and the sole remaining cross-border hub in Gaziantep catering to an area of northern Syria that is largely under Turkish tutelage, many NGOs have come to view Damascus as the best option.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response.”

Several NGOs have voiced concerns about what being stripped of the UN cover would mean for the overall optics of cross-border work in a place like Idlib province, which is currently controlled by rebel groups – some of whom are designated terrorists by the United States and other countries.

Bab al-Hawa has been controlled by the UN-designated al-Qaeda spinoff Tahrir al-Sham since 2017 and has been at the centre of diversion scandals that triggered Western aid cutoffs and NGOs suspensions. USAID is now rolling out a stricter inspection regime, further tilting the risk analysis for NGOs pondering where to focus their operations.

On Monday, the Charity Commission – the UK government department that regulates and registers NGOs in England and Wales – issued an alert, warning “there is a risk that a terrorist organisation may financially benefit from any aid passing through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.”

Tripping over counter-terrorism sanctions can cause very serious problems for NGOs: legal issues, economic losses, reputational damage, and donor flight. In the face of these risks, UN involvement offers them and their donors a sense of reassurance and legitimacy.

Should the cross-border operation be stripped of its UN participation, it would likely prod more Western NGOs to withdraw from Syria altogether or rebase in Damascus on terms set by al-Assad. And, as a result, the northwestern cross-border response would come to rely even more on the Turkish Red Crescent and other Ankara-friendly groups.

 

Russian roulette

With a resolution expected on the table in the coming weeks, a Swedish diplomatic source told IRIN that Turkey and Russia are now the “key actors” in the battle over 2165. Ankara may influence Moscow’s views, but it is Russia’s vote in the Security Council that will be decisive.

☰ Read more: Moscow’s mood swings

 

Moscow joined Western states in voting for resolution 2165 and extensions of it in 2014, 2015, and 2016. But last year’s vote was different.

In November 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia slammed 2165 as “unprecedented and extreme” and said it “usurps Syria’s sovereignty”. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the resolution of contributing to “the division of Syria”.

US-Russian conflict in the Security Council was then at a high pitch after Nebenzia cast three successive vetoes to shut down a UN investigation that found the Syrian military had gassed civilians, and many humanitarians feared that 2165’s time was up.

However, Moscow relented and said it would abstain from voting in return for a review of cross-border aid and monitoring procedures by the secretary-general, allowing 2165 to be renewed on 19 December 2017 with 12 votes in favour and none against. (China and Bolivia also abstained.)

While aid workers were relieved, many assumed that the resolution was unlikely to be renewed again in recognisable shape.

But something happened soon after that: Instead of ramping up attacks on 2165 as the vote approached, Moscow fell silent.

IRIN has learned that a Russian diplomat unexpectedly told NGO representatives in Geneva last month that cross-border aid “should remain and should remain as it is”.

Four humanitarian and two diplomatic sources confirmed that Russia voiced support for continued cross-border aid.

Most attributed Russia’s apparent 180 degree turn to the 17 September Turkish-Russian agreement over Idlib, which seems to reflect an unspoken understanding that northwestern Syria will effectively remain in Turkish hands for the foreseeable future.

“The only explanation I can think of is that there was some sort of deal struck between Turkey and Russia as part of the broader negotiations over Idlib in which Turkey sought non-opposition on this to avoid having to let in another wave of refugees”, a humanitarian source told IRIN.

Russia could also have decided that it is not currently in its interest to hand back control over cross-border aid to al-Assad, when it currently has that control itself through the Security Council. Even then, Moscow may of course seek to dilute or amend Resolution 2165.

 

After abstaining from voting on a renewal in 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia as recently as June called the UN secretary-general’s positive review of the resolution  “disappointing” and said “it is essential to work to end the mechanism”, warning that the UN needed to “prepare for the closure of cross-border operations”.

More recently, Moscow has signalled it will not look to block renewal. But some supporters of 2165 worry that Russia may be trying to lull rivals into a false sense of security, while others fear that poorly handled debates or unrelated quarrels could still encourage a veto.

“To be honest, I’m not convinced the renewal will be so easy,” one humanitarian source said, accusing parts of the aid community of showing a “baffling” faith in renewal and of failing to prepare for other outcomes.

On 29 November, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council that terrorist-listed groups are exploiting cross-border support and insisted that the “significant changes” on the ground in Syria in 2018 require “commensurate adjustment of the cross-border mechanism”.

Polyansky did not elaborate, but even if Moscow has decided to let 2165 live until further notice, there are a number of limited amendments that may be in the Russian interest.

Russia could, for example, condition renewal on new language that reinforces al-Assad’s legitimacy or supports reconstruction aid for Syria, which would infuriate Western nations. And while Turkey would presumably oppose the UN’s loss of access through Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh, stripping away UN access to US-backed Kurdish areas through the third crossing at Yaaroubiyeh might be another matter.

If Moscow wants to have 2165 on the table more often, as a source of leverage, it could also seek to cut the time between renewals.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian UN mission, and representatives of the Syrian government all failed to responded to IRIN’s requests for comment.

(TOP PHOTO: Internally displaced Syrians in northern Aleppo province's Tel Rifaat collect aid supplies. CREDIT: Antwan Chnkdji/UNHCR)

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Russia could veto renewal of the resolution that gives UN access to rebel areas Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote rf2199779_10152018_talrefaat_dis_sarc_achnkdji_037.jpg Aron Lund Analysis Aid and Policy Conflict STOCKHOLM IRIN Middle East and North Africa Syria
          An Iraqi-American’s memory of George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq      Cache   Translate Page      

WASHINGTON: President George H.W. Bush passed away at the age of 94 last week.  The…

The post An Iraqi-American’s memory of George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq appeared first on Communities Digital News.


          ASIA/TURCHIA - Missione in Turchia, tra i rifugiati iracheni, alla scoperta del Vangelo      Cache   Translate Page      
Roma - "Quando la Chiesa si spende per gli altri fiorisce, quando si chiude si secca. Solo quando la Chiesa esce fuori vive, come ci insegnano le parole del Papa". Fratel Jihad Youssef, monaco di Deir Mar Musa - la comunità monastica fondata in Siria dal Gesuita p. Paolo Dall’Oglio rapito nel 2013 a Raqqa - riassume così in un colloquio con l'Agenzia Fides il periodo trascorso tra centinaia di famiglie irachene cristiane rifugiate in Turchia. "La mia avventura è stata una formazione più che una missione – spiega - ho ricevuto cento volte di più di quanto nella mia miseria ho dato". Fratel Jihad ha trascorso due periodi nel 2016 e nel 2017 tra i profughi iracheni offrendo loro assistenza spirituale e pastorale. "La Chiesa irachena - ricorda - ha vissuto una emorragia ed è in un perenne stato di paura. Molti fedeli sono fuggiti, il loro obiettivo è raggiungere l’Europa o il Nord America. Spesso però si trovano bloccati in Turchia, in attesa di un visto nella speranza di rifarsi una vita in un nuovo Paese". A fuggire, con i cristiani, vi sono anche migliaia di musulmani sunniti che si sentono vessati dalla maggioranza sciita. Attualmente sono 145mila gli iracheni che vivono in Turchia.
Riguardo alla esperienza in Turchia, fratel Youssef aggiunge: "Per me è stato un viaggio alla scoperta del Vangelo. Mi sentivo straniero per la lingua e il contesto sociale diverso. In Siria siamo accettati come cristiani, mentre in Cappadocia i battezzati soffrono per l’ignoranza e a volte il disprezzo. La gente è povera ma non si vergogna di donare quello che ha".
Fratel Jihad è stato ricevuto in famiglie cattoliche e ortodosse e a tutte ha offerto, prima ancora dell’assistenza spirituale, la sua amicizia: "Le famiglie mi accoglievano con grande calore. Non chiedevo loro se erano cattoliche o ortodosse. Pregavo con loro. Questo mi ha permesso di sperimentare, fra le altre cose, l’unità della Chiesa, come mai in altre occasioni", dice.
Fratel Jihad racconta tutta la sua esperienza in Iraq in un libro recentemente pubblicato in Italia per l'edizione Ancora, dal titolo "Abbiamo fame e nostalgia di Eucaristia. Diario di viaggio tra i profughi cristiani dell'Iraq" .
          12/5/2018: WORLD: Stranded for 20 years      Cache   Translate Page      
BRITAIN has granted permanent residency to a group of refugees who have been stranded for 20 years on a UK military base in Cyprus. The 31 members of six families were among a larger group from Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria whose boat was abandoned...
          WW2 Parachute Camouflage Flannel      Cache   Translate Page      
Part of JCRT’s Camouflage Collection, this 100% cotton button-down is inspired by the WW2-era pattern that graced the lining of sky-bound parachutes. The shirt, and the entire collection, is meant to honor veterans. A percentage of the proceeds go to the IAVA—the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an establishment that works to empower, support and connect veterans.
          5250KiraQueenKiraQueensWorldCupOfFucking      Cache   Translate Page      
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          IOC: 5-year Tender on Scrubber-fitted Tankers      Cache   Translate Page      
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) issued a global tender to charter scrubber-fitted oil tankers for at least five years to import Iraqi oil, a tender document seen by Reuters showed.The tender says Indian shippers will be given first right of refusal for…
          Iraqi And U.S. Militaries Step Up Operations In Iraq Against ISIS      Cache   Translate Page      
In Iraq, ISIS was forced from cities and towns over a year ago and largely defeated. But U.S. and Iraqi forces are still trying to track down the remnants of the group in remote areas.
          How Barzanis Are Looking to Consolidate Power in Iraqi Kurdistan      Cache   Translate Page      
Al Monitor
Iraqi Kurdistan's dominant clan announced today that it was nominating Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani to succeed his uncle Massoud Barzani as president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. A spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) added that Massoud Barzani's son, Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, had been nominated to take over as...
          The role of pain catastrophizing in cognitive functioning among veterans with a history of mild traumatic brain injury - Hoffman SN, Herbert MS, Crocker LD, DeFord NE, Keller AV, Jurick SM, Sanderson-Cimino M, Jak AJ.      Cache   Translate Page      
OBJECTIVE: To determine the role of pain catastrophizing (PC) in neuropsychological functioning in veterans with a history of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-nine Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans evaluated in the post-acute phas... (Source: SafetyLit)
          Pioneering pattern recognition      Cache   Translate Page      

Dec. 4, 2018 

University Distinguished Professor Anil Jain named Fellow by The World Academy of Sciences 

Anil Jain of Michigan State University has been named a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for a lifetime of perspectives and publications that have inspired students and researchers worldwide. He was one of 46 new fellows elected at the 28th TWAS general meeting in Trieste, Italy, Nov. 27-29.University Distinguished Professor Anil Jain has been named a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for inspiring students and researchers worldwide. 

A University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Jain is being honored for his pioneering contributions to pattern recognition resulting in novel solutions for a rapidly evolving biometrics industry. 

TWAS was founded 35 years ago to increase representation by women and researchers from the world's science- and technology-lagging countries. Jain said it is not typical to have a person from a developed nation be elected a fellow by the worldwide organization. 

Jain was nominated for the honor by Tieniu Tan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), where he is a professor of computer vision and pattern recognition, CAS deputy secretary-general and director general of the CAS Bureau of International Cooperation. 

Tan called Jain an internationally renowned scholar and educator. “For the past 40 years, he has actively promoted the research topics of pattern recognition, computer vision and biometrics in developing nations through lectures, exchange programs, technical assistance and student and postdoc training. 

“Very few people get elected every year from North America,” he added. “He most certainly deserves the recognition.” 

Co-nominator Sankar Pal, distinguished scientist and former director of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, India, said Jain’s high quality pioneering research has had an enormous impact on statistical pattern recognition and computer vision. 

“It is evident from a Google scholar h-index of 179, with total citation 185,000,” Pal said. “His IEEE-PAMI publications have made him a role model scientist to many of us and to young researchers in machine learning. All these extra-ordinary achievements made his election to TWAS Foreign Fellowship successful. I am happy to be a part of this endeavor.”

Jain is known around the world for his expertise in biometric recognition, computer vision, and fingerprint-matching technology.

“It has been my honor to work on projects in countries including India, China, and Indonesia," Jain said. “I advised the world’s largest biometrics project, Aadhaar, in India that has enrolled more than 1 billion residents utilizing fingerprints and iris images for de-duplication in India’s social welfare system.” 

Jain also worked on a prototype fingerprint system to recognize infants and toddlers for vaccination tracking in Benin and India. The World Food Program is utilizing the prototype child ID system in field trials in Somalia in an effort to eliminate fraud in food distribution to children.

Anil Jain advised the world's largest biometrics project, Aadhaar, in India that has enrolled more than 1 billion residents utilizing fingerprints and iris images for India's medical system.

He holds one of 17 inaugural appointments to the U.S. Forensic Science Standards Board, a newly developed organization dedicated to identifying and fostering standards and guidelines for the nation’s forensic science community. 

Jain has previously served as a member of the Defense Science Board and the National Academies panels on Whither Biometrics and Improvised Explosive Devices. 

His list of honors is extensive. In 2016, he was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering (among engineering’s highest honors) and as a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. In 2015, he was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Jain is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Association of Computing Machinery (ACM); American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); International Society for Optics and Photonics Society (SPIE); and International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR).

He is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Humboldt Research Award, Fulbright Scholarship, King-Sun Fu Prize, and W. Wallace McDowell Award. 

Jain is regularly invited to speak at national and internal forums, including the Third Annual ID4AFRICA Conference in Namibia in 2017; the 103rd Indian Science Congress, Information & Communication Science and Technology in India in 2016; the Royal Society meeting on United Kingdom forensics in London, 2015, and the keynote address at the Microsoft Computing in the 21st Century Conference in Beijing, 2014.

TWAS
TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy. It was founded in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the developing world who shared a belief that building strength in science and engineering could build the knowledge and skill to address the challenges of hunger, disease and poverty. 

The newest 46 fellows increase the academy's total to 1,267 Fellows from 104 countries – the most countries represented since TWAS’s creation. The academy elected its first fellows ever from Bolivia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Libya, Nicaragua, and Zambia. In addition, members were elected from Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Thirteen of the new fellows are women, who now account for 13 percent of the total membership.


          George H.W. Bush - The Death of a War Criminal      Cache   Translate Page      

How the Mainstream Media Turn Villains into Saints



It is sickening the way the press eulogise dead war criminals and US Presidents in particular.  I can remember the BBC gushing over Ronald Reagan when he died and making a tribute programme to the man who unleashed the Contras in Nicaragua and supported the death squads in El Salvador. Ronald Reagan was seen as a beacon of hope for democracy even whilst he did his best to impoverish the poorest Americans.  But this is how our opinion makers work.
George Bush was the man who headed the CIA, a criminal organisation which subverted democratically elected governments in Latin America and brought the regimes of Pinochet and Videla to power in Chile, replete with their torture chambers and mass disappearances.  Bush represented all that was most vile in American politics and the fact that the Clintons are gushing all over his memory should teach us that when it comes to US politics there is no essential difference between Republicans and Democrats.

George Bush was the son of Senator Prescott Bush, a businessman and banker who made much of his fortune trading with Nazi Germany even after war was declared.  But as one of America's leading families, almost akin to  royalty, he escaped prosecution for aiding the enemy at a time of war despite financing Fritz Thyssen one of the largest steel and coal barons who organised finance for Hitler.
People won't remember the shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes of the US Navy. 290 people, including 66 children, were murdered. George H W Bush was not the kind quirky, friendly soul that is made out today.  George H.W. Bush in 1988 responded to the mass murder by saying: "I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are." was his Trumpian response. 
The USS Vincennes
Below is an article by Mehdi Hassan on Bush’s legacy.

Tony Greenstein

December 1 2018, 4:38 p.m.

President George H.W. Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office on Jan. 16, 1991, after U.S. forces began military action against Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Storm. Photo: Charles Tasnadi/AP
The tributes to former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday aged 94, have been pouring in from all sides of the political spectrum. He was a man “of the highest character,” said his eldest son and fellow former president, George W. Bush. “He loved America and served with character, class, and integrity,” tweeted former U.S. Attorney and #Resistance icon Preet Bharara. According to another former president, Barack Obama, Bush’s life was “a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.” Apple boss Tim Cook said: “We have lost a great American.”

In the age of Donald Trump, it isn’t difficult for hagiographers of the late Bush Sr. to paint a picture of him as a great patriot and pragmatist; a president who governed with “class” and “integrity.” It is true that the former president refused to vote for Trump in 2016, calling him a “blowhard,” and that he eschewed the white nationalist, “alt-right,” conspiratorial politics that has come to define the modern Republican Party. He helped end the Cold War without, as Obama said, “firing a shot.” He spent his life serving his country — from the military to Congress to the United Nations to the CIA to the White House. And, by all accounts, he was also a beloved grandfather and great-grandfather to his 17 grandkids and eight great-grandkids.

Yes I know this was written for his son but it is equally applicable  to the father
Nevertheless, he was a public, not a private, figure — one of only 44 men to have ever served as president of the United States. We cannot, therefore, allow his actual record in office to be beautified in such a brazen way. “When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms,” as my colleague Glenn Greenwald has argued, because it leads to “false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts.” The inconvenient truth is that the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush had far more in common with the recognizably belligerent, corrupt, and right-wing Republican figures who came after him — his son George W. and the current orange-faced incumbent — than much of the political and media classes might have you believe.
Consider:
He ran a racist election campaign. The name of Willie Horton should forever be associated with Bush’s 1988 presidential bid. Horton, who was serving a life sentence for murder in Massachusetts — where Bush’s Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, was governor —  had fled a weekend furlough program and raped a Maryland woman. A notorious television ad called “Weekend Passes,released by a political action committee with ties to the Bush campaign, made clear to viewers that Horton was black and his victim was white.
As Bush campaign director Lee Atwater bragged, “By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’s running mate.” Bush himself was quick to dismissaccusations of racism as “absolutely ridiculous,” yet it was clear at the time — even to right-wing Republican operatives such as Roger Stone, now a close ally of Trump — that the ad had crossed a line. “You and George Bush will wear that to your grave,” Stone complained to Atwater. “It’s a racist ad. … You’re going to regret it.”
Stone was right about Atwater, who on his deathbed apologizedfor using Horton against Dukakis. But Bush never did.
He made a dishonest case for war. Thirteen years before George W. Bush liedabout weapons of mass destruction to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq, his father made his own set of false claims to justify the aerial bombardment of that same country. The first Gulf War, as an investigation by journalist Joshua Keating concluded, “was sold on a mountain of war propaganda.”
For a start, Bush told the American public that Iraq had invaded Kuwait without provocation or warning.” What he omitted to mention was that the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had given an effective green light to Saddam Hussein, telling him in July 1990, a week before his invasion, “[W]e have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”
Then there is the fabrication of intelligence. Bush deployed U.S. troops to the Gulf in August 1990 and claimed that he was doing so in order “to assist the Saudi Arabian Government in the defense of its homeland.” As Scott Peterson wrote in the Christian Science Monitor in 2002, “Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated … that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key U.S. oil supplier.”
Yet when reporter Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg Times acquired her own commercial satellite images of the Saudi border, she found no signs of Iraqi forces; only an empty desert. “It was a pretty serious fib,” Heller told Peterson, adding: “That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn’t exist.”

President George H. W. Bush talks with Secretary of State James Baker III and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney during a meeting of the cabinet in the White House on Jan. 17, 1991 to discuss the Persian Gulf War. Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP

He committed war crimes. Under Bush Sr., the U.S. dropped a whopping 88,500 tons of bombs on Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, many of which resulted in horrific civilian casualties. In February 1991, for example, a U.S. airstrike on an air-raid shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 408 Iraqi civilians. According to Human Rights Watch, the Pentagon knew the Amiriyah facility had been used as a civil defense shelter during the Iran-Iraq war and yet had attacked without warning. It was, concluded HRW, “a serious violation of the laws of war.”

U.S. bombs also destroyedessential Iraqi civilian infrastructure — from electricity-generating and water-treatment facilities to food-processing plants and flour mills. This was no accident. As Barton Gellman of the Washington Post reportedin June 1991: “Some targets, especially late in the war, were bombed primarily to create postwar leverage over Iraq, not to influence the course of the conflict itself. Planners now say their intent was to destroy or damage valuable facilities that Baghdad could not repair without foreign assistance. … Because of these goals, damage to civilian structures and interests, invariably described by briefers during the war as ‘collateral’ and unintended, was sometimes neither.”
Got that? The Bush administration deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure for “leverage” over Saddam Hussein. How is this not terrorism? As a Harvard public health team concludedin June 1991, less than four months after the end of the war, the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure had resulted in acute malnutrition and “epidemic” levels of cholera and typhoid.
By January 1992, Beth Osborne Daponte, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, was estimating that Bush’s Gulf War had caused the deaths of 158,000 Iraqis, including 13,000 immediate civilian deaths and 70,000 deaths from the damage done to electricity and sewage treatment plants. Daponte’s numbers contradicted the Bush administration’s, and she was threatened by her superiors with dismissal for releasing “false information. (Sound familiar?)
He refused to cooperate with a special counsel. The Iran-Contra affair, in which the United States traded missiles for Americans hostages in Iran, and used the proceeds of those arms sales to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua, did much to undermine the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Yet his vice president’s involvement in that controversial affair has garnered far less attention. “The criminal investigation of Bush was regrettably incomplete,”wrote Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh, a former deputy attorney general in the Eisenhower administration, in his final report on the Iran-Contra affair in August 1993.
Why? Because Bush, who was “fully aware of the Iran arms sale,” according to the special counsel, failed to hand over a diary “containing contemporaneous notes relevant to Iran/contra” and refused to be interviewed in the later stages of the investigation. In the final days of his presidency, Bush even issued pardonsto six defendants in the Iran-Contra affair, including former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger — on the eve of Weinberger’s trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. “The Weinberger pardon,” Walsh pointedly noted, “marked the first time a president ever pardoned someone in whose trial he might have been called as a witness, because the president was knowledgeable of factual events underlying the case.” An angry Walsh accused Bush of “misconduct” and helping to complete “the Iran-contra cover-up.”
Sounds like a Trumpian case of obstruction of justice, doesn’t it?

 A U.S. marshal, left, looking for a suspect, shows a mug shot to a man found allegedly using drugs in a crackhouse, according to police, in Washington, D.C., on July 18, 1989. The police raid was part of President George H.W. Bush’s war on drugs. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
He escalated the racist war on drugs. In September 1989, in a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office, Bush held up a bag of crack cocaine, which he said had been “seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . … It could easily have been heroin or PCP.”

Yet a Washington Post investigation later that month revealed that federal agents had “lured” the drug dealer to Lafayette Park so that they could make an “undercover crack buy in a park better known for its location across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House than for illegal drug activity” (the dealer didn’t know where the White House was and even asked the agents for directions). Bush cynically used this prop — the bag of crack — to call for a $1.5 billion increase in spending on the drug war, declaiming: “We need more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors.
The result? “Millions of Americans were incarcerated, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, and hundreds of thousands of human beings allowed to die of AIDS — all in the name of a ‘war on drugs’ that did nothing to reduce drug abuse,” pointed out Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, in 2014. Bush, he argued, “put ideology and politics above science and health.” Today, even leading Republicans, such as Chris Christie and Rand Paul, agree that the war on drugs, ramped up by Bush during his four years in the White House, has been a dismal and racist failure.
He groped women. Since the start of the #MeToo movement, in late 2017, at least eight different womenhave come forward with claims that the former president groped them, in most cases while they were posing for photos with him. One of them, Roslyn Corrigan, told Time magazine that Bush had touched her inappropriately in 2003, when she was just 16. “I was a child,” she said. The former president was 79. Bush’s spokesperson offered this defenseof his boss in October 2017: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.” Yet, as Time noted, “Bush was standing upright in 2003 when he met Corrigan.”
Facts matter. The 41st president of the United States was not the last Republican moderate or a throwback to an imagined age of conservative decency and civility; he engaged in race baiting, obstruction of justice, and war crimes. He had much more in common with the two Republican presidents who came after him than his current crop of fans would like us to believe.

          National Policy and Advocacy officer (INT5099)      Cache   Translate Page      
Region: MENA, Division: International, Job Type: Fixed Term
The Role

 

To deliver demonstrable impact through advocacy/research action in order to bring about changes to policy and practice of targets relating to Oxfam’s aims in gender and humanitarian programming.

 

About the MENA region

 

The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region implements and manages programmes in Yemen, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

 

Programmes within the MENA region reflect Oxfam’s approach to work across the globe. We support self-reliance, not dependency, and to complement our work on the ground we strive to secure lasting change through our campaigning.

 

We also put women at the heart of all we do. The majority of people living in poverty...

          صدور كتاب (تنظيم الدولة المكنّى "داعش") عن المركز العربي في الدوحة      Cache   Translate Page      

صدر حديثًا عن "المركز العربي للأبحاث ودراسة السياسات" كتاب تنظيم الدولة المكنّى "داعش" في جزأين. الأول من تأليف عزمي بشارة، ويحمل العنوان الفرعي إطار عام ومساهمة نقدية في فهم الظاهرة، بينما ألّف الجزء الثاني التشكل والخطاب والممارسة، بمساهمة مؤلفين عدة، وأشرف عليه بشارة.

في كتاب "تنظيم الدولة المكنّى داعش"، يفتتح عزمي بشارة الجزء الأول بنقد الأدبيات التي أُنتجت حول تحليل ظاهرة داعش

في الجزء الأول، موضوع هذا العرض، ينطلق بشارة من سؤال أساس: كيف نفهم ظاهرة تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية "داعش"؟ مميزًا معالجة فصول الكتاب لهذا السؤال بالجريان الفكري، إذ تشكل وحدة متكاملة تجري فيها الإشكالية. وفي هذا الجريان تنمو موجاتها وتتطور وتتواشج؛ تفسيرًا وتحليلًا، فهمًا ومساءلةً ونقدًا، بوصف أفكارها ليست جاهزة، بل تنمو وتتولد عبر عملية البحث. والغاية من هذا الجزء إرساء إطار منهجي، من خلال كرونولوجيا تسرد الوقائع بتواريخها الدقيقة، منذ ظهور "القاعدة" حتى أفول نجم "داعش" في عام 2018.

جهاد فجهادية

يتألف الكتاب (368 صفحة بالقطع الوسط، موثقًا ومفهرسًا) من ستة فوصل. في الفصل الأول، ملاحظات بيبليوغرافية، يبدأ بشارة بنقد الأدبيات التي أُنتجت حول تحليل ظاهرة داعش، ولا يعني بها أساسًا التقارير والمعلومات الخبرية اليومية التي صدرت آلاف المواد عنها، في ما يمكن تصنيفه في خانة الفكر اليومي، بل الكتب التي صدرت عن التنظيم، وشكلت ظاهرته موضوعًا أساسيًا لمضامينها وأسئلتها ومجاري فهمها وتحليلها، بما فيها الكتب التطبيقية التي حاولت أن تفهم الظاهرة في ضوء المدخل البسيكولوجي، ويصنفها وفق البؤر النظرية السياسية التحليلية التي انطلقت منها ووظائفها المتوخاة.


الجزء الأول

ربما يقدم بشارة في هذا السبر أول عملية سبر شاملة ومركزة حول تصنيف تلك الأدبيات، وأبرز ما صدر في سياقها مما هو جدير بالمناقشة والبحث والنقد.

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: عزمي بشارة: "الجيش والسياسة" مدخلًا لفهم الدولة الوطنية العربية

في الفصل الثاني، من المجاهدين إلى الجهاديين ومن الجهاد إلى الجهادية، يغوص الباحث في تحديد المفاهيم والتعرف إلى نشوئها وتطورها التاريخي من الدلالة المعجمية إلى الدلالة الاصطلاحية والمفهومية في منظومة الفكر العربي - الإسلامي التاريخية، وصولًا إلى طريقة طرحها عند بعض الباحثين ومنظري الحركات الإسلامية الجهادية، وهو ما يتطلّب تحليل الجهاد والتمييز بين فهمه في المراحل التاريخية، والتمييز أيضًا بين تديّن شعبي وحركي ومؤسسي، وصولًا إلى فهم الجهادية الحديثة التي تختلف عن مفهوم المجاهد التاريخي. والنقطة الإشكالية هنا هي التحول من ظاهرة المجاهدين المتجذرة في التاريخ الإسلامي إلى ظاهرة الجهاديين.

تتمدد لتبقى

في الفصل الثالث، تنظيم الدولة: سيرورة التمايز من القاعدة، يشرح بشارة الفرق بين تنظيم الدولة والفئات الجهادية الأخرى، منتقلًا من المستوى النظري إلى المستوى العياني التاريخي، ومن طقم الأفكار إلى العملية التاريخية الحادثة بالفعل، من خلال تمييز تنظيم الدولة نفسه عن تنظيم "القاعدة"، فهمًا ومنهجية واستراتيجية وأساليب. في هذا التحليل التاريخي تبرز جدلية الاشتراك والتفارق في مركَّب التمايز والاستقلال الذي مثله داعش، ويتوقف هذا الفصل عند الجدل الداخلي في أوساط الجهادية التي تأزمت فيها علاقة المشترك بالتفارق والتمايز، بل الافتراق أيضًا.

في الفصل الرابع، لا تبقى إذا لم تتمدّد، يتوقف بشارة عند مدخل تاريخي - نظري مركَّب يتعلق بأزمة الدولة العربية، ولاسيما أزمة النظم القومية التي مثلتها، ونضبت مصادر شرعيتها التي استندت إليها. ويميز بين نشوء التنظيم الجهادي السلفي وظروفه التاريخية، وتقاطعها مع السلفية في مرحلة تراجع التيارات اليسارية وظهيرها العالمي، والتيارات القومية، ولا سيما بعد هزيمة 1967 وأزمة الأحزاب القومية في الحكم، من جهة، وبين عملية تمدّد هذا التنظيم وانتشاره مستغلًا الظروف المذكورة آنفًا، من جهة أخرى.


الجزء الثاني

مثل هذا التنظيم سيبقى تنظيمًا صغيرًا في الدولة المعاصرة لولا نشوء الظروف التي أدت إلى تمدّده، وهي ظروف متعلقة بفشل أنظمة الحكم المتداخلة مع بنية الدولة والمجتمع على نحوٍ قاد إلى فشل الدول ذاتها. لكن تمدّد التنظيم الذي بدا انتصارًا، لم يقم على مقوّمات قوة ذاتية حقيقية، بما فيها القدرة على حفظ الذات وإعادة إنتاج سلطته على السكان، بل قام على التمدد الممكن بسبب ضعف الدولة.

حياة ونظريات

الفصل الخامس، عن الحياة في ظل "داعش"، هو بحث في إدارة تنظيم الدولة شؤون الحياة المختلفة في المجتمعات والنطاقات المحلية التي سيطر عليها في بعض مناطق سورية والعراق، داحضًا فكرة "البيئة الحاضنة" بصفتها تفسيرًا لامتداد التنظيم وتأثيره ومحاولة تجذره في تلك المجتمعات والنطاقات. فالتنظيم اتبع نهجًا أكثر تشددًا في التعامل مع المجتمعات المحليّة؛ حتى من خلال مقارنة متعلقة بتجربته الأولى في العراق عندما كان "دولة العراق الإسلامية".

لجوء داعش إلى فرض القيود على حياة الناس لم يهدف إلى تثبيت سلطته فحسب، وإنما أراد توجيه رسائل مفادها أن منهج القاعدة لا يقيم دولة ولا يؤسس لخلافة

لجوء التنظيم إلى فرض القيود على حياة الناس لم يهدف إلى تثبيت سلطته فحسب، وإنما أراد توجيه رسائل مفادها أن منهج القاعدة لا يقيم دولة ولا يؤسس لخلافة، ولا يحكّم شرعًا، ولا يبني مجتمعًا مسلمًا، وبناءً عليه هو الأحق بالشرعية الجهادية من تنظيم لا وجود فعليًا له في أرض الواقع كتنظيم القاعدة.

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: تريد أن تقتل بضمير مرتاح؟ بيار كونيسا يجيبك

في الفصل السادس والأخير، منظِّرون، يحاول بشارة تقديم معالجة جديدة للنظريِّ في ظاهرة الجهادية السلفية الجديدة، ويلاحظ تهميش الأفكار الإخوانية لمصلحة الأفكار الجهادية الجديدة، والتي ظهرت متأثرة بكتابات سيد قطب. لكن تطور الجهادية سيتجاوز سيد قطب في مرحلة تحول جديدة واستناد منظِّري التنظيم في بناء الوعي بتجربتهم إلى كتابات ابن تيمية وتلامذته وعلماء الفكر الوهابي تُمثّل مراجع ما بات يُعرف بالسلفية الجهادية. وتبنّى منظرو التنظيم النسخة المتشدّدة من السلفية الجهادية التي استندت بشكل كبير إلى الفكر الوهابي ومؤلفات محمد بن عبد الوهاب نفسه.

 

 

اقرأ/ي أيضًا:

عطوان وفودة.. داعش باقية وتتمدّد في الكتب

فالح عبد الجبّار.. دولة فاشلة في الدولة الفاشلة

image: 
افتخار جامان
discription: 
صدر حديثًا عن "المركز العربي للأبحاث ودراسة السياسات" كتاب تنظيم الدولة المكنّى "داعش" في جزأين
author: 
المركز العربي
Category: 
Keywords: 
عزمي بشارة, تنظيم الدولة المكنّى داعش, السلفية الجهادية
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الجهادي افتخار جامان أمام شعار تنظيم الدولة في سوريا (يوتيوب)

          أزمة استكمال الحكومة العراقية.. صراع أخير على تفاصيل المحاصصة      Cache   Translate Page      

مع انطلاق الجلسة البرلمانية المرتقبة للتصويت على تسمية المكلفين بإدارة ثماني وزارات شاغرة في الحكومة العراقية، كشفت وثيقة مسربة تحمل توقيع رئيس الحكومة عادل عبد المهدي، عن أسماء المرشحين للمناصب في جلسة الثلاثاء الرابع من كانون الأول/ديسمبر.

قدمت الوثيقة فالح الفياض وهو مقرب من إيران لتسلم وزارة الداخلية، وفيصل فنر الجربا لتسلم وزارة الدفاع وهو عن ائتلاف الوطنية بزعامة إياد علاوي

وأعلن مجلس النواب في ساعة متأخرة من ليل الأربعاء، عزمه عقد الجلسة، للتصويت على استكمال الكابينة الحكومية، فيما حدد الساعة 12 ظهرًا كموعد لعقدها، لكن رئاسة البرلمان تفشل في عقد "الجلسات الحساسة" في التوقيت المحدد، حيث تعطل مفاوضات الكواليس اكتمال النصاب غالبًا.

وأكد عبد المهدي بحسب الوثيقة التي حصل "ألترا صوت" على نسخة منها، اجتياز الأسماء الثمانية المرشحة اختبار النزاهة وهيئة المساءلة والعدالة، فيما أشار إلى أنه أخذ بعين الاعتبار اختيار أفضل ما تم تقديمه له من قبل الكتل السياسية، "دون استبعاد جهة أو مناصرة أخرى".

قدمت الوثيقة فالح الفياض وهو مقرب من إيران لتسلم وزارة الداخلية، وفيصل فنر الجربا لتسلم وزارة الدفاع وهو عن ائتلاف الوطنية بزعامة إياد علاوي، ونوري الدليمي عن الحزب الإسلامي لوزارة التخطيط، وقصي السهيل عن دولة القانون بزعامة المالكي لوزارة التعليم العالي.

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: غابة السلاح في العراق.. العنف الذي لا تحتكره الدولة!

ورشح عبد المهدي، صبا الطائي لوزارة التربية عن المشروع العربي بزعامة خميس الخنجر، ودارا نور الدين لوزارة العدل عن المكون الكردي، وهالة كوكركيس وهي مسيحية لوزارة الهجرة والمهجرين، فيما عرض عبد الأمير الحمداني لوزارة الثقافة.

يُذكر أن قرار عبد المهدي باعتماد تلك الأسماء جاء بعد قطع اتصالاته لمدة 24 ساعة، كما أشار هو وفق الوثيقة التي لم تؤكدها أو تنفها الحكومة، مبينًا أن "ذلك يأتي للابتعاد عن أي ضغوطات خارجية، والخروج بقائمة مفضلة من بين جميع المرشحين للوزارات".

الخلاف الشيعي

جاء تسريب الوثيقة بعد ساعات من رسالة شديدة اللهجة تلقاها رئيس الحكومة عادل عبد المهدي من رجل الدين الشيعي وزعيم تحالف "سائرون"، مقتدى الصدر، في ظل تصاعد الحديث عن "انهيار وشكيك" للتوافق بين الأخير وهادي العامري زعيم تحالف "الفتح"، الذي أثمر عن تسمية عبد المهدي لرئاسة الحكومة.

يتمحور الخلاف بين الزعيمين الشيعيين، حول مرشحي وزارتي الداخلية والدفاع، إذ يرفض الصدر منح الوزارتين لمرشحي الأحزاب وخاصة "فالح الفياض المقرب من طهران ويطالب بمستقلين، وهو ما أكده في بيانه الأخير حين طالب رئيس الحكومة بتقديم مرشحين من "القادة الشجعان الذين حرروا الأراضي المغتصبة من (داعش) الإرهابي بوصفهم أولى بهذه المناصب".

وحذر الصدر عبد المهدي من "الانصياع إلى ما يجري خلف الكواليس، من تقاسم المناصب وما إلى غير ذلك"، داعيًا إياه إلى أن "يكون حرًا"، دون "التسويف" في إكمال التشكيلة الحكومية، متعهدًا بدعمه في حال "نجح بوضع الأسس الصحيحة، والنجاح في توفير الخدمات الضرورية للشعب المحروم منها، وحماية الحدود وإعادة العراق إلى حاضنته العربية والإقليمية والدولية".

مع مضي عبد المهدي بتقديم الفياض مرشحًا لوزارة الداخلية والجربا للدفاع، فإن ذلك قد يعني خسارة دعم الصدر في المرحلة المقبلة، ولجوء الأخير إلى "معارضة الحكومة"، كما هدد وفق بيانه الأخير، وسلوك "طريقة خاصة لتقويم الحكومة"، على حد وصفه، في حال فشل رئيس الحكومة بإثبات نجاحه خلال ستة أشهر.

ويحذر مراقبون من أزمة سياسية، بعد طرح ذات الأسماء المرشحة، التي لم يتم تمريرها من قبل كتل سائرون والنصر والحكمة والوطنية في جلسة منح الثقة، لاسيما في ظل وجود خلاف داخلي بين السنة والكرد بشأنها، بل وحتى بين المسيحيين، حيث هددت كتلة بابليون وهي مسيحية مقربة من الحشد الشعبي، بتقديم شكوى إلى الفاتيكان، ضد بطريرك الكلدان الكاثوليك، لويس روفائيل ساكو، بتهمة التدخل في العمل السياسي وطرح "هالة كوركيس" مرشحًة لوزارة الهجرة.

الخلاف السني

في آخر تطور على مستوى القوى السنية التي تنقسم بين تحالفي "البناء" و"الإصلاح والإعمار"، حيث فشلت تلك القوى بحسم مرشحين لوزارتي الدفاع والتربية، عقد المحور الوطني الذي يتألف من كتل وأحزاب سنية، اجتماعًا طارئًا قبل ساعات من جلسة البرلمان، لبحث مسألة ترشح فيصل فنر الجربا إلى وزارة الدفاع، حيث رشّحه تحالف الوطنية بزعامة إياد علاوي، وهو ما يراه تحالف المحور الوطني تجاوزًا على حصة المكون السني الذي يقول إنه يمثله.

ويرى النائب السني السابق عبد الرحمن اللويزي، أن الخلاف السني هو "انعكاس" للأزمة الخليجية، مشيرًا في تصريحات صحافية إلى أن المرشحين الأبرز لمنصب وزير الدفاع هما "فيصل الجربا، وسليم الجبوري"، مؤكدًا أن "الجربا يحظى بدعم سعودي".

أما بشأن التربية، فترى بعض القوى السنية أن الحقيبة من حصة المشروع العربي بزعامة خميس الخنجر، والذي يعدّ جزءًا من كتلة البناء، وسط مطالبات قوى أخرى بمنح الوزارة إلى تحالف القرار بزعامة أسامة النجيفي، المنضوي في تحالف الإصلاح والإعمار.

الخلاف الكردي

بالنظر إلى البيت الكردي، فإن الحال ليس بأفضل، حيث لم يتوصل الحزبان الكرديان الرئيسيان على توافق سياسي، حيث يصر الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني على منصب وزاري ثالث بعد نيل حقيبتي المالية والإعمار والإسكان، في حين يسعى الوطني الكردستاني إلى وزارة العدل كحقيبة كردية ثالثة في حكومة عبد المهدي.

ويشدد الديمقراطي على لسان القيادي فيه محسن السعدون، أن الحقيبة من حصته وفق الاستحقاق الانتخابي، خاصة وأن الوطني نال استحقاقه بعد انتخاب مرشحه برهم صالح رئيسًا للجمهورية، مؤكدًا أن حزبه لن يفاوض على المنصب حتى لو كان مقابل مناصب أخرى سواء في الحكومة الاتحادية، أو حكومة إقليم كردستان.

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: آفاق حراك الصدريين.. فسحة لبناء عراق مدني!

في حال نجح الاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني، بنيل منصب وزير العدل في الحكومة الاتحادية، فإن وزارة الهجرة والمهجرين ستذهب إلى الديمقراطي الكردستاني، كما تشير مصادر سياسية، على أن يحصل المكوّن المسيحي على وزارة الثقافة، التي هي من حصة حركة "عصائب أهل الحق" بزعامة قيس الخزعلي، بالاعتماد على مفاوضات قد تقنع الأخير باستبدال الوزارة بمنصب آخر من الدرجات الخاصة.

يحذر مراقبون من أزمة سياسية، بعد طرح ذات الأسماء المرشحة للحكومة، التي لم يتم تمريرها من قبل كتل سائرون والنصر والحكمة والوطنية في جلسة منح الثقة

خيارات عبد المهدي

مع كل تلك التعقيدات، فإن عبد المهدي سيكون أمام "اختبار صعب" في البرلمان بعد انتهاء "ليلة المخاض" على حد وصف النائبة السابقة وزعيمة حركة إرادة، حنان الفتلاوي، التي تساءلت في تغريدة لها إن كانت ولادة الوزارات الثماني "يسيرة أم متعسرة بمضاعفات كبيرة".

وبحسب سياسيين ومراقبين، فإن رئيس الحكومة سيكون أمام أمرين في مسألة تمرير بقية الكابينة الوزارية، هما إما تمرير 5 إلى 6 وزراء متفق عليهم بين الكتل السياسية، وإرجاء التصويت على الوزارات التي يشتد الخلاف حولها ومن بينها الدفاع والداخلية إلى وقت آخر، أو الاعتماد على قناعات النواب بشأن الأسماء المرشحة.

وسيعرض عادل عبد المهدي، مرشحيه على البرلمان ظهر اليوم الثلاثاء 4 كانون الأول/ديسمبر، بغياب التوافق السياسي، وهو شرط أكدت العادة ضرورة تحققه لتمرير الحكومات منذ سقوط النظام السابق في 2003، ودون أن يكون خيار الاستقالة حاضرًا، كما أكد هو وفقًا للوثيقة المسربة حين قال إن "البعض يعتقدون أنهم بممارستهم الضغط يستطيعون دفعنا للاستقالة، هؤلاء مخطئون بالمطلق".

 

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: 

معركة التكنوقراط في العراق.. المحاصصة توحد الأضداد

احتمالات مقتدى الصدر الشاسعة.. هدم جدار المنطقة الخضراء أم الاعتصام أمامه؟ 

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يشهد البرلمان العراقي خلافات حادة (رويترز)
discription: 
مع انطلاق الجلسة البرلمانية المرتقبة للتصويت على تسمية المكلفين بإدارة ثماني وزارات شاغرة في الحكومة العراقية، كشفت وثيقة مسربة تحمل توقيع رئيس الحكومة عادل عبد المهدي، عن أسماء المرشحين للمناصب
author: 
أحمد حسين خليل
Category: 
Keywords: 
العراق, الحكومة العراقية, عادل عبد المهدي, محاصصة, طائفية, البرلمان العراقي
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يشهد البرلمان العراقي خلافات حادة (رويترز)

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It's time for a little Reading! By Myles Hoenig There are very few dynastic families in America that have served the wealthiest 1 percent at the expense of literally millions worldwide better than the Bush family. With George H. W.'s passing we can expect to see a long list of pundits, progressive and reactionary, fawning over the life and times of Bush, much like they did over Ronald Reagan. One can expect these same people will be singing the praises of Henry Kissinger when he too departs this world before answering for his crimes against humanity. The Bush family made its fortune in oil and war. Grandfather Prescott Bush was heavily involved in the re-arming and financing of the Nazi party in Germany, and was even charged with trading with the enemy. His son George, who has now just died, made his fortune in the oil industry and propelled himself into all kinds of behind the scenes adventures, wheeling and dealing, as head of the Republican National Committee and the CIA. He is best known for some colossal failures, if you don't count the promotion of his son George W. into the political limelight. Although his economic platform was lackluster, he is remembered for his role in the Savings and Loan disaster of the 80's and the beginning of the destruction of public education with his No Child Left Behind, to be followed by further deterioration under Obama's Race to the Top. However, it is his foreign policy in which he shined for the war industry. His invasion of Iraq in 1991 and the subsequent destabilization of the entire region remains with us today, with President Clinton setting the stage for Bush #43 for the second invasion of Iraq and Obama's continuation of the occupation and destabilization. Bush was also known for the destabilization of the Americas, with his NAFTA agreement, later ratified under President Clinton. This treaty has caused enormous instability and a major factor in today's immigration crisis, as much of Latin America has been overtaken by corporate interests, destroying local economies in the region and setting the stage for military coups, as Obama presided over the most recent one in Honduras, for which its victims are the major driving force of the asylum seekers heading towards the US border today. Bush certainly didn't begin the corporate takeover of Central America, but definitely exacerbated the situation. Ironically, there is a familial connection between the Bushes and William Walker, who led a mercenary army in a military conquest of Nicaragua in the 1850s. George H.W. Bush will be credited for having a steady hand in dealing with the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as how he organized the Coalition of the Willing, or as it was also called, the Coalition of the Bribed, in its invasion of Iraq, but a positive spin will be put on everything he had done as president.
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↩︎ The New Yorker

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Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Prime Minister: Well thank you very much. I cannot think of too many greater honours for a Liberal Prime Minister, frankly, to be here today to open this library with Mr Howard. I still feel like I have to call you that.

[Laughter]

And I know you’ve been generous over a long period of time in inviting me to be a lot more informal.

Today I’m not going to, I’m going to be very formal, because this is a very important occasion.

So to the Honourable John Howard, to Mrs Howard, and the entire Howard family who is here today - particularly the latest addition, only six weeks old.

To the Speaker, my good friend Tony Smith, Rector of UNSW Michael Frater, Daryl Karp the Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy, David Fricker the Director-General of the National Archives. Members of the Parliamentary Team, past and present who are here today.

Of course Phillip Ruddock here today. Colleagues past and present.

I love going back to the places which form your experience. You go back to your old school, where you went to university, the beaches you swam at as a kid, the places that framed who you are.

And you reflect on the memories of those places and the lessons that you learnt.

John Howard loves this building.

It was in this building that he gave his maiden speech to Parliament.

It was in this building that he attended his first Cabinet meeting in the Fraser Cabinet.

It was in this building that he attended his first Partyroom meeting.

It was in this building that he delivered his Budgets, and his replies to Budgets, the first of them.

It was in this building that the political crucible that formed who I would argue to be our greatest Prime Minister of this country and only with the exception, I’m sure he would agree, because as a Party’s founder we always refer to the great Sir Robert Menzies.

But in modern opinion, and in the modern Liberal Party, we have always very much looked to John Howard and this was the crucible in which his political character and who he became as a great Prime Minister was formed.

It was a crucible formed here dominated by Sir Robert Menzies, the founder of our party, who dominated this place for so long, where so much of the history of our modern Federation has played out.

And in this building, you can still hear those stories of all those years.  The Lyons - Joseph and Enid.

Of course Sir Robert. Chifley and his pipe. Curtin. A great constitutional crisis – Fraser, Whitlam.

And in this very hall, the flag-draped coffins of prime ministers lay in state.

This is a very special place in our country’s history.

For 61 years, this building was the home of our democracy - from Prime Ministers Stanley Bruce to Bob Hawke.

In 1988, I understand John Howard didn’t really want to move from this Parliament House he liked it so much, he preferred the intimacy of this chamber.

But when he left here, he had still not risen to the office of Prime Minister.

As an Opposition Leader packing 14 years of memories and paper into boxes - he would not have necessarily imagined what was before him.

But he knew what would always guide him.

It was a time when the very future of the Liberal Party was being questioned, and the usual premature eulogies were being offered about the then John Howard, as he was known when we were leaving this building.

But through the tumult, Lazarus emerged, with that triple bypass. Cannier, sturdier and even more resilient.

I must admit while John Howard has laid claim to the biblical Lazarus, I prefer to take my inspiration from Peter: “Upon this rock, I will build my broad church”.

[Laughter]

Which he did, as a leader of our great Party. A broad church which he has always respected and always honoured.

As we know, the man who never quite subdued this building would subdue the one up the hill. And boy did he.

Within weeks of becoming Prime Minister he would be tested, as Prime Ministers always are, by events well beyond their control, with a massacre at Port Arthur.

And along with the Opposition and the States, and Tim Fischer, who I know he always acknowledges so keenly in those events, he’d deliver comprehensive gun control laws that to this day are the envy of the world.

A truly magnificent achievement in a moment when leadership called on him and his response was loud and clear.

He’d be tested at home, of course, with family illnesses.  Family has always been at the bedrock of the Howard belief.

There would be other days of testing.

September 11, as he stood in the very city that was under attack with our greatest ally. Not once, but twice in Bali as well. Timor. Iraq. Afghanistan. Our borders, protecting them, together with Phillip and the other Ministers all those years ago.

Through it all, John Howard never found wanting.

Keeping us safe and secure at home, keeping us prosperous in a dynamic and changing world.

Paying off the debt, balancing the Budget, delivering surplus after surplus with Peter Costello. The AAA credit rating. The tax system transformed, taxes cut in 2000, 2003 and 2007. That’s the legacy. Real wages increased by over 21 per cent. 2.1 million jobs were created, unemployment falling from 8 per cent to 4.1 per cent.

There were the major investments in health, in education and the welfare safety net which was designed to provide a hand up, not a hand out. Our great belief that the best form of welfare is a job was inspired by Prime Minister Howard.

And incrementally, he transformed workplace relations passionately and patiently over his entire parliamentary service, reflecting a modernising Australia, a more flexible Australia, a dynamic workplace.

He left office as the darks clouds of the GFC were forming, but it was the ‘Howard inheritance’ that protected Australia from the ravages of a worldwide recession.

The strength of prudential controls, the buffers that were built in good times.

Another biblical analogy - Joseph putting the stalls into the silos to prepare for the years that would follow. That is the Howard legacy.

And that inheritance continues. This Government is seeking to emulate the achievements of that government.

Budget repair, jobs growth, a strong economy. Our country is strong and we are committed to make it even stronger.

Coalition Governments, as inspired by the Howard Government, keeping our country prosperous, keeping Australians safe, keeping Australians together.

Throughout his Government, John Howard was steadfastly supported by a fiercely loyal and loving family.

In 2007, John Howard completed his innings after 11 and a half years as Prime Minister. In the modern political era, that is truly inspiring, and I’m sure at times exhausting.

But warriors see no shame in fighting to the end. He left nothing on the field, nothing. As Menzies said back in Albury, you fight for what you stand for ‘until the bell rings’. And that has always been the Howard ethos.

Ladies and gentlemen, beyond a land, beyond traditions, a nation is a shared story, a shared history.

A history that defines its beliefs and characteristics.

Our prime ministers, the choices they make, are part of our history. So it’s a delight today to open this Library.

It is not the first repository of prime ministerial papers and decisions. Australia’s first prime ministerial library was the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library at Curtin University in Perth, established in 1998. And we have many significant prime ministerial collections, institutes and centres too, right across our nation. The Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University and the Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at the University of South Australia. And of course, the Robert Menzies and Malcolm Fraser Collections at the University of Melbourne.

And so with this Library, with my alma mater the University of New South Wales in a partnership with the National Archives of Australia, this will allow researchers and the public to reflect on such a significant prime ministership.

All of these collections are far more than repositories of old speeches, furniture, pamphlets, maps, handwritten notes. I remember one day when I went to see Mr Howard in his office in Sydney and the collection was all on the table in the boardroom and he was delayed and I spent a bit of time reading over a few old Budgets. I was Treasurer at the time. And now all those documents are here for others to enjoy in the same way I was able to on that occasion.

When we read these documents, when we see these objects, we will remember and we will re-imagine. We extend our national understanding of civic life and most importantly, we see that no government was perfect.

We see that mistakes are always made, but the lessons are always to be learned.

So what are the lessons of John Howard? John Winston Howard. Resilience. Perseverance. Conviction, more than anything else. And I might add, courtesy and respect.

Laurie Oakes, I think, said it once, I’m not sure if he was trying to be kind or not, you never always knew. He said, “Mr Howard has made every conceivable mistake an Australian Prime Minister can make.  But he only made them once.”

Because he would always learn and he would always grow and he would always build and he would always move forward. That’s why he is the example to modern Liberals and indeed Prime Ministers. We can only dare to walk in shoes so large, but we will with his great inspiration.

So Mr Howard, I thank you for your friendship and advice over a long period of time, and to Mrs Howard as well. You’ve really been a blessing.

But most of all I thank you both for your lifetime of service to Australia which continues enthusiastically and passionately.

It is right that your records now reside in this building that you loved so much, and that is a landmark to our country’s great democracy.

It is an honour and delight to be here today for this purpose.

I’m reminded of another text which basically says, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

It is an honour and a delight to open the Howard Library. Thank you.


          Watch the trailer for Max Martini’s SGT. Will Gardner      Cache   Translate Page      
SGT. Will Gardner tells the story of Will (Max Martini), an Iraq War veteran who suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained in combat that is making it difficult for him to reintegrate into society. His PTSD causes frequent flashbacks to the Iraq War which he survives with the help of Sam (Omari Hardwick), […]

          Gay Romance Grows During 'A Moment in the Reeds'      Cache   Translate Page      
filmArts & Entertainment, film, Syria, Immigration, Love and Sex, Video

This gay love story defies borders. 

SyriaImmigrationLove and SexVideoNew Clip from A Moment in the ReedsAdvocate Video Team

A stolen kiss in a woodshed takes place between two young men from very different paths in this clip from the new feature film A Moment in the Reeds. A romance forms between a young Finnish academic, Leevi (Janne Puustinen), and a struggling Syrian refugee, Tareq (Boodi Kabbani). Both of the lead actors are gay, and their chemistry in the film is palpable. Secluded at Leevi's family's lake house, the two men act on their atttration despite the threat of Leevi's father returning. Watch their kiss below.

 

 

 

The Advocate spoke to Finnish director Mikko Makela about why he was compelled to tell this timely love story. 

"When we set out to make the film in early 2016, there had been no feature-length queer films produced in Finland, and very few films about immigrants to the country," he said. "I wanted to make a film about two outsiders in Finnish society who had until then rarely, if ever, been seen in Finnish cinema, and place them center stage in a story about the search for freedom and acceptance. With the terrifying swell of xenophobia in response to the arrival of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into Finland in 2015, it felt incredibly urgent to present a multidimensional, humanizing portrait of someone who is too often in people’s minds reduced to a stereotype built up simply from news headlines, or worse, xenophobic political discourse.

"At its heart, this is a film about two migrants, two people who have fled their native countries -- one of course in far more privileged circumstances than the other -- for a freer, safer life elsewhere: a common trajectory for queer people migrating from hostile environments to safer spaces. They meet in Finland, a country which they both view very differently: a society generally thought of as relatively liberal, where the Syrian Tareq feels that he can finally live freely, but which the Finnish Leevi has rejected as conservative and stifling. It was the tension inherent in this unexpected and problematic crossing of paths that I was compelled to explore in A Moment in the Reeds.

A Moment In The Reeds Still 1

"I wanted to portray the beauty and meaningfulness of an encounter between people coming from seemingly very different circumstances, yet who find common ground in shared emotions, hopes, dreams -- a shared humanity. I was trying to present a more expansive and inclusive vision of Finnish society against increasingly conservative ideas of national identity as defined through ethnicity or of masculinity as defined through heterosexuality. Whilst the film is set in Finland, its relevance to so many other western societies, not least the U.S., that currently find themselves grappling with nativist and xenophobic political movements trying to halt immigration and deny asylum to those most in need, has become woefully clear since shooting it."

A Moment in the Reeds is now available online.

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Gay Romance Grows During A Moment in the Reeds

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          SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE Prince William invited Tony Blair to Kensington Palace talk about Middle East      Cache   Translate Page      
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Prince Charles is said to have privately condemned Tony Blair’s role in the 2003 military invasion of Iraq.
          New Iraqi National Park May Be a Game Changer      Cache   Translate Page      
Iraq decreed its first official national park last week, after years of planning and bargaining within its governmental council. The new title will help protect the central marshes of Iraq, which are currently threatened by the country’s increasing urbanization and development. One integral part of the legislation’s passing was Nature Iraq, an environmental group whose […]
          New Iraqi National Park May Be a Game Changer      Cache   Translate Page      
Iraq decreed its first official national park last week, after years of planning and bargaining within its governmental council. The new title will help protect the central marshes of Iraq, which are currently threatened by the country’s increasing urbanization and development. One integral part of the legislation’s passing was Nature Iraq, an environmental group whose […]
          Meet Some of the Rare Cultures Sustained by Iraqi Kurdistan’s Rivers      Cache   Translate Page      
This spring and summer, National Geographic Young Explorer Julia Harte is traveling along the Tigris River from Southern Iraq to Southeastern Turkey, documenting ancient sites and modern communities along the river before they are transformed by the Ilısu Dam, an 11 billion-cubic-meter hydroelectric dam that will generate 2 percent of Turkey’s power.   ——— A […]
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This spring and summer, National Geographic Young Explorer Julia Harte is traveling along the Tigris River from Southern Iraq to Southeastern Turkey, documenting ancient sites and modern communities along the river before they are transformed by the Ilısu Dam, an 11 billion-cubic-meter hydroelectric dam that will generate 2 percent of Turkey’s power.   ——— A […]
          High-Energy Laser Systems and the Future of Warfare      Cache   Translate Page      

Jason Sattler 

 November 29, 2018

One of the defense world’s newest and most promising innovations is the High Energy Laser Weapon System. It is the most advanced and capable concept for a tactical, ground-based defensive laser system, capable of being mounted on a variety of air, land, or sea-based platforms. Of course, lasers themselves are not a new technology. Lasers have been studied and tested for military use for decades. Recently, companies such as Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon have taken this existing technology, scaled it down, and adapted it for a variety of platforms with a new purpose: to shoot down weaponized drones and small munitions. This new mission set for the tactical laser offers the military a drone-killing weapon system that could keep the U.S. ahead of the power curve on the modern battlefield, especially in the fight against non-state actors and armies increasingly using drones for combat operations. Such new weaponry would ensure U.S. and coalition troops engaged in irregular warfare can maintain tactical air supremacy. America’s adversaries are developing new techniques like swarming and obtaining cheaper technology like commercially available drones to overcome, or at least deny, the preponderant American overmatch in the burgeoning field of unmanned vehicles in all domains.

GENESIS

The first exploration into the different possibilities for weaponized lasers began in the 1990s, which culminated in a major study published by the Defense Science Board Task Force in 2001. The Task Force explored the range of possibilities and limitations related to mounting lasers on land, air, and naval platforms, and examined the budgeting timeline and technological advances necessary to build an effective operational system. In short, they recognized laser capabilities were possible and could be developed in the future, but the technological limitations of 2001––weight, energy efficiency, and laser potency, for example––did not permit the creation of effective prototypes. Nevertheless, the Task Force correctly identified the technological advances necessary to create effective platforms that could both provide both offensive and defensive capabilities.[1]

ISIS Drones (Abu Medinah/YouTube)

Since 2001, laser technology has become lighter, more potent, and more energy efficient. Recently, the development of ground-based laser defense technology has been scaled down and adapted for tactical use as a result of changing trends in contemporary warfare. This sudden interest “has been sparked in part by the proliferation of cheap, easy-to-obtain drones.”[2] Contemporary armed groups such as the Islamic State and the Houthi rebels in Yemen have employed small and inexpensive commercial-off-the-shelf drones to conduct reconnaissance missions and attack U.S. and allied forces in their respective areas of operation. To combat this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to develop a “low-cost solution for a low-cost problem.”[3] DARPA recognizes the military needs a cost-effective way to defend against lowball attacks, one that is not using a $3 million Patriot missile to take down a $200 consumer drone, which will likely increase in both quality and lethality as drone technology further develops and becomes cheaper.[4] Such a low-cost adaptation is necessary as more state and non-state actors gain access to and employ unmanned technology.[5] At present, conducting Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems operations (C-UAS) by jury-rigging multi-million dollar defense systems such as Israel’s Iron Dome is unsustainable in the long run and diverts these systems from their original purpose. If we accept that hostile drone threats will persist, the U.S. military requires systems similar to Lockheed Martin’s prototype: The High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck. It is equipped with a 50-kilowatt high-energy solid-state fiber laser and has a cost per kill of about $30.[6]

LIMITATIONS

What makes the High Energy Laser so cheap to operate? The technology has become more compact and more cost effective to produce than the early concepts of 2001. Below is the initial concept for a vehicle-borne high energy laser system as it existed in 2001.[7]

ZEUS-HLONS (USASMDC/Wikimedia)

Unfortunately, the vehicle was enormous, bulky, and overweight; this is hardly the type of agile weapon system needed on a contemporary era battlefield. The laser unit itself created an incredible amount of heat, and the vehicle’s cooling system could only keep the laser running for about 10 engagements before requiring a 30-minute cooldown period.[8] Heat signatures are a major problem on the 21st century battlefield, as most foreign militaries, to include some insurgents, have infrared sensing technologies able to detect even a well-hidden laser-shooting vehicle due to its heat signature.

Finally, the vehicle’s batteries lacked the capacity and staying power needed to operate such a large unit for normal combat operations. This laser was 100 kW––double the energy output of Lockheed’s concept. The 2001 Science Board Task Force report identified this shortfall, and recommended “the cost in terms of watt of output energy must fall by over an order of magnitude to be affordable for an Army ground weapon system.”[9] Also, the Board noticed “the primary cost driver [appeared] to be the microchannel cooler manufacturing” and suggested a “hybrid-electrical ground vehicle is ideally suited to carry [the laser], since the same prime power source can serve to provide both the propulsion of the vehicle and power to the laser.”[10] These limitations hindered the production of a viable platform until more efficient and cost-effective technologies became available.

DEVELOPMENT

Newer vehicles tested by Lockheed and Raytheon address these problems by both limiting the laser’s energy output to around 50 kW and using hybrid engines that can both move the vehicle and provide electricity for the lasers.[11] Additionally, as noted by John Kester in Foreign Policy, “traditional weapons require stockpiles of ammunition, which is costly to produce and transport,” but “the high energy laser system requires only fuel to complete its mission.”[12] This advantage could perhaps be exploited even further with the emergence of alternative fuels such as hydrogen cells, which could be a robust alternative since a hydrogen-powered vehicle would only need to carry water, an immensely more useful and available resource on the modern battlefield. In addition, it would be less dangerous than carrying around combustible fuels.

The 2001 Task Force also made the following observation regarding the system’s capabilities at the time:

While continuing to move towards deployment of a mobile system using deuterium, fluoride chemical laser, the Army should broaden efforts toward development of laser technologies for a more robust, supportable system––closed-cycle chemical, solid-state, and fiber lasers. Program options for choosing a new laser should be kept open as long as possible.[13]


The solid-state lasers mentioned in the report were not a well-developed technology at the time, so the 2001 concept was equipped with a less potent chemical laser. As the technology has developed, new prototypes are equipped with solid-state lasers, which “require no volatile chemicals to produce high-powered beams,” and instead act as “combined-beam fiber lasers,” which “[pull] together different beams of light and [squish] them into one.”[14] Furthermore, solid-state lasers can be varied in size and output because “the more fiber optics you add, the more energy you get out the other end.”[15]

CONCEPT

Raytheon’s prototype, the HELWS-MRZR, takes the High-Energy Laser Weapon System, which combines a solid-state laser weapon with Raytheon’s own Multi-Spectral Targeting System, and mounts it on a Polaris MRZR® all-terrain vehicle. What results is an advanced, lightweight, and adaptable weapons system that meets a specific military demand. In creating the HELWS-MRZR, Raytheon has not really invented a new technology; they have simply combined existing technologies to create a low cost solution. By changing traditional linkages, improving existing capabilities, and adapting to a specific demand, Raytheon may have created an innovation with the potential to improve the battlefield environment for the U.S. and its allies.

HELWS-MRZR (Raytheon/Wired)

This is important as U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Syria have had to rely on anti-drone rifles that incidentally scramble their own electronics, degrading their anti-Islamic State operations.[16] A Popular Mechanics article on the HELWS-MRZR quoted Ben Allison, director of Raytheon's high energy laser product line, who said, “We didn't want to go out and do a bunch of research and development…We wanted to take the assets and capabilities Raytheon has today and use them to really affect this asymmetrical threat. We settled on a small system that's hugely capable.”[17] In short, Raytheon has not developed a disruptive breakthrough, but simply pieced together existing technologies in an innovative manner to meet a very specific need.

IMPLEMENTATION

Based on the capabilities afforded by the High-Energy Laser Weapon System, we can speculate how this innovation will influence future military operations. Because of its size and mobility, the High-Energy Laser Weapon System can provide force protection for small ground units or convoys by defending against enemy airborne drone threats. The High-Energy Laser Weapon System can run the targeting system for up to four hours and fire the laser 20-30 times on a single charge, and if connected to a generator it could, in theory, fire indefinitely.[18] Ideally, this innovation would immediately neutralize enemy drone threats using its precision and intense heat, thus denying enemy drone capabilities. By creating an umbrella over troops and vehicles, it can provide immediate protection against drone-borne attacks, which occurred up to 10 to 15 times a day against U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces in Mosul. In some cases, the system can even intercept some mortar and rocket fire, an ongoing problem in current theaters of operation.[19] High-energy lasers might even be able to assist in explosive ordnance disposal efforts, as well as prevent vehicle-borne improvised explosive device threats, which would largely benefit disposal teams and the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization by providing a rapid response asset class that could decrease both the risk to friendly forces and collateral damage to innocent bystanders. Each of these advances would free up the situational awareness of U.S. and allied troops who need to maintain a competitive edge over insurgents.

As tactical laser technology keeps advancing, the potential for further implementation and integration will likely grow. In addition to providing unmanned aerial vehicle defense for small units and special operations forces, perhaps multiple High-Energy Laser Weapon System could be employed to create a mobile aerial defense umbrella using layered systems to defend convoys or forward operating bases against drones and precision munitions. In addition, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines are each exploring ways to mount the laser system on their own ships and aircraft for counter-unmanned aerial system defense and other uses. Currently, the Air Force Research Lab has embarked on their Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, which is “aimed at creating sufficient on-board power, optics and high-energy lasers able to defend large platforms such as a B-52 bomber, C-130 aircraft or fighter jets.”[20] Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command are also exploring options for airborne defense against “ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons” as well as offensive capabilities.[21]

Finally, the U.S. Navy has tested an “active laser weapons system” on the Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Ponce.[22] The laser is capable of destroying unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, mortars, and moving surface targets such as small boats within “one to five miles.”[23] The U.S. Army has also begun testing high-energy laser systems, deploying the High-Energy Laser Weapon System MRZR in combat maneuver exercises and mounting a test version of Raytheon’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System on AH-64 Apache helicopters.[24] It might not be long before these weaponized laser systems become so miniaturized and efficient that soldiers in the field could carry them as easily as an M-4.

CONCLUSION

By adapting a current technology, defense industry giants Raytheon, Lockheed, and Boeing have each developed weapon systems specifically designed to employ the High-Energy Laser Weapon System to counter modern asymmetric threats. This cheaper approach is particularly novel, as they have done this without having to budget and program for the long-term development of a specific and costly weapon system. Tests have shown these systems offer precise, effective, and relatively inexpensive defense capabilities that can be adapted for a multitude of roles and numerous platforms.[25] If successfully implemented, innovations such as the High-Energy Laser Weapon System MRZR and similar vehicle-borne laser defense systems have the potential to change the tactical and operational landscape by effectively neutralizing an array of airborne threats; protecting countless American, allied, and civilian lives and assets.

Jason Sattler is a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The views expressed at the author’s alone and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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Header Image: Conceptual Image of Lasers Attacking Unmanned Systems (Lockheed Martin)

NOTES:

[1] Welch, Larry D., USAF (Ret), and Donald C. Latham. "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on High Energy Laser Weapon Systems Applications." (June 2001), accessed October 24, 2017.

[2] Kester, John. "Army, Defense Companies Making Renewed Push for Laser Weapons." Foreign Policy. last modified October 12, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/12/army-defense-companies-making-renewed-push-for-laser-weapons/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Jahara W. Matisek, “Shades of Gray Deterrence: Issues of Fighting in the Gray Zone,” Journal of Strategic Security 10, no. 3 (2017): 1-26.

[6] Kester, Army Defense.

[7] Welch, Report, 123.

[8] Ibid, 123.

[9] Welch, Report, 79

[10] Ibid., 34.

[11] Tucker, Patrick. "US Army to Test Powerful New Truck-Mounted Laser 'Within Months'." Defense One, last modified March 16, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017. http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/03/us-army-test-powerful-new-truck-mounted-laser-within-months/136239/

[12] Kester, John. "Army, Defense Companies”

[13] Welch, Report, xvii

[14] Tucker, Patrick. "US Army to Test”

[15] Ibid.

[16] Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. "ISIS Drones Are Attacking U.S. Troops and Disrupting Airstrikes in Raqqa, Officials Say." The Washington Post, last modified June 14, 2017, accessed November 09, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/06/14/isis-drones-are-attacking-u-s-troops-and-disrupting-airstrikes-in-raqqa-officials-say/?utm_term=.50b414d7d24c.

[17] Mizokami, Kyle. "This ATV Shoots Down Drones With Lasers." Popular Mechanics, last modified October 16, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Moore, Jack. "ISIS Using Drones Rigged with Munitions to Attack Advancing Forces in Raqqa." Newsweek, last modified June 26, 2017, accessed January 26, 2018. http://www.newsweek.com/isis-using-drones-rigged-munitions-attack-advancing-forces-raqqa-628955.

[20] Osborn, Kris. "Air Force Tests Bolt-On Aircraft Laser Weapon." Scout Warrior, last modified May 28, 2017, accessed November 5, 2017. https://scout.com/military/warrior/Article/Air-Force-Tests-Bolt-On-Aircraft-Laser-Weapon-101458201

[21] Ibid.

[22] Gady, Franz-Stefan. "US Navy Tests Worlds First Drone-Killing Laser Weapons System." The Diplomat, last modified July 19, 2017, accessed November 05, 2017. https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/us-navy-tests-worlds-first-drone-killing-laser-weapons-system/.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Judson, Jen. "US Army tests laser on Apache helicopter." Defense News, last modified August 08, 2017, accessed November 28, 2017. https://www.defensenews.com/2017/06/26/us-army-tests-laser-on-apache-helicopter/.

[25] Hawkins, Derek. "Laser-equipped Helicopter Zaps Its First Target, to Defense Contractor's Delight." The Washington Post, last modified June 27, 2017, accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/27/laser-equipped-helicopter-zaps-its-first-target-to-defense-contractors-delight/?utm_term=.35228e1c7754.



https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/11/29/high-energy-laser-systems-and-the-future-of-warfare


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In a burnt-out, four-story shopping mall on the eastern outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, one room blared with the raucous sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s—Metallica, Boston, Blue Oyster Cult. American troops had occupied the Sha’ab Central Market, then known as the Forward Operating Base Callahan, in 2007, and from there,…

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          The double standards applied to academic freedom      Cache   Translate Page      

The political right is not only cracking down on academic freedoms, but has started simultaneously to become a fierce advocate of an aggressively anti-intellectual freedom of speech.

The embattled Central European University in Budapest, November 24, 2018. Omar Marques/Press Asociation. All rights reserved.

The Central European University (CEU) will move their main campus to Vienna. It has appeared inevitable for a while now due to a crackdown and targeting by Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Yet, the significance and repercussions of this fact are profound and remind us that academic freedom is not only under attack in places far away from home. My own area of interest, gender studies, has been particularly targeted not only in Hungary but more widely in anti-gender studies movements and lobbies, including in Germany where we have also seen the rise of the extreme right.

Until quite recently, academic freedom, or rather the absence thereof, was something other people had to struggle with. Based in London, where I have been working at what is probably the most radical and progressive institution of higher education within the UK, I generally felt privileged and confident in my academic freedom. Meanwhile, I was acutely aware that colleagues elsewhere, mainly those researching and teaching in the Middle East, but also academics working in Middle East Studies in the US, were challenged by many different forms of encroachment on and violations of their academic freedom. 

In some extreme cases, such as those of my colleagues, friends and family in Iraq during the Ba‘th regime, it was not merely a matter of working in the context of severe censorship and political pressure, but Iraqi academics actually endured a struggle to stay out of prison cells, or even worse, to avoid execution. All these years, I assumed that my role was to be that of expressing solidarity, raising consciousness about the plight of my colleagues, and facilitating refuge.

Instrumentalised

Nowadays, however, academic freedom has become a real issue within British higher education in general, as well as within SOAS, University of London, the institution I have been attached to for the past 11 years. Academic freedom is acutely under threat, and violated, but also instrumentalised and twisted in a most bizarre manner. 

Certainly, the consequences and symptoms of these encroachments and manipulations are not comparable to what colleagues are enduring in the worst-offending places, for example, to what we have been witnessing in Turkey under Erdoğan in recent years.

Yet, it is important to recognise that something significant has shifted and has affected our understandings of and debates about academic freedom in the UK. 

This shift within British higher education relates to wider changes within the political landscape in Britain and more broadly in western contexts. It is characterised by the securitization of migration, borders and ideas, the growth of racism, Islamophobia, and wider xenophobia as well as the broader increase and normalization of right wing voices, organizations and movements.

The ‘Prevent Duty’

More specifically, research, teaching, publications and academic debate in the UK have increasingly been under scrutiny and restricted due to the introduction in 2015 of what has been called  ‘the Prevent Duty’, a set of rules and guidelines that are part of wider anti-terrorism legislation. 

Prevent contains a duty on specified authorities including universities to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’ (Home Office, 2015). Allison Scott-Bauman, Professor of Society and Belief at SOAS has studied how the Prevent Duty has been interpreted and applied at various universities. In her view and that of her co-author Hugh Tomlinson, the 2015 anti-terrorism act is unclear and potentially misleading:

Broad definitions of extremism seem to be linked to equally imprecise definitions of “terrorism”, “non-violent extremism”, “radicalisation” and “fundamental British values”. These definitions could be understood to mean that people who are, for example, critical of British foreign policy, are at risk of radicalisation and to suggest that academics and students accustomed to expressing personal views at university would need to be warned of the risks of discussing certain issues. But this is not correct, and universities should not let the imprecise and unclear language of the guidance draw them into placing unlawful restrictions on academic freedom and freedom of speech. (Scott-Baumann and Tomlinson, 2017).

The University College Union (UCU), a large union of academics and professional staff working in higher education in the UK passed a statement in 2015 setting out several objections to the Prevent Duty (UCU, 2015): [it] seriously threatens academic freedom and freedom of speech; the broad definition of terrorism will stifle campus activism; the intention to force union members to be involved in the racist labelling of students is unacceptable; the Prevent Agenda will force union members to spy on  learners, is discriminatory towards Muslims, and legitimises Islamophobia and xenophobia, encouraging racist views to be publicised and normalised within society; the monitoring of Muslim students will destroy the trust needed for a safe and supportive learning environment and encourage discrimination against BME and Muslim staff and students; and the Prevent agenda will help racist parties such as UKIP to flourish.

The Prevent Duty is generally only applied in relation to speakers and events linked to Islam and Palestine-related speakers, with the latter more specifically those supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel. Right wing speakers and organizations promoting nationalist sentiments and policies, racism, Islamophobia as well as homophobia and transphobia not only seem to be excluded from the idea of spreading extremist ideas, but are ironically protected by the current government. 

In this wider context, SOAS has been particularly singled out within the media and by think tanks of a specific political persuasion. The right wing Henry Jackson Society, for example, issued a report in 2017 listing all universities who were supposedly in breach of the Prevent Duty for hosting extremist speakers. SOAS allegedly hosted more extremist speakers than any other university in the UK. However, when examining the 14 events that took place at SOAS in 2016/2017 listed in the report, many refer to prayer meetings, events organised by the Islamic Society or discussions around Palestine (Black, 2017). While most events were hosted by a student group working under the auspices of the student union, some events, especially those linked to Palestine-related issues have been organised by academics.

So far, it needs to be stressed, that the violations of academic freedom which have ensued at universities in the UK and which have mainly involved the cancellation of events or imposition of control over their format, as well as instances of censorship in terms of content – have mainly emerged due to university management giving in to pressure from political lobbying groups or the media, as opposed to overt pressure exerted by the government.

The ‘neutral chair’: a Troll’s charter

A number of incidents together illustrate how academic freedom has been concretely under threat in the UK. Aside from cancelling meetings deemed to be too contentious and provocative, university managements have replaced panel chairs shortly before ‘controversial’ meetings. The two most high profile cases, at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and University of Cambridge took place in November 2017 in relation to panels about Palestinian Rights, the BDS movement, and transnational solidarity. In both instances, the original chairs were deposed at the last minute by university management who gave in to external pressure. At LSE, management tried to implement the following guidelines: "At controversial events it is not prudent to have someone in the chair whose own views mean they may not be seen as a neutral chairperson"(Letter by LSE Academics, 2018). The university’s advice was strongly challenged by a group of LSE academics who signed a letter and started a campaign to counter its recommendations.

One professor of Middle East history and politics, John Chalcraft, who has been involved in a successful campaign to challenge the university’s policy, put it the following way:

"To impose a Chair is very problematic in terms of freedom of speech, as it makes the beliefs and views of this or that academic a basis for determining the allocation of academic positions. It chills academic freedom on campus because it reduces the pool of available Chairs, and signals that certain views are beyond the pale and must be policed. It defines controversy and neutrality in simplistic, conventional terms, a particularly egregious error at a research university, which exists to question the received wisdom. There is a serious issue over equality and diversity, given that School-imposed Chairs are more likely to be white, senior, and male. Above all, to depose a Chair is to signal to academic staff and to the wider world, that certain academics, thanks to their beliefs, are not competent to discharge basic academic functions. If academics cannot observe due process in the Chair, then how can they mark exams or teach subjects that are deemed ‘controversial’? Far from protecting academics, these guidelines expose them to internal and external interrogations of their beliefs and views. It is in the words of one academic, a ‘troll’s charter’. So far there is little or no evidence that a neutral Chair has ever been imposed on a pro-Israeli event, or indeed, any event that was not concerned with Palestinian rights. On the other hand, the guidelines could be used, in principle, against any academic or event. As one worried academic said to me: ‘I am German, does that mean I cannot Chair a Brexit debate?" (Chalcraft, 2018)

Unsurprisingly, both academics who were deposed as chairs by management were women of an ethnic minority background.  They were replaced by senior white male academics. The LSE female academic was of Turkish background but perceived to be unfit to chair neutrally due to her signing BDS statements. In the case of the University of Cambridge replacing a SOAS academic, her Palestinian heritage appeared to have contributed to the university’s decision, in addition to her support of BDS. 

An open letter signed by hundreds of academics criticised the decision by Cambridge University management, pointing out that much of the correspondence opposing the event and leading to the decision to replace the chair had originated in a well-known pro-Israel lobby group. The lobby group objected to the high profile panellists, including Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti and former President of the National Student Union, Malia Bouattia, the first black and Muslim woman to be in this role.

Following the campaign objecting to the university’s decision, which involved not only an open letter but also a complaint sent by my SOAS colleague herself as well as supporting letters from senior colleagues at SOAS, the University of Cambridge’s management finally issued an apology, acknowledging that there was no evidence that her chairing would not have ensured a democratic debate (Mandhai, 2018).

Knee-jerk reactions

Both the University of Cambridge and LSE appear to have made a U-turn in response to pushback from academics. With reference to the successful campaign by LSE academics to challenge managements’ initial guidelines stressing the importance of ‘the neutral Chair’, Chalcraft states: "The new Code advances academic freedom here by removing the link between competence to Chair and beliefs and views. The School can no longer replace the Chair of an Event on the basis of the Chair’s beliefs. The School has accepted, and declared itself persuaded, by our core argument that the existing local regulations chill freedom of speech. It has changed the Code accordingly."

Chalcraft stresses that collective action and concerted efforts allowed for the successful overturning of the university’s initial position and guidance. The new code, he states, is in line with ‘the new Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which establishes, among other things, e.g. at  14 (7) that staff are free to "question and test received wisdom, and . . . to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at the provider."

Academics in the UK are struggling to retain their academic freedom against outside pressures, mainly linked to right wing Islamophobic but also extreme pro-Israel lobbies. It has become apparent that collective action within institutions, but also national and transnational lobbying, can be successful in reversing what appear to be knee-jerk reactions by university managements.

Meanwhile, the conservative government, particularly the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, has taken it upon itself to make academic freedom central to their policy and rhetoric. However, perhaps predictably, the Minister and other conservative politicians have not been concerned about the potential impact of the Prevent Duty and right wing pressures on academics and students, but are worried about free speech being curtailed by ‘no platforming’ pressures at universities.

Twisted defence of academic freedom

In a most recent twist of the government’s mission to defend academic freedom in British universities, the former Minister of Universities Sam Gyimah, condemned students and academics at Oxford who protested when a portrait of Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK was added to an exhibition within the School of Geography and the Environment intended to inspire the next generation of female geographers (Weale and Elgot, 2018).

Students and staff appear to have been incensed by the lack of consultation and questioned the appropriateness of including the portrait of May. As Prime Minister of a conservative government that has been instrumental in implementing severe cuts to higher education, is promoting immigration control and a fear-mongering discourse around refugees and asylum seekers, while leading a party set on Brexit, May has become an extremely controversial figure. Yet, the Minister of Universities used the protest as another occasion to criticise ‘no platforming’ voices, agendas and movements at universities.

In 2017, his predecessor, Jo Johnson, brother of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, threatened to hit universities who were banning homophobic or transphobic speakers with fines and sanctions. In an interview with Pink News, an LGBT+ newspaper, he stated that universities which fail to comply “could be fined, suspended or ultimately deregistered” by the newly established Office for Students (Duffy, 2017). He further claimed that these new rules are needed “to protect freedom of speech” (ibid).

Following in Johnson’s footsteps, Sam Gyimah, announced a year later that  “When there are so many different interpretations of the rules, there is the risk that legal free speech will be stifled, either by well-intentioned but jittery managers, or by ill-intentioned wreckers” (Duffy, 2018). He continued stating: “A society in which people feel they have a legitimate right to stop someone expressing their views on campus simply because they are unfashionable or unpopular is rather chilling." (ibid).

At face value, one might agree with his assessment that “there is a risk that overzealous interpretation of a dizzying variety of rules is acting as a brake on legal free speech on campus" (ibid). However, his enthusiasm for free speech is never linked to defending events that have been cancelled or subject to ‘neutral chair’ measures because of their perceived controversy in relation to Palestine/Israel. Nor does he seem to be defending Muslim students organizing prayer meetings or lecturers. Meanwhile, LGBTQ activists are concerned that the Minister’s attitude and future rulings, might enable speakers with homophobic and transphobic views to gain ground and platforms.

While gender studies as a discipline has not been under attack in the UK as it has been in Hungary and elsewhere, it is apparent that conservative and heteronormative understandings of gender and sexuality are also key to right wing discourses and policies in the UK as well. We see extreme versions of the centrality of ultra conservative gender constructions in the way the Hungarian government, similar to many governments in the Middle East, try to replace gender politics with politics that revolve around the heterosexual family.  

Hate speech

Aside from the government’s inconsistent approach to freedom of speech, there is clearly a tension between the idea of freedom of speech as an absolute right and principle and the notion of hate speech. Although I have to admit that I see these distinctions as complex and blurry. 

Personally, I worry about the growing tendency amongst students to demand safe spaces, given the grey zone between ‘hate speech’ and ‘listening to views you do not share’. In my view, an important element of education is pushing students out of their comfort zones and challenging established views. I share Joan Scott’s concerns, which emerged in the context of higher education in the US but, which are also highly relevant in the UK. Scott bemoans:

"the moralism that is apparent  in some courses and some student activism, the calls for “trigger warnings,” the insistence on the authority of their experiences by those whose minority status has silenced or marginalized them – who look to “safe spaces” as a way to gain traction in an otherwise hostile or neglectful institutional and social environment, who erupt in protests that are sometimes ill-considered violations of the rights they need to respect and protect." (Scott, 2017).

While I share her concerns and view them as problematic, they do not justify the growing call by right wing constituencies to protect their freedom of speech. And here emerges a clear paradox and contradiction: the British government is critical of new generations of students being sensitive "snowflakes" "that should face reality and toughen up"; at the same time, the very same students "must be protected from radical ideas on campus." (Perfect and Scott-Bauman, 2017).

Meanwhile, research carried out by Scoot-Bauman and her team on higher education in the UK shows that:

"the real risks to free speech come, not from the ‘snowflake generation’, but from government-originated initiatives. Specific pressure is applied to Muslim student groups and those interested in the Middle East. Our on-going research appears to show that students and staff, Muslim and non-Muslim, are already self-censoring their discussions and activities as a result." (Perfect & Scott-Bauman 2017).

Vile pressures

The complex problems and challenges we are facing in higher education in the UK and elsewhere, I would argue, force us to think about academic freedom in a more nuanced manner. Despite the blurriness, I would want to stress the difference between freedom of speech and academic freedom. Joan Scott provides a helpful distinction between freedom of speech, ‘the right to express one’s ideas, however true or false they may be’ and academic freedom ‘a protection of faculty rights based on disciplinary competence’ (Scott, 2017). In the context of US higher education, Scott further states:

"These days the Right’s reference to free speech sweeps away the guarantees of academic freedom, dismissing as so many violations of the constitution the thoughtful, critical articulation of ideas, the demonstration of proof based on rigorous examination of evidence, the distinction between true and false, between careful and sloppy work, the exercise of reasoned judgment. Their free speech means the right to one’s opinion, however unfounded, however ungrounded, and it extends to every venue, every institution. That may be why freedom is the principle invoked so forcefully on the Right these days – freedom in the sense of the absence of any restraint. From this perspective, the bad boys can say anything they want, however vile and hateful." (Scott, 2017)

The depiction of this specific situation, although clearly articulated in the context of the US, has many parallels with the growing encroachment and pressures by right wing politicians, media and think tanks in the UK. So far, the pressures in the UK have not been as ferocious and vile as in the US where the wider political divide seems to be even more extreme than in post-Brexit referendum Britain. Yet, Scott’s words above feel all too familiar.

Leaving London

As I ponder my imminent move to leave London after 24 years to take up a position in the US, I am anxious about ideologically motivated and often rather polemic attacks on universities and academics. According to US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, all university faculty, “from adjunct professors to deans,” are guilty of brainwashing college students. In a speech given at the Conservative Political Action Conference, DeVos accused academics of tainting students with “liberal ideology” (Jaschick 2017). While in my current world ‘liberal ideology” would be a derogatory term referring to conservative capitalist ideas, in DeVos’ and that of her government’s discursive horizon, ‘liberal’ seems to signify radical unpatriotic thinking. Yet, despite the attack on universities by the Trump administration, I take comfort in the fact that so many of my colleagues in the US have been at the forefront of speaking truth to power.  

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, which will be my new academic home, is also an excellent example to illustrate that academic freedom should not simply be equated with academic autonomy, although autonomy is, of course, a principle we have to defend. Trying to educate myself about our foremothers who fought for gender-based equality in academia, I am reminded of the struggle of Louise Lamphere, the professor who when denied tenure in the anthropology department at Brown in 1974, jointly with three other female colleagues, took the university to court. In an out of court settlement, the department was forced to reverse its decision not to grant Lamphere tenure, despite its argument that the decision was based on the department’s autonomy as a basic tenant of academic freedom (Porwancher, 2013).

The out of court settlement established that transparency and the principle of equality were more important than the principle of autonomy.

As we are joined in the struggle for academic freedom in different political and national contexts, we will have to negotiate the very principles that inform our respective conceptualizations and possibly recognise that there might be tensions and ambivalences in what we view as priorities. 

Concluding reflections

I grew up in Germany where I learnt very early on that following government orders, blind obedience and silence might actually mean complicity in crime and can lead to terrible atrocities. Very early on I learnt that it was important to develop an independent moral compass and to follow ethical principles rooted in the respect for human dignity rather than the rules of an authoritarian regime.

So I was very happy and moved to see that over a thousand Turkish academics were courageous enough to sign a petition in January 2016 in order to distance themselves from the atrocities and crimes against the Kurdish population, particularly in south-eastern Turkey. Since then, academics in Turkey have paid a very high price for speaking out, and for daring to challenge the authoritarian regime.

All over the world, it has been the role of intellectuals, educators and researchers to speak truth to power and not to be silent when injustice happens. Academic freedom has been integral to the development of the social sciences and the humanities historically and globally. Whenever academic freedom has been under threat, we know that a country is in big trouble: the attack on academic freedom has previously meant that a regime is failing to convince its thinkers with rational arguments as it needs to use coercive measures to maintain control.

I knew this not only from my history teachers and readings about Nazi Germany, but while growing up and becoming educated in a relatively free environment, I became acutely aware of the severe restrictions on both freedom of speech and academic freedom posed on researchers, teachers, writers and intellectuals in Iraq during the Ba‘th regime.

During my graduate studies in Cairo in the 90s, I also learnt, for the first time, about the complicity of a university management that has given in to external pressures and calls for censorship instead of defending the academic freedom of their staff and students. This became apparent when a colleague and friend of mine was forced to change his reading list at the American University in Cairo after a student, whose father had an important position in the military, complained about the content of some readings being un-Islamic. Instead of defending my friend’s choice of readings, the university management caved in and asked him to change the reading list while withdrawing copies of the book from the library.

Historically, a regime lost legitimacy, respect and credibility, not only in the eyes of its own critical and thoughtful population, but also in the eyes of the global critical mass of people believing in democracy, justice and human rights. These days, however, the rules of engagement appear to have changed drastically. Across the globe, rationality and logic, however broad the political spectrum they were on previously, are being challenged by populism, fake news and so-called alternative facts. In this new age where social media insidiously threatens to eradicate our freedom of mind, and where polarised positions are fostered in ghettoised ideological bubbles, the principle of academic freedom is contested and manipulated to different political ends.

All of a sudden, the political right is not only cracking down on academic freedoms in different contexts, but has started simultaneously to become a fierce advocate of freedom of speech, thereby not only engaging in aggressive anti-intellectualism but also giving space and platforms to ideas and practices that are counter to principles of equality and justice.

References

Black, Richard (2017) ‘Extreme Speakers and Events: In the 2016 2017 Academic Year’,

Chalcraft, John (2018) ‘On ‘Neutral’ Chairs’, in BRICUP Newsletter 119, March 2018. 

Duffy, Nick (2017) Universities must allow anti-transgender speakers, in Pink News, 19 October 2017.

Higher Education and Research Act 2017.

Jaschick, Scott. 2017. “DeVos vs. the Faculty.” Inside Higher Education, February 24.

Letter by LSE Academics (2018) 20 February 2018

Mandhai Shafik (2018) 'Cambridge apologises for blocking Palestinian from chairing talk’, Al Jazeera News, 6 March 2018.

Perfect, Simon and Allison Scott-Bauman (2017) ‘An anatomy of judgement: how do snowflakes think?’,

Porwancher, Andrew (2013) Prying the gates wide open: academic freedom and gender equality at Brown University, 1974–1977, Paedagogica Historica, 49:2, 273-292.

Scott, Joan (2017) “On Free Speech and Academic Freedom’, in Journal of Academic Freedom, Vol. 8, 2017.

Scott-Baumann, Allison and Hugh Tomlinson (2017) “Cultural Cold Wars: The risk of anti-‘extremism’ policy for academic freedom of expression’, Inform’s Blog: The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog.

UCU (2015) ‘The prevent duty guidance for branches’. December 2015.

Weale, Sally and Jessica Elgot (2018) ‘Hung, withdrawn, and re-quartered: May portrait in Oxford row’, in The Guardian, 8 May 2018

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          [英語の落ち穂拾い]shepherd 復習      Cache   Translate Page      

 George HW Bush, who as the 41st president shepherded the US through a turbulent period in global relations that included the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, has died. He was 94. (Skip the rest)

https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/01/george-hw-bush-former-us-president-dies-aged-94

 今回取り上げる語は、shepherd /ˈʃɛpəd/ です。この記事の中で shepherded は過去分詞の形で使われており、文脈から判断すると「導く」といった意味だと推測することが出来ます。以下で意味や語源を確認していきます。

 まず意味を Cambridge Dictionary でみると、“to make a group of people move to where you want them to go, especially in a kind, helpful, and careful way” とあり、LDOCE には “to lead or guide a group of people somewhere, making sure that they go where you want them to go” と定義されていました。

 次に語源を OED でみると、“Old English scēaphierde, from sheep + obsolete herd ‘herdsman’.” とあります。

 以上のことから、shepherd は羊飼いの意から「導く、案内する」という意味を持つことがわかりました。(OkaUchi)


shepherd (v.) - 田邉祐司ゼミ 常時英心:言葉の森から


          Isis returns to insurgent roots after defeats      Cache   Translate Page      
Group re-emerges as ‘clandestine’ organisation sowing instability in Iraq and Syria
          Ten funny tweets      Cache   Translate Page      





































          Review The Iran-Iraq War Volume 2: Iran Strikes back, June 1982-December 1986      Cache   Translate Page      

Hooton, E.R., Cooper, Tom & Nadimi, Farzin, The Iran-Iraq War Volume 2: Iran Strikes back, June 1982-December 1986, West Midlands: Helion & Company Limited, 2017

The Iran-Iraq War Volume 2 covers the middle of the conflict. Saddam Hussein had attacked Iran in 1980 with not much of a plan. Things quickly went wrong, and by 1982 Iran was on the offensive invading Iraq. That period is what is covered in this second of four volumes. The book is in large format with small font, which means it packs a lot even though its only 80 pages long.

In 1982 the Iranian leadership was debating what should be the next phase of the war. By that time, Tehran had recaptured almost all of its lost territory. President Ali Husseini Khamenei and the Iranian army believed that they should end the war while they were ahead. On the other side were the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezai and Speaker of Parliament Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who wanted to invade Iraq and punish Saddam for starting the conflict. The Iranian army believed that the military lacked the heavy equipment and parts to sustain any kind of extended offensive campaign in enemy territory. The IRGC and Speaker Rafsanjani argued that Iran’s overwhelming superiority in manpower and the revolutionary spirit of the Guard Corps could overwhelm the Iraqis and force them to surrender. Initially, they also believed that Iraq’s Shiites would rise up against the government. The latter won, leading to an invasion of Iraq.

From 1982-86 the Iranians made four major attempts to seize Basra. There was Operation Ramadan in 1982 attacking Fish Lake, which was Iraqi defensive line protecting Basra City. 1984 saw Operation Kheibar attacking the Hawizah Marshes and the Majnoon Islands north of Fish Lake. Operation Badr began in 1985 aiming at taking Basra city. 1986 was the year of Operation Wal Fajr 8 that attacked the Fao Peninsula. The strategy in all these offensives except for the last one was for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its auxiliaries the Basij to overwhelm the Iraqi defenses with their manpower, and then the Iranian army would use its armor to breakthrough into the Iraqi hinterland. That never happened as the Iranians only made minor gains in all four pushes. At the peak of Operation Ramadan for instance, the Iranians seized 300 square kilometers of Iraqi territory, but after Iraqi counterattacks that was reduced to 80 square kilometers, none of which had any strategic significance. During Operation Kheibar the Iranians took both Majnoon Islands, but by the end lost one of the islands, and the Iraqis had a bridgehead on the other. In 1986 the Iranians were able to seize the tip of the Fao Peninsula and were then stopped. The Iraqi counterattacks, which relied upon heavy concentrations of tanks were almost always successful in pushing back the Iranians. In the end, Tehran never made the decisive victory it was hoping for.

The authors pin this failure on the Iranian leadership and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). The Iranian army was questioned for its loyalty especially after a coup attempt early in the war. As a consequence, and because clerics were leading the government, the IRGC was the dominant force in all of the offensives. That force had major shortcomings. First, the Iranians were always short of heavy weapons and parts. This was especially true of the IRGC, which while later acquiring armor, helicopters, ships, etc. was still basically made up of infantry units. Much has been made of the IRGC and the Basij making human wave attacks upon set Iraqi defenses. The authors argue the real problems were a lack of training early on, and the lack of command and control, which led to poor offensive operations. For example, the IRGC would usually carry out extensive ground reconnaissance of the Iraqi positions, attempt to infiltrate them, and then attack from multiple directions to overwhelm the enemy. The issues were the IRGC were often over zealous and attacked before artillery softened up the Iraqis. Because the IRGC lacked radios if it took a position it would simply hold it and not exploit any tactical advantages they might have because it took so long to get new orders to them. They would not fortify their positions, which would make them vulnerable to Iraqi counter attacks. The IRGC lacked artillery and tanks to fight off the Iraqis. There was poor cooperation with the Iranian army, and the air force flew hardly any tactical missions because they couldn’t afford to lose many planes. Finally, Iran was never able to close the material gap it faced against the Iraqis. For example, by 1986 Iran had 1,000 tanks, 1,400 armored fighting vehicles (AFVs), and 600-800 guns versus 3,000 tanks, 2,5000 AFVs, and 1,800 guns possessed by the Iraqis. Even though the Iranians learned from each one of its battles, it’s strategic vision remained committed to using the IRGC in largely infantry attacks upon the Iraqi defenses. For its part, the IRGC was never able to overcome its lack of heavy equipment and problems with its command and control.

The results of the problems with the Iranian forces were staggering losses for few gains. After Operation Ramadan Iran admitted to 7,000 dead. The United States estimated they suffered 14,000 casualties overall versus 8,700 for the Iraqis. In Operation Kheibar, the U.S. believed Tehran faced 20,000 dead against 7,000 by the Iraqis. Despite this, by 1986 the IRGC commander Rezai was still talking about his men overwhelming the Iraqis and leading to victory. For ideological reasons the Iranian leadership continued to commit its revolutionary forces over the Iranian army despite the IRGC being an inferior force.

Despite The Iran-Iraq War Volume 2 being such a short volume it includes quite a lot of information. There are pictures on nearly every page from private collections. There are color prints of armored vehicles and helicopters used by both sides. Most importantly there are maps of all the campaign areas. The text covers the commanders, the units down to brigade level, the settings, the preparations, the attacks, counterattacks and aftermath in a blow by blow description of each Iranian offensive. It’s one break from being a conventional war history is its contention that Operation Wal Fajr 8 wasn’t really aimed at taking Basra, but rather intimidating Kuwait and the Gulf States into not supporting Iraq anymore. That’s based upon the fact that the main Iranian force was deployed in the south where there was limited maneuverability up the Fao Peninsula rather than in the north, which would have provided an easier route to Basra city. Overall, the book is a great read on the tactical and strategic situation in southern Iraq during the middle of the Iran-Iraq War.



          This Day In Iraqi History - Dec 4      Cache   Translate Page      

1920 Churchill wrote PM George that his desire to hold Mosul and Mesopotamia was
compromised by his anti-Turk policy that was threatening Mosul
(Musings On Iraq article on how Mosul province became part of Iraq)
(Musings On Iraq article on Churchill’s views on Mesopotamia/Iraq)
1924 Sir Henry Dobbs wrote Colonial Secretary Said King Faisal a foreigner who didn’t have any
support Said authority of Iraqi govt depended upon British backing and its military might
1997 UN Res 1143 extended Oil for Food Program for 3rd time
1998 Under pressure from Russia France China UN inspectors began weekly reports They wanted
inspections done by end of year
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
2001 CENTCOM Cmdr Gen Franks briefed Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen Meyers on
revised Iraq invasion plan Franks revised 1990s Op Plan 1003 Cut troops from 500,000 to 400,000 to be deployed in 6 instead of 7 months Franks said couldn't scrap Op Plan 1003 because never knew what would be needed Said would take a long time to revise Iraq war plan Rumsfeld said Afghanistan showed US didn’t need such a large and long invasion plan for Iraq Rumsfeld wanted a battle plan that could be executed in a very short time not months Franks agreed with Rumsfeld but said Op Plan 1003 only thing they had at moment Rumsfeld told Gen Franks goal of any military action against Iraq would be removing Saddam Franks given one week to revise plan Angry that Rumsfeld went from plan not important to it being urgent
(Musings On Iraq book review of Shaping the Plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Role of Military Intelligence Assessment)
2001 Blair told Bush Iraq was a threat because it had WMD could export it and violated UN
resolutions
2001 Blair paper to Bush said that they had to consider regime change in Iraq
2002 UN Res 1447 extended Oil for Food program
2004 PM Allawi attacked while visiting Imam Ali shrine in Najaf
2005 Report 1500 suspects arrested around Ramadi in last five months all Iraqis not foreigners like
White House claimed
2006 UN Sec Gen Annan said violence in Iraq worse than Lebanese civil war Said worse than life
under Saddam Said Iraqi govt unable to provide security
2006 Paul Bremer said Pentagon ignored calls for more troops to maintain order in Iraq after
invasion Said military slow to develop counterinsurgency strategy Said military thought iSF could take over security in Iraq quickly US and Iraqi govts failed to counter rise of Sadr and Mahdi Army Not providing security biggest failure of US in Iraq

View the Iraq History Timelines 

          Large Drop In Violence In Iraq November 2018      Cache   Translate Page      
(Shafaaq News)

There was a large drop in reported incidents from October to November 2018. The number of incidents dropped roughly 30% between the two months. The number of casualties likewise went down as well. The bad weather which has caused flash flooding through much of northern and central Iraq might have played a role.

There were 155 Incidents reported in Iraq in October 2018. That was down from 222 in October. That averaged out to 5.1 incidents per day in November compared to 7.1 in October. November had the lowest total and average incidents of any month in 2018. There have been torrential rains and many cities have been flooded as a result. That could have accounted for the sizeable drop in attacks during the month.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Oct-Nov 2018
Province
October
November
Anbar
16
6
Babil
5
1
Baghdad
65
32
Basra
3
1
Diyala
35
35
Dohuk
2
1
Kirkuk
48
19
KRG
7
15
Ninewa
25
26
Salahaddin
16
18
Sulaymaniya
-
1

For the previous four months Baghdad had the most incidents of any province. In November, Diyala had 35 incidents with Baghdad coming in second with 32. Attacks in Baghdad are important because they show that the Islamic State is moving back into the center of the country. Traditionally, the insurgents have hit the capital to sow terrorism and undermine the standing of the government. For four months, IS was increasing its operations in Baghdad showing that it was a new target. That subsided in November.

Monthly Security Incidents in Iraq by Province Jun-Oct 2018

Baghdad
Anbar
Diyala
Kirkuk
Ninewa
Salahaddin
Jun
33
13
51
56
12
42
Jul
49
8
46
37
29
23
Aug
58
11
44
32
27
25
Sep
65
17
36
31
18
21
Oct
65
16
35
48
25
16
Nov
32
6
35
19
26
18
(Red figure signifies highest number of incidents during the month)

There were 290 reported deaths in November. 93 bodies were discovered in mass graves during the month leaving 197 violent deaths. That included 2 Peshmerga, 14 Hashd al-Shaabi, 21 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 69 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and 184 civilians. 151 were wounded made up of 3 Peshmerga, 17 Hashd, 26 ISF, and 105 civilians. Ninewa had the most casualties with 135. That was because 69 bodies were found there in four sites, victims of when the Islamic State ruled large swaths of the governorate.

Casualties In Iraq By Province Oct Nov 2018
Province
October
November
Anbar
43 (24 K, 19 W)
34 (19 K, 15 W)
Babil
2 (2 W)
2 (2 W)
Baghdad
91 (38 K, 53 W)
57 (25 K, 32)
Basra
3 (3 K)
1 (1 W)
Diyala
46 (17 K, 29 W)
50 (22 K, 28 W)
Dohuk
12 (12 K)
3 (3 K)
Kirkuk
84 (25 K, 59 W)
19 (8 K, 11 W)
KRG
73 (73 K)
69 (69 K)
Ninewa
228 (179 K, 49 W)
135 (106 K, 29 W)
1914 Start of Battle of Qurna between British and Ottoman British attacked but beaten back
1967 Arif govt issued new press law restricting freedom of the media
1996 Iran admitted to Iraq smuggling oil through its territory violating UN sanctions and promised
action against it
1999 UN Res 1280 extended Oil for Food program
2001 Blair told Bush he was not opposed to removing Saddam
2002 Iraq officials cooperated with UN inspectors at surprise search of one of Saddam’s Baghdad
palaces
2004 3 members of Ansar al-Islam arrested for planning to assassinate PM Allawi
2004 Bush called speech writer Gerson saying he wanted to change US foreign policy to promoting
democracy Iraq at forefront
2006 Report doctor at Baghdad hospital said staff had been infiltrated by Mahdi Army Patients were
mysteriously dying and then records lost or changed Thought they were being murdered and orders were coming from Sadr controlled Health Min
2006 Report Rumsfeld memo said that US strategy in Iraq not working and needed new one Said
administration had to lower public expectations of what US could do in Iraq Was frustrated with Iraqis Said Iraq needed to do more Laid out plans for either withdrawing troops or redeploying them within Iraq Said US should think of setting benchmarks for Iraq Went against public statements of US govt against withdrawals and benchmarks
2008 Presidential Council passed Status of Forces Agreement with US setting withdrawal date for
US forces 12/31/11
2008 Baghdad-Irbil oil talks broke down KRG refused to cancel its oil contracts and demnded share
of oil revenues Oil Min Shahristani refused
(Musings On Iraq article on break down of Baghdad-KRG oil talks)
2011 Maliki accused Turkey of meddling in Iraqi affairs as relations deteriorate between two
countries 

View the Iraq History Timelines 

          Musings On Iraq In The News      Cache   Translate Page      
Musings On Iraq was cited in “Irak: Ninewa provins – sikkerhetssituasjonen per oktober 2018,” by Landinfo.

Full Musings On Iraq citations


          This Day In Iraqi History - Dec 2      Cache   Translate Page      

1920 US Consul in Baghdad said England hadn’t taken any serious steps to create an
independent Iraqi govt
1928 UK High Comm for Iraq Dobbs wrote conscription in Iraq would cause revolt Was already
problem in Basra Said authority of Iraqi govt depended upon British backing and military might
1932 King Faisal speech praised his rule in Syria Said if he was still king there Syria would be
independent like Iraq
1948 Baghdad told oil companies they should not employ Jews after creation of Israel
1980 Saddam accused US of helping Iran during Iran-Iraq war
1981 Iranian Op Tariq al-Quds Revolutionary Guard began 1sthuman wave attacks in war in Bostan
Suffered heavy losses
(Musings On Iraq interview with author Anthony Tucker-Jones on Iran-Iraq War)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review Iran-Iraq War, The Lion of Babylon, 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War)
2001 Powell said no reason to believe Iraq didn’t have WMD
2001 USA Today article said Iraq supported bin Laden when he was in Sudan in 1990s
2001 Ex-CIA Dir Woolsey said he believed Iraq involved in 9/11
2002 Bush Cheney DepSecDef Wolfowtiz gave speeches across US saying that Iraq would not
cooperate with weapons inspectors
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
2002 White House spokesman said if Saddam said he had no WMD proved he was lying if he said he
had WMD he violated UN resolutions
2002 White House spokesman said Iraq bought aluminum tubes for its nuke program
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2002 White House officials told US News & World Report they were making extensive plans for
postwar Iraq
2002 UK issued dossier on human rights abuses in Iraq Amnesty Intl attacked report as
opportunistic and selective
2003 Dep Sec State Armitage said US should not oppose Ayatollah Sistani who was pushing for
elections for new Iraq parliament
2005 Def Sec Rumsfeld told CENTCOM Cmdr Gen Abizaid and US Iraq Cmdr Gen Casey CIA
found insurgents infiltrating Iraqi army in Anbar
2005 Gen Dempsey in charge of US training mission for ISF said 100 Iraqi army battalions 33
operating on own 40 in the lead Said 27 Federal Police battalions on duty Said major problem was police were recruited locally and many were from militias
(Musings On Iraq article on pre-Surge US Iraq strategy)
2008 US and Iraqi officials met about Sahwa Maliki said he agreed with Americans organizing Sunni
tribes but southern Iraq was off limits Said southern tribes could threaten Shiite parties Came after US Marines were organizing Sahwa in Qadisiyah to counter militias  
(Musings On Iraq article on Maliki govt cancelling US forming Sahwa in southern Iraq)
2008 Oil Min Shahristani demanded KRG void its oil contracts in return for deal to allow it to export
            oil
(Musings On Iraq article on Baghdad-KRG oil talks)
2011 Mobs attacked Christian and Yazidi businesses in several towns in Dohuk province

View the Iraq History Timelines 

          Sean Hannity says Mueller's sentencing guideline regarding Mike Flynn is disrespectful to the troops      Cache   Translate Page      

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): 33 years of service, 5 years in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is the treatment? This is the thanks this country gives him? This is how we treat people? What kind of justice system is this? His house, nearly faced bankruptcy, literally and his world crashes before him and his entire family. And I would bet any amount of money that the only reason he signed this deal was well, it's the same old system. Well, we might have to go after your son worked with you and then we are going to invoke the Logan Act which nobody invokes to go after him.  

So he could have made, instead of serving his country in the private sector a lot more money. But now he has to sell his house, literally fall on the sword for his family. And don't forget, we know that they got through what a lot of this information, through what? We knew he was the victim of illegal surveillance, illegal unmasking. Illegal leaking of raw intelligence. What about the people involved in those crimes? His rights were violated at every level. Now this is a disgrace and this is what we've been telling you is a glaring example of a two-tiered justice system in America.

Previously:

Hannity prepped for an authoritarian response to the Russia probe

Sean Hannity: Trump could order a military tribunal to investigate the Department of Justice

Sean Hannity: "Mueller and Rosenstein have declared what is a legal war on the president"


          Protesters Attempt to Storm Basra Governor’s Office; 16 Killed in Iraq      Cache   Translate Page      

Protesters were repelled from the governor's offices.

The post Protesters Attempt to Storm Basra Governor’s Office; 16 Killed in Iraq appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.


          A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran      Cache   Translate Page      

Want another thing to keep you up at night? Consider a conversation between longtime Middle East reporter Reese Erlich and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, Jr. on the people currently directing the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran. Commenting on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s defense of the invasion of Iraq, Freeman says … Continue reading "A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran"

The post A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.


          El equipo investigador para la rendición de cuentas por el ISIS empezará sus pesquisas a principios de 2019      Cache   Translate Page      
La liberación de territorios iraquíes que estuvieron bajo el control de la agrupación terrorista ISIS (Daesh) permitió observar la magnitud de las atrocidades cometidas por sus militantes contra la población civil, muchas de las cuales podrían clasificarse como crímenes de guerra, de lesa humanidad y genocidio.
          Comment on 4th National Climate Assessment report by Wookey      Cache   Translate Page      
Ron. You do not seem to be aware of the work of the gapminder institute which has excellent tools and data on population: https://www.gapminder.org/tools/ It is instructive to take their 'chimpanzee test' population quiz to check your assumptions. https://www.gapminder.org/news/help-us-spread-a-fact-based-worldview/ https://www.gapminder.org/ignorance/ I agree that population is a massive problem, which makes most of the other problems much worse, but the point is that it is already under control in most of the world. The number of children born worldwide (136 million) has barely changed in 4 years - essentially the base population finally stopped rising (obviously overall population will still rise significantly because those new people last ~70 years). https://www.gapminder.org/tools/#$chart-type=popbyage It's simply not true that 'developing countries in Asia' have high fertility rates. Most of them are already low. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China are all well below replacement, and Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar are only just above and still dropping. Thailand and China have rates well below the US and most of Europe. Only Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, Tajikistan, Jordan, PNG and Palestine remain above 3. Only sub-Saharan Africa still has high fertility rates, and they are dropping there too since the 70s and 80s. Nigeria is the biggest problem as it's big _and_ high birthrate. It's currently projected to be a 400m population country by the time it stabilises. https://www.gapminder.org/tools/#$state$time$value=2018;&marker$axis_x$which=children_per_woman_total_fertility&domainMin:null&domainMax:null&zoomedMin:null&zoomedMax:null&scaleType=linear&spaceRef:null;;;&chart-type=bubbles The point of all this is that the population problem is actually largely fixed, assuming we can keep current trends in place. Fertility rates are already below replacement in most of the world, and we are already on track for a stable population around 2070. There isn't much that can be done to bend the curve very far there - people last a long time... The thing we _can_ change quickly, if we put our minds to it is the other half of the problem: consumption, which is why it makes sense to concentrate efforts there, whilst not taking our eye off the development/contraception/healthcare ball in the developing world. It is possible for countries to regress, see Egypt 2006, Tunisia 2005, France 1997, USA 1977 (and 2002), but it's quite rare.
          Iraq urges OPEC to consider longer-term strategy to stabilize oil prices      Cache   Translate Page      
Iraq's oil minister said Tuesday OPEC should consider both medium- and long-term strategies to achieve more stability
          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

The Lego Foundation adds another huge gift to the children’s education organization’s plans to create a support system for kids escaping conflict.

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Read Full Story


          Six Seconds by Rick Mofina      Cache   Translate Page      
Six Seconds
by Rick Mofina

My rating: 4 stars

Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (November 15, 2012)
Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Genre: Thriller | Suspense | Terrorism
Print Length: 496 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A vengeful woman who aches for her place in paradise...

In Iraq an aid worker who lost her husband and child in a brutal attack saves the life of an American contractor. Believing he can help her avenge her family's deaths, she follows him back home to the United States.

An anguished mother desperate to find her child...

In California a soccer mom arrives to pick up her son from school, only to discover that her husband has taken their child and vanished without a trace.

A detective who needs to redeem himself...

In the Rocky Mountains an off-duty cop rescues a little girl from a raging river moments before she utters her final words in his arms. Haunted by failure, he launches an investigation that leads him to a Montana school where time is ticking down on an event that will rewrite history....

Three strangers entangled in a plot to change the world in only six seconds....


Six Seconds by Rick Mofina

Six SecondsIn a world where in a flash, horrors of epic proportions can happen, three strangers will find their lives intertwined in one woman’s ultimate game of revenge. One woman will search for her child, one man will search for redemption and together they will hunt for the woman who lost everything in Iraq.

The journeys of Dan Graham, Canadian Mountie, Maggie Conlin, a California mother searching for her young son, taken by her battle-traumatized husband, and Samara Ingram, an Iraqi-British nurse who was brutalized while her son and husband lay dead in front of her, will collide in a Montana town in this explosive thriller by Rick Mofina.

SIX SECONDS is an action and emotion-packed thriller that will cross continents as terrorists use one woman’s grief to fashion a disposable pawn in an effort to bring the Christian world to their knees.

A fascinating and gripping plot, executed with brilliance by Rick Mofina will have readers on the edge of their seats as they realize, the world is smaller than we like to believe as Fate and chance make the perfect foils for revenge, redemption, and the unlimited power of a mother’s love.

Readers will be thrust into the story and held captive as each page unveils the horrors mankind can perpetuate on those they fear. Thought-provoking reading for contemporary times.


          US likely to keep Iraq waivers on Iran sanctions, but neutering Tehran's influence is a longer goal      Cache   Translate Page      
Iraq won't be left hanging amid Washington's sanctions on Iran, which supplies almost half of its electricity, experts familiar with U.S. policy say.
          Ascension Glossary – Golden Eagle Grid      Cache   Translate Page      
Ascension Glossary Golden Eagle Grid Abbreviation – GEG is the Golden Eagle Grid Planetary Grid Network. GEG – One of the Guardian Planetary Grid Networks defined for advanced HGS session work as: Guardian of Horizontals (Iraq – Air). Session Focus is horizontal channel openings, mental bodies, working with timelines (past or future identity clearings), Seraphim, Avian or Gold Ray Genetic […]
          Israeli operation targets Hezbollah cross-border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military launched an open-ended operation Tuesday to destroy what it said was a network of attack tunnels built by Hezbollah, saying it had foiled a plot by the Iranian-backed militant group to carry out a deadly infiltration in northern Israel.

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory, and there was no immediate reaction from Hezbollah. But the Israeli announcement threatened to push the bitter enemies closer to an open confrontation for the first time since a bruising 2006 war. The military said it had protectively increased forces along the border and warned Hezbollah to keep its distance from the tunnels.

“Hezbollah knows well that whoever attacks the state of Israel will paid a very heavy price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address in the evening. “What has been revealed to you now is but a small part of the bigger picture of our preparations and our activities and the activities we’re planning.”

The Israeli operation began shortly after Netanyahu returned from a surprise trip to Brussels to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu said he had discussed the operation with Pompeo, and he planned to talk to other world leaders, including the U.N. secretary-general.

Israeli military officials have long seen the northern front as the country’s most pressing security concern, with archenemy Iran entrenched in Syria and Hezbollah gaining strength in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is believed to be far more powerful than in the monthlong 2006 war, in which it battled Israel to a stalemate.

The group has gained valuable battlefield experience fighting alongside Iranian and Syrian troops in Syria’s civil war, and it is believed to possess an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking virtually anywhere in Israel.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army has been tracking the Hezbollah tunnel project since 2014 and that Tuesday’s operation, codenamed “Northern Shield,” had been in the works for a year and a half. He said the tunnels were not yet operational.

Standing alongside Netanyahu, Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the mission would last for several weeks. “The operation commenced because the threat posed by the tunnels became an immediate and direct threat to residents of the north and Israeli army bases,” he said.

The army said the tunnel revealed Tuesday stretched about 200 yards from a home in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kela across the border and exited in farmland southwest of the pastoral Israeli border town of Metula. It said was outfitted with electricity, a ventilation pipe and a communications cable.

Residents told Israeli media they had been hearing digging noises for years and had reported their suspicions to the military.

Metula resident Michael Mazeika said he and others received texts early Tuesday from local officials informing them of the situation.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for something like this,” he said. “I’m just glad that they found it before anything really bad happened.”

People went about their daily routines, he said, and Israel gave them no special orders, signaling it was not expecting an immediate response from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is emerging from Syria’s civil war with thousands of its fighters killed and wounded and is averse to another military adventure with Israel. The group, however, is feeling empowered by what its leadership regards as a victory for their ally, President Bashar Assad, who has survived a seven-year war and revolt against his rule.

The group is feeling increasingly emboldened internally in Lebanon, where it made significant gains in parliamentary elections in May. Hezbollah can also count on support from the Lebanese president, who is an ally, in case of confrontation with Israel.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.

An official from the so-called “Axis of Resistance” – led by Iran and made up of Syrian officials, Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah and other groups – said Hezbollah fighters were “on high alert to confront any possible Israeli aggression.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the group’s military activities with the media.

The Lebanese military said the situation on its side of the border is “calm and stable,” adding that army units in the area were conducting their usual missions in coordination with U.N. peacekeepers. “The army command is ready to confront any emergency,” it said.

Malene Jensen, spokeswoman for the U.N. force in Lebanon, said the situation “remains calm.”

Although Israel believes Hezbollah is in no rush to go to war, the army has been preparing for renewed hostilities for some time. Last year, it held a large-scale drill simulating war with Hezbollah. It also has reinforced a massive border wall and stepped up foot patrols on the border.

Under the U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war, Hezbollah is barred from operating in southern Lebanon. Israel has long accused it of violating the resolution.

Netanyahu said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for Hezbollah’s actions.

At the U.N., Israel Ambassador Danny Danon said he urged Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “condemn Hezbollah’s violations” and called for the Security Council to “condemn this terrorist threat.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. “strongly supports Israel’s efforts to defend its sovereignty” and urged “Iran and all of its agents to stop their regional aggression.”

Israeli officials believe Hezbollah has long been preparing for an operation to shift the battlefield to Israeli territory. Conricus said the tunnels were meant to be a “surprise component” of that plan.

The 2006 war began with a cross-border raid in which Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers whose remains were returned two years later in a prisoner exchange. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, on several occasions has vowed to storm northern Israel.

The border has been relatively quiet, but the sides have come into conflict in Syria, where Israel has carried out scores of airstrikes purportedly meant to prevent Iranian arms from reaching Hezbollah.

Netanyahu recently has faced a major crisis in his governing coalition over the handling of a cease-fire with Gaza militants. Facing heavy criticism over the cease-fire, he cited Israel’s “complex” security situation, in what was seen as a reference to the north.

The operation also came days after Israeli police recommended indicting Netanyahu in a corruption case. The timing of the operation did not appear to be linked to his legal woes, given the months of preparations involved. Eisenkot, the military chief, said the Israeli Cabinet authorized the operation weeks ago, on Nov. 7.


          Mind control, the CIA and other topics      Cache   Translate Page      
Have you listened to the latest GUNS & BUTTER?  It's really interesting.  Her guest is an author named Jay Dyer and they discuss the mind programming and other topics and reference points include THE PARALLAX VIEW, CLOCKWORK ORANGE, EYES WIDE SHUT and CHINATOWN.

It's a really interesting show.


Also of interest is Jacob C. Hornberger's article at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE which asks the question how does the CIA have the 'right' to assassinate anyone:



In 1947, the CIA was called into existence as part of this new national-security state. President Truman, the president who was responsible for the federal government’s conversion to a national-security state, intended for the CIA to be strictly an intelligence-gathering agency. But someone slipped a bit of nebulous language into the law that called the CIA into existence, which the CIA seized upon to justify the adoption of omnipotent powers, including the power to assassinate people with impunity, so long as the assassination was to protect “national security.” Needless to say, the CIA had the omnipotent power to make that determination.

As monumental as the conversion to a national-security state was, it was not done through a constitutional amendment. The Constitution continued to be the supreme law that governed the operations of the federal government, including the CIA. Thus, since the Constitution did not give the federal government the power to assassinate people and since the Fifth Amendment expressly prohibited the federal government from assassinating people, the US Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary had the responsibility to declare the CIA’s power to assassinate people unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, however, in a national-security state power is everything and especially omnipotent power. Recognizing that as a practical matter, there would be no way that the federal judiciary could keep the CIA from assassinating people in the name of protecting “national security,” the federal courts went silent or even supportive.

In 1989 the Cold War ended. Yet, we still have a national-security state and we still have a CIA with the power to assassinate people, including Americans. Why is that?


Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 
Tuesday, December 4, 2018.  "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."


Replying to 
Invaded Panama. Invaded Iraq (the first time) on a lie. Withheld evidence from Iran/Contra hearings. Highway of Death. We ignore the horrible things former politicians did, "honor them for their service" when they die, then wonder why the next ones are worse.





That's the man some are mourning, a true War Criminal.

And you can't mourn a War Criminal without a lot of lies.  Which is how we get Barbra Streisand. 


Two years ago this week, I was honored to invite our 41st President and First Lady to my first ever concert in Texas. They came to my dressing room before the show and we exchanged gifts. I’m glad he and Barbara are together again. RIP. 🙏🏻





I'm so glad you made nice, Babsy.

Let's see when did you do your live concert again?  Hmm, September 1986.  Why again?  You were so scared to perform live but you were more scared about what might happen to our planet if the Reagan-Bush years continued into Bush years, remember now?

Remember any of the crap you said at the time?

The reality of War Criminal George H.W. Bush does not get "kinder and gentler" if you just zoom in to his domestic activities.  He campaigned on racism (the Willie Horton ads) and he campaigned on sexism.  He especially campaigned on sexism because he had the 'wimp factor' issue to overcome.  From Susan Faludi's BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN WOMEN:

Rather than meeting the demands of women, the GOP men struck macho stands that they hoped would impress their own sex.  Bush hoped especially to prove his manly mettle to members of the press corps, who seemed as obsessed with the "wimp factor" as the male politicians they were covering.  "I get furious," Bush assured them.  "I go ballistic.  I really do and I bawl people out.  Of course, everyone's running for cover."  He even predicted, more wistfully than assertively, "Maybe I'll turn out to be a Teddy Roosevelt."
During the race, Bush's campaign managers dismissed questions about women's rights; they were too trivial to warrant comment, they said.  "We're not running around and dealing with a lot of so-called women's issues," Bush's press secretary indignantly told the New York Times.  When Bush summoned a group of elected officials to advise him during the campaign, only one was a woman.  While the candidate claimed that opposition to abortion was a cornerstone of his campaign, he didn't give this critical concern of women's much apparent thought.  When asked in a televised debate if he was "prepared to brand a woman a criminal for this decision," he said, "I haven't storted out the penalties."  His one seeming nod in the direction of working women's needs during the campaign was a penny-ante child care proposal that would give the poorest working families about $20 a week in tax breaks.  This pocket change was supposed to pay for basic child care that, on average, costs four times as much.  In the end, the Bush campaign's only real gesture to women was,incredibly, the selection of Dan Quayle.  His youthful blond looks, Republican leaders told journalists, would surely charm the ladies.



I'm sorry, unlike Barbra I don't support abortion rights one moment and, the next, shed tears and offer praise for a man who tried to destroy women's rights.  George H.W. Bush was despicable.   The April 1988 and April 1992 abortion right marches in DC?  We had to take to the streets to push back against Poppy Bush and all the other sickos who thought they could control women's bodies.


Some women were repeatedly targeted by Poppy Bush.  This was especially true if the women were women of color and/or gay.  Kevin Naff (WASHINGTON BLADE) remembers how homophobic Poppy was:



There’s nothing more galling than revisionist history and last weekend’s reactions to the death of former President George H.W. Bush brought an onslaught of it to many social media feeds and, more predictably, to mainstream media.
I was stunned to see my own feeds filled with tributes to the 41st president — some written by gay men. And on World AIDS Day, no less.
Even the Advocate — once a leading critic of the Reagan-Bush administrations — joined this chorus of glossing over Bush’s anti-LGBTQ record. In an Advocate story posted on World AIDS Day about Bush’s death, the word “AIDS” appears just once in a reference to Reagan. The headline describes Bush as “no enemy of LGBTQ people.”

Chris Johnson (WASHINGTON BLADE) reports:


Gay former Rep. Barney Frank, whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, told the Washington Blade in an interview Saturday the late former president “was bad” on LGBT rights and “wouldn’t do anything” to advance them.
“I asked him, for example, to rescind the Eisenhower rule that said we couldn’t get security clearances,” Frank said. “He refused to do it. Bill Clinton did a few years later.”
Frank also said Bush refused to roll back military’s ban on gay service members, which was administrative and not statutory in the days before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law of 1993.
“Bush was simply unsupportive on any issue,” Frank added.
[. . .]


Larry Kramer, a longtime activist against HIV/AIDS, was succinct in response to a Blade email inquiry on whether Bush deserves credit for signing the Ryan White Care Act into law.
“I will not give him credit for anything,” Kramer said. “He hated us.”

Poor Barbra Streisand.  Yet again, Larry Kramer's telling truths and Babsie's hedging her bets.  One stands for LGBTQ rights and the other just uses gays to try to prop up her dying career.


Sometimes it's as basic as you tell the truth or you lie.  You stand up or you whore.  As Rose says in Jane Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES (Michelle Pfeiffer gives an incredible performance as Rose in the film version which recently came out on Blu Ray), "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."

Rose can make that claim.  Whores like Barbra Streisand cannot.

More than any other Americans, the Bush Crime Family destroyed the country of Iraq and left so many people damaged.  Raya al-Jadir (INDEPENDENT) explores realities for the disabled and challenged in Iraq:



Years of wars, economic sanctions and corruption have dominated life in Iraq and contributed greatly to the fact that the disabled community is simply not a priority for the government. Poverty rates in Iraq are on the rise, affecting 35 per cent of the population according to the ministry of planning, meaning many are unable to afford education or healthcare.

Official statistics indicate that there are more than 1.3 million disabled people in Iraq (3 per cent of the population); campaigners however believe the real number is three times that. Although Iraq is party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, media activist Ali Adil says: “In Iraq, many persons with disabilities continue to suffer from marginalisation and lack of access to their basic rights, in addition to community discrimination.”
On paper, every disabled person in Iraq is in receipt of a financial allowance regardless of whether the person is in employment or not – this amounts to approximately £66 a month. The stipend depends on the assessed severity of the person’s disability and to qualify Iraqis have to go through various consultations and medical examinations. As one activist who works with the British Council in Iraq informed me, “This long and bureaucratic system is almost 'disabling' the disabled person.”
Specialist care and services are either inaccessible or non-existent. Families often choose to home school their children in an effort not to send them to mainstream schools which are ill equipped to provide support or tackle discrimination.

Accessing healthcare has also become out of reach for many who cannot afford to pay. Rahma, a four year old girl, has phenylketonuria (PKU) a genetic condition that can lead to a build-up of the amino acid phenylalanine, which untreated can lead to brain damage and seizures. A protein-limited diet and supplements can prevent serious build ups, but these are not available in Iraq; her mother has to order it from abroad costing her more than £400 per month.


Here's a cold hard reality, the Iraqis above?  They didn't get 30 minutes of airtime over the weekend but Poppy Bush got non-stop praise on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and it will continue today.  It's an informercial selling War Criminals and war.  And useless whores like Barbie Streisand -- now 92% plastic thanks to all the fillers in her face -- will rush to identify with the criminals.  Barbara is not of the people and if you missed that, while she was promoting her album (Sour) WALLS, she sat down for an interview and explained why so many Republicans saw her in concert -- "They're the only ones who can afford the tickets!"  She thought that was funny.  She claims to be a Democrat, she claims to be a feminist, she claims to love her fans.  But she's perfectly fine with charging outrageous prices that guarantee only the very wealthy can see her.


Corruption, it inflicts more than just governments.  But it does inflict governments -- the US, certainly, and it's puppet Iraq.

At the end of October, Adil Adel al-Mahdi was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister despite his inability to form a full Cabinet.  He still doesn't have a full Cabinet, despite constantly promising 'next week.'  John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERS) report:


The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May - one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri - formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.
A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet has been repeatedly put back.  


RUDAW reports that al-Mahdi's finally come up with choices for his eight empty Cabinet posts:


Dara Nuradin – Ministry of Justice

Falih Fayadh – Ministry of Interior

Faysal Jarba – Ministry of Defense

Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil – Ministry of Higher Education

Saba Khayradin Tani – Ministry of Education

Abdulamir Hamdani – Ministry of Culture

Nouri Natiq Dlemi – Ministry of Planning

Hanna Immanuel Gorgis – Ministry of Immigrants and Immigration



But nominees require a vote in Parliament.


PM has arrived at the parliament building. On the agenda is a vote on the remaining 8 cabinet positions, including Defence & Interior.
 
 



Breaking: MPs say only six out of the eight remaining ministers will be voted on today; the two ministeries excluded are the Defense and Interior Ministries due to discord over the candidates
 
 



Huge walkout in 's parliament in protest over candidates for his half empty cabinet.Bif crisis is looming.
 
 



Meanwhile, the flooding continues in Iraq.

Iraq: Families flee Mosul homes following flash floods
          Iraqis Remember George H.W. Bush: A Gentleman When It Came To Bombing Us      Cache   Translate Page      

Several Iraqis bombed during the Persian Gulf War expressed their condolences and paid tribute to former President George H.W. Bush.

The post Iraqis Remember George H.W. Bush: A Gentleman When It Came To Bombing Us appeared first on Shadowproof.


          Forum_Polyglot_80: French newspaper reveals an important factor in Putin’s international success.      Cache   Translate Page      

French newspaper reveals an important factor in Putin’s international success.

(updated:  11:07 05.12.2018 )
34 58100 609 57
 

MOSCOW, December 5 - RIA News.  Over the years, Russia has emerged victorious from most international geopolitical conflicts, and the reason for this is the magnificent education of President Vladimir Putin, the French newspaper Figaro writes  .

 

His understanding of geography, knowledge of the political map of the planet and the main features of each state and nation play an important role in the success of Russia in the international arena, the newspaper notes.

 

As an example, the newspaper cites the case when Putin interrupted the speech of Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev, who spoke about the supply of pork to Indonesia. The president explained that he was mistaken, since it’s about a predominantly Muslim country, where Islam is practiced by 87 percent of the population, it’s impossible to supply pork there. Unlike other world leaders, Putin is aware of the cultural difference in education and mindset of other nations, which allows him to pursue a more thoughtful policy, the newspaper notes.

 

At the same time, for many years now, Western leaders, who absolutely do not understand this issue, have come out against it. For example, Nicolas Sarkozy and George Bush did not know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis at the beginning of their presidential terms, which led to a catastrophe in their policies in the Middle East. The same goes for current leaders. For example, Donald Trump confuses Austria and Australia, and Emmanuel Macron calls Guiana, a French possession in South America, an island, the newspaper adds.

 

Such weak knowledge of the Western leadership in geography leads him to a complete misunderstanding of key international geostrategic issues and the desire to get short-term gain. As an example, Figaro cites the fact that in Mali Islamists were considered opponents of French interests, but in Syria were considered as allies against Bashar al-Assad.

 

The reason for this, as noted by Figaro, are the weak educational systems in the West. For example, this discipline is not included in the compulsory school curriculum in the United States, and in French educational institutions geography almost does not devote time. The second reason is the complete lack of interest among many Western leaders. They are concerned only with economic and financial issues or even more useless topics.

 

Thus, they do not have a clear long-term strategy that would allow them to understand who enemies and friends are, which countries cannot be out of balance, to maintain peace in the whole world, and what is the real power relationship between states. All this leads to many geopolitical mistakes, for which the whole world now has to pay. For example, the emergence of the “Islamic State” * is a consequence of the destruction of Iraq by the Americans in 2003 and the support of armed rebels in Syria.

 

But at the same time, this explains why Russia, with its clear strategy in all regions of the world, constantly emerges victorious from most world conflicts, although in terms of political, economic and military resources, Western countries are much stronger, the publication emphasizes.

* Terrorist organization banned in Russia.


          Iraqi And U.S. Militaries Step Up Operations In Iraq Against ISIS      Cache   Translate Page      
In Iraq, ISIS was forced from cities and towns over a year ago and largely defeated. But U.S. and Iraqi forces are still trying to track down the remnants of the group in remote areas.
          DOMENICA 16 DICEMBRE “IL FIORE DEL DESERTO” @MAG47      Cache   Translate Page      
DOMENICA 16 DICEMBRE 2018 CSA MAGAZZINO 47 – via Industriale, 10 Brescia Per l’apertura di 16-22 dicembre 2018: Campagna Abbonamenti di Radio Onda d’Urto!… ORE 18.00 – Presentazione del libro: “IL FIORE DEL DESERTO. La rivoluzione delle donne e delle comuni tra l’Iraq e la Siria del nord” (Agenzia X Edizioni) con l’autore Davide Grasso, […]
          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Now the Lego Foundation just gave Sesame Workshop another $100 million, doubling its funding for the project. The grant will allow Sesame to intensify its current work creating positive, play-based educational interventions for kids impacted by the Syrian conflict, and expand the program to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

This challenge, though, only continues to grow. In recent years, nearly 69 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, about half of whom are children. More than 25 million of those people have become registered refugees. And while there are many aid agencies focused on providing food and shelter, they can neglect the development of the youngest refugees. “The great irony is those who are impacted the most from displacement–young children–are receiving the least,” says Sherrie Westin, the president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop.

“Less than three percent of all humanitarian aid goes to education, and a tiny sliver of that goes to early education,” she says. “And yet we know from all of the evidence–from brain science, from epigenetics, you name it–that the most critical time in a child’s development is in those first five years. And that when they experience traumatic events and exposure to prolonged stress, it literally debilitates their brain development.”

Sesame’s current plan for the Syrian response region of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, includes developing a culturally specific version of Sesame Street that will feature several new Muppets, some of whom may have backstories loosely mirroring the key issues facing that kids in that region: being uprooted, say, or learning to share your home. The group is also creating supplemental learning materials like storybooks that cover other topics, including why people bully and what it feels like to get bullied–from a kid’s perspective.

[Photo: Ryan Donnell/Sesame Workshop]

In Bangladesh, Sesame will work with BRAC to expand its network of so-called Play Labs that function as safe spaces for children. It will also create new programming, and likely build on the popularity of Sisimpur, a Bangladeshi version of the TV show. Given the mix of languages, Sesame plans to launch some animated, nonverbal content that could be easily used in other, yet unanticipated crises, as well.

[Image: courtesy Sesame Workshop]

While this is Lego’s first crisis response foray, the organization has worked alongside Sesame before in South Africa, India, and Mexico. In general, Sesame’s efforts align with Lego’s own philanthropic philosophy of encouraging learning through play. “The foundation very much deeply believes….that the best way children learn is when their hands and mind really get into a problem, when they can be joyful and playful in the way that they interact, and when they sing and dance and move and really have an active learning environment,” says Sarah Bouchie, vice president of the Lego Foundation.

While Sesame and Lego are still figuring out their exact programming, the grant doesn’t include any mandate to include tiny plastic building blocks. In several cases, that’s just plain impractical, because the number of people in need require solutions that scale easier (like broadcasts), or use household items to make games. “We will design content based on what we are learning the needs are,” says Westin. “Everything we do is based on real research about what is the most effective way to reach these children, and what is the greatest need.”

In addition to encouraging basic education, Sesame’s goal is to find more ways for caregivers to interact with kids, and at the same time give kids, especially ones who have experienced emotional and psychological trauma, a safe way to recognize and express how they are feeling. The success of those efforts will continue to be independently evaluated by Global TIES (Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale) for Children, a research center based at New York University.

Lego will distribute the $100 million over a five-year period as specific goals are met. Bouchie and Westin both hope that seeing Lego double down on MacArthur’s bet will encourage more philanthropists to invest in similar interventions. Increasing the funding and ambition of one hopefully transportable and adaptable solution is a nice start. But it’ll take a lot more to ensure the world’s displaced children grow up healthy.


          Refugee families stranded for two decades on military base given UK residency: Exclusive interview      Cache   Translate Page      
A group of refugee families left stranded for two decades on a British military base in Cyprus have been granted permanent residency in the UK. The six families were part of a group of 75 people who fled Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria in October 1998, taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Lebanon with hopes of reaching Italy. But the group never reached their intended destination. Their fishing boat had taken on water during the journey and had sunk off the coast of the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus. "I will never give advice to take that journey," Tag Bashir, the father of one of the families who escaped the Sudanese war, said in a statement to Euronews. But "if I didn't take that journey I might be dead already because of the war." "The boat broke and we were rescued by the British base in Akrotiri. We felt happy because we were saved." After their rescue, the heads of the six families, including Bashir, were detained for lengthy periods of time, but all six were eventually released when they were legally recognised as refugees. Rebuilding their lives In the almost two decades that followed, the families were forced to rebuild their lives in a legal limbo on the SBA while the UK government repeatedly denied responsibility for them, and their rights as refugees were not observed. The UK maintained that the rights listed in the United Nations' 195`1 Refugee Convention did not cover the SBA in Cyprus. It "wasn't easy to start life on the base," Bashir said. "It was a battle we had to get through." "It was frightening, frustrating and we were all angry," he added. Living conditions were even less favourable. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it had "long been seriously concerned about the plight and precarious situation of this group of refugees," in a report released in May 2017. "SBAs are military bases and are not designed for permanent habituation, and hence the refugees had limited access to services like education and healthcare..." Citing a 2013 psychological assessment, the UNHCR said it also "documented the adverse consequences of leaving these refugees and asylum-seekers in this predicament for so long." Bashir's son, 18-year-old Emmanuel, who was born in Akrotiri and grew up on the base, described told Euronews that being "stuck in a state of limbo" was the worst part of living on the SBA. You're "trapped in a place where you can't go backwards or forwards, not being able to be the one who decides your own future simply because it is being restrained." "Having to endure the thought of that suffocates you day by day." Legal battle and UK residency In 2014, the then-British Home Secretary Theresa May refused to admit the families to the UK , which was appealed and eventually ruled as an unlawful decision by the Court of Appeals in 2017. And, just over a year later, the families were finally granted indefinite leave to enter the UK. "We only want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to help us escape this 20-year nightmare," Bashir said in a statement released by his lawyers. "I cannot express how happy our families are to be given the opportunity to come to the UK and start our lives again." Solicitor Tessa Gregory, who had taken on the families' legal case, said they were "delighted that the current Home Secretary has done the humane thing" by granting residency. "The heads of these six refugee families who washed up on a British army base in 1998 were fleeing from terrible conditions in their own countries." "Instead of being welcomed into the UK as refugees they have been left in limbo for twenty years, raising their families in substandard housing, riddled with deadly asbestos and void of an official identity." Hopes for the future In his conversation with Euronews, Tag Bashir said while he might miss the Cypriot weather, he was excited to establish his life the "proper way." "We're very happy for our kids -- they have a brighter future not to stay like this," he said. Emmanuel told Euronews of his interests in art and music, and his longtime ambitions he now had the ability to pursue after being granted residency. "The hopes that I have for the future are really bright -- I've had them since I turned 13; wanting to study, wanting to learn more, and to explore places." "Not being judged for what papers I've got and what I don't is a relief. We're all humans at the end of the day. Death has no discrimination, and nor does life," he added. On the families' future, UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said relevant steps were now being taken to work out "how best the individuals can be supported to help them integrate in the UK and rebuild their lives."
          UN envoy urges mobilizing Iraqi society against IS      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) NEW YORK, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- UN Special Adviser and Head of the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da'esh Karim Asad Ahmad Khan said Tues...
          12/2/2018: News: End of an era      Cache   Translate Page      

FORMER US president George H.W. Bush, who guided America through the end of the Cold War and launched the international campaign to drive Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait, died at his home in Houston on Friday. He was 94. Tributes...
          Comment on This week’s poll: the Galileo affair by Another Steve      Cache   Translate Page      
A lot of confusion here between what is the EU and what is Europe, that's a bit like confusing the UK with the Tory party ! I love my country (and Europe) but I certainly don't have any affection for the UK Government ... Plus we are 'only' talking about a global positioning capability here. We appear to have managed quite nicely to invade and destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. without Galileo. I'm convinced we will still have the capability to invade and destroy in the future so I would suggest the security issues are a bit of hyperbole.
          Government looking into reports of new groups entering Mindanao - Government looking into reports of new groups entering Mindanao      Cache   Translate Page      

The government is verifying reports over the alleged entry in Mindanao of a new group of foreign terrorists allied with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Inaalam ng Pamahalaan kung tunay nga ba ang mga ulat na mayroong mga grupong di umao'y nakapasok sa  Mindanao na kabilang s apaniabgong grupo ng mga terorista mula ibang bansa na ka alyado ng  Islamic State sa Iraq at Syria (ISIS).


          M Traveler #1- El Dia De Los Pollos (The Day Of The Chickens)      Cache   Translate Page      
Video: M Traveler #1- El Dia De Los Pollos (The Day Of The Chickens)
Watch This Video!
Studio: Miraquí
Welcome to a world where even a couple of chickens can lead to all out confusion. Welcome to the world of M Traveler.

In part one, an Australian traveler in Mexico, moved by the plight of some poor and clever indigenous girls, sets an episode in motion that ends completely contrary than her first-world mind had hoped.

          Kemat ian Wanita Yang Terkenal Dengan Sikap Suka Bersedekah Ini Semestinya Akan Dicemburui Umat Islam Seluruh Dunia      Cache   Translate Page      


aajal maaut seseorang semuanya di tangan Allah. Dia yang menentukan masa dan tempat di mana kita akan ‘pergi’ meninggalkan dunia ini buat selama-lamanya.

Namun kemaatian yang diimpikan seorang muslim sudah pastinya di tempat suci seperti Mekah dan Madinah. Tak semua yang dapat kesempatan macam tu tapi kemaatian seorang wanita Malaysia baru-baru ni memang dicemburui semua umat Islam!

Mak Lang dijemput ilahi ketika menuju ke Raudhah, Masjid Nabawi
Menurut Sinar Harian, kemaatian jemaah umrah, Siti Faridah Ahmad, 64 yang berasal dari Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah dicemburui umat Islam kerana dia meniinggal semasa dalam perjalanan menuju Raudhah, Masjid Nabawi pada 1 Disember lepas.

Pemergian wanita yang dipanggil Mak Lang ni jugak dirasai mutawifnya, Nurul Aswar Nasron yang menguruskan jenaazah beliau semasa di sana. Kisah ini dikongsikan Nurul Aswar di Facebook.





“Mak Lang suka bersedekah dan seorang yang lembut dalam tutur kata”

Mak Lang yang terkenal dengan sikap bersedekah dan seorang yang dikatakan sangat lembut tutur kata ni telah terjatuh semasa sedang melangkah menuju ke Raudhah, Masjid Nabawi kira-kira jam 9 malam.



Raudhah ialah satu lokasi yang mana digelar taman syurga oleh Rasulullah SAW dan merupakan tempat paling mustajab untuk berdoa. Menurut Nurul Aswar, jenaazah Mak Lang dikebuumikan di Perkuburan Baqi’, Kota Madinah yang berdekatan dengan Masjid Nabawi.

Tambah Nurul Aswar lagi, perjalanan pulang jemaah hari ini ke Malaysia pasti dirasakan sangat berat dan satu kehilangan besar kerana terpaksa meninggalkan Mak Lang bersama ‘kekasih Allah’ yang lain di sana. Allahuakhbar… beruntungnya!


Alhamdulillah.. Saya dah selamat menguruskan jenazah allahyarhamah Mak Lang Hjh Faridah. Byk prosedur yg perlu dilakukan. Namun ianya memberi pengalaman yg sgt berharga buat diriku.

Saya dibantu oleh Ustaz Fitri (Pettani) yg ke hulu ke hilir dlm memastikan arwah dpt cepat disimpan di perkuburan baki'..

Kami berdua mulanya ke pej muassasah bg melaporkan mengenai kematian Arwah. Kemudia kembali ke hosp al ansar semula setelah mendapat surat pemakluman dari pihak muassasah..

Setelah itu kembali ke muassasah setelah beberpa dokumen perlu disediakan. Yg plg mustahak ialah surat dari pihak waris bersetuju dan membenarkan arwah di simpan d kota madinah.

Setelah doa dari kalian semua para jemaah Alhamdulillah pihak Kerajaan (Masjid nabawi) telah memberi kebenaran utk simpan d perkuburan baki'..

Dpt surat tu, kena ke muassasah lagi.. Dpt surat utk sahkan kata waris benar simpan d madinah..

Terus ke balai polis madinah utk kebenaran atau permit mengubur di masjid nabawi. Part ni lambat skit..

Dah dpt surat dari balai polis, terus ke masjid bir ali (tempat miqat) utk tujuan pengecaman jenazah.. Alhamdulillah dah ok..
Tunggu ambulans utk d bawa ke masjid nabawi.. Mandi di masjid nabawi dan solat di sini..

Arwah dpt katil no 15.. Jd saya dah info kat grup jemaah yg lain termasuk grup ustaz hj ramli utk ramai ramai trun..

Alhamdulillah.. Dpt jugak arwah disolatkan selepas solat asar..

Saya dh cuba yg terbaik bg menguruskan keperluan arwah mak lang di sini.

Coretan ini saya nukilkan utk semua krn demi Allah sesungguhnya saya sgt mencemburui wanita ini tika akhir hayatnya dlm perjlnan menuju raudhah.

Lembut tutur bicara nya.

Benarlah janji Allah.

Tinggallah maklang di sini bersma lebih 100 ribu para syuhada dan sahabat nabi. Berbahagialah Mak Lang di sini..

Mak Lang, esok... kami semua akan pulang ke Malaysia menyambung perjalanan hidup kami yg mash berbaki. Pasti cerita ini akan membuatkan kami mengalirkan setitis air yg jernih dari kelopak mata kami..

Mak Lang, rehat dulu ya... Izinkan saya berkongsi pengalaman ini dgn rakan² di Malaysia.. Terima kasih Mak Lang..
Moga satu hari nanti kita akan diketemukan dlm sebuah mahligai yang indah d syurga..

Ustaz Hj Nurul Aswar Nasron
Madinah al.munawwarah
3 Disember 2018
1210..




Al-Fatihah dan semoga keluarga arwah Mak Lang tabah menghadapi permergiaannya. Moga-moga kita juga adalah kesempatan untuk meniinggal di tempat yang mulia seperti Mak Lang ni.


Sumber artikel : Kuala Lumpur Viral
          Terrorism deaths down, but still a widespread issue      Cache   Translate Page      
The Global Terrorism Index 2018 showed the decline was most pronounced in Iraq and Syria. Islamic State tops the list of deadliest terror groups, but far-right extremism is also on the rise.
          George H.W. Bush returns to capital to lie in state      Cache   Translate Page      

HOUSTON – George H.W. Bush came back to Washington for a final time Monday, heading for the Capitol to lie in state as the nation paid tribute to the 41st president for a lifetime of service that began in the Navy during World War II, ended with four years as president and was characterized throughout by what admirers say was decency, generosity and kindness.

Sent off from his beloved Texas with a 21-gun salute, Bush’s casket was carried to Andrews Air Force Base outside the capital city aboard an aircraft that often serves as Air Force One.

Former President George W. Bush, the eldest of the four Bush sons, and his wife, Laura, along with brother Neil Bush and his family, boarded the plane for the cross-country trip to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

On Sunday, students, staff and visitors had flocked to Bush’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University, with thousands of mourners paying their respects at a weekend candlelight vigil at a nearby pond and others contributing to growing flower memorials at Bush statues at both the library and a park in downtown Houston.

“I think he was one of the kindest, most generous men,” said Marge Frazier, who visited the downtown statue on Sunday while showing friends from California around.

A similar outpouring is anticipated in Washington this week during the state funeral for Bush, who died late Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94.

Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visitation from Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are to attend. Bush’s family has not said who will speak at the service. Former President Jimmy Carter also will be there.

Afterward, Bush will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot on the library grounds. His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

Bush’s casket was to arrive in Washington on Monday afternoon aboard the U.S. military airplane. The crew was tasked by Trump with carrying out “Special Air Mission 41,” a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents.

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Bush’s top military adviser, said Bush was the “perfect American” for serving his country in so many different capacities and should be remembered for “a life of quality, a life of honor, a life of honesty, a life of total concern for the American people.”

“He was a patriot. He demonstrated that in war, he demonstrated that in peace. He was able to demonstrate that in his four years of service,” Powell said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days out of respect for Bush.

Trump, who has not always uttered kind words about the Bush family, offered nothing but praise in the hours after the former president’s death was announced.

“He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family,” Trump said Saturday while in Argentina. “One thing that came through loud and clear, he was very proud of his family and very much loved his family. So he was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed.”

Bush’s passing puts him back in the Washington spotlight after more than two decades living the relatively low-key life of a former president. His death also reduces membership in the ex-presidents’ club to four: Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One of Bush’s major achievements was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading neighbor Iraq in 1991. The war lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

A humble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over a Japanese island. He had joined the Navy when he turned 18.

Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, and forged the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history. Bush enrolled at Yale University after military service, becoming a scholar-athlete and captaining the baseball team to two College World Series before graduating Phi Beta Kappa after just 2 1/2 years.

After moving to Texas to work in the oil business, Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s. He was elected to the first of two terms in Congress in 1967. He would go on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA and chairman of the Republican National Committee before being elected to two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

Soon after he reached the height of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, with public approval ratings that are the envy of today’s politicians, the U.S. economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great communicator – something even he acknowledged – was out of touch with ordinary people.

He was denied a second term by Arkansas Gov. Clinton, who would later become a close friend. The pair worked together to raise tens of millions of dollars for victims of a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and of Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton of all people?” he joked in 2005.

In a recent essay, Clinton declared of Bush: “I just loved him.”


          Bush mourned as a great statesman, a man of uncommon decency      Cache   Translate Page      

WASHINGTON – Americans will begin saying goodbye to former President George H.W. Bush on Monday when his body arrives in Washington for public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda – a rare honor that will be bestowed on a man who earned the respect and admiration of many with his leadership, bravery and grace.

The public viewing will kick off four days of events that will include a state funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral on Wednesday and a private service at Bush’s longtime church in Houston on Thursday. But tributes from leaders around the world have been pouring in since his death Friday night.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called him “a perfect American” for how “he served the country in so many capacities.”

“He never forgot who he was,” Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Bush’s presidency, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “He never let it all go to his head. He was a man of great humility.”

Bush, who died at his Houston home at age 94, will be buried Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

In Washington, D.C., he will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from 7:30 p.m. Monday to 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. President Donald Trump, who ordered federal offices closed for a national day of mourning on Wednesday, is to attend with first lady Melania Trump and other high-ranking officials.

James Baker, Bush’s former chief of staff and secretary of state, called his boss’s tenure in office “a consequential presidency” because of his foreign policy achievements.

“Yes, he’s a one-term president … but he is going to be and was a very consequential one-term president. And I would argue far and away the best one-term president we’ve ever had,” Baker told ABC’s “This Week.”

Bush’s crowning achievement as president was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading Iraq in 1991 in a war that lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

At the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Germany, told reporters she likely would never have become her country’s leader had Bush not pressed for the nation’s reunification in 1990.

A humble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over Japan. He enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday.

Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, in a union that lasted until her death earlier this year.

“He knew what combat was all about,” Powell said on “This Week.” “He knew that combat meant the death of people, people on your side and people on the other side. And so he wanted to avoid a war.”

Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s, being elected to his first of two terms in Congress in 1967. He would go on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA and chairman of the Republican National Committee before being elected to two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

Soon after he reached the zenith of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, the U.S. economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great orator, was out of touch with ordinary people. He lost his bid for re-election to then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who would later become a close friend.

It wasn’t only former political rivals Bush found easy to befriend.

Roberto Molina, whose family owns Molina’s Cantina, one of Bush’s favorite Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston, said he remembers Bush’s kindness to his staff whenever he would stop by to eat.

“No matter which party you’re affiliated with, everybody seemed to say the same things about President Bush,” Molina said. “He was a down-to-earth person, approachable, and just a good man.”


          UN Should Investigate 1988 Iran Mass Executions, Amnesty Says      Cache   Translate Page      
Iran is guilty of crimes against humanity for covering up the mass executions of at least 5,000 political prisoners 30 years ago, according to a new report from Amnesty International.  The human rights group wants the United Nations to open an inquiry into the killings and disappearances in 1988 which targeted supporters of Iranian opposition groups. Many families still do not know what happened to their loved ones since the disappearances. Tehran has never admitted to the killings, revealed the whereabouts of the bodies or the fate of those who disappeared. “That crime is still alive and active until the state in question, Iran, accounts for what happened to those people,” Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International, told VOA. Through hundreds of interviews and documents, Amnesty details how thousands of jailed political activists were executed or disappeared following a "fatwa" or religious order given by then-Supreme Leader Rouhollah Khomeini. Many were supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), an outlawed opposition group based in Iraq, which in 1988 staged an armed incursion in Iran. In the following weeks, between late July and early September, Amnesty said the regime tried to wipe out the opposition through mass executions. Groups of prisoners were rounded up, blindfolded and brought before committees involving judicial, prosecution, intelligence and prison officials. Amnesty said the proceedings were summary and arbitrary in the extreme, and the victims only discovered they were to be executed minutes before they were lined up before a firing squad or nooses were put around their necks.  Many of the officials accused of taking part in these committees currently hold powerful positions in the state.  “Certain government officials who enthusiastically were engaged in forced disappearances and executions, today still hold positions of power, not just in the government, but importantly also in the judiciary that can block progress to get justice on an issue like this,” said Naidoo. Two years ago, an audio recording was leaked purportedly revealing senior Iranian officials discussing the details of the mass executions. Following the leak, Tehran called the perpetrators ‘heroes’ who were defending the nation from invasion.  Amnesty accuses the government of continuing a policy of cover-up and misinformation, destroying mass graves and refusing to reveal the whereabouts of those killed or missing. “The lack of condemnation from the U.N. Commission of Human Rights at the time, and the failure of the U.N. General Assembly to refer the situation to the Security Council, emboldened Iran’s authorities to continue to deny the truth and inflict torture and other ill-treatment on the families,” according to Amnesty’s report. The human rights group has urged Iran and the United Nations to open an investigation to finally deliver justice and closure.
                Cache   Translate Page      

Human extinction: Not with a bang but a sore throat...

     I just got a small taste of what it's gonna be like here on Planet Earth in the year 2028 -- and, frankly, it scared the holy crap out of me.  "So.  What happened," you might ask.  Long story.

     First of all, a massive curtain of toxic smoke from that huge NorCal wildfires slowly descended on my own hometown recently.  We all struggled around in gas masks and it became rather hard to breathe.

     Next I foolishly started thinking, "What's a little haze in the air?  I'm young.  I'm strong.  I don't need no stinking gas masks."  Ha.

     And then I got a horrible sore throat.  My eyes watered.  My nose ran.  I constantly coughed.  I took to my bed.  I truly thought that I was going to die.

     But I didn't.

     But I could have.

     And that, dear readers, was my own personal sneak-preview experience of what death by climate catastrophe will be like in the year 2028.

     Your experience could be different, of course.  You could freeze to death -- or drown in a flood or get hit by a tornado.  But for most of us?  It will be one long, painful and ignominious Death by Sore Throat.

PS:  And what will be the main cause of this massive human-extinction event?  No, it won't be because you or I didn't drive a Prius or because we forgot to recycle or even because we took too many jet plane rides on vacation.

     No, Extinction '28 will be mostly caused by all those petty little "wars" that our idiot leaders in Washington DC, London, Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia are so very fond of.  https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/01/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/

     Their constant and heartless mega-bombing of Yemen not only murders school children in Sanaa but it also is murdering us too -- only slower.  https://theintercept.com/2018/12/01/u-s-military-says-it-has-a-light-footprint-in-africa-these-documents-show-a-vast-network-of-bases/

     Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Palestine, Gaza, Ferguson....  Every single bomb dropped, every single tank on the ground and every single F16 in the air brings all of us just that much closer to Extinction 2028. 
__________________________________________

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM 

          Alessandro, il bimbo morente  e l’addio alle armi: «Dopo  la guerra racconto il mare»      Cache   Translate Page      

Alessandro, il bimbo morente  e l’addio alle armi: «Dopo  la guerra racconto il mare»

Alessandro Rota ha fotografato gli orrori del Sud Sudan e dell’Iraq. Finché un giorno si è trovato davanti a un bambino morente: «Lì ho deciso di dire basta». Ha preso una barca e da allora dedica i suoi reportage alla salute di oceani e fondali


          the cher show      Cache   Translate Page      
no post monday night, sorry.  we went to nyc to see the opening of 'the cher show' on broadway.

it is amazing.  it's a musical so don't look for some grand import or insight.  the point is to entertain and dazzle - and the show does that.

for the costumes alone, it's worth seeing. 

but the performances are pretty incredible as well.

let me grab my program (because i didn't know a single actor in the cast).

cher is not 1 person but 3 in the play.  the youngest cher is  played by micaela diamond, then cher is played by teal wicks and our modern day cher is played by stephanie j. block.

all are incredible - but in different ways.  micaela, for example, puts across an innocence that stephanie probably couldn't but as the oldest cher, stephanie needs to project wisdom and experience and stephanie manages all that (and humor).  i think she's my favorite of the 3 actresses - stephanie.

a definite tony nominee has to be michael berresse.  he plays 3 characters including director robert altman but it's his performance as bob mackie that should guarantee him a tony nomination.  bob is the man who costumed cher for so many famous outfits - including the 'nipples to wind' outfit she wore on the cover of 'time' magazine (bette middle dubbed it that) as well as the outfits she wore on her variety shows and the ones she wore to the oscars - as well as all her costumes in this broadway musical.  he makes bob come alive.

matthew hydzik struggles with both of his roles.  if it was just with gregg allman, i'd think i didn't care for him because i never cared for allman.  but he also plays 1 of cher's mother's husbands (john southall) and he seemed sketchy in that role as well.

i liked emily skinner as georgia (and as lucille ball).  i loved michael campayno as rob camillettie and even jarrod spector as sonny bono.  but i did not care for matthew hydzik at all.


 fortunately, he's not very big part of the show and not even enough to bring it down.

this is a high energy production and it grabs you from the start and pulls you along.  it's involving and just a great show and experience.

if you're in nyc or going to be, make a point to see 'the cher show.'


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Tuesday, December 4, 2018.  "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."


Replying to 
Invaded Panama. Invaded Iraq (the first time) on a lie. Withheld evidence from Iran/Contra hearings. Highway of Death. We ignore the horrible things former politicians did, "honor them for their service" when they die, then wonder why the next ones are worse.





That's the man some are mourning, a true War Criminal.

And you can't mourn a War Criminal without a lot of lies.  Which is how we get Barbra Streisand. 


Two years ago this week, I was honored to invite our 41st President and First Lady to my first ever concert in Texas. They came to my dressing room before the show and we exchanged gifts. I’m glad he and Barbara are together again. RIP. 🙏🏻





I'm so glad you made nice, Babsy.

Let's see when did you do your live concert again?  Hmm, September 1986.  Why again?  You were so scared to perform live but you were more scared about what might happen to our planet if the Reagan-Bush years continued into Bush years, remember now?

Remember any of the crap you said at the time?

The reality of War Criminal George H.W. Bush does not get "kinder and gentler" if you just zoom in to his domestic activities.  He campaigned on racism (the Willie Horton ads) and he campaigned on sexism.  He especially campaigned on sexism because he had the 'wimp factor' issue to overcome.  From Susan Faludi's BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN WOMEN:

Rather than meeting the demands of women, the GOP men struck macho stands that they hoped would impress their own sex.  Bush hoped especially to prove his manly mettle to members of the press corps, who seemed as obsessed with the "wimp factor" as the male politicians they were covering.  "I get furious," Bush assured them.  "I go ballistic.  I really do and I bawl people out.  Of course, everyone's running for cover."  He even predicted, more wistfully than assertively, "Maybe I'll turn out to be a Teddy Roosevelt."
During the race, Bush's campaign managers dismissed questions about women's rights; they were too trivial to warrant comment, they said.  "We're not running around and dealing with a lot of so-called women's issues," Bush's press secretary indignantly told the New York Times.  When Bush summoned a group of elected officials to advise him during the campaign, only one was a woman.  While the candidate claimed that opposition to abortion was a cornerstone of his campaign, he didn't give this critical concern of women's much apparent thought.  When asked in a televised debate if he was "prepared to brand a woman a criminal for this decision," he said, "I haven't storted out the penalties."  His one seeming nod in the direction of working women's needs during the campaign was a penny-ante child care proposal that would give the poorest working families about $20 a week in tax breaks.  This pocket change was supposed to pay for basic child care that, on average, costs four times as much.  In the end, the Bush campaign's only real gesture to women was,incredibly, the selection of Dan Quayle.  His youthful blond looks, Republican leaders told journalists, would surely charm the ladies.



I'm sorry, unlike Barbra I don't support abortion rights one moment and, the next, shed tears and offer praise for a man who tried to destroy women's rights.  George H.W. Bush was despicable.   The April 1988 and April 1992 abortion right marches in DC?  We had to take to the streets to push back against Poppy Bush and all the other sickos who thought they could control women's bodies.


Some women were repeatedly targeted by Poppy Bush.  This was especially true if the women were women of color and/or gay.  Kevin Naff (WASHINGTON BLADE) remembers how homophobic Poppy was:



There’s nothing more galling than revisionist history and last weekend’s reactions to the death of former President George H.W. Bush brought an onslaught of it to many social media feeds and, more predictably, to mainstream media.
I was stunned to see my own feeds filled with tributes to the 41st president — some written by gay men. And on World AIDS Day, no less.
Even the Advocate — once a leading critic of the Reagan-Bush administrations — joined this chorus of glossing over Bush’s anti-LGBTQ record. In an Advocate story posted on World AIDS Day about Bush’s death, the word “AIDS” appears just once in a reference to Reagan. The headline describes Bush as “no enemy of LGBTQ people.”

Chris Johnson (WASHINGTON BLADE) reports:


Gay former Rep. Barney Frank, whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, told the Washington Blade in an interview Saturday the late former president “was bad” on LGBT rights and “wouldn’t do anything” to advance them.
“I asked him, for example, to rescind the Eisenhower rule that said we couldn’t get security clearances,” Frank said. “He refused to do it. Bill Clinton did a few years later.”
Frank also said Bush refused to roll back military’s ban on gay service members, which was administrative and not statutory in the days before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law of 1993.
“Bush was simply unsupportive on any issue,” Frank added.
[. . .]


Larry Kramer, a longtime activist against HIV/AIDS, was succinct in response to a Blade email inquiry on whether Bush deserves credit for signing the Ryan White Care Act into law.
“I will not give him credit for anything,” Kramer said. “He hated us.”

Poor Barbra Streisand.  Yet again, Larry Kramer's telling truths and Babsie's hedging her bets.  One stands for LGBTQ rights and the other just uses gays to try to prop up her dying career.


Sometimes it's as basic as you tell the truth or you lie.  You stand up or you whore.  As Rose says in Jane Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES (Michelle Pfeiffer gives an incredible performance as Rose in the film version which recently came out on Blu Ray), "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."

Rose can make that claim.  Whores like Barbra Streisand cannot.

More than any other Americans, the Bush Crime Family destroyed the country of Iraq and left so many people damaged.  Raya al-Jadir (INDEPENDENT) explores realities for the disabled and challenged in Iraq:



Years of wars, economic sanctions and corruption have dominated life in Iraq and contributed greatly to the fact that the disabled community is simply not a priority for the government. Poverty rates in Iraq are on the rise, affecting 35 per cent of the population according to the ministry of planning, meaning many are unable to afford education or healthcare.

Official statistics indicate that there are more than 1.3 million disabled people in Iraq (3 per cent of the population); campaigners however believe the real number is three times that. Although Iraq is party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, media activist Ali Adil says: “In Iraq, many persons with disabilities continue to suffer from marginalisation and lack of access to their basic rights, in addition to community discrimination.”
On paper, every disabled person in Iraq is in receipt of a financial allowance regardless of whether the person is in employment or not – this amounts to approximately £66 a month. The stipend depends on the assessed severity of the person’s disability and to qualify Iraqis have to go through various consultations and medical examinations. As one activist who works with the British Council in Iraq informed me, “This long and bureaucratic system is almost 'disabling' the disabled person.”
Specialist care and services are either inaccessible or non-existent. Families often choose to home school their children in an effort not to send them to mainstream schools which are ill equipped to provide support or tackle discrimination.

Accessing healthcare has also become out of reach for many who cannot afford to pay. Rahma, a four year old girl, has phenylketonuria (PKU) a genetic condition that can lead to a build-up of the amino acid phenylalanine, which untreated can lead to brain damage and seizures. A protein-limited diet and supplements can prevent serious build ups, but these are not available in Iraq; her mother has to order it from abroad costing her more than £400 per month.


Here's a cold hard reality, the Iraqis above?  They didn't get 30 minutes of airtime over the weekend but Poppy Bush got non-stop praise on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and it will continue today.  It's an informercial selling War Criminals and war.  And useless whores like Barbie Streisand -- now 92% plastic thanks to all the fillers in her face -- will rush to identify with the criminals.  Barbara is not of the people and if you missed that, while she was promoting her album (Sour) WALLS, she sat down for an interview and explained why so many Republicans saw her in concert -- "They're the only ones who can afford the tickets!"  She thought that was funny.  She claims to be a Democrat, she claims to be a feminist, she claims to love her fans.  But she's perfectly fine with charging outrageous prices that guarantee only the very wealthy can see her.


Corruption, it inflicts more than just governments.  But it does inflict governments -- the US, certainly, and it's puppet Iraq.

At the end of October, Adil Adel al-Mahdi was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister despite his inability to form a full Cabinet.  He still doesn't have a full Cabinet, despite constantly promising 'next week.'  John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERS) report:


The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May - one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri - formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.
A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet has been repeatedly put back.  


RUDAW reports that al-Mahdi's finally come up with choices for his eight empty Cabinet posts:


Dara Nuradin – Ministry of Justice

Falih Fayadh – Ministry of Interior

Faysal Jarba – Ministry of Defense

Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil – Ministry of Higher Education

Saba Khayradin Tani – Ministry of Education

Abdulamir Hamdani – Ministry of Culture

Nouri Natiq Dlemi – Ministry of Planning

Hanna Immanuel Gorgis – Ministry of Immigrants and Immigration



But nominees require a vote in Parliament.


PM has arrived at the parliament building. On the agenda is a vote on the remaining 8 cabinet positions, including Defence & Interior.
 
 



Breaking: MPs say only six out of the eight remaining ministers will be voted on today; the two ministeries excluded are the Defense and Interior Ministries due to discord over the candidates
 
 



Huge walkout in 's parliament in protest over candidates for his half empty cabinet.Bif crisis is looming.
 
 



Meanwhile, the flooding continues in Iraq.

Iraq: Families flee Mosul homes following flash floods
There has been a lot of great reporting on PTSD over the years. Veterans coming forward, sharing their stories, pieces of their lives to help other veterans falling apart. There has been great reporters taking the time to listen and get it all down so that the stories can be shared with the world.

This is one of them. It was reported back in 2006 and the Boston Globe still has the links working. If you want to know how change the outcome, learn what contributed to all the suffering in the first place. Then help them heal!

The war after the war


Boston Globe
By Thomas Farragher, Globe Staff
October 29, 2006

The squad mates paused for a snapshot before their patrol on the night of the roadside bomb attack in Baghdad. From left to right: Jeremy Regnier, Dustin Jolly, and Andy Wilson.


They were an Army of Three — fun-loving, young, courageous, afraid. And when the bomb went off outside Baghdad, killing New Hampshire's Jeremy Regnier, the survivors of the squad found their lives upended. What they suffer has a name — post-traumatic stress — but a label can't describe it. This is a story of a death and its descendants.

It was circled on his calendar, a day he'd looked forward to for months. But as Andy Wilson stood on the wind-swept airfield and the chartered plane glided out of a leaden Texas sky, he was anything but upbeat.

An unsettling cocktail of emotions swirled inside. The balloons and marching bands, the confetti and welcome-home banners were not for him, though they could have been. Should have been.

As a noncommissioned officer, Wilson had sworn to stick by the men he led in combat, no matter what. And to bring them all home.

But after that night in Baghdad when the bomb went off and his friend and comrade slumped against his shoulder, Wilson's war was over.

He left Iraq on leave in late 2004, his mind and spirit broken, and never returned. Doctor's orders. "It gnaws at me," he said.

Three months later, as the troops he served with stepped off the plane at Fort Hood after a year at war, the emotional torque of it all bore down on him again.

The grapevine had carried the whispers from the war zone: Wilson's lost it. Wilson's a coward. And when some of the returning officers refused his outstretched hand or grabbed it limply with looks of disappointment or disdain, he knew who the whisperers were.

But for now, it didn't matter.

As the troops lined up to return their weapons, their gas masks and the other gadgetry of warfare, Wilson searched the crowd for a single face.

Dustin Jolly was the only other soldier who really knew what happened that night in October 2004 when Jeremy Regnier, the cocksure gunner from Littleton, N.H., died.

Like Wilson, Jolly had felt the blast and seen the unspeakable injury -- and knew how easily that memory reel could unspool.

But unlike Wilson, who sought help and went home, he had bottled up his demons and gone back out on patrol.

And so as Jolly -- near the front of the line -- stepped into view, the reunion sequence was anything but certain. Wilson held his breath.

"I saw him," Wilson said, "and once he gave me that dumb-ass Jolly look, I knew he was OK."

The men hugged and smiled and shook hands. They made promises to drink beer and catch up.

"It made me feel good," Wilson said. "It made me feel proud. It made me still feel loved, I guess."

In the months to come, what the two men shared, the darkness and the love, would come to mean everything.

The war after the war had begun.
read more here

It is a condition with an off-putting, antiseptic name -- post-traumatic stress disorder. It is as old as warfare and as new as yesterday's casualty list. Yet, remarkably little is known of why it afflicts some and exempts others, why its symptoms can be so insidious and so adamant. 
Wilson only knew what he felt -- possessed, immobilized, ashamed. He had left Iraq early, and he believed his superiors now considered him damaged goods. The soldier who ran when others stayed. The commander who swapped places with Regnier minutes before the bomb tore him apart.

"I take nothing away from anybody who has lost limbs -- nothing at all because they deserve more than just a Purple Heart," Wilson would later explain. "Maybe they should come up with something for us crazy guys. I don't know. But we have wounds that we're going to carry with us for the rest of our lives. I sit alone in my house sometimes and I cry like a big baby because of what happened."
read more from Nothing's Wrong With You 


Photo Gallery PHOTO GALLERY: "Welcome to Hell"
Photo Gallery PHOTO GALLERY: "I should have died."
Pop-up AUDIO SLIDESHOW: Isolation, withdrawl, and hope
Photo Gallery PHOTO GALLERY: "A penny for your thoughts"
Pop-up AUDIO SLIDESHOW: In uniform, a sense of family
Photo Gallery PHOTO GALLERY: "The consolation prize"


          Bush Family Links to Nazi Germany: “A Famous American Family” Made its Fortune from the Nazis      Cache   Translate Page      
Image: George W. Bush’s Grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush
This article was first published on GR in March 2016.
*
“A  famous American family” made its fortune from the Nazis, according to John Loftus’ documented historical analysis.    
The Bush family links to Nazi Germany’s war economy were first brought to light at the Nuremberg trials in the testimony of Nazi Germany’s steel magnate Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was a partner of George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush: 
From 1945 until 1949 in Nuremberg, one of the lengthiest and, it now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany.
Multibillionaire steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked to a joint US-UK interrogation team.
… What the Allied investigators never understood was that they were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks.
He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents – stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts–from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker [father in law of Prescott Bush]. Thyssen’s partners in crime were the father and [grandfather] of a future President of the United States [George Herbert Walker Bush]. (John Loftus, How the Bush family made its fortune from the Nazis: The Dutch Connection, Global Research, February 2002, edit by GR)
The American public is not aware of the links of the Bush family to Nazi Germany because the historical record has been carefully withheld by the mainstream media.
In September 2004, however, The Guardian revealed that:
George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
His business dealings, which continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator’s action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. ( Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell, How the Bush’s Grandfather Helped Hitlers Rise to Power,   Guardian, September 25, 2004)

The more fundamental question is not whether Prescott Bush helped Adolph Hitler (image below). From a historical perspective, what is important is how the rise to power of Adolph Hitler was supportive of  US business interests in Germany.
US  Presidential Elections
The Guardian article was published on September 25, 2004 at the height of the US election campaign which led to the reelection of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on Tuesday November 2nd 2004.
Deafening silence. The US media provided no coverage of GWB’s family history. Had the American people known that the Bush family had links to Nazi Germany, John Kerry would have won the presidency in 2004 in a landslide.
Similarly, Michael Dukakis would have won the presidency in 1989 against George Herbert Walker Bush. In fact, had this been revealed to the American people in the wake of the Nuremberg trials (1945-1949), Bush Senior would never have entered politics and his father Prescott Bush would never have become Senator.
Is there a pattern?  Do you have to be a wealthy war criminal to accede to high office?
Prescott Bush had links to Nazi Germany, Bush Senior and George W. Bush had links to the Bin Laden Family…
What must be ensured  to “protect American democracy” is that none of these “awkward truths” which reveal the crimes committed by prominent politicians be the object of media coverage. Needless to say, propaganda is essential to uphold the legitimacy of presidential candidates in the eyes of public opinion.
War Crimes. Crimes against Humanity
Nazi war crimes with the complicity of Wall Street and the Bush family?
US war crimes committed by Bush Junior in Iraq (2003), Bush Senior (the Gulf War, 1991), Is there a relationship?
What was the role of the late senator Prescott Bush in his dealings with Nazi Germany:
While the president’s [George W. Bush]  father had dealings with the bin Ladens, his grandfather [Prescott Bush] made a considerable share of the family fortune through his dealings with Nazi Germany. Some have suggested that the Bushes’ assets have their ultimate source, in part, in the exploitation of slave labor at Auschwitz itself.
Loftus argues that this money—a substantial sum at that time—included direct profit from the slave labor of those who died at Auschwitz.
In an interview with journalist Toby Rogers, the former prosecutor said:
“It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920s, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed Allied solders. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen’s coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.” (emphasis added)
Prescott Bush was by no means unique, though his financial connections with the Third Reich were perhaps more intimate than most. Henry Ford was an avowed admirer of Hitler, and together GM and Ford played the predominant role in producing the military trucks that carried German troops across Europe. After the war, both auto companies demanded and received reparations for damage to their German plants caused by allied bombing. (Bill Venn, A presidential visit to Auschwitz, The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune, WSWS.org,  5 June 2003)
Evidence of the Bush family’s  links to Nazism was available well before George Herbert Walker Bush (Senior)  and George W. Bush entered politics. According to John Buchanan (New Hampshire Gazette, 10 October 2003):
After 60 years of inattention and even denial by the U.S. media, newly-uncovered government documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and U.S. banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when Congress took aggressive action against Bush and his “enemy national” partners.
The documents also show that Bush and his colleagues, according to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, tried to conceal their financial alliance with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who, beginning in the mid-1920s, personally funded Adolf Hitler’s rise to power by the subversion of democratic principle and German law. Furthermore, the declassified records demonstrate that Bush and his associates, who included E. Roland Harriman, younger brother of American icon W. Averell Harriman, and George Herbert Walker, President Bush’s maternal great-grandfather, continued their dealings with the German industrial tycoon for nearly a year after the U.S. entered the war.
While Prescott Bush’s “company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, George W. Bush’s grandfather was never prosecuted for his business dealings with  Nazi Germany.
“In 1952, Prescott Bush was elected to the U.S. Senate, with no press accounts about his well-concealed Nazi past. There is no record of any U.S. press coverage of the Bush-Nazi connection during any political campaigns conducted by George Herbert Walker Bush, Jeb Bush, or George W. Bush, with the exception of a brief mention in an unrelated story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in November 2000 and a brief but inaccurate account in The Boston Globe in 2001.” (John Buchanan, op. cit)
Up until Pearl Harbor (December 1941), Wall Street was trading with the enemy. In the wake of Pearl Harbor, Standard Oil continued to sell oil to Nazi Germany through the intermediation of so-called “neutral countries” including Venezuela and Argentina.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research March 6, 2016
The original source of this article is Global Research

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          The Bush Middle East      Cache   Translate Page      
George H.W. Bush, our 41st president, put together a coalition to turn Saddam’s Iraq back from its invasion of Kuwait. He wanted the cover of a Muslim, Middle Eastern force joining in that invasion. He promised many of the countries involved that he would go no further than the Kuwaiti border that Saddam had crossed. In retrospect, that decision postponed the bloodbath that Iraq eventually became. But skilled as he was, President Bush couldn’t avoid the curse of unintended consequences. American use of a Saudi airfield was enough to anger bin Laden and al Qaeda. Hence the first attack on the World Trade Center took place under Clinton, between the presidencies of the two Bushes. Bush excluded Iran from the “coalition of the willing” with which he invaded Iraq. In a book on Iranian foreign policy, subtitled Alone in the World, Thomas Juneau, Sam Razavi, and several colleagues explain that Iran lives amongst considerable dangers and hostilities. Four…
          Middle Eastern Christians       Cache   Translate Page      

Janine di Giovanni, a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the author of The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria (Liveright, 2016), talks about her reporting for Harper's Magazine on Christian communities under siege in the Middle East.


          Julian      Cache   Translate Page      
Few Tweets ever say much of anything but this one manages to say so much.


  1. "Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by the same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions." --




And this is from an interview Richard Phillips did with John Pilger for WSWS:

RP: You’ve coined the phrase “Vichy journalism” to describe journalists who have joined the campaign of slander, lies and frame-ups against Assange and WikiLeaks. Why has this occurred and what are the consequences for Assange and investigative journalism? What is the current situation facing Assange?
JP: Most “mainstream” journalism has been integrated into corporate and so-called national security systems that rule the West, especially in the United States and Britain. When I was working in what was known as “Fleet Street,” the press was conservative but there were spaces for different, dissenting work, and a certain range of views. This was even encouraged. Today the spaces have closed, and the best journalists write online, or in foreign publications, or in a new samizdat, or not at all.
WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the counter to this oppression, and, of course, he is subjected to a smear campaign. The greater his impact and symbolism the more vicious the campaign against him.
The Guardian’s sordid role as a platform for the scuttlebutt of spooks is shocking. Those involved are no different, morally, from those who collaborated under the Vichy government in France during the Second World War.
Julian’s situation is serious. The person contracted to bring his food to the Ecuadorean embassy has been told she is no long wanted. This does not mean he will go hungry, but it demonstrates the depth of his struggle. That said, he is a very strong character with an abiding moral purpose and a dark sense of humour. He needs, as Martha Gellhorn wrote about those who stand up to rapacious power, “the alliance of us all ... the support of decency.”



  1. The Guardian should be held accountable for publishing another phony spook job designed to drive the case for arresting & extraditing Julian Assange. Donate as I did to legal fund, support sites like the , & .



Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 
Tuesday, December 4, 2018.  "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."


Replying to 
Invaded Panama. Invaded Iraq (the first time) on a lie. Withheld evidence from Iran/Contra hearings. Highway of Death. We ignore the horrible things former politicians did, "honor them for their service" when they die, then wonder why the next ones are worse.





That's the man some are mourning, a true War Criminal.

And you can't mourn a War Criminal without a lot of lies.  Which is how we get Barbra Streisand. 


Two years ago this week, I was honored to invite our 41st President and First Lady to my first ever concert in Texas. They came to my dressing room before the show and we exchanged gifts. I’m glad he and Barbara are together again. RIP. 🙏🏻
Adesso anche l’Iraq
potrebbe uscire dall’Opec proviene da Gli occhi della guerra.


          Live Report: The Good, The Bad, And The Queen - EartH, London      Cache   Translate Page      
The Good, The Bad, And The Queen
A rousing night of national introspective...

I catch the Boris bus with its decommissioned back door - declared impractical and too expensive, as we drive East, past ill-maintained council estates and the homeless – ever more noticeable on the streets. In a good mood yet?

It’s hard not to consider everything that’s happened in the world between the two albums from The Good, The Bad, And The Queen – the first one, eleven years ago, spoke of the Iraq War, tidal waves, and a ‘soggy little island full of mixed up people’… well, it turns out that those mixed up people held a bit more sway than everyone thought.

When Damon Albarn and co walk out onto the stage at EartH in Dalston, it’s into a room filled with people wondering what the future holds for the aforementioned soggy little island. The venue forms a perfect backdrop – a beautifully run-down theatre, its former glory peeling off the walls - though one would hope that European rules on health and safety have been observed, for the time being anyway.

It’s worth remembering that the ‘and co’ I mention include a former member of The Clash (Paul Simonon), a member of The Verve (Simon Tong), and one of the finest Afrobeat drummers in the world (Tony Allen). From the off, they’re all exemplary, moving through the entirety of the second album with a finesse that only an innate musicality could accomplish, while Damon, in his red DMs, spins around the stage – ever the frontman – occasionally taking a seat at the piano. After all these years, he’s still a force of nature – if more front men took a cue from his rule book instead of Johnny Borrell’s, maybe guitar bands would still be relevant.

The crowning glories on the new album (possibly one of Albarn’s most consistent and complete works to date) also provide the highlights tonight - 'Lady Boston' is a battered sequel to ‘This Is A Low’, and ‘Ribbons’ may be one of the best things Albarn has ever written. Witnessed live, it makes you realise that ‘Merrieland’ is a ‘Parklife’ sequel in all but name, only said park is overgrown, unkempt, and full of dog turds because the council’s funding has been withdrawn. All that’s left is a pothole-riddled crumbling playground and a rusty bandstand that the kids won’t go near because everyone says it’s haunted. Seriously – in a good mood yet?

I was expecting a speech at some point - an impassioned plea a la The Brit Awards 2018 – but he would have been preaching to the choir tonight. Instead, he lets the music do the talking, the bafflement and punch-drunk nature of a nation in crisis swirling around us, reaching its nadir - or crescendo - with ‘Last Man To Leave’. But instead of a bleak tone which could easily come from the current climate, the music and the performance was joyful – the band are still playing as the ship goes down. This includes Damon singing ‘80s’ life through the medium of a ventriloquist dummy with a Wolverhampton accent… I mean, why not? All bets are off.

And, after the final chords of debut album closer ‘The Good The Bad And The Queen’ floated into the dilapidated rafters, I realised that all this time, for almost 30 years, Albarn has been the narrator for the final act of the British Empire. But bloody hell, he’s going down fighting – finding ways to go solo.

- - -

- - -

Words: Matt Charlton

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