David Makovsky writes in Foreign Policy that “Iranian leaders have struck an increasingly aggressive note. They have threatened a preemptive strike against their foes….” This is shameful. Makovsky knows perfectly well that any sensible reader would interpret “preemptive strike” to mean a military attack, but uses the phrase anyway, even though he knows the implication is false. He links to a New York Times article containing the lead (emphasis added): Continue reading →
Ron Paul is “the best-known American propagandist for our enemies”, writes Dorothy Rabinowitz in a recent Wall Street Journal hit piece. To support the charge, she writes that Dr. Paul “assures audiences” that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 “took place only because of U.S. aggression and military actions”. It’s “True,” she writes, that “we’ve heard the assertions before”, but only “rarely have we heard in any American political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of, the motives of those who attacked us”—and, she adds, he doesn’t care about the victims of the attacks.
The U.S. has long opposed any “unilateral” action on the part of the Palestinians to seek fulfillment of their right to self-determination, and there is a very real threat that if the Palestinian Authority goes to the United Nations in September seeking international recognition of Palestinian statehood, the U.S. will respond by cutting or eliminating aid that the P.A. has come to depend on in order to function.
The New York Times this week reports under the headline “Taking Lead, Iraqis Hope U.S. Special Operations Commandos Stay” that the security situation in Iraq “may be at risk now that American forces are withdrawing this year” as per the U.S.-Iraqi Status of Force Agreement (SOFA). “Even as few Iraqi politicians are willing to admit publicly that they need American help, Iraqi soldiers say that American troops must stay longer to continue training and advising”, theTimes reports, citing “senior Iraqi military leaders” who “have advised Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that some troops should stay.” Naturally, “American officials have said they would agree to a such a request.” Continue reading →
The U.S. Senate on April 14 passed a resolution “calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report”, the popular name for the report of a U.N. fact-finding mission chaired by Richard Goldstone that was charged with investigating Israel’s full-scale military assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, code-named “Operation Cast Lead”.
The report of the fact-finding mission concluded that there was evidence that both Israel and the Palestinian authority in Gaza, Hamas, committed war crimes during the course of the assault.
Foreign Policy magazine this month features an article entitled “Think Again: The Afghan Drug Trade“, which is a decent overview of the opium problem – as far as it goes. Unsurprisingly, however, in doing so, it proverbially ignores the elephant in the room, and in doing so represents part of the problem rather than the solution.
To its credit, the article begins by dispelling the myth that the drug trade in Afghanistan is virtually controlled by the Taliban, observing that “In the popular and American political imaginations, the Taliban are thought to be the big winners from this [Afghanistan’s] near monopoly [on global opium production]“, but the truth is “The Taliban take 2 to 12 percent of a $4 billion industry”.
Michael Lind writes a top-9 list of “most annoying sky-is-falling clichés in American foreign policy” under the headline “So Long, Chicken Little” in the March/April issue of Foreign Policy, with his second pick being, “The world must adapt quickly to the end of fossil fuels”, including the advent of Peak Oil. He characterizes Peak Oil as being “the point at which more than half the world’s petroleum supplies will have been exhausted and begin a long decline”. But, he says, the “menacing date” at which Peak Oil will be upon us has “repeatedly been pushed forward into the future by the advent of new technologies. For instance, thanks to innovative ways to tap into previously inaccessible or prohibitively expensive sources, natural gas will soon be available in much larger amounts than anyone imagined only a few years ago.” Lind’s bottom line is that it’s fearmongering to say that “we’re about to run out of the stuff.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was at the very least informed in May 2003 by the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, that the Iraqi army would be disbanded, a decision that was instrumental in helping to spur the Iraqi insurgency, and one that former Bush administration officials to this day have refused to take responsibility for.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), videos of the collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center 7 on September 11, 2001 show the building succumbing to a fire-induced progressive collapse. Many independent researchers and scientists, however, including over 1,400 professional architects and engineers who have signed a petition calling for a new investigation, disagree, pointing to evidence that it was deliberately brought down in a controlled demolition.
Israel National News (INN) has published an op-ed about my essay “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel“, in which they asked Dr. Mordecai Nisan, a lecturer at Hebrew University, to respond. There are two observations to be made about this op-ed: First, it does not actually refute so much as a single point of fact or logic from my article, and, second, Dr. Nisan in fact acknowledges that my thesis is correct.
Jewish settlements in Palestine, 1920-1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is a widely accepted belief that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 “created” Israel, based upon an understanding that this resolution partitioned Palestine or otherwise conferred legal authority or legitimacy to the declaration of the existence of the state of Israel. However, despite its popularity, this belief has no basis in fact, as a review of the resolution’s history and examination of legal principles demonstrates incontrovertibly.
Great Britain had occupied Palestine during the First World War, and in July 1922, the League of Nations issued its mandate for Palestine, which recognized the British government as the occupying power and effectively conferred to it the color of legal authority to temporarily administrate the territory. Continue reading →
Under the headline “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias“, the New York Times reports that documents from the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs “provide a ground-level look – at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence – at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.”
U.S. government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and recently posted on the website of the George Washington University National Security Archive shed some additional light on talks with the Taliban prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including with regard to the repeated Taliban offers to hand over Osama bin Laden, and the role of Pakistan before and after the attacks.
One of the recently released State Department documents, from March 2000, notes that a proposed “gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan figured prominently in discussions” about the mutual goal between the U.S. and regional players of stabilizing Afghanistan. Discussions on another proposed pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan had also been proposed that were “more advanced”, and the Pakistanis had gone to Tehran to meet with Iranian officials “to pursue these negotiations”. But neither “pipeline is likely to go forward in the mid-term”, the documented concluded.
Ethan Bronner reports in the New York Times that a report on the situation in the Gaza Strip from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says that anti-Israeli militants operate from the border areas in question, planting explosive devices, firing at Israeli military vehicles and shooting rockets and mortar rounds at civilians. But it argues that Israel has an obligation under international law to protect civilians and civilian structures.
Bronner devotes the first part of his article to noting the impact on a Palestinian family, whose “trees and wells were bulldozed”, noting “destroyed houses” surrounding the family’s “desolate fields”. He notes that, according to the report, 12 percent of the population “have lost livelihoods or have otherwise been severely affected by Israeli security policies along the border, both land and sea, in recent years”, and that “the restricted land comprises 17 percent of Gaza’s total land mass and 35 percent of its agricultural land”, but this is about the extent of his discussion with regard to the content of the report. Most of the rest of the article is dedicated to offering the Israeli point of view and response to the release of the report: Continue reading →
Iraq is back in the news, at least for a moment. The occasion is “A truly historic end to seven years of war”, in the words of Lt. Col Mark Beiger, quoted in the Washington Post, referring to the final withdrawal of “combat” troops from the country. It’s a cause for celebration: “‘Operation Iraqi Freedom ends on your watch!” exclaimed Col. John Norris, the head of the brigade. ‘Hooah!’ the soldiers roared, using an Army battle cry.”
One may recall President George W. Bush announcing the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003, speaking on board an aircraft carrier under a sign declaring “Mission Accomplished”. More than seven years later, the announced “end” of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” may be similarly illusory.