Most Iraqis do not believe that the US invasion improved life in their country. From Nichalas J. S. Davies at antiwar.com:
As Americans sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Iraqis were mourning more than 60 people killed by police and soldiers on Thursday in Baghdad, Najaf and Nasiriyah. Nearly 400 protesters have been killed since hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets at the beginning of October. Human rights groups have described the crisis in Iraq as a “bloodbath,” Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi has announced he will resign, and Sweden has opened an investigation against Iraqi Defense Minister Najah Al-Shammari, who is a Swedish citizen, for crimes against humanity.
According to Al Jazeera, “Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and serving foreign powers while many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education.” Only 36% of the adult population of Iraq have jobs, and despite the gutting of the public sector under U.S. occupation, its tattered remnants still employ more people than the private sector, which fared even worse under the violence and chaos of the U.S.’s militarized shock doctrine.
Posted in Collapse, Crime, Economy, Foreign Policy, Governments, Law, Politics
Tagged Corruption, Iraq, Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, US Invasion
An explanation of how Russian diplomacy outmatched US military might, from Scott Ritter at theamericanconservative.com:
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Getty Images); Russian President Vladimir Putin (Office of Russian President); Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Getty Images)
The ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accomplishes very little outside of putting window dressing on a foregone conclusion. Simply put, the Turks will be able to achieve their objectives of clearing a safe zone of Kurdish forces south of the Turkish border, albeit under a U.S. sanctioned agreement. In return, the U.S. agrees not to impose economic sanctions on Turkey.
So basically it doesn’t change anything that’s already been set into motion by the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. But it does signal the end of the American experiment in Syrian regime change, with the United States supplanted by Russia as the shot caller in Middle Eastern affairs.
This is the most comprehensive on-the-ground account of the Syrian situation we’ve seen. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:
By a vote of 354-60 last week the U.S. House of Representative proved that Imperial Washington is addicted to war, and that the level of ignorance, bellicosity and mendacity among the people’s representative has reach appalling heights.
Having never voted for Washington’s pointless, illegal and destructive fomenting of Syria’s calamitous civil war in the first place, as the constitution requires, the bipartisan congressional mob actually had the gall to vote to keep US forces in the middle of a centuries old Kurd/Turk conflict that has zero implications – and we mean as in none, nichts and nada – for the security and safety of the American homeland.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Erdogan, Kurds, President Trump, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Vladimir Putin
There’s no clean way to get out of a tar pit, the objective is just to get out. The US jumped into the Syrian tar pit and won’t get out cleanly, but it will be better off having escaped it. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
What a mess. The imperial cooks in Washington have turned poor Syria into a poison pit of warring factions, with disastrous results for all.
Henry Kissinger once quipped that it is more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy. A good example is how Washington used the Kurds in Syria to fight ISIS and then ditched them to face the wrath of the mighty Turkish military alone.
A great hue and cry has gone up from the US corporate media and Congress that the Kurds are being betrayed. The evangelical far right and Israel’s supporters are leading this charge. Israel has secretly been arming and aiding Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria since 1975 as a dandy way of splintering the fragile Arab Mideast.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Media, Medicine, Politics, War
Tagged Kurds, President Trump, Syria, Syrian War, Syrian withdrawal, Turkey
One simple question: if the US doesn’t leave Syria now, when will it ever leave? From Rick Sterling at antiwar.com:
The foreign policy elite is in an uproar. They claim “we have abandoned our allies”. They question “how can America be trusted?” They say the decision to withdraw from northern Syria was a “gift” to Russia, Iran, and Assad…. even ISIS. It is true that the policy of US/NATO interventionism is failing. But that has been true since the invasion of Iraq or earlier. After the disastrous invasions and attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and the 8 year undeclared war on Syria, isn’t it time to question the foreign policy elite?
If one believes in restoring international law and the UN Charter, it is GOOD that US military forces have been withdrawn from northern Syria. Here are some facts and history which explain why.
Basic fact: It’s not our country and US troops were never authorized by the sovereign government. Whether or not Washington likes Damascus is irrelevant. Under international law those troops have no right to be there. Even the overflights of Syria by the US air coalition violate international agreements. It’s up to Syrians to defend their country against invading Turkey. If they choose to get support from another country, that is their right.
Putin has had an impressive run in the Middle East, and it looks like he’s stitching together a truce that may serve as a basis for lasting peace in Syria. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
“Russia Assumes Mantle of Supreme Power Broker in the Middle East,” proclaimed Britain’s Telegraph. The article began:
“Russia’s status as the undisputed power-broker in the Middle East was cemented as Vladimir Putin continued a triumphant tour of capitals traditionally allied to the US.”
“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump’s Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.
The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us.
Before concluding that Trump’s pullout of the last 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is America’s Dunkirk, some reflection is needed.
Yes, Putin has played his hand skillfully. Diplomatically, as the Brits say, the Russian president is “punching above his weight.”
He gets on with everyone. He is welcomed in Iran by the Ayatollah, meets regularly with Bibi Netanyahu, is a cherished ally of Syria’s Bashar Assad, and this week was being hosted by the King of Saudi Arabia and the royal rulers of the UAE. October 2019 has been a triumphal month.
Yet, consider what Putin has inherited and what his capabilities are for playing power broker of the Middle East.
There are good reasons, Marc D. Joffe argues, for the US to stand aside in the Turkey-Kurd conflict. From Joffe at antiwar.com:
Mainstream media are taking occasional breaks from 24/7 impeachment coverage this month to lambaste the Trump Administration for abandoning our Syrian Kurdish allies at the insistence of Turkey’s despotic rulers. Since the original withdrawal announcement, Administration policy has taken on a helter-skelter quality: rushing out sanctions, threatening airstrikes and deploying troops elsewhere in the Middle East. Ultimately Trump policies are producing more foreign adventurism and less freedom of commerce for American companies. But the original decision to pull out was the correct one, and consistent media criticism of the withdrawal often omits important facts that the American public needs to consider. Specifically:
- As a member of NATO since 1952, Turkey has been a US treaty ally for as long as most of us can remember; the Syrian Kurdish forces are not a recognized state and thus cannot be an ally, a term used in diplomatic parlance to refer to states formally cooperating with one another.
- The Syrian Kurdish forces are connected with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which was designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization in 1997 and remains on the list in 2019.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, War
Tagged Erdogan, Interventionism, Kurds, NATO, President Trump, Putin, Syria, Turkey