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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 7:44 pm 
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Can I trump your 1979 Islamic Revolution with a 1953 Coup d'Etat in Iran, when the CIA ushered in 25 years of autocratic rule under the Shah. When Iran and Israel got on so cosily, the dreaded Iranian Secret Policy, SAVAK, were all trained by the Israelis.

An oil-rich nation, "governed" by an autocratic ruler, treating most of the people of that nation like shit, granting the U.S. an ability to behave somewhat haughtily towards the Arabian oil sheikhs...

...Must have been gutting to lose that.

Of course there is no way that Iran could ever butt its head into domestic U.S. affairs, even if it wanted to, it lacks the means and the funds to do it. But the U.S. is no great respecter of any other nation's sovereignty, and no method, up-to-and-including a Coup d'Etat is "off the table", when it comes to the U.S. getting what it wants.

It is the U.S. sticking its head into the Sunni-Shia Conflict; no-one is forcing the U.S. to get involved.

There is no requirement for the U.S. to get involved; it will all go terribly wrong for everybody concerned, if the U.S. does get involved.

*ALL* of the Muslamic Nut-jobs that have been blighting our lives for the past decade, are *SUNNI* Muslims. Shia Iran, Syria and Hezbollah did most of the tough work on the ground to defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda & Co. Yet Trump wants the World to believe that Iran was funding both sides. So if the U.S. is going to get involved in the Sunni-Shia Conflict, why is it going in on the side of those who inspired, recruited, funded and supported ISIS & Al Qaeda terrorists?

There is no advantage for the United States in getting more involved than it already is, in the Sunni-Shia Conflict.

There may be some transient advantages for Israel and Saudi Arabia, in the early stages of U.S. involvement in the Sunni-Shia Conflict.

Everybody else loses.

Trump has picked the worst possible conflict to pour gasoline on, in order to distract from his domestic troubles.

I understand that the few people still left working in the State Department tried to persuade Trump to go with Venezuela instead, maybe even the Philippines at a push.

But Trump being Trump, needed to pick the one that all the other kids before him were too sissy (read: intelligent) to pick..!

Iran wasn't a threat to the World four weeks ago, and it isn't a threat to the World right now.

The U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia are making it abundantly clear where the biggest threat to the World lays right now.

>*^*<

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 9:06 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Can I trump your 1979 Islamic Revolution with a 1953 Coup d'Etat in Iran, when the CIA ushered in 25 years of autocratic rule under the Shah.

>*^*<


Do you think those Islamist Mullahs are still pissed that America saved Iran from falling victim to the Commie mind-virus all those years ago that screwed up so much of Europe, Africa, Asia and South America? Based on everything we know now about the appalling human rights abuses and economic destruction that coincided with Communist rule - the Iranians should still be thanking us.

Also, I think it is fair to say that under any metric - Iran was more free, prosperous, enlightened and tolerant under the Shah than the current Islamic Theocracy.

I suppose you could argue that Iranians suffering under 40 years of Totalitarian Islamic Theocratic rule is worth it to be "free" from US influence. But Iran just replaced the US with Russia, North Korea and China.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 9:26 pm 
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I suspect you know as little about life in Iran under the Shah, as you do about life in Iran today...

But look, what the Iranians get up to on their own, Homeboy Turf, is entirely their affair. In 1953, the U.S. butted in, expressly for the oil, and in 1979, got booted out. Get over it. You had a good run at what was basically a shakedown of an entire nation. Be pleased that you were untouchable enough to get away with it at the time.

This isn't about what the Iranians do within their own borders: they're not the bad guys here.

The U.S. and Israel are.

They are the two nations most loudly banging the drum in favour of an attack against Iran.

They are the two nations whose political leadership are mired in corruption and dysfunction.

They are the two nations that have repeatedly attacked other nations with impunity. They are the nations that have entirely wrecked other nations. They are the nations who believe they have a God-given right to do whatever they want with the Middle East.

There's no *WAY* the Iranians are the Bad Guys in this picture.

No way.

[-X

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 9:46 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
I suspect you know as little about life in Iran under the Shah, as you do about life in Iran today...


I know what my Persian neighbors and friends who fled in 1979 tell me. But they are Persian Baha'i's and Jews............so likely considered "Shah or Israeli Collaborators" by the Iranian Muslim Theocracy.


Holyman wrote:
They are the two nations most loudly banging the drum in favour of an attack against Iran.

They are the two nations whose political leadership are mired in corruption and dysfunction.

There's no *WAY* the Iranians are the Bad Guys in this picture.

No way.

[-X


I forgot, under your Pacifist Rules, Iran has free reign to fire missiles into Israel because Iran is trying to help the Palestinians (or is it the Chemical Weapons war criminal Assad?) over disputed land?

phpBB [video]


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 9:59 pm 
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Nope.

Sorry. Gonna have to do a bit better than that, if you're gonna convince anyone this time around.

No "Coalition of the Willing" this time around. Just Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Not even the Aussies will sign-up for this one.

And because the whole Rest of the World is opposed to the U.S. and Israel starting a military conflict with Iran...

And because... Well... Iraq.

And Syria.

And Libya.

And Afghanistan.

And Somalia. (&c.)

For the U.S. to even begin to think it might be able to pull off being "The Good Guy" in this scenario, the whole nation would have to be under the executive authority of an ignorant, impatient man-child...

Just not gonna cut it.

The U.S. and Israel are *CLEARLY* the Bad Guys in this scenario.

They are 2 of only 3 national governments in the World who think a military conflict with Iran right now would be... Helpful.

Every other nation in the World was quite happy with the status quo, as negotiated by Obama, and approved by all the Big Hitters of our World.

Then Man-Child came along and tore up something because he couldn't understand it.

And here we are.

:-bd

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:14 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Nope.

Sorry. Gonna have to do a bit better than that, if you're gonna convince anyone this time around.

No "Coalition of the Willing" this time around. Just Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Not even the Aussies will sign-up for this one.

:-bd


Who said anything about a war? I'm the biggest neocon here at OP and I don't want the US going to war in Iran, let alone occupying Iran. I've learned some lessons over the Bush and Obama years. All I want is the US to reestablish some deterrence to keep the Iranians in check and hope that the Iranian people will get sick of living under nutball theocrats.

That said, I've also learned that giving Iran a free hand with Obama's nuke deal only encouraged Iran to spread more violence in the Region by propping up Assad to use chemical weapons on civilians and Iran hiding behind their proxies in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza to attack Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hopefully, Iran learned a lesson after Israel hit many of Iran's military facilities in Syria after Iran attacked Israel a few weeks ago. Russia's vaunted air defense system didn't hit a single Israeli jet. Israel made it clear that the next time Iran attacks Israel, Israel will respond in Iran proper.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:40 pm 
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In short then, this is merely the 'States keeping a foot on Iran's throat, keeping it nice and weak so it doesn't step too far out of line, and hope for some positive change in the future. One might even call it strategic patience.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 11:07 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
In short then, this is merely the 'States keeping a foot on Iran's throat, keeping it nice and weak so it doesn't step too far out of line, and hope for some positive change in the future. One might even call it strategic patience.


That is my assumption. Iran didn't mellow out over the last past 8 years of Obama playing nice with them.

Iran not only brutally cracked down on the peaceful Green Revolution protesters, they used the billions freed up from the Iran Deal to fund more war and terrorism throughout the middle east.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 9:33 am 
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Foota wrote:
Slacks wrote:
In short then, this is merely the 'States keeping a foot on Iran's throat, keeping it nice and weak so it doesn't step too far out of line, and hope for some positive change in the future. One might even call it strategic patience.


That is my assumption. Iran didn't mellow out over the last past 8 years of Obama playing nice with them.

Iran not only brutally cracked down on the peaceful Green Revolution protesters, they used the billions freed up from the Iran Deal to fund more war and terrorism throughout the middle east.


Have you noticed how “Regimes” you’ve been told *NOT* to like, “brutally crackdown” on protests; whereas “Governments” you’ve been told to like, “restore order”?

The Iranian Government’s response when the “Green Revolution” protests (that were demanding the removal of Ahmadinejad), led to 28 people suffering from bullet wounds, and 8 dying. That was from a group of protesters that numbered around half-a-million.

How does that compare to the Israeli’s “Restoring Order” in Gaza last week?

Why is it a “Brutal crackdown” when the Iranians kill peaceful protesters, but “restoring order” and “neutralising terrorist elements” when the Israelis kill Palestinians?

As for Iran funding war and terrorism “throughout the Middle East”…

Since that seems to be the propaganda angle your delightful President has selected, can we examine that in more detail?

I’ve been telling you for years that the Saudi Arabians are primarily and obviously responsible for the deliberate spread of Wahhabism, which is the radical Islamist ideology that has inspired and motivated *EVERY* single Muslamic terrorist since 9/11.

Wahhabism/Salafism are entirely Sunni Islam in origin. And the only people that Wahhabists/Salafists are taught to hate more than non-Muslims, are Shia Muslims.

And there is no shortage of information, including acknowledgements from various Western politicians, that Saudi Arabia has always been and still is the primary source of funding for Islamist organisations like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Iran funds and supports Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, and Islamic Jihad in Palestine.

With Hezbollah, Iran is funding an irregular military force that defends Southern Lebanon from repeated Israeli attacks and incursions. Iran (and the Rest of the World) sees no difference between the support Iran gives Hezbollah, and the support that the U.S. gives to the Kurdish Peshmerga.

Only the U.S., Israel, the (Sunni) Arab League and Japan consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. A handful of European and Anglophone nations have designated certain aspects of Hezbollah’s operations to be “terrorism” (whilst studiously avoiding measuring certain aspects of U.S. operations against the same metric…).

Hezbollah is most accurately characterised as a Militia. This term and “Resistance Movement engaged in national defence” is how most of the Rest of the World views Hezbollah.

Similarly, Islamic Jihad in Palestine is the Shia Resistance Movement working to end the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. The funding and support Islamic Jihad in Palestine receives from Iran is dwarfed by the funding and support that (Sunni) Hamas receives from most Sunni Islam nations.

Absent a Muslamic-themed Occupation Resistance Movement in Palestine, and a similarly-themed Militia (successfully) opposing Israel in Southern Lebanon…

…It’s hard to identify exactly where and how Iran is funding war and terrorism throughout the Middle East.

I mean, Saudi Arabia has been and still is funding war and terrorism throughout the Middle East, and that’s a basic fact.

As is the fact that no other nation has funded more War and encouraged more “terrorism” in the Middle East, than the United States of America.

Maybe Trump is thinking along the same lines as you Foota.

Maybe Trump thinks that he can unilaterally impose tight sanctions and issue threats to another sovereign nation, and that nation (and the Rest of the World) will just suck it up.

‘Cos maybe [you and] Trump still believe that Iran (and the Rest of the World) has no other choice but to suck it up.

And maybe militarily-speaking, Iran (and the Rest of the World) will suck it up. Maybe they won’t react to the unsubtle provocations and threats they have had to put up with from Netanyahu and Trump these past few weeks.

Maybe they’ll just sit back and let Iran’s Coalition Partners in the European Union, Russia and China deal with the United States and Israel.

‘cos the re-imposition of Iranian sanctions hurts the E.U. (and a post-Brexit UK especially) economically.

I’m fairly certain that this whole “Prelude” phase is being so mishandled by the Trump and Netanyahu Administrations, that it is highly unlikely there will be a military conflict between Iran and the United States (/Israel).

I do however think there is a very strong possibility of changes coming to the International Financial System, which will limit the U.S.’s ability to unilaterally impose economic sanctions in the future.

And that won’t be such a bad thing.

>*^*<

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 5:05 pm 
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Holyman wrote:

The Iranian Government’s response when the “Green Revolution” protests (that were demanding the removal of Ahmadinejad), led to 28 people suffering from bullet wounds, and 8 dying. That was from a group of protesters that numbered around half-a-million.


Where did you come up with 8 dead? Even the Iranian Regime admits that 36 were killed. Other estimates put it over 100 with thousands more jailed, tortured or disappeared.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Iran ... n_protests

Holyman wrote:
How does that compare to the Israeli’s “Restoring Order” in Gaza last week?


Apples and Oranges. If 50,000 Iraqis, Turks, Pakistanis or Afghanis were storming Iran's border fences while chanting they want to "rip the hearts out of Iranians" - I think the Iranians would act as the Israelis did to protect their people.


Holyman wrote:
I do however think there is a very strong possibility of changes coming to the International Financial System, which will limit the U.S.’s ability to unilaterally impose economic sanctions in the future.

And that won’t be such a bad thing.

>*^*<


In order for Europe to have that much juice, I think it would have to make some pretty dramatic and painful decisions about their welfare states. They can't even afford to put a measly 2% of their GDP to their common defense as required by NATO.

What great allies those Euros! If they can't sell weapons and high tech to the anti-Semitic death cult theocracy in Iran, then they will scrap a century of Western relationships and hitch their wagons to Russia and China...........all for Iran??


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 5:56 pm 
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Foota wrote:
Slacks wrote:

Again, its not recognised as Israel's border so this is irrelevant.


The Gaza border is not recognized? Since when? The Egyptian or Israeli side?


I thought we'd established the part of the border this took place was not internationally recognised as belonging to Israel? I could be wrong though.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:09 pm 
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Image

The second image, "Partition Plan, 1947", shows the territory that is regarded as sovereign Palestinian territory, as mandated by the same U.N. Partition Plan that created the Modern State of Israel.

Between 1949 and 1967, Israel occupied and built settlements on more and more areas of Palestinian territory.

Today, Israel has reduced the territory available to Palestinians to live to a series of bantustans in the West Bank, and the World's largest concentration camp, the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has been in place for more than a decade, and Israel regularly "mows the grass" in Gaza, with violent military incursions that have destroyed the infrastructure than 2 million Gazans depend upon to try and survive.

Hamas, the Arab League, and anyone who is anyone in the Muslamic World, accept that there is no chance of ever recovering all of the Palestinian Territory originally allocated by the 1947 Partition Plan. In 2002, the Arab League proposed a Peace Plan that was supported by Hamas, which only required that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders.

That offer still stands, and Israel still refuses to take it.

>&8~

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:30 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
In 2002, the Arab League proposed a Peace Plan that was supported by Hamas, which only required that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders.

That offer still stands, and Israel still refuses to take it.

>&8~


Huh?

Hamas Leader in Gaza: We Will Neither Disarm nor Recognize Israel - 2017
https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-new ... -1.5459160


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 8:21 am 
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Meh.

Hamas have blown hot and cold on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (Re-endorsed at the 2007 and 2017 summits). Usually depends how much grief they are getting from the Israelis.

Offer still stands though. And if Israel accepted it, Hamas would have no option but to comply with it. No member of the Arab League would provide any further support or sympathy to Hamas if it didn't.

But here's the thing:

Hamas (usually, but not always) refusing to "recognise Israel" is a political and diplomatic rhetorical necessity.

The Israeli Government refuses to "recognise Palestine". Whatcha-gonna-do? :-??

It's a fairly well established trope that you Mighty Defenders of Poor, Weak Israel often fall back on, that Palestine doesn't exist. That it never really existed. That the territory defined and mandated for Palestine by the UN Partition Plan, passed from the Ottoman Turks to the British, and from the British to either Israel or (Trans-)Jordan. That because the Palestinian People never had the slightest chance of getting their own National Governmental institutions in place, they never properly existed as an independent nationality.

So Hamas doesn't (always) recognise the State of Israel; and the State of Israel has never recognised the State of Palestine. So what?

Well, fact of the matter is that no matter how passionately or resolutely Hamas might want to make Israel "disappear", there is zero chance of that happening. Wouldn't you agree Foota? Hamas can desire the elimination of Israel all it wants, but it isn't ever going to happen, is it?

Meanwhile... Israel, with its reciprocal (?) refusal to recognise the State of Palestine... Is not only entirely capable of making Palestine disappear, it is a project that is well underway.

Better to ask for forgiveness, than permission, eh Foota?

Here's the thing:

Hamas can do whatever it wants to try and end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Anything. It is permitted by all the Laws and Rules of War to employ whatever means it considers are most appropriate to effect the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation and colonisation.

The Nazis called the French Resistance "Terrorists", because the French Resistance did not line up in uniformed ranks, and go head-to-head in a symmetrical battle with the Germans. Instead, the French Resistance used techniques that had been refined by... Oh... Here we go... Zionist terrorist outfits in Mandate Palestine, like the Stern Gang and the Irgun.

Hamas exists because Israel occupies Palestine.

Israel uses the existence of a Occupation Resistance Movement within Palestine (Hamas) as its primary justification for maintaining the Occupation.

Hamas has little chance of ending the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, at least by itself. What chance Hamas could end Israel itself?

Meanwhile... Israel is doing a thoroughly effective job of dissolving the internationally recognised State of Palestine.

Hamas (Palestine's) desire to see Israel out of the picture, is entirely understandable, given what Israel is doing to Palestine. But it is only a pipe-dream. An exhortation to try and whip up support from the masses.

Israel's desire to see Palestine out of the picture, on the other hand, is an on-going Government Policy of the Israeli Government.

[-X

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:46 pm 
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JUNE 14, 2018

Battle for Libyan City of Derna, Where 125,000 People Face ‘Unprecedented Levels of Violence’

by PATRICK COCKBURN


One of Libya’s many private armies is advancing into the long besieged coastal city of Derna, between Benghazi and the Egyptian border, as violence reaches unprecedented levels, according to the UN.

Heavy ground fighting and widespread destruction of houses by airstrikes and shelling is exacerbating severe shortages of water, food, medicine and electricity.

The assault on Derna, which has a population of 125,000, by the forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), is the latest episode in the internecine warfare which has torn Libya apart since the NATO-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A spokesman for the LNA said on Tuesday that their forces had captured 75 per cent of Derna city.

Gen Haftar is one of the most powerful of the many players in Libya, controlling most of the east of the country after capturing Benghazi last year. With two different governments based respectively in Tripoli and Tobruk, each with shaky authority, it is unlikely that any single actor in Libya can win a decisive victory.

Residents of Derna say that LNA fighters are arresting local people in their houses and at checkpoints. Photographs show military vehicles advancing through empty streets past burned out buildings.

In a speech broadcast on the LNA’s social media pages, Gen Haftar says that “the hour of victory is approaching, as is the announcement that the city of Derna is free of terrorism”.

The UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, has urged restraint on all sides, and called for parties to ensure “unimpeded humanitarian access and facilitate the safe exit of civilians wishing to leave the city”.

Though Derna has been loosely besieged since July 2017, the fighting abruptly escalated on 16 May when the LNA began its attack on the Derna Protection Forces, an alliance of Islamists and anti-Haftar fighters. Egypt, which backs Gen Haftar, has also launched aerial attacks on the city.

The intensification of the fighting has overshadowed a meeting in Paris last week of Libyan leaders, organised by President Emmanuel Macron, which sought to restore peace and arrange presidential and parliamentary elections for December.

But there are strong doubts that meaningful elections could be held in Libya because power is so fragmented and is primarily held by local leaders whose influence is based on a single city or tribe or a mixture of the two.

Derna is only one of the places in Libya where rival factions have been fighting each other over the last month.

Figures for civilian casualties in May, compiled by UNSMIL in Libya, show 101 dead and wounded in all parts of the country during the month, not counting combatants.

The casualties include 12 men and a woman killed in Tripoli on 2 May when Isis launched an attack with guns and explosives on the Higher National Election Committee.

In the oasis city of Sabha, 400 miles south of the capital, fighting between the Awlad Suleiman and Tebu tribal forces killed at least 10 civilians who fell victim to sniper fire or mortars fired into densely populated areas of the city.

In Benghazi, captured by the LNA after prolonged fighting which lasted from 2014 to 2017 and left a large part of the city in ruins, there is continuing violence. On 24 May a bomb in a vehicle killed 11 civilians, including a baby girl, in an attack for which nobody claimed responsibility but has the hallmarks of an Isis or al-Qaeda type operation.

On the same day in Bani Walid, south of Tripoli, some 200 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis escaped from people smugglers who were holding them prisoner. About a dozen of them were shot dead by the smugglers who then tried to recapture them.

In the face of such widespread anarchy in Libya, the chances of Mr Macron’s diplomatic initiative succeeding look slim. There are also doubts among Libyans about French policy being entirely even-handed, in the light of press reports that France has secretly provided Gen Haftar with a reconnaissance aircraft for use in his bid to capture Derna.

Khalifa Haftar shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 29 May (Reuters)

Mr Macron’s attempt to mediate between the different parties in Libya may fail to bring an end to the violence, but earlier this year he admitted that the European and the US military intervention to overthrow Gaddafi in 2011 was the cause of the disasters that have since overwhelmed the country.

Those leading the NATO intervention on the side of anti-Gaddafi rebels were France and Britain, closely supported by the US. David Cameron continues to defend his actions in 2011.

“Europe, the United States and a few others indisputably have a responsibility when it comes to the current situation,” Mr Macron said, in an apologetic speech in Tunisia in February.

He said that foreign states could not act as substitute for the sovereignty of a people in the belief that deposing a tyrant would solve all problems. He said that “since then we’ve collectively plunged Libya into anomie (chronic instability), without being able to resolve the situation”.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:59 am 
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Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth.





Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth - http://www.jonathan-cook.net
What’s in Trump’s ‘deal of the century’? The answers are in plain sight
15 June 2018
The White House’s peace plan is said to be days away. Meanwhile, Israel is getting a US nod as it carries on seizing Palestinian land

Middle East Eye – 15 June 2018

There are mounting signals that Donald Trump’s much-delayed Middle East peace plan – billed as the “deal of the century” – is about to be unveiled.

Even though Trump’s officials have given away nothing publicly, the plan’s contours are already evident, according to analysts.

They note that Israel has already started implementing the deal – entrenching “apartheid” rule over Palestinians – while Washington has spent the past six months dragging its heels on publishing the document.

“Netanyahu has simply got on with deepening his hold on the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and he knows the Americans aren’t going to stand in his way,” said Michel Warschawski, an Israeli analyst and head of the Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem.

“He will be given free rein to do what he likes, whether they publish the plan or, in the end, it never sees the light of day,” he told Middle East Eye.

Eran Etzion, a former Israeli foreign ministry official, agreed: “Israel has a much freer hand than it did in the past. It feels confident enough to continue its existing policies, knowing Trump won’t stand in the way.”

Netanyahu ‘the winner’
According to the latest reports, the Americans may present their plan within days, soon after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Yossi Alpher, a former aide to Ehud Barak during his premiership in the late 1990s, said it was clear Netanyahu was being “kept in the loop” by Trump officials. He told MEE: “He is being apprised of what is coming. There won’t be any surprises for him.”

Analysts are agreed that Netanyahu will emerge the winner from any Trump initiative.

Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli politician who was a pivotal figure in the Oslo peace process of the early 1990s, said Netanyahu would cynically manipulate the plan to his advantage.

“He knows the Palestinians will not accept the terms they are being offered,” he told MEE. “So he can appear reasonable and agree to it – even if there are things he is unhappy with – knowing that the Palestinians will reject it and then be blamed for its failure.”

Alpher agreed. “If the plan is rejected, Trump will say he did his best, he offered the parties the greatest deal ever, and that they must now be left to settle the issues on their own.”

He added that the only obstacle to Washington presenting the plan were fears about Abbas’s waning health. Trump’s team might then prefer to shelve it.

Even then, he said, Netanyahu would profit.

“He can then continue with what he’s been doing for the past 10 years. He will expand the settlements, and suppress the rights of Israelis who oppose him. He will move Israel towards a situation of apartheid.”

Fragments of land
In an early effort to win Trump’s favour, reported by MEE a year ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proposed a land swap ceding 6.5 percent of the occupied territories to Israel. That was more than three times what had been accepted by the Palestinians in previous peace talks.

But the Palestinians appear to have lost the battle and are now braced for the worst. Abbas has derided the plan as “the slap of the century”, and has said he will not commit “treason” by agreeing to it.

According to Palestinian officials, they are likely to be offered provisional borders over fragments of land comprising about half the occupied territories – or just 11 percent of what was recognised as Palestine under the British mandate.

The Palestinian areas would be demilitarised, and Israel would have control over the borders and airspace.

Israel and the Palestinians would then be left to “negotiate” over the status of Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Trump likely to back Netanyahu to the hilt, according to the analysts.

It is widely assumed that the Americans have rejected any principle of a right of return for Palestinian refugees, either to Israel or to the areas of the occupied territories that Israel wins US approval to seize.

Gaza and Golan windfalls
The US embassy’s move to Jerusalem last month appears to signal that the Trump administration will recognise all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That would deny Palestinians East Jerusalem, long assumed to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

And separate reports this month suggest that the announcement of the peace plan may be timed to coincide with new measures for Gaza and the Golan Heights. There have been rumours for several years that Washington and Israel have been pressuring Cairo to let Palestinians in Gaza settle in Sinai.

According to Israeli reports, Washington may be close to unveiling a scheme that would weaken the border between Gaza and Egypt, and allow Palestinians to work and maybe live in northern Sinai.

The aim would be to gradually shift responsibility for the enclave away from Israel on to Egypt and further undermine prospects for a Palestinian state in historic Palestine.

And in a separate move that would complete Netanyahu’s windfall, an Israeli government minister claimed late last month that the Trump administration may be ready to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

The Heights were seized by Israel from Syria during the 1967 war and annexed in violation of international law in 1981.

No longer ‘occupied’
A Jerusalem Post report last month suggested that the White House document would be unlikely to include a commitment to a “two-state solution”, reflecting previous comments from Trump.

That would free Israel’s hand to seize areas of the West Bank it has colonised with its ever-expanding settlements.

Noticeably, the latest annual report from the US State Department on the human rights situation by country, published in April, drops for the first time the term “occupied Palestinian territories”, implying that the Trump team no longer views much of the West Bank as under occupation.

Netanyahu told a recent meeting of his Likud faction: “Our successes are still to come. Our policies are not based on weakness. They are not based on concessions that will endanger us.”

So given Israel’s recent moves, what can we infer about the likely terms of Trump’s peace plan?

1. Gerrymandering Jerusalem
The most sensitive of the final-status issues is Jerusalem, which includes the incendiary Muslim holy site of al-Aqsa. Trump appears to have effectively recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by relocating the US embassy there last month.

The embassy move is likely to be interpreted by Netanyahu as a retroactive seal of approval from the US for a series of Israeli measures over recent months designed to engineer a Greater Jewish Jerusalem.

The main thrust are two legislative proposals to gerrymander the city’s boundaries and its population to create an unassailable Jewish majority. Both have been put on hold by Netanyahu until the announcement of the peace plan.

The first – called the Greater Jerusalem Bill – is intended to annex several large Jewish settlements close by in the occupied West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality. Overnight that would transform some 150,000 West Bank settlers into Jerusalem residents, as well as effectively annexing their lands to Israel.

In a sign of the impatience of members of Netanyahu’s cabinet to press on with such a move, the bill is due to come up for consideration again on Sunday.

A separate bill would strip residency in the city from some 100,000 Palestinians who are on the “wrong side” of a wall Israel began building through Jerusalem 15 years ago. Those Palestinians will be all but barred from Jerusalem and assigned to a separate council.

In addition, Israel has intensified harsh measures against Palestinians still inside East Jerusalem, including night arrests, house demolitions, the closing down of businesses, the creation of “national parks” in Palestinian neighbourhoods, and the denial of basic services. The barely veiled aim is to encourage residents to relocate outside the wall.

Experts have noted too that Palestinian schools inside the wall are being pressured to adopt the Israeli curriculum to erode a Palestinian identity among pupils.

2. Abu Dis: a Palestinian capital?
With Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital, Trump’s team is reported to be seeking a face-saving alternative location for a future Palestinian “capital” outside Jerusalem’s municipal borders.

According to rumours, they have selected the town of Abu Dis, 4km east of Jerusalem and cut off from the city by Israel’s wall more than a decade ago.

The Abu Dis plan is not new. At the end of the 1990s, the US administration of Bill Clinton proposed renaming Abu Dis “al-Quds” – Arabic for “the Holy”, the traditional name of Jerusalem because of its holy places. That was seen as a prelude to designating it the future capital of a Palestinian state.

Reports about the elevation of Abu Dis in the new peace plan have been circulating since late last year. In January, Abbas rejected the idea outright.

Only last month Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s centre-right Yesh Atid party, highlighted reports about the imminent change of Abu Dis’s status in comments directed at Netanyahu.

Abu Dis is a densely populated village home to 13,000 Palestinians. In practice, it is all but impossible to imagine how it could function meaningfully as the capital of a Palestinian state – something that makes it an attractive proposition for most of Netanyahu’s coalition.

Currently, most of Abu Dis’s lands are under Israeli control, and it is hemmed in by the wall and Jewish settlements, including the 40,000 inhabitants of Maale Adumim.

Several government ministers have made Israel’s annexation of Maale Adumim a priority. Netanyahu has delayed such a move, again citing the need to wait for the announcement of the Trump peace plan.

Beilin said it was mistakenly believed that he and Abbas agreed on Abu Dis as a Palestinian capital back in the 1990s.

“It wasn’t credible as an idea then, and the map looks very different now,” he said. “The Palestinian capital has to be in East Jerusalem. Nothing else will work.”

3. Access to al-Aqsa
There has also been talk of a plan to create a narrow land corridor from Abu Dis to the al-Aqsa mosque, so Palestinians can reach it to pray.

However, Israel has been allowing ever larger numbers of settlers into al-Aqsa, which is reputedly built over two long-destroyed Jewish temples.

Meanwhile, Israel has been tightly restricting access to the site for most Palestinians. There have been long-standing Palestinian fears that Israel is seeking to engineer a situation where it can impose its sovereignty over the mosque.

David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel and a benefactor to the settlements, only heightened such fears last month when he was pictured apparently accepting a photo doctored by religious settlers that showed al-Aqsa mosque replaced by a new Jewish temple.

4. Jordan Valley
Under the Oslo accords, some 62 percent of the occupied West Bank was classified as Area C, under temporary Israeli control. It includes much of the Palestinians’ best agricultural land and would be the heartland of any future Palestinian state.

Israel never carried out the withdrawals from Area C intended in the Oslo process. Instead, it has been accelerating the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements there, and making life as hard as possible for Palestinians to force them into the confines of the more densely populated Areas A and B.

The Trump plan is reported to offer recognition of provisional Palestinian borders on about half of the West Bank – effectively awarding most of Area C to Israel. Much of that land will be in the Jordan Valley, the long spine of the West Bank that Israel has been colonising for decades.

Last December, as the Trump plan took shape, Israel announced a massive programme of settlement expansion in the Jordan Valley, designed to more than double the settler population there. Three new settlements will be the first to be built in the valley in nearly 30 years.

At the same time, Israel has lately been intensifying the harassment of the ever-shrinking Palestinian population in the Jordan Valley, as well as other parts of Area C.

In addition to denying Palestinians access to 85 percent of the Valley, Israel has declared military firing zones over nearly half of the area. That has justified the regular eviction of families on the pretext of ensuring their safety.

Israel has also been developing accelerated procedures to demolish Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley.

5. The rest of Area C
Israel has been speeding up efforts to expand the settlements in other parts of Area C. On 30 May, it announced nearly 2,000 new homes, the great majority of them in isolated settlements that it was previously assumed would be dismantled in any peace deal.

Additionally, Israel has been quietly preparing to “legalise” what are termed “outposts” – settlements, usually built on private Palestinian land, that violate a “no new settlements” agreement with the US dating from the 1990s.

At the same time, Israel has been destroying Palestinian communities in Area C, especially those that stand in the way of efforts to create territorial continuity between large settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Late last month, France objected after Israel’s supreme court approved a plan to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, next to Maale Adumim. The families are supposed to be moved to a garbage dump in Abu Dis.

The French statement warned that Israeli actions were threatening “a zone of strategic importance to the two-state solution and the contiguity of a future Palestinian state”.

In its place, it was recently revealed, Israel is planning to build a new settlement neighbourhood called Nofei Bereishit.

In another sign of mounting international concern, some 70 Democratic members of the US Congress appealed last month to Netanyahu to stop the destruction of the Palestinian community of Sussiya, between the Gush Etzion settlements and Jerusalem.

US lawmakers expressed concern that the move was designed to “jeopardise the prospects for a two-state solution”.

6. Gaza and Sinai
It is becoming hard for the Trump administration and Israel to ignore the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza – one Israel helped to engineer with an 11-year blockade and intermittent military attacks. The United Nations warned some time ago that Gaza would soon be “uninhabitable”.

Seeking a solution, the White House hosted 19 countries at a meeting in March to consider the situation in Gaza. The PA boycotted the meeting.

At the time, Arab media reported that the Trump peace plan might include a commitment from Egypt to free up northern Sinai for a future Palestinian state. According to a Hamas official, Cairo offered reassurances that it was opposed to “settling Palestinians in Sinai”.

But a report in Haaretz has revived concerns that the White House may try to achieve a similar end by other means, by launching a Gaza initiative to coincide with the peace plan.

The paper noted that the Trump team had picked up proposals from an Israeli general, Yoav Mordechai, who participated in the White House meeting in March.

A reported initial stage would see Palestinians from Gaza recruited to work on $1.5bn worth of long-term projects in northern Sinai, funded by the international community. The projects would include an industrial zone, a desalination plant and a power station.

Egyptian opposition to such an initiative is reported to be weakening, presumably in the face of strenuous pressure from Washington and Arab allies.

Palestinian protests
The Palestinians are doing their best to try to halt the peace plan in its tracks. They are currently boycotting the Trump administration to show their displeasure.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called last month on Arab states to recall their ambassadors from the United States in protest.

And an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has proposed that an international peacekeeping force, modelled on those used in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, be deployed to protect Palestinians.

In another sign of anger at the Trump initiative, the Palestinians defied the US by submitting a referral for the International Criminal Court at the Hague to investigate Israel for war crimes last month.

Etzion, the former Israeli foreign ministry official, however, warned that a turning point could be on the horizon.

“A Palestinian implosion is coming and that could change the situation in unexpected ways,” he told MEE. “The question is which implosion comes first: the humanitarian catastrophe about to engulf Gaza, or the political vacuum created when Abbas leaves.”

Arab pressure
Nonetheless, the Palestinians are facing huge pressure to give in to the peace plan.

The Trump administration has already cut funding to the UN refugee agency, UNRWA, which cares for more than two million refugees in the occupied territories. It is also poised to pull more than $200m of funding to the Palestinian Authority this summer.

Trump has also sought to recruit the Arab states to lean on Abbas. According to reports, the Palestinian leader was presented with a 35-page document originating from the Americans when he visited Saudi Arabia last November, and told to accept it or resign.

In recent years the Saudis have increased their aid to the Palestinian Authority, giving them greater leverage over the Palestinian leader.

In exchange for the Arab states acceding to Trump’s plan, Washington appears to be rolling out a more draconian policy towards Iran to limit its influence in the region.

The Arab states understand that they need to first defuse the Palestinian issue before they can be seen to coordinate closely with Israel and the US in dealing with Tehran.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:47 pm 
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JUNE 18, 2018

Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration

by PATRICK COCKBURN


The Trump administration is guilty of many acts of deliberate cruelty, such as taking away the children of immigrant parents at the US border. But just as the world was watching the lead up to the Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting in Singapore last Monday, the US may have done something even worse by quietly announcing a decision that threatens to kill millions by starvation or disease.

The potential death sentence came in a short press statement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, effectively giving a green light for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch an offensive in Yemen aimed at capturing Hodeidah on the Red Sea. The port city is the point of entry for 70 per cent of food and medical supplies for the eight million Yemenis whom the UN says are on the brink of starvation out of the 22 million in need of humanitarian aid.

The eagerness of US officials to avoid accusations of complicity in the Hodeidah attack is a sign that they suspect the outcome may be calamitous. Pompeo was deliberately low-key in his three sentence statement about Hodeidah: “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.”

Absent from this message for the first time was any call for Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to attack Hodeidah, a city with a population of 600,000 who are already hearing explosions in the distance. The US and UAE have been working hard on a smokescreen of misinformation about who is responsible for what is happening and why they are launching the offensive now.

The 25,000 Yemeni fighters advancing on Hodeidah are not an independent force but are paid for and under the control of the UAE. “We take our orders from the Emiratis, of course,” a Yemeni field commander in the front line told Iona Craig of The Interceptearlier this month as he called in airstrikes. This air support is provided by the Saudis and the UAE with the US providing essential services such as mid-air refuelling and target intelligence. The US is denying that it has a direct role in the assault on Hodeidh, but it would not be happening without its assent.

The UAE has made it clear privately to US officials that it would not attack Hodeidah without the permission and support of the Trump administration. The White House has decided to escalate the Saudi and UAE-led campaign against the Houthis, whom it denounces as Iranian proxies, though without providing much evidence of this. A justification by the UAE for attacking Hodeidah is that it is used by the Houthis to import Iranian-made missiles and other weapons. “Should we leave the Houthis smuggling missiles?” asked a UAE ambassador. But a UN panel of experts concluded earlier in the year that no weapons were coming through the port from Iran because ships are randomly inspected and must be authorised by the UN.

A crude attempt by the UAE to pretend that it is not acting in concert with the US is to announce publicly that its request to the US for satellite imagery, reconnaissance and mine-sweeping had been turned down. Given that countries do not normally put such rejections up in lights, this is clearly another attempt to play down the US role.

Why is the US doing this? Trump is closer to Saudi Arabia and UAE than any another US president and they have put a vast effort into cultivating him. The White House sees Yemen as one front in a broader campaign to put pressure on Iran. But the most important motive for escalation by Saudi Arabia, UAE and their foreign backers such as the US, Britain and France is that their war has not been going well for them.

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began the Saudi air war against the Houthis in March 2015 it was over-confidently named “Operation Decisive Storm”. It turned out to be anything but decisive and is still going on three years later. The Houthis, a Shia minority sect, control the capital Sanaa along with almost all of highly populated north Yemen and remain capable of firing the occasional missile into Saudi Arabia.

The US is encouraging the UAE and its allies to take Hodeidah to break the deadlock, by tightening encirclement of the Houthis. But this is a long way from taking Sanaa and forcing the Houthis to surrender.

What the Hodeidah operation may do is turn a humanitarian disaster, which the UN is already calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, into complete catastrophe. Three quarters of the 27 million Yemenis already require aid to survive and this may be cut off in the next few days as the fighting moves into Hodeidah and closes the port.

The Saudis and the UAE are trying to defuse international concerns, particularly in the US Congress, about an impending famine by saying that they are ready and waiting to send in supplies once they have taken Hodeidah. That sounds good, but last year Saudi Arabia even banned chlorine tablets being sent to Yemen though it was suffering from a cholera epidemic in which, according to the World Health Organisation, 500,000 people have been infected and 2,000 children have died. The epidemic started because the Saudi-led coalition had bombed the main electric power station and not enough fuel was getting through to keep the sewage and water purification plants working.

Even if Hodeidah falls, the Saudi and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces will be unable to fight their way into the rugged highlands of Yemen where the terrain favours the defender.

Pretensions of humanitarian concern from Yemen by the US, Britain and France reek of hypocrisy, shedding copious tears for the victims of war while supplying the arms and advisers with which that war is being waged. The largely ineffective Houthi missiles fired at Riyadh are furiously denounced, but scarcely a squeak is heard about the relentless bombing of Sanaa and every other population centre in the country. The US and Britain opposed a demand by Sweden at the UN Security Council on Thursday that Saudi Arabia and UAE declare an immediate ceasefire. Some cynics suspect that the Saudi-UAE offensive is timed to sink peace efforts by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths whereby the Houthis would withdraw from Hodeidah and the UN would take over the port city.

Calling for a political settlement, as Britain has done, sounds better than calling for more war, but the outcome will be much the same so long as Saudi Arabia and UAE try to gain through diplomacy what they have failed to win on the battlefield over the last three years. If the Houthis do not withdraw, then the Saudi-led coalition is likely to rely on bombing to batter their way in. The city will end up looking like Raqqa, West Mosul or East Aleppo where ground troops act as a mopping up force after airstrikes have obliterated everything in front of them. It is only when the US, Britain and France begin to exact a political price from Saudi Arabia and UAE for continuing their disastrous foreign venture in Yemen that the end of the war will be in sight.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

_________________
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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:03 pm 
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JULY 4, 2018

Iraq is Threatened by Catastrophic Drought

by PATRICK COCKBURN


“I once rescued a friend from drowning when he was swept away by the force of the current as we were swimming in the Diyala river,” says Qasim Sabti, a painter and gallery owner in Baghdad.

“That was fifty years ago,” he recalls. “I went back there recently and the water in the Diyala is so shallow today that a man could walk across it with his dog.”

The rivers of Iraq, above all the Tigris and Euphrates, are drying up. The country is becoming more arid, and desertification is eating into the limited amount of agricultural land.

Dams built upriver in Turkey, Syria and Iran since the 1970s have reduced the flow of water that reaches Iraq by as much as half and the situation is about to get worse.

“On 1 July, Turkey will start filling the Ilisu dam on the Tigris and this will cause another decline in the inflows to our country of about 50 per cent,” Hassan Janabi, minister of water resources, told The Independent.

He says that Iraq used to get 30 billion cubic metres of water a year from the Euphrates, but now “we are happy if we get 16 billion cubic metres”.

As Iraq begins to recover from 40 years of wars and emergences, its existence is being threatened by the rapidly falling water levels in the two great rivers on which its people depend.

It was on their banks that the first cities were established cities 8,000 years ago and where the flood stories of Gilgamesh and the Bible were first told.

Such floods are now a thing of the past – the last was in 1988 – and each year the amount of water taken by Iraq’s neighbours has been rising.

This pattern started in the 1970s when Turkey and Syria built dams on the Euphrates for hydroelectric power and vast irrigation works. It is the latter which choke off the water supply to Iraq.

The same thing happened a little later to the Tigris, whose major tributaries are being dammed by Iran.

Iraqi protests have been ineffectual because Saddam Hussein and successor government in Baghdad were preoccupied by wars and crises that appeared more important at the time.

By now it is getting too late to reverse the disastrous impact on Iraq of this massive loss of water.

“This summer is going to be tough,” says Mr Janabi, a water resources engineer by training who was in charge of restoring the marshes in southern Iraq after 2003.

Some smaller rivers like the Karun and Kark that used to flow out of Iran into Iraq, have simply disappeared after the Iranians diverted them. He says: “We used to get five billion cubic metres annually from the Karkhah, and now we get zero.”

Iraq was once self-sufficient in food, but now imports 70 per cent of its needs. Locally-grown watermelons and tomatoes are for sale beside the road or in the markets, but most of what Iraqis eat comes from Iran or Turkey or is purchased by the government on the world market.

This amount is set to increase this year because the filling of the Ilisu dam in Turkey is forcing the Iraqi government to restrict the growing of rice and wheat by farmers in order to conserve water used for irrigation.

This man-made drought is only the latest blow to hit Iraqi farmers.

​Imad Naja, a returned colonel in the Iraqi air force, inherited his small family farm near Awad al-Hussein village outside Taji, north of Baghdad, 15 years ago where he at first grew wheat and other crops as well as taking up bee-keeping and fish farming. He produced half a ton of honey a year and dug a fish pond close to his house.

“I feel sad that I put so much work into my farm and look at it now,” he says, explaining that three-quarters of his land is no longer cultivated because it cannot be irrigated. He grows alfalfa for sale as animal feed in the remainder but his beehives lie discarded in one corner of his garden and there are no fish in the pond.

He says: “I get some water from a well that we drilled ourselves, but it is salty.”

He makes more money from hiring out a football pitch he has built behind a high-wire fence than he does from agriculture.

Iraq has a complex network of irrigation channels built over the last century to carry water from the Tigris and Euphrates.

One such channel, named 43, runs close to Mr Naja’s house and, on the day we visited, was full of muddy water that comes from the Tigris. Mr Naja says this may look good, but he is only getting the water for two days each fortnight, which is not enough to cultivate all his land.

“I could manage if I got water for seven days out of 14 but not less,” he says.

As with everything else in Iraq, security or the lack of it plays a central role in the villages around Taji. This is a Sunni area which used to be a stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq and later of Isis. Mr Naja had been the local leader of al-Sahwah, the paramilitary Sunni movements allied to the US against al-Qaeda a dozen years ago. As Isis advanced south after capturing Mosul in 2014, Taji was heavily fought over, with checkpoints blocking the roads and making travel dangerous.

Mr Naja looks relaxed about his own security, but he has moved his wife and five sons and daughters to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, not only for their safety but because he wants his children to go to good schools not available locally.

A problem is that Erbil used to be two hours’ drive from Taji, but clashes between Kurdish and government forces last year cut the main road and Mr Naja has to make a long diversion so the trip now takes six hours. Nevertheless, he is planning to re-stock his fish pond.

Can anything be done by Iraq to cope with Iraq’s chronic shortage of water? The government does not have enough political leverage in Turkey and Iran to get a greater share of the water which previously flowed into Iraq. Mr Janabi shows a report on how to successfully manage water in Iraq over the next twenty years. It is a hefty volume, but he said that it is merely the introduction to a complete study of the water crisis that weighs 35 kilos. This apparently explains how Iraq’s water problems could be alleviated, though at a cost of $184bn (£140bn) that the government does not have.

Iraqis are all too aware that the failing supply of water is changing the very appearance of their country. Mr Sabti has just opened an art exhibition in Baghdad in which 90 landscape paintings by Iraqi artists show pastoral views of rivers, lakes, marshes, palm groves, crops and vegetation. “We need to preserve the memory of these places before the Tigris and Euphrates dry up,” he explains. “Some of them will disappear next year because there will be no water.”

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

_________________
Image

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:07 am 
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JULY 6, 2018

Haunted by a Legacy of Hatred: Fear of ISIS’s Return in Iraq

by PATRICK COCKBURN


“We are very much scared,” says Hamid Aftan al-Hammad, an Albu Nimr tribesman from the city of Hit in western Iraq. “At night we lie on the roofs of our houses with our weapons waiting to be attacked again.”

He fears the return of Isis, which massacred at least 864 members of his tribe when they controlled the area where they live – a city a hundred miles west of Baghdad in the middle of the vast Sunni Arab province of Anbar, which sprawls across western Iraq.

“It was there that they killed 45 of our people,” he says, going on to list those members of his immediate family who were murdered, including two teenage cousins executed in the main square of the city and two uncles who tried to escape into the desert but have disappeared and are assumed to have been captured and killed by Isis.

Compared even to the many other Isis atrocities, the hunting down of the Albu Nimr, a pro-government Sunni tribe, was relentless and genocidal.

Sala Segur Omar al-Nimr, a teacher who lived through the final months of his tribe’s resistance, described how they dug trenches and built sand barriers in a hopeless attempt to defend themselves, but it was not enough.

They faced thousands of better armed Isis fighters. When resistance finally collapsed in October 2014 those who could not flee fast enough “were slaughtered, many of them elderly, disabled or very young children. They even killed our farm animals.”

There is little violence today in Hit, a city with a population of 90,000 people. But the hatred and fear generated by the savage rule of Isis still divides its people.

Borhan Khalil, a local journalist, says that “there is still this division between pro- and anti-Isis families”. Foreign fighters may have belonged to Isis, but the great majority were locals and longtime neighbours of those they killed.

Mr Khalil says that families whose houses were blown up by Isis – often because they had worked for the Iraqi government – have frequently taken over, with official approval, the houses of Isis supporters who have since fled.

This is a further cause of anger and division.

The change of ownership is announced by messages scrawled on the outside wall of a house. One such message by a gate in central Hit reads: “This is the house of the fleeing terrorists now occupied by Fuad and his brother.”

Inside the house, which looks spacious and well kept, Haitham al-Ad al-Nimr, a member of the government security services, and his brother Fuad have been living there since they took it over a year ago.

“Our own house was completely demolished by Isis,” says Mr Nimr, who denies that he knows the identity of the people he has replaced. He explains that “they had fled long before we got here”.

He is not worried by the prospect of the dispossessed trying to take their property back one day, or of Isis launching a successful counteroffensive in Anbar.

Others are not so sanguine: Hamid Aftan al-Hammad, whom we met when he was about to cross the Euphrates in a boat because the bridge had been destroyed, says Isis families whose sons had been fighters were coming back to the area and, even if the fighters were not with them, they “will still back their sons”.

The Iraqi government is trying to defuse the issue of what happens to families with a record of supporting Isis in the past, but without much success.

This is particularly true in Hit, where the Albu Nimr reckon they lost about 1,000 people, with the same number of disappeared, shot in the desert as they tried to escape, or had their bodies thrown down wells.

Mr Hammad is enraged that two of his brothers had been thrown out of a house they had taken over and were now living in tents because a family they alleged were Isis supporters had now reoccupied it.

He says they deserved better from a government they had fought for: “One of my brothers has a crippled arm and lost three fingers when he was shot by an Isis sniper.”

Why was Isis so determined to wipe out this particular tribe? Isis certainly wanted to show that any resistance to them would provoke pitiless revenge. The Albu Nimr were an obvious target because their tribesmen had joined the army and police after the US-led invasion of 2003.

They did so at a time when the other Sunni tribes of Anbar were at the heart of resistance to the US occupation and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad.

As Isis made its spectacular advance in 2014, the Albu Nimr were isolated, outgunned and outnumbered.

Asked why Isis had been able to win so quickly, one of the Albu Nimr tribal leaders, Sheikh Na’eem al-Gu-ood, told The Independent in March 2015 that “the main reason is that 90 per cent of the tribes in Anbar collaborated with Isis or joined them except for ourselves”.

By that time he said that 864 Albu Nimr members had been killed.

Once Isis seized Mosul and the Iraqi army in northern Iraq disintegrated, the jihadis were able to capture plenty of heavy weapons.

The Albu Nimr say they begged the government and the Americans for arms and airstrikes but received nothing.

Well-off people in Hit were able to flee but those without money were forced to stay and endure Isis rule.

They say this was so cruel and murderous that Isis lost its popular support. Mr Khalil believes that everybody in Anbar – and not just the Albu Nimr – would today fight Isis because “Isis denounces everybody in government-held Iraq, which these days is almost the whole country, as infidels who deserve to be killed, so nobody wants them back”.

This is comforting, but Isis is a fanatical militarised cult that has never sought popularity and spreads its faith through force.

The terror it inspired in the past still lives on: a small surge in Isis killings and kidnappings in recent weeks reverberated throughout Iraq.

People in Hit say they have confidence in the Iraqi army as non-sectarian, but they know that Sunni Arabs are regarded with suspicion.

“As soon as I travel outside Anbar and show my Anbar ID at a checkpoint, I am held for hours,” says one source.

The Sunni of Iraq, a fifth of the population who had ruled the country for centuries, have shared in the Isis defeat and are politically marginalised.

Sunni cities like Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah are badly damaged, though there are signs of revival and reconstruction. The bridge across the Euphrates at Hit, destroyed by an airstrike by the US-led coalition, is being rebuilt and will reopen in a couple of months.

Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, suffered worse damage than Hit, and heaps of smashed concrete floors and walls stand where schools and villas used to be.

The price of property has halved in Anbar since the pre-Isis era, but in many places new houses and offices have been rebuilt, or yellow bulldozers and construction equipment can be seen clearing the rubble. The physical damage may be disappearing with surprising speed, but Isis rule has left a legacy of hatred that is still very present.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:25 am 
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JULY 10, 2018

When ISIS is Gone, Iraq Will Remain a Deeply Corrupt Country

by PATRICK COCKBURN


Iraqis disagree about many things but on one topic they are united: they believe they live in the most corrupt country in the world, barring a few where there is nothing much to steal. They see themselves as victims of a kleptomaniac state where hundreds of billions of dollars have disappeared into the pockets of the ruling elite over the past 15 years, while everybody else endures shortages of everything from jobs and houses to water and electricity.

The popular rage against the political class that came to power in 2003 explains why the movement led by the populist-nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which demands political and social reform and is allied to the Iraqi Communist Party, topped the poll in the parliamentary election in May. But the low turnout of 44.5 per cent underlined a conviction on the part of many that nothing much is going to change, whatever the makeup of the next government – something still being patched together in snail’s pace negotiations between the parties. “Even friends of mine who did vote are disillusioned and say they will not vote again,” one Baghdad resident told me.

It is impossible to exaggerate the frustration of Iraqis who know they live in a potentially rich country, the second largest oil producer in Opec, but see its wealth being stolen in front of their eyes year after year.

I was in Ramadi, the capital city of the province of Anbar, west of Baghdad, looking at the war damage when I met Muthafar Abdul Ghafur, 64, a retired engineer who had just finished rebuilding his house which had been destroyed in an airstrike. “I did it all myself and got no compensation from the government,” he said, adding bitterly that some whose houses were largely intact had received compensation because, unlike him, they bribed the right officials. “Write that Iraq has no government!” he shouted at me. “It has only thieves!”

Back in Baghdad, I visited the upper middle-class districts of Mansour and Yarmouk to talk to a real estate dealer, Safwat Abdul Razaq, who said he was doing good business. The price of property in this area had doubled in the past two years, but he was less optimistic about the future because of the weak government and, above all, because of the pervasive state corruption. “The government has no credibility,” he said. “Wherever you go, they ask you for a bribe.”

He added that a contractor invariably had to pay off officials to win a contract and one of the three businessmen sitting in the office said that this could easily be 50 per cent of the contract price. There was plenty of private money in Iraq but little of it was invested there because corruption made any business activity insecure: “that is why I buy property in Jordan but not in Iraq.”

These are well-off people, but I heard the same complaints in the Shia working-class stronghold of Sadr city, where heaps of rubbish lie uncollected in the streets. “The young people are a lost generation, who can’t afford to get married because they have no jobs and no prospects unless they know somebody in the government,” said a local paramilitary. Water and electricity were in short supply and expensive to buy privately.

Grotesque examples of official theft have been frequent since a new class of leaders, mostly Shia and Kurdish, took power in Iraq after the US invasion. When the Iraqi government was supposedly fighting for its life militarily in 2004-2005, the entire $1.3bn (£980m) military procurement budget disappeared. A few years later, police at checkpoints in Baghdad were trying to detect car bombs with a useless device that cost a few dollars to make and which the government had bought for tens of thousands.

How did successive Iraqi governments get away with such blatant thefts for so long? For years they diverted attention away from their looting of Iraq’s oil revenues by claiming that the struggle against al-Qaeda in Iraq and later Isis was the only thing that mattered. They appealed to the sectarian solidarity of the Shia and, in northern Iraq, to the ethnic solidarity of the Kurds.

But a year after Isis suffered a decisive defeat in the siege of Mosul, these excuses no longer work. Security is better than at any time since the fall of Saddam Hussein, so Iraqis are more conscious than ever before of the failings of a parasitic leadership and a semi-functional state machine.

A word of caution here: Iraqis like to think of their country as uniquely cursed by corruption with billions of dollars paid to shell companies for projects in which not a single brick is placed on top of another. But Iraq is not alone in this, since all the states whose wealth is drawn entirely from the exploitation of their natural resources – usually oil – operate similarly. In each case, members of a predatory ruling elite – from Angola to Saudi Arabia and Iraq – plug into state revenues and grab as much as they can get their claws on.

Obscenely excessive expenditure by the ruling circles in these countries is notorious, but they are not the sole beneficiaries. All these resource-rich states have vast patronage systems whereby a large chunk of the population gets jobs, or receives salaries, though no work may be necessary. Iraqis and Saudis may denounce corruption at the top but millions of them have a stake in the system, which gives it a certain stability. In Iraq, for instance, some 4.5 million Iraqis work for the state and these are the plum jobs that others would like to have. Though political leaders in Baghdad talk about reforming this system, it is politically dangerous to do so because the networks of corruption and patronage established themselves too long ago and involve too many powerful people and parties.

“Anti-corruption campaigns” – in Iraq as in Saudi Arabia – are often just one group of super-rich trying to displace another. The patronage system is the only way that many Iraqis and Saudis get a share of the oil revenues and they will resist being deprived of this in the supposed interest of creating a more functional system.

In Iraq the mechanics of corruption operate in a slightly different way than elsewhere because of the role of the political parties. Mudher Salih, a financial adviser to the prime minister Haider al-Abadi, told me that “unless the political system is changed it is impossible to fight corruption”. He said that the reason for this is that parties use the government ministries they control as cash cows and patronage machines through which they sustain their power. This way of doing things is probably too ingrained, and in the interests of too many people, to be radically changed.

Corruption cannot be eliminated in Iraq, but it can be made less destructive. When al-Abadi became prime minister in 2014 Isis was advancing on Baghdad and oil prices were well. Salih said that in response to the crisis the government “cut expenditure by 37 per cent by removing ‘fishy’ items – money being spent for nothing at all”. Corruption will stay, but in future Iraqis can at least hope to get something for their money.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:59 am 
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JULY 13, 2018

Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?

by PATRICK COCKBURN


Several hundred suicide bombers and 4,000 fighters belonging to Isis are preparing to defend Hajin in eastern Syria close to the border with Iraq.

The town is the last stronghold of the Islamic State, the militarised Islamic cult that three years ago controlled territory the size of Great Britain.

The struggle for Hajin comes exactly a year after Isis suffered a decisive defeat with the capture of Mosul on 10 July 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition.

Multiple anti-Isis forces are now closing in on Hajin, which is on the east bank of the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor province, says a local eyewitness who spoke to The Independent after escaping to Kurdish-held territory.

“I heard from people who are working with Daesh [Isis] officials that there are more than 200 child suicide bombers, called the Lion Cubs, in Hajin,” said Sattam, 32, an Arabic teacher who lived until recently in Bahara, a northern neighbourhood of Hajin.

“There are still more than 35,000 people and 4,000 Daesh in the town,” he said, adding that his relatives, who are still in Hajin, say that Isis has dug deep tunnels there to protect themselves from aerial attack.

He believes that the struggle for Hajin might take longer than the four-month siege of Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria which was captured by the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-Arab group, in October.

Sattam says that Hajin is being regularly shelled and hit by airstrikes, but it has yet to be seriously attacked by ground forces.

The Iraqi government says that its F-16 bombers targeted a meeting of Isis leaders in three houses, linked by a tunnel, in Hajin on 23 June and killed 45 of them.

The dead included the Isis deputy war minister, chief of police and a messenger of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of the Islamic State, who is thought to currently be in the Syria-Iraq border area.

Sattam, who does not want to give his full name because he has a cousin, a farmer, still living in Hajin, gives a detailed picture of life in the last town held by Isis.

On a small scale, it maintains the complex administrative system with which it used to rule large cities like Mosul, Raqqa, Fallujah and Ramadi, as well as many towns in Syria and Iraq.

“I was in contact with some Iraqi friends who were working in the tax office of Daesh in Hajin,” says Sattam.

“They were collecting fees from people of the town who are rich because many are landlords and others have businesses in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

He says the town is well known locally for its large and well-decorated houses owned by traders who belong to powerful local tribes.

He says there was friction last summer between Isis and the people of Hajin: “I remember when some Iraqi and Syrian young men managed to set fire to a centre for Daesh security men.”

Currently, Isis is preventing civilians fleeing the town, a tactic it used in Mosul and Raqqa which led to heavy loss of life from airstrikes and artillery fire.

Whatever the timing of the final assault on Hajin, it will inevitably fall because it is encircled by three different armies.

Sattam ticks off the town’s besiegers: the coalition-backed SDF, a Kurdish-Arab force with Kurdish leadership to the north, northeast and west; the Iraqi Shia paramilitary Hashd al-Shaabi to the east; and the Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad to the south.

One reason for the defeat of Isis, despite its military skills and fanaticism, is the sheer number of its enemies.

Asked about what was known locally of the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi, Sattam says that Isis members or those working for their institutions “no longer talk about him or any new statement or decision he made.”

He adds that the word is common in the Deir ez-Zor countryside that “even if the caliph is dead, he left hundreds of his sons as suicide bombers”.

This is not proof that al-Baghdadi is dead since, if this were true, it would either be admitted or be a secret closely held by his inner circle.

His 18-year-old son, Huthaifa al-Badri, was reported last week by Isis to have been killed fighting Russians and the Syrian army in Homs province in Syria. His martyrdom is being heavily promoted by Isis social media channels, though these are much diminished in volume and influence.

The SDF and the US-led coalition launched Operation Roundup on 1 May with the purpose of taking the last Isis-held territory along the Syria-Iraq border.

The offensive has already seized the only other town that was still held by Isis – Dashisha in Hasakah province – in June. Isis had occupied it for five years, during which conditions had become progressively grimmer for its inhabitants.

Salim Abu Ali, 48, a farmer from Dashisha, gave a graphic account to The Independent of life under Isis, in the town where he remained until it was captured by the SDF.

“I couldn’t leave the town because my wife is disabled and my sons left the country for Iraq in 2013 because Daesh had taken the town,” Salim says.

When Isis first took over in July 2013 they treated people well, he says, but the following year, probably because their victories had made them overconfident, they became more intimidating and started public executions.

“The horrible thing that I witnessed many times was that people did not realise that Daesh was going to behead them,” Salim says.

“I still remember a man I knew, Abu Mohammed, who was blindfolded and crying out that he was innocent, but suddenly a big knife cut into his neck, ripped through his throat, and suddenly blood gushed out.”

The man who had beheaded him was shouting: “God orders us to kill disbelievers without mercy.” Salim says that his friend had been accused by somebody who hated him of trading with the Syrian government.

He recalls that this happened in November 2016 when Isis fighters were angry because they were getting bad news from Mosul, which was being besieged by the Iraqi army.

Isis fighters began arriving from Iraq in large numbers with armoured vehicles and women prisoners. “Later we have been told they were Yazidis to be taken to Raqqa.”

The attack on Dashisha by the SDF began two months ago, accompanied by airstrikes every day.

“There wasn’t fighting in the town,” says Salim, “it was in the farms around Dashisha. Most of those who fought were foreigners, mostly from Azerbaijan.”

The local Isis fighters withdrew and many surrendered to the authorities in Syria or Iraq. Salim ended up being detained in a camp called al-Hol, run by the SDF, until he was rescued by a cousin who guaranteed that he was not a threat.

After a series of calamitous defeats in Iraq and Syria, Isis fighters may be getting demoralised and no longer as determined as before to fight to the end. If so, this would be good news for the thousands of people trapped in Hajin, waiting for the final battle to begin.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:10 pm 
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I wonder if all the suicide bombing and truck of peace-ing will be considered passé after ISIS is finished, and a peaceful revolution will take over. Or, another death cult with a different name will spring up.

III/O


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:21 pm 
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PBFMullethunter wrote:
Or, another death cult with a different name will spring up.
III/O


Perhaps Super Halal Islamic Terrorists, or S.H.I.Ts

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:23 pm 
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Saudi Arabia created and the United States supported ISIS and Al Qaeda, in order to try and bring down Bashir al-Assad.

They failed.

I don't think they'll try that tactic again.

>&8~

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"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory." - Howard Zinn


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:34 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Saudi Arabia created and the United States supported ISIS and Al Qaeda, in order to try and bring down Bashir al-Assad.

They failed.

I don't think they'll try that tactic again.

>&8~


No but they’ll try other things that have similar results.


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