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Category Archives: Middle East

MBS feted in the US despite war atrocities in Yemen

The US tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a triumph of multi-million-dollar post-truth public relations

The current US tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, is a triumph of multi-million-dollar post-truth public relations.
The fact that MBS also happens to be destroying Yemen is just a minor glitch. Smooth PR is always able to secure the maxim that not all dictators, Arab or otherwise, are equal; after all “our” bastards can get away with everything.

Until they can’t — as in Saddam Hussein or Hosni Mubarak.

MBS’s PR orb sucks up everything, from a softball 60 Minutes interview to schmoozing with a galaxy of high-profile figures such as Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, close pal Jared Kushner, James Mattis, Barack Obama, John Kerry, David Petraeus, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Tim Cook, and the CEOs of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Amazon, Uber and the Walt Disney Company.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/MBS-feted-in-the-US-despit-by-Pepe-Escobar-Al-Qaeda_Aramco_Crown-Prince-Mohammed-Bin-Salman_Houthis-180330-506.html

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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket”

Until he was stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.

Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/21/jared-kushner-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman/

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

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You Bet It’s Apartheid

They might not have intended it – this is too big for them, and perhaps even too big for their arrogance, but they are the initiators of the regime, or at least its harbingers. They studied law and went to work (“to serve”) in the military courts. They were promoted and became military judges. That’s what they call the clerk-officers who work for the moral army as judges of the occupied in the occupied territories. They work in a military unit with a biblical name: the “Judea Military Court,” and they decide people’s fate. No doubt they’re certain they’re working in a legal system, like they were taught at university. There are, after all, prosecutors and defense attorneys in it. There’s even a translator.

Most of the work attracts no attention. In Israel, who cares what happens in the prefabs at the Ofer military base? They have sent thousands of people to an aggregate tens of thousands of years of imprisonment, and almost never exonerated anyone; at their workplace, there’s no such thing. They have also approved hundreds of detentions without hearings, even though there is no such thing in a country of law. Day after day, it’s just another day at the office.

http://apjp.org/-you-bet-its-apartheid/

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Ghouta : chronique d’une révolution écrasée

C’est une histoire dont on connaît déjà la fin. À moins d’un revirement majeur, la Ghouta orientale, assiégée depuis cinq ans par Damas, devrait tomber prochainement. Le régime, qui cherche à faire plier l’enclave une fois pour toutes, a lancé une campagne de bombardements intenses début février, avant d’entamer un assaut terrestre la semaine dernière.

La moitié de l’enclave rebelle a déjà été reprise par les forces loyalistes. Siège prolongé, pilonnage, ersatz de négociations politiques et enfin offensive terrestre : la tactique, utilisée par Damas à plusieurs reprises pour mater les fiefs insurrectionnels, a déjà fait ses preuves, comme à Daraya, à Alep-Est ou encore à Wadi Barada.

L’heure n’est pas encore aux baluchons préparés à la hâte et aux bus verts. Ces fameux bus qui déracinent pour de bon ceux qui ont osé tenir tête à Damas. Mais le compte à rebours a déjà commencé, malgré les 30 000 combattants rebelles originaires de la région qui disent vouloir la défendre jusqu’à la mort.

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1103822/ghouta-chronique-dune-revolution-ecrasee.html

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Middle East

 

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In the small city of Manbij in Syria, we could see US and Turkish troops shooting at each other if tensions continue

Manbij is a good place to understand the jigsaw puzzle of competing fiefdoms into which Syria is now divided and the reasons why the multiple wars that have torn the country apart will go on for several more years. A largely Arab city with a population of 300,000, it is situated east of Aleppo and west of the Euphrates river, but has been effectively controlled by the Kurds since they captured it from Isis after a long siege in 2016.

Turkey has been repeatedly threatening to attack Manbij to end the Kurdish presence, though the Kurds, for their part, say they are no longer in control but have handed over power to a local body called the Manbij Military Council. The Turks claim that this just means that the Kurds have changed their uniforms, but the council, which has about 5,000 fighters, acts in concert with US troops, so, if Turkish troops and the local militias they work with do advance, it will be at the risk of a shooting war with the US.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-us-turkey-troops-fighting-manbij-kurdish-assad-civil-war-a8236201.html

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Erdogan has released the genealogy of thousands of Turks – but what is his motive?

Only in Turkey is the identity of a citizen a matter of national security. That’s why the population registry in Ankara was until now a closed book, its details a state secret. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s definition of “Turkishness” was “anyone who is attached to the Turkish state as a citizen”. Turks came from a clear ethnic identity, untainted by racial minorities or doubtful lineage. That’s one reason why the Nazis lavished praise on Ataturk’s republic, their newspapers mourning his death in black-bordered front pages.

After all, as Hitler was to ask in several newspaper interviews – and to his generals before he invaded Poland – who now remembers the Armenians? Ataturk had supposedly inherited an Armenian-free Turkey, just as Hitler intended to present his followers with a Jew-free Europe. The Armenian genocide of 1915 – denied by the Turkish government today – destroyed a million and a half Christian Ottoman citizens in the first industrial holocaust of the 20th century. Almost the entire Armenian community had been liquidated. Or had it?

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-race-armenian-recep-tayyip-erdogan-generlogy-family-trees-ethnicity-a8234346.html

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Is Turkey really facing an ‘exodus’? It’s not that simple

The decline of Turkey’s democracy has become a well-worn theme, and for good reason. The country has now jailed more journalists on charges related to their work than any other in the world, and many academics who’ve criticised the government’s policies towards the “Kurdish question” are now on trial. But recently, media observers have seemingly identified another alarming trend: a “Turkish exodus”.

With the failed coup attempt of 2016, the ensuing crackdown, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s moves to consolidate his power, it seems many Turks are moving abroad to make new lives elsewhere. Some are suggesting that this amounts to a “new wave” of refugees fleeing the country.

https://theconversation.com/is-turkey-really-facing-an-exodus-its-not-that-simple-90197

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Le stragi in Siria segnano la fine del diritto umanitario

L’assedio di Aleppo è finito in un bagno di sangue solo un anno fa, nel dicembre del 2016. Oggi assistiamo nella Ghuta orientale al lancio delle stesse bombe per mano dal regime e del suo alleato, la Russia. Si tratta delle barrel bombs, che vengono lanciate dagli aerei sulle città causando danni inimmaginabili.

“Assistiamo sempre alla solita storia”, scrive il quotidiano panarabo Al Araby. “Decine di testimoni rischiano la vita per mostrarci le immagini sconvolgenti dei corpi tra le macerie, le urla delle donne e degli uomini feriti, i bambini terrorizzati in mezzo alle rovine. La stessa scena si ripete, cambia solo la data”.

“Sterminio”, “genocidio”, gli osservatori sul campo sono unanimi: oltre 400mila persone sono intrappolate alla periferia di Damasco e vengono bombardate senza via di uscita. Il regime di Assad prima ha affamato la popolazione della Ghuta orientale: in una delle zone più agricole della Siria, gli abitanti erano finiti a mangiare erba. Già nel 2013 aveva ucciso circa 1.700 persone lanciando gas sarin sulla regione, fatto così sconvolgente che aveva quasi spinto l’allora presidente statunitense Barack Obama a intervenire. Ora il regime sta prendendo di mira, come già in precedenza, gli ospedali della zona.

https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/catherine-cornet/2018/02/23/stragi-siria-diritto-umanitario

 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Trapped in eastern Ghouta: How both sides are preventing civilians escaping the horror in Syria siege

Syrian rebels and government forces are both preventing civilians fleeing the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, according to a teacher who has been trying to get his family out.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Ghafour, 43, a teacher of Arabic, spoke of their abortive attempt to escape.

“I live in Douma [in the north of Eastern Ghouta] and have three children who are all under 15,” he says. “I tried to send my family out, but the opposition militants prevent all families leaving.” He adds that even the extensive networks of independent smugglers, who used to bring goods secretly into Eastern Ghouta and sometimes smuggle people out, would not help him because they work with the rebel movements in control of Eastern Ghouta.

“I tried but in vain,” he recalls, describing how one of the rebel local commanders, probably from the Army of Islam that controls this part of the besieged enclave, caught Ghafour and his family last Thursday when they were trying to move from Douma to another opposition held-district further west called Harasta. “He shouted at me and said, ‘You should stay here and support our fight against the regime, and you should not even send your wife and children away. If we send our families out, our morale will go down and we will lose.”’

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/eastern-ghouta-syria-civilians-deaths-trapped-damascus-siege-assad-regime-rebels-killed-a8229211.html

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Western howls of outrage over the Ghouta siege ring hollow – we aren’t likely to do anything to save civilians

Here are some cruel facts about the siege of Ghouta. They have become buried in the real rubble and blood and the sham and apocalyptic expressions of horror from the West. The first and most important dimension to the siege was a remark by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, who said on Monday that Moscow and the Syrian government “could deploy [in Ghouta] our experience of freeing Aleppo”. This single phrase – otherwise translated from the Russian as “draw from the lessons of Aleppo” – was regarded, when it was heeded at all, as a warning that Ghouta would be destroyed.

But the Russians spent many months, along with the Syrians, trying to arrange for the departure of Syrian civilians from eastern Aleppo before it was recaptured; after huge advances into the suburbs by Syrian troops, there was indeed an exodus of the innocent, in which armed opponents of the regime were also permitted to leave. Many were escorted by armed and uniformed Russian military police who took them to the Turkish border. Others preferred – rashly, no doubt – to move under escort to Idlib, the great provincial “dumping ground” for Islamist fighters and their families which is now, inevitably, also under siege.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/ghouta-siege-syria-death-toll-civilians-armed-attack-rebel-aleppo-latest-a8221086.html

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2018 in Middle East

 

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