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Turkey looks to Libya to break its growing isolation in the region

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has framed his country’s military deployment to Libya as a matter of survival, not only for Turkey’s strategic interests across the region but also for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

The head of Libya’s High Council of State, Khalid al-Mishri, told MEE that Turkey’s upcoming military support to the GNA would prevent General Khalifa Haftar’s forces from taking control of Tripoli. From high-level political figures to military commanders on the frontline, I found consensus during a recent visit to Tripoli that Turkey is the only country able to push back Haftar and contribute to rebuilding the Libyan state.

Turkey’s new military step in the context of the Libyan conflict provides strategic leverage for both sides and will ultimately bring new dimensions – as well as challenges – to Ankara’s regional strategy.

Strategic objectives
On 27 November, Turkey and Libya signed two separate memorandums of understanding on military cooperation and the maritime boundaries of countries in the eastern Mediterranean region, aiming to achieve their mutual strategic objectives.

In the short term, the GNA aims to push back Haftar’s forces in Tripoli; in the medium term, the Libyans seek to consolidate their partnership with Turkey to find a real solution to contain Haftar and bring Ankara into the Libyan picture as an external balance.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/what-turkeys-endgame-libya

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Africa, Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Can the President Just Kill Anyone He Wants Now?

Experts and politicians are debating if the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a top Iraqi militia commander on Friday was legally justified. But the strike is forcing a bigger question: If Donald Trump can get away with this, what can’t the president do?

The closest thing to a legal justification offered by the U.S. government so far is a Pentagon statement asserting that “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.” According to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. had “clear and unambiguous evidence“ that Soleimani was planning a stepped up “campaign of violence.”

The vagueness of that threat falls short of the traditional understanding of self-defense.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/01/trump-soleimani-iran-strike-legal-justification.html?via=recirc_recent

 
 

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US is not willing to withdraw troops from Iraq, says Pompeo

Washington is not willing to bow to Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops and any future discussions with Baghdad will be purely confined to the future structure of its forces in the country, the US state department has said.

The recommitment to US troops in Iraq defies an Iraqi parliament vote last week demanding all US forces leave in the wake of the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani by a drone strike in Baghdad. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US was only willing to discuss force reconfiguration with the Iraqis, and a greater contribution by Nato forces.

Pompeo, still under pressure about the legality of the attack, defended the breach of Iraqi sovereignty inherent in the killing by insisting there was clear evidence that Suleimani “had been plotting a large-scale imminent attack on US facilities throughout the region, including US embassies”.

Later, Donald Trump teased some more details in a manner unlikely to satisfy sceptics. “We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” the president told Fox News. “I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/10/us-not-willing-to-withdraw-troops-from-iraq-mike-pompeo

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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The west is still buying into nonsense claims about Iranian influence in the Middle East

I was in Iraq in April 1991 when government security forces crushed the Shia uprising against Saddam Hussein’s regime, killing tens of thousands and burying their bodies in pits. I had been expelled from Iraq to Jordan at the start of the rebellion in March and then, to my surprise, allowed to return, because Saddam wanted to prove to the world that he was back in control.

I was taken along with other journalists to see Grand Ayatollah al-Khoei, the vastly influential spiritual leader of the Shia in Iraq and elsewhere, who was being held in a nondescript house in Kufa in southern Iraq.

He lay on a couch looking all his 92 years, surrounded by Iraqi security men who were hoping that he would condemn the rebellion.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-iraq-middle-east-crisis-shia-proxy-influence-a9278696.html

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Iran ends nuclear deal commitments as fallout from Suleimani killing spreads

Iran has announced that it will no longer abide by any of the limits imposed by the unravelling 2015 nuclear deal, and Iraq’s parliament urged its leaders to expel troops from the US-led coalition, as the aftershocks of the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani reverberated through the Middle East.

In a statement broadcast on state TV late on Sunday, the Iranian government said the country would no longer observe limitations on uranium enrichment, stockpiles of enriched uranium or nuclear research and development. But the statement noted that the steps could be reversed if Washington lifted its sanctions on Tehran.

The announcement came hours after hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Iran to mourn Suleimani as his remains were carried through the cities of Ahvaz and Mashhad, ahead of a burial in his hometown on Tuesday.

Mourners thronged Mashhad, Iran’s second city, as Suleimani’s coffin was paraded on a truck through the streets to the floodlit Imam Reza shrine, chanting, “Iran’s wearing black, revenge, revenge” and holding up portraits. The scale of the procession forced the cancellation of a Sunday night ceremony in Tehran, according to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who urged citizens instead to attend a memorial at Tehran University on Monday.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/05/iran-ends-nuclear-deal-commitments-suleimani-killing-iraqi-parliament-us-troops

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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With Suleimani Assassination, Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington’s Most Vile Cabal

While the media focus for three years of the Trump presidency has centered around “Russia collusion” and impeachment, the most dangerous collusion of all was happening right out in the open — the Trump/Saudi/Israel/UAE drive to war with Iran.

On August 3, 2016 — just three months before Donald Trump would win the Electoral College vote and ascend to power — Blackwater founder Erik Prince arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.

At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East. Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/03/qassim-suleimani-assassination-trump-administration-war/?ref=hvper.com

 
 

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Protest is the new normal

A for Algeria, B for Bolivia, C for Chile, E for Ecuador, F for France… by now what triggered their protests may not matter very much, and satisfying the demonstrators’ initial demands may have little effect. Chile’s president Sebastián Piñera didn’t clear the streets of Santiago by cancelling a 4% rise in the price of metro tickets, and the government of Hong Kong failed to calm its opponents by withdrawing an extradition bill. Once protests get going, the authorities have to make more concessions or send in the police or the army. Or, as in Iraq, Chile and Argentina, promise to amend the constitution.

No sooner has the fire been extinguished in one place than it breaks out somewhere else. The people’s demands are colossal: ‘The people want to bring down the system’ (ash-shaab yurid isqat an-nizam), according to the slogan widely used since the Arab Spring. How will they achieve that and what will they do then? They often don’t know, yet they press on. In Algeria people have been demonstrating for nearly a year; in Hong Kong they started last March. Their courage is great: fear of brutal repression could paralyse them, but they don’t give up. What is happening in Iran where even the number of demonstrators murdered is a secret?

https://mondediplo.com/2020/01/01world-protest

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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This can be the year when we recharge nature – and ourselves

It’s going to be a rough year. The fatal combination of escalating climate breakdown and the capture of crucial governments by killer clowns provokes a horrible sense of inevitability. Just when we need determined action, we know that our governments, and the powerful people to whom they respond, will do everything they can to stymie it.

Witness the disasters in Australia. In mid-December, on the day the nation’s lethal heatwave struck, Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper the Australian filled its front page with a report celebrating new coal exports and a smear story about the chiefs of the state fire services, who were demanding an immediate end to the burning of fossil fuels. The response of the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to the escalating catastrophe was to embark on a holiday overseas as his country burned.

Some of the Earth’s largest land masses – Australia, Russia, the US, Brazil, China, India and Saudi Arabia – are governed by people who seem to care little for either humankind or the rest of the living world. To maintain their grip on power, which means appeasing key oligarchs and industries, they appear prepared to sacrifice anything – including, perhaps, the survival of humanity.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/02/nature-rewild-eco-anxiety-seas-climate-emergency-environment

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Imagining a World Without Capitalism

While the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party in the United Kingdom this month threatened the radical left’s momentum, particularly in the United States, where the presidential primaries loom, capitalism found itself under fire from some unexpected quarters. Billionaires, CEOs, and even the financial press have joined intellectuals and community leaders in a symphony of laments about rentier capitalism’s brutality, crassness, and unsustainability. “Business cannot continue as usual,” seems to be a widespread sentiment even in the boardrooms of the most powerful corporations.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/imagining-a-world-without-capitalism-by-yanis-varoufakis-2019-12

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in Economy, Uncategorized

 

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The Field Guide to Tyranny

Dictatorship has, in one sense, been the default condition of humanity. The basic governmental setup since the dawn of civilization could be summarized, simply, as taking orders from the boss. Big chiefs, almost invariably male, tell their underlings what to do, and they do it, or they are killed. Sometimes this is costumed in communal decision-making, by a band of local bosses or wise men, but even the most collegial department must have a chairman: a capo di tutti capi respects the other capi, as kings in England were made to respect the lords, but the capo is still the capo and the king is still the king. Although the arrangement can be dressed up in impressive clothing and nice sets—triumphal Roman arches or the fountains of Versailles—the basic facts don’t alter. Dropped down at random in history, we are all as likely as not to be members of the Soprano crew, waiting outside Satriale’s Pork Store.

Only in the presence of an alternative—the various movements for shared self-government that descend from the Enlightenment—has any other arrangement really been imagined. As the counter-reaction to Enlightenment liberalism swept through the early decades of the twentieth century, dictators, properly so called, had to adopt rituals that were different from those of the kings and the emperors who preceded them. The absence of a plausible inherited myth and the need to create monuments and ceremonies that were both popular and intimidating led to new public styles of leadership. All these converged in a single cult style among dictators.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/23/the-field-guide-to-tyranny

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2019 in Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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