Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama

Nobel Peace Prize winner my ass:

Obama has sold $90bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since 2010

The greatest arms exporter since the Second World War

Posted Monday 28 September 2015

Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a mere 12 days into his presidency.  (Such a mockery for peace dreamers and based on pre-emptive promises)

Never had a recipient achieved so little to be lauded so much.

Essentially it was a pre-emptive award given on the presumption Obama’s foreign policy record would eventually meet its promise.

In the six-years since becoming planet earth’s most recognised agent for world peace, Obama has:

1. failed to close Guantanamo Bay, which remains the symbol of the darkest chapter in modern US history;

2.  has assassinated US citizens around the globe sans due process;

3.  has suspended habeas corpus;

4. has terrorised villagers in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere with the incessant buzzing sound of weaponised drones;

5.  armed Israel in the midst of its brutal and bloody invasion of Gaza, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead;

6.  toppled a government in Libya without so much as a consideration for what might come next;

7. supported the toppling of a democratically elected government in Egypt, and, in turn, armed arguably the most brutal dictator in that country’s history; and

8. has coordinated and guided Saudi Arabia’s terrorist activities in Yemen, which has left more than 4,000 Yemeni civilians dead.

9. Never showed any determination to combat ISIS in Syria or Iraq

10.  Allowed a military coup in Burki Fasso to satisfy the interest of the multinational genetically altered companies

It’s a record to behold with some awe, and it gets worse.

A newly released report reveals Obama is the greatest arms exporter since the Second World War.

The dollar value of all major arms deals overseen by the first five years of the Obama White House now exceeds the amount overseen by the Bush White House in its full eight years in office by nearly $30bn.

Hail the chief

America’s arms-dealer-in-chief has flooded the most volatile corner of the world, the Middle East, with guns, bombs, fighter jets, tanks and missiles.

In an interview, William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Centre for International Policy, told Democracy Now he was “astonished that Obama had sold this much”. He added: “I mean, I knew there were record deals with the Saudis, but to outsell the eight years of Bush, to sell more than any president since World War II, was surprising even to me, who follows these things quite closely. The majority, 60 percent, have gone to the Persian Gulf and Middle East, and within that, the Saudis have been the largest recipient of things like US fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, bombs, guns, almost an entire arsenal they’ve purchased just in the last few years.”

Hartung also points out that this breathtaking bundle of war tools not only makes its way to stable regimes and governments, but also to states on the verge of collapse, which ultimately means many of these arms end up in the hands of militia groups across the region, which results in an all too predictable conclusion: more death and chaos.

Investigative journalist Dr Nafeez Ahmed says that if you want to trace the origins of certain jihadist groups, all you need to do is “follow the money”. He notes: “Anyone can have bad, horrific, disgusting ideas. But they can only be fantasies unless we find a way to manifest them materially in the world around us.” US arms sales to failing states and non-state militias is providing those with “disgusting ideas” the material infrastructure to play out their fantasies.

In other words, the deluge of US arms into the region is making conflicts, rivalries, and unrest even more deadlier, and with the US having little idea whose hands much of this weaponry ends up in.

“We don’t know the full numbers, but in Iraq the security forces abandoned large amounts of the weaponry to ISIS.

US-armed rebels in Syria, armed by the CIA, went over to join ISIS.

There’s $500mn missing of weapons in Yemen. Some think it’s gone to the Houthis. Some think it’s gone to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” said Hartung.

“Of course, there’s arms on both sides, because the government and the forces have split in this war. So it’s quite possible every side of that war in Yemen may have some level of US weaponry. So it’s really gone, you know, haywire. It’s sort of what I call the boomerang effect, when US arms end up in the hands of US adversaries.”

But what amounts to “haywire” for the Middle East amounts to massive profits for the US, and on that score no single entity is more profitable and more beneficial to America’s balance of trade than Saudi Arabia.

Arming Saudi

The Congressional Research Service found that since October 2010 alone, President Obama has agreed to sell $90.4bn in arms to the Gulf kingdom.

“That President Obama would so enthusiastically endorse arming such a brutal authoritarian government is unsurprising, since the United States is by far the leading arms dealer (with 47% of the world total) to what an annual State Department report classifies as the world’s “least democratically governed states,” notes Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Obama has done little to promote democracy or bring an end to terror.

When children in Gaza pick up unexploded ordinance, they see “Made in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.”

In 2008, the United Nations banned the use of cluster munitions – an agreement the US is yet to ratify.  (Saudi airplanes dropped such weapons on Yemen)

Why? Cluster bombs are the number one seller for Textron Systems Corporation – a Wall Street-listed company located in Providence, Rhode Island. For $38 per share, you can add the sale of cluster bombs to your stock portfolio.

In February of this year, the Obama administration announced it would allow the sale of US manufactured armed drones to its allies in the Middle East. According to the Teal Group, a research and analysis firm, the sale of drones is expected to double from $5bn to $11bn over the course of the next decade.

This means countries with horrific human rights records – regimes whose power is dependent on the repression of its people – will have access to the most brutally effective tool available for repression management. While the Obama administration insists the sale of drones will be made on a “case-by-case” basis, it’s laughable that the US gets to decide who gets these aerial killers given the US’s own use of drones often violates international law.

In fact, both a 2013 Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report found that US drone strikes were killing far more civilians than the Obama White House was letting on, and these strikes were nearly always in violation of international law.

Drone dynamics

Furthermore, armed unmanned airborne vehicles have the potential to completely change the power dynamics in the Middle East.

“The drone is the ultimate imperial weapon, allowing a superpower almost unlimited reach while keeping its own soldiers far from battle,” notes James Risen in Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Relentless War.

There isn’t a country in the Middle East that isn’t clamouring for the Predator drone.

Obama, via US drone manufactures such as General Atomics, is making the dreams of some of the most oppressive regimes a reality.

From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, from Syria to Iraq, the forthcoming flood of such advanced weaponry promises to produce effects we are yet to imagine. “An advance fleet of missile-carrying drones could, overnight, turn a group like Hezbollah into a legitimate military power,” forewarns Risen. “A drone programme for Hezbollah could alter the military dynamics along the Israel-Lebanon border.”

These end games are not imagined by the Obama administration, nor any other US administration past or future because profits supersede democracy, human rights and international law; thus greed promises the Middle East endless war, and the US military oligarchs endless profits. Obama, like his predecessors, has made sure of that.

– CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America, God Hates You. Hate Him Back, Koran Curious, and is the host of Foreign Object. Follow him on twitter: @cjwerleman

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. 

Photo: President of the United States Barack Obama speaks during the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit, on 27 Sept 2015, at United Nations headquarters, New York.

– See more at:


Why I can’t celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education.

That is great news, and it might almost mean Nobel Peace Prize makes sense again.

Mind you that this year prize is meaningful after being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”,

This prize  was also awarded to European Union in 2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” (at least this make sense, while the Obama excuse is pretty lame and totally erroneous).

(Again, international politics abridge the years that a person has to struggle before being considered for a prize. Though Kailash Satyarthi has already served his dues after 14 years of steadfast struggles to prohibit kids from being used as labor in India. He managed to save 75,000 kids from this awful state of slavery)

Still, there is something that really troubles me. How come we (meaning the West) always recognize the “devils” of the East, the torments children like Malala had to and have to go through (in her case, with the Taliban), but always fail to recognize our own participation in creating those “devils”?

How come we never talk about the things our governments are doing to the children of Pakistan, or Syria, or Iraq, or Palestine, or Yemen?

Let’s just take drone strikes as an example. Last year’s tweet by George Galloway might illustrate this hypocrisy.


Galloway is absolutely right. We would never even know her name.

But, since Malala’s story fits into the western narrative of the oriental oppression (in which the context underlying the creation of the oppression is left out), we all know Malala’s name. Like Assed Baig writes:

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalized.

Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her. 

The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, ‘see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.’”

The problem is, there are thousands of Malalas that the West helped create with endless wars, occupations, interventions, drone strikes, etc.

In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, one can hear how little we know about the drone strikes – its aims, targets, results. Right now we have the executive branch making a claim that it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons based on secret evidence, in a secret process undertaken by unidentified officials. That frightens me.

This is how Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown professor and former Pentagon official under President Obama, explained the US policy on drone strikes during a congressional hearing last year.

The following photo presents the piece that was installed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, close to Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan, by an art collective that includes Pakistanis, Americans and others associated with the French artist JR.

The collective said it produced the work in the hope that U.S. drone operators will see the human face of their victims in a region that has been the target of frequent strikes.

foto/photo via notabugsplat/

That is the reality we are not being presented with.

Another reality is the story of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, 14-year-old Iraqi girl, who was gang raped by five U.S. Army soldiers and killed in her house in Yusufiyah (Iraq) in 2006.

She was raped and murdered after her parents and six-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza were killed.

Also not irrelevant to mention is that Abeer was going to school before the US invasion but had to stop going because of her father’s concerns for her safety.

article-0-0C89D3B2000005DC-51_634x548Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi

And while the West applauds Malala (as they should), I am afraid it might be for the wrong reasons, or with a wrong perspective.

It feels like the West wants to gain an agenda that suits them or the policies they want.

That is also why Malala’s views on Islam are rarely presented.

She uses her faith as a framework to argue for the importance of education rather than making Islam a justification for oppression, but that is rarely mentioned. It also “doesn’t fit”.

So, my thoughts were mixed this Friday when I heard the news about the Nobel Peace Prize. On so many levels. They still are. We’ve entered a new war, and peace prize award ceremonies seem ridiculous after looking at this photo.

tumblr_nd1ycaClBV1tgyqboo1_1280“They say that if God loves you, He will let you live a long life, but I wish that He loved me a little less. I wish that I didn’t live long enough to see my country in ruins.”  Ahmad, a 102 year old Syrian refugee /photo by A. McConnell, UNHCR/

Sure, we must acknowledge the efforts of those who are fighting for a better world, but when it is done in a way that feels so calculated, unidimensional, loaded with secret agendas and tons of hypocrisy – I just can’t celebrate it.

Obama Strategy: Splitting ISIS into two dozen “moderately extremist” factions

And Syrian insurgents to be officially trained in Saudi Arabia

And strikes be done without coordinating with Syria State and without UN consent

Another Iraqi reoccupation schemes, including Syria this time around?

Kind of many States trying to embellish their status after supporting the terrorist faction in the last 4 years, like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, the US and many western European states.

With the Ukraine war going on, how this second Cold War will unfold?

A cold war process that started after the western coalition fooled Russia and destabilized Libya and resumed their foolish plans in Syria.

Seven questions related to the new Iraq war and who are participating in this coalition?

1. What International legality this coalition enjoys?

2. What are the objectives of this coalition that exclude Iran and Syria? Already Jordan refused to get militarily involved, as well as Egypt.

3. What of the Palestinian rights for an independent State and Gaza being freed from its concentration ghetto?

4. How the US can convince the world community that the most obscurantist Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is “the good guy”?

5. What role apartheid Israel is to play?

6. How Russia will be frustrated on its southern borders?

7. How Turkey will juggle in this difficult complex coalition?


Coalition, légalité, moyens… Sept questions sur la nouvelle guerre d’Irak

par Pierre Haski | – Le 11 septembre 2014 à 15h48
 Etat islamique Raqqa EIIL EI ISIS
En partenariat avec
Barack Obama a donné le coup d’envoi de la troisième guerre d’Irak, dans un discours télévisé en tant que « commandant en chef ». La France prendra part, malgré l’absence de résolution de l’ONU, à la coalition internationale ainsi formée pour combattre et éliminer la menace des djihadistes de l’Etat islamique (EI), tant en Irak qu’en Syrie.
Le Président des Etats-Unis a exclu l’engagement de troupes au sol, tout comme la France, limitant son intervention à des opérations aériennes, au soutien logistique et à la fourniture d’armes aux forces qui vont combattre les djihadistes.C’est un conflit long qui s’engage quand Barack Obama parle d’éliminer cet adversaire qui, en cette journée anniversaire du 11 Septembre, a remplacé Al Qaeda dans la figure de l’ennemi public numéro un.

Un conflit d’autant plus périlleux qu’il a potentiellement des retombées dans les pays occidentaux eux-mêmes, avec la présence dans les rangs djihadistes de jeunes recrues parties se battre, se former, et peut-être revenir.

Sept questions autour d’une guerre qui ne dit pas encore son nom, mais qui, après celle de 1991, et celle de 2003, constitue la troisième guerre d’Irak, pays martyrisé par les despotes, par ses sauveurs, par ses prophètes.

1/ Quelle légalité internationale ?

Dans sa déclaration martiale, Barack Obama n’a pas évoqué le cadre juridique dans lequel opèrerait la coalition internationale « dirigée par les Etats-Unis » qui va combattre les djihadistes de l’Etat islamique, tant en Irak qu’en Syrie.

Le président américain a indiqué qu’il participerait à une réunion exceptionnelle du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, avant la fin du mois, à l’occasion de l’Assemblée générale annuelle. Mais il n’a aucunement conditionné l’intervention de la coalition – de fait, les Américains bombardent déjà l’EI depuis un mois… – au feu vert onusien.

Les Français ont plus d’états d’âme… Lorsque les Etats-Unis ont commencé à bombarder les positions djihadistes en Irak, par drones ou par jets, la France a fait savoir qu’elle n’y participerait pas faute de résolution du Conseil de sécurité l’autorisant. Elle s’est contentée, jusqu’ici, de fournir des armes et de former les Peshmergas, les combattants kurdes, avec l’accord de Bagdad, mais aussi de tenter de contrôler le recrutement de candidats au djihad en France même.

Changement de discours aujourd’hui. La participation française, annoncée mercredi soir par le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Laurent Fabius, interviendrait désormais à la demande du gouvernement irakien, et pourrait s’appuyer sur l’article 51 de la Charte des Nations unies sur la légitime défense.

Guerre froide

Ces contorsions juridiques sont le reflet du monde actuel : difficile en effet d’imaginer un accord des cinq membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité (Chine, Etats-Unis, France, Grande-Bretagne, Russie) quand un climat de guerre froide oppose les Occidentaux à la Russie à propos de l’Ukraine.

La Russie, suivie par la Chine, a systématiquement mis son véto aux résolutions sur la Syrie depuis le début du soulèvement contre Bachar el-Assad il y a trois ans, et on la voit mal s’associer, dans le contexte de bras de fer avec les Occidentaux, à une opération qui s’étend aussi à la Syrie.

Reste donc à faire des contorsions avec le droit international. La paralysie du Conseil de sécurité prive la France du parapluie qu’elle réclame à chaque fois, et qu’elle a obtenu lors des interventions au Mali et en Centrafrique. L’invocation de la « légitime défense » montre que les experts juridiques ont trouvé un moyen de contourner le Conseil de sécurité, et la formation d’un nouveau gouvernement irakien va dans ce sens.

En se rendant en Irak vendredi, François Hollande pourra mettre en avant cette demande des autorités légales du pays pour justifier son engagement.

2 / Quelle coalition pour quel objectif ?

Les contours de la coalition internationale ne sont pas connus avec exactitude, John Kerry, le Secrétaire d’Etat américain, en en tournée au Moyen-Orient pour la constituer. On n’est pas totalement dans la configuration de la première guerre du Golfe, en 1991, ou même de la force internationale en Afghanistan, où les pays s’engageaient à fournir des contingents.

Barack Obama s’est présenté comme le « leader » de cette coalition, dont les participants « naturels » sont les alliés européens des Etats-Unis, sans fausse note cette fois contrairement à la guerre de Georges W. Bush en 2003 qui avait divisé les Européens, France et Allemagne en tête.

Au-delà des Européens, le président américain a bien pris soin d’inclure des pays musulmans dans ce qui ne doit pas apparaître aux yeux du monde arabo-musulman comme une « croisade » anti-islam.

La Turquie, membre de l’Otan, voisine des terrains d’affrontement, et indirectement engagée dans ces conflits depuis le début, ainsi que l’Arabie saoudite (voir plus loin) sont clairement dans la coalition. La Ligue arabe a d’ailleurs apporté son soutien à la lutte contre les djihadistes.

Plus ambigu, le rôle d’Israël dont des informations précises, ces derniers jours, ont indiqué qu’il participait à l’effort contre l’EI en fournissant du renseignement, notamment par une présence satellitaire importante dans le secteur, et un suivi de ce qui se passe en Syrie plus précis que celui des Occidentaux. La participation d’Israël ne sera toutefois pas mise en avant pour des raisons évidentes de susceptibilité diplomatique.

En revanche, le régime de Bachar el-Assad n’est clairement pas inclus, malgré quelques spéculations récentes sur le fait que le soutien à Damas pourrait être le prix à payer pour lutter contre l’EI. Au contraire, Barack Obama a mentionné le soutien aux rebelles syriens modérés, et a souhaité que le Congrès autorise leur armement.

Eliminer les djihadistes ?

L’objectif annoncé par Barack Obama est de combattre et éliminer les djihadistes de l’Etat islamique. Un but de guerre qui devra être clarifié.

  • S’agit-il de reconquérir le territoire conquis par les djihadistes en Irak lors de leur offensive éclair du printemps et qui s’est poursuivie par quelques prises depuis ?
  • S’agit-il de faire la même chose en Syrie, ce qui est une autre paire de manches…
  • S’agit-il d’éliminer l’influence de l’Etat islamique dans ces pays mais aussi au-delà, notamment au Liban ? Ce sera plus difficile à établir.

3/ Qui soutenir en Syrie ?

Après plus de trois ans de soulèvement et de guerre, la situation en Syrie est radicalement différente du point de départ. La carte récente ci-dessous montre le puzzle syrien, sur un territoire que Barack Obama a clairement inclus dans le champs de la nouvelle guerre contre les djihadistes.

Les positions en Syrie : en rouge le régime Assad, en vert les rebelles « modérés », en gris l’Etat islamique, en jaune les Kurdes.. (@arabthomness via @olivbras)

On y voit, en rouge, les zones toujours contrôlées par les forces du régime Assad, concentrées sur la « Syrie utile », en particulier autour de Damas et le « pays alaouite », sur la côte nord-est de la Syrie.

On y voit surtout, en gris clair et foncé, l’étendue de la zone contrôlée par les djihadistes de l’Etat islamique, dans le nord et l’Est du pays, une immense étendue, dont le centre de gravité est à Raqqa, le fief du mouvement.

Les Kurdes contrôlent leurs trois enclaves (en jaune) du nord, à la frontière turque, en étroite liaison désormais avec les forces autonomes kurdes d’Irak, et avec le PKK kurde turc.

L’affaiblissement des modérés

Enfin, et c’est le phénomène marquant, les rebelles historiques de l’Armée syrienne libre (ASL), que les Occidentaux, Français en tête, ont reconnu comme légitimes sans jamais leur donner les moyens de l’emporter, ont vu leur territoire et leurs forces se réduire comme une peau de chagrin.

Les Français estiment qu’il y a eu une occasion ratée lors de la crise des armes chimiques, il y a précisément un an, lorsque les Américains et les Français étaient déterminés à bombarder les positions de l’armée régulière, mais y ont renoncé à la dernière minute en raison de la décision, ou de l’indécision, de Barack Obama.

Aujourd’hui, l’histoire repasse les plats. Obama lui-même veut soutenir ces rebelles dits « modérés », pour leur faire jouer, à l’ouest, le rôle que les peshmergas kurdes jouent à l’est, et prendre l’Etat islamique en tenaille. Mais n’est-il pas trop tard ?

  • Comment faire pour que ces combats à venir ne fassent pas le jeu de Bachar el-Assad qui n’aura qu’à attendre que ses ennemis s’entretuent pour achever le vainqueur épuisé ?
  • Ou encore, éternelle question, pour que les armes livrées n’aboutissent dans les « mauvaises » mains ?

4/ L’ami saoudien ?

C’est un des points-clé de l’intervention télévisée de Barack Obama : l’Arabie saoudite jouera un rôle important dans la coalition, notamment pour équiper et former les rebelles syriens modérés. Une base sera installée à cet effet dans le royaume.

A Washington, la presse américaine rapporte les propos d’un haut fonctionnaire de l’administration Obama :

« Nous avons reçu l’engagement du royaume d’Arabie saoudite d’être un partenaire à part entière dans l’équipement et la formation des rebelles, dans l’accueil de ce programme. »

L’Arabie saoudite était pourtant, jusqu’ici, fortement soupçonnée d’avoir financé le développement de l’Etat islamique, alors l’Armée islamique d’Irak et du Levant, comme une sorte de monstre qui échapperait désormais à ses créateurs. Et, de fait, le nombre de Saoudiens dans ses rangs serait considérable.

La motivation des Saoudiens est connue : bloquer l’influence de l’Iran qui, dans le confit syrien, soutient le régime de Damas, tout comme le Hezbollah chiite libanais, proche de Téhéran, qui a envoyé des hommes prêter main forte à Bachar el-Assad.

Dans cette partie de billard régional, la rivalité Iran-Arabie saoudite, entre la grande puissance chiite et le royaume wahabite, constitue la toile de fond de ces événements. Avec, pour ajouter à la complexité, le jeu trouble du Qatar, bailleur de fonds des Frères musulmans et de leurs déclinaisons nationales, jusqu’en Tunisie, et aussi d’une partie de la rébellion syrienne, du Hamas palestinien…

Les relations américano-saoudiennes ont connu des périodes de grand froid ces derniers temps, à mesure que Washington se rapprochait d’un accord avec l’Iran sur le nucléaire, ouvrant la voie à une réinsertion de Téhéran dans le jeu régional. L’axe Washington-Ryad recomposé ?

5/ Que fait l’Iran ?

C’est l’aspect le plus surréaliste de cette guerre contre les djihadistes. De fait, l’Iran est, dans cette bataille, l’allié objectif des Etats-Unis, le « Grand Satan » d’autrefois.

Téhéran, qui soutient activement le pouvoir chiite de Bagdad, aurait déjà des « conseillers » militaires sur le terrain, afin d’aider l’armée nationale irakienne a surmonter sa déroute du printemps et, au minimum, à contenir l’offensive djihadiste avant, éventuellement, de les repousser.

Pourtant, encore un élément de complexité régionale considérable, l’Iran est à la fois l’ennemi de l’Etat islamique dans le contexte irakien, comme les Etats-Unis, mais aussi l’allié de Bachar el-Assad en Syrie, contrairement aux Etats-Unis.

Barack Obama, dans son discours à la nation, n’a pas mentionné l’Iran. Pourtant, ce pays majeur du Moyen-Orient est au cœur de l’équation à laquelle le Président des Etats-Unis a décidé de s’attaquer.

On retrouve l’Iran dans tous les dossiers régionaux, qu’il s’agisse :

  • du dossier nucléaire ;
  • du sort du régime syrien ;
  • de l’avenir de l’Irak en tant qu’Etat ;
  • des affrontements religieux chiites-sunnites ;
  • de la sécurité régionale.

La guerre contre les djihadistes peut-elle être l’occasion d’un grand deal qui permettrait de refermer, au moins partiellement, la page de plus de trois décennies d’affrontement entre l’Iran et l’Occident ? La succession de coups de théâtre dans cette région est telle qu’on ne doit rien exclure.

6/ L’armée française sur tous les fronts ?

C’est donc Laurent Fabius qui l’a annoncé, dans un discours prévu de longue date à Sciences-Po Paris :

« En Irak, le gouvernement et les minorités ont appelé à l’aide. Nous y répondons par des livraisons de matériels militaires et par de l’aide humanitaire. […] nous participerons si nécessaire à une action militaire aérienne ».

Au-delà de la méthode étrange et indigne d’une démocratie moderne – pas de discours à la nation du chef de l’Etat et chef des armées, pas un mot au Parlement qui avait sans doute trop à faire avec le sort de Thomas Thévenoud –, cette annonce de Laurent Fabius pose de nombreuses questions.

La France a participé à la première guerre d’Irak, en 1991, avec de solides fondements de légalité internationale, lorsque Saddam Hussein a envahi et « avalé » le Koweit, un Etat souverain. Mais elle a refusé de participer à la deuxième, pas convaincue, à juste titre, par les « preuves » de l’administration Bush (fils) sur les armes de destructions massives irakiennes.

En participant à cette troisième coalition sur le sol irakien, Paris choisit de se ranger derrière le leadership américain proclamé haut et fort par Barack Obama. Ça mérite au moins quelques explications politiques, techniques, stratégiques.

Et en Libye ?

Au même moment, le ministre de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, déclarait au Figaro lundi que la France « doit agir » dans le sud de la Libye, devenue (depuis le renversement du régime de Kadhafi par… la France notamment) une zone de non-droit dans laquelle prospèrent les apprentis djihadistes.

« Le Sud libyen est une sorte de “hub” où les groupes terroristes viennent s’approvisionner, y compris en armes, et se réorganiser. Leurs principaux chefs, l’émir Droukdel ou Mokhtar Belmokhtar, y transitent régulièrement. Au nord, les centres politiques et économiques du pays sont désormais menacés d’être contrôlés par ces djihadistes. Or la Libye est à la fois la porte de l’Europe et du Sahara. »

Le ministre de la Défense juge que le dispositif militaire français en Afrique de l’Ouest, « Barkhane », pourrait être amené à « “monter” vers la frontière libyenne ».

« Tout cela se fait en bonne intelligence avec les Algériens, qui sont des acteurs majeurs de cette région et dont c’est aussi l’intérêt. »

Ainsi donc, au même moment, les forces armées françaises sont-elles engagées dans des opérations militaires au Mali (même si le dispositif a changé), en Centrafrique, en Irak, et demain peut-être en Libye. Et elles participent, en Pologne, à une opération de présence visible destinée à rassurer les pays d’Europe orientale membres de l’Union européenne inquiets de l’activisme russe.

Ça fait beaucoup pour une armée aux moyens affaiblis, dont on souligne à chaque engagement l’usure du matériel, les limites logistiques, et, évidemment, budgétaires…

Alors que la France traverse un trou d’air économique historique, que le doute traverse l’opinion sur la capacité de ses dirigeants à les conduire à bon port, cet activisme militaire sans précédent se fait sans réelle pédagogie à la nation, et sans débat politique avec le pays et avec ses instances démocratiques. Un autre signe d’épuisement de la V° République et de ce présidentialisme excessif.

7/ Irak-Palestine, deux poids, deux mesures ?

C’est le point faible de cette mobilisation générale, sabre au clair, contre les djihadistes de l’Etat islamique, dans la foulée de l’émotion suscitée par le sort des minorités religieuses irakiennes, chrétiens et yézidis, et par la mise en scène de la décapitation des deux journalistes américains, James Foley et Steven Sotloff.

Comment convaincre les opinions publiques, tant dans le monde arabo-musulman que dans les pays occidentaux eux-mêmes, de la sincérité de cette mobilisation, de la légitimité de cette nouvelle guerre, quand, au même moment, on a laissé faire sans bouger la guerre israélo-palestinienne de Gaza cet été.

Amalgame ? Pas le même problème ?

Sans doute, mais il faudra en convaincre les opinions, marquées par les images, nombreuses, répétées, des enfants-martyrs de Gaza.

Comment le Président des Etats-Unis peut-il constituer une telle coalition contre les djihadistes, et rester passif face au dossier israélo-palestinien qui empoisonne le Proche-Orient, et contamine les sociétés européennes, depuis tant de temps, malgré les résolutions de l’ONU, les plans de paix et les initiatives de paix depuis si longtemps.

On connait certes la réponse à ces questions, aucun Président américain n’étant disposé à « tordre le bras » – la formule est régulièrement employée dans ce contexte – d’Israël, pays allié, disposant d’un gouvernement démocratique (même si sa pratique l’est moins), et bénéficiant de solides appuis et relais dans la société et la classe politique américaine.

Mais cette réponse n’est pas satisfaisante pour les opinions publiques qui ne réclament certes pas la mise sur pied d’une coalition armée pour aller imposer la paix aux protagonistes. Mais la crédibilité occidentale est fragile dès lors qu’on est passif dans un cas, va-t-en guerre de l’autre. Intenable éternellement.

– See more at:

Obama coded message: New Reservation Territory for ISIS in Syria

ISIS declared a few days ago that their new Caliphate will be renamed Ummat al Furat (The Euphrates River that crosses Syria and then Iraq). All borders along this mighty and long river are abolished and people can hop from Syria to Iraq without “encountering” any problem, except paying the requisite tax to the new Islamic State.

Obama renamed this Islamic State the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Levant is the French term for the countries of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine that border the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

The author of the following article looks like he is far more worried of the existence of Israel being included in the Greater Syria Islamic State that Obama has redesigned to destabilize this Near East region.


| September 1, 2014

In one press conference after another, when referring to the Muslim terror super-group ISIS, United States President Barack Obama will use the term ISIL instead of their former name ISIS or current name Islamic State.

Have you ever wondered about that? We have.


ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Now, to us Westerners we don’t really make much of a distinction, do we? No, honestly from our perspective its all about the same. But how would a Muslim living in the Middle East view it? Just what is the Levant anyway? Let’s take a look.

The geographical term LEVANT refers to a multi-nation region in the Middle East. It’s a land bridge between Turkey to the north and Egypt to the south. If you look on a map, however, in the near exact middle of the nations that comprise the Levant, guess what you see? Come on, guess!

It’s Israel.

When Barack Obama refers over and over to the Islamic State as ISIL, he is sending a message to Muslims all over the Middle East that he personally does not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation, but as territory belonging to the Islamic State.

Now you know why Obama says that he has no plan, no goal, and no stated aim for dealing with ISIS.

But he does have a plan, and it’s a really nasty, diabolical one.

Obama’s plan is to drag his feet for as long as he can, doing only the bare minimum that Congress forces him to do. His “plan”to buy ISIS as much time as possible to make as many gains as they can.

Listen as Obama painstakingly spells out the letters I-S-I-L so there is no doubt in your mind:

And it’s working.

The Islamic State has garnered millions of dollars, a vast cache of weapons, and in their latest foray have captured Syrian fighter jets.

With each passing day that Obama fulfills his stated aim of doing nothing, the Islamic State grows by leaps and bounds. The ultimate goal, of course, has not changed and will never change.

The ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel.

Now you know a little bit more why Obama chooses his words so carefully, and what’s really in a name. Shakespeare had it right.

Note: The ideological premises of Greater Syria as in the map, and including Iraq and Cyprus, is that the people living in this region form a Complete Nation, and this premise is at least a century old before the establishment of this colonial implant of Israel, that the colonial powers of France and England did their best to divide into fictitious States, recognized by the UN.

No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

On the 4th day of Israel’s most recent onslaught against Gaza’s Palestinian population, President Barack Obama declared,

“No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”

In an echo of Israeli officials, he sought to frame  Israel’s aerial missile strikes against the 360-square kilometer Gaza Strip as the just use of armed force against a foreign country. Israel’s ability to frame its assault against territory it occupies as a right of self-defense turns international law on its head. 

Noura Erakat posted on Jadaliyya this July 11, 2014

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[Smoke over Gaza following an Israeli airstrike. Image by Scott Bobb. From Wikimedia Commons.] [Smoke over Gaza following an Israeli airstrike. Image by Scott Bobb. From Wikimedia Commons.]

[In view of Israel’s assertions that it’s current attacks on the Gaza Strip are an exercise in legitimate self-defense, Jadaliyya re-posts an analysis of this claim by Co-Editor Noura Erakat initially published in 2012.]
A state cannot simultaneously exercise control over territory it occupies and militarily attack that territory on the claim that it is “foreign” and poses an exogenous national security threat.
In doing precisely that, Israel is asserting rights that may be consistent with colonial domination but simply do not exist under international law.

Admittedly, enforcing international law largely depends on voluntary state consent and compliance. Absent the political will to make state behavior comport with the law, violations are the norm rather than the exception.

Nevertheless, examining what international law says with regard to an occupant’s right to use force is worthwhile in light of Israel’s deliberate attempts since 1967 to reinterpret and transform the laws applicable to occupied territory.

These efforts have expanded significantly since the eruption of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, and if successful, Israel’s reinterpretation would cast the law as an instrument that protects colonial authority at the expense of the rights of civilian non-combatants.

Israel Has A Duty To Protect Palestinians Living Under Occupation 

Military occupation is a recognized status under international law and since 1967, the international community has designated the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as militarily occupied. As long as the occupation continues, Israel has the right to protect itself and its citizens from attacks by Palestinians who reside in the occupied territories.

However, Israel also has a duty to maintain law and order, also known as “normal life,” within territory it occupies. This obligation includes not only ensuring but prioritizing the security and well-being of the occupied population. That responsibility and those duties are enumerated in Occupation Law.

Occupation law is part of the laws of armed conflict; it contemplates military occupation as an outcome of war and enumerates the duties of an occupying power until the peace is restored and the occupation ends. To fulfill its duties, the occupying power is afforded the right to use police powers, or the force permissible for law enforcement purposes.

As put by the U.S. Military Tribunal during the Hostages Trial (The United States of America vs. Wilhelm List, et al.)

International Law places the responsibility upon the commanding general of preserving order, punishing crime, and protecting lives and property within the occupied territory. His power in accomplishing these ends is as great as his responsibility.

The extent and breadth of force constitutes the distinction between the right to self-defense and the right to police. Police authority is restricted to the least amount of force necessary to restore order and subdue violence. In such a context, the use of lethal force is legitimate only as a measure of last resort. Even where military force is considered necessary to maintain law and order, such force is circumscribed by concern for the civilian non-combatant population.

The law of self-defense, invoked by states against other states, however, affords a broader spectrum of military force. Both are legitimate pursuant to the law of armed conflict and therefore distinguished from the peacetime legal regime regulated by human rights law.

When It Is Just To Begin To Fight 

The laws of armed conflict are found primarily in the Hague Regulations of 1907, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and their Additional Protocols I and II of 1977. This body of law is based on a crude balance between humanitarian concerns on the one hand and military advantage and necessity on the other.

The post-World War II Nuremberg trials defined military exigency as permission to expend “any amount and kind of force to compel the complete submission of the enemy…” so long as the destruction of life and property is not done for revenge or a lust to kill. Thus, the permissible use of force during war, while expansive, is not unlimited..

In international law, self-defense is the legal justification for a state to initiate the use of armed force and to declare war. This is referred to as jus ad bellum—meaning “when it is just to begin to fight.”

The right to fight in self-defense is distinguished from jus in bello, the principles and laws regulating the means and methods of warfare itself. Jus ad bellum aims to limit the initiation of the use of armed force in accordance with United Nations Charter Article 2(4); its sole justification, found in Article 51, is in response to an armed attack (or an imminent threat of one in accordance with customary law on the matter).

The only other lawful way to begin a war, according to Article 51, is with Security Council sanction, an option reserved—in principle, at least—for the defense or restoration of international peace and security.

Once armed conflict is initiated, and irrespective of the reason or legitimacy of such conflict, the jus in bello legal framework is triggered. Therefore, where an occupation already is in place, the right to initiate militarized force in response to an armed attack, as opposed to police force to restore order, is not a remedy available to the occupying state.

The beginning of a military occupation marks the triumph of one belligerent over another. In the case of Israel, its occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai in 1967 marked a military victory against Arab belligerents.

Occupation Law prohibits an occupying power from initiating armed force against its occupied territory. By mere virtue of the existence of military occupation, an armed attack, including one consistent with the UN Charter, has already occurred and been concluded.

Therefore the right of self-defense in international law is, by definition since 1967, not available to Israel with respect to its dealings with real or perceived threats emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip population.

To achieve its security goals, Israel can resort to no more than the police powers, or the exceptional use of militarized force, vested in it by IHL. This is not to say that Israel cannot defend itself—but those defensive measures can neither take the form of warfare nor be justified as self-defense in international law.

As explained by Ian Scobbie:

To equate the two is simply to confuse the legal with the linguistic denotation of the term ”defense.“ Just as ”negligence,“ in law, does not mean ”carelessness” but, rather, refers to an elaborate doctrinal structure, so ”self-defense” refers to a complex doctrine that has a much more restricted scope than ordinary notions of ”defense.“ 

To argue that Israel is employing legitimate “self-defense” when it militarily attacks Gaza affords the occupying power the right to use both police and military force in occupied territory. An occupying power cannot justify military force as self-defense in territory for which it is responsible as the occupant.

The problem is that Israel has never regulated its own behavior in the West Bank and Gaza as in accordance with Occupation Law.
Israel’s Attempts To Change International Law 

Since the beginning of its occupation in 1967, Israel has rebuffed the applicability of international humanitarian law to the  Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Despite imposing military rule over the West Bank and Gaza, Israel denied the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the cornerstone of Occupation Law).

Israel argued because the territories neither constituted a sovereign state nor were sovereign territories of the displaced states at the time of conquest, that it simply administered the territories and did not occupy them within the meaning of international law.

The UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly, as well as the Israeli High Court of Justice have roundly rejected the Israeli government’s position. Significantly, the HCJ recognizes the entirety of the Hague Regulations and provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions that pertain to military occupation as customary international law.

Israel’s refusal to recognize the occupied status of the territory, bolstered by the US’ resilient and intransigent opposition to international accountability within the UN Security Council, has resulted in the condition that exists today: prolonged military occupation.

Whereas the remedy to occupation is its cessation, such recourse will not suffice to remedy prolonged military occupation. By virtue of its decades of military rule, Israel has characterized all Palestinians as a security threat and Jewish nationals as their potential victims, thereby justifying the differential, and violent, treatment of Palestinians.

In its 2012 session, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described current conditions following decades of occupation and attendant repression as tantamount to Apartheid.

In complete disregard for international law, and its institutional findings, Israel continues to treat the Occupied Territory as colonial possessions. Since the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, Israel has advanced the notion that it is engaged in an international armed conflict short of war in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Accordingly, Israel argues that it can 1) invoke self-defense, pursuant to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, and 2) use force beyond that permissible during law enforcement, even where an occupation exists.
The Gaza Strip Is Not the World Trade Center

To justify its use of force in the OPT as consistent with the right of self-defense, Israel has cited UN Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001)and UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).

These two resolutions were passed in direct response to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001. They affirm that those terrorist acts amount to threats to international peace and security and therefore trigger Article 51 of the UN Charter permitting the use of force in self-defense.

Israel has therefore deliberately characterized all acts of Palestinian violence – including those directed exclusively at legitimate military targets – as terrorist acts. Secondly it frames those acts as amounting to armed attacks that trigger the right of self-defense under Article 51 irrespective of the West Bank and Gaza’s status as Occupied Territory.

The Israeli Government stated its position clearly in the 2006 HCJ case challenging the legality of the policy of targeted killing (Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel). The State argued that, notwithstanding existing legal debate, “there can be no doubt that the assault of terrorism against Israel fits the definition of an armed attack,” effectively permitting Israel to use military force against those entities. 

Therefore, Israeli officials claim that the laws of war can apply to “both occupied territory and to territory which is not occupied, as long as armed conflict is taking place on it” and that the permissible use of force is not limited to law enforcement operations.

The HCJ has affirmed this argument in at least three of its decisions: Public Committee Against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel, Hamdan v. Southern Military Commander, and Physicians for Human Rights v. The IDF Commander in Gaza.

These rulings sanction the government’s position that it is engaged in an international armed conflict and, therefore, that its use of force is not restricted by the laws of occupation. The Israeli judiciary effectively authorizes the State to use police force to control the lives of Palestinians (e.g., through ongoing arrests, prosecutions, checkpoints) and military force to pummel their resistance to occupation.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) dealt with these questions in its assessment of the permissible use of force in the Occupied West Bank in its 2004 Advisory Opinion, Legal Consequences on the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The ICJ reasoned that Article 51 contemplates an armed attack by one state against another state and “Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign state.” Moreover, the ICJ held that because the threat to Israel “originates within, and not outside” the Occupied West Bank,

the situation is thus different from that contemplated by Security Council resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001), and therefore Israel could not in any event invoke those resolutions in support of its claim to be exercising a right of self-defense. Consequently, the Court concludes that Article 51 of the Charter has no relevance in this case.

Despite the ICJ’s decision, Israel continues to insist that it is exercising its legal right to self-defense in its execution of military operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since 2005, Israel slightly changed its position towards the Gaza Strip.

The government insists that as a result of its unilateral disengagement in 2005, its occupation has come to an end. In 2007, the government declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” and waged war upon the territory over which it continues to exercise effective control as an Occupying Power.  Lisa Hajjar expounds on these issues here.

In effect, Israel is distorting/reinterpreting international law to justify its use of militarized force in order to protect its colonial authority. Although it rebuffs the de jure application of Occupation Law, Israel exercises effective control over the West Bank and Gaza and therefore has recourse to police powers.

It uses those police powers to continue its colonial expansion and apartheid rule and then in defiance of international law cites its right to self-defense in international law to wage war against the population, which it has a duty to protect. The invocation of law to protect its colonial presence makes the Palestinian civilian population doubly vulnerable.

Specifically in the case of Gaza,

It forces the people of the Gaza Strip to face one of the most powerful militaries in the world without the benefit either of its own military, or of any realistic means to acquire the means to defend itself.

More broadly, Israel is slowly pushing the boundaries of existing law in an explicit attempt to reshape it. This is an affront to the international humanitarian legal order, which is intended to protect civilians in times of war by minimizing their suffering. Israel’s attempts have proven successful in the realm of public relations, as evidenced by President Obama’s uncritical support of Israel’s recent onslaughts of Gaza as an exercise in the right of self-defense.

Since international law lacks a hierarchical enforcement authority, its meaning and scope is highly contingent on the prerogative of states, especially the most powerful ones. The implications of this shift are therefore palpable and dangerous.

Failure to uphold the law would allow states to behave according to their own whim in furtherance of their national interest, even in cases where that is detrimental to civilian non-combatants and to the international legal order.

For better or worse, the onus to resist this shift and to preserve protection for civilians rests upon the shoulders of citizens, organizations, and mass movements who can influence their governments enforce international law.

There is no alternative to political mobilization to shape state behavior.

America’s 25 Most Awkward Allies

Last December, National Security Adviser Susan Rice offered a remarkably candid insight into Barack Obama’s foreign policy. “Let’s be honest,” she said, “at times … we do business with governments that do not respect the rights…
Politico posted:
American presidents have long wrestled with this dilemma. During the Cold War, whether it was Dwight Eisenhower overthrowing Iran’s duly elected prime minister or Richard Nixon winking at Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, they often made unsavory moral compromises.
Even Jimmy Carter, who said America’s “commitment to human rights must be absolute,” cut deals with dictators.

But Obama, an idealist at home, has turned out to be more cold-blooded than most recent presidents about the tough choices to be made in the world, downgrading democracy and human rights accordingly.

From Syria to Ukraine, Egypt to Venezuela, this president has shied away from the pay-any-price, bear-any-burden global ambitions of his predecessors, preferring quiet diplomacy to the bully pulpit—when he is engaged at all.

He has his reasons.

A decade of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan soured Americans on George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda,” taking invasion off the table as a policy tool. And there are broader global forces at work too: the meteoric rise of China, new tools for repressing dissent, the malign effect of high oil prices.

Freedom in the world has declined for 8 straight years, according to Freedom House—not just under Obama.

But if the president is troubled by these trends, he shows few signs of it. “We live in a world of imperfect choices,” Obama shrugged last year—and his administration has made many, currying favor with a rogue’s gallery of tyrants and autocrats.

Here, Politico Magazine has assembled a list of America’s 25 most awkward friends and allies, from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Honduras to Uzbekistan—and put together a damning, revelatory collection of reports on the following pages about the “imperfect choices” the United States has made in each. “I will not pretend that some short-term tradeoffs do not exist,” Rice admitted. Neither will we.

1. Pakistan

America’s worst ally—being home to Osama bin Laden will do that to your reputation—Pakistan has gobbled up billions of dollars in U.S. aid and “reimbursements” for services rendered in the war on terror.

And while Pakistan’s powerful military and spy services have often collaborated with their American counterparts on drone strikes and militant arrests, they’ve just as often made mischief, hosting the Taliban and other extremist groups, planting false anti-American stories in the press and undermining the civilian government.

“The cancer is in Pakistan,” Obama reportedly told his staff in 2009—but he has yet to figure out how to excise it.

2. Saudi Arabia

Ever since 1945, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt huddled with King Saud bin Abdulaziz for five awkward hours on a U.S. warship, the United States has had uncomfortably intimate relations with Saudi Arabia.

Seventy years later, the two countries are trapped in a loveless marriage. No country buys more U.S. weapons than the autocratic, oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchy, and no country—with its obscurantist interpretation of Islam, medieval punishments and harsh treatment of women—makes for a more embarrassing U.S. ally.

But the relationship is in increasing need of counseling as the Saudis grow exasperated with U.S. policies in the Middle East, especially in Syria, and threaten to find other partners. As the Saudi foreign minister put it, “It’s a Muslim marriage, not a Catholic marriage.”

3. Afghanistan

Bribery, embezzlement, corruption. And that’s just on the part of America’s partners in Afghanistan.

As the United States prepares to wind down its 13-year war on the unforgiving Afghan plains and craggy mountain hideaways, it has given up on almost any pretense of nation-building in a country where President George W. Bush once promised to help build a “free and stable democracy.”

The United States is even, it turns out, giving tens of millions of dollars in cash directly from the CIA to Hamid Karzai, the mercurial tribal leader it installed as president in 2001. Sure, there have been lectures about good governance and reams of reports tsk-tsking over the colossal waste, fraud and abuse of the roughly $100 billion in U.S. aid and reconstruction money that has flowed into Afghan coffers, but little has changed, and the United States has basically stopped trying.

Standing next to Karzai last year, Obama summed up America’s diminished expectations, asking, “Have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not.”

4. Iraq

In November 2013, President Obama praised Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for “ensuring a strong, prosperous, inclusive and democratic Iraq.”

One has to wonder just which Maliki—and which Iraq—Obama was talking about. Since his selection in 2006, Maliki has consolidated power to the point where many alienated Sunnis call him the “Shiite Saddam,” while the country has exploded anew with sectarian violence that killed more than 8,000 people in 2013.

Just weeks after Maliki’s visit to the White House, al Qaeda was taking over large swaths of Fallujah and Ramadi, two cities where American forces had fought pitched battles in the streets.

Never mind that the United States has sold Iraq some $14 billion in military hardware since 2005 and quietly left behind dozens of military and CIA advisers since its 2011 pullout—the spillover from Syria’s civil war has proven too much for the Iraqis to handle. And in more ways than one: U.S. officials also accuse Maliki’s government of looking the other way as its close neighbor, Iran, supplies the murderous Syrian regime with cash, weapons and advisers.

5. Egypt

Coup or no coup, the United States still showers the Arab world’s most populous state with $1.3 billion in military aid each year—a tradition owing to Egypt’s strategic position astride the Suez Canal and next door to Israel.

Since haranguing Egypt’s longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak, to step down “now” in February 2011 amid the inspiring protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Obama administration has largely been reduced to hand-wringing as the men in khaki reclaimed power, killing hundreds of Islamist protesters along the way.

6. Equatorial Guinea

 Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo—who claims, “There is total freedom of expression, there has never been repression” in his country—is in fact a famously corrupt thug; after toppling his own uncle in 1979 to seize power in Equatorial Guinea, he has amassed a fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars, while more than three-quarters of Equatorial Guineans live in abject squalor and outright repression.

Washington has also cashed in on the tiny country’s massive if ill-distributed wealth, with American lobbyists, defense contractors and banks variously taking on Obiang as a client during his more than 34 years of strongman rule. In 1995, the United States shuttered its embassy in Malabo after threats to the life of the U.S. ambassador, an outspoken human rights defender.

A 1999 State Department report found that Obiang’s sadistic security forces had, among other horrors, rubbed prisoners’ bodies with grease to attract stinging ants. But no matter: In 2003, the United States agreed to reopen the embassy, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later warmly welcomed Obiang to Washington as a “good friend.”

Even President Obama has posed for a photo op with the dictator, who once won reelection with 103 percent of the vote in some precincts. Why all the love? Equatorial Guinea’s $9 billion oil and gas bonanza, almost all of it produced by U.S. companies, has made it one of the largest destinations for U.S. investment in Africa, and much of that oil, naturally, finds its way across the Atlantic.

A one-party state that ranks among the world’s poorest countries, Djibouti is essentially a French satrapy with a drone base, leased to the United States.
The country has little to offer other than its strategic location on the Horn of Africa, north of war-torn Somalia and west of al Qaeda-infested Yemen. But for a United States more concerned with its security than with Djiboutian freedoms—and there aren’t many to speak of—that turns out to be good enough.
23. Morocco 
 When uprisings spread across Arab countries in 2011, Morocco worked hard to convince the world that it was a stable exception. To appease protesters in dozens of cities and towns across the country, King Mohammed VI quickly reworked his constitution—winning much praise from a Washington desperate for an Arab Spring success story, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called Morocco “a model” for the region.
As it turned out, the king retained much of his power, which he duly exercises through a Potemkin parliament, police abuses against dissidents, press constraints and his own investment holding company, which has stakes in virtually every sector of the country’s economy.
The king’s ardor for reform may have cooled, but the United States has upgraded ties anyway, holding a “strategic dialogue” with Morocco in September 2012 and, a little over a year later, rewarding “King Mo” with a prized White House visit for the first time in nine years.
24. Kazakhstan
Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled this Central Asian powerhouse since 1989—that’s two years before the fall of the Soviet Union—is nothing if not a clever autocrat.
He’s marketed himself brilliantly as a man the West can do business with, from giving up his post-Soviet nuclear stockpiles two decades ago to splashing money around Washington, D.C., to helping the United States ship supplies in and out of Afghanistan.
Much of Kazakhstan’s immense oil wealth, meanwhile, reportedly makes its way into the hands of Nazarbayev’s cronies. At a March 2012 meeting in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama said it was “wonderful” to see Nazarbayev again, tactfully not mentioning that his government has rigged elections and imprisoned political opponents to stay in power, or that his party holds nearly all the seats in both houses of the legislature.
U.S. companies have invested heavily in Kazakh oil: Chevron led the way in 1993, and last year ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips started pumping crude in a Kazakh oil field that is the world’s largest outside the Middle East.
25. Turkey
 Obama seems to have a soft spot for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the voluble and volatile Islamist leader of this longtime U.S. and NATO ally. As Erdogan has trampled on basic freedoms, fended off dubious “coup attempts” and feuded with Israel, Obama has indulged his Turkish friend while keeping public criticism to a minimum.
No longer, at least, do U.S. officials voice their always questionable hope that a Muslim, democratic Turkey could inspire an Arab world in the throes of revolution.
Note 1: Andrew Bossone commented in his link:
Politico’s mindless garbage “America’s 25 Most Awkward Allies” summarizes entire nations in a graf or two of cliches.
And yeah it’s missing some governments like: UK, Israel, Yemen (although it does give a shout out to it as “al Qaeda infested“), Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Chile… I could go on. Basically it’s an opportunity to bash a bunch of Middle East countries, toss in a couple Caucuses nations, and add Honduras just so South America is represented.
Obviously written by a snarky poli-sci graduate who hangs in Adams Morgan.
The article doesn’t put any blame on the US gov’t for anything other than having these other governments as allies.
Note 2: Photos from list via Associated Press unless otherwise noted. Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Ron Edmonds; Charles Dharapak; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Jim Watson/AFP; Lawrence Jackson/White House; U.S. State Department; Sameh Refaat/U.S. Embassy Egypt; Charles Dharapak; Spencer Platt/Getty Images; U.S. State Department; Charles Dharapak; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Carolyn Kaster; Charles Dharapak; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Pete Souza/White House; Cherie A. Thurlby/U.S. Department of Defense; Sayyid Azim; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Evan Vucci; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Note 3: Read more:

Afghanistan: The Money Pit
By Sarah Chayes
Egypt: The Revolutionary Police State
By Andrew Hammond
Uzbekistan: The Corruption Corridor
By David Trilling
Bahrain: The Base
By Justin Gengler
Myanmar: The Ex-Pariah
By Bertil Lintner
Vietnam: The Ex-Enemy
By John Sifton
Tajikistan: The Narcostate
By Joshua Kucera
Rwanda: The Darling Tyrant
By Anjan Sundaram
Cambodia: The Chinese Puppet
By Dustin Roasa
Honduras: The Thugocracy Next Door
By Dana Frank
Qatar: The Frenemy
By Jonathan Schanzer
Kyrgyzstan: The Launch Pad
By Joanna Lillis
Djibouti: The Airstrip with a Subway
By Aly Verjee
Morocco: The Arab Exception
By Ahmed Benchemsi
Turkey: The Muslim Democracy
By Steven A. Cook

The story behind “that selfie”: Barack Obama, British David Cameron, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt

Roberto Schmidt posted:

So here’s my photo, which quickly lit up the world’s social networks and news websites.

The “selfie” of 3 world leaders who, during South Africa’s farewell to Nelson Mandela, were messing about like kids instead of behaving with the mournful gravitas one might expect.
(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to US First Lady Michelle Obama during the memorial service for South African former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

In general on this blog, photojournalists tell the story behind a picture they’ve taken.

I’ve done this for images from Pakistan, and India, where I am based.

This time the picture comes from a stadium in Soweto, and shows people taking a photo of themselves. I guess it’s a sign of our times that somehow this image seemed to get more attention than the event itself. Go figure.


I arrived in South Africa with several other AFP journalists to cover the farewell and funeral ceremonies for Nelson Mandela. We were in the Soccer City stadium in Soweto, under a driving rain.

I’d been there since the crack of dawn and when I took this picture, the memorial ceremony had already been going on for more than two hours.

From the podium, Obama had just qualified Mandela as a “giant of history who moved a nation towards justice.” After his stirring eulogy, America’s first black president sat about 150 metres across from where I was set up. He was surrounded by other foreign dignitaries and I decided to follow his movements with the help of my 600 mm x 2 telephoto lens.

So Obama took his place amid these leaders who’d gathered from all corners of the globe. Among them was British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a woman who I wasn’t able to immediately identify.

I later learned it was the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt. I’m a German-Colombian based in India, so I don’t feel too bad I didn’t recognize her! At the time, I thought it must have been one of Obama’s many staffers.

Suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured the scene reflexively.

All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two.

The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.

I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about what impact they might have.

At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium.

For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place.

The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image seems to have eclipsed much of this collective work.

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us.

I confess too that it makes me a little sad we are so obsessed with day-to-day trivialities, instead of things of true importance.

During Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

During Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

Note 1:  Have you noticed that Roberto and Helle have the same name of Schmidt?  And what Schmidt means in English?

Note 2: Apparently, it was the stony face of Michelle Obama that promoted these pictures…

Note 3: I acquired a new term in my dictionary: Selfie is to take picture of yourself using a smartphone…


Pentagon Warns: ” Expect “Radical” Change In US Government Soon…”

As if the US political system is reverting to a new, reformed and revamped Communist features: The communism of the 21st century

Scare tactics to drive the US citizens from reflecting reasonably on the changing times…

Simply because the US fiscal policies need to reflect the changing economic environment and recurring recessions as a result of the outmoded and uncontrollable capitalist system that the US and colonial powers were adopting for their growth at the expense of the rest of the world…

A highly troubling urgent bulletin issued earlier today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) states that it has received information from the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) warning to expect a “radical change” in the government of the United States, possibly within the next fortnight, based on information they have received from “highly placed” sources within the Pentagon.

Truth Channel posted this Oct. 8, 2013 “URGENT WARNING: Pentagon Warns To Expect “Radical” Change In US Government Soon”. I’m reposting this one of the top posts on with minor editing.

According to this MoFA bulletin, GRU intelligence assesses were notified by their Pentagon counterparts this past week that President Barack Obama is preparing to invoke the powers given to him under 50 USC Chapter 13 to hold that various American States are now in a state of insurrection , allowing him to invoke the National Emergencies Act under 50 USC § 1621 and invoke the highly controversial “continuity of government” plan for the United States that will let him rule with supreme powers.

Specifically, this bulletin says, Obama will invoke 50 USC § 212 that states: “ the President shall have declared by proclamation that the laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings”

The specific laws being opposed by these “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings,” that Obama will outline in his reasoning’s for declaring a state of emergency, this bulletin continues, are the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.

The NDAA is opposed by many US States, this bulletin says, with California joining Alaska and Virginia this past week in passing a law making it illegal to be enforced in their territory, and with many other States, also, preparing to do the same.

The specific portions of the NDAA law being opposed by these US States allows for the indefinite detention without charges or trial of all American citizens and allows for their assassination should Obama order it.

The PPACA (Obamacare) law is, likewise, opposed by over half of the US States and has led to an American “shutdown” this past week that has closed 15% of their government, but has left fully 85% of it still open.

To the specific “combinations too powerful” Obama will cite in his declaration of National Emergency as being needed to be defeated by extraordinary measures, the MoFA says, is a faction of the US House of Representatives popularly known as the Republican Tea Party whom the President and his allies have likened to “hostage takers” and “political terrorists.”

Obama’s greatest fear, and reason(s) for declaring a National State of Emergency, this bulletin continues, was outlined yesterday by his US Treasury Department who released a report yesterday warning of potentially “catastrophic” damage should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling and prevent the government from defaulting on its debt.

As the current US government shutdown crisis and debt ceiling fight have now merged, the MoFA warns in this bulletin, Obama further warned yesterday that an impasse on the debt ceiling beyond 17 October, when the US government will be essentially out of cash to pay its bills, could start a downward economic plunge worse than the recession of 5 years ago – with credit markets seizing up, the dollar’s value plummeting and US interest rates soaring and even coming close to the brink of such an unprecedented default that could roil both domestic and foreign financial markets.

Preparing to oppose Obama declare a National State of Emergency, the GRU grimly warns, is the US military who themselves are preparing to invoke 50 USC § 842 which allows them to protect America from “The Communist Party of the United States, or any successors of such party regardless of the assumed name, whose object or purpose is to overthrow the Government of the United States, or the government of any State, Territory, District, or possession thereof…”

Not known to many Americans is that the Progressive movement Obama belongs to, and whose media acolyte “presstitutes” swept into office, have long been associated with the Communist Party.

And, as the World Net Daily News Service reported this past August, John C. Drew, Ph.D., the award-winning political scientist, met Obama in 1980 and wrote in 2011: “[Obama] believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. … Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory … ‘there’s going to be a revolution.’ Obama said, ‘we need to be organized and grow the movement.’ In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.”

With Obama’s “revolution” now at hand, the GRU warns in this bulletin, it is critical to note that that United States, unlike other nations, have all of their elected officials and military personal swear allegiance to the US Constitution, and not to their government or its leaders.

The most recent example of this conflict between Obama and the US military, the GRU further states, was in Egypt when the Obama regime supported Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by the Pentagon backed Egyptian military, and who, like the United States, makes its political and military leaders swear allegiance to their constitution, not to any of its leaders.

As many in America now know that these present times are not the normal activities of a government seeking peace and prosperity, and as dozens of undisclosed Obama Presidential directives that define US national security policy and task government agencies are still unknown either to the public or, as a rule, to the US Congress, this bulletin warns in its summation that with each passing day American can be more likened to a communist dictatorship than a functioning democracy.

So bad, in fact, has the United States become that one of its legendary reporters, Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh wrote this past week that the Obama administration lies systematically yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

Even worse, and in a further Sovietization of American Life by the Obama regime, the US this past week refused to grant entry visas to internationally renowned authors Ilija Trojanov and Ernst Titovets who were invited to speak at conferences, and which Justin Raimondo of the highly respected blog calls “part of a disturbing pattern of repression that all points to one ineluctable conclusion: the United States is the Soviet Union of the new millennium – an ideological state with global ambitions that holds itself up as the epitome of “freedom” and yet is the single most powerful enemy of liberty worldwide.”

So you won’t say: “Adonis49 failed to follow-up on the recognition process of the Palestinian State”

Can you imagine any sane and rational person denying the Palestinian people a recognized State?  Sure, individual opinion is not the same as “doing local politics” such is the case of Barack Obama and France Nicholas Sarkozy.

Even in 1947, the UN has officially partitioned Palestine into two portions.  It was not fair by a long shot: The very minority Zionist Jews  were allocated 53% of the territories.  The borders were pretty much a Swiss-cheese puzzle, taking into consideration a few Zionist colonies here and there and accommodating them in such a ridiculous partition.

The main question is: “Why Israel was recognized a State my a majority of one vote in 1949, and Palestine was not recognized?”  Technicalities set aside, it was an implicit green light from the Colonial powers of the US, France, and England to Zionism to expand their territory, on the ground that Palestine does not exist officially. Fundamentally, the Colonial powers planed to erase Palestine from the map.

In 1963, the Palestinians got their destiny in their hands and instituted the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.  The PLO challenged the claim of Israel Golda Meier PM “What! There is no Palestine. There is no Palestinian people. Period”  That sentence was ejaculated a few months before the joint armies of Egypt and Syria overran Israel forces in the Sinai and the Golan Heights within three hours.

Yasser Arafat and Rabin PM signed the Oslo accord in Camp David during President Clinton:  Palestine was to be recognized gradually.  But first, Arafat has to accept the self-autonomy of Gaza and part of West Bank Hebron and Ramallah…), until further negotiations iron out the many difficulties within a year.  Israel assassinated its Prime Minister and reneged on the deal and began accelerated colonization of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Maybe Barack Obama thinks that local politics take priority to global politics (for re-election), and is willing to take the chance and high risk of jeopardizing US interests in the Middle-East.  Obama is assuming that the Arab Spring uprising is under control and can be contained.  Maybe for the short-term, since the old political structures of the dictators’ regime are still holding.  Truth is, the powerful genie in the Arab World has awakened, and he refuses to be humiliated any further and spoken in his name by Obama and Sarkozy.

Watch out Obama for vetoing the Palestinian State:  You have no excuses Obama, and this is not a run of the mill veto game.  Anyway, Obama is not slated to be re-elected; so why not take a vigorous stand for human rights and dignity and let the American people reflect and review old stands that are no longer sustainable?

The Palestinian people have suffered 63 years of indignities, humiliation, living in refugee camps, and being treated as unwanted people anywhere in the world.  Enough is enough.




March 2023

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