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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: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/obama-global-arms-dealer-chief-311000658#sthash.DsY5oqv9.dpuf

 

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.

10494696_10205086935471637_7493940445304227766_n

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.

“Salam 3alikum. Happy Xmas”: And two drones attacks on this 3eid

Do you that the biggest ever bombing campaign by US B-52 bombers took place over Christmas 40 years ago, when the US dropped 20,000 tonnes of explosives on North Vietnam.

What is it that “belligerent” parties strike during the holidays? In ancient times, annual celebrations were respected.

And while Santa Claus is distributing gifts in the West, Obama is sending drone strikes to Yemen! Another drone strike hits Yemeni soil today!

‏Sam Waddah posted on FB:

I strongly believe that the problem is not with the US administration striking drones, but rather with our government approving of them!

Drone strikes decreased in Pakistan by 41% in 2011 and another 40% in 2012 because the Pakistani government started to disapprove of them!

On the other hand, US drone strikes in Yemen have increased by 240% in 2011, and another 250% in 2012, simply because our Yemeni president “approves of them”?
Unless our government values Yemeni blood and opposes drone strikes, Obama Claus will keep increasingly bringing us drones in 2013 and so forth!

Are we victims of our leaders, more than we are of the US!

Merry Christmas from Yemen!

Christmas day was a day of double drone strikes in Yemen, killing five ‘suspected’ militants. The first drone strike killed two people travelling in a vehicle in a southern town, al-Bayda province on Monday.

In the second attack, which also occurred on Monday, the unmanned aircraft fired missiles at three people riding on two motorcycles travelling in Hadramout province, killing all three men.

Photo

Omar Mash, a Yemeni blogger, tweeted:

@Omar_Mash: ‘Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. bombs engraved with ‘MADE IN USA’ rain over Arabia’s oldest civilisation’ #Yemen

@Omar_Mash: As Americans take time out to feast and celebrate w their families, let it be known that their Gov is destroying Yemeni families #NoDrones

@Omar_Mash: They stole our revolution, they enforced their version of stability, they make it rain with their bombs from our sky. Merry Xmas from #Yemen

Glenn Greenwald, a columnist and blogger for the Guardian, replied:

@ggreenwald Not just any gift: from a Peace Nobel laureate! RT @imothanaYemen 2 US drone strikes in Yemen today. Should we consider them a Christmas gift?!

Consistent Trend in US Drone Strikes: Tweeting reports very disturbing

NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime.

Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders.

Michael Kelley posted in Business Insider on Dec. 12, 2012, under “The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend
US drone afghanistan

2007 report by the Homeland Security Institute called double taps a “favorite tactic of Hamas” and the FBI considers it a tactic employed by terrorists.

Christof HeynsUN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said that if there are “secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime.”

The U.S. refuses to discuss the merits of its overtly covert drone program, but the reports featured on @dronestream clearly document that U.S. hellfire missiles have intentionally targeted funerals and civilian rescuers.

Jun 18, 2009: 2 drone missiles killed 1 person. When rescuers rushed to the scene, 2 more struck, killing 8 (Pakistan) nytimes.com/2009/06/19/wor…

Jun 23, 2009: Up to 80 more people were killed when several US drones targeted a funeral (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2009…

Jan 6, 2010: Shortly after the first strike, as the rescue efforts were underway, the death toll rose to 15 (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2010…

Apr 16, 2010: Missiles fired from US drones killed 4 in Tolkhel, hitting a car and people rushing in to help (Pakistan) google.com/hostednews/afp…

And that’s only a 10-month window in Pakistan. It has happened in Afghanistan as well, and the first instance of “explicit intelligence posthumously proving” that an innocent civilian had been killed happened in Yemen.

In September the NYU and Stanford law schools released a report detailing how double taps by U.S. drones affect the Pakistani population, and noted that “high-level” militants killed only accounted for 2 percent of U.S. drone strike casualties.

Note 1: Drone protesters blocked? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/new-comers-on-the-block-anti-drone-protesters-blocked-with-broad-restraining-order/

Note 2: Obama May Need The NDAA To Justify Widespread Use Of Drones

Note3:  http://www.businessinsider.com/us-drone-tweets-reveal-double-tap-plan-2012-12#ixzz2Ex4FSU8D

Note 4: Dronestream@dronestream Every reported US drone strike, from 2002-2012. Launching Tuesday, December 11 at 12pm ET. For @rushkoff‘s Narrative Lab. By@joshbegley.

Chilling anger in Yemen: And the “Muhammad Film” reaping more coverage…

And very few have seen the film yet. I didn’t even see the trail on Youtube, and I think millions of Moslems didn’t either, and might never see it. And the producer Sam B. is in hiding, somewhere in California?

And it doesn’t mean that because the film is not seen that it is not outrageous, and totally political in nature. Even Sam said that the film was political…And why right now on the “anniversary” of 9/11?

So far, the US embassies in the Moslem World are the direct targets, and might extend to Israel embassies wherever they are established in the Islamic World: In any case, it is getting obvious that Israel has funded the film (500 Jews contributed their money) and the director is Israeli, and the actors have at least Israeli passports…One of the actors is a new convert to Christianity and the son of a Hamas leader…

Hezbollah uncovered a long series of demonstrations this week in almost every large town in Lebanon. Starting Monday afternoon in Dahieh, Wednesday in Tyr (Sour), Thursday in Bint Jbeil, Friday in Baalbek, Saturday in Hermel…and expecting more demonstrations next week as the program is fine tuned…

Adam Baron, a freelance journalist based in Sanaa, published on September 15, 2012:

SANAA, YEMEN—As a mob of angry demonstrators descended on the heavily guarded United States Embassy in Sanaa, many observers seemed stunned into disbelief: The breach of the Embassy itself was unthinkable.

And the sheer anger displayed by the demonstrators, even according to many Yemenis, was chilling. But even if a video regarded as blasphemous prompted Thursday’s events, the factors at play involve much more than a movie.

Ostensibly, what sparked the siege on the US Embassy were statements by a number of religious leaders—amplified by social media and word of mouth—who condemned the film and called for protests.
 
While many in politically contentious Sanaa seemed eager to tie the protests to a prominent figure or faction, the truth was far less simple. Most of those taking part in the demonstrations lacked any obvious signs of religiosity: rather than bearded men or tribesmen in traditional garb, the bulk of those at the embassy were young men in western clothes, united, if anything, by their rage.

Vowing to sacrifice themselves for the honor of the Prophet Mohamed, they marched towards the embassy, and upon arriving at the walls surrounding the compound, apparently had little difficulty overwhelming the troops guarding the building.

Scaling walls, they moved to break glass, set cars alight and loot whatever they could, leaving graffiti expressions of “God is Great” and “Death to America” as testaments to their sentiments prior to being pushed out by Yemeni security forces about an hour later.

As word spread of the siege, few were surprised that protests against the video had occurred.  The logistics of the attack on the embassy compound left many Yemenis incredulous.  Among the most secure buildings in the capital, the American Embassy bears greater resemblance to a fortress than the sumptuous diplomatic residences of less volatile capitals.

In the context of Yemen’s contentious political scene, it was hard to believe that the breach of the embassy merely represented a security failure.

Although current president Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who formally replaced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in accordance with an internationally backed power transfer agreement this February, Saleh is still a major player behind the scenes, as his relatives control key branches of the Yemeni Armed Forces.

Most of the troops guarding the embassy hailed from the Central Security Forces, a branch of the Yemeni military led by Yahya Mohamed Saleh, a nephew of former president Saleh. And in the wake of Thursday’s events, local observers expressed suspicions that the former president had a hand in the attack, or at least allowed it to happen.

“It’s nearly impossible to imagine that the Embassy could be breached with such ease,” said one Yemeni analyst, commenting the evening after the demonstration. “It’s not hard to suspect that something beyond incompetence was involved.”

But while tensions within Yemen’s divided military may have played a contributing role in allowing for the embassy breach itself, the origins of the anti-American rage displayed by demonstrators lie elsewhere.

Thursday’s events were not solely a response to the controversial film, which few Yemenis—including those taking part in the demonstrations—have seen. Rather, the film struck a nerve in Yemen because of long-simmering resentment of American policy.

Specifically, Yemenis resent what they characterize as the United States’ persistent meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs.  Even as government forces cracked down on peaceful anti-government demonstrations last year, the United States appeared reluctant to drop support for Saleh, who American officials viewed as a key ally in the battle against Yemen’s local Al Qaeda franchise.

Faced with the choice between siding with the Yemeni people and siding with the corrupt government, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to topple what they believe to be the US chose for Saleh oligarchical system.

Since Saleh ceded power, resentment over the United States’ past alliance with the former president has lingered.

Even today, many powerful opponents of Saleh claim that the United States still has not done enough to force the former president’s allies from power.

One opposition politician, while condemning the siege, commented that the CSF’s failure to protect the embassy was ironic payback for the United States’ hesitation to make a full break with the Saleh family.  After all, CSF commander Yahya Saleh was once a favored US commander.

At the same time, factions outside of Yemen’s political establishment have said that American reliance on traditional elites has contributed to their marginalization.

Beyond political issues, many Yemenis have expressed deep resentment over the ongoing American drone campaigns against local Al Qaeda (AQAP) figures. While the Yemeni government has permitted the strikes, many Yemenis see drone attacks as an infringement of the nation’s sovereignty and a violation of the rule of law, and they bristle at the way civilian casualties are brushed off as “collateral damages.”

Some Yemeni politicians and tribal leaders have long quietly argued that the drone strikes have led to a hardening of anti-American sentiment in Yemen. The recent deaths last week of 10 Yemeni civilians in an apparent US drone strike further inflamed popular anger over the drones.

Today is your day, oh Ambassador,” shouted the youthful crowd as it triumphantly ran through embassy property, mentioning Ambassador Gerald Feierstein by name.

Feierstein is largely praised by policy makers in Washington and he has held his post since September 2010. Feierstein is viewed in Yemen as a deeply controversial figure and profiled as Yemen’s “new dictator” by a prominent Yemeni journalist. 

Feierstein has come to personify unpopular American policies. The United States may have moved past its previous relationship with Saleh, providing important backing for his successor, but few Yemenis have forgotten that Feierstein himself stood by Saleh’s side, and a number of the ambassador’s apparent gaffes continue to resonate—most infamously, his characterization of the “Life March,” a 155-mile protest march undertaken by unarmed demonstrators in December, as an effort to “generate chaos.”

Activists charged that Feierstein’s statement effectively gave government forces a green light to launch a deadly crackdown on the march that left nine dead.

Ali al-Kamaly, a Yemeni youth activist, said: “The American administration has to rethink its foreign policy as the world has changed. The ambassador chose to oppose the aspirations of the Yemeni people during the life march last year. The movie was just the drop that inundated the beaker…peoples’ beliefs, rights and lives are the true redline.”

Note: So far, president Obama has executed Bush Jr foreign policies in the Middle-East, as if he was mind-reading what Bush Jr. might have decided…and making a policy to decapitate the “leaders” of Al Qaeda using drone attacks…Why?

Obama wants to prove to the US citizens that whoever is elected president will invariably follow the Middle-East foreign policies, even if the counsellors and political analysts in the CIA and State department have demonstrated to be incompetent and totally biased against Arabs and Moslems…

Note 2: I keep wondering: Why most US ambassadors in the Middle-East have to have a Jewish last name?


adonis49

adonis49

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