Archive | June 3rd, 2014

Obama Vision of “Ending” Afghan War Includes 10,000 Troops


Despite repeated calls to end the war completely, president lays out plan for continued US presence well beyond 2014

– Lauren McCauley

President Obama announcing plans to keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. (Screenshot via MSNBC)

In comments made Tuesday afternoon at the White House, President Obama laid out his plan to draw down the number of occupying forces in Afghanistan, indicating that his vision of succcess in terms of U.S. foreign policy is that in 2015, nearly ten thousand U.S. troops would remain “in harms way” overseas.

According to President Obama, the number of troops will be cut from its current level of 32,000 to 9,800 by 2015.

“This is how war ends in the 21st century,” the president said, adding that after the protracted war, “Afghanistan will not be a perfect place.”

Anti-war advocates were quick to criticize Obama’s plan to extend even further what is already the nation’s longest-running war.

“Americans are tired of war. It’s time for the longest U.S. war in history to be over. Instead, the Obama Administration wants to leave nearly 10,000 troops and untold contractors in Afghanistan after the end of year costing billions of dollars,” observed Paul Kawika Martin, political director of grassroots peace organization Peace Action, in a statement ahead of the official announcement. The group cited polling which has repeatedly shown that Americans think the war in Afghanistan is a “mistake.”

And The Nation‘s George Zornick tweeted:

“Over the course of next year, the number of troops would be cut in half and consolidated in the capital of Kabul and at Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan,” AP reported ahead of the announcement, after an anonymous senior official leaked the contours of Obama’s plan. “Those remaining forces would largely be withdrawn by the end of 2016, with fewer than 1,000 remaining behind to staff a security office in Kabul.”

During the speech, Obama explained that U.S. forces will be deployed to train Afghan forces and support in terror missions against the remnants of Al Qaeda.

The news comes two days after the president paid a surprise visit to troops stationed at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, during which he alluded to the continued presence of the U.S. in the country.

Obama’s plan is contingent on the Afghan government signing the Bilateral Security Agreement, which current president Hamid Karzai has refused to sign. On June 14, Afghans will vote in the second round of presidential elections, and U.S. officials say they are “confident” that Karzai’s successor will sign the agreement. The two front runners, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, have both vowed to sign the BSA if elected.

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Scott McConnell – Did Neoconservatives take over GOP foreign policy? ”VIDEO”

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Bandar Bin Shlomo injected with poison


Saudi spymaster Bandar bin Sultan

Saudi spymaster Bandar bin Sultan bin I$raHell

A Lebanese media report says Saudi Arabia’s spymaster Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz has been injected with an incurable poison.

Some Lebanese media outlets quoting Saudi Wahhabi sources as saying that the prince was injected with an unknown kind of poison.

Zio-Wahhabi  was slipped into a coma and rushed for treatment to Morocco and the United States, the report added.

Medical doctors say various methods of treatment have failed to restore him to health over the past few months, it noted.

Zio-Wahhabi is known to have had close ties with former US President George W. Bush, and was an advocate of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Bandar is also widely believed to be the key figure trying to increase Saudi weapons flow to the foreign-backed militants in Syria.

However, Washington had demanded the removal of  Bandar from the Syrian file because of his mismanagement of the situation in the country, which has been grappling with a foreign-backed crisis since March 2011.

Several media reports confirmed that Bandar had been pushed aside.

Some unnamed Zio-Wahhabi security officials have recently said the prince would retake his position as intelligence chief and be in charge of dealing with Syria.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the Syria violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.

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‘War’ in Ukraine as Airport Battle Leaves at Least 50 Dead


Assault continues as reporting confirms that military recruiting for third battalion to fight separatists in the east

– Lauren McCauley

These stills are taken from footage of the military assault on the Donetsk airport on Monday. (Screenshots via Accidents News)Over fifty people were reported dead on Tuesday after the Ukrainian military launched an assault on armed separatists who on Monday had overtaken the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk.

“The airport is under our full control,” said Ukrainian interior minister Arsen Avakov in a statement. “The enemy has suffered grave losses. We have none.”

Despite the pronouncement, the military continued their assault on Tuesday. The New York Times reports that at noon fighter jets “resumed their flights over the airport area and shooting started up again, signaling a renewed push that indicated that the Ukrainian forces did not fully control the area.”

The battle in Donetsk began a day after national elections on Sunday and just hours following a statement by president-elect Petro Poroshenko that he would take a tough stand against the “terrorists” in the east.

Reporting for the Kyev Post, Christopher Miller posted photos and videos of the assault on his Twitter feed.

At a press conference on Tuesday, deputy Interior Affairs minister Serhii Yarovyi announced that the government in Kiev is now recruiting for a third battalion of the National Guard.

“Preparation for the creation of the third battalion has now begun,” he said. According to Yarovyi, the second battalion was sent to the eastern regions on Tuesday to participate in the “anti-terrorist” operation, where the first battalion has long-been deployed. Ukrainian News is reporting that the National Guard is seeking “everyone who wants to join and that men aged 18 to 55 are currently undergoing training.”

Calling for an immediate halt to the intensifying military actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appealed to Poroshenko to end the violence and make steps toward diplomatic solutions.

“We hope he will act in the interests of the Ukrainian people as a whole,” Mr. Lavrov said. “If this is the case, he will find a serious and reliable partner in Russia.”

“They have a real war there so far,” he added.

Offering a view from the ground in Ukraine, Guardian correspondents Alec Luhn in Kiev and Shaun Walker in Donetsk report:

On Tuesday afternoon fighters built barricades on the main road from the airport to the city, fearful that the Ukrainian army could move from the airport to make a decisive move against the occupied buildings in the city centre.

A Ukrainian official said on Tuesday that Kiev knew all separatist positions in Donetsk, and that they would be attacked using “special high-precision weapons” if they did not surrender.

Also on Tuesday, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said that it had lost contact with a team of four international observers in the city on Monday evening and that they had not been heard from since.

“The team was on a routine patrol east of Donetsk when contact was lost. We have been unable to re-establish communication until now,” the OSCE said.

“This is war,” said Alexander Borodai, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, who confirmed that 50 fighters had been killed in Monday’s attack.

“Kiev is giving us some kinds of ultimatums,” Borodai added defiantly. “Let them keep giving them.”

“They call us terrorists but they are the ones who have come to our home, our land to fight,” Vadim Voit, a driver who has fought with the separatist group told the Times. “Kiev is just not listening to us,” he said. “We can’t make peace with them now.”

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