Archive | July 22nd, 2015

Air strike kills Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda leader in Syria

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Fadhli was reported to have been previously targeted in a US air strike in September, but his death was not confirmed by US officials at the time. ─ AFP/File
Fadhli was reported to have been previously targeted in a US air strike in September, but his death was not confirmed by US officials at the time. ─ AFP/File

A United States-led coalition air strike earlier this month killed the leader of an Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda offshoot in Syria that American officials accuse of plotting attacks against the US and its allies, the Pentagon said.

Zio-Wahhabi Muhsin al-Fadhli was killed in a “kinetic strike” on July 8 while travelling in a vehicle near the North western Syrian town of Sarmada, said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. He did not confirm whether a drone or a manned aircraft had killed Fadhli, 34.

Zio-Wahhabi Fadhli was allegedly the leader of the Khorasan Group, a group of senior Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda members who have travelled from Central Asia and elsewhere in the Middle East to Syria to plot attacks.

The Kuwaiti-born Zio-Wahhabi was so trusted among late Al Qaeda supreme Zio-Wahhabi C.I.A agent Osama bin Laden’s inner circle that he was among the few who knew in advance about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, according to US intelligence.

“His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of Al Qaeda against the United States and its allies and partners,” said Davis.

Davis, who heads the Defence Department’s press operations said Fadhli was also involved in October 2002 attacks against US Marines on Kuwait’s Failaka Island and on the MV Limburg, a French oil tanker.

He was reported to have been previously targeted in a US air strike in September, but his death was not confirmed by US officials at the time.

Read more: Al Qaeda Pakistan chief killed in Lahore raid: Punjab home minister

Shadowy but lethal group

Officials say Khorasan is part of Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Al-Nusra Front, though experts and activists cast doubt on the distinction between the two groups.

In a September interview, US President Barack Obama listed Khorasan among “immediate threats to the United States,” warning that “those folks could kill Americans.”

The US State Department had posted a $7 million reward for information leading to Fadhli’s death or detention. He was wanted by law enforcement authorities in Kuwait and the United States for terrorist activities.

The fighter fought alongside the Taliban and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda in Pakistan, according to the State Department.

The US National Counterterrorism Center has said he had become Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda’s senior leader in Iran.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Fadhli was a major facilitator to late militant Zio-Wahhabi Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who once led Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda in Iraq, and other fighters against US and multinational forces.

He was designated by the US Treasury Department for providing financial and material support to Zarqawi’s network and Al Qaeda.

The United Nations Security Council’s Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee cited him in 2005 for his role in planning, facilitating and financing Al Qaeda attacks, which triggered a freeze on his assets and a travel ban.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Air strike kills Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al Qaeda leader in Syria

Apex court stays execution of Asia Bibi

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By: IRFAN HAIDER 

Mayor Alain Juppe (L) unveils a poster in the courtyard of the City Hall in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux in honour of Asia Bibi in March 2015. ─ AFP/File
Asia Bibi pictured with former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2010. ─ AFP/File
Mayor Alain Juppe (L) unveils a poster in the courtyard of the City Hall in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux in honour of Asia Bibi in March 2015. ─ AFP/File
Asia Bibi pictured with former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2010. ─ AFP/File
Asia Bibi pictured with former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2010. ─ AFP/File

LAHORE: Staying the execution of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday admitted for hearing a petition filed by the death-row prisoner who was convicted on blasphemy charges.

A three-member bench at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry admitted the petition for full hearing and also ordered for all records pertaining to the case to be presented before it.

Read: On death row for blasphemy, Asia Bibi makes final appeal to SC

In her petition, the 50-year-old woman has claimed that she had not made any blasphemous remarks, and rather residents of her neighbourhood had leveled the blasphemy allegations against her based on a personal feud.

She asked the court to strike down her death sentence.

Mother of five children, Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after being convicted of committing blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water in 2009.

She had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court in November 2014 as her final legal recourse, one month after the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence of Asia Bibi, dashing hopes the conviction might be overturned or commuted to a jail term.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim and unproven claims regularly lead to mob violence.

Also read: Asia Bibi losing hope on death row: family

Two high-profile politicians – then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti – were murdered in 2011 after calling for reforms to the blasphemy law and describing Bibi’s trial as flawed.

Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws have attracted criticism from rights groups, who say they are frequently misused to settle personal scores.

Lawyers who defend people accused of blasphemy — and judges seen as lenient — also risk being accused of the crime themselves and regularly face intimidation.

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Mythology, Barrel Bombs, and Human Rights Watch

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Image result for Barrel Bombs PHOTO


By Paul Larudee 

July 21, 2015 Information Clearing House – Counterpunch” –   To read Human Rights Watch and the western mainstream media, the Syrian government army is inflicting massive casualties upon the Syrian civilian population, most especially through the use of “barrel bombs”.  Thousands of bombs have been dropped, inflicting thousands of casualties.

But wait a minute.  Doesn’t that imply one casualty per bomb?

Credible and reliable facts and figures are notoriously hard to come by, but Human Rights Watch intrepidly goes where angels fear to tread.  They are the only ones that provide both casualty and bomb counts for a given period of time, from February, 2014 through January, 2015.  According to them, more than 1,450 bombs – mostly “barrel” bombs – were dropped on the areas of Daraa and Aleppo covered by the report.  HRW also reports 3,185 civilian casualties from aerial attacks for the same time period and in the same places.  So roughly two casualties per bomb, even if you accept that a lot of “civilians” are actually fighters and that HRW and its sources are hardly unbiased.

That’s a lot of bombs and a lot of casualties, but no indication that “barrel” bombs are more deadly or indiscriminate than the usual gravity bombs in most air force arsenals around the world.  Fighter-bomber aircraft may have sophisticated sighting equipment, but they move at hundreds of miles per hour.  Helicopters that drop “barrel” bombs have the advantage of delivering them from a stationary position. “Barrel” bombs may be crude devices, but there is no evidence that they cause more casualties than conventional gravity bombs.

So what about the huge number of deaths in Syria?  Doesn’t that show reckless disregard for human life by the Syrian army?

The UN estimates 220,000 deaths thus far in the Syrian war.  But almost half are Syrian army soldiers or allied local militia fighters, and two thirds are combatants if we count opposition fighters.  Either way, the ratio of civilian to military casualties is roughly 1:2, given that the opposition is also inflicting civilian casualties.  Compare that to the roughly 3:1 ratio in the US war in Iraq and 4:1 in the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-9.  (The rate of Palestinian to Israeli casualties was an astronomical 100:1.)

The Israelis also used Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions that strip the flesh off the bone and cause microscopic metal particles to penetrate the victim’s body.  In addition, they used white phosphorous, which burns hot enough to eat through metal or flesh and is almost impossible to extinguish, even inside the body.  And let’s not forget the four million cluster bombs that Israel spread throughout south Lebanon during the last 72 hours of the 2006 war, knowing that the fighting was ending.  These parting gifts assured that Lebanese farmers and children would be killed or maimed for years to come.

Syria has used none of these disgusting weapons, while being condemned for using locally-made weapons that are in fact no worse than conventional munitions in the arsenals of every air force. Of course, even gravity bombs can create appalling casualties when used on a dense population center.  The point is that such incidents are rare enough to be tabulated and recognized (on Wikipedia, for example).  To the contrary, the Syrian army has been accused of the opposite: laying siege to an area and starving out the residents, and then using “barrel bombs” to clear the remaining armed elements.

In order to vilify the Syrian armed forces it was necessary to frame Syria for the use of sarin gas, a transparent fraud given that the army gained no strategic advantage and that their use had never been recorded or reported prior to U.S. President Obama’s threat to intervene, only afterward.  Really, who would take such a risk for no apparent gain?

The Syrian army relies on loyal soldiers defending their country and their homes from a heavily subsidized, markedly foreign incursion, including many mercenaries paid by the Gulf monarchies and trained by the US.  And the army is loyal because they know that although great sacrifices will be asked of them, they will be defending, not sacrificing, their families and loved ones.  The rest of the world that supposedly cares about Syria can start by making it unnecessary for them to make such sacrifices.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Mythology, Barrel Bombs, and Human Rights Watch

Syria wants to join Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union

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Combination photo shows Russian (R) and Syrian flags. © Omar Sanadiki, Maxim Shemetov
Combination photo shows Russian (R) and Syrian flags. © Omar Sanadiki, Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
The Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi has said joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will allow Damascus easier economic and trade cooperation with friendly nations. Russia and Belarus are also discussing a new loan to Syria.

 “Negotiations with Russia on joining the Eurasian Union and customs-free zone are being held. We see this as a benefit and strengthening the relations with friendly states, which will facilitate economic and trade cooperation with them,” said Halqi in an interview with RIA Novosti Tuesday.

According to the prime minister, Russia and Syria have signed a number of contracts for the construction of gas processing plants, irrigation facilities and power stations. In 2013, an agreement was signed for Russian companies to develop oil fields on the Syrian coast. The first phase is worth $88 million and will last for five years.

The countries are also discussing the expanding of loans to Damascus.

“Negotiations with Russia and Belarus on the provision of new lines of credit continue. It will help to meet the needs of production, create new opportunities for the development of the internal market and economic process,” said the prime minister.

He expressed the hope that Russia would help the Syrian government “to cope with the brutal attacks, including the unjust economic sanctions imposed by the West.”

Halqi said that credits between Iran and Syria have already been implemented. The two countries have signed and implemented two lines of credit, of which $3.6 billion Tehran has allocated for projects related to oil and $1 billion for the delivery of humanitarian aid, including food, medicines, hospital equipment and components for power plants.

The prime minister said that Syria appreciates all the efforts made by the Russian leadership to maintain the policy and economy of Syria during the years of crisis, and specifically thanked Moscow for donating 100,000 tons of wheat as humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

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Syrian Intervention, Yemeni Airstrikes and David Cameron’s Contempt for Democracy

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The UK government gives diplomatic and military support to tyrants worldwide and places imperial agendas above democratic decisions.
By Elliot Murphy

DESPITE the 2013 parliamentary vote against military intervention in Syria, it was revealed on Friday after a freedom of information request by the campaign group Reprieve that around 20 British military personnel have been embedded within coalition forces in the country combating Isis.

A number of these have also been carrying out airstrikes, something which David Cameron’s spokeswoman has confirmed he was aware of. The prime minister told an American audience on Sunday that Britain should ‘step up and do more’ in Syria, the most explicit statement he has made to undermine democratic parliamentary objections to such a move.

At a Stop the War Coalition meeting on Saturday at the Bloomsbury Baptist Church, Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, claimed that Syria has consequently ‘turned out to be David Cameron’s secret war’.

Stop the War officer Chris Nineham reiterated these concerns, and condemned ‘the historical instinct to dominate the Middle East’ which Cameron, Michael Fallon and others plainly demonstrate.

Nineham added that a common excuse being peddled by the establishment is that UK forces have become so embedded within foreign forces that their role in Syria is therefore legitimate. But this claim does not stand up to any serious legal scrutiny – any UK forces will end up becoming ‘embedded’ one way or another within other allied organisations.

Britain, along with the US, also scuppered the Geneva negotiations in 2012 and 2014, making it clear that their priority is regime change, the removal of Assad.

A common myth, regurgitated in much of the mainstream media, is that Britain supposedly became isolationist after the 2013 vote on Syrian intervention. Yet it still participated in diplomatic and military support of tyrants worldwide, and as Friday’s revelations indicate, it places imperial agendas above democratic decisions.
The myths of neo-colonialism are also given impetus by much academic work. Alex J. Bellamy’s recentResponsibility to Protect: A Defense, published by Oxford University Press, argues that the R2P principle should more forcefully be applied to Syria, ‘moving this principle from words into deeds’ as the jacket cover poetically phrases it – ideas formulated more concretely in another of Oxford’s ongoing series of treatises, Nigel Biggar’s 2014 In Defence of War, which dismisses those foolish enough to ‘hold that war is unnecessary’.

Kim Sharif from Human Rights for Yemen also addressed the Baptist Church audience, noting how Britain (along with the US and the United Arab Emirates) is additionally supporting Saudi Arabia’s ongoing illegal and savage attacks on Yemen in an effort to re-instate the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who initially came to power in February 2012 in a one-man ‘election’.

Sharif added that there is no UN mandate for the Saudi airstrikes, no approval from the Arab League. By supporting such actions, Britain is explicitly undermining the legitimacy of these organisations, and of international law, diplomacy and peace efforts more generally. It is no small thing to endorse the illegal bombing of a devastated nation by the hands of an autocracy.

The bombing has been ongoing for 115 days and has so far led to over 3500 deaths, including the total destruction of heritage sites.

Ticking a few other major boxes for standard British-backed terrorism, this period has also seen the indiscriminate targeting of civilian structures such as electricity grids and, in June, Oxfam sites, along with an illegal blockage, despite Yemen’s reliance on exports for 90% of its consumables. UN resolution 2216 does not authorise either airstrikes or a blockade.
The three core features contributing to the massacres – the arming of Saudi Arabia, the blockage, and the airstrikes – are all supported and encouraged by the British government. The Ministry of Defence has already admitted that is has been selling guided weapons to the Saudis during the ongoing Yemeni war.
Part of the solution to the chaos, long called for by Stop the War Coalition, is to stop arming and supporting dictatorships like Saudi Arabia. The anti-war movement can also contribute to combating Islamophobia, while a successful Labour leadership campaign for Jeremy Corbyn will be extremely effective in giving impetus and support to such causes.

Stop the War plans to organise a major protest before the predicted parliamentary vote on Syrian intervention in the autumn.

In the meantime, the usual strategies of education, organisation and peaceful civil disobedience must be our priorities if the carnage welcomed by significant forces in the establishment is to have any chance of resolution

.

Posted in Syria, UK, YemenComments Off on Syrian Intervention, Yemeni Airstrikes and David Cameron’s Contempt for Democracy

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi, UAE forces deployed to Yemen

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Jeremy Binnie

Like the member of the RSLF Paratroopers and Special Forces seen here during Exercise ‘Red Alligator 4’ in November 2014, the foreign soldiers spotted in Aden carried AK-103 rifles. Source: Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Press Agency

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan newspaper cited unidentified sources on 17 July as saying that Saudi special forces soldiers had arrived in Aden to guard officials from Yemen’s internationally recognised government who had arrived in the city after a series of victories by pro-government forces.

It said the unit consisted of 50 men, including officers, and had accompanied Yemeni officials who returned to their country from exile in Riyadh.

The report was corroborated by photographs that emerged on social media showing well-equipped foreign soldiers escorting Yemeni dignitaries around Aden. The soldiers carried AK-103 assault rifles, a Kalashnikov type used by the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) Paratroopers and Special Forces.

A Saudi source told IHS Jane’s that the soldiers are from the RSLF’s 64th Airborne Brigade.

The presence of United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers inside Yemen seems also to have been confirmed. According to the official news agency, WAM, the country’s General Command of the Armed Forces announced on 16 July that Lieutenant Abdulaziz Sarhan Saleh al-Kaabi had been killed while participating in Operation ‘Restoring Hope’, the name for the Saudi-led military intervention against Yemen’s Ansar Allah group.

The death of a second soldier participating in ‘Restoring Hope’, Saif Yusuf Ahmed al-Falasi, an NCO of unspecified rank, was announced on 21 July.

While no further details on either fatality were provided, WAM also reported the minister of transport in Yemen’s exiled government as saying that the UAE had deployed a specialist team to Aden to re-open the port city’s airport.

Aden International Airport was captured by forces fighting against Ansar Allah on behalf of the internationally recognised government on 14 July in an operation that involved newly arrived Oshkosh M-ATVs, a type of armoured vehicle that is used by both Emirati and Saudi special forces and has not previously been seen in Yemen.

While these vehicles are in service with both RSLF and UAE special forces, the ones seen in Yemen were operated by men in civilian clothes.

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Yemen: Britain Lurks Behind Saudi Atrocities

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Image result for yemen war photos

Our government has no qualms about backing the latest slaughter in Yemen, writes IAN SINCLAIR

ON March 25 2015 a Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing the Gulf state of Yemen. According to Saudi Arabia the intervention was in support of the US and Saudi-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who had been overthrown by supposedly Iranian-backed Houthi rebels allied to Hadi’s predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was also backed by the US.

The Saudi bombing campaign has been relentless and largely indiscriminate. A joint statement by 18 scholars noted that “the targets of the campaign include schools, homes, refugee camps, water systems, grain stores and food industries.” In May, CNN noted that “the Saudi Press Agency reported that the latest attack against Houthi rebels in Yemen — 130 air strikes in a 24-hour period — included the targeting of schools and hospitals.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than 3,000 people have been killed and 14,300 wounded so far. More than one million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Back in April the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned Yemen was “on the verge of total collapse.” By June matters had got much worse, with 20 million Yemenis — nearly 80 per cent of the population — in urgent need of food, water and medical aid.

According to a superb report in the Guardian by Julian Borger it was “a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade” imposed by the Saudi-led coalition.

“The blockade means it’s impossible to bring anything into the country,” said Oxfam’s humanitarian programme manager in the capital Sanaa. “The situation is deteriorating, hospitals are now shutting down, without diesel.”

Save the Children’s Yemen director said: “Children are dying preventable deaths in Yemen because the rate of infectious diseases is rising.” Cholera is on the rise and a dengue fever outbreak has been reported in the port city of Aden.

What has been Britain’s response to this man-made disaster? Government statements about fighting terrorism and promoting democracy and human rights lead one to expect that it would line up against Saudi Arabia.

Instead, Britain is backing the Saudis as they batter Yemen. “We’ll support the Saudis in every practical way short of engaging in combat,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in April. In practice, this means “political support, of course, logistical and technical support.”

This follows huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia, making the fundamentalist state Britain’s largest customer for weapons.

This means “British-made Typhoon fighter jets scream through Yemen’s skies, flown by British-trained Saudi pilots, dropping British-made bombs on the poorest country in the region,” explained Bahrain Watch’s John Horne.

The US is also backing the attack, providing logistical and intelligence support. US planners are “using live intelligence feeds from surveillance flights over Yemen to help Saudi Arabia decide what and where to bomb,” the Wall Street Journal reported in March.

Borger notes that the brutal blockade is backed by Britain and the US. However, “Washington and London have quietly tried to persuade the Saudis … to moderate their tactics, and in in particular to ease the blockade.”

What other nation responsible for such mass slaughter receives a quiet word in the ear rather than outraged public denunciations? With the UN declaring its highest-level of humanitarian emergency in Yemen earlier this month, the two countries’ gentle prodding have clearly had little effect.

The UN says 21.1 million people need aid, with 13 million desperately short of food and 9.4 million with no water.

Coupled with the likely use of British-made jets in the Saudi Arabian bombing of Yemen in 2009, Britain’s current support for Saudi aggression is part of Britain’s broader strategy in the region. “With the US keen to reduce its military presence in the Gulf, the UK is preparing to fill the gap, restoring its former links, returning to ‘East of Suez’,” Guardian defence correspondent Richard Norton-Taylor argues.

The British government is only able to get away with enabling a humanitarian crisis of this size because the media has largely failed to adequately report on the crisis in Yemen. And when the media does cover the conflict Britain’s support for the death and destruction is rarely mentioned.

Dr Florian Zollmann, a media lecturer at Liverpool Hope University, has found a number of other disturbing patterns.

Analysing how the US and British press reports the conflict in Yemen, Zollmann notes that “the Anglo-American news media has largely failed to investigate the legality of the intervention” or the fact “Saudi Arabia hardly constitutes a benevolent and stabilising force.”

Faced with a de facto media blackout of the role of Britain and US in the Saudi attack on Yemen, it is important progressives who are aware of the reality shout about it as loudly as possible. Ultimately it is only public pressure that can halt British support for the bombing and push the government to urge the UN security council to demand an immediate ceasefire and negotiations to resolve the conflict.

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What a Choice for Egypt – a Megalomaniac President or the Madness of Isis

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Image result for SISI CARTOON

By Robert Fisk

July 20, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “The Independent” –  Egypt is following the path of so many other countries that are being torn apart. If you torture your people enough, Isis will germinate in their wounds.The images of an Egyptian gunboat exploding off the coast of Sinai last week were a warning to our Western politicians. Yes, we support Egypt. We love Egypt. We continue to send our tourists to Egypt. Because we support President Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – despite the fact that his government has locked up more than 40,000 mostly political prisoners, more than 20,000 of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, hundreds of whom have been sentenced to death. The Egyptian regime continues to pretend that its Brotherhood enemies are the same as Isis. And Isis – in its dangerous new role as the Islamist power in Sinai – has killed hundreds of Egyptian troops, more than 60 of them two weeks ago, after which a military spokesman in Cairo announced that Sinai was “100 per cent under control”. However, after last week’s virtual destruction of the naval vessel, we might ask: who does control the peninsula?

 

Yet, while the biggest battle is fought in Sinai since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, we psychologically smother this conflict with our fears about Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. So relieved are we in the West that a secular general has replaced the first democratically elected president of Egypt that we now support Sisi’s leadership as benevolently as we once supported that of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Americans have resumed arms supplies to Egypt – and why not when Sisi’s men are fighting the apocalyptic Isis?To Egyptians, though, it all looks a bit different. They are being treated to Sisi’s almost Saddam-like mega-mind. This includes his grotesque ambitions for a new super-capital to replace poor old Cairo, to be completed in a maximum of seven years, not far from the new two-lane Suez canal which must be finished – and those who know Egypt will literally gasp here – in a maximum of 12 months. The “new” Cairo is going to be 700sqkm in size and will cost £30bn. The unveiling of this preposterous project a few weeks ago was accompanied by none other than our own Tony Blair, who used to be a British prime minister but is now (among other burdensome chores) advising the Egyptian president through a UAE-backed consultancy.This “spendthrift dream of modernity”, as the American writer Maria Golia puts it, betrays an indifference to Egyptians’ real interests. Over 60 per cent of Cairo – the real Cairo that exists today – was built in the past few decades and is spread across miles of tree-bald rotting concrete estates of poverty and heat. Its thousands of newly developed villa-suburbs high above the city are largely empty; no one can afford to purchase them. Could there be a better environment for Isis?

So let’s take a brief look at Sisi’s real Egypt. Rather than rejuvenate the weary, fetid city that Cairo became under the British and then King Farouk and then Nasser and then Sadat and then Mubarak, Sisi wants to start all over again. There is already a New Cairo outside the original Cairo – it was constructed as an expansion of the city under Sadat and Mubarak – so Sisi’s megalopolis will be new New Cairo, a second attempt to alleviate social failure.

The President need not worry too much about industrial disputes in his fantasy city. The Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court has made strikes illegal on the grounds (Brotherhood-like) that practising the right to strike – albeit legalised under Article 13 of the Egyptian constitution – “violates Islamic sharia”. The court has already “retired” three civil servants and imposed penalties on 14 others for striking in the governorate of Monufia, arguing that withdrawing labour “goes against Islamic teachings and the purposes of Islamic sharia”. Under Islamic law, the court announced with almost Isis-style formality, “obeying orders by seniors at work is a duty”. This was a very weird ruling. The teachings of the Prophet forbid alcohol consumption (mercifully, for millions of Muslims, cigarettes had not been invented in the seventh century), but trade unions would have been incomprehensible in any ancient caliphate.

Not that the Egyptian government has much to worry about from its officially sanctioned unions. Gebali al-Maraghy, chairman of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, declared in an interview with Al-Musry Al-Youm newspaper that “our task is to carry out all the demands made by the President … increasing production and fighting terrorism”. Former deputy prime minister Ziad Bahaa Eddin found the court’s ruling absurd. “Didn’t we demonstrate against the constitution drafted by the Muslim Brotherhood because it attempted to mix religion with the state?” he asked.

True. Indeed, we in the West are now encouraging a very familiar “new” state in Egypt: paternalistic, dictatorial, haunted by “foreign” enemies – it’s only a matter of time before the Egyptian government declares Isis an arm of Mossad – in which an ocean of poverty is regarded as the very reason why ever more draconian laws must be used against free speech. The people want bread, we are told, not freedom; security rather than “terrorism”.

Egypt is, in fact, following the path of so many other countries that are being torn apart by Isis. For, if you torture your people enough, Isis will germinate in their wounds.

Thus Sinai is now as much under the “control” of Isis as it is of Egypt. The Cairo bomb that assassinated President Sisi’s chief prosecutor proves that Isis operations have crossed the Suez Canal. And even the Egyptian navy can be attacked.

Was there ever a more potent symbol of our choice? Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

 

Posted in EgyptComments Off on What a Choice for Egypt – a Megalomaniac President or the Madness of Isis

Libya: Islamic State kidnap three Christians and crucify one man in Sirte accused of spying

Isis Libya
The offshoot of IS in Libya has taken almost complete control of the city of Sirte(SITE Intel)

The offshoot of Islamic State (Isis) in Libya has claimed responsibility for kidnapping three African Christians and crucifying an alleged spy in its coastal stronghold of Sirte..

Websites sympathetic to the militant group have posted pictures of the three migrants, bound and blindfolded alongside images of their passports and identification cards. IS claimed the three men – an Egyptian, a Ghanaian and a Nigeria – were Christian. Their images were first posted online on 18 July.

The militants have said their Cyrenaica State branch apprehended the three migrants at checkpoints during a security operation.

IS, which has become known for its displays of ostentatious violence, has carried out two particularly gruesome mass executions of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

In June the militant group kidnapped 86 Eritrean migrants; their current whereabouts is unknown.

Images have also been posted online of a man crucified in Sirte by IS. Libyan media has reported the man was killed because of his support of Libya Dawn, a coalition of armed groups fighting IS in Sirte.

Isis execution of Ethiopian Christians
IS footage of militants with captured Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, Libya(Reuters)

The pictures show him strapped to a metal frame with plastic cable ties and wearing an orange jumpsuit. A visible gunshot wound to the head appears to indicate the man was executed before he was put on the frame. Above his head a sign reads “Libya Dawn spy”.

The offshoot of IS in Libya has taken almost complete control of the central Libyan city of Sirte. At the end of May, the group captured the city’s civilian airport, pushing out forces loyal to Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

IS in Libya’s influence around Sirte now extends some 150km to the east, along the coastal road to the town of Nawfliyah.

At the beginning of March, 166 Battalion loyal to Tripoli began a campaign in Sirte, the hometown of Libya’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi, to rid it of the IS forces. However, despite some initial gains, the move proved unsuccessful.

IS has exploited a political vacuum in Libya over the past year, using a stalemate between the country’s two rival governments to exert its control. A number of Islamist militias, remnants of Libya’s 2011 liberation war, have allied themselves with the group.

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How the Iran Deal ‘Snap Back’ Could be Manipulated

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Image result for Iran Deal PHOTO

By Francis Boyle

 

“President Obama and others have stated that if Iran violates the agreement, the sanctions on Iran will ‘snap back’ into place. That’s true, but what’s menacing about this is what they don’t highlight: the sanctions could quite conceivably ‘snap back’ based on some bogus pretext after Iran has dismantled the guts of its nuclear industry that is lawful under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Everyone knows that Iran does not have nuclear weapons to begin with.

 

“Under the agreement, this current or some future U.S. administration would only need the votes of the European powers to enact such a scenario since decisions will be made by the majority of a group that includes not only Iran, China, Russia, France and the UK, but also Germany and the EU. They have in effect set up a mechanism that gets around the possibility of a Russian and/or Chinese veto.

 

“The UN Security Council resolution passed today states that disputes arising from the agreement will be dealt with by this panel and that ‘If the Security Council does not adopt a resolution’ then the sanctions Iran has been under ‘shall apply in the same manner as they applied before the adoption of this resolution.’ So if the U.S. vetoes action by the Security Council, the sanctions come back.

 

“There has been misreporting on this issue, for example rightwing outlets like CNS falsely claiming:Iran Deal Includes Loophole in Sanctions “Snapback’ Mechanism.’ Meanwhile, most mainstream or liberal reporting or commentary about this has been laudatory about the way the ‘snap back’ mechanism works:How the Iran Deal’s ‘Snap Back’ Mechanism Will Keep Tehran Compliant.’

 

“This ignores the record of the U.S. government on these issues. In the recent case of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi eliminated his nuclear equipment and then was literally stabbed in the back — NATO bombed the country, he was murdered, and there’s a failed state there now, leading to untold human suffering. At a minimum, the United States government will use the ‘snap-back’ mechanism as a cudgel to beat the Islamic Republic of Iran into ‘regime change,’ which has been its objective all along.”

 

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on How the Iran Deal ‘Snap Back’ Could be Manipulated

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