Archive | January 1st, 2016

2015 as a repeat of 1965 in Burundi: The stubbornness of political history

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David-Ngendo Tshimba
If 1965 consists of the first time in recorded history of contemporary Burundi that people lost their lives simply because of who they were ‘ethnically’ considered to be, 2015 is yet another moment in the post-colonial history of Burundi that people are losing their lives simply because of who they are ‘politically’ considered to be.

In the run-up to independence in 1962, Burundi held national elections in September 1961 contested between two rival groups of traditional princes (Ganwa): the Bezi, represented by the Union pour le Progrès National (UPRONA) party, and the Batare, represented by the Parti Démocrate Chrétien (PDC) party. The then popular and pro-independence king’s son, Prince Louis Rwagasore, whose UPRONA [Union for National Progress] had just won the elections in preparation for independence, became the de facto independence leader thanks to a triumphant victory gaining 58 of the 64 seats. The Belgian colonial administration, in a move to oppose UPRONA, had supported PDC [Christian Democrat Party]. Peter Uvin, a no less important scholarly voice in the political history of contemporary African Great Lakes region, noted that the multi-ethnic dimension of UPRONA was conspicuous in the outcomes of these elections: of its members elected, “25 were Tutsi, 22 Hutu, 7 Ganwa and 4 of mixed parentage.”

Barely a month after the electoral victory of UPRONA, Prince Rwagasore—of Ganwa descent, therefore neither Tutsi nor Hutu—was assassinated on 13 October 1961 by a Greek mercenary who, according to a historical reading by Burundian cleric Zacharie Bukuru, had been recruited by UPRONA’s political adversaries (members from the PDC) in collusion with some Belgian colonial officials.

By and large, the historic assassination of Prince Rwagasore remains colossal in the unfolding events of post-independence Burundi: it indeed represents the day on which doors were closed for Burundi’s post-colonial democratic dispensation. Soon after his death, sheer divisions among the pre-independence Burundian political elite grew even deeper, more so fuelled by the fear borne by the then prevailing manhunt against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Political power, which had for so long remained in the hands of the royal family, was soon coveted by both Hutu and Tutsi intellectuals of the time. Burundi’s traditional monarch, Mwami (king) Mwambutsa—historically popular among both Hutu and Tutsi—resumed a governing role and called for legislative elections in May 1965, after the Hutu Premier he had appointed, Pierre Ngendandumwe, was assassinated three days into his office. The then king had tried to satisfy everyone by changing prime ministers (a Prince, a Hutu and a Tutsi premier) but all in vain. According to René Lemarchand, another no less influential scholarly voice in the study of contemporary African Great Lakes politics, Prime Minister Ngendandumwe’s assassin—a Rwandan refugee—was employed by the United Sates Embassy in Bujumbura just because the administration there suspected the Prime Minister of being a communist; suspicion was awakened because of some links he had opened with China.

This barbaric act of assassination of a Burundian Hutu premier by a Rwandan Tutsi refugee further nourished extremism of the Hutu against the Tutsi in Burundi. The subsequent legislative elections, which were organised three months later, took place in a tense atmosphere of ethnic connotation. Its outcomes were expectedly construed to be a victory of one ethnicity over the other. A big majority of elected members of the legislative assembly (MPs) consisted of the Hutu. Although with a huge Hutu majority in the legislature, the Tutsi politico-military elite was determined to deny power to the Hutu.

King Mwambutsa appointed Léopold Biha as Prime Minister much as the Hutu had won a majority in the legislative elections. Consequently, a small group of frustrated Hutu army officers and gendarmes staged on 19 October 1965 an attack on the royal palace and shot Prime Minister Biha (albeit not fatally) in the king’s compound, only to be stopped by Tutsi army officers led by Captain Michel Micombero.

This assassination plot—coupled with the prevailing conviction by Hutu mobs in the northern province of Muramvya who mistakenly believed the Tutsi had turned against the Mwami and hence attacked Tutsi civilians—precipitated in the country a bloody civil war. It became evident that the case of Rwanda then—whereby, in 1959, the Hutu, after having exiled the king and massacred the Tutsi, went on to declare independence of a Rwandan republic—had, on the one hand, appealed to the Hutu elite in Burundi and had become frightening to the Burundian Tutsi elite, on the other hand.

Accordingly, ever since the events of 19 October 1965, the evil of ‘ethnic’ antipathy became even more entrenched among the grassroots (Hutu and Tutsi) who got trapped and manipulated by the will of a divided political elite—those hungry for power as inspired by the Rwandan scenario of 1959 on the one hand, and those keen to conserve power not to allow the Rwandan scenario of 1959 to happen in Burundi, on the other.

Against the above recapitulation, I am strongly tempted to suggest that 2015 in Burundi is but a perfect repeat of 1965, ceteris paribus. If history indeed stubbornly repeats itself over time, today’s Burundi offers a perfect venue for such historical repetition. For those now too familiar with the unfolding of events in today’s Burundi would hardly disagree with the fact that l’ histoire politique est vraiment têtue [political history is indeed stubborn!] Fifty years had passed but the political ghost of 1965 has come to vehemently haunt 2015’s Burundi. This is not to suggest that the stubbornness of political history is strictly confined to the case of Burundi; it is evident wherever political history had unfolded, i.e. wherever humans are found living in a sort of political community—even on Jupiter, I bet! If 1965 consists of the first time in recorded history of contemporary Burundi that people lost their lives simply because of who they were ‘ethnically’ considered to be, 2015 is yet another moment in the post-colonial history of Burundi that people are losing their lives simply because of who they are ‘politically’ considered to be. What else will Burundians die for in 2065?

There is no higher duty of political agency both inside and outside Burundi than to break this cycle of historical repetition! Of course, for a political deficiency, a political remedy is in order.

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Foreign Affairs Calls for Syria and Iraq to be Balkanized

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By Steven MacMillan – New Eastern Outlook 

On the 29th of November, 2015, Foreign Affairs – the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – published an article titled: Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq; Why the West Should Plan for a Partition. It was written by Barak Mendelsohn, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In the article, he argues that the “solution” to the current crisis in Syria and Iraq is the creation of an “independent Sunni state” (or Sunnistan), in addition to separating “the warring sides:”

“The only way to elicit indigenous support is by offering the Sunnis greater stakes in the outcome. That means proposing an independent Sunni state that would link Sunni-dominated territories on both sides of the border. Washington’s attachment to the artificial Sykes–Picots borders demarcated by France and Britain a century ago no longer makes sense. Few people truly believe that Syria and Iraq could each be put back together after so much blood has been spilled. A better alternative would be to separate the warring sides. Although the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias was not inevitable—it was, to some extent, the result of manipulation by self-interested elites—it is now a reality.”

Mendelsohn’s so-called “solution” for the region is in fact the strategy Western powers have been pursuing in the Middle East for years. His proposal is pretty much identical to the preferred “outcome” for Syria articulated by the former US Secretary of State and CFR member, Henry Kissinger. Speaking at the Ford School in 2013, Kissinger reveals his desire to see Syria Balkanized into “more or less autonomous regions (from 27.35 into the interview):

“There are three possible outcomes. An Assad victory. A Sunni victory. Or an outcome in which the various nationalities agree to co-exist together but in more or less autonomous regions, so that they can’t oppress each other. That’s the outcome I would prefer to see. But that’s not the popular view…. I also think Assad ought to go, but I don’t think it’s the key. The key is; it’s like Europe after the Thirty Years War, when the various Christian groups had been killing each other until they finally decided that they had to live together but in   separate units.”

Carving out Sunnistan in the region was also recently advocated by the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, in his NY Times article: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State. Bolton wants to create an“independent Sunni State” to act as a “bulwark” against Bashar al-Assad and Baghdad. Make no mistake about it; the strategy of the US had always been to create a Sunni micro-state in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq to isolate Assad. In the 2012 declassified report from the DIA, the document reveals that the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” – wanted to create a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Obviously, Salafism (which some argue is synonymous with Wahhabism; whilst others argue that Wahhabism is a more extreme form of Salafism) is a branch of Sunni Islam. Many have argued that “violence” is “central” to Wahhabism and Salafism, as Catherine Shakdam expresses in her article, Wahhabism, Al Saud and ISIS – the Unholy Trinity:

“Wahhabism is no more than an engineered perversion, a division, an abomination which has but spread like a cancer onto the Islamic world and now threatens to destroy all religions… Wahhabism is not of Islam and Islam will never be of Wahhabism – it is a folly to conceive that Islam would ever sanction murder, looting and atrocious barbarism. Islam opposes despotism, injustice, infamy, deceits, greed, extremism, asceticism – everything which is not balanced and good, fair and merciful, kind and compassionate. If anything, Wahhabism is the very negation of Islam. As many have called it before – Islam is not Wahhabism.” […]

“Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition – Mohammed Abdel Wahhab, a man who was recruited by Empire Britain to erode at the fabric of Islam and crack the unity of its ummah (community). Wahhabism has now given birth to a monstrous abomination – extreme radicalism; a beast which has sprung and fed from Salafis and Wahhabis poison, fueled by the billions of Al Saud’s petrodollars; a weapon exploited by neo-imperialists to justify military interventions in those wealthiest corners of the world. ISIS’s obscene savagery epitomises the violence which is inherent and central to Wahhabism and Salafism, its other deviance. And though the world knows now the source of all terror, no power has yet dared speak against it; instead, the world has chosen to hate its designated victim – Islam.”

Fracturing Iraq

In relation to Iraq, the plan to split the country into three parts has been publicly advocated by US officials ad nauseam. The President Emeritus of the CFR, Leslie Gelb, argued in a 2003 article for the NY Times that the most feasible outcome in Iraq would be a “three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” In 2006, a potential map of a future Middle East was released by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters which depicted Iraq divided into three regions: a Sunni Iraq to the West, an Arab Shia State in the East and a Free Kurdistan in the North. The current US Vice President, Joe Biden, also penned an article which was co-authored by Gelb titled: United Through Autonomy in Iraq. The 2006 article argues for a decentralized Iraqi state where power is held by three “ethno-religious” groups: “Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab.” Furthermore, the NY Timespublished an article in 2013 titled: Imagining a Remapped Middle East; How 5 Countries Could Become 14, which envisages the Middle East and Libya completely Balkanized.

Responding to the strategy of the West in Iraq, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, called the division of the country “unacceptable.” Lavrov stated that this was “social engineering” and “state structure manipulation from far outside,” adding that Russia believes “Iraqis – Shia, Sunnis and Kurds – should decide for themselves how to live together.”

The Western elite’s strategy is to create a Middle East (and a world for that matter) devoid of strong, sovereign, independent nation-states that can resist imperial advances. Fracturing countries into feuding micro-states ensures Western interests are not confronted with a cohesive entity which can collectively unite to oppose this belligerent force. “Divide and conquer” as Mendelsohn’s article is titled, the ancient strategy used by an array of imperial powers, from the Romans to the British, remains the strategy of the Western Empire today.

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Iran warns US against sanctions over missile program

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Press TV 

Iran has warned the US against imposing any fresh sanctions on international companies and individuals over the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program, saying Tehran will respond to such meddlesome measures.

“Such measures are unilateral, arbitrary and illegal and the Islamic Republic of Iran has [already] served notice to the US government [in this regard],” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, said on Thursday.

Jaberi Ansari was reacting to reports that the US government is planning new sanctions targeting about 12 companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their alleged involvement in Iran’s missile program.

“The Islamic Republic will respond to any meddlesome action against its defense program by strengthening its defense might,” he said.

The planned sanctions, reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, come as the US prepares to lift restrictions on Iran over its nuclear program within the framework of Iran’s July nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Jaberi Ansari reiterated that Iran’s missile program is solely for defense purposes and in line with national security interests.

“No measure can deny the Islamic Republic of Iran its legitimate and legal rights to boost its defense might and national security,” he said.

Iran has already said that any fresh sanctions on the country would be a flagrant violation of the JCPOA, whose implementation is expected in January.

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US preparing new sanctions over Iran’s missile program

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Press TV 

US President Barack Obama’s administration is reportedly preparing fresh sanctions on international companies and individuals over Iran’s missile program.

They would be the first financial sanctions on Iran since Tehran agreed to a landmark nuclear agreement in July and present a serious challenge to the accord’s implementation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the sanctions would target a number of Iranian nationals and international companies over suspected involvement in Iran’s missile program.

“We’ve been looking for some time‎ at options for additional actions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program based on our continued concerns about its activities,” an Obama administration official was quoted as saying.

“We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

US officials claim the new sanctions are in line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement, and the Treasury Department can impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile development.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of the state, has made it clear that Iran would consider any new sanctions a breach of the JCPOA.

In an October letter to President Hassan Rouhani, outlining his conditional approval of the JCPOA, the Leader said that in case of a violation, “the government would be obliged to take necessary measures and halt JCPOA activities.”

“Imposing any sanctions at any level and under any pretext by any side of the negotiations will be considered a breach of the JCPOA,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his letter.

Iran has also defended its right to carry out missile tests for defensive purposes, saying none of his country’s missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

“It’s our legitimate defense. These are not missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads and, therefore, it is within our right to self-defense,” said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview published by The New Yorker earlier this month.

According to the Journal, the sanctions would prohibit US or foreign nationals from conducting business with targeted companies.

US banks would also be required to freeze any assets the companies or individuals hold inside the American financial system.

Tehran is already disappointed by Obama’s signing of a Congress bill this month aimed at limiting travels to Iran and trade with the country.

Iran says the law violates a July nuclear accord and amounts to new sanctions on the country.

The US Supreme Court is also mulling a case on appropriating $2 billion of Iranian assets frozen in a bank in New York.

The Obama administration has urged the tribunal not to overturn the decisions of US circuit and appeals courts to use the funds.

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Iran denies firing rockets near US aircraft carrier in Gulf, brands claim ‘psychological warfare’

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RT 

Tehran has officially denied that its Revolutionary Guards’ patrol vessel launched rockets in imminent proximity to the USS Harry S. Truman and its convoy entering the Persian Gulf, calling the allegation an act of “psychological warfare.”

On Tuesday, reports emerged that last Saturday the US aircraft carrier was intimidated after missiles were launched by an Iranian patrol vessel on a parallel course with the American naval convoy.

“The naval forces of the Guards have not had any exercises in the Strait of Hormuz during the past week and the period claimed by the Americans, for them to have launched missiles and rockets,” Reuters quoted Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif as saying.

The alleged dangerous missile launch was reported by NBC News, which cited two unnamed US military officials as saying that the USS Harry S. Truman was about 1,400 meters away from the Iranian vessels, which launched two missiles as part of naval exercises.

“The publication of such false news under the present circumstances is akin to psychological warfare,” Sharif said.

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British MPs tout NATO’s ‘Kosovo success story’ as reason to bomb Syria

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By Dan Glazebrook | RT

Kosovo is often cited by liberal interventionists as NATO’s success story and now a reason for attacking Syria. However, the ongoing lawlessness in the country shows nothing could be further from the truth.

In 1999, NATO bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days, culminating in the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from the Serbian province of Kosovo. Tens of thousands were killed or maimed by the airstrikes, and Kosovo was carved out as a NATO statelet under the control of UNMIK (the United Nations Mission in Kosovo) in alliance with its local quislings the Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA).

Last month’s parliamentary debate on British airstrikes in Syria witnessed several MPs citing the operation as a great success. Labour MP Ivan Lewis was “proud of the difficult choices that we made” in Kosovo and elsewhere, which he claimed “saved hundreds of thousands of lives”.

Kosovo was particularly held up by those supporting British military action in Syria as an example of how airstrikes alone, without support from ground forces, can be victorious. Mocking those who argued that “coalition action which rests almost wholly on bombing… will have little effect”, Margaret Beckett responded “well, tell that to the Kosovans, and do not forget that if there had not been any bombing in Kosovo perhaps 1 million Albanian Muslim refugees would be seeking refuge in Europe.”

Conservative MP Richard Benyon concurred, adding: “I asked one my constituents––someone who knows a bit about this, General Sir Mike Jackson––whether he could remember any conflict where air power alone made a difference. He thought and said one word: Kosovo.”

The argument is entirely fallacious. One obvious difference between the NATO bombing of Kosovo in 1999 and the British bombing of Syria today is the contrast in their stated aims. NATO was ostensibly bombing Yugoslavia to achieve a limited goal – the secession of Kosovo. In Syria today, however, the ostensible aim of airstrikes against ISIS is the destruction of ISIS. In other words, while the first aimed to force a concession from the force it was targeting; the other apparently aims at the total elimination of its target. While enough punishment might persuade someone to concede a demand, it will not persuade anyone to agree to their own eradication. There is, thus, no parallel in the logic behind the two campaigns, and anyone trying to draw one is being entirely disingenuous.

Secondly, when the actual historical record is examined it becomes clear that, even on its own terms, NATO did not actually achieve its demands. The Rambouillet ‘agreement’ was NATO’s eleventh hour diktat to Yugoslavia on the eve of bombing, designed to be rejected in order to justify the bombing raids. The key bone of contention for Yugoslavia in this document was that it demanded NATO troops be granted full access to air fields, roads, ports and railroads across the country – that is to say, an effective NATO occupation of the entire federal republic.

Obviously, as Sara Flounders and John Catalinotto of the International Action Centre have written, “no self-respecting government could accept such an ultimatum”. Instead, the Yugoslav government offered to withdraw their troops from Kosovo. This was rejected by NATO, who began bombing within days. After nearly three months of heroic resistance from the Yugoslav people, the bombing ended with Yugoslav troops withdrawing from Kosovo – without any NATO occupation of the rest of the country. That is to say, the war was brought to a close on the terms originally offered by the Yugoslavs, and not on the terms demanded by NATO at the outset: hardly the overwhelming victory claimed by the likes of British General Mike Jackson.

What really gives the lie to the ‘Kosovo success’ narrative, however, is simply the condition of NATO’s statelet today. An in-depth piece by Vedat Xhymshiti in Foreign Policy Journal last month notes that “Kosovo is the poorest and most isolated country in Europe, with millionaire politicians steeped in crime. A third of the workforce is unemployed, and corruption is widespread. Youth unemployment (those aged 25 and under) stands at 2 in 3, and nearly half of the 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are considered to be in poverty. From December 2014 until February 2015, about 5% of the population was forced to leave the country in an effort to find a better life, studies and more dignified jobs, on their uncertain path towards wealthier countries in the EU.”

The British MPs’ argument that NATO’s takeover of Kosovo was achieved by airstrikes alone, without ground forces, is a lie. NATO’s allies in 1999 were the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), a violent sectarian group who openly sought the establishment of an ethnically supremacist state – much like the forces supported by NATO in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Once NATO had destroyed the Yugoslav administration in Kosovo, effective power on the ground passed to the KLA, who set about implementing their vision of an ethnically pure Kosovo via a series of pogroms, massacres and persecutions of the province’s Serb, Jewish and Roma populations. They gained effective control of Kosovan politics, and used this power to guarantee themselves impunity both for their historic and ongoing war crimes, and for their massive expansion of organized criminality.

In December 2010, a Council of Europe report named Kosovan Prime Minister and former KLA leader Hashim Thaci “the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe”, according the Guardian newspaper’s summary. Following NATO’s intervention, Thaci’s Drenica group within the KLA, according to the report, seized control of “most of the illicit criminal enterprises” in which Kosovans were involved in Albania. The report noted that “agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.” The human rights investigator who authored the report, Dick Marty, commented that: “Thaçi and these other Drenica group members are consistently named as ‘key players’ in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime.”

In addition to their leading role in Europe’s heroin smuggling trade, Thaci and his group were also named as having been responsible for a professional organ smuggling operation involving the kidnapping and murder of Serb civilians in order to harvest and sell their kidneys. Currently serving as both Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Thaci’s NATO protection guarantees he has never been brought to justice for any of these crimes.

Indeed, NATO-sponsored impunity has been a consistent theme amongst the new Kosovan elite. A report by Amnesty International published in August 2013 noted that “the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) singularly failed to investigate the abduction and murders of Kosovo Serbs in the aftermath of the 1998-1999 conflict” adding that “UNMIK’s failure to investigate what constituted a widespread, as well as a systematic, attack on a civilian population and, potentially, crimes against humanity, has contributed to the climate of impunity prevailing in Kosovo.” Marty’s report, too, noted the “faltering political will on the part of the international community to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA”, and Carla del Ponte, former chief war crimes prosecutor at the Hague, stated that she was barred from prosecuting KLA leaders.

UNMIK’s responsibilities for police and justice came to an end in December 2008, following Kosovo’s controversial declaration of independence. It was replaced by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which, according to Amnesty International, inherited 1,187 war crimes cases that UNMIK had failed to investigate. All the signs are that the overt impunity that has prevailed up until now will be replaced by lip service to the rule of law, accompanied by the prosecution of a few low level operatives, whilst maintaining the protection for those at the top. Following the Council of Europe’s damning report, EULEX spent three years investigating the claims, eventually publishing a verdict that was a textbook case of damage-limitation whitewash. EULEX concluded that the crimes were indeed real, and were linked to leading KLA members, but refused to corroborate the names of any specific individuals involved, despite copious evidence. Thaci’s protection, it seems, is absolute.

Nevertheless, in August of this year, the Kosovan parliament finally and grudgingly approved (after initially rejecting) the establishment of a special war crimes court to prosecute KLA leaders for crimes committed between 1998 and 2000. In moves highly reminiscent of scenes outside both the Libyan and Ukrainian parliaments when tentative and tokenistic legal moves were made to end the impunity of the sectarian death squads, the parliament has come under repeated attack ever since. Riots and six separate teargas attacks by the opposition have brought the normal functioning of the Kosovan parliament to a standstill. Failed state status surely beckons.

Meanwhile, the credibility of EULEX, whose officials will be overseeing the establishment of the new court, was further thrown into doubt in November 2014 when Andrea Capussela, former head of UNMIK’s economic unit, released the results of an in-depth analysis of the most significant cases in which EULEX had been involved. Seven of these she claimed had only been brought after intense international pressure, whilst in a further eight, no investigation was carried out at all, despite “credible and well-documented evidence strongly suggesting that serious crimes had been committed.”

She noted that “Eulex’s conduct in these 15 cases – the eight ignored ones and the seven opened under pressure – suggests that the mission tended not to prosecute high-level crime, and, when it had to, it sought not to indict or convict prominent figures”. During its six years of operating, she noted, only four convictions had been secured – three of them against only secondary figures, whilst “higher-ranking figures linked to the same crimes were either not investigated or indicted”. A senior Kosovan investigator noted that “There are people killing people and getting away with it because of Unmik and Eulex,” adding that “The political elite and Eulex have fused. They are indivisible. The laws are just for poor people,” Indeed, Eulex seems to be operating increasingly like a mafia themselves, last year, putting “pressure”, according to Amnesty International, on “journalist, Vehbi Kajtazi, who had reported alleged corruption in EULEX”.

In a final twist to NATO’s ‘success story’, Kosovo has now become the largest per-capita provider of fighters for regime change in Syria. The official figure is 300 but more reliable estimates suggests the true figure is more than 1000 (from a population of 2 million), including one of the top ten ISIS commanders, Lavdrim Muhaxheri. As state education, along with most other social provision, has collapsed since 1999, Saudi-sponsored Madrasas have filled the gap, providing an extreme Wahhabi sectarian education now feeding its first generation of impoverished graduates into NATO’s new Syrian battlefields. No surprise, then, that Kosovan government’s efforts to prevent this have been “superficial and ineffective”, according to David Philips in the Huffington Post.

The ‘lesson’ of Kosovo, then, is not that “airpower works” or any other such nonsense. The real lesson is what it reveals about NATO’s formula for the destruction of independent regional powers – relying on a combination of aerial bombardment alongside the empowerment of local sectarian death squads, who come to dominate the political scene in the aftermath, obliterating the rule of law and guaranteeing a dysfunctional state incapable of providing either dignity or security to its citizens. This was the same formula that was used on Libya in 2011 and currently being attempted in Syria today. Of course, for NATO, all of this is indeed a success: Yugoslavia dismembered; its resources plundered at the expense of its desperate and impoverished people; and Kosovo turned into a provider of shock troops for regime change in Syria, and transit hub for heroin and organ trafficking. If this is what NATO calls a success, we must all pray for failure.

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Nazi conditional release of bodies prevents autopsies

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Nazi regime steals organs from the bodies of Palestinian victims

A Palestinian coroner responsible for performing autopsies on the bodies of Palestinians killed by Nazi forces condemned on Thursday Nazi’s conditional handover of bodies.

Head of Al-Quds University’s Institute for Forensic Medicine, Sabir al-Aloul, told Ma’an that the demand by Nazi authorities that Palestinian bodies be buried immediately after their return prevents autopsies from being carried out.

“Israel freezes the bodies of the Palestinian martyrs in mortuaries held at -35 degrees which prevents autopsy for 24 to 48 hours,” al-Aloul said.

The burial of the body of 38-year-old Baseem Salah — delivered on Tuesday — was reportedly delayed after coroners were unable to immediately autopsy his body, still frozen after the handover.

The Palestinian Ministry of Justice adopted a resolution to perform autopsies on the bodies of all Palestinians killed by Nazi forces in effort to document “Israeli crimes,” al-Aloul added.

Nazi authorities began holding the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Nazi military or civilians in October. The practice has not been used with such frequency since the Second Intifada, according to rights group Hamoked.

Nazi Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Nov. 5 that bodies would begin to be returned on a “case-by-case basis, where the main consideration is if there`ll be a massive funeral.”

Several bodies have been handed over since.

A number of Palestinian families on Wednesday refused in a letter the conditions proposed by Nazi regime for the return of their relatives. One of several complaints issued by the signatories was that families should be allotted time to request an official autopsy on their dead.

Autopsy reports are used in official paperwork necessary to file cases against Nazi regime at the International Criminal Court.

“The freezing prevents autopsy results that document the crime, which means a loss of important information for bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court,” al-Aloul told Ma’an.

A spokesperson for Nazi Ministry of Defense was not immediately available for comment regarding the return of frozen bodies.

Al-Aloul said that Nazi conditions also prevented autopsies that would resolve accusations that Nazi has been “stealing” organs from the bodies of Palestinians withheld by the state.

Palestinian delegate to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, on Nov. 3 wrote a letter to the president of the UN Security council that included an accusation of organ harvesting by the Nazi regime.

The delegate referred to reports that the body of Muhannad Okbi — killed after reportedly killing Nazi soldier in a Beersheba bus station — was returned to his family without corneas.

The allegations have yet to be confirmed.

According to autopsies al-Aloul had performed on Palestinians killed since Oct. 1 so far, the coroner said that those killed were “shot in the head and the chest many times from a very close distance.”

Some bodies also showed the use of expanding bullets — also known as “dum dum” bullets — the use of which is illegal under international law.

Nazi has repeatedly denied claims that its forces use such bullets, though Palestinian medical examiners have on occasion documented their use.

The coroner also reported that a number of the bodies appeared to be returned in poor condition.

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Russia refuses to blacklist Hamas as terrorist

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“Occupation is in itself a form of terrorism”

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MOSCOW – Russia and the United States agree that Daesh, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra are terrorist organizations but differ over blacklisting Hezbollah and Hamas, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Speaking to the Interfax news agency on Tuesday night, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said: “Our opinions coincide as regards to the main terrorist organizations. These are ISIS, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra.”

But “we are not even discussing Hezbollah and Hamas with the Americans,” he added.

Moscow has routinely held senior-level contacts with Hamas officials and leaders.

Commenting on the Russian position, political analyst Abdul Sattar Qassem said: “Hamas cannot be compared to Daesh or al-Qaeda. It can only be viewed in terms of its resistance to the Israeli occupation.”

“The Israeli occupation and the USA are the real terrorists. They are fighting all those who stand in their way,” he added.

“Blacklisting Hamas as terrorist is unacceptable for Moscow. There is no evidence to corroborate the fact that Hamas is a terror group,” he said.

“Israel has been misleading the world into believing that Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians, which is not in fact the case,” the analyst stated.

“Hamas is a movement of national liberation that defends its people. It does not seek to wage wars for the sake of wars. It is engaged in a fight against an entity that colonized its motherland,” he explained.

However, “does Russia dare blacklist Israel as a terrorist entity for the crimes it has perpetrated against the Palestinians?” Qassem wondered. “It is not enough that Russia refuses to dub Hamas a terror group. It should dare include Israel on its terror list.”

“There is no colonizing power in the world but Israel. Occupation is in itself a form of terrorism,” the analyst further stated.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Gaza, RussiaComments Off on Russia refuses to blacklist Hamas as terrorist

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