Syria: U.S. Moves To Cut Off The East – But For What?

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The situation in the north-west Syria is turning favor of the Syrian government, though much work needs to be done. The army is recovering new ground in Hama governate and an intense bombing campaign is waged over Idelb governate which is held by al-Qaeda. As an analyst generally in favor of the opposition concedes:

Continued support for the northwest insurgency amounts to effectively subsidizing a jihadist safe haven in the Levant.

The proxy war against the Syrian regime in the northwest, for the West, is lost.

The head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, agrees. He tells his forces in Syria stop holding land and to revert to guerilla war:

Ayman al-Zawahri told the jihadis, who control Syria’s northwestern Idlib province and other territory, to remain steadfast and change tactics in order to wage guerrilla war.

Al-Qaeda began fighting alongside Syria’s rebels early in the civil war and won allies among the opposition because of its military prowess. Al-Qaeda’s official branch, the Nusra Front, changed its name to the Fatah al-Sham Front and formally cut ties with al-Qaeda last year, but is still widely seen as being linked to the global terror network.

Map via ISW – see bigger picture 

In the south-west Israel is trying to steal another part of the Golan Heights by giving fire support for al-Qaeda groups which fight against the Syrian army in the area.

Attacks by “moderate rebels” in the south, supported by the U.S. and Jordan, have failed to take ground in the city of Deraa. They need to take the city to have some anchor for an “independent” southern “safe zone” from which the U.S. proxies could then threaten Damascus.

At the begin of April Kurdish forces under U.S. command had loudly announced that they would soon attack Raqqa and take it from the Islamic State. But no attacks on Raqqa have been seen. The operation seems to be at a halt. ISIS forces are allegedly moving from Raqqa further east to Deir Ezzor.

In south-east Syria U.S. supported “rebel” forces have moved from Jordan northward into the Syrian desert (not yet shown on the map above). They plan is to move further north towards Raqqa and to meet up with U.S. Kurdish proxy forces. This move would cut any land route from west-Syria to Deir Ezzor where a garrison of the Syrian army is protecting more than 100,000 civilians by holding out against ISIS forces. From Jordan the U.S. trained and supplied “rebels” are also moving east along the Iraqi-Syrian border. This will hinder Iraqi forces from moving into Syria and against ISIS in support the Syrian government forces in Deir Ezzor.

The whole Syrian east will thereby be cut off and under control of U.S. proxy forces. But what are the U.S. plans for this area? While the area has some oil and gas it is landlocked, lacks infrastructure and governance with mostly hostile forces surrounding it. The forces the U.S. supports are prone to infighting. It will be hard to defend the area against any serious attack. U.S. and Jordan forces will be needed to keep it under control. For how long?

I fail to see a larger strategic plan behind this that would make any sense. But the same architects that launched the failed war against Iraq are behind this move. The neocons are back and very happy about the new course of the Trump presidency. The architect of the war in Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, is now collaborating with the neocon officers in the Trump cabinet:

In recent days he‘s jumped right back into the public debate, nudging President Trump from the pages of the Wall Street Journal to follow up his bombing strike in neighboring Syria with more aggressive action—and, he tells me, privately emailing with Trump Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, both longtime contacts since his Bush days, in hopes they will pursue a U.S. strategy of stepped-up engagement in the Middle East.

Mattis is currently traveling through the Gulf countries to collect money for future U.S. plans in Syria and elsewhere. The neocon senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham will tonight have a private dinner with Trump in the White House. No sensible strategy has ever come from these folks. But their lunatics plan always causes huge damage for little if any gain.

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A dilemma for the intelligence agencies: Trump’s attack on Syria and historical precedents

NOVANEWS
Trump-the-ego-freak

By Lawrence Davidson

The dilemma

Government intelligence agencies, particularly those in the United States, have a problem. Its nature was spelled out by the retired British diplomat, Alastair Crooke, in an article entitled Trump’s 59-Tomahawk Tweet,” which appeared on 8 April 2017. As the title suggests, Crooke was reacting to President Trump’s precipitous attack on a Syrian government airbase, following the chemical weapons episode of 4 April 2017 at the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Crooke notes that US intelligence had raised doubts as to the Syrian government’s responsibility for the release of poison gas. It seems likely that the Russians had alerted US forces that the Syrian air force was going to attack a rebel warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun that was allegedly full of explosives and weapons. Unbeknownst to the Russians, the Syrians and the Americans, the warehouse also held a poisonous mix of organic phosphates and chlorine. There is also evidence suggesting that the poison gas came from an explosive device placed on the ground. Wherever the resulting gas cloud came from, and a Syrian government bomb is certainly not the only possibility, It spread over a local neighbourhood and killed a number of exposed residents.

The American mass media, nevertheless, immediately blamed Damascus for an attack using chemical weapons. Trump, also immediately, believed the mass media. He is, after all, increasingly known as the Fox TV president. Taking his cue from the media, he paid insufficient heed to his own intelligence agencies’ doubts. As a result, as Crooke puts it, “the Tomahawks flew”.

It might very well be that, facing a crumbling domestic situation produced by his own ill-advised behaviour, President Trump sought to recover some credibility by “retaliating” against an alleged crime by Bashar al-Assad.

All of this led Crooke to ask “whether Western intelligence agencies still retain an ability to speak-out to power”. Can they still, effectively, convince their governments not to assume that mainstream media information is accurate, but “rather to await careful investigation” before “rushing to judgment” on important issues?

If the answer to Crooke’s questions is No, then what is left of the integrity of the intelligence agencies? Are they now reduced to producing “politicised intelligence assessments” that validate predetermined government policies? Unfortunately, for the United States, this fate appears to threaten the government’s professional intelligence personnel. They seem impotent before a president who has never admitted to a serious mistake in his life – a man who believes that truth is nothing more or less than his own opinion. It might very well be that, facing a crumbling domestic situation produced by his own ill-advised behaviour, President Trump sought to recover some credibility by “retaliating” against an alleged crime by Bashar al-Assad.

At least in the short run his manoeuvre appears to have worked. Trump got an embarrassing amount of positive press following this latest bellicose posturing, and too many editorialists and “talking heads” have asserted that his shooting off 59 Tomahawk missiles (only 39 per cent of which hit their target), and thereby killing yet more Syrians, was a beautiful” and presidential act. These commentators also are not known to admit to being wrong.

Historical precedents

There are actually many historical precedents for this current dilemma of the intelligence agencies. It stands to reason that every once in a while people whose job it is to analyse world affairs will end up telling their national leaders what they don’t want to hear. And while some politicians can handle this better than others, many can’t handle it at all. Here are some examples of the latter. Documented descriptions of the first two examples can be found in my book America’s Palestine (University Press of Florida, 2001) and a documented description of the third example can be found in my book Foreign Policy Inc. (University Press of Kentucky, 2009).

— In 1918 the British War Cabinet, led by David Lloyd George and Alfred Balfour, was in the midst of negotiating what would became known as the Balfour Declaration with the World Zionist Organisation (WZO). The British sought the support of world Jewry (which they mistakenly believed the WZO represented) for the Entente war effort in exchange for a British promise to support a “Jewish National Home” in Palestine if in fact the British were victorious.

Specifically, (a) the British believed the WZO could facilitate entrance of the United States into the war through its influence with President Woodrow Wilson. And indeed, American Zionists such as Louis Brandeis did have access to the president. However, Wilson was determined to bring the US into the war quite independently of Zionist wishes. Then, (b) the British were convinced that the WZO could prevent the Russian government (by that time under Soviet control) from leaving the war. This was based on the fact that Leon Trotsky was a Jew. But the British intelligence post at their Petrograd embassy informed the leaders in London that Trotsky was hostile to Zionism, seeing it as a divisive nationalist movement. It is here that intelligence information was ignored by Lloyd George and Balfour in favour of political wishful thinking – their firm, if fallacious, belief in Jewish world power.

— If we move forward to 1947-48 something similar occurred. This incident involved US President Harry Truman. Truman had been vice-president when, on 12 April 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died. Succeeding to the presidency in mid-term, he stood for election to that office on his own in 1947. It was a point of pride for him that he win the election, and like Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour 30 years earlier, he was convinced that the Zionists wielded enough influence with American Jews to help him achieve his goal. Now an informal deal was struck. The Zionists would help get Truman elected and Truman would help the Zionists get approval for the division of Palestine by the United Nations and subsequently grant diplomatic recognition to the new state of Israel.

Taking a stand against this arrangement was the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (NEAA) of the State Department. Those in the NEAA were privy to a range of intelligence sources that Truman knew little of and cared less about. Thus, when members of the division informed Truman that pressure for partition at the United Nations and precipitous diplomatic recognition of Israel would all but destroy US relations with the Muslim world, and thus harm America’s national interests, Truman refused to take this information seriously. Indeed, Clark Clifford, one of Truman’s chief political advisors, told a representative of the NEAA that Harry Truman’s election was the only “national interest” that counted.

— The Zionists have long been a particularly intrusive political lobby throughout much of the West. However, politicians do not need their outside influence to become so fixated that they will ignore their own intelligence services. Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 President George W. Bush became convinced that the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, was involved in the attack. When the American intelligence services told him this was unlikely, he refused to believe them and sought to establish an independent “intelligence” operation in the Pentagon that would tell him what he wanted to hear: a list of alleged Iraqi transgressions that soon included the fallacious claim that Saddam possessed “weapons of mass destruction”. None of Bush’s convictions proved true, yet he launched an invasion of Iraq anyway, killing at least half-a-million Iraqis, destroying the country’s political and social infrastructure, and destabilising the entire Middle East.

Conclusion

Intelligence agencies have many functions and we know that some of them can be downright criminal. But it can be argued that their main role is the gathering and analysis of information from around the world so that their respective governments can have an accurate idea of what is going on and make decisions accordingly. The suborning of that role almost always leads to very bad decisions.

There seems to be a correlation between this sort of corruption and national leadership that is egocentric, biased and pig-headed – leaders who either think they know more about foreign matters than the experts (George W. Bush and Donald Trump), or believe that their own religious mythology and racial stereotypes count for more that than the rights of other peoples and nations (Lloyd George and Balfour), or are so consumed by their personal political ambitions (Harry Truman) that they will ignore fact-based intelligence information that complicates those aims.

Of course, in the democratic West all such leaders are to some extent reflections of those who voted for them. So keep in mind the old cartoon adage: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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Tell Us Why We’re At War, President Trump

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People speak of Afghanistan as “our generation’s” Vietnam, a quagmire, a war that goes on simply because it has been going on.

The Afghan war is dragging into being our generation’s, and soon the next generation’s Vietnam as well, over a decade and a half old. There are troops deploying now that were two years old when the conflict started. There are fathers and sons deploying together. Bin Laden’s been dead for years.

With a slight break, the current war in Iraq has been ongoing for some 14 years. If you want to think of it in a longer view, Trump is now the fifth consecutive president to make war on that country. Saddam’s been dead for years.

And though of more recent vintage, the war in Syria appears both open-ended in duration and ramping up in U.S. involvement. If Assad died tomorrow, the war would likely only intensify, as the multiple parties in the fight vie to take over after him.

The reason we’re fighting all of these places and more can’t still be “terrorism,” can it? That has sort of been the reason for the past 16 years so you’d think we would have settled that. Regime change? A lot of that has also happened, without much end game, and nobody seems to know if that does or ever did apply in Syria to begin with. America can’t be under threat after all these years, right? I mean, world’s most powerful military and all that.

So maybe it’s time for the current president to tell us why we’re still fighting in all of these wars. Because previous presidents’ track records on explaining to the ever-bloodthirsty American public why we are fighting is poor. Perhaps history has a lesson for us?

  • When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.
  • I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.
  • When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.
  • When I was a little older our president told us how evil Saddam Hussein was, how his soldiers bayoneted babies in Kuwait. He told us Saddam was a threat to America. He told us we needed to invade Panama to oust a dictator to protect America. We believed. It was a lie.
  • Another president told us we had to fight terrorists in Somalia, as well as bomb Iraq, to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.
  • The one after him told us that because a bunch of Saudis from a group loosely tied to Afghanistan attacked us on 9/11, we needed to occupy that country and destroy the Taliban, who had not attacked us. The Taliban are still there 15 years later, ISIS now too, and so is the American military. We believed. It was a lie.
  • After that the same President told us Saddam Hussein threatened every one of our children with weapons of mass destruction, that the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud, that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda. We believed. It was a lie.
  • In 2011 the president and his secretary of state told us we needed regime change in Libya, to protect us from an evil dictator. We believed. It was a lie.
  • In August 2014 the same president told us we needed to intervene again in Iraq, on a humanitarian mission to save the Yazidis. No boots on the ground, a simple, limited act only the United States could conduct, and then we’d leave. We believed. It was a lie.
  • That same president later told us Americans will need to fight and die in Syria. He says this is necessary to protect us, because if we do not defeat Islamic State over there, they will come here, to what we now call without shame or irony The Homeland. We believed. It was a lie.

So with a new guy in the White House, maybe it’s time to renew the question. Perhaps the media can take a day off from what borders on sexual pleasure gushing over the latest super bomb and ask the president a few simple questions: why are we fighting, what is the goal, when will we get there? Someone should have asked a long time ago, but since no one did, this is as good a time as any.

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Shambolic Doings in Washington. “One Good Thing about Donald Trump: He is not Hillary”

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Will we survive the next 90 days?

 

There remains one good thing to say about Donald Trump: he is not Hillary. The boneheaded cruise missile attack in Syria would have occurred even earlier under President Rodham Clinton and there would undoubtedly be no-fly and safe zones already in place. Oh, and Ukraine and Georgia would be negotiating their entries into NATO to make sure that old Vlad Putin would be put on notice and understand that the days of namby-pamby jaw-jaw-jaw that characterized the Obama Administration are now ancient history.

Apart from that, I can only observe dumbstruck how yet again a candidate promising peace and dialogue could be flipped so quickly. Or maybe he never believed in anything he said, which is perhaps more to the point. Be that as it may, we now, after only ninety days in office, have a neo-neocon foreign policy and the folks clustered around their water coolers in the Washington think tanks are again smiling. And as the ruinous Syrian civil war continues thanks to American intervention, there are probably plenty of high fives within Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu government. Bibi again rules the roost.

Image result for trump beautiful piece of cake

The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted to hear Donald Trump’s latest factually exempt voyage into the outer reaches of the galaxy regarding Iran. Or perhaps The Donald is only having continuing digestive problems dealing with “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when dining with mortified Chinese leader Xi Jinping while simultaneously launching cruise missiles intended to send a message to Beijing’s ally Russia. It is inevitably Iran’s turn for vilification, so Trump, while conceding that the Iranians have been compliant with the nuclear weapons agreement they signed, also felt compelled to add that they continue to be a threat and have not entered into the “spirit” of the pact. Apparently the spirit codicil was somehow left out of the final draft, an interpretation that will no doubt surprise the other signatories consisting of Russia, China and the European Union.

To make its point that Tehran is somehow a cheater, the White House has ordered a 90 day review of Iran policy which will empower hardliners in that country in upcoming elections as well as nut cases like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on this side of the Atlantic. Iranian opposition groups like the terrorist Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) are already rising to the challenge by floating phony intelligence while Graham is currently advocating a preemptive attack on North Korea, conceding that it would be catastrophic for every country in the region while noting smugly that the carnage and destruction would not reach the United States. Too bad that Pyongyang’s fury cannot be directed straight to Graham’s house in South Carolina.

Graham is reportedly a good dancer and multitasker who can pivot back to Iran effortlessly as soon as Pyongyang is reduced to rubble, so those who want to deal with Iran sooner rather than later should not despair. As things continue to go south nearly everywhere, tension in the Middle East will no doubt lead to a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Persian Gulf that will require yet another ham-handed show of strength by the United States of Amnesia. There will be a war against Iran.

There have been a couple of other interesting stories circulating recently, all demonstrating that when Benjamin Franklin observed that we Americans had created a republic, “if we can keep it,” he was being particularly prescient. Robert Parry has observed that all the fuss about Russiagate is misleading as the only country that interferes with the political process in the U.S. persistently and successfully while also doing terrible damage to our national security is Israel. He wonders when we will have Congress convening investigative commissions to look into Israel-gate but then answers his own question by observing that it will never happen given who controls what in the United States.

“No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate,” he concludes, but it is interesting and also encouraging to note that some Americans are actually starting to figure things out.

One of the curious things relating to the Russiagate scandal is the issue of who in the U.S. intelligence community leaked highly classified information to the media, a question which somehow seems to have disappeared from whatever final reckoning might be forthcoming. The issue is particularly relevant at the moment because there are reports that the Justice Department is pulling together a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as part of a possible attempt to remove him forcibly from his refuge in Britain and try him for constituting what CIA Director Mike Pompeo describes as a “hostile intelligence service helped by Russia.” It all suggests that low hanging fruit is fair game while some “official” leakers at high levels are somehow being protected.

To cite another example of Justice Department hypocrisy, three current and four former U.S. officials leaked to Reuters last week’s story about a Russian think tank having created a plan to subvert the U.S. election. If that is so, their identities might be discernible or surmised. Why aren’t they in jail? Or is it that many in government now believe that Russia is fair game and are prepared to look the other way?

It is significant that the recent House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russiagate, featuring FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, provided very little new information even as it confirmed troubling revelations that had already surfaced regarding the corruption of the nation’s security services. Given that former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) head John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) chief James Clapper have been most frequently cited as the Obama administration’s possible bag men in arranging for the generation, collection, dissemination, and leaking of information disparaging to Trump, why weren’t they also being questioned?

The latest focus on Brennan, an Obama/Clinton loyalist who might safely be regarded as the most likely candidate seeking to discredit Team Trump and reap the benefits from Hillary, explores some suspicions about what actually took place last year and how it might have been arranged. The story broke in The Guardian on April 13th, headlined “British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia.” The article rehashes much old information, but, relying on a “source close to UK intelligence,” it describes how Britain’s NSA equivalent GCHQ obtained information late in 2015 relating to suspect “interactions” between Trump associates and the Russian intelligence. GCHQ reportedly routinely passed the information on to its U.S. liaison counterparts, and continued to do so over the next six months. The information was supplemented by similar reporting from a number of European intelligence services as well as the remaining “Five Eyes”: Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the Guardian source and reporters, who are clearly hostile to Trump, the collection was not directed or targeted but was rather part of random interception of Russian communications. This may or may not be true but it serves as a useful cover story if someone was up to something naughty. And it also makes one wonder about the highly incriminating British intelligence sourced “dossier” on Trump and his associates, which The Guardian strangely does not mention, that appeared in January. Another apparent Guardian source called GCHQ the “principal whistleblower” in sharing the information that led to the opening of an FBI investigation in July 2016, a suggestion that the British role was not exactly passive.

Image result for john brennanThe article goes on to describe how John Brennan, then CIA Chief, was personally the recipient of the material passed hand-to-hand at “director level” because of its sensitivity. So the Guardian article is essentially saying that the information was both routine and extremely sensitive, which would seem to be contradictory. Brennan was reportedly then the driving force behind launching a “major inter-agency investigation” and he briefed selected members of Congress regarding what he had obtained. Shortly thereafter leaks began appearing in the British press followed subsequently by revelations in the media in the U.S.

An October request to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court reportedly was initiated after particularly damaging information was received from Estonia concerning Trump associate Carter Page and also regarding allegations that a Russian bank was funneling money into the Trump campaign. This led to an investigation of Page and the tapping into servers in Trump Tower, where the presidential campaign offices were located. Estonia, it should be noted, was particularly concerned about Trump comments on de-emphasizing NATO and strongly supported a Hillary victory so it is fair to speculate that the intelligence provided might have been cherry picked to make a particular case, but The Guardian fails to make that obvious point.

It is interesting to note how for the first time, in this media account, Brennan surfaces as the central player in the investigation of Team Trump. And it is perhaps not out of line to suggest that the European reporting of information on Trump associates was not exactly due to random collection of information, as The Guardian seeks to demonstrate. It could just as easily have been arranged at the “director level” by Brennan and his counterparts to disrupt the Trump campaign and enhance the electability of Hillary Clinton, which would have directly benefited Brennan and his inner circle as well as the Europeans, all of whom feared a Trump victory. Intelligence can be skewed, “fixed around a policy” or even fabricated and can say whatever one wants it to say so it is fair to suggest that the role of a politically committed John Brennan remains to be explored much more fully.

It is now being reported that Brennan will be summoned to give testimony at a closed House Intelligence Committee meeting on May 2nd. Hopefully his comments will be somehow leaked to the media plus those of James Clapper, who is also scheduled to appear. Nevertheless, one imagines that, as was the case in Comey’s first appearance, both former officials will spend most of their time refusing to confirm or deny anything.

The active participation of Brennan in the background to the 2016 electoral campaign is unprecedented and it is also suggestive of what America’s national security agencies have become, basically creatures of the White House. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Benjamin Franklin would undoubtedly deplore the fact that we have failed to keep the republic that the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us. That would be bad enough, but we are slipping into a pattern of foreign wars based on tissues of lies and deceptions by the very people who are in place to protect us, quite possibly exemplified by unscrupulous and ambitious ladder climbers like John Brennan, who was also the architect of Obama’s assassination policy. If we go to war because of suspected lack of “spirit” in our adversaries or merely because someone in the White House had a piece of chocolate cake and wanted something to talk about over his cup of espresso then we are doomed as a nation.

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Trump Wants Regime Change in Syria, Extended US Led Wars in Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan

NOVANEWS
 

In March 2011, Obama launched war on Syria to destroy its sovereignty and replace Assad with pro-Western puppet rule.

Trump upped the stakes. He escalated war, increased US terror-bombing, and doubled the number of US forces on the ground ahead of likely larger numbers coming.

His hugely dangerous war plan risks direct confrontation with Russia. Instead of governing responsibly, he’s recklessly risking possible nuclear war in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula.

In northern Syria, hundreds of thousands of civilians are threatened by US terror-bombing – targeting infrastructure and government sites on the phony pretext of combating ISIS America created and supports.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Staphane Dujarric issued a briefing on catastrophic humanitarian conditions in Yemen, Mosul, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the safety of over 400,000 Syrians in Raqqa.

Around 10 million Yemenis

“require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives,” he stressed. The country is “the largest food security emergency in the world…on the brink of (catastrophic) famine.”

Fighting and terror-bombing of Mosul continues, up to 400,000 displaced so far – in desperate need of aid. The lives and welfare of around two million Iraqis are endangered by ongoing conflict. The civilian death toll keeps mounting.

“(D)etainees in Afghanistan continue to face torture and ill-treatment in government detention facilities.”

America’s longest war continues endlessly with no prospect for resolution.

In South Sudan,

“lack of accountability for crimes perpetrated during the conflict remains one of the country’s biggest challenges.”

Syrians in and around Raqqa are exposed to daily ground fighting and US-led terror-bombing – including against infrastructure, hospitals, schools, mosques, markets and residential areas.

Unknown numbers of civilians are being killed daily, perhaps thousands before the campaign ends.

According to Dujarric,

“(i)n past weeks, civilians have been exposed to daily fighting and airstrikes which resulted in an escalating number of civilian deaths and injuries…”

“Some 39,000 (were) newly displaced,” most in open areas without shelter or protection from fighting and bombing. Desperate people are without humanitarian aid.

Russia’s intervention in Syria improved conditions greatly for its people – liberated from hundreds of areas previously controlled by US-supported terrorists, provided with humanitarian aid by Moscow and Syria to sustain them.

Separately on Monday, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions on 271 Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center personnel – on the phony pretext of involvement in chemical weapons development.

Washington holds them responsible for developing the toxic agent used in Kahn Sheikhoun on April 4 – an incident  Syria had nothing to do with, a false flag irresponsibly blamed on its military and Bashar al-Assad.

Last Friday, Sergey Lavrov said Russia’s call for an independent, unbiased on-site investigation was “blocked by Western delegations without any explanations.”

“(O)bvious false information” is being used by America and its rogue allies to topple Assad – likely by escalated war, involving larger numbers of US forces.

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US Has Given Green Light for Coup in Venezuela ?

NOVANEWS

According to the Bolivarian leader, the U.S. government wrote up a coup scenario for opposition leader Julio Borges.

 

A day before opposition leaders convened more protests in Caracas calling for the ouster of Venezuela’s government, the country’s leader has accused the United States of working with right-wing leaders towards a coup.

“The U.S. government, the State Department has given the green light, the approval for a coup process to intervene in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro said, speaking from the Miraflores Palace.

Maduro said that security forces had arrested an “armed commando group sent by the opposition in order to attack the mobilization called by the right-wing for Wednesday to generate violence and deaths in the country.” An investigation has been opened to determine who is behind the plan.

According to the Venezuelan leader, who also pointed to a U.S. State Department statement issued Tuesday evening warning of an “international response” should “peaceful protests” face repression, the U.S. government wrote up a coup scenario for opposition leader Julio Borges.

The “scenario” Maduro referred to consists in generating violence and deaths before blaming the Venezuelan government for allegedly violently attacking political opponents. Then the plot leaders would demand immediate elections, ahead of Maduro’s official end of term in 2019.

“No more coups in Venezuela, no more plots,” said Maduro, adding that he activated a public security plan to maintain order.

The Venezuelan leader also called on government supporters to take the streets in the defense of the 18-year Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen an unprecedented internal and external attack in recent months.

The demonstrations come after weeks of opposition-led anti-government demonstrations calling for the ouster of the country’s Supreme Court judges as well as President Nicolas Maduro. According to reports, among those killed in the ensuing violence include a 13-year-old boy who was shot Wednesday when opposition protesters entered a social housing complex and an 83-year-old woman who was not able to receive medical attention due to opposition roadblocks.

Opposition protesters have vandalized various areas in Caracas in recent days causing economic damage estimated at around 50 billion bolivars, President Maduro announced Sunday. A high school, a community health center, various subsidized food markets and several government ministries have also reportedly been severely affected.

The opposition MUD alliance has called for a “Mega March” protest in Caracas on Wednesday and estimate a large turnout with promotions flooding social media.

Officials fear that there could be violence should they attempt to redirect marches to areas where pro-government demonstrators will be gathered.

The original

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Syria: Trump Trying to Force Putin to Capitulate

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The Trump Administration is demanding Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has blocked at the United Nations an investigation-team’s being sent to the alleged site of the alleged sarin-gas attack that the Trump Administration alleges was perpetrated by the forces of Assad. Instead of allowing an international team to investigate, President Trump’s team, on Monday April 24th, headlined that it “Sanctions 271 Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center Staff in Response to Sarin Attack on Khan Sheikhoun”, so as to “target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women, and children.”

Russian Television reported U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on April 6th, two days after the alleged sarin attack, as essentially demanding Putin’s capitulation, regarding the Syrian war:

“’It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their support for Bashar al-Assad.’ Tillerson added. Asked if the US will lead a regime change effort in Syria, Tillerson said that ‘those steps are underway.’”

In other words, the Trump Administration is continuing what had originally been the Obama Administration’s objective, prior to Russia’s entry into the war on Assad’s side on 30 September 2015: regime-change in Syria. The Trump Administration is apparently willing to go to war against Russia in order to remove Assad and replace him with a leader who is supported by the U.S., Saudis, and America’s other allies in the war to replace Syria’s existing government.

Tillerson’s Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was quoted by Russian Television on April 21st, as saying:

“I believe that it’s a very serious situation, because now it’s obvious that false information about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government is being used to move away from implementing Resolution 2254 [the UN’s plan for a negotiated settlement of the Syrian crisis, that was reached between Lavrov and his then-counterpart John Kerry, near the end of Obama’s Presidency], which stipulates a political settlement with the participation of all the Syrian parties, and aims to switch to the long-cherished idea of regime change.”

MIT’s Dr. Theodore Postol, America’s most highly honored expert on intelligence-analysis, has been trying unsuccessfully to obtain U.S. press-coverage of flaws in the official White House document, “White House Intelligence Report” concerning the alleged sarin event on April 4th; and, in apparent frustration at the total lack of mainstream coverage of this in the United States, Dr. Postol closed his latest analysis of the source-evidence that the document had relied upon, by saying:

“The mainstream media is the engine of democracy. … The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict government claims. This has so far not occurred. … The President and his staff took decisions without any intelligence, or far more likely ignored intelligence from the professional community that they were given, to execute an attack in the Middle East that had the danger of creating an inadvertent military confrontation with Russia.”

The present news-report is being submitted to all U.S. news media, for publication without charge, in the hope that Dr. Postol’s analysis, and other critical analyses of the White House Intelligence Report, will be made public by the U.S. news media, given that the Trump Administration is blocking any third-party independent scientific investigation into this important matter, and a war between the United States and Russia could result.

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Will War Follow Another North Korea Nuclear Test?

NOVANEWS
 

On Monday, Xi Jinping and Trump spoke for the second time by phone on North Korea since the Chinese president’s visit to Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

Instead of stressing peaceful resolution of the issue alone, Xi said all parties must

“shoulder their due responsibilities and meet each other halfway.”

Yet he called for “restraint,” avoiding “provocative actions,” and strictly observing Security Council resolutions to resolve things.

Both leaders want the Korean peninsula denuclearized, Beijing justifiably concerned if conflict erupts, its national security will be threatened.

Preventing it by pressuring Pyongyang to halt further nuclear and ICBM tests appears to be China’s red line. It’s the only country able to get concessions from the DPRK – whether on its nuclear and missile programs remains a test for its leadership.

Separately, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country will not be swayed by the various statements (made by parties involved), and will not renounce its due responsibility.

“China will continue maintaining dialogue and consultation with all sides and continue playing a constructive role in solving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.”

Last week, Beijing endorsed a US-proposed Security Council statement, condemning Pyongyang’s failed April 16 ballistic missile test.

It demanded halting all activities in violation of SC resolutions. The DPRK responded by threatening “catastrophic consequence” if Beijing sides with Washington on these issues.

Last Friday, the Beijing-linked Global Times (GT) called for a “realistic solution (to) the NK nuke issue” – expecting another nuclear and ICBM test, warning of an “emergency situation” if they’re conducted.

China’s situation is delicate. So far, it’s unsuccessfully tried getting Pyongyang to halt its tests in return for Washington and South Korea calling off or suspending their joint large-scale military exercises – ones the DPRK believes is preparation for war.

According to GT,

the only remaining option for Beijing is to take only one step first, and then look around before taking another. Beijing will do what it should do, instead of doing something it does not want to do, or is unable to do.”

Above all, China wants war prevented, potentially catastrophic if erupts, especially pitting two nuclear powers against each other on Beijing’s border.

China opposes Pyongyang’s nuclear and ICBM programs – short of resolving the situation militarily.

On Tuesday, GT asked if Pyongyang will wisely step back from the brink. If not, a “point of no return may be crossed,” it said, risking another Korean peninsula war, the North suffering most of all.

A best case scenario under dire conditions is stiffer sanctions, including by China, short of crippling ones. If Washington launches attacks, Pyongyang “will be forced to make a life-or-death decision,” said GT.

Failure to retaliate will let America take whatever steps it wishes, knowing the DPRK alone will pay the price. If it launches its own attacks, possible nuclear war could follow.

The stakes are huge. Once the dice is cast, there may be no turning back, the entire region paying a price.

Washington wants Beijing to constrain Pyongyang. China can do only so much. It can’t satisfy everyone. It’s going all-out to avoid potentially catastrophic war.

North Korea has every right to protect its national security short of conflict risking the lives of millions of its people.

Diplomatic solutions to tough issues aren’t easy, the payoff huge if accomplished.

Are Pyongyang and Washington wise enough to see war isn’t the answer?

Things could come to a head quickly in the coming days. Will madness of war no one can win get both sides to step back from the brink?

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Trump’s U-Turn, “From Coward to Hero”: Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea and Yemen are the Answer

NOVANEWS

 

Trump, within a span of a week, has made a U-turn; from a coward to hero.

So, the MSM; his aggressive violence, his murderous killing spree in Syria, Yemen and threatening North Korea with a nuclear ‘take-out’ – turns Trump from a coward to a macho.

Overnight, so to speak, Trump has become the darling of the mainstream media.

That tells you who is controlling the ‘brainstream’ of the masses. Just look at the 24 April 2017 edition of the US Inquirer – “Trump Declaring War on Dictators”, depicting photographs of Presidents Putin, Assad, and Kim Jong Un, with the caption “Dead Men Walking”. What this paper says – if the term ‘paper’ even applies – is the opinion of a large segment of the US population – and the west in general, led by the puppets of Europe.

After attacking Syria for a false flag Sarin gas attack on mainly women and children, pretending sending the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the shores of North Korea – and taking over from the Saudis, the most vicious war against helpless Yemen, killing thousands of civilians, women and children, soon exceeding Obama’s murders – and plunging this poverty struck country into further misery and famine – Trump has finally ascended to the level corporate America and their corrupt media requires a US president to command the world. Bravo!

Actually, with all the hoopla of the new warrior Trump, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding his turn-around politics in Syria, and especially with the aircraft flotilla sailing towards North Korea. According to the NYT, the Navy released photographs of the Carl Vinson off the coast of Indonesia to take part in a joint Navy exercise with Australia, thousands of miles away from the Korean peninsula. Trump then corrected himself saying the vessel would arrive in North Korea by this weekend, whereas the Pentagon speculated it would reach its destination more likely towards the end of April. And a few days ago, the White House reported sending two more carriers and flotillas to North Korean waters? – What is actually going on in the waters off the Korean peninsula?

Not least, as Trump’s heroic bravura, he inaugurated the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) – the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Blast Bomb, by dropping it – an 11,000-ton bomb equivalent of TNT – on Afghanistan’s villages – killing dozens of innocent people. Even within his first 100 days in office, Trump has joined the club of murderers, assassins and war criminals of his predecessors. Just to see whether MOAB behaves as expected, busting bunkers and other underground structures, causing earthquake like explosions up to 200 m below the surface, capable of destroying nuclear reactors. Its reported to be the most devastating bomb, other than a nuclear bomb. It is the most vicious and devastating test since the nuclear Hiroshima blast.

The MOAB is mainly intended for nuclear reactors. The thought goes to North Korea, and Iran. Afghanistan, already a wasteland, complements of the horrid west, was not chosen by accident for the test. Afghanistan, in addition to the country of transit still planned for the infamous and highly disputed TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline, also possesses uncountable riches of rare earths and minerals – worth billions and especially needed for the ever-growing war industrial complex – which already today uses up more than half of the extractive industry’s output, worldwide.

Imagine – first devastation of mother earth by plundering her unrenewable resources; then doubling up with destruction and merciless killing and maiming of countries, cities, cultures and entire populations. All for dominance, power and – greed. And Trump goes along with all of that – at least for now, as he needs the support of the Neocons to survive.

Yes, Trump, after just 100 days in office has proven that he is up to the task that his masters have carved out for him. He had a choice of sticking to his campaign promises of seeking peace not war, of not interfering in other countries’ businesses – and risking being impeached or even killed – there are precedents of neutralizing inconvenient politicians, including in the history of the United States, as we know – by the deep establishment. Well, The Donald chose to live and bask in the sun of his success. Who wants to blame him?  But turning from an eccentric billionaire to an outright mass murderer, makes him a first-degree assassin. If there was an independent Nuremberg style court on this globe, their fate would be sealed.

Justice in our western world is nothing but a pipedream. And unless, We, the People, stop believing in the fakeness of the UN System, of international institutions, including the International Court of Justice – once designed as balancing organisms, as peace and justice seeking institutions – we are actually contributing to the fraud played out in front of our eyes.

Now let’s face it. Would Washington and its masters be stupid enough to risk a nuclear war over North Korea, or Syria for that matter? – I doubt it. Not even Trump would be stupid enough to risk destroying the world as we know it, with no known outcomes, other than probable and likely total or close to total destruction. That’s not good business. That’s not good for profits. On the other hand, keeping wars and conflicts as vicious and chaotic as possible and as long as possible, that’s good business, bringing high profits for the war industry and its sub-contractor, the extractive industry.

Mr. Trump, you are a businessman. Your sable-rattling scares people. Scared people do not invest. But you know such things. Do you? – So, you can’t really believe that you will scare Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping onto their knees? – They are much stronger than you, intellectually, spiritually and even compared to your war-mongering armada displayed around the globe. And you and your masters know it. But you hope more deception-propaganda may help postpone your faltering empire’s demise.

Talking to Americans of all walks, talks and beliefs – the Inquirer, mentioned above, may at least partially reflect the opinion of a large a segment of people. Though, one thing is crystal clear and unites pretty much all US citizens I talked to – whether they voted for The Donald or not – none of them wants war. They are all scared of another war; they want peace, work and a livelihood that allows them to feed their families.

President Trump take note. They elected you. Most of them are sick and tired seeing their tax dollars being spent on wars and endless conflicts around the globe – while at home they are suffering unemployment at rates way above the official labor statistics – around 22% – and decapitation of social services at rates similar to those of Spain and Greece. They all may like the MSM hammered and brainwashed slogan of “America First” and “Making America Great Again” – but they do not see the connection to wars. None of those that I talked to think that the Inquirer’s ‘dictators’ – Messrs. Assad, Kim Jong Un and Putin are a threat to US national security.

President Trump wake up! Your co-citizens are waking up. They want an America of Peace, not of bombs and blood. They want the America your promised them – of friendly relations with other nations, including Russia, of non-interference in foreign lands, of a reduction of the more than 1,000 US military bases around the globe – and they want you to bring back outsourced jobs to their Homeland. They want a strong America, as in a solid economy, not one based on wars and destruction.

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America’s Imperial War Drive and the Contemporary African Crisis

NOVANEWS
From the Cameroon and Somalia to South Africa and Zimbabwe neo-colonialism remains a major impediment to genuine development and stability

Any reasonable observer of the United States ruling class discourse during April 2017 realizes that the imperialist war drive is still a dominant theme.

Many people were quite skeptical if not disbelieving of the campaign rhetoric of current President Donald J. Trump when he hinted at lessening tensions with the Russian Federation over the wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine. These decisions to embark upon a militarist approach to foreign policy is well entrenched in history.

After all the indigenous Native peoples were driven off their lands and systematic genocide remain the order of the day in light of the situation at Standing Rock as a stark example. Of course African people having been kidnapped into slavery and super-exploited for two-and-a-half centuries through involuntary servitude by the purportedly “enlightened and civilized” British, French, Spanish, Danish and Dutch ruling classes were essential in the transformation of the economic system of the West from feudalism and mercantilism into industrial capitalism and imperialism.Image result for atlantic slave trade

The Atlantic Slave Trade not only created the economic conditions for the rise of mass production utilizing steam technology, large-scale agricultural commodity exports and raw material extraction, it developed more effective means of generating surplus value through the advent of the mining outposts and plants where scientific manufacturing systems such as Taylorism and Fordism took capitalism to unprecedented levels of wealth generation. Although capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries expanded the capacity to generate wealth, it only intensified the contradictions between labor and the owners of production.

It was the global triangular trading system of slave labor, agricultural commodification and export for profit which fueled the economic imperative of colonial imperialism. Slavery was abolished beginning in the early decades of the 19th century only to pave the way for a more effective process of exploitation. Even though workers in the colonies both foreign and domestic were considered emancipated in fact they were enslaved through their dependence on meager wages needed to maintain an existence after the destruction of more traditional forms of farming and small scale commodity production.

The colonial project in the British colonies of the northeast and southeast as mentioned above was based on genocide and enslavement. The contradictions between the ruling classes of Britain and what became known as the U.S. was resolved through the so-called Revolutionary War, which some historian now realize was in actuality a counter-revolution to preserve chattel slavery, and the War of 1812, which solidified the quest for American dominance over areas south of the Canadian border.

Contemporary Instances of Imperialist Destabilization Efforts in Africa: The Case of Cameroon

For the purpose of this discussion let us first look at the current situation in the West African state of Cameroon. This is a country that garners almost no news reporting in the U.S. due to what is perceived as a lack of strategic interests.

Nonetheless, over the last several months a mounting struggle across the country has paralyzed the ability of the public sector to function in an efficient manner. The Cameroon crisis is almost completely framed by corporate media reports as a conflict between the French and English speaking regions of the nation. Two provinces are dominated by those who speak English while the other eight are largely under the influence of French language and culture.

Image result for paul biyaTeachers and civil servants went out on strike late last year in the English speaking provinces due to policies initiated by the government of President Paul Biya, who has been in office now for 35 years. Lawyers and legal workers objected to the imposition of French speaking judges in their court systems which created an untenable situation.

Later teachers in the English speaking provinces complained of the inadequacy of educational materials mandated by the French-oriented regime. Moreover, teachers were not being paid for their work and these factors precipitated a general strike among both educators and legal workers.

The Biya government responded by imposing draconian measures such as the termination of internet services in an attempt to make it more difficult to organize resistance. Just recently the government announced that it is reinstating connectivity to these provinces in the western region of the country.

This labor unrest eventually spread to the French speaking areas as well. Teachers in the other provinces went out on strike saying that in many cases they have not received a paycheck in as much as five years. Many teachers who graduated college and were hired as educators had not been able to collect one dime for their services.

Despite the efforts of the government and business press to frame the conflict as purely a sectional one, stripping it of its class and anti-imperialist dimensions, this has not been wholly successful. One of the leading football stars of Cameroon, the champions of the Africa Cup, openly expressed solidarity with the people of the English speaking regions of the country.

Nevertheless, how did this situation develop? Africa was subjected to imperialist divisions during the late 19th century.

There is almost no appreciation or acknowledgement of the role of Germany under Otto von Bismarck in the imperialist partitioning of the continent. The fact of the matter is the Berlin Conference was held there due to the important role of Germany in the colonial project.

In a series of three articles published recently by this writer, I have outlined the role of Germany in its genocidal and exploitative role during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Africa. These articles dealt with the demand by the Herero people of Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa, for the payment of reparations stemming from the genocide against the Namibian people during 1904-1907. Tens of thousands of Africans were slaughtered, forcibly removed from their traditional lands, starved and worked death simply because they revolted against the imposition of German colonialism in the final years of the 1800s and the first decade of the 1900s.

Image result for german imperialism africaAlso the Germans were involved in East Africa through the colonization of the area now known as Tanzania, then Tanganyika, along with Rwanda and Burundi. In Tanzania, the Maji Maji Revolt of 1905-07 against German imperialism prompted another genocidal wave of violence resulting in untold numbers of deaths through brute force, dislocation and systematic starvation. The people of Tanzania are now demanding reparations from the government in Berlin which is seeking to enhance its trade and political relationships with independent African states.

Cameroon was as well a German colony during this same period. Atrocities were committed through forced labor initiatives utilized to build railroads and agricultural commodity production. Those Africans who refused to cooperate were tortured and killed in the thousands.

All of these historical developments occurred decades prior to the holocaust in Germany, Poland and Hungary of the 1930s and 1940s under the Third Reich of Adolph Hitler. Yet the consciousness of people in the West, and even within Africa itself, is almost nil in this regard.

During the course of World War I, Germany lost all of their colonies in Africa. The imposition of the Treaty of Versailles negotiated by President Woodrow Wilson and the victorious European imperialist powers in the aftermath of the First World War did not bring peace to the globe but set the stage for the rise of fascism and the advent of World War II.

However, there has been no recognition of the colonial history of Cameroon in evaluating the contemporary political impasse. It is important to evoke the anti-imperialist and revolutionary national liberation history of Cameroon.

In the aftermath of WWII, there was a wave of anti-imperialist fervorinternationally. Africa did not escape this phenomenon. The Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC) sought immediate national independence during the 1950s. Having met vicious repression on the part of the French colonialists, they embarked upon an armed struggle. Consequently, the UPC was targeted for liquidation by Paris.

Two of the leading figures in the UPC, Ruben Um Nyobe and Felix Roland Moumie were assassinated. Nyobe was killed on the battlefield in 1958. Moumie was later poisoned in Switzerland by the French secret police in 1960. The political forces which became the official government after independence in the early 1960s were willing to compromise with imperialism. Although Cameroon was further divided through the independence process, officially it is not supposed to be a francophone state.

Consequently, it is important to look beyond the headlines in order to understand the post-colonial conflicts in Africa. As historical and dialectical materialists we must uncover the truth through an examination of the social forces motivating existing contradictions both within the society as well as external influences.

Trump Escalates Imperialist War in Somalia 

Image result for us strikes in somaliaLate last month, President Trump issued another executive order on Somalia. The essence of the initiative was to purportedly relax restrictions on carrying out aerial strikes against Al-Shabaab fighters who have been in a war with the U.S. and European Union (EU) supported government in Mogadishu.

Washington has a long history of military and intelligence interference in the internal affairs of Somalia. In the last decade, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has engaged in targeted assassinations, training programs for the reconstructed of the Somalian National Army and the embedding of U.S. personnel within local state structures.

These policy efforts are bolstered by the presence of flotillas of warships off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, one of the most lucrative shipping lanes in the world. The situation in Somalia manifested by the naval presence of the Pentagon and the EU in the Gulf of Aden is closely related to the imperialist war in Yemen, Syria and the entire region of West Asia.

The previous administrations of Presidents George W. Bush, Jr. and Barack Hussein Obama engaged in aggressive military and covert operations in Somalia. Since 2007, U.S. and British warplanes have staged bombing operations in various regions of the Horn of Africa state.

Therefore, the proclamation by Trump is merely a disingenuous approach to continuing the already existing war policy in the Horn of Africa. Additional Pentagon troops are being deployed to Somalia in a supposed bolstering of training operations in support of the recently-elected administration in Mogadishu.

In fact the role of the U.S. in Somalia over the last twenty five years has done more ensure that no real political settlement is achieved in the country. When any semblance of national unity and social stability is achieved it is immediately attacked by Washington. This holds true for successive Republican and Democratic administrations.

Somalia is an oil-rich nation where leading multi-national petroleum firms are engaging in drilling. Its natural resource wealth combined with the strategic waterways off the coast makes the nation an important focal point of imperialist intrigue on the African continent extending through the so-called Middle East.

Nevertheless, despite all of the natural wealth and imperialist funding of military operations, including the stationing of 22,000 African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops which are funded and trained by the imperialist states, the humanitarian situation in the country is worsening on a daily basis. Somalia has for nearly four decades suffered from periodic drought and famine. These problems have forced millions of its residents into neighboring states throughout Africa, the Middle East and even into Western Europe and North America.

The advent of colonialism scattered the Somalian people across five different geographic nation-states: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, French Somaliland, Kenya and imperial Ethiopia under the monarchy. The maintenance of the status-quo under neo-colonialism is the driving forces by the U.S. support of military intervention by neighboring states such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

Formerly French Somaliland, Djibouti, is now the largest base of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) on the continent. This geographically and populated small Horn of Africa state houses thousands of American and French troops at Camp Lemonier serving as an imperialist base for Pentagon and CIA operations across the region including Yemen.

With all of these resources flowing in from the West and its allies, why are the people in Somalia still under extreme duress? It is largely due to the real objectives of the imperialist states which are to ensure geo-strategic dominance and the exploitation of resources and labor.

In a report issued by the Inter-regional Information Network (IRIN) of the United Nations on March 28, it says:

“Six years after a famine killed a quarter of a million people in Somalia, the country is threatened with another. Famines only occur if political decision-makers allow them to; it is imperative that the right decisions are made now. But have we learnt enough from the mistakes of 2011? The context has changed since 2011. Somalia now has a functioning – if limited and fragile – state apparatus. Some of the areas worst affected by the last crisis have since received considerable resilience investment (although how far such programming has helped people prepare for or cope with the current crisis is not yet known).”Image result for famine in somalia

IRIN continues in this same article emphasizing:

“Food security, nutrition and health are rapidly deteriorating in affected areas of the Sool Plateau in the north of Somalia and in the ‘sorghum belt’ in the south. In late 2016, the deyr rains failed in the south and the earlier gu rains were well below average, bringing national grain yields to their lowest in a decade. Predictions for the coming gu season in the affected areas are not optimistic. Food prices are rising. The purchasing power of typical households has declined by 20 percent in some areas of the north and by as much as 60 percent in the hardest-hit areas in the south – repeating the dangerous pattern seen in early 2011. Large-scale livestock deaths are already occurring. The Shabelle River, which provides irrigation water and a livestock refuge in the south, ran dry at some locations in January and remains dangerously low.”

Such as profound contradiction of increasing U.S. military involvement and deteriorating social conditions are by no means an anomaly. This is the actual history of imperialism in Africa over the last six centuries.

Prior to the rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism, the area now known as Somalia was very much a part of the world system extending from the Far East in Asia to the Indian Ocean basin. This trading network existed for at least a thousand years and was not disrupted until the rise of Portugal and Spain as the initiators of the triangular construct leading to involuntary servitude as an economic system.

In understanding this history it is quite conceivable that the system of imperialism can be overthrown and transcended. This basis for the establishment of an alternative economic method of organizing society, the relationships between states, and the priorities of production, has been set forth through socialist ideology.

This is the reason why imperialism declared war on socialism in its infancy following the Russian Revolution (1917) and the subsequent founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922) in 1922. Both the bourgeois liberal imperialists and their fascist counterparts longed for the destruction of the Soviet Union and the national liberation movements through the rise of the Third Reich, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and Japanese expansionism in Asia. The breaking of the might of the Nazi military apparatus at Stalingrad and other key battles in 1942-43 has never been fully recognized by the educational modules that have achieved dominance in the U.S.

Then of course the efforts by both Italy and Germany to reclaim their imperialist ambitions during World War II led to some of the fiercest battles of the period being waged in the North Africa regions of Egypt and Libya in 1942-43. Ethiopia’s invasion by Italian imperialist fascism in 1935, are far as Africa is concerned, represented the beginning of the Second World War.

Even with the defeat of Italy and Germany in 1944-45 solidifying the resultant dominance of England, France and the U.S. did not lead to the abolition of colonialism. A Cold War beginning in 1947 was not merely designed to reverse the advances of socialism and national liberation in Vietnam, Korea and China. The Cold War represented the imperatives of the West to maintain its colonial hegemony among the immense majority of humanity in the oppressed nations of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

In addition, the contradictions within the imperialist states themselves had reached unprecedented proportions prior to World War II. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought the capitalist system to the brink of collapse. Both the ruling classes of the U.S. and Britainwere forced through their desire for mere survival to adopt the Welfare State, incorporating elements of socialist “safeguards” toprotect the interests of the private ownership of capital and to ameliorate the antagonism of the nationally oppressed and the proletariat as a whole.

These dynamics on the part of imperialism are manifested in Africa through the crises in Somalia and throughout the continent in the present era. Drought and famine are spreading across the region at a rapid pace.

IRIN in this same above-mentioned report stressed:

“On the other hand, the current drought is more widespread than that of 2011. Global competition for humanitarian resources is fiercer. Parts of South Sudan have already been declared to be experiencing famine, and the situation there is likely to worsen substantially over the next four to five months, while Nigeria and Yemen also face the imminent threat of famine. Across the world, a record 70 million people are estimated to need emergency food aid in 2017. Yet there are fears some donors, notably the U.S., will significantly cut their aid budget this year, including for humanitarian assistance.”

The U.S.-based corporate and government-sponsored media never asks the simple question:

How is the renewed military build-up by the Pentagon in Somalia going to address the humanitarian crisis? Or what is the correlation between imperialist militarism and underdevelopment as represented by increasing poverty, dislocation, food deficits and political instability? Also what real impact does aid from the West actually have on the imperatives of self-reliance, self-determination, genuine independence and sovereignty and sustainable development?

We can only conclude based upon the actual history of Africa that what is described as “aid” is part and parcel of a reinforcement of the cycle of dependency stemming from centuries of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. The only real solutions must derive from the struggle of the masses against Western domination which can only be effectively realized through Pan-Africanism and Socialism in practice.

The Destabilization of South Africa, Zimbabwe and the SADC Region

Finally we must look at recent events in the sub-continent to get an even clearer insight into the African situation. The Republic of South Africa is the most industrialized state on the continent due in large part to the international division of economic power and labor.

During the 19th century, the struggle for the imperialist control of South Africa and the Southern Africa region intensified through the quest for control of its treasure trove of natural resources and arable land. The mining of gold and diamonds in South Africa and Zimbabwe thrusts these countries into the forefront of imperialist exploitation worldwide.

The complete rationalization of capitalist exploitation through the apartheid system after 1948 was by no means an aberration. This social pattern had been based on developments in the U.S. where the indigenous people were forced off of the most arable and mineral rich lands to make way for the settler-colonialists. Super-exploitation of the labor of Africans generated profits so enormous that the return on investments was unprecedented in comparison to any other period in world economic history.

A protracted struggle for national independence accelerated in the aftermath of World War II with the Rand Miners’ Strike, the development of the African National Congress Youth League Program of Action, the Defiance Campaign Against Unjust Laws, the creation of a Federation of South African Women, the advent of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), the Congress of Democrats, etc.

By the period between 1976 and 1994, less than two decades, the African masses and their allies were able to force the racist apartheid National Party from power. The African National Congress, which had been labelled as communist and terrorist were able to construct a government that remains in power after 23 years.

In response to the national liberation movement in South Africa, occurring in conjunction with the overall African revolutionary struggle across the continent and the broader international community, the owners of capital sought to undermine the capacity of the ANC to effectively govern the post-apartheid state. Large scale disinvestment after the advent of the national democratic government was far more significant in real terms than the divestment movement which sprung up from the 1960s through the early 1990s, targeting the settler-colonial system itself and its enablers in the imperialist countries, mainly the transnational corporations and financial institutions based in the West.

Even today a major controversy has developed over the economic trajectory of ANC government policy. Since the world recession of 2008 and beyond, the South African people have loss millions of jobs inside the country. This is due to the shrinking of manufacturing and monetary markets increasing the cost of conducting commerce and prompting the closure of plants, mines and its concomitant impact.

These developments were compounded with the reaction of capital to the demands of the working class for a greater share of the profits accrued from the exploitation of strategic minerals, commodities and manufacturing production. The legacy of radical trade unionism is South Africa has roots which extend back for the greater portion of the 20th century to the present. Without the essential role of the South African working class, the overthrow of the apartheid system could have never been achieved within the existing historical framework.

The formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in 1985 placed tremendous pressure on the already beleaguered settler-colonial state and internal capitalist system which was dependent upon the investments from Wall Street, Washington and London. An organized working class union with a strong alliance with the national liberation movement and the South African Communist Party (SACP) signaled the potential for a genuine socialist construction after the demise of white minority-rule.

Since 1994, the Tripartite Alliance has been flexible and even conciliatory in its approach to the immediate need of preserving foreign capital inside South Africa. Yet this approach has not been met with reciprocity by the ruling class. Not only have the mine owners and other capitalists retrenched production facilities and markets as well as laying off many workers over the last several years, they have systematically resisted any mentioned within the public discourse of the necessity of wealth redistribution as a prerequisite for the realization of a people’s democracy.

The opposition parties which have sprung up to challenge the ANC on an electoral level are largely bankrolled by the capitalist class. The Democratic Alliance (DA) advocates policies of greater neo-liberalism which have not worked effectively anywhere in Africa or throughout the world. Another party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is led by Julius Malema who was expelled from the ANC several years ago. Although the EFF takes an ultra-left position in its rhetoric, objectively it has blocked with the DA which is in actuality a party of the white settler-class despite the Black figureheads who are ostensibly in charge of the organization.

A recent illustration of the role of international finance capital and its efforts to strangle the South African National Democratic Revolution was the revelations regarding the currency fixing carried out by some of the leading banks inside the country. This scandal is strikingly similar to the London Interbank Offering Rate (LIBOR) matter which gained considerable media coverage in years past. LIBOR was utilized to exploit working people utilizing insider information and informal negotiations to maximize the profits of these firms at the expense of the most vulnerable within capitalist society.

A report published by this writer in March says:

“In South Africa, it was revealed by an anti-trust agency that during the period where residents were negatively impacted by the uncertainty in the economy fueled in part by the fluctuating value of the rand, banks were profiting from these problems. These multi-national firms represent some of the largest of such entities in South Africa and the world. The South African Competition Commission cited the following companies in relationship to the currency fixing matter: Citigroup, Nomura, Standard Bank, Investec, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse Group, Commerzbank AG, Standard New York Securities Inc., Macquarie Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), ANZ Banking Group Ltd, Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Africa (Absa), part of the Barclays Plc. Investec and Barclays agreed to participate in the probe. Nonetheless, Standard Bank, BAML, Nomura, Credit Suisse, ANZ and Standard Chartered have not gone on record as to whether they will cooperate in the inquiry.” (Global Research, March 16)

This same report goes on to stress that:

“These developments in South Africa and internationally illustrates that the economic system of capitalism is controlled by an ever shrinking group of financial interests who operate as a matter of policy in contravention to the majority of people not only within the western industrialized states notwithstanding throughout the world. As the African Union member-states face escalating economic difficulties a re-emergent debt crisis in looming. This burgeoning phenomenon of declining currency values and lack of credit availability portends much for the ability to strengthen both state and non-state structures in Africa. Escalating rates of poverty and lack of national and regional economic capacity will inevitably foster even greater dependency on the West and its transnational institutions.”

This is why the lessons of Zimbabwe and its land reclamation process are important. After two decades of independence from settler-colonialism, in 2000, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government initiated a constitutionally engineered policy of seizing and redistributing millions of acres of land which rightfully belonged to the African people. The land was illegally confiscated by Cecil Rhodes and his class of settler-colonialists. In order to carry out this process it was necessary to politically enslave the masses through a colonial system of military and economic domination.  Sanctions were enacted against Zimbabwe not only by the former colonial power of Britain but also their erstwhile imperialist allies in Washington and Brussels. Zimbabwe is yet to recover from this economic war against social transformation yet the farmers are able to exercise a greater degree of self-determination and economic independence through land ownership. Studies conducted by the Institute for Development Studies in Britain confirm the positive impact of land reform which is sorely needed in South Africa and Namibia as well.

A recent summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) endorsed a regional industrialization program aimed at fostering such self-reliance and internal-centered development policy. Nonetheless, it will be a challenge in pushing forward with this process because it goes right up against the desire on the part of the former colonial and current neo-colonial powers which actively work against genuine independence and sovereignty.

Conclusion: The Need for an Anti-Imperialist Viewpoint

These examples of events on the continent bring attention to the cause of anti-imperialism in the U.S. We must be in complete solidarity with all anti-capitalist, socially progressive and socialist-oriented policy initiatives taking place in Africa.

The African states have an inherent right to shape their own governmental and societal structures free of imperialist influence. It is quite obvious that six centuries of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism has failed to bring real development to the people. Therefore, the importance of social transformation should be a priority of all modern-day anti-imperialist and solidarity forces in North America.

Note: This address was delivered at the Detroit branch of Workers World Party public forum held on Sat. April 22, 2017. The event examined various anti-imperialist struggles taking placed around the world from the Middle East and Africa to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Venezuela. Other speakers included the event chairperson Kayla Pauli of Workers World Party, Randi Nord of Workers World Party, Joe Mchahwar of WWP youth section, Tom Michalak of WWP read a paper prepared by Jim Carey of Geo-politics Alert and WWP, Yvonne Jones of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), and Martha Grevatt of the UAW Local 869, who is also a contributing editor for Workers World newspaper.

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