Category Archives: Iraq

Conversation: Henry Kissinger’s Food Occupation Of Iraq Continues To Destroy The Fertile Crescent

Published on Mar 30, 2017

Today, Iraq is plagued by violence and extreme poverty. But this wasn’t always the case.

The country in the Fertile Crescent has a long and rich agricultural history that has been decimated since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Once the country’s invaluable seed bank was destroyed and its institutions turned to dust, it set the stage for foreign agribusiness giants to swoop in and forever change the face of Iraqi agriculture.

Join Mnar Muhawesh for this segment of ‘Behind the Headline’ as she speaks to Iraqi agriculture expert Dr. Nakd Altameemi. They explore the devastating tolls that war, sanctions and Western corporations have had on Iraq’s once-bustling agriculture sector.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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How narratives killed the Syrian people, by Sharmine Narwani

Source: RT

© Majed Jaber / Reuters
© Majed Jaber / Reuters

On March 23, 2011, at the very start of what we now call the ‘Syrian conflict,’ two young men – Sa’er Yahya Merhej and Habeel Anis Dayoub – were gunned down in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

Merhej and Dayoub were neither civilians, nor were they in opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They were two regular soldiers in the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Shot by unknown gunmen, Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict– in Daraa, Latakia, Douma, Banyas, Homs, Moadamiyah, Idlib, Harasta, Suweida, Talkalakh and the suburbs of Damascus.

According to the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the combined death toll for Syrian government forces was 2,569 by March 2012, the first year of the conflict. At that time, the UN’s total casualty count for all victims of political violence in Syria was 5,000.

These numbers paint an entirely different picture of events in Syria. This was decidedly not the conflict we were reading about in our headlines – if anything, the ‘parity’ in deaths on both sides even suggests that the government used ‘proportionate’ force in thwarting the violence.

But Merhej and Dayoub’s deaths were ignored. Not a single Western media headline told their story – or that of the other dead soldiers. These deaths simply didn’t line up with the Western ‘narrative’ of the Arab uprisings and did not conform to the policy objectives of Western governments.

For American policymakers, the “Arab Spring” provided a unique opportunity to unseat the governments of adversary states in the Middle East. Syria, the most important Arab member of the Iran-led ‘Resistance Axis,’ was target number one.

To create regime-change in Syria, the themes of the “Arab Spring” needed to be employed opportunistically – and so Syrians needed to die.

The “dictator” simply had to “kill his own people” – and the rest would follow.

How words kill

Four key narratives were spun ad nauseam in every mainstream Western media outlet, beginning in March 2011 and gaining steam in the coming months.

– The Dictator is killing his “own people.”

– The protests are “peaceful.”

– The opposition is “unarmed.”

– This is a “popular revolution.”

Continue reading How narratives killed the Syrian people, by Sharmine Narwani

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‘Moderate Rebels’ Terrorize Syrian Civilians, by Eva Bartlett

Source: In Gaza

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Saed Mutanus al-Khashoof, from the Christian village of Sadad but living in al-Zahra’a, killed in today’s terrorist explosions. (via Homs News Network)

Original Title: “SAVE OUR SOULS. PROTECT OUR CHILDREN AND WOMEN. LEAVE US SURVIVE IN PEACE.”-WORDS OF A TERRORIZED AL-ZAHRA’A RESIDENT”

The terror-ravaged neighbourhood of al-Zahra’a, in Homs, has again mercilessly been hit by western&saudi-backed terrorists’ bombings. Local journalists put the number of murdered at 57 now, some hours after the double-vehicle bombing earlier today.

Russia Today reports:

“The explosions at a traffic light at al-Siteen Street in the al-Zahra neighborhood happened within minutes of each other, witnesses said. …Witnesses said at least one of the two blasts was triggered by a suicide bomber driving a car.

A follow-up bombing after an initial blast is a common terrorist tactic, which allows them to hit first responders, who rush to help victims….”

Al-Zahra’a has been repeatedly targeted by western-backed terrorists, with almost no condemnation from the same leaders who cried for Paris.

I wrote about this in January 2016 for Russia Today:

“On December 12, 2015, terrorists car-bombed, then suicide-bombed, the al-Zahra’a neighborhood of Homs, Syria, killing at least 16 civilians and injuring over 50, according to initial reports from Syrian State media (later updates noted 20 dead and over 100 injured). The deaths and destruction from the initial car-bombing—near the Ahli Hospital—was made worse since the terrorists set off their bomb next to a natural gas delivery truck. Later, a terrorist returned to the scene and detonated his explosive vest among rescuers who had come to help the injured.

This pattern repeated itself on December 28, 2015, in al-Zahra’a, where a car bomb followed by a suicide bomb, killed up to 30 civilians, and injured over 100, according to Syrian state media initial reports. Again, on January 26, terrorists car and suicide bombed al-Zahra’a, killing at least 24 and injuring over 100, many critically-so, according to Syrian state media.

The al-Zahra’a district of Homs had been terror-bombed many times prior to the December 12 attacks, as have other areas of Homs, including the Ekrama district, which suffered a school bombing on October 1, 2014. There, terrorists car and suicide-bombed next to the school, killed 45 people, mostly children and women, according to al-Masdar News. Video footage showed terrified, maimed and dead children being carried away from the school….”

Tragically, on the same day as this latest terror act by NATO’s mercenaries in al-Zahra’a, the Damascus residential district of Sayyida Zeinab suffered three terrorist bombings.

Continue reading ‘Moderate Rebels’ Terrorize Syrian Civilians, by Eva Bartlett

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Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket, by Pepe Escobar

Source:RT
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It all started with French President Francois Hollande, after the Paris attacks, having the temerity to advance the idea of France working together with Russia in the same coalition against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip “no excuse” Erdogan thought NATO and Russia by this time would be at each other’s – Cold War 2.0 – nuclear throats, while Washington had brushed off Hollande’s idea with a cascade of platitudes and distortions.

And in less than 17 seconds, Prime Minister Ahmet “I ordered it myself” Davutoglu had authorized Turkey to shoot down a Russian Su-24 – only a few hours before Hollande met with President Obama.

So everything seemed to be falling into place. No chance of a new détente between the Atlanticist powers and NATO. On the contrary. Erdogan was sure he had sabotaged for good the Hollande-Putin face-to-face meeting in Moscow.

Not so fast, Sultan.

In Moscow, Hollande and Putin confirmed that France and Russia will not be torn apart. The French leader declared: “What we agreed, and this is important, is to strike only terrorists and Daesh and to not strike forces that are fighting terrorism. We will exchange information about whom to hit and whom not to hit.”
Continue reading Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket, by Pepe Escobar
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Conversation:US-NATO Escalation in Syria? Turkey Downs Russian Jet

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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An Invisible US Hand (Turkey) Leading to War? by, DAVE LINDORFF

Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

Source: counterpunch

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In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Putin’s options are actually quite broad, though some carry considerably more risk for everyone, not just for Russia and Turkey. He could have his own air

force in Syria, where Russia is legally acting at the request of the Syrian government to defend it against rebel forces of ISIS and Al Nusra, some of which are backed by both Turkey and the US, calmly wait for a Turkish military jet to cross into Syrian airspace. At that point it could be downed by Russian planes or missiles. No doubt Turkey will be extraordinarily careful going forward to have its pilots keep well away from Syrian air space too avoid that, but it could happen. My guess is that Russian fighter pilots and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria already have their marching orders to take that action, which probably would not activate NATO confrontation with Russia and lead to World War III, as long as there was reasonable evidence that Turkey’s plane was in Syrian airspace.

But should no such opportunity present itself, Russia has plenty of other opportunities to counter Turkey. Remember, Russia is also defending Syria’s coastline, and could sink or capture a Turkish ship that entered Syrian waters (or Russian waters in the Black Sea, which borders both countries).

Russia — knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region — could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

I’m sure there are plenty of other options available to Russia also to turn the screws against both Turkey and NATO, without openly pushing buttons that could lead to a direct confrontation with the US and its NATO fiction. Working in Russia’s favor is that the US aside, the European nations of NATO have no desire to be at war with Russia. There are clearly hotheads in the US Congress, the Pentagon, and perhaps even within the neo-con-infested Obama administration, who are pushing for just such a mad showdown. But in Europe, where the actual fighting would mostly occur, and where memories are still strong of the destructive power of war, there is no taste for such insanity. It could, in fact, have been a big error in the long run for the US to push Turkey into such a deadly provocation, if it leads to more anti-American sentiment among the citizens of such key NATO countries as France, Germany, Italy and Britain.

It should be added that Russia and China have become much closer in recent years, economically, politically and militarily. This means there is also the possibility that the two countries could, in concert, step up pressure on the US in the western Pacific, for example by forcing down one of the provocative US flights near China’s new island projects in the South China Sea. That would force an already stretched US military to shift more forces to Asia from Europe and the Middle East.

It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Moscow doubles down on Washington, by Pepe Escobar

Source: Russia Today

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama © Sergey Guneev / POOL / RIA Novosti
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama © Sergey Guneev / POOL / RIA Novosti

History may eventually decide the ‘New World Order’ started on September 28, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama had a 90-minute face off at the UN in New York.

Irrespective of spin – “productive” according to the White House, “tense”according to a source close to the Kremlin – facts on the ground accumulated almost immediately.

Putin did press Obama for the US to join Russia in a real grand coalition bent on smashing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The Obama administration, once again, relented. I detailed here what happened next: an earth-shattering game-changer in the ‘New Great Game’ in Eurasia, straight out of the Caspian Sea, that caught the acronym fest of US intelligence – not to mention the Pentagon – completely off-guard.

So this was Putin’s first message to Washington, and the Pentagon/NATO combo in particular; your fancy ideas of stationing tactical nuclear weapons or expanding missile defense to Eastern Europe, or even Asia-Pacific, are just a mirage. Our cruise missiles are capable of wreaking real effective havoc; and soon, as this piece argues, there will be more hypersonic, high-precision long-range missiles added to the mix.

Old habits don’t die hard – they remain in a coma forever. The Pentagon’s response to the facts launched from the Caspian Sea was to conduct an airdrop of light weapons to “a select group of vetted leaders and their units,” as in those famously non-existent Syrian “moderate rebels.” The weapons will inevitably be captured by assorted Salafi-jihadi goon outfits in no time.

Continue reading Moscow doubles down on Washington, by Pepe Escobar

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Clinton, Juppé, Erdoğan, Daesh and the PKK, by Thierry Meyssan

Source: Voltaire Network

The resumption of the repression of Kurds in Turkey is nothing more than a consequence of the impossible task of implementing the Juppé-Wright plan of 2011. While it was easy to deploy Daesh in the Syrian desert and the provinces of Niniveh and d’al-Anbar (Iraq), which are mostly Sunnite, it proved to be impossible to take control of the Kurdish populations of Syria. In order to realise his dream of a Kurdistan outside of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no other choice but civil war.

————————————————————————————-

Published in 2013, the Wright plan is based on the Juppé plan for Libya, Syria and Iraq. However, Robin Wright goes further by including projects for Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Published in 2013, the Wright plan is based on the Juppé plan for Libya, Syria and Iraq. However, Robin Wright goes further by including projects for Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

When they took power in Ankara in 2003, the Islamist party AKP modified Turkey’s strategic priorities. Rather than using reports on the post-« Desert Storm » balance of power, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan harboured the ambition of freeing his country from the isolation it has known since the end of the Ottoman Empire. Based on analyses provided by his advisor, Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu, he advocated solving century-old problems with Turkey’s neighbours, and becoming progressively the inevitable regional mediator. In order to do so, Turkey had to become a political model and build relations with his Arab partners, without losing its alliance with Israël.

This policy, known as « zero problem », began sucessfully at first.Ankara no longer feared Damascus and its support for the PKK, and also asked Syria for help in negotiating an exit. In October 2006, the Kurdish party declared a unilateral truce and began negotiations with the Erdoğan government. In May 2008, Ankara organised indirect negotiations between Damascus and Tel-Aviv, the first talks since Ehud Barack’s rejection of the Bill Clinton / Hafez el-Assad plan. But President Bachar el-Assad withdrew from the discussions after Israël attacked Gaza in December 2009.

Realising that because of the Palestinian conflict, it was impossible to maintain good relations with all the states in the region, Ankara chose to support the Palestinians against Israël. This was the period of the Davos and Freedom Flotilla episodes. Backed by vast popular support in the Muslim world, Ankara approached Teheran and accepted, in November 2010, to participate in a Turkey-Iran-Iraq-Syria common market. Visas were repealed ; the rights of the Customs were considerably reduced ; a consortium was created to manage the oil and gas pipe-lines ; an authority was created to enable the management of water ressources. The overall structure looked so inviting that Lebanon and Jordan presented their candidacy. Sustainable peace seemed possible for the Levant.

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Continue reading Clinton, Juppé, Erdoğan, Daesh and the PKK, by Thierry Meyssan

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