Tag Archives: Al-Qaeda

After 10 Years of Civil War in Syria, US (Quietly) Declares Defeat but Won’t Go Home

After a decade of bombing, invasions, exoduses and economic strife, it is clear that there are precious few winners in the Syrian Civil War — or from the rest of the Arab Spring, for that matter.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-25-2021 by MintPress News

Montage of the Syrian Civil War. Photo: Collective, CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This March marks the 10-year anniversary of the Arab Spring and the protests that rocked Syria, which were a starting point for the ongoing civil war. That conflict has led to over half a million deaths and nearly 13 million people displaced, according to some estimates.

Now, after 10 years of attempts to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, it appears that many in the U.S. government and media are quietly conceding defeat. Continue reading

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‘Death Falling From the Sky’: Report Spotlights Civilian Harm From US Drone Strikes in Yemen

“The United States is failing to investigate credible allegations of violations, to hold individuals responsible for violations accountable, and to provide prompt and adequate reparation.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-24-2021

Photo: DJANDY.COM AKA NOBODY/flickr/CC

A report published Tuesday by Yemeni human rights defenders examines dozens of casualties resulting from U.S. drone strikes and other attacks on civilians in the war-torn nation in recent years, incidents the publication says often occur without accountability, investigation, compensation—and sometimes even acknowledgment.

The report—entitled Death Falling From the Sky: Civilian Harm from the United States’ Use of Lethal Force in Yemen (pdf)—was published by Mwatana for Human Rights. It covers a dozen U.S. military operations conducted between January 2017 and January 2019, a period during which then-President Donald Trump loosened the military’s rules of engagement that were meant to protect civilians. Continue reading

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The US is so desperate to leave Afghanistan that it’s abandoning its allies

A hasty withdrawal puts the Afghan government and NATO in the emboldened Taliban’s firing line.

By Paul Rogers.  Published 12-4-2020 by openDemocracy

Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley | Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II, DOD, CC BY 2.0

The United States responded to the 9/11 attacks by terminating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and quashing al-Qaida. At the time there was widespread domestic support for the action and most allied states were also in agreement, at least at first. A few analysts were more cautious and the openDemocracy view at the time was that al-Qaida wanted a war, to show how significant it was but also to trap Western forces in Afghanistan and drag the United States down in much the same way as Soviet Union had been in the 1980s.

Now, there are signs that precisely that is happening, with the Afghan government and the Taliban agreeing to an outline of how negotiations on a peace settlement might be achieved. This comes after two months of talks in Qatar that have really been between the United States and the Taliban. The main topic of the talks was the withdrawal of all uniformed US forces by next May in return for a Taliban ceasefire and a pledge from Taliban leadership that they would not allow al-Qaida or ISIS to maintain a presence in the country. Continue reading

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Shadow armies: how the West wages war but keeps its soldiers at home

ISIS is enjoying a renaissance and the West is fighting back with a shadow war, free of public debate or political scrutiny.

By Paul Rogers  Published 9-3-2020 by openDemocracy

Others do the dirty work. Screenshot: CNN

In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.

Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading

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The Turkish invasion of Syria: A new hope for Jihadists

What are the geopolitical stakes of Turkey’s invasion of Syria?

By Chris Den Hond. Published 10-16-2019 by openDemocracy

Translated by Janet Biehl

From the moment Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria, Turkey wasted no time in launching an invasion of northern Syria. To understand the geopolitical stakes, I asked four people close to the situation for their assessments:

Salih Muslim, is spokesperson for the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria. Fehim Taştekin, is an analyst and journalist, based in Vienna. Agit Polat, is spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) and based in Paris. Raphaël Lebrujah, is a journalist in Qamishlo.

I asked each of them about several important topics. Continue reading

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Despite ‘War Crimes’ Concerns in Yemen, Raytheon Nabs $1.6 Billion Arms Deal With UAE

Announcement comes as resolution to end U.S. complicity in Yemen war edges toward Senate vote

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-18-2019

Destroyed house in Sanaa. Photo: brahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) just inked billions in deals to secure new weapons from top Pentagon contractor Raytheon a week after an Amnesty International investigation further implicated the Gulf nation in war crimes for transferring Western weapons to unaccountable militia groups, thereby deepening the humanitarian crisis and fueling carnage in war-ravaged Yemen.

“The ongoing carnage against civilians in Yemen—including at the hands of the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition and the militias it backs—should give serious pause to all states supplying arms,” said Patrick Wilcken, arms control and human rights researcher at Amnesty International. “Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to siphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes.” Continue reading

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Loophole in Bernie Sanders’ Yemen Bill Actually Allows Continued US Involvement in Yemen

While SJR 54 claims to be aimed at achieving “the removal of United State Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress,” it contains a major loophole that will allow the majority of U.S. troops in Yemen – if not all – to stay.

By Whitney Webb. Published 12-3-2018 by MintPress News

(Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Last week, many celebrated the advancement of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 54, which had been introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as a sign that the U.S. Congress was finally willing to act to reduce the U.S.’ culpability for the situation in Yemen, currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The bill, which will be voted on by the Senate this week, has been praised by many within the anti-war movement for its bid to “end” U.S. military involvement in Yemen. Passage of the bill would, however, do no such thing. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday CIA: 7 Truly Terrible Things the Agency Has Done in 70 Years

By Carey Wedler. Published 9-18-2017 by The Anti-Media

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday, President Trump tweeted birthday wishes to the Air Force and the CIA. Both became official organizations 70 years ago on September 18, 1947, with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947.

After spending years as a wartime intelligence agency called the Office of Strategic Services, the agency was solidified as a key player in the federal government’s operations with then-President Harry Truman’s authorization. Continue reading

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‘Shameful’: Senate Votes to Further Arm Saudi Arabia as Yemen Suffers

Bipartisan opposition to the bill nonetheless sent a “strong message” to the Saudis—and to President Trump

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2017

Photo: Human Rights Watch

The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a widely criticized $500 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, narrowly beating back a bipartisan effort to block the deal.

The final tally was 53-47 in favor of the sale, which is just part of a massive $100 billion arms package.

Among the sponsors of the resolution put forth to block the sale was Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who argued that despite the opposition’s defeat, the effort nonetheless sent a “strong message” to Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

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As Trump Pushes Massive Saudi Weapons Deal, Yemenis Suffer from Cholera, War, and Famine

One possible outcome of Trump’s visit could be a green light to attack the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, where the bulk of the humanitarian aid enters Yemen

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2017

Cholera patients line the halls of Yemen’s few medical facilities, less than 45 percent of which are fully functional after two years of war. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/IRIN News)

President Donald Trump will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Friday bearing a major arms deal for the Gulf kingdom, which observers warn will swiftly then be used against the people of Yemen, who are currently facing a deadly cholera outbreak, devastating famine, and two years of war that shows no sign of abating.

In exchange for the $110 billion package, said to be the largest arms deal in history, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has offered “to invest at least $200 billion in American infrastructure and open up new business opportunities for U.S. companies inside the kingdom,” according to Alternet‘s Max Blumenthal, a move that is expected to win the U.S. president points in the rust belt states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Continue reading

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