Tag Archives: Libya

Trump DoD Scraps Plan to Ban Cluster Bombs That Maim Children and Civilians Worldwide

“This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the U.S. way out of line with the international consensus.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 12-1-2017

The new policy calls the weapons “an effective and necessary capability.” (Photo: mary wareham/flickr/cc)

The Pentagon made a decision that “beggars belief,” human rights groups said Friday, when it tossed out its plan to ban certain cluster bombs that leave a large percentage of lethal, unexploded munitions, which pose a significant risk to civilians.

“This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the U.S. way out of line with the international consensus—cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians,” said Patrick Wilcken, researcher on arms control and human rights at Amnesty International. Continue reading


Will anyone protect the Rohingya?


Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent A. Auger, Western Illinois University

Since August, the Rohingya, an ethnic minority in Myanmar, has faced what a United Nations official called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Recent reports describe a campaign by Myanmar security forces to drive the Rohingya from the country permanently. Hundreds of thousands have fled to camps in neighboring Bangladesh, creating a new refugee crisis.

This is exactly the type of atrocity that the United Nations vowed to combat in 2005, when it asserted a “responsibility to protect” civilian populations from genocidal violence. Yet, little has been done.

Why has “the responsibility to protect” failed, and can the Rohingya be helped?

Responsibility to protect

The “responsibility to protect” doctrine resulted from the humanitarian catastrophes of the 1990s: Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and especially Rwanda. The world struggled to balance respect for state sovereignty with the imperative to prevent the slaughter of civilians. In 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty issued a report redefining the problem. It stated that states had primary responsibility to protect their populations. But, if they could not or would not, then that duty could be exercised by the international community.

This concept was affirmed by the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit. However, my research on the origins and implementation of the responsibility to protect has demonstrated that this consensus was superficial. Many states, including the United States and China, gave lip service to a “responsibility to protect,” but were unwilling or unable to implement it. The conditions under which the responsibility to protect could be invoked remain deliberately ambiguous.

Words in action: Libya and Cote d’Ivoire

Despite this tepid support, in 2011, the United Nations authorized two operations in countries where civilians were at risk.

In Cote d’Ivoire, United Nations peacekeeping forces intervened to remove the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, who had lost an election and was using the country’s security force to attack civilians in an attempt to remain in power. U.N. forces helped oversee a political transition and maintain security. This intervention was widely seen at the U.N. as a success.

The other intervention was in Libya, after the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened to slaughter those who opposed his regime. The intervention – led by Britain, France and the United States – successfully prevented Gaddafi’s slaughter of civilians. But it also led to the collapse of his regime, his murder by rebel forces and continuing conflict in post-Gaddafi Libya.

Failure to protect

Despite humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, the responsibility to protect has not been used by the U.N. since 2011 to justify intervention. The Libya case helps to explain this: Once the intervening forces helped overthrow Gaddafi, Russia and China declared that the “responsibility to protect” was merely a pretext for the West to conduct regime change. Those countries have repeatedly vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Implementing the “responsibility to protect” faces other challenges as well. One is that an intervention to protect civilians may encounter armed resistance from those who are committing the atrocities, as would likely be the case in Syria. A larger, more capable international military force would be necessary to defeat them. Many states will be deterred by the greater costs and risks of such an intervention.

Another challenge is that states and international organizations have multiple goals and priorities. They may not wish to jeopardize relations with the offending regime, or risk other national interests, in order to stop violence. They may even help the regime that is committing the atrocities, as the Russian government has done in Syria, to advance those interests.

Finally, a successful intervention may lead to a costly commitment to provide long-term security and relief – a “responsibility to rebuild,” so to speak. For most states, these potential costs of intervention far outweigh their willingness to act to save lives.

What can we do for the Rohingya?

All these challenges to implementing the responsibility to protect are evident in the Rohingya case. Myanmar authorities have resisted any international role in the crisis, raising the cost of potential intervention. In any case, other states have little interest in taking action. China is shielding Myanmar from pressure in the U.N. Security Council and is trying to pull Myanmar into its sphere of influence. President Trump has not made Myanmar a priority for American foreign policy. Russia, India and other states prefer to work with the regime to further their own interests in the region.

What can be done, then?

Economic and political sanctions against the Myanmar military are a possibility. But without Chinese participation, they would have limited effectiveness. Sanctions might also lead the Myanmar military to reverse recent democratic reforms in the country.

An alternative would be for the United States and other countries to sharply increase aid to Bangladesh, which is hosting the fleeing Rohingya civilians. They might also consider accepting some Rohingya as refugees. However, this could be problematic given the current debate on refugees in the United States and many other countries.

The ConversationIn the longer term, diplomatic and financial pressure, as well as the possibility of indictment for crimes against humanity, may convince Myanmar’s military leaders to cease the ethnic cleansing and allow some Rohingya to return. Unfortunately, no international cavalry is likely to ride to the Rohingya’s rescue.

Vincent A. Auger, Professor of Political Science, Western Illinois University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Venezuela Is About to Ditch the Dollar in Major Blow to US: Here’s Why It Matters

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 9-8-2017 by The Anti-Media

Photo: YouTube


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week, Reuters reports. According to the outlet, Maduro will look to use the weakest of two official foreign exchange regimes (essentially the way Venezuela will manage its currency in relation to other currencies and the foreign exchange market), along with a basket of currencies.

According to Reuters, Maduro was referring to Venezuela’s current official exchange rate, known as DICOM, in which the dollar can be exchanged for 3,345 bolivars. At the strongest official rate, one dollar buys only 10 bolivars, which may be one of the reasons why Maduro wants to opt for some of the weaker exchange rates. Continue reading


What’s Really Happening With Saudi Arabia and Qatar Will Not Be Televised

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 6-7-2017 by The Anti-Media

Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives — spearheaded by Saudi Arabia — have severed almost all of their ties with Qatar. The move comes just days after hacked emails from the Hotmail account of a wealthy, prominent UAE ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba, showed that a number of countries were conspiring to denigrate relations with Qatar (and Iran).

The official justification for Saudi Arabia’s rift with Qatar is that the latter country aligns with terrorists and threatens national security. However, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been alleged to support ISIS, and Saudi Arabia’s history of support for terrorist organizations surpasses that of almost any other state in the world (with the exception of probably the U.S.). In fact, the British Home Office is currently refusing to release a report on terrorist funding — commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron — because it focuses too heavily on Saudi Arabia. Continue reading


Media Ignoring Damning Leaks from Syrian War

By . Published 2-20-2017 by The Anti-Media

This photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), shows a damaged school that was hit by a Syrian government air strike in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (Photo via Twitter/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

When a magician is showing you a magic trick with his or her right hand, you should always watch what the left hand is doing. When it comes to times of war, one should always be skeptical of a government beating the war drum against another government or entity. Ask yourself: Why now, why this entity, and what is at stake?

A good example of this can be seen in Africa. Since 1998, close to 6 million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to fighting over mineral resources, many of which are used in cell phones around the world. This barely receives a mention in the corporate news. In contrast, we were told that Libya, the country with the highest standard of living out of any country in Africa, needed to be bombed in a “humanitarian intervention” to prevent a massacre that may or may not have ever occurred. Although there are clear differences in the style of conflict that besieged the two nations, the fact is the U.S government and media prioritized one over the other based on geopolitical concerns. Continue reading


Thanks to Congress, Trump Will Have Nearly Unlimited Power to Wage War

“Trump will have a free hand to use the law meant for the perpetrators of 9/11 to wage war around the world, fashioning it to different enemies at his command”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-29-2016

“You could easily see him wanting to ramp up the war on terror and take it to new parts of the globe,” one US lawmaker said of President-elect Donald Trump. “There are few limits on what he can do.” (Photo: Debra Sweet/flickr/cc)

The failure of U.S. Congress to pass a formal authorization for the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) means incoming President Donald Trump—whose brash and impulsive approach to foreign policy has raised alarms—will have effectively unlimited war powers, Politico reported Thursday.

In the absence of such a resolution, President Barack Obama has relied on the existing Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as justification for military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Attempts to replace or rein in the AUMF have failed. Continue reading


The War in Syria: Who Is Actually to Blame?

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 10-602016 by The Anti-Media

Aftermath of coalition air strike. Photo: Twitter

Aftermath of coalition air strike. Photo: Twitter

Depending on which news outlets you follow, your understanding of what is going on in Syria is likely coming from one of two main camps — Western media or Eastern media. Western media, in tandem with the Arab Gulf states, has almost completely pinned the blame for the crisis in Syria on the current president, Bashar al-Assad. Any residual blame left for the taking is delivered to Russia and Iran.

Those of us who inform ourselves daily from an eclectic range of media sources tend to have a broader understanding of the conflict in Syria. The more critical one becomes of both ends of the media spectrum, the more one can evaluate the veracity of the respective outlets (for example, the peddling of statistics from a T-shirt shop in England versus the use of satellite imagery). Continue reading


ACLU Forces US Government to Release Secret Drone Playbook

The long-awaited guidelines provide “a timely reminder of the breadth of the powers that will soon be in the hands of another president,” said ACLU deputy legal director

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2016

Three years and thousands of deaths later, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama late Friday finally made public its guidelines for conducting lethal drone strikes.

The release of the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG), also known as “the Playbook,” came in response to a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seeking the framework—which Obama said at the time was created in the interest of greater transparency and oversight over the expansive targeted killing program Continue reading


Aspiring to Be a Mass Murderer? There’s a Scholarship for That

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 7-27-2016 by The Anti-Media

Stephen Schwarzman. Photo: YouTube

Stephen Schwarzman. Photo: YouTube

Aspiring mass murderers will be happy to learn they no longer have to waste time on the child’s play that is firing into an open crowd at the risk of receiving a bullet to the head. One can now apply for a scholarship to China to learn from the experts themselves.

Well, kind of.

The Schwarzman Scholars Program is a new master’s program at Tsinghua University, China that seeks to “educate students about leadership and about China’s expanding role in the world.” Continue reading


Only 10 Countries in the Entire World Are Not Currently at War

By Claire Bernish. Published 6-9-2016 by The Anti-Media

A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, 2 April 2003. Photo: US Navy (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, 2 April 2003. Photo: US Navy (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

United States — A troubling report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found a mere ten nations on the planet are not at war and completely free from conflict. According to the Global Peace Index 2016, only Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Mauritius, Panama, Qatar, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam are free from conflict. Iceland tops the list of most peaceful countries in the world, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia — while the United States ranked far lower, at 103. Palestine, placed in the index of 163 nations for the first time this year, ranked 148th.

War-torn Syria placed at the bottom of the list, lower than only South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Sudan, and Libya. Continue reading