Despite years of Donald J. Trump talking tough on Iran and recent escalations bringing Iran and the United States to the brink of war, there are a few tell-tale signs that the U.S. will not be bombing the country anytime soon.
The first clue comes from the recent and highly controversial leaked cables of British ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, published by the Mail on Sunday. While the leak was damning to the unbreakable U.S.-U.K. relationship due to Darroch’s description of Trump as “inept”, “insecure” and “incompetent,” it turns out the leaks revealed something even more intriguing about Trump’s strategy regarding Iran. Continue reading →
“Coalition forces razed Raqqa, but they cannot erase the truth,” said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera. The group’s behind the report called upon the Coalition forces to “end their denial about the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction caused by their offensive” in 2017. (Photo: Amnesty International)
An “unprecedented” new study released on Thursday revealed that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017—which one military commander at the time claimed was the “most precise air campaign in history”—killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city on a scale unparalleled in recent decades.
The research collated almost two years of investigations into the assault on Raqqa, the groups said in a statement, and “gives a brutally vivid account” of the enormous number of civilian lives lost as “a direct result” of thousands of coalition air strikes and tens of thousands of US artillery strikes in Raqqa from June to October 2017. Continue reading →
A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa. Photo: DJANDYW.COM/flickr
Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government’s infamous “kill list” warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country’s drone assassination program is allowed to continue.
The organization’s comments came as part of a response to the U.S. government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit regarding its use of the list. Reprieve is representing Bilal Abdul Kareem, a journalist and U.S. citizen who claims he was repeatedly targeted —and nearly killed on five separate occasions—by drone and missile attacks in 2016 when he was reporting on the ongoing conflict in Syria.Continue reading →
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter.
The residents of al-Rukban camp suffer from severe humanitarian conditions especially during the winter. There are no heating elements, which forces the children of the camp to build mud houses rather than tents to alleviate the cold weather and storms that hit the area. Photo: Syria Live Map
The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.
The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area. Continue reading →
An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading →
“Certainly, it’s something that’s on the—it’s an option,” Trump said of sending the U.S. military to Venezuela during an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan that aired Sunday morning. Photo: Michael Strasser/US Army
As demands intensify for the U.S. government to cease its “dangerous” and anti-democratic meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela, President Donald Trump on Sunday morning said that sending U.S. troops to the politically fractured Latin American nation is “an option” he continues to consider.
“Certainly, it’s something that’s on the—it’s an option,” Trump said during an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan. Continue reading →
Elected officials and experts from more than 40 countries have sent an open letter to U.S. President Donald, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and various other world leaders imploring them to preserve the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the Trump administration has said it plans to withdraw, despite warnings that doing so “would be stupid and reckless.”
While welcoming progress on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, the letter (pdf) emphasizes alarm over the “erosion” of the INF Treaty; war games and nuclear weapons development the United States ditching the Iran nuclear deal; and “unresolved conflicts between Russia and the West including over Crimea and Syria and between nuclear armed states in other regions including South Asia and the South China Sea.” Continue reading →
Statue of Liberty through the morning fog from the Staten Island Ferry. (Photo: Brian Angell/flickr/cc)
A new index released this week offers a sobering look at how democracy is faring in the United States.
According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. doesn’t even make the list of top 20—its demonstrably “flawed democracy” notching it the 25th spot.
The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those five. Continue reading →
“An arrogant tirade extolling the U.S. as a liberator not an occupier, a defender not an aggressor—a depiction that runs totally counter to the sordid U.S. history of invasions and occupations all over the world.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressing students at the American University in Cairo on Thursday. Photo:@SecPompeo/Twitter
A speech delivered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday was immediately chided by critics as bellicose and ahistorical “hogwash” that did more to reveal the incoherence and dangers of the Trump administration’s foreign policy than anything else.
In his remarks, Pompeo said while Trump remains committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria, the administration would not rest until “every last Iranian boot” was also removed from the country. The U.S. government, he added, will “not ease our campaign to stop Iran’s malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world.” Continue reading →
Blackwater military helicopter in Baghdad Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004. Wikicommons/U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best. Some rights reserved.
At the end of 2003 the United States-led war in Iraq was going badly wrong. It had started so well from the Pentagon’s perspective, as American troops entered Baghdad within weeks of launching the invasion in late March. The regime crumbled and a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled. The sitting president George W Bush soon delivered a triumphal speech in front of a banner declaring “mission accomplished”. Even then it looked premature. At that point, the quick victory Washington expected was already running into quicksands.
By mid-summer, a rapidly evolving urban insurgency was inflicting serious casualties among the coalition of international (mainly US and British) forces. Many of the latter were killed. But improvements in trauma care meant that six or seven times their number were now surviving previously fatal wounds – albeit with appalling, life-changing injuries: loss of limbs and other body parts, severe abdominal injuries, PTSD at an almost unbearable level. Continue reading →