A Parliamentary debate on the war in Yemen Thursday resulted in ridiculous scenes. A Tory minister with the Foreign Office claimed of a vital UN report that he “hadn’t received it officially” even as he waved a copy in his hand. This resulted in mocking laughter from the opposition benches.
But of course the report is no laughing matter. A UN panel of experts, in a report leaked Wednesday, has found that the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen has involved “widespread and systematic” attacks on civilian targets.
Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest buyers of British-made weapons, and successive Labour and Conservative governments have considered it as a top ally. So it’s no surprise to find a government minister defending alleged Saudi war crimes in this way.
Read the rest over at MEMO.
In December the US weapons industry trade publication Defense News carried a telling interview with two top big-wigs in the Palestinian Authority. These were PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and mukhabarat chief Major General Majid Faraj.
The magazine’s Israel bureau chief, who conducted the interviews, described them as “the top two advisers” to PA leader Mamoud Abbas. Abbas is now 80 years old, has no clear successor, and has claimed he will not stand again for elections to the presidency of the PA.
In fact, Abbas has only won a single election, way back in 2005. Fresh elections are years overdue, and have been blocked at every turn. Back in 2006 Hamas, Palestine’s Islamic resistance movement, won elections to the PA’s legislative body. After a months of civil war with forces loyal to Abbas, the elected Hamas-led PA government was overthrown in a coup in the West Bank. Hamas pre-empted a similar coup in Gaza and kicked out militias loyal to Mohammad Dahlan, who had been backed by the CIA, Israel and other Western forces in an attempt to overthrow the results of a fully democratic election.Since then there have been varying degrees of division between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the forces of Fatah in the West Bank. Various “unity deals” have come and gone without being implemented.
The reality is that elections to the PA were always for show, so that the West could claim it was backing the forces of democracy in the region. When the democratic processes did not go the way that the imperial power and its allies insisted on, the results could be overthrown.
Continue reading over at MEMO.
Or read a French translation here (I can’t vouch for its accuracy).
The terrorist bogeyman de jour is nowadays of course the so-called “Islamic State”. Do you remember back in the decade or so following the 9/11 attacks on the US? Back then it was all al-Qaeda, all the time. We were all meant to fear and quake in our boots over them. Ironically, the group is probably more of a threat now than they were then, and the actions taken by western governments back then helped to birth the creation of something of the ven more horrific “Islamic State.”
Al-Qaeda were a conveniently ghoulish enemy which tabloid newspapers could use to whip up fear and loathing and which western governments used to build public support for ever-increasing powers for their various domestic spy agencies.
Even though the British media and government constantly obsessed about al-Qaeda and the threat it posed, it was greatly exaggerated. This was especially the case in the aftermath to 9/11 and the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. The so-called War on Terrorism was envisaged as a sort of endless war, in large part for the benefits of western capital, especially the arms firms, and for control of Middle Eastern oil.
Read the rest over at MEMO.
There’s been much talk by political and media elites in recent days about the supposed need to start a bombing campaign in Syria targeting Daesh, the so-called “Islamic State”. By now, this is a depressingly familiar drumbeat for war.
In 2013, the UK parliament surprised many by derailing the prospect of British bombing of Syria, explicitly targeted at the regime. For a time, it even seemed that this decision had even put the American war machine on the back foot.
But since September 2014, the US has, in fact, started bombing in Syria – but targeting Daesh. And, more recently, the details of what appears to be a covert British role in the bombing campaign, in defiance of Parliament, have slowly emerged.
Read the rest over at MEMO.
I talked to Scott Horton, the host of Antiwar Radio in the US. I can’t seem to embed the audio play, but you can just follow this link to stream or download the segment. The main article I wrote about the topic, which I refer to in the interview, is here.
On the lie of Israeli “Hamas = ISIS = al-Qaida” propaganda:
ISIS (which began as a branch of al-Qaeda before going off on its own tangent) by way of contrast envisions an “Islamic” supra-state which would stretch over the whole Levant, or Greater Syria region, as well as Iraq.
Al-Qaeda, despite the historic rhetoric from Osama bin Laden about the plight of the Palestinians, has long condemned Hamas as apostate movement for its nationalism, and for participation in democratic elections. ISIS seems to be following along the same path, and is now stretching these rhetorical attacks into armed attacks,
Since 2007, Hamas, elected to power in 2006, has had a firm grip on the coastal strip in terms of security. It has met and bested several security challenges over the years from different sources.
Read the whole thing over at MEMO.