Geography Archives: Iraq

  • Libya, Africa, and the New World Order

      “The letter was signed by more than 200 prominent Africans, including ANC national executive member Jesse Duarte, political analyst Willie Esterhuyse of the University of Stellenbosch, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, lawyer Christine Qunta, former deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad, former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad, Sam Moyo of the African Institute […]

  • Abdulhakim Bashar of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria: “The Kurdish Parties of Syria Don’t Want Blood Spilled between Us and the Syrian Regime”

    Rudaw: The situation in Syria is turning increasingly violent and the western world has called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Where do you think things will go from here?

    Abdulhakim Bashar: The Syrian regime will not fall merely based on the words and pleas of the west. The regime has made up its mind. Sanctions and international pressure will make things difficult, but the regime won’t collapse. We saw this in Iraq where 13 years of sanctions did not end Saddam Hussein’s regime until it was invaded. Syria is complicated. International pressure may encourage the protesters, but it will not be decisive.

  • Washington’s Syria Policy Battle: Interventionists versus Non-Interventionists

    Two distinct camps are forming to battle over Syria policy in Washington. The first is made up of the neocons, who are busy fitting the Arab Spring into US strategic interests as they see them.  John Bolton, Michael Doran, and Elliott Abrams have been leading the charge in articulating this argument. The second group are […]

  • Libya News Roundup

    Richard Seymour (20 August 2011): “I think we would see a recomposition of the old regime, without Qadhafi but with the basic state structures intact.  The former regime elements would become regime elements, within a pro-US, neoliberal state with some limited political democracy.  In addition, those calling for intervention in Syria would be strengthened, as […]

  • Brazilian Defense Minister Amorim Supports Withdrawal of Troops from Haiti — But When?

    One month ago I argued in this space that Brazil should set a timetable for getting its troops out of Haiti, since there is no war in Haiti and no legitimate reason — nor legal justification — for the UN military force (MINUSTAH) to be there.  Now Brazil’s new Defense Minister, Celso Amorim — who […]

  • Who Defends Syria’s Sovereignty?

    NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” is an excellent barometer.  Each day Ms. Rehm interviews figures from the commanding heights of the Washington establishment.  Elected officials, Pentagon officers, foundation grunts, academics, media personalities and reporters, and the diplomatic corps all pass through her studio. Syria was the focus of Ms. Rehm’s first hour on 17 August. […]

  • Syrians Tweet Back to Obama

    After US President Barack Obama declared on 18 August 2011: “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” . . . Haneen Khaddour (18 August 2011): “Here we go again #american intervention.  No one wants you in #syria” Sate (18 August 2011): “Ya’ aha Obama.  So […]

  • Social Origins of the Tent Protests in Israel

    It started in mid-July, when Dafni Leef, a Tel Aviv filmmaker, was met with a hike in her rent that she couldn’t afford to pay.  Instead of moving to a new apartment, she moved to a tent on Rothschild Boulevard, the city’s sleekest thoroughfare, and set up a Facebook event calling for her compatriots to […]

  • Cities Pay Millions for First Amendment Violations and Police Violence.  Will Chicago Be Next?

    The US court system has found criminal police conduct (beatings, false arrests, other violence and felonies) at anti-war/anti-G8/FTAA/WTO protests to be so flagrant that payouts to the victims of police illegality and violence have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The payouts for unprovoked police violence and illegality, below, do not include what cities […]

  • The Race with Iran: Saudi Arabia’s Sectarian Card

    Four months ago, we returned from a trip to the Middle East and wrote that “the main question engaging people with respect to the Arab Spring is no longer, ‘who’s next,’ but rather how far will Saudi Arabia go in pushing a ‘counter-revolutionary agenda’ across the [region].”  Since then, something of a discussion, if not […]

  • The Future of Arab Revolts: Interview with Samir Amin

      The way Egyptian scholar and researcher Samir Amin sees it, nothing will be the same as before in the Arab world: protest movements will challenge both the internal social order of Arab countries and their places in the regional and global political chessboard. Hassane Zerrouky: How do you see what’s happening in the Arab […]

  • Libya — Lather, Rinse, Repeat — Syria: Liberal Imperialism and the Refusal to Learn

    Two of my favorite quotes come into play here, one by the English poet, Alexander Pope, who explained that “some people will never learn anything . . . because they understand everything too soon,” and George Bernard Shaw, much more resigned and ironic in stating that “we learn from experience that men never learn anything […]

  • Listening to What Iranians Say about Their Nuclear Program Instead of Relying on “Intelligence” and Agenda-driven “Analysis”

    As part of the current and ongoing effort to demonize further the Islamic Republic, there has been an uptick in media stories, drawing on conveniently leaked Western intelligence assessments, highlighting Tehran’s allegedly looming acquisition of nuclear weapons.  One of these stories, from the Associated Press, seems particularly emblematic, so we want to look at it […]

  • Middle East News Roundup: Arab Spring, Royal Summer, Islamist Autumn

    Egypt Amin Saikal (ABC, 29 July 2011): “The Islamist parties [in Egypt] now stand a good chance to win an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections in November, and also contest successfully the presidential election. . . .  According to an Aljazeera public opinion survey, released on July 7, 2011, nearly 50 per cent of […]

  • “Living within Our Means” and Standard and Poor’s Downgrade

    The President, Senators, Congresspersons, media representatives, and many ordinary people speak often, these days, about Washington “learning to live within our means.”  Last Friday, the private rating company, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), said the riskiness of lending to the US had risen because the US was not living within its means (i.e. borrowing too much).  […]

  • Iran and al-Qa’ida: Can the Charges Be Substantiated?

    Last week, the Obama Administration formally charged the Islamic Republic of working with al-Qa’ida.  The charge was presented as part of the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was designating six alleged al-Qa’ida operatives for terrorism-related financial sanctions.  The six are being designated, according to Treasury, because of their involvement in transiting money and operatives for […]

  • Brazil Needs to Quit Haiti

    U.S. diplomatic cables now released from Wikileaks make it clearer than ever before that foreign troops occupying Haiti for more than seven years have no legitimate reason to be there; that this a U.S. occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan; that it is part of a decades-long U.S. strategy to deny Haitians the […]

  • Oil and the Iranian-Saudi “Cold War”

    One of last month’s most interesting developments in Persian Gulf power politics played out not in the Middle East, but in Vienna, Paris, and Washington.  For these Western cities were the venues for an important series of exchanges that revealed much about the changing balance of power among the Middle East’s major oil producers, including […]

  • The Road to Syrian Democracy: A New Political Party Law to End One-Party Rule

    A new political party law has been drafted in Syria and is now posted online for public debate.  It is due for ratification by parliament next August.  If it passes, the law would effectively end one-party rule in Syria, which started when the Baathists came to power, through military coup, back in March 1963.  In […]

  • After the “West”

    The notion of the “west”, like any such construct, has various associations depending on who is using it, where and in what circumstances.  Many people (especially in other parts of the world) tend to associate the “west” with military campaigns and foreign interventions by Nato and its leading states, the United States and Britain.  More […]