Archive for July 5, 2014


by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

A person might think that revulsion in “the world community” against Washington’s wanton slaughter of civilians in eight countries would have led to War Crimes Tribunal warrants issued for the arrest of presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and many officials in their regimes. But the vocal part of “the world community”–the West–has become inured to Washington’s crimes against humanity and doesn’t bother to protest. Indeed, many of these governments are complicit in Washington’s crimes, and there could just as well be arrest warrants for members of European governments.

The one exception is Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has published a White Book on violations of human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine. Propagandized Americans think that all the violations in Ukraine are made by Russians. The White Book carefully and accurately documents reported violations that occurred in Ukraine for four months from December 2013 through March 2014.

The White Book is available here. You will not hear much or anything about it from the presstitute US media, and it is unlikely to receive much coverage in Europe. The facts are so greatly at odds with the West’s position that the White Book is a huge embarrassment to the West.

The slaughter of Ukrainians on Washington’s orders by Washington’s stooge government in Kiev has worsened considerably in the past three months, producing more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Russia for protection from strikes against civilian housing from the air, artillery, and tanks.

Every effort by the Russian government to involve Washington, the European Union, and Kiev in negotiations to find a peaceful settlement has failed.

Washington is not interested in a settlement. Disturbed by its NATO vassals’ dependence on Russian energy and the growing economic relationships between Russia and Europe, Washington is at work through its Kiev proxy murdering citizens in eastern and southern parts of present-day Ukraine that once were part of Russia.

Washington has declared these civilians to be “terrorists” and is trying to force Russia to intervene militarily in order to protect them. Russia’s protective intervention would then be denounced by Washington as “invasion and annexation.” Washington would use this propaganda, which would blare from the Western media, to pressure Europe to support Washington’s sanctions against Russia. The sanctions would effectively destroy the existing economic relationships between Russia and Europe.

Washington has not had success in imposing sanctions, because, although Washington’s European vassals, such as Merkel, are willing, business interests in Germany, France, and Italy stand opposed. Washington is hoping that by forcing Russia to act, Washington can sufficiently demonize Russia and silence the European business interests with propaganda.

To counter Washington’s ploy, Putin had the Russian Duma rescind his authority to send Russian forces into Ukraine. Unlike the American presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, Putin does not claim the authority to use military forces without permission from the legislature.

Washington’s response to Putin’s stand down is to increase the slaughter of civilians, all the while denying that any such slaughter is occurring. Washington is determined not to acknowledge the existence of a slaughter for which it is responsible, although everyone knows that Kiev would not dare to take on Russia without Washington’s backing.

Putin’s bet is that European business interests will prevail over Washington’s European lap dogs. This is a hopeful and optimistic bet, but Washington is already at work to threaten and to undermine the resistance of European business interests. Using concocted charges, Washington has stolen $9 billion from France’s largest bank for doing business with countries disapproved by Washington. This was Washington’s warning to European business to comply with Washington’s sanctions. Washington even told France that the fine would be rescinded or reduced if France broke its contract with Russia to supply two helicopter carriers. Other such moves against European businesses are in the works. The purpose is to intimidate European businesses from opposing sanctions against Russia.

Washington’s arrogance that Washington can decide with whom a French bank can do business is astonishing. It is even more astonishing that France and the bank would accept such arrogance and infringement of France’s sovereignty. France’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony shows that one risk in Putin’s bet is that the bet assumes European business interests can prevail over Washington’s strategic interest.

Another risk in Putin’s bet is that by standing down and tolerating Washington’s slaughter of civilians, Putin is becoming complicit in Washington’s crimes against humanity. The longer the slaughter goes on, the more complicit the Russian government becomes. Moreover, the passage of time allows Kiev to increase its forces and NATO to supply these forces with more deadly weapons. A Russian intervention, which previously would have met with easy success, becomes more costly and more drawn out as Kiev’s forces increase.

Washington’s puppet in Kiev has made it clear that he is not going to accommodate any Russian interests or any opposition of Ukrainian provinces to the radical anti-Russian policies of Washington’s stooge government. As Washington acknowledges no responsibility whatsoever for the situation, how long can Putin wait for Merkel or Hollande to break ranks with Washington?

Putin’s alternative is to come to the defense of the Ukrainians who are being attacked. Putin could accept the requests of the rebellious provinces to rejoin Russia as he did with Crimea, declare Washington’s stooge, Petro Poroshenko, to be a war criminal and issue a warrant for his arrest, and send in the Russian military to face down the forces sent by Kiev.

Outside the West, this would establish Putin as a defender of human rights. Inside the West it would make it completely clear to Washington’s European vassals that the consequence of their alignment with Washington is that they will be drawn into war with Russia and, likely, also with China. Europeans have nothing to gain from these wars.

Sooner than later Putin needs to realize that his reasonableness is not reciprocated by Washington. Washington is taking advantage of Putin’s reasonableness, and Washington is pushing Russia harder.

Putin has done what he can to avoid conflict. Now he needs to do the right thing, as he did in Georgia and Crimea.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.

by HAIFA ZANGANA

It goes without saying that very little space has been available in the media, whether Arabic or international, for Iraqi voices that challenge the dominant rhetoric about the situation in Iraq.

Under the dark shadow of US “War on Terror”, the crimes and massacres of 11 years of Iraq invasion, occupation, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the daily oppression carried out by a sectarian kleptomaniac regime, have been covered up, not just by a garb of democracy but also by the media’s silence coined the “Iraq fatigue”, only to be looked at, in the last few weeks, to be reduced yet to a fight against terrorist organisation called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS), supported by ( take your pick) either one or all the following countries, no matter how bizarre the notion is: Saudi Arabia, Qatar , and Israel not forgetting Turkey . Once again, as in 2003 feverish drumming up for war, desperate Iraqis who are trying to defend themselves against a ruthless regime that uses the pretext of combating terrorism as a ploy to silence critical voices have been sidelined, not to be heard and not to be seen. In the Arab countries, joining the choir of exaggerating the role of ISIS in Iraq and elsewhere became the bleach to clean the bloody hands of those responsible of invading, occupying and laying the fertile ground for endless acts of terrorism including state terrorism.

Today, Thousands of Iraqis are fleeing their homes. So far this year, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced by fighting, including from Anbar, and Ninewa, west and Northern governorates. Carrying out airstrikes in Mosul and Tikrit as well as extrajudicial executions of detainees by the regime’s forces and militias in Tal ‘Afar, Mosul and Ba’quba in northern Iraq have raised fears of a large scale vengeful attacks leading to a large scale humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, an international competition is on the way between US, Russia and Iran to supply the regime with weapons. Russia has already sent five Sukhoi fighter jets, the first of 25 warplanes expected to be delivered soon, the US has sent Special Forces, Apache attack helicopters and drones as part of the top up in U.S. military presence, and the fact that Iraq has been, for many years now, a battlefield to settle scores on nuclear programme between US and Iran will only lead to an endless bloodshed reaching far beyond the region where the politically correct whispers about the Maliki’s regime “violations of human rights” in annual governments’ reports, are seen as adding salt to injuries.

In this hysterical atmosphere of supplying arms while tainting everything happening in Iraq by ISIS, which is by no mean comparable to the nearly 1 Dreaming_of_Baghdadmillion strong army and security forces, and especially to the Special Forces (inherited from the occupation, trained by the US and now attached directly to Maliki’s office), it is worth remembering how the current eruption of fighting begun.

It begun with a few hundred people demonstrating in both Anbar and Nineveh, in December 2012, at the news of rape of women detainees at the hands of the Iraqi security forces under Maliki’s command as Commander in Chief. Within few days the protests morphed into a genuine mass movement and a vigil which lasted for over a year. The demand for the release of 4500 women detainees, some of whom have been tortured, raped or threatened with rape gained a wide support, igniting a gradual escalation. Other demands focused on release of prisoners and the repeal of section 4 in the Terrorism Act which allows the arrest of anyone without a warrant and without submitting him/ her to courts and to abolish or suspend the Justice and Accountability Law which have been used to target political dissidents labelling them Ba’athist. The regime’s response was to brand the demonstrators terrorists (ISIS was not born yet). A campaign of arrests and assassination of vigil’s leaders was followed and amid world silence 50 demonstrators were massacred in Huweija, north of Iraq. With every arrest, torture and killing, with every act of humiliation and marginalisation, the prospect of justice diminished thus pushing people to the verge of madness.

To arm the current regime by any country is a crime against Iraqi people. The last 11 years have proved the total failure of US policy in Iraq, and the world is not safer than what it used to be before the invasion. Compare the US list of terrorist organisations acting in Iraq in 2003 with its list now to measure the success of its policy. At the beginning it’s only included Baathists and Saddamists, now it includes: ex Iraqi army officers, 1920 revolution brigade, al Qaida, Islamic State of Iraq , ISIS, Naqshbandi Army, Ansar al-Sunnah, Sunni insurgents, and Sunni tribes together with the military council for the Iraqi revolution. However, militias such as Muqtada al Sadr Mahdi Army, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq’s Badr Brigade, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq have been given a clean slate, for the time being, since their leaders are either part of or pro al Maliki’s alliance.

In the last few days, while much of the attention has been focused on ISIS declaring its restoration of the rule of caliphate in Iraq, various factions taking part in the fight against Maliki’s army , among them The General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (GMCIR) , the Iraqi National army, and council of tribal rebels in Al-Anbar Province, issued statements emphasising the Iraqiness of the uprising, condemning terrorism, calling out to protect the holy places and not to target them because Al-Maliki’s regime is “ trying to use the protection of holy places as a pretext to target the revolution”. Above all, they reject all kind of interference in Iraqi affairs.

And while A spokesman for the GMCIR, described ISIS as “barbarians“.

The influential Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq issued a statement dismissing the new Khilafat declaration, describing it as a step against the interest of Iraq and its unity that will be employed as a pretext to divide the country and harming its people.

Listening to these voices while admitting responsibility about the mushrooming of terrorist’s organisations, in a country that had no link to any before the US led occupation, not airstrikes, is a must if the US and international community are genuinely interested in the stability of the region and the world.

Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi novelist, artist and activist. Her recent books are “Dreaming of Baghdad” and “City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance” and co authored “The Torturer in the Mirror” with Ramsey Clark and Thomas Ehrlich Reifer. She has also published three novels and four collections of short stories and many chapters in books on Iraq and the ME. As a painter and writer she participated in the Eighties in various European and American publications and group exhibitions, with one-woman shows in London and Iceland. She is also a contributor to European and Arabic publications such as The Guardian, Red Pepper, Al Ahram weekly and Al Quds (weekly comment). She contributes to academic conferences on women, gender, resistance and war. Haifa is co-founder of Tadhamun: Iraqi Women Solidarity, founding member of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS) and advisor for UNDP on “Towards the Rise of women in the Arab world”. Currently she is a consultant at ESCWA.