"Obama uses UN speech to threaten war against Iran" (Bill Van Auken, WSWS):
President Barack Obama postured before the United Nations Tuesday as
the champion of peace and democracy, while threatening war against Iran
and demanding a crackdown against the wave of anti-US demonstrations
that have swept the Middle East.
This, Obama’s fourth address to
an opening session of the UN General Assembly since taking office in
2009, was saturated with hypocritical invocations of “American values”
and lies about Washington’s actions on the world stage.
president delivered an unmistakable threat that the US is preparing to
launch yet another war of aggression, this time against Iran, with
potentially far bloodier consequences than those it has carried out in
Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade.
“Make no mistake: a
nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” Obama
declared. “It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of
Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks
triggering a nuclear arms race in the region and the unraveling of the
non-proliferation treaty. That is why… the United States will do what we
must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
that there is “still time” for the US to force Iran to cede to its
demands by means of diplomacy, he added, “that time is not unlimited.”
This happens and people still want to vote for Barack? Still want to delude themselves that he's their fellow?
He is a War Hawk and that's all he's ever been.
I find it hilarious (see the snapshot) that Veterans For Peace nationally will not call out Barack, even now but they will meet with the homophobic president of Iran.
If you missed it, John V. Walsh reported
in September of last year about the hurdles leadership put the membership through and still they refuse to implement the resolution:
This victory of the VFP rank and file who submitted
the resolutions did not come easily. It took three years. The first
such resolution was written shortly after Obama took office, on his
fourth day ordering Hellfire missiles to strike Pakistan, killing dozens
of civilians including three children. That prompted Tom Santoni of
the Central FL VFP chapter to write an impeachment resolution. It was
taken up at the national convention the following August and was
supported by the admirable Adam Kokesh who was at a meeting next door of
VFP’s sister organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War. But the VFP
leadership, that is the Board, voted against it, thus requiring a
two-thirds vote of the membership.
This bit of gate keeping worked, and the resolution failed at the
August convention. Santoni quit in disgust, a big loss to VFP. The
Central Florida chapter tried again in 2010 under the leaderhship of its
co-chair Phil Restino. This time Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan
endorsed the resolution, but again it failed. Finally, this year the
Central FL chapter once again submitted the resolution and this time the
board did not vote it down! The unstoppable Restino reached out to all
128 VFP chapters urging support and passage. And spontaneously Jesse
Perrier of Boston’s Smedley Butler chapter of VFP arose and gave an
impassioned speech that brought down the house and won the day. The
Now what about the implementation? The Impeach Bush resolution was
pushed aggressively in 2005 running up to the 2006 election when
Democrats were running on the promise of impeachment, on which they
promptly reneged, most notoriously John Conyers, the poster
Congressperson for impeachment. Mike Ferner, at the time executive
director of VFP, made an indignant Bush-bashing speech for impeachment
in front of the White House. You can view it here
in all its glory. A hard copy letter with the signature of the VFP
president was mailed to each member of the House calling for
How about the present resolution? Mike Ferner opposed it in the
floor debate at the August convention. There has been no rally and none
is planned – not in front of the White House or anywhere else. This
time a fax of the resolution has been sent to the House members without
signature of the President. Currently the Central FL chapter is trying
to send snail mail letters on its own to every House member once it gets
the signature of the president.
The VFP refuses to move it forward. They stroke Obama and generally act like a group of suck ass Eddie Haskells. I can't believe how craven the leadership has been.
Yet while they refuse to call out Barack, they meet with the President of Iran and fawn over him. This is so disgusting. They really need to get their act together, they really, really need to get their act together.
Remember that when there's a Republican in the White House. That the leadership of the VFP refused to call out the president when he was a Democrat.
You'd think supposed warriors wouldn't be so chicken s**t about calling out a president but you'd be wrong.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
September 26, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq and the Turkish
government make noises, the White House is negotiating with Iraq to send
more troops back to the US, and more.
Yesterday, US President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations with a laundry list of fabulists claims. One of them was:
intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate
of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to
stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the
aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.
realism on this topic is journalist and sociologist Mahdi Darius
Nazemroaya who was on the ground in the Libya as the government was
overthrown by 'rebels' -- some of whom were trained out of Langley in
the United States. Madhi was one of the few unembedded reporters in
Libya and one of the few who didn't take US government press releases
and put his name to it. A brave and independent voice, Mahdi is the
author of the Globalisation of NATO
. Last Wednesday, he spoke with Heart of Africa
host Kudakwashe Cayenne about Libya, the modern efforts to colonize Africa, and much more, click here to stream that program
Darius Nazemroaya: The war in Libya was an American-led war. I know
the Americans didn't want to make it look like it was an American-led
war. That's why they pushed the French and the British ahead. But, in
reality, they provided most of the muscle, most of the bombs. Most of
the, uh, military might was from them. They started -- They started the
operations along with the French and the British. But they publicly
wanted to make it look like David Cameron, the Prime Minister of
Britain, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of the French Republic, were
the ones leading this. But this wasn't true. They were just hiding
behind them because they knew that the world -- There's a negative
opinion of US intervention in countries so they used it as a
Kudakwashe Cayenne: Okay, Mahdi, why is it important for African to understand who NATO is today?
Darius Nazemroya: It's very important to understand who [NATO] is today
because they're colonizing the African continent. Like I mentioned
Libya. That's just one country. NATO is also involved in Somolia, it's
also involved in Sudan. It's normally involved in both these African
countries so we're talking about three African countries so NATO has
programs with about one-third of Africa's land areas, more than
one-third, is under NATO programs. NATO and the European Union and the
United States want to see a divided Africa. This is very clear from
their policies. I'm going to mention something called the Mediterranean
Dialogue. The Mediterranean Dialogue is a NATO partnership program,
it's an expansion of NATO. The countries that are part of this are
Morocco, Algeria, the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Egypt,
Tunisia -- these are the African members. That are part of it.
Kudakwashe Cayenne: Oh.
Darius Nazemroaya: Yeah, they're part of it. And this program is also
complimented by a European Union program called the Euro Mediterranean
Partnership which Nicolas Sarkozy renamed as the Union for the
Mediterranean, okay? So this is very important to grasp because NATO
expansion has always been aligned with European Union expansion. All
the Eastern European countries that joined NATO also joined the EU
after. And they joined NATO through something called a Partnership for
Peace which was made after the end of the Cold War -- it was made
towards the end of the Cold War. So it was made to -- It was made as a
way of securing these countries and I have to explain this, this is very
important, the Partnership for Peace prevented these Eastern European
countries -- and I will get back to Africa, but I need to explain what
happened in Eastern Europe. It prevented these Eastern European
countries from pursuing any other security alternative to NATO. All of
these countries used to be part of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.
Kudakwashe Cayenne: Okay.
Darius Nazemroaya: But once they joined the Partnership for Peace, they
were never -- They didn't become full NATO members and they didn't have
the benefits of being part of NATO but they fell under NATO control.
And this is what's important, when they fell under NATO control, they
were promised that they could join NATO after certain reforms. These
reforms were security, military and political which effected the
economy. So they were put under this program which meant that they had
one foot in the door and one foot out of the door. They were put under
this program because NATO could guarantee their structures could be
changed. They were being restructured and being prepared for NATO but
restructuring meant that they were essentially being turned into
colonies. The things they had to do was make public their defense
budgets and programs which meant NATO would know exactly what they were
doing with their defense and this is a way to keep your eye on them.
At the same time, old military officers were being pushed out and a lot
of these old military officers were very patriotic and they would look
out for their country's benefit and there was a chance that it might
enact a coup d'etat in their country against the new governments that
were coming in place. And this is what's important, the new governments
were all supported and funded by the United States and its western
allies within NATO and they were putting a lot of criminals in place or
people that were treacherous who actually were selling their national
assets to the United States and Western Europe, they were letting their
countries become colonized.
Heart of Africa
hosted by Kitakyushu Cayenne, is a weekly program featuring music and
interviews (Mahdi's interview starts about ten minutes into the
program). You can hear it live at More Light Radio
every Wednesday at 2000 hours Central Africa Time. Tomorrow night, the
latest episode is broadcast live and the scheduled guest is Abramo
Askew with the topic of the conflict in Syria, unrest in the region, the
notorious video out of the US and Muslim reactions.
Libya for a moment more, September 11, 2012, the US Consulate in Libya
was attacked resulting in the deaths of Glen Dotty, Christopher Stevens,
Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods. Last Thursday's snapshot
On that attack, earlier today Kathleen Tennessee of the Laos Angeles Times reported,
"The White House is now describing the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S.
Consulate in Benghazi as a 'terrorist attack,' a shift in emphasis after
days of describing the lethal assault as a spontaneous eruption of
anger over an anti-Islamic film made in California."
Williams: It won't bring back the U.S. Ambassador or the three other
Americans who were murdered -- including two former Navy Seals, but
tonight: What happened the night they died? The storming of that U.S.
consulate in Benghazi, Libya is being labeled an act of terrorism by the
White House. That was not the initial story and some in government
have given conflicting versions for what happened there that night. We
begin tonight with tonight with what it does mean. Our chief foreign
affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell in our D.C. bureau tonight.
Andrea, good evening.
Andrea Mitchell: Good evening, Brian. And tonight the White House confirmed that the attack was an act of terror -- officials say by al Qaeda sympathizers. But big questions remain about when it was planned and why initial reports were wrong?
Ruth's post for the full transcript and she's also posted the video of
the report. On her Friday post, she noted that while NBC treated this
as major news, PBS' NewsHour reduced it to two sentences in the newswrap and didn't even note that the White House had admitted it was a terrorist act.
could fix their omission today. AP reports
today that the White House was pressed on Air Force One about where
they stand on the attack since last Thursday saw Jay Carney deliver the
announcement, was this also the opinion of President Barack Obama?
Jay, in his interview on the Today Show this morning, the Libyan
President said that the attacks on the consulate had nothing to do with
the video that sparked all the protests as elsewhere. He also repeated
his claim that they were preplanned, given their sophistication, so
given that's in direct contradiction to what the administration says,
CARNEY: Well, I can tell you that President Magarief made very
heartfelt public statements before his meeting with Secretary Clinton in
New York about the brave four Americans who were killed and the firm
commitment of Libya to not allow a violent minority to hijack Libya's
hopes and dreams.
Over the course of the
past two weeks, this administration has provided as much information as
it has been able to. We made clear that our initial assessment and
interim reports were based on information that was available at the
time. Several administration officials, including the NCTC director,
have spoken on the record about the information we have. We have also
been clear that there's an ongoing FBI investigation and that we must
allow that investigation to take its course. The Accountability Review
Board established by Secretary of State Clinton is also doing a full
I can point you again to
the statements by the NCTC director about his assessment as the chief
counterterrorism official about the information that we had available at
the time about how the attack occurred and who was responsible. And it
continues to be the case that we provided information based on what we
know -- not based on speculation, but based on what we know --
acknowledging that we are continuing an investigation that will
undoubtedly uncover more facts, and as more facts and more details
emerge we will, when appropriate, provide them to you.
Q The fact that he was pretty equivocal statement today that the video --
CARNEY: The U.S. intelligence upon which we make our assessments has
provided very clear public assessments of the information that they have
available, that they had initially, that they had available when the
NCTC director talked to Congress and spoke publicly. And that's what --
we make our judgments based on the information that we gather.
One more question on that. But how often is the President in contact
with President Magarief? I mean, are they talking every day? Are they
sharing this information? Is there anything that he might be aware of
that the President would not be?
CARNEY: We have significant cooperation with the new Libyan
government, but I don't think intelligence sharing occurs at the
President-to-President level, necessarily. President Obama did speak
last week with the Libyan leader, the same night that he spoke with
President Morsi of Egypt. But I don't believe they've had a
[. . .]
Is there any reason why the President did not -- he was asked
point-blank in The View interview, is this a terrorist attack, yes or
no? Is there any reason why he didn't say yes?
CARNEY: No, there's -- I mean, he answered the question that he was
asked, and there's no reason that he chose the words he did beyond
trying to provide a full explanation of his views and his assessment
that we need to await further information that the investigation will
uncover. But it is certainly the case that it is our view as an
administration, the President's view, that it was a terrorist attack.
It doesn't matter whether or not
they intended their illegal war to kill over a million Iraqis. You can
even set aside the issue of Abu Ghraib (for England, the UK secret
service getting caught in Basra trying to pass as Iraqis while
apparently setting off bombs -- one of the most under-reported moments
of the war despite the fact that a prison was destroyed in the
process). You can even set aside illegal weapons being used. The birth
defects demonstrate they were used but you can set that aside.
you wage an illegal war, you are a War Criminal. If you shoot someone
dead, you are a murderer. These are basics under the law. Blair and
Bush did not have authority to start the war but did so. They intended
to start the war regardless of legality. They broke the law, they did
so with intent. They are War Criminals.
Steven Strauss wants to bring Tony Blair into it. He'll argue, "Tutu
did!" Well, Strauss, if you bring the British into it and you start
noting body counts (incorrect ones), it's incumbent upon you to include
the British toll. Let's do what he lacked the manners to do, 179
is the number of "British Armed Forces personnel or MOD civilians" who
have died in Iraq since March 2003 according to the United Kingdom's
Ministry of Defence
. Again, if you start mentioning Blair and
England and you then give death tolls, it's just rude and insensitive
not to give the UK losses. Iraqi losses? They aren't really counted.
The Lancet Study found over a million. It used the same estimating
process the UN uses. It was only 'controversial' because people didn't
want to face the realities of the war and worked overtime to try and
discredit it. The methodology stands. By now, it may be up to two
million. He grossly underestimates the death toll while adding two to
the US death toll. The US Defense Dept does not list "over 4,500 of our
own service personnel," it's 4488
he overestimates the US count (unless he's disputing the official DoD
count -- in which case he needs to say so) while underestimating the
Iraqi death toll -- and, of course, ignores the British death toll. The
word for that is: Tacky.
Of the war in Iraq
and the tremendous cost in terms of deaths, the injured and the money,
Strauss insists, "This wasn't leadership by criminal masterminds -- it
was mismanagement by incompetent buffoons." So what's your damn point?
Do we remember the attempt a few years back to rob Velasquez and Sons Mufflers For Less in Chicago
The robber showed up but the employees said they couldn't open the safe
and told him only the manager had the combination. What did the robber
do (link goes to WGN report, this is a true story)? He gave them his
cell phone number and told them to call him when the manager got there.
The police had the employees call him and tell him the safe was open,
when he showed up with his gun, the police arrested him.
the judge may have laughed when the robber appeared in court. He or
she may have told the robber, "You are an incompetent buffoon." But he
or she didn't say, "I want you to plead not guilty by reason of
stupidity." Stupidity -- like ignorance of the law -- is not a valid
legal defense. Why Strauss would choose to weigh in all this time later
in defense of Blair and Bush begs the question if he also is an
Archbishop Desmond Tutu argued
that the war was based on a lie. That is a valid argument. People can
disagree but they'll find more to back that up -- whether it's this
official or that explaining 'that's the reason we settled on.' The
reality is the people were lied to. In America about "uranium yellow
cake from Africa." About as real as uranium yellow cake from Betty
Crocker. In England, Tony Blair lied about Iraq having chemical
weapons at the ready to attack England in 45 minutes. Intelligence
agencies in both countries knew the statements were wrong. You can be a
Strauss and plead stupidity but if you're lying to the public by
'accident' (or 'accident of stupidity') and you're informed you were
wrong (and Blair and Bush were), you correct the record. If you
don't, you're a liar. They lied the world into that illegal war. Tutu
is correct that these were lies. Strauss is -- you decide.
on stupidity . . . I'd prefer not to ever say a word against Veterans
for Peace and Leah Bolger. But guess what? Don't send me stupid crap.
they met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If we had space,
I'd put it here -- the press release -- in full because it is so
stupid. What was the point of the meeting? Ahmadinejad is homophobic
along with everything else. Stop meeting with homophobes and declaring,
"I am most pleased and honored to be in attendance with all of you."
What was the point of the stupid meeting? This is embarrassing. I have
no problem with Sean Penn
doing a fact finding mission in Iraq as he did. (And that would
include, while he was in Iraq, meeting with any official
including Saddam Hussein. Iraq was not a free society, someone of
Sean's stature would be pressed to meet with the officials. That's
fine. There was a purpose for the visit and I have no problem with
something like that. Or meeting to attempt to get hostages or POWs
released.) I have no problem with CODEPINK attempting peace with
visits to other countries as they have many times. But I don't see the
point of this meeting with the President of Iran other than, "We don't
agree with our own government."
point? That's fine not to agree with your government. I believe I rip
apart the White House in pretty much every snapshot. (Whereas VFP
nationally shuts down criticism and opposition of Barack Obama from
their chapters and refuses to hold him accountable.) But I don't go
meet with little tyrants who are known human rights abusers and say,
'Hey, like you, I disagree with the US government.' I don't try to find
common cause with tyrants or say 'we're two of a kind!' If there was a
purpose to this meeting, I'm missing it. They say the meeting was
about "stressing VSP's commitment to doing everything possible tp
prevent a U.S. or U.S.-assisted attack on Iran. VFP hopes to send a
delegation to Iran in October." Great on the delegation. May it
happen, may the VFP form strong alliances with the Iranian people (who
I'm sure are good and wonderful people just like elsewhere in the
world). But there's a world of difference between meeting with him and
giving him your blessing (which is what that meeting does -- even before
the fawning language) and meeting with the Iranian people. He is part
of a corrupt regime that suppresses people
. I support any journalist from any country interviewing him and hope they hold him accountable on human rights
and call him out when he makes homophobic remarks -- which he's been doing for so long that millions and millions have seen Andy Samberg
's Saturday Night Live
"Iran So Far
" (featuring Adam Levine
If those remarks about gay people had been about Black people, would
VFP still be embracing him? I don't think so. We don't make homophobia
unacceptable until we make it clear with our own actions that it's
Did you think this meet-up
meant that if the US starts bombing Iran, Ahmadinejad is going to say,
"We could bomb all of the US but let's make sure not to harm Leah and
VFP?" What the hell is that? There is no purpose served by that
meeting. It's insulting to the Iranians who are fighting for human
rights and dignity and to meet with a noted homophobe is insulting to
LGBTs around the world and to all of us who despise and will not
tolerate homophobia. Andy took on homophobia with that video
-- and did a wonderful job of it -- but how sad that a comedian (a
great one) did more to combat homphobia than Veterans for Peace. I don't
support war with Iran and will protest it if the US tries to initiate
it. But I also don't go meet with a known tyrant and express how
wonderful it is to be in the same room with his Immense Cruelness.
It's a human rights issue, it's a self-respect issue.
move on. During a week where reports said that the Ministry of
Education was refusing to allow men and women on campuses together,
let's note a bright spot. But let's be clear that the reports, which
were denied yesterday by the Ministry of Education, were not about
co-education in the way you might think. What the Ministry was
proposing -- but backed down on (at least for now) -- was that no female
professors could teach at colleges employing male professors -- or
deans -- and 'vice versa.' 'Vice versa' because the ones let go would
be women. Most universities in Iraq have more men on staff than they do
women. This was an attempt to cripple women's employment -- women with
advanced degrees and training. And this is what you get when you put
thugs in charge, when you court fundamentalists -- as the US government
did in Iraq -- to scare the population into submission. Now for the
bright spot. AFP reports
today that 15-year-old Hoda is among the young Iraqi women and girls
taking part in the country's first national weightlifting team.
Dropping back to the August 27th snapshot
Turning to sports, Alsumaria reports that
Baghdad is organizing the first official tournament for women in the
Iraqi Federation of Weightlifting. This will allow the athletes to
participate in the Arab Championship taking place in Morroco at the end
of September. It should also hopefully lay the groundwork for Iraqi
women to compete in the weighlifting of the 2016 Summer Olympics to be
held in Rio de Janeiro.
what it's about, the Olympics, the pursuit of national glory on the
international stage. You want to go for the Gold (and Silver and
Bronze)? You need to compete in every sport. Emily Alpert (Los Angeles Times) reported
in July, "For the first time in Olympic history, every country will
have a woman competing on its team, including longtime holdout Saudi
Arabia, the International Olympic Committee announced Thursday. Brunei
and Qatar will also send female athletes to the London Games for the
first time." Iraq sent 5 men and 3 women to compete in the Summer Olympics in London
: Dana Hussein, Adnan Taas, Nour Amer, Rana al-Mashadani, Safa Rashed, Muhannad Ahmad, Ahmed Abdel-Karim and Ali Nazim
Like all participating in the competition, they were outstanding
athletes and, for those eight, making it to the Olympics was a victory.
As John Canzano (Oregonian) pointed out
"It wasn't lost on me that many of the sprinters around [Dana] Abdul
Razak in the mixed zone didn't grow up in a nation where being able to
compete would even be a question. Also, with Allyson Felix of the U.S.
coming through moments later after winning the heat and wearing the
finest traack and field gear to go with the best training/nutrition to
go with a USA Track and Field handler who escorted her, I wondered about
the vast dispartiy in resources available to athletes here." Iraq
should be very proud of their eight Olympians. And the decision to
create the women's weight lifting team and prepare for 2016 right now
demonstrates real foresight on the part of Iraq's National Olympic Committee
reports of the new weightlifting team:
In one corner, Hoda, wearing a worn tracksuit, waits for her turn to lift again.
"I love the sport," she said. "I used to follow the championships on television and I went to a club and registered."
has since set personal bests of 60 kilogrammes in the snatch, and 72
kilogrammes in the clean and jerk, which she and her teammates hope to
build on in the Arab weightlifting championship in the Moroccan capital
"I wish to win the gold medal," Hoda said.
desire to win -- whether it's in a sport, on the world stage, in the
economy, what have you -- can go a long way towards creating space for
human rights advances. (It can also do the opposite -- but right now in
Iraq, in this instance, it's worked to open up the society just a
little bit and hopefully it will make a difference.)
Turning to violence, Al Rafidayn notes
3 Tunis bombings targeting a convoy of a police chief Lt Col Salman
Kadhim al-Khazraji which left him, 2 bodyguards and 1 civilian dead and
left two bodyguards injured while a Yathrib roadside bombing claimed
the lives of 2 police officers. AFP adds
that an attack on an Iskandiriyah checkpoint left 2 soldiers dead and another injured. Press TV notes
that 1 police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk and 1 soldier was shot
dead in Mosul. And if you wonder why AFP's monthly count is always so
off, they only count 7 dead yesterday. Iraq Body Count
notes 14 were killed yesterday and that 279 for the month through yesterday.
Meanwhile Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited Iraq's chief thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for a visit
. AFP observes
"Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by a flurry of disputes
this year, most recently Ankara's refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice
President Tareq Al-Hashemi, who has been sentenced to death in absentia
by an Iraqi court." The invitation comes as Hurriyet notes
"Iraq is now capable of shooting down Turkish jets entering Iraqi
airspace to target Kurdish militants, Iraqi Air Force Officer Iskander
Witwit recently told the New York Times
For years now, Turkey has sent warplanes over northern Iraq to bomb
suspected PKK camps (Turkey also sends drones over the area -- drones
supplied by the US and some coming from the US CIA station on the
Turkish border). This new capability by Iraq's Air Force (or alleged
capability -- they have an issue with flying these planes and currently
Iraq has sent a small group of pilots to the US for training) has not
detered Turkey. Selcan Hacaoglu (Bloomberg News) reports
there's an effort by the Turkish government to continue the bomb raids,
"Parliament will reconvene from its summer holiday on Oct. 1 and is
expected to give priority to a one-year extension of the mandate for
cross-border attacks, which expires on Oct. 17, Arinc told reporters in
Ankara late yesterday." Areeb Hasni (News Tribe) adds
"Turkey's military chief General Necdet Ozel on Wednesday threatened to
launch an assault on the main base of the Kurdistan Workers' Party
(PKK) in the Qandil mountain region of northern Iraq, after series of
attacks on military installments inside the country." Trend News Agency reveals
"Turkey has begun delivering military equipment to the border with Iraq
today, the newspaper Yeni Safak reported with references to the Turkish
General Staff. According to the General Staff, Turkey will conduct the
operation against militants of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party,
which will be called 'Fall cleaning'."
Turning to the topic of oil, Ercan Ersoy and Nayla Razzouk (Bloomberg News) report
"Iraq's government will start making payments to international oil
companies working in the northern Kurdish region next week, said Ashti
Hawrami, natural resources minister in the Kurdistan Regional
Government." That will do a bit to ease the tensions between Baghdad
and Erbil if it happens. But it won't make everything fine. Nawzad Mahmoud (Rudaw) reports
that Kurds are losing out in the Iraqi Army and when it comes to governmnet jobs. In addition, Nehro Muhammad (Rudaw) points out
that there remains the issue of the US equivalent of $7 million that
Baghad owes the KRG's for the Peshmerga budget. Of course, there is
also the disputed, oil-rich Kirkuk.
Tom Hayden (The Nation) notes Tim Arango's New York Times report
from yesterday states, "At the request of the Iraqi government,
according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers
was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterrorism and help with
intelligence." The report also points out
"Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could
result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on
training missions." Tom ignores that. Tim Arango should have made that
his lede and the focus on the report. If your big claim for
re-election is that you pulled (most of) the troops from Iraq, this
attempt to renegotiate goes to the fact that you are lying to the
American people. For a critique of Hayden, click here
Michael R. Gordon and Bernard Trainor's new book The Endgame
is noted by Peter Feaver (Foreign Policy) who summarizes
some of the points in the book:
president unable to engage in effective personal diplomacy at crunch
time because he had failed to invest in the hard work of retail
diplomacy along the way. This is a problem that extends well past Iraq,
as another blockbuster New York Times story makes clear. As an unnamed U.S. diplomat told the NYT:
"He's not good with personal relationships; that's not what interests
him...But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The
lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership
- A team whose wild
over-confidence contributed to the failure to react in a timely manner
to an unraveling situation. In one of the most devastating items in the
piece, Gordon quotes Vice President Biden: "I'll bet you my vice
presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA," he added, referring to the Status of Forces Agreement the Obama administration hoped to negotiate."
team paralyzed by infighting and poisonous civil-military relations.
Gordon reports that Thomas Donilon, Obama's national security advisor,
criticized Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
for presenting military advice that ran counter to what the White House
wanted to hear.
In addition, Will Inboden (Foreign Policy) weighs in
Last summer I ruminated on President Obama's curious lack of personal connections with any global leaders of note. Peter Feaver's post below on Iraq and this New York Times story both demonstrate how this deficiency continues to hinder the Obama administration's foreign policy. The Times
article describes Obama's "failure to build close personal
relationships with foreign leaders that can, especially in the Middle
East, help the White House to influence decisions made abroad."
Peter's post and the Times
article both point to diplomatic mistakes made with Maliki in Iraq and
Mubarak in Egypt. Meanwhile, the list continues to grow of President
Obama's other missed opportunities, failures, and simmering crises that
all could have benefitted from better personal relationships and
rapports -- such as with Karzai in Afghanistan, Abdullah in Saudi
Arabia, Merkel in Germany, Harper in Canada, Noda in Japan (the Senkaku
Islands standoff between Japan and China could get much worse), Singh in
India, Zardari in Pakistan, and especially Netanyahu in Israel. Sure,
some of these global leaders can be difficult to get along with, but
diplomacy has never been easy.