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Syria/Iraq News - Sep 23, 2014


U.S. And Five Arab Countries Begin Airstrikes Against Islamic State In Syria, Pentagon Says - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: White House Press Briefing: Josh Earnest concerned about 'destabilizing impact' of Syrian refugees - YouTube


Kurds: We want the international community to impose an exclusion zone around Kobane to protect it from the IS militants - Rudaw


Peshmerga ministry cannot send forces to Syria, calls for airstrikes againt Islamic State: Jabar Yawar - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syrian opposition urges airstrikes against Islamic State - THE DAILY STAR


130,000 Syrian refugees fleeing Islamic State seek refuge in Turkey - Fox News


VIDEO: Islamic State advance in Syria sparks 'refugee wave' in Turkey - YouTube


Öcalan calls for mass mobilisation against Islamic State’s attacks - ANF


PYD leader: "Kobane will only fall if everyone there is killed!” - Kurdish Question


As masses seek refuge in Turkey, Kurdish fighters rush back to Syria - CSMonitor.com


VIDEO: Hundreds of Kurds crossing Turkish border, going back to defend Kobane - YouTube


VIDEO: More PKK units arrive in Kobane - YouTube


As Europeans Flock to Syria and Iraq to Join the Islamic State, Some Kurds Make the Same Trip to Go Fight Them - VICE News


Syrian Kurds say they halted Islamic State advance near Kobane - The Guardian


Thousands protest IS's Kobane siege in Istanbul, show solidarity with Kurds - todayszaman.com


VIDEO: Thousands protest IS's Kobane siege in Istanbul, show solidarity with Kurds - CİHAN


Kurdish solidarity protest in front of United Nations to draw attention to the attacks by IS - ANF


Kurdish MPs from Turkey in Hunger Strike at UN for Kobane - Rudaw


EU Politicians Appeal for Military Aid to Syrian Kurds - Rudaw


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Turkey Bars Kurds From Entering Syria to Fight Islamic State - Bloomberg


VIDEO: Clashes with Turkish troops at the border as Kurds flock to assist their brethren in Syria - euronews


VIDEO: Turkish soldiers demolish tents built by Kurdish refugees and fighters from Kobane - LiveLeak.com


People allegedly shot with live ammunition at Kobanê border - ANF


Turkey accused of colluding with Islamic State to oppose Syrian Kurds and Assad following surprise release of 49 hostages - independent.co.uk


Islamic State appears to have released Turkish hostages in exchange for key figures of the group - todayszaman.com


Erdoğan confirms bargaining with IS, allegedly 1,500 IS terrorists went by train to Syria via Turkey 3 days before the hostages were released - ANF


Islamic State: 'Turkey has indirectly recognised the Islamic State’ - ANF


Islamic State: 'Turkey fed us' - turkafile.com


Islamic State members wounded in Syria receive treatment in Turkey hospital originally established for the treatment of Islamic Front militants - ANF


Turkish nurse says she's tired of treating IS terrorists - LiveLeak.com


Is Turkey A Reliable Partner In The Fight Against ISIS? - THE ISIS STUDY GROUP


CIA stops spying on friendly nations in Europe, except Turkey - todayszaman.com


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Islamic State spokesman al Adnani threatens the anti-IS coalition in new speech - Threat Matrix


VIDEO (Arabic): Islamic State Spoksman al Adnani Sends a Message to the World - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT (English): Islamic State spokesman' new speech - ia601400.us.archive.org


Islamic State Spokesman: “We do not fight Kurds because they are Kurds. Rather we fight the disbelievers among them” - BAS NEWS


Sources: IS allegedly executes group’s Kurdish members for refusing to join the military campaign - Rudaw


IS Allegedly Kills 300 Iraqi Troops with Chlorine Gas - teleSUR


VIDEO (Arabic): Islamic State allegedly kills 300 Iraqi soldiers in chlorine gas attack - lbcgroup.tv


Iraq said to foil Islamic State chemical attack - The Times of Israel


14 IS militants killed as their chlorine gas rocket explodes - Business Standard News


Disguised Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops, capture scores - AP


Oil-rich Kirkuk in Iraq's north fears attack by Islamic State - LA Times


US airstrikes in Iraq expand to Kirkuk area - Threat Matrix


VIDEO: IS recruiting children to join its force - Al Jazeera


PHOTO: Post is very disturbing !!! Pic shows IS making CHILDREN behead people - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Stop the Bombing: Bravery in an Evil Cause Is Evil

By David Swanson

There will be a protest of the new war at 10 a.m. Tuesday in front of the White House. Some thoughts on the context of this latest decision to bomb yet another country are below.

Following a screening of Phil Donahue's film Body of War in Washington, D.C., on Monday, during which the United States began illegally bombing Syria, Donahue engaged in an interesting exchange with one of those audience members who asks a question and a dozen follow-up questions.

Donahue had belittled drone pilots as sitting at desks with cups of coffee. This member of the audience shouted out that that was unfair, that drone pilots were often engaged in perfectly legitimate murders, and that drone pilots were serving their country just the same as the U.S. Army veteran who is the focus of the film.

The film and its director treat this Army veteran as having honorably served a worthy cause even while describing the war as unjustified and a horrible decision. So, if a ground troop in an immoral illegal war is to be thanked and honored, not just respected and sympathized with, why not thank and honor drone pilots?

Donahue's response to this sort of logic was that the drone pilot is less brave.

At the end of an exchange on that theme, Donahue reached a conclusion that ranked various types of troops based on their levels of bravery, and possibly also of suffering. That last point ran into trouble, as the questioner pointed out the PTSD rates among drone pilots who do in fact sometimes see their victims more than do troops who are physically closer to the action.

But bravery remained standing at the end of the discussion as a contributor to the level of morality.

In my view, this is madness, as Bill Maher lost his job for pointing out. Nobody was braver or more immoral than the 911 terrorists. Bravery in a good cause is admirable. Bravery in an indifferent cause is aesthetically nice, but morally indifferent. And bravery in an evil cause is evil. I made this case to Donahue after the event, and he said that he actually agreed with me.

The idea that bravery redeems participation in evil is war-thinking. Participation in evil can be understood and sympathized with but not redeemed.

Another audience member on Monday evening pointed out something useful about U.S. polling: Americans believe that bombing Syria will make attacks on the United States more likely (indeed, experts agree and history seems to solidly confirm it) and at the very same time, Americans believe that Syria should be bombed.

A willingness to endanger one's self and family and neighbors and millions of people in order to be tough is an irrational and apparently macho position.

This culture of machismo is not without humanity, but that humanity is horribly misinformed. We're not told by the big corporate media about the 95% of deaths in U.S. wars that are the deaths of non-Americans. 

The brilliant Peter Kuznick pointed out at Monday's event that as states require women to watch movies about fetuses before having abortions, they could require people to watch Body of War before wars.  I wish they would. It's a powerful movie. But there's been no Ludlow Amendment and people don't get to vote on wars. And we're now being sold a war on the claim that it won't kill Americans.  If we don't acquire the knowledge that wars also kill non-Americans and that non-Americans matter, we'll be susceptible to manipulation into the idea that a war is a character choice, a matter of expressing and demonstrating bravery.

Following discussion of the film on Monday, we heard stories of bravery in noble causes from five whistleblowers who had put their lives and welfare at risk to advance peace, justice, public safety, the rule of law, and honest government. Their names are Jesselyn Radack, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Thomas Drake, William Binney, and Kirk Wiebe. They talked about morality, not machismo. Here's video of them in Baltimore on Sunday.

A sixth speaker on the topic of speaking out was Phil Donahue, who lost his job at MSNBC for dissenting from war fever in 2003. He heartily denounced the dishonesty and sycophancy of corporate media on Monday. He also came back to the topic of bravery, rightly pointing to the five panelists next to him as the highest examples of moral courage.

Now there's a useful phrase:moral courage. Let's celebrate only that kind.

I spoke at an event Monday morning at American U. at which I asked people to raise their hands if they thought war was good for us and character building, or if they thought some wars were necessary, or if they thought all war was unjustified. The crowd was roughly evenly split between the last two choices. Not a single person accepted the notion (popular 100 years back) that war is good for us. But this unscientific poll was conducted in a room of peace studies students and opponents of war. What would the whole U.S. public say?

After the event I spoke with Medea Benjamin about the just-begun bombing campaign, and she remarked, "This is exactly what ISIL wants. They're trying to get the U.S. involved in a war. There are already U.S. troops in combat and this will mean more. We shouldn't fall into the trap of another immoral and unwinnable war."

Medea and I will be protesting this new war at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in front of the White House along with National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.  We encourage you to join us or to demonstrate locally. Your Congress members and Senators have fled Washington in order to pretend the blood is not on their hands. Take your message of peace to them where they can be found.

Needed: New York March Against War, Because U.N. Is About to Pretend to Legalize It

Here's Francis Boyle on the draft resolution:

So this is a Chapter 7 Resolution, which arguably establishes the predicate for the use of force. It should have been adopted under Chapter 6 to rule out any use of force against Syria. It was not. SC resolutions are binding under either Chapter 6 or Chapter 7 according to ICJ in Namibia Advisory Opinion. So obviously, Obama wants to set the predicate here for using force against ISIS in Syria, which will ultimately lead to the deposition of the Assad government, the crack up of Syria, and genocide against the Alawites and the Christians.

OK. Well obama’s puppet government that he just installed in Iraq could on the basis of this Resolution, Article 51 right of collective  self-defense and the bogus doctrine of hot pursuit ask Obama to bomb ISIS in Syria in order to prevent their cross-border movement from Syria into Iraq and back. Under international law there is no doctrine of hot pursuit on land, only at sea. That Obama scenario and strategy become very clear in OP5 and OP10 and OP14, inter alia. Basically trying to create a right of hot pursuit across land  borders where it did not previously exist —at least Obama will interpret it that way to justify bombing ISIS in Syria at the request of Iraq. There is nothing in this Resolution to rule out that scenario. Indeed, it seems that this Resolution has been drafted for precisely that purpose.

OK. I have read but am not going to go through the rest of this Resolution. It appears that USG specifically drafted this Resolution so that its puppet government in Iraq can on its basis as well as UN Charter Article 51 right of collective self-defense bomb ISIS in Syria. Otherwise, it would be naked aggression against the wishes of the Syrian government. So Obama will use this Resolution as his legal fig-leaf to start the bombing campaign in Syria upon his return to Washington. He will do to Assad and Syria  what he did to Ghadafy and Libya.

Syria News - Sep 20, 2014


In major assault Islamic State fighters seize Kurdish villages in Syria, attacking with U.S. tanks and heavy weapons captured in Mosul - VOA


Syrian Kurd forces withdraw from around 60 villages: monitor - THE DAILY STAR


The northern Syrian city of Kobane under heavy siege by Islamic State militants for the third consecutive day (VIDEOS) - The Long War Journal


Kurds warn of genocide in key city Kobane under siege - The Times


Thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing Islamic State group cross into Turkey - AP


An Exclusive Interview with Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem About Ongoing Islamic State Attacks - Kurdish Question


Kurdish PYD leader Muslim: Whoever is going to do something for Kobane must do it now - ekurd


Kurds call for US air strikes, ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city Kobane under Islamic State siege - The Independent


As Global Efforts Galvanize in Iraq, Syrian Kurds Left Alone Against IS - Rudaw


PKK Appeals to Kurds in Turkey to Fight for Kobane - Rudaw


Kurdish President Barzani: 'Use Every Means' to Protect City of Kobane - NBC News.com


VIDEO: 1000s of Syrians attempt to escape to Turkey amid Islamic State attacks - PressTV


PHOTOS: Islamic State wave of terror drives thousands of frightened Kurdish families over Turkish border - Daily Mail


VIDEO: Tension and tear gas as Turkey deals with Kurdish refugee crisis - Reuters


VIDEO: Kurdish YPG fighters vs Islamic State Terrorists in Kobane - YouTube


VIDEO: Latest video from Kobane, Kurdish YPG fighting Islamic State - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: IS under heavy attack by YPG at night in Kobane - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Syria/Iraq News - Sep 18, 2014

 

House approves Obama's plan to help Syrian rebels fight Islamic State - latimes.com


85 Democrats buck Obama on proposal to arm Syrian rebels against the Islamic State - TheHill


CIA privately skeptical about strategy of arming the so-called moderate Syrian rebels, sources Say - huffingtonpost.com


Military Experts Say U.S.-Backed Fighters in Syria May Be Difficult to Control - mashable.com


Rebels battling Assad are not eager to fight IS, Lawmaker: 'The so-called moderate rebels have often been very immoderate and ineffective' - NYT


Will Syrian Rebels Stop Fighting Assad To Fight ISIS Instead? - KMBZ


Syrian Rebels: We’ll Use U.S. Weapons to Fight Assad, Whether Obama Likes It or Not - The Daily Beast


Beheaded journalists warned about ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels - wnd.com


Factions within the Free Syrian Army have pledged services to the Islamic State, handed over its weapons in large numbers - conservativepapers.com


Frustration drives Arsal’s FSA into IS ranks - AFP


Multiple arms shipments from the U.S. to the “vetted moderate” FSA were suspiciously raided and confiscated by rival groups including IS and Jabhat al-Nusra - PJ Media Reporting


'Moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front chief Maarouf continues to support al Qaeda - Threat Matrix


Ceasefire signed by SRF chief Jamal Maarouf of Free Syrian Army & Qaida’s Nusra brokered by Muhaysini - Joshua Landis on Twitter


Maarouf bombed by Baghdadi & Assad. IS sent 4 suiciders. SAA bombed house, killing daughter - Joshua Landis on Twitter


Al Qaeda branches urge jihadist unity against US-led coalition against IS - The Long War Journal


Al-Qa'ida in Islamic Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula Statement on the U.S.-led coalition against IS - Syria Comment


Muslim Brotherhood decries foreign intervention against Islamic State - middleeastmonitor


Syria Muslim Brotherhood Official Statement on American and International Anti-Terror Coalition - Freedom & Justice Party FJP


Syrian Brotherhood, whose members are prominent among the Free Syrian Army, stands nearer to IS than to U.S. - The Counter Jihad Report


Muslim Brotherhood cleric, just expelled from Qatar along with other leaders, declares his support for the Islamic State - Jihad Watch


Muslim Brotherhood leaders expelled from Qatar heading to Turkey - todayszaman.com


Syrian National Coalition accuses Kurdish YPG forces of killing civilians in Tel Hamis - Kurdpress News Aganecy


YPG General Command regarding the statement by the Syrian National Coalition on recent developments in Tel Hamis - YPG Defense Units on Twitter


Syrian Kurdish YPG Allies With FSA Factions To Fight The Islamic State - VICE News


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Obama insists: No U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq - usatoday.com


VIDEO: Obama on Iraq: U.S. Won't Commit to Another Ground War - YouTube


Foreign troops not wanted in fight against IS, Iraq PM says - Fox News


VIDEO: AP Interview: Iraq PM Says No Foreign Troops - YouTube


Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners - AP


Iraq Official Briefs Syria's Bashar al-Assad on IS Fight - NBC News.com


Reported US-Syrian Accord on Air Strikes Against IS - Consortiumnews


Assad's letter to the US: How Syria is luring Washington in military collaboration to defeat their mutual enemy IS - The Independent


Coalition Of One: Iran Leads Own Fight Against Islamic State Militants - rferl.org


The unspoken US-Iranian alliance against IS militants - France 24


VIDEO: Hagel, Dempsey Testify on Islamic State: Q&A Part 1 - Businessweek


VIDEO: Hagel, Dempsey Testify on Islamic State: Q&A Part 2 - Businessweek


Islamic State video threatens U.S. troops, White House - freep.com


VIDEO: New Islamic State Video Trailer 'Flames of War' - YouTube


Warning to U.S.: IS Has Shot Down a Syrian Regime Fighter Jet - International Business Times


VIDEO: Islamic State fighters shoot down a Syrian warplane - Reuters.com


Islamic State goes underground in Syrian stronghold Raqqa - The Globe and Mail


Islamic State Militants Ban Mathematics, Social Studies, Sports for Children - ndtv.com


Qatar Regulates Charities After Western Concern Over Islamic State Funding - Gulf Business


Saudi Arabia's top clerics speak out against terrorism - Reuters


VIDEO: Dempsey: I know of Arab allies who fund IS - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Why We Oppose The War On ISIS

Below are views of people whose voices are not often heard in the corporate media but who have worked on issues of militarism and war for many years. We sought out the views of those who recognize that war is not the answer to complex foreign policy issues for their views on President Obama’s recent speech declaring war on ISIS. Obama did not use the word “war” as he prefers to avoid explicitly stating what is really happening by talking about “air strikes” and “counter terrorism.”

In reality his speech was a declaration of war. And, he says it will last three years, which we suspect underestimates the war-quagmire he is beginning. As we have said in previous columns, President Obama needs to get (1) authorization for the use of military force from Congress, and (2) authorization from the United Nations before the attack he has announced. He is not pursuing either but instead has taken on the power to send the United States into a new war on his own. In fact, this July the House passed a resolution requiring authorization from Congress for a sustained presence of combat troops in Iraq. The resolution passed with bipartisan support in a 370-40 vote. The House has warned Obama to seek authorization, he has ignored them.  President Obama is violating both domestic and international law. When unilateral military action is taken then every action taken in support of this illegal war is a war crime.

The US public has generally shown opposition to more war in consistent polling — leading to Americans being described as ‘war weary.’ With the recent focus on the extremism of ISIS, especially the beheading of two journalists, there has been a brief spike of support for military action. But as the quicksand of conflict with ISIS takes hold and this war drags on, public opinion will shift back to its opposition to war. People will see that US military intervention is not destroying anti-Americanism but increasing it and thereby strengthening ISIS and similar groups. It is important for those who oppose war to build a campaign now against the war on ISIS in order to move public opinion and end this military conflict as quickly as possible.

This is not about legalisms and US public opinion polls, it is going to be about the killing of tens of thousands of people with air strikes that primarily kill civilians. US military action will add to the chaos in the region, chaos made worse, if not caused, by US intervention in Iraq, Libya, Syria as well as the many countries President Obama has unilaterally bombed.  The US has conducted 94,000 air strikes in the Middle East since 9/11 why does anyone think that continuing this strategy will being peace and security to the region or the United States. When has more of the same ever worked? If the goal is more chaos, division and destruction, Obama has chosen the right path; if the goal is peace and security, he is going in the wrong direction, when there are many other more sensible and effective paths to follow.

Perspectives of those who Oppose War in Iraq and Syria Against ISIS

David Swanson, Director, World Beyond War
Operation Unchanging Hopelessness is going to leave a lot of people feeling degraded and destroyed. ISIS on the other hand is getting what it wanted when it published the videos that have scared so many people into ignorant and soon-to-be-regretted support for mass murder. Just after the speech, Rachel Maddow was glorying in the fact that ISIS wouldn’t get U.S. troops on the ground which, she said, is what they really, really want. But if you’re aware of being manipulated into an act of mass-murder should you be happy that you’re picking a second-choice method that will actually mean MORE dying, only dying of non-Americans? And since when is 1500 troops on the ground with a promise to Chuck Todd to keep it under 100,000 a decision not to have troops on the ground? Remember, 1,000 Russian troops (albeit fictional) constitutes an invasion of Ukraine. Now that I mention it, I’m feeling a bit degraded already.

Veterans for Peace
President Obama outlined a strategy no different from what the U.S. has done for the past thirteen years. It is not a plan for success, it is a gamble that war will work this time when it has spectacularly failed thus far. We at Veterans For Peace challenge the American people to ask whose interests does endless war serve?  Who is paying for these wars, whose children are dying in these wars and who is getting paid to finance and provide weapons for these wars? We the people are being driven by manipulated fear to support polices that are not in our interest. Peace is harder than war, but it is cheaper in blood and treasure. After thirteen years it is time to take another path, the path of peace.

Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
I believe the reason that the presidents of the US can continue to make such belligerent and jingoistic speeches and follow through with the continuation of endless wars is because the American people keep falling for the propaganda and the lie that either one of the two major political parties is better than the other when it comes to war for profit. I think last night’s speech by Obama was just a regurgitation of any speech by GWB and shame on anybody who is falling for this same tired, yet hostile, rhetoric. It would be funny if so many lives weren’t unnecessarily compromised because of US aggression.

CODE PINK
As we commemorate the 13th anniversary of 9/11, we recall the invasion of Afghanistan the US launched one month after the attacks, and the war on Iraq launched on lies in 2002 – and look in horror at conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan today. The lesson? War and violence are the problem, NOT the solution to terrorism.  Based on the speech President Obama gave yesterday, it seems like he –– and the entire US government –– still haven’t learned that lesson.  The situation in Iraq and Syria is complicated, with no easy or perfect solutions. While we are concerned for the safety of the Iraqi and Syrian people threatened by ISIS, we know that American military force and contractors will only make the crisis worse and cause more suffering.

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel
Did I miss where Obama recognized that elements of the “Free Syrian Army” that the US has been arming and assisting to topple Assad, presumably after being vetted as the “good guys” were actually the ones who sold, at least one if not both, American journalists to the “bad guys” who then beheaded them? Did I miss where he admitted that drone bombing Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, ETC –which resulted in deaths of wedding parties and other innocent civilians as well as mostly low level “foot soldiers”—and putting hundreds of men who had nothing to do with 9-11 in Guantanamo prison camps without any due process, torturing and killing some of them, has ratcheted up a certain amount of hatred of the US world wide but especially in the Mid-east thus making it fertile ground for radicalization and recruitment by Islamic State and other extremists?  Did Obama even admit what most of his military commanders have concluded, that “there is no military solution”? Did he close with God bless our exceptional country that luckily is so exceptional that it’s above the law in its pursuit of “full spectrum dominance” yet has the neocon chutzpah to expect other (non-dominant, non-exceptional) countries to follow? Maybe I just missed the parts where Obama told the truth.

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
Here’s how you know you live in an empire devoted to endless militarism: when a new 3-year war is announced and very few people seem to think the president needs anyone’s permission to start it (including Congress) and, more so, when the announcement - of a new multiple-year war - seems quite run-of-the-mill and normal.

Sheldon Richman, Vice President, Future of Freedom Foundation
The US government went to war against al Qaeda and got ISIS. Now it’s going to war against ISIS. What will come next? The only thing we know for sure is that, as Randolph Bourne said, “War is the health of the state.

ANSWER Coalition
President Obama’s new war plans in Iraq and Syria will not liberate the people of either country but will lead to more destruction. The U.S. military defeat of the secular Iraqi and Libyan governments (in 2003 and 2011) and its policy of fueling armed civil war against the secular, nationalist government in Syria are the fundamental reasons the so-called Islamic State has grown and become strong. Perpetuating a now 23-year-long U.S. political tradition, President Obama is announcing tonight that he, like the three preceding U.S. presidents, will go forward with another bombing campaign in Iraq. This is a war that will lead only to more catastrophe and destruction.

Nathan Goodman, Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies at the Center for a Stateless Society
Obama’s speech embodies a cycle of violence that remains inevitable as long as the US remains an empire. As UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk and others have noted, ISIL’s power is blowback from prior US intervention. Much of that intervention stems from a “War on Terror” that began in response to the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 attacks themselves were retaliation for US aggression in the Middle East, including the disastrous sanctions against Iraq. The attacks were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, who was previously backed by the CIA in order to fight the Soviet Union. Who knows what blowback Obama’s new campaign of bombing will unleash? Rather than responding to every problem with more intervention, violence, and bloodshed, the US needs to dismantle its empire. Until this happens, intervention followed by blowback will leave us with a vicious cycle of violence, bloodshed, and imperial murders euphemistically termed “collateral damage.”

Matthew Hoh, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group
The United States’ official policy in the Middle East is now perpetual war. What has been known for some time, including by those of us who have served overseas, by the millions who have suffered through our bombs and our bullets, and, of course, by the hundreds of thousands whose lives have been ripped from their families and from any promised futures, President Obama solidified last night. The United States, by agreeing to airstrikes without end in support of a corrupt and sectarian government in Baghdad; by championing a Shia and Kurdish invasion of Sunni lands; and by promising arms, munitions and money to rebel groups in the middle of the Syrian Civil War, the same groups that sold Steven Sotloff to his beheading, has adopted a policy that will exacerbate the civil wars in both Iraq and Syria and deepen the nightmare existence of their people. President Obama’s speech will be remembered as a mark of moral shame on the United States.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of “Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.”
Since 9/11 the United States has launched more than 94,000 air strikes, mostly on Afghanistan and Iraq, but also on Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Rumsfeld’s plan has undoubtedly achieved his goal of changing the way people live in those countries, killing a million of them and reducing tens of millions more to lives of disability, disfigurement, dislocation, grief and poverty. A sophisticated propaganda campaign has politically justified 13 years of systematic U.S. war crimes. The chaos that Obama’s doctrine of covert and proxy war has wreaked in Libya, Syria and Iraq should be a reminder of one of the obvious but unlearned lessons of September 11, that creating and arming groups of religious fanatics as proxies to fight secular enemies has huge potential for blowback and unintended consequences as they gain power and escape external control.  Now that ISIS is once again fighting in Iraq as well as Syria, we have come full circle and Western propaganda and ISIS itself have again found common cause in exaggerating its strength and highlighting its brutality. The dirty little secret that our propaganda system cannot mention is that the current crises are all deeply rooted in U.S. policy.

Michael D. Ostrolenk, conservative activist
“No American President has the authority to unilaterally declare war on either a state actor or non-state actor.  According to our Founding Fathers , the President, unless responding to an attack or imminent threat, must seek approval from Congress for acts of war.  President Obama should go to Congress, lay out his case, and allow for a real debate to take place amongst the People’s representatives.”

Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
The president yesterday announced his “strategy” for dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.  He has given terror networks and the international arms industry cause for great celebration.  The former because he is giving them just what they want – a direct confrontation with the “Great Satan” and powerful recruiting inducement, both in the region and around the world.  The latter because at a moment when actual cuts are possible in the obscene level of funding for the Pentagon and war, he has opened the door to yet another bountiful feast at the public trough for the armaments industry.  In the process, he is turning his back on the millions of Americans who continue to suffer unemployment, under-employment, substandard (or no) housing, education beyond reach for many and a source of lifetime indentured servitude to the banks for those who must borrow to obtain a higher education, and the multitude of other urgent unmet needs we have here.

He also disregards the consequences for the environment and global climate of war and militarism, which are not only crimes against humanity but also crimes against the planet the consequences of which will be born by generations to come, since the Pentagon is the single largest polluter on the planet and wars escalate the severity of that pollution.  And he, a constitutional lawyer who was elected on a platform of ending war, demonstrates utter contempt for the separation of powers and congressional authority alone to declare war and commit U.S. forces to battle.  And as has been the case with so many presidents before him, he is telling the rest of the international community that national sovereignty can be violated at will without regard for international law, the U.N. Charter and other treaties whenever it suits the U.S. but that our borders are inviolate, including by those escaping the ravages and horror of wars (both military and economic) which our country has engaged in and supported in our own hemisphere.  Shame on him and a supine Congress that has abdicated its constitutional duty, and shame on us if we allow this to happen without a determined struggle to stop it.

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Military actions will not set the stage for political solutions; they will prevent those solutions from taking hold. Escalating military actions against this violent extremist organization is not going to work.

The bottom line is there is no immediate action that will make ISIS disappear, even if U.S. airstrikes manage to get the right target somewhere and take out an APC or a truckload of guys with RPGs or whatever.

You can’t destroy an ideology – or even an organization -through bombing (look at the efforts to do so with Al Qaeda . . . lots of members killed in Afghanistan, but the organization took root in a bunch of other countries). A military strike might bring some immediate satisfaction, but we all know revenge is a bad basis for foreign policy, especially when it has such dangerous consequences.

Susan Kerin, Fund Our Communities
We need to support a global diplomatic, humanitarian, and economic effort, not U.S. military escalation. U.S. military action only adds fuel to the sectarian fire. And what will be the costs for this misadventure? Perhaps you recall what happened in Iraq—a war that was supposed to pay for itself (via Iraqi oil) and be over in a couple of months actually cost us over $3 trillion and lasted 8 years. And guess what: in this new air campaign, we will be compounding the costs of that war, as we will be paying to blow up the weapons we previously sent to the region. Meanwhile, food insecurity is at an all-time high in the U.S., our infrastructure continues to deteriorate, and we don’t seem to have the funds to adequately care for children who are crossing our southern border in fear of their lives. Our priorities are way out of whack.

Debra Sweet, The World Can’t Wait
On this 9/11 anniversary, I’m hearing — including from Obama last night — that what happened 13 years ago means the U.S. must create even more 9/11′s in the Middle East.  But all the US bombs and occupation have done is generate and strengthen the very forces they tell us they will destroy with more of the same.  Even the examples Obama put forward of “success” — Yemen and Somalia — show that yes, the US can conduct secret drone assassination campaigns, but no, that does not bring liberation for the people living in those countries.

People, even those who have been anti-war during the Bush years, are getting drawn into supporting this unjust, illegitimate, immoral plan for unending U.S. war for empire.  This time, with no visible opposition in Congress, the supporters of this war can’t be dismissed as Bush regime Republican thugs. There’s unity at the top that US interests require aggressive “going on the offense” for “‘America” as Obama puts it. We can’t let that stand unchallenged.  In the streets, the newspapers, in the schools and religious institutions, protest and dissent must be heard.

Alice Slater, Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War
It is heartbreaking to see our country embarking on another futile effort to bomb our way out of a situation that calls out for diplomacy, foreign aid, UN supervision, refugee assistance, almost anything you can think of in place of the devastating US assaults that inevitably murder innocent civilians.  How is the evil beheading of innocent journalists any worse than the impersonal murder of innocents on the ground by a thoroughly detached computer nerd, sitting at his lap top someplace in Colorado, pulling on his joystick and destroying, by drone, unseen victims on the ground tens of thousands of miles away.   We haven’t even had a body count for all the people who died in Iraq at the point of a US weapon. Meanwhile we repeatedly honor and memorialize our dead soldiers, sent on a wild goose chase after “terrorists” whose destruction of the twin towers  was a criminal act that deserved arrest and trial, not perpetual war on two countries, and now three countries.  Echoes of 911 are constantly flung in our face like metaphysical war paint, to stir the loins for battle and death.  At this time, sensible people should be calling for a global moratorium on all arms sales.  We need to stop the only ones who benefit from all this—the arms manufacturers and their co-conspirators in endless war and grasping Empire.  Those who truly yearn for peace on earth should also be calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, emulating the great success enjoyed by South Africa when it ended a potential bloodbath and years of slaughter by inviting people from all sides of the conflict to come forth, admit their wrong doing, apologize, and be granted amnesty to go free.   As long as we hold out for bringing murderers to justice, they will fight us to the last bullet, knife, and bomb.  That goes not only for the irregulars in the knife slashing brigades but for our own soldiers and our leaders who ordered them into this cruel conflict as well.

Vijay Prishad, professor of international studies at Trinity College
A rational observer of United States intervention in the swath of land that runs from Libya to Afghanistan would come to a simple conclusion: U.S. military action leads to chaos. Examples are legion, but the two most dramatic are Iraq and Libya. In both cases, the U.S. bombed the state institutions to smithereens. It takes a hundred years to build state institutions. They can be destroyed in an afternoon. The chaos that followed in both countries was the ideal condition for the flotsam of al-Qaida. In Iraq, al-Qaida in Mesopotamia (2004) morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq, and eventually ISIS.

United for Peace and Justice
President Obama may prefer the term “counter-terrorism,” but it is clear from last night’s speech that he is taking the United States into another war.

His long-term plan for bombing Iraq and Syria, for placing U.S. troops on the ground as “trainers,” and for assistance to allied fighters, is opening another tragic chapter in the failed “war on terrorism,” initiated by President Bush and rejected by the voters in 2008.

We deplore the brutality and violence of ISIS, but we do not believe that U.S. air strikes will solve the problem, even if there are short-term military gains. Despite the President’s many references to “a coalition,”in reality the United States will be intervening unilaterally in two civil wars, each of which has multiple factions and complex roots.

U.S. air-strikes –whether in Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan- have never had the precision that is claimed. Thousands of civilians have been killed, with the result that America’s enemies multiplied. The “new strategy” the President just unveiled isn’t new. It was tried by President George W. Bush in Afghanistan, where it failed, creating a Washington demand for tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops.

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
We agree with the president that there is no military solution to the problems posed by ISIS. And yet his proposed strategy relies far too heavily on the use of military force. It’s time to stop the bombing and escalation and use the other tools of U.S. foreign policy — working with allies in cutting off weapons, oil and funding streams for starters — which will be much more active in dealing with ISIS.

John Fullinwider, President, Dallas Peace Center
To effectively oppose the President on this one, we need to spell out what should be done instead of bombing ISIS.  I want a response that is credible to the everyday, non-political person to this question:  “ISIS cut off the heads of two American journalists – are you saying just let them get away with it?” The case to be made involves diplomacy at the U.N. and directly with the regional powers, particularly Iran and Turkey; humanitarian assistance to the dispossessed; a cut off of the weapons supply and funding to all militias and non-state actors, specifically pressuring Qatar and Saudi Arabia on this point; and – you name it. But let’s make the case clearly and concisely. The U.S. opened the “gates of hell” in the Middle East with the invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago; we can’t close them with a new bombing campaign. To effectively oppose this campaign, we will need all the tools of organizing and activism, from letters and calls to social media to lawful street protest to civil disobedience.

Jim Albertini, Malu ‘Aina, Center for non-violent education and action
Here We go again!  War profiteers want endless War.  Obama’s bamboozle strategy is create fear and panic –scare the hell out of people.  Don’t buy into the manufactured fear.  Bombs are not tools for justice and peace.  Stop the wars.  Save the planet.

Roger Kotila, Earth Federation News & Views
Unfortunately, anything President Obama has to say is something like the “pot calling the kettle black.” ISIS (or ISIL, or Islamic State) allegedly cuts off heads, while US/NATO blows them off. It’s time to put the Earth Federation Movement’s Earth Constitution into place, upgrading the UN so that there is enforceable world law. The UN and the International Criminal Court remain helpless to deal with VIP world criminals who go about their murderous (war) business with impunity. No individual should be above the law.

A Delusion, Not a Solution

President Obama may prefer the term “counter-terrorism,” but it is clear from last night’s speech that he is taking the United States into another war.
 
His long-term plan for bombing Iraq and Syria, for placing U.S. troops on the ground as “trainers,” and for assistance to allied fighters, is opening another tragic chapter in the failed “war on terrorism,” initiated by President Bush and rejected by the voters in 2008.
 
We deplore the brutality and violence of ISIS, but we do not believe that U.S. air strikes will solve the problem, even if there are short-term military gains. Despite the President’s many references to “a coalition,”in reality the United States will be intervening unilaterally in two civil wars, each of which has multiple factions and complex roots.
 
Time to learn from experience:
 
The U.S. invasion of Iraq tore the lid off of a Pandora’s box that has wreaked havoc with the lives of millions of people over the past dozen years. It is that invasion, which gave rise to ISIS and “terrorism,” in places where it had not existed.
 
U.S. air-strikes –whether in Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan- have never had the precision that is claimed. Thousands of civilians have been killed, with the result that America’s enemies multiplied.
 
The “new strategy” the President just unveiled isn’t new. It was tried by President George W. Bush in Afghanistan, where it failed, creating a Washington demand for tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops. These troops have added to the instability of the country, while failing to defeat the Taliban.
 
We believe there are better choices:
 
*Make diplomacy and humanitarian assistance the priority
*Seek improved relations with Iran to end the fighting in the region
*Work through United Nations to halt the flow of financing and weapons to ISIS
*Re-start UN-directed negotiations to end the civil war in Syria
*Mobilize to solve the real problems in the region- poverty, hunger, drought, joblessness
 
Our Voices are Needed Now…The White House and Members of Congress are Paying Close Attention to Public Opinion.
 
Call the White House
Comments: 202.456.1111; Switchboard: 202-456-1414
 
Call your Senators and Congressional Representatives
Capitol Switchboard: 202- 224-3121
 
Let them know, you strongly oppose perpetual war in the Middle East. Emphasize that U.S. bombing of two countries will bring more suffering and violence, and that there is no realistic alternative to diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
 
Ask your member of Congress to speak out now in opposition to US military intervention in Iraq and Syria.
 
Please make a donation to UFPJ so that we can continue to keep our member groups and dedicated activists linked together for effective action and impact.
 
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.
UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace.org

To subscribe, visit
www.unitedforpeace.org/email

Syria/Iraq News - Sep 12, 2014

 

Obama to expand offensive against Islamic State, vowing a relentless effort to wipe out the terrorists “wherever they exist” - VOA


VIDEO: President Obama Addresses the Nation on the IS Threat - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s Remarks on the Fight Against IS - NYTimes.com


FACT SHEET: White House Statement on the Strategy to Counter the Islamic State (IS) - The White House


POLL: Overall, Americans gave President Obama's speech high marks - WCTI News


Congress backing Obama’s plan for Islamic State - The Boston Globe


Pentagon advances plan to defeat jihadists, the mission is to use any future strikes in Syria to weaken the Islamic State's operation in Iraq - WSJ


Air Campaign Against ISIS to Target Leaders and Seized U.S. Weapons - NBC News.com


US war planes to fly from Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan - France 24


U.S. airstrikes in Iraq destroyed 162 Islamic State vehicles: Pentagon - Washington Times


So what exactly will the US troops be doing in Iraq? - ABC 31: News


Pentagon: US Troops to Advise Iraqi Units at Brigade Level - C4ISR & Networks


Instead of boots on the ground, US Seeks Iraq contractors to advise the Iraqi Defense Ministry in force development, logistics and planning and operations - Military.com


Retraining Iraq's fractured army: Will it work this time? - Stripes


Gen. Allen Will Coordinate the Fight Against the Islamic State - Defense One


Former Iraq/Afghanistan commander John Allen is very familiar with Middle East nations and leaders crucial to the fight against the Islamic State - navytimes.com


US Treasury’s Cohen: Combating IS’s Access to Financing - USPolicy


IS Is A Threat To America, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Says. Here's What's Being Done About It - huffingtonpost.com


IS has between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters, CIA says - CNN.com


Islamic State group not an unstoppable juggernaut - AP


Islamic State's Financial Independence Makes It All the More Dangerous - newsweek.com


Oil, Extortion and Crime: Where IS Gets Its Money - NBC News


Funding the Islamic State: The terrorist group is reaping millions a day selling oil, gasoline and diesel on the black market. - US News


Islamic State Smuggles Oil Into Turkey—With Hostages as Insurance - Businessweek


------------------------------------------------------

After talks in Saudi's Jeddah, Kerry wins Arab support for Syria/Iraq military campaign - Reuters


TEXT: Jeddah Communique from the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the United States - state.gov


VIDEO: Secretary of State John Kerry makes a joint statement with Saudi foreign minister: Barbarity of IS 'Knows No Limits' - NBC News


Iraqi politicians welcome Obama’s expanded campaign against Islamic State - McClatchy DC News


Syria's Deputy FM: Syria has “no reservations” about U.S. airstrikes against IS and wants to team up with Washington to tackle the terrorists - NBC


VIDEO: Syrian Deputy FM: Syria Must Be Part of Coalition Against IS - NBC


Syrian opposition coalition says ready to partner against Islamic State - Reuters


Syria's Muslim Brotherhood rejects the international coalition against the Islamic State (Arabic) - CNNArabic.com


Syrian Refugees Express High Hopes for Obama’s IS Plan - VOA


Jordanian prince says US has strong ally in facing Islamic State militants in Middle East - Star Tribune


Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood decries Kerry visit, rejects the international coalition against IS - haberler.com


Turkey refuses to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack IS in Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations, “Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages” - Al Arabiya


Ankara lost contact with Mosul hostages kidnapped by the Islamic State, “There is strong evidence that some of these [hostages] are in Syrian territories” - todayszaman.com


Netanyahu says Israel playing part in fighting Islamic State - The Times of Israel


Iran Foreign Ministry spokeswoman: anti-Islamic State coalition 'shrouded in serious ambiguities' - Yahoo News


Russia says air strikes in Syria would be act of aggression without the consent of the legitimate Syrian government, U.N. vote - Reuters

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Obama's War Pitch: Iraq 3.0, Full Text

Remarks of President Barack Obama

Address to the Nation

September 10, 2014

Washington, D.C.

 

As Prepared for Delivery

 

My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL. 

 

Warning to War Supporters

I know you mean well. I know you think you've found a bargain that nobody else noticed hidden in a back corner of the used car lot. Let me warn you: it's a clunker. Here, I'll list the defects. You can have your own mechanic check them out:

1. If you want to bomb a country every time an evil group murders people in a gruesome manner, you'll have to bomb a lot of countries including our own.  ISIS draws its strength in Iraq from resentment of the Iraqi government, which bombs its own cities using U.S. weapons, and which beheads people, albeit in grainier footage with lower production values.  Allies in the region, including allies that support ISIS, including allies armed by the United States (some of which arms end up in the hands of ISIS), themselves behead people regularly. But is that worse than other types of killing? When President Barack Obama blew up a 16 year old American boy whom nobody had ever accused of so much as jaywalking, and blew up six other kids who were too close to him at the time, do you imagine his head remained on his body?

As with most drone strikes, that boy could have been arrested and questioned. Had he been, though, gruesome death would have remained a possibility. In April, the United States injected a man with chemicals that made him writhe in excruciating pain for 43 minutes and die. Last week in the United States a man facing a similar fate on death row was proven innocent and freed. The prosecutor who had put him there 30 years earlier showed zero remorse. Now I'm not proposing that we bomb North Carolina because I'm angry at that prosecutor. I'm not even angry at that prosecutor. I am suggesting that there are evil killers all over the place, some wearing Western suits and ties, some wearing military uniforms. Bombs, which mostly kill innocent people who had nothing to do with it, won't help.

2. The bombs will mostly kill innocent people who had nothing to do with it, and will only make the crisis worse. Most people who die in wars are civilians by everyone's definition. People still use words like "battlefield" as if wars were waged in a field the way a football game is played. They couldn't play football on our streets and sidewalks because grandparents and baby strollers would end up tackled and crushed. Well, wars are waged on people's streets and sidewalks, even when one side is only present in the sky above in the form of unmanned robot death planes. The slow-moving die first: the very old and the very young. And when anyone dies, according to top U.S. officials, more enemies are created in greater numbers. Thus, the operation is counterproductive on its own terms, making us less safe rather than safer. This is why President Obama is always saying "There is no military solution" just before proposing to use the military to seek a solution. When he proposes bombing Iraq for three more years, that number has no basis in military calculation whatsoever. I challenge you to find a general who says otherwise. It is a number almost certainly based on the U.S. election schedule, aimed at convincing us to accept a war without question until a date after the next presidential election. When Obama says he's going to get a good government in place in Iraq this week and then make a speech, he's delusional or enjoying toying with your gullibility, but he's also pointing to the actual problem: a nation destroyed by 24 years of wars and sanctions and lacking a legitimate governing system.

3. Bombing is crazy, and bombing for three years is certifiable. Bombing strengthens ISIS. Three years is longer than most U.S. wars have taken from beginning to end.  The U.S. Constitution, which did not foresee a permanent standing army, much less one permanently standing in most other nations on earth, did not permit -- and does not permit -- creating and funding one for a longer period than two years at a time (Article I. Section 8.). But of course nothing guarantees that the bombing will stop after three years and not go on for thirty more. And nothing guarantees that this war will involve only bombing. Already Obama has sent over 1,100 troops, and is promising to send some number less than 100,000. Read that twice please, slowly. Obama wants Congress to debate his war plans but not vote on them. Why not? Because Congress might be compelled by you and me to vote no, if not on this war then on the next one. Obama wants himself and all future presidents free to launch wars without Congress, exactly what he campaigned for office opposing.

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." —Senator Barack Obama. 

The U.S. "intelligence" agencies, by the way, deem ISIS no threat to the United States. Apart from trashing the Constitution and really the one thing its framers got right, President Obama is trashing the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact, laws that forbid war.

4. The fact that it's Obama doesn't make it OK. A majority of you supported attacking Afghanistan and within a couple of years a majority of you said Afghanistan should not have been attacked. Why not? Not because there weren't evil people in Afghanistan, but because bombing the country made everything worse, not better.  You kept telling pollsters it was a bad idea for over another decade, but the war rolled on, and still rolls on.  Iraq is a similar story, although you were even faster to change your mind.  And the occupation ended when President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki signed an agreement for three more years of that war, and then the three years ran out.  At that point, President Obama tried to win approval from the Iraqi government to keep U.S. troops in Iraq longer, but with immunity for any crimes they might commit.  Failing at that, Obama withdrew the troops.  Having won that concession now, he's sending them back in.  Does the fact that it's Obama doing it, rather than Bush, make it OK? Remember the massive protests when Bush proposed a war on Iraq? Obama just put the band back together in Wales, and you're squealing with delight that he visited Stonehenge, or you're busy coloring in your "I'm Ready for Hillary" posters.

The nation of Iraq was utterly destroyed last time. The place is in total chaos: violence, hatred, poverty, illness, desperation, fanaticism.  Dumping gasoline on that fire is worse now than before, not better. And now we have NATO toying with a nuclear confrontation with Russia, drone wars generating violence and terrorism in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, the U.S. Navy poking China in the eye with a stick, troops heading into a dozen new parts of Africa -- How is starting a war this time better than last time, which you came to view as a mistake by 2004, elected a Congress to end in 2006, thought you were voting against again in 2008, and cheered for the eventual ending of in 2011? Observers have called this the most dangerous moment since World War II. Please don't tell me you trust Obama, believed the fraudulent threat to Benghazi and are now unaware of the disaster he created in Libya, where France has just proposed yet another war to fix the damage of the last war. Please don't tell me you believed the disproven claims of evidence that Assad used chemical weapons or Russia shot down an airplane. This is a government that lies about possible grounds for war and possible outcomes of war, just like its predecessors.

5. The enemy of your enemy is your other weapons customer. Public pressure was instrumental last year in halting proposed attacks on Syria, the plans for which involved massive death and destruction. But the White House and CIA went right ahead and armed and trained one side in that war, the ISIS side. ISIS now has weapons provided directly to it and indirectly to it by the United States, including those seized from the Iraqi government. ISIS has troops trained by the United States and "radicalized" (enraged) by the United States in its brutal prisons in Iraq, as well as troops previously in the Iraqi military who were thrown out of work in 2003 by the U.S. occupation.  Last year, the evil to be confronted was Assad, at all costs. To your great credit you didn't fall for it. Why not? Not because Assad doesn't do evil things, but because you understood that more war would make things even worse.  

Now you're being told that Assad's enemies must be attacked at all cost, and you're falling for it, to your great discredit.  With supposed surgical precision the "moderate" beheaders will be spared, in order to blow up only the "extremist" beheaders. Don't believe it.  Six months ago the great Satan was Iran.  Now you're on Iran's side.  Were you aware of that? You're stirring up trouble to the ultimate benefit of only one group: the weapons makers.  You think of the Middle East as a violent place, but 80% of the weapons come from the United States. Imagine how much less violent the Middle East could be if it only had 20% of the weapons.  We're not talking about stockpiles. These weapons get used.

6. There are other options. Try telling a four-year-old he has only two choices: eat the broccoli or eat the lima beans.  He'll throw another 18 alternatives at you in less than a minute, beginning with eating ice cream. Try telling a non-American adult about the current state of disaster in Iraq, and they'll begin by opposing making it worse, and then start discussing a variety of steps to make it better, from humanitarian aid to diplomacy to disarmament to emergency U.N. police forces, etc.  But tell a U.S. adult that Iraq must be bombed or we must do nothing other than sit back and revel in our evil state of ISIS-loving, and your befuddled manipulated subject will shout "Bomb em! Bomb em!" Why?

Last year we were told that we had to bomb Syria or love the poisoning of children with chemical weapons. We did not accept that those were the only two choices. Why not? Because we were thinking straight.  We hadn't been frightened into blind stupidity by high-quality videos of beheadings and threats that we might be next.  Nobody thinks well when they're scared. That's why the government likes to scare you.  That's why your you're hearing all this nonsense about ISIS coming to your neighborhood. The more the U.S. keeps bombing people, the more some of those people will want to fight back. Did you ever wonder why nations that spend 2% what the U.S. does on its military feel so much safer than you do? Part of it is the reality that war generates enemies rather than removing them, but mostly it's a culture of cowardice that we're living in. Here are 15 things we could do about ISIS instead of bombing.

7. We don't have time for this barbaric insanity. War is sucking our resources and energy and attention away from where they are needed, namely on a massive campaign to protect the climate of the earth. Imagine a proposal to dump untold trillions of dollars and every ounce of energy into that project! Would Congress step aside and allow it? It would benefit even your short-term economic interests, but would you permit it? Would you demand it? Would you join with me in insisting that we stop the wars and save the climate?

UPDATE: Newsweek says ISIS is intentionally manipulating you into attacking it.

UPDATE 2: Matt Hoh Says the Beheadings Are Bait

Syria/Iraq News - Sep 10, 2014


Ahead of prime time speech, Obama signals readiness to strike Islamic State in Syria - The Washington Post


VIDEO: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest: Obama has authority to act on IS - YouTube


VIDEO: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest full briefing about the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State - bloomberg.com


On Capitol Hill, more calls for Obama to seek authorization on IS - CBS News


Obama Said to Seek Billions Extra for Islamic State Fight - Bloomberg


POLL: Americans back Obama on strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - WashingtonExaminer.com


US Drones, Hunting for IS Leader, Seen Flying over Syrian Airspace - ibtimes


VIDEO: A Syrian citizen records a US drone in the skies over Ar-Raqqah - YouTube


Ex-CIA chief says targeted killings key to stopping Islamic State - CCTV News


Expert: A four-point plan to defeat the Islamic State - Al Jazeera America


Steven Sotloff Was Sold To IS By 'Moderate' Rebels, Family Spokesman Tells CNN - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Steven Sotloff Was Sold To ISIS By 'Moderate' Rebels, Family Spokesman - CNN


White House Denies Steven Sotloff Was Sold to IS by ‘Moderate’ Rebels, says FBI is investigating - NBC News.com


-----------------------------------------------------

US seeks UN resolution to outlaw foreign fighters, It would also make it illegal to collect funds for groups like the Islamic State - Yahoo News


Expert: Over 12,000 Foreign Fighters in Syria - ABC News


VIDEO: CNN Analysts Warn Of ‘Unprecedented’ Threat From IS Foreign Fighters - Washington Free Beacon


Kerry to hold Saudi talks on Islamic State, the meeting attended by ministers from Egypt, Jordan, six Gulf Arab states and Iraq - Al Jazeera


Arab Partners Skeptical of US Fight Against Islamic State - teleSUR


Qatar’s Support of Islamists Alienates Allies Near and Far - NYTimes.com


IS received most of its funding from donors in Kuwait and Qatar, often with the knowledge of government officials - Homeland Security News


Hagel finds Turkish help against Islamic State a tough sell - WashingtonExaminer.com


Erdogan’s Turkey: unwilling ally in struggle against Islamic State - Al-Monitor


Why Obama is seeking a Sunni coalition to defeat the Islamic State, The US hopes to avoid the impression it is siding with the Shiites - CSMonitor.com


Obama, Iraq's Abadi discuss Islamic State threat in call: White House - Reuters


Kurds Agree to New Iraq Government, Opening Door to US War Strategy Against IS - Rudaw


Fearing Islamic State attack on Jordan, US steps up sharing of intel - Stripes


Israel Reportedly Providing U.S. With Satellite Intelligence on Islamic State - Algemeiner.com


In fight against Islamic State West widens contacts with Syria's Kurds but suspicion remains - Reuters


U.S. urges China to help with Islamic State in Iraq - The Washington Post


Islamic State advances in Iraq force Syria to cancel wheat deal - Yahoo News


The unlikely alliance of hackers fighting the Islamic State: American hackers, the Syrian Electronic Army, the group Anonymous and Iranians - mashable.com


-------------------------------------------------

Car bomb kills leaders of major Syrian rebel faction - LA Times


Al Qaeda members mourn Ahrar al Sham, Islamic Front leaders on Twitter - The Long War Journal


Group says Islamic State using weapons meant for moderate rebels - Washington Post


Islamic State: its weapons and where it gets them - The Week UK


How ISIS funds its reign of terror - NY Daily News


How The Islamic State Smuggles Oil To Fund Its Campaign - NPR


Paying For The Caliphate: When IS Members Become Bad Bank Managers In Mosul - Niqash


Insight – In northeast Syria, Islamic State builds a government - euronews


The Islamic State's global reach - Threat Matrix


Behind Islamic State's advance: 'sophisticated, patient and focused' plans - Stripes


IS calls for assassination of Twitter employees - Channel 4 News


VIDEO: IS releases new video: capture and execution of 200 Syrian troops at the Tabqa airbase- YouTube


VIDEO: In new video IS flaunts captured jets and artillery at the Tabqa airbase - YouTube

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Washington’s seedy propaganda campaign: Satellite Images of Alleged Russian Artillery in Ukraine Come A-Cropper

By Dave Lindorff


In the ongoing propaganda campaign mounted by the Obama administration to claim that Russia has “invaded” Ukraine from the east, it offered up some grainy black-and-white satellite images purporting to show heavy Russian military equipment inside the Ukraine. 


Veterans For Peace Statement Opposing U.S. Bombing of Iraq and Syria

By Veterans For Peace

The U.S. is racing down a slippery slope towards war in Iraq and Syria. Since Aug. 8, the U.S. has conducted more than 124 airstrikes in Iraq. Approximately 1,000 U.S. troops are now on the ground in Iraq, with at least 350 more currently on their way.

President Obama initially said the bombing was part of a humanitarian mission to assist the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq being threatened by ISIS, the fundamentalist Islamic army that now controls wide swaths of Iraq and Syria. But Obama has now announced an open-ended bombing campaign, and he has ordered Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry into the region to build military and political coalitions to sustain a long term war against ISIS.

According to the New York Times, President Obama has also authorized U.S. surveillance flights over Syria, reportedly in search of ISIS targets for later bombing missions. The Syrian government has offered to coordinate with U.S. military action against ISIS, the strongest rebel force fighting to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. But the U.S., which has aided ISIS' growth by facilitating the arming and training of rebels in Syria, has not asked permission for its flights into Syrian airspace.

Veterans For Peace members have witnessed the brutality and the futility of war, including the war in Iraq. We were sent to a war based on lies and we became part of the killing of a nation, along with as many as one million of its people. We watched as U.S. policy makers consciously stirred up ethnic and religious divisions, creating the conditions for civil war today.

Veterans know from first hand experience that you cannot bomb your way to peace. More bombing will ultimately mean more division, bloodshed, recruitment for extremist organizations, and a continual cycle of violent intervention.

Last year the American people overwhelmingly sent a message to President Obama and the Congress: No U.S. Bombing in Syria. Last month, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H. Con. Res. 105 stating that there is no legal authority for U.S. military involvement in Iraq without express Congressional approval. By unilaterally pursuing miltiary action in Iraq and Syria, President Obama is acting in contempt of the American people, as well as of U.S. and international law.

We support the troops who refuse to fight and who blow the whistle on war crimes. Under international law, military personnel have the right and the responsibility to refuse to be part of illegal wars and war crimes. U.S. troops are not the cops of the world. There is no legitimate mission for any U.S. service members in Iraq or Syria. We encourage GI's to find out their rights at the GI Rights Hotline.

Veterans For Peace absolutely opposes U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, no matter what the rationalization. We call on all our members to speak out against any U.S. attacks on Iraq and Syria.

We wish to see a U.S. foreign policy based on true humanitariasm and real diplomacy based on mutual respect, guided by internatianal law, and dedicated to human rights and equality for all.

We call attention to the excellent constructive proposals in a recent letter from 53 National Religious Groups, Academics, and Ministers Urging Alternatives to U.S. Military Action in Iraq.

We applaud the initiatives of several key peace groups and we encourage our members to participate.

Sign Code Pink's letter telling President Obama not to bomb Syria or Iraq.

Sign Peace Action's petition restricting U.S. arms sales around the world.

VETERANS FOR PEACE WORKS FOR PEACE AT HOME AND PEACE ABROAD!

What to Do About ISIS

John Horgan asked me for a paragraph on what to do about ISIS. I sent him this:

I'd say start by recognizing where ISIS came from. The U.S. and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, left a sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere. ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. It is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and siezed from the Iraqi government. At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transfered to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States. So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you've left in chaos.  Libya is of course another example of the disasters that U.S. wars leave behind them -- a war, by the way, with U.S. weapons used on boith sides, and a war launched on the pretext of a claim well documented to have been false that Gadaffi was threatening to massacre civilians.  So, here's the next thing to do: be very sceptical of humanitarian claims.  The U.S. bombing around Erbil to protect Kurdish and U.S. oil interests was initially justified as bombing to protect people on a mountain.  But most of those people on the mountain were in no need of rescue, and that justification has now been set aside, just as Benghazi was.  Recall also that Obama was forced to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq when he couldn't get the Iraqi government to give them immunity for crimes they commit.  He has now obtained that immunity and back in they go, the crimes preceding them in the form of 500 pound bombs.  While trying to rescue hostages and discovering an empty house, and racing to a mountain to save 30,000 people but finding 3,000 and most of those not wanting to leave, the U.S. claims to know exactly whom the 500-pound bombs are killing.  But whoever they are killing, they are generating more enemies, and they are building support for ISIS, not diminishing it.  So, now the U.S. finds itself on the opposite side of the war in Syria, so what does it do? Flip sides!  Now the great moral imperative is not to bomb Assad but to bomb in defense of Assad, the only consistent point being that "something must be done" and the only conceivable something is to pick some party and bomb it. But why is that the only conceivable thing to be done? I can think of some others:

1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation

2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there

3. Begin making restitution by delivering aid (not "military aid" but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq

4. Apologize for role in war in Syria

5. Begin making restitution by delivering actual aid to Syria

6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)

7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.

8. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies -- at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.

9. End economic sanctions.

10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.

11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.

12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.

13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.

14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.

15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.

John Kerry Makes a Deal

Barry! Barr -er Mr. President, I got Congress out in the parking lot looking at the new SUVs. I'm pushing the missile strikes on the Syrian government hard, but just a few little ones, and then ka-blam we get em with the whole package deal, 800 vehicles plus fuel and maintenance, a little shock, a little awe, a little razzmatazz, and we reel em right in.

Ataboy, John, go get em.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Oh, damn it all.  Barry, it's not my fault. They were on recess and listening to people at town hall meetings. And AIPAC is totally AWOL. And the lousy stinking pacifist Brits voted it down when I never even asked them.  Apparently the entire House of Representatives is going to ride bicycles from now on.

That's all right, John. That's all right. They can't hold out long. You'll get em next time.

It makes no sense, Mr. President. We rolled right over them on Afghanistan and Libya and all the drone strikes and all the bases, and here they go saying No to bombing Syria. And I told them Assad was Hitler. And you told them it was this or support poisoning children. But nothing. What are we missing? What if we throw in free GPS and hands-free telephoning. Plus, that way we can keep a close eye on them while they pay us for the favor. Huh? Huh?

You see, there's the old spirit. Now, listen, what we don't want is for them to go rogue and get desperate and pick up an old wreck from down in the back lot.  You steer them away from that broken down Iranian convertible, OK?

Yes, Sir! John Kerry reporting for duty, Sir!

Oh, cut the shit, John, I've told you 18 times I'm not taping everything like Nixon.

Nixon didn't have the technology to . . .

LET ME BE CLEAR, the problem with the missile strikes on Syria last time wasn't the human cost or the financial cost or any of that crap.  People didn't want to join a war on the side of al Qaeda rebels and terrorists.  We'd told them those were the Enemy for over a decade.  So here's what we're going to do.  We're going to find a war where we can jump in on the side of the government, against the Islamic Extremists.  Congress loves governments.  The media loves governments.  Everybody hates extremists.  And guess where we're going to find this war?

Israel?

Good guess. Try again.

Iraq?

Getting warmer. Try again.

Well, I don't . . .

Try again, that's a direct order.

Ukraine?

Now I'll tell you: Syria.

Syria?

Think about it, John. It's genius, if I do say so myself.  Look, people forget that Syria was our ally a few years back, but Congress remembers.  We just flip back.  We have to, or we're fighting both sides of a war in Iraq and Syria.  The key on Syria is to do something.  Well what counts as doing something?  Blowing shit up, that's what.  And nobody wants us blowing up the government.  Well, we'll blow up the rebels.  Either way, we're destroying U.S. weaponry on the ground, which is much smarter than giving it to local police as a means of creating demand for more.  You think they won't go for it because we're flip-flopping, right?  You're always so damn terrified of flip-flopping.

You don't know. You didn't go through what . . .

Oh hell, they stole the votes in Ohio, John, and you bent over and said "Thank you sir, may I have another?" We're not flip-flopping.  We're blowing up evil, evil people, lots of them.  That's the story.  We've been funding and arming all sides in all of these wars for some time now, payments to the Taliban, weapons to ISIS. You know, the troops on the ground in Libya three years ago could have exchanged parts -- they had the same U.S. guns. 

Mr. President, there are hundreds of Americans who listened to us last year and have gone off and joined the rebels in Syria. 

They can provide information, switch sides, or pay the price, John. Now, are you ready to go out there and make the pitch? I see the leadership on the curb there.

Mr. President, in all good faith, we've sold humanitarians on the need to bomb Assad, not bomb in defense of Assad.

Mr. Secretary, I'm giving you an order.

Mr. President, with all due respect, you keep saying there's no military solution, there's a million other approaches that don't create this sort of SNAFU, that just . . .

Mr. Secretary, Hillary would not hesitate.

I'm on it.

Syria/Iraq News - Aug 26, 2014


Syria Welcomes U.S. Strikes Against ISIS There, With Conditions - CBS News


VIDEO (English): Syria will help US fight terrorism, says Walid Muallem - BBC


VIDEO (Arabic): Walid Muallem statement: Syria will cooperate in fighting IS - YouTube


U.S. prepares military options in Syria against Islamic State - Reuters


Report: Pentagon to conduct surveillance flights over Syria - TheHill


US Gives Intelligence To Assad For Targetting IS Commanders Through the German Intelligence Service - ibtimes.co.uk


The Free Syrian Army is not impressed with Obama’s threat to attack IS inside Syria, says it is too little, too late - The Daily Beast


Would arming Syria’s rebels have stopped the Islamic State? - The Washington Post


U.S. Flew 1,500 Air Sorties in Iraq Against Islamic State - Businessweek


State Department wants more troops to protect diplomatic sites in Iraq - Stripes


Obama Could Seek New Funds To Battle Islamic State: Senate Aide - Reuters


Islamic State goes from 'junior varsity' to all pro in 8 months, Admiral Kirby says - Threat Matrix


IS will 'soon' pose threat to US: top general - News24


FBI warns police to be on lookout for IS threats in US - Mail Online


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Islamic State Captures Syria’s Tabqa Air Base (VIDEO) - VICE News


Assad regime confirms IS has taken 'full control' of Tabqa military airport, Syrian army units fled  - World Tribune


Islamic State might have taken advanced MANPADS from Syrian airfield - The Washington Post


The Islamic State resets balance with spoils of Tabqa airbase - bellingcat


Islamic State video appears to show IS' use of a drone, detailed maps and photos to plan the attacks on the Tabqa air base (VIDEO) - vocativ.com


The capture of the Tabqa airport gives IS freedom of movement and allows it to secure supply routes between Mosul and Raqqa - Al-Monitor


Statement of the opposition Syrian Coalition on the IS’ takeover of the Tabqa Air Base - Inner City Press


IS Surges Towards the Borders of Turkey As West Mulls Options - The Guardian


An obvious first step – close the jihadis' highway, The best way to stop UK fighters reaching IS is to catch them at Turkey's border with Syria - The Independent


Finding an ISIS Training Camp (PHOTOS) - bellingcat


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How IS is funded, trained and operating in Iraq and Syria - Telegraph


Deep Pockets, Dark Goals: How Will IS Keep Funding Terror? - NBC News


Oil makes Islamic State the ‘wealthiest’ terror group - afr.com


IS uses oil profits to fund its criminal plan: observers - Al-Shorfa


IS: Having spent billions, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar find they have created a monster - The Independent


ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate - NYTimes.com


Gen. Wesley Clark: Saudis, Qatar Created ISIS Threat - Newsmax


Qatar Denies Funding Extremist Islamic State Group - Qatar Daily Star


POLL: 92% of Saudis believe that Islamic State “conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law” - Jihad Watch


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Kurdish Peshmerga recapture oil, farming center from IS in wake of airstrikes - Stripes


VIDEO: Kurds make gains against Islamic State in northern Iraq - BBC News


Islamic State militants driven from a Christian town by Kurdish Peshmerga wired the town with explosives - Fox News


Kurds fight ISIS to a standstill, but say they lack modern weapons - TribLIVE


Kurdish Forces Say They're Waiting For U.S. Weapons - NPR


Kurdish Commander Says Baghdad Blocking Foreign Arms to Peshmerga - Rudaw


VIDEO: What Kurdish forces lack in fight against Islamic State - PBS


VIDEO: Kurdish Peshmergas warn jihadist group IS now well-equipped - The Tennessean


Halabja Kurdish Residents Fight the IS on Many Fronts - Rudaw


Peshmerga foils an attack of Islamic State (IS) on Tuz district - arabtoday


Syrian Kurd YPG intensifies offensive against IS militants, killing dozens - ARA News


YPG: 48 ISIS members killed in Jazaa - ANF


Terrorist or ally? A Kurdish PKK militia joins the fight against the Islamic State - The Christian Science Monitor


Meet the PKK 'Terrorists' Battling the Islamic State on the Frontlines of Iraq - VICE News


KRG, PKK make unlikely allies as they battle IS together - Al-Monitor


Germany to arm Kurds against Islamic State in test of stronger global role - CSMonitor.com


Merkel rules out arming terrorist PKK while sending arms to KRG - todayszaman.com


Analysis: Could support for the 'other' Kurds stall Islamic State? - BBC News


Iraq: on the frontline with the Shia fighters taking the war to IS - The Guardian


Islamic State Took Over a Prison and Shot the Shiite Prisoners, U.N. Says - Newsweek


Besieged Iraqi town of Amerli desperately needs U.S. help - The Washington Post

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Kerry, Kerry pants on fire!: If You Believed the Secretary of State’s Poison Gas Lie, You’ll Love His Latest One

By Dave Lindorff


If the best the US can do to pin the blame for the Malaysia Flight 17 downing on Russia is to have Secretary of State John Kerry say that “circumstantial evidence” points to Moscow being behind it, we can be pretty certain it was not Russia at all.


Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form

As a Syrian rebel, I think the word or phrase that best describes me is:
A) Moderate
B) Very moderate
C) Crazy moderate
D) Other

Complete the form for your $500,000,000 in weapons here.

The Syrian Election and ISIS in Iraq

By Judy Bello

Earlier this month, I traveled with seven other westerners to Syria where we joined with thirty plus activists, journalists and politicians from Asia, Africa and South America to observe the Syria Presidential election.       Bashar. Assad won 88% of the vote.    Though some people in opposition areas boycotted the election, and others could not get to a polling station, 73% of the entire population of Syria eligible to vote did vote.  The 73% turnout was more significant than the votes for Assad.   I had heard a detailed report back from the electoral commission, and spent voting day touring voting sites, so I wasn’t entirely surprised by this outcome.

Looking at the election as a referendum on the current government, the result was an expression of unity across Syrian society, the unity of a people who came forward to support the sovereignty and independence of their country.    When Bashar Assad was declared the winner of the Syrian election, people celebrated in the streets late into the night. in central Damascus, and other cities around Syria.   Even in Homs, people danced all night in celebration.  The slogan of the President was 'Unity' and that is what the people wanted to hear.

There were those who gushed in their affection and support of the President.  And I have at least one recorded on video.  However there were many more people who are tired of war and suffering and hoping to begin rebuilding under a government that could support their basic needs.  And there were those who were ready to cut their losses and return to a life that wasn’t so bad.  Whatever softness there was in the connection between the very well thought out process and the villagers who loosely followed it, there is no doubt that the majority of Syrians want Assad to continue to govern. 

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry dismissed the Syrian election as a fraud several days before it took place, and many Western countries, including the US, Canada and members of  the EU joined Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies in denying Syrian expat voters the opportunity to participate in the election at a local Embassy.      The Western press largely dismissed the election, though a massive outpouring of Syrian voters in Lebanon surprised everyone including, we later learned, the Syrian Election Board.  

However, it seems clear, as the current events in Iraq unfold, that somebody took the results of the Syrian election along with the successes of the Syrian Arab Army in liberating the towns along the Lebanese border, and throughout most of the populated areas of the country (except for Aleppo) quite seriously.   Suddenly, a week after the election, the most militant, brutal fighting force in Syria moved much of its forces to Iraq where, with the support of a well organize Sunni defection, they brazenly swarmed across the north west area of the country taking over one city after another.   Iraq is seriously shaken.   It has already been through a terrible bloodbath within this decade and the healing has not seriously begun.  Now a new sectarian war has appeared to be on the horizon.

ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a violent, fanatical organization of religious extremists,  supposedly a breakaway from al-Qaeda, is not new to Iraq.  It was born there during the US occupation.  The man who currently leads ISIS spent several years in the US prison camp at Bucca.  After spending another year in an Iraqi prison, he was released, and shortly after that he took charge of ISIS.   Wealthy Saudis have consistently  funded ISIS, while Turkey has facilitated delivery of arms and other supplies to ISIS across their border.    ISIS has been dismantling the factories in Aleppo, transporting them across the Turkish border and then setting them up for business there.   This could not be done without the tolerance of the Turkish government.  Members of ISIS were trained by US Special Ops forces in Jordan last year.   When ISIS took over the oil well at Raqqa in Syria, the EU dropped its sanctions against Syrian oil production so that they could provide parts to repair the old broken down wells so ISIS could start pumping the oil, which I assume European countries are now buying.

During the last year Syria had, with the help of Iran and Hebollah, begun to beat back the insurgency and recover the territories lost to war.   It is true that thousands of Syrian refugees are in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, but many times more are in refugee camps in the government held areas of Syria where they are supplied with food and shelter, and basic medical care,  and schools for the children.   The Syrian Arab Army is mostly Sunni.  It reflects the population demographics of the country as does the government bureaucracy.    Iraq does not have the resources, the political integrity or the stable social structures to fight a war like this.   It is already fractured in all directions.   There are no resources left for refugees in Iraq.    A sectarian war is a real possibility.

Iraqi President al Maliki has requested the United States to provide assistance.  US President Obama has sent a few Special Ops forces and promised more.   There is a lot of talk about  whether the US should put ‘boots on the ground’; whether the US should use air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.   While the American people stood fast against bombing or sending troops to Syria, they are wavering on Iraq.   Once there are boots on the ground in Iraq, there will be boots crossing the border into Syria.   If drones strike Iraq, they will soon be striking Syria.   It will be open season on Iraq and Syria.  

There is talk of dividing the country.  I’m hearing the “We broke it - now we own it” line again.   This is a serious distortion of reality.  We aren’t talking about accidentally knocking a pot off the shelf in a department store.  We didn’t ‘break Iraq’.  We deliberately invaded the country and smashed it.    We had another 7 or 8 years after that to try to ‘fix it’, but instead we presided over the destruction of what remained of the society.  We should not be given control over any process that might affect the integrity of Iraq or Syria.   Who  governs these countries is not our business and we have no right to choose for them.    Creating mayhem with fanatical militias capable of obscene acts of violence is not the way to ‘free’ people.   Dividing people and power according to ethnic and religious affiliations destroys the fabric of ancient societies and benefits only foreign overlords who find it easier to control a weak and unempowered society.

No matter how bad it looks for Iraq, we must not forget that it is most likely that US officals at some level, at least the CIA, had something to do with the redeployment of ISIS to Iraq.   Therefore the last thing they need is ‘help’ from us.   Let us send them our prayers.  Let us send food and medical aid for refugees.  Let us respect their elections be they ever so fragile and flawed.   Let us respect their sovereignty and their right ot solve their own problems.  AND, let us pressure our government to stay out of the fray and to demand that our allies cease to support and facilitate blood thirsty fanatical militant forces in this region.  

Let the Iraqis and the Syrians have a chance to restore their countries and their lives.     We don’t own them.  We haven’t earned even the privilege to call ourselves their friends.   Let us give them the freedom to make their own choices and solve their own problems. Cede to them their right to self determination.   That is what we really owe them.

Iraq/Syria News - June 11, 2014


ISIS takes control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city - The Long War Journal


After Mosul ISIS seizes more towns in northern and central Iraq - The Long War Journal


Al Qaida's ISIS paves a Syria-Iraq corridor, plans 'Islamic emirate' - World Tribune


Iraq's prime minister calls for state of emergency after Mosul attack - Los Angeles Times


Maliki offers to arm citizens willing to fight ISIS (VIDEOS) - Al Arabiya News


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s statement in Baghdad - The Washington Post


VIDEO (Arabic): Iraq Prime Minister Maliki Calls for State of Emergency - YouTube


Mosul Siege: Islamic Militants Parade Captured US-Supplied Humvees in Syria? - ibtimes.co.uk


VIDEO: Residents flee Mosul after ISIS fighters seize control - YouTube


PHOTOS: Great pics of families fleeing as terrorists overrun Iraq's second city Mosul - Mail Online


VIDEO: A tour after ISIS take the City of Mosul - YouTube


White House calls on Iraq government to 'step up to the plate' over Mosul - theguardian.com


Pentagon spokesman John Kirby makes it clear U.S. unlikely to become directly involved in Iraq’s battle with ISIS, “This is for the Iraqi government to deal with” - MiamiHerald.com


Hundreds killed as ISIS insurgents gain ground against rival Islamists in east Syria - Reuters


New Syrian jihadist body formed to fight ISIS - Al-Monitor


Syrian Kurds Increasingly Pressured by ISIS - VOA


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In a New York Times op-ed former Ambassador Ford urges to arm Syrian opposition, not to engage the regime - THE DAILY STAR


Former Ambassador Robert Ford Op-Ed: Arm Syria’s Opposition - NYTimes.com


VIDEO:Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford: I could no longer ‘defend the American policy’ - CNN.com Blogs


Amb. Ford: Give Syrian Insurgents Manpads to Shoot Down Iranian Planes Suppling Arms to the Syrian Army - dailykos.com


19 Reps. led by Peter Welch urge Obama to reject transferring Manpads to Syrian insurgents - Just Foreign Policy


MoveOn Petitions - Congress: Back Welch-Jones-Mulvaney-Conyers Against Syria Manpads - moveon.org


A State Department official on May 28 denied a newspaper report claiming that the White House had “lifted its veto” on deliveries of Manpads to Syrian rebels - THE DAILY STAR


U.S. arms could create Syria 'warlords', rebel commander says - Reuters


Syrian Rebels Say American-backed Southern Front Strategy Is Doing Little, Hasn't Hurt Assad Yet - huffingtonpost.com


Al Nusra standoff with FSA shows Al Qaeda rise on Syria’s southern front - The National


Al Qaeda’s rise in southern Syrian pushes moderate rebels to sideline - The National


Transcript: Phil Sands on Syria’s fragmenting southern front - The National


FSA-Nusra Collaboration Has Been Fairly High Functioning On Syria’s Southern Front, But A Rebel Rift Is Brewing - VICE News


One U.S.-Backed Rebel Group Cooperates With Al-Qaeda in Syria - WSJ


The Free Syrian Army Can't Shake Al Qaeda Ties - Algemeiner.com


SURVEY: Why are fighters leaving the Free Syrian Army? - washingtonpost.com


Harakat Hazm: America’s new favorite jihadist group - Syria Solidarity Movement


Exclusive interview with Harakat Hazm: we have fought the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and we will fight anyone who threatens the Syrian revolution - tahrirsouri.com


U.S. TOW missiles sent to Syrian rebels as test - usatoday.com


Syria Interview: The Commander Who Received US-Made TOW Anti-Tank Missiles - EA WorldView


VIDEO: Harakat Hazm TOW attack vs SAA tank, Chanting Allāhu Akbar (God is greatest) - YouTube


Report: CIA blocked U.S. group's effort to arm Syrian rebels - World Tribune


Don't ignore Syria's nonviolent movement - theguardian.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com


Neocon WaPo Still Lusting After Syria, Ukraine

 

WPost Seeks US-Patrolled ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria

May 25, 2014

Editor Comment:  Neocons never blush at their own hypocrisies, demanding Russia respect international law and do nothing to protect eastern Ukrainians, while demanding President Obama ignore international law and create a rebel “safe zone” in Syria.

By Ray McGovern

The Washington Post’s neocon editors have made another strident appeal for President Barack Obama to “abandon his passivity and do something to help” the rebels in Syria, complaining that they “continue to receive far too little help from the United States.”

The Post ups the ante by boldly asserting that “Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad … continues to launch chemical attacks … in rebel-controlled neighborhoods.” Yet, even premier Bashar-basher John Kerry has been more discreet in inching that dubious claim into the public arena.

Obama Badly Wanted to Bomb Syria Last Year

There are those claiming that Obama never wanted to send missiles into Syria.  Thus they explain that public pressure against those missile strikes was pointless and unnecessary, as opposed to effective and successful.  However, Obama made a hard pitch to the public and Congress in favor of the strikes, and it's on video.  Watch him try to sell the public:

Watch him try to sell Congress:

HERE.

Watch the videos he showed Congress and the public:

Turkey/Syria News - Apr 1, 2014

 

Erdogan targets enemies after poll triumph - Reuters


VIDEO: Erdogan: 'They will pay for this' - Stuff.co.nz


FULL TEXT: Turkish PM Erdoğan's post-election 'balcony speech' - hurriyetdailynews.com


EXCERPTS: How Erdogan’s jubilant victory speech targeted his two biggest enemies - washingtonpost.com


PM Erdoğan delivers victory speech with corruption suspects - Today's Zaman


Polls Boost Turkish Leader's Presidential Hopes - ABC News


Opposition says election victory will not acquit PM, AK Party of corruption - CİHAN

 

Erdogan's critics fear crackdown after Turks deliver his party a victory - Yahoo News

 

Erdoğan sues Today's Zaman editor-in-chief, four others - CİHAN

 

Opposition vows to resist Erdoğan's witch hunt in post-election era - CİHAN

 

Turkey: Erdogan critic fears returning home - The National

 

Turkey Faces More Strife After Erdogan’s Election Win - The Daily Beast

 

VIDEO: Ankara after the election, protestors chanting: "Thief Tayyip Erdogan" - Vine

 

Femen activists stage anti-Erdogan protest at Istanbul polling station - The Ugly Truth

 

VIDEO: FEMEN unleash their breasts against Erdogan - YouTube

 

Report: Graft probe suspect Zarrab flees overseas - Today's Zaman

 

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Turkey is at war with Syria, Erdogan says in post-election speech - CI˙HAN


Border province punishes Turkey's policy on Syria in polls - Reuters


Syria: Turkey Sending Foreign Fighters to Latakia - ABC News


According to villagers, thousands of fighters coming from Turkey crossed the border at five different points to launch the attack on Kassab - Al-Monitor


U.S. reacts to Syrian rebel occupation of Kassab, Entire population flees country’s only Armenian-majority town - Armenian Reporter


In Los Angeles hundreds Protest Turkey’s Role in Kassab Attacks  - Asbarez Armenian News

 

Celebrity Kim Kardashian tweets appeal on Kessab events - ARMENPRESS

 

Report: Syria deploys anti-aircraft missile batteries along Turkish border - JPost

 

Syrian army retakes key post in Latakia - Oman Observer

 

Turkish military fires into Syria after rocket hits mosque - Reuters

 

Erdoğan, again, quick to attribute Syria audio link to Hizmet with no proof - CİHAN

 

Relevant countries tipped off MIT about ISIS terrorists, daily claims - CI˙HAN

 

Who’s smuggling antiquities from Syria to Turkey by air? - conflict antiquities

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Turkey News - Mar 28

 

Turkey bans YouTube after Syria security talk leaked - THE DAILY STAR


TRANSCRIPT PART 1: Turkey Intelligence Chief and FM discuss to stage a clash in Syria or a missile attack on Turkey soil as a pretext for military response - GMT


TRANSCRIPT PART 2 - Turkish Intelligence delivered 2,000 truckloads of weapons to the Syrian insurgents and sent a general to help them - Pastebin.com


AUDIO PART 1 (Turkish): Syria talks between Turkey FM, Intelligence Chief, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary and Deputy Chief of General Staff - YouTube


AUDIO PART 2 (Turkish): Syria talks between Turkey FM, Intelligence Chief, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary and Deputy Chief of General Staff - YouTube


Ankara on alert after spying on security meeting leaked - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Press Release Regarding the Illegal Exposure of Certain Audio Records with Regard to the Tomb of Süleymanşah Memorial Outpost - Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Turkish opposition reacts to leak on alleged Syria incursion by Turkish military - Today's Zaman

 

Turkey says Syrian air defences put Turkish jets under radar lock - Reuters

 

Turkey vowed 'any measures' against Syria threats - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

NATO source: We doubt there was any threat: It looks like Turkey took down the Syrian jet to help the radical groups - Twitter / potifar66

 

Leaks shows Iran-backed terrorist cell infiltrated Turkish gov't at highest level, Interior Minister, National Intelligence Organization (MIT) chief and Deputy Prime Minister are all involved with the Tawhid-Salam network - Today's Zaman

 

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Turkish Court Overturns the Government’s Ban on Twitter - NYTimes.com


Twitter fights Turkey ban with lawsuit over political freedom of speech - PCWorld


AUDIO: New leak: Reza Zarrab makes some distressed calls because 2 ministers out of 10 wouldn't take his bribes - Twitter / 06JAnk


Social media group volunteers to monitor election polls - Today's Zaman


Fuat Avni: the reason Erdoğan banned Twitter? - Today's Zaman

 

Two more Bugün TV news programs penalized by election board - Today's Zaman

 

AK Party mayor in Bolu shuts down dailies, backtracks under pressure - CİHAN

 

Turkish courts release eight journalists in two days - Committee to Protect Journalists

 

Police officer warns prosecutor of fabricated Hizmet evidence - Today's Zaman

 

VIDEO: Turkish PM Erdoğan hailed as 'sultan,' greeted with Ottoman army band - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

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Probe under way after 10-year-old hit by gas canister in Diyarbakır - Today's Zaman


Grieving mothers of victims killed in protests speak out in new video - Today's Zaman


VIDEO (Turkish): Grieving mothers of victims killed in protests speak out in new video - Radikal


Audio hinting Erdoğan behind Baykal sex tape draws massive reaction - CİHAN

 

'I saw Erdoğan watching that sex tape' - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Probe into Baykal's sex tape stalled with frequent prosecutor changes - Today's Zaman

 

AUDIO: New leak purports to show Erdogan behind Baykal sex tape which forced ex-CHP leader's resignation in 2010 - vimeo.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Syria/Turkey News - Mar 26, 2014

 

Clashes spread near Syria's border with Turkey - Yahoo News


Kessab Targeted by Al-Qaeda Front Groups in Cross-Border Attack from Turkey, The majority of the Armenian population evacuated - Armenian Weekly


Armenian Homes in Kessab Looted, Occupied - Asbarez Armenian News


Fundraising organized to help Kessab residents in Syria - aysor.am


Armenian President Sargsyan makes press statement on Kessab in The Hague - Panorama


Armenian deputies head to Syria - ARMENPRESS

 

VIDEO: Syrian rebels seize Armenian town Kessab near Turkey - Al Jazeera

 

VIDEO: Al Jazeera TV interviewing a Chechnyan commander of the attack on Kessab-Latakia - LiveLeak.com

 

VIDEO: Raw Video of Heavy Clashes In Latakia Region On The Border With Turkey  - YouTube

 

Syria rebels claim capture of Samra coastal village in Assad heartland - AFP

 

VIDEO: Syria rebels claim capture of Samra coastal village in Assad heartland - YouTube

 

Bashar al-Assad's home village under threat from Syrian opposition forces - theguardian.com

 

Jabhat al-Nusra, Chechen Factions, Capture Assad Positions At Tell Shuwehneh, Aleppo (VIDEO) - chechensinsyria.com

 

Syrian troops thwart attack on key military site in Latakia - Yahoo News

 

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US Armenian group says Turkey assisting rebels in Kessab - Today's Zaman


ANCA Demands White House and Congressional Action to stop Turkey facilitating rebel attacks on Kessab, Text of letter to Obama - Armenian Weekly


Armenian Bar Association Calls on Obama to Intervene on Behalf of Syrian-Armenians - Hetq


VIDEO: Video shows that Turkey permits terrorists enter Syria’s Armenian-populated Kessab - YouTube


PHOTO: Turkish Intelligence allegedly carrying wounded terrorists in Kessab - islamicinvitationturkey.com

 

Tensions running high on Turkey-Syria border, Turkey military reports a dozen incidents involving its aircraft and Syrian anti-aircraft defences on Monday alone - ZAMAN ALWSL

 

Syrian missile systems lock onto five Turkish jets as clashes rage across border - hurriyetdailynews

 

Syrian Army downed aTurkish Spy Blimp above Syria’s Kessab (PHOTO) - islamicinvitationturkey.com

 

UN urges Turkey, Syria to refrain from further military actions - Today's Zaman

 

Interview (Arabic) with Alawite militia leader Mihrac Ural, Discusses Turkey role in Kessab attack & denies responsibility for Bayda massacre - AlakhbarNews

 

Turkey Vows Action to Defend Tomb in Syria From Al-Qaeda - Bloomberg

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Turkey News - Mar 25

 

Erdoğan says he ordered Twitter shutdown - Today's Zaman


Erdogan threatens to extend ban to YouTube, Facebook - Al-Monitor


Turkish justice minister calls Twitter to respect laws - CİHAN


Turkey bar associations, legal experts ask courts to overturn Twitter ban, arguing it is unconstitutional and violates human rights laws - CİHAN


Is the Turkish Twitter ban even legal? Experts say no - washingtonpost.com


Turkey Twitter Ban: How 1.1 Million People Are Getting Around It, Using VPN software or anonymous browsing like Tor as well as text-to-tweet - NBC News


VIDEO: VPNs Help to Circumvent Turkey’s Twitter Blockage: Video - Bloomberg


Toronto tech firm helps circumvent Turkey’s Twitter ban - Globalnews.ca

 

Turkey becomes first country ever to ban Google DNS - Today's Zaman

 

Tweets in Turkish are down but not out, New data suggest that the efforts of Turkey’s prime minister to “wipe out” Twitter have had only limited success (GRAPH) - MIT Technology Review

 

US urges Turkey to restore full access to Twitter, U.S. official blog slams Ankara’s '21st century book burning’ - CI˙HAN

 

Ban on Twitter condemned by the EU officials - CİHAN

 

Shutdown of social media 'cannot be approved,' President Gül writes on Twitter - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

In voice recording new evidence of Erdoğan meddling in media - Today's Zaman

 

PM bypassing president in rector appointments, leak shows - CİHAN

 

Questioning of students illegal, violates human rights - Today's Zaman

 

Turkish gov’t reshuffles over 200 judges and prosecutors amid graft probe - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

More officers at police department suspended - Today's Zaman

 

Al-Qaeda made use of police force reshuffle with a deadly attack on Turkish security forces- Today's Zaman

 

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AK Party uses state, municipality resources for İstanbul rally - CİHAN


A video purports to reveal the government’s use of public money to attract large crowds to their rallies before the election (VIDEO) - Aydinlik


Election board, political parties step up measures against vote rigging - Today's Zaman


Turkey’s Anti-Fraud Army Prepares for Local Elections - Bloomberg


Ruling AKP's demand for list of ballot box clerks raises election fraud concerns - turkishweekly.net


Election fraud concern grows, taking advantage of holes in a computer program and manipulating a small group of public servants - hurriyetdailynews.com


POLL: Race head to head in Turkey’s elections - Independent Balkan News Agency

 

1,500 AK Party members resign and join MHP in Ankara - Today's Zaman

 

Erbakan: Now, devout Muslims vote for CHP - Today's Zaman

 

Hallmark of political Islam criticizes Erdoğan's policies - Today's Zaman

 

[Part 5] Gülen says ballot box is not everything in a democracy - CİHAN

 

‘No more Turkish Olympics for the individual in Pennsylvania,’ PM says - hurriyetdailynews.com

 

Rapid GDP growth not peculiar to AK Party rule, Data reveals that most emerging economies with similar per capita GDP trends as Turkey have achieved the same or even higher economic growth - Today's Zaman

 

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Syrian warplane shot down by Turkey military, concerns over possible government efforts to cover up a corruption scandal ahead of elections - CİHAN


Turkish PM Accused of Playing War Games Ahead of Election, Opposition does not believe Erdogan’s account of shooting down Syrian jet - The Daily Beast


Can Erdogan take cover behind Turkish military? - Al-Monitor

 

Erdogan’s great patriotic war - Al-Monitor

 

VIDEO (Arabic): The pilot, speaking to the Syrian state television, says that he was flying over Syrian territory when a Turkish F-16 targeted his plane - en.alalam.ir

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

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