Category Archives: Africa

Global refugee crisis worst since World War II

By Joseph Kishore
June 16, 2015
World Socialist We Site

 

The global refugee crisis is more dire than at any point since the end of the Second World War, according to a report released yesterday by Amnesty International.

The report provides a partial picture of the disaster produced by global capitalism and the operations of imperialism in different parts of the world, with a focus on Syria, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Dadaab camp in Kenya now holds nearly 50,000 refugees [Source: UN Refugee Agency]

Tens of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, traveling great distances in an attempt to escape war, economic devastation and political persecution. Refugees often face deplorable conditions in the countries to which they flee, and with increasing regularity are turned away or perish during the journey.

Amnesty notes that in 2013, for the first time since the 1940s, the number of refugees was estimated at more than 50 million. In the ensuing two years, millions more have become refugees.

The situation in Syria and its neighboring countries in the Middle East is particularly dire. “More than half of Syria’s population is displaced,” including those displaced internally, according to the report. “Some four million women, men and children have fled the country and are refugees, making this one of the biggest refugee crises in history.”

Amnesty castigates the major powers for failing to provide assistance to the surging refugee population, many of whom have ended up in neighboring Lebanon (where 20 percent of the population now consists of Syrian refugees), Jordan and Turkey. It notes that the United Nation humanitarian appeal for $4.5 billion to aid Syrian refugees had reached only 23 percent of its goal by early June.

The entire UN emergency fund for Syrian refugees is less than one percent of the annual budget of the US military.

“The total number of places offered to refugees from Syria is less than 90,000, only 2.2 percent of the refugees in the main host countries (Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey),” the report states. Faced with a surging population and limited funding, the World Food Programme has been forced to reduce its level of food assistance to less than $0.46 a day to Syrian refugees in Jordan and $0.62 a day to refugees in Lebanon.

The desperate situation facing refugees from Syria exposes the “humanitarian” pretenses of imperialist operations in the region. The crisis is a direct result of the US-stoked civil war in the country, which has included the financing of Islamic fundamentalist organizations in the campaign to topple Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Obama administration is now utilizing the crisis created by American imperialism to justify the expansion of military operations in both Syria and Iraq, ostensibly targeting the Islamic State. The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq itself produced millions of refugees.

Amnesty also points to new restrictions on border crossing imposed by Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, all US allies. Turkey has closed almost all of its border gates to Syria. Over the weekend, Turkish military forces used water cannon against refugees fleeing fighting across the border from the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale.

The report says nothing about the origins of the crisis. The civil war in Syria is also a main driving force behind the sharp increase in the number of refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean. Many Syrians have fled to Libya where they, along with refugees from other parts of the Middle East and Africa, face disastrous conditions in a country torn apart by the NATO war in 2011.

Libya is riven by rival Islamist militias, many of which were financed and armed as part of the US-led campaign to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi. Refugees in Libya are subjected to harassment, torture, sexual assault, extortion and forced labor while seeking access to boats to take them across the sea to Italy.

In April, two boats packed with refugees sank in the Mediterranean, killing over 1,200 people. In the first five months of this year, 1,865 people have died attempting the journey, compared to 425 during the same period last year. The report notes that the “dramatic increase in the number of lives lost” is “partly due to the decision by Italy and the European Union (EU) to end the Italian navy operation Mare Nostrum at the end of 2014 and replace it with a much more limited EU operation.”

The response of the European imperialist powers, which backed the war in Libya as part of an attempt to reassert control over their former colonies, has been to strengthen “Fortress Europe” and block the flow of refugees. Last month, the EU agreed to a quota system to house 20,000 refugees, a tiny fraction of those seeking to flee Libya.

At the same time, the European powers are citing the refugee crisis as a rationale to prepare military strikes in Libya itself, aimed in the first instance at destroying the boats used to transport people across the Mediterranean.

A similar disaster has unfolded in Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific in the first part of 2015, as boats filled with refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been turned away by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. It is estimated that 300 people have died at sea so far this year due to starvation, dehydration or abuse.

The Amnesty report notes that the initial refusal of governments in the region to accept the refugees was a “flagrant violation of their international obligations.” It states that “Australia’s offshore processing policy—whereby it takes asylum-seekers who attempt to reach Australia by sea to detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island (Papua New Guinea)—is particularly egregious… [T]he deliberately harsh, humiliating conditions at the Australian-run detention facility were designed to pressure asylum seekers to return to their country of origin, regardless of whether or not they were refugees.”

The Australian government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is currently facing allegations that it has paid people smugglers to take asylum seekers back to Indonesia, allegations that the government has tacitly acknowledged. These illegal actions underscore Australia’s central role in spearheading the persecution of refugees throughout the region.

In Sub-Saharan Africa there is an estimated population of 3 million refugees, the result of waves of people fleeing wars and conflicts in different parts of the continent, including Nigeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republican and Burundi. These wars are invariably connected to struggles over natural resources, with the imperialist powers viewing the deeply impoverished region to be of interest only as a source of oil and minerals.

The Amnesty report’s conclusions are predictable, consisting of impotent calls for governments to do more. “The global refugee crisis will not be solved unless the international community recognizes that it is a global problem and deals with it as such,” the report states.

The catastrophic situation facing refugees, however, is one particularly horrific expression of a bankrupt social and economic system. The surge of refugees is a direct product of unending war and social counterrevolution. The persecution of those uprooted by imperialism is inseparable from the attack on the democratic and social rights of the working class in every country.

War, Imperialism and the People’s Struggle in the Middle East

United States continues its occupation of the region

By Abayomi Azikiwe
June 4, 2015
Global Research

 

War-USA-400x293Since March 26 the Saudi Arabian monarchy along with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been waging war on the nation of Yemen. Daily bombing raids against residential areas and infrastructure are ostensibly designed to push back the Ansurallah (Houthis) movement which has taken over large sections of the country, one of the most underdeveloped in the region.

This war has been largely hidden from the view of people inside the United States. Nonetheless, this is a U.S. war aimed at maintaining Washington’s dominant position within the Arabian Peninsula extending to the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

Prior to the beginning of the airstrikes by the Saudi-GCC Coalition, the administration of President Barack Obama withdrew its diplomatic personnel along with Special Forces operating inside the country. For many years the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has viewed Yemen as a key area for its so-called “war on terrorism.”

Regular drone strikes have killed many Yemenis along with at least three of whom were U.S. citizens. Washington has said that the Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is major threat to American interests in an attempt to justify the drone attacks which have killed more civilians than supposed “armed combatants.”

However, in recent months the Islamic Republic of Iran has been designated by Washington and its allies as the principal threat in Yemen. The Ansurallah, which is a Shiite branch of Islam, is supported politically by Tehran. The Saudi monarchy views Iran as its major impediment in controlling the region on behalf of U.S. oil and financial interests.

The current hostilities in Yemen have been described as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the GCC on one side and Iran and its allies on the other. The total war strategy against Yemen consists of the banning of humanitarian assistance from Iran and others who oppose the bombing and ground offensive by militias which are financed by Riyadh.

According to an article published by the Telegraph in Britain, it says that “As Saudi Arabia has maintained an air and naval blockade on Yemeni territory, gas supplies have run perilously low. Even a five day humanitarian pause was not enough to bring in the necessary aid. Fuel prices have spiked as the casualty count mounts, and some hospitals have been forced to close altogether because they are unable to keep medical supplies refrigerated or perform operations since they can’t run backup generators.”

Reports of the number of Yemenis killed in the fighting range from 2,000-4,000 with many more injured and displaced. Yemeni-Americans who have been attempting to leave the country since late March have been abandoned by Washington.

Many Yeminis have taken refuge across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into Djibouti where the U.S. has its largest military base in Africa. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is expanding its operations at Camp Lemonnier which is utilized as a staging ground for military strikes inside Somalia and other countries on the continent.

This same above-mentioned Telegraph article also notes that

“The UNHCR says a total of 5,000 Yemeni refugees have made it to Djibouti, including 3,000 in the capital, Djibouti city, and 1,000 in Obock, 300 kilometers (187 miles) to the north — making it currently the biggest Yemeni refugee population. The influx has hiked up local prices, with markets, hotels, and drivers trying to make the most of the situation in an already struggling economy.”

Yemen and the Imperialist Regional War

The war in Yemen is part and parcel of a broader regional war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, occupied Palestine and Iran. In Iraq where the U.S. occupied the country for over eight years, the Pentagon has redeployed 3,100 troops to the area. These troops are purportedly training Iraqi military forces although the Defense Department cannot claim any real successes.

When Islamic State fighters confronted Iraqi units in Mosul and other cities they fled. A similar situation was reported in Ramadi in Anbar Province. The Obama administration played down these events in order to deflect the attention of the U.S. public away from its failures in Iraq.

The Kurdish fighters seem to have fought with far greater commitment and vigor yet they are not privy to the military assistance in their struggle against IS. Fierce battles in Kobane on the border with Turkey revealed that the Kurds were a force to be reckoned with in the regional war against IS.

In neighboring Syria, the U.S. is behind efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Since 2011, an estimated 200,000 people have died and several million dislocated both inside and outside of Syria.

The U.S. is bombing both Iraq and Syria under the guise of degrading and destroying IS bases. However, the impact of this aerial war is to create broader avenues of operation for the IS forces which were built up during the initial years of the destabilization campaign against Syria. At present IS military units have seized large areas of territory within Syria and Iraq, while the strategy of the White House is to continue the bombing targeting Daesh but at the same time opposing the continued existence of the Assad government in Damascus.

A massive air assault on Syria was planned for August-September 2013. However, public outrage in Britain and the U.S. stopped the president in his tracks. The effect of recent wars waged by Washington through successive administrations has resulted in greater instability and dislocation.

In Lebanon Hezbollah has maintained its strength against the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. The party and mass movement have also intervened in solidarity with the people of Syria and may escalate its involvement based upon developments taking place inside the country.

The plight of Palestinians has been negatively impacted by the wars in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, many Palestinian refugees were divided over support for the Assad government. A major camp housing Palestinians has been the focal point of IS attacks seeking to gain control of the area.

Israel is supported to the tune of billions every year from the tax dollars of the American people. U.S. warplanes and other defense technology are given to Tel Aviv where it is tested against the people of Gaza and other occupied territories.

Although the U.S. administration has signed an agreement on Iran nuclear energy program, the Obama White House is continuing the 36 years of hostility towards Tehran since the popular revolution of 1979. Washington’s coordination of the Saudi-GCC war in Yemen is a clear testament to the ongoing war against Iran.

Africa and the Middle East 

As we mentioned earlier, Djibouti, the pivotal staging ground for AFRICOM on the continent is located right across from Yemen. Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya are in close proximity. The artificial divisions between Africa and the so-called Middle East are merely constructs of colonialism and imperialism for the purpose dividing the regions in regard to spheres of influence for western powers.

Peoples who reside on either side of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden fundamentally want the U.S. out of their countries. They desire to live in peace and to determine their own destiny in the quest for development and unity. Washington and Wall Street dominate through their military prowess and economic machinations that bribe leaders making them dependent upon U.S. and European patronage and privilege.

The fueled hostility between various branches of Islam is indispensable in the imperialist strategy for the Middle East and Africa. Only when the peoples of Africa and the Middle East unite on an anti-imperialist basis will there be a genuine atmosphere of lasting peace and social stability.

Note: This paper was presented at the Left Forum held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY) during May 29-31, 2015. The panel was chaired by Bill Dores of the International Action Center. Kazem Azin of Solidarity Iran was also a participant.

Obama’s Gun-Running Operation: Weapons and Support for “Islamic Terrorists” in Syria and Iraq. “Create Constructive Chaos” and “Redraw the Map of the Middle East”

By Julie Lévesque
May 29, 2015
Global Research

 

Obama-Eyes-SyriaNewly disclosed Pentagon documents prove what we’ve known for a while now: the Obama administration knew as early as 2012 that weapons were being sent from Benghazi, Libya, to rebels in Syria.

The U.S. government also knew at the time that:

“the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq were] the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

But did they just “know” or was it part of the plan?

These official documents of the Obama administration add to the large  amount of evidence proving that the actual chaos and havoc wreaked by extremist groups in the Middle East was deliberately created by the U.S. and its allies and is not the result of a “failed foreign policy”.

Judicial Watch recently revealed:

The DoD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons. (Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show, Judicial Watch 18 May 2015)

Although the documents do not reveal who was responsible for sending weapons to Syria, it is quite obvious from the language used in the documents that it was a US initiative and the CIA presence in Benghazi at the time suggests that US intelligence was behind this gun-running operation.

Libyan Terrorists in Syria

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four people were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA officers.

In August 2013, Business Insider reported :

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi. (Michael B. Kelley and Geoffrey Ingersoll, Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away, Business Insider, August 3, 2013)

Last January, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded that the “Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘changed sides in the war on terror’ in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power”, WND reported.

WND added that

“several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.” (Jerome R. Corsi,Libya: U.S. Generals Conclude Obama Backed Al-Qaida and Operated a Secret Gun-Running Program in Benghazi, WND, January 20, 2015)

We’ve also known for several years that Western special operations forces were on the ground training rebels to fight against Assad.

In January 2012, Michel Chossudovsky reported:

Several articles in the British media confirm that British Special Forces are training Syrian rebels.

The underlying pattern is similar to that of Libya where British SAS were on the ground prior to the launching of NATO’s military intervention.

A Responsibility to Protect (R2P) NATO intervention modelled on Libya is contemplated… The reports confirm that British military and  intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Syria. (Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: British Special Forces, CIA and MI6 Supporting Armed Insurgency. NATO Intervention Contemplated, Global Research, January 7, 2012)

Even CNN reported back in 2012 that rebels were being trained by defense contractors to handle chemical weapons:

The US and some of its European allies “are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria,” according to “a senior US official and several senior diplomats,” CNN reports.

The US-funded training is going on inside Syria, as well as in neighboring Turkey and Jordan and “involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials,” according to CNN. US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons

Bashar Al-Assad Is The Target

The deadly chemical weapons were later used against Syrian soldiers and civilians. The U.S. government and the Western mainstream media tried to blame President Assad, but a UN investigation later concluded that it was  the rebels who had used the chemical weapons.

Another official document from 2012 revealed by Judicial Watch indicates that the “growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. (Judicial Watch, op., cit.)

The U.S. did exactly what was needed to create “the ideal atmosphere” for Mosul and Ramadi to fall and for ISIS to declare an “Islamic state”.

With the fall of Mosul last June, the recent fall of Ramadi in Iraq and numerous reports about the U.S. delivering weapons and ammunition to ISIS, the recently disclosed official documents show once more that the U.S. gun-running operation created “the ideal atmosphere” for Al Qaeda Iraq and “the rise of ISIS” in the region. The war against the so-called Islamic State can thus only be a flatout lie.

The following articles pertain to the U.S. delivery of weapons to ISIS while it was supposedly fighting it:

U.S. Airdrops Weapons to ISIS as Iraqi Army Makes Gains

Delivery of US Weapons and Ammunition to ISIS: Iraqi Commander Wiretaps ISIS Communications with US Military

Terrorists Supported by America: U.S. Helicopter Delivering Weapons to the Islamic State (ISIS), Shot Down by Iraqi “Popular Forces”

Iraqi Army Allegedly Downs A US Helicopter For Providing Weapons To ISIS: Report

As a solution to the problem they created, with full knowledge of the consequences, the U.S. and its allies offered a military intervention with the stated intent of fighting the enemy they had created while covertly supporting it in order to sustain the war, for the greatest benefit of defense contractors and Israel, which has the a lot to gain in the dismantlement of neighboring states.

The purpose of this “constructive chaos” is nothing less than to redraw the map of the region and create a “New Middle East.”

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained back in 2006:

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of  the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Global Research, November 2006)

Note: The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006). Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya).

All the evidence is there to prove ISIS and their ilks are instruments of  U.S.-NATO-Israel foreign policy.

How long can the Western mainstream media ignore this overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are supporting the entities they claim to be be fighting in the Middle East without totally losing the very little credibility it has left?

Looking at the situation, Joachim Hagopian argues that the war on ISIS is just for show since its “enemy” is only gaining territory:

The US led coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to stop the Islamic State’s expansion. Four months ago it was noted that since the US air campaign began last August, the Islamic State has doubled its space in Syria, controlling more than one third of the country’s territory. In the same way that the US predator drone warfare policy has only caused more hatred against America in the nations it’s been deployed against in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the same reverse effect is occurring in Syria where residents are increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State. Additionally, Syrian opposition groups bitterly complain that the US led coalition forces fail to coordinate dropping bombs with the rebels, thus not permitting them any tactical advantage in driving IS back. It’s as if the air strikes are more for show than to actually neutralize the enemy. (Joachim Hagopian,The US-Islamic State Dance: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back – By Design, Global Research, May 19, 2015)

This war on ISIS is just another disastrous endeavor for populations in the Middle East, another military intervention under a false pretext, another lie to divide and conquer. And once more, the Western mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

Below is a selection of articles on this topic.

SELECTED ARTICLES

U.S. General: “We Helped Build ISIS” – Islamic State Obtained Weapons from U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Paul Joseph Watson, September 03, 2014

U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility, Washington’s Blog, April 15, 2014

CIA Gun-running, Qatar-Libya-Syria, Phil Greaves, August 09, 2013

Benghazi, US-NATO Sponsored Base of Operations for Al Qaeda, Tony Cartalucci, October 21, 2012

Resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Fuelled by Saudi Arabia, Zayd Alisa, 3 March 2014

More Evidence of Israel’s Dirty Role in the Syrian Proxy War, Steven MacMillan, May 18, 2015

Stop Military Intervention in Iraq

Bombing Iraq and Syria will only make it Worse

By Brussells Tribunal and International Anti Occupation Network
Global Research, May 27, 2015
The Brussells Tribunal

 

By International Anti-Occupation Network on 25-05-2015

The Stockholm Appeal from the I.A.O.N.:

After decades of sanctions, war and occupation, attempts to dominate and control Iraq continue.

The destruction of the country´s infrastructure, its army and its middle class has left a failed state that leaves its people in social misery and chaos. This has resulted in the collapse of the health and education systems, the weakening of the social fabric and the collective memory and national identity of the Iraqi people. Foreign plans to divide Iraq threaten its very existence as a state.

1. The failure of the US-led occupation to achieve their goals has been followed by another war with massive bombings of civilians and the infusion of enormous amounts of military weapons.

2. The regime in Baghdad which resulted from the imposed sectarian Bremer constitution is incapable by its very nature of achieving the inclusiveness of the different ethnic, religious and political groups that is required to guarantee Iraq´s continued existence.

3. Outside interference and support to sectarian militia and terrorist groups has further worsened internal conflicts, giving birth to criminal ruling groups. It has led to serious violations of human rights and has caused widespread suffering for civilians.

4. The government policies of massive imprisonment, torture, forced displacement and the exclusion of many from the political process have together provided fertile ground for all forms of extremism and terrorism.

5. Millions of refugees have been caught between the US-led bombing and the attacks from the government and its militia allies as well as from the terrorist attacks by ISIS. A humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions continues to worsen with widespread sectarian ethnic cleansing .

We re-iterate our stand that peace cannot be restored until the underlying causes of the conflict have been dealt with. The Iraqi people continue to resist foreign domination. Only their unity can guarantee the sovereignty of Iraq and defeat of terrorism and separatism. Only their efforts can guarantee good relations with all their neighbours based on strict non-interference in each other´s internal affairs. Iraq is not a pawn to be offered in regional or religious conflict. Its sovereignty and independence must be respected.

In the present situation, our efforts should be intensified and co-ordinated to:

– spread information about the underlying political nature of the conflict and demand an end to all foreign intervention.

– support the efforts of the patriotic forces for unity against sectarianism and terrorism where all Iraqis are treated as citizens of one country rather than members of specific communities.

– mobilize international efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people.

– demand an end to the bombing and military intervention in Iraq under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

– demand  justice for the victims and accountability by those responsible for the crimes committed and their responsibility for reparations and the reconstruction of the country. The UN must uphold international law.

We call upon all anti-occupation, anti-war and peace loving people to maintain and continue solidarity with the people of Iraq and their struggle for an independent, unified and non-sectarian Iraq.

Stockholm May 24, 2015

EU migrant crisis: WikiLeaked docs outline naval op, reputation risk management

By RT
May 27, 2015
RT

 

5dbff8607cce8544a71882ff21758d75-051WikiLeaks has published two classified documents revealing details of a EU plan for military intervention to curb the influx of migrants from Libya, and an information strategy to “facilitate expectation management” and avert reputation risks.

The European Union foreign ministers agreed to form a naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea targeting gangs smuggling refugees from Libya to Europe on May 18.

One of the classified documents published by WikiLeaks on Monday reveals details of the planned year-long military operation against human traffickers. The 11-page document, drafted by the EU defense chiefs, outlines plans to destroy vessels along the Libyan coast as well as target transport networks and infrastructure within Libya’s borders.

The second, 6-page EU Politico-Military Group advice paper on the military intervention lists recommendations on tackling human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean and outlines propaganda initiatives to sell the military option to the public.

The EU military chiefs’ advice centers on the notion of drawing a “full range of surveillance” and other intelligence data from EU member states and making “systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers.”

In this context, the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) highlights the need to create an information exchange and the “coordination of the use of military assets” between partners supported by Brussels (inter alia EEAS [European External Action Service] Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity – SIAC).

With regards to the use of force, the EUMC highlighted the need to layout Rules of Engagement, especially when it comes to the “seizure of vessels in a non-compliant situation, for the neutralization of smugglers’ vessels and assets, for specific situations such as hostage rescue and for the temporary detention of those posing a threat to the force or suspected of crimes.”

The plan also envisions possible engagement with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters “within the Libyan sovereign area.”

“The threat to the force should be acknowledged, especially during activities such as boarding and when operating on land or in proximity to an unsecured coastline, or during interaction with non-seaworthy vessels. The potential presence of hostile forces, extremists or terrorists such as Da’esh [ISIS] should also be taken into consideration,” the document highlights.

The authors of the leaked document admit that the operation should be backed by a clear information strategy that would “avoid suggesting that the focus is to rescue migrants at sea but emphasize that the aim of the operation is to disrupt the migrants smuggling business model.”

While the plan lists Libya and North African regional neighbors among the areas to be targeted by the information campaign, it also acknowledges the risks of negative international publicity “should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.”

Consequently, PMG stressed the need for a public messaging campaign to “avoid misperception on the operation’s mandate and to manage expectations.”

To protect individual operation commanders from being held “personally responsible for an action executed under their command” as well as to avoid damaging “EU reputation,” the document noted the need to have “clear legal frameworks and protocols in place prior to Operation launch, ideally with a UNSCR under Chapter VII and a complementary invitation by a legitimate LBY government.”

At the same time the authors acknowledge that “the political End State [of the military intervention] is not clearly defined” and recommend that the European Commission issue further guidance. The document emphasizes the need to avoid destabilizing the political process or causing “collateral damage” in Libya that might result in disrupting “legitimate economic activity.”

While the classified material acknowledges the main goal of the operation is fighting traffickers, and not preventing the loss of human life, the EU Politico-Military Group advice (PMG) paper recognized that search and rescue, “while not part of the core mandate of the operation”, should be administered according to international law.

At the same time, the 6-page document notes that a visible EU naval force along the coast of North Africa could have a “counterproductive effect” in preventing human smuggling, noting that the “smugglers’ business model will invariably adapt.”

European Union’s “migrant mission”: War plans in a humanitarian cloak

By Robert Stevens
May 23, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

June 7, 2014 - Mediterranean Sea / Italy: Italian navy rescues asylum seekers traveling by boat off the coast of Africa. Photographer: Massimo Sestini/Polaris

Image from: amesnews.com.au

The flood of desperate refugees seeking to escape carnage and war in North Africa and the Middle East continues to swell. On Wednesday alone, more than 900 migrants were rescued from three overcrowded boats en route from North Africa to Europe.

Nearly all survived, but just this year 2,000 refugees have died gruesome deaths trying to make the Mediterranean crossing and an estimated 5,000 have perished in the last 18 months. The highest death toll was the drowning of nearly 900 men, women and children off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on April 19.

In response, the representatives of the imperialist powers shed crocodile tears. But this was only a cynical cover for the overarching militarist and colonialist strategy now being enacted.

The European Union (EU) is rapidly moving to further subordinate and plunder their former colonies, under the guise of “solving the refugee problem” and fighting human trafficking.

On May 18 the EU approved Operation EUNAVFOR Med. It will establish a naval force in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters backed up with fighter jet support, under the excuse of clamping down on people smugglers. The plan should properly be understood as a launching pad for a renewed military intervention in Libya and the rest of North Africa—and as an extension of ongoing operations in Iraq and Syria.

The mission statement allows for the destruction of boats operated by “smugglers.” Ships can be intercepted, seized or destroyed even when they are in Libyan coastal or international waters. Such military action would require the agreement of the United Nations Security Council.

The remit of EUNAVFOR goes far beyond its stated aim of finding and stopping boats used by people traffickers. A Guardian report of a 19-page strategy paper for the mission notes that ground operations may also be needed.

The document states, “A presence ashore might be envisaged if agreement was reached with relevant authorities.” It continues: “The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea (sic), including special forces units.”

The paper refers to a possible “presence or tasks in the Libyan territory.” Land operations could include “action along the coast, in harbour or at anchor [against] smugglers’ assets and vessels before their use.”

This could result in significant casualties, with the planning document admitting: “Boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life.”

The Guardian leak gives the lie to Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief foreign and security policy coordinator, who claimed, “We are not planning in any possible way a military intervention in Libya.”

Up to 10 EU countries have volunteered to take part in the campaign, including Italy, Britain, France and Spain. These countries are all opposed to taking in even a few thousand refugees. But they are united in staking out a place in what is in fact a war plan.

Any such operation would be sanctioned under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. In recent years Chapter VII has been used to sanction military interventions in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq and Libya itself.

In addition the EU is also prepared to invoke Article Five of the NATO Charter, mandating action by the entire alliance when any individual member or its armed forces come under attack. Such an attack is highly likely and could provide the imperialist powers with a suitable casus belli .

The document even warns of “militia and terrorist’ threats to the EU forces. It states, “The existence of heavy military armaments (including coastal artillery batteries) and military-capable militias present a robust threat to EU ships and aircraft operating in the vicinity.”

Under conditions of raging civil war in Libya, the EU powers are preparing to use this tragedy, one entirely of their own making, to justify a military invasion.

According to reports, the operation will be launched from the June 25 EU summit in Rome. In preparation, Mogherini has lobbied the UN Security Council for support. NATO has also offered its help if requested.

The filthy imperialist operation being planned is as cynical as it criminal. The fact that millions of refugees in North Africa and the Middle East have been uprooted from their homes, and are desperately fleeing the carnage they face is due to decades of imperialist wars and intrigues in the region.

The imperialist powers have entirely absolved themselves of any responsibility. Indeed it was only due to massive public outrage against what is essentially a policy of mass murder of thousands of refugees that the EU countries even put into place the token rescue plan now in operation.

On Thursday Reuters reported on a proposed new European Commission draft plan to relocate across the continent just 40,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat in Italy and Greece. Reuters noted that the tiny figure had been likely “set to guarantee acceptance after some EU states, notably France, had initially baulked at the idea of opening their doors to migrants.”

This follows last week’s announcement by the EU that it would take in just 20,000 asylum-seekers currently living outside the bloc. In Libya alone nearly two million refugees—more than a quarter of the population—have been forced to flee to Tunisia.

The drive to war and attacks on democratic rights, including the freedom of immigration, is being driven by the global crisis of capitalism. The struggle against war and its attendant evils must be led by the working class, the only class that has no interest in the maintenance of militarized borders, prison camps for desperate refugees, and the entire apparatus of repression that constitutes the nation-state.

The only way to prevent this drive to war is through the overthrow of the capitalist system, based on the perspective of uniting the working class internationally in the struggle for socialism. Central to this is the struggle for the United Socialist States of Europe, as part of a world socialist federation. This is the perspective advanced by the International Committee of the Fourth International.

EU approves military operation against Mediterranean refugees

By Johannes Stern
May 21, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The European Union is putting its plans for a military intervention in the Mediterranean and North Africa into action. The decision was made by EU foreign and defence ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

A press release states: “The Council has agreed today (18 May) to establish an EU military operation—EUNAVFOR Med—to break the business model of smugglers and traffickers of people in the Mediterranean. This decision, which is one element of the comprehensive EU response to the migration challenge, will enable the formal start of the operational planning for the naval operation.”

The first phase of the mission to uncover the smuggling networks and their routes will begin immediately, to be followed by a second and third phase “that would work to search, seize and disrupt the assets of smugglers.”

According to the press release, the Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino will direct the intervention. Rome will be the headquarters of the operation, which will initially last 12 months. The costs of a two-month “preparatory phase” are estimated at €11.82 million.

The appointment of Credendino alone makes clear the nature of the mission. The Italian Admiral has been in command of Operation Atalanta, the EU’s military intervention off the coast of Somalia. Warships of EU member states hunt for suspected pirates, attacking not only ships, but also supposed pirate camps ashore.

Although initially only the first phase is to be implemented, it is clear that the EU is prepared for much more extensive action. According to the press release, the operation will “tackle the root causes of irregular migration as requested by the European Council on 23 April 2015.”

At that time, following a series of terrible disasters in the Mediterranean with more than 2,000 deaths, the EU leaders had adopted the infamous “Ten-Point Plan for Migration.” It includes stricter police and military operations against refugees and lays the foundation for a massive military intervention in Africa.

Since then, the plans have advanced further. Prior to the meeting on Monday, Spiegel Online reported a concept developed by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini: “What Mogherini has prepared over six pages, is no less than the possible launch of a new EU military mission.” Its mandate relies on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of military force.

The text of Mogherini’s document suggests a far-reaching plan of attack. “The mandate should expressly allow operations in the waters of Libya and on Libyan territory to destroy the smugglers’ infrastructure there,” it states. Threats from the weapons in the possession of Libyan militias, including air defence systems and ground-to-air missiles should be countered with a martial “Force Protection” operation prepared for a “hostile environment.”

The EU’s plans are as revealing as they are criminal. Of course, the European elites and their henchmen in the mainstream media fail to make any mention of the fact that the chaos in Libya and the dramatic refugee disaster in the Middle East and North Africa are a direct result of Western policy. The wars conducted and supported by the US and the European states—including the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011 and the arming of Islamist militias to overthrow Gaddafi—have destroyed an entire region and turned millions into refugees.

Now, the imperialist powers are using the disaster to once again prepare military interventions behind the backs of the population.

Over the weekend, Bild am Sonntag published an “exclusive interview” with the German Commander Alexander Gottschalk, on board the frigate Hessen off the Libyan coast. While the paper tried to present the naval action as a “humanitarian” operation to rescue small refugee children, it is clear that military actions have already begun.

Asked what would happen to the boats after the refugees were rescued, the captain responded: “We must destroy the boats because they are a maritime hazard to other boats on the open sea. On the other hand, it could be that we erroneously regard an empty boat from the air as a boat in distress and go to save it. That can cost valuable time lost in saving occupied boats. Therefore we let the air out of inflatable dinghies and set them on fire. We also sink the less common wooden boats.”

Even Die Zeit, which publishes war propaganda in weekly instalments, noted under the headline “German frigate has license to sink” that using the military to destroy smugglers’ boats was “controversial.”

In addition to legal questions, it was “also unclear how the boats are to be detected. The military access powers were still open, with an eye on the position of the UN Security Council.”

To put it plainly: without a UN mandate, the military operation is in violation of international law and has even less legal cover than the criminal NATO attack on Libya four years ago!

Nevertheless, in contrast to its hesitation to intervene in Libya then, Germany stands at the head of the intervention today. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD, Social Democratic Party) declared in Brussels that the mission could begin quickly, adding that this was the consensus within the EU. At the same time, Steinmeier, who has repeatedly demanded a greater role for Germany in the world, warned that military action alone would not change the situation.

What is envisaged by Steinmeier and the German elite is a much broader EU engagement in Africa. Even before the recent EU foreign ministers’ meeting in April, he had declared to the press: “I think we need to see that we are faced with a daunting task … We know that the migration pressure will not relent as long as we have instability in North Africa and therefore what needs our attention, and it will be not be resolved in the short term, are the transit routes and countries of origin, and the most important transit country is at the moment Libya, a country that is falling apart if we do not interrupt and reverse the process.”

On Monday, at a joint press conference with Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU, Christian Democratic Union), he urged the “bringing to power of a government of national unity” in this resource-rich country.

A WSWS perspective, “The refugee catastrophe and the new ‘scramble for Africa,’” explained what the real objectives of Brussels and Berlin are.

To understand this, one needs only to look at the “Africa Policy Guidelines” adopted by the German government in the spring of 2014. The document speaks of the “growing relevance of Africa for Germany and Europe,” stemming, in part, from the growing economy and “rich natural resources” of the continent. The statement calls on the German government to act “early, quickly, decisively and substantially,” and to “use the full range of its available resources.”