Tag Archives: Qatar

Media hypocrisy over fate of migrant labour in Qatar

By Mark Blackwood
June 5, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The intense campaign to overturn FIFA’s decisions in December 2010 to hold the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 has spawned a slew of articles expressing outrage over the atrocious conditions facing migrant workers building the World Cup site in Qatar face.

Coming as many such statements do from representatives of US and British imperialism and a compliant corporate media, the denunciations are entirely self-serving.

The fate of migrant workers in Qatar, the other Gulf petro-monarchies and throughout the Middle East is horrendous and has long been documented. They all rely on migrant workers from South Asia, employed on low pay and in slave-labour conditions, to maintain their wealth and power, and keep their own restive populations at bay.

Insofar as conditions in Qatar depart from the Gulf norms, it is because of the vast scale of the $260 billion infrastructure and stadiums required for the World Cup, and the time scale in which it must be completed. The number of workers involved is expected to rise to at least a million in a few years’ time, when work starts on the 12 Stadiums.

As numerous reports have revealed, the move by South Asian workers to Qatar in search of money to send back to their families has brought untold suffering and death, as they are forced to toil in temperatures that regularly exceed 50 degrees centigrade for as little as 87 cents an hour.

The most frequently cited statistic is that 1,200 migrant workers, or roughly one a day, have died since Qatar won the bid at the end of 2010 to host the 2022 World Cup—although not all on the World Cup sites. If correct—Qatar rejects the figure and the methodology used to estimate it—then the 2022 World Cup has already claimed more lives than that of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka in 2013, killing more than 1,130 workers who were crushed under eight stories of concrete.

By far the greatest number of victims are Indian and Nepalese workers. According to government statistics in India and Nepal, some 279 Indians and 162 Nepalese died in Qatar from cardiac arrest due to mandatory long shifts in searing temperatures, and unsafe working conditions in 2014 alone.

A report by the International Trade Union Confederation published in March 2014 estimated that at this rate 4,000 workers could die in the run up to the World Cup.

Last month, Amnesty International published a briefing entitled Promising Little, Delivering Less: Qatar and Migrant Abuse ahead of the 2022 Football World Cup that said that more than a year after the government promised reforms to improve migrant labour rights, little had been done. An earlier report had identified nine fundamental migrant labour rights issues, but there had been only limited progress on five of these. In four other areas—exit permits, the restriction on changing employers under Qatar’s kafala system, the protection of domestic workers, and the freedom to form or join trade unions—authorities had made no improvements at all.

Amnesty highlighted the case of Ranjith, a Sri Lankan national who had been working in Qatar for five months. Ranjith explained, I was promised 1600 Qatari Riyals ($US370), but when I arrived my boss said I would only get paid 800. Until now, though, I have not been paid anything.

“I haven’t been given an ID or any contract. I wake up at 4am every morning, have my shower and small breakfast then leave my home in the Industrial Area for work at 5am and arrive an hour later at 6am.

“To come to Qatar, I had to take a loan of 130,000 Sri Lankan Rupees [approximately $1,000] at an interest rate of 36 percent. I just want to work and earn some money for my wife and children, but because of my sponsor I cannot change jobs. If I go to the police they will arrest and deport me because I do not have an ID.”

Gana Prasad said , “My Company has never given me my ID so at any time the police can arrest me and I will be stuck in jail. Because of this I rarely leave my camp. My life is just the construction site and this dirty room. If I could I would change jobs, but I can’t because my sponsor has my passport and won’t let me work for another company.”

In order to work in Qatar legally, each migrant worker must pay up to $1,570 and work under the kafala (sponsorship) system that ties workers to their employers, who take complete control of their legal and employment status while in the country. In many cases employers withhold passports and even wages to prevent workers leaving or quitting their jobs. The kafala system is nothing short of a modern day form of slavery imposed on hundreds of thousands of workers.

As a result of the kafala system, employers refused to allow Nepalese workers compassionate leave to return home after the April 25 earthquake. Speaking on the issue to the Guardian, Tek Bahadur Gurung, Nepal’s labour minister, explained, “They have lost relatives and their homes and are enduring very difficult conditions in Qatar. This is adding to their suffering.”

Gurung added, “We are a small, poor country and these powerful organisations are not interested in listening to us.”

This is in fact a lie, as most of the South Asian governments have given the nod to the Gulf States’ atrocious treatment of migrant workers because their remittances provide a crucial safety net for the impoverished masses, thereby deflecting popular anger.

Several undercover investigations have revealed countless human rights abuses inflicted upon Qatar’s migrant work force. For example, one Nepalese carpenter, speaking under conditions of anonymity, told The Mirror newspaper last year, “We’re treated like slaves. They don’t see us as human and our deaths are cheap. They have our passports so we cannot go home. We are trapped.” The Mirror s 2014 investigation went on to uncover evidence of workers who had been beaten by gang masters after their passports were confiscated.

Just last week, the BBC reported that its reporters, invited to Qatar as part of an international delegation, had been detained for several days as a matter of “national security” and interrogated for attempting to gather material on migrants’ housing and working conditions.

Qatar is a key ally of the US, Britain and the other imperialist powers in their endless wars for domination of the region’s energy resources and the suppression of the working class. Despite some tactical differences with the US and its regional allies over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in Gaza, Qatar has played a crucial role in the US-led wars on Libya and Syria. It has sponsored and financed right-wing Islamist militias whom the pseudo left parties have called “revolutionaries,” evidently impervious to the fact that Qatar, which imposes a slavocracy at home, is not supporting democracy or progress abroad.

The media are now wringing their hands over the fate of migrant workers in Qatar, citing it as a potential reason for reconsidering the location of the 2022 World Cup. But this will not change these relations fundamentally. Rather, such mock outrage provides a useful stick to beat FIFA into submission, after the US bid for the 2022 World Cup was turned down, while helping to discredit the awarding of the 2018 cup to Russia.

 

The author also recommends:

Gulf allies: A record of repression and torture
[22 April 2011]

Worrying Rise of US Weapon Sales Greeted by a Middle East Engulfed in War

Conflicts and war across the region, says one analyst, ‘have been an economic boon to those who wipe away crocodile tears with one hand and sign weapons contracts with the other.’

By Jon Queally
April 21, 2015
Common Dreams

 

An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. (Photo: US Navy)

An F/A-18C Hornet attached to the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. (Photo: US Navy)

Conflicts and war across the region, says one analyst, ‘have been an economic boon to those who wipe away crocodile tears with one hand and sign weapons contracts with the other.’

With ongoing wars and armed conflicts currently underway across the Middle East, South Asia, and large portions of Africa, the role that U.S. weapons makers play across the region was highlighted in weekend reporting by the New York Times, which showed how the drive for corporate profits has unleashed an arms race with perilous human consequences and no end in sight for people living in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.

“As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more,” the Times reports. “The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.”

With a loosening of arms sales to many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations—including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt—the Timesshows how an influx of advanced weaponry, such as missiles, fighter jets, and drones, is having a direct impact on both the simmering and broiling conflicts that have engulfed the region in recent years.

According to the Times:

Saudi Arabia spent more than $80 billion on weaponry last year — the most ever, and more than either France or Britain — and has become the world’s fourth-largest defense market, according to figures released last week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks global military spending. The Emirates spent nearly $23 billion last year, more than three times what they spent in 2006.

Qatar, another gulf country with bulging coffers and a desire to assert its influence around the Middle East, is on a shopping spree. Last year, Qatar signed an $11 billion deal with the Pentagon to purchase Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defense systems. Now the tiny nation is hoping to make a large purchase of Boeing F-15 fighters to replace its aging fleet of French Mirage jets. Qatari officials are expected to present the Obama administration with a wish list of advanced weapons before they come to Washington next month for meetings with other gulf nations.

American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue — in part to offset the shrinking of the Pentagon budget after the post-Sept. 11 boom.

American intelligence agencies believe that the proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America’s future arsenal of weapons. The plane, the world’s most expensive weapons project, has stealth capabilities and has been marketed heavily to European and Asian allies. It has not yet been peddled to Arab allies because of concerns about preserving Israel’s military edge.

For critics of the weapons industry and the support they receive from the U.S. government—which sanctions and paves the way for such sales—the trend is a deeply troubling one.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told the Times he views the increase in arms sales to the region “with a great deal of trepidation, as it is leading to an escalation in the type and number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.”

Sharif Nashashibi, an award-winning journalist and expert on the Middle East region, noted in a Sunday column in the Middle East Eye that though war-profiteering is anything but new, the current scale of the problem is worrying. “Weapons exports provide massive economic benefits,” notes Nashashibi, “which translate to political benefits, domestically and in terms of influence with clients. The Middle East and North Africa has long been a theatre of combat—often on numerous fronts—and hence among the most lucrative markets on the planet. However, weapons purchases have skyrocketed in recent years as unrest, tension and war between and within states have increased markedly.”

He continued:

Arms suppliers derive maximum benefit from just the right amount of destabilisation: enough to make clients bulk-buy, but not enough to existentially threaten them or disrupt energy supplies. That is why, for example, the US profited so immensely from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s – it armed both sides, resulting in a war of attrition that lasted almost a decade.

Similarly, the Arab Spring, Arab-Iranian tensions and the rise of the Islamic State, among other current crises, have been an economic boon to those who wipe away crocodile tears with one hand and sign weapons contracts with the other. Operation Decisive Storm over Yemen will no doubt add to the buying frenzy.

Also responding to the Times‘ latest reporting was journalist and analyst Richard Silverstein. Writing in Sunday’s Eurasia Review, he questioned the overall strategy of U.S. military intervention and weapons proliferation throughout the Middle East, which he argues has been not only counter-productive, but “almost universally deadly.”

With specific attention to the legacy of President Obama, Silverstein added:

We’ve been responsible for the deaths of millions in the past decade.  Why do we continue with policies which have failed so miserably?  Do you remember Obama’s “famed” Cairo speech of 2008?  We were going to bring a new form of engagement to the Arab world.  One not based on military might or dictating our political views or values.  We were going to treat the Arab states as partners.

Whatever happened to that Obama?  How did he turn into the president whose sole policy seems to be sending drones to kill Islamists and many unarmed civilians?  Now, he wants to become the president who presided over a U.S. weapons fire sale there.  The leader who confirmed that America’s become “War Inc.”

And as William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, wrote in piece that appeared on Common Dreams in October, “If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past 13 years of war, it’s that war is good business for those in the business of war.”

As Nashashibi concludes, it should be no surprise that when it comes to the U.S. government, “the talk these days is of cooperation with the region’s autocrats—they are the ones buying the most weapons. A democratic, peaceful Middle East and North Africa is far less profitable. Arms exporters will never say so, but peace does not pay the bills.”

How the U.S. Is Allied with ISIS & Al Qaeda

By Eric Zuesse
March 20, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

isil-usal-media-realityThe United States is allied with Sunni Moslem aristocracies (and therefore with Sunni-headed nations), against Shia Moslem aristocracies (and therefore also against Shia-headed nations). Sunni aristocracies provide the huge ($1 million and larger) financial donations that sustain ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist armed movements, commonly called “terrorists.” 

Islamic terrorism is virtually entirely a phenomenon of Sunni Islam, and the U.S. is allied with the aristocracies that fund it. 

The only major Shia organization that is even slightly comparable to those Sunni terrorist organizations is Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon and answers to Shia Iran; but, as wikipedia has noted: 

“The Gulf Cooperation Council,[15] Canada,[16] and Israel[17] have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, though in 2015 an assessment from the U.S. director of National Intelligence removed it from its list of terror threats.[18] The European Union and New Zealand have proscribed Hezbollah’s military wing, but do not list Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization.[19][20] “

The Gulf Cooperation Council, Canada, and Israel, are all, like the Sunni aristocracies are, U.S.-allied, not Russia-allied. They all want Hezbollah to be thought of as if it were like Al Qaeda, etc., so as to be able to hide the U.S. aristocracy’s alliance with the very same aristocrats who are funding global jihad, but they know that it’s just a lie. They know that global jihadism is essentially just a Sunni movement, which has its roots in the U.S.-Saudi alliance backing of the Mujahideen guerillas in Afghanistan during 1979-1989, as part of the West’s war against communism, which war now turns out to have been actually, in the real intent of the U.S. aristocracy, a still-ongoing war against Russia, because America’s NATO military alliance has continued on, long after the U.S.S.R.’s Warsaw Pact military alliance dissolved and ended entirely in 1991. Every single moment of NATO’s continued existence beyond that moment in time has been a clear indication that America’s aristocracy hope actually to conquer Russia — that anti-communism was, for them, just an excuse for their war to conquer the U.S.S.R., a war which is now raging hot again in the very bloody Ukrainian anti-Russian coup and follow-on Ukrainian civil war, and with preparations on both sides for an outright nuclear war between NATO and Russia. Because it’s all based on lies.

Islamic terrorism is allied with the U.S., not with Russia. (Russia experiences it in places like Chechnia.) Sunni extremists were even key U.S.-Saudi tools in weakening Russia and ending the U.S.S.R. This (and especially the Saudi aristocracy’s funding of Al Qaeda) is the reason why the U.S. White House refuses to allow the blocked 28 pages of the U.S. Senate’s Feinstein terrorism/torture report to be made public. The U.S. White House is, and has been at least since 2000, and maybe even before that, controlled by the U.S. aristocracy, no longer by the public. The U.S. Federal Government is, already, a dictatorship — actual rule by the country’s aristocracy or “oligarchs” — no authentic democracy anymore. This is a scientifically proven fact. Democracy in this country is now merely mythological, whatever the case might possibly have been before (when there were unfortunately no rigorous scientific studies yet regarding the question).

Sunni Islam is comprised of the Wahhabi variety and its offshoots, and it is comparable, in the Christian context, to fundamentalist or literalist Christianity, the extremist form of its own faith. That’s what the U.S. has been allied with after 1945.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is negotiationg with Iran about far more than Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is the world’s leading Shiite Muslim nation, just as America’s ally since 1945 Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading Sunni Muslim nation; and there is a global conflict between Shia and Sunni Islam, just as there had been in the past a global conflict between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity. Even within the same religion, history is full of very bloody and lengthy wars between contending sects. It’s rather normal.

Above all: Iran is Shia, and has therefore been allied with Russia, the country that Obama’s Administration (including Kerry) are seeking to destroy. An inevitable part of Kerry’s negotiations with Iran is to turn Iran against Russia; it would be a geostrategic sea-change.

In the Arabic world, the standard variety of Islam is Sunni; and all of the royal families are Sunni, even in Shiite Bahrain, where the Sunni al-Khalifa family basically imprison the public, who are Shia, in their country, and they do it with American military support, so that without the U.S. there would be no Sunni dictatorship in Bahrain, at all. The al-Khalifas pay U.S. ‘news’ media to not cover the barbaric means they employ to subdue their population. The United States is no friend to democracy; it often imposes dictatorship, and Bahrain is the best example of this, because it is so brutal. However, the mirror-image of that on the Russian-allied side is in the Shite-led Sunni-majority nation of Syria. The only difference is that, if the Alawite Shiite dictatorship in Syria gets overthrown, it will be replaced by Sunni terrorists — which would be far worse. But that’s what Obama evidently wants — if he is to be judged by his actions and not by his words.

On Wednesday, March 18th, Iran’s Fars News Agency headlined “Iraqi Commander: Tapped Communications Confirms US Aids to ISIL,” and opened as follows:

A commander of Iraq’s popular forces disclosed that wiretapping of ISIL’s communications has confirmed the reports that the US planes have been airdropping food and arms supplies for the Takfiri terrorists.

“The wiretapped ISIL communications by Iraqi popular forces have revealed that the US planes have been dropping weapons and foodstuff for the Takfiri terrorist group,” Commander of Iraq’s Ali Akbar Battalion told FNA on Wednesday.

He noted that tapping on ISIL disclosed the terrorist group’s regular contacts with the US army, and said, “They exchanged sentences like if they would have a share of the ammunition dropped near (Spiker Military Base) or responses such as ‘you will also receive your share’.”

“The US forces by dropping weapons and ammunition for ISIL, specially in Yassreb, Al-Ramadi and near Spiker Base in Hay al-Qadessiya have provided a lot of help to the ISIL,” he added.

Many similar reports by Iraqi officials and forces have surfaced in the last few months.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

On March 2nd, I headlined “Obama Prioritizes Weakening Russia, Over Weakening ISIS,” and linked to a news report from Michael Snyder the day before, titled “Is Barack Obama Actually Trying to Help … ISIS … Take Over Syria?” which concluded in the affirmative, because the air-drops of weapons were specifically into areas that were firmly under the control of ISIS. I placed this into the broader context of Obama’s overriding foreign-policy objective: weakening or even destroying Russia.

So: the U.S. President is not only dropping bombs onto some ISIS positions, but is dropping weapons onto others — so that they can in turn fire weapons to weaken the Shiite Assad in Syria and the Shiite regime in Iraq.

George W. Bush was allied with Sunni aristocracies, and so is Barack Obama. That’s because Sunni aristocracies, like the American aristocracy, aim, above all, to destroy Russia.

The only Russia-friendly Sunni dictator was Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi; and, as Hillary Clinton proudly and joyously said of him after bombing to hell his forces, “We came, we saw, he died.”

On 17 April 2014 in the London Review of Books, Seymour Hersh bannered “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” and he reported that after eliminating Gaddafi, the Obama Administration arranged to transfer from Libya into Syria the Libyan sarin that the Obama Administration claimed Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria had created and fired during 19 March 2013 onto the Syrian village of Khan al-Assal, and which gas-attack Obama was trying to use as a ‘justification’ for bombing Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war — which a proposal from Russia caused to be canceled.

Although the United States Government pretends to be opposed to terrorism, the United States Government is also the global leader in militarily supporting the aristocracies that fund terrorism; and is, in the final analysis, more of a friend than a foe of terrorist organizations, because Russia is allied with the Shiite side in the Sunni-v.-Shiite conflict, and the U.S. is allied with the Sunni side — the side that sponsors terrorism and that supplies almost all of the actual terrorist fighters.

This explains a lot of the inconsistencies and absurdities in U.S. Government allegations about terrorism and its causes.

The U.S. is a crucial sponsor of terrorism, but only in the shadows, because our aristocracy provide the military muscle that retains in power the Arabic aristocrats who — also in the shadows — actually finance terrorists (and who pay them very well, it seems).

What the U.S. Government alleges in international relations today has just about as much reason to be believed as did the statements by Adolf Hitler’s German Government about international relations during the 1930s and ‘40s; and the U.S. actually has adopted and refined many of that Government’s propaganda-tactics. As a consequence, the predominant view that the American public has of what’s happening in international matters is dangerously false. It will benefit the few at the very top, each one of whom knows personally virtually every other one — and whose lawyers are constantly dealing with each other to negotiate the details — and whose deals are almost always made in private, even deals that determine which politician will be backed and become a government official, and which particular office that he or she will hold. Hiring the top executives, who hire all other people, at the think tanks, and at the ‘news’ media, shapes the way the public sees public affairs, and it also shapes their votes. These things can be arranged — and they are arranged; they are manipulated.

The world’s richest 0.7% own 13.7 times as much as the world’s poorest 68.7%. They spend enough of it buying controlling interests in the significant ’news’ media and endowing tax-free foundations and think tanks, so that the ‘authoritative reality’ will be what they want it to be; and, when the public sees it and believes it, politicians will likeliest win who don’t contradict the aristocratically shaped ‘reality.’

And this is the reason why, at least in the United States, aristocrats control the Government. It’s not mysterious; it’s just secret. It’s the way things actually are, rather than the way they are propagandized to be. The actual government isn’t publicly seen. 

And what are the people at the top actually like? Scientific studies find that successful people tend to be bad. The people at the top tend to be psychopaths. And, of course, psychopaths tend to be very good liars.

So: it all makes sense, when you stop to think about it. But unfortunately, few people do.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

The US to offer “a significant contribution” to the Middle Eastern crisis

By Viktor Mikhin
March 19, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

S2342342It has been widely reported by the world media that the American Central Intelligence Agency plans on providing training to Syrian rebels right on their own soil. The CIA, together with the security forces of Qatar (who coincidently are funding the training), plan on training the “opposition” to ISIS. John Allen, coordinator for the anti-ISIS coalition (turns out that it is a cushy job with a good salary), demagogically declared that all these actions are being taken in order to “create the diplomatic space that will make possible a political solution to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.”

What can one say about such a statement? Military experts from many countries feel that these steps made by Washington are just another attempt to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  Opponents of US intervention in internal conflicts of other countries logically observe that ISIS was also once called a “moderate opposition” and backed by Qatar. They believe that such an initiative is but a smoke screen for Washington and Doha, financing al-Qaeda and one of its main organizations – ISIS, and that the main goal is carrying out one single task: the removal from power of the legitimately elected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A retired general draws attention to this statement and other issues. He stated in particular that the Pentagon will only work with so-called “moderate rebels from the Syrian opposition.” He is right at least by calling the opposition “rebels”, or in other words: terrorists, designed to solve Washington’s problems in the Middle East region. He also called for a larger definition of what is meant by “moderate opposition”. How will the CIA experts, having failed miserably more than once because of their lack of know-how, define who are “moderate rebels”. It seems that each rebel will first go to the US on a CIA visa, fill in a multi-page questionnaire and then pass a lie detector test? And maybe they will give a blood sample for analysis which will determine the degree of “moderation” of the visiting rebel and his “dedication to the American-style democracy”? And will those that don’t pass the test just go straight to Guantanamo?

Doesn’t this remind you of anything at all? It is well-known that all of the Saudis terrorists involved in the sad events of 9/11/2001 moved to the United States on visas handed out by the CIA. Now, a pretty impressive group of unknown fighters are arriving on American soil, yet again with the help of American intelligence. One must wonder what the pundits of the CIA are planning and what we should expect from them, which new acts of terrorism? Incidentally, one must also remember that some time ago, the US military delivered the best modern arms to the same “moderate opposition” paid by Qatar. And what happened with these “freedom fighters”? As you well know, once armed the rebels moved straight into the ranks of terrorist organizations such as the “al-Nusra Front” or ISIS, and are now actively fighting on the Syrian and Iraqi territories. And for some reason the US Air Force sometimes bomb them quite unsuccessfully.

Here are just two professional opinions on the matter. The air strikes by the US-led coalition on ISIS are superficial in nature and only do a little damage, said the Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. The deputy minister stressed that “the most effective way to combat ISIS are ground operations”, conducted by Syria and Iraq. He also stated that the preparation of anti-government forces that is being pursued by the USA, “will prolong the conflict and spread it to other countries.” According to him, Syria has amassed a large mass of information on the militants of terrorist organizations and is ready to share such information with friendly nations.

The measures taken by the West are insufficient to eliminate the long-term threat posed by the terrorist group of ISIS, said the editor of the British magazine Politics First, Marcus Papadopoulos. According to him, Washington and West European countries should above all stop supporting Islamists. “ISIS, al-Qaeda and other actors in the Islamist world would not be able to strengthen their positions if the West did not choose to support certain groups whenever it is suits them in order to achieve geostrategic objectives”, emphasized M. Papadopoulos. “During the war in Afghanistan in the 80s of the twentieth century, the West (led by the USA) supported the Mujahedeen to defeat Russia over there.” According to him, the United States supported the Muslim Bosnians in the Bosnian civil war of the early 90s, paving the way for the Afghan Mujahedeen to arrive and beat the Bosnian Serbs, simultaneously providing support to Washington in the Balkans and effectively depriving Russia from having influence in the region.

Now from Washington come these wasted scenarios from many countries that became victims of the American “democracy” on bayonets. Recruited, trained and armed with very modern weapons, riff-raff that is ready to kill for anyone and anywhere for the right price. And it pays well to organize terrorist attacks in Europe, the USA, to steal or shoot down civilian aircraft. It is no coincidence that many civilian aircrafts have been shot down or disappeared in recent years and for some reason it is always the flashy American justice and omniscient American media that has their mouths watering. What does this mean?

Here it is a case of the number and nationalist character of the rebels, sowing death and terror on Syrian and Iraqi territories where 8 million Arabs live. Lei al-Khatib, a scientific researcher at the Brookings Institution, estimates that ISIS has 80,000 fighters, including about 20,000 foreigners. And the majority of foreigners according to Lei al-Khatib come from the West. Other experts argue that the ISIS leadership inflates the number of its fighters for marketing purposes, as well as for the generous infusions from the Sunni regimes of the Persian Gulf states. But nevertheless, a caliphate now exists, publishing relevant laws and orders in the occupied territory and ostentatiously showing the world the executions of citizens of the Western world. All of these heinous killings with their worldwide display and setting, as many has observed, seem to follow a good quality Hollywood script. Maybe the CIA itself hired a number of Hollywood professionals with high salaries for this purpose? Because as you know, in the role of the executioner that is performed with such talent are the very mercenaries that come from the West. Once again the question arises, did they get there on their own or did someone pay them to go there?

The biggest beneficiary of these events, as was the case in the first half of the twentieth century, is the American military-industrial complex. The United States of America is an unusual country. Other countries with a budget deficit will try to reduce its budget but the US does the opposite. With a huge external debt and a constantly growing budget deficit, they increase again and again their military spending, increasing its military budget to a level that is equal to military expenditures of the rest of the world combined. And in concluding one military campaign seeks to ignite a new military conflict in another part of the world. According to the South China Morning Post, the air war in Iraq and Syria that is now led by the USA, “was a real godsend” for American arms manufacturers.

With the new air campaign in the Middle East, shares of leading military contractors and US military-industrial complex firms (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics) has risen sharply. The Pentagon promptly signed a contract for nearly a billion dollars for the purchase of Tomahawk missiles and other weapons right after the active phase of the bombing in Iraq and Syria started.

That is why the conflict in the Middle East will continue and blood will flow for a rather long time, turning into hard cash in the vaults of the US military-industrial complex. The rulers of the USA like repeating an ancient maxim: money does not stink. That is why the “freedom fighters” of the past in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and now the Ukraine, missiles in hand, were specially imported for training in the United States.

Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared:
http://journal-neo.org/2015/03/19/rus-vesomy-j-vklad-ssha-v-blizhnevostochny-j-krizis/

ISIS 101

What’s really terrifying about this threat

By John Chuckman
March 6, 2015
Dissident Voice, March 5, 2015

 

daeshISIS certainly is not what a great many people think that it is, if you judge what they think by what our corporate press proclaims incessantly.

Judging by what ISIS actually does and whom its acts benefit, its clandestine associates, and the testimony of some witnesses, ISIS is a complex intelligence operation. Its complexity reflects at least in part the fact that it serves the interests of several countries and that it has more than one objective. Its complexity reflects also the large effort to reinforce a false image with disinformation and staged events such as a video of a beheading which could not have been a beheading unless they’ve discovered a bloodless method until now unknown to science.

The subject of ISIS is not without brief glimmers of humor. The image of bands of men, swathed in Arabic robes and bumping their way around the desert in Japanese pick-up trucks with Kalashnikovs raised in the air for every picture has elements of Monty Python. The idea of modern, trained and well-armed military units turning and running from them resembles a war scene in a Laurel and Hardy comedy such as the one with Hardy stuck upside down in a WWI tank turret kicking his legs the whole time Laurel drives towards the German positions managing accidentally to round-up a whole trench-full of prisoners with some wire fencing that becomes snagged on the tank.

Despite the tiresome stupidities we see and hear about it, ISIS unquestionably does kill people and destroy things, that being its purpose, and there is no humor in that.

ISIS appears to have served several tasks so far. First, it frightened Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, out of office in Iraq, a man America and Israel grew very much to dislike owing simply to his good relations with Iran, one of the unintended consequences of America’s invasion of Iraq being expanded Iranian influence in the region. No doubt al-Maliki was terrified not so much by ISIS approaching in their pick-up trucks as he was by his own military’s tendency, as if on cue, to turn and run from ISIS, often leaving weapons behind. The message was clear: you won’t be protected.

Second, America’s highly selective “air war” against ISIS somehow manages to attack infrastructure targets inside Syria with the feeble excuse that they are facilities helping ISIS. We’ve seen what American bombing can do when it’s undertaken seriously, and somehow I have a hard time imagining the men in Japanese pick-ups lasting long when faced with what hit the Taliban in Afghanistan or Gadaffi’s forces in Libya. The air strikes are partly a show for the world – after all, how can America be seen not to be fighting such extremely well-advertised, super-violent terrorists, guys putting out videos regularly from a studio trailer they must haul around with one of their pick-up trucks? The air strikes’ main purpose appears to be a way of hurting Assad and assisting those fighting Syria’s army without coming into conflict with Russia, as they would with a large, direct campaign. They likely also punish elements of ISIS which have exceeded their brief and serve as a reminder to the rest of what could happen to them if they stray too far from their subsidized purpose once the war comes to an end.

Three, in some of the ground fighting in Iraq where we’ve read of Iraqi units fighting ISIS, the units are often Kurdish, and sometimes the press uses expressions like “Iraqi and Kurdish troops.” But the Kurdish region is still part of Iraq legally, although it has been given a good deal of autonomy by the central government. The Kurdish region of Iraq is the country’s prime oil-producing area, and in the estimation of many observers, an area both the United States and Israel would very much like to see severed from Iraq in the way Kosovo was severed from Serbia after America’s devastating air war there. This would not only permanently assure Iraq’s weakness, it would create a rather grateful and more willing oil supplier.

Where does ISIS get its technical equipment and the know-how to produce videos and run Internet sites? These are not qualities commonly found among fanatical fundamentalists anywhere; indeed most true radical fundamentalists tend to eschew technology. A supply of advice, technical assistance, and equipment comes from somewhere. Where does ISIS get the money for food, gasoline, clothes, ammunition, and Japanese pick-up trucks? And I wonder, did one of those wild-looking jihadi types just show up one day at an Iraqi car dealership and order a fleet of Japanese pick-ups? Were they delivered out on the desert or did a gang of jihadists march in, waving their Kalashnikovs, to drive them away?

The effort to destroy the Syrian government, whether by means of ISIS or anyone else, is warmly and generously supported by Saudi Arabia and its buddy Qatar – another oil-rich, absolute monarchy where political parties are banned – both these counties’ primary interest being the defence of their immensely privileged situations against creeping threats of all progressive developments such as equal human rights or democracy or indeed against revolt led by external forces. The payments we now know the Saudi royal family long made to Osama bin Laden before 9/11 were simply bribes to keep him and his anti-establishment work out of the country. They really didn’t care a lot about what the money bought elsewhere, but since 9/11 and its many Saudi connections – 15 of the perpetrators plus the past financing, plus the many members of the royal family and bin Laden family secretly flown out by American officials at the time – the Saudi authorities were genuinely fearful of how America might respond and have become far more responsive to what America wants in the Middle East and now apply their money to such projects. What America wants in the Middle East is, invariably, what Israel wants, so there is now extensive, secret cooperation where once there was complete official hostility.

We have reports from plane-spotters in the region of daily flights of mysterious planes from Israel to Qatar. We have several eye-witness reports and photographs of supply bundles dropped from unknown planes into ISIS territory. Maybe ISIS has its own air force now? We know Turkey has served both as an entry point for countless terrorists into Syria and as a place of retreat and refuge when fighting with the Syrian army becomes too hot for them, the volumes of such activity having been too great to keep secret. We have reports of Turkish supply flights. A Jordanian official recently told a reporter that ISIS members were trained in 2012 by American instructors working at a secret base in Jordan.

If ISIS is what our corporate news pretends that it is – a fanatical Muslim extremist group that sprang suddenly from the desert sands much like Jack’s bean stalk – one blindingly obvious question is, why does it not attack Israel or Israeli interests? Isn’t that what one would expect from such a cast of characters? But it has not done so, undoubtedly because Israel is an important covert benefactor and supplier.

We might equally ask why ISIS has not attacked Saudi Arabia or its interests, for although the Saudi royal family officially professes a strict and conservative form of Islam, Wahhabism, in fact, many of them are very worldly people who spend a good deal of time and money at the world’s great pleasure palaces. Perhaps even more damning for a genuine fanatical fundamentalist, the Saudis now often secretly cooperate and make plans with Israel where mutual interests exist.

No, there is something highly suspicious about Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who avoid such interests while managing to brutally kill poor Syrian soldiers just doing their jobs along with the odd foreign journalist or aid worker who may just have seen something they shouldn’t have seen. Of course, we have Edward Snowden himself having described ISIS as an operation intended to protect Israel. Despite the fact that some news sources have said the interview in which this was revealed never took place, my instincts tell me it likely did. Snowden has never refuted it, and the news sources saying it did not are highly suspect on such a subject.

The way ISIS serves Israeli and American interests is by providing a focus point for extremists, attracting them from various parts of the world so that they can be recorded and kept track of. Also the tracks back to the various countries from which they come provide security services with leads to places where there might be some festering problems. In the meantime, ISIS serves the interest of helping to bring down President Assad, a goal dear to the hearts of Israelis. Please remember that black operations, even the ones about which we know, show little consideration for lives or property. Just think of Israel’s attack on an American spy ship in the Mediterranean during the Six Day War, its pilots knowingly shooting up and bombing for two hours the well-marked ship of its ally and benefactor, no explanation worth hearing ever having been offered.

Just read conservative mainline sources (pretty much a redundant pair of adjectives) about the harm Snowden has done: claims of everything from his revelations about American intelligence having served to help ISIS avoid detection (!) to his revelations having set up the United States for another 9/11! You might think intelligent people would be ashamed of making such asinine public statements, but, no, there are almost no limits to trying to discredit those revealing murderous, dark operations.

We’ve had many reports of officials in various countries, including Canada as I write, concerned about the odd individual or small group running off to join ISIS. Now why should that be a concern? A few flaky people going abroad just removes them from your country, something I should have thought was a complete gain from a security point of view. Even if they were ever to return in future, you would know exactly who they are. Where is the basis for serious concern? But the psychological advantages of noise and hype to scare people about obscure dangers and “lone wolves” and “home-grown terrorists” outweigh completely good sense and intelligence.

Finally, there are numerous reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (a nom de guerre, not his real name), the leader of ISIS, is a Western intelligence asset. What little we can learn about him makes that entirely plausible. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has said that the man is a Mossad agent, a claim supported supposedly by documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is by all accounts a secretive man who speaks directly with few people, and even his birth place, given as Samarra, Iraq, is not sure. Records of his past, as those from his period of American captivity (always a great opportunity to “turn” someone to serving two interests), are not available. He was once reported killed but is still alive. He is said to have received intensive training from Mossad and the CIA, and some sources give his real name as Simon Elliot (or, Elliot Shimon), but few details can ever be certain in such dark operations.

The truly terrifying aspect of ISIS and other forces fighting with it in Syria is that the United States and Israel have approved and supported such wanton destruction in so beautiful and formerly-peaceful a place as Syria. Millions of lives destroyed and countless historic places damaged as though they were all nothing more than a few pieces moved on a geopolitical chessboard. I think it fair to describe that as the work of psychopaths.

John Chuckman lives in Canada and is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. Copyright © by John Chuckman. Read other articles by John, or visit John’s website.

 

Death Squads Receiving Training in Joint US/Qatar Operation: Report

Brandon Turbeville
November 27, 2014
Activist Post

 

According to a new report by Reuters, Western-backed death squad fighters operating in Syria are receiving a portion of their training inside Qatar via the Qatari government and the United States.

The unnamed sources of the information reported to Reuters that the training was taking place near Doha, Qatar in between the border of Saudi Arabia and the American al-Udeid Air Base, the largest U.S. Air Base in the Middle East. Al-Udeid is located inside a military zone protected by Qatari special forces.

According to Reuters, “Syrian rebel sources” have reported to the news agency that many of the fighters trained in Qatar belong to the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group of death squad fanatics passed off as “moderate” by Western governments.

The training, as described by the sources, has been running for close to a year.

Reuters states that the program involves the identification of small groups of jihadists fighting in Syria by the CIA, the relocation of these jihadists to Qatar via Turkey, and the subsequent training in “ambush techniques” by the U.S. and Qatar before the fighters are shipped back in to Syria via Turkey.

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