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Why Iran Must Remain A U.S. Enemy

by Gareth Porter
Since the start of the US nuclear negotiations with Iran, both Israeli and Saudi officials have indulged in highly publicised handwringing over their belief that such a nuclear deal would represent a fundamental strategic shift in US policy towards the region at the expense of its traditional alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

But the Obama administration is no more likely to lurch into a new relationship with Iran than were previous US administrations. The reason is very simple: The US national security state, which has the power to block any such initiative, has fundamental long-term interests in the continuation of the policy of treating Iran as an enemy.

Some in the Israeli camp have spun elaborate theories about how the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran represent a strategic vision of partnership with the Iranian regime.
Typical of the genre is former Bush administration official Michael Doran's speculation in February that US President Barack Obama based his policy of outreach to Tehran on the assumption that Tehran and Washington are "natural allies".

Saudi response
The Saudi response to the negotiations has been, if anything, even more extreme. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, who speaks more candidly in public than any other Saudi public figure, told an audience at London's Chatham House last month, "The Americans and Iranians have been flirting with each other. Now it seems each side is anxious to get over the flirtation and get to the consummation."
Behind the sexual metaphor lie Saudi fears of a "grand bargain" under which Iran would forgo nuclear weapons in return for ratification of Iranian hegemony over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf.

But these Israeli and Saudi imaginings are divorced from the reality of the Obama administration's actual Iran policy. Far from the Nixon-like fundamental strategic revision, as the Netanyahu camp and the Saudis have suggested, the Obama administration's diplomatic engagement with Iran over its nuclear programme represents a culmination of a series of improvised policy adjustments within an overall framework of coercive diplomacy towards Iran.

 Despite Obama's embrace of diplomatic engagement with Iran as a campaign issue in 2008, when he entered the White House his real Iran policy was quite different. In fact, Obama's aim during his first term was to induce Iran to accept an end to its uranium enrichment programme.

'Unconditional talks'
Even as Obama was offering "unconditional talks" with Iran in a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2009, he was already pursuing a strategy of multiple pressures on Iran to agree to that US demand.

Obama's strategy of coercive diplomacy involved plans for more intrusive and punishing economic sanctions, a secret NSA programme of cyber-attacks against the Natanz enrichment facility and political/diplomatic exploitation of the threat of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by the Netanyahu government in Israel.

Obama made no serious effort to negotiate with Iran until 2012, when he believed the new sanctions that were about to take effect would force Iran to agree to suspend enrichment indefinitely. He dropped that demand in 2013, only because Iran had increased the number of centrifuges in operation from 4,000 to 10,000 and had begun enriching to 20 percent.

Since the beginning of the negotiations, moreover, senior administration officials have repeatedly affirmed the policy of treating Iran as a state sponsor or terrorism and a "troublemaker" and destabilising factor in the Middle East.

In his April 7 interview with National Public Radio Obama said, "I've been very forceful in saying that our differences with Iran don't change if we make sure that they don't have a nuclear weapon - they're still going to be financing Hezbollah, they're still supporting Assad dropping barrel bombs on children, they are still sending arms to the Houthis in Yemen that have helped destabilise the country."

At a deeper level, the most important factor in determining the policy of the US towards Iran is domestic electoral and bureaucratic politics - not Obama's personal geopolitical vision of the Middle East. The power of the Israeli lobby obviously will severely limit policy flexibility towards Iran for many years. And the interests of the most powerful institutions in the US national security state remain tied to a continuation of the policy of treating Iran as the premier enemy of the US.
Bigger bonanza
Since 2002 the US Department of Defense has spent roughly $100bn on missile defence, most of which goes directly to its major military contractor allies. That bonanza depends largely on the idea that Iran is intent on threatening the US and its allies with ballistic missiles.

But an even bigger bonanza for the US arms industry is at stake. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regimes in the anti-Iran alliance have been pouring big money into Pentagon arms contractor coffers for years. A deal with Saudi Arabia for fighter planes and missile defence technology first announced in 2010 was expected to yield $100-150bn in procurement and service contracts over two decades. And that tsunami of money from the Gulf depends on identifying Iran as a military threat to the entire region.

These sales are now integral to the health of the leading US military contractors. Lockheed, for example, now depends on foreign sales for as much as 25-33 percent of its revenue, according to the Times story.

So the Israeli and Saudi fear of a supposed Obama shift in alliances doesn't reflect fundamental domestic US political realities that are not likely to change for the foreseeable future.
Source: Al Jazeera
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Netanyahu Congratulates His Think-Tanks In WINEP

SGT Report readers are well aware of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy [WINEP], the think tank which has in the past openly advocated the use of false flag events to trigger war with Iran.

For those who are not aware, Patrick Clawson, director of research at The Washington Institute, has himself OPENLY suggested that the US could provoke Iran into war by using a number of various false flag operations.

Clawson proudly and publicly proclaimed at a Washington Institute event in 2012:

“One can combine other means of war with sanctions. Look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down, one day one of them might not come up. Who would know why? … We are in the game of using COVERT means against the Iranians. We could get nastier with that.”...

We remind readers of Clawson and his extremely Machiavellian tones as the Washington Institute celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special message from one of the institute’s biggest fans, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. In this clip, made specially for the Washington Institute, Netanyahu reiterates “his country’s objections to the proposed P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran”...

This special prerecorded message was released today on the Washington Institute’s You Tube channel in honor of the research organization’s 30th anniversary symposium, which took place April 29 – May 1, 2015.



Source: SGT report

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Normalisation Of Occupation In Movies

Photo: from the movie 'Waltz with Bashir'
by Bea for Palestine (*)

This is a part from a longer piece I wrote, I made a fast translation to english about the Movie “Waltz With Bashir”, which I think is a movie that tries to Normalize the violence inflicted on the Palestinians. With the last Assault on Gaza its important to Highlight those normalization attempts.

SHOOT AND CRY
Some may wonder why my focus is describing the dehumanization of Palestinians, without taking a closer account of Israeli suffering. The answer is simple. No one would require that as much interest was directed towards how the French felt during all the years they colonized other countries. Nor would the Boers in South Africa be put at the same level in an analysis of apartheids humanitarian affects and emotional impacts. During Israel's war against Lebanon in 1982, when Sabra and Shattila suffered horrific massacres, a term was invented, Shoot and Cry. Later this attracted increasing interest, especially after the Israeli film "Waltz with Bashir" by Ari Folman, where the concept really gets a meaning. Shoot, attack, bomb, arrest and kill - there is always a chance to cry out afterwards, the concept could be summarized. You can mourn that you have killed someone, but the dead person does not leave any traces and gives no headlines in the media.

”We'll drop bombs on residential buildings, and then we'll treat the wounded at Ichilov; we'll shell meager places of refuge in United Nations schools, and then we'll rehabilitate the disabled at Beit Lewin Stein. We'll shoot and then we'll cry, we'll kill and then we'll lament, we'll cut down the women and children like automatic killing machines, and we'll overpriced preserve our dignity” (Levy, Haaretz, 2009).

Folman has won a number of prominent awards for his film, including Golden Globe, and it is hailed worldwide for its ability to describe the soldiers' deepest feelings, as the anxiety that comes after shooting someone in the head at such close range that the brain substance spread not only on the floors and walls, but also sticks to your own body. Or how the soldier has consigned all the memories of what happened in Sabra into places where it is black. Where memory is blank. Where the horror is bearable because it does not exist. Folman received his Golden Globe Award at the same time as the bombs rained down on Gaza, and Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, was not slow to pay attention to this:

“It must be noted that this film is infuriating, disturbing, outrageous and deceptive. It deserved an Oscar for the illustrations and animation - but a badge of shame for its message. It was not by accident That When he won the Golden Globe, Ari Folman did not even mention the war in Gaza, Which was raging as he accepted the prestigious award. The images coming out of Gaza That Day looked remarkably like those in Folman's film. But he was silent. So before we sing Folman's praises, Which will of course ask praise for us all, we would do well to remember that this is not an anti-war film, nor even a critical work about Israel as militarist and occupier. It is an act of fraud and deceit, Intended to allow us to pat ourselves on the back, to tell us and the world how lovely we are (Haaretz 23/2 2009)”.

Just as the former colonial powers glorified his adventures, Israel uses this tactic as a tool to win public opinion, both at home, but perhaps especially in other countries where it is increasingly important to convince public opinion of who we really should feel sorry for. This is a Normalizing process, where the borders between those dropping the bombs from high altitudes and the ones getting bombed to pieces, is erased and the parts are compared as equals. We have to be awake for all attempts to normalize the totally abnormal in Occupying, Sieging and murder people under the cover of “Shoot and Cry”.
(*) Pseudonym of the author


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Some Propaganda Outlets

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Gaza Through My Eyes - An American Journey to Gaza

Episode 1



Episode 2


On March 29, 2014 Denny Cormier, 68 and retired and an American activist, began a journey to Gaza in search of the truth about Palestine and about the Palestinians.

He had visited Gaza for a month in 2013 to meet the people with whom he had been chatting and Skyping - people who he been following on Facebook and Twitter for many months. He wanted to meet them face to face - to learn more about them - to hear and to share their stories.

He set out to discover for himself what was not being reported by Western media - to reconcile what he had been hearing for months from friends in Gaza versus what he had been reading in newspapers and seeing on television.

He had been told to beware of terrorists - but, in fact, what he found was a beautiful people - welcoming to Americans, warm, kind and generous.

Frankly he fell in love with Palestinian people during that first visit in 2013 - and vowed to return.

That opportunity came in 2014 when he was invited to work with a group of citizen journalists, photographers, filmmakers and social media activists at the Youth Media center.

Over a period of 9 months, he has shared that journey using social media - introducing Palestinians to his friends around the world - sharing stories and photographs about his journey to Gaza.

But his primary work in Gaza is not just about sharing his own experiences. With Palestinian friends he developed a training initiative that was named 1000 Voices for Gaza - an effort to empower a group of new activists who wanted to share their personal stories and the Palestinian story. Together with Palestinian friends he organizes workshops, seminars, speaking engagements, informal Q&A gatherings - and many conversations one on one in homes, coffee shops and in the streets. The focus is more effective use of social media with an emphasis on reaching out to people who live beyond the barricades that surround it.

But Denny has a story too, including his experiences while living in Gaza during the 50 day attack on Gaza that the Israelis named Operation Protective Edge. During the attacks he reported on those experiences using live streaming, Facebook and Twitter. He chose not to leave Gaza. He chose to stay with his friends - as a supporter and a witness. Many of those 50 days were spent at Al Shifa Hospital - reporting on the war, meeting displaced people and families, acting as a human shield - a witness to what he has described as horrific, barbaric in its intensity.

Gaza Through My Eyes is a series of short documentaries about this journey - what an American found in Gaza from the moment he arrived in 2013 and again in 2014 - what he has come to love and to treasure.

This is the first in a series of documentaries. It was filmed during December 2014 and was released on January 1, 2015. It will be followed with a number of other documentaries during the coming months.

This documentary series is being made with the support of and with coordination from the Youth Media Center - Gaza.

Denny is currently living in Gaza City in a home not far from the sea at Al Mena. He spends his days meeting and sharing with Palestinians from all walks of life - including students, farmers, journalists, business owners, photographers, government officials, religious leaders, policemen, taxi drivers, shop keepers, academics, fishermen, working people, families - and many, many children.

This is his story of a journey to Gaza..

Denny Cormier
Gaza City
January 1, 2015

Source: Youtube

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Who Made Al-Qaeda?

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How U.S. Journalists Inflame Middle East Sectarianism - e.g. Liz Sly

Sectarianism in the Middle East is regularly inflamed by the Sunni Salafi/Wahhabi groups and countries in the Middle East. It is directed against all other strains of Islam as well as against all other religions.

But as the "western" governments and media favor the Saudi Arabian side and often denigrate the "resistance" side, be it Shia, Sunni or whatever else, they insist that it is the Shia side that is preaching sectarianism. One can often experience this with reports on speeches of Hizbullah leader Nasrallah who is always very careful to not ever use sectarian language. When Nasrallah condemns Takfiri terrorists like AlQaeda and the Islamic State as non-Muslim and calls them the greatest danger to Sunnis, Shia and Christians alike the "western" media like to report that he warns of Sunnis in general and is thus spreading sectarianism.

Liz Sly in Baghdad (archive)

Many such reports come from "western" reporters who are stationed in Beirut, speak no Arabic and depend on the spokespersons and translators in the offices of the Saudi-Lebanese Sunni leader Hariri. For an ever growing collection of typical examples see the Angry Arab here and here.

The finding of non-existent sectarian language in "resistance" leaders' communications and the emphasizing of it has been internalized by "western" reporters. You can clearly see the process in the exemplary Twitter exchange copied below.

Liz Sly is the Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post in Beirut and does not speak Arabic. Elijah J. Magnier is Chief International Correspondent for the Kuwaiti TV station AL RAI. He speaks Arabic and has covered the war on Iraq and other wars on the ground for decades.

The issue at hand is a defense bill in front of the U.S. Congress which refers to Sunni militia, Kurds and other groups in Iraq as distinguished "countries" which are to be armed separately from the state of Iraq. "Divide and rule" writ large. Many Iraqi politicians including the Prime Minister have spoken out against it. The Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr warned of the consequences should the bill go through which he says would include an unleashing of his troops against U.S. interests.

Notice how Liz Sly insist on a sectarian aspect/intent in Sadr's proclamation even when there clearly is none. She keeps in insisting on it even after she gets pointed to an official denial of any sectarian intent by a Sadr spokesperson. The exchange:
Liz Sly 17h17 hours ago
Moqtada Sadr to the US: if you arm Iraq's Sunnis, we will fight Americans in Iraq. https://twitter.com/jihadicas/status/593512749235249152 …
Elijah J. Magnier 8h8 hours ago
@LizSly Moqtada didn't say that https://twitter.com/EjmAlrai/status/593324552437903360 …

Liz Sly ‏ 6h6 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Didn't mean literally fighting US troops, but to fight against US presence in Iraq. Presumably would hit embassy, personnel etc?

Elijah J. Magnier 6h6 hours ago
@LizSly U r right as Moqtada said he will fight USA in Iraq and abroad but didn't say if Sunni are armed.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly "We shall hit US interest in Iraq & abroad, as possible, ', if US approves supporting each religion independently",

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Right, he means if Sunnis are armed directly by the US under that weird bill

Elijah J. Magnier 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly I spoke to S. Ali Seism who said it is not directed to Sunni but 2 all religions (incl Kurds) as there are more than Sunnis in Iraq.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly In fact the communique' doesn't say in any line the word "Sunni" but "all religions".

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai The bill is aimed at arming Sunnis and my tweet makes it clear Muqtada is against the US arming Sunnis, not against arming them

Elijah J. Magnier 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly Moqtada communique' clearly didn't mention Sunni: "Not arming religions": Fayli, Turkman, Sunni, Shia, Yazidi... Feel free.

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Ok, but it's clear he's against a bill whose goal is to permit the US to directly arm Sunnis, not eg Fayli. As are many Iraqis.
The last paragraph of Sadr's statement says:
American should know that if it wants to exacerbate sectarian sentiment, we would continue to tread on the path of national unity. Let sectarianism fall out of existence! This is the very sectarianism that seeks to create [artificial] borders.
The U.S. Congress introduces a law that would exacerbate sectarianism in Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr responses with a statement explicitly speaking out against sectarianism. Liz Sly insist that it is Sadr who is playing a sectarian card.
Is this insistence by Liz Sly on sectarian "Shia leader Sadr is against Sunnis" justified by anything but sly, willful exaggeration, and even falsification, of what Sadr wrote? Who is the sectarian here?
Source: Moon of Alabama
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Billionaire Hypocrisy: George Soros May Owe $7 Billion In Taxes

“You support President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy?” That was the question put to George Soros on CNN some three years ago. Here was his answer:

Yes, very much… the super bubble really resulted in creating a great increase in inequality, and now we have the after effect where you have slow growth, but if you could have better distribution of income, then the average American would actually be better off.
 There’s no question that “everyday Americans” (as a reminder, those are the people Hillary Clinton wants to help by running for president… well, those people and perhaps a few foreign governments and any investment bank who is willing to pay her husband six figures for a speech) would be better off if they got a larger piece of the pie, but as we’ve seen over the past several months, that’s not likely to happen as wage growth declines for the 80% of American workers classified by the BLS as “non-supervisory” even as the country’s supervisors see their pay increase, and as Fed policy continues to inflate the assets most likely to be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy. As this sad reality continues to play itself out destroying the American Middle Class in the process, we wondered if Soros was doing his best to ameliorate the situation by redistributing more of his vast wealth to the very same “average Americans” about which he expressed so much concern in 2012. The short answer: no.

Via Bloomberg:
George Soros likes to say the rich should pay more taxes. A substantial part of his wealth, though, comes from delaying them. While building a record as one of the world’s greatest investors, the 84-year-old billionaire used a loophole that allowed him to defer taxes on fees paid by clients and reinvest them in his fund, where they continued to grow tax-free. At the end of 2013, Soros—through Soros Fund Management—had amassed $13.3 billion through the use of deferrals, according to Irish regulatory filings by Soros…
Congress closed the loophole in 2008 and ordered hedge fund managers who used it to pay the accumulated taxes by 2017. A New York-based money manager such as Soros would be subject to a federal rate of 39.6 percent, combined state and city levies totaling 12 percent, and an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income to pay for Obamacare, according to Andrew Needham, a tax partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Applying those rates to Soros’s deferred income would create a tax bill of $6.7 billion…
When Soros founded his firm, nothing in U.S. law prevented money managers from postponing the acceptance of client fees and letting the money remain in their funds, where it could grow untaxed. But doing so wasn’t really an option for funds based in the U.S., because if managers didn’t take the fees, their clients wouldn’t be able to deduct them from their own taxable income.
Hedge fund managers could circumvent this obstacle by setting up parallel offshore funds for investors who weren’t subject to U.S. taxes and who therefore didn’t care whether their fund manager deferred taxes on the fees. That way, the fees—typically 2 percent of the amount invested and 20 percent of any profits—plus any investment gains, could grow without being taxed until the managers withdrew the money…
A manager with Soros’s track record who started with $12 million from investors, took 20 percent of the profits, and reinvested that money tax-free over 40 years, would end up with $15.9 billion. If that same manager paid federal, state, and local taxes on the fees and related investment gains before reinvesting them, the figure would shrink to $2.4 billion…

Here’s the simple math:

In the end, it would appear that we simply have yet another case of billionaire hypocrisy: "please raise taxes on all the uber-wealthy... except me."

Source: Zero Hedge

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Yemen Crisis: This Exotic War Will Soon Become Europe's Problem

Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns ($150) and AK-47s ($150) has increased eightfold. Whatever else happens, the war in Yemen is not going to end because any of the participants are short of weaponry.
Yemeni politics is notoriously complicated and exotic, with shifting alliances in which former enemies embrace and old friends make strenuous efforts to kill each other. But this exoticism does not mean that the war in Yemen, where the Saudis started bombing on 26 March, is irrelevant to the rest of the world. Already the turmoil there is a breeding ground for al-Qaeda type attacks such as that on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The collapse of the country into a permanent state of warfare will send waves of boat-people towards Western Europe or anywhere else they can find refuge. It is absurd for European leaders to pretend that they are doing something about “terrorism” or the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean when they ignore the wars that are the root causes of these events.

So far the Yemen war has been left to the Saudis and the Gulf monarchies, with the US ineffectually trying to end it. The reality of what is happening is very different from the way it is presented. The Saudis allege that they are crushing a takeover of Yemen by the Houthi Shia militia backed by Iran and intend to return the legitimate president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to power. In fact, the Houthis’ seizure of so much of Yemen over the past year has little to do with Iran. It has much more to do with their alliance with their old enemy, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who still controls much of the Yemeni army. This enabled the Houthis, whose strongholds are in the north of the country, to capture Sanaa easily last September, though UN experts note that the capital “was guarded by no less than 100,000 Republican Guards and Reserve Forces, most of them loyal to the former president”.

The Saudi air campaign is geared more to inflicting severe damage on the units of the Yemeni army loyal to Saleh than it is to weakening the Houthis. The Houthi militiamen are experienced fighters, their military skills and ability to withstand air attack honed between 2004 and 2010, when they fought off six offensives launched by Saleh, who was then in power and closely allied to Saudi Arabia. It was only after he was ousted from office in 2012 that he reconciled with the Houthis.

The Saudi war aim is to break this alliance between the Houthis and the Saleh-controlled military units by destroying the army’s bases and heavy weapons. The more lightly armed Houthis are less likely to be hard-hit by air strikes, but without the support or neutrality of the regular army they will be over-stretched in the provinces south of Sanaa. In Aden, they are fighting not so much Hadi-supporters, but southern separatists who want to reverse the unification agreed in 1990.

The problem with the Saudi strategy is the same as that with most military plans. The 19th-century German chief of staff, General Helmuth von Moltke, said that in war “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. The same warning was pithily restated more recently by the American boxer Mike Tyson, who said that “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

The danger for Saudi Arabia is that wars build up an uncontrollable momentum that transforms the political landscape in which they are conceived. Had the Saudis not intervened in Yemen, it is unlikely that in the long term the Houthis would have been able to dominate the country because they are opposed by so many regions, parties and tribes. Yemen is too divided for any single faction to win an outright victory. But the air war has been justified by Saudi Arabia to their own citizens and the Sunni world as a counterattack against Iranian and Shia aggression. It will not be easy for Riyadh to back off from these exaggerated claims to reach the sort of compromises required if Yemen is to return to peace. A further danger is that demonising the Houthis as Iranian puppets may well prove self-fulfilling, if the Houthis are compelled to look for allies wherever they can find them.

Yemenis insist that their society has not traditionally been divided along sectarian lines between the Zaidi Shia, a third of the population, and the two-thirds of Yemenis who are Sunni. But this could change very quickly as the Yemen conflict gets plugged into the wider and increasingly warlike regional confrontation between a Sunni coalition led by Saudi Arabia and a Shia counterpart led by Iran.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been one of the main beneficiaries of the militarisation of Yemeni politics, because it can present itself as the shock troops of the Sunni community and its fighters are no longer under pressure from the regular army. As many Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans have discovered to their cost, Sunni-Shia sectarian hatred and fear is often only one massacre away.

The Saudis and the Gulf monarchies worry so much about Yemen because it is very much their backyard. But there is every reason for the rest of the world to worry too, because Yemen is joining Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia as places where warlords rule in conditions of anarchy. They are places where life has become unlivable for much of the population, who will take any risk to escape.

This is the sort of national calamity that is filling the boats and rafts crowded with desperate emigrants that are heading across the Mediterranean for Europe.

And this calamity is particularly bad in Yemen, because the country was in crisis even before the present conflict. According to UN agencies, malnutrition in Yemen is about the same as in much of sub-Saharan Africa and only half the population has access to clean water. The country imports 90 per cent of the grains used for food, but no ships are coming in because its ports are blockaded by the Saudis or caught up in the fighting. In any case it is difficult to move food supplies because of a chronic shortage of fuel. Lack of electricity means that essential medicines in hospitals cannot be stored.

This is not a short-term problem, Yemen is finally falling apart, but it may take a long time doing so, which means that there will be a vacuum of power. AQAP and other jihadi groups are already taking advantage of this. America’s much vaunted drone war against AQAP has not prevented the organisation taking over whole provinces.

The Sunni-Shia confrontation has a fresh injection of venom. Yemen has endured many wars that the rest of the world has ignored, but this one may well prove uncontainable.

Source: The Independent
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“Professors for Israel” Try To Shut down The Lancet

Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, including five Nobel winners, hope Reed Elsevier will capitulate from fear that such a boycott might bring it to its knees.
Richard Horton

Why target Horton? Because he has committed the cardinal sin of transforming what was once a sleepy academic publication into a journal dealing seriously with global health issues, including – and here’s the rub – reporting on the medical implications for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation, especially its attack on Gaza last summer.
According to the eminent professors, this is “stereotypical extremist hate propaganda” and “dishonest and malicious material that incites hatred and violence”.

What the professors would like is for The Lancet to follow the medical establishment’s traditional Three Wise Monkeys approach: they see, hear and speak no evil when it comes to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, including its documented torture, even of children, in its prisons, overseen by Israeli doctors.

Much is at stake here. Very gradually, the space to have an honest and critical debate about Israel is opening up in places where once it was almost impossible, including in the media, in academia and even among the conservative medical community. Those committed to protecting Israel at all costs are desperate to shut down those spaces. It is important that we don’t let them succeed.

There are signs that the apologists’ hand is weakening. Note that Southampton University was so incapable of justifying its decision to shut down the conference on academic or ethical grounds, it was forced to lie and claim that, despite police assurances that they could cope with any protests, the conference could not go ahead because of “safety concerns”.

Therefore, we should support Horton and The Lancet and make sure Reed Elsevier understands that there is also a price to pay if it capitulates to the authoritarian professors. It is good to see that a rival set of medical academics has already written to Reed Elsevier in support of Horton and The Lancet here.
www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/major-medical-journal-lancet-under-attack-for-extremist-hate-propaganda-over-its-coverage-of-the-israelipalestinian-conflict-10199892.html

Source: Global Search
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