Middle East

No to the Murderous Migration Policies of the EU

Joint Statement of the Communist Party of Greece, Communist Party of Italy, Communist Party of Malta, Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain

At the initiative of the KKE, the Communist Parties of 4 European countries of the Mediterranean, which are receiving the largest waves of refugees and immigrants, denounce the political line of the EU and point to the causes of the problem, as well as the direction of the communists’ struggle on this issue. The joint statement is as follows:

The KKE, CPI, PC Malta, PCPE wish to stress the following regarding the unspeakable tragedy unfolding in our countries’ seas in relation to the refugees and immigrants:

The ongoing tragedy has a “name”: it is the political line of the EU and other countries, like the USA, that is responsible for the wars in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. This tragedy is rooted in the capitalist system itself, on this terrain we have the manifestation of poverty, the class exploitation and oppression of the working class and peoples by reactionary regimes, the sharpening of the imperialist contradictions, which cause the imperialist wars and interventions.

The imperialist interventions and wars developed in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Mali and other countries of the Middle East and Africa have a deep impact in the people of those countries who are forced to risk their lives by displacing themselves to other areas.

The problem of the waves of immigration cannot be solved without dealing with the causes that create them. The “fences”, Frontex, and the other repressive measures merely increase the number of the dead and the slave traders’ prices.

The governments of the so-called European “South”, “right” and “left”, bear enormous responsibilities because they participate in this crime, they participate in the imperialist plans of NATO and the EU.

We are struggling for relief measures, so that the governments immediately ensure humane temporary reception centres for the refugees as well as the provision of travel documents so that these people can reach the countries that are their real destinations. We must defy the Dublin Regulations and the Schengen Treaty.

In addition, we stress that this issue cannot be dealt with in separation from its causes. Our peoples’ struggle against the imperialist interventions of the EU and NATO, against the rotten capitalist system itself must be strengthened

ICC to probe possible war crimes in Palestine

From Al-Jazeera

Prosecutors at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) will open a preliminary inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the first formal step that could lead to charges against officials there and in Israel, the court has said.

They will determine whether preliminary findings merit a full investigation into alleged atrocities, which could result in charges against individuals on either the Israeli or Palestinian side.

“A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute,” the court’s statement said on Friday.

(more…)

A Response to a Comment from “Jason”

Earlier this morning I received a comment on my article about the shooting in Paris from a user named Jason. In this comment this user said my article lacked substance, sounded like something from FOX News, and was total “bullshit”.

The shooting in Paris I do not believe to be a case of “murderers being murderers,” as I believe Jason described it. There are no isolated phenomenas in the world, all phenomenas are interconnected and interdependent, and this is clearly evident in the Paris shooting of the satirical magazine. Two French-born citizens of Algerian heritage – let me remind readers that Algeria suffered a devastating war of independence from France between 1954-1962 that killed 1.5 million and remains under the economic domination of France – returned from Syria, where these suspects received paramilitary training in Islamist camps with the support of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states, Turkey, and Israel, and attacked a magazine that was virulently racist and xenophobic.

(more…)

Palestinian statehood bid fails at UN Security Council as US, Australia vote against

From RT

The UN Security Council has failed to adopt the Arab coalition’s bid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli “occupation”. The veto power US and Australia voted against the move with 5 abstentions.

The draft resolution gathered only 8 votes in favour, so it was automatically defeated. The US however still used its veto power and voted against the resolution. Another veto power state, the UK, along with Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea and Rwanda have abstained from the vote.

“This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise,” said US Ambassador Samantha Power, calling the draft a “staged confrontation.”

“The United kingdom supports much of the content of the draft resolution. It is therefore with deep regret that we abstained from it,” said UK ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant. “We are disappointed that the normal and necessary negotiation did not take place on this occasion.”

However, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that Moscow “cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process.”

“Unfortunately last year revealed how this process has gone into a blind alley, with its monopolization by the United States and their pullback from the Quartet [US, EU, UN and Russia]. We believe this to be a strategic mistake,” said Churkin.

“This draft reflects just demands of Arab states, including the Palestinian people, and is in accord with the relevant UN resolutions, the ‘land for peace’ principle, the Arab peace initiative and middle-Eastern peace roadmap. And is also in accord with China’s consistent position. We express deep regret over the failure of the draft resolution to be adopted,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

An official bid for statehood was submitted to the Council Tuesday by a Jordan-led Arab coalition. The bid featured a revised draft resolution of a similar proposal submitted earlier this month. Delegates voted on the measure Tuesday afternoon.

Highly opposed by the US and Israel, the first version of the draft resolution was submitted “in blue” to the UN Security Council last Wednesday. The Council includes five permanent members who hold veto power and ten additional members who serve two-year terms.

The resolution gives 12 months for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which it regards as the creation of a “sovereign and viable” Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, as well as the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the occupied territory by 2017.

Its text had already seen several amendments that concern East Jerusalem as capital of the future state of Palestine, Israeli settlement building, and Palestinian refugees’ right of return, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Abu Yousef told Asharq Al-Awsatnewspaper.

According to the current draft, Jerusalem is regarded as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, but the role of East Jerusalem in a future Palestinian state is not specified. “International legitimacy is our ceiling on this issue, and we cannot drop below this ceiling,” Yousef told the paper.

“I think there is very little doubt that any resolution in the Security Council that actually created a Palestinian state or called for real statehood would be vetoed,” US activist and journalist Phyllis Bennis told RT. “I think there is a big question whether the drafts that are now circulating actually do that. The French amendments in particular significantly weaken the idea that this is something that would actually create the Palestinian state.”

Bennis explained that “there is no consequence named. The resolution is not taken under either Chapter 6 or Chapter 7, which are the coercive chapters of the UN charter.” These chapters imply the use of military force and putting pressure against the state, such as sanctions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday his administration would “no longer deal” with Israel in case of the resolution’s failure. “If the Arab-Palestinian initiative submitted to the Security Council to put an end to [Israeli] occupation doesn’t pass, we will be forced to take the necessary political and legal decisions,” the Algerian APS news agency quoted Abbas as saying.

Last Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called a UN bid for Palestinian statehood an “act of aggression.”

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is adopting measures whose sole aim is to attack Israel, with no benefit for the Palestinians,” Lieberman said in a statement.

This summer, tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank escalated, leading to the 50-day conflict between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinians. Operation Protective Edge claimed over 2,200 lives – most of them Gaza civilians.

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

From Global Research

Iranian state media claims U.S. military aircraft have once again dropped weapons in areas held by the Islamic State.

Iraqi volunteers fighting against IS in the Yathrib and Balad districts in Iraq’s Salahuddin Province reported the air drops.

Iraq claims it now has the upper hand in the battle to regain territory from the terrorist group.

In October a purported errant airdrop of weapons fell into the hands Islamic State fighters outside Kobani in Syria.

In November Iraqi intelligence sources said the U.S. is actively supplying ISIS with weapons.

“The Iraqi intelligence sources reiterated that the US military planes have airdropped several aid cargoes for ISIL terrorists to help them resist the siege laid by the Iraqi army, security and popular forces,” a report stated.

“What is important is that the US sends these weapons to only those that cooperate with the Pentagon and this indicates that the US plays a role in arming the ISIL.”

The London-based organization Conflict Armament Research previously reported that ISIS fighters are using “significant quantities” of arms including M16 assault rifles marked “property of the US government.”

In June Aaron Klein, writing for WorldNetDaily, reported that members of ISIS were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

The U.S. does not admit arming and training ISIS terrorists, although General Martin E. Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that United States’ Arab allies in the Middle East fund ISIS.

General Thomas McInerney told Fox News in September that the U.S. “helped build ISIS” as a result of the group obtaining weapons from the Benghazi consulate in Libya which was attacked by jihadists in September 2012.

“We backed I believe in some cases, some of the wrong people and not in the right part of the Free Syrian Army and that’s a little confusing to people, so I’ve always maintained… that we were backing the wrong types,” McInerney said.

The U.S. claims it is arming “moderate” mercenaries in Syria to fight against ISIS and the al-Assad government in Damascus despite the fact there are no longer any moderate forces active.

The CIA has shipped weapons to al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria since at least 2012, a fact revealed byThe New York Times.

The shipments included more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara and other Turkish and Jordanian airports. An effort to arm al-Nusra – now fully merged with ISIS – and other jihadist groups has been coordinated by American intelligence.

Israel Issues Demolition Orders for Palestinian Homes in East Jerusalem

From CPI

On Monday, December 22, Israeli authorities issued five demolition orders for Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. One of the recipients of such an order, Akram al-Shurafa, told the Ma’an news agency that his home in al-Tur, built in 1938 and inherited from his grandparents, has been slated for demolition, despite the fact that the property has all the required legal documents and is registered in his mother’s name.

The other most recent recipients of demolition orders include Talal al-Sayyad and Basil al-Sayyad, even though neither of them owns any properties. Another man, Abdullah al-Hadera, received a demolition order for his al-Tur home, which was built over 50 years ago. Nadia al-Moghrabi, who was recently detained by Israeli authorities together with her daughter, similarly received a demolition order for her home in al-Tur.

Just last Wednesday, December 17, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality issued demolition orders for 11 other homes, all located in the Silwan neighborhood just south of the Old City, some built as long as 30 years ago; the offense – “building without a permit.” Yet Israel, as part of its ongoing, diversified, and relentless policy of displacing Palestinians in the areas under its control, rarely grants construction permits to Arab residents of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and regularly demolishes any structure built without a permit. According to the ICAHD – the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions – so far, in 2014 alone, Israeli bulldozers and other heavy equipment (see photograph, above) have demolished at least 359 Palestinian structures in the West Bank.

Endless Wars Have Cost Americans $1.6 Trillion, Report Finds

From Common Dreams

The United States has spent $1.6 trillion on post-9/11 military operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, weapons procurement and maintenance, and base support, according to a report (pdf) issued earlier this month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

As some analysts point out, that’s more money than the U.S. spent on the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 all rolled into one.

According to International Business Times, “the $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11…is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.”

Of the $1.6 trillion total, CRS specialist Amy Belasco estimates that the funding breaks down as such:

  • $686 billion (43%) for Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan);
  • $815 billion (51%) for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (Iraq);
  • $27 billion (2%) for Operation Noble Eagle (providing enhanced security at military bases and military operations related to homeland security);
  • $81 billion (5%) for war-designated funding not considered directly related to the Afghanistan or Iraq wars.

The report, dated December 8, states that about 92 percent of the funds went to the Department of Defense, with the remainder split between the State Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other agencies. The key factor determining the cost of war during a given period over the last 13 years has been the number of U.S. troops deployed, according to the report.

To that end, the document says that predicting “future costs of the new U.S. role in countering the Islamic State is difficult because of the nature of the air campaign and uncertainties about whether the U.S. mission may expand.”

pc_5d9e8bd3fb4405bbd958f531d89ed01b

To curtail costs moving forward, the CRS analysis recommends: “Congress may wish to consider ways to restrict war-funding to exclude activities marginally related to war operations and support, and to limit the use of ground troops in Operation Inherent Resolve,” referring to the U.S. military intervention against the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Writing at the Federation of American Scientists blog—where the report was first posted—“Ideally, the record compiled in the 100-page CRS report would serve as the basis for a comprehensive assessment of U.S. military spending since 9/11: To what extent was the expenditure of $1.6 trillion in this way justified? How much of it actually achieved its intended purpose? How much could have been better spent in other ways?”

Mother Jones notes that “[o]ther reports have estimated the cost of U.S. wars since 9/11 to be far higher than $1.6 trillion. A report by Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University, estimated the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as well as post-2001 assistance to Pakistan—to be roughly $4.4 trillion. The CRS estimate is lower because it does not include additional costs including the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt.”

Speaking to The Fiscal Times, American University professor of international relations and military history Gordon Adams argues that the costs of war are much higher than any report could show.

“All of these figures do not take into account the long-term consequences, in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder or long-term veterans’ bills,” he said. “The costs go on. Iraq and Afghanistan will end up being the gift that keeps on giving because—as we did with Vietnam—we will be living with the consequences for many, many years.”