Did Obama Just Declare War on Syria?

February 12, 2015 at 12:29 PM

130829120845-obama-syria-bin-story-topThe news that President Obama has formally asked US Congress to authorize military force against ISIS is not surprising. What may come as a shock to Americans oblivious to these developments is that the administration has de facto declared war on Syria.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama presented the US Congress with a draft resolution authorizing the use of military force.Liberal pundits have lauded the Obama administration for observing the Constitutional requirement for congressional approval of military action, while many conservatives have predictably pilloried the administration for presenting a “weak” and “flawed” strategy that will be doomed to failure.However both these lines of argument are, in fact, distractions from the far bigger, far more dangerous, and far more criminal action being taken by the White House: an aggressive war against Syria, a sovereign nation.

Distorting the reality of US aggression

While the corporate media is framing the request for authorization as being limited in scope, there are key clauses that should worry anyone interested in peace and stability in Syria, and the Middle East generally.Naturally, after a series of aggressive wars waged by the US (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.), many Americans are understandably skeptical of yet another open-ended conflict that will cost American lives, not to mention billions of dollars (note that the countless innocent civilians who will be killed as a result of US operations are almost never mentioned as they are not deemed noteworthy by policymakers or the media).

A careful examination of some key provisions of the president’s proposal reveals that, contrary to the rhetoric, this is in fact a declaration of war on Syria. The internationally, and legally, recognized government of Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad, has provided no such authorization, nor have they been consulted, let alone asked for consent, in the US decision. Therefore, any US military action occurring within Syria’s borders would unquestionably be a violation of international law.

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Greece: Building Solidarity and Post-Capitalist Production?

February 10, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Potato Movement

The election of SYRIZA, a leftist coalition party, in Greece, has understandably rocked European politics to its very foundation. It has inspired myriad reactions on the Left, ranging from unrestrained, and often uncritical, joy and adulation, to cynical mistrust of “reformism” and electoral politics as a means of transformation.

However, what is missing from these analyses is the important fact that while Greek politics is undoubtedly vital to the future of the country, it is not the only means by which the Greek working class and poor are building a future for themselves and their children. Rather, the last five years have inspired an entire solidarity movement organized to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable in Greek society.

From co-operative cafes and kitchens, to the establishment of direct producer-consumer relations, the solidarity economy (“informal economy” to use the more traditional phraseology) has opened new horizons of possibility for ordinary Greek people. But are these possibilities merely temporary fixes that will evaporate like morning dew now that a leftist government is in power? This seems unlikely, as solidarity structures have entrenched themselves in the very fabric of the communities they serve.

However, the question remains: can the solidarity economy move beyond acting as a temporary solution, and instead become a true alternative to traditional capitalist production?

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On War Crimes and Double Standards in Ukraine

February 9, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Donetsk-shelling-3The Western media has been abuzz in recent days with the claim that videos posted to youtube, which show Ukrainian prisoners being “mistreated” by anti-Kiev rebels, amount to war crimes. Naturally, such claims deserve attention as violations of international laws governing war and treatment of prisoners are of concern to all. However, it is equally true that those calling for prosecution of the anti-Kiev rebels are applying a farcical double standard as they have utterly ignored the exponentially more egregious war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military and its neo-Nazi auxiliaries.

This complete whitewashing of countless war crimes committed by Kiev is not coincidental, nor is it a mystery. In fact, it is part of a coordinated campaign by the western media and western non-profit industrial complex to frame the narrative in such a way as to cast Kiev ‘s forces as righteous and just, while the anti-Kiev rebels are terrorist criminals. This complete inversion of reality is par for the course for the West, which, recognizing it cannot achieve its geopolitical ambitions in Ukraine by force, instead will seek to do it through propaganda.

What the Evidence Shows

The videos that surfaced on youtube which allegedly show evidence of war crimes committed by the anti-Kiev rebels have sparked much debate internationally. The western media has seized on claims of “torture” and “war crimes” made by individuals whose objectivity is certainly in doubt. Take for instance the article in the pro-Kiev outlet “Kyiv Post” entitled Kremlin’s mercenaries post videos of captive Ukrainian soldiers; human rights activists charge war crimes committed which presents an entirely one-sided account of the alleged crimes, entirely laden with insinuation but conspicuously short on verifiable facts.

The article cites Yulia Gorbunova, a researcher affiliated with Human Rights Watch, who stated, “Tortures and killings could be qualified as war crimes…During the parade of prisoners in Donetsk, the prisoners were subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment. It is a violation of international humanitarian law regarding the prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity.” Indeed, she is correct that torture and killings could be regarded as war crimes. However, what is deliberately left out of the narrative is the context in which these actions took place. Providing this context casts very serious doubt as to the objectivity and reliability of Gorbunova and the NGOs working in Ukraine.

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Debating Ukraine (Feb. 7, 2015)

February 9, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.org debates the current situation in Ukraine. He provides his analysis of how this conflict began, including the role of NATO expansion, US meddling in Ukraine, and much more. Draitser also notes that many of the war crimes committed by the Kiev regime have gone entirely ignored while the US prepares to escalate the conflict by arming Kiev. He also touches on the future of Donetsk and Lugansk, the role of international actors, geopolitical divisions, and much more.

Turkey, Terrorism, and the Global Proxy War

February 2, 2015 at 3:18 PM

 

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While the world’s attention has been fixed on France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, the subsequent manhunt, and the political fallout from the incident, a number of important news items have quietly been pushed off the front pages of the world’s major newspapers, and out of the lead segments of television news programs all over the globe. In Nigeria, Boko Haram reemerges with a vengeance, committing one of the worst atrocities in the recent history of the region. In Syria and Iraq, the war against the Islamic State continues unabated. In Greece, an all-important election that could have dire implications for the future of the European Union is set to take place.

And quietly, with almost no fanfare from international media, reports surfaced from China indicating that Chinese authorities had arrested at least ten Turkish suspects alleged to have organized and facilitated the illegal border crossings of a number of Uighur [Muslim ethnic group in Western China] extremists. It has further been revealed that the Uighur extremists were planning to travel to Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to train and fight with fellow jihadis.

While the details of the investigation have not been fully revealed as yet, the incident points to a much larger issue than simply a few Turks being involved in document forgery and illegal immigration. Rather, the story is still further evidence of a well-funded, well-organized international terror network operated and/or facilitated by the Turkish government and Turkish intelligence. From the hosting of extremist fighters along the Syrian border to providing material support to terrorists in China, Turkey has placed itself at the center of an international terror war aimed at countries that oppose NATO and stand in the way of the Neo-Ottoman vision that President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu have for Turkey.

 

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