city:baghdad

  • Israel just admitted arming anti-Assad Syrian rebels. Big mistake - Middle East News
    Haaretz.com - Daniel J. Levy Jan 30, 2019 5:03 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1

    In his final days as the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot confirmed, on the record, that Israel had directly supported anti-Assad Syrian rebel factions in the Golan Heights by arming them.

    This revelation marks a direct break from Israel’s previous media policy on such matters. Until now, Israel has insisted it has only provided humanitarian aid to civilians (through field hospitals on the Golan Heights and in permanent healthcare facilities in northern Israel), and has consistently denied or refused to comment on any other assistance.

    In short, none other than Israel’s most (until recently) senior serving soldier has admitted that up until his statement, his country’s officially stated position on the Syrian civil war was built on the lie of non-intervention.

    As uncomfortable as this may initially seem, though, it is unsurprising. Israel has a long history of conducting unconventional warfare. That form of combat is defined by the U.S. government’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 as “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area” in the pursuit of various security-related strategic objectives.

    While the United States and Iran are both practitioners of unconventional warfare par excellence, they primarily tend to do so with obvious and longer-term strategic allies, i.e. the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan, and various Shia militias in post-2003 Iraq.

    In contrast, Israel has always shown a remarkable willingness to form short-term tactical partnerships with forces and entities explicitly hostile to its very existence, as long as that alliance is able to offer some kind of security-related benefits.

    The best example of this is Israel’s decision to arm Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War, despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strong anti-Zionist rhetoric and foreign policy. During the 1980s, Iraq remained Jerusalem’s primary conventional (and arguably existential) military threat. Aiding Tehran to continue fighting an attritional war against Baghdad reduced the risk the latter posed against Israel.

    Similarly, throughout the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s, Israel covertly supported the royalist Houthi forces fighting Egyptian-backed republicans. Given Egypt’s very heavy military footprint in Yemen at the time (as many as a third of all Egyptian troops were deployed to the country during this period), Israelis reasoned that this military attrition would undermine their fighting capacity closer to home, which was arguably proven by Egypt’s lacklustre performance in the Six Day War.

    Although technically not unconventional warfare, Israel long and openly backed the South Lebanon Army, giving it years of experience in arming, training, and mentoring a partner indigenous force.

    More recently, though, Israel’s policy of supporting certain anti-Assad rebel groups remains consistent with past precedents of with whom and why it engages in unconventional warfare. Israel’s most pressing strategic concern and potential threat in Syria is an Iranian encroachment onto its northern border, either directly, or through an experienced and dangerous proxy such as Hezbollah, key to the Assad regime’s survival.

    For a number of reasons, Israel committing troops to overt large-scale operations in Syria to prevent this is simply unfeasible. To this end, identifying and subsequently supporting a local partner capable of helping Israel achieve this strategic goal is far more sensible, and realistic.

    Open source details of Israel’s project to support anti-Assad rebel groups are sparse, and have been since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

    Reports of this first arose towards the end of 2014, and one described how United Nations officials had witnessed Syrian rebels transferring injured patients to Israel, as well as “IDF soldiers on the Israeli side handing over two boxes to armed Syrian opposition members on the Syrian side.” The same report also stated that UN observers said they saw “two IDF soldiers on the eastern side of the border fence opening the gate and letting two people enter Israel.”

    Since then, a steady stream of similar reports continued to detail Israeli contacts with the Syrian rebels, with the best being written and researched by Elizabeth Tsurkov. In February, 2014 she wrote an outstanding feature for War On The Rocks, where she identified Liwaa’ Fursan al-Jolan and Firqat Ahrar Nawa as two groups benefiting from Israeli support, named Iyad Moro as “Israel’s contact person in Beit Jann,” and stated that weaponry, munitions, and cash were Israel’s main form of military aid.

    She also describes how Israel has supported its allied groups in fighting local affiliates of Islamic State with drone strikes and high-precision missile attacks, strongly suggesting, in my view, the presence of embedded Israeli liaison officers of some kind.

    A 2017 report published by the United Nations describes how IDF personnel were observed passing supplies over the Syrian border to unidentified armed individuals approaching them with convoys of mules, and although Israel claims that these engagements were humanitarian in nature, this fails to explain the presence of weaponry amongst the unidentified individuals receiving supplies from them.

    Writing for Foreign Policy in September 2018, Tsurkov again detailed how Israel was supporting the Syrian rebel factions, stating that material support came in the form of “assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles,” which were delivered “through three gates connecting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Syria - the same crossings Israel used to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of southern Syria suffering from years of civil war.” She also dates this support to have begun way back in 2013.

    The one part of Israel’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War which has been enthusiastically publicised, though, has been its ongoing humanitarian operations in the Golan. Dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” this was established in June 2016, and its stated aim is to “provide humanitarian aid to as many people as possible while maintaining Israel’s policy of non-involvement in the conflict.”

    Quite clearly, this is - at least in parts - a lie, as even since before its official commencement, Israel was seemingly engaging with and supporting various anti-Assad factions.

    Although Operation Good Neighbor patently did undertake significant humanitarian efforts in southern Syria for desperate Syrian civilians (including providing free medical treatment, infrastructure support, and civilian aid such as food and fuel), it has long been my personal belief that it was primarily a smokescreen for Israel’s covert unconventional warfare efforts in the country.

    Although it may be argued that deniability was initially necessary to protect Israel’s Syrian beneficiaries who could not be seen to be working with Jerusalem for any number of reasons (such as the likely detrimental impact this would have on their local reputation if not lives), this does not justify Israel’s outright lying on the subject. Instead, it could have mimicked the altogether more sensible approach of the British government towards United Kingdom Special Forces, which is simply to restate their position of not commenting, confirming, or denying any potentially relevant information or assertions.

    Israel is generous in its provision of humanitarian aid to the less fortunate, but I find it impossible to believe that its efforts in Syria were primarily guided by altruism when a strategic objective as important as preventing Iran and its proxies gaining a toehold on its northern border was at stake.

    Its timing is interesting and telling as well. Operation Good Neighbor was formally put in place just months after the Assad regime began its Russian-backed counter-offensive against the rebel factions, and ceased when the rebels were pushed out of southern Syria in September 2018.

    But it’s not as if that September there were no longer civilians who could benefit from Israeli humanitarian aid, but an absence of partners to whom Israel could feasibly directly dispatch arms and other supplies. Although Israel did participate in the rescue of a number of White Helmets, this was done in a relatively passive manner (allowing their convoy to drive to Jordan through Israeli territory), and also artfully avoided escalating any kind of conflict with the Assad’s forces and associated foreign allies.

    Popular opinion - both in Israel and amongst Diaspora Jews - was loud and clear about the ethical necessity of protecting Syrian civilians (especially from historically-resonant gas attacks). But it’s unlikely this pressure swung Israel to intervene in Syria. Israel already had a strong interest in keeping Iran and its proxies out southern Syria, and that would have remained the case, irrespective of gas attacks against civilians.

    Although Israel has gone to great lengths to conceal its efforts at unconventional warfare within the Syrian civil war, it need not have. Its activities are consistent with its previous efforts at promoting strategic objectives through sometimes unlikely, if not counter-intuitive, regional partners.

    Perhaps the reason why Eisenkot admitted that this support was taking place was because he knew that it could not be concealed forever, not least since the fall of the smokescreen provided by Operation Good Neighbor. But the manner in which Israel operated may have longer-term consequences.

    Israel is unlikely to change how it operates in the future, but may very well find future potential tactical partners less than willing to cooperate with it. In both southern Lebanon and now Syria, Israel’s former partners have found themselves exposed to dangers borne out of collaboration, and seemingly abandoned.

    With that kind of history and record, it is likely that unless they find themselves in desperate straits, future potential partners will think twice before accepting support from, and working with, Israel.

    For years, Israel has religiously adhered to the official party line that the country’s policy was non-intervention, and this has now been exposed as a lie. Such a loss of public credibility may significantly inhibit its abilities to conduct influence operations in the future.

    Daniel J. Levy is a graduate of the Universities of Leeds and Oxford, where his academic research focused on Iranian proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. He lives in the UK and is the Founding Director of The Ortakoy Security Group. Twitter: @danielhalevy

    #IsraelSyrie


  • What does the US embassy in Baghdad export to Finland and dozens of other countries?
    http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/16083-what-does-the-us-embassy-in-baghdad-export-to-finland-and-dozens

    More than a million kilograms of cargo were shipped from Baghdad to different parts of the world, reveals US embassies procurement documents.

    Mysterious cargo shipments from the US Embassy in Baghdad to other American embassies and consulates around the world have been revealed on a Wikileaks’ database. Procurement orders of US embassies are public documents, but #Wikileaks put them in a searchable database making it easier to analyse.

    […]

    According to Wikileaks’ database, orders to ship more than 540 tonnes of cargo to the US were made in May 2018. The same document shows other main delivery destinations included 120 tonnes of freight to Europe, and 24 tonnes to South Africa, South America and Central Africa respectively. In comparison, only two and a half tonnes of freight were moved within Iraq between Baghdad, Basra and Erbil International Airports. So, the export of items from Iraq appears to be the primary activity.

    […]

    The Wikileaks’ database findings coincide with the discovery of a previously undisclosed US Embassy warehouse near Malmi Airport, a storage facility suitable for receiving large truckloads of incoming freight. Documents also show that the US Embassy in Finland ordered a new security perimeter fence for the warehouse compound in April 2018. The purpose for the warehouse remains unknown.
    Related articles:

    Guarded warehouse near airport and mysterious cargos from Baghdad; what is the US embassy in Helsinki up to? 

     
    This latest uncovering of unusual US embassy activity follows the 2017 exposure of the US Consulate in Frankfurt being used for surveillance operations and as a buying and postal dispatch centre of spying equipment for other US consulates. These latest Wikileaks revelations raise concerns that the US Embassy in Baghdad may also serve as a hub for secret operations worldwide.


  • On a mission from God : Pompeo messages evangelicals from the Middle East - Asia Times
    http://www.atimes.com/article/on-a-mission-from-god-pompeo-messages-evangelicals-from-the-middle-east

    Commentaire ironique d’Elijah Magnier sur Twitter (https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1085258903045238784) : Al-Baghdadi a également une « mission divine » et Dieu doit vraiment s’intéresser au Moyen-Orient pour y envoyer autant d’envoyés !

    “This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.”

    He added that he was in Cairo to herald another truth, that America was a “force for good” in the Middle East.

    Pompeo then proceeded to rip into former president Barack Obama, who some fringe evangelists have accused of being a secret Muslim and even the Antichrist. The secretary of state used his speech to air domestic grievances, blaming Obama for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) and the empowerment of Iran.

    “Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

    “The results of these misjudgments have been dire,” Pompeo told an assembled group of blank-faced students, eliciting little palpable reaction.

    “We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents,” he said.


  • Pan Am Flight 103 : Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/robert-muellers-search-for-justice-for-pan-am-103

    Cet article décrit le rôle de Robert Mueller dans l’enquête historique qui a permis de dissimuler ou de justifier la plupart des batailles de la guerre non déclarée des États Unis contre l’OLP et les pays arabes qui soutenaient la lutte pour un état palestinien.

    Aux États-Unis, en Allemagne et en France le grand public ignore les actes de guerre commis par les États Unis dans cette guerre. Vu dans ce contexte on ne peut que classer le récit de cet article dans la catégorie idéologie et propagande même si les intentions et faits qu’on y apprend sont bien documentés et plausibles.

    Cette perspective transforme le contenu de cet article d’une variation sur un thème connu dans un reportage sur l’état d’âme des dirigeants étatsuniens moins fanatiques que l’équipe du président actuel.

    THIRTY YEARS AGO last Friday, on the darkest day of the year, 31,000 feet above one of the most remote parts of Europe, America suffered its first major terror attack.

    TEN YEARS AGO last Friday, then FBI director Robert Mueller bundled himself in his tan trench coat against the cold December air in Washington, his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. Sitting on a small stage at Arlington National Cemetery, he scanned the faces arrayed before him—the victims he’d come to know over years, relatives and friends of husbands and wives who would never grow old, college students who would never graduate, business travelers and flight attendants who would never come home.

    Burned into Mueller’s memory were the small items those victims had left behind, items that he’d seen on the shelves of a small wooden warehouse outside Lockerbie, Scotland, a visit he would never forget: A teenager’s single white sneaker, an unworn Syracuse University sweatshirt, the wrapped Christmas gifts that would never be opened, a lonely teddy bear.

    A decade before the attacks of 9/11—attacks that came during Mueller’s second week as FBI director, and that awoke the rest of America to the threats of terrorism—the bombing of Pan Am 103 had impressed upon Mueller a new global threat.

    It had taught him the complexity of responding to international terror attacks, how unprepared the government was to respond to the needs of victims’ families, and how on the global stage justice would always be intertwined with geopolitics. In the intervening years, he had never lost sight of the Lockerbie bombing—known to the FBI by the codename Scotbom—and he had watched the orphaned children from the bombing grow up over the years.

    Nearby in the cemetery stood a memorial cairn made of pink sandstone—a single brick representing each of the victims, the stone mined from a Scottish quarry that the doomed flight passed over just seconds before the bomb ripped its baggage hold apart. The crowd that day had gathered near the cairn in the cold to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

    For a man with an affinity for speaking in prose, not poetry, a man whose staff was accustomed to orders given in crisp sentences as if they were Marines on the battlefield or under cross-examination from a prosecutor in a courtroom, Mueller’s remarks that day soared in a way unlike almost any other speech he’d deliver.

    “There are those who say that time heals all wounds. But you know that not to be true. At its best, time may dull the deepest wounds; it cannot make them disappear,” Mueller told the assembled mourners. “Yet out of the darkness of this day comes a ray of light. The light of unity, of friendship, and of comfort from those who once were strangers and who are now bonded together by a terrible moment in time. The light of shared memories that bring smiles instead of sadness. And the light of hope for better days to come.”

    He talked of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of inspiration drawn from Lockerbie’s town crest, with its simple motto, “Forward.” He spoke of what was then a two-decade-long quest for justice, of how on windswept Scottish mores and frigid lochs a generation of FBI agents, investigators, and prosecutors had redoubled their dedication to fighting terrorism.

    Mueller closed with a promise: “Today, as we stand here together on this, the darkest of days, we renew that bond. We remember the light these individuals brought to each of you here today. We renew our efforts to bring justice down on those who seek to harm us. We renew our efforts to keep our people safe, and to rid the world of terrorism. We will continue to move forward. But we will never forget.”

    Hand bells tolled for each of the victims as their names were read aloud, 270 names, 270 sets of bells.

    The investigation, though, was not yet closed. Mueller, although he didn’t know it then, wasn’t done with Pan Am 103. Just months after that speech, the case would test his innate sense of justice and morality in a way that few other cases in his career ever have.

    ROBERT S. MUELLER III had returned from a combat tour in Vietnam in the late 1960s and eventually headed to law school at the University of Virginia, part of a path that he hoped would lead him to being an FBI agent. Unable after graduation to get a job in government, he entered private practice in San Francisco, where he found he loved being a lawyer—just not a defense attorney.

    Then—as his wife Ann, a teacher, recounted to me years ago—one morning at their small home, while the two of them made the bed, Mueller complained, “Don’t I deserve to be doing something that makes me happy?” He finally landed a job as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco and stood, for the first time, in court and announced, “Good morning your Honor, I am Robert Mueller appearing on behalf of the United States of America.” It is a moment that young prosecutors often practice beforehand, and for Mueller those words carried enormous weight. He had found the thing that made him happy.

    His family remembers that time in San Francisco as some of their happiest years; the Muellers’ two daughters were young, they loved the Bay Area—and have returned there on annual vacations almost every year since relocating to the East Coast—and Mueller found himself at home as a prosecutor.

    On Friday nights, their routine was that Ann and the two girls would pick Mueller up at Harrington’s Bar & Grill, the city’s oldest Irish pub, not far from the Ferry Building in the Financial District, where he hung out each week with a group of prosecutors, defense attorneys, cops, and agents. (One Christmas, his daughter Cynthia gave him a model of the bar made out of Popsicle sticks.) He balanced that family time against weekends and trainings with the Marines Corps Reserves, where he served for more than a decade, until 1980, eventually rising to be a captain.

    Over the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks of the San Francisco US attorney’s office—an office he would return to lead during the Clinton administration—and then decamped to Massachusetts to work for US attorney William Weld in the 1980s. There, too, he shined and eventually became acting US attorney when Weld departed at the end of the Reagan administration. “You cannot get the words straight arrow out of your head,” Weld told me, speaking of Mueller a decade ago. “The agencies loved him because he knew his stuff. He didn’t try to be elegant or fancy, he just put the cards on the table.”

    In 1989, an old high school classmate, Robert Ross, who was chief of staff to then attorney general Richard Thornburgh, asked Mueller to come down to Washington to help advise Thornburgh. The offer intrigued Mueller. Ann protested the move—their younger daughter Melissa wanted to finish high school in Massachusetts. Ann told her husband, “We can’t possibly do this.” He replied, his eyes twinkling, “You’re right, it’s a terrible time. Well, why don’t we just go down and look at a few houses?” As she told me, “When he wants to do something, he just revisits it again and again.”

    For his first two years at so-called Main Justice in Washington, working under President George H.W. Bush, the family commuted back and forth from Boston to Washington, alternating weekends in each city, to allow Melissa to finish school.

    Washington gave Mueller his first exposure to national politics and cases with geopolitical implications; in September 1990, President Bush nominated him to be assistant attorney general, overseeing the Justice Department’s entire criminal division, which at that time handled all the nation’s terrorism cases as well. Mueller would oversee the prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, mob boss John Gotti, and the controversial investigation into a vast money laundering scheme run through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals

    None of his cases in Washington, though, would affect him as much as the bombing of Pan Am 103.

    THE TIME ON the clocks in Lockerbie, Scotland, read 7:04 pm, on December 21, 1988, when the first emergency call came into the local fire brigade, reporting what sounded like a massive boiler explosion. It was technically early evening, but it had been dark for hours already; that far north, on the shortest day of the year, daylight barely stretched to eight hours.

    Soon it became clear something much worse than a boiler explosion had unfolded: Fiery debris pounded the landscape, plunging from the sky and killing 11 Lockerbie residents. As Mike Carnahan told a local TV reporter, “The whole sky was lit up with flames. It was actually raining, liquid fire. You could see several houses on the skyline with the roofs totally off and all you could see was flaming timbers.”

    At 8:45 pm, a farmer found in his field the cockpit of Pan Am 103, a Boeing 747 known as Clipper Maid of the Seas, lying on its side, 15 of its crew dead inside, just some of the 259 passengers and crew killed when a bomb had exploded inside the plane’s cargo hold. The scheduled London to New York flight never even made it out of the UK.

    It had taken just three seconds for the plane to disintegrate in the air, though the wreckage took three long minutes to fall the five miles from the sky to the earth; court testimony later would examine how passengers had still been alive as they fell. Nearly 200 of the passengers were American, including 35 students from Syracuse University returning home from a semester abroad. The attack horrified America, which until then had seen terror touch its shores only occasionally as a hijacking went awry; while the US had weathered the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, attacks almost never targeted civilians.

    The Pan Am 103 bombing seemed squarely aimed at the US, hitting one of its most iconic brands. Pan Am then represented America’s global reach in a way few companies did; the world’s most powerful airline shuttled 19 million passengers a year to more than 160 countries and had ferried the Beatles to their US tour and James Bond around the globe on his cinematic missions. In a moment of hubris a generation before Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the airline had even opened a “waiting list” for the first tourists to travel to outer space. Its New York headquarters, the Pan Am building, was the world’s largest commercial building and its terminal at JFK Airport the biggest in the world.

    The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 began immediately, as police and investigators streamed north from London by the hundreds; chief constable John Boyd, the head of the local police, arrived at the Lockerbie police station by 8:15 pm, and within an hour the first victim had been brought in: A farmer arrived in town with the body of a baby girl who had fallen from the sky. He’d carefully placed her in the front seat of his pickup truck.

    An FBI agent posted in London had raced north too, with the US ambassador, aboard a special US Air Force flight, and at 2 am, when Boyd convened his first senior leadership meeting, he announced, “The FBI is here, and they are fully operational.” By that point, FBI explosives experts were already en route to Scotland aboard an FAA plane; agents would install special secure communications equipment in Lockerbie and remain on site for months.

    Although it quickly became clear that a bomb had targeted Pan Am 103—wreckage showed signs of an explosion and tested positive for PETN and RDX, two key ingredients of the explosive Semtex—the investigation proceeded with frustrating slowness. Pan Am’s records were incomplete, and it took days to even determine the full list of passengers. At the same time, it was the largest crime scene ever investigated—a fact that remains true today.

    Investigators walked 845 square miles, an area 12 times the size of Washington, DC, and searched so thoroughly that they recovered more than 70 packages of airline crackers and ultimately could reconstruct about 85 percent of the fuselage. (Today, the wreckage remains in an English scrapyard.) Constable Boyd, at his first press conference, told the media, “This is a mammoth inquiry.”

    On Christmas Eve, a searcher found a piece of a luggage pallet with signs of obvious scorching, which would indicate the bomb had been in the luggage compartment below the passenger cabin. The evidence was rushed to a special British military lab—one originally created to investigate the Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and kill King James I in 1605.

    When the explosive tests came back a day later, the British government called the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for combating terrorism, L. Paul Bremer III (who would go on to be President George W. Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion of Iraq), and officially delivered the news that everyone had anticipated: Pan Am 103 had been downed by a bomb.

    Meanwhile, FBI agents fanned out across the country. In New York, special agent Neil Herman—who would later lead the FBI’s counterterrorism office in New York in the run up to 9/11—was tasked with interviewing some of the victims’ families; many of the Syracuse students on board had been from the New York region. One of the mothers he interviewed hadn’t heard from the government in the 10 days since the attack. “It really struck me how ill-equipped we were to deal with this,” Herman told me, years later. “Multiply her by 270 victims and families.” The bombing underscored that the FBI and the US government had a lot to learn in responding and aiding victims in a terror attack.

    INVESTIGATORS MOVED TOWARD piecing together how a bomb could have been placed on board; years before the 9/11 attack, they discounted the idea of a suicide bomber aboard—there had never been a suicide attack on civil aviation at that point—and so focused on one of two theories: The possibility of a “mule,” an innocent passenger duped into carrying a bomb aboard, or an “inside man,” a trusted airport or airline employee who had smuggled the fatal cargo aboard. The initial suspect list stretched to 1,200 names.

    Yet even reconstructing what was on board took an eternity: Evidence pointed to a Japanese manufactured Toshiba cassette recorder as the likely delivery device for the bomb, and then, by the end of January, investigators located pieces of the suitcase that had held the bomb. After determining that it was a Samsonite bag, police and the FBI flew to the company’s headquarters in the United States and narrowed the search further: The bag, they found, was a System 4 Silhouette 4000 model, color “antique-copper,” a case and color made for only three years, 1985 to 1988, and sold only in the Middle East. There were a total of 3,500 such suitcases in circulation.

    By late spring, investigators had identified 14 pieces of luggage inside the target cargo container, known as AVE4041; each bore tell-tale signs of the explosion. Through careful retracing of how luggage moved through the London airport, investigators determined that the bags on the container’s bottom row came from passengers transferring in London. The bags on the second and third row of AVE4041 had been the last bags loaded onto the leg of the flight that began in Frankfurt, before the plane took off for London. None of the baggage had been X-rayed or matched with passengers on board.

    The British lab traced clothing fragments from the wreckage that bore signs of the explosion and thus likely originated in the bomb-carrying suitcase. It was an odd mix: Two herring-bone skirts, men’s pajamas, tartan trousers, and so on. The most promising fragment was a blue infant’s onesie that, after fiber analysis, was conclusively determined to have been inside the explosive case, and had a label saying “Malta Trading Company.” In March, two detectives took off for Malta, where the manufacturer told them that 500 such articles of clothing had been made and most sent to Ireland, while the rest went locally to Maltese outlets and others to continental Europe.

    As they dug deeper, they focused on bag B8849, which appeared to have come off Air Malta Flight 180—Malta to Frankfurt—on December 21, even though there was no record of one of that flight’s 47 passengers transferring to Pan Am 103.

    Investigators located the store in Malta where the suspect clothing had been sold; the British inspector later recorded in his statement, “[Store owner] Anthony Gauci interjected and stated that he could recall selling a pair of the checked trousers, size 34, and three pairs of the pajamas to a male person.” The investigators snapped to attention—after nine months did they finally have a suspect in their sights? “[Gauci] informed me that the man had also purchased the following items: one imitation Harris Tweed jacket; one woolen cardigan; one black umbrella; one blue colored ‘Baby Gro’ with a motif described by the witness as a ‘sheep’s face’ on the front; and one pair of gents’ brown herring-bone material trousers, size 36.”

    Game, set, match. Gauci had perfectly described the clothing fragments found by RARDE technicians to contain traces of explosive. The purchase, Gauci went on to explain, stood out in his mind because the customer—whom Gauci tellingly identified as speaking the “Libyan language”—had entered the store on November 23, 1988, and gathered items without seeming to care about the size, gender, or color of any of it.

    As the investigation painstakingly proceeded into 1989 and 1990, Robert Mueller arrived at Main Justice; the final objects of the Lockerbie search wouldn’t be found until the spring of 1990, just months before Mueller took over as assistant attorney general of the criminal division in September.

    The Justice Department that year was undergoing a series of leadership changes; the deputy attorney general, William Barr, became acting attorney general midyear as Richard Thornburgh stepped down to run for Senate back in his native Pennsylvania. President Bush then nominated Barr to take over as attorney general officially. (Earlier this month Barr was nominated by President Trump to become attorney general once again.)

    The bombing soon became one of the top cases on Mueller’s desk. He met regularly with Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent heading Scotbom. For Mueller, the case became personal; he met with victims’ families and toured the Lockerbie crash site and the investigation’s headquarters. He traveled repeatedly to the United Kingdom for meetings and walked the fields of Lockerbie himself. “The Scots just did a phenomenal job with the crime scene,” he told me, years ago.

    Mueller pushed the investigators forward constantly, getting involved in the investigation at a level that a high-ranking Justice Department official almost never does. Marquise turned to him in one meeting, after yet another set of directions, and sighed, “Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you want to be FBI director.”

    The investigation gradually, carefully, zeroed in on Libya. Agents traced a circuit board used in the bomb to a similar device seized in Africa a couple of years earlier used by Libyan intelligence. An FBI-created database of Maltese immigration records even showed that a man using the same alias as one of those Libyan intelligence officers had departed from Malta on October 19, 1988—just two months before the bombing.

    The circuit board also helped makes sense of an important aspect of the bombing: It controlled a timer, meaning that the bomb was not set off by a barometric trigger that registers altitude. This, in turn, explained why the explosive baggage had lain peacefully in the jet’s hold as it took off and landed repeatedly.

    Tiny letters on the suspect timer said “MEBO.” What was MEBO? In the days before Google, searching for something called “Mebo” required going country to country, company to company. There were no shortcuts. The FBI, MI5, and CIA were, after months of work, able to trace MEBO back to a Swiss company, Meister et Bollier, adding a fifth country to the ever-expanding investigative circle.

    From Meister et Bollier, they learned that the company had provided 20 prototype timers to the Libyan government and the company helped ID their contact as a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who looked like the sketch of the Maltese clothing shopper. Then, when the FBI looked at its database of Maltese immigration records, they found that Al Megrahi had been present in Malta the day the clothing was purchased.

    Marquise sat down with Robert Mueller and the rest of the prosecutorial team and laid out the latest evidence. Mueller’s orders were clear—he wanted specific suspects and he wanted to bring charges. As he said, “Proceed toward indictment.” Let’s get this case moving.

    IN NOVEMBER 1990, Marquise was placed in charge of all aspects of the investigation and assigned on special duty to the Washington Field Office and moved to a new Scotbom task force. The field offce was located far from the Hoover building, in a run-down neighborhood known by the thoroughly unromantic moniker of Buzzard Point.

    The Scotbom task force had been allotted three tiny windowless rooms with dark wood paneling, which were soon covered floor-to-ceiling with 747 diagrams, crime scene photographs, maps, and other clues. By the door of the office, the team kept two photographs to remind themselves of the stakes: One, a tiny baby shoe recovered from the fields of Lockerbie; the other, a picture of the American flag on the tail of Pan Am 103. This was the first major attack on the US and its civilians. Whoever was responsible couldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    With representatives from a half-dozen countries—the US, Britain, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Malta—now sitting around the table, putting together a case that met everyone’s evidentiary standards was difficult. “We talked through everything, and everything was always done to the higher standard,” Marquise says. In the US, for instance, the legal standard for a photo array was six photos; in Scotland, though, it was 12. So every photo array in the investigation had 12 photos to ensure that the IDs could be used in a British court.

    The trail of evidence so far was pretty clear, and it all pointed toward Libya. Yet there was still much work to do prior to an indictment. A solid hunch was one thing. Having evidence that would stand up in court and under cross-examination was something else entirely.

    As the case neared an indictment, the international investigators and prosecutors found themselves focusing at their gatherings on the fine print of their respective legal code and engaging in deep, philosophical-seeming debates: “What does murder mean in your statute? Huh? I know what murder means: I kill you. Well, then you start going through the details and the standards are just a little different. It may entail five factors in one country, three in another. Was Megrahi guilty of murder? Depends on the country.”

    At every meeting, the international team danced around the question of where a prosecution would ultimately take place. “Jurisdiction was an eggshell problem,” Marquise says. “It was always there, but no one wanted to talk about it. It was always the elephant in the room.”

    Mueller tried to deflect the debate for as long as possible, arguing there was more investigation to do first. Eventually, though, he argued forcefully that the case should be tried in the US. “I recognize that Scotland has significant equities which support trial of the case in your country,” he said in one meeting. “However, the primary target of this act of terrorism was the United States. The majority of the victims were Americans, and the Pan American aircraft was targeted precisely because it was of United States registry.”

    After one meeting, where the Scots and Americans debated jurisdiction for more than two hours, the group migrated over to the Peasant, a restaurant near the Justice Department, where, in an attempt to foster good spirits, it paid for the visiting Scots. Mueller and the other American officials each had to pay for their own meals.

    Mueller was getting ready to move forward; the federal grand jury would begin work in early September. Prosecutors and other investigators were already preparing background, readying evidence, and piecing together information like the names and nationalities of all the Lockerbie victims so that they could be included in the forthcoming indictment.

    There had never been any doubt in the US that the Pan Am 103 bombing would be handled as a criminal matter, but the case was still closely monitored by the White House and the National Security Council.

    The Reagan administration had been surprised in February 1988 by the indictment on drug charges of its close ally Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and a rule of thumb had been developed: Give the White House a heads up anytime you’re going to indict a foreign agent. “If you tag Libya with Pan Am 103, that’s fair to say it’s going to disrupt our relationship with Libya,” Mueller deadpans. So Mueller would head up to the Cabinet Room at the White House, charts and pictures in hand, to explain to President Bush and his team what Justice had in mind.

    To Mueller, the investigation underscored why such complex investigations needed a law enforcement eye. A few months after the attack, he sat through a CIA briefing pointing toward Syria as the culprit behind the attack. “That’s always struck with me as a lesson in the difference between intelligence and evidence. I always try to remember that,” he told me, back when he was FBI director. “It’s a very good object lesson about hasty action based on intelligence. What if we had gone and attacked Syria based on that initial intelligence? Then, after the attack, it came out that Libya had been behind it? What could we have done?”

    Marquise was the last witness for the federal grand jury on Friday, November 8, 1991. Only in the days leading up to that testimony had prosecutors zeroed in on Megrahi and another Libyan officer, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah; as late as the week of the testimony, they had hoped to pursue additional indictments, yet the evidence wasn’t there to get to a conviction.

    Mueller traveled to London to meet with the Peter Fraser, the lord advocate—Scotland’s top prosecutor—and they agreed to announce indictments simultaneously on November 15, 1991. Who got their hands on the suspects first, well, that was a question for later. The joint indictment, Mueller believed, would benefit both countries. “It adds credibility to both our investigations,” he says.

    That coordinated joint, multi-nation statement and indictment would become a model that the US would deploy more regularly in the years to come, as the US and other western nations have tried to coordinate cyber investigations and indictments against hackers from countries like North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

    To make the stunning announcement against Libya, Mueller joined FBI director William Sessions, DC US attorney Jay Stephens, and attorney general William Barr.

    “We charge that two Libyan officials, acting as operatives of the Libyan intelligence agency, along with other co-conspirators, planted and detonated the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103,” Barr said. “I have just telephoned some of the families of those murdered on Pan Am 103 to inform them and the organizations of the survivors that this indictment has been returned. Their loss has been ever present in our minds.”

    At the same time, in Scotland, investigators there were announcing the same indictments.

    At the press conference, Barr listed a long set of names to thank—the first one he singled out was Mueller’s. Then, he continued, “This investigation is by no means over. It continues unabated. We will not rest until all those responsible are brought to justice. We have no higher priority.”

    From there, the case would drag on for years. ABC News interviewed the two suspects in Libya later that month; both denied any responsibility for the bombing. Marquise was reassigned within six months; the other investigators moved along too.

    Mueller himself left the administration when Bill Clinton became president, spending an unhappy year in private practice before rejoining the Justice Department to work as a junior homicide prosecutor in DC under then US attorney Eric Holder; Mueller, who had led the nation’s entire criminal division was now working side by side with prosecutors just a few years out of law school, the equivalent of a three-star military general retiring and reenlisting as a second lieutenant. Clinton eventually named Mueller the US attorney in San Francisco, the office where he’d worked as a young attorney in the 1970s.

    THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the bombing came and went without any justice. Then, in April 1999, prolonged international negotiations led to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi turning over the two suspects; the international economic sanctions imposed on Libya in the wake of the bombing were taking a toll on his country, and the leader wanted to put the incident behind him.

    The final negotiated agreement said that the two men would be tried by a Scottish court, under Scottish law, in The Hague in the Netherlands. Distinct from the international court there, the three-judge Scottish court would ensure that the men faced justice under the laws of the country where their accused crime had been committed.

    Allowing the Scots to move forward meant some concessions by the US. The big one was taking the death penalty, prohibited in Scotland, off the table. Mueller badly wanted the death penalty. Mueller, like many prosecutors and law enforcement officials, is a strong proponent of capital punishment, but he believes it should be reserved for only egregious crimes. “It has to be especially heinous, and you have to be 100 percent sure he’s guilty,” he says. This case met that criteria. “There’s never closure. If there can’t be closure, there should be justice—both for the victims as well as the society at large,” he says.

    An old US military facility, Kamp Van Zeist, was converted to an elaborate jail and courtroom in The Hague, and the Dutch formally surrendered the two Libyans to Scottish police. The trial began in May 2000. For nine months, the court heard testimony from around the world. In what many observers saw as a political verdict, Al Megrahi was found guilty and Fhimah was found not guilty.

    With barely 24 hours notice, Marquise and victim family members raced from the United States to be in the courtroom to hear the verdict. The morning of the verdict in 2001, Mueller was just days into his tenure as acting deputy US attorney general—filling in for the start of the George W. Bush administration in the department’s No. 2 role as attorney general John Ashcroft got himself situated.

    That day, Mueller awoke early and joined with victims’ families and other officials in Washington, who watched the verdict announcement via a satellite hookup. To him, it was a chance for some closure—but the investigation would go on. As he told the media, “The United States remains vigilant in its pursuit to bring to justice any other individuals who may have been involved in the conspiracy to bring down Pan Am Flight 103.”

    The Scotbom case would leave a deep imprint on Mueller; one of his first actions as FBI director was to recruit Kathryn Turman, who had served as the liaison to the Pan Am 103 victim families during the trial, to head the FBI’s Victim Services Division, helping to elevate the role and responsibility of the FBI in dealing with crime victims.

    JUST MONTHS AFTER that 20th anniversary ceremony with Mueller at Arlington National Cemetery, in the summer of 2009, Scotland released a terminally ill Megrahi from prison after a lengthy appeals process, and sent him back to Libya. The decision was made, the Scottish minister of justice reported, on “compassionate grounds.” Few involved on the US side believed the terrorist deserved compassion. Megrahi was greeted as a hero on the tarmac in Libya—rose petals, cheering crowds. The US consensus remained that he should rot in prison.

    The idea that Megrahi could walk out of prison on “compassionate” ground made a mockery of everything that Mueller had dedicated his life to fighting and doing. Amid a series of tepid official condemnations—President Obama labeled it “highly objectionable”—Mueller fired off a letter to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill that stood out for its raw pain, anger, and deep sorrow.

    “Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision,” Mueller began. “Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991. And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’”

    That nine months after the 20th anniversary of the bombing, the only person behind bars for the bombing would walk back onto Libyan soil a free man and be greeted with rose petals left Mueller seething.

    “Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,” Mueller wrote. “You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution. You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification—the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.”

    For Mueller, walking the fields of Lockerbie had been walking on hallowed ground. The Scottish decision pained him especially deeply, because of the mission and dedication he and his Scottish counterparts had shared 20 years before. “If all civilized nations join together to apply the rules of law to international terrorists, certainly we will be successful in ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism,” he had written in a perhaps too hopeful private note to the Scottish Lord Advocate in 1990.

    Some 20 years later, in an era when counterterrorism would be a massive, multibillion dollar industry and a buzzword for politicians everywhere, Mueller—betrayed—concluded his letter with a decidedly un-Mueller-like plea, shouted plaintively and hopelessly across the Atlantic: “Where, I ask, is the justice?”

    #USA #Libye #impérialisme #terrorisme #histoire #CIA #idéologie #propagande


  • https://www.arch2o.com/how-zaha-hadid-became-zaha-hadid

    Hadid was born in the early 50s and lived her childhood during the brief golden years of modern-time Iraq. The ruling government back then decided to put the increased national share of Petroleum money to use by bringing on pioneers of modern architecture, like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, and Walter Gropius, to modernize the city of Baghdad, issuing a hopeful atmosphere.


    #zahahadid #zaha #hadid #zha #zahahadidarchitects #zahahadiddeath


  • Sic Semper Tyrannis : Two new US bases in western Iraq.
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/12/httpswwwalmasdarnewscomarticleus-builds-two-military-bases-alon

    The generals’ club is probably at work in this, seeking to limit the effect of Trump’s order for US forces to withdraw from Syria.

    The one in roumana sub-district  is the location from which US Army 155mm artillery is firing in support of continuing  SDF attacks against the hajin pocket in the SE corner of Syria.  There will be US Army GBs with the SDF adjusting these fires.  IMO those GBs will be left in Syria to do what only they do best, keep the locals in the fight.  This base will be useful as a forward staging point for any raids that SOF forces might want to make into Syria (kill Baghdadi, etc.)

    The other base is at rutbah and is positioned astride the highway from al-tanf in Syria.  In this position it will continue to obstruct the Damascus-Baghdad-Iran main ground route. 

    These two facilities will surely be supported and supplied from the al-asad air bast which Trump visited.  pl

    #Syrie #Etats-Unis #Irak


  • Houari.Boumediene : un grand analyste et fin stratège, un fier nationaliste, un humaniste, il aimait son pays et son peuple. – Salimsellami’s Blog
    https://salimsellami.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/houari-boumediene-un-grand-analyste-et-fin-stratege-un-fier-

    « UN PEUPLE IGNORANT, EN EFFET, EST UN PEUPLE SUSCEPTIBLE D’ÊTRE EXPLOITÉ, SOIT PAR L’ÉTRANGER SOIT PAR UNE CLASSE QUELCONQUE, CAR IL N’EST PAS EN MESURE D’ACCÉDER À LA CONNAISSANCE. UN PEUPLE IGNORANT S’EXPOSE À TOUS LES DANGERS .C’EST POUR CELA QUE LA RÉVOLUTION RÉSERVE LA PRIORITÉ AU DÉVELOPPEMENT DE L’ENSEIGNEMENT » MESSAGE À LA NATION 31/10/66

    Au-dedans,les options de H. Boumediene se sont précisées en son temps, raffermies et affirmées petits à petits à travers ses propres discours. 
    Au dehors, la voix de H. Boumediene était écoutée, son conseil était recherché, ses décisions étaient prises au sérieux car l’Algérie se mettait à se tenir debout avec sa vitalité politique, économique, culturelle et même sociale. 
    S’il est bien des vertus que nous en tant que génération de H. Boumediene voudrions affecter à ce recueil de mémoire d’un passé récent riche en événement culturel , économique et politique ,c’est un refus qui consiste à rejeter l’état actuel de ceux qui ont en main la destinée de ce très beau et grand pays .Ce pays est conduit et géré et ce depuis la disparition de H. Boumediene ,par un régime de gabegie, de l’indifférence totale de la corruption généralisée et de la médiocrité qui a permis d’ effacer le Rêve , l’ Espérance, l’Utile et l’Agréable ou l’Art n’est plus mis en valeur. 
    « L’Algérie n’est pas une simple expression géographique mais plutôt un programme d’action et une philosophie politique »discours aux cadres du parti Tiziouzou 18/11/74 
    Le destin de l’Algérie est suspendu, et le choix s’impose aujourd’hui et non demain à moins que le changement soit fait par le « yo-yo » des forces du mal qui travaillent à la destruction de ce beau pays et de son oblitération générale en « médiocrisant » les centres de culture et en éliminant les centres de recherche ( instituts et universités). Je sais pertinemment du fond de ma tête, de mon âme et conscience, de mes forces vives que sans justice sociale, il ne pourrait y avoir de paix, ni de salut dans ce pays. Et ceci est bien un geste, un ton dont l’écho à travers le temps d’hier, d’aujourd’hui et de demain ; c’est une attitude claire, une expression qui se nourrissait dans le visage du feu H. Boumediene qui était un véritable autoritaire mais pas dictateur car la parole était donnée aux doctes et universitaires plus qu’aux mauvais politiciens de son temps. Son habit et son décor font de lui un homme de valeur respectable, H. Boumediene sait profondément et pertinemment que la justice et la dignité représentent le mobile à grande vitesse qui mène la société vers la prospérité et la paix sociale. 
    Il est clair que chaque régime quel qu’il en soit a pour règle en générale, de faire oublier, de gommer parfois ou noircir son prédécesseur même si c’est un proche de lui ; croyant l’effacer de l’histoire du pays, mettant en avant les fautes, erreurs pour masquer les siennes. Alors, pour ce qui est d’un chef d’état ses accomplissements positifs ; nul n’a le droit de l’évacuer de la mémoire d’un peuple. 
    Par cette modeste contribution, mettre à la disposition de l’opinion public algérienne qui est trop préoccupée par les agitations moroses du pays et contraint tôt ou tard d’opérer un véritable choix de société plus égalitaire via la véritable démocratie. Ce projet de société aurait pu être opérer pendant la période de l’Age d’or ou le pays avait un mérite celui d’avoir implanté un type spécifique algérien de la politique et qui semble de nouveau en sommité en raison des manifestations spirituelles qui s’attachent au nom et à l’œuvre de H. Boumediene, peut être que la priorité n’était pas encore à l’ordre du jour car le temps était bien utile et nécessaire. Laissant une marge pour ceux qui considèrent H. Boumediene ; sa politique était loin d’être positive c’est un droit incontestable et respectable mais un excès allant plus loin et sont prêt à mettre sur le compte de H. Boumediene ce qui arrive aujourd’hui comme mal au pays .En tant que démocrate qui défend les bienfaits de H. Boumediene, elles seront appuyés par des intuitions émanant de ces discours, de l’impression de ses actes et paroles et des sentiments qui paraphent nôtre jugement. Car l’Algérie n’est pas malade de son corps mais bien de son esprit d’aujourd’hui car après H. Boumediene il y avait la décennie faste (pour une vie meilleurs) qui était trompeuse, ensuite la décennie noire( terrorisme) fabriquée par la stratégie du chaos , suivie de la décennie perdue( démocratie de façade) liquidation du poids économique de l’Algérie et enfin nous y sommes dans la décennie pourrie( capitalisme sauvage) ou valeurs ,morales , principes ,droit et normes ne veulent rien dire . Le destin de l’Algérie est suspendu et le choix n’est pas encore amorcé… en attendant le réveil du peuple qui dort encore oubliant sa dignité ! 
    « Dans notre proclamation du 19 juin 1965, nous avons promis de restituer à ce pays, en premier lieu sa dignité. Voilà aujourd’hui que cette dignité représente la caractéristique dominante de la personnalité de notre peuple, en proclamant que le peuple algérien était l’unique détenteur de la souveraineté » Meeting à Médéa 04/06/69 
    Dès son jeune âge, Houari. Boumediene était une personne très et trop occupé de son pays meurtri pendant la colonisation, déchiré pendant la guerre et après l’indépendance. Pour ceux, qu’ils l’ont traités de fasciste, d’assassin et de bien trop d’autres mauvais qualificatifs suite au redressement du 19 juin 1965. 
    Cependant et à travers ses interviews, et une multitudes de ses discours, et les entretiens qu’il l’avait eu avec Paul Balta*1 qui avait le sang arabe ,H. Boumediene parlait selon les propos de P.Balta d’une voix très douce, sachant placé ses mots dans un contexte qui se veut à lui sans être un « rêveur », pesant et articulant très bien ses mots qui se confondent avec la paix ,la justice, l’équité ,la dignité, le respect, la fermeté et bien d’autres mots propres au bien être de l’homme.Et entre deux phrases, il investit un silence d’or remarquable et laisse communiquer ses yeux pétillants et perçants à la fois, donnant l’air d’un véritable« rêveur ». 
    C’est un homme qui sait très bien manipuler le geste à la parole et la parole au geste, il est celui qui fait toujours ce qu’il dit et dit toujours ce qu’il faut faire, dans le cadre du bien, du juste , du vrai et parfois même du beau et de l’agréable. 
    De loin H. Boumediene était qualifié comme un inégal impénétrable comme disait Ania Franco*2.Il était austère et timide, d’un contact bien compliqué que l’on ne pense. 
    Lors de la conférence des non alignés à Alger en 1973, ses portraits fusaient et se multipliaient à travers les unes de la presse internationale et chacun se permettait de mettre son grain de sel en avant ; ce qui les étonne ensuite .Par contre H. Boumediene n’avait pas changé, ses actions, ses comportements à l’intérieur du pays. Il misait sur la stabilité du pays, la réussite politique et le triomphe d’un homme d’état exemplaire que le sommet des non-alignés lui a permis de lui confectionner une stature à l’échelle internationale pour le profit de la dignité de l’algérien et de l’Algérie. Cet événement politique, lui avait permis d’effacer ce visage que l’on lui avait attribué comme d’un loup affamé et ironique qui inquiétait bien des personnalités et des journalistes du monde politique, culturel et médiatique. 
    Ses sourires étaient parfois en éclats, se fondaient par la suite en public ; le temps est passé ou il dissimulait ses sourires derrières ses mains préférant sourire, très souvent avec les fellahs, les travailleurs, la jeunesse, les intellects et les petites lambadas. 
    En public, Le cigare de Fidèle Castro ne le quittait pas, de même que le burnous noir, un bien noble et sacré des grands des hauts plateaux. H.Boumediene voulait donnait une stature nouvelle de « l’algérien lambda » qu’il soit ouvrier au sens de l’industrialisation, fellah au sens de la révolution agraire, étudiant au sens universel , jeune au sens culturel et travailleur au sens de la création de la richesse. De nouveaux êtres pleins d’orgueil à partir du plein sens d’équité et de justesse dépassant la fraternité pour en fin de compte faire de l’Algérie un pays fier et orgueilleux à la fois par l’instauration d’une nouvelle culture algérienne et d’un nouveau algérien ombrageux c’est-à-dire qui s’inquiétait pour la moindre raison et à la moindre saison. 
    Au lendemain de la conférence des non alignés, H. Boumediene professera du haut de la tribune internationale d’Alger, très haut et bien fort qu’un pays ne peut jouer un rôle international que s’il est vraiment : 
    stable. 
    totalement indépendant au sens large du terme. 
    s’il amorce le décollage économique. 
    Ces trois principes clés que l’Algérie de son temps faisait des efforts louables, pour les atteindre, permettaient de représenter le pays en tant que« phare du tiers monde ».L’Algérie était devenue un pôle d’attraction parce qu’elle s’est attelée à la bataille du développement par plan interposé. Tout cela s’identifiait au sentiment national et que le bonheur et le progrès de notre peuple se construisaient autour de notre digne personnalité distincte, tout en admettant que la liberté, la nation, la justice , la dignité et l’équité qui représentent la dimension universelle, mais au fait le produit n’est que l’origine de la culture progressiste ou le peuple ne devrait consommer que ce qu’il a produit, en nourriture, en santé, en transport, en habit, en amusement et en éducation. La culture au sens prôné par H. Boumediene c’est ce qui permettait à l’homme d’ordonner sa vie pour donner ce qu’il a de bien, de beau, d’utile et de nécessaire. 
    La culture est la représentation d’une économie , d’un style de vie, de rapports sociaux bien déterminés à un moment de la vie des hommes libres qui lui impliquent une orientation, un style, une sensibilité conforme aux conditions d’existence rencontrées comme aux règles sociales bien raffinées. H.Boumediene pensait dans l’avenir ,à concevoir un nouveau contexte pour mettre en évidence toutes nos caractéristiques et nos particularismes afin d’affirmer les composantes de notre personnalité algérienne et de notre authenticité. 
    « L’Algérie est à nous tous. Il est intolérable qu’une fraction de la population vive dans l’opulence et que l’autre vive dans le dénuement. Toutes les religions rejettent pareille chose. Notre religion n’y manque pas. Le prophète Mohamed était pauvre, il vivait de son travail, bien qu’investi de sa mission céleste » Meeting à Boufarik le 02/10/66 
    Le mot développement et culture revenaient souvent et en permanence dans sa bouche et dans ses discours. H. Boumediene en tant que chef d’état est entré dans la révolution depuis son très jeune Age. Il avait fait de la révolution algérienne sa deuxième religion tout en laissant de coté sa vie personnelle qui devrait lui permettre de s’occuper de son être et de sa famille sinon de vivre le quotidien d’un simple lambda .Il dira, par ailleurs :« quand on est très haut et on regarde devant soi, on ne voit pas le ciel, on ne voit que le ravin ». 
    H. Boumediene savait pertinemment que très peu de chefs d’état du tiers monde meurent dans leur lit de vieillesse sauf que lorsqu’il s’agit de président ! 
    Pour H. Boumediene une course à la montre était engagée, il dira à cet effet : « lorsque je ne travaille pas je m’ennuie à mourir » ; l’institution de la présidence se confondait avec H. Boumediene car il avait l’habitude des longues réunions de nuits, beaucoup de personnalités lui ont reproché la personnalisation du pouvoir, mais en réalité c’était le contraire ; H. Boumediene déléguait des pans entiers de son autorité à ses ministres, ils étaient des ministrables face à ceux d’aujourd’hui et quand à ses membres du conseil de la révolution ou il dira clairement haut et fort que : « la réussite de la révolution est le fruit du conseil de la révolution par contre l’échec je l’assumerai personnellement ». 
    H. Boumediene ne saisi le problème que lorsqu’ il s’agit d’un secteur névralgique (pétrole-parti-Révolution agraire –diplomatie..) ensuite il l’abandonne quand la crise s’atténue face à sa résolution. 
    « Le non Alignement trouve sa raison d’être dans la défense des causes justes contre toute forme d’hégémonie politique et de domination économique. Son action vise avant tout l’émancipation des peuples, dans le cadre d’une coopération internationale basée sur l’égalité des états, le respect des souverainetés et l’instauration d’une paix juste dans le monda »Révolution Africaine N° 498 du 7 au 13/09/73 
    Exemple en 1976, l’éclatement de l’affaire du Sahara occidentale, H. Boumediene s’est senti menacé de l’extérieur, il ne prenait aucune décision sans avoir délibérer avec la direction politique et même avec certains doctes. En 1974, H.Boumediene avait beaucoup appris les cours de politisation interne et externe (conférence internationale-échanges…) ; le fait de bien écouter et comprendre, des opinions différentes des siennes, lui ont permis de se faire une idée de ce qui se passe chez soi.Il dira en ce sens que les expériences acquises lui ont permis de découvrir que les européens qui se prétendent comme des paternalistes suivis avec d’attitudes hautaines, se trompent en croyant que les chefs d’état et non des présidents du tiers-monde se retrouvent entre eux pour uniquement s’amuser. L’exemple de la conférence des non alignés que les occidentaux n’avaient pas pris au sérieux, mais suite à la crise du pétrole,lorsqu’ils ont eu un peu froid, ils ont commencé à écouter ce petit tiers –monde. 
    H. Boumediene dira par la suite que les relations internationales ne sont pas imprégnées d’une certaine morale universelle mais bel et bien d’un rapport de force ou la loi du plus fort est mise en pratique et les deux poids deux mesures deviennent le Dada des Etats Unis. 
    Les occidentaux commençaient timidement à effectuer des pèlerinages vers la nouvelle « Mecque des révolutionnaires » qu’est Alger qui était aussi la « capitale révolutionnaire arabe ». 
    En 1973, lors du sommet des non alignés H. Boumediene s’en était aperçu que la ligne de démarcation passait entre les pays riches et les pays pauvres, les analphabètes et les doctes entre ceux qui aillent à dos de l’âne et ceux qui empruntent des avions supersoniques. 
    Cette constations a été accomplie et confortée par la rencontre spéciale (USA-URSS) en juillet 1975, ils avaient la même technologie ; H. Boumediene reconnaissait ouvertement que le socialisme de l’URSS et son camp de l’EST avaient vivement contribué à affaiblir l’impérialisme US et avait permis par cette occasion la libération des peuples du tiers-monde.L’amitié dans ce monde n’est pas gratuite disait-il et l’Algérie devrait avoir des rapports égalitaires avec les deux camps. 
    H. Boumediene se plaint,qu’il soit très difficile de travailler avec les pays de l’EST, il dit que tout est secret politique, économique ; on ne peut se procurer un prospectus et on ne sait pas ce que l’on achète, d’autre part, il accuse ouvertement les multinationales de corrompent nos cadres .H. Boumediene. Disait, « je ne puis ordonner d’acheter socialiste si les produits de l’EST sont de moins bonnes qualités » 
    H Boumediene diversifiait ses échanges entre les USA –Europe- le Japon – la Chine et l’URSS sachant pertinemment que les petits pays ne sont rien dans le jeu des grandes puissances, il ne s’agit pas aussi de confondre le péché soviétique et les crimes US envers le tiers -monde. 
    Quant un pays du tiers- monde bouge, on le liquide par tous moyens et il est mis en galère via les médias en exhibant quelques scandales de la CIA -maison blanche -pentagone c’est la même chose comme aujourd’hui, c’est les medias « mainstream » qui propagent la désinformation, les « fakes news », les mensonges, la désintoxication par le TIC*2. 
    « Nous pays membres de l’OPEP, nous devons en tout état de cause, agir positivement de sorte qu’aux yeux de l’histoire, il soit bien établi que nous aurons tous mis en œuvre pour réunir toutes les chances de réalisation de ces promesses »Al Moudjahed le 5/3/75 
    En 1974, H. Kissinger trouve la petite Algérie, qui s’agite beaucoup, et la course à la montre s’engageait entre le plus puissant pays capitaliste du monde et le leader le plus clairvoyant du tiers- monde. Le plan Kissinger prévoyait d’isoler d’abord l’OPEP du tiers- monde via une augmentation du prix du pétrole afin de torpiller le développement des pays non producteurs de pétrole du tiers- monde. 
    H.Boumediene est le 1er chef d’état de l’OPEP, il déclama lors du sommet islamique de Lahore (Pakistan) : « nous entendons s’élever des voix pour dire aux pays du tiers- monde que la hausse du prix du pétrole est dirigée contre eux.Depuis quand l’exploiteur est-il devenu l’avocat de l’exploité ? Que les pays industriels ôtent leurs mains de nos richesses. Nous importons des produits industriels et la technologie à des prix excessifs. La bataille du pétrole est une partie de la bataille d’ensemble qui concerne toutes les matières premières, une bataille qui a posé le problème des rapports entre les pays industrialisés et les pays en voie de développement ». 
    Poursuivant dans sa lancée, pour défendre le bien-fondé du tiers- monde ; il envoie un message au S/G Kurt Waldheim de l’ONU en sa qualité de président des pays non- alignés pour réclamer une session spéciale des nations unies portant sur une réunion de toutes les questions se rapportant à l’ensemble des matières premières il dira que :« les algériens en tant que tels ne veulent nullement que l’OPEP porte le chapeau pour tous les malheurs de l’économie mondiale » 
    H. Kissinger voulait dans ce cadre-là, capsuler la fente et un H.Boumediene sûr de lui voulait élargir le plus possible pour que toutes les matières premières(cuivre –cacao-fer –caoutchouc- café…..) soient à l’image de l’OPEP. Le climat de la situation politique internationale se compliquait pour le développement et pour la paix également, car certains généraux américains pensaient déjà à remettre sur leurs têtes« Kriegspiel »( jeu de la guerre) 
    L’habilité de H. Boumediene tente d’un autre côté de séduire l’Europe, grande consommatrice de matières premières dans le but de l’écarter du chemin du gros rouleau compresseur. Déjà les USA ,lors de la conférence de Washington ou étaient réunis les plus gros consommateurs du pétrole pour fonder l’OTAN du pétrole. Car la vision principale des USA n’était pas la question des prix, mais le pouvoir de contrôler les sources d’énergie et par conséquent assurer son pouvoir politique à l’échelle de la planète. 
    La session spéciale des Non-alignés, s’ouvre le 10 avril 1974, une session qui faisait croire à beaucoup de monde comme une forme ou discours et parlotes stériles vont garnir la tribune Onusienne. 
    Le discours de Boumediene entièrement en arabe, vient de frapper fort les esprits avec une nouvelle conception , sur les relations entre pays pauvres et pays riches, nationalisation des ressources naturelles, valorisation sur place des matières premières et revalorisation des cours ,de là le développement des pays jeunes doit s’inscrire dans une dialectique de lutte sur le plan international et compter d’abord sur soi, sur ses propres moyens sur le plan interne . 
    C’était le nouvel ordre économique international prôné par le grand chef de l’Etat : Monsieur Houari Boumediene. 
    Pour H.Boumediene, cela voulait dire que les nantis doivent revoir leurs copies en matière monétaire,financière, technologique et alimentaire car le gaspillage des nantis est une forme d’ insulte à la misère des pauvres la course à l’armement ,à la destruction du surplus agricole face à un monde en proie à la famine. 
    Toutes les manipulations que ce soit monétaires ou financières ou autres ne font qu’appauvrir les pays pauvres et enrichir les pays riches. 
    Le nouvel ordre économique permet au tiers- monde à ce qu’il s’organise et se généralise en forme d’association à l’image de l’OPEP sinon viendrait une mondialisation ou les oligarchies sèmeront leur propres dictatures par une expropriation gratuite de toutes les ressources naturelles. 
    H. Boumediene s’avait pertinemment que cette conférence ne va pas être suivie d’effet dans l’immédiat.Mais, en recevant à Alger, des personnalités de tout horizon, suite à l’écho de la conférence des non alignés, tout le monde lui fait avancer que ce nouveau ordre économique mondial va provoquer un tel chambardement qu’il est impossible de le construire. H Boumediene dira que ce système est certes, dur à changer, l’essentiel est de reconnaître d’abord et avant tout qu’il est injuste ! 
    H. Boumediene voulait semer d’abord, pour faire fructifier et avancer les idées de justesses et non d’arracher dans l’immédiat des résolutions triomphantes qui n’ont point d’effet sur le terrain. 
    L’idée du nouvel ordre économique plus juste, va être présente dans toutes les officines et conférences internationales H. Boumediene avait pris une position en flèche dans ce nouvel affrontement « Nord-Sud »très différentes de la rivalité « Est-Ouest » ou la guerre froide faisait rage ; une forme de diversion politique basée sur la« realpolitik » c’est à partir de là que l’Algérie est devenue la capitale « révolutionnaire » du monde arabe et des pays progressistes et donc devenue la cible N°1 de l’impérialisme US 
    H. Kissinger s’est arrêté à Alger en décembre 19 73, pour tester le poids de l’Algérie sur le conflit du moyen orient et voir, si vraiment Alger était dans le camp des modérés ou celle des irréductibles comme Baghdâd, Syrie, tripoli. H. Boumediene devait lui répondre ainsi :« je ne peux vous répondre de ce que j’avais déjà dit aux leaders de la résistance palestinienne , l’Algérie ne pratique pas la surenchère, exiger plus d’eux ,c’est de la démagogie moins c’est de la trahison ». 
    H. Boumediene savait que les USA cherchaient à faire taire par tous les moyens cette Algérie qui tonne fort à l’OPEP et aussi dans le concert du tiers-monde .H. Boumediene était le seul chef d’état du tiers –monde à pouvoir dire aux grands de ce monde que le roi est nu. H. Boumediene sait très bien que dans ce monde les faibles s’effondrent, et sont massacrés comme des bêtes, et effacés de l’histoire par contre les forts, survivent pour leurs biens et pour le mal des autres. Dans ce monde les forts se font respecter forcement et se concertent sur le dos des faibles, par conséquent, la paix se fait par les forts. 
    Par ailleurs, suite à la disparition de Nasser ; Sadat « dé-Nassériste » par sa politique d’« infitah » (libéralisation sauvage et à outrance de l’économie égyptienne ou les prédateurs s’accaparent de tous) . 
    Devant ce fait accompli, l’Algérie se retrouve seule, H. Kissinger avait convaincu Sadat de monnayer pas à pas et en douceur les succès de la guerre d’octobre 73, tandis que H. Boumediene ressent que la « pax americana » est en marche sur le monde arabe.Il découvre les complicités et manigances des petits présidents larbins arabes. 
    La bataille et non la guerre de 73 était un événement, un plus pour H. Boumediene, il dira à cet effet « les arabes ont vaincu leur peur et les palestiniens se sont débarrassés de leur tutelle arabe » 
    Le sommet d’Alger de novembre 73, il propulsa en avant Yasser Arafat sur la scène internationale malgré les réticences Égyptiennes et Jordanienne. L’OLP est reconnue à Alger par la majorité des pays arabe comme étant l’unique représentant légitime du peuple palestinien. Suite, à cet événement majeur H Boumediene voulait encore faire avancer la préparation d’une stratégie arabe commune qui devrait s’élaborer au niveau même de ce sommet : cette stratégie devrait reposer : 
    *Comment combiner contre Israël toutes les armes arabes à savoir le pétrole –les finances- le poids diplomatique-les alliances- les groupements- H. Boumediene dessine à cet effet une politique arabe à long terme qui ne séduit pas le larbin Sadat, ni même son banquier le roi Fayçald’Arabie saoudite encore moins le roitelet de Jordanie. 
    *H. Boumediene suite à ces événements riches en activité, le dialogue avec les grands commence à se faire d’égal à égal, alors que certains parmi les cadres algériens se posaient déjà la question si H. Boumediene ne va pas sacrifier au gout du prestige comme au temps du « Benbelisme » pour se prendre pour un Mao , et l’accident de l’avion avec ses 40 morts avait permis de rehausser les discussions sur l’absence des institutions du pays. Que serait-il arrivé à l’Algérie si l’avion écrasé était présidentiel et c’est à partir de là que la construction de l’état prenait forme par l’instauration des premières intuitions de l’état, en commençant par le bas de l’échelle commune -wilaya -APN .A partir de là, l’édification d’un état fort commençait à prendre forme, elle était à la fois l’objectif et la raison du redressement du 19 juin65 que le temps n’a pas permis à ce rêveur de finir sa bataille car les loups internes et externes étaient par derrière et n’attendaient que sa fin pour mettre en œuvre la stratégie du chaos. 
    Pour conclure d’une manière générale , tout ce qui se rapporte au pays à son peuple, sa vision profonde dans son ensemble était comment appliquer le concept des dispositions du premier novembre 1954, à savoir un premier novembre social, un premier novembre économique, un premier novembre financier ,un premier novembre politique, un premier novembre culturel, un premier novembre humain, un premier novembre révolutionnaire, un premier novembre technologique ou la justice , la dignité et le bien être jouent les premiers rôles…. Il est clair que l’Algérie est passée d’un pays non aligné respecté à un pays aligné soumis, autrement plus imagé d’un homme libre à un homme soumis. L’Algérie s’ est alignée sur les pays occidentaux reniant ses propres principes de novembre , cela se justifie par le changement du système économique socialiste à un système libéral d’économie de marché ou les règles du jeu du marché économique , culturel, et politique ont été préparées , établies et imposées par cet occident arrogant et impérialiste. L’Algérie a été propulsé au premier rang en tant que leadership, sur la scène internationale par le mouvement des non-alignés en 1975 ; l’Algérie avait créé le G77 *4(groupe des 77) qui avait pour mission de réduire les inégalités économiques entre le nord et le sud. Le droit au développement économique et de la nécessité de reformer le système économique international par l’établissement d’un nouvel ordre économique international basé sur des échanges justes et équitables entre le nord et le sud. Tout cela est tombé à l’eau suite à la disparition du feu H.Boumediene. 
    BENALLAL MOHAMED ANCIEN CADRE 
    2*Anias francos et J.P Sérénie 
    1*Paul Balta et Claudine Rulleau « La Stratégie de Boumediene » Paris Sindbad 1978. 
    3*P.Balta « Boumediene me disait que j’avais du sang arabe » 
    4
    G77 Organisé en 1967 à Alger où il a publié la fameuse « charte des droits économiques du 1/3 monde : base de tout débat ultérieur « Nord –Sud » 
    *Que reste –t-il de Boumediene –Jeune Afrique du 18-12-2008- 
    *www.jeune afrique.com 187687 politique que reste-t-il de boum-di-ne 
    *citations du Président Boumediene L’héritage ; Que reste-t-il ? 
    Discours du Président Boumediene 19 Juin-1965-19 Juin 1970 Tome II Edit2 par le Ministère de l’information et de la culture 

    Mohamed BENALLAL

    http://www.alterinfo.net/Houari-Boumediene-un-grand-analyste-et-fin-stratege-un-fier-nationaliste-


  • #Blackwater security guard convicted in 2007 Iraqi civilian massacre at third U.S. trial
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/blackwater-security-guard-convicted-in-2007-iraqi-civilian-massacre-at-third-us-trial/2018/12/19/e8b3d8ac-fd5f-11e8-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html

    A former Blackwater security guard whose 2014 murder conviction was vacated on appeal was convicted by a federal jury Wednesday, ending the Justice Department’s long pursuit of accountability for a 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Baghdad that drew international condemnation during the Iraq War, the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington said.

    A federal jury deliberated five days before finding Nicholas A. Slatten, 35, guilty of first-degree murder after a five-week trial in Washington, D.C.

    It was the third time since 2014 that Slatten was on trial over the deaths at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad’s Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007.


  • ’Cyprus is saturated’ - burgeoning migrant crisis grips island

    Smugglers increasingly take advantage of island’s partition and proximity to Middle East.

    When Rubar and Bestoon Abass embarked on their journey to Europe they had no idea that Cyprus was the continent’s easternmost state. Like most Iraqi Kurds heading west, their destination was Germany, not an EU nation barely 100 miles from war-torn Syria.

    “I had never heard of Cyprus,” said Rubar, reaching for his pregnant wife’s hand as they sat gloomily in a migrant centre run by the Catholic charity Caritas in the heart of Nicosia. “The smugglers told us it was much cheaper to get to and was still in Europe. We paid $2,000 [£1,590] for the four of us to come.”

    Cyprus is in the midst of a burgeoning migrant crisis as smuggler networks take advantage of the Mediterranean island’s partition and proximity to the Middle East. As in Greece, when Europe’s refugee crisis erupted with Syria’s descent into civil war, support groups have rushed to deal with the social ailments that have arisen with the influx.

    “Cyprus is saturated,” its interior minister, Constantinos Petrides, said in an interview with the Guardian. “It’s no longer easy to absorb such flows, or handle the situation, no matter how much money we get.”

    The island has exceeded every other EU member state in asylum claims in 2018, recording the highest number per capita with almost 6,000 applications for a population of about 1 million.

    By August requests were 55% higher than for the same eight-month period in 2017, a figure itself 56% higher than that for 2016, according to the interior ministry. With the country’s asylum and reception systems vastly overstretched, alarmed officials have appealed to Brussels for help.

    “This is a European problem,” said Petrides, adding that closed borders elsewhere in the bloc were placing a disproportionate burden on small frontline states such as Cyprus. “It’s absolutely necessary to find a holistic solution … which means distributing asylum seekers through an automatic relocation mechanism to countries throughout the EU.”

    Rubar and Bestoon arrived with their two children in August. Like the ever-growing number of Syrians also heading here from overcrowded camps in Turkey and Lebanon, the couple landed in Northern Cyprus, the self-styled state acknowledged only by Ankara in the 44 years since Turkish troops invaded and seized over a third of the island’s territory.

    They then took the increasingly well-trodden route of sneaking across the dividing buffer zone into the internationally recognised Greek-controlled south. Stretching 112 miles across Cyprus, the UN-patrolled ceasefire line offers innumerable blind spots for those determined to evade detection.

    Geography’s stark reality hit, Rubar admits, when he was shown Cyprus on the world map adorning the migrant centre’s airy reception room. “If I had known I’d never have come,” said the farmer. “After all, being here we’re much nearer Baghdad than we are Berlin.”

    Elizabeth Kassinis, Caritas’ executive manager, said the Abbasses’ experience is not uncommon. “Many are surprised to find out where they actually are. When we tell them, they are shocked, stunned, completely speechless. Nearly all arrive expecting they’ll be within walking distance of a job in Germany.”

    Illicit crossings from the north have made Cyprus’ woes much worse. Reports have increased in recent months of irregular migrants flying into Ercan airport in the Turkish-controlled breakaway state.

    Hamstrung by politics, not least Turkey’s refusal to recognise the government in the southern part of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion of the island, authorities are unable to send them back.

    “Because of the illegal occupation in the north we’ve seen phenomena that wouldn’t happen in conditions of legality,” said Petrides. “It’s an open wound, not just for Cyprus but the entire EU.”

    With international agencies focusing almost entirely on sea arrivals, the real number of migrants on the island has been hugely underestimated, charities say. “We are a humanitarian organisation that addresses poverty, hunger and homelessness and we are seeing across-the-board increases in them all,” Kassinis said.

    A backlog of 8,000 asylum claims has amassed as authorities struggle to cope with the flows, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. “We’re talking about a process that can take up to five years and an extremely high number of people waiting for final decisions to their claims,” said Katja Saha, the agency’s representative in Nicosia.

    “It’s highly likely that the vast majority are not refugees and should not be in the asylum processing system but, that said, the lack of infrastructure and social services makes it very difficult to identify those who are vulnerable, particularly victims of trafficking and torture.”

    As numbers grow, pressure on the island’s two state-run camps has become immense and asylum seekers are expected to find private accommodation after 72 hours. For most that is nearly impossible when rent allowances are little more than €100 (£90) per person a month and employment is limited to manual work such as car washing and farm labour, Saha said.

    In Nicosia, which houses one of the camps, asylum seekers have resorted to sleeping in parks and buses and the vestibules of buildings. “For the last month I’ve been in a tent in the park with my wife and four children,” said Basin Hussain, who also fled Iraq. “The first three days were spent in the reception centre but then we were told to leave.”

    There are fears the drama being played out in the eastern Mediterranean will get a lot worse if the situation in Syria deteriorates further and war extends to Idlib, the country’s last rebel stronghold. A Turkish-Russian ceasefire deal is currently sustaining a fragile peace in the province.

    Cyprus had been spared the refugee crisis until this year as most Europe-bound asylum seekers headed for Greece and Italy instead.

    “It’s surprising, given its geographic location, that Cyprus has not been more impacted by the seven-year conflict,” said Saha. “Since the spring we’ve seen this increase in Syrians because word has spread that Lebanon and Turkey, as first asylum countries, are saturated.”

    As elsewhere in Europe the island is not immune to hostility toward the new arrivals. Far-right groups coalescing around the ultranationalist ELAM party have gained increasing popularity as the issue provides fodder for their approval ratings ahead of European parliamentary elections next year.

    “What we don’t want to do is open more and more reception centres,” said Petrides, emphasising that solidarity was now needed on Europe’s eastern edge. “It’s not the solution, either for the country or asylum seekers.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/11/cyprus-the-new-entry-point-to-europe-for-refugees-and-migrants?CMP=shar
    #parcours_migratoires #routes_migratoires #Chypre #asile #migrations #réfugiés
    ping @isskein


  • Opinion | Iran & Saudi Arabia, Thelma & Louise - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/opinion/iran-saudi-arabia-thelma-louise.html

    Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît... Après avoir chanté les louanges de MBS (Mohamed Bone Saw), Friedman vous analyse la politique extérieure iranienne !

    And how did that work out?

    Iran denuclearized, but the Revolutionary Guards used the release of pressure and fresh cash and investments from the West to further project their power into the Sunni Arab world, consolidating the grip of Iran’s proxies over four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Sana and Beirut.

    Worse, Iran and its Lebanese Shiite mercenary army, Hezbollah, joined with Syria’s pro-Shiite regime in suppressing any chance of power-sharing with Syrian rebels and helped that regime ethnically cleanse Sunnis from key districts in Syria. Iran and its mercenaries also winked at Syria’s genocidal use of poison gas and barrel bombs, which contributed mightily to the death toll from the Syrian civil war of some 500,000 people, with 11 million people displaced.

    Iran’s imperial overstretch was halted only by the Israeli Air Force dealing a heavy blow to Iranian units in Syria when Iran sent missiles there to attack Israel.

    I thought the Iran deal was a bet worth making. No regrets. It did curb Iran’s nuclear program — a big deal — but it did nothing to moderate Iran’s regional behavior, which was never part of the pact. Indeed, it may have been the price of it, as Iran’s supreme leader seemed to compensate for making the deal with the “American devil” by allowing the Revolutionary Guards a freer hand to project their power.

    #friedman #nyt #iran


  • MbS: The New Saddam of Arabia? – LobeLog
    https://lobelog.com/mbs-the-new-saddam-of-arabia

    As Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has terrorized his opponents at home and abroad, fear has spread within the Saudi kingdom. Has he become the new Saddam of Arabia? As Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s, MbS is cementing his power domestically and regionally through fear and economic largesse under the guise of fighting Iran, Islamic radicalism, and terrorism.

    Much like the tyrant of Baghdad did in Iraq, MbS has crushed his domestic and regional opponents. Both of them have enlisted the support of foreign powers, especially the United States and Britain, to buttress their hold on power in their territories and expand their reach internationally. They both spoke the language of “reform,” which appeals to Western audiences, and both demonized Iran as a promoter of regional instability and a source of evil internationally.

    They both used chemical weapons against their opponents—Saddam against his Kurdish citizens and against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war; MbS against civilians in Yemen. Saddam threatened and later invaded his neighbor Kuwait. MbS has waged a vicious campaign against his neighbor and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar and threatened to invade it.

    Saddam and MbS also cynically donned the mantle of Sunni Islam in their hypocritical claims against the so-called Shia Crescent and its main proponent Iran. Saddam’s “Republic of Fear” seems to be slowly morphing into a “Kingdom of Fear” under MbS.

    #arabie_saoudite


  • We learned your French, we learned your English, we learned your Spanish, we learned your Dutch, your Portuguese, your German,

    you learned our nothing, you called us stupid...that’s white privilege and I’m sure it probably hurts for you to hear those two words, kind of like gun shots and explosions from those commissioned

    to protect you whisking past your ears.

    What is white privilege? It is the only 5 decades of legal acknowledgment expected to correct 400 years of white transgression It is crack versus cocaine, blacks receiving almost 20 percent

    longer sentences for the same exact offenses.

    Or like, for instance, a black man without a record is less like to get a job than a white felon, well maybe it’s cause we are lazy and we don’t work hard enough, uhhhhhhh

    like WTF, FOUR hundred years in the same field, literally, is an incredible resume builder.

    it is Katrina answering the government’s prayers of eugenics, Dick Cheney going fishing the next day, Condoleeza on a shopping spree Bush, in San Diego, but Kanye is the one you call crazy, cause like it only took the U.S.A. 2 days to get aid to Asia, but five for FEMA

    to get to canal street and esplanade.

    It is the one black kid who beat the shit out of the odds, but only thanks to Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer and the white shadow, so now we all can make it, it is the only time thousands of white people are cheering for the black kid to win is in a stadium,

    it is you looking at me crazy if I told you to go back to Europe even though we didn’t have a say, it is you all of a sudden having a problem with immigration, like this isn’t even your nation!!!!!

    How the hell you discover some shit that wasn’t even missing to begin with, you’ve Columbused

    our traditions, had white girls twerking in high definition, with multi colored hair and purple nails, but it was ghetto when we did it.

    Oh I make you uncomfortable try a cramped slave ship oh wait slavery is over now, it’s just called the prison system cause like you’re not racist cause you don’t use the n word but y’all use niggas everyday what is white privilege, it is the acceptance of bombs over

    Baghdad but not over Boston, it’s European history being taught as a major and African

    as an elective, it is learning about my people only 28 days, like I’m not black every fucking second, It is every white boy who wanted to fuck my brains out, not because I’m pretty, but because I’m pretty for a black girl, it is people thinking that Africa is one nation, it is the waving of confederate flag like you didn’t lose the battle, and

    then telling us to get over slavery, it is people saying that black people destroyed neighborhoods but forgetting that white people have destroyed continents.

    it is every time I bring up my plight some white man has to tell me that I’m crazy, but is kind enough to praise my English, or say that we are all given the same opportunities even though he has a family history of wealth and I don’t even know my family history at all It is the justification of police brutality like what did that person do?

    I’m sure it doesn’t hurt as much when the victim doesn’t look like you.

    it is people thinking that affirmative action is an unfair advantage instead of keeping the qualified from being unfairly disadvantaged or throwing out a qualified applicant because their name sounded to African American.

    It is newports imported into black communities but black boys exported for weed.

    It is big plastic asses, that are called fat when we naturally have them, it is an Australian woman who’s the new classic of rap music,

    it is everyone who hears this that dismisses this poem I just spit as reverse racism, that is white privilege. Thank you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkz5UmXugzk


  • Opinion | Fifteen Years Ago, America Destroyed My Country - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/iraq-war-anniversary-.html

    Par Sinan Antoon

    I left Iraq a few months after the 1991 Gulf War and went to graduate school in the United States, where I’ve been ever since. In 2002, when the cheerleading for the Iraq war started, I was vehemently against the proposed invasion. The United States had consistently supported dictators in the Arab world and was not in the business of exporting democracy, irrespective of the Bush administration’s slogans. I recalled sitting in my family’s living room with my aunt when I was a teenager, watching Iraqi television and seeing Donald Rumsfeld visiting Baghdad as an emissary from Ronald Reagan and shaking hands with Saddam. That memory made Mr. Rumsfeld’s words in 2002 about freedom and democracy for Iraqis seem hollow. Moreover, having lived through two previous wars (the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988 and the Gulf War of 1991), I knew that the actual objectives of war were always camouflaged by well-designed lies that exploit collective fear and perpetuate national myths.

    #Irak #crimes #Etats-Unis


  • Iraq: Al-Sadr & Communist Party ally against Corruption, Iranian Hegemony
    https://www.juancole.com/2018/03/communist-corruption-hegemony.html

    Nativist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 44, is encouraging members of his Sadr Movement to vote in the upcoming national elections for parliament. “Vote,” he said, “and save our country from corruption.”
    A newly formed political party, al-Istiqama or the Upright Party, will hew the Sadrist line.
    There have been reports that Sadr’s party will ally with the Iraqi Communist Party on an anti-sectarian ticket. Both Sadr and the small Communist Party have criticized the spoils system of Iraq where government positions and contracts are doled out according to membership in a sectarian political party.
    Both objected vigorously to the statement of Ali Akbar Vilayeti, an adviser to Iran’s clerical Leader Ali Khamenei, on his visit to Baghdad in February that he would not allow the return of liberals, secularists and Communists in Iraq.
    It was widely thought that he was criticizing Sadr for his alliance with the Communists and the “civil” or secular movement in Iraq.


  • UN Releases Guidelines for Team Investigating ISIS Crimes in Iraq
    Death Penalty Debate Dodged
    https://www.justsecurity.org/52628/iraqi-investigative-team-terms-reference-released-death-penalty-debate


    https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-02-09-TORs-UN-iraq-investigative-mechanism.pdf

    The Security Council complied on the basis of a resolution drafted by the United Kingdom and asked the Secretary-General to establish an Investigative Team, headed by a Special Adviser, to:

    support domestic efforts to hold ISIL (Da’esh) accountable by collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group ISIL (Da’esh) in Iraq, to the highest possible standards … to ensure the broadest possible use before national courts, and complementing investigations being carried out by the Iraqi authorities, or investigations carried out by authorities in third countries at their request…

    In this regard, the resolution has a singular focus on crimes committed by ISIL, with no mandate to look into crimes attributable to governmental forces, at the federal or regional level (e.g., Kurdistan Regional forces); militia such as the Popular Mobilization Forces; or international forces for that matter. In fact, the resolution suggests that Iraq will be in a position to dictate “any other uses” of the evidence generated “on a case by case basis.” Although having Baghdad’s consent will be crucial to the Investigative Team’s ability to operate in the country, it comes at the expense of an impartial investigation that follows the evidence rather than focuses on a single armed group, no matter how heinous.

    The newly released ToR instruct the Investigative Team to:

    Collect evidence to the highest possible standards to ensure the broadest possible use before national courts in Iraq.
    Establish standard operating procedures for collection, analysis, and archiving of potential evidence.
    Organize, preserve, and catalogue all evidence in accordance with international criminal law standards and Iraqi domestic law and establish an uninterrupted chain of custody and a system of data protection.
    Adopt procedures to obtain the informed consent of, and for the protection of, victims and witnesses.
    Enter into agreements with member states and organizations to support its work.
    Provide capacity building and legal assistance to the Government of Iraq.
    Liaise with an Iraqi Steering Committee, which will provide the necessary assistance and security to fulfill the team’s mandate free of interference.


  • Welcome to a new kind of war: the rise of endless urban conflict

    The traditional security paradigm in our western-style democracies fails to accommodate a key feature of today’s wars: when our major powers go to war, the enemies they now encounter are irregular combatants. Not troops, organised into armies; but “freedom” fighters, guerrillas, terrorists. Some are as easily grouped by common purpose as they are disbanded. Others engage in wars with no end in sight.

    What such irregular combatants tend to share is that they urbanise war. Cities are the space where they have a fighting chance, and where they can leave a mark likely to be picked up by the global media. This is to the disadvantage of cities – but also to the typical military apparatus of today’s major powers.

    Irregular combatants are at their most effective in cities. They cannot easily shoot down planes, nor fight tanks in open fields. Instead, they draw the enemy into cities, and undermine the key advantage of today’s major powers, whose mechanised weapons are of little use in dense and narrow urban spaces.
    Nor do contemporary urban wars even prioritise direct combat. Rather, they produce forced urbanisation and de-urbanisation. In many cases, such as Kosovo, displaced people swell urban populations. In other cases, such as Baghdad, ethnic cleansing expels people – in that case the “voluntary” departures of Sunnis, Christians and other religious groups, all of whom had long co-existed in Iraq’s large cities.

    Indeed, warring forces now often avoid battle. Their main strategy is to gain control over territory, through the expulsion of “the other” – often defined in terms of ethnicity, religion, tribal membership or political affiliation. Their main tactic is the terror of conspicuous atrocities, such as in South Sudan, home to a brutal and bloody war with no end in sight fought between two strongmen (and former collaborators), or the Congo, where irregular armies fighting for control of mining wealth have killed millions.

    The western military is learning. The US now has training camps featuring imitation “Arab” urban districts, and has picked up the Israeli practice of entering a dense neighbourhood not via the street, but by crossing through homes – a parallel pathway to the street, running from one interior room to another by carving holes in contiguous walls, and dealing with the inhabitants as they come across them.

    Global media certainly have an easier time reporting on major cities than on villages and fields. But even when those “remote” deaths are invoked, the shock and the engagement is not as strong as it is with terrorist attacks in cities. This engagement with the urban goes beyond attacks on people: when a major historic building or work of art is destroyed, it can generate huge responses of horror, pain, sadness, sense of loss – but 6 million killed in Congo? Nothing.

    We have gone from wars commanded by hegemonic powers that sought control over sea, air, and land, to wars fought in cities – either inside the war zone, or enacted in cities far away. The space for action can involve “the war”, or simply specific local issues; each attack has its own grievances and aims, seeking global projection or not. Localised actions by local armed groups, mostly acting independently from other such groups, let alone from actors in the war zone – this fragmented isolation has become a new kind of multi-sited war.

    In the old wars, there was the option of calling for an armistice. In today’s wars, there are no dominant powers who can decide to end it. Today’s urban wars, above all, are wars with no end in sight.


    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/30/new-war-rise-endless-urban-conflict-saskia-sassen?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_
    #villes #guerres #conflits #urban_matter #urbanisation_des_conflits #guerres_urbaines #médiatisation #milices #combattants #guérilla #Saskia_Sassen #villes_en_guerre

    cc @albertocampiphoto @reka @isskein @tchaala_la @fil @ville_en


  • A century of cities at war – in pictures | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2018/jan/29/century-cities-war-london-beirut-baghdad-in-pictures

    From the Blitz to Beirut to Baghdad, some of the world’s best photographers have strived to capture the scale and human cost of urban conflict

    The bureaucracy of evil: how Islamic State ran a city
    Cities and terror: an indivisible and brutal relationship
    Tell us your experiences of cities at war

    –-
    Tell us your experiences of cities at war | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/29/tell-your-experiences-cities-at-war

    Tell us your experiences of cities at war

    Be it gang violence, terror attacks or military strikes, conflict has come to cities. We want to hear about your experiences of urban warfare to aid our coverage of Cities at War

    –-

    Cities and terror: an indivisible and brutal relationship | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/29/cities-terror-attacks-brutal-relationship-terrorism

    Through successive waves of terrorist attacks, the city has consistently been the target – for reasons that are unlikely to change any time soon, writes Jason Burke

    –-

    The bureaucracy of evil: how Islamic State ran a city | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/29/bureaucracy-evil-isis-run-city-mosul

    Part one – the rise: It was in the Iraqi city of Mosul that Isis attempted to prove its legitimacy – by transforming from an insurgency into a state. Alongside the murders and mass terror ran a functioning bureaucracy, with streamlined rubbish collections and electricity smart meters

    #urban_matter #villes_en_guerre #photographie #villes #agglomération #guerre #conflits


  • La coalition antidjihadiste frappe « par erreur » les forces irakiennes
    http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2018/01/27/la-coalition-antidjihadiste-frappe-par-erreur-les-forces-irakiennes_5248065_

    Le JOC a indiqué que les forces irakiennes avaient obtenu des informations sur « une réunion à Al-Baghdadi en présence du commandant terroriste Karim Al-Soumarmad ». Un raid a été ordonné « avec un appui aérien de la coalition. Une fois le terroriste arrêté, alors que les troupes poursuivaient les perquisitions, une grenade a été lancée depuis une maison voisine ».

    En rentrant à leur base, ces forces spéciales ont croisé un convoi de voitures se dirigeant vers la maison suspecte. Ignorant qu’il s’agissait de renforts de la police et des supplétifs des milices Hachd Al-Chaabi, elles ont alerté la coalition qui a mené un raid aérien. Des vidéos amateurs montrent des véhicules de la police calcinés, ainsi que des traces de sang au sol. « Une enquête a été ouverte », a précisé le communiqué du JOC.
    […]

    « Huit personnes, dont un haut gradé du renseignement, cinq policiers et une femme, ont été tuées par une frappe américaine sur le centre de la localité Al-Baghdadi », a affirmé un responsable provincial. « Il semble que la frappe a été menée par erreur », a-t-il avancé sous le couvert de l’anonymat.

    Bonjour, les règles d’engagement !

    Tu croises une bagnole que tu connais pas, tu cherches pas à te renseigner, tu fais donner direct l’artillerie lourde…


  • Iraq’s bursting plastic surgery world dangerously unregulated
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/Iraqis-seek-beauty-in-barbers-parlors.html

    In Iraq, however, those who perform unlicensed cosmetic operations will find it difficult to give stem cell injections and laser treatments in the future. The Ministry of Health is shutting down unlicensed beauty salons and massage parlors in Baghdad, according to a report by Al-Hurrah News. The report said that more than 52 salons in Baghdad were closed on Nov. 17, when the Ministry of Health began the operation.

    The unauthorized salons are a response to the growing demand from Iraqis of all social classes, not just the rich, for cosmetic surgery.

    The editor of the All Beauty Guide website, which evaluates Baghdad’s beauty salons, told Al-Monitor, “Hundreds of beauty salons have spread in Baghdad and other provinces over the past couple of years.” The editor, who asked not to be named, also pointed out, “Iraq has become a cheap and convenient destination for plastic surgery, with many patients coming from neighboring countries.”

    According to the Tajmeeli website, which provides information on cosmetic procedures, tummy tucks are very common in Iraq and carried out by qualified specialists starting at $750 per operation, a price affordable for middle-class families.

    But Iraqis still prefer to travel abroad for plastic surgery if they can afford it, according to Dr. Qassim Hussein Salih, the head and founder of the Iraqi Psychological Association. “Iraqis are still steadily traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery despite the rising numbers of beauty salons and clinics in Baghdad and the provinces,” Salih told Al-Monitor, explaining that confidence in Iraqi beauty clinics is still low.

    One of the main reasons for cosmetic surgery among women is the desire to increase prospects for a good marriage, he said. But he finds the line blurred between utilitarian and psychological motivations, explaining, “Some men and women have certain facial and physical features that make them feel less confident and push them to seek social acceptance and self-approval [through cosmetic surgery].” Salih also cited other psychological issues, such as the obsession with beauty that is boosted by celebrities and other role models as well as depression and dissatisfaction with other aspects of daily life.

    #irak #chirurgie_plastique


  • A top U.S. general just said 4,000 American troops are in Syria. The Pentagon says there are only 500.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/10/31/a-top-u-s-general-just-said-4000-american-troops-are-in-syria-the-pe

    Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, who heads the U.S.-led Special Operations task force targeting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, offered the surprising figure while briefing Pentagon-based reporters via satellite from Baghdad.

    When asked to confirm the 4,000 figure, Jarrard appeared to be caught off guard. He then apologized and said the number is about 500. Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman facilitating the briefing, interjected moments later, insisting the number is just 503.

    “The general misspoke,” Pahon told The Washington Post after the briefing. “I don’t know what 4,000 refers to. That’s nowhere near an accurate number.”

    Yet it’s long been an open secret that the Pentagon has far more personnel involved in operations against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, than its publicly disclosed figures. Hundreds of additional American forces — including Special Operations troops, forward air controllers and artillery crews — moved into Syria to back up allied local forces as they prepared to assault Raqqa, which was the Islamic State’s self-declared capital until its fall this month.


  • DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT THE KURDS, IRAQ, AND IRAN
    https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/debunking-myths-about-the-kurds-iraq-and-iran

    The Kurdish referendum in Iraq has failed spectacularly, despite predictions of beckoning independence. Many who relied on the trope that “statehood was not a matter of if but when” were shocked and unprepared for the referendum’s outcomes. Erroneous assumptions and policy prescriptions are now driving post-referendum analyses. Pundits, analysts, and the media are depicting the rapid re-taking of Kirkuk by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and other “disputed territories” as “a cataclysmic betrayal,” an “assault on the Kurds,” and another “victory for Iran.” While the U.S. policy response has thus far been measured – seeking to diffuse tensions and remain focused on defeating ISIL – some officials are calling to re-assess military support to Iraqi forces if attacks against Kurds continue. Others are pressing for more direct support to the Kurdistan Regional Government as a means of preventing further conflict and countering Iranian influence.

    These voices ostensibly have the right priority – stabilization – but suffer from faulty assumptions about the actual sources of instability. Tensions between Baghdad and Erbil may have flared after the referendum, but they are rooted in the unresolved territorial and political issues of post-2003 Iraq. While it is certainly true that Iran and its militias have gained influence in Iraq, this influence is the result of a weak Iraqi state and was emboldened by the referendum, not by Baghdad’s effort to exercise its federal authority. As I discussed in this week’s episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, the solution is to reinforce Iraqi state sovereignty, Iraq’s regional relations, and recent trends toward a civil state. This includes negotiating disputed territories and filling political, economic, and security gaps that are enabling Iran and undisciplined militias to thrive.

    Kurdish leaders have themselves to blame for their current predicament, not the United States. Despite statements by the U.S. government expressing concern about the potential destabilizing effects of the referendum and advising the Kurdistan Regional Government to postpone it, Masoud Barzani refused. Instead, his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) stepped up its lobbying efforts in Washington and other capitals. Kurdish media outlets also selectively published statements from U.S. congressmen and former U.S. officials indicating their support for the Kurds, leading local populations to believe the referendum had U.S. backing. In my conversations with various Kurdish groups in Erbil and Suleymaniya the week before the referendum, many stated that Washington “would eventually support the referendum given the strong U.S. and Israeli ties.” Another common sentiment was that the KRG was “too important to fail” and that the United States would eventually defend the Kurds against any post-referendum threat.


  • Kurdish nationalism raises war clouds
    Indian Punchline | By M K Bhadrakumar – September 26, 2017
    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2017/09/26/kurdish-nationalism-raises-war-clouds

    The result of the Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq will be known in the next 48 hours or so, but no surprises need be expected. A big majority will say ‘yes’ to an independent Kurdistan, the longstanding dream of the Kurdish people. The real clincher was the decision by the leader of the Iraqi Kurds, Massoud Barzani, to press ahead with the referendum on Monday despite the dire warnings by Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran.
    Barzani’s ‘strategic defiance’ can only be attributed to the tacit support he has enjoyed from the international community – principally, the US, and Israel. The Americans and Israelis have deep ties with the Iraqi Kurdish elite. Barzani is confident that the international community might make proforma protests about the referendum but will sooner or later recognize an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq.(...)

    #Kurdistan


  • Kurds stick with independence vote, ’never going back to Baghdad’: Barzani
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-kurd-referendum-barzan/kurds-stick-with-independence-vote-never-going-back-to-baghdad-barzani-idUS
    https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20170924&t=2&i=1202732369&w=&fh=545px&fw=&ll=&pl=&sq=&r=LYN

    “The vote, expected to result in a comfortable “yes” to independence, is not binding and is meant to give the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a mandate to negotiate secession with Baghdad and the neighboring countries.

    Barzani said Iraq’s Kurds would seek talks with the Shi‘ite-led central government to implement the expected “yes” outcome, even if they take two years or more, to settle land and oil sharing disputes ahead of independence.

    #Kurdes #Irak


  • ARAB WORLD MAPS – La lente agonie du Califat | The Maghreb and Orient Courier

    http://lecourrierdumaghrebetdelorient.info/focus/arab-world-map-la-lente-agonie-du-califat

    Il y a 3 ans, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi déclarait depuis Mossoul la restauration du Califat. A ce moment, une nouvelle ère semblait s’ouvrir en Syrie et en Irak : les soldats de l’armée irakienne, démoralisés et désorganisés s’étaient enfuis de Mossoul abandonnant Hummers et armes lourdes, l’EI était aux portes de Baghdad, contrôlant plus d’un tiers du territoire irakien. En Syrie, le chaos qui y régnait leur avait permis de s’installer durablement sur près de la moitié du territoire et d’établir leur capitale à Rakka, une ville de 200 000 habitants sur l’Euphrate. Plus symbolique encore, l’EI avait effacé l’ancienne frontière Sykes-Picot, issue de la période des mandats français et anglais. Le Califat semblait s’installer pour de nombreuses années.

    #daech #isis #syrie #irak #is #ei #cartographie #visualisation


  • Abadi, Sadr, Hakim and Allawi said to be forming electoral alliance in major challenge to #Iran | The Mideastwire Blog
    https://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/abadi-sadr-hakim-and-allawi-said-to-be-forming-electoral-alli

    Al-Akbar Liban cite al-arabiya Saoud

    On September 7, the Al-Akhbar daily carried the following report: “The Al-Arabiya channel recently aired a piece of news about an “electoral alliance” that has been reached in Baghdad between PM Haidar al-Abadi, the head of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Al-Hekma movement, Ammar al-Hakim, and politician Ayad Allawi, in addition to “a number of politicians from the Sunni and Kurdish components.”

    http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/282868

    #Irak