Working for International Dialogue and Peace

How the War on Terror Created the World’s Most Powerful Terror Group

by Patrick Cockburn (source: The Nation) August 22, 2014

There are extraordinary elements in the present US policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the US is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The US would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

But US , Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the US , Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army. ››read more

Billionaire Thomas Kaplan Named in Suit Against Anti-Iran Group

(source: New York Times) August 21, 2014

The lawsuit has taken on larger importance as it threatens to reveal government secrets. It also could make public the inner workings of United Against Nuclear Iran, which is run by former United States government officials, has lobbied for tough sanctions against Iran and has helped write legislation on Capitol Hill. The Obama administration has temporarily blocked release of the group’s internal documents, including its emails and donor lists, saying the records are likely to contain law enforcement secrets. ››read more

Desmond Tutu's plea to people of Israel: liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine

by Desmond Tutu (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 22, 2014

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens ... as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.

I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.” ››read more

James Foley’s murder will see calls for military action – just what Isis wants

by Owen Jones (source: The Guardian) August 20, 2014

The counter-history favoured by supporters of western intervention is that these are the grim consequences of failing to support “moderate” Syrian rebels. Given that weapons provided by the CIA to such groups ended up in Isis’s hands, this is surely naive. What needs far more scrutiny is the role of western allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia – which is armed to the teeth by Britain and the US, and whose social norms are all but identical to those of Isis.

According to the veteran Middle Eastern correspondent, Patrick Cockburn, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies are the “foster parents” of Isis. And the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, has pointed out that Saudi financial support has proved critical to the rise of Isis. How long can western public opinion tolerate support for the Saudi dictatorship? ››read more

Kurds, ISIS and the crisis in Iraq - is US and UK military intervention the answer?

by Lindsey German (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 20, 2014

The creation of an extremist caliphate in Iraq and Syria is indeed a serious problem. What has allowed it to happen? Contributing to it has been the funding of ISIS and other groups in Syria, much of it from princes in Saudi Arabia and from Qatar, in the west’s repeated attempts to overthrow Assad in Syria. Turkey, a Nato member allowed these groups to bring money and arms across its border into Syria. What we are seeing in Iraq now is blowback on a major scale. ››read more

From Albert Einstein to Noam Chomsky: famous Jews who have opposed Israel

by David Wilson (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 19, 2014

ON 9 AUGUST 2014, 150 000 protesters marched in London in solidarity with the people of Gaza who were suffering a barbaric assault by Israel which had killed over 2000 people, most of them civilians, and over 400 of them children.

Numerous Jewish groups joined the march. They marched as Jews to show their opposition to the state of Israel, which for 66 years has endlessly stolen Palestinian land and imposed the most brutal occupation and siege on Palestinians. Jewish marchers saying "not in my name" included, the Jewish Bloc, The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Jews Against the war on Gaza.

These Jewish marchers were part of a long and honourable tradition. Many prominent Jewish figures over the past century -- from Albert Einstein to holocaust survivor Primo Levi -- have opposed the idea of an ethnically exclusive Israeli state. ››read more

How Israel's lies are used to justify mass slaughter of civilians in Gaza

by Chris Hedges (source: Truthdig) August 7, 2014

ALL GOVERNMENTS lie, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. ››read more

Jewish volunteers for racial supremacy in Palestine

by Joseph Massad (source: The Electronic Intifada) August 5, 2014

These Jewish fighters against racism have joined the Palestinian people and their international allies (Jewish and gentile alike) in fighting this ongoing historical battle against the forces of racial supremacy and colonial conquest. They understand well, as the Palestinian national movement has always understood, that the fight for Palestinian rights and liberation from the Jewish settler-colony is the latest phase of the historic fight against anti-Semitism and that the fight for Zionism is part of the war for European racial supremacy and colonialism. ››read more

        Editor's note: Joseph Massad is professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is author of the forthcoming Islam in Liberalism.

Israel attacks my university — with bombs and lies

by Rami Almeghari (source: The Electronic Intifada ) August 5, 2014

Islamic University in GazaIslamic University in GazaContrary to what Israel claims, Gaza universities do not have departments dedicated to military research or training. This is in contrast to Israeli universities which play an integral role in the military occupation and weapons development and have actively promoted the onslaught in Gaza. ››read more

        Editor's note: Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

NAM Ministers Demand UN to Protect Palestinian Civilians

(source: Fars News) August 5, 2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Participants in the emergency meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran on Monday condemned Israeli crimes against Gaza, and supported the call by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the UN secretary-general to take effective measures to ensure protection of the civilian population under Israeli occupation. ››read more

Latest Gallup poll shows young Americans overwhelmingly support Palestine

(source: Middle East Monitor) August 4, 2014

Large demonstrations against Israel's assault on Palestinians in Gaza were staged across the US on Saturday. The public outpouring of support for Palestinians in US streets suggests that Washington's pro-Israel policies are becoming increasingly unpopular, a trend supported by a recent poll on Israel's latest aggression, which finds that young Americans are twice as likely to support Palestinian rights than Israeli occupation. ››read more

US, UN Outraged as Israel Strikes Another Gaza School

by Jason Ditz (source: August 4, 2014

Israel continues its war in Gaza today, and continues to hammer refugee centers at an alarming rate, hitting the seventh UN-run school of the current war this morning with a drone strike.

The drone strike landed in the street immediately in front of the school gates, killing 10 civilians and wounding dozens of others, including children who were clustered around the gate playing. ››read more

In Gaza, International Law Is Up in Flames

by Phyllis Bennis (source: August 1, 2014

In a flagrant violation of international law, Israel's assault on Gaza has killed hundreds of civilians and devastated civilian infrastructure ››read more

Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza

by Glenn Greenwald (source: The Intercept) July 31, 2014

In American media discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing their children by the hundreds, that is “terrorism”; when Israelis use massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population, overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75% of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians (see point 3), that is noble “self-defense.” That demonstrates how skewed U.S. discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term “terrorists.” ››read more

It Is Certainly Possible to Move from Position of Hostility to Position of Understanding

by Jack Straw (interviewed by Kourosh Ziabari) (source: Iran Review) July 31, 2014

"I think that it is a wide determination to seek improved Iran-UK relations. And there is an all- party group of members in parliament who are pushing for an early full operation of our embassy in Tehran and for the offering of consular services to both Iranians and the Britons. And we will continue to make representations at the foreign office for its progress and the reopening of the embassy as quickly as possible." ››read more

US Sending Israel More Offensive Weapons to Continue Gaza Attacks

by Jason Ditz (source: July 31, 2014

Though in public the Obama Administration is emphasizing efforts to try to end the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, privately they have not only backed the invasion, but are providing Israel with the grenades and mortar shells falling on the strip. ››read more

What’s Really at Stake in the Impasse Over Centrifuges

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) July 30, 2014

Earlier this week, Hillary appeared on CCTV’s The Heat to discuss the Iran nuclear talks. In her segment, she focused on what really drives the divide between Tehran and the Western members of the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, and France) over Iranian enrichment—namely, the clash between the Islamic Republic’s commitment to strategic independence and Western powers’ determination that Tehran must accept their directives regarding implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the dynamics of Middle Eastern power politics. ››read more

Justice Dept. Moves to Shield Anti-Iran Group’s Files

by MATT APUZZO (source: New York Times) July 28, 2014

If the group has information belonging to the American government, it is not clear how it obtained it. American intelligence agencies are prohibited from secretly working with organizations to influence American public opinion and media. If the information does not belong to the government, it is not clear what makes it so sensitive.

Either way, the court filings indicated close ties between the American government and a group that has proved adept at pressuring the government and corporations to isolate Iran economically. Tough economic sanctions are generally credited with forcing Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear future. ››read more

More than a million people around the world take to the streets to protest at the horrific carnage unfolding in Gaza

by Rachael Pells, Serina Sandhu, Kitty Knowles (source: The Independent) July 28, 2014

The world has reacted in disgust to pictures of the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Gaza, including women and children, since Israel launched an offensive against Hamas 19 days ago.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in London marched from the Israeli embassy in Kensington to Downing Street. Others protested in dozens of cities around the UK, including Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as Palestinian officials announced the death toll had passed 1,000 ››read more

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police

by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain (source: First Look) July 26, 2014

The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters. ››read more