People of Iraq, Syria suffer from war

This video is called Turkish Soldiers Shoot Another Child From Rojava [north Syria] On Border.

Residents of besieged Kabane have claimed that Turkey has been collaborating with Isis in a bid to “crush” Kurds in the Rojava region, even allowing Qatari support to Isis to cross the border: here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US war against the people of Syria and Iraq

2 October 2014

US air strikes in Iraq and Syria will kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the White House and Pentagon are fully aware of this fact. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from a remarkable public statement Tuesday by a top White House aide.

The statement coincided with the heaviest attacks so far in the air war in Syria and Iraq, with US and allied countries launching 24 strikes, 12 in each country on Tuesday, with British warplanes making their first attacks.

National Security Council press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, in an e-mail to Yahoo News, confirmed that the targeting restrictions announced by President Obama for US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen do not apply to the war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama announced those restrictions in a speech to the National Defense University, claiming that the US would only conduct drone strikes against supposed Al Qaeda targets if there was a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties, which he called “the highest standard that we can meet.”

“The specific standards at issue in the NDU speech apply only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as was noted at the time,” Hayden wrote. “That description—outside areas of active hostilities—simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden was responding to concerns over casualties in the village of Kafr Daryan in Idlib Province, in northwestern Syria, where a Tomahawk cruise missile killed as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children. The US Central Command confirmed the September 23 strike, saying it targeted the “Khorasan group,” the US-invented label for members of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front, one of the main Syrian “rebel” groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, confirmed the more permissive standard for air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq when questioned by reporters Tuesday. “When we say we’re going to go after them, we mean it,” Kirby said.

The restrictions that Obama claimed he was applying to drone missile strikes did not significantly limit the carnage inflicted by 500-pound warheads smashing into the huts of tribal villagers in rural Pakistan and Yemen. Pakistani officials and outside organizations like Amnesty International estimated the civilian death toll from more than 300 drone strikes in these areas as ranging from the high hundreds to many thousands.

After a series of studies on civilian casualties in drone missile strikes were published last year, the WSWS wrote, “The reports, in fact, provide prima facie evidence for a future war crimes tribunal whose defendants would include Obama and top officials at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.” (see: Report documents US slaughter of civilians in drone strikes).

In addition to the direct toll of dead and wounded, there is the effect of such constant attacks on the whole society. An April 2014 article in Rolling Stone observed: “The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder … Over half of Yemen’s 24.8 million citizens—militants and civilians alike—are impacted every day.”

The statements of the White House and Pentagon spokesmen indicate that the death and destruction inflicted on the people of Iraq and Syria will dwarf the horrific impact of drone warfare on Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia. And not a single voice of protest against such mass killing has been raised in official Washington, in either the Democratic or Republican parties.

Representatives of US-backed Syrian groups allied to al-Nusra briefed members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Kafr Daryan strike. One Republican congressman who attended the briefing, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, dismissed concerns about civilian deaths, telling Yahoo News, “Nothing is perfect,” and arguing that any collateral damage from US strikes was “much less than the brutality of the Assad regime.”

The death toll from bombs and missiles is only the beginning. As US officials were at pains to emphasize this week—most prominently Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations—the main goal of American imperialism in Syria remains that of the overthrow of Assad and his replacement by a US-backed puppet regime in Damascus.

That goal inevitably requires the deployment of tens of thousands of ground troops—whether American, British, French, Turkish, Saudi or some combination—and the military conquest of Syria. The invasion and occupation of Iraq led to a million deaths from 2003 to 2011. A crime of even greater dimensions now looms in both Iraq and Syria.

Obama has become the fourth consecutive U.S. president to launch a war in Iraq: here.

CAR bombs targeted a school in the central Syrian city of Homs yesterday, killing at least 22 people including 10 children. The Ekremah al-Makhzoumi primary school is in an Alawite area of the city and the attack is assumed to have been the work of Sunni Islamist terror groups fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government: here.

UN: 13.6 MILLION DISPLACED BY IRAQ AND SYRIA CONFLICTS “About 13.6 million people, equivalent to the population of London, have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq, many without food or shelter as winter starts, the U.N. refugee agency said UNHCR on Tuesday.” [Reuters]

United States Marines in Kuwait; Turkey joins US coalition. New steps to wider war in Middle East: here.

Iraq, Syria United States military escalation

This video from England is called 15th February 2003: Stop the Iraq War, London.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Obama turns to air strikes against Isis

Friday 12th September 2014

President adopts bloody policy but ‘no boots on the ground’

It took us President Barack Obama just one TV speech to reverse the supposed central tenets of his presidency on Wednesday night.

He rose to political prominence in part because of early opposition to the Iraq war and he shied away from air strikes on Syria last year.

But now Mr Obama has picked up the war drum and beaten it resoundingly, authorising strikes in Syria for the first time in a military campaign against the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group.

Bombing Syria with the armed opposition in Syria as allies, will help Isis. As that armed opposition consists of, apart from Isis itself, the Al Nusra Front, being the official Al Qaeda branch in Syria; and disparate supposedly ‘moderate’ groups, loosely referred to as ‘Free Syrian Army’. I write supposedly ‘moderate’ as, eg, the family of journalist Steven Sotloff, recently beheaded by Isis, accuses these ‘moderates’ of selling Steven Sotloff to Isis.

The president claimed that while there was no evidence Isis was plotting to strike the US, “if left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond the region, including to the US.”

More US troops will be sent to assist Iraqi security forces and conduct intelligence flights, bringing the total dispatched to more than 1,500.

“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Mr Obama said.

“I will not hesitate to take action against Isis in Syria, as well as Iraq.” And he warned: “This is a core principle of my presidency. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

But the military would not be dragged into a ground war, Mr Obama claimed.

“American forces will not have a combat mission,” he said, and the campaign “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”

US senators seized on the president’s apparent confusion. “No boots on the ground sounds odd when 1,100 US troops have been sent back to Iraq,” commented Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both of whom are members of the Senate armed services committee.

“Additional US special forces and advisers are needed to direct precision air strikes, advise foreign partners on the ground and possibly conduct targeted operations against the Isis leadership.”

However, not all Senate views were so hawkish.

Democratic senator Mark Udall, also a member of the services committee, said: “The American people must be assured we are not pursuing another open-ended conflict in the Middle East and I will not give this or any other president a blank cheque to begin another land war in Iraq.”

Also from the Morning Star:

Bombing Isis will not work

Friday 12th September 2014

President Obama may think his Middle East strategy has gone from non-existent to coherent in just a few days, but he would be sorely mistaken.

His gung-ho message to the American people on Wednesday night was more belligerent bluster than strategic common sense.

He vows to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the throat-cutting terrorists of Isis by extending the month-long US bombing campaign in Iraq and launching air strikes in Syria for the first time.

Yet the notion that the US can bomb its way to a solution to every perceived problem has already been utterly discredited by the bloody chaos engulfing Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in recent years.

Ah yes, the US Commander in Chief tells us, but this next military intervention will be different. The US will spearhead a coalition of European and Middle East forces without putting in any US ground troops.

Except that we’ve seen such ‘coalitions of the willing’ before. They invariably turn out to be a fig-leaf for US-directed operations which primarily serve US geopolitical and big business interests.

There is also something deeply incongruous about some of the allies being courted by the White House and the Pentagon.

The royal dictators in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have done little or nothing to stop their compatriots arming and bankrolling the very Islamic fundamentalists who went to fight in Syria and have now ended up in Isis.

Nato member Turkey allowed these and other foreign jihadists to stream through that country and into Syria in order to try to overthrow the authoritarian but secular regime of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus.

Moreover, it appears that the Turkish “open borders” policy which did so much to strengthen Isis still operates.

Why, in their frenzy, was this issue not raised publicly at last week’s Nato summit by the participants and their media camp followers?

Belatedly, the realisation is now dawning among some politicians and military chiefs that the drive by the US and its allies — each for their own reasons — to subvert Syria was a huge mistake.

The struggle to defeat Isis needs the support of all secular, democratic, left and progressive forces in the region. Violating Syrian sovereignty with unauthorised US air strikes will make that support all the more unlikely.

As for Obama’s assurances of no US army boots on the ground, the trainers and advisers are already being sent in alongside those US and British “special forces” almost certainly in Iraq already.

The body bags will still fill up, even though some may be kept as secret as when the British SAS was hired out to shore up the dictatorship in the rotten Gulf state of Oman.

And nothing will add more lustre to bogus IS claims that it represents Muslims in a holy war against Western imperialism than the direct involvement of US and Nato forces in Iraq and Syria.

That’s why it’s vital to construct an anti-Isis coalition in which the governments of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Syria, Syrian Kurdistan and Lebanon co-ordinate a fight against Isis in the name of equality and respect for all religious, ethnic and national groups in the region.

That would deserve support from the wider world, legitimised by the United Nations and best channelled through its agencies.

TEN Arab countries promised US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday to “do their share” in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) militants, but Nato member Turkey refused to join in: here.

Obama’s speech on ISIS: Perpetual war in Iraq, Syria and beyond: here. See also here.

VENEZUELAN president Nicolas Maduro became the spokesman for the world’s progressive voices on Thursday when he laid into US president Barack Obama’s announcement that he would authorise attacks on the Islamic State (Isis) group inside Syria. The outspoken president accurately blamed Washington’s support of President Bashar al-Assad’s foes for the emergence of the terror group: here.

United States warplane killed own soldiers in Afghanistan

This video from Afghanistan is called 500 Pound Bomb Dropped on U.S. Soldiers By Mistake.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Afghanistan: US bombing that killed five US soldiers and an Afghan was ‘avoidable mistake’

Saturday 6th September 2014

A US bombing in Afghanistan that killed five US soldiers and an Afghan in June was an avoidable mistake, the military admitted on Thursday.

US Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan, cited a collective failure by soldiers, commanders and aircrew members to communicate and execute the fundamentals of the mission.

As a result, the soldiers and the Afghan were mistaken for enemy forces and were hit with laser-guided bombs.

The crew of the B-1 bomber were faulted by investigators for not taking reasonable precautions to identify where friendly forces were located.

Despite discrepancies in reported US troop locations, the aircrew did not take necessary steps to validate its information before launching the bombs, the command said.

Ground forces were blamed for incorrectly communicating troop positions.

They were also criticised for not knowing that the bomber’s targeting gear was incapable of detecting friendly marking devices.