German coalition government talks failure

This video says about itself:

German coalition talks fail as would-be partner pulls out

19 November 2017

German coalition talks fail after a would-be coalition partner pulls out of negotiations. Latest developments create hurdles for Merkel to secure herself a fourth term.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German government coalition talks stall

20 November 2017

After four weeks of talks, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Greens failed to reach agreement on a so-called Jamaica coalition by Thursday evening. German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel had set the November 16 date as the deadline for the conclusion of exploratory talks. Two months after the federal election, Germany remains without a new government, and it is entirely unclear when one will be established.

The negotiating teams separated early Friday morning after 15 hours of talks, having reached no agreement on any essential points in dispute. Several meetings of party committees organised to discuss the result were cancelled. The talks began again at midday on Friday, without a deadline for their conclusion being set.

The views on if and when an agreement will be reached diverge wildly. Deputy FDP leader Wolfgang Kubicki said, “We are so far apart on the issues in dispute—immigration, combatting climate change, finance policy, internal security—that I currently can’t imagine how we can come together in such a short time.”

“We are convinced that we can come together if we want to come together,” said CSU leader Horst Seehofer. He added, “We will do everything humanly possible to determine whether a stable government can be formed.” Green Party parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt proclaimed over Twitter, “We are ready to talk and hope there will be a result.” At the same time, she did not exclude the possibility that this would not be achievable.

If the talks fail, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will assume a decisive role. He has the task of presenting a candidate for the post of chancellor to parliament. If this candidate does not receive an absolute majority in the first round, and another candidate fails to secure a majority within two weeks, deputies can elect a candidate in the third round with a relative majority. The president then has the option of accepting them within seven days as chancellor, or dissolving parliament. There has never been a minority government in the history of the German Federal Republic.

Steinmeier could use his position to force his party, the Social Democrats (SPD), to continue the grand coalition with the CDU and CSU. Such a coalition would have a clear majority in parliament, with 399 of 706 seats. However, the SPD has insisted thus far on going into opposition, not least because the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) would be the largest opposition party in parliament. But this opinion could change. Almost all parties are afraid of new elections.

The rapidity with which the SPD could change course is shown by the latest developments in Lower Saxony. After having bitterly fought each other during the election campaign, the SPD and CDU reached a deal just four weeks later on the formation of a grand coalition.

The reason for the crisis of the Jamaica coalition talks (named after the colours in that country’s flag, the black, yellow and green of the CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens) is not the political differences between the participating parties, which have long collaborated in all conceivable combinations at the state level. It has much more to do with their political instability. Under the pressure of growing geopolitical tensions and sharp social conflicts, the political system which enabled three or four parties to guarantee stable “left-wing” and “right-wing” majorities is breaking apart.

As all of the established parties move further to the right, they are fracturing. This not only finds expression in the entry of the AfD into parliament, which now has seven parties for the first time, but also in sharpening conflicts within the parties. Within the CSU, which achieved its worst election result in its history, a bitter dispute is raging over leader Horst Seehofer, who risks losing his position as Bavaria’s minister president. Bitter faction fights are also ongoing within the CDU, SPD, Greens and Left Party.

Under these conditions, the issues in dispute among the Jamaica coalition negotiators, whose parties share considerable common ground, are becoming questions of prestige. This is shown very clearly on refugee policy, which was debated for 12 of the 15 hours of negotiations on Thursday.

The CSU, which fears competition from the AfD in next year’s Bavarian state elections, is insisting on an upper limit on immigration, while the Greens, eager to avoid losing liberal voters, oppose this. In practice, this amounts to the CSU seeking to write an overall limit for immigration into the coalition agreement, whereas the Greens prefer the formulation “management of immigration.”

Both options amount to the same thing, as has been shown in practice. In states where the Greens are in government, refugees are bullied and deported just as ruthlessly as in other states. The Greens’ ranks include Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann and Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer, two hardliners on the issue of refugee policy.

The same applies to other issues being haggled over by the Jamaica coalition negotiators. A 61-page document containing the results of the exploratory talks thus far, which was leaked to the press on Thursday and contains disputed points in brackets, reveals widespread agreement on core points.

For example, the Jamaica parties agree that what is required is “a new balance between the best possible security for our country and civil freedoms and rights.” Translated into plain language, this means that civil rights will be sacrificed in the name of strengthening the security and surveillance apparatus. To this end, they plan to hire 7,500 new federal police offices and 5,000 at the state level, coordinate police and security services more closely, strengthen the federal domestic intelligence agency, extend video surveillance, and control the EU’s external borders more effectively.

The massive military build-up and foreign interventions launched by the previous government will also be continued and expanded. The paper pledges on the issue of defence to make “available to soldiers the best possible equipment, training and support.”

“We want to make the German army more UN-capable and suitable for Europe,” the document continues, “and for this purpose toughen it up in the following areas: digitalisation, deployment and transport capabilities, unmanned reconnaissance, tactical mobile communication.”

The paper explicitly endorses an “Africa strategy” and the continuation of the military intervention in Mali. In Iraq and Syria, it strives for the development of the intervention against ISIS into a permanent military presence, with a mandate that “makes a contribution to the new focus on capacity-building within the NATO framework, strengthening reliable and politically controlled security structures throughout Iraq.”

On finance policy, where differences over detail exist, the coalition parties agree to table “budgets without new debt for the coming four years”—meaning the continuation of the austerity policies associated with long-serving Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU).

Nonetheless, ruling circles are concerned that due to internal differences, a Jamaica coalition will not prove stable enough to enforce its anti-worker and militarist programme in the face of mounting social and political opposition. An increasing number of press articles are being published accusing the Jamaica parties of not going far enough on the issues of the strengthening of the military and state apparatus at home and abroad.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article last week headlined, “Jamaica is putting German security at risk.” The author, Wolf Poulet, was a German army officer from 1963 to 1994, last as a colonel in the general staff, and now runs a consulting firm.

He accused the Jamaica alliance of failing to deal with the “future capabilities of our country, under conditions of increasingly dangerous developments of the complex global situation.” The key issues at stake are “Will the new government plan, introduce and finance effective measures to reestablish the German defence capabilities required in Central Europe in time? Will Germany permanently be willing and capable of consistently realising ‘the right to material self-assertion’ (i.e., the right to wage war), as every state is entitled to?”

According to Poulet, “The most important of all questions is not being asked: how much time and what means must be utilised so that the combat power and capability of the army, air force and navy to deploy is adequate?” It is “obvious” that there is not enough daring “to explain this demand to the traditionally ‘peace-oriented’ Greens and frame it politically.” As the devil evades the holy water, so the emotive words “combat power” and “increase in deployment readiness” are being avoided.

It remains unclear how long the process of forming a new government will drag on and what its final composition will be. However, one thing is certain: it will be the most right-wing government since the founding of the Federal Republic, combining massive attacks on democratic and social rights with militarism and war.

Pentagon lies about killing Iraqi civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

Report: US Kills 31x More Iraqi Civilians Than Pentagon Claims

18 November 2017

Whenever the Pentagon gives its official estimate of civilians they’ve killed, go ahead and multiply that by about THIRTY-ONE. John Iadarola, Ben Mankiewicz, and Michael Shure, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

“The Pentagon claims that its air war against ISIS is one of the most accurate in history and that it is so careful in who it targets that the 14,000 US airstrikes in Iraq have killed just 89 civilians.

It turns out that the military’s assertion is a stunning underestimation of the true human cost of Washington’s three-year-old war against ISIS. An 18-month-long investigation by the New York Times has found that the US-led military coalition is killing civilians in Iraq at a rate 31 times higher than it’s admitting.

“It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history,” Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal report.

From April 2016 to June 2017, Khan and Gopal traveled to nearly 150 sites in three ISIS-controlled areas in Northern Iraq. These were sites where the coalition conducted airstrikes against targets ostensibly linked to the militant group. In the places they visited, they found that the coalition vastly underreported how many civilians had died in the bombing.

The US-led coalition claims that one civilian has been killed in every 157 airstrikes. But Khan and Gopal report that, actually, the rate is one civilian death for every five airstrikes — a rate 31 times as high as what the military claims.”*

Read more here.

33,000 refugees, killed by ‘fortress Europe’, named

This video from Germany says about itself:

30 June 2016

The artist Banu Cennetoğlu explores the political, social and cultural dimension of the production, representation and distribution of knowledge and asks how it feeds into a society’s collective thought and becomes part of its ideology. Cennetoğlu has participated in major international exhibitions such as the 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) she and Ahmet Öğüt represented Turkey.

She is represented at the 13th Fellbach Triennial of Small-Scale Sculpture (2016) and currently guest of the DAAD artist programme in Berlin.

The free-lance critic and curator Vasif Kortun is known as one of the most important critical voices in the discourse on Turkey’s radically changing cultural politics. He has organized numerous international exhibitions focussing on art production in Turkey, for example the 3rd and 9th international Istanbul Biennale (1992 and 2005) as well as the Turkish pavilions at the São Paulo Biennale (1994 and 1998) and at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

Artist lists names of fortress Europe’s 33,000 refugee victims

18 November 2017

Artist Banu Cennetoğlu has published a list with the names of 33,293 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have died since 1993 while fleeing to Europe or in connection with Europe’s refugee policies.

The 48-page list was enclosed in the November 9 edition of the Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel. As part of Berlin’s autumn salon at the Maxim Gorky Theatre, pages from the list will be posted on advertising pillars in the centre of the city.

Cennetoğlu said the list exposes only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, many more people have died while fleeing, including those who drowned in the Mediterranean. “The List” documents what could be compiled from available data, wrote Tagesspiegel. The data is based on work by the European network United for Intercultural Action.

November 9 was deliberately chosen as the publication date, Tagesspiegel explained in a comment, because in Germany it is a day laden with history. This date is connected with the 1918 revolution, which was suppressed by the Social Democratic Party, the failed putsch by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich in 1923, the Nazis’ pogrom against the Jews in 1938, known as Kristallnacht, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Born in Ankara in 1970, Banu Cennetoğlu is an internationally successful artist. Her work concentrates mainly on the collection, archiving and publishing of books and newspapers. Giving a place for and names to the countless victims of Europe’s refugee policy has been a part of her work for several years.

In cooperation with Cennetoğlu, the Greek newspaper Ta Nea published in 2007 a list of 8,855 deaths. In 2010, a poster campaign for “The List” organized by the Kunsthalle Basel included the names of 13,284 victims.

Cennetoğlu emphasised that this is not about her or the names. This list is not a work of art, and the publication is not an artistic act, she said. “It is what it is,” she added. She insisted on only one condition: the list cannot be published in part, but only as a whole.

Behind every name there is a human tragedy. Most have drowned in the Mediterranean. Others died in refugee camps, including by committing suicide “with a few shoelaces out of fear of being rejected and sent back home” (Mikhail Bognarchuk from Ukraine in deportation detention). The scale of hopelessness outmatches all power of imagination, added Cennetoğlu.

Tribute is also paid to the 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned in the Mediterranean near the Turkish city of Bodrum while fleeing Syria on September 2, 2015. The heart-wrenching pictures of the dead boy lying face down in the sand on a beach shocked people around the world. They cast a grim light on the desperate dramas playing out on Europe’s borders.

“It is horrifying how the refugee catastrophe meets with general acceptance,” said the artist. It is not a major priority on the political agenda, she added. If it were a natural disaster, things would be different.

Behind each name on the list there is therefore also an indictment: an indictment of the wars waged by the US and its allies, which are the main reason why millions have been forced to flee their homes.

The decades-long wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Mali, Somalia and Syria, to name only the most important, transformed these countries into a hell on earth. More than 65 million people have been forced to flee from wars and unbearable living conditions.

The European Union member states have responded and continue to respond to the wave of refugees exclusively with suppression and deterrence. They erect barbed wire fences, build mass camps and mobilize police to keep the desperate people away, and in so doing condemn thousands to certain death.

Every name on the list is also an indictment of the “Fortress Europe” established by Europe’s governments.

Only a tiny minority of the world’s 65 million refugees have sought to reach Europe. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 153,355 people have reached Europe across the Mediterranean so far this year, and almost 3,000 have drowned in the process or are missing.

The Mediterranean remains a mass grave for refugees. Supported by the EU, Italy has concluded a similar deal with the various warlords and rulers in Libya as the EU did with the authoritarian regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Refugees are thus prevented from traveling to Europe.

Italy has supplied the Libyan coastguard with patrol boats, helicopters, specialized vehicles, communications gear and other equipment with which they will attempt to prevent boats carrying refugees from leaving Libyan territorial waters. The coastguard has murdered refugees on the high seas and attacked human rights organizations because they wanted to assist refugees.

Since this past summer, hardly any private sea rescue services are operating. Italy forced human rights organizations to sign a code of conduct that included the acceptance of armed police and Frontex officers on their ships. Many organizations, including “Doctors Without Borders” and “Save the Children,” refused and suspended their sea rescue services. Other aid organizations were taken to court on the basis of accusations of assisting smugglers.

The EU boasts that it has destroyed smuggler networks in Libya. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti claimed in May, “The people who arrive in Italy have put themselves in the hands of brutal human traffickers. We are merely saving them from this fate.”

… In reality, the former smuggler groups are earning more money by preventing refugees from traveling than they did from organizing flight. Italy and the EU pay more than the desperate refugees.

The refugees being held back from traveling to Europe live under inhumane conditions. In Libya alone some 700,000 people are being detained. They are systematically abused, raped and executed at random. Those who cannot pay their guards are often killed or starved to death. Others are sold at modern slave markets in Tripoli—women as sex slaves and men as slave labor.

Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors without Borders, who was in Libya in the late summer, described in an open letter the way refugees are dealt with there. She wrote of a “flourishing business of kidnappings, torture and blackmail,” and accused the EU of being jointly responsible for this. The price for declining numbers of arrivals in Europe is “rapes, torture and enslavement by criminals,” she declared.

The thousands who die in Africa on the way to the Mediterranean coast or in Libya itself are not included in the list collated by Banu Cennetoğlu. They remain nameless.

Will Saudi warmongers kill millions of Yemenis?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Amnesty International Reveals the Bomb That Killed 16 Civilians in Yemen Was Made in the U.S.A.

22 September 2017

A major new investigation by Amnesty International reveals a bomb that killed 16 civilians in Yemen’s capital last month was made in the U.S.A. Among the survivors was 5-year-old Buthaina, whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike. She lost her entire family in the strike.

Amnesty International’s arms expert analyzed remnants of the weapon and found clear markings that matched U.S.-made components used in laser-guided, air-dropped bombs. Coalition airstrikes continue to be the leading cause of child casualties, as well as overall civilian casualties. The latest finding by Amnesty comes as some European Union countries recently tabled a motion at the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses committed by all sides in the conflict. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen an “entirely man-made catastrophe.” We speak with Raed Jarrar, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

US-backed Saudi war and blockade puts millions of lives at risk in Yemen

18 November 2017

The heads of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP) released a joint statement Thursday demanding the immediate lifting of the Saudi blockade of Yemen, warning that it is putting millions of lives at risk in the poorest country in the Arab world.

On November 6, Saudi Arabia dramatically escalated its nearly three-year war against Yemen by implementing the total blockade of all seaports, airspace and land crossings into the country. The move came in supposed response to the firing of a single missile from Yemen which was shot down near Riyadh’s international airport.

The blockade is a war crime being carried out in direct violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions, adopted in the aftermath of World War II, which bars the collective punishment of civilians. According to a confidential brief obtained by the Intercept, UN experts believe that Saudi Arabia is deliberately blocking the delivery of aid without any legal justification.

Amid calls to lift the blockade, Saudi’s ambassador to the UN facetiously announced that ports and airports controlled by coalition backed forces would be reopened, meaning that an overwhelming majority of the country remains under blockade. Hodeida, the port through which 80 percent of humanitarian aid enters the country, is still controlled by the Houthis and therefore remains blocked from receiving shipments of any kind.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned that “untold thousands” will die without access to crucial life-saving medicines, vaccines and food supplies. Even before the crushing blockade was put in place, Yemen was suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

“The clock is ticking and stocks of medical, food and other humanitarian supplies are already running low,” they warned. “The cost of this blockade is being measured in the number of lives that are lost.”

Their statement reviewed the catastrophe which has resulted from the daily war crimes being carried out by Saudi Arabia with the full backing of the US government. These crimes have been passed over in almost complete silence by the Western press.

Nearly the entire population of Yemen, 20 million out of 28 million people, are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, 11 million of those in need are children, and nearly 15 million are without any access to basic health care.

Approximately 17 million people do not know where their next meal will come from, and 7 million are totally dependent on food aid to avoid starvation. Some 400,000 children are on the verge of death from starvation, suffering from acute malnutrition. Without treatment 150,000 malnourished children will die in the coming months.

The international aid organization Save the Children reported this week that 50,000 Yemeni children have already died from extreme hunger or disease this year, with more than 130 dying every single day.

The Saudi monarchy, leading a coalition of other Sunni Persian Gulf monarchies with the support of the United States, has been waging a brutal war against Yemen for nearly three years in an effort to push back Houthi rebels and allied forces who seized control of the capital city, Sanaa, in early 2015.

Saudi coalition fighter jets have carried out an unrelenting campaign of bombing, destroying hospitals, schools, marketplaces, factories, ports and residential neighborhoods as well as crucial electrical and water infrastructure. This campaign has been facilitated by refueling flights, targeting information and other logistical support provided by the United States military, first under Obama and now Trump.

So far, the Saudi onslaught has directly killed more than 12,000, over half of them civilians. Approximately 3 million have been displaced.

The destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure and the collapse of its health system has led to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, with nearly 1 million suspected cases since late last year. More than 2,000 people have died from the waterborne disease, which is easily treatable with access to medication and clean water.

While the number of newly reported cases of cholera has recently been waning, the Red Cross warned Friday that fuel shortages caused by the blockade have put nearly 1 million people in the cities of Hodeida, Saada and Taiz at risk of contracting the disease.

An outbreak of diphtheria, a bacterial infection that is easily preventable with proper vaccination, has already claimed 14 lives. While the disease has been almost entirely eradicated worldwide, it now threatens the lives of 1 million children in Yemen as vaccine shipments have been blocked from entering the country.

The Saudi monarchy claims that the Houthis are being funded and armed by Iran, a charge with Tehran has repeatedly denied. Nonetheless, the war is seen by the Saudis and their backers in Washington as a crucial effort to block the emergence of Iran as challenge to Saudi and American dominance over the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Middle East.

Of particular importance to Washington is the fact that Yemen borders the Bab al Mandab strait, a geopolitical choke point through which much of the world’s oil shipments must flow.

On Monday, the US House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution 366-30 acknowledging the already well-known fact that the US is facilitating the war in Yemen without any congressional authorization. The House resolution will do nothing to ease the suffering of millions of Yemeni men, women and children.

Introduced by Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, the resolution grimly pledged support for Saudi efforts to “improve their targeting capabilities” and specifically condemned Iran. The resolution also reaffirmed the United States’ right to patrol the Bab el Mandab strait and wage war in Yemen under the threadbare guise of the war on terror against Al Qaeda and ISIS.

While a handful of Democratic representatives and senators, including Khanna and Senator Chris Murphy, have postured as critics of the Trump administration’s support for the Saudi slaughter in Yemen, the Democrats have no fundamental opposition to the war, supporting every war initiated or expanded by former President Obama, including in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is bombing Yemen, locking up domestic rivals and stirring up trouble in Lebanon, while a slow-burning confrontation continues against Qatar which could split the Gulf Cooperation Council, says Paul Cochrane: here.

Macron escalates French neocolonial war in Africa

French soldier in Mali with skull mask

This photo of a French Foreign Legion soldier, part of the invasion of Mali, shows the real face of that war.

That war is not “against Al Qaeda terrorism” (supported by the French government in Libya and in Syria). It is not for women’s rights, human rights or secularism.

It started in support of a military dictatorship.

It brings death, mainly to Malian civilians.

This war is a neo-colonial war.

The French Foreign Legion became infamous in the nineteenth century for its atrocities while imposing colonial rule in Algeria and elsewhere. Now, it plays a role in twenty-first century neo-colonialism as well.

By Kumaran Ira in France:

France intensifies intervention in West Africa with launch of Sahel G5 force

18 November 2017

The Sahel, which has been devastated by the 2011 NATO war in Libya and the resulting French war in Mali starting in 2013, is facing a new military escalation as France steps up its deployments in the strategic, resource-rich region in its former colonial empire.

The new regional force set up by Paris, the Sahel G5—comprising Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad—carried out its first operation, code-named Haw Bi (“Black Cow”) from October 27 to November 11 in the border region between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The G5 force operated in coordination with French troops and the MINUSMA, the 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali. It carried out patrols aimed at ethnic Tuareg or Islamist fighters hostile to Paris and the Malian central government in Bamako.

“This operation has the character of a try-out,” said the G5 force’s commander, Malian General Didier Dacko. According to French army sources, the “territorial control” operation was carried out by 350 soldiers from Burkina Faso, 200 from Niger and 200 from Mali.

Since his election in May, French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed to intensify the war launched by his predecessor, François Hollande, in France’s former colonial empire, amid growing geostrategic tensions between Europe, the United States, and China. On July 2, Macron attended a summit of the G5 states in Bamako. The summit formally inaugurated the new force, which officially includes around 5,000 troops in total furnished by the countries of the alliance.

Macron confirmed that France will not leave Africa and or redeploy its 4,000 troops fighting in Operation Barkhane (the war in Mali), despite the launching of the G5 force. He said France would remain engaged in Mali “as long as it takes” to carry out a struggle against terrorism. He gave no indication of when, or even if, Paris might withdraw its forces.

“I came to Bamako today and went to Gao last month to show you that France will remain engaged as long as it takes,” Macron said in a speech before the French community in Bamako. “Thanks to our engagement, we aim in the long term to accompany and support the national and regional forces,” he added.

Paris faces a significant difficulty, in that it confronts a budgetary crisis. The G5 estimates that its operating costs will run to €423 million in the first year. Macron has announced material and logistical aid from France worth €8 million by the end of the year; the European Union (EU) has promised €50 million, and each G5 member country has committed to contributing €10 million. France is therefore forced to ask for financing from its imperialist allies, principally Germany and the United States.

In the final analysis, the imperialist capitals plan to put the costs of this neo-colonial escalation on the backs of the workers—which Macron made clear by calling for multi-billion defense spending increases while eliminating the special tax on large fortunes. Austerity and slashing cuts to social spending aim to boost financing for wars like the G5 operation in Africa. At the same time, Macron is demanding that the G5 countries, which were already among the poorest in the world even before being devastated by the wars during this decade, to provide large quantities of cannon fodder.

The claim that these sacrifices in blood and treasures are necessary in a struggle against terrorism is a shameless political lie.

The crisis in the Sahel flows from the bloody war for regime change that NATO waged against Libya in 2011, relying directly on Islamist militias as its ground troops. After the fall of the Libyan regime, Tuareg forces that had fought inside the Libyan army returned to northern Mali and backed local Tuareg fighters, including the National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) against the Malian army. This provoked a major crisis in Bamako, where a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Touré in March 2012.

Initially, Paris tried to remove the military junta of Captain Amadou Sanogo, which it forced to hand over power to an interim government. But finally Paris decided to back the Sanogo junta when it launched its own war in Mali in January 2013—which it nonetheless presented as a war to protect democracy from Islamism.

Since 2013, the French war in Mali has aimed neither to fight terrorism nor to create democracy in Mali. Rather, amid increasingly sharp international rivalries, Paris is preparing major new wars in Africa to protect its imperialist interests, including its control of the region’s vast uranium mines that fuel France’s nuclear plants.

These successive wars have devastated the G5 countries. According to the UN, 5 million people have fled their homes and 24 million people need humanitarian assistance in the region. Even Malian officials kept in power by French troops now feel compelled to confess that the war in Libya had horrific consequences for the region. Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop called the Libyan war a “strategic error” whose fall-out was not “well handled”.

As US troops also intervene in Niger and across the Sahel, there are growing differences between the imperialist powers and also with China, whose political influence in Africa is growing in line with its commercial weight. Washington—which is opposed to French demands that African operations function under the aegis of the UN and is reticent to fund French operations—has expressed serious reservations over the G5 force.

Washington has refused to finance the G5 through the UN, particularly under conditions where the Trump administration is trying to slash US payments to the UN, and has announced that it will provide funding directly to the G5 member states. It reportedly plans to provide aid worth €51 million to the five countries and has declared that this money would not go to the UN.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley bluntly criticized the French plans. “They can’t show us a goal, they can’t show us how they’re going to proceed,” Haley told CNN. “If they go back and they show us a strategy, and if it’s something that General [James] Mattis and General [Joseph] Dunford feel like is moving in the right direction, then yes. We will. But right now they’re not showing that, and so it doesn’t make sense for us.”

Homophobia, racism in Dutch army

This video from the USA says about itself:

Invisible Wounds: Life after military sexual assault and PTSD | Veterans Coming Home

15 June 2016

Stacey Thompson was proud to be a woman in the Marines. But after she reported being sexually assaulted by her sergeant she was given an “other than honorable” discharge that left her without military benefits. Struggling with PTSD, Stacey waged a decade-long battle to regain her health and military honors. The military eventually acknowledged its mistake and upgraded her discharge. Mosaic art and writing help Stacey work through her PTSD and share her experience with civilians.

De Telegraaf is a right-wing Dutch daily. Usually, they are pro-militarist.

Eg, on today’s front page they are happy that the new right-wing Dutch government plans to spend even more on wars … sorry, I should use the euphemism ‘defence’ … than they already intended. Obedience to the United States Trump administration and NATO.

However, on page 3 of that same Telegraaf of today is an article which makes one doubt whether so much should be spent on wars and armed forces fighting them.

It says (translated):

Homosexual Royal Military Academy cadet victim of sexist harassment

By Olof van Joolen

Updated Today, 12:15

After the abuse and harassment affair at the Airmobile Brigade, another army unit is again discredited because of misconduct during hazing. At the Royal Military Academy where the future defense culture is determined, a homosexual cadet sounds the alarm.

In the interview that cadet tells that during hazing at that school for army officers in Breda, he was humiliated much more harshly than white heterosexual colleagues, as he was gay and looked Asian. Eg, he was forced to wear a ‘funny’ ‘Chinese’ hat. Then, he was ordered to speak Chinese. ‘I do not speak that language’. ‘Of course you do! Ching chong Chinaman! Ching chong Chinaman!’

Breda daily De Stem writes today (translated):

He had to walk with a pillow under his shirt like he had female breasts, was forced to simulate in the Great Hall that he had an orgasm and had to wear a pink beret.