Iraq, Libya, disastrous ‘humanitarian’ war after war

This video says about itself:

19 March 2016

Afshin Rattansi goes underground on the rise of the caliphate in the Middle East. Patrick Cockburn, award winning journalist and author of new book Chaos & Caliphate: Jihadis and the West in the Struggle for the Middle East tells us how ISIS rose from the ashes of UK/US wars in the Middle East.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain:

A catalogue of disasters

Monday 17th October 2016

The Age of Jihad is a damning indictment of Western ignorance, incompetence and downright blundering that has marked the so-called war on terror, says Bethany Rielly

The Age of Jihad
by Patrick Cockburn
(Verso, £16)

AFTER Saddam Hussein’s regime was defeated in 2003, US occupation officials set up their headquarters in one of his palaces in Baghdad.

They were not aware that the sewage pipes were ill-equipped to cope with large quantities of toilet paper, resulting in blocked pipes and a building flooded with human excrement.

It’s a neat metaphor employed by Patrick Cockburn in his book The Age of Jihad to demonstrate the ignorance of occupation forces, who based their decisions on inadequate local knowledge.

But it could be extended even further as a perfect, albeit crude, analogy of Western intervention in the Middle East — a history of blindly blundering into countries and leaving them in the shit.

Taking the reader from one devastating conflict to another, this diary-like account by the award-winning war correspondent takes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

Juxtaposing each country, Cockburn underlines just how disastrously foreign invasions, repeating the same mistakes again and again, have failed to create peaceful states in the Middle East.

His book is a searing indictment of US and British foreign policy, the consequences of which have deepened sectarian divisions, triggered further conflicts and shaped the so-called war on terror.

Much of Cockburn’s focus is on Iraq, where he reported the invasion and subsequent conflicts up until US tanks finally rolled out of the country. He explains in great detail the aftermath of the war there, in which two further conflicts were instigated by the first — one waged against the US occupation by Sunni militias and the other the more brutal and bloody sectarian war between Sunnis and Shias.

Although most of the narrative focuses on the experiences of others, Cockburn occasionally gives an insight into how the situation affected his own life. He explains how difficult it became to be a journalist in Baghdad during the height of the sectarian civil war because getting around the city became a deadly obstacle course where one wrong move could result in being kidnapped, wounded or killed.

He also touches on the dangers of biased and selective reporting. During the Libyan war many media outlets were so determined to portray the opposition forces against Muammar Gadaffi in a positive light that they were effectively blind to the atrocities that the rebels were carrying out on a daily basis. Libya was hailed in Britain and the US as an example of successful foreign intervention at the same time that the Western-backed opposition were torturing and massacring anyone linked or supposedly linked to Gadaffi’s regime.

Cockburn exposes how these conflicts were often misrepresented to serve the agenda of a foreign invader and that’s why his writings are so valuable.

Untainted by a political agenda, he has created one of the few authentic accounts of the region’s recent history.

The sheer scope of his reporting across the conflicts in Middle Eastern states has put him in a unique position to draw parallels between them and expose the mistakes which have snowballed into the endless wars, humanitarian crises and irreconcilable sectarian divides gripping the region today.

Colin Maclachlan, a former British Sergeant in the Special Air Service (SAS) is being investigated by the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police. This is over so-called “mercy killings” he claimed to have committed in 2003 whilst serving behind Iraqi lines. In a soon-to-be-published book, Maclachlan wrote that he had killed “two or three” mortally wounded Iraqi soldiers near the Syrian border in 2003. Killing wounded soldiers is against British military law and the Geneva Convention: here.

With the US-led offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS), there are increasing reports of death and suffering on the part of Iraqi civilians caught up in the fighting and facing retribution from both ISIS and troops and militias loyal to Baghdad: here.

IRAQI FORCES ACCUSED OF TORTURE IN FIGHT OUTSIDE OF MOSUL “Iraqi government forces killed and tortured civilians south of Mosul, rights groups said on Thursday, the first such reports of alleged abuse in a U.S.-backed campaign to retake the city from Islamic State.” [Reuters]

The latest book by Robert D. Kaplan, one of Washington’s foremost geo-strategists and war apologists, makes a blatant case for transforming Romania into a military stooge for US imperialism and preparing for all-out war against Russia: here.

Britain’s Cameron’s Libya war, parody song

This 20 September parody music video from Britain about the 2011 war on Libya is called SnoutKast – “Lib Ya!”

The song is a parody of the song by OutKastHey Ya!

The image in this video depicts British former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and the dead pig Mr Cameron is said by a fellow Conservative to have had sexual intercourse with as an initiation ritual of an élite student society.

The name Snoutkast in the parody title refers to that dead pig‘s snout.

The lyrics are:

Great Britain don’t mess around when there’s a mad dictator making crazy threats
Let’s go in all guns blazing with the Royal Navy and the RAF
Might leave a power vacuum but I’ve no time for coherent strategy
Just bomb them to the stone age and with luck you should be home in time for tea

Lib ya!

I think I get it, yeah I think I get it – the rebels took Benghazi and Gaddafi will kill them all
We get together with France and America, and bomb the crap out of ‘em so his regime will fall
They say we’ve made erroneous assumptions, that airstrikes, that airstrikes, that airstrikes
That airstrikes aren’t in our interests
So why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh are we still in denial when we say it’s not about the gold dinar?

Lib ya!
(Don’t wanna meet Gaddafi, just wanna take Benghazi)
Lib ya!
(Don’t wanna meet Muammar, just following Obama)
I’m not being honest

Alright now, chaps (yeah!)
What’s crueller than being ruled? (ISIS!)
I can’t hear you! I said what’s crueller than being ruled? (ISIS!)
Shiite, shiite, shiite, shiite, shiite
Now, okay, shiites – you gotta join up with the Iraqi forces and go fight those militant extremist groups!
I wanna see you all on your baddest behaviour! We’ll lend you some weapons, it’s like a favour
Here we go! Alright, now…

Fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it like we did in Iraq
Fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it like I did with that…oink!

The decision of a British parliamentary foreign affairs committee to apportion responsibility for the destruction or Libya and its transformation from a functioning into a failed state to former British prime minister David Cameron further confirms the verdict reached by Irish revolutionary leader James Connolly over a century ago when it comes to the British ruling class. “Their crimes,” Connolly said, “would shame all the devils in hell”: here.

Cameron’s Libya war and British Blairites

This video from England says about itself:

Stop the War hands off Libya protest | London 18th March 2011| John Rees

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

An arrogance matched only by ignorance

Friday 16th September 2016

The select committee report proves Corbyn was right about the war in Libya. Labour MPs would be wise to listen to him more, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

The select committee report into the 2011 Libyan “intervention” is a harsh judgement on David Cameron’s war.

It also throws a dark shadow on the majority of Labour MPs who backed this dismal conflict. There is one point of light — Corbyn and a small band of fellow MPs got this right.

You might think the many MPs who wrongly backed the war might feel they should listen more to the few who got it right and opposed it since they voted for a bloody disaster that has consumed tens of thousands of lives.

So maybe endlessly attacking Corbyn’s point of view is not such a bright thing to do.

The arrogance of many mainstream MPs in trying to pick at Corbyn, especially on foreign policy, seems only to be matched by their ignorance.

I guess they just haven’t read the report or reflected on what they did.

In 2011, there was a rebellion against Libya’s dictator, Muammar Gadaffi, spurring a joint US-British-French military “intervention.”

Cameron’s government claimed to have “learned the lessons of Iraq” before the Libyan war, but it turns out it learned them so well it was able to repeat them one by one without prompting.

The intervention was initially, ostensibly launched to protect the civilians of Benghazi from attacks.

The select committee report says this was (like Iraq) “not informed by accurate intelligence” as the claims of an oncoming massacre were false.

The report quotes letters to Hillary Clinton showing the French backed the war because they wanted control of oil and more power in Africa.

The initial “limited intervention to protect civilians,” the report says, “had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change.

“That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gadaffi Libya.

“The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises.” Instead of seeking peace negotiations with Gadaffi’s government for some kind of transition — which was a real possibility — Britain and its allies went for war.

Most Labour MPs voted for Cameron’s mini-me version of Iraq.

When there was unauthorised “mission creep” to “regime change” they went along, or stayed silent.

Not all of the small band who argued the other way were “Corbynite” — David Winnick MP, for example, was an effective critic of “mission creep” — but Corbyn and the left were the core opponents.

Corbyn voted against the action, led the call to bring Parliament back when “defensive” war morphed into an attack plan and kept up calls for a better solution.

In May 2011, questioning Tory former foreign secretary William Hague in Parliament, Corbyn said: “Will the Foreign Secretary confirm that, as it now appears to the whole world, the alliance has given up on a diplomatic solution, and is now involved in regime change and targeting individuals within the Libyan government?

“Does he not think that at some point there will have to be a political solution led by the Arab League and the African Union? Does he not think it time to apply pressure in that direction, rather than continue the bombing of civilian targets?”

The select committee report shows that Corbyn was right: Cameron, Hague and shamefully the bulk of Labour MPs were wrong.

The lesson here is this: Labour MPs should stop waiting for the slow churn of official reports that prove they were wrong five years ago or ten years ago.

They should move closer to Corbyn so they can get it right now, when it matters.

UK parliamentary report criticises Libya war but conceals its geo-strategic aims: here.

David Cameron’s disastrous Libya war exposed

This video says about itself:

‘Sh*t Show’: Obama blames Cameron & Sarkozy for ‘mess’ in post-Gaddafi Libya

11 mrt. 2016

US President Barack Obama has blamed UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders for the current chaos in Libya, saying he had ‘more faith’ in them being invested in the follow-up, given Libya’s proximity.

By Sofia Lotto Persio in Britain:

MPs condemn Cameron for ‘opportunistic’ Libya assault

Wednesday 14th September 2016

A SCATHING report by MPs published today slams David Cameron’s “opportunist” and “inadequate” plan to launch a bombing campaign in Libya.

The former prime minister turned the Nato-backed intervention of 2011, which was supposedly to protect civilians, into an “opportunist policy of regime change” based on inadequate intelligence and failed to develop a “coherent Libya strategy,” the foreign affairs committee said.

Its inquiry found the government based its decision on “erroneous assumptions,” failing to properly analysis of the nature of the revolt against former dictator Colonel Muammar Gadaffi or how extremists would try to benefit from it.

The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today,” said committee chairman Crispin Blunt.

Libya is currently plagued by a civil war among two governments both claiming responsibility over the country and its natural resources, a situation which is allowing armed fanatics such as Islamic State (Isis) to gain ground.

Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German said: “The foreign affairs committee has underlined what those of us in the anti-war movement argued five years ago: this was a war for regime change, not to protect civilians.”

The committee’s findings reflect experts’ opinions on the legality of the intervention.

Research by the University of Oslo found that while operations to protect civilians were authoritised by a UN resolution, those aiming to overthrow Gadaffi and support rebels constituted “an illegal use of force” which “may have undermined the credibility of the responsibility to protect in future humanitarian crises.”