Syria, Trumpland

Submitted by admin on Thu, 02/02/2017 - 17:54
Deir Ezzor, Syria

 

Dear Friends,

In this week's report at Alternet, I try to make some sense of the rapid developments in the war in Syria. There is the creation of a new al-Qaeda front, where there are indications that the armed extremists who wish to prolong the war have gathered. There is also more bad news from the city of Deir Ezzor (pictured above): under siege for two years by ISIS, the water has been cut off almost entirely and food drops from the Syrian government and the UN's World Food Program have been sporadic. The situation is dire here. But given the nature of news and propaganda, there is

Trumpland and Syria

Submitted by admin on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 03:21
New York State's rust belt by Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix
Photo by Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix

 

Dear Friends,

Remarkable events during the first few days of Donald Trump's administration, with his use of presidential power stretched to its constitutional limit. Incredible range of executive orders, many of them based on promises he made on the campaign trail. If nothing else, Trump has kept his promises. Or perhaps it is better to say that he has kept his promises in a theatrical way with little sign that any of these policies will provide the kind of relief that his voters sought.

For instance, on the question of the US withdrawal from the

#Iranaphobia and Trumpland

Submitted by admin on Thu, 01/19/2017 - 10:12
Rahim (Our House Is on Fire), Shirin Neshat 2013

 

Dear Friends,

Listening to the confirmation hearings of the team assembled by Donald Trump has been eye-opening. There is a Secretary of Education who believes that guns should be in classrooms in case the school is attacked by grizzly bears. There is a head of the Environmental Protection Agency who 'hasn't looked at the scientific research on the dangers of lead exposure to children'. And then there are the nominees who just want to bomb Iran. The leaders in that pack are Trump's national security team (Mattis, Flynn), but not far behind is his pick as US Ambassador the UN, my fellow

Bangladesh, Syria, Om Puri

Submitted by admin on Fri, 01/13/2017 - 08:49
Coal Power Plant Will Destroy The Sundarbans

 

Dear Friends,


Yesterday there was a strange press conference with US President Elect Trump labeling some news organisations as 'fake news'. It is interesting to see political leaders pick and choose which news organisations they would like to tolerate and which they would not. There is a great similarity in mood here between Trump, India's Narendra Modi and Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Add in place a host of other leaders who have made it their mission to silence journalism either through direct state intimidation or through allowance of their goon squads to pulverise free speech. Either

Algiers Diary, Wars of Destruction and Communist Histories

Submitted by admin on Thu, 01/05/2017 - 04:43
Algiers Diary

 

Dear Friends,

Above, a picture from the Casbah of Algiers, with children running playfully down some steps, chasing each other. They are a long way away from the French colonial period and from the 'Black Decade' of the 1990s, and yet around them linger not only the signs of those periods but also their structural residues.

In Frontline this week I have a diary on my wanderings through Algiers and my wonderings about Algerian history. The key moment that focused my thoughts was a chance encounter with a young boy named Akram. I asked him a benign question, which could not remain at the

Arabia Without Sultans

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Wed, 01/04/2017 - 05:06
ماجد العيسى - هواجيس | Majedalesa - Hwages

 

 

<Arabia Without Sultans> Once more the magician Majed Al-Esa releases a song and a video - tearing, in his own way, into the absurdities of Saudi state suffocation of society. The song is called Hwages - Concerns. The women offer one biting statement after another - If only god would rid us of men; men make us mentally ill; they're making us insane. Donald Trump, in his House of Men, makes a cameo. The end of the song is lovely - the tempo drops, we move to Bedouin music and so it ends. The song has already been a big hit inside Saudi Arabia. I hope you'll enjoy it too: https://www

Human Wall

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Thu, 12/29/2016 - 20:11
Human chain in Kerala to protest notes ban

 

<Human Wall> Across Kerala, organised by the Left, people formed a human chain to protest the ridiculous demonetarization policy of the Government of India. To learn more about the policy from a granular level, visit the website of the People's Archive of Rural India - where you can read a shocking essay by Sainath (https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/bpl-xi-theyre-mobile-their-money-isnt/Rahul (https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/staying-half-hungry-due-to-the-demonetisation-drought/). In the new PD, there is a very good write-up of the study of the impact of demonetarization in Kerala

Israel & Libya

Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/29/2016 - 02:48
Palestinian sculptor, Abdulrahman Katanani

 

Dear Friends,

As the year ends, and as the Palestine-Israel 'peace process' lays dormant, the United Nations Security Council voted to sanction Israel for its illegal settlement policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. What was most significant about this vote was that the United States chose not to veto the resolution; instead it abstained.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a long speech, delivered the most obvious verdict for the situation on the ground - namely that if Israel rejects a two-state solution, then the only alternatives are permanent occupation or a democratic, non

Libya

Submitted by Vijay Prashad on Fri, 12/23/2016 - 14:48
Pro-Gaddafi, Green Movement

 

<Libya> Today, an Afriqiyah Airlines flight from Libya's southwest town of Sebha bound for Tripoli was hijacked to Malta. The hijackers are still holding the plane and crew, but have released the passengers. The hijacker claims to be a pro-Qaddafi militant. Sebha, in Libya's southwest, is the crossroads of the Sahara in that part of Fezzan. It is where one can see Toyota trucks carrying smuggled goods, including guns, across northern Africa as well as people who are being smuggled from western Africa to Europe. Qaddafi's ally - Khuwaildi Al-Hamidi - told me in Cairo a few years ago (before

Moscow and Trump

Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/22/2016 - 04:31
The Shukhov radio tower
The Shukhov radio tower (photo Richard Pare)

 

Dear Friends,

A series of complex events - the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Ankara, a truck driven through a Christmas market in Berlin, a 7 year old suicide bomber in Damascus. Incomprehensible violence here and there. Almost seems to be a prelude to something which we cannot yet grasp.

At Alternet I have a report on the Moscow meeting of Iran, Russia and Turkey. The report goes over the pivot by Turkey (which I have written about before), why no Syrians were at the table (and nor any Americans) and what this will mean for a Syria