War in Syria

Syrian Wars and Colonial Bores

Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:49
Barjani asked for the referendum

 

Dear Friends,

On September 25, 2017, the Iraqi Kurdish population will go to the polls for a referendum towards their independence from Iraq. The picture above - taken by Shama -  is of a pro-independence rally headlined by Masoud Barjani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan. Some say that Barjani asked for the referendum to consolidate his own power rather than to consider the full meaning of this vote not only for the Iraqi Kurds, but for the Kurds in Iran, Syria and Turkey. Nonetheless, the referendum is on the table.

Last week, I talked to my contacts in the Turkish military, one of whom

Strikes, Wars, Floods

Submitted by admin on Sat, 09/16/2017 - 13:43
Sikar

 

Dear Friends,

The picture above is from Sikar, Rajasthan (India). The farmers of the state, organized by the All-India Kisan Sabha, have fought a tough battle against the BJP-ruled government. They wanted the government to implement a set of recommendations from a government commission on the agrarian crisis. The demands, as I note in this blog post here, are basic - humane and uncontroversial if we lived in a different kind of system.

But, of course, we don't live in a different kind of system. We live where we live, in these times of peculiarly harsh intensity. Facts are brutal these day

West Asia and Comrade Charlie Chaplin

Submitted by admin on Wed, 07/26/2017 - 22:09
Tell Rifaat, Syria

 

Dear Friends,

Bad news comes from the eastern Saudi city of Qatif, where the National Guard has been running rampage through the city in the name of counter-terrorism. The police has been going after young dissenters, but also migrant workers who are mainly from South Asia. I have seen pictures of Indian and Bangladesh men lying naked on the sidewalk, being held in place by heavily armed Saudi guardsmen. There is also a photograph of a South Asian man lying dead in a side-street. I am trying to get as much information as possible from contacts in the region, but little has come out beyond

War and Books

Submitted by admin on Sat, 07/15/2017 - 13:09

 

Dear Friends,

Mosul has been liberated. That is the headline. But what will this liberation mean. The picture above, taken by an AFP photographer, shows the extent of the devastation of the city. 'Our city is in ruins', says Ayman who lives in the western part of Mosul.

There is little press coverage of the brutal aerial bombardment of the city by the US-led Coalition. Amnesty International accused the United States of war crimes, which it has denied. But the evidence is quite shocking. AirWars has released an important report on the scale of the attacks, and t

Syria

Submitted by admin on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 13:37

Mohamad Khayata and Ghina Sibaii from a 2013 exhibit in Beirut called Bits & Pieces.

 

Dear Friends,

Today, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow to talk to the Russians about - among other matters - Syria. It is said that Tillerson will indicate to the Russians that they must pressure the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. There is mystery here:

  • About what will Tillerson pressure the Russians - that Assad must no longer target civilians and use chemical weapons? that Assad must go? that the Russians must isolate Iran in the Syrian sector?
  • About what weapons Tillerson carries with him to force Russia to do this - that the US would then lift its sanctions? t

Bomb Syria?

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/06/2017 - 07:52

 

 

Dear Friends,

My apologizes for coming to you twice in a week.

Yesterday, in the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley made a presentation about the terrible gas attack in Syria which killed almost sixty people. She insinuated that the culprit is the government in Damascus and she suggested - tepidly - that the US might consider some kind of military action against the government.

This came alongside her own statement that the author of this terrible strike is not yet precisely known.

At Alternet, I have an essay which goes over the question of how

The Dogs of War

Submitted by admin on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 17:17
50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's monumental speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church: Vietnam, A Time to Break the Silence
Photo John C. Goodwin

 

Dear Friends,

Today - 4 April - is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's monumental speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church: Vietnam, A Time to Break the Silence.

When I first encountered this speech years ago I was struck by Dr. King's compassionate anger and his great honesty. This was a speech that channeled Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (1961), and of course the Third World upsurge which Dr. King mentions in the speech. He was influenced by his journey to Ghana in 1957 and to India in 1959 and by many of the internationalists who surro

Violence, Syria, Money

Submitted by admin on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 12:57

 

 

Dear Friends,

At Jadaliyya, which is such a fine website, I have an essay on how we understand violence in our times. It is an essay that - in many ways - brings together some of my concerns over the years, of how to write about acts of violence, how media writes about acts of atrocity, how there is a great difference in the treatment of violence done by the 'West' and by the 'East' and so on. This is an essay I neither planned to write nor enjoyed writing. There is something painful in following the lead of two of my gurus in these matters - the Martiniquan

Israel's Apartheid, Syria's Wars

Submitted by admin on Wed, 03/15/2017 - 19:59

Occupied West Bank - Najeh Hashlamoun

 

Dear Friends,

Yesterday - on March 15 - in Beirut, the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) released a landmark report entitled Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid. What is most stunning about this report is that it very carefully lays out the case that Israel's policy towards the Palestinian people - whether inside Israel, in the Occupied Territory or in exile - is a form of apartheid. This is a sharp report that needs to be closely studied.

In today's The Hindu, I have a report - entitled 'Crimes of Apartheid' - based o

Trump, Tima Kurdi

Submitted by admin on Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:24

Abduct Me

 

Dear Friends,

News from Trumpland is out of date before it is written. Reporters struggle to keep up with events, which slip off and are impossible to digest. One minute it is Betsy DeVos and some idiocy at the Department of Education, but before you can focus on that - it is off to the races with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

And then there are the Trump press conferences. Thursday's brava performance by Trump will take a great deal to surpass. His attack on CNN's Jim Acosta was something to behold. Trump's tirade ends wi