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Pepe Escobar’s brilliant analysis of the Mali War – mega Afghanistan in Africa

Burn, burn – Africa’s Afghanistan
By Pepe Escobar
From Asia Times Online

LONDON – One’s got to love the sound of a Frenchman’s Mirage 2000 fighter jet in the morning. Smells like… a delicious neo-colonial breakfast in Hollandaise sauce. Make it quagmire sauce.

Apparently, it’s a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people – with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years – in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.

So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali.
Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The formerly wimpy Hollande – now enjoying his “resolute”, “determined”, tough guy image reconversion – has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.

French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.

The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).

Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.

Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council – faster than a collection of Marvel heroes – duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors – part of the ECOWAS regional bloc – were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened – and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.

Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate – and impoverished – countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.

To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe’s cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.

Turbulence ahead
General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what’s really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those “vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara”?

It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government’s incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.

The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010.
Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department’s Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this “freedom” business Mali has been the proverbial “steady ally” – as in counterterrorism partner – fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Over the last few years, Washington’s game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.

An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch’s papers – for instance, The Times of London – and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.

Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs’ independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.

After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The “international community” spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other – Islamist – groups; Ansar ed-Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Meet the players
The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration – and development – for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi’s army.
But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.

AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to “The Doctor”, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.

Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as “The Uncatchable”, has recently joined MUJAO.

MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It’s the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, “in the name of Allah”, to respond by attacking “the heart of France”.

Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of – inevitably – Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It’s interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.

Gimme ‘a little more terrorism’
No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo’s military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad – especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu.
How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It’s useless to ask the question to US drones.

The official “leading from behind” Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing “could rally jihadis” around the world and lead to – what else – attacks on the West. Once again the good ol’ Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.

There’s no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to.
The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that “from categorically refusing an intervention – saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous”, Algiers went to “open Algerian skies to the French Mirages”.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.

So let’s turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcoming The Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).

Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, “Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the ‘Global War on Terror’ has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.”

In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, “a little more terrorism” in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush – or the neo-cons behind him – wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.

Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that “little more terrorism”. Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as “terrorists”; the perfect pretext for Bush’s Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon’s Operation Flintlock – a trans-Sahara military exercise.

The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.

The Tuaregs – the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel – number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.

Keenan’s analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine’s Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO’s Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.

Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That’s the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.

Round up the usual freedom fighters
Washington’s “leading from behind” position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.

And that’s it.

Not really. Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.

Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road – and by the (Niger) river – and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa.
I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara.
Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.

As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller was saying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.

AFRICOM’s spy planes have been “observing” Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are – what else – contractors who do not wear military uniforms.

Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM’s commander, once more gave a big push to the “mission to advance US security interests across Africa”. Now it’s all about the – updated – US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to “strengthen democratic institutions”; encourage “economic growth, trade and investment”; “advance peace and security”; and “promote opportunity and development.”

In practice, it’s Western militarization (with Washington “leading from behind”) versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa.

In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.

Already in early December a “multinational” war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.

The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, “multinational” proxy army about to get into the action, it’s the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony “in trouble” to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.

Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.

A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it’s been reported), led by who else but the “uncatchable” Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.

The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced – what else – the new French “crusade” and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.

As blowback goes, this is just the hors d’oeuvres. And it won’t be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.

So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about “peace”); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed “kinetic military operations”.

Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There’s no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.

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La estrategia del terror de EEUU y sus aliados (I)

GARA.NET

Iñaki Urrestarazu | Economista

Desde que el imperialismo norteamericano cogió el relevo del inglés tras la II Guerra Mundial, y durante seis décadas, ha seguido la estrategia diseñada a comienzos de los 50, basada en que «la política de EEUU ha de ser una lucha constante y perpetua por el poder mundial». Esta política se ha mantenido inalterable desde entonces, tanto durante la etapa de confrontación con la URSS en la Guerra Fría como durante los dos decenios en los que EEUU ha ejercido como única superpotencia mundial tras el desmoronamiento de la Unión Soviética, con todos y cada uno de los presidentes, incluido Obama, el genocida carnicero de Libia y tantos países.

Uno de los principales estrategas estadounidenses, Zbigniew Brzezinski, impulsor de la guerra anticomunista de Afganistán (1979-1989) y de la utilización de los integristas musulmanes, los muyahidines, como mercenarios de guerra al servicio del imperialismo -de donde surge Al Qaeda, que será ampliamente utilizada después-, en su conocida obra «El gran tablero mundial», marca unas pautas que van a adquirir un gran peso en la estrategia norteamericana:

1) Voluntad hegemónica mundial de los EEUU. 2) Control, especialmente, del llamado Corredor Eurasiático, donde se hallan los mayores yacimientos de petróleo y gas y las principales rutas comerciales. Comprende el Mediterráneo y Norte de África (Argelia, Libia, Egipto…), el Cáucaso (Azerbaiyán…), Oriente Medio (Siria, Libano, Irak…), el entorno del Indico, es decir, el Cuerno de África (Somalia, Etiopía…) y el Sur de Asia(Afganistán, Irán, Pakistán…), Asia Central (Kazajistán, Turkmenistán…) y Sudeste asiático (Indonesia…). Es más o menos lo que en otros proyectos se ha solido denominar como el Gran Oriente Medio o la Ruta de la Seda. 3) Hegemonía militar absoluta de los EEUU. 4) Establecimiento de alianzas diversas, basadas en lo político, económico y militar, por zonas, siempre bajo la hegemonía de los EEUU y vendiendo «seguridad», «paz», «libertad», «democracia» y «desarrollo».

Apartir de ahí, todos los planes y proyectos norteamericanos, incluido el gigantesco fraude del autogolpe del 11-S han ido en la línea de fortalecer su poderío y hegemonía militar, de lograr una impunidad absoluta en la rapiña de recursos y en la dominación de los pueblos, de crear una auténtica estrategia terrorista de liquidación, desestabilización, división, desgaste, debilitamiento, confrontaciones de todo tipo -religiosas, étnicas, territoriales…-, caos, muerte y desolación, con gigantescas intoxicaciones mediáticas. Y es el caso también de Siria.

Los últimos meses, en Siria, EEUU y sus lacayos han continuado la misma política de acoso y derribo de un régimen, que junto con Irán y el Libano de Hezbolah, bloquea los planes expansionistas del imperialismo, posee un territorio de una gran riqueza de hidrocarburos en su subsuelo y es un enclave estratégico en la geopolítica de los oleoductos.

En julio de este año se produjo una de las operaciones más sangrientas y brutales de todo el conflicto, la denominada «Volcán de Damasco y terremoto de Siria». Un atentado contra altos responsables del ejército y la seguridad sirios, un atentado de inteligencia de alto nivel, acompañado de una masiva ofensiva de mercenarios, unos concentrados en Damasco y otros, formando columnas, procedentes de todas las fronteras sirias. Ello acompañado de una brutal campaña mediática intoxicadora y de guerra psicológica, de la fuga del presidente del Parlamento, y en vísperas de otra reunión del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU. Una operación que fracasó estrepitosamente, por una parte, por la respuesta contundente del Ejército sirio y por el gran apoyo de la población al mismo, y por otra, por el doble veto chino y ruso, a la propuesta de condena de Siria en el Consejo de Seguridad. Una vez más, el origen de los detenidos y muertos de los «rebeldes», mostró su origen internacional y mercenario: Jordania, Egipto, Irak, Afganistán, Libia, Jordania, Turquía, Arabia Saudita, Chechenia, Líbano, Somalia… E igualmente la sofisticación y potencia de las armas y su origen occidental: EEUU, Israel, Alemania… La siguiente fase fue una nueva ofensiva, esta vez en Alepo, tras la reorganización de los restos de los mercenarios, que también fracasó, aunque fue un combate más largo, dado que los «insurgentes» utilizaban a la población civil como escudos humanos.

Tras el fracaso de esta gran ofensiva, la estrategia mercenaria volvió a ser la habitual: brutales atentados contra líderes religiosos, sectores cristianos, alauitas o drusos para fomentar la segregación religiosa; ataques terroristas contra sunitas no radicales, líderes sociales, periodistas o personajes relevantes de la sociedad siria, a niños y sectores sociales sin más, o a sectores partidarios del Gobierno; ataques a instituciones o edificios del Gobierno, y miembros de la Policía y el Ejército. Todo esto, siempre alimentado por un flujo constante desde el exterior, de nuevas remesas de mercenarios, y de grandes cantidades de dinero para pagar sus salarios, y de armas, proporcionadas por Arabia Saudita, Qatar y las potencias occidentales.

Lo que hay en Siria no es una guerra civil, la población no se involucra con los llamados «rebeldes», sino todo lo contrario. Es una guerra del Gobierno contra las potencias terroristas occidentales y sus mercenarios, que no tienen nada que ver con el pueblo, y que lo que pretenden es derribar el Gobierno o desgastarlo, para volver a intentarlo más adelante. Kofi Annan dimitió antes de plazo como delegado de la ONU para la Paz, seguramente viendo que no se cumplían las expectativas de derrumbar el sistema que tenían él y las potencias occidentales. Fue sustituido luego por el argelino Lakhdar Brahimi, que tampoco parece que vaya a lograr nada, como no lo hizo ni siquiera en el intento de alto el fuego en la fiesta del Cordero.

Cuando no son los atentados, son las amenazas de intervención por la presunta intención de Siria de usar armas químicas, o las provocaciones de Turquía, con sus bombarderos, persiguiendo a los kurdos, o los supuestos conflictos en la frontera. Y esto, cuando está siendo la retaguardia y refugio de los mercenarios en sus correrías en Siria, cuando está montando auténticos arsenales de tanques y misiles -ahora quieren introducir los poderosísimos Patriot- en la frontera, o está tratando de crear en la zona fronteriza una zona de exclusión aérea, que sería el preludio de una intervención. Ha estado a punto, varias veces, de entrar en guerra con Siria, a pesar del rechazo de su población y de una buena parte de su parlamento. La marcha atrás de la OTAN, de momento, seguramente por cálculo estratégico, es la que ha frenado la guerra y ha llevado a Turquía y a su descerebrado presidente al borde de una crisis de nervios. Y para colmo, y para terminar de enredar las cosas, aparece Israel, también con amenazas. O la UE, que quiere armar -más- a la «Contra».

La cuestión es que la inmensa mayor parte de la población siria, tanto los partidarios del gobierno como los críticos que quieren solucionar los problemas por vías pacíficas y de negociación, en donde entran también los kurdos, están hartos de la intromisión exterior y del terrorismo mercenario -apoyados por muy escasos sectores sirios de salafistas y de los archirreaccionarios Hermanos Musulmanes-, que están bloqueando toda salida a los problemas de Siria. La responsabilidad fundamental del impasse es del imperialismo, que quiere derrocar el Gobierno por sus ambiciones expansionistas, y de sus mercenarios del islamismo ultra, que no pretenden otra cosa que una Siria islamista radical, sectaria, antilaica, capitalista y basada en la Sharia. La suspensión del trasiego de armamento, mercenarios y dinero, haría fácil, una salida digna y negociada a los problemas políticos, económicos y sociales de Siria.

Ever so quietly, the screws are being tightened on Iran. Happy New Year 2013.

British PM David Cameron may not only be selling arms to corrupt despots in the Gulf. The troops from Afghanistan may not necessarily be coming home. They may be redeployed in the Persian Gulf to tighten the noose around Iran.

Israel looks to re-elect Ben Netanyahu which he could take as a mandate for attack?

The next US President is already allowing the Pentagon to ratchet up tensions with aircraft carriers.

The Iranian currency is in freefall and the hapless “leader” is being forced to explain himself to the Majlis Parliament.

The Europeans are dutifully tightening sanctions and playing their ‘supportive” role within NATO.

It seems highly immaterial which President is elected tonight in the US because the geopolitical moves are being made in the anticipation of “business as usual”.

China and India at war October 20th

Fifty years ago this month, China defeated India in a short war in the Eastern Himalayan region, including South Tibet/Arunachal Pradesh and near Assam.
Today, both have almost half a million soldiers in the area and are upgrading their capabilities.
With Myanmar “open for business” and the US egging on India to “contain” China, this backwater is set to become a flashpoint this decade.
To complicate matters, a quarter of a billion Bengalis (in Bangladesh and West Bengal) are next door and will increasingly have a say in what happens in this region.

What should be a New Economic Frontier of peace, prosperity and progress could easily turn into a US-induced arena of conflict between two still poor countries (billing themselves as superpowers).
Let us never forget there are more poor people in India than in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The West of China especially rural areas still has grinding poverty. i.e. a poor population the size of Europe..

If Mao and Zhou en Lai had wanted, they could have sent their troops into the Ganges-Brahmaputra valleys and cut off eastern India & (then)East Pakistan.
History would have re-written. Nehru’s administration was a shambles and would not have put up a fight.
Today, the region needs to think ahead and look at Kashmir and Tibet through the same lens.
Delhi needs to admit it has misruled Assam and the rest of North East and must very quickly come up with a new Settlement and allow economic, social and environmental progress.
It won’t, of course.
So the scene is set for a short burst of ‘investment’ proposals to capture the fossil fuel reserves, build infrastructure into Myanmar and then watch as social and political turmoil put those aspirations on hold.
Very soon, this region will become the centre of the world’s attention, for all the wrong reasons

Farid Erkizia Bakht

Click below for an article from the Asia Times for reference (though with a health warning that it is skewed towards Delhi and thereby Washington)

http://atimes.com/atimes/China/NJ11Ad03.html

These countries won’t exist by 2020…..

One of the biggest casualties of the Great Crisis (set to get worse over the next 3 years) could be the Westphalian system of nation states – this notion of nation states was solidified after the bloody Thirty Years War in Europe.

The outcome will not be just lurches to the Right or Left. It will lead to the biggest fragmentation of Europe since 1918 as empires collapsed after WW1 (Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian)
On top of financial and economic crises, we have a situation of permanent resource war in the Middle East, Africa and Asia including the ‘containment of China’, the war on Muslim states, the Maoist rebelion in India & independence movements in the Seven Sister states bordering China,  the ‘opening up of Myanmar’, the battle between (and within) Latin America and the Yankee North…..

So, let’s prepare for a new World where the following states will fragment/break up (and while a rump may retain the name, it will be far smaller in size than today) and the ‘original’ will only exist in history, nostalgia and our imagination:

United Kingdom

Spain

France

Italy

Belgium

Rumania

Libya

Syria

Iraq

Congo

Pakistan

India

Myanmar

Mexico

Colombia

Phillipines

Saudi Arabia

Jordan

UAE

Qatar

 

We have had a Thirty Years War in our lifetime – that of ‘Globalisation’ or as I see it ‘Amercanisation’ where borders were weakened in a free for all for multinationals and finance.

The casualties are everywhere: hollowed out industries in the Western economies, peoples and states bulldozed in petrodollar wars… a billion or is it two in urban slums… climate ravaged regions…

The result: this is the decade of fragmentation.

‘Brilliant Psy-Ops’ becomes News

An article by John Pillger asking why Dow Chemical Company should be allowed to advertise in the London Olympics.

Obama’s US administration and the current free-market Vietnamese government have questions to answer:

“Arriving in a village in southern Vietnam, I caught sight of two children who bore witness to the longest war of the 20th century. Their terrible deformities were familiar. All along the Mekong River, where the forests were petrified and silent, small human mutations lived as best they could.

Today, at the Tu Du paediatrics hospital in Saigon, a former operating theatre is known as the “collection room” and, unofficially, as the “room of horrors”. It has shelves of large bottles containing grotesque foetuses. During its invasion of Vietnam, the United States sprayed a defoliant herbicide on vegetation and villages to deny “cover to the enemy”. This was Agent Orange, which contained dioxin, poisons of such power that they cause foetal death, miscarriage, chromosomal damage and cancer.

In 1970, a US Senate report revealed that “the US has dumped [on South Vietnam] a quantity of toxic chemical amounting to six pounds per head of population, including woman and children”. The code-name for this weapon of mass destruction, Operation Hades, was changed to the friendlier Operation Ranch Hand. Today, an estimated 4.8 million victims of Agent Orange are children.

Len Aldis, secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society, recently returned from Vietnam with a letter for the International Olympic Committee from the Vietnam Women’s Union. The union’s president, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, described “the severe congenital deformities [caused by Agent Orange] from generation to generation”. She asked the IOC to reconsider its decision to accept sponsorship of the London Olympics from the Dow Chemical Corporation, which was one of the companies that manufactured the poison and has refused to compensate its victims.

Aldis hand-delivered the letter to the office of Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee. He has had no reply. When Amnesty International pointed out that in 2001 Dow Chemical acquired “the company responsible for the Bhopal gas leak [in India in 1984] which killed 7,000 to 10,000 people immediately and 15,000 in the following twenty years”, David Cameron described Dow as a “reputable company”. Cheers, then, as the TV cameras pan across the £7 million decorative wrap that sheathes the Olympic stadium: the product of a 10-year “deal” between the IOC and such a reputable destroyer.

History is buried with the dead and deformed of Vietnam and Bhopal. And history is the new enemy. On 28 May, President Obama launched a campaign to falsify the history of the war in Vietnam. To Obama, there was no Agent Orange, no free fire zones, no turkey shoots, no cover-ups of massacres, no rampant racism, no suicides (as many Americans took their own lives as died in the war), no defeat by a resistance army drawn from an impoverished society. It was, said Mr. Hopey Changey, “one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of [US] military history”.

The following day, the New York Times published a long article documenting how Obama personally selects the victims of his drone attacks across the world. He does this on “terror Tuesdays” when he browses through mug shots on a “kill list”, some of them teenagers, including “a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years”. Many are unknown or simply of military age. Guided by “pilots” sitting in front of computer screens in Las Vegas, the drones fire Hellfire missiles that suck the air out of lungs and blow people to bits. Last September, Obama killed a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, purely on the basis of hearsay that he was inciting terrorism. “This one is easy,” he is quoted by aides as saying as he signed the man’s death warrant. On 6 June, a drone killed 18 people in a village in Afghanistan, including women, children and the elderly who were celebrating a wedding.

The New York Times article was not a leak or an exposé. It was a piece of PR designed by the Obama administration to show what a tough guy the ‘commander-in-chief’ can be in an election year. If re-elected, Brand Obama will continue serving the wealthy, pursuing truth-tellers, threatening countries, spreading computer viruses and murdering people every Tuesday.

The threats against Syria, co-ordinated in Washington and London, scale new peaks of hypocrisy. Contrary to the raw propaganda presented as news, the investigative journalism of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung identifies those responsible for the massacre in Houla as the ‘rebels’ backed by Obama and Cameron. The paper’s sources include the rebels themselves. This has not been completely ignored in Britain. Writing in his personal blog, ever so quietly, Jon Williams, the BBC world news editor, effectively dishes his own ‘coverage’, citing western officials who describe the ‘psy-ops’ operation against Syria as ‘brilliant’. As brilliant as the destruction of Libya, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

And as brilliant as the psy-ops of the Guardian’s latest promotion of Alastair Campbell, the chief collaborator of Tony Blair in the criminal invasion of Iraq. In his “diaries”, Campbell tries to splash Iraqi blood on the demon Murdoch. There is plenty to drench them all. But recognition that the respectable, liberal, Blair-fawning media was a vital accessory to such an epic crime is omitted and remains a singular test of intellectual and moral honesty in Britain.

How much longer must we subject ourselves to such an “invisible government”? This term for insidious propaganda, first used by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and inventor of modern public relations, has never been more apt. “False reality” requires historical amnesia, lying by omission and the transfer of significance to the insignificant. In this way, political systems promising security and social justice have been replaced by piracy, “austerity” and “perpetual war”: an extremism dedicated to the overthrow of democracy. Applied to an individual, this would identify a psychopath. Why do we accept it?”

For more information, please visit John Pilger’s website at www.johnpilger.com

Gernika 75

75 years ago yesterday the infamous German Condor Legion bombed and obliterated the Basque town of Gernika. And so aerial bombardment of urban populations became a central part of warfare. Terrorism from the air.

The German government has since apologised.

Madrid hasn’t.