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Turkish forces, allied militants cut off drinking water to Syria’s Hasakah, environs

Press TV – March 29, 2020

Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants have once again cut off drinking water supply to people in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakah and surrounding areas, only a few days after the Damascus government complained to the United Nations and the Security Council over the issue.

Director General of Hasakah Water Company, Mahmoud al-Ukla, told Syria’s official news agency SANA in a statement on Sunday that the Turkish troops and their allies stopped the pumping of water from the Allouk water station at 10 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) last night, and have refused to reverse their decision.

He emphasized that the measure has deprived up to a million people in the Hasakah region of the essential resource.

Ukla then described the cut in water supply to the Hasakah region as a blatant violation of human rights, an appalling crime against the population of Hasakah, and an act in a way that increases the sufferings of the locals.

Allouk water station is located near the border town of Ra’s al-Ayn, which the Turkish troops and their allied militants seized in October 2019 during the so-called Peace Spring Operation.

“Turkish occupation forces and affiliated terrorists cut off drinking water from Allouk water station and feeding wells deliberately and systematically, depriving more than 600,000 Syrian citizens, mostly women and children, from drinking water,” the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in identical letters sent to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the rotating President of the UN Security Council Zhang Jun on Thursday.

The Syrian ministry noted that the Turkish forces shelled the water station during their cross-border military operation last October, putting it out of service.

Syrian officials, accordingly, briefed the UN Security Council on February 27, informing the international body of a water outage in Hasakah.

“But unfortunately the Security Council, its General Secretariat or relevant international organizations failed to condemn the Turkish forces’ bombing of such a critical civilian facility and their use of water as a weapon against civilians,” the letters pointed out.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry finally called on the Security Council to condemn the crimes being perpetrated by Turkish soldiers, and obligate Ankara to stop its violation of the international law and humanitarian principles, besides its support for terrorist groups wreaking havoc inside Syria.

Turkey has beefed up its military presence in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, the last militant bastion in a nine-year foreign-backed war, where several anti-Damascus terrorist outfits receive Turkey’s support in their persisting militancy against the Syrian government.

Last week, a United Nations official said interruption to the key water station in Syria’s northeast puts thousands of lives at risk as efforts ramp up to stop the outbreak of the novel coronavirus there.

UNICEF Representative in Syria Fran Equiza said the interruption “during the current efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease puts children and families at unacceptable risk.”

He underlined that the station is the main source of water for around 460,000 people in Hasakah city, the town of Tal Tamer as well as al-Hol and Areesha camps.

The Syrian government has applied a series of measures, as cases of COVID-19 infection have been found in the war-ravaged Arab country.

The measures include suspending schools, universities, as well as some ministries and closing marketplaces and restaurants.

The government also stopped public transportations nationwide.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 03/27/2020

The United States has shown itself willing to both keep up its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran and its proxies while riding roughshod over Iraqi sovereignty by remaining in the country even as Baghdad leaders and the broader population demand a final exit.

But in another sign Europe is ready to divorce itself from US aims in the region, France has abruptly withdrawn its forces from the country after being there for five years. Interestingly the prime reason given was troop safety concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, but we imagine European leaders likely now see an opportunity to make a swift and easy exit without provoking the ire of their US counterparts.

International correspondents say this includes French withdrawal from six bases, with a small contingent of about 100 troops remaining in the country. The Czech Ministry of Defense also announced the exit of its forces Wednesday, which followed a large contingent of British forces leaving last week, also on fears of coronavirus exposure during the mission.

“British, French, Australian and Czech troops who were coaching Iraqi counterparts were being temporarily sent home as Baghdad had put a hold on training operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reports the AFP this week.

All had been there to support coalition anti-ISIL operations led by Washington. But as the US mission to defeat the Islamic State has lately become less relevant given the demise of the terror group, Washington’s focus became Iranian influence inside Iraq – far beyond the original mission scope.

The US itself had been reportedly drawing down from certain bases, but is not expected to ultimately depart given the current high state of tensions with Iran-backed militias in the country.

But Iran and Iraq’s ‘counter-pressure’ campaign is only set to continue, as on Thursday two rockets slammed into the Iraqi capital’s high-security Green Zone early in the morning, in an incident that’s become almost a monthly occurrence. There were no reports of injuries.

Middle East regional correspondent and analyst Elijah Magnier observes of the rapid draw down: “Coronavirus is offering an opportunity for the world to detach itself from US dominance and reshuffle alliances.”

Indeed this will likely be the outcome in geopolitical hot spots and even economies around the globe.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 4 Comments

The Empire’s Cuban Colony 1898-1959

Tales of the American Empire

The Cuban struggle for independence in the 1890s was closely covered by the American press. Some newspapers agitated for American intervention and featured sensational stories of Spanish atrocities against the native Cuban population. Spain posed no threat to the United States, but Cuba had very profitable plantations coveted by American tycoons. On February 15, 1898, the US Navy warship USS Maine was visiting Havana harbor and was rocked by an explosion, killing 260 of the crew and sinking the ship. America’s ruling class used this incident and their money and media to pressure the US Congress to declare war on Spain to seize Cuba.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

After 5 years, Saudi Arabia is finally on the verge of defeat in Yemen

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | March 26, 2020

Exactly five years ago, the US-backed, Saudi-led Arab coalition carried out its first air strikes on Yemen in an effort to reinstate the disgraced, exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. He is a statesman in name only who I have argued previously has neither power, authority nor legitimacy. The strikes targeted the Houthi movement, which is supported by the Yemeni armed forces, and the war, claimed the Saudis, was supposed to be over in a matter of weeks.

The war’s devastating effects have claimed over 112,000 lives and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The steadfast and resilient Yemeni people have prevented the coalition from toppling the Houthi-aligned government in the capital, Sanaa.

After five years, in fact, it is fair to say that the Saudis and their mercenaries are on the verge of defeat. The Yemeni armed forces and “popular committees” which include Houthi forces are continuing their advances with their sights set firmly on the stronghold of Marib and the pro-Hadi, Islah militia which makes up the coalition-backed force on the ground.

The province of Marib is currently facing onslaughts on several main fronts: from the Nahm district of Sanaa province to the west; much of the recently-liberated Al-Jawf in the north; and from Sirwah district – a part of Marib already under Houthi control — and from the south in the Baydah province. Saudi air strikes continue in support of its mercenary ground forces although, as the years of conflict have shown, they are strategically ineffective.

The terrain, internal divisions among the mercenary forces, local distrust of Hadi and the relative ease of establishing relations in tribal areas captured by the Houthis are also reasons for their advance. Developments in missile defence systems which, according to the Yemeni armed forces, have been effective against some Saudi air strikes, coupled with more pre-emptive cross-border operations targeting Saudi military and economic interests are likely to change the direction of the war.

The Saudis know that the stakes are high in Marib, and losing it would be the end of the Saudi ground war against the Houthi-Yemeni army forces, which is why there have been fierce counterattacks, especially in Al-Jawf, which until recently had been in the hands of pro-Hadi fighters for the past five years. The province not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but the region is also rich in natural resources. Decades of Saudi policy, though, have ensured that Yemen has remained poor and unable to exploit its own oil reserves fully.

It is clear that the so-called Riyadh Agreement has failed to prompt a concerted effort among Saudi and UAE proxies to set aside their political differences and refocus their attention on the Houthis in the north. Clashes between the Saudi-backed Islah militia forces and those aligned with the UAE-supported separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) are now routine, and have intensified in recent days in the southern port city of Aden.

The Sanaa-based government has made it clear that it will confront the coalition and its mercenaries in the country’s south and east. This not only implies fighting in the de-facto STC-held Aden, which was under the control of the Houthis back in 2015 before they were driven out, but also the oil-rich Shabwa province.

Having control of most of the population and the capital Sanaa; having a lot of the Yemeni military, including the Republican Guards, on their side; and with potential access and control of Yemen’s resources, the Houthi-aligned National Salvation Government (NSG) may finally get international recognition at the expense of the “legitimate” UN-recognised Yemeni government in exile under Hadi in Riyadh. At the moment, the NSG only has diplomatic relations with Iran and Syria.

Earlier this week, the Houthi-aligned Yemeni military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, told a press conference that there have been more than 257,000 coalition air strikes over the past five years and warned that the sixth year “will be harsher and more painful”. In doing so he affirmed that Yemen is not in the same position militarily that it was at the start of the conflict.

In light of the Houthi forces’ strategic advances and superior political resolve, it is thus possible that we will see a political agreement to end the war, if not this year then next. In a promising sign, a leading member of the Supreme Political Council, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, tweeted that he welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to support a ceasefire at the behest of the UN Secretary-General due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It remains to be seen, therefore, how much longer the Saudis will continue their disastrous and illegal intervention in Yemen, especially with the oil war and looming bankruptcy as oil prices fall, not to mention domestic political crises between de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and his rivals. The Saudis will soon find that they have neither the will nor the wealth to carry on.

That being said, the fall of Marib to the Yemeni military and its Houthi allies might be the catalyst to bring about an end to the war, but there are reports of thousands of civilians being displaced as a result of the current escalations. There is also the brutal siege of the port of Hudaydah by the coalition that needs to be addressed; the UAE occupation of Socotra; and — arguably the most worrying — the direct Saudi military presence in the eastern province of Al-Mahrah.

Earlier this month I speculated how the resistance movement in Al-Mahrah may soon turn into an armed struggle against a Saudi occupation. This materialised several days later, with the Southern National Salvation Council (SNSC) announcing a call for armed resistance against the foreign forces.

Following the coalition defeat, the future of the NSG and the alliance between the Houthi movement and Yemeni military will be tests of the stability and security of Yemen. Alliances tend only to serve a purpose against a common enemy. That’s an issue for the future, though; for now, that enemy is on the verge of defeat.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Afghan endgame enters the home stretch

Afghans celebrating the US-Taliban agreement of 29th February 2020, Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | March 24, 2020

In an extraordinary statement titled On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan, Washington has admitted the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s mission to Kabul on Monday to heal the political rift among Afghan politicians and to urge them to form an inclusive government so as to implement the Doha pact of February 29.

In exceptionally strong words, Washington flagged its disappointment over the political rift between the factions led by Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah respectively, which has “harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonours those Afghan, Americans, and Coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure” in the 18-year old war.

No sooner than the failure of Pompeo’s mission became clear, the state department disclosed that the Trump administration is cutting back its aid to the Afghan government — “a responsible adjustment to our spending in Afghanistan” by $1 billion immediately and another $1 billion next year — and will also “initiate a review of all of our programs and projects to identify additional reductions, and reconsider our pledges to future donor conferences for Afghanistan.” A calibrated Plan B with President Trump’s approval is unfolding, for sure.

Importantly, the state department statement added ominously, “We have made clear to the (Kabul) leadership that we will not back security operations that are politically motivated, nor support political leaders who order such operations those who advocate for or support parallel government.”

The reference is unmistakably to the the troika of hardliners surrounding Ghani, comprising “Vice-President” Amrullah Saleh, NSA Hamdullah Mohib and Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid.

However, the state department statement leaves the door open to “revisit the reviews initiated”, provided the Afghan leaders “choose to form an inclusive government that can provide security and participate in the peace process.”

The alacrity with which this statement has come implies that President Trump directed Pompeo to convey to the Kabul elite that his patience has run out and to reiterate that no matter the shenanigans of Afghan politicians, “We are proceeding with the conditions-based withdrawal of our forces in accordance with the U.S.-Taliban agreement.”

This is the nearest Trump has come to threatening that if push comes to shove, he may unilaterally end the war and wash his hands of it.

Evidently, Washington is calling Ghani’s bluff who bragged recently that Kabul has the necessary resources to carry on for at least two years even without any US assistance, signalling his grit to dissociate from the US’ peace talks with the Taliban.

On its part, Washington has put Ghani on notice that if the game plan of the hardliners in his circle is to precipitate security situations with a view to drag the US military into violent confrontations with the Taliban and thereby destroy the understanding forged painstakingly through the negotiations in Doha during the past year and more, that won’t happen.

Equally, Washington has distanced itself from the political rift between Ghani and Abdullah by making it clear that it has no favourites.

The startling development has three dimensions to it. First and foremost, will the Trump administration’s shock therapy have a sobering effect on the rival Afghan factions locked in a struggle for power?

The answer is, unfortunately, that such a probability is unlikely to happen as per current indications — given the vaulting ambitions of the protagonists. Both Ghani and Abdullah also have associates who would have their own agenda.

Having said that, Afghans also have a great tradition of reaching compromises and consensus at the last minute before an irrevocable break-up. Such a fortuitous turn of events can happen in the present circumstances only if Ghani accepts a coalition government with power-sharing of key security portfolios.

Arguably,  the struggle may even take an ugly form and become “physical” unless great self-restraint is exercised. There are ominous reports that the warlords have come out of the woodwork and are marshalling their militia.

The government also commands shadowy militia groups beyond the pale of law who have been trained by the US to function as a state within the state. Indeed, Afghanistan has a violent history and its democratic temper is only skin-deep. Peaceful transfer of power is a recent phenomenon under the US diktat.

Second, what will be the impact on the security situation? The critical factor here is that, undeniably, there are ethnic undertones to the Ghani-Abdullah political rift and how they might impact the cohesion of the Afghan army and security forces is anybody’s guess. Of course, the US has been bankrolling the Afghan army.

To jog memory, it was Najib’s inability to pay the salaries of the Uzbek militia guarding Kabul city in the critical period since the Soviets withdrew aid that ultimately became a clincher for Rashid Dostum’s treacherous defection to the Mujahideen camp of Ahmed Shah Massoud that in turn resulted in the roof coming down on the communist regime.

Third, how will the Taliban react to these big shifts in the politico-military alignment? Clearly, the Taliban are already at peace with the US forces. Strict orders have been given to the commanders not to engage the US military.

Thus, the state department’s assurance that the US military will not be a party to any conspiracies by the hardliners in Kabul to precipitate confrontations with the Taliban becomes important. In good measure, Pompeo also flew to Doha to meet the Taliban leaders to discuss the current impasse. The Taliban will make careful note of Washington’s eagerness to stick to the Doha pact — and it will reciprocate. 

Now, if Ghani resorts to delaying tactics much longer in releasing the Taliban, it may provoke the Taliban into ending the current (tacit) ceasefire and step up its operations against the Afghan security forces with a view to demoralise them.

There are also indications of the Taliban having infiltrated the Afghan army and police and security agencies.

Suffice to say, it will come as a surprise if the Taliban does not take advantage of a most conducive situation arising in Afghanistan — a rump administration ruling the roost in Kabul, lacking in political legitimacy (and the US distancing from it); the grim political struggle for supremacy amongst the Afghan factions that may take a violent form; the chain of command of Afghan forces coming under stress due to the ethnic fissures; and, the strong possibility of Trump unilaterally extricating the US out of the war at some point in a near future.

The big question is whether the Taliban will be savvy enough to wait for Kabul to fall like a rotten apple or will they hastily pluck it as a low-hanging fruit.

The bottom line is that the Taliban (and Pakistan which mentors it) would see that the political ascendance of the Taliban in Kabul, whenever it is due, happens with international legitimacy. The Trump administration’s stated preference still is to reach a negotiated peace settlement as envisaged under the Doha pact through intra-Afghan dialogue. And the Taliban too adheres to the Doha pact. 

It is unlikely that the Taliban will opt for a decision to grab power through force. The preference at this stage will be to pitch for an interim government that is inclusive so as to carry as many Afghan factions as possible.

Make no mistake that time works in the Taliban’s favour. Unlike in the past, the Taliban has networked extensively with the international community in the recent years — especially with the major regional states — and its interest lies in securing world recognition for any future government under its leadership.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 6 Comments

4 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan test positive for coronavirus, 38 more isolated with ‘flu-like symptoms’

RT | March 24, 2020

Four newly arrived NATO servicemen have tested positive for Covid-19 in Afghanistan, while dozens more have been quarantined with symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus, the US-led mission said.

Information about the four infected servicemen will be withheld “pending release from the appropriate national authorities,” the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

Around 1,500 soldiers and civilians have been quarantined by the mission as a “preventive measure.” Most of them have either recently arrived in Afghanistan, or returned from leave. Of the quarantined servicemen, 38 were isolated after displaying “flu-like symptoms,” which are frequent among Covid-19 patients.

On Friday, US Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told reporters that 45 people within the Army have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including 21 soldiers, six civilians, eight family members and ten contractors.

Last month, all US military sites in South Korea were placed on lockdown after an employee at one of the bases tested positive for Covid-19.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 34 Comments

Yemen’s Ansarullah welcomes UN call for global ceasefire to tackle coronavirus pandemic

Press TV – March 24, 2020

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has welcomed a call by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a ceasefire in all conflicts worldwide amid a global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, said in a tweet on Monday that Sana’a welcomes the UN chief’s call and supports a halt in attacks by the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies against Yemen.

The movement, he said, also seeks the lifting of an aerial and maritime blockade imposed on Yemen by the Saudi regime and its coalition allies since early 2015, to facilitate the adoption of preventive measures against the coronavirus outbreak.

The United States and Britain are not part of the Saudi-led alliance but have been providing all sorts of support to the bloody war.

Speaking to reporters from the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, Guterres called for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world,” adding, “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on true fight of our lives, pull back from hostilities and put aside mistrust & animosities.”

The United Nations has been trying to mediate an end to conflicts in countries including Syria, Yemen and Libya, while also providing humanitarian assistance to millions of civilians.

Guterres warned that in war-torn countries health systems have collapsed and the small number of health professionals left were often targeted in the fighting.

While Yemen has not recorded any COVID-19 cases to date, the possibility of an outbreak threatens the war-ravaged country’s already fragile healthcare system.

Last week, Houthi warned that the Saudi-led coalition of aggressors will be responsible for a possible spread of the virus to Yemen, citing the negative impacts of the siege.

Houthi’s comments come as Yemen is preparing to mark, on March 26, the fifth anniversary of the military campaign, which the Saudi regime and a number of its vassal states launched to reinstall a Riyadh-backed former regime in Yemen.

The Western-backed offensive, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed the country’s infrastructure.

The aggression has also led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where over 1,000 people, including many kids, were killed and hundreds of thousands afflicted by cholera, diphtheria, measles and dengue fever in 2019, according to the World Health Organization.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The War in Vietnam: John Wayne Was Wrong

By Marko | The Voluntaryist Reader | 12/10/2012

John Wayne’s Vietnam-era pro-war classic, The Green Berets opens with a scene of a press conference. It starts off with a group of Green Berets introducing themselves to the press, which is followed by a Q&A session with two Green Berets sergeants who have been assigned to answer questions. The scene reaches a crescendo when a reporter asks one of the sergeants if the war in Vietnam does not seem like a war between the Vietnamese and if the Americans should therefore stay out of it. Hearing this, the visibly irritated sergeant proceeds to pick up captured Vietnamese firearms from a display board nearby, and drops them in front of the reporter one by one, all the while explaining in a voice laden with hostile emotion that the weapons are Chinese-made, Soviet-made and Czechoslovakian-made respectively.

The implication is clear. The war in Vietnam is not merely an internal Vietnamese affair, because quite aside from the American factor in the war there is also the Soviet, the Chinese, even the Czechoslovakian factor. It is therefore on the account of this involvement of foreign Communist powers in Vietnam that the United States has to involve itself on the other side.

Now it is easy to see the inadequacy of that argument. Providing war material, even on a vast scale, is in no way comparable to a direct military intervention carried out with an occupation force of half a million soldiers, which is how many the United States had in Vietnam at the time The Green Berets aired in 1968.* Clearly the American involvement in Vietnam went far beyond what was necessary to balance out the involvement of the Soviets, the Chinese, or the Czechoslovaks, on the side of Hanoi.

But is it even true the American involvement was a reaction, perhaps an exaggerated reaction, to the Soviet, etc involvement? What were the actual cause and effect, in life rather than on film? Were the Americans in Vietnam because Soviet shipments of weaponry were going there, or were the Soviets shipping weaponry to Vietnam because the Americans had come there? How does this and other claims of war propagandists of the time stack up against what we know from the works of historians today?

In fact, where the Soviets are concerned their relationship with the Vietnamese before the American intervention in Vietnam was at its nadir precisely because the Soviet Union would not support DRV (North Vietnam) in reunifying Vietnam by military means. Soviet aid to DRV in this period, that is when the North was facilitating the struggle of the NLF (“Viet Cong”) in the South and before direct American involvement on a great scale, was relatively small and almost exclusively economic, not military.

When the unifying elections called for by the Geneva Accords of 1954 that had ended the French War in Vietnam did not come about, Hanoi gradually resolved to wage a military campaign to oust the American-backed government in the South. In this, however, it did not have the support of Moscow.

The Soviets feared American intervention which would have to result in an American-Soviet confrontation that would interfere with their policy line of “peaceful coexistence” with the Capitalist bloc. They made it clear to Hanoi they supported its struggle to reunify Vietnam only in as much as it was pursued by diplomatic means and encouraged Hanoi to pursue a peaceful strategy.

Vietnamese Communists shared many of the concerns being voiced by Moscow, but ultimately pressed on regardless. Both the Vietnamese and the Soviets were acutely aware that waging a violent struggle for reunification could result in an American invasion in Vietnam. They were both uneasy about this prospect and regarded it as highly undesirable, even disastrous. The difference was that the Vietnamese were ultimately willing to accept a confrontation with the Americans if they stood in the way of the reunification of their country, but the Soviets were not.

It was not until the time of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which marked the official entry of the United States into the war in Vietnam that the USSR begun to provide DRV with military assistance. The Soviets had held back on providing Vietnamese Communists with war material because this would encourage them to wage war in the South, which could in turn result in an American intervention. Now that Americans had intervened regardless, the Soviets no longer had a reason to continue to hold back. Whatever they did, the Americans were already in Vietnam. Now they would provide the Vietnamese with aid, because that was the only way these could hope to prevail against the Americans.

An additional reason for the Soviet reversal on the question of military assistance was to regain the influence they had lost with North Vietnam to China. In 1954 Moscow and Beijing had pressured the Vietnamese Communists into signing the Geneva Accords, which ended the French War in Indochina, but also split Vietnam in half.** Since then both China and the Soviet Union acted as a moderating force on Hanoi. They encouraged the Vietnamese to pursue the goal of reunification by peaceful means only, even after these had clearly shown themselves to be ineffectual when unifying elections called for by the Accords failed to materialize.

Following the Sino-Soviet split, however, Beijing gradually moved away from this position and came to see a military struggle could complement diplomatic and propaganda efforts. In time, the Chinese position would become further radicalized and they would reject the notion that negotiations could be of any use at all. It is important to understand, however, that Beijing came to approve of the armed struggle of the Vietnamese only in 1961, fully two years after the Vietnamese had gone ahead with it.

The change in the position of the PRC and the resultant increase in assistance to Vietnam enabled the Chinese-Vietnamese relationship to thrive. In the context of the Sino-Soviet confrontation within the Communist camp North Vietnam was now aligning ever more closely to China. That is, until the American intervention in the war caused the Soviets to launch a giant, Lend Lease-like program of military assistance to the DRV and regain their lost influence with Hanoi.

The key thing to take from here is that it was not the case that the Vietnamese fell under China’s influence which directed them to pursue the goal of unification of their country with military means. The Vietnamese were orienting themselves to that of the two Communist powers which would support them in their own policy line on South Vietnam. Chinese-Vietnamese relations could thrive precisely because China had come to adopt Hanoi’s view of peaceful means to reunify Vietnam as inadequate. The Soviet Union in turn could regain its influence over DRV and pull it back from the Chinese camp only when it had dropped its opposition to the military struggle of the Vietnamese.

The presence of Soviet and Chinese-made firearms in Vietnamese hands did not in fact point to the latter being simply the agents of monolithic Communism with designs over the entire globe as John Wayne wanted Americans to believe in 1968. In actuality, by going to war the Vietnamese Communists had defied the Kremlin and had frustrated its plans. It was precisely by opting for a military struggle that the DRV leadership had demonstrated its freedom of action. It was also the case that the USSR did everything it could to spare the US its calamitous war in Vietnam.

The Soviets attempted to dissuade the Vietnamese leadership from waging a military struggle even at the cost of losing nearly all its influence in Hanoi and seeing North Vietnam slide into the Chinese camp. If the mistake the Soviets committed was failing to appreciate just how important it was to the Vietnamese to reunify their country, it was a mistake the Americans tragically made as well. In part, due to propagandists like John Wayne who put out the idiotic drivel of the Vietnamese struggle for reunification as a matter of “world Communist domination”.

~ Marko

Source: Mari Olsen, Soviet–Vietnam Relations and the Role of China, 1949–64: Changing Alliances (New York: Routledge, 2006)


*Albeit by the time The Green Berets aired this was no longer the case, the Chinese also stationed troops in Vietnam, specifically in the Communist-run Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), but on a far smaller scale. In all 320,000 Chinese anti-aircraft and engineer troops served in Vietnam in comparison to 2.7 million Americans. The Chinese deployed in North Vietnam in mid 1965, in response to the Americans landing in the South. They evacuated in early 1968, having suffered about 1100 dead, mainly in the American bombing of the North.

**The two powers went as far as to signal the Viet Minh that rejecting the Accords may result in their ending their material assistance to the movement’s struggle.

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Film Review, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

These sickening videos of Australian SAS troops murdering unarmed Afghan civilians are a disgrace to my country

By Damian Wilson | RT | March 18, 2020

The graphic footage, filmed by body cameras worn by the elite troops and broadcast on national television, must lead to the soldiers being tried for murder.

Australians always look forward to celebrating Anzac Day, but this year it will be different because a pall of shame has fallen over our armed forces thanks to a jaw-dropping TV expose aired this week that showed elite Aussie soldiers murdering Afghan civilians in cold blood when they were supposed to be protecting them from the Taliban.

While a four-year inquiry into the behavior of its soldiers in Afghanistan, by the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force, is still to deliver on its investigation, the chances of alleged war crimes being swept under the rug thanks to lying soldiers misguidedly protecting their comrades, misinformation from witnesses, or from a political cover-up, have just been blown out of the water.

Thanks to whistleblower Braden Chapman, a former army intelligence officer who witnessed the atrocities first hand in 2012, no one can ignore the reality of what happened as the Aussie Special Air Services Regiment (SAS) stormed the dusty villages of Afghanistan in search of those it considered legitimate targets.

Among the alleged crimes, Chapman says he witnessed an army dog handler allowing his charge to chew on the head of a newly-murdered man, another where an elite troop punched a child in the face and a third showing a soldier seemingly in the grip of ‘blood lust’ firing indiscriminately and throwing thermal grenades from close range into a mud hut occupied by several Afghan combatants.

Then there is the execution of a young, apparently unarmed Afghan man in a quiet wheat field. Shot from a distance of around two meters, his killer seems indifferent to the fact that his act was being filmed.

Somehow, those involved in several of the incidents explored in the documentary had already faced investigation over their actions but were found to have acted lawfully. Looks like they might have some further questions to answer now.

The culprits will regret that alongside their modern-tech weapons and armor they wore high definition body cameras that caught some of the inhumanity, and equally grim audio commentary, during their operations to flush out enemy combatants.

Several of the worst offenders, caught clearly on camera apparently murdering Afghans with thermal grenades, guns and through severe beatings, are still serving in the ADF. Though probably not for much longer thanks to their grinning murderous faces being caught for posterity on 4K video.

As an Australian, I am deeply ashamed by these disgraceful, impossible to deny scenes.

Our armed forces, and particularly their courageous, selfless behavior abroad while on active duty have always been a source of immense pride to Aussies.

Anzac Day (April 25) is a national holiday in our country, initially instituted to celebrate the contribution of Australian and New Zealand soldiers toward the ultimately futile Gallipoli campaign in the First World War that cost the lives of nearly 12,000 soldiers from the two nations among an Allied total of 56,000. The day of remembrance later widened its scope to include the sacrifices by soldiers from Down Under in all wars.

Nowadays, far from being a relic of the past, Anzac Day is celebrated by an increasing number of young Australians, many of whom attend ceremonies swathed in Aussie flags, wearing green and gold T-shirts and beanies and with national flag temporary tattoos on their cheeks.

Across the country, dawn ceremonies are held in memory of the time of the original landing on the Gallipoli peninsula, after which many take a traditional ‘gunfire breakfast’ – coffee with added rum – in memory of the sustenance taken by Aussie soldiers before battle.

It’s all highly symbolic and reflective stuff. Not taken lightly nor ever mocked even by the usually irreverent Aussies.

So to have the reputation of Australian fighting men and women representing the nation abroad dragged through the mud by rogue murderers in disgraceful scenes, all caught on camera and broadcast on the national broadcaster’s foremost investigative affairs programme on a Monday evening, is a devastating blow to national pride.

To realise that some of these animals are still serving in the ADF takes your breath away. It’s as simple as Braden Chapman says: “You can’t shoot unarmed people and not call that murder.”

Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 6 Comments

U.S. Forces Withdraw From Key Base Near Syrian Border. More Rocket Attacks On U.S. Targets In Iraq

South Front | March 18, 2020

Late on March 17, at least three rockets struck the area near the US embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. This was the fourth such attack in the span of a week. A day earlier, a pair of rockets struck the Besmaya base south of Baghdad. This military facility is the second largest military base operated by the US-led coalition in Iraq after Camp Taji.

The threat of rocket attacks already forced the US military to announce that it is evacuating some of its bases in the country. The al-Qaim base, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, is among them. The al-Qaim facility has been an important logistical and operational hub employed by US forces for operations in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Its presence there, as well as in Syria’s al-Tanf, has allowed the US to project its power along the Syrian-Iraqi border more effectively and to support Israeli military actions against Iranian-backed forces in the area.

Al-Qaim is located on the highway between the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. The town of al-Bukamal, which Israeli and US media often label as a stronghold of Iranian-backed forces, is located on the Syrian side of the border.

The withdrawal from al-Qaim is a signal that the US has been forced to admit that its attempts to cut off the land link between Syria, Iraq and Iran have failed. Washington was seeking to prevent a free movement of troops, weapons and other supplies from one country to another.

Meanwhile in Syria, the Idlib zone remains the main focus of tensions. Idlib armed groups and their supporters continue blocking efforts to create a security zone along the M4 highway in southern Idlib, as had been agreed by Turkey and Russia. These actions are accompanied by a fierce war propaganda campaign against the Damascus government, Iran and Russia. If the situation develops in this direction and further, the only remaining option to implement the new de-escalation deal and neutralize the terrorist threat will be a new military operation.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine delegation meets with Russian foreign minister

MEMO | March 18, 2020

On Tuesday a delegation from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) met with Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and special presidential representative for the Middle East and Africa and deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, in the Russian capital of Moscow.

According to a statement issued by the DFLP, the two sides discussed the general situation in the Middle East, specifically the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people’s national rights. This came in light of the repercussions of US President Donald Trump’s endeavour to liquidate the cause of the Palestinians and confine the Palestinian state to a series of isolated patches of land ghettos, under the hegemony of the occupation state and its apartheid laws.

The DFLP stated that the two parties agreed that Trump’s vision violates international standards to solve the Palestinian issue, and constitutes a complete disregard for international legitimacy resolutions, as well as a threat to the stability of the region, in addition to paving the way for the emergence of more conflicts.

The two sides described the Israeli policies in the occupied areas as violations of international legitimacy resolutions, rising to the level of war crimes.

The two parties agreed that the United Nations, the International Council for Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are required to assume their political, legal and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian people.

The two sides stressed the necessity to end the division among Palestinian political actors, and reunite the Palestinian front in the face of the occupation and settlement, as well as Trump’s plan.

The two parties reaffirmed the Palestinian people’s right to fight for a fully sovereign independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, and to resolve the refugee issue in accordance with Resolution 194, which grants them the right of return.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Forced displacement and the US-Israel special relationship

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | March 18, 2020

Democrats in the US House of Representatives have sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking the government to ensure that Israel is not using military equipment supplied or financed by America to perpetuate the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians.

“As supporters of the US-Israel special relationship and in light of the longstanding use of US-origin and supplied equipment by Israeli security forces,” they wrote, “we specifically request an examination of Israeli compliance with the requirements.” This was a reference to the US Arms Export Control Act which does not permit recipient countries to use such equipment unless for “legitimate self-defence” purposes.

The US said the Representatives, “should work to prevent unlawful home demolitions and the forcible transfer of civilians everywhere in the world and prevent the use of US-origin equipment in this destructive practice.”

Politically, though, the US-Israel relationship will take precedence over any human rights concerns. A letter by supporters of this relationship is already compromised in terms of upholding the colonial narrative and separating the recent statistics regarding home demolitions from the historical ethnic cleansing of Palestine which paved the way for colonial Israel’s establishment.

In light of the US “deal of the century” and the impending annexation of more Palestinian land, there is an inherent futility in this exercise of demanding answers from the government. It might satisfy some uneasy consciences but it will not contribute anything to the Palestinian people in terms of safeguarding their legitimate rights.

The deal of the century has demonstrated that what Israel has been doing all along — imposing unilateral measures to expand its colonial project — has given the Zionist state perpetual impunity. Israel, now aided by the US overtly, is ahead of the international community and its stagnant practices when it comes to human rights violations and international law. The US, like other countries, should be working towards eradicating forced displacement. Instead, it has chosen to support Israel’s expansion and penned a deal which will increase the number of people displaced.

Asking for clarification as a means to preserve US support for Israel defeats the purpose of trying to ensure that the end use of US aid is lawful. This contradictory approach must not be construed as a step forward in protecting Palestinians’ rights. It is a perfunctory exercise that detracts from the international law violation at hand, which is America’s political support for Israel’s annexation plans.

The letter shows how human rights concerns are being subjected to political allegiances. It does not call for a suspension of the “special relationship” between the US and Israel, but rather selectively targets a sliver of cooperation which facilitates Israel’s colonial expansion. It is well known that Israel manipulates its self-declared “exceptionalism” to prolong its violations against the Palestinian people and that the US is happy to play along with this.

“My hope is that Israel will stop the home demolitions and will see that there are many supporters of the US-Israel relationship on this letter,” explained US Representative Rohit Khanna. Such emphasis clarifies the underlying intent; the signatories may oppose forced displacement, but the political relationship will continue to take precedence, rather than make Israel reflect upon the consequences of what the International Criminal Court has clearly defined as war crimes.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment