A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video that turned my stomach. It showed some Pathans (Pashtuns, Taliban, take your pick) with several severed heads that they displayed by holding them by the hair, then they dropped the heads and kicked them around like soccer balls, giggling and laughing as they did so.
My first reaction was of utter disgust, I turned it off. Then I replayed it and paused it at different points and thought about it and suddenly I no longer saw animals, fanatical brutes doing inhuman things to their victims, I saw something entirely different; I saw a worldwide problem that gives life to such.
The people holding the severed heads were no older than children, they giggled in a childish way when they kicked the heads around…they WERE children! These children were doing horrific things, probably shutting their minds to the reality of what they were doing, but doing them in order to be “In”, to belong to their group, rather than to risk being “Out”. The scene was not much different from a school bullying scene where the bullies do the bad things, a few kids join them to be among the ‘in” crowd and others remain silent because they do not wish to stand out or, to be rejected. The fact that they were Muslim, had nothing to do with the matter, they had been manipulated and controlled by the fanatics, they were no different from the child soldiers of Congo, Liberia, Angola and Uganda for whom the entire “Civilized” world shows compassion and care and whom the entire “Civilized” world wants to reform and rehabilitate. But these were kids that the entire “Civilized” world wants to kill in any way they can, utilizing Drones, special Forces and even the armed forces of the host nations (Pakistan, Afghanistan etc.,) to slaughter them with impunity…”in order to keep the world safe” they say.
How did these children come to such a state of affairs and what can be done for them? Continue reading
What is going on in Syria is not a “War”, nor a “Civil War”, it is a game being played by the major powers, principally the US and Israel, where the goal is to weaken the Shia and Sunni participants and perhaps, get an opening to deal a death-blow to Hizbollah. The willing players in this game, are the Shia and Sunni Syrians who are being goaded into an unbridgeable sectarian war with each other. Ultimately, the winners will be the Western powers and the losers will be everyone in Syria, plus Hizbollah in Lebanon.
When Hafez Al-Assad died in June 2000 and his son Bashar Al Assad took over, there was a brief period of hope that this British-trained Ophthalmologist would bring some freedom to the country and maybe a degree of democracy. After all, Bashar was a reluctant heir-apparent because it was his older brother Bassel, who was being groomed to take over, not him.
Bashar did bring in a little liberalization here and there, but people who held high hopes for the introduction of democracy and freedom in Syria were doomed to be disappointed. Things got tighter and tighter until March of 2011, when the people of Syria started a popular movement for the end of Assad rule and for a popular government rule in Syria. The movement was generally peaceful in the beginning, with people from all sects and religions participating against the Assad regime, but the regime successfully divided the people using fear of the “other” to gain greater support. At first, Bashar’s government sought support from their own sect, the Alawites of Syria. The government took advantage of the fact that about 70% of Syrians were Sunni while the country was ruled by the tiny Alawite Sect which is closer to Shia. The government portrayed the opposition as being close-minded Sunnis who would exact revenge on the Alawites for the tyrannical rule of the Alawite Assad family; it was a persuasive argument and the tiny Alawite minority felt they had no choice but to support Assad. The government’s next step was to approach the Christians and other minority sects who were struggling to remain neutral and tell them that an intolerant, pro-Saudi government can only bring brutal oppression on them. Continue reading
Updated March 13, 2012…
When the news of a US soldier going out to kill Afghans, first broke, American media were focusing on TWO deaths even as they also reported that the Afghanis were saying about 17 had been killed. Almost immediately other diffusers and excuses began to pour forth, giving “News Coverage” a new meaning.
The New York Times can STILL not bring itself to report the 16 murders without offering some softening words; in the headline, the US soldier is said to kill civilians even as NYT goes on to describe what the soldier (from our Puget Sound area) did:
New York Times: “U.S. Sergeant Is Said to Kill 16 Civilians in Afghanistan“
- “…the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. The man gathered 11 bodies, including those of 4 girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.”
As if to justify the murders or at least, to minimize the tragedy, Super-Patriot, Angry-Bird John McCain shamelessly shifted the focus to 9-11 instead of offering even a few grudging words of regret or sympathy.
“We should not forget that the attacks on the United States of America originated in Afghanistan,” Senator John McCain told CNN. Inferring of course, that a few deaths of the unwashed, here or there, should not be a cause for concern. Continue reading
- Business Week Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — A European Union embargo on Iranian oil will probably be phased in to protect countries with the greatest reliance on imports from the country, according to an EU official familiar with the talks.
- Telegraph (UK): Japan agrees to cut dependency on Iranian oil as US scores significant coup against regime…
However, any embargos are only likely to come into effect gradually. Refiners generally buy two thirds of their crude on long term contracts, and these will probably be honoured. The proposed EU embargo – which all member states are understood to endorse in principle – is likely to be phased in over a period of up to 12 months.
Out-going Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen accused Pakistan of not only aiding terrorism against the US, but of fomenting it by supporting and directing the militant Haqqani network. By the way, the Haqqanis are located among the semi-autonomous, Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and are a US-manufactured group dating back to the days of our war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Not to be out-done, calls are coming from Congress to take military action against Pakistanand to send US troops within Pakistan to resolve the “Haqqani problem”; it is, after all, time for elections.
While such strong statements may pander well to the American public, they do nothing to help ease the increasingly worsening situation in the “Af-Pak” region in fact, such speeches only underscore the dismal state of understanding of the problems in that region. America defines problems exclusively as they relate to itself and attempts to define the origins and broader impacts of the underlying issues, are regarded as treason. Continue reading