Category: Middle East

Who Are the Real Terrorists in the Mideast?

Consider just one. At the end of the class on World War II, I always asked: “What is the moral difference between flying three planes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon—killing 3,000 civilians—and using hundreds of U.S. planes to firebomb Tokyo on March 9, 1945—killing some 90,000 civilians?” Suffice it to say that most cadets didn’t like this question at all.

In sum, as we compare the two military organizations, one must conclude, ultimately, that CENTCOM is at least as terrorist as the IRGC. Maybe more.

No doubt many critics will label this assessment “treasonous.” I call it “ethically consistent.”

Let history be the judge.

via Who Are the Real Terrorists in the Mideast?

With new pro-Iran Iraq Coalition, Tehran Outmaneuvers Trump-Saudi-Israeli Axis

 

Al-Sadr, however, has just announced that he will form a post-election coalition with Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of a heavily pro-Iranian political list, Fatah, that comprises party-militias backed by Iran, who played a major role in defeated the hard line Sunni ISIL terrorist group that took over northern and western Iraq 2014-2017.

via With new pro-Iran Iraq Coalition, Tehran Outmaneuvers Trump-Saudi-Israeli Axis

Apocalyptic Numbers: The Saudi-Trump War on Yemen | Informed Comment

Apocalyptic Numbers: The Saudi-Trump War on Yemen

Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed indiscriminately. A third of their targets have been civilian buildings like schools or hospitals or key civilian infrastructure like bridges. Perhaps half the people they’ve killed have been civilian non-combatants, including children.

Also deadly have been the public health effects of the war.

The numbers on the Saudi-led Yemen War are apocalyptic, worse even than Syria.

The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen is 22.2 million – or 76% of the population – including 11.3 million children.

The Saudis and allies have hit Yemen with 15,000 airstrikes.

5,000 children have been killed.

8,700 civilians have been killed

50,000 civilians have been wounded

1.9 million children are not in school, and both sides have recruited children, some as young as ten, as fighters

11.3 million children need humanitarian assistance, with many on the verge of going hungry.

All in all, 22.2 million Yemenis of all ages need humanitarian assistance, 3/4s of the population.

There have been a million cholera cases and there is the threat of another outbreak.

via Apocalyptic Numbers: The Saudi-Trump War on Yemen | Informed Comment

It is all about the Oil: US Diplomats on Mideast Obsession | Informed Comment

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“Ten thousand more dead civilians in the Middle East, in a region that’s seen 1 million in the last 30 years, by my count… are not going to deter the Saudis and the Israelis from acting against this threat,” he said.

The Threat loss of OIL

“The geostrategic and economic factors that made the Middle East so important to our national security in the past are just as potent today,” Edelman said. Even with recent increases in U.S. energy production as a result of the fracking revolution, “real or even potential disruptions to the flow of oil anywhere would have serious negative effects on our economy.”

With his remarks, Edelman made it clear that U.S. officials continue to value the Middle East for its oil. The region “contains half of global proven oil reserves, accounts for one-third of oil production and exports, and is home to three of the world’s four biggest oil transit chokepoints,” he explained.

via It is all about the Oil: US Diplomats on Mideast Obsession | Informed Comment

The Strange, Shadowy and Contradictory World of “Counter-Terrorism Experts”

 

Despite allegations of US-led western connivance being denied, the subsequent leaking by Qatar of an official US National Security Agency (NSA) document reference (TS/SI/NF) S2E332 in October, has confirmed the armed opposition in Syria ‘was under the direct command of foreign governments from the earliest days of the conflict’. (2) Furthermore, the NSA document confirmed collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilise Syria.

The Syrian rebels also appear to have been well-financed and equipped with armaments provided by the US through contractors and their front companies in Eastern Europe. An estimated $2.2 billion Soviet-era weapons were actually made available by the Pentagon to rebel groups according to Scott Bennett, a former US Army Operations Officer. (4)

The Strange, Shadowy and Contradictory World of “Counter-Terrorism Experts”

More civilian Airstrike Deaths under Trump than in 8 years of Obama | Informed Comment

Trump would be wise to heed this warning. Even as U.S. forces continue to turn the tide on IS, the trail of destruction left in the campaign’s wake is unsettling. The specter of massive civilian casualties will remain a rallying point for new terrorist organizations long after anti-IS operations conclude.

Source: More civilian Airstrike Deaths under Trump than in 8 years of Obama | Informed Comment

What’s the story with the siege on Doha? | +972 Magazine

It is very difficult to accept at face value this newfound determination to defeat terrorism by the Gulf states by humiliating a smaller neighbor whose differences consist primarily of alternative choices of distasteful proxies. By Gary Sick There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the…

Source: What’s the story with the siege on Doha? | +972 Magazine

Lebanon is a sectarian nation, yet it has avoided civil war while the Middle East burns – here’s why | The Independent

Maybe it’s because I live in Lebanon, and return to Beirut from Aleppo and Damascus, that the place seems so “normal”.

Source: Lebanon is a sectarian nation, yet it has avoided civil war while the Middle East burns – here’s why | The Independent

Kunduz Redux: Australia joins US in Deir al-Zour cock up. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

On Saturday at 5pm local time US Central Command launched airstrikes on Syrian army positions in Deir al-Zour in the Thardeh Mountain region, killing 62 Syrian Aran Army soldiers and leaving over 100 injured. The SAA was defending a position it had recently reclaimed from Islamic State, and the air strike enabled IS militants to…

Source: Kunduz Redux: Australia joins US in Deir al-Zour cock up. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Kuwait swelters in 54C heat – what could be the highest temperature ever recorded on earth | Middle East | News | The Independent

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If you’re feeling flustered by the mini-heathwave over parts of the UK and Europe at the moment, then you’ll want to avoid the Middle East right now. On Thursday a blistering temperature of 54C (129.3F) was recorded in Kuwait, firmly putting our hot spell into context. It is the highest temperature ever recorded in the eastern hemisphere and almost certainly the highest temperature ever recorded on earth.

Source: Kuwait swelters in 54C heat – what could be the highest temperature ever recorded on earth | Middle East | News | The Independent

Baghdad bombing: Isis’s most deadly attack in weeks is the one the world probably cares about least | Middle East | News | The Independent

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First, they came for Istanbul. On Tuesday night, three suspected Isis militants launched a brazen assault on Turkey’s main airport, exploding their suicide vests after gunning down numerous passengers and airport staff.

Source: Baghdad bombing: Isis’s most deadly attack in weeks is the one the world probably cares about least | Middle East | News | The Independent

‘Terrorist flow to Europe is Turkish policy’ & ‘SAS in Libya’ – Jordanian king’s US briefing leaked — RT News

The UK has covertly deployed special forces in Libya, Israel is turning a blind eye to Al-Nusra, and Turkey wants radical Islamists to prevail in the Middle East and go to Europe, are the shocking insights King Abdullah of Jordan confidentially shared with US lawmakers.

Source: ‘Terrorist flow to Europe is Turkish policy’ & ‘SAS in Libya’ – Jordanian king’s US briefing leaked — RT News

‘1st Gulf War biggest outcome – US still there, has no intention to leave’ — RT Op-Edge

People should not be fooled by the branding “1st Gulf War/2nd Gulf War/Iraq War” since what is going on today is the extension of that war and part of larger strategy to control the region, says Michael McPhearson, veteran of the 1st Gulf War.

Source: ‘1st Gulf War biggest outcome – US still there, has no intention to leave’ — RT Op-Edge

Revisiting misconceptions about “chaos” in the Arab region – Your Middle East

The first misconception is the existence of a “true”, supra-historic Islam. A raging fight is currently taking place of who truly represents “Islam

Source: Revisiting misconceptions about “chaos” in the Arab region – Your Middle East

US Soldiers & Wikileaks Come Together & Tell The Truth About What’s Really Happening In The Middle East | Collective-Evolution

Photo Cred As the elections in the United States continue to attract attention, one major topic of concern is the so called ‘war on terrorism.’ The continuous conflict that’s plagued the Middle East for years continues to move forward, and as former 4 star United States General and Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO told […]

Source: US Soldiers & Wikileaks Come Together & Tell The Truth About What’s Really Happening In The Middle East | Collective-Evolution

Everyone tried confrontation. Here’s a better road for the Middle East – Your Middle East

As the Iranian nuclear deal with the U.S. and the five other global powers goes into effect, this is an opportune time to consider the next steps the international c

Source: Everyone tried confrontation. Here’s a better road for the Middle East – Your Middle East

“Monstrous and irreversible injustice”: Human rights groups, experts condemn repression by Saudi Arabia – Salon.com

After mass beheadings of 47 people, human rights leaders challenge U.S. support for the extremist Saudi monarchy

Source: “Monstrous and irreversible injustice”: Human rights groups, experts condemn repression by Saudi Arabia – Salon.com

Saudi Arabia: execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East | World news | The Guardian

Iranian government and religious leaders say killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr will have serious repercussions for royal family

Source: Saudi Arabia: execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East | World news | The Guardian

Is Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorist alliance real? | Oliver Miles | Opinion | The Guardian

Any Saudi push to fight terrorism is welcome, but this announcement of an international Islamic coalition is hard to swallow – and has worrying omissions

Source: Is Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorist alliance real? | Oliver Miles | Opinion | The Guardian

Military solution ‘impossible’ in parts of Middle East: CIA chief – Your Middle East

Brennan, who spoke at an intelligence conference in Washington on Tuesday, was joined by other security officials and industry experts.”When I look at Libya, Syria

Source: Military solution ‘impossible’ in parts of Middle East: CIA chief – Your Middle East

Love, sex and the burden of shame on the Arab woman: changing the narrative – Your Middle East

A monster lives among the Arabs. Its sole purpose is to terrify people from love and sex. No one has seen it, but we’ve all heard it. The monster whispers at t

Source: Love, sex and the burden of shame on the Arab woman: changing the narrative – Your Middle East

13 million children denied education by Middle East wars – Coalition lays the seeds of future anger

In a report on the impact of conflict on education in six countries and territories across the region, the United Nation’s children fund UNICEF said more than 8,85

Source: 13 million children denied education by Middle East wars – Your Middle East

AA inShare Kamilia Lahrichi Last updated: April 15, 2015 How tobacco companies are aggressively pushing into the Middle East

An Iraqi man smokes a cigarette a hotel in central Baghdad in 2010. The Iraqi parliament has approved an anti-smoking law

The Middle East, which has the most rapidly growing rate of smokers on the planet, has become a lucrative marketplace for tobacco companies, as they are reaping the benefits of laxer regulations on smoking than in Western nations, increasing incomes and a booming young population.

More worrisome, the tobacco industry is appealing to youth with specific marketing and advertising strategies, such as special packaging, health experts and policy-makers warned at the International Conference on Tobacco or Health that ended on March 21 in Abu Dhabi. The five-day event has called for stricter tobacco control worldwide.

In emerging economies like Morocco or Egypt, it is common to see children as young as seven-year old smoking cigarettes, usually in poorer neighborhoods and slums.

“Tobacco companies are not like other businesses,” said Matthew Myers, President of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-governmental organization in the United States, during a training organized by the National Press Foundation. “They intentionally make their products addictive, knowing that their products kill.”

‘TODAY’S TEENAGER IS TOMORROW’S POTENTIAL’

The tobacco industry sells its products through advertising and promotion that target women and young people, knowing that most people start smoking in their teenage years.

Major tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, and Imperial Tobacco, today spend US$8.8 billion annually on marketing. It equals to the GDP of Haiti or Niger.

For instance, British American Tobacco sold more than 27.4 billion cigarettes across the Middle East in 2012.

“Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens,” reads a report titled Young Smokers: Prevalence, Trends, Implications, and Related Demographic Trends, quoting a Phillip Morris representative.

In the 1950s, tobacco companies marketed their products through fashion. They have also advertised tobacco through sport, like during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa: packs of cigarettes and lighters displayed football teams’ flag.

In 2006, an American judge concluded that the tobacco industry had lied to “the young people they avidly sought as ‘replacement smokers’” about the health effects of smoking, in a multibillion-dollar racketeering case.

More recently, Philip Morris International’s campaign “Don’t Be a Maybe: Be Marlboro” irked international public health organizations and anti-smoking advocacy groups.

“British American Tobacco sold more than 27.4 billion cigarettes across the Middle East in 2012”

“With the new campaign, Marlboro encourages (youth) to be decisive, trust themselves and follow their inspiration,” explained Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Frederic de Wilde during an Investor Day presentation in 2012.

“The concept is very simple: there are three ways to react when faced with a decision: Yes, No, or Maybe. Marlboro does not believe in Maybes,” he said about a marketing campaign that has expanded to over 50 countries.

One ad pictures a woman in her twenties standing barefoot on a rooftop and overlooking the city at sunset. “A Maybe never reached the top,” reads the slogan.

“Maybe never fell in love,” reads another one, with the picture of a young couple kissing.

While some of these ads have today been banned in developed economies like Germany, they are still prevalent in emerging markets.

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FASTEST GROWTH RATE OF SMOKERS ON THE PLANET

Although a clear link was established between smoking cigarettes and cancer in the 1950s, the tobacco industry is aggressively pushing into the Arab world.

Tobacco is responsible for killing six million people every year or one person every six seconds. It kills more human souls than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. It is also the main cause of preventable death.

In the United Arab Emirates, smoking caused more than 13% of male deaths in 2010, compared with 14% in Jordan and 15% in Egypt, according to data by Tobacco Atlas, a database launched in March 2015.

Cigarette consumption has decreased in developed nations – due to increased awareness of the health risks and higher taxes – whereas it has increased in lower and middle-income countries.

“The Middle East and Africa (region) remains one of only two growing regions in the world in terms of cigarette volume sales, despite growing anti-tobacco policies,” reads Euromonitor’s 2011 regional overview.

MEA amounts to a little less than half of world demand for cigarettes. From 2005 to 2010, smoking tobacco was the fastest growing sector in value terms, the study finds.

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This is the result of a growing young adult population as demand is highly strong among youngsters. Regional smoking prevalence averages 25% to 30%.

“The developing world is the tobacco industry’s promise land to expand its products,” said Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization at the conference on March 18.

STRONG SMOKING CULTURE

On top of falling for ads geared towards youth – it has become more socially acceptable to smoke in the region – the Middle East is a lucrative marketplace for tobacco companies because of its growing young population and robust smoking culture.

“In the United Arab Emirates, smoking caused more than 13% of male deaths in 2010”

Tobacco is deeply entrenched in Arab customs, with a local mix of herbs like dokha, smoked in a midwakh pipe in the United Arab Emirates, or khat in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has the highest per capita consumption of pipe tobacco on the planet while Egypt consumes the most hookahs in volume terms, according to 2011 data from Euromonitor.

Besides, there has been a paradox in the region in regard to tobacco as some countries have implemented harsher tobacco control policies but the tobacco industry has strengthened its influence.

For example, Egypt – the largest consumer of cigarettes in the region – has increased taxes on tobacco products and implemented anti-tobacco policies but low cigarette prices and increased illicit trade due to the political turmoil have contributed to boosting tobacco consumption.

Turkey is the only paragon in the Middle East as tobacco consumption decreased. It prohibited advertising, promoting and sponsoring tobacco products and activities, or displaying tobacco products on television. It also banned smoking cigarettes or hookah in public areas.

“If we could achieve this in a country where we say ‘smoking like a Turk,’ it can easily be achieved in other countries,” said Turkey’s Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu on March 18.

Even though Americans and Iranians want peace and cooperation between their two countries, US oil cartels, defense companies and the Israel lobby is preventing a deal going forward, says Caleb Maupin from the International Action Centre

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) talks to journalist from a balcony of the Palais Coburg hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria July 9, 2015. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

‘Greed of Wall Street prevents Iran nuclear deal from being signed’