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The Real Status of Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq

Rp Weekly ButtonAfter 13 years of war in Afghanistan – the longest in US history – the US government has achieved no victory. Afghanistan is in chaos and would collapse completely without regular infusions of US money. The war has been a failure, but Washington will not admit it.
 
More than 2,000 US fighters have been killed in the 13 year Afghan war. More than 20,000 Afghan civilians were also killed. According to a study last year by a Harvard University researcher, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost in total between four and six trillion dollars. There is no way of looking at the US invasion of Afghanistan and seeing a success.
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Hong Kong Boiling — But Gently So Far

Hong Kong2

Hong Kong is at a gentle boil. As of this writing, tens of thousands of students have been politely demonstrating, calling for the Beijing-appointed chief executive, C.Y. Leung, to resign and be replaced through free elections.

Politics don’t often divert Hong Kong’s manic obsession with business and finance, but the upsurge of youthful discontent has presented China with one of its biggest popular challenges since the 1989 Tiananmen uprising – which China insists never happened.

So far, China’s Communist Party and its tough new boss, Xi Jinping, have stood back and taken no serious action to curb the peaceful demonstrations. Now, however, protest leaders are threatening to seize government buildings unless Beijing drops plans to select Hong Kong’s new government in 2017. This is a direct challenge to Beijing’s national authority.

Considering that Beijing is ruthlessly crushing protests by Uighur Muslims in its strategic westernmost province of Xinjiang, Hong Kong’s demands for true autonomy and self-rule come at a particularly difficult time for the Communist Party which is feting its 65th anniversary of taking over China.
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America’s Never-Ending War in the Middle East

Saudi King Obama

While President Obama continues—at least for now—to resist redeploying large numbers of U.S. soldiers to fight the Islamic State on the ground, the military components of the anti-Islamic State strategy he has laid out effectively recommit the United States to its post-9/11 template for never-ending war in the Middle East. In the end, such an approach can only compound the damage that has already been done to America’s severely weakened strategic position in the Middle East by its previous post-9/11 military misadventures. 

Thirteen years after the fact, most of America’s political and policy elites have yet to grasp the strategic logic that motivated the 9/11 attacks against the United States. Certainly, al-Qa’ida was not averse to damaging America’s economy and punishing its people. But Osama bin Laden knew that effects of this sort would be finite, and thus of limited strategic value; he had no illusions about destroying “the American way of life.”

The real objective of the 9/11 attacks was to prompt American overreaction: to goad Washington into launching prolonged military campaigns against Muslim lands. These campaigns would galvanise popular sentiment across the Muslim world against the United States, mobilise Middle Eastern publics against regional governments (like the one in bin Laden’s native Saudi Arabia) that cooperate politically and militarily with it, and rally them in favor of jihadi fighters who resist American domination. Looking ahead, the al-Qa’ida leader anticipated that local backlash against U.S. overreaction to a terrorist provocation would ultimately undermine the regional foundations of America’s ability to project massive amounts of military force into the Middle East, compelling it to disengage from the region and go home.
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There is Much to Fear

Fear

One of the exceptional things about Post-Constitutional America is how instead of using the traditional tools of an autocracy — secret police, torture, mass round ups — the majority of Americans have given up their rights willfully, voluntarily, almost gleefully. The key tool used by government to have accomplished this is fear-mongering.

Fear is one of our most powerful emotions. It plays a very important evolutionary role after all; the first folks who learned to fear lions and tigers and bears tended to live longer than those who were slower learners. Fears from childhood about heights or spiders often stick with us forever. So using fear of terrorists and other bogeymen has proven to be the most effective tool of the world’s first voluntary national security state and its coalition partners in scariness.

The post-9/11 months are nothing but a master class in fear-mongering. Condoleezza Rice’s oft-quote statement about not wanting to wait for a mushroom cloud over America to be the smoking gun of terror is near-Bond villain level evil genius. The 2003 Iraq War was sold in large part on fear-mongering over fake nukes, fake biological weapons and a fake hunt for WMDS.


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Obama Invented Fake 'Threat' to Launch War on Syria

Cbs Article Display Khorasan

It has become abundantly clear, thanks especially to excellent reporting and analysis by Glenn Greenwald and Justin Raimondo, that the "Khorasan Group" threat used as the pretext for the US bombing of Syria was totally fabricated by the US government. The purpose was an attempt to legitimize what would otherwise be an illegal US attack.

In the immediate run-up to the US bombing of Syria, unnamed sources in the US government began leaking to the obedient US press corps ever-more fantastic tales about a new group of terrorists that were far more terrifying than ISIS (which we had just been told was far more terrifying than al-Qaeda). This new group, dubbed the "Khorasan Group" by the US government, was said by US officials to post a "direct and imminent threat to the United States."

The US strikes on Syria thwarted an "imminent attack" on the US homeland by the Khorasan Group, the US administration claimed, as reported by CNN. 

For the moment, as the US attacked Syria, we heard almost nothing about ISIS, the originally stated reason for the US strikes in the first place. The US administration had to hit ISIS immediately, "before we all get killed here at home," as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it at the time.
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Scottish Referendum Gives Reasons to be Hopeful

Rp Weekly ButtonEven though it ultimately failed at the ballot box, the recent campaign for Scottish independence should cheer supporters of the numerous secession movements springing up around the globe.

In the weeks leading up to the referendum, it appeared that the people of Scotland were poised to vote to secede from the United Kingdom. Defeating the referendum required British political elites to co-opt secession forces by promising greater self-rule for Scotland, as well as launching a massive campaign to convince the Scots that secession would plunge them into economic depression.
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Western-Backed Kiev Regime Burying the Truth About Its Atrocities?

Mass Graves

The grim discovery of mass graves in southeastern Ukraine this week implicates the Kiev regime in further war crimes. At least three such burial sites have been uncovered in recent days since the withdrawal of Kiev’s military forces from the areas under its control, as part of a belated ceasefire deal.

Meanwhile, Kiev President Petro Poroshenko declared that “the worst of the violence is over” in Ukraine, with the latest ceasefire, he says, holding and Kiev’s forces withdrawing as latterly agreed. In the same speech, Poroshenko claimed that his country is on schedule to gain full membership of the European Union by the year 2020. Perhaps, Kiev’s EU ambitions are concentrating its efforts to end the violence – violence, it has to be said, that Kiev largely instigated in April this year.

But as peace makes a tentative return in eastern Ukraine, the restored calm is giving rise to some eerie discoveries of possible war crimes – the latest being the unearthing of mass graves in territory that was, up to a few days ago, under the control of Kiev’s military forces for the past several months.

Kiev’s military spokesmen have denied accusations from local people in the Donbass regions that its forces are responsible for the alleged atrocities. If that’s the case, then the Western-backed regime must heed Russian government demands to facilitate an immediate international crime investigation.
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Ron Paul: Obama Has Started 'Immoral and Illegal' War in Iraq and Syria

Obama's new wars in Iraq and Syria are totally immoral as well as illegal under US and international law, RPI Chairman Ron Paul told RT's Abby Martin yesterday. The idea that US force will solve the problem is also mistaken, he said. "US action will increase the violence," rather than reduce it, he added.

In a lengthy interview, broadcast on RT's popular "Breaking the Set" program, Dr. Paul wonders why the countries in the region, feeling the pressure from ISIS, do not get together to solve the problem.
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Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan: As Bad As a Crime, a Blunder

Susan Rice Samantha Power 1

Having nearly provoked war over Ukraine with nuclear-armed Russia, the Obama administration has now launched a full-scale crusade in Iraq and Syria against the evil Saracens of ISIS.

America’s aerial might, including B-1 heavy bombers, is plastering ISIS miscreants. Washington’s Arab allies and rightwing governments in Canada and Australia have joined the fray. The British will be next.

ISIS reserved particular venom for the French, referring to them as “dirty, spiteful” French (the Brits will love this one) whose warplanes joined the bombing crusade.

The new plan seems to be: “Kill’em all and let God sort them out,” a Vietnam-era slogan echoing the original from the Middle Ages.

The real problem is that the White House’s strategy looks like it’s being run by two angry women, Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power. Neither they nor President Barack Obama seems to have any grasp of military or geopolitical strategy. It’s amateur hour driven by a frenzy of alarmist hysteria from politicians and the media.
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