22 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


All countries and global regions


Iraqi and Kurdish forces advance on Isis towns

Peshmerga fighter

A Kurdish peshmerga fighter in northern Iraq. Photograph: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

Kurdish peshmerga fighters take district near Jalawla as Iraqi troops advance towards Saadiya


ALJ org logo pst


No mo' Cuomo

No mo’ Cuomo


Corruption and austerity collide to make the governor unworthy of the office



New York


Boycott, divest from and sanction the United States

Boycott, divest from and sanction the United States


Let’s not ignore the co-conspirator in the continued injustice perpetrated against Palestinians




Israeli-Palestinian Conflict



22 Aug

Afghanistan & Iraq Occupation Casualties & News


Results of Our Insane Foreign Policy

The McGlynn: And for what?!

Afghan girl

Photographer Muhammed Muheisen took an impressive series of portraits of Afghan refugee children in Islamabad. Here is six-year-old Laiba Hazrat in a slum on the outskirts of the city.

Other Occupation News

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier from a non-combat related incident in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, August 22nd.

Reported security incidents

#1: security forces during operations against Taliban militants in the eastern Laghman province 90 km east of Afghan capital Kabul killed four militants on Friday, a statement of provincial administration sent to media outlets said. “Security personnel laid ambush and killed four armed insurgents in Kotator area outside provincial capital Mehterlam early Friday morning and their bodies have been kept in a local hospital,” the statement said.

#2: Three police were killed as a roadside bomb struck police van in the eastern Kunar province on Friday, provincial police chief Abdul Habib Sayedkhili said. “A mine planted by militants struck a police vehicle in Manogai district this morning killing three police constables on the spot, ” Sayedkhili told newsmen here.

DoD: Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Leggett

08/21/14 DoD: Army Casualty Identified

08/21/14 Tolonews: Abducted ICRC ?Staff Released in Herat

08/21/14 Tolonews: Taliban Kills 5 Police Officers and Civilian

08/21/14 Tolonews: 4 ANA Soldiers Wounded in Kabul

08/21/14 Reuters: 13 new refugee camps to hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis

08/21/14 AP: As US airstrikes in Iraq grow, details stay thin

08/21/14 AP: Another American hostage at risk by Islamic State

08/21/14 Reuters: ‘Terrorists’ help US in battle against Islamic State in Iraq

08/21/14 LATimes: Militants blame U.S. for their apparent beheading of U.S. journalist

 Afghanistan Occupation Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


Recently Identified Color denotes today’s confirmation:

.Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villotcarrasco, 23, of Parma, Ohio, died as a result of a non-hostile incident June 19 aboard USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) while the ship was underway in the Red Sea

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 24, in Mirugol Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. Killed were: Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, of Hickman, Neb.; and Pfc. Keith M. Williams, 19, of Visalia, Calif.

Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr., 20, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died July 24, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, from an illness sustained in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

.Deaths in Afghanistan: A look at the faces of American lives lost


 Afghanistan Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Iraq Occupation Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


U. S. Casualties Total To Date:Killed: 4486

Recently IdentifiedColor denotes today’s confirmation



Deaths in Iraq: A look at the faces of American lives lost

IIraq Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at .The Military Crisis Line offers free and confidential support to service members in crisis or anyone who knows a service member who is. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all service members (active, National Guard and reserve) and veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at ; Online Chat at: ; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-82551-800-273-8255, Press 1; in Europe Dial: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118. Services are available even if members are not registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or enrolled in VA health care.The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at . Information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign is located at . Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: and in Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at .Suicide prevention training resources for soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army civilians and family members can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials). Information about Military OneSource is located at or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-96471-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental U.S. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource web site for dialing instructions for their specific location. Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) is located at .The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-10201-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at and at . The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is , and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at

20 Aug

The Rage in Ferguson Comes From the Ones Left Behind

Truth Out

Eugene Robinson | The Rage in Ferguson Comes From the Ones Left Behind



(Photo: Fir0002)

The fire this time is about invisibility. Our society expects the police to keep unemployed, poorly educated African-American men out of sight and out of mind. When they suddenly take center stage, illuminated by the flash and flicker of Molotov cocktails, we feign surprise.

The proximate cause of the rioting in Ferguson, Mo., is the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was stopped, a witness has said, by a white policeman for walking in the street rather than on the sidewalk. Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown at least six times, according to a private autopsy and, reportedly, one conducted by the county medical examiner. Two of those bullets struck him in the head.

There we have the familiar narrative: another unarmed black man unjustly killed. Brown thus joins a long, sad list — Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, etc. — that seems to have no end.

This storyline is unassailable. Anyone who thinks race is not a factor in these fatal encounters should have to cite examples of unarmed young white men being killed by trigger-happy police or self-appointed vigilantes. Names and dates, please.

But the violence in Ferguson tells of a deeper, more fundamental narrative about what African-Americans have done, and what has been done to them, in the decades since the urban riots of the 1960s — the fire last time.

Tempted to conclude that nothing has changed? Please note that the Missouri highway patrol commander, brought in to bring proportion and discipline to what had been a provocative local police response, is black. The attorney general who interrupted his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to order a Justice Department investigation and a third autopsy is black. And, of course, the president and commander in chief — who also took time from a Vineyard holiday to address the crisis in Ferguson — is black.

Also note that this undeniable evidence of progress on the issue of race — which would have been unimaginable when Harlem exploded in 1964 over the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy — makes no apparent difference to the young men who have been rampaging through the streets of Ferguson.

Why not? Because the tremendous gains achieved by some African-Americans have not just left some others behind but made their situation more desperate and hopeless than it was 50 years ago.

When the unrest in Ferguson is over, I predict that there will be a flood of ambitious journalism seeking to assess the status of black America. Most of this analysis will be ignored because it will so contradict what many Americans see every day with their own eyes.

Millions of African-Americans took advantage of the opportunities created by the civil rights movement to climb into the middle class — and in some cases far beyond, as exemplified by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Yet millions of other black Americans did not reach the middle class. This group, mired in poverty and dysfunction, finds the paths others took are blocked. They live in neighborhoods with failing schools that cannot prepare them for today’s economy. Secure, high-paying blue-collar jobs are a thing of the past. Racial bias in policing means they are much more likely to be arrested and jailed for minor nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, than whites who commit the same crimes.

Increasingly, these African-Americans who were left behind are invisible. Their neighborhoods either get gentrified — which means they can no longer afford to stay there — or simply bypassed by development. What happens in poor black neighborhoods has less and less to do with the everyday lives of middle-class Americans, white or black.

Yet in Ferguson and other such pockets across the nation, millions of young black men and women grow up knowing that the deck is stacked against them. Did Michael Brown have a chip on his shoulder? Not according to his friends and family, although the convenience store video suggests otherwise. Would it be understandable if he did? Might he have wondered if white kids, living in more affluent parts of town, routinely got hassled by the police for jaywalking?

Brown had no police record. He had graduated from high school. He was about to enter a technical college. Given where he came from, it’s hard to do a whole lot better — and easy to do a whole lot worse.

Now that the streets are filled with incoherent rage — and the rioting must be strongly condemned — we can see Brown’s struggle. Momentarily, at least. After the smoke clears, we will be blind once again.

19 Aug

Israel lost on all fronts

al mmonitor

Israel lost on all fronts of the Gaza war

As I’m writing this article [Aug. 19], the negotiating parties in Egypt are endeavoring to reach some sort of agreement, however partial, that would regulate their relations for the near future. This is a problematic relationship, where one side (Hamas) got the other side (Israel) used to having rockets fired at its civilian population for more than 14 years. The other side makes do with temporary “lulls” that fade away after a few months and are replaced by what’s known in Israel as a “trickle.” Put differently, what this trickle means is sporadic rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel’s southern communities and in the Gaza periphery only, while not “being an annoyance” to Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel’s central region.

Summary Not only did Israel lose its deterrence edge against Hamas, it also severely exposed its frayed ties with the US and the international community and faces a more comprehensive European boycott of settlement products.

Author Ben CaspitPosted August 19, 2014Translator(s)Simon Pompan


The five-day cease-fire, declared on Aug. 13, was extended by one more day the night of Aug. 18. It’s too early to discuss what the parties achieved, because that vague and elusive “thing” has yet to be achieved. However, the following can already be asserted: Israel has paid a heavy price of 64 dead soldiers as well as three civilian fatalities. Its economy and image were dealt a heavy blow. The tourist industry was paralyzed and the economy suffered for over a month. The summer break was ruined for the hundreds of thousands of students and their parents. All of this and almost nothing in return.

Yes, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were able to destroy most of the infrastructure of the terror and assault tunnels Hamas had built in the Gaza Strip. But this is pretty much it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombastic statement during Operation Protective Edge that there would be no diplomatic agreement or an arrangement without having “Gaza demilitarized” does not hold water for the time being. Israel will come out of this affair having raised a white flag. It paid a stiff price for obtaining relative quiet whose duration no one can guarantee. There is no substantial change in the strategic balance of power. Able to maintain its rule in Gaza, Hamas is also making significant strides in terms of breaking through the blockade.

Furthermore, the “rehabilitation of Gaza” — this euphemistic term that the donor countries love so much — is a code name for Hamas’ renewed buildup. As was demonstrated before, much of the money infused to this so-called rehabilitation ultimately makes its way to building terror tunnels, replenishing the rocket array and stockpiling munitions ahead of the next round. Strategically speaking, this has been a resounding Israeli failure.

A few days ago, a senior Israeli official, who not until long ago was part of the government decision-making body, told me the following: “During this operation, Israel has lost its 40-year-old reputation. Although the IDF proved once again that Hamas was no match and that the soldiers performed well on the ground, carrying out all their missions, from a strategic standpoint the state sustained heavy damage. Israel’s defense doctrine, which was formulated by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, is based on simple principles: A decisive outcome, swift shifting of the fighting to the enemy’s territory, and deterrence.

“Of these principles,” said the Israeli source, “hardly anything remains. During all those years, Israel made sure to pursue that important principle of shifting the fighting to the enemy’s territory. This was due to its heightened sensitivity to human lives as well as the fact that its limited territorial area does not provide room for maneuver or strategic depth. This was the case during the 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai Campaign, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the First Lebanon War in 1982 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“This time, however, most of the fighting took place on Israeli soil. Hamas had prepared for the IDF’s ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, while using the tunnels to make its own maneuver. Many of the Israeli fatalities occurred inside Israel. Part of it was due to Hamas sorties from the tunnels in Israel’s rear, which took Israeli combatants by surprise at the home front. And part of it was due to mortar shells.

“And what is most serious,” the senior Israeli source added, “is that the operation ended without deterrence being regained, without Hamas having been decisively vanquished, and without a true military collision between the IDF and Hamas. Israel let Hamas engage it in areas that were most convenient for the organization. It opted to give up a real ground operation and a maneuver deep into the Gaza Strip that would have dealt a blow to the core of Hamas’ strongholds. Instead, it made do with destroying some of the tunnels. And at the end of it all, it embarked on explicit negotiations with Hamas, while violating a sacred principle that had been upheld since Israel’s foundation: No negotiations with terrorists.”

But this is not where the saga of Israeli failures ends. During Operation Protective Edge, the dark side of the moon — in terms of US-Israel relations — was revealed. The severe crisis of trust between Washington and Jerusalem was exposed to its fullest extent and in broad daylight. The nonstop series of events, which were described in my previous article, “lifted the curtain,” if you will, on the real, deep and strategic crisis in the alliance between Israel and its greatest and most important patron in the Western world.

Over the coming days, an attempt will be made to blur these facts, which popped up in real time. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in Israel in a bid to dull the impression left by the monthlong farce. Kerry will try helping President Barack Obama, who is inching closer to critical midterm elections and is afraid of losing Jewish support and money. Yet what’s done is done. It seems to me that nobody — neither in Israel nor in the United States — will believe any of these bogus embraces.

One other, equally important topic is the European boycott. When Obama started his second term, I reported here the modus operandi that was planned for the diplomatic process. As it turns out, the Americans and Europeans entertained the possibility that the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians would derail. That assessment came true. The plan was then to take measures — led by the Europeans — to harm Israel, including implementing economic boycotts in certain areas.

The current European boycott on dairy products originating from farms or dairies beyond the Green Line (including the Golan Heights) is such a premeditated and calculated move. At this stage, the United States cannot boycott Israel. Such an act would be tantamount to declaring war and bluntly abolishing the strategic ties between the two countries. This is why Obama is doing what he did during the crisis in Libya — leading from behind.

Al-Monitor learned, some 18 months ago, that the European boycott was devised together with the United States. In this affair, the Europeans play the role of the “bad guys,” realizing the fantasy of the Obama administration. They were the ones chosen to hurt Israel. For his part, Obama will say that he is powerless to help. This is how the noose around Israel’s neck will be tightened, to the point of seriously damaging its economy.

At the moment, the boycott applies only to dairy and livestock products. The next stage will apparently apply to fruits and vegetables, the poultry industry and possibly even the wine industry. Although the damage to the Israeli economy is not significant at this point, the precedent, however, is very significant. For the first time, the Europeans are not talking about “labeling” products from the settlements. In fact, they’ve stopped mincing words. In a broad and sweeping move, they are simply stopping the import of products manufactured beyond the Green Line even if they contain only one ingredient that originates from there.

The European boycott is already here. And unlike the impression Israel is trying to make, this is not an anti-Semitic move, but purely a political one. It was planned by Israel’s greatest friends — the United States and Europe — in order to apply pressure on Netanyahu government’s settlement policy.

Given this state of affairs, it seems to me that dealing with anti-Semitism would actually be preferable. At least in that case, Israel has something to say to counter baseless hatred. Yet when it comes to boycotting the settlements, Israel has a lot less to say.

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