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New Scramble for Africa: Imperialism Plans “Decades of War” | Global Research

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More on Mali from Global Research. [From New Scramble for Africa: Imperialism Plans “Decades of War” | Global Research]


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“Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that the UK will “work with others to close down the ungoverned space” in northwest Africa “with all the means that we have.” Terming the developments in Mali and neighboring countries a “global threat,” Cameron declared they would “require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.””

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So much for Obama’s inauguration rhetoric. “A decade of war is now ending,” he declared Monday, just a day after Cameron’s warning that decades of war in Africa have only just begun.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 26, 2013 at 12:53

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An Introduction to the new war in Mali

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Pepe Escobar gives you the run-down on the who, why and how of the French-led intervention in Mali.

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“It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure…

“The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010…

“Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.

“Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook….

“Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.

“As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller was saying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 07:59

Washington raises specter of Al Qaeda seizing Syrian chemical weapons – World Socialist Web Site

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Washington raises specter of Al Qaeda seizing Syrian chemical weapons

By Bill Van Auken 
19 December 2012

Having first issued threats against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad over unspecified intelligence regarding its chemical weapons, the Obama administration is now warning that these arms may fall into the hands of the “rebels” which Washington itself has backed.

This is the significance of a front-page article published this week by theWashington Post, which reported that, “US officials are increasingly worried that Syria’s weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists, rogue generals or other uncontrollable factions.”

According to the Post, citing unnamed US officials, members of the Islamist militia, al-Nusra, which

While a decade ago, Washington prepared its invasion of Iraq by propagating lies about the regime of Saddam Hussein collaborating with Al Qaeda and a supposed threat he would supply the terrorist organization with “weapons of mass destruction,” today the Obama administration is floating a new and perverse pretext for war. It is raising the specter that its war for regime change in Syria might place such weapons into the hands of the Al Qaeda-linked forces that the US itself has both armed and strengthened in the bid to oust Assad.

Washington’s feigned concern for the Syrian people in the face of an alleged threat from chemical weapons is a lie and a pretext. US imperialism is working in a de facto alliance with the most reactionary Islamist forces, including Al Qaeda, in a concerted attempt to lay waste to Syrian society, as part of a broader campaign to reorder the Middle East in its own interests.

Read the full article here: Washington raises specter of Al Qaeda seizing Syrian chemical weapons – World Socialist Web Site

(Via WSWS.)

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

December 21, 2012 at 13:18

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Head of U.S.-Backed Syrian Coalition Endorses Al Qaida-Linked Rebel Faction | Mostly Water

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There are many questions surrounding the arming of and other assistance provided to the Free Syria Army and associated rebels. Questions abound regarding who really committed atrocities and genocide.

As the West races to endorse the rebels as the ‘legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,’ Washington’s hit a snag. One of the groups assisting the rebels happens to be associated with Al Qaida.

But surely the US and its allies wouldn’t assist Al Qaida to wage war in Syria… would it?

Head of U.S.-Backed Syrian Coalition Endorses Al Qaida-Linked Rebel Faction | Mostly Water: “

Head of new U.S.-backed Syrian coalition endorses al Qaida-linked rebel faction

By David Enders and Hannah Allam; Wednesday, December 12, 2012 – McClatchy Newspapers
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/12/12/177244/head-of-new-us-…

AMMAN, Jordan — Right after the United States formalized its backing of a new Syrian opposition group Wednesday, the mutual unease underpinning the partnership surfaced as the group’s leader openly criticized the United States for declaring the rebel movement’s Nusra Front a terrorist group linked to al Qaida in Iraq.

Sheik Moaz al Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, asked the Obama administration to rethink its labeling of the Nusra Front, stressing that the militant faction was integral to the fight against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

“The logic under which we consider one of the parts that fights against the Assad regime as a terrorist organization is a logic one must reconsider,” Khatib told reporters in Marrakesh, Morocco, after more than 100 nations agreed to recognize his group as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.

Khatib’s tacit endorsement of Nusra was echoed by many rebel commanders inside Syria and signals a thorny road ahead as U.S. officials attempt to disentangle nationalist or relatively moderate rebel factions from the Islamist extremists who have become perhaps the leading military force in the nearly two-year fight to topple Assad.

“We love our country. We can differ with parties that adopt political ideas and visions different from ours. But we ensure that the goal of all rebels is the fall of the regime,” added Khatib, a Muslim cleric who’s complained in the past that blueprints for a post-Assad transition were too secular.

U.S. officials did not react to Khatib’s statements, but Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said in Morocco that Khatib had been invited to visit Washington soon.

Burns also announced a $14 million aid package to assist millions of Syrians who’ve been forced from their homes by fighting and now face the onset of winter. The package includes “essential medicines, nutritional supplements for over 200,000 children, and blankets and boots for thousands of families,” he said.

Mapping out the disparate rebel ideologies is an urgent matter because of signs that the conflict is escalating. For months, pro-Assad forces and rebels had been locked in a bloody, lopsided war of attrition that’s cost an estimated 40,000 lives since the conflict began in March 2011 as part of the Arab Spring protest movement.

In recent weeks, however, the rebels have gained ground with sophisticated operations, typically spearheaded by Nusra fighters, including some who’d fought U.S. forces in Iraq. The regime is fighting back hard, continuing its campaign of shelling and bombing rebellious areas. Opposition activists who compile casualty figures say at least 200 Syrians died on Tuesday alone, a number that could not be independently verified.

Nusra’s likely significance in the conflict was on display again Wednesday when three blasts at the front gates of Syria’s heavily guarded Interior Ministry in Damascus devastated the building and reportedly killed four people and wounded at least 20.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but self-proclaimed Nusra fighters posting on militant forums on the web said that the explosions were a Nusra operation. Nusra has taken responsibility for at least 40 suicide blasts inside Syria in the past year, the State Department said earlier this week. It was a pair of massive bombings in Damascus nearly a year ago that first prompted U.S. officials to conclude that al Qaida in Iraq had moved its operations to Syria.

U.S. officials, meanwhile, directed reporters’ attention to the actions of the Syrian government. The State Department denounced pro-Assad forces’ use in recent weeks of so-called “barrel bombs,” highly inaccurate canisters loaded with explosives and shrapnel that are rolled out of the back of regime helicopters. Additionally, unnamed U.S. officials told The New York Times that the Assad regime had recently fired Soviet-era SCUD missiles into rebel-held territories in northern Syria. Neither the State Department nor Pentagon would confirm or deny that report, however, citing intelligence reasons, and there was no confirmation from inside Syria.

The United States is pursuing a strategy of isolating Nusra’s militant Islamists by labeling them terrorists and redirecting aid to political and military rebel factions that have signed on to plans to create a democratic, pluralistic Syria once Assad falls.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that Nusra’s terror designation was intended for two audiences: ordinary Syrians, on whom the U.S. is counting to isolate extremist rebel factions, and the United States’ “partners who have made choices other than ours in terms of the way they are supporting the opposition” – code for U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who’ve been providing weapons and money to Islamist rebel groups.

But the policy seems to be backfiring in Syria, where expressions of support for Nusra could be seen in demonstrations and on web forums where people were asked to sign statements proclaiming, “We are all Jabhat al Nusra,” as the group is called in Arabic.

“It has made them more popular,” said Ammar Dandash, a Syrian journalist from the northern province of Idlib. He said most Syrians who support the opposition are frustrated with the United States and its Western allies after more than a year when requests for arms had gone unheeded.

Nusra began carrying out secretive car and suicide bombings in late 2011, according to U.S. officials, when al Qaida in Iraq’s top leader, Abu Du’a, dispatched another al Qaida in Iraq leader to Syria to join in the anti-Assad rebellion. The State Department said Abu Du’a continues to advise Nusra on tactics and policy.

At first, many anti-Assad activists denied that the group was working with the rebels, claiming that the Syrian government had created it to discredit the opposition. Now, however, Nusra’s influence has surged over the rebellion, not only with bombings in Damascus and other cities, but in more traditional military operations where battalion-size Nusra units have been instrumental in insurgent successes across the country.

Many rebels said singling out Nusra as a terrorist organization might make the group more popular. They also said it was unfair to single out Nusra when other rebel groups share similar ideology. Ahrar al Sham, for example, is another group whose tactics include suicide bombings and whose fighters adhere to a literalist interpretation of Islamist doctrine.

“This declaration could also include other groups – it needs more explanation,” said Jawad Abou-Hatab, who belongs to the newly recognized Syrian coalition. “Jabhat al Nusra is defending its country.”

Abou-Hatab depicted Nusra’s presence as the healthy emergence of political plurality in the space wrested from the Assad dynasty’s four-decade authoritarian stranglehold. In the new Syria, he suggested, there would be room even for views that are anathema to the West.

“They have the right to their opinion,” he said of Nusra, “which is that an Islamic country is inclusive.”

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

December 16, 2012 at 11:11

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