Category Archives: GWBush

Turkish Army launches ground offensive in northern Iraq against Kurdish PKK.

Yet another unwelcome spin off from GW Bush and Tony Blair’s disastrous decision to invade and occupy Iraq began last night, when the Turkish Armed Forces began to move into northern Iraq in large numbers in search and destroy operations against the Kurdish PKK, who have been engaged in an armed insurgency against the Turkish State since 1984.

A military spokesman issued a statement on behalf of the Turkish General Staff, “A ground operation backed by the Air Force was launched at 1900, [1700 GMT on Thursday] the offensive began on Thursday evening, following shelling and aerial assaults against PKK targets in the region. After the successful bombing, a cross-border ground incursion backed by the Air Force started at 1900” (1700 GMT). The spokesman went on to say, “Two divisions of the Turkish Army, 10,000 troops had been sent into northern Iraq overnight as part of the land operation.

With this invasion of northern Iraq it seems the will of the Turkish military has finally prevailed over that of the AK Party led democratically elected government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who were hoping to avoid a military incursion with land forces across the Iraqi border. The rank and file of the AK Party along with many Turks have been taken by surprise by the General Staffs decision to invade northern Iraq at this time, as earlier this week Government Ministers were telling the media that due to the weather there would be no invasion until the early spring. Which they hoped would give Erdoğan enough time to reach and agreement with the PKK to come down from the mountains.

It is not the first time the Turkish military have launched a major land-force into northern Iraq with the aim of destroying the PKK, seven divisions of the Turkish army were sent into northern Iraq in 1995 and six in 1997, neither were successful in destroying the PKK. Most military analysts doubt the Turkish military will be any more successful this time, at best they can hope to disrupt the PKK chain of command and supply.

Not least because it is thought following recent Turkish military air strikes the PKK has withdrawn its fighters from their bases in northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains and moved them across the eastern Iraqi border into Iran, whilst setting up small bases in the Sincar Mountains in northern Iraq. Unless the Turkish military has made some sort of agreement with their Iranian counterparts to expel the PKK fighters back across the Iraqi border, it is difficult to see how the current invasion will be any more successful than the previous two I mention above. Indeed for the Turkish Government it can only make a bad situation worse as past history has shown that any military incursion to attack the PKK in Iraq has acted as a recruiting sergeant for that organization.*

Photos above are of
1/ Map of where the Kurds live in the region.
2/PKK fighters
3/ Turkish troops in northern Iraq.



Filed under Democracy/Elections/democratic accountability/Turkey/Is, equality, GWBush, Northern-Iraq, PKK, Turkey, Turkish-army, war-crimes

The United States smash and grab raid on Iraq is almost completed.

In the article below, which I republish from the Morning Star,* Liz Davies warns that the withdrawal of US/UK troops from Iraq, whilst vitally important, by itself is not enough, as the purpose of the military occupation of Iraq was to lay the foundations for the long term political and economic control of that Nation by the USA. The Neo-conservatives who originated this wicked war and occupation have demonstrated by building a new US Embassy in Baghdad, [see photo] which will house over 4000 employees, that the USA has long term strategic and economic reasons for remaining in Iraq; and Liz deals with this matter in some detail in this piece, It is well worth a read.

What now for Iraq?
By Liz Davies.

Half the population of Iraq is aged 16 or under. These children have lived their lives experiencing aggressive assaults on their country by the US and Britain. First, economic sanctions and then military invasion and occupation. Their parents grew up during the Iran-Iraq war when the West funded Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons, which he used on the battlefield against Iran and against the Kurds, and lived through the aborted invasion of Iraq following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Saddam’s dictatorship was the product of the US-backed Ba’athist coup in 1968. If ever a country were entitled to reparations, Iraq is it.

The US-British occupation is starting to look politically untenable in the US and Britain. Gordon Brown is pulling the troops out of Basra. The Democratic presidential candidates broadly support phased withdrawals. Opinion polls show that a majority of US citizens want a full withdrawal of troops in the next year.

From the occupiers’ point of view, much of their work has been done.

The purpose of the military occupation was to lay the foundations for continued political and economic control of Iraq. The presence of the new US embassy in Baghdad – the world’s largest embassy, costing $600 million (£305m) and housing 4,000 staff, half of whom will be working in the areas of security and intelligence – is a message to the Iraqi people that the US intends long-term political domination of their country.

Multinational corporations are queuing up to rob Iraq of its oil resources through production-sharing agreements. The growth of sectarian conflict, systematically encouraged by the occupiers, has divided the political process along sectarian lines. And the brutality of the occupation, following years of brutal dictatorship, has resulted in a level of eve-ryday violence and criminality that is horrifying and unparalleled.

So it seems that the neocons had a plan for the future of Iraq and are carrying it through. They wouldn’t admit that sectarian conflict and the appalling reality of everyday life for Iraqis was part of the plan, but it sure helps.

It allows the US and Britain to obtain some fat contracts providing weapons and training to the Iraqi government post-withdrawal. It prevents the organisation of grass-roots civil society, stops Iraqis from leading normal lives and thus reduces engagement in the political process, particularly for women. It allows the US and Britain to cherrypick so-called representative political parties, organised along sectarian lines. It reduces the possibility of Iraqis organising against the exploitation of their economic resources, rebuilding their shattered infrastructure or defining their own political priori-ties.

The millions of us who were opposed to the invasion have found thinking about a post-occupation Iraq difficult.

The peace movement has concentrated on the basic point that continued military occupation of Iraq is the problem, not the solution. The first and absolutely necessary solution is to withdraw all occupying troops and privatised military contractors and for Iraqis to rebuild their own country. Rightly, we’ve said this again and again in response to the argument that troops should stay to sort out the mess that the invasion and occupation created. We’ve also been motivated by the principle that the West and, in particular, the US and Britain, should not be telling Iraqis how to rebuild their country.

But the US and Britain are responsible, both in international law and morally.

Sanctions are estimated to have killed around one million Iraqis who would otherwise be alive today. By 2003, child malnutrition rates were 19 per cent and only 50 per cent of Iraqis had access to adequate water supplies. By 2007, the rate for child malnutrition had risen to 28 per cent and 70 per cent of Iraqis had no access to adequate water. Half the population are estimated to be out of work. Some 40 per cent of public servants are thought to have left the country. Two million Iraqis have fled to Syria or Jordan. Another two million are internally displaced.

After the first Gulf war, Iraq was made to pay reparations of $350 billion (£178bn) for Saddam’s invasion of Ku-wait. The money was deducted from the oil-for-food programme, reducing it by one-third. If ordinary Iraqis had to pay for a short-lived military adventure by their unelected leader, shouldn’t the US and British governments start to pay something for the devastation of Iraq carried out by our elected leaders?

In that context, a very useful 10-point plan has been put forward by the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), whose board member Hans von Sponeck was UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq before he resigned in protest at the effects of the sanctions.

Its Towards Peace In and With Iraq strategy refers to a similar 12-point plan from Dennis Kucinich, who is a left candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for president. TFF insists first on the withdrawal of foreign troops, mercenaries and bases.

Without withdrawal, nothing can happen. But civil society in Iraq has collapsed so much that concrete actions are needed to help the Iraqi people rebuild their country – a clean-up of military waste, including depleted uranium and cluster bombs which are littering Iraq; political withdrawal, including the closure of the US embassy; cancellation of Saddam Hussein’s debt; compensation and reparations; retention of all oil resources and revenues; a truth and reconciliation process, including a public apology from the US and British governments to the Iraqi people; and assisting civil society exchanges giving opportunities for Iraqi students or allowing Western professionals to work in Iraq under the direction of Iraqi organisations etc.

TFF is very clear that the rebuilding of Iraq has international implications. It calls for the whole Middle East to be-come free of weapons of mass destruction – specifically, that Israel should disarm its nuclear arsenal – and for a long-term regional conference working toward a comprehensive settlement for the entire region, including the two core con-flicts of Iraq/the US-Britain and Palestine/Israel.

The most controversial proposal as far as the left is concerned is for an international peace-building mission for Iraq under UN leadership.

TFF is not calling for continued military occupation under another name. It specifies that no military personnel should be drawn from countries that have been occupiers, that there should be a low percentage of staff from Western-Christian parts of the world, that the UN should be working in partnership with the Arab League and the militarised element should be no more than 15 per cent.

Nevertheless, the UN oversaw sanctions, so even such a carefully designed UN mission would have a lot of bridge-building to do before Iraqis can feel that it is on their side.

Ultimately, whether or not any of these proposals are the right way forward will depend on the views of the Iraqi people. They have voted with their feet – and their lives – against the military occupation. If the Iraqi people oppose a UN-led semi-military mission, it will fail. On the other hand, sectarian conflict once created and encouraged by occupiers acquires a momentum of its own. Many on the left felt that the UN let down the Rwandan people when it refused to intervene in 1994. If the Iraqi people accept such a mission, it might help.

In Britain, Iraq Occupation Focus has been working on similar proposals to help support justice for Iraq. The TFF proposals form a useful discussion point. We need some of the radical NGOs, the peace movement, international soli-darity campaigns, women’s groups etc, to come together to work through what we should be demanding from our gov-ernment.

Hands Off Iraqi Oil is already leading the way in its campaign against the privatisation of Iraq’s resources.

Obviously, the two preconditions for any campaign for justice for Iraq must be that justice will never be achieved under occupation and that it is for the Iraqi people to tell the British people what they require by way of reparation.

But focusing just on withdrawal is not enough. The US and Britain remain responsible for the devastation inflicted on Iraq and cannot be allowed to withdraw and forget.

Liz Davies is a barrister and political activist. She is chairwoman of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and active in Iraq Occupation Focus. She writes this column in a personal capacity.

Hands Off Iraqi Oil is mounting a day of action to End the Military and Economic Occupation on February 23. Meet at 12.30pm at Bond Street Tube, London.

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Filed under GWBush, international-war-crimes, Iraq, Multi-national corporations, Organized Rage, socialism, stop-the-war-coalition, UK, USA

The BBC: The Bollocks and Bullshit Corporation

If one wished to search out an independent minded media analysis of what was happening in Palestine, Pakistan, or Kenya, then sadly the last place one would turn is to the BBC. For these days the BBC is a craven instrument of British governmental policy, which itself is an adjacent to the Bush administrations foreign affairs strategy.

The governments of all three of the aforementioned countries are guilty of manipulating in their favor the outcomes of either their nations Presidential or General Elections. In Palestine we saw the democratically elected Hamas administration being bureaucratically over-thrown on the orders of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who was himself acting on the ‘advice’ of the US and Israeli governments as they believed Hamas would not be pliable enough when it came to any future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. No matter that the Palestinian people partially elected Hamas to office for that very reason.

Whilst Hamas was only able to cling on to power by its finger tips in the minute piece of land known as the Gaza strip, the BBC reported these events as if it were Hamas not Mahmoud Abbas who had first initiated the political coup; and it placed the entire responsibility for the disorder and blood shed that occurred in the wake of Abbas’s dismissal of the Hamas administration, firmly at the feet that body, who in reality were the victims of Abbas/US/Israeli machinations.

In Pakistan the sitting President, Musharraf, manipulated the vote of the October 6th, 2007 Presidential election so that he would be able to remain in office, despite being at the time the election took place head of the army, something which went against the Pakistani State constitution. The BBC reported that his victory amounted to an overwhelming endorsement by the electorate for Musharraf as President, plus for the democratic process in Pakistan. What the BBC failed to do was tell their viewers and listeners that out of a population of 164,741,924, (July 2007est] Musharraf received only 671 votes with 14 against.

Much the same thing has happened in Kenya, where after the votes in last December’s [2007] General Election had been counted and it became pretty clear to the sitting President Mwai Kibaki that his opponent Raila Odinga has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Kibaki quickly declared that he was the victor and taking their lead from GW Bush and Gordon Brown, who called for order shortly after the international election monitors refused to endorse the election as free and fair, the BBC instead of crying fix and exposing Kibaki as the crook he undoubtedly is, turned its fire on to those who were protesting having had their votes stolen. The continuos thread that ran through all of the BBC’s reports from Kenya at this time was that order must be restored to the streets. No matter that the Kenyan people had every right to demonstrate and protest as by denying the true outcome of the election, Kibaki had taken away all democratic avenues of attaining power. Nor did the BBC seem to care that if order were immediately restored, it would have meant a return to the status quo, which would mean in reality Kibaki remaining in power as President.

We saw news-clip after BBC news-clip placing the blame for the disturbances on those who were protesting against the illegal actions of ex President Kibaki, policemen and solders were videod firing into the shanty towns that surround Nairobi, whilst their Officers were recorded talking to camera about how they were only returning the fire of rioters. Yet on our TV screen we saw no sign of shots being fired from the direction of the shanty towns; nor by the casual manner in which the government forces lounged around between firing rounds into the shanty towns did they seem to fear any bullets coming their way from that direction. Something incidentally which the BBC reporter on the ground had not seemed to have noticed; or if he had he was under orders not to mention it.

There is little doubt that like Abbas and Musarraf, Kibaki had been emboldened by the manner in which George W Bush manipulated his own election victory in the 2000 US Presidential Election: and how he quickly claimed victory when he stepped into the gutter to claim the US Presidency. Since that day every-third world satrap has said to themselves if it is alright for George W Bush to manipulate the polls and spit on the electorate’s wishes then it is fine for me to do likewise. After all the West can hardly complain about the behavior of third world satraps when the leader of the ‘free world’ entered office via the garbage tip. All we get from the White House and Number 10 these days when some wretched satrap denies the will of the people, is platitudes about order being restored, which in reality means the status quo being restored thus business can proceed as ordered.

If you also factor in Iraq and Afghanistan this has provided a dilemma for those elements of the Western media whose political masters are extremely close to the Bush Administration. No more so than the BBC. a corporation to whom the people of Third World once used to look to to hear the truth, but no more it seems. For the days when the BBC was the voice of truth and democracy are long gone. For once its Board of Governors decided to bend the knee to Bush’s main ally Tony Blair over WMDs, Iraq and the Kelly fiasco, the BBC was finished as a speaker of the truth.

No better example of just how far the BBC has fallen, was demonstrated shortly after the brutal murder of Benazir Bhutto. I watched a report on the BBC TV News which took my breath away, not so much that such a thing could occur within Pakistan, but that the BBC by its silence would be an accomplice of such a crime. The item was shown on the BBC UK News and on the BBC World channel and it showed the Rawalpindi police shortly after the attack on Benazir Bhutto which killed her, supervising the local fire brigade hosing down the site of the murder, which was or should have been a sanitized crime scene. Did the BBC reporter comment that such behavior was somewhat unusual and a kin to washing away the evidence? Not at all, this hack had become that far detached from the ideals of their craft that they had either not noticed the crime taking place before their eyes or did not give a hoot about it. Their job was to eulogies Miss Bhutto which in the process would enable Musharraf to remain governing Pakistan on the pretext of law and order and the war on terror.

For wether it is Pakistan, Palestine or Kenya the US and UK administrations main approach to all of these problems is one of restoring order so that business can continue to get their snouts in the trough, democratic accountability and the peoples right to choose is not even an after thought.


Filed under BBC, GWBush, Kenya, News, Organized Rage, Pakistan, Palestine, politics, State-Propaganda, TV., UK, USA