The World & Beyond

The writings of a global transient.

Tag: Politics

Senegal Enters War In Yemen, Will Pay The Price

I have written before of the tragedy of my beloved Kenya’s entry into the world of endless U.S. sponsored warfare.  Now Senegal is about to do the same thing.

Recent news states that Senegal has pledge 2,100 soldiers as part of the Saudi led coalition against the “Houthi” rebels In Yemen.   The Saudi war in Yemen is US planned and coordinated.

So what’s the issue?

Like most of the world, you probably never heard of the  Houthis until recently.

The propaganda states that the Houthis are an Iranian armed and financed Shia rebel movement and that their impending victory in Yemen is part of an Iranian proxy war being waged for supremacy in the middle east.
houthisFirst of all, it is not clear why that would be such a bad thing and why the U.S. or Senegal should care.  After all, it is hard to argue that increased Iranian influence in the world is somehow worse than an increase Saudi influence in the world.  After all, it is not the Iranians funding Wahhabism all over the world or funding the 9/11 hijackers.  While Iran is not exactly a free country, women have considerably more freedom in Iran than they do in Saudi Arabia as well.

More importantly, however, the argument is largely untrue to begin with.

Here are some excerpts from a  cable from the US Embassy in Sana’a from 2009 about the Houthis:

Little is clear about the Houthi leadership, aside from the fact that Abdulmalik al-Houthi is the rebel group’s current leader. Houthi field commanders do not seem to agree on key ideological and religious principles. The Houthis’ numbers range from the hundreds to the thousands, though it is difficult to determine how many of these adhere to Houthi ideology and how many are tribesmen who have joined the Houthis’ fight for other reasons.

So, for starters, it’s not even clear who the Houthis are or what they want.  Let’s go on:

(S/NF) Contrary to ROYG claims that Iran is arming the Houthis, most local political analysts report that the Houthis obtain their weapons from the Yemeni black market and even from the ROYG military itself. According to a British diplomat, there are numerous credible reports that ROYG military commanders were selling weapons to the Houthis in the run-up to the Sixth War. An ICG report on the Sa’ada conflict from May 2009 quoted NSB director Ali Mohammed al-Ansi saying, “Iranians are not arming the Houthis. The weapons they use are Yemeni. Most actually come from fighters who fought against the socialists during the 1994 war and then sold them.” Mohammed Azzan, presidential advisor for Sa’ada affairs, told PolOff on August 16 that the Houthis easily obtain weapons inside Yemen, either from battlefield captures or by buying them from corrupt military commanders and soldiers. Azzan said that the military “covers up its failure” by saying the weapons come from Iran. According to Jamal Abdullah al-Shami of the Democracy School, there is little external oversight of the military’s large and increasing budget, so it is easy for members of the military to illegally sell weapons.

And there you have it.  At least as of 2009 Iran was likely not arming the Houthis, and instead the Houthis were probably getting some of their arms from the corrupt Yemeni government, that was itself getting its arms from the US and it’s allies.

Now, that was 2009.  How about now?  Well, as the Houthis bear down on the Capital, the Huffington Post reports that Iran Warned the Houthis Against A Yemen Takeover.

Am I the only one saying this?  Not quite:

Saudi Arabian film maker Safa al-Ahmad has spent a lot of time in Yemen and said the following recently in The Atlantic:

The one that drives me insane is the one when they say “Houthi Shia militia” or simply “Shia militia.” That line just makes me cringe, because the Houthis are first and foremost a political group. Their sect is Zaidi. And when you say “Shia militia,” it’s actually misinformative. They are traditionally part and parcel of the Shia sect, but they hold very different beliefs than, say, Shia in Iran. When you say “Shia militia,” automatically you have a connection with Iran, right? In fact, that misleads you to thinking that they have religious motivations in their control over Sanaa and their spread across Yemen. That is political. They’re very pragmatic. They have alliances and affiliations with a whole bunch of other groups that don’t believe in their core beliefs as Zaidi.

And are they fighting a proxy war for Iran?

If we’re talking about a proxy war, Saudi Arabia has played a much bigger role when it comes to Yemen than Iran ever [did]. The control, the money, the influence that Saudi Arabia has had for decades over the Yemeni government and the tribes inside Yemen do not compare at all to the impact that is alleged of Iran. Iran does have a relationship with the Houthis, but [it’s] not that strong. They can’t pick up the phone and tell the Houthis, “Go do this, go do that.” It’s not that type at all. The Houthis are very much a local group that was borne from local conflict inside Yemen. The outside regional conflict has exacerbated something that was local. But predominantly the Houthis are very much a local group with local grievances.

So now as the Houthis have captured Sana’a and are moving on Aden, what is the U.S. and  its Saudi Allies doing?

The answer:  Horrific things.  According to the U.N.:

Also on Thursday, the U.N.’s World Food Program warned that a blockade of the country’s ports had created “a severe fuel shortage” that “is threatening the delivery of lifesaving assistance to Yemeni civilians.” It said its delivery of emergency food rations to 700,000 people in seven of Yemen’s governorates was in danger of halting completely.

In case you didn’t know:  The Houthis don’t have a Navy.

Meanwhile, the Saudis bombed the runway in Sana’a in order to prevent Iranian planes from bringing vital aid to Yemen’s beleaguered citizens.
All of this is helping our enemies Al Qaeda and ISIS, who the Houthis are actively fighting.

So what is the point of all this?  We are we complicit in worsening the situation on the ground for civilians and bombing those who are fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda?

The answer is the same as the answer to the question “Why are we just hearing about the Houthis now?”.

The answer is:  The Saudi’s, Israelis, and our own neocons are desperately want war with Iran.  They thought they were going to get it but were shocked when Obama announced the nuclear deal with Iran.  Suddenly, (literally within 2 or 3 days) we started to hear about the Houthis and Iran’s proxy war in Yemen, which as I have already pointed out is basically a lie.

The Saudi’s have always wanted ware with Iran since 1979 and pushed Saddam into the Iran-Iraq war and helped to finance it.  The Israeli’s always want the US to attack anyone they perceive as a possible threat, and the neocon’s, too, have had their eyes on war with Iran for decades.  The military contractors want it, and the military itself wants it for fear that our military budget (greater than all other military budgets combined) might be cut if we can’t find another poor country to attack.

If you don’t know, however, the Iran deal is a good deal.  Don’t listen to the propagandists, listen to the actual experts:

So now, back to the original title:  Why is Senegal getting involved?  What possible interest to the people of Senegal have in the outcome of the war in Yemen?  The answer:  absolutely none whatsoever.

So why are they going?  Direct cash payments:

“The most obvious potential benefit of a Senegalese military engagement alongside Saudi Arabia would be in the form of closer political and economic ties between the two, and almost certainly direct cash payments from Saudi Arabia to Senegal,” says Andrew Lebovich, a security and political analyst focused on West Africa

The Government of Senegal has sold its people out for cash, and if you know anything about government in Africa, most of it will end up in the pockets of the politicians.

The people of Senegal will regret the day that they became involved in the killing  of people thousands of miles away.  Doing such has sucked the United States into endless war and the loss of liberties at home.  Even serving US interests in neighboring countries has cost Kenya dearly.  It will only end poorly for Senegal.

The Real Benghazi!$#!?!!!!!!! Scandal

As the political season heats up and the Bush and Clinton tribes prepare to lock horns we all get to cringe at the resurgence of the Benghazi! meme.  Yes, I am as sick of it as most of you are.  However, there is a real issue that literally nobody talks about.

First, to get this out of the way, there is no scandal in what actually happened in Libya.  The State Department had people on the ground in an outpost in Benghazi (there may be a scandal in what he was doing there to begin with – but thats a different story).  There is always a trade-off between security vs. cost.  Someone, somewhere, made a judgement call that turned out wrong.  These security decisions are made around the world every week and if anything the State Department errs on the side of being too secure.  Around the world American embassies are walling themselves off from the countries they operate in with massive compounds well cut-off from the local society and culture.

The idea that Hillary or her minions were somehow callous to the lives of Americans in Benghazi is ludicrous. Well, to be clear, Hillary (like the Bush tribe) most likely is callous to the lives of anyone else but that is not why the deaths in Benghazi happened.  Decisions were made about the level of security needed for the mission.  The decisions turned out to be wrong, but even if you assume Hillary is the worst person on earth she is at least evil enough to know that Americans killed on her watch is going to impact her public persona and would not have wanted it to happen.

Here is the real issue that nobody but myself is talking about:

After the attack the Clinton tribe went into cover-up mode.  It is common to say “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up” but covering-up a crime in human enough behavior that people don’t get too worked up about it by and large.

What matters hereBenghazi attack is the nature of the cover-up.  In order to protect themselves the State Department was not only looking to deflect blame, but was willing to impair a fundamental human freedom.

The response by the State Department in the aftermath of Benghazi was (and they knew this was false) to blame a video on youtube.  Shortly thereafter newspapers around the country were filled with op-eds by Hillary’s minions talking about why “free speech isn’t absolute”.

For example, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania called for the jailing of the film’s producer and claimed that “..movie is not the first to denigrate a religious figure, nor will it be the last. The Last Temptation of Christ was protested vigorously. The difference is that Bacile indirectly and inadvertently inflamed people half a world away, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Embassy”.

Fortunately the world quickly saw through the “it’s the fault of a youtube video” lie, but what would have happened if we all actually believed the lie?  If Congress or other legislative bodies would have attempted to restrict free speech on the basis of the lie would Hillary have spoken up and said “wait, guys, don’t do that, that’s not what really caused Benghazi”?  Of course not.  She would have gladly gone along with the charade in order to protect her reputation.

An attack on the First Amendment in order to cover-up an administrative screw-up is unprecedented and in my opinion is a crime larger than the Watergate cover-up.

That’s the real scandal, and yet it’s not what the Republicans are talking about every time they scream Benghazi!!$%$!!!!

“The superiority of everything Russian was the rock on which their mental world was built”

During lunch today I read an article in the June 20th 1949 edition of Life Magazine called Why They Confess.  The Remarkable Case of Hans
Fritzsche – who lived through the terror of a Russian prison – shows how the communists can break a man’s spirit without laying a hand on him.”

Hans_FritzscheHans Fritzsche was one of the few Nuremberg defendants found not guilty.  He was a popular radio personality during the war, and worked in the Propaganda Ministry.

He was arrested by the Russians and later turned over for the Nuremberg trials.  Before being turned over he spent his time in the infamous Lubyanka prison where he signed a false confession without having been beaten or his family threatened.

Some interesting quotes from the article:

 “The superiority of everything Russian was the rock on which their mental world was built”

“He could count on his fingers with one hand the soviet guards who ever overstepped their limits; and on the fingers of the other hand the Western guard in the Nuremberg jail who did not”

“He became a victim of the Lubyanka psychology, furiously trying to guess what kind of answer would satisfy the commissar.

……and  comment I am not sure what to make of but is interesting nonetheless:

“Western prisons are filled with people who feel innocent, Russian prisons with people who feel guilty”

After months of wearing Fritzche down he ultimately signed a false confession because:

“Hope is stronger than fear, therefore hope is more willing to make concessions”

and the Russians gave him hope at the end.Lubyanka Prison

In the end, the Russians got what they wanted, but it had no value as it was essentially false information and did not, therefore, lead to his conviction at Nuremberg as they had hoped.

This raises the question of what exactly we are/were doing in Guantanamo.

The takeaway from the Senate torture report released in December is best summed up by Kevin Drum:

” In plain English: The torture was far more brutal than we thought, and the CIA lied about that. It didn’t work, and they lied about that too. It produced so much bad Intel that it most likely impaired our national security, and of course they lied about that as well. They lied to Congress, they lied to the president, and they lied to the media. Despite this, they are still defending their actions.”

That torture produces bad intel has been well known for some time.

Napoleon said:

a.. The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know.
a.. On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128

We know from the Fritzsche case that even just being broken down leaves a man ” furiously trying to guess what kind of answer would satisfy the commissar. ”

If we know from the Frtizsche example that you can get said bad information or a conguantanamo torturefession from hope rather than fear, what have we been doing torturing people?

If you can break a man’s spirit without laying hands on him then why have we been laying hands on them?

What kind of people can sit around an orchestrate such acts knowing full well they won’t even work?

I’ll let the answer to these questions dangle out there for readers to contemplate.  I myself am not sure, but I bet this quote is a large part of the answer:

“The superiority of everything Russian was the rock on which their mental world was built”.

Just replace “Russian” with “American”.

Attacking “terrorists” in another country. When is it ok?

So, the US has engaged in an act of war by violating the airspace of another nation in order to try to kill a supposed terrorist.

Now, said terrorist, as far as I can tell, has not done anything against the US nor is a threat to the United States.

This is, of course, why they call it “the war on terror”. It’s a free license to engage in warfare against almost anyone anywhere, and the “patriotic” contractors need a never ending war.

This was also our justification for attacking the Taliban who had also done nothing to us but supposedly harbored Osama bin Laden.

First off: consider that if the US military is unable to exert dominion over all of Afghanistan why should it be assumed that the Taliban could?

But anyway, let’s assume they could: so, harboring a terrorist is a legitimate reason to launch strikes and/or invade another country.

Who agrees with that? Make up your mind before you read on…
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Meet Orlando Bosch:

bosch

“Orlando Bosch Ávila (18 August 1926 – 27 April 2011)[1] was a Cuban exile, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head o fCoordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization”.[2] Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburghcalled Bosch an “unrepentant terrorist”.[3] He was accused of taking part in Operation Condor and several terrorist attacks, including the 6 October 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all 73 people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team and five North Koreans. ”

Orlando Bosch is a terrorist. He should be arrested right?
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“Bosch was given safe haven within the US in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, who in 1976 as head of the CIA had declined an offer by Costa Rica to extradite Bosch.”

All the above is from Wikipedia:

Later in life the US argued against his extradition under the theory that he would be tortured which is amusing given out record of torturing “terrorists”.

So a quick question for anyone who is in favor of or strikes on Somalia or Afghanistan: would you be ok if prior to his death in 2011 Cuban planes struck the US to kill Orlando Bosch? What would you think if they missed and there was “collateral damage”? Would you buy the US “Whoops we are sorry, but we go to great lengths not to kill civilians” excuse?

Why does this matter?  It matters because of Blowback, which I have written about before.  Americans stand around dumbfounded and wonder why others want to kill us.  Not having any clue they buy into the “they hate us for our freedoms” nonsense.  There is a real reason why people around the world want to kill us and it has nothing to do with our freedoms.  It has to do with specific foreign policy actions regularly undertaken by the warfare state.

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