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Reactions to the Proposed Syrian Withdrawal

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Trump dropped a bombshell with his surprise order for a withdrawal of US troops from Syria, the draw-down of troops in Afghanistan, and the resignation of his Secretary of Defense.

But surprisingly, Trump’s view of the Syrian conflict closely resembles Obama’s, i.e., that the US had no serious interest, either economic or strategic, in the conflict.

Recall that Obama was often criticized by our Middle East allies for refusing to commit ground troops to the battle, authorizing only limited numbers of technical advisors, along with air support.

Obama’s stance was often attacked by his critics as ‘arms-length combat.’ But that could also be said for EU allies France and UK, that made the least minimal commitments, with France and the UK providing no more than 500 troops, total, and Germany refusing to take any part in the conflict.

Even at that, Obama’s war focus wavered badly, from initially supporting the Saudi and UAE, while arming and training “moderate jihadists” as a proxy-warriors to overthrow Assad.

When many of these moderate rebels turned out to be not so moderate, with some breaking ranks to join ISIS, the US reversed focus to support the Kurdish militia, the most effective fighters against both the moderate jihadists and ISIS, fighting in support of the Assad regime.

Obama, like Trump, correctly saw that the main threat to stability in the middle east was the growth of the radical jihadist, ISIS, that occupied large areas in East Iraq and Syria, while, intent on building similar outposts in Africa.

US neo-cons and cold warriors were stunned at Trump’s withdrawal announcement, as their dream for regime change in the Middle East utterly collapsed.

Their long-held view that regime change could turn back the clock to a time when the West colonized the regions and stripped their natural resource assets was totally discredited and belied by the experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria.

If we learned anything from Vietnam, and disastrous wars that followed, that it’s long past time for conquering and exploiting poor countries. Even without modern weapons, devoid of air force or navy, their people will fight on against, against impossible odds, eventually wearing down the would-be conquerors by forcing them to spend fortunes in lives and treasure until they are finally forced to declare victory and slink home.

After seventeen years in Afghanistan, in a never-ending war, even our military has come to the conclusion that this war is unwinnable. Like Vietnam, the war always lacked the essential ingredients for victory in terms of an established, effective government that held the loyalty of its countrymen, and military force capable of protecting the country.

In their absence, the US has been forced into taking over the fighting on its own, as it did in Korea,  Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  Without a negotiated settlement, the war will likely continue indefinitely. The same could be said of Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

In the movie,“W,” about the younger Bush Administration and it’s march to war in Iraq, there is a revealing scene in which the character portrayed as VP Cheney goes to a map of the middle east, aims his pointer at all the region’s countries, saying, “If we took all the countries in the area and controlled their oil, who would f..k with us then?”

The character portrayed as Colin Powell responds, “Spoken like a true oil man.”

Although the movie is only a dramatic portrayal, we would lay odds that conversations like the one portrayed in the movie frequently took place amongst the real-life players. Recall McCain during his Presidential campaign, outrageously singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Or consider the long-time slogan of the neo-cons,

“Real men go to Tehran.”

What that long line of interventionist wars clearly showed were that these countries were more than willing to defend themselves against the occupying forces. And these guerrilla wars by much weaker countries against far more powerful imperialists invaders could go on for many years, in a war of attrition, draining the resources of their western rulers until, eventually, until they were forced to retreat. Afghanistan is a prime example, with the US war ongoing for seventeen years.

Not surprisingly, Trump was attacked for failing to heed the warnings of his chief military advisor, Secretary of Defense, Mattis, who resigned, setting off a major controversy. And while the media continued to lambast the President and laud the General for his integrity.

Widely ignored by most of the media that Mattis was also formerly fired from his post as head of Centcom by the Obama Administration for allegedly attempting to provoke a conflict with Iran, aimed at undermining the Administration’s efforts to negotiate the freeze on Iran’s nuclear development.

Also ignored is the fact that Trump followed the advice of Gen. Curtis Michael “Mike” Scaparrotti, the highly respected head of the U.S. European Command, who publicly stated that the US had little interest at risk in Syria, and that our support for the Kurds threatened our relations with NATO member Turkey, an alliance considered far more politically important than with the Kurds.

The media also failed to notice that prior to the President’s announced troop withdrawal from Syria, that Russia had successfully negotiated a 60 mile pull back of Iranian troop from Syria’s southern border, aimed at easing tensions and lowering the threats towards Israel.

Also ignored by the western press was at the recent meeting in Abu Dhabi between US special envoy, Khalizad, and the Taliban, where, for the first time, a high level US representative declared that the US was ready to withdraw its military forces if there was a meaningful and verifiable peace settlement, with a guarantee that Afghanistan would no longer be a staging grounds for terrorists attacks on its neighbors or the west.

In attendance at the meeting were representatives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate, in support of the US position, urging the reluctant Taliban towards direct negotiation with the current Afghan government.

Pakistan’s leadership also gave added support to the meeting. Few middle eastern analysts believe that the Taliban would be willing to reject the US terms, that answers their own demands for a US withdrawal, particularly when backed by the Taliban’s former benefactors.

Instead, the military establishment unloaded its biggest weapon to panic the public, as Senator Lindsey Graham reported to an unconvinced public ‘that the announced troop withdrawal could lead to another 9/11.’ Shades of Colin Powell’s famous address to the UN where he attempted to justify the US attack on Iraq, with pictures of an atomic mushroom cloud emanating from Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons.

Despite the news blitz by the military and its media friends of dire consequences for withdrawal, their remains few alternatives besides a permanent presence of US troops, as US public opposition continues to grow against the long and unending interventionists wars in the Middle East and Eurasia.

The military establishment’s opposition to the withdrawal was largely expected and taken for granted, but more surprising was the concerted attack by many left-wing spokes people and their media associates. Senator Elizabeth Warren was the left’s only representative to agree to the withdrawal, although she also condemned the President for not alerting our allies.  It left one wondering where the left’s peace movement has gone or if it still exists.

Against this there is a catastrophic history that cannot be denied. While jobs and industries were disappearing from our borders, our leaders engaged in decades long wars in the Middle East and Eurasia, where the discredited neo-con strategy of regime change, based on faked intelligence and false flags, has left in its wake the wreckage of fallen states, the blow-back of global terrorism, and an enormous refuges crisis, to say nothing of the waste of lives and treasure.

A final question: Does our fury against Trump blind us to our own long-term interests?

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Americas

Scandinavia Veers Left plus D-Day Reflections as Trump Storms Europe

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Mette Frederiksen of the five-party Social Democrat bloc won 91 of the 169 seats in the Danish parliament ending the rule of the right-wing Liberal Party group that had governed for 14 of the last 18 years.  The election issues centered on climate change, immigration and Denmark’s generous social welfare policies.  All parties favored tighter immigration rules thereby taking away the central issue dominating the far-right Democrat Freedom Party which has seen its support halved since the last election in 2015.

Ms Frederiksen promised more spending to bolster the much loved social welfare model and increased taxes on businesses and the wealthy.  A left wave is sweeping Scandinavia as Denmark becomes the third country, after Sweden and Finland, to move left within a year.  Mette Frederiksen will also be, at 41, the youngest prime minister Denmark has ever had.

Donald Trump has used the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations to garner positive publicity.  The supreme promoter has managed to tie it in with a “classy” (his oft-chosen word) state visit to the UK spending a day with royals.  It was also a farewell to the prime minister as her resignation is effective from June 7.  Add a D-Day remembrance ceremony at Portsmouth and he was off to his golf course in Ireland for a couple of days of relaxation disguised as a visit to the country for talks — he has little in common with the prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is half-Indian and gay.

Onward to France where leaders gathered for ceremonies at several places.  It is easy to forget the extent of that carnage:  over 20,000 French civilians were killed in Normandy alone mostly from aerial bombing and artillery fire.  The Normandy American cemetery holds over 9600 soldiers.  All in all, France lost in the neighborhood of 390,000 civilian dead during the whole war.  Estimates of total deaths across the world range from 70 to 85 million or about 3 percent of the then global population (estimated at 2.3 billion).

Much has been written about conflict resolutions generally from a cold rational perspective.  Emotions like greed, fear and a sense of injustice when unresolved lead only in one direction.  There was a time when individual disputes were given the ultimate resolution through single combat.  Now legal rights and courts are available — not always perfect, not always fair, but neither are humans.

It does not take a genius to extrapolate such legal measures to nations and international courts … which already exist.  Just one problem:  the mighty simply ignore them.  So we wait, and we honor the dead of wars that in retrospect appear idiotic and insane.  Worse is the attempt to justify such insanity through times like the “good war”, a monstrous absurdity.

It usually takes a while.  Then we get leaders who have never seen the horror of war — some have assiduously avoided it — and the cycle starts again.

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Americas

To Impeach Or Not To Impeach? That Is The Question

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Robert Mueller let loose a thunderbolt midweek.  Donald Trump had not been charged, he said, because it was Department of Justice policy not to charge a sitting president.  Dumping the issue firmly into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lap, he reminded us of the purpose of the impeachment process.  According to Mueller there are ten instances where there are serious issues with the president obstructing justice adding that his report never concludes that Trump is innocent.

So here is a simple question:  If Mueller thought the president is not innocent but he did not charge him because of Justice Department policy, and he appears also to favor impeachment, then why in heaven’s name did he not simply state in his report that the preponderance of evidence indicated Trump was guilty?

Nancy Pelosi is wary of impeachment.  According to the rules, the House initiates it and when/if  it finds sufficient grounds, it forwards the case to the Senate for a formal trial.  The Senate at present is controlled by Republicans, who have been saying it’s time to move on, often adding that after two years of investigation and a 448-page report, what is the point of re-litigating the issue?  They have a point and again it leads to the question:  if Special Counsel Mueller thinks Trump is guilty as he now implies, why did he not actually say so?

Never one to miss any opportunity , Trump labels Mueller, highly conflicted, and blasts impeachment as ‘a dirty, filthy, disgusting word’,  He has also stopped Don McGahn, a special counsel at the White House from testifying before Congress invoking ‘executive privilege’ — a doctrine designed to keep private the president’s consultations with his advisors.  While not cited anywhere in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has held it to be ‘fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the Separation of Powers under the Constitution.’  Separation of powers keeps apart the executive branch, the legislature and the judiciary, meaning each one cannot interfere with the other.

Nancy Pelosi is under increasing pressure from the young firebrands.  Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has already expressed the view that it is time to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump given the obstruction of lawmakers’ oversight duty.

Speaker Pelosi is a long-time politician with political blood running through her veins — her father was Mayor of Baltimore and like herself also a US Representative.  To her the situation as is, is quite appealing.  Trump’s behavior fires up Democrats across the country and they respond by emptying their pockets to defeat the Republicans in 2020.  Democratic coffers benefit so why harm this golden goose — a bogeyman they have an excellent chance of defeating — also evident from the numbers lining up to contest the Democratic presidential primaries, currently at 24. 

Will Trump be impeached?  Time will tell but at present it sure doesn’t look likely.

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Americas

When Republicans Are In Power, Banks, Real Estate, and Insurance Companies Crush The People

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

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There is certainly a correlation by and between when conservatives and Republicans talk about “de-regulation” and “freedom” of business, in the outright and total crushing of the American people underneath a boot of immorality.

For example, insurance companies will start to increase the use dishonest and unethical “adjustors” to set out to deny lawful proper claims for insurance, such as when someone has fully paid their expensive premiums, but then is cruelly and out of hand denied much needed assistance from these insurance companies for various health problems, automobile accidents, home and renters policy mishaps, professional liability defense, general business liability assistance, property damage, and other types of accidents and mishaps that these insurance companies state that they were designed to protect their customers with.

These insurance companies know fully well that the poor and middle class do not have the ability to hire and retain competent high powered lawyers to defend their interests, either by entangling with them or in dealing with the entities that are coming after them in the above named types of life problems.

The Democrats had created and implemented such consumer watchdog agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) and these agencies were very successful in prosecuting, investigating, and beating back insurance company and banker predatory behavior, but then the lobbying groups for these industries began to buy and pay for Republican whores and populated the Congress and Senate with their “people,” and low and behold, we got an avalanche of “deregulation” from the Executive and Legislative Branches, gutted agencies and replacement of its leaders, all of a sudden leaving the American people at the will and hellish end of the retaliatory insurance and banking industries, and now things are worse than they ever were before.

Similarly, as the Insurance industry benefited from screwing over the American people, the Banking industry simultaneously have begun again to rape the American people, by instituting usurious collections and interest rates, sometimes as high as 50-60%, on such things as student loans in default through no fault of the borrower (due to sickness, injury, loss of employment, bankruptcy) and credit card companies now routinely rape and pillage the American people with ungodly APRs and other “bait and switch” mechanisms designed to fleece their customers, enriching themselves while impoverishing their customers.

All the while these banks and insurance companies are charging more than ever for premiums, simple day to day processes such as ATM machine usage, finance charges, late fees, and other highway robbery-type methods to steal from the American people.

The real estate industry, headed up by men such as Ben Carson of HUD, have now mercilessly began to crush tenants and mortgage holders, denying them basic warranties of safety and habitability, skirting all state and federal regulation so as to make a buck.

“Freedom” as used by Republican and conservative leaders was supposed to mean something different than giving trillion dollar international banks, real estate, and insurance companies the license to rape and pillage the American people, but “deregulation” is the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” or “trojan horse” by these communist industries to devastate the American people, and they must be reigned in once again by the Democrat led powers in the Congress and the Senate, and perhaps even the Judiciary (state and federal).

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