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Alberta Politics: That Conservative foreign policy election plank: shaky, incoherent and quite possibly dangerous

PHOTOS: A screen grab from the Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s notorious electioneering video showing the himself and Defence Minister Jason Kenney in Iraqi Kurdistan, with the face of a Canadian special forces soldier blocked out by the CBC – unlike the version that appeared on the PMO’s website. Note the Kurdish flag in the upper […]

The post That Conservative foreign policy election plank: shaky, incoherent and quite possibly dangerous appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Bill Longstaff: Why Britain is culpable for the slaughter of its citizens

British Prime Minister David Cameron is enraged at the massacre on a beach at the Sousse resort in Tunisia last week. And well he should be: thirty of his countrymen and women were slaughtered. He has pledged a “full spectrum” response, whatever that means. But while Mr. Cameron is engaging in his full spectrum response, he should take time to look in the mirror. Britain itself must take a full

Canadian Dimension: US Rebukes Israel While Showering it with Arms and Favors

Photo by Matanya

Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members’ zealotry with Israel’s need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident.

The conundrum was laid out clearly by Tzipi Hotovely, a young political ally of Netanyahu’s recently appointed to oversee the foreign ministry on his behalf.

She called together the country’s chief diplomats last week to cite rabbinical justifications for taking Palestinian land. Her broader message was that Israeli embassies abroad needed to stop worrying about being “smart” and concentrate instead on being “right”. Urging the country’s (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper endangers Canadians at home.

There was some interesting story positioning in the Toronto Star on Monday. The top story on page two was that the federal government will block any attempt to procure bail for prisoner Omar Khadr. The top story on page three was a full width picture of the prime minister being greeted by military personnel at an airbase in Kuwait. Under the picture was the headline: Harper pledges ‘unconditional support’ and a story about his speech to the troops.

What Harper said to the troops was that “By fighting this enemy you are protecting Canadians at home.” Not only was (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: The Palestinian Enclaves Struggle: An Interview with Ilan Pappé

Ilan Pappé • Photo by Meraj Chhaya

Professor Ilan Pappé is the director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of fifteen books, among them The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. His newest book, written together with Noam Chomsky, is called On Palestine.

Editors: Professor Pappé, your field is history, but your particular specialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, is one whose historical issues are still very much live today. What are your views on the renewed violence in Gaza last summer?

Ilan Pappé: The last Israeli attack on Gaza has (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Canada Advances to Top Tier Warmongering. Congratulations All.

Did you hear the news?  Pakistan has inked a deal to buy eight modern Chinese submarines.  Pakistan, yeah.  And the Pakistan navy is looking at developing nuclear warheads for the torpedoes and cruise missiles those subs carry.  What do you think of that?  Does it evoke any sort of visceral reaction in you? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Those familiar with this blog know that I devote some time monitoring arms races underway in many corners of the world but especially in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and, of course, Russia and Eastern Europe.  They’re all little beehives (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Echoes of the Monroe Doctrine in the Middle Est

Pondering American mischief in the Middle East the other day I had a strange feeling this pattern of behaviour had appeared before. And then I realized where … in Latin America.

In 1823, the fledgling United States unilaterally declared the Monroe Doctrine, after president James Monroe. Its objective was to keep the European powers out of Latin America, leaving it to the tender mercies of the

Rob Maguire: Touring Turkey with 18 litres of luxury

I’m sitting in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Istanbul with my carry-on bag resting on my lap.

When I arrive at the Ataturk airport later today, I’ll pass through customs, stroll past the baggage area, and jump onto the metro. That carry-on bag — the Boreas Larkin 18L backpack — is all I have.

One small daypack contains everything I’m bringing on a five week trip across Turkey.

While planning this journey, my mild minimalist tendencies kept pecking away at my Boy Scout instincts. I first humoured them for practical reasons — a single checked bag (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Nothing is Right in the Middle East

Photo by Rooj Alwazir

There is nothing, absolutely nothing right in the Middle East these days. There seems to be no hope left, and no fervor. All that was pure was dragged through filth. All that was great here was stolen or smashed by the outsiders. Enthusiasm had been ridiculed, then drowned, or burned to ashes, or shattered by tanks and missiles.

Corruption thrives – corruption that inundated this entire region since the early days of Western colonialism, and then was sustained through the present-day imperialist global regime.

The land of the Middle East is tired; it is crying from (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Even Diplomats Admit Our Middle East Policy is a Mess.

Of course it’s a mess bordering on schizophrenia.  We can’t figure out which side we should be fighting, Sunni or Shia.  We’re bombing Sunnis on behalf of the Shia in Iraq and, soon enough, Syria but we’re backing the Sunnis in their air war against Shiite rebels in Yemen.  Next year we might switch sides again.

What’s going wrong here, what’s missing?

I think I know.  We’re succumbing to a messed up foreign policy because we haven’t yet accepted that we’ve become unwitting warriors in a religious civil war underway in the Muslim world.  It’s Saudi Arabia versus Iran, Sunni (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: ISIS 101

Flag of the Islamic State

ISIS certainly is not what a great many people think that it is, if you judge what they think by what our corporate press proclaims incessantly.

Judging by what ISIS actually does and whom its acts benefit, its clandestine associates, and the testimony of some witnesses, ISIS is a complex intelligence operation. Its complexity reflects at least in part the fact that it serves the interests of several countries and that it has more than one objective. Its complexity reflects also the large effort to reinforce a false image with disinformation and staged events such (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau To Support Harper’ Imminent Iraq War Extension

Liberal leader open to supporting Stephen Harper’s imminent extension of Canada’s combat mission against Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq.

The post Trudeau To Support Harper’ Imminent Iraq War Extension appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

After we were told the video made by Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau would be made available to the public, the RCMP has changed its mind, or had it changed for them. RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics. He said there may be a release of “some aspects of a transcript of the video”… whatever that means.

Given the terrorist narrative favored by the government and also by the police, how can the public be sure that ‘aspects of the transcript’ aren’t cherry picked to reenforce the preferred narrative. Surely the honest and transparent thing to do (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Six things we all need to think about when Canadians volunteer to fight for the Kurds

The Kurds: They should have had a country of their own, but since they don’t, and since Canada is allied by treaty to one of their principal enemies, letting Canadians join their fight isn’t a simple matter. We need clarity on just what Canada’s position is from the Canadian government. Below: Dillon Hillier is shown with a Kurdish fighter in this photo from the National Post – what’s the badge on his arm say? Canada? Lord Palmerston; a map of Turkey showing its majority Kurdish-speaking regions.

While a couple of officials of the Harper Government have now half-heartedly warned Canadians (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: French Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestinian State

France’s Socialist-led parliament has passed a symbolic vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, despite staunch objections from Israel. MPs in Britain and Spain have already passed similar motions.

The proposal was passed with 339 votes in favor and 151 against, meaning that it was supported by more than two-thirds of French lawmakers.

Israel immediately responded, saying that the motion would “harm the peace process,” AFP reported.

Read the Full Report from RN News

The Disaffected Lib: Washington’s Quagmire Mentality

When it comes to Iraq, or the rest of the Middle East for that matter, America is operating on a number of assumptions rooted in fantasy.  These false assumptions ensure that America will keep getting itself trapped in quagmire.

Andrew Bacevich, former US Army commander turned academic, knows a good deal about Iraq.  The Columbia professor commanded US troops in Operation Desert Storm and his son was lost to an IED during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Inside the Beltway, policymakers, politicians, and pundits take Iraq’s existence for granted.  Many can even locate it on a map.  They also take (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The legitimate anger of the jihadis

As the season of wallowing in warrior worship wanes, we might think upon those warriors we love to hate—the young Muslim men from around the globe migrating (or trying to migrate) to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.

Their motivation is much discussed. Some, alienated from their society, seem driven by nothing more than a desperate search for meaning in their lives. The mentally-unbalanced,

Canadian Dimension: Otherwise Occupied / The genius of Israeli evil: It poses as concern

Photo by W. Hagens

Israeli evil is not at all banal. Abundant in inventions and innovations as well as in age-old techniques, it trickles like water and bursts out from hidden places. But unlike floods, it does not reach an end, and it affects some while being invisible, undetectable and non-existent for others. The genius of Israeli evil is in its ability to disguise itself as compassion and concern (thus providing Bernard-Henri Lévy and Elie Wiesel with yet another opportunity to praise the Jewish state in widely-read essays).

Take, for example, the inventive technique of Israeli agriculture: two to five (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Democracy inches along in Tunisia

The Arab spring, one of the most encouraging events from a democratic perspective in recent years, has unfortunately mostly failed. Egypt, the most important Arab country, and the country where democrats’ hopes where highest, has lapsed back into an increasingly oppressive military dictatorship. But one country, the one where it all started, continues to follow a democratic path.


drive-by planet: ‘Terrorism threat’ hyped to fuel Harper government’s reactionary right-wing agenda

Following the Ottawa shooting both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star ran headlines that signaled the nation was under assault. The Globe went with the single word “Attacked” superimposed on a silhouette of parliament, with a solitary red-and-white Canadian flag fluttering against the background gloom. The Star went with “Under Siege” with the sub-heading “Terror grips Ottawa and the nation.”

The message of ‘nation-under-threat’ contained in these headlines and images was also apparent in the rhetoric of the Harper government that framed the Ottawa shooting incident as a terrorist attack… an attack on the very heart of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Religious Child Abuse

Our imperial conquests in the Middle East are, of course, busily blowing up in our face. The new normal is a murderous state of higgledy-piggledy brought on by us wiping out the quasi-stable societies that had kept the peace (of sorts). Because nothing says we love peace like bombing the shit of a country we now have religious extremists attempting to establish a new Caliphate in the ruins of our bastion of democratic freedom imperial conquest.

So anyhow, once you cripple the umbrella of supports (infrastructure and otherwise) that keep a civil secular society running it comes as (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Principled Abstention: Why Liberal MP Irwin Cotler Abstained From Iraq War Vote

Did Liberal MP Irwin Cotler rebel against party leader Justin Trudeau when he abstained from Tuesday’s House of Commons vote on Harper’s decision to drag Canada into an unwinnable military campaign in Iraq?

The post Principled Abstention: Why Liberal MP Irwin Cotler Abstained From Iraq War Vote appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Dead Wild Roses: Some Recent History in the Middle East – ISIS and US.

Fascinating reading about some of the circular nature of events that are playing out in the Middle East as of late. This excerpt from the Counterpunch article titled Once More, Into the Quagmire.


The Middle East Needs Our Military Might

One can hear, in the reverberating noise of mainstream justifications, a series of claims. Among them is the idea that the Middle East is united in opposition to ISIS. Indeed it is, if you confine your poll to the rotten monarchies of the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Adding Jordan to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Ten Questions about the Harper Government’s embrace of war with ISIS-ISIL-IS

Ready, Aye, Ready! Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird whips up the War Party in the House of Commons. Below: Stephen Harper, the prime minister, and Edmonton Centre MP Laurie Hawn.

Stephen Harper, John Baird, Laurie Hawn and the rest of the boys yesterday finally got the war in Iraq they’ve been pining for since 2003.

“We should have been there shoulder to shoulder with our allies,” Prime Minister Harper, who was still the leader of the opposition, complained back in April 2003. At the time, the United States had just invaded Iraq to punish it for having nothing to do (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau “cannot and will not” support Harper’s Iraq war motion

Responding to Harper’s Iraq war motion, introduced Friday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said his party “cannot and will not support this Prime Minister’s motion.”

The post Trudeau “cannot and will not” support Harper’s Iraq war motion appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.