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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq

Interview With An Insurgent

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The Institute For War & Peace Reporting has posted an essay by a former member of al-Qaeda.  The one time insurgent briefly describes his motives for fighting the occupying American forces, his disaffection with al-Qaeda and why he now is not so sure he wants the American troops to leave.

A reported insider account naturally must be taken with a grain of salt, since it is easy to fabricate and difficult to verify.  That said, I am not aware of any indications that the account is fraudulent, nor are any of the claims extraordinary.  If genuine, it is an interesting peek inside a world the American public is well insulated from.

Thanks to Current Intelligence for alerting me to the essay.

Forget Wii’s Call of Duty, Wikileaks Offers A More Realistic Representation of War

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You may have heard of the classified video leaked earlier this week by Wikileaks that shows a US air crew in Baghdad on July 12th  2007 repeatedly opening fire on a group of men including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22,  his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, and on a van that stopped to rescue a then wounded Saeed Chmagh.

You may have heard, but if you haven’t seen the video yourself, I would encourage you to watch.

And why would I do such a thing?  US policy calls for major censorship of images of warfare, and the result is a population that lives far removed from the realities of  pain and death.

If you read more about the story altogether, you will encounter what appear to be blatant false claims made by the US military, and more painful information including the surviving wounded children in the van. Really, though, if you choose to not read more, choose to skip over the background info given in the first 2 minutes of the video, and just watch the actual footage taken from the Apache helicopter and listen to the words of those behind the guns, you will be doing yourself a great service.

Familiarize yourself with war and death. Sure, you could play Call of Duty, I suppose, but watching actual men run for their lives, crawling to safety, only to be shot again and again, hearing the words of those doing the shooting and imagining what the experience must have been like for them, will hopefully leave you with a more accurate picture of war than any video game.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday has attacked wikileaks for releasing the video, stating, “”That is the problem with these videos,” Gates said. “You are looking at the war through a soda straw and you have no context or perspective.”

I would agree. It is a serious problem. Perhaps we do lack the correct context or perspective for the wars our country is currently involved in around the globe.

More on Robert Gates Response: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sc-dc-gates-video14-20100413,0,4550653.story

More on Wikileaks release: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-exposes-video-o_n_525569.html

More on Video Game Comparison: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/apr/07/wikileaks-collateral-murder-iraq-video

More on US Military response and history of censorship: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1978017,00.html

More on the Lack of Context: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/04/07/2010-04-07_military_brutal_wikileaks_video_of_shooting_death_of_reuters_journalist_in_iraq_.html

Written by annnee

April 13, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Iraq’s cabinet, SOFA and other furnishings

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A majority two thirds of the Iraqi cabinet voted this Sunday to send the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) along to parliment to be voted on.  As described in the previous post, tensions have been running high over the agreement and there were doubts it would make it past the cabinet this year.  If the Iraqi parliment passes SOFA, then all that is left is for Iraq’s president and the two vice-presidents to sign it, followed by Maliki and Bush’s finilizing signitures.

Written by Aaron Nee

November 16, 2008 at 9:06 am

Posted in Foreign Policy

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Sovereignty vs Hegemony

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The US/Iraq status-of-forces accord (SOFA) has proven to be an interesting match between Iraqi sovereignty and US hegemony.  The UN mandate allowing US troops to operate in Iraq is set to expire at the end of the year.  Without an accord being reached between the US and Iraq by that time, the US troops will essentially become illegal occupiers, which would severely limit their activities in the region.

In October Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told the London Times that if no agreement was reached and the UN mandate was not renewed, “the U.S. forces will be confined to their bases and have to withdraw from Iraq.”

In May, the terms of the agreement became a matter of wide public discourse after many thousands of protesters in Iraq demanded that the agreement not be signed.  Protesting continued to escalate with tens of thousands protesting in October, including Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Kurds.

Among the concessions now made by the US are a 2011 withdrawal date and the subjugation of US troops and private contractors such as Blackwater to Iraqi law.  The concessions, however, come with large loopholes that many parties want to see closed before they agree to move the agreement forward.

The US responded to Iraq’s misgivings by threatening to halt not only military actions, but also ending support for education services, economic support and other aid.  Iraqi Sunni Muslim vice president, Tariq al Hashimi, says many Iraqi’s view the threat as “a matter of blackmailing.”

Despite the threats, it appears that Iraq will not be signing the agreement before the UN mandate expires on Dec 31.

Sabah al-Nasseri, Professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics), and The Real News Network’s Senior Editor, Paul Jay discuss SOFA in the video below.

Written by Aaron Nee

November 16, 2008 at 1:00 am

Mommy, What’s a Socialist?

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Yes, I realize how lame it is for me to be posting this today, seeing as this event takes place TODAY, for those interested and living in the LA area, I thought I’d share. I am going to the Southern California Socialist Conference today because there are a few speakers that I am familiar with that I am interested in hearing from. The closing panel is also the Resisting Empire Speaking Tour, with one of the panelist who interests me the most being Jeremy Scahill, whose reporting on Blackwater in Iraq I have been following.

The closing panel discussion starts at 7pm, costs $5, and is held in the United Teachers Union of Los Angeles, Building 3303 Wilshire Blvd.

(Yes, I am aware this is a conflict for those attending the Rock and Roll with the Last of the Romantics: Sushi class/musical performance by Joel Lane/late night screening of The Last Romantic put on by Mike Thomas and Jason Wilson at the Kenmore House, but seeing as the Sushi class has filled up, maybe others might want to join me instead and then head over after!)

Written by annnee

November 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Event

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How much change?

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The Iraq war has been a significant factor in this year’s election.  Obama has been happy to point out time and again that he was opposed to the Iraq invasion from the outset, but if his Senior Working Group on National Security is any indication of what an Obama administration will look like, there is a lot left unchanged.

See the following report by Pepe Escobar at The Real News Network.

The second installment to Pepe’s report can be seen here.

Written by Aaron Nee

October 29, 2008 at 1:19 am