Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Supporting the "Arab spring"

June 17th, 2012 Comments off


March 6th, 2012 Comments off

US says no deal concluded yet for opening Taliban office in Qatar

January 12th, 2012 Comments off

The United States has said that Afghan and Taliban statements show there is support for opening a Taliban political office in Qatar, but stressed that nothing has been concluded as yet.
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Secret Libyan rebel leaders

May 31st, 2011 Comments off
Still, it may explain why the rebels’ Transitional National Council has so far refused to reveal the identities of most of its members. (This is a big issue for the United States, which has not recognized the rebels, at least in part out of concern over who its leaders really are.)”

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US ‘deeply troubled’ by Bahrain arrests (AFP)

March 19th, 2011 Comments off

AFP – The United States said it was “deeply troubled” by Bahrain’s arrests of opposition leaders and others pressing for democratic rule in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

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US ‘mindful’ of Palestinian stand on settlements (AFP)

August 24th, 2010 Comments off

AFP – The United States said Monday it is “mindful” of the Palestinian call for Israel to halt settlements, but stopped short of saying it will back such a demand at new peace talks here next month.

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Categories: Arab News Tags: , , , , ,

U.S. wants investigation into Sudan jailbreak

June 15th, 2010 Comments off

United States calls on Sudan to conduct full investigation into escape from jail of four Islamists.
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The authorized secret activities could strain relationships with the likes of Saudi Arabia … & could anger the likes of Syria and Iran…"

May 25th, 2010 Comments off

NYTimes/ here

“The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents. The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials said. Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to “prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document said. The order, however, does not appear to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries.

In broadening its secret activities, the United States military has also sought in recent years to break its dependence on the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy agencies for information in countries without a significant American troop presence.

General Petraeus’s order is meant for small teams of American troops to fill intelligence gaps about terror organizations and other threats in the Middle East and beyond, especially emerging groups plotting attacks against the United States.

But some Pentagon officials worry that the expanded role carries risks. The authorized activities could strain relationships with friendly governments like Saudi Arabia or Yemenwhich might allow the operations but be loath to acknowledge their cooperation — or incite the anger of hostile nations like Iran and Syria. Many in the military are also concerned that as American troops assume roles far from traditional combat, they would be at risk of being treated as spies if captured and denied the Geneva Convention protections afforded military detainees……. A Pentagon order that year (2004) gave the military authority for offensive strikes in more than a dozen countries, and Special Operations troops carried them out in Syria, Pakistan and Somalia…..”

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Petraeus Memo Widens scope of US Military Covert Operations in ME

May 25th, 2010 Comments off

The 7-page memo seen by the NYT and signed by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus authorizes US troops to engage in clandestine intelligence-gathering in the greater Middle East. The article implies that the memo also authorizes more military teams to go into unconventional conflict situations in both unfriendly and friendly countries.

Critics worry that the order blurs the line between combat soldiers and spies and weakens the claim of all soldiers to human treatment under the Geneva Conventions.

My own view is that the United States was founded as a government of laws, not men, and that the siren call of covert operations is steadily undermining the rule of law. Blurring the line between military action and spying makes it impossible to talk about the covert missions, since they are typically classiified. The same is true for predator drone strikes.

Military action such as launching drones should be carried out by the uniformed military, not by CIA operatives or, worse, contractors. The former action would allow us to discuss the campaigns as free citizens of a republic. As it is now, often civilian contractors are piloting drones long-distance and we cannot so much as get a straight answer out of the elected officials. Where the US is striking at friendly countries, there should be a Status of Forces agreement to provide a legal framework for the actions.

And intelligence gathering should be carried out by the civilian such agencies. The more you make elements of the military actually intelligence assents, the more likely it is that the lines between them will get strained. That blurring could be bad for all troops. There is already a tendency in the ME for locals to see all Americans as CIA, and giving troops a lot of covert missions will reinforce these views.

We still can be a country of laws, not men, can’t we? It isn’t too late?

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John Brennan’s Hezbollah proposal is a "thoroughly idiotic scheme"…

May 25th, 2010 Comments off
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Michael Young, who has no problem in seeing moderation in Samir Geagea’ (a convicted mass murderer) and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia …. denigrates John Brennan, the British …. for his “Hezbollah moderates” remark, and for their open channels with Hezbollah …… at Young’s favorite pulpit, MEOWLebanon/ here

“…… There is indeed a mulish formalism to the thinking of some Americans that makes you wonder if they are serious. For Brennan the world possibly really is divided into “extremists” and “moderates,” and if an organization or country appears uncompromising, then that must simply be because the moderates haven’t yet been discovered.

But what a self-centered way of looking at politics, since it assesses the actions of others entirely from the perspective of the interpreter. Brennan assumes that Hezbollah’s thinking, rhetoric, conceptual universe and so on, is perfectly comprehensible within American categories, his categories, which is just another way of saying that the party is not as serious about its own ideas as we assume.
A few years ago, the British government came out with an equally amusing sleight of hand, when it opened a dialogue with what it referred to as Hezbollah’s political wing, which it differentiated from the party’s military wing. This was rank hypocrisy, of course. The British knew enough about Hezbollah to realize that it is a highly centralized organization, in fact a Leninist organization in many ways, so that all the loose references to “wings” were just excuses to talk to party officials without being accused by the United States of chatting up what Washington officially labels a “terrorist organization.”
But Brennan’s proposal doesn’t even have the saving grace of cynicism. When asked how he proposed to reach the moderates, the presidential advisor offered no answer. That’s because his scheme is thoroughly idiotic. One thing about Hezbollah, its militants generally believe what they say, and when they say that Washington is their enemy, they mean that too. The party’s structure and worldview leave no room for “moderates” or “extremists.” What they allow are debates over tactics, but within well-defined strategic parameters, usually set by Iran, of which opposition to America and Israel is essential.
That lesson the St. Joseph University students understood instinctively. You might wonder, justifiably, how young people sent to an institution of higher learning where humanistic values are taught could so readily fall for Hezbollah’s catechism of violence and self-sacrifice. But at least they were not on an illusory quest for “moderates.” Their trip was about guns and war and death, and even if it was cool, they knew it was about guns and war and death.

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