Tag Archives | Middle East

The CIA Has A Secret Drone Base In Saudi Arabia

I wonder, what other news is hidden from the public under an “informal arrangement”? The BBC reports:

The CIA has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years. US media have known of its existence since then, but have not reported it. The New York Times published its report on Tuesday night, ending an “informal arrangement” among several news organizations not to disclose the location of the base.

The facility was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen. A drone flown from there was used in September 2011 to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was alleged to be AQAP’s external operations chief.

Construction was ordered after a December 2009 cruise missile strike in Yemen. It was the first strike ordered by the Obama administration, and ended in disaster, with dozens of civilians, including women and children, killed.

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The Paranoia of the Super Rich and Super Powerful

from Stevertigo at Wikimedia Commons

Via TomDispatch:

[This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books).  The questions are Barsamian’s, the answers Chomsky’s.]

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources — the main concern of U.S. planners — have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.

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Unraveling The Stuxnet Virus

From Patrick Clair a year ago, a quick and excellent look at the troubling Stuxnet virus. It has since been confirmed that the United States and Israel were behind its use against Iran's nuclear facilities. The question is now, what have we unleashed?
An infographic dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code. This was produced for Australian TV program HungryBeat.  
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Anniversary Of Egyptian Revolution Brings More Beatings In Tahrir Square

Two years after the start of the revolution that finally rid Egypt of Hosni Mubarak, police are still beating down revolutionaries in Tahrir Square, report Ramy Francis and Laura Smith-Spark for CNN:
The streets around Cairo's Tahrir Square were again roiled by violent clashes between police and protesters Friday, as crowds gathered to mark two years since the start of the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. At least 29 protesters have been treated over the past 12 hours for cuts, broken bones and birdshot injuries, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled El Khatib said...
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Israelis ‘Donate’ Votes to Palestinians in Protest

Via Common Dreams:

In a move of high-tech civil disobedience, thousands of Israeli citizens are donating their right to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections to their Palestinian neighbors via Facebook.

­‘Real Democracy,’ so far has over 1,700 followers and is allowing Israelis to “donate” their votes for the Palestinian cause, giving their ‘second-class’ citizen neighbors an opportunity to participate in the general elections on Tuesday.

Agence France Presse reports:

As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Mousa Maria has no legal right to vote in Israeli elections this week. But thanks to a protest initiative, an Israeli voter will be casting a ballot for him.

He’s participating in the “Real Democracy” project, a joint campaign launched by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in which Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians.

Maria will be voting through Shahaf Weisbein for the Arab-Israeli party Balad. He asked Weisbein to vote for the party to show support for its embattled member Hanin Zoabi, who faced attempts to disqualify her from the Knesset last month.

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Lest we forget, an attack on Syria is an attack on Iran and a threat to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

via chycho

United States involvement in Syria has nothing to do with a repressive regime. After all, in 2002 the United States willingly used Assad’s regime to torture Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, when they renditioned him to Syria from New York. The world was also quite grateful to Syria for accepting 1.5 million refugees created by the US invasion of Iraq, especially considering that for approximately the same period the United States had only accepted 7,000 Iraqi refugees. What’s happening in Syria is part of a bigger picture, a grand chessboard if you’d like, and what’s happening there is definitely not the end game.

Irrelevant if Assad stays in power or the rebels take control, what’s important to know about Syria is that an attack on Syria is an attack on Iran and a threat to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – a mutual security organization founded in 2001, which “includes not only the two giants Russia and China, but also the energy-rich Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.”

In 2006 Syria signed a defense agreement with Iran.… Read the rest

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Christianity ‘Close To Extinction’ In Middle East

How long before religion in general is close to extinction, disinfonauts? From the Telegraph:

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

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The New Soft-Focus Lens Of War

Via the The New Inquiry, Huw Lemmey on social media as tools of destruction:

By nightfall tonight that explosion which just shook your neighborhood, in one of the most densely populated areas on earth, will have been liked over 8,000 times on Facebook. Welcome to Gaza City.

The transmutation of territorial control today enters a new topography, an extension of the historical “propaganda war”: control of the networked space online. The IDF have run a comprehensive social media campaign from the first stages of the new assault, announcing the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari on Twitter, followed up by YouTube footage of his targeted killing within minutes.

Far from embracing ideas of a futuristic, dehumanising warfare, the instagrams of IDF, processed through the various “retro” and “soft-focus” filters, serve a dual purpose. The first purpose is that of historicization. Much as the hipstamatic literally filters the contemporary condition through the lens of the ’60s and ’70s, the use of “retro” filters removes the images of today’s IDF from their context within the current campaign of blockade and air assault and reframes them as part of the Israeli foundation story.

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