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Jefferson23

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
Home country: USA
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Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 20,744

Journal Archives

Ankara bombs PKK rebels inside Turkey while Kurds in Kobani face Isis

10/14/2014

Turkish aircraft have attacked Kurdish rebel positions inside Turkey for the first time in two years as relations between the Turkish government and the Kurds deteriorate because of Turkey’s failure to help the Kurdish defenders of Kobani under attack by Isis.

F-16 jets struck at a target they claimed was held by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984, but has had a ceasefire since 2013. The Turkish military said it was responding “in the strongest possible way” to the shelling of an outpost by PKK forces. The PKK say they were responding to a military strike.

The Turkish government appears to calculate that the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan does not want the faltering peace process to end and that the PKK cannot fight in both Syria and Turkey. Mr Ocalan says, however, that if Kobani falls then it will be the end of the peace process.

Today, US-led forces said they had conducted 21 airstrikes focused on halting Isis advances at Kobani in the last two days. That came as Barack Obama held talks with military leaders from some 20 countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia. “It is part of ongoing efforts to build the coalition and integrate the capabilities of each country into the broader strategy,” said a White House spokesman.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/turkish-warplanes-hit-kurdish-rebel-positions-near-iraq-border-9793040.html

10/14/2014

Iraq descends into anarchy: Shia militias 'abducting and killing Sunni civilians in revenge for Isis attacks'

The re-emergence of the militias and the failure to rebuild the Iraqi army is torpedoing the US and British policy of supporting a more inclusive and less sectarian government

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/shia-militias-abducting-and-killing-sunni-civilians-in-revenge-for-isi

Liberalism and Gentrification

by Gavin Mueller

Gentrification isn’t a cultural phenomenon — it’s a class offensive by powerful capitalists.


1866 Mitchell Map of Washington, DC

When I want to examine the limits of liberal ideology, I look for class struggle; when I want to find some class struggle, I simply step outside my door. You don’t have to live in Washington, DC, like I do, but it helps.

Like a lot of cities, Washington is really two cities in the same space. We’ve got “Washington,” the place of popular imagination, gleaming white marble monuments and Aaron Sorkin speechifiers, the mostly-from-out-of-town professional class keeping the rusty wheels of state administration turning.

We’ve also got “DC,” the city distinct from the operations of the federal government, made up of “residents,” who are mostly poor and mostly black. These two cities are locked in a one-sided war of attrition, with affluent “newcomers” and their local allies conducting clear-and-hold operations against their less well-heeled neighbors. I can watch from what Forbes magazine, that barometer of bohemianism, has labeled the sixth-hippest neighborhood in the US, where I live.

This is gentrification, which, if you’re reading this and live in a city, is a process you’re caught up in. There’s a violent side of gentrification — think Rudy Giuliani and his “broken windows” alibi for crackdowns on petty crime. But there’s a softer side to this war as well, the liberal project of city governance whose patron saint is the activist Jane Jacobs, author of Death and Life of American Cities.

remainder: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/liberalism-and-gentrification/

Why the Right Is So Freaked Out about the Inconvenient Truths of Actual U.S. History

Conservatives are going bonkers over "unpatriotic" history tests. Time for a little tutorial.

October 7, 2014 |


Conservative hero Ben Carson is worried about American teenagers joining ISIS. But it’s not because of “radical Islam.” It’s because of new high school history standards.

American’s right wing, you see, is terrified of history because it is always sentimentalizing it. Many of its arguments rely on a feeling of nostalgia for “good old days,” that appeals almost exclusively to aging whites. That means that a more accurate history, one that considers groups that are traditionally marginalized — women, people of color, Native Americans, immigrants and the poor — don’t necessarily sit that well. Their stories, the stories of the downtrodden, crush the false narrative that many conservatives like to imagine — that of a idyllic past marred by the New Deal, women’s liberation and civil rights.

In Jefferson County, Colorado, a school board recently tried to limit the historical curriculum to only events that would, “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” Needless to say, much of American history — the Great Depression, the Trail of Tears and the internment of Japanese-Americans — would, under those parameters, need to obfuscated. The Republic National Committee, meanwhile, has issued a statement calling the new Advanced Placement U.S. History standards ”radically revisionist.” But conservatives may want to take the plank out of their own eye before examining the speck in their neighbors. Here are the most important distortions of history the right has promoted recently.

Before Welfare, Everything Was Awesome

Example: Marvin Olasky’s “Tragedy of American Compassion,” which argues, “Americans in urban areas a century ago faced many of the problems we face today, and they came up with truly compassionate solutions.”

in full: http://www.alternet.org/education/why-right-so-freaked-out-about-inconvenient-truths-actual-us-history

Isis an hour away from Baghdad with no sign of Iraq army able to make a successful counter-attack

9/30/2014

US air strikes are failing to drive back Isis in Iraq where its forces are still within an hour’s drive of Baghdad.

Three and a half months since the Iraqi army was spectacularly routed in northern Iraq by a far inferior force of Isis fighters, it is still seeing bases overrun because it fails to supply them with ammunition, food and water. The selection of a new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, to replace Nouri al-Maliki last month was supposed to introduce a more conciliatory government that would appeal to Iraq’s Sunni minority from which Isis draws its support.

Mr Abadi promised to end the random bombardment of Sunni civilians, but Fallujah has been shelled for six out of seven days, with 28 killed and 117 injured. Despite the military crisis, the government has still not been able to gets its choice for the two top security jobs, theDefence Minister and Interior Minister, through parliament.

The fighting around Baghdad is particularly bitter because it is often in mixed Sunni-Shia areas where both sides fear massacre. Isis has been making inroads in the Sunni villages and towns such as in north Hilla province where repeated government sweeps have failed to re-establish its authority.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-an-hour-away-from-baghdad--with-no-sign-of-iraq-army-being-able-to-make-a-successful-counterattack-9763658.html

As the UK prepares for another war in Iraq, is its strategy any more coherent than in 2003?

9/25/2014

Britain is set to join the air campaign against Isis in Iraq, but, going by David Cameron’s speech to the UN General Assembly, the Government has no more idea of what it is getting into in this war than Tony Blair did in 2003.

Mr Cameron says that there should be “no rushing to join a conflict without a clear plan”, but he should keep in mind the warning of the American boxer Mike Tyson that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

The Prime Minister says that lessons have been learned from British military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan but it is telling that he did not mention intervention in Libya for which he himself was responsible.

In fact, there is a much closer parallel between Britain joining an air war in Libya in 2011 than Mr Blair’s earlier misadventures which Mr Cameron was happy to highlight.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/on-the-eve-of-yet-another-war-in-iraq-is-the-uks-strategy-any-more-coherent-than-in-2003-9756567.html


Air strikes will not beat Isis, but on the ground it’s hard to tell friend from foe

What is military common sense may not make political sense


http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/air-strikes-will-not-beat-isis-but-on-the-ground-its-hard-to-tell-friend-from-foe-97541

Nothing will stop Isis except a Syrian truce

Neither the rebels nor President Assad’s army are strong enough to fight on two fronts at once

September 21, 2014

If the United States and its allies want to combat the Islamic State jihadists (IS, formerly known as Isis) successfully, they should arrange a ceasefire between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-IS Syrian opposition. Neither the Syrian army nor the “moderate” Syrian rebels are strong enough to stop IS if they are fighting on two fronts at the same time, going by the outcome of recent battles. A truce between the two main enemies of IS in Syria would be just that, and would not be part of a broader political solution to the Syrian crisis which is not feasible at this stage because mutual hatred is too great. A ceasefire may be possible now, when it was not in the past, because all parties and their foreign backers – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran – are frightened of the explosive advance of the Islamic State. US Secretary of State John Kerry told the US Security Council on Friday that there is room for everybody “including Iran” in an anti-IS coalition.

President Obama was much criticised for admitting that he had no strategy to cope with IS and, despite his address to the nation on 10 September, he still does not have one. Assuming he is not going to send a large US land army to the region, he lacks a credible and effective local partner in either Syria or Iraq with the necessary military force to take advantage of air strikes, even if they are intensified in Iraq and extended to Syria.

Mr Obama won the assent of the House of Representatives last week to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria who are supposedly going to fight both Assad and IS. This is essentially a PR operation, since IS forces 30 miles from Aleppo are poised to move against the last rebel strongholds, while the Syrian army is close to regaining control of the city itself.

Likewise in Iraq, air strikes can only do so much. The government in Baghdad and the Iraqi army are still Shia-dominated and, however much the Sunni in Iraq dislike IS, they are even more frightened of its opponents. The US will try to split Sunni tribes and neighbourhoods away from the fundamentalists as it did in 2007, but there were then 150,000 US troops in the country and al-Qa’ida in Iraq was much weaker than IS. At the same time, it will find it difficult to advance further because, aside from Baghdad, it has already seized the areas where live the 20 per cent of Iraqis who are Sunni Arab. In Syria at least 60 per cent of the population are Sunni Arabs, meaning that IS’s natural constituency is much bigger.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/nothing-will-stop-isis-except-a-syrian-truce-9746373.html

Islamic State: ‘US failure to look into Saudi role in 9/11 has helped Isis’

9/14/2014

The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has been aided by the continuing failure of the US Government to investigate the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks and its support of jihadi movements such as al-Qaeda in the years since, says former Senator Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the official inquiry into 9/11.

Senator Graham, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that successive administrations in Washington had turned a blind eye to Saudi support for Sunni extremists. He added: “I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for Isis.”

Senator Graham, a distinguished elder statesmen who was twice Democratic governor of Florida before spending 18 years in the US Senate, believes that ignoring what Saudi Arabia was doing and treating it as a reliable American ally contributed to the US intelligence services’ failure to identify Isis as a rising power until after it captured Mosul on 10 June. He says that “one reason I think that our intelligence has been less than stellar” is that not enough attention was given to Saudi Arabia’s fostering of al-Qaeda-type jihadi movements, of which Isis is the most notorious and successful. So far the CIA and other intelligence services have faced little criticism in the US for their apparent failure to foresee the explosive expansion of Isis, which now controls an area larger than Great Britain in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Senator Graham’s criticism of the US policy towards Saudi Arabia is important because it comes amidst growing doubts in the US about the wisdom of President Barack Obama’s plan announced on Wednesday to look to the Gulf monarchs as crucial allies in the US campaign to contain and, if possible, push back Isis after its victories in Iraq and Syria during the summer.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/islamic-state-us-failure-to-look-into-saudi-role-in-911-has-helped-isis-97

The impossible war: Isis 'cannot be beaten' as long as there is civil war in Syria

9/11/2014

US air strikes against Isis are unlikely to be as effective as Obama hopes. Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria may prefer the militants as a lesser evil compared to the return of vengeful government troops

A letter printed at the bottom of this article was emailed by a friend soon after her neighbourhood in Mosul was hit by Iraqi airforce bombers. This was some hours before President Barack Obama explained his plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, by a series of measures including air attacks. The letter illustrates graphically one of the most important reasons why American air power may be less effective than many imagine.

The reasons for this are political as well as military. The five or six million Sunni Arabs who live in areas controlled by Isis in Iraq and Syria may not be happy with the brutality, bigotry and violence of their new rulers. But they are even more frightened of the prospect of the soldiers and militiamen of the Baghdad or Damascus governments recapturing and wreaking vengeance in Sunni cities, town and villages. The Sunni communities in both countries have little choice but to stick with Isis as their defenders.

For all its bellicose rhetoric, Mr Obama’s plan is more of a strategy to contain Isis rather than eradicate it – and he may find that even this is difficult to do. His problem is that the US does not have reliable local partners in either Iraq or Syria.

remainder: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-impossible-war-isis-cannot-be-beaten-as-long-as-there-is-civil-war-in-syria-9727847.html

Syria and Iraq: Why US policy is fraught with danger ( Patrick Cockburn )

9/10/2014

The United States is reluctantly but decisively becoming engaged in the civil wars in Iraq and Syria as it seeks to combat Isis, which calls itself Islamic State.

President Barack Obama will outline his plans in a speech today to create a grand coalition of Western and regional powers to contain and defeat Isis, which has established a quasi-state stretching from the frontiers of Iran to the outskirts of Aleppo.

The US is encouraged by the formation on Monday of what it sees as a more inclusive government in Iraq under Haider al-Abadi, the new Prime Minister. He replaces Nouri al-Maliki who, in his eight years in office, became a hate figure for the Sunni minority as the architect of Shia dominance and arbitrary power. Mr Maliki’s government was notoriously corrupt and dysfunctional, its 350,000-strong army routed in June by a few thousand Isis fighters in northern and western Iraq. Fear of Isis has led former rivals and opponents such as the US and Iran, Kurdish parties and Shia and Sunni politicians in Baghdad, to sink some of their differences, though these have not gone away.
Read more: Isis paid for tip to capture Steven Sotloff

Mr Obama said after the Nato summit in Wales last week that “we are going to have to find effective partners on the ground to push back against Isil”, using the US government’s preferred name for Isis. But in seeking such partners in Iraq and Syria, the US will be taking sides in complex sectarian and ethnic struggles. Kamran Karadaghi, a Kurdish commentator and adviser to the former President Jalal Talabani, said: “It is still a sectarian government in Baghdad and Abadi had his ministers chosen for him by the different parties.” He says the Kurds were pressured into agreeing to join it by the US and UN envoys sitting in on a decision-making meeting in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish region, though the main Kurdish demands have not been met. Among issues at stake are the sale of Kurdish oil, the future of Kirkuk and the central government’s payment of the Kurdish share of Iraq’s oil revenues. Mr Karadaghi says: “So far we have got nothing except some promises over payment of salaries.”

in full: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-and-iraq-us-policy-is-fraught-with-danger-9722276.html

Owl of Minerva's View: ISIS and Our Times


Families camp out at the Bajid Kandala refugee camp, near Iraq’s northernmost border crossing with Syria, Aug. 16, 2014. (Photo: Lynsey Addario / The New York Times)


Friday, 05 September 2014 13:10 By Noam Chomsky, Truthout | Op-Ed

It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.

The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.

The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven UN sanctions on Iraq, condemned as "genocidal" by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck's devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.

One dreadful consequence of the US-UK invasion is depicted in a New York Times "visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria": the radical change of Baghdad from mixed neighborhoods in 2003 to today's sectarian enclaves trapped in bitter hatred. The conflicts ignited by the invasion have spread beyond and are now tearing the entire region to shreds.

remainder: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26000-owl-of-minervas-view-isis-and-our-times
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