Egypt: Mohammed Mursi and Egypt’s Foreign Relations

Islamist Mohamed Mursi was declared winner on Sunday of the run-off presidential election, becoming Egypt’s first freely elected president and now faces the overbearing power of the military council that has already curbed his powers as president and dissolved the previous Islamist-led parliament.

Mohammed Mursi’s Victory Represents the Continuation of the Revolution

The election of Egypt’s first democratically elected president has followed with euphoric jubilation, yet the hopes of the Egyptian revolution may fall short as President Mursi currently stands merely as a figurehead of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military junta that maintains widespread control of the country.  So saying, Mursi faces an array of challenges at home and abroad.  So far, the democratic road-map for Egypt has been plagued with militaristic totalitarianism wielded by the military, an iron first that has dissolved the constitution and the democratically elected Islamist parliament.  Under the interim constitutional deceleration, the military council has ensured that it retains the power to make laws and budget decisions until a new constitution is written and a new parliament is elected.  Alongside the challenges to overcome the repressive hold of the military, Mursi also inherits a struggling economy, with widespread poverty, high unemployment and its main source of investment, its tourism sector, is slow to come back after the political and social unrest that has haunted Egypt since its uprising against Mubarak.  The political situation remains very much unsettled amid lingering questions about whether the military will loosen its grip on power.  Its firm handed ruling has already led to mass demonstration and clashes with authorities, illustrating that th revolution still continues.  Although the Egyptians successfully ousted Mubarak and his regime, their jubilation was short-lived as military officials continued the same longstanding policy of using deadly force against domestic populous in cases of emergency.  Thus, the excitement following the election of the former Muslim Brotherhood member may be as short-lived as the cheers following the dispatching of Mubarak.

“The revolution goes on, carries on until all objectives of the revolution are achieved and together we will complete this march.” – Mohammed Mursi, President of Egypt

Although Mursi has resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party so as to represent all Egyptians, he does represent the more conservative Islamist view of the Brotherhood and thus raises many questions about international relations for Egypt.  His win has already had an immediate impact beyond Egypt’s borders, inspiring Islamists who have risen up against autocrats across the Middle East and swept to power in North Africa.  Among the fears of the international community is Iran and the possibility of Iran and Egypt forming diplomatic ties.  Iranian news agency Fars published an interview in which Mursi called for restoring severed ties to build strategic balance and though Egyptian officials denied the interview had taken place, it still illustrated the significant fears circulating about a Islamist revival in the region.  In the heart of these problems is the issue of Israel.  Egypt currently is in accord with Israel due to a 1979 peace treaty that was signed and consolidated under Hosni Mubarak.  Amid the cries of the Egyptian populous, however, are calls for the dissolution of the accord.  The viewpoints are ones shared by the many Islamist figures who have referred to Israeli leaders as ‘vampires’.  The relations of Israel with the rest of the Middle east are best illustrated by Iran, whose supreme leader has called for a perpetual cultural war against the Jewish nation and wishes to see them disappeared from the face of the planet.  The tension has recently been heightened by Iranian mission into uranium enrichment.  So saying, Israel and its Western allies have been very vocal about the continuation of the peace deal with Egypt.  Mursi has stated his intentions to preserve all national and international agreements, but his calls for unity and devotion to the representation of the will of the masses does pose a conflicting point as the masses are not in favor of said agreement.  The victory for the Muslim majority will likely strengthen the hand of Hamas in its fight against Israel because it will give it a moral boost.  The Islamist attitude has become charged after the victory.  Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi has stated that Palestinians look forward to future cooperation with Egypt and its supportive position for the Palestinian cause, once again depicting the balancing game that will be played by Mursi to appease the cultural diversity of the region and uphold his ties with the West and Israel.

“Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of the presidential elections.  Israel looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is a joint interest of both peoples and contributed to regional stability.” – Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister

In retrospect, the democratic election of Mursi represents a historic milestone for Egyptian transition to democracy but it is still a long way from stability and the successful installation of democratic institutions.  Before the declaration of the presidential winner, the military council warned of its intentions to use deadly force against protesters and dispatched more than 1,800 ambulances, which is a clear illustration of the problems that are still rampant in Egypt.  Along with this evident military oppressiveness, the Islamist resurgence does pose a problem for democratic progress and regional peace for the regions of North Africa and the Middle East.  So saying, Mursi faces a plethora of domestic and foreign issues that span from restoring a basic infrastructure in Egypt to maintaining peaceful ties with Israel.

Syria: Houla Massacre – The International Puzzle Box

The perpetuating Syrian conflict has become a diplomatic crisis due to its recent intensification resulting in the deaths of 100 dissidents in the town of Houla and once again isolating opposing members of the United Nations Security Council on methods of response.

Syria’s Conflict Continues to Polarize the International Community

The international response to the Syrian civil war has been a blitzkrieg of failed resolutions, condemning statements, economic sanctions, and failed observer missions, all of which have been knee-jerk reactions to the inability of the international community to authorize a join resolution of all UNSC member nations to respond with military force.  Despite the evident slaughter of men, women and children in Houla, both Russia and China reiterated their opposition to military intervention in Syria.  Their resolve is also paralleled by the remaining presence of Syrian diplomats in their countries, a juxtaposition to the position of 9 other Western nations that have expelled Syrian diplomats from their embassies.  Along with Japan, the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain have all retroactively announce the expulsion of Syrian diplomats in protest of the massacre in Houla.  Nevertheless, the show of force in the Western hemisphere amounts to nothing because of the rigid positions of China and Russia.  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stated that Moscow will veto any Council resolution that authorizes foreign military interference in Syria.  Similarly, in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China opposes regime change by force in Syria. The massacre, another death toll to be added to the genocide, is another reflection of the failure of the Annan ceasefire deal.  Annan’s plan had called on the Syrian government to withdraw heavy weapons from civilian areas and abide by a truce with rebels.  President Assad had promised to abide by the regulations if the rebels were to cease their weapon smuggling and lay down their arms, a clause that clearly represented a security dilemma as the rebels would then be helpless.  Although many attacks have been carried out since the plan was laid out a month ago, the Houla massacre represents the peak of slaughter in the deteriorating county of Syria.  According to Herve Ladsous, pro-Assad gunmen known as the shabiha executed civilians and others were killed by artillery and tank fire, all of which was clearly the responsibility of the Syrian government.  So saying, the polarized positions of Russia and China have kept the full power and authority of the UN at bay, whilst allowing executions and genocide of thousands to continue under Assad.

“We took this action to expel Syrian diplomats in response to the massacre in the village of Houla – absolutely indefensible, vile, despicable massacre against innocent children, women, show at point-blank range by regime thuds, the shabiha, aided and abetted by the Iranians, who were actually bragging about it over the weekend.” – Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman.

In response to the climatic events, the European Union is likely to press the Human Rights Council to recommend the UNSC refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court.  Nevertheless, because China and Russia have the power to veto any UN sanctions against Syria, the widespread outrage is unlikely to translate into tough action on the Syrian government.  The dilemma emerging is that members of the international community want different things and do not share the same principles, though mass slaughter being wrong would be one to share.  Russia, China and many 3rd world nations are not victim to the same outrage and gun-ho attitudes of many Western nations.  The repression of a totalitarian regime is not so hard a concept for many to grasp, most especially considering that many nations were victim to repression from Western imperialism.  Despite the demise of the old Soviet empire, the of Putin still represents the hardness of the past.  Though it may be referred to as ugly and not nice, the regimes of the East stand because of their heavy-handedness, as being implemented by Assad to a much greater extent.  Moreover, the repression enforced in Russia during the first round of elections, considered to be rigged, represents elements of the Stalin-esque era.  Combined with the installment of loyal office-holders in the regime by Putin, the rigidity of the country to liberalization is evident.  So saying, Syria also represents to Russia its last stronghold in the Middle East and is also part of a lucrative bilateral trade agreement, thus making Russia very reluctant to lose such an ally.  In the US, the position of Russia and the massacre in Syria has entered the presidential race, with Republic candidate Romney calling Russia’s position heartless and ugly.  Romney has further called for a firmer and more assertive position by the US.  Nevertheless, as with all presidential statement, it is easy to blame and insult but hard to actually come up with an effective strategy or replacement.  The tools with which to approach Russia are not as clear and concise as the GOP candidate presumes.  Many have called for the isolation of Russia through moral and verbal attacks, something that will have as much of an effect as the Anna peace plan in Syria.

“We hold the Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives.  This massacre is the most unambiguous indictment to date of the Syrian government’s flagrant violations of its United Nations Security Council obligations.” – Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman

The ties between Russia and China are not easily isolated and cut, and thus attacking Russia with morality questions will undoubtedly lead to more rigidity and opposition by the Russian regime to any Western resolution towards Syria.  Moreover, the cohesive West is not as cemented in its mission towards Syria either.  Israel, a strong US ally in the Middle east, does not want to have  strong Syria nearby and welcomes the thought domestic divide and a weakened enemy.  Israel is surrounded by enemies and the likely repeal of its nonaggression treaty with Egypt, due to its rising Islamist party, will represent another enemy and tense relation for Israel.  Israel is also presented with the encroaching threat of a nuclear Iran, another powder keg tied to the Syrian conflict.  Iran is a strong ally to Assad and is responsible for providing much of Syria’s arms trade and troops, such as the trained shabiha thugs.  If the West were to intervene in Syria, not only would this divide the hemisphere of the West and East into extreme poles, but Iran will most likely drop nuclear talks that are set to resume and thus continue its uranium enrichment, possibly resulting in a volatile nuclear power in heart of the Middle East.  So saying, the cultural and religious divides of the Middle East present an unconquerable task of overcoming or appeasing.  Israel’s existence is already reason enough for many nations to start war, but if Turkey were to involve itself militarily on the behalf of the West, the divides between the Kurdish, Shi’ite and Sunni populations would ignite into a much larger international crisis.

“I made it clear that it is not an open-ended process and that time is coming, sooner rather than later, when the international community will need to make an assessment as to how things are going and what further actions or activities may be necessary.” – Kofi Annan, UN special envoy

In retrospect, the situation for the international community is a looming diplomatic and humanitarian crisis which is only perpetuated by their indecisiveness and polarized members.  The Western nations are attempting to involve themselves in the internal dynamics of domestic politics of a country miles away and in the throes of a civil war, a task nigh impossible without considering the opposition they face from their own member nations.

Iran: Nuclear Talks and the Russo-American Dilemma

The tense relations between Russia and the US, between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, brings rise to concerns over ongoing Iran nuclear talks, set to resume in Baghdad on May 23.

Iranian Nuclear Talks will Require Closer Russo-American Ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin has unveiled a government dominated by loyalists, leaving hopes for reform slim and entrenching Kremlin’s over the economy’s commanding heights.  Along with Putin’s opting out of the G8 Summit, the tense relations between Russia and the US are worrisome for many due to the importance of a strong front being presented by Putin and Obama against nuclear proliferation in Iran.  With President Obama facing his reelection year, talks between the two nation’s will be scarce and wide-spaced, leaving little room for political gobbledygook, stressing substantial progress on relations that have already been strained by the Syrian civil war.  With Russia and America as the two former superpowers responsible for decades of nuclear standoff, they have also assumed the roles concerning nuclear development and proliferation.  America’s pursuit of hegemony has resulted in a staunch policy condemning countries seeking nuclear programs, demanding countries to disarm despite America’s own unwillingness to denuclearize.  So saying, President Obama’s position on an Iranian nuclear program is clear.  Obama has repudiated any intention of adopting deterrence of a nuclear Iran as an acceptable policy option.  Thus, such rigidity could result in an Iranian agreement to live up any resolve to acquire nuclear weapons; President Obama could retreat from his previously assumed rigidity; or there could be war.

“Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.” – Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader

War seems to be a drastic conclusion to draw, as all state leaders are assumed to be rational independent thinkers, yet Iran’s history does not suggest appeasement to be high on the agenda.  Nevertheless, Iran has shown signs of a renewed unwillingness to take seriously these talks between itself and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, America and Germany).  Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei has stated that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is considered a grace sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.  The supreme leader has also stated his ultimate goal is to make the state of Israel disappear, as well as to the combat the ‘Great Devil’ represented by the American nation.  The transitions from repressive isolation to willing nuclear talks stems largely from international sanctions imposed on the country in recent years, slowly constricting the economy over the past year.  With both the EU and the USA embargoing Iranian oil shipments, Iran’s oil sits in storage tanks.  Iran’s oil sector accounted for 60% of total government revenue, thus the vulnerability of the regime’s strength to said sanctions is apparent.  A dollar decline in the price of crude oil could reduce the government revenue by as much as $1 billion.  So saying, Iran’s intentions may be to purely seem wiling and cooperative so as to relieve itself from such crippling fiscal constraints.  So saying, most of the countries within the P5+1 remain highly skeptical of Iran’s true intentions and purposes.  Many believe that Iran is using the talks as a stalling tactics so as to buy time to produce the kind of highly enriched uranium necessary for bombs.  The tension of such a situation is very evident considering the danger this would present to America’s prime Middle Eastern ally, Israel, who has already stated its intention to use military force to ensure its security.

“I don’t think there is any question that the impact of this pressure played a role in Iran’s decision to come to the table.  The value of their currency, the rial, has dropped like a rock.” – David Cohen, Undersecretary of Treasury

Iran will seek bargaining leverage in the talks, seeking to drive a wedge between an already strenuous connected group of state leaders.  Iran will see to generate further tensions among its negotiating adversaries while maintaining a tight diplomatic unity of its own.  For this reason, the Russo-American relations must grow into a more coherent P5+1 force with which to deal with the Iranian situation.  With Sarkozy out, Francois Hollande is likely to be more accommodating then the hard-line Sarkozy.  Germany and Britain will rally around US but will do little in ways to provide leadership because of the hegemony represented by Russia and US in this area.  China has become more isolated in recent years, more fixated on its economic interests and need for oil, hence the growing tensions over the Spratly islands. So saying, Russia is the last significant player in the equation. Russia has grown skeptical of American diplomacy but many theorists suggest that it has grown concerned about a possible nuclear-armed Iran, thus more wiling to act accordingly.  With US and Russian relations frayed in the past because of American dominance and unstated aims in Libya, later exasperated by the Syrian civil war, the diplomatic ties between Russia and America will be easily torn asunder by Iranian leaders if not properly dealt with.

America: Corporate Imperialism Abroad (Middle East)

The military-industrial complex, a bastion of unimaginable proportions devoted to the procurement of corporate interests, has become a foreign aggressor interconnected to the very structure of the American system and has thus solidified its reign over political agenda to ensure the imposition of the corporatocracy on foreign peoples, such as those in the Middle East.

The Corporate Drive for Oil has Become an American Addiction, Costing the Lives of Millions

The American Empire was forged through the exploitation and manipulation of helpless or near-helpless peoples; forcing its will on scores of nations, against their wishes and against their interests.  Wielding a military stick and a dollar carrot, the American oligarchy has yielded unrelenting force against nations abroad.  The government, for and by the corporations, has intervened ruthlessly in the internal life of dozens of nations to prevent them from choosing the leader they did want or from having them overthrow, by revolution, the ones supported by the corporations.  American Foreign Policy, devoted to the enslavement of peoples abroad, is ‘most heavily and consistently influenced by internationally oriented business leaders’ (Jacobs & Page 2005).  Serving their masters’ will, the political office-holders within Congress, Senate and the Presidency are left with no heart, no soul and no care.  The conjunction of an immense military establishment, a large arms industry and the political structure is the new America.  Eisenhower’s message concerning the potential for the military-industrial complex to acquisition unwarranted influence, whether sought of unsought, has resulted in a perpetuating cycle of warlike policies resulting from such exertion of corporate influence on government policy.  Threatening individual liberty throughout the world, the state tools stand rank and file, herded like sheep by the hypocritical image of the patriotic Uncle Sam, into the armed forces awaiting their deployment to lands abroad to spread the message of suppression and murder.

“Pledge allegiance to a flag of which you’re taught no history.  Not Mexico, Granada, Panama or Middle East, but they’re just a mere fraction of this country’s shady past.  Skeletons locked in the closet and I doubt they’ll be the last ‘national interest,’ defined for you.” – Anti-Flag, “A Start”

Run by greedy politicians and business leaders, the American system represents theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies the perpetuation of the contagion of corporate interests in a system without justice.  The threat of corporate American has left foreign people living a life of perpetual fear and tension.  Among the frightened, exploited and now vengeful, are the victims of corporate imposition in the Middle East.  A primary example of the manipulative coercion of the CIA, to protect corporate profit margins at the cost of domestic communities, is in Iran.  In 1953, the highly regarded Prime Minister Mossadegh was ousted by a join CIA-MI6 coup known as Operation Ajax.  The CIA marauders justified their imposition of Orwellian oppression upon the Iranian people in order to secure the interests of businesses therein invested.  The Prime Minister was responsible for multiple social reforms that increased the standard of living, higher levels of education and increased general prosperity through the nationalization of the oil industry.  Consequently, said nationalization of the oil company known as Anglo-Persian Oil Company (modern-day British Petroleum) angered the British and American investors that prospered in the rivers of the black gold, idly standing by as they raped the country of its natural resources yet again. So once again, the American imperialist force demonstrated its clear promises of democracy and freedom by ousting a popularly elected Prime Minister, which then set about a series of events that led to the emplacement of the dictatorial Supreme Leader and a very volatile anti-West regime.

“It’s a think tank, psycho and crazed.  War profiteering membership – a world catastrophe.  They’ve got a war plan that counts on you to kill for their corporate empire while they sit at home.” – Anti-Flag, “The Project for a New American Century”

The American corporatocracy has become a global phenomena, an incursion upon organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the NSA and the CIA, in which economic hit men help channel their resource to support the larger agenda for global exploitation and war profiteering.  These organizations have become the tool of big corporations, aiding them in their endeavor to get themselves established around the world in positions where they can exploit the world’s resource, natural resources and human resources.  The men and few women who run the biggest and most powerful corporations also run most of the government.  Beginning in the late 1970s, the influence of oil became a shared priority of the masses and the previously small group of military strategists, a group of conservative think thanks present throughout the ’80s, ’90s and today.  Most principal among them are: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, former Vice-President and former Defense Secretary. With the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1979, the Gulf and its oil became a ‘zone of US influence’ under the Carter Doctrine.  The doctrine warned that any attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf would be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the US.  This was followed by the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force, a military program specifically designed to deploy several thousand US troops to the Gulf on short notice.  Since the first Gulf War, the Rapid Deployment Force (now known as the US Central Command) built a network of military bases that now almost completely encircles the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, disregarding notions of individual liberty and sovereignty.

“Recruited by the NSA, my orders to talk smooth and straight.  If heads to state try to say ‘No’, I lovingly told them ‘Fuck you!’  The jackals lose when I cannot get through.  There is a windfall of profit to get to.  You better deal or we’re gonna take you down.” – Anti-Flag, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

Fueled by thoughts of fortune-made and despair wrought by their hands, the corporate leaders pursue the seemingly endless stream of intoxicating oil, a drug of mind-numbing consequences for the corporations that abuse it so wholeheartedly.  Iran, a symbol of anti-Western ideology that has become notorious for human rights violations and oppression, is also a lead trading partner with US arms companies.  Evidently, the opportunism of corporations has no boundaries, jeopardizing the security and safety of millions around the world by trading arms with turncoats, killers, liars and thieves.  Sources from former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January 2005, Halliburton has sold key components for a nuclear reactor to Oriental Oil Kish, an Iranian oil development company.  It was Halliburton’s secret sale of centrifuge to Iran that helped get the uranium enrichment program off the ground, now becoming a very real threat to neighboring US-ally Israel.  Nevertheless, supporting such cultural animosity, military build-ups and war crimes, is what the American multi-nationals have become adept at.  The US has also sold Israel US-arms, white phosphorous shells being the most recent US-linked munition to be attributed to war crimes.  The shells have been utilized by the Israeli military to be shot over densely populated areas of Gaza, an indiscriminate act of violence that the Human Rights Watch characterizes as evidence of war crimes.  Once again, the red, white and blue stitches of the American flag stand hypocritically over the battle fields and civilian caskets of foreign peoples the world around.

“I wouldn’t wanna be a kid in the modern world; neurotic, full of fear, no control, hungry, empty feeling worn and cold.  Unable to make sense of the heads of state, unable to make sense of the wars they wage.  Feeling every second that I live I go closer to the grave.” – Anti-Flag, “Tanzania”

Marching forth under the flag of national defense, the state puppets impose their nature upon the people of Iraq under the false charges of terrorism and WMDs.  Similar to Afghanistan and its plethora of opium fields, Iraq is being exploited for its oil.  In the Wall Street Journal (2003), an article leaked confidential Bush administration documents outlining corporate agenda in Iraq.  Hoping to establish a proxy capitalist market for US purposes, the US called for the privatization of state-owned industries such as part of the oil sector.  This all-inclusive plan for mass privatizations of Iraq was divided into 3 stages.  The first stage, corporations are not only able to establish their businesses in Iraq, they are also able to own Iraqi resources, including two of the most precious: water and oil.  In the second stage, all Iraqi resources would be turned over to private ownership.  The final stage includes the establishment of a Free Trade Area in the Middle East, paving the way for US domination of the entire region.  The beginning of the corporate invasion was signaled by the various multi-million dollar contracts that were handed to corporations via the Bush administration.  Among the corporations, Halliburton and Bechtel are some of the most well-known.  Besides the conflict of interest exhibited by Dick Cheney’s role as Vice-President, 86% of Halliburton’s contributions are given to Republican candidates, once again exemplifying the materialistic corruption of greed within the political infrastructure.  The democratic institution of check and balances, the separation of powers, has been oppressed by career politicians whose pockets are lined with the peoples cash.

“You push and push a people, what are they to do?  Soon this corporate run government will be through.  See, it doesn’t represent the people anymore.  Big business are the pimps and the governments’ their whores.  We don’t need more time to talk over a solution.  We know what we need, we need a fucking revolution.” – Anti-Flag, “Got the Numbers”

The dichotomy of thought and action in corporate America is carried on by mass media communications, inspired by nationalistic diction of officials and absorbed by the masses.  With the protection of the law, the corporate thieves and killers pillage countries around the world, depriving people of their basic necessities and killing those brave enough to resist.  Leaving families without fathers, mothers, daughter and/or sons, corporations have privatized democracy and monopolized violence.  The disaster that is the occupation of Iraq is exacerbated by grinding poverty.  Every day the economic policies of the occupying authorities create more hunger among Iraq’s working people, transforming them into a pool of low-wage, semi-employed labor, desperate for jobs at almost any price.  A valuable asset for the corporations therein invested, but it has resulted in the dissolution of the constraints of the nation-state and has created fuel for anarchy and terrorism.  Moreover, the situation in Afghanistan is even worse for the domestic populace.  The billions of taxpayer dollars that are given to foreign aid are going no further than the pockets of wealthy US corporations, being commonly referred to as ‘phantom aid’.  A former head of USAID stated that foreign aid was a key foreign policy instrument designed to help countries become trade markets for US exports.  To guarantee said mission, the State department recently took over the aid agency.  USAID and the Army Corps of Engineers now cut in US business and government interests from the start, making sure that money is allocated according to US economic, political, strategic and military priorities; rather than according to what the recipient nation, Afghanistan, might consider as important.

“To save you, we may have to kill you!  For freedom, you may have to die!  #1 at liberation.  Liberating life from bodies, helping spirits fly.  Freedom from life!” – Anti-Flag, Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)

In retrospect, the US government has become a market commodity invested in by a plethora of corporations interested in the manipulation of its warmongering politicians and puppet soldiers; thus, cementing a formidable alliance through which corporations have funded dictators such as Qaddafi and Mubarak, as well as exploited natural resources and human resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Equivalent to licenses bribes, corruption, theft and money laundering, the people of the world are exploited by the open-ended contacts being awarded to contractors such as Kellogg, Brown, and Root/Halliburton, Bechtel, DynCorp, Blackwater and the Louis Berger Group.  The suppression of democratic institutions has left foreign people at the behest of a tyrannical oversees power, depicting the imperialist nature of the American corporatocracy.

Religion: Islam and Violence

After the events of September 11th, the issue of Islam and violence once again came into intense discussion and debate because of its historic correlation to jihad, intolerance and terrorism.

With the Qur'an as Justification, Islam has Massacred Millions

Not aimed at presenting an ‘Islamphobia’ post, this post aims at presenting the religious dimension of violence that goes back to the heart and origin of Islam.  Despite various political, socio-economic and cultural factors contributing to the rise of violence and terrorism in fundamental Islam (as with all religions), Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of Allah can find ample justification for their actions based on the open-ended verses and teachings of the Qur’an and the saying of Muhammad (Hadith).  Islam’s doctrines and texts are associated with violence, with laws requiring the eradication of what is considered evil by Islamic standard and law, sometimes using violent means.  Throughout history, Islam’s religious texts or precepts have been used to promote violence.  Classically, and in the modern era, Muslims and their leaders, including a large number of jurists, have upheld Islamic ideas, concepts, texts and themes to justify warfare against non-Muslims.  Some suggest that the Qur’an contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with non believers for the sake of Islamic rule, verses that are mostly open-ended and therefore are not restrained by historical context of the surrounding text.  To offer a general illustration of the inherent relationship, it would do to point out that the root word for Islam is al-Slim which means submission or  surrender.  The Qur’an not only calls Muslim to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  Evidently, this has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the place whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers, but they desist, then lo!  Allah is forgiving and merciful!  And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” – Qur’an 2:191-193

Many claim that the verses in support of fighting in the Qur’an were for a special historical situation concerning the beginning of Islam.  They argue that since prophet Muhammad was persecuted in Mecca for the first 13 years of his ministry, he was justified in his military actions in the last 10 years of his life in Medina and for the support of the budding Islamic movement.  The problem arises however in that nowhere in the Qur’an are the commands to fight restricted to a special time period of against a special group of people.  Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Qur’an have played a key role in very real massacres and genocide.  This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for 5 Centuries beginning around 1000 AD with the Mahmud of Ghazni’s blood conquest.  Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number of men, women and children.  Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women and enslaving their children.  On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives.  One prominent example is of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only 5 years Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army.  The tribe had killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back.  Yet the prophet of Islam had every member of the Qurazya tribe beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved.  He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and loot if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not.  Evidently, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Muhammad in the decades that followed his death.

“In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for an enemy and invade him.  This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other countries in order to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles in its way.” – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian Islamic theologian

Aiming to avoid a concentrated view on the historic study of Islam’s birth through blood and genocide, Islam as an ideology brings contempt and violence as well.  That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of Muslims.  First it means that Islam is not only a religion but also a political ideology, as Muhammad was a political, military and religious leader.  If the government of the Muslim community is simply God’s community, then no other governments can be legitimate.  Thus, they are all at war with God and as a result, Muslims have divided the world into two spheres known as Dar al-Islam – “the house of Islam” – and Dar al-Harb – those who are at war with God.  Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have manifest destiny.  Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of the Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.  Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight.  Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure – economic or military.  Because of the need to expand God’s domain by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslim the duty to fight for God’s community.  This duty is known as Jihad.  The concept of holy fight or struggle has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion.  Though highly radical, 9/11 still serves as an example of the intrinsic violence involved in fundamentalism, as the terrorists believed their sacrifices as a just part of Jihad.

“He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said ‘There is another act which elevated the position of a man in Paradise to a grade on hundred higher, and the elevation between one grade and another is equal to the height of heaven from the earth’.  He (Abu Sa’id) said: ‘What is that act?’  He replied: ‘Jihad in the way of Allah!  Jihad in the way of Allah'” – Muslim 20:4645

The examples of international directed violence committed in the name of Islam is endless.  The affiliation of violence and this religion is made most evident by the religious organizations associated with Islam; Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  The acquisition of the enormous land that belonged to the caliphates was through military force and the brutal suppression of opposition.  However, the golden age of the Muslim Empire began to dwindle after the death of Muhammad.  Following his death, there lacked a clear line of succession which resulted in perpetual internal war.  Sunni and Shia Islam are two major denominations of Islam and therefore, for the sake of simplicity, this post will focus on their internal violence as an illustration of the evident nature of bloodshed that is inherent to Islam.  Sunnis believe that abu Bakr, the father of Muhammad’s wide Aisha, was Muhammad’s rightful successor and that the method of choosing or electing leading endorsed by the Qur’an was in the consensus of the Ummah, the Muslim community.  Shias believe that Muhammad divinely ordained his cousin and son-in-law Ali (the father of his grandsons Hasan ibn Ali and Hussein ibn Ali) in accordance with the command of God to be the next Caliph making Ali and his direct descendants Muhammad’s successors.  This difference has resulted in a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at odds to this day.

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay they wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” – Qur’an 4:89

The Battle of Siffin was the first open hostility between the two sects.  It was fought between Ali and Muawiyah I, on the banks of the Euphrates river.  Following the controversial murder of Uthman ibn Affan, Ali became Caliph but struggled to be accepted as such throughout the Muslim Empire.  Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, was a kinsman of the murdered Caliph, and wanted the murderers brought to justice.  For this reason, Muawiyah rebelled against Ali, who attempted to put down the rebellion.  The battle ended in stalemate and in thousands of casualties.  To the Shia, Ali was the first Imman.  To the Sunnis, Ali was the fourth Caliph Rashidun Caliph, and Muawiyah was the First Caliph of the Ummayyad dynasty.  The event surrounding the battle are highly controversial between Sunni and Shia, and serve as part of the split between the two groups.  More modern examples of the violence conflict are seen in Libya, Syria and Iraq.  In Libya, the tribal organization of the region has left the transitional government unable to stabilize the country because the different Islamist sects are raiding each other’s territories.  In Syria, the opposition forces are mainly Sunni Muslim whereas the leading government figures are Alawite, affiliated with Shia Islam.  As a result the opposition is winning support from the Sunni Muslim states and the regime is publicly supported by the Shia dominated Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.  The division of Sunni and Shia Islam is also demonstrated in post-US Iraq, in which over 1,000 people have died because of a new wave of sectarian violence.  After the election of the Iraqi Transitional Government, a wave of suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis tore through Iraq.  Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations of Shias.

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” – Qur’an 5:33

The intolerance and hypocritical nature of Islam is evident by it Qur’an verses and history. Islam is intolerant towards the notion of gender equality.  Islam is militaristic, considering Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last 10 years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  Islam is intolerant to other religions, as they discouraged such practices by slaughtering them by masses.  Islam also permitted ownership of slaved the freedom to sexually exploit slaves.  Moreover, despite the fact that Islam prohibits the killing of innocent people, the definition of innocent is rather flexible and has been graded down to the fundamental rule that if someone rejects Muhammad, they are no longer innocent.  Lastly, the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy is also noteworthy, as it bespeaks of its intolerance and tendency to favor dictatorships, repressive regimes and widespread inequality.  Under Islamic law, only Muslim males are entitled to full rights.  Islam is a theocratic system with Allah alone at is head.  Allah’s law is interpreted by a ruling body of cleric.  There is not room for a secular political system in which all people are treated as equals.  The price of challenging Islam is seen by various modern examples of its violent practices.  Hashem Aghajari, an Iranian professor, was given a death sentence because of a speech that criticized some of the present Islamic practices.  Theo van Gogh was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri for producing the 10-minute film Submission, critical of the abusive treatment of women by Muslims.  Ehsan Jami was nearly beaten to death in The Netherlands by 3 Muslims for his activities in the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.  Of course, the more resonating example of Islamic terror and suppression is the Ayatollah of Iran.  Along with announcing Jihad against the US, he has also carried out such practices against Kurds in Iran and categorized the Iran-Iraq war as holy war.  The Ayatollah, along with many Wahhabi fundamentalists, have vocalized their belief in world domination through the Islamic faith; thus, the violent nature of Islam becomes rather apparent.


Kony 2012: Misleading? – Corporate Interests (Part 2 of 3)

The new viral sensation entitled ‘Kony 2012’ has beguiled the masses through its depiction of corrupt innocence, luring the sincerity of the masses into a campaign that may express elements of corporate duplicity.

Kony 2012 Could be Another Imperialist Search for Oil

The purpose of this post is not to claim the inherent deceitfulness of the seemingly sincere campaign being head by Jason Russell; rather, it is to impress upon the open-minded and skeptical the very real likelihood of corporate opportunism that could manipulate the charity into yet another example of american imposition of corporate interests abroad.  To begin, the sensation that is Kony 2012 has been propagated throughout every social media asset and has over 1 million pledges for its ‘Cover the Night’ event on April 20th.  The crimes and atrocities being committed in Sub-Saharan Africa are horrendous and dehumanizing, but the idea of forced intervention into foreign lands for ‘crimes against humanity’ is not isolated to this event.  The charity calls upon the people to encourage an action that can be defined as Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “White Man’s Burden”, in which it is suggested that the duty of the White people is to help rescue the savage peoples of the world from their un-Christian ways.  This theme was and still is a political phenomenon that influences foreign policy in lands that are now opposed to America because of the exploitation of its people and resources, as well as the destruction of their infrastructure that was left in the American wake.  Ranging from corporate sponsored CIA operations in Panama, Guatemala, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Vietnam, there was has always been ulterior motives for invading these countries.  The Middle east is the most evident example of blind patriotism in which American lives have been lost for the purpose of securing oil in Iraq, opium in Afghanistan and the general Iran-Contra scandal was a blunt enough demonstration of the corruption behind the CIA.

“Invisible Children helps fund the Uganda People’s Defense Force, better known as the Ugandan army.  This force not only has an enlistment age of 13 (therefore making them a force who employs child soldiers), but has also been known to free children that Kony has kidnapped and in lieu of providing them with counseling and care, instead brainwash them to fight for their side.  This makes them no better than Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.” – Brian Westrick, journalist for The North Wind

So saying, with a variety of examples depicting American mistakes in land abroad, the American people are tired of war, tired of death and tired of making enemies in other lands.  With a domestic agenda opposed to the utilization of force for the supposed interests of national security and defense, the leaders of the American government are realizing that the populace will not tolerate further imposition of corporate interests on their lives.  On that note, the national interest is heterogeneous in that it is dependent on the leader and groups that are in control at the time, leaving a strong subjective component in which any ambiguous statement of national interest will actually fit into the interests of some special interest group.  With that inherent support always available, with the press corpse and sensationalism of the media running the conveyor belt society along a predetermined path, a sudden resurgence of wakefulness to foreign events within the domestic populace will not frighten corporations away from pursuing their materialist nature in other lands.  Those who would kill for their power, would not hesitate before any option that offers the opportunity to expand their power farther and wider.  Yet, as said before, the wakefulness of the people does mark an obstacle in which the corporations of America must discover new tactics and strategies in which to deceive the masses.

“Obama claimed that he decided to act because it ‘furthers US national security interests and foreign policy’.  Yet it is not entirely clear how that could be true, since Kony and the LRA have not targeted Americans or American interests and are not capable of overthrowing an allied government.” – Mareike Schomerus, Foreign Affairs journalist

Blind passionate and unceasing support is their key to the tax dollars that fund their wars.  Evidently, the scenes being demonstrated in Kony 2012 demonstrate such passionate and devoted support.  The film is a call for an African invasion, using the cover of sincerity and humanity to secure their inspirational hold of the millions of people who have already signed onto the campaign.   If they were to have a military presence in Africa, such as the 100 Special Forces sent to Uganda as military advisers in October 2011, they would need the full support of the public.  With 80 million and counting, the video has truly demonstrated that the public-will is behind such militarily presence, ensuring that the possible ramifications are understood and tolerated by the public.  The people both in corporations and government know how to manipulate people in society to their liking, and having years of experience does nothing to limit their resources and cleverness in the endeavor.  Like the puppet masters they are, the elites are able to use tv, media and mass movements to play the people to the dance of their dominant global takeover.  The key to their manipulation is the information gap and elite consensus, in which the people use heuristics to learn of global events and the stance they should have.  With politicians and businessman of the world framing such news to their bias interpretation, they are able to frame the consensus for the rest of society to conform to.  Kony 2012.  The short film describes the horrors of Joseph Kony’s actions in Uganda, despite the fact that the LRA has not been in Uganda since they were forced to flee Museveni in 1985.  What has been in Uganda since 1985 and still is there, is oil.  Under Lake Albert there are reserves that some reports estimate to be larger than those in Saudi Arabia.  With China the special recipient of oil reserves from Ethiopia, Africa has now become a battlefield for the fiscal superpowers of the US China over the black gold of the world, the one resource that truly determines hegemony.  The US, long-standing ally of Uganda, will undoubtedly ensure that no corruption or exploitation of the oil comes to be, for the cheap price of most favored nation status in trade with Uganda for the majority of the oil reserves that are drilled.

“When the West and the corrupt interests that run this country say they want to invade an area to stop a human rights’ disaster, I have examples from just last year from the Ivory Cost of Africa.  , where the UN admits to having killed thousands of people to overthrow the elected government there in the Ivory Cost.” – Alex Jones, Nightly News

In retrospect, with enough money anything can be bought.  With enough people on board, everyone else will jump on board because they see everyone else doing it.  Like band-wagoning, the people begin to think alike and enter into what psychologists term as ‘group-think’.  As is oft said, the tinkerers of the world will sing the same tunes and march to the same beat, homogenized in their perceptions of the world.  Kony 2012 could become this corporate tool to deceive the people into fomenting militant action in Africa for the materialist purposes of America.

Syria: Assad Accepts Annan Peace Plan

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s 6-point peace plan to end violence; yet the gesture seems shallow and deceitful, as fresh clashes broke out once again across Syria on Wednesday.

Assad Buys Time by Accepting Annan Peace Plan

Facing growing global pressure over the rising suppression of his regime in the country, Assad had no option but to accept the UN special envoy’s peace proposal.  With the “Friends of Syria” contact group limiting resources through strict sanctions and increasingly stringent rhetoric against Assad’s few remaining allies in China and Russia, the embattled President had nothing to lose by accepting the peace plan.  Nevertheless, timing was likely the key factor in the Syrian government’s response, hoping to delay international response to the humanitarian crisis in his country.  By making this show of grandeur acceptance of peace, Assad has made it much more difficult for western powers to stress the immediacy of the situation in Syria.  US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other global leaders are expected to discuss ways to assist the Syrian opposition at a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul this Sunday.  The meeting relies heavily on attendance and UN congruence, which Assad has effectively slowed down, because his consent to this peace plan will force the UN into carrying out long-winded negotiation with the Syrian regime.  Despite flicker of hope, with many seeking to find a thaw in the endless tyranny of the Assad family regime, most remain skeptical and agree that Assad’s agreement is merely a fraud at buying time to repress all opposition once and for all.  With similar delay tactics being used by Assad’s last remaining ally, Iran, in the nuclear talks over its facility Parchin, the skepticism is not unfounded.

“They can keep on negotiating and drag this out, because with every passing week they kill more dissidents.  I think what the regime is hoping is they can crush all of this before anybody moves to help the opposition.” – Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

The Syrian cooperation with this plan is a transition from its previous blunt rejections of both UN and Arab League peace plans, but the key difference lies in that Annan’s plan does not require Assad to leave office.  With Russia and China standing-by Assad indefinitely, the plan offered Assad an escape from EU and US sanctions while remaining hold of his seat of power; thus, the logic of Assad’s consent is evident considering its leniency.  China and Russia have vetoed recent UN resolution to condemn Assad, securing him from the brunt of the international community and have thus granted him this last opportunity to talk a good game and gain more time.  The protracted crisis has become an international nightmare and yet the only plan lying ahead is to draw the Chinese and Russian into dialogue to stop the fighting and to allow Assad to stay in power.  The plan rests on political dialogue with another party that has a gun to the head of its civilian populace, has the support of the two largest land powers, and has nothing to lose from perpetuating circular negotiations.   Evidently, the Annan peace plan has little to offer to the opposition and will only serve as another stepping stone for the eventual intensification of violence in another month or two.

“It will talk the talk of cooperation with the international community, but not walk the walk on the actual requirements that are necessary, such as really ceasing the use of lethal force against its own people in the streets of Syria.” – Edward Djerejian, US Ambassador to Syria

The Annan peace plan calls for: an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address grass-roots grievances; a commitment to halt fighting and forge a UN supervised halt of violence by the government and opposition groups; timely humanitarian aid; speeding up the release of arbitrarily detained people, including those engaged in peaceful political activities; ensuring freedom of movement for journalists; and respecting peaceful demonstration and freedom of association.  Assad has little to lose by signing the plan as the concessions he will be forced to make include a ceasefire, ensuring humanitarian assistance, a release of political prisoners, allowing entry to journalists, and permitting demonstrations, all of which can be easily reversed relatively quickly.  Meanwhile, the benefits for Assad are far more significant.  Considering that he is being allowed to stay in power and not face trial for crimes against humanity despite killing over 10,000 Syrian citizens, some UN member states view the President’s acceptance of the plan as a positive step providing evidence of the regime’s new willingness to compromise with the opposition.  Moreover, the plan also hurts the opposition which has not been forced to accept the indefinite rule of Assad according to the plan.  Furthermore, the news of Assad’s acceptance will call for negotiation between the exiled opposition government, the Syrian National Council, which is already in rifts and should the negotiations actually occur, the question of who will speak for the opposition will only exacerbate the divisions.  Annan’s plan also represents an impediment to critical funding from the US to Free Syrian Army, assistance that will not be received and will leave the army empty-handed.

“Given al-Assad’s history of overpromising and underdelivering, that commitment must not be matched by immediate actions.  We will judge Assad’s sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not what he says.” – Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

In retrospect, the Assad regime has been able to alleviate foreign pressure from the international community in the past and will continue to do so through the usual delay tactics and promises of liberalization.  During the Bush administration, Assad came under scrutiny for the regime’s assumed role in the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and for helping move insurgents into Iraq to kill American soldiers.  At moments of increased international pressure, however, Assad was able to escape through promises of possible peace negotiations with Israel and joining Egypt in that peace camp.  Assad succeeded in escaping the Bush administration through such tactics and will do the same to the current Obama administration unless the UN, US and Arab League realize that none of Assad’s promises of laws of parties, elections and media are even remotely true.