Syria | Refugees | Portugal | Srebrenica

Mark Galeotti: Why did it take Turkey just 17 seconds to shoot down Russian jet? (Guardian)

Even if Turkey is right that a Russian fighter jet strayed into its airspace, the plane was within Ankara’s borders for just 17 seconds before being attacked – and was making no hostile moves against the Turks.
Airspace incursions, granted usually in less politically tense contexts, happen all the time, and generally you’d expect warning shots to be fired and then attempts to force the intruder to leave or to land…
In 2012, the Syrians shot down a Turkish jet which had entered its airspace, and Erdoğan’s furious response at the time was that “a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack”.
(At the time, the then Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen called it “another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms”. There hasn’t been a similar critique of Ankara.)

Mike Whitney: Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border (CounterPunch)

Sahra Wagenknecht: Refugee Crisis: The Result of Western Wars and Destabilization (Monthly Review)

Everyone is talking about refugees, but why isn’t anyone talking about the reason why they have to leave their homes? What is happening in the Middle East is no natural disaster. The refugee crisis is a direct result of a policy of destabilization and war.

Conn Hallinan: Portugal: the Left Takes Charge (CounterPunch)

Portugal’s elections saw three left parties—the Socialist Party, the Left Bloc, and the Communist/Green Alliance take 62 percent of the vote and end the rightwing Forward Portugal Party’s majority in the 230-seat parliament. Forward Portugal is made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Popular Party.
Even though Forward Portugal lost the election—it emerged the largest party, but garnered only 38 percent of the votes—Silva allowed its leader, former Prime Minister Passos Coelho, to form a government. That maneuver lasted just 11 days. When Coelho introduced a budget loaded with austerity measures and privatization schemes, the left alliance voted it down, forcing the government to resign.

Edward S. Herman, David Peterson: Vulliamy and Hartmann on Srebrenica: A Study in Propaganda (Monthly Review)

After having stoked the civil wars and violent dismantling of Yugoslavia of 1991-1995, the United States—with the help of the ICTY—stoked a crisis in Kosovo which it used to force a war against Serbia, a war which enabled the U.S.-led NATO bloc to occupy Kosovo and later separate it from Serbia, and left Serbia a crushed and subservient state. The construction and use of the ICTY to demonize Serbs was part of the war-making plan, as the ICTY called for refusing to negotiate a settlement with, and pursuing as criminals, Serb targets.

Portugal | Mali | Bradley Manning | Israel/Palestine | Ṣabrā and Šātīlā | Iran

Mark Bergfeld: Portugal: “I Prefer the Horses in My Lasagne to the Donkeys in the Government” (MRzine)

Franklin C. Spinney: Africa and AFRICOM. Neo-Imperialism and the Arrogance of Ignorance (CounterPunch)

Although recent reports have tended to focus on the French effort to kick Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) out of Mali — an effort that may now be devolving into a far more complex guerrilla war, that French operation is just one operation in what may be shaping up to be a 21st Century version of the 19th Century Scramble for the resources of Africa.

Map: Conflicts in Africa (Le monde diplomatique)

Marjorie Cohn: The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning (MRzine)

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: What killed Arafat Jaradat? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Amira Hass: After Palestinian dies in Shin Bet hands, time to question the interrogators (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
For years, Palestinian detainees and prisoners have complained about sleep deprivation, painful and prolonged handcuffing, humiliation, beatings and medical neglect. By international standards, this is torture.
Jodi Rudoren, Khaled Abu Aker: Palestinians Dispute Israel’s Findings on a Prisoner’s Death (New York Times)
Amira Hass: שופט קופי־פייסט / A copy-and-paste verdict for every Palestinian (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

On Jan. 14, a military judge heard nine appeals of administrative detention orders issued to Palestinian residents of the West Bank. In each case, the judge revoked the appeals, providing the same decision – word for word. …
The IDF Spokesman’s Office commented, “Judge Moshe Tirosh is a veteran jurist who has served in the reserves as a judge on the military court of appeals for many years. Every decision made by him includes a full and detailed discussion of every order, whatever it may be. …” …
The military courts are a conveyor belt that convicts every Palestinian in advance, because every Palestinian, in advance, opposes the military regime that has been imposed on him and that has given rise to the military court system. But administrative detention guarantees this military system a particularly easy time. A person is arrested without knowing what the suspicions against him are. The prosecution does not have to bother preparing an indictment, bringing in witnesses and evidence, or dealing with the defense’s questions.

Gideon Levy: 800 אלף / Eight hundred thousand (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

The same society that was so upset by the fate of a single prisoner, Gilad Shalit, does not even begin to grasp the depth of distress the Palestinians feel over the thousands of their people who are in prison. Eight hundred thousand. That is the number of Palestinian residents arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails since the beginning of the occupation, according to The New York Times. Almost a million people.

Reuters: Israel mistreats Palestinian children in custody, UNICEF reports (Haaretz)
Alistair Dawber: Israel’s Palestinian-only buses prompt apartheid comparisons (Independent)
Chaim Levinson: ממחר: קווי אוטובוס נפרדים לפועלים פלסטינים ולמתנחלים | Israel introduces ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers (Haaretz)

Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs. … Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

Roi Mandel: Sharon in 1983: Israel could be accused of genocide (Yedioth Ahronoth)
Ofer Aderet: אחרי סברה ושתילה: שרון חשש שיואשם ברצח עם / Ariel Sharon feared genocide charges over Israel’s role in Sabra and Shatila (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

Sharon read out to the cabinet the 1950 statute against genocide, and warned that in his interpretation they could all be considered accomplices to the massacre, according to the letter of the law. To illustrate this, he elaborated on the roles of accomplices.
“We all urged this, we all enabled it, by asking them (the Phalangist Christian militias) to enter the camps. We were present, we lit up the area and we evacuated casualties. It is common knowledge that we were in the area to keep the opposition away, and we did not isolate it from other areas. We kept forces in the area to ensure the mission was carried out, and in case they ran into trouble and needed help getting out.”

Setz Anziska: A Preventable Massacre (New York Times)

Contrary to Prime Minister Begin’s earlier assurances, Defense Minister Sharon said the occupation of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.” Mr. Draper (U.S. envoy Morris Draper) disputed this claim; having coordinated the August evacuation, he knew the number was minuscule. Mr. Draper said he was horrified to hear that Mr. Sharon was considering allowing the Phalange militia into West Beirut. Even the I.D.F. chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, acknowledged to the Americans that he feared “a relentless slaughter.” …
Mr. Draper warned that critics would say, “Sure, the I.D.F. is going to stay in West Beirut and they will let the Lebanese go and kill the Palestinians in the camps.”
Mr. Sharon replied: “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism.”
Mr. Draper responded: “We are not interested in saving any of these people.”

Ofer Aderet: ‘Israel misled U.S. diplomats during Sabra and Shatila massacre’ (Haaretz)

Another Israeli official who feared a massacre was Deputy Prime Minister David Levy. On September 16, during a cabinet meeting at which the ministers learned that the Phalange had been allowed into the camps, he said, “I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order there, and we will bear the blame.” …
After Draper argued that Israel will be blamed for letting the Lebanese kill the Palestinians in the camps, Sharon replied, “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism…If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”

Nima Shirazi: The Talented Mr. Takeyh (MRzine)