Syria | Iraq | Rwanda

Matthew Allen: US Proxies Set Stage for Syria Balkanization (Russia Insider)

A leading Kurdish politician has confirmed that “the northern Syrian city of Raqqa is expected to join a decentralized system of government being set up by Syrian Kurdish groups and their allies once it is freed from Islamic State,” according to Reuters.
Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, made his comments on the same day that a U.S.-led operation near Raqqa blocked “any advance by Syrian government forces from the west”. In other words, the U.S. has reserved Raqqa for its proxies.

Simon Tisdall: The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul (Guardian)

The leaders who denounced Putin for deadly airstrikes in Syria are not speaking out over the siege of the Iraqi city.
America and the UK condemned Russian airstrikes that killed or injured hundreds of civilians during last autumn’s siege of Aleppo, accusing Vladimir Putin of war crimes. The question now is whether the US, backed by British air power, is committing similar atrocities against civilians in Mosul.
[In Mosul,] misdirected US airstrikes caused a massive explosion that reportedly killed at least 150 civilians sheltering in a basement. The Americans say they were targeting Islamic State fighters. The Russians said much the same about Aleppo – that they were attacking jihadi terrorists. Many people, not least the relatives of the Mosul dead, will struggle to see the difference…
[T]he high death toll places the Mosul carnage, if confirmed, among the worst such incidents since the US invasion in 2003. It also serves to highlight a new pattern of behaviour by US forces since Donald Trump took office in January. Since then, the monthly total of recorded civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled, according to independent monitors.

Margaret Kimberley: Is Trump the DNC Hacker? (Black Agenda Report)

The Democratic Party is going all out with its charge of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. In doing so they achieve two very important goals. First, they distract their voters from asking why Hillary Clinton lost and why they are perennial losers at every level of government across the country. Secondly, they can wage war by other means as they attempt to exact regime change in Russia. That is the desired endgame as they attempt to crush the sovereignty and independence of that resource-rich nation which spans Eurasia.

Ann Garrison: Israel’s African Darling: Paul Kagame: An Interview with Robin Philpot (Black Agenda Report)

Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, who recently addressed AIPAC, in Washington DC, is Israel’s favorite African, a man the Zionists permit to use the term “genocide.” Both nations claim their wounds give them a special status in the world. “Rwanda and Uganda could be called mad dog states – they’re highly militarized, and they serve as sheriffs for the U.S. at the same time as they pursue their own interests.”

Ukraine | Egypt | Rwanda | Torture

John sent these links:
Roland Oliphant, Andrew Marszal: Dozens killed in Odessa fire as violence spreads to country’s south (Telegraph)
Howard Amos, Harriet Salem: Dozens dead after Odessa building fire (Guardian)
More articles on Ukraine:
Wilhelm Langthaler: Support the Donbass revolt, but not with Putin (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Every international conflict also got a regional or local dimension – this is true also for Ukraine. Quickly, too quickly geopolitics moves into the centre of attention. But without understanding and considering the socio-political underpinnings a social revolutionary solution in the interest of the majority cannot be devised.

Over 10 shot dead by Right Sector radicals near Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine (RT)
39 people die after radicals set Trade Unions House on fire in Ukraine’s Odessa (RT)
War in Europe? Ukraine and the Threat of Wildfire (Spiegel)
Benjamin Bidder: Dutzende Brandopfer in Odessa: Tödlicher Hass (Spiegel)
Far-right squads arranged a fight in the centre of Odessa (Borotba)
Neo-Nazi terror in Odessa: more than 40 killed, hundreds injured (Borotba)
An activist of the leftist (and definitely not pro-Russian or pro-Putin) group Borot’ba was in that building that was set on fire. He had to jump and was then beaten to death in the square by the Ukraininan nationalists:
Андрей Бражевский. Убит неонацистами 2.05.2014 (Боротьба)

David D. Kirpatrick: Uproar in Egypt After Judge Sentences More Than 680 to Death (New York Times)

A court in Minya, a provincial capital, sentenced to death the top spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood along with more than 680 others in connection with the killing of a single police officer during a riot here last summer, while a court in the capital banned the activities of the most effective left-leaning protest group, the April 6 movement, on espionage charges…
The mass death sentence, announced after a cursory trial of a few sessions lasting just minutes, was the second of its kind from the same court in the space of a month, and it drew condemnation from the White House as well as international rights groups.

Pambazuka News has several articles about Rwanda:
Theogene Rudasingwa: The Paul Kagame doctrine after 20 years (Pambazuka News)

After 20 years, the silent terror of Paul Kagame’s regime continues. Domestically there is a lack of democracy. In terms of foreign policy there is pillage and plunder of neighbouring DRC, killing of Rwandan dissidents and preying on the guilt of the international community to deflect any criticism.

Antoine Roger Lokongo: 20 years of trying to cover up the truth in vain (Pambazuka News)

Despite powerful backing from the West and strong media influence, there have emerged some important facts which call into question the widely-accepted narrative of what really happened in Rwanda in 1994 and the identities of those responsible.

Samir Amin: Rwanda’s proxy wars for imperialist interests (Pambazuka News)

Rwanda, a military dictatorship, plays a key destabilising role in the Great Lakes region to benefit its imperialist partners, US and UK, whose primary interest is the mineral wealth in Eastern DR Congo. Democratic forces should work had to expose imperialist agendas and weaken Western influence in the region.

Glen Ford: Kagame: Murderer of Millions in Congo and Rwanda (Black Agenda Report)

VOAFor 20 years, Kagame has posed as the soldier who stopped the Rwandan genocide, when all evidence and logic point to him as the main perpetrator of the crime.

Karen J. Greenberg: The Road From Abu Ghraib (Tom Dispatch)

It’s mind-boggling. Torture is still up for grabs in America. No one questions anymore whether the CIA waterboarded one individual 83 times or another 186 times. The basic facts are no longer in dispute either by those who champion torture or those who, like myself, despise the very idea of it. No one questions whether some individuals died being tortured in American custody. (They did.) No one questions that it was a national policy devised by those at the very highest levels of government. (It was.) But many, it seems, still believe that the torture policy, politely renamed in its heyday “the enhanced interrogation program,” was a good thing for the country.

Katie Fretland, Ed Pilkington: Oklahoma inmate Tasered by prison staff on day of botched execution (Guardian)

Iran | Congo–Rwanda–Uganda | Egypt | Venezuela | Germany

Julian Borger, Saeed Kamali Dehghan: Iran seals nuclear deal with west in return for sanctions relief (Guardian)

The difficulties facing the negotiators in the coming months were highlighted by the different interpretations Kerry and Zarif took on the fiercely disputed issue of whether the deal represented a recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium in principle. Zarif was insistent that it did because it was based on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which guarantees the right to a peaceful nuclear programme. Kerry said that neither the NPT nor Sunday’s deal specifies a right to enrichment.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Wikisource)

Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination …

Harriet Sherwood: Israel condemns Iran nuclear deal as ‘historic mistake’ (Guardian)

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh: Why the Iran Nuclear Talks Failed (CounterPunch)

The three day nuclear negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers that started on November 7th came to an unsuccessful end when, apparently, France balked at the proposed interim deal as not sufficiently controlling Iran’s nuclear technology. Whether the French objected independently or as part of a good cop bad cop game to sabotage the proposed deal is of secondary importance. The more important point is that Western nuclear powers backed-off from their own demands and proposals despite the fact that they represented a number of significant one-sided concessions by the Iranian negotiators.

Ann Garrison, Jean-Mobert N’Senga: Why is DRC “Negotiating” With M23, Not Rwanda and Uganda? (CounterPunch)

Anyone who’s paid any serious attention to the conflict between the Congolese army and the M23 militia in eastern Congo, knows that the M23 were never “Congolese rebels,” as AP, Reuters, and the rest of the corporate press have agreed to identify them. M23 has been fighting under Rwandan command, in consultation with top Ugandan officials, with support, recruits, and conscripts from Rwanda and Uganda, for the territorial claims of the Rwandan and Ugandan regimes, as were M23′s previous incarnations, the RCD and the CNDP. …
So why isn’t Congo at the table with Uganda and Rwanda, aside from the fact that Rwanda and Uganda have no legitimate territorial claims within the borders of the DRC? And/or the fact that Uganda and Rwanda are both longstanding “military partners” of the U.S., which makes the truth both inconvenient and embarrassing in Washington D.C.?

Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nermeen Sheikh, Amy Goodman: As New Protest Law Looms, Egypt Faces Harsher Authoritarian Order Than the Revolution Overthrew (Democracy Now)

[T]he military and the Muslim Brotherhood have acted as two juggernauts in the Egyptian body politic. They’re both characterized by patriarchy and secrecy and mendacity, and they’ve both, you know, ripped apart Egypt’s social fabric as they struggle for power. And I think a lot of groups felt pushed out of this discourse when these two big juggernauts came to a clash, to a head. Morsi and the Brotherhood governed in a very majoritarian style. They alienated people across the political spectrum. They encouraged and wanted a brutal security sector. They encouraged the killing of protesters. And so, when the parts of the deep state, the police and the army, that they tried to placate—they really did try to bring them on their side and be a part of a new elite and harness the state instead of reform it—when those elements turned on them, there was no one standing by them. And so, people have been watching this killing. Of course, they condemn this level of violence, but it’s a very complicated and difficult situation right now in Egypt.

Chris Gilbert: Refrigerator Wars in Venezuela (CounterPunch)

Importers in Venezuela bring in goods with cheap dollars that they obtain through the state – dollars that come from the petroleum rent. They then mark up the goods 200% to 1000%. The government’s idea is to limit the markup to 30%.

Noam Chomsky, Chris Steele: There’s Always a Class War Going On (CounterPunch)

Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition. Occasionally this is recognized.

Joachim Jachnow: What’s Become of the German Greens? (New Left Review)

Once pillars of the peace movement, Die Grünen are now cheerleaders for Western military intervention. Joachim Jachnow’s cursus vitae of the movement—diverse origins, ideological rifts, shifting social bases—explains the transformation.

Trademark Bully Jenzabar Ordered To Pay $500,000 In Attorney Fees Over Its Unrelenting Attack On Documentary Filmmakers (techdirt)

The central element of abuse of process is the use of litigation for an ulterior purpose — that is, a purpose other than to achieve relief for the wrong alleged. The overall record of this case leaves no doubt that that is exactly what Jenzabar did; it subjected Long Bow to protracted and costly litigation not to protect the good will of its trademark from misappropriation, but to suppress criticism of Jenzabar’s principals and its corporate practices. …
Jenzabar’s multiple and shifting legal and factual theories, asserted at the various stages of the case, support the same conclusion, as does its objection to pro hac vice admission of the lawyer who assumed Long Bow’s defense after it had exhausted its resources. In this regard, the differences in economic power between the parties is one of many circumstances that tends to confirm the conclusion that Jenzabar engaged in extortionate conduct, making this case exceptional.