Joe Lauria at ConsortiumNews
Why we're never told why we're attacked
After a Russian commercial airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai last October, Western media reported that the Islamic State bombing was retaliation against Russian airstrikes in Syria. The killing of 224 people, mostly Russian tourists on holiday, was matter-of-factly treated as an act of war by a fanatical group without an air force resorting to terrorism as a way to strike back.
Yet, Western militaries have killed infinitely more innocent civilians in Muslim lands than Russia has. Then why won’t Western officials and media cite retaliation for that Western violence as a cause of terrorist attacks on New York, Paris and Brussels?
Instead, there’s a fierce determination not to make the same kinds of linkages that the press made so easily when it was Russia on the receiving end of terror. ...
....Before the major invasion and air wars in Iraq and Libya of the past 15 years, the 1950s was the era of America’s most frequent, and mostly covert, involvement in the Middle East. The Eisenhower administration wanted to contain both Soviet influence and Arab nationalism, which revived the quest for an independent Arab nation. After a series of coups and counter-coups, Syria returned to democracy in 1955, leaning towards the Soviets.....
....Wading into the psychology of why someone turns to terrorism is an unenviable task. The official Western view is that Islamist extremists merely hate modernity and secularism. That might be their motive in wanting to backwardly transform their own societies by removing Western influence. But it’s not what they say when they claim responsibility for striking inside the West.
To ignore their words and dismiss their violent reaction to the long and ongoing history of Western intervention may shield Americans and Europeans from their partial responsibility for these atrocities. But it also provides cover for the continuing interventions, which in turn will surely produce more terrorism.....
Corey Schink and Mike Tutundjian
Armenia vs Azerbaijan, East vs West:
Nagorno-Karabakh crisis and the NATO-Israeli connection
Victoria 'F**K the EU' Nuland's visit to Azerbaijan last year had analysts wondering whether something was afoot. While Nuland surely wouldn't visit a country in order to oversee destabilization along Russia's border (she's never done than that before, right?), a heated conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan would do just that. The sudden and violent eruption of this 'frozen conflict' at a time of vastly improving Iranian-Azeri-Russian economic and military cooperation provides both the means and motive for NATO/Israeli forces - an opportunity to destabilize Russia and Iran in one blow.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at war two times over the Nagorno-Karabakh region - once in 1918 and the second time in 1988, in the last years of the Soviet Union. Azeris began massacring Armenians in Azerbaijan, causing a large number of people to flee. Then they attacked the ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan with a modernized military, attacking people trying to defend themselves with hunting rifles or whatever they could get hold of. The Azeris blockaded Nagorno-Karabakh and all transport and shipments into Armenia proper. Turkey joined the blockade, while Georgia was having its own civil war with Abkhazia, making border crossing there very difficult. So the only border Armenia had that wasn't blockaded (or impaired) was its Iranian one. That blockade is still in place today, although the Georgian border has generally calmed down. ....
Robert Fisk at Independent
Echoes of Stalinism abound in the very modern Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict
The same old enemies are clanking around the black mountains of Karabagh: Russian power, Turkish expansionism and Armenian nationalism
...Now I have to say that I always thought that the current war in Nagorno-Kharabagh was a particularly dirty conflict. When it was rekindled with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1988, one of Yerevan’s excuses for “taking it back” was that it contained some of the nation’s oldest churches. True. But there are plenty of Turkic historical roots in Karabagh. In much the same way, eastern Europe contains some of Teutonic Germany’s oldest buildings, and much of the Balkans boasts fine Ottoman Turkish architecture. But the ruins of ancient heritage make a very dodgy excuse for war.
By the time I was covering the Karabagh war in the early 1990s, Armenian militia bands were murdering Azeri villagers in massacres eerily similar – though on a smaller scale – to those which occurred during Turkey’s genocide of the Armenian people in 1915; no wonder the Armenians in the capital of Yerevan denied these well-documented modern killings – those at Khojali in 1992, for example – for they undermined the victimhood of the Armenian people.....
Welcome to the world of Western humanitarian interventionism
How stingy a friend Britain proved to be when - following much political grand-standing and calls for a very 'humanitarian intervention' against the Gaddafi regime in Libya - it could only muster £50,000 towards Libya’s reconstruction for 2016.
Following what can only be described as a brutal leveling of Libya’s infrastructure in the name of ‘democracy building’ in 2011, the very powers that volunteered their military assistance so that liberty’s flame could shine brighter in North Africa (as the story goes) have completed deserted the Libyan people.
Let me repeat that ridiculous figure one more time so it can truly sink in: £50,000! £50,000… Unless Libyans possess magical powers by way of making money stretch a long ways, I’m not quite sure what Britain’s donations will achieve - if not maybe hurt Libyans’ pride....
Saudi Arabia passes Russia as world’s third biggest military spender
Global military spending reached almost $1.7 trillion in 2015, marking a year-on-year increase for the first time since 2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms expenditure around the world.
The United States remained far and away the top spender, which despite a dip from 2014, accounted for more than a third of total global spending. It was followed by China and then, perhaps surprisingly, Saudi Arabia, which supplanted Russia in third place. (The figure for China in the chart below is based on a SIPRI estimate.).....
Eric Draitser at MintPress
BRICS Under Attack: The Empire’s Destabilizing Hand Reaches Into South Africa
An undercurrent of political manipulation pulses beneath the surface of popular South African demonstrations organized around legitimate grievances. But who’s pulling the strings? And why?
Major protests have gripped South Africa in recent months as political forces have emerged to give voice to a growing discontent with the government and ruling party. Beneath the surface of these demonstrations organized around legitimate grievances, however, there’s an undercurrent of political manipulation.
South Africa and its ruling African National Congress (ANC) party have been targeted for destabilization due to the country’s burgeoning relationship with China and other non-Western nations, most obviously typified by South Africa’s inclusion in BRICS, the association of the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Last year, for example, China surpassed the United States and European Union as South Africa’s largest trade partner, and the ANC has been hard at work promoting further trade cooperation. Answering questions in the National Assembly, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa explained: “We trade more effectively with China because the relationship is based on win-win; mutual benefit that they can get out of the relationship and that we can get out the relationship.”
But recent protests against the ANC government have threatened the ruling tripartite coalition of the ANC, along with the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions.
A number of groups on the left such as the ...
Prof James Petras at GlobalResearch
Terror Bombing in Brussels and Paris: Europe’s “Islamist Legionnaires” Come Home to Fight
...The deliberate US (Zionist)-EU-Saudi strategy to divide and conquer Iraq initially involved working closely with Sunni feudal tribal leaders and other extremists to counter the rising power of pro-Iranian Shia. They promoted a policy of fragmenting the country with the Kurds dominating in the North, the Sunnis in the center and the Shia in the south (the so-called Joseph Biden-Leslie Gelb Plan of national dismemberment and ethnic cleansing). The rationale was to create a weak central authority completely under US-EU tutelage and loose group of fragmented subsistence fiefdoms in what had been the most advanced secular Arab republic.
Despite pouring billions of dollars in arms from the US to create a puppet-colonial Iraqi ‘national army’, the Saudis and Israelis pursued their own policy of financing sectors of the Kurds and violent Sunni opposition – with the latter forming the original mass base of ISIS.
As the US-client Shia regime in Baghdad focused on stealing billions while killing or exiling hundreds of thousands of educated Sunnis, Christians and other secular Iraqis from the capital, the morale of its US-puppet troops plummeted. With the entire experienced and nationalist Iraqi officer core purged (slaughtered or driven into hiding), the new puppet officers ....
Father Thomas Uzhunnalil Not Crucified by ISIS but Alive and 'Safe,' Indian Minister Says
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was previously feared to have been crucified by the Islamic State on Good Friday, is alive, safe, and efforts are being organized for his release.
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India spokesman Father Gyanprakash Topno told the Press Trust of India that Swaraj met with CBCI delegates and told them that reports claiming Uzhunnalil has been killed are not true....