Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra

By Patrick Cockburn

Why is the British Army still in south Iraq and what good does it do there?

The suspicion grows that Mr Blair did not withdraw them because to do so would be too gross an admission of failure and of soldiers' lives uselessly lost. It would also have left the US embarrassingly bereft of allies. Reidar Visser, an expert on Basra, says after all the publicity about the British "soft" approach in Basra in 2003, local people began to notice that the soldiers were less and less in the streets and the militias were taking over. "This, in turn, created a situation where critics claim the sole remaining objective of the British forces in Iraq is to hold out and maintain a physical presence somewhere within the borders of the governorates in the south formally left under their control, while at the same minimising their own casualties.' Mr Visser said.

In other words, British soldiers have stayed and died in southern Iraq, and will continue to do so, because Mr Blair finds it too embarrassing to end what has become a symbolic presence and withdraw them.

Other premiers' foreign policy misjudgements...

Lord Salisbury The Boer War 1899-1902

The discovery of gold in the two independent Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State led Britain to flex its military muscle in South Africa. There was enthusiastic support for the war back home in Britain, giving Salisbury a landslide in the 1900 general election. However, support began to wane as the war dragged on, and there was outrage at Britain's brutal tactics - although they led to the Boers' surrender in 1902. Despite the apparently successful outcome, it contributed in large part to the catastrophic defeat for the Conservatives in 1906, and signified the beginning of the end for the British Empire.

David Lloyd George The Easter Rising 1916

Prior to the 1916 Easter Rising, there had been little appetite among the Irish for armed struggle. But the execution of the leaders of the uprising, and subsequent atrocities, most notably the 1921 Croke Park massacre, only served to strengthen the resolve of those fighting for independence. What had begun as a small-scale armed rebellion escalated rapidly. Sinn Fein won 70 per cent of Irish seats in the 1918 general election, which was followed by an upsurge in violence, retaliations, a declaration of independence, a war of independence, and finally, in 1922, independence itself.

Anthony Eden The Suez Crisis, 1956

Covertly arranged in collusion with France and Israel, the mission was to regain control of the Suez canal (nationalised by Egypt), and to overthrow the nationalist Nasser regime. While the initial outcome was successful from a military point of view, and with minimal British casualties, the perception that Britain and France were seeking some kind of colonial resurgence did not sit well in Washington. Eisenhower made it clear to Eden that he did not want the operation to go ahead, and was willing to back it up with economic threats. Eden caved in, ending his career and Britain's status as world superpower.

Robert Peel The First Anglo-Afghan War 1839-42

The mission to curb Russian influence by deposing Dost Mohammed and restoring former ruler Shoja Shah, was launched to strengthen British interests. The British took Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul, captured Dost Mohammed and restored the Shoja to the throne. Their job seemingly done, they withdrew, leaving a garrison of troops and two envoys in Kabul. In 1841, however, there was an uprising, and the garrison was forced to surrender. The retreating British troops and civilians were massacred, bolstering Afghanistan's growing reputation as a graveyard for foreign armies.



Who Is IOZ? (blog) [Ora aqui estão comentários muito bem escritos sobre a Somália e Afeganistão]

Publicado na CL


Bush's Somalia Strategy Enables an Ethiopian Despot

The invasion was a rout. But it also was very unpopular in Ethiopia. "Somalia is not a threat to Ethiopia," said Negasso Gidada, the former Ethiopian president who served alongside Meles but recently has emerged as one of the prime minister's most outspoken critics. "The Somalis didn't attack us, so why are we fighting them?"
Most felt that the attack was a diversion, both for Bush, from Iraq, and for Meles, from international scrutiny of his domestic affairs. Bush's gambit may not have worked: Already, as Ethiopian troops withdraw, the Islamic Courts are regrouping, and there is little hope that the US-backed transitional government, a fractious collection of warlords, can hold Somalia together." The Nation

Bush Orders More Troops to Afghanistan


Eastwood says his WWII films expose futility of war

E isto sobre a indisputável boa guerra. Aquela em que Estaline foi aliado e ficou com metade do mundo e foram lançadas 2 bombas atómicas. Uma vitória da "liberdade". A única coisa que foi mesmo "libertada" foi o mundo do Império Britânico, mas antes não o tivesse sido.

Mas fico com a impressão que conservadores-e-liberais-libertarians-pro-war-anti-pacifistas-intervencionistas-que-querem-que-todos-os-que-consideram-inimigos-se-convertam-ao-não-intervencionismo-e-pacifismo vão ser capazes de gostar do filme, das palavras de Clint e continuar a justificar com os raciocínos mais rebuscados qualquer coisa que envolva bombardeiros e porta-aviões e forças libertadoras de ocupação e reeducação das massas tribais para esmagar a mais leve e remota ameaça. É que estão a ver, com o Afeganistão e o Iraque não se deram mais atentados nos EUA. Só nos outros sítios todos.

Sobre a Rússia

"How would we react if China today brought Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela into a military alliance, convinced Mexico to sell oil to Beijing and bypass the United States, and began meddling in the affairs of Central America and Caribbean countries to effect the electoral defeat of regimes friendly to the United States? How would we react to a Russian move to put anti-missile missiles on Greenland? " Does Putin Not Have a Point? by Patrick J. Buchanan
Para quê o esforço continuado e repetido de Rui Ramos e Luciano Amaral em pretender provar que o Iraque é mau mas que podia ser pior?


Iran Supplying IEDs to Sunni Insurgency?

Update: MSNBC reports:

“U.S. officials said there was no evidence of Iranian-made EFPs having fallen into the hands of Sunni insurgents who operate mainly in Anbar province in the west of Iraq, Baghdad and regions surrounding the capital.”

Okay, Iran is supplying bombs to who then? Not, they admit, to America’s enemies in Iraq – the “Sunni Insurgency” – but, to what the military officials termed “rogue elements” of the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He is a key backer of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The U.S. officials glossed over armaments having reached the other major Shiite militia organization, the Badr Brigade. It is the military wing of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political organization, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose leaders also have close ties to the U.S.



"Who speaks for Jews in Britain?"

We will not accept the vilification of those who protest at injustices carried out in the name of the Jewish people.

"...The slur of "traitor" or "self-hating Jew" is especially noxious. For, if we feel compelled to protest against injustice to Palestinians, this is partly because of the lessons of our own history: the Jewish experience of marginalisation and persecution. Furthermore, when the language of human rights is spoken, many of us (secular and religious) hear the voices of those Hebrew prophets, rabbis, writers, activists and other Jewish figures down the centuries for whom Judaism means nothing if it does not mean social justice.

So, when we speak out against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, or the bombing of Lebanon, or discrimination against Palestinians within Israel itself, we are not turning against our Jewish identity; we are turning to it. Some of us, recalling that nearly 40 years have passed since Israel's occupation began, hear a resonance. This was the length of time the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, near the end of which Moses gave them a directive: "Justice, justice shall you pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20). It is a compass bearing for all humanity, especially when we are trying to find our way - or help others to find theirs - to a better future.


Coisas de Churchill

Web of Deceit By Barry M. Lando By Derrick O'Keefe

"...tracing the tragic history of Iraq back to the creation of borders designed to suit the oil lust of the then-mighty British Empire. Over the decades, imperial arrogance and disregard for local input seem to have been constants. We learn, for instance, that when the power brokers met in 1921 in Cairo to redraw the Middle East’s map, Winston Churchill didn’t want any Arabs in the hotel or even in its gardens. Later that year, faced with a growing resistance to their occupation, Churchill urged the RAF to explore the use of chemical weapons to put down the unruly subjects."


Cristãos por Israel e pleo fim do mundo

The Troubling Worldview of the 'Rapture-Ready' Christian.

"(...) The dispensationalist view of Daniel 9:27 provides some troubling implications as well. They don’t care that tearing down the al-Aqsa mosque would result in a regional war and cause all sorts of global distress. This would not be a bad thing in their minds. They believe that it was all foreordained and is a sign that the end of the world would be soon upon us.

Also, if you buy into these interpretations, talks of peace in the Middle East are futile. Jews and Muslims must continue killing each other at high rates. And who will be the one bringing peace to the Middle East in this popular end-time paradigm? Not Jesus, but the Antichrist. Therefore, talk of Middle East peace during this current "dispensation" is not from Jesus, but the Antichrist. When dispensationalists hear talk of peace summits or treaties in the Middle East, they assume it must have evil origins and be antichristic. If that’s the cause, why bother trying to make the world a better place? All we need to do is be good Christians and wait for our ticket out of this earth and make way for the Antichrist.

Dispensationalists are numerous and popular. Well-connected preachers like Hagee have political connections. Dispensational preachers and lobbyists have the ear of the White House and are directly trying to influence foreign policy based on their very questionable theological views, which, by the way, are less than 200 years old. This is more than just a quirky theology that doesn’t affect those who do not hold it. Dispensationalists want to bring about world events that would have catastrophic implications for other Christians and for non-Christians. (...)

The logic and implications are clear. Society is going to hades in a handbasket. There’s little we can do to stem the tide of evil. The Middle East must further deteriorate. Anyone who disagrees with Israel’s foreign policy is opposing God. The third most important site to Muslims must be crushed to make way for a new Jewish Temple. Good Christians should support the building of a new temple with new animal sacrifices taking place inside of it (compare Hebrews 10 to the theology of Darby and Hal Lindsey). And in a strange sense, war is kinda good and peace is kinda bad – since war is a sign that the end is near and peace on earth is a sign of the Antichrist. Any Christian who doesn’t agree with all this is deceived at best and a heretic at worst.

When you understand that millions of Christians believe this way, and that some of them are actually fairly influential on the political scene, you begin to see why this theology needs to be refuted. By refuting it, dispensationalists think you’re trying to refute God. I would argue that you’re being more faithful to God and the very Scriptures themselves. This is not just an in-house debate that only affects myself and other Christians. Dispensationalists have a vision for the world and it is bad news for everybody. Therefore, it would do you all good to spend some time in the Bible and see what exactly the Scriptures have to say on this subject."

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