Breaking News: Cash-strapped Saudis retreat from Yemen
Two Systems (by Colonel W. Patrick Lang);
The Islamic State Is Pretext To Again Mug Libya;
Syria & Burundi – War-Theatres between the China/Russia Axis & US/EU Axis
(Translation: After pulling their ground troops out the Saudis will gradually stop their costly air campaign on Yemen but will continue to fund terrorist groups and the opposition on the ground to turn Yemen into a Libya and Syria like scenario)
By Bel Trew in Cairo, 19 March 2016
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been pulling their ground troops out of Yemen for the past month, amid mounting budget squeezes at home, leaving behind a country in ruins and 2,800 civilians dead.
Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Assiri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, said that the operation had moved into a “stabilisation phase”.
“The major combat operation is winding down. It has become about stabilising and security. But we are committed to continuing to support the Yemeni army with our air forces,” he told The Times.
Two Systems (by Colonel W. Patrick Lang, retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets) 18 March 2016
I was asked by one of our SST readers why I thought the Borg (the foreign policy establishment) was not identical with the US political system. I quote below from my response.
“Many people yearn for a simple explanation lodged in a massive world wide conspiracy that seeks to control all aspects of life, something like S.P.E.C.T.R.E. or the Protocols of…, or maybe the Illuminati. Well, it is not that simple. There is NOT one giant conspiracy and the foreign policy establishment has many parts none of which is altogether dominant. It is really a giant consensus among those who can punish or reward in terms of media exposure, degree awards, fellowships, jobs in the government, ridicule or praise, hostility or friendliness, etc. American politics contains some of the same people that are in the Borg (i.e., the foreign policy establishment) but although the two circles overlap they are not the same. The US government was created on the basis of the idea that power should be limited and divided to prevent easy domination of the system by individuals and factions. It was never intended that the system should be efficient. It was built to be inefficient. Today there has emerged a political consultant class that exists to subvert the built in limitations of the US governmental system. They make a fine living by renting themselves to people who want to beat the system and achieve more power than was ever intended by the founders and framers in their constitutional experiment. To do this the consultants describe the political system as merely another form of “marketing” as in the business world where; market share, PR and “branding” are all and content is a very secondary matter. If you listen carefully you will hear unending talk on TV of political and individual “brands” and “media markets.”. The “juice” to make this system work is massive contributor money donations, especially from the rich. Contributor money buys access and favors. This totally corrupts the system in favor of the selfish and fanatical. Trump and Sanders do not play by the present rule. they have or raise their own money and appeal directly to the citizenry who believe correctly that the political class abandoned them in the search for personal advancement. Because of that they threaten the existence of the present electoral “industry,” and for that they are seen correctly as a threat to political life as an occupation.” pl
The Islamic State Is Pretext To Again Mug Libya (18 June 2016)
There are currently two governments in Libya. A “moderately Islamist” one in the west in Tripoli and one in the east in Tobruk. The eastern one is internationally recognized and “secular” but also supported by some Salafist groups. Both governments have their own parliament and various supporting militia. In the middle of the long east-west coastline the Islamic State led by some cadres from Iraq and Syria has taken a foothold in Sirte. It is recruiting followers from north Africa and moving to capture nearby oilfields to finance its further expansion.
The “west” is alarmed about this development and wants to intervene with military force. Special forces from several countries are already on the ground. But both governments and their parliaments do not want such foreign intervention.
The UN or someone came up with the glorious idea of creating a third government which is supposed to supersede the two existing ones. The task of this third government will be to “invite” foreign forces and to rubber-stamp whatever they will do. That third government is now constituted in Tunisia and has zero power on the ground in Libya:
[T]here is no guarantee that the other factions will back down. So what is (now) a war between two rival governments backed by militias risks becoming a war among three rival governments, none of which recognize the others ..
Naturally the Libyans hate that idea of a foreign imposed government. They will likely fight any third force that tries to usurp their sovereignty. Confronted with a foreign imposed government and foreign military forces more Libyans will join the Islamic State to fight the intruders. The shortsightedness of the UN and the “western” governments on this issue is breathtaking.
But there is still a lot of money to be made in Libya and especially the French and British governments want to keep robbing the country blind. This requires some feet on the ground. The “brain” and a likely main profiteer behind all this seems to be one well known figure.
A revealing piece in the Times of Malta describes some of the astonishing political-business connections behind the scenes:
[A] major military operation by a collection of foreign powers is in the works to tackle Isis and install a UN-backed government but the shabby way it has been put together carries the risk it will blow back in everyone’s faces.
First, there is the strange situation that [Britain’s Ambassador to Libya, Peter] Millett takes his orders from Britain’s Libya envoy, Jonathan Powell, a contractor to the FCO. Yes, the same Powell who, along with then prime minister Tony Blair, brokered the deal with Muammar Gaddafi to end his dictatorship’s isolation a decade ago – and lead to fat Blair consultancies with that same tyrant after the prime minister left office.
Among other beneficiaries of this new opening up of Gaddafi’s dictatorship was a massive property development contract handed out to a company chaired by none other than Powell’s brother, Lord Charles Powell, which also involved an array of colourful London-based, well-known Arab millionaires. Which makes Powell more of a close relative of an interested party.
Libya is awash with weapons and munitions of all kinds and these are bought and sold in open markets. With the right amount of money one can easily buy powerful anti-tank weapons or anti-air guns readily installed on the ubiquitous Toyota technicals. But Britain also wants to sell, not buy weapons:
Millett revealed that he wants to sell Libya yet more [weapons] – but only to the ‘right’ militias, that is, those supporting the new UN-backed government of national accord (GNA).
The GNA, designed to replace Libya’s two warring governments, in Tripoli and Tobruk, is the cornerstone of Western policy in Libya, designed to unite the country to turn its united guns on Isis. Hence the weapons.
Millett insists the weapons will only go to the ‘right’ militias, an echo of a Western statement about supporting the ‘right kind’ of terrorists in Syria in the war against Isis.
Here now comes the real business part with the most valuable piece being the Libyan Investment Authority with some $65 billion in assets. This fund is owned by the Libyan people but whoever controls it will be able to siphon off tons of money:
Much of the fallout for this clumsy step to create a third government for Libya will be felt in Malta, where commercial battles rage between the two existing Libyan governments over control of a host of enterprises headquartered here – and which are soon to have unity government leaders also pushing for control.
The Valletta court battle for the public telecommunications company LPTIC highlighted the complicated split and a new tussle is underway for control of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the Tobruk-appointed office of which is situated in Malta.
For now, the LIA battle is in London but in a bizarre twist the case was last week controversially stopped in mid flow on advice from Britain’s Foreign Office.
The judge making the order, which keeps both existing governments from getting their hands on this $65 billion asset, is none other than William Blair, brother of – you guessed it, Tony.
Never mind that Tony worked with the LIA in the latter Gaddafi years.
Conflict of interest?
Well, you decide. But to me this looks like another coup in the making this time by introducing a third government that will be completely controlled by foreigners. All this not to “fight the Islamic State” but for Tony Blair and others to control and rob whatever assets the Libyans have left. (How, by the way, is the Clinton Foundation involved in this?)
I can not think of any positive outcome this hapless robbery attempt under the disguise of fighting the Islamic State will have for Libya and its people. Or for the people of those countries who’s “elites” now again move to wage war on Libya.
Posted by b on March 18, 2016
Syria & Burundi are War-Theatres between the China/Russia Axis & US/EU Axis
‘Majority of Burundians still want Nkurunziza to run for president’
By Alex B. Atuhaire
Posted Sunday, May 10 2015
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has insisted on standing again for re-election despite strong opposition as the East African Community (EAC) is summoned to discuss the crisis in the member nation
Burundi is on the brink of war and president Nkurunziza stands accused of causing all this friction. Why doesn’t he respect the Burundi constitution and pull out?
The ruling party, CNDD-FDD, had its congress on April 25 and endorsed president Pierre Nkurunziza to be its presidential candidate in the upcoming general elections. An overwhelming majority of the members of the party decided president Nkurunziza should run. Before they decided, they checked and were sure that the law provided for his eligibility as a candidate.
So president Nkurunziza is not in breach of the constitution but if anybody contests this, they can go to the constitutional court and challenge it but not what we are seeing, going to the streets in violent protests. What we are seeing in Burundi are not peaceful protests but violent protests; they [protestors] are even using guns, they have attacked and injured more than 50 policemen and killed three soldiers and these are protesters – armed and violent.
The protestors killing policemen? We thought it was the police unleashing violence on the protestors
The narrative has been wrong, it’s the protestors attacking the police. And you can see, more than 50 policemen injured and less than 10 protestors injured. We regret that we have had three people killed but we have to investigate who killed them. That has to be resolved by an investigation but what we are sure about is that the protestors have been violent.
While the police have been battling the protestors, the army has remained neutral and have in some instances supported them. Isn’t this a dangerous scenario?
This is a wrong narrative of the situation in Burundi. The army and police are united in trying to secure the citizens of Burundi. However, the police being the lead agency in handling the protests have been at the forefront and the army has only come in to (give) advice.
It’s normal for the army to give technical advice, in whatever way they deem the situation. If they say lets negotiate with the protestors, it doesn’t mean that they are against the police. The truth is that the army and the police are working together to secure the citizens from protestors.
If the population is against president Nkurunziza running for a third term, why is he causing all this chaos, why can’t he step down?
Burundi is made up of 129 communes [districts] but the protests are happening in only four out of the 129 communes (districts). This means the majority of the population supports president Nkurunziza to run for president again. So it’s a dilemma for those who are trying to stop him.
But if they want to stop him, they should go and campaign and defeat him. If they think that he has violated the law, we have all the instruments and structures to resolve this, for example they can go to the constitutional court.
By the way, what you have to know, it is not president Nkurunziza violating the law but it’s those protestors and people behind them violating the law. And they should know that it’s not Nkurunziza but the CNDD-FDD party which wants him to run for president again.
You speak for the president, what is his personal opinion and suggested way forward out of this impasse?
President Nkurunziza’s personal opinion amid all that has come up is that he will never violate the constitution; he will always abide by the Burundi constitution. But again, he is not ready to let the population down. If the population wants him to run and the some people say his candidature violates the constitution, then, the constitutional court can decide this.
If the court rules that his candidature would violate the constitution, then he would not run. [Burundi’s constitutional court on Tuesday allowed president Nkurunziza to contest in this year’s presidential elections. However, the vice president of the court, judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse, refused to sign the ruling and fled the country instead, saying the judges had been put under pressure to deliver the ruling].
The international community, especially the US and the UK share the view of protestors and opposition politicians that a third term for Mr Nkurunziza would violate the country’s constitution and the Arusha Accord…
Anyone who is concerned with what is happening in Burundi is welcome. We know that some of them are supporting Burundi and some are on the other side. For example, in the [UN] Security Council last week, America was against Burundi but Russia and China were on our side and this is normal.
Each international power has its own interests. If the Americans and the Europeans say they don’t want Nkurunziza to run again, they have their own vested interests. If China, Russia, South Africa and Uganda support Burundi, they too have their own interest.
But what we are seeing is that the international community is expressing their concern about what is happening in Burundi and they are responding to a request from the president of Burundi. So it’s normal.
What has been the response of the East African region leaders, especially President Museveni who has been a key factor on the Burundi peace process?
For the good of the region and stability, a secure and peaceful Burundi is of paramount concern because it means a peaceful region. President [Jakaya] Kikwete [of Tanzania] was in Burundi as the chair of the East African Community. In his speech, he urged all the Burundians to preserve peace and unity and to respect the law. Everybody has to respect the constitution – we have the constitution, the electoral laws, the Arusha Accord. So what I can say is that leaders in the region are asking all people in Burundi to respect the law and that is it.
But president Nkurunziza is disregarding the constitution and importantly, the Arusha Accord. What is the way forward?
What you have to note is that people are using the Arusha Accord in their narrative, and in respect to calling president Nkurunziza to leave. But what you have to note is that it’s president Nkurunziza who has put this Arusha Accord into practice since 2005. He respects that Arusha accord.
The Arusha Accord which came in 2000 didn’t bring an end to the war but the ceasefire agreement of 2003, when president Nkurunziza who was leading the CNDD signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burundi government.
So, the Arusha Accord and the 2003 ceasefire agreement led us to the 2005 constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. So people should understand that the 2005 constitution is supreme to the Arusha Accord and, indeed, all the other laws and agreements.
The country is led by its constitution and every other country in the world must be led by its constitution. And actually, these people bringing in the Arusha Accord should know that the CNDD-FDD did not sign that accord. Even those who signed did so with reservations, meaning they did not agree 100 per cent. These reservations have never been removed. In any case, it’s a political accord. So a political agreement signed by politicians cannot be binding on the overall population in Burundi and replaces the constitution that has been voted by the whole population.
Like it happens anywhere in the world, there is no contradiction for Burundi to endorse the provisions of her constitution, instead of a political accord. The international community has always urged for the respect to different country’s’ constitution and so it cannot change when it comes to Burundi.
But whoever thinks president Nkurunziza has violated the constitution, can go to court.
LIKE SYRIA, BURUNDI IS A WAR-THEATER BETWEEN THE CHINA/RUSSIA AXIS AND US/EU AXIS – By Didas Gasana, 5 February 2016
There is no doubt that the US-led unipolar global order is facing stiff competition from the East. BRICS block, especially Russian and China, so far presents to the US the most difficult challenge since US’ rise to global supremacy.
China and Russia’s competition for political and economic power on an international political scene has in fact led to a marriage of convenience between US and some traditional nemesis like France. After Ukraine – where Russia’s Putin, by a large measure, emerged as a force not to ignore, now we have Syria.
No doubt, Russia is setting a geo-political agenda in the middle east, and the US is undecided on how to respond to him.
Syria is not alone. Deep down in the center of sub-Saharan Africa, Burundi is Middle East’s Syria. Burundi’s pre and post election political maneuvers, violence, attempted coups, are a result of this bipolar fight for global supremacy. Nowhere can it better be illustrated than in the UNSC when Russia and China protected President Nkurunziza against the wrath of the US and EU allies. What lies at the center is not only resource war (control of Burundi’s Nickel and Eastern DRC), but political leverage. Since day one, through Rwanda, US and her allies have allegedly committed acts aimed to bring Nkurunziza’s government to its knees. It didn’t come as a surprise when Luc Michel, today, accused the US and Belgium, of fuelling the Burundian conflict.
Burundi is not taking things lightly, having so far expelled Rwanda’s diplomat and asked for replacement of Belgian’s ambassador to Bujumbura- Marc Gedopt; to which Belgian foreign minister described as “unacceptable”.
To date, Syria and Burundi are two international hotspots where two global blocks are tussling it out for global superiority. To understand how political events are likely to play out in Burundi, keep a close watch at the Middle East. Russia and China are increasingly becoming global players the US can’t simply wish away yet the US is hell-bent on maintaining her global hegemony. None can tell with exact precision whether some political compromise may be reached or an all out war in Syria (and by proxies in Burundi) will follow. None can tell with exact precision if the US will back off on both hotspots. My bet is that the US has more to lose in the Middle East than in the Great lakes region. How the USA reacts to Russia in Syria and how Russia reacts will have a bearing on Burundi. That is how global politics and economics can be as complex as a cobweb.
Burundi Unbowed Despite US Interventionism in Central Africa
By Ann Garrison, Global Research, February 01, 2016
Ann Garrison 23 January 2016
The tiny East African nation of Burundi remains unbowed despite pressure from Western officials.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, speaking to the press yesterday, remained firm in his rejection of a proposed African Union peacekeeping force in his country. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
President Pierre Nkurunziza, center, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to his left, Angolan Ambassador to the UN Ismael A. Gaspar Martins to his right Photo: Reuters
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza told a visiting delegation of the UN Security Council that the African Union “must respect Burundi as a member state, and we must be consulted.” In mid-December last year, the African Union Peace and Security Council voted to deploy 5,000 peacekeeping forces in Burundi without the government’s consent.
Burundi borders Rwanda to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Tanzania to the east. UN officials and the NGO Refugees International have documented Rwanda’s recruitment of Burundian refugees into a new rebel army.
However, international law prohibits the deployment without a two-thirds vote of African Union member states, and the approval of the UN Security Council, whose five permanent members, China, France, Russia, the UK and the US, have veto power. The Burundian government was no doubt encouraged by remarks of the Russian and Chinese Ambassadors on the importance of protecting Burundi’s national sovereignty.