The Russian president can de-escalate or become a Qaddafi-like pariah.
The catastrophic consequences of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 go well beyond the 298 needlessly lost souls and the suffering inflicted on their families and friends. The plane’s downing is an international incident of no less consequence than the Lockerbie bombing ordered by Muammar Qaddafi in 1988, which transformed someone regarded as an eccentric despot into a lethally dangerous international pariah. While Russian President Vladimir Putin—unlike Qaddafi—did not order the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane, this tragedy drives home the dangers to international security posed by his reckless adventurism and his use of proxies in what has been labeled a hybrid war.
CNN correspondent Diana Magnay hasn't tweeted since Thursday, when she referred to a group of Israelis who cheered the bombing of Gaza as "scum." And on Friday, the cable news channel said she's no longer covering the conflict.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The United Nations has evacuated dozens of foreign staff from its mission in Libya due to a deteriorating security situation in the North African country, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.They (U.N.
Washington should feel responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine, said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointing out that the current events in the country recall NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999.
"This was stunning cowardice by the Obama administration, which at the last minute did an about-face and scuttled progress toward a global arms treaty, just as it reached the finish line. It’s a staggering abdication of leadership by the world’s largest exporter of conventional weapons to pull the plug on the talks just as they were nearing an historic breakthrough that would have required all nations to deny arms export licenses where there was an overriding risk that the weapons would be used to facilitate serious crimes against humanity. Raising eleventh-hour issues with the treaty language and wanting more time to consult with itself, the Administration stopped momentum that was about to lead to a vital treaty being finalized at the United Nations to curb the global flow of arms and help save some of the 500,000 civilian lives lost each year in armed conflict. When the talks began a month ago, many feared that China or Russia might sabotage the talks. No one imagined the United States would be the spoiler. The Administration bears heavy responsibility to get these talks restarted and brought to a successful conclusion this fall at the U.N. General Assembly."
El objetivo del misil ucraniano que impactó contra el Boeing de Malaysia Airlines podría haber sido el avión del presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, según una fuente en la Aviación de Rusia citada por la agencia rusa Interfax.
The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis)Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises.
The devil, of course, is in the details of how they'll do it.
It's been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS's long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus - the IMF and the World Bank - as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The BRICS Development Bank - with an initial US$50 billion in capital - will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global
scale. The model is the Brazilian BNDES, which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to US government's printed green paper with no collateral.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing for survivors following a recent boat accident in the Mediterranean, the latest tragic incident off the Libyan coast of Tripoli, according to the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR).
Welcome to IS. No typo; the final goal may be (indiscriminate) regime change, but for the moment name change will do. With PR flair, at the start of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or ISIL - the Islamic State of the Levant - to some) solemnly declared, from now on, it will be known as Islamic State (IS).
"To be or not to be" is so … metaphysically outdated. IS is - and here it is - in full audio glory. And we're talking about the full package - Caliph included: "the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn 'Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn 'Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra'i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship". Or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Today, this website spotlights a highly recommended new book by Juan Cole, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East. It offers a different and more hopeful view of the long-term fate of the Arab Spring. “An exhilarating journalistic narrative,” Publisher’s Weekly calls it in a pre-publication review, “enlivened by interviews with participants and his own colorful firsthand accounts of upheavals.” And here’s a reminder: if you are an Amazon customer and go to that site via a TD book link like the one above to buy Cole’s book or anything else at all, we get a small cut of your purchase at no extra cost to you. It’s a modest but useful way to contribute to the site if you use Amazon anyway. Tom]
When it comes to pure ineptness, it’s been quite a performance -- and I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I’m referring to our secretary of state’s recent jaunt to the Middle East. You remember the old quip about jokes and timing. (It’s all in the...) In this case, John Kerry turned the first stop on his Middle Eastern tour into a farce, thanks to impeccably poor timing. He landed in President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s Egypt to put the Obama stamp of approval on the former general’s new government and what he called “a historic election.” This was a reference to the way Sisi became president, with a mind-boggling 97% of the votes (or so the official story went). Kerry also promised to release $575 million in military aid frozen by Congress and threw in 10 Apache attack helicopters in what can only be seen as a pathetic attempt to bribe the Egyptian military. Having delivered the goods, he evidently went into negotiations with Sisi without the leverage they might have offered him.
And then there was the timing. The day after Kerry’s visit, verdicts were to come down in an already infamous case of media persecution. Three Al Jazeera reporters were to hear their fate. Charged with “aiding” the Muslim Brotherhood, they were clearly going to get severe sentences (as indeed they did) in a court system that had already given “hanging judge” a new meaning. (While Kerry was in Cairo, death sentences were confirmed against 183 members of the Muslim Brotherhood.) He reportedly discussed the case with Sisi -- there wasn’t a shred of evidence against the reporters -- and was assumedly convinced that he had wielded American power in an effective way. Hence, when the verdicts were announced the next day and, as the Guardian put it, “delivered a humiliating, public slap in the face to Kerry,” he reportedly “appeared stunned.” He must have been even more stunned a day later when Sisi assured the world that he would never think of “interfering” with Egyptian justice.
The strangeness of all this is hard to take in, though Kerry has a record of not delivering big time. At the moment, allies and client states around the region -- from Afghanistan (where President Hamid Karzai still refuses to sign a security pact with the U.S.) to Israel (where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regularly announces new building plans in the occupied territories) -- seem to ignore Washington's will. This is by now both fascinating and predictable. If, having provided an embarrassingly full-throated defense of the Bush administration project in Iraq at a Cairo news conference, the secretary of state promptly flew into Baghdad to put an American stamp on the Iraqi government, he failed. His mission: to get the country's politicians to form a “unity government,” essentially deposing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Even with his military in a state of near collapse and his own position desperately weakened, however, Maliki swept Kerry’s proposals aside. If the secretary of state then flew on to Irbil to “implore” the president of the Kurdish autonomous region, Masoud Barzani, not to move toward an independent Kurdistan... well, do I even have to finish that sentence for you?
Here, then, is a mystery highlighted by the crisis in disintegrating Iraq and Syria: What kind of world are we in when the most powerful nation on the planet is incapable of convincing anyone, even allies significantly dependent on it, of anything?
Into this increasingly grim situation steps a TomDispatch favorite, Juan Cole, the man who runs the invaluable Informed Comment website. Unlike the secretary of state, who, while in Cairo, definitively turned his back on the Arab Spring and the young protesters who made it happen, Cole embraces it and them. In doing so, he offers us a ray of sunshine, hope amid the gloom. Today, he considers the fate of the Arab Spring, suggesting that those, Kerry included, who have already consigned it to the trash heap of history don’t understand history at all. His piece catches the spirit of a remarkable new book he’s written that is just about to come out: The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East. It’s a must-read from an expert who has a perspective Washington sadly lacks. Tom