Reversing earlier promises to end US military involvement in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has announced that US troops will remain indefinitely. He said they will not be ground combat forces, but trainers and advisers to the forces of the US-imposed warlord-dominated regime. US air strikes in support of the regime, by both piloted aircraft and drones, will continue. One such strike was the deliberate bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on September 9 a novel approach to stemming the flow of refugees from Syria: bombing the country. He also announced plans to accept a further 12,000 Syrian refugees on top of his government's miserly quota, but was quick to dispel any hopes that Australia might be abandoning its status as the Western world's leading abuser of refugees. Abbott told ABC Radio National on September 10 that Syrian refugees being held in the Australian-run concentration camps in Nauru and Manus Island would not be released.
30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees. In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy. On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.
Independent journalist and author Antony Loewenstein has made a name for himself writing about war crimes, human rights abuses and corporate profiteering. For the first time, he is seeking to speak truth to power through the medium of film — with his first documentary Disaster Capitalism now in production. You can see a teaser at Loewenstein's website. You can visit http://antonyloewenstein.com for more details on his articles and books.
No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes By Anand Gopal Metropolitan books, 2014 304 pp, $27 Anand Gopal's book should be compulsory reading for every federal politician in Australia. Nobody could finish it and still have a shred of belief in US foreign policy. What comes through this history is that it is very dangerous to be an enemy of the US. However, it is just as dangerous to be an ally.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has died at the age of 90. Abdullah was one of the world’s most powerful men and a key US ally in the region, controlling a fifth of the known global petroleum reserves. In a statement, President Barack Obama praised Abdullah for his “steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the US-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond.”
A deranged gunman, Michael Zehab-Bibeau, shot dead a soldier at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa before being shot dead while trying to storm parliament on October 22. The motive for the actions, if there was a clear one, remains unknown. The attack came two days after two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car in Quebec. The car was driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who had recently converted to Islam. One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police upon apprehension after allegedly brandishing a large knife.
The article below was is taken from a longer message released by Malalai Joya, the renowned Afghan feminist who has resisted the Taliban and US-led occupation of her nation, on October 12. It is abridged from www.malalaijoya.com. ***
Since the Obama administration arranged for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the last US prisoner of war held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, there has been a firestorm of outrage from the right wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Bergdahl has been pilloried as a traitor. His father has been denounced as a Muslim. Senators called for him to be court-martialed and thrown into the military stockade. What is Bergdahl’s crime? While deployed in Afghanistan, he became disillusioned with the war and said so in emails to his family.
Tony Abbott used one of the “surprise visits” to Australian occupation forces in Afghanistan, popular with Australian prime ministers, to announce on October 29 that Australia was withdrawing from the conflict. Aside from offering the standard praise of the Australian soldiers’ prowess and virtue, Abbott made very little attempt to justify the 12-year long war and occupation. “Australia’s longest war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that’s better for our presence here,” he said. 'War on Terrorism'