– Antiwar.com Original – http://original.antiwar.com

US Weapons Sales Are Drenched in Yemeni Blood

When Pope Francis visited the US Congress in September 2015, he boldly posed a moral challenge to his American hosts, asking: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”

“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money,” he solemnly concluded. “Money that is drenched in blood.”

In this case, it’s innocent Yemeni blood.

During his almost eight years in office, President Obama has approved a jaw-dropping, record-breaking $110 billion in weapons sales to the repressive Saudi regime, all with Congressional backing.

“In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade,” Pope Francis said. Our lawmakers have failed miserably at heeding the Pope’s call.

Manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and McDonnell Douglas have been pushing these sales to offset military spending cuts in the United States and Europe. These weapons manufacturers spend millions on lobbying, filling the campaign coffers of both Republicans and Democrats.

In addition to that lobbying power, US officials were pressured to placate Saudi Arabia after the Obama administration made a deal with its adversary, Iran. That appeasement came in the form of a level and quality of arms exports that should’ve never been approved for a repressive regime with an atrocious human rights record.

Saudi Arabia is the number one exporter of radical Islamic extremism on the planet. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were radicalized Saudi citizens. The regime oppresses religious minorities, women, LGBT people, and dissidents, while dozens of nonviolent participants in their own Arab Spring protests face execution, usually by beheading.

The Pentagon says that providing the Saudis with F-15s bombers, Apache helicopters, armored vehicles, missiles, and bombs supports Saudi Arabian defense missions and helps promote stability in the region. But since March 2015, the Saudis have being using these weapons offensively to intervene in neighboring Yemen.

Their relentless onslaught has killed thousands of innocent civilians, decimated Yemen’s infrastructure, and left more than 21 million people – that’s 4 out of 5 Yemenis – desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations has said that Saudi air strikes on civilian targets likely constitute war crimes and calls the situation in Yemen a “catastrophe.”

Despite this carnage, the Obama administration just announced an additional $1.15 billion in Saudi weapons sales.

In the week following that announcement, the Saudis bombed a Yemeni potato chip factory, a school, a residential neighborhood, and a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital. Most of the dead and wounded were women and children.

But it’s not too late for Congress to stop this madness.

By law, they have 30 days after arms sales are announced to stop or modify the deals. And despite the overall apathetic response to the crisis in Yemen, not all members of Congress are turning a blind eye to the violence.

California Democratic Congressman Ted Leiu, for example, is ready to take a stand. “When Saudi Arabia continues to kill civilians, and in this case children, enough is enough,” he said.

Senators Chris Murphy and Rand Paul have also come out against the sale. But for the sake of thousands of innocent civilians who could be slaughtered with these weapons, many more members must act quickly.

It’s high time for Congress to answer the Pope’s challenge to stop the arms trade and help prevent more Yemeni bloodshed.

Medea Benjamin is the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange and the author of nine books, including the recently released Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection.

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The Obama Doctrine is Ravaging the Middle East

By Ramzy Baroud | 18 August 2016

Everyone seems to have a theory on how to obliterate Daesh. However, two points are rarely raised: one, concerning the origins of the group and the second, on whether there are genuine intentions to defeat it in the first place.

We must boldly address the first to unravel the enigma behind the rise and growth of Daesh – otherwise, how else can the group be dismantled.

We must contend with the second point before engaging in superfluous discussions about the most appropriate war strategy – that if war is, at all, the answer.

The questions are quite urgent yet, somehow, they are frequently overlooked, glossed over through some disingenuous logic or the blame is always placed somewhere else.

Now that the Americans have launched yet another aerial war against Libya, purportedly to target Daesh positions there, the discussion is being carefully geared towards how far the US must go to defeat the militant group.

In fact, “can airstrikes alone win a war without ‘boots on the ground’?” has morphed, somehow, to become the crux of the matter, which has engaged a large number of intellectuals on both sides of the debate.

US media gurus, split between two equally war-mongering parties, love to jump at such opportunities to discredit one another, as if waging wars in other countries is an exclusively local American affair.

Days are long gone when the US laboured to establish coalitions to wage war, as it did in Kuwait and Iraq in 1990-91 and, to a lesser extent, again, in Iraq in 2003. Now, wars are carried out as a matter of course. Many Americans seem to be unware, or oblivious to the fact, that their country is actually fighting wars on several fronts, and is circuitously involved in others.

With multiple war fronts and conflicts fermenting all around, many are becoming desensitised. Americans particularly have, sadly, swallowed the serum of perpetual war, to the extent that they rarely mobilise in any serious way against it.

In other words, a state of war has become the status quo.

Although the US administration of President Barack Obama has killed thousands, the majority of whom were civilians, there has been no uproar nor mass protests. Aside from the fact that the Obama brand was fashioned to appear as the peaceable contrast to warmongering George W. Bush, there has been no serious change in US foreign policies in the Middle East in any way that could suggest that one president is “better” than the other.

Obama has simply continued the legacy of his predecessor, unhindered. The primary change that has occurred is tactical: instead of resorting to massive troops’ buildup on the ground with an assignment to topple governments, Obama has used airstrikes to target whoever is perceived to be the enemy, while investing in whoever he deemed “moderate” enough to finish the job.

Like Bush’s preemptive “war on terror”, Obama’s doctrine has been equally disastrous.

Obama’s wars were designed to produce little or no American casualties, since they were almost entirely conducted from the air and via unmanned drones operated by remote control, sometimes thousands of miles way. That approach proved less taxing, politically. However, it worsened the situation on the ground, and instead of ending war, it expanded it.

While Bush’s invasion of Iraq revived Al-Qaeda and brought it to the heart of the region, Obama’s aerial wars forced Al-Qaeda to regroup, employing a different strategy. It rebranded itself, from militant cells to a “state”, sought swift territorial expansion, used guerrilla warfare when facing an organised army or is bombed from the sky, and carried out suicide bombings throughout the world to break the morale of its enemies and to serve its propaganda efforts aimed at keeping the recruits coming.

Considering that enemies of Daesh are themselves enemies of one another, the group is assured that its existence, at least for the foreseeable future, is tenable.

The truth is that Daesh thrives on military intervention because it was born from previous military interventions. It is expanding because its enemies are not in unison, as each is serving agendas that are rarely concerned with ending war, but rather seeing war as an opportunity to realise political gains.

With this logic in mind, one cannot expect the US’ “Operation Odyssey Lightning”, which officially began on 1 August in Libya, to achieve any results that could end up stabilising the country.

How could such “stability” be projected? It was the US and other NATO members’ war on Libya in 2011 that largely dismembered a once rich and relatively stable Arab country. Indeed, it was the vacuum left by subsequent conflicts that invited Daesh to Sirte and other areas. Now, the US – and other western powers, led by the French – are applying unwinnable war tactics to stave off a messy crisis they had created themselves when they waged an earlier war.

Even if Daesh is driven out of Sirte, it will find some other unstable environment elsewhere where it will spawn and wreak havoc. Sirte, in turn, will likely fall back into a state of bedlam where various militias, many of whom were armed by NATO in the first place, turn their guns against each other.

Without a whole new approach to the problem, the conflicts will certainly keep multiplying.

According to airwars.org, which keeps track of the war on Daesh, 14,405 coalition airstrikes against the group have been carried out in Iraq and Syria through a relentless campaign spanning 735 days of. An estimated 52,300 bombs and missiles were dropped, although the number must be much higher, since there are numerous strikes that are never claimed by any party, thus are not officially recorded, as such.

This, of course, does not take into account Russia’s own aerial bombardment, or any party that is not officially part of the Western coalition.

But what good did this do, aside from killing many civilians, destroying massive infrastructure and spreading Daesh further into the abyss of other vulnerable Middle Eastern and North African spots?

There are few voices in the US media and government that seem serious about changing the perspective completely on the Bush-Obama war on terror. Sensible calls by the likes of Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, that the root causes of terror must be addressed to end terrorism, rarely register in the halls of US government and Congress.

In January, the cost of the war on Daesh, as estimated by US Defence Department data, has jumped by $2 million a day to a total of $11 million. “The air war has cost the US about $5.5 billion total since it began in August 2014,” Business Insider reported. The escalation in Libya is likely to produce new, more staggering numbers soon.

Expectedly, this is a great time for business for those who benefit from war. Concurrently, the cycle of war and violence is feeding on itself with no end in sight.

“Hope in aerial bombardment as the prophylactic for peace is absurd,” Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, wrote recently about the futility of airstrike wars.

“It has given us instability and chaos. Other roads have to be opened. Other paths ceded.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Source: Middle East Monitor

http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/2123-the-obama-doctrine-is-ravaging-the-middle-east

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Rally to Defeat the Opportunity School District Referendum

Saturday, August 20 at 10 AM – 12 PM

FIRST ICONIUM BAPTIST CHURCH – ATLANTA GA

Come join the fight to defeat Gov. Deal’s takeover of public education!

The Opportunity School District (OSD) is an attempt to privatize our schools and remove them from local control. Instead of keeping a focus on improving schools for students and families, a privatized school system is motivated by profit as the top priority.

We must defeat this attempt by the governor to take over targeted schools in our city if we want to support and improve public education for Atlanta’s children, not the corporations that stand to gain from the OSD. The OSD will be on City of Atlanta ballots this November and we need to vote NO.

Come to this event to hear from parents, students and policymakers, learn more about the OSD and the planned privatization of our school systems, and then take action!

Childcare will be available.

Link to the Facebook page for the event:https://www.facebook.com/events/167014753720794/

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GREEN PARTY NATIONAL CONVENTION AUGUST 4-7

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RALLY AGAINST ENDLESS WAR

RALLY AGAINST ENDLESS WAR

Each Wednesday

Moreland Avenue & Ponce de Leon

Join Us – Bring your own signs or use ours:

————————-

Black Lives Matter

Refugees – Welcome to Georgia

U.S. Drones Kill Kids

U.S. Drones Create Terrorism

Money for Jobs & Education –Not War & Occupation

Boycott Israeli Apartheid

We Are All Palestinians

Healthcare – Not Warfare

Living Wage Is a Human Right

Climate Change Changes Everything

Expand Medicaid in Georgia

Close Guantanamo

NO to Endless War!

 Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition

404-378-5424

http://www.georgiapeace.org

 

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U.S. Dropped 23,144 Bombs in 2015 Under Command of Nobel Peace Prize Winner President Obama

 

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By Adam Johnson | AlterNet

Council of Foreign Relations resident skeptic Micah Zenko recently tallied up how many bombs the United States has dropped on other countries and the results are as depressing as one would think. Zenko figured that since Jan. 1, 2015, the U.S. has dropped around 23,144 bombs on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, all countries that are majority Muslim.

Related Article: Atrocities Committed in the Name of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)

The chart, provided by the generally pro-State Department think tank, puts in stark terms how much destruction the U.S. has leveled on other countries. Whether or not one thinks such bombing is justified, it’s a blunt illustration of how much raw damage the United States inflicts on the Muslim world:

Sources: Estimate based upon Combined Forces Air Component Commander 2010-2015 Airpower Statistics; Information requested from CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office, January 7, 2016; New America Foundation (NAF); Long War Journal (LWJ); The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

t does not appear to be working either. Despite the fact that the U.S. dropped 947 bombs in Afghanistan in 2015, a recent analysis in Foreign Policy magazine found that the Taliban control more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001. The U.S. has entered its 16th year of war in Afghanistan despite several promises by the Obama administration to withdraw. In October of last year, President Obama reversed his position and decided to keep American troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2017.

Related Article: The West’s Latest Phony Military Narrative Is Aimed Directly At You

The last four U.S. presidents have bombed Iraq, and that includes the current one since airstrikes were launched on Aug. 7, 2014. The war against ISIS was originally framed as a “limited,” “humanitarian” intervention. Since then, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has insisted it will be a “30-year war” and the White House has spoken vaguely of a “long-term effort” in both Iraq and Syria.

Related Article: MUST SEE VIDEO: Former Drone Pilots Blow Whistle On “Morally Outrageous” Program

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Cuba caravan will arrive in Atlanta on July 9

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Dear Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that the 2016 Pastors for Peace caravan will arrive in Atlanta on Saturday, July 9. Please join us as this year’s caravan celebrates 27 years of solidarity with the Cuban people.

The traditional potluck and subsequent talk will take place at 7:00p.m. at:

Friends Meeting House
701 W. Howard St. Decatur Ga. 30030
Directions: https://www.google.com/maps/@33.7673,-84.306494,17z

Although some travel and trade restrictions have been eased this year, the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba is still law. The eight caravan travelers will lead a discussion about the important role that U.S. citizens can play in lifting the blockade and the travel ban against Cuba.
The keynote speaker will be Ms. Gladys Abella, a leader of Havana’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Ms. Abella played a key role in the creation of the The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Center in Havana.

Please bring a dish to share and make a donation for the caravan’s expenses.

In solidarity,

Bernardo Gomez
Atlanta Network on Cuba

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