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U.N. Report on North Korea: Providing The Pretext For Regime Change, East Asian Style?

February 18, 2014
Korea - North

North Korea

The headline from “Google News” – which I now read in the morning in lieu of the Denver Post – read graphically “UN: North Korea Like Nazi Germany”. Pretty powerful six words. It comes from the British newspaper, The Telegraph, with a picture of North Korean Kim Jung Un to boot to give readers a clearer image of “the modern-day Hitler.” The fact that the United Nations is making the claim, rather than the Obama Administration itself, adds weight to its legitimacy. If the UN is saying North Korea is like Nazi Germany – and this from the mouth of a retired Australian judge, Michael Kirby – then mustn’t it be true?

Kirby is referring to a 372 page United Nations investigative report that has just been published. The story is then picked up by The Telegraph (and many other news sources worldwide). It nails North Korea as a repressive dictatorship, a prelude to a campaign to bring charges against its leadership before the International Court of Law in the Hague – the call is already out there – and ultimately to justify what lies down the road: military intervention and regime change. No doubt, as it done elsewhere, such reporting amounts to little more than a global drumbeat for war using “humanitarian intervention” (with Cruise missiles) as a pretext for yet another Obama Administration call for war. Read more…

Military Humanitarian Intervention: the Shock Doctrine Applied to Syria

February 14, 2014
1981 - 07 - Syria - Damascus 2

Damascus – 1981

(Note: This also appeared at Consortium News.com Foreign Policy In Focus, Global Research , OpenNewsOpEd.Com and Portside)

Military Humanitarian Intervention: The Shock Doctrine Applied To Syria.

by Rob Prince.

(Note: Prince teaches at the Korbel School of International Studies. Although tangentially, he has been associated with the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies and has participated in a number of its public forums, including on the Syrian crisis. Compelled to respond to the February 11, 2014 op-ed in the New York Times by colleagues, Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, he critiques their arguments and makes alternative suggestions for ending the Syrian impasse.)

At a moment when the only viable path open to resolving the Syrian conflict lies in a negotiated settlement between the Assad government and the legitimate opposition, two colleagues at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies, Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel of the Center for Middle East Studies, have put forth an emotional and poorly conceived call for military intervention to resolve the escalating humanitarian crisis there.

Using logic tinted with Cold War reasoning (blaming the Russians is bit out of fashion) and poor examples (Somalia – 1993?) to bolster their arguments, they put forth their ideas on the subject in an op-ed, in the February 11, 2014 print edition of The New York Times “Use Force To Save Starving Syrians.” In a one-sided appeal, they place the blame for Syrian human debacle almost entirely at the feet of the Assad government for virtually all of the violence. Read more…

Timeline – European 19th Century Middle East Intervention and Middle East Uprisings

February 14, 2014

Italian-invasion-to-Libya-1

1911 – Italian Invasion of Libya – the last of more than 100 years of European colonial interventions into the Middle East

(note: Over the next few days, I will be adding a few more dates of the 19th and early 20th century European colonial intervention of the Middle East and the regional response. It goes from 1798 to 1912.)

1799 – 1802 – Napoleonic Invasion of Egypt

1799 – Battle of the Nile – French fleet destroyed by British of the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Its supply lines to French Mediterranean ports cut, Napoleon is forced to withdraw in disgrace.

1807 – A British fleet under one Admiral Duckworth sailed to Alexandria and landed an expeditionary force to forestall an expected French offensive in the Mediterranean. Local resistance led to a British defeat at Rosetta. Britain withdraws.

1813 – Treaty of Gulestan between Persia and Russia. The treaty confirmed inclusion of modern day AzerbaijanDaghestan and Eastern Georgia into the Russian Empire.

1820-1830 – Greek revolt against Ottoman control Read more…

Iran, US and the Nuclear Agreement

February 7, 2014
JZ

Javad Zarif – Iranian Foreign Minister. He got his phd at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies

by Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince

The recent information on short-term agreement in the Iranian nuclear issue is welcomed news that present unique and unprecedented opportunities for all parties involved. The least we can hope at this stage is that there is an encouraging shift in the US’s approach to Iranian nuclear issue from the rigid ideological to a more realistic position. President Barack Obama’s commitment to veto any Congressional legislation that might intensify sanctions against Iran in the next six months is a refreshing development that helps add momentum to the success of these negotiations.

A brief history of how this saga began would be helpful in understanding the positions taken by all parties in these long and arduous negotiations.

The history of Iran’s nuclear research and development began with the bilateral agreements between Iran and the US in mid-1960. Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC), founded in 1967, housed at Tehran University, and run by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) had a 5-MW nuclear research reactor, supplied by the US in that year. Iran signed the NPT on July 1, 1968 and after ratification of the Treaty by the Iranian parliament (Majlis), the Treaty went into effect on March 5, 1970. The Shah asked for and received assurances from the US that Iran would be given help and assistance to build as many as 20 nuclear reactors. He was encouraged by the US to expand Iran’s non-oil energy base and supported by a study by the influential Stanford Research Institute that concluded that Iran would need an electrical capacity of about 20,000-MW by the year 1990.

The Shah’s government awarded a contract to Kraftwerk Union (a subsidiary of Siemens) of (West) Germany at the time, to construct two Siemens 1,200-megawatt nuclear reactors at Bushehr and the work began in 1974. In 1975, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) signed a contract with the AEOI for providing training for the first cadre of Iranian nuclear engineers. In the mid-1970s with the French assistance, the Nuclear Technology Center at Isfahan was founded in order to provide training for the personnel that would be working with the Bushehr reactors. In 1974, Iranian government signed a contract with the French company Framatome to build two 950 MW pressurized reactors close to the Iraqi border near Ahwaz. Read more…

Russia and the Arabs by Yevgeny Primakov – Some Initial Thoughts

February 6, 2014

scan0001Just finished Primakov’s `Russia and the Arabs’ – recommend it highly. Of course, it should be entitled `The Soviet Union and the Arabs’ as the book is mostly about the Soviet Union’s post World War II relations with the Arab countries and Israel. The last section does include post Soviet relations, most especially with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq before `the fall’.

Over the years, Primakov’s analyses always stood out to my mind to be a number of notches better that the usual low-grade factional Soviet rhetoric. To my thinking – and I have followed Soviet Middle East policy rather closely for the past half century – Primakov’s analysis was always crisp, and intelligent; he explained Middle East politics on a more profound level than most. I am not surprised to read that on occasion he was in trouble with his more dogmatic superiors in Moscow for painting honest pictures that conflicted with their ideologically narrow view of the region. Read more…

Eulogy for Rudy Schware (by Gene Deikman)

January 30, 2014
1986 - 02 - Rudy and Betty Schware

Rudy and Betty Schware – 1986

(The following is the piece that Gene Deikman wrote for Rudy’s Memorial [which took place, if I remember correctly, in 1995 or 6]. Rudy Schware was a very good friend of mine. I spoke at the memorial too but Deikman gave a good deal more texture to his life. Deikman was a long time progressive Denver lawyer. If I remember correctly, he was hauled before the House of un-American Activities Committee and refused to testify. PS. Thanks to Henry Feldman and Doug Vaughan for reminding me of this statement)

“We will never see his like again”… Read more…

Tiguentourine (In Amenas), Algiers and Washington – A Year Later.

January 22, 2014
Souaidia 2

Habib Souaidia, author of “La Sale Guerre”; whose analysis of the Tiguentourine attack proved to be deadly accurate

(note: This also appeared at Counterpunch)

1.  With Washington  and London by his side “in spirit” – Bouteflika initiates one of the biggest purges in modern Algerian history

A year after the attack on the Tiguentourine natural gas processing complex, in In-Amenas commune within the Illizi Province of Southeastern Algeria, the consequences of those events are still reverberating.

Under intense pressure from the United States, Great Britain and Norway the Algerian government has been forced to make major concessions to international oil companies. Tiguerntourine is run jointly by British Petroleum (BP), Statoil (the Norwegian state oil company) in conjunction with the Algerian government’s energy company, Sonatrach

According to an open letter written by Hocine Malti, a former Sonatrach vice president and author of a major work on the Algerian energy industry, after having conducted their own investigation of the incident, the Americans and British pressed the Algerian government to undertake a major purge of high ranking military and security personnel responsible for insuring security at Algerian oil and gas facilities. Read more…

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