Description: One hundred years ago this week, the Battle of Blair Mountain was in full swing in West Virginia as thousands of heavily armed union miners fought dug-in pro-owner militias. Bill and Rachel examine.
Description: Interventions, Interference, and Invasions: Nate and Bill lead a world tour of the post-WWII history of countries entering other countries’ civil wars and uprisings, for good or ill, and what it means for the future. (We talk about Cuba, Angola, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, Guatemala, Libya, Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia, and many others.) People: Bill, Nate. Originally produced: October 20th, 2014. Re-edited and abridged: April 19, 2017.
– Kissinger’s plan to bomb Cuba and what the future of the embargo is
– CIA history: Why arming rebels has often failed and what it means for US plans in Syria now
– What does the future hold for international and unilateral military interventions in armed conflicts and crises? Is the UN still relevant?
Washington only compounds its culpability while simultaneously reducing the chances of finding a tolerable way out of the jam if it remains addicted to fanciful thinking.
And yet it remains wedded to a set of totally unrealistic propositions. This results in the creation of a make-believe world that bears no relation to reality.
Here are some of the biggest fictions that must be abandoned:
Jihadist Syrian frontrunners al-Nusra/al-Qaeda can be transmogrified into mere expressions of genuine Sunni grievances.
Nusra jihadists can be converted into the instrument for militarily crushing ISIS just because there is nobody else willing or able to a job America won’t take on.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulfies will give priority to defeating the various Salafist groups rather than to the removal the Alawite regime in Damascus.
ISIS’s financial lifeline can be cut without destroying the infrastructure of its oil trade and without getting Turkey to cease and desist its complicity in sustaining the oil trade.
The Russians can be “isolated” and denied a major role in determining Syria’s future by calling Putin dirty names and reciting the number of worthless partners in Obama’s ersatz coalition.
Phantom Syrian rebel armies devoted to tolerance and democracy – that don’t exist except in the escapist visions of Washington’s strategic non-thinkers – can be relied upon to win battlefield victories.
Establishing a no-fly buffer zone in northern Syria would do something other than satisfy Erdogan’s ambition to keep open his supply line to al-Nusra and his lucrative commercial dealings with ISIS.
Such a no-fly buffer zone would not contradict our purposes in Syria and would be tolerated by Russia.
It is within the power of the United States to shape the Middle East to its own specifications while contesting a legitimate place for Iran, Russia, Yemenese Houthis and anyone else who doesn’t hew the Saudi-Israeli-Erdogan line Washington has endorsed.
Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.
Ever wondered how ISIS and the early insurgency in Iraq got so many decent weapons so fast? It wasn’t just by capturing them after big surrenders by the Iraq Army.
Here’s Al Jazeera English, quoting an Amnesty International report on how the United States carelessly created the conditions necessary to arm ISIS fully:
“From 2003 to 2007, the US and other coalition members transferred more than one million infantry weapons and pistols with millions of rounds of ammunition to the Iraqi armed forces, despite the fact that the army was poorly structured, corrupt and ill-disciplined”.
“Hundreds of thousands of those weapons went missing and are still unaccounted for. During this period, illicit markets flourished, as did covert supplies from Iran, making arms and ammunition readily available to armed groups operating in Iraq.”
Yet another reason to be so wary of Western efforts to arm various groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, or anywhere else in the world right now.
Also a mystery is why the AC-130 gunship would have kept firing during the course of an hour on a building that both the Air Force and the Army knew was an internationally run trauma center. To avoid civilian casualties, a gunship would typically stop firing as soon as it achieved its objective — in this case, ostensibly, protecting U.S. forces. Generally, the aircraft would require further clearance from the troops on the ground to continue firing.
An AC-130 gunship flies low and slow, often with a good view of its target and the damage it is inflicting. The pilot also would have had to know the locations of U.S. and allied forces in the area, to avoid hitting them.