Sunday, 21 September 2014

US troops fighting Ebola in Liberia

Humanitarian intervention, no way

President Obama is sending 3000 US troops to Liberia to fight off a virus that has been plaguing the country and causing social chaos across Liberia and neighboring countries for nearly six months. The Liberian army like  its Sierrea Leonean and Guinean counterparts have been fighting Ebola and its malcontents. Liberian soldiers along with the government have taken some precautions in trying to halt the spread of Ebola. The Liberian government blames illiteracy and the public's own blinding denial of the virus for its rapid spread. President Obama has reassured the American people and wider Western public that no ground troops from the EU or US will be involved in fighting ISIS face to face and mano a mano in Iraq or Syria. The public sees no irony nor raised eyebrows to American troops being deployed to Liberia to fight a low intensity war against Ebola. Why is the US military need to fight a virus? Why wasn't the military deployed to fight against other life threatening diseases such as typhoid, cancer and HIV/AIDs as well? This is reminisce partly to the US government deploying soldiers into Somalia to deliver humanitarian aid to the Somalis. Since when do fully armed soldiers and armored personal carriers are needed for humanitarian intervention? Libya and Syria ring a bell.

Liberia as a whole is pro-American and Liberians greatly respect Americans both civilians and the military. Unlike Somalia, US troops will not be bombarded by rebel forces or any Boko Haram like groups within Liberia. However, Liberians are skeptical and just as surprised about military deployment as Americans. No doubt, the US boots on the ground in Liberia will want to study and experiment to see how Ebola can be defeated before it comes to the US. Also to expand on new vaccines that suddenly appeared after two American doctors were infected with Ebola a few months back.

Rethinking Liberian healthcare delivery system

US Troops in Liberia before

The previous time US troops landed in Liberia was during the final years of Liberia's long 14 year old civil war in 2003, when Liberian people begged in vain for US to intervene to the chagrin of the then President George Bush Jr who downplayed the tearfelt and heart wrenching scenes of Liberians lying their dead relatives in front of the US Embassy for the world to see. The U.S. has used Liberia as a bulwark against the so called communist threat throughout the Cold War Era. The largest radio tower in the world, the Omega Tower was built in the Liberian capital Monrovia in 1950s. The tower served as a radio intercept for spying on Africa and the world for suspected communist activities and sympathies for Soviet Union. Liberia's largest and major international airport Robertsfield was also used an emergency landing post for U.S. military during the early days of the Cold War. Liberia was aligned with the U.S. despite the anti-colonial, non alignment, Third World global movement happening acorns the African continent and within Liberia itself.

Scottish indy referendum rigged?

A question that must be asked. As with any elections even the ones that take place in democratic societies, one must always asks, were the elections rigged to make the opposing or least favored side win? How do we not know that something shady might've happened to the hundred of thousands vote cast for Scottish independence last Thursday? Is it a coincidence the No or better together campaign by some luck got a perfect 10% margin in their favor? Or was the electoral system against independence as well? When the electoral officials and administrations are supposed to be impartial. Russian electoral observers watching the Scottish vote claimed that a North Korean syle electoral irregularities might've played a role in securing the no vote.

Voter Fraud: Was Scottish Independence Referendum Rigged to fail?

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland goes the way of Quebec

After exciting the rest of the world and hyping the possible independence of Scotland, disappointingly Scots decided to go the way of Quebec. Getting cold feet at the last minute despite a huge voter turnout of 88% across the country and centuries of reiterating self determination, Scotland has voted against being its own country and separating from the UK. England is happy and so is Prime Minister Cameron. The "Better together" campaign has gotten what it wants. After scaring the people with economic chaos and financial woes for an independent Scotland, the no independence movement and banks got their wish. Now the better together group has to deliver on its promises and demonstrate why Scotland would be better off staying within the United Kingdom. In retrospect the referendum may seem like a waste after the joyful pro independence noise. History, politics and culture were on the side of why Scotland deserved independence. However, the possibly of autonomy or a federal system within the UK like in Germany, United States and Russia might be in the future for Scotland. There is no talk of revote so far and mainstream media was quick to declare results when some of the last remaining votes are still coming in. A wasted opportunity? Did England dodge a bullet or a speeding train for the time being? What about Catalonia and other separatists watching the aftermath of referendum vote? 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Mahdi Nazemroaya on NATO history, goals and ambitions

Geopolitical analyst and author Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explains NATO's history, goals and ambitions from the post World War II creation to its relevance or irrelevance into todays's world. The topic of NATO's revival as an important Pan European and Pan western military fighting force in the world despite outliving its mandate to only exist to keep Russia out of Europe, Germans down and keep America in Europe's backyard. NATO's intervention in Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq as part of George Bush Jr's coalition of the willing now inherited by President Obama against ISIS is also discussed. Russia and NATO's reaction to Ukraine  fracaso is also mentioned. Compliments go to Global Research via Syrian TV who interviewed Nazemroaya in Syria. :)


Monday, 15 September 2014

Scotland and Catalunya fired up for independence votes

Groundskeeper Willie on Scottish Independence 

From the Simpson and Fox

Scotland has England and the UK home countries biting their nails nervously as the upcoming Sept 18th vote for Scottish independence is only three days away. Scotland gets the benefit of the doubt for already being recognized as an independent country by most of the world. When one thinks of Scotland, a rich history, culture, unique language and traditions come to mind. Same for Catalunya and Basque Country. Even if its officially according to British law part of the UK home countries. The UK doesn't have a written constitution so rules such as who can win sovereignty becomes vague and loopholes pop up. Westminster and Prime Minister David Cameron have tried to use economics to get pro Independence Scots to reconsider their monumental vote. Even the no independence movement titled, "Better Together" and yes or no debate on if Scotland should become independent or remain part of the UK has been used to discourage the possibility of a successful vote. Everything from Scotland will face an epic financial setback and currency issues to the economy will tank to "now is not the time has" been used as part of the unionist argument. The banks and UK wide corporations have threatened to move their headquarters and offices back to England. Scotland has oil, tourism, access to the sea and crucial waterways and is well respected by most of the world. The EU is also watching and scratching its head over Scotland's future relations with it as an EU member or an observer or a trading partner minus the membership benefits. It has been economics and financial crises that has revived interest in national and regional independence across Europe.

Euro Crisis: Seperatists Mounts

Whatever the answer will be most likely a resounding yes with some undecided and no independence decrying a re vote, one thing is clear, Scotland's Sept 18th vote will set a precedent for other separatist movements across Europe. Separatists and independence inspired groups in Northern Ireland and Wales, Catalunya, Basque, Sicily and Corsica are watching Scotland and the various arguments closely. Also the recent creation of a self proclaimed Dontesk People's Republic in Eastern Ukraine sometimes referred to as Novorossiya is also eyeing Scotland to use the "if they can so can we" clause for legitimacy. The media has been anxiously playing a guesstimate game of possible voting outcomes. The BBC has been running different travel programs and documentaries on Edinburgh and Scotland's overall importance to England and the wider UK. For 700 years, England and Scotland has had a cordial and rocky relationship. For 307 years they have been linked politically and economically by the Acts of Union. Cameron, the banks and defense ministry who have nuclear subs stationed in Scotland have tried to portray Scottish departure as an awkward farewell to being a home country and the creation of a ramp UK. Scotland along with Ireland and Wales were pulled into the UK or Great Britain in 18th century after a more powerful England and British Empire was consolidating itself into a single unified territory. The English flag was replaced by the Union Jack although each home country has its own flag is recognized as a symbol of their own national sovereignty. The Union Jack became the symbol of the new unified British isles and the separate peoples became known as British and occasionally Britons. Within England itself there are regional differences and some strong local separatist movements happening in Cornwall, Guernsey and Isle of Man who has its own flag.

Margaret Thatcher and the Scots

The UK and other Western countries have pushed and clapped for positive and sometimes divisive independence movements in other parts of the world ie applauding a defacto independent Kurdistan in Iraq and downplaying the Kurdish rights and dignity in Turkey and silent on Syrian Kurds. Not to mention siding with Israel against the plausibility of Palestine's independence or even self determination while allowing Israel to illegally gobble up more occupied Palestinian lands. Not to mention diplomatically demanding that Kosovo and South Sudan's right to self determination against their oppressive neighbors. Montenegro's independence came as the final breakup from the once functioning Yugoslavia. Least one forgets the current blame Russia first attitude toward Ukraine's national sovereignty and unity. In Asia, the U.S. has called for China to respect the rights of its two rawdy special status territories Taiwan and Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to China in 1999. The Taiwanese have hinted at threatening independence if Beijing does not give them breathing space to run the local government and stop meddling in Taiwan's local political affairs. Hong Kong has been screaming for Democracy and more freedom to operate away from Beijing's watchful eyes. Mainland China sees both territories recent behaviors as signs of future headaches related to possible demands for political independence. Now that separatists and independence votes are being carried out in the backyards of two powerhouse Western countries all of a sudden some Western countries ie England or UK and Spain want to drag their feet at clapping for local independence movement and reconsider self determination. In short independence its too tricky when its happening in your own house but is less confusing to support the pros when its far away.

Razones para la independencia de Catalunya

Catalunya will also vote on October 8th to become independent after centuries of being its own independent kingdom, developing the Catalan language, tying its history and cultural artists to the wider universal history. Spain has practically made it illegal in its constitution for any of its angry autonomous regions Basque Country or Euskal Herria, the Catalan countries: Catalunya, Balleric Islands and Valencia, Andulacia (part of the historical Al Andalus), Galicia and others from declaring independence. No exceptions are given for self determination under Madrid's watch. No matter the cultural and historical argument for way Catalunya or its Catalonian cousins should be independent, the Spanish Constitution unwritten but firm no to territorial independence has prevented the country from breaking up into new nations. For centuries, Spain has tried to hold itself together as a unified country with multiple identities, histories and cultures popping their heads up to the surface. The three year long Spanish Civil War in 1930s brought the long boiling nationalist anger and frustrations to international attention. Catalan and Basque intellectuals and fighters fought against el fascismo espanol of Francisco Franco and nervous Spanish domination of non Spanish speaking and unique identities of Spain's autonomous people and jack in the box like regions known as "nations" under the constitution. Unlike the threat of economic doom hanging over Scotland, Catalunya is one of the wealthiest regions within Spain which is why Madrid is shaking its head at Barcelona and the larger Catalonian independencistas across Catalunya to slow down with its calls for self determination.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Caliphate's historical hearts and minds campaign

ISIL or ISIS creating a hell on Earth for Yazidis, Christians, Muslims and other non Takfiri/wahhabi Iraqis and Syrians

 Winning hearts and minds of a foreign audience or an occupied people has never been an easy task not even for the most organized empires. The new kid on the block, ISIS calling itself the organization formerly known as ISIS now renamed IS=Islamic state has been pushing itself on Iraq, Syria and is now trying to set up trouble for Lebanon. Hezbollah has also denounced ISIS as savagely violent and bad for Lebanon and the wider region making it the second militant/terror group to do so. If Al Qaeda and Hezbollah's both agree that there is a terrorist organization worthy of holding the title as the most dangerous, violent and extreme of extremes, than one must ask how insane is ISIS. The terror experts must be having a field day to suddenly see both organizations' competitor terrifying them. The denouncement comes as a reminder that even organizations such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah have moral edicts and ethics to follow. The same can't be said for ISIS who not only insists on forming a caliphate over the next five years but also using violence and physiological warfare to eliminate any opposition (no matter the cultural, religion or political views) that could push the organiztion back to the fringes of the region or dismantle the group all together. The area ISIS has mapped out follows the historical caliphates' land area.  However, ISIS has not tried to rexamine its tactics or review the methods other than violence used by the historical caliphates themselves.

La invasión árabe de la Península Ibérica y el inicio de la Reconquista

The Islamic caliphates that built empires and dynasties in the aftermath of Islam's 7th century rise lasting well into the 20th century, conquered half of the landmass and trade routes (on 3 continents) not always through warfare but through winning the hearts and minds of the local people. In the same ways as the Romans, the caliphs in Granada, Baghdad or Damascus (history has a funny way of creeping into the present) made attempts to adapt or adjust Islamic culture and faith to the culture of new territories. The motto of live and let live was exercise to some extent in places like Palestine, Algeria, Spain, Sicily, across a huge chunk of Africa from Mali to Ethiopia/Egypt and along the Silk Road in Central Asia and later in China. Realistically, the caliphs knew it would be foolish to fight gargantuan wars involving heavy troop movements, laying siege various cities or destroying cultural monuments and hertiage. Not to say that prolong wars did not occur during the caliphates time. When Jerusalem (the Kingdom of Jerusalem) under the rule of Balian of Ibelin surrounded to Saladin after the Siege of Jerusalem during the second Crusade, Saladin held his troops back from revenge and destruction by allowing Christians and Jews left behind in Jerusalem by fleeing Crusaders to leave the city of their choosing. They were not bombed out of their homes or businesses  by Saladin's men.  Jerusalem has always been an international city home to residents from different cultures and languages. Saladin, Lionheart, Balian and successors during the following Crusades were aware of this.

Sacking of Rome by Visigoth and other Barbarian armies long occupied and controlled by Romans.

Geopolitical clash of empires

In 711, Tariq or Jabal Tariq on behalf of the Ummayad Caliphs conquered or depending on the story from the view of Spanish and French invaded Iberian peninsula with his North African army made up of soldiers from Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria. The short hand name for them became the Moors. Spain and Portugal were not bombed back into the stone age to show off military might towards a subjected people or humiliated to the extreme. Tariq took three years to occupy Spain and built numerous military forts along the march north up to France then known as Gaul that remain in place to this day. The conquest of the Iberian Peninsula still named Hispania at this point, was a geopolitical shock for dark age Europe. The Roman Empire's collapse and Barbarian Invasion had left a huge vacuum for political power. There was no force that could unite the European continent as the Romans had done and Ancient Greece centuries earlier. There was Eastern Roman Empire Byzantium. But the Byzantine Empire based in Constantinople (Istanbul) faced competition and clashed with its equally strong and influential neighbors the Persians, Ummayads-Abbasaids, Seljuk Turks (that would eventually become the Ottoman Empire), Egypt always trying to go its own way while balancing trade and diplomatic relations with them. Back in Gaul, the Frankish dynasties of Merovingian and Carolingians were uniting the Franks under a single government and a somewhat shaking collective territory. The united Franks still divided by tribe and living in their respective kingdoms across Gaul would be handy when the Moorish army marched to Toulouse and Poiters on their way to Battle of Tours.

Tariq and his men as governor general of Al Andalus had managed to secure a huge territory under their rule in a few decades through a combination of wars and campaigns aimed at the conquered people the Visigoths. The Visigoth were a tribe that emerged from the Barbarian hordes (later known as Germanic peoples) that wrecked havoc on a collapsing Rome three centuries earlier. They had spread across Western Europe from Rome and established a kingdom stretching from Hispania to Gaul. The Visigoths and Ostrogoths fought under the Visigoth King Rodrigo to push Tariq and his army back. Despite the internal fighting and clashes between Arabs and Berbers who made up the majority of the army and rulers of Al Andulus, the Muslim army was able to pacify the resistance and set up an occupation government that overtime developed into a local government. After Tariq's death, the army flexed its muscle during the Battle of Tours that put an end to Ummayad Caliphate's expansion into France. Coincidentally 200 years later, the Crusades would be launched by the Pope from France. Battle of Tours is regarded as the defining moment when France and Europe in general halted the original Islamic boogeyman from conquering the rest of what would become Christian Europe over the next centuries.

Battle of Tours (Poiters) 732 AD

La Madraza de Granada

  The Islamic caliphates helped to create a European identity and the idea of "Europe" as we know today emerged over the next several centuries. Parallel to a European identity and a pan Muslim identity was the clash of civilization. Yes Samuel Huntington was not the first or the last to point to the meeting of Islam and Christianity as a perpetual clash. Even before Saladin and Richard the Lionheart were born, political leaders in Europe, Middle East and Africa were already painting each other threats to their respective civilizations and peoples. Ordinary Spanish and French people, mostly illiterate and relying on the church to provide education were kept in fear by religious and cultural leaders. It didn't take long for the image of Saracen the oriental other of a misunderstood Islam, the strange caliphates and dangerous East to appear across Europe. France (Gaul) and Europe were still recovering from the horrific destruction and war on the Western Roman Empire unleashed by the Germanic tribes and Attilia the Hun. Three centuries of relative calm didn't convince the politicians that someone or a more dangerous group would not be waiting to attack. In the East and North Africa, the Visigoths and future West was understood as equally frightening and Barbaric. The strange West with its weird customs and insistence  on warfare emerged in caliphate. In the Islamic world, Europeans regardless if they came from France or Poland were known as the Franj after Franks the ancestors of the French and other neighboring countries.

 Cities of Light: Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

As much as there was fear of both sides, there was cooperation both cultural, educational and military. One of the upsides to Al Andulus' 800 years absorption into the Caliphate was the flow of civilization itself into the Iberian Peninsula by way of caliphate. Science and arts flourished across Al Andulas from Granada and Sevilla to Toledo and Madrid. French and other European scholars and leaders were able to benefit from Arabic/Persian sciences and mathematics and long forgotten Egyptian/Greek science and literary texts translated in Al Andulus and the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. The Spanish language and its romance cousins were heavily enriched by thousands of Arabic terms and words (especially those beginning with al) that were added to Spanish vocabulary and grammatical structure. The name of cities with Arabic origin were also kept in tact long after the Spanish inquisation that forced the moriscos, moors and Jews out of Spain. Andalusian public works also aided with upgrading the former Roman turned Visigoth cities into well planned cities, with raised sidewalks, running water, thousands of public baths and street lamps. La Madraza de Granada and madrasas across Al Andulus like their counterparts in Morocco, North Africa and Middle East provided students and city residents with subjects on law, theology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, libraries, universities, learning about the world wasn't essentially tied solely to Islamic jurisprudence or religion but to practically and rising knowledge among the people and not solely the scholars or religious teachers. Diversity played a huge role in Islamic Spain-Portugal's pre-Renaissance enlightenment and served as the epitome of multiculturalism. Christians and Mozarabs (Spanish Christians who adapted the Arabic language and culture) added their unique literature, language and perspective to Andalusian houses of wisdom. Muladis, darker Africans, Muslims of mixed Berber-Arab and Iberian descendant also found their voices and contributed to Andalusian Arabic, poetry and music and the aljamiados (from Arabic Ajamiyah) Portuguese and Spanish written in the Arabic script.  

Aljamiado, one of the many alphabets derived from the Arabic script used to write local languages in Iberian Peninsula. Other aljamiados and Arabic based alphabets were also formed to write local languages across the caliphate and conquered territories. Siculo-Arabic was one of the Arabic dialects spoken in Islamic turned Norman Sicily until the 1100s. It is the ancestor of the Maltese language

Islamic History of Europe including Sicily and Spain

Collaboration between Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars to translate Arabic knowledge and preserve Greek and Egyptian teachings didn't sit well with neighboring Christian kingdoms in northern Spain who distrusted the Andulacian rulers and saw them as a political threat. Within Al Andulus or Islamic Spain, Berbers clashed with Arab leadership over their low rankings in the military, class and economic access. On the other end, Christians and Jews classified as dhimmis (not to be confused with demi) experienced a roller coast ride of taxation and limited legal rights under Andulus' caliphate. However, both groups were protected and flourished while in the rest of Dark Age Europe, Jews were chased and persecuted and other Christian sects faced violence from leaders and society. Even with the rise of Holy Roman Empire, Christian kings and queens continued to launch military campaigns and wars against Islamic rulers and armies in Al Andalus, Sicily and Balkans. The Islamic caliphate responded in kind constantly reminding their Christian neighbors and opposing kingdoms that they had been in Al Andulus (Spain and Portugal) for several centuries and were no longer new comers or strangers from another land.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Muhammad Ali "Why is Everything White"


The legendary boxer and Olympic Champion, Muhammad Ali, humorously breaks down questions as to why everything in society and the wider world is White and why don't we see Black peoples and things with frequency and in a humanized light like we do White. Ali's humor truthfully examines the long, continuous system of European domination, white supremacy and racism in the US and wider world. Although Ali's observations were made in 1971, they are as relevant as ever. The interviewer was Michael Parkinson.