Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Last Obama Stronghold In Libya About to Fall

by Oui Sun Jan 19th, 2020 at 01:37:45 PM EST

It is well known that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton favoured the coalition of Turkey, Qatar and Morsi of Egypt for rapprochement to Iran. This proved to be a too daring policy and was shut out of the air by Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Emirates and most important the opposition Republicans in Congress.

After removing Colonel Gaddafi from power in Libya, the struggle for the nation and its fossil fuels supplies began. The dozens of tribes in Libya sought new alliances. A protected CIA asset from Alexandria, Virginia, returned from exile to set up a militia centred around Benghazi and the oil infrastructure on the coast. Haftar eliminated strongmen competition and his influence grew supported by the Sunni Arab states.

    Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter [also spelled Haftar, Hefter] switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

    [...]

    According to a State Department summary of the meeting ...

    The episode and others like it, the officials said, reflect a Libyan culture rife with corruption, kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage since the United States reopened trade with Colonel Qaddafi's government in 2004. As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in "signing bonuses" and "consultancy contracts" -- or insisted that the strongman's sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships. [Source: McClatchy and Business Insider]

The Morocco Agreement of 2015 was ratified by a unanimous decision of the UN Security Council. It established to GNA government in Tripoli and lasted until the end of 2016 with the loss of Democrats to the Republicans of Trump.

The GNA was supported by Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and the global powers. After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, strongman Gen. Sisi turned to the Sunni States of the Gulf for funding and economic recovery. The Suez Canal was widened for higher proceeds of shipping and initiatives were started for industrial zones offering a great number of jobs.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (11 comments, 3890 words in story)

The EU28 Is Dead - Long Live the New EU3!

by Oui Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 12:08:29 PM EST

We have all become Anglo-Saxons now.

UK must get post-Brexit 'defence privileges', says German minister | The Guardian |

The European Union should offer Britain "privileged third-party status" in defence and foreign policy cooperation after Brexit, the German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has said in a speech in London.

She said that such status should include access to projects such as Future Combat Air System, the Franco-German stealth jet programme.

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (1138 words in story)

Environment Anarchists

by Oui Mon Jan 13th, 2020 at 08:38:32 PM EST

Of course ... domestic terror!

Revealed: US listed climate activist group as 'extremists' alongside mass killers | The Guardian |

A group of US environmental activists engaged in non-violent civil disobedience targeting the oil industry have been listed in internal Department of Homeland Security documents as "extremists" and some of its members listed alongside white nationalists and mass killers.

The group have been dubbed the Valve Turners, after closing the valves on pipelines in four states carrying crude oil from Canada's tar sands on 11 October 2016 which accounted for about 15% of US daily consumption. It was described as the largest coordinated action of its kind and for a few hours the oil stopped flowing.

Continued below the fold

Read more... (4 comments, 700 words in story)

Reagan and (Dis)Honor - USS Vincennes 290 Killed

by Oui Mon Jan 13th, 2020 at 09:55:31 AM EST

During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1989

'Guerrilla Warfare At Sea': Persian Gulf, 1987-88

TASK FORCE MIDDLE EAST ON CALL

The U.S. Navy had been operating out of Manama, Bahrain, since 1948. From a nominal presence of five ships, the U.S. flotilla was expanded to a peak of 27 ships and 16,800 personnel assigned to the Joint Middle East Task Force (later to become the 5th Fleet in 1995) in early 1988. American warships sailed the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea. Carrier battle groups rotated duty in the Arabian Sea.

Among the specialized naval units deployed were explosive ordnance disposal detachments, a team of specially trained bottle-nosed dolphins and special warfare outfits. Platoons from five SEAL teams and 23 detachments from a half dozen Special Boat Units served during the convoy operations. Several Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Forces also saw duty in the Gulf.

Navy carrier units formed the backbone of air support. But the Air Force provided E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System planes, which routinely flew 24-hour surveillance patrols. Strategic Air Command sent KC-10 and KC-135 tankers.

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (1 comment, 2512 words in story)

A Final Warning

by Oui Fri Jan 10th, 2020 at 08:59:56 PM EST

How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler | Smithsonian |

Reports on the rise of fascism in Europe were not the American media's finest hour

How to cover the rise of a political leader who's left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition "normal," because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (91 comments, 514 words in story)

Ukraine Plane Crash - East-West Conspiracies

by Oui Thu Jan 9th, 2020 at 08:27:17 PM EST

[Update-1]

END OF UPDATE

I had written a few posts about Ukraine flight -- CFM56 engine failures --  

Early this morning in a Dutch newspaper I read of a suspicion that missile debris was found on the crash site. It was linked to a Ukrainian expert Oleksiy Danilev who leads a team of investigators and on their way to Tehran. In search who this person was, I found out the following:

Zelensky appoints Danilov as Secretary of National Defense Council

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Oleksiy Danilov as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), having previously dismissed him from the office of NSDC Deputy Secretary. The respective decrees were published on the official website of the president.

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (31 comments, 1959 words in story)

Icon Che Guevara Replaced by Qassam Soleimani

by Oui Wed Jan 8th, 2020 at 07:30:22 PM EST

Trump created a hero for the Muslim Shia community - a legend is born.  

Assassination elevates Soleimani as icon of resistance | France24 |

Portraits of Qasem Soleimani have been carried aloft in rallies from Gaza to Yemen, raising the prospect that his violent death will elevate him as an icon of anti-American resistance.

The powerful Iranian commander, who was buried on Wednesday, was hailed as a "living martyr" in the Islamic republic for his military and strategic exploits that included halting the Islamic State group as it rampaged across Iraq and Syria.

Soleimani spearheaded Iran's Middle East operations as head of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, masterminding Shiite proxy militias, and some Sunni allies, in a career that saw President Donald Trump brand him a "monster".

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (12 comments, 1094 words in story)

Iran Hostilities: Retaliation Missiles Launched [Update]

by Oui Mon Jan 6th, 2020 at 03:13:32 PM EST

The cowboy diplomacy that has been part of the Republican foreign policy "strategy" will put a strain on the US-EU relations and all other alliances with America. There is really no surprise in the events culminating in war talk and military attacks just short of a declaration of war between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. After shredding the JCPOA treaty, the US has returned to its 40 years of war on Iran with the harshest of economic sanctions.

Where President George W. Bush was moderated by just a few wiser guys than he himself was, although VP Dick Cheney, surrounded by a Neocon cabal, took the reins more than once. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was a ugly turning point for the well being in ME and a tricky balance between Sunni and Shia in the region. Two autocrats with great influence in the region, Egypt's president Mubarak and the Saudi Wahhabist ruler King Abdullah both strongly opposed the impending war. They clearly warned it would open a Pandora's Box with an uncertain outcome. They were right, the Shia majority would lead in the aftermath and once democratisering would gain a foothold, would be linked to its powerful neighbor Iran.

The Neocons had always set their sight on neighbouring states of Israel, so Lebanon, Libya and Syria would follow.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (115 comments, 1911 words in story)

United States of America Declared a Bandit State

by Oui Sat Jan 4th, 2020 at 10:16:10 AM EST

Europe and nations across the globe should express their disgust with the acts of banditry and bullying of the President . There should be no room for acts of fascism humanity had hoped to have left behind the genocides of the 20th century that tore up society. The lone action of the world's most powerful nation in terms of the economy and military, should be a shining example, not the acts crossing International Law and the Geneva Conventions. Friends of America or no friends of human kind by keeping silent or going through the motions of criticism without sanctioning barbaric acts.

Ever since the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. and allied nations have torn up existing laws in order to get the "bad guys". By doing so, terrorism across the globe has flourished and increased a tenfold with over a million deaths of innocent civilians: fathers, mothers and children. This got to stop NOW before the community f nations are dragged into an all consuming nuclear stand-off or a Third World War.

Planet Earth is in jeopardy, destruction will be complete once the Middle East explodes into a war of aggression. Members of U.S. Congress are a representation of the American people and are in many ways more hawkish on foreign policy than the President himself ... a perpetuum motion of destruction lies ahead of us. Democracy as was intended by the Founding Fathers has floundered for decades ... the Trump campaign won over the Electoral College but the popular vote was for the candidate of the Democrats Hillary Clinton by over three million votes.

More below the fold ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (91 comments, 1975 words in story)

Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani Martyred In Baghdad

by Oui Fri Jan 3rd, 2020 at 05:32:58 AM EST

Yesterday's call by an American former Intelligence officer ...

Former intelligence officer calls on US to murder Iraq's PMU leader

More below the fold ...

Read more... (82 comments, 796 words in story)

Social-Democrats and Leftists Need to Fight Back

by Oui Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 at 07:44:12 PM EST

Smearing of progressives has become part of a new doctrine by populist rightwing politicians, media and the twitter rage. As the election results begin to shift due to social media bots and pressure groups, we should not only take notice but fight against the libel campaign. I've written about this phenomena in modern society for many years now. I must conclude that the propaganda has gone mainstream and needs to be halted. After the surprise win by Trump with alt-right support, The New York Times hired a new crowd of populist, rightwing proponents for the quick news cycle to feed the Trump supporters.

Palestinians can have human rights when they start winning Nobel Prizes -- Bret Stephens | Mondoweiss - Dec. 29, 2019 |

There is a big controversy unfolding over Bret Stephens's latest column, in which he says that the secret of Jewish genius is that Jews are more imaginative moral thinkers than anyone else. Even Fox News is saying that it is racist, and quoting Sen. Brian Schatz saying that the column crossed a line.

Stephens's argument is that Jews are not just smarter by IQ data, but they think differently. Jewish intelligence is "so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose."

Continued below the fold ....

Read more... (11 comments, 1465 words in story)

East-West Schism: Destruction Process Inside Europe

by Oui Sun Dec 29th, 2019 at 10:40:27 AM EST

I had not been aware of this manifesto by the European Parliament ... putting the final nail in revisionism of the events leading up to Nazi Germany invading and conquering most of continental Europe and the Second World War. It were the Communists and the Soviet Union that need to undergo a modern Nuremburg Trial for war crimes during Stalin's reign.

I'm aware of a long campaign to propagandize the evils of Russia and white-wash the role played by the Allied Nations. Russia and Putin weren't invited to commemorate the soldiers who fell on D-Day in Normandy as other leaders were proud to be seen as victors in the defeat of Nazi Germany. There has been a revival in commemorating the end of that Great War. Instead, Europe should be celebrating the fact that we have lived in an age without a major outbreak of hostilities. We should be thankful to the founding of the EEC of six nations and the expansion of the European Union on the principles of Four Freedoms.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (13 comments, 2496 words in story)

UN Extends Dag Hammarskjold Investigation

by Oui Sat Dec 28th, 2019 at 03:03:36 PM EST

One if the many great mysteries ... could be resolved by opening intelligence dossiers of South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States.

UN extends probe into mysterieus 1961 death of Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold | France24 |

Frans, Unfit To Serve the EU

by Oui Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 12:14:55 PM EST

Never read a more ridiculous OpEd than what I saw in The Guardian today ...

As a 12 yr old learning at an International School in Rome. Amazing that one falls in love with the British and as a leading EU politician to set out Europe's policy for hard talk with a year of negotiations. The UK under long Conservative rule with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, we don't fare well by a romantic, the EU needs a realist to preserve the Four Freedoms and the multilateral attitude of diplomacy aiming for a peaceful world. One bully in Washington DC is more than enough, Frans you need to protect the self-interest of the 27 EU nations. There is no room for such silly talk about how the relationship COULD have been or MAY BE in the future.

Just as in your personal life, you divorced and married again and build a new relationship. There is no turning back in your lifetime Frans. Get over it! I've given you the benefit of doubt, but you just nailed it yourself. A former member of the Dutch Labour party, you are no realist nor a leader.

My love letter to Britain: family ties can never really be severed | The Guardian - Opinion |

Since I went to a British school, you have always been part of me. Now you are leaving, and it breaks my heart

Recently read a delightful book of love letters to Europe. And it made me contemplate my love for Britain. It has just occurred to me that when you joined the European Economic Community I was in one of your schools. Not on your soil, mind you, but in Italy. Saint George's British International School in Rome, to be precise. I was 12 years old and still learning English.

That year I also dressed up in a kimono, as one of the "gentlemen from Japan" in the Mikado, the school play. Mrs Alcock encouraged me not to sing too loudly, so that my false notes would be less audible. But she kept me on stage. I loved it. Like I loved being part of the chorus in My Fair Lady the next year and the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland the year after.

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (3 comments, 798 words in story)

Saudi Billions to Remake Damaged Image - Propaganda

by Oui Mon Dec 23rd, 2019 at 07:16:10 PM EST

diet_prada What's worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation   (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing "the world's worst humanitarian crisis", according to the United Nations. It's said six-figures sums were offered for attendance and gego-tagged posts.

... a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural #mdlbeast

Global festivals part of Vision 2030

More below the fold ..,

Read more... (23 comments, 248 words in story)

BoJo, Lebedev and the Russia Report Kept Secret

by Oui Sun Dec 22nd, 2019 at 08:25:49 PM EST

Johnson visit to Lebedev party after victory odd move for 'people's PM' | The Guardian |

It was the equivalent of a V-sign cheerfully flashed at his critics. The day after his landslide election victory, Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds dropped into a caviar-fuelled Christmas party in London hosted by former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev and his son Evgeny.

During the campaign Johnson had stubbornly refused to publish the Russia report, written by the last parliament's intelligence and security committee.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (613 words in story)

Israel Strategy anti-BDS Ministry 4IL

by Oui Fri Dec 20th, 2019 at 11:08:21 AM EST

More below the fold ...

Read more... (22 comments, 215 words in story)

Labour's North South Dilemma Unsolved

by Oui Thu Dec 19th, 2019 at 03:19:07 PM EST

Most Labour MPs broadly in the news after the Big Defeat don't realize they are part of the problem, not the solution to rebuild party unity.

One MP in particular who caught my attention was Mrs Emily Thornberry of a Remain constituency in London. She too was one of many Labour MPs who had warned of the coming election disaster. I begin to understand the mission impossible of Labour and its leader Corbyn to attain an election surprise against all odds.

A much better story I read about Labour's North and their anguish over decades. They put all hope in leaving the European Union hoping the attention in London would finally turn to the mining and manufacturing communities that had been Labour's power base.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (9 comments, 474 words in story)

EU-EP to Farage & Co: 'You Won't Be Missed'

by Oui Wed Dec 18th, 2019 at 06:50:11 PM EST

Cliff-edge Brexit will hurt UK more than EU, days Von der Leyen

Von der Leyen, said she would not miss the Brexit MEPs, as they heckled her speech, but she offered her condolence to those parties who had campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU.

"If I look at our very brave Remain MEPs I can only say, I'm sorry, we will miss you. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for having been at our side. We will never miss those who scream and yell."

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said the next stage of the negotiations would be guided by ensuring
the UK could not undercut EU standaards after Brexit.

"The idea of a level playing field will be our guide over the next stage of negotiations," he said, referring to the need for the UK to sign up to EU rules on state aid, tax and the environment.

Hung Parliament: Exit From the Green Benches

by Oui Tue Dec 17th, 2019 at 10:14:27 AM EST

For me the day after is as a hangover ... I see the world in a blurr and not quite ready to grasp reality. Certainly am not in a state to watch and see the faces that will ru(i)n the UK in the next 5 years ... quite hopeless. Some tidbits what the make-over means for many ...

The experience of working in the palace of Westminster ...

"It's a horrible place to work actually," says Dent Goad. "It's really brutal, misogynistic, and unkind ... I've worked in very male-dominated environments before but that was the most horrible place I've worked as a woman."

Goodbye to all that: losing MPs face brutal exit  from Westminster | The Guardian |

The changes speaker Bercow made during his ten year tenure in the House of Commons:

Legacy of speaker Bercow: Report making Parliament more welcoming to women and minorities

WEF UK sinks to 26th place on UN Gender equality list ...

WEF: Gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years

UK falls six places in gender equality rankings, Japan retreats to 121st place, behind the UAE and The Netherlands plummets to 38th spot

Related reading:

(Former) Labour leader Corbyn facing angry MPs on Tuesday ...

Corbyn to face angry Labour MPs on Tuesday evening

Fall in rape convictions `due to justice system at breaking point'

A turn towards misogyny, racism and fascism

Comments >> (2 comments)
Next 20 >>

News and Views

 December 2019

by Colman - Dec 11, 359 comments

Your take on this month's news

 End of Year (and possibly times) thread

by Colman - Dec 11, 70 comments

What could possibly go wrong?

Occasional Series
Click for full list


Top Diaries