War on the Environment
U.S. Arab Disconnect
Edward S. Herman
Billionaire Phillip Anschutz
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
The San Jose Project
Labor Must Play Its Wild Card
Obama's Jobs Proposal
Court Allows U.S. Citizens to Sue Rumsfeld
The Filthy RIch
"Soft Power" in the Middle East
The World of Drones
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"Soft Power" in the Middle East
On May 19, President Barack Obama acknowledged that a “new chapter in American diplomacy” is beginning due to the “extraordinary change taking place in the
In April, Bill Spindle and Margaret Coker wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a “cold war” is also emerging between the Islamic Republic of Iran and
The nuclear question just won’t go away. While neoconservatives relentlessly call for war, others are more sophisticated. In 2009, Alan Kuperman at the
It is true that the International Atomic Energy Agency has found
The summary of a classified 2007 National Intelligence Estimate indicates that
It is also true that there is discord in
What drives Iranian conduct?
A New Containment Doctrine
The record of
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton characterized engagement as “soft power” or a “willingness to talk” backed by “the world’s strongest military, economic strength and the power of…example.” She acknowledged
In October 2009, the first high-level public meetings of Iranian and
The 1996 Iran Libya Sanction Act was a milestone of a sanctions regime that has been in place since the fall of the Shah. This law penalized foreign companies that invested over $20 million in the Iranian petroleum industry. In pursuance of an executive order issued by George Bush Jr. in 2005, a number of federal agencies targeted key Iranian institutions. For instance, the Treasury Department bans transactions between
In March 2009, Obama extended greetings to the Iranian people on the occasion of the Iranian new year. Nine days earlier, he had authorized a renewal of sanctions in line with a “national emergency” decreed by Bill Clinton in 1995. This paradox attracted little attention in the
Also ignored are details about sanctions legislation passed during the 111th Congress. In effect, incorporating legislation introduced when George Bush Jr. was president—the Comprehensive Iran Sanction, Accountability and Divestment Act—penalizes American and foreign companies that import refined petroleum into
Coming on the heels of President Obama’s May 19 “reset” speech, the State Department announced the easing of visa laws for Iranian students in the
The Gulf Security Dialogue
Begun under George Bush Jr., the Gulf Security Dialogue sought to tighten U.S.-GCC military ties. In 2009, Secretary of State Clinton remarked that the
This concern dates from World War II. To keep oil-drilling rights in the hands of Standard Oil of California, the Roosevelt administration extended Lend Lease aid to the
A goal of the Gulf Security Dialogue is to create an anti-Iran partnership consisting of
The Bush Jr. administration gave
The Saudi Arms Deal
On October 20, 2010, after months of negotiation, Administration officials announced their intention to authorize over $60 billion in transactions between several
· 84 F-15SA aircraft
· 190 military helicopters
· 12,667 missiles
· 18,350 bombs
· 1,000 JDAM kits (interestingly)
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro said that the deal signals to “countries in the region” that the
Requests for information through the spring from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Congress-person Anthony Weiner (D-NY), a noted congressional critic of Saudi Arabia, have been unsuccessful (Weiner resigned from office in June over a sex scandal). But in February, this terse email came from the office of Tim Griffin (R-AR), the author’s congressional representative: “The $60 billion Saudi deal for F-15 fighters has already cleared Congress but prospective sales of naval ships and missile-defense systems to Saudi Arabia and other regional partners have yet to be completed and could run into congressional hurdles.” Recently elected to Congress, but by no means a political newcomer,
The few public references to the arms deal are ambiguous. In early May, after admitting that policy-makers must take account of the changing “geopolitical landscape” in the Middle East, Shapiro declared at the State Department that the Administration “remain[s] committed to Gulf security, which was borne out last year when we signed the largest defense trade deal in history with Saudi Arabia.” In testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs a week later, Principle Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller said that planned transactions with Middle Eastern nations have been “put on pause, put on hold.” He offered to discuss the transactions in “closed session.”
Could this lack of transparency have anything to do with the nature of
According to a disclosed January 2010 cable from the
A Persian Gulf “
The Arab Spring is doing its part to reveal the dangers to regional democracy and peace inherent in soft power. The small island country of
Situated in the Persian Gulf between
On February 14, Shia and Sunni Bahrainis massed at Pearl Roundabout in the capital city of
The number of PSF troops in
The state of emergency officially ended on June 1, but the crackdown continues. As documented by Human Rights Watch, there have been raids on the homes of activists and lawyers in the dead of night, activists sentenced to death by a military court, and “disappearances” of medical doctors who treated wounded protestors. The Ministry of Information temporarily closed a leading opposition newspaper in April. Men in plainclothes and masks, possibly from other Arab countries, used deadly force in Shia villages. In textbook cases of ethnic cleansing, Bahraini troops destroyed Shia mosques. The parliamentary opposition is defunct. There is evidence of torture and murder in detention.
During an April stop-over in
In fact, Gates visited
In addition to the usual blandishments about “self-determination” and “dialogue,” President Obama observed in his May 19 speech that “
A January 2008 lease agreement between the Bush Jr. administration and the Bahraini government allowed for expansion of facilities at Naval Support Activity-Bahrain, where the Fifth Fleet is based. According to reports by Navy Times and the Congressional Research Service, construction began in May 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2015. The first phase of construction is not yet completed. Appropriations for this project, which officially totals $508 million thus far, exist in budget requests made by the Bush Jr. and Obama administrations. In July, a Bahraini newspaper reported that a Fifth Fleet spokesperson denied the claim by the
In the wake of the Gulf War in 1991, the George Bush Sr. administration negotiated a ten-year security agreement with Bahrain, which was extended for another ten years by his son’s diplomats in 2001. According to a recent piece by Thomas W. Lippman in the Washington Post, the Bush Jr. administration renegotiated the pact a year after its renewal so that it would instead end in 2016, instead of October 2011. If this is true, it would go a long way to explain why the Pentagon is spending millions of dollars to expand the Navy base and why official
Whatever the truth is, it is a fact that since the summer of 2010, Marine Corps brass have been considering opening two new “joint task force” headquarters in the Middle East and
Other factors are also contributed to rising tensions in the Gulf. The Pentagon has expedited deployment of Raytheon’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missile batteries in
The latest Nuclear Posture Review holds that the
This is a classic realist worldview. It is also morally bankrupt. Like its predecessors, the Obama administration considers force a legitimate tool of diplomacy. But wars, hot or cold, with
Anthony B. Newkirk is a professor of history at Philander Smith College in Little Rock,
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.