Rojava’s Democratic, Feminist Revolution a Source of Hope Among Horror. By Tony Iltis and Stuart Munckton, teleSUR | Op-Ed

“Syria can seem an endless black hole of misery, but in the northern, largely Kurdish region of Rojava, it is also the scene of a profoundly democratic and humanist revolution, which places the rights of ethnic minorities and women’s liberation at its centre.

Ironically, given the horror that surrounds it, Rojava is the site of the most profound experiments on grassroots, participatory democracy outside of the revolutionary projects in Latin America. Like in Venezuela, the ideal of “the commune” is at the heart of Rojava’s burgeoning democracy…..

“We believe that a revolution that does not open the way for women’s liberation is not a revolution. There have been revolutions in Libya and Egypt and Tunisia … but the same status for women has persisted.” Because of the war, devastation and isolation that Rojava is subjected to, its economy is largely geared toward survival. However, its socialist-oriented emphasis is on providing universal housing, nutrition, healthcare, childcare and education — none of which were provided by the Syrian government during peacetime. The revolution in Rojava is explicitly a multi-ethnic revolution. In its preamble, the constitution of the Rojava autonomous cantons describes Rojava’s cantons as “a confederation of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians and Chechens”. It continues: “In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognises Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace.”

Source: Rojava’s Democratic, Feminist Revolution a Source of Hope Among Horror

John Pilger: The war criminals in our midst who should be in the dock with ISIS – Stop the War Coalition

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again.  A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of “fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders”. Once Nixon’s and Kissinger’s B52 bombers had gone to work as part of “Operation Menu”, the west’s ultimate demon could not believe his luck.

The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They levelled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left monstrous necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air.

The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors “froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told … That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over.”

via John Pilger: The war criminals in our midst who should be in the dock with ISIS – Stop the War Coalition.

COLUMN: UC Professor says world leaders, military should listen to women who say ‘no’ to more war – Story

CINCINNATI — Earlier this month, in Cincinnati’s Washington Park, people gathered to celebrate domestic and international peacemakers in honor of the annual UN International Day of Peace. On that same day, millions around the world marched for more resources to be directed to the planetary threat of climate change.Yet the United States is at war again, a war that could cost up to $10 billion a year, and the drumbeat of war was the centerpiece of President Obama’s recent address to the United Nations General Assembly.More than half of Americans support air strikes in Iraq and Syria as well as arming groups to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. That support is not shared by those who celebrated the International Day of Peace, including many women’s organizations that have long decried war as a tool to end violence. Their calls for non-violent solutions have flooded my mailbox in recent weeks. Perhaps it is time to for more to listen to those women who say “no” to more war.

via COLUMN: UC Professor says world leaders, military should listen to women who say ‘no’ to more war – Story.

Pivoting on ISIS Brutality, Obama Orders 350 More Troops to Iraq | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Critics of such policies, however, continue to remind the public that it was the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and broader U.S. foreign policy that created the conditions for ISIS to rise in the region and warn that further military escalation in either Iraq or Syria is a mistake that plays right into the hands of jihadist groups like ISIS.

As Tom Engelhardt, editor of the online magazine TomDispatch.com, wrote on Tuesday:

Though the militants of ISIS would undoubtedly be horrified to think so, they are the spawn of Washington.  Thirteen years of regional war, occupation, and intervention played a major role in clearing the ground for them.  They may be our worst nightmare (thus far), but they are also our legacy — and not just because so many of their leaders came from the Iraqi army we disbanded, had their beliefs and skills honed in the prisons we set up (Camp Bucca seems to have been the West Point of Iraqi extremism), and gained experience facing U.S. counterterror operations in the “surge” years of the occupation.  In fact, just about everything done in the war on terror has facilitated their rise.  After all, we dismantled the Iraqi army and rebuilt one that would flee at the first signs of ISIS’s fighters, abandoning vast stores of Washington’s weaponry to them. We essentially destroyed the Iraqi state, while fostering a Shia leader who would oppress enough Sunnis in enough ways to create a situation in which ISIS would be welcomed or tolerated throughout significant areas of the country.

And Engelhardt warns that for Obama to be so easily goaded into escalation by the brutal videos released by ISIS would be a foolish, and rather transparent, mistake.

via Pivoting on ISIS Brutality, Obama Orders 350 More Troops to Iraq | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

esterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israels increasing domestic energy woes.Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. This involved rehabilitating the defeated Fatah as the dominant political player in the West Bank, and “leveraging political tensions between the two parties, arming forces loyal to Abbas and the selective resumption of financial aid.”Yaalons comments in 2007 illustrate that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned that if Palestinians develop their own gas resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn fundamentally increase Palestinian clout.Meanwhile, Israel has made successive major discoveries in recent years – such as the Leviathan field estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could transform the country from energy importer into aspiring energy exporter with ambitions to supply Europe, Jordan and Egypt. A potential obstacle is that much of the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin Province lies in territorial waters where borders are hotly disputed between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Cyprus.Amidst this regional jockeying for gas, though, Israel faces its own little-understood energy challenges. It could, for instance, take until 2020 for much of these domestic resources to be properly mobilised.But this is the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Haaretz, stated that Israels domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:”We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authoritys estimates are lacking. Theres a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”As Dr Gary Luft – an advisor to the US Energy Security Council – wrote in the Journal of Energy Security, “with the depletion of Israels domestic gas supplies accelerating, and without an imminent rise in Egyptian gas imports, Israel could face a power crisis in the next few years… If Israel is to continue to pursue its natural gas plans it must diversify its supply sources.”

via IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.

IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.

via IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.

Gaza conflict: At least 15 dead after tank shells hit UN school – World – CBC News

There are calls for Canadians to go to Gaza.

Abu Hasna, the UN agency spokesman, said the international community must step in.”Its the responsibility of the world to tell us what we shall do with more than 200,000 people who are inside our schools, thinking that the UN flag will protect them,” he said. “This incident today proves that no place is safe in Gaza.”

via Gaza conflict: At least 15 dead after tank shells hit UN school – World – CBC News.

The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Un-Censored Version | Global Research

68 years ago, at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan. That bomb was the second and last atomic weapon that had as its target a civilian city. Somewhat ironically, as will be elaborated upon later in this essay, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan and ground zero was the largest cathedral in the Orient.

via The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Un-Censored Version | Global Research.