Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for August 15th, 2010

Another Obama foreign policy blunder

Posted by Charles II on August 15, 2010

Daniel Dombey of The Financial Times reports that the Obama Administration is threatening Turkey over its stance on Iran and Israel.

The less controversial part of this is that Turkey wants to buy advanced weaponry such as drones to use against the Kurds, who cross the Turkish-Iraqi border for raids against Turkey. The Administration has warned that it will be more difficult to move such a request through Congress. Fair enough.

But the Administration is also trying to muscle the Prime Minister into silencing his criticism of Israel for its grossly illegal actions against the Mavi Marmara in enforcing the illegal Gaza blockade and for refusing to endorse Washington’s demand that the UN further sanction Iran. These are matters on which a genuinely independent sovereign state like Turkey has a right to disagree. If the United States pushes too hard, it’s likely to push Turkey into the independent bloc of which Brazil has so far been the only member.

It should also be noted that what the Kurds are doing is, under international law, terrorism (even if historically they may be justified in regarding themselves as an occupied nation). If the US can’t control the border–and it can’t–then Turkey may be justified in treating incursions as an act of war and responding by occupying Kurdistan. That won’t happen as long as US troops are stationed there, but the day is coming when they will be gone.

It’s impossible to see what the Obama Administration hopes to accomplish besides alienating an ally and destabilizing Iraq.

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Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Iran, israel, Turkey | 1 Comment »

In Which PW Tries Writing A Novel

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 15, 2010

Check it, if you like, over here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Honduran dictatorship, Day 218

Posted by Charles II on August 15, 2010

Rodolfo Pastor de María y Campos has a piece on Vos titled, From the Belly of the Beast: Honduras, the Frente, and the OAS. The OAS is obliged by the Lima Assembly to investigate human rights abuses, but it is refusing to do so. All of South America less Peru and Colombia have firmly resisted the imposition of a false certification that Honduras has met the conditions for re-entry [which tells you how much they count in the doings of the OAS]. But now Chile and Mexico have caved in. Human rights, much less democracy are not priorities for the US. “The gringos [that would be us] now understand that they need to co-opt and divide the Frente” and engage in a public relations campaign.

Adrienne presents a translation by Sofia Jarrin of an alert by the Morazan Information Network (in Spanish, Red Morazánica de Información) stating that the body of Maria Teresa Flores, a member of the rural resistance and mother of 14, was found in the environs of Siguatepeque with evidence of torture and gunshot wounds. She headed the Coordinating Council of Peasant Organizations of Honduras (COCOCH) and, previously, the Peasant Organization of Honduras (OCH). Adrienne also posts a statement by Rights Action denouncing the US for muscling Latin America into accepting Honduras back into the OAS. The head of the OAS, Miguel Insulza, produced a report favorable to re-admission. Apparently the strategy is to find someone from the Resistance to join the half-Truth Commission to give it a sheen of legitimacy. Adrienne notes that sustained unemployment leads to a collapse in self-esteem of young men [who are raised to believe that they must be the breadwinners of the family]. In a related vein, Adrienne has uploaded a film from 2003 by Oscar Estrada titled, The Future, which shows the devaluation of life and the criminalization of the poor as part of a strategy of political control.

Meanwhile, RAJ covers the inability of the dictatorship to reach an agreement with the IMF due to the IMF’s demand for “sound fiscal policies.” It’s not clear to me what that means, but my guess is that they don’t think that the regime is screwing the people hard enough, but perhaps they’re dissatisfied by the split of the take between multinationals and the local oligarchy. RAJ also reports that the new Culture Minister Bernard Martinez wants to move the national archives to the National Gallery of Art, a move which would endanger irreplaceable historical documents. The proposal to start disassembling the archives was floated under the Micheletti dictatorship under the pretext that military reservists needed the space.

Alyssa Figueroa of FAIR did a pretty good piece on how the media have failed to cover or mendaciously covered Honduras.

Brother John has been hanging out with rowdy girls, and other takes from the diocese of Santa Rosa Copan.

For a week, the Honduran embassy in Guatemala City has been harboring a man wanted for mass murder. Alejandro Gianmattei. Evidently the heat was getting uncomfortable, so they turned him over. Dengue fever continues to rampage, with 40,000 people infected and 55 deaths. A number of non-profits have called for the firing of Health Secretary Arturo “Tucky” Bendaña over the purchase of ca. $9 M of medication at vastly above-market rates,leading to a shortage at public health facilities. Half were purchased through a single pharmacy. In addition, the World Bank had proposed to reimburse 40% of the cost if the purchase were done transparently. Since it wasn’t, the Honduran people lose another $40? M [I think Revistazo slipped a digit and this should be $4M].

Added. Jim Lobe of IPS News has this to say about the broader situation of US influence in the Middle East:

.S. President Barack Obama has suffered a sharp drop in popularity in the Arab world over the past year, and Iran may be reaping the benefits, according to a major new survey of public opinion in five Arab countries released here Thursday.

Only 20 percent of respondents in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) now view the U.S. president positively, compared to 45 percent who did so in the spring of 2009, according to the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution and the Zogby International polling firm.

Moreover, negative views of Obama have skyrocketed – from 23 percent to 62 percent – since the last poll was conducted in April-May 2009.

The most admired world leader? Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s PM. Second? Hugo Chavez.

One really doesn’t have to be a liberal to see that US policy is in disastrous disarray. One only has to be a liberal to admit that the disarray began in 2001.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduran dictatorship, Day 218

 
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