On June 14th, Human Rights Watch headlined “Danger From US White Phosphorous”, and linked to far more evidence of America’s firebombings in Syria and Iraq, than had ever been presented regarding the alleged-by-America April 4th sarin gas event that allegedly resulted in Syria from one of Assad’s bombs on that day having hit a ‘rebel’ warehouse that might have had sarin in it — a mistake if it had even happened as America charged it happened.
America then on April 7th missile-bombed in ‘retaliation’ one of Assad’s military airports, a supposed ‘punishment’, which was praised by U.S. ’news’media for that additional U.S. invasion of Syria’s sovereign territory, where the U.S. is an occupier and an enemy-invader instead of any legal participant in the war there. (Russia and Syria urged an independent investigation to determine what had actually happened on April 4th; it was “blocked by Western delegations without any explanations.”)
Will Assad (or Russia, perhaps) now respond as Trump did: bomb one of America’s military airports, in order to retaliate against what can only be called this additional illegal invasion of Syria by the U.S. and by its jihadist allies (the foreign jihadists who had been brought in by the Sauds, Qataris, and America’s other allies trying to overthrow Syria’s government), and now by America’s firebombings there?
Why not? Is it because Syria’s government isn’t as barbaric, nor as hypocritical, as is America’s government (which constantly condems Assad as ‘brutal’, for less)?
Usage by America of white phosphorous firebombs, and even of carcinogenic depleted uranium munitions, against populated areas, is almost routine. As I had documented on 3 February 2015, “Brookings Wants More Villages Firebombed In Ukraine’s ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’”, the Brookings Institution had wanted the Obama Administration to increase military assistance to the racist-fascist regime that the Obama Administration had imposed upon Ukrainians in the wake of the Obama regime’s February 2014 coup overthrowing the democratically elected Ukrainian President for whom 90% of the residents in this far-eastern part of Ukarine had voted — firebombed them in order to get rid of the people there, who had voted 90% for the man whom Obama’s people had overthrown. And Brookings wanted even more of them firebomed to death by the U.S.-installed fascist regime’s white phosphorous bombs.
But, this time, it’s America’s own firebombing (and depleted-uranium bombing) of Raqqa, and of Mosul — not by a U.S.-installed Ukrainian junta — and also not the merely alleged usage, by the Syrian government, of sarin; but the U.S. even admits to having done it. However, unlike the alleged sarin attack, these firebombings and nuclear contaminations by the U.S., in both Iraq and Syria, receive very little attention in the Western press.
Here’s a video of that firebombing in Mosul Iraq on June 3rd:
The other examples are in Raqqa Syria. Here’s one of the Syria videos from June 8th:
Here’s another, the next day:
And then another video later during that June 9th firebombing-series:
And that last video also shows repeat firebombings by the U.S. there, and also some close-ups of the raging fires that night there:
But, is the U.S., this time, condemning the usage of illegal weapons, and at the same time prohibiting any independent analysis of the video evidence there, such as happened when the U.S. was accusing Bashar al-Assad of using “barrel-bombs” and ‘sarin’? No. Instead, the U.S. is simply prohibiting any follow-up investigation at all of the evidence, even though the U.S. itself presumably (once ISIS is completely defeated there) will be able to control the area and to allow in investigators to examine what remains after those fires, and to have independent investigators determine whom is responsible for these firebombings — which the U.S. government would be roundly condemning if only the white-phosphous bombing had been perpetrated by the sovereign government there, instead of by the invading American government.
When America invades and commits war-crimes, it’s supposed to be ‘okay’.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Featured image from Human Rights Watch
Exaggerated Victories: The Mosul Effect
The need to tick off the tactical and strategic boxes in the interminable war against Islamic State is so pressing it acquires the quality of ham acting, where generals and leaders become thespians of exaggerated promise before the camera.
Nothing typified this more than the euphoric statements outlined by the Iraqi leadership in the aftermath of its efforts to retake Mosul after nine months of fighting. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was almost shrill in declaring victory on Monday, making the all too optimistic assertion that the Caliphate was dead, that terrorism had been quashed.
What Islamic State did do was represent a tailored common enemy, a convenient point of unity that kept Iraq’s traditionally murderous sectarianism at bay. The faux Caliphate, in many ways, supplied a temporary necessity, a cloak of consensus.
It kept the Sunni-Shia divide in check, though it never resolved it. Gains made by ISIS in 2014 came more easily largely given the Sunni-majority population’s feeling of neglect in the post-invasion era. But it went deeper, given the more dominant Shia presence in Baghdad.
Now, the Kurdish forces stand out as a force to be reckoned with, a situation that Baghdad will find hard to avoid. A Kurdish independence referendum is also slated for September. As if these niggling points were not enough, oil revenue, and its disputed regime of distribution, plays a part.
Much scepticism should be shovelled onto triumphalism, and notions of a noble battle waged by the forces of light against those of pure darkness obscure the pattern of crimes committed by a number of forces.
At issue here are the instrumental methods used in battle. Iraqi forces and members of the coalition deployed, to considerable extent, Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions in densely populated civilian areas. Air strikes were also used.
In the words of an Amnesty International report released on Tuesday,
“Even in attacks that seem to have struck their intended military target, the use of unsuitable weapons or failure to take other necessary precautions resulted in needless loss of civilian lives and in some cases appears to have constituted disproportionate attacks.”
The Islamic State forces made happy use of civilians, and also restricted civilian movement, condemning the effectiveness of any leaflet drops warning of imminent attacks. This, in addition to their more traditional methods of brutality inflicted on the populace.
A cosmopolitan town has also been emptied – some 897,000 people have been displaced, a point that puts it at risk of de-Sunnification. The city that will spring up from the rubble is bound to look different from that which preceded its seizure by Islamic State, one less colourful, and in all likelihood less pluralistic.
Much of this will depend on the calculus of retribution that tends to take effect in the aftermath of such victories. In the sectarian, religious game, scores are always settled, while the law is kept taped and muzzled. Mosul risks becoming yet another powder keg of resentment dotting Iraq’s devastated landscape.
It also risks becoming another example of reconstruction failure. (Ramadi and Falluja remain pictures of post-ISIS devastation.) The rebuilding phase, if history is an example to go on, risks falling into a quagmire of faulty finance, economic woe, corruption and security. And there is much reconstruction to take place, with three-quarters of the city’s roads destroyed, most of its bridges and 65 percent of its electrical infrastructure.
Money supplied is often money denied, with special political interests sucking the available funds before they can go into tangible efforts at reconstruction. The more one looks at the agenda to rebuild, the more one is struck by the fact that government institutions remain the problem.
“We need a lot of money,” claimed a glum Emad al-Rashidi, advisor to the governor of Nineveh province, “and we don’t get much help from the world, because the money is stolen by policymakers that pretend they are rebuilding Mosul.”
The begging bowl, as a matter of fact, is a big one. It is being passed around even as the city smoulders. A plethora of partners and agencies are involved, giving it the impression of an industry in need of oiling. The UNHCR, for instance, has demanded $126 million in funding to perform its necessary work.
The Special Inspector general for Iraq Reconstruction has claimed that the $60 billion in US funds spent over 10 years has produced little, while the Iraqi government’s own effort over $138 billion fared little better. Such efforts, ruinously delayed, will provide sweet music for the next militant upsurge.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: email@example.com