Revolution is in the Air: 4/27/11: Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: Petraeus Will Expand Pro-War Agenda as New CIA Director

INDEX (stories follow)

The Wikileaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 152

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
EVENTS

Top Ten Arab Spring Advances this Week

from Informed Comment by Juan

IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED
HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Headlines for April 28, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

The Wikileaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 152

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
EVENTS

My comrades, my heroes in Egypt

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“Labour movements are continuing the revolution today. Their flagship cause has become the ongoing strikes in Shubra el-Kom, where disgruntled textile workers are calling for the nationalisation of their factory, which was sold to Indonesian owners at a fraction of its value in an example of the institutional corruption fostered by Mubarak.
The Popular Alliance has seized upon this, using the protests as a recruiting ground – highly effectively – and identifying itself with the struggle. Should the workers be triumphant, it would set a precedent for public ownership of hundreds more companies, while cementing the socialists as the workers’ representatives.
The Alliance has built on union demands to advocate a raft of populist reforms such as subsidised housing for the poor, free education and greater local representation through city presidents. These connect neatly with the core demands of the revolution for social justice, freedom and democracy, which will have cross-demographic appeal.” (thanks Sultan)

Top Ten Arab Spring Advances this Week

from Informed Comment by Juan
With the horrid crackdowns on dissent in Syria and Bahrain and the vicious shelling by Qaddafi brigades of the port of Misrata in Libya on Tuesday, it would be easy to concentrate solely on the negative news. But the Arab Spring is still producing some positive reforms and questioning of past corrupt practices, and even major governmental change. Tuesday’s positive developments:

1. Yemeni opposition leaders and dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh will meet in Riyadh on Monday to sign an agreement stipulating that Saleh will step down within 30 days and there will be a peaceful transfer of power, with Saleh and those close to him granted amnesty. The compromise was negotiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises 6 Gulf nations, most of which have oil or natural gas riches. Yemenis hope that the deal will calm down the tense situation in the country, which has seen big demonstrations and sometimes vicious repression. The government intervened on Tuesday against a big demonstration in Taizz on Tuesday, with 1 killed and 12 wounded in the ensuing altercation.

2. One reason for Saleh’s sudden flexibility may be that many Yemeni troops have been joining the protest movement. Euronews has a video report:

3. A decision in the case against former Egyptian Interior Minister (head of the secret police) for ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters in February will be rendered in late May. It is incredible that high officials in Egypt may be held accountable for their actions virtually for the first time in decades.

Aljazeera English reports:

Popout

4. Egyptian prosecutors are investigating whether President Hosni Mubarak agreed to a 20-year deal to provide natural gas to Israel at a low fixed price because he received kickbacks. The gas pipeline was attacked early on Wednesday, possibly by Sinai Bedouin who are protesting their neglect at the hands of the government.

5. The Moroccan government has given public sector workers a substantial pay raise and will reduce interest rates for loans held by farmers. This, in the wake of demonstrations by thousands of people in several cities on Sunday, the third day of major protests since February. Protesters also want constitutional reforms, including an independent judiciary and a more democratic system of governance than the hands-on monarchy they now have.

6. King Abdallah II of Jordan has created a commission to suggest amendments to the Jordanian constitution. Protesters in Jordan want an elected prime minister rather than an appointed one, and a stronger parliament (and hence less powerful monarchy). Initially, there is pessimism that the reforms will amount to much, but once the principle that there should be reforms is accepted by the elite, it may be possible for the people to push them further than is now envisaged.

7. Turkey, which has moved toward more popular participation in politics and an opening up of its system in a more democratic direction in the past decade, is attempting to intervene with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to restrain the use of violence against protesters. Turkey’s trade with Syria has mushroomed since relations were repaired in 2002, but the turn in Damascus toward an authoritarian crackdown has threatened to attract international sanctions on Syria and could throw a monkey wrench into Turkish hopes for a prosperous free trade zone with the Arab Levant. Turkey’s pressure for a lighter touch and more compromise helps offset an Iranian push to prop up the Baathist regime at all costs, since it is Tehran’s avenue of influence in the Levant, through which money and arms are transshipped to Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

8. Tunisians continue to take steps toward greater press freedom in the wake of the fall of the Ben Ali dictatorship.

9. Iraqis in Mosul continue to protest regularly by the thousands against any plan to keep US troops in Iraq past this December. They accuse Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of ordering troops to use live ammunition against the rallies, in which two persons have been killed and dozens wounded since Sunday. Al-Maliki himself appears to be leaning against trying to amend the Status of Forces Agreement that stipulates a US departure by the end of this year, precisely because he is feeling pressure from the Iraqi people both in the Sunni center-north and in the Shiite south (where Muqtada al-Sadr and his movement have agitated against an extended US presence; al-Maliki depends on an alliance of convenience with al-Sadr to remain prime minister).

10. In Oman, Sultan Qaboos has acquiesced in protesters’ demands that he release nearly 300 dissidentsarrested since the Arab Spring protests began in Oman a couple of months ago.

More deadly repression in Yemen; refugees flee Syria

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report
At least nine were killed and more than 100 wounded as troops opened fire on anti-regime protesters in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, on April 27. Violence broke out as troops moved in to disperse a demonstration to call for the immediate ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hundreds of young activists protested outside the Saudi embassy to oppose the plan brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council that calls for Saleh’s staggered exit from power. “Youth of the revolt reject the Gulf initiative,” said a banner carried by the protesters outside the embassy. (Middle East Online, April 28)

read more

More on Bahrain

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
Jane sent me this (I cite with her permission):  “I guess you saw the news that four men have been sentenced to death today by a military court that convicted them of killing two policemen during the uprising. Today Bahrain TV aired a “documentary” that gives full details, including televised “confessions” from several of the men. The programme has been uploaded to YouTube here:
(Yes, it genuinely does begin “Bahrain is a country of peace and love…”)
As some people have asked, why would defendants who were pleading “not guilty” make confessions on camera? The names of those confessing aren’t given, but Chanad, an eagle-eyed blogger/tweep, pointed out that the first man “confessing” (six minutes into the programme) appears to be Ali Isa Saqer. Mr Saqer was one of the people detained in connection with the killings, but he was not sentenced yesterday. That’s because he already died in custody in early April. Human Rights Watch, which saw his body, said it bore signs of “horrific abuse”. He was buried on April 10th.
Frank Gardner of the BBC wrote about him recently (the last line is particularly worth reading):
“Accused of trying to run over a policeman during a protest, Ali Isa al-Saqer had handed himself over to police after his family say they were threatened.
Six days later he died in their custody, the authorities say he fought his jailers.
His family, seeing his battered body for the first time since his arrest, collapsed in howls of grief; his wounds were quite simply horrific.
Beaten black and blue, his lacerated back resembled a bloody zebra; he appeared to have been whipped with heavy cables, his ankles and wrists manacled.
I brought up his case with the health minister, Dr Fatima al-Beloushi, who is also minister for human rights.
At first she said that the opposition had altered the images to invent the lacerations. But when I replied that we had been to the funeral and seen them ourselves she immediately promised a full investigation.

When a Bahraini secular suddenly becomes a caller for an Islamic republic

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
One of my reliable sources on Bahrain:  “I’m not sure if you have heard of Abdul Hadi and Khawaja. He is one of the most prominent human rights activists that have been detained by the Bahraini regime. Now Al Khwaja is one of the regime’s most hated dissidents (probably right after Mushaima and Singece who are the leaders of the banned opposition group Haq). They have been trying to get rid of him and get him to stay quiet for years. Their biggest problem they have with him, (other than the fact that he exposes their crimes) is that unlike a lot of the prominent dissidents in Bahrain, he is calling for the downfall of the entire regime and for the establishment of a republic. He has been doing it for years and he just never ever shuts up. Now this has lead them and their pro-government supporters as an extremist, a terrorist, and most hilarious of all, as a person calling for the creation of an Islamic Iranian style theocracy in Bahrain. Well the funny thing is, according to a wikileaks cable, the Crown Prince himself calls Al Khawaja secular. In fact he repeats this so much that it has lead me to believe that the entire regime knows very well that Al-Khawaja would never ever call for an Islamic republic. Here is the link to the wikileaks article in case you are interested:
By the way, Al-Khawaja’s daughter was the one who went on a hunger strike and wrote an open letter to Obama. I believe that he is being put on trial now.”
PS The daughter calls her blog The Angry (Female) Arab

Tyrants you enjoy: UAE

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“The arrest of six civil society activists and the government’s takeover of a rights organization in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are part of a worrying clampdown on dissent in the country, Amnesty International said today.”

Syrian Army Splits over Deraa Repression

from Informed Comment by Juan
The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Asad’s decision to quell popular protests in Deraa with military force and live ammunition may have begun splitting his army. AP reports eyewitness accounts on Thursday that units of the 4th Army Division, headed by Maher al-Asad (the brother of the president), began firing on the crowds in Deraa. The 5th Division, comprised mainly of conscripts, opposed this step and tried to protect the people. Then the two divisions traded fire with one another!

The split is on a minor scale in an out of the way part of the country, but we social scientists look for signs of cracks in the military when there are attempts to open up the political system, because a divided military can aid the reformers.

The Deraa protesters insist that they are just a youth movement, and deny being Salafis or hard line Muslim revivalists.

Aljazeera English has video:

P

Syria: Daraa and southwest under military siege

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report
Syrian authorities reportedly arrested hundreds of protesters and dissidents April 26 as the military surrounded Daraa, Duma, Homs and several other cities and villages. Telephone, electricity and water lines have been cut to the besieged cities and villages, which are mostly in the southwestern Hauran plateau region, rights activists say. Activists from the Syrian Revolution 2011 group posted reports on Facebook claiming tanks and snipers in Daraa are shooting “at anything that moves.” The Syrian government says the troops were ordered to Daraa to put down a conspiracy by Islamists.
IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: Petraeus Will Expand Pro-War Agenda as New CIA Director

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
CiabuttonPresident Obama is expected to announce a major shuffling of his national security team today. Under his plan, CIA Director Leon Panetta will move to the Pentagon to replace the retiring Robert Gates. Gen. David Petraeus will become the new head of the CIA. U.S. Marine General John Allen will be nominated to become the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, a position currently held by Petraeus. And Ryan Crocker will be nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Leon Panetta has headed the CIA for the past two years and has led a massive escalation of the use of unarmed drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many analysts say the nomination of David Petraeus to head the CIA will further increase the militarization of the spy agency. We speak with Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. [includes rush transcript]

Zionists hoodlums will really freak out

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“Egyptian officials, emboldened by the revolution and with an eye on coming elections, say that they are moving toward policies that more accurately reflect public opinion. In the process they are seeking to reclaim the influence over the region that waned as their country became a predictable ally of Washington and the Israelis in the years since the 1979 peace treaty with Israel…Egypt’s shifts are likely to alter the balance of power in the region, allowing Iran new access to a previously implacable foe and creating distance between itself and Israel, which has been watching the changes with some alarm. “We are troubled by some of the recent actions coming out of Egypt,” said one senior Israeli official, citing a “rapprochement between Iran and Egypt” as well as “an upgrading of the relationship between Egypt and Hamas.”  “These developments could have strategic implications on Israel’s security,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the issues were still under discussion in diplomatic channels. “In the past Hamas was able to rearm when Egypt was making efforts to prevent that. How much more can they build their terrorist machine in Gaza if Egypt were to stop?””

Credibility of Mr. Petraeus

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“In March, for example, Petraeus told a congressional hearing that the momentum achieved by the Taliban since 2005 “has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas.”  A week earlier, Gen. Ronald Burgess, chief of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, had painted a far less rosy picture. He said intelligence analysts could see “no apparent degradation” in the Taliban’s capacity to fight.  For its part, the CIA has warned that the Taliban still fields a capable fighting force and that tactical gains by U.S. forces since Obama approved the deployment of 30,000 additional troops has not added up to strategic progress in winning the war.”

An accident that could have been avoided

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“At least one NATO warplane attacked a rebel position on the front lines of this besieged city on Wednesday, a rebel commander said, killing 12 fighters and wounding five others in what he called an accident that could have been avoided.”

Bahrain’s former head of “torture service” attending the royal wedding

It’s a motley crew all around with this pathetic spectacle. The Guardian:

The former head of an agency accused of torture and human rights abuses is expected to be a guest at Friday’s royal wedding, the Guardian has learned.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Ali al-Khalifa is a former head of Bahrain’s National Security Agency (NSA) and will attend the wedding in his role as the current Bahraini ambassador to London.

British sources confirmed he had been invited and a spokesperson for the Bahraini embassy in London said he was expected to attend.

Khalifa was head of the agency from 2005 to 2008. The pressure group Human Rights Watch alleges that in 2007 detainees in Bahrain suffered torture including electric shocks and beatings.

HISTORY & ANALYSIS

The Myth of the Peaceful (Gene Sharp-inspired) Egyptian revolution

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
Comrade Hossam responds to such lazy theories about the Egyptian revolution:  “Suez was dubbed as Egypt’s Sidi Bouzid during the 18 day uprising. The city witnessed some of the bloodiest crackdowns by the police, and also some of the fiercest resistance by the protesters. In the video above, shot on the Friday of Anger, January 28, the revolutionaries in Suez after storming the police stations and confiscating the rifles, are using them to fight back the police.   One of the biggest myths invented by the media, tied to this whole Gene Sharp business: the Egyptian revolution was “peaceful.” I’m afraid it wasn’t. The revolution (like any other revolution) witnessed violence by the security forces that led to the killing of at least 846 protesters.  But the people did not sit silent and take this violence with smiles and flowers. We fought back. We fought back the police and Mubarak’s thugs with rocks, Molotov cocktails, sticks, swords and knives. The police stations which were stormed almost in every single neighborhood on the Friday of Anger–that was not the work of “criminals” as the regime and some middle class activists are trying to propagate. Protesters, ordinary citizens, did that.”

The king, according to Trotsky

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“”Naive minds think that the office of kingship lodges in the king himself, in his ermine cloak and his crown, in his flesh and bones. As a matter of fact, the office of kingship is an interrelation between people. The king is king only because the interests and prejudices of millions of people are refracted through his person. When the flood of development sweeps away these interrelations, then the king appears to be only a washed-out man with a flabby lower lip.“” (thanks Babak)
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This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Background & Analysis, Bahrain, Counterinsurgency, Egypt, Events, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Libya, Revolution, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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