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April 23, 2024

Offline Notice

Your host will likely be offline over the next few days due to a necessary medical procedure.

I have no idea yet how long this may take.

This is unfortunate as so many crazy things are happening right now.

The U.S. doubles down on Ukraine. It will probably demand another offensive which will of course fail. What it really wants is for Europe to fight Russia while keeping itself out of the mess. It pretends that its capabilities are limitless even as they are obviously not.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the defensive line of the Ukrainian army is in the process of breaking down.

Then there is Gaza which I am not even able to write about.

Anyway.

To prevent any vandalism I will temporarily shut down the comments.

I hope to be back and to see you soon ...

b.

Posted by b at 7:53 UTC | Comments (0)

April 22, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-120

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine. The current open thread for other issues is here.

Twas just another of Israel's lies ...

Israel has yet to provide evidence of Unrwa staff terrorist links, Colonna report says - Guardian

The Colonna report, which was commissioned by the UN in the wake of Israeli allegations, found that Unrwa had regularly supplied Israel with lists of its employees for vetting, and that “the Israeli government has not informed Unrwa of any concerns relating to any Unrwa staff based on these staff lists since 2011”.

Israeli allegations of the involvement of Unrwa staff in the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel led major donors in January to cut their funding to the agency, the main channel of humanitarian support not only to Palestinians in Gaza but to Palestinian refugee communities across the region.

7 easy steps to outlawing marches that call for an end to Israel's genocide in Gaza - Jonathan Cook

Will Zionism self-destruct? - Alastair Crooke / SCF

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 17:06 UTC | Comments (94)

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-119

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine. The current open thread for other issues is here.

These effects of the war are too rarely mentioned:

Two years of war have impoverished many Ukrainians - Economist

In 2023 Ukraine’s GDP was 72% of what it was in 2021. Millions have either lost their jobs, or had their pay cut by struggling employers. But walk around any of the big cities set back from the frontlines and today you would hardly know there was a war on. Last month a huge new bookshop opened a few minutes’ walk from where the volunteers of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based charity, distribute their food. Shops, businesses, cafés and restaurants are packed and plenty of people are driving fancy cars.

However, the war has tipped many into poverty, especially those who were hard-pressed before, and above all those whose homes and livelihoods have been lost. A World Bank survey last November found that 9% of Ukrainians had run out of food at some point in the previous 30 days. In March, according to the Centre for Economic Strategy, a think-tank in Kyiv, 23% were in a state of food insecurity. Some 14% were unemployed.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 17:03 UTC | Comments (116)

State Department To Delay Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops From Niger

This Washington Post headline as well as the first paragraphs of the story are not really backed by facts.

U.S. agrees to withdraw American troops from Niger

NAPLES, Italy — The United States informed the government of Niger on Friday that it agreed to its request to withdraw U.S. troops from the West African country, said three U.S. officials, a move the Biden administration had resisted and one that will transform Washington’s counterterrorism posture in the region.

The agreement will spell the end of a U.S. troop presence that totaled more than 1,000 and throw into question the status of a $110 million U.S. air base that is only six years old. It is the culmination of a military coup last year that ousted the country’s democratically elected government and installed a junta that declared America’s military presence there “illegal.”

“The prime minister has asked us to withdraw U.S. troops, and we have agreed to do that,” a senior State Department official told The Washington Post in an interview. This official, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive situation.

The decision was sealed in a meeting earlier Friday between Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Niger’s prime minister, Ali Lamine Zeine.

The U.S. drone base in Niger is used by the Pentagon and CIA to keep control of ISIS in the region.

So are U.S. troops really leaving Niger?

Of course not - at least not yet.

The next paragraph reveals what was really agreed upon. It makes it obvious that the U.S. wants to delay the issue as long as possible:

“We’ve agreed to begin conversations within days about how to develop a plan” to withdraw troops, said the senior State Department official. “They’ve agreed that we do it in an orderly and responsible way. And we will need to probably dispatch folks to Niamey to sit down and hash it out. And that of course will be a Defense Department project.”

- "We have agreed to begin conservations" - (we didn't really agree to pull out troops, just to talks)
- "about how to develop a plan" - (should we write a plan for something-something in Excel or Word?)
- "in an orderly and responsible way" - (we see absolutely no time pressure or deadline)
- "need to probably dispatch folks to Niamey" - (there will be many delays and the team will change often)
- "that of course will be a Defense Department project" - (We, the State Department, will hardly be involved. When the shit hits the fan the Pentagon will be to blame for it.)

A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately offer comment.

The United States had paused its security cooperation with Niger, limiting U.S. activities — including unarmed drone flights. But U.S. service members have remained in the country, unable to fulfill their responsibilities and feeling left in the dark by leadership at the U.S. Embassy as negotiations continued, according to a recent whistleblower complaint.

There have since been more protests in Niger demanding the exit of U.S. troops:

In the town of Agadez, home to a US air base, hundreds of demonstrators gathered to demand the departure of American forces.

The protests were organised by a coalition of civil society groups that have supported the current military regime since it came to power last year.

It seems to me that the new regime in Niger can and will have to escalate this.

Posted by b at 16:57 UTC | Comments (51)

April 21, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-118

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 15:13 UTC | Comments (185)

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-117

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 15:13 UTC | Comments (231)

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2024-116

Last weeks posts on Moon of Alabama:

Middle East:

Note: Nearly all the money will flow directly towards the U.S. military-industrial complex.


bigger

What are the $14.8 billion for DoD operations in Eastern Europe for?

Also - one wonders what means the deep state used to push Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, and Trump, into this full capitulation. Then again:

Michael Tracey @mtracey - 20:04 UTC · Apr 20, 2024

Mission Accomplished. It is done: Donald Trump and the House GOP just completed one of the most epic swindles in political history, with Trump personally effectuating the largest-ever disbursement of Ukraine funding through his emissary, "MAGA Mike Johnson" (as Trump lovingly calls him)

The $61 billion passed this afternoon is likely enough to underwrite the brutal, pointless trench warfare for at least another year or two.

This after the same old endless media screeching that Trump and MAGA Republicans were being brainwashed by Putin and would never fund Ukraine. That fundamental hoax continues -- only this time Trump was in on it.

Check his Truth Social page for the "opposition" that deluded online MAGA followers are so sure he must've expressed against the bill. It doesn't exist.

I really could not give less of a shit if you accuse me of "TDS." I'm much more interested in being Truthful, and documenting what really happened for the journalistic/historical record. And this what just happened: Trump bamboozled his own supporters... Big League.

Color Revs:

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2024-116

Posted by b at 13:27 UTC | Comments (253)

April 20, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-115

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:13 UTC | Comments (265)

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-114

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:12 UTC | Comments (212)

April 19, 2024

Israel Quietly 'Retaliates' For Iran's Retaliation Attack

Last night Israel attempted a minor attack on Iran to 'retaliate' for the Iranian penetration of its security screen.

The current exchange happened after Israel, in clear violation of international law, bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

The aim and success of last night's attack is yet unknown:

Israel carried out retaliatory strikes against Iran early Friday morning local time, reportedly targeting locations in the west of the country. Explosions were heard in the city of Isfahan, prompting commercial flights to divert from their routes.

Senior US officials speaking to ABC, CBS and NPR confirmed the strikes.
...
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported at around 5:30 a.m. local time (10:00 p.m. EST Thursday) that explosions were heard in Qahjaverestan, northeast of Isfahan.

A senior Iranian military official in Isfahan told the Islamic Republic News Agency that the explosions were caused by Iran's air defenses that fired at a suspicious object east of Isfahan. Isfahan's international airport is located just northeast of Qahjaverestan.

Two discarded first stages of Israeli ROCKS aero-ballistic missiles have been found in Iraq. ROCKS, a derivative of Sparrows ballistic target rocket, are air-launched, stand-off, air-to-ground missiles.

They may have hit something near Isfahan or they may have been taken down by Iranian air defense.

No Iranian or Israeli officials have commented the attack. The IAEA said that no Iranian nuclear facility has been hit.

As both sides are currently silent, and as there are no signs of further escalation, the strike will likely conclude the current exchange.

As a consequence of its strike in Damascus Israel has lost its escalation dominance. Iran managed to penetrate its external security screen just like Hamas had penetrated Israel's internal security screen on October 7 2023 when it broke out of Gaza to collect hostages.

Those who moved to Israel because they thought that it could provide them with security should reevaluate their decision.

Posted by b at 14:04 UTC | Comments (255)