Author: Randi Nord

The US Has Officially Opened a New Front in Their Global War

The US conducting strikes in Yemen is nothing new. But yesterday, the US officially opened a new front in their global war by conducting missile attacks on Houthi-held territory.

The decision was made under the direct authorization of President Obama after what officials call “failed missile attacks” by the Houthis against the USS Mason on Sunday and Wednesday. A Houthi spokesman has denied the claims entirely calling them “baseless” stating the US is likely trying to “escalate aggression and cover up crimes committed against the Yemeni people.”

The White Helmets: The Friendly Face of US-Sponsored War Propaganda

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States had to get a little more creative to help justify and garnish public support for its foreign interventions. Terrorism as a chronic threat helps to rally public approval for military defense spending, but expensive foreign wars are rarely popular among civilians. One theme we see pop-up anytime the United States attempts to justify a regime change is humanitarian concern: Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria. Anti-Assad propaganda is especially useful for the United States for a few reasons. First it helps to convince the American public that Assad is a brutal dictator who must be overthrown; thus justifying intervention. Second, it helps minimize public back-lash over the United States’ own atrocities and war crimes. (“Who cares if the US has ulterior motives for overthrowing Assad; the guy needs to go either way, right?”) Lastly, since Russia is supporting the Syrian government against United States-sponsored rebels, the US gets to use any damage in rebel-held territory as anti-Russia and anti-Assad propaganda. Enter the Syrian Civil Defense aka the White Helmets.

Funded and Fueled by the US and UK

As of May 2016, the United States Agency for International Development has provided over $23 million to Syrian civil defense teams– just like the White Helmets. USAID defines these teams as “impartial emergency responders” who do not support either side in the war. However, at the same time the USAID report states that the teams have a second purpose to “amplify the efforts of moderate actors and strengthen public support for moderate values.” “Moderate actors” would be of course the US-sponsored “moderate rebel” fighters but also includes “national, provincial and local level” civilians that uphold pro-West, pro-intervention, anti-Assad opinions. Members of the White Helmets also travel for training to camps in Turkey– which just so happen to be a pro-intervention NATO ally.

An ISIS Stronghold in Afghanistan Could Destabilize Iran and Pakistan

Russia and Iran have warned the UN that ISIS influence is growing in Afghanistan. An ISIS stronghold in the country could put Pakistan, India, Iran, and central Asian countries at risk for growing ISIS influence.

Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, warned on Wednesday that as ISIS presence grows in Afghanistan more effort must be put into stabilizing the Afghan government to combat this issue. “The onus is on the international community to help the Afghan government with its fight against terrorism and extremism as well as the security, political and economic challenges it is grappling with,” he said. As ISIS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, experts are worried that fighters will flow into weaker surrounding states, like Afghanistan. Representatives are concerned that this will put more stable countries like Pakistan and India at risk.

Israeli Occupation is Cutting Palestine’s GDP in Half. Will the World Care Now?

The UN released a report on Monday stating Palestinian territory could “easily produce” twice the GDP it’s currently producing if Israeli occupation were to end. Unsurprisingly, unemployment and poverty would drastically be reduced as well. Here’s a summary of the studies the UN and why they matter.

Natural Resources & Trade

Even in non-occupied territories, Palestinians do not have access to their own ground water supply and are restricted from digging wells. Israel confiscates a whopping 82% of the Palestinian water supply and Palestinians are forced to buy back their own water by importing it from Israel.

After the DNC and #DemExit, What’s Next for the Bernie Movement?

Signs reading “Bernie or Bust” created a sea of blue throughout Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park and the streets of Philadelphia last week during the Democratic National Convention. Supporters of Sanders refuse to unite with the Democratic Party behind official candidate Hilary Clinton; but will Bernie’s marginalized supporters find it in themselves to unite with the rest of the left? Or was the Sanders movement just a flash-in-the-pan?

Sanders’ supporters have cried-foul nearly the entire course of his campaign– and now rightfully so. Voters across the board already knew Bernie’s grassroots campaign barely stood a chance against the establishment candidate and money thrown behind her. But emails recently leaked via Wikileaks proved what everyone pretty much already knew all along: Hillary was the presumptive Democratic nominee as far back as May of 2015. The events that transpired throughout the campaign since have reflected that fact. But enough about corruption in the Democratic Party. Let’s take a look at the Sanders supporters: a group who has the potential to help the Left become a significant force in American politics. So will they seize the opportunity? Or will they simply fizzle back into obscurity until another major election rolls around?

The World’s Largest Refugee Camp is Closing

The Kenyan government is constructing a timetable to close all refugee camps due to security concerns. About 600,000 people will be displaced– some of which have spent decades or even their entire lives in the camps.

The Dadaab camp lies along the Somali border; the Kenyan government claims Islamists are using the camp to launch attacks in Nairobi. Kenya’s camps host refugees from neighboring war-torn countries Sudan and Somalia. The Kenyan government has tried to close the camps before. In 2013 they abandoned the original plan after the UN told them they can’t forcibly return refugees to their home countries. Despite Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgency, Kenya has been successfully attempting to relocate a portion of their camps’ Somalian refugees voluntarily. Once given refugee status, a person cannot be forcibly returned to their homeland unless the situation has improved. According to Kenya, the situation in Somalia has improved. Whether it has improved enough to allow Kenya to forcibly return refugees is still up in the air.

Along with relocating refugees and closing the camps, Kenya is constructing a wall along the Somali border. The Kenyan government claims the wall is intended to minimize attacks in Kenya by al-Shabaab and hopefully keep out an insurgency. If Kenya is ultimately forced to keep their refugee camps open, the security wall would be a convenient solution to limit the amount of new (or returning) refugees entering the country. Also, if Kenya is constructing a wall to prevent violence overflowing from Somalia, the situation in Somalia probably hasn’t improved enough for them to forcibly return refugees.