Middle East (Sputnik) – It’s a nightmare: civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq in the ongoing war against Daesh are rising faster than local officials, and remote military intelligence gathering, can count, and the US-led coalition seems unwilling to do anything…
During the last days of December, Russia will host a round of diplomatic talks with Iran and Turkey.
A hundred years ago, Ernst Jünger described a peculiar encounter with a frightened British officer in his account of trench warfare, Storm of Steel: “he reached into his pocket, not to pull out a weapon, but a photograph (…). I saw him on it, surrounded by numerous family (…). It was a plea from another world.” According to conventional wisdom, “war is hell,” as famously sentenced by General Sherman. Hence Jünger’s depiction of the scene as something from another planet. And that is how the world today, more concerned with the holidays and the latest Hollywood blockbuster, is receiving the dire plea for help by multiple civilians caught in the crossfire of the battle for Aleppo. We simply content ourselves with the thought that civilians will always suffer in times of war, for war is hell. Or is it?
A few days ago, the soon to be replaced Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, gave his last press conference. Referring to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, he remarked ominously: “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell”. But surely the Secretary General did not intend merely to describe a regrettable fait accompli, as someone might depict a natural disaster. His closing official words carry a message for the world to actively engage in Aleppo, and particularly to make belligerents stop targeting civilians, for not everything is allowed in war after all. As Michael Walzer has pointed out in his decades-long effort to revive the Just War tradition, we strive to fight wars justly and to uphold rules even in the midst of hell.
A group of hackers has hacked the official website of Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC).
According to Tasnim dispatches, the hackers, dubbed Hazaristan Cyber Army, hacked and defaced the website of Afghanistan’s NSC on Friday.
They left a deface page along with photos of four senior Afghan officials and a brief message on the hacked website.
“We want justice and equality for all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Security is either only deception or illusion… we will never give up (our fight) until justice is served,” part of the message read.
Personnel on military bases in the UK have been involved in choosing targets for a secret US drone campaign which has killed hundreds of civilians in violation of international law, documents obtained by human rights charity Reprieve indicate.
Job adverts and CVs identified from publicly-available sources show that the US Air Force has employed a “MQ-9 REAPER [drone] ISR Mission Intelligence Coordinator” at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire ; while a Private Military Contractor (PMC) has advertised for an “All Source Analyst – Targeting” to work at the same base.
RAF Molesworth is leased to the US, but the UK Government has refused to answer questions on whether it plays a role in the covert drone campaign – which carries out missile strikes outside of warzones with minimal accountability.
According to the statement of Russian Ministry of Defense, Russian warplanes took off on August 16 from a base in Iran to target Islamic State and the Nusra Front militants in Aleppo, as well as in Deir el-Zour and Idlib, destroying five major ammunition depots, training camps and three command posts.
While Russia has long supported the Syrian government with airstrikes conducted from Syrian air bases, the Tu-22M3 long range strategic bombers require longer runways and previously flew from bases in southern Russia.
The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Seyed Hasan Nasrallah, called on Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorist groups to lay down their arms, pleading for them to realize that they are serving American interests by fighting in the region.
“To Daesh, Nusra and the takfiri groups that are fighting, we tell you that you have been exploited over the last five years to destroy the ‘axis of resistance’ and the people of the region,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech marking the 10-year anniversary of the Lebanon-Israel war.
Admitting that it might be unusual to send a message to terrorists on the anniversary of the July war, Nasrallah called on the groups to take a step back and realize who they are fighting for.
We live in a time where the fragile, finite nature of surrounding ecosystems has never been more apparent. That’s why environmentalists find the US Navy’s reputed disregard for marine life, in it’s endless rhyme of testing and training, beyond disturbing. Recently, a group found the Navy’s been given impunity to harm up to 12 million marine mammals, and asks military brass if it’s worth it.
West Coast Action Alliance, a multi-state, international citizen watchdog group, did a recent tally of the number of “takes” allowed to the US Navy. According to Truthout, a “take” is a form of harm to an animal ranging from harassment, to injury, to death. The data WCAA examined came directly from the Navy’s own Northwest Training & Testing EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), and authorizations to commit “takes”.
“The numbers are staggering”, proclaims Karen Sullivan, spokeswoman for WCAA and a former endangered species biologist. “When you realize the same individual animals can be harassed over and over”, she continues, “as they migrate to different areas, there is no mitigation that can make up for these losses except limiting the use of sonar and explosives where these animals are trying to live.”