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Jefferson23

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Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990

4/8/2015


Landmark research proves that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has killed as many as 2 million people, but this is a fraction of Western responsibility for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades.

Last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.

The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors’ group is the first to tally up the total number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The PSR report is authored by an interdisciplinary team of leading public health experts, including Dr. Robert Gould, director of health professional outreach and education at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and Professor Tim Takaro of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Yet it has been almost completely blacked out by the English-language media, despite being the first effort by a world-leading public health organisation to produce a scientifically robust calculation of the number of people killed by the US-UK-led “war on terror”.

in full: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/unworthy-victims-western-wars-have-killed-four-million-muslims-1990-39149394

Physicians for Social Responsibility
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicians_for_Social_Responsibility

The Struggle for Palestine: What’s Winnable, What’s Not

Posted on Apr 7, 2015

By Jamie Stern-Weiner

How can the Palestine solidarity movement win? What demands should it make in order to achieve the maximum amount of justice within the constraints of what is politically feasible? And how should it frame those demands in order to reach a broad public?

These are questions of political judgment rather than science. But sound political judgment will be rooted, so far as possible, in a clear-eyed assessment of current (or incipient) public opinion. A movement that wants to persuade a mainstream audience will position itself within or just beyond the spectrum of mainstream public opinion, taking care not to isolate itself by adopting language and demands that lack political resonance.

What in the end matters is not merely public opinion but public opinion mobilized and expressed in the realm of formal politics.

The Swedish government’s decision in October 2014 to unilaterally recognize the state of Palestine triggered a succession of European parliamentary motions urging governments to follow suit. Lawmakers in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland called for immediate recognition while members of Portugal’s Parliament urged recognition “in coordination with the European Union.” Weaker motions were passed in Spain,1, Belgium2 and Italy while, in Denmark, a resolution calling for immediate recognition was rejected.

in full: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_struggle_for_palestine_whats_winnable_whats_not_20150407

Hezbollah: Iran deal rules out specter of regional and world wars

Hezbollah leader says accord would prevent conflict as 'Israeli enemy was always threatening to bomb Iranian facilities that would definitely lead to regional war.'

By Laila Bassam and Oliver Holmes Apr. 7, 2015

REUTERS - The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Monday that a framework nuclear agreement that Iran reached with world powers last week rules out the specter of regional war.

"There is no doubt that the Iranian nuclear deal will be big and important to the region," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with Syria's al-Ikhbariya television.

"The agreement, God willing, rules out the specter of regional war and world war," he said.

The tentative accord, struck on Thursday after eight days of talks in Switzerland, clears the way for a settlement to allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.650795


U.S. Omits Iran and Hezbollah From Terror Threat List
By Jack Moore 3/16/15
http://www.newsweek.com/iran-and-hezbollah-omitted-us-terror-threat-list-amid-nuclear-talks-314073

ISIS and What's at Stake for Saudi Arabia?

Madawi Al-Rasheed says the Saudis contend with ISIS to be the leaders of the Sunni world, but their interests converge as both regard Iran and the Shia as their enemy - April 5, 2015

Bio

Madawi Al-Rasheed is Visiting Professor at the Middle East Centre at The London School of Economics and Political Science. She is originally from Saudi Arabia and currently lives in London. Her research focuses on history, society, religion and politics in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Her recent publications include A History of Saudi Arabia and A Most Masculine State .

Transcript

ISIS and What's at Stake for Saudi Arabia? (2/3)PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

Continuing our series of discussions, Madawi al-Rasheed. She joins us, again, from London. Thanks for joining us, Madawi.

MADAWI AL-RASHEED, PROF. MIDDLE EAST CENTER, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Thank you.

JAY: Once again, Madawi's a visiting professor at the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

So in part one of this interview series, we talked about the Saudi stakes in Yemen. But as most countries, domestic politics sometimes is the most important determining factor about external policy. So today we're going to talk a little bit more about the situation in Saudi Arabia.

First of all, let's talk about the Shia in Saudi Arabia. First of all, as you mentioned in part one, the Saudis have incurred a couple of times actually in Bahrain to help the Bahraini monarchy suppress the rebellion there, or protests. There's a large minority Shia population in Saudi Arabia, and it happens to be very strategically located right where most of the oil is. Incurring this, the Yemen incursion, as the Houthis are Shia, how does this play out, in terms of Saudi domestic politics?

AL-RASHEED: I think the Saudi Shia started a kind of uprising protest movement. But they were suppressed. And until sort of recently, they continued to stage very small demonstrations in their villages in the Eastern province where the oil installations are, and the oil fields. But they failed to create any kind of cross-sectarian solidarities.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13587

A young prince may cost Syria and Yemen dear

Sunday April 5, 2015

World View: As the US and Iran reach accord, Saudi Arabia endangers the status quo in the Middle East

A succession of crucially important military and diplomatic events are convulsing the political landscape of the Middle East. The most significant development is the understanding between the US and five other world powers with Iran on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions. But the muting of hostility between the US and Iran, a destabilising feature of Middle East politics since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, may not do much to stem the momentum towards ever greater violence in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

In any case, the benefits of a US-Iran agreement may be slow to come, if they come at all, as the Republicans in Congress, the Saudis and Israel try to torpedo it. And even if an accord is ratified and implemented, President Obama could be hedged in by its opponents from further co-operation with Iran in other parts of the Middle East. In contrast to this snail’s pace rapprochement, the crises in Yemen and Syria are getting worse by the day and, in Iraq, for all the government’s claims to have captured Tikrit, its forces are still only nibbling at the outer defences of Islamic State (Isis).


Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies have the greatest self-interest in maintaining the status quo in the region, something they have been fairly successful in doing in the past. Who would have predicted in the late 1950s that Arab nationalist and socialist movements would pass away but Saudi Arabia would remain the theocratic absolute monarchy it has always been? What is striking about developments in the past few weeks is that it is Saudi Arabia that is seeking radical change in the region and is prepared to use military force to secure it. In Yemen, it has launched a devastating air war and, in Syria, it is collaborating with Turkey to support extreme jihadi movements led by Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate that last week captured its first provincial capital.

The Saudis are abandoning their tradition of pursuing extremely cautious policies, using their vast wealth to buy influence, working through proxies and keeping close to the US. In Yemen, it is the Saudi air force that is bombarding the Houthis, along with Yemeni army units still loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was once seen as the Saudis’ and Americans’ man in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. As with many other air campaigns, the Saudis and their Gulf Co-operation Council allies are finding that air strikes without a reliable military partner on the ground do not get you very far. But if Saudi ground forces are deployed in Yemen they will be entering a country that has been just as much of a quagmire as Afghanistan and Iraq.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/a-young-prince-may-cost-syria-and-yemen-dear-10156167.html

Obama: Iran accord will make the world safer

*An exceptionally good day for the whole world

WASHINGTON — The new deal between Iran, the United States and its allies Thursday is a "historic understanding" that paves the way for a final agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from making nuclear weapons, President Obama said.

"If this framework leads to a final, comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies, and our world safer," Obama said at the White House.

Obama forcefully turned his 18-minute statement in the Rose Garden into a victory lap for his policies on Iran and the Middle East. He pledged to work with Congress and Israel, which are both skeptical of any deal with Iran, and with other nations to create a lasting agreement that negotiators have to reach by June 30.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/02/obama-iran-nuclear-negotiations-switzerland-louisville/70826584/


Iran demands lifting of sanctions for 'irreversible' moves, says insider

#IranNuclear

Source in contact with negotiators tells MEE core issue in nuclear talks remains how and when sanctions will be lifted

Gareth Porter
Tuesday 31 March 2015 22:18 BST
Last update:
Tuesday 31 March 2015 22:30 BST

As the P5+1 and Iran agree to continue talks on a possible joint statement past a midnight deadline into Wednesday, the most contentious issue in Lausanne still appears to be how and when sanctions on Iran will be lifted.

Virtually all the details of the negotiating positions of the two sides remain cloaked in secrecy. However, Middle East Eye has learned from an informed source in contact with negotiators in Lausanne that the core issue remaining to be resolved is whether the P5+1 will end some sanctions as soon as Iran has taken what it is calling “irreversible’ actions to implement the agreement.

Iran has already made some significant concessions on the sanctions issue, the source revealed. Iran and the six-nation group, led by the US, have agreed that unilateral US and European sanctions as UN Security Council sanctions that related to Iran’s nuclear programme could be “suspended” rather than being lifted permanently at the beginning of the implementation of the agreement. The Iranian delegation is also not contesting that the UN Security Council resolutions that forbid assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program and other military programs can stay in place, the source said.

But the remaining bone of contention is that the six-nation group has insisted on maintaining the entire legal system of sanctions in place, even after the sanctions have been suspended, until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached the conclusion that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely for peaceful purposes – a process that it admits could take many years. US and European officials have been telling journalists on background for months that maintaining the sanctions architecture in place is necessary to ensure not only that Iran implements the agreement fully but also that it has no ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons.

in full: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-demands-lifting-sanctions-irreversible-moves-says-insider-1231828480

Supreme Court Rules Against Disability Providers

By Shaun Heasley

March 31, 2015

Developmental disability service providers cannot sue to force state Medicaid programs to raise their reimbursement rates, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.


In a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the high court ruled against a group of Idaho agencies serving people with developmental disabilities.

The service providers had argued that the state failed to raise Medicaid payments as outlined in a federally-approved formula for years even as such agencies faced rising costs.

But, in a blow to the providers, the Supreme Court ruled that private companies currently lack any right to enforce Medicaid requirements. Rather, it is up to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that states comply with the program’s rules, the court said.

“Our precedents establish that a private right of action under federal law is not created by mere implication, but must be ‘unambiguously conferred,'” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority. “Nothing in the Medicaid Act suggests that Congress meant to change that.”

Joining Scalia in the majority were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her dissent that the decision will have significant consequences.

“Previously, a state that set reimbursement rates so low that providers were unwilling to furnish a covered service for those who need it could be compelled by those affected to respect the obligation imposed by (the Medicaid Act),” Sotomayor wrote. “Now, it must suffice that a federal agency, with many programs to oversee, has authority to address such violations through the drastic and often counterproductive measure of withholding the funds that pay for such services.”

Sotomayor was joined in dissent by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/03/31/supreme-court-disability/20178/

Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

World View: Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis

March 29, 2015
Patrick Cockburn

Foreign states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, which is probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen in Yemen, rather than what will actually occur.

In practice, a decisive outcome is the least likely prospect for Yemen, just as it has long been in Iraq and Afghanistan. A political feature common to all three countries is that power is divided between so many players it is impossible to defeat or placate them all for very long. Saudi Arabia is backing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi but the humiliating speed of his defeat shows his lack of organised support.

The threat of further intervention by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council may be intended to redress the balance of power in Yemen and prevent the Houthis winning a total victory. But Saudi actions and those of the Sunni coalition will be self-fulfilling if the Houthis – never previously full proxies of Iran – find themselves fighting a war in which they are dependent on Iranian financial, political and military backing.

Likewise, the Houthis, as members of the Zaidi sect, were not always seen by Shia in other countries as part of their religious community. But by leading a Sunni coalition Saudi Arabia will internationalise the Yemen conflict and emphasise its sectarian Sunni-Shia dimension.

Remainder: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-arabias-airstrikes-in-yemen-are-fuelling-the-gulfs-fire-10141323.html

A NEW ‘PEACE ARCHITECTURE’

Special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry’s final briefing to the Security Council revealed the deep frustration of a man who’s spent seven years on the frontline of ‘one of the most spectacular deceptions in modern diplomatic history‘.

‘Upon leaving this position’, Serry explained, ‘I cannot but express an overriding feeling that I have been part of a peace process in which a can is kicked down an endless road’. ‘Gaza is our collective failure, and the people of Gaza continue to suffer the consequences’, while in the West Bank, ‘umbers’ – of settlement units constructed, of house demolitions – ‘hide the grim reality of entrenched occupation leading to growing despair’.

Diplomatically, we now face ‘the biggest crisis to date to our joint efforts to achieve a two-state solution’.

Serry urged the Security Council to break the deadlock by setting out its own parameters for resolving the conflict. Worryingly, he appeared to call for replacing UN Resolutions 242 & 338 with a ‘new peace architecture’ for resolving the conflict:

in full: http://jamiesternweiner.com/2015/03/27/a-new-peace-architecture/

Bio*Jamie Stern-Weiner was born in Israel and grew up in London, where he now lives.

He studied politics (undergraduate) and intellectual history (M.Phil) at the University of Cambridge.

He co-founded and co-edits New Left Project, one of the UK’s leading left-wing websites, and works as a researcher and editor for Spinwatch and OR Books, respectively.

His writing has been published by, among others, Le Monde diplomatique, Truthout, VICE, openDemocracy, Jadaliyya, CounterPunch, ZNet, Mondoweiss and Middle East Report Online (MERIP).
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