Monday, February 15, 2016
By Prof. Tim Anderson
By Alistair Dawber
A leading international human rights group has accused the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen of using indiscriminate cluster bombs supplied by the United States, and says that their use could break US law.
Bahraini authorities have arrested four Americans during protests marking the fifth anniversary of a Shia-led uprising in the kingdom.
The four are reporters and include an independent journalist named Anna Therese Day. The other three are members of her camera crew, according to a statement issued by Day’s family.
The US State Department said it was aware of reports that Americans had been arrested in Bahrain but declined further comment, citing privacy concerns.
A police statement published by the official Bahrain News Agency did not initially specify the identities or nationalities of those arrested, or who they work for. But a later update said the four were American and included a woman.
They were arrested in the Shia town of Sitra on Sunday during clashes between security forces and protesters, the statement said.
“One of them was masked and taking part with a group of saboteurs in Sitra in acts of rioting and sabotage and attacks on security officials.
“The other three were arrested at a security checkpoint in the same area,” the statement said.
The four entered Bahrain between 11 and 12 February and “provided false information to concerned authorities”, claiming to be tourists, police said on Monday.
However, “some of those arrested had carried out journalistic activities without permission from concerned authorities, in addition to carrying out illegal acts”.
A spokesman for Day’s family said the four were committed journalists and denied they had done anything wrong. The spokesman confirmed they were arrested on Sunday, and called for their immediate release.
“The allegation that they were in any way involved in illegal behaviour or anything other than journalistic activities is impossible,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Day is an award-winning journalist who has reported extensively from the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, and her work has been featured in news outlets including the New York Times and CNN, the statement added.
The four were arrested while working in Bahrain, it added without giving details.
Bahrain said the case of the four detainees has been referred to the public prosecution.
Home to the US Fifth Fleet, Bahrain was rocked by an Arab Spring-inspired uprising demanding reforms and a constitutional monarchy on February 14, 2011.
Authorities crushed the protest movement one month later. But demonstrators still take to the streets and clash with police in Shiite towns surrounding Manama.
Washington is making attempts to seduce Beijing into being a polite well-behaved junior member of the club of the "Rich White Masters," F. William Engdahl notes.
The Syrian ceasefire accords, signed in Munich, have laid bare the impotence of Washington regarding the ongoing civil war, and have proved that resolving the almost five-year conflict depends on Russian interests in the region, international affairs observer Marc Champion wrote, in an opinion column for Bloomberg View.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been using ISIS to advance his Middle East policy and suppress the Kurds, and Ankara’s elite maintains vibrant economic ties with the terror group and harbors its militants, a Turkish MP has told Russian media.
“Erdogan uses ISIS [Islamic State/IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL] against the Kurds. He can’t send the Turkish Army directly to Syrian Kurdistan, but he can use ISIS as an instrument against the Kurds. He has a greater Ottoman Empire in his mind, that’s his dream, while ISIS is one of the instruments [to achieve it],” Selma Irmak, a Turkish MP from the Peace and Democracy Party told RIA Novosti on Monday.
There are many signs that the Turkish leadership is aiding Islamic State and benefiting from it, Irmak argued.
“Wounded militants are given medical treatment in Turkey. For ISIS, Turkey is a very important supply channel. They are allowed to pass through the Turkish border, being given IDs [and other documents],”she added.
“ISIS has training camps in Turkey,” Irmak stressed, citing other examples of Turkey providing IS with certain capabilities, including the fact that all militants go back and forth into Syria through Turkish territory.
Both the Turkish elite and the terrorist group enjoy economic ties as well, Irmak argued.
“ISIS’ oil is sold via Turkey. All of ISIS’ external [trade] operations are being carried out via Turkey and involve not only oil.” Part of the terrorist group’s criminal business trafficking hostages as well as female slaves of Yazidi and Assyrian minorities, while “the government is, of course, well aware of it,” she added.
More proof could be the absence of any violence between the Turkish military and Islamic State militants.
“ISIS never attacked Turkish positions and claimed no responsibility for terror attacks in Turkey’s cities. There were three large terror attacks [in 2015] in Diyarbakir, Suruc and Ankara. Each attack caused harm to the Kurds and opposition activists supporting them,” the MP noted.
Turkey only intervened when the Kurds retook territory from the IS-held Kurdish city of Tell Abyad in northern Syria.
“Turkish warplanes formally bombarded the ISIS-held territory and conducted two airstrikes to show it fights the Islamic State. And in the meantime, Turkey made 65 airstrikes on Qandil [the PKK stronghold in mountainous northern Iraq].”
According to Irmak, Ankara feels free to take on the Kurds because the West is unwilling to harm its interests in the region and beyond.
“Unfortunately, the international community is indifferent towards these events. Turkey has taken Europe prisoner by using Middle Eastern refugees as an instrument of blackmail. The US keeps silent too, having common interests with Turkey. For instance, the US wants to keep using the Incirlik airbase […] and the Turkish Army is emboldened by such impunity.”