Tuesday 9th of August 2022

prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner…..

President Joe Biden, to his credit, did not come out swaggering at his press conference announcing that the C.I.A. had just killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri. But he did make the dubious assertation that the assassination somehow “made us all safer.”

In reality, this killing will not end the war on terror, and is unlikely to make us safer. And meanwhile, the Biden administration and other top U.S. officials are taking actions that do threaten our security. 

The U.S. is still spending billions of dollars arming Ukraine against Russia, while numerous experts around the world are discussing openly how the war escalates the danger of a nuclear exchange between the world’s two largest nuclear weapons states.

 

BY Phyllis Bennis

 

Another problem is that Biden spoke just as the third most powerful U.S. political leader, and second in line of succession to the presidency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was about to land in Taiwan, deliberately provoking China in what looks an awful lot like the abandonment of Washington’s longstanding policy of recognizing only one China. An increasingly tense cold war between Washington and Beijing may be on the verge of rapidly heating up.

Still another problem is that just hours before his Rose Garden announcement of the killing of al Zawahiri, Biden all but promised to give up his late and half-hearted effort to return to the Iran nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

 

Instead, Biden imposed new sanctions prohibiting the sale of Iranian oil and petrochemical products to increase pressure on Tehran. Polls show 56 percent of people across the United States support the nuclear deal.

And despite Israel’s right-from-the-beginning opposition, even top Israeli military and intelligence officials have agreed that a return to the deal is far safer than continuing to reject the agreement, known as the JCPOA, since continuing U.S. sanctions will be met with continuation of Iran’s nuclear program.

War on Terror Continues 

And yet another problem is that despite the pundit-driven discussion of whether the assassination of al Zawahiri represents the “real end” of Washington’s Global War on Terror, that war continues.

The U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last year marked the end of the large-scale troop deployments that characterized most of the 20-plus years of the GWOT.

But the war was strategically modified, not ended. U.S. special forces are deployed publicly in Syria, in Somalia, in Niger and elsewhere. Unofficially C.I.A. commandos are operating in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.  Drone and air strikes continue from “over the horizon.” The war on terror — the forever war — isn’t over yet.

In the meantime, Washington confronts 140 million poor and low-wealth people in the U.S. and billions more around the world, who all face a planet consumed with floods and fire, a raging global pandemic, escalating inflation, and rising militarism and refugee flows around the world.

Congress appears to finally be moving forward on a package of health care and climate programs paid for by raising taxes on the rich and large corporations.

But this is a bare-bones, whittled down version of the once-transformative Build Back Better bill. It does nothing to expand access to affordable housing, childcare, or elder care. Nor are there any moves to cut the inflationary military spending that now amounts to 52 cents of every federal discretionary dollar.

Biden invoked security, safety, and justice as what al Zawahiri’s death would bring.

But whatever people in the U.S. might think about the killing of al Zawahiri in the middle of the Afghan capital 7,000 miles away, safety and security are hardly likely to top the list.

Biden assured us that “people around the world no longer need to fear the vicious determined killer.”  But when most people around the world think about the “vicious determined killer” they fear, Ayman al Zawahiri is unlikely anywhere near the top of their list.

Biden’s words would have had more power if he had been announcing a ceasefire in Ukraine, so that the killing stopped and the threat of war-driven famine around the world would disappear. Or proclaiming that the instructions for producing Covid-19 vaccines were now publicly available, so that global vaccine apartheid could be relegated to the past.  Or revealing a new solution to the floods and heat and hunger of climate change, so that tens of millions of refugees and other displaced people could begin to go home.

Biden told us “justice has been delivered.” But for low-wage workers who’ve seen their paychecks shrink under inflation while their companies’ stocks soar and their CEOs walk away with multi-million-dollar salaries, justice still seems very far away. Killing al Zawahiri is unlikely to change that.

The forever war against terrorists has not made us safer. It has not cooled an overheated world or saved millions from pandemics and forced displacement.  The killing of one terrorist leader proves only that the United States is willing to face the possibility of new cold wars, against either economic or nuclear competitors, that are rapidly threatening to spiral into direct conflict — even while airstrikes and drone attacks continue.

And finally, it must be noted, we still have seen no evidence confirming that there were no civilian casualties in the strike that killed al Zawahiri. Remember the August 2021 drone strike in Kabul that killed “only two ISIS terrorists” —but turned out to have targeted only a humanitarian aid worker transporting water, and killed not only him but nine other members of his family, seven of them children?

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace. Her most recent book is the 7th updated edition of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer (2018). Her other books include: Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer (2008) and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy US Power (2005).

This article is from  Common Dreams.

 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

 

 

READ MORE:

https://consortiumnews.com/2022/08/03/al-qaeda-chief-killing-does-not-make-us-safer/

 

 

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undemocratic democracy….

 

BY Eric S. Margolis

 

August 5, 2022

It is unsettling to see a democratic government like the United States beating its chest over the high-tech murder of a retired jihadist, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. 

The 71-year-old al-Zawahiri succeeded the assassinated Osama bin Laden as chief of the anti-US underground group, al-Qaeda. The mild-mannered, Egyptian had been a local doctor in Cairo, when the brutal secret police of US-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, arrested him. Though al-Zawahiri was not directly involved in the opposition, he was savagely tortured by Mubarak’s secret police, who were directly advised and financially assisted by US security experts and intelligence.

I never met Dr. al-Zawahiri, but I spent long hours with his teacher and mentor, Sheik Abdullah Azzam – who was also bin Laden’s spiritual guide and instructor. Call him the father of jihad.

After torture and jail, Dr. al-Zawahiri became radicalized, joining Osama bin Laden’s underground movement that was dedicated to ousting American influence from the Muslim world. Al-Zawahiri later joined bin Laden in Afghanistan, a free-fire zone for Islamic jihadists. According to Washington, any groups opposing US presence in the Mideast were without doubt `terrorists.’ Israel developed this terminology to discredit all Palestinian resistance groups. 

The US claims Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were the architects of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. But bin Laden and al-Zawahiri denied being involved though they applauded the bloody attacks. Bin Laden stated the attack on New York was payback for Israel’s destruction of PLO-occupied West Beirut in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon. No one in the West paid any attention. 

To this day, I question if bin Laden and his group were actually behind 9/11. Tapes of bin Laden discussing the attack on New York shown on CNN turned out to be poorly made fakes. 

My contacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan insist the attack came from extreme anti-American groups in Saudi Arabia and were planned in Germany and Spain. Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. Neither did Iraq, as the Bush administration falsely claimed. Hamid Gul, the former head of ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service, told me that the Saudis were behind 9/11.

But why al-Zawahiri was openly living in Kabul – if he really was – remains a mystery. Relations between al-Qaeda and Taliban were always bad. So too with Iran. Yet al-Zawahiri supposedly chose to live in a downtown apartment surrounded by informers, spies, and former regime secret police with a $25 million price on his head? One also questions why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, a Pakistani military cantonment, openly and unguarded.

What we do know is that both bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were pretty much retired from being militants. Normally, they would have been playing golf or cricket and playing with their grandkids. Neither was well hidden or heavily protected. That’s curious, to say the least. Al-Qaeda had gone almost out of business. Both old jihadists were, ailing old men.

Bin Laden was buried at sea by the US Navy. According to Washington, this was done to prevent his burial site from becoming a shrine. If involved in the mass crime on 9/11, he should have been brought to New York to stand trial. 

According to this writer, it was also done because, as pirates used to say, dead men tell no tales. Bin Laden used to be a US ally at one time, and no one wanted to hear about that. Al-Zawahiri had skeletons in his closet. As Stalin used to quip, ‘no man, no problem.’ 

Sheikh Abdullah Azzam told me when we were in Peshawar, Pakistan that ‘once we have liberated Afghanistan, we will go on to liberate Saudi Arabia from American rule.’ Azzam was a Palestinian refugee who had lost his family home to Israeli settlers. He was murdered by a car bomb outside that city before he could move against the Saudis. Who killed Azzam remains unknown. He had many enemies. Equally suspect are the Americans, Indians, Afghan Communists, Tajiks, Uzbeks, backers of Benazir Bhutto, or Soviet KGB. 

Al-Zawahiri proved a lackluster leader and allowed al-Qaeda to fade almost to obscurity. The younger, more militant group, Islamic State, accused al-Qaeda of selling out to the western powers and becoming feeble and even attacked Taliban. Both al-Zawahiri and bin Laden had paled to insignificance by the time they were assassinated by the CIA. But even in death they remained potent symbols of resistance to western domination.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2022

 

 

READ MORE:

https://ericmargolis.com/2022/08/kill-al-zawahiri/

 

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