– A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog: Occasional Musings –

‘Obama’s ISIS Speech on Wednesday, 10 September 2014, is more US Foreign Policy that is “falling down forward” (9 Sep 2014)’.

The Associated Press‘ Darlene Superville relates that “President Barack Obama will begin laying out a strategy this week to defeat Islamic State militants in the Middle East, meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday [9 September] and giving a speech Wednesday, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Obama disclosed his plans during an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press“. The Prez said this: “I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it”, at the White House upon his return from the NATO summit in Wales.[1]

For her part, Superville continues that at “Obama’s direction, the U.S. military has conducted more than 130 airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq in the past month. In retaliation, the group recently beheaded two American journalists it had been holding hostage in Syria, where the organization also operates. Lawmakers have pressed Obama to expand the airstrikes into Syria. He has resisted so far, but said he has asked his military advisers for options for pursuing the group there. In the interview, Obama said the U.S. would not go after the Islamic State group alone, but would operate as part of an international coalition and continue airstrikes to support ground efforts that would be carried out by Iraqi and Kurdish troops. At the NATO summit, the U.S. and nine allies agreed to take on the militants because of the threat they pose to member countries. Obama restated his opposition to sending U.S. ground troops to engage in direct combat with the militants, who have laid claim to large swaths of territory in Iraq, targeted religious and ethnic minority groups, and threatened U.S. personnel and interests in the region”.[2]



[1] Darlene Superville, “Obama says he’ll give speech Wednesday on plan to combat Islamic State militant organization” AP (07 Sept 2014). http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2014/09/07/obama-to-give-speech-wednesday-on-islamic-state.

[2] Darlene Superville, “Obama says he’ll give speech Wednesday”.


‘A new craze that started in Lebanon is picking up around the Middle East – burning the IS group (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL) flag (4 September 2014)’ .

Video posted by AJ+, which is a new experience from the Al Jazeera Media Network.

Part I: An Untold History of Occupation, Torture & Resistance

‘On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features Part I of her exclusive coverage from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, outlining the history of the notorious base and prison from 1898 to today. Abby then goes over some of the most egregious examples of torture committed against detainees, highlighting everything from sensory manipulation to physical beatings and sexual abuse. Abby then goes over the detainees still at Gitmo and why over 70 prisoners who have been cleared for release remain rotting away indefinitely. BTS wraps up the show with interviews with Navy Captain and Joint Task Force spokesperson, Tom Gresback and Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at UCSB, about why the military is no longer releasing information concerning hunger striking prisoners and the ethics of force feeding ‘non-compliant’ detainees (2  Sep 2014)’.

 Part II: Media Brainwashing, Sham Trials & Closing Gitmo for Good  

‘On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features Part II of her exclusive coverage from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, starting by going over how difficult it is for the press to cover Gitmo due to extreme military restrictions. Abby then speaks with Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, Spokesperson for Detainee Policy, about the absurd bureaucracy of the Periodic Review Board and why the prison remains open nearly six years after Obama signed an executive order to close down the facility. Several prominent Gitmo defense attorneys and a sociology professor then explain why the military trials of the alleged 9/11 conspirators have become a complete sham. Abby then speaks with another Gitmo defense attorney, James Connell about the extreme secrecy and overclassfication that plagues the prison and harms the attorney-client relationship. BTS wraps up the show with a call to action to close the prison for good and how shutting down the facility could be done in quick and timely manner (3 Sep 2014)’.

Dropping the epithet Partisan, the now simply SyrianGirl Mimi Al-Laham states that the “[b]eheaded Journalist Sotloff Had Info Rebels Used Chemical Weapons and believed being Kidnapped by AlQaeda would earn their trust. Journalist Steven Sotloff who was kidnapped and beheaded by ISIS believed the Syrian rebels possessed and possibly used chemical weapons on Aleppo and wanted to report it leaked conversations show. American foreign fighter Matthew Vandyke who fought along side the Libyan insurgency and also went to Syria on a pro Syrian Rebel mission, revealed to Sotloff that he had information that Syrian rebels posed chemical weapons before they were used in Aleppo. In another conversation Sotloff told Vandyke that he believed being kidnapped by AlQaeda group Jabhat Al Nusra would be a way to earn their trust. Vandyke agreed claiming some of the best connections he made with Al Qaeda groups were after being ‘arrested’. In another conversation Vandyke was very eager to meet with the AlQaeda group Jabhat AL Nusra and network with them. The conversations where leaked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) who hacked Vandyke’s email and Facebook account. A Zip file of several hundreds of conversations can be downloaded here. Vandyke has confirmed that his Facebook account and email were hacked by the SEA, and other journalists have also authenticated that the leaked conversations are real and accurate (3 September 2014)’.

‘ U.S. attack targeted senior leaders of Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, officials say. CNN’s Elise Labott reports (2 Sept 2014)’.

The news agency AFP reports that “US military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, the government said Tuesday [, 2 September 2014], claiming ‘casualties’ but with no details if the main target was killed” . . . and the target might very well have been Abu-Zubayr . . . “Abu-Zubayr is the often used name [or kunya] for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives. The Pentagon have confirmed an ‘operation’ was carried out”.[1]

The AFP report continues that the ” air strike on Monday [, 1 September] comes days after African Union troops and government forces launched a fresh offensive against Shebab strongholds aimed at seizing key ports, and cutting off an important source of revenue for the Islamist rebels. Shebab fighters have largely fled in the face of the offensive that began Friday [, 29 August], and [Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region] said the air strike was targeting Shebab commanders as they gathered for a meeting . . . Nur said the strike hit a Shebab hideout used as a training camp for suicide bombers, in remote villages of the Lower Shabelle region, south of the capital. Godane, 37, who was reportedly trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban, took over the leadership of the Shebab in 2008 after then chief Adan Hashi Ayro was killed by a US missile attack. Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has recognised Godane as the head of the ‘mujahedeen’ in East Africa, although letters released after Osama bin Laden’s death show the late Saudi Islamist leader had lower regard for the Somali’s abilities. He is included in a third category of men on whom information warrants a $7-million reward, alongside Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader, but under the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, for whom a tip is worth up to $10 million, and Zawahiri, who fetches $25 million. The Shebab are fighting to topple Somalia’s internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighbouring countries that contribute to the AU force. On Sunday [, 31 August], the Shebab carried out a car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in the capital Mogadishu”.[2]



[1] “US air strike in Somalia targeting Shebab leader: government” AFP (02 Sept 2014). http://news.msn.com/world/us-air-strike-in-somalia-targeting-shebab-leader-government.

[2] “US air strike in Somalia targeting Shebab leader: government”.

‘A study of almost 20 years’ worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt (1 September 2014)’.

In the International Business Times, the Indian web journalist Kukil Bora maintains that “[s]cientists have examined satellite data from the last 19 years to reveal that fresh water from Antarctica’s melting glaciers and ice sheets have caused the sea level around the icy continent to rise by nearly 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) more than the global average of 2.3 inches (6 centimeters). The scientists said, in a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet and the thinning of floating ice shelves have led to an excess of nearly 350 gigatons of freshwater in the surrounding ocean, which has led to a reduction in the salinity of the sea water . . . As part of the study, the researchers studied satellite scans of a region that spans more than a million square kilometers (about 386,000 square miles), or more than three times the size of the state of Virginia. In addition to satellite observations, the researchers also developed computer simulations of the effect of melting glaciers on the Antarctic Ocean to closely mirror the real-world picture presented by satellite data”.[1]


[1] Kukil Bora, “Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate, New Study Shows” International Business Times (01 August 2014). http://www.ibtimes.com/antarctic-sea-level-rising-faster-global-rate-new-study-shows-1674978.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) news spokesperson Amaani Lyle, who describes herself a “strategic communicator”, relayed on 27 August that “Pentagon officials announced the start of two training exercises this month. starts [28 August 2014] and concludes Sept. 12. Exercise Northern Coasts 2014 starts Aug. 29 and ends Sept. 12. Embarking on its 28th year, Combined Endeavor is a command, control, communications, and computer systems exercise involving 1,200 personnel from approximately 30 NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. It will operate at a main base with virtual forward bases for multi-national collaboration. In the Baltic Sea, the annual maritime exercise Northern Coasts 2014 includes underwater mine, countermeasure and counter-improvised explosive device training. Forces from at least five countries will participate”.[1]

And now that the Ukraine Crisis is spiralling out of control, NATO heads need to come together asap . . . well, maybe not that urgently but still . . . on the two days preceding the coming weekend (4-5 September 2014). David Deans, correspondent for Wales Online, notes that “[a]round 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Newport [on Friday, 29 August] ahead of next week’s Nato summit. The city will play host to 150 heads of state and ministers on Thursday and Friday at the Celtic Manor Resort, but hundreds of people from as far as the United States say they aren’t welcome. Security for the summit will be provided by 9,500 police officers drawn from 43 UK police forces with 12 miles of security fencing already in place at keys sites in Cardiff and Newport. The event will be ‘uncharted territory’ for police – while Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones has said it will be ‘momentous’ in his country’s history. However, its presence in the principality – and the UK –has been met with strong opposition from a number of anti-war groups as well as left-wing organisations. Marchers with a myriad of concerns running from Palestine and Ukraine to nuclear weapons streamed through Newport city centre streets in a peaceful and trouble-free demonstration. Distance appeared to be no object with some of the protesters travelling thousands of miles to attend this and other events against the September 4-5 summit”.[2]

Following the end of the summit, none other than Chuck-himself, that is, the U.S. “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will visit Turkey as the U.S. government tries to build [another] ‘coalition of the willing’ take on Islamic militants in Syria, the Pentagon announced [on 29 August]“.[3] The DoD propaganda publication Stars and Stripes is forthright about the Obama Administration’s ambitions to find other countries’ cannon fodder to sacrifice in its pursuit of the terror group formerly known as ISIS (or ISIL, as the Americans seem unwilling to insult the ancient Egyptian goddess), now calling itself the Islamic State: ‘[t]he U.S. military has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq since Aug. 8, and consideration is being given to expanding the air campaign into neighboring Syria’. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told the press that “Turkey is a key NATO ally. And given its border with Syria and Iraq, they share our deep concerns with . . . the regional threat posed by ISIL . . . We want a coalition of the willing. We want to seek partners in this effort”, adding that “Secretary Hagel has longstanding relationships with Turkey’s leaders, including the newly-inaugurated President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, and he views this visit as an important opportunity to advance our critical relationship”.[4] All in a day’s work, in other words, schmooze the Turks and bomb those out of line.

Putting the icing on the cake, the Prez himself then said: “Our message to the entire region is this should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia, to everybody that a group like [the Islamic State] is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people. And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together — even if we have differences on a range of political issues — to make sure that they’re rooted out”.[5]

But, McClatchy‘s Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman critically remark that the “United States faces no small task in drumming up allies to fight the Islamic State as part of a new coalition that foreign policy analysts already are criticizing as a hollow effort unless the Obama administration proves a commitment to wading into a conflict it’s largely avoided for three years. Offering few specifics, U.S. officials this week announced that they were assembling an international coalition that could offer military, intelligence and humanitarian support in a joint campaign to dislodge the Islamic State, also known by the other aliases ISIS and ISIL, from the Iraqi and Syrian territories that make up its vast, self-proclaimed caliphate”.[6]



[1] Amaani Lyle, “DoD Announces Upcoming NATO, Maritime Exercises” U.S. Department of Defense (27 August 2014). http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123025.

[2] David Deans,”Nato Summit 2014: Hundreds take to the streets of Newport in protest” Wales Online (30 August 2014). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/nato-summit-2014-hundreds-take-7693809.

[3] Jon Harper, “Hagel going to Turkey as US tries to build ‘coalition of the willing’ against the Islamic State” Stars and Stripes (29 August 2014). http://www.stripes.com/news/hagel-going-to-turkey-as-us-tries-to-build-coalition-of-the-willing-against-the-islamic-state-1.300658.

[4] Jon Harper, “Hagel going to Turkey as US tries to build ‘coalition of the willing’ against the Islamic State”.

[5] Jon Harper, “Hagel going to Turkey as US tries to build ‘coalition of the willing’ against the Islamic State”.

[6] Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman, “US history in Mideast hampers hopes for anti-Islamic State coalition” McClatchy (28 August 2014). http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/us-history-in-mideast-hampers-hopes-for-anti-islamic-state-coalition-1.300525.


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