— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for August, 2011

China Reaches for Deep Space

China’s second lunar probe has reached an orbit one million miles from Earth for an additional mission of deep space exploration (31 August 2011).

Col Gaddafi forces given Surrender Ultimatum

 

 

Libya’s interim leader gives forces loyal to deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi a four-day deadline to surrender towns still under their control or face military force (30 August 2011).

 

Turkey and the EU, 1959 — 2011

In September 1959, Ankara applied for associate membership of the then-European Economic Community (EEC). Four years later, the Ankara Agreement was signed to take Turkey into a customs union and finally full EEC membership. In 1967, the EEC was renamed the European Community (EC). On 14 April 1987 Turkey applied for full EC membership. On 1 November 1993, the Treaty on European Union, commonly referred to as the Maastricht Treaty, came into force formally establishing the EU. A customs union finally came into effect under Tansu Çiller in 1996. At the Helsinki summit in December 1999, Turkey was finally given the status of a candidate country. And then, on 17 December 2004, the European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005. And basically, that is still the state of Turkey-EU relations today. Negotiations are ongoing, stalled, and arduous. On 9 November 2010, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the Reuters news agency that “We have been kept waiting at the gates of the EU for 50 years. We are still waiting and waiting and still in the negotiating process”. Erdoğan added that public opinion in Turkey was becoming “offended with the situation”, and that “[s]ince the game [of accession negotiations] started, new rules have been brought into the game”.

Al Qaeda #2 Killed: Propaganda Wars

This news item is already some days old, but it is still a nice piece of propaganda spin in the War-on-Terror (2001-) that has now effectively replaced the Cold War (1946-91).

Unmanned drones killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in Pakistan . . . a ‘Libyan national who was considered Al Qaeda’s operational leader before rising to the No. 2 spot following Usama bin Laden’s death in May [2011]’, according to AP and Fox News.[1]

The above-quoted report quotes an U.S. ‘official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, [as saying that] al-Rahman was killed Aug. 22 in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan. That’s the same day a US drone strike in Waziristan’. The report continues that ‘[a]fter Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, they found evidence of al-Rahman’s role as operational chief, U.S. officials have said’.[2]  This ephemeral evidence consisted of . . . In fact, the authorities have not revealed the actual contents of the raid on the Abbotabad house last May. The only credible reports regarding objects collected in Bin Laden’s house were to do with Bin Laden’s porn stash that had also been found.[3]

In the propaganda war that is now the War-on-Terror, the disclosure of this foruitous kill in Waziristan should be seen as another attempt to convince the global audience that the U.S. is still fighting the good fight and that the evil enemy is being slowly bled to death. Last month, the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated: “Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on [Al Qaeda] . . .  because I do believe that if we continue this effort we can really cripple Al Qaeda as a major threat”.[4]  In the absence of the Communist threat, Al Qaeda has now convincingly replaced the USSR as America’s apparent, if not necessarily de facto, opponent. But, this should not distract us into thinking that only the U.S. and American media promulgate propaganda dispatches. Here is the Asian News International, doing an admirable job as well: ‘Osama bin Laden’s long-time lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri has taken command of Al-Qaeda after the killing of the group’s founder and leader, an Islamist website said on Thursday. Bin Laden was killed in a US commando raid in Pakistan last month. Al-Zawahri, who will turn 60 next week, had been bin Laden’s second in command. Zawahri is the son of an upper middle class Egyptian family of doctors and scholars. His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University’s medical school and his grandfather was the grand imam of Al-Azhar University, a premier center of religious study (16 June 2011)’.


[1] “Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Leader Killed in Pakistan. U.S. Official Says” AP and Fox News(27 August 2011). http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/08/27/al-qaedas-no-2-leader-killed-in-pakistan-us-official-says/.

[2] “Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Leader Killed in Pakistan. U.S. Official Says”.

[3] “Bin Laden Porn Stash” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (18 May 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/bin-laden-porn-stash/.

[4] “Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Leader Killed in Pakistan. U.S. Official Says”.

Nutter News USA: Bachman Exposed, Once Again

A New Yorker piece explains how 2012 Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann has ties to a radical fundamentalist Christian movement known as Dominionism. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down (29 August 2011).

2012 Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is arguing that Hurricane Irene and the recent East coast earthquake may be a sign from God that the U.S. government should spend less. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down (29 August 2011).

Even though Mister Uygur and his mannerisms can be a bit tiring at times, he is nevertheless making a serious effort to show the world what is really behind the frightening spectacle that is Michele Bachmann.

Role of Islam in New Libya Uncertain

Libyan rebels are still hunting for Moammar Gadhafi, but many of their countrymen are taking time marking the end of the first holy month of Ramadan without their longtime secular leader. Islam in Libya is undergoing a resurgence. The question now being asked is how much it will influence the next government. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott has more from Tripoli.

The American Empire as a Cold War Legacy

The good people at Wikipedia provide this insight: in ‘the United States Federal Budget for 2010, entitled ‘A New Era of  responsibility’, the DoD [or Department of Defense] was allocated a base budget of $533.7 billion, with a further $75.5 billion adjustment in respect of 2009, and $130 billion for overseas contingencies. The subsequent 2010 DoD Financial Report shows DoD total budgetary resources for fiscal year 2010 were $1.2 trillion. Of these resources, $1.1 trillion were obligated and $994 billion were disbursed, with the remaining resources relating to multi-year modernization projects requiring additional time to procure. Budgeted DoD expenditure for 2009 represented approximately 43% of global military spending, the U.S. ranking second in terms of per capita military spending behind The United Arab Emirates. In FY 2010 DoD budgeted spending accounted for 21% of the U.S. Federal Budget, and 53% of federal discretionary spending, which represents funds not accounted for by pre-existing obligations. As a percentage of its GDP, the U.S. spent 3% of GDP on military in the year 2000, ranking it 28th in the world.  Budgeted 2010 expenditure (including the GWOT supplemental) had risen to 4.5 % of Assumed Nominal GDP’.[1]  Or, as I posted last June: ‘Turns out that money does make the world go round, and money well spent is money no longer available for anything else. So, here is goes: “America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED”, “In 2007, the amount of money labeled ‘wasted’ or ‘lost’ in Iraq — $11 billion — could pay 220,000 teachers salaries [in the U.S.]”, “America’s defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output”, “The yearly cost of stationing one soldier in Iraq could feed 60 American families”, “The total known land area occupied by U.S. bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles — bigger than D.C., Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined”, “Each day in Afghanistan costs the [U.S.] government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon”, “In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year”, “The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population — but almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure”’.[2]  And the above map shows us where all that money goes to . . . NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and PACOM.

Looking at that map, one cannot but understand fully all those people talking about the American Empire (and its imminent demise due to overstretch). As such, in addition to the command structure pictured higher, there are U.S. Army installations in Bulgaria, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Kosovo, and South Korea. Whereas the U.S. Air Force has bases in Afghanistan, Australia, Germany, Greenland, Guam, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the UK. Last but not least, there is also the U.S. Navy which can avail itself of  installations in these locations: Bahrain, the British Indian Ocean Territories, Egypt, Cuba, Djibouti, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE.[3]  This giant military footprint is a leftover from the Cold War, when the U.S. was fighting for the preservation of  ‘freedom, democracy and the American Way’. On the other side of the fence, or rather the Iron Curtain was the Soviet Union and its client states. Josef Stalin’s long shadow is thus still able to motivate American policy-  and lawmakers in the 21st century. During the early years of the Cold War, Curtis Lemay (1906-90) ensured that the U.S. Air Force received top priority in America’s war plans, prior to the adoption of the MAD strategy and the universal endorsement of  producing ever more ICBM – Mutually Assured Destruction as a result of deploying Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. As a result, today the U.S. Air Force is literally ubiquitous around the world, while successive administrations seem eager to pay for the continued upkeep of bases and manpower and machinery Here is a clip showing this year’s defense budget hearing. The HASC or House Armed Services Committee, firmly controlled by the Republicans, met to receive testimony on the fiscal year 2012 national defense authorization budget requests from the U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Special Operations Command (3 March 2011).

 

 


[1] “United States Department of Defense –Expenditures “ Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Defense.

[2] “Fun Facts about U.S. Military Spending as well as Global Military Expenditure” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (23 June 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/fun-facts-about-u-s-military-spending-as-well-as-global-military-expenditure/.

[3] Cfr. Wikipedia.