US Special Forces Deployed in Iraq, Again

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By Tom Hayden, THE NATION

Despite the official US military withdrawal last December, American special forces “recently” returned to Iraq on a counter-terrorism mission, according to an American general in charge of weapons sales there. The mission was reported by the New York Times, in the fifteenth paragraph of a story about deepening sectarian divides.

The irony is that the US is protecting a pro-Iran Shiite regime in Baghdad against a Sunni-based insurgency while at the same time supporting a Sunni-led movement against the Iran-backed dictatorship in Syria. The Sunni rebellions are occurring in the vast Sunni region between northwestern Iraq and southern Syria where borders are porous.

During the Iraq War, many Iraqi insurgents from Anbar and Diyala provinces took sanctuary in Sunni areas of Syria. Now they are turning their weapons on two targets, the al-Malaki government in Baghdad and the Assad regime in Damascus.

The US is caught in the contradictions of proxy wars, favoring Iran’s ally in Iraq while trying to displace Iran’s proxy in Syria.

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OBAMA Using Wars To Repay Campaign Donors

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By Kimberley Dvorak, The Examiner

As the 2012 presidential race heats up and campaign donations pour into the candidate’s war chests, voters should pay attention to the “fog of war” contributors. Last month President Obama signed an Executive Agreement, at the dismay of most Americans, to remain in Afghanistan for another 10 years. This wartime news labeled the embattled President as a flip-flopper as well as a DC insider. His once “sterling” image of “hope and change” vanished with the swipe of his presidential pen and transformed him into just another “business as usual” presidential incumbent.

Traditionally wartime presidents reap big defense contractor rewards in the form of campaign donations, and by the looks of the pre-election contributions, Obama is poised to be the winner. According to Open Secrets.org, the defense industry is hedging its bets and lavishing the incumbent president with a two-to-one margin over rival GOP presidential wannabe Mitt Romney.

Since 1999 the defense industry has more than doubled its niche in the American manufacturing sector. The industry guru’s have deduced that campaign donations of $200 million can produce a return on investment of billions in lucrative Pentagon contracts. The defense lobbying effort certainly pays out high returns and the forecast confirms smooth sailing.

So why would President Obama risk his “Nobel Peace” prize and commit more resources to the Middle East? The answer lies with big campaign donors. Obama’s new Afghan War 10-year commitment makes a lot more sense after examining his major donors. It turns out that defense contractors are among the President’s largest supporters. To be fair, the money usually follows the party in power, but it appears defense contractors are hedging their bets and donating huge sums of money to President Obama’s reelection coffers.

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Obama’s War On Iran

By Stephen Lendman

Washington’s war on Iran includes cyber attacks, other sabotage, targeted assassinations, deadly explosions, sophisticated satellite, drone, and other type spying, bogus accusations, a virtual blockade, hostile saber rattling, multiple rounds of sanctions, and attempts to cripple its central bank and oil industry.

Targeting its nuclear industry is a red herring. At issue is replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one. All options are considered, including war. If others fail, expect it, perhaps with nuclear weapons targeting its underground facilities. The potential consequences are unthinkable.

On March 17, the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said it cut services to Iranian financial institutions subject to EU sanctions. SWIFT serves as a financial and communication clearing system most major global banks use.

Iran no longer may transfer funds to or from other worldwide banks conventionally. Henceforth, its trade must be conducted other ways, including how it sells oil. It accounts for 80% of Tehran’s exports and half of government revenues.

Iran’s able to circumvent Washington through China, Russia, India, and other nations eager to do business. They oppose policies harming their own interests. So do Brazil, South Africa, and others globally. One day perhaps most will.

On July 1, an imposed oil embargo becomes effective. It includes crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products, oil related business, equipment and technology, selling Tehran refined products, new investments, and dealing with Iran’s central bank.

So far it hasn’t worked and won’t. Major Iranian customers and allies won’t comply. They include China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and others.

In addition, Washington exempted 11 countries, including Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

By imposing its own sanctions, EU nations shot themselves in the foot. Europe buys 20% of its oil from Iran. Its valued high quality won’t easily be replaced. No combination of Gulf states can do it, including Saudi Arabia. Nor can heavy oil suppliers. European refineries can’t handle it without costly upgrades.

Moreover, targeting Iranian oil exports sent US WTI crude up to $103 a barrel and European brent to $123 as of March 30 closing prices. Increased tensions may head it much higher. Independent analysts agree. Whoever planned this scheme should be fired. Iran’s beating Washington and EU nations at their own game.

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