Old and worn out: Sheridan’s points against recognising a Palestinian state

On 4 July 2017 The Australian published an opinion piece by Greg Sheridan (Foreign Editor) “Labor’s Palestinian shift wrong and bad politics, too.”1 The article targeted the proposed resolution by New South Wales Labor demanding federal Labor recognise a Palestinian state. Sheridan puts forth the argument this move is politically and perhaps morally wrong, citing several reasons why, which are all familiar Zionist talking points. Below I will rebut the points Sheridan uses to support his argument, showing it is he who is wrong on both accounts.

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  1. Sheridan G, Labor’s Palestinian shift wrong and bad politics, The Australian, 4 July 2017, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/labors-palestinian-shift-wrong-and-bad-politics-too/news-story/c8ba0261e294bdef5a48f735d5369fb0

Drowning in fake news on Syria

We are witnessing an unprecedented level of fake news and propaganda regarding the war on Syria.1 The level and pitch of fake stories has increased as the Syrian army overruns the rebels occupying East Aleppo. This likely reflects last ditch attempts from the rebels (and their State supporters) of eliciting the protection of the “international community” through shocking it into action.

It is obvious Western media is biased in this regard, unquestioningly repeating those and similar claims and disregarding reports from Syrian and Russian officials, even dismissing those as propaganda.2

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  1. Recent examples of fake news and propaganda include exaggerated levels of civilian population trapped in East Aleppo, massacres committed by the Syrian army, and women committing suicide to avoid being raped.
  2. For more examples see http://thefreethoughtproject.com/10-aleppo-syrian-media-lies/

Dismantling the sectarian narrative

In recent years the media tend to portray conflicts in the Middle East along sectarian lines, Sunni vs Shia. Some examples:

  • Syria is explained by Sunni being sick of the ruling Alawi (which they portray as Shia)
  • Iraq as Sunni being fed up with the Shia government
  • The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as religious conflict, Sunni vs Shia

When highlighting this apparent cause of conflict, the media often points to its origin, citing the early Muslims’ disagreement over Muhammad’s successor and the battle of Karbala. According to the narrative, the conflict started 1400 years ago and has been going ever since (it’s no wonder the Middle East is such a mess!). This portrayal is simplistic and ignores many other factors, including national/political, class, and neo- and post-colonialism.

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Arab nations to create joint military force: Audacity, irony, or sick joke?

Arab leaders at a summit in Egypt announced the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya, and as regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran engage in sectarian proxy wars.1

Audacity: forming a unified military force involving 10 countries, 100 aircraft, and 150,000 soldiers to counter security threats when for years the same countries sat on their hands while fellow Arab nations Syria and Iraq were being destroyed by armed conflicts.

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  1. Georgy M 2015, ‘Arab summit agrees on unified military force for crises’, Reuters, 29 March 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/29/mideast-arabs-communique-idUKL6N0WV03T20150329

Australia’s incremental steps to war: Part 2

On 11 October 2014 I wrote an article ‘Australia’s Incremental Steps to War,’ which analysed the Australian government’s gradual escalation to committing troops to fight Daesh in Iraq. I concluded with this:

The government’s expansion of Australia’s involvement in Iraq from humanitarian aid drops to the spectre of sending in soldiers has occurred incrementally. At each stage the government has refused to rule out further involvement… With further incremental advances, and without clear and defined goals, it is inevitable that Australian will become more involved.

Less than five months later Prime Minster Abbott has indeed further involved Australia in Iraq, by confirming the deployment of another 300 troops, to help train the Iraqi forces.

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The ideology of the American media is that it believes that it doesn’t have any ideology

By William Blum

After Brian Williams’ fall from grace, his former boss at NBC, Bob Wright, defended Williams by pointing to his favorable coverage of the military, saying: “He has been the strongest supporter of the military of any of the news players. He never comes back with negative stories, he wouldn’t question if we’re spending too much.”

This is a failure of today’s journalism. This is the exact type of question they should be asking. If journalists are not asking these questions, who is?

If nobody is, then the elite are allowed to do as they please.


More evidence of why Iran’s nuclear program is not the problem

On 13 December 2014 I wrote an article explaining why Iran’s nuclear program is not the real point of conflict between Iran and the US.

“Contrary to what the media commonly reports, the US’ dispute with Iran does not stem from Iran’s nuclear activities. Rather it stems from the fact that Iran has never accepted a subdued position under US dominance, starting with the 1979 revolution.”

Last week Erin Banco published a similar article, ‘Middle East Countries Wary Of Iran Sanctions Easing, Not Possible Nuclear Weapons.’1

“Iran’s regional adversaries are concerned about something else: the power that Iran’s economy, unshackled from sanctions by a nuclear deal with the international community, would exert in the Middle East.”

Banco explains what will happen to Iran’s economy if sanctions are removed, and why the other Middle Eastern countries are wary.

Their concern regarding Iran’s economy if freed from sanctions explains why they prefer the sanctions to remain, and have used Iran’s nuclear activities as an excuse to prevent the country from developing.

It is more evidence of why Iran’s nuclear program is not the problem.

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  1. Banco E 2015, ‘Middle East Countries Wary Of Iran Sanctions Easing, Not Possible Nuclear Weapon’, International Business Times, 26 Feb 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/middle-east-countries-wary-iran-sanctions-easing-not-possible-nuclear-weapons-1829762?ft=61pb1

Why the Ukrainian conflict is not all about Putin

Putin, World Economic Forum 2009On 15 February 2015 a ceasefire was to come into effect between the Ukrainian government and the rebels fighting for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Dr Matthew Davies believed the ceasefire would not last because it did not advantage Vladimir Putin.1 As President of Russia, Putin holds influence with the DPR, and indeed is perceived by many as being behind their rebellion. According to Davies, the Ukrainian conflict has ‘never been about Ukraine, or even about territory that Putin thinks should be integrated into Russia [but] about the hurt honour of a country and a leader who want to be considered important. The conflict has been about perception.’ The narrative that the Ukrainian conflict is all about Putin is a common one in Western media, and is repeatedly used to explain the conflict.

I disagree with the narrative that the Ukrainian conflict is all about Putin. Rather, I think his actions are in the interests of Russia and are a defensive strategy in the face of threatening actions from the United States and Europe. To put it simply, I believe Putin is acting in defence of Russia. Below I will explain why.

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  1. Davies M 2015, ‘The Ukraine ceasefire plan is a Russian victory’, ABC, 13 Feb 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-13/davies-the-ukraine-ceasefire-plan-is-a-russian-victory/6092270