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Showing posts from January 20, 2014

Washington and the Oil Industry Know the Truth about Climate Change

By Dave Lindorff

January 19, 2014 - Climate skeptics in Congress, and oil and coal industry lobbyists like the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Coal Council (ACC) may be preventing any significant action in the US on reducing this country’s emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, but at the Pentagon, and in the executive suites of the oil industry giants, there is no doubt about the reality of climate change.

As Admiral Robert J. Papp of the US Coast Guard wrote in 2012 in the magazine of the US Naval Institute:

“The world may seem to be growing smaller, but its seas are growing bigger—particularly in the great North, where a widening water-highway beckons both with resources and challenges.”

Admiral Papp didn’t futz around. Without any caveats or bows to corrupted scientists on the payroll of the Koch Brothers, he wrote:


“The Arctic Ocean, in the northern region of the Arctic Circle, is changing from a solid expanse of inaccessible ice fields into a growing navigab…

Mexico's Mounting Challenge With Self-Defense Groups in Michoacan

A member of one of Mexico's self-defense groups stands guard at a barricade in Uspero, Michoacan State, on Jan. 16. (HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The emergence of self-defense groups in Michoacan state in February 2013 has greatly complicated the nature of armed conflicts in the region, where violence had previously stemmed primarily from competition between rival criminal organizations. The self-defense militias have been expanding into a coordinated body and now operate in more than a dozen municipalities. Their primary goal is to combat the Knights Templar, the dominant criminal group in the state, while taking charge of public security in each town they enter, at times by disarming local police.

The expansion of the militias, along with the increase in violence related to them and the Knights Templar, has triggered several recent deployments of federal troops to the economically important state, which is home of the strategic port city of Lazaro Cardenas and near M…

Israel and Jordan Work to Preserve Their Strategic Relationship

Men stare across the Jordan Valley on Jan. 8. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a brief and unannounced visit to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah on Jan. 16. The visit is not altogether unusual, despite some media reports to the contrary; Netanyahu also visited Abdullah in December 2012 and March 2013, each time without giving advance notice. After the prime minister arrived, Amman issued a statement saying the visit reflected the king's desire to make "tangible progress" on peace talks with the Palestinians and "protects the interests of the Jordanian kingdom." Netanyahu's spokesman gave a more vague description, saying the visit was to discuss "economic cooperation between the two countries and other regional matters."

There is little reason to expect much headway in negotiations over the peace process. However, there are less high-profile negotiations underway between Israel and Jordan over…

In South Sudan, Both Sides Seek an Advantage Before Any Possible Cease-Fire

A South Sudanese policeman in the southern state of Western Equatoria on Jan. 14. (PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


In the absence of a cease-fire between the South Sudanese government and rebel representatives who are currently meeting in Addis Ababa, both sides continue to maneuver on the battlefield. In addition to tribal violence throughout the country, larger military confrontations are ongoing in Bor, Malakal and Bentiu. However, there is no direct threat to the oil-producing region of Upper Nile state or to the capital, Juba. Should a cease-fire be achieved, it would still not make negotiations over the conflict's underlying causes much easier.

Analysis


Since Jan. 14 there has been heavy fighting, including tank battles, in the streets of Malakal, the regional capital of Upper Nile state. Upper Nile is South Sudan's primary oil-producing region, but the unrest has not directly threatened oil production. Meanwhile, a stalemate has emerged in the fighting along the ro…