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Showing posts from November 12, 2014

Stealing Palestine: Who dragged Palestinians into Syria’s conflict?

Palestinian "volunteer forces" stand guard while NGOs tend to Yarmouk camp residents receiving food aid, medical assistance and evacuation.





Palestinians didn't jump into the fray in Syria. They were dragged into it - violently and reluctantly. Here is the story of how and why Palestinians and their 14 refugee camps became strategic targets in the Battle for Syria.



A small UNRWA van delivers boxes of staple foods to Yarmouk camp residents who wait at a pick-up point. Bread donated by the Syrian government lies atop the boxes.

My first visit to Yarmouk took place a few days after 20 people were killed in the Palestinian camp’s first major shelling incident on August 2, 2012. Residents showed me the damage caused by the first mortar – which hit the roof of a small apartment building not far from Tadamoun, a Damascus suburb where rebels and security forces were clashing daily.



As bystanders rushed to investigate the damage, a second shell hit the narrow street outside where onlo…

US and China strike deal on carbon cuts in push for global climate change pact

US President Barack Obama looks on as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images


The United States and China have unveiled a secretly negotiated deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output, with China agreeing to cap emissions for the first time and the US committing to deep reductions by 2025.


The pledges in an agreement struck between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping, provide an important boost to international efforts to reach a global deal on reducing emissions beyond 2020 at a United Nations meeting in Paris next year.

China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, has agreed to cap its output by 2030 or earlier if possible. Previously China had only ever pledged to reduce the rapid rate of growth in its emissions. Now it has also promised to increase its use of energy from zero-emission sources to 20% by 2030.

The United States has …

The American fear-mongering machine is about to scare us back into war again

According to previews of Obama’s Wednesday speech, the very airstrikes the public has been scared into supporting will reportedly expand fast – not only in Iraq but into Syria. Photograph: Bixentro / Flickr via Creative Commons


Did you know that the US government’s counterterrorism chief Matthew Olson said last week that “there’s no credible information” that the Islamic State (Isis) is planning an attack on America and that there’s “no indication at this point of a cell of foreign fighters operating in the United States”? Or that, as the Associated Press reported, “The FBI and Homeland Security Department say there are no specific or credible terror threats to the US homeland from the Islamic State militant group”?

Probably not, because as the nation barrels towards yet another war in the Middle East and President Obama prepares to address that nation on the “offensive phase” of his military plan Wednesday night, mainstream media pundits and the usual uber-hawk politicians are busy tr…