Former UN Chief Kofi Annan Blames US for Rise of ISIS

Koni-Annan-Munich-Security-Conference-afp

Former UN Chief Kofi Annan @ Munich Security Conference

 

 

10 Feb 2015

Munich Security Conference

Kofi Annan, who served as secretary-general of the United Nations when the group overwhelmingly supported the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq, claimed at the Munich Security Conference that the United States is to blame for the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Annan also asserted that he was always in opposition to the Iraq war.

“The folly of that fateful decision was compounded by post-invasion decisions. The wholesale disbandment of the security forces, among other measures poured hundreds of thousands of trained and disgruntled soldiers and policemen onto the streets,” said Annan of the post-invasion strategy.

“The ensuing chaos has proved an ideal breeding ground for the Sunni radical groups that have now coalesced around the Islamic State label,” he further stated.

Mr. Annan said that combating the ISIS problem requires a long-term strategy, claiming that “there are no quick fixes or easy solutions,” reports Rudaw.

Another factor for regional instability was the Arab-Israeli conflict, added the former UN chief.

He warned, “The radicals are leading the Middle East astray if they think that their ideology will restore the Muslim world’s erstwhile greatness. On the contrary, world history teaches us that closed societies decay. Open societies are the ones that prosper.”

In concluding his speech, Annan suggested that “the Middle East must adapt, change, and build a future” based on “peace and security, inclusive development, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.” He added, “If it does so, then I believe the majority of the people of the Middle East will not be sorry to see the end of the Middle East as we know it.”

 

US to Implement Official Strategy to Undermine IS Financial Strength: US Treasury

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014

Reuters / Stringer

RIA NOVOSTI – Oct 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – The United States will implement a strategic plan aimed to degrade the Islamic State’s (IS) financial strength, US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen announced Thursday.

“Our strategy involves three mutually supportive elements. First, we [the US] are working to disrupt ISIL’s revenue streams in order to deny it money in the first place. Second, we aim to limit what ISIL can do with the funds it collects by restricting its access to the international financial system. And finally, we will continue to impose sanctions on ISIL’s senior leadership and financial facilitators to disrupt their ability to operate,” said Cohen at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace conference.

According to Cohen, the United States will cut off the Islamic State’s “revenue from oil sales, ransom payments, extortion and crime, and support from foreign donors” and make it “difficult for them to find a bank anywhere that will touch their money or process their transactions.”

Cohen reiterated that the United States would not change its policy on not paying ransom for those kidnapped by IS, as it “deprives terrorists of funding critical to their deadly aspirations and operations”.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. A US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.

 

Obama’s ‘strategy’ against Russia

 

 Yes We Can!

Yes We Can!

By Pepe Escobar – Pepe Escobar is a Brazilian investigative journalist. He initially became famous in Brazil during the 80s, writing cultural criticism for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper.

The Barack Obama administration seems to love the sound of unilateral sanctions in the morning. It must feel like “victory“.

Real, hardcore sanctions, if ever applied, would be devastating mostly for North Atlantic Treaty Organization poodles, not Moscow. Meanwhile, (energy) adults continue to do business as usual.

There’s no way to understand Cold War 2.0 without a flashback to November 2010, when Vladimir Putin directly addressed German business/industry, proposing an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

German interest in this key strategic relationship has been reciprocal. Amplified to other nations, that implies in the long run a full European Union-Russia economic/trade integration, and, in the bigger picture, a step closer to Europe-Asia integration. Which translates as absolute anathema for the embattled, Monopoly-addicted hyperpower/hegemon.

For all of US Think Tankland talking and theorizing, breathlessly, about “containment” of a “rogue state” – which in itself is laughable, as if Russia was Somalia – the Obama administration’s overarching “strategy” is really in a class by itself. This masterpiece of juvenile delinquent diplomacy boils down to “ignore Putin“.

Call it the “I don’t like you; I don’t wanna talk to you; I just wish you’d die” school of diplomacy. How come Talleyrand never thought if it? Well, with advisers such as the astonishing mediocrity Ivo Daalder, a former ambassador to NATO, no wonder Obama does not need enemies.

All we need is Lavrov
The sanctions hysteria is designed to force President Putin to bow to the hegemon’s whims, as part of the overall “strategy”; forging an “international consensus” to “isolate” Russia and turn it into a “pariah state”. “Pariah states” that do energy mega-deals, as in here and here.

Still, the predominant wishful thinking revolves around the economic strangulation of Russia – as it was relentlessly attempted against Iran (and bravely resisted by Iranians). Inside their bubble, the wishful thinkers even believe Beijing will be on board, oblivious to the fact that Beijing clearly sees the sanction hysteria/ignore Putin “doctrine” as a branch of the “pivoting to Asia” – which is essentially military containment of China.

In the end, the Kremlin has also reached a similar conclusion: it’s useless to talk to Washington. After all, the hegemon’s laundry list remains the same – the Kremlin is not allowed to support popular protests in eastern and southern Ukraine; everyone must submit to the neo-nazi/neo-fascist-allied regime changers in Kiev; and Crimea must be “returned” – to NATO – so NATO can kick Moscow out of the Black Sea.

Washington’s ultimate wet dream would be to interrupt gas shipments by Gazprom from Russia to the EU – in fact trade sabotage, which Moscow would undoubtedly interpret as an act of war. Meanwhile, Washington/NATO’s “Plan A” remains to lure the Kremlin into an “invasion” – so Putin can be (in fact already is) denounced as “the new Hitler” and the ultimate threat to the EU.

So much for the “containment/isolation” martini cocktail of arrogance, ignorance, impotence and irresponsibility. Diplomatic finesse? Forget it. In terms of a real diplomat at work, feel free to admit “All We Need Is Lavrov“.

Go back to Game of Thrones
Moscow has so many ways to retaliate real hard against the hegemon: in Syria; on the Iran nuclear dossier; on NATO’s ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network, which goes through Russia; on the future of Afghanistan.

If the White House and the US State Department really wanted to listen to how Putin frames the relationship between the West and Russia, that has been voiced repeatedly by the Kremlin. Russia expects respect from “our Western partners”, who since 1991 have treated it not as “an independent, active participant in international affairs”, with “its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected”, but as a backward or dangerous nation to dismiss and “contain”.

The historical record clearly shows Washington does not respect the national interests of anybody; the only thing that matters is that they should always be subordinated to Washington’s interests.

The Kremlin, in a nutshell, has invited Washington to play realpolitik. Not Monopoly. The Obama administration, at best – and we are being very lenient here – plays checkers. Moscow plays chess. A mad drive to instill chaos in Russia’s western borderlands while “ignoring” Putin won’t change the Kremlin’s defense of what it perceives as Russia’s national interests.

Let’s say the “project” was to seize Ukraine, kick Moscow out of the Sevastopol base, and thus from the Eastern Mediterranean; and then take over Syria, so Qatar – and not Iran-Iraq-Syria – may get “its” share of Pipelineistan via Jordan and a Sunni-ruled Syria towards EU markets. The “project” is miserably failing.

Yet the sanctions game will persist (like it did with Cuba, Iraq, Iran). The White House is already concocting more of the same. No adults in Europe will follow. Even poodles are able to sniff that the Obama administration does not even qualify to play Game of Thrones on PlayStation 3.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).