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Bulletin N° 262


9 September 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

The logic of capitalist expansion, it has been argued, periodically requires wars. This was a 19th-century observation, which seems to still hold true. The quest for private profit above all else leads to unpleasant extremes, which many of us would like to ignore. Historian Eric Hobsbaum wrote more than ten years ago in the conclusion of his book, The Age of Extremes (1995):

The forces generated by the techno-scientific economy are now great enough to destroy the
environment, that is to say, the material foundations of human life. The structures of human
societies themselves, including even some of the social foundations of the capitalist economy,
are on the point of being destroyed by the erosion of what we have inherited from the human past.
Our world risks both explosion and implosion. It must change.
(pp. 584-585)

Today, we are witnessing a debacle of old empires, which contains within it the unprecedented risk of destroying humanity. Technology has rendered wars obsolete, argues war historian Gabriel Kolko. More than ever before we should learn to identify the networks of  political forces and educate ourselves to differentiate strategy from tactics. The ever-ready tacticians do not make policy, and the strategists are always looking for eager tacticians to help them implement their own policies.

"To explain the idea of method," wrote Carl von Clausewitz in 1832, "we must be allowed to cast a hasty glance at the logical hierarchy by means of which, as if by regularly constitued authorities, the world of action is governed." (On War)

The logical hierarchy he refers to is the social matrix in which all activities, including interactions between tactics and strategy, take place: 

We must not stop at the testing of a means for the immediate goal, but test also this goal as a means to a
higher one, and thus ascend the series of facts in succession, until we come to one so absolutely necessary
as to require no examination of proof. (On War)

The World upside down.
The imperative of capitalist expansion has carried us to this moment in history, at the point of self-destruction. What alternatives to this ideologically driven economy can emerge ? This is a question which literally millions of citizens are grappling with as the world seems to be entering an era of proloned destruction, a threat so enormous that is it barely recognizable.

The 7 items below offer readers access to several large questions being posed by scholars and activists today. The power elite in the imperial countries are without justification. And as power vacuums increase, dangers grow even more imminent. We hope that the information below will alert readers to the real need for developing skills in community relations, so networks can be built which will serve as alternatives to the barbaric violence that has become our common way of life in late capitalism.

Item A., by Patrick Cockburn, describes an Israeli policy of genocide and the increasing suffering in Gaza.

Item B., from The Armed Forces Journal, is an astoundingly candid discussion of imperial tactics for future wars: "The dirty little secret: Ethnic Cleansing works !"

Item C. is a critique of the U.S. Armed Forces endorsement of tactics for  "ethnic cleansing", from the New Orleans Voices for Peace group.

Item D.  a 5-minute documentary video from Information Clearing House on "the hidden truth" behind what motivated the 9/11 hijackers.

Item E., by Professor Gabriel Kolko, is an essay analyzing the future generations of weapons and its impact of strategy.

Item F., by Professor Michel Chossudovsky, is an analysis of  the next phase of the Middle East War.

Item G. is an essay by  Professor James Petras on Israeli-U.S. strategy in Lebanon and Iran.

As usual, we are pleased to include author William Blum's well-informed newsletter, The Anti-Empire Report :

Anti-Empire Report, August 18, 2006

And finally, the 5-minute video tape, "Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?" serves as a familiar echo which characterizes much of the social movement now underway in the United States, and which can no longer be entirely ignored by the Powers that Be, including the owners of  the mainstream media.

Keith Olbermann: "Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama bin Laden and
others seek - a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw
away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the
comforting illusion of safety."


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3

from Patrick Cockburn :
9 September 2006
The Independent

Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a
great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored because the world's attention has been diverted by wars in Lebanon and Iraq.

Gaza is dying
"Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now."
by Patrick Cockburn in Gaza


from : Truthout :
June 2006
Subject: Ralph Peters: "A dirty little secret: ethnic cleansing works!"
The Armed Forces Journal

Blood borders
How a better Middle East would look
By Ralph Peters

International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference — often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa's borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East — to borrow from Churchill — generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region's comprehensive failure isn't Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.

Of course, no adjustment of borders, however draconian, could make every minority in the Middle East happy. In some instances, ethnic and religious groups live intermingled and have intermarried. Elsewhere, reunions based on blood or belief might not prove quite as joyous as their current proponents expect. The boundaries projected in the maps accompanying this article redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant "cheated" population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia, but still fail to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities. And one haunting wrong can never be redressed with a reward of territory: the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the dying Ottoman Empire.

Yet, for all the injustices the borders re-imagined here leave unaddressed, without such major boundary revisions, we shall never see a more peaceful Middle East.

Even those who abhor the topic of altering borders would be well-served to engage in an exercise that attempts to conceive a fairer, if still imperfect, amendment of national boundaries between the Bosporus and the Indus. Accepting that international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East's "organic" frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected.

As for those who refuse to "think the unthinkable," declaring that boundaries must not change and that's that, it pays to remember that boundaries have never stopped changing through the centuries. Borders have never been static, and many frontiers, from Congo through Kosovo to the Caucasus, are changing even now (as ambassadors and special representatives avert their eyes to study the shine on their wingtips).

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.

Begin with the border issue most sensitive to American readers: For Israel to have any hope of living in reasonable peace with its neighbors, it will have to return to its pre-1967 borders — with essential local adjustments for legitimate security concerns. But the issue of the territories surrounding Jerusalem, a city stained with thousands of years of blood, may prove intractable beyond our lifetimes. Where all parties have turned their god into a real-estate tycoon, literal turf battles have a tenacity unrivaled by mere greed for oil wealth or ethnic squabbles. So let us set aside this single overstudied issue and turn to those that are studiously ignored.

The most glaring injustice in the notoriously unjust lands between the Balkan Mountains and the Himalayas is the absence of an independent Kurdish state. There are between 27 million and 36 million Kurds living in contiguous regions in the Middle East (the figures are imprecise because no state has ever allowed an honest census). Greater than the population of present-day Iraq, even the lower figure makes the Kurds the world's largest ethnic group without a state of its own. Worse, Kurds have been oppressed by every government controlling the hills and mountains where they've lived since Xenophon's day.

The U.S. and its coalition partners missed a glorious chance to begin to correct this injustice after Baghdad's fall. A Frankenstein's monster of a state sewn together from ill-fitting parts, Iraq should have been divided into three smaller states immediately. We failed from cowardice and lack of vision, bullying Iraq's Kurds into supporting the new Iraqi government — which they do wistfully as a quid pro quo for our good will. But were a free plebiscite to be held, make no mistake: Nearly 100 percent of Iraq's Kurds would vote for independence.

As would the long-suffering Kurds of Turkey, who have endured decades of violent military oppression and a decades-long demotion to "mountain Turks" in an effort to eradicate their identity. While the Kurdish plight at Ankara's hands has eased somewhat over the past decade, the repression recently intensified again and the eastern fifth of Turkey should be viewed as occupied territory. As for the Kurds of Syria and Iran, they, too, would rush to join an independent Kurdistan if they could. The refusal by the world's legitimate democracies to champion Kurdish independence is a human-rights sin of omission far worse than the clumsy, minor sins of commission that routinely excite our media. And by the way: A Free Kurdistan, stretching from Diyarbakir through Tabriz, would be the most pro-Western state between Bulgaria and Japan.

A just alignment in the region would leave Iraq's three Sunni-majority provinces as a truncated state that might eventually choose to unify with a Syria that loses its littoral to a Mediterranean-oriented Greater Lebanon: Phoenecia reborn. The Shia south of old Iraq would form the basis of an Arab Shia State rimming much of the Persian Gulf. Jordan would retain its current territory, with some southward expansion at Saudi expense. For its part, the unnatural state of Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan.

A root cause of the broad stagnation in the Muslim world is the Saudi royal family's treatment of Mecca and Medina as their fiefdom. With Islam's holiest shrines under the police-state control of one of the world's most bigoted and oppressive regimes — a regime that commands vast, unearned oil wealth — the Saudis have been able to project their Wahhabi vision of a disciplinarian, intolerant faith far beyond their borders. The rise of the Saudis to wealth and, consequently, influence has been the worst thing to happen to the Muslim world as a whole since the time of the Prophet, and the worst thing to happen to Arabs since the Ottoman (if not the Mongol) conquest.

While non-Muslims could not effect a change in the control of Islam's holy cities, imagine how much healthier the Muslim world might become were Mecca and Medina ruled by a rotating council representative of the world's major Muslim schools and movements in an Islamic Sacred State — a sort of Muslim super-Vatican — where the future of a great faith might be debated rather than merely decreed. True justice — which we might not like — would also give Saudi Arabia's coastal oil fields to the Shia Arabs who populate that subregion, while a southeastern quadrant would go to Yemen. Confined to a rump Saudi Homelands Independent Territory around Riyadh, the House of Saud would be capable of far less mischief toward Islam and the world.

Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today's Afghanistan — a region with a historical and linguistic affinity for Persia. Iran would, in effect, become an ethnic Persian state again, with the most difficult question being whether or not it should keep the port of Bandar Abbas or surrender it to the Arab Shia State.

What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan's Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren (the point of this exercise is not to draw maps as we would like them but as local populations would prefer them). Pakistan, another unnatural state, would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining "natural" Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.

The city-states of the United Arab Emirates would have a mixed fate — as they probably will in reality. Some might be incorporated in the Arab Shia State ringing much of the Persian Gulf (a state more likely to evolve as a counterbalance to, rather than an ally of, Persian Iran). Since all puritanical cultures are hypocritical, Dubai, of necessity, would be allowed to retain its playground status for rich debauchees. Kuwait would remain within its current borders, as would Oman.

In each case, this hypothetical redrawing of boundaries reflects ethnic affinities and religious communalism — in some cases, both. Of course, if we could wave a magic wand and amend the borders under discussion, we would certainly prefer to do so selectively. Yet, studying the revised map, in contrast to the map illustrating today's boundaries, offers some sense of the great wrongs borders drawn by Frenchmen and Englishmen in the 20th century did to a region struggling to emerge from the humiliations and defeats of the 19th century.

Correcting borders to reflect the will of the people may be impossible. For now. But given time — and the inevitable attendant bloodshed — new and natural borders will emerge. Babylon has fallen more than once.

Meanwhile, our men and women in uniform will continue to fight for security from terrorism, for the prospect of democracy and for access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself. The current human divisions and forced unions between Ankara and Karachi, taken together with the region's self-inflicted woes, form as perfect a breeding ground for religious extremism, a culture of blame and the recruitment of terrorists as anyone could design. Where men and women look ruefully at their borders, they look enthusiastically for enemies.

From the world's oversupply of terrorists to its paucity of energy supplies, the current deformations of the Middle East promise a worsening, not an improving, situation. In a region where only the worst aspects of nationalism ever took hold and where the most debased aspects of religion threaten to dominate a disappointed faith, the U.S., its allies and, above all, our armed forces can look for crises without end. While Iraq may provide a counterexample of hope — if we do not quit its soil prematurely — the rest of this vast region offers worsening problems on almost every front.

If the borders of the greater Middle East cannot be amended to reflect the natural ties of blood and faith, we may take it as an article of faith that a portion of the bloodshed in the region will continue to be our own.

• • •


Winners —


Arab Shia State



Free Baluchistan

Free Kurdistan


Islamic Sacred State




Losers —








Saudi Arabia



United Arab Emirates

West Bank

from by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed :
August 31, 2006
New Orleans Voices for Peace

US Army Contemplates Redrawing Middle East Map to Stave-off Looming Global Meltdown
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed


from Information Clearing House :
9 September 2006
Subject :
What Motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? The Hidden Truth.

The 9-11 Commission held its twelfth and final public hearing June 16-17, 2004, in Washington, DC. On June 16 the Commission heard from several of the federal
government's top law enforcement and intelligence experts on al Qaeda and the 9-11 plot. It was at this hearing that the question "What motivated them to do it?" was
finally asked. Watch it.

What Motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? The Hidden Truth
5 Minute Video

from Gabriel Kolko :
5 September 2006
Z Magazine

The Great Equalizer
Lessons From Iraq and Lebanon
by Gabriel Kolko

The United States had a monopoly of nuclear weaponry only a few years before other nations challenged it, but from 1949 until roughly the 1990s deterrence theory worked - nations knew that if they used the awesome bomb they were likely to be devastated in the riposte. Despite such examples of brinkmanship as the Cuban missile crisis and numerous threats of nuclear annihilation against non-nuclear powers, by and large the few nations that possessed the bomb concluded that nuclear war was not worth its horrendous risks. Today, by contrast, weapons of mass destruction or precision and power are within the capacity of dozens of nations either to produce or purchase. With the multiplicity of weapons now available, deterrence theory is increasingly irrelevant and the equations of military power that existed in the period after World War Two no longer hold.

This process began in Korea after 1950, where the war ended in a stand off despite the nominal vast superiority of America's military power, and the Pentagon discovered that great space combined with guerrilla warfare was more than a match for it in Vietnam, where the U.S. was defeated. Both wars caused the American military and establishment strategists to reflect on the limits of high tech warfare, and for a time it seemed as if appropriate lessons would be learned and costly errors not repeated.

The conclusion drawn from these major wars should have been that there were decisive limits to American military and political power, and that the U. S. should drastically tailor its foreign policy and cease intervening anywhere it chose to. In short, it was necessary to accept the fact that it could not guide the world as it wished to. But such a conclusion, justified by experience, was far too radical for either party to fully embrace, and defense contractors never ceased promising the ultimate new weapon. America's leaders and military establishment in the wake of 9/11 argued that technology would rescue it from more political failures. But such illusions - fed by the technological fetishism which is the hallmark of their civilization - led to the Iraq debacle.

There has now been a qualitative leap in technology that makes all inherited conventional wisdom, and war as an instrument of political policy, utterly irrelevant, not just to the U.S. but to any other nation that embarks upon it.

Technology is now moving much faster than the diplomatic and political resources or will to control its inevitable consequences - not to mention traditional strategic theories. Hezbollah has far better and more lethal rockets than it had a few years ago, and American experts believe that the Iranians compelled them to keep in reserve the far more powerful and longer range cruise missiles they already possess. Iran itself possesses large quantities of these missiles and American experts believe they may very well be capable of destroying aircraft carrier battle groups. All attempts to devise defenses against these rockets, even the most primitive, have been expensive failures, and anti-missile technology everywhere has remained, after decades of effort and billions of dollars, unreliable.1

Even more ominous, the U. S. Army has just released a report that light water reactors - which 25 nations, from Armenia to Slovenia as well as Spain, already have and are covered by no existing arms control treaties - can be used to obtain near weapons-grade plutonium easily and cheaply.2 Within a few years, many more countries than the present ten or so - the Army study thinks Saudi Arabia and even Egypt most likely - will have nuclear bombs and far more destructive and accurate rockets and missiles. Weapons-poor fighters will have far more sophisticated guerilla tactics as well as far more lethal equipment, which deprives the heavily equipped and armed nations of the advantages of their overwhelming firepower, as demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq. The battle between a few thousand Hezbullah fighters and a massive, ultra-modern Israeli army backed and financed by the U.S. proves this. Among many things, the war in Lebanon is a window of the future. The outcome suggests that either the Israelis cease their policy of destruction and intimidation, and accept the political prerequisites of peace with the Arab world, or they too will eventually be devastated by cheaper and more accurate missiles and nuclear weapons in the hands of at least two Arab nations and Iran.

What is now occurring in the Middle East reveals lessons just as relevant in the future to festering problems in East Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. Access to nuclear weapons, cheap missiles of greater portability and accuracy, and the inherent limits of all antimissile systems, will set the context for whatever crises arise in North Korea, Iran, Taiwan…or Venezuela. Trends which increase the limits of technology in warfare are not only applicable to relations between nations but also to groups within them - ranging from small conspiratorial entities up the scale of size to large guerilla movements. The events in the Middle East have proven that warfare has changed dramatically everywhere, and American hegemony can now be successfully challenged throughout the globe.

Iranian Missile Exercise

American power has been dependent to a large extent on its highly mobile navy. But ships are increasingly vulnerable to missiles, and while they are a long way from finished they are more-and-more circumscribed tactically and, ultimately, strategically. There is a greater balance-of-power militarily, the reemergence of a kind of deterrence that means all future wars will be increasingly protracted, expensive - and very costly politically to politicians who blunder into wars with illusions they will be short and decisive. Olmert and Peretz are very likely to lose power in Israel, and destroying Lebanon will not save their political futures. This too is a message not likely to be lost on politicians.

To this extent, what is emerging is a new era of more equal rivals.
Enforceable universal disarmament of every kind of weapon would be far preferable. But short of this presently unattainable goal, this emergence of a new equivalency is a vital factor leading less to peace in the real meaning of that term than perhaps to greater prudence. Such restraint could be an important factor leading to less war.

We live with 21st century technology and also with primitive political attitudes, nationalisms of assorted sorts, and cults of heroism and irrationality existing across the political spectrum and the power spectrum. The world will destroy itself unless it realistically confronts the new technological equations. Israel must now accept this reality, and if it does not develop the political skills required to make serious compromises, this new equation warrants that it will be liquidated even as it rains destruction on its enemies.

Israeli missiles target Beirut 

This is the message of the conflicts in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon - to use only the examples in today's papers. Walls are no longer protection for the Israelis - one shoots over them. Their much-vaunted Merkava tanks have proven highly vulnerable to new weapons that are becoming more and more common and are soon likely to be in Palestinian hands as well. At least 20 of the tanks were seriously damaged or destroyed.

The U.S. war in Iraq is a political disaster against the guerrillas - a half trillion dollars spent there and in Afghanistan have left America on the verge of defeat in both places. The "shock and awe" military strategy has utterly failed save to produce contracts for weapons makers - indeed, it has also contributed heavily to de facto U.S. economic bankruptcy.

The Bush Administration has deeply alienated more of America's nominal allies than any government in modern times. The Iraq war and subsequent conflict in Lebanon have left its Middle East policy in shambles and made Iranian strategic predominance even more likely, all of which was predicted before the Iraq invasion. Its coalitions, as Thomas Ricks shows in his wordy but utterly convincing and critical book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, are finished. Its sublime confidence and reliance on the power of its awesome weaponry is a crucial cause of its failure, although we cannot minimize its preemptory hubris and nationalist myopia. The United States, whose costliest political and military adventures since 1950 have ended in failure, now must face the fact that the technology for confronting its power is rapidly becoming widespread and cheap. It is within the reach of not merely states but of relatively small groups of people. Destructive power is now virtually "democratized."

If the challenges of producing a realistic concept of the world that confronts the mounting dangers and limits of military technology seriously are not resolved soon, recognizing that a decisive equality of military power is today in the process of being re-imposed, there is nothing more than wars and mankind's eventual destruction to look forward to.


1. Mark Williams, "The Missiles of August: The Lebanon War and the democratization of missile technology," Technology Review (MIT), August 16, 2006.
2. Henry Sokolski, ed., Taming the Next Set of Strategic Weapons Threats, U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, June 2006, pp. 33ff., 86.
Gabriel Kolko [send him mail] is the author, among other works, of Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914, Another Century of War?, and Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States and the Modern Historical Experience. His latest book is The Age of War.

from Michel Chossudovsky :
7 September 2006
Global Research

Confirmed by official statements and military documents, the US in close coordination with Britain (and in consultation with its NATO partners), is planning to launch a war directed against Iran and Syria.

The Next Phase of the Middle East War
by Michel Chossudovsky

from James Petras :
6 September 2006
Information Clearing House

Even as the bricks were still smoldering from 9/11, Israeli ideological point men, Senator Lieberman and Undersecretary for Defense Wolfowitz urged Washington to attack Iran by launching either simultaneous or sequential wars.

Israeli-US Strategy: Lebanon and Iran
by James Petras