Patrick Cockburn discusses the chaotic mess NATO left behind in Libya; the numerous militias vying for power and behaving badly; why Western media isn’t interested in Libyan events that can’t be framed as democratic “success stories;” and the black Africans jailed in a Libyan zoo, forced to eat the old Libyan flag.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses his article “Why War is Marching on the Road to Damascus;” assigning blame for the Houla massacre and whether it will spark US intervention; why Syria looks like Lebanon before its disastrous 15-year civil war; Saudi Arabia’s continued fight against Iran’s 1979 revolution and the Shia revival; why NATO “safe haven” zones would exacerbate conflict in Syria and lead to wider war; Iraq’s export of suicide bombers; how crony capitalism undermines popular support for Middle East/North Africa governments; and why US politicians don’t care much for long-term sensible foreign policy.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses Moammar Gadhafi’s death and NATO’s “mission accomplished” in Libya; why the rebel factions will have to find a new cause to rally around, or else face divisions and infighting; why the Arab spring is a genuine grassroots movement, not a CIA-engineered series of color coded revolutions; and having to rely on human rights NGOs for reports critical of Libya’s NTC, since the media doesn’t do its own investigations or publicize information contrary to US government aims (even Al Jazeera is a rebel cheerleader).
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses his article “Iraq cleric says his forces could attack US troops” on the dangers Muqtada al-Sadr poses for an extended US occupation; Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ability to play all sides against each other while his grip on power tightens; how the abundant foreign influences in Iraq create divisions along religious and sectarian lines and make a political settlement impossible; and why we’ll have to wait and see if the Libyan rebels are better of worse than the deposed Gaddafi regime.
Patrick Cockburn discusses recent moves by the administration to try to stay in Iraq and why their presence will remain a politically divisive issue – there if not here, the very small number of members of al Qaeda in Yemen, why NATO, not the Libyan rebels, will fill the power vacuum created when Gadhafi is eventually ousted, skirmishes in Libya where the media outnumber the fighters (on both sides), the bin Laden/al Qaeda strategy of provoking the U.S. to invade and occupy the Middle East to overextend and bring down the empire, the modest demands of Bahraini Shia for a constitutional monarchy which was met by a brutal government response, Obama’s farcical “mediation” in Bahrain, and why, unfortunately, “repression works,” meaning the Arab Spring faces huge challenges.
This interview is from the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles broadcast on January 14th. The original program is here.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses how Muqtada al-Sadrâ€™s return to Iraq has changed the political landscape and made a full US withdrawal by yearâ€™s end more likely; how otherwise-nationalist Iraqis use foreign allies as leverage against domestic sectarian/religious rivals; why the Pentagon seems to have drunk its own surge narrative Kool-Aid (in expecting the Iraq occupation to continue indefinitely); why the April Glaspie memo canâ€™t be construed as a green light for invasion, because nobody expected Saddam Hussein to do it; how George H.W. Bushâ€™s failure to support the 1991 Shiite uprising showed a US preference for an enduring, but weakened, Hussein led government, and an understanding that a Shia win would benefit Iran; how plain â€œstupidityâ€ explains George W. Bushâ€™s policy shift to depose Hussein and occupy the country; and how Iraqâ€™s crippling problems are reflected by the millions of refugees who still refuse to return home.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the extreme poverty on display in Kabul despite the many NGOs and billions of dollars in aid spent since 2001; subcontracted rebuilding projects in dangerous and remote areas that are especially prone to fraud and waste; the Afghan governmentâ€™s inextricable ties to the heroin trade; how the US squandered any goodwill remaining from overthrowing the Taliban; and how the US praises Afghan â€œdemocracyâ€ while ignoring the request of supposed-potentate Hamid Karzai to stop night raids.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the embarrassing performance of what was supposed to be an impressive display of U.S. military power in Iraq, the bitter sectarian divide remaining from Iraqâ€™s civil war of 2006-07 and why Kurdish autonomy my be preferable to true independence in the short term.
Michael Hastings (audio begins at 19:30), author of the article â€œThe Runaway Generalâ€ in Rolling Stone magazine, where he is now a contributing editor, discusses why the AfPak War â€“ unfortunately â€“ lives up to its name, the large increase in drone strikes during Obamaâ€™s presidency, the elusive â€œinflection pointâ€ at which combat casualties permanently decline and why the â€œsurgeâ€ in Iraq canâ€™t be duplicated in Afghanistan.
Andy Worthington (audio begins at 35:45), author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses the proceedings at Guantanamo that are grinding to a halt, why â€œmaterial support for terrorismâ€ charges have no relation to war crimes and should be tried in federal courts, the political realities that make Guantanamoâ€™s timely closure highly unlikely and the 58 Yemeni prisoners still in custody despite being cleared for release.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the revival of al-Qaeda in Iraq (and its minimal relation to bin Ladenâ€™s group), how the Sadrists are the only grass roots political movement in Iraq, how Prime Minister Malikiâ€™s grip on power is an impediment to a coalition government and why the decisive outcome of Iraqâ€™s civil war greatly decreases the chance of another major conflict
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent and author of the book Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq, discusses the recent bombing attacks against Shia pilgrims in Iraq, the continued political impasse over which alliance of parties will be able to form a government, the question of whether whoever comes to power will insist upon the Dec. 2011 deadline for U.S. withdrawal or bow to Pentagon plans to retain bases there and the continuing humanitarian crisis there.
Patrick Cockburn, Gareth Porter, Will Grigg 11-1 95.9 in Austin or stream from http://kaosradioaustin.org
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the failure of Iraqi elections to create a functional government, inadequate basic services in Iraq after seven years of occupation, the tendency of countries with oil-based economies to become dictatorships and why the Kurds are better served in the short term by continued autonomy rather than an independent state.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the four major political coalitions vying for power in Iraq, why sectarian conflicts (despite what most Iraqiâ€™s say) remain the basis for Iraqâ€™s political disputes, the multitude of forces working against a US presence in Iraq beyond 2011 and how the Marjah offensive marks a return to propagandized embedded journalism.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses the Iraq bombings that undermine Nouri al-Malikiâ€™s claim of improved security in Baghdad, the US government spin machine that defines terrorist attacks as indicators of progress, the difficulty of fighting and winning wars against failed states, the marked decline in Iraqâ€™s Sunni population and the strange US determination to pacify Afghanistan.