War Update

A Look Into US Militarism Around the Globe

From the June 2013 PNL #825

by Seth Rutledge

Bahrain: The government canceled a scheduled visit from UN Special Rapporteur on torture for the second time[i], while massive protests demanding political reform have continued since January 2011. The government crackdown killed 87 people and included mass detention, tear gassing of entire towns, and torture[ii]. The repressive forces are largely imported, recruited to act with less regard for the population and to prevent a military uprising[iii]. Some units were provided by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states; all close allies of Washington[iv]. Despite the protestors’ call for the US to stop arming the GCC states and Bahrain[v], they still receive US arms and tear gas. In February the Bahraini government hired John Timoney to train Bahraini security forces. Timoney has a history of abuse as a police chief and adviser in the US[vi]. On May 6 the US began conducting naval exercises from its base in Bahrain[vii].

Syria: 300 people died on May 4 and 5 when Israel conducted air strikes against Syrian facilities[viii]. The US has deployed 200 troops to Jordan to prepare for the possible invasion of Syria[ix]. The US has approved an additional 123 million in direct aid to the armed opposition[x] and 100 million in humanitarian aid[xi] to support the Al Qaeda linked opposition group Jabhat al-Nursa[xii]. The UN has gathered evidence that the rebels have used chemical weapons[xiii].

Guatemala: Although a Guatemalan court convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt of genocide against the Ixil people[xiv], it was overturned. The 30 years of State repression killed 200,000[xv] supported by US arms, dollars, and advisers. The U.N. said state forces were responsible for 93% of the deaths[xvi]. The US provided over 26 million in military aid to the Guatemalan government in 2012[xvii] to fight the war on drugs. The Guatemalan military, paramilitary, and police forces have engaged in extra-judicial killings, extortion, drug running, torture, rape[xviii], and displacement of indigenous peoples[xix]. Witnesses in the Montt trial accused the president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, of crimes against humanity while he was a general during the genocide [xx]. 2011 elections were compromised by fraud, killings, kidnappings, and bribery[xxi]. In this context of cronyism, multinationals seek to exploit Guatemala's vast resources, causing environmental destruction and indigenous displacement.



[i]               http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5720

[ii]               http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/BCHR/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Second-An...

[iii]          https://witnessbahrain.org/background-facts-on-bahrain/

[iv]              http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119050

[v]               http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/world/middleeast/as-hopes-for-reform-f...

[vi]              http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/16/john-timoney-police-chief-ba...

[vii]         http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bahrain-u-s-stop-interference-dont-meet-...

[viii]             http://rt.com/news/damascus-syria-explosions-sunday-831/

[ix]          http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-us-jordan...

[x]           http://rt.com/news/friends-syria-istanbul-us-152/

[xi]              http://globalnews.ca/news/544911/u-s-to-offer-100-million-in-new-humanit...

[xii]             http://nsnbc.me/2013/04/18/us-troops-stage-in-jordan-to-defend-al-qaeda-...

[xiii]             http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2013/05/in-wake-of-us-israeli-attack-o...

[xiv]             http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21578072-former-dictators-convict...

[xv]             http://thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/US_Guat.html

[xvi]             http://rightsaction.org/action-content/guatemalan-president-otto-molina-...

[xvii]            http://justf.org/Country?country=Guatemala&year1=2009&year2=2014

[xviii]           http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2010/guatemala

[xix]             http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/3823-guatemala-the...

[xx]             http://rightsaction.org/action-content/guatemalan-president-otto-molina-...

[xxi]             http://rightsaction.org/action-content/guatemala-elections-and-still-no-...

Seth seeks independent and on-the-ground sources each month for the War Update.

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