The Middle East from Bush/Sharon to Obama/Netanyahu: Results and Prospects with Gilbert Achcar

Professor Gilbert Achcar teaches Development Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London. His latest book is Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy. Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice (2009) (with Noam Chomsky).

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Emir Sader, “The Obama Government’s First Massacre”

10 May, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review


One may have more or less sympathy for the new US president, more or less believe in his words, more or less value the change in the US government’s tone when handling its differences with other governments. But there is a limit when it comes to judging the character of a president and a government. That limit has now been reached, with the massacre of at least 150 civilians in Afghanistan.

There had already been deaths, in the previous week, of some hundreds of alleged militants at the hands of the Pakistani Army, whose credibility is nil and makes one suspect that the dead were largely civilians exhibited as Taliban, in an attempt to minimally restore the army’s image. The US government can pretend to believe in that version.

But now the stories of the Afghan massacre are coming from the very authorities of Afghanistan, a country occupied by Western troops, commanded by the US. At least 150 people — the vast majority of them women and children, a clear indication that they were civilians – became victims of bombings by Western troops. Nothing can hide it, nor is there any room for doubt.

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Lavalas Flexes its Muscles in Haiti By Kevin Pina

6 May, 2009 –

Haiti’s Lavalas movement effectively destroyed the credibility of the April 19 Senate election through a successful boycott campaign called Operation Closed Door. Even the most generous electoral count puts participation at less than 10 percent in the capital of Port-au-Prince, while the actual figure may be as low as 3 percent nationwide.

According to Rene Civil, one of the spokespersons for Operation Closed Door: “What we are seeing is the non-violent resistance of the Haitian people to undemocratic elections. There is no way they will be able to call the senators elected in this process legitimate. You cannot hold elections without the majority political party.”

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