Video: "Massive Casualties Feared in Nigerian Military Attack on Niger Delta Villages"

22 May, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

ABUJA, 22 May 2009 (IRIN) — Thousands of civilians have fled their villages in Nigeria’s Delta state after government troops launched an offensive against militant groups in the state on 13 May.

Villagers in Delta state’s Gbramatu kingdom reported Oporoza and Okerenkoko villages being attacked with heavy machine-gun fire from low-flying helicopters on 15 May. Eyewitness accounts reported at least 100 bodies, according to Amnesty International’s Nigeria campaigner Lucy Freeman.

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Video: Nigeria – Sweet Crude Directed by Sandy Cioffi

“For fifty years, crude oil has been flowing from under the feet of the people of the Niger Delta. For fifty years, they have been promised that this would mean a better life. This promise has never been kept. Now, the people have had enough.”


Sandy Cioffi is a Seattle-based film and video artist.  For more information about the film, go to

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Iraq: Provoking the Inevitable By Dahr Jamail

23 May 2009 – t r u t h o u t | Perspective

On Monday, Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Iraq’s volatile Diyala Province. One of them, Sheikh Riyadh al-Mujami, not coincidentally, is a prominent leader in the local Sahwa (Sons of Iraq), the 100,000-strong Sunni militia that was set up by the US military to quell attacks against occupation forces and launch an effort to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq. Both of those objectives were accomplished, but these efforts are being erased by ongoing missions by Iraqi government security forces, sometimes backed by the US military, to kill or capture both Sahwa leadership and fighters. The results of these attacks against the Sahwa are already evident in an escalation in violence that has taken two forms – a dramatic increase in spectacular attacks against Iraqi civilians and increasing attacks against occupation forces.

The Sahwa played a critical role in the reduction of overall violence in Iraq. When the US decided to pay off the resistance (to the tune of $300 per month per fighter) that was effectively shredding occupation forces from late 2003 until mid-2006, the number of US military personnel being killed began to decline, and has, until recently, continued to decline. The Sahwa were also effective in finding and eliminating al-Qaeda in Iraq, so the fact that we are now seeing a renewing of horrific attacks against the Shia should not come as a surprise as the Sahwa continue to leave their security posts around the country.

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‘Right to refuse’ By Harry Feldman

During talks with US President Obama last week, the Jerusalem Post reports, Israeli PM Netanyahu

spoke of the possibility of a “two peoples to live side by side in security and peace” if the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state and agreed to an end of conflict.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail’s Patrick Martin, ‘Daniel Gordis, author of Saving Israel: How the Jewish State Can Win a War That May Never End, and senior vice-president of the Shalem Centre, an influential right-wing think tank in Jerusalem’ justified the demand for recognising Israel as a Jewish state, averring, ‘The concept has always been part of our history’

Ever solicitous of the Palestinians’ best interests,

…It wouldn’t be exclusive…Minorities would be free to practise their own religion and culture…But if there was to be a successful Palestinian state right next door, I believe Arab Israelis would be more comfortable moving to a state of their own kind.

Above all,

If the Jewish state is not central to our status, then we have no real right to refuse the return of [Palestinian] refugees.

So there you have it. Without recognition of Israel as a racist state, the ‘right to refuse’ would be wholly artificial.

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Obama, Netanyahu and Iran

21 May 2009

[We are grateful to John Marsh for bringing to our attention the article below from Ha’aretz on the practicality of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear installations, which concludes “Ultimately, in an era of a multi-nuclear Middle East , all sides will have a clear interest to lower tension and not to increase it.” The 14 March 114 page “Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development” by Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington to which it refers is available at

We are also grateful to Ray Close for bringing to our attention the article below from the Washington Times by the pro-neocon Eli Lake which reports that President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu agreed during their meeting on 18 May to form a high level US/Israel working group to examine contingency plans for dealing with an Iranian nuclear weapons programme. Ray writes: Here is another clear-cut example of how the pro-Israel lobby here in the U.S. is working overtime to manipulate reporting on the Netanyahu visit to Washington this week to serve Israel’s strategic interests.

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