Archive for the ‘Stephen Zunes’ Category

Hillary The Hawk

By Stephen Zunes

The most comprehensive documentation of Hillary Clinton’s systematic support for military action and of her deceptive talk, if not lies.

From The Cairo Review of Global Affairs

TFF PressInfo 317: Yemen – The mainstream narrative is grossly misleading

By Jan Oberg, TFF director

Lund, Sweden, April 24, 2015

Double standards

A coalition led by Saudi-Arabia and supported by Western leaders has been bombing Yemen for about a month; it’s a clearcut international aggression and an extremely a-symmetric conflict.

But we’ve heard no calls for a ‘humanitarian intervention’ by NATO or a no-fly zone to prevent the now more than 1500 bombing raids from contining and hitting also civilian targets.

It’s not that international law is blatantly violated; sadly that has been seen before. It is the roaring absence of a clear condemnation by the UN, EU/NATO countries – usually calling themselves ‘the international community’ – and by the Western mainstream media.

Substance plays a minor role. What is right or wrong depends on who is doing what. This war is OK because the Saudi dictatorship and its coalition members are Western allies and armed by NATO countries.

The convenient but wrong narrative

Furthermore, the narrative has twisted this into a proxy war between Saudi-Arabia and the West on the one side and Iran, alone, on the other side blaming the latter for its alleged support to the Houthis.

It is no wonder that a group of eminent scholars on Yemen have published an open letter in Washington Post in which, among other things, they condemn the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Read the rest of this entry »

How the US contributed to Yemen’s crisis

By Stephen Zunes

Washington’s support for Yemen’s former dictatorship — and of Saudi efforts to sideline the country’s nonviolent pro-democracy movement — helped create the current crisis.

As a Saudi-led military coalition continues to pound rebel targets in Yemen, the country is plunging into a humanitarian crisis. Civilian casualties are mounting.

With U.S. logistical support, the Saudis are attempting to re-instate the country’s exiled government — which enjoys the backing of the West and the Sunni Gulf monarchies — in the face of a military offensive by Houthi rebels from northern Yemen.

None of this had to be.

Not long ago — at the height of the Arab Spring in 2011 — a broad-based, nonviolent, pro-democracy movement in Yemen rose up against the U.S.-backed government of dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. If Washington and Saudi Arabia had allowed this coalition to come to power, the tragic events unfolding in Yemen could have been prevented.

The movement had forged an impressive degree of unity among the various tribal, regional, sectarian, and ideological groups that took part in the pro-democracy protests, which included mass marches, sit-ins, and many other forms of nonviolent civil resistance. Leaders of prominent tribal coalitions — as well as the Houthis now rebelling against the government — publicly supported the popular insurrection, prompting waves of tribesmen to leave their guns at home and head to the capital to take part in the movement.

These tribesmen, along with the hundreds of thousands of city dwellers on the streets, were encouraged to maintain nonviolent discipline, even in the face of government snipers and other provocations that led to the deaths of hundreds of unarmed protesters.

The Obama administration, however, was more concerned about maintaining stability in the face of growing Al-Qaeda influence in rural areas. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates acknowledged that Washington had not planned for an era without Saleh, who had ruled the country for more than three and a half decades. As one former ambassador to Yemen put it in March 2011, “For right now, he’s our guy.”

Continue here…

Powerful nonviolent resistance to armed conflict in Yemen

By Stephen Zunes and Noor Al-Haidary

As with the initial uprising against the Saleh regime four years ago, an unarmed civil society movement rises up to challenge the Huthi militia.

While media coverage of the tragic situation unfolding in Yemen in recent months has focused on armed clashes and other violence, there has also been widespread and ongoing nonviolent civil resistance employed by a number of different actors.

In fact, the most significant setbacks to the Huthi militia in their march southward across the country in recent months have come not from the remnants of the Yemeni army or Saudi air strikes, but from massive resistance by unarmed civilians which has thus far prevented their capture of Taiz, the country’s third largest city, and other urban areas. The resistance efforts have also pressed the Houthis to withdraw their forces from a number of previously-held areas, including universities, residential neighborhoods, and even military bases. This kind of nonviolent resistance by ordinary people is remarkable, but it is not new in Yemen.

Continued here…

U.S. leadership against Russia crippled by its own hypocrisy

By Stephen Zunes

Washington’s major limitation towards Russia is not a lack of military leadership, but a lack of moral leadership

The fragile ceasefire between the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-backed rebels could help pave the way to a peaceful resolution to the conflict—or simply postpone a worsening of the crisis. Unfortunately, Washington’s leadership of international efforts against Russian aggression has been severely compromised by its own hypocrisy and double standards.

As with Russia in eastern Ukraine, the United States has a long history of arming, training, and even providing personnel in support of rebel groups in such countries as… Continue reading here.

Netanyahu’s ugly Gaza game

By Stephen Zunes

The murder by unknown assailants of three Israeli teens who were members of an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Back would normally have been treated by both sides as simply another senseless loss of innocent young life experienced too often by Israelis and Palestinians alike. But the right-wing Israeli government took advantage of the tragedy to whip up ultra-nationalist sentiments, engage in a new wave of repression in the occupied West Bank, launch heavy mortar attacks and air strikes against civilian targets in the besieged Gaza Strip, and now to threaten all-out war.

This latest round of violence came on the heels of failed peace negotiations in which the Palestine Authority agreed to unprecedented concessions, including accepting a settlement in which their state would be demilitarized and would encompass just 22 percent of historic Palestine, militias would be dismantled, Israeli and international forces could guard all borders, Jerusalem would be shared as both nations’ co-capital, 80 percent of Israeli colonists would be allowed to stay in their illegal settlements, and the Palestinians would renounce the right of return of refugees expelled from their homes during Israel’s 1947-49 war of independence. Read the rest of this entry »

A nonviolent alternative for Ukraine

By Stephen Zunes and Erica Chenoweth

May 28, 2014 – Published at

Ukraine faces a rising tide of violence in the restive east. Here’s why nonviolent activism is the best strategy for fighting back.

On May 15, thousands of unarmed residents and steelworkers of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol did nonviolently what a bloody attack by Ukrainian troops six days earlier was unable to: rid the region’s second-largest city of armed pro-Russian separatists who had held key buildings and other parts of the city for weeks. Smaller protests have taken place in other cities in eastern Ukraine held by separatists.
In the eastern cities targeted by armed pro-Russian militias, such as Donetsk, Lugansk, and Krivy Rig, large nonviolent protests in support of national unity have taken place in recent weeks. Continue here.

Originally published here.

Repression, paranoia increases in Egypt

By Stephen Zunes

Since the military coup in Egypt against the unpopular but democratically elected government of Mohammed Morsi last July, more than 1,000 regime opponents have been killed, thousands more have been hauled before military courts on political charges, and a repressive anti-protest law has been enacted, severely limiting the right of peaceful assembly. The targets of this crackdown have not just been supporters of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood government, but liberal secular activists whose calls for democracy and social justice have put them at odds with both the Islamists and the military leadership. Continue here…

How the state Assembly tries to limit what I can teach

By Stephen Zunes

In preparing my syllabus for my introductory course on the Middle East this semester, it gives me pause that the California Assembly is still on record declaring that discussing certain well-documented historic incidents in modern Middle Eastern history should “not be tolerated in the classroom.” This unprecedented attack on academic freedom came in the form of a resolution (HR 35), co-sponsored by 66 of the 88 Assembly members, which passed by a voice vote in 2012. Continue reading here….

The resolution purports to be in opposition to anti-Semitic activities on university campuses, yet defines “anti-Semitism” so broadly as to include student activism targeting certain policies of Israel’s right-wing government as well as professors and others who acknowledge certain well-documented war crimes committed by Israeli forces.

The US role in Iraq’s upsurge in violence

By Stephen Zunes

The tragic upsurge of violence in Iraq in recent months, including the temporary takeover of sections of two major Iraqi cities by al-Qaida affiliates, is a direct consequence of the repression of peaceful dissent by the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and, ultimately, of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation. Continue here…


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