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Darius Shahtahmasebi

Will the ‘Taiwan Question’ Give Rise to a World War III Scenario?

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The United States and China are set to go head-to-head over disputes in relation to Taiwan and the South China Sea, with deadly consequences on the immediate horizon.

You wouldn’t know it with all the media hype over the US mid-term elections, but the US and China are on a deadly collision path in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. In the last two months, the US military has flown B-52 bombers and carried out its so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea. There have also been instances of US warships sailing through the Taiwan Strait in support of Taiwan, an island which China considers to be a rogue part of Chinese territory.

On a side note, it is amazing to say the least that the US believes it should have the “freedom to navigate” in the South China Sea, yet seems to get up in arms when Iranian ships expect the same kind of freedom in the Persian Gulf.

Near-collisions in the South China Sea

Last September, US and Chinese warships almost collided when sailing near an islet claimed by Beijing in the Spratly Islands. Reportedly, the Chinese warship threatened the US Destroyer that it would “suffer consequences” if it did not move, as it sailed within 45 yards of the American vessel.
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No More Dissident Voices: Succumb to Facebook & Twitter’s Demands or Get Banned (or Both)

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A recent purge by Facebook and Twitter of a host of independent media sites has pushed thousands of people out of work and has killed one of the most effective forms of expressing political dissent.

On Thursday last week, Facebook purged more than 800 pages and accounts, accusing them of engaging in “inauthentic behaviour” and violating Facebook’s anti-spam policies.

According to a statement released by Facebook on its website, many of these pages were:
using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.
One of these pages was The Anti-Media, which I have worked for since mid-2016. Until the purge, we had some 2.17 million followers on Facebook.
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Iran Isn’t Violating the Nuclear Agreement — America Is

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On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his most 
grandiose anti-Iranian performance to date, revealing what he believed was direct proof that Iran “lied” about its nuclear program. This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has overhyped the threat of Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program. He has been crying wolf over Iran since as far back as 1992.
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What the Media Isn’t Telling You About America’s True Intentions in Syria

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Just days ago, Israel openly voiced its frustrations with the United States for not taking a stronger role in countering Iran’s growing influence in neighboring Syria, a red line for Israel that has them planning to assault Syria’s sovereignty in order to defend its interests.

“It is convenient for the Americans to let us be their proxy against Iran in Syria,” one senior Israeli official said, according to the Times of Israel. “We are very worried.”

“Let me be direct. There is a need for greater American involvement in making sure that Iran doesn’t turn Syria into a puppet state,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last week reportedly told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “Every day that Iran entrenches itself in Syria brings war closer. There is no vacuum.”

“If the US chooses not to be a major player in shaping the future of Syria, then others will — and trust me, it won’t be the democratically elected representatives of the Syrian people,” Erdan added.
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If America Wasn’t America, the United States Would Be Bombing It

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On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time to Bomb North Korea.”

Luttwak’s thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan’s most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it.
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US Troops Arrive in Israel to Practice for Potential War With Hezbollah

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At a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, U.S. forces have been deployed in Israel ahead of a large-scale joint Israel-U.S. military exercise set to start next week, the Times of Israel reports.

According to the Times, the drill will simulate a major conflict in which Israel is attacked with thousands of missiles. Known as the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise and in its ninth installment, the simulation is clearly aimed at confronting Hezbollah’s alleged arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles.

Approximately 3,200 soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) took part in the February 2016 drill of the same name.

Despite the fact that the Israeli air force routinely strikes Hezbollah targets in Syria, it seems likely that these drills are intended to target Hezbollah in Lebanon, instead. On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that if war were to erupt again, Beirut would “pay the full price” for Iran’s presence in the country.

“Lebanon’s army and Hezbollah are the same — they will all pay the full price in the event of an escalation,” Lieberman also said. “If a conflict does break out in the north, ‘boots on the ground’ remains an option. We won’t allow scenes like in 2006, where we saw citizens of Beirut on the beach while Israelis in Tel Aviv sat in shelters… If people in Tel Aviv will be in bomb shelters, all of Beirut will be in bomb shelters.”
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The US Empire Has up to 1,000 Military Bases in 80 Countries

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On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a new initiative known as the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, the Nation reported.

In a series of panels that lasted over two days, the conference attendees highlighted the horrors of American foreign policy despite the fact Martin Luther King warned against these horrors over 50 years ago, a fitting reminder to heed the warnings of Dr. King.

According to the panel, the U.S. has over 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, “a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called ‘lily-pond’ bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe,” the Nation notes.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in 2014, while the total for bases and troops in war zones was between $160 billion and $200 billion.

The Nation also highlighted Vine’s claim that only some 11 other countries have bases in foreign countries, around 70 altogether. Russia is believed to have at least 26 bases in nine countries. They are mainly in former Soviet states, as well as Syria and Vietnam. The U.K., France, and Turkey have around four to ten bases each, and a handful of global bases are occupied by India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. This might all change in the years to come, however, as China may be looking to build bases of its own in the Middle East.
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The US Just Announced It Will Stay in Syria Even After ISIS Is Defeated: Here’s Why

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According to Newsweek, despite calls from Russia and Iran for the U.S. to abandon its illegal invasion of Syria, the Pentagon has just announced its intention to maintain its troop presence in the country even after ISIS is successfully defeated. 

“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told Agence France-Presse.

“To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks,” Pahon added.

The U.S. reportedly has at least 1,723 troops in Syria, up from the 1,251 figure reported in June.

Even if these concerns regarding ISIS are genuine, one should wonder why the U.S. feels responsible for ensuring that ISIS cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot further attacks. The premise completely undermines Syria’s sovereignty and the competency of its allies, who are more than capable of defeating ISIS without external western intervention. In fact, western intervention has not provided Syria with nearly as much of the stability or security it claims to have.
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How Trump Is Fueling the Refugee Crisis He Despises

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Donald J. Trump has been obsessed with refugees for some time, scapegoating vulnerable populations across the world and ultimately banning them from the United States. He expressed these sentiments throughout his campaign, and to this day, the president has extended his ludicrous travel ban to North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad (a partner in the fight against the ruthless terror group Boko Haram).

But for a man who despises refugees so much, he is single-handedly creating an endless supply of them through his excessively violent policies. To be sure, Barack Obama enacted more or less the same policies for a significant period of time, but Trump is already well on his way to surpassing Obama’s violence well under a year in office.

From the Conversation:
According to research from the nonprofit monitoring group Airwars, the first seven months of the Trump administration have already resulted in more civilian deaths than under the entirety of the Obama administration. Airwars reports that under Obama’s leadership, the fight against IS led to approximately 2,300 to 3,400 civilian deaths. Through the first seven months of the Trump administration, they estimate that coalition air strikes have killed between 2,800 and 4,500 civilians.
One should also bear in mind that the number of civilian deaths is likely to be underreported even with Airwars’ much-needed research. In his first six months, President Trump had already dropped 20,650 bombs in an air war in which he gave military generals free rein to call in airstrikes with no oversight. This includes Iraqi generals, too, and as we saw throughout the year, hundreds of civilians were being buried at any one time.
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