Afghanistan: What wasn’t on the CBC

March 27, 2007

The British press seems to be at odds with the Canadian government and media concerning the security situation in Afghanistan. See Mike Wallace’s blog at

Afghanistan Five Years Later – A Senlis Council Report

March 27, 2007

Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban

– Five years after their removal from power: The Taliban are back

– Taliban Frontline now cuts half-way through Afghanistan

– US and UK led failed counter-narcotics policies are responsible

– Humanitarian crisis hits southern Afghanistan – extreme poverty, drought and hundreds of thousands starving in south

After five years, the United States-led international reconstruction mission has failed Afghanistan and its people. An all-military approach and aggressive poppy crop eradication strategies led by the US and the United Kingdom have triggered a hunger crisis and accelerated the return of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. The US and the UK are responsible for these humanitarian and security crises, which make Afghanistan a renewed menace for its own people and the world.

Executive summary:

Conclusions and recommendations:

Full report:

Fred Williams: Warmakers Have Hijacked Language of Peacekeeping

March 27, 2007

Fred Williams contends that the “warmakers have hijacked the language of peacekeeping”, referring to an an article in Embassy, Canada’s foreign policy news weekly:

The title of this article, “Peacekeeping Alone Won’t Win a War” (Embassy March 14) is such an ass-backwards example of double-speak I actually laughed out loud when I gave it some thought.The objectives of peacekeeping have nothing whatsoever to do with winning or losing wars. The objective of “war-making” is to win wars. That’s why the spin doctors hijacked the term peacekeeping and twisted it to mean war-making because that’s what they really want to do.

By hijacking the language they take away the term peacekeeping from the real peacemakers and leave them without a term to use for real peacekeeping. It makes it hard to talk about it, and that’s why there is so much violence and war-making going on in the world today.

Peace does not come out of the barrel of a gun. That only brings tyranny. Peace involves building trust and bringing prosperity and true equality. When you bring these things you have no need of weapons because people don’t oppose you.Look at how U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent Latin American tour was met with protests and riots at every stop. Yet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez toured and was wildly cheered everywhere, especially Haiti. Look at what the difference is in what they bring and offer to these countries. Chavez is a peacekeeper. People know it and recognize it.


(Note: Fed Williams has a website at )


Peacekeeping Alone Won’t Win a War

Flora MacDonald, Lewis Mackenzie and Pat Stogran say the new definition of peacekeeping includes development, and that it’s the goal, not the means, that counts.

MidEast Dispatches: One Picture Sits Over Differing Surveys

March 27, 2007

One Picture Sits Over Differing Surveys

Inter Press Service
Ali al-Fadhily*

BAGHDAD, Mar 26 (IPS) – The two surveys, one following the other, told quite different stories about Iraq. But Iraqis did not need to look at either to know what their own story is like.


The Sunday Times of London published the results of a survey Mar. 18 carried out by the British firm Opinion Research Business that claimed that most Iraqis prefer life under the new government to life under Saddam Hussein.

Another published the same day, sponsored by USA Today newspaper, the ABC news channel in the United States, BBC and the German television network ARD, found that six in ten Iraqis thought their lives were going badly, and only a third expected anything would get better in a year’s time.

But Iraqis were not looking at the surveys – they do not need to. Life around them tells its own story.

“Our government and its American friends don’t know much about us,” 35-year-old teacher Razzaq Ahmed from Ramadi told IPS. “All they care about is their war against al-Qaeda.”

And residents say the government seems to care little about the rights of Iraqi people, their right to life itself. One event after another drives home that message to people.

The killing of 18 boys at a football field in Ramadi last month has left Iraqis fuming. Ramadi, 100 km west of Baghdad, is capital of the restive al-Anbar province.

The United Nations Children’s Agency UNICEF said in a statement that “the loss of so many innocent children at play is unacceptable.” A statement from the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the killing of the boys “a brutal act” that “reveals the ugly face of terrorists.”

The killing of the boys at the football field was bad enough, but confusion arising from several contradictory statements infuriated people further. By one account the boys died after a car bomb was detonated near them. Another report said the U.S. forces set off an explosion near a football field to get rid of some material.

There is no evidence that U.S. forces were responsible for killing the boys, but the confused reports inflamed anger against them nevertheless.

“Americans say it is al-Qaeda that did it,” Suha Aziz, mother of a four-year-old boy killed a year ago in U.S. military fire told IPS. “But it is their responsibility to maintain peace in Iraq, no matter who does what.”

Surveys differ, but most Iraqis seem agreed now in their opposition to the U.S.-led occupation. That includes many leaders from al-Anbar who negotiated with the U.S. military earlier.

“They were only fishing for collaborators through the so-called negotiations,” a Ramadi tribal chief told IPS. “The security situation is getting worse and worse and if the Americans do not kill us, then it is for sure that they cannot protect us.”

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, an occupying power has a duty to ensure public order and safety in the territory under its authority. The duty attaches as soon the occupying force exercises control or authority over civilians of that territory.

International law also stipulates that the occupying force is responsible for protecting the population from violence by third parties, including newly formed armed groups.

Occupation forces have under the law the duty to ensure local security, which includes protecting persons, including minority groups and former government officials, from reprisals and revenge attacks.

U.S. troops are having a hard time protecting themselves. Al-Anbar has seen some of the strongest resistance against U.S. occupation forces. Security operations in the area, including two massive assaults on Fallujah, have done nothing to calm down the uprising. U.S. bases near Fallujah regularly face mortar attacks.

“The situation in al-Anbar province is still as bad as ever with so many players who are all armed and dangerous,” Shakir Ali from Haditha, 200km west of Baghdad, told IPS. “The new militia formed by the U.S. and Iraqi authorities are trying to prove their power at the expense of our citizens.”

Officials continue to paint an upbeat picture. Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, the U.S. commander in charge of Baghdad’s security told reporters Mar. 20 that residents were pleased with new measures taken.

“Security has been improved, and people can get back to the business of life and not have to worry about getting in and out of their cars, going to market,” Fil said. “But we’ve got a ways to go and we’re really just on the front edge of this thing.”

(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)

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All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr’s Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger’s Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr’s dispatches via email.More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Peace as a Profession Conference in Ottawa

March 27, 2007

I just wanted to let my readers know that I will not be posting from Sunday, April 1st until sometime after April 5th, as I will be attending the Peace as a Profession Conference – Civilian Peace Service Canada in Ottawa. I do not have a laptop and would not have time for the Internet anyway. If any of you are attending this Conference, I look forward to seeing you there!

Easter gifts that change lives

March 27, 2007

My family and friends already know what to expect as gifts from me for holidays, birthdays, special occasions. Instead of getting gifts that will just add more clutter, they receive truly meaningful gifts — gifts that help to make life better for those in need throughout our world. Hopefully some of you would like to do the same. With that in mind, here are just a few of the many items from the World Vision Canada catalogue:

This Easter, give sheep, chicks, bunnies or other life-sustaining gifts.

Share blessings with your loved ones this Easter by honouring them with gifts that change the lives of children and families who live in dire poverty.

World Vision’s online Gift Catalogue offers you a wonderful choice of 60 unique and meaningful gifts. Choose one or more of the items below or click here to select from dozens of other life-changing items. Our springtime gifts this year include:

Two RabbitsTwo Rabbits
Two bunnies that produce as many as 40 offspring a year: $35.
Order now.
A sheep that provides wool, milk and yogurt, and inspires big smiles from children: $150.
Order now.
Harvest PacksFour Harvest Packs
Four Harvest Packs that help four hungry families grow a bountiful harvest of nutritious vegetables for years to come: $35.
Order now.
Click here to view more meaningful gifts that will help bring a better life to children and families in need this Easter.

Order today and receive a beautiful gift card for those you’re honouring—in plenty of time for Easter. You can also email or download your card. It’s a beautiful addition to any Easter basket.

Spread the fun! Share your joy! Pass this email along to family and friends, so they too can give meaningful gifts this spring.

God bless you and your family

Dave Toycen
President, World Vision Canada

P.S. Celebrate every special occasion this spring—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, graduations, birthdays—using World Vision’s Gift Catalogue. We have something for everyone on your list.

World Vision Canada