- Syria case may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for fund backing some of world’s worst security forces
- Secretive Conflict, Stability and Security Fund uses £500m of aid money
- Government accused of using loophole to fund discredited consultancy
The controversial cross-government fund behind the British aid project in Syria which has today been suspended amid claims that money was reaching jihadist groups should be shut down, according to campaign group Global Justice Now, which has released a new report on the fund.
The report lifts the lid on one of the British government’s most secretive funds, which is behind military and security projects in around 70 countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria. The billion-pound pot, known as the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, spends over £500 million of British aid and is overseen by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. Neither the public nor MPs are able to properly scrutinise the fund due to a serious lack of transparency, the report finds.
Nick Turse, “Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa,” 13 March 2014, TomDispatch
Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network. Despite repeated assurances by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) that military activities on the continent were minuscule, a 2013 investigation by TomDispatch exposed surprisingly large and expanding U.S. operations — including recent military involvement with no fewer than 49 of 54 nations on the continent. Washington’s goal continues to be building these nations into stable partners with robust, capable militaries, as well as creating regional bulwarks favorable to its strategic interests in Africa. Yet over the last years, the results have often confounded the planning — with American operations serving as a catalyst for blowback (to use a term of CIA tradecraft).
Micah Zenko, “The True Forever War,” 24 January 2014, Foreign Policy
Technology, not policy, will make it easier for U.S. leaders to kill people, blow things up, and disrupt computer networks around the world.
… Many correctly highlight that the AUMF does not reflect the scope of the conflict that the United States is now engaged in, and that its elasticity assures that America will remain on a war footing in perpetuity. However, those concerned with the prospects of a “forever war” should be concerned less about the irrelevant post-9/11 legislative mandate, and more about the revolutionary expansion of military assets that have been made available to the president since then. These technologies and processes that have reduced the costs and risks of using force have permanently changed how Americans conceive of military operations. As killing people, blowing things up, and disrupting computer networks will only get easier, it is worthwhile to take stock of where we are today.
Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, “Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick: Japan tilts right,” 02 February 2014, USA Today
… Today, Kishi’s grandson, Shinzo Abe, is prime minister and is doing to Japan what Attorney General John Mitchell predicted Richard Nixon would do to the U.S. — drive the country “so far to the right you’re not even going to recognize it.” …
Zack Beauchamp, “Why Everyone Needs To Stop Freaking Out About War With China,” 07 February 2014, ThinkProgress
… It’s wrong to talk about incentives to go war in purely military terms. A key component of the Senkaku/Diaoyou is economic: the islands contain a ton of natural resources, particularly oil and gas. But far more valuable are the trade ties between the two countries. China is Japan’s largest export market, so war would hurt Japan more than China, but it’d be pretty painful for both.
Richard Seymour, “Global military spending is now an integral part of capitalism,” 7 March 2014, Guardian
There are few surprises about the distribution of military spending: for all the current focus on China’s growing military outlays – and it is significant that they have embarked on a sequence of double-digit increases as a percentage of GDP – the United States still accounts for 40% of such expenditures. However, the distribution is not the only thing that matters; it’s the sheer scale of such investment – $1.756tn in 2012. The “peace dividend” from the end of the cold war has long since bitten the dust. Global military spending has returned to pre-1989 levels, undoubtedly a legacy of the war on terror and the returning salience of military competition in its context. In fact, by 2011 global military spending was higher than at any year since the end of the second world war. …
Ukraine is now divided and Russia has occupied Crimea. The following information and analyses were quite helpful for me to understand the situation and shape my thoughts.
Guardian had put together an interactive timeline of Britain’s 100 years of conflict. It shows that the UK has been at wars or involved in military conflicts with at least one other country/opposing group every year since 1914.
100 years of war
This is in addition to the revelation in 2012 that only 22 countries in the world have not been invaded by Britain in its history.