Ionic engines or thrusters will not break the current stagnation in outer space exploration.Ion thrusters use electrostatics as ions are accelerated by the Coulomb force along an electric field.

The US’ decision to beef up its military presence in southern Spain indicates that a new strategy towards Africa is well underway.Washington just clinched a deal with Madrid that will see it boosting its military footprint in the south of the country. According to the agreement, up to 2,200 Marines and possibly 40 military aircraft will be deployed within striking distance of all of West Africa, and this massive amount of firepower proves that the US is preparing its forces for engagement all across the continent in the years to come. Its deployment along the African periphery in Spain complements the existing presence it has in Italy and Djibouti, to say nothing of its mobile naval capabilities, and this arrangement may actually be the most ‘efficient’ of AFRICOM’s speculated formations. In the short term, it’s predicted that the US’ latest moves are in anticipation of an inevitable leadership transition that may soon take place in Algeria, while the constant, long-term interest is in controlling the transit of significant non-Russian gas supplies to the EU.

What’s at Stake for Spain

Spain’s collaboration is motivated by financial and political interests, but Madrid’s short-sighted thinking may inadvertently destabilize the domestic situation in the country and open it up to terrorist attacks.

Interests:

Spain’s elite has learned a lot by observing their Polish peers, and they realized that they can reap specific benefits by being America’s regional doormat. Inviting the US to use the country as a launching pad for neo-colonizing Africa is supposed to raise its prestige in the eyes of American decision makers, who could then lobby their European (specifically German) underlings to lessen the painful austerity measures they’ve forced upon Spain. If the US could command the EU to enact self-inflicting damage with their anti-Russian sanctions, then there’s no question they could also order it to relieve their pressure on Madrid as a political reward to their proxy.

Another benefit that Spain’s leaders want to receive from the US is unwavering support against the Catalonian independence movement. Spain wants to scare the US into falling for a 21st-century ‘domino theory’ in order to anchor its Atlantic ally’s unconditional support for the government, arguing that the independence of Catalonia could lead to a chain reaction of similar movements in Spain’s other regions that would eventually wipe the once-unified country off the map, and with it, America’s new springboard to West Africa. It wouldn’t be a surprise if it further embellishes the fear mongering by hinting that the ‘Catalonian contagion’ could spread throughout the rest of the EU and endanger the US’ other bases, too.

Risks:

There’s a really bad dark side to Madrid’s military agreement with the US, and it’s that it could inspire terrorist attacks against the country. If a US drone or Marine team based in Spain carries out a high-profile assassination against a terrorist target in Mali, for example, the group he was associated with might carry out a revenge attack on Spanish soil. More than likely, this could see the participation of the Islamic State in some capacity or another, since it counts Spain as one of its anticipated areas of conquest, and hence, within its sphere of operations. The broad network of Western-based supporters that it has created over the past year (some of which may already reside in Spain) could be activated in launching the attack.

On the political side of things, the US-Spain agreement might lead to more domestic support for anti-establishment parties such as Podemos, the ‘Spanish Syriza’. On-the-fence voters may opt for these movements out of dissatisfaction with the ruling government’s foreign policy, since the US forward operating base arguably makes the country a prime terrorist target for retribution attacks. Podemos or likeminded parties may ultimately not reverse the previous government’s decision if they do come to power, but what’s important is that they politicize the issue in order to get there in the first place. The consequences of such an electoral shift would likely be felt more in inter-European politics than in US-Spanish relations anyway.

Arranging AFRICOM

The forthcoming US base in Spain is an important node in a larger AFRICOM chain. Let’s take a look at how it fits into the bigger picture:

What It Is:

AFRICOM is technically only a command and control center for US military operations in Africa, and due to advances in communication and transport technology, it doesn’t even have to be based in the continent itself (it’s currently headquartered in Germany).

Where It’s Deployed:

Other than the Spanish facility, US bases in Italy and Djibouti are part of AFRICOM’s formal forward operating positions, although numerous drone bases elsewhere in Africa also contribute to the cause. Importantly, mobile naval units such as aircraft carriers allow the US to project power anywhere along the continent’s coast and deep into its hinterlands.

Geopolitical Division Of Labor:

Accordingly, the US is anticipated to use its Spanish base for West African missions; the Italian one for North African ones; and the Djiboutian location for East African operations. As for the southern cone of Africa, it could simply use its aircraft carriers or perhaps set up a base in the Comoros or one of Africa’s other small island nations in the area.

Lead From Behind:

US forces are predicted to operate as the storm troopers of unipolarity in Africa, but for prolonged occupation, the French are expected to shoulder the burden, which they’re already doing via their ground deployments in 10 African countries already (nearly a fifth of the continent’s total).

Angling For Algeria

The US’ latest moves in Spain are likely aimed at ‘managing’ a forthcoming leadership transition in Algeria. Here’s what’s going on with Madrid’s maritime neighbor:

The countdown:

Aging President Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a stroke two years ago, and it’s not known who will succeed him if he dies in office. Bouteflika’s 15-year-long presidency has been a stabilizing factor in rebuilding Algeria since the decade-long Islamist-inspired civil war ended in 2002, and his death might make the country vulnerable to a Color Revolution, a jihadist uprising, and/or a destabilizing struggle between state security forces.  

Libyan Spillover:

The chaos in Libya showed signs of seeping through to Algeria in January 2013 during the In Amenas hostage crisis. Terrorists took over a gas processing facility and killed 39 foreign hostages before being defeated by decisive government action. Although no repeats of this tragedy occurred in its wake, it doesn’t mean that the threat has subsided, and an escalation of terrorist violence in Libya might lead to more spillover in Algeria in the future.

Gas Politics:

Most important for the US is Algeria’s contribution to the EU’s gas supply, being the third-largest supplier to the bloc after Russia and Norway. There’s also discussion of creating a Trans-Saharan Pipeline from gas-rich and under-processed Nigeria through Niger and Algeria to Europe, which would make the North African state the geo-energy ‘Ukraine’ of the Western EU. Because of this, the US must make sure that Algeria stays under Western influence and the pipeline routes are secured, hence the upcoming deployment of 2,200 Marines and 40 military aircraft within striking distance to ensure this.

Andrew Korybko

Source: Sputnik

6 thoughts on “What Spain tell us about the future of AFRICOM

  1. En fait au travers de ce massacre, pour ne pas dire génocide de soldats en retraite-j’ai oublié de mentionner les milliers d’autres enterrés vivants au nom de la “démocratie”, les innombrables soldats qui se rendaient et ont été froidement éxecutés – c’est en effet absolument éffroyable -ceci étant la nature du régime nord américain de Washington-, même si ce que je vais dire est incongru, il y a quelque chose de rassurant. Parce qu’elle revele -en réalité pour ceux qui suivent l’armée US, elle le confirme- au grand jour l’extreme faiblesse de l’appareil militaire américain dans son ensemble -certainement pas en matière de morale, ils n’en ont jamais eu- en terme de combat. Depuis la guerre du Vietnam, les seuls vrais engagements connus à ce jour de l’US Army sont les batailles de Khafji, Phase Line Bullet, et beaucoup plus tard Falloudjah en 2004. Dans les trois cas, si j’avais une quelconque responsabilité au sein de l’état major US, j’aurai peur. Parce que ça craint max! Pour que l’armée US s’en sorte il lui faut des combats faciles, en utilisant ruse, lacheté, cruauté, une aide exceptionnelle, pour ne pas dire providentielle. D’autre part pour réussir il faut que l’armée US soit en face d’un adversaire faible et qui ne veut pas combattre, en outre l’armée US doit avoir un maximum de puissance de feu, sans quoi elle est incapable de fonctionner, et encore moins de se motiver. Il faut que tous ses préalables soient réunis pour un éventuel succés de l’armée US, qui du reste n’est même pas garanti-ce qui s’est passé à Falloudjah le confirme-.
    Ca fait beaucoup de conditions. On ne le dira jamais assez la guerre du golfe fût une exception historique, en ce sens que l’URSS était en phase d’effondrement, et malgrés tout ça l’appareil militaire US n’a pas été du tout performant au regard de ce que l’on pouvait attendre d’une hyper puissance. La guerre du Vietnam a montré l’inéfficaté totale de l’appareil militaire US, et contrairement à ce qui est dit, 40 ans plus tard c’est toujours le cas. En fait la guerre du Vietnam a montré le début du déclin des US en tant que superpuissance, en 2015 ce déclin s’accélére.

    Ce qui vaut pour l’armée US vaut pour l’armée d’Israèl. Les résultats d’IDF et notamment ces derniers engagements qu’étaient le Liban 2006, Gaza 2012 et 2014 ne sont guère plus brillants.
    Contrairement à ce qu’il n’y paraît, l’appareil militaire US n’est pas prêt pour une prochaine guerre de ni de petite ni moyenne intensité, comme par exemple contre un adversaire comme l’Iran, où la Corée. Quand aux perspectives de conflits avec la Chine, où la Russie, il faut oublier. C’est pas pret d’arriver.

    Je finirai cette note par une dernière observation. Sachant que les US ont massacré des dizaines de milliers de soldats irakiens en retraite. Ils ont mis l’Irak à feu à sang. Je n’arrive pas à comprendre comment les cadres de l’ancien parti Baath irakien qui se cachent en fait sous le masque de DAECH arrivent encore à tapiner pour les USA. Faut qu’on m’explique, je ne comprends pas! Si quelqu’un a une explication qu’il nous la donne.

  2. Dans ce contexte comment accorder crédit à une pseudo encyclopédie appellée Wikipedia dont les faits sont souvent rédigés par les ministères de la propagande, ici le DOD. Je vous laisse le soin de lire l’épopée racontée dans ces liens…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Medina_Ridge
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_73_Easting
    il ne manque plus que les pop corns, le coca-cola, et les hamburgers, et Rambo. 🙂
    Or là,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Phase_Line_Bullet

    c’est plus interressant c’est une bataille entre la garde républicaine et l’armée US. Elle s’est soldée par une lourde défaite pour les US, cependant ils parlent avec soin d’escarmouches. Escarmouche ?
    Les américains avaient engagé le 1° Armored Division, la 3° Armored Division-en fait deux divisions blindées-, la 1° division d’Infantrie, la seconde régiment Armored Cavalry -1 divison d’infanterie, et un régiment de cavallerie-. Pour faire simple c’est des dizaines de milliers de soldats US, des centaines de chars, des centaines de blindés. Cependant à la différence des autres, ce détachement de la garde républicaine va garder sa DCA activée, et du coups les américains se sont retrouvés sans appuis aérien, et avec des hommes prêts au combat. Là où c’est comique dans ce document de propagande, on y dit que les “quelques” pertes US étaient dues à des “tirs fraticides”. Tirs fraticides et quelques pertes ? Nous prennent ils pour des cons ? On engage dans la bataille deux divisions blindées, 1 d’infaterie, un régiment de cavallerie, mais ça se solde que par quelques pertes.
    Pourtant les autres divisions de la garde républicaine si l’on en croit le ministère US de la propagande ont été taillées en pièce, mais celui- là a même -c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire- repousser les américains. Que s’était il donc passé ? La réalité, les autres divisions de la garde républicaines étaient entrain de se replier, et c’est là qu’ils ont été pris pour cible dans un premier temps par l’aviation, puis achevés par l’armée blindée US. Tandis que les détachements présents à Phase Line Bullet n’étaient pas en mouvement, et attendait les US l’arme aux pieds. On le voit quand les américains sont en face d’un adversaire comparable, du coup ils deviennent beaucoup plus circonspect, et ne sont pas performants.

    Voici d’autres témoignages édifiants sur cette offensive aéro terrestre en 1991.

    http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/highway-death-result-american-forces-bombing-retreating-iraqi-forces-kuwait-1991/

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/remember-the-1991-gulf-war-the-massacre-of-withdrawing-soldiers-on-the-highway-of-death/767
    Une boucherie.

  3. En fait j’ai passé ma jeunesse à croire aux nombreux mythes comme quoi l’armée US est une armée qui excele par le courage et invincible, du fait de son matériel. J’étais certain que rien ne pouvait ne pouvait s’opposer aux A-10, AH-64 Apache, F-15, F-16, F-18, chars M1 Abrams etc…Je le croyais juste avant l’arrivée d’Internet. J’ai toujours été fasciné avec quelle facilité l’armée US avait anéanti la guarde républicaine irakienne-dont l’arsenal était la fierté du régime irakien-, jusqu’à ce que je commprenne plus tard pourquoi;

    Dans l’article que j’ai posté plus haut, j’ai souvent cité que les irakiens étaient en phase de retraite, et complètement désarmé, voyez je n’ai rien inventé :

    One Navy pilot, who asked not to be identified, said Iraqis have affixed white flags to their tanks and are riding with turrets open,…

    L’article parle bien de drapeaux blancs sur les tourrelles, et les véhicules montés sur camions.

    Là où c’est vraiment croustillant c’est le témoignage du General McPeak chef d’état major de l’US Air Force à l’époque qui reconnait avec cynisme et franchise son acte.
    ” When enemy armies are defeated, they retreat. It’s during this phase that the true fruits of victory are achieved from combat, when the enemy’s disorganized “.
    Dans la tête de ce petit minable, il faut comprendre qu’il n’y a point d’inhibition à canarder des soldats désarmés en pleine retraite. Au contraire, c’est le moment opportun, et pour cause, l’US Air Force malgrés le fait qu’elle disposait de plusieur milliers de chasseurs de bombardiers n’était pas parvenu à entamer l’armée irakienne. Il faut savoir qu’Israèl a souvent employé ce genre de ruse, elle appelle au cessez le feu, puis une fois accepté, son aviation bombarde trés souvent des ambulances, des hopitaux, des hommes bléssés, etc… Notez qu’en 2006, contre le Hezbollah cette ruse n’avait pas marché. Ce qui a enragé Israèl.

    All the equipment was being transported on trucks — it was not in position to use in battle — so the U.S. forces had nothing to fear in terms of casualties. Some Iraqi soldiers were lying down on the vehicles and sleeping or obtaining a suntan

    On a bien des chars et blindés transportés par cammion qui ne présentaient aucune menaces.

    …most of the Iraqi tanks traveled from the battlefield with their cannons reversed and secured, in a position known as travel-lock. According to these witnesses, the 24th faced little determined Iraqi resistance at any point during the war or its aftermath; they also said that other senior officers exaggerated the extent of Iraqi resistance throughout the war.
    Et c’est ainsi que nous sommes priés de croire aux exploits de l’armée américaine.

  4. Je me suis permis de reproduire un article concernant l’un des crimes de guerre les plus odieux de l’histoire. Les “courageux soldats US” appuyés par une classe politique mafieuse criminelle, barbare et extremement cruelle étaient venus apporter leur “démocratie” et leur “liberté” dans cette région du monde. L’un des plus hauts faits d’arme de l’histoire militaire, c’est lorsque la “trés courageuse” armée US a allègrement massacré des dizaines de milliers de soldats irakiens en retraite. Le but de mon post n’est pas de mettre en évidence le carractère barbare et cruel du système politique US, c’est un secret pour personne. C’est la nature même du régime nord américain, et même s’il faudra massacrer les trois quarts du peuple etatsuniens, ce régime d’oligarques n’hésitera pas une seule seconde, alors pensez, des irakiens ?

    Les US étant le seul pays qui a lançé deux bombes atomiques sur des civils désarmés, alors que le Japon était militairement à genoux.
    En Corée, le “courageux” gen Mc Arthur -du fait des piètres performances de l’armée US- avait proposé à l’establishment US de bombarder la Chine avec des armes nucléaire. Les américains vont s’abstenir, non par humanisme, mais parce que l’URSS disposait de l’arme nucléaire.
    Au Vietnam les generaux Lemay, et Westmorland -également du fait des piètres performances de l’armée US- vont aussi proposer de bombarder le Nord Vietnam avec des armes nucléaires, Mc Namara, Johnson, etc…ne vont pas accepter, non par angélisme, mais bien parce que l’URSS avait rattrapé les USA dans tous les domaines, et que la Chine venait de faire exploser sa bombe H. En 1991, le président Saddam Hussein décide de retirer ses forces du Koweit, pour la simple raison que le conflit risquait de s’enliser, et – pareil, du fait des piètres performances de l’armée US aprés plus d’un mois de bombardement non stop- les américains parlaient de plus en plus ouvertement d’utiliser l’arme nucléaire. D’autre part les américains bombardaient toutes les usines de fabrication nucléaire en Irak, provoquant des radiations, le but était de pousser l’armée irakienne à utilser des armes chimiques, afin pour pouvoir écourter la guerre en utilsant des armes nucléaires Ce retrait fût motivé aussi par le fait que l’URSS était en phase d’éffondrement, et que Moscou ne soutenait pas l’Irak. Or, sans pièces de rechange du fait de l’usure du matériel, une armée ne peut pas faire grand chose.

  5. http://www.countercurrents.org/lagauche280210.htm

    “Remembering “The Highway Of Death”

    By Malcom Lagauche

    28 February, 2010
    Malcomlagauche.com

    Headless Iraqi soldiers: trophy photo for U.S. troops

    Nineteen years ago, one of the most diabolical slaughters in war history occurred in Iraq. Despite the assurances of the Bush I regime that retreating Iraqi soldiers would not be attacked, just the opposite happened. Iraqi soldiers and civilians were massacred after Saddam Hussein called for their exit of Kuwait.

    More than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in five weeks, the majority during the 100-hour ground war. You may say, “This is war and people get killed.” That’s true, but tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers were killed by illegal weapons in a most brutal manner that contradicted international laws that apply to war.

    When then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, was asked about the number of deaths the Iraqi military suffered, he said, “I don’t have a clue and I don’t plan to undertake any real effort to find out.” This is the same man who stated several months after Desert Storm that his goal was to “make the world scared to death of the United States.”

    We all know how Powell as Secretary of State lied to the world about Iraq in 2002 and 2003, yet few remember his affinity for killing during the Gulf War. He was just as vicious and untruthful in 1991 as he was in the early part of the 21st century.

    Prior to the start of the ground phase, many countries were trying to dissuade the U.S. from attacking. Moscow came up with a peace plan that Bush called “a cruel hoax.” Bush kept saying that the only objective was for Iraqi troops to leave Kuwait. When one reporter asked him how the Iraqis could retreat while they were still being heavily bombed, Bush answered, “That’s for them to find out.”

    On February 22, 1991, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater played his own “cruel hoax.” He stated, “The United States and its coalition partners reiterate that their forces will not attack retreating Iraqi forces.”

    Despite all the efforts to bring a peaceful conclusion, none was accepted by the U.S. Saddam Hussein ordered a retreat of Iraqi troops from Kuwait on February 25, 1991. This order, with Fitzwater’s earlier statement, appeared to be the beginning of the end of violence in Kuwait and Iraq.

    Bush looked at it another way. He now had his chance to slaughter tens of thousands of defenseless soldiers and one of the most barbaric massacres in history began.

    On February 25, 1991, at a junction of roads leading from Kuwait City, U.S. Marine aircraft, flying close support for ground troops, arrived and saw a five-vehicle-wide stream moving on the highway out of Kuwait City. The vehicles were occupied by Iraqi military personnel (mostly unarmed) and civilians of many nationalities.

    The Marines allowed the vehicles to get out of the city and then laid down an aerial barrage of anti-armor mines across the road, making it impossible for the vehicles to move ahead. There were miles of vehicles and thousands of passengers who were not able to move. Kill zones were assigned to groups of eight aircraft sent into the target area every 15 minutes. According to Major General Royal N. Moore, commander of the Marine Air Wing 3, “It was like a turkey shoot until the weather turned sour.”

    By the morning of February 26, the 2nd Marine Division and its augmenting armored brigade (the Tiger brigade) of the Army’s 2nd Armored Division, arrived on the scene. Other ground division followed. Now, the slaughter on what has become to be known as “The Highway of Death” began in earnest.

    U.S. troops observed thousands of Iraqis trying to escape up the highway. They attacked the defenseless soldiers from the high ground, cutting to shreds vehicles and people trapped in a miles-long traffic jam. Allied jets repeatedly pounded the blocked vehicles. Schwarzkopf’s orders were “not to let anybody or anything out of Kuwait City.”

    On February 27, the first words hit the outside world about this carnage, however, it still would be a few more weeks until photographs of the destruction made their way to the public, and then only a few were seen. A pool reporter with the 2nd Armored Division wrote:

    As we drove slowly through the wreckage, our armored personnel carrier’s tracks splashed through great pools of bloody water. We passed dead soldiers lying, as if resting, without a mark on them. We found others cut up so badly; a pair of legs in its trousers would be 50 yards from the top half of the body. Four soldiers had died under a truck where they sought protection.

    The Iraqi retreat extended north of Jahra, where the two main roads going into Iraq split at al-Mutlaa. Because the main road was so jammed, Iraqi troops were being diverted along a coastal route. These soldiers suffered the same fate as those on the Highway of Death. According to a U.S. Army officer on the scene (the coastal road):

    There was nothing but shit strewn everywhere, five to seven miles of just solid bombed-out vehicles. The Air Force had been given the word to work over the entire area, to find anything that moved and take it out.

    Surrendering Iraqi troops were also slaughtered. According to a media pool report of February 27:

    One Navy pilot, who asked not to be identified, said Iraqis have affixed white flags to their tanks and are riding with turrets open, scanning the skies with their binoculars. The flier said that under allied rules of engagement, pilots were still bombing tanks unless soldiers abandoned the vehicles and left them behind.

    The first British pilots to arrive at the scenes of slaughter returned to their base. They protested taking part in attacking defenseless soldiers, but, under threat of court martial, they eventually took part in the massacre.

    According to a report by Greenpeace called On Impact:

    Aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ranger, air strikes against Iraqi troops were being launched so feverishly … that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck. S-3 Viking anti-submarine patrol aircraft were brought into the bombing campaign, carrying cluster bombs. The number of attacking aircraft was so dense that air traffic control had to divert planes to avoid collisions.

    On March 10, the scenes at the coastal road were still horrendous. Reporter Michael Kelly described them:

    For a 50 or 60-mile stretch from just north of Jahra to the Iraqi border, the road was littered with exploded and roasted vehicles, charred and blown-up bodies … I saw no bodies that had not belonged to men in uniform. It was not always easy to ascertain this because the force of the explosions and the heat of the fires had blown most of the clothing off the soldiers, and often too had cooked their remains into wizened, mummified, charcoal-men.

    General McPeak took great pride in the slaughter. He said, “When enemy armies are defeated, they retreat. It’s during this phase that the true fruits of victory are achieved from combat, when the enemy’s disorganized.” Less than a week after the White House spokesman assured the world that U.S. forces would not attack a retreating Iraqi army, most of the army was destroyed while it was retreating.

    When the operation was completed, Iraq was stuck with the bill. One of the conditions of the cease-fire was that Iraq had to pay Kuwait $50 billion in reparations for damage caused by the U.S. When the oil-for-food program began, the first 15% of all revenues taken in by Iraq went to Kuwait.

    The most appalling aspect of this end to Desert Storm was the bravado of the U.S. government and the top military officers. They ordered this unnecessary slaughter and took glee every time they publicly spoke of it. Powell and McPeak gained the military accolades that had diverted them a couple of decades earlier in Vietnam.

    In addition to the Highway of Death carnage, an incident occurred that has since been forgotten by most of the world. On the first two days of the ground war (February 24 and 25, 1991), U.S. troops, using tanks and earthmovers that had been specially-fitted with plows, buried thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive.

    Three brigades of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Division (the Big Red One) used the tactic to destroy trenches and bunkers that were defended by about 10,000 Iraqi soldiers. These combatants were draftees, not seasoned troops such as the Republican Guard.

    The assault was carefully planned and rehearsed. According to U.S. participants, about 2,000 Iraqis surrendered and were not buried. Most of the rest, about 8,000, were buried beneath tons of sand — many trying to surrender. Captain Bernie Williams was rewarded for his part in the burying with a Silver Star. He said, “Once we went through there, other than the ones who surrendered, there wasn’t anybody left.”

    According to a senior Army official who, under anonymity, was questioned by The Spotlight about the tactics, the use of earthmovers is standard procedure in breaching obstacles and minefields. The heavy equipment precedes armored and infantry units to level barriers, then the vehicles can move quickly through enemy defenses. The official stated that any Iraqi troops who remained in their bunkers would have been buried and killed. He added, “This is war. This isn’t a pickup basketball game.”

    Colonel Anthony Moreno, commander of the 2nd Brigade, said, “For all I know, we could’ve killed thousands.” A thinner line of trenches on Moreno’s left flank was attacked by the 1st Brigade, commanded by Colonel Lon Maggart. He estimated that his troops alone buried about 650 Iraqis alive.

    After the cease-fire, in an interview with New York Newsday, Maggart and Moreno came forward with some of the first public testimony about the burying alive of Iraqi soldiers. Prior to their interview, then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, never mentioned the atrocities, even when he submitted a report to Congress just prior to the interviews.

    The technique used in burying the soldiers involved a pair of M1-A1 tanks with plows shaped like giant teeth along each section of the trench line. The tanks took up positions on either side of the trenches. Bradley fighting vehicles and Vulcan armored personnel carriers straddled the trench line and fired into the Iraqi soldiers as the tanks covered them with piles of sand.

    According to Moreno, “I came through right after the lead company. What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with peoples’ arms and things sticking out of them.” Maggart added, “I know burying people alive sounds pretty nasty, but it would be even nastier if we had to put our troops in the trenches and clean them out.”

    The attack contradicted U.S. Army doctrine, which calls for troops to leave their armored vehicle to clean out trenches or to bypass and isolate fortified positions. Moreno admitted that the assault was not according to policy:

    This was not doctrine. My concept is to defeat the enemy with your power and equipment. We’re going to have to bludgeon them with every piece of equipment we’ve got. I’m not going to sacrifice the lives of my soldiers — it’s not cost-effective.

    The most disturbing aspect of the incident was the secrecy involved. When Newsday broke the story, many were taken by surprise. According to members of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Forces Committees, the Pentagon had withheld details of the assault from the committees. Senate Chairman, Sam Nunn, was unaware of the assault and after he was notified, he stated, “It sounds like another example of the horrors of war.” Quickly, the incident was forgotten.

    The killing of defenseless soldiers and civilians did not end with the cease-fire. On the morning of March 2 (two days after the cease-fire was announced), a convoy of Iraqi vehicles was reported moving through the demarcation point of allied operations on Highway 8 about 50 kilometers west of Basra.

    According to a pool reporter from the UPI, a platoon of the 24th Infantry Division reported that the “massive Iraqi convoy … had just shot a couple of rockets at it.” The Washington Post added that the convoy of 700 wheeled vehicles and 300 armored vehicles “opened fire in an effort to clear a path toward a causeway across the Euphrates.” Lt. Chuck Ware, the battalion commander, received permission to return fire and the battalion received backup from Army artillery and 20 U.S. Cobra and Apache helicopters.

    The ensuing fighting was one-sided and several thousand Iraqis (civilian and military) were killed in two hours. There were few Iraqi survivors.

    According to a Washington Post report on March 18, 1991:

    U.S. tanks were shooting Iraqi tanks off heavy equipment trailers trying to haul them to safety. Bradley fighting vehicles shattered truck after truck with 25mm cannon fire as Iraqi civilians and soldiers alike ran into the surrounding marshes.

    Lt. Col. Ware said, “They shot first, we won big.” Another U.S. officer stated, “We really waxed them.”

    This massacre took place after the cease-fire had been announced. At the time, it was thought that the convoy was not aware of its position; therefore it ran into the U.S. Army personnel. All the equipment was being transported on trucks — it was not in position to use in battle — so the U.S. forces had nothing to fear in terms of casualties. Some Iraqi soldiers were lying down on the vehicles and sleeping or obtaining a suntan.

    When the post-cease-fire massacre occurred, the U.S. news agencies mentioned a “skirmish” between Iraqi and U.S. troops and said there were no U.S. casualties. They did not mention the slaughter.

    The information made it appear that the unlucky Iraqis had taken a wrong turn somewhere and happened to run into a trigger-happy group of soldiers. The truth, however, is much more diabolical.

    In May 2000, The New Yorker published an article by Seymour Hersh called “Overwhelming Force.” Hersh spent years tracking down some of the participants in the slaughter, which was given the moniker the “Battle of Rumaila.”

    Instead of a wayward convoy of Iraqis who had the bad luck to shoot at U.S. forces, Hersh paints a picture of U.S. General Barry McCaffrey intentionally giving wrong location information to his superiors so he could concoct a battle with the hapless Iraqis who, in reality, were exactly where they were supposed to be according to the “safe” routes of return designated by the U.S.

    According to the article:

    McCaffrey’s insistence that the Iraqis attacked first was disputed in interviews for this article by some of his subordinates in the wartime headquarters of the 24th Division, and also by soldiers and officers who were at the scene on March 2nd. The accounts of these men, taken together, suggest that McCaffrey’s offensive, two days into a cease-fire, was not so much a counterattack provoked by enemy fire as a systematic destruction of Iraqis who were generally fulfilling the requirements of retreat; most of the Iraqi tanks traveled from the battlefield with their cannons reversed and secured, in a position known as travel-lock. According to these witnesses, the 24th faced little determined Iraqi resistance at any point during the war or its aftermath; they also said that other senior officers exaggerated the extent of Iraqi resistance throughout the war.

    The slaughter may have been forgotten and never discussed if not for an anonymous letter sent to the Pentagon that accused McCaffrey of a series of war crimes. The letter stated that McCaffrey’s division began the March 2nd assault without Iraqi provocation and it included information only an insider would know. An investigation ensued, but, eventually, McCaffrey was exonerated.

    Despite the prospect of an inquiry, McCaffrey openly bragged about his unit’s performance in the massacre. He told another general’s battalion that the 24th Division had carried out:

    “absolutely one of the most astounding goddamned operations ever seen in the history of military science … We were not fighting the Danish Armed Forces up here. There were a half million of those assholes that were extremely well-armed and equipped.”

    Some participants of the battle say that Iraq did not fire the first shot. Others maintain the Iraqis shot first, but only once. Authorities differed on the time between the supposed Iraqi shot and the beginning of the U.S. actions. Some say it was about 40 minutes, while others say the time lapse was close to two hours. Either way, it was evident that if Iraq did fire a shot, there was no follow-up or change of formation for the convoy. It still went forward with its equipment not in place for battle.

    Soon, a call came asking for every available unit to come to rescue the U.S. troops. Sergeant Stuart Hirstein and his team rushed to the site. When Hirstein arrived, he said there was no attack and no imminent threat from retreating Iraqi tanks. According to Hirstein:

    Some of the tanks were in travel formation, and their guns were not in any engaged position. The Iraqi crew members were sitting on the outside of their vehicles, catching rays. Nobody was on the machine guns.

    Despite the intelligence that stated the Iraqis were no threat, and the doubts of other officers about an Iraqi attack, McCaffrey still wanted to go to battle. There were more discussions and Captain Bell, who had been involved with the talks before the U.S. “counterattack,” believed that McCaffrey moved his brigades to the east of the original cease-fire line to provoke the Iraqis. He added that there is a huge difference between a round or two fired in panic and McCaffrey’s determination that the Iraqis were “attacking us.” He added, that “is pure fabrication.”

    Hersh described the beginning of the hostilities that wiped out thousands:

    The division log placed the time of McCaffrey’s first known battle order at five minutes after nine o’clock. According to Log Item 74. McCaffrey directed that the causeway “be targeted,” thus blocking the basic escape route for the retreating forces. The division’s Apache helicopters were to “engage from south with intent of terminating engagement.” Within moments, the assault was all-out. One company reported that it had engaged a force of between a hundred and two hundred Iraqi “dismounts.” By ten o’clock, division headquarters had begun receiving reports of extensive damage to the Iraqi forces. One group of Apache helicopters reported in mid-morning, “Enemy not firing back, they are jumping in ditches to hide.” Forty minutes later, according to another log item, McCaffrey ordered artillery to be “used in conjunction with personnel sweep to ‘pound these guys’ and end the engagement.”

    The 24th Division continued pounding the Iraqi column throughout the morning, until every vehicle moving toward the causeway — tank, truck, or automobile — was destroyed

    McCaffrey was triumphant at battle’s end. “He was smiling like a proud father,” John Brasfield told me …

    … A couple of evenings later, Pierson was driving toward the causeway. “It must have been a nightmare along this road as the Apaches dispensed death from five kilometers away, one vehicle at a time. I stopped as a familiar smell wafted through the air … It was the smell of a cookout on a warm summer day, the smell of seared steak.”

    After the battle, a captured Iraqi tank commander asked again and again, “Why are you killing us? All we were doing was going home. Why are you killing us?”

    Shortly before his troops flew back to Fort Stewart in the U.S., McCaffrey told them he had never been:

    “more proud of American soldiers in my entire life as watching your attack on 2 March … It’s fascinating to watch what’s happening in our country. God, it’s the damnedest thing I ever saw in my life. It’s probably the single most unifying event that has happened in America since World War II … The upshot will be that, just like Vietnam had the tragic effect on our country for years, this one has brought back a new way of looking at ourselves.”

    McCaffrey weathered the storm and received his fourth star in 1994. In 1996, he retired from the Army and was appointed by the Clinton administration as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, more commonly known as the U.S. Drug Czar.

    Hersh’s article received much pre-publicity in 2000 and many people were anticipating the piece. Then, a couple of days before The New Yorker was to appear on the stands with the article, a press conference was called to address the issue. A Clinton spokesman took to the podium and criticized the article. He called it “old wine in a new bottle.” In the space of about five minutes, an article that should have been read by the American public was dismissed as rubbish by the Clinton administration. The curious aspect of this denigration is that the article had not yet appeared. Normally, an administration tears apart something in the press after it is published. This fact alone should have piqued the interest of the public. However, the opposite occurred. Within a couple of days of its publishing, few spoke of the article again. It became a non-issue.

    The entire article is a must-read for anyone who wants to know the truth about how the U.S. military conducted itself in Desert Storm. Not all the personnel were as bloodthirsty as McCaffrey, and Hersh interviewed participants who opposed the decision to slaughter thousands of Iraqis who could not fight back. It is available online at many websites. Punch in the name of the article on a search engine and you will be able to find the entire piece.

    Marlin Fitzwater’s statement that retreating Iraqi troops would not be attacked was an outright lie, yet neither he nor the administration paid a price for the deceit. Up to 100,000 retreating Iraqis were slaughtered after he made the statement to the world. Among the retreating Iraqi soldiers were civilian men, women and children of various nationalities. Their deaths were, according to various U.S. military officers, the “spoils of war.”

    Those soldiers who did make it out of Kuwait were still not out of the woods. As soon as they approached Basra, they came under attack from Iranians who crossed the Iran-Iraq border during the U.S. bombing and their Iranian-backed Iraqi stooges. Much bloodshed on both sides occurred, creating more deaths for Iraqi troops. When the hostilities ended, the Iraqi army, by putting up a fierce resistance to the attempted coup, came out on top.

    Marlin Fitzwater lied about not attacking retreating Iraqi troops and despite the horrendous circumstances they endured to get back to Iraq, their war was not over. Iran, with the blessing of the U.S., tried to finish off the Iraqi army. But, in the end, the heroic army kept Iraq intact by its brave fighting. Even this part of history has been re-written by the U.S. Instead of stating that Iraqi soldiers faced yet another ambush, the West put its propaganda machine in full gear and the perception of this incident has been attributed to Iraqi soldiers attacking and massacring Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims.

    The Mother of All Battles is available. To order, please click on this link:
    http://malcomlagauche.com/id8.html

  6. A reblogué ceci sur Raimanetet a ajouté:

    AFRICOM is technically only a command and control center for US military operations in Africa, and due to advances in communication and transport technology, it doesn’t even have to be based in the continent itself (it’s currently headquartered in Germany).

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