War on Terror

The legacy of September 11

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The 11 September terror attacks were used to justify the West's "war on terror". But what is the legacy of 9/11 today?

On the face of it, 9/11 appears to be the defining moment of the last decade. The attacks in New York provided a provocation against which the US, with Britain as a key ally, could prosecute what became known as the "war on terror". In reality, this was to be the execution of a strategy that had been discussed in Washington years before.

Brown's Guantanamo, Miliband's disgrace

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New Labour is seriously concerned about its election prospects. One of the many fronts on which it is attempting damage limitation is the mounting evidence of involvement by MI5 and the Foreign Office in the Guantanamo torture of British residents.

The so-called "war on terror" is in reality a war of terror, and the Labour government has been intimately caught up in this. It tried to cover this up. It does not read well for a party that wants to present itself on voting day as enlightened, law abiding and anti-racist and as having, in Robin Cook's words, "an ethical foreign policy".

Yemen: A state failed by imperialism

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Since the attempted bombing of a plane over Detroit, Yemen has hit the headlines, with many fearing that it may become the latest target in the US "war on terror". Drawing on the history of imperial intervention in the region, Tim Nelson highlights the hypocrisy of the "failed state" analysis

Up until recently there has been little coverage of Yemen in the mainstream media. Few people will be aware of the political situation in the country, which has been marked by social and economic upheaval. However, Yemen has come sharply into focus in the last month.

Interview: Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur

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In his new book Mahmood Mamdani puts the war in Darfur in historical context and challenges the Save Darfur Coalition's characterisation of the conflict and its call for international intervention. He talks to Charlie Kimber


You reject the label genocide and question overblown estimates of how many have died in Darfur. This can seem to trivialise the suffering. Why is this an important question?

One does not have to inflate actual suffering to take it seriously. In 2006 the US government's audit agency, the Government Accountability Office, got together with the Academy of Sciences and appointed a panel of 12 experts to evaluate the reliability of six different estimates on excess deaths in Darfur at the peak of the violence in 2003-4.

Follow the money: the "war on terror" and the multinationals who are profiteering from it

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It started with an article on a private security company in Bosnia. Solomon Hughes then became drawn into an investigation which was to expose the ever growing profits made from the privatisation of war.

I started writing about the private security industry in July 2001, when I sold a story to the Observer newspaper about a company called DynCorp. They were hired by the US to help the "reconstruction" of Bosnia and Kosovo by running the new post-war police force.

Iraq, Afghanistan: Has the US lost?

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The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan look ever more entrenched. But, Paul Rogers argues, the only solution for the world's most powerful nation and its allies will be withdrawal

The military and political problems of US and coalition policy in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing fresh uncertainty and dispute in Western capitals. This short term concern, however, must be seen against the background of the entire "war on terror" - and the US unilateralism that propelled it - since its launch in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001.

No peace in Somalia

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The US-backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian forces has predictably turned into a disaster for the Somali people.

It has been a year now since the United Islamic Courts were overthrown after being in power for six months. During that time much of the violence and brutality of the contending local elites had been brought to a halt.

Last December's invasion, supported by US special forces, aircraft and ships, left the Ethiopian troops in charge of the country. But they have been unable to impose a government with even a shred of democratic legitimacy, and along with the transitional federal government have faced mounting opposition.

Bad politics and worse history

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The war in Afghanistan ended more than five years ago. The BBC's John Simpson told us so as he helped "liberate" Kabul perched on a British tank.

Four years ago the BBC, along with the world's press, reported the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad, and proclaimed an era of peace and liberation for the Iraqi people.

What a difference half a decade makes. The Karzai government controls less and less Afghan territory, and that control relies on the US and British led Nato army. The Taliban, largely unlamented in 2001 when it was overthrown, is gaining support from a population sick of being targets of US bombs and tanks. It now controls half of Afghanistan.

Danger to World Peace

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Why is it a surprise to anyone that the public fear real wars more than the hypothetical possibility of attack?

George Bush is apparently furious at Europe - again. This time it's the result of a poll which found that Europeans consider the US more of a danger to world peace than North Korea or Iran.

That's the North Korea which, according to the director general of the International Atomic Energy Authority, is estimated to possess enough reprocessed plutonium for up to six bombs - hardly in Bush's league. And that's the Iran which by general agreement has no nuclear weapons at present, although it is developing nuclear power, as it is legally entitled to do under international treaty.

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