Thursday, 25 August 2011

Real and Shadow Armies | Afghanistan and Iraq

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:49 PDT

In addition to increased reliance on drones and other mechanical weapons systems, the US military has increasingly turned to private contractors to help fight their wars.

Based on open sources from the department of defense – which certainly do not include special forces – there are currently 384,926 personnel actively engaged in supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Think Again: Nonviolent Resistance

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Nonviolence,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:00 PDT

“Nonviolent Resistance Is Admirable but Ineffective.”

Hardly. In the current geopolitical moment, it may seem hard to argue that a nonviolent uprising is a better tool for uprooting a dictator than the violent kind. Armed rebels, backed by NATO air power, are on the verge of ending four decades of despotic rule by Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya. Meanwhile to the east, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has killed with impunity more than 2,200 members of a mostly nonviolent resistance to his family’s long-lived rule.

Arguing in favor of the Syrians’ tactics, and against the Libyans’, would seem counterintuitive — but for the evidence. The truth is that, from 1900 to 2006, major nonviolent resistance campaigns seeking to overthrow dictatorships, throw out foreign occupations, or achieve self-determination were more than twice as successful as violent insurgencies seeking the same goals. The recent past alone suggests as much; even before the Arab Spring, nonviolent campaigns in Serbia (2000), Madagascar (2002), Ukraine (2004), Lebanon (2005), and Nepal (2006) succeeded in ousting regimes from power.

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