Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Scott Horton Show

7/19/17 Daniel Davis on the victims of the long war in Mosul

Afghan war whistleblower Daniel Davis returns to the show to talk about his latest article, “I Interviewed the War-Weary Residents of Mosul. The Fight for the City Is Far From Over.” Davis talks about his trip to northern Iraq, heroic stories of everyday people resisting ISIS in Mosul, and rumors of Iraqi soldiers committing atrocities against suspected ISIS members.

Davis explains that the war against ISIS isn’t over: ISIS members are supposedly shaving their beards and pretending to be fleeing refugees leading to rumors of ISIS sleeper cells. The fight against ISIS is part of an ongoing Sunni insurgency in Mosul against the Shia, Kurd, and Christian population that goes all the way back to 2004. The U.S. latest worry is that the fall of ISIS in Mosul will create a true “Shiite Crescent,” necessitating U.S. presence in eastern Syria to break up the Iranian power corridor. Scott and Danny discuss how this is just the latest in a long line of U.S. foreign policy decisions that have ultimately empowered Iran in the Middle East. Davis explains that the U.S. can’t kill its way out of the Middle East and that there are good people throughout the region who are suffering immensely. Finally, Davis suggests that Kurdish rule in Iraq seems like it might be the best way to bring about peace and he and Scott discuss whether the United States should help the referendum for a fully autonomous Kurdish state.

Retired lieutenant colonel Daniel Davis did multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the army. He now writes for Defense Priorities and National Interest.

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7/19/17 Ramzy Baroud on how Israel is suffocating the Palestinians in Gaza

Dr. Ramzy Baroud, author of “My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: The Untold Story of Gaza,” joins Scott to discuss the Israeli suffocation of the Palestinians in Gaza. Baroud explains how the nearly two million Palestinians living in Gaza are managing to subsist despite heavy restrictions on their life, including physical confinement and outright bans on farming and fishing. The suicide rate in Gaza is dramatic and on the rise as people have started to lose hope—and things are only getting worse. Baroud tells the story of a woman with breast cancer whose permit, which she needed to travel in order to receive chemotherapy, has been denied by Israel. She’s one of thousands of Palestinians who have been denied life-saving treatment.

Baroud details how Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made life for Palestinians that much worse and how the United States torpedoed a chance for a political solution in 2006 when Condoleezza Rice divided a peaceful coalition in Palestine. In doing so, the United States and Israel have made the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible. Israel has subsequently pushed the Gazans to the brink of starvation to break the will of the people and force them into accepting a deal in Israel’s interest. That new, misguided solution is directed by Mohammed Dahlan who is attempting to create a peace deal with the Sisi government in Egypt to open the borders with Palestine. Baroud claims this will create a split between Gaza and Palestine that will ultimately make life worse for the Palestinians. Further, such a deal would no longer demand the lifting of the Israel siege of Gaza and would create the appearance of an inter-Arab affair, removing responsibility from America and Israel. Finally, Baroud shares the books on Palestine he most recommends.

Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist and is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle. His latest digital project is “Palestine in Motion,” intended to give a holistic understanding of the lives of Palestinians as told in their own words. Follow Ramzy on Twitter @RamzyBaroud and read his work at RamzBaroud.net.

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Ramzy Baroud’s Reading List:

The Question of Palestine, by Edward Said

In Search of Fatima, by Gahda Karmi

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, by Ben White

Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story, by Ramzy Baroud

7/19/17 Mark Perry on contracting out the Afghan war

Mark Perry returns to the show to talk about his latest exclusive for The American Conservative Magazine, “Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries.” Perry explains that Kushner and Bannon are against a troop surge in Afghanistan, but don’t want to be blamed for losing the war if they withdraw completely. Instead they’re pushing Donald Trump to outsource the war to mercenaries. According to Perry’s sources, Trump is in favor of the idea, at least privately. But his top military advisors, James Mattis and H.R. McMaster, are not. If Trump decides to go with Bannon and Kushner, the CIA would contract with the companies—run by Erik Prince and Steve Feinberg—to run the war in Afghanistan.

Perry believes what’s more likely is that the U.S. attempts to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table and figure out a political solution. In order to do so, however, they will need Pakistan’s help as the Taliban has steadfastly held that they will only negotiate after the U.S. leaves Afghanistan. Finally, Perry notes that there will almost certainly be a “surge of enablers”—4,000 troops and specialists to buttress the government in Kabul.  But will there be more than that? And will they be conventional troops or guns for hire? Washington is divided between the army guys who are dead set against mercenary warfare and the CIA operatives who are in favor. A decision should come soon.

Mark Perry is the author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies and The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthurHis next book, The Pentagon’s Wars will be released in October. Mark Perry is on Twitter @MarkPerryDC.

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7/19/17 Kate Gould on the House’s surprising decision to defund the war in Yemen

Kate Gould joins Scott to discuss the surprise development in the House, which voted to defund U.S. military support for its Saudi-partnered war in Yemen. Members of congress on both sides brought forward the legislation to cut off the US-Saudi war in Yemen, but there is a long political process remaining. Gould outlines the two different wars taking place in Yemen—one in which the U.S. is fighting against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is authorized by the AUMF; and the second war that the U.S. is fighting on the side of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda against the Yemeni Houthis, which is at stake with this vote—and for good reason: Saudi Arabia bombed four hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders in one year, using American weapons. This is part of a larger effort to target Yemeni infrastructure, including the country’s ports which it relied on for the importation of food. Nonetheless the vote in the House is a sign that there’s real scrutiny being placed on the U.S. support for the war in Yemen.

Gould serves as the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation where she directs FCNL’s lobbying on Middle East policy. Follow Kate on Twitter @K8Gould.

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7/17/17 Bronwyn Bruton on the continued U.S. disaster in Somalia

Bronwyn Bruton joins the show to discuss the United States’ continued and unreported war in Somalia, which has created a regional crisis that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Despite constant support and funding from the United States, the Somalian government has no legitimacy or functionality. While the U.S. has been happy to spend taxpayer money, it has relied on African countries neighboring Somalia to do the dirty work fighting Islamic extremists. Bruton then touches on the neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa and why some countries get a pass for their human rights abuses, like in Ethiopia, while others, particularly Eritrea, are demonized. Finally, United States intervention in Northeast Africa has the potential to spiral out of control with a possible ethnic civil war brewing in Ethiopia.

Bruton is the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. She can be followed on Twitter @BronwynBruton.

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7/17/17 Reza Marashi on how Trump is violating the Iran nuclear deal

Reza Marashi returns to the show to discuss his most recent article, “Trump is Violating the Iran Deal.” Marashi explains how the Trump administration is violating the Iran Deal by reneging on its part of the bargain pertaining to economic promises made to Iran. Despite the United States’ bad faith, the deal includes a number of resolution measures such that a single violation shouldn’t torpedo what progress has been made. But it has raised concern from the rest of the world that Washington’s violation will result in other conflicts that will be more difficult to resolve as a result. One such potential conflict is Iran’s vast power and influence throughout the Middle East, which the the Bush and Obama administrations have gifted Iran by way of their repeated foreign policy blunders in Iraq and elsewhere. And while Obama realized late in his presidency that diplomacy with Iran was the only option to resolve the problem, the Trump administration’s belligerence has only made matters worse.

Reza Marashi is the Research Director at the National Iranian American Council. Previously he worked in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the State Department. Follow him on Twitter @rezamarashi.

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7/17/17 Kelley B. Vlahos on the Failures of the Nuclear Weapons Industry

Kelley B. Vlahos joins Scott to discuss her latest article on the failures of the nuclear weapons industry for the American Conservative Magazine, “Dr. Strangelove and the Los Alamos Nuclear Fiasco“. Vlahos details how the government has corporatized nuclear labs with near disastrous effects. Crony capitalism has diminished competition as contracts are handed back and forth, which gives companies no incentive to improve their services or cut their costs. Workers are often subjected to poor working environments and inadequate training. Despite a constant stream of issues, the Bechtel Corporation has been making $2 billion on their deal with the U.S. government for the past 10 years while taxpayers foot the bill. Scott wonders whether Donald Trump might not be able to get revenge on liberal Russia hysteria by negotiating a nuclear disarmament deal with Russia.

Vlahos is the managing editor of The American Conservative. Follow her on Twitter @KelleyBVlahos.

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7/12/17 John Feffer on escalation in North Korea

John Feffer, of Foreign Policy in Focus, joins Scott to discuss whether the escalating war of words (and missile tests) between North Korea and the United States is just bluster or something more sinister. Feffer explains how China and Russia help mitigate conflict, why the U.S. would be heavily incentivized to use conventional weaponry if war were to break out, and in what circumstances the United States might use nuclear weapons in North Korea. According to Feffer the U.S. has three unpalatable options: ignore North Korea, go to war, or negotiate. Scott wonders how North Korea would respond to a truly non-interventionist U.S. foreign policy and Feffer explains how the Bush administration jettisoned a working deal with North Korea that had paused their nuclear proliferation and how Obama’s negligent attitude toward North Korea killed momentum toward non-proliferation.

Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus and author of the dystopian novel Splinterlands. His latest article for FPIF.org is “Honoring Otto Warmbier.” Follow Feffer on Twitter @JohnFeffer.

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7/11/17 Nasser Arrabyee on the outbreak of cholera in Yemen as a result of the U.S. war

Nasser Arrabyee returns to the show to share his reporting on the war in Yemen. The war dates back to March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its U.S.-led coalition began raining death on Yemen in an attempt to reinstall the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who Hillary Clinton empowered in 2012. Arrabyee discusses his experience the outbreak of cholera, how Southern Yemen has fallen into state of lawlessness as ISIS and al-Qaeda’s power has continued to grow, and how Saudi Arabia fights alongside al Qaeda and ISIS and Sudanese mercenaries throughout the country. While Saudi Arabia is the face of the war in Yemen, this is very much an American war.

Arrabyee is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a, Yemen. He is the owner and director of yemen-now.com. You can follow him on Twiiter @narrabyee.

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7/7/17 James Carden on President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin

James Carden joins the show to talk about his latest article, “A Fateful Encounter: On Today’s Meeting Between Presidents Trump and Putin,” on Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit. Carden also discusses how Liberal Twitter is off its hinge, how the U.S. is the worst of all foreign election meddlers, why tensions with Iran make it impossible for a lasting agreement between Russia and the United States, why no one understands what’s happening in the Ukraine and the United States’ role in the mess, how all of the pundits screeching about Trump’s connections to Russia were the same pundits who supported the case for WMDs in Iraq, and that regime change in Russia is the ultimate goal for many in Washington.

Carden is a contributing writer at The Nation. He is executive editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord and former adviser on Russia policy at the US State Department.

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