The US government has secretly used two Persian Gulf states of Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to ship weapons to rebel groups in Libya and Syria in efforts to help overthrow their governments.
“Relying on surrogates allows the United States to keep its fingerprints off operation, but also means they may play out in ways that conflict with American interests,” leading US daily The New York Times reports Thursday, noting growing worries in Washington that the two despotic Arab regimes have also given arms to “radical jihadist” groups, in Libya and now in Syria, unfriendly to the United States.
According to the report, amid Washington worries that weapon shipments to Libya through their Arab surrogates in the Persian Gulf may have ended up in the hands of groups that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, last September, including its ambassador to the country, the Obama administration is now considering “whether to play a direct role in arming rebels in Syria, where weapons are flowing in from Qatar and other [US-backed] countries.”
The report cites unnamed US officials as saying that the Obama administration “has never determined where all of the weapons, paid by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, went inside Libya,” adding that Qatar has shipped “small arms” to Libya by air and sea, “for which it has demanded reimbursement from Libya’s new government.”
“Some of the arms since have been moved from Libya to militants with ties to al-Qaeda in Mali… Others have gone to Syria,” the daily adds, quoting “several American and foreign officials and arms traders.”
American officials are also cited in the report as saying that “the United Arab Emirates first approached the Obama administration during the early months of the Libyan uprising, asking for permission to ship American-built weapons that the United States had supplied for the emirates’ use,” noting that US officials rejected the request but “urged the emirates to ship weapons to Libya that could not be traced to the United States.”
The report further reveals that an Arizona-based arms merchant, named Marc Turi, was also involved in shipping US-made weapons to Qatar for profit through Washington-issued licensure, but his Phoenix home was raided by Department of Homeland Security officers, probing his “arms dealings.”
Turi, however, insists that he has become a scapegoat because “he was getting in the way of the Obama administration’s dealings with Qatar.”
He further complained that the Qataris imposed no controls on who got the weapons. “They just handed them out like candy,” he said.
Israel to Expel Bedouins From Site of Future Settlements
10 Bedouin Communities at Risk as Israel Plans Forced Moves
by Jason Ditz, December 05, 2012
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With talk of the planned Israeli settlement expansion into the “E-1 Area” centering around Israel wanting to “link” settlements and the Palestinian Authority needing it to keep their future state contiguous, you wouldn’t think anyone actual lives there. 2,300 Bedouin residents, however, are at risk in this dispute.
Random and forcible population movements are one of the onerous realities of living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank. In this case Israel plans to force all 10 Bedouin communities out of the E-1.
They’re not from E-1 originally, at least not most of them. The vast majority of the Bedouin in question were from areas in southern Israel, and were expelled from Israel shortly after the nation was founded. They resumed their nomadic, livestock herding lifestyle in the West Bank after the expulsion, but have seen their grazing land get smaller and smaller as the Israeli military claims more and more areas as “off-limits.”
Now they’re on the move again, to a village near Jericho, where they presumably will have to abandon nomadic herding entirely in favor of being villagers. They’re still hoping EU pressure will stop the latest forced move, but if not that’s where their story will end.
And where someone else’s story begins. The village they’re being forced into isn’t empty either, though it likewise soon will be. The village is full of Palestinian residents who the Israeli government is arguing built there ‘illegally,’ and the existing villagers will be expelled someplace else in favor of the Bedouins, who don’t want to move their in the first place.