Lost History

Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism

Sayyid Qutb, a philosopher of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Islamic Fundamentalism frightens the West and that fear has motivated a fierce retaliation deploying more weapons and inflicting more slaughter. But in not understanding what drives the jihadists the military strategies may be making matters worse, observes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Iraqi Chaos May Give Kurds a State

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

Millions of Kurds live in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria but the British-French imperial division of the region left them without a state of their own, adding to the region’s tensions. But some Kurds see the current chaos in Iraq as a pathway to nationhood, as scholar Edmund Ghareeb told Dennis J Bernstein.

Learning Little from World War I

Trench warfare during World War I.

Looking back on the century of war and slaughter that has followed the start of World War I, one is reminded of Pete Seeger’s classic lyrics: “When will they ever learn?” Today, major world leaders behave with much the same thoughtless hubris as their forebears in 1914, as Gary G. Kohls recalls.

The Wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a British intelligence officer who recruited Bedouin tribesmen during World War I.

A century ago, during World War I, a British intelligence officer known as “Lawrence of Arabia” deeply understood the Mideast and saw hope for rational politics, but Western imperial ambitions intervened to ensure regional instability, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recall.

NYT Revamps Its False Ukraine Narrative

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s Ukraine narrative has been that it was all Vladimir Putin’s fault, that the Russian president staged the crisis to restore the Russian empire, a storyline that never made sense and is now being rearranged to explain why Putin is seeking peace, writes Robert Parry.

Reaping the Seeds of Iraqi Hatred

An Iranian poster commemorating the shooting down of an Iranian civilian airliner by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988, killing all 290 people onboard.

The uproar in the mainstream U.S. news media over the barbarity of Islamic militants in Iraq downplays or ignores the brutality of the U.S. invasion and occupation that unleashed the ethnic and sectarian hatreds in the first place, as Danny Schechter notes.

America’s Blunderbuss Wars

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the transition.

U.S. policymakers and pundits proclaim that America’s role in the world is all for the good. But more objective observers see a pattern of clumsy and brutal interference that can touch off cascades of chaos and death, as ex-State Department official William R. Polk describes.

Obama’s True Foreign-Policy ‘Weakness’

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Special Report:  President Obama has shied away from confronting Washington’s neocons who continue to exercise undue influence at think tanks, on op-ed pages and even inside Obama’s administration. With the new Iraq crisis, Obama’s timidity is coming back to haunt him, writes Robert Parry.

Iraqis Are Not ‘Abstractions’

Ex-CIA analyst holding up photograph of Iraqi girl who survived the accidental killing of her parents by U.S. troops. (Photo credit: Stars and Stripes.)

Exclusive: U.S. policymakers have long behaved like spoiled, destructive children treating Iraq as if it were some meaningless plaything. The game has been about who “wins” or “loses” in Washington, not who lives or dies in Iraq, a moral failure that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern addresses.

A Half-Century Battle for Voting Rights

Voting rights activists in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964.

A half century ago, in summer 1964, brave Americans challenged the entrenched racism of white-ruled Mississippi and overcame bars against black voting. Now, those gains are under attack from right-wing efforts to restrict voting and reverse the legacy of Freedom Summer, writes Brian J. Trautman.