Saturday, September 05 2015

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Conkers, cluster bombs and American double standards

Alastair Sloan

Playing conkers is a formative experience in any self-respecting British playground. For curious foreign friends who haven't heard of this brilliant game, it requires two conkers - nuts which fall each autumn from horse chestnut trees - each with a small hole drilled through the centre so it can be hung on a two foot string. The first player dangles his conker in front of their opponents. The second player must hit his own conker against the others as hard as possible. They get one swing, and then swap roles.

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Leaked emails reveal Hollywood execs at work for Israel

Hollywood SignTop Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.

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US drone strikes have traumatised a generation of Yemenis and will push them towards militancy

US Drone

A year ago today, Hussein Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr, a labourer, was travelling to work in Al-Bayda, central Yemen, with 11 colleagues including family members when a drone struck the car. When the attack was over, Hussein emerged from where he had taken cover to look for the other passengers and found his father, 65, slumped in the road with shrapnel injuries to his head and chest. The bodies of the other passengers were scattered around the area, with some injuries so severe, Hussein was only able to identify them from their clothing. Four of the passengers were killed: Sanad Nasser Hussein Al-Khushm, Abdullah Nasser Abu Bakr Al-Khushm, Yasser Ali Abed Rabbo Al-Azzani and Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr.

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American silence is a strategy to dismantle and reorganise the Arab region

US president Barack Obama

Many observers have described US President Barack Obama as a hesitant individual who does not have a clear vision or strategy for dealing with the recurrent crises in the Middle East. They also say that after the withdrawal of the US military from Iraq and Afghanistan, his priorities are now focused on developing the economy and raising the level of domestic social and health services.

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The US isn’t winding down its wars – it’s just running them at arm’s length

Destruction of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen.  [File photo]Destruction of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

So relentless has the violence convulsing the Middle East become that an attack on yet another Arab country and its descent into full-scale war barely registers in the rest of the world. That's how it has been with the onslaught on impoverished Yemen by western-backed Saudi Arabia and a string of other Gulf dictatorships.

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