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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

  • Obama and Rouhani Welcome New Talks, Offering Hope to Iranians Suffering Under U.S.-Led Sanctions

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    In a rare diplomatic opening, the United States and Iran are set to take part in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program that could potentially end U.S.-led sanctions that have devastated the Iranian economy. On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in one of the highest-level contacts between the two nations in years. In speeches before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, both President Obama and President Hassan Rouhani backed calls for diplomacy that have grown since Rouhani’s election earlier this year. We discuss the potential thawing of U.S.-Iran relations with Narges Bajoghli, a graduate student and filmmaker whose documentary, "The Skin That Burns," tells the story of the 100,000 survivors of chemical warfare in Iran.

  • Jeremy Scahill: Al-Shabab’s Nairobi Mall Rampage Tied to "Disastrous" U.S. Meddling in Somalia

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    Kenya has begun three days of mourning for at least 67 people killed in the siege of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The death count could still rise if more bodies are found in the rubble of the mall’s three floors. The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it retaliation for Kenyan military intervention in Somalia. We’re joined by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, who reported from both Kenya and Somalia for his recent book and film, "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield." Scahill says the Bush administration’s decision to back Ethiopia’s overthrow of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union in 2006 helped fuel al-Shabab’s growth into the dominant militant group that it is today: "Al-Shabab was largely a non-player in Somalia, and al-Qaeda had almost no presence there. The U.S., by backing [Somali] warlords and overthrowing the Islamic Courts Union, made the very force they claimed to be trying to fight."

  • The Empire President: Jeremy Scahill on Obama’s "Neocon" Doctrine of Military Force in U.N. Speech

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    In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama openly embraced an aggressive military doctrine backed by previous administrations on using armed force beyond the international norm of self-defense. Obama told the world that the United States is prepared to use its military to defend what he called "our core interests" in the Middle East: U.S. access to oil. "[Obama] basically came out and said the U.S. is an imperialist nation and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to conquer areas [and] take resources from people around the world," says independent journalist Jeremy Scahill. "It’s a really naked declaration of imperialism ... When we look back at Obama’s legacy, this is going to have been a very significant period in U.S. history where the ideals of very radical right-wing forces were solidified. President Obama has been a forceful, fierce defender of empire."