News Release

* Russia and Kurds * U.S. Troops and Chalabi * Haitian Election


REESE ERLICH, ReeseErlich2 at, @ReeseErlich
Freelance foreign correspondent Erlich is just back from the Mideast. His piece “How Putin Is Wooing America’s Closest Syrian Allies: Now Obama wants to help the Kurds? Russia’s already there,” was just published by Politico and states: “Stung by Vladimir Putin’s military intervention, Obama last week foreswore his previous refusal to put boots on the ground, announcing he’s sending a small contingent of U.S. special operations commandos to help America’s close allies, the Syrian Kurdish rebels. But to scant notice, the Kurds are receiving increased support from Russia as well — and are about to open an office in Moscow — in what has become a high-stakes poker game for influence in the region.

“While previously the Kurds sought closer ties only with the U.S., now ‘we welcome a strategic relationship with both the U.S. and Russia,’ Sherzad Yazidi, a representative of the Rojava administration living in Sulimaniya, told me on a recent trip to the region. ‘One wouldn’t be at the expense of the other.'” Erlich’s books include Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence, and Empire.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI, ksusiek at, @karen4the6th
Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kwiatkowski worked until the Spring of 2003 in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia office. She retired during the week of what she calls the “lie-based and illegal invasion of Iraq.”

In a recent interview on RT, Kwiatkowski stated: “I think they are looking for an excuse to up the ante, to send more troops and to have a crisis of some sort. Clearly the president has been lying, and so has Ash Carter, about what their real intentions are. So, in my opinion, I think this is provocative and I think it is calculated to put our troops in danger.”

Kwiatkowski writes for and just wrote a piece titled “The Death of a Charming Charlatan,” about Ahmed Chalabi, which states: “In 2003, the canaries were warning about the lies told by the President, the Vice President, and political appointees throughout Washington to justify an American strategy in Iraq, complete with hundreds of billions in lending and ‘investment,’ and the permanent destruction of a political system and its army.  While some of us could see a future far darker, far more dangerous, and far more destructive than being welcomed by children throwing flowers and candy at American soldiers — most could not. Chalabi was a useful part of why that was.”

The Miami Herald reports: “Haiti Election Results Delayed Until Thursday.”

JAKE JOHNSTON,  johnston at, @JakobJohnston, or via Dan Beeton, beeton at
Johnston is a research associate with the Center for Economic and Policy Research and lead blogger for its “Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch” blog. Also, see @accuracy Haiti list.

Johnston just returned from Haiti where he witnessed electoral procedures on October 25 and interviewed a number of political party representatives, current and former members of the Haitian government, representatives of the United Nations mission inHaiti, and others. He is the author of the recent articles for VICE News, “LandmarkHaiti Elections Go Ahead Without Violence” and “Recent Murders in Port-au-Prince Are a Bad Omen for Haiti’s Election.”

He said today: “Though an improvement from August legislative elections when one in six polling centers were ransacked, the October 25 presidential election was marred by widespread allegations of fraud on the part of the government.

“For the international community, a successful election in Haiti is one that is free from violence, but will the massive fraud documented by local observers be overlooked?

“Over 900,000 accreditation passes were given to political party observers, which allowed representatives to vote even without being on the electoral list. Few of the record 54 candidates who were participating could actually use them and so many turned around and sold them.

“The system for monitoring the vote turned into a black market for vote buying, where those with the most money were most able to take advantage. And it was entirely predictable.

“With preliminary results yet to be announced, the legacy of the U.S.’ intervention’ in the 2010 election is impacting the current process as parties jostle for a spot in the runoff, believing that decisions are once again being made behind closed doors and not at the ballot box.”