Brian O’DriscollKnown for his intelligent plays and quick thinking, heres just a taster of what he can do. Brian O’Driscoll scores the pick of the Leinster tries during a Heineken Cup showdown with Wasps in 2008. Poor Tom Voyce didn’t get a look-in! LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Leinster
For the past six years, the United States, Israel, NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council have waged an unrelenting proxy war against the sovereign, secular state of Syria. The U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army, called “moderate rebels” in the corporate-owned media, fights openly alongside forces backed by U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey. These forces, really mercenaries or contras, which include the Islamic State, Jabhat Al-Nusra (al-Qaida in Syria), Jaysh al-Islam and others, are largely constituted of foreign fighters.There is one front in this proxy war, however, that should be included in an anti-imperialist analyses. It’s the front in the north contested by the Islamic State, Turkey, U.S. imperialism and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — the last groupa mainly includes Kurdish forces.The SDF’s largest fighting force is the YPG (the Kurdish acronym for the People’s Protection Units). The YPG is allied with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and both are allied with the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long fight for self-determination of the Kurdish region inside Turkish boundaries against the brutally oppressive Turkish state.In a sign of the contradictions inherent in U.S. imperialist policy toward Syria, on April 25 Turkish planes attacked units of the YPG in northern Syria, killing as many as 70 fighters. While U.S. diplomats said they raised concerns with NATO-ally Turkey regarding this strike, nothing concrete was done to stop future Turkish attacks against Kurdish fighters. (Reuters, April 25) This is one example in Washington’s long history of apparently backing one oppressed people and then turning on them.Many progressive people see the YPG, which is mostly made up of Kurdish fighters but includes other ethnic minorities as well as Western “foreign volunteers,” as representing the just struggle for Kurdish national liberation. Organized along democratic principles without a vertical chain of command, the forces of the YPG and their movement in northern Syria claim to model their “non-state” on anarchist, eco-socialist principles.The YPJ, the Women’s Protection Units, provide an active leadership role for women in their struggle.The Kurdish nationThe Kurds are a historically oppressed nation of 30 million to 35 million people. They are the world’s largest nation without a state. Most live in the contiguous, underdeveloped, mountainous region spanning four countries and speak their own language. About 14.5 million to 16 million Kurds live in Turkey, 6 million in Iran and 5 million to 6 million in Iraq. The 1.5 million to 2 million Kurds in Syria are the smallest grouping of this nation.During the Kurdish people’s fight for liberation from Turkey, Washington has supplied arms, logistical and satellite assistance, and political support for the Turkish ruling classes against the PKK, which the U.S. labels as “terrorist.” Yet in Syria, Washington has a cynical, opportunistic alliance with the YPG, using those forces to accomplish its aims of destroying the Syrian state.At times, the Syrian Democratic Forces/YPG have coordinated with the Syrian Arab Army in the fight against IS and other mercenary armies. However, SDF/YPG now operate in coordination with the U.S. military. Despite the SDF/YPG’s progressive principles and organizational structure, the Pentagon’s aim is to have it function as an effective proxy for the U.S. geopolitical goal of dismantling the Syrian state.It is not obvious what aggression the U.S. plans next for Syria after its deadly April 6 strike on the Sharyat airfield and the May 18 bombing of a Syrian government convoy. If Washington significantly steps up direct U.S. intervention, it will expect cooperation from the SDF in providing ground forces. The Pentagon has already been able to build two air bases in northeastern Syria in the past few months.Mercenaries and ‘invaders’Since at least two years ago, the U.S. has been sending special forces troops to northern Syria. As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stated since the U.S. sent several hundred more ground troops to Syria in the beginning of March, “All foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation … are invaders.” Assad, who is constantly demonized in the U.S. corporate media, is the democratically elected leader of the people of Syria.The YPG has been bolstered not only by U.S. special forces but also by foreign volunteers including people from the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries.Among them is Brace Belden, who had a Rolling Stone magazine centerfold feature on his role and inspired an upcoming Hollywood film starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the “punk florist-turned-revolutionary.” Another volunteer is Gill Rosenberg, a Canadian-Israeli woman and former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, and the first foreign volunteer in the Women’s Protection Units. These individuals violate Syrian sovereignty and package the U.S. invasion of Syria as a progressive, “socialist” struggle against Islamic state fascism.Is U.S. planning to split up Syria?The Rand Corporation think tank has drawn up various “peace plans” throughout the war, detailing the U.S. and its allies’ latest plans for the partition of Syria. The most recent, dated this year, projects large swathes of Kurdish-administered territory extending about halfway to Raqqa in the south and almost to Manbij in the west, as well as a corner encompassing Azaz in northwestern Syria.Buffering these zones are “proposed international administration” zones, code words for NATO occupation and Turkish-controlled areas. Notably, these “Kurdish zones” in northeastern Syria encompass much of the country’s greatest natural wealth, including its largest oil reserves.If the U.S. aids the SDF to annex northeastern Syria, this will not lead to any meaningful form of Kurdish independence. Rather, it will mean the Kurdish forces will be subordinate to and will collaborate with the U.S., much as the Kurdish regime does inside Iraq. Meanwhile, the U.S. will destroy what remains of Syria and purge any progressive forces in the Kurdish movement.At this point, Washington sees the claims to a separate Kurdish region based out of northern Syria as fitting its goal of dividing Syria. With the Syrian state under siege, the attempt to create a Kurdish “autonomous” zone under U.S. guidance is in direct contradiction to the preservation of Syrian sovereignty in defense against imperialism. The U.S. has made this abundantly clear, saying that it plans to station its forces in Syria even once IS has been eliminated.Moreover, all of these events obscure the fact that the Syrian government and Kurdish groups have negotiated greater autonomy for the latter on their own terms before. If there is to be any change in the relationship between the Syrian state and its Kurdish inhabitants, it is clear that this change cannot be imposed by the imperialist powers. The U.S., NATO and their allies should have no say in this history.The imperialists in the U.S. and elsewhere have planned a grim end for Syria: the destruction of the sovereign secular state in favor of Balkanized ethnic enclaves in the manner of Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia and any other state that has defied destruction and imperialist plundering since the fall of the Soviet Union. This includes the current aggression against Syria, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.There can be no genuine liberation for any peoples — Arab, Kurdish or otherwise — until imperialism is defeated in the region and the right of self-determination is fully realized and respected. Anti-war and other activists in the U.S. and NATO states must stand in full solidarity with the right of all nations to develop their collective livelihood, culture and economy without interference from imperialists.Hands off Syria! All mercenaries out of Syria! Uphold self-determination!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
With Dave Matthews Band taking 2017 off, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds are taking advantage of the free time by touring as an acoustic duo once again. The band have already announced two tour dates in Texas, a destination event at the Barcelo Maya in Rivera Maya, MX (home to Phish: Riviera Maya and Los Muertos con Queso), and a fifteen-date European tour in the Spring. Today, the duo added sixteen summer tour dates in the United States that will take them to many of the same amphitheaters that they normally occupy when performing with Dave Matthews Band.The tour kicks off on May 3rd in Tuscaloosa, AL Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre, and will take them across up and down the East Coast with a few dates in the South and the Midwest. There will be two-night stands in Nashville at the Ascend Amphitheater, Philadelphia at The Mann Center, Chicago at Northerly Island, and Saratoga Springs at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The tour will come to a close on June 18th with a show in Columbia, MD at Merriweather Post Pavilion.See below for a full list of tour dates for Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. There will be an online pre-sale for Warehouse members on Thursday, January 19th, and tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 10th. For more information, click here.Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – 2017 Tour DatesNorth American Dates1/25 Sugar Land, TX Smart Financial Center1/26 Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre2/23-25 Riviera Maya, MX Barceló Maya Beach (all-inclusive concert vacation)5/3 Tuscaloosa, AL Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre5/6 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheatre5/7 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheatre5/31 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park6/2 Philadelphia, PA The Mann Center6/3 Philadelphia, PA The Mann Center6/4 Canandaigua, NY CMAC6/6 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater6/7 Holmdel, NY PNC Bank Arts Center6/10 Chicago, IL Northerly Island6/11 Chicago, IL Northerly Island6/13 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre6/14 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center6/16 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center6/17 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center6/18 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post PavilionEuropean Dates3/20 London, England Eventim Apollo3/21 London, England Eventim Apollo3/23 Dublin, EI Olympia Theatre3/25 Groningen, NL De Oosterpoort3/26 Amsterdam, NL AFAS Live (Heineken Music Hall)3/27 Köln, DE Palladium3/29 Copenhagen, DK Royal Arena3/30 Berlin, DE Columbiahalle4/1 Vienna, AT Wiener Konzerthaus4/2 Prague, CZ Forum Karlin4/4 Torino, IT Teatro Colosseo4/6 Padova, IT Gran Teatro Geox4/7 Milan, IT Teatro Arcimboldi4/10 Lisbon, PT Coliseu Lisboa4/11 Porto, PT Coliseu Porto
The Mermaid Waters residence at 35 Sundowner Court sold under the hammer.A Gold Coast house that was one of the state’s most popular on the market has fetched more than $1 million under the hammer.Local buyers who recently moved from the UK snapped up the renovated Mermaid Waters residence at its weekend auction but it wasn’t without a fight.Ray White Broadbeach Waters principal Mitch Palmer, who marketed the property with Gema Jackson, said about 50 people attended with five registered bidders vying for the keys. MORE NEWS: Fashion family lists $20m Byron icon Several outdoor living areas and a pool overlooking the water are among its highlights.Mr Palmer said house hunters were out in force and determined buy.“We’re still seeing that demand for property to be quite solid,” he said.“There’s still a large amount of buyers that haven’t been satisfied through this summer market.“We’re still going to see that demand so strong until that stock rebalances.” MORE NEWS: Gold Coast property values on the rise It fetched $1.52 million before a crowd of about 50 people. There were five registered bidders vying for the keys.The bidding started at $1.2 million before quickly climbing to $1.52 million when the hammer came down.Mr Palmer said it was a battle between Queensland and NSW bidders with the locals winning out this time.“All the bidders really went quite hard, we reached that price fairly quickly,” Mr Palmer said.“It was a young family who bought it, it was a bit of a dream for them.”The four-bedroom waterfront house was the most viewed property going to auction in Queensland last weekend on realestate.com.au.Mr Palmer said its location and impressive renovation were behind its popularity.The house is on a 980sq m block and spans two levels with the main living areas and one bedroom on the ground floor and the three remaining bedrooms upstairs. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa8 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoAn extensive renovation was behind it’s popularity. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:44Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:44 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow to bid at auction for your dream home? 01:45
Press Association The Belfast side travelled across the Irish Sea last night – their first trip to Glasgow’s south side – after having stepped in to host a fundraising match last May when the former Scottish champions found themselves mired in a financial crisis that eventually led to their liquidation. Now reformed but playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division, Rangers proved too strong for the Northern Irishmen as they secured victory with goals from Chris Hegarty and youngster Andrew Murdoch. Light Blues boss Ally McCoist paid his part-time visitors full respect by putting out a strong starting line-up, but Rangers struggled to get out of first gear in the early stages, mustering only an Ian Black drive on the half-hour mark before surviving a scare as Matthew Tipton pulled a decent chance wide. It took until three minutes before the half-time break for the hosts to net as Hegarty found the corner of the goal from Fraser Aird’s deep cross. The second half was interrupted by a raft of substitutions. Linfield captain Peter Thompson did have the ball in the net after 65 minutes only to see his big moment ruined by an offside flag. However, Rangers wrapped it up with the last kick of the game as midfielder Murdoch’s deflected 25-yard drive deceived Alan Blayney and found its way home. Rangers repaid Linfield for helping out in their hour of need by handing them a narrow 2-0 friendly defeat at Ibrox.