Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion 2016-05-30T05:07:52Z http://www.juancole.com/feed/atom WordPress Juan Cole http://juancole.com <![CDATA[On Memorial Day, US Troops at War with ISIL near Mosul]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161764 2016-05-30T05:06:02Z 2016-05-30T05:06:02Z By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

On Memorial Day, it is as well to remember that US troops are still at war. Afghanistan is our nation’s longest such military engagement.

But although there are only about 3,000 troops in Iraq and just a couple hundred in Syria, they are at the front lines in confronting the most dangerous terrorist groups.

After having caught sight of US special operations forces fighting alongside the leftist Kurdish YPG militia in Syria near the Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) HQ of al-Raqqa, Agence France Presse got another coup on Saturday by discovering similar US forces embedded with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters of the Kurdistan Regional Authority in their assault on Daesh position at Khazir to the east of Mosul. The Peshmerga are attempting to liberate from Daesh control several villages near Khazir, which were historically populated by Kurds but had been taken over by the terrorist organization in 2014. AFP reporters were instructed to delete any photographs they took of the US troops.

A former US military officer has said that US troops are actively engaged in fighting at both major remaining fronts against Daesh, al-Raqqa an Mosul. Some 5,000 Peshmerga are involved in the taking of Khazir, which the Pentagon described as one of several “shaping operations” being engaged in in the Mosul area to soften up Daesh in preparation for the ultimate assault on that city.

The line of the Obama administration had been that US troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria were only trainers and advisors. But in a Sky News interview yesterday, former assistant secretary of state and former brigadier general Mark Kimmitt admitted that here and there the US forces had exceeded that role. He also admitted that it had become difficult for the US to keep it secret. He said it had been found ineffective for US advisers to proffer their counsel from 50 miles away, and that it had been determined that it was better for them to advise while on the battlefield at the front.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

AFP: “Iraq Kurds launch offensive east of Mosul”

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contributors <![CDATA[Corruption: Israeli Police recommends prosecuting wife of PM Netanyahu]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161766 2016-05-30T04:30:56Z 2016-05-30T04:30:56Z Israel Broadcast Authority news | (Video Report) | – –

“Israel Police submits file to Jerusalem district attorney: enough evidence for Prime Minister’s wife to be indicted for graft.

IBA News: “Police recommends prosecuting Sara Netanyahu”

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contributors <![CDATA[Does billionaire-funded lawsuit against Gawker create playbook for punishing press?]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161759 2016-05-30T05:07:52Z 2016-05-30T04:29:41Z By Clay Calvert | (The Conversation) | – –

Word last week that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker added a wrinkle to a case already featuring colorful characters and a US$140 million jury verdict.

At a sensational and personal level, the story highlights the animus between PayPal co-founder Thiel and Gawker founder Nick Denton stemming from a 2007 gossip item that publicly outed Thiel as gay. Thiel sees Denton as “a singularly terrible bully” who invades privacy for profit. In turn, Denton sympathetically portrays Gawker, in an open letter to Thiel, as “a small New York media company” being bullied by a man with “a net worth of more than $2 billion.”

But regardless of whether it’s framed as a personal battle between Thiel and Denton or a larger one between protecting privacy and a free press, the revelation raises important questions about third-party financed litigation targeting U.S. news media outlets that are safeguarded under the First Amendment.

Most importantly, should third-party-funded litigation against news organizations be banned by lawmakers? This is the kind of issue I explore at the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, which I’ve directed for the past six years, and in my book about privacy and articles about various threats to a free press.

Threats to a free press

The fear from First Amendment advocates in the press advocates is palpable. They see Thiel as creating a playbook for other billionaires and millionaires to take on and silence members of the news media. As Vox correspondent Timothy B. Lee writes:

The threat to freedom of the press is obvious. Any news organization doing its job is going to make some enemies. If a wealthy third party is willing to bankroll lawsuits by anyone with a grudge, and defending each case costs millions of dollars, the organization could get driven out of business even if it wins every single lawsuit.

Others agree that Thiel has “created a model where any thin-skinned billionaire can ruin a media company without even telling anyone.”

In other words, billionaires who feel they have been libeled or had their privacy invaded by a news organization can score legal victories against the press via third-party funding of lawsuits in one of two different ways.

First, the sheer fear of such lawsuits may result in self-censorship by news organizations who choose not to criticize a wealthy individual rather than risk fighting a potentially expensive and protracted legal battle.

Second, even if such a chilling effect does not occur and a critical story actually is published, the costs of defending a lawsuit arising from it can be enormous.

Leveling the playing field

Indeed, Thiel has been villainized in some media quarters for his “cloak-and-dagger tactics” and satirized in others since it was discovered he funded Hogan’s lawsuit.

Denton blasts Thiel as someone who, “despite all the success and public recognition that a person could dream of, seethes over criticism and plots behind the scenes to tie up his opponents in litigation he can afford better than they.”

But has Thiel broken any laws? Apparently not. Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University, for example, emphasizes that what Thiel did “is well within the parameters of third-party involvement in lawsuits.”

In fact, some scholars contend that third-party financing of plaintiff lawsuits actually represents “another step in leveling the playing field between plaintiffs and defendants.”

Why might that be true in a libel or privacy case against the news media? Because most plaintiffs’ attorneys in such cases work on a contingency fee basis. That puts plaintiffs at a disadvantage because it means their lawyers collect money down the road only if they win – aside from, perhaps, a modest retainer upfront to cover the initial costs of getting the case going.

Rather than billing clients by the hour, as media defense attorneys do, plaintiffs’ attorneys in libel and privacy cases thus take a large financial risk that they may not collect any money if they lose. This, in turn, may make them less likely to take such a case in the first place.

Nobility of purpose?

The practice of champerty, in which a person or company steps in to help fund a case in return for a cut of the potential payoff, thus allows some lawsuits to go forward that otherwise might not because an attorney doesn’t want to take on the cost or the risk of not recovering anything.

Thiel’s lawsuit distorts this concept because he does not seek money but rather has a personal motive. Thus, at least one major litigation funding firm, Burford Capital, has distanced itself from the current fracas. As CEO Chris Bogart notes in a blog posting:

What Burford and other commercial litigation financiers do is part of a large and pretty boring business around commercial litigation – businesses suing each other… That world is miles away from professional wrestling, sex tapes and “revenge litigation.” We don’t have anything to do with that other, more salacious world.

Third-party litigation funding by the likes of Burford Capital is far from rare today and, in fact, “is prevalent in litigation and arbitration both domestically and internationally.”

Had, however, Thiel been funding a lawsuit for a more noble cause – one not for revenge against an entity that is part of the media – we might see it differently. As First Amendment defense attorney Marc Randazza observes:

When the ACLU represents a party in an important civil rights case, isn’t that a third party funding a case to promote an agenda? What about the NRA? It happens all the time.

Northwestern’s Kontorovich concurs, noting that “anyone who donates to the ACLU or a Legal Aid fund is basically underwriting third-party litigation.”

For Thiel’s part, he emphasizes that his motives are “less about revenge and more about specific deterrence.”

I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest… I thought it was worth fighting back.

The real danger

In any case, is the sky now suddenly going to fall on the mainstream news media? Are the odds in favor of Thiel or others like him striking a future $140 million jackpot against a media defendant?

It is highly doubtful. As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern points out, Thiel essentially:

lucked out with Hogan’s judge and jury — it’s hard to imagine a court more sympathetic to Hogan’s claims — but there’s no reason to think future plaintiffs will be so wildly fortunate. Yes, deep-pocketed donors could theoretically finance frivolous yet costly nuisance lawsuits and pester publications into oblivion. But most such suits would be dismissed early on, and an attorney who brings overtly frivolous claims risks court sanction. In short, it is exceedingly rare for the stars to align as neatly as they did for Hogan.

Yet, even if a media defendant ultimately prevails in court against a third-party financed lawsuit, it still has rung up potentially massive bills to pay its attorneys and other costs in fighting that battle. That is the real danger here.

Ultimately, however, the First Amendment protects the press against government censorship, not private third-party funding of lawsuits that target it. If change is to occur, then, because of the fear of another billionaire running the Thiel playbook against a media organization, it will take legislation.

A first baby step, as it were, for such legislation might concentrate on transparency. It would require attorneys who accept third-party funding for cases to file documents in public court files related to those cases to acknowledge and identify all sources of funding beyond those coming directly from clients.

Completely banning the practice of third-party litigation seems impractical, however, given both how well instantiated it now is in the U.S. and that it can support legitimate plaintiffs who might not otherwise possess the fiscal resources to do battle in court. But openness, regarding who funds whom, will make the public aware about the individuals or businesses that hold a vested monetary stake or, in Thiel’s case, a non-pecuniary one, in the outcome.

Indeed, it seems to be the secretiveness of Thiel’s funding that has so many taken aback.

The Conversation

Clay Calvert, Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

ABC News: Hulk Hogan Gawker Lawsuit Funded by Peter Thiel, Paypal Co-creator

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contributors <![CDATA[Not the Onion: Trump: ‘No California Drought & I will Solve it’]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161755 2016-05-30T03:29:28Z 2016-05-30T04:29:37Z TeleSur | – –

The presumptive GOP nominee told supporters in Fresno, California on Friday that he does not believe the state is currently facing drought-like conditions.

During an electoral campaign speech on Friday, Republican presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump told California voters that he can solve the state’s water crisis by simply declaring “there is no drought.”

Trump accused state officials of diverting precious crop water “to protect a three-inch fish,” at the behest of environmentalists.

Trump appeared to be referring to longstanding federal laws designed to protect endangered fish by ensuring the species have enough water. The rules dictate how much water from the Sacramento River must run into the ocean.

“If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” Trump said.

Trump said he spent 30 minutes before the rally meeting with more than 50 farmers who complained to him about their struggles.

The comments came a day after Trump outlined an energy policy plan that relies heavily on expanding U.S. fossil fuel exploration and reducing environmental regulations.

Trump has said in the past he believes global warming is a concept that was invented by China to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. business.

Meanwhile, last week, Donald Trump vowed to renegotiate the global accord on climate change if elected U.S. president causing concern

Via TeleSur

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

CNN: ” Trump: I will solve California drought”

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contributors <![CDATA[In Fight against ISIL, does US have to Choose between Turkey & YPG Kurds?]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161761 2016-05-30T04:06:32Z 2016-05-30T04:06:32Z By James Miller | ( RFE/ RL )

The fight against extremists from the Islamic State (IS) militant group is heating up on two fronts. 

Since May 23, a coalition consisting of the Iraqi army and primarily Shi'ite militias, backed by U.S. air strikes, has advanced towards Fallujah, 40 kilometers west of Baghdad. 

There are estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians remain in the city, and some residents told USA Today that IS fighters are using them as human shields. 

"The Islamic State began moving families living in the outskirts to the center," resident Salem al Halbusi said by telephone. "They are locking some families down inside the hospital building," added al Halbusi, who did not want other information about him disclosed to protect his safety.

The civilian populace could slow Fallujah's liberators down, but those who have successfully fled the city told Reuters that the trapped population could starve before Islamic State is defeated, or be killed while they are trying to flee. Either way, all eyes will be on the coalition that the United States has helped build. 

As David Patrikarakos wrote earlier this week for RFE/RL, even if the IS militants are defeated quickly in Fallujah, there is a risk that sectarian tension could be inflamed further in the process. Defeating IS militarily is just the first step toward healing Iraq's and Syria's sectarian wounds and ensuring that another, similar group does not emerge. 

A similar pattern is playing out in the battle for Raqqa in northeastern Syria, the capital city for the self-declared Islamic State. As Wladimir van Wilgenburg explained earlier this month, efforts to defeat IS on the Syrian side of the border are being led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition that includes both Arab and Kurdish fighters. But while the SDF is diverse — and becoming more so — it is still dominated and led by the People's Protection Units (YPG), the fighting branch of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is closely associated with Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 

Escalation In Turkey

The problem with this is that the PKK — which is designated as a terrorist organization by both the United States and Turkey — is effectively at war with Turkey, a NATO ally and a major stakeholder in the outcome of the war in Syria. In April, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby told the press corps that "YPG's not a designated foreign terrorist organization. PKK is. Nothing's changed about that."

Crucially, however, Turkey does not see a distinction between the PKK and the YPG. Neither do several experts whom RFE/RL consulted in researching this article. One source in territory controlled by the Kurds, who wished to remain anonymous due to security concerns, told RFE/RL that there is no doubt that the YPG reports directly to the PKK's guerrilla leadership. 

A report by The Atlantic Council's Aaron Stein and Michelle Foley has established the link between the YPG and PKK, and Kurdish fighters have also confessed that the two are part of the same organization. That report suggests that Turkey was willing to tolerate the YPG as long as IS and the Kurdish group were fighting each other, but that tolerance has reached its end as the fighting between Turkey and the Kurds has heated up.

U.S. soldiers are supporting the YPG on the ground in Syria. Photos taken this week by an AFP photographer show U.S. Special Forces soldiers operating alongside Kurdish fighters near the front lines in Raqqa Province. Some of those soldiers are wearing patches of the YPG and their all-female battle unit the YPJ — patches that, as Syrian expert Michael Weiss points out, are derived from the PKK's flag. 

On May 27, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists that "wearing an insignia of a terrorist organization by U.S. soldiers, who are our ally and are assertive about fighting against terrorism, is unacceptable. Our suggestion to them is that they should also wear Daesh [IS], al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda insignias during their operations in other regions of Syria. They can also wear the Boko Haram insignia when they go to Africa.”

Hours later, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, the spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S.-led coalition against IS, announced that the soldiers had been instructed to stop wearing the patches, a reversal from statements made by the military just the day before.

Fighting between the PKK and Turkey has escalated in recent weeks. 

On May 13, a PKK fighter shot down a Turkish AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter with a Russian-made shoulder-fired SA-18 missile. Experts at The Aviationist and in Turkey said this was the first time the PKK has successfully used an antiaircraft weapon against a Turkish aircraft. 

While the source operating in Kurdistan told RFE/RL that the PKK have had such weapons for some time, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War suggested that, while the weapon could have come from Syria or Iraq, "more likely that the PKK acquired the weapon from an external actor." 

A likely candidate for supplying the weapon is Russia, which has seen its relationship with the Turkish government disintegrate since the Russian air campaign in Syria began last September. Tensions rose when the Turkish air force shot down a Russian jet in November following several warnings from Turkey that Russian jets were violating its airspace. 

The idea that Russia — or its allies in Syria and Iran — could be arming the PKK has been amplified through the Turkish press. The Anadolu Agency has reported that, according to its sources, such efforts began sometime in December after the Russian jet was shot down. Regardless of whether this is true, such accusations could fuel a proxy war between Turkey and Russia, which could further inflame the region.

Pyrrhic Victory?

But which side of that proxy war does the United States take if its main allies in the fight against IS in Syria are the very fighters that Turkey says are waging war against them across the border? 

In February, there were heavy clashes between YPG fighters in northwestern Syria and multiple rebel groups, which had been backed and trained by the CIA and Turkey. One now-infamous video showed a rebel group, Liwa' Suqour al-Jabal‎ (The Mountain Hawks Brigade), firing a U.S.-made TOW antitank missile into a YPG tank in the town of Azaz. This led some analysts to conclude that the United States was "in a proxy war with itself" in Syria since it supports some Syrian rebel groups and, via the SDF at least, the Kurdish YPG. 

This has two potentially dangerous consequences. The first is that Turkey is a NATO ally that is already under immense pressure. Turkey has signaled that it feels abandoned, or even betrayed, by U.S. policy in Syria, a sentiment which could weaken the NATO alliance. But Turkey is also a Sunni state, and the Sunnis already feel that they have been the victims of U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria. Both of the major offensives against IS, in Syria and in Iraq, could further exacerbate this dynamic. 

The sectarian tension between groups that the U.S. currently backs — whether it's the Shi'ite/Sunni tensions in Iraq or the Kurdish/Sunni tensions in Syria — should not be easily dismissed. One should remember that it was sectarian tension in both Iraq and Syria which gave rise to Islamist extremism and sectarian violence there, and the Islamic State militant group is just the newest and most radical incarnation of that tension. Victory over Islamic State is important, but if it weakens the NATO alliance or sets the stage for future sectarian conflicts, it could only be a Pyrrhic victory.
 

Via RFE/RL

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Euronews: “US troops in Syria to remove Kurdish insignia after Ankara outburst”

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Juan Cole http://juancole.com <![CDATA[Modern Mongols: Sunni Arabs outraged at Iran role in Iraqi Gov’t Fallujah Campaign]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161752 2016-05-29T05:36:58Z 2016-05-29T05:36:58Z By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

BBC Monitoring surveyed the Arabic press on 27 May for the issue of the Iranian role in the Iraq government campaign to take Fallujah from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). Although Saudi and other newspapers say they want to see Daesh defeated, they are deeply critical of the Shiite militias or Popular Mobilization Forces, alleging that they use indiscriminate fire and create high numbers of civilian casualties when operating in Sunni Arab areas.

Fallujah is a storied Iraqi Sunni stronghold of several hundreds of thousands of residents, the “city of minarets.” It fell to Daesh in January of 2014, and I think it is fair to say that there is much more angst in the Sunni Arab world about its liberation at the hands of Iran-backed Shiites than there has been about Daesh’s brutal occupation of the city.

BBC Monitoring writes,

“In Bahraini pro-government Akhbar al-Khalij, Hamed Ezzat al-Sayyad balmes Tehran for attacks on Sunnis in Fallujah. He describes Iran as “the modern Mongols”, and “a cancerous entity that should be faced through an Arab liberation project”. He cites “the brutal assault on Fallujah which is a stronghold for Sunnis in Iraq”.

It also reports that the pro-government Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh alleged that the Shiite militias had randomly attacked a civilian hospital, and complained that 300 Iraqis had already been killed in the run-up to the main battled.

Jordan’s al-Ghad (private) ran a column by Isa al-Shu`aybi alleging indiscriminate killing “based on sectarian segregation” by the Shiite militias.

Abdullah al-Awady of the UAE’s al-Ittihad (Unity) attacked the Shiite militias for “exterminating” Sunnis and alleged that the Iraqi government was firing Sunnis from all state institutions.

In a May 23 report, BBC Monitoring had quoted some tweets by Sunnis actually rooting for Daesh if that meant that the Shiites would be defeated:

Iraqi activist named in Arabic “Shammariyat al-Iraq” (@moonnor27, 160K followers), whose tweets show her support for jihadism in Iraq, tweeted: “A call to every Muslim to tweet by using the hashtag ‘Support_Fallujah_with_prayer’. The Shia PMF are fiercely shelling [the city]. Genocide of Sunni families is being carried out. Pray for the oppressed, O Muslims.”

Needless to say, the Shiite militias for all their faults are not actually interested in “exterminating” Sunnis– in fact there are photos showing Iraqi Sunnis around Fallujah greeting them as saviors. But in some instances, as at Tikrit, they have allegedly committed reprisal attacks against Sunnis they held responsible for massacring Shiites or actively collaborating with Daesh.

On the other side of the aisle, BBC Monitoring surveyed the Iranian press on this issue on May 24:

Keyhan predicted that the high morale of the Iraqi armed forces, in particular the Popular Mobilization Forces or Shiite militias, a quick victory at Fallujah is possible. It claims that Daesh has moved chemical weapons to residential districts of Mosul, to deter the inevitable assault on their last major stronghold in Iraq, after Fallujah falls. [Mosul metropolitan area probably had 2 million inhabitants before Daesh took it over; it is now probably half that or less].

Khorasan predicted that the liberation of Fallujah will strengthen Iraqi national unity and put more power in the hands of the central government. It also paves the way to an assault on Mosul. It urges the government to resettle people in the city and integrate it into Iraq’s democratic system.

Javan argued that Daesh in Fallujah posed a security problem for Baghdad and for nearby Shiite cities such as Karabala. It also presented a baroque conspiracy theory in which the US is actually behind Daesh and other Sunni extremist groups even while it is orchestrating their demise.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

AP: ” Iraqi Gov’t Forces Battle IS Near Fallujah”

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contributors <![CDATA[ISIL Advance Traps 165,000 Syrians at Closed Turkish Border]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161749 2016-05-29T04:50:59Z 2016-05-29T04:50:59Z By Gerry Simpson | ( Human Rights Watch ) | – –

There are two walls on the Turkey-Syria border.

One is manned by Turkish border guards enforcing Turkey’s 15 month-old border closure who, according to witnesses, have at times shot at and assaulted Syrian asylum seekers as they try to reach safety in Turkey – abuses strongly denied by the Turkish government.

The other is a wall of silence by the rest of the world, including the United Nations, which has chosen to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s breach of international law which prohibits forcing people back to places, including by rejecting them at the border, where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

Both walls are trapping 165,000 displaced Syrians now scattered in overcrowded informal settlements and fields just south of Turkey’s Öncupınar/Bab al-Salameh border crossing and in and around the nearby Syrian town of Azaz.

In April, 30,000 of them fled ISIS advances on about 10 informal displacement camps to the east of Azaz, which came under ISIS attack, and one of which has since been hit by an airstrike that killed at least 20 people and injured at least 37 more. Turkish border guards shot at civilians fleeing ISIS and approaching the border.

Now aid agencies operating in the area say that between May 24 and 27, another 45,000 fled a new ISIS assault on the area east of Azaz and are now stuck in and around Azaz too. Aid agencies say there is no question all 165,000 would seek asylum in Turkey if the border were open to them.

While the world speaks about fighting ISIS, their silence is deafening when it comes to the basic rights of those fleeing ISIS. The fact Turkey is generously hosting more than 2.5 million Syrians does not give it a right to shut its border to other endangered Syrians.

And the EU – which has signed a deal with Turkey that aims to contain Syrians and other refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey – should stop turning its back on people fleeing war and persecution, and help them to safely reach protection in the EU.

Via Human Rights Watch

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Aljazeera English: ” More than 100,000 Syrians flee as ISIL advances”

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contributors <![CDATA[Solar Surges: Renewable Energy Jobs Topped 8 Million in 2015]]> http://www.juancole.com/?p=161745 2016-05-29T04:34:41Z 2016-05-29T04:33:36Z By Andrea Germanos, staff writer | ( Commondreams.org ) | – –

In the U.S. alone, solar grew nearly 22% since the previous year

On the heels of clean fuel milestones in Germany and Portugal , a new report finds that the renewable energy industry employed over 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual review, that figure marks a 5% increase from the previous year. China led the pack, accounting for 3.5 million jobs. Brazil and U.S. ranked second and third, respectively, for the highest number of renewable energy jobs.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector shot up 11% and accounted for biggest number of jobs at 2.8 million globally.

In the U.S. alone, solar grew nearly 22%. That’s “12 times faster than job creation in the US economy­—surpassing jobs in oil and gas,” the report states. The other country seeing growth in solar was Japan, which notched a 28% increase in solar PV employment in 2014.

“There is no high-carbon prosperous future.”

—Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate GroupWind saw “a record year” in employment, the report states. Wind energy employment in the U.S. grew 21%; worldwide it grew 5%. At the same time, oil and gas extraction jobs fell by 18 percent in the U.S.

“This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks,” stated IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “We expect this trend to continue as the business case for renewables strengthens and as countries move to achieve their climate targets agreed in Paris,” he added, referring to the UN climate deal sealed at the end of 2015.

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, an organization that advocates for reining in carbon emissions, added, “A clean revolution is key to growth, investment, jobs, health, security: there is no high-carbon prosperous future.”

The new review follows a separate brief released (pdf) by IRENA on “the true costs of of fossil fuels,” which found that doubling the global share of renewables by 2030 would save not only $4.2 trillion annually but also as many as 4 million lives.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Via Commondreams.org

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Related video added by Juan Cole

Solar Power World: “U.S. Solar Industry Installs One-Millionth Installation; Is Now #MillionSolarStrong”

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