You are browsing the archive for MENA.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Prism of Pain, GWOT, and, the US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act

10:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

C’mon, pups, we’re clearly losing the R2P ‘Hearts and Mind’ campaign in the MENA…!

The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East

… His findings sometimes reflect significant differences in the opinions in these countries but more often demonstrate basic commonalities. At a time when some pundits see crises in Syria and elsewhere leading to the marginalization of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the region’s politics, Telhami forcefully pulls readers back to it, labeling it a “prism of pain” through which Arab publics view the region — even if their leaders do not. Arabs overwhelmingly view Israel and the United States as the greatest threats they face. This produces inconsistent preferences: manifested, for example, in their pushing for the establishment of democratic institutions in their own countries while admiring antidemocratic leaders who defy the United States, such as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Telhami argues that that no U.S. president will make a dent in Arab anti-Americanism so long as Washington maintains its uncritical support for Israel and continues to deploy significant U.S. military forces in the region.

On the other side of the global ledger…

Why Vladimir rules and Obama bombs

On both the NSA saga and the Syrian crisis, Putin played chess while Obama played checkers with himself – and lost.

Every year, Forbes magazine publishes its list of the heads of state, financial titans and business moguls who “truly rule the world.” Predictably, a sitting US president – the commander-in-chief of the most lethal armada in the history of the world – usually gets the top spot.

Not in 2010 though, when Barack Obama was overtaken by then Chinese President Hu Jintao in the aftermath of the Wall Street-provoked financial crisis. And not in 2013, when the winner is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Not by accident, China and Russia are the most influential among the BRICS group of emerging powers. The US corporate media’s rankings such as Time’s Person of The Year may be irrelevant, and usually extremely provincial. But as a PR coup, American recognition of Putin’s soft power is priceless, even coming after de facto recognition by the overwhelming majority of the real ‘international community’: the developing world.

To its credit, Forbes stresses how “anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and the National Security Agency leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics.” {…}

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing, National Intelligence Director James Clapper was adamant that the NSA and the CIA cannot spy on any political leader via his/her private mobile phones without permission from the White House. So no matter the spin, Obama knew, among others, about the spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and German Chancellor Angel Merkel.

You don’t need to have read Orwell to note this is yet another instance of the imperial Masters of the Universe worldview. It’s ‘legitimate’ to spy on Americans. It’s ‘legitimate’ to spy all over the global South – including the more influential BRICS. {…}

The proverbial US Think Tankland Cassandras will be left endlessly carping about the ‘stagnating’ Russian economy, ethnic and religious ‘tension’, ‘political atrophy’ because of Putin’s ‘authoritarianism’, and assorted ills. Nonsense.

This essay by top blogger The Saker meticulously outlines the key plot twists and undercurrents of the past 20 years of US-Russia relations – including the now-proverbial Putin demonization.

Back to the facts on the geopolitical ground. Putin has seized the moment and now is arguably the key actor trying to build an emerging, alternative multilateral order. As for imperial lame duck Obama, he seems destined to keep bombing in more ways than one.

Now, in my last Mashup, I’d pointed out the serious BS emanating from our AIPAC, bought-and-paid-for, Critters on Iran, well they doubled down on the buffoonery…

Forget Sanctions: House Hawks Pushing for Iran War

Bill Would Green-Light Attack on Iran

While most of the effort of the Obama Administration has been trying to convince an unwilling Congress to “delay” any new sanctions as Iran negotiations move forward, a collection of hawks in the House of Representatives are looking to move beyond that dispute and just flat out start a war.

The ironically named “United States-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act,” would condemn Iran for “deception” dating back to the 1980s, and would authorize President Obama to attack Iran whenever he decides talks have “failed.”

Let’s get real here, pups…

Propaganda & Ignorance in Reporting on Iran

Whenever tensions over Iran’s nuclear energy program appear to dissipate and rational, fact-based reporting begins to replace agenda-driven rhetoric in the press, the folks over at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington D.C. think tank that specializes in producing highly speculative assessments of the nuclear capabilities of countries loathed by the U.S. government, release a new study full of hypotheticals, allegations, and innuendo intended to restore alarmism to front pages and TelePrompTers.

Critical to the success of ISIS’s efforts and the endless self-promotion of its president, David Albright, are the dutiful stenographers in the media who eagerly promote to large audiences their claims as unchallenged fact, without even a shred of skepticism or hint of journalistic integrity…

The Institute for Speculation and Iran Scaremongering

Under a hysterical headline – “Iran may be a month from a bomb” – Dorell posted what is effectively a press release for a new ISIS report. In his article, Dorell not only presents ISIS head David Albright, a former IAEA inspector, as an unimpeachable expert source and uncritically regurgitates his claims about the potential timeline for Iran achieving nuclear breakout capacity, but also deliberately omits vitally important information which might undermine the ultimate goal of fear-mongering about Iran…

U.S. Director of National Intelligence has repeatedly noted that, even were this decision to be made sometime in the future, “Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU [weapons-grade uranium] before this activity is discovered.”

Honestly pups, this is what we’re reduced to…

I want American foreign policy to fail

Drones, wiretapping foreign leaders, NSA out of control: Change will only come when our foreign policy truly fails

It is difficult, and it will never be any other, to be an American and write in an American publication that the best thing to befall our great country would be a series of resounding defeats. It is upside down. It is bitter. And it is time.

Failure will make Americans a better people, their country a more humane country, and the world a more habitable world. This the only honest conclusion to draw as the outlines of official American thinking in the 21st century emerge from the mists of endemic misinformation.

Let us ask ourselves: What do the following developments, all now in the news, commonly reflect? Why is it better to view them all at once, parts of a single phenomenon, rather than separately (as our media incessantly encourage us to do)? {…}

Untamed spookery, diabolic weapons and prosecutorial trade arrangements to be forced down others’ gullets as if they were geese tell us all about ourselves and our plans. In any choice between primacy or world order — the prescient coinage of Stanley Hoffmann, a Harvard historian of the Cold War — Washington insists on the former. It continues to choose the unilateralism of the last century over the multilateralism that is the unmistakable sine qua non of our time. Military hardware and territorial dominion — 20th century technologies — trump coexistence and the mahogany tables of diplomacy, which are the technologies of our time.

And if you didn’t get the original terra, terra, terra, memo, the ADL’s Abe Foxman spelled it all out for ya…

The Jewish Condition: Then, Now, and in the Future

…It seems that people such as this hack — people who think wars of mission, armed interventions galore, and all associated strategies and tactics are yesteryear’s thinking and played poorly even yesteryear — these people are isolationists.

They are weak. The president was weak on Syria. A strong America is an America that remains engaged. Remaining engaged means intervening when American values and interests are at stake. Intervening means the deployment of might. {…}

And then on top of that comes this drive to find agreements with Iran on the nuclear issue. Now let me be clear: if we can reach a satisfactory deal with Iran that ensures that if Iran is deceptive or abnegates that agreement, it couldn’t in a short time break out and speedily move to a bomb, I’d be all for it. The concern is the context: America seems desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran; the Iranians, aware of that, are playing it to a fare-thee-well.

Not only are they talking the language of moderation, but they are already offering substantive proposals that may appear more giving than they really are. Again, it’s not impossible that things can work out well, but when it appears to come from a perception of American weakness, it doesn’t bode well. {…}

I hope that we get our act together. I hope Congress starts to think of the bigger picture. I hope we are truly able to keep all options on the table, whether vis-à-vis Iran or Syria, without rushing to military action.

Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy it will be bad for the Jews.

Don’t believe for a second that there is an alternative to American leadership when it comes to Israel’s security, peace in the Middle East, safety and security for Jews in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Still, all in all, as I look to the Jewish future and the role of ADL on the occasion of our centennial, I am an optimist. Again, I am an optimist on Israel. I am an optimist on American Jews. And, despite the concerns I have expressed here, I remain an optimist about America, about the good sense of the American people, the track record over the last 70 years about its ability to overcome the obstacles to governance and to recognize that American leadership in the world is good for America, good for the world and good for the Jewish people.

God Help Us All…! *gah*

by CTuttle

Some Questions About Brennan…

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Ex-Cia agent, Michael Scheuer, penned a great critique… John Brennan as CIA chief would serve his own interests, not America’s

France’s recent interventions in Mali and Somalia underscore the accelerating ability of Al-Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Mahgreb (AQIM) and its Africa-based allies to threaten the continent’s nation-states, as well as access to natural resources—oil, strategic minerals, and uranium—that are essential to the French, U.S., and other Western economies. The growing power and geographical reach of AQIM mirrors the growth of all components of Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups, save possibly the central component in Afghanistan-Pakistan. The bottom line here is that sixteen years after Al-Qaeda and its allies began their religious war, the United States and the West confront an Islamist enemy that is larger, better armed, smarter, and far more geographically dispersed than ever before.

Now, that paragraph merits a fuller and more data-supported explanation, but for now, let’s look at one of the men—John Brennan—who for nearly 15 years has ensured both that the above-described growth in the Islamists’ power has occurred, and that most Americans have no idea that a still-growing part of the Muslim world is at war with the United States…

Please read the whole article…!

Now, was it a Palace Coup by Brennan…?

David Petraeus was brought down after betrayal by vengeful CIA agents and his own bodyguards who made sure his affair was exposed, claims new book…

-John Brennan also ran a highly compartmentalized program out of the White House in regard to weapons transfers, and Stevens would not have been trusted with that type of information. Stevens likely helped consolidate as many weapons as possible after the war to safeguard them, at which point Brennan exported them overseas to start another conflict.

-During the rebellion against Gaddafi and in the aftermath of his death, Libya and North Africa became a staging ground for a dizzying array of operations by SpecOps, paramilitary forces, and international private military contractors working for everyone from European nations to multibillion-dollar oil corporations.

-What we do know is that the British Special Air Service (SAS) landed in Libya at some point—probably the secretive intelligence gathering component of the SAS called ‘The Increment,’ which works alongside MI-6.

-Elite counter-terrorist operators from America’s Delta Force were deployed to Libya as ‘analysts,’ which allowed President Obama to declare that America did not have any boots on the ground but was simply providing air support for the rebels. The reality was that Delta Force had a small contingent instructing the rebels in the finer points of weapons and tactics.

-Behind closed doors, President Obama had given his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, carte blanche to run operations in North Africa and the Middle East, provided he didn’t do anything that ended up becoming an exposé in The New York Times and embarrassing the administration. In 2012, a secret war across North Africa was well underway.

-With JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), Brennan waged his own unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure. These Direct Action (DA) operations, unlike the traditional ISR missions mentioned above, were ‘off the books’ in the sense that they were not coordinated through the Pentagon or other governmental agencies, including the CIA. With Obama more than likely providing a rubber stamp, the chain of command went from Brennan to McRaven, who would then mobilize the men of ISA (Intelligence Support Activity), SEAL Team Six, or Delta Force to conduct these missions…

Btw, where’s the Israeli Lobby when ya really need them to block a nomination, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt 3.0, Israeli ‘Green Lights’, and, The House of Saud

7:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That incident is sparking the Egyptian Revolution 3.0 version…

Egypt Opposition Urges Morsi to Step Down

…Egypt’s key opposition bloc has supported calls for President Mohamed Morsi to resign amid continuing protests across the country a day after clashes in the capital Cairo left one person dead and dozens injured, media reported.

According to Saturday’s statement from the National Salvation Front quoted by Al Jazeera, “the Salvation Front completely sides with the people and its active forces’ calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s control.”

The opposition bloc called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests and demanded a trial for Morsi for “killings and torture,” ruling out dialogue with the presidency until bloodshed stops and “those responsible for it are held accountable,” the Qatar-based broadcaster reported.

At least one person was killed and over 50 injured, including five police officers, as police clashed with protesters outside the capital’s presidential palace on Friday evening. Police reportedly fired tear gas and protesters threw stones.

TV footage showed police beating a naked man. Egypt’s authorities said Saturday they regretted the beating, saying it was “an isolated act.”

An interesting wrinkle on Israel’s recent illegal incursion(s)…

The Fallout from the Air Raid on Syria: Why Israel is Concerned

…So far only two airstrikes have been publicly reported, amid a flurry of conflicting initial reports. Syria officially complained of the destruction of the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus. And a variety of news organizations reported that Israeli jets hit a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, presumably for delivery to Hizballah, the militant Shi’ite group closely allied with the Assad regime. If they had been deployed, those SA-17 ground-to-air missiles would intimidated Israeli pilots who now operate over Lebanese airspace with impunity, forcing them to higher altitudes and other operational precautions.

A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes…

…In other words, it may be easier to attack the problem from the other side — simply destroy the weapons you’re afraid they’ll get their hands on. Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces…

…No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.

One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region

Some more… Israel targeted multiple targets in recent attack on Syria, U.S. intelligence official tells Time… And…

Israel May Feel Need To Strike Syria Again

An Israeli air attack staged in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.

Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon…

Now, here’s an interesting read on Turkey’s take…

Along with this broadside…Turkey’s Syrian Dilemma…!

I did find some humor, albeit gallows humor, when I saw this Grey Lady report today…

Syrian Opposition Leader Confers With U.S. and Russia

The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met here on Saturday with representatives of the United States and Russia — who fundamentally disagree on how to resolve Syria’s civil war — but the meetings were separate and there was no indication, officials said, that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end.

Moscow has been encouraged by Sheik Khatib’s suggestion, which he repeated here, that he would be willing to talk to Syrian government representatives under certain conditions. But European and American officials expect that offer to go nowhere now that the sheik’s colleagues in the opposition have attacked it.

The side meetings at the annual Munich Security Conference seemed to confirm the fissures over Syria, including a new disagreement between the United States and some of its European allies over whether to provide rebel fighters with more powerful weapons.

As if…!

Russia Denies Plan to Talk to Syria Opposition

Russia has categorically rejected Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to hold talks with Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference about “a political transition for Syria.”

And, if you had any doubts about Russia’s allegiances…

Russia opposes humanitarian corridor in Syria, citing int’l air intervention fears

Military intervention in Syria is unacceptable even if it aims to create an air-protected humanitarian corridor, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said. Syria is one of most hotly debated topics at an annual Security Conference taking place in Germany.

­”Russia does not support the idea of a humanitarian corridor in Syria. Any use of military power is unacceptable, and not just because we still remember what it lead to in Libya,” Lavrov said while addressing the Munich Security Conference. “We need to see the world the way it is. We need to recognize that military operations bring more chaos into the international matters and can send off waves of instability that will be impossible to hide from in any of what we may think as an island of security.”

Lavrov confirmed that the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal is under full control of the country’s government, and poses no danger as long as it does not fall into the hands of the rebels. Such an event would be a “red line” nobody wishes to see crossed, he said.

Despite the worsening situation in the region, peace is still within reach, Lavrov explained: “The war in Syria could be over if all sides stuck honestly and loyally to the principles of the June 30 Geneva conference.”

Now, take a gander at this recent Stratfor report…

The Consequences of Intervening in Syria

The Saudi Gambit

…Supporting the jihad in Syria as a weapon against Iranian influence also gives the Saudis a chance to burnish their Islamic credentials internally in an effort to help stave off criticism that they are too secular and Westernized. It allows the Saudi regime the opportunity to show that it is helping Muslims under assault by the vicious Syrian regime.

Supporting jihadists in Syria also gives the Saudis an opportunity to ship their own radicals to Syria, where they can fight and possibly die. With a large number of unemployed, underemployed and radicalized young men, the jihad in Syria provides a pressure valve similar to the past struggles in Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Saudis are not only trying to winnow down their own troubled youth; we have received reports from a credible source that the Saudis are also facilitating the travel of Yemeni men to training camps in Turkey, where they are trained and equipped before being sent to Syria to fight. The reports also indicate that the young men are traveling for free and receiving a stipend for their service. These young radicals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen will even further strengthen the jihadist groups in Syria by providing them with fresh troops.

The Saudis are gaining temporary domestic benefits from supporting jihad in Syria, but the conflict will not last forever, nor will it result in the deaths of all the young men who go there to fight. This means that someday the men who survive will come back home, and through the process we refer to as “tactical Darwinism” the inept fighters will have been weeded out, leaving a core of competent militants that the Saudis will have to deal with…

Please read that entire Stratfor report, it confirms everything I’ve been saying for years, about all of our MENA craptastic endeavors…!

*gah*

On a final note… Pepe still rulz, all the rest droolz…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’, ‘Institute for Scary Iran Stories’, And, Mali

6:35 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

“The modern liberal state … often uses deception to gain its ends — not so much deception of the foreign enemy, but of its own citizens,who have been taught to trust their leaders.” – Howard Zinn

In all my years of blogging, my sole regret is my inability to piece together more than two paragraphs, in any literary fashion, like most are able to…!

So, please allow me the luxury to blend together some of my old scribblings with some of the latest ‘News’ out of the MENA

Obama Privately Says Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’

“When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry,” Goldberg writes. “He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.”

As I wrote way back when…‘Israel’s mentality is a barrier to Mideast peace’

Btw, don’t you find this mighty hypocritical of Bibi…? Obama Comments ‘Gross Interference’ in Elections…

Moving along, FDL Alum Jim White penned another awesome post today, and spelt it all out…

Albright Follows Warrick Into Full Neocon Mode, Presents Iran Sanction Manifesto

…It now is clear that the article from Warrick was meant to prepare the ground for the unveiling, one week later, of David Albright’s new working group developed precisely for the purpose of furthering the neocon position on Iran sanctions. By taking on additional policy members in this working group, Albright is now branching out from his usual area of commentary on technical issues (where Moon of Alabama has dubbed his Institute for Science and International Security the “Institute for Scary Iran Stories“) all the way into policy and now promotes the full neocon position that Iran is dangerously close to having a nuclear weapon and therefore sanctions must be ratcheted up further.

As Jim Lobe wrote today… New Push in U.S. for Tougher Sanctions, War Threats Against Iran…

As I had once opined…The Road to Tyranny And Real Men go to Tehran…

Even Jimmy Carter had sounded the alarm awhile back on our failed FP…Carter: ‘Oppose Unnecessary Wars, Preemptive Strikes, And, Embargoes’ And, Obama Imposes Another Round of Sanctions on Syria/Iran…

Moving along to Mali…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

‘US has never been straight with its people about its foreign policy aims’

1:08 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s the transcript: ‘US has never been straight with its people about its foreign policy aims’

As Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett asked today at their The Race For Iran blog…

Can The United States Deal Effectively—And Honestly—With Politically Empowered Muslim Societies?

“How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?”

In fact, it is not so hard to understand how “this”—along with the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, subsequent protests at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Sanaa, Khartoum and across the region, and myriad other manifestations of resentment against the United States in much of the Arab and Muslim worlds—could happen. But most Americans don’t really want to understand it. For, as Hillary underscores on The Ed Show, “the critical issue here is the deep-seated resentment that people have for U.S. policy throughout the region…Hatred and resentment for U.S. policy are the heart of the problem here. Communities throughout the Middle East are angry.”

This reality is now crashing in on U.S. ambitions in the Middle East every day. Yet, as Hillary notes on MSNBC, Americans “have not even begun to grapple with the enormity of the challenge we face as countries become more politically participatory, and people have a voice.” {…}

“There’s a really fundamental flaw in U.S. strategic policy…and it has to do with empire. We look at each country, at each place, and we see the expatriates that we want to see in the cafés in Paris, who parrot our line about secular liberalism, and we arm, fund, and train them to go back and, in effect, impose a political order on those societies that have very different histories, characters, cares, and concerns…Those expatriates we listen to repeatedly—in Iraq, Iran, Libya, everywhere—we listen to them not because we’re stupid but because we have a very determined focus for dominance.” {…}

The real critique—which Romney, of course, won’t put forward—is “why is the Obama administration really so dishonest in its policies, and how could people in the Middle East really take America’s word seriously as a constructive force.” Until Americans and the politicians can address that, they never will understand “what is the reason” for Middle Easterners’ anger.

A guest poster at Col. Lang’s SST really laid it out…

We Reap What We Sowed–Foresman

The United States is now paying the supreme price for our arrogance in dealing with the Islamic people of the Near East (I use the old term for a reason) has resulted in neither stability nor democracy. We do not understand the Arab world; we do not understand Islam. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that Arabs are no different than us—rational by western standards, influenced by the Judeo-Christian ethic and a believer in the concept of the state ascending over tribalism. They are rational, but by the standards of their culture, history, and religion. They are not western. They are tribal. Religion is the central part of their life. The concept of and loyalty to a nation state is accepted in the abstract but does not transcend their tribe or family. But they are rational actors. They do not like foreigners. They accept the tenets of their religion with fervor of belief.

We are reaping what we sowed…

Here’s a disturbing report from the ‘nonpartisan’ Iran Project:Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran (PDF! 32pgs)

Now, don’t you find this rather rich…

Iran guided by same fanaticism behind embassy attacks, Netanyahu says

Prime minister tells NBC that Tehran places zealotry above survival

Having been stymied by the ruling administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case for stopping Iran’s nuclear program to the American public Sunday, comparing Tehran to Muslim rioters attacking US embassies around the world in response to an anti-Islam film.

“Iran is guided by an unbelievable fanaticism,” he told NBC’s David Gregory. “It’s the same fanatics that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

The prime minister recorded interviews with NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” Saturday night, both of which will air on Sunday morning US time. A snippet of the interview with NBC was posted online early Sunday morning…

Keeping up with Bibi in the zealotry dept… Krauthammer: America casts Israel adrift as Iran speeds up its nuclear program, Jennifer Rubin, the WSJ editorial board, and, even the Doughy Pantload just had to chime in with:We can’t be hostages of foreign mobs!

Now, to cleanse the palate… here’s a recent take-down of The Grey Lady’s agitprop… NYT Buries the Lead on Iran

Meanwhile… Muslim riots spread across Middle East, N. Africa and, Report: US Positioning Forces in as Many as 18 Locations.

What a Clusterf*ck…!

In closing… two things to ponder… Covenant of Protection from Prophet Muhammad Commands Muslims to Protect Jews and Christians until the End of Time, and, Pope urges Christians to be peacemakers in Middle East.

God Help us all…!

by CTuttle

Embassy Attacks Should Be A Wake-Up Call

4:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The inflammatory film is merely the pretext, or rather a spark, that ignited the protests throughout the Muslim world… Here’s a MIT PoliSci Professor’s take…

Q. The proximate cause of many of the violent protests occurring right now is this video that was released online. But probably many of these demonstrators have not even seen the clip. To what extent should we think of these events as being caused by the video, and how much do they hinge on longer-term tensions?

A. I think the video is largely a trigger, as were the cartoons about Muhammad printed in Denmark some years back [in 2006]. The reality of the matter is that there are huge levels of latent anti-Americanism in the region, and despite the supportive role of the Obama administration in the Arab Spring [of 2011], the general population is largely anti-Western and anti-American. So these things can be very potent triggers, in getting people in the street. And, of course, some clerics readily use them as ways to mobilize people. We have had attacks in Tunis, in Yemen, in Khartoum against the Germans, so it is spreading.

It’s very disturbing, particularly in Egypt. … The Libyan government condemned the attacks, saying they wanted to bring the perpetrators to justice, while in Egypt the reaction of President Morsi was basically to say people should rally against the video. It was only later, after he got reprimanded by President Obama, that he basically accepted the fact that nobody should be getting attacked…

The ever intrepid Pepe Escobar further elaborates…

Brother Obama, where art thou?

MENA (Middle East/North Africa) is on fire. The diffuse rage – even if manifested by a tiny minority – is distinctly anti-American. Protests in Cairo have reached Sanaa in Yemen and even Bangladesh. The administration of US President Barack Obama is perplexed beyond belief. There will be revenge. What’s really going on? {…}

Another way to put it is that “liberated” Libya is now warlord country. Home of vendettas in the desert and tribal pogroms against other tribes – and even whole towns.

The Salafi-jihadis – with whom Washington, London and Paris were unashamedly in bed during their humanitarian bombing campaign – are based in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya. Some have come from Iraq. Some are shuttling back and forth to and from Syria, aiming to destroy yet one more secular Arab republic. {…}

The (disintegrated) police and army of “liberated” Libya could not possibly face them down. Local tribes don’t care. Salafi-jihadis have been attacking Sufi mosques and tombs; Sufi Islam is infinitely more moderate – and intellectually sophisticated – compared with medieval Wahhabism… {…}

Egypt is a much tougher, nuanced proposition – because it’s the model for the uneasy Washington-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) love affair, with the US betting on moderate Islamists as provisional substitutes of friendly dictators of the Hosni Mubarak kind. A complicating factor is that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is in direct competition with local Salafis – who got 25% in the congressional elections. So the MB won’t be very forceful in denouncing them – even though they are hated by the Salafis.
Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

As The Arab Spring Turns Into Summer…

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It seems this Friday just happened to be another Friday, in that, once again a few Arabs, seemed to be a little pissed off with the ‘promised’ pace in the Arab Spring’s reforms and progress…

First off, from Tunisia…

Tunisian rally faces off tear gas

…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.

Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

From Egypt…

Egyptians extend protests at Tahrir Square

Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, after a week of demonstrations, to tell the ruling generals they are failing to meet demands to reform the system…

From Syria…

1 Million Protesters Push Syria’s Assad to the Brink…

An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…

From Jordan…

Jordanian police beat up journalists covering demonstration

…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters.
“Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”

From Bahrain…

Thousands rally for political reform in Bahrain

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…

Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…

More Harm Than Good…

…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.

The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.

The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…

Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…

U.S. formally recognizes rebel group as Libya’s government

…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.

At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.

The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.

Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…

Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…

Saudis Seeking Arms amid Growing Fears

Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.

…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.

The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.

“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.

“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…

As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…

German Tanks For Saudi ‘Peace Support Operations’

…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…

Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?

…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.

….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.

Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?

Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”

What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.

Hmmm…! I suppose not…!

Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence…

Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years…

Arab League seeking full status for Palestine at UN…

The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”

Even the ever-odious Mustache of Fury just had to chime in… …PA bid for UN recognition means ‘next to nothing’…

*gah*