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Archives: July 2008

Cole in Salon: Why Bush Folded on Iran

My essay why Bush sent a high-level diplomat to meet Iranian negotiators with no preconditions is out in Salon.com. Excerpt: ‘Pundits and diplomats nearly got whiplash from the double take they did…

Diyala Campaign Begins

The al-Maliki government has just launched another of its military offensives against guerrillas, this time in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province. I am skeptical about these campaigns. They are announced well…

Pakistani Taliban threaten Suicide Bombings;

Pakistani Taliban threaten Suicide Bombings;

Mark LeVine is disturbed by the tendency of Barack Obama and other US politicians to lump the Taliban together with al-Qaeda. The latter, he says is an international terrorist organization. The Taliban…

Bush Charged with Murder One in Congressional Hearing

Vincent Bugliosi’s opening statements during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutional limits of executive power. He argues that since Bush took the country to war against Iraq on false pretenses…

Fox News= W. T.V.

Scott McClellan admits on Hardball that the White House fed Fox News hosts talking points. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow point out that in the US, the government is forbidden to propagandize…

Taliban Resurgence threatens Elections

Obama Obama in Newsweek: ‘ Our success in Afghanistan is going to be deeply dependent not just on getting more troops there, which we need, but also some sustained high-level engagement with…

Kurdistan Seeks to Annex Other Iraqi Provinces

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Kurdistan Alliance has responded to the Iraqi parliament’s passage of a bill concerning provincial elections. (The bill was vetoed by Kurdish President Jalal Talabani). The committee…

Obama ist ein Berliner

Obama addresses a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin. Some were shouting in English, “Yes we can!” Text transcript here.

A Social History of the Surge

A Social History of the Surge

I want to weigh in as a social historian of Iraq on the controversy over whether the “surge” “worked.” The NYT notes: ‘Mr. McCain bristled in an interview with the “CBS Evening…

Cole in Salon: Obama is Wrong on Afghanistan

My Salon column, , “Obama is saying the Wrong things about Afghanistan,” , is now available online. Excerpt: ‘ The governor of the North-West Frontier province, Owais Ghani, immediately spoke out against…

Obama in Afghanistan

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama held consultations Saturday in Kabul with Afghan government officials. He discussed the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country. I heard him on television at one point pledging…

Gazprom’s Businesss with Iran

The USG Open Source Center summarizes Russian press comment on the Gazprom deals with Libya and Iran. The deal with Iran is extremely important because if it goes forward, it would require…

Does John McCain’s sick sense of humor matter?

First, he sang ‘bomb, bomb, bomb/ bomb, bomb Iran’ to the tune of the Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann.’ Now, on being told that Iran has increased its importation of American cigarettes, he…

Attack on US Embassy in Istanbul

Six are dead in a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Istanbul. The dead were 3 Turkish policemen and the three attackers, who appear to have been angry amateurs. The identity…

Genetically Modified Seeds not Used in Iraq

A US observer with experience on the ground in Iraq writes with regard my link on Sunday to a piece about Monsanto and hooking Iraqi farmers on genetically modified seeds: The small…

Maliki and Timetable for US Withdrawal

A White House spokesman emphasized that US-Iraqi talks on a Status of Forces Agreement do not include mention of a hard date for US withdrawal. The disclaimer came after Iraqi Prime Minister…

NYT: Napoleon’s Egypt in Paper

NYT: Napoleon’s Egypt in Paper

Napoleon’s Egyptgot a notice in the NYT “Paperback Row” by Elsa Dixler. ‘NAPOLEON’S EGYPT: Invading the Middle East, by Juan Cole. (Palgrave Macmillan, $16.95.) Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt — the first modern…

Bombings in Islamabad, Kabul

Two Iraq-style suicide bombings hit South Asia in the past 24 hours. On Sunday, a suicide bomber hit a police checkpoint in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, killing 17 and wounding 54.…

Sunday Blog Patrol in Brief

Shorter Swopa: The Iraqi government ban on using photographs of non-candidates (including revered ayatollahs) in campaign literature is not a move to separate religion and state but is rather compliance with direction…

Your Fourth of July and My Fourth of July

Your Fourth of July is blood for oil. My Fourth of July is the pure sunbeam of peace. Yours is the imperial presidency and “so what?” to public opinion. Mine is “deriving…

Quotations on Patriotism

“I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert,…

Bulldozer Attack in West Jerusalem

A Palestinian bulldozer operator rammed his vehicle into a bus in West Jerusalem, killing 3 and wounding 44. Aljazeera International reports: Sometimes the British tabloid press, precisely because it is sensationalistic, gives…

Pakistan Claims Capture of 50 Khyber Militants

Aljazeera on Pakistan’s military offensive in the Khyber area. Puritanism and women’s rights are issues as well as whether government or local warlords are in control. Women’s rights are even an economic…

Reid: Coal & Oil are Making Us Sick

Senate majority leader points out that solar energy is only considered three times as expensive as coal because no one factors in all the hidden costs of coal & other hydrocarbons. And…

Iran: Wars and Rumors of War

A Pentagon official expressed fears that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities at Natanz near Isfahan before the next president is sworn in. He identified two red lines. One was the delivery…