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Total number of comments: 27 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:40)

El Cid

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  • The World after the Kerry-Lavrov accord on Syria
    • I have a hunch that Bashar Assad's apparent enthusiasm for ridding Syria of its own stock of CW is that he no longer feels that he can trust his commanders in the field *not* to use them. (And that's not about him being a nice guy or caring about civilians.) But he can't say that openly.

  • Egypt's Waco
    • The most commonly discussed relevant law prohibits aid when the duly elected head of state is removed by military coup or decree.

      Except as provided in sections 2753 and 2799aa–1 of this title, the second section 620J [1] of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (as added by Public Law 110–161) [22 U.S.C. 2378d], and any provision of an Act making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs that restricts assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree, and except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, amounts authorized to be made available to carry out paragraph (2) for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 are authorized to be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law.

      The United States' official and various top political official statements indicated that the US viewed the 2005 Presidential elections as not free and fair, but as an improvement and a positive direction to follow.

      Although Mubarak was still the recognized head of state, the US was not on record as categorizing the elections as truly free and fair.

  • Is LindJohn's notion of an Enemy Combatant Racist? How about attempted Assassination of the Commander in Chief?
    • Beyond all the significant issues, it's even sadder or worse or whatever to know that neither McCain nor Graham care one tiny bit about any of the arguments they offer or substantive claims. They are simply the worst, most manipulative games for the sleaziest and vanest of reasons. They don't care one tiny bit whether their recommended approach does or does not increase any security or addresses some issue, it's simply part of posturing for ideological and public relations games. Utterly disgusting.

  • Could a Gaza Land War lose the Middle East for America?
    • Particularly if one focuses on the variety of real interests of actual Israeli citizens, rather than Israeli government and political figure statements on what those interests are and how they will or won't be satisfied.

      Like anywhere, powerful institutions, leaders, parties, and groups have interests that may not be the same as that which is most positive and helpful to the citizenry, but they will make sure to talk about what they do or want to do as if they're one and the same.

  • NYPD Attack on OWS and the End of the First Amendment
    • Look, if all these Americans want public spaces in which to freely assemble, why don't they go out and buy some?

      It's the Free*market of Expression!

  • Political Pluralism breaks out in Tunisia
    • Does it matter that the main goal of the elections was to determine who would appoint the interim government and to lead a Constitutional convention under which, once passed, the real governing is supposed to begin?

  • Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters
    • Although it might still be possible even in the case of a clear loss of power by Qaddafi, I am more optimistic that such is a real possibility -- whether by clear defeat or some negotiated exit, rather than an ongoing, low-level, disaggregated war in North Africa, destabilizing the region once again.

      To me, it seemed the most likely outcome that there would be no clear loss or victory, but a continuing form of localized fighting and long-term chaos within a weak nation-state.

  • Libya not a War for Oil
    • At any particular point, the influence of oil -- not just its availability, but control over its regional or worldwide effects, or profits from its sales, or any number of aspects -- on US or NATO or various national involvements in Libya operations is an empirical question.

      Surely such discussions would never be limited to the role oil interests did or didn't play in the start of Western military operations.

      Neither would it be a factor to ignore in trying to understand what is being done, what appears to be forming, what may or is likely to take place, and so forth. Any more than any other factor would be ignored by fiat rather than analyzed and found more or less significant for some particular question.

  • Our News and their News
    • Although the head of Formula One (FIA) concluded from a fact-finding mission that Bahrain would be safe for the (delayed) F1 Grand Prix there, Ecclestone is actually recommending that teams themselves vote not to hold it.

      The argument is that FIA is only tasked with determining factors such as safety or the ability to hold the race, not making decisions such as not going based on Bahrain's continual killing and imprisoning and abuse of anti-regime / pro-democracy civilians.

      Such a decision by the teams is very likely. Carrying out the race would be terrible for their image; but it would likely end the possibility for the same next year (aside from some positive outcome in Bahrain I'm not able to currently imagine).

      I think going forward would be a very bad decision for the sport which needs sponsors and manufacturer backing as well as attendees and fans, and widespread Western protests which would occur wouldn't exactly help that.

      I expect that advertisers and auto companies like Ferrari or Lotus wouldn't like their marketing image tarnished by people associating them with support of murderous repression by a mid-Eastern potentate.

  • Time to Begin Leaving Afghanistan
    • We must remain in Afghanistan a bit longer in order to establish the viability of the national government which could preserve safety and security and basic rights against the Taliban.

      Of course, a big longer might actually be forever, but, obviously, we have to do it, because of course we're going to be successful at creating a good and stable government.

      We've done this in lots of places, creating good and stable democratic governments, right? I'm sure there's an example somewhere.

      But at any particular moment, it will be necessary to remain on scene a bit longer and then we'll be able to know we've accomplished enough to begin to leave.

      Not 'leave' as in everybody, but at least a public relations noteworthy number.

  • AU proposes Ceasefire, NATO protects Misrata, Ajdabiya
    • I didn't say that Cole said it. Here's the quote:

      "It is so ironic that critics of the UN intervention in Libya keep asking why there was no such humanitarian mission in Darfur in the Sudan, where separatists among the black African Fur people have been massacred by Arabic-speaking black Africans loyal to Khartoum."

      Clearly there is the suggestion that there are critics of the UN intervention who wonder why there was no such humanitarian mission in 'Darfur'.

      Now, in the minimalist interpretation, this refers to the sarcastic use of the phrase "humanitarian mission," meaning the military attack* on Qaddafi's forces based upon threats to civilian lives given the already demonstrated and systematic state-based slaughter of hundreds to thousands.

      But the asking of the question that way suggests that said critics are unaware of an AU involvement, above and beyond its lack of aerial attack. Which, again, thankfully didn't happen, because it was a terrible and impulsive idea.

      I'm pretty sure that most non-critics would be unaware of the AU's activities in Darfur themselves. I know for certain that at the time the AU was begging for logistical support to help the one actual force there, they were the recipients of tokens from the West and completely ignored by the loud pundit population and various activist groups who were too busy thinking that serious action in this case had to consist of Western military actions.

      * This phrase is not a term of evaluation of the UN / US-UK-FR actions in Libya.

    • Oops. Above when I wrote:

      "None of this is to suggest a self-interested approach by the member nations with regard to Qaddafi at present."

      I mean the opposite. I.e., 'none of this *isn't* to suggest' etc. Meaning the AU member states -- just like the UN member states, since there really isn't an "AU" or "UN" outside its leading member states -- will approach any Libya deal with their own government's interests re Qaddafi.

    • Is it being suggested that the AU wasn't in Darfur (Sudan)?

      It was part of the United Nations mission there. Its representatives did in fact participate in the negotiations which actually led to the (at least formal so far) *independence* of Southern Sudan.

      It was a conflict which pretty much everyone working on the ground to help aid those under attack agreed would be massively worsened -- a horrible situation, yes, can be made worse -- by military intervention from abroad.

      The UN / AU peacekeeping mission was UNAMID.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Before that, the AU reached up to 7,000 peacekeepers (AMIS). Their forces were the only ones there, and were backed by the UN, until the UN-AU mission (UNAMID).

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      The 2006 Sudan peace agreements were guided by the African Union, and it was the AU setting the deadlines.

      link to articles.cnn.com

      As a matter of fact, one of the main barriers to more effective action by the AU was the *lack of logistical support by the Western powers which had been promised*.

      AU involvement wasn't particularly effective, but then, neither was anything else in any short term. I'm not exactly sure, then, what the suggestions I've heard by many about the AU in Darfur mean.

      None of this is to suggest a self-interested approach by the member nations with regard to Qaddafi at present. Though of course given the history of civil wars in the area -- yes, massively boosted by Qaddafi's backing of various disgusting rebel forces -- many in the region are nervous about the likelihood of a disintegrative civil war. AKA Chad's near result.

      Also it's odd to hear people describing the turn of Qaddafi's forces as well as the rebels resorting to pickups with mounted weapons, as this was famously the most significant larger weapon in the Chadian war.

  • Japan Nuclear Woes Galvanize Indian Protests
    • It should be borne in mind that India's "peasants" (smallholders and producers for both subsistence and small trade) have been going through extraordinarily brutal times for the last couple of decades.

      Somewhere over 100,000 farmers have committed suicide, and some new program seen as putting the locals at risk are not going to be seen any more positively.

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • Thanks for mentioning this side of the debate. There is never only one "left", domestic or abroad.

      I tried to mention this late yesterday, but there was some other blog malfunction.

  • Qaddafi invokes Phony Al-Qaeda Threat as he Massacres Protesters
    • I was guessing that Qaddafi's using Al Qa'ida to stir up feelings that protesters are anti-Libyan terrorists, but that he probably believed it too. Particularly as soon as the words left his mouth.

  • Top Five Myths about the Middle East Protests
    • Bill Maher doesn't just have his ingrained prejudices -- he enjoys pulling facts and arguments out of no more than impulse.

      He knows an enormous number of things which are not interrupted by any knowledge of sources.

      I really enjoy many parts of his show, but it's not always predictable which parts will prove sensibly and solidly based in any reality.

      Of course, most times when any guest attempts to counter anti-Arab and anti-Muslim arguments from right wing and/or hawkish guests, they get to get talked over and droned out.

      When such contrary voices and liberals in general interrupt or fail to stop speaking for conservatives and hawks, Maher suddenly recalls the value of being a moderator.

      Of course, one reason Maher would mock Islam is that he really, really hates religion and anything related.

      He hates Islam in its religious elements as he does Christianity and other sects. At least that's consistent.

  • Meyer: Clinton's Fear-Mongering about Egyptian 'Chaos'
    • Look, the US policy motive is pretty clear.

      If you think of it as a policy perspective rather than personage perspective (Obama, Hillary Clinton, so forth), you would obviously assume that US would prefer that Mubarak -- now a source of instability -- would be replaced by a more acceptable, more stable military-backed leadership.

      Why would this be surprising in any way?

      The power center in Egyptian government is the military. The US has been funding their military for 30 years.

      Mubarak had been fine for 30 years. Sadat before that, once the US and Israel were ready to accept Egypt's 1971 proposals as the 1979 peace treaty.

      So, yes, now the US would prefer to ease Mubarak out, to replace him by some government which would be more acceptable to the population and international community, but which would be constrained by the same boundaries set by the Egyptian military that it had been.

      Anyone looking at the situation from the perspective of figuring out what a US administration would prefer would make similar conclusions.

  • Aljazeera's Leaks Reveal Sham 'Peace Process,' Israeli Stonewalling
    • "The state Erekat was trying to get would have no sovereignty, as he admitted, which means it would not be a state and the entire end goal is a chimera..."

      Well then, I can give credit to Erekat for at least recognizing this, because this is all the Palestinians were ever going to get.

      So if the 'two state solution' is continued, then with and without the Palestinian 'authorities' Israeli policymakers and their settler surrogates will take every last square foot and drop of water and grove or anything else in the West Bank that they could possibly desire.

      They will leave the broken, scattered dry husks to the Palestinians, who will stumble through the matrix of walls and roads and the like which has separated them into tiny little chambers.

      And of course, only Israel or an Israeli proxy will make sure that Palestinians have no control of any borders, of shipping, or airspace.

      Gaza, I guess, will either be allowed to continue to rot, or blown up every now & then.

      And if such a "statehood" were declared, the 'leadership' of the Palestinians, Israel, and US would congratulate themselves for ending the conflict.

      With luck, maybe this release of papers will change the Palestinian leadership for the better, but I don't quite see how it could be much better for the statehood situation.

      Hopefully I'm just a cynic.

  • End Federal Tax Subsidies to Fox!
    • To put it in some perspective, Republicans have been in open warfare against public broadcasting since Reagan.

      There are always calls to defund public broadcasting. It doesn't matter that PBS, for example, is dominated by right-wing led talk shows and big-business oriented 'economics' programs. They don't care.

      This is just the latest public excuse to do so.

  • Settler Arsonists strike Palestinian Mosques, Qurans, as Israeli Army Belly Dancing Video Surfaces
    • If someday the recalcitrant Palestinians would be willing to let Israeli settlers and their backers -- Israeli state militarist expansionist policymakers, the only ones left -- possess most of the remaining, desirable areas of the West Bank, we could finally have peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • Palestinians Refuse Talks until Settlement is Frozen
    • I'm sure Israel will keep asking for the "negotiations" or "talks" to continue so as to outline how to begin talking about the "settlements question", and the US will likely ask "all parties" to act with patience and continue. For Israeli state leaders, hopefully this can continue on long enough so that the real negotiations for sloughing off the Palestinians, I mean, a 'viable Palestinian state', can begin once they have everything of the West Bank they want.

  • Redd: What About Jerusalem?
    • Juan Cole: KPFA Berkeley radio has had a wonderful series of interviews and speeches by Robert Fisk over the past 2 weeks.

      One of the most recent is Fisk's speech on how modern journalism uses cliched phrasing to hid the truth of what goes on in the Middle East, to falsely situate the 'peace negotiations', to avoid discussions of the points of view of those facing horrors from within the Middle East.

      An with Fisk while he is in Ireland is available from the September 12th show for listening or downloading here on the program "Sunday Show" is here:

      link to kpfa.org

      And a speech by Fisk in Santa Cruz is available on the September 26th show at:

      link to kpfa.org

      The interview and speech are, as always from Fisk, insightful, de-propagandizing, and bitterly amusing at the same time.

  • Netanyahu Blows off US; Mahmoud Abbas pleads for Settlement Freeze
    • The Israeli government (often by its settler proxies) will continue to extend and muddle the 'peace' negotiations until it takes every bit of land and resources from Palestinians (the West Bank and East Jerusalem, for example) and destroys the viability of any Palestinian state.

      Once this is achieved to their satisfaction, then they will recognize an 'independent' Palestinian state, be done with them, claim alongside the US and UK a huge 'success' and historic advance, and the Palestinians will be left to rot in their collapsed pseudo-state and they will not be assisted seriously by any other government since their utility as a piece in international and politico-religious disputes will have been lost.

  • Will Resumption of Israeli Colonization of West Bank End the Two State Solution?
    • My assumption has long been that there will one day be an independent Palestinian state. It won't be "viable" in any sane definition of the term.

      Israeli state leaders will continue to appropriate every single square inch of land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that they desire and continue to isolate Palestinians from themselves and any external community.

      And this will keep going as whatever 'peace talks' drag on.

      And when Israeli leaders think that they've gotten all that they want or possibly could get, they'll agree to a Palestinian state and formal peace just to get rid of their detritus.

      And the world will hail it as a wonderful step forward, and soon after no one will be paying much attention to the Palestinians, and the Arab and Middle Eastern nations often complaining loudly of the injustices done to the Palestinians will not be talking about it much any more.

      It may sound bleak and cynical in disregarding mislabeling of what's going on, but it's what I foresee as in the most likely outcome here.

  • Amnesty: 30,000 Held in Iraq without Due Process;
    Evidence of Abuse
    • Remember that the new spin is that things were messed up in the beginning, but after THE SURGE (YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE SURGE WORKED) we learned how to fix everything.

  • "Peace is Terror, Protest is Terror"
    - The Israeli Ministry of Truth
    • If there were an international commission of inquiry, and were it to find the Israeli government at fault for the killing of civilians, it would just be the standard routine response -- Israel's government would denounce the report as unfair, anti-Israel, and fraudulent, its backers in the U.S. would agree, the authors' reputations would be smeared, the U.S. Congress would vote for a resolution against it, the U.S. would express its regret that a one-sided report had been released, and, in any case, Israel and the U.S. would ignore any international reaction to the report, and in the end there would be no more consequence with the report than without it.

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