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Total number of comments: 32 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:29)

kassandra

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  • 3 Years after Democratic Revolution, Egypt Decides it Prefers North Korean Model
    • And the country's elite, a good number of whom also seem to be military cultists, parrot the same al Sisi can do no wrong line, just like their North Koean soul brothers. Just watched Amr Moussa doing it. I wonder if he will be the "uncle" who will get the chop.

      Egypt's military budget is deemed a secret in the new constitution, so the army and their claque can continue to run Egypt's economy into the ground.

  • The End of the Turkish Model? Erdogan's Paranoia and Authoritarian Streak Threaten his Legacy
    • link to jeffduncan.house.gov

      Don't discount US/Israel interest in destabilizing Turkey. Turkey has operated an independent foreign policy for some time, which has miffed the US/Israel. What better way to attack than gear up the Iran sanctions meme? The bank director arrested is the bank that was named in the Congressmen's letter as doing naughty deals with Iran.

      Much of the present scandal has been brought about by Erdogan falling out with an ex-ally, Gulen, who was telling his followers in 1999 that "you must move within the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach the power centers. . ." Shortly after the tapes becoming public, Gulen moved to the US, where he operates a kind of cult.

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • The US did not display the same enthusiasm for punishing the culprit when it even vetoed the UN resolution in 2009 that tried to stop Israel's bombing of the hapless citizens of Gaza. For the US, it was just fine for Israel to continue bomb the children of Gaza with white phosphorus. Is white phosphorous is not a chemical agent? It is hard to see the US as anything more than bullies with a bomb.

  • Alleged Torturers sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare)
    • The sleaze that continues to come out of the US military and its contractors is never-ending. And the US retired military that populate these contractors dare speak about honor.

  • Egypt's Revenge of the Leftovers: Mubarak to be released, Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie Arrested
  • Egypt's Waco
    • So where is Egypt headed? Considering all the negative comments that have landed on the generals today, with the only supportive one coming from the Saudis, and considering that the Saudis are financing the country anyway, and considering that the Salafist al Noor party is still hanging around the generals, it looks like Egypt is well on the way to becoming an appendage of the virtual kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the al Noor party being the face of the Saudis in Egypt. He who pays for the music gets to call the tunes.

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
    • That New York Times article is worth reading. Al Jazeera just ran an old documentary entitled "Manufacturing the Truth" made about the Egyptian state media during the protests against Mubarak. It is uncanny that exactly the same methods, terminology and accusations used against Mursi and his party by the media in Egypt today (the generals closed all pro-Mursi media) is. After all, Mubarak's journalists had to find employment somewhere.

      And of course the old church burning meme was big under Mubarak to demonize the Brotherhood. Somehow these same people fail to notice that a large and important mosque in Cairo, the Rabia al Alawyyia mosque, was completely trashed and burned out by the generals. Not to even mention that some of the women and children sheltered inside were shot.

      Indeed, truth is being manufactured wholesale, as is consent being manufactured. I'm waiting for the Brotherhood to be soon accused of harboring al Quaeda.

    • @Barry

      You are correct. The Arabist wrote about "The Delegitimization of Mursi" back on June 30.

      The delegitimization continues. Egyptian and other talking heads are starting to appear around the media with the old "blame the victim" line.

      The fact is that Mursi will be remembered in history books as the first freely elected Egyptian president. And that he was removed from office by a military coup. And that the coup and the massacres that followed were fully supported by the self-described "secularists, liberals, democrats, et al".

  • Million-Person Marches and the Army Backs Off
    • Al Jazeera just reported that Jordan's King Abdullah had dismissed the cabinet and appointed a new PM!

    • Thanks for your views. Watching AlJazeera, it is just truly amazing. The zombie Mubarak regime is doing everything it can to keep the Egyptian people out of central Cairo, out of Tahrir Square. Yet, they keep on flooding in.

      Mubarak's methods seem to have backfired. He cut the internet, so Egyptians went out into the strets to see what what was going on. He let rumors and thugs loose to loot and threaten. Egyptians joined their neighbors and came out into the streets to protect themselves, empowering themselves yet further.

  • Mubarak's Response to Demand for end of Military Rule
    • Been doing some marathon TV listening, starting with AlJazeera English. Several stations have held telephone interviews with the neighborhood vigilantes, some of whom were armed with golf clubs and hockey sticks. In every case, when the reporter asked if they had seen any looting of private homes going on, the person on the other hand said that no, they personally had not, but they heard that the looters were coming, and there are no police to protect us. I visited some of these areas a couple of years ago (Mahdi, Dokki). There wasn't any noticeable police presence in those neighborhoods then, aside from the watchman in the lobby. Further, Egyptians didn't seem to much respect the police. There's some kind of a disconnect here.

      There have been some great shots of the unwashed masses looting the NDP headquarters and running off with those gilt rococo chairs on their backs. Sort of reminded me of the stories from 1905, when another bunch of the great unwashed had a whack at the manor houses.

  • Egyptian Demonstrators Rev up for Big Friday as Regime Cracks Down
    • The only reason the new government in Lebanon will be seen as a failure of US policy is because, as everyone who visits Juan Cole knows, the US has put all its ME foreign policy eggs in one basket -- named Israel. Doesn't seem likely that the US will change course very soon. When Mubarak starts lobbing the demonstrators with tear gas and bullets manufactured in the US, do you think US foreign policy will be enhanced?

  • Egyptians Defy Protest Ban, Plan big Rallies for Friday; Death toll Rises to 6
    • My understanding is that the Muslim Brotherhood, officially and to date, has stood aloof from the protests. Will they decide to encourage their followers to join after Friday prayers? Were this to happen, Mubarak and his TonTon Macoutes will have something to worry about.

  • Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UK
  • Top Ten Myths about Afghanistan, 2010
    • Good list -- nice to see all those bogus excuses pulled together.
      No. 3 -- It is in Iran's interest to keep the US occupied in Afganistan and off Iran's back as much as possible. So, probably there is some Iranian involvement in Afganistan. I'm wondering how long the US can continue to print money to pay for all those mercenaries operating around the world. Sort of makes you think about the Romans and the Ottomans, who debased their currencies fighting endless wars.

  • Obama Should Let the UN apply Economic Sanctions to Israel
    • Prof. Cole makes a good point, Obama has nothing to lose. All the US rep to the UN has to do is abstain. Israel was a creation of the UN, maybe they can then figure out to at least to de jure delegitimize Israel.

  • Can 'Desperate Housewives' Defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia? Wikileaks
    • What delusions do exist in the US Foreign Service. I am reminded of the hearings that were held and broadcast over C-Span detailing the delusions the intelligence community had re the then-Soviet Union, and why noone foresaw the collapse.
      The elites in dictatorial societies have always considered themselves above the law, sort of like the exceptionalist US, who continuously tells the world to do as I say, not as I do.
      I write from Estonia. Here too, during the Soviet occupation, people had access to Finnish TV and watched it with enthusiasm. Finnish TV was mostly watched for world news, becuse Soviet news was sort of like Fox TV, but with less screaming. Even the US Embassy admits that the Saudis figured out that watching US-sponsored TV stations gives a slanted view of the ME, and that Al Jazeera gives a more realistic picture. And now they think Eve Longoria is going to do the job for Uncle Sam?

  • Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks
    • Thanks, Dr.Jahanpour. Group-think can take over very easily. It has also been pointed out that most of the cables date from the Bush administration (not that much has changed) and that very often the Americans were just told what they wanted to hear, sort of Arab courtesy.
      I am reminded of the Congressional hearings that were held after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The theme of these hearings was, why the US, with all its enormous intelligence capability, had not foreseen the collapse. It developed that almost all US-produced information fed into the pipeline portrayed the USSR as some powerful, armed-to-the-teeth monster at a time when the empire was tottering and in imminent collapse. Many lower-level analysts reported, as broadcast on C-Span, that their memorandums were doctored and rewritten to reflect their supervisor's thinking, and probably to reflect the then-administration's thinking. Which was that the USSR was an almighty Evil Empire that Teflon Reagan was taking on.
      Knowing that most State Dept. aparatchniks are mostly concerned about their careers, which means pleasing their supervisors, which means pleasing Washington, could there be any other outcome? Maybe someday there will be similar hearings about the Middle East. Scary indeed, when people start believing their own lies.

  • Top Ten Middle East Wikileaks Revelations so Far
    • How is the Wikileaks revelation that the Head of the IAEA is claimed to be "solidly in the U.S. court" going to affect the supposed impartiality of IAEA? Remember, the USA used its influence to remove the previous Head of the IAEA because, apparently, he just wasn't "solidly in the US'court" and had a tendency towards impartiality.

  • 1942 Midterms: Republicans win Popular Vote, Pick up 47 Seats in House; Roosevelt on Ropes; Pacific War Uncertain, Economy Slowly Improving
    • You've got a point about who turned out to vote, the Tea Party. All we hear about is unemployment being the cause for the pro-Repub vote. Overall unemployment is around 10%, the African American unemployment is much higher. Yet, African Americans overwhelmingly support Obama and the Democrat party, and the few "man-in-the-street" interviews I've seen with African Americans have said that it is impossible for Obama to fix the mess that he inherited in two year*s time. The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white and middle aged, with a large chunk of retired who aren't looking for employment. I just get the feeling that there is more than a whiff of racism hanging over the Tea Party and the new Repubs.

  • Top Ten Questions about Chile Mine Collapse: Was it Nixon-Kissinger's Fault?
    • Good questions. I watched Al Jazeera, BBC World and CNN Int'l, and some of those questions were at least brought up. Some of the miners have apparently already filed lawsuits against the mine owners and the Chilean government. Miner No. 2, Mr. Sepulveda, addressed the safety issue in his interview; there were other miners that had had issues with the safety of the mine that were separately mentioned. It was mentioned several times that the miners were induced with higher wages to go into a known unsafe mine. It was also mentioned that Chile's new President opposes a higher tax on mines. Granted, these issues were not delved into in detail, but after all the drones and killings and red sludge, sometimes it's nice to see a happy story, even the end to everyone singing the Chilean national anthem.

  • Ahmadinejad Mugs for Cameras, Blames USG for 9/11 Attacks
    • When Obama states that the "door is open to talks" and then the US delegation walks out during Ahmedinejad's speech??? And why didn't the Israelis attend the UN Gen Assembly? Their seats were empty.
      Obama spent some time on Hamas' "aggressive" postures, yet no mention of the Gaza or the Mavi Marmara massacres. At the same time, the crawl under the picture told a different story. Namely, that the UN Report on the Mavi Marmara had found that Israel had committed grave breaches of international law.
      Ahmedinejad didn't exactly blame the US Gov for engineering 9-11. He said something like there is a body of thought in the world that believes the US Government was complicit. China Hand has it about right. AND, reading Prof. Cole's next posting re Rumsfield, Bush and the Supreme War Crime. . .

  • Dear Rev. Graham: Obama was not born a Muslim and neither is anyone else
    • It has been pointed out that genetics in Israel works pretty much like archaeology has. There is a tendency to find what one is looking for. The fact that these self-proclaimed "truths" end up in the NYT is no proof of anything. Shlomo Sand makes an excellent case for Judaism being a prostelyzing religion, even using nothing more than plain numbers. He demonstrates fairly convincingly that there were Jewish communities living around the Middle East very early on, and extrapolating the Jewish population in Palestine into the Middle East and onward, even if all of them left Palestine, there just couldn't have been enough active Jewish men to account for all those communities.
      Common sense should tell you that people convert from one religion to another all the time. So what's wrong with being a descendant of Khazars? Why be so hung up on some idea of racial purity? After all, doesn's this same genetics tell us that we can all trace our inheritance to some 13 females in Africa?

  • Eyewitnesses Confirm Israeli Gunplay;
    Egypt's lifting of the Blockade likely Temporary
    • Red herring it is. The US consistently holds back military aid money if Egypt does not cooperate. In 2009 about a hundred million USD was held back because Egypt did not police the Gaza border to Israel's and the US's liking. In 2009 Egypt received about 1.7 billion US aid, of which 1.5 billion was military. And the aid is less every year -- now why can't the US do that to Israel.

    • Apparently Egypt opened Rafah for humanitarian aid cases only; for those with medical permits and such. Not for ordinary Palestinians to saunter over to Egypt to buy cigarettes. There are some curious aspects to the Egypt case. Nearly all of that two billion is military aid. The scenario: US money is building up the Egyptian military, the Muslim Brotherhood is quite popular and after the latest Israeli manifestation of hubris, probably growing in popularity, Mubarak will be off the scene in two-three years.
      The next time anyone is in Cairo, go up to the Citadel and visit the Military Museum. Most of it is devoted in great and heroic detail to Egypt's battles with Israel. There is a constant trooping of schoolchildren. There are other memorials to the war scattered around the country, all showing the Egyptians shooting the Israelis to smithereens. Even some of the fences that surround military facilities have such scenes painted on them. There is no question that Egypt sees Israel as its only potential enemy.
      Question: Is the US really building up the Egyptian military to sometime in the future take on Israel? Sort of like the Afganistan mudjaheddin that the US armed during the Soviet period and many of whom later morphed into the Taliban?

  • Historic UNSC Condemnation of Israel, and of Gaza Blockade;
    World Body Demands release of Aid Activists, Ships
    • After listening to Turkish Prime Minister Erdegun lay it on the Israelis, it would seem that Israel is out to lose more than it bargained. Hilary apparently received a good dose from the wonderful Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu also. Turkey, a prime ally of Israel for years, is moving into the Arab-world camp. Thanks to Israel, the USA is seeing another ally fade into the distance. And Israel has lost a valued ally -- Israel must realize it needs Turkey much more than Turkey needs Israel. On a second thought, what sane country would want Israel as an ally?

  • World Condemns Brutal Israeli Assault on Humanitarian Convoy
    • On another theme, it has been repeatedly pointed out here that Turkey is a NATO country, and the Mavi Marmara is a Turkish ship sailing under the Turkish flag. Art. 5 of the NATO Mutual Assistance Pact states that if one NATO country is attacked, other NATO countries are duty bound to go to its aid. So?

    • Look at the statement that came out of the UNSecCouncil. Everyone else was calling for an investigation by impartial UN elements. The US was holding out for an investigation by Israel (!). The statement compromised on something vague saying that an investigation should be caried out according to "international standards", which the Izzies of course can interpret as they wish.

    • Yup. Everyone from the UN Secretary-General to the Pope has condemned the attack. Everyone -- except the President of the United States of America. He is still "studying" the facts.
      Note that there has been a complete blackout of news from the internationals on the ships since their capture. Nothing. The al Jazeera reporter present on a hill about two miles from the port of Ashdod was attacked by Jewish demonstrators, and al Jazeeral has discontinued their reporting from there because of constant heckling and threats, which could easily be heard in the background of their last report. There has been an absolute blitz of Israeli spokesmen on TV, from the iron-teethed Mark Regev to the Minister of Finance to the Minister of Trade and Industry. An absolute chorus line of comedians.

  • Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Niass & Shahzad
    • If all these would-be bombers have been "trained" by the Taliban et al, how come none of them was taught how to really set off a bomb? There doesn't seem to be any problem with bombs going off in Afganistan or Pakistan. Or does a diversion create just as much confusion as the real thing and is much more cheaper?

    • This issue needs exploring, there has been too little written. It has been said that especially according to the reasoning that arrived at "enemy combatants", the CIA types behind the drones are enemy combatants and thus could legally be subject to the kind minisrations of a Guantanamo-like setup. Since Bush has set a prescedent, it would be the ultimate irony if these CIA tyes cold be charged under the "enemy combatant" rule.

  • Israelis Could Expel Thousands of Palestinians from Palestine
    • Israel has been deporting Palestinians since 1948. It just continues inventing mew amd better schemes on a bigger and better scale. The only similar entitiy that so enthusiastically engaged in deportations was the Stalinist Soviet Union, where entire nations were deported, whose names are even unknown to most of us us today. Who remembers the Circassians, for example? It is a fact that Jabotisnky, among ofther founders of Israel, viewed Stalin's deportation policies with favor, and wrote about their future application to the new Israel state. It is a fact that many Jews were heavily involved in carrying out Stalin's policies. In Estonia, the person in charge of deportations was Idel Jakobson. In sum, Israel is fast becoming a Stalinist state.

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