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Total number of comments: 33 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:30)


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  • Top 5 Ways Saudi Arabia really could fight Terrorism, & not by a Vague Coalition
    • Saudi Arabia is bombing Houthi rebels because they are Shia. Saudi Arabia also wanted Pakistan to help them and Pakistan would have helped too as they are on the same side of this religious conflict, but chickened out at the last moment.
      Saudi Arabia is not peaceful but the root of all Islamic violence around the world. They are financing extremist wahhabi ideology everywhere and it is causing all sorts of social changes in places like Indonesia, Bangladesh and South India.
      Saudi Arabia is not a rational actor its a definition of a religious zealotry in statecraft.

      We have to work with Russia and destroy Saudi Arabia's client-ISIS to bring stability to Northern Iraq and Syria.

  • Are ISIL fighters Afraid of Women with Guns?
    • The kurdish women fighters are an inspiration. We - the Americans - must do everything to support them with arms, training, air support and logistical help along with financial and technical support. All these so that we can defeat folks like Junaid above.
      The Sunni fighters are scared of fighting the women fighters because in their pre-medieval thinking, getting killed by a women means no 72 virgins in the afterlife.....

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • There is one aspect of this that is not discussed often. The elevated price of Oil .... This abomination is causing the benefactors of Sunni extremist fighters - who are Sunni extremists themselves - to have windfall profits which are diverted by them to this nefarious purpose.

      Iran and the US on the same side is a welcome development. We need to fight the menace of ISIS and other such extremists on the ground militarily, but also need to fight them in the commodities marketplace (by removing excessive long positions by wall street)

  • The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    • Thats exactly what I wrote to my Congressman and both Senators. I urged them to vote NO on Syria because if our real true purpose is to save lives, we should stop picking sides in this civil war and stop prolonging their misery by arming the opposition, but increase our aid to the refugees.

      Also bring our weight on the international community to do more for the refugees and bring our weight down on the outside patrons of the warring factions so that a cease fire can be reached followed by a political settlement.

  • 7 Million Displaced Syrians, Bayda Massacre, & other Reports you Didn't see on American TV
    • If I were Al-Assad I would try to make a secret deal with Israel giving it assurance that no anti-Israel activity will occur from Syria and offer to resolve issues on Golan Heights in return of providing support to crush the rebels.

      Although this will not happen, but I am just throwing it out there. If it does happen the world would be better for it.

  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • The US is contemplating fighting alongside Al Queda to score points in the "great game". The last time when it was done, 9-11 was a byproduct.
      We the US citizens need to be ready for another version of 9-11 as a byproduct of this impending folly that the government is about to commit.

  • Syria: Will Killing of Hundreds with Sarin Gas force Obama's Hand?
    • Syria has very little incentive to do this. The regime is already making progress towards winning the brutal war of attrition especially with its heavy handed use of traditional weapons.

      The West and its populations are disillusioned about Arab-Spring and Egypt is in turmoil. This makes it pretty obvious that Western governments are not itching to get into Syria in any big way and the Syrian regime would be the first to notice it and consider it in its war strategy.

      Syrian regime has a great incentive if the West sort of "forgets" about the conflict in their region. It works in their favor. The only way to "remind" the West of the Syrian conflict would be to use Chemical weapons. Thats the reason I strongly believe that when full details are available it will be clear that it was not the regime that was behind it.

  • Egypt's Waco
    • This is a great post. Commentary with actual references is not available anywhere on MSM about the Egypt situation. Thanks Prof. Cole!!!
      I think that the MB will not go down without fighting. This is a tectonic shift in that part of the world. The "people's Coup" was a reprimand of political Islam and was trans formative event. I think that the Egyptian people made a determination that they did not want MB as government, however are still working on making their minds up on what they want instead.
      It is easy to answer what you dont want, but it is always harder to exactly say what you really want and really like.

  • Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria
    • Officially lost all respect for Obama. I am now ashamed to have voted for Obama. Obama is now doing the same thing that George W Bush did - enter into a foreign war on false pretense.

  • If N. Korea is the Threat, Why is all the War Talk about a Weak Iran?
    • My earlier comment about not paying Taxes is a kind of rhetorical wenting out of frustration.
      Taxes should be utilized in proper way for education and scientific research and for enabling the growth of prosperity of citizens!!!

    • I am going to stop paying taxes if my taxes are going to used for strategic war fighting on behalf of other nations. (Israel). I am a pro Israel person and like Israel and would also support helping them in case of an attack on them, but cant support war of aggression on behalf of Israel.

      Iran is not a threat directly to the US and in fact Iran is the only muslim middle eastern country which is like United States and should be our partner.

  • As Obama Greets Iranians on Nowruz, He's Made some Medicines hard to Afford (Jahanpour)
    • Iran - probably the only Islamic country that is at peace with its pre-Islamic past and in fact proud of it and embraces it.
      Which shows maturity that great civilizations show.

      For this reason alone the US and Iran should be friends and should be on the same side. I wish all Iranians Happy Nowruz and hope that with the elections behind him, Obama is able to craft a settlement between the Iran and the US (and world) and get on the journey towards being close allies.

  • What we Did to Iraq
    • This 10 year anniversary of the evil act of invasion of Iraq fills heart with sadness. This nation used be stand for something.

      Its military might was a force for good but due to a twist of fate (The 2000 election, which was narrowly won by Bush possibly due to Supreme court justices appointed by his father, in spite of losing the popular vote .... Gore would not have invaded Iraq) the halls of power were occupied by those who would end up using it for evil.

      All Americans have the duty to make this right. We can urge our government to facilitate creation of modern infrastructure in Iraq. We can provide our vast technical know how to help with this. Integrate Iraq tightly into international commerce and help with that process. This will bring prosperity to people and the future generations there can live better than any Iraqi generation before them.

      But for the short term we need to help Iraqi government who must be scared of having the Sunni extremism sweeping through Syria to not spill over into Iraq and cause destabilization. If Assad in Syria falls in a disorderly manner, it will surely embolden Sunni extremists to topple Maliki's Shiite government.
      Finally, our government can seek help of experts such as Prof. Cole (I remember during Iraq war phase a lot of top people had not even heard of Shia and Sunni)

  • Pakistan, Iran defy US Sanctions to Inaugurate Gas Pipeline
    • Rep. Rohrabacher's bill for support is a moral support to persecuted peoples anywhere in the world that the United States government provides. The US policy no matter which party is in majority has been to stand with liberty and it is natural that the persecution of Baloch people by the Pakistan military and the ethnic Punjabi majority that dominates all upper echelons of military power, would engender moral support by US.

  • Syrian Rebels capture UN Troops, face Raqqah bombings, are pledged UK Armored Trucks
    • Exactly.
      This Saudi Arabia fueled war is going to calamitous for the minorities in Syria and the whole region. Saudi Arabia is one of the most regressive place on this planet.
      Majority Saudi citizens are America-haters yet in the same old cold war style we are working with these forces of social regression and fueling sectarion conflict in another country. Shame ... Shame.

      And for god sakes dont say that "Assad was killing his own people" BS. This whole conflict would not have started if it were not for the support of Sunni-extremist monarchies of the region.

  • The Syrian Civil War comes to Iraq, as 8 Iraqi and 48 Syrian Troops are Killed on Iraqi Soil
    • When I read a news item such as Kerry confirms US helping train Syrian opposition, it makes me very sad and angry.
      Havent we done enough to mess with the regional stability there.
      Kerry needs to remember his youth when he testified in Congress and made a point about Vietnam being a "mistake". And now with power to actually make a difference shouldnt he be working towards resolution rather than fueling of conflicts??

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • Thanks for this balanced review. It is very unfortunate that even in this day and age of instant information people are falling prey to misinformation and propaganda and continuing with mistrust.
      In my view US's behavior was driven by its anti-communist worldview and Iran's behavior in the late 70s was due to this history of being wronged by western powers (especially the US) So both sides acted with varying degree of rationality and self interest and conflict resulted.

      But now after more than 30 years it is time to move on and we have the moral obligation to be conciliatory being bigger in population, size and economy. Yet all you hear is stupid sabre rattling from morons like Lindsey Graham in senate.

  • Christian woman in Egypt Shoe-whacks Salafi Fundamentalist for Calling her a Harlot (Photo)
    • This particular woman was Coptic and may be (my assumption) due to her tradition she instinctively took an exception to the call to have her face covered.
      We might miss a related point here. What if the woman was Muslim!! Due to the atmosphere of religious ferver, women who might have been born in Muslim families but were brought up with secular worldviews, would not be instinctively oppose the call by the religious extremist nut.
      The revolution in Egypt will turn out to be a net negative in the short run of about 10 years.

  • Bahrain dissidents Commemorate 2 Years of Protest, Condemn Repression
    • Lord Palmerston and the old empire that he represented is not what United States is all about. United States is a unique nation of the new world and its power is used for the betterment of the world (by and large).
      We have always stood for the underdog and helped out the little guy against persecution. In that American spirit, we must stand by the Shias.
      My point was that standing by the Shias is not only the right thing to do but also happens to be in the long term interests of the united states.

    • Because Shia's are the persecuted here there is no love for them. They are not called "revolutionaries" but the Syrian Al Queda terrorists are revolutionaries.
      It is hypocrisy of highest order.
      But my outrage is not only based on the concept of fairness but also America's and the West's long term interest. Backing Sunnis on the Shia-Sunni conflict is not smart. Sunnis are universally more anti-American and extreme in their views with their Saudi Arabian leadership.
      Shias are minorities in the muslim world and are generally persecuted by the Sunni majority except Iran (and now Iraq).

      Our pro-Saudi Arabia and hence pro-Sunni policy is so stupidly myopic that it boggles the mind. In next 10 years we will not have any use of Saudi Arabia as we will be energy independent and in 50 years the world will see Crude Oil as a relic of past generation's primitive source of energy.

      We have supported any group that is being persecuted around the world, then why are not helping the persecuted Shias and live up to our own ideals.

  • Ahmadinejad: US must Cease Militarily Targetting Iran before Direct Negotiations
    • Obama still has the opportunity to open Iran as Nixon opened China.

      Prof. Cole,
      Great post with the above statement being the key point. Obama has clarity of vision and I am hoping that with the rebuilding of Obama's cabinet with folks like Kerry and Hagel and the conclusion of Israeli elections provides a window of opportunity to make progress on embarking on a new relationship with Iran that eventually leads to what you describe above.

  • 237 Dead in Syria day of Horrors, 87 killed at Aleppo U
    • Work of the Jihadis for sure. They did the same thing in Iraq. Sunni extremism at its best. The world faces a cancer of Sunni extremism which has been at the root of all terroristic attacks around the world such as 9/11-US, 7/11-UK, 3-11-Spain, 26/11-India, Bali-Indonesia to name a few.
      Syrians should look at this attack and see what they are looking forward to if the rebels aided by these terrorists win. Assad looks infinitely better than Sharia law (based on the Sunna) and government of radical extremists.

  • The Rise of the Sunnis and the Decline of Iran, Iraq and Hizbullah: The Middle East in 2013
    • Great post Prof. Cole!!
      The possibilities are intriguing. As many prominent Generals in the defense establishment have routinely mentioned, Iran is a rational actor. With waning power their rationality will be put on a test for sure.

  • As Rebels close in on Damascus, Obama warns he'll Intervene if Chemicals are Used
    • If I were the USA I’d be more worried about chemical weapons falling into the hands of extreme Islamist elements like the Nusra Front.

      Unfortunately the USA does not think rationally when it comes to the middle east. It is not enough that US went into one disastrous war based on "intelligence", that they are being willingly hoodwinked into another one. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  • US backs away from Syrian National Council
    • Our involvement is altruistic. We want to see people who are oppressed by dictatorship live in freedom.

      Even if it is altruistic, our engagement cannot be naive and driven by old bureaucratic biases or outright hijacking of foreign policy by a choice group who sees everything in that region through the eyes of one country.

      I say that finally some sense is coming to the state department bureaucrats and they are realizing that the conflict in Syria is not a Spring of Democracy but a nuclear winter of old, sectarian clash.

  • Syrian Regime flies 60 bombing Raids against Rebel City Quarters
    • Al-Jazeera, the "project" of the Sheikhs of Qatar is probably not the most unbiased and credible reporting entity particularly on a proxy war being actively funded by the same Qatari Sheikhs.

  • Syrian Baath Escalates, Uses Jets to Bomb Aleppo
    • Prof. Cole,
      In fact I am absolutely appalled at the civilian deaths but all I was trying to say was that Syria is now a theater of proxy war and in proxy war both sides share culpability.

      Lot of prominent voices in the nation voiced opposition to the Iraq war, including you. Iraq war removed a minority government which was more brutal than Assad. It was also Baathist like Assad. With this logic you should have supported the removal of the Baathist tyrant Saddam.

      Where is the accountability on the countries including our s who are partaking in this great game? (One may disagree with me in my entire thesis) I voted for Obama because he did not want to be interventionist ...

    • Exactly!! Foreign governments are trying to topple the Assad regime, which by all accounts is brutal and is run by ethnic minority. The point is that Assad regime's response is a natural response of any government (brutal or egalitarian) when faced with external aggression.

      Its amazing how the disastrous, illegal Iraq war changed the Sunni-Shia dynamics of that region. All of a sudden Shiites find their sphere of influence grow by more than a third (Iraq is around a third of Iran). This has unsettled the Jeffersonian democrats in Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries and are reacting in earnest to quell the rising Shia influence. Great game of the 21st century.

  • Syrian Rebellion Enters new Stage with Aleppo, Border operations
    • Prof. Landis nails it. That talk on C-Span by Prof. Landis has some clear thinking with deep historical context. Must see for anyone wishing to learn about the conflict.

  • Fighting Spreads to Damascus; but is it a Turning Point
    • Joe,
      Please dont be disingenuous!!! The press may have covered the Al-Queda connection but lets not pretend that the grand narrative that has been created is the one of a evil dictator (Assad) brutally murdering brave revolutionaries, good guys who are fighting against all odds.
      The people on Prof.Cole's blog are a lot more informed about these subject, but average person who is not very interested in world affairs is NOT aware that the rebels are Al-Queda and are far from being good guys. This is primarily because of one sided reportage.

    • CAM,
      We dont see the western press highlight the fact that the "rebels" are Jihadi Al-Queda types funded by Sunni governments in this religious conflict, because a lot of time the press just accepts the government version. (Remember Iraq war?)

      The other thing is that there is a stupid anti-Iran policy by the state department which feeds this line of thinking. Since Assad is Alawite-Shiite supported by Iran he immediately becomes an enemy and in the most bizarre and stupid fashion Jihadi Al Queda types become valiant "rebels".
      I thought Obama would bring some sense to the foreign policy as he is worldly wise, but I have only been disappointed with his continuation of anti Iran (State department policy inertia) policy.

  • Syria Spirals down
    • It is a civil war and a religious war. A religious war between the Shia and the Sunni.

      Stop being outraged.

      Atrocities are being committed on both sides of this inter-religious conflict. Reading American media one gets a feeling that completely innocent people are being picked up and tortured for no reason. And the euphemistically known "opposition" is some kind of democracy movement against a dictatorship of Assad. The "opposition" is fighting a JIHAD against the infidels.

      For god sake stop being outraged!!!!

  • Syria: Famine and Civil War
    • The Sunni Ummah need to make a decision if they want to continue funding the Free Syrian Army - aka Sunni proxy for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni terror exporting mal-governments.

      This is a full on Shia v/s Sunni battle and we in the US have NO ROLE to play other than getting two sides to talk to each other via the Arab league. We should use our leverage with Saudi Arabia and ask them to stop funding the Sunni faction, but our stupid blind bureaucratic opposition to all things Iran will stop us from this.

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