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  • UN Allies Bombard Libya to protect Protesters
    • "Moreover, the impetus for the no-fly zone came from the Arab League, full of what used to be called Third World states."
      True, but only one democracy amongst the lot of them, plus the west made sure the Security Council Resolution was vague enough to reinterpret as they saw fit.

      Al Jazeera Libya Live Blog 4:30pm

      Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League says that Arabs did not want military strikes by Western powers that hit civilians when the League called for a no-fly zone over Libya, saying:

      What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.

      Al Jazeera Libya Live Blog 5:28am

      The African Union has reportedly joined China in expressing disapproval of the coalition's military action against Libya. The AU's Libya committee met in Mauritania and released a statement on Sunday calling for an "immediate halt" to the attacks, the AFP news agency reported.

  • Bahrain Demonstrators Repressed
    • Mini-biography of the Arab League members.

      Voted for No Fly Zone in Libya, in an effort to assuage
      their angry populations (and to payback Gaddafi for
      calling it irrelevant?)

      Note to readers: Democracy is not just about being allowed
      to choose who will rule you, its more about human rights.
      Dictators and Absolute Monarchs are weak in this area.

      Algeria: Officially a Republic: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, recently lifted its 19 year old Emergency Rule(Feb. 2011), in transition, future unknown.

      Bahrain: Constitutional Monarchy a la Middle East, re:
      toothless National Assembly.

      Comoros: Union of Comoros, a federal republic since 2008.

      Djibouti: Officially a Republic, dominated by the People’s
      Rally for Progress party, last election, President re-elected with 100% of the vote.

      Egypt: Officially a Republic, Ruled by a succession of Military Dictators since independence in 1953. Emergency Law declared since 1967. Potential transition.

      Iraq: Republic, roiled in sectarian war/politics since USA
      invasion. Previously was run by Saddam via Iraqi Ba’ath

      Jordan: Constitutional Monarchy a la Middle East, can
      suspend Parliament, did so during 2001-2003.

      Kuwait: Constitutional Monarchy a la Middle East, re: can
      dissolve the National Assembly.

      Lebanon: Parliamentary Democracy, distorted through
      unequal division of parliamentary seats by religious groups. i.e. Christians get 50% with 39% population.

      Libya: Absolute Ruler, would seem to want to establish his
      family in power perpetually, proto King/Emir.

      Mauritania: Officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, it has been ruled by military strongman Muhammad Ould
      `Abd Al-`Aziz since 2008

      Morocco: Constitutional Monarchy a la Middle East, re:
      can dissolve Parliament.

      Oman: Constitutional Monarchy a la Middle East.

      Palestinian Authority, elections overdue.

      Qatar: Emirate i.e. Absolute Monarch

      Saudi Arabia: Absolute Monarchy

      Somalia: Ruled by the Transitional Federal Government,
      in the midst of a civil war.

      Sudan: Officially a Republic, al Bashir has managed to hold
      on to power under a variety of guises since his 1989 coup.

      Syria: Officially a Republic, ruled by the previous Presidents son via Syrian Ba’ath party, Emergency Law declared since 1963.

      Tunisia: Officially a Republic, ruled by Constitutional Democratic Rally party since 1956 and President Ben Ali(1987-2011), In transition, future unknown.

      United Arab Emirates: Federation of seven Absolute Monarchies.

      Yemen: Republic, dominated by the General People’s Congress.

      Compiled from Wikipedia, feel free to correct/modify/add.

  • The Battle of Brega: Qaddafi Compared to Netanyahu in Arab Press
    • “If the standoff between east and west Libya continues,
      they will need to purchase arms on the international market, and will need big money to do so.”

      They could always sell off oil concessions, and mortgage their children’s future.

      Combine that with the phony democracy, run by powerful interests, which will inevitably take over if the Libyans are not only very careful, but also very lucky, and we will have another very disillusioned population wondering what happened to their aspirations.

      Remember that even if your intentions may be well meant,
      those of governments never are.
      So, is there good interference and bad interference as in good and bad luck?
      No such thing, there is only interference.

  • Top Pieces of Unfinished Business in the Mideast
    • Leaders, Rulers, Strongmen, Autocrats, Dictators,
      Despots or Tyrants; what should we call these people?
      To a large degree it depends on whether they are our
      "sons of bitches" or someone else’s; or worse yet, their own masters.
      I suggest calling them Kings.
      And to differentiate them from those Kings whose families
      have been in power for a couple of generations, lets call them
      New Kings, as in New Money!

  • 90% of Libya in Rebel Hands
    • It would seem that using al-Qaeda as a bogeyman
      is not limited to the United States and its allies,
      both Gaddafi and al-Maliki also find it convenient.

  • Iraq Roiled by Protests, 2 Killed in Sulaimaniya
    • One can not fail at what one did not attempt.

      The goal was not Democracy but to re-locate the Military Bases that they could no longer maintain in Saudi Arabia without destabilising that kingdom; control of a major oil producer and the ability to squeeze Iran harder.

      They may yet succeed.

  • Cole on Egypt at Virtually Speaking
    • Talk of protests continuing despite a slew of constitutional reforms, sweeping concessions, and no, Suleiman did not really threaten a coup; anyone else notice a change of tack by Aljazeera?

  • Egypt: I ask Myself Why
  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    • After due consideration, I have decided that my
      previous post was perhaps a little brief, not to
      say cryptic.
      I have therefore decided to explain myself more fully.

      The phrase “Caveat emptor” Let the buyer beware,
      used to excuse sharp practice on the part of sellers;
      i.e. putting the onus of a bad deal on the buyer, is
      more than a property law doctrine in favor of sellers,
      it is also a call for the buyer to assume responsibility for his/her/its actions.

      I for one; do not believe for a minute that Egypt was
      for sale.
      That it accepted payments for certain services rendered
      is not the same thing.
      I do not think anyone would have expected Mubarak to
      have committed political suicide by helping Israel to
      say, trash Gaza with air strikes.
      And yet here is Obama asking Mubarak to step down, as
      if the United States of America had bought Egypt.
      More disappointing still is the fact that Informed Comment is feeling humiliated, (not sure if that is second or
      third hand) because Mubarak did not agree to resign.

      Only an Imperial power thinks or assumes that nations
      are for sale, and is angered when they are not.

    • re- The United States vis a vis Egypt and Israel

      Caveat emptor

      Let the buyer beware

  • Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks
    • A well written and subtle essay that promises a rosy feel-good future, sans war,
      in exchange for a "regime change".
      In this, Farhang Jahanpour, echoes the position of both the United States and Israel.
      As to Iran´s unpopular rulers, they are not as unpopular as some would have you believe.
      It is a fact, that many people in the United States and Europe fail to understand, that
      in most countries the middle class does not represent the sensible majority, it represents
      a small self-centered clique, whose voice is much louder than its size would indicate.

  • NATO sets 2014 Deadline for Afghanistan Withdrawal (but not US), as Thousands demonstrate in London
  • Southern Afghans Have Never Heard of 9/11
    • re."If Afghans, 72% of whom are illiterate, have never even heard of September 11, then they have no idea why the United States and NATO are even in their country! And the entire lack of such knowledge would likely make them more hostile to that presence, since it would seem wholly unjustified and from out of left field to them."

      I live in the West, and have access to television, radio, newspapers, internet, and the telephone (both cell and land line), and am not illiterate.

      I have no idea why the United States and NATO are even in Afghanistan, it seems wholly unjustified and from out of left field to me.

  • Why Obama gave in on Israeli Settlements in Jerusalem: Eric Cantor, Ros-Lehtinen Channel Israeli Right on Usurpation of Holy City, Displacement of Palestinians
    • I can see how this deal is good for Israel, and Israel and also Israel.
      I fail to see what is in it for the United States or the Palestinians.
      Am I the only one that is having problems reconciling Obama’s
      rhetoric with his actions?

  • Gates, the Adult in the Room, Rebuffs Israeli, Republican Warmongering on Iran
    • I am afraid that Gates, your sane Republican, is anything but.

      “… So I would disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran
      to take the actions it needs to end its nuclear weapons programme…”

      For those who missed it: “nuclear weapons programme…”

      Repeat a lie for long enough and it becomes the truth.

      Gate is saying yes, but not yet, to Netanyahu.

  • On How War with Iran might Destroy the United States
    • Just read Mr David Broder’s article.
      I fear you do him an injustice. The article oozes irony and is therefore to be taken with a pinch of salt. It was obviously written for the “ The Rally to Restore Sanity and / or Fear”
      I only wonder that he did not point out the economic advantages of letting public infrastructure and education go to the dogs.

  • Will Resumption of Israeli Colonization of West Bank End the Two State Solution?
    • "With regard to the alternatives to be adopted by the PLO and the PA in case President Abbas carries out his threat and submits his resignation as president of the PA, the Palestinian official says that the Central Committee will then convene and select a new president from its members, after that the (PLO) Executive Committee will convene to ratify the selection, and then this will be followed by a meeting of the Central Council to ratify the appointment in its final form."

      No mention of elections, which I believe are overdue.(Abbas' term ended in 2009)
      Wasn't there a PLO coup after Hamas won the elections in 2006?
      Are they (they being the PLO, Israel and the USA) worried about providing another electoral opportunity to Hamas?
      We have all read what the mainstream media think about Hamas, the question is, what do the Palestinians think?

  • O'Donnell wonders why Monkeys aren't still evolving into Humans
    • O’Donnell wonders why Monkeys aren’t still evolving into Humans!
      Wrong question!
      The question should be:
      Why aren't Monkeys devolving into Humans?
      Because they have more sense!

  • Ahmadinejad Mugs for Cameras, Blames USG for 9/11 Attacks
    • This is a quote by Obama from an interview given to the BBC, according to this article in the Guardian.
      link to

      "Understandably, Israel is very concerned when the president of a country, a large country near them, states that they should be wiped off the face of the earth."

      Does he know better?
      I think so.
      So what is his agenda?

  • Obama dismisses Iran War Prospects, overrules Clinton
    • Sounds like a simple reiteration of the United States’ position.
      Allow me to translate:
      Meet its International Obligations =
      UN Security Council Resolution 1696 =
      Iran is forbidden to enrich uranium.

      The question is why did the Security Council Members vote for a resolution that would inevitably, if they had given it some thought, lead to a conflict?
      Why did the Security Council Members vote for a resolution that clearly required a full UN vote to carry any legitimacy?
      Were they fooled by talk that it would encourage openness?
      Do they not know the difference between a carrot and a stick?
      I am particularly concerned that China and Russia were so easily manipulated.
      It makes Security Council reform even more urgent.

  • Iraqi Soldier Kills 2 Americans, Wounds 9
    • Wondering if ill judged gamesmanship, as in saying something you
      know will upset your opponent in an attempt to unsettle him and put
      him off his game, has anything to do with this?
      Something along the lines of Zidane Vs Materazzi during the 2006
      World Cup springs to mind.
      If this were so, it would point not only to massive cultural insensitivity
      but also a mind-boggling lack of awareness of recent Iraqi history
      (i.e. the invasion by the United States and its consequences)
      Could this be fallout of the “We Won Mindset”

  • Collapse of Kabul Bank Points to Fatal Corruption of Karzai Government
    • I find that using what I call the “What if Scenario Test”
      helps to clarify many things.
      For example:

      If the Karzai Government were not corrupt would:
      The death of NATO soldiers be OK?
      The death of Afghanistan civilians be OK?
      The death of Afghanistan Taliban be OK?
      The occupation of Afghanistan be OK?
      The resurgence of the Opium trade be OK?
      The imposition of Western values be OK?
      The lies we are told be OK?
      The drone assassinations be OK?
      The ….. (feel free to add your own questions) be OK?

      If you were to say no to any/some/all of these questions then
      whether the Karzai Government is corrupt or not is irrelevant.

  • Obama hands Iraq to Iraqis, Sort of;
    al-Maliki Declares Independence
    • Someone has to say it – Bush was right.
      Mission Accomplished.
      Emigrating USA bases from Saudi Arabia, in which said bases were destabilizing an important oil ally, to the next best oil producing/have lots of reserves nation, has
      been a success.
      The United States now has permanent bases in the heart of the Middle East.
      Those who think that 4000 casualties (Iraqis do not count) is excessive do not understand the concept of Manifest Destiny.
      Those who accept the justifications:
      Iraq has no Air Force (only because it was destroyed), no Army (disbanded), no Economic Base (dismantled) are apologists.

  • The Speech President Obama Should Give about the Iraq War (But Won't)
    • Some very well made points!
      Minor quibble if I may:
      re (paragraph 17) "We have irrevocably...... Iraqis are our friends and we will offer them as much training, technical help and advice as they ask for."

      Should read: We would like you, one day, to be able to consider us as friends, in the meantime and in order to earn that trust, we will provide as much money as it takes to rebuild what we have directly and indirectly destroyed.

  • Kurashige: The Islamic Center and the “Pearl Harbor” Analogy
    • The 1812 war is not the best analogy.
      It was the United States that declared war on Great Britain.
      Taking Washington and burning the White House was both "payback" and a "lesson".

  • Kurdish General Again Insubordinate, Angles for US to Remain in Iraq
    • Not the fault of the UN but certainly due to a flaw of the UN.
      The flaw consists of the five permanent members of the Security Council,
      a relic of “the winners” of the “Second World War”, with their power of veto.
      This power when directly applied or just threatened, allows the bearer to exert
      a marked influence on events. The non-permanent members of the Security Council
      are well aware that they have been invited on sufferance; only there to provide a veneer of consensus.
      The USA, as the most powerful country at the present time, exerts the most influence.
      That might not always be so, however what is true, is that giving a select number of nations a veto, should no longer be acceptable.

  • Jahanpour: Iran, Turkey and Israel: New Global Realities
    • re ‘‘President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger flew directly from the Moscow summit to Tehran in May 1972, it was a flattering sign of US support for the shah and the evidence of his importance to the Americans. During that visit, the two countries signed a protocol for a 45-billion-dollar trade deal (which was a huge sum in those days).’’

      In 2009, $ 45,000,000,000.00 from 1972 is worth:
      $ 231,000,000,000.00 using the Consumer Price Index
      $ 185,000,000,000.00 using the GDP deflator
      $ 221,000,000,000.00 using the unskilled wage
      $ 256,000,000,000.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
      $ 354,000,000,000.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
      $ 518,000,000,000.00 using the relative share of GDP

      reference: link to

  • Turkey Threatens Israel with cut-off of Diplomatic Relations
    • The BBC Tuesday, 6 July 2010 18:28 UK

      “Obama calls for direct Mid-East peace talks to resume

      US President Barack Obama has urged the Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks before a settlement freeze expires in September.”

      If I may translate Obama's words:
      Palestinians have until September to accept the Israelis terms.
      Otherwise the freeze is off.

      This seems like a brazen attempt to legitimize the land grab.

      The BBC, and everyone else, should know better than to use the word "settlements” Vis á vis Jerusalem and the West Bank.

  • Steele blames Obama for Afghanistan, Defends Iraq War
    • Your take on the Conservatives' twin premises is wickedly accurate!
      Very Jonathan Swift.

  • The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup
    • “One final possibility would have been for the movement to become so popular that it was able to put large numbers of people in the street sufficiently often, and to mount strikes and other crippling forms of contentious action with sufficient regularity, to make the ordinary functioning of the government impossible and so to force a compromise. But they were unable to maintain the momentum of the second half of 2009 in the new year, and could not be so disruptive throughout the country as to force the regime to the negotiating table.”

      I think that was because it is primarily a middle class movement.
      It is a class which feels more and more marginalized, that is to say it has less power and say so within the power structure than it used to.

      The claim of stolen elections is and was the stepping-stone to their goal: a coup.

      As to whether the Government of Iran is a regime; one has to ask: was it so during the governments of Akbar Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, will it continue to be so after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

  • Northern Ireland Condemns Israeli Raid on Rachel Corrie,
    "Completely unacceptable Use of Force"
    • Shameless Mainstream media plays Israel’s game.

      Deported ???

      Kidnapped and released.

      All IC readers should write to their "favorite" news outlet to set the record straight.

  • The Big Mistake in the New BP Ad
    • re "legitimate claims"
      Do not blame the messenger!
      I suspect BP's legal department is the guilty party.
      CEOs do not get fired for disastrous oil spills.
      They get fired for paying out unnecessary monies.

  • Petraeus Memo Widens scope of US Military Covert Operations in ME
    • My comment was meant to show how, vis a vis Iran, American Policy had not changed from what it was under Bush.
      The last sentence refers to Obama.

    • I think this puts Obama's "Hands Off" during the Iran election protests, in context.
      Bush's covert operations to undermine the Iranian government were never called off.
      So under Obama, they are maintained, and then to add insult to injury, increased.
      There aught to be some consequence to getting oneself elected under false pretenses!

  • Israel offered Nukes to Racist South Africa for Use on Black Neighbors
    • Iran’s threat to withdraw from the Brazil-Turkey deal is an attempt to avoid new sanctions by some rather heavy-handed horse-trading.
      If new sanctions are imposed however, I predict that Iran will stick to the deal.
      There are four main reasons. Firstly it would be ungrateful of Iran to waste the good offices of Brazil and Turkey, as it would the good wishes of those nations who, believing in negotiation, have supported this initiative.
      Secondly, it needs the fuel rods for its research reactor.
      Thirdly, this would make the United States, and lets be clear, this is not about the 5+1, this is about the United States and Israel, look vengeful and petty, and it would effectively waste all that expenditure (bribes and threats) in order to push the sanctions through.
      Lastly, in the event of these new sanctions been imposed, and failing a mayor blunder on Iran’s part, it would be extremely difficult to impose additional sanctions in the future, and Iran (barring the stop and search provision) can live with these.

  • Iran Threatens to Pull out of Nuclear Deal over new UN Sanctions
    • The United States Policies towards Iran would seem to have in common the lack of both logic and sense, until one factors in the State of Israel.

      The key is Israel’s refusal to countenance the existence of any State, which could become a credible future adversary to its hegemony in the Middle East.
      Another factor is the United States’ seemingly unshakeable commitment to Israel, for a multitude of reasons, many of which do not reflect well on the parties involved, and its commitment to “defang” these States.

      Interestingly, the United States under Bush would seem to have adopted this Israeli policy for itself, albeit in a worldwide context.

      What you politely call horse trading with the Israelis, is in fact closer to blackmail.

  • Top Ten Other Gratuitously Offensive Draw-a-Cartoon Days
    • Let us be clear. Gods (whether with a lower case or not, plural or not) are by definition, if they are worth their salt, un-offendable.
      It is those who make a living from interpreting the will of these gods who, fearing a lessening of their influence and power, claim their gods are offended.
      I do not find it credible that ordinary believers upon reading, or hearing of an offence, loose their heads and riot or kill. They are told to take offence, told to be angry, used and manipulated.
      Making fun of the gods does not further rationality and enlightenment .
      It is the people that who use gods, to use men, who should be made fun of.
      The people that live off the hopes and fears of men.

  • BP Trashes Apollo Astronauts, Parrots Sarah Palin; Oil Godzilla heads for Coast
  • Karzai Defeats Obama 2-1
    • I think Juan Cole was making the point that PBS should know better, and not just repeat the spin.

  • I want My Country back from Big Oil
  • Netanyahu Commits to Colonizing East Jerusalem; First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy
    • It is a little unfair to blame Israel for the problems that the USA has in the Middle East.
      This would seem to imply that the USA is guilty of being too good a friend.
      The reality is that there are several reasons for these “problems”, among which we could mention the Iran coup of 1953, the Iraq coup of 1958, support for authoritarian regimes and of course the invasion of Iraq.
      The proxy extra veto at the United Nations Security Council, has not helped.

  • Gates Worries about Iranian Nuclear Research, while Khamenei blasts US for Hiroshima
  • Obama hints that Two-State Solution may be Impossible
    • ‘ The two sides “may say to themselves, ‘We are not prepared to resolve these issues no matter how much pressure the United States brings to bear,’”
      By apportioning equal blame in an unequal situation, Obama is pushing for an unequal peace.
      That may serve the USA in the short term, it is not however even handed, nor if the word means anything in Realpolitik, fair. Only a fair peace will last.

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