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Total number of comments: 202 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:41)

john caddidy

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  • The Arab World's Fourths of July
    • 100% right. Turkey's military interfered with coups three times and it was anyone's guess when civilian rule would ever take root. But that was then and this is now. One can argue with some of Erdogan's policies but it's clear that Turkish democracy has sunk deep roots. That's a feel-good story which does not get enough play.

    • Agreed. Let's wish them well. But this is still early and there are (too) many moving pieces to accurately predict what's going to happen tomorrow. For the time being, I remain cautious & concerned. As a general rule, I do not welcome religious parties into politics. No matter what their apologists claim, their cultist obsessions, biases and deep insecurities have contributed mightily to a couple milennia of bloodshed & injustice.

  • Syria Spirals down
    • That may be true. And if so, shame on the U.S. Obviously, torture is despicable. But that's not really the point here, is it? You have a dictatorial regime that's attempting to murder its way to tranquility. It's simply outrageous behavior. Let's not downplay this just because the U.S. may not be as pure as the driven snow.

    • One has to feel for the Syrian people, who are suffering under this monstrous regime. But as we watch the lies and other distortions emanating from Damascus, it would be revealing to take another look at Syria's record in light of the regime's congenital tendency to dissemble. In particular, we ought to reexamine Assad's earlier denials that Syria funds regional terror groups or that it was building a nuclear reactor with the aim of obtaining WMD capability.

  • Hajizadeh: If Israel attacks Iran, it will be Destroyed
    • And in the meantime, the Iranian regime continues to orchestrate terror attacks - much as it did in Argentina - against Jewish & Israeli targets. The latest evidence supplied in this AP story out of Kenya regarding the two Iranian operatives now in custody after they were apprehended.

      It's a rough regime and now that they feel trapped, the west ought to keep up its guard.

      link to haaretz.com

  • Could Syria-Turkey Conflict Pull NATO In?
    • Guys,

      Are you frigging paying attention at all!!!???? The Turkish plane was shot down in international waters. If they were trying to send a message, it was the wrong one to transmit. As Juan suggests, now the door is open to a Turkish/NATO reaction. I don't think either NATO or Turkey is interested in getting involved in full scale hostilities. But, as we've seen from earlier reporters, Turkey can press several pressure points - not the least being the supply of arms & material to the ant-Assad forces.

      The regime is trying to kill its way out of this. It may have worked for Dad but that was 1982 and this is 2012. Ultimately, this group of thugs will get overthrown.

  • Uncertainty Grips an Egypt on the Brink
    • "I thought to myself, the 22-member SCAF cannot be so stupid as to take this sort of risk. Surely they know that the country is mobilized and could easily erupt..."

      Um, we're talking about Egypt, remember? That nation's military is populated by a collection of ill-educated corrupt goons - sorry for the name-calling but I'm calling it like it is. They will protect their privilege, whatever the cost. Maybe they'll try and start a border war to divert attention. They're a lousy bunch and we should expect the worst from them.

      When I heard about their stunt, I, too, immediately thought back to Algeria. Maybe if these knuckle draggers read history....

  • Father's Day (Louis C.K.)
    • Am glad Louis C.K. is finally getting his due. Been following his career for years. The guy's simply awesome.

  • Global Disappointment in Obama Actually Rational, unlike in US (Pew)
    • Bravo. Well said.....unfortunately, it's nothing really very new under the sun. We're a predominately clueless country - and damned proud of it.

  • Planned Israeli Detention Camps for Africans Draw Human Rights Protests
    • Consider an alternative explanation that has very little with race and more to do with the role & responsibilities of a nation state.

      The fact is that Israel has welcomed literally tens of thousands of Africans into its society since the 1980s from Ethiopia. But the estimated 60,000 illegals who have entered are not seeking political asylum; they are seeking work. If it were the former, you would have seen women & children making the trek. Instead, it's an overwhelming cohort of males.

      Egypt let the illegals pass through Sinai for years and unfortunately, Israel's only now waking up to a big social problem. Many of the illegals have set up squatter camps in the country's big cities, and yes, they've turned into high crime areas.

      Israel remains a flourishing multi-ethnic society. Indeed, the mixing between white and black Jews is proceeding apace and speaks well for the future. What's more, let's also recall that the assimilation of blacks has been largely successful. Compare that with what goes on in neighboring Arab countries - as the recent issue of the Economist notes - where anti-black racism remains high.

      But there's a bigger point: Israel, like any other nation, is entirely justified in deciding who it allows to settle inside its borders.

  • Top Ten Silver Linings for Democrats in Wisconsin Outcome
    • Wishful thinking here. I see very little to be optimistic about. As Isiah Berlin once observed in a different context, history shows that people have proven to be unalterably stupid. Yes, the system is corrupt and Big Money has turned the republic into a joke. But were voters in Wisconsin so thick headed that they couldn't see a vote for Walker was a vote against their - and the country's larger - interests? Yet they were snookered. And if they're so gullible as to be led by the nose due to TV spots, I'm not at all looking forward to November's election, which will make the Swift boaters look like rank amateurs.

      It's bad news, dude. Bad news.

  • Will Houla be al-Assad's My Lai? Artillery Massacre of Children in Syria
    • Truly disgusting and savage. Then again, why should any of this shock us? Am assuming that you all have been paying attention to a regime whose brutality was perfected by Assad pere starting in the early 1970s. The regime and a fair chunk of the population supporting it are now indelibly corrupt. Sorry to say but the Alawites will reap what they sow. A reckoning is coming and it will be horribly bloody.

      Ain't the mideast just grand?

  • Is the Egyptian 2010s a Replay of the American 1960s?
    • No Travis, I think you're wrong. Whatever imperfections you say exist in the Camp David treaty, Egypt & Israel have not since returned to shooting wars. Forget the screeching of the lunatics. Even a cold peace is preferable to a hot war.

      Any day of the week and 2x on Sunday.

    • Good luck to the electorate and even if it's a messy outcome, it will be all to the good as far as starting to build something resembling a civil society.

      Regarding Camp David: It was supposed to extend to a resolution of the Israel-Palestine question and it failed on that count. But that was a secondary concern for Sadat, who did not pursue his peace with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians; his primary interest was in regaining the Sinai. And the price he paid was a peace treaty.

      I suppose Mursi will have to act like a grown-up if elected - or so one can hope. Some of his statements - he describes Israelis themselves as "vampires and draculas,"
      according to the NYTimes (link to nytimes.com) That's not an assessment based upon a state-based analysis of Egyptian interests; it's a statement dripping with medieval ignorance and prejudice. One must hope it's only a phase. Still, there is reason for concern. We shall see..

  • Egypt's Presidential Election: Between Revolution and Counter-Revolution
    • Seems, though, from early reports dribbling out that voters rejected A. Moussa. Where will his supporters turn during the 2nd round?

  • Time Magazine Cover asks if Bibi Netanyahu will Make Peace... 1996
    • Boy, I'd love to know who his PR handler is. Whoever it is deserves a huge raise. You know that NOBODY in Israel's feisty press would ever author such a thumbsucker. This guy simply got taken to the cleaners.

  • Egypt's Tantawi Pledges no first Strike Abroad, Fair Elections at Home
    • Oh, I don't know that it was "misinterpreted in Israel." Maybe it was misinterpreted by the tabloid reporter who authored the story in question. But more importantly, Israelis have seen this movie before and it's not the first time that the military leader of a big neighboring army has engaged in aggressive chest-beating.

      Truth be told, Tantawi doesn't help calm tensions by this sort of strutting and screeching.

  • The Egyptian Presidential Debate: It is all about Constituencies
    • Egypt's moving in Abu’l-Futuh's direction so why prolong the inevitable. And maybe being in power and responsible for governing will temper the extremism of the hardliners in their ranks.

      One thing for sure: Amre Mousa is a corrupt political hack who deserves to be booted from the political stage. His track record has been marked by a craven pursuit of power. He had no trouble hitching his wagon to Mubarak's ossified regime. It's only now that he's attempting to explain that there was no there, there. Lame.

      His "domestic" policy, if one can call it, offers little that is new or interesting. He's a bureaucrat, not an economic thinker. Egypt's economy is a basket case and Mousa has not a clue about how to get it back on track. Ditto for his foreign policy, which seems to be little more than a hodge-podge of failed rhetoric he pulled out of a dusty collection of Nasser's greatest hits.

      No, Mousa is a hack. Let's hope he never gets anywhere near the levers of power.

  • Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden
    • It's still too soon but Carter will go down his history as one of the most under-rated presidents ever. Does anyone recall the faux outrage when he negotiated the handover of the Panama Canal to Torrijos? He was pilloried relentlessly and there was no shortage of gloomy prognostications how this would cripple US foreign policy. Turned out to be nothing of the sort. In fact, it defused what otherwise would have turned into an escalating crisis with Panama.

      Ditto for his work helping to shepherd Camp David through. (a cornerstone agreement that the political hack Amre Mousa is now playing politics with.) Yes, Carter's earnestness could be grating now and then but he's unfairly savaged by the rightwing for being weak & incompetent. Those charges are entirely untrue.

  • Israeli Spy Chief Condemns Netanyahu for Iran Hype, Messianism
    • Just the tip of the iceberg here. Diskin and Dagan reflect a widespread opinion within the ranks of the intelligence & military professionals, who are anything but bellicose nut jobs. There is sharp opposition within the IDF to the Bibi/Barak/Lieberman line on Iran.

      If the Iranian regime was wise, it would take the hint & tone down its rhetoric - especially Ahmadenijad's despicable and utterly insane rhetoric about the Holocaust. That only serves to inflame public opinion & reinforce Israeli suspicion about Iran's strategic aims.

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
    • Simple explanation: The IDF is run by sober professionals with deep experience and expertise. In contrast, governments in the mideast are all too often overseen by cheap political hacks.

    • As I've said here on other occasions, this war scare is just that. It's countries yakking and the media whipping up a nonsensical scenario. Now for some real news - courtesy of Josh Landis (link to joshualandis.com)

      "The Candidates for Parliamentary Elections in Syria have been published – They reveal that Bashar al-Assad’s supposed reforms are the ruse that most thought they would be. The candidates from Latakia are sprinkled liberally with the names of well known crooks and Baathists of the region as well as their sons. There does not seem to be any potential reform going on in Latakia. The Baath may have been disestablished, but its members insist that they will win the upcoming elections to parliament."

      Yeah, there's a real war taking place in the mideast and it's being waged by the thugs in Damascus against the Syrian people. Thankyou Russia & China for your amazing indifference & cynicism. As for the rest of the world? Not much behind Kofi A. making more useless pit stops to visit Assad. He's going to use everything at his disposal to cling to power.

  • Top 5 Stories from the Arab Revolutions Today
    • Israel has denied that rumor. The Egyptians can offer whatever rationalization they choose but obviously, politics was the motivation. No matter. Israel is leagues ahead of the region in terms of developing alternative energy and if this serves as a further spur to that development, all the more power to them. Israel only need look at our example, where our foreign policy is outrageously sensitive to the interests of oligarchs, monarchs and despots simply because they supply us with oil. No sense in Israel tying itself to a weak regime that's likely to become more unstable as time goes on.

  • Will the Egyptian Military Allow the New President to take Office?
    • His track record isn't promising. Moussa is a hack, pure and simple. His ideas are largely failed retreads from the Nasserist days. I can't be very optimistic about the Egyptian economy if he squeaks by and gets into office. Maybe he'll pick a foreign fight - Israel seems a favorite bete noir - to excite the masses and divert attention from an economic and social structure that is severely broken.

  • Egypt's Saturday Night Massacre and the Presidential Race
    • amr moussa is a political hack, a throwback to the failed nasserist policies of the 1950s and 1960s. if he wins, egypt will decline from its present status as a mess to an absolute mess.

  • Divided Arab League Won't Call for al-Assad to Step Down
    • "The Syrian regime is accused of killing thousands of protesters over the past year."

      Accused?

      The NY Times sent a reporter to Lebanon to interview Syrian refugees - thankfully, there still are real reporters, not just "bloggers" to ferret out the truth - and it describes a campaign of ongoing butchery. And now the latest twist: the regime is handing out weapons to its fellow travelers in the Alawite community, who are also reported to be firing upon their Sunni neighbors. If and when the regime falls, we shouldn't be surprised by the coming backlash.

      Ladies and gents, where is the outrage? The incredibly hypocrisy continues.

      Link to NYTimes piece is here: link to nytimes.com

  • Israeli Peace Marchers Protest Iran War Talk in Tel Aviv
    • doubt very much that you're an israeli. if so, then what's your opinion about this: "ben adam, ze pashoot shtooyot, ma she ata omar. ha matzav be yisrael, hoo harbah maod yoter mesubach me mah sha to-an." but you won't get the transliteration because you're not a hebrew speaker and simply playing the part of troll. unfortunate

  • Is Anti-Immigrant, Islamophobic Campaign Rhetoric fomenting Antisemitism in France?
    • "Those on the Zionist far right who deliberately and systematically attempt to foment hatred of Muslims, are always in danger of at the same time promoting antisemitism."

      I'm floored by that statement. I suppose one can find isolated extremist voices anywhere but the bulk of the French Jewish community - with whom I'm intimately familiar - do not fit that description. If anything, they opt to take a low profile in the face of extremist anti-Jewish sentiment in the banlieues - the most heinous manifestation being the Ilan Halimi case. Fact is that the perps were neo-Nazis, according to the authorities. I doubt very seriously that they needed any excuse to fire their perfervid imagination.

      Not one of your better posts, Juan

  • 71% of Americans think Iran already has the Bomb (Also we used to have pet triceratops)
    • Well, the fact is that outside of the specialists, most Americans - or Egyptians or Russians or Brazilians or (fill in your fave' - have little understanding or interest in foreign affairs.

      But this debate is tiresome. Iran could easily extinguish this controversy by opening its Parchin site. Unfortunately, the regime chose to stiff the IAEA inspectors who requested access. These are the dry facts and let's not airbrush them away. One must ask what Iran has to hide? The regime's intentions remain unclear.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu attacks Gen. Dempsey as Servant of Iran
    • Here's what Haaretz says Netanyahu's office told the Americans:

      ""The Iranians see there's controversy between the United States and Israel, and that the Americans object to a military act. That reduces the pressure on them."

      Frankly, this is normal discourse between allies when they disagree. Whether Dempsey is a "war hero" or not is immaterial. Israel doesn't think his public diplomacy is wise and has a right to express its displeasure to Washington.

      Second point: Despite all the hand-wringing by some, the public pressure campaign looks to be working. The Iranian statement about taking preemptive steps - gee, those same peace-loving Iranians - shows more cracks. ("The Iranians see there's controversy between the United States and Israel, and that the Americans object to a military act. That reduces the pressure on them." )

  • Top Ten Ways Iran is Defying US, EU Oil Sanctions and How You are Paying for It All
    • Gasoline prices going to climb higher?

      Meh.

      I like the upside: Gives the country and entrepreneurs extra incentive to finally figure out energy alternatives. It's exactly this absurd dependence on oil that has perverted our foreign policy.

  • Active Nuclear Arsenals and Iran's Absence
    • To John Burnham:

      Sorry, but no sale. It doesn't fit the category. You might very well disagree with their policies - I thought the butchery in Chechnya, for instance, was monstrous. But you know very well what I'm talking about. Something along the lines of the explosives planted at the Jewish community center in Argentina qualifies as state-sponsored terror. Drone deployment or such goes back to the state that deploys them.

    • Yes and yet none of the countries listed - with the exception of North Korea - has ever been a state sponsor of terrorism.

  • Indian Investigators do not Suspect Iran in Israel Embassy Blast
  • Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs
    • "Genocide" and Syria: Let's also recall Hama, 1982.

    • That's really not the point here, is it? I respectfully suggest you get over whatever problems you apparently have with a "middle age white Presbyterian woman" - who, IMHO, has been a good Sec. of State - and deal with the bloody reality on the ground. Unless you're suggesting we should leave it to Assad's regime to sort things out. Get a grip.

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • Or it could be a very sophisticated Israeli bluff to get everyone here and around the word in a tizzy over the potential for war in order to pressure the UN to toughen sanctions to force Iran to come clean on its nuclear ambitions. If, in the end, Iran opens up its facilities and clearly abandons any nuclear weapons ambitions - and relations with the UN/US/Europe calm down ...and there's no Israeli strike...well, then it would be to everyone's advantage.

  • Syria Veto and the Revenge of the BRICS
    • And that lightens the escalating danger to civilians in Syria how? You'll have to do a lot better to convince me other than to throw out a glib moral equivalency bumper sticker. Army troops have already killed over 7,000 civilians, according to NGO and reporter accounts. As Juan suggets, the reason the Russians & Chinese are backing the killers in Damascus has to do with the uncomfortable possibility that one day their own populace might decide and rise up. (One can only hope)

    • "alleged massacre" ?

      I think we can dispense with that modifier by now. Just go up on YouTube and anyone can find gazillions of amateur videos taken from the field documenting syrian armored units firing point blank at civilians. I don't propose the US go in - this is the Arab League's backyard so let them (for once) try and live up to their ideals. But this much is clear: the people running the Damascus regime are monsters. Full stop. Monsters.

  • Romney: "I'm not concerned about the very poor."
    • The poor? Let them eat cake! Oh, that quote's already taken.

      I'd like to believe Mitt just failed to edit himself properly and misspoke. Or maybe he failed to put this in context and it looks worse than it is.

      But it looks bad. Really bad. He keeps saying on the campaign trail that Obama's "out of touch," but the dude ought to look in the mirror.

  • Syria's Crisis Deepens: Does Internationalization Loom?
    • Here's a video uploaded by a former Syrian soldier who defected. That should put paid to the absurd notion this is part of a foreign conspiracy

      link to youtube.com

      And this NY Times writeup of the latest says it all - link to nytimes.com - with the money quote from the Syrian defector: "Hitler died in Germany, but awoke in Syria."

  • The Way Forward in the Middle East -- Peled & Peled
    • "As Israel continues it’s lurch to the right, with more and more Ultra Orthodoxy and a less educated populace, politics will more resemble what the US would face with a majority of Tea Party in Congress. While Israel may implode of it’s own volition, it’ll remain a Jewish State."

      With all due respect, your analysis is flawed. I don't know how often you travel to the area but it sounds as if you're relying too heavily on certain headlines and not others. Yes, Israeli public opinion is fragmented but there remains a strong plurality - sometimes bordering on a majority - in favor of a two-state solution. The conventional wisdom here seems to be that Israel remains doomed to be led by Bibi & the Likud crowd. I doubt that.

    • What's extraordinary is the favorite parlor game within certain circles to fantasize about how the world ought to "democratically" euthanize one particular nation state. All for the betterment of humanity, naturally.

      Beyond being unjust and unworkable, the Peleds' prescription is defeatist. Tired to fighting for two states living side by side? Too bad. The alternative is far worse. Anyone remember Bosnia or is that too long ago?

  • Good Nuclear Iran, Bad Nuclear Iran
  • Ahmadinejad in Latin America
    • Re: Brazil, where I have relatives & visit quite frequently. One reason Ahmadenijad is being kept at arm's length has to do with the nastier, anti-democratic aspects of the Iranian regime. After suffering through the repression of a military-led government until the mid-1980s, the Brazilian people - IMHO, among the nicest you'll find anywhere - have little sympathy for Ahmadenijand's antics, ranging from his infintile holocaust-denying statements to the violent crackdown on domestic dissent. Dilma knows from first-hand experience what it means to suffer inside of a jail for a political "crime."

  • Dear Republican Candidates, You Have us all Wrong
    • With the exception of Jon Huntsman, the numbing stupidity of the participants in last night's debate when it came to foreign policy left me shaking my head in wonder. Talking points over informed discussion, empty rhetoric, silly declarations and an altogether unfamiliarity with the details of the region. Dolts on parade

  • Turkey Warns against Sunni-Shiite Civil War in Mideast
    • Interesting piece but I wouldn't choose "brilliant" to describe Davutoglu's foreign policy.

      Turkey has regional aspirations and it's pursuing national self-interest, but the government's policy often takes cynical and calculating turns. We shouldn't be so soon to forget - or forgive - Ankara's despicable decision to cozy up to Assad and turn a blind eye to that regime's brutal nature. It's only now that Turkey realizes that the Syrian government is hellbent on murdering as many civilians as it can in order to crush domestic dissent. What's more, I don't see how Turkey's recent massacre against innocent civilians during its latest incursion into northern Iraq comports with Davutoglu's holier-than-thou declarations.

      It would be less hypocritical if Davutoglu & Erdogan actually practiced at home what they preach abroad. The latest is the ongoing clampdown against Turkish journalists who dare to question the regime or its allies within the religious establishment. So much for respect for democratic freedoms.

      link to nytimes.com

      Also, check out this telling piece in Hurriyet on the leadership's targeting of its favorite bete noire. Israel-bashing always makes for good politics in the region and unfortunately, Netanyahu's wrong-headed policies have made it all too easy for the Turkish leadership to play the Israel card for all it's worth. Unfortunate. These two countries have a long history of friendship and mutual interests.

      link to hurriyetdailynews.com

  • Three Republican Bears and none Just Right
    • I'm not planning to vote for Romney but let's give him credit for being able and smart. It's doubtful that he believes most of the staff-written talking points he delivers. He just wants sooo badly to win the nomination and take the White House that he'll just about say anything to prove that he's a red-blooded conservative and altogether American manly man. His record speaks for itself but he's decided its worthwhile going through with the charade just so he can get a turn to sit in the Oval Office.

      If he does get elected, I doubt it will be as disastrous a turn as some here suggest. He'll govern from the middle, slightly to the right. Not my cup of tea but decidedly preferable to any of the other clowns now competing for the GOP nod.

      My fear is that at some point, Republicans will become so disheartened with the current crop of candidates that they'll summon Palin & Christie, beseeching them "for the sake of the country" to toss their hats into the ring. That ticket has a chance to stir things up.

      For the sake of entertainment, I think it would be great fun. For the sake of the country - and the world - I dread what might happen if they actually win.

  • Egyptian Court orders Military to Cease Virginity Tests
    • The ruling is welcome, though it's unclear whether any single court ruling can make significant headway against a centuries-old cultural prejudice. This is a much bigger issue. In the event that the Ikhwan/Salafis do go on to control the new government, I'd be very surprised if they tackled this question head-on.

  • Bombings Roil Iraq as Sunni Arabs Re-arm
    • Wanted to pose a question: Might al-Hashimi's decision to seek refuge in Kurdistan be a harbinger of a budding Kurdish-Sunni alliance to counter-balance the al-Maliki gov't - with Iran behind it? Of is there too much lingering bad blood between Kurds & Sunnis dating back to the repression under Saddam?

  • Egyptian Women Rally against Police Brutality
    • C'mon Smitty, that's awfully harsh & unfair. I'd be quite more generous - or at least far less scabrous - in assessing Hillary's stewardship of foreign policy at the State Dept. to date. BTW, now is not the time to argue with your assumption that the mullahs and Ahmadenijad are trying simply to develop "capabilities to build nuclear power plants" but my response is yeah, sure.

      Back to Juan's post on the Egyptian women, my response (in plural) is "You go, girl!) Maybe they can shame the cowards with batons. Probably not but one can hope. At least Egypt hasn't reached the same stage as Syria. FYI, that butcher in Damascus just wiped out a village, according to new reports on the ground link to nytimes.com

  • Egypt Scientific Institute up in Flames
    • Very sad news, indeed. I sure hope that the respective authorities in Egypt & Israel are talking. The Israelis have done quite a lot in this area and could bring their expertise to bear. It also would help start rebuilding bridges between the peoples.

  • Egyptian Protesters Demand Military Step Down in Wake of Blue Bra Beating
    • Finally had an opportunity to watch that sickening video of police beating the demonstrators. If the elites running the military wonder why there's so much hatred in the streets for them, I suggest they play this video a few times and "enjoy" the highlights. The cowards with the batons represent the worst of humanity. Seriously, did their parents or teachers ever instruct them about right and wrong?

      We saw something similar in Iran in the 70s, when the orchestrated fury against the demonstrations fed the same wellsprings of fury and fanaticism on the other side (that we see manifested nowadays in the brutal no-nothing ways of the Basijis.) Chickens coming home to roost and all that.

      I'm afraid none of this bodes well for Egypt.

    • Re Arnold's claims that the U.S. is behind the scenes orchestrating the crackdown. I've never subscribed to the devil theory of history. Most of the time, reality is just too damned complicated & messy. The mess that is Egypt reflects the mess that is Egyptian society with a deeply fragmented civil society and an immature political tradition. If you have evidence to back up your charges that the U.S. is pulling strings behind the scene, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, it's mere speculation.

  • No War Crimes Trial for Bush/Cheney, While Chirac Convicted on minor Fraud
    • Agree 1000% that Bush & Cheney ought to be held accountable. But, frankly, Juan, I hold a less charitable view of Chirac. French justice convicted him of a serious abuse of power. Perhaps Chirac is no more at fault than fellow members of a French political-economic elite that has abused its insider connections to rig the system for decades. But he was corrupt. His opposition to the Iraq war doesn't excuse his inexcusable behavior while mayor of Paris. And for this, his legacy remains marred by a big mark of shame.

  • Israel to defend its Military from Israelis
    • Wow, that's a super-exaggeration on your part. There's far more nuance within Israel than you allow for with that broad brush. Sure would be great if foreign policy were as simple as you seem to believe. But it's not. That's the problem whenever this debate gets going and self-righteous declarations clear out sober examination.

    • The feisty reporting & commentary of the Israeli press stands in marked contrast to the pabulum spouted by no-nothing politicians in Washington expounding upon foreign policy. Bravo for Israel. Shame on us, the U.S.

  • Hizbullah Leader Condemns Syrian Opposition
    • Judge countries & political leaders by the company they keep. Assad-Ahmadenijad-Nasrallah - are we really surprised? More interesting is whether this will build domestic support for the March 14 coalition. In the meantime, my fear is that as Nasrallah watches his patron in Damascus lose control, he may seek out mischief elsewhere to divert attention, as when he ordered the 2006 cross-border raid that killed the Israeli soldiers.

  • Senate Bill Allows Arrest of Americans by Military Anywhere
    • Reading them their "rights?" Oh Juan, you're sooo yesterday. That constitutional `thang' about due process - how quaint. Get with the program, prof: Torture is oh, so much more macho.

      More seriously, I would not have batted an eyelash had this cockamamie idea been proposed during Dubya's time. Maybe he's saving his bullets for a bigger political battle down the road but frankly, I'm disappointed in Obama's apparent acquiescence. We know damned well that this sort of approach will be heartily endorsed by the folks competing for the GOP presidential nomination.

      Sigh.

  • Britain Closes Tehran Embassy
    • The "students" obviously won't understand this but self-defeating fanaticism only makes matters worse. It's still unclear who was behind the embassy invasion but if it's the by-product of internal factional skirmishing, that doesn't fill me with much confidence in the stability of what passes for Iran's higher echelons of government.

      Let's take a deep breath and hope that Ahmadenijad & Khameni aren't planning to try and "out-extreme" each other. If they do, then say an extra prayer for the rest of us.

  • Anti-Liberal Netanyahu Slams Arab Spring as Anti-Liberal
    • "He was elected to form a Likud coalition by democratic election..."

      One point to note: Likud didn't finish atop the heap in the last Israeli election. Kadima finished first but couldn't form a coalition.

  • Arab League Suspends Syria as Israeli Warns of "Islamic Empire"
    • An update: Sadly, they League's now backing off. According to the NYTimes ( link to nytimes.com ), they're now offering to send monitors in what's being billed as a "reprieve."

      The ineffectiveness - and, sadly, the hypocrisy - of the Arab League is simply astounding. How much more evidence do they need before they can agree on the appropriate sanctions? Maybe they need to see another 5,000 dead in the streets before they'll take action.

  • Herman Cain Painfully Clueless on Libya
    • Watching the video of Cain's interview is painful. Simply painful.

      With all due respect to Cain, he is a dolt, proud of his ignorance and sadly lacking the requisite intelligence to compete for the presidency. What's amazing is that he's still in this race and that there remains a fairly large chunk of the conservative base which thinks he'd make a good president. Maybe I'm missing something but when did we elevate stupidity - as in "uz bek-a-bek-abecky-becky-stan" - to a qualification for higher office? I guess he'll be with us as long as he keeps maintaining the same (wrong) mantras that appeal to the red meat core of the party's conservative wing. By comparison, even Rick Perry would be an improvement (OMG, did I just write that?)

  • Arab League Sets Syria for Suspension
  • Iran Looks to China, Russia to Break out of US Sanctions
    • Again, I'm being cautious here. Let's not jump to conclusions. But the situation bears watching. Iran may not "go nuclear" on an opponent in a future conflict. Then again, it's hard to predict who would be running the show - is it Ahmadenijad? Is it Khamenei? Is it the military? And what would their calculations include if the target were Israel? Would they be tempted? Would they be swept up in the moment? Or would cooler heads prevail and would they understand the implicit threat of American retaliation? Given their history, Iran probably would not use WMD in a conflict. But "probably" is an awfully thin reed to lean on. I would prefer that Iran abandon its nuclear ambitions - along with every other state in the region. Just because the US and USSR managed to last decades w/o blowing each other off the face of the Earth doesn't mean others will be so lucky.

    • Given the hyper-cynical foreign policies followed by China and Russia - support of Gadaffi in Libya and Assad in Syria - this is hardly a surprise. In any event, this issue shouldn't get dismissed as mere sabre-rattling. Reuters' sources understated the extent of the report (Make up your own minds here: link to graphics8.nytimes.com )

      The report raises many suspicions about the repeated protestations by Iran's regime about its supposedly limited ambitions for tap nuclear technology for the nation's energy needs. In 2003, Bush opponents correctly seized upon the IAEA warnings to point out the weaknesses in the White House's arguments. Let's be consistent here and apply the same standard. The IAEA is raising a serious warning here. To dismiss it out of hand would be wrong-headed.

  • Why a No-Fly Zone won't Work in Syria
    • This mess gets worse by the day. Doubtful that we'll get actively involved. The U.S. simply lost too much regional goodwill, thanks to Dubya's brilliant invasion of Iraq. Contrary to Juan, I don't think Israel has any real interest in getting involved. Bibi views Assad continuing in office as the devil you know being better than the one you don't.

      Turkey's going to be more key than either NATO, the U.S. or any other outside actor. Erdogan was deeply embarrassed by Assad whose bloody crackdown made a mockery of Turkey's "no problem" foreign policy toward the region. The Turkish press has since noted that yes, there is a big problem on the nation's southern border. And that has convinced the Turks to funnel assistance to the Syrian resistance, which now has a guaranteed lifeline.

      But look to Syrians to be the ones ultimately driving this drama to a conclusion. Assad and his cohorts make it more clear each day that they don't intend to create a just pluralist society. It's a family business where the goodies are reserved for one particular sect and the status quo is enforced with a cruel sword. How long can that model survive? Just ask Qaddafi. Oh, forgot. He's not around any longer. Exactly.

  • Is Syria in Civil War?
    • Given the ongoing massacre, the Arab League's call for "dialogue" is as late as it is disappointing. The suggestion that the regime would be willing to conduct meaningful dialogue with the opposition is just more bloviation. This is a family-run business and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (Shades of Hama, 1982, though Assad fils has a bit more butchery to go before he approaches the killing carried out by Assad pere.) The Arab League's rank hypocrisy is again on display. More interesting to watch is what Turkey is doing in the north. In the end, Erdogan is going to have more impact than the League on what happens in Syria - assuming Turkey continues to ratchet up the pressure

  • Karzai: Afghanistan would Side With Pakistan in War with US
    • I don't want to sound like Crazed with Anger American Guy but listening to that buffoon pop off makes me sound like Crazed with Anger American Guy.

      One would hope that the 2012 debate would focus on when we can finally wind down our presence over there. We got Bin Laden and we've decimated his band of bastards. It's time to say adios Afghanistan. Karzai and his corrupt crew of Diem-like incompetents are just sucking us dry while valuable young American lives are lost each week.

      We're getting out of Iraq. Make room on the transports to pick up the rest of our troops in Afghanistan. And if Karzai, left to the tender mercies of the Taliban, winds up like Najibullah, swinging from a tree, well, that's his problem.

  • Turkey Goes into Iraq after Kurdish Attack
    • This isn't the way to deal with the problem. Erdogan's bloody attack against the Kurds is reprehensible. Turkey again is overreacting and using disproportionate violence to attempt to settle - on Turkish terms - what remains at its heart, a political issue. Then again, can one really be surprised by Erdogan's hypocrisy?

  • Iran Alleges Saudi Plot Story is MEK Sting
    • Meh. Not to put too fine a point on it but the Iran Times is an out-and-out bootlicking rag. This conspiracy charge may yet unravel but these clowns would be the last source I'd use. They have little credibility other than to propagandize on behalf of Ahmadenijad and the regime

  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • re: larry piltz: "The pretext may simply be to help continue the 50-year imperial fantasist western oil jihad against that part of the world’s remaining ‘poor sport’ who goes against Roman will (did I say Roman, oops?)."

      given u.s. history, your cynicism is understandable. clearly, this is out of step with iran's M.O. not that they wouldn't try their hand at assassination - they've taken out hits on targets but used 3rd parties. the alleged link-up with the mexican cartel is bizarre. and the supposed choice of a middleman with a laundry list of question marks is even more bizarre. but since all of the evidence has yet to be made available in the public domain, i'm reserving judgment. iran is run by a nasty regime and it's unclear whether this was a renegade group or part of the command structure. let's see how this plays out before jumping to conclusions

  • Palestinians seek UN Moxie
    • Bad idea based upon faulty premises. Jews and Arabs do NOT want to live together or under the other's domination. If you think this a one-state solution is a recipe for peace & love, I would point you to the example of Bosnia. That worked out great, didn't it? And what with the violent extremism that is the normal in so much of the Middle East, the situation in the former British mandate of Palestine is that much worse. Massad and the others have another agenda that they're pushing. It won't work and would only lead to mass bloodshed.

      The solution? Two states.

      Also, I disagree with those who see the Palestinian push as the UN as key. They're bit players here. I think a concerted effort to do whatever is necessary to build a majority that pushes Likud & Netanayhu out of power. Israel is the one holding the cards. If you get a government in power that wants to set up two states, we'll get a final resolution.

  • Turkey, Egypt and Israel
    • Meh. I'm less convinced Turkey under Erdogan is so much more moderate, moderate or committed to multi-culturism, let alone aspiring to be "European." He didn't have many scruples about just bombing northern Iraq, slaughtering more than 100 Kurds in the process. Oh right, they were PKK. Thus they found a convenient justification to carry out a massacre. In that sense, I suppose they can aspire to be European, living up to the best Western notions of might makes right. Meanwhile, Turks just today made more threatening noises about Cypriot development of energy reserves, hardly the stuff of normal diplomatic discourse. And then there's the most damning document in the docket: Erdogan's callous and amoral support for Assad's butchers over weeks and months - this despite repeated massacres carried out by Syrian security forces against civilians.

      Yes, Israel's policy only works against its own interests. But I see little reason to celebrate the spectacle of a strident Turkish nationalist throwing his weight around in a tinderbox region. Nothing good will come from any of this.

  • State of Alert in Egypt after Breach at Israeli Embassy
    • "In either case, the story is not the Israeli embassy, which is just the football. The story is who won a goal on Friday."

      I'm in general agreement. As is often the case, Israel is getting used as the proverbial political football to resolve an intra-Arab dispute. But the new left's behavior is turning increasingly irresponsible. I suppose that most are too young to have fought in the battles of the 60s and 70s against Israel and thus have no first-hand experience of the pain of war. At this point, their demands center around cutting off diplomatic relations. But tomorrow? As we've seen throughout the decades, regional stability is fragile and events often take on a momentum of their own.

      Let's hope the spirit of Tahrir returns and that the haters and manipulators get shunted aside quickly. If they get to control the narrative, it will lead to more suffering on both sides.

  • NATO Refuses Ground Troops for Libya as "Friends" Conference Opens
    • "Gee, it doesn’t sound to me as though NATO is the kind of grasping, occupying imperialist power it has been painted by opponents of the UN intervention."

      :)

      Right you are - as you have been from the start of the debate over NATO's decision to support the rebels. I'm not in blanket favor of military interventions, but this one was appropriate and the chosen tactics were reasonable, given the circumstances. Qadaffi's departure will be a plus for the people of Libya - and the world. (Glen Greenwald and his amen chorus of naysayers, nothwitstanding.)

  • Historical Question for Governor Perry
    • Forget it, Juan. You know he would have flubbed the answer.

      BTW, the latest spin from his amen corner is that he was, well, just joking and we shouldn't be such literal fuss-budgets. Sure, and if Obama had done something similar on the campaign trail in `08, I'm sure the wingnuts would be just as understanding.

      Right.

  • Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters
    • Bravo - and bravo to Juan for coming out early in defending NATO assistance to the rebels. With all due respect to G. Greenwald, but people of that ilk were simply wrong about intervention in this case, conflating Libya with Iraq. But not to re-litigate that question. Now, one hopes the rebels can continue their push to the point where Qadaffi's remaining support cracks and he's pushed out. The unanswered question remains what sort of regime will take its place. One hopes that the US and NATO, which have maintained a light footprint, can help with the messy process of post-war construction. The bad financial news might constrain their ability to offer aid.

      Meanwhile, am waiting to see a leader emerge. Keeping my fingers crossed...

  • Obama may Call for al-Asad to step down
    • Again, too little, too late.

      It's been disheartening to watch Davutoglu and Erdogan coddle what is beyond any disputation a murderous and morally bankrupt regime. The Turks have been quite preachy the last few years, but when it comes to dealing with the malevolent regime in Damascus, a cohort of thugs that's mowing down its own people, Ankara has remained oddly silent. Even now, Davutoglu still seems to be playing for time, hoping that Assad will have a change of heart.

      Sure.

  • Syrian Massacre in Hama Sparks More EU Sanctions
    • On this one issue, I give US foreign policy - and Hillary Clinton kudos - for coming out strongly against the atrocities. By comparison, Erdogan's relatively muted - and very late - "condemnation" of the murders going on under Assad are disappointing. Russia & China are MIA, though that's to be expected. The bigger scandal is the silence over much of the Arab world about what's taking place in Syria. (Hezbollah's hypocritical statements take the cake.)

  • Boycott Beck! Brands Child Victims Hitler Youth
    • He's not "unstable." That's the problem, Juan. If he were unhinged, it would be a simple matter of debunking his claims as nonsensical and we'd be done with it. But he's quite smart about the use - and abuse - of poisonous polemics, riding it to well-paying gigs at CNN and Fox. The bigger question is why the corporate managements at his former employers - who, presumably, were rational men & women - decided to let this loose cannon blast away, night after night?

  • On Panetta and Defeating al-Qaeda
    • that's altogether true. recognizing a state of palestine while maintaining good relations with israel are not incompatible. but nothing good's coming out of the region right now - and likely won't improve anytime soon. so how about this as a kickstart?

      1) obama fly to israel and deliver in the knesset a strong case why a state of palestine is in israel's best interests while reaffirming america's determination to defend israel's survival against the nutjobs. secondarily, obama lays it on the line with the israeli public, making clear that this is a prime U.S. interest. they can either keep the status quo or good relations with the U.S. choose.

      2)get the quartet )and the saudis) to open a channel to hamas spelling out their future support for the state of palestine - even one where hamas wins political power. but in return, hamas stops smoking its own weed. it agrees w/o word games to co-existence with israel and disavows the abhorrent, jew-hating diatribes in its founding charter

  • US Reaching out to Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
    • (weird thread. guys, let's stick to the post.) and juan offers what, imho, is a very sensible idea for the state dept. i, too, hold no brief for their ideology, which i find reactionary and altogether unattractive for life in a modern, multi-ethnic society such as ours. but if a substantial percentage of Egyptian voters want to support the ikwahn, then why shouldn't we recognize that fact? makes little sense to hide our heads in the sand, hold our breath until we turn blue and pretend that the muslim brotherhood doesn't exist. better that they participate in the political system than driving them underground.

  • The Audacity of the Gaza Flotilla
    • I've read the comments reacting to Juan's post and understand the passion - although the commenter who made the Stern Gang reference took a cheap shot that was wildly off base, IMHO (though we can disagree respectfully about that.) My problem with the flotilla is that it's a publicity stunt, pure and simple. People are likely to get hurt unnecessarily. As the NYTimes noted in its piece earlier today, the end of the Egyptian blockade - as well as a loosening of Israeli restrictions on materials making their way to Gaza - have changed the situation and the flotilla protesters are playing off an outdated music sheet.

      Effect change politically. These types of purposely provocative actions accomplish little other than bloodshed - though perhaps that's what its sponsors want?

  • Ret'd. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to "Get" Cole
    • Holy shi!!!

      Well, all I can say is "job well done."

      Like Daniel Schorr getting put on Nixon's "enemies list," the fact that the Bushies were so paranoid and put off by your writings underscores that you nailed the truth. Wear it like a badge of honor for speaking truth to power.

      Let's hope there's a congressional investigation to lay bare the facts - which I do hope your lawyers can put to good use in a civil lawsuit on your behalf.

  • Ridge Alleges Bush Political Pressure for Terrorism Alert
    • took long enough but the truth's finally coming out. the wingnuts will doubtless scream with fake indignation about a politically motivated witch hunt, etc. but this is clear grounds for a congressional investigation. if ridge's assertions prove true....wow

  • Arab Spring Turns Deadly Again
    • And as the Syrians continue to commit more human rights outragess, where is the Arab League? One would have assumed that Amr Moussa would be in front of this crisis, calling far more strongly for Assad's regime to cease firing on its own people.

      But Moussa's relative silence marks him as yet another "retro" political hack. We shouldn't be surprised. He continues to cling to a stale playbook that failed for regional strongmen in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s - and won't work very well now.

      'm not at all sanguine about what Egypt might look like if he succeeds in the coming elections. At 74, his time has passed. There's little that Moussa would bring to the job with his back-to-the-future approach, both to domestic and foreign relations.

  • Dagan, Ofer and Israel's Growing Iran Credibility Gap
    • Dagan has been a fount of sensible insight. Unfortunately, Bibi and his minions are now trying to tar his reputation with leaks portraying Dagan as somehow less-than-patriotic.

      Too bad Dagan can't run for PM, but unless I'm mistaken, the law prevents someone who has held down a high military/intelligence post from immediately entering politics. I "think" the cool-down period is 2 to 3 years. Probably something one can find online but no time to check right now.

  • Our News and their News
    • Pathetic, isn't it. But unfortunately, Juan is spot on. It's a depressing media landscape.

  • Israeli Troops kill 20, wound Hundreds at Golan
    • Sorry Juan, but I have to disagree with your assumption as well as your conclusion that today's shooting constitutes "a crime against humanity."

      I happen to be quite familiar with IDF rules of engagement. If you have evidence that commanders (or politicians) ordered soldiers to kill protesters in order to send a message, I'd like to see it. In briefings, IDF protocol features a well-documented series of orders where the first resort is to shoot into the air along to disperse the crowd. If that fails, soliders are told to shoot for the legs. The last resort is to aim to kill. A blatently illegal order, such as the one you suggest, would inevitably get leaked to the press. That's why I doubt it's true.

      But you know why today's confrontation took place. The Assad regime orchestrated a PR stunt - and yes, that is what this was - to divert attention to what's going on in Syria. Sadly, they apparently succeeded.

      Until Israel and Syria work out a formal peace treaty - and I do hope that happens soon - the Israelis are well within their rights to prevent infiltrations of their territory from the Golan or anywhere else.

  • Syrian Security fires on Protesters, Kills 90
    • hi juan..i think you're being too hard on kaplan, whose piece rightly raises the obvious questions of ethnicity and political fragmentation. to be sure, there's no inevitability that centrifugal forces will pull the country apart. but we've just witnessed several years of bloody conflict between ethnic sects in neighboring iraq, where, similarly, one minority group was favored over another.

      however the end game plays out, there's bound to be lots more bloodshed.

      frankly, the viciousness displayed by the regime and its lackeys - willing to murder civilians - unveils how rancid this regime is. i wish it the worst; they do deserve a future.

  • Thomas Jefferson in Arabic
    • Congratulations, Juan. That's a fine idea. After the damage done by Bush and his cohort to our regional reputation, anything that can help disseminate the core tenets of the American political tradition to the peoples of the Middle East is to be applauded.

  • Answer to Glenn Greenwald
    • You're 100% right on this one, Juan. Greenwald and his amen corner don't make a convincing case when it comes to this topic. There has been such an extraordinary rush to judgment by some on the left to dismiss this as yet another Bush-like caper (but in Democratic garb.) Sigh. I get tired having to point out the myriad distinctions between Iraq and Libya to my far-left friends. For whatever reason, they refuse to accept the concept of gradation. Instead, they're content living in a black & white world where - naturally - their dainty hands remain clean and they can afford to pontificate from the safety of the Upper West Side or Berkeley or some other comfortable spot. I thought that your open letter a few days ago pretty much summed up the reasons why - ever so tentatively - we were right to aid the rebels. No, I hate the idea of war and don't want to wind up as one of those libs that Randolph Bourne lacerated in his writings during WW1. But there are times and places of our choosing where force is the least worst of the options on the table.

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • you're so right about this juan. wish you had been invited as a guest on bill maher's hbo show on friday to make that exact case. he had jeremy scahill on - someone whose work i've admired and usually agreed with. but scahill's easy - and breezily snarky - putdown of "liberal interventionists" made my blood boil. this is nothing of the sort. it's a limited military action backed by the un security council. i'm so sick of the naive left argument that goes "well, you're hypocrites. why intervene in libya and not yemen? is it because they are strategic allies and libya is not?" blah, blah. blah. in yemen's case, what they ignore is that it's a snake pit that we wouldn't have a snowball's chance of "fixing." and the bigger point is that intervention is always going to be selective. the us would be foolish to invest its efforts in more iraqs. by contrast, stopping qadaffi's forces from carrying out their attacks against civilians is relatively straightforward.

      i suppose part of the problem here is that we're still tagged by the legacy of the iraq intervention, when many liberals cheered on the idea of replacing saddam before he could deploy nukes and his other non-conventional armaments. when we later discovered that he didn't have any ABC stockpiles, it was too late. the damage had been done.

      well, time for the left to move on. the liberals were wrong on iraq. it doesn't mean they're wrong on libya.

      my 2 cents, fwiw

  • What would Martin Luther King Say? Mosques and the New Jim Crow in America
    • yes, yes and yes. the scapegoating & fear-mongering is absurd. i can almost understand the common folks and their fears -most people are simply ignorant of anyone outside their small circle. so when the manipulators enter the fray, they find it all to easy to push certain buttons.

      what's truly revolting is the cynicism of the politicians who are playing this filthy game. they should be ashamed of themselves. but they aren't. there's an election this fall.

  • Mosque Building and Gay Marriage vs. Mob Rule by the Right
    • shameful. at least bloomberg is carrying the torch for what this country really represents. of course, he's getting shouted down by right-wing no-nothings. but that's to be expected.

  • Israeli and Lebanese Armies Trade Fire; at least 4 Dead
    • And your point? Simulations are run by every army in the world. See my below comment regarding this morning's reporting by A-Nahar. You can weave all the conspiracies you wish, but two things seem clear: This is less a case of Israel attempting to trigger an incident/fake casus beli, as it is a case of a lone Lebanese gunman (or two) losing their cool and exceeding their orders.

    • Lebanese sources are now telling A-Nahar that they opened fire first (link to haaretz.com) i don't find any "surprise" in their "spunk," as Juan termed it. We need to wait for a fuller investigation but this may point to the "Hezbolla-ization" of the army. Very doubtful this was ordered by a senior commander as an unprovoked violation of border security by Lebanon would not serve Beirut's interests. Or...it could be a lone nut job who decided to go on a rampage because of religious insanity.

      Either way, what impressed me is that neither Beirut nor Jerusalem want this thing to spiral out of control. Even Hezbollah, at this junction, seems interesting in keeping things cool.

  • The Closing of the Zionist Mind
    • Glick is an airhead, an idiot, a nitwit. Sorry for boiling over but I've been reading her stuff for years and found her to be predictably wrong and predictably over the top. Don't read too much into her, Juan. She represents a ridiculous minority view

  • The Orientalism of Israeli Troops Dancing
    • oh, come on juan. the critics who have grumbled about the video look silly. the edward said shtick does not apply here. it was a harmless bit of fun by some young soldiers who likely would prefer to be anywhere but hebron. enjoy the moment.

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