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Total number of comments: 12 (since 2013-11-28 16:33:15)

Jonathan House

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  • Syrian Ceasefire in Tatters as al-Qaeda & allies attack in South Aleppo
    • Jonathan House 04/04/2016 at 3:29 pm

      You write:
      "Al-Qaeda has therefore been angling for an end to the ceasefire, and may have gotten its wish this weekend."
      Wishing has nothing to do with it, they simply continued fighting - i.e. Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra sometimes called al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant)

      From the first day of Russian involvement, at the UN Lavrov said that Russia would fight not only ISIS but also other groups including al-Qaida and the groups allied with it
      And, from the article you quote:
      The Al-Nusra Front has established control over groups that regard themselves as the opposition in areas south and west of Aleppo, Kuralenko told journalists, according to an earlier RIA Novosti report (1603 gmt).’

    • These groups never signed onto the cease fire so in what sense does their on-going, never-ceased fighting "shatter" it? Similarly, those who did sign on to the cease fire did not agree to stop fighting those who did not - and fight includes both attacking and defending. Is this not correct?

  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • Jonathan House 08/23/2014 at 6:17 pm

      I am of the same generation - the one that was around for the "secret" bombing of Cambodia - but I think there is an analogy nearer in time. Iraq and Saddam Hussein. One could argue, I suppose, about who is/was worse Saddam or Bashar, but they played in the same league.
      Was it a good thing to spend a long time seeking regime change through sanctions and then through invasion? Good for those who lived in Iraq? Good for US interests? One need not think kindly of Saddam Hussein to believe that bringing him down did more harm than good. That leaving him in power and dealing with him as we deal with so many brutal dictators - leaving bad enough alone and cooperating when it serves our interests - would not have been political illiteracy.
      Or, as appeals to authority:
      1. as cledwards just pointed out in a comment at 4pm "Patrick Cockburn has just posted a piece saying the same thing-that we should support Assad, because ISIS is a much worse enemy."
      2. Pat Lang has been saying the same thing for some time now.

  • Top 5 Reasons US Aid to "Moderate" Syrian Fighters is Quixotic
    • link to
      WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After announcing, on Thursday, that it would seek $500 million to help “train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition,” the White House today posted the following Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form:

      Welcome to the United States’ Moderate Syrian Rebel Vetting Process. To see if you qualify for $500 million in American weapons, please choose an answer to the following questions:

      As a Syrian rebel, I think the word or phrase that best describes me is:
      A) Moderate
      B) Very moderate
      C) Crazy moderate
      D) Other

      I became a Syrian rebel because I believe in:
      A) Truth
      B) Justice
      C) The American Way
      D) Creating an Islamic caliphate

      If I were given a highly lethal automatic weapon by the United States, I would:
      A) Only kill exactly the people that the United States wanted me to kill
      B) Try to kill the right people, with the caveat that I have never used an automatic weapon before
      C) Kill people only after submitting them to a rigorous vetting process
      D) Immediately let the weapon fall into the wrong hands

      I have previously received weapons from:
      A) Al Qaeda
      B) The Taliban
      C) North Korea
      D) I did not receive weapons from any of them because after they vetted me I was deemed way too moderate

      I consider ISIS:
      A) An existential threat to Iraq
      B) An existential threat to Syria
      C) An existential threat to Iraq and Syria
      D) The people who will pick up my American weapon after I drop it and run away

      Complete the following sentence. “American weapons are…”
      A) Always a good thing to randomly add to any international hot spot
      B) Exactly what this raging civil war has been missing for the past three years
      C) Best when used moderately
      D) Super easy to resell online

      Thank you for completing the Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form. We will process your application in the next one to two business days. Please indicate a current mailing address where you would like your weapons to be sent. If there is no one to sign for them we will leave them outside the front door.

  • Top Ten Surprises of the Obama-Karzai Meet on Afghanistan's Future
    • Jonathan House MD 01/12/2013 at 6:15 pm

      Col Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis has a somewhat different take. link to

      A small excerpt will give the flavor. The whole thing (not long at all) is worth reading:

      "...What happened in this meeting in Washington was that Karzai and the Afghans got everything they wanted and promised nothing that they cannot walk away from once they get through "picking our pocket" in slow motion between now and the end of 2014.

      Karzai got any number of substantial concessions towards the notion of Afghan "sovereignty."

      The most important of these was the assumption of control and security responsibility for the whole country's territory by the Afghan forces. Are these forces ready and capable to do that? They probably are not is the correct answer. Will they ever be ready? Maybe not. 1 - Afghanistan is unlikely to ever have enough income to pay for the forces we have created for them. Where will they get their money if not from us, rare earths and oriental carpets? 2 - The apparent disparity between ethnic "nations" in Afghanistan and the composition of the "Afghan" Army is unpromising as a basis for the integrity of the state. ..."

  • South Africa: Label West Bank Squatter Products; Israel: You Apartheid State!
  • Israeli Spy Chief Condemns Netanyahu for Iran Hype, Messianism
    • Jonathan House 04/28/2012 at 9:48 am

      Today in Haaretz

      Former Shin Bet chief: Netanyahu not interested in peace talks

      link to

      First paragraphs:

      The harsh criticism sounded by former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of Iran on Friday were only the tip of the iceberg.

      During the same speech in the “Majdi Forum” in Kfar Saba, Diskin blamed Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the freeze in the peace process.

      “Forget the stories they tell you about how Abbas is not interested in negotiation,” said Diskin, adding: “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations."

  • Israeli Peace Marchers Protest Iran War Talk in Tel Aviv
    • Jonathan House 03/25/2012 at 6:20 pm

      I am afraid that Ahad Haadam is right. Take a look at this reported in Haaretz and the Independent.

      Hundreds of soccer fans crowd Jerusalem mall: ‘Death to Arabs

      Video of event links to articles available on Mondoweiss at this link:

      link to

      first part of article in the Independent

      link to

      Buoyed by a home win, Jewish fans of football club Beitar Jerusalem this week rampaged through a nearby shopping centre following an evening match, attacking Arab workers and shoppers in one of the worst racial brawls seen in the city in recent years.

      The entire episode, which occurred at Jerusalem's Malha Mall on Monday night, was captured on closed-circuit television, but Israeli police made no arrests, and the incident received no media attention until yesterday, prompting fury in Israel's blogosphere.

      The attacks are the culmination of a long record of violent and anti-Arab behaviour by ultranationalist fans at Beitar, a club identified with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. The Israeli Football Association's efforts to rein in the club's unruly fans have so far met with limited success.

      The incident started after a game at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, where Beitar beat Tel Aviv's Bnei Yehuda, saving the once successful team from imminent relegation. Hundreds of fans, mostly teenagers, descended on busy Malha Mall, jumping on tables, waving scarves, and chanting "Death to Arabs".

      When a group of fans started to heckle and spit on Palestinian women dining with their children in the food hall, the centre's Arab cleaning staff rushed to their defence and chased the fans off. But moments later, the fans returned, and started to attack the Arab staff.

      "They [the fans] caught some of them and beat the hell out of them," Yair, the Jewish owner of a bakery in the shopping centre, told Israel's Haaretz newspaper. "They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. ... One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy." The brawl might have turned deadly, but food hall staff refused to respond to fans' demands for knives and sticks. It was only when police arrived 40 minutes later the situation was brought under control.

      "I've been here many years and I've never seen such a thing," Haaretz quoted Gideon Avrahami, Malha's director, as saying. "It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible."

      The police defended its failure to make any arrests, saying it had received no complaints from any of the public, a response that drew immediate derision. "No complaints and no arrests. Does this mean riots against Arabs in malls is acceptable behaviour in Israel?" tweeted Joseph Dana, an Israeli blogger.

      Shmulik Ben Rubi, a Jerusalem police spokesman, later told The Independent the police would investigate the incident, which might lead to arrests

  • Helman: The Palestinians Seek UN Recognition
    • Jonathan House 09/14/2011 at 9:06 pm

      Virtual statehood or the Right of Return
      Many Palestinians feel the newest version of the bid for statehood no longer represents them and their interests.

      link to

      The above is a link to an article by Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian leader who, as a student a Columbia, was active in the boycott movement against South African apartheid and is now a major leader of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

  • Cole/Goodman Interview on the Obama Drawdown and the Afghanistan War
    • An excellent article (as usual) by F.B. Ali on Col. Lang's blog (Sic Semper Tyrannis) entitled:

      Afghan Endgame : Current state of play - FB Ali

      can be found at:

      link to

      Not too long and well worth reading.


  • Anzalone: Hezbollah’s Double Standards: Tunisia and Iran
    • In addition to the comments of others about the differences between Iran and Tunesia which are not meaningless distinctions, I would add that, given the support Hezb gets and needs from Iran, it is striking that Nasrallah did not condemn the Iranian protests but remained silent avoided comment. After all, I'm sure there are many who would read a good deal into that 'silence'.

      Also, Anzalone writes:

      Hezbollah has clearly shown that for all its claims to represent the “downtrodden and oppressed of the world,” its concern for political and social freedoms, like those of the nation-states it criticizes, is selective and determined by self-interest rather than a belief in universal justice.

      This is to put Hezb stance in simplistic, all or nothing terms. Hezb is without question a political formation with interests like all political formations and like all nation states (not just those Hezb criticizes). The issue of "hypocrisy" and consistency should probably be considered in terms of degree rather than in absolute terms.

  • Cutting off Aid to the Lebanese Army Hurts US Interests
    • Details concerning the border incident
      From Uri Avneri August 7th piece: The Elders of Anti-Zion
      link to has to remember that only four years ago, Israel practically issued an ultimatum demanding that the Lebanese army be deployed on the border with Israel. It was one of Israel’s conditions for ending Lebanon War II. Only the Lebanese army, the master strategists in Jerusalem decreed, could ensure quiet on the border. They treated the UN force, UNIFIL, with thinly veiled contempt.

      This week, the Lebanese army opened fire on Israeli troops, killing a battalion commander. How could this happen? In several places there are tiny enclaves between the Israeli border fence and the recognized international border. As far as sovereignty is concerned, these enclaves belong to Israel. The land itself, however, is worked by Lebanese villagers. The Israeli army decided to “trim” the trees in these areas in order to facilitate observation.

      The Lebanese announced in advance that they were opposed. UNIFIL asked Israel to wait for the return of its commander from abroad, so as to enable him to mediate. The Israeli army refused to wait and sent a bulldozer. When the arm of the monster reached over the fence, and after warning shouts, the Lebanese soldiers opened fire.

      Would a normal person have endangered his relations with the Lebanese army for some branches of a tree? Certainly not. ...

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