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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2013-11-28 16:51:23)


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  • Five truths about the Hijab (Muslim Veil) that need to be told
    • "No girl or woman is forced to wear it"

      Not true. In some countries (examples: Iran, and also non-foreigner women in Saudi Arabia), wearing a hijab is required of all women, even non-Muslims in Iran. So of course, some women (millions in fact) are required to wear it. Many would wear it voluntarily of course, but some would not.

  • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?
    • The Algiers Accord was established under duress, while US diplomats were held hostage by the Iranian government in contravention of international law. This is similar to the "apology" issued by the US government to secure the release of the crew of the USS Pueblo by the North Korean government, which was quickly disavowed afterward. Personally, I have no issue with any government, anywhere, ignoring, disavowing or cherry-picking from agreements made to release hostages, particularly those taken in an obvious act in violation of international law. Indeed, I would be outraged if the Algiers Accord was scrupulously adhered to, as if it was an agreement reached in good faith, without resort to hostage taking of diplomats.

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • Hmmm. Russia is presently occupying, in clear violation of international law, two chunks of territory internationally recognized as part of the Republic of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), one large chunk of territory internationally recognized as part of Ukraine (Crimea) as well as having its rather obvious proxies occupying another chunk (Dombass). Of course there are various pretexts they have (claiming South Ossetia and Abkhazia are independent countries, and same with Crimea before annexing it), but these are illegal occupations all the same, and Russia can avoid Security Council sanction only due to their veto power there.

      I realize the US and other countries are not exactly without similar issues, but the Russian government has the chutzpah to lecture others about acts of aggression and international law??? Please.

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • Ok, I'll bite. Devil's advocate here.

      I suppose this means Tijuana -> Gaza, Egypt -> Mexico, US -> Israel. That's the only way "secret tunnels to Mexico" makes sense. Then: there is no occupied land between Gaza and Egypt. That border is completely controlled by Hamas/Egypt and not Israel or the US. Of course Israel / US exerts pressure on Egypt to do what they want, but suggesting that the land between is occupied is simply false. That ended in 2005. Also, native Gazans do not experience settlement of any confiscated land of theirs from any Israeli colonists, as there are no settlers in Gaza presently (again, ended in 2005). There are settlers in the West Bank, along with occupation troops (and the land they settle on is in some cases the land of refugees in Gaza, although they would by definition not be native Gazans if they are from the West Bank). There are also no rockets being shot presently from the West Bank, perhaps not coincidentally. As there are no Israeli troops in Gaza, they would have to invade to pick up anyone from Gaza and send such a person to prison. Since 2005, such activity by the Israelis has been limited to the West Bank (except for the relatively brief operation cast lead).
      So, this analogy seems about halfway correct.

  • Top Reasons Israel's Likud Really Opposes an Iran Nuclear Deal
    • Hello Johnboy,

      I basically agree with you, but the point I was making is that the US and the world would see Israel as going rogue if they attacked Iran militarily today, before a deal, just as much as if they attacked after a deal. It is not clear to me how the US / P5+1 striking a deal changes the consequences all that much for an Israeli attack. Perhaps an attack by Israel after a deal would be an extra snub to the P5+1, but that seems to be a minor thing in the grand scheme.

    • Some good points here but I'm not so sure about others:

      1) Israel doesn't trust or generally believe anybody about anything, it seems. Especially the UN and their inspections. It's true that the inspectors from the UN will significantly deter Iran from any nuclear bomb-making.

      2) It is not obvious to me why attacking Iran after an Iran / US / UN deal would be any more impossible than it is now. More problematic, perhaps, but it is plenty problematic now. In the event, what would happen that wouldn't happen now, sanctions? Will the US not veto a UNSC resolution imposing really meaningful sanctions on Israel? UNSC military action against Israel??!! Seems dubious that the US would allow that to pass. Anyway, most likely, Israel won't overtly attack (bombers and all) now or in the future because the risk/reward is unfavorable, with or without Iranian nuclear capability.

      3) Agreed, though how much more clout is not obvious. For example, how much more regional clout does Pakistan have compared to before their nuclear test? Not all that much more it seems, and that's with an actual bomb and not just breakout capacity.

      4) Ok, so let's say Iran has breakout capacity and then Israel invades S. Lebanon. What will Iran do that they can't do now? Build a bomb... then what? Nuke Tel Aviv? Give it to Hizbullah? Pretty clear ways to sign one's own death warrant. Not sure what the logic is here. Israel will be a bit more hamstrung responding to any Iranian response if Iran has breakout capacity, but they are significantly hamstrung already.

      5) Quite a valid point

      6) True, though the spotlight can be thrown other places as well. Still, a valid point and I'm sure a backroom consideration for Netanyahu et al.

      7) Everyone relevant (or even just interested in the subject) knows Israel has nukes. Everyone's opinion about this is established, downright fossilized even. The world's worst kept secret for decades. Not sure how shedding light on this changes anything. In particular, I can't see Israel giving up their nukes in our lifetime, no matter the circumstances.

  • Murderers where the Victim was White are Far more Likely to be Punished in US (Graph)
    • It seems that the title of this post should indicate that the disparity in sentencing for murders involving white victims involves the death penalty specifically, and not just punishment in general (though there may well be a disparity in non-death penalty cases, neither the post nor the AI link indicates such).

      That aside, good post. I am quite bothered, though not surprised, by this. The AI link describes some additional troubling sentencing disparities involving the racial identities of the perpetrators as well.

  • Snowden: US now using deprivation of Citizenship as a Weapon
    • International law does guarantee a right to seek asylum. However, there is nothing in internatonal law which demands that a nation issue, or not revoke, a passport belonging to a fugitive citizen. Such an individual retains rights of a citizen of that nation, just not rights to travel except back to the home nation (if abroad). Nothing unusual about this - frequently, those charged with serious crimes have various travel liberties restricted notwithstanding the general international human right to travel. These restrictions are not generally challenged as violations of international law any more than being held without bail awaiting a trial for a serious crime at a national or even international tribunal (despite presumption of innocence).

      In any case, Snowden is not being prevented from seeking asylum, as he has just applied for such in 15(!) separate countries. He is in Russia so he can apply there (Russian claims that the airport transit lounge is not really part of Russia are ridiculous and without merit in internatonal law). It is simply not true to say that the US has prevented Snowden from seeking asylum (they aren't exactly facilitating it, but since when are they required to?). If the Russians will not let him take a cab to the Ecuador embassy across town to apply for asylum attempt #16, then 1) it's on Ecuador to explain why they require that, and 2) it's on Russia to explain why they won't allow that.

      Leaking to the press can certainly be a form of espionage. For example, if I were to leak the classified specifications of a weapon system, when I hold a clearance and need-to-know for said specifications, and the primary beneficiaries of the leak were adversary nationa and organizations, then it's not unreasonable to label this espionage. Whether Snowden's actions are reasonably comparable to such a case is a valid question, but characterizing this as simply a "politcal" crime is a bit of a simplification - and Snowden is not the official arbiter of this in any reasonable sense (nor anyone outside of due process). Claiming that due process is unavailable here due to political oppression is, while possible, a bit convenient for the fugitive, and every figitive would like the world to believe that.

      Also, it is not the case that all asylum seekers are charged with a crime. Some are seeking asylum from places where law and order have broken down, and are seeking asylum from persecution by militias and the like.

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