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Total number of comments: 196 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:41)

Phil Daniels

Showing comments 196 - 101

  • Surprises of the Tunisian Election
    • In most parliamentary democracies the PM does not have free reign in selecting the cabinet.

      In countries where there are ad-hoc coalitions, as there always are in many European countries and Israel, decisions on who, from which party, gets what cabinet positions must be negotiated.

      In parliamentary systems that normally result in one of two parties getting an absolute majority (eg UK, Australia) then who gets what must be negotiated between the factional and geographical blocks within the party.

      In both cases the terrain to be negotiated cannot be known until after the elections.

      I don't think popular election of Ministers will work; the tyranny of the majority will, more often than not, trump the wisdom of the crowd.

    • The above should not have been a Reply to jo6pac post. Its a response to Juan's blog post.

  • Karzai: Afghanistan would Side With Pakistan in War with US
    • I don't think the Pashtun would have ever accepted a Tajik as their leader, even Massoud. Nor in the end was he much liked by the Uzbeks (Doston) or the Persians (Ismael Khan).

    • According to the US DoE Libya earned $44bn from oil in 2010, so that $200b is equivalent of 4.5 years earnings at 2010 prices.

      I don't know how much of the Gaddafi Fund was seized, I think the US, UK, Switzerland & Austria locked some up - but not sure about the French, Spanish & Italians. The impression I have is that the Gaddafi Fund wasn't that secret because they did things with it on the open market - properties in London, France etc,and the Russian Aluminium deal that Tony Bliar stitched up for JP Morgan/Chase.

    • According to this report it looks like its going to be up to China to "sort out" Afghanistan.

      Very interesting perspective from Loretta Napoleoni - author of Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World, and Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks.

      Terrorism financing, drugs and China - link to

      Audio link link to

      First part of interview is about links between AQ in Mahgreb with Central American Drug cartels, second half is about Taliban/AQ & Heroin.

      Taliban are now targeting China with their heroin, note heroin; they have opium refineries. Napoleoni suggests China will do whatever it takes to destroy Taliban, presumably when US/NATO withdraws. I would guess with assist from other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members + Pakistan & Iran.

      Napoleoni also suggest the Chinese wont worry about being PC or HR issues. And they'll leave Afghanistan to who ever wants it - as long as its not a narco state.

    • Karzai's incompetent and corrupt, but not crazy - just another one of our useful idiots.

      Being incompetent, corrupt and an idiot doesn't mean he's not a nationalist who will try to do what he thinks is best for his people. The Afghans & Pakistanis are neighbours forever, and they are blood brothers - the Durand Line border bisects the Pashtun homeland - Karzai is Pashtun.

      Many Americans, eg Ted Kennedy, donated money to Gaddafi to supply weapons and explosives to the IRA - so Cameron & al-Qaeda may not be as far fetched as you imagine.

    • I assume US cruise missiles are already targeted to take out Iran missile launch sites - the US are pretty good at that.

      The US is basing anti-missile Aegis destroyers in Spain, the plan is to link them with the radar that's going into Turkey; but if that's not available they can get target acquisition data from airborne surveillance flown out of Diego Garcia - not as good as ground based radar but good enough.

      Sure some oil assets will be taken out, but probably not more than 15-25%. If KSA thought Iran really had the capacity to destroy _all_ GCC oil facilities then KSA probably wouldn't ask US to cut off the head of the snake.

    • This could be a smokescreen

      When the US invades Iran, surely a more likely scenario than a US invasion of Pakistan; then Pakistan & Afghanistan won't hesitate to allow the US to use their sea ports, air ports, roads etc to attack eastern cities of Iran such as Mashad, Bandar Abbas, Chabahar etc.

      Iraq & Turkey will probably baulk at allowing their territory to be used for the invasion of Iran. So the west front would be mounted out of Bahrain, Kuwait across the Gulf, KSA and its allies probably already have "assets" in Khuzestan to the east of Zagros mtns.


  • US out of Iraq, but Peace remains Elusive
    • Dave - Last item in the list at top left is "FEEDS"

      In there you can get notifications into various News Readers,

      I use RSS feeds, which go into my browser sidebar - click the _View Feed XML_ link at the bottom of the Subscribe Now box on the FEEDS page. You can also get email notifies.

      Hope this helps

    • Some of the MSM is spinning this withdrawal as Obama fulfilling an Obama initiated promise.

      But wasn't the withdrawal timetable negotiated by the Bush administration?

      And whilst Obama presumably made a commitment to follow the Bush timetable before he was elected, he seems to have been trying to back away from it just about ever since. No doubt in response to a Saudi dog-whistle.

      Juan - why are you silent on Syria ?

  • Qaddafi's People's Temple
    • Yeah, its also like what they have in Saudi Arabia, sitting down money, as I recall most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi's.

      Give the Libyan people the opportunity to enjoy the dignity of having a meaningful job paying a reasonable wage.

      Libya should use oil revenues to develop infrastructure, educate its people, invest in a future proofing sovereign wealth fund and diversify its economy.

      People don't want a hand out, they want a hand up - who said that, I forget.

    • The TNC has said several times that it will honor existing agreements. Call him what you will, but the deals Qaddafi had with the European oil majors delivered a much better share to Libya than countries like Nigeria, Angola and Sudan get. The underground river project was built without ANY borrowed money, not a single red or otherwise cent

      Sarko's minister is bragging about something that has nothing to do with the fall of Qaddafi. Totale already has major oil concessions in Libya, along with Eni and Repsol. Eni started pumping oil to Benghazi a couple of weeks ago.

      Sarkozy's minister wouldn't know what he's talking about, his motivation is to try to to rescue his boss from the jaws of defeat in next years election. That's what NATO's intervention was really about - Sarkozy's re-election and Cameron being Bliar-like whilst not being like Bliar.

      Libya's oil industry, unlike those of countries like Russia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Brazil etc is not a wholly owned state enterprise. The oil companies pay something like a resource rent tax to the government.

    • Foreign Oil companies have played a major role in developing Libya's Oil for some time, principally Eni (Italian), Totale (French) and Repsol (Spain), BP has a license to explore for gas off shore, China has some so far unproductive leases. Some big US oil services companies (eg Haliburton and KBR) have been operating in Libya since about 2004.

      Some oil analysts believe Libya's oil reserves have been significantly (a couple even say massively) over estimated.

      Unlike other dictators (Mubarak, Marcos, Suharto etc) Gaddafi didn't hide all of Libya's oil wealth behind a myriad of trusts and shelf companies. That's why quite a of Libya's offshore reserves was fairly easy to freeze in US, Italy, UK & Switzerland etc - some of it has already been given to the TNC.

    • so the BBC and AJ journalists were actually standing alongside Qaddafi forces when they showed guys on "technicals" firing RPGs, Grads, Anti Aircraft fire and Tank rounds and into Sirte.

      Sorry I thought they said they were "rebels", they must have said they were "loyals". I'm sure one of the guys waiting to fire his RPG said he was with the Misrata Forces.

      Ah well, as WC said "in wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

    • Most of the people in places like Tawergha and further south in the irrigation schemes were African migrant workers - although some had been in Libya for decades.

      A few weeks ago I saw a report (AJ I think) that claimed a lot of black African migrant workers fled into Niger & Mali, they were trying to get home to Nigeria, Ghana etc. If Libyans were Europeans they'd be accused of Ethnic Cleansing - double standards are alive and well as usual.

    • Don't worry Josh, the New Left will be there - Putin, Hu Jintao, Erdogan, the EUSSR are already pumping.

      Given the support the Old Left gave to Gaddafi, and the support he gave to Old Left terrorist groups such as the IRA and Red Brigades it might be better if the Old Left stayed out for a change.

    • Must be why its sometimes seen in reference to Obama

      I can't recall seeing/hearing it prior to Obama, I thought it was linked to his preference to "shooting hoops" rather than working.

  • Iran Alleges Saudi Plot Story is MEK Sting
    • Perhaps because the agency that knew about Shakuri's links with MEK did not want to be identified. EG Iraqi police/intelligence might not want to annoy the occupying power by revealing the information directly - so it had a word in Interpol's ear.

    • Good geo political perspective of Gulf Regional disputes here link to

      Human Rights Watch report on MKO here link to

      HRW response to criticism of above here link to

      Saudi Claims Gholam Shakuri Also Orchestrated Bahrain Unrest link to

      In 2003 the NYT wrote "When Saddam Hussein used the PMOI and its tanks as advance forces to crush the Iraqi Kurdish people in the north and the Iraqi Shia people in the south, Maryam Rajavi the then leader of PMOI's army is said to have commanded: "Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.""

      Whatever the PMIO/MEL/MKO may have been, it now seems they're Islamic Maoists with a side serve of Pol-Pot, drizzled with a coulis of Jim Jones, and they have been for some considerable time.

    • You must be confused John, does the following read like an Ahmadenijad boot lick link to

    • The Clinton's have been on the Saudi gravy train since, well at least since Bill set up his foundation - and we all know how loyal Hill is to Bill.

  • News that Makes you Go 'Hunh'?
    • The USA should make stuff other countries & their consumers want to have and can afford to buy. Import replacement can only go so far, the US must increase its exports of both elaborately transformed goods AND raw material commodities. Few people outside the US will buy a tee shirt labelled "Made in USA" for $30 when they can buy 6 similar tee shirts labelled "Made in wherever" for the same $30. Foxconn is in the market for 1 million assembly line robots for its iPhone, iPad factories - it will probably get them from Europe, Taiwan and Japan.

      Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia etc are the countries against which the US should be competing, not countries with hundreds of millions earning less that $5 a day. Race to the top, not to the bottom. Beggar my neighbour policies inevitably lead to WAR.

      Here's an interesting observation.

      US President Obama, ex Chicago community worker, former law professor - academic papers published and citations - zero. Voting record as a legislator - I wont go there, too embarrassing.

      German Chancellor Merkel, ex Minister for Environment, PhD in quantum physical chemistry - academic papers published and citations - dozens. Merkel suffered having to live in Communist GDR for the first 30+ years of her life.

      I cannot imagine a woman with a PhD in anything, let alone quantum science, becoming the US President in my lifetime. Mind you that's true of most other countries, although I do recall that Mrs Thatcher was an industrial chemist.

    • The BBC you're receiving is the NewBBC. It is NOT OldBBC, which had a reputation as the worlds best and most independent public broadcaster. The NewBBC is a commercial broadcaster pretending to be a public broadcaster, i.e. its an imposter.

      The long & short of it is that NewLiebor under ToneDeaf Bliar told the OldBBC to scrap short wave and embrace NewTech. The NewBBC sells its product to US rebroadcasters for truckloads of US fiat dollar bills. As a consequence it now has CUSTOMERS, the US rebroadcasters and their masters, listeners and viewers arentt stakeholders in the NewBBC.

      So its a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune.

      The pillaging of the OldBBC continues under deCameron's Condem(n) government. BillyTheVague has pilfered the funding the World Service did get from the Foreign Office, and told then to go and loot Campbell H's licence Fee.

      It may all come out in a future episode of the "soap-opera tragicomedy virtual reality pantomime" known as the Revelations of The New British Establishment. Assuming there's anyone left to tell it and anyone left (or interested in) watching & listening.

      If/when the Euro crashes next week the flash traders are likely to target all those CDS's that Giethner's sitting on; then the Occupiers will be out of a job, there won't be a Wall Street to occupy, or not as we know it.

      That's what Tim is scared of, flash trading of the Credit Default Swaps created in 2008 - they're still where TARP left them in Tim's back pocket - that's why no one wants his job - ha ha ha.

  • Sanctions on Iran will Never Produce Real Change
    • The last para made me realise that negotiation is something at which Obama seems to have been singularly unsuccessful, at least in the international sphere

      Nine months after he took office he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because he had "... created a new climate in international politics."

      I believe the actual decision to give him the prize was made in February 2009, a month after he took office!!!! So what's the record - off the top of my head

      Iran - zip
      North Korea - zip
      Israel Palestine - zip
      Iraq new SOFA - zip
      Russia Strategic Arms - START extended, nothing new coming
      Climate Change - chin wags in Copenhagen & Cancun - yawn
      Free Trade - Doha dead, new FTA zip **

      NATO Missile Defense - Radar in Turkey & Aegis Missile Ships in Spain. Radar in Poland & Missiles in Romania. This is the only "gain" I can think of, 4 weapons deployment treaties.

      ** I think the SK, Col & Pan FTA's recently ratified by the US Senate were drawn up by the previous administration.

  • This is the Way the Iraq War Ends, with Bangs and Whimpers
    • Why are they there

      1. ObamaDontCare's Ugandan Adventure is connected to neighbouring Kenya sending troops to Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabaab militants link to

      Can't figure out why though - drone launchers are usually CIA, contractors or special forces, operating undercover.

      2. Might be a warning to Omar Al-Bashir in Khartoum - "you better not mess with Southern Sudan"

      3. Doubt its anything to do with the LRA - who've moved to the Demo Rep Congo anyway - unless its to make sure they stay there.

      4. Uganda has agreed to allow the long longed for relocation of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) to relocate from Stuttgart in Germany to somewhere in Uganda, these guys are there to select some suitable real estate.

      My money's on 4, which would enable 1, 2 & 3.

    • Don't worry it's only the military people who are leaving.

      ObamaDontCare is increasing the presence of State with plenty of Blackwater-like replacements - and thousands of brown paper envelopes stuffed with your 100 fiat dollar bills.

      The 150 Marines are there as decoration - chocolate soldiers to salute the great and the good of Iraq as they arrive to collect their brown paper envelopes.

      Meanwhile the daily slaughter will go on, and on, and ...

    • Is "Wimpers" irony? As in "Not a Whimper was heard as the Wimps sneaked away in the dead cold of night." or a typo?

      At the end of September I added up Margaret Griffis violent death count - around 500 dead, didn't add up the wounded - probably 1,000 to 1,500.

      Very little on this daily slaughter in the MSM. When I added up those numbers I wrote on Margarets blog "The deafening silence from the MSM is drowning the sounds of weeping all over Iraq".

      The presence of US troops appears to be doing nothing to stop the dozen or more killings a day, so I imagine a lot of Iraqi's will be glad to see the back of them. I suspect death count could rise after Dec 31, hope I'm wrong.

      Obama, acting against his will, but in accordance with his own promises and in conformity with an agreement signed by George W Bush - some more irony.

  • Did Columbus Cause Climate Change?
    • "I believe it feeds a cynicism that undermines the political need to do something about global warming and its effects.

      What is said about global warming needs to be based in science, and since climate science already points to scenarios devastating to modern society, why should we try to exaggerate the situation into something that lacks any basis in climate science?"

      Absolutely - you're so right, like 200% right

      That said, many of those claiming to be climate scientists are just as guilty of using a rhetorical style more often heard from the pulpit than from the lectern e.g. "we'll all go to hell in handbaskets if we keep eating toast for breakfast". I refer to all such people as "The Green Fundamentalists" - scientists or otherwise.

    • From memory Ian Morris' Why the West Rules : For Now offers some support for these arguments.

      Ice cores should confirm whether changes CO2 levels coincide with rapid population loss in Western Hemisphere in the 16th century.

      Aus & NZ have just installed desalination plants in a couple of Pacific Island states, Tokalau & Tuvalu. They've run out of fresh water, not due to rising sea levels but lack of rain. I think they're diesel - don't know if they can be converted to solar, wind or tide, if not I guess Aus & NZ will keep supplying the diesel - so more CO2. The small Pac island states depend on aid, many are expected to get swamped at some time - might be better to relocate the people sooner rather than later. Most will go to NZ or Aus eventually.

  • Facebook Shanghaiing
    • Oh, and I keep up with IC and most everything else with RSS feeds into my browser. That means there's no third party between me and originating site and I don't have to disclose my email address.

      About the only use I make of Mr SugerBaby's service is to post public complaints to the Bolshevik Broadcasting Commissariat (BBC).

    • These outfits can help - I have no connection to either

      Ghostery - link to
      Taco Abine - link to (

      You don't need both - I use Ghostery in my Normal, day to day, easy to use environment and Taco Abine in my Protected, cover my ass, harder to use environment. The latter runs over a VPN (fancy proxy server), puts the browser in a sandbox, runs in a virtual machine.

      The Firefox Collusion extension displays a map of links between sites you access, it uses the list to highlight links that have privacy issues. It's not available on the Firefox add-ons site, the author works for Mozilla so maybe that's why. So scroll down to to the Collusion post at the authors blog link to

      If your interested/frightened/intrigued by this stuff then have look in Privacy Matters area at Abine. This page explains how tracking at fb works - link to

      JUAN - you could use Google++ for your professional, personal, SM needs, I think its now open for business. Problem with Google is that they might kill it themselves, like they did with Wave. LinkedIn might be a better choice, it's unlikely to fold, and there's no obvious LetsKillIt competitors, Schmidt might be tempted if Google++ goes belly up, but to grow it, not kill it.

  • Mayor Bloomberg and Occupy Wall Street by the Numbers
  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • Here is the actual Complaint document that's been filed against Messrs Arbabsiar and Shakuri.

      link to

      Perhaps folks with legal background would care to comment

    • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be gone in 2013, unless he stages a coup and gets rid of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

      Could Ahmadinejad’s dispute with Khamenei be connected to the nutter plot to blown up the Saudi Ambassador. Could Khamenei’s boys have set that up to frame Ahmadinejad or visa versa – who knows.

    • As I recall, last time it was the Americans who fawned at the feet of the exceptional bLiar. Few British people believed anything the great charlatan said - including members of his own party; not even the Nasty Party, but they were so infatuated with the Bush cabal, they had to pretend to believe in bLiar's fables.

      Don't worry though, if Obama's up for it, Cameron won't be able to help himself, with or without Fox & Werrity.

    • can you get Bill without Hill - probably not - :sigh:

    • Appropriate Churchill Quotes on the Matter of Truth

      In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

      A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

      Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

      Random & Evil thoughts

      Could be that the Arab Spring has caused a dearth of terrorists so they had to invent some new ones.

      If there'd been no 9/11 event GW Bush may not have got a second term, maybe that's Obama's thinking now.

      An invasion of Iran would mean the US could withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq without the need to bring the troops home. The prospect of Iran as a vassal of the US is not beyond the realms of my imagination, but I've never thought that about the other two.

      It'd be nice if IC had "Thanks for the Info" and "Thanks for the Laugh" buttons on Comments.

    • David, thanks for the Frontline link, I always enjoy reading Muhammad Sahini, his thoughts back up Juan's thinking 100%.

      As always thanks to Juan

  • Is an Iranian Drug Cartel Behind the Assassination Plot against the Saudi Ambassador?
    • Another scenario

      1. USA broadcasts it will veto Palestinian UN Membership.

      2. The Saudi regime informs the US that in that even, then in order to maintain its leadership role in the Arab world it may have to downgrade their relationship ... ?

      3. So the USA and the Saudi regime fabricates this alleged Iranian plot.

      4. The Saudi regime boasts that only its special relationship with the US has been able to prevent arch enemy Iran from using weapons of mass destruction to kill Saudi citizens on American soil.

      5. Now the Saudi regime has the cover it needs when it doesn't make a song & dance if/when the US veto's the Palestine UN membership. With the bonus that it may provoke the US led war against Iran longed for by the Saudi regime.

    • To me, the assassination of the Chilean dissident, Orlando Letelier, on American soil by agents of the government of Chile; is more like the assassination of anti-American propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki, on Yemeni soil by a missile armed drone owned & flown by agents of the US government.

      We also cannot rule out a Keystone Cops operation designed to put Iran in the frame. However, who would want to do that, Baer mentioned a couple of possibilities; Iranian dissidents, and between the lines, the Saudi's themselves, given the contents of Wikileaked cables from US DoS officers in Riyadh,. It would not be the first time the USA has been suckered into a war.

      There is also the possibility of a US intelligence failure; it’s happened before - Gulf of Tonkin, Iraq WMDs, Iran Air Flight 655. OBL hiding in a Waziristan cave ...

  • Tawakul Karman, Yemen mother of 3, among winners of Nobel Peace Prize
  • Palin was Right About those Government Death Panels
    • It's saddens me when politicians & their advisers resort to constructs like plausible deniability & secret star chambers in order to protect themselves from the law of the countries they're supposed to be governing.

      Why should we respect the law, if they don't.

      I'm not only thinking of the US, but also the UK and Australia in particular.

    • A state that disregards the sovereignty & laws of its democratic allies will soon disregard its own constitution & laws - I'm thinking of extraordinary renditions.

      You’re over egging the pudding, Juan. The image of US officials being in the dock at The Hague is a fiction; at least, over the killing of a couple of people in Yemen. It is not genocide, or a crime against humanity, or a *serious* war crime; which are the 3 crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction.

      The purpose of any changes to US law should be to make these actions transparent & legal within the framework of the US Constitution and existing US Law; and dare I suggest make them morally defensible. Making changes in order to protect nameless officials from fictional legal threats from a toothless international court is just another make work scheme for politicians and lawyers.

      Last year’s Top Secret America series in the WashPost is probably worth a re-read.

  • Best of the Web on Widening Wall Street Protests
  • Steve Jobs: Arab-American, Buddhist, Psychedelic Drug User, and Capitalist World-Changer
    • Juan - your CNN link has "Traversing India SPARKED Jobs' conversion to Buddhism."

      It does not say he converted to Buddhism in India, nor does it even say he visited ashram. Substitute "interest" for "conversion" and you'll have what may be a more explicitly accurate statement.

      Kobun Chino Otogawa, the monk who married Steve & Laurene at Yosemite National Park, was a Japanese Zen master. From '67 he assisted at the Tassajara Zen study centre in the Carmel Valley CA; in '70 he moved to San Francisco Zen Center in Los Altos, which in the middle of Silicone Valley.

      Steve Jobs seem to embody many Zen characteristics - e.g. austerity. So I conclude that after his visit India where his interest in matters spiritual was sparked, Jobs went on to take up Zen Buddhism in California under Kobun.

      At one time Steve was dating Joan Baez, so its not beyond the bounds of possibility that he would have had some sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Its been said that Jobs dated Joan because Joan dated Dylan and Jobs was a Dylan fan - which doesn't seem very Zen.

    • Abhishek, I don't think Hanuman is anything to Buddhists. I've seen references, from contemporary Hindu's, equating Hanuman with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara but without any explanation or references to the Pali texts.

      Buddhists regard the dhvaja (Victory Banner) as an Auspicious Symbol signifying the triumph of knowledge over ignorance. In the Mahabarata, Krishna's chariot had a banner with an image of Hanuman. I don’t know of any specific link between Avalokiteśvara and the dhvaja, but ...

      Buddhism is a practice; it's not a religion in the sense of the three desert religions. Also Buddhism has little to do with Hinduism as we know them today. It often seems to me that Buddhism has more in common with Jainism than Hinduism, but Buddhists disagree with that proposition too.

      Buddhists regard the entity lay Westerners refers to as The Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama and Shakyamuni, as Truly Enlightened. And they believe he is not the only Buddha, more than 20 preceded him, and the next Buddha is already called Maitreya.

    • Jobs had nothing to do with any of the DOS's. Apple-DOS, which ran on the Apple II, was written by the co founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak and a couple of other guys.

      Nor was Microsoft DOS written by Gates - but that's another story.

      Despite the denials the Apple Lisa/Mac user interface was based on the Xerox Star. In 1979 Xerox & Apple entered a licensing agreement; as well as the right to copy, Apple received two Star computers, and Xerox got equity in Apple. The Apple Lisa had an Office suite; unsurprisingly office automation was the riason de'tre for the Xerox Star – funny that.

      Microsoft's licensing deal with Xerox was for cash and that "darned" Xerox folder that existed in Windows prior to Vista.

      It’s worth pointing out that Jobs had several failures.

      He was kicked off the Lisa project.

      The first Apple Mac failed because it couldn't compete with IBM clone pricing and Jobs couldn't get the attention of 3rd party software developers like Gates could.

      Jobs started up NeXT but that went nowhere, he used the wrong processors, he tried to compete with Cray supercomputers, eventually NeXT and Jobs were bought by Apple.

      Jobs borrowed the unusual capitalisation of NeXT from Donald Knuth the "inventor" TeX, a typesetting system.

      The UNIX based operating system NeXTSTEP operating system became the foundation for the Mac OS-X operating system. But the Mac didn't take off until Jobs finally decided to use Intel processors - something he should have done back in the '80s.

      One of the genius’ of American culture is its acceptance of failure. I don’t believe after so many failures Jobs would have achieved what he did in any other country.

      He'll be missed, probably more by the media industry than the IT industry.

      I spent a few months at Buddhist vihara at Bodhgaya in Bihar in the late 60's, where there are many Buddhist centres. Jobs might have gone there; pretty certain George Harrison spent some time at one of the Bodhgaya centres. In the ‘60’s & ‘70’s there was a lot of cross-over between the Hindu gurus and Buddhist centres, and with the Esalen et al scene. The latter may have been Steve Jobs pathway – Carmel’s just down the road from the Valley

  • China and Iran, Green Together
    • In case you've not noticed nobody here has said that Juan.

      I'm all for giving up on nuclear, but not for reasons of hysteria from the mouth of Caldicott and her fellow travellers. Nor will I take any heed of guilt trip peddling Green Fundamentalists.

      Its interesting that those who rightfully rant and rail at the Tea Party and its supporters, resort to the same tenor of rhetoric when it comes to climate change. Perhaps because their sympathies lie at the other totalitarian extreme of the political spectrum.

    • Hear, hear - there were two other nuclear power plants that were also swamped by the same tsunami to the same degree, Fukushima Daini and Onagawa (Miyagi prefecture). Both shut down automatically. There generators and water pumps were better protected. Both were built after the one that "blew up" which was Fukushima Daiichi.

    • Iran is already ELECTRICITY INDEPENDENT; it doesn't need solar & wind, any more than it needs nuclear. If it could import what it needs to rebuild its refineries it wouldn't have to import transport fuels either, in which case it would be ENERGY INDEPENDENT.

      Here you'll see the growth in Iran's electricity production growth rate and the sources link to

      Almost all of Iran's new & planned electricity production comes from Iranian designed and Iranian built hydro and gas power plants. These are already low emission plants, the gas units are combined cycle units (CCU). This is presumably what Germany will do with the gas it gets from Russia via Nord Stream. CCU units use the kinetic energy from burning the gas to power turbine generators and the heat energy to power steam generators.

      China probably has its eye on Iran's gas, via Afghanistan. It recently won the first Afghanistan oil/gas exploration auction and its building oil and gas pipelines from the western Caspian, across Kazakhstan, to its western (inner) provinces.

      Iran loses 38b KwH pa (19%) across its grid, China loses 196b (6%), the US loses 267b (6%), the Eurozone lose 125b (5%). Getting Iran's grid losses down 6% would result in a reduction in its emissions equivalent to thousands of wind generators.

      Portugal's so called "green revolution" was paid for by EU subsidies contributed by non Portuguese TAXPAYERS. Today the basket case Portuguese economy is being bailed out with money from guess who, non Portuguese TAXPAYERS. Contrary to the Green Fundamentalist Faith, very little money actually grows on trees.

      If Iran shelved its nuclear program today, it’s unlikely that the sanctions would be removed any time soon. How long has it been since there were any ICBM's in Cuba - 49 years, almost to the day. The sanctions imposed then, remain in place to this very day.

      The most interesting thing in the Fars item was the last bit - the power swap deals Iran has with its neighbours.

  • Amanda Knox and Troy Davis
    • We should reserve judgement as to the veracity of the yesterday's decision until the prosecutions appeal to Court of Cassation is adjudicated. This appeal will be heard by a panel of 5 judges who won't consider any new evidence. As Juan pointed out, Italian appeal courts often reverse the decision of inferior courts.

      If the Court of Cassation appeal upholds the original decision then I can't imagine the US courts would extradite Knox, even though there's an extradition treaty. And, unlike the US, Italy probably wouldn't use extraordinary rendition.

      No mention here of Meredith Kercher's family, my heart's with them. I doubt their daughters killers will ever be "bought to justice".

  • Iran Business Partners: Cheney & Reagan, not Just the Koch Brothers
    • That's not all Debbie

      The living Koch's lined their pockets with Chavez's loot. link to

      The irony is that when Chavez nationalised their company, Fertinitro bonds appreciated by 33%!!

  • Panetta Slams Israeli Isolation; Is Israeli Policy Destabilizing US Allies?
    • Another fine summary Juan.

      But I don't see Israel's colonisation of the West Bank as "weird". Israel's raison d'etre is based on the predictions of prophets. Before Israel came into being in 1948, David Ben Gurion said "after we have established a strong state we will abolish the partition". Netanyahu & Lieberman are fulfilling Ben Gurion's prophecy.

      Egypt & Turkey seem to be heading towards improved relations with Tehran, and worsening relations with Jerusalem. Perhaps Iran can afford to let the Syrian regime fold. A democratic Syria will want to recover the Golan Heights, which Israel will never yield, even to a liberal democracy. So Israel will have another hostile fledgling democratic neighbour.

      It’s almost incongruous that a more democratic ME is more likely to be pro-Iran and anti-Israel, than anti-Iran and pro-Israel, but that's where it seems to be heading. I suspect successive Washington & Jerusalem regimes have long "feared" that eventuality, hence their preference for absolute monarchies and military dictators.

      Is it any wonder that Israel is behaving like a headless chicken? They and their eternal partner have lost control of the arc of ME history? Israel has always bragged that it’s the only democracy in the region. What’s its mantra going be now – let me guess, we’re the oldest democracy in the region.

  • New York and Cairo Protests Show Egyptian 1% more Responsive than the American
    • Its not just Congress that's stands in the way of Wall Street reform, so does the White House, as evidenced by the retention of Bernanke and the appointment of Geithner, Summers et al.

      Obama's appointment of people who were complicit in the tearing down of Wall Street regulations during the Clinton administration indicates to me that he's as much in the thrall of Wall Street shysters & banksters as members of Congress, in fact maybe even more so.

      He wants the rich to pay more tax, yet he tried to appoint, and in one case did appoint, no less than FIVE people with questions regarding their tax returns - Kirk, Daschle, Killefer, Richardson and Geithner.

      Whilst Washington spins its wheels "managing" the budget deficit, the people are suffering from a democracy deficit.

  • Al-`Awlaqi Should have been Tried in Absentia
    • Der Speigel has an excellent review of al-Awlaki's activities and role in AQAP. link to

    • I agree with almost everything John, except your suggestion that terrorists should be tried in the Hague court.

      The ICC probably doesn't have the competency to indict terrorists, and seeing that USA isn't a signatory to the relevant treaty I wouldn't have thought it has standing in the court anyway. The ICC is to be used where there's no alternative, e.g. failed or non-existent state scenario such as Rwanda or former Yugoslavia. And, should the USA be allowed to socialize the costs of "it's" trials?

      If Indonesia, a relatively poor country recently freed from 53 years of USA backed military dictatorship, can prosecute, conduct competent trials and execute terrorists at its own expense, then why can’t the USA do the same.

      Oh I forgot, as Madame Albright once told us, the USA is the world’s only Indispensable Superpower.

      So what do we have here - a Failed Indispensable Superpower State - even Marx didn't envisage that.

    • It seems to me that over reliance on Law Persons is part of the problem. We're trapped by the Cleft Stick of Lawyers & Banksters.

    • Fear not DT, Obama has put his own a Cop on The Curb Free Speech Beat. Coincidentally another Chicago/Harvard Professor of Law by the name of Cass Sunstein link to

  • Al-Qaeda Brands Ahmadinejad a Conspiracy Theorist!
    • Ahmadinejad makes his false claims as much to annoy Al-Qaeda as to annoy everyone else.

      Don't fret AQ he'll be gone in a couple of years, but by then Egypt might have a like minded president.

    • Yes Debbie they did - Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Islamist militant, was killed in Yemen on Friday in a CIA drone strike - link to

      Would I believe anything an ISI man said, probably not.

      Zawahiri was initially responsible for bringing terrorist groups into the Al-Qaeda tent, so he roamed everywhere between Morocco and Indonesia. If he's left Pak then he'd be nuts to go to Yemen because its just another Predator target range. If he wanted to lie low he'd be better off going to Dagestan or Chechyna, where he has friends, the US wont find easy to track him there, much less send in a Predator carrying a couple of Hellfires.

      I doubt Zawahiri has much value within al-Qaeda now that OBL's gone, he was their Mergers and Acquisitions specialist, those days are probably over. His main value now is the consumption of US resources in tracking him down and killing him.

  • Arab Spring Roundup
    • "Ford ... been denounced by the government for interfering in Egyptian politics."

      I suspect that should be "Syrian politics"

      The Muslim Brotherhood's non participation in Tahrir Square events is a smart move. Tahir is where most of the foreign media focus their attention, if the MB turn up in force it will be reported by some as a "Militant Islamist Hijack" of a "Peaceful Secular Democracy Movement".

      It seems to me that much of the the media's lost interest in Libya, some of the reporting I've heard has been questionable, but not anti-TNC. Example, the BBC journalist embedded with TNC forces to the East of Sirte appears to be their spokesman/cheer squad. I don't listen to or read much US mainstream media.

      I was surprised at the very negative responses to Serwer's piece. Although his condescending reference to "Qaddafi’s Great Man-made River” annoyed me, as it always does. The fact is that a very significant engineering project has created an underground water supply from the interior to the coastal cities of Libya, and like it or not it was built by the Qaddafi regime with no external help, btw its not finished.

      And Libya's recovery should be faster than countries like Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia. Qaddafi set up significant foreign reserves which were easily frozen because they weren't concealed behind a maze of false identities and trusts. So the money that's being paid to policemen, municipal workers etc is Libyan money, it's not aid or loan money. I also note Qaddafi didn't order the mass destruction of resources or infrastructure - he really is a bit of an enigma.

  • Visiting Liberty Square (Occupy Wall Street)
    • Some of my observations on the "then" of the 1960's and the "now" of 2010's.

      The 1960s protests were widespread, both within the US and across the world, the causes varied but they drew inspiration from one another.

      The 1960's protests were student centred; most older people were too busy working. In 1965 US unemployment was 4.5% and incomes were rising. It was similar in most of the Western world. Many of today's young seem to lack imagination, hence they can't imagine what's lacking. They're immersed in the vicarious audio-visual imaginings of others. Video's on iPads are the new opiate of the people.

      In the US the protests had two powerful intersecting issues; initially Civil Rights and soon after the Vietnam War.
      In Prague the intellectual elite were trying to overthrow the Communist state.
      In Paris the younger generation were trying to establish an Anarchist state.
      In Germany the younger generation wanted to know and speak about the Nazi state.
      In Britain protests were small, local and centred around disparate issues - nuclear disarmament, anti Vietnam, university fees & representation.
      In Australia protests were about Aboriginal Rights and the Vietnam War.

      As Juan discovered today's protesters don't have a clear idea of what they want, except its not what the other guy wants (keep that thought in mind).

      Then there were leaders & song writers like MLK, Malcolm X, Seeger, Dylan, Lennon & Buffy (Sainte-Marie). Today there is who - Sarah Palin & Lady Gaga (tho' her duet with Bennet is good) ;)

      Now there are a myriad of structured activist groups, most led by MBA graduates who speak many words for few ideas. Each has its own non-unique narrow cause, they fight one another and compete for our ears, eyes & money.

      Some people have commented that things started to go wrong in the '80's. That's true with respect the widening of income distribution and the rise & rise of the Financial Industry; but in social terms the tide turned towards nihilistic individualism in the '70's. This was most forcefully expressed in the punk rock music of the 70's - which many '60's activists (self included) chose to ignore.

    • "We also produce more currency for export than any other country in the world."

      Maybe because Aussies offer bigger bribes to other countries treasury officials link to

      They probably learnt from the Aussie Wheat Board who did the sanction busting deals with Saddam Hussein to buy Aussie wheat - link to

      Springboks beat Samoa 13:5

    • :lol:

      If you'll permit, a variation on your theme - YES WE CAN't

  • Lindsey "Dr. Strangelove" Graham & War with Pakistan
    • The US military has been biting its tongue for years, this is just one incident among many that's been hushed up link to

      Unnamed "senior Pentagon official" = Anonymous Coward

  • Saudi Women's Vote: Does it Go Far Enough?
    • Something similar was promised at the time of the 2005 municipal elections, i.e. "women will be allowed to vote in 2009 municipal elections". So this a reiteration of that original and broken promise. The excuse is, yet again, there are not enough Saudi woman with ID Cards to administer the voting.

      What's the process for a Saudi woman to get an ID card, does she need permission from her "guardian".

      BTW the 2011 elections are the ones that were scheduled for 2009 - anyone know why they were delayed.

      To reinforce Juan's point that the lack of women's rights is predominantly cultural rather than religious; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia have predominantly Muslim populations. Women vote in all three countries and all three have have had elected female Head's of Government.

  • Greater Middle East Turns More Dangerous for US
    • To back up Cervantes' last paragraph, here's Margaret Griffis' most recent posting on Violence in Iraq link to

    • In the past few days the BBC or Aus ABC, I forget which (sorry I cant find a link), interviewed the US ambassador to Damascus. I was surprised when he volunteered that a number of Syrian security forces have been killed in the preceding weeks, as has been claimed by the Syrian government. He was also quick to point out that far more protesters had been killed. He also said that, apart from routine consular matters none of the embassy staff has had any meetings with the Syrian government in recent weeks.

  • Palestine, Bahrain and US Hyprocrisy
    • The US was working towards preventing of Mubarak's son, Gamal, becoming president of Egypt. The US wanted Omar Sulieman to take over as President of Egypt.

      Juan, Perhaps you're judging President Truman's 1945 remark from the vantage point of 2011. I understand that David Ben-Gurion said the following at about the same time:-

      [I am } satisfied with part of the country, but on ... the assumption that after we build up a strong force following the established of the sate, we will abolish partition the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole of Land of Israel

      Despite what Resolution 181 might say, I would argue that is the "bargain" to which the UN SC agreed to in May 1948. I don't think Israel's position has changed - "we will expand to the whole of Land of Israel". That doesn't include Gaza because historically Gaza's the Land of Philistines.

      Obama talks too much and does too little. Obama may know of many things, but he knows nothing about any thing - economics, politics, foreign affairs, even how to vote, judging by his record as a legislator. Obama, the first man to get the Nobel Prize for Nothing, I think they filled in the wrong form, they intended to nominate him for an Oscar - after all what is acting but deception. He should have been in Sorkin's West Wing rather than in the real one.

  • Rabbani's Assassination Sharpens Afghanistan Contradictions
    • I'm struck by the similarities between this assassination and that of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a close associate of Rabbani. In a recent news item commemorating the 10th anniversary of Massoud's assassination, it was suggested that the bomb used wasn't concealed in the TV camera as has been assumed, but in the interviewer's turban.

      Is it valid to think of these different groups in Pakistan & Afghanistan i.e. AQ, Pak Taliban, Haqqani Network, LeT, LeJ, Afghan Taliban, Hezb-e Islami etc, as distinct autonomous entities. Might it not be better to think them as battalions of the same "Jihadi Army".

      It doesn't matter whether this assassination was ordered by Mullah Omar, Haqqani, Hekmatyer or al-Zawahiri; perhaps it doesn't matter at all. Like it or not the Taliban are going to return and they'll end up fighting, with Pak assistance, the Tajiks, Uzbeks; the latter lead by Doston, Rabbini's successor, Ismael Khan etc, in what will the 2nd post Soviet invasion Afghan Civil War.

    • Remember that Reagan paid for the release of hostages in Lebanon, after promising Thatcher he would never do such a thing - they weren't spies.

      Reagan gave Iran a belated reward for the release of the Iran Embassy staff (who were spies, albeit not very proficient) via the Iran-Contra deal.

      The US government would probably pay for their release to get the issue off the table. They have got other things in region to worry about, without the distraction of a couple of jerks who decided it would be a good idea to go hiking in that area.

    • I heard it was Oman, I think they were thought to have paid the girls ransom when she was released. Oman may not used their own money, they might have just been the conduit. Oman has "cordial" relations with Iran.

  • Top Arab Spring Stories Today
    • Re Egypt : Three rounds to elect a lower house; the more rounds of voting. the more opportunity for corruption. Why not use the alternate or better yet full preferential voting method.

      You don't need voting machines. Australia started using preferential voting in its local, state & federal elections in the 19th century. A few voting machines are provided to be used by people with disabilities, the rest use pencil and paper. There are some moves towards using the internet.

      Re Libya : The issue of anti-Qadaffi detaining, killing and raping black Africans was reported at the beginning of the month in etc. It's now being reported by the BBC link to

      And the 30,000 to 50,000 deaths put down to Qadaffi forces is now under question - link to

  • Palestinians seek UN Moxie
  • Muslim Brotherhood Rebukes Erdogan for Advocacy of Secularism
    • Its my experience that most people don't like foreigners telling them how to run their country; including, even especially, Americans. Egypt has a place in antiquity, whereas Turkey is a new kid on the block. Ptolemy & Cleopatra were Egyptians of Greek heritage, the Greeks are said to have invented democracy - so maybe the MB have a point :)

      On the subject of Turkey's secularism; would that be the one that dictates what people can and can't wear to University, at their desks or in their surgeries. I read that Erdogan & Gul would like to change law that so their daughters could attend Turkish colleges wearing head-scarves. Their daughters were/are attending US colleges, wearing head-scarves. Its not only head-scarves that are barred, men are barred from wearing the fez!

      How can a state be said to be secular, yet have a department of religious affairs (Diyanet) whose officials are public servants. It has a budget of US$1,000,000,000, it appoints and pays the Muftis & Imams. At one time it wrote the Friday prayer that was then recited in every mosque in the country, not sure if that's still true, it was in the '80's. Its charter is "to execute the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshipping places”. But it is not to be compared with similar institutions in Saudi Arabia or Iran - in fact it's quite enlightened, appoints women vice-mufti & imams, permits IVF & birth control; but bans the wearing of scarves & fez's :roll:

      Secular seems to have different meanings depending on the country to which it's applied; most Americans & many Brits seem to think that Turkish secularism is good, but French secularism is bad - weird.

      Nor am I sure that Turkey is "multi-cultural" at least as I understand the word; it's meaning also varies depending on the country to which its applied. Ottoman Turkey might have been multi-cultural, but it was then spoken of as being "cosmopolitan". These days you wont find many Greeks, Jews, Maronites, Armenians, Orthodox Syrians etc in towns such as Smyrna (now Izmir) - unless they're tourists.

  • Helman: The Palestinians Seek UN Recognition
    • Pity the other Arab countries don't provide broad spectrum support for the Palestinians, especially the GCC (Gulf Chicken Council) states. Votes in UN Gen Ass won't change anything.

      The Palestinians get more support from Turkey & Iran than they get from their Sunni Arab brothers. Neither Turkey nor Iran are Arab, and Iran's a Shia state. The Arabs and Israeli both seem more interested in gesture politics than real-politik - maybe it's a characteristic of Semites.

      I doubt I'll live long enough to see peace between Palestinians & Israeli's, unless we're hit by an asteroid.

  • Turkey, Egypt and Israel
    • Excellent summary Juan

      Israel's refusal to apologise has only served to accelerate the inevitable. The AK party's conservative Muslim identity reflects the core values of the vast majority of Turkish people. The people of any country can only be seduced by nationalism for so long, eventually their "natural" values prevail. Like the people of Egypt, the people of Turkey, don't want a war with Israel, but nor do they want a "special relationship".

      Turkey is increasing its trade & partnerships everywhere; both regionally, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Russia etc and further afield with Brazil, China and Indonesia. But unlike you Juan, I think EU membership could be a disaster for Turkey, as well as the EU, it could be the straw that breaks the back of the EU's democracy deficit. Best thing would be for Turkey to have an EU Free Trade Agreement, similar to Switzerland & Norway. There are tentative feelers towards a Turkey-India FTA (I doubt it will happen); but it couldn't even be canvassed if they were in the EU, and I don't see the EU having an FTA with India any time soon.

      Look for strengthening ties between Turkey & Lebanon. I think its inevitable, the people have some common characteristics - wheelers & dealers. Israel has been trying to prevent it happening. They carpeted the Turkish ambassador last year when Turkish TV broadcast a light entertainment Lebanese TV show that cast Israel in a bad light. I think that was before the incident with the Gaza blockade breakers. Sometimes Israel is its own worst enemy, which is what they say about the Palestinians - pot meet kettle.

      I hope Erdogan isn't overplaying his hand by threatening speeches at Tahrir & visits to Gaza. Turkey & Egypt together could act as a foil to both the GCC & Iran. But there's a danger that they'll end up as competitors. As always the behaviour of the elephant could be decisive, if the elephant decides to drive Turkey into the EU and drags Egypt into the arms of the GCC then perhaps the elephant would think itself to be better positioned to take unilateral action against Iran.

  • 77 US troops Wounded in Truck Bombing of Base in Wardak; Top Reasons US should get out of Afghanistan
    • Warren - the problem with your argument is that you don't know that something is a "never should have done that" unless you "do that" first.

      Should we have never gone to Korea, should we have never gone to Europe in 1916 & 1941. Should the Pilgrims never have gone to Plymouth, settlers to Chesapeake Bay, Captain Cook to Botany Bay.

      There are the things that we never did, that perhaps we should have done - Rwanda '94, Hungary '56, and Iraq '91.

  • Ten Years after 9/11, Do the Arabs value Democracy more than We do?
    • The Al Qaeda gang has been irrelevant in Arab countries since at least 2007. Its doubtful that its ideology has ever had widespread support. And the popularity it had for a short while was more like that which a one-hit pop-singer might receive. The Arab Spring is proof of that irrelevance.

      Drone strikes are also conducted by Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Unlike the CIA, JSOC is not subject to Congressional oversight. Its role has expanded under Obama. See Washington Post series Top Secret America.

      From what I've read & heard from the Iraq street, they've fallen out of love with their "parliamentary democracy" and would like an elected president who can get some things moving.

      "The dream of direct democracy has over and over again revealed itself to be a mere illusion enabling a ferocious dictatorship."

      That statement has more holes in it than Swiss Cheese, if you get what I mean. For those that don't, Switzerland is far & away the most "direct" democracy on this planet. Its last known dictator was Napoleon Bonaparte about 200 years ago.

  • State of Alert in Egypt after Breach at Israeli Embassy
    • You're right Juan, the Egyptian people don't want war, the people of anywhere rarely want war.

      Over the last 30 years more than a few Egyptian migrants (Muslim & Christian) have told me they left, in part at least, because the ordinary people got nothing from the Peace Accord.

      Only the military got a dividend, more weapons, more money from their business interests, more power; all paid for with US & Israeli money and their active connivance & collaboration.

      In particular they resent the domination of the military in commerce. Many have become small businessmen, something they could only dream of in Egypt.

    • I wonder if the anti-Israeli protests were inspired by what's been happening between Turkey & Israel. I don't buy the explanation that the Egyptian soldiers (border guards) were caught in "cross-fire", nor I suspect do many Egyptians.

      I also wonder if the MB stayed away because they knew there was going to be an anti Israel element to the protests.

      Seems there were protests all over Iraq on Friday, Baghdad, Kut, Abu Ghraib, Rutba, Falluja, Hilla, Kerbala & Diwanya.

      Juan - do you know or have any theories as to why there are no protests in Aleppo (Syria) ?

  • A tale of two Afghan Leaders, before and after 9/11
    • In this interview Michael Scheuer ex CIA bin Laden hunter blames US economic malaise on al-Qaeda link to

      Seems like he's drawing a long bow to me. Some of the deficit maybe, but not the toxic mortgages, crooked ratings agencies, banksters, car maker & bank & insurer bailouts etc. Nor did al-Qaeda create the Euro problems, they've been coming since Maastricht was signed in '92.

  • Sadrists to Demonstrate in Baghdad against US Troops Remaining
    • @Mohammed I find the bombing of people leaving a place of worship on the most important day in their religious calendar absolutely revolting.

      link to\story_3-9-2011_pg1_7

    • @Warren - Mohammed is right, tribalism has nothing to with the Sunni/Shia divide. Tribal divisions, irrespective of ethnicity, are almost always based on territory.

      The Sunni/Shia differences are theological & juridical, they're closer to the schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Sunni & Shia Muslims have a long history of sectarian violence (see Battle of Kerbala), as do Catholic & Orthodox Christians (see Fourth Crusade sacking of Constantinople).

      @Mohammed, I'm sure you know that there's no such thing as Safavid Shiism. The Safavids imposed Twelver Shiism on the Iranians in the 16th century CE. The Twelver sect of Shiism is anchored in the Iraqi holy shrine cities of Najaf and Kerbala, which were founded the 7th-8th century's CE.

      The Fatamid Caliphate were of the Ismaili Shiite sect, they founded of Cairo and ruled North Africa & the Levant between the 10th & 12th century's CE, .

      The enmity between Arabs & Iranians goes back to Cyrus the Great and beyond, pre-dating Christianity by about 600 years & Islam by 1,200 years.

      The Arab Spring isn't about tribalism nor is it about sectarianism, its about overthrowing absolute rulers (dictators and hopefully a few kings)

  • Turkey Crisis Provokes Israeli Army Anger at Lieberman
    • @Joe from Lowell wrote "There have been any number of wars in which in which Turkish troops have fought side by side with our own."

      Turkey did fight in the Korean War. But, in WW1 it was on the other side, in WW2 it was neutral, it was a no show in Vietnam, it did the least possible in 1991 Gulf war, it did even less in Kosovo, it was obstructionist in 2003 Gulf war, it did make a belated naval support effort in Libya. It does have troops in Afghanistan but they are there on a strictly no combat basis. So your "any number of wars" is by my count, precisely one.

      No doubt the actions of Turkey's government do enhance its prestige in the Arab world. But just as importantly they're calibrated to enhance its prestige amongst the Turkish electorate. The only thing protecting Erdogan from the Istanbul elites & the Turkish military is the Turkish people.

    • Most citizens of the EU wouldn't agree that Turkey is any sort of European state, period. Even many senior EU politicians, such as Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy etc.

      I also suspect many Turks don't want to join the EU, perhaps the only ones that ever did were the Istanbul elite & the military officer class. Turkey's economy is growing faster than any of the EU members, if it gets burdened with EU rules & regulations that will inevitably slow down. And Turkey has far more influence in the region as a sovereign nation than it ever would as an EU member, where it would be under the collective thumbs of Barroso, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Merkel, Sarkozy, Cameron and their like.

      Both the USA and the ME (including Israel) would be best served by Turkey remaining a predominantly Muslim sovereign democratic nation state. I just don't understand why the USA is so keen to shoehorn Turkey into the EU, I can only conclude its elitist groupthink.

  • Accord Reached for Peaceful Entry of Bani Walid?
    • Why is it that the media can't simultaneously report from multiple "fronts". Last week I posted a "complaint" that it was all Sirte and no Bani Walid, this week it's reversed (would be nice to think they heeded my post). So what's happening in Sirte -

      If the opposition forces can peacefully take over Bani Walid then one hopes the same can happen in Sirte. The TNC are to be congratulated for their efforts to bring their revolution to a close via negotiation - and doubly so if they're successful.

  • Top Ten Good News Green Energy Stories
    • The text to go with John's chart - link to

      And here are the CO2 emission charts from the same source link to

      More than 50% of the energy used ends up as unused heat - "Rejected Energy" in LLNL speak.

    • The solar systems proposed for North Africa are CSP systems not PV. CSP systems operate 24*7 by storing the heat, they can have natural gas as the backup heat source. Extensive use of PV requires upgrading the grid, usually with more transmission lines.

    • I think this should be titled "Top Ten Good News Green ELECTRICITY Stories".

      Conflating electricity and energy only serves to hide the energy sources used for space and process heat and of course transport - which are overwhelmingly oil and gas.

      I wish pundits would differentiate between electricity production and consumption - what means this word "gets".

      May be 20% of electricity PRODUCED in Germany comes from low carbon sources {nuclear being one of those sources), but that ignores sources of the electricity it imports, much is which is coal & nuclear. I would also note that Germany currently produce no electric cars. The first will probably be the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, which is a rebadged Chevy Volt.

      The Russia->Germany Nordstream gas pipeline was put into operation yesterday link to,,15368461,00.html

    • @Pheonix Woman - 400W = 8 compact fluorescent (mercury) light bulbs,

  • China offered Qaddafi Armaments in midst of war
  • Libya: Oil Bids on Basis of Capacity; World releases $15 bn in Assets
    • @Super390, there are right wing governments in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, New Zealand, Netherlands, UK, Canada, Portugal to name a few, the latter 3 are recently elected, the others are even money or better to get re-elected.

      Australia has a left-wing Labour/Green federal government, it will almost certainly get annihilated at the next election (if not sooner). All recent state elections have replaced the left with the right.

      India could move to the right at its next election. It's recent middle class led disturbances were about the failure of the left wing Congress government to do anything about corruption, many of the poor of India only wish they had the money to pay a bribe or two.

      So most established democracies are moving to the right. If the USA re-elects Obama then it will be a 'liberal' island in a 'conservative' sea, which would be no bad thing.

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