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Total number of comments: 109 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:07)


Showing comments 109 - 101

  • In 3 months, Trump has Charged into 4 Mideast Wars, to no Avail
  • Trump to CIA: We now have 2nd Chance to take Iraq's Oil
    • Gary, you are back to the "lesser of the two" theory. I for one preferred to 'throw' my vote away. It is a sad state of our 'democratic' system when those are the only choices we are presented.

      PS: I do believe that he will be less of a war-monger than Hillary, though he will cause chaos. I did vote for Obama twice.

  • Israel's Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam
    • "The Holocaust was certainly the most horrific of many mass murder calamities which still hovers over us and should always unsettle us. But murderous intent also resulted from moral cowardice among decent and respectable people."

      What continues to sadden me is that the Palestinian Arabs are paying the price for holocaust committed by 'white Europeans' and not many seem to notice the extreme injustice in the west.

  • Why do GOP Presidents get to go Hard Right, and Dems are just GOP Lite?
    • "I’m asking for the Democrats to be ruthless."

      Once again I agree with the thrust of your post....In my opinion the democrats are puXXies (For the reasons you mention: Obama knew that the ACA as instituted would run into serious problems, yet Obama did not push for Single payer or even a public exchange; also his stand on big pharma), whereas the Republicans are ruthless.
      As a progressive, Independent, I am furious at the Democratic party for being sycophants of the Clintons. Even now instead of going to work they are coming up with all kind of excuses for their Loss (the metric was wrong, Putin did it, Comey did it, etc etc) !!!

  • No, America, it wasn't Russia: You did it to Yourself
  • In Trump's Shadow, is East Aleppo on Verge of falling to Regime, Russia?
    • Mark, I did try to follow your links....The Business Insider just mentions it similar to what you have done. There is a reference to the SNHR which has a sampling of one month (the bottom line all the counts are provided by anti Syrian Government activists - who have a natural proclivity to exaggerate - see Nicholas Taleb reference above).
      While Business Insider appears to be a media business, its founder has an interesting history - quit wall street over security fraud!).
      I tried to find out how the IAMSyria site is funded but hit a black hole - maybe you can shed some light there.
      Bottom line, the references do not appear to be credible...
      Finally, a simple reality check would lead one to believe that east Aleppo would have had hundreds if not thousands of hospitals given that every day the 'regime' destroys a few.

      This is a sad conflict fueled by external powers with no love for Syria.

  • Syria: Russia warns of Mideast Apocalypse if US attacks al-Assad's military
    • Hi Frank,

      This could be another wacky site...though it cites Syrian government and appears to be an American site (albeit antiwar).

      link to

      yet another one:

      link to

      The last one appears to be Australian...

      .frankly, it becomes very difficult to sort out which is real or not...that is why I come to this maybe the professor can validate these.

      But on an analytic note I would not be surprised at all if our strategy was to cut off the ISIS controlled area from the SAA so that the Syrian state can never take control of it...

      After all our goal is to create the Sunni version of Kurdistan that will cut off Lebanon (hence Hizbollah) from a land corridor to Iran. This will meet one of our goals in service of Israel...the second goal of 'pipelinestan' may not be achievable at least in the near term.

    • I agree with Sergio's observation on an increasing tilt in favor of the US establishment position vis-a-vis Syria....but do not believe the professor MISSES anything, I believe that is his INFORMED opinion...similarly to say that Sergio is missing has no basis in any objective observation of his comments.

    • 'But what is really remarkable here is the tone of voice she used against the US. Given the diplomacy pursued by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, it seems awfully shrill.'

      Honestly, professor, I do not understand where you are coming from. To accuse the Russian spokesperson of being shrill, after what has been said by Kerry (an open threat to start arming the opposition ala Taliban) and the 'speech' more like a diatribe by Samantha Powers in the UN is height of cherry picking.
      The Russian position is not so unreal given that the position of Hillary and the rest of the establishment is the implementation of a 'no fly zone'. The whole one-sided coverage of the Aleppo fight has been to soften the US public and then make it easy to launch yet another chapter in this Syrian Tragedy which has its roots in 'our obsession with Assad must go'

      And finally, how come we are the only ones that make honest mistakes whereas our adversaries only have devious motives in every attack.

      I would like you to address the following: 'Did we commit to have our good rebels to separate from l Nusra, and did we ever fulfill that commitment?'

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  • ISIL Endgame: Obama to send 250 more US Troops into Syria
    • "A memoir will bring him probably at least $5 million. No president in the last 100 years has died in poverty."

      Do not disagree about dying in poverty....but I suspect Mr Obama has bigger has to look at the Clinton foundation as a model; afraid $5M is peanuts in the scheme of things.

    • I wonder if any one else sees the irony of a noble peace laureate from the lone super power asking other Sunni countries (presumably, SA, Jordan, UAE, Qatar et al) to join the USA in invading another country!!

      IMHO, this is all about another attempt by Obama to try and cut-off the land route from Iran to Lebanon/Hezbollah in support of Israel/ SA / Egypt axis.

      After all he is going to need a lot of money once he retires from the presidency to one up Bill Clinton. This is the best motive I have been able to come up is certainly NOT humanitarian (else what is he doing in Yemen and also funding Al-Qaeda in Syria).

  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • Prof., while you are correct in saying that the shiites have a "Debbthification Commission"; as I recall it was the CPA and Paul Bremer who through executive order introduced the debaathification program. See: "The first act of the CPA under Bremer was to issue order of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. On 23 May, CPA Order Number 2 formally disbanded the Iraqi army [2] On 22 July 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members. " Source Wikipedia
      link to en.wikipedia.or

      Let us not absolve our primary role in this (we not only started the process and then brought these Shiites into that order) and not conveniently blame those pesky Shiites.

  • The Panama Papers and Middle East Leaders' Secret Bank Accounts
    • While I find it hypocritical that the westerm media is concentrating on the 'link' to Putin (note it is through friends) and to the chinese (I am currently in India the coverage on BBC and CNN is all focused on these two - Russia and China), I do not find it surprising. This is a convenient tool to keep the spotlight away from Cameron, and the western allies. I also find it surprising that not ONE US citizen has surfaced!!

  • Erdogan Threatened Europe with Refugees, now Demanding US abandon Syrian Kurds
    • Totally dependent, I do not know, but I thought Turkey has or had a thriving trade with ISIS in OIL.
      IMHO, Turkey is the problem.

  • Syria Rebels face Collapse as Thousands flee North Aleppo
    • Gary, I think the point is that if our approach had not been from the get go that Assad must go, we could have avoided a lot of destruction and bloodshed.
      And before, any one goes and talks about our goal of democracy in the middle east, no one that is even tangentially informed believes us. We could have impressed on our clients (KSA, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan et al) to not arm all flavor of opposition, but how could we do that when we were funneling arms through CIA.

  • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him
    • I am sorry I will have to disagree with your analysis in the second para: ".....and has been influenced by a global human-rights movement to become fixated on the Assad regime as something to be opposed (while the cooler temperaments among the American foreign policy community have so far prevented any kind of outright call for regime change). "

      I for one do not beleive for a second that it is a fixation with human rights that has lead for the call by the Obama administration that Assad must go. If this were the case we would NOT be encouraging Assisi in Egypt, the Saudi's in the middle east, especially Yemen. It is all about Israel and removing Iran through its support of Hezbollah as the last real counter weight to Israel. I for one have never been able to figure out why Obama is willing to spend so much (international) political capital and US resources to support Israel whose regime has repeatedly 'kicked him'. Maybe it is AIPAC, maybe it is the Saudi money? Maybe the professor can help me out here.

      PS: maybe Obama is playing a very long game here and giving enough rope to Israel and also building up his credibility with AIPAC etc at home to give a parting blow to Israel in the UNSC. But I think I maybe dreaming here!!

  • Netanyahu demands more billions from US after Iran Deal, insults US Envoy, Steals more Land
    • The chances are very high that Obama will take this insult and present his other cheek (I wish he does the opposite and surprise me) and the GOP congress will applaud Netanyahu and his regime. Europe will be quiet lest they be labeled for resurfacing anti-semitic tendencies. Our pundits in the think tanks will by and large go along, after all there is a lot of additional business for the defense industry.
      Israel now has a not too secret understanding with Saudi Arabia and the GCC whereby Israel provides a security guarantee to KSA and KSA and the GCC in return take on Iran through Islamic (Sunni) terrorism.
      We the USA are helpless at best and in connivance at worst unless Obama breaks some glass like boycotting (no show) a UNSC meeting where Israel is sanctioned; withholding additional military grants to Israel. However, all this will require fortitude which I suspect he lacks when it comes to Israel.

  • After the COP21 Paris Climate Accord, what we need is an Int'l Climate Court
    • I am afraid the powerful countries will ignore this if it comes in the way of their 'growth' just like we did with the Kyoto protocol. A climate court just like the ICC will be used only to go after the weak.
      This agreement is going to give the USA another tool to impose unilateral sanctions against countries for geopolitical reasons.

  • Why did Turkey dare shoot down a Russian Plane? The Proxy War in Syria
    • I think you have to be the most optimistic person in the galaxy!! Even if I grant you your first statement, a comprehensive agreement is not worth the paper it is written on. The Israelis have (especially, netanyahu) have used these agreements as 'toilet paper'. Look at Oslo.

      'That he has the power is obvious'; what he lacks is the cohones to do anything.his bureaucracy and his cabinet and the polity in washington will negate anything he does.

      What I have learnt over the last ten plus years is that Israel has deep roots in the US government...
      He just will not want to jeopardize his future. He needs the relations to make money ala clintons going forward.

  • Iran helping build "New Syrian Army;" ISIL fighters Fleeing to Iraq from Russian Airstrikes
    • Frankly, Prof. What are you trying to say!!! By your single minded pursuit of the secular government of Assad and its foibles while ignoring or downplaying the actions of the surrounding governments, you are coming across as a propaganda arm of the US and Saudi regimes!
      I have enjoyed the information you provide on your blog, but your totally ignoring the context in which the Syrian government finds itself is puzzling. Even we, when faced with 9/11 have taken extraordinary steps ranging from renditions, to torture.
      Please give Assad government some slack!

  • Al-Qaeda in Syria Leader: Kill Alawite Minority, Russians; Christians fear West Backs Him
    • I agree with your perspective. For a long time I felt that it was the cynic in me that felt that we the US were purposely creating chaos all over the world. Now, I am convinced that it has been our policy for a while. Our strategy is very simple:
      1. Become our vassal
      2. if not, we will destroy you in any number of ways (economic, financially, militarily...)

      The consequences of this strategy have limited consequences for the power to be (not the average person) in USA. We are blessed by being an essential island. This approach has kept Europe under control...Ukraine is part of that..we have created problems for their economy, while creating military opportunities for us....
      All of ME falls in this category as does the northern half of Africa.
      China and Russia continue to present problems for us and they may yet result in our decline (or WWIII).
      In our universe the dying star become red giants before imploding!!!

  • What is Russia's Strategy in Syria & Why does Egypt Approve?
    • " Here you allow that perhaps some high officials do support them."
      David, Isn't it more than that. Recent statements by DOD and media seem to clearly call at least a section of the 'rebels' as supported, trained and funded by CIA. We have also given the green-light to increased weapons shipments from SA, Turkey and Qatar. IMO, all the western support is in violation of international law, including our bombing by planes or drones of Syria; but no one seems to be bothered by it. At least, the Russian intervention has the merit of being legal (having been invited by the government).

  • No, Donald Trump, Mideast wouldn't be more Stable under Saddam & other Dictators
    • Chris, there is a difference..Russia has been invited by a legal UN recognized govt,, whereas us and the west has intervened illegally. If we follow your logic US and NATO should be out of Europe, GCC countries...etc. as should Russia out of some central Asian countries.

    • Fully agree......

    • Prof your comment is unbelievable! You are comparing tax rate uncertainty to thousands killed and choosing the former over life! I do not get it. I am sure the Libyans would prefer life!!!

  • Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria?
    • Thank you professor for a very informative blog. It is almost impossible to get unbiased and 'correct' information in the mainstream media. As for ISW is concerned it is in my opinion another think tank for the neo-cons and neo-libs interested in furthering the goals of defense manufacturers.
      I think Obama is hoping for an Afghanistan/ Taliban repeat with the Russian Syrian intervention, by creating another Saudi financed Wahhabi group.

  • Syria: Is Bashar al-Assad winning the Diplomatic War? Rebels Fret
    • IMHO, there are only two legal ways to intervene in the internal affairs of any sovereign country:1. At the invitation of the government, or 2. A UN Security Council resolution authorizing intervention.

      Certainly the unilateral interventions of US, NATO, GCC et al are not legal under international law; under the law of 'might is right' anything goes!!

  • With Iran deal, & Russia in Syria, is Israel being Boxed In?
    • Obama will have to lead by example. USA needs to act on part 2 of the bargain for nuclear haves to give up their Arsenal..all indications are that we, the us are going in the opposite direction. Talk of spending $1T to upgrade or nuclear weapons. Same with chemical weapons treaty..have we signed and ratified it?

  • 14 Years after 9/11, US, Israel Tempted to ally with Al-Qaeda in Syria
    • Lillie, I agree with the points you bring out in your post. The real question is why we keep pursuing these policies that result in the destabilization of the countries involved followed by our stated need to stabilize them and get more engaged through proxies. Obama's policy has been a disaster for the people of the Arab countries and now Ukraine, but has it been so bad for us (the USA).
      The cynic in me says that it has been a strategic move by Obama to destabilize the countries/ governments we view as not subservient and either replace them with vassal states or states with infighting. This has been great for us (strategically) as our media focus is on these while our ally Israel continues to neutralize Palestinians; our ally Saudi Arabia continues to raze Yemen, our ally Egypt continues to wipe out any opposition to the regime. The resulting swarm of refugees has overwhelmed Europe and removed it from having any aspiration as the fourth (Russia, China, USA being the other three) pole in geopolitics. The non Anglo Europeans have been put in their place for they were getting too cozy with Russia.

      In conclusion, I say it is not that we are fighting fires set by others rather we are setting strategic fires. That is my cynic side as the only beneficiary in all this I see is USA and Israel.

  • Top 4 Issues Saudi King Salman will discuss in first visit to Obama's White House
    • Prof Cole,
      It would be an enlightening case study if you did one on your blog on the role of SA in the current upheavals in ME and the role it played with our connivance in Afghanistan and Pakistan; the rise of Wahhabi madrasas in Pakistan and India . Also, the current carnage it is inflicting on Yemen with OUR blessings.


    • " Saudi Arabia did not create Daesh and does not like the organization. But it knows that if Daesh is rolled back in Iraq and Syria, Shiite Iranian allies will likely be the biggest beneficiaries, and so it has put Daesh on the back burner."
      Prof Cole, is it not a bit too sophisticated to say that SA did not create Daesh? My understanding is (based to a large part on your fine blogging) that ISIS mutated from the remnants of the Saddam army, the remnants which were funded and backed by SA or its elite.
      The question I would be asking the king is what are you planning on doing to reduce your role in the carnage in Syria, which IMHO is primarily a result of geopolitical games we and the Israelis have been playing with the help of Turkey, Qataris and the Saudis, though we would like our public to believe that it is all because of that 'monster' Assad in Syria. It is the INTERVENTIONS of ours and our so called allies that are responsible for it! Very sad and shameful.

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • Dr Schwartz, I do not doubt the sincerity of your belief in your post, but I must take issue with the thrust of your post (esp.1st para.) where you paint a rather benevolent view of US Foreign policy as some thing devoted entirely to the cause of freedom. US Foreign policy has never been for the cause of freedom, it always had a selfish motive, even in the 'glory' days of the 50s and 60s; the motive being getting as many converts to its side during the cold war.
      The other implication is that Arabs are a cesspool of ethnic hatreds and have an extraordinary willingness to massacre each other (something we should let them do). This totally ignores the destabilizing role of first the colonial powers and then USA and modern day western powers. To say that in the 50s we intervened in Iran for the cause of freedom, or in Iraq during 2003, in Ukraine, Yemen, Libya or in various interventions in Latin America, would be insulting the intelligence of anyone with a slight interest in current events and certainly the readers of this blog.
      The implication that religious difference are the cause of various conflicts is also very superficial as a deeper analysis will always show it is about land, resources or plain and simple power. Yes, religion is the tool that is used to exhort the opposing factions.
      Finally, your prescription that we stay out of these conflicts is correct; however, I will not bet a dime on that proposition.

  • Did rise of Daesh/ ISIL ensure Iran Nuclear Deal?
    • "US policies have given birth to the pursuit of systems of economic activity insulated from the US dollar; ..."

      I fully agree with you on this point. USA and the west, especially under Bush Jr. and Obama have used our monetary system with increasing frequency to accomplish geopolitical goals.
      Banking: We have frozen banking assets (which may be acts of war); blocked other countries from using our banking system and even coerced European entities such as SWIFT to expel countries. We have used our credit card (VISA and Mastercard) transactional systems as an economic weapon. Finally, we pressure our rating agencies to downgrade the countries we want to hurt economically.

      This has lead to as you point out that Russia and China are developing an alternate system to replace SWIFT and the credit card transactional system. Increasingly, a number of emerging economies are using non dollar or non Euro denominated transactions.
      Having used this economic weapon too many times, we are going to rue the day, because we may find that all the structures we set up after Bretten woods are no longer indispensable with negative consequences for our economic well being.

  • US Air Force Absent as Daesh/ ISIL advances on North Aleppo against Sunni Rebels
    • IMO, this is quite consistent with US (Obama) strategy of isolating Hezbollah in support of Israel. This also happens to suit our long time friends the GCC to essentially have a Sunni dominated 'state' that blocks Iraq's (ie the shia majority) and Iran's access to the Mediterranean Sea and any chance of a gas/oil pipelines to the ME, forcing Iran to use the Nabucco (US supported) pipeline; hence degrading Russia's monopoly as a gas supplier to Europe.

      The weak link and hence the risk of this strategy is that ISIL is not going to be satisfied to leaving GCC alone and this will result in the breakup of Saudi Arabia, with the oil regions of SA (which are Shia dominated if not having absolute shia majority) forming their own entity with the support of Iran.

      Needless to say, Palestine will become a wet dream and Israel would have accomplished its goal of having a greater Israel (losing its nebulous democratic credentials in the process) with the support of USA. Palestinians over time will be 'expelled' or forced to leave from the occupied territories for lack of sustenance.

      BTW, this is not happening over the next 18 months but over a longer period.

  • Obama: Climate change deniers endanger national security
    • Given that I have lost ALL trust in Mr Obama (having voted twice for him), I may be being a bit paranoid here, but classifying Climate Change as a matter of national security opens up the pandora's box of any protest against climate related activities to be potentially labelled as terrorism. Pretty soon the only tool in our toolbox will be under the guise of 'national security'

      IMHO, the progressives should be very careful in congratulating the administration.

  • Khamenei: US invented nuclear Myth; Iran will Never Invade another Country
    • Roger, ICBM's are not just offensive weapons, they also have strong deterrence quality. Additionally, there is no legal prohibition on Iran from producing ICBM's. We are obviously developing anti-ballistic missile systems all over Europe to supposedly (some say it is more to neutralize Russian ICBM's) contain Iranian and North Korean ICBM threat!!

  • Obama and David Brooks's Manhood Problem
    • " In the end, it is the quality of leadership not manhood that is in question and I look in vain for evidence that Obama intends to move far from the Washington consensus view of history and economics that has seen America fumble it’s way from one disaster to the next and play a huge role in creating the intransigent and brutal present circumstances in places like the Middle East. To do so would require courage of the kind that FDR showed when he rose to the challenge of his day."

      This has been my greatest disappointment (I voted for Obama both times). I was hoping for change, but instead what I find is a status-quo president; more secretive, more prone to use special forces and CIA, drones, and involvement of USA in many more unknown (to the public at large) conflicts. His use of financial and economic sanctions is eventually going to make them ineffective as mid level powers such as Brazil, India will not continue to commit economic suicide at the behest of America. They have resulted in short term successes no doubt.

    • Exactly my sentiments Brian!! The pundit class makes too much money to point out our hypocrisy. Our military, industrial complex has been worried about what are we going to do about Nato and all the troops in Afghanistan. It also appears that we have milked the Iranian enemy as far as possible. So we start a new conflict (we started this).
      It is too bad that most Americans do not pay attention to foreign policy and if they do we have a very short attention span.

  • US sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran after CIA overthrew Iran's Democratic gov't (US now Complaining about Hostage-Taker Amb.)
    • I agree with the sentiments expressed. I would choose Singapore instead, simply because Switzerland maybe neutral (now) but is European and the world center of gravity is slowly shifting towards the east. NYC, Switzerland are too tied to the structure that was created by US and the west after WWII, and this structure is showing a lot of strain. I will not go into IMF, WB etc...

  • Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
    • John, an excellent blog!!

      I might add that most of the public in other countries is aware of the tactics of the western entities; I remember growing up in India, that the educated elite knew that some of the western news organizations were a front for western spy agencies; the NGOs were often tainted.....It is the general public here in the USA that I find most brainwashed and even unwilling to learn the facts because the facts are such a jolt to the world view they have grown up in and are fed continually.

      We really need to revisit a number of our business models (News, TV, free speech=money; corporations=people etc etc.

  • Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail
    • Thanks, Prof Cole.

    • Prof Steve Cohen is perhaps the only expert that has provided an unbiased view of this Ukrainian crisis. I find most of the other US experts bordering on selective dissemination of information. The simple question one has to ask is why is it NOT in Russia's interest to protect its interests on its border, while we have since 1991 encroached on bringing NATO closer and closer to the borders of Russia.

      I want to remind our readers that we invaded tiny Granada ostensibly to protect 20 plus american students!

      A big deal is being made of the fact that Crimea is going to hold a referendum on whether it wants to stay as part of Ukraine or become part of Russia. Our president says it is illegal because a referendum has to be done by the whole of Ukraine for this to happen; so I suppose the upcoming referendum in Scotland is also illegal. I am just pointing to our hypocrisies... let us admit we are out to get Russia for geopolitical reasons, since we see a bipolar world in the future consisting of US and China.

  • Putinism in Cairo? The Rise of the Russian Model
  • Netanyahu Tells Kerry he will Grab 13% of Palestinian West Bank
  • India Flap derives from America's Gulag Practices and Far-Right Supreme Court
    • 'soft on Indians', on the contrary most of his recent high stake successes have been against south asians (Rajaratnam and rajat gupta, neena(?). He opted to give cohen of SAC a pass at criminal charges against him (not the company).

    • Bill, it is an assumption to imply that the maid in question was kept in virtual slavery. I have not read anywhere that she claimed that to be the case. The issue is not even her salary but rather the existence of two contracts and the alleged visa statement falsification (note: the counsel has made a 'not guilty' plea). The maid was hired in India, and I can attest that including boarding, lodging, food and clothing she was not being short changed by Indian salary standards. I bet she could not have made it on minimum wage $9 in NYC without boarding, lodging etc. As far as the wider picture is concerned, it is exactly as Prof. Cole has written in the column, it is militarization of our police and the loss of our fundamental rights which we have given up with the false expectation of security!

    • Margaret, the story appears to be more complex than the NYT (and other US MSM) has published so far. Please see my post later on, it is not clear to me who is the victim and of what. The maid in question appears to have had a well thought out plan to bring her husband and child to this country. Also, according to Indian media her parent-in-laws work in the US embassy / consulate!

    • Point well taken!

    • Thank you once again Prof. Cole for an informative article. I would just add to it the fact that the treatment meted out to someone arrested is determined by the said persons ability to pay for justice. As an example look at the lopsided population of US prisons, where the poor and often blacks are put away for a small quantity of marijuana, while a rich white goes free. (The recent "Affluenza" case as an extreme example).
      Now to the particulars of this case, it appears that the vice counsel may have violated some visa laws, but given that one is not guilty until a judge says so, this is a probable cause indictment. Nevertheless, as you say, I agree the treatment by state department police and the US marshals appears to be over the top. Some one at state dropped the ball or there is more to this and it was done on purpose.
      The case appears to be not as black and white as Mr Preet Bharara has made out to be. The spotlight in the western media has been on Ms Devayani, the vice counsel. However, the maid's (Mrs. Sangeeta Richards) story has escaped scrutiny. Very little is mentioned that she apparently left the home of the counsel in June without notification with some missing material (?). It is mentioned in the Indian media (including Times of India) that she or at least some immigration lawyer on her behalf tried to black mail Ms Devayani and that she reported that fact to the US authorities. It also appears that they ignored that as they were busy building a case of human-trafficking and in-spite of the fact that the Indian government informed the US embassy in India that her husband's (Ms Richards husband Philip) passport had been cancelled, he and his children were secretly given a human trafficking visa and brought to USA (this was stated by Mr Bharara, who by the way is an American/Indian, born in India). This all seems very fishy to me, it appears there could be a case of some personal vendetta or there is more to this story than is known so far. Some bloggers in the NY/NJ have suggested that Mr. Bharara may be trying to raise his profile in preparation for a political role in the future.
      I find it amazing that the US attorney' s office would expend so much energy in pursuing this case when he has given up on criminal cases against ANY of the executives responsible for the banking debacle.
      Finally, this may be the 'last straw that broke the camel's back'. India and Indians have felt very slighted by the heavy handedness of the US authorities when their Ex president , or a movie hero were detained just because they happened to have a name like Khan. The treatment of VIPs is always a reciprocal affair and one may find that some of the privileges that American diplomats and politicians take for granted when they travel to India may be affected and I for one do not consider it to be childish.

  • Top 10 errors in Netanyahu's Speech Demanding Iran give up 'Genocidal' Policies
  • Egypt's Counter-Revolution: 21 Women and Girls Harshly Sentenced, Liberal Bloggers to be Arrested
    • C'mon, prof. Do you really believe the MB behavior was anywhere near as dictatorial than the sisi regime!

      Then the other side of me says the secularists and left asked for this....not a military coup!! Really!!

  • US-Iran War Averted by Agreement to Negotiate on Nuclear Enrichment
    • Thank you Prof. Cole for an informative post.

      I am pleased that Mr. Obama was able to get this far given the neo-cons, AIPAC, Israeli and Saudi lobbies and money which influences (I am being generous - it is more like 'buys') the majority of our congress and the media.

      I would not under-rate the ability of the above mentioned forces to do everything to scuttle this agreement. Also, a joint attack by Israel/ Saudi Arabia is not all that far fetched, which will result in the Pavlovian response by the US of siding with Israel no matter what.

      I just hope that Mr Obama has the strength to warn Israel - Saudi Arabia of any such misadventures and the ability to thwart them.

      With my fingers crossed!

  • Tim Berners-Lee Warns "Tide of Surveillance and Censorship" threatens Democracy
    • Darpanet led to inter-networking (ie the protocols, pipes and plumbing);world wide web is the portal (browsers/html) to the plumbing, two different pieces of what we colloquially call the internet.

  • Syrian Civil War Spreads to Lebanon: Beirut Shaken by Iran Embassy Blast, kills 23, wounds 150
    • I agree with your last point...regarding our terrorists, well they are our client's (saudi's) terrorists, hence they are ours.

    • Why are we not calling it a terrorist attack, potentially sponsored by Saudi / other interests? The mainstream media (WAPO, NYT) seems to go with 'explosion or blast'. Could it be because they are our terrorists!

  • Is the White House Right that More Iran Sanctions put US on "Path to War?"
    • I really see no reason for Iran to make major compromise to their nuclear program. Notice, over time how our demands have changed...first it was no weapon, then weapons production capability and now anything that has the potential to enable a weapons capability. Eventually we will be asking Iranians can not study nuclear energy et al.

      So far nothing Iran has done is contrary to NPT; the security council resolutions are un-democratic and irrelevant as they over-ride a treaty.

      We are doing this because we can....we will eventually turn the non western world against us and when it is strong enough, we will see good bye to dollar as a reserve currency.

      If we are serious about solving problems, address the elephant in the room, namely Israel.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
    • some additional reporting (BBC):

      Later, Mr Zarif responded to the claim on Twitter.

      "No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6pm Thursday to 5:45pm Saturday. But it can further erode confidence," he wrote.

      "Mr Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of US draft Thursday night? And publicly commented against it Friday morning?"

      "Mr Zarif appeared to be referring to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who on Friday morning cautioned in a statement that his country wanted a "credible agreement". At the end of the day's talks, Mr Fabius told France Inter radio that Paris could not accept a "fool's game".

      A Russian foreign ministry source was also quoted by the Interfax news agency on Tuesday as saying the failure was "not Iran's fault"."

    • I have the same question. Are the spin masters at work and has the AIPAC already gotten to the administration to change its tune and lay it on Iran?

    • I know, I know! But for once I hope the US administration develops some 'kahunas (?)' to take on this Frankenstein monster.

    • The Guardian has a detailed description of what happened. I find it unbelievable that we let a country like Israel run our foreign policy, this is insulting to me as an american. From Guardian:

      "In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu's government that the intended deal would not harm his country's national

      The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu's power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days' time."

      "It has emerged that after a call from Barack Obama on Friday evening asking him not to oppose the planned Geneva deal, Netanyahu did the opposite. He called British prime minister, David Cameron, Russian president Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande, asking them to block it."

      It is clear that Israel is not a friend and cannot be trusted. This is not the first instance of Israel publicly humiliating the USA. That Israel needs to be taught a lesson is obvious, and in my opinion if Obama took the podium and publicly took Bibi to task by pointing out his treachery and taking some actions (e.g. no more sharing of NSA data, reduction in aid...) the public at large will support him. He should say it is not in the US interest to start another war in the middle east and attack the Lindsey et al for putting the interest of Israel ahead of the USA.

  • Israelis plan new Colonies, Oil Drilling, on Palestinian Land during "Peace Talks"
    • I am in full agreement with you. James is too willing to give the Israelis a free pass. The Holocaust has been used too often to justify all the wrongs the Israelis are doing in Palestine.

      To my knowledge, the Palestinians were NOT responsible for the Holocaust, it was the Europeans; if there was ever a case to install a European colony of Jews fleeing the Holocaust, the place was a portion of Germany, not Palestine.

      But that ship has sailed and the Israelis have shown themselves to be ruthless land and resource grabbers...there are no two ways about only have to look at the time sequence of the maps that Prof. Cole has posted so often.

      Finally, personally, I think the time for a two state solution is gone....thee will eventually be a single state perhaps rising from the ashes of an 'apartheid' like Israeli state...I am sorry for being very negative, but this is of course my humble opinion.

  • Scrooge Republicans prefer Pentagon White Elephants to Food Stamps for Poor Children
    • I do not disagree with your analysis. Finding a single root cause is a futile exercise, when one is talking about society and economy. I would add the oil embargo as a big factor in inflation.

    • Bill, fully agree with you...I do not believe one party is significantly better than the other when it comes to entrenched politicians (they have all been bought)...

      I found the following article right on...

      link to

      Just like Reagan, who is now almost worshiped as a saint by the right, was responsible for the breakup of the unions and the bad mouthing of the government; Clinton, who almost sits on a similar pedestal was responsible for sowing the seeds of the middle class decline and the loss of manufacturing.

    • Hello Bjorn,

      Thanks for your comments....

      Could not find the book you mentioned (on Amazon) but found the following:

      The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (Apr 26, 2011)

      Is this any good? I will get it and definitely read it....also, I do read a lot of Scandinavian mystery novels and have been getting the inkling of the ascent of the neo-nazi right-wing groups (do not follow the politics in these countries as thoroughly as perhaps I should).

      This does not lead to a good ending for capitalistic/democratic societies....does the end result always have to be fascism, due to greed and capture of state organs by the monied class?

    • Nice post!

      I am sure you have seen this:

      link to

    • To 'Nobody', what you list are by and large good goals. The question is how does one go about accomplishing them. The politicians do no longer need the voters because they can be manipulated by sophisticated advertising paid for by rich interests. Mass protests can not take place because of the national security state, the police will put it down with an increasing degree of brutality. The judiciary has by and large been we have 'corporations are people' and 'money is free speech'

      ...this will either self implode over time or we are headed towards an 'Elysium' like set up. In the meantime we can slow the trend...

    • thanks, I second Prof Cole. We have lost sight of the social contract.

  • The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars
    • I believe, invasion by itself is not genocide, but the awe and shock of baghdad, the carpet bombing of faluja, the blockade of food to children etc constitute very heinous crimes!

      I suppose by the same logic, what happened in Cambodia can not be characterized as genocide; though the mass killing of american indians does qualify.

      Maybe the civilized world needs another term, because as some one pointed out, we the US by not being signatories to a number of treaties (Rome Statute, some geneva conventions, ICC etc) are able to continue to have a holier than thou attitude.

  • Dear Tea Party: The Gov't Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too
    • Joe from Lowell, I do not support the tea party and DO support the ACA, (as a matter of fact I would have preferred a single payer option). But regarding transfer from rich, in actual fact I believe there is a surcharge of 2.3% (or so) on dividend income of people making more than $250K or $400K plus in annual income. I am pretty sure it is accurate though I have not gone back and looked it over. There may be other taxes as well....but this one I do remember.

  • Is Iran Ready to do a Deal with Obama over its Nuclear Program?
    • Prof. Cole, the real question is,"is USA ready to do a deal, or better still, does USA have Israel's permission?"

      Any one who has followed this topic knows that to expect Iran to prove the non existence of a program they do not have is a smoke screen to create a different smoke screen under which Israel has all but completed the occupation of Palestine.

      The west has successfully completed a western enclave in Palestine; Mission Accomplished.

  • Is Hamas Finished? Facing a Youth Rebellion and Egyptian, Iranian Hostility
    • I think the Palestinians are headed for second class citizenship of a de-facto apartheid state of greater Israel. Because of the unconditional support from USA this state will be immune from any outside effort, moral or otherwise. An independent Palestinian State on WB and Gaza is no longer a viable possibility. The Arabs always thought that time was on their side, I think they are in for a rude surprise.

  • The World after the Kerry-Lavrov accord on Syria
    • John, I agree mostly with all the points you made, but I have take exception to your use of name calling "Putin is a bastard" and "Assad is a liar"; it did not add any value to the points you made. One could use the same descriptions for our president and administrations and we would be all roiled up. As an example, our government, Obama included has repeatedly lied about NSA and other matters.

  • Arguing with President Putin
    • Prof. Cole, I have three observations:

      1. The credibility of the UNSC was shot down a long time ago, with all the vetos by US in support of Israel; why is it more insidious when it comes to others when they use the tool for their strategic interests.

      2. Prof. Cole unless have you have seen more evidence of the gas attack (and you may have)the current evidence does not prove that it was the regime that did it. Honestly, with a heavy heart I challenge you to show some OBJECTIVE evidence. Calling it a crackpot theory (without real evidence) is not a scholarly statement!

      3. INMHO, you come across as an apologist for the current administration and the US record, and I know that was not your intent!

  • Obama Isolated at G20 on Syria, No 'Coalition of the Willing'
    • Bill, I do not believe it was the Europeans that were clamoring for the dismantling of Yugoslavia. Once it started they (especially Germany) took full advantage of it. The initiative was once again a strategic initiative of the usa to remove the last pro Russian government in the mainland of Europe, and as usual this was done under the guise of humanitarian intervention. This same pattern is being followed for the very same reasons; do not be fooled about some moral obligation (we have ignored and abetted too many of morally reprehensible situations).

      Let us get out of Europe they are big boys now!!

    • okay, Joe...we are back to calling things chemical weapons only when we want them such. So agent orange used in vietnam, white phosphorus in iraq, and depleted uranium which is still resulting in deformed children being born in Iraq are not banned! BTW, white phosphorus and napalm are banned items, but only for ohers. Great Powers can not be encumbered by such minor rules, laws, norms (pick your word). Finally,we did not attack saddam when he attacked iran with CW or gassed the kurds, in fact we gave a helping hand by providing saddam with target information.

      Now, if you want to be legal, there is NO International legal basis for attacking Syria, that is why our Orwellian president now calls it 'international norms'. This morning I heard another variation (on NPR)...'cultural norms being violated hence we need to act'!

  • Syria: The US is no Lone Ranger (Cole @ Truthdig)
    • The constant apologist!! You can not seem to comprehend the possibility that our government can lie to get what it wants.

  • Obama goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses
    • Lane, the international law does not support your assertion. My reading is there are two relevant ones: a chemical weapons ban which Syria did NOT sign and a Geneva convention which bans the use of chemical weapons among states (this was not a use against another state). Perhaps Prof. Cole can clarify.

    • Joe, if you tally all the UNSC resolutions USA has vetoed (mostly in support of Israel) they exceed by far the ones ussr and Russia have vetoed. Of course, Israel is a no no topic in the us MSM!

  • Military-Ruled Egypt Opposes US Strike on Syria
    • Prof. Cole, I am not a fan of the military govt. in Egypt, but as stated In your piece, their stand appears principled. As to paranoia, if I were a Muslim Mid East country, I would be paranoid too. Uncle Sam has a history here as you have so often pointed out!

  • Rush to Western Strike on Syria slows, but does not Stall
    • Joe from Lowell, your observation is correct. I think it is to be expected from the readership of this blog, which has memory of the 'gulf of Tonkin resolution', 'the yellow cake of Iraq', the 'wmd trucks of Iraq',the 'nuclear program of Iraq', etc etc.

      Trust once lost is hard to regain with statements like 'trust me'. It is exactly that the people of US DO NOT TRUST their government!!

    • false flag operations are known to happen. i guess we will only find out 40 years from now, when cia archives are laid open.

  • Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
    • we already have one on our southern border!

    • Jacob, I am afraid it will take a herculean effort to take the public away from their sports broadcasts and reality shows. I have coffee everyday at a local Starbucks and have a group of regulars (conservatives and progressives). The typical response is 'it does not affect me'; the progressives are worse they are so adverse to attacking anything Obama and are willing to rationalize any/all mis-behavior from Mr. O.

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
    • joe from Lowell, your quote below is an example of pure inflammatory and baseless commentary.

      'One election doesn’t give the President free rein to make himself Pharaoh. Even Hitler’s party won one election.

      He was voted into office to oversee the writing of a constitution, and he decided that the constitution was going to read “L’etat, c’est moi.”'

      I believe Kassandra above makes good points worth pondering about.

    • "The opposition boycotted the vote" and now they invite the army to conduct a coup and topple a duly elected government. I believe the sacrosanct western media / civic groups also said the elections that brought in Morsi were fair and square. People are giving 20Mil number in the streets; the best I have heard is 1.5M; I think the people confuse it with 20 mil signatures (not verifiable). Anyway, I think the tiger is out of the cage and the liberals will rue the day and I feel very sad for ALL the people of Egypt.

    • Richard, your response is focusing on motives of MB, something that I do not have the ability to know, all I can do is provide my reading of the facts. Please provide some objective reference to how Morsi governed in an undemocratic manner. My reading is that they won three separate elections/referendum. The only reason he took supreme power for a short period of time was to avert the Mubarak appointed supreme court from dissolving the constitution writing body (they had already dissolved a duly elected lower house of the parliament). On the question of exclusive manner: sure he packed the upper house with pro Morsi supporters, but that was not illegal and democracy does have winners and losers. The liberals should have waited for the next round of elections which were due within the next year. To ask for military to stage a coup was undemocratic. Finally, I believe, your expectation of MB to not protest is expecting too much of some one whose duly provided rights have been taken away by a military coup (and that is what it is)!

    • Prof. Cole, I am an avid reader of your blog and thank you for your contribution to information on middle east. However, I must take issue with your narrative in this blog. You seem to blame the MB disproportionately and use language like Morsi pushed through a constitution with only 30% participation. Come on sir, what kind of participation and victory margins have we had in the greatest democracy (USA). You also forget to mention that it was the Mubarak era judiciary with the covert backing of the military that dissolved the duly elected lower house. In my opinion, Morsi was forced into taking action to counter the forces of the military and the elite that lost the elections! I BTW, am not a supporter of religion in politics, am of Indian (Hindu) origin. I just want to call it as I see it. The blame lies very squarely in the lap of the military and its supporters(incl.US government) who never wanted a popular democracy in Egypt or region for that matter (Hamas in Gaza).

  • Before he Was President, Obama Championed Extensive Surveillance Reforms (Brandeisky)
    • It would be revealing to list the number of election era promises Mr Obama has broken and where he has gone 180 degrees!

  • Egypt's "Revocouption" and the future of Democracy on the Nile
    • Newsnag, All you have done is parrot generalities. Pls be specific about the things morse did unconstitutionally or illegally. Also, do not forget to list the decrees the Mubarak era military announced to thwart morse. The fact remains this was a military coup and no amount of beating around the bush can change that,

  • Egypt: New Left and Coptic Christians Demand Toppling of Muslim Brotherhood Regime
    • Constitutionally and/or legally who has the right to appoint the prosecutor general?

      My recollection is that the one that was fired was appointed by a dictator or by the military Junta that followed. What power does Morsi, as the elected president have?

  • Top Ten Republican Myths about Obama and Iran
    • Steve, should we not let the Lebanese decide their own fate? Our intervention has only made life worse for the Lebanese. As for Hizbullah being 'a toxic presence', one could accuse Israeli occupation of the west bank and Golan height (not to mention illegal blockade of Gaza) being a very toxic presence in the neighborhood, Israel just happens to be our toxic presence.

  • What Cable News didn't Tell You: The Non-Aligned Movement Meeting Strengthened Iran's Hand vs. US, Israel (Azad)
    • JohnH, I fully agree with your points. These points have been ignored by the western media for the most part. The rest of the world (world without west), is looking for better alternatives as soon as possible, and we the west will wake up only when it is too late. We are winning the tactical battle with sanctions but will lose the strategic war.

  • Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)
  • Iran, UNSC talks have the effect of Averting War
    • Prof Cole, I enjoy your column and your insights. Re: the negotiations, I think the progress will not take place before the US elections because there is no way, Mr Obama can show any flexibility lest the whole Israeli and the right-wing lobby will go after his hide. Iran is not going to totally capitulate, which is the only outcome Mr Obama can accept before the election.

      Note: where did the chief negotiator fly to directly from Baghdad; to Israel to report to the Grand Master Netanyahu!!!

  • Syrian Civil War Kills 160, Spills over onto Lebanon, Turkey; Will US Intervene?
    • I believe we (the US) are itching to get involved militarily in a more direct way than we already are; all for geopolitical reasons (Russian naval base and influence; remove threat against israel; weaken iran....)and not for humanitarian reasons. We will open another source of long term terror threat to ourselves.

  • Iraq Slams Saudis, Qataris for Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels
    • my understanding is that in Syria the Sunnis, while being the largest sectarian group, are still less than 50% of the population, hence NOT a majority Sunni country. We have opened a Pandora's box (Condi rice started it by creating the scare of the Shia crescent, and Hillary has run with the ball)which will once again come to bite us Afghanistan.

  • Israel's Atom Bomb Factory in 3D
    • forgetting for a moment how truly democratic Israel is, double puzzled has failed to note that China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia (as per our media) are hardly paragons of democracy!! In addition, Eugene, you have repeated a number of erroneous claims in your last sentence of the second last para.

  • Top Ten Mistakes in the Libya War
    • I do not get your first response; on the contrary because you cannot get all five (since at-least one of them is committing the crime against humanity) to agree to take action any of the permanent member of the UNSC is assured of NO UNSC or UN action.

      And no I am not reluctant on your second point, I only point out the fact that it is only used against the poorer and underprivileged and often where the motivation of the UNSC permanent members is far from purely humanitarian. I would prefer that actions under this portion of the charter be by a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly, which is far more democratic. This way we may have had action against US and UK for Iraq related atrocities.

    • Prof. Cole, I would like to point to some issues with your article as you rightly point out that only the UNSC can authorize use of force. This leaves all the members of the UNSC to conduct crimes against humanity (e.g. US/UK in Iraq, China in Tibet..etc.) without impunity. You go on to say therefore it is 'desirable' to add more members such as India and as a result we have to add Pakistan (how about India because we have added CHINA). I think it is not only desirable, but rather IMPERATIVE if the UNSC is to regain any credibility.

      You also support the addition of Pakistan on the basis that we need to have a Muslim country on the UNSC. If we start making additions based on religious grounds, then I think we need to add Israel (Jewish), Nepal (Hindu) etc. The point is that basing it on religion can get very silly very soon.

      Finally, I think the 'Crimes against humanity' rationale is quite vague and has so far been used by West against non western countries, otherwise we would have taken Israel to task a long ago, a la Lebanon and Gaza, or as mentioned above USA, UK, China, Russia etc. Other mechanisms are needed!!

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