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14 June 2007


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Charles Cameron

Would you care to give us a hint as to your topic?

Cloned Poster

My son has remote control "control" this weekend with the US Open. So I'll catch it later. One favour, ask Wolf a question like, "What do really think?"

W. Patrick Lang


Topic: "The Middle East on fire." pl


Excellent! Will be watching.


I am amazed at how the US and Israeli intelligence community got caught off-guard by the events in Gaza (see my blog entires http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2007/06/will-israelis-invade-gaza.html and http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2007/06/panic-seizes-clueless-imperial-leaders.html ).

I wonder what your evaluation is of what appears to be another major intelligence FUBAR.




Thank you for the heads' up, sir.


Knock'em dead, sir!


The Hamas-Fatah swing fest has been a’brewin since Hamas stood up. While some of the Hamas juice undoubtedly comes from outside assistance, a large share is merely the deep disgust within the Palestinian population—particularly the disenfranchised youth—for the legacy of and empty promises by Fatah. Fatah has delivered nothing on their pledges to better the lives of the people, and has rather unabashedly continued the corrupt policies of Arafat. I empathize with the Hamas repudiation and, if I lived in Gaza, probably would be predisposed to lift arms against Fatah too.

As a UN military observer on three tours over a ten year period I remember walking thru the camps in South Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and around Beirut’s southern environs and seeing Fatah’s two-faced policy in action. People lived in bleak cinder block hovels. Raw sewage ran in the streets. I was told the Fatah strictly prohibited any improvements to these shanty slums as to maintain the visuals of ‘the camp’ being a temporary living arrangement vice the permanent village that it really was. People were forbidden to paint their houses, plant a garden, or improve their lots so as to be ready at a moments notice to return to their homes in downtown Haifa or Tel Aviv from which they were displaced 40 plus years before. It was a perpetual sham and to the lasting discredit of Fatah. Fatah has done little or nothing ever to truly improve the lot of the Palestinian people and now faces the fire from the next generation who won’t sit quietly for what went before. Unfortunately there no true beneficiaries from the current Palestinian dust-up. While I am not sorry to see Fatah get rocked, I am very worried about what may or likely will follow.


Why is the Middle East in flames?

Mankind evolved within endless tribal warfare. It is hardwired in the male psychic to fight to gain the status and resources to reproduce. If there are an excess of males without families, violence is inevitable: i.e. Somalia and Lebanon. That’s a lot of trash fires.

If two tribes or peoples are contesting for the same land, war ensues until one prevails: Anglos Saxons and the Celts, Europeans and Native Aborigines, Vietnamese and the Khmer or Nungs. Jews and Arabs; that is a white hot fire.

If one state invades another, a fruitless war is enviable if overwhelming force is not available to conquer the invaded homeland; that is the bonfire of Afghanistan.

Then there is colonial war to keep control of a valued resource; Iraq. That’s an oil fire.

If the US pulled out of the Middle East and the Palestine land issue was resolved, the only conflicts would be regional arising from overpopulation and limited resources. Barbarians crashing through the Gates of Western Civilization is simply propaganda. The re-engineering of transportation system out of petroleum energy since the USA would no longer control oil supplies however would lead to turmoil.

Then there is the problem of non-state nuclear weapons. Allies cooperating and the rule of law are more likely to defer a detonation in a Western city than torturing and killing every radical Muslim in the world; an unprofitable enterprise that only breeds more and blows the flames of hatred hotter.

Cold War Zoomie

Topic: "The Middle East on fire."

What? No Paris Hilton?

Cloned Poster

PL, just to take up a point that you constantly dismiss.

Iraq has huge, untapped reserves of the the kind of high quality oil that we have grown used to but that is going to be in short supply. It is cheap to extract and to refine, unlike, for example, tar sands which optimists hope will keep the empire rolling for a few more decades. The next generation will be scraping the barrel.

The oil in Iraq is a stupendous treasure.

Perhaps the generous dusting of Iraq with "depleted" uranium is also in line with their strategy of weakening the natives.

Incompetence is a great excuse.


Mass death.

Lifted from here.


dan of steele

someone pointed out a curious statement at the end of a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer....

Abu Obeideh, spokesman for Hamas' military wing, said his men relied on mortars because they could fire them from inside their bases. He added, however, that they now had access to more advanced weaponry they had confiscated from seized compounds.

"Weapons that we have never seen in our lives before," he said.

Any idea what they might be?

W. Patrick Lang


I am not sure that this was an "intelligence failure." Are you sure that it was not a failure on the part of the policy people?

To know if it was an intelligence failure you would have to know if the policy people were correctly informed by the intelligence people as to the situation on the ground before the policy people made whatever decision it was they made, like "Hamas is absolutely evil and we will seek to undermine them." That would be a policy decision.

Get it? You can lead a horse to water but you can not make it drink. pl

W. Patrick Lang


What "non-state nuclear weapons?"



probably the APC's that fatah had and maybe some advance ATGM's but probably just the APC's.

W. Patrick Lang


I don't mind if all you economic determinists want to have a different opinion than I do about the governing character of Iraqi oil and gas. That's fine. What I do not like are your attempts to lecture me on the nature of Middle Eastern and world petroleum resources and the oil markets. I ran a big piece of the US government analysis of this subject for many years. The marxists who write insultingly about this are engaged in anti-capitalist agitprop on this subject and I understand that they are just silly, but the sensible people like VV and CP worry me.

Oil is a fungible commodity. Every barrel in the world markets, whether it got there through long term contracts between states, para-statals, etc., or in short term trading in what is left over in the spot market, directly affects the price.

All of you neo-mercantilists who want to believe that you have to sit on oil to benefit from its production and sale are just wrong.

Think about how much our presence in Iraq is depressing production and export into the fungible oil market. Think about it. The big guys whom you hate so much all understand that. They know that there would be more Iraqi oil in the world market if we were not there. They also know that our machinations against the Iraqi government since the first Gule War have consistently depressed the amount of Iraqi oil in the world markets and therefore raised the price of this commodity to the detriment of big business. They also know that with the exception of the failed oil embargo of the early '70s it is clear that those who have crude, sell crude into the world markets. They do not impound it for political reasons.

Lastly, I know the people who made the decision to go to war in Iraq. This was not about oil. pl


Excellent,sir. I recall your mention here at SST when Hamas' offered a hudna.

Would you consider a piece on Krak des Chevaliers,if not here - perhaps at the Athenaeum?

W. Patrick Lang


Are you saying that you have or wish to write one? pl


Col. Lang,
No sir. I was respectully hoping you might consider a piece on the subject. Its always fascinated me and I have a semi decent, basic, general knowledge of the subject. I know it was manned by the Templars and Hospitalers at various times. And that meant highly skilled, elite and experienced knights and men at arms. Which I believe was not always the case for those that embarked upon the Holy Land. I'm also aware of the strategic location, design and thickness of the walls, the towers, size, storage facilities, etc. but what of interacting with the local populace? And if so, wouldn't there had to have been some kind of truce at various times? Or was it like its fellow powerful castles on the continent, extorting and demanding fealty militarily? The fact that it sustained so long, (when others in the Crusader kingdom fell) through various crusades until the final seige/surrender is fascinating. I know nothing of the intrigues and can't seem to find much on who the non military inhabitants were. In the end, were there survivors? I know your time is very valuable, Col. Lang, but obviously I and I'm sure others would love to read anything you might write on the subject.


. . . and they had you stand all the time?


Excellent. I also appreciated your allusion to hudna with Wolf. It was perfectly consistent with your thoughts in recent posts about engaging certain parties for an indetermined length of time. Doesn't have to be marriage; we can just date.

Alas, listening to the neo-cons talk of people in the ME as either western leaning or evil, I remember the Mexican father in McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses shaking his head in confusion at the American who took a bat to a stalled car he thought "evil." Reification is for simple minds.

No chairs on Wolf's set?


Good segment, but why no word on weapons delivered to Fatah by the U.S. (through Egypt and Jordan)?

(BTW, looking at a map, can anyone explain to me how Iran or Syria are supposed to deliver weapons to Hamas???)

Pat - Iraq and oil:

- If the main Iraqi produce were peanuts would the US have invaded?
- High oil prices by controlling, i.e. holding back, oil from the market is very, very profitable for the oil companies (and Cheney).
If the sanctions would have been lifted, Saddam would have flooded the oil markets depressing prices.
There is more economic interest (profit) in keeping oil rare than in gushing it on the markets.

- Oil was certainly not the only reason to attack Iraq, but without oil interest the attack would likely not have happened.

W. Patrick Lang


Yes. They would have invaded an Iraq rich in peanuts.

You have defined the capitalist interests of the United States as being a conspiracy of the oil companies with Cheney. I think that is far too narrow. the Republican establishment is wedded to the business community writ large, not just the oil companies.

We were very pressed for time in that segment and the first responsibility of any "guest" is to answer the questions. There were a lot of additional things that I would have liked to comment on but there was not time.

In regard to delivery of weapons, all things are possible to those who have a coast line and a long experience of smuggling.


Someone made a prefreence to PNAC's intentions stated as early as the mid-90s. This was in reference to the bases. One should not assume that because this group hoped to do something, that they had enough "clout" to assure the ability to do it in the early stages of the war. This is a dynamic process. pl

W. Patrick Lang


I will start a thread on TA about Krak des Chevaliers or Qala'at al-Husn. pl


looks like the bushie strategy

'strengthen fatah" & weaken "demicratically elected" hamas

as well as facilitate the "bush roadmap" for peace

has gone the way of so much that the bushies undertake

these guys do not seem to be able to do do anything right

they like to talk about being a superpower

they spend so much of our national reputation resources for little to no national benefit

it is embarassing to be associated with such systematic failure

and dangerous enough to bring kissinger, snowcroft and brzezinski toether on the charlie rose show to agree that a different international strategy is needed

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