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07 October 2012


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Clifford Kiracofe

The position of Christians is disintegrating and US foreign policy is a significant factor.

The US, for example, is allied with Zionism, the US is allied with Wahhabism, the US is allied with an increasingly Islamist Turkey, the US supports the jihad against Syria, the US has strengthened the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi movement, the US supports Wahhabi tools in Lebanon, and so on. Thus, radicalization of the Islamic world and increasing Islamic terrorism is arguably abetted by Washington as is aggressive and expansionist Zionism.

We can recall the Dick Cheney/Neocon vision of Israel allied with Saudi Arabia and the Gulfis versus Iran. Seems to be the Obama policy as well with Turkey added to the mix.

Meanwhile, the Christian communities of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine are under severe pressure. Young college educated Turkish Christians are considering leaving as the Istanbul yuppie teenybopper/20 somethings don headscarfs and attitudes and the government Islamicizes the country foreclosing propsects for Christians. (My brother has been to Van.)

Babak Makkinejad

Argentina was similar until 1994 I think, her President had to be a Catholic.

I do not think these types of strictures are very improtant to the actual minority peoples.

The most important thing is for them to be secure in their persons, in their communities, and in their propperty.


The bloody stalemate in Syria and the prevarications of the United States over what to do (or not do) seems to be creating a lose-lose situation - for us and for Syrians of all denominations. On the one hand, we fear the chaos that would ensue from collapse of the Assad regime and the possibility of an Islamist regime replacing it (whether of the salafist, Muslim brotherhood or some other variety). On the other, the longer the struggle goes on, the greater the ifluence among the opposition of those very Islamist groups. Our current actions are having the effects of gradually degrading Assad's position while doing so at a pace and in manner that improves the chances that he people we least want in power eventually will arrive there.

One concrete action reported in today's NYTimes is the pressure we are placing on the Saudis and Qatar not to supply the rebels with any weapons other than light arms. The fear is that items like shoulder fired anti-aircraft weapons could find their way into terrorists hands.Which terrorists with what capability or intent is not specified.
If the question were posed: do you fear the conjectured enhanced terrorist threat more you do an 'Islamist' government in Damascus, the official Washington answer apparently is "yes, we fear the former more."

How many of us would make the same judgment?

Babak Makkinejad

The policies that you have descibed in your second and thirds paragraphs are, in my opinion, ten times more dangerous to US-friendly states than they ever are to Iran or her allies.

See below:


By the way, by Turkish Christians I imagine you mean Greeks and Armenians? Van was an Armenian city.



"the conjectured enhanced terrorist threat more (than)you do an 'Islamist' government in Damascus?" IMO the mistake is to think that these are likely to be other than the same thing. pl.



Argentina? Splendid! Let us amend the constitution in the US so that the president must be a trinitarian Christian. "the important thing is for them (minorities) to be secure in their persons, in their communities, and in their propperty." We WASPS/Catholics and others of our kind will be more comfortable without the threat of a regime unsympathetic to our core beliefs and prejudices and the "true others" can be secure in our protection. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I am not writing a perscription for the United States.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think that there is stalemate in Syria - I think the Syrian government is destroying the anti-government forces.



No? Why not? If it is good enough for the ME, why is it not good enough for the US? pl

Babak Makkinejad

For 3000 years the Middle East has been about Religious Truth. This is a slaient feature of these communities - each believes that it has religious truth on its side and is jealosuly guarding it.

That does not obtain for the United States - were even the possibility of Religious Truth is in dispute.



"3000 Years," eh? Remarkable, so glad you told me. There is religion as philosophy and hope of salvation and then on the other hand there is religion as group and "tribal" identity. It is unfortunate that in the ME so few have learned the difference in the last 3,000 years. pl

Babak Makkinejad

ME is not an exception.

In India the same situation obtains: consider Jains, or Sikhs and some others that no one has heard of.

That is, the 2 features that you have mentioned are intertwined.

There is such a thing called Persistence of the Past, in my opinion.

In 395 AD the Roman Empire was partitioned. Consequently, to this day, that division persists in the different and varied lot of the Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Since the Past is Persisting and refusing to go away quickly of gently, it is advisable, in my opinion, to make what improvements there are to make.

Clifford Kiracofe

Babak M,

Thank you for the very interesting and helpful news item. I will try to follow news of this community. Yes, Armenian. Yes, the Old City of Van was Armenian until the Turkish genocide. An Armenian-American friend of mine's first name is "Van" as his family was from there...some survived and they do not forget.


I spoke with a Lebanese-American friend this morning who specializes in the Middle East. He indicated that because of the foreign jihadi terrorist offensives, the Christian situation in Syria is severe and that Christian displacement and refugee situation is large scale. While some reports talk about 100,000 Christian refugees in Lebanon from Syria the numbers may be much higher. We are going to have lunch with a well-infomed Muslim/Alawite Syrian-American friend next week and discuss the issue in detail.

The issue is not oil. The issue is Zionism, Wahhabism, and Salafism and the strategic objectives of each.

Jamie Rubin has said about war with Syria that "Cutting Iran's link to the Mediterranean Sea is a strategic prize worth the risk." http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/04/the_real_reason_to_intervene_in_syria

I know Jamie. He is well-connected and informed and was an assist sec state under Clinton. Read this piece twice.


RE: "It is unfortunate that in the ME so few have learned the difference in the last 3,000 years."

Col. sir,

One of the few lessons I've gleaned from that great Preußin who inquired on the Nature of Warre was that folks rarely listen to Reason, for Passion [i.e. primordial violence, hatred,& enmity "Ur Gewalt, Hass und Feindschaft"] often [the sole factor] drives the Masses....

Tragic indeed, even after 3 millennia....

Norbert M. Salamon


Off topic,

you, Sir, may want to post it or not
It is very illuminating as to the effect of the $100 barrel oil since 2005 t0 present [includes most OECD countries, the world and some Far East]



Babak Makkinejad

I read the article by Jamie Rubin.

I found it deplorable on multiple levels: in the implicit contempt for the Arabs, who can easily be manipulated, in his advocacy of an Israeli-centric policy in the guiese of benefiting the United State, in his public indifference for the Principles of Peace of Westphalia, and in his utter and complete disregard for what follows the current Syrian dispensation.

More war and more bloodshed and more destruction for what exactly?

But US is clearly following his policy recommendations....



I know Rubin as well and am not as impressed with his overly clever thoughts. pl

Al Arabist

Don't forget that Syrian Christians played a major role in founding the Baath party, the SSNP (Syrian Socialist Nationalist) the Baath and the Communist for that matter.

But they KEPT their social clout by negotiating their status with the Asads personally, just like every other group did. Sometimes it meant standing behind a reactionary clergy who would broker deals for the group. This was the kind of faux "millet" system. it worked by sheer force and also shared inequality. In other words, Sunnis, Shia, Christians and the dozens of other minorities were equally deprived, just about. Everybody had shaky rights of person, property and community.

In the open economy next door the nifty idea of confessionalism has long run its course and is recognized as institutional racism. Why would the Syrian Christians want that? Out of the frying pan into the fire. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gU7U0SiFO7p0oCuKtVY8lsijjhGg?docId=CNG.58e763c4f9e27c86cf73881d881278bb.cb1

I totally agree that Turkish and Saudi Islamism,sanctioned by the U.S. IS combining to create a bad scene for Christians in Syria who are among the many being kidnapped and ransomed or killed on the basis of accents spoken. Obviously this intensifies confessionalism.
Christians are the best placed to LEAVE, given a higher percentage of "cousin in Chicago" situations, plus U.S. visa priority. Funny that we're supporting this fundamentalist insurgency with one hand, vaguely protecting the Christians with the other. Which Christians with foreign relatives will stay after having seen Iraq and knowing the Saudis!
And NO, there is no stalemate. As predicted by many little people, this regime plays awful rough and seems to have nothing to lose.

Clifford Kiracofe

PL, I was not clear. I am not impressed with his thoughts either, never was, but my point is his views reflect the thinking of some circles. Before State, he was with Albright at the UN, before that with Biden in the Senate.

Jamie, WINEP, AIPAC, Saban Center etal. ... the inside the Beltway mix is: pro-Israel/Regime Change in Syria.

On Syria policy:

Sy Hersh back in 2007 analyzed GW Bush ME policy. He was on target. There is a certain continuity in the Obama policy:

"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda." -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh


r whitman

One of the more perceptive analyses of oil consumption written but you cannot do linear extrapolation on oil from present trends. Too many other competing forms of energy from a cost and availibility point of view.


Al (arabist)

Very interesting, a little too much on the "earthly paradise"/utopia side of expectations for me, but interesting. pl


This staement from the former Hezbollah Secretary General, Sheikh Sobhi Tfaili, (as told to Al Arabiya on Friday0 is worth noting. Nice to see someone thinking logically and with an element of humanity.

He confirmed that the Lebanese Shiites will have two options after the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime; either Israel or the Syrian Sunnis.

He called on the Lebanese Shiite leadership to avoid adopting a policy which will lead them to choose between defeat or alliance with Israel.

Tfaili urged Hezbollah to reconsider its political position towards Syria, so it can play a constructive role against the rise of sectarian conflicts in the region, and he refused the idea that the Shiite leaders could participate in the big crime committed against the Syrian people.

“You have to reconsider your affiliation with the Syrian regime in its civil war so that you are not shocked by sectarian war in Syria and Lebanon, which could lead to an undesirable outcome. This is exactly what I said and I repeat this today and I demand they reconsider their relationship with the government – don’t join in what is going on in Syria. It is a massive crime against the Syrian people. We need to put out the fire and not be with the part that ignites it,” he said.

Tfaili denied establishing any contacts with the leaders of the Syrian opposition, noting that he only helps the “rebels” by speech and by providing shelter to the poor Syrians, declaring that Syrian minorities should not support a regime that kills its own people by planes and tanks.

“I tell the minorities that in no way is it permissible to stand by a regime that is wrecking the country with tanks, airplanes and helicopters out of fear of the possibility of being attacked,” he said.

He reminded the viewers of the statement he made at the beginning of the Syrian revolution, when he said that “Syria is heading to a war that will transform it into ashes, and that a group of Syrians will support the regime based on the fact that the regime is theirs, and these are the Alawites,” adding that the Alawites think that they can establish their own country in Syria, but this is far from becoming a reality, wishing that a political movement assumes power and governs following the Turkish mod



"wishing that a political movement assumes power and governs following the Turkish mod(el).

I see, a secular national state sliding into Islamist theocracy. pl


Please note that Mr Tfaili was kicked out of Hizballah because of his extremist views on how they should proceed as an organization (he would have adopted the Al Qiada in Iraq methodology of getting your point across) and because he would not agree that making Lebanon and Islamic state was after all an illogical and unobtainable goal. So his humanity seems just a trifle opportunistic.

As for the logic, I dont see it. First he states that there are two options open to HA after the "fall of Assad"? First point of logic is that he is reffering to an eventuality that seems less likely everyday with certainty. And the two options? Anyone who knows anything about HA knows they are very rarely surprised and unprepared and to include an alliance with Israel as one of the option just confirms what many Lebanese have suspected of Toufeilis mental state for a long time.


Aloha, Col. and all...! Gomer Pyle's "Surprise, Surprise" might be in order...! Surprise! I'd love to be a fly on the wall, between Benny and Bibi, and, most assuredly, with the Hasbara Apparatchik...! ;-)

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