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20 October 2012


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Neat! I have the exact same Hare 1502 and also the Owl 1508 hanging on my wall. Love it.

Medicine Man

FB Ali:

Brigadier, I've been meaning to ask for your opinion about the recent protests in Karachi. I've read that the crowds are fairly large and that there has even been religious fatwa's made against the Taliban for their attempted assassination of Malala Yousafazi. Are these developments things to be optimistic about or mostly just urban/rural sectarian tensions revealing themselves in Pakistan?

Clifford Kiracofe

So, what about Tunisia these days? Do we "share values" with the Islamists and salafis there? And what about all those Tunisian salafis who have become jihadis murdering folks in Syria these days?

"It has been amusing to see Rached Ghannouchi caught in a moment of pure honesty, forgetting the well-tended script he has had has to recite for months now before credulous Western audiences. What a relief it must be to let it all hang out. A secret video was leaked last week, probably recorded in February or March, showing the En-Nahda founder having an informal mentoring session with members of different Tunisian Islamic associations. He outlines his strategy for the slow consolidation of Islamist power, recounting the free advice he’s dispensed to En-Nahda’s supposed extremist rivals, the Salafists, here depicted as overzealous kindred who show a lot of potential. “Do not rush things. I tell the Salafist youth,” he says. “We all went through the same and we suffered. Now you want to have a TV, radio, schools and invite the preachers. Why are you rushing things?” The real threat to the country’s post-Ben Ali future, Ghannouchi explains, is the electoral victory of the secularists.....

This should greatly impress the US State Department, which has hailed Tunisia’s “transition” as a model for the Arab Spring, even as En-Nahda has introduced a blasphemy law into the Constituent Assembly and taken to describing women as “complementary” to men in the draft constitution. The same “Salafist youth” Ghannouchi advises have rallied at the Great Mosque of Kairouan in March chanting, “We are all the children of Osama,” “The revolution was made for sharia” and “Jews, Jews, the army of Mohammed is back.”
Salafists were also responsible for the September 14 attack on the US Embassy in Tunis, in which four locals were killed and dozens more were injured. This raid on sovereign American soil, presented as yet another “protest” about the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, bears all the hallmarks of a state-sanctioned riot. Eyewitnesses saw a police cordon protecting the five mile route from the Masjid al-Fath mosque, where Salafists have laid their “spiritual headquarters.” The imam of this mosque is only the current Minister for Religious Affairs....

Except that Ghannouchi has long been a hardline extremist, as Oren Kessler documented in a recent report about En-Nahda. He backed Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait in 1991 ("joining together two Arab states out of twenty-two, praise be to God.”). As for the power that kicked Saddam out, Ghannouchi had this to say: “We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam.”....

To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=448513#ixzz29sI1IZGd
Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished. For information on republishing rights from NOW Lebanon: http://www.nowlebanon.com/Sub.aspx?ID=125478

FB Ali

The protests in Karachi and other places have been moderate in size but represent a genuine revulsion among many sectors of society against the mindless killings by the Taliban. Many more people who feel this way did not come out to protest because of the fear of attacks on the crowds.

Unfortunately, the overall situation in the country does not give many grounds for optimism. If you want to get really depressed, read this column in one of the biggest newspapers there:



A good butcher is a treasure in these days. I found one which simply proclaimed "MEAT AND SPIRITS" above the shop, and was surprised to find out it was considered a top notch butcher. Half the store devoted to meat, a quarter devoted to beer and wine, and another quarter on ways and means to cook it.

Bought a bag of different cuts of meat, but I plan on buying the patties made out of ground bacon next time I go in.

The Twisted Genius

I also have a copy of that Albrecht Dürer watercolor, Junger Feldhase, on my wall. There is a truly disconcerting bronze rabbit in Nuremberg done as a tribute to Dürer's watercolor. Speaking of rabbits, one night outside of Hamburg, I witnessed what could only be described as a vast herd of hares moving across a field. There must have been at least a hundred of the creatures thundering (yes, thundering) across that field.


Now for some good news - Tigers swept the Yankees.

Medicine Man

I see what you mean. Bad news if the country's leaders are actually unwilling to confront the Taliban even when their arms bearers are being killed.

Thank you for the reply, Mr. Ali.


Any thoughts on the announcement about US/Iran 'secret' negotiations? Shades of October 1980?

A friend called this news a sham.



The following article is lame but the fourth comment by snapperheadsoup is excellent nd am interested in what others think about it.



To watch a lurcher course a brown hare is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking sights on earth.

But unlike a rabbit or a deer, when the dog brings down a hare it always fills me with melancholy and foreboding. They are truly the most magical and strange of creatures.



I think it is a sham. I see no indication that either candidate is serious about negotiations with Iran. pl


snapperheadsoup could just as easily quoted the same line from Orwell that the reviewer did: “What I do feel is that any Jew, i.e. European Jews, would prefer Hitler’s kind of social system to ours, if it were not that he happens to persecute them.” Never again? Really?


I'm currently reading "A Soldier with the Arabs" by Sir John Bagot Glubb. It's enlightening.

Clifford Kiracofe

Per Durer,

My brother, an architectural historian, emailed me to note:

"Durer's woodblocks greatly influenced religious art in Spain and the New World,

in particular his rendering of the Mass of St Gregory..."


It is extremely interesting that that column was written by a Harvard-educated lawyer now working in Pakistan (see the email address at the end of the article). His comments on the need for a monopoly of violence (i.e. by the state) are almost certainly intended to cut both ways.



I was so fortunate as to know Sir John Glubb somewhat. He and I corresponded for years when he lived near Tunbridge
Wells and I visited. Somewhere around the house are some dozens of his handwritten letters and an autographed photograph. He was as wise as he seems in his books. pl


I thought the timing of the announcement, Saturday evening before the last debate was interesting...but I am not sure its a sham.
It would surprise me if there was not a Track II negotiation occuring at the same time as the P5+1 process, so going public now is curious. But then October is familiar territory for Qom and American admninistrations. I would not know the content of those discussions, but, as you know, I am of the firm belief that the specific intent of the entire nuclear issue, from the perspective of Qom, is to be the vehicle to facilitate some sort of modus vivendi between these two former allies. Perhaps the parties have the contours of an agreement and the announcement is a test balloon, gaining a sense of the electorates reaction a few weeks before election day? I do not know. But I was not surprised by how the MSM were poo pooing the idea, with Andrea Mitchel leading the way. We will see.



"It would surprise me if there was not a Track II negotiation occuring at the same time as the P5+1" It would surprse me very much if there were a Track II. This outfit is filled with people who believe their own BS. pl


Hot on the heels of the Beirut car bombing/assassination, Jordan foils a 'massive' attempt... http://bit.ly/XHbQgn

Here's an interesting article on Amb. Stevens and Syria...



The second is an an unsubstantiated report by a reporter two years out of grad school working in Brooklyn? I wonder what kind of Libyan contacts he made at Northwestern? Perhaps he's well connected with the middle eastern expats downtown? There's a real ear to the ground.


The first is a scam with a hyperlink that looked like it was going link me with the official US version of the terrorist conspiracy but instead brought up a BMW commercial.


I believe most people would be content with a dictatorship that promoted their personal beliefs.

I want to see Saul Bellows diary, or better yet, Norman Pudhurts'.


Congrats Rick. As a newly married man myself welcome to the club.


September Surprise?

On May 17 at the famous fundraiser, Mitt Romney gave this answer in response to a question about the possibility of a preelection foreign crisis,

"If something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

Obviously, events in Cairo and Benghazi turned out to be his "opportunity." That he saw an attack on an American embassy as an "opportunity" is a shabby attitude, for starters. He should be called for what he is: an opportunist with an eye out for the main chance.

I think he should also be asked what he knew about the inflammatory anti-Islam video and when he knew it.

It is not too great a stretch to think that elements in the right wing Islamophobic community who knew about that video as it was being produced tipped off someone in the Romney campaign that "something" was in the works which would probably set off violence in the Arab street and embarrass the President.

Romney actually focused on the video far more than the White House did. His embarrassingly out of synch shoot-first-aim-later statement in fact, was about the US response to the video (though the response was made before the attacks and had been intended to calm the street).

I don't suspect that Romney or anyone else knew, or could have known, that an assassination was in the works, but it does seem likely that the video was a dirty trick that got out of hand and that Romney may have been tipped off about it in advance. He should be asked what he knew and when he knew it.

The other more serious unanswered question is about the production of the inflammatory video and the parties responsible for it and their motives. What did Bibi Netanyahu know about all that, and when did he know it? Surely he would not try to manipulate US policy toward Iran by secretly involving Israel in the outcome of our election.

My experience has been that just about the time I think I have been too suspicious, something happens that tells me I haven't been suspicious enough.

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