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09 December 2012


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'On the one hand, Israel has pushed for many years for the removal of Bashar Assad on the general principle that he is what they call "a near enemy." On that basis they encouraged the Bush and Obama administrations to have nothing to do with him in spite of his repeated efforts to start negotiations with Washington over improved relations'

Israel has done that with most ME countries that tried to establish ties or better relations with the US....part of their 'the US shall not have any friends but us' tactic.

Going to be perfect irony for Isr'merica and Saudi if the fiercest jihadists are the AQ or Islamist radcials and do replace Assad. Are we stupid or are we stupid?


The walrus rule at work: " governments always achieve the reverse of their
Stated intentions"

ex-PFC Chuck

Chris Wallace is a small chip off of the old block. So small that it's not at all clear that they came from the same species of tree.

Clifford Kiracofe

So some reporting indicates that "contractors" are training FSA in CW. Ostensibly, to protect themselves when Assad uses the sarin above or whatever. On the other hand, if the FSA has some training, might it be possible as a deadly ruse to use a little of whatever themselves? Blame it on Assad? Or perhaps some "adviser" to the FSA might happen to find some for them to blame on Assad? Syria now says they are concerned that the FSA or others will grab some and use it.

As Assad does not have nuclear weapons, that hoax won't work. So some other pretext for war: chemical weapons. As I recall, CW was one of the points Colin Powell made at the UN, something about trucks with big tanks on them suggesting bad things. So next we get overhead imagery suggesting CW and etc.? Deja vu, as Harper says so well. Didn't Clinton blow up some factory in Sudan with cruise missiles saying there was a CW program there? More deja vue.

Of course, Hillary is not unfamiliar with such things. Can't blame everything on the Republicans and Bush43...the "regime change" mantra began under Clinton.

Charles I

The sad and scary thing is that these weapons do in fact exist, and legitimate moves to secure them by the central authority, for whatever ultimate disposition, could be used as the beard for this folly.

Hank Foresman

For Israel I guess this is a case of getting what you wished for. . .with all the problems it shall bring.

Alba Etie

If memory serves the Assad intelligence network had a German cell of jihadist in Bremer under surveillance with the BND -that laid to some arrest in the US. And did not the Iranians provide the CIA with some good information about AQ & Taliban leadership locations before we went to Afghanistan right after 911 ? What happened to the US applying the tried & true axiom of the enemy of my enemy is my friend ?


Myron Leon "Mike" Wallace (May 9, 1918 – April 7, 2012)
Now that is creepy, even for Fox News.

David Habakkuk

This illustrates a basic problem with a fundamental premise of the American Likudniks – that American power can be used to reshape the Middle East in such a way as to obviate the need for Israelis to make themselves at least minimally acceptable to the Arab and Muslim peoples among whom they live.

The ‘Clean Break’ paper approach to Iraq ended by replacing a defanged Sunni/Arab nationalist dictatorship with a client state of Iran. Applied to Syria, it may well end up empowering jihadists who end up being more of a threat to Israel than the Assad regime has ever been.

A fundamental part of the original Zionist vision – that Israel would be a safe haven for Jews – is now patent nonsense. But in fact Benzion Netanyahu’s form of Zionism always was intellectually incoherent.

Apparently Jason Epstein, co-founder of the New York Review of Books, recently recalled how Benzion Netanyahu once told him that ‘he thought that the only way Israel could survive’ was ‘by killing all the Arabs.’ But as this objective as quite patently not simply bestial but totally unachievable, the statement is tantamount to saying that a Jewish settler state in the Middle East has no prospect whatsoever of long term survival.

It appears that Epstein thought that Benzion Netanyahu’s statement was ‘a bit of an exaggeration’, but ‘despite that, it didn’t affect my friendship, my admiration, indeed my love for him.’

(See http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/israel-could-only-survive-by-killing-all-the-arabs-netanyahus-father.html )

It does increasingly seem to me that there is something very odd about some American ‘liberal Zionists’. I think back to the two Jews I have known who made it over to Britain in 1939, one from Germany, the other from Czechoslovakia. Both ended up as professors of German literature – both, as I learned after their deaths, had once been sergeants, and in different ways had had some contact with the reality of killing and being killed.

Both of them were civilised and humane people. The notion that brutish thugs like the Netanyahus could set themselves up as leaders as some kind of monolithic Jewish people, and in so doing claim that in some way they represented what Jews should be, would have horrified them. But then, both of them came from families which had come a long way from the ghetto, and they had no desire to go back there.


Speaking of AQ a new video of the FSA giving a sword to a child to behead a civilian aka "shabeeha".




There seems to be a more generalizeable moral in this - as has been suggested by others. Simply put, there are siuations where an outside power - even the U.S. - can't dictate outcomes, or even predict them. This is especially so in the Middle East where we find few countries where the people with whom we have natural affinities are strong enough to have a chance of coming to power. As a consequence, caution should be the watchword unless the status quo is clearly intolerable. Then, we should have contingency plans at the ready for coping with whatever might follow. They should be based on a crisp differentiate between what our real national interests and which are vanity at work,

The hang-up is America's dedication to promoting liberal reform and to liberating people fom tyranny. Frankly, our self-identity as well as our moral standing in the world is bound up with this idea. Hence, an inescapable dilemma.

Instinctively, there is the impulse to play God. That means knocking off a tyrant if more or less feasible and then being prepared to knock off his successor if he turns out be a tyrant. Obviously ridiculous - but serial tyrannicide as a mental construct appeals to many. In practice, we create havoc and then we fulminate.

The Moar You Know

"It seemed that Wallace actually believes the manufactured meme about Assad and chemical warfare."

He's a reporter, although the more proper term for what that trade requires these days would be "stenographer". Or perhaps "secretary".

He believes what he's told.

Babak Makkinejad

This is not an American-only undertaking.

The aim is to wound Iran.

UK - persumably devoid of Likudniks - is doing her fair share:


Why does UK wish to harm Iran to this extent, in your opinion?



I guess you are talking about fatsamurai's comment with the video now removed by Utube? I have been in New york City the last days and approving comments on my blackberry. I might not have approved that comment, but, if you are going to strike a moral pose against me, well... pl

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

I think the explanations of British policy given by the diplomats to Haaretz, and also by Norman Lamont, are very much to the point. In particular, I would draw your attention to the following paragraph:

"It is a way for Britain to prove to the United States that it is its key ally in the world," says one. "It also gives the British who have lost their military power a chance to act as if they are still a super-power, thanks to their financial position."

This is simply the latest manifestation of what should perhaps be called Connie Sachs syndrome: a pathology of the British political elite for which no cure has so far been found.

In fact, the strategy depicted in the Haaretz article is inane. To attempt to use Western, and specifically British, financial institutions as tools of coercive diplomacy to make major players in the international system act contrary to their perceived interests will simply result, over time, in the development of alternative institutions.

To do this at a time when American economic – and particularly monetary – policies are striking at the foundations of the dollar-based international economic order is daft.

As the article also brings out, the escalation of economic pressure is in part a strategy into which people have allowed themselves to be panicked – in part, ironically, because they are making the fatal mistake of pursuing maximalist goals by coercive diplomacy, while not being seriously prepared to contemplate a resort to war. In that sense, Israeli sabre-rattling has been very successful.

The hostile reactions provoked by a story in the Daily Mail, back in February, about the UK being in range of missiles Iran is developing, suggest that it would be very difficult to drum up support for a war here - unless your countrymen behave with spectacular folly.

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095722/UK-range-Irans-missiles-Clegg-says-worried-war-break-out.html )

If you filter the comments by 'Best rated', you can get a picture of the resentment and distrust that the foolish wars of the past decade have aroused in a lot of 'Middle England'. Particularly notable is the hostility to the whole political elite, and also to Israel.

As so often, Israeli strategy is short-term clever, but long-term stupid. It will not save Israel, while it quite clearly is eroding the taboo on anti-Semitism which has been a central feature of British and American culture since the Holocaust.

A report in the Jerusalem Post in March suggested that London had emerged as the ‘European hub of Israeli delegitimization.’ The article once again reveals the utter inability of so many Israelis to grasp that the major source of delegitimisation is the actions of their own government – and the danger their actions pose to Jews outside Israel.

It is simply not the case that a major element in hostility to Israel in this country is hostility to Jews. Rather there is a very large amount of anti-Israeli feeling which, as the current president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews accurately put it, ‘sometimes morphs into anti-Semitism.’ If the inanity of current American and British policy ends up with an avoidable war which turns out badly, this could get a lot worse.

(See http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=260916 )

I sometimes wonder whether Netanyahu will not go down in history as the most disastrous Jewish leader since Simon bar Kokhba.

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