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01 November 2013


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Irrational Likudite ideology made sense to me once I realized they fervently believe they can only gain and maintain power by fashioning even more dire threats to their own state. They seem to not have quite thought that all out.

And as predicted by many, the end result in Iraq will be a Shia dictator over a Baath/Sunni one.

Anyone keeping track of Karzai's real-estate purchases in London or Lake Geneva?


Has anything filtered out about the current status of the supposedly ongoing negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians?

William R. Cumming

Nothing the US can do in Syria to cover up the fact that involvement of US in Iraq so incompetent that Iran is the big winner of that effort.

As to SA by 2050 there will be no such entity IMO! And the big loser caused by SA decline will be Israel!


As for Syria, this story, if true, is good news. See http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/turkey-expels-saudi-intelligence-over-diplomatic-rift-source


Spengler in Asia Times on line gave a few days ago his view. It consists of a Pax Sinica in the near East buttressed by the excellent relations between China and Israel. A Hong Kong business man already put down 130 million towards the creation of an intellectual link between China and Israel.


If Syria falls, Jordan may have to ally with Iraq, and perhaps Iran. That would be interesting. The US/Saudi relationship may need adjustment, but I think it still serves both countries rather well.

Norbert M. Salamon

They are also building a fence on the Syrian-Turkish border, They are also making up with Iran, due to the fear of the Jihadist influence.



"We overturned the previous order of society and sponsored a government run by Shia who have only one goal and that is to screw the Sunni Arabs. The screwees are fighting back."

While there is a grain of truth in the assertation that some Shia forces in Iraq marginalize Sunnis and Maliki didn't always react clever to the "Arab Spring" protests in Iraq sponsered by the US state departments MEPI program, in toto, I think, that statement is a gross mischaracterization of what's currently happening in Iraq.

First, Wahhabi jihadis similar to those bombing Shia places in Iraq are bombing also Shia places in Qetta and Peshawar though Shia nowhere in Pakistan marginalize Sunnis. Second, the current sectarian incitement swapping over Iraq and the region comes mainly from Saudi Arabia and their allies, who apparently do that to destabilize governments allied with Iran. Third, the Saudis and their friends openly support the same type of bomb laying sectarian jihadis in Syria as they operate in Syria's ally Iraq, so it would be quite logical for the Sauds to destabilize Iraq a bit to open up communication lines from Saudi Arabia through Iraq to their proxies operating in Syria.



"I think, that statement is a gross mischaracterization of what's currently happening in Iraq." What are your Iraq credentials? This sounds like political science inspired naivete. To think that Iraqis are yearning to "make nice" with each other across sectarian boundaries is just absurd. Are you sure that you are not really one of "the boys" at WINEP. pl

Medicine Man

Col.: What is your opinion of the coming parting of ways between the US and Saudi Arabia?

It looks like mostly a good thing to me. I hope there will be less money deployed in Washington to provide cover for the sorts of jihadis who represent a security threat to the country, but I'm not sure how realistic this hope is.


Who's to say Israel will still be around by the time KSA bites the dust?



I already said here some time before that I spent some time trying to understand the thinking of Ali Khamenei. The influence of Ali Khamenei and his friends is, I think, a very important factor to understand the situation in Iraq. But as I have also other friends, I also know a bit about current Baath thinking in Iraq, like what Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri appears to think.

So no, I don't think Iraqs problems are easy problems. They weren't before the US was marching in in and they aren't now. Though regarding ordinary Iraqis, I think, yes, many are still "yearning to "make nice" with each other across sectarian boundaries," Shia, Sunni and Kurds alike. However, they didn't decide then and don't don't decide now over war, terror and peace. These questions decide the radicals.

And there is, beside a mostly native sectarian bombing jihadi current like in Pakistan, also a Saudi hand encouraging sectarian violence to see. I think, to see that is easy, it's almost enough to compare Saudi TV channels with Iraqi and Iranian TV channels.

I think, to curb the mostly Saudi and Turkish incitement of violence will not end the problem of sectarian violence in Iraq, but it would contribute to curbing it, and to really get rid of the sectarian violence in Iraq may take decades.



From Lebanon to Pakistan there is a bombing campaign that appears to have no purpose except to ignite a Sunni Shiite Jihad. The Saudis have admitted to supporting Sunni Jihadists in Syria. Israel and/or America have pursued regime change in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Arab Spring revolts brought in new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

The only constant is unrest. Rising food prices, overpopulation and climate change will spread the contagion world wide. Education and jobs are the antidote. But, the ruling ideology is to grab the money while you can. There is no empathy nor concern for the future.

Stating today in the USA, food stamps are being cut by $36 per month for a family of four which is 16 to 20 meals per month gone.


America should be ending hunger and quarantining unrest not being their chief enabler.

Bill H

I will put $10 on the table that the US will either give financial aid to Iraq or will begin making attacks in Iraq with drones, or both, in the name of fighting al Queda. Bear in mind that BHO is frantically lobbying Congress to maintain US financial support to Egypt.



I understand from your response that you are an academic. I also deduce that the answer to my question is that you have never been in Iraq. Experience on the ground counts. Have you ever worked in the ME or Maghreb? pl



I think the post WW2 era is dead and gone and that the utility of NATO and any special relationships in Europe is finished for the US. You evidently want to be relieved of any responsibility toward us while still retaining the benefits of our "partnership." pl

Babak Makkinejad

I share your sentiment, "America should be ending hunger and quarantining unrest not being their chief enabler." - however unrealistic it is.



"Experience on the ground counts."

I doubt that that is always true. If it were so I don't think the US military would have burned holy Quran books in the trash after ten years of experience on the ground in Afghanistan.

"You evidently want to be relieved of any responsibility..."

Nope. Partnership is, I think, a common and good concept between two inpedenpent states.

Charles I

Let's think about winners and losers, starting with the arms co.s. and your Representatives. That's a lot of inertia. Will America be able to abide emerging rivals and shifting market shares without some very boneheaded reactions from all those players with so much sunk investment?

Charles I

Failed/weak state hinterlands are both fallow grounds for the required threats but much easier pickings than states still coherent enough to manage their own borders, makes ideal salami,what's not to like?

Charles I

They are under embargo - until the next announced provocation scuttles them outright or stimulates outrage sufficient to frustrate negotiation and explicitly ascribe blame to the Palestinians.



"I doubt that that is always true." as usual you don't know what you are talking about. The US military had virtually no experience of Islamic countries before 9/11. The First Gulf War saw the troops confined to their camps when not fighting and quickly withdrawn from the theater. the sole expertise of the US military in this area resided in a small group of officers who had been specially trained for diplomatic and intelligence duties and they were not in command of anything.

Allen Thomson

> Pax Sinica

An interesting thought. How do you write it in Chinese characters?

the Unready

The correct way to dispose of unwanted or damaged Korans is burning, by the way, as opposed to putting them in a rubbish bin for example, which would be offensive to Muslims...

William R. Cumming

Islam made it Gates of Vienna twice! Will there be a next time?

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