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12 September 2015

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FB Ali

Col Lang,

Conflicts Forum has two new articles up on the Syrian and ME crises. Both have extensive quotes from your pieces on SST on the subject.

http://www.conflictsforum.org/

Ishmael Zechariah

Here is a link to a nice photo from another "counseling" session.
http://www.rferl.org/content/obama-russia-relations-surveillance-review/25071474.html

I don't think the Great Leader of the West would be a good poker player.

Ishmael Zechariah

confusedponderer

Germany seems to have gotten the idea that the instability in Syria is to blame for funnies like 13k refugees coming to Munich on a single day and needless to add, Germany doesn't like it, even more so since there is no end in sight.

The ugly question looming is what happens once we are at 800k. They won't stop coming only because they have met Germany's arbitrary quota. At this pace that'd be in two months. And then?

I presume the US would perceive a similar sense of urgency if that many came every day to New Oreleans or Miami.

Instead, they harp how this is all Assad's fault for not comitting suicide when the US first demanded it - the scoundrel! How dare he! Had he not been so mean - Syria would be a pluralistic democratic paradise now, just as the twitter feeds promised.

Speak about a transatlantic split, in the very real sense that America's location behind two oceans is a strategic assed indeed, as it effectively insulates the US from the immediate effects of their dumber games overseas.

Steinmeyer prasing the Iran deal is IMO very much correct, but he ignores the fact that the pesky locals, largely driven by their sunni chauvinism, cannot accept the idea of a shia crescend (let alone the empowerment of the egional non-shia minorities).

They thus have done, to devastating effect, their worst over the last years to break it, while all the while their western partners - the US, France and the UK (with Germany sitting on the fence) - indulged in democracy phantasies about the arab spring, in a region were factional advantage is all that is sought.

As PB has pointed out so well - the West hasn't been in the driver seat or control of Syria policy. Turkey, saudis Arabia, the Gulfies and Israel were.

Alas, the Saudis have in their inimicable way offered to build 200 mosques in Germany to help the syrian refugees - people who have fleed preceisely because of the diversity deprived, headchopping brand of Islam they peddle as a superior alternative to Assad's secular dictatorship. I am sure that the Christian refugees in particular will appreciate. I strongly hope that proposal will be greeted with the scorn it deserves.

That said, the west should absolutely pursue normalisation with Iran, whether it makes the Turks and Saudis happy or not.

It has to be kept in mind though that it has a consequence: It means, as Syria demonstrates, that these countries will express their unhappiness in antagaonistic policy.

Which means that more so than Turkey, the Saudis are no longer allies but opponents - bad actors whose bad actions genererate bad outcomes for us. That also goes for Israel.

Middle Eastern politics apparently mean that to enjoy Turkish, Israeli and Saudi friendship, one has to oppose whoever they choose as enemies.

The Iranians apparently are the only ones not insisting upon unending hostility to all their enemies, foreign and domestic, for normal relations. How surprisingly reasonable.

The local hostility to Shia and Iran in general means, with the Shia crescend apparently irrecoverably broken for the time being, that normalised relations with Iran will raise the importance of land lines along the old silk road, which also have great importance for Russias relations with China.

That explains why Russia puts such great emphasis on stability in that region that the US, for lack of a better idea and for lack of an appreciation for stabilit, is so keen on Freedoming™ if they get the chance (and which the Saudis are so keen on Wahhabising™, because).

Instability is a greater threat to all of Europe than Russian influence in their region of influence.

In a sense Germany and Europe are now paying to the refugees a folly tax on braindead US Jacobinism and Turkish/ Saudi/ Gulfi/ Israeli sectarian politics.

confusedponderer

I am tempted to add:
No taxation without representation! Since US politics are becoming so expensive to us of late, can we have a vote in US elections please?

oofda

A new contact group for solving the Syrian crisis? And with or without the USA? If it is the latter, or appears to be being organised without the latter, you can imagine the noise coming out of Washington.

LondonBob

Ardent anti-interventionist Jeremy Corbyn, as expected, has won the Labour leadership contest, and by a huge margin. All opposition parties now oppose military involvement in Syria. There were claims last week that the government could restrict the Conservative rebellion to under 20 MPS and attract 13 defectors from Labour thus securing parliamentary for intervention, but I am not so sure. The direction of travel in Britain and Europe is towards a negotiated settlement involving Russia and Iran for Syria.

The Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who importantly chairs the important Foreign Affairs select committee, explicitly advocated this approach a few days ago.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11846742/Removing-Assad-is-not-the-solution-to-Syria-crisis-senior-Tory-says.html

Edward

Robert Parry wrote this interesting item in a recent article:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/robert-parry/63793/madness-of-blockading-syria-s-regime

A source familiar with the back channels between the White House and the Kremlin told me that Obama had encouraged Putin to step up Russian aid to the embattled Syrian government as part of the fight against the Islamic State and that the Russians are now bewildered as to why Obama’s State Department is trying to sabotage those efforts.

Abu Sinan

And so ISIS are being brandeshed by immigrants in German. I would think the plan is to smuggle agents into Europe. Do multiple large casualty attacks and watch the populations in these countries turn against the refugees and their own Muslim communities. Blood will flow in the street and many of the original Muslim population and refugees will turn to ISIS. http://news360.com/article/311820821

annamaria

Note that the flaccid article on the inconvenient Putin has neither father nor mother. Similarly, Guardian has posted several "orphaned" anti-Rissian papers filled with inconsistencies and propaganda, which made the readers wonder who was in charge of publishing such poor-quality stuff.
This is an example of Guardian's "new" style: "The Guardian view on the bloodshed in Syria: Russia has a lot to answer for:" http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/11/the-guardian-view-on-the-bloodshed-in-syria-russia-has-a-lot-to-answer-for
The mysterious foster parent(s) of the above article are "Editorial"

Seamus Padraig

annamaria, you would probably love a new website called 'Off-Guardian'. It was formed by a group of banned ex-commenters and their specialty is skewering The Guardian's absurd distortions: http://off-guardian.org/

VietnamVet

CP et.al.

Today’s news reported 300,000 refugees have registered in Germany this year and that all passenger trains have stopped running between Austria and Germany. This is a black swan event. Although the media avoids mentioning it, the West’s push for regime change in Libya, Syria and Russia is the cause of Europe’s refugee crisis. The only way to stop the deluge of humans is for Germany to come to Europe’s rescue. The EU has to force the USA and Russia to quarantine the Islamic State, support the Syrian government, partition the Levant, write off Greece’s debt, force or entice Turkey to close its borders and end its war on the Kurds, and secure minority enclaves to return the refugees to their homelands and safety.

robt willmann

On the NBC television Meet the Press program of today, 13 September, president Obama's U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2010-2014, Robert Ford, appeared and presented the following pathetic lies.

"... It's not the United States that caused the unraveling of the old order in the Middle East or the unraveling of Syria. It's the brutality of regimes like the regime in Syria and the demand by people on the ground in those countries to have their dignity respected by their governments. That's the root cause of the problem." And, "Let's remember -- we just saw a spot on the refugees -- the basic problem with the refugees is coming not from the Islamic State. It's coming from president Assad's brutality. Dropping gas, dropping barrel explosives on civilian areas, has depopulated entire Syrian cities. Half of Syria is now displaced. Half of the Syrian population is no longer living in their homes. So you have to deal with the Assad problem. The administration's focus in Syria however, is not on the Assad brutality, it is on the Islamic State. While that is also a big problem it is not going to fix the refugee problem."

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/former-u-s-amb-syria-removing-assad-will-stem-flow-n426571

I remember back in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq was happening, there was talk about invading Syria after that by the Bush jr. administration. Gore Vidal also said that he heard from some contacts that Syria was on the list for invasion. Then, former State Department foreign service officer, diplomat, and Secretary of State (briefly) Lawrence Eagleburger publicly said that if Bush jr. attacked Syria he would last in office about 15 minutes--

http://www.antiwar.com/comment/eagleburger.html

Thus, what the people inside and outside of the U.S. government wanted to do to the people of Syria by overt invasion back then has been happening at first covertly, and now, not so covertly.

Germany may also be concerned about the financial cost of the refugees. I think Wolfgang Schauble, the Finance Minister, was bragging that Germany would have a balanced budget in 2015, but I think there was a deficit at least in the first part of this year. Germany's national debt may be about $2.1 trillion U.S. "dollars", or 1.9 trillion or so "Euros", at the present time.

The German government should also come to the realization that the tribal nature of human begins can result in violence between groups, as was said to have happened in Frankfurt, Germany recently between Turks, who have been in Germany a long time, and Kurds--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlm2YGuKfcg

Croesus

at a tangent --

Astute essay by Gareth Porter on why US and Iran cannot cooperate on DAESH -- because USA cannot bring itself to think creatively --

http://tinyurl.com/pcbqmrm

"The Iranians were basing their hope on an analysis of the objective situation in the region. One official told me on 2 July: “The United States doesn’t have any reason to trust its allies in regard to Daesh.” He was alluding to the well-established fact that major funding for the terrorist organisation had come from Gulf Sunni regimes and that they were clearly more interested in taking down the Assad regime than in stopping Daesh. But the same official also said: “Some in the United States may see Daesh as a source of pressure on the Syrian regime.”

But while Iran acknowledges the need for a change in US-Iran relations to ease regional security threats, the United States has not made a move toward any such acknowledgment. US policy toward the Middle East has long been defined primarily not by threats originating in the region but by much more potent domestic political interests, both electoral and bureaucratic. The power of the Israel lobby in Washington, primarily but not exclusively over Congress, is well known, and that has imposed a rigid political and legal framework of hostility toward Iran on the US government for two decades, beginning with a complete trade embargo that remains in place and creates major obstacles to any shift in policy.

What is seldom acknowledged, however, is that
the interests of
the Pentagon,
the CIA and
the NSA
have become tightly intertwined with those of the anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East. A set of mutually reinforcing bureaucratic interests now binds US policy to an alliance structure and military and intelligence programmes in the Middle East that have come to replace objective analysis of regional realities in determining US policy."

Richard Armstrong

Am I the only one who believes that another regime change in the Middle East can only bring more trouble?

Sure, Saddam and Assad are bad , wicked evil men.

So what. Neither threatens or threatened the US and so I feel we had no business over there.

Let those in the region with skin in the game take charge.

turcopolier

RA

Oh, we are all for further interventions and occupations here. Hadn't you noticed earlier? pl

Will Reks

CP,

There are multiple powers, other than the US, playing this game in Syria. Believe me.. there are still some here that would like to see a return to the days when the US steered clear of foreign entanglements and European chaos that made our follies look like child's play. Granted.. that ended over a hundred years ago now but I think we'd be better off with a return to isolationism.

confusedponderer

Will Reks,
I was being a little facetious, I admit, and I did point out that not the US was in the driver seat in Syria, but the Turks, Saudis, the rest of the Gulfies and the Israelis.

Still, if the US was only involving itself in the Middle East as we sorry Euros involved ourselves with our various historical chaoses of which the US stayed clear.

Instead, and that is to me so peculiar about the way the US wrecked the Middle East, there is a clinical character of the whole thing, as if it indeed was an academic exercise to prove political or economic theories.

Condi Rice almost sets Lebanon ablaze and cheerfully babbles about 'birthpangs' of a new Middle East - history would walk its predestined way to Fukuyama's end of history.

Lord Bremer of Baghdad went there to administer remaking the place in America's image so it could become a proper country - by doing little while waiting for the emergence of spontanous order (a pet economic theory - the market would regulate itself).

The US had anti-tax Jihadi Grover Norquist write the Iraqis a proper, flat-tax tax code.

Samantha Powers, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton went on to make Libya an example and precedent of proper regime change, R2P style. Etc pp.

We very rarely made sandbox experiments like that. When we Euros gutted each other with abandon it was with a lot of enthusiastic nationalist fervour, at least ever since Napoleon, and usually in pursuit of, often mistaken, national interest, granted, with a lot of nationalist conceit as well.

But it was never in pursuit of academic and ideological purity. The US are doing something different than what we silly Euros did in pursuit of our more recent follies.

The last time we had something like that was when Napoleon and his Jacobin army overran Europe. That was an aberration.

In Europe, that is, because, undeniably, there was the colonialist phase in which Europe's colonial powers had their respective callings - call it spreading Deutsche Kultur, or the mission civilisatrice, civilising mission and to forth - to uplift the savages inhabiting Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Maybe that is what makes an empire after all, to embark on little colinial projects of choice like remaking countries to make examples?

Richard Armstrong

Touché. More listening (reading) and reflecting should be my goal, not making painfully obvious remarks.

I've also got to quit using this iPhone as its form factor just isn't a good fit for this site

Poul

That's actually something which occurs regularly.

From 2007:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1108/p25s05-woeu.html

confusedponderer

My android's form factor doesn't allow me to post comments either (poor scaling of the posting box in relation to the rest of the text) *sob*

That said, it is probably for the better.

different clue

VietnamVet,

If the USgov refuses to help do any of what you suggest, what are the chances that Europe itself, functioning as a sort of de facto NEATO (North East Atlantic Treaty Organization) will all by itself do these things fast and hard enough to save the SAR as a first step to eliminating Nusrastan and ISIStan from existence? And do these things in the teeth of USgov and Erdogist rejection and opposition whether the USgov and the Erdogists like it or not?

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