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17 January 2016

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confusedponderer

I yield to your superior knowledge, and thanks for the illuminating reply :)

I have been for a time searching for a comprehensive history of the Lebanese conflict over the last half century that looks at events neutrally. Does something like that exist? Or is the place too byzantine for that?

confusedponderer

"a DC law firm that specializes in bringing law suits against the Iranian government"

Ambulance chasers of the messes left behind by foreign policy?

Patrick Bahzad

Sorry, forgot to add, this was a reply to whole thread regarding Lebanon, not confusedponderer's post in particular, just my take on civil wars in general is that they are difficult to describe in simple terms and they're usually not a case of good vs bad ... The various wars within the Lebanese War are the perfect (and sad) example.

turcopolier

CP

No. This is a Zionist law firm that wishes to injure the Muslims. I have personal experience of them having testified before Lamberth in one of their cases as an expert witness. pl

confusedponderer

So it's lawfare.

Babak Makkinejad

I think at one time Camille Shamoun - and possibly his family - had taken refuge with Arafat and the PLO; for fear of other Christians.

Babak Makkinejad

And who remembers Damour

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damour_massacre

and Karantina

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karantina_massacre

And the more Middle Easterners fight among themselves, the further behind they fall.

They think there is a margin in their new or ancient hatreds and rivalries.

Babak Makkinejad

His lover was/is and Iranian; I suppose he feels now that he has deep area expertise.

David Habakkuk

CP,

Have you come across the essay 'On Bullshit' published in 2005 by a gentleman called Harry Frankfurt from Princeton?

(See http://www.stoa.org.uk/topics/bullshit/pdf/on-bullshit.pdf .)

Having begun by describing the prevalence of 'bullshit' as 'one of the most salient features of our culture', Frankfurt goes on to make what seems to me a helpful distinction between the disseminator of that substance and the liar.

The former, he says, ‘does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it.' Instead, he 'pays no attention to it at all.' By virtue of this, Frankfurt argues, 'bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.'

And he goes on to argue that:

'What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.'

Without having thought this through, it seems to me it may well be worth analysing both the behaviour of the American neoconservatives whose propaganda style he imitated, and the actions of Netanyahu himself, in terms of the notion of 'bullshit'.

My own view is that the actual agendas of an inveterate propagater of 'bullshit' can be very difficult to read, not simply because he, or she, 'misrepresents' what they are up to, but because people who lose touch with objective reality may also lose any coherent sense of what they are trying to achieve.

Moreover, it is a characteristic of 'bullshit' that those who exploit it are liable to become its prisoner. A 'liar' in the terms in which Frankfurt understands the word, may well have enough grasp of reality for his mendacity not to compromise his - or her - ability to set reasonably 'rational' objectives. A proponent of 'bullshit' may not have.

Putting the point another way, to be capable of being a 'liar' may be an indispensable feature of successful Machiavellianism – but someone who disseminates 'bullshit' may be incapable of effective strategies of deception. His or her strategies may be effective in the short term, but because tactical adroitness cannot be linked to a coherent strategic conception, in the longer term they are liable to backfire.

My increasing suspicion has been that a large part of the history both of the neoconservatives and of the Israelis relates to the situation of people whose history has largely been one of impotence and humiliation, who find themselves able decisively to influence the way the massive power of the United States is exercised.

An analysis in terms of 'bullshit' might lead one to think overestimating the extent to which coherent 'rational' motives can explain the behaviour either of the neoconservatives or of the Likudniks is to court radical misconception.

Rather than attempting to attribute to him any kind of coherent strategy, it might make more sense to see Netanyahu as simply revelling in his ability to humiliate the President of the United States. Likewise, in relation to Iran he may simply be a prisoner of his own 'bullshit' – if he was to concede that the Iranian leaders are not actually the contemporary equivalent of Adolf Hitler, he would, quite obviously be finished politically.

The logic of his 'bullshit' may be liable to push Netanyahu into playing a version of 'va banque', and indeed, may have already done so.

The Beaver

Cee

Are you aware of this report:
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2009/6/iran-strategy/06_iran_strategy.pdf

and here is an interesting review:
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2012/03/israel-us-partners-in-international.html

confusedponderer

My 'Eselsbrücke' is 'Krefeld', a town next door.

Given his name, his ancestors may hail from there - van Creveld, 'from Krefeld'. It's a short way from there to the Netherlands and there have always been strong trade links. Anyway ...

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

It was, in fact, King Abdullah of Jordan who coined the phrase "Shia Crescent" - a phrase unworthy of a Hashemite King - who is a familiar of the Family of the Prophet.

Throughout the 19-th century - until the Russian Empire ended it - there were constant raids from what is today Turkmenistan into Northern Iran; kidnapping Iranians for ransom or slavery or both - the Iranians being Rafezis serving as the religious justification.

These divisions have always been there but I think a sane man would not try to exploit them; it releases emotions the consequences of which cannot be predicted or controlled - in my opinion.

Significantly, Saudis are articulating their anti-Iran message in the form of request for non-interference by Iranians in the "Arab World".

And Iranians have not used the Shia card either; even Ayatollah Sistani's Fatwa was issued in the name of defending Iraq.

They have also been very careful in not conflating the State of Israel and Judaism.

ISIS has broken with all of that and has made explicit references to Shia-Sunni Islam divide.

So did Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.


Cee

Col. Lang,

Opportunistic indeed...

Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky, in his 1990 book By Way of Deception, has accused the Mossad of knowing the specific time and location of the bombing, but only gave general information to the Americans of the attack, information which was worthless. According to Ostrovsky, then Mossad head Nahum Admoni decided against giving the specific details to the Americans on the grounds that the Mossad's responsibility was to protect Israel's interests, not Americans. Admoni denied having any prior knowledge of the attack.

Ostrovsky further claimed that among the high level officers of the Mossad there was a view that if the Americans "wanted to stick their nose into this Lebanon thing, let them pay the price.

Patrick Bahzad

True, of course. Although that was "before" my time. But there are countless horror stories that could be told, not just about sectarian fighting between various groups, but also within the Shia groups, or with the Christian parties.

Samir Geagea and Eli Hobeika names' come to mind when I think about this type of war/butchering. At Ehden, they slaughtered part of the (Christian) Frangié clan in 78. Then in 1980, they literally butchered another Christian militia "The Tigers" (from the Chamoune clan) in a small seaside resort north of Jounieh, throwing people through the windows and shooting tourists on the beach. It was at that point that Chamoune gave up and let the Gemayel clan take the lead … But they paid a heavy price for it.

As I said lots of stories could be told about this war … Killer of a Christian family getting his teeth pulled out one by one in a basement in East Beyrouth, before being shot … or the gunmen who killed the French ambassador being shot dead in their hospital bed in broad day-light by a French Spec Ops team. A "camembert" cheese was left on a bedside table as a kind of signature. At least people had a better sense humour back then !

confusedponderer

That Lamberth?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royce_C._Lamberth

Bandolero

Patrick
You seem to miss the point. Of course, the "Sunni-Shia thing" is not an Israeli invention. It's there since the early days of Islam, and arguably coming from pre-islamic times when the Persian Empire and the Byzantine empire waged war against each other for centuries. Sometimes the Sunni Shia sectarian division was more violent and ugly, and sometimes it was a bit more peaceful.

However, the point is, a power may decide to dampen the Sunni Shia sectarian divide, to use and to exploit and/or to enlarge it. What the video of Ami Ayalon outlining an Israeli-Sunni coalition against Shia Iran proves, is that in August 2012 there was a thinking in some higher echolons of Israeli power to use the Sunni Shia sectarian divide for a confrontational strategy against Iran. What is of much interest there for me is that I remarked a remarkable shift in the main western media narrative regarding Syria at the same time. While in 2011 the Syrian struggle was painted as a struggle of a whole population against one dictator Assad, beginning in summer 2012 the Syrian struggle was painted as a Sunni struggle against Shia oppression in western media - typically using phrases like Sunni majority people rise against dictator Assad, a Alawite, which is a form of Shiism, who brutally rules with a minority of Allawis in the army backing him. The first where I noticed this change in the narrative was on the website of AIPAC in summer 2012.

That doesn't mean, that it was Israel's decision to follow a strategy of sectatarian warfare in Syria and elsewhere in the region. It may well have been someone else's decision, and Israel just decided which given side to support. Regarding Syria, I have read for example reports, that the strategy of sectarian warfare applied since summer 2012 may have been a Turkish decision. As the struggle of united people against Assad wasn't successful, because too many people in Syria supported Assad, Turkey decided in 2012 to transform the playing field into a sectarian Sunni Shia struggle, calculationg that with 80% Sunni in the Syrian population, the Sunni forces would finally prevail, no matter what bloody sectarian struggle it would be. That Israel then might have decided to support the Sunni axis, which was created by Turkey, would not mean at all, that Israel invented the Sunni Shia thing.

But what the video of Ami Ayalon certainly does, if Israel indeed followed the strategy of aligning itself in the current struggle with a Sunni axis, which I believe is largely true, is to give an explanation why the US follows the same sectarian Sunni axis though American values are in itself against sectarian devides. The explanation would be that America did this in the current middle east conflict to please Israel. And it seemed to me that this was exactly the topic of this SST article.

confusedponderer

David,
thank you for the thoughtul post - I'm quite inclined to agree with you - and the wonderful essay by Harry Frankfurt.

ThePanzer

This times 1 million. What on earth are the Israeli's thinking? The ISIS/JAN and similar don't intend for their borders to stop at Israel's doorstep. This policy of empowering the greater crazy to deal with the lesser crazy is obviously self-defeating.

It's like replacing a wolf on your doorstep with a kodiak grizzly. The latter is a much bigger threat than the former. But that still doesn't quite capture it, it's more like replacing a wolf on your doorstep with a xenomorph (the giger-inspired alien from the movies).

turcopolier

The Panzer

Which model are you? One explanation of the present IS offensive around Ramadi is that the IS defense at Tikrit was a diversion. pl

William R. Cumming

Addressing the question heading this post IMO the answer is simply that the Sunni outspend the Shia lobbying inside the beltway.

USA FP for sale to highest bidder! And HC's e-mails probably would have proved it.

J

Iran didn't sell the U.S. Citizenry down the river, the Israeli government did with their Pollard espionage that intentionally compromised the U.S. Nuclear shield that kept U.S. Citizens safe from a Soviet Nuclear Attack.

It wasn't the Iranians who gave the compromised U.S. Nuclear information to the Soviets, it was the Israelis.

Also it wasn't Iran who denied the U.S. the information that would have prevented the Beirut barracks bombing, it was the Israelis (who had agents inside the Shia cell) which makes the Israeli government direct accomplices to the murder of U.S. Military personnel.

It wasn't the Iranians who intentionally attacked the unarmed U.S. ship USS Liberty June 8 1967 murdering U.S. Military personnel, it was the Israeli government.

So who is the real enemy, Iran or Israel? Who is the real back-stabber, Iran or Israel?

As long as Israel has individuals like major pastors (who are furnished a jet by the Israeli government), on the Israeli payroll major U.S. network correspondents and anchors, U.S. policy will continue to be lopsided against Iran (Shia), and for the the back-stabber Israeli government and their lapdogs the Saudis (Sunni).

The Beaver

@ Babel Fish

That's where the religious power is , so to speak since it is the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world.

The Beaver

Reason NO ONE burns the KSA flag, whether they are in Iraq or Iran or any other Muslim country.

Old Microbiologist

Similar to the one: "What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 90?" Answer: "Your Honor"

mbrenner

Since the explanation for the relentless anti-Iranian/Shia campaign is obvious, it strikes me that the bigger question is the absence of any serious criticism of the self-defeating American actions that flow from it. That goes so far as whitewashing and providing indirect support for our supposed Enemy No. 1 - al-Qaeda - in Syria. Not one public figure of note has denounced that madness. I've tried to make sense of this odd phenomenon in a Huffington Post commentary accessible at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/alqaeda-still-enemy-no-1_b_8954864.html

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