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17 September 2019


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Babak Makkinejad

I do not know what it meant by talking at cross purposes. You seem to have an idee fixe that Iranians are stupid and are going to use massed infantry since they have so many of them.

Babak Makkinejad

Iranians are not Chinese. Chinese were murdering US soldiers in Red Cross ambulances in Korea. It is inconceivable for me that, under similar conditions, Iranian troops would do the same.

Babak Makkinejad

I think that the time for making a deal with Iran along JCPOA lines is passed. Per my estimate, there could be some negogiations 18 or so years from now. Certainly nothing will happen during Trump's Presidency.

Babak Makkinejad

Are you, one Eric Newhill, free citizen ofa representative republic, to some extent, behind the war crimes of Saudi ArBia and UAE in Yemen?


By low intensity I was thinking along the line of the 80's 'Tanker War', which did not cross Iranian borders and was not a campaign of annihilation of Iranian military capability.


With DNC priorities of that nature, another prediction would be that the current and future interests of the United States of America would be in second or third place to the terms of the any internal compromise deal made to put Sanders or Gabbard on the ticket.


Too many ifs.
However, if Gabbard gets anywhere near a nomination for anything, the "anti-semeticism" howls will crescendo.


Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan have nothing that any other nation needs to exist, to survive, to thrive.
I do have a question. It appears that the Shia crescent, Beirut to Tehran, is much less restrictive towards its populace. Much more educated, progressive and democratic in their institutions and ways. So why is Shia so despised by Israel and Sunni?



The Shia (12ers) are the ancient sectarian rivals of ALL the Sunni schools of law. IMO the differences between the Sunni and Shia are irreparable on the basis of religious claims to authenticirty in God's eyes. the principle difference lies in the fact that for thr the Shia the "Gate" of interpretation of scripture remains open while for the Sunni that possibility has been closed for more than a thousand years and they have a much more limited view of the possibility of contemporary understanding of the world and God's will. This makes the Shia more able to adapt to modernity. This would include the Yemeni Fivers. (Zeidi)


You are posing the question:

"So why is Shia so despised by Israel and Sunni?"

to the wrong person.

You should ask your allies and friends that question.

When did Denmark and New Zealand decided that Shia were their enemies?

Was it because the Great White Father in Washington DC told them so?

Or did they huddle in some corner with their Protestant Theologians and observed that Shia have doctrinal, theological, philosophical, and practical overlaps with the despised Papists and therefore must be considered enemies?


That is at the practical level, as Usuli Ulema have made their ascendancy over Akhbari ones.

At the emotional level, the separation is now predicated on the events of Kerbala which has no resonance in the Sunni World; excepting in a small way among the Sunni Muslims of Turkey - itself a Seljuk country.

And then there is Ma'awiyah - a great conqueror of early Islam and a hero of Arabs - but deeply despised by Shia for his betrayal of Imam Ali.



aside from the allegiance to the family of the prophet how does the Akhbaria differ from Sunni Islam?


I do not think they do. But that is my opinion.


I think they also accept the Doctrine of Ijtihad in any case.

Eric Newhill

I think the answer is "yes" to a very small extent at this point. I am not a war proponent. If my govt wants a war that I do not, then I don't feel very responsible at all. If I vote for people that run on a war platform and they get elected and start a war, then I am more responsible. I voted for the guy who ran on an antiwar platform.

What does all of that have to do with the possibility that the Iranian govt supplied components that they knew, hoped, or directed to be used for an attack of KSA (and the world's oil supply)?

Iran had an Islamic revolution that became the new govt. The Iranian people bear some responsibility for the actions of their revolutionary Islamic govt; if that's what you're getting at.

They don't like the govt? Well then they should get rid of it and maybe even appreciate the US stance on the matter.



If that is so, then what is the difference between Usulis and Akhbaris?


The Prominence of Reason.


In reply to "turcopolier of 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM and Matt" - my connection doesn't let me reply at the proper place:

Russia interests me. Here's my impression of its relationship with the West through the centuries. Frankly, it's been bad.

The West was lucky - the Romans 'domesticated' the Western European barbarians through extermination and soft power (Julius Caesar did write the manual on both in Gaul).

Russia's geography put her through the ringer.
It started as fiefdoms of robber barons too with major victim Byzantium*, but it had to deal with wave after wave of Asian horsemen. While it was strangled by the mongols (master empire-builders and statesmen initially), Catholic Lithuania / Teutonic knights / Poland with the enthusiastic support of the Popes attacked on the other side, often as allies of the Hordes.

* Byzantium had its revenge against Russia - it cursed it with a distinct religion and alphabet, marking it as heretic, foreign, barbarian, inferior in Western eyes. Attitude that lingers

So, willy-nilly, Russia served as shield for the West - Hungary was as far as the new Attilas reached. Russia paid dearly - periodically devastated cities, its best craftsmen and skilled workers abducted again and again, etc.
China, India, Iran were other shields for the West - Genghis Khan/ Tamerland spent precious time destroying them instead of Western Europe.

What comes next?
Russia after Godunov - the Africa of the time. Ditch / English merchants control all its trade and maintain their countries' fleets thanks to Russian resources on the cheap.

Louis XIV and Charles XII of Sweden give Peter the Great the chance to break the dependency with local manufacturing (incl. weapons), access to seas etc. But he makes the peasants property and a time bomb starts ticking.

So, the game turns 'bipolar'. The West is already in the Far East, Russia going there too, the Ottoman empire is decaying etc. Lots of potential for contact -conflict

The French revolution gives Russia its next big break.
Catherine II the Great uses it wisely(the Crimea of the Hordes is finally Russian etc). But she 1) loses Poland as bufferzone; 2) backs down from freeing the peasants; 3) releases the aristocracy from its formal duty to serve in the state apparatus.

Russia breaks Napoleon's backbone - doesn't get a thing.
Russia stops the 1848 revolution wave - is stabbed in the back in the Crimean war.
Russia contains the other powers while Bismarck unifies Germany - is robbed blind at the Berlin Congress.

The last quarter ot XIX century Russia again becomes an Africa.
No need for foreign troops or opium (**) in Russia as in China, because the Russian elite collaborated fully with turning their country into an economic colony of the West. No boxer rebellion in Russia

** What the West did to China with the opium was the worst kind of genocide, turning millions into living-dead junkies.

Then comes the truly shameful behaviour of Russia's allies in WWI.
Basically, they were rubbing their greedy hands in glee that Russia, which spent so much blood and did whatever they ordered in this war, was falling apart into tiny 'statelets' under British / French influence. There was even a secret treaty between Great Britain and France on spheres of influence after the imminent collapse of Lenin & tovarishi.

The pattern goes on. Doesn't sound pretty from a Russian point of view, does it?

David Habakkuk


What you write has some truth, but ignores massive complexities.

‘Byzantium had its revenge against Russia – it cursed it with a distinct religion and alphabet, marking it as heretic, foreign, barbarian, inferior in Western eyes.’

This is partly true.

But – have you ever read W.B. Yeats: ‘Byzantium’, and ‘Sailing to Byzantium’?

I must admit, that when as a teenager, more than half a century ago, I was first fascinated by the poems, I missed much of the point. Only when, quite recently, my SWMBO and I visited Venice, and saw in St Mark’s the remnants of the treasure looted after 1204, did I understand rather better.

What Yeats wrote about Grecian goldsmiths, making work out of ‘hammered gold and gold enamelling’, for the Emperor, then made much more sense.

Meanwhile, I am well aware of the pervasive influence of Gibbon – not least on George Frost Kennan, the supposed author of ‘containment’ – but also on many others.

But then, another part of the picture is the revival of Byzantine studies, which, ironically, was happening at precisely the time Kennan was writing, both in the Soviet Union and the West.

Among pivotal figures, in Britain, were Sir Steven Runciman, whose study ‘The Fall of Constantinople’, was given to me shortly after it was published, in 1965, when I was a teenager, and has stayed with me all my life. And also, Prince Dmitri Obolensky, who published his seminal study of ‘The Byzantine Commonweath’ in 1971.

More recently, there has been the seminal work of Judith Herrin.

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Herrin .)

Another area which is much too complex to go into here is that certain strands of ‘Anglican’ culture are naturally much more at home with parallel strands in ‘Orthodox’ culture than they are with ‘Catholic’ – in the sense of ‘Roman Catholic’ culture.


Gibbon was the man that poisoned the English mind on the Eastern Roman Empire; supposedly decadent.

Some decadence, lasting 1000 years.

Had the Huns not destroyed the Classical Civilization in the Danube Valley in the 5th Century and the Venetians not raped Constantinople in the 13th, there could still have been a vestigial form of it present.


Without Orthodoxy, what would the Russ be but a barbaric people?

They are not unlike most Muslims, barring Iranians, who would be nothing without their religion.

But I agree with you that Western Europe was too far away from the Eurasian Steppes to suffer the marauding tribesmen who emerged on and on out of it. Another accident of history.

different clue

" If " springs eternal, from the human heart.

different clue

That supposes that Sanders and/or Gabbard would accept any such compromises as the price of being permitted onto the ticket. Sanders might, Gabbard never would.

But the DNC won't offer such compromises, even in secret. So the only way that a Sanders-figure or a Gabbard-figure would get the DemParty nomination is if they can beat it out of the Catfood Democrat establishment with tire irons and car antennas.

different clue

Have you tried "magnet-fishing" for swords with a neodymium super magnet at low-water times? I have read that neodymium magnets are extremely powerful, perhaps powerful enough to wrench a sword up through several inches of vision-obscuring mud.

different clue

I am not the person you asked, but I don't think Shia is despised by Israel. I think Shia is genuinely feared.

When the Israelis first invaded Southern Lebanon, the Shia villagers and farmers and small-townsfolk welcomed them as liberators, thinking they would leave as soon as their PLO-persons/infrastructures of interest had been disassembled and expelled.

At that time the Israelis, from what I have read, did indeed despise the Shia and assumed the Shia would accept an open-ended occupation. When the Shia rose up against Israel so successfully so as to finally force Israel to evacuate South Lebanon, Israeli despisement of the Shia turned over time to fear.

Israeli Army Colonel Yermiya wrote a book about that process in Southern Lebanon itself, which I remember skimreading several decades ago when it came out.

And the Israelis don't like Sheikh Nasrallah of Hizballah, but they don't despise him. I have read that he even has an ironical "fan base" of Israelis who read all his translated speeches and grudgingly admire his strategic and tactical thinking. Strategic and tactical, not strategeric and tactickeral.

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