August 12, 2015

Shutting Down The Blog Until The Fall

Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Title: Five sections of the poem 'In Memoriam' (1850) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Read by Ian Richardson. Source: Toddysfins. Date Published: August 30, 2008. Description:
'In Memoriam' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).

With apologies for the audio disturbance in the first two sections.

Sections read are: VII, XXII, XXX, CI and CXIX.

From 'Six Centuries of Verse' (1984), Epiosode 12.

Title: Tennyson: In Memoriam. Source: brychar66. Date Published: July 26, 2012. Description:
Selections Read by Charles Bryant.

Title: Tennyson's In Memoriam, A.H.H.: Overview of 'In Memoriam' Stanzas. Source: English Literature. Date Published: August 6, 2015.

August 11, 2015

Surprise Surprise: Post-"Revolution" Libyan Government Is Viewed As Worse Than Former Gaddafi Regime

The handiwork of the next president of the United States.
Whoever believes that elected politicians better serve the people than benevolent dictators should take a long look at present day Libya and Iraq. At least Gaddafi and Saddam provided their nations with the basics of life like electricity, clean water, security, and other public services. The incompetent and corrupt political crop who replaced them, who tout their legitimacy via the scam called the democratic process, can't even manage the basics.

An excerpt from, "Qaddafi Supporters Re-emerge in a Disillusioned Libya" by Mohamed Eljarh, Foreign Policy, August 11, 2015:
Many feel betrayed by the governments that have been elected since 2011. Residents of Derna and Sirte were left on their own to face the brutality of the Islamic State (IS). Derna managed to expel the IS jihadists from the city two months ago, but around the same time the Misratan militias stationed in Sirte withdrew after being attacked by IS fighters, leaving the entire city under Islamic State control.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a prominent tribal leader from the Qaddadfa tribe (Qaddafi’s tribe) based in Sirte. He expressed his disappointment and frustration at the failure of Libyan authorities to help them counter the rise of Islamic State in his home city: “We don’t have the weapons to fight the Islamic State, and when we ask for arms, they completely ignore us.” This has left many in Sirte with no option but to accept IS rule. The general sense is that the existing authorities couldn’t care less about the situation of ordinary people. Now the verdict from the court in Tripoli could serve as a uniting factor for Qaddafi regime supporters.

The re-emergence of Qaddafi regime loyalists poses yet another obstacle to the peace process and any future Government of National Accord. Neither the peace process nor a unity government will stand a chance unless an effort is made to address the sense of injustice and neglect currently suffered by supporters of the old regime. Failure to do this merely provides an opening for groups such as the Islamic State, as the development in Sirte has so vividly demonstrated. Libya can stop the downward spiral only by moving beyond its divisive revolutionary narrative and moving toward a more inclusive approach.

The Danger of Depicting The War In Syria In Black And White, Good vs. Evil Terms

"The Assad regime, frankly, is the root of all evil here." - U.S. Department of State's Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner.

This is a very ignorant, dangerous, and counter-productive statement from a high-level U.S. government official. And it has been largely ignored in the mainatream media.

If this type of dualistic and moralistic thinking is what inspires the U.S government's policy towards Syria then there really is no end in sight.

The decision to get rid of the Assad regime at all costs, even if it means supporting much worse actors like ISIS in the process, will be regretted.

The previous Bush administration was quick to throw the word "evil" around when justifying its Middle East policies, and to disastrous effect.

This statement is similar to what fundamentalist officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran say about Israel, that it is a "cancerous tumour" and other such baloney. Such thinking is what creates the conditions for perpetual war. There is always a different and more dangerous dragon around the corner to slay when your foreign policy is driven by ideology and a holier-than-thou mindset.

It is understandable to oppose the Assad regime for purely strategic, economic, and geopolitical reasons as in the cases of Turkey, the Gulf monarchies, and Israel, that's geopolitics, but when you start saying that Assad is the "root of all evil" in your official statements then you enter the territory of theology. And the last thing the world needs in the Middle East is a superpower that believes it is handing out God's judgment. One theocratic regime in the region is more than enough.

Why not tone down the rhetoric? Why are high-ranking U.S. officials openly calling Assad, and other heads of states evil just to persuade the world that their policies are right? How is Assad more evil than ISIS and its backers?

These fundamentalist terrorists are actively pursuing genocidal policies to gain territorial control and spread their barbaric ideology uncontested. Assad didn't spawn them, and anyone who says he did is either lying or has no idea about what has gone in Syria in the last four and a half years.

August 10, 2015

Like Puppets On A String

Pakistan is siding with the Taliban over Afghanistan. Turkey is siding with ISIS over Kurdistan. Both NATO allies are making huge geopolitical mistakes as well as errors in moral judgment. The Taliban and ISIS are passing phenomenons, while Afghanistan and Kurdistan are geopolitical and demographic realities that can't be wished away.

Erdogan has chosen ISIS over the Kurds. It always turns out bad when racism or religious sectarianism drive your country's foreign policy rather than geostrategic reasons. It's not a smart bet to side with a hate-driven terrorist group filled with idiots from a hundred countries over a 30-35 million strong people who are indigenous to the region. Turkey may not like it, but ISIS will eventually disappear from the map, while the Kurds aren't going anywhere.

Jihadists from ISIS and other terrorist groups like to think that they're radical and revolutionary. But what is radical about answering to the likes of the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, England, France, Pakistan, and Israel? And from the perspective of these states, you don't fear something that you more or less control.

That's why Turkey is going after the PKK/PYD Kurdish groups and not ISIS. And that's also why the Gulf monarchies are not too worried about any significant blowback from their pro-Jihadist policies in Yemen, Libya, and Syria. ISIS is pretty much preaching Saudi beliefs and state doctrine in Syria. And that's not an exaggeration.

An excerpt from, "Al Qaeda in Syria leaves area where Turkey seeks buffer" Reuters, August 10, 2015:
The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front says it has quit frontline positions against Islamic State north of Aleppo and ceded them to other rebels, leaving an area of northern Syria where Turkey wants to set up a buffer zone.
An excerpt from, "Turkey Invades Syria, Goes For Aleppo" by b, Moon of Alabama, August 10, 2015:
Today al Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al Nusra which the U.S. has nurtured since 2012, pulled back from its areas in Aleppo governate. The Turkish president Erdogan wants these areas to block a Kurdish autonomous area in north Syria but also as a supply zone for his forces which those will need to later take Aleppo city, Erdogan's real strategic target.

Nusra claims that the retreat was because it would not support Turkey's attack on Syria and/or fight against the Islamic State for solely Turkish and U.S. gains. But the timing makes it clear that it had simply received an order or an offer it could not refuse: "Move now or we will cut you off from the money and logistics you have received for so long."

A few hours after Nusra pulled away from the fronts in Aleppo governate and moved towards Idlib the Turkish invasion started.
An excerpt from, "War Crimes Alert: Turkish Daily: “Aleppo to Become the 82nd Province of Turkey”" by Cem Ertür, Global Research, August 9, 2015:
The predatory motives behind NATO’s genocidal covert war on Syria are getting ever more transparent.

“The Assad regime, frankly, is the root of all evil here.” [U.S. Department of State's Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner, daily press briefing, 6 August 2015].

The History of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions (Video Made Five Years Ago)

Obama to Iran: "No Nukes For You!"

An excerpt from, "29 Leading Scientists Back Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal" by Tanya Basu, Time, August 9, 2015:
Twenty-nine of America’s leading scientists—from Nobel Prize winners to nuclear experts—co-signed a letter supporting President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal on Saturday.

“We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements,” the letter said. It went on: “This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework.”
Video Title: The History of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions. Source: Global Policy Forum. Date Published: August 10, 2010. Description:
The debate over Iran's nuclear program has mounted in recent months. In addition to new UN sanctions that were passed in June, the both the United States and the European Union have passed their own, separate sanctions against Iran. Since this issue landed on the Security Council's agenda in 2006, Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but it has staunchly refused to comply with demands that it show full transparency on the nature of its program. Some observers argue that this situation has become intractable -- the more the United States demands that Iran "come clean", the more vigorously Iran will defend its right to nuclear energy. And as Iran continues to do so, the confidence the world holds in Iran's word will be eroded. In other words, amid all the strong rhetoric on both sides of this debate, it has become very difficult -- at least from a Western perspective -- to determine what Iran's true intentions are.

To clear up some of these questions, Global Policy Forum Associate Salvator Cusimano sat down with Ervand Abrahamian, Distinguished Professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern history and politics at the City University of New York, Baruch College. Dr. Abrahamian has spent years chronicling Iran's history; now, he believes that to make progress with Iran, world leaders must understand the nation's nuclear program in a historical context.

Certainly, the United States does not and should not be fully responsible for resolving this international crisis. Iran, too, has to demonstrate a willingness to seriously engage with the United States, especially since Tehran has rebuffed a number of Barack Obama's expressions of goodwill. However, the United States still can change the direction of the current debate. Dr. Abrahamian showed us that by understanding how Iranians and their government perceive their rights, their security, the United States and the United Nations, we can identify some of the steps that might be taken in the United States to constructively resolve the nuclear issue. This conclusion speaks more generally to the importance of considering a given situation in its historical context, rather than in isolation. For without understanding the past, it is often very difficult to make sense of the present.
Quotes from the video:
On the Iranian public's distrust towards the U.S. government:
"There is very little antagonism to Americans as Americans or American culture, but what you have is a deep distrust of American foreign policy. And even when you have surveys done, sort of telephone surveys from the United States, it's clear that even people who want better relations with the United States and negotiations, if you ask them 'do you trust the United States government' overwhelmingly the response is 'no, we don't trust them.' Why? Its cause historically they've had that experience. The CIA coup is basically what formulates the whole attitude." [11:00 - 11:50].

On the nuclear negotiations:
"I think actually the nuclear issue is resolvable. If the American administration went back to the position it had when this administration came in, which is they're quite willing to see Iran have a nuclear program as long as it doesn't go to the point of nuclear weaponizing, and Iranians would be able to accept that. But the problem I think has been in the last few months the U.S. has stepped back from that more reasonable position to being more intransigent, that Iran should cut back its nuclear program and stop enrichment, a position of course that the Iranian government would never accept. What is dependent on now is the U.S. actually becoming more forthcoming, and if they do that, I think the Iranians would be willing to---not just because of sanctions, just for other economic reasons---make an agreement where they will give guarantees that they are not going to go for weapon programming." [12:17 - 13:40].

August 9, 2015

President Obama Is Doing Right By America And The World By Distancing His Regime From The Extremists At AIPAC

AIPAC's decline into madness began years ago. Now they're just being called out on their lunacy by the most powerful man in the world. And it's about damn time. Photo Source.

An excerpt from, "Fears of Lasting Rift as Obama Battles Pro-Israel Group on Iran" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, The New York Times, August 7, 2015:
WASHINGTON — President Obama had a tough message for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, the powerful pro-Israel group that is furiously campaigning against the Iran nuclear accord, when he met with two of its leaders at the White House this week. The president accused Aipac of spending millions of dollars in advertising against the deal and spreading false claims about it, people in the meeting recalled.

So Mr. Obama told the Aipac leaders that he intended to hit back hard.

The next day in a speech at American University, Mr. Obama denounced the deal’s opponents as “lobbyists” doling out millions of dollars to trumpet the same hawkish rhetoric that had led the United States into war with Iraq. The president never mentioned Aipac by name, but his target was unmistakable.

The remarks reflected an unusually sharp rupture between a sitting American president and the most potent pro-Israel lobbying group, which was founded in 1951 a few years after the birth of Israel.
An excerpt from, "How Iran Deal Could Change the Middle East" by Benjamin Tua,, August 9, 2015:
The profound changes occurring in the Middle East have led to exaggerated estimates of a decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East.

There is a sense that the U.S. ability to “call the shots” has been diminished, and concern that the United States is likely to withdraw from the region. In fact, the U.S. standing is likely to increase as Washington repositions itself.

This shift in U.S. policy has been signaled by statements over a period of years by senior active and former U.S. officials.

During 2010 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, for example, then Central Command chief General David Petraeus remarked on the damage to U.S. interests generated by “insufficient progress towards a comprehensive Middle East peace.” Petraeus said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict foments anti-American sentiment. He added that Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits partnerships with governments and peoples in the region, weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world, allows militant groups to exploit that anger to mobilize support, and gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients.

More recently, senior officials have explicitly acknowledged that the situation in the Middle East is deteriorating and have stressed that a course correction by Washington is in order. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff head Admiral Mike Mullen recently argued that Washington needs to re-examine all its relationships in the Middle East, primarily with Sunni-dominated countries, and that a rapprochement with Iran will better balance U.S. diplomacy in the region.

August 7, 2015

Groundhog Day In Syria

Video Title: U.N. urges inquiry to identify those behind Syria gas attacks. Source: Reuters. Date Published: August 7, 2015. Description:
The U.N. Security Council unanimously passes a resolution laying the groundwork for an inquiry that would assign blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria's civil war. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Wasn't the chemical weapons issue settled two years ago? What is going on? This same script is being pulled out over and over again by the same discredited people.

Will the United Nations Security Council come to a political decision or a fact-based one this time around?

The UNSC has very little credibility. It is fighting an uphill media battle. Its statements on the Syria war are frankly meaningless. No one cares what the UNSC has to say about anything at this point. If it wants to save both time and money, as well as its own political credibility, then it should skip all the bureaucratic nonsense, and assign blame for the use of chemical weapons to ISIS/ISIL, and their backers. The evidence is already there.


Who is more likely to use chemical weapons on Syrians? A medical doctor trained in London who has an entire nation behind him or cold-blooded sectarian terrorists who are not even Syrian? If you have to think on that even for a second then God help you.

Of course, Assad is a dictator, he is not morally defensible, and his system of government has reached the end of the rope. But, as long as the foreign-backed masked terrorist groups kidnap people, threaten ethnic cleansing, destroy private property, use chemical weapons on civilians, and spread a hateful ideology in the name of God then there will be a need for a strong unifier like Assad in Syria to stabilize the society.

The people of Syria have been given two options: secular tyranny or chaos and terrorism. If the Syrian opposition was better run, more independent, more tolerant, more visionary, and just plain smarter, then events may have unfolded differently in the last four and a half years.