|Israel & Palestine||
Juan Cole - It is natural that Westerners should find Israel more simpatico than Iran, given the Israeli governments alliance with the West and Irans antipathy. But here are some differences between the two that are in Irans favor, which I point out just to balance out the unfair way the two are covered.
1. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb and is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite what is constantly alleged in the Western press and by Western politicians, there is no evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program; and, the theocratic Supreme Leader has forbidden making, stockpiling and using nuclear weapons. In contrast, Israel refused to sign the NPT and has several hundred nuclear warheads, which it constructed stealthily, including through acts of espionage and smuggling in the United States, and against the wishes of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. And, its leaders have more than once implied they are ready to use it; then prime minister Ariel Sharon alarmed George W. Bush when he intimated that hed nuke Baghdad if Saddam tried to send SCUDs tipped with gas on Israel.
2. Iran has not launched an aggressive war since 1775, when Karim Khan Zand sent an army against Omar Pasha in Basra in neighboring Iraq. Though, whether that was a response to Ottoman provocations or actually an aggressive act could be argued. Who started a war is always a matter of interpretation to some extent, but if we define it as firing the first shot, then Israel started wars in 1956, 1967 and 1982. If the principle of proportionality of response is entered into the equation, then youd have to say 2006, 2009, and 2014 were also predominantly an Israeli decision.
3. Modern Iran has not occupied the territory of its neighbors. Iraq attacked Iran in 1980 in a bloodthirsty act of aggression. Iran fought off Iraq 1980-1988. But after the hostilities ended, Tehran did not try to take and hold Iraqi territory in revenge. The UN Charter of 1945 forbids countries to annex the land of their neighbors through warfare. In contrast, Israel occupies 4 million stateless Palestinians, who are treated as any subjected, colonized population would be. Nor is there any prospect in my lifetime of those Palestinians gaining citizenship in their own state; they are going to live and die humiliated and colonized and often expropriated.
4. All the people ruled over by Iran can vote in national elections and even Iranian Jews have a representative in parliament. In contrast, of the 12 million people ruled by Israel, 4 million of them have no vote in Israeli politics, which is the politics that actually rules them.
5. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not trying to undermine the Obama administrations negotiations with his country, aimed at making sure Iran can have nuclear electricity plants but that it cannot develop a weapon.
Irans government is not one I agree with on almost anything, and it is dictatorial and puritanical. I wish Iranians would get past it and join the worlds democracies. Israel is better than Iran in most regards for Israeli citizens it has more of a rule of law and more personal liberties. But just to be fair, there are some ways Irans policies are better than Israels.
Juan Cole - The Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 on false pretenses of protecting Americans from a dire threat in the Middle East. Over 100,000 US troops were stationed in that country for 8 1/2 years and the US more or less ran that country during that period. Yet the US only succeeded in fomenting civil war and creating al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which morphed into ISIL or Daesh and then took over eastern Syria and north and western Iraq.
That is, a US military conquest in the Middle East left the region substantially more insecure and threatening to world order than it was beforehand. The US military does not for the most part know Arabic. They dont know how to rule countries like Iraq or Syria and have no business, in international law, rampaging around invading them. The US was mostly clueless in Iraq and seldom controlled more than the land on which US troops actually stood. The 2006-2007 Sunni-Shiite civil war, which left tens of thousands dead and millions (yes) displaced and homeless, many to this day, was fought under the nose of 180,000 US troops. In many instances Iraqi political and militia leaders manipulated the US military into helping them disarm enemies ( those terrorists over there!) and so aid the ethnic cleansing campaigns. The US military was helpless before the back-alley reprisals and faction-fighting.
Americans developed a myth that a temporary, minor troop escalation of 30,000 and some counter-insurgency measures worked to tamp down the violence. It is always all about us. But in fact, the ethnic cleansing of mixed neighborhoods just eventually ran out of steam. Shiite militias ran out of Sunnis to kill once most of them had fled the neighborhood for west Baghdad, Mosul or Syria and Jordan.
There is no prospect whatsoever that US ground troops could make the slightest difference to Syrias civil war. And in fact, Daesh would gain enormous prestige by taking on the troops of the superpower on its own terrain. It would snipe them, set roadside bombs, ambush them, and capture, torture and humiliate them. And the resulting publicity (at which Daesh is very good) would attract fighters to their cause. Many Syrian rebels would rally around the newly anti-imperialist caliphate, and angry young men would flock there to take the Marines down a peg. We have seen this picture before, and have over 4,000 dead soldiers and some 30,000 more significantly injured to show for it. What we dont have to show for it is a success in Iraq, and nor would we in Syria.
The US infantry is a blunt instrument. It can win against another conventional army. But it has seldom had much success in colonial guerrilla wars (and indeed no one has the French lost Algeria and Vietnam, the British lost Kenya and India, the Italians lost Libya and Eritrea, etc., etc.) In an age of C4 plastic explosives, Manpads, TOW missiles, RPGs, etc., nationalist guerrillas given refuge by local populations can always take an unacceptable toll on a democratic government that undertakes a neocolonial adventure
Daily Beast - The American-led bombing campaign is doing little to stem the tide of foreign fighters joining the war in Iraq and Syria. Four thousand of these fighters have joined the conflict since the allied airstrikes began, U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast.
Thats nearly as many combatants as coalition forces claimed to have killed, raising fears that if ISIS can continue to withstand a sustained air campaign, it could keep its ranks restocked for years, if not decades, to come.
The numbers are not moving in our favor, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) told The Daily Beast last week, after emerging from a secret briefing at the Capitol with retired Marine Gen. John Allen, presidential envoy in the campaign against ISIS.
Corker added that when the strength of the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels is compared to the fighters supporting ISIS, we are losing now in numbers.
Clancy Sigil, Counterpunch - Sooner or later, as we learned in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and as all trade unionists know, you have to sit down with your worst enemy and work out a deal. It always seems impossible at first. Their atrocities and a desire for blood revenge fog our mind, and the very idea of talking to the suicide bombers shot-callers is appeasement of evil, which it is.
But why stick on a failing principle when lives are at stake? ISIS doesnt want our money but our recognition of the Caliphate as a legitimate state. Whether we like it or not thats pretty much where it is. They aint going away any time soon. Journalists have stopped calling ISIS the so called or self styled. Thats how we tried wishing away the IRA with stunning lack of success at first.
We dont negotiate with terrorists? Sure, we do. After swearing on the King James Bible no surrender to terror, the British government, with lots of talk and some money, bought peace from the armed and quite ferocious IRA (which on one occasion bombed me out of my bed). Yet today former IRA killers like deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and Mary McCardle sit in the Northern Ireland Assembly as part of the peace agreement with Sinn Fein (alias IRA).
Israel, which trumpets the we never reward terrorists line, constantly negotiates prisoner releases and swaps all the time in return for dead or alive IDF soldiers. Its a fairly open secret that the French and probably British and Germans deal via foreign intermediaries, or their own secret services, with some pretty nasty ISIS genociders...
ISIS is our original sin because of the lying, deadly way we invaded Iraq. You break it, you pay for it, in the no less immortal words of one of the chief liars, Gen. Colin Powell.
Shit, man. Its only money.
56% of Americans support an interim deal with Iran that would ease some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear program.
Name one significant thing the American government has done since 9/11 to make it less likely that some in the MId East would want to attack it.
The good old days
Infrequently asked qustions:
When in history has a country as powerful as America been as afraid of a force as small as Al Qaeda?
How do we tell when we're meant to surrender our Constitution to fight Al Queda and when we're meant to give them more arms?
.@Harpers - Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking disability benefits: 45
A 12 year old who should be running
for president of Egypt
Just a reminder
PROGRESSIVE REVIEW STORIES
Australian - In one of three interviews yesterday, Mr Obama said the rebels were saying the right things so far. Most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors, people who appear to be credible, he told CBS.
Great former thoughts of Barack Obama: President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a dumb war and should be opposed. The dumb war Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. - CNS