Category Archives: Middle East

The day democracy died in Iran they weren’t wearing burkas

Iranian men and women (note the Western clothing) demonstrating in the streets of Tehran in the early 1950′s, calling for nationalization of the oil industry. Mohammed Moussadek, their democratically elected President made it happen and that made us angry.

Almost immediately, the CIA and British Intelligence orchestrated a coup, arrested the President and installed Shah Reva Pahlavi, who then – over a quarter century – destroyed democratic institutions, jailed dissidents and ruled as a Dictator. And oh yeah, the British got their oil back.

Having lost any political voice, Iranians turned to their clerics and it was in the mosque that anti-Shah sentiments were nurtured. Imams preached Islamism and radicalism. The early goal of restoring their treasured democracy stolen by the West was replaced by growing anti-Western attitudes and a commitment to overthrow the Shah.

We all know what happened 25 years later. And we’re all too familiar with the Iran of the 25 years since then. Blowback, the very definition of.

http://img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780805094978_p0_v2_s260x420.JPGFor all of that, we can thank two men: the then Director of the CIA Allan Dulles and his brother US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the same boys who shortly thereafter brought us Guatemala and Vietnam.

I just added to my reading list The Brothers,the story of how their belief system was formed, and how it – for a decade or more – became the very basis of American foreign policy.

Give it to Malala

http://msnbctv.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/179409189.jpgThe Nobel Committee awards the Peace Prize tomorrow. A worthy recipient awaits.

Give it to Malala.

UPDATE: They passed her over again. From Foreign Policy (link all wobbly):

Top News: The Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its work that has “defined the use of chemical weapons as taboo under international law,” according to the committee’s statement.

The OPCW, a U.N.-backed organization, has risen to new prominence for its role in disarming Syria’s chemical weapons. “People are still getting their heads around being in the global limelight,” said a spokesman for the OPCW, comparing it to “building an airplane and flying it at the same time.” Though events in Syria figured in the decision, the Nobel Committee stressed that the prize was awarded for the OPCW’s work since its founding in 1997 to assure adherence to the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW is currently assessing chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria and determining the best method to dispose of them — a plan that might include sending them to Norway — coincidentally the home of the Nobel Prize — for disposal.

The decision comes after weeks of speculation: Other individuals believed to have been in contention for the prize included Malala Yousafzai, the young women’s education advocate from Pakistan targeted by the Taliban, and Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who has set up hospitals for victims of rape.

And we know what happens in Libya . . .

(The rest of it almost writes itself . . . )

issa

Syria shares a border with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. And that matters.

syriaIn a country where none of the news is good, this is very very bad. I’ve worried about Turkey since the Islamists started flowing into Syria – they’re Sunnis, determined to help overthrow a Shia government.

An extremist group linked to Al Qaeda routed Syrian rebel fighters and seized control of a gateway town near Syria’s northern border with Turkey on Wednesday, posting snipers on rooftops, erecting checkpoints and imposing a curfew on the local population . . .

Its seizure is likely to alarm Syria’s neighbors. Turkey, which has vocally supported the fight against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and allowed fighters and arms to flow freely across its southern border, now faces a bold al Qaeda affiliate. . . 

In recent months, jihadist groups have isolated local populations by imposing strict Islamic codes, carrying out public executions and clashing with rebel groups.

Lebanon is expressing some worry too.

Could it be a “wink, wink”?

I hate that we might do anything military at all in Syria. I hate that if we do, it could be because President Barry was a little careless with his language last year with “a red line”, and the year before with “Assad has to go”. (Hey, maybe he should go to Congress and let them say ‘no’ and then either he can have it both ways or if they say ‘yes’ he’s got cover and isn’t in this alone.)

But I’m also cynical. More cynical than a sweet woman like myself ought to be. So I will wonder: is this waffling and the promises of ‘limited strikes’ a ruse? Is it a delay so Assad can act now to mitigate the damage to come?

Do we perhaps want Assad to survive after all because we believe anything that follows would be more unstable? Have we made a quiet deal to buy some time to transition to another government without those Islamists rattling the palace gates?

UPDATE: He is going to Congress – just saw it at The New York Times; it must have been a few hours ago, so I’m guessing it’s not because of my post.

Exactly.

(George Packer has a chat.)

UPDATE : Dearest readers, as much as I’d like to lay claim to the words that follow, I cannot. They aren’t mine. The ‘dialogue’ here is from George Packer at The New Yorker, but reading now through your comments, it looks like I didn’t make that clear. The link above to is to his column. Packer begins:

“So it looks like we’re going to bomb Assad.

Good.

Really? Why good?

Did you see the videos of those kids? I heard that ten thousand people were gassed. Hundreds of them died. This time, we have to do something.

Yes, I saw the videos.
And you don’t want to pound the shit out of him?I want to pound the shit out of him.But you think we shouldn’t do anything.

I didn’t say that. But I want you to explain what we’re going to achieve by bombing.

We’re going to let Assad know that chemical weapons are over the line. There’s a reason they’ve been illegal since Verdun or whenever.

Except when Saddam used them against the Kurds—we knew, and we didn’t say a word.

Is that a reason to let Assad use them against his people?

At this point, I don’t think Assad is too worried about the Geneva Conventions.

Continue reading

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

And for ‘me’, read the United States of America.

According to Ramzy Mardini, someone who knows (caution – NY Times possible paywall):

The Syrian revolution isn’t democratic or secular; the more than 90,000 fatalities are the result of a civil war, not a genocide — and human rights violations have been committed on both sides.

Moreover, the rebels don’t have the support or trust of a clear majority of the population, and the political opposition is neither credible nor representative. Ethnic cleansing against minorities is more likely to occur under a rebel-led government than under Mr. Assad; likewise, the possibility of chemical weapons’ falling into the hands of terrorist groups only grows as the regime weakens.

And finally, a rebel victory is more likely to destabilize Iraq and Lebanon, and the inevitable disorder of a post-Assad Syria constitutes a greater threat to Israel than the status quo.

Mardini concludes:

Syria is like Iraq. But worse.

And now a post in which I agree with George W. Bush’s White House

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

So who’s speaking out this time (except mistermix at Balloon Juice)? Atrios notes that the trip explains why McCain was mysteriously absent from all four Sunday morning shows.

But not the Admiral? I’ll bet Mullen scares him. Ooooohhhh.

The chief (singularly cheerless) cheerleader - after FOX News of course - of the Benghazi non-scandal, Rep. Darryl Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, has a working thesis: “scandals, scandals, it’s all scandals, and cover ups too!”. Having still failed to uncover any actual wrong-doing, he’s now subpoenaed Ambassador Thomas Pickering to testify about why Pickering didn’t interview Hillary Clinton for his investigation (the official one).

Pickering has said before that he would testify before Issa’s panel about last year’s Accountability Review Board report on the attack . . . Pickering and Mullen [Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pickering's co-chair] have refused,  however, to submit to a transcribed interview with Issa and his staff, calling  the closed-door proceeding an “inappropriate precondition” to their testimony.

“Your refusal to allow staff investigators to interview you is inconsistent with  your commitment to be ‘tough and transparent’,” Issa wrote to Pickering. “In  light of your continuing refusal to appear voluntarily for a transcribed  interview … I have found it necessary to issue a subpoena to compel your  appearance at a deposition.”

Lovely. Rep. Elijah Cummings put it clearly:

. . . the Chairman is now accusing Admiral Mullen, the former Chairman of  the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Ambassador Pickering, a seven-time U.S.  ambassador, of being complicit in a cover-up.”

Issa did not subpoena Mullen.

Looks like Bibi got an earful from Barry

This is pretty big news. It’s also very good news. 

AMMAN—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan spoke by telephone Friday, after a prolonged effort by President Barack Obama and his aides to overcome a deep chill that had settled into the relationship between Israel and Turkey.

Despite being a majority-Muslim country, Turkey had a cooperative relationship with Israel for years. But it soured in 2010 . . . .due primarily to the Israeli raid on a Turkish-registered vessel carrying activists who said they were trying to take aid supplies to Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the raid.

. . .  Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan during their conversation Friday and acknowledged “operational mistakes” during the raid. Erdogan accepted the apology . . .

The Israeli government confirmed the apology in a statement and said the two leaders also agreed to normalize relations by dispatching ambassadors again and, on Turkey’s part, cancelling legal charges against Israeli forces.

Details are here about Israel’s 2010 raid on the flotilla, which was delivering relief supplies to Gaza. Nine of the activists aboard were killed.

Whoops, how could I have forgotten this one?

In previous posts on this tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I failed to mention the Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle. He called early, often and urgently for us to send our young people to die in Iraq. By the time Bush got into office, Perle  was on the official Iraq War Marketing Team. On The Dish, Andrew Sullivan reminded us and quotes Pearle in an interview ten years on:

Montagne: Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?

Perle: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done with the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.

s-PERLE-largePerle was an early member of PNAC  calling for a ‘new American Century” and the removal of Saddam.

From David Corn in Mother Jones:

Perle began calling for war in Iraq nanoseconds after September 11. He told CNN, “Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.” In 2002, he suggested a war against Iraq would be a cakewalk: “It isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either.” He asserted Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.” He claimed the post-invasion reconstruction in Iraq would be self-financing. He got everything wrong.

And still he said: “You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.”

Maybe he can’t. We can.

By the way, Sullivan himself was an early and ardent supporter of the Iraq invasion. He’s been tripping all over himself in the last recent years saying he was wrong and apologizing for that. But my oh my how he did once love that war. He proved it by damning – over and over again in strong language - those who would dare oppose the war likening such opposition to anti-Semitism and calls for American defeat. He wasn’t just wrong – as he admits – he nearly called the left traitors.

And like many at the time – and right up to today – he claimed that opposing the war was equivalent to morally condoning Saddam’s record of human right abuses.

This lazy form of moral equivalence is not rare among the radical left in this country. But it is based on a profound moral abdication: the refusal to see that a Stalinist dictatorship that murders its own civilians, that sends its troops into battle with a gun pointed at their heads, that executes POWs, that stores and harbors chemical weapons, that defies 12 years of U.N. disarmament demands, that has twice declared war against its neighbors, and that provides a safe haven for terrorists of all stripes, is not the moral equivalent of the United States under President George W. Bush. There is, in fact, no comparison whatever. That is not jingoism or blind patriotism or propaganda. It is the simple undeniable truth. And once the left starts equating legitimate acts of war to defang and depose a deadly dictator with unprovoked terrorist attacks on civilians, it has lost its mind, not to speak of its soul.

Really? Sullivan never apologized for that part. Here’s his March 2003 archive; lots of nasty stuff.

As I said below about Wolfowitz, the ones who got it wrong still occupy positions of influence. They may be scorned on this tenth anniversary, but mostly they’re in the background making money and calling always for more war, war, war. It’s what they do.

7 brilliant insights from Noam Chomsky on American empire

POSTED BY ORHAN

Reposted from AlterNet.  Note: I rearranged the entries in the article from shorter to longer.

by Laura Gottesdiener, AlterNet

Noam Chomsky is an expert on many matters — linguistics, how our economy functions and propaganda, among others. One area where his wisdom especially shines through is in articulating the structure and functioning of the American empire. Chomsky has been speaking and publishing on the topic since the ’60s. Below are seven powerful quotes on the evils, atrocities and ironies of the American empire taken from his personal site and from a fan-curated Web site dedicated to collecting Chomsky‘s observations.

1. “[The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” — Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian

2. “Suppose that, say, China established military bases in Colombia to carry out chemical warfare in Kentucky and North Carolina to destroy this lethal crop [tobacco] that is killing huge numbers of Chinese.” — Noam Chomsky on the irony of the drug war waged by the United States in Central and South America

3. “If something is right (or wrong) for us, it’s right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it’s wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then it’s wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.” — “On Terrorism,”Noam Chomsky interviewed by John Bolender, Jump Arts Journal, January 2004

4. “Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world’s people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations.” — Profit over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order Continue reading

Time Magazine got it wrong

malalaTheir no longer so eagerly-awaited “Person of the Year’ issue is out and they’ve chosen President Obama. That’s a FAIL.

Look, I’m an Obama fan. I think he’s acquited himself quite well as president and I continue to hold a little bit of hope that he might do more this term. But still, FAIL.

US Presidents are always consequential. Always. But this year, I think the most consequential person on the planet was a 14-year old girl.

Person of the Year should be Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who stood up for women’s rights, for human rights and continued to do so even as the Taliban threatened to kill her. Still she stood as tall as a person can stand.

What Malala did, what she now stands for, might be as consequential as the Arab Spring is. She’s the Arab Rosa Parks. She’s a hero.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead) 

Image

Please no. (updated)

richard engle
UPDATE: Engle and his team were indeed captured and held for five days. They were released this morning. Their captors were apparently Assad loyalists.

Vote for Malala . . .

. . . for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, here. The actions and courage of this single 14-year old girl may change the world.

I got off your lawn John; now what do you want?

Miss Graham’s dream of advancing to chief scold are foiled again, as current and senior scold Sen. John McCain abandons Arizona altogether and takes up permanent residence on the floor of the US Senate.

Benghazi forevah!

Twelve attacks on US embassies – 2001 to 2008

Attacks on US embassies from 2001-2008 killed a total of 35 people. Of course they weren’t Americans so it doesn’t matter. Plus, Bush. From here.

Paris, France, September 13, 2001: Four men were arrested in Rotterdam on conspiracy to plant a suicide bomber in the U.S. embassy in Paris. The NATO headquarters in Brussels was also targeted. The plot was discovered in July 2001 when a conspirator named Djamel Beghal was arrested in Dubai for passport fraud. He confessed after an interrogation. All the conspirators were part of a small satellite of Al-Qaeda.

Karachi, Pakistan, June 14, 2002, February 28, 2003, March 15, 2004, and March 2, 2006: The string of bombings and attempted bombings outside the U.S. consult in Karachi were thought to be in retaliation for the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and later Iraq.

  • The first bomb in June 2002 was a suicide bomber, who killed 12 and injured 51 people.
  • In February 2003, a gunman killed two police officer and injured five others outside the consulate.
  • In March 2004, an attempted bombing was stopped when police discovered 200 gallons of liquid explosives in the back of a truck.
  • In March 2006, another suicide bomber killed six people outside a nearby Marriott Hotel.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, July 30, 2004: The U.S. and Israeli embassies were targeted by suicide bombers. Two security guards were killed.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 6, 2004: Militants breached the outer wall of the U.S. consulate and began shooting, but did not enter the consulate. Five civilians and the gunmen were killed. Ten people were wounded.

Damascus, Syria, September 12, 2006: Three gunmen were killed after they tossed grenades over the embassy’s outer wall and a car bomb exploded outside the embassy. A Syrian security guard and a Chinese diplomat also died.

Athens, Greece, January 12, 2007: A rocket-propelled grenade was fired into the front of the U.S. embassy around 6 am in the morning. No one was killed or hurt. A Greek terrorist group called “Revolutionary Struggle” claimed responsibility.

Istanbul, Turkey, July 9, 2008: Kurdish Turks open fired around 11 am, killing six people and injuring one. The three men had suspected Al-Qaeda links, but this was never proven.

San’a, Yemen, September 7, 2008: 19 people died and at least 16 were injured when a group of men disguised at police attacked the outer security rim of the U.S. embassy. Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic Jihad of Yemen claimed responsibility.

 

 

But Congressman, however did you find the time? Did you finish up with Fast and Furious? Already?

Until now,  US Rep Darryl Issa been merely been a stupid congress critter. An irritation. Until now:

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa(R-CA) compromised the identities of several Libyans working with the U.S. government and placed their lives in danger when he released reams of State Department communications Friday, according to Obama administration officials.

Issa posted 166 pages of sensitive but unclassified State Department communications related to Libya on the committee’s website afternoon as part of his effort to investigate security failures and expose contradictions in the administration’s statements regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi . . .

. . . But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.

Troll caution: Assange/Issa not equivalent. Assange not a US Congressman.

This is my favorite part:

[Foreign Policy Magazine] pointed out that even WikiLeaks had approached the State Department and offered to negotiate retractions of sensitive information before releasing their cables. [Committee Spokesman Frederick] Hill confirmed that Issa did not grant the State Department that opportunity but said it was the State Department’s fault for not releasing the documents when they were first requested.

And a Happy Rosh Hoshanna to you too Mittens

The GOP’s choice for the White House also said this of the Israeli peace process:

[He] as president, would aim to postpone significant action: “[S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

The man’s a giant.

There are other demonstrations in Bengazi

Another Hundred Years War? I’m sure the Three Amigos* would like that, but

Romney aside, Obama aside, serious things appear to be happening.

The usual noise machine is going all ‘we can’t let this stand’. I assume they want to shoot someone.

Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia . . . shall we wage war on all of them? (Hey, war with a billion people would be awesome!)

War with a billion people who mostly don’t want war with us.

War with a billion people because of the actions of  a hundred thousand? A few hundred thousand? The militants among the billion? The Islamists amongst a billion Muslims? Wage war on a billion people?

If the neo-con dreams come true, that’s what we’ll have. And Saudi Arabia couldn’t stop it; the Saudi royal family would probably be wiped out early on. They’ve been in Al Qaeda’s gun sights for some time.

You think it can’t happen? Check out the 11th and 12th Centuries.

* Messers McCain and Lieberman and Ms. Graham of the United States Senate.

Dear Pastor Jones

I’d like to hear your opinion of what should be done to someone who shouts “FIRE” in a crowded theatre? Just wondering.

Anyone else?

And so Western religious fanaticists light the fire of Eastern religious fanaticists. Nice.

What price will Romney pay? Foreign service corps is piling on

Romney’s rash statement last night is being widely criticized:

Foreign Policy Hands Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement

“Bungle… utter disaster…not ready for prime time… not presidential… Lehman moment.” And that’s just the Republicans.

Mitt Romney’s sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy.

Romney’s statement . . . came just before news that the American Ambassador to Libya had been killed and broke with a tradition of unity around national tragedies, and of avoiding hasty statements on foreign policy. It was the second time Romney has been burned by an early statement on a complex crisis: Romney denounced the Obama Administration’s handling of a Chinese dissident’s escape just as the Administration negotiated behind the scenes for his departure from the country.

Mitt: just shut up

Our Ambassador to a country we just fought for has been killed there in a protest triggered by an anti-Muslim film,  made by and/or in America or connected to America.)

Typically and with cheap abandon, Mitt Romney jumped the gun and took a low road, blasting the Obama administration and claiming they’d issued an apology which they had not. He’s carelessly adding fuel to what is certain to be (is) an eruption of political finger-pointing. Worse though, he again is less interested in those Americans who died for their country. He didn’t even wait for the event to play itself out or check his facts before he went on the attack. Not very presidential.

It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The comments that outraged Romney were issued, not by the White House, but by the Ambassador to Egypt (before Stevens and the others were killed in Libya) in an attempt to calm things down and protect the Embassy and his staff.  Ambassadors are powerful; they are empowered to and expected to respond quickly in the best interests of the Embassy.

UPDATE: This is the statement issued by the Embassy yesterday before things deteriorated:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Here’s some more on the film (not Romney related):

One of the things fueling the protest is the misconception that, as in Egypt, films made in the U.S. must have government approval, according to this article in The Atlantic:

The movie . . . has received attention far beyond its reach, which would be modest if not for obsessively outraged media . . . That doesn’t mean this incident will become (was originally) anything more than a bizarre moment of cross-cultural misunderstanding (the protesters seem to assume that, as in Egypt, movies must secure the state’s approval), but that it could go so far is yet another reminder of the tensions just beneath the surface in Egypt.

What is clear is that (loony) American Pastor, Terry Jones, is involved, vigorously promoting the English language version. (Pastor Jones, in case you’ve forgotten, is the careless fool who burned the Koran in front of TV cameras, even after Sect’y of Defense Robert Gates pleaded with him not to do it.)

According to Reuters:

U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Koran, said he had promoted “Innocence of Muslims”, which U.S. media said was produced by an Israeli-American property developer.

Jones, a pastor in Florida whose latest stunt fell on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, triggered riots in Afghanistan in 2010 with his threat to burn the Koran.

According to Haaretz:

An Israeli filmmaker went into hiding on Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad sparked angry assaults by Muslims on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and in Libya, where one American was killed.

Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.

(Well, thanks Sam and Pastor Jones. Great work there.)

Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S.consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing an American State Department officer on Tuesday. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.

Bacile, a California real estate developer in his fifties who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world. “

Gunpowder in the air? The Three Amigos are ready – again!

Messrs McCain, Lindsay and Lieberman are calling for war again. They always do – this is their act and it’s getting stale.

Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman and Miss Graham

Of course they’ll insist they don’t want ‘real’ war, just ‘support for the rebels’. They’re not particularly concerned that there are many different kinds of rebels – now including worrisome Islamist elements.

The three gentlemen had an op-ed in The Washington Post the other day, laying out their case. It is – thank Elvis - not tea party reasoning and it’s not all about Jeebus either. But it is classical neo-con Middle East war hawk stuff, evidenced by this, reason number-whatever:

. . . ensuring that al-Qaeda and its violent brethren are unable to secure a new foothold in the heart of the Middle East.

I heard those exact words about Iraq – in 2003, 04, 05, 06 . . . from the same war party.

The people who are doing the best job right now of keeping the Islamists in check are the countries actually in the heart of the Middle East; for them, the danger is at their own front doors. Right now, even the new Egyptian government and its Muslim Brotherhood president are themselves taking aggressive action.

Syria isn’t Egypt. And Egypt wasn’t Libya. And Libya wasn’t Tunisia.

But Syria could be Lebanon, which would be a fearsome outcome. But no matter the danger, we can’t do it from here. You can’t kill an idea with a bullet. Only politics can achieve that.

Reagan’s failure in Lebanon proved it.

It’s okay if you’re Saudi Arabia

From Jonathan Turley’s blog. More at BBC.

We did it! We got Al Quaeda’s #2! Yet again!

We are getting seriously good at this Number 2 stuff.

(That job is like being the Star Trek crew member wearing the red shirt. Bang, bang, you’re dead.)

What goes around . . .

Remember how in 2003, Iraqis fled across the border into Syria?

Now, here we are in 2012: Syrians are fleeing across their border into Turkey.

As Linda Ellerbee used to say, “and so it goes”.

Hey! The Three Amigos are back in business . . .

Well, two of them anyway. McCain and Lieberman are on the ground again – smiling at Syrians, assuring them that our Presdient doesn’t know what he’s doing – and of course saying there’s no war they couldn’t love.

Lindsay had to wash his hair I think.

Well done! We’re right back in 1979; this time in Afghanistan

From today’s story in The Washington Post about the growing demonstrations in Afghanistan following the burning of a pile of Korans.

Nine Afghans were killed Friday [in Kabul]. . . [and]  six protesters and a police officer were killed in Herat Province when demonstrators tried to storm the U.S. Consulate. . . at each demonstrations, protestors shouted ‘Death to America’. . . More than 20 have been killed since the burning incident.

Remove this ‘causus belli’ of the Koran burning and that could have been written in 1979 about Iran, when 52 American Embassy employees were taken hostage.

While I’m on the subject: I haven’t posted that tally lately - Today is the 119th day of the 11th year of the War in Afghanistan.