May 27, 2010

Darkness in Damascus

Even though I'm not Jewish, reading this by an American Jew who spent eight months in Syria makes me glad I chose to study the Middle East in Beirut, in Jerusalem, and even in Baghdad.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 3:38 AM
Comments
"One girl who was 1/4 Turkish, 1/4 Kurdish and 1/2 Arab loved listening to Israeli heavy metal music because it was the only music she could find that blended eastern and western tonalities successfully."

The band she is talking about is most likely Orphaned Land. They are a unique band with a legion of fans across the middle east.
Posted by: FormerStudent at May 27, 2010 4:29 am
On the topic of learning Arabic in Syria is of interest, one might find DaveM's entries about it (at Harry's Place) of interest.
Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 27, 2010 5:10 am
FS - She could very well have been talking about Salem or any number of other Israeli metal bands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_(band)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Israeli_heavy_metal_musical_groups

But I'll quickly concede that she could just as well have been talking about all of the above.

NORWEGIAN
LETTER
BOMBS,
R
Posted by: Render at May 27, 2010 5:12 am
[...] around hattips due to Michael J. Totten, long time Totten commentor Former Student, and most importantly Bataween’s Point of no [...]
Posted by: Orphaned Land – Ocean Land « The Last Stand at May 27, 2010 5:27 am
What was most shocking to me was that even the most westernized and independent thinkers I met were obsessed with conspiracy theories.

Cousin marriages are very common in that part of the world. I wager all the inbreeding has enfeebled their brains.
Posted by: Toady at May 27, 2010 5:43 am
Middle Eastern conspiracy theories are one of the most salient features of the region. Daniel Pipes wrote an entire book about it.

I was chatting with an Iranian who suggested that Jews or Israelis (I don't remember which, and does it matter?) caused the Great Recession. I asked him if the US was Israel's greatest financial and military ally. He said it was. So I asked, "Why, then, would Israel want to cause such great harm to its closest ally?" He said my point made sense. I asked him why Iranians believed in conspiracy theories so often. He agreed that they do. So, even though he is aware of the Iranian penchant for conspiracism, he was still susceptible to it himself.
Posted by: semite5000 at May 27, 2010 7:15 am
Maxtrue, now even De Klerk denies the Guardian story, er, I mean smear: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=176667
Posted by: semite5000 at May 27, 2010 7:16 am
"Middle Eastern conspiracy theories are one of the most salient features of the region. Daniel Pipes wrote an entire book about it. "

Its called "The Hidden Hand" I don't recall if it was his first but its been out for a while. There is certainly a long history of it in Muslim-dominated countries. But the West is certainly not immune to that kind of thinking.
The article illustrates why Syria and NK see eye to eye or is it just a common feature of tyrannies.
Just heard an interview with that American journalist held in NK for 5 months and then freed with Bill Clinton's help.(Can't recall her name, something like Laura Lin)
Anyway, her description of NK is very similar.
Posted by: jb at May 27, 2010 8:06 am
Nothing a little FM 3-24.2 COIN won't fix, I'm sure.

Being sarcastic there. I personally have a great deal of trouble believing supposed COIN experts actually seem to believe there's some benefit for the US in trying to reach out to countries like Syria, and to terror groups like Hezbollah. I guess COINdinistas are too busy writing Field Manuals to read Friedrich Nietzsche so I'll provide a relevant quote in case they happen to have time to read blogs rather than just writing them at least:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 9:52 am
Jb;

The West isn't immune to conspiracy theories but it can be agreed that they aren't mainstream. Most of the 'theorists' can provide some government document or similar that can be interpreted to support what they believe. The concept of 'proof' is an important tenet in modern societies. That doesn't seem to be the case in other parts of the world.

I've spent quite some time reading middle-eastern chatboards and the conspiracy-mongering is jaw dropping. Apart from the general we-are-victims mentality, I've seen posters blame the US for just about anything, from the Lebanese civil war to a plague of crows in the neighborhood (the corvids in question allegedly came over on an American navy ship).

I don't know whether to laugh or to be appalled.
Posted by: Toady at May 27, 2010 10:23 am
Toady,
I agree with you.
In a general sense, the history of Western civilisation from the Renaissance show the emphasis on the "scientific method" which requested proof for an hypothesis rather than rumour.
i fear we will al be long in our graves before there is an similar Islamic renaissance.
Its interesting to consider that the philosophy of tyrannical regimes either are religious based or borrow the same sort of philosophy. However, with a religion-based tyranny, the proponents really belief it, whereas non-religious tyrants simply appropriate the attitude and pass it on to those under their control.
Posted by: jb at May 27, 2010 10:44 am
Craig:

I think most proponents of COIN would say that they are working to disprove / do not believe that Nietsche quote. I myself do not believe it must necessarily be so. Are we all not human?
Posted by: N. at May 27, 2010 11:02 am
Great link Michael. I didn't know you were not Jewish....

S-5000, thanks for the link. I need that for a response at another blog....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 11:04 am
What chatboards, toady?
Posted by: Solomon2 at May 27, 2010 11:25 am
Maxtrue, why would you think I'm Jewish? Because I stick up for Israel? Non-Jewish Americans are, oddly enough, more likely to support Israel than Jewish Americans.

I defend Israel, flawed though it is, because it's a democracy with a better human rights record than any other country in the region, not because it's Jewish.

I stick up for the Kurds and the non-Hezbollah Lebanese for similar reasons. One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I expect to stick up for Iran as well.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 11:30 am
I had Jewish room mate in Beirut, by the way. He did not keep it a secret, and he did not have any problems except when we went to a Hezbollah event together and were detained by security because of his middle (Jewish) name.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 11:33 am
N,

I think most proponents of COIN would say that they are working to disprove / do not believe that Nietsche quote.

I find it difficult to believe they are trying to disprove the quote. From what I've seen on the blogs it seems to be the preferred method of "winning hearts and minds" is to co-opt the ideology of the enemy rather than persuade the enemy to abandon it and come around to our way of thinking. By doing so, they are PROVING that Nietsche quote.

Of course, they may not believe that terrorists are monsters but I'd disagree with them pretty intensely about that. What would the reaction have been during World War II if prominent military analysts proposed the idea that we should somehow undermine the Nazis by befriending them and endorsing Nazism?

I myself do not believe it must necessarily be so. Are we all not human?

The quote is only in regards to dealing with "monsters". If job one is to humanize the monsters so that we don't get to call them monsters anymore, then of course the quote can easily be dismissed :)

This is a monstrous ideology we're dealing with. No good can come of pretending otherwise.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 11:33 am
Craig: From what I've seen on the blogs it seems to be the preferred method of "winning hearts and minds" is to co-opt the ideology of the enemy rather than persuade the enemy to abandon it and come around to our way of thinking. By doing so, they are PROVING that Nietsche quote.

I didn't see anything like that in Iraq.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 11:38 am
I didn't see anything like that in Iraq.

I'm talking specifically about the policies that COINdinistas have been proposing for dealing with Lebanon(Hezbollah), Syria, and Iran. And to a lesser extent Afghanistan. And, I think it's only "to a lesser extent" in Afghanistan because they're very cautious about claiming Afghanistan as a valid test case because failure is quite likely and would be very conspicuous.

I don't think Iraq is a valid test case at all, since it was in my opinion Iraqi internal dynamics that turned the tide, with the US only getting credit for being smart enough to encourage that.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 11:46 am
Craig -

Who are the COIN people with suggestions for Hezbollah, Syria & Iran? I consider myself pretty well in the loop, and so far as I know they tend to agree that they have their hands full with Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm also at a loss as to how you see COIN as co-opting the ideology of the enemy... I'm wondering if you could point me towards some papers or explain a little bit what you mean?
Posted by: N. at May 27, 2010 12:30 pm
N, I'm referring to positions that were taken on Abu Muqawama's old blog from before Andrew Exum got hired by "Center for a new American Security". I stopped reading his blog since then, but I'd be surprised if he and his fellow travelers have done an about face.

I find their efforts to rehabilitate the image of Egypt's Muslim brotherhood, of Lebanon's Hezbollah, and etc deeply troubling. I also find their positions re: Israel deeply troubling.

I think their influence on US foreign policy is best seen in items like this:

http://www.michaeltotten.com/2010/05/the-great-hezbollah-snipe-hunt.php

Where Paul Brennan was advocating this:

“And what we need to do is to [sic] find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.”

I think the stupidity of that statement speaks for itself. And yet that's exactly what I've seen COIN gurus saying the US needs to do, not just re: Hezbollah but re: many Islamist terror groups.

I think their influence on the Obama Administration's policies is pretty evident in statements Gates and others in the DoD have made recently, as well. Is redefining the enemy so that they aren't an enemy anymore what passes fro victory these days? If only we'd tried that in Vietnam!
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 1:03 pm
"The concept of 'proof' is an important tenet in modern societies."

Not to the MSM.
Posted by: Paul S. at May 27, 2010 2:01 pm
Well Michael, you have to admit sites like yours are rare and the odds would favor a Jew..lol

Yes, I know you defend others (including those you mentioned) and understand Israel has some problems but then there are Jews that feel that way too. I do.

Actually, I was was unsure of your roots as I thought Totten English. I rather doubted it was a shortened version of Tottenman or Tottensky...

In any case, thanks for the support....I only wish more American Jews felt the way you do.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 2:02 pm
http://defensetech.org/2010/05/26/the-sri-lanka-option-brutal-dictatorships-learning-some-bad-coin-lessons/

Here's some bad COIN Crag...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 2:04 pm
damn...Craig...sorry.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Oh, and by the way Michael, your observation is correct I think, about Jewish Americans. It is an embarrassment for me for two reasons. 1 I am Jewish and 2 I lean towards the Left. So I have spent the better part of the internet free time I have these last six years battling Liberal Democrats and researching. I am constantly amazed at how quickly they call me a Republican Neocon based solely on my take regarding Israel, terrorism and Iran. I cannot explain the syndrome.

I think one reason might be that for a long time Republicans were rather antisemitic. Desm were the defenders of minorities. Just look at what Kissinger said about Israel and what he didn't say when Nixon spewed antisemitic BS. So Jews trend Liberal and followed the Liberal narrative which has move Left and anti-zionist.

Still, that doesn't seem to explain it.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 2:19 pm
Maxtrue, more bad COIN here coming straight from the Obama Administration (via "Foreign Policy" magazine which is frequently referenced by Andrew Exum)

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/

The NSS lays out "a comprehensive strategy" in what it repeatedly calls a war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, one "that denies [al-Qaeda and its affiliates] safe haven, strengthens front-line partners, secures our homeland, pursues justice through durable legal approaches, and counters a bankrupt agenda of extremism and murder with an agenda of hope and opportunity." It defines this in narrow terms: "this is not a global war against a tactic -- terrorism or a religion -- Islam. We are at war with a specific network, al-Qa'ida, and its terrorist affiliates."

So if your name isn't AQ you can do whatever the hell you want including mass-murdering of American citizens and we don't care.

Am I reading that wrong!?

Somebody please tell me I just haven't ingested enough caffeine today and I'm misunderstanding what that statement means?
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 2:29 pm
PS Maxtrue,

Actually, I was was unsure of your roots as I thought Totten English.

My last name is also English. And, surprise! I'm ethnically English :)

Well Michael, you have to admit sites like yours are rare and the odds would favor a Jew..lol

Sites like this may be rare, but opinions like MJT's are not. I'd even venture a guess that MJT's views are pretty mainstream in America. But what does that say about all the other blogs and media outlets that paint such a different picture?
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 2:33 pm
Not to beat a dead horse, but...

this is not a global war against a tactic -- terrorism

Referring to terrorism as if it is a valid military tactic and not a war crime makes me want to barf. Whose idea was that? And what will their next gem be? Genocide is just a tactic too? WTF? Is this actually the President of the United States saying things like that?
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 2:40 pm
One more kick for the dead horse! Since AQ is in Pakistan and isn't in Afghanistan, I expect Obama to announce the immediate withdrawal of all US military forces from Afghanistan tomorrow morning. We aren't at war with terrorists named "Taliban". I also expect him to apologize profusely for having left American forces there 8 years longer than they should have been.

Following that he can announce the deployment of US troops into Pakistan, at his earliest convenience. Either that, or he can retract his statement that the US is at war with Al Qaida, since it's hard to be at war with a terror group when there are no US military forces engaging that terror group.

You want it, Mister President, you got it! I'll back you on that to the hilt! And whenever the shit hits the fan with Iran and Hezbollah operatives conduct one or more major terror attacks within the US, well... lets just hope you're out of office by then so you won't have to explain why you were unconcerned with any terrorism not associated with AQ.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 2:57 pm
After Obama's Press conference today, Obama is indeed a deer caught in the headlights. At a bad moment too.

Craig, what we see is a mess because there was no clear vision or leadership, just a gesture and HOPE things would change. I laugh when some call this realism. FP leans left these days and I find it often far from the truth.

At this rate Democrats are going to get slammed and then things can move to center. I would say things might heat up before November because all parties see opportunity. We are steering into dangerous water....

I hope you are right about the under current. I must say if you read Free Republic or American Thinker the comments are down right scary. If RHINOS and moderates on the Right don't take charge of the GOP we will have more of the yo yo strategies to bring us further down....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 3:39 pm
http://www.dvidshub.net/?id=86373&script=video%2Fvideo_show.php

I guess we're making this just for AQ
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 3:43 pm
@Craig,

If you don't have a conventional military force but nevertheless have political goals and a limited amount of explosives, then terrorism could get you some leverage. Virtually every grouping of people on Earth have engaged in what would, today, be called "terrorism." Even conventional military force can be used for the purpose of terrorizing civilians into submission.

But, as a tactic it has the greatest chance of success against democracies. Despotic regimes are typically unresponsive to the hoi-polloi; nor do they worry about their welfare. But, democratic governments, even belligerent ones, are beholden to the people. And people generally aren't as concerned with the big picture. They favor safety and security...and low taxes and balanced budgets.

Since democracies don't normally go to war with one another, you'll only see terrorism employed by tyrannical parties against democracies. But it can also backfire by creating resolve in the population to fight the terrorizer. But, even this is a short surge of enthusiasm destined to die down in any prolonged conflict. And that's what terrorist tactics usually lead to - protracted wars of attrition. The hope is that the populace capitulates or decides it's not worth the fight. This can take decades of conflict.

I wouldn't bet on terrorism winning in the long run all by itself, but it may buy leverage to get a seat at the negotiating table and a better deal, too.

"Genocide is just a tactic too?"

1)It may be that the only way to guarantee your progeny a lasting peace is by exterminating today those who might grow strong enough to harm them in the future - while you can. Even weakened enemies can cause grief for a long time - see the discussion above.

2)If you consider a portion of the populace to be a 5th column likely to aid your enemies in a time of war (like the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey with Russia) then you'll "relocate" the population away from the front.

3)If your desire is to consolidate your empire/state and to unify it with a single culture/language/religion then exterminating any recalcitrant ethnics within the territory would be one way to go. You could expel them, but, to where? No one else wants your castaways - look at the Palestinians and Arab states.

See Craig? There are always logical reasons for nauseating, blood-curdling courses of action. I bet that if we looked at the world on a case by case basis from the point of view of the major actors' objectives and resources, the vast majority of horrible atrocious acts would appear completely rational. Anyone in their shoes would likely act similarly. A fact that we keep seeing over and over again; revolutions change the actors but not the characters.

I cannot fathom how England (and its daughter, the US) escaped the cycle. This is a unique period, a grand experiment conducted on the knife edge between anarchy and despotism.

What were we talking about? :)
Posted by: PBcanon at May 27, 2010 3:52 pm
PBcanon, I have seen that username before. Where besides here?

In any case, I don't see your point except perhaps for smaller groups like FARC and Taliban. You say that based on the options available, terrorism can make rational sense discounting the AIM of the group doing it. By the way the Brits used small pox against the Indians. But what if the aim is hegemony? There isn't negotiation until the goal is complete. Then there is no need for negotiations. Iran sponsors terrorism and they have conventional and WMD resources. It is not about leverage is it?

In the case of Hizb'Allah, the goal is to defeat Israel. AQ the goal isn't leverage, it is to damage the US.

Maybe I missed something but I've got to run...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 4:09 pm
umm Craig...

al-Q is unquestionably in Afghanistan.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2010/05/yet_another_al_qaeda_guy_kille.php

The Taliban is as much a part of al-Q as Egyptian Islamic Jihad or LeT is.

Just picking that one point out, no comment on any of your other points.

HIYA,
R
Posted by: Render at May 27, 2010 4:49 pm
One conspiracy theory thats picking up steam is that Iran, Israel, and the US are secretly in bed with each other. Iran causes problems in Iraq just so it can give the US an excuse to stay there and steal all the oil.
Posted by: Ali at May 27, 2010 5:30 pm
Render, if we're going to play that game then AQ is in Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Somalia too. And probably a few other countries I missed. AQ central is in Pakistan. If we're not in Pakistan, we aren't at war with AQ. And if Obama says we are ONLY at war with AQ, then what in the hell are we doing with the multinational rebuilding effort in Afghanistan? When does the war on AQ start?

Good job on narrowing down the focus to AQ, President Obama. You just removed America's justification for 100% of our military counter-terrorism efforts. So you may as well fire all those COIN advisors, and all your terrorism advisors too. The war is over.

And while you're at it you may as well stop bitching about the IRI and their nuke program. They aren't named Al Qaida, either.

I've been around a while but I've never in my life been so disgusted with a US foreign policy statement as I am today. Time for me to go out to dinner and try to pretend it's all just a bad dream.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 5:40 pm
Hey, how about this idea instead of the declaring victory thing? Obama can coordinate with India for a two-pronged invasion of Pakistan. We might even be able to get the Russians on board which would boost our relations with them tremendously which I know Obama is desperate to do. Then not only will the COIN guys still have jobs, but they'll be even get a chance to test out their MOPP skills while they are winning radioactive hearts and minds.

It's a wonderful world.
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 5:54 pm
Maxtrue,

Yes, my last name is English and Christian, though I've never lived in England and am not religious.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 6:15 pm
Craig: I'd even venture a guess that MJT's views are pretty mainstream in America.

Yes, I agree with the majority on most political questions, though I used to be on the moderately radical left.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 27, 2010 6:18 pm
"Moderately radical"?
Posted by: Squires at May 27, 2010 6:35 pm
My Grandfather shortened his name and now it is Scottish..lol

I'm not very religious. In fact, Rabbis in Northern Israel telling women they can't hold administrative jobs smacks of the Taliban. For me, Jewishness is more a cultural thing and my support of Israel more about the defense of Liberty and concern for friends.

I confess I was once more on the lefter side. I had more faith in what GOOD government could do when backed up by enlightened people. I was pretty distressed by the slow progress of conventional politics. I'm sure you meant something else.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 7:56 pm
And I've never met a nationality I couldn't get along with....that is, those I have met in the States...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 7:59 pm
Ali, that is one of the stupidest conspiracy theories I've heard for so many reasons.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 8:00 pm
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=127984&sectionid=351020101

Now this is funny...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 8:02 pm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/10/islam-freedom-expression
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 8:35 pm
Oopss....where I got this link above: http://www.network54.com/Forum/242875/thread/1274206454/last-1275009364/When+Islamic+atheism+thrived

interesting exchange between Indians and Iranians...It made me think about Michael's comment regarding his education abroad. It kinds gets past our filters here..
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 9:14 pm
No offense intended, Maxtrue, but the author of that article seems to be claiming that there's a tradition of atheism within Islam. Which seems about as bizarre to me as somebody trying to claim there's a tradition of atheism within Christianity. She goes on to call a 10th century atheist an "Islamic" thinker? Are Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens "Christian" thinkers?
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 9:42 pm
It was more about tolerance in Islam, not that there is such a thing as an Atheist Muslim.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 10:28 pm
I do believe one can be an atheist Jew. I suppose an atheist Taoist, but again, I didn't mean to say I agree with her labels, just that his ideas were passed down and he seemed tolerated. It speaks to the possibility of reformation at least. That was my point in posting it...

Kurds are Muslim and many like Jews and Christians. Michael knows far more about this than anything I can say. And I do know Muslims, at least they say they are Muslims, and think this religious stuff is for the birds....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 27, 2010 10:36 pm
Ugh... Revisionist history strikes again. The myths regarding Islamic culture's alleged "golden" age(s) are legion.

Muslims invented coffee! (monks living in dhimmitude) Muslims invented algebra! (which was in use in Babylon thousands of years before Muhammad was born) Muslims invented distilling! (again, predates Islam by thousands of years) Muslims invented modern medicine! ("Arab medicine" was founded by two dhimmis serving in a royal court... and the ancient Greeks had their own system long before that) Al-Andalusia was multicultural paradise! (well, according to 19th century Jewish propaganda spun whole cloth as a misguided means of fighting European antisemitism) Ad nauseum.

Not that the medieval/Renaissance period Islamic world didn't produce a few actual ethnically "Muslim" innovators, but they seem to have been invariably irreligious, for which they walked a thin line and were often at risk. And as those innovations were produced in societies ideologically rigid, locked in the 7th century, nothing of practical use tended to be developed from those startlingly few individuals' theoretical advancements.

Totalitarian ideologies stifle; they either plunder technology from other societies (as the USSR did from the US, and "golden age" Islam did from... everyone), or purchase it (as the Spanish Empire did, and as the modern Islamic world does). When the plundered wealth runs out, and the purchased/stolen advancements obsolesce, entropy has its due.
Posted by: Squires at May 27, 2010 11:00 pm
It was more about tolerance in Islam, not that there is such a thing as an Atheist Muslim.....

I know, Max :)

Intellectuals who take themselves very seriously can be quite endearing. I grew up around such people and I kinda miss it. But I don't miss the way they tend to become mean and nasty when somebody dares to burst their bubble.

Atheists deciding that there's room for atheism in Islam is a bubble that needs to be burst.

I do believe one can be an atheist Jew.

Sure, but Judaism is somewhat unique being kind of an ethnicity and a religion all rolled into one. That's not the way it works with Islam and Christianity.

...just that his ideas were passed down and he seemed tolerated.

Maybe he had connections :)

It speaks to the possibility of reformation at least. That was my point in posting it...

I think secularism is a better bet than reform. Reform is a false hope. Even in Christianity it took 100 years of religious war followed by decades more of uncomfortable stalemate before the reformation really took hold. Secular government is at least something that's feasible.

Kurds are Muslim and many like Jews and Christians. Michael knows far more about this than anything I can say.

Liking people from other faiths is not the big deal for me. The big deal for me is not killing people just because they are a different religion than you. Maybe some degree of respect at least is required?

And I do know Muslims, at least they say they are Muslims, and think this religious stuff is for the birds....

I know a couple of those too, but I'd call them agnostics rather than atheists :)
Posted by: Craig at May 27, 2010 11:09 pm
"for a long time Republicans were rather antisemitic. Desm were the defenders of minorities."

Not any more, Max:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131238
Posted by: Gary Rosen at May 27, 2010 11:56 pm
Squires: "Moderately radical"?

Ralph Nader, not Che Guevara.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 2:19 am
Michael
It makes sense. Ralph Nader is a Lebanese Maronite. You've come full circle.
Posted by: Joe at May 28, 2010 3:31 am
Craig -

The reason I didn't address any of your other points is that I'm in complete agreement with them, and have been for quite some time.

===

I don't do Left/Right paradigms.

I have only two points of focus.

1: Stop killing Jews because they're Jews.

2: Win this war.

And it is just one war...

ALL
THE
SAME,
R
Posted by: Render at May 28, 2010 4:48 am
"I know a couple of those too, but I'd call them agnostics rather than atheists"

Again, I didn't say they were atheists. They feel like many Christians and Jews do, that the Holy Books are not meant to be literal. For instance, few Muslims I know think it appropriate to marry a 10 year old girl. That it was alright a thousand years ago doesn't make it okay now. Stoning was cool for Jews thousands of years ago, but who advocates that now in the West?

MIchael, -Ralph Nader? Exactly. Far more appealing in my younger days...

Yes Gary, but there are a few problems. One is that Americans are rather clueless about who really runs America's financial system. It wasn't THAT long ago my dad was turned down for VP of Chemical Bank. He was very qualified and his non-Jewish contact that had brought him in admitted privately the his being Jewish was a large factor. Made-off did not run the financial market and pilfered mostly Jews. Sir Sanford is not Jewish. Hell, Geffen, a Jew whose father came from Palestine before '48 pay-rolled Obama. The point is perception and Americans particularly Democrats think there are far more Jews running the fiances of the US than their are. Is their a major Bank President that is Jewish? No, but all Americans hear are Jewish sounding names. They think Wall Street is predominately Jewish. They think those "mostly" Jewish doctors get paid too much....lol

In fact that investment houses have many Jews employed is because they had nowhere else to go. Jewish sounding companies like Goldman, coupled with all the Jews associated with the Republicans, particularly the Neocons account for much of the present Democrat's attitudes. Did you know Bolton is Jewish? Wolfowitz obviously and Frum. That Jews in media don't make clear how many sectors like Big Oil, Autos etc. still shut out Jews is appalling. Spend some time in Greenwich Ct or Fairfield in general. Sure, wealthy Jews can live there, but it is usually individual wealth that let's them in, not that they own major corporations. GE, Pratt, Sikorsky, Boeing, General Dynamics. What major media do they own? Your link shows what Michael has already stated and partly the blame is that Jews here don't see this mess and the roll they play in the misperception...... Where is OUR responsibility to counter this? And look at the comment thread to your link....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 5:51 am
"I defend Israel, flawed though it is, because it's a democracy with a better human rights record than any other country in the region, not because it's Jewish. "

Don't you see the problem with this, MJT? Nobody questions the right of France or Syria or Zimbabwe to exist, no matter what their human rights record may be. But because many people support Israel only because of its democracy and human rights record Israel is attacked on precisely that basis, whether such charges are true or not; thus may deny its Jews their right to home or life.
Posted by: Solomon2 at May 28, 2010 6:10 am
Bolton is Lutheran...sorry. I went back after reading Bolton was Jewish at a blog site and obviously that is not correct. Not that that changes anything I wrote. The list of Jews in the last few Republican administrations is rather long...... and for Democrats Perle, Horowitz and others do stand out...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 6:21 am
Solomon, we don't give those countries billions in assistance every year nor dedicate so much time defending....that is the point I think.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 6:24 am
Ali: "One conspiracy theory thats picking up steam is that Iran, Israel, and the US are secretly in bed with each other. Iran causes problems in Iraq just so it can give the US an excuse to stay there and steal all the oil."

Ali, let's not forget you are in the bed too.
Posted by: leo at May 28, 2010 8:24 am
I don't recall who it was, but a thread or two back, someone here asked if anyone had seen a description of what a potential Israeli offensive on Hizballah might look.

This is the best description I've seen thus far:

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/mess-report/and-how-is-the-army-doing-1.292613
Posted by: Joo-LiZ at May 28, 2010 8:33 am
I'd rather be surprised than have IDF official shooting his mouth. My curiosity can survive the disappointment.
Posted by: leo at May 28, 2010 8:55 am
Did you know Bolton is Jewish?

He's a Lutheran, Max :)

You're thinking of Michael Bolton aka Michael Bolotin.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 10:36 am
Not that that changes anything I wrote. The list of Jews in the last few Republican administrations is rather long...... and for Democrats Perle, Horowitz and others do stand out...

Actually, I think it's pretty relevant to the Republican party as it is today, and to the link Gary posted. The widespread perception that Republicans are anti-minority comes from the fact that the Republican party was the home of white supremacists a long time ago. Except for a few hold outs like Buchanan and David Duke, that's not so anymore and hasn't been for quite some time.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 10:45 am
haha, if you look I already corrected that above...Is the Bolton you're talking about actually Jewish? Not sure about that.

Leo, a bit more information than we need to know, yes.....

And Gary, the poll you linked was done in 2008 I think. Almost no mention of it at Google. What is strange is the lack of reporting on it. That is a story in itself.....

In fact little on Google about any rise of antisemitism in America. I did see this and the girl in the video shouting terrible things looks so much like the girl Horowitz nailed. Maybe its the clothing.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Xl68kP4wo
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 10:51 am
Yep Craig and the fact Gary's link is almost nowhere on Google shows the blanket laid down by media. If this was about other groups, it would be on the top of Google's search engine. In fact, punch in rise of antisemitic in America, what do you find? Punch in the header of Gary's link and what do you find?

Republicans are wrestling away on the minority issue. Their big mistake was not capitalizing better on those Southern Democrats who were against civil rights in the 50s and 60s. I have even seen some Liberal blogs replaying Nixon's racist rants to paint Republicans. Remember "God Damn America?" Now that was a McCarthy-like witch hunt..lol.

When I posted http://media.www.thejusticeonline.com/media/storage/paper573/news/2010/04/27/OpEd/Choice.Of.Speaker.Is.Too.Divisive-3913441.shtml

this at a Liberal blog, the response was, "can't Jews have their own opinions?" I mean look at the comment thread and inquire into the origin of the university.

Sad....up is down and down is up...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Joo-LiZ, I found this part of your link shocking:

"The answer we got was equally surprising. It had been four years and 10 months since the last fire exercise.

Doesn't that mean most members of IDF units had never done any live-fire exercises!?

5 years without live-fire training... when I was in the US Marines I think 5 *days* without live fire training was pretty rare.

I think maybe I'm misinterpreting what that IDF general means, though, because it seems like the IDF couldn't function as well as it did if that were so. Maybe he's talking about large scale multi-unit exercises.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 11:07 am
There's been a number of articles like this one (http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=176742) about what the next war in the Levant might look like. What none of the articles that I've read spell out, though, is how Israel might respond to an all out assault on its civilian population. I have a feeling it would be absolutely ferocious.
Posted by: semite5000 at May 28, 2010 12:13 pm
Craig,
as I understood it, that part was referring specifically to reservist units. They would have had live-fire exercises during active service.

The way the IDF works is at 18, everyone is drafted. Women serve for 2 years, men for 3 years. After their service is completed they are in the reserves for the majority of their adult lives, and are supposed to meet for a couple weeks per year for training.

What the general is saying is that this reservist training was heavily neglected.

Only a tiny fraction of the IDF forces are actually on active duty at any given moment. The majority of the IDF are older citizens who have completed their active service and are only called up for combat when needed.
If the reservist training was neglected prior to 2006, it would have been heavily felt throughout IDF.

In the Gaza war, the IDF had reservist infantry units undergo on-the-spot training in mock-Palestinian villages for at least a week before entering Gaza.

From what this general is saying it sounds like they have learned their lessons quite well, and I also inferred from the article that the IDF is thinking very carefully about what will need to be done in a future confrontation. The plans are there, and as he said it's a matter of knowing when to hand down the intelligence to field units.

I'm reassured having read it... there are a lot more leaks and news articles talking about the improved fighting capacity of Hizballah, and it is nice to see something indicating the IDF has not been idle either. I suppose the bigger question is what the stance of the political class is. I think it is safe to say Bibi will be better than Olmert was, but Olmert set a very low bar. We'll see how long Israel can withstand international pressure and how much damage they can do before calling it off.

The General also talked about dealing a heavy blow to extend the 'pause' before the next round of fighting. I don't like that, because for me it means a mentality of not finishing them off.
Posted by: Joo-LiZ at May 28, 2010 12:48 pm
"I think it is safe to say Bibi will be better than Olmert was, but Olmert set a very low bar."

I understand the general dissatisfaction with how Olmert handled both wars, but looking at the results they are just what is needed.
Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are ego to provoke Israel again and in time both borders will become as quiet as Syrian border.
Official peace treaty paper aside is it not what people call a peace?
Posted by: leo at May 28, 2010 1:30 pm
"Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 10:51 am "

That was some video. Never seen a Palestinian protest before. Hope the protest in Florida isn't representative.

Liked the Imam they showed. But a lot of the younger people were seriously out of control and were doing great harm to the noble Palestinian cause. The Palestinian peace camp should throw these morons out. They have more in common with Israeli foreign minister Lieberman than they have in common with Palestinians.

The American Jewish account of studying in Syria was powerful. Not surprising though. Yes, the non-Palestinian Arabs [Sunni Arabs in particular] have a lot to answer for. They did kick the Jewish Arabs out of their countries. Why blame Palestinians for these crimes? Palestinians didn't do it. Non Palestinians Arabs did it. The same Non Palestinian Arabs who treat Palestinians like dirt. Likewise the pattern of blaming the majority of Palestinian civilians for the crimes of mentally ill wacko terrorists is bizarre.

Another point is extremely disturbing to me. The non Iraqi Sunni Arabs have purposely killed many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in terrorist attacks since 2003. Non Iraqi Sunni Arabs have been responsible for backing the Sunni Arab militias that killed a majority of 15 thousand Iraqi Security Forces who died as martyrs for Iraq.

The crimes committed by the non Iraqi Sunni Arabs against Iraqis have been an order of magnitude greater than the crimes of Arabs against Israelis. Why so much compassion for Israelis and so little empathy for Iraqis?

Why so little empathy for the many hundreds of thousands of muslims killed by Takfiri wackos? Do only Israeli lives matter? Do only "western" lives matter?

MJT, it is good of you to care for Lebanese. The Lebanese minority that has suffered by far the most over the last couple centuries are Shiite Lebanese. They have been mistreated far worse than Israelis have been. For all of of Hezbollah's many other faults, they have succeeded in limiting the oppression of the Lebanese Shia, which is an amazing achievement in and of itself. Hezbollah has had limited success in retaining these gains without large scale violence inside Lebanon.

Hezbollah is also a relatively efficient organization with decent (though not great) RoIs on its investments in its security forces and social services inside Lebanon. i.e. Hezbollah stretches its limited financing from Iran and other sources.

This said, Hezbollah has also harmed the Shiite Lebanese cause by refusing to cement Shiite Lebanese gains through merging their security forces with the LAF.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 1:47 pm
Anan: For all of of Hezbollah's many other faults, they have succeeded in limiting the oppression of the Lebanese Shia

By becoming an oppressor.

Hezbollah has had limited success in retaining these gains without large scale violence inside Lebanon.

They shot up my neighborhood with AK-47s, sniper rifles, and rocket propelled grenade launchers. They're terrorists. You will cease and desist your defense of them on my Web site.

Your Shia sectarianism may not be obvious to everyone here, but it's obvious to me, and I am tired of it.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 2:09 pm
Could the defenders of anand perhaps take it upon themselves to defend his supposed naivete again and explain what in his most recent comment they consider to be correct, what to be incorrect, what to be naive, and what to be disinformation, etc?

Thanks.
Posted by: del at May 28, 2010 2:13 pm
MJT,

Finally. Thank you for that response.

Anand did previously assert that he is not Muslim. My impression is that he is of Bengali Shia origin.

Is that correct anand?
Posted by: del at May 28, 2010 2:22 pm
del: Anand did previously assert that he is not Muslim. My impression is that he is of Bengali Shia origin.

With all due respect, del, what difference does it make? Before I gave up trying to reason with him, he would ask me, repeatedly, if I was Israeli or American - as if rejection of Hezbollah and Hamas terror on moral grounds can be appropriately relativistic.

Paul is right - why even bother engaging.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at May 28, 2010 2:29 pm
Anand did previously assert that he is not Muslim.

Maybe so, but his last name is a Muslim name.

Either way, he's obviously (to me anyway) a partisan of the Shia even if he's an athesit with a Hindu background. I've spent the majority of my time in the Arab world in the deeply sectarian countries of Lebanon and Iraq and can't help but notice these things.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 2:49 pm
Anan:
The American Jewish account of studying in Syria was powerful. Not surprising though. Yes, the non-Palestinian Arabs [Sunni Arabs in particular] have a lot to answer for. They did kick the Jewish Arabs out of their countries. Why blame Palestinians for these crimes? Palestinians didn't do it. Non Palestinians Arabs did it. The same Non Palestinian Arabs who treat Palestinians like dirt. Likewise the pattern of blaming the majority of Palestinian civilians for the crimes of mentally ill wacko terrorists is bizarre.


Palestinians can't have it both ways, Anan. I don't recall any Palestinians asking the surrounding Arab countries to accept partition in '47 or desist from invading the newborn state of Israel. Further, they are quite happy to receive money, weapons, and training from their Arab brothers.

The Palestinians are not the innocent little lambs that you paint them to be. There is no "Palestinian-Israeli" conflict; it's an "Arab-Israeli" conflict, and in many cases a "Muslim-Israeli" conflict.

There was a population exchange as a result of a war that the Arabs started. There were more Jewish refugees from Arab lands than Palestinian refugees. There will be no right of return. There will be no Arabs compromising 40% of Israeli universities, paid for by Israel, you dolt.

The sooner you and Arab partisans get that through your heads the better for everybody.
Posted by: semite5000 at May 28, 2010 2:54 pm
Joo-LiZ, thanks for the info! It's so different from how the US military functions that it's hard for me to understand how it might work, but it obviously does :)

Solomon2,

But because many people support Israel only because of its democracy and human rights record...

That's not why I support Israel. In fact, if I were able to separate Palestinian nationalism from terrorism I'd have a substantial amount of sympathy for their cause. But, I can't do that. One of my earliest childhood memories is watching the Munich Olympics. I was too young to understand what was going on, but I did understand "Palestinians = Bad Guys". And I've never been able to get away from that perception, because there isn't any Palestinian nationalist group that hasn't engaged in the most heinous and barbaric possible forms of brutality against the innocent. Not one. There was a time when I tried to be neutral by telling myself "Well, maybe I'd do that too if I was in their position". But that was a lie I was telling myself, because the fact is that there's nothing that could ever make me behave in that way.

Israel is attacked on precisely that basis, whether such charges are true or not; thus may deny its Jews their right to home or life.

Yes, well, I don't know how the Europeans sleep at night when they turn a blind eye to suicide bombings of school buses and schools, restaurants, retirement homes and so on and then act like Israel blockading Gaza is a war crime. But then, Europeans have always claimed values for themselves that they've never lived up to haven't they? And the justification is always that they've learned from their mistakes and want to make sure it never happens again. But, they haven't learned. And, it always happens again.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 3:28 pm
"By becoming an oppressor." Unfortunately partly true. Hezbollah failed to incorporate its militia and social services wings into formal Lebanese cross sectarian institutions. In this, Hezbollah has harmed the Shiite Lebanese they claim to represent; and made the gains they have achieved fragile.

"They shot up my neighborhood with AK-47s, sniper rifles, and rocket propelled grenade launchers." Sadly true. Hezbollah risked provoking sectarian civil war by risking a direct confrontation with the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] and other Lebanese militia. It is fortunate that it didn't cascade into a full Lebanese civil war.

This is precisely why Hezbollah was wrong not to incorporate their militia into the LAF.

"They're terrorists." In 1992 and 1994, they were [assuming they conducted the attacks.] I would define terrorism as purposely attacking civilians [rather than attacking the armed forces of other nations or other militias.] Does anyone have a different definition?

There is a terrible history within many parts of the Islam world of oppressing minorities [Sufis, twelver Shiites, Ismailis, Ahmadiyya, Quranists, and ethnic minorities such as Balochis, Sindhis, Kurds, black African muslims in Darfur.] To recognize this isn't to be sectarian.

To recognize that the majority of extremist terrorism and oppression is directed against muslims rather than nonmuslims is not sectarian. Nor is recognizing that the large majority of nonmuslims who are oppressed by Takfiri extremists are not western.

What is sectarianism?

The comment about Iraq?

How so? How could the Iraqi resistance have financed, equipped and trained itself without widespread foreign support? Wars are highly expensive. The Arab world's response to the Iraq war was highly sectarian. Why else would non Iraqi Arabs cheer deliriously with joy at the deaths of 15 thousand Iraqi Security Forces at the hands of the "resistance"? It is a huge number.

What bothers me is that some commentators on this board do not seem to acknowledge that the vast majority of people who have suffered from terrorism and extremism are not Israeli.

Contrast the losses of the ISF to the IDF and ask yourself why there isn't more sympathy for the ISF among nonIraqis even though the ISF has suffered far greater losses than the IDF:

the Iraeli militias (that later became the IDF) lost 895 combat deaths in 1947-1948. The IDF lost:
-231 combat deaths in the 1956 war
-983 combat deaths in the 1967 war
-2,656 combat deaths in the 1973 war
-675 combat deaths in the 1982 war
-121 combat deaths in the 2006 war

It would be nice if more sympathy was offered to the ISF. Sunni Arab Iraqis also blame their beloved brotherly Arab neighbors for what befell Iraq 2003 to 2008. Even Sunni Arab Iraqis will say they hate the "Arabs." [obviously referring the nonIraqi Arabs.]

Is pointing out the oppression of Lebanese Shiites "sectarianism." Please explain to me why this is so? Have Lebanese Shiites been oppressed less than other Arab Shiites? If so, I would be very interested in learning more?

For the record, I am not Shiite. But I think it is hypocritical to condemn terrorism against nonmuslims without also condemning terrorism against muslims.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 3:33 pm
How am I partisan against Sunnis [if that is the charge being made]?

The IA is about 31% Sunni and I am pro IA.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 3:40 pm
Correction, the IA is about 31% Sunni Arab. And about 14% Kurd. Closer to 43% or 44% Sunni.

In Iraq I back Alusi, who isn't a Shiite. I am also pro Kurd, and only 15% to 20% of Kurds are Shiites.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 3:43 pm
Anan: I would define terrorism as purposely attacking civilians

What, exactly, do you think Hezbollah was doing when it fired rockets into the center of Haifa and RPGs in West Beirut?
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 3:52 pm
Your sectarianism comes through when you give a pass to every violent Shia movement in the Middle East and reserve all your umbrage exclusively for "Takfiri" Sunnis.

And describing Lebanon's Shias as "oppressed" is ridiculous. Who is oppressing them? Saad Hariri? Give me a break.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 3:55 pm
Is pointing out the oppression of Lebanese Shiites "sectarianism." Please explain to me why this is so?

Because it no longer exists. That's why.

I have no patience whatseover for the bullshit victimology Hezbollah wallows in as an excuse for its acts of terrorism against Jews, Sunnis, and Druze.

Hezbollah delenda est.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 3:57 pm
Why is it, Anand, that you can so clearly see what's wrong with Sunnis who fight Shias for being Shias, but are completely incapable of recognizing that their Shia counterparts have precisely the same problem?

This is typical of sectarian partisans of the Middle East. If you have an alternative explanation, let's hear it.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 4:01 pm
Del,

Could the defenders of anand perhaps take it upon themselves to...

I've confronted anand about the way he gives Shia groups a pass for doing the exact same things Sunni groups do(which he condemns). I've done it here and I've done it on other blogs. I don't know what else you want me to do :)

Anand,

This is precisely why Hezbollah was wrong not to incorporate their militia into the LAF.

The government of Lebanon is afraid to use its military and security forces against Hezbollah already because they are so heavily infiltrated by HA sympathizers/members. You would encourage that infiltration to an even greater extent? Why not just abolish the government and turn the whole country over to HA, then?

"They're terrorists." In 1992 and 1994, they were [assuming they conducted the attacks.] I would define terrorism as purposely attacking civilians [rather than attacking the armed forces of other nations or other militias.] Does anyone have a different definition?

How about blowing up embassies? How about taking people hostage? How about torturing hostages to death? How about assassinating political rivals? How about plane hijacking? How about assassinating IRANIAN exiles in Europe?

HA has been engaging in terrorism since the day it was founded, and you know it anand.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 4:09 pm
I think Craig doesn't take lightly their blowing up the Marines in Lebanon. Nether do I. Blow up worshipers at a temple?

I didn't know where to put this. Anyone have a comment? Will Salas also be considered a terrorist because he worked undercover exposing Chavez's terror camps (where Hizbo trains with FARC and Hamas). http://sonofhamas.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/homeland-in-security/

This is really quite amazing. Napolitano doesn't seem worried about Hizbo and Hamas crossing our border, but wants to deport this guy because he might be a spy for Israel?

P.S. Anan, you might want to see the link I left to a blog Middle East Defense Forum where Iranian Shia argued with Indians, who argue with Turks who argue with Greeks. You can see the rival sectarian attitudes talked about. I could have posted crazy Shias instead of Sunni thugs in Ft Lauderdale. Its all religious nasty bullshit.
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 28, 2010 4:33 pm
"What, exactly, do you think Hezbollah was doing when it fired rockets into the center of Haifa and RPGs in West Beirut?"

I don't accuse the IDF of terrorism when they attack Hezbollah or Hamas positions in civilian concentration centers. Nor do I accuse Hezbollah of terrorism when they do the reverse.

This said, Hezbollah launched inaccurate rocket attacks in the general vicinity of IDF positions that were likely to hit civilian buildings. Hezbollah's objective was to damage the Israeli economy. This is worse than what the IDF did.

I admit to being confused about intra Lebanese fights between different Lebanese militias.

"you give a pass to every violent Shia movement in the Middle East" Hardly. Condemned all the Shiite extremist groups that targeted the GoI and ISF. Got kicked off a pro Hezbollah blog for being pro Israeli, advocating an Israeli/Iranian alliance, and recounting all the ways Nasrallah and Khamenei and betrayed and mistreated fellow Shiites. All the Hezbo lovers claimed to back their beloved brothers in the ISF, Najaf Marjeya, Dawa, ISCI, Fadheela Sadrists, Sadrists, Chalabi, and were irate whenever evidence of their secret complicity in attacks against the ISF was presented.

"describing Lebanon's Shias as "oppressed" is ridiculous. Who is oppressing them? Saad Hariri?" I don't know nearly enough about this subject and would welcome more info. Has there always been less anti Shiite bigotry in Lebanon than in other Arab countries? Did anti Shiite bigotry ebb in the recent past? A Lebanese friend claimed that the least sectarian countries in the Arab world were 1) Syria followed by 2) Lebanon. My response was, that if this was so, why did so many Syrians back the murder of 15 thousand ISF.

"completely incapable of recognizing that their Shia counterparts have precisely the same problem?" Couldn't disagree more. The discussion on this blog doesn't incorporate all points of view. If it did, you would see me go after the Shiite extremists a lot more.

Craig has seen me go after Hezbo lovers before. Much the way I went after Glasnost for his Taiwan comments and for implicitly denying the agency and power of darkies.

"I have no patience whatseover for the bullshit victimology Hezbollah wallows in as an excuse for its acts of terrorism against Jews, Sunnis, and Druze." Would like to hear more about anti Shiite bigotry in Lebonon and how it has evolved over time. Why hasn't the Sunni Arab/Christian/Druze block reached out more to Amal and non Hezbollah Shiite Lebanese blocks? Or have they reached out to them?

Craig, I support a strong LAF. Didn't the IA incorporate many Muqtada supporters, and didn't this policy eventually greatly weaken the rogue JAM and Muqtada? The middle east needs a lot of sophistry. ;-)

"How about blowing up embassies?" terrorism
"How about taking people hostage?" terrorism
"How about torturing hostages to death?" terrorism
"How about assassinating political rivals?" terrorism if the rivals don't have a militia of their own or are not part of the chain of command of the army or police.
"How about plane hijacking?" terrorism
"How about assassinating IRANIAN exiles in Europe?" terrorism

Hezbo are guilty of all these things in the past. They claim to have stopped these practices. If these claims are false, then evidence should be presented. Such evidence will turn the Lebanese Shia, Najaf Marjeya, Quom Marjeya, and global Shiite community against them.

Isn't working with the Shia clergy and global Shia community the best way to deal with Hezbollah?

Maxtrue, you gave a couple links. Could you clarify which link?
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 5:38 pm
This said, Hezbollah launched inaccurate rocket attacks in the general vicinity of IDF positions that were likely to hit civilian buildings.

Bullshit.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at May 28, 2010 5:52 pm
Anan: Did anti Shiite bigotry ebb in the recent past?

No, it's worse, in large part because the majority of Lebanon's Shias support a terrorist organization that hijacked the country's foreign policy, started an idiotic and destructive war with Israel, and shot up the capital.

Hezbollah launched inaccurate rocket attacks in the general vicinity of IDF positions that were likely to hit civilian buildings.

Wrong. There were no IDF positions in Haifa or Kiryat Shmona. Hezbollah fired rockets at civilians and threatens to do so again on a regular basis.

Just a few days ago Hezbollah threatened to sink non-Israeli civilian ships on their way to Israeli ports. A Hezbollah cell was recently rolled up in Azerbaijan after planning to destroy the Hyatt Tower hotel in Baku--which houses several embassies, including Israel's--with car bombs. It's a terrorist army and always has been.

Isn't working with the Shia clergy and global Shia community the best way to deal with Hezbollah?

No.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 5:54 pm

Isn't working with the Shia clergy and global Shia community the best way to deal with Hezbollah?


The best way to deal with Hezbollah is to kill them. The best way for YOU to deal with Hezbollah is to join them.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at May 28, 2010 5:59 pm
"There were no IDF positions in Haifa or Kiryat Shmona. Hezbollah fired rockets at civilians and threatens to do so again on a regular basis." Clearly inappropriate and harmful to Lebanese and Lebanese Shiite interests. Worse than what the IDF did in the 2006 war.

It might help to clarify "acts of war" versus "acts of terrorism." For example the attack on the twin towers was an act of terrorism, while attacking the pentagon is an act of war; giving the US the right to respond in kind.

"Just a few days ago Hezbollah threatened to sink non-Israeli civilian ships on their way to Israeli ports." This is at the very least an act of war, giving the Israelis the right to respond in kind against Hezbollah's militia.

"A Hezbollah cell was recently rolled up in Azerbaijan after planning to destroy the Hyatt Tower hotel in Baku--which houses several embassies, including Israel's--with car bombs. It's a terrorist army and always has been."

This is news to me. This is terrorism. Has evidence for this been presented to the global Shiite clergy, global Shiite community, and Amal? Presenting clear evidence to this affect would help isolate Hezbollah among the global Shiite community. Eventually when the Iranian regime falls, this paves the way for the global Shiite community to solve the Nasrallah problem.

Has a detailed dossier about Hezbollah's complicity in the Baku attempted attack been presented to Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani?
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 6:05 pm
Maxtrue: that is one of the stupidest conspiracy theories I've heard for so many reasons.

I didn't say I believed in it, I just said that the idea exists. And yes, I do think its incredibly stupid.
Posted by: Ali at May 28, 2010 6:10 pm
"Iran, Israel, and the US are secretly in bed with each other." This remains widely believed in the Arab world, Pakistan, and among the Taliban rank and file. It is nothing new.

Between 1980 and 1988 Israel "DID" back Khomeini against Saddam.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 6:13 pm
Anan: Presenting clear evidence to this affect would help isolate Hezbollah among the global Shiite community.

No it wouldn't. What I just told is not a secret to a single person who matters.

I know plenty of Shias who do not support Hezbollah or their vicious little sidekicks in Amal. The foiled plot to destroy a hotel in Baku is just a footnote in Hezbollah's decades-long CV of terrorism.

Has a detailed dossier about Hezbollah's complicity in the Baku attempted attack been presented to Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani?

I haven't a clue, but I have little doubt he is generally aware of what happened. The government of Azerbaijan made a pretty big deal out of it. They're Shias too, you know, and no fans or excuse-makers for Hassan Nasrallah. The fact that they get it and you don't is something you need to think about.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 28, 2010 6:44 pm
"The government of Azerbaijan made a pretty big deal out of it. They're Shias too, you know, and no fans or excuse-makers for Hassan Nasrallah." True. Many Iraqi and Iranian Shiites are of Azerbaijan origin? The former top Shiite Ayaltollah in the world was of Azerbaijan descent:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_al-Qasim_al-Khoei
And yes, most Iraqi and Iranian Shiites don't like Nasrallah. However they are bit busy right now, trying to strengthen Iraq, protect the Shiites of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and quietly trying to undermine the Iranian regime. After the Iranian regime comes down, Nasrallah should watch out.

"I have little doubt he is generally aware of what happened. The government of Azerbaijan made a pretty big deal out of it." I wasn't aware of it. ;-) Suspect that many Shiites haven't heard about it either.

"vicious little sidekicks in Amal." Well you lost me here. ;-) When the time comes, what better way [for the global Shia and the Iraqi government and the international community] to weaken Nasrallah than to strengthen Amal and strenghten the LAF and other cross sectarian Lebanese institutions?

Have we forgotten that Israel entered Lebanon in 1982 on the "SIDE" of Amal, Lebanese Christians, and Lebanese Druze?

Amal has long had good relations with the many elements in the West and international community.
Posted by: anan at May 28, 2010 7:07 pm
Hezbo are guilty of all these things in the past. They claim to have stopped these practices.

I don't care what Hezbollah claims. I don't even care if they've actually STOPPED doing these things (which I totally dispute). The guilty must be punished for what was done in the past.

It's called "justice", anand. Murderers don't get to just say "I won't do it anymore" and then walk away.

If these claims are false, then evidence should be presented. Such evidence will turn the Lebanese Shia, Najaf Marjeya, Quom Marjeya, and global Shiite community against them.

Yeah. Right. Do YOU have any evidence that's ever happened in the past, anand? It seems to me HA has a perfect record of being rewarded and praised for terrorism by the "global shiite community". If you've got some evidence that's not happening anymore I'd certainly like to see it.

It might help to clarify "acts of war" versus "acts of terrorism." For example the attack on the twin towers was an act of terrorism, while attacking the pentagon is an act of war; giving the US the right to respond in kind.

That's incorrect. Only states can legitimately wage war against other states.
Posted by: Craig at May 28, 2010 10:45 pm
I am an Israeli lurker. But Anan forced me out. First is the law of Takia - a Shia is allowed, for the sake of Islam, to lie in everything and all things, easpcially in things discussed here.

Strange? unbeliable? conspiration theory? Simply, ask the fellow to say that there is no such thing as Takia.

Anan is bullshiting you all. First to put my self in a frame of reff. I am for a Palestinian state on 100% of the area out side the green line by exchange of no more than 10% land. I think it should have happened already. I work with Arabs and speak some arabic.

As for some turban being Azari, millions of Azaris live in Iran. People move between the countries all the time. like telling you that a Rabi in the USA is a Canadian.
As for Arabs caring about arabs, in the last war Hizb. systemtically bombed Arab villages in Israel. When told Nasra. told them to leave their houses.
Amal is dead gone now. Now it is a name only - no guns no power. Yes many Amal leaders have families and money in the USA. So what? now the gun of the Hizb. is the rull of the Leb. Shia

As for his "number killed lists" this is real crazy. He is showing them here asking for your sympathy. No media in the whole Arab world will publish the numbers of Arabs-muslims killed by Arabs. This is the whole point, even in Turkey. Ask any Arab any time any place, even in NY or LA or.. or.. who killed more Arabs, the Israeli or the arabs in Iraq. Try and get these numbers in El-Jazira, never.

All the so called facts written by him are twisted. He is asking you if this turban or that was notified. Pretending some to impress you that they are different, what a joke, and if they were notified so what? what a spin.

Shia poor? The Shia in south Lebanon lived in a medieval society, dirt poor farmers and few great land lords who were also religious leaders. some of the sones of thse great lords are teaching "resistance" in California. All the great Shia clergy are rich and getting richer. Any body seen the accounts of Nasra?

It is a clear case of Iranian imperialism run by local agents. Hizb is a pupet on Iranian string. Lebanon to a great extend is an Iranian military base and the fellow is twisting every fact. Iran not Lebanon will press the button, and Anan or Onan is telling you stories

What a sad joke.
Posted by: Rani at May 29, 2010 8:49 am
Anan - Maybe I know far more about certain of your "relationships" then you think?

Perhaps you can explain to this forum why you were asking (on another blog) for very specific and extremely detailed operational security information from a retired decorated US Marine officer now working as a security contractor in Afghanistan?

NEED
TO
KNOW,
R
Posted by: Render at May 29, 2010 10:04 am
Fascinating account.
Posted by: Ombrageux at May 29, 2010 10:04 am
Posted by: Rani at May 29, 2010 8:49 am

One of the most insightful comments I have read on this blog. There is a ton I could learn from you. I do believe you know Arabic and have worked with Arabs.

Rani means queen in Hindi/Urdu. :-)

Please clarify the law of Takia. I would like to learn more about it.

"I am for a Palestinian state on 100% of the area out side the green line by exchange of no more than 10% land."
Did the Palestinians make a fair offer at Talba 2001 [97.4% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, substantial territory swaps of Israel proper]? Is dual citizenship where many Israeli/Palestinian dual citizens live in both countries one way to facilitate solving the dispute [because it would allow Israeli communities to transfer to the Palestinian state.]

"millions of Azaris live in Iran. People move between the countries all the time." True.

All terrorism against Israelis is wrong and deeply immoral. In my view, the way to deal with that is to treat terrorism against Muslims and non Western nonmuslims with the same horror as terrorism against "Westerners."

If we really felt this way, wouldn't we invite Azerbaijan, Iraq and Afghanistan into NATO. They are more anti AQ and anti Takfiri than Americans are, and bring powerful assets to the fight. Hope it happens. Why isn't there greater support for ideas such as this in North America and Europe? Is it because Takfiri killing muslims is not as egregious as Takfiris killing Western nonmulims?

"Amal is dead gone now. Now it is a name only - no guns no power. Yes many Amal leaders have families and money in the USA. So what? now the gun of the Hizb. is the rull of the Leb. Shia"

Very interesting. Admit to being flummoxed by Lebanese byzantine politics. Do Amal's 13 legislatures our of Lebanon's 128 give Amal little influence? Would Amal's cache among Lebanese Shia rise if LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) and other cross sectarian institutions were strengthened, if the Southern Lebanese economy improved, and if more Lebanese Shia were educated?

"No media in the whole Arab world will publish the numbers of Arabs-muslims killed by Arabs. This is the whole point, even in Turkey. Ask any Arab any time any place, even in NY or LA or.. or.. who killed more Arabs, the Israeli or the arabs in Iraq. Try and get these numbers in El-Jazira, never."

I am unfamiliar with the Arab media. They do seem to hate Iraqis. Look at the way the Arab media celebrated the deaths of about 15 thousand ISF.

My point is that the ISF has suffered more casualties fighting the bad guys than the IDF has since 1949. Why doesn't the ISF get more respect, acknowledgment, empathy and support? Are Iraqi lives so cheap?

Rani, you do understand that I am bashing the beloved lovely Arab brotherly neighbors for their attempt to destroy Iraq 2003-2008, a point that I think you agree with me on.

"if this turban or that was notified. Pretending some to impress you that they are different, what a joke, and if they were notified so what? what a spin." Shouldn't this at least be tried. Why can't it be successful? The global Shiite clergy are opposing Khamenei as we speak. The Shiites of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq follow Sayyed Ali Sistani and the Najaf Marjeya, who aren't Khamenei's friends. For that matter the Quom Marjeya has turned against Khamenei.

Rani, since you know Arabs, have you ever met a Shiite [outside of Lebanon] who supported Khamenei? Forget support. Have you met Shia who think that Khamenei is an educated legitimate Marja with sufficient personal character/values to execute the office he seized?

"Shia poor? The Shia in south Lebanon lived in a medieval society, dirt poor farmers and few great land lords who were also religious leaders." Isn't this why we should all feel compassion for the Southern Lebanese poor Shia and help them become successful? Might this tact help the Lebanese Sunni Arabs, Druze, Christians; plus the broader region? Might this be the way to gradually weaken Nasrallah's grip on the Lebanese Shia? Why wouldn't it work? There are many Lebanese Shiites who oppose Nasrallah. Michael Totten has met some of them. Suspect many of the Amal leaders would also love to knock Nasrallah down a few pegs.

"some of the sones of thse great lords are teaching "resistance" in California." Who? Ajami?

"All the great Shia clergy are rich and getting richer. Any body seen the accounts of Nasra?" Nasrallah is stealing from the party coffers? Is there a way to provide evidence of this to the rest of the world? Evidence that can be used by Nasrallah's Shiite enemies to legitimize and discredit him?

"It is a clear case of Iranian imperialism run by local agents. Hizb is a pupet on Iranian string. Lebanon to a great extend is an Iranian military base and the fellow is twisting every fact. Iran not Lebanon will press the button" More precisely Khamenei and the IRGC Kuds force. They aren't Iran and it is insulting to associate them with Iran.

I have always been curious about the power dynamics within Hezbollah; whether there are members of Hezbollah who want to weaken Nasrallah, as well as exactly how much influence Khamenei and the IRGC Kuds force have, and what levers they use to exercise such influence.

We Americans incorrectly believed that North Vietnam was controlled by China and the USSR, when in fact the North Vietnamese Politburo was manipulating the Soviets and Chinese for their own less than noble agenda.

Are there people in Hezbollah who don't like Nasrallah, Khamanei and the IRGC Kuds force who could be empowered?
Posted by: anan at May 29, 2010 1:40 pm
Who is "Onan"?

Ombrageux, why do you think so many Arabs hate Iraqis and Jewish Arabs so much?

Do you have any ideas on how the international community can help the Iranian freedom movement defeat the IRGC Kuds and Khamenei?
Posted by: anan at May 29, 2010 1:45 pm
Q: Who is "Onan"?

A: The world's most famous masturbator. Your namesake, I think, when it comes to compulsively rubbing out bad ideas ==>> Israel should reserve 40% of her university seats for Pal Arabs, etc., etc., ad infinitum..........
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at May 29, 2010 2:00 pm
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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