The cynicism of the radical Left

October 25, 2013

Why is it that upper-middle class private schoolkids are drawn to this nonsense?

See below

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Be careful from whom information is sourced…
http://kouroshziabari.com/…/
“The Zionist agenda was described by Israeli Oded Yinon in his document “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” Yinon projected the rise of Israel’s power in the region by way of the fracturing of neighboring Arab nations along ethnic and/or religious lines. He envisioned that this splintering, as observed in Lebanon, could be repeated in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan to weaken them.”

http://libyasos.blogspot.co.uk/…
“The charge of rape as a political weapon was spread — without evidence — against Serb forces to justify U.S. plans for the first NATO bombing campaign in the history of the military alliance in 1994 in Bosnia and was used again in 1999 in Serbia in the first NATO occupation. The rape charge was used to soften up the U.S. and European population for the criminal war against Yugoslavia. Now a similar plan is in the works for Libya.”
Ergo, she argues that the atrocities by Serbs against Bosnians in the 1990s were fabricated.


Intervention and Syria

August 27, 2013

There have been calls for Western military intervention against the Ba’athist regime in Syria since it began its murderous repression of the protest movement. These calls have escalated in the last week since the regime (again) used chemical weapons on its own population. Yet, I have to register my deep concerns that intervention is a most unwise course of action to counsel.

My first concern is with the outlines of any military intervention. We have yet to hear, from the advocates of intervention, what would be the desired political objective of the campaign. Is it to be removal of the chemical weapons arsenal held by the regime, the removal of the regime or an Iraq-style solution whereby the entire regime is uprooted and a colonial administration establishes a new regime by force?

The first objective is actually difficult to achieve with a air campaign. Targets would need to be assessed, the regime might simply go into full scale attack on rebel-held areas or, worse, result in al-Qaeda et al gaining control of these weapons. This would likely be politically successful but would not bring down the regime. Arab regimes boast that survival is a form of victory.

The second objective could potentially be achieved, although our erstwhile allies might attack us while doing so and would certainly run into other issues.

The third objective would require a massive military and economic mobilisation on the part of the Western powers. If the mistakes of Iraq are to be avoided, massive combat forces would need to be committed to take control of the cities, the borders and the road networks to ensure security, close down the militias and destroy the resistance and terrorist networks. I do not believe for one minute that there is the political will for this level of commitment and certainly not for the length of time that this would require.

The other issues are critical to evaluating any such decision and need to be raised.

Whom are we supporting? Even if we merely attack the regime, we are objectively supporting the Syrian rebels, yet these are not pro-Western forces. Dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the best troops of the rebels are in fact al Qaeda Islamists. These have already been enforcing strict sharia law and have been conducting ethnic cleansing against the Kurds who have remained neutral. If the regime is toppled, do we then intervene to prevent unrestrained communal warfare? Do we remember what happened in 2006-2007 in Iraq? That took place with our forces trying to stop it (eventually successfully). We cannot engage in warfare and expect a reasonably secular, multicultural regime to magically appear in Syria given what we know is happening and what we know of the actors.

Russia and China, especially the former, have been actively backing the Assad regime. Iran has been doing likewise, but we’re not really scared of Iran. Russia is the real support for Assad. Furthermore, Russia has banked heavily on sustaining the regime. If the West moves for war, will the Russians up the ante? Will we see Russian troops intervene? Russian aircraft operating over Syria? Or Russian SAM crews appear around Latikia and Damascus? Are we willing to risk open war with Russia? What about China? Prestige is at stake here and we are operating in the realm of empires.

Finally, we have a major obstacle in Syria to an Iraq-style solution. There is no political grouping which is either acceptable to Western interests or strong enough in Syria to provide a stable regime.

We need to be engaged in a rational, hard-headed discussion of strategy, options and outcomes. We should not be engaged in an emotive discourse dominated by pictures of dead children. That is not conducive to good statesmanship.


Maz Hussain and the art of rhetoric

July 13, 2013

Murtaza “Maz” Hussain is a journalist working for Al Jazeera, whose output is typically anti-Western conspiracism. However, he is an accomplished writer.

Looking at the article linked here, he writes about the Levy Report and incorporates a link to a YNet report.

The YNet report is itself a model of brevity, not delving into the legal arguments endorsed by the Levy Commission.

From this reference, Hussain reports the following:

In contrast to mainstream legal opinion as well as the recognised position of the international community, including Israeli allies such as the US and EU, the Commission’s inquiry came back with the unprecedented finding that in fact there is no occupation of Palestinian lands and that the continued construction of settlement outposts, viewed as one of the major roadblocks to a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians, is in fact wholly legal both in the future and retroactively.

He asserts that this is an unprecedented finding, which is true but only if the journalist was unaware that this was the Israeli position from the 1967 war onwards until the early 2000s. So what this report has done is reversed the Sasson Report, which was, itself, a politically engineered opinion.

Hussain then develops his argument by arguing that the Levy Report states that the West Bank is legally a part of Israel. He then argues that incorporation of the Levy Report into Israeli government policy would result in an actual apartheid situation for the Palestinian residents (of Area C). This would further assault Israel’s international standing and its relationship with the United States. Thus the right-wing government of Israel (which is actually less right-wing in political-makeup than the previous coalition) is actually endangering Israel by not adopting the policies advocated by the European Union et al.

This is an argument which, flatly, rests upon a rhetorical slight of hand. Notice that Hussain writes this below:

his position maintains that the West Bank is thus not occupied territory but in fact today is a part of Israel proper.

However, the slight of hand, upon which he builds the whole article is a fraudulent statement by a journalist who is wilfully misrepresenting the Levy Report’s argument and recommendations.

The Levy Report states that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank (or Gaza) as these were captured in a defensive war and were a part of the Palestine Mandate area to which Jews have a legal right, recognised under the League of Nations Mandate, to settle upon public or privately purchased land.

Consequently, settlement is legal and should not be obstructed. Hussain writes that the report incorporates all the West Bank into Israel proper but this is not the case, even on the narrow grounds of legal settlement. The report advocates the incorporation of Jewish owned lands into Israel, not the lands upon which Palestinians have settled.

Through Hussein’s slight of hand rhetoric, the whole argument of the Levy Report is based upon the continuation of the League of Nations Mandate is left out of his article. The reader is then left mystified as to how the Levy Report justifies the proposed change in policy.

Furthermore, the slight of hand enables Hussein to state the following:

Implementation of the Levy Commission’s findings would make apartheid, which today is a highly controversial and politically charged description of Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, into an undeniable and formalised part of Israeli government policy. This would be devastating for Israel’s already poor international standing as well as for its relationship with key backers abroad who would find it politically unfeasible to be seen as helping to facilitate such a system.

Thus Hussein purports to be a critical friend of Israel but through the rhetorical trick regarding the Levy Report, Hussein instead argues that incorporation of the report would create an actual apartheid state in Israel. The apartheid charge rests upon the idea that the Palestinian population would be second-class citizens in a “Greater Israel” with less or undetermined legal rights.

Thus Hussein implicitly charges Israel with unilaterally seeking to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and thus end the peace process. However, the peace process is moribund owing to Palestinian intransigence and not due to Israeli malevolence or the settlements. And so the rest of the article becomes a false lament for Israel’s supposed slide into becoming a new South Africa and ruining itself in world opinion.

Hussein’s article is deeply dishonest, misrepresenting Israeli legal opinion to pain a wholly fraudulent picture of Israeli policy and intentions. This simply identifies Hussein and Al Jazeera as an anti-Western and anti-Israeli propaganda outfit. It is also worth noting that the terminology used by Hussein is mirrored by the far-left Israeli peace groups which opposed the Levy Report, such as Yesh Din and Peace Now, who automatically describe the Mandate argument as “far right” in origin.

***

Incidently, if the reader is interested, the legal basis of the argument used by the Levy Report can be found at the JCPA website.


An Egyptian Civil War?

July 3, 2013

Some brief thoughts on events in Egypt.

If the Egyptian Army has any sense, then it will recognise that the Muslim Brotherhood aim to establish a totalitarian regime in Egypt. This aim requires that power, once attained, is never ceded and, consequentially, the Brotherhood will have to eliminate its opponents in order to gain this objective.

The Army has made an enemy of the Brotherhood by threating intervention. If the Brotherhood pass this crisis intact and in power, expect to see the Army officer corps undergo a prolonged purge.

The Army should move towards a coup d’etat, in which it arbitrarily arrests the Brotherhood leadership and senior cadres, takes control of the security situation and imposes martial law. The first measure should be accompanied by trumped up charges of treason, sedition and so forth, the trials held in secret and executions imposed. This is a life or death situation for Egypt and the Brotherhood have to be set back by at least a generation.

The second measure will be required to grant legitimacy to any post-Brotherhood government. The third measure will be required because the Brotherhood activists and the salafist groups will go over into immediate armed opposition. Provided that the overt opposition is crushed, then these will go over into terrorist warfare, which can be crushed through robust action and police informers.

If the Brotherhood can be crushed, then Egypt desperately needs to reform its economic situation. Land reform may be required, which will also need to matched by investment in farming, so Egypt can move towards food independence and so reduce the balance of payments deficit. Industry will have to be made competitive as well.


Malicious Reporting and an anti-Muslim mindset

January 3, 2013

An article has been doing the rounds of the “anti-Jihadi” websites, purporting to report on nearly 1,200 cars being burnt in France in the course of Muslim rioting.
From what I can find in the French press, there has been a gang-related practise in recent years of torching cars in New Year celebrations. Critically, there is no mention in the French press of Muslim riots.
So what can we surmise? That the report from Jihad Watch et al was altered to include the assumption of Muslim or Jihadi rioting and this alternation betrays an agenda which goes beyond combating Islamism. It betrays a casual suspicion of Muslims as carrier-agents of dissension and danger.
I discovered this report from my Facebook page and was immediately struck by the lack of sources. The report links to the Washington Post, whose own page corresponds with the Le Monde report above. But crucially, it links to a Russian website without external links for verification and to a Christian fundamentalist site – again lacking links for verification.
I am surprised that people have taken this up without checking the sources, although perhaps this is more common than I suspect.
Take a look at this photograph from the Russian website (ria.ru):

Photoshopped image?

Photoshopped image?

Is this photograph altered? From where was it sourced? Ria.ru has it labelled as Reuters but Reuters has nothing on this subject, so how could it be a Reuters photograph?

Let us be clear. There are problems, well attested, with parts of the Muslim population in European countries. But I hold that this is not the result of a malicious religion as the authors of the report would argue but of many have described as the culture of places like Pakistan where women are fair game for men to assault and foreigners are the enemy. The issue is not religion but civilisation and barbarism and a collective political failure to adapt.
However, we should always check the truthfulness of accounts before accepting them as true. If journalists are expected to do so, then so should we as responsible subjects under law.


December 5, 2012

wien1938:

One wonders if Obama could seriously be thinking of appointing Anna Wintour to be the ambassador to the UK or France.
This suggestion is frankly an insult to either nation. There are reasons for the diplomatic diplomatic corps, not least confidential data and negotiations. This suggestion smacks of a casual, even a dilettante attitude towards affairs of state.
Finally, it is worth noting that the pro-Assad attitude of this woman fits with the attitudes of the senior members of the Democratic Party. Here, one thinks of Clinton, Reid, Pelossi etc who tried to rehabilitate Syria under Assad and paint it as progressive.

Originally posted on CiF Watch:

‘Comment is Free’ editor Natalie Hanman asked a question today: Should Anna Wintour be the next US Ambassador to the UK?, CiF, Dec. 5.

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

Hanman begins her piece on speculation that Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, may be nominated as Ambassador to the UK, thus:

“The rumour – and it is far from being confirmed – that Barack Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, as his next ambassador to either the UK or France has been met with gasps of outrage.”

Hanman quotes Nile Gardiner, in the Telegraph, questioning Wintour’s qualifications for such a prestigious diplomatic position, but then cites Carla Hall of the LA Times suggesting that criticism of Wintour’s background is unfair.

Hanman concludes by asking:

“What qualities and experience do you think qualifies someone for a job as a diplomat?”

While the question is a fair one, it…

View original 759 more words


The passing of Petraeus

November 13, 2012

12 November 2012

(Photo courtesy of CIA)

General (ret.) David Petraeus is a peerless asset to the United States. His contributions to the war and to the nation have been incalculable. No one can estimate the number of lives among Americans, the Coalition and Iraqi civilians that his wise leadership saved during that horrible war. His short leadership in Afghanistan rekindled my confidence that that war also might be brought to heel. Unfortunately, he was sent back to lead the CIA, which was a great loss for the military.
Director Petraeus’s accomplishments can never be erased. He will undoubtedly be demonized for his affair. It is not easy to ameliorate the stain that it leaves, as the potential final word summing up an impeccable career.

All Alphas have enemies. Petraeus is no exception. The finest leaders usually have more enemies than the company men whose mantra is, “Don’t bail the sinking boat. The boss said the boat is not sinking.” Unfortunately we have a surfeit of company men and only one Dave Petraeus.

Petraeus’s paramour is Paula Broadwell. I know Paula, but not as well as I know Dave Petraeus. I spent much time talking with Paula in Afghanistan. Her beauty and her confidence are apparent in seconds. It takes another five minutes to realize that she is very bright, and five minutes more to realize that Paula, too, is an Alpha. She believes that women should be Rangers, and infantry officers, and are capable of standing beside men in combat. Ironically, her role in this spectacle serves as a counter to her own argument.

David Petraeus spent years downrange in the wars. Some of his own staff members bailed from the stress, yet General Petraeus kept going. In the middle of all this, he battled cancer and survived. During a 2010 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, he passed out at the table. Yet he kept going and he never publicly complained. And then Paula came along. You might as well starve the man and then cook barbeque outside his cave.

During 2007, at the peak of the Iraq war, an infantry lieutenant colonel told me about the time that Colonel Petraeus was shot during training. A Soldier accidentally put a bullet straight through Petraeus’s chest. Blood and lungs were coming from his mouth. Petraeus nearly died.

Normally a mistake like this might end the career of the Soldier who fired the shot, and it might adversely affect the career of his commanding officer. Instead, Colonel Petraeus survived and he sent the young Soldier to Ranger school. It was the young commander, now older, who told me the story in Iraq. His man fired the shot that almost killed Petraeus. If Petraeus had kicked the young officer out of the Army, it would have been our loss. Instead, Petraeus took a bullet to the chest and he turned it into a teachable moment. That is David Petraeus.

Today journalists and others whinge that they were duped into the cult of Petraeus. Untrue. He really is that man, but he is also just a man.

Petraeus has a long reputation as a mentor. Any insinuation that he used mentorship to prey on Paula Broadwell falls flat. You can hardly talk to the man without him leaving you with a reading assignment. “Michael, make sure to read Foreign Affairs.” With this one remarkable exception, the man leads by example.

Paula’s intentions are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. It is unwise to hypothesize without facts, and Paula deserves the benefit of proper investigation. She is somebody’s daughter, a wife and a mother, and an American citizen.

David Petraeus has enemies. Many wish to see him fall. For example, years ago, a CIA officer confided an abiding hatred for General Petraeus to me. After the CIA officer explained the circumstances, I respected Petraeus more. The officer had a sack of hurt feelings after a combat disaster in Iraq, to which Petraeus, instead of offering a shoulder to cry on, said buck up, there is work to do.

In Afghanistan, I would see Paula at the morning briefings where Petraeus presided. She is connected within powerful circles, including within the special operations community. Access begets access, and once you reach a certain level, you no longer care about doors slamming in your face: every time a door slams, the concussion opens five more. Access is a two-way street. Washington has a million doors down thousands of hallways, and nobody, no matter how powerful, controls more than a single hallway. After you reach a certain level of access, nobody can shut you out. Paula reached that level, and Paula enjoyed playing with high-tension wires where a single misstep can pop a career like a bug zapper, slamming thousands of doors at once. Where this leaves Paula remains to be seen.

Conspiracy theories are crackling the airwaves. The timing of the DCI’s resignation obviously raises questions, but the atomic structure of the event at least is clear. Dave and Paula had an affair. Dave preferred to resign rather than be fired. What was okay for President Clinton is not okay for other government servants, and we all need to keep a handle on that.

No man is without fault. This fiasco does not diminish David Petraeus’s contributions to the United States, nor his positive impact on the many people that he inspired and mentored. Dave stumbled. He is fallible. Nonetheless, he remains a remarkable man with rare insights and much earned wisdom. After a decade of persistent sacrifice, he deserves a rest. When General (ret.) Petraeus is ready to resume, no doubt there will be a long line of people requesting his able services.


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