Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Beyond Fear and Anger


DDGD – October 20, 2015

Dear colleagues and subscribers, I can definitely use your help at this stage in order to keep managing my new blog and newsletter and to expand the scope of my coverage to include some field work as well. Please use the contact form to reach out to me with suggestions and/or pledges.

Today’s Post is brought to you by: The International Foundation for Global Anger Management: does our horrendous failure to achieve our goal make you angry? Good. Let’s manage that for you!

 Editorial Comment

What does it tell us when Israelis cannot tell the difference between an Arab, an Eritrean and a Jew? What conclusions can we draw from the Palestinians’ continued failure to see the hypocrisy in their willingness to target Israeli civilians, including women and children, and their criticism of Israel when it does the same? Yes, the scales involved might be different, but is it a matter of scale? Does murder becomes bad only when it’s mass murder? But, then, some Palestinians attackers seem more than willing to commit mass murder should they have the chance.

Where will all this lead? What can bloodshed beget but more bloodshed, and fear more fear, hate more hate, and incitement counter-incitement?

In a state where Israelis themselves can't tell the difference between a Jew, an Arab or an Eritrean, the only way left to break the cycle of folly and violence, that only solution left that makes any sense is the one that must counter-intuitive to all, the one from which all have been running for all these decades, the one that called for more integration, not official separation into two states that could never live at peace, it’s the one-state solution, one federal state, with bicameral assembly and specially tailored electoral laws that balances demographic realities and communal rights, with Jerusalem as its capital.


Indeed, “One state is already here, and has been for a long time. All it needs is to be just and do the right thing. Who’s against it? Why? And, most important, what’s the alternative?”

Bloodshed, that’s what.

But my logic here is not just about the 600,000 settlers in Palestinian territories that will never be evacuated, and whose presence already moots the issue of two-state solution. There are other realities that moot the issue as well: the intimate ties between the Palestinian and Israeli financial and economic institutions, without which the Palestinian state can never be viable. At this stage, Gulf States are incapable of providing long-term funding for infrastructure development and economic stimulus. They are dealing with their own financial and economic woes and security challenges, domestic and regional; they are too distracted by the current upheavals to be counted on for long-term planning.

Meanwhile, an Iran that is eager to fill the place of Gulf Arabs has its own agenda, one that calls for transforming the Occupied Territories into a battlefield. Such development, which seems to be taking place as we speak, will only pave the way for a disaster, perhaps another full-scale Nakba. And the world will do nothing to stop it. Just ask the Syrians what the world, including their regional and international allies, has done for them. No, separation is not going to work.

But if the Palestinians truly want to seek integration, then, their methods cannot be violent. Their choice of methods has to send a message of forgiveness, acceptance and a sincere willingness to move on and open a new page. Only such a message cannot resonate, in time, with Israelis. The struggle won’t be easy of course, and the current government in Israel may not become responsive anytime soon. But, nonviolent struggles are meant to be waged over an extended period of time. And there are no guarantees as to when the critical turning point will take place, but recent history does show that more of the same will beget more of the same. Aren’t we tired of the same old same old? It’s time for change, for positive thinking, and iron wills, time for inclusive visions and long-term planning. We have spilled enough blood to satisfy the lust of a trillion vampirical gods, and their self-appointed messiahs. It’s time we stopped bleeding each other, of treating each other as chattel. 

 Briefly Noted

We Break It, You Own It: Russia’s Logic in Syria. I think Putin’s strategy is more like: I break off a piece for me to keep, you, the United States, Europe and Nato, can own the broken remainder.

While Saudi Arabia commits to fighting extremists abroad, King Salman's government tacitly endorses its own fanatical preachers. What’s new? The Al-Saud’s alliance with the Wahhabis is how they have been maintaining their legitimacy since the founding of their kingdom. They are not going to undermine these vital relations at this stage when they are facing serious security threats both at home and from Iran, and when so many pundits and officials are talking about a looming breakup of the kingdom. In fact, all factions competing within the Al-Saud family now will be trying to woo the Wahhabi establishment. For all those who often dabble in real politick to be appalled by Saudi attitudes is quite baffling. Not that I defend this attitude by the Saudis. I am just saying: what’s new?

“Assad must go!” These three little words present a huge obstacle for Obama on Syria. No, they don’t actually. This administration walked away from its established red lines before, and it seems about to walk away from that one too, as Kerry is set to embark on a new round of diplomacy on the matter. The reality is the administration has its own sense of priorities and it stuck to it; it don’t corner itself, it just cornered the Syrian people. 

AP Interview: Iran preparing for 'tsunami' of tourists. Indeed, because nothing feels sweeter than pouring your hard-earned money into the coffers of a homicidal autocratic terrorism-funding regime.

When the father of the Ukrainian Revolution is a Pashtun Muslim who left Kabul as a child and came to the country as a refugee, and when one the main cartoonists who worked at Charlie Hebdo is of a Syrian Muslim background, I think Europe really needs to revise its attitude about the “Migrants Crisis” and the threat that migrants, refugees and refugrants allegedly pose to national security, identity and values, focusing instead on the talents they bring to the field and the opportunities they can create.

Russia reportedly used drones for the first time in its aerial operation in Syria killing one person and injuring several in the town of Maar Shimareen in Idlib Province (Arabic). Will chemical weapons be next? Meanwhile, a Russian company close to the Kremlin used drones rather differently: to celebrate Russia its military prowess in Syria.

Assad Cousin Sparks Backlash With Washington Speech. Ah Congress, if there is anything more dysfunctional than the current administration foreign policies, it’s you.

Canada to end airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, new Prime Minister Trudeau says. And the legacy building begins. What next? Joining the Russo-Iranian Alliance.

Blitzer To Chafee: You'll Look Silly If You Don't Drop Out Soon. Where did Blitzer learn his interrogation, I mean interview techniques, from the FSB? Oh, that makes sense. Blitzer is a Russian agent.  

Qatar is looking for alternatives in Syria. Five years on and everybody is still doing that. Meanwhile Russian propaganda machines are still doing this: Qatar Threatens Military Intervention in Syria.

Iran Sending More Military Advisers to Syria, Official Says. Today military advisers, tomorrow political administrators, as a colonial presence is being carved out. After all, what’s the point of doubling down on a hack like Assad, if one did not have bigger goals? But, then, Iran is only fighting to protect its national interests!!!

MigrantSuffocations in Truck Near Hungary Reveal Tactics of Smugglers. Tactics of the smugglers are the least that these suffocations reveal: the reveal revelation is about the world’s indifference, cynicism, inhumanity and hypocrisy.

If An Islamist Had Stabbed Cologne Mayor, Germany Would Have Been Furious. True. There is a malaise here that requires serious attention. While so many of us fear the potential violence that refugees might bring with them, it is the violence that their presence will invite from us that we should fear more. The real problem lies in host communities much more so than with the refugees.

 The Surreal Adventures of Pu Bear

Assad Makes Unannounced Trip to Moscow to Discuss Syria With Putin. Can anyone watch the video of Putin and Assad encounter and not come out with the impression that, at this stage, Assad is nothing more than a puppet? The meeting which Assad attended accompanied only by his personal interpreter who only took notes, comes as another demonstration of Putin’s strength and another proof that he is the man of the hour in Syria now. Not even Iran was able to produce such a stunt. Assad is finished, though he seems to remain under the sway of his delusions.

The full interview also shows Putin stressing the need for a political process that includes “all political forces, ethnic and religious groups.” For “Ultimately,” he said, “it is the Syrian people alone who must have the deciding voice here.”

In his reply, Assad ignores this and focuses exclusively on fighting terrorism, and on the rebuilding Syria’s shattered economy and infrastructure post-conflict. But his “defiance” here, if that is indeed the right term, is reminiscent of that of a petulant schoolboy standing in front of an amused headmaster who continues his relentless pursuit for achieving Primakov’s dream “about reviving Russian power in the Middle East and globally,” enforcing “a change, fraught with danger for Russia and the United States both, that could alter the balance of power in the region and beyond.”

 Jihadopolis


“For us, Russia, Assad, or ISIS, is no difference,” said Abu Isa ar-Raqqawi. “Wherever you have the regime, you have Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “Many of Assad’s regime’s officers were embedded with Daesh.”

But, the U.S. is reportedly planning on working with these groups. Considering the above sentiments expressed by Abu Isa, sooner or later, these fighters are bound to extend their fight to Assad, and that will put the U.S. in a proxy war situation with the Russia, unless American officials plan on betraying these rebels.


“In sum, and as a result of tracking and monitoring the overall of Russian raids, we find that the number of strikes reached nearly / 36 / raid in addition to the fall of two missiles from long-range missiles, noting that these raids didn’t effect on ISIS directly, where the sum of ISIS killed members was little comparing with the total martyrs among civilians, The death toll from ISIS was/ 4 / members while fell out of the civilian about / 70 / people. On the other hand, two sites belonging to ISIS has been targeted while the number of civilian places that have been targeted about / 22 / position. (Sic)”


 Refugenics

In Defense of Christendom: Having ignored its inheritance, Europe wonders why its house is falling apart. What? Where? How? What the Hell! How can a Muslim population that will amount to less than 5%, even after taking in millions of Muslim refugees cause such an existential crisis in Europe? Europe’s crisis is self-made and had more to do with the relations between rich and developed and poor and underdeveloped states within its borders than any amount of refugee influx. What’s seen as a major crisis is in fact merely a symptom of a larger structural problem for which European states bear sole responsibility. As for Turkey, her 75 million Muslims and the promise of joining the EU, the process will not happen overnight, and bridging the development and democracy gaps needed as a necessary step in this direction will help curb whatever negative fallouts that might emerge from this integration.

*
Christians can’t ignore the suffering of Muslims. While acknowledging that Sunni Muslims have a lot of soul searching to do in regard to the rise of groups like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in their ranks, no matter how small their demographic footprint might be, Michael Gerson makes a strong argument for why Christians need to do more to help Syrian refugees:

“To respond to the Syrian refugee crisis, Christians must overcome their discomfort with Islam and their belief that conflict among Muslims is none of their concern. Is the Christian faith merely a cover for tribalism? Or will it demonstrate its essence in service to the refugees of another faith who did nothing to deserve their fate?”

*
Unpromising Choices in Syria. Treating the Syrian Crisis from the angle of the refugee crisis, and the need to save Europe from all those invading hordes of unarmed desperate civilians, as Philip Bobbitt writing for Stratfor suggests, would legitimate the call for establishing a safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border and would require the introduction of NATO troops to safeguard it, but it will not resolve the Syrian crisis and will not stop the bombs. The safe zone will be nothing more than a large detention center, not unlike those in so many African nations where conditions are appalling despite the fact that these centers are being run by UN agencies.

If we truly want to do something about refugees, than, the war itself needs to be brought to an end; there is no way around this. As the BBC’s great correspondent Kim Ghattas argues, drawing on her own experience as a survivor of the Lebanese civil war, what we are dealing with is not a “refugee crisis,” or European crisis, but a “Syrian war crisis,”

“the result of four years of a descent into hell and a conflict that U.S. President Barack Obama dismissed as “someone else’s civil war.” He was convinced that the war could be contained within Syria, but he was wrong. And that’s why this also is, and remains, a global leadership crisis.”…

…By reducing the discussion on Syria to the battle against the so-called Islamic State, the West distorts the narrative of the conflict. When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the group is “obviously the most significant player in the massive migrant crisis that’s sweeping through Europe,” he overlooked that the bulk of the refugees are leaving rebel-held areas being bombed daily by Assad’s forces or are leaving government-controlled areas to escape forced conscription…

… Obama said, “This is not some superpower chessboard contest.” But that’s how it feels for those on the receiving end of the violence, with a traffic jam of fighter jets of all stripes in the skies over Syria. That’s how it felt to me as a child in Beirut.

And when a U.S. official reacts to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s involvement in Syria with apparent glee at the quagmire awaiting the Russians, saying, “Knock yourselves out,” it’s clear that closing the empathy gap between the West and the rest remains an elusive task.

There is no undoing what the war has now done to Syria. War, I have come to learn, never leaves you. It lies dormant within you all your life, but you can overcome it and thrive once the guns fall silent.

Indeed, it is the Syrian people, not Europe or the U.S., who are actually paying the price for the failure in Syria.

 Shhh! Behind the Scenes

European Oil Companies Steal a March on U.S. Peers in Iran: Americans look on as Europeans compete to snag best oil and gas fields. By working directly in Iran, perhaps even in the Black Sea itself, the Europeans might still find ways to decrease their reliance on Russian Gas. But they still have to find cheaper transportation alternatives.

 Quote of the Day

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” ― Robert Tew Perhaps this is what Syrian refugees are doing: walking away from where their humanity has ceased to be respected, and they can no longer be happy not to mention safe.

 Tweets of the Day
 Video(s) of the Day

“Drone footage shows fierce clashes between Syrian Army & US-backed Islamic terrorists”

Artistic Delirium

By Syrian Allepan photographer, currently residing in Beirut, Lebanon, artist, Ammar Abd Rabbo

Cartoons






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