Friday, October 16, 2015

The Real Challenge: Getting It Right

This image from an Oct. 14, 2015, broadcast on the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network reportedly
shows missile launchers in an underground tunnel at an unknown location in Iran.
DDGD – October 15, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by: The Brotherhood of Psychopathic Dictators: Always ready to fuck your freedom and drink your milkshake.

Editorial Comment

Not all rule-breakers are visionaries. Most of them, in fact, are delusional and tragicomic figures.

Articles & Commentary

Though it denies reports of Cuban troops in Syria, the White House admits that “Russia would be looking for more nations to join its campaign to assist Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in maintaining power.”

Meanwhile, there is no denying the fact that Iran has already sent hundreds of troops, some say thousands, for that purpose, as plans for pounding Aleppo are said to enter the implementation phase any day now. But it’s the American-backed rebels, though the backing seems more a matter of words than deeds, that will be the main targets of the Russian-Iranian Alliance, for all RT reporting to the contrary. Indeed, the regulatory agency in the UK has recently called out the Kremlin-backed network for publishing false and fabricated reports about the conflict in eastern Ukraine. There is no reason to think that the channel has discovered ethics and humanity when it comes to covering the crisis in Syria.

For its part, the Islamic State continues to benefit from: 1) the free publicity and air time it receives, as all players in Syria claim to be fighting it, and 2) the fact that few of these players, mostly Kurdish militias and remnants of the FSA, are actually fighting it, to entrench itself further in the territories it controls in Syria, and to expand far beyond that broken country’s borders.

All the way to the Asia Pacific region in fact, where at some interesting point in the not-so-far future, it will, somehow, emerge as a critical factor in guiding the dynamics of the upcoming struggle for the South China Sea.  

And as Putin, just like Obama in fact, continues to be seen as champion of Shia Muslims, Sunni communities around the world will continue to breed extremists.

In the meantime, Iran continues to up the ante and mark its territory, the aspirations of millions of Syrians notwithstanding.

This report (in Arabic) claims that Germany has recently received an Iraqi Shia refugee who was a leading figure in the pro-Assad Shia militias that operated at one point in Damascus. There is now a growing list of such claims in Germany alone, as all different sorts of figures seek to start a new life in Europe.

In this comment/question of his, Fareed Zakaria captures the false dilemma that allegedly confronts America every time there is a crisis in the Middle East:

“But when we think about Syria, which is to my mind more messy, because what you’re talking about is any U.S. involvement would have to be aimed at essentially dislodging Assad from power. Okay. We dislodged Hussein from power. We thought we had good guys who are going to take — pick up, total chaos, civil war, 10 years, 400,000 people dead. We did it in Libya, we dislodged Gaddafi, we thought it would work out well. We had democrats, total chaos. We did it in Yemen. Total chaos. It feels like we know how this movie will end. If Assad is dislodged from Damascus, what do you think is going to happen? Total chaos.”

This is the problem in this reasonably sounding exposition: there is no attempt at analyzing the reasons behind America’s failure in any of these situations. But this is not surprising really, because the only lesson which Zakaria and other Obamacolytes want us to learn is not to intervene, not even in these cases where all indications suggest that the price for our nonintervention will be the same incurred by a failed one. That is: total chaos.

But the actual challenge that is facing us in this world is not about whether to intervene or not intervene, but about deciding when intervention is right, and how to get intervention right. For in this forever turbulent world, there will always situations when intervention is necessary even if unwanted. Syria was such a situation, and it still is. For it is clear by now, for those who are not wearing ideological blinders, that by avoiding intervention a security challenge that will last for decades has been created. No, this is not a retroactive judgment, this was actually a prediction, or rather a rational deduction, made by many, including yours truly writing for my earlier blog, Syrian Revolution Digest. Obama and his acolytes were quite aware of these deductions, and chose to ignore them. And now they choose to obfuscate and do what has now become their usual song and dance: the Shirk ‘N’ Shift.  

In one of its usual concisely written articles, “Tipsy taboo: Alcohol is a reality in Muslim lands, but discussing it remains off limits,” The Economist tries to breach new grounds but ends up falling victims to careless generalizations itself. Indeed, alcohol consumption is part of daily life in most Muslims-majority countries, even those claiming to follow Sharia Law, such Saudi Arabia. This fact should not be too surprising really considering that the Middle East is the birthplace of fermented alcohol. But here is where the Economist gets too economical in its exploration of the issue: yes, there are indeed countries where discussing alcohol in public is forbidden on pains of getting flogged, countries like Saudi Arabia and Sudan for instance, but in most other countries, we can sing about it, and not just talk.

The Economist gets also uneconomic in its attempt to classify those involved in alcohol consumption in certain countries. Somehow, in Lebanon, only the secular-minded wealthy folk consume alcohol. Apparently the Economist correspondents haven’t heard of homemade arak, the drink through which most young adults, not only in Lebanon but throughout the Levant, shatter their alcohol virginity.  

As for Saudi Arabia, let it be known that most alcohol consumed there is consumed by Saudis and smuggled specifically for them, not foreign diplomats.

Quote of the Day

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Tweets of the Day
The No-Fly Zone: Comments, statements & policies that just make no sense (i.e. they don’t fly)

Al-Nusra offers 3.5 million dollars to kill Bashar al-Assad. While it’s quite likely that this is exactly the fate that awaits Bashar Al-Assad at the end of his little macabre sojourn in our midst, it’s unlikely for such development to materialize as a result of this self-serving incitement by Al-Nusra. Still: any takers?

Video(s) of the Day

Artistic Delirium

“Lazarus Falling” by Ammar Abdulhamid from "Reflections on Liberty and Revolution Series
- a digital deconstruction of Delacroix's famous Oeuvre "Liberty leading the people."

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