Thursday, November 5, 2015

Towards a collective ownership of certain fuckups!

Generation PlayStation: “Slaughterhouse Umpteen” – Nothing beats the real thing.
DDGD – November 5, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by: Fucker-Uppers For Peace – an imaginary society for leaders who fuck up and are willing to admit it, who own up and try to fix it, and who may never exist, and if they did, we probably never vote for them. For we are the biggest fuckup of all.

The Daily Delirynth

So, Russia is finally bombing IS/Daesh strongholds in Syria including the city of Raqqa. That is, it’s already punishing IS for the downed airplane in Sinai even as it continues to struggle to come to terms with whether this was indeed a terrorist attack or just a more tragic accident in a long line of accidents in a country where small airlines have a dismal safety record.

The problem with this development, however, and as I argued earlier, is that the Russians care little about “collateral damage,” and the people of Raqqa are experiencing it firsthand. A population that was already being terrorized by IS fighters on the ground is now being terrorized by Russian fighters in the air. IS/Daesh has long planned for this eventuality, and has created a number of well-fortified and camouflaged underground bunkers, and while its fighters and fighting gear are safe, the civilian population of Raqqa and their homes, hospitals, schools and mosques is not.

Did Russia’s leaders seriously not expect a blowback from their Syrian adventure? Did they really think that by not targeting IS/Daesh they will be given a pass somehow, that their presence in Syria will be ignored, and that memories of the “good old days” in Afghanistan will not have a role in determining how IS commanders will behave towards their presence? If so, the price for their foolishness will climb higher and higher.

Meanwhile, a deployment of missiles and over 4,000 troops to Syria speaks volumes as to the seriousness of their current commitment.

As for IS/Daesh, well, some seem to think that it has “already won this round” and has successfully “staged” another “propaganda coup.” There is something to this assertion indeed. But the fact that it is still taking more territories on the ground even as it is supposedly getting targeted from the air by all and sundry adds a more substantive dimension to this matter.

So, should it be confirm that this was indeed a terrorist attack, could the fake showdown between IS/Daesh in Syria become real? Well, judging by their positions on this matter, that is, by their willingness to raise the possibility of terrorism at this stage early stage in the investigation, it seems that the UK and the U.S. are doing their best to pile up pressure on Putin in this regard. Their argument to Putin might go something like this: the mere fact that IS is willing to take credit for this, even it were proved later that this was a simple accident, should be sufficient for you, Vladimir, to begin seriously targeting them. More importantly, if this did turn up to be a terrorist attack, you will not be allowed to cover it up, and the link to IS and your intervention in Syria will be made for you, and you will have to face the music domestically and globally for this.

Indeed, the view that the “attack will play into Putin’s narrative that IS needs to be fought in Syria now, before it poses an even bigger threat to Russia” makes sense only if one believes that Putin is serious about fighting IS in Syria. However, the pattern of bombing conducted by Russians before this attack and IS ability to take more territory in Syria suggests otherwise. Putin wants to target anti-Assad rebel exclusively, leaving IS to the U.S. and its allies. This is actually more of an opportunity to the U.S. and the U.K. to pressure Putin into becoming serious about IS/Daesh and perhaps do the job for them in Syria, perhaps even by committing more ground troops. Should Obama and Cameron succeed in this, the argument that they have Putin exactly where they want him would start making sense.

But the reality might be closer to this simple assertion: everyone is fuckin up in Syria. Everyone broke her. And no one is brave enough to admit it, not to mention own up.

I think, in time, if all these sides can be made to take threats posed by anarchist groups like IS/Daesh and genocidal leaders like Assad seriously, then their ability to coordinate their actions while remaining  on the right and ethical side of history might witness drastic improvement.

On the other hand, and should the anti-IS/Daesh coalition adopt the approach proposed by so many “realists” calling for cooperating with people like Assad, seeing that criminals like him would only abuse their own people, and not “us,” the decision will not simply represent a new more cynical twist, but it will have disastrous consequences as it could only serve to deepen the Sunnis sense of grievance and victimization, and will further radicalize sentiments in Sunni communities all around the world.

And for those who cannot see why, perhaps they should listen to this former ISIS hostage who, in his book, clearly documents the creation of the Jihadi Highway as a collaborative project involving Syrian and Iraqi security services, and their eventual use to muddy the waters within the context of the Syrian Revolution.

Briefly Noted

Mutiny within Iran’s Revolutionary Guard after the heavy losses in Syria. Not all Iranian generals may be willing to be martyred for the sake of an asshole and his dream, or for the sake of a millenarian ideology in which they don’t believe. They might still Shiite believers, and might still believe in Vilayat-e Faqih, but not all may subscribe to the apocalyptic doctrine motivating so many of their counterparts at this stage. Still, these reports at this stage need to be handled with a bag-full of salt. Even if they are true, unless they are coupled with similar sentiments in the political establishment, and the grassroots, it may not be sufficient to perceptible affect, if not alter, the current dynamics in Iran and across the region. But those betting on Rouhani emerging as the champion of these generals’ cause are misled. His stances on various issues, including his criticism of persistent anti-Americanism in the ruling establishment, are mere theatrics made to empower those in the U.S. who continue to peddle the pro-Iran line. Indeed, Rouhani continues to lead efforts to hack and burn Iran’s way back into America’s heart.

Syria’s black market in lost souls: A report from Amnesty International says the enforced disappearance of Syrian dissidents has become a cash grab for the Assad regime. A similar phenomenon on a much smaller scale took place in the 1980s. My wife, Khawla Yusuf’s father was “disappeared” in a similar fashion, and though colleagues who were released later said he died under torture, the absence of confirmation left my in-laws open to exploitation. The matter was not resolved officially until the early days of the Syrian Revolution in 2011 when, as part of its attempt to create an impression of openness and absorb popular discontent, the Assad regime sent out a few letters confirming the deaths of certain detainees back in the early 1980s. It only took three decades to get some closure, if only a new and deeper wound was not simultaneously opened.

'Name of shop is Hitler and I like him because he was the most anti Jewish person'. Seriously? Is this how we choose to fight for our rights: by becoming bigots, even as criticize the other side for being bigots? 

And the Assad regime’s response to the global campaign demanding the release of Bassel Al-Kharatabil is: “Syria: No Word on Activist’s Whereabouts: Bassel Khartabil Transferred to Undisclosed Location on October 3.

Mustard gas use in Syria conflict confirmed. When red lines disappear without a trace, so do certain other inhibitions.

Jill Stein, the U.S. Green Party’s presidential candidate for 2016, wants us to sign her petition demanding “No US troops in Syria!” Because hey, after “the catastrophic failures of regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the last thing that the U.S. should be doing is trying to orchestrate regime change in Syria. We need to enact an arms embargo on the Middle East rather than effectively arming all sides.” Then, the lion will graze peaceful alongside the lambs, as we will embrace a vegan lifestyle. It’s sweet grandmotherly people like Jill Stein who makes me want to screw up environment completely for our grandchildren.

Syria Regime Fears Diaspora Vote could Tip the Balance. Indeed, free elections are exactly the thing of which the Assad family and its coterie of corrupt advisers have been afraid for all these years. Conducting internationally monitored free elections in which the diaspora and the refugees get to vote will seal the Assads’ fate and will allow us to begin a new era. But can the Vienna process truly deliver that? In fact, is that what it wants to deliver?

Quote of the Day

“The U.S. immigration laws are bad - really, really bad. I'd say treatment of immigrants is one of the greatest injustices done in our government's name.” --Bill Gates

Tweets of the Day
Artistic Delirium

By Steve Cutts, an illustrator and animator working in London 

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