Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Million Ugly Dictators Rising!

The mushroom cloud of the "Ivy Mike" hydrogen bomb test by the United States on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, in 1952. Credit Department of Defense Nuclear Information Analysis, via Reuters


DDGD January 8, 2016

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Today’s Post is brought to you by…  The School for Advanced Corporealology: The place to go for disillusioned etherealists.

The Delirica

Darkness falls one snuffed out candle at a time: Journalist Ruqia Hassan murdered by Isis after writing on life in RaqqaActivists confirm 30-year-old was killed in September having been accused by Islamic State of spying for rival Syrian groups.” By the time people take notice, it will be too late. I can already see the darkness coming. The eclipse will be total, and long.

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Comparisons Don’t Support North Korea’s Claims of a Hydrogen Bomb, Experts Say. Be that at it may, North Korea is reasserting itself as a major security threat. What Next? I can foresee something in the North Korea’s future that no one is talking about. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of North Korean soldiers fighting in places like Syria, and perhaps even eastern Ukraine, on behalf of their allies (Iran and Russia), all for the right price, and with Jong Un’s support of course. What then? Without Chinese cooperation, serious sanctions cannot be implemented. But even should China cooperate, the impact of some of these sanctions could be alleviated if Russia and Iran chose to intervene.

The presidents of various nations issued condemnations heard around their heads. You want your condemnations to mean something: defeat IS and Assad, and sanction Iran; perhaps then, you'll be taken seriously. Obama's policies, even if right, are perceived as a sign of weakness by many; that perception alone is a conflict driver and will lead to multiple challenges in the future. This is not some Monday night quarterbacking; this has been a contention of mine for years.

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During the last few years, the Assad regime, Iran, Russia, North Korea and terrorists groups like Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and Boko Haram amply demonstrated how impunity and mass systematic cruelty can actually work in helping one achieve some of its goals, at least, and to escape the consequences of their actions. The demonstration, however, would not have been possible had the behavior of these actors not been met with tergiversations, indifference, continuous handwringing and a never ending Shirk& Shift routine by the U.S. and other Western governments.

Unless we choose to change our response to these bad actors, and our current strategies for managing the Syrian conflict in particular, Russia and Co. will get more defiant and will inspire more imitators, and we will witness more conflicts and more impunity all around the world, and it will not be long before we begin feeling the impact at home. Nothing is containable anymore. If we see it, hear it, feel it, sense it, think it, dream it, then, we will be affected by it. This is the essence of our hyper-connectivity. Eventually, there will be consequences, for all. The problem, however, is that when we leave it to Fate to decide outcomes on such critical issues and on such a grand-scale, we all lose. Fate is never kind to those who choose to tempt it.

The Daily Delirynth

Syriosis: Syria Agrees to Food Aid for Starving Rebel-Held Town, U.N. Says. So far, and despite the initial agreement, nothing has happened.

Syria's schools feel blast of Russia war planesSchools closed until further notice in Douma, Syria, after reportedly cluster bomb attack from Russian planes.” Talk about a cluster fuck! The only tool for killing that has not been used against Syria’s children by now is nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Assad will outlast Obama in office, just as Saddam outlasted George Bush. But this time, the impact of this dictator’s survival will haunt us for years to come. Impunity triumphant is impunity unforgiven. Ours is not Justice deferred, or denied, it’s justice completely set aside, forgotten and deleted from lexicon.

Iran's failed cultural diplomacy in SyriaThis idea of the Arabs without culture is widespread in Iran,” Von Maltzahn told Tehran Bureau. “But Iranians can have a particular image in Syria too, because Syrians see a certain group [conservative Iranians] on a particular mission, that is religious pilgrimage. This is building new stereotypes that are not entirely representative. So I was interested in what the two states were doing on the cultural level, how they were working on their image.” This bit is actually relevant to the discussion of the Saudi-Iranian conflict in the previous edition of DDGD. The issue of racist attitudes prevalent among Arabs and Persians vis-à-vis each other flies against the thinking by some people that, somehow, Iran can play a stabilizing role in the region. Such thinking is completely divorced from reality, but it doesn’t seem to be meant to connect with reality. Its primary use seems to merely to justify a policy whose makers are either completely unconcerned about the future of the Middle East, or whose immediate goal is to help create more instability in it allowing Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to get sucked in and pulled apart. And fools do rush in.

Saudaran & the Global Devolution: After Executing Regime Critic, Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine. Actually, we have been living in a reality created by Iran’s PR machines and their supporters and incarnation, such as NIAC and the people behind the Iran Project, for years now. While some articles advising sticking with Saudi Arabia as an old ally has been published over the last five years, the same period witnessed a dizzying number of op-eds published in serious news outlets such as the New York Times and the Financial Times, all advocating rapprochement with Iran in general, then, the switched to supporting the Iran Deal, and soon later, criticizing Saudi Arabia for behavior and practices no different those currently perpetrated by Iran. Finally, now they openly advocate standing with Iran against Saudi Arabia in a future showdown.

The reasons being offered for the switch makes absolutely no sense as Iran is even more overtly engaged in troubling behavior all around the region. There is indeed a hidden ideological agenda here, one that is in line with how certain groups envision future developments in the region and the world over the next few decades.

No, I am not proposing a conspiracy theory here, what I am suggesting is this: it has long been customary for various American think tanks and research centers, some acting with partial funding from the U.S. governments, others from relying on their endowments or private funding, to draw up potential scenarios for future developments in regions around the world. Over the course of decades of organizing events and drawing up such scenarios in regard to the Middle East, a school of thought emerged that basically contended that America’s interests will be served better in the 21st century through improving and normalizing its relations with Iran as a new regional power in the Middle East, while decreasing reliance on Israel, and completely abandoning the GCC, Egypt, and even NATO’s ally Turkey. In fact, according to this school, relations with Western Europe themselves might need to be drastically overhauled in favor of an envisioned alliance with China. While there is nothing wrong in bringing countries such as Iran and China from the cold, there is a definite problem in thinking that that could only be done if certain norms regarding human rights and democratic values are abandoned, and the stability of entire regions is sacrificed. Why? Because the price of standing up for these norms as well as peace and stability is deemed by this lot to be too high. Such calculations are exactly what promises to make the 21st Century the bloodiest in history.

But, considering that President Obama’s foreign policies have been quite in line with this thinking, then, we simply cannot accept anything to change for the remainder of his presidency, irrespective of any humanitarian toll, and how and Iranian and Russian behavior could get. His legacy is already sealed, I am afraid. The bigger problem is that the thinking behind it will still be with us for long after he is no longer Lord of the Manor on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Quote of the Day

“The fear is as sharp as it ever was. When I see my children playing, I pray to God they won't end up under that rubble. If the world thinks we are used to these attacks by now, they are wrong."  --Mohamed Saleh, father of two who sometimes helps the Douma rescue teams in eastern Damascus, speaking about Russian airstrikes targeting their community, and its schools.

Tweet(s) of the Day


Video(s) of the Day

To the interesting speech in the video below, I would rush to add that the cultural of global corporatism is not only a Western phenomenon; corporations in China, Russia, Iran, India, Brazil and Japan, to name but a few countries, are playing by the same rulebook at this stage. Moreover, most of these countries are ruled by illiberal forces whose behavior at home and abroad is far more problematic than that of Western democracies. For theirs is a disdain for democracy its values, and not simply a democracy in crisis. For this, the traditional solutions proposed by the Left don't work here, because they only see evil in the West, and their local solutions for the problem often empower the other side, which is no less guilty of the same greedy behavior with the added problem of authoritarian values. Worse. The traditional left often sees liberal prodemocracy activists in these troubling countries as stooges, has little sympathy for their causes, and they tend to lend a measure of sympathy they lend it to Islamists and other atavistic forces, in the name of authenticity. But the greed of the elite, their conflicts and their less celebrated coordination on some issues, represent a global problem and a global menace, and cannot be truly resisted through such narrow and highly ideological focus. This tendency endangers democracy at home, and makes its chances of spreading and meeting the expectations of more people abroad close to nil. We need to examine this phenomenon of corporatist supremacy beyond nationalism and geography; otherwise our solutions will be self-defeating.

 Local Activist: Hi son, what’s your problem?
Boy: I want to tell you something, but I feel ashamed.
Local Activist: No please, go ahead.
Boy: We haven’t eaten anything for the last three days, can you give us something to eat, for my little siblings? Just for today? If you can?
Local Activist: God help us! Son, what if I told you that I don’t have anything to eat myself?
Boy: Is this situation going to continue tor much longer? 
Local Activist: I don’t know.





Cartoons: The Cauldron


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