Saturday, February 20, 2016

Notes on an inconvenient genocide

The Perennially Dumbfounded, Stupefied & Flummoxed Bunch

DDGD February 20, 2016

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The Delirica

Given a choice, President Obama would probably prefer to be remembered for accomplishments such as Obamacare, or his decision to normalize relations with Cuba. But the “achievement” by which he is more likely to be remembered, especially around the word, is his enabling of the Syrian Genocide, no matter how unwittingly.  

The Daily Delirynth
Syriosis… The Cleansing: Air strikes and fear drive thousands south from Daraa towards Jordan. “Humanitarian officials warn of fresh crisis amid reports of 70,000 people on the move towards Syria's closed southwestern border.” A similar wave of refugees is also gathering in the North along the borders with Turkey. The attackers at this stage include: Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, pro-regime Alawites militias, and Kurdish fighters affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian branch of the PKK. The scorched earth policy followed by this lot ensures that the refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom Sunni Muslims have no place to return to even when and should the fighting ever stop.

Lest they be accidentally cleansed! U.S. quietly tells Russia where American troops are located inside Syria. “The disclosure reveals an expanded level of military–to-military communication and cooperation between the two countries beyond the basic “memorandum of understanding,” or MOU, that was signed in October and focused on safety protocols for air crews operating in Syrian air space.” This way both sides can about their business in peace: the Russians with their ethnic cleaning campaign, and the Americans with whatever the hell they think they are doing, but aren’t.

Even the liberation of IS stronghold in Shadadi seems inconsequential. After all the liberators are Kurdish militias who, while working with Americans in the East and Russians in the West, are pushing for the establishment of an independent state, or at least an autonomous enclave for now, in parts of Syria rather than a free Syria – a state that will not be hospitable to Arabs, even who already live there, nor will it be democratic, or accommodating or other Kurds who are not members of the PYD and true believers in its totalitarian ideology.

The Smiling Caliph: ISIS smiles big at Russia’s offensive in Syria. “While Moscow’s battle-plan could succeed in the short term in handing military victories to Assad and pro-Iranian groups, it is a recipe for a counterterrorism disaster in the long run, and one that largely benefits ISIS.” This assessment, of course, goes against the wisdom promulgated by the Great Cock of Bullshitshire who wants us to believe that Assad, the Iranians and the Russians are actually doing battle with ISIS, which is supported by the Great Satan that is America. But, at this stage, spin has become irrelevant. Those who see will not be deceived, while the willfully blind will never see.

Ambassador Churkin as he demonstrates the good old Soviet tactic known as the Shirk & Smirk

Fact & Fiction: Russia warns Assad not to snub Syria ceasefire plan. “In the first public sign of cracks in the alliance between Moscow and Damascus, the envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said Russia had helped Assad turn the tide of the war so it was now incumbent on him to follow Russia's line and commit to peace talks.” For those who forgot how forgot how Soviet diplomatic machinery works, or are too young to remember, let’s clarify something: when Russian diplomats make a point of giving the impression that a stooge they are busy supporting is actually not listening to them, the truth is usually the exact opposite. The Russians at this stage believe that they are winning, and they are now simply stalling for time and  trying to fend off even the slightest hint of intervention on part of the Obama administration, even if it’s only limited to the possibility of eventually creating a safe zone or two.

UmReeka… Obama vs. Self: America Is Now Fighting A Proxy War With Itself In Syria. “Confusion in the Obama administration’s Syria policy is playing out on the ground as U.S.-backed groups begin battling each other.But this is how the realists will interpret this development: See, we told you it’s complicated, and it’s a quagmire. This is what intervention gets you. We should have stayed out. We have to pull out and let these people fight it amongst themselves, and when they are ready for peace, we’ll be ready to help. This is of course the wrong lesson to draw, but not if you’re a realist and your intent on inaction, and on denying the reality of where a haphazard policy of minimal interventions here and there has played in the hands of the Russians, the Iranians, the Islamic State Jihadis, Kurdish PYD militias and the remnants of the Assad regime, making things worse for most Syrians, and helping generate more refugees.

The Kith & Kinzer: STEPHEN KINZER: The media are misleading the public on Syria. True, but not as Kinzer argues. If anything, it’s the Obama administration and people like Kinzer who have been misleading the American and world public about the war in Syria, and about the true price of abandoning the Syrian people and traditional allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. For as problematic as these allies’ behavior has been both in general and in regard to the Syria War in particular, it’s still far less problematic than the active campaign of ethnic and sectarian cleansing being carried out by Iran and Russia, using the Assad regime and Shia militias, and more recently pro-PKK Kurdish forces, as their proxies and blunt instruments.

Moreover, the impact of the Obama’s administration Syria policy can now be felt in other areas as well, including eastern Ukraine, and South China Sea. For no amount of rationalization on part of Kinzer and other “realists” can convince world leaders, including America’s European allies, and not only its “lesser” allies in the Middle East (for that’s how they are being treated at this stage), not to mention its enemies, can change current perceptions and attitudes regarding the Administration’s resolve. What this means in practice is that many of America’s allies will think twice and thrice before following America’s leadership on anything in the future, not only for the duration of this administration’s time in office, but perhaps for a long while after that. In the meantime, America’s enemies are bound to become far more aggressive than they have been since the end of the Cold War. The realists won’t address that. The realists are the biggest deceivers and liars of all, and have successfully manipulated media coverage and popular attitudes to justify their disastrous immoral policies. Painting themselves as people struggling against all sorts of odds and pressures in order to get heard has been a tactic of theirs from the beginning, a tactic to which they have resorted time and again in order to deflect attention from the fact that they have been in the driver seat all along, and that what’s currently unfolding in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and eastern Ukraine is in no small part the result of their “strategic insights.”

Samantha on Power: “Kill more and prosper!” 
The Last Temptations of Samantha Power: THE AMBASSADOR FROM HELL?Samantha Power wrote the book on how the U.S. government ignores and legitimates genocides. Or was it a handbook?” Forget about Samantha Power, a Congress that impeached a former U.S. president for a sex scandal, should be able impeach a president for enabling genocide in Syria, especially when the facts and the pattern are so clear. But it won’t, will it? What’s happening in Syria represents a condemnation of the entire American political system as well as the prevailing culture, and not just a staff member of a particular administration, nor even the head honcho himself. This does not excuse them of course, nor is meant to.

The point is: there is enough support in the policymaking community for Obama’s “realist” position and enough gridlock in the decision-making system that shames all. If American policymakers cannot reach a consensus on something like this, and cannot pursue a policy of smart intervention meant to prevent, or at least stop such mass slaughter, then, there is something deeply wrong in the whole system. The malaise goes deeper than we think. And knowing how deep the malaise is I am almost certain that the very argument I am currently making here could and probably would be used to create even more confusion.

Be that as it may, I will push my argument even further by suggesting that I have come to believe deeply that America at this stage simply does not have what it takes to tackle the various security challenges that it will be facing it both at home and abroad in the near future. Lapsing on Westphalian realism to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century is a sign of serious intellectual bankruptcy. Despite the proliferating critics of this state of affairs, none has so far delved deep enough into their analysis of the problem to spur the kind of serious debate that can facilitate the emergence of viable alternatives to this “realism.” Almost all criticism levelled at this stage seems to suggest that the problem stems solely out of the particular quirks and risk-aversion of the Obama Administration, especially those of President Obama himself.

But when an outside observer, such as myself, examines the various foreign policy statements made by the different presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, and when he considers current Congressional dynamics, and intellectual attitudes, gleaned from the various policy papers produced by different Washingtonian think tanks, not to mention popular attitudes as surmised from different polls, he cannot be so restrictive and forgiving in his assessment.

Another major problem that infects the ongoing debate, inasmuch as we can speak of one, is the total lack of external voices, including Syrian voices. Foreigners are almost exclusively used as props even when the debate is supposed to be about them and their interests. Criticism from our side, even when we finally become naturalized citizens, is always dismissed or taken lightly, unless, that is, it coincides with the interests of one of the parties involved.

Now you see his index finger...

WTF Carson! Carson: Muhammad’s Army Enslaved Girls And Killed Jews. Why the fuck do we need to relive these centuries and millennia old conflicts? I mean has Carson read about Moses and the Israelites and what they did? Has he read the Old Testament? Is aware of the history of persecutions conducted by the various churches that sprang up throughout history? Other than terrorist movements, is he aware of any contemporary Muslim society that enslaves Jews and girls?

Before anyone brings about issues of child bride and women’s rights, let’s bear in mind here that these issues reflect the degree of development and education of certain societies and they are not attacked to a specific faith as evident by the fact that they can be observed among Hindus and certain Christian communities in Asia and Africa.

As for the phenomenon of abuse of domestic servants in some Muslim countries, once again, it should borne in mind that the issue is not observable only in Muslim countries, and it’s, as its heart, a function of race, class and power, rather than faith. It might also be important to remember here the child labor involved in making our clothes, our smartphones, our shoes, our various electronic equipment and toys. Furthermore, let’s not forget that human trafficking and sweatshops are still common phenomena in the glorious West, despite being illegal.

The point is: Making stupid comparisons a la Carson and others distract from the real fight and the real problem, and encourage more schisms and more radicalization. Islamic extremists can use such foolish proclamations by presidential candidates to justify their equally foolish claims of a war against Islam waged by America and the West, and that could only undermine reformist efforts to counter their propaganda campaigns.

So, to the Dr. Carsons of the world, let me ask: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).

However, it’s not my intention here to dismiss the facts that Muslims societies do suffer from many problems regarding treatments of minorities and women, not to mention children and secular and liberal movements. Nor am I trying to undermine the legitimacy of attempts made human rights organizations and Western governments to raise these issues in their dealings with certain Muslim governments. On the contrary, this is simply an invitation for consistency and for tackling the right issues at play here in order to come out with the right solutions and be more successful in our ongoing attempts to identify suitable local partners.

Muslims are not the enemy. Islam is not the main problem that Muslim societies face. Muslim popular attitudes are bound to change with greater emphasis on education, development and political freedoms, just as has been the case with other peoples and societies. As for Islam, it’s up to Muslims above all to figure out what to make of it given modern values and realities. But because this is an interactive and hyper-connected world, Muslims are admittedly not the only stakeholders in this matter; others do have a legitimate right to have a voice heard in this regard as well, especially when it comes to how they are being viewed and treated by Muslims. But only self-critical people have the right to criticize others, an observation that applies to all sides and elements of the equation. Until people like Ben Carson begin to examine their own religious and cultural heritage with the same critical eye with which they examine other faiths, religions and cultures, their criticism will continue to sound hollow and hypocritical, and more an instrument of propaganda and conflict than peacemaking and intellectual and spiritual awakening.

Trump Your Riler: Trump Riles Up Crowd with Hoax Story About Dipping Bullets in Pig’s Blood to Shoot Muslims. “He [General John Pershing] took 50 bullets and dipped them in pig’s blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people, and the 50th person––he said, ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. For 25 years there wasn’t a problem. All right? So we better start getting tough.” This Trump is your Trump. Don’t make him my Trump, from California to the New York Island… This Trump was made for you, but not for me.

Fisk & Fibs: Syria conflict: Damascus remains a war zone - but some families are returning. “In this subtle war, men of the Free Syrian Army are being allowed to rejoin the ranks of the government army they deserted on their return to the shattered neighbourhood of al-Qadam.” I wonder if the Fisk will be invited or allowed to do a follow-up reportage when most of these returnees eventually are made to disappear not to be heard from again.

The Grand Kremlin Palace: This yellow brick road leads to the throne of a mass murdering SOB.

Russia Guilty Of Syria War Crimes, Says Amnesty. “Moscow denies it is hitting civilian areas - but rescue workers, and footage obtained by Sky News, suggest this is not the case.” Meanwhile, let’s sign an MOU with him to make sure that he is not killing someone who counts, you know, someone who is not Syrian or Sunni.

Quote of the Day

“If Syria is safe and sound, and I’m the one who saved his country – that’s my job now, that’s my duty. If the Syrian people want me to be in power, I will be. If they don’t want me, I can do nothing, I mean, I cannot help my country, so I have to leave right away.” --Bashar Al-Assad

"This marks a major humanitarian breakthrough in Syria, but we must remember that one-off and sporadic convoys can only provide temporary relief to hungry, desperate people. People need to eat every single day." --Jakob Kern, the aim program's director for Syria

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Video(s) of the Day

Samantha visits a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to get to the bottom of whatever it is these people are up to:

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