Saturday, May 28, 2016

Return to the Mandate System

The few, the late, the inconsequential, at least when it comes to preventing or stopping mass slaughter 
DDGD May 28, 2016
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Index of Global Delirium
9.2
The Index reflects the state of delirium in a particular country using a 1 to 10 count, with 10 denoting the highest level of delirium. Levels of delirium change on the basis of current development in said country, such as instability, terrorism, elections, sports events and the like,  as well as relevant global developments such financial meltdowns, certain leaks, and stock market indices. Countries shown above are among those where fluctuation in the national and local indices have a greater global impact than is the case with other countries. Note: levels of violence and delirium do not always coincide. Indeed, a country can have a high delirium level even though it is relatively stable. 

Holding steady on an uphill course.

Featured Quote

“Syria would have been a better place without the terrible human and physical damage done by a brutal and tragic war. But today even before the dust settles the post-war effort needs to be launched from the region ... to create jobs and much-needed economic expansion that will help, albeit sadly only partially, restore hope and open the long and uncertain path to reconciliation and peace.” --Ferid Belhaj, World Bank country director for the Middle East.

The Deliricon
   
A Moral Awakening: In the political world, calling for a moral awakening amounts to a Hail Mary pronouncement made in the hope of getting more and more people to think that the figure making the pronouncement is actually a “cool guy” who meant well and tried his best, irrespective of certain disastrous and amoral policies that he has championed. In other words, it’s the hope that more people will, in time, come to one’s way of thinking, and that history will one day and somehow vindicate one’s policies and decisions, moral considerations notwithstanding.

The Delirica
  
Of Successful and Unsuccessful Imperialists: Assad's allies in the West: Pro-Assad pundits and media outlets in the West have established ties with AssadLeftists adopting a de-facto position against "US imperialism" are inadvertently supporting continuing tyranny in Syria, writes Shawn Carrié.” Indeed, in the current leftist narrative, corrupt dictators, genocidal maniacs, and mafia-like regime emerge as some kind of embattled heroic figures and entities fighting against the evil West, and America per se, whose democracy, we are told, is really a sham, even though, it’s exactly this sham that allows these “critical” voices to flourish, unmolested by anyone.

 The singular focus by people like Noam Chomsky, and so many others on the international left, on Western and American imperialism has prevented them from seeing that the phenomenon itself is intrinsic to the nature of states and the way power has historically been accumulated, concentrated and dispensed. All states, all human communities in fact, from the time before the establishment of the first city states until this very moment, have been inherently imperialistic. Indeed, every state today is capable of imperialism, all it needs for that is a weak neighbor, and an ambitious, and usually quite corrupt, ruler. Even today, imperialism has not been something that only western powers get to do. In fact, others have been far more involved in the matter.

But Western powers are the most successful in this regard, and that’s the real problem it seems, not imperialism itself. Western countries happen to be the most powerful, the most organized, and the ones often in charge of the most influential international institutions and corporations. They often don’t need to invade in order to dominate and get what they want. For them to be hated and envied is understandable.

But the fact that they are democratic, while most of their rivals are vehemently anti-democratic and proud of it, should give critics who believe in democracy some pause. Yes, generally speaking, and for the sake of justice and democracy, it would be better for the world if the global balance of power was not so skewed in favor of one side, but that is so only if that balance was established between powers that are equally committed to democratic values. Barring that, we are not dealing with balance, but with a détente, where any loss by the West endangers the only way of life that shows the slightest respect for human dignity.

The foreign policies of Western governments merit our criticism for a variety of very legitimate reasons, but this fact does not justify the practices and adventurisms of the West’s rivals, nor their ways of life, which are more often based on repudiation of democracy and the universality of human rights.

Realizing the ugliness of the other side, Leftist critics often construct the comforting illusion that completely dismisses the truth about the repressive nature of regimes like the Assad’s and their crimes against their people. In fact, the Left here ends up adopting the very arrogant attitude of the regimes vis-à-vis their peoples and their dissidents. Thus, the people are often dismissed as rogue, uneducated and extremist who are simply not ready for democracy, while the dissidents are portrayed as willing agents of western powers, or naïve figures exploited by them. Yes, the Left is quite capable of racism, and that allows it to be duped by the propaganda machines of those other imperialist forces out there still struggling to get it right.

Just consider this little recent development In Malmö, Sweden, where someone invited “the Islamic imam and preacher Salman Al-Ouda, who has been described in the Swedish media as a ‘Salafist megastar,’ visited Malmö. Al-Ouda apparently inspired Osama bin Laden, has claimed that the Holocaust was a myth, and is known for making anti-Semitic statements.” But who invited such a figure to go speak in Malmö, you may ask? Well, it was “a politician from the Green Party, currently part of the Swedish government's ruling coalition, and which also governs in Malmö locally, together with the Social Democrats.” Enough said.

A Living Example of Delusionary Analysis: The US is dropping calls for Assad to go because the Syrian regime is a better bet than IsisIn Syria and Lebanon there are no plans for a future, but the Syrian army is going to have a role in any New Syria” There are two main indicators of delusionary thinking here: 1) The Fisk speaks of a “Syrian army” when he should be speaking of sectarian militias and death squads, which are mostly comprised of non-Syrian elements at this stage, Afghan, Iraqi, Lebanese, Iranians and even Pakistanis, and seem more beholden to Tehran than Damascus: 2) When it comes to genocidal maniacs, the Assad regime is by far the worst offender in Syria. Furthermore, its role in the creation and empowerment of IS, and like-minded groups, have been well-established by now by a variety of independent analysts. Continuing to overlook these facts underscore the ideological agenda which Fisk is serving. But yes, the U.S. is dropping its calls for Assad’s departure – an about-face that should condemned not celebrated by anyone who claims to care about human rights. 

Russia and the United States write a new constitution for Syria. By Syrian cartoonist Mouaffaq Qat

Real Doubts: The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say? I cast doubt about available death toll figures myself, but I bear two things in mind: 
  1. Insights gained from comparing the Syrian conflict to other modern conflicts of the same complexity, length, types of weapons used, number of actors involved, level of damage to infrastructure, and refugee figures, all suggest a much higher death toll than current figures ranging between 400 and 500,000 indicate.  
  2. Considering the weapons used by the different sides, and that most deaths are the result of aerial strikes and random and targeted using sophisticated cannons, there is no possible way for one to seriously compare the deaths caused by the regime to those caused by rebels. The gap is definitely too big to justify equal condemnation of all sides. The regime is the problem.
So casting doubts within a narrative that suggest the developments in Syria are the result of some Western-backed regime-change plot that is being bravely opposed by the “resistance” is basically an attempt at whitewashing the crimes of the Assad regime.

The Daily Delirynth
  
White House photographer Pete Souza posted this image of President Barack Obama on Instagram with the caption, “Beers and dinner with Anthony Bourdain last night in Hanoi.” Pete Souza / White House.

Empty Symbolism. Emptier Legacy: There is an emptiness to the symbolism of Obama’s visit to Vietnam and Hiroshima; an emptiness borne out of the way he is perceived outside the circle of liberal realist fanboys, both in the U.S. and abroad: as an arrogant and fickle ally who, despite the military and economic strength of his country, managed to be outmaneuvered by his enemies in every confrontation they had, be it in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, or beyond. 

History is being made here for sure, but its significance has been severely undermined by the character of the man making it. Historical firsts that generate a meh reaction at best are not that historical, just as concessions made by a man perceived as weak and fickle fail to generate enthusiasm. Obama could go to Mars tomorrow and no one will be impressed. And he has no one but himself to blame for that. Outside his fan club and on the international scale, he inspires neither fear nor awe, no matter how often and far his drones strike. As such, his attempt at making history at this stage is seen as self-serving at best: a bucket list of moves that can constitute his legacy.

And what a legacy it is! Imploding states in the Middle East and North Africa, deals with autocratic regimes while engaged in severe repression even beyond their borders, and engagement of the type that transformed the U.S. into a willing partner in ethnic cleansing campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

With or without his visits, relations with Vietnam were improving, and Japan was and will remain an ally. In Vietnam, the government kept harassing dissenters even during his visit. Why not? Obama has already made it clear that, beyond shy condemnations, he is not prepared to do anything in regard to issues of human rights.

Obama and the realists don’t see things this way of course. For they have somehow looked into “the eye of history,” it seems, and found that its arc will eventually bend their way, and that the future will vindicate their policies. They probably even think that their decision-making has been quite moral, and that it’s the rest of us who have to catch up with them on both the moral and intellectual plane. That’s why the President seems comfortable calling for a moral awakening, when his foreign policies have been anything but moral.

Still, Obama and Co. will keep on living in their ever shrinking reality bubble until they die of old age while waiting for that imagined moral vindication. For while history does indeed vindicate cynicism far more often than we would like to admit, there is something too crass and, frankly, cowardly about this Realist cynicism, borne as it is out risk-aversion even in the face of mass slaughter, making it more of the kind that history punishes, rather than rewards. 

At end of the day, the true Legacy of one Barack Hussein Obama will not be defined, no matter how desperately he wants it to be, by his truly historic visits to Havana, Hanoi and Hiroshima, or by the equally historic deal he signed with Iran, over the carcasses of dead Syrians, Iraqis and Yemenis, but by the “slow-motion genocide” he let happen in Syria, and in which he is now playing an even more active role. The dead, detained and displaced in Syria will have their say yet, the audacity of hype shown by the realists  notwithstanding.   

The Other Long Wait: 'Waiting for the World': An Interview with One of Aleppo's Last Doctors. SPIEGEL: “You don't think the attacks are random?

Ezz: No, they never were. I had three colleagues with whom I provided care to wounded protesters starting in 2011. In May 2012, they were arrested together at a regime checkpoint. Seventy-two hours later, residents found three charred bodies that were taken to the coroner. The families of the three then identified them. Any person providing medical aid is risking their life. Why are they killing us? It is not enough for them to kill people every day in Aleppo. They also want to destroy any chance that they can be treated. Assad's regime has swept away the universal idea that doctors should be spared along with all other humanitarian principles. No government cares that we are all being killed one after the other."
  

Syria’s ruined cities will need decades, not years, to recover from war. “A conservative estimate on the losses in public infrastructure sits at $6 billion.

Rojda Felat - A revolutionary feminist who is inspired by Bismarck, Napoleon and Saladin

The Real Woman’s Card: Empowerment. Revolutionary Kurdish feminist leads assault on Raqqa. Kurdish and Iranian women may not be truly empowered, that is, there are still many laws and traditions that ensure their continued subjugation by the men in their society. But, thanks to certain elements in their modern histories, both populations produce enough “optics” to help Iranian and Kurdish leaders create the impression that they are more modern and moderate, hence engage-able, than their Sunni, especially Sunni Arab, counterparts, who are always represented in international media, much to the consternation of their educated classes, by Gulf Arabs, or, to be more specific, and fair, by the caricature image built around Gulf Arabs. This gives Kurds and Iran a useful edge in their ongoing showdown with Arabs. And this is important. This makes it easier for certain PR agencies on the international scene to hide the fact that the “liberation” of Raqqa from IS control might actually involve cleansing in of its majority Arab inhabitants as well. Already plans for administrating a liberated Raqqa as part of the Kurdish Federation established by the PYD have been finalized. If the people of Raqqa had a choice, they would most likely prefer to govern themselves independently of PYD and Assad influences, until such time that talks on the future of Syria produced a more durable alternative. But no one will listen to the people of Raqqa, no one that is, until they are “sexed up” and taught how to approach the media.

This is in fact a basic requirement for all Sunni Arabs at this stage. Propaganda is important tool of war and diplomacy and Sunnis are losing it. They need to learn how to produce some of the right optics, and play the women’s card to their benefit. Because, while negative stories about Iran in the media can still be found (Iran’s Holocaust denial is part of a malevolent strategy, Iran Punishes Dozens Of Partying College Students With 99 Lashes Each), are not enough to detract from stories like this: The World Reaps What the Saudis Sow. Indeed, the aforementioned negative stories about Iran appeared on non-mainstream websites, while the article about Saudi Arabia represents the view of the New York Times Editorial Board.

But the real story that is being missed by all sides is this: Real empowerment for women, and not just optics, is the real game changer that all these countries and peoples really need. While the struggle I this regard is underway and has been for a hundred years, it might still take another hundred before we see its results.


Learning Modern Imperialism: Saudi Arabia and Iran fail to reach deal on HajjRiyadh accuses Iranian officials of walking out of talks despite offers for "solutions" to Tehran's demands.” As talks reveal, both sides prefer to miss out on the chance to kill each other in a more direct fashion, opting to keep doing it by proxy in places like Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Slowly but surely, Saudi and Iranian leaders are getting the hang of the way of Modern Imperialism. Indirect mandate systems, war by proxy, mercenaries for hire, manipulation of the prices of certain commodities, and keep all blame on America and the West, even when they are the least involved, and ignore threats issued by others, all others, and their potential victims. Hell, ignore even their blatant racism. Only that found in the West is deplorable. This is how modern imperialist warfare works.



The Burial Ground: Russia’s Long Road to the Middle East “Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria caught many by surprise, but it is a return to Russian geopolitical aspirations that stretch back to the czars.” Well, it seems that we will have to bury Putin and the Czars’ hopes and dreams in the Middle East next to ours. For this is what the region seems destined to become for those whose definition of glory still hinges more on militarism and ideology than development and democracy. So, welcome back aspirant Russians, let’s just properly show you how much we haven’t missed you.

Satellite images taken on 17 May and acquired by Stratfor show the destroyed wreckage of four Russian Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters Stratfor/AllSource Analysis/DigitalGlobe




Refugenics: In the meantime, the human toll of it keeps on rising: Italian navy saves 550 refugees as smugglers' trawler capsizes in MedPraise for sailors’ swift action as dramatic photographs show overloaded boat turning over as naval vessel approaches.” A couple of days later, tragedy struck in the same waters: Dozens feared dead as migrant boat capsizes in MediterraneanRepurposed fishing boat thought to have had Syrians on board sinks off coast of Libya.
  

Meanwhile, the land route is still active: Migrant crisis: The smugglers' route through Hungary.

The police map shows in thick pen the route that migrants are taking to get across the Balkans into Germany

Then you have personal stories like these that tear the rest of your heart apart: Trapped and dying: No help for terminally ill Syrian boy


And these are the lucky ones. For not all refugees get to leave the land of war: Dispatches: ISIS Advance Traps 165,000 Syrians at Closed Turkish Border.



Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)

The Bomb As Message: Bombing Hiroshima changed the world, but it didn't end WWII. “Truman understood the stakes. He knew the Soviet invasion would end the war. ... But he decided to use the atomic bombs anyway.” Why? As a warning to Stalin of course. Couldn’t Truman and his colleagues have found a less appalling way to send the message? Normally they could have, and morally they should have. But we are talking about people who were just about to emerge from one devastating global war only to face the specter of another perhaps more devastating one. They might have all still been rational, but I really doubt they were too sane.

The Exotic Observations & Propositions of Delirian Mundi
Known to those of his followers seeking his canonization and entry into the Valtheon of Deliriology, as Agnus Mundi, and to his detractors as Ranae Dei and even Capra Satanae, Delirian Mundi’s writings, mixing satire and philosophical reflections, continue to be polarizing, inspiring both adulation and ridicule. Bearing this in mind, we, the editors at DDGD, continue to publish these previously unknown series of “exotic observations and propositions,” as Delirian himself referred to them, as part of our continuing commitment to instigate debate over sensitive issues.

* On the collective level, there is no escaping the consequences of our decisions and actions, or those made in our name. Intentions make little difference here. We will forever be haunted by our past.

* We are better off seeking justice than revenge, but the dynamics of human relations are geared primarily towards facilitating the latter alternative.

* On the collective level, we learn primarily by repetition and mimicry, not deduction, which is why history repeats itself. Progress, both moral and scientific, relies mostly on the intuitive leaps made by some individuals, but more often promoted and popularized by other individuals.

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Cartoons: The Cauldron



ЯeveЯsed Polarity
A section featuring delirium-inducing interviews and statements, and interviews and statements induced by delirium, dealing with the delirial issues of the hour, made with and by celebrities who occasionally inhabit the delirial dimension of our world.


Having Angelina Jolie teach a course at the London School of Economics and George Clooney another at the Georgetown makes far more sense than listening to a lecture on moral awakening from a president who long lost his moral compass and is actually “proud” of what he done in Syria. The Polarity of our moral compass has indeed been ЯeveЯsed.

Theatrum Ad Vere Stultum
A series of post-postmodern takes on the "classics," new and old, starring the world’s and history’s most (in)famous public figures. Notice: All characters in these scenes even the fictitious ones are real, but all their statements, especially those deemed libelous, are their own and have absolutely nothing to do with the author of this blog, no matter how delusional he may seem at times, or happen to be, for real.

A scene from Kurosawa’s famous film version of Rashomon 
Rashomon
Assad
(Boastfully) I tricked my neighbor, Sunni, and seduced his wife, Syria. She felt ashamed afterwards, just like whore, and she begged Sunni to fight for her honor. He fought bravely, I have to admit, but I was much stronger and had better allies, so I managed to kill him at the end.
Syria
(Angrily) Assad did not seduce me. He raped me. Sunni disavowed me and turned Islamist with shame. I accidentally killed him with a dagger to his cold heart. I should have bashed his head in, that shit-for-brains.
Sunni
(Skyping from what he believes to be Heaven, despite the lack of virgins) Syria is a bitch. Yes she was raped by Assad, but she enjoyed it, so much that she wanted to stay with him. She even asked him to kill me to get me out of the picture. Assad was so appalled by her fickleness, he gave me a choice between killing her and letting her go. That was so honorable of him, I thought, I ended up pardoning him and becoming his bitch. I changed my name to Isis, because it felt more appropriate. But I was still so taken by Syria’s treachery that I accidentally stumbled and the dagger I was carrying in my hand went through my heart. Someone would later steal the dagger.
Obama
(Speaking nonchalantly) All these stories are false. I know, because I was there when the rape and murder happened. I could have stopped the whole thing, but I just didn’t want to interfere. I didn’t think it was my business really. Anyway, Assad did rape Syria. She wanted Sunni to avenge her honor. Sunni was a bit hesitant because he felt that Syria didn’t put much of a fight, and that she was now defiled. What an idiot. But Syria kept insisting, and kept inciting the two men against each other, until they started fighting. There were hesitant at first, and obviously incompetent, I could have stopped them. But you know, not my business. Anyway, eventually Assad won and killed Sunni, but only because he got a little help from his friends: Khamenei and Putin. At that point, Syria ran away to Europe, and Assad limped his way back to his lair, where he is now being “protected” by his “friends.” In a moment of epiphany, I decided to keep the dagger with which Sunni was killed, you know, as a souvenir and to commemorate the whole event, and all that. I felt it the moral thing to do.
Putin
Let me show you what the moral thing to do is. See those children that Syria left behind, I am going to take their clothes and baby bottles and give them to the starving and cold children in Russia. I am a good provider I am.
Obama
Confound you, you bandit. I won’t let you do it.
Putin
I’m a bandit? You stole the fucking dagger and you’re calling me a bandit. How rich!
Europe
You know, I will reluctantly take some of the children and the refugees. Some of my children may not like it so much, and may give them hell, but, I have to find a way to appease my guilty conscience. After all, I, too, watched the whole thing and did nothing. I was of 28 minds about it, and some of them didn’t seem to fit really. But most refugees have to stay far. Very far.
UNHCR
You guys are all inconsiderate moronic assholes.
Syria
Is there a way of drawing your attention again to the fact that I am still alive, and still being raped? Is there anyone left who will stand up for me?
© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016

Note: I think it was around 1978 when my Mom played the role of the wife in the Syrian version of Rashomon. I attended many of the rehearsals and quite a few of the shows. They took place at the famous Al-Hamrah Theater in Damascus. The audience did not seem to get the play. By the late 1970s, Assad’s soldiers had come to make up the majority of the audiences attending such cultural events, all to the detriment of the cultural scene in Damascus, and Syria in general. I don’t think the play was ever produced again. 

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