Elections, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

Masters and Disciples

syrie-grandlibanI’ve written something about the cabinet formation for The New Yorker’s News Desk blog. First graf is below, with a jump to the full piece. Come on back here to comment.


Lebanon’s War in Syria

The birth of a new government in Lebanon is often greeted with ironic festivity. People pass around trays of baklava and bowls of meghle, a spice pudding served when a baby is born. For a week or so, respectable newspapers turn into society tabloids, which I pretend not to read. Who visited whom to offer congratulations on his new ministerial appointment? Which two former rivals had a “great lunch” and vowed to work together in the national interest? A few news cycles’ worth of political play-by-play dramatize the decisive moments of the negotiations, leaning hard on obstetric metaphors.

“The labor pains began on Wednesday night, but only a few of us knew about it,” one insider told me. “By Thursday, it was clear that the government was coming, but there were a few complications on Friday. Then everybody woke up on Saturday morning to a brand-new government.” (Keep reading)


508 thoughts on “Masters and Disciples

  1. Mustap,

    Rumors? I think it’s common knowledge for most ME observers.


    I was in favor of the Bush doctrine where the US would not only kick Saddam Hussein and the Baathists from government, but also help form an Iraqi multi-party government, police and military. Basically, give the Iraqis an opportunity to protect themselves and form a democracy. This was obviously naive and impossible to implement.

    Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam are the shining examples of why the US must be very reluctant to send American troops into a foreign conflict. The next Saddam Hussein (like Assad) should be extricated from power without sacrificing one American life.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 10, 2014, 11:32 am
  2. Akbar Palace,

    It is obvious now that GWB II either wittingly or unwittingly gave free ride to agents of mullahs who are not qualified to have any say in the governance of Iraq. Is this another failure of intelligence?

    Do you know what the background of Maliki – so-called PM of Iraq – is? He used to sell rosaries when he was living in Damascus.

    Why did GWB go to Iraq in the first place?

    Regardless of how bad Saddam was, he knew full well how to govern Iraq. He at least taught Khomeini a very good lesson in so-called ‘martyrdom’, and forced him to ‘drink the poison’ of signing on to a ceasefire just few weeks before he died.

    So, what did GWB accomplish? Less than zilch when we consider the fact that the mullahs gained a breathing space by Bush’s intervention which resulted in the dissolution of the army which defeated them and was capable of checking them out.

    According to your linked story, the militants acquired American made weapons in their recent sweep. These weapons were provided by Obama, while he adamantly refuses to send weapons to good Syrian revolutionaries and instead he supplies these weapons to Iranian agents in Iraq (Maliki and co.) who eventually loses it (hands it over) to the militants Obama wants not to arm.

    Posted by Mustap | June 10, 2014, 2:01 pm
  3. Why did GWB go to Iraq in the first place?


    I think because the US deemed Saddam too dangerous and unpredictable. If you recall, Saddam merely over-ran Kuwait, Scudded your beloved Guided KSA as well as the Zionist Project, not to mention killing hundreds of thousands of perceived opposition (about 2 X Assad’s number) and their families, and a 17 year wild goose chase with the UNSC.

    So in the end, it is clear to me the US should not get involved in Shia/Sunni disputes. As I mentioned before, every act of good will by the US in the region (like kicking a thug to the curb and trying to bring freedom to a place that never had any) will never go unpunished.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2014, 8:36 pm
  4. Akbar Palace,

    I believe Saddam should have been forgiven for the things you said he did based on the fact that he defeated the mullahs. I think that achievement outweighs the negatives you mentioned. Besides, at the time of the invasion, Saddam was no longer the bad guy he used to be.

    George W. Bush committed a grave error by going into Iraq and unwittingly helping the mullahs by removing the counterweight that the Saddam army used to be.

    What did he create in its place? Nothing but a rag tag army that is run by agents of the mullahs.

    GWB’s war on Saddam was the most stupid war in the history of geopolitics, now compounded by the most incompetent administration in the US history, soon to be replaced by the most narcisstic presdential-hopeful marketng herself in a sanitized version of so-called memoires.

    Posted by Mustap | June 10, 2014, 11:15 pm
  5. Mustap,

    The US supported Saddam because he was an excellent check against the mullahs. The Iran-Iraq war was an 8 year hiatus on ME terrorism because these 2 were busy killing themselves. Similar to the Syrian conflict today.

    So for someone like yourself who is very anti-Iran and anti-Assad, I find it strange that you are so forgiving of Saddam Hussein, who sent troops into Saudi Arabia!

    So yes, believe it or not, Saddam Hussein took over the Sunni state of Kuwait and went into battle (with Scud missiles falling) against the Sunni KSA , and Mustap is suddenly forgiving. That’s a bit odd to me.


    “Saddam was no longer the bad guy”, Mustap? Shirley, you must be joking.

    George W. Bush committed a grave error by going into Iraq and unwittingly helping the mullahs by removing the counterweight that the Saddam army used to be.

    Yes, I agree. However, I feel the US gave the Iraqis the opportunity to repair their state and create a free society. Like Vietnam, some societies are not equipped and not motivated to defend their state. I was hoping that the US would, at least, create permanent military bases in Iraq to help the Iraqis and to be a forward base that could help contain Iran. Obama made sure the Iraqi theater ended in a glaring failure as a gift to US conservatives.

    GWB’s war on Saddam was the most stupid war in the history of geopolitics…


    Yes, we get this message from the liberals and the ME actors as a stark reminder. That is why Assad will never know what it is to live in a Spider Hole or sewage culvert. Because the US ain’t gonna lift a finger. Can you blame us now?


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 11, 2014, 7:27 am
  6. Akbar Palace,

    In your opinion, which is better: Iraq ruled by Saddam or Iraq ruled by mullahs?

    GWB helped create the latter not the so-called free Iraq you think he was after creating.

    If he had listened to advice from the KSA at the time (2003), both the US and the ME would be in better shapes today.

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 8:12 am
  7. Mustap,

    This is like asking which type of shit do I like better. Does it really matter?

    The next time another Saddam arises, the US will know exactly what to do: YAWN

    GWB helped create the latter not the so-called free Iraq you think he was after creating.

    You’re entitled to your opinion. And it sure sounds nicer than blaming any Iraqi government official.

    Where I come from, the US government is responsible for protecting me, no one else.

    If he had listened to advice from the KSA at the time (2003), both the US and the ME would be in better shapes today.


    If I was a fly on the wall here is what I probably heard:

    “Thanks for saving our ass Meester Boosh, by de way, we are going to have to raise de brice of oil because we lost some of our eenfrustructure. Bity. And next time, could you blease sbend less money on all dis military stuff. The brice of all this is way to exbensive Mr. Boosh. Shukran”


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 11, 2014, 8:50 am
  8. Akbar Palace,

    It looks like the US had to pay a very high price for learning how to yawn. Usually, babies came out of their mothers’ wombs knowing how to do that. So, what exactly does the US know how to do best without having to go to such costly adventures as invading a country for no one good reason whatsoever, and to just produce a kind of shit she doesn’t care much about?

    And, if you think neither shit really matters, then why bother to pay such a high price in the first place? Bottom line, it seems to me, GWB made a horrible mistake that hurt not only America but the ME as well.

    Your CNN article does not relate to the 2003 invasion. It talks about an earlier one when everyone was on board. The KSA was not on board in the 2003 invasion. They were against it and made it clear to GWB at the time. It turned out that they were correct. And why would you blame them if they look after their own interests when it comes to oil and weapons? FYI, in both areas, the US is now a very minute minor player. It neither buys much of Saudi oil, nor is it getting major arms contracts that are now going to other more reliable trustworthy suppliers.

    I applaud them for learning so early about not relying on such an unreliable, untrustworthy kids-governed US of A.

    Didn’t your Israel draw the same conclusion yet? From what I hear, Israel doesn’t consider the US a reliable ally anymore. Is this true from your POV?

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 9:18 am
  9. …nor is it getting major arms contracts that are now going to other more reliable trustworthy suppliers


    “Reliable”, “unreliable”; these are nice words. And the brier patch called the ME make these words rather meaningless. You wanna deal harshly with Iran? Get the Arab League to

    The government of Israel understands this, the Americans understand this better too. If the US wants to jump in bed with another ME dictatorship or help get rid of another ME murderer, she’d BETTER have her own interests as her top priority.

    The GOI knows, without a doubt, as there are NO “reliable” ME state. Despite your anger at the US (warranted of not), the GOI is “ALL IN” with the US and the West. When and if that goes South, Israel will be alone. Until then, that’s the game plan.


    Click to access iraq_study_group_report.pdf

    SAUDI ARABIA AND THE GULF STATES. These countries for the most part have been
    passive and disengaged. They have declined to provide debt relief or substantial economic
    assistance to the Iraqi government. Several Iraqi Sunni Arab politicians complained that Saudi
    Arabia has not provided political support for their fellow Sunnis within Iraq. One observed that
    Saudi Arabia did not even send a letter when the Iraqi government was formed, whereas Iran has
    an ambassador in Iraq. Funding for the Sunni insurgency comes from private individuals within
    Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, even as those governments help facilitate U.S. military
    operations in Iraq by providing basing and overflight rights and by cooperating on intelligence
    As worries about Iraq increase, the Gulf States are becoming more active. The United Arab
    Emirates and Kuwait have hosted meetings in support of the International Compact. Saudi
    Arabia recently took the positive step of hosting a conference of Iraqi religious leaders in Mecca.
    Several Gulf States have helped foster dialogue with Iraq’s Sunni Arab population. While the
    Gulf States are not proponents of democracy in Iraq, they worry about the direction of events: –
    battle-hardened insurgents from Iraq could pose a threat to their own internal stability, and the
    growth of Iranian influence in the region is deeply troubling to them.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 11, 2014, 10:11 am
  10. Akbar Palace,

    I am laughing out loud at the only material you were able to find to support your untenable position.

    To begin with you’re going way out on a tangent.

    And c’mon AP are these the only sources you could find to support you? Asa’d Abu Khalil? Al-Akhbar? And James Baker?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You surely must be gasping for air. May be you should ask threesa to come to your help. I’m sure he can do much better than any of your sources. I’m really wondering why he is still silent.

    There is no need to say anything about Angry Arab. You are a reasonable person, and I’m sure you agree.

    But surely you don’t expect the Saudis to cooperate, against their own interests, with the Americans as James Baker would want them to do by supporting a mullah-supported Iraqi government installed next door by James Baker’s boss.

    A big applause to the Saudis and, in the process to you, for proving to all and especially to threesa that the Saudis are not American puppets after all and they know what they want and more often than not say NO to the Americans, especially when the Americans behave like kids, a trait which has become a constant fixture of American foreign policy since GWB II made it out on his botched ‘crusade’.

    In what wet dream lands did Baker delude himself that Saudis would support a Shiite controlled neighbor?

    And by the way, a BIG BIG applause to the Saudi individuals who support the insurgents in Iraq materially, morally and otherwise.

    Thanks again for proving to us that the Saudi citizens are able and free to make their own rational choices based their own moral judgements and their own interests.

    The insurgents in Iraq are the remnants of the Saddam army which Bush tried to destroy and are NOT the so-called ‘terrorists’ American wet dreamers of so-called policy makers would like everyone else to believe.

    I think, when I first started commenting on QN, I made a comment to that effect. Very few at the time took it seriously, even QN himself.

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 10:56 am
  11. Hey Akbar,

    You’ll probably find the following article more relevant to your concerns than the laughable material you presented in your last comment. And no, Israel knows very well the game has changed dramatically and there are new games in town,


    And by the way, Saddam’s home town, Tikrit, just fell (or liberated whichever way you may want to look at it). It only took couple hours of minor skirmishes and again, Bush’s rag tag of so-called Iraq army just disappeared from the scene.

    Wonder how one feels betting on losing horses, America’s preferred choice in the derby.

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 12:22 pm
  12. Mustap habibi,

    Whether the horse is an Iranian Supweme Leader or a Sunni Insurgent (ISIS, al-Queda, al-Nusra) or some other low-life plowing a jet liner into a skyscraper or blowing up a market in Iraq, it is a lose-lose for everyone including Saudi Arabia.

    Apparently, the ME doesn’t work on democratic principals but only who owns the biggest bomb or sharpest sword.

    I get it.

    Where’s Vulcan when you need him.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 11, 2014, 1:00 pm
  13. “Apparently, the ME doesn’t work on democratic principals but only who owns the biggest bomb or sharpest sword.”

    Akbar ‘ya my eyes’

    why do you keep beating yourself endlessly with no expectations things will change? You know the ME is the way it is. So, your America either adapts to realities or can go sell its wet dreams to whoever wants to buy.

    Bush’s wet dreams are jus that: wet dreams. And the ME is just that: not interested in childish wet dreams.

    But, America still has a choice: get out of the derby altogether and let the ME’rs deal with their own problems. However, if America chooses to continue to play sides, show aggressions, and label this one low life and that one high life, then blame not the ‘skyscraper bombers’. They will surely come again in one form or another , especially now that they have tested America’s stamina which they concluded does not measure up according to their standards. Best thing for America in this case is to consider the ME as if it doesn’t exist and do nothing AT ALL about it – neither good nor bad. I’m sure in this case the skyscraper bombers will find America a less interesting target and everyone will live happily ever after.

    I’m not sure how Israel will fit in the above scenario. It seems to me it too has to adapt to new realities. But according to the Israeli security elites of article I brought to you earlier, this adaptation is already under way. Who knows? fifty years from now Israel may become the 23 Arab state, will abandon its own wet dreams and will rely no more on American good will whatsoever. And, again, who knows? In 50 years America may turn back to its native owners, abandon its wet dream lands, and will no longer behave in the aggressive childish manner it does now .

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 1:45 pm
  14. I have one more question for you Akbar to think about,

    If you have problem with the principles of living by and owning the biggest bombs and the sharpest swords, why not try that first at home?

    Give up ALL the bombs and the sharp swords America has hoarded over the years and then let the policy makers of the new ‘bombless’ and ‘swordless’ US of A engage in their wet dreams and try to sell them to others. I’m sure when other countries, and the ME as well, look at the new US of A with its democratic principles so much at play with no bombs to drop or swords to wield more appealing and may become serious buyers.

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 2:25 pm
  15. Awwww so cute

    Posted by 3issa | June 11, 2014, 2:37 pm
  16. More information to Akbar Palace about the army GWB II built in Iraq in order to replace the Saddam professional army , which goes back in history to at least 100 years.

    Here are the names of the generals of the so-called Iraq rag tag army, built by GWB II, who ran out of the battle of Mosul as soon as the first shots were fired. The names are listed in Arabic and in English for Akbar Palace to Google and find out and verify the histories of these men:

    1) اللواء صبيح مهدي الغراوي
    (General Sabih Mahdi al-Ghrawi)
    A Shiite who was previously Baathist under Saddam and an American collaborator during the invasion.

    2) فريق ركن اول عبود قنبر
    (First Brigidaire General ‘bla bla bla’ Abboud Qanbar)
    Same credentials as the first and known for his role in thefts of Kuwati properties during the 1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwait. (He must have been recommended by Bush Senior to the Junior to be promoted due to his known achievements by the Americans)

    3) الفريق اول علي غيدان
    (First Brigidaire General Ali Ghaidan)
    Same credentials as the others.

    Posted by Mustap | June 11, 2014, 3:36 pm
  17. The wise Kings Jihadis are doing a good job breaking up the Shiite Crescent. Another star to the wise king. 🙂

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2014, 1:12 pm
  18. Special to Akbar Palace

    Akbar, ignore the Arabic and just watch the video: GWB II-built rag tag so-called Iraq army detained for one day by the insurgents, and then released after surrendering their American-made weapons,



    Jihad LOVEs YOU GWB II and owes you. Couldn’t find no weapons in Syria. So dry and so dull!!

    Long Live GWB II!

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 1:36 pm
  19. Mustap,

    So what is the Sunni game plan in Iraq? It seems like you may have an idea.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 12, 2014, 1:47 pm
  20. Akbar Palace,

    I really don’t have an idea. But I know this war will continue for quite sometime. The general consensus among those I know since GWB II invaded Iraq is that Iraq will break up. Many of these are Iraqis.

    Many also believe the borders in the ME are artificial created by colonialists to serve their own ends. Many also believe there is no collective sense of nationhood on the social level.

    So, it all points out towards disintegration.

    GWB II was the catalyst.

    I still believe Saddam was serving a good cause, and GWB II was simply and zealously obsessed with shock and awe and mission accomplished-on-credit wet-dreamed on a moonless night.

    Moderator please ignore similar comment in filter

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 2:09 pm
  21. I still believe Saddam was serving a good cause…

    I humbly disagree. I wonder how those in Kuwait and Khafji feel…


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 12, 2014, 2:19 pm
  22. GWB II was the catalyst. I wonder who was GWB I lol…

    GWB II….Priceless how informed certain people are. 😛

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2014, 2:36 pm
  23. Akbar Palace,

    Your point which you raise by your link about so-called mass graves is moot for several reasons:

    1) America is not the world policeman and judge.
    2) So-called mass graves may have taken place more than 20 years before the invasion took place eliminating any causal relationships.
    3) Mass graves are happening in Syria in front of the whole world on a daily basis for over three years now. If America wants to and is qualified to be world police and judge, it cannot do so selectively and on a part time basis. Causal relationship in the case of Syria is live, well and very relevant for punitive action to be taken by presumed world policeman. Failure to do so makes the pretending policeman and judge subject for immediate dismissal from his/her job.
    4) You do not pretend to want to solve a problem and then proceed in your pretense by creating bigger problems. In this case the bigger problems are the geopolitical fallouts from your supposed solution. GWB II did not provide the détente for the mullahs which Saddam was providing. Instead, he gave the mullahs breathing space from an ignominious defeat they suffered at the hands of Saddam.

    Saddam was wiser than GWB II and that’s why history is repeating itself.

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 2:40 pm
  24. Well, at least there’s one thing all ME observers can agree on no matter Shia, Sunni, liberal, Islamist, or liberal Zionist…

    It was GWB’s fault.


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 12, 2014, 2:45 pm
  25. Wise King it seems like you are contradicting yourself. You said the Saudi people (whatever that means) are fond of their Wise King. Sounds like wet dreaming to me… Especially when you hint that these borders are not relevant and that these forced nations are fake.

    What about a country with artificial borders, that doesn’t really look like a nation and that has been created by a tribe who subdued the others through decades of war (and foreign support of course)…..?

    I don’t want to provoke you or anything but this is how I see the Saudi state. I’ll be happy to know more about your opinion on where the Saudi regime gets its legitimacy. Provided that you don’t get too emotional when you mention his highness.

    Posted by 3issa | June 12, 2014, 2:46 pm
  26. AP,

    I am not an observer as you are alluding to the “wiser” bunch. I love GWB. Saddam was wiser as he ended up in his hole!

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2014, 2:48 pm
  27. Where is the contradiction threesa boy?

    If you go back in the archives you would find a comment (by me of course) about three men who accomplished nation building in the twentieth century in the Middle east and no one else besides them was able to do so. These were Ataturk, Ben-Gurion and Abd Al-Azeez.

    we’re talking about the fertile crescent here. Apparently you do not descend from this area.

    So, jayi titfalsaf habibi?

    Saudi Arabia IS A NATION ya 3youni. Its people are loyal to their country, community and government. And the proof is in the pudding. Its existence preceded, outlasted and continues to outlast ALL your so-called revolutionary regimes.

    Saudi Arabia’s legitimacy is established by the dynasty created by the founder of the Kingdom and the allegiance of the people. If you have a shaper sword and feel up to the challenge, then show us your muscles.

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 3:05 pm
  28. OK great, thank you Wise King. I don’t see the difference between you and the dumb bashar lovers. At least the menhebakji can hide behind ”””’elections””” -_-

    On another note, are there people reading the Angry Arab sometimes? I never liked his veiled support of the baath thugs in Syria and the party of Iran but now it is basically an open propaganda piece. What’s going on with the so called Arab nationalist, seems like none of these intellectuals can take a real stance against tyrans in the region.

    Halim Qandil in Egypt (Saddam lover like Mustap) turned into a Sisi groupie after years of true (?) opposition to the Mubarak regime. For those who liked reading his pieces of watching his tv debates (really eloquent) this is like a cold shower when he is now on the feloul tv channels spitting nonsense.

    Posted by 3issa | June 12, 2014, 3:18 pm
  29. OK, so now we know threesa is an MB sympathiser.

    Good luck getting hounded.

    I’d rather be Wise-King lover than guided by Mursi or what’s the name of this other guy? Badi’ al-Zaman? The aspiring wali faqih of Egypt, banished by the Wise King with a stroke of a pen?

    And you’re really looking for so-called nationalists? Again good luck but first make up your mind: wali faqih or heil hitler?. FYI, it was all a joke which lasted about 70 years. Neither Saddam, nor Nasser, nor Assad are for real. They are all fake. And when we talk about one or the other being of use, it is merely from a utilitarian point of view. There is no love lost for any. During your 70 years of nationalistic delusions, the great wise founder of the Kingdom and his descendants were busy building a nation and a country. And now they have one. While you have no nation, no country, no elections and obviously no sharp swords and no muscles.

    Does this remind you of Israel’s lost days in the desert, Akbar? And still, the guy still wants to liberate the ‘promised land’ with ‘resistance’. Or do you prefer wesistance?

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 3:45 pm
  30. Elections, repeat after me, e-lect-ions. Anyway I’m no MB lover but whoever gets elected in free elections has much more legitimacy than any self appointed ruler.

    This is basic common sense, but how can you reason with someone like that. That must be really difficult to sit next to you in real life. It’s a nuisance.

    You can print out these comments of yours and add them to your citizenship application to the kingdom of light and slavery.

    Posted by 3issa | June 12, 2014, 4:23 pm
  31. Neymar just scored by the way!!!

    Posted by 3issa | June 12, 2014, 4:31 pm
  32. OK, elect me once and I’ll make sure no one else will get elected next time but me.

    Mursi’s brand now on special.

    Good luck again.

    Talk of nuisance! What a joke! You’ve been nothing here but nuisance lurking in the background providing nothing but gimmicks. You probably need someone to even show you how to cast a ballot. You’re not capable of being a democrat. Have you considered that as a reason for your perceived miseries?

    I can live with nuisance but dealing with a naïve is like hell.

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 5:21 pm
  33. So. What do you all make of ISIS’s lightning blitz of Northern Iraq and the Iraqi armed forces not even putting up a fight? Looks like strange things are happening these days. Is this all part of a ploy of some kind to bring in intervention from Iran? Are we looking at some kind of Sunni/Shia partition of Iraq/Syria? Is this just a flash in the pan that will be dealt with quickly and take us back to the prior status quo?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 12, 2014, 6:17 pm
  34. What prior status quo are you talking about BV?

    This is bigger than ISIS. ISIS is just a minor component of the insurgents. All the Arab tribes are on board. There is no more so-called reawakening committees that Maliki and the US used to their benefits. Game is over from this point of view.

    And FYI, the battles are already raging in Baghdad as we speak.

    Agree, it is a blitz…

    So, let’s assume Iran intervenes. What’s next?

    Also FYI: those who consider themselves Iraqi leaders (politicians) met last night in Baghdad, fought among themselves and went back home throwing accusations and blame upon one another.

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 6:34 pm
  35. The Wise king triumphs in f’n up the whole region. BRAVO!!

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2014, 9:21 pm
  36. America is not the world policeman and judge.


    As I recall, you’ve been very critical of Obama because he has refused to confront Assad. The “world policeman” excuse didn’t work very well with you at the time.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 12, 2014, 9:43 pm
  37. Akbar Palace,

    I may have been critical of Obama for not arming the rebels. But I may have ridiculed him when his own drawn red line shifted to yellow, then to green then to clear. These are two different things. In the second case Obama made himself by his own words and actions (or lack of action when action was called for by his own pronouncements not mine) a fool in front of the whole world and subject to ridicule. I’m not surprised the Russians don’t take him seriously anymore.

    When Iran and Russia support Assad with arms, mercenaries and money while Obama adamantly deprives the rebels of minimum effective support, then what do you expect? Words of praise?

    I don’t want Obama to bomb Assad. But I don’t mind ridiculing him when he invites ridicule by his own public flip flops.

    So how do you understand from what I said that I want the US to be a policeman?

    Response to Akbar ends. And this is for the Geagean fan:

    It’s OK f’n up the whole region as long as Geagea stays anchored in the mountains and NOT in Baabda. We don’t want village idiots, or convicted criminals, parading among world leaders and certainly NOT in front of Wise Kings, even if the purpose was to ask for forgiveness or to swear allegiance.

    Posted by Mustap | June 12, 2014, 11:23 pm
  38. When a lebanonese picks his foreign backer, he holds to him with fervor..

    Posted by 3issa | June 13, 2014, 2:45 am
  39. The “wiser” says:

    “It’s OK f’n up the whole region as long as Geagea stays anchored in the mountains and NOT in Baabda.”


    Posted by danny | June 13, 2014, 7:54 am
  40. I don’t want Obama to bomb Assad.


    I recall that we both wanted a military response from Obama after the chemical attacks. No boots on the ground; just a nice air-to-surface bomb on Assad’s palace. And I think this is what the Saudi’s were hoping for as well.

    Whatever your opinion is of the US government and their actions in the ME, right now we’re looking at Sunni vs. Shia war. It’s Iran vs. Saudi Arabia, two opposing powers, with a large battle field in between them (Syria, Iraq and Lebanon). From my vantage point here in the US, GWB supporters can now claim “I told you so” to anti-war Obama supporters for trying so hard to make the US fail in Iraq. The surge worked, and the US should have set up a (or several) permanent base(s) in Iraq just to make sure stuff like this couldn’t happen. Now we have a cluster truck. I don’t know who it benefits. I guess a sunni-shia war benefits those who aren’t sunni or shia.

    Putting Humpty Dumpty back together will be nearly impossible without a world-wide effort like the Gulf Wars, and I don’t see that happening. I think the world will let this conflict wear down the ME, just like the Iran/Iraq War. I don’t know how this will affect Iran or KSA. I think they can protect themselves.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 13, 2014, 7:59 am
  41. Akbar Palace,

    Let me put it this way. If Obama went ahead and bombed Assad after the chemical attack, then I wouldn’t shed tears over it. Actually, I would feel good about it because the US would not appear like the incompetent paper tiger Obama turned it into by not following on his own words.

    I noticed you always compare Republicans (president Bush for example) to Democrats and Obama. All dictators of foeign countries including those of Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq are aware of this chasm in America politics and seek to exploit it to their adavantage. This is a flaw in the American system. American foreign policy must somehow be devised independently of who sits in the White House, the Congress or the Senate. The aim would be to make such policy not subject to bipartisan rivalries and also to make it less subject to swings from extreme to extreme such as reckless interventionism as in Bush’s case to absolute pacifism as in Obama’s.

    That’s why the US cannot and should not act as world policeman. It’s not capable of doing so because of its political system. World leaders know that. So friends and allies tend not to trust the US while foes make huge benefits just exploiting the system.

    Don’t worry about Sunni-Shia conflicts. It’s not new. It’s been going on for 1500 years. It’ll be with us for the next 1500 years and even beyond.

    Posted by Mustap | June 13, 2014, 9:07 am
  42. Akbar Palace,

    This is a continuation of the previous comment.

    With regards to Sunni-Shia conflict, Obama is facing a tougher decision today than his predecessor. Whatever actions he takes now will reflect on America’s relation with the Muslims for a long long time. He needs to realize that what is happening in Iraq is NOT the work of a minor group such as ISIS. It is a full fledged rebellion in which ALL Sunni Arabs are involved against what they consider a dictator far worse than Saddam.

    If Obama takes steps o help Maliki ( who is struggling to keep his post and some believe the collapse of the Iraqi army in those cities is orchestrated by him specifically for that purpose) then Obama will be perceived by the Muslims at large as a partisan in this centuries’ old conflict which will pit America against the Muslim world perhaps with no end in sight for centuries. He will give fuel to Jihadists to do whatever is available at their disposal to target America and Americans. And this will not be limited to the region. So far, Obama’s opposition to these groups fighting in Syria and Iraq has been limited to his typical pacifist behaviour such as putting labels on them, depriving them of weapons and resources etc… On the other hand, It seems that these groups understood his message, and have not declared or shown any intentions or behaviour to target the US or other countries associated with it, and also are content with carrying out a battle strictly on what they consider is a home turf .

    So, I believe now the ball is in America’s lap. What it does with it is up to her alone. One UN official said in the last couple days that these groups actually do not pose danger to anyone except locally. Lavrov also said the same.

    So, Obama needs to realize most importantly that this Iraqi collapse is a wide spread rebellion which enjoys wide support among Iraqi Arabs and he needs to act accordingly. As I said in a previous comment, the so-called re-awakening committees in Iraq upon which the US relied to pacify Iraqi Arabs have collapsed and no longer exist. No tribal leader can afford to be associated with what is now perceived as a tool for subjugation used by the Americans and the Maliki co. Any rush on Obama’s part to take sides will be put in the backdrop against his latest flip flops in Syria, in addition to all the grievances that the Iraq invasion was responsible for, and will serve nothing but exacerbate enmities against America. In short, America will be rightly considered as an aggressive villain. So, we go back full circle to the beginning.

    Posted by Mustap | June 13, 2014, 12:08 pm
  43. There are 200 US contractors stuck in Balad Airbase, alone and surrounded by the marauding barbarians. The private security and the Iraqi “army” gave up and left the base

    Posted by Vulcan | June 13, 2014, 3:15 pm
  44. With regards to Sunni-Shia conflict, Obama is facing a tougher decision today than his predecessor.

    I disagree. Right now, Obama’s decision is a “no-brainer”: sit on the sidelines. GWB in 2003 made his decision based on Saddam’s ineptness, Iran’s weakness in Iraq, American anger surrounding 9-11, and our ability to make a risky change in the Iraqi government. More difficult, but a larger reward if it worked.

    Whatever actions he takes now will reflect on America’s relation with the Muslims for a long long time.

    Which Muslims ever liked America Mustap? Speaking about naivete. Only Obama tried his best to apologize for American sins against Muslims and did that help? Besides the rule of being punished for every act of help the US tries to provide the arab world, a corollary is that there is nothing America can do to make the Arab and Muslim World appreciate us. Period. Maybe if the US goes to war with Israel. That’s about it.

    So, I believe now the ball is in America’s lap.

    Really. That’s a hoot. Keep your eye on the ball Mustap. Actually, it seems the Wise Kings of the KSA are doing a helluva lot more in the ME than the USofA.

    In short, America will be rightly considered as an aggressive villain.

    Is that a trick question? America has been a villain since 1948. A law of politics you can wager thousands of dollars. A constant more reliable than gravity.

    Thanks for the warning,


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 13, 2014, 3:21 pm
  45. Akbar Palace,

    What would you like Obama, or anyone who happens to be in his place, to do at this moment to deal with Iraq, assuming that he’ll do what you say?

    In other words, let’s say you, Akbar Palace, is the President of the US, and authorized by the Congress to do anything you want in this instance called Iraq.

    Posted by Mustap | June 13, 2014, 4:47 pm
  46. MTu

    I was going to respond as a joke, but I’ll give tour question serious consideration.

    What US interest is at risk with Syria and Iraq now over run with sunni Islamists? Well, like OBL, they would be able to train freely and plan new 9-11 type attacks. That not good. Can we flatten whatever camps using Global Hawk type drones? Yeah, we can disrupt their training. Certainly the Iranian will have to deal with them.

    Will they disrupt the flow of oil? Dunno. Maybe. Will they threaten our allies like Israel and the KSA? I doubt it, and I think they can handle it.

    Do nothing? Sure, what’s the worse that could happen to the US?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 13, 2014, 6:17 pm
  47. Akbar Palace,

    Well, where is the serious consideration to my question? I don’t see any seriou consideration in your response as you promised.

    Are you suggesting using drones? It’s not clear to me this is your answer to the problem as a US President.

    Let me tell you what others are proposing which you may or may not know already. I just finished listening to Fox news and to CNN. I deliberately chose these two extremes in order to get somewhat of a full spectrum. Fox was featuring John McCain and another character whose name I cannot remember. John McCain wants air strikes but he could not identify any military targets since in reality there’s none. But McCain also doesn’t want these strikes to take place if they meant providing another free ride to the Iranians, who are believed to be already in Iraq numbering few hundreds, by giving them free air cover. He also wants Maliki to step down or do something like that, which Obama already demanded. The other character is a gung ho type. Effectively, he was saying forget about this Iraq experiment. It has failed and there will be no democracy in that country or anywhere in that part of the world, and that the US does not have any real allies inside Iraq. Instead he proposed looking after neighboring states like Kuwait, Jordan and Israel and ensuring that there are credible forces inside and around them to protect them.

    CNN also featured John McCain who as you may expect said the same thing as he did on Fox. David Frum, I believe, was also featured along with Iraq’s ambassador. David was saying that Maliki has chosen Iran as his patron and has given up on the opportunity to be a US ally. David specifically, mentioned Maliki’s rejection few months ago of a US proposal to keep US soldiers in Iraq for protection in return for immunity for the soldier from Iraqi courts. David was arguing, the US should not step in unless a quid pro quo is offered in the political make up of Iraq, which Obama already outlined in his speech. Frum also raised the question of Iranian revolutionary guards in Iraq and the awkwardness of providing US air aupport to a nemesis, similar to what McCain wanted. In effect, Frum wants an Iranian capitulation and total exit from Iraq in return for the promised American support. He doesn’t want this capitulation to come from Maliki since David considers Maliki an Iranian puppet. He wants his masters to make the request for the price he demaded.

    The Iraqi ambassador argued that Iraq has chosen the US as its protector but he could not respond to the clear proofs provided by Frum regarding Maliki’s clientelism to the supreme leader. But the ambassador’s main argument was that the situation is urgent and threatening. It cannot wait for political bargaining. Besides, according to him, the so-called recent elections have reaffirmed Maliki’s leadership and it is up to the so-called democratic institutions of Iraq to decide. In other words, he wants a complete free ride with NO strings attached. May be this is what GWB should have expected before he embarked on raising a spoiled kid, which should have given him a clue that his adventure will eventually fail and in fact had zero chance of success from the outse.

    With the above information in front of you, can you now assume the role of the President of the US and give me a real serious answet as to what you would do in this Iraq quagmire?

    Posted by Mustap | June 13, 2014, 7:02 pm
  48. can you now assume the role of the President of the US and give me a real serious answet as to what you would do in this Iraq quagmire


    I feel a bit pressured.;) Anyway, I appreciate your response. I understand you take these issues very seriously and I think your writing and knowledge is very good. I think it IS important to work with neighboring states, but it seems to be the sunni jihadists are not threatening sunni states like the KSA or Jordan. I know that can change. John McCain has no power, and he’s a bag of hot air. 9-11 went down to GET the US involved in the ME. That is how terrorism works: it scares people and governments to act, and these sunni jihadist could do it again. That said, the battle is there and it does not seem to affect US interests directly. Therefore, I do not see any military action at this time other than to bolster naval forces in the Gulf, protect US allies, and speak a lot of TV.

    Now, let’s get your input assuming YOU are Prethident of the USofA….

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 13, 2014, 7:54 pm
  49. Akbar Palace,

    I will assume I am PreTHident of the US of A with full congressional authority to do what I want in this Iraq mess O’ potomia.

    The first thing I will consider is that the US has invested more than trillion dollars in this mess O’ potomia, in addition to thousands of American lives lost for what it seems now in vain.

    But, being entrusted with the well being and interests of the US of A, in addition of course with the trust of my friends and allies in the middle east, I will NOT give up so easily and wait for few Ali Baba’s to dictate the behaviour and policies of the US in this part of the world. I will make history of Iraq as my guide and proceed accordingly.

    I will send in 500,000 marines and soldiers to Iraq through Kuwait, Jordan and the Gulf and drive all the way to Baghdad with the aim of entering it as a conquerer. If the rag tag maliki army or any sectarian militias show any rsistance, I wil decimate them with no mercy whatsoever. I will enter Baghdad, depose Maliki and the rest of the Ali Baba band, put them on busses and order them to drive through the desert all the way to Qom to rot.

    I will then install a US military governor who is fluent in Arabic and declare martial law. I will then order the governor to go on Iraqi TV to read in Arabic a speech of a famous historical governor of Iraq who ruled it over 1000 years ago verbatim. Here’s a short English translation of the speech:

    “O’ people of Iraq, people of dissension, deceit and hypocrisy, by the Almighty you SHALL be straightened on the straight path, or ELSE we SHALL inflict a sickness in the heart of each and every one of you for the single purpose of keeping you busy with your health matters instead of matters that concern you not. If anyone of you opens a grave for the purpose of theft he shall be burried in it. You shall not leave your homes at night until further notice etc, etc, etc…..”

    The gist of the speech is as above. It is a little bit longer but you get the picture.

    The governor may have to go a step further and rehearse another follow up speech if it becomes necessary. Because the above speech is just the warning shot. The other speech may get translated in another comment. Basically, it is a very short speech in which the governor will make good on his first speech.

    I suspect that the Iraqis will get the message and behave. So, there may be no need for the second speech. In this case, I will proceed to govern Iraq for 25 years with the full backing of the US military. Of course, I will do away with this rag tag Iraq army and the other militias. I will then initiate reforms, in which all so-called religous institutions are abolished and all so-called religous figures sent abroad to whete their true allegiances lie. I will enforce secularism by law and initiate educational programs based on that. Afyer 20 years, I will start rebuilding the Iraq army from the new generations that are just coming out of the new schools and begin the coutdown for the US withdrawal from Iraq in the next five years.

    At that point in time agreements can be drawn between the US and the emerging Iraqi leaders and dilomats may start their missions etc. etc. etc….

    Posted by Mustap | June 13, 2014, 9:00 pm
  50. Mustap,

    Well. what can I say. Your idea is much better than mine. For the Saudis. Yes, the Saudis should follow your excellent plan to a “T”. Considering they have the highest military spending in the ME, it shouldn’t go to waste.


    I wish them best of luck, and I will be cheering for them.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 13, 2014, 9:37 pm
  51. Holy King, you said before that the US shouldn’t do anything, that they should stop being the police man of the world. It’s not consistent with your invasion plan followed by 25 years of occupation.

    Posted by 3issa | June 14, 2014, 5:06 am
  52. AP,

    The wise prince’s army is well fed and rich in armaments. What they lack is skill. They do spend billions only to have it rust away…Let’s see the wise king put his sword into the ISIS (…oops I forgot; those are his merry men…The men eaters.). The only place where his bombs fall is in the Shiite areas bordering Yemen; or killing poor Bahrainis randomly. long life his wiseass.

    Posted by danny | June 14, 2014, 10:06 am
  53. Akbar Palace,

    I’m sure the government of His Majesty will look favorably at any US requests for assisstance, be it military, financial or advisory, in its upcoming conquest of Baghdad and the rest of mess O’ potomia. His Majesty, however, foresees that the campaign and the subsequent 25 year rule of this mess of potomia will cost the American tax payer zero dollars, as His Majesty advises that the cost will be covered from the sales of mess of potomia oil, an industry already reconstructed with American Tax payer money. In fact, it may even be possible to recover some if not all of the initial investment made by President Bush, allowing future US administrations to issue credits to US tax payers which will be called President Bush Tax Credit for Mission Accomplished, commemorating the ex-US President, and allowing congressmen, senators and presidents to gain popularity among US voters. His Majesty also foresees that some if not all of the debt owed by Iraq, from earlier epochs, to him and to other friends and allies of his may also be recovered. It is the general feeling, here, that such undertaking, in addition to its obvious benefits to Iraq and its people, will have a huge positive impact on the US and world economies at large.

    On another note, this mess of potomia seems to have a positive impact on the Syrian theatre. It’s been freshly reported that the Syrian revolutionaries are making huge advances on several fronts and inflicting heavy casualties upon the HA mercenaries who seem to have been left alone after their brethren from Iraq were hurriedly bussed back to Iraq to do something for Maliki in the battle of his life.

    Posted by Mustap | June 14, 2014, 10:50 am
  54. Some entertaining exchanges taking place here…. Doesn’t politics suck? I think we are all being played like pieces on a chess board… The question is who is playing us? The Oded Yinon Plan is a good place to begin, trying to put in proper perspective what is taking place in the region..

    Posted by Marion Mourtada | June 15, 2014, 5:16 am
  55. Yeah and the illuminatis too and of course the hidden pharaos ruling the world from the center of the earth.

    Posted by 3issa | June 15, 2014, 6:33 am
  56. Yes Marion blame the utter stupidity of Arabs on Joos. I applaud the Jewish state if it is usurping the addle-headed herd that surrounds Israel.

    Posted by danny | June 15, 2014, 8:14 am
  57. Danny,

    I didn’t know you were pro-GWB. Are you pulling my leg? I knew that if the US pulled out of Iraq w/o permanent military bases we’d be screwed. Voila. Here we are.

    Just finished a Fox New segment with the advice of some retired general. My sense is the US wants to support the Iraqis govt and fight back against the sunni extremists. This could, IMHO, be seen as supporting the shiites, Iran and Syria. This general also recommended NOT to sit on our hands otherwise the economy will falter as well as put the world at risk.

    IMHO, he’s exaggerating. I would let it evolve into a free-for-all. Comments?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 10:30 am
  58. I have always admired his acumen. I do not subscribe to the idiotic crap surrounding him. He was elected TWICE and the second time after the Iraq war was launched in Iraq. He was the governor of Texas and a successful businessman. If he was that bad well; I guess the internet pundits on QN mustbe much smarter then the citizens of USA…

    People like to read op-eds or have outrageous opinions like your salafist buddy here (who is confused on what USA should do there) and regurgitate crap after the fact.

    USA has no business interfering in anyone’s internal affairs…Unless it affects it national interests. Let the idiots in the MENA sort out their crap as far as the oil keeps flowing. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 15, 2014, 11:56 am
  59. I blame the utter stupidity of the Arabs on the Arabs Danny…. And why did both you and 3issa jump so quickly on that one?? Hmm seems if I were so far off the mark as you too reactionists wanted to portray me as being, you would have been better off ignoring what I shared…

    Posted by Marion Mourtada | June 15, 2014, 12:09 pm
  60. I think Marion is having a wake up call and she wants to dissociate herself from the so-called religious idiots she’s been hanging around with. I was going to make a comment to that effect but you ‘idiots’ jumped at the first opportunity without giving it any thinking.

    Anyway, Marion, ignore these simpletons. Here’s one for you you can fight back with especially this Daniel of the den of lions whose idol is stuck in the village and can’t find his way to the city in Baabda

    It’s been observed over many centuries that the phoenix with which many Lebanese associate themselves with and are proud to call themselves after it is in fact a jackass. The only reason this phoenix was given such powers as we know was to find out if it can break the time warp it is caught in and see if it can be anything but a jackass. This phoenix has insisted on being a jackass for the last few millenia. It is expected to still be a jackass in the next few millenia no matter how many times it dies and comes back to life

    Posted by Mustap | June 15, 2014, 1:03 pm
  61. Danny,

    I agree with you about GWB. Although Obama was elected twice too. So we are constrained by our democracy. A president gets 8 years to do something, then the time is up, no matter where you are in the process. Obama had to make sure the Iraq plan failed despite the successful surge.

    At this point there is no US interest at stake. Would be a good time to become energy independent.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 1:07 pm
  62. Oh for f~@%$ sake! Poor GWB was a spoiled boy-man whose conversion from a hardcore drunk to *messianic Christianity caused him to be completely vulnerable to those who would convince his simple ass that god called him to save the Iraqi people and the world.

    GWB really believed he was doing the Lord’s work. Against that kind of fanatical religious fervor, his father and his father’s men could do little to talk sense to him. Eventually though, the result of the elders’ wise counsel was that the neocons and their war mongering handmaidens were marginalized and disgorged from his administration.

    ISIS is everyone’s enemy and when Sen Lindsay Graham advocates working with Iran to eliminate them…even the ignorant haters should listen up. Unless, of course, like the MEK, this vicious terrorist scum is on their team.

    A Palace. Has FOX admitted that ISIS/ISIL are a threat to Americans yet? They had better get on board soon lest they be accused of consorting with and promoting the worse-than-al_Qaeda terrorists who want to massacre us AND the Israelis…..

    * I have yet to see any evidence that Lebanese brands of Christianity come close to the pernicious ideological fanaticism that infects a goodly portion of the American “faithful”.

    Posted by lally | June 15, 2014, 1:40 pm
  63. Lollypops,

    Assad, HA and the rag – a – muffins are no better than ISIS. Here’s an opportunity to witness the Terrorist World Series, just like the first TWS aka the Iran – Iraq War.

    I don’t like seeing innocent people getting hurt, or starving refugees but this ball game isn’t fit for any civilized person, soldier or human. The way forward can only be a UN sponsored endeavor like the ones the Bushes assembled.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 1:59 pm
  64. Lilly,

    As I mentioned, a retired general said the current crisis will affect US and western security. Fox News has no “opinion”. I’m looking forward to seeing Bolton and Krauthammer’s opinions. I think the US needs to keep track of what is going on and let the dog fight play out.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 2:07 pm
  65. A Palace. Take it from the mouths of your betters; ISIS is far more dangerous to us and our Israeli “friends”. Get up to speed, homie.

    Who are “the Bushes” you mentioned A Palace? George, Laura and the girls? Poppy Bush was not so dumb to think that the rubberstampin’ UNSC agreement meant squat. He knew better that it was a disaster in the making.

    Posted by lally | June 15, 2014, 2:12 pm
  66. GWB had so much ‘acumen’ while in college that he so fell in love with campus life and his ‘acumen inspired’ him into perhaps ‘deliberately’ failing year after year to continue living the ‘wonderful life of campus bum’. He, eventually, was given a ‘C’ passing grade just because he was a Bush and to process him out of the system.

    You can always make it in America if you were a Bush. It doesn’t take much. As for being in the White House twice, may be you should look at the team behind it instead of the muppet.

    But, don’t despair Akbar. Both GWB’s are well liked by His Majesty and are always welcome at his Majesty’s many ranches in the desert to engage in desert sports and other activities such as the the parade of the sword’s display. Obama is yet to receive such honors. I doubt he will. Generally, over here republicans are the preferred choice.

    But, partisan politics aside, I am happy you are taking my advice into consideration with regards to flaws in US foreign policy as you indicate at your 1:07PM.

    Posted by Mustap | June 15, 2014, 2:13 pm
  67. Akbar Palace,

    Since you’re in the process of scouting for opinions from your muses, Tony Blair, GWB II mentor, just spoke.

    He defended his and Bush’s actions in 2003. He wants the US, Britain and Arab allies to go into Iraq and sort things out.

    But, I still do not think Obama will make it to any Royal Desert Ranch.

    Again, blame it on US foreign policy making process in limbo.

    Posted by Mustap | June 15, 2014, 2:39 pm
  68. Some people are unnerved by a stiff wind…swearing and stupidity is the intellectual treasure of the wise pooch!!

    Posted by danny | June 15, 2014, 5:21 pm
  69. ISIS is far more dangerous to us and our Israeli “friends”. Get up to speed, homie.


    I think these ISIS yahoos are dangerous too and I have complete confidence your friends in Iran, Hezbollah and Baathist Syria will be able to deal with them.


    I know Bush is not the most intelligent person in the world. Obama is a better a c anemic than Bush. However, it is clear to me Bush has boatloads more common sense. And yes, Bush had much better advisors.

    The US would be happy to work with Arab allies to solve this problem, but I can’t imagine the US jumping in by herself.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 7:34 pm
  70. “The US would be happy to work with Arab allies to solve this problem, but I can’t imagine the US jumping in by herself.”

    Akbar Palace,

    The Arabs are even more eager for the same. So, what’s holding the progress? I think it’s already been nailed down. As you and I said above America’s foreign policy making PROCESS is in limbo.

    The problem is not GWB or any other character. As you said, you need to keep your eyes on the ball and specific persons are second in importance. Bush did something not because he is brilliant, which he is very far from. But because of those around him. With the way US foreign policy is devised, keeping your eye on the ball may become impossible. By devising the policy I don’t mean coming up with a ad hoc plan out of the blue and say here’s my policy. It is the process by which it is devised. Somehow, it should be done so that friends become more trusting and foes become more fearful.

    May be, those in the White House and up on Downing street need to listen to people like Blair and avoid being hesitant and get on to do what needs to be done today before tomorrow. Since the days of Lawrence of Arabia, it’s always been one and the same. It is the nature of topology, geography, culture and history which dictates the plan and the Brits have been good and longer at it. Despite their second rate status as a world power, they still have the experience.

    Posted by Mustap | June 15, 2014, 8:22 pm
  71. The Brits? Blair? Yes, they seem to have good relations with the KSA and the Emirates and the other monarchies up and down the Gulf. And they aren’t encumbered with a powerful pro-israeli community. IMO, that is why the BBC is pro-arab and not very pro-israel. But they can usually be counted upon when a coalition is needed.

    I’ll take GWB over Prince Charles any day!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 15, 2014, 9:01 pm
  72. Akbar Palace,

    I don’t think anyone cares about Prince Charles outside ceremonial circles.

    Back to the main topic. Reading this article, if true which seems to be the case, it appears this ISIL thing is worthy of a hollywood movie,


    Fox should work on it immeciately. The saga is naturally dramatic and needs very little artificial dramatization for the big screen, or even the little screen.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 12:06 am
  73. Mustap,

    Thanks for the link. The point is, I don’t think anyone want’s to see this group take over Iraq or even Syria. Iraq is 2/3 shia and 1/3 sunni, so I think the government has to reflect that in free elections like it did when the US was there. No one sect should control Iraq.

    It seems to me we’re dealing with 2 failed states, Syria and Iraq, and something has to be done about it. Otherwise, no one knows how it will end. I also wouldn’t want to see the Iranians encroaching into these areas.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 7:24 am
  74. Akbar Palace,

    Tony Blair is blaming Iraqi crisis on the failure to in intervene in Syria. This could be his way of saying the 2003 invasion of Iraq is not the problem, indirectly defending himself and Bush.

    I think the truth is in between. Blame for current Iraq mess lies with Paul Bremer who mismanaged his administration of Iraq by encouraging people like Maliki and others like him. One thing, I don’t understand is how Bremer and his American bosses would allow such figures like Sistani (some call him sextani), who is an Iranian, to enter Iraq under the nose of the Americans and act like a supreme leader of Iraq.

    Had Bremer taken the step of kicking out ALL the so-called mullahs from Iraq upon his arrival, instead of playing with the theatrics of toppling a stone statue of Saddam, which is only good for media consumptio, the Iraqis both Sunnis and Shia would have gotten the message from day one, and would have acted differently and we would not be discussing power sharing on this basis.

    There was no such thing during Saddam’s rule.

    Maliki, sistani, hakim, and sadr should not have been allowed into Iraq by the Americans. When you first occupy a country you set the tone of your occupation from your behaviour in the first few days.

    Allowing Sistani in gave the Shia Iraqis the signal that the Americans are here to pave the way for the wali faqih state once the Americans leave. So they played along until the Americans left, thanks to Obama. That is why Maliki refused to have any American bases in Iraq. Their presence, he felt correctly, stands in the way of his wali faqih state he is entrusted to construct by his Iranian masters. One can also understand the ease with which huge areas of Iraq from this point of view. The areas that fell are all Sunni areas. It is OK with Maliki and his master in Qom to divide Iraq if they can get the south where alll the Shia are AND the oil. So, in fact, Iran wants the oil, pure and simple. Many Iraqis, even Shias, are opposed because they know Iran wants just that, the oil and is playing sectarian politics because its suits their design for the control of oil. This is no different than Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait under the pretense of Arabis while the real objective is to control over 40% of world oil resources.

    The US is playing stupid. It can easily circumvent this Iranian design by encouraging the mosly Arab province of Ahwaz to secede where all the Iranian oil is. This province has been in a state of low key rebellion for quite sometime. Taking the oil out the mullah’s pockets is the greatest achievement the US can achieve, and even greater than bombing its so-called nuclear facilities.

    The pretense to being democratic was a necessary prelude on the part of Maliki and co. as long as the Americans were inside the country.

    In other words, both the US and Britain and whoever went along with them were sucked in by a bunch of Ali Baba’s, a classic from the Arabian Nights.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 8:21 am
  75. One thing, I don’t understand is how Bremer and his American bosses would allow such figures like Sistani (some call him sextani), who is an Iranian, to enter Iraq under the nose of the Americans and act like a supreme leader of Iraq.


    I understand that Sistani was in Iraq way before the Americans got there. He was in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.



    I don’t think you can ignore 2/3 of the population.

    In other words, both the US and Britain and whoever went along with them were sucked in by a bunch of Ali Baba’s, a classic from the Arabian Nights.

    We’ve been sucked-in so many times, I can’t count. By Egypt, Israel, by Hezbollah, by Assad, by Iran, by Saudi Arabia.

    So what else is new? The US will be on the sidelines until a viable plan can be arranged. Let the neogotiations begin!

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 9:12 am
  76. Akbar Palace,

    If you count the Kurds who are Sunnis, then the ratio becomes reversed in the favor of Sunnis.

    I believe this is the worst way of reconstructing a new Iraq.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 9:17 am
  77. Akbar Palace,

    Is the Israeli (Zionist) establishment in favor of reconstructing the Middle East on sectarian lines?

    In other words, is there a feeling among Israelis (Zionists) that such reconstruction will serve Israel in its claim or perhaps objective to become a purely Jewish State?

    The reason for this question is as you may know this has been a contentious issue in the last few years.

    If your answer is yes, then the next question would be an Israeli can ONLY be a Jew? Yes?

    Then what is a Jew today?

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 10:12 am
  78. Mustap,

    As you know, the Balfour Declaration allowed for a “jewish state” in Palestine along with an arab state. The “jewish state” had to guarantee that the rights of non-jews would not be affected. The borders of this “jewish state” have yet to be settled.

    Outside of that specific case, most other countries have internationally recognized borders and mixed populations. Many are free countries, many are not free. You are free to compare states any way you wish, and I’ll be happy to give you my opinion, which is all states should be free and people living in those states should have equal rights, including Israel.

    My information shows a majority of shia living in ALL of Iraq. Please show me your info.

    Islam 99% (Shi’a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christianity 0.8%, Mandaeism and other less then 0.1%. [5]


    Israel is currently a “jewish state”, a state for the jewish people. This designation could remain as long as voting Israeli citizens want it to be so, or they could vote to get rid of it.

    Iran and Pakistan are Islamic states. They are not Sunni or Shia states, but I guess they could change that designation if they wanted to.

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 11:07 am
  79. Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 11:07 am

    Akbar Palace,

    I don’t have statistics and I don’t believe Google is accurate. As a matter of fact, it is a well known fact that, in the absence of real statistics, deliberate attempts are always made by many groups who happen to be minorities (and in this case the Shia are a minority within Islam) to artificially inflate numbers through media, misinformation and other means for political purposes. There has never been any actual census or studies to support any of this data you read in Google and here and there. As far as I know from Iraqis that I happen to know, and who belong to various ethnic groups, The Shia are about 40 to 45 percent of the total population. The rest are a mixture of everyone else.

    Judging from what happened in the last few days, it is unlikely a mere 15-20% of the population, according to your Google statistics, could have wrecked such havoc and rout an army, supposedly well trained by the most powerful military in the world. Of course, the 15-20% figure I am using does not include the Kurds who are not part of this uprising.

    If Maliki believes he can conquer Iraq on his own, he wouldn’t be begging the US for help and seeking the support of Iranian Quds brigades. But he knows he is not up to the task with all the resources at his disposal. The demographic picture, he knows deep inside, is NOT in his favor.

    I’ll be back again to grill you more on Jewishness and Israel. But now, I have other things.

    Moderator: Please ignore similar comment stuck in filter

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 12:34 pm
  80. Mustap,

    FYI, the figures I found are also repeated on the CIA World Factbook site.

    You say “Maliki believes he can conquer Iraq”. I do not know what that means. Maliki was the elected PM in a multi-party election. Probably a fairer election than the “multi-party” election the President of Egypt won (Sisi).

    Iraq is a failed state. Syria is a failed state. Lebanon is a failed state, and several more Arab states are teetering.

    How it gets fixed I don’t know and I almost don’t care, unless it affects the US or our allies. This is something the arabs should fix, but they won’t or can’t.

    Happy to chat with you about “jewishness”, because it is something I know a lot about and although it may be interesting, it’s rather inane. I think Lilly knows more about this than I do.;)

    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 12:52 pm
  81. Akbar Palace,

    As I said, these figures are based on misinformation deliberately disseminated for reasons as indicated. It doesn’t matter the source. There is NO real census behind the figures

    As for Maliki’s conquest of Iraq, here is what it means. He lost in less than a week over 50% of Iraq’s known territory and a sizeable portion of his army melted away in front of a much inferior force which by all military standards should stand no chance of any success. And he continues to lose territory and army units as we speak.

    His immediate response to the crisis was to resort to calling paramilitary militias to arms. He is relying on fatwas by the same Sistani who never spoke a word during 7 years of American occupation of the country, but at the first signs of trouble from within he never hesitated to issue such fatwa. I’m not sure how democratic you may consider that. Sisi did not ask the Azhar head to issue any such fatwas.

    By calling upon militias to help him restore his authority, Maliki is acting outside any state institutions that should guarantee such authority, while at the same time deliberately framing the conflict in sectarian framework which was his method of doing government all along. Is this democratic? In effect, he is campaigning to conquer Iraq using militias and is not EVEN relying on the most important institution which is the army. Obviously, he has no confidence in it. You have to add to that he is allowing foreign military to operate within Iraq covertly, namely the Quds brigade headed by Qassem Suleimani who also controls the militias that Maliki called to arms

    The end result is, he is now on the same level as ISIL or any other group fighting him within Iraq. He cannot be considered the elected official acting within institutions but a militia leader who also brought a foreign power to control him and whatever is left in his domain.

    The other dangerous aspect to his behaviour is when he says that these Shia militias are there to assist the army. In effect, he is destroying the army that America paid so much to build.

    And by the way, the Sunnis boycotted the recent so-called elections.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 1:30 pm
  82. Why the ongoing exchange between a Zionist groupie and a Wahabi groupie? It is almost as if they want to dominate and manipulate the comment section…

    Posted by Marion Mourtada | June 16, 2014, 2:09 pm
  83. Here’s an audio file from a recent John Bolton interview (BTW, John Bolton is Cwishtian)…


    Posted by AKbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 2:36 pm
  84. Akbar Palace,

    I take it that by diverting the topic to a new thread (Bolton), you have no answers to my recent comment besides what you said earlier about states being failed states.

    In this case, we are left with only one conclusion which we should draw specifically from the Syrian example and now the unfolding Iraqi one. This conclusion would be the answer to this inquiry: Is democracy the wrong prescription to this area of the world?

    In my opinion, the answer is YES – Unless you precede the application of this lame, limping, toothless and orphaned democracy by the 25 year rule I explained in my comment on June 13, 2014, 9:00 pm above.

    If you agree, then just say agree and we’ll move on. Otherwise, continue grilling.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 3:28 pm
  85. Akbar Palace,

    The other alternative to the last comment would be obvious:

    Amicable Divorce.

    In this case we’ll go back, as promised above, to the question about the nature of Israel: Is it going to be Jewish as you seem prefer it to become or is it going to be multiethnic as the current demographics dictate?

    If the preferred alternative is amicable divorce among middle eastern warring factions, then wouldn’t that reflect on Israel as well now or sometime soon?

    If the answer is Democracy is the wrong prescription for the area, then how long will Israel last in its current form before it mutates into another failed Middle Eastern State as the rest of the pack, if it is not failed already?

    Mind you Israel kept its special status in this ocean of failed states by sheer military power and outside assistance. We are already observing the waning of this military power lurking on the horizon as was pointed out from a previous article I linked to you about an analysis conducted by Israeli security elites. It is also generally believed that relying on outside assistance is not the best strategy upon which a prosperous state cane be built. Lebanon is just the kind of neighbor you need to explore to convince yourself of that.

    According to Arab social scientists (you should be warned if you don’t know already that social sciences were pioneered by an Arab who lived in the Middle Ages), the age of dynasties is normally 7 generations give or take.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 5:32 pm
  86. Is de,mocracy the wrong prescription to this area of the world?


    That’s like saying is food the wrong Rx for hunger.

    I understand military dictatorships, Supreme Leaders, Omnipotent Kings, Religious Fanatics, and Unelected Despots are not fond of their citizens saying bad things about them, but this and other freedoms are basic human rights.

    Certainly there will be many Arab Springs, purges, civil wars and bloodshed until the ME catches up to the West. I wouldn’t want to admit that the arabs are genetically inferior and thus do not deserve the same types of freedoms you enjoy in Canada. That would make me feel like a racist jew like Meir Kahana.

    Israel’s military budget is much smaller than KSA’s. Futhermore, no foreign power has had to fight for the IDF. All this while defending herself solely by herself.

    So to answer your question, I don’t know what Israel will like in 50 years. It could be an Arab majority with a large jewish minority, it could continue to be a Jewish majority or it could be a large pane of glass. In any case, a democracy should ensure the rights of minorities. I think that is what the US civil war was about. Lincoln could not foresee the continuation of slavery and later, the continuation of segregation.

    Freedom is a positive thing, that is why the West is such a popular place to live.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 16, 2014, 6:08 pm
  87. Akbar Palace,

    Your answer is very reasonable but only to one of the alternatives.

    There is still the other alternative: Amicable divorce.

    I never implied the Arabs are inferior to other races. And I never doubted that freedom is not essential to human existence. In fact, the original Arab Bedouins preferred Bedouin life because of the freedom it afforded them. Roman empire was never able to penetrate the Arab heartland and that’s where the Arabs enjoyed the free way of life that they preferred while the surrounding provinces were more or less living as slaves under Roman rule. So did the Persians under their Kings.

    But it is more reasonable to compare the ME to Europe rather than the US or Canada. There are more similarities between The Middle East today and Europe of the 18th to early 20th century. As you know Europe is multi ethnic and the European states evolved from clearly delineated ethnic communities. Europe too had its share of upheavals and civil wars until it settled into its present form. Even today ethnic sentiments and conflicts are much more intense in Europe than what you have here in North America, despite having such lofty institution as the European Union.

    So what about amicable divorce? Shouldn’t Middle easterner at least learn from those who may have gone through similar experiences and at least avoid the bloodshed part of it. We’re supposed to be in an enlightened age with means of communication, knowledge and technology at our disposal that are unprecedented and should benefit us instead of the other way around.

    Posted by Mustap | June 16, 2014, 6:26 pm
  88. marion.

    The poor Salafist will even wrap itself up around a snake if he could. All he could find was the poor AP to accommodate his asinine comments. Don’t read…Just scroll through the comments as QN seems to be running a lab experiment for another thesis. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 16, 2014, 9:09 pm
  89. Have to share:]

    Posted by lally | June 17, 2014, 12:03 am
  90. Let’s see if this works…

    <a href=http://www.yalibnan.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/hezbollah-pointing-its-arms-against-the-syrians–300×212.jpg

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 6:53 am
  91. Mustap,

    You may want to engage AIG on this website. He’s more articulate than I am…


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 12:00 pm
  92. Sorry for being a bit late to respond here, but this is to Mustap’s comment regarding what he would do if he were President of the USA: Invade Iraq and install a military ruler that rules with an iron hand for 25 years while rebuilding the country. Is it just me or is that basically exactly Saddam Hussein?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2014, 1:37 pm
  93. BV,

    If I understand Mustap correctly, he favored keeping Saddam in power (but so did all the other leftists and arabists including Bawak Obama).

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 2:15 pm
  94. …and the big rat has promised to go anywhere on earth to protect the Umma…What a crock of shit! As if Iran needs this little pebble to make a ripple. Great drama indeed. The Wise King will duel the King Rat. ISIS vs HA…I just love these murderous terrorists!


    Posted by danny | June 17, 2014, 4:16 pm
  95. Sorry for not keeping up today. I’m out of town. Will engage later today (tomorrow).

    Basically, you’re right BV. If you guys keep conflating democracy with freedom, we need some kind of Saddam who will transform the society and then disappear into the night voluntarily after 25 years give or take. Otherwise, better not do half a job and announce mission accomplished when the only thing you did was create a whole bigger mess of potomia.

    Posted by Mustap | June 17, 2014, 6:17 pm
  96. Mustap,

    What Arab despot do you know disappeared into the night voluntarily?

    From my experience, they all leave with rivers of blood and it’s never voluntary.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 6:53 pm
  97. That’s just it. Despots do not voluntarily disappear. Power corrupts. Putting power in the hands of an individual is never the right choice because if never works. Not once in history (and if any of you can give me an example of a benevolent despot, by all means do).
    This is why power needs to be in the hands of institutions, with checks and balances, and not be tied to a single person/family/clan/etc.

    I certainly understand the appeal of what Mustap proposes. I myself have occasionally thrown my arms in the air in despair at the Lebanese people and thought “We need a strongman to come and get all these idiots in line once and for all.” But it’s really not a realistic solution. It never leads to the outcome we all expect. It simply leads to corruption, brutality and begets more violence down the road.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 17, 2014, 7:56 pm
  98. In comparison, I guess Mubarak wasn’t so bad. He fought about 1 month to stay in power before he quit. I hope Sisi will bring some good luck.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 8:10 pm
  99. You guys still didn’t get my point.

    What I’m saying is that when Bush decided to go to Iraq, he should have made sure the US will be in Iraq for at least 25 years and he should appoint a military governor who should rule Iraq as I described above.

    If the US was not prepared to stay in Iraq for the time indicated, it should NOT have gone AT ALL.

    Now that America broke it, it owns it.

    It is America’s problem by that fact. So, it should go in as a conquerer and rule for 25 years (+/-).

    Akbar Palace,

    The Arabs did not break it. So they don’t own the problem, even though it is a problem for them. Also, Arab rulers are not masquarading around the world telling everyone to be democratic in order to be free.

    Posted by Mustap | June 17, 2014, 8:40 pm
  100. Danny. Wouldn’t you mobilize if the Vatican and or Lourdes was under assault by hordes of fanatic

    I’ll give you King Rat:


    The Wise King wouldn’t have a chance….unless he could hire some Chechen proxy.

    Posted by lally | June 17, 2014, 9:31 pm
  101. Also, Arab rulers are not masquarading around the world telling everyone* to be democratic in order to be free.

    *except for Israel

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 17, 2014, 10:05 pm
  102. Who Will Win in Iraq?


    At the same time, gulf states that tacitly support the rebels as payback against Iran for its perceived takeover of Iraq will do nothing to support the rebels’ military campaign, for fear of creating an uncontrollable situation, even if their nationals privately fund the rebel army.


    “Mustap, You may want to engage AIG on this website.”
    He did it in the past, albeit on a different topic.

    Posted by Badr | June 18, 2014, 6:43 am
  103. I get what you’re saying, Mustap. But come on, “the Arabs didn’t break it”? Really? There is a pretty strong argument to be made that the Arabs have done nothing but break their own homes for the past century or so, long before the US “broke” Iraq (no argument about that part, really).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 18, 2014, 1:54 pm
  104. OK,

    If you, BV, agree about the US (Bush) having broken Iraq into a bigger mess of potomia, then we have no argument here.

    I think the US must own the problem because it claimed to have gone in to fix things.

    The Arabs never claimed they want to fix anything, assuming the Arabs admit that things are broken by them at the least, a very highly disputed and controversial thesis.

    I still think the US must go back in and REALLY REALLY fix the mess of potomia that it multiplied hundred folds. And to do that it should be prepared to remain for the long haul and not just to play theatrics with toppling status, and to jump like clowns aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln .


    Posted by Mustap | June 18, 2014, 2:09 pm
  105. In other words, he wants the US to reinstall a Sunni ruler in Iraq.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Posted by Vulcan | June 18, 2014, 2:15 pm
  106. Mission Accomplished: Saddam Apprehended


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2014, 2:40 pm
  107. Vulcan,

    You are so intuitive!! i was wondering why the USA? Why not call on the wise king to march his amazing band of soldiers to take over Iraq and not let those billions of dollars spent on rusted junk (oops armory) go to waste.

    I think the wise king is crapping his diaper lately.

    Posted by danny | June 18, 2014, 2:50 pm
  108. Akbar Palace,

    More theatrics, especially those that occurred in the past tense, will not help your ‘crusade’.

    Guess who said the following:

    “…did note that the job in Iraq was not complete, promising “difficult work” in Iraq “bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous,” he said.

    Later he added: “The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done.”

    Emphasis on the last phrase to be noted. More importantly, when and who wrote those words to the mouthpiece?

    Posted by Mustap | June 18, 2014, 2:55 pm

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