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Libya's ex-envoy to France dies in custody
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Page 4: Opinion
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4 22:32 JosephMendiola [436] 
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1 13:59 Steve White [253] 
1 19:12 newc [404] 
8 23:53 RandomJD [486] 
2 12:31 tipper [254] 
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Taliban eat into Afghanistan's core
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 13:02 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

Intel panel chair: 'Dangerous line' crossed in talks with Taliban
Posted by: Mike Ramsey || 02/04/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is haggling over danegeld for the Taliban really preferable to precipitous withdrawal?

The West should just leave Afghanistan, preferably after destroying whatever was built with Western aid after 2001. Tell the Afghans that there will be retaliation for every terror attack facilitated by Afghanistan.

Then we'll see whether the realists' claim that islamofascists can be deterred is actually true.
Posted by: Gluter Gurly-Brown9966 || 02/04/2012 5:40 Comments || Top||

#2  The Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee took aim Thursday at an Obama administration plan to transfer five prisoners out of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay as part of a package of negotiations with the Taliban.
The Taliban are playing Obama for a sucker. He is supposedly responding to a letter from bug-eye.
One official said Omar complained the US had not done enough to establish good faith for negotiations, such as arranging the release of Taliban prisoners held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Now they deny sending any letter.
Taliban deny sending letter to Obama
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 12:31 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Mark Steyn: So Obama wants to be his “brother’s keeper”? I have an idea for him!
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 14:33 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [314 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This biblical phrase is commonly misunderstood. Cain asked the question rhetorically, knowing that the answer was 'no.'
Posted by: Iblis || 02/04/2012 18:49 Comments || Top||

Iran well prepared for the worst
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 14:25 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [436 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They site CSBA as their source, yet if you visit the CSBA site they have an article "Why Obama Should Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Program".

Another spin from the Asian Times
Posted by: Fat Bob Unotch3711 || 02/04/2012 16:11 Comments || Top||

#2  For years now, the US should have had a program to demoralize the typical Iranian on the street to the very idea of nuclear weapons and aggressive war.

Though the government prohibits satellite dishes, they are still pretty common, and could be used to spread fear, paranoia, and most importantly accurate information about how corrupt and foul their government is.

A lot of it would be character assassination of Iran's leaders, going tabloid on them with doctored photos, allegations of foreign bank accounts, orgies, real button pushers. Create fights between allied leaders. All sorts of fun.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/04/2012 18:11 Comments || Top||

#3  inflation is rampant, elections are rigged, protests violently put down with foreign mercenaries and Basij, and the Mullahs keep getting richer. When their economy grinds to a halt, and it is, the people will have high gas prices, no food, and worthless money. Recipe for dangerous foreign efforts at distraction, and an internal war a la Syria
Posted by: Frank G || 02/04/2012 18:30 Comments || Top||

#4  The old political adage "THOU SHALL NOT SPEAK ILL OF ANOTHER POLITICAN" can be modified for Islam + Muslims as "THOU SHALL SUPPORT OR NOT SPEAK ILL OF ANOTHER MUSLIM", e.g. wafflings of the Arab League.

Iran is a Muslim + Oil State - IMO as long as it continues to publicly deny any intentions to dev NucWeaps, + does not initiate any foolish or unilateral Milaction(s) in the Gulf or agz Israel, KSA it will likely receive both moral + $$$ support from sympathetic Muslims.

Wid Pakistan continuing to close off NATO's domestic supply routes into Afghanistan, CAN THE econ troubled US-NATO + ISRAEL, etc. long refrain from engaging in war agz Iran???

The Bammer was heavily criticized for allegedly diverting Mainstream or US Voters' attention from econ morass vee the raid on Osama - Iff the US does get hit wid new RECESSION in 2012 as various Perts, Credit Agencies, etc. have forecasted, WILL OBAMA WAGE WAR ON IRAN TO AGAIN?DIVERT FROM THE ECONOMY???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/04/2012 22:32 Comments || Top||

Exposed: The Arab agenda in Syria
Pepe Escobar, so big grain of salt.
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 12:45 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's an interesting report. Big grain of salt, of course.

But would we really be surprised if the Muslim Brotherhood, with the House of Saud in the background, saw an opportunity to take down Pencilneck and decided to act on it? There's been bad blood between the Saudis and the Alawites for decades. The Alawites persecute the Sunnis in Syria, and one can count on the Muslim Brotherhood to stand up for the latter.

So Pepe may have a point: the trouble in Syria may not be a democratic uprising against the Assad and the Ba'ath Party but rather a tribal affair with the overriding narrative of "We're more Islamic than you!"
Posted by: Steve White || 02/04/2012 13:59 Comments || Top||

Presenting The Russian Naval Base In Tartus, Syria, Or Good Luck UN Security Council
Zero Hedge branches away from his usual economics beat to present some interesting history on the Soviet, er, Russian naval facility in Tartus, Syria. We need confirmation of the basic facts but it serves as a survey of what the Russians are doing, and thus what the Russians think is important to them in the Middle East.
Posted by: tipper || 02/04/2012 12:41 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [404 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They seemed quite steady on maintaining that base no matter what and I quote "You may have Israel and attack Iran, but never mess with Syria. Our Naval base is there."

I think given the current administrations tinkering (and flubbering up) they ought to take a break from it now. Not all the debris has settles and nothing is going well.
Posted by: newc || 02/04/2012 19:12 Comments || Top||

Why we should support the Syrian opposition, in spite of everything we know
Good op-ed piece by Joshua Stanton, the proprietor of One Free Korea, the go-to blog about North Korea and oppression in general. He has a more positive view on the events in Libya than I have and credits NATO with engendering more goodwill than I've seen, but I'd like Mr. Stanton to be right about this.

There is no question that, as Mr. Stanton says,
...the Assad family's legacy has been decades of poverty, oppression, torture, massacres, sectarian oligarchy, and the conjuring of pathological hatred for a neighbor that has repeatedly inflicted humiliating defeats on the Syrian Army.

Mr. Stanton advocates rapid development of close links with the Syrian opposition both to put an end to the civil war there and to keep Syria from turning to a Muslim Brotherhood-like organization to fill the gap in Syrian society. As with Libya, I'm not that optimistic -- once Pencilneck is gone, my bet is that the Syrian people will turn to militant Islam, not western liberalism, just as the Egyptians, Libyans, and Tunisians have done. In the end, the culture is Islamic, and in times of terrible turmoil people return to the culture they know.

But the best course for now is precisely what Mr. Stanton suggests, if only to end the suffering of the Syrian people and to keep the Middle East from exploding.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/04/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [486 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hate to sound cynical, but sometimes it seems that inflicted suffering on people in the Middle East is the only way to keep it from exploding. Without that, they tend to band together & go a-jihading.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 02/04/2012 0:29 Comments || Top||

#2  He’s wrong.

As I've said previously, we should not get involved in Syria. Frankly, if I *had* to pick a side in Syria’s internal strife, I would pick Assad.

Yep: I said it. I would pick Pencil Neck over the so-called Syrian opposition, which is quickly turning into a typical fundamentalist Sunni movement that is pitting itself against everybody else in the country (Kurds, Christians, Shia, Druze, Alawis, etc.). They’ve shown even less pro-democratic leanings than the Muslim Brotherhood. If the opposition wins, you can expect the butchery, displacement, and oppression on a mass scale – possibly even something along the lines of the Holocaust or the Armenian Genocide. If Assad wins, things suck for the Sunni but remain basically the same. He doesn’t want to wipe out millions of them. Hell, he’s been working on forcing his own people (the Alawi) into becoming pseudo-Sunni for years for Pan Arabist purposes. He’ll kill a few thousand as examples, but that’s it.

Syria has a population of 23 million people. Roughly 9 million of them aren’t Sunni, and aren’t supporting the opposition. What’s going to happen to them under a new, fundamentalist Sunni government? Not hard to figure out, is it?

From Wikipedia:

A striking feature of religious life in Syria is the geographic distribution of the religious minorities. Most Christians live in Damascus and Aleppo, although significant numbers live in Al-Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria, Tartous and Latakia. Nearly 90 percent of the Alawis live in Al-Ladhiqiyah Province in the rural areas of the Jabal an Nusayriyah; they constitute over 80 percent of the rural population of the province. The Jabal al-Arab/Jabal al-Druze, a rugged and mountainous region in the southwest of the country, is more than 90 percent Druze inhabited; some 120 villages are exclusively so. The Twelvers Shia's are concentrated between Homs and Aleppo; they constitute nearly 15 percent of Hamah Province. The Ismaili Shia's are concentrated in the Salamiyah region of Hamah Province; approximately 10,000 more inhabit the mountains of Al Ladhiqiyah Province. Most of the remaining Shia live in the region of Aleppo. The Jewish community is also centered in the Aleppo area, as are the Yazidis, many of whom inhabit the Jabal Siman and about half of whom live in the vicinity of Amuda in the al-Jazirah.

Charming, actually - and doomed if the opposition wins. We’ve seen that in Egypt already.
Posted by: Secret Master || 02/04/2012 2:31 Comments || Top||

#3  Secret Master, AH yes, Ditto. Egyptians and Libyans will suffer for years. Iran and Lebanon haven't turned out that well. There was a plan to promote instability in this area of the world. This allows for so much mischief. Brings back memories of the Shaw. I'm inclined to listen to the Russians on this. They are closer to this and want to keep their ally. That means a stable country. Many will leave this country or die because of one thing or another if Assad is deposed. Look at Egypt falling apart now. Western in many ways now appears to be lost.
Posted by: Dale || 02/04/2012 8:40 Comments || Top||

#4  How about the Israelis make a trade. Bring the Christians, Druze and so forth to the West Bank and Gaza and send all the Paleos to Syria.
Posted by: AlanC || 02/04/2012 9:58 Comments || Top||

#5  Works for me, Alan.
Posted by: Barbara || 02/04/2012 10:06 Comments || Top||

#6  Yes, support the Syrian opposition. Then the Syrian government. Then the opposition. Then ...
Posted by: Shimble Guelph5793 || 02/04/2012 12:48 Comments || Top||

#7  AlanC, do you really think the Syrian Christians would happily live under the governance of Juices, any more than Egyptian Copts would?
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/04/2012 18:36 Comments || Top||

#8  TW, please explain sometime. I don't know enough to understand why not. Surely Juices are better than what they've got?
Posted by: RandomJD || 02/04/2012 23:53 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Sat 2012-02-04
  Libya's ex-envoy to France dies in custody
Fri 2012-02-03
  Britain Appoints First Ambassador to Somalia in 21 Years
Thu 2012-02-02
  Three top terror leaders killed in the Philippines
Wed 2012-02-01
  US raids kill 15 militants in Yemen
Tue 2012-01-31
  12,000 BNP, Jamaat men charged with violence
Mon 2012-01-30
  Assad's family caught trying to escape the country, returned to Damascus
Sun 2012-01-29
  Nigerian military kills 11 militants in northeast
Sat 2012-01-28
  UN loses count on Syria killings
Fri 2012-01-27
  Sectarian clashes kill at least 22 in Yemen
Thu 2012-01-26
  Woman Dead as Bombs, Bullets Rain on Nigeria Police Station
Wed 2012-01-25
  SEALS Spring Two, Bag Nine
Tue 2012-01-24
  EU imposes sanctions on Iran oil
Mon 2012-01-23
  U.S. aircraft carrier goes through Strait of Hormuz without incident
Sun 2012-01-22
  Syrian Forces Kill More than 50 Civilian as Dissidents Clash with Troops
Sat 2012-01-21
  Terror attacks in Kano, Nigeria, kill at least 162

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