The End of the New Middle East

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Note from Steve Clemons. My colleague Nir Rosen who has been one of America’s most significant chroniclers of the Islamic dimensions of America’s war in the Middle East is now a regular contributer to The Washington Note. Please welcome him. And as always, the views he expresses are exclusively his own and not those necessarily of The Washington Note or mine. — Steve Clemons
When Israel was bombing Lebanon in 2006, killing its civilians and destroying its infrastructure, Condoleeza Rice celebrated this as the “birth pangs of the new Middle East,” a phrase that lives in infamy in Lebanon. The events of the last 24 hours in Lebanon were the death throes of the Bush plan for the new Middle East. In Iraq, instead of creating a democracy, the US introduced a civil war, sectarian militias, death squads and ethnic cleansing. It installed a series of ineffective dictators, Garner, Bremer, Allawi.
Then it surrendered to pressure from the sectarian Islamist Shiites it had empowered and agreed to elections, which of course ended in victory for sectarian Islamist Shiite militias who began slaughtering anybody they didn’t like, especially Sunnis. Then the US decided it had had enough of its puppet prime minister Jaafari, who was not proving obedient enough, so they forced him out and replaced him with another sectarian Shiite Islamist, Maliki, who also proved a disappointment to them. But though they threatened to remove him, they have backed him as he loses popularity and even attacks more popular Shiite movements like the Sadrists. Meanwhile the US has introduced new Sunni militias composed of thugs and former murderers. Its icon was Abu Risha, the slain leader of the Awakening council in the Anbar.
In Palestine, furious that Hamas won democratic and fair elections, the US (along with the Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Egyptians and others), backed the unpopular Fatah and Mahmud Abbas, a traitor to his own people, collaborating with their occupiers. As Fatah tortured its opponents Gaza was suffocated and the Palestinian people punished for their decision to take part in elections. As Fatah thugs attempted a coup in Gaza, Hamas thwarted this threat with a counter coup and easily defeated the American backed Palestinian militias.
In Somalia, the Americans backed a coalition of hated warlords to go after the much more popular Islamic Courts Union, in the name of the war on terror. The Islamic Courts rise was the first reason for optimism in Somalia, the first time after 14 attempts to set up a government and 15 years of civil war.
The Islamic Courts introduced peace and stability to Mogadishu and its environs, got rid of warlords and their militias who terrorized Somalis. Women were able to walk on the streets unharassed and exiled businessmen returned to rebuild the broken country. But it was an Islamist movement, and in the era of Bush, that means al Qaeda, so the US backed the war lords and its local proxy, the Ethiopians, who invaded Somalia and occupied Mogadishu and are now raping and killing civilians, while the Islamists radicalized and the situation in Somalia is worse than ever.
Things aren’t going very well in Afghanistan either, where Hamid Karzai, a weak puppet who controls nothing, relies on the Americans to back an every strengthening violent resistance.


In Lebanon, the Americans view Hizballah as a terrorist threat and have pressured their Sunni proxies not to compromise. Hizballah, the most popular movement by far among Lebanese Shiites, and very popular among other groups (not to mention throughout the region) was demanding a national unity government so that it could have a more equitable share of political power, but Hizballah, despite its military power, was not even asking for a a larger share for Shiites but instead it sought a larger share for its non Shiite allies in the opposition. This was in order to have a say in strategic issues and prevent the weapons of the resistance from being threatened, while also maintaining Lebanon outside the American and Israeli sphere of influence.
According to Amal Saad Ghorayeb, an expert on Shiite movements and on Lebanon, until recently attached to the Carnegie Center for International Peace Middle East Center: “US policy in Lebanon is underpinned by an overarching US Middle East strategy of reconfiguring the political map of the Middle East as we know it, aka, the “New Middle East” plan, formerly the “Greater Middle East Initiative” officially unveiled by Condi Rice at the start of the July War. The tactics change but the strategy remains the same: both in its earlier (promoting democracies) and most recent (supporting autocracies) incarnations. US strategy seeks political,military and economic domination of the region, while ensuring the security of Israel. Its chosen instrument for implementing this strategy is the “moderate”US-friendly client Arab regime.
Given its dissatisfaction with the results of democratic elections in the region, the Bush administration continues to support autocratic regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, while de-democratizing existing democracies in Lebanon and Palestine. In the latter case, it is cultivating the latest breed of democracy, “the democratic regime,”a new form of government which is popularly challenged, constitutionally disputed and derives its legitimacy from outside powers. The formation and preservation of regimes such as Siniora’s (the Lebanese Prime Minister) has necessitated a US policy of promoting instability and national disunity, in short, a policy of”constructive instability.”
The Americans thought that they could pick a proxy and get him to rule Lebanon. But Lebanon is too complicated for them, and they didn’t know that no single group can rule Lebanon. The Americans along with their Saudi allies backed the creation of sectarian Sunni militias in Lebanon, some of whom were even trained in Jordan. Their ideology consisted of anti Shiite sectarianism. But these Sunni militiamen proved a complete failure, and America’s proxies in Lebanon barely put up a fight, despite their strident anti Shiite rhetoric. Now it is clear that Beirut is firmly in the hands of Hizballah and nothing the Americans can do will dislodge or weaken this popular movement, just as they cannot weaken the Sadrists in Iraq or Hamas in Gaza.
Jordanian training, which was provided to the Sunni militias in Lebanon, the Fatah militias in Palestine and even Iraqi security forces, has proven inadequate. Note that in Iraq, the Iraqi security forces are either sectarian death squads or are unable to fight, and rely on the Americans.
Say what you will about Hizballah and its allies, whether you sympathize with them or oppose them, it is clear that they cannot be dislodged, that they are an integral part of Lebanon and the Middle East. They proved this when they won the war of 2006 and proved this once again yesterday when they dispatched pro American and Saudi militias with ease and seized control of Beirut.
If one dreams of a Hizballah without weapons, or a Hamas that does not engage in violent resistance, or any sort of peaceful resolution in the Middle East, then one has to begin at the beginning, with the Israeli occupation of Palestine (as well as a little bit of Syrian territory).

– Nir Rosen

Comments

40 comments on “The End of the New Middle East

  1. Daniel says:

    i m a lebanese citizin, and i shared in fighitng against goverment fighters.
    i m in the lebanese opposition, we have all the rights to do what we did in may 2008.
    we are fighitng the us plan from 1982 when israel occupied lebanon, but usa doesnt understand that lebanon is different than all arab countries.
    we kill the new middle east plan and make it down and no back.
    i want from all eurupean and usa citizins to understand why we did that, the goverment and its fighetrs starts to kill us from july 2006 during israel war. then they killed us in streets in protest, they kill poor childs when they protest for food and for their rights, they kill and kill and in the last thing they make the red line fault, they introduce that hizbollah is a terroritst group in lebanon by taking the 2 decisions in the goverment,
    so we have to defend in our selves in all ways.
    by the way the media fegured alot of lied things that we killed people and attack homes, thats is not true. we fight man to man and face to face with every person hold a weapon and after that all we captured delivered to the Lebanese army.
    in their media in lebanon and ksa and london and usa they showed a lot of things didnt happened, we saw them pay to people to say that hizbollah fhiters killed the women and burn houses.
    we said that all that is including the new MEA plan. and we will fall it down totally and finally and let usa dream to go back to lebanon.
    with all my respect and regards

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  2. Rowan Berkeley says:

    The Wurmsers are on the case:
    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=42874
    Experts, activists and journalists blasted Hezbollah’s violence in Lebanon and said the Lebanese government and the world should take tougher stances in confronting the group, during a panel at the Hudson Institute on Tuesday … The event saw the participation of Hussain Abdul-Hussain, Washington correspondent of Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai; Tony Badran, fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; Hassan Mneimneh, fellow at the Iraq Foundation; and David Wurmser, former senior Middle East advisor at the Office of the Vice President. The panel was moderated by Meyrav Wurmser of the Hudson Institute. Lebanese Ambassador to the US Antoine Shadid was scheduled to participate in the event but later declined. He sent a note saying he would not join and insisted his announcement be read before the audience …

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  3. David says:

    Thanks for that link, Pauline. I used to follow Charley Reese when he was a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. I frequently disagreed with his conservative policy positions, but I valued his intellectual honesty and intelligence. I also remember a very moving column of his in which he both acknowledged Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions and sincerely apologized for the columns he’d written attacking King and the civil rights movement.
    I think Charley must be a Libertarian, and I think he might have his anti-Iraq War roots in the Republican isolationism of the 30s. That might account for his statement that Israel is free to attack Iran if it wants, but without our help or approval. But he is dead right in his take on what John McCain said, and on what a McCain presidency would mean.

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  4. Rowan Berkeley says:

    All the english language Lebanese news sites and blogs I have been following over the last few days (except al Manar, of course) represent comprador factions, and are full of spitting and cursing about how the USA is leaving them in the lurch to face Persian savagery and the death of tourism – uh – civilisation. The Lebanon Daily Star has good things by Rami Khoury, though.
    I find it helpful to think of Saad Hariri as a sort of intended Berlusconi type figure – a “liberal” media mogul who is regarded by the neocons as the equivalent of a knight on the fourth or fifth row in chess, able to jump all over the opponent’s rear. However, he seems to have lost a lot of credibility and they are talking about anointing Geagea instead, who never had the “liberal” patina to begin with.
    Debbie Schlussel’s “exclusive sources” are claiming that Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been found fighting alongside Hezbollah in the mountains surrounding Beirut. I won’t be surprised if that claim turns up on CNN and in the NYT tomorrow.
    CNN are pushing the confessional line like mad. It reminds me of what the Brits did before they quit India – deliberately provoke confessional genocide. Hopefully in these days of decentralised communications such horrors are no longer quite so easy.

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  5. David Sketchley says:

    loola. Please do try and inform yourself before showing your ignorance in public.
    Firstly, the majority of Arab countries including Lebanon do not accept Israel passports. Second, according to Israeli law, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen are considered “Enemy countries” and an Israeli citizen may not visit them without a special permit issued by the Israeli minister of the interior. Therefore, an Israeli who visits these countries, be it with a foreign passport or an Israeli one, may be prosecuted when coming back to Israel.
    Facts loola not prejudices…

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  6. pauline says:

    Israel’s Tehran connection
    Richard Silverstein
    April 4, 2008 12:00 PM
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/richard_silverstein/2008/04/israels_tehran_connection.html
    If you’ve ever wondered about the definition of hypocrisy you’ll find the answer right here.
    Last month the Swiss foreign minister visited Iran and, together with President Ahmadinejad, attended the signing of a multi-billion euro contract for Iran to supply Switzerland with large amounts of natural gas over the next 25 years.
    The US State Department immediately condemned the deal and said it would be investigating whether it breached the Iran Sanctions Act. Israel complained too, describing the Swiss minister’s visit to Tehran as an “act unfriendly to Israel”. Various Jewish groups also joined in the protests, including the World Jewish Congress.
    This righteous indignation was entirely predictable but more than a little odd nevertheless. On March 30, the Swiss newspaper Sonntag retaliated with the revelation that Israel, supposedly observing an ironclad boycott of all things Iranian, has been buying Iranian oil for years.
    The story is in German but Israeli journalist Shraga Elam has provided me with a translation which I’ll quote from here.
    “Israel imports Iranian oil on a large scale even though contacts with Iran and purchasing of its products are officially boycotted by Israel. Israel gets around the boycott by having the oil delivered via Europe. A reliable Israeli energy newsletter, EnergiaNews, reported this last week [March 18] …
    “EnergiaNews got the information about the Iran trade from sources with ties to the management of Israeli Oil Refineries Ltd … According to EnergiaNews the Iranian oil is liked in Israel because its quality is better than other crude oils.
    “The report by EnergiaNews editor Moshe Shalev states that the Iranian oil reaches various European ports, mainly in Rotterdam. It is bought by Israelis and the necessary European bill of lading and insurance papers are supplied. Then it is transported to Haifa in Israel. The importer is the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co (EAPC), which keeps its oil sources secret.”
    EAPC was established in 1968 as a joint Israeli-Iranian company to transport oil from Iran to Europe. After the fall of the Shah, Iran ceased to play an active role in its affairs and there are ongoing legal disputes between the two partners.
    The Swiss report continued:
    “It is not clear if the Iranian exporters know about Israeli purchases of their oil. At the other end, the Israeli buyers and governmental offices are well aware of where the high-grade oil comes from, although it is a blatant defiance of the boycott. The EnergiaNews article even made it through Israeli censorship, which asked only for some changes in the text. The fact that the report cleared the censors increases the credibility of the information. In the past, such reports were forbidden.
    “When questioned by Sonntag, an energy expert of one of the leading Israeli papers confirmed the EnergiaNews report: Israel has been importing Iranian oil for many years. The expert stressed, however, that the purchases were made on the free market and not directly from Iran.”
    Sonntag quoted a spokesman for Oil Refineries Ltd as denying that his company imports and processes Iranian oil. However, Sonntag pointed to a report in Haaretz newspaper last October which said that an Israeli energy company called Paz would be refining Iranian oil and supplying it to the Palestinian Authority from the start of this year.
    This begs the question: if Iran is, as Bibi Netanyahu argues, an existential threat to Israel, why does the government allow such trade? Would Israel have the US attack Iran’s nuclear programme and provoke a potential region-wide conflict while it cannot seem to wean itself from high quality Iranian crude? You’d think if Israelis are cowering in fear from an Iranian bomb and the arch antisemite Ahmadinejad, they wouldn’t want to trade with such an enemy.
    When is a boycott not a boycott? When it’s in your naked economic interest to circumvent it, apparently. But one should ask: if Israel doesn’t honour its self-declared boycott of Iran, why should the rest of the world honour its boycott of Hamas and Gaza? If Israel doesn’t honour its own boycott, then why should members of Congress vote with AIPAC when it proposes a measure that even Israel honours only in the breach?
    It’s interesting to note from a discussion (in Hebrew) on the Kedma website that Israel does not formally define Iran as an “enemy nation” and therefore in a strictly legal sense such trade is permissible. Ironically, Iran too has a boycott against Israel in place and is violating its own measures in that regard. Furthermore, the same commenter notes that Israel last week dismissed attempts to engage Syria in a diplomatic process as a failure because Syria refuses to renounce its ties with Iran. Do I hear the word “hypocrisy”?

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  7. JohnH says:

    The Bushies think their greatest contribution to warfare has been to replace the “know your enemy” axiom with “imagine your enemy as you’d like him to be.”
    As to attacking Iran: “It will not be a picnic for the U.S. to attack Iran. That would push oil to $300 a barrel, with severe consequences. And Iran would find ways of retaliating…Those people in Washington, D.C., do not do their homework. The U.S. ‘empire,’ is not behaving rationally. It is not capable of taking the right decisions at the right time from the point of view of the rest of the world.” –Ahmed Sheikh, editor in chief of Al-Jazeera’s Arabic service.
    http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/12/8908/
    Well said by someone who has forgotten more about the Middle East that Bush/Cheney have ever known.

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  8. TonyForesta says:

    Nice work pauline.
    America is ignorant of the social, political, and religious dynamics of the ME. That ignorance combined with centuries of tribal divisions, conflicts, retributions, and sectarian pursuits makes a potentially combustive mix. Add to this unholy concoction the otherworldly intermingling of Israel, and Jeruselam, and the point of convergence of the three main patriarchal religious orders – the roiling furies, and wild clashings of the ME are exposed as chaotic, exceedingly complex, ethnocentric, or tribalcentric intensive, and visciously bloody.
    Wise leaders are our only hope. The brutes and barbarians piloted the entire world into a fierce storm. The sea’s are turbulent, many will drown, or be lost, pirates cruise the boundaries, tyrants rule the kingdoms, warmakers, warmaking, and war are heralded and glorified as noble if not numinous, – while peacemakers and the concept of peace are slimed and dismissed as the rantings of unpatriotic freaks and funnyboyz.
    Tragically, – there are no wise leaders. Obama is the lesser of threeevils for America.
    McCain is a vote for the fascists, or vulcans, or neocons, – the unholy underpinnings of the Bush government – and the unabated perpetuation of the exact same abusive, failing, criminal policies and practices, and wanton profiteering of the Bush government. McCain is Bush3.
    Hillary will have her well deserved and important place in the democratic leadership, – just not for now at least as president.
    America meets yet another epic crossroad. Who are we? What do we want as a nation and a people? How do we define America, or what exactly it means to be American?
    Thefew who benefited under the Bush government policies have failed us. They individually or as cabals, or klans, or oligarchs may have successfully obscouned, commandeered, and funnelled obscene imponderable wealth into offshore accounts – but the rest of America is suffering serious economic impacts, effecting the lower eschalons of America’s economic strata in potentially devastating ways. Thefew are singularly afforded unnatural largess from the government, and certain immunities and protections exclusively, – while themany are ruthlessly stripped of rights, freedoms, and protections, not to mention billions in collective middle class and poor peoples wealth.
    Like our Soviet brothers not long ago, – American warmongers, profiteers and all those who aid and abet the bruting and prosecution of warmaking, and profiteering wantonly from from warmaking – are bankrupting America.
    Sans all the neocon Bush government bruting, blandishments, and partisan parables, – America simply cannot afford to pirate and commandeer control of the worlds oil supply, and conquer, dominate and rule the world through military force.
    The new ME is a far more treacherous, complex, divisive, costly, and bloody region now, then in 2000. The world for that matter is hotter, there are more smouldering fires, and wider wilder tectonic divisions. America is off the rails, and must first repair our track and right out train before we can effectively conquer, occupy, maraud, and rule – I mean democratize the ME.
    All America has now are sticks; hypersuperior weapons and private warmakers, and the worlds largest most monstrous warmaking machine. The ME is moving in directions and in ways America has little ability to influence – other than war.

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  9. Beth in VA says:

    You know you don’t have to sugar-coat the news for us like this, go ahead and tell us straight-up how we’re doing in the Mid-East.
    Welcome Nir! (cool name)

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  10. rich says:

    And . . there goes the notion that Iran’s the evil hand causing trouble in Iraq. (I’ll type this slow b/c I know some cannot read fast: Iran’s not the country occupying Iraq.)
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2008/05/iraq-the-elusiv.html
    “Not once did Bergner point the finger at Iran for any of these weapons and munitions, which is a striking change from just a couple of weeks ago . .
    . . But neither the United States nor Iraq has displayed any of the alleged arms to the public or press, and lately it is looking less likely they will. . .
    A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran.”
    This is why most here knew the Syria-N.Korea claim was just Lie Maintenance.
    Where’s the evidence? Just as Tony Blair waved that 28-page ‘dossier’ like ole Joe McCarthy, the loss of credibility was instant. Blair didn’t present any evidence either, and the dossier included the graduate thesis of an American Masters student.
    Worse, after finding no WMDs, the Brits cross-examined their intel officers, who said they’d relied on American secret sources whom they weren’t allowed to question or examine. Couldn’t be helped; they were let off the hook.
    Oddly, when the Americans cross-examined their intel officers, they asserted that they’d relied on British secret sources—whom they weren’t allowed to question or examine. Not your fault; they were let off the hook.
    How convenient.
    What’s the point of being an extra-special double-super secret guy, if you can’t look at the most important secret stuff? Or assess the intel that took us to war? Not much.
    But then, it’s not their job. It’s Congress’s job to weigh the evidence for war.
    That’s just the starkest historical evidence that the reasonable practice of secrecy, taken beyond its scope, fetishized and misused as a trump card, can only undermine and corrode and then destroy first the national values and then the national security it was intended to protect.
    Keep in mind, the Iran claims and the Syria claims all occured in the context of a massive Pentagon and TV broadcaster psy-ops campaign targeting the America people. We all heard it and we knew it when we heard it—they all use hte same turns of phrase. ‘Things are looking better.’ ‘The situation is improving.’ ‘The surge is working.’
    Glenn Greenwald lays out the documents that detail the Pentagon’s policy–and the broadcast networks policy–of lying to the American people:
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/
    Moon Over Alabama has some great pieces on both Lebanon and Iraq:
    “Despise Not Your Enemy”:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/05/an-imperial-les.html
    Good stuff there on the ethnic cleansing in Bagdhad, carried out under the direction of American troops.
    Hear that?
    That’s: ethnic cleansing.

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  11. Gene says:

    Some are calling for the establishment of a trade zone in the area of Palestine in order to create peace in the region:
    http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/gemmer/gGBscX
    In this way an ‘Arab Tiger’ may develop. Is it worth a try?

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Apparently McCain feels there are enough ignorant yahoos out there that still buy cowboy talk, even though this little pissant Bush has proven the sheer idiocy of such grandstanding.
    Trouble is, he’s right. There are truly legions of Fox News nodders out there, too damned ignorant and misinformed to have the sense to reject such political chest pounding.
    Lets roll, Bubba.

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  13. pauline says:

    May 10, 2008
    Senator Rambo
    by Charley Reese
    Sen. John McCain has said he will be Hamas’ worst nightmare. It’s a juvenile thing to say. The line sounded more convincing when Sly Stallone said it in one of his Rambo movies.
    What does the senator propose to do to Hamas? Refuse to recognize the Hamas members who are the legitimately elected representatives of the Palestinians? It’s already been done. Assassinate Hamas’ leadership? The Israelis do that every chance they get. Put Hamas’ elected officeholders in prison? Done that. Seal off the Gaza Strip and impose collective punishment on a million innocent people? The Israelis have done that. Set up roadblocks? Done. Periodically attack the Palestinians with advanced weapons? Done.
    What Sen. McCain is much more likely to do as president is become America’s worst nightmare by continuing the failed policies of the Bush administration. Here is a man who has publicly admitted that he knows nothing about economics and who confuses Sunnis and Shi’ites. What are the two major problems facing America? Economic troubles and a war in the Middle East involving Shi’ites and Sunnis. Sen. McCain finished near the bottom of his class at Annapolis and launched his political career by dumping the wife who stood by him during his imprisonment and marrying big money. Excuse me if I’m not overwhelmed with his resume.
    see –
    http://www.antiwar.com/reese/?articleid=12816

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  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Interesting that these jackasses that choose to denigrate Rosen don’t seem to be able to offer any substantrive rebuttal to Rosen’s points. Instead, they just offer sputter, spew, and insult.
    I would like to invite “loola” to gift us with his point by point rebuttal of Rosen’s observations. Absent that, I would like to offer my heart-felt advice that he go screw himself.
    And speaking of “snakes”, perhaps this viper “loola” will elaborate on how Rosen was “denying his Israeli citizenship”.
    Or not.

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  15. loola says:

    Rosen is a mediocrity. He came into Lebanon with a US passport- denying his Israeli citizenship and sneaking in like a snake. If the American press wasn’t so full of discrimination against non-jewish reporters, maybe we’d get some competent analysis. The guy cant even speak Arabic. Give us a break- like maybe an Arab-American reporter for once.

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  16. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    Thank you, Nir, for your observations.
    These posts are an absolute necessity these days.
    And thanks to Steve, too, for bringing Nir on board. This blog is getting more interesting all of the time. It’s becoming a “must read” on the Middle East.

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  17. Bartolo says:

    I’m really beginning to fear that, one way or the other, John McCain will “take office” next year just like aWol did in 2000.

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  18. JohnH says:

    Girardi’s post about the US threatening Iran strikes me as disturbingly analogous to Siniora’s threats to Hezbollah. The NSC has clearly not thought this through. An attack on Iran today; $200 per barrel oil tomorrow. The administration seems intent on winning battles, now that it has totally lost the ability to win wars. To make matters worse, the Bushies seem intent on going down shooting, and bringing the rest of us down with them.
    “Apres nous, le deluge.”

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  19. John Shreffler says:

    Jean,
    Here’s the link. I failed to get the link to work here when I posted
    and there’s no preview feature to the posts here:
    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/05/09/war-with-iran-
    might-be-closer-than-you-think/

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  20. DonS says:

    Indeed, partisan approaches are meaningful only when the apparatus of government functions. The Congress has shown itself unable to exercise control; mostly it has been overtly complicit in war and more war.
    So we are left with the shadow boxing of candidates who are either cheerleaders for more war or impotent shoulder shruggers.
    I think many if not most who post here are aware of the partisan charade with the excepiton of a few who are clearly idedntified with politics as if it mattered.
    It is incredible that we sit and watch the fascist plan unroll again. Helpless bystanders in a used-to-be country.

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The most inept, corrupt, and evil Presidential Administration in the history of the United States has been allowed, through executive fiat, to give itself unprecedented powers, and remove itself from the oversight and controls of Congress and constitutional checks and balances.
    In every sense of the word, we now live in a dictatorship, where Congress is little more than a stage production, with no powers or abilities.
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/05/continuity-of-government-planning-has.html
    It occurs to me, when reading the comments here, as well as the commentaries of Steve’s contributors, that the majority of you think we are approaching a point where the Executive Branch is no longer controllable or answerable to any checks and balances. In fact, such an opinion is based in denial. The truth is that we have long since passed that point.
    So, while these pathetic presidential hopefuls backstab and nip at hamstrings, feeding the American public an endless litany of trivia, posturing, and petty vindictiveness, the Bush/Cheney criminal collective rolls forward on its path to global disaster. When the bombs fall on Tehran, and this GWOT debacle morphs into a global catastrophe of epic proportions, with millions, possibly billions, dead, how much are tax holidays, health insurance issues, and rogue pastors going to matter to us?
    Our failure, these last eight years, to hold our government accountable, has cost us dearly, and it is doubtful our nation will recover, or loosen the grasp on power that these fanatics have managed to cede themselves.
    If they wish to bomb Iran, there is nothing you, or I, or Congress, can do about it. It is out of our control, as they are no longer bound by law, and they no longer represent the will of the people.
    So when you see these fucking cowards Obama or Hillary standing at the stump, please bear in mind that they are not knights in shining armor, riding to our rescue, but instead, they are ineffective and actionless marionettes, that have stood idly by as our nation was slid out from underneath us by fanatics, criminals, monsters.

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  22. Jean Harris says:

    Posted by John Shreffler @ May 10, 10:42AM said:
    “Philip Giraldi has heard that the NSC has approved Cheney’s plan to bomb an IRGC barracks near Tehran, with Bush having yet to sign off on it.”
    Do you have a link for this? My Google-fu seems to be weak in finding anything.

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  23. george in Toronto says:

    Middle east has been invaded countless times over the past 100 years. Israel was planted as an attack/watch dog. The Germans had the same idea.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKMOmDaptzA
    Back in 1936 in Germany–the regime hardened the folks for war–unemployment,high taxes, inflation–the same is happening today–planned for WWIII.
    Even if peace between Israel and Palistine does come about–the area will always boil over.
    Not peace but Israel/USA wants piece of all the arab countries

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  24. Don Bacon says:

    With this constant blaring about the US bombing Iran Revguard training areas and barracks they’d be wise to sleep and train elsewhere. Probably that has occurred to them, but martyrdom may be appealing. Militaries always glorify the Ultimate Sacrifice.
    Meanwhile there are three (including one Brit) carrier strike groups in the Gulf and two Marine Expeditionary units plus a third on the way. Some are pointing to the several Revguard-occupied Gulf islands as ripe for the picking. Of course all those big grey ships are ripe targets for Iranian guided missiles so there you go.

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  25. John Shreffler says:

    Philip Giraldi
    has heard that the NSC has approved Cheney’s plan to bomb an
    IRGC barracks near Tehran, with Bush having yet to sign off on it.
    Coming soon, Lots of other signs are showing the same picture.

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  26. jhm says:

    Since it is in the light of our obsession with Iran that most of the
    news of HAMAS and hezbollah (not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan
    and Pakistan) is portrayed, I suggest that Iran’s ties, real and
    perceived, need to be addressed before any headway can be made
    on having rational discussions on these topics (at least in the US).
    Until we have base truth on Iran’s role, all debate will devolve into
    whether one is blind to the dangers of Iranian hegemony.

    Reply

  27. jon says:

    Thank you Mr. Rozen for this overview. Hard to quibble with any
    of it, and my suggestions would be more to supplement the
    brevity needed for your piece to be digestible. I might have
    added a bit about Darfur, British and NATO participation, oil
    economics, Syria, Pakistan, and the Iranian nuclear program.
    The main point, I think, is that Bush’s foreign policy was always
    more of a fever dream than a workable congerie of policies and
    tactics. As those errors of theory have become compounded by
    the predictable responses of various groups refusing to accept
    victimhood, and by the errors and incompetence of the US in
    nearly all military and administrative matters, the response of
    the US has been to redouble those failed efforts and to expand
    the conflict(s).
    At this point it seems that the US will be able to accomplish the
    reinforcement of regional and national identities, the elevation
    of Islam as the primary guarantor of social and national unity,
    the division of societies based on religious and ethnic lines, and
    national identity clarified in distinction and opposition to
    western democracies and the US. I don’t believe that was what
    was intended.
    If your child wrecks the family car, the usual response is not to
    mortgage the house in order to buy him an expensive new,
    larger and more powerful car that he can use without
    supervision. But this is precisely what the US continues to do.
    This is not beneficial to the US’s long or short term interests, has
    been immensely destructive to the people and nations of the
    Middle East, and will not assist the development of democracy in
    those countries or assure the supply of oil to the US.
    It is hard to imagine how we could have arrived at a worse point,
    except that we seem insistent on compounding our mistakes.

    Reply

  28. liz says:

    And what was incorrect about what Dr. Jeremiah Wright said about the chickens comin home to roost?
    Goodness, it is not our business to be installing governments in other countries and we don’t ever want another country installing a government here.

    Reply

  29. Alan says:

    Nir Rosen comes to this overview with a cold and practical eye. Here in the US we have our views filtered through think tanks that exist to purvey anti-Palestine propaganda in the guise of studies. This is matched by equally tendentious stuff emitted from Damascus. For as long a I can remember US policy towards Israel and Palestine is intimately involved with our dometic politics. So why should we expect any Secretary of State to manage an even handed policy concerning the Israel and the ME? Alan Dershowitz would get spitting mad.

    Reply

  30. TonyForesta says:

    Gripping commentary Mr. Clemons. The elitist and out of touch pipedreams framed by Rice, and the Bush government neocon cabals are proven costly, bloody FAILURES. Democratizing the ME, – if it is possible – will never be won by, or through military force. Imposing democracy on foreign nations through military force, or through proxy despots is TYRANNY, not democracy. The democratic elections in Palestine did not go the Bush governments way, so the elections were effectively nullified by backing a US chosen leadership that did not win the majority support of the Palestinian population. Israel’s actions in Syria, (swept off the radar after two newscycles) did not involve America.
    The ME is a complex dynamic and furious inferno of conflicting sectarian, religious, economic, and strategic interests that cannot be won through military force. The solutions in the ME are political in nature, and as long as this or that party resorts to military force as the primary means of enforcing positions, – the region will continue to boil and bubble, in toil and trouble.
    America percieves the world through the glass darkly, framed in the FALSE and deceptive babel of the Bush government.
    From the Lebonese or Palestinian or Iraqi, or Iranian perspective, – America under the Bush government is the bloodythirsty lawless marauding “great satan”.
    The socalled neocons, and the Bush government cling to their guns and religion and foolishly imagine that Americans will willingly support the tyranny, predations, and wanton profiteering of the socalled neocons, and the Bush government, because Bush talks to god in the WH, and the leaders wear flagpins. Ignoring all the while the terrible bloody, costly, noendinsight costs that the American people are forced to hazard and endure.
    We all want peace on earth and good will towards men, – but that goal will never be won by deceptively selling wars, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, erecting puppet governments, marauding the victim nations resources, and profiteering in, and from the perfidious process.
    The neocons and Bush government pipedreams have FAILED miserably.
    Iran won Iraq. Hesbollah, and Hamas are legitimate political forces in their respective communities.
    Each side has specific objectives and ends that drive each constituency toward realization of those objectives and ends.
    Killing each other only exacerbates the conflicts.
    What is required now is political leadership with the strength, wisdom, and courage to face these conflicts and work toward resolving them peaceably, (a process which quite obviously precludes and involvement with the predatory, criminals, traitors, and fiends in the Bush government or socalled neocan cabals).
    America’s current leadership is a ruthless crime syndicate focused on select crime families individual off shore profits and nothing else.
    The rest of the world holds to far more tribal concerns. America either recognizes that other people on this earth desire to operate and conduct their respective societies in ways that benefit their own tribes and populations, and not thefew select cabals, klans, cronies, and oligarchs commandeering the American government seeking to control and dominate those disperate societies.
    Good luck disarming Hesbollah.
    Good luck disarming the Madi army.
    Good luck imposing democracy on the ME with the terrible swift sword of America’s hypersuperior military.
    Good luck destroying all of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, or preventing Iran from retaliating in some unknown, unknown way for attacking a soveriegn nation without just cause, or provacation, and based on stoved piped, single sources, unvetted, and dodgey Bush government neocon hype and patent lies.
    If America is going to attack Iran, – the onus is hard on the neocons and the Bush government to PROVE the necessity in public.
    Mind you, anything the Bush government or socalle neocons brute in innately suspect and should and will not be afforded one nanoparticle of the peoples goodfaith, goodwill, respect, or trust.
    The socalle neocons and the Bush government have absolutely zero credibility, and cannot and should not be trusted to unilaterally hurl America into another bloody, costly, noendinsight war and excuse for wanton profiteering in any other ME nation.
    The ME is realigning. America is severely damaged and tarnished in perspective of the global community. Repairing this damage, redressing that tarnished perspective is the critical work America must begin to undertake.
    We’re five trillion dollars in debt, our military is stressed and strained and cannot claim victory in any arena, (Iraq, Afganistan, or the socalled neverendingwaronterror), our once more perfect union is fiercely divided, and the seperation between thefewhaves’ and themanyhavenots is wildly expanding. The neocon, Bush government Pax Americana pipedreams are miserable costly, bloody, terrible, noendinsight horrorshows and cataclysmic FAILURES. It is time for real accountability in America, and real change.
    If not, – buckle up and place your tray in the locked and upright position, – because we are about to enter some turbulence.

    Reply

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    Reply

  32. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    In my view,the Nil Rosen’s political correctitude of Middle East needs no further verification of the facts. The events taking place from the very inception of American incorporated agenda of the new Mideast, the US has lost and is continuously going to lose all meanings of the so- called Middle East Project by having nothing positive in hand regarding US’s dictated Palestine Policy, the Iraq policy and the Afghanistan policy.

    Reply

  33. Badtux says:

    “She (Clinton) stays in officially till the convention. To pick up the pieces if he (Obama) becomes indisposed.”
    Indisposed? INDISPOSED? Like Bobby Kennedy became indisposed?
    Oh man, that’s a motive that I *hadn’t* considered for Hillary staying in the race… and wish I hadn’t :-(.

    Reply

  34. G Hazeltine says:

    This litany of catastrophe, incomplete in fact, is the neocon’s work.
    And for them, not a catastrophe. Thank you Mr. Clemons for
    posting this. Particularly now, because they are not yet finished.

    Reply

  35. CeeHussein says:

    I see that the US radicals are in control.
    Mr Malley, a respected commentator on Middle Eastern issues and part of President Clinton’s negotiating team at the Camp David talks, has come under attack in recent months from right-wing bloggers. Yesterday, asked if Obama campaign was aware of his contact with Hamas, he said: “They know who I am but I don’t think they vet everyone in a group of informal advisers.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3897414.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=2015164

    Reply

  36. Linda says:

    It has been clear to any half-way informed person (even many of us who are far from foreign policy experts), that for at least the past 40 years there will not be anything approximating peace in the Middle East until the Israel-Palestine problem is resolved.

    Reply

  37. David says:

    Thank you, Nir Rosen, for throwing some credible commentary into the mix of what passes for reporting on the Middle East. Condi Rice is, at best, a geopolitical dilletante, and at worst a geopolitical moron. But then if you are going to be the secretary of state in an administration as misguided and oblivious of anything outside their bubblized view of the world, it behooves you to drink large quantities of the neocon koolaid. What is a real hoot is that Condi is considered a moderate in that crowd, a voice of reason. I guess compared to the idiot-in-chief and his sidekick Bush, it might be possible to see her that way. But compared to people with insight, she is what she always was: incompetent, and destructively so.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    Hurry! Arrange another loan from China! More cluster bombs for Israel! The triumph of Democracy(TM) is inevitable!
    Oh, and don’t forget the bulldozers. They’ll be needed to dispose of any trouble makers who spew nonsense about the will of the people…

    Reply

  39. rapier says:

    Rice’s New Middle East was always pie in the sky. They gave it a shot but it didn’t work. Not that it had much chance to.
    So it’s on to plan B. Well really plan A but they tried B first. Waiting for the inflation to kick in, and the sentiment to build for what needs to be done. Tens of millions of dead Arab and Persian Muslims. Perhaps hundreds of millions. Whatever it takes to get fuller control of the oil. As a bounus they get a Greater Isreal.
    Hillary is on board of course. Obaman? Who knows? That is what frightens them so about him. She stays in officially till the convention. To pick up the pieces if he becomes indisposed. After that it gets a lot more complicated.
    Peak oils brother is peak protein.

    Reply

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