“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yemen and Africa - The New Front?

Egypt responds to Saudi appeal for special forces with 'polite no'

ABU DHABI — Egypt has shelved a request by Saudi Arabia for troops to battle Iranian-backed Shi'ite rebels from Yemen.

Arab diplomatic sources said Egypt has refused to respond to a Saudi request for special operations forces that could search and destroy mountain lairs of the Believing Youth in the southern Arab kingdom.

The sources said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has told Saudi leaders he would examine Riyad's request, but that Cairo was fighting its own insurgency groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

"It was a polite no," a diplomat said.

"The Saudis are simply not equipped to fight such a war, and with the exception of Jordan nobody is helping them," another diplomatic source said. "The Americans are advising Saudi troops, but they don't know the region."

So far, Jordan has sent hundreds of elite combat forces to help battle the Believing Youth, the sources said. But the Jordanians were not said to have achieved the Saudi goal to repel incursions by the Yemeni rebels, who have also taken over several border villages. At least 20,000 people have fled more than 240 villages in southern Saudi Arabia.
The sources said the Saudi military has been hard-pressed to defeat the offensive by the Iranian-backed Believing Youth in the Arab kingdom. They said the Shi'ite rebels were using mountain strongholds along the 1,500-kilometer Saudi-Yemeni border to penetrate deep into Saudi Arabia and reach the huge Shi'ite population in the oil-rich Eastern Province.

On Dec. 22, Mubarak held talks with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyad during a session said to focus on the Shi'ite rebellion. In the 1960s, Egypt contributed thousands of troops to the Saudi war against Yemen.

On Dec. 22, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled Bin Sultan reported Saudi casualties in the war against the Believing Youth. Khaled said 73 Saudis have been killed, 400 injured and 26 others missing during clashes with the Shi'ite rebels.

"They have 24 hours to surrender, or we will destroy them," Khaled said.


  1. Al-Qaeda has relocated to Africa

    Melanie Phillips rebuts the idea that the Islamists like Mutallab are a reaction to Western provocations.

    It was while at school in Toga that Abdulmutallab reportedly adopted the most belligerent version of Islam. As a fully fledged Islamic extremist, he was naturally received with open arms in Londonistan, where he was further radicalised to terrorism before being kitted out in Yemen with the latest accessories of mass murder.

    He is first and foremost a religious fanatic — and the crucial context for his extremism is Africa. Radical Islamists in countries such as Abdulmutallab’s Nigeria, Somalia or the Sudan have been steadily butchering, ethnically cleansing or brutally converting Christians and other ‘infidels’, imposing sharia law at gunpoint and radicalising the continent to the cause of Islamic holy war.

    British intelligence has already warned that British Muslims are being recruited into terror in Somalia. Now we learn of a steady stream of Britons being trained in terrorist camps in Yemen. A group called ‘Al-Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula’ has vowed ‘all out war on the crusaders’ and the ‘enemies of God’.

    African countries such as Yemen have long had troubling jihadi connections. What has changed recently is that al-Qa’eda has transferred its centre of gravity there, along with Somalia and the Maghreb.

  2. Egypt has already worked out a deal with the mullahs of iran....

    Want to talk about an interesting situation where Islam's center moves to Iran (shits) and is MOVED out of the Mecca / Medina (suns) stronghold?

  3. More from Ms Phillips:
    Al-Qa’eda says the Detroit plane bomb was retaliation for the recent US-backed air strikes against it in Yemen. So all we’re doing by going after al-Qa’eda is recruiting still more to the jihad. Right? Wrong. Abdulmutallab bought his plane ticket to kingdom come before the US-backed strikes. What people still don’t get is that Islamic terrorism is not a response to one political grievance or another. This is a civilisational war on many different fronts, and the consequences of abandoning any of them would be lethal.

  4. Did they actually move the AFRICOM HQs from Stuttgart yet?

    Husband was supposed to go to Djibouti some years back for a six-month area look around. Guy who was already there said, "Oh, yeah. Gotta get down here. Lots of good stuff." ("Good" as in...well, that would take some explaining.) He ended up going elsewhere and the guy who went in his stead said, "Not worth it. Not shit happening." ("Shit" as in...whatever.)

    Eye of the beholder and whatnot.

    Everyone's always trying to stay ahead of the curve. See the next big thing coming. While staying way out of the way of the big green machine.

    Not a cloud in the sky the whole morn.

    The gods' way of saying, "Sure. We pretty much crapped on you on all year. But look at this stunning day we gave you at the end, hm?"

  5. More on Yemen from The Spectator:The “sleeper issue” of 2010: Yemen

    The Yemeni government is usually described as backing the US, but the truth is more complex and goes to the very heart of the problems we face with Islamism...

    The problem is Orwellian.

  6. We could always arm up the Evangelical missionaries in Africa.

    Have 'em go muj in their spare time, on our dime, and *really* do God's work.

  7. ...A little organizing...a little recruiting of a different nature...a little sabotage and subterfuge...a little righteous extermination...

    Onward Christian Soldiers indeed.

  8. WAY the most interesting "Question" from this post is:

    Why does Saudi Arabia have to Look to Egypt For Troops?

    The Answer has to be: "They Can't Trust Their Own."

  9. And, That, Chilluns, means the "Filling Station" of the World is in Trouble.

    And, that, means we need another 200,000 Troops. Mos' Skosche.

  10. It's because they truly suck, rufus. That's how we ended up there. They're the Keystone Kops.

    Military operations are not the Saudi forte.

  11. I think the people of Saudi Arabia have allegiance to themselves, and, oftentimes, to Islam, but, absolutely, none to the "nation," or the government.

    It's a brutal, repressive regime that fears arming its own citizens by way of building a larger army.

    In other words, "It's Fucked."

  12. This is a civilisational war on many different fronts, and the consequences of abandoning any of them would be lethal.

    Thu Dec 31, 12:38:00 PM EST

    I would seat Mr. Whit and Ms. Phillips next to one another at a dinner party given Mr. Whit's desire to "bring 'em all home." The two might reach an interim understanding and, more importantly, have great, good fun in the process.

  13. And given those who were killed - to which news Mr. Whit was responding - "all" means ALL.

  14. Good to see that Charlie is beginning to pull their own weight in the Arabian Sea. That they need a base, an indication of the commitment they'll come to carry, there.

    It'll be a good thing to see them field an aircraft carrier, or two.

    Spread those security missions to Somalia around!

    Best news of the decade, really.

  15. I agree. It's incredibly important that we try to work with China in every way possible.

    They're going to be the "other" big-time player. Things will go one hell of a lot smoother if we can cooperate.

  16. Any bets that Charlie could send some specialists that could handle the "Believing Youth"?

  17. I'm afraid tempers are going to be flaring by the end of this next decade.

    This was considered by some to be the "lost decade." The one coming up has the potential to be "The Decade We Went Backwards."

  18. I have no clue as to their "competence" in such matters; but I have NO Doubt as to their "Motivation."

  19. Well, as the Christ Mass bomber so amply exemplifies, the ALL that the US sent aboard failed to stop a lone bomber.

    Utterly and completely failed.

    Having over 250,000 deployed overseas did not provide US any security in the air above Detroit City. Not a single iota of security nor safety.

  20. Our military strategy, in this "civilizational war" has failed.
    Everywhere we have employed it.

    Just because our best tool is a hammer, that does not make every problem a nail.

  21. This was considered by some to be the "lost decade." The one coming up has the potential to be "The Decade We Went Backwards."

    Thu Dec 31, 03:04:00 PM EST

    All of our yesterdays stretching out before us.

    Bring back Bermuda bags and Blackwatch kilts!

    Bring back the Sloane Ranger!

  22. Yes, and bring back the Knack.

  23. We have, so far, accomplished exactly what we set out to accomplish. We have kept the oil flowing.

    We're in pretty good shape to "keep it coming." We have about 130,000 troops in the perfect spot.

    Unfortunately, we've got about 70, going on 100,000 in the absolute worst spot.

  24. Just as long as we don't go back before, oh, 1978.

  25. Ahh, but rufus, we have not gained an inch in the "War of Civilizations".

    The stated goal of United States policy, changing the political, cultural and religious landscape of the Islamic whirled, using the US military as the catalyst of that change ...

    Remember, that was the stated goal.

    We have completely and totally failed everywhere we've gone in pursuit of successfully fulfilling the "Plan".

  26. How is it that I managed to go two years without discovering the one shop in town that sells anchovy paste until last night?

    I've been smuggling anchovy paste, among other things, and all this time there was a tiny import shop on Park 93...Where one may also obtain green Tobasco sauce. The Tobasco sauce of choice in my house.

    Is that some kind of...sign?

  27. Well, "stated," or not, the goal from Day One was to keep the Middle Eastern Oil Flowing; and at that we have succeeded.

    If anyone believed any of that other pablum, that was their problem.

  28. Green is good, trish.

    It is the color of choice, for tabasco, in our house, too.

  29. Just the "enemy" rufus, they were listening, watching, learning.

    Just the billion plus Muslims that we disrespected and then proceeded to show them the abject failure of the US military to accomplish its' mission objectives.

    Not much shock, even less awe.
    Now, more than ever before.


  30. By David Olmos

    Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.

    More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

    Obama in June cited the nonprofit Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for offering “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” Mayo’s move to drop Medicare patients may be copied by family doctors, some of whom have stopped accepting new patients from the program, said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a telephone interview yesterday.

    “Many physicians have said, ‘I simply cannot afford to keep taking care of Medicare patients,’” said Heim, a family doctor who practices in Laurinburg, North Carolina. “If you truly know your business costs and you are losing money, it doesn’t make sense to do more of it.”

    Medicare Loss

    The Mayo organization had 3,700 staff physicians and scientists and treated 526,000 patients in 2008. It lost $840 million last year on Medicare, the government’s health program for the disabled and those 65 and older, Mayo spokeswoman Lynn Closway said.

    Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.

    “We firmly believe that Medicare needs to be reformed,” Yardley said in a Dec. 23 e-mail. “It has been true for many years that Medicare payments no longer reflect the increasing cost of providing services for patients.”

    Mayo will assess the financial effect of the decision in Glendale to drop Medicare patients “to see if it could have implications beyond Arizona,” he said
    A Medicare patient who chooses to stay at Mayo’s Glendale clinic will pay about $1,500 a year for an annual physical and three other doctor visits, according to an October letter from the facility. Each patient also will be assessed a $250 annual administrative fee, according to the letter. Medicare patients at the Glendale clinic won’t be allowed to switch to a primary care doctor at another Mayo facility.

    A few hundred of the clinic’s Medicare patients have decided to pay cash to continue seeing their primary care doctors, Yardley said. Mayo is helping other patients find new physicians who will accept Medicare.

    “We’ve had many patients call us and express their unhappiness,” he said. “It’s not been a pleasant experience.”

  31. Everyone have a happy and healthy New Year. I hope you all have some fun plans in place. I have plans now....babysitting...woo hoo. Margarita will be my best friend tonight.

    This one goes out to...well, no one here but it's one of my favorites and I just heard today. So, listen to damn it.

  32. Why should we continue to partner with undependable, back stabbing fence sitting despots who play us for fools.

    I think we should keep killing bad guys but reduce our footprint and forget about building a country for a bunch of NAMBLA candidates.

    Small groups on the ground, targeted assassinations, more death from the air, and no more civil trials for foreign national terrorists.

  33. The Missus and I will be home with two bottles of Washington's finest.

    Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

  34. FYi

    As a part of my cost cutting efforts, I reduced my Comcast highspeed (8 meg; $24.95/mo) to Comcast entry level(1 meg;$14.95/mo). I was thinking it might not matter since I use a wireless router. Wrong.

    Standard surfing not bad but it takes 4 or 5 times longer to download podcasts. I'll see how it works out before I upgrade. Or maybe, I'll wait for a "special."

  35. Whit, are you a wine person? I bought this today, Chianti, Poggio al Pina and with a lot of Italian words on it. It's cheap but it was in that special wine room. The man said it was good. We'll see. I wanted Frescobaldi but they didn't have any, just a few bottles and they were really, really expensive. I never had Chianti before.

    So, it's tequila tonight.

  36. Make sure all your ports are open on your router, I think that may help. I know we had to with three computers and two gaming systems. It couldn't hurt to try.

  37. Cook up a big pot of spaghetti bolognese and the chianti will go down fine.

    Me, a wino? Not so much. In fact, I don't drink much of anything except sweet tea (Arizona peach) and diet cola. I'm not a tee-totaler but a six pack can last more than six months in my frig. I've had some liguor in the cabinet for twenty years but the good stuff doesn't last very long.

  38. I'm not a big wine drinker but there are just some occasions that call for wine. It's just some wine taste really good and after the third glass it starts to taste funny. Even the man at the state store agreed. I guess it's those cheap bottles. I'll have to change stores, the one I go to all the time doesn't have that special wine room . Whatever it's called.

  39. I was reminded that the Marine guards in Iran carried unloaded weapons.

    Apparently a very steep learning curve, as the sailors on the Cole likewise had no ammunition.

    If only Barbara Bodine had never been born, John O'Neill's team would have solved the Cole case, and with it, implicated the guilty players in Yemen's government.

    He'd also still be alive, constantly reminding us how FOS are the gasbags in DC.

  40. 'Rat must have made up that post
    (Thu Dec 31, 04:20:00 PM EST)
    out of whole cloth.

    Rufus assures me that socialized medicine will be just groovey.

  41. Rush to get a fruit basket — and some food for thought.

    Rush Limbaugh's stay at Queen's has national media clamoring for the latest. A physicians group advocating a vegan lifestyle is hoping to take advantage of the interest by urging the talk-show host to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

  42. just cleaned a 13 lb prime rib..

    going have the mrs roast one tommorrow, one I am going to dry age & one I am going to slow smoke with wet drip pan

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Whit, we've got "small teams" on the ground every fucking where.

    Assassination is still a violation of US Code, so you're looking farther down the official food chain and more often than not completely off of it.

    Hunter/killers we got.

    More death from above. The USAF guys will stay on station as long as they can to support the teams. But the Bad Guys are no longer impressed with shit falling from the sky.

    They are impressed by the up close and very personal.

    Videotape a little of that and broadcast it.

  45. And it can be done within the law.

  46. I love it that Hellfire absolves us of the guilt of assasination.
    Well named.

  47. "one I am going to slow smoke with wet drip pan"
    A little STP does wonders to freshen up the taste if you are stuck with high mileage oil.
    Them Eyetaliuns no how to make do.

  48. Never have quite figured out the technical distinction between "assassinating" someone and just dropping a bomb on his tent from a drone.

    A kill shot being a kill shot either way.


  49. Assassination refers to heads of state and ministers.

  50. Wouldn't that indicate that our "war on terror" is in fact a police operation rather than a war?

    Given that al Queda's No 2' and 3's don't qualify as ministers.

    Just asking. I've never really figured it out where I come down on this issue. Police action vs. war.


  51. It has been a police function, the "War on Terror", for at least the past five years, Quirk.

    Once in became a "Long War", the US military was arresting criminals, in Iraq.

    If it was a police function there, it was a police function, everywhere.

    That's the reality of Bush/Cheney policies.

  52. Wouldn't that indicate that our "war on terror" is in fact a police operation rather than a war?

    Given that al Queda's No 2' and 3's don't qualify as ministers.

    - Quirk

    Um. No.

  53. In 2010 Cap & Trade will go through even if nobody on Europe is on board. A House bill condemning the House of Representatives would probably pass because no one reads them before they vote. Money talks. Liberals in Washington claim it's saying "Spend Me". Liberals will spend any amount of your money to protect animals, trees, terrorists, and murderers while killing babies and jobs. And whatever they can't squeeze out of you they will borrow from China. It will be our unborn children who will end up paying for all of this climate-engineering-by-politics, assuming they even survive the first three trimesters.

    Tonight I'm gonna party like it's November 2010

  54. Well Quirk, that could have been my mantra back in the day.

  55. Can't we just party like it's 7:41 Dec 31, 2009.

  56. "Um. No."

    Um. No.

    What am I talking to here the friggin Oracle of Delphi?

    A young boy comes to you seeking illumination and you give him...

    Um. No.

    No is a rather meager explanation for an inquiring mind wanting to know. And um (well I forget what um is but I'm sure it's not a sentence.)

    Come on sensei, open up. It's New Year's Eve. Ed and other guy won't find out.


  57. Why in your mind does the non-state status of AQ's 2 and 3's have anything to do with whether or not it's a war?

  58. "...Liberals will spend any amount of your money to protect animals, trees, terrorists, and murderers while killing babies and jobs."

    You give them way too much credit T. Any bill that passes will be strictly motivated by money, payoffs, power, and influence.

    Talk about helping the environment is merely "trinkets for the natives".

    A couple months ago I would have been in agreement with you about there being a cap-and-trade bill in 2010. Now I doubt it unless the Dems do pretty good in the 2010 elections.


  59. Assassination

    A truckload of s's.


    The National debt is $183,000 per capita.

    Half the states have run out of unemployment money.

    The economy will have to add 50K jobs per month for five years to get down to 5% unemployed.

    Do you think that debt will ever be paid?

  60. "Why in your mind does the non-state status of AQ's 2 and 3's have anything to do with whether or not it's a war?"

    P this Quirk your talking to. None of your bs of answering a question with a question.

    I already indicated I'm kind of conflicted on the subject.

    Um? No?

    Not worth my time. Let me know when you've got something to add to the conversation.


  61. No Rise of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years, New Research Finds

    n contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

  62. I'm supposed to go out for Korean and God knows what else so let's stretch this out and attempt to give it some import.

  63. "Not worth my time. Let me know when you've got something to add to the conversation."
    Now we'll see if that works where vulgarity failed.

  64. Quirk, I actually don't get your identification of assassination (pertaining to US law) as a referent for a state of war.

  65. "Can't we just party like it's 7:41 Dec 31, 2009."

    I agree, M. I was in a good mood a short while ago.

    Sipping scotch and loading tunes into my wife's i-pod.


  66. My unemployment is still coming in but I just got something in the mail about a rate reduction. I just read the first line so, I'm not sure what it all means.

  67. Scotch?

    This is all you're getting because I don't feel like searching for, 'just the right song.'

  68. "I actually don't get your identification of assassination (pertaining to US law) as a referent for a state of war."

    That's better P.

    And perhaps the connection between the term assassination and issues associated with the war on terror that I drew were a little too opaque or at least tangential for you to see.

    My point is that we haven't had a "war" since Vietnam, at least one designated as such under the constitution. Now we have a "war on terror" against a multinational terror organization.

    We get conflicting views. The neocons say that it is an actual war war. The others say it is like a police action. Similar to the "War on Drugs" were we also use the military, although on a smaller scale.

    If you are indicating that the war on al Queda is truly a war and not a police action, isn't the fact that al Queda is stateless a mere excuse to get around legal definitions when talking about assassination.

    You can't really have it both ways.

    Or if you do, it is mere sophisty.

    With regard to the Korean, I hope you are talking about food.


  69. George Thorogood


  70. "If you are indicating that the war on al Queda is truly a war and not a police action, isn't the fact that al Queda is stateless a mere excuse to get around legal definitions when talking about assassination."

    No, when you've declared war you can assassinate a commander in chief and his ministers within the scope of your declaration.

    Assassination really refers to targeting when you haven't.

    See, it's not a war on al Qaeda. There would have been benefits to declaring such. We didn't.

    See Cato's "Bounding the War on Terror."

  71. I'll be going out, soon; so let me wish everyone a Happy New Year, now.

    Thanks to Deuce, and Whit, and to Teresita for the fine work she's doing.

    It's been an enjoyable year (disregarding errant pineapple heads, of course,) and I wish you all the best in the Second Decade of the 3rd Millenium. Let's hope it's not "too" interesting.

    Now, who wants a shot of Jim Beam? Tough; should have brought your own. :)


  72. "Assassination really refers to targeting when you haven't." [delared war]

    I'll bow to your expertise P. Way too complicated for a simple guy like me.

    –verb (used with object),
    1. to kill suddenly or secretively, esp. a politically prominent person; murder premeditatedly and treacherously.

    Whether you take a key political
    target down with a Chey Tac at 1500 meters or with a smart bomb from a drone, he's unlikely to care if it's called assassination, wet work or whatever. And it seems to me that not calling it assassination in order to assure

    " can be done within the law."

    is merely a little D.C. PC.



  73. Happy New Years, Ruf.

  74. Is it Happy New Year or Happy New Years? Hm....

  75. It really depends on what and how much you have had to drink.

    I think.

  76. So, maybe you've had a little too much?

  77. Geez, I was talking about you.


  78. After 3 Beams you just excuse yourself and go hit on the redhead at the end of the bar.

  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

  80. Your always right, M.

    Happy New Year.

    My wife and I are heading over to a neighbor's party. [N'oblesse Oblige]


  81. New year's Eve is different. You would then use and apostrophe S, but if you're just wishing someone a Happy New Year is would be singular. I pretty sure, in my right mind of intoxication, that I'm right.

    It's just like when I was a teenager my friends would say, "I'm going to wawas to get milk and bread for my mom."

    It's S, there toots.

  82. Happy New Year to you both.

    I was sick the beginning of the week and my husband is sick, well, now and I'm babysitting. Everyone is in bed.


  83. Happy new year to you all. I just got in and it is miserable outside, but warm by the fire.

  84. Happy New Year to all...

    Kids at the folks...

    Filets all eaten, had a really nice large crushed ice & Glenlivet 12 yr old...

    Time to float into 2010...

    Wife is already asleep, I am not to far behind....

  85. I was just about to go to bed and my daughter walked in with her friends. Yeah me.