“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."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Magic is Gone - After years of blocking U.N. efforts to pressure Israelis and Palestinians into accepting a lasting two-state solution, the United States is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats

Obama-Netanyahu Tiff worsens: US won’t rule out using UN to create Palestine

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –
President Obama put some further hints out there on Tuesday about how he might proceed on Israeli-Paletinian relations in his final two years.
Asked if he’d be willing to go through the United Nations to achieve Palestinian statehood, he replied, “We’re going to do that evaluation . . . We’re going to partly wait for an actual Israeli government to form.”
It is huge that Obama did not say “no.” The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been bilateral. The US and Obama liked it that way. The question was whether the talks could now become multilateral, which is what would happen at the UN. Since bilateral talks are no longer plausible, the UN may be what’s left. Only 2 1/2 years ago, the Obama administration petulantly opposed granting Palestine non-member observer status at the UN, insisting that bilateral relations were the way to go instead. (Palestine now has standing to take Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court).
Obama declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that Israel spied on the US negotiations with Iran and then conveyed classified material to Congress in hopes of derailing the talks. It is of course outrageous that a foreign power should be encouraging congress to tie up a president’s foreign policy initiative.
Obama came into office in January of 2009 determined to negotiate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But George Mitchell, his first negotiator, was foiled by Israeli PM Netanyahu’s insistence on ending the freeze on Israeli squatter settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. The Palestinians walked away, as they were meant to. John Kerry tried again in 2013-2014 but got nowhere.
There were rumors a couple of weeks ago that Kerry was gearing up for a third try at negotiations after the Israeli elections. But there will be no more Kerry shuttle diplomacy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement forestalling of any Palestinian state (the point of the negotiations) raised the question of what the diplomatic negotiations could possibly have achieved.
Obama said Tuesday that despite Netanyahu’s attempt to walk back his opposition to Palestine:
“there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework established that would lead to a Palestinian state… Up until this point, the premise has been both under Republican and Democratic administrations that as difficult as it was, as challenging as it was, the possibility of two states living side by side in peace and security could marginalize more extreme elements, bring together folks at the center with some common sense and we could resolve what has been a vexing issue and one that is ultimately a threat to Israel as well. What we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility of something that’s not there, and we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows it not going to happen in the next several years.”
Obama is saying bilateral talks are out of the question, as between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that he refuses to pretend otherwise. But he does have the policy goal of seeing a Palestinian state established. It may well by the the UN Security Council is the forum where that could be pursued.
Related video:


  1. Declaring War against a U.S. President, when he's the only person alive that can keep the World off of your ass at the U.N.

    Brainiacle. Jes plain Brainiacle.

  2. On March 17, the day of the 2015 Israel election, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Jewish Israelis that Arabs were voting “in droves” (alleging, in a conspiratorial manner reminiscent of white supremacists in the US Jim Crow South, that “Left-wing organizations are busing them out”). Second-class Palestinian citizens voting is supposed to be a very bad thing in Israeli democracy.

    The New York Times published an article about the incident—and more generally about Netanyahu’s bigoted, jingoistic, far-right tactics to attract more votes—titled “Netanyahu Expresses Alarm That Arab Voter Turnout Could Help Unseat Him.” The piece was written by Isabel Kershner and Rick Gladstone. At least, for the moment, that was the case.


    1. {...}

      Several hours later, the NYT published a rewrite of the article—a rewrite not just of parts of it, but of all of it. According the the website NewsDiffs which tracks edits to “highly-placed articles on online news sites,” between 5:13 pm and 9:08 pm on March 17 100% of the article was re-written to mostly erase the focus on Netanyahu’s racism.

      The new title? The much more innocuous “Deep Wounds and Lingering Questions After Israel’s Bitter Race” (itself a modification on a previous headline of “Deep Wounds in Bitter Race”)—now, with just one author, Isabel Kershner.

      The former article used the words “racism” (twice), “racist,” and “racial fearmongering.” The second line of the piece read “Opponents accused Mr. Netanyahu of baldfaced racism that smacked of desperation.” It included statements and quotes such as:

      The Zionist Union alliance denounced Mr. Netanyahu’s language as racial fearmongering.
      “No other Western leader would dare utter such a racist remark,” Shelly Yacimovich, a senior member of the bloc, wrote on Twitter. “Imagine a warning that starts, ‘Our rule is in danger, black voters are streaming in quantity to the polling stations.’”
      “A prime minister who conducts propaganda against national minority citizens is crossing a red line of incitement and racism,” said Dov Hanin, a Joint Arab List candidate. “Such a message, voiced by a prime minister on the very day in which citizens are supposed to be encouraged to go out to vote, is testimony to a complete loss of compass and his preparedness to smash all principles of democracy just for the sake of his own leadership.”
      The latter article removed the quotes from Netanyahu’s opponents, leaving only the line “Opponents accused him of baldfaced racism.” And, no longer at the beginning of the piece, this sentence is now buried in the middle, where studies show most readers will not see it.

      Netanyahu is quite simply whitewashed in the second article. This new draft—doubtless penned when NYT editors realized Netanyahu would likely be the next prime minister—is significantly kinder. Its thesis is essentially that Netanyahu is not actually a racist and that he does not truly unequivocally oppose the two-state solution. It features lines such as:

      Mr. Netanyahu has a long history in power and has in the past demonstrated that he can change positions from campaigning to governing. His record is as a pragmatist, analysts said.
      “I am sure that Netanyahu, with his broad historical perspective, if he is prime minister again, will be thinking long and hard about what legacy he will want to leave behind with regard to the demographic makeup of the country and its standing in the world,” said Gidi Grinstein, founder of the Reut Institute, an Israeli strategy group. “In the end I would not rule out his going back to the two-state solution.”
      Euphemistically, the esteemed publication writes “In the final days of a closely fought election race, Mr. Netanyahu threw all political and diplomatic niceties to the wind.” That is one way of saying that, in order to attract votes, the right-wing Israeli prime minister resorted to base racism, fear-mongering, and—in what Ali Abunimah pointed out is strikingly reminiscent of early-20th-century anti-Semitic tropes—conspiracy theories about powerful foreign interests supposedly conspiring to unseat him.

      In the end, the New York Times, doubtless the most well-respected US newspaper, is notorious for its pro-Israel slant. It scarcely hides it. And even when it tries, it’s found out.

      - See more at:

  3. The US is coming to its senses, at long last.

    It took a man of great hubris to modify the US position.
    Thanks, Bibi!

    1. Man, I wish I could believe that, Rat. But, it's a heavy lift. I doubt that Obama's position is very popular out in the hinterlands.

      All I can see is that, for some inexplicable reason, Netanyahu picked a fight with an American President that only had a couple of years left to serve. And, he didn't just pick a fight, he dissed him in front of his home-boys. He made it real personal.

      As I said, I can't fathom the "why" of it, but I'm pretty sure it was a big mistake. I believe a step-back at the U.N. will not only turn out to be pretty much cost-free for Obama, but will embolden a future President to do the same.

      I think the racist Mister Bibi is in for some serious ass-hurt. At least, we can dream. :)

    2. If the US refuses to veto a UN declaration of a Palestinian State, on the 1967 borders ...

      Well, that would be an awakening ...

      Obama is not running for reelection.
      Once the Palestinian State is declared, there would be nothing the US could then do to rescind it.

    3. Yep, I think that might be what's going to happen.

  4. The US and its coalition allies are instigating the Rat Doctrine in the battle for Tikrit.

    U.S. forces begin airstrikes in Tikrit, where Iran-backed militias are in lead

    BAGHDAD — The U.S.-led military coalition has begun airstrikes in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, officials said Wednesday, drawing the United States further into an operation dominated by Iranian-backed militiamen.

    The coalition has conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria for more than six months, but U.S. officials see the offensive in Tikrit, the capital of Iraq’s Salahuddin province, as being complicated by the presence of Iranian advisers on the battlefield and the potential for civilian casualties.

    A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to begin airstrikes in Tikrit was based on a request from the Baghdad government.



  5. Iraqi forces pound Islamic State in Tikrit, resuming offensive

    BAGHDAD - Iraqi forces pounded Islamic State positions in Tikrit on Wednesday, resuming an offensive that had stalled for almost two weeks as US-led coalition planes prepared to strike Saddam Hussein's home city.

    "Military operations in Tikrit started at around 9 pm local time by pounding Islamic State positions with artillery, mortars and Katyusha rockets," said provincial council member Hadi al-Khazraji.

    Two military officers in the city confirmed Iraqi forces were shelling the militants.

    1. A brief note on Wednesday on Gen Suleimani’s Instagram page, with more than 2,000 followers, announced he was leaving Tikrit with “80 soldiers” and heading towards Isis-controlled Mosul 200km away on either Thursday or Friday.

      Army of God Task Force, Movin' On


    2. Good news from Iraq, that's for sure!

    3. I sincerely hope this bizarre twisted era is coming to an end. I want to make it clear that it is a universal human failing that caused this. Human beings will take advantage to the maximum degree.

      The US public took pity on the plight of European Jews and did everything possible to right a wrong. In the process, they over-compensated and wronged the Palestinians and looked away from the behavior of the European Jewish settlers and gave them ever possible benefit of the doubt.

      The results proved once and again that multiple wrongs do not correct a pervious wrong and make a right. A correction will be made. It always does.

      The cost has yet to be determined. It will be costly.

    4. The US has been wrong and we compromised ourselves with the unquestioned support of the Israelis. Too many of, me included were not paying attention. The wakeup call was made by GOP Likuds Force and the loathsome Israeli Prime Minister who went to the well one too many times.

      The Magic is Gone.

  6. The New York Times is saying that one pilot on the German plane that crashed in France was locked out of the cockpit and could not get back in.

    1. Here is the sewer that used to be called The Republican Party:

      (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House adopted a fiscal 2016 budget that would cut $5.5 trillion in federal spending and achieve balance in nine years while providing more defense spending than President Barack Obama has proposed.

      In the 228-199 vote Wednesday, Republicans demonstrated that they continue to see political benefits and little disadvantage from making deep cuts to entitlement programs including Medicare and Medicaid.

      “What we’ve got is a level of debt that was only surpassed in World War II,” Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, said on the House floor. “Our balanced budget for a stronger America is the way to go.”

  7. 1:20 a.m. (0020 GMT, 8:20 p.m. EDT)

    A newspaper is reporting that the voice recorder indicates that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit before a Germanwings jetliner plummeted into a remote Alpine mountainside.

    The New York Times is citing an investigator it doesn't identify as saying that the audio shows that after an ordinary start to the flight, one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not get back in.

    The investigator told the newspaper that the pilot began knocking quietly on the door, then became more insistent, saying that eventually: “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."

    The investigator does not speculate as to why the other pilot didn't open the door or make contact with ground control before the plane crashed Tuesday. All 150 people aboard were killed.

    1. Sounds like, maybe, we had a "Warrior of God" at the wheel.

      Or, maybe, another "Egypt--Air?"

    2. God usually makes them do it, the loving mother fuker in the sky that he is.

    3. Speaking of Muther fukers in year 14 of the war in Afghanistan, we have this:

      The practice of slipping unrelated or pet projects into spending bills for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — from new helicopters to fighter aircraft — has long been derided as deceptive and financially irresponsible.

      But now lawmakers have taken the budget gimmickry to a whole new level — no longer even pretending that billions of dollars in additional war spending would go to fight Islamic State militants and the Taliban.

      The proposals in the House and Senate to add about $38 billion to the Obama administration’s $58 billion war spending request threatens to create an authorized “slush fund,” according to budget analysts and spending critics.

      The beefed-up war budget is an attractive option for both defense and fiscal hawks because it would not count against the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act but is seen by some as a dangerous precedent for how Congress finances the Pentagon.

      “It just risks becoming permanent business,” said Gordon Adams, a White House budget official in the Clinton administration who teaches at American University. “We just have a slush fund for defense, period.”

      Read more:

    4. My guess it had nothing to do with god just suicide.,,

  8. One wonders, who are the troops on the ground that the Saudi are going to support?
    Without troops on the ground, aerial bombing is more for show than tactical or strategic gain.

    1. (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday it had launched military operations in Yemen, carrying out air strikes in coordination with a 10-country coalition seeking to beat back Houthi militia forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the country's president had taken refuge.

      At a news conference in Washington, Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf Arab allies and others had joined with the desert kingdom in the military campaign in a bid "to protect and defend the legitimate government" of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    2. The "Rat Doctrine" goes to Yemen. :)

    3. But, with the Yemeni Army, and the Saudi Air Force . . . . . . . . .


      It's, uh . . . . . . . . .problematic.

  9. By Craig Whitlock March 25 at 8:00 AM Washington Post

    Crashing drones are spilling secrets about U.S. military operations.

    A surveillance mission was exposed last week when a Predator drone crashed in northwest Syria while spying on the home turf of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. officials believe the drone was shot down, but they haven’t ruled out mechanical failure. Regardless, the wreckage offered the first hard evidence of a U.S. confrontation with Assad’s forces.

    The mishap in Syria follows a string of crashes in Yemen, another country where the U.S. military keeps virtually all details of its drone operations classified.

    Yemeni tribesmen have reported three cases in the past 15 months in which U.S. drones have fallen from the sky, pulling back the curtain on likely surveillance targets. Air Force spokesmen said they could not confirm any crashes in Yemen, but Air Force records obtained by The Washington Post show the dates match up with official acknowledgments of accidents that occurred in classified locations.

  10. And why we are fighting ISIS, what is our erstwhile ally Israel worried about? They are worried that ISIS is losing to Hezbollah!\\

    The war in Syria is taking place in Israel’s shadow. Syrian government forces, with Hezbollah in the lead, are poised to capture a strategically vital region that borders Israel.

    And that’s ringing alarm bells among Israelis.

    Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite group, an old enemy of Israel, which came out openly in support of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad almost two years ago. Both Assad and Hezbollah are allies of Iran, another Israeli enemy.

    Hezbollah is “fighting on multiple fronts,” explains Nicholas Blanford, Beirut correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and author of ‘Warriors of God,’ a military history of Hezbollah. But he says Israel’s concern is focussed on one particular area — “the region [of Syria] adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.”

    “The Iranians and Hezbollah, and various other Iranian allies — Shia paramilitary groups from Iraq and even Afghanistan — are waging an offensive in southern Syria against the rebel forces there. But that’s going to put them face-to-face with Israeli troops on the Golan, which is a prospect that has filled the Israelis with some alarm.”

    Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in a dramatic fight in 1967, and again fought bitterly to retain control in 1973. But since a ceasefire deal in 1974 the region has been quiet and stable, compared to some of Israel’s other border regions. “Barely a shot has been fired in four decades,” says Blanford, “but now that whole situation has unraveled.”

    Hezbollah is already reported to be building fortifications facing the Golan, similar to the fortifications it already has in southern Lebanon — fortifications that Israel is yet to figure out how to neutralize, with cost. Israel does not want Hezbollah to expand its zone of control even further.

    Right now, Blanford says, the Israeli involvement is hands-off.

    “There has been some tacit cooperation between the Israelis and some of the more moderate rebel groups, certainly, that are operating in the Golan, very close to Israeli lines. The Israelis have opened up the fence. They’ve allowed Syrian [rebel] casualties to be treated inside Israeli territory. The Syrian regime avers that the extent of cooperation has gone beyond just humanitarian assistance, [and says] that the Israelis are actually providing communications equipment, weapons, ammunition and tactical intelligence to the Syrian rebels as well.”

    However, if the rebels are defeated, Blanford says there’s a danger Israel could intervene directly.

    “It seems to me the Iranians have taken a strategic decision to gain that foothold on the Golan Heights.” And Israel may not want to allow Hezbollah the time to consolidate that foothold, and create a permanent threat.

    “Perhaps we should think of this in the light of the climactic moments of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. If the talks end in failure, then an Iranian foothold on the Golan is going to put the Iranians in a much better deterrence posture against Israel. In case the Israelis [decide] they’re going to have to resort to Plan B and stage an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

    “By the same token,” adds Blanford, “if the talks end in some kind of deal in which Iran has to forego its pursuit, or alleged pursuit, of nuclear weapons, then again having that foothold on the Golan is going to give it that added level of deterrence, as it expands its influence throughout the region and is there to menace Israel.”

    1. .

      And why we are fighting ISIS, what is our erstwhile ally Israel worried about? They are worried that ISIS is losing to Hezbollah!\\

      Who cares? That's Israel's business.



    2. Israel prefers Daesh (al-Qeada) in Syria, over the Alawites, Christians and their Kurdish allies

      Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

    3. .

      Right, and after the Taliban took over in Afghanistan, from 1996 through 2001, they were only recognized by three states, the UAE, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, all allies of the US. It didn't stop the US from buying oil or selling arms to any of them.

      As for the US and the Taliban, first we call them terrorists and then we say they are not terrorists.


    4. .

      How many times have you posted that same link, rat? A dozen? Two dozen? More?

      As I said, it's Israel's business.


  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    1. The only one that combines Jews and hate in a post ...
      Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

  12. The Palestinians have been offered a state numerous times and have turned it down.

    The good news?

    They will get their state without having to make peace, this will lead to war and the total destruction of the Palestinian dream once and for all.

    Good riddance.

    1. Not on the 1967 borders, amigo.

      The Sanctions regime that Iran suffered will seem like a picnic compared to the one that will be levied upon ISrael.


  13. No Jews in future Palestinian state, Abbas says


    July 30, 2013 | 12:05 pm
    0 Email This Print This
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 28. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Reuters

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 28. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Reuters

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists that no Israelis, civilians or soldiers, will remain in a future Palestinian state.

    Reuters reported that Abbas made the statements on Monday night in Cairo, where he was meeting with interim Egyptian President Adli Mansour.

    “In a final solution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,” Abbas said. “An international, multinational presence like in Sinai, Lebanon and Syria — we are with that,” a reference to United Nations or NATO troops.

    The statements flew in the face of efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to keep the terms of the peace talks under wraps, according to Reuters.

    Abbas insisted that “East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine” and “we’ve already made all the necessary concessions.”

    Abbas also said that he would not approve of a settlement-building freeze in which Israel halted building in isolated settlements but continued to build in settlements in the blocs that likely will remain part of Israel under a peace agreement.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. I think you three should put on the skull cap, don the Star of David, and take a hike through Gaza.

    3. I offer to fly you all there at my own expense on the condition you do as suggested above.


    4. I will leave that for you to do, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      That way you can reap what your heroes have sown.

    5. You can carry lanterns, like that old Greek did when searching for an honest man, and tell the Gazans you are seeking the lost Jews of Gaza.

    6. The vast majority here know you are a Liar, and have openly said so, rat.

      I thought you weren't going to follow me around any longer.

    7. Keep your ill gotten gains, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      Or, better yet, donate the funds to the widows and orphans that owned stock in that bank you Ripped Off.

      If you cannot find them, donate the cost of three tickets to ...
      The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a top-rated nonprofit organization that supports the military's Special Operations Forces and their families through three programs:

      - College scholarships for the surviving children of fallen Special Operations Forces

      - Family & Educational counseling, including in-home tutoring, as well as advocacy support

      - Immediate $3,000 financial grants to severely-wounded Special Operations Forces service members
      Man up and do the right thing, Draft Dodger.

    8. You have not had an original thought in your life, Robert "Draft Dodger" Pteron.

      Donate $7,500 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
      Make amends for your misdeeds, for stealing money from that bank, stealing your aunt's honor.

      Do something for someone else, for once in your pitiful life.

    9. You have not had an original thought in your life, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.