“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."

Monday, September 14, 2015

9/11 and the Belligerent Empire


Afghanistan Exodus: Tens of Thousands Flee Taliban, ISIS Violence

KABUL, Afghanistan - Business has never been better for Mohammad Nassir, a manager in the Afghan capital's main bus station. And it fills him with grief. 
"The young generation is leaving the country," said Nassir, who works for Tolo Bus Services. "I see families saying goodbye to their loved ones for the last time and it breaks my heart." 
"I should be happy because for me business is booming — it has gone up by four times — but I am not happy at all," he said. 
Nassir is witnessing an Afghan exodus as civilians across the country flee spiraling violence and uncertainty. Until two months ago, between 15 and 20 buses, each carrying up to 55 passengers, set off for the border province of Nimruz every day. That number has jumped to between 70 and 80 buses, Nassir said. 
The increase in bus trips to the Iranian border coincides with the rising tide of Afghans trying to reach Europe, which is already struggling to respond as hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East risk their lives to settle there. While there is no way of knowing exactly how many of the passengers are not intending to come back, the bus manager believes it is the majority. 
Changing ticket prices hint at this trend. A trip that used to cost around 500 afghanis ($7.80) per seat now commands a price of 900 afghanis ($14.10), he said. The increased revenue makes up for the fact that buses are returning mostly empty, Nassir added. In other words, most travelers are not coming back.
The bus station in the west of Kabul has become the launching pad for tens of thousands trying to find a better life outside of Afghanistan — or simply escape death at the hands of extremists, criminals and even pro-government forces. 
While many are settling in neighboring countries, a growing number are making the arduous trip to Europe. According to the United Nation's refugee agency UNHCR, 77,731 Afghans applied for asylum in Europe in the first six months of 2015 — up from 24,154 who did so in the same period in 2014. Afghans are second only to Syrians in claiming asylum in Europe, the UNHCR numbers show. 
And on Thursday, the government’s Afghan government's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said it had witnessed "unprecedented" levels of migration toward European countries.
Father-of-two Mohammad Asif, who said he was setting out for Europe, told NBC News he did not want to leave his home and family but he did not have a choice. 
"I love my wife and kids, but I have to try and stay alive for them," the 26-year-old from central Logar province told NBC News from aboard a bus set to leave for Nimruz. "If you have any links with the government or even go to school or university then the Taliban and now [ISIS] will kill you. On the other hand, if you have any connections to the Taliban then the government militias will kill you." 
Asif, who earned a college degree in agriculture, has lost hope in Afghanistan's future. 
"This country has become like an illness that has no cure," he said. 
Violence is spiraling nearly 15 years after U.S.-backed troops toppled the Taliban and helped install a pro-western government in Kabul. The country's security forces are struggling to keep the peace and hold ground secured by foreign troops that are now leaving the country. 
In the first six months of the year civilian casualties rose one percent to a record 4,921 — 1,592 killed and 3,329 injured. These numbers have been rising steadily, and are up dramatically from the first six months in 2009, when 1,439 civilians were killed or maimed. 
Many others are trying to carve out the same path. Applications for passports — a prerequisite for a visa and any legal travel abroad — jumped to an average of 5,000 a day in August, according to the International Organization for Migration. That’s up from only 1,000 per day a day a year earlier.
Even those in charge of protecting and representing Afghanistan abroad are claiming asylum after traveling to the West on government business. 
"Some of our diplomats just do not return when their term ends and that includes senior diplomats like ambassadors," an senior Foreign Ministry official told NBC News on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. "That is especially true for diplomats who are stationed in Europe." 
"We have the same problem with officials visiting European countries and they vanish," he added. "There is hardly any official visit by Afghan officials to Europe or the U.S. that we do not have an incident of some vanishing or attempting to apply for asylum." 
It isn't only diplomats. In September 2014, Col. Enayatullah Barack, who was scheduled to be Afghanistan's flag-bearer at a NATO summit in Wales, claimed asylum upon landing in the U.K. That was followed by three army officers who disappeared from a training program in the U.S. later in the month. They were eventually apprehended. 
Ahmad Shekib isn't an official or public figure but he is part of Afghanistan's small educated middle class. Even with a well-paid job with an international agency in Kabul, Shekib started to worry in 2010 that the Taliban was gaining a foothold in parts of the country that had rarely seen militant violence. 
"My family wanted me to get married and stay in Kabul, but I didn't want to make that commitment," he said. "Things were getting worse every day." 
He made up his mind to emigrate after witnessing a suicide car bomb blast on a street in Kabul last November. 
"It was a huge shock and right then I decided it was time for me to leave," he said. 
Shekib flew to Germany directly and claimed asylum. He is among nearly 10,479 Afghans to have done the same the first six months of the year, according to Germany's government. He is taking language classes and hopes to settle there permanently. 
"I speak with my mom and my brother every day and there is hardly any day they do not tell me a new sad story," he said. "I know it in my heart that my future is not [in Germany], but I also now there is no future in Afghanistan."



    The Greek island of Kos, near the coast of Turkey, is a popular tourist retreat, but it has also become the latest destination for huge numbers of refugees and migrants going to Europe.

    Teachers Nizar and Nasser plotted their escape from the Syrian city of Damascus during coffee breaks at school. They both came from religious minorities threatened by the Islamic State. Worn down by the constant shelling they decided to try to seek asylum in Europe and quickly secure visas for their families, who hid with relatives.

    A week ago, the men kissed their wives goodbye, traveled through Turkey and packed onto an inflatable raft with dozens of other people to cross roughly three miles of the Aegean Sea to reach Kos.

    Migrants arrive Monday on the Greek island of Chios, where residents have been assisting the new arrivals.

    Dozens of rafts used by by refugees and migrants, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, to cross from the Turkish coastal district of Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos, sit empty by the seashore.

    When they arrived, they found thousands of Syrian and Afghan refugees, along with other migrants, camped in tents pitched along the seaside promenade in the island's port town, which is also called Kos. They slept on sidewalks, in parks, outside beach bars and souvenir shops.

    "I was shocked, very shocked that this was Europe," says 33-year-old Nizar. "There was no help."

    More than 124,000 people have come by sea to the Greek islands this year, seven times more than during the same period last year. All the islands have been overwhelmed, but Kos, the birthplace of the ancient father of medicine, Hippocrates, has been the most unprepared.

    1. Nizar and Nasser slept on benches outside a stadium that had been converted into a registration center. Syrians and Iraqis were all camped outside, waiting for police to give them their temporary residency papers. As they waited, three little Syrian boys bathed with bottled water, their mother scrubbing shampoo into their hair.

      "Now I am so tired," Nizar says. "I've looked for a room ... I didn't find anything. Nobody help here — not police, not government here, to give food or even a brochure for the island."

      Many of the migrants aren't even sure where they are, said Ali al-Jowardi, a 20-year-old electrical engineering student from eastern Iraq. He and his younger brother arrived a week ago on a boat packed with 140 people. They're now sleeping on garbage bags laid out on a patch of grass near the stadium.

      On Tuesday, police herded about a thousand migrants, including Jowardi and his brother, into the stadium — and locked the door.

      "It was like a jail," Jowardi says. "No food, no drink, no toilets. So it was a horrible — not just bad — horrible situation."

  2. He pointed to a young man with curly hair and a bandaged foot, sleeping under a tree.

    "When we were in the stadium, we jumped [over] the wall to get food and drink," he says, "and one of my friends, he injured his foot and head."

    The police are overwhelmed and have struggled to calm restless people waiting for papers. The police sprayed one group with fire extinguishers; one officer was seen slapping migrants while brandishing a knife. The island's mayor, Giorgos Kiritsis, who has said the sight of so many homeless migrants is scaring away tourists, spent months bickering with the national government over who was responsible. Local volunteers providing meals ran out of money.

    Aid workers are trying to help. A team from Doctors Without Borders has been using a beat-up old building far out of town called the Captain Elias hotel. It used to be a hotel, but it went bust years ago and has been repossessed by a bank.

    In May, the Captain Elias was already overcrowded. People were camped outside under dead palm trees. Inside, more people slept side by side on dirty blankets and on mattresses salvaged from the trash. There was no electricity, no water and no working toilets.

    "The first thing we had to fix was water and sanitation," says Constance Theisen of Doctors Without Borders. "There's still a ways to go. We want to increase the number of toilets and showers, and we want to build a kitchen for the people to cook."

    The building can hold a maximum of 100 people; Theisen says there are now more than 500 people. Those not staying inside live in huts made from salvaged wood and the leaves of dead palm trees.

    Nearly everyone here is Afghan or Pakistani. They won't be at the front of the line for temporary residency papers. Syrians, they say, seem to get preferential treatment.

    "Waiting time for the people here is still 20 days on the island for sure," Theisen says. She says that causes resentment.

    A young Afghan man who gave his name as Karim said Afghanistan is a war zone, too. "Why should one war be more important than another?"

    The European Union says it will pay for the relocation of about 32,000 Syrians and Eritreans into northern European countries, some of which have resisted.

    Dimitris Avramopoulos, a longtime Greek politician who's now the European Union's commissioner for migration, said in Brussels on Friday that almost 50,000 migrants arrived in Greece in July, compared to less than 6,000 last July. He says he's working with the Greek government to deal with this crisis as soon as possible.

    "We know the situation is not easy," he says. "We know the great pressure on the country and the difficulties faced in addressing it."

    The European Commission has already approved about $500 million in aid and is considering offering even more money.

    The Greek government also sent a giant passenger ferry with sleeping room for a couple of thousand people to serve as a registration center and shelter. It arrived on Friday and is being prepared.

    In the meantime, those refugees and migrants who have received their temporary residency papers head to Athens. For Nizar and Nasser, the schoolteachers who traveled from Damascus together, it's just one stop on a long journey that they hope will end in Stockholm, where Nasser's son lives.

    "But I won't forget Kos, and I mean that in a bad way," Nizar says. "I wished it had been better here."


  3. Thursday 23 July 2015

    Isis in Afghanistan: The country’s Taliban problem hasn’t gone away – and it has new extremists to contend with

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was the poster boy of the West when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. There were lavish gifts from the CIA, MI6 and the Saudis; tonnes of arms and tens of millions of dollars. Ronald Reagan praised him as a great hero; he was invited to tea with Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street.
    Hekmatyar later fell out with his sponsors with his fighters, Hezb e-Islami, carrying out lethal attacks against US and British forces in Afghanistan. The Pakistani secret police, the ISI, who had funnelled American supplies to him in the past, found him increasingly difficult to handle. His standing in Islamist circles, however, remained strong.

    The jihadist journey of the veteran Mujaheddin leader has continued, with him instructing Hezb i-Islami to throw its weight behind Isis. Not all his followers agree with the move, but the development will, nevertheless, add fuel to the incendiary three-cornered strife between the Afghan government, the Taliban and the new adherents of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    The Americans, who were, just three months ago, dismissing the arrival of Isis in Afghanistan as nothing more than an internal squabble within Taliban, now belatedly acknowledge they are facing a growing threat with very limited means of response after the withdrawal of the bulk of international forces at the end of last year.

    The head of the US military has held an urgent meeting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to discuss how to “oppose the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant”. General Martin Dempsey spoke afterwards about the need to address “the transregional nature of what is clearly a persistent threat that has to be addressed at a sustainable level over a period of time”.

    The Americans, in other words, are casting around for a strategy. Barack Obama, who declared the Afghan war over, has already been forced to add another thousand troops to the 9,800 left behind in the country. That number is due to be reviewed again after Gen Dempsey’s report back in Washington; but the remit of the force is training the Afghan army and police rather than take part in military operations.

    The Afghan president has been speaking of the “terrible threat” from Abu Bakr’s men, stressing to the US Congress that “terrorists neither recognise boundaries nor require passports to spread their message of hate and discord”. The advent of Isis is a major problem for Mr Ghani: after winning a fiercely disputed election against former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, he has staked all on rapprochement with the Pakistani security establishment, hoping they would be able to deliver the Taliban to the negotiating table.

    1. On his first official visit to Pakistan after coming to office, Mr Ghani rushed to the Pakistani Army headquarters in Rawalpindi before even meeting the elected government in Islamabad – a break with protocol and one which was viewed with dismay by politicians and civic society leaders in Pakistan, a state which has experienced repeated military coups.

      But although talks have been held between the Taliban and Afghan representatives in Pakistan, attacks have continued relentlessly with his critics at home charging that Mr Ghani had “sold out”, without getting anything in return. Now there is another force in this equation over which the Pakistanis have no leverage. Isis has been posting videos of Pakistani soldiers being beheaded and has declared that the “Islamist State” will spread across Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      As well as seizing territory from the Taliban, Isis are grabbing opium, of which Afghanistan is the biggest producer in the world, and moving it west along parts of Iraq under its control, adding to their already substantial war chest.

      The Afghan security forces have fought to point of exhaustion against the Taliban since the departure of international forces, suffering horrendous casualties, and they appear to be in no position to take on Isis. Many commanders say they are grateful that, for the time being, the two insurgent groups are focusing on shooting each other.

  4. Meanwhile, 10 months after President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah agreed to a power-sharing deal, key government positions remain unfilled due to rivalry between the two camps. Afghanistan, a country at war, still has no defence minister after the latest nominee, General Mohammed Afzal Ludin, was rejected by parliament.

    The US, with no viable military option on the ground, has stepped up air strikes against Isis and officials hold that the group has suffered serious reverses. A commander, Hafez Saeed, and 30 of his fighters, were killed, as was Gul Zaman, another senior figure, and Shahidullah Shahid, a former Taliban media spokesman who had defected to Isis.

    But one of the hard learned lessons of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that air power alone is not the answer in counter-insurgency campaigns, a lesson which is now being reinforced in the new war against Isis in Iraq and Syria.

    It can even be counter-productive. Afghan officials are already complaining of mounting civilian casualties and people being driven from their homes, causing anger among local people. History is in danger of repeating itself for the West, with “collateral damage” from air raids creating recruits for an enemy far more implacable and vicious than the Taliban ever were.


    The GOP Likuds Force under the thumb of Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli- First US Coalition would have us repeating this calamity in Iran.

    We have not seen the end of this Neocon human atrocity. I believe we are seeing the beginning.

    The US had better wake up and realize what has been and continues to be done in our name by the Neocons.

    1. It's all the fault of Obama and the Neo-Traitors for taking the troops out too soon.

      Which led directly to the rise of ISIS.

    2. You can’t take the truth can you?

    3. There would be no ISIS without Obama.

      That is not to say Bush was right to go in, that is debatable, but the troops were taken out way way too soon, and against the advice of the US Military.

      It went straight downhill from there....

      You can't take the truth can you ?

    4. A very short time ago the truth to you was found in Ayn Rand.

      Now it seems to be found in Bernie Sanders........

      It's all very confusing......

    5. You do realize Bernie is Jewish, do you not ?

      Jim Webb is the only Democrat worth a shit, and he doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

    6. Bernie worked in his youth on a kibbutz in Israel.

      He, I believe, loves the place.

      If it's Bernie (a Jewish socialist) v The Donald ( the closest thing we've seen to a Randian yet) you got a problem.......

      You may have to sit the election out......

      You best park some money with Jim Webb, and start talking him up here.

    7. Listen to me you ignorant hayseed scumbag. I’ll vote for Sanders in a heartbeat. Don’t you dare equate my contempt for politics with someone’s ethnic group or race and lump that together. The realm of ignorance belongs to you and your homicidal butt partner. I don’t care if Sanders in a Jew. I would care plenty if he were a Christian Conservative or a radical rabid Zionist because of the politics.

      You got that, dumbass?

  6. ISIS is now a very real entity in both Afghanistan and Iraq and potentially in Syria. Who is responsible?

    AUGUST 12, 2015

    ISIS in Afghanistan: Proxy War Against Iran and China


    The nature of the war in Afghanistan has shifted dramatically in recent months. While the US and NATO continue to be actively involved in the country – their strategic objectives having changed very little since the Bush administration launched the war nearly a decade and a half ago – the complexion of the battlefield, and the parties actively engaged in the war, has changed significantly.

    The emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan, along with the impending withdrawal of US-NATO troops from the country, has driven the Taliban into a marriage of convenience, if not an outright alliance, with Iran. What seemed like an unfathomable scenario just a few years ago, Shia Iran’s support for the hardline Sunni Taliban has become a reality due to the changing circumstances of the war. Though it may be hard to believe, such an alliance is now a critical element of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. But its significance is far larger than just shifting the balance of power within the country.

    Instead, Afghanistan is now in many ways a proxy conflict between the US and its western and Gulf allies on the one hand, and Iran and certain non-western countries, most notably China, on the other. If the contours of the conflict might not be immediately apparent, that is only because the western media, and all the alleged brainiacs of the corporate think tanks, have failed to present the conflict in its true context. The narrative of Afghanistan, to the extent that it’s discussed at all, continues to be about terrorism and stability, nation-building and “support.” But this is a fundamental misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the current war, and the agenda driving it.

    1. Obama and the Neo-Traitors.

      That's my last tonight.

      I refuse to read any further.

      I'm filled up.


  7. And what is this new and dangerous agenda?

    It is about no less than the future of Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is about the US and its allies clinging to the country, a key foothold in the region, and wanting to find any pretext to maintain their presence. It is about Iran and China positioning themselves in the country for the inevitable moment of US withdrawal and the opening up of Afghanistan’s economy. At the most basic level, it is about access and influence. And, as usual in this part of the world, terrorism and extremism are the most potent weapons.

  8. The New Afghan War: Enter ISIS

    However, within a few weeks, ISIS militants committed a mass beheading in the strategically vital Ghazni province, an important region of the country that lies on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. This incident officially put ISIS on the map in Afghanistan, and marked a significant sea change in the nature of the conflict there.

    While the western media was replete with stories of ISIS and Taliban factions fighting together under the Islamic State’s banner, it has become clear since then that, rather than a collaboration between the groups, there has simply been a steady migration of fighters from the Taliban to ISIS which, if the stories are to be believed, pays much better. In fact, the last few months have demonstrated that, there is in fact competition between the two, and that Taliban and ISIS groups have fought each other in very intense battles. As Abdul Hai Akhondzada, deputy head of the Afghan parliament’s national security commission told Deutsche Welle in June:

    Local residents and security officials confirmed that “Islamic State” (IS) fighters killed between 10 and 15 Taliban members in Nangarhar province…The Taliban have been fighting for a long period of time in Afghanistan and they see their position threatened by the emergence of IS. Of course, they won’t give up easily… While IS is fighting to increase its presence in the whole region – not only Afghanistan – the Taliban are fighting to overthrow the Afghan government.

    1. Such skirmishes have now become a regular occurrence, pointing to a growing war between ISIS and Taliban factions. Increasingly, the war is being transformed from one waged by the Taliban against the Kabul government and its US and NATO patrons, into a war with competing groups fighting each other for supremacy on the battlefield and in the political life of the country.

      But of course, the true nature of the conflict can only be understood through an examination of the key interests backing each side. And it is here where the shadowy world of terror factions and proxy armies are brought into the light of day.

    2. It is now no secret that ISIS is an asset of western intelligence agencies and governments.

      The group has been directly sponsored and facilitated and/or allowed to develop unhindered in order to serve a useful purpose in Syria and Iraq. As the now infamous secret 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document obtained by Judicial Watch revealed, the US has knowingly promoted the spread of the Islamic State since at least 2012 in order to use it as a weapon against the Assad government. The document noted that, “… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

      Moreover, intelligence agencies such as Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) have been facilitating ISIS militants crossing the border into Syria, as well as supporting an international network of terrorists to as far away as the Xinjiang province of China. Even US Vice President Joe Biden has noted that:

      Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?…They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.

    3. Given all of this information, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that ISIS is to a large degree an asset of the US and its western allies. As if one needed further confirmation of this point, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, himself no stranger to the machination of US intelligence, bluntly declared just last month that ISIS could not possibly have expanded into Afghanistan “without a foreign hand, without foreign backing.”

      In Syria and Iraq, ISIS has essentially done the dirty work for the US and its Gulf and Israeli and Turkish allies. In Libya, ISIS has become a dominant terrorist force led by a documented US asset. In Yemen, ISIS has gained a foothold and carried out terrorist actions in support of the Saudi – and by extension, US – mission against the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies. Taken in total then, ISIS has proven very effective in furthering the US-NATO-GCC-Israel agenda. So too in Afghanistan.

    4. Iran and Taliban Ally to Counter ISIS and Its Patrons

      And it is for this reason that the Taliban has turned to Iran for support. Though Tehran has officially denied providing any weapons or financial support to the Taliban, sources in the region have confirmed that indeed such support is given. A senior Afghan government official speaking to the Wall Street Journal explained succinctly that, “At the beginning Iran was supporting [the] Taliban financially. But now they are training and equipping them, too.” Afghan security officials have claimed that Iran is hosting Taliban militants at training camps in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad, and Zahedan, and in the province of Kerman. If true, it means that the level of cooperation between the two has moved to a whole new level.

      While one might want to maintain some skepticism about all the claims made by US and Afghan officials regarding Iranian support for the Taliban, the alliance makes good strategic sense for Tehran. As Iran fights against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, so too must it check the spread of this terror group in neighboring Afghanistan.

      Moreover, Iran understands that ISIS is, in effect, an arm of the power projection of its regional rivals Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have been primary instigators of the war in Syria and the attempt to break the alliance of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah. Therefore, from the Iranian perspective, the Taliban’s war against ISIS in Afghanistan is essentially a new theater in the larger war against ISIS and its backers.

      Additionally, there is still another important political rationale behind Tehran’s overtures to the Taliban: leverage and access. Iran is preparing for the impending departure of US-NATO forces from Afghanistan, and it desperately wants to make sure it has friends in the new government which will likely include some key members of the Taliban in important positions. And the recent moves by the Taliban to engage in peace talks only further this point; Iran wants to be part of a peace deal which could unite the non-ISIS forces in Afghanistan thereby giving Tehran both access and, most importantly, influence over the decision-making apparatus in an independent Afghanistan.

    5. China and the New Afghanistan

      Iran certainly has partners in the charm offensive toward the Taliban, most notably China. The last few months have seen a flurry of rumors that China has played host to a Taliban delegation interested in engaging in substantive peace talks with the Kabul government, a move which threatens to fundamentally alter the balance of power in Afghanistan and the region. Assuming the reports are true – by all indications they are – China is positioning itself to become the single most important player in a post-occupation Afghanistan.

      Earlier this month in fact, an Afghan delegation from Kabul met with Taliban representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan to begin the dialogue process. It is a virtual certainty that such talks would never have taken place had the Chinese not intervened and opened direct channels of communication with the Taliban earlier this year. In this way, Beijing has become the key intermediary in the peace process in Afghanistan, a development which is likely to cause a fair amount of consternation in Washington. China has a multitude of reasons for pushing so hard for this dialogue process.

      First and foremost, China sees in Afghanistan one of the main keys to its entire regional, and indeed global, strategy, from the New Silk Roads to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Sitting in the middle of the strategically critical Central Asia region, Afghanistan represents for China both a bridge to its partner, Pakistan, and the key to the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. Moreover, it represents a critical node in the potential pipeline networks, as well as trading routes.

      Beijing also intends to be a major player in the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Afghanistan. The US Geological Survey has estimated that the mineral wealth of Afghanistan is worth roughly $1 trillion, making it some of the most prized land in the world. Iron, copper, cobalt, gold, lithium, and many other minerals are to be found just underneath the surface of Afghanistan; clearly an enticing prospect for China. Indeed, China has already heavily invested in copper mining concessions among others.

    6. It is in this arena where China and its longtime rival India have come into conflict, as Delhi has also been a major player competing for key mining concessions in Afghanistan, including the vast iron ore deposits. Iran also figures into this question as its port of Chabahar, seen as an important prize for both India and China, is the likely destination for the iron ore extracted from Afghanistan, especially if it is to be shipped to India.

      Not to be overlooked of course is the security issue. China’s ongoing struggle against Islamic extremism in Xinjiang has led to fears in Beijing that any economic plans could be jeopardized by terrorism-related instability. Xinjiang has seen a number of deadly terrorist attacks in the last eighteen months, including the heinous drive-by bombings that killed dozens and injured over 100 people in May 2014, the mass stabbings and bombings of November 2014, and the deadly attack by Uighur terrorists on a traffic checkpoint just last month which left 18 people dead.

  9. And it is here where all these issues converge. China needs Iran both for economic and counter-terrorism reasons. Beijing wants to see Iran act as the driving force in the battle against ISIS terrorism in Afghanistan, as well as in the Middle East, in order to destroy the Saudi-backed and Turkey-backed terror networks that support the Uighur extremists.

    China also wants to be an active player in Afghanistan in order to both buttress its own national security and to instigate itself as the central economic force in the region. The strategic imperatives couldn’t be clearer.

    Seen in this way, Afghanistan is at the very heart of both China’s and Iran’s regional plans. And this fact, more than any other, explains exactly the purpose that ISIS serves in Afghanistan. From the perspective of Washington, nothing could serve US imperial ambitions more effectively than a destabilization of Afghanistan both as justification for continued occupation, and to block Chinese penetration.

    So, once again, we see ISIS as the convenient tool of western power projection. No doubt strategic planners in Tehran and Beijing see it too. The question is: will they be able to stop it?

    This piece first appeared at New Eastern Outlook.


    Eric Draitser is the founder of and host of CounterPunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at

  10. It is improbable that anyone could have possibly screwed the Middle East up any more than we have, is it? I suppose Is it possible that the Neocons and their US military mercenary forces could have left some tactical nuclear warhead around somewhere, but short of that I think we upped the meaning to FUBAR. (Fucked Up Beyond All Reason)

    WASHINGTON — Russia is using an air corridor over Iraq and Iran to fly military equipment and personnel to a new air hub in Syria, openly defying American efforts to block the shipments and significantly increasing tensions with Washington.

    American officials disclosed Sunday that at least seven giant Russian Condor transport planes had taken off from a base in southern Russia during the past week to ferry equipment to Syria, all passing through Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

    Their destination was an airfield south of Latakia, Syria, which could become the most significant new Russian military foothold in the Middle East in decades, American officials said.

    Members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and its allies are at the entrance of an air base in the northern province of Idlib after seizing it Wednesday. It had been the last air base in the province held by the Syrian government.

    Russia Defends the Presence of Its Military Advisers in Syria

    SEPT. 9, 2015

    The Obama administration initially hoped it had hampered the Russian effort to move military equipment and personnel into Syria when Bulgaria, a NATO member, announced it would close its airspace to the flights. But Russia quickly began channeling its flights over Iraq and Iran, which Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said on Sunday would continue despite American objections.

    “There were military supplies, they are ongoing, and they will continue,” Mr. Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. “They are inevitably accompanied by Russian specialists, who help to adjust the equipment, to train Syrian personnel how to use this weaponry.”

    Moscow’s military buildup in Syria, where the Kremlin has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in a four-and-a-half-year civil war, adds a new friction point in its relations with the United States. The actions also lay bare another major policy challenge for the United States: how to encourage Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq, who came to power with the blessing of the United States, to block the Russian flights.

    American diplomats raised the issue with the Iraqi government on Sept. 5, hoping that the Iraqis would follow Bulgaria’s example and declare their airspace off limits to the Russian transport planes.

    1. The Iraqis responded that they would look into the matter, said an American official who declined to be identified because he was talking about diplomatic communications. But more than a week later, the Iraqis had yet to take action.

      A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister declined to comment on Sunday, asserting that he had no information about the Russian flights or the United States’ concerns about them.

      Two years ago, American officials confronted Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Mr. Abadi’s predecessor, when Iraq allowed Iran to fly arms, ammunition and other equipment to Syria through its airspace. In March 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Baghdad that he had a “spirited” discussion with Mr. Maliki on the issue.

      Compounding Mr. Abadi’s challenge are his efforts to maintain good relations with the United States, Iran and Russia. While about 3,500 American advisers have been sent to help the Iraqis combat the Islamic State, Iraq also has received military support for that fight from Iran, which like Russia is backing Mr. Assad. Iraq also is buying weapons from Moscow, which Mr. Abadi visited in May.

      With few aircraft, Iraq’s ability to defend its airspace is extremely limited. But it could tell the Russians that they do not have the clearance to fly through Iraqi airspace and ask for American help in detecting and discouraging Russian flights.

      “Since Maliki relinquished the premiership, power and authority in Iraq have become increasingly diffused with various players now exercising unilateral power over the use of force,” Ramzy Mardini, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, a research group in Washington, said in a telephone interview from Erbil, Iraq.


    2. “Neutrality is the best Washington can hope for in Baghdad,” Mr. Mardini added. “Iraq is not a dictatorial state like many of the U.S. allies in the Middle East. Iraq is still a fragile state whose leaders are exposed to politics. In the discourse of Iraqi politics, forcing Abadi to side with the U.S. against Assad is like realigning him with the Sunni axis against the Shia one.”

      A Russian Embassy official in Tehran told Russian news agencies on Wednesday that Iran had approved Russia’s use of Iranian airspace to fly to Syria, but the official insisted the cargo was merely humanitarian aid.

      The Obama administration’s warnings to the Russians were decidedly stark.

      On the same day that the administration approached Iraq and other nations about the Russian flights, Mr. Kerry called Mr. Lavrov and warned the Kremlin not to vastly expand its military support for the Syrian government. Mr. Kerry said it would fuel the conflict and might even lead to an inadvertent confrontation with the American-led coalition that is carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria, the State Department noted in a statement about the call.

      “It appears now that Assad is worried enough that he’s inviting Russian advisers in and Russian equipment in,” President Obama said in a meeting with troops at Fort Meade, Md., last week. “And that won’t change our core strategy, which is to continue to put pressure on ISIL in Iraq and Syria, but we are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double-down on a strategy that’s doomed to failure.”

      But those warnings do not appear to have swayed President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who appears determined to create new facts on the ground in Syria.

      According to American intelligence, about 200 Russian marines and six Russian howitzers now guard the air base south of Latakia. More prefabricated buildings have been delivered, increasing the housing capacity to 1,500 people. Dozens of Russian vehicles have been observed at the base, including about a dozen advanced infantry fighting vehicles.

      American intelligence has not detected Russian fighter jets. But some American officials said Russian SU-25 and MiG-31 attack planes might arrive in the next phase of the buildup. They could be sent in crates and assembled in Syria or be flown to the base, officials said.


    3. The Russian move could serve multiple purposes, according to analysts. In addition to strengthening Mr. Assad and buttressing the Kremlin’s plan to create a new anti-ISIL coalition that includes Iran and the Syrian government, it positions Russia to have major influence in Syria’s future and draws attention away from Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

      “The Russians have done a masterful job of changing the subject on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s arrival in New York for the 70th commemoration of the U.N. General Assembly,” said Andrew S. Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is a former Russia expert for the National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon.

      “Instead of accepting a brushoff from the White House about Putin’s desire for a meeting with Obama, the Russians are trying to argue that you have to talk to us about Syria,” Mr. Weiss added. “I don’t believe Western governments are prepared to do very much to slow down or block the risky course the Russians are going on.”

      Although the administration’s warnings to the Russians have been made public, American officials have refused to publicly discuss their appeals to the Iraqis and other nations to stop the Russian flights’ path to Syria.

      “Regardless of what air corridor is being used, we’ve been clear about our concerns about continued material support to the Assad regime,” said John Kirby, the State Department spokesman. “We don’t talk about our diplomatic conversations, but we’ve asked our friends and partners in the region to ask tough questions of the Russians.”

      Russia has long had a naval base at the Syrian port city of Tartus. But if the Kremlin continues its military buildup near Latakia and bases Russian warplanes there, it could greatly enhance its ability to project power in Syria and neighboring states.

      “This is the most important Russian power projection in the region in decades,” said Stephen J. Blank, an expert on the Russian military at the American Foreign Policy Council, “and it will enhance Russia’s influence throughout the Levant.”

  11. One final plea: Name one helpful, useful, positive thing that our greatest invaluable $5 trillion ally has ever done for us. Anything at all.


    Latest update : 2015-09-14
    Taliban insurgents in military uniforms stormed an Afghan prison, freeing hundreds of inmates and killing several police officers in a brazen raid early Monday, officials said.

    The attack in the eastern province of Ghazni was reminiscent of the last major Afghan jailbreak in 2011 when nearly 500 Taliban fighter inmates escaped from a prison in southern Kandahar province.

    The raid comes as the militants ramp up attacks on government and foreign targets despite being embroiled in a bitter leadership transition.

    "Around 2:30 am six Taliban insurgents wearing military uniforms attacked Ghazni prison. First they detonated a car bomb in front of the gate, fired an RPG and then raided the prison," deputy provincial governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi told AFP.

    He added that 352 inmates escaped after the attack but the Afghan interior ministry said up to 400 managed to flee.

    Ahmadi said four Afghan police officers were killed and seven others were wounded in the raid.

    Baz Mohammed Hemat, head of the civilian hospital in Ghazni city, said 14 wounded people – 10 security forces, and four inmates – had been brought to the facility for treatment.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

    "This successful operation was carried out at 2:00 am and continued for several hours. The jail was under Taliban control," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

    In this operation, 400 of our innocent countrymen were freed... and were taken to mujahideen-controlled areas," it added.


      Mullah Akhtar Mansour, a trusted deputy of Omar, was named as the insurgents' new chief in late July, but the power transition has been acrimonious.

      Afghan security forces, stretched on multiple fronts, are facing their first fighting season without the full support of US-led NATO forces.

      NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan last December and pulled out the bulk of its troops although a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

      Afghanistan's president implored international donors earlier this month for their continued support, saying the "wounded country" faced a host of security and economic challenges.

  13. Pooty-Poots is a blue eyed cold hearted calculating killer but I can understand one reason why he is helping Assad fight ISIS in Syria.

    The Moslems in Russia are mostly Sunni and he doesn't want the ISIS virus to spread there.

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

    1. Adelson is worth about $26 billion (Charles and David Koch about $50 billion combined, Soros about $24 billion), according to Forbes. He’s been known to boast that he’s the richest Jew in the world. And according to an article in New York Magazine, Adelson’s support for the Jewish state is so intense he opposes American efforts to broker a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that the Palestinians are “an invented people” whose “purpose … is to destroy Israel.” And rather than negotiate with Iran, Adelson has called for a preemptive nuclear strike against the Islamic Republic.

      This is the guy GOP candidates are “stepping and fetching” to please. Don’t doubt that he’s going to expect a war or nuclear strike for his payment. (Of course, given that Americans — particularly, it seems, evangelical Christians — love war on Middle Eastern peoples, they will go right along with it.)

      Marco Rubio is reported to call Adelson biweekly, asking if he saw Rubio’s latest speech or policy position and seeking his opinion on it. Chickenhawk Lindsey Graham — polling a whopping 0 percent in the polls — is reported to be calling Adelson almost as often. Scott Walker is said to have ridden in Adelson’s jet to Israel for his obligatory bow before the Wailing Wall while donning a yarmulke. It appears that all but Donald Trump and Rand Paul have made the trip to beg Adelson for his largess, not that they would turn it down if it came.

      Although Adelson is the single biggest Zionist contributor, he’s far from alone. One consultant told New York Magazine that “There are a number of people who are writing $50,000, $100,000, $250,000 checks to super-PACs.” New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer has less wealth than Adelson, but his support may be more important because in addition to money, he brings lots of major donors with him.

      Singer, who pushed Republicans to back gay marriage (which helps explain their deafening silence on the issue), is said to have already hosted events for Jeb Bush, Walker, Rubio, Chris Christie and John Kasich.

      These individuals are only a small portion of the pro-Israel Zionist lobby influencing American politics and, therefore, foreign policy. In a copyrighted white paper published by Middle East Policy, Vol. XIII, No. 3, Fall 2006, the authors describe the Jewish lobby as “a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.” The lobby isn’t a “unified movement with a central leadership,” nor is it “a cabal or conspiracy.” But “[T]he core of the lobby consists of American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel’s interests.”

      But it also consists of non-Jews who are of a Zionist bent.

      One of the leading Zionist lobbying organizations is American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which just spent $30 million lobbying against President Obama’s Iran deal and has spent untold millions, if not billions, of dollars driving American politics in a pro-Israel direction over the past 60-plus years. Bucking them has serious political consequences, and the organization is now plotting how it will respond to Democrats who supported Obama’s deal.

    2. Because of its power, the Jewish lobby’s influence is rarely spoken of openly, particularly in a negative light. That’s because, as Joe Biden stated in 2007, almost all of Washington is Zionist.

      But in May 2004, Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-S.C.) wrote an essay for the Charleston Post and Courier titled “Bush’s Failed Mideast Policy is Creating More Terrorism.”

      Hollings wrote:

      With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The answer: President Bush’s policy to secure Israel. Led by [Paul] Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there had been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel’s security is to spread democracy in the area.

      For it, charges of anti-Semitism were (of course) leveled against him by prominent Jewish political figures. It’s their favorite ploy for stifling any conversation critical of Israel or its policies, and it usually sends people to the corners cowering in fear.

      But Hollings doubled down. He later went to the floor of the Senate and, according to the Institute for Historical Review, said:

      “I don’t apologize for this column,” he said. “I want them to apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism.” President Bush went to war in Iraq “to secure our friend, Israel” and “everybody knows it,” Hollings declared.

      Referring to the cowardly reluctance of his Congressional colleagues openly to acknowledge this reality, he said that “nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on.” With few exceptions, members of Congress uncritically support Israel and its policies due to “the pressures that we get politically,” he said. The pro-Israel lobby knows “how to make you tuck tail and run.” But “not the Senator from South Carolina,” he added, referring to himself. To emphasize the seriousness of his remarks, Hollings said: “I have thought this out as thoroughly as I know how, and it worries me that here we are…”

      Bush’s motive in going to war for Israeli interests, Hollings charged, was to get Jewish support in election campaigns. “President Bush came to office imbued with one thought: reelection. I say that advisedly. I have been up here with eight Presidents. We have had support of all eight Presidents. Yes, I supported the President on this Iraq resolution, but I was misled. There weren’t any weapons, or any terrorism, or al-Qaida. This is the reason we went to war. He had one thought in mind, and that was reelection…

      “That is not a conspiracy. That is the policy. I didn’t like to keep it a secret, maybe; but I can tell you now, I will challenge any one of the other 99 Senators to tell us why we are in Iraq, other than what this policy is here. It is an adopted policy, a domino theory of The [Zionist] Project For The New American Century. Everybody knows it [is] because we want to secure our friend, Israel…

      The Republican presidential contenders are all advocating for a hard line on Iran that includes a military strike or even all-out war. Their advocacy for Israel and its interests far exceeds their advocacy for policies that defend these United States and their rights against an overreaching judiciary and for policies that benefit the American people. Have you ever seen any politico inhabiting the District of Criminals advocate as strongly for the state he or she represents as the clowns in the video below advocate for Israel? It’s almost as if Israel is the first state and these 50 United States are all secondary.

      But I want a president and Congress that put America and Americans first, not Israel or any other country.

      This man though has made a glaring mistake, which undercuts his entire argument. Do you see it ?

    3. I will personally give five gold sticky stars, metaphorically speaking, to the first person who sees it.

  15. Four Million young, primarily liberal, Millenials turn 18, Every Year.

    Two Million Old, overwhelmingly republican-voting, farts die every year.

    Whigs? You wish it was that good.

    <a href=" charts to make you laugh/cry</a>

  16. Update: Paging Rose Mary Woods to the red courtesy phone. Judicial Watch has received documents through their FOIA demands that the e-mails Hillary finally produced for the State Department show significant gaps in time exist in the records:

    Judicial Watch today released newly obtained Department of State documents showing a nearly five-month total gap in the emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to return to the State Department late last year. The documents also show that one key State Department official did not want a written record of issues about the Clinton emails. The documents also raise new questions about the accuracy of representations made to Judicial Watch, the courts, Congress, and the public by the Obama administration and Clinton.

    The documents were produced under court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch filed on May 6, 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The lawsuit was filed after the Obama State Department violated federal law and failed to respond to two separate FOIA requests, including a request for records about the actual production of the emails records by Clinton to the State Department.

    The first batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch contains a heavily redacted email from State Department official Eric F. Stein to Margaret P. Grafeld, dated April 21, 2015, with the subject “HRC Emails.” Stein is deputy director of global information systems at the State Department and Grafeld is deputy assistant secretary of global information systems. Stein reports to Grafeld that the “gaps” in Clinton’s emails include:

    Jan. 21 – March 17, 2009 (Received Messages)

    Jan. 21 – April 12, 2009 (Sent Messages)

    Dec. 30, 2012 – Feb. 1, 2013 (Sent Messages)

    I LOVE the aroma of roasted toasted Hillary in the morning....

  17. Caught a few minutes of Bernie Sanders speaking at Liberty College. He's a lot better then I thought he'd be. HIllary might have her hands full.

  18. .

    Dang, Deuce, you have been busy today. You need to ease off and relax. I fear we will have to put up with these neocon dolts and their Democratic kin for years to come, perhaps decades.

    You better pace yourself.



    1. .

      I figured after the Bush’s fiasco in Iraq, the neocons were dead. They’re influence had waned. Guys like Bush and Rumsfeld, the smarter ones, withdrew from public lives hoping that history would somehow be kind to them. Others moved on, to think tanks or like Wolfowitz to other jobs like the World Bank. And still others, McCain, Lindsay, Cheney, the batshit crazy ones, never disappeared.

      Then you have the ideologues and the pundits, the greybeards of the movement. In a sense, you can kind of feel sorry for this group. They spent decades trying to reach the point where they had a chance to try out their theories in the real world and when that chance came, they blew it. This group will never change, some even have business tied to the philosophy (Kagan, Kristol, etc.). These guys have spent their entire adult lives pushing the neocon philosophy. They don’t have it in them to admit they were wrong.

      Then you have the pols. Some of them may actually believe the nonsense they spout. For most, pushing it is what keeps them in office. These are the ones it is harder to forgive, putting cupidity above morality or even common sense.

      Then you have the lobbyists and interest groups, the enablers, pushing their own or others agendas (the MIC, foreign governments, foreign opposition groups, etc). It’s hard to feel any sympathy for the money men.

      And finally, you have the voters that support the aggressive foreign policy advocated by the neocons, some true patriots, others simply ill-informed citizens, all useful idiots in the neocon cause.

      However, now as a group they are back like zombies from The Walking Dead; and we are left to struggle with their…

      (Here I even have a problem trying to find a word that describes them.)

      Insane? Probably not, as the word implies such unsoundness of mind as to free them from legal responsibility for their criminality.

      Inane? No. The word is not strong enough to reflect the magnitude of the evil they have spread.

      Perhaps it requires a series of words...

      Elitist (to reflect their overweening view that the American political system and our values are the best in the world and deserve to be shared with the rest world); Arrogant (in reflecting the view that we are going to share them with the rest of the world whether the world wants them or not); Incompetent (in our attempts to implement that philosophy as witnessed by our series of spectacular failures endured over the past 20 years); and Lack of Self-Awareness (in failing to see that their insistence in applying the same ill-fated strategy over and over again merely means that they keep failing spectacularly over and over again).

      The real tragedy is that few (if any) have paid a price.

      Nope, rest up, Deuce, these guys will be attempting to screw up the world for the foreseeable future. There is always tomorrow.


    2. They didn't blow it, you nitwit.

      When Bush left Iraq was at peace, the Surge had worked, the lid was on.......

      Then Obumble got in and he and his Neo-Traitors threw it all away, pulled the troops out, let ISIS run wild.....Hillary is to blame for Libya....

      What the hell are you talking about ?

      Don't you have any memory bank left ?

  19. I recall being excoriated by Mr. Quirk when I once suggested we mind send some troops to Syria to try and establish some safe zones, keep the warring parties apart......

    Here's an anti-intervention type guy of the Mr. Quirk sort who has changed his mind.....

    Perhaps it is really Mr. Quirk who is responsible for the chaos in Syria......I could easily make the case....

    Why I've changed my mind about intervening in Syria
    By Dan Hannan • 9/14/15 12:01 AM

    We can't imagine the anguish of Kayla Mueller's family. We can try, but our thoughts skim off the surface. Perhaps, when news came that the 26-year-old aid worker had been killed in an airstrike in Syria, her parents initially comforted themselves with the thought that her final days had not been as bad as those of some of the Islamic State's hostages. It was reported, after all, that she had converted to Islam and been given a decent burial.

    Now, even that consolation has been ripped away. An escaped Yezidi girl reports that the volunteer from Arizona, who had gone to Syria because she wanted to help its people, had been abused like the other captives, subjected to frequent rape and torture by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brigand chieftain who, blaspheming against his professed faith, presumes to call himself Caliph of Islam.

    I'm wracking my brain for anything that the Islamic State could do to slide further along the spectrum of evil, and I'm struggling. Tony Abbott, the patriotic Australian leader, provoked faux-outrage the other day when he described the murderers as "worse than the Nazis," but he was absolutely right.

    As he pointed out, the Nazis at least tried to hide the evidence of their crimes, because they couldn't quite shake their sense that what they were doing was ugly. But the Islamic State flagrantly behaves in as monstrous a way as it can, murdering charity workers, torturing civilians, dynamiting antiquities, enslaving children.

    Two years ago, when the House of Commons voted to authorize bombing Syria, I opposed our involvement. I and my fellow non-interveners carried the day and, as a direct consequence, Washington, too, dropped the idea. But I was wrong. We were all wrong.

    We were wrong because of a concept that is ill-suited to the snap judgments and 140-character summaries of the present era: that of the lesser evil. The arguments we made against airstrikes remain valid. There would be unintended consequences, collateral casualties. Everything would suddenly become our responsibility, and a chunk of international opinion would turn viciously against us.

    1. All true. But look at the alternative: a humanitarian catastrophe that dwarfs anything seen in Iraq through the long years of unrest there; 11 million Syrians displaced from their homes, 4 million of them washing up as refugees abroad; friendly states in the region destabilized; and Western-born Muslims drawn into the vortex. How much worse do things have to get, for Heaven's sake?

      A choice between bad and worse defies the self-righteous simplicity that our age demands. Politicians shy away, and you can see why. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Clinton administration had decided to intervene in Rwanda in 1994. All sorts of grim consequences might have followed.

      American troops could have been drawn into a Somalia-type quagmire, drawing anti-war crowds onto the streets. President Clinton might well have lost the 1996 election. Had he tried to argue that his intervention, with all its faults, had prevented the largest genocide of the post-war era, he'd have been written off as a madman.

      Many of us anti-interveners now feel that we're stuck on a hook; but, really, the situation has changed utterly since August 2013. Then, the Islamic State barely existed. Now, Syria's options are so gruesome that many moderate states in the region find themselves backing militias affiliated with al-Qaeda — not out of any ideological affinity but because, between Assad and the Islamic State, they have become the least bad option.

      The Islamic State has kidnapped and murdered U.S. and British citizens for no other reason than that they hold our passports. That, by almost any definition, is an act of war, inviting retaliation. Yet still we wriggle on with the anti-intervention barbs on which we impaled ourselves in 2013.

      I am not suggesting an Iraq-style invasion. But there is now a strong case for targeted airstrikes, and for the establishment of safe areas, protected by international forces, rather as when the Kurdish part of Iraq broke away from Saddam. The mass of Syrians who support neither Assad nor the Islamist gunmen have never been given a chance. They were defeated, not at the ballot box, but on the battlefield.

      Several neighboring Arab states are ready to join a coalition, and Turkey has indicated its willingness to commit ground forces to create a northern safe zone. They are waiting only for our lead. Why us? Because, in the end, it's always us, the English-speaking peoples. And we're not done yet.

      This article appears in the Sept. 14 edition of the Washington Examiner magazine.

      Troops and air power to establish and guard some safe zones, no fly zones, that sort of thing, is what I suggested.

      Called a war monger.....a 'nitwit'.....the worst epithet arrow Quirk has in his quiver.....if we take Syria refugees let them be in Mr. Quirk's back yard.....

  20. Why, if the Jews control the US Congress, most banks, the media, as
    Deuce and the fellow up there a ways whose article I put up affirm, why have we not attacked Iran ?

    They have been urging us to join with them for years......

    All this crap about the all powerful AIPAC is moonshine.

    Congress voted to attack Iraq, but not because the Jews control have to be nuts to write such things.....

  21. What Mr. Hannan is saying is that he, and like minded, own the situation in Syria.

    Like minded would be folks just like you, Quirk.

    YOU own it.

  22. In 1948 hundreds of thousands of Jews were exiled from their homes across the arab occupied middle east.

    For centuries the Jews were subjected to harsh/brutal lives under the Moslems.

    If fact the yellow star that Hitler used was intact a moslem invention...

    Those 850,000 refugees, went to Israel. After all in 1948 Europe had pretty much murdered almost all it's jews and Europe was not a place that Jews would find a safe haven, even America has hostile to Jewish refugees settling in the USA, some were turned back right into the ovens of Hitler...

    What has happened recently that tens of millions of arab/moslems are fleeing the guns of their fellow arabs/moslems and heading to europe is amazing.

    No longer can those that hate israel point their fingers about europeans or jews from the arab world settling into Israel.

    Now the arabs of the world are (as refugees) forcing their way, wanted or unwanted into every nation of europe and america.

    1. The Western World is idiotic to even think about taking in any more Moslems.

      It's all Quirk's fault.

      An once of intervention could have prevented a hundred pounds chaos.