“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, October 21, 2015

Why is it objectionable that Russia is attacking an organization reporting to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who killed nearly 3,000 Americans in 2011? Why Does The GOP Likuds Force Oppose it?

American Hypocrisy: Against Muslim Sharia law at home, Calls it “Moderate” in Syria

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –
I just watched the 5 pm news hour on CNN anchored by Wolf Blitzer, and the editors had clearly decided that the lead was that Russian bombing in south Aleppo risks creating a new wave of refugees. They also stuck to the cover story that the Russians are only attacking the “moderate rebels.”
American bombing of populated areas has never been reported in that way on mainstream cable news. The US bombing that killed Sanafi al-Nasr, said to have been the no. 2 man in the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, the Support Front, was reported on the same show as a great victory. But was he in a completely deserted area? Were any civilians killed around him? It has now come out that most US drone strikes don’t even kill the intended target; probably it is the landlord’s family that mainly dies. Was al-Nasr a renter?
Nor did CNN lead with civilian casualties when it covered Israeli PM Netanyahu’s bombardment of defenseless little Gaza in summer of 2014.
Russian bombing of populated areas, like all such bombing, is killing civilians, of course. The point isn’t that CNN is wrong but that it is selective.
Whether Russian bombing is more or less egregious than any other can could be debated. I suspect it is less egregious than that of the Syrian air force itself, though that wouldn’t be saying much. Robert Fisk reportsthat the Syrian Arab Army is frustrated with the Russians precisely because their air force is being very cautious about civilian casualties:
“The Syrians have found that the Russians do not want to fire at targets in built-up areas; they intend to leave burning hospitals and dead wedding parties to the Americans in Afghanistan. This policy could always change, of course. No air force bombs countries without killing civilians. Nor without crossing other people’s frontiers. But the Russians are now telling the Turks – and by logical extension, this information must go to the Americans – their flight coordinates.”
Note that the Syrian regime has been dropping barrel bombs on civilian areas for years now and no CNN news hour has begun with this headline. It appears to me that they mind when Russia bombs, but not when anyone else does. I should underline that I oppose the Russian intervention in Syria and think it will likely go to dark places. But I also insist that it be reported and analyzed exactly as actions of the US and its allies are. And this is clearly not the case. The Fisk point of view should be reported, as I just did, even if one has reservations about it (as I do).
As for the “moderate rebels,” who have suddenly reappeared in American official discourse only after Russia intervened, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote Congress in fall of 2013 that he did not want to intervene in Syria because he could not be sure that the victorious rebels would support US interests:
” In an August 19 letter to Representative Eliot Engel, obtained by the Associated Press, Gen. Dempsey effectively ruled out even limited intervention, including US cruise missile attacks and other options that wouldn’t require US troops on the ground. “Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides,” he said. “It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favour. Today, they are not.”
What he was saying was that by the middle of 2013, the democratic forces in the Free Syrian Army had either collapsed or their units had joined or closely allied with one of the two major al-Qaeda offshoots, Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) or the Support Front (Jabhat al-Nusra, which reports to al-Qaeda 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri).
There are lots of small rebel groups in the hinterlands of Homs, Hama and Aleppo and in Idlib province who are not al-Qaeda. But most have become hard line Salafis a la Saudi Arabia who want sharia law and allow as how they might not kill all the Alawis, Christians, Druze and other minorities that come under their rule but keep them as second class citizens under a dictatorship. Some are still Muslim Brotherhood, some of whom want a Muslim state but with elections.
However, these groups are small and not very effective fighters, and have been forced to ally with al-Qaeda to avoid being killed by the Syrian Arab Army and in hopes of taking more territory. Moreover, the amount of Syrian territory now held by rebels who want democratic elections and full legal equality for all Syrians would be in my estimation zero percent. Almost all Syrian rebels now want a society ruled by sharia or a hard line medieval notion of Islamic law. (Sharia itself, as private practice and individual choice, is as inoffensive as Jewish Halakha or Roman Catholic canon law; but making a fundamentalist interpretation of it the basis for national law is a whole set of human rights crimes waiting to happen).
Note the irony. The same GOP politicians who denounce all US Muslims for allegedly wanting to impose sharia or Muslim law on all Americansare talking about the Syrian rebels who want a sharia society as “moderates” and “US allies” being targeted by Russia. (The allegation about American Muslims, who in my experience love the US constitution half to death, is incorrect).
When Wolf Blitzer interviewed Rep. Adam Schiff, he asked a leading question about the Russians attacking the “moderate rebels.” Schiff concurred that that was what Moscow was doing, and spoke of these forces as being backed by US allies in the Gulf. He did, however, veer off script by admitting that Russia is also attacking al-Qaeda in Syria. He complained, however, that Russia is not attacking Daesh/ ISIL.
Russia is, of course, occasionally bombing Daesh. But that organization mainly holds territory in the far east of the country away from the western population centers. It is Syrian al-Qaeda that holds a great deal of Idlib Province and spearheads the Army of Conquest coalition of Salafi jihadis who control the rest of Idlib Province.
So why is it objectionable that Russia is attacking an organization reporting to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who killed nearly 3,000 Americans in 2011? Or that Russia is attacking groups that have political or tactical alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria? Wouldn’t that make them like the Taliban in Afghanistan? Is the US wrong to bomb the latter, on the grounds that they were only allied with al-Qaeda?
And how can the same news hour report positively on the killing by American bombing of al-Qaeda’s al-Nasr and slam the Russians for bombing . . . al-Qaeda?
This isn’t news reporting. This is government propaganda.
Related video added by Juan Cole:


  1. Remember Carly Fiorina? It now seems forever ago, but in late September she was being heralded as the next big thing in the Republican primary field—the outsider candidate who could marshall establishment support, and finally slay the Trump dragon.

    Now look at the polls. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll Monday has her at 7 percent, running behind the much-maligned Jeb Bush.

    Could it be that US public is sick of Republicans, after pledges of fealty to Israel, on their knees with wet lips ready to service Netanyahu?

    1. Still obsessed by Bibi?

      America still stand strong with Israel but is disgusted by the islam on islam and the islam on jew blood lust.

      The iranians are leading the pack helping the slaughter...

      Could it be that the US public is sick of pussy cowards?

      Could it be that Trump represents a new wave of American "can do" attitude?

      Meanwhile the Syrians, Iranians, Russians, Hezbollah and their iraq (and other) Shite death squads are murdering anyone within their sights in Syria. Hamas and the PA are doing the same, shooting rockets, sniping, stabbing and using cars to run over pedestrians.....

      And with the idea that 200,000 Trojan horse invaders calls "migrants" might be coming to America at the cost of billions? Americans are rejecting as are the Europeans....

      But not to worry you will be in Iran soon, eating Persian sweets and savory dishes...

    2. Persian food, Persian carpets, hashish.......the call to prayer in the morning.......always some stoning or other to make one feel is good....

    3. I don't think the public is sick of Republicans, Deuce.

      The closer one gets to the people....

      75% of state legislatures are held by Republicans....

      60% of the governors are republicans.....

      The House is solidly Republican.....

      The Senate less so......

      Only the Presidency is left is in Democratic hands....

      In Moscow, Idaho the sane took back the government in the landslide 'Greater Moscow Alliance' election of several years ago....and it has remained so ever since.....Moscow is no longer 'Berkeley North' as the locals used to call is a fine well run place nowadays...

      But keep up your propaganda.....

      Particularly your canard about Israel being a 'apartheid state'.

      That is so obviously a vicious lie and and propaganda....

      The only question anyone really has is why you hate Jews so.....

      Because your contribution to our national discussions fell off the sanity wagon long ago....

  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad held talks in Moscow on Tuesday. The Syrian leader said Russia’s actions have prevented the terrorists from seizing larger areas in his country.
    “Yesterday evening Syrian President Bashar Assad arrived in Moscow for a working visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. “President [Putin] was informed in detail by his Syrian counterpart about the current state of affairs in Syria and the long-range plan.”

    The two leaders conducted lengthy negotiations, which then continued in the presence of Russia’s top policymakers.

    Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian people have been confronting terrorists “practically single-handedly” for years, withstanding considerable casualties. Lately, they have achieved serious and positive results in this fight, he added.

    The terrorists’ attempts to destabilize the situation in the Middle East arouse deep concern in Russia because “unfortunately, people from the former Soviet republics, at least 4,000 of them, are fighting against the Syrian army,” the Russian leader said. “Naturally, we cannot allow them to appear on Russian territory with all the combat experience and ideological brainwashing they have gone through.”

    Syria is a country friendly to Russia, and Moscow is ready not only to assist with fighting terrorism, but also in reaching a peaceful political settlement to the Syrian conflict in cooperation with other global and regional powers, Putin said.

    “The decisive word, without any doubt, must belong solely to the Syrian people,” Vladimir Putin stressed.

    Bashar Assad thanked Russia for the support provided to Syria in fighting for its sovereignty and unity.

    “Terrorists would have occupied far greater territories if it were not for Russia’s military assistance,” President Assad said, adding that political steps are due to follow military action. “The only aim for all of us should be what the Syrian people want as a future for their country.”

    Once the terrorists are defeated, it will take a united effort to rebuild the country economically and politically and to ensure peaceful coexistence for all, Assad concluded.

    1. Except for the Jews/Israel whom Assad will continue to try to destroy.

  3. amazing video.

    It's amazing how, when compared to how the IDF fought in the Gaza Strip, the Syrians have destroyed EVERY building in the city.

    Maybe it's a lesson learned.

    If people like Deuce are going to call israel "genocidal" in their wars against the Hamas and Hezbollah maybe Israel should fight like Hezbollah, Syria, Russia and Iran fight in syria...

    Watch the video, look at the ruins...

    amazing levels of destruction...

    1. Amazing levels of destruction in Gaza, compliments of the IDF:

      The difference with Syria, is that Syria is fighting an enemy supplied by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UK and NATO>

      The Palestinians, not so lucky against the IDF Huns.

    2. The difference?

      Whether you want to admit it or not?

      2200 Gazans were killed by over 10,000 bombing runs by the IDF.

      hamas never stopped firing rockets at the civilians of Israel until it got it's nose bloodied. The Hamas terror tunnels (which Iran invested 1 billion dollars in) were a failure.

      The incredible lack of death in Gaza as compared to the Syrian war is astounding.

      In gaza? 2200, 1/2 were terrorists/fighters. Hamas used human shields and the BEST Israel could kill was 2,200.

      In syria? 360,000 are dead, 97% were civilians.

      If the IDF were HUNS? like you say?

      500,000 would be dead.


      Deuce you are the boy who cried wolf..

      Becareful of what you say...

      The next war in gaza might be catastrophic and between the Gazan's themselves..


    3. Deuce do you ever tire of your propaganda?

      If israel was a fraction of as bad as you claim?

      There would be no "palestinian issue" anymore.

      But do you every wonder why they don't just treat the palestinians like the syrians do?

      Think hard...

      I know that you know the answer but are too proud to be honest with us..

    4. Ever wonder why Hamas continues to build tunnels to invade Israel and import and assemble rockets to kill jews in Israel?

      Ever wonder why, after having their clocks cleaned by the IDF they continue to wage war?

      Well 2 reasons.

      ONE. israel has not destroyed them like the Russians or the Syrians would have done.


      TWO: Hamas is a genocidal, islamic nazi regime intent on the obliteration of every Jew on the planet.


  4. It looks like Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen (short list) are destroyed.

    Iran of course is next...


  5. “The decisive word, without any doubt, must belong solely to the Syrian people,” Vladimir Putin stressed.


    I love Pooty's sense of humor.

    If he hadn't so grotesquely shamed the noble world of fly fishing by fishing without a shirt to show his chest, I might get to like the guy....

    He played in a hockey match in Moscow, Russia the other day, did you know ?

    He scored, count them, SEVEN GOALS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The defense always wilted before his onslaught.....

    This is unlikely to happen so conveniently in Syria....

  6. We'll all go to hell for what we've done to those people in Palestine.

    1. You are talking about what you have done to the Jews of Palestine I am assuming?

  7. So let's see, let's count the score.....

    O'bozo's 'Arab Spring' ---

    Down the tubes -

    Almost Egypt but for the grace of allah

    1. Really hard to say all these disasters were the fault of the dreaded 'Neo-Cons', for whom Deuce voted at one time.

      But not to worry.....Bernie will save us Or Hillary will do so. Hillary will 'fix' know she will....she will figure out what we should do in Syria, if anything...she will again set the 'reset' button with Russia......

  8. That's a "No" for Joe.

    Ain't Running.

    Stick it.

    Bernie's last chance just left town.

    1. Joe's out ?


      I'm heading to Drudge

      So, our choice is between the Hlldebeast, and sanity..............

      Unless.......unless......The Criminal gets indicted.......then where will the Dems turn their longing eyes ?

      Why to Crazy Bernie the Communist.....

      Bernie knows Deuce didn't build that walled compound......Bernie knows the people built Deuce's good fortune.....Deuce had nothing to do with it......we built that......Deuce is a lizard sucking on the tits of The People.....he is rich.....a limo.....a driver.....a place of his own......frequent flier miles.....SOCIAL JUSTICE demands Deuce's stuff be given TO THE PEOPLE.....

      hoot hoot hoot

      Revolution Revolution, Revolution

      The Makers to the Wall
      The Takers to the Triggers

    2. And poor confused Deuce will vote for his own demise.

    3. By God, it wasn't Deuce that built those nice condos in Costa Rica.

      We, THE PEOPLE, built them condos......

      Why should Deuce get the sales receipts, the rents......

      Makers To The Wall
      Takers To The Triggers

    4. (Hint: I don't believe a word of the above myself. Deuce is a creative guy, and deserves not to be robbed of his good business efforts. The truth is, I didn't build them condos, Deuce did, and I have no right to his profits)

    5. Rufus is right, Biden is out -

      Oct 21, 12:51 PM EDT

      VP Joe Biden says he will not run for president in 2016

      Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden will not run for president in 2016, he said Wednesday, ending a months-long flirtation with a third White House campaign and setting him on a glide path toward the end of his decades-long political career.

      Biden's decision finalizes the Democratic field of White House candidates and bolsters Hillary Rodham Clinton's standing as the front-runner by sparing her a challenge from the popular vice president.

      In an extraordinary appearance in the White House Rose Garden, Biden said he always knew that the window for a viable campaign might close before he could determine whether his family was emotionally prepared for another campaign so soon after the death of his son Beau in May. Biden said his family was prepared to back him, but that he nonetheless would not be a candidate.............

  9. Sweden: Muslim protesters in Malmo chant “slaughter the Jews”

    October 20, 2015 4:15 pm By Robert Spencer 25 Comments

    “Slaughter the Jews”: naked, open genocidal bloodlust. And still Obama will blame Israel, and pressure it to make more concessions to the “Palestinian” jihadis.


    “Protesters in Malmo chant ‘slaughter the Jews,’” JTA, October 20, 2015:

    Hundreds of protesters in the Swedish city of Malmo were filmed chanting in Arabic about slaughtering Jews and stabbing soldiers.

    Pro-Palestinian groups organized a rally Monday in the city center against what they consider Israeli violence and to show solidarity with Palestinians amid deadly measures taken by Israeli authorities to stop the recent spate of attacks on Jews in Israel and the West Bank.

    Isaac Bachman, Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, posted on his Facebook account a video taken at the rally showing hundreds chanting “’slaughter the Jews, stab soldiers.” In other slogans, the chanters encouraged “heroes to carry out attack after attack” and to “start a third intifada.”

    “These are extremely troubling instances of a grotesque but nevertheless very real – and murderous – incitement which must be dealt with by the full force of the law,” Bachman wrote.

    His wife, Osnat, wrote about the video: “Swedish people: Is this what you believe in? Is this what you bargained for? Are these your morals? Since I know the answers I feel ashamed in your name.”…

    I am ashamed of Sweden these days. It was outside of Malmo where my grandfather came look at it.....I am soooooo glad he got out....

    This is exactly what we will get from moslems we let into our good country......insanity......because islam is insanity.....

    The second and third generation of islamic immigrants are worse than the first.....go look it up, it is a well known fact....they club up, mosque up....

    Keep them out.