“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, June 29, 2016

Under the pressure of outside military intervention, a vast region of the planet seems to be cracking open. Yet there is very little understanding of these processes in Washington.

Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn, An Endless Cycle of Indecisive Wars | TomDispatch

[Note to TomDispatch Readers: Patrick Cockburn has arguably been our premier journalist of the Middle East in these last years. For the Independent, he’s produced a body of journalism about our wars in the Greater Middle East and their consequences that is simply superb. His latest book (just out in paperback), Chaos & Caliphate: Jihadis and the West in the Struggle for the Middle East, offers a panoramic look at his on-the-ground reportage from the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to Iraq in 2015. I recommend it highly. You can buy it directly from his publisher, OR Books, by clicking here

In addition, let me remind all of you that, in return for a donation to this website of $100 or more ($125 if you live outside the United States), you can get a signed, personalized copy of any one of 14 books, from an impressive range of authors, including Nick Turse and me, at the TomDispatch donation page and help keep this operation rolling. Tom]

Here’s an unavoidable fact: we are now in a Brexit world. We are seeing the first signs of a major fragmentation of this planet that, until recently, the cognoscenti were convinced was globalizing rapidly and headed for unifications of all sorts. If you want a single figure that catches the grim spirit of our moment, it’s 65 million. That’s the record-setting number of people that the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates were displaced in 2015 by “conflict and persecution,” one of every 113 inhabitants of the planet. That's more than were generated in the wake of World War II at a time when significant parts of the globe had been devastated. Of the 21 million refugees among them, 51% were children (often separated from their parents and lacking any access to education). Most of the displaced of 2015 were, in fact, internal refugees, still in their own often splintered states. Almost half of those who fled across borders have come from three countries: Syria (4.9 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), and Somalia (1.1 million).

Despite the headlines about refugees heading for Europe -- approximately a million of them made it there last year (with more dying on the way) -- most of the uprooted who leave their homelands end up in poor or economically mid-level neighboring lands, with Turkey at 2.5 million refugees leading the way. In this fashion, the disruption of spreading conflicts and chaos, especially across the Greater Middle East and Africa, only brings more conflict and chaos with it wherever those refugees are forced to go.

And keep in mind that, as extreme as that 65 million figure may seem, it undoubtedly represents the beginning, not the end, of a process. For one thing, it doesn’t even include the estimated 19 million people displaced last year by extreme weather events and other natural disasters. Yet in coming decades, the heating of our planet, with attendant weather extremes (like the present heat wave in the American West) and rising sea levels, will undoubtedly produce its own waves of new refugees, only adding to both the conflicts and the fragmentation.

As Patrick Cockburn points out today, we have entered “an age of disintegration.” And he should know. There may be no Western reporter who has covered the grim dawn of that age in the Greater Middle East and North Africa -- from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria to Libya -- more fully or movingly than he has over this last decade and a half. His latest book, Chaos & Caliphate: Jihadis and the West in the Struggle for the Middle East, gives a vivid taste of his reporting and of a world that is at present cracking under the pressure of the conflicts he has witnessed. And imagine that so much of this began, at the bargain-basement cost of a mere $400,000 to $500,000, with 19 (mainly Saudi) fanatics, and a few hijacked airliners. Osama bin Laden must be smiling in his watery grave. Tom
✂︎ ✂︎ ✂︎ ✂︎
The Age of Disintegration Neoliberalism, Interventionism, the Resource Curse, and a Fragmenting World 
We live in an age of disintegration. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Across the vast swath of territory between Pakistan and Nigeria, there are at least seven ongoing wars -- in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan. These conflicts are extraordinarily destructive. They are tearing apart the countries in which they are taking place in ways that make it doubtful they will ever recover. Cities like Aleppo in Syria, Ramadi in Iraq, Taiz in Yemen, and Benghazi in Libya have been partly or entirely reduced to ruins. There are also at least three other serious insurgencies: in southeast Turkey, where Kurdish guerrillas are fighting the Turkish army, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula where a little-reported but ferocious guerrilla conflict is underway, and in northeast Nigeria and neighboring countries where Boko Haram continues to launch murderous attacks. 
All of these have a number of things in common: they are endless and seem never to produce definitive winners or losers. 
(Afghanistan has effectively been at war since 1979, Somalia since 1991.) They involve the destruction or dismemberment of unified nations, their de facto partition amid mass population movements and upheavals -- well publicized in the case of Syria and Iraq, less so in places like South Sudan where more than 2.4 million people have been displaced in recent years.

Add in one more similarity, no less crucial for being obvious: in most of these countries, where Islam is the dominant religion, extreme Salafi-Jihadi movements, including the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban are essentially the only available vehicles for protest and rebellion. By now, they have completely replaced the socialist and nationalist movements that predominated in the twentieth century; these years have, that is, seen a remarkable reversion to religious, ethnic, and tribal identity, to movements that seek to establish their own exclusive territory by the persecution and expulsion of minorities. 
In the process and under the pressure of outside military intervention, a vast region of the planet seems to be cracking open. Yet there is very little understanding of these processes in Washington. This was recently well illustrated by the protest of 51 State Department diplomats against President Obama’s Syrian policy and their suggestion that air strikes be launched targeting Syrian regime forces in the belief that President Bashar al-Assad would then abide by a ceasefire. The diplomats’ approach remains typically simpleminded in this most complex of conflicts, assuming as it does that the Syrian government’s barrel-bombing of civilians and other grim acts are the “root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.” 
It is as if the minds of these diplomats were still in the Cold War era, as if they were still fighting the Soviet Union and its allies. Against all the evidence of the last five years, there is an assumption that a barely extant moderate Syrian opposition would benefit from the fall of Assad, and a lack of understanding that the armed opposition in Syria is entirely dominated by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda clones. 
Though the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is now widely admitted to have been a mistake (even by those who supported it at the time), no real lessons have been learned about why direct or indirect military interventions by the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East over the last quarter century have all only exacerbated violence and accelerated state failure. 
A Mass Extinction of Independent States 
The Islamic State, just celebrating its second anniversary, is the grotesque outcome of this era of chaos and conflict. That such a monstrous cult exists at all is a symptom of the deep dislocation societies throughout that region, ruled by corrupt and discredited elites, have suffered. Its rise -- and that of various Taliban and al-Qaeda-style clones -- is a measure of the weakness of its opponents. 
The Iraqi army and security forces, for example, had 350,000 soldiers and 660,000 police on the books in June 2014 when a few thousand Islamic State fighters captured Mosul, the country’s second largest city, which they still hold. Today the Iraqi army, security services, and about 20,000 Shia paramilitaries backed by the massive firepower of the United States and allied air forces have fought their way into the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, against the resistance of IS fighters who may have numbered as few as 900. In Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, supposedly decisively defeated in 2001, came about less because of the popularity of that movement than the contempt with which Afghans came to regard their corrupt government in Kabul. 
Everywhere nation states are enfeebled or collapsing, as authoritarian leaders battle for survival in the face of mounting external and internal pressures. This is hardly the way the region was expected to develop. Countries that had escaped from colonial rule in the second half of the twentieth century were supposed to become more, not less, unified as time passed. 
Between 1950 and 1975, nationalist leaders came to power in much of the previously colonized world. They promised to achieve national self-determination by creating powerful independent states through the concentration of whatever political, military, and economic resources were at hand. Instead, over the decades, many of these regimes transmuted into police states controlled by small numbers of staggeringly wealthy families and a coterie of businessmen dependent on their connections to such leaders as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or Bashar al-Assad in Syria. 
In recent years, such countries were also opened up to the economic whirlwind of neoliberalism, which destroyed any crude social contract that existed between rulers and ruled. Take Syria. There, rural towns and villages that had once supported the Baathist regime of the al-Assad family because it provided jobs and kept the prices of necessities low were, after 2000, abandoned to market forces skewed in favor of those in power. These places would become the backbone of the post-2011 uprising. At the same time, institutions like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that had done so much to enhance the wealth and power of regional oil producers in the 1970s have lost their capacity for united action.
The question for our moment: Why is a “mass extinction” of independent states taking place in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond? Western politicians and media often refer to such countries as “failed states.” The implication embedded in that term is that the process is a self-destructive one. But several of the states now labeled “failed” like Libya only became so after Western-backed opposition movements seized power with the support and military intervention of Washington and NATO, and proved too weak to impose their own central governments and so a monopoly of violence within the national territory.
In many ways, this process began with the intervention of a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq in 2003 leading to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the shutting down of his Baathist Party, and the disbanding of his military. Whatever their faults, Saddam and Libya’s autocratic ruler Muammar Gaddafi were clearly demonized and blamed for all ethnic, sectarian, and regional differences in the countries they ruled, forces that were, in fact, set loose in grim ways upon their deaths. 
A question remains, however: Why did the opposition to autocracy and to Western intervention take on an Islamic form and why were the Islamic movements that came to dominate the armed resistance in Iraq and Syria in particular so violent, regressive, and sectarian? Put another way, how could such groups find so many people willing to die for their causes, while their opponents found so few? When IS battle groups were sweeping through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, soldiers who had thrown aside their uniforms and weapons and deserted that country’s northern cities would justify their flight by saying derisively: “Die for [then-Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki? Never!” 
A common explanation for the rise of Islamic resistance movements is that the socialist, secularist, and nationalist opposition had been crushed by the old regimes' security forces, while the Islamists were not. In countries like Libya and Syria, however, Islamists were savagely persecuted, too, and they still came to dominate the opposition. And yet, while these religious movements were strong enough to oppose governments, they generally have not proven strong enough to replace them. 
Too Weak to Win, But Too Strong to Lose 
Though there are clearly many reasons for the present disintegration of states and they differ somewhat from place to place, one thing is beyond question: the phenomenon itself is becoming the norm across vast reaches of the planet. 
If you’re looking for the causes of state failure in our time, the place to start is undoubtedly with the end of the Cold War a quarter-century ago. Once it was over, neither the U.S. nor the new Russia that emerged from the Soviet Union’s implosion had a significant interest in continuing to prop up “failed states,” as each had for so long, fearing that the rival superpower and its local proxies would otherwise take over. Previously, national leaders in places like the Greater Middle East had been able to maintain a degree of independence for their countries by balancing between Moscow and Washington. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, this was no longer feasible. 
In addition, the triumph of neoliberal free-market economics in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse added a critical element to the mix. It would prove far more destabilizing than it looked at the time.
Again, consider Syria. The expansion of the free market in a country where there was neither democratic accountability nor the rule of law meant one thing above all: plutocrats linked to the nation’s ruling family took anything that seemed potentially profitable. In the process, they grew staggeringly wealthy, while the denizens of Syria’s impoverished villages, country towns, and city slums, who had once looked to the state for jobs and cheap food, suffered. It should have surprised no one that those places became the strongholds of the Syrian uprising after 2011. In the capital, Damascus, as the reign of neoliberalism spread, even the lesser members of the mukhabarat, or secret police, found themselves living on only $200 to $300 a month, while the state became a machine for thievery. 
This sort of thievery and the auctioning off of the nation’s patrimony spread across the region in these years. The new Egyptian ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, merciless toward any sign of domestic dissent, was typical. In a country that once had been a standard bearer for nationalist regimes the world over, he didn’t hesitate this April to try to hand over two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia on whose funding and aid his regime is dependent. (To the surprise of everyone, an Egyptian court recently overruled Sisi's decision.)
That gesture, deeply unpopular among increasingly impoverished Egyptians, was symbolic of a larger change in the balance of power in the Middle East: once the most powerful states in the region -- Egypt, Syria, and Iraq -- had been secular nationalists and a genuine counterbalance to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf monarchies. As those secular autocracies weakened, however, the power and influence of the Sunni fundamentalist monarchies only increased. If 2011 saw rebellion and revolution spread across the Greater Middle East as the Arab Spring briefly blossomed, it also saw counterrevolution spread, funded by those oil-rich absolute Gulf monarchies, which were never going to tolerate democratic secular regime change in Syria or Libya. 
Add in one more process at work making such states ever more fragile: the production and sale of natural resources -- oil, gas, and minerals -- and the kleptomania that goes with it. Such countries often suffer from what has become known as “the resources curse”: states increasingly dependent for revenues on the sale of their natural resources -- enough to theoretically provide the whole population with a reasonably decent standard of living -- turn instead into grotesquely corrupt dictatorships. In them, the yachts of local billionaires with crucial connections to the regime of the moment bob in harbors surrounded by slums running with raw sewage. In such nations, politics tends to focus on elites battling and maneuvering to steal state revenues and transfer them as rapidly as possible out of the country. 
This has been the pattern of economic and political life in much of sub-Saharan Africa from Angola to Nigeria. In the Middle East and North Africa, however, a somewhat different system exists, one usually misunderstood by the outside world. There is similarly great inequality in Iraq or Saudi Arabia with similarly kleptocratic elites. They have, however, ruled over patronage states in which a significant part of the population is offered jobs in the public sector in return for political passivity or support for the kleptocrats. 
In Iraq with a population of 33 million people, for instance, no less than seven million of them are on the government payroll, thanks to salaries or pensions that cost the government $4 billion a month. This crude way of distributing oil revenues to the people has often been denounced by Western commentators and economists as corruption. They, in turn, generally recommend cutting the number of these jobs, but this would mean that all, rather than just part, of the state’s resource revenues would be stolen by the elite. This, in fact, is increasingly the case in such lands as oil prices bottom out and even the Saudi royals begin to cut back on state support for the populace. 
Neoliberalism was once believed to be the path to secular democracy and free-market economies. In practice, it has been anything but. Instead, in conjunction with the resource curse, as well as repeated military interventions by Washington and its allies, free-market economics has profoundly destabilized the Greater Middle East. Encouraged by Washington and Brussels, twenty-first-century neoliberalism has made unequal societies ever more unequal and helped transform already corrupt regimes into looting machines. This is also, of course, a formula for the success of the Islamic State or any other radical alternative to the status quo. Such movements are bound to find support in impoverished or neglected regions like eastern Syria or eastern Libya. 
Note, however, that this process of destabilization is by no means confined to the Greater Middle East and North Africa. We are indeed in the age of destabilization, a phenomenon that is on the rise globally and at present spreading into the Balkans and Eastern Europe (with the European Union ever less able to influence events there). People no longer speak of European integration, but of how to prevent the complete break-up of the European Union in the wake of the British vote to leave. 
The reasons why a narrow majority of Britons voted for Brexit have parallels with the Middle East: the free-market economic policies pursued by governments since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister have widened the gap between rich and poor and between wealthy cities and much of the rest of the country. Britain might be doing well, but millions of Britons did not share in the prosperity. The referendum about continued membership in the European Union, the option almost universally advocated by the British establishment, became the catalyst for protest against the status quo. The anger of the "Leave" voters has much in common with that of Donald Trump supporters in the United States. 
The U.S. remains a superpower, but is no longer as powerful as it once was. It, too, is feeling the strains of this global moment, in which it and its local allies are powerful enough to imagine they can get rid of regimes they do not like, but either they do not quite succeed, as in Syria, or succeed but cannot replace what they have destroyed, as in Libya. An Iraqi politician once said that the problem in his country was that parties and movements were “too weak to win, but too strong to lose.” This is increasingly the pattern for the whole region and is spreading elsewhere. It carries with it the possibility of an endless cycle of indecisive wars and an era of instability that has already begun. 
Patrick Cockburn is a Middle East correspondent for the Independent of London and the author of five books on the Middle East, the latest of which is Chaos and Caliphate: Jihadis and the West in the Struggle for the Middle East (OR Books). 
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Copyright 2016 Patrick Cockburn


  1. However, the Labour confidence vote does not automatically trigger a leadership election and Mr Corbyn refused to quit. "I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning," he said.

    Underlining the political upheaval that the Brexit vote set in motion, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to visit Brussels on Wednesday for talks with the president of the European Parliament and European Commission officials.
    Ms Sturgeon has said Scotland, where nearly two in three voters backed staying in the EU, does not want to leave the bloc and may hold a new referendum on independence.

  2. I've read several times that 90+ % of the conflicts around the world today are between moslems and whoever the neighbor might be....and I imagine that this high rate also held true at various time going way back, too.

    We all know where this comes from....their 'sacred command' by their warrior 'god' to subdue all the 'others'.

    They are the main ones these days who wish to crash the party and turn it into a melee.

    1. Stop moslem immigration to the USA now !

    2. Report: Muslim Migrant Men Enrolled In Canadian High School, Sexually Harassing Young Girls, 23 Y-O Men Hitting on 14 Y-O Girls

      By Pamela Geller on June 28, 2016

      ** Report: Muslim Migrant Men Enrolled In Canadian High School, Sexually Harassing
      Young Girls, 23 Y-O Men Hitting on 14 Y-O Girls -

      Anyone who thought this was just Europe's problem has not been paying attention.
      Obama and Trudeau can't import these predatory savages fast enough.

      “Syrian migrants in New Brunswick schools,” The Rebel Media, June 28, 2016:

      Syrian migrant men in their twenties — some with full beards — are being dumped into
      classrooms at Fredericton High School, next to Canadian schoolgirls as young as 14.

      And the results are what you’d expect.

      Sexual harassment. Bullying. Picking on the Jewish kids. Threatening and swearing at
      teachers. Talking about terrorist weapons, like rocket propelled grenades.

      Demanding that men and women be separated, sharia style. Refusing to speak English.

      It goes on and on.

      I know this,...

      Read the whole entry- ?• Email to a
      friend •

    3. Some offerings from today's Jihad Watch summary -

      Hugh Fitzgerald: “Civilizational Jihad” at the Urth Caffé
      By Hugh Fitzgerald on Jun 28, 2016 02:29 pm

      Hugh Fitzgerald: “Civilizational Jihad” at the Urth Caffé
      On April 22, at the Urth Caffé in Laguna Beach, California, seated at one of the most desirable tables – that is, those on the outside patio, in the very front, with the unobstructed view of the beach — seven Muslim women, all wearing hijabs, talked and dallied. On their table, as on all the....

      ....What is “civilizational jihad”? It’s an attempt, effective in its stillicidal and quiet way, to promote changes to even minor aspects of Western life to fit Islamic requirements. Little by little, sometimes less and sometimes more, non-Muslims in the West find themselves changing their ways in order to meet Muslim demands. “Civilizational jihad” is not the jihad of suicide bombers or traditional combat (qitaal). It is, rather, the sum of all the attempts by Muslims in the West to turn every perceived slight, real or imaginary, which Muslims claim to suffer, and every refusal by non-Muslims to modify their own laws, customs, and mores, as an attack on Muslims, or on Islam.
      Read in browser »

      “Modern Islam Is Already Impossible”
      By Michael Devolin on Jun 28, 2016 10:16 am

      “Modern Islam Is Already Impossible”
      “You can not reform a religion. If they are reformed, [the original meaning] is separated from it. Therefore, modern Muslims and a modern Islam is already impossible. If there is no separation between religion and state, there will be no democracy especially without equality for women. Then we will keep a theocratic system. So it […]
      Read in browser »

      Mark Christian Moment: Can Any LGBT Individual Survive a Day Under Sharia Law?
      By Jamie Glazov on Jun 28, 2016 10:05 am

      Mark Christian Moment: Can Any LGBT Individual Survive a Day Under Sharia Law?
      Subscribe to the Glazov Gang‘s YouTube Channel. This special edition of The Glazov Gang presents the Mark Christian Moment with Dr. Mark Christian, the President and Executive Director of the Global Faith Institute. He is the son and nephew of high ranking leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in his home country of Egypt. After his conversion from Islam to Christianity, Dr. Christian dedicated his life and work to the proposition that “the first victims of Islam are the Muslim themselves.” […]
      Read in browser »

    4. June 29, 2016

      Two members of Congress accused of Muslim Brotherhood ties

      By Carol Brown

      I should start a list: Dumb Swede Moves of the Day

      It was the Swedish morons in Minnesota that elected the turd Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

      The Minnesota Swedish quirks bought his lie to them that he was just another democrat.,,,

    5. How many ISIS folk have been arrested in USA in the past year ?

      Over a hundred:

      from Dr. Sebastian Gorka on Fox News, Kelly File

    6. I suppose these really should be thought of as under the radar 'Arrested "Q"Nits', or some such, Stymied Nits perhaps.

  3. Carnage in Istanbul

    Terrorists carry out deadly assault at Turkish airport but Turkey’s Islamist government may be partly to blame.

    June 29, 2016

    Ari Lieberman

    Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Turkey’s largest, was hit with two suicide bombings yesterday that claimed the lives of at least 36 people. However, that grisly figure may rise further as there were also several dozen injured in the blasts, some of whom have been listed as critical. The airport was immediately shut down to commercial traffic.

    There were conflicting reports as to the number of assailants with some reports claiming that as many as four were involved. The explosions were accompanied by gunfire with one report claiming that at least one perpetrator opened fire with an AK-47 before detonating his suicide vest. It appears that the terrorists tried to enter the international terminal but were intercepted by police. After a brief exchange of gunfire, the terrorists detonated their suicide vests.

    Turkey has been hit with a spate of deadly bombings this year that has claimed hundreds of casualties. Today’s attack at Ataturk airport is Istanbul’s fourth bombing this year. In January, a suicide bomber affiliated with ISIS killed 13 people, including 12 Germans and a Peruvian. ISIS struck again in March when a suicide bomber claimed the lives of four, three of whom were Israeli nationals. Terrorists struck again in June when a remotely detonated bomb targeting Turkish police officers killed 12, including 6 police officers. That bombing was attributed to a Kurdish separatist group.

    Another two deadly bombings have been carried out in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara while others were recorded near Turkey’s border with Syria as well as Turkey’s heavily populated Kurdish regions where the government is waging a deadly war against pro-independence Kurdish guerillas.

    It would be unsurprising if the Turkish government placed blame for this dastardly act on the Kurds. It is not beneath the current Turkish government, led its Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to exploit tragedy to advance Turkish nationalistic propaganda.

    While it is certainly plausible that this terror attack was carried out by radical Kurdish separatists, it is unlikely. Kurdish guerillas usually target the military or police forces or symbols of the state. They are cognizant of international opinion and attacks of this nature serve no strategic purpose and only work to undermine their cause.

    1. The more likely culprit by far is ISIS and the attack is consistent with their modus operendi. The Islamist group has carried out several terrorist attacks in Turkey without regard for civilian deaths. In fact, the terrorist group deliberately seeks out soft targets with the aim of inflicting maximum civilian casualties. High profile targets like airports rank high on the group’s preferred list.

      Today’s attack is eerily reminiscent of a similar bombing carried out by ISIS terrorists in Brussels on March 22 in which twin suicide bombings struck the main terminal of Zaventem international airport. Contemporaneous with the airport bombings, another suicide bomber targeted a Brussels metro station. The blasts collectively claimed the lives of 32 people of various nationalities and injured dozens more.

      If this was indeed an ISIS attack, and it bears all the hallmarks of one, Turkey has no one to blame but its Islamist government. Under Erdoğan, Turkey has facilitated the Islamic State’s rise to power. Turkey purchased oil from ISIS thus providing the group with cash needed to fund its operations and turned a blind eye toward the group’s activities along the border, allowing members of the terrorist group to come and go as they pleased. At the border town of Kobani, Turkey prevented badly needed supplies from reaching Kurdish forces that were battling the Islamic State. At every turn, they hindered coalition efforts to help the embattled Kurds but eventually relented under heavy pressure from the Americans.

      Erdoğan, who is a Sunni Islamist, saw ISIS as a Sunni group with whom he shared much in common and believed erroneously that he could tame the beast and utilize the group as a useful proxy in Syria. That plan backfired miserably and Turkey is now reaping what it has sowed. Today’s cowardly attack at Ataturk airport is almost certainly the fruit of the deleterious neo-ottoman, Islamist policies pursued by Turkey’s authoritarian leader.

    2. Another incident of airport violence.

      AG Loretta Lynch says the best way to fight this sort of thing is through love.

  4. The unraveling of the Middle East is just the beginning.

    Neoliberalism is a failed economic and political philosophy developed by the financial elite to enslave more people around the world. It is happening everywhere.

    I do believe the population growth from 1.5 Billion in 1900 to 6.5 Billion today is unsupportable for the long term.

    We have a huge demographic problem as well as a birthrate in poor countries that has become a cancer which will devour the society like cancer.

    Great Britain is an irony in that they colonized a large part of the world and imposed their perverted religion and culture on indigenous peoples all over the world and now that those people are immigrating to Great Britain and the old white conservative Brits don't like it.

    It was Ok to colonize for the glory of England but it not acceptable for those people to immigrate to the land that destroyed their original culture.

    What we are seeing is natural societal evolution and survival of the most ruthless. Humans haven’t evolved much from the "Law of the Jungle" when you get right down to it.

    Don't expect the neoliberal politicians to save society and the world from itself.

    Einstein predicted this in 1950 in his book “Out of my later years”. The only solution to saving the world is socialism and a new enlightenment.

    Neoliberalism will destroy the world.

    1. I'll have to hope for enlightenment all round then, as I don't much like what I see in Venezuela.

  5. Another state created to fail will not bring "peace".

    No, The Palestinian People Don’t Deserve a State

    t has become the mantra now, ‘the Palestinian People deserve a state.’
    This has been repeatedly and self righteously proclaimed over and over again as if the right
    to a state was a self-evident human right.
    The right to life, the right to liberty, freedom of speech and expression, these are human rights, none of which anyone in there right mind would expect to be present in a State of Palestine in 2016.
    Put aside for a moment that the proposed land for the State of Palestine is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, put aside the Palestinian demand that this state be Jew free, put aside for a moment that there has never been Palestinian sovereignty, and Palestinian national identity is less than fifty years old.
    The main reason that a Palestinian State should seem a detestable notion to all people everywhere actually concerned with human rights, is that the national character of the Palestinian people today possesses levels of savagery and inhumanity that exist nowhere on the good side of the 21st century moral arc of humanity.
    This is universal among the Palestinians as a national identity and seen in every aspect of national life from the the entire spectrum of Palestinian opinion, action, and rhetoric from Palestinian leaders, public institutions straight down to polls of the Palestinian street.

    Read it if you dare.

    1. Hey, I've been saying the same for years now.

    2. We get it. The Israelis deserve a state. The Palestinians do not deserve a state, inferiors that they are, to the master chosen ones.

    3. In international law, a sovereign state is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

      Palestinians do not meet this criteria

    4. The arabs of gaza? Should be reunited with Egypt.

      The arabs of the west bank should be reunited with Jordan.

      Neither should be ruled by the Jews of Israel.

      Those arabs that live INSIDE Israel? Shall and do have the right to be citizens of the Jewish state.

      Jews that used to live in the other 899/900th of the arab occupied middle east are shit out of luck.

    5. The Kurds deserve a state long before a newly created, fictional nationalistic people called PALESTINE.

      Now the Arabs of the region? hail from Egypt/Sinai and the lands they now call "jordan" which is part and parcel of the Original Mandate for Palestine.


      Jordan Is Palestinian

      The unspoken truth is that the Palestinians, the country's largest ethnic group, have developed a profound hatred of the regime and view the Hashemites as occupiers of eastern Palestine—intruders rather than legitimate rulers. This, in turn, makes a regime change in Jordan more likely than ever. Such a change, however, would not only be confined to the toppling of yet another Arab despot but would also open the door to the only viable peace solution—and one that has effectively existed for quite some time: a Palestinian state in Jordan.

      Empowering Palestinian control of Jordan and giving Palestinians all over the world a place they can call home could not only defuse the population and demographic problem for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria but would also solve the much more complicated issue of the "right of return" for Palestinians in other Arab countries. Approximately a million Palestinian refugees and their descendents live in Syria and Lebanon, with another 300,000 in Jordan whom the Hashemite government still refuses to accept as citizens. How much better could their future look if there were a welcoming Palestinian Jordan?

      The Jordanian option seems the best possible and most viable solution to date. Decades of peace talks and billions of dollars invested by the international community have only brought more pain and suffering for both Palestinians and Israelis—alongside prosperity and wealth for the Hashemites and their cronies.

      It is time for the international community to adopt a more logical and less costly solution rather than to persist in long discredited misconceptions. It is historically perplexing that the world should be reluctant to ask the Hashemites to leave Jordan, a country to which they are alien, while at the same time demanding that Israeli families be removed by force from decades-old communities in their ancestral homeland. Equally frustrating is the world's silence while Palestinians seeking refuge from fighting in Iraq are locked in desert camps in eastern Jordan because the regime refuses to settle them "unless foreign aid is provided.

  6. Two worst shit holes in the USA -

    2. Detroit, Michigan
    > Population: 680,281
    > Median home value: $41,900
    > Poverty rate: 39.3%
    > Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 13.8%

    Unlike most cities on this list, Detroit’s housing market is not expensive. The median value of homes in Detroit is just $41,900, less than a quarter of the national median home value. The incredibly low value housing market is not an especially positive signal, and the economic circumstances of many residents mirrors the poor health of the real estate market. Close to two out of every five city residents live in poverty, roughly two and a half times higher than the national poverty rate.

    The long struggling city was hard hit by the recent recession and filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Urban decay has characterized the auto manufacturing hub for decades. The number of manufacturing jobs in Detroit and the surrounding region rose from a decades-long low of 161,500 to 241,000 as of this April, but the industry’s workforce is still well below the roughly 390,000 manufacturing employees it had just 15 years ago.

    1. Miami, Florida
    > Population: 430,341
    > Median home value: $245,000
    > Poverty rate: 26.2%
    > Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 23.6%

    No city in the United States is worse to live in than Miami. The city’s median home value of $245,000 is well above the national median of $181,200. However, with a median household income of only $31,917 a year, well below the national median of $53,657, most of these homes are either out of reach or a financial burden on most Miami residents. Like most of the worst cities to live in, more than one in every four people in Miami live in poverty. According to recently released research from the nonprofit think tank the Economic Policy Institute, the top 1% of earners in the Miami metro area make about $2 million annually, 45 times greater than the average income of the other 99% of earners. This earnings gap makes the metro area nearly the most unequal of any U.S. city.

    Citywide violence is closely associated with a range of negative social and economic outcomes, including incarceration, unstable employment, lower cognitive functioning among children, and anxiety. A disproportionately large portion of Miami residents likely experience some of these outcomes as the city’s violent crime rate, at 1,060 incidents per 100,000 people, is several times higher than the national rate.

    50 Worst Cities to Live In - 24/7 Wall St.

  7. Finally, a site where Deuce can track global warming....

    Greenie Watch

    Scientist Michael Mann Says There Is No Need For Graphs, You Can Just SEE Global Warming

  8. Now we all understand that in Idaho the World has rather confined borders and it has been 6000 years since your heavenly father created it. Best to leave that subject to the adults Bobbie boy.

    1. If I called you Deucie Boy, you'd delete me.


      And what a stupid comment. I'm the guy that has informed you of the other entirely different understanding of time and creation underlying the popular biblical narrative, but you never listen, only live your prejudices.

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  10. Andrea Mitchell Mesmerized by Clinton and Warren: ‘Magic on Stage’

    ANDREA MITCHELL: The event just ended. And I want to bring in former White House communications director and senior Obama campaign advisor, Anita Dunn in Washington. Anita, you watched this event, it did seem like magic on that stage.

    ANITA DUNN: Andrea, it's hard to describe. I think that -- but I think Democrats across the country probably looked at this event and thought they saw a pretty good winning ticket for the fall. The chemistry looked very real. The arguments worked very well, and there was a sense of them being complementary in the same way that Bill Clinton and Al Gore always looked complementary to each other as well.

    MITCHELL: Even their colors seem to match. [Laughs] And blend in with each other.

    Apparently Mitchell also tasted this “magic” on campaign bus trips with Bill Clinton and Al Gore over twenty years ago:


  11. Deuce ☂Wed Jun 29, 01:27:00 PM EDT
    We get it. The Israelis deserve a state. The Palestinians do not deserve a state, inferiors that they are, to the master chosen ones.

    The arabs that call themselves "palestinians"?

    Should move to Europe.


  12. I imagine Israel would be preferable to Overbook. Both are better suited to you. Neither are to my taste, I’ll keep my US and European options as they are.

    1. Just stay east of the Mississippi.

      You wouldn't like it out here.

      Your Limo wouldn't fit in with the pick-up trucks.

  13. The Japanese Supreme Court has ruled that the Japanese Government may surveil moslems in Japan as they see fit to prevent terrorism. (Yes the used the 'T' word) The Japanese Government had been doing this for some time but were found out and sued by some Japanese moslem (I know that sounds odd, Japanese Moslem, but their are a handful).

    The nips, who as we well know, were recently trying to expand their borders ever outward, are jealous regarding their homeland, and take much more seriously than we the ideas of borders, language and culture.

    There isn't much active racism in Japan, one of the most racist countries in the world, as there are few opportunities for the nips to act out racism in their homeland, there being mostly only nips there, only 1.5% 'foreigners'.


    Main articles: Demographics of Japan, Japanese people, and Ethnic issues in Japan

    Japan's population is estimated at around 127 million,[2] with 80% of the population living on Honshū. Japanese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous,[161] composed of 98.5% ethnic Japanese,[2] with small populations of foreign workers.[161] Zainichi Koreans,[162] Zainichi Chinese, Filipinos, Brazilians mostly of Japanese descent,[163] and Peruvians mostly of Japanese descent are among the small minority groups in Japan.[164] In 2003, there were about 134,700 non-Latin American Western and 345,500 Latin American expatriates, 274,700 of whom were Brazilians (said to be primarily Japanese descendants, or nikkeijin, along with their spouses),[163] the largest community of Westerners.



  14. Climate Denial Finally Pays Off

    A series of Journal editorial page-bashing ads shows the climate cause in mid-crackup.

    Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

    June 28, 2016 6:07 p.m. ET

    No contributor has written more frequently on the subject of climate change on these pages—45 times over the past 20 years according to the “study” behind a recent series of ads (at $27,309 a pop) assailing the Journal’s editorial page for its climate coverage.

    Yet how ploddingly conventional my views have been: I’ve written that evidence of climate change is not evidence of what causes climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees, in its latest report estimating with less than 100% confidence that a human role accounts for half the warming between 1951 and 2010.

    I’ve written that it would be astonishing if human activity had no impact, but the important questions are how and how much. The IPCC agrees, estimating that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial times would hike temperatures between 1.5 degrees and 4.5 degrees (Celsius), notably an increase in the range of uncertainty since its last report.

    I’ve said science has been unable to discern signal from noise in the hunt for man-made warming. Yup, that’s why the IPCC relies on computer simulations. Indeed, the most telling words in its latest report are a question: “Are climate models getting better, and how would we know?”

    I’ve said it’s difficult to justify action on cost-benefit grounds. The Obama administration agrees, acknowledging that its coal plans will cost many billions but have no meaningful impact on climate even a century from now.

    So how many columns out of 45 win approval from the Partnership for Responsible Growth, the new group paying for the Journal-baiting ad? Only two, describing the superiority of a carbon tax, the option the Partnership exists to plump for, compared to other climate nostrums.

    Here’s what else I’ve learned in 20 years. Many advocates of climate policy are ignoramuses on the subject of climate science, and nothing about the Partnership for Economic Progress—founded by former Democratic congressman Walt Minnick plus a couple of big donors—breaks with this tradition.

    Only a nincompoop would treat a complex set of issues like human impact on climate as a binary “yes/no” question—as the Partnership and many climate policy promoters do. Only an idiot would ask an alleged “expert” what he knows without showing any curiosity about how he knows it—a practice routine among climate-advocating journalists....

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

    2. You two can continue your circle jerk on Wio's blog.

  16. Now for some interesting observations...

    If you want a single figure that catches the grim spirit of our moment, it’s 65 million. That’s the record-setting number of people that the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates were displaced in 2015 by “conflict and persecution,”

    Making the world NOT GIVING A SHIT ABOUT THE FOREVER REFUGEES, the Palestinians...

    Notice there is no run on the border from Gaza, West bank or EVEN FROM ISRAEL

    No the Arabs under the control, occupation, or umbrella of Israel are STAYING PUT...

    No israeli war crimes, well none that are real....

    No starvation of gazans, no matter what nonsense the apologists say...

    No roving bands of Bear Jews killing wantonly....

    No the Arabs are smart, israel is not the issue...

    Islam is.

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    1. the arabs of the middle east will revert to the clans and tribes whence they came.

      Arab Nationalism is dead.

      Everywhere nation states are enfeebled or collapsing, as authoritarian leaders battle for survival in the face of mounting external and internal pressures. This is hardly the way the region was expected to develop. Countries that had escaped from colonial rule in the second half of the twentieth century were supposed to become more, not less, unified as time passed.
      Between 1950 and 1975, nationalist leaders came to power in much of the previously colonized world. They promised to achieve national self-determination by creating powerful independent states through the concentration of whatever political, military, and economic resources were at hand. Instead, over the decades, many of these regimes transmuted into police states controlled by small numbers of staggeringly wealthy families and a coterie of businessmen dependent on their connections to such leaders as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
      In recent years, such countries were also opened up to the economic whirlwind of neoliberalism, which destroyed any crude social contract that existed between rulers and ruled. Take Syria. There, rural towns and villages that had once supported the Baathist regime of the al-Assad family because it provided jobs and kept the prices of necessities low were, after 2000, abandoned to market forces skewed in favor of those in power. These places would become the backbone of the post-2011 uprising. At the same time, institutions like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that had done so much to enhance the wealth and power of regional oil producers in the 1970s have lost their capacity for united action.

      Again, there will never be an arab palestine.

      And it wasn't the Jews that did it....

      It was Islamic suicide.

  19. Many terrorists who slaughtered innocent civilians in locales worldwide have wielded varied weapons and strategies but paid tribute to the same malevolent inspiration: Islamic State. In Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels and beyond, homegrown terrorists expressed allegiance to the thugs who carved out a blood-drenched caliphate in Iraq and Syria.


    As U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently put it: "The sooner we deliver (Islamic State) a lasting defeat, the safer we'll make our homelands and our people."


    Too bad the White House wasted no time rejecting the outreach. Obama, determined to prove that he isn't an incarnation of President George W. Bush, has staked his legacy on a limited U.S. role in the Middle East.

  20. For Smirk and the other gun grabbers among us -

    The Case for More Concealed Handguns

    by John R. Lott Jr. June 29, 2016 4:00 AM

    Clinton and Obama don’t work or live in a gun-free zone. They should stop the lectures. In a new Gallup poll released, a nearly two-to-one margin of Americans (64 to 34 percent) think that increasing the number of people carrying concealed handguns will help prevent terrorism. Even 45 percent of Democrats agree. Civilians aren’t alone in these views.

    PoliceOne, a private organization with 450,000 members (380,000 full-time active law enforcement and 70,000 retired), polled its members in 2013 shortly after the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Eighty-six percent of respondents said that allowing legally armed citizens to carry guns in places such as Newtown and Aurora would have reduced casualties. But not everyone has gotten the message. While Donald Trump has called to end gun-free zones, Hillary Clinton, speaking in the aftermath of the Orlando atrocity, dismissed the idea as “reckless” and as evidence that her opponent is “temperamentally unfit” to be president.

    Other Democrats have chimed in. President Obama, in his prepared remarks after the shootings at Pulse, announced: “The notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense.” Bill Clinton asserted that if someone had a permitted concealed handgun at the Pulse nightclub, “it is likely that more people would have been killed.”

    But there are dozens of cases, most in the last five years, in which concealed-handgun permit holders stopped mass public shootings. Last year, these cases occurred in such places as a busy sidewalk in Chicago, a volunteer fire department having a children’s day in South Carolina, a barbershop in Philadelphia, a store in Conyers, Ga., and a street in Winton, Ohio. In not one of all these cases did a permit holder accidentally shoot an innocent bystander. Nor did the police accidentally shoot these heroes upon arriving at the scene.

    Time after time, we see killers consciously pick target zones in which their victims are defenseless. Look at the shootings over the last couple of years that occurred at a church in Charleston, a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., a sorority house in Santa Barbara, and in Canada. Only 1 percent of the mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred where general citizens have been able to defend themselves.

    1. The Sunday-morning national talk shows have made much of the fact that Pulse nightclub served alcohol. Jonathan Karl on ABC News’s This Week asked, “Is that really what you want is, people late at night, drinking at a nightclub, two–three o’clock in the morning, armed to the teeth?” John Dickerson on Face the Nation was equally incredulous. In fact, 40 states allow people to have guns with them in bars.

      There is not a single example in a bar of someone getting drunk in a bar and shooting at others. Nor is there a case in which a sober person in a bar unjustifiably shot others. In something like designated-driver laws, some states prohibit permit holders from drinking while they are carrying in bars. States also make it crime for a permit holder to carry a gun while drunk. By any measure, permit holders are incredibly law-abiding. Unfortunately for the nightclub patrons at Pulse, Florida is not one of the states that allow concealed carry in bars.

      Police are probably the single most important factor in stopping crime, but stopping mass public shootings is an extremely dangerous proposition for officers and security guards alike. Attackers will generally shoot first at any uniformed guards or officers who are present. During the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last year, the first person killed was the guard who was protecting the magazine’s offices. Being able to choose the time and place of an attack gives terrorists a major strategic advantage. The Orlando killer had obviously been to the Pulse nightclub many times. As a result, he clearly knew there was an armed security guard at the club’s entrance. Had some of the customers been carrying permitted concealed handguns, the terrorist wouldn’t have been able to know who might resist. This would have denied him a major strategic advantage.

      It is unlikely that either the Clintons or Obama would ever put gun-free zone signs in front of their homes. They should stop telling the rest of us where to put such signs.

  21. The Islamic State has lost a significant amount of territory in Syria and Iraq, most recently with the fall of Fallujah. But horrifying terror attacks from Orlando to Istanbul make clear that the group still remains a potent threat and that President Obama still has not crafted a plan to “destroy” it, as he vowed to do in September 2014.


    There’s little chance Obama will do what is necessary before he leaves office. That means, in all likelihood, fighting ISIS will be a top action item for his successor.