Gleanings, 23.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Vicious Babushka: According to BBC, Bombs Have Minds of Their Own

It’s just incredible to read this report, so carefully worded to convey the idea that this bomb (and others) just assembled, transported and detonated itself without any human participation.

Barry Rubin: Hillary’s Friends Echo Our Analysis: No Excuse for Not Knowing U.S. Foreign Policy Is At the Iceberg (MUST READ)

… people around Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … are horrified … Guess what? They’re saying that President Barack Obama and most of his team are dangerously incompetent and ideologically deluded–”amateur night” is one memorable phrase used. This is what I’ve been warning about since the summer of 2008 and pointing out in detail since January 20, 2009, on a daily basis what’s happening; and they see a catastrophe they don’t want to be associated with (read: blamed for) … The main reason I’m writing this article is to declare, solemnly and seriously, that as of now, March 2011, nobody can say that they didn’t know the U.S. government is set on a disastrous course internationally, throwing away American credibility, subverting U.S. allies, and helping America’s foes (and the enemies of democracy and freedom).

Lee Smith: Committed (MUST READ)

Contrary to President Barack Obama’s remarks, the European and American bombs that are falling on positions held by Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s forces in Libya do not herald a war of humanitarian intervention … The Obama Administration was compelled to join its European allies in going against Qaddafi, but what forced the Europeans to act were the scandals surrounding the British academic institutions … These highly publicized scandals would make it very difficult for European governments to continue to deal with Qaddafi now that he has turned his country into a war zone. But the main problem for British Prime Minister David Cameron is that, as we recall from the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Kingdom’s pension fund is tied to its BP portfolio, and BP has extensive deals with the Libyans. In other words, it is a vital British interest to get rid of Qaddafi, at the very least so that BP and London can continue their key relationship with a major oil-producing state … There is nothing humanitarian about the [intellectual] class that clamors for the end of a tyrant who had their prestige at a discount.

James Kirchik: Leaked: What the Mideast Really Thinks About Iran (MUST READ)

But while Julian Assange made sure that the world got the message, however embarrassing it might have been in certain Middle Eastern capitals, the realist-progressive alliance in the US wasn’t listening … It’s strange that so many so-called “realists,” who claim to understand the nitty-gritty of foreign relations better than others, have forgotten a fundamental tenet of statecraft: if a nation has client states, it behooves it to take their concerns seriously. The question is not whether one likes the Saudi monarchy; no decent person does. It’s about whether one cares about the future of American power. Those who do care, and want to see it prosper, cannot dismiss Arab fears of rising Iranian hegemony as merely the attention-starved lament of power-hungry and socially regressive monarchs. For if the United States were to allow Iran to go nuclear, thus throwing the region’s power balance into flux and jeopardizing the world economy, America’s credibility as a great power would collapse. And that, far more than the ill-informed opinion of the “Arab street,” is what should concern Americans most.

Hugh Fitzgerald: The Libya Fiasco, And What’s To Come

What will Obama do when he returns from his Good-Neighbor-Policy tour? Probably, give a solemn address, on the Miiddle East, in which he will make demands — he likes to make demands, lay down lines, say what “must happen” and what for him is “unacceptable” as he did with Libya — on Israel to “make the dreams of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace blah blah blah” and, not incidentally, talking of “sharing the city holy to three faiths.”

Steven Plaut: Juan Cole’s Map of Lies

He has decided that lands owned by the British imperial mandatory governing in control of “Palestine” between the world wars were “Palestinian land.”  Those are the “Palestinian lands” he claims were stolen by Israel.  Now, as it turns out, those were “Palestinian lands” only in the sense that they were state land owned by the British “Palestine” mandatory government.  They were by and large not lands owned by “Palestinian” Arabs.  And they were by and large completely empty … Today Juan Cole is the daddy of the world’s most absurd propaganda pseudo-map, which purports to tell the history of “Palestine.”  The map can be viewed here and is entitled “Palestinian Loss of Land 1946 to 2000.”  It consists of four frames

Jonathan Tobin: Abbas’s Choice: Peace With Israel or Hamas

So why, we must ask, would Hamas, which has kept the level of terror attacks from Gaza low enough to maintain the uneasy cease-fire it has had with Israel since Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009, seek to raise the temperature in the region? … In the bizzaro world of Palestinian nationalism, political movements earn their bona fides not by acts of statesmanship or state building but by shedding blood or at least making a show of bloodletting … By declaring that the PA leader must choose between peace with Israel or with Hamas, Netanyahu was doing more than merely reminding him that Israel will never tolerate Islamist control of the West Bank in addition to Gaza. Israelis understand that whenever Palestinians vie for popularity, Jews have a tendency to get killed.

RL additions:

Robert E. Belgrad, A Study in Contrasts
The murder of a Jewish family in Samaria occurred just days before Israeli soldiers saved the life of a mother and her newborn baby in the same town.
March 23, 2011

…One seemingly unrelated article I read a few days later caught my attention. It was the story of IDF soldiers and Israeli paramedics saving the life of a young, pregnant Palestinian woman and her baby, when the baby’s umbilical cord had become wrapped around its throat. In the same town where what remains of the the Fogel family sat shiva, mourning the massacre that had taken place just days before, a Palestinian cab driver raced with the pregnant woman towards the Israeli forces, who he knew would help her. The baby and mother were saved by the Israelis, and according to the article:

Palestinians from the nearby village of Nabi Salah gathered around the paramedics along with the new grandmother and could not hide their joy.  “They thanked us and told us they named the girl Jude,” Corporal Levin said.

(ed. note: the lethal narrative of Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian newborns by stopping them at checkpoints is a staple of Pallywood. RL)

Soeren Kern, Why France Was So Keen to Attack Libya

So what explains Sarkozy’s about-face vis-à-vis Libya? His sudden support for the anti-Gaddafi rebels can be attributed to two main factors: opinion polls and the closely related issue of Muslim immigration.

Sarkozy’s sudden zeal for the cause of democracy in Libya comes as his popularity is at record lows just thirteen months before the first round of the 2012 presidential election. With polls showing that Sarkozy is the least popular president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, he is betting that French voters will appreciate his efforts in Libya to place France at the center of the world stage and reinforce what Charles de Gaulle once famously called “a certain idea of France” as a nation of exceptional destiny.

Tony Katz, Understanding Obama: His One-World View and Foreign Policy
Did Obama really dither indecisively over the Middle East crises, or were his delays all part of the plan? March 22, 2011

The frantic, frenetic, high-pitched squeal from all sides of the political aisle could have deafened most any ears.  When the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to institute a “no-fly zone” against Libya and its leader Moammar Gaddafi, there were shrieks of disgust. Where is President Obama? How could he allow this? And, conversely, what has taken him so long?

In 24-plus hours when the bombs began to fall on Libya (some 100 or more Tomahawks in the first bombardment), the shrieks continued. Isn’t this the anti-war president? How did he win a Nobel Prize? This is unconstitutional!

It is one of those rare moments: even though both sides come to the table from vastly different points of view, they have the same end game — what is President Obama doing? Even Louis Farrakhan, who I submit to you is an awful person, asked the question: “Who the hell do you think you are?”

Brian Fairchild, Eastern Libya’s Tribes, Jihadism: Did U.S. Consider Its Own Libya Intel?

On February 15, 2008, however, long before anyone ever considered the possibility of a popular uprising against Gaddafi, the U.S. embassy in Tripoli sent a secret cable to Washington titled “Extremism in Eastern Libya” which revealed that this area is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.

The cable describes a conversation between embassy officers and a dual U.S./Libyan citizen who provided the embassy with first-hand information about Islamist extremism gleaned from his family and friends in Eastern Libya.

According to the cable, the most troubling aspect of the report:

… is the pride that many eastern Libyans, particularly those in and around Derna, appear to take in the role their native sons have played in the insurgency in Iraq … [and the] ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad.

Answering why this area is so radicalized, the embassy reported:

[The source] partly attributed the fierce mindset in Benghazi and Derna to the message preached by imams in eastern Libyan mosques, which he said is markedly more radical than that heard in other parts of the country. Sermons in eastern mosques, particularly the Friday “khutba,” are laced with “coded phrases” urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. The language is often … incendiary and unambiguously supportive of jihad. Direct and indirect references to “martyrdom operations” were not uncommon.

The embassy’s alarming report is corroborated by captured al-Qaeda personnel documents — called the Sinjar Records — that came into American hands in 2007 and were analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Richard Fernandez, R2 B2: Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Libya

…This seemed so self evident as to be hardly worth mentioning.  It was obvious that an early and decisive end to the Libyan operation would be the best way to avoid a prolonged torment of civilians. Victory, not a conference in London discussing the distribution of relief supplies, is the common-sense exit to a humanitarian crisis. And yet the objective of victory or regime change is the one thing neither the administration,  nor whatever command structure comes after it relinquishes the initiative is at pains not to utter.

Not how do you not work for a victory and still be surprised by a humanitarian crisis? It staggers the imagination to think that professional military planners would not have anticipated these difficulties. And it is almost certain that they did. Gomer Pyle himself would have forseen it clearly. Therefore a fiasco of such proportions can only be the work of politics: politics, that dismal science in which the shortest way between two points is a trip in the opposite direction.

How could this happen? Maureen Dowd in an opinion piece titled The Flight of the Valkyries, half-seriously believes that President Obama was stampeded into Libya operation by the machinations of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Gayle Smith and Hillary Clinton, assisted perhaps by the hovering spirit of Helen Caldicott.

One Response to Gleanings, 23.03.11

  1. [...] Gleanings, 23.03.11 Mar 24 2011 04:40 CET | | | RSS | RSS INFO | Follow on | ShareNB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest. Vicious Babushka: According to BBC, Bombs Have Minds of Their Own It’s just incredible to read this report, so … Continue reading → [...]

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