Open Thread – 20 September 2017



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51 Responses to Open Thread – 20 September 2017

  1. blowback says:

    Urgent call for 61,200 virgins in Idlib

    The militants’ estimated losses include some 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points.

    BTW, I doubt the accusation that US security services instigated the offensive but given the outcome it’s obviously something they should be doing quite frequently.

  2. Allen Thomson says:

    Open Thread!
    OK, speaking of Deir ez Zor (modulo many different transliterations), I notice that the big shed over the site of the claimed and former nuclear reactor that was bombed by Israel ten years ago has been stripped of its walls and ceiling. See 35.7079 N, 39.8330 E in Google Earth.
    I suspect that this is just the doing of local metal scavengers looking for sheet metal to sell, but would be interested in other interpretations.

  3. says:

    Don’ still tell me we ain’t supporting ISIS!
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Coalition and Kurdish-led forces are assisting ISIS terrorists in eastern Deir Ezzor through a variety of means in what appears to be an attempt to prevent the Syrian Army and allied paramilitaries from liberating the region.
    Major General Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesman, has noted that the strongest ISIS counterattacks and artillery shelling against the Syrian Army bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River come from the north where American and Kurdish forces hold positions and not from the south where the Islamic State is still unchallenged by any force.
    The Russian general has also pointed out other acts of sabotage being committed by the US-led so-called anti-ISIS Coalition against Syrian Army forces.
    According to Konashenkov, in the process of elite Syrian Army units crossing to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the water level drastically rose in several hours, this being something which could only be achieved by the flushing of large river dams further north – dams that are under the control of Kurdish forces.
    Finally, Konashenkov also mentioned reports from Syrian Army commanders that US special forces and Kurdish fighters were lending medical assistance to ISIS militants and that the commanders concluded that this appears to be the only objective of the Coalition-led eastern Deir Ezzor offensive at the moment.

  4. turcopolier says:
    If all that turns out to be true, it would be evidence of collective madness in the Borg, a madness like the madness that got us into VN. The Israelis have been providing medical support, fire support to both IS and HTS on the Golan front. pl

  5. mike says:

    Konashenko provides pure speculation. Where is his evidence? This is the grandchild of Soviet ‘dezinformatsiya’, used as a tactical weapon. And a great weapon it is. I’d like to see them use it more strategically to counter Trump’s threats to Iran and others.
    Meanwhile Konashenko has clearly been dishonest in denying the Syrian/Russian airstrike on the SDF. Or perhaps his sources are lying to him?

  6. blowback says:

    You can build a timeline for its state using View and then ticking the Historical Imagery option, which shows the old structure complete on 12/31/2004 and 8/18/2007.
    I agree with your interpretation about the scavengers but I would add with the site having been under SDF control for several months why hasn’t the department of the USG responsible for monitoring nuclear proliferation (in a bureaucracy so big there must be one) done anything about it like sending out some investigators to see what the Syrians were really up to and if any evidence could still be found to identify who supplied the kit. That they haven’t suggests to me that they know the Israeli claims were junk all along.

  7. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    FWIW a ‘reasonable’ case IMO can be made that in the “macro” sense wars vs battles , (eg) what’s going on in Iraq-Syria-Afghanistan-Ukraine-Asia, “losing is winning.” Just perhaps the unwritten policy goal of the US military is to keep putting pots on the stove/keep stirring them wherever. The 50 year run of the US/world defense industries is real.

  8. blowback says:

    Where’s your evidence?
    Maybe the SDF have been lying. After looking at all the likely Twitter feeds I can find no evidence that supports the SDF claims relating to their advance towards Deir Ez-zor of:

    Fourteen SDF KIA so far in the Deir ez-Zor operation. They were attacked by eight VBIEDs plus four suicide attacks. They have confirmed the death of hundreds of Daesh. They liberated 4,000 civilians and evacuated them to safe areas.

    There is some evidence that they liberated some civilians but that’s about it. Now I acknowledged that I might not be looking in the right place but when I asked where to look, your reply was really a nonreply:

    I agree about the pervasiveness of false claims going on in Syria. By many sides. In any case, the SDF did acknowledge the deaths of several of their fighters in the DeZ op. I seriously doubt they would publish names and photos if they had not actually had those KIA.

    Still no links to evidence but I looked again and found this:
    Which Bing translates to:
    “15-19 in September #Rakka and #DeirEzZor was killed in combat in 8 #YPG/#SDF Terrorist.”
    Given the differences between fighting in Raqqa and east of Deir Ez-zor it’s entirely possible that they all died in Raqqa and the SDF PR Office are muddying the water by conflating Deir Ez-zor and Raqqa. And eight dead rather than 14? The SDF Press Office should be more careful.
    So where is the evidence of the destruction the SDF wrought on ISIS.
    Looking at the CizireStorm feed again there are pictures and videos of a large convoy of armoured vehicles, etc. driving through Qamishli on the way to Deir Ez-zor which puzzles me slightly. Is the convoy delivering new or replacement kit. If it’s the former then why wasn’t it delivered before the operation started? If it’s the latter, since the CizireStorm operation seems to have suffered so little damage, why is it needed. This just gets more and more intriguing

  9. LeaNder says:

    Has the feel and touch for me too.
    I found the floating the Euphrates via dam’s in the Kurdish area suggestion interesting. What about the energy they are meant to provide? Or do they have other functions, I am not aware of?

  10. says:

    The Ru MOD stated that the SA/Ru attack on “Coalition Forces” earlier this week on the east bank was conducted due to the lack of conflict between IS and the coalition forces. Lack of hostilities was prima facie evidence of cooperation between the forces.
    Today reports of further “assistance”…surely not the “fog of war” BS we’ve been fed so many times before.
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – The US-backed forces in Deir Ezzor have shelled the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions at least twice this week along the western bank of the Euphrates River, the Spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov stated on Thursday.
    “The Syrian governmental troops have been shelled twice from the areas on the western bank of the Euphrates controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US military,” Konashenkov said.
    In addition to shelling the Syrian Army’s positions, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been accused of trying to obstruct the government’s advance across the Euphrates River by flooding the areas in the Euphrates River Valley.
    Despite the US’ efforts to stop the Syrian Army from crossing the Euphrates, the latter’s forces successfully conducted an amphibious landing on the eastern bank of the river this past week.

  11. says:

    A recap of the events demonstrates coalition strategy adapting to SA success in Deir Ezzor by taking the heat off IS. Now the gloves come off…guardedly!
    The Russians don’t threaten…they act.
    “Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed,” Konashenkov said, adding that the attacks put at risk Russian military advisers embedded with Syrian government troops.
    “Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary,” he stressed.
    Konashenkov said Moscow suspected the SDF of colluding with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Deir ez-Zor rather than fighting it, as it claims to be. He said Russia had detected the transfer of SDF fighters from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, to join forces with the jihadists.
    “SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” the Russian general said.

  12. says:

    If you look back over the history of the conflict, the lion’s share of BS is coming out of the beltway. Sorry to say but I trust Russian statements more than our own. They mean what they say and keep their mouths shut otherwise. We bray, belch and spew all kinds of nonsense and then eat crow. (Red lines, chemical attacks, junior varsity players, etc.) We seem committed more than ever to the Rove doctrine of deciding what reality is because we are so exceptional. Sorry to say but the wheels are coming off the “reality”…or put another way, the emperor has no clothes!

  13. says:

    Irrigation for the region as well. As for the quality of reporting from US sources which rely on hearsay and official pronouncements, well….it don’t stand up to light of truth from a thousand vectors of social media and news outlets that have reporters on the ground. One thing though…the Russians have put up with lost of US BS and now they have drawn another line…they’re pissed…they’re in the right; they’re slow to mount but ride hard and fast.
    Today the Russian Defense Ministry accused the U.S. proxy forces of directly shelling its Syrian allies and the Russian forces accompanying them:
    Russia warned a representative of the US command in Al Udeid, Qatar, that “any attempts of shelling from the areas where the militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces are based will be immediately curbed.”
    “Firing points in these areas will be immediately suppressed by all means of destruction,” the general said.
    Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces approaching Deir ez-Zor from the north are easily joining IS terrorists, and Russian drones and reconnaissance recorded no clash between the IS with a “third force,” namely the SDF over the past week, he explained.
    However, massive fire from mortars and rocket artillery was opened twice on the Syrian troops from the areas on the eastern shore of Euphrates where the SDF fighters and servicemen of US special forces are based, Konashenkov said.
    The U.S. paid “Syrian Democratic Forces” that pushed into northern Deir Ezzor without meeting any resistance are mostly local tribes who were aligned with the Islamic State until the U.S. diplomat Brett McGurk hired them to fight on the U.S. side. They are led by Kurdish commanders and “advised” by U.S. special forces.
    The U.S. wants to keep Syrian government forces away from the oil fields north of the Euphrates. It has plans to build and control a Kurdish proto-state in north-east Syria and control over the eastern Deir Ezzor oil would give such a state the necessary economic base.

  14. says:

    …near Bersheeva

  15. Quartered Safe Out Here says:

    This from the AP today. I thought we had been doing this, or something similar, all along.
    US, Russian militaries hold unprecedented talks on Syria
    38 minutes ago Link copied!
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says American and Russia military leaders have met for an unprecedented, face-to-face session in Syria or nearby to discuss increasing tensions around a remaining Islamic State stronghold in Syria.
    Syrian government forces, Russian special forces and U.S.-backed militants are fighting for the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.
    Army Col. Ryan Dillon says U.S. and Russian general officers shared maps, graphics and information about where their forces are battling in the area. The recent discussions suggest an expanded effort to cooperate in the fight.
    Dillon says U.S. and Russian ground forces in Syria have coordinating over telephone lines in the past month or so to ensure their forces don’t fire on each other.
    Russia has accused the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces of firing on Syrian government troops in the area.

  16. Red Cloud says:

    At this point it should be easy for anyone to notice a consistency between all of these “coincidences” relating to the US helping ISIS

  17. Thomas says:

    “…I doubt the accusation that US security services instigated the offensive but given the outcome it’s obviously something they should be doing quite frequently.”
    Wording matters. US security services sounds like an accusation at the CIA’s Syria shop doing their usual stuff. Well it did the world a favor by sending the martyrs to their moment.

  18. Henshaw says:

    The West is looking very disorganised over the future of Syria.
    On the one hand we have the ‘Friends of Syria’ saying they won’t help with reconstruction until there is a transition away from Assad
    On the other we have a recent statement from the EU announcing that they will hold a second Brussels conference in spring 2018 on assisting recovery- but no mention of Assad-must-go prior conditions
    There’s clearly plenty of weasel wording in the EU statement, but the lack of reference to political prior conditions is interesting.

  19. lally says:

    “An American flag is flying permanently over a US army base situated inside one of our bases.”
    “The country has bought 50 F-35 stealth fighters from the United States.
    Israel has a sophisticated anti-missile defence system, including the Iron Dome short-range interceptor which has successfully brought down rockets fired from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt’s lawless Sinai region and the Gaza Strip.
    It also has the medium-range David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defence system, designed to counter more distant threats.
    Heimowitz did not comment on the specific role of the new joint base, but said the “few dozen” US personnel there would be under Israeli command.
    “This is not part of an exercise or manoeuvre,” he said. “It is a presence as part of the joint effort of Israel and the US to improve defence.”
    Flying the Stars and Stripes yet under Israeli command?
    If one of the PoG’s missiles strikes scores a hit does that mean we would be officially at war?

  20. mike says:

    I agree about beltway BS. And I admire Russian foreign policy.
    On the other hand I trust statements by US Army Commanders in Iraq and Syria. Especially compared to agitprop coming out of the R+6. Why should we trust Konashenko’s word, or the Russian MOD for whom he speaks? They are allied with Assad, who considers us an enemy of Syria (he has a point after our bungling of the FSA/CIA fiasco). The Russians will use whatever means necessary to support their ally. And that includes their century old history of deception and disinformation. They invented it. To believe that they would give up that tactic after the fall of the CCCP is ludicrous IMO.

  21. mike says:

    First they denied it ever happened. Then they change the story to say yes-we-did-it-but…
    Then they conflate “lack of hostilities”, which BTW is not true, with “cooperation”.
    There probably was some alignment between locals living under Daesh and the SDF Arab components who come from that area. Why not? Those locals had been forced to comply with Daesh. Key word here is ‘forced’. To say no meant death. Plus the Arab SDF components were members of the same tribes. They were kinsmen. Although that did not stop them from killing or capturing the hard-core. Assad has done the same. He has incorporated both former Daesh and former FSA into his militias. Makes good sense to me, I do not condemn Assad for doing it. Reconciliation is not just an emotional, touchy-feely kind of thing; it is a darn good tactic.
    As for the shelling, the SDF have no heavy weapons. Thet depend on French and US artillery batteries to do their shelling for them.

  22. LeaNder says:

    Irrigation for the region as well.
    I noticed. Looking up possible dams that would have fitted into the given scenario. Physics. In my own very, very nitwit way, admittedly.
    Can I use “more or less” the way I use it in everyday speech over here, by the way? The way I use it or its German equivalent: mehr oder weniger, suggest more generally, yes might be the fog of war, but vaguely open to doubt.
    Thanks for the feed back.

  23. LeaNder says:

    Ok, I didn’t use “more or less”, I used feel and touch.

  24. blowback says:

    On the other hand I trust statements by US Army Commanders in Iraq and Syria.

    I have some snake oil to sell. Can I interest you?

    Especially compared to agitprop coming out of the R+6.

    It’s nothing compared to what’s coming out of Washington.

    Why should we trust Konashenko’s word, or the Russian MOD for whom he speaks?

    Perhaps we should because, on the whole, he and they’ve been more honest than the Pentagon.

    They are allied with Assad, who considers us an enemy of Syria (he has a point after our bungling of the FSA/CIA fiasco).

    What do you think Washington has been doing in Syria for the last six years that Assad might consider them an enemy? Holding a “love in”? How about demanding regime change, arming and supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups which aren’t officially terrorist groups because Washington has refused to allow the UN to classify them as such, etc.

    The Russians will use whatever means necessary to support their ally.

    As if Washington doesn’t.

    And that includes their century old history of deception and disinformation.

    The British have been at it probably as long as the Russians have, if not longer.

    They invented it.

    I’don’t know how long black or negative propaganda has been around, but it’s certainly was around before the Soviets invented the term disinformation although not the art. For example, the tales about the Germans using Belgian priests as bell clappers in 1914, before the Soviet Union even existed.

    To believe that they would give up that tactic after the fall of the CCCP is ludicrous IMO.

    Why should they when countries hostile to Russia use it all the time, even today.
    Somebody in the State Department has been at the social media. They should develop a twelve-step plan to wean them of.
    I have to ask, are you one of those “perception management” people employed by the CIA?
    BTW, I’m still waiting. Where’s the evidence for the SDF’s dramatic results with Cizire Storm? They seem to have stopped using the Jazirah Storm hashtag and deleted all but one poor, lonely tweet.

  25. blowback says:

    Pat. I think your wish is about to come true. With ISIS in eastern Hama/Homs about to transfer to Deir Ez-zor freeing up SAA soldiers, and the failure of “The Last Attempt” attack to secure Russian MPs as hostages, it seems the Russians may be about to enforce the de-confliction agreement in Idlib.
    There seems to have been an increase in air operations over southern Idlib.,36.74377441406251

  26. mike says:

    SAA elements have moved NW from Deir ez-Zor city on route #4. Now only a few km from Ma’adan. Possibly eventually heading towards Ghanim al Ali to create another encirclement of Daesh.
    Speaking of encirclements, kessel-fever is now taking a toll among Daeshis in the pocket east of Salamiyah. Leith Abou Fadel reported yesterday another bussing deal has been worked between the SAA and the Daeshis from that pocket. Reportedly those Daeshis and their families will be transported from central Syria to Deir ez-Zor province:
    Kessel-fever has started in Raqqa also. It will probably soon be apparent among the Daesh still holding a sliver of Deir ez-Zor city in the old neighborhood along the riverbank:

  27. jld says:

    Don’t be so upset, Mike is just doing his job, he is the Gatekeeper in Residence.

  28. blowback says:

    Seems like Lavrov is preparing the diplomatic operation.
    Lavrov calls on US Coalition to not spare Al-Qaeda in Syria

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday called on the US-led coalition not to spare the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia).
    “Despite the fact that ISIL [Islamic State, a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia] is pulling back in Syria and Iraq, considerable additional effort is required to stabilize the region,” he said addressing the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
    “It should be recalled that it is necessary to fight not only ISIL, but also al-Nusra, the latter being tolerated for whatever reason by the U.S. coalition members.”
    Meanwhile Turkey is either putting blocking forces in place or preparing to draw off HTS from the Idlib/Hama border area and fixing them on the Idlib/Turkey border.
    Jihadists move forces to western Idlib amid Turkish Army build-up near Syrian border

    BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham have moved a large portion of their forces from the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate to western Idlib, a Syrian military report claimed on Thursday.
    This move by the Al-Qaeda linked rebel faction comes just days after the Turkish Army amassed a large force along the Idlib Governorate border.
    According to some reports, the Turkish Army is preparing an operation along the Syrian border to cleanse the area of all jihadist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

  29. mike says:

    Blowback –
    “…being tolerated for whatever reason by US coalition members.”
    Lavrov knows or should know that CENTCOM has conducted airstrikes on al-Nusra (or HTS or al-Qaeda or whatever their latest name is) in Idlib Province. Several times in the past, but probably not lately since since Idlib was declared a de-escalation zone by Russia back several months ago.
    By his wording it sounds almost like Lavrov is inviting us to participate in the cleansing of Idlib. You think?
    BTW those earlier airstrikes against Nusra in Idlib were CENTCOM airstrikes, not coalition. The multinational coalition charter is to go after Daesh in Iraq and Syria. They have stayed out of Idlib and let CENTCOM do the work there.
    I would expect that CENTCOM will stay out of Idlib now that R+6 and the Turks are moving in there. But they may still do a high value target decapitation if there is an opportunity. Let’s hope that does not incur more bad blood between

  30. mike says:

    Blowback –
    I also am still waiting for your evidence for what Konashenko calls, SDF non-hostilities towards the Daesh.
    Yes, it went fairly fast. So did Tal Afar in Iraq. And yesterday the Iraqis started an operation at dawn against Daesh in Anah on the Euphrates, they wrapped it up well before dusk. Similar results in East Shirqat of the Hawija area when Iraqi forces liberated 30 villages in one day. Will you and General K now accuse the Iraqi government of cooperating with Daesh?
    Daesh is fading fast. The holdouts are fighting in the urban areas where they have the great majority of their foreign jihadists and have had the time to fortify, dig tunnels and hidey holes, emplace IEDs and booby traps, and use garages and industrial facilities to build SVBIEDs. The villages in the countryside are easy pickings. Easy for the SDF as they were easy for the SAA on their way up to DeZ once they were able to break the Daesh bottleneck at al-Suknah. If I recall correctly the SAA rolled up from there to DeZ in two to three days. The only Daesh in the desert villages seem to be locals. Some are local bully boys and some were conscripted forcefully. But even the American-hating ‘b’ who comments here has said even the local village bullies are looking for a way out. I am hoping they get Article 45 as Colonel Lang has said.
    CIA? No,I’m a 74 year-old retiree with nothing better to do than trying to set the record straight about Russian disinformation. I never worked with the CIA. In my youth I only worked low-level military intelligence. Emphasis on ‘military’. I never worked with the alphabet soup of national level intel orgs. Plus you can check my many comments here on Colonel Lang’s blog to see that I regularly disparage the CIA – and Israel also BTW. So I should ask you the same question. Are you in the perception management business yourself but for a different team?

  31. LondonBob says:
    Alan Dershowitz apparently isn’t a fan of Mr Giraldi. No such thing as bad publicity.

  32. turcopolier says:

    Giraldi is a close personal friend and, a man who could be described as a conscience for America. He is not afraid of anything. Dershowitz is a very sevnsible person on every subject except anything having to do with Jews or Israel. pl

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Su Ky, like Weisel before her, has been exposed as a Lie and a fraud as a Champion of Human Rights.
    Their posture has been that Muslims are not Human.

  34. mike says:

    Johnklis and bb –
    SAA Tiger Forces closed the Ma’adan/GhanemAli pocket in a day. They liberated 2000 square kilometers including 48 villages, military camps and weapon storage dumps.
    So will you now accuse General Suheil al-Hassan, the Tiger, of colluding with the terrorist group Daesh because they advanced too quickly, as you accused the SDF of doing? Not likely. I am sure General Konashenko will have an explanation for the Tiger’s unopposed advance that will somehow put a bad light on the SDF and the Global Coalition. I hope you won’t continue to be drinking his Koolaid.

  35. turcopolier says:

    When the enemy disintegrates through attrition or demoralization it is easy to advance against them. pl

  36. mike says:

    Colonel –
    Exactly! That is what I have been saying all along. Although some commenters seem to believe that the SDF advance in Deir ez-Zor province was due to collusion.

  37. turcopolier says:

    Yes, no collusion between SAA and IS. The collusion IMO is among Israel – DC – and the SDF. As Giraldi wrote the Israeli press is full of exhortations to American Jews to keep pressing the US to prevent the re-constitution and re-construction of the SAG. That is why we re pushing the SDF to take the Omar oilf field in te east bank of the Euphrates. pl

  38. mike says:

    Colonel –
    Yes, and no collusion between SDF and IS either, despite the hype from Konashenko.
    You are right about Israel. May bibi rot in hell.
    As for the Omar oilfields, the SDF is not headed that way. They are leaving it to the SAA while they head for al-Suwar which is to the north of Omar.

  39. FB Ali says:

    I agree there is no collusion between the SAA and IS. However, I’m not so sure about the SDF and IS.
    The SDF in Deir Ez-Zor province probably comprises a lot of local Arab tribesmen (some of whom were likely in IS until very recently). IS would much prefer to let them take the oilfields rather than the SAA.

  40. YT says:

    Good sir,
    Your… ‘brethren’ are not exactly very popular these days ‘mongst myriad peoples both in the west (rotherham pakis ‘grooming’ white girls for prostitution, rapefugees raping or murdering Krauts,etc.) nor in the east (islamophobia in commie China due to various reasons, etc.)
    Their acts in host countries [sadly] are less-than-human and easily incur the wrath of others.
    Why are your ‘brethren’ so oft-concerned with the plight of these rohingya yet nary a mention is made of victims from other religions (Arab Christians, non-moslem minorities in Syria & Iraq, etc.)?
    The media too focuses exclusively on the plight of certain groups (rohingya) but not others (Yemen).
    Déjà vu?
    (But of course, we can also find various articles ’bout zionist israel profiting from this present Indochina crisis – their usual modus operandi of selling arms to military govts…)

  41. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My friend:
    When someone dons the mantle of human rights, one is standing for the intrinsic worth of the human individual, that person’s natural dignity which is deserving of respect by temporal powers.
    That means that when such natural rights that inhere in a human person are violated, anywhere and by anyone, one has to at least make a protestation against such violations – for Talk is Cheap.
    Sui Kye and Wiesel were tested and found wanting.
    The Organization of Islamic Conference is a branch of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – unless Saudi Government directs it to do something, it would do nothing.
    It is another useless, powerless forum in which old men gather to act as though they possesses some wisdom – which they do not have – in some attractive place, being catered to by comely young women. Enough said.
    You won’t find any objections from me in regards to the Tokyo Times article, however, the Iranian government has been making protestations on behalf of Rohingya for months – before this latest episode of mass escape across the frontier into Bangladesh. The West and others are latecomers to this.
    In regards to the UN and the Muslim (or US) participation thereto; I should think UN is a vestige of the presently defunct Peace of Yalta. It no longer serves the purpose of preventing war among major powers (USA, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China). Nor is it equipped to prevent wars between the major powers and the sovereign states of secondary rank (or among such second rank states); such as Viet Nam, Iran, India, Pakistan, North Korea etc.
    I suppose its affiliated organizations such as UNESCO, WHO, UNCF etc. perform some useful functions but the GA and SC are not. However, a reform of UN would require the creation of a new Peace – China and Russia, in my judgement, are interested but not the Western Fortress; as far as I can tell.
    The article written by Ezequiel Doiny is interesting since it does sveral things:
    It exposes the 300-year long belief among Western Diocletian states that their civilization (in Europe the term they use is “Europe”) is the One and Only Civilization of Earth. They honestly believe that everyone else to be barbarians; the Russ, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Muslims, the Hindu Indians etc. Thus the dislike for UN which, in effect, is supplying for some of the concerns of the barbaric people on this planet to be heard. I guess the idea is that “Barbars should neither be seen nor heard, except as exotics displayed in such creole countries as Morocco…”
    (This has been the great sin of Iran since the Islamic Revolution in the eyes of Europeans. Per my German’s friend observation: “Khomeini is saying that we have our own traditions, culture, religion – accept us the way we are or leave us alone.”; the Iranians had the audacity of wishing to maintain their own culture and tradition – like the Meiji before them.)
    This is one thing.
    The other thing is that in the Islamic World, Civilization and Religion (in this case, “Islam”) are coterminous. Muslims cannot become “Civilized” or “Westernized”, “European-ized” without becoming “Nothing”s; which neither modernizers, nor the reformers, nor the do-gooders, nor progressives seem to have been able to grasp over the last 200 years.
    The author, then proceeds to try to harness the Western Civilization’s claim to universality against any and all existing civilizations to the religious cause of Israel – “Let us encourage the Westerners in their war against Islam…”
    Like I said to LeAnder; EU or US does not have to have relations with Muslim states, they can break diplomatic relations and thus obviate the need to interact with the barbaric Muslims. They can outsource their foreign affairs to Chinese or Koreans, or Japanese. The East Asians could then be their emissaries to the Muslims World – it could be a new line of business for East Asian entrepreneurs; sort of like a Foreign Affairs R Us which handles all the out-sourced foreign affairs of the Western Diocletian states.
    All such arrangements, hopefully, would be temporary in the ripeness of time, all of us – barbar or civilized – would be able to emigrate to other planets – never have to set eyes of one another which we clearly loath so much.
    Millennia after such emigration off to new Earth-like planets, we almost certainly will be having stable mono-cultures with no change – just like the Aborigines in Australia that maintained the same neolithic way of life for 65,000 years – in the absence of interaction with foreign peoples.
    In regards to Holbrooke, I agree, he was just another hatchet man.

  42. Adrestia says:

    An interesting short documentary on Iraqi shia militias (focused on the Brigade of Imam Ali)| who fight in Iraq and Syria.

  43. LeaNder says:

    CIA? No,I’m a 74 year-old retiree with … In my youth I only worked low-level military intelligence.
    haven’t seen that insinuation for a long time. Can’t remember that I ever noticed it surfacing here.
    The only matter I ever stumbled across in private life that can be called ‘low-level’ surfacing people’s bio was related to photography.
    But when I read Blowback’s charge above, I wondered if you would ignore it. 😉

  44. LeaNder says:

    Great comment, Babak. Are you suggesting that Iran uses the term Diocletian Countries for Europe plus Canada/Australia? Or Western Europe only? … to not dig too deeply into my struggle with the concept.
    Concerning your response to Ezequiel Doiny’s article I have been watching a trend in the post 9/11 world on the far right embracing Israel or the “Judeo-Christian tradition” against the much bigger Muslim threat from early on. Much changed since then.
    Jerusalem Post:
    AfD deputy chair Beatrix von Storch tells ‘The Jerusalem Report’ that Israel could be a role model for Germany.
    Electronic Intifada:
    According to the The Jerusalem Report, von Storch is a founder of “Friends of Judea and Samaria,” a far-right European Parliament grouping that supports Israel’s illegal colonization of occupied Palestinian land.
    Bizarrely, that group lists as one of its contact persons the head of the “Shomron Regional Council,” a settler organization in the occupied West Bank.
    “Israel could be a role model for Germany,” von Storch told The Jerusalem Report. “Israel is a democracy that has a free and pluralistic society. Israel also makes efforts to preserve its unique culture and traditions. The same should be possible for Germany and any other nation.”
    Von Storch’s identification with Israel echoes that of US Nazi demagogue Richard Spencer, who has described his vision of an Aryan “ethno-state” as “white Zionism.”
    AfD chair Frauke Petry has also expressed support for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. In February, she told the right-wing Jewish publication Tablet that her only visit to Israel gave her a positive view of the country.
    “Suddenly the picture you get is somewhat different than what you got when you live far away,” she said.

  45. turcopolier says:

    “In my youth I only worked low-level military intelligence.” Well, I have been here for twelve years and that is the first I have heard of that. pl

  46. Adrestia says:

    near ‘Chicago’: Israel Defense Forces urban-warfare training facility
    and also near Dimona.

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