The Obama/Kerry “follies” in the ME roll on.

"Syrian troops have retaken a key rebel-held town south of Damascus, state media and activists say.
State TV said the army had full control of Sbeineh and that "terrorists" had been driven out.
UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sbeineh was one of the most important rebel positions near Damascus.
Meanwhile, inspectors say they have verified one of Syria's two remaining chemical weapons production sites.
Inspectors had already verified 21 out of 23 sites declared by Syria but two sites were too dangerous to reach.
They said the latest site – near Aleppo – was verified using footage from sealed cameras and that it was dismantled and abandoned."  BBC


As TTG wrote, the Syrian government is making steady progress in its campaign of pacification.  The Saudis face deep humiliation in this latest example of their drive for Sunni triumphalism in the Levant.  This project is decades long now and has had remarkably little success.

At the same time, the UN has gone competently forward in the work of eliminating CW production and weapons stockpiles.  There is a certain amount of "logrolling" going on in Washington for the notion that Syria is somehow not living up to its undertakings in this matter.  No evidence has been produced for public view so this is just more rumor.  pl


The last time Kerry spent so much time over so many days with Netanyahu and Abbas was in July, when the two leaders agreed to enter direct peace talks for the first time in three years. More than three months later, after a dozen meetings between their teams, there are visible cracks in the negotiations.
Both Netanyahu and Abbas warned early this week of growing tensions in the private discussions, and public potshots between the two sides have escalated.
Speaking before a three-hour session with Kerry on Wednesday morning, Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of “continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to . . . run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace.”  Washpost


Kerry is trying to make something out of nothing.  The various parties to the Palestine dispute remain unwilling to create an actual and viable settlement of the matter.  For some reason he does not understand that.  pl

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12 Responses to The Obama/Kerry “follies” in the ME roll on.

  1. Matthew says:

    Kerry, Biden, and Obama fail to appreciate that “no daylight” means “steal more land.”
    Carrots for Israel and sticks for Palestine will never work.
    My fear is that Abbas will enter into an other “intermim” agreement, which will further entrench the occupation. The Palestinians desperately need a “Mandela,” i.e., a patriot person more familiar with an Israeli prison than a cocktail party at Davos.

  2. Matthew,
    I may be too suspicious, but it seems to me possible that you are still dreaming of some kind of ‘agreement’ which is never going to happen.
    The Likudnik delusion is that strategies of deception, to circumvent such possibilities of agreement as might have existed, work to the advantage of Jews.
    In fact, all that happens is that Israelis brutalise Palestinians — without realising that, by doing this, they are brutalising themselves.
    What emerges is that one of the great myths has been that of Jewish cleverness.
    The end result will be that Jews have no future in the Middle East, and are liable to call into question the extraordinarily favourable position they have enjoyed in the post-war United States and Western Europe.
    If there ever was a ‘promised land’ for East European Jews, it was America. It was the land that made possible Billy Wilder, George Gershwin, Danny Kaye. People who are an integral part of growing up, to many of us of my generation in Britain.
    Why do American Jews want to turn their back on that heritage? Why do they seem determined to tell us that the true, representative Jew, is Benjamin Netanyahu — who most of the traditional friends of Jews in this country cannot but see as a ‘barrow boy’?
    There should be some limits to human stupidity, but, apparently, no.

  3. Hank Foresman says:

    It seems to me that Mr. Kerry is trying to make chicken salad out of chickens%^t!

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It is appeal to religious and tribal “Assabiyah”.
    When Natan Sharansky went to Israel from USSR, he stated he was going to “his country”.
    Likewise, I have heard off-hand remarks by Iranian Jews who consider Israel to be their country.
    An American friend whose wife was Israeli mentioned how his wife – considered to be cosmopolitan & liberal in Israel – thought that Arabs should all leave Israel because there are so many other Arab states and “Jews have only a single country”.
    I think Jews will continue to have a future in Iran – if they wish it.
    Everywhere else, inside or outside of the Middle East, history does not offer any reassurances at all – even in North America.

  5. The Twisted Genius says:

    FP has an interesting article detailing their efforts to build Sunni rebel forces in Syria. The Saudi’s have a well known reputation for incompetence in military affairs. Beyond internal security forces, they can only buy what they need. So they are contracting the Pakistanis to raise and train Sunni brigades in Jordan.
    I’ve also seen the reports about Saudi readiness to buy Pakistani nukes. As an old SF master sergeant often told me, “The shit’s on, good buddy!”

  6. Babak Makkinejad,
    The late Tony Judt — son of a Dutch Jewish immigrant to Britain, who was educated at Cambridge and ended up in the U.S. — thought that the emergence of the Israeli Lobby in its modern form had a lot to do with American identity politics. I do not know how plausible his argument is, but what he had to say in a 2007 interview is, at the least, thought-provoking:
    ‘As a teenager, Judt became involved in leftwing Zionism. In 1967, he travelled to Israel as a volunteer during the Six Day War. He worked as a translator of French and Hebrew, and drove captured Syrian trucks. “Up on the Golan Heights, I met and heard officers talking, and for the first time I was seeing a side of Israel I had managed to turn a blind eye to,” he tells me. “Until then, the dominant rhetoric in Israel had still been that you didn’t disparage the Arabs, you believed in socialism and equality. Now it was straightforward anti-Arab sentiment. What began in 1967, and accelerated in a great tumble through the mid-1970s, was the rise of a different Israel: hard-line, rightwing, very often religious, believing they had a real-estate pact with God. It was very ugly, at least I found it very ugly.”
    ‘In those years, he says, America didn’t care so much for Israel. France was the great friend of Israel, he says, providing jets for the Israeli air force. But that changed, he says, due in part to the rise of identity politics in the US. This, he argues, eventually had an effect on American foreign policy.
    ‘“America at that time had a very low collective public consciousness of the Holocaust,” he says, eating the carbonade carefully. “People were not reading Primo Levi. They were not even reading Anne Frank. It became possible, fashionable and in the end almost necessary to identify yourself – Irish-American, Italian- American, Native American, Asian-American. Part of it was because of the rise of the culture of the victim but also because it was a way of being part of the new multicultural space.”
    ‘You couldn’t just be Jewish-American, however, he says. To create an identity, he says, Jewish people instead tied themselves to the Holocaust and to Israel. “So it became very much a threat to American-Jewish identity to unravel one of these.”’
    (See )
    There is, certainly, a difference with Britain, where the notion that a ‘second identity’ is natural and normal is very recent.

  7. Matthew says:

    So the Saudis want to buy nukes to counter Iran, not Israel? The quicker “Saudi” Arabia falls, the better it will be for humanity.

  8. Babak Makkinejad says:

    To your point:
    Israelis will tell you with a straight face that all swear words in Hebrew come from Arabic – since Hebrew is religious language and evidently lacked such suppleness.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no chance of anyone selling any one else a nuclear weapon.
    NPT does not forbid it, though.
    I think this is another attempt at manipulation.

  10. Charles says:

    And then there is this:
    “Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about the second coming of Christ.”
    Evidently there is big money and power behind this effort. I wonder how the folks at AIPAC explain this to the many religious Jews who support them in this country.

  11. Bar says:

    Babak is a Zionist. Why don’t you come out and say it? I bet you want Israel to nuke Iran.

  12. RetiredPatriot says:

    Who says the Saudi’s don’t already have nukes (obviously, in secret)? Why else would they also maintain a force of MRBMs? Such a situation would certainly explain why they can seem to get along so chummily with their nuclear armed neighbor Israel.

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