Syrian Clusterfuck

Week Seventeen of the Russian Intervention in Syria: Does Erdogan Want War with Russia?
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 6, 2016

What about the Saudis? Well, what about them? They can’t even deal with the Houthis in Yemen, why would anyone think that they could make a difference in Syria? The Saudi military is a joke, a degenerate repression force barely capable of engaging in anti-Shia repression operations. They can make all the threats they want, but if they try to move into Syria the Syrians, Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah will all try to race each other to be the first one to finally get a hold of these SOBs in teach them a lesson they shall not forget in a long time.

Frankly, I simply don’t want to believe that Erdogan and his advisors are crazy enough to try to trigger a war with Russia or even to invade Syria. While Erdogan himself is clearly a maniac, I cannot believe that his entire staff is also composed of lunatics. Furthermore, I cannot imagine that the US/NATO/EU would actually support a Turkish invasion of Syria or, even less so, an attack on Russia. Russophobia is great only as long as it does not expose you to a continental war, at which point your self-interest and survival prevails over any ideological notions. At least I hope so.

 

Map_Syria

Libya Winning Race for Site of Obama’s Next War?

It’s fascinating how the “junior varsity” of ISIS that we didn’t have to worry about and the “smart foreign policy” “success” of the Libyan intervention have combined to create a crisis so serious that another war may be needed

In any case, the next president is going to inherit an even bigger Middle East mess from President Obama than President Obama inherited from President Bush. This is an achievement that nobody, including Obama, thought was even possible in 2009. The Middle East today is bloodier than it was in 2009, its problems are farther from solution than they were back then, the Sunni-Shi’a hatred is deeper, the state system has broken down farther, Iraqis are more deeply divided, and America has fewer friends, less respect and less ability to make things better than we did in 2009.

An Improbable Solution
Delusions on Syria prevail in official Washington
PHILIP GIRALDI • FEBRUARY 2, 2016

Oil Price and Isis Ruin the Kurds’ Dream of Riches
PATRICK COCKBURN • FEBRUARY 6, 2016

Oil is like opium in that it fosters dangerous dreams from which the Kurds are now awakening, but the withdrawal symptoms are painful and, on occasion, fatal. There are frequent funerals of people, who, despairing of being paid and with their savings gone, drown in the Aegean trying to make their way to Europe. Aside from oil, the KRG produces very little and almost all the goods in the markets are imported from Turkey and Iran. Kurds remark that “we don’t even grow our own tomatoes any more”.

****

The Real Karl Marx
John Gray MAY 9, 2013 ISSUE
Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life
by Jonathan Sperber

****

Why I Use the Term ‘AngloZionist’, and Why It’s Important
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 3, 2016

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize“
– Voltaire

February 2016

February 2016

Global crude oil usage has risen from 61.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) in 1994 to 79.5 mbpd in 2015. An average increase of 1.4% per year for 2 decades. In the last 10 years, however, the rate is only +0.7%. Both oil production and consumption are leveling off.

American crude oil production declined to a low of about 5.0 mbpd in the period 2006-2008. It began to increase rapidly in 2009 until the price-collapse in 2015. If the increases in American production are not included in the global totals beginning in 2006, then global production has only increased to 75.1 mbpd in 2015 or a paltry +0.34% per year since 2007.

American oil consumption is basically flat, recovering very slowly to its pre-recession, 2008 levels. Globally consumption is flat or declining slightly because of efficiencies and conservation measures brought on by high prices.

Chinese consumption-growth has probably slowed. This along with the sudden, unexpected rise in American production are the main drivers of the over-supply and glut on the market and the price collapse.

OPEC is powerless over the market. They have no control. Nobody does.

Peak-oil happened. Deal with it. The cheap oil is running out. This is the price volatility that follows.

“Everything is possible in theory. It was possible a year ago, a month ago. Nothing new has happened. This frenzy is idiotic. It stems from the fact that people can’t read.” -Mikhail Leontyev, Rosneft

GOLDMAN SACHS: Don’t believe the hype — oil is staying below $40

Syrian Civil War: Could Turkey be Gambling on an Invasion?
PATRICK COCKBURN • JANUARY 30, 2016

If there is no Turkish intervention on a significant scale then Assad and his allies are winning, because the enhanced Russian, Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah intervention has tipped the balance in their favour. The troika of regional Sunni states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – have failed, so far, to overthrow Assad through backing the Syrian armed opposition.

Their enthusiasm for doing so is under strain. Saudi Arabia has a mercurial leadership, is enmeshed in a war in Yemen, and the price of oil may stay at $30 a barrel. Qatar’s actions in Syria are even more incalculable. “We can never figure out Qatar’s policies,” said one Gulf observer in frustration. A more caustic commentator, in Washington, adds that “Qatari foreign policy is a vanity project”, comparing it to Qatar’s desire to buy landmark buildings abroad or host the football World Cup at home.

31-syria-graphic

There’s a big sign that we ‘could enter recession in the second half of this year’

“Historically, the average and median lead times between the peak in profit margins and the onset of recession have been eight and nine quarters, respectively,” wrote LaVorgna in a note to clients Thursday. “This would imply that the economy could enter recession in the second half of this year.”

“Margins always peak ahead of recession,” he added. “Indeed, there has not been one business cycle in the post-WWII era in which this has not been the case.”

Profit margins peaked during the third quarter of 2014, and have been steadily declining since, which LaVorgna suggests is a red flag.

CREDIT SUISSE CEO: ‘The doomsday scenarios are not justified’ (be very afraid)

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein on Wednesday told CNBC that S&P 500 stocks are showing an unusual reaction to macro events like plummeting oil prices.

“I don’t really know why S&Ps would have that reaction to the underlying cause,” Blankfein said.

And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman last month said he was having just as much trouble making sense of the markets, citing their “emotional state.”

“It’s not obvious to me exactly what the connection is — absent oil of course,” Gorman said, calling oil a “wild card.”

It’s all taking a toll on bank stocks. But Thiam said things would return to normal with time — and with more positive results out of China.

“The doomsday scenarios are not justified,” he said. “There is an over-emphasis on the oil sector.”

Election 2016

 

Election 2016

Hillary Is the Candidate of the War Machine

Ted Cruz Is a Perfect Example of Why the 1% Runs Washington
BY DAVID DAYEN
January 14, 2016

Who Is Going to Defeat Trump?
By DANIEL LARISON • January 7, 2016

The “Establishment” Candidates Are Paving the Way to a Trump Victory
By DANIEL LARISON • January 6, 2016

The Flailing Rubio Campaign
By DANIEL LARISON • January 5, 2016

An Iran Question for the Presidential Candidates
By DANIEL LARISON • January 11, 2016

Our Allies

Mordechai-Meyer

The Radical New Face of the Jewish Settler Movement

Washington’s Multi-Million-Dollar Saudi PR Machine

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman: Naive, Arrogant Saudi Prince Is Playing with Fire

Spy agencies do not normally hand out such politically explosive documents to the press criticising the leadership of a close and powerful ally such as Saudi Arabia. It is a measure of the concern in the BND that the memo should have been so openly and widely distributed. The agency was swiftly slapped down by the German foreign ministry after official Saudi protests, but the BND’s warning was a sign of growing fears that Saudi Arabia has become an unpredictable wild card. One former minister from the Middle East, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “In the past the Saudis generally tried to keep their options open and were cautions, even when they were trying to get rid of some government they did not like.”

Cattle Prod

Electric_cattle_prod

Cattle prods today are designed with a high range of voltages and amperages. Recently[when?] a 5-million volt cattle prod was designed, which can be used on animals or people and have the same incapacitating effect as a stun gun. If applied continuously to the skin, the current (amperage) eventually causes heating, searing, burning, and scarring of skin at the contact point. Electric prods have found favour with torturers.

Prior to the development of stun batons and the taser, electric cattle prods were also used on people in varying degrees. Their first common usage on people occurred during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; prods were first adopted by police officers in Alabama to use on black protesters and agencies elsewhere followed; Hotshot later developed an electric police baton.

A 2009 example of human torture with a cattle prod came to light when a video was disclosed showing Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of crown prince of Abu Dhabi inserting a cattle prod in an Afghan business associate’s anus after falling out with him.

2016 – January

2016
 

1035x1380-Los-Mochis-Chapo

 

 

The Coming Saudi Crack-up?

Topping the kingdom’s list of woes is the economy. With its stubbornly high unemployment rate and growing wealth gap between the rich and poor, Saudi Arabia has long been the sick man of the Persian Gulf. Even though planners have been talking about economic diversification since the 1970s, the kingdom was actually more dependent on oil as of 2013 than 40 years earlier.

“Saudization” of the workforce is another mantra, yet the labor market remains polarized between a private sector dominated by foreign guest workers, mainly from South Asia, and a public sector filled with Saudi “sofa men” who spend their days lounging about in government offices.

Riyadh wishes that young people would take jobs in hotels, oil refineries and the like, but most prefer to wait for a high-paid government sinecure to open up – which is one reason why the jobless rate among young people is as high as 29 percent.

‘Saudi Arabia is in serious trouble, and they know it’

Week Eleven of the Russian Intervention in Syria: A Step Back from the Brink?
THE SAKER • DECEMBER 19, 2015

The USA announced that it was withdrawing 12 of its F-15s from Turkey, 6 F-15C and 6 F-15E. Now this might not look like much, but these are highly symbolic aircraft as they are the aircraft which were suspected of “covering” for the Turkish F-16s which shot down the Russian SU-24. The F-15Cs, in particular, are pure air-to-air fighters which could only have been directed at the Russian aircraft in Syria. Of course, the US declared that this was a normal rotation, that it has been an exercise, but the bottom line is here: while NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg had promised to reinforce the NATO presence in Turkey, the US just pulled out 12 of its top of the line aircraft. Compare that with the Russians who continued to increase their capabilities in Syria, especially their artillery (see here, here and here). Furthermore, there is this very interesting news item: “Erdogan’s Spin Machine Now Blames Su-24 Shoot-Down on Turkish Air Force Chief”. Read the full article, it appears that there is a trial balloon launched in the Turkish social media to blame the downing of the SU-24 on the Turkish Air Force Chief (nevermind that Erdogan publicly declared that he personally gave that order).

No Matter Who Becomes President Israel Wins
Saban and Adelson should register as foreign agents
PHILIP GIRALDI • DECEMBER 22, 2015

So who is standing up for the interests of the American people? Nobody, apparently. Senator Ted Cruz has no less than 69 press releases on his web site pledging support for Israel. Jeb Bush has pledged to ban the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in the U.S. which most people would consider to be free speech. Every Republican candidate also continues to pander directly and personally to Benjamin Netanyahu, including Donald Trump who planned to drop in on Bibi but had to cancel the trip because of the reaction to his comments about Muslims. Trump had also caused somewhat of an uproar by telling a Jewish Republican audience in New York City that they wouldn’t support him because he didn’t need their money. Imagine the cheek of Trump to link Jews with money with buying influence! In any event, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), determined that Trump’s comments were not anti-Semitism because they had been misinterpreted and I for one am relieved that we have a brave and enlightened organization like the ADL to keep us on our toes when it comes to potential hate speech.

AAgkbgH

Who Cares

American Sniper’s” biggest lie: Clint Eastwood has a delusional Fox News problem
The insanities and fantasies at the heart of “American Sniper” explain everything about the state of the 2015 GOP
SOPHIA A. MCCLENNEN

“Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common – we both appreciate living in a country where there’s free expression.” Eastwood then added: “But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera – I’ll kill you. I mean it.” The tone was I’m sort of joking, but maybe not really joking, provoking nervous laughter from both the audience and Moore himself.

Eastwood said he would kill Moore if he showed up at his door. This was his response to a film that raised much-needed conversation about U.S. gun culture. Eastwood’s reaction tells us a lot about the way that some members of the GOP treat those with whom they disagree. If you don’t agree with me on guns, I’ll just kill you.

This White Dude Was a Boss in the Chinese Mafia

Let’s talk about the shocking twists of Star Wars: The Force AwakensIMG_20151026_184014

Christmas Present

Here I confess: for thirty years I have hated those stupid space movies, as much for their badly-written scripts (all mumbo-jumbo exposition of nonsensical story-lines between explosions) as for the degenerate techno-narcissism they promote in a society literally dying from the diminishing returns and unintended consequences of technology.

Donald Trump demands apology from Hillary Clinton after ‘disgusting’ debate claim

“I will demand an apology from Hillary. She should apologize,” Trump said Monday on the “Today” show. “She lies about emails, she lies about Whitewater, she lies about everything. She will be a disaster as president of the United States.”

Trump added in a tweet Monday morning that Clinton’s claim was “disgusting.”

When asked if Clinton planned to apologize, the Clinton campaign had a succinct response.

“Hell no,” spokesman Brian Fallon said. “Hillary Clinton will not be apologizing to Donald Trump for correctly pointing out how his hateful rhetoric only helps ISIS recruit more terrorists.”

Military to Military
Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’

Inside the Pentagon’s fight over Russia
How the victors of one of America’s most celebrated battles are facing off on the future of the army.

In two of the scenarios, where the U.S. deploys its current basic formation, called brigade combat teams (BCTs), the U.S. is defeated. In two other scenarios, where Macgregor deploys what he calls Reconnaissance Strike Groups, the U.S. wins. And that’s the crux of Macgregor’s argument: Today the U.S. Army is comprised of BCTs rather than Reconnaissance Strike Groups, or RSGs, which is Macgregor’s innovation. Macgregor’s RSG shears away what he describes as “the top-heavy Army command structure” that would come with any deployment in favor of units that generate more combat power. “Every time we deploy a division we deploy a division headquarters of 1,000 soldiers and officers,” Macgregor explains. “What a waste; those guys will be dead within 72 hours.” Macgregor’s RSG, what he calls “an alternative force design,” does away with this Army command echelon, reporting to a joint force commander — who might or might not be an Army officer. An RSG, Macgregor says, does not need the long supply tail that is required of Brigade Combat Teams — it can be sustained with what it carries from ten days to two weeks without having to be resupplied.

This might be kind of important, though:
A bank persuaded Twitter to delete my tweets

And this. Wow!
Week Eleven of the Russian Intervention in Syria: A Step Back from the Brink?
THE SAKER • DECEMBER 19, 2015

First, the downing of the Russian SU-24 is becoming a major liability. The Russians have immediately claimed that this was a carefully planned and cowardly ambush, but now top western experts agree. This is very embarrassing, and it could get much worse with the deciphering of the flight recorders of the SU-24 (which the Russians have found and brought to Moscow). The picture which emerges is this: not only was this a deliberate provocation, an ambush, but there is overwhelming evidence that the Turks used the information the Russians have provided to the USA about their planned sorties. The fact that the Americans gave that information to the Turks is bad enough, but the fact that the Turks then used that information to shoot down a Russian aircraft makes the US directly responsible. The USA is also responsible by the simple fact that there is no way the Turks could have set up this complex ambush without the USA knowing about it. Now, it is possible that some in the US military machine knew about it while others didn’t. This entire operation sounds to me like exactly the kind of goofball plan the CIA is famous for, so maybe Kerry at State or even Obama did not really “know” about it.

Renowned American Military Expert Explains How Turkey Ambushed Russia’s Su-24

12.21.2015

12.07.15

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, French National Front political party member and candidate for National Front in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region is surrounded by media as she leaves the polling station after casting her ballot during the first round of the regional elections in Carpentras, France, December 6, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, French National Front political party member and candidate for National Front in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (PACA) region is surrounded by media as she leaves the polling station after casting her ballot during the first round of the regional elections in Carpentras, France, December 6, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Voters in France begin voting in the first round of regional elections just three weeks after the deadly Islamic State militant attacks in Paris. Exit polls show strong gains for the far-right National Front which is leading in six regions and reshape the political landscape after decades of domination by the centre-left and the centre-right coalitions. Midday voter participation is 16.27 percent, marginally higher than five years ago. There are 44.6 million eligible voters.(Reuters)

Germany’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, accuses Saudi Arabia of financing Islamic extremism in the West and warns that it must stop. He tells German media, “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over, Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany”. His comments come days after Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service released a report saying Saudi Arabia was “destabilizing” the Arab world.

German vice-chancellor accuses Saudi Arabia of funding Islamic extremism in the West

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12035838/German-vice-chancellor-accuses-Saudi-Arabia-of-funding-Islamic-extremism-in-the-West.html

Steak is for taxpayers

More quality journalism from the Washington Post:
Some women just do it for a cheese pie

Some secret:
Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight

 

Inside the Pentagon’s fight over Russia
How the victors of one of America’s most celebrated battles are facing off on the future of the army.

In two of the scenarios, where the U.S. deploys its current basic formation, called brigade combat teams (BCTs), the U.S. is defeated. In two other scenarios, where Macgregor deploys what he calls Reconnaissance Strike Groups, the U.S. wins. And that’s the crux of Macgregor’s argument: Today the U.S. Army is comprised of BCTs rather than Reconnaissance Strike Groups, or RSGs, which is Macgregor’s innovation. Macgregor’s RSG shears away what he describes as “the top-heavy Army command structure” that would come with any deployment in favor of units that generate more combat power. “Every time we deploy a division we deploy a division headquarters of 1,000 soldiers and officers,” Macgregor explains. “What a waste; those guys will be dead within 72 hours.” Macgregor’s RSG, what he calls “an alternative force design,” does away with this Army command echelon, reporting to a joint force commander — who might or might not be an Army officer. An RSG, Macgregor says, does not need the long supply tail that is required of Brigade Combat Teams — it can be sustained with what it carries from ten days to two weeks without having to be resupplied.

 

Best Video of 2015

 

Apocalypse Later

Clinton_Cheney11.20.15

Metadata Surveillance Didn’t Stop the Paris Attacks
And yet intelligence officials and politicians are now saying it could have. They’re wrong.
By Marcy Wheeler

“Knowing who someone communicates with is metadata, not content, and most encrypted protocols (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) don’t change this,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at UC–Berkeley explains. “In attempting to identify actual threat actors, ‘this person is communicating with ISIS’ is probably all you need to justify more intensive targeted actions, such as system compromise, that bypass any effects of encryption.”

Someone Wants War with Russia
Victoria Nuland is not alone
Philip Giraldi • November 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ Dick Cheney

Why Paris? The answer can be found in Syria and Iraq

How Kurds Captured Sinjar From ISIS

Blowback—–The Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home To Roost
by David Stockman • November 16, 2015

The truth is, there is no such thing as an OPEC cartel——virtually every member produces all they can and cheats whenever possible. The only thing that resembles production control in the global oil market is the fact that the Saudi princes treat their oil reserves not much differently than Exxon.

That is, they attempt to maximize the present value of their 270 billion barrels of reserves, but ultimately are no more clairvoyant at calibrating the best oil price to accomplish that than are the economists at Exxon or the IEA.

The Saudis over-estimated the staying power of China’s temporarily surging call on global supply; and under-estimated how rapidly and extensively the $100 per barrel marker reached in early 2008 would trigger a flow of investment, technology and cheap debt into the US shale patch, the Canadian tar sands, the tired petroleum provinces of Russia, the deep offshore of Brazil etc. And that’s to say nothing of solar, wind and all the other government subsidized alternative source of BTUs.

Way back when Jimmy Carter was telling us to turn down the thermostats and put on our cardigan sweaters, those of us on the free market side of the so-called energy shortage debate said the best cure for high oil prices is high prices. Now we know.

Sinjar

Hillary Clinton’s Road to War
She’s the Democratic version of Chris Christie and Marco Rubio combined
by Justin Raimondo, November 20, 2015

There is no limit to this woman’s arrogance: here she is openly proclaiming her contempt for Iraq’s sovereignty and all but declaring war on the central government in Baghdad – a government thousands of Americans died to install.

And while abjuring the need for 100,000 US ground forces, Clinton would increase the number of US Special Forces and “embed” them in greater numbers with “indigenous forces.” In other words, she would escalate the US presence gradually, Vietnam war-style, so as not to alarm the American public, which wants no part of another war in the Middle East. So it’s time to dust off her plan – rejected by the Obama administration – to arm and fund the “moderate” Islamist opposition on a large scale

[…]

To begin with, the “moderates” Hillary loves to praise are ideologically aligned with ISIS: their only disagreement with the “Caliphate” is over tactics. Both want to hang Assad from a lamp post, impose Sharia law on Syria and dispense with “unbelievers.

Secondly, what Hillary wants us to “remember” is a baldfaced lie: according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – hardly a pro-Assad group – the Islamist rebels have killed more people than the government’s forces. If we go by the Observatory’s numbers, government forces suffered the largest number of deaths, some 88,616. This accounts for around one third of all the deaths recorded. Hillary’s rebels suffered 42,384 dead, and “foreign fighters” have seen 34,375 killed. All sides quibble about who is and is not a civilian, but by any measure Hillary’s moral rectitude in this context in misplaced.

Hillary Clinton’s Libya
11/18/2015

Gaddafi was not “deposed.” He was tortured and murdered, very likely by Islamists allied with NATO forces. The “radical elements” that are causing “a lot of turmoil and trouble” in “this arc of instability” are, in fact, Islamists whom Clinton picked as allies in the region, and she has pressed to supply them with arms in Syria as well as Libya. She really rates mention as an American mover of the “instability” in the region second only to Bush and Cheney.

11.16.2015

 

How Saudi/Gulf Money Fuels Terror
November 14, 2015

One would think that this would set off alarm bells in Washington, yet the result has been a collective shrug. The Obama administration continues to back Saudi Arabia in its assault on the Middle East’s poorest nation, providing it with technical back-up and naval support, while France, eager to supplant the U.S. as the kingdom’s chief weapons supplier, backs it as well.

French President Francois Hollande thus backs the kingdom that backs the forces that backed those who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He also backs a kingdom that allows donations to flow to ISIS, which he now identifies as responsible for the latest atrocities.

Hollande prefers to beat his breast and issue ringing calls for “compassion and solidarity” rather than actually doing something about the relationships that generate such attacks in the first place.

At its most basic level, this is a problem of oil, money and an American empire that stands paralyzed before the disaster it has created in the Middle East. When Obama issued his famous August 2011 call for regime change in Damascus – “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside” – it seemed to be a no-brainer.

The insurgency was growing, the Ba’athists were hanging on by a thread, and it seemed only a matter of time before Assad met the same fate as Muammar Gaddafi. “We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton would crow a few months later about Gaddafi, and so it seemed that Assad would soon meet his end at hands of a rebel mob, too.

But Assad proved more durable, mainly because he had the backing of a mass party that, despite corruption and ossification, still enjoyed a significant measure of popular support. The longer he has been able to stay in power, therefore, the more the U.S. has found itself caught up in an increasingly sectarian war by gulf-funded Sunni extremists.

Faced with a choice between Assad on one hand and ISIS and Al Qaeda on the other, Obama has dithered and delayed, refusing to commit himself wholeheartedly to the rebel cause but failing to object when his closest friends channel funds to groups that the U.S. officially regards as anathema.

Instead of defeating ISIS, this policy of neither-nor has allowed it fester and grow. The group is richer than ever, its troops travel about in shiny new Toyota pickups, and its technical prowess is also on the upswing. Two weeks ago, it apparently brought down a Russian airliner in the Sinai. On Thursday, it sent a pair of suicide bombers into a Shi‘ite neighborhood in Beirut, killing 43 people and wounding more than two hundred.

Now, according to French authorities, ISIS has sent a team of at least eight militants to shoot up various sites in Paris. In an apparent reference to Western bombing raids against ISIS targets in Syria, one gunman reportedly shouted during the assault on the Bataclan music hall, “What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now.”

This is a horror show made in Washington, Riyadh and the Élysée.

 

Paris: You Don’t Want to Read This

 

Paris Attack: Isis Has Created a New Kind of Warfare
PATRICK COCKBURN • NOVEMBER 14, 2015

Isis has claimed the Paris attacks, saying that France was targeted because of its air strikes in Syria. The use of eight suicide bombers and gunmen in a national capital, guaranteeing maximum coverage by the media, has all the hallmarks of an Isis operation. One ominous difference from the killings earlier in the year at Charlie Hebdo magazine and in a Jewish supermarket, is that attacks, presumably because of Isis involvement, are getting more sophisticated and better planned. Recruiting, arming, coordinating and keeping hidden the Paris killers until the last moment implies good organisation. The same was true of the smuggling of a bomb on to the Russian plane before it left the ground at Sharm al-Sheikh on 30 October.

11.13.15

Alexander’s career was piracy pure and simple, nothing but an orgy of power and plunder, made romantic by the character of the hero. There was no rational purpose in it, and the moment he died his generals and governors attacked one another. The cruelty of those times is incredible. When Rome finally conquered Greece, Paulus Aemilius, was told by the Roman Senate, to reward his soldiers for their toil by “giving” them the old kingdom of Epirus. they sacked seventy cities and carried off one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants as slaves. How many they killed I know not; but in Etolia they killed all the senators, five hundred and fifty in number. Brutus was “the noblest Roman of them all,” but to reanimate his soldiers on the eve of Philippi he similarly promises to give them the cities of Sparta and Thessalonica to ravage, if they win the fight.

Such was the gory nurse that trained soldiers to cohesiveness. We inherit the warlike type; and for most of the capacities of heroism that the human race is full of we have to thank this cruel history. Dead men tell no tales, and if there were any tribes of other type than this they have left no survivors. Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us. The popular imagination fairly fattens on the thought of wars. Let public opinion once reach a certain fighting pitch, and no ruler can withstand it.

-William James
“The Moral Equivalent of War”
1910

 

Carter_Lewis_2

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter just fired his top military aide over ‘misconduct’

San Francisco author David Talbot takes on government secrecy, the CIA and the assassination of JFK in ‘The Devil’s Chessboard’

This isn’t racist at all:
A Literate American: Home Brew
FRED REED • NOVEMBER 5, 2015

IEA Says Record 3 Billion-Barrel Oil Stocks May Deepen Rout

“The horror makes the thrill”: Why the New York Times’ “beautiful” war images of death and destruction won’t change many minds

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