“I see you made the sale at Bonwit’s”
It’s been a rocking 2 weeks in the middle east world.
America abandoned it Kurdish allies, who suffered 11,000 dead in the fight against ISIS, to the Turks and the Russians. They intend to set up a 20 mile Kurd free zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border, patrolled by Turks and Russians.
Erdogan has vowed to “crush the heads of the Kurds if they don’t “voluntarily” leave the zone which he intends to re-populate with a couple of million Syrian Arab refugees in his own country.
I’m sure we can expect to see plenty of killing in the next few weeks, thanks to the Donald. Putin is laughing his ass off as his troops wander about abandoned American installations while our troops are being “brought home” – to Iraq.
As our soldiers, flying Old Glory crossed the Iraqi – Syrian border our former Kurdish allies threw potatoes and cursed at them. Wiki says that American forces suffered 16 combat deaths since intervening in Syria in 2014. One could make the argument that those 16 died for nothing.
Meanwhile today the Iraqi government advised the United States that troops evacuated from Syria can not stay on Iraqi territory for more than 4 weeks.
Everyone loves America these days.
I predict the former garrison in Syria will not be “brought home” but sent to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of Saudi Arabia, the Donald is reportedly sending 2,000 troops from the United States to the Saudi desert -presumably to make the Saudi royals feel better after their oil fields were attacked with missiles by the Iranians. The Saudis, who buy tens of billions of dollars worth or arms from us, can’t defeat the Yemeni Houthi right on their border without U.S. assistance. They made a few noises and squeaks after the Iranian attack but wouldn’t dare face Iran alone because everyone knows that the Saudis can’t fight their way out of a paper bag and so they hold hands with their American “allies”
Since we don’t want to face Iran either in war (we have enough problems) the next best thing to do was to send U.S. troops into the region, with the view that Iran would not attack again if there were American soldiers around who might be killed – much as the Turks didn’t attack the Kurds while we had a couple of hundred troops at the Turkish-Syrian border.
Perhaps the Saudis should be worried about how we dropped the Kurds like the hot potatoes which were subsequently thrown at our fighting men.
The Donald defends his Saudi action by noting that the Saudis are paying for the troops to be stationed there. Rich people always measure transactions in monetary terms.
Have our soldiers become mercenaries? Available so long as you have the money? Are we the Hessians?
Remember the Arab Spring? Sure you do.
The event credited with setting off the Arab Spring could hardly have been more improbable: the suicide by immolation of a poor Tunisian fruit-and-vegetable seller in protest over government harassment. By the time Mohamed Bouazizi succumbed to his injuries on Jan. 4, 2011, the protesters who initially took to Tunisia’s streets calling for economic reform were demanding the resignation of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the nation’s strongman president for 23 years. In subsequent days, those demonstrations grew in size and intensity — and then they jumped Tunisia’s border.
Just 10 months after Bouazizi’s death, four longstanding Middle Eastern dictatorships had been toppled, a half-dozen other suddenly embattled governments had undergone shake-ups or had promised reforms, and anti-government demonstrations — some peaceful, others violent — had spread in an arc across the Arab world.
One of the Arab world’s most prominent and debilitating features, was a culture of grievance that was defined less by what people aspired to than by what they opposed. They were anti-Zionist, anti-West, anti-imperialist. For generations, the region’s dictators had been adroit at channeling public frustration toward these external “enemies” and away from their own misrule. But with the Arab Spring, that old playbook suddenly didn’t seem to work anymore. Instead, and for the first time on such a mass scale, the people of the Middle East were directing their rage squarely at the regimes themselves.
Then it all went horribly wrong. By the summer of 2012, two of the “freed” nations — Libya and Yemen — were sliding into anarchy and factionalism, while the struggle against the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria had descended into vicious civil war. In Egypt the following summer, the nation’s first democratically elected Islamist government was overthrown by the military, a coup cheered on by many of the same young activists who took to the streets to demand democracy two years earlier.
While most of the 22 nations that make up the Arab world were buffeted to some degree by the Arab Spring, the six most profoundly affected — Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen — were all republics, rather than monarchies. And of those six, four that have disintegrated so completely as to raise doubt that they will ever again exist as functioning states — Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya — of which all but Yemen are members of that small list of Arab countries created by Western imperial powers in the early 20th century. In each, little thought was given to national coherence, and even less to tribal or sectarian divisions.
“Unapparent to the West was that the strongmen of Iraq, Syria and Libya they ousted or are trying to oust actually exerted considerable energy to bind up their nations, and in their absence the ancient forces of tribalism and sectarianism would begin to exert their own centrifugal pull.
Even less apparent was how these forces would damage the power and prestige of the United States in the region to an extent from which it might never recover.”
In light of what has been going on in the neighborhood has anyone noticed the recent silence of Bibi Netanyahu?
Bibi has been awfully quiet lately. He has been the subject of the Israeli impeachment inquiry procedure and is under a looming indictment for corruption allegations which he of course vehemently denies.
In any case he just fought an election against Benny Gantz of the Blue and White liberal party – and came in second. Netanyahu has led Likud for the past 13 years but Blue and White won 33 seats in the Knesset while Likud won 32.
Still, Netanyahu was given the mandate to form a government by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Bibi tried everything to get Ganz into the “unity government” but was rebuffed – Ganz would not serve in a government where the Prime Minister was under indictment.
This Monday Netanyahu advised the President he could not form a government and it is expected that Ganz will get the opportunity to form a liberal government. His path to forming a government is not clear either. Failure to do so will result in new elections – the third since April.
Forming a government in Israel is a tough road to hoe what with settler parties who want to annex all of Palestine and cleanse it of Arabs, religious parties ready to rebuild the Temple and began slaughtering unblemished lambs in sacrifice, Arab parties, Russian immigrant based parties. etc.
But it is rather amusing to see Bibi and his BFF Donald facing corruption and impeachment charges, and the silence of Bibi, who had been in the news all the time since we moved our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, as the world around them falls apart.
Not a peep from Bibi about events in Syria. Not a peep from Donald about the current difficulties of his best bud Bibi and Israel’s election results.