I Never MENA Hurt You; I Never MENA Make You Cry 2017 (Middle East, North Africa, and Other Geopolitical Hotspots)

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2017 deserves a new MENA thread.

BREAKING: Israeli news channel (Channel 2) reporting that Trump will announce the move of US embassy to Jerusalem - @IsraelHatzolah

I didn't think he'd do it but if the last year has taught me anything it's that I shouldn't trust my gut when it comes to forecasting the future; especially when it comes to Trump-related things.

imho it's a great decision. I never understood why the US withheld moving the embassy to West Jerusalem. I suppose they were trying to appease Arab countries + orgs that find the idea intolerable however it sent a poor signal - as if West Jerusalem were actually negotiable. That Arab countries refused to accept West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel gave lie to the contention that they 'accepted' Israel, and that the US refused to move the embassy there challenged the notion that they were in Israel's pocket. Moving the embassy there doesn't prejudge the status of East Jerusalem (which imho should not be divided or become the capital of Palestine but I think it's reasonably open to other opinions) and the argument that because Israel said the city was undivided means that moving the embassy to WJ confirmed that assertion is self-evidently absurd. One can have the embassy in West Jerusalem and still believe East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine.

Anyway, should be an interesting year in the region. Presumably big developments re Syria, re ISIS, new Iranian elections coming up, not sure if status quo for gulf states or Yemen will change dramatically. Settlement construction in the WB set to speed up under new Presidency. Any other major issues coming to a head in 2017?

Mordy, Sunday, 22 January 2017 18:00 (one year ago) Permalink

From prior thread:

2 days old news. Not yet on the internet is that ISIS is giving up because Trump said "radical Islamic terrorism" and said he would "eradicate them from the face of the earth"

― curmudgeon, Friday, January 20, 2017 10:04 AM

The Mosul offensive was designed to reduce the threat of ISIS and give the new president some breathing room, who, when the operation was planned, was assumed to be Clinton. Thanks, Obama.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Looking forward to discussing MENA et al with you guys here this new year. Think you covered the biggest events. It's odd having a new US president of whom we've no clue what he'll do in foreign affairs. I'm 'interested' to see how the power grabbing Erdogan will play his cards wrt Syria and minorities, and whether or not his brittle 'understanding' with Russia can survive the year. Syria is Putin's call, in the end.

Israel to build nearly 600 settlement homes in East Jerusalem

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:01 (one year ago) Permalink

my extremely low confidence guess is that this year we see syria start to move from a civil war into an occupation/insurrection stage as russian draws down participation and assad begins to try and reconsolidate as much of his broken country that he can. always lots of speculation about whether russian/iranian patrons will force him to resign but after all of this i can't imagine him agreeing to that and despite what it might appear he has significant leverage - too much invested at this pt for his patrons to just abandon him. it might be more convenient to reconstitution/rebuilding if he stepped down but imo it's not a dealbreaker.

Mordy, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:03 (one year ago) Permalink

Xp to Aimless: that's rather harsh on the YPG, Peshmerga and Iraqi army. They staged the Mosul op because they didn't have a choice. It wasn't a US-plan,

(Or am I missing your sarcasm here?)

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Think you are right about Syria, Mordy. Though lots depends on how Assad, assuming he will be in near full control again, will treat the 'Rebels' and anyone else who disagrees with him.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:06 (one year ago) Permalink

Retaking Mosul was always going to require massive air support, which was always going to require US participation and a ton of US money, so even though it was jointly planned and is jointly run, the US had more than enough leverage to steer the overall plan. The "thanks, Obama" was intended as sarcasm.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:14 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't get the sarcasm. Retaking Mosul is still a good thing?

What is happening with the Bibi scandal? Is he still in charge in 2018?

Frederik B, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:52 (one year ago) Permalink

who knows. when i first saw it i thought he'd for sure be out & israeli justice hasn't shown any reticence about jailing a PM before for corruption but idk he's an extremely savvy politician. also if u aren't counting there are now two separate scandals. case 2000 is the newspaper coverage related one. case 1000 is a standard bribes for favors case.

Mordy, Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Sputnik claims Russia wants to include the US in negotiations but Iran is protesting.

Mordy, Sunday, 22 January 2017 20:16 (one year ago) Permalink

If so, Russia must be feeling pretty confident of their good standing with the US government rn.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Sunday, 22 January 2017 20:18 (one year ago) Permalink

Not really. It puts the US government in a very difficult position either way. Say yes and they 'legtimise' the talks and acknowledge they're playing second fiddle to Russia - only there because they allow them to be. Say no and they're cut out altogether. They would have done the same with Clinton, i'm pretty sure. Simply being in a position to be handing out the party invitations is the main goal.

Bubba H.O.T.A.P.E (ShariVari), Sunday, 22 January 2017 20:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Gotcha Aimless.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 January 2017 20:36 (one year ago) Permalink


Damn, I thought Isis had already destroyed all of the ancient sites in Palmyra.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 22 January 2017 21:24 (one year ago) Permalink

Israeli defense minister doesn't rule out occupying Gaza Strip in next conflict


Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 02:29 (one year ago) Permalink

rumors Assad suffered a stroke?

Mordy, Tuesday, 31 January 2017 15:13 (one year ago) Permalink

if it happened, but wasn't fatal, then I doubt would change much in Syria any time soon. his policies would run along on simple inertia.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Tuesday, 31 January 2017 19:42 (one year ago) Permalink

Stephen Walt:

Or consider this. For the past 15 years or more, people like me have been consistently and at times powerfully critical of American neoconservatives. I still regard their views on U.S. grand strategy and U.S. Middle East policy as dangerous and wrong, and I believe they bear considerable responsibility for the continuing fiasco we are dealing with in the Middle East. If William Kristol, Eliot Cohen, or David Frum got close to wielding power again, I’d worry that their advice might be taken seriously and I’d do what I could to challenge their analysis and their prescriptions. But as of today we’re on the same side, because the threat that Trump, Bannon, and their incompetent cronies pose to our constitutional order and core political values overrides our continuing differences on other foreign-policy questions. The neocons may change their tune if Trump does decide to attack Iran — we’ll see — but for now their concerns are justified and their warnings should be heeded.

It takes a danger of considerable magnitude to get realists and neoconservatives to agree on anything, but we agree on Trump. And you can add to that unlikely coalition the traditional left, the largely apolitical civil service, the heads of a growing number of major corporations, and many dedicated foreign-policy professionals Trump might have won over but didn’t even bother to try.

Mordy, Saturday, 4 February 2017 16:44 (one year ago) Permalink

Assad appears to be still alive, and he has allegedly had executed 13,000 opponents who were detained in jails in recent years

the Amnesty International report says the magnitude and severity of abuse has "increased drastically" since 2011. Citing the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, the report says "at least 17,723 people were killed in government custody between March 2011 and December 2015, an average of 300 deaths each month." The victims — political dissidents, journalists, doctors and aid workers — were perceived opponents of the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On the basis of its own investigation, Amnesty International estimates that between September 2011 and December 2015, between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed without legitimate trials at Saydnaya.


curmudgeon, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:45 (one year ago) Permalink

But will he agree to a trade deal with the UK and has Theresa May offered him a state visit yet?

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Mass murder was always going to be the result of an Assad victory.

Eallach mhór an duine leisg (dowd), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 14:38 (one year ago) Permalink

I was listening to a v grisly + depressing report on this earlier, people are often notified of their death penalty within minutes of the hanging - which is sometimes taking up to 15 minutes to kill them, often executioners are having to pull their legs to finish off the job. I think I'd rather take a bullet than go through such an horrific death as that.

calzino, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 14:46 (one year ago) Permalink


The Turkish sources said Pompeo would discuss both the YPG and steps against the network of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating last July's coup attempt. Gulen denies any involvement.

Turkey has been frustrated by what it considers to be Washington's reluctance to hand over Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

"As you know, we have two fundamental issues with the U.S. administration inherited from Obama’s period. One is the support given to YPG and the other is the (Gulen) problem," Kalin said.

"Our president spoke about these openly and clearly. Trump was informed on these and, without going into too much detail, he said let’s ask our teams to work on this and let’s give the necessary instructions."

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 February 2017 16:24 (one year ago) Permalink

freezing out the Kurds

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 February 2017 16:24 (one year ago) Permalink

Wouldn't be the first time the Kurds were encouraged to shed blood at the behest of the USA and then left hanging out to dry when backing up our words with actions became inconvenient.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Thursday, 9 February 2017 16:27 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm thinking the US military has different ideas on this, then the US politicians in the White House and CIA have on this. That's why the latter dropped the Obama plan mentioned upthread

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 February 2017 19:17 (one year ago) Permalink

ugh the whole Gulen thing is so 1984 it makes me sick.

ridiculous perm ban decision (voodoo chili), Thursday, 9 February 2017 19:23 (one year ago) Permalink

erdogan is a fool if he really wants to get his hands on gulen. dude is obviously so much more valuable as a distant scapegoat than he could ever be in custody

Mordy, Thursday, 9 February 2017 19:25 (one year ago) Permalink

Targeting the Gulenist movement would continue even if Gulen himself was in jail. Öcalan is in prison.

Bubba H.O.T.A.P.E (ShariVari), Thursday, 9 February 2017 19:31 (one year ago) Permalink


he must only be offering this bc he knows hamas will never agree to disarmament

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 21:04 (one year ago) Permalink

this is still insane btw just making the offer is kinda boggling my mind.

...thanks trump?

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 21:05 (one year ago) Permalink


if i were hamas - and assume i'm 100% committed to staying armed - i'd accept, disarm, and then just BRING IN ALL THE WEAPONS I WANTED THROUGH MY BRAND NEW AIRPORT.

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 21:06 (one year ago) Permalink

I am sure that Hamas views itself as the legitimate government of Gaza and it should be obvious to any neutral party that they have very solid factual grounds for this view. Legitimate governments everywhere are 100% committed to arming themselves. If I were Hamas, I would need a hell of a lot more than an airport to pursue disarmament. I'd need a very detailed and comprehensive peace deal with Israel.

So not gonna happen.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Thursday, 16 February 2017 21:34 (one year ago) Permalink

and it should be obvious to any neutral party that they have very solid factual grounds for this view

lol tell me aimless when was the last time they held elections

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 21:38 (one year ago) Permalink

terrible suicide bombing in pakistan today

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 23:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Mordy, the factual basis for thinking Hamas is a legitimate government rests on the fact that they do in fact attempt to administer to the civil needs of the population and provide a stable and predictable set of services in return for the taxes it levies. Elections are not the only measure of legitimacy, and given the ease and frequency with which they are manipulated, should not be the most salient measure.

If you want to apply liberal political ideals to the notion of legitimacy, the number of nations admissible to the UN would take a pretty drastic hit.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Thursday, 16 February 2017 23:48 (one year ago) Permalink

You're glossing over a lot like the fact that they run a totalitarian dictatorship within Gaza and engage in numerous crimes against their citizens including torture, religious enforcement, etc, not to mention the war crimes they commit - firing at Israeli civilian targets is not even the worst of it since now there's the Iron Dome, but it seems clear to me that there's firm evidence that they do use hospitals, schools, children, civilian apartment buildings, etc as shields against counter strikes on missile sites. Which is to say that they are legitimate as much as any theologic authoritarian gov that has led its people into poverty and misery can be. More important I think is that they see themselves as the military vanguard against Israel and it would deconstruct their entire identity to disarm (not to mention would injure their legitimacy among even more radical splinter groups in Gaza like Islamic Jihad and ISIS-offshoots and would likely lead to their demise either through a coup or a people's revolution).

Mordy, Thursday, 16 February 2017 23:54 (one year ago) Permalink

as any theologic authoritarian gov that has led its people into poverty and misery can be

I'll freely grant they are theologic and authoritarian. iirc, the poverty and misery predate their creation, let alone their assuming the government of gaza.

it would deconstruct their entire identity to disarm

you agree with me, then: so not gonna happen.

lead to their demise either through a coup or a people's revolution

it seems internally contradictory to me to imply they do not represent a legitimate government because they have not held elections recently, yet think that their most central policy is so popular with the governed that changing it would lead to their overthrow by the general population. that's kind of a weird compartmentalization.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Friday, 17 February 2017 00:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Maybe I spoke poorly because I think you misunderstood me. Hamas is not popular afaict in Gaza. However they have many weapons which can be useful for staying in control. Without those weapons they will leave themselves open to a coup or a people's revolution that they might otherwise be able to fend off through their [pseudo]-monopoly on armed resistance. With regard to these splinter groups, I think a combination of Hamas' militant superiority and at least some tolerance of Hamas' level of antagonism keeps them in check. But only just barely - they are constantly threatening Hamas (normally by firing weapons at Israel and daring the IDF to strike back at Hamas as punishment) and pushing for even more militant strategies. So I think Hamas is not popular, and that if they were put in a weaker position there are both other militant groups as well as the general populace who would be interested in pushing them out. In terms of their identity, I see this more as an existential issue relating primarily to their self-conception. Is this a clearer explanation? I see no compartmentalization at all in this diagnosis.

Mordy, Friday, 17 February 2017 00:28 (one year ago) Permalink

However they have many weapons which can be useful for staying in control.

Since you seem to be saying this in the context of a discussion of why hamas won't even begin to consider disarming itself in return for a big airport (which is what both of us are saying, but from different perspectives), I can only read "weapons" in that context as referring to literal armaments, since those would be the only weapons they would be divesting themselves of, not the apparatus of governance.

I do not imagine any government anywhere on earth would agree to disarming to the extent they could no longer police their population, or prevent an armed "splinter" from overthrowing them, nor disarming to the point where they would be defenseless against an invasion by their larger, more powerful neighbor, without a comprehensive, detailed and internationally enforced peace treaty with that neighbor. An airport is a piddling bribe and a dismally stupid offer.

We got into this little tussle because you lolled at the idea that hamas was a legitimate government and by extension lolled at my posting that included that statement. You seem to have stopped lolling. You want to sign an armistice?

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Friday, 17 February 2017 00:45 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, I wasn't trying to be cruel - I just thought it was a somewhat funny way of putting things since from my perspective their need for weapons comes directly from their essential illegitimacy. Maybe I'm revealing a tad naiveté but of course as a Western I like to believe that my government's legitimacy comes from the people and from the consent granted by the ruled. Hamas, like many dictatorships, rules through might and oppression. When you wrote that no legitimate government would give up their weapons my mind immediately went to the legitimacy of representative governments in maintaining weaponry in order to protect their citizenship. Even with a comprehensive peace with Israel (something that ending the blockade would suggest at least an opening towards) Hamas cannot afford to disarm, and it has nothing to do with their neighbors. In the end I was just quibbling and I'm sorry if you were annoyed.

Mordy, Friday, 17 February 2017 00:54 (one year ago) Permalink

If Hamas did have a sincere interest in ending the blockade perhaps they could make a counter offer to disarm their rocket arsenals and other weapons clearly intended for waging war against Israel, but get to keep their more conventional arms that they need to suppress internal dissent. I suspect they will not, though, for the first reason I gave. Their entire raison d'etre is refusing to compromise with Israel. (On a least overt level I believe this existential reason is responsible for much of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian nationalism but that's a huge conversation I'm not really interested in getting into atm.)

Mordy, Friday, 17 February 2017 00:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Remember Aleppo. Curious about what's happening there lately I googled and just found this--

Less than 20 hours after water supply was fully restored in the eastern Aleppo countryside, ISIS shut it down once more after a month-long outage in the Al-Khafseh area.

This region represents an area which has seen the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) capture over a dozen villages from ISIS in the past month; effectively, the water shutdown can be seen as a infrastructural way for the Islamic State to retaliate.


curmudgeon, Friday, 17 February 2017 12:11 (one year ago) Permalink

The Saudis have obviously figured out that flattery is essential when approaching trump.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Sunday, 19 February 2017 19:05 (one year ago) Permalink

The U.S. military commander in Iraq has said he believes

U.S.-backed forces will retake both of IS's urban bastions - Mosul and Raqqa in neighboring Syria - within the next six months, which would end the jihadists' ambitions to territorial rule three years after they declared a "caliphate".


"This is the grim choice for children in western Mosul right now: bombs, crossfire and hunger if they stay – or execution and snipers if they try to run," the Save the Children humanitarian agency said in a statement. It added that children comprise about half the population in the city's western sector.

Up to 400,000 civilians could be displaced by the offensive, with western Mosul suffering food and fuel shortages and markets closed, according to the United Nations.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 19:26 (one year ago) Permalink


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The Houthi boat that attacked and hit a Saudi frigate Jan. 30 in the Red Sea, reported earlier as a suicide boat, was instead carried out by an unmanned, remote-controlled craft filled with explosives, the US Navy’s top officer in the Mideast said.

“Our assessment is that it was an unmanned, remote-controlled boat of some kind,” Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet and head of US Naval Forces Central Command, told Defense News in an interview here Saturday.

The attack on the frigate Al Madinah appears to be the first confirmed use of the weapon which, Donegan said, represents a wider threat than that posed by suicide boats and shows foreign interests are aiding the Houthis.

goole, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 22:51 (one year ago) Permalink


Isis being driven up north, this seems a 'logical' attack from their side. I don't believe ISIS can do any real damage in Israel, luckily, but I do wonder if stuff like this will get Bibi (even) more on board with Trumps supposed plans to "fight ISIS" more? Stingy for Israel to get involved with ISIS imho.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:27 (one year ago) Permalink

And for what?... It only sparks the flame of instability. Because that's what Trump does.

this is otm

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 7 December 2017 01:12 (ten months ago) Permalink


— techno-serf (@worldfleshdevil) December 7, 2017

yep. also the frame Cory Booker, Sanders, and other dems used. The “but Trump will unleash the scary Arab!”, “inflame tensions” “Now is not the time” line is the safe liberal take because it’s a process objection that avoids addressing issue of apartheid and land theft. https://t.co/Kj20JLohBt

— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) December 7, 2017

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 December 2017 16:36 (ten months ago) Permalink

Jerusalem: More journalists than protestors after Friday prayers https://t.co/bQZ55JMlCE

— Björn Stritzel (@bjoernstritzel) December 8, 2017

Mordy, Friday, 8 December 2017 13:43 (ten months ago) Permalink

This is interesting:


Prince Mohammed, known by his initials MBS, was identified as the buyer of the 500-year-old painting, “Salvator Mundi,” in U.S. intelligence reports, according to people with direct knowledge of the information. American officials have closely watched the activities of the 32-year-old, who is trying to portray himself as a reformer determined to root out corruption in the oil-rich kingdom.

The story is completely false - the painting was bought for the new Abu Dhabi Louvre by the UAE - but there appears to have been an attempt by (someone in) US intelligence to undermine MBS with a planted story, unless the WSJ made it up themselves, which seems unlikely. Not sure if it should be read alongside the Yemen tweet earlier in the week as a warning to play ball.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 8 December 2017 16:25 (ten months ago) Permalink

African refugees not welcome in Israel or Europe. African Refugees arriving in Libya mistreated


While most migration in Africa is within African countries, after Israel's fence went up, many asylum seekers turned to Libya and the sea...

The number of asylum seekers reaching Italy's shores plummeted in 2017...

In 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that all Syrian asylum seekers would be allowed to stay in Germany independent of their first country of contact. The move was celebrated by some as a watershed moment. What received less attention was that these asylum seekers amounted to a little under half of those in the country at the time; other asylum seekers, including many from Africa, were stuck in the unstable purgatory of the undocumented.

curmudgeon, Monday, 11 December 2017 19:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

i'll read it but i think expecting unlimited immigration to europe was always unrealistic

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 19:42 (ten months ago) Permalink

expectations by EU countries, unrealistic or otherwise, are not the core issue imo. mass emigration from poor unstable countries into wealthier more stable countries will continue beyond the effective control of governments, because desperate people will risk the chance of death to escape certain misery.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 11 December 2017 20:09 (ten months ago) Permalink

Mass migration toward its northern coast will continue to be a reality of the 21st century whether or not it is convenient for Europe. Global attempts at containment are not only inhumane, but insufficient: People will always fight to survive. Western countries can't ask them to find a quieter place to die, even though the measures they've taken over the past decade have amounted to just that. This includes the E.U. paying Turkey €3 billion to ensure that Syrians and other refugees never make it to Greece, the U.S. paying Mexico to ensure that children fleeing the gangs of Central America's Northern Triangle never make it to America, Israel building its southern border fence to keep Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers out, and Australia maintaining numerous, horrific offshore detention centers such as those on Manus and Nauru. The list goes on.

The belief that these barbarous exercises in inhospitality will serve as effective deterrents has proven false. The destination might change, but nothing will stop migration, because nothing will stop those who know their lives are threatened from seeking refuge elsewhere.

maybe i'm misreading but this certainly sounds to me like an attempt to shame first world western countries for not accepting desperate migrants. expectations are the core issue bc this is written for westerns and it is attempting to convince them of something and i think we know what that something is.

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:12 (ten months ago) Permalink

While inhumane, genocide is an effective deterrent. As the bottleneck century progresses and the number of overpopulation/conflict/climate refugees grows, Europeans and North Americans will support nationalists in the Maghreb, Turkey and Mexico as bulwarks against the human tide. Its just the reality of lifeboat ethics.

Sanpaku, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:29 (ten months ago) Permalink

There are several elements in your response that need to be teased apart.

sounds to me like an attempt to shame first world western countries for not accepting desperate migrants


if one accepts that compassion and charity are the appropriate responses to desperate and miserable humans, and that morality enjoins those with excess resources to use them to mitigate that misery, then the first question becomes whether or not that moral standard is being met. if one believes it isn't being met, then what is to be done next?

if you lack the power to change the situation unilaterally, then you must persuade others to see the situation as you do. if one sees this in moral terms, then defining your point of view as the moral high ground is one obvious way to approach the task of persuasion. you can call it shaming if you wish, but you seem to be implying that using shame as a tool is wrong or underhanded, iow you seem to be using a sort of shaming, too.

i think we know what that something is

why use circumlocution here? just blurt it out and we can all decide if we know what "that something" is.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 11 December 2017 20:35 (ten months ago) Permalink

and presumably as it increases and becomes increasingly dire western countries will be pressured by unprecedented efforts to open their borders for more migration. ppl who oppose this will be labeled bigots and murderers for their complicity in the deaths of these refugees. it will be very hard for western countries who consider compassion to be a core value to say no to photographs of dead children. if the left becomes seen by its polity as untrustworthy in keeping the borders closed nations will choose more right-wing governments to do so on their behalf. xenophobia, nationalism, etc will increase. xp

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:37 (ten months ago) Permalink

The Four Freedoms enshrined in the Rome Treaty back in 57 are the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons. And as long as EU and the rest of the west insist on having the first three freedoms guide globalization, people elsewhere will take the fourth into their own hands.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

aimless you're a smart guy. it was obvious what i was saying. articles like these are pushing for looser borders and they're disapproving of countries that close them.

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

The responses to the migration crisis are either open borders or a serious, comprehensive plan for alleviating global inequality. There is no other choices.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:41 (ten months ago) Permalink

you mean there are no other choices that you personally think are moral bc there are other choices that are real choices and much more likely than either of those

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:43 (ten months ago) Permalink

as always it's important to keep ought/is in mind

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:43 (ten months ago) Permalink

No, in the long run there are no other choices. Everything else is avoidance.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:45 (ten months ago) Permalink

Neither Iran or Saudi Arabia is likely to be very helpful; some will continue to choose to rationalize supporting or working with certain authoritarian governments but not others

curmudgeon, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:46 (ten months ago) Permalink

The EU is currently working with Erdogans Turkey to keep out immigrants, but clearly that's not a longterm solution either.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:47 (ten months ago) Permalink

everything else is avoidance of what? what are you saying exactly? why can't a country limit immigration, build walls, etc and continue on ignoring the misery going on outside the walls? isn't that history of most of civilization? xxp

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:47 (ten months ago) Permalink

the problems with the EU bribing Turkey and Libya to be their border control are frightfully obvious.

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:48 (ten months ago) Permalink

xpost: And it has never worked in the long run...

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:56 (ten months ago) Permalink

Also, it's really not true, most states throughout history has been trying to expand, I'd say.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 20:59 (ten months ago) Permalink

there are other choices that are real choices and much more likely than either of those

I understand your concern that immigration is strengthening the trend toward fascism in all western nations. But you seem to be preemptively embracing the solutions proposed by the radical nationalists, as a way of undercutting them. In my view this not only makes you their unwilling ally, but also concedes that a huge swath of their political principles are legitimate. You might be hitting yourself in the hope that the blows will be softer if self-administered.

And, yes, I know this is a huge issue with massive ramifications that is bound to increase rapidly in the next couple of decades and it isn't at all clear what is the most practical means of dealing with it.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 11 December 2017 21:06 (ten months ago) Permalink

fwiw I am not particularly concerned nor am i advocating for anything. i'm just observing what seems to be a fait accompli at this point.

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:07 (ten months ago) Permalink

fwiw it does not work to compromize with the radical nationalists at all. They've been pretty much in control of Danish immigration politics for 12 out of the last 16 years, and the government in the remaining 4 years didn't to anything that different. It's a mistake to say radical nationalists in Europe are for closed borders, and if only the left closes them enough, they will be mollified. They are 'tough on immigration' parties, and their whole raison d'etre is to always be tougher than the other parties. Any law they get through, and any move in their direction, only lead to further demands, while also in most cases hurting actual efforts at immigrating people who have legitimate reasons to be here. Which of course leads to further problems, leading to more demands, leading to more problems, etc.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:23 (ten months ago) Permalink

'integrating' not 'immigrating', sorry.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:24 (ten months ago) Permalink

fred otm about the hard right. however

The responses to the migration crisis are either open borders or a serious, comprehensive plan for alleviating global inequality. There is no other choices.

imo the choices are either fascism, or a serious comprehensive plan for alleviating global inequality (feat. open borders). open borders without the latter will have the results mordy describes.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:34 (ten months ago) Permalink

this is why revolutionary internationalist leftism and fascism are the only real political positions and everything else is fantasy tbh.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:35 (ten months ago) Permalink

One too many. Revolutionary Internationalist Leftism. Everything else is reaction.

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:41 (ten months ago) Permalink

lol well sure but the reactionaries might win, which is more than you can say for anyone else but us. i mean we could comfort ourselves by saying that actually it wouldn't count as winning because their civilization would extinguish itself. but that would be no comfort at all so instead we'd have to hope that they escaped the dying earth and constructed a monstrous fascist empire throughout the stars that much later fell to revolutionary internationalist leftism. which aside from requiring an even greater exertion of teleological faith would actually feel even worse.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:51 (ten months ago) Permalink


Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:54 (ten months ago) Permalink

your two realistic options for how to resolve the migration crisis is "revolutionary international leftism" and "fascism" - neither of which mean anything.

Mordy, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:54 (ten months ago) Permalink


Do keep up

Frederik B, Monday, 11 December 2017 22:08 (ten months ago) Permalink

fascism would look pretty much like how it usually looks.

revolutionary internationalist leftism would aggressively redistribute global wealth downward by every means possible, redistributing political power along with it, in the belief that this would relax the stresses that give rise to fascist nationalism, maintain habitability on the maximum planetary surface, and produce the minimum possible 21-22c death toll.

imo if i can be monday morning stoned on anyone's middle east north africa and other geopolitical hotspots thread it's mordy's.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 11 December 2017 22:10 (ten months ago) Permalink



sleeve, Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:46 (ten months ago) Permalink

Take that with huge handfuls of salt. The US does arm the YPG but it’s a sticky point of negotiation between various parties. Turkey believed it secured a commitment from Trump to stop sending them weapons, the US has said that they will reduce arms deliveries and may phase them out over time, it is still up for discussion. If they were going to spend half a billion next year, they wouldn’t be announcing it.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:54 (ten months ago) Permalink

Actually, I think the US technically claims to arm SDF divisions under YPG command rather than the YPG directly. The $500m figure seems familiar - it might be the total cost of supporting the SDF and aligned groups.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 14 December 2017 18:57 (ten months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Have any writers critiqued the Politico allegation re the Obama White House allegedly derailing an in investigation into alleged drug dealing by Hezbollah, in order to ensure that the Iran Nuclear Treaty would be reached?




In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 December 2017 19:12 (nine months ago) Permalink

saw some references to the CIA/FBI not giving a fuck about whatever the DEA is up to because of the pecking order in these sorts of things..

officer sonny bonds, lytton pd (mayor jingleberries), Thursday, 28 December 2017 19:18 (nine months ago) Permalink

The obvious critique is- who cares? If you consider the threat of Iran obtaining nuclear capability to be a serious one, you'd obviously prioritise that over aome drug trafficking by an Iranian proxy.

Sounds like US done played itself, letting the drug trafficking continue for the sake of halting a fictional weapons programme.

Idk if Purdue pharma pretended to have a nuclear weapons programme lol

But doctor, I am Camille Paglia (Bananaman Begins), Friday, 29 December 2017 11:02 (nine months ago) Permalink


U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that he expected to see a larger U.S. civilian presence in Syria, including contractors and diplomats, as the fight against Islamic State militants nears its end and the focus turns toward rebuilding and ensuring the militants do not return.

Hmmm, wonder who will decide on the contractors...

curmudgeon, Friday, 29 December 2017 22:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

no-bid contracts, here we come!

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 29 December 2017 22:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

Thread on Iran protests from yesterday

Thread: Iran’s protests--including in traditional cities like Qom and Mashhad--are a reminder of the country’s deep political, social, and above all economic frustrations https://t.co/PRT1RUTdNX

— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) December 29, 2017

El Tomboto, Saturday, 30 December 2017 19:54 (nine months ago) Permalink

Trump tweeting about Iran being an “oppressive regime “ after he has been selling military ware to Saudi Arabia and sucking up to China, Philippines, and Russia is well typical. Plus Trumpies tweeting that CNN is ignoring the protests is wrong . If Glen Greenwald tweets about Iran it will probably just be a mention of the CIA’s history in Iran.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 30 December 2017 20:52 (nine months ago) Permalink

Any 2018 thread name ideas?

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 January 2018 03:55 (nine months ago) Permalink

MENA, MENA, Tekel, Parsin 2018

Mordy, Thursday, 4 January 2018 03:57 (nine months ago) Permalink

Confess that I had to google that, but it works


curmudgeon, Friday, 5 January 2018 20:23 (nine months ago) Permalink

Seems legit.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 5 January 2018 20:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

I took Mordy's suggestion and started a 2018 thread

MENA, MENA, Tekel, Parsin (Middle East, North Africa & other Geopolitical Hotspots) 2018

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 06:04 (nine months ago) Permalink

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