The Future of the Mideast

Here is a question for those that are not meek…..what will be the future of the Middle East?  And of course those “people” on the Right will have all sorts of clever yet disgusting thoughts to spew….but this is a serious question that needs some thought.

Now I know I will get all kinds of comments ranging from the typical to the sublime….not one of them show any sort of thought….but they must say something….even if it is dead wrong.

When this bout of barbarism is done and make no mistake it will end…..the Middle East will be a different place….I think it will be nothing like what most Western envision when asked this question…..

While embedded with U.S. Special Operations Forces in 2007, I witnessed firsthand America’s incredible ability to apply technology to the battlefield. The digital map layered on Iraq’s topography was rich with satellite feeds, drone surveillance, heat maps of local violence, real-time situation reports from troops on the ground, and other forms of human and signals intelligence. With about two hours’ notice, special ops teams could strike anywhere in the country. During the so-called surge, the “op tempo” was relentless, and yet the coalition’s ability to hold Iraq together was fleeting at best. One cool and cloudy night, while walking around Balad Air Base northwest of Baghdad with a senior commander, I asked him point- blank, “Are all these gizmos necessary because you can’t speak Arabic?”

Political goals imposed on a complex cultural geography from halfway around the world stand little chance of surviving even a year. And the post-colonial map of the Middle East has lasted not even a century, and in many cases not even half that. Now it is time for the Arab world to build a new map for itself, to evolve from Sykes Picot towards a Pax Arabia.

Source: The Future of the Mideast: A decentralized, Networked Pan-Arabism transcending Sykes-Picot? | Informed Comment

Before that there should be some consideration in the possibility of the US disengaging from the region as soon as possible……let’s be honest…..foreign oil is NOT as important today as it was 20 years ago….so a disengagement would not hurt this country at all….with the exception of the M-IC that is making billions off of war and destruction.

truemapofmiddleeastThomas_Map-01

Our disengagement could be bring a speedy end to this conflict cycle that we have created…..

The Orlando and San Bernardino shootings have led important personalities to make several suggestions, both workable and unworkable. These range from banning the entry of Muslim immigrants into the United States to tighter gun control. However, hardly anyone seems to have asked the fundamental question: why have some radicalized inhabitants of broader Middle Eastern origin developed such hatred for Americans that they are willing not only to inflict tremendous suffering on innocent civilians, but also to lay down their own lives in the process?

The answer lies in the history and extent of American involvement in the broader Middle East ranging from Turkey to Pakistan, what has been called the “arc of crisis”. The United States was often involved on the wrong side of the internal and regional conflicts in this region, supporting authoritarian regimes to maintain control over restive populations. More important, the extent of its involvement—especially in the post–Cold War era—has far exceeded its economic and strategic interests in the region.

Source: It’s Time for America to Disengage From the Middle East | The National Interest Blog

Next week I will return to posting on my research on terrorism…I have been helping a my friend by teaching a bloc in his course…..sorry for the delay but I have been working my skinny butt off….

China Comes To The Middle East

While the country pops its chops about this candidate’s taxes or that ones health a major development is occurring in the Middle East…….maybe you should stop looking for Pokemon and paying attention…..

Back at the first of this year there were rumblings that China might be considering a bit of their own adventurism in the Middle East….in Syria most namely…..I posted a warning back then……

Source: Can China Get A Buy In? – In Saner Thought

Most people thought that I was being unnecessarily paranoid about the possibility……well sports fans….”I Told You So”!

Country has joined Russia and Iran in supporting the Syrian government in war

China signalled it was prepared to join them by dispatching high-profile rear admiral Guan Youfei, head of Beijing’s office for international military co-operation, to Damascus to hold discussions with the Syrian defence minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij.

China offered to train Syrian military personnel and provide humanitarian aid. While Chinese advisers are routinely deployed to teach Syrian soldiers how to use Chinese weapons, the proposal to have advisers on a regular basis amounts to direct engagement in the conflict on the government’s side.

Source: China enters fray in Syria on Bashar al-Assad’s side

Now we have another bloc to contend with…..Syria, Russia, Iran and now China.

Does this appear to the powers lining up and choosing sides like the start of so many other great wars?

Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij and other officials of the Damascus government. Guan announced that Beijing and Damascus had come to an agreement that the Chinese military will provide humanitarian aid to Syria and discussed a possibility of involvement of Chinese military servicemen in training of the Syrian army personnel and other operations to ensure security in the Arab country.

Xinhua has not provided details about the agreed Chinese humanitarian aid mission in Syria. Furthermore, there are constant rumors that Chinese military advisers already operate in Syria, observing Damascus’ anti-terrorism efforts. However, there is no clear evidence that China has been involved into the conflict.

Source: Video: China Increases Its Involvement in the Syrian War | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

How long before something goes horribly wrong?  Not always a good sign when the world’s military powers start picking sides in a fight…..am I wrong?

Keep in mind that China is building a military base in Djibouti which is on the Persian Gulf….just a hop skip and flight from the Middle East….

Maybe now would be a good time to step back and take a hard analytical look at Syria and the situation….

Or go back to looking for Pokemon……that is probably more important to you anyway.

Thoughts?

Iraq And The World Of Tomorrow

This is an op-ed that I put together for my friends at Ace News Room…please stop by their site if it is news you look for then there is few better….

We do not hear much about Iraq these days unless it is all about the fight with ISIS over control of some city or region…..

Iraq has a future regardless of what the nose pickers have to say and there needs to be an understanding of the make-up of the country…..especially if we want the future to be successful that will keep us from having to repeat the last 13 years…….

In the fateful year of 2003 the US and its friends, especially the United kingdom, decided that they would bring democracy to a Middle East by force…..it was a year or choice….and we ch…

Source: Iraq And The World Of Tomorrow

There will be more op-eds to come…..please watch for them…..

What The “Experts” Get Wrong

Ever noticed that many of the “experts” on the Middle East have Anglo-Saxon surnames?  Most could not find the Middle East on a map……

When in my younger years I was employed by a Spanish newspaper and spent much of my time in North Africa and the Middle East……for 2 years I worked in Iraq beginning just after Saddam came to power and I got to know the people and the region as well as a Westerner could in that amount of time.

I have tried to tell my story about the people and region but usually I am met with the ignorance that most Westerners show…..most seem to think they are experts and that they get the expertise from people with names like Smith, Jones, Strickland and Schmidt and most have never set foot in the region to get this false expertise…

It is not that these people are stupid…..but rather they just do not want to hear or believe that the info they have on the Middle East is flawed….it minds me of one of my fave quotes….”Stupidity Is The Deliberate Cultivation Of Ignorance”….

A very good site, War On The Rocks, has a great 2 part series and then a rebuttal, if you will,  about what is happening in the Middle East written by someone who is there….on the ground…..

If you read Western media outlets, includingWaronthe Rocks, you might think that most of the problems in the Middle East can be traced to Sunni disenfranchisement, especially in Syria and Iraq. The broader Western debate about the ongoing civil wars in the Middle East is plagued by a false understanding of sectarian identities. Washington elites imagine a broader Sunni sense of identity that does not exist outside the confines of Saudi Arabia and territories held by jihadist groups. This has the malign effect of encouraging polices that add fuel to the fires consuming Syria and parts of Iraq. Alongside this narrative exists another that portrays Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces as bloodthirsty sectarian militias engaged in constant abuses against Iraq’s Sunni Arabs — but this is simply not the case.

Source: Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Civil Wars in Syria and Iraq

And the second part of the series……

I was not surprised to see my first article greeted with so much outrage by those who adhere to the conventional Western narrative of the civil wars in Iraq and Syria as well as the larger tumult of the Middle East. In truth, these conflicts are not so easily defined by the easy sectarian narrative offered in the Western press.  I argued that Western elites were surrendering to and even embracing the Saudi definition of what Sunni identity should mean. And I provided accounts of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq that do not comport with what you likely have been reading in the newspapers.

Source: Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Middle East Undone

This will probably fall on deaf ears….but that is okay….for those same deaf ears are the reason that we are destined to fight in Iraq for a generation….maybe longer….all because of ignorance and stupidity….and sadly it could have been avoided….

To be fair….War On The Rocks published a rebuttal to this series…..

The smug implication, of course, was that Syria under the Assad regime was different: Contrary to the fractured polities of Lebanon and Iraq, it had achieved a superior sense of national belonging and purpose, a genuine supra-confessional identity. Sectarianism was not an issue, I was told. Syria was no democracy, to be sure, but Bashar Al-Assad had married a Sunni woman who wore stylish Western clothes, women could walk around unveiled, and alcohol was available (that’s a lifestyle liberalism of the kind that appeals to Western audiences but actually obscures more than it reveals). Many Sunnis populated the high spheres of business, politics, and the military, and minorities could worship at will as long as they remained loyal to the Assads. No wonder that this image of Syria, marketed ad nauseam, partially hid the country’s unraveling during the previous 15 years. While admitting it was not perfect, many of those who bemoan the Syria of yesterday cannot seem to find the link between this romanticized narrative and the current catastrophe.

Source: “Assad or We Burn the Country”: Misreading Sectarianism and the Regime in Syria

It is always best to have both sides of an argument…..that is if one wants the whole picture and not just a corner……

Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

Yes sports fans Turkey and Iran have come top an agreement on the Syrian civil war…..

I know that countries and pundits alike have been looking for a way to end the death and destruction in Syria….among other countries….and it appears that Turkey and Iran have come to some sort of agreement on how to proceed…..

In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Both Yildirim’s speech and the Iranian corroboration were reported Tuesday by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Hayat, Arabic-language newspapers published in London, but the potentially pivotal development has been unreported thus far in Western news media.

Source: Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

This is all well and good…..just I have one problem with this idea……

Where is the input of the Syrian people?  After all it is their country…..well at least for now…..I believe they should have a voice in any solution offered.

They had NO input in 1918 and look where that eventually came to…..maybe they should have the lead voice on any solution that involves their country…..just a thought.

Whatcha think?

But I guess since that plan is not what everyone wanted…….bullets are always easier then words……

Hillary’s Neoconservatives

Yes I know I have been railing against a Clinton presidency because of her ties with the hawks in Washington….I am hoping that some will read and understand just how important it is to NOT vote for a pro-war candidate….granted I am a small voice but I will not give up.

As much as I have written I still find some good articles about Clinton and her ties with the neocons……like this one in The American Conservative……

The Hillary Clinton campaign has recently been trumpeting endorsements from neoconservatives. The candidate’s embrace of figures such as Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen—all once regarded as anathema to the contemporary left—has engendered a wave of pushback from progressive critics.

Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie, is the most recent high-profile objector, publicly expressing queasiness about Clinton’s perceived allying with “architects of regime change.” Now, predictably, the pushback has been met with its own pushback, including from Brian Beutler of The New Republic, who cautions progressives not to fret.

Source: Hillary’s Neoconservatives | The American Conservative

Please for the sake of your country and your military….learn everything about the candidates and their plans for the use of force…..it may effect someone in your family…is that too much to ask?

When Is The Death Penalty Needed

In most cases I am against the death penalty…..in most cases but there are a few that I think should be mandatory……that being when someone knowingly destroys a heritage site or a cultural site……

This guy for instance…….

The trial of a Malian jihadist, charged with war crimes for orchestrating the 2012 destruction of nine Timbuktu mausoleums and a section of a famous mosque, opened  Monday at the International Criminal Court

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi asked for forgiveness as he pleaded guilty to the 2012 attacks on the fabled city of Timbuktum in Mali, Africa, and urged Muslims not to follow such “evil” ways at his unprecedented war crimes trial.

“Your honor, regrettably I have to say that what I heard so far is accurate and reflects the events. I plead guilty,” he said as his trial opened, admitting a sole war crimes charge of cultural destruction.

Source: Muslim extremist pleads guilty to 2012 destruction of Timbuktu treasures | Public Radio International

This prick is sorry?  He knew what he was doing….there is NO excuse!  He should fry!

This destruction was NOT an isolated situation….

The following are examples of world cultural heritage destroyed or damaged during recent conflicts.

– Mali –

The fabled desert city of Timbuktu, named as the “City of 333 saints” and listed by UNESCO, was for months attacked by jihadists bent on imposing a brutal version of Islamic law.

In June 2012, Al-Qaeda-linked militants destroyed 14 of the northern city’s mausoleums, important buildings that date back to Timbuktu’s golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries as an economic, intellectual and spiritual hub.

The reconstruction of the shrines began in March 2014, relying heavily on traditional methods and employing local masons. Several countries and organisations financed the reconstruction, including UNESCO.

Work finished on the site in July 2015, and a ceremony marking the completion was held on February 4, 2016.

– Syria –

More than 900 monuments or archeological sites have been looted, damaged or destroyed by the regime, rebels or jihadists in Syria, where a devastating war has raged since 2011, according to APSA, the association charged with protecting Syrian architecture.

In September 2015, Islamic State (IS) fighters destroyed two of the most important temples in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra as they pressed a campaign to wipe out some of the Middle East’s most important heritage sites.

They include the ancient city’s most famed shrine, the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel, blown up a week after the destruction of the temple of Baal Shamin.

Other notable sites damaged or looted include Dura-Europos in eastern Syria, once known as the “Pompeii of the desert”, Apamea, Ebla and Tal Ajaja.

However, the IS group is not the only one responsible for ravaging Syria’s heritage, with all sides in the fighting looting and destroying ancient sites.

“Two thirds of the ancient city of Aleppo have been bombarded and set on fire,” according to UNESCO.

– Iraq –

IS has carried out a campaign of “cultural cleansing”, razing part of ancient Mesopotamia’s relics and looting others to sell valued artefacts on the black market.

In a video released by IS on February 26, 2015 militants were shown using sledgehammers to smash pre-Islamic treasures in the museum in the country’s second city Mosul, sparking global outrage.

Thousands of books and rare manuscripts were also burned in February in Mosul’s library.

According to the Iraqi government, IS militants on March 5, 2015 bulldozed and blew up Nimrud, an ancient Assyrian city south of Mosul.

They also attacked Hatra, a Roman-period site, in the northern Niniveh province.

– Libya –

Several mausoleums have been destroyed by Islamist extremists since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

In August 2012, Islamist hardliners bulldozed part of the mausoleum of Al-Shaab Al-Dahman, close to the centre of the Libyan capital.

The demolition came a day after hardliners blew up the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdessalem al-Asmar in the western city of Zliten.

In 2013 suspected Islamic extremists destroyed the centuries-old mausoleum of Murad Agha in Tripoli, but the tomb inside withstood the attack.

Afghanistan –

In March 2001, Taliban leader Mullah Omar ordered the destruction of two 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in the eastern town of Bamiyan, because they were judged to be anti-Islamic.

Hundreds of members of the Taliban from across the country spent more than three weeks demolishing the gigantic statues carved into the side of a cliff.

In 2003 the cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley were put on UNESCO’S world heritage list.

– Algeria –

Armed Islamic groups in the 1990s destroyed several sanctuaries which dotted Algerian soil.

(yourmiddleeast.com)

There must be consequences when you destroy a nation’s cultural and historic sites…execution would suit me just fine.