David Kirkpatrick

May 31, 2010

Inexcusable

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:13 pm

That’s the only word that applies to the Israeli commando attack in international waters on an aid flotilla heading toward Gaza. I rarely venture into the Israel political and military sphere, mostly because those waters are particularly murky and many others much more capable than me do a great job reporting on and analyzing that area of the world.

I believe in the two-state solution, but I do have two issues with Israeli/US relations. The first is the sheer amount of aid we provide that nation every year with nothing in return but scorn (at least in recent years), and the second is the number — small, but still troubling — of elected US politicians who advocate Israeli policy over US policy when the two conflict. I’m not going to name anyone, but it’s pretty easy to find out with a little searching of the internets.

And back to today’s incident, the nation of Israel needs to take a long look into a mirror and rethink its place in the global community. Facing hostile threats is one thing, conducting commando raids at dawn in international waters is something else altogether.

March 17, 2010

The US military v. the Israeli lobby

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:04 pm

Which group do you think will come out on top in DC?

National security issues aside, I have the sneaking suspicion the more the general public (on both the right and the left) learns about the power the Israeli lobby has long-held in Washington, and the sheer amount of unreciprocated foreign aid (in both money and material) the United States has provided, and continues to  provide, Israel for years, the stronger the public upswell against this aid will become. AIPAC has bitten off a lot more than it can chew in this age of online transparency and enraged message forwarding requiring no more than the flick of finger. This topic is no longer inside baseball played out in dark meeting rooms, it’s been pushed into the light by Bibi’s government and AIPAC.

November 28, 2009

Want a reason to wean the US from OPEC?

How about bringers of democracy being “cursed” by a Saudi prince this week.

The link goes to MEMRI, an excellent resource into Mideast media — a resource I don’t tap into near often enough. Long ago I used to read through MEMRI’s offerings on a regular basis, but it’s been out of my usual rotation for a while and ought to get back in there.

From the first link, the intro:

In an op-ed in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, Saudi Prince Saud bin Mansour bin Saud bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz  took on Saudi and Arab liberals and reformists and the Western ideal of democracy. Without naming names, he said that these people were promoting Western democracy despite all its flaws and despite the fact that Islam is vastly superior. Calling democracy “demo-khratiyya” (i.e. “demo-mendacity”), the prince said that writers who criticized Saudi Arabia needed an “ideological bloodletting” to purge them of their corrupt ideas.

And here’s some of the prince’s rabbit pellets:

“Those who hasten to endorse the Western ‘openness’ – whose arrows appear gentle but [carry] a fatal load – have they forgotten our principles and our clarity? Have [these people] not noticed that the West is always marketing democracy as a secular and civil system, not a religious [system]? [Struck by] waves of political Alzheimer’s, they keep telling us that Islam is not democratic.

“A curse on anyone who wants to enforce this demo-khratiyya on all political and constitutional issues. A curse on all those dictatorships that masquerade as demokhratiyya in order to destroy what they define as third-world countries!

“It should be remembered that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the Custodian of the Two Holy Places, and that the sons or residents of the homeland have never been denied their rights. Our country’s structure is perfect [thanks to] Islam, which has established the [concept of] shura [i.e consultation] and the protection of rights, freedom, justice and anything [else] of value, as laid down by this generous religion.”

June 19, 2009

Khamenei lays down gauntlet

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:59 am

In today’s speech Khamenei seems to have drawn a line in the sand. The question for the thuggish Irani regime is it too little too late. He’s threatened violence on the green protesters if demonstrations continue, but the existing government has been exposed for what it is — a despotic ruling class with no respect for even the nominal democracy previously offered the Irani people.

The next few days will be very interesting. The future of Iran is at stake. Hopefully, as outside observers, we don’t witness a brutal crack-down of the Irani spirit. Khamenei seems to have promised as much. No matter the outcome Iran has fundamentally changed and I don’t see how Ahmadinejad could ever be seen as the legitimate president of the nation if he somehow remains in power.

From the link:

In his first public response to days of mass protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opposition supporters on Friday to stay off the streets and raised the prospect of violence if the defiant, vast demonstrations continued.

Opposition leaders, he said, will be “responsible for bloodshed and chaos” if they do not stop further rallies.

He said he would never give in to “illegal pressures” and denied their accusations that last week’s presidential election was rigged, praising the officially declared landslide for the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”

January 3, 2009

Israel, Hamas and the latest turmoil

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:21 pm

Once again the Middle East has gone from a hot, to a white-hot zone. I’m not going to add a lot to this issue other than to thank my stars I don’t live in a part of the world that faces terrorism, fear and war on a daily basis. And has for a while.

Makes the Bush 43 response to 9/11 — torture, suspension of habeas corpus, indefinite detention of US citizens without any due process, asinine air travel policies and restrictions, et.al. — look a bit ridiculous at this point in time.

Here’s an interesting bit of analysis on the current Israeli/Hamas dust-up.

From the link:

As Israel’s tanks and troops poured into Gaza on Saturday, the next phase in its fierce attempt to end rocket attacks, a question hung over the operation: can the rockets really be stopped for any length of time while Hamas remains in power in Gaza?

And if the answer is determined to be no, then is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?

After her visit to Paris on Thursday to explain to French authorities why she thought this was not the time for a quick cease-fire, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel said, “There is no doubt that as long as Hamas controls Gaza, it is a problem for Israel, a problem for the Palestinians and a problem for the entire region.”

Vice Premier Haim Ramon went even further Friday night in an interview on Israeli television, saying Israel must not end this operation with Hamas in charge of Gaza.

November 13, 2008

Iran already worried about Obama’s presidency

Looks like the Iranians fear talks without preconditions. The Bush 43 years of foriegn policy seems more and more like it totally played into the hands of despots.

It’s almost as though the Cheney-influenced DoD wanted to foment conflict instead of making the world safer for the US and other nations. (A bit of snark there, because that’s clearly been the MO, at least in the Middle East.)

From the link:

Since 2006, Iran’s leaders have called for direct, unconditional talks with the United States to resolve international concerns over their nuclear program. But as an American administration open to such negotiations prepares to take power, Iran’s political and military leaders are sounding suddenly wary of President-elect Barack Obama.

“People who put on a mask of friendship, but with the objective of betrayal, and who enter from the angle of negotiations without preconditions, are more dangerous,” Hossein Taeb, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Wednesday, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

Found this link via the Daily Dish.

February 6, 2008

Undersea cables cut

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:38 pm

Five undersea cables carrying internet and other traffic have been cut all affecting the Middle and Near East — specifically India, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The first several cable incidents were blamed on anchors snapping them during rough water. Right now the no one really knows how or why these data cables became cut. Intentional sabotage is one option given the very specific geographic effect of all five cable failures.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing. Head here and here for those posts)