NEWS ANALYSIS: Once the U.S. wielded deterrent power, but now Washington can be manipulated without fear of retribution, as American punishment no longer deters • If Obama cannot stop Syria, he has almost no chance against Iran and North Korea.
FP: Well, when the US starts two wars in the ME , goes bankrupt in the process (I recommend the film that shows American soldiers playing ball with packets of hundreds of thousands in banknotes—at least 9 billions are missing and cannot be accounted for), and loses both of them, I don’t exactly see how it can be taken seriously, let alone deter.
And on top of it is clueless about the ME and lacks strategic thinking: see Barry Rubin: Bush and Obama Together At Last: In Misunderstanding the Middle East.
Eyal Zisser: The road to Damascus runs through Moscow
America suggests that Moscow and Washington jointly impose the "Yemen solution" on Syria, which calls for Assad's removal while keeping his regime in place until elections can be held.
What does it say about the current status of the US if it has to depend on Russia—who is actually threatening it with nuclear weapons—to achieve anything in Syria?
Following visit by top U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman, Jerusalem official says that Israel's demands for Iran differ from those of world powers, but both U.S. and Israel agree nuclear Iran is a threat.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
And while the US declines at home and abroad, US elections focus on the school behavior of candidates, war on women and gay marriage.
What we are witnessing is the PostWest and I predicted it won’t be pretty; there will be nostalgia for the West.
It is not merely that the Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s “best organized” group, as many commentators frequently note. It is the only organized group, with a nationwide hierarchy that can quickly transmit commands from its Cairo-based Guidance Office (maktab al-irshad) to its 600,000 members scattered throughout Egypt. The hierarchy works as follows: The twenty-member Guidance Office sends its marching orders to deputies in each governorate (muhafaza), who communicate with their deputies in each “sector” (quita), who communicate with their deputies in each “area” (muhafaza), who communicate with their deputies in each “populace” (shoaba), who finally communicate with the leaders of each Brotherhood “family” (usra), which is comprised of five Muslim Brothers and represents the organization’s most basic unit. This chain of command is used for executing all Guidance Office decisions, including commanding Muslim Brothers to participate in protests, organize social services, and—during the most recent elections—campaign and vote for Mohamed Morsi.
There are two additional elements of the Muslim Brotherhood’s internal structure that ensure that the Brotherhood leadership’s commands are followed. First, the social lives of members are deeply embedded within the organization. Muslim Brothers meet with their five-person Brotherhood “families” at least weekly, where they study religious texts, discuss politics, organize local Brotherhood activities, and share their private lives with one another. Muslim Brothers’ deepest personal relationships thus emerge within the organization, and there is a great disincentive to buck the Brotherhood leadership’s commands, since doing so risks alienation from their closest friends and mentors.
Second, the very process of becoming a Muslim Brother ensures that only those who are deeply committed to the organization and its principles become full-fledged members. Indeed, becoming a Muslim Brother is an intricate five-to-eight-year process, during which each member is gradually promoted through four tiers of memberships before finally becoming a “working Brother” (ach amal). (In order to attain the third level, a rising Muslim Brother’s supervisors must affirm that he has studied the works of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna; memorized specific chapters of the Qur’an; and shown himself to be “a good follower of the Muslim Brotherhood organization’s decisions,” as one young Muslim Brother engaged in this process told me last March.) Those who become Muslim Brothers are highly unlikely to turn their backs on an organization in which they have invested so much time and energy in joining.
FP: It looks as if Western analysis and predictions for this election were as much ignorant and wishful thinking as the previous ones—how many pundits would you guess has any knowledge of the above? I will be extremely surprised if the MB did not win, but as I argued so often, even if it does not, the future of Egypt is Islamist, because left to operate in freedom they will infiltrate and indoctrinate most of the public and possibly private institutions, particularly the education system. That includes the army, whose low and mid ranks are probably Islamist anyway. And the structure described by Trager is critical for that.
Patrick Seale: In Syria, this is no plan for peace
The regime's strategy is to prevent – at all costs – its armed opponents from seizing and holding territory inside the country, as this might give foreign powers a base from which to operate. As soon as it identifies pockets of armed opponents, it sends in its troops to crush them. That it often uses disproportionate force is not in doubt: this is all too predictable when a conventional army faces hit-and-run opponents. Trapped between opposing forces, civilians inevitably pay the price.
FP: There has been prompt and most likely correct reaction to Seale’s defense of Assad e.g.
But neither critique has noticed a rather obvious aspect: we don’t see such exculpation of Israel for actions against genocidal terrorists who use human shields that Seale is quick to deliver for the murderous actions by Assad against its own people, including mass murder of children.
And if you want more evidence of the absurdities of a PostWest world:
BEIRUT (Reuters) -- The Shiite political party and militant group Hezbollah, President Bashar Assad's main Lebanese ally, said on Sunday it deplored the Houla massacre in neighboring Syria.
Without assigning a blame for the killings of at least 109 civilians in Houla in central Syria, a statement by Hezbollah said it "strongly condemns the massacre and deplores those who carried it out".
Hizb’allah is said to be aiding Assad, a fellow Iranian ally, to exterminate the opposition.
There is nothing like the Arab world and yet the West remains completely clueless and gullible.
A Palestinian Authority woman author has convinced the Univ. of Texas not to publish a book on the Middle East - because it includes Israeli authors.
Huzama Habayeb, who lives in Dubai, based in the same city, “I am so proud of having the book cancelled,” Palestinian author Huzama Habayeb told Gulf News, “I am a Palestinian and to achieve this, to be able to resist the illegal Israeli occupation of my homeland is something that I will cherish forever. It is my own victory in the struggle.”
She had contributed to a proposed book written by women on life in the Middle East but was upset by the inclusion of two Israeli women writers.
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Austin-based University of Texas was planning to publish the anthology in honor of the late American scholar Elizabeth (B.J.) Fernai, who had lived and written on the Middle East.
FP: American academia pandering to Arabs on the subject of women. Upside down and backwards. This is how education is destroyed.
Pope's personal butler detained for leaking correspondence, notes and memos to pope and his private secretary • President of Vatican bank ousted • "If you wrote this in fiction you wouldn't believe it," says Vatican bank board member.
The unnamed leaker said the aim was to show how weak Pope Benedict XVI is, the fears of his secretary of state, and to make clear that the "fundamental role of the church is to defend the Gospel, not accumulate power and money."
FP: And they keep telling us that religion is the source of morals. What would we have done without it? We wouldn’t have been able to tell right from wrong.
If Jesus were in his grave, he would now be turning in it. But where he is purported to be he is probably shocked by the organization built in his name by somebody who did not even know him, one that is entirely at odds with the Judaism he was preaching.
Paul Mirengoff: Taming international law — Israel as the canary in the coal mine
Debunking the Myth of Intuition (Interview with Daniel Kahneman)