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Posts Tagged ‘October’

Cole Twitter, Facebook,, Email, Books (Repeat)

July 24th, 2012 Comments off

Some book keeping for new readers.

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Those who like reading history and want a background on Egypt might enjoy these books of mine:

Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East. This is written for a general audience and you will have some deja vu as you read about the Cairo revolt of October, 1798.

Engaging the Muslim World, revised Paperback October, 2010– has a chapter on the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Muslim movements in Egypt as well as chapters on countries likely to be affected by the Egypt events such as Saudi Arabia.

For those who like pretty serious academic history, my Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt’s Urabi Revolution may be rewarding.

For more general reading on the modern Middle East, there are suggestions on the top left of this page.

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Etihad Airways to fly daily to Vietnam

July 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial capital and most populous city, in October 2013. It will be …
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Sheldon Adelson Could Buy Bibi a Very Effective October Surprise

June 15th, 2012 Comments off

Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: William Balfour found guilty of all counts – CBS News

May 11th, 2012 Comments off

CBS News

Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: William Balfour found guilty of all counts
CBS News
(CBS/AP) CHICAGO – After three days of deliberation, jurors found William Balfour guilty in the October 2008 shooting deaths of the Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. Photos: Jennifer Hudson Balfour has been convicted on all
William Balfour convicted of killing Jennifer Hudson's relativesLos Angeles Times
William Balfour, the former brother-in-law of singer Jennifer Hudson, is shown CNN
Jury finds Balfour guilty in Hudson slayingsUSA TODAY
ABC News –New York Times –CNN International
all 1,043 news articles »

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"When America attacked Syria!"

February 15th, 2012 Comments off
 ‘Marines Barracks, BIA, October 23, 1983’
“In September 1982, President Ronald Reagan authorized the deployment of up to 1,800 Marines to Lebanon as part of a Multinational Force (MNF) “with the mission of enabling the Lebanese Government to resume full sovereignty …” In the aftermath of the full-scale Israeli invasion months earlier in 1982, which sought to drive out the PLO and install a friendly regime in power, Lebanon had become a war zone. The Lebanese military and various militias were receiving weapons, military training, operational guidance, and money from a number of countries, including Israel, Syria, the Soviet Union, Iran, and the United States.

Recognizing the futility of deploying several hundred soldiers with a poorly-defined mission to positively impact the degenerating situation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously opposed sending the Marines to Lebanon to serve with the MNF. … 

While the United States was supposed to have been a neutral entity in Lebanon as part of the MNF, by summer 1983 it had openly sided with the pro-Israeli Lebanese government. To support the Lebanese military, the U.S.S. New Jersey was authorized to shell the Druze militia and Syrian military forces in the mountains surrounding Beirut. As Colin Powell later described the response: “When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides against them. And since they could not reach the battleship, they found a more vulnerable target: the exposed Marines at the airport.”

The October 23, 1983, suicide truck bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport would kill 241 U.S. military personnel; simultaneously, another suicide bomber killed fifty-eight French servicemen of the MNF several kilometers away. (Two weeks later, yet another truck bomb exploded in the Israeli military headquarters in Tyre, killing sixty.) …. 
The Reagan administration grappled with the appropriate response against the Syrian and Iranian governments. As a “two-fer” military option, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Richard Armitage recalled, “we wanted to put a cruise missile into the window of the Iranian ambassador in Damascus,” although this approach was ultimately rejected.
Another idea—never pursued, but worth highlighting given the demand of many political leaders for Syrian president Hafez al-Assad to be removed from power—was developed in a NSC paper entitled, “The Destabilization of Syria.” According to David Wills’s unmatched history of the era, The First War on Terrorism: Counter-Terrorism Policy during the Reagan Administration:

“When Assad challenges Israel and the Marines in Lebanon, he knows that if Israel attacks him it cannot occupy all of Syria. Assad feels he can always retreat to the North and set up a smaller state and with stronger Alawite control. However, if Turkey is brought into the calculations of Rifaat [Assad] (the real power in Syria) and Hafez, their calculations will be totally different and would be impossible to add up without losing their power. If Syria is attacked by Turkey from the north the Alawite stronghold will be gone at the start and Assad and his supporters will have to fall back on an ocean of hateful Sunni moslems (sic) in the south where they will be eaten like lost sheep. Therefore the pressure on Syria should come from Turkey and not from the Marines and or Israel.”

The Reagan administration ultimately decided to attack the support infrastructure of the groups responsible for the Beirut bombing at the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, where several hundred of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah members were based.  On November 14, 1983, President Reagan approved a joint U.S.-French air raid against the barracks to be carried out two days later. What happened next is hotly disputed by Reagan administration officials, although almost all accounts concur that Secretary of Defense Weinberger refused to give the authorization order to the U.S. commander of the Sixth Fleet permitting the U.S. aircraft to leave their flight decks. The French—who did not know that the United States had abandoned them until their planes were airborne—proceeded with the airstrike. Briefed on what had happened, Reagan responded: “That’s terrible. We should have blown the daylights out of them. I just don’t understand.”
Despite the miscommunication—or direct insubordination—the United States eventually did bomb Syrian military assets in Lebanon, although it had nothing to do with the loss of the 241 American service members….. …..  bombers were ordered to strike three sites east of Beirut, which included an ammunition depot, air-defense radars, anti-aircraft guns, and SAMs. (A Reagan administration official claimed that the airstrikes would somehow “also encourage Lebanese forces to defend their own territory.” They didn’t.) Without offering any evidence, a Pentagon spokesperson reported that airstrikes had hit fourteen of the twenty intended targets and that “whatever was in each of the areas received significant damage.”
Despite official statements, however, the first direct combat in Lebanon between the United States and Syria was both a military and political disaster. Two of the U.S. planes were shot down either by anti-aircraft rounds and/or approximately forty SAMs; one pilot was killed, another was captured by Syrian forces, ….  Furthermore, although the Pentagon claimed that the airstrikes were ”very successful and achieved our objective, which was to prevent, through a measured response, repetition of the attacks on our reconnaissance aircraft,” that never came to pass. Syrian forces continued to target the U.S. reconnaissance flights…. 
A criticism of proponents of military force in Syria, Iran, or elsewhere, is that they rarely take into account recent history and how it can be instructive for likely outcomes today. Or worse, advocates often rely on myths or mischaracterizations about earlier applications of force, particularly in their supposedly successful outcomes. Despite approximately $600 billion in defense and intelligence spending, kinetic force not only fails to achieve its intended military or political objectives, but it often makes things worse. If history can provide any guidance, it is that it is impossible to foresee the unintended consequences and lasting impact of military force.”



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Poll suggests Egyptian disillusionment with military was mounting

November 24th, 2011 Comments off

Via the Atlantic Council’s Egypt’s page, a Brookings poll carried in October showed that 43% of Egyptians believe the military was working to reverse…

Click the headline to read more



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New video on Maspero

November 11th, 2011 Comments off

This video, by the Campaign against Military Tribunals, was just released today and shows graphic new footage of soldiers attacking protestors on the night of October 9 at Maspero. There will be an international day of solidarity tomorrow, Saturday 12 November, in cities across the world for Egyptians detained by the military.



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Podcast #16: %^&* the French!

November 10th, 2011 Comments off

We were away in Tunisia in late October and never got a chance to do the podcast we had promised from there — we were too busy enjoying the well-organized election, promising democratic prospects and excellent fish. We catch up and talk what we saw there, why Egypt is so much worse off with its own upcoming elections, and agree that the French need to grow up about Islamism.

Links for this week’s episode:



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America’s new Middle East ‘mini-Nato’

October 31st, 2011 Comments off

“… Exactly what the Pentagon might do with its expanded Kuwait and Gulf-based forces, should Iraq implode again at some future date or become destabilised by the unrest in Syria, is unclear. A second invasion would not command much public support, to put it mildly. If, on the other hand, the new American deployments are primarily about containing, intimidating or potentially attacking Iran, the emerging picture becomes more comprehensible, although not more reassuring.Maliki and his government maintain strong lines of communication to Tehran. The prime minister has spoken out in support of Iran’s suspect nuclear programme. And he shares Iran’s dual aim of keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria while keeping its Sunni population at bay. While Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states have distanced themselves from Assad, Iraq, egged on by Iran, has sought in recent months to strengthen political and trade ties with the Damascus regime.
Iran’s influence in Iraq and Syria, wielded directly and indirectly through powerful proxies such as the hardline Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, may be expected to grow in the wake of the US pullout. This will not only encourage Assad to hang on; it is also likely to increase tensions between Iran and neighbouring, pro-western Gulf Co-operation Council states.
Hence the third pillar of the Pentagon’s evolving strategy, as disclosed by the New York Times: a plan to develop new “security architecture” that would potentially conjoin Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman with the US in a sort of Middle East “mini-Nato”. Just as Nato was created to counter the Soviet threat, so this new grouping’s main aim in life would be to push back against Iran.
Specifically, it is suggested the Gulf allies would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defences. Arming all of them with compatible, US-made weapons systems would neatly serve an additional purpose: boosting American arms sales while lessening the impact of coming Pentagon budget cuts. Above all else, such a development would help compensate for the de facto loss of Iraq and reassure Israel, ….. Nobody in Washington is talking about an October surprise, mainly because October just finished. But October, 2012 may be a month to watch.…”



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Over and almost out (of Iraq)

October 31st, 2011 Comments off

The Iraq war is finally over. And it marks a complete neocon defeat

by Jonathan Steele The Guardian, October 23, 2011

The Iraq war is over. Buried by the news from Libya, Barack Obama announced late on Friday that all US troops will leave Iraq by 31 December.

The president put a brave face on it, claiming he was fulfilling an election promise to end the war, though he had actually been supporting the Pentagon’s effort to make a deal with Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to keep US bases and several thousand troops there indefinitely.

The talks broke down because Moqtada al-Sadr’s members of parliament and other Iraqi nationalists insisted that US troops be subject to Iraqi law. In every country where they are based the US insists on legal immunity and refuses to let troops be tried by foreigners. In Iraq the issue is especially sensitive after numerous US murders of civilians and the Abu Ghraib scandal in which Iraqi prisoners were sexually humiliated. In almost every case where US courts tried US troops, soldiers were acquitted or received relatively brief prison sentences.

The final troop withdrawal marks a complete defeat for Bush’s Iraq project. The neocons’ grand plan to use the 2003 invasion to turn the country into a secure pro-western democracy and a garrison for US bases that could put pressure on Syria and Iran lies in tatters.

Their hopes of making Iraq a democratic model for the Middle East have been tipped on their head.

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