WASHINGTON - When it comes to the troop surge in Iraq, a bunch of arm chair generals in Washington are influencing the Bush Administration as much as the Joint Chiefs or theater commanders. A group of military experts at the American Enterprise Institute, concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a calamitous failure in Iraq, almost single handedly convinced the White House to change its strategy. They banded together at AEI headquarters in downtown Washington early last December and hammered out the surge plan during a weekend session. It called for two major initiatives to defeat the insurgency: reinforcing the troops and restoring security to Iraqi neighborhoods. Then came trips to the White House by AEI military historian Frederick Kagan, retired Army Gen. John Keane and other surge proponents. More and more officials began attending the sessions. Even Vice President Dick Cheney came. "We took the results of our planning session immediately to people in the administration," said AEI analyst Thomas Donnelly, a surge planner. "It became sort of a magnet for movers and shakers in the White House." Donnelly said the AEI approach won out over plans from the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command. The two Army generals then in charge of Iraq had opposed a troop increase.Quite aside from whether the surge is working or not (I have no idea, although the continuing death tolls in Iraq would suggest it hasn't done much outside of a few areas), should think-tankers trump generals in planning wars? Isn't this what you always learn is a bad thing for military performance -- like Hitler taking over war-planning from the Wehrmacht? (Obviously I am not comparing the AEI to the Nazi Party, trolls.)
The liberal interventionism that took root in the aftermath of the cold war was never much more than a combination of post-imperial nostalgia with crackpot geopolitics. It was an absurd and repugnant mixture, and one whose passing there is no reason to regret. What the world needs from western governments is not another nonsensical crusade. It is a dose of realism and a little humility.Amen.
The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.There are some (occasionally forced) parallels with the current situation in American -- the role of the uber-wealthy and the New Gilded Age, Cheney's powerful and shadowy vice-presidency, etc.
Fears that Iran is systematically mistreating political prisoners and dissidents have been further fuelled after the parents of three detained student activists claimed their sons had been tortured. In a letter to the country's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the parents alleged that the students have suffered a catalogue of physical and psychological abuses since being incarcerated in Tehran's Evin prison in May.Two weeks ago I got to see the animated feature version of Persepolis. One of the things I drives home very effectively is that the fundamentalist regime in Iran has been much, much worse in terms of human rights and torture (never mind personal freedoms) than the old Shah regime, with its notorious CIA-trained SAVAK security service, ever was. Even more so, the film makes a very effective point in showing how fundamentally retarded that government was, much like any government that seeks to police the private moral life of its citizens -- in other words, an extreme version of what the "secular" regimes in many Arab countries have resorted to. Think of Egypt, and those trials to forcibly divorce public figures judged to be apostates, or the current contradictory statements of the Mufti, or among the opposition of the ridiculous moral crusades regularly brought out by the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the PJD and its supporters (such as at-tajdid newspaper) in Morocco.
Before his resignation, his Balad party held only four seats in the Knesset in a country where many Arab Israelis still tend to vote for the mainstream political parties, particularly Labour - now part of the ruling coalition. Even Bishara admits there is not widespread public support for his ideas among his own community. One opinion poll earlier this year found that three-quarters of Arab Israelis would support a constitution describing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. However, in recent months, that has begun to change. For a start, racism against Arabs in Israel is rising, according to at least one recent poll. In a survey for the Centre Against Racism, a poll of Jewish Israelis found that more than half believed it was treason for a Jewish woman to marry an Arab man; 40% said Arabs should no longer have the right to vote in parliamentary elections; and 75% opposed apartment blocks being shared by Jews and Arabs. At the same time, more and more prominent Arab Israelis are adopting ideas similar to Bishara's and proposing a fundamental challenge to the Jewish nature of the state. Four separate documents have emerged since December, each making a similar case. Adalah, a human rights group, issued a draft constitution that said Israel should be defined not as a Jewish state but as a "democratic, bilingual and multicultural state". It called for an end to the Law of Return, which gives automatic citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent, and it called on Israel to "recognise its responsibility for past injustices suffered by the Palestinian people".Mobilizing the Arab population of Israel is perhaps the best way left to force a fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - it's pretty clear that most Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, ghettoized and radicalized over 40 years of abuse, are not able to do it.
The Israeli government has approved a school textbook that for the first time presents the Palestinian denunciation of the creation of Israel in 1948. The book, to be used only in Israeli Arab schools, notes that Palestinians describe the event as a "catastrophe". "Both the Israeli and Palestinian versions have to be presented," education minister Yuli Tamir said. The book was condemned by right-wing politicians but hailed by Arab Israelis who say all schools should use it.Separate schools, separate schoolbooks. But don't call it an apartheid state. (Why on earth the spin on this article, notably the headline, is positive is beyond me.)
Soon after the interview was published, Otniel Schneller, a Knesset member from Ehud Olmert’s centrist Kadima Party, said that when Burg dies he should be denied burial in the special section of Mt. Herzl National Cemetery, in Jerusalem, reserved for national leaders. “He had better search for a grave in another country,” Schneller said. One letter to the Jerusalem Post compared Burg to young people who, after military service, go off to India to find their spiritual selves in an ashram. “Yesteryear, Burg would have been disowned as at least a lunatic,” the columnist Sarah Honig wrote in the same paper. “The grave danger is that today he gives voice and lends insidious quasi-respectability to what was heretofore unutterable. By tomorrow, the uncontrollable infestation he spreads might confer outright legitimacy on Israel’s delegitimatization.” If and when Israel’s borders changed, Honig continued, “Burg probably won’t stick around to risk the ensuing slaughter. The new Wandering Jew will pack his sinister seeds and propagate his wicked wandering weeds from afar.”In some ways I think this article -- notably the themes of Holocaust exploitation and the power of the US Lobby -- would not have been possible before Norman Finkelstein's books and the "lobby" essay by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer.
'In the month of August 1797 he [Bonaparte] wrote "that the time was not far distant when we should see that, to destroy the power of England effectually, it would be necessary to attack Egypt." In the same month he wrote to Talleyrand, who had just succeeded Charles de Lacroix as Minister of Foreign Affairs, "that it would be necessary to attack Egypt, which did not belong to the Grand Signior [Ottoman Emperor]." Talleyrand replied, "that his ideas respecting Egypt were certainly grand, and that their utility could not fail to be fully appreciated."More from that except here.
BEIRUT, 10 June 2007 (IRIN) - Researchers warn that economic instability and persistent security threats are driving ever more young, educated Lebanese abroad, creating a brain drain that threatens the country’s economic and social future. “We’re suffering a huge brain drain,” Kamal Hamdan, head of the Lebanese Centre of Research and Studies, told IRIN. “Those who have the brains take their diplomas and leave. They are the young people who would go on to be middle executives and entrepreneurs. In the long term, their absence means we may face a serious shortage of policy developers and managers.”Perhaps one of the worst consequences of last summer's war -- it repeated the brain drain caused by the civil war.
WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- Republican candidate for the presidency Rudy Giuliani, the leading hawk among presidential hopefuls, has appointed Norman Podhoretz senior adviser for foreign policy. A founding member of the neo-con movement, Podhoretz, in the June issue of Commentary magazine, called for an immediate attack on Iran. Either we bomb Iran now, or "we could wake up one morning to find that Iran is holding Berlin, Paris or London hostage to whatever its demands are then." The geopolitical label for the process is the "Islamization" of Europe, which neo-cons say is a rerun of Hitler's conquest of Europe in the 1930s and 40s. Giuliani's eight-member foreign policy team also includes Martin Kramer, an Israeli-American expert on Shia Islam at Harvard and a fellow with both the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center ("for the development of Zionist thought"). Kramer once said the tendency by American Middle Eastern academics to neglect radical Islam as an issue was partly to blame for the failure to anticipate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.Well, at least we'll know clearly where he stands. It's rather alarming, though, considering that Giulani (despite being a well-known nutter) has the potential to appeal beyond the Republican mainstream and cross-over to some Democrats and swing voters because of his more liberal social views, has taken foreign policy advisors that only care about Israel. If he's elected, we're not likely to see the same drift on US foreign policy outside the Middle East that we saw during the Bush administration. With these people (and with neo-conservatives more generally) it's Israel, Israel, Israel. And here's Podhoretz foaming-at-the-mouth piece in favor of bombing Iran, which is an interesting example of the paranoid delusional mindframe.
When an elder was kidnapped in a clan dispute in conservative southern Egypt, the al-Arab family's worst fears were soon realised -- they received a package containing his moustache, local media reported on Sunday. The man himself was returned uninjured, but the use of the new shaving tactic sent shockwaves through the town of Mahrusa, near Luxor, 650km south of Cairo, where a man's honour is measured by the size of his moustache, the al-Gomhuria daily said.Return to semi-regular blogging schedule soon.
It was not until 1982 that the Egyptian government acknowledged the problem. "It was a question of costs and priorities," Fathy El Shazly, director of the national northwest coast development program, frankly admits. He refers to the history of his country, which after the Second World War was first busy gaining independence and then tied up in four wars against Israel. A bit more haste would have been advisable, though. According to the NGO "Landmine Monitor," there have been 8,313 mine-related casualties in this region since 1982, including 619 deaths. As can be observed again and again whenever natural disasters or accidents occur, however, the Egyptian government evidently does not place much importance on its own citizens. It has done little to help the victims to date. The Egyptian army did clear some 3.5 million pieces of ammunition out of the desert between 1982 and 1999, but since then a lack of funds has slowed down their efforts â€“ at least that's the official line. Since things are moving much too slowly for the private sector, which has great plans for the region, some hotels and oil companies have begun to remove buried ammunition at their own expense in order to build access roads to their projects.
L'équipe du CEDEJ
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بكل أسى ننعى لكم الآن روسيون مدير السيداج الذي توفى اليوم بالقاهرة، إثر نزيف في المخ. تتم مراسم الجنازة المفتوحة للجميع يوم الأربعاء 4 يوليو بكنيسة العذراء، شارع المرعشلي بالزمالك في تمام الساعة الواحدة. تتقبل عائلة الفقيد التعازي على الساعة السابعة بقاعة العزاء في نفس الكنيسة. فريق العاملين بالسيداج
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Alain Roussillon nous a quitté, terriblement rapidement.
Directeur du CEDEJ, directeur de recherche au CNRS, organisateur de multiples entreprises intellectuelles collectives, compagnon des charrettes de veille de colloque, animateur d’une vie de laboratoire qui pouvait se prolonger tard dans la nuit, aimant la recherche comme la vie et la vie comme la recherche, faisant leur part à l’intellect comme aux affects, complice des fêtes conviviales comme des petites et grandes colères contre le monde tel qu’il va, qui devenaient chez lui rage de comprendre et de faire comprendre, Alain a été tout cela à la fois, et bien autres choses encore. Nous perdons, qui un directeur, qui un ami, qui un « pote », un compagnon de route, un collègue stimulant et pour beaucoup, tout cela à la fois ; nous perdons par dessus tout une présence chaleureuse, généreuse, bouillonnante, inventive et dynamisante. Elle manquera terriblement au CEDEJ.
De Beyrouth à Paris, de Rabat à Tokyo, en passant par Bogota et Manille, du GSPM au GTMS, ses pas le ramenaient toujours vers le CEDEJ et Le Caire, une ville qu’il ne quittait que pour mieux y revenir. Cette fois-ci pour toujours. Alain est inhumé dans la terre de sa famille maternelle, la terre d'Egypte. Sur cette ascendance égyptienne qu’il ne reniait pas, il était très discret car, pour les avoir longuement examinées, il ne connaissait que trop bien les impasses séduisantes des jeux identitaires.
A Anna et Antoine, à Giuliana, à Christine, à sa mère, à son frère, à ses proches et amis, au Caire, à Paris et ailleurs, aux membres du CEDEJ enfin, restent les meilleurs des souvenirs. Ceux qui l’ont connu le savent, les mots comptaient beaucoup pour lui, et il aurait sans doute ironiquement souri en entendant parler de son « œuvre ». Parlons plutôt d’un savoir précieux que ses collègues s’attacheront à transmettre et faire connaître, et d’une « posture » exigeante - c'était son mot favori - où le chercheur rejoignait la personne, où la prise de parti pour les plus faibles et l'indignation face à leur condition stimulaient la volonté de comprendre, sans jamais sacrifier au compassionnel, mais sans non plus verser dans le cynisme.
Au revoir, cher Alain, avec toi l'un des artisans d'une intelligence généreuse du monde arabe et musulman disparaît, en un moment où il en est plus que jamais besoin. Tes travaux et ton souvenir contribueront, sois en sûr, à maintenir, encourager et inspirer cette exigence d'intelligence. De cela aussi, merci, Alain !