Thursday, July 01, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Poli sci 101 by my 16 year old

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 07:51 PM PDT

My wife's trying to encourage our two older children to register to vote. So our 19 year old daughter sought out the advice of our 16 year old son, because in Maryland registering as a Republican means that you don't really have a vote in the primary.
Here's the lesson in a few simple text messages:

19 year old daughter:

Ima wants to know if i want to register as democrat or republican or independent. Im thinking dem bec then i can vote in preliminary.

(That should be primary.)

16 year old son:

One its primary,
two for presidant u can vote anyway and govenor,
3 all libs r evil money stealing theives and should b illeagel and unconstitutional,
4 one idiot is no diff the next and primary is pointless, and
5 ill disown u
republican all the way

Please change theives 2 communists

Because that israel lobby just distorts american policy so much

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 05:49 AM PDT

Yesterday's Washington Post features At White House, Obama and Saudi king discuss Guantanamo, Mideast peace process by Ann Kornblut. The article features a number of interesting paragraphs:

Broaching a sensitive subject, President Obama assured the visiting king of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday that he remains committed to closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a continuing source of friction between their governments. ... Fewer than 20 Saudis remain at Guantanamo Bay, but the prison is a symbol of George W. Bush-era detention policies and is unpopular in the Arab world. ... With the Middle East peace process at an impasse, officials did not report breaking any new ground ahead of a meeting next Tuesday between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Israeli moves over the last year and a half, including the building of settlements, have been a source of unhappiness for Saudi and other Arab leaders.

Why does it seem like an American newspaper is acting in the place of Saudi Arabia's public affairs office?

Why should it be important for Washington Post readers to know what's important to Saudi Arabia?

Americans have a negative view of Saudi Arabia (58% unfavorable; 35% favorable), so Kornblut is providing a valuable service to the monarchy.

She also quotes a former Washington Post Middle East bureau chief, Thomas Lippman, who she classifies as an expert on Saudi Arabia. He is more than that. He is an expert quoted extensively at the Saudi-US relations website, meaning that he's a Saudi approved expert on the kingdom, hardly someone who is disinterested. (An AIPAC expert would be described as working at the "pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC," Lippman gets a pass here.)

And then there's this:

A year after a reportedly rocky first meeting in Riyadh, Obama and King Abdullah held a brief, joint appearance before reporters in the Oval Office following lunch.

This has a quality of "Other than *that* Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" "[R]eportedly rocky?" In the run up to his famous Cairo speech to reach out to the Arab world, President Obama asked that the Arab world consider making a gesture to Israel. The response was, "no.":

On his Middle East tour, Mr. Obama is expected to press the Arab nations to offer a gesture to the Israelis to entice them to accelerate the peace process.

But in his meetings with the Saudi king, he should be prepared for a polite but firm refusal, Saudi officials and political experts say. The Arab countries, they say, believe they have already made their best offer and that it is now up to Israel to make a gesture, perhaps by dismantling settlements in the West Bank or committing to a two-state solution.

"What do you expect the Arabs to give without getting anything in advance, if Israel is still hesitating to accept the idea of two states in itself?" said Mohammad Abdullah al-Zulfa, a historian and member of the Saudi Shura Council, which serves as an advisory panel in place of a parliament.

While not dismissing the possibility of some movement on the peace process, the Saudis say the Arab world made substantial concessions in the Arab Peace Initiative, which was endorsed by a 22-nation coalition during an Arab League summit in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2002. That proposal offered full recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawing to its 1967 borders and agreeing to a "just settlement" to the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

The Saudis are concerned about the potential threat to the coalition should one nation make further concessions on its own. That, they say, could provide the less committed countries a rationale for abandoning the peace initiative, according to officials and regional analysts.

"Rocky" then means that the Saudi king rebuffed the President's ambitious initiative. Maybe "disastrous" would have been a better modifier.

Finally, left out of the article was King Abdullah's warm up act:

The Saudi monarch, who met Tuesday Barack Obama in the White House, did not mince his words the recent trip by the French Minister of Defense Hervé Morin to Jeddah. "There are two countries in the world who do not deserve to exist: Iran and Israel," said King Abdullah, on June 5.

This diatribe against the two designated enemies of Arabia has been confirmed by two French sources, diplomatic and military, in Paris. It is unclear what the reaction of the Minister of Defence was, - he was surrounded by a handful of diplomats and high-ranking officers in the audience with the king, culminating a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.

In the early 1980's investigative reporter Steven Emerson was looking into undue influence of foreign governments on American policy. The resulting book, The American House of Saud documented how Saudi wealth bought connections and influence in Washington. Unfortunately that influence is on display not just in the corporate and diplomatic spheres, but in academia and pretty clearly in journalism too.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Submitted 07/01/10

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 05:34 AM PDT

This week's Watcher's council submissions are up!

Council Submissions

Non Council Submissions

Read. Enjoy. Be informed.

Perry scopes out latest anti-israel meme

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 03:53 AM PDT

Mark Perry following up on his "scoop" of a few months ago that Gen. Petraeus considered Israeli positions to be endangering American troops. It didn't really make a difference that Petraeus contradicted the essential elements of Perry's report, the essence of the report got repeated in a lot of subsequent reporting.

Yesterday, writing at Foreign Policy, Perry revealed the existence of a "Red Team" report that advocated talking with Hamas and Hezbollah.

While it is anathema to broach the subject of engaging militant groups like Hizballah* and Hamas in official Washington circles (to say nothing of Israel), that is exactly what a team of senior intelligence officers at U.S. Central Command -- CENTCOM -- has been doing. In a "Red Team" report issued on May 7 and entitled "Managing Hizballah and Hamas," senior CENTCOM intelligence officers question the current U.S. policy of isolating and marginalizing the two movements. Instead, the Red Team recommends a mix of strategies that would integrate the two organizations into their respective political mainstreams. While a Red Team exercise is deliberately designed to provide senior commanders with briefings and assumptions that challenge accepted strategies, the report is at once provocative, controversial -- and at odds with current U.S. policy.

Note that the "Red Team" report is supposed to be an exercise challenging current assumptions. While Perry calls it "provocative," nowhere does he call it "authorotative" or "rigorous." Perry does conclude with this:

According to a senior CENTCOM officer, while the CENTCOM Red Team report has been read by outgoing CENTCOM chief Gen. David Petraeus, it's unknown whether its recommendations have been passed on to the White House. Even so, there's little question the report reflects the thinking among a significant number of senior officers at CENTCOM headquarters -- and among senior CENTCOM intelligence officers and analysts serving in the Middle East. And while any "Red Team" report by definition reflects a view that is contrary to accepted policy, a CENTCOM senior officer told me that -- so far as he knows -- there is, in fact, no parallel "Blue Team" report contradicting the Red Team's conclusion. "Well, that's not exactly right," this senior officer added. "The Blue Team is the Obama administration."

When he uses terms like "significant number" he might mean 10 out of 100 or he could mean 90 out of 100. Even the lack of a "blue team" report doesn't necessarily signify anything. Except what Perry wants it to signify.

It looks like there are two possibilities here:

  • Members of the Red Team frustrated that their report wasn't accepted at a higher level so they went to a credulous reporter who would broadcast their views in the hope of building support for it.

  • Members of the administration are looking for an excuse to start talking to Hamas and/or Hezbollah and publicized the report for building political support for ths approach. This would be consistent with recent boasts that Hamas has been meeting with administration officials.

Carl has an extensive analysis of the report.

Though not addressing this report directly Barry Rubin reminds us:

There were some new features, including the cigarette lighter made in China and sold on the West Bank that shows the World Trade Center on fire when clicked. There is massive documentation on the involvement of Hamas and Hizballah in terrorism, antisemitism, anti-American views, and would-be genocide. One can see videos of kids in the Hamas schools carrying out military exercises. Watch this and then ask whether Hamas is intending to produce a generation of moderates.

Revolutionary Islamism and terrorism, hatred for the United States and the desire to wipe out Israel (and Jews generally) are not some minor side issues for these groups but are absolutely central to their existence. It is amazing to think of these naïve people who think they are going to talk revolutionary Islamists into being moderates, or buy them off with money (there's that idea of prosperity solving all problems again) or concessions.

Two final points, whatever the source of pressure to get the United States and Israel to deal with Hamas, it reminds me of two things.

Prior to the Oslo talks there was much discussion about whether or not Israel should recognize and talk to the PLO. Take, for example, this report from 1990.

Officials of American Jewish organizations, although highly distrustful of the Palestine Liberation Organization, say that Israel should talk to the P.L.O., a national survey has found.

In a group of 780 officials in major Jewish community, religious and philanthropic agencies who responded to a questionnaire, 74 percent approved of private discussions between Israeli officials and those P.L.O. officials who are considered ''moderates.''

By now we know that Arafat never changed and recognizing the PLO brought Israel more terror rather than less. But the campaign to convince the world that Israel was unreasonable for refusing to talk to its enemy was successful.

Then there was the 2007 NIE which reported that Iran was not seeking to create nuclear weapons. David Ignatius, for one, assured us that those disinterested folks (as opposed to the Bush administration) thought outside the box and came to sensible conclusions. Actually Ignatius and out-of-the-box-thinkers were both wrong.

Whoever wanted to legitimize Hamas and Hezbollah found an easy mark in Perry, but what they're selling hasn't worked in the past. There's no reason to believe it will work now. I'd also point out that as yet no major newspaper has picked up this story. It's reasonable to question how significant the "Red Team" report.

IRIB: "Ahmadinejad orders ban on Israeli goods"

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 10:26 PM PDT

Ynet reports:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed Wednesday a new amendment to a law in the Islamic Republic that forbids the airing of advertisements for "Zionist companies." The blacklist of prohibited companies is comprised mainly of international companies, mainly American, owned by Jews or that operate branches in Israel.
EOZ comments:
I cannot find any verification of the "Jewish-owned" part of this; Iran's PressTV merely says that the boycott was of Israeli companies.
I was curious about the same point, so the graphic accompanying this IRIB story seems interesting. These are all Israeli companies?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the implementation of a bill demanding major efforts to enforce a total boycott on goods with Israeli origin.

According to the website of the Iranian government, President Ahmadinejad ordered the implementation of the pro-Palestinian bill, which was ratified by the Iranian Parliament earlier in June.

Iranian lawmakers agreed to task a committee with identifying Israeli companies and institutions to step up efforts for imposing a ban on Israeli products.

Under the Majlis bill, the Iranian Foreign Ministry is required to put forward a proposal for the boycott of Israeli commodities at international meetings including the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement.

The ministry should also present annual reports on the activities of the committee to the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

The bill also demands the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting not to air television and radio advertisement for Israeli products. [...]

It's hard to imagine IRIB with ads for Israeli products. We will return to our program calling for Israel's destruction after this word from Elite Coffee ....

Crossposted on Judeopundit

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