Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Post Pesach Catching Up With Barry Rubin

If you fell behind on Barry Rubin's posts on the Middle East, now is a chance to catch up on them:

Suddenly, after years of persistent failure, Fatah and Hamas--which means the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas--have signed a detailed reconciliation agreement.

Why now? It's preparation for the UN and the claim that the PA is sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinians. In exchange for being able to claim it now rules both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fatah (PA) made huge concessions that it has always refused to give before.

Naturally, the accord will break down. Presumably after the PA gets a lot of support for being an independent country later this year and before projected Palestinian elections in 2012.

Why is Hamas going along with this?

Read the whole thing
Israel Matzav was among the very first to report on the Fatah/Hamas "reconciliation".
Read Elder of Ziyon on the Fatah/Hamas "fake agreement".

Why was Egyptian President Husni Mubarak so evil in the eyes of the Obama Administration while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to enjoy endless indulgence?

If you cannot explain this fact then the current government's policy cannot be justified in terms of U.S. interests. And if the media and most "experts" were not solidly soft on the incumbents that policy would be torn to shreds and help up to public ridicule.

Consider this simple comparison

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I have long thought that we are experiencing what might be called the Middle Easternization of the West but never fully understood it until a friend asked me a question.

Why is it, he asked, that when moderates in the Arab world are attacked they always react defensively and apologetically, trying to prove that they also hold safely radical views?

The key, I realized, was the existence of basic principles that were beyond question and could be manipulated to ensure conformity. There are four main commandments of this type, along with several secondary ones. They can be expressed in the following terms:

Read the whole thing.


As I predicted yesterday, the Syrian government has now started a full-scale violent crackdown against oppositionists beginning in the south, the most active area for protests. Dozens of people are being killed or wounded. Where are the Western governments and mass media who are ready to criticize Israel at the drop of a hat and are mainly stuck in the theme of, "Please, Mr. Dictator, be a reformer!"

This should go down in history alongside the indifference to the Warsaw uprising of 1944, the Hungarian revolt of 1956, and the indifference to Iran's repression in 2009 as a shameful Western failure. Ironically, this comes at the very moment of supposed obsession with protecting civilians and a confused war in Libya which--whether or not it is the right thing to do--is far less important in both humanitarian and national interest terms.

Read the whole thing


OK. I admit it. It’s hopeless. When prestigious newspapers can’t get the most basic points about the Middle East correct, when they make mistakes that I wouldn’t expect from an undergraduate taking an introductory course on the contemporary Middle East (by the end of the first semester, not on the opening day). 
Years ago, an acquaintance of mine wrote a novel whose plot involved brain surgery. His mother was bragging that he had become an expert on brain surgery.

I joked, “Yes, but you wouldn’t want him to operate on you!”

She quickly responded, “He could if he wanted to!”
And that is precisely the situation that exists in regard to understanding the Middle East today.

Read the whole thing


This interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserves close analysis for a reason that neither I nor anyone else noticed before. 
"QUESTION: But, I mean, how can [Libya] be worse than what has happened in Syria over the years, where Bashar Asad’s father killed 25,000 people at a lick? I mean, they open fire with live ammunition on these civilians. Why is that different from Libya? 
"QUESTION: This [Syria] is a friend of Iran, an enemy of Israel. 
"SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, if there were a coalition of the international community, if there were the passage of Security Council resolution, if there were a call by the Arab League, if there was a condemnation that was universal – but that is not going to happen, because I don't think that it’s yet clear what will occur, what will unfold." 
On one hand, what Clinton says is quite logical. It doesn't make sense for Western countries to send forces to Syria and start bombing. But that's not the issue. The issue is about supporting the Syrian opposition and really comprehending that Syria is an enemy of America whose regime deserves no quarter.

Yet what does Clinton begin with as the reasons for treating the two differently? Let's list them:

Read the whole thing.


Today Syria has entered its biggest internal crisis since 1970. The regime has come out to crush the insurrection. Either it will succeed by killing many people or the insurrection will build into a real potential revolution. 
And the Western states are doing...precisely zero. 
One Syrian expert friend responded: "Less than zero." 
Here's White House press secretary Jay Carney on Air Force 1, April 22:

Read the whole thing.
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1 comment:

Atlanta Roofing said...

There's every reason to believe that functional integration of HAMAS with P.A./Fatah will prove illusory. The internal power struggle hasn't been resolved by this and Fatah will realize in time they've lost influence among their constituents and the external community. It will certainly impede relations with the United States as HAMAS insidiously spreads its influence into the west bank...and they shall do exactly that. The Israeli political factions will be forced to the right as well.