Cracks in the Edifice

by lizard

You know the house of cards is about to collapse when it takes Henry Kissinger to acknowledge what us lowly bloggers have been writing about for months and months.

Steve W. gets the h/t for bringing my attention to a Salon piece by Patrick Smith titled New York Times propagandists exposed: Finally, the truth about Ukraine and Putin emerges. While I agree with the author that gloating is unseemly, the amount of crap heaped on those of us who have pointed to the evidence of what is now being officially acknowledged makes a brief indulgence understandable.

Those who bought in to the demonize Putin campaign were duped.

The MSM acknowledgment that NATO provoked the Ukraine crisis is twofold: Henry Kissinger, interviewed by Der Spiegel; Katrina vanden Huevel, an op-ed at the Washington Post.

If you want to hear their take, go to the link. I’ve already covered it here.

I will quote the part where Smith acknowledges the critical importance of those few who persevered in reporting what was actually happening in Ukraine:

I can anticipate with ease a thoughtful reader or two writing in the comment thread, “But we knew all this already. What’s the point?” We have known all this since the beginning, indeed, thanks to perspicacious writers such as Robert Parry and Steve Weissman. Parry, like your columnist, is a refugee from the mainstream who could take no more; Weissman, whose credentials go back to the Free Speech Movement, seems fed up with the whole nine and exiled himself to France.

Something I have wanted to say for months is now right: Thank you, colleagues. Keep on keeping on.

Also to be noted in this vein is Stephen Cohen, the distinguished Princeton Russianist, whose essay in the Nation last February gave superb and still useful perspective, a must-read if you propose to take Ukraine seriously and get beyond the propaganda. (Vanden Heuvel rightly noted him, too, wrongly omitting that she and Cohen are spouses. A report to the Ethics Police has been filed anonymously.)

These people’s reporting and analyses require no imprimatur from the mainstream press. Who could care? This is not the point. The points as I read them are two.

One, there is no shred of doubt in my mind that the work of the above-mentioned and a few others like them has been instrumental in forcing the truth of the Ukraine crisis to the surface. Miss this not. In a polity wherein the policy cliques have zero accountability to any constituency — unbelievable simply to type that phrase — getting accurate accounts and responsibly explanatory copy out — and then reading it, equally — is essential. Future historians will join me in expressing gratitude.

Two, we have indirect admissions of failure. It is highly significant that Foreign Affairs and the Washington Post, both bastions of the orthodoxy, are now willing to publish what amount to capitulations. It would be naive to think this does not reflect a turning of opinion among prominent members of the policy cliques.

I had thought for months as the crisis dragged on, this degree of disinformation cannot possibly hold. From the Nuland tape onward, too much of the underwear was visible as the trousers fell down, so to say. And now we have State and the media clerks with their pants bunched up at their ankles.

The lingering effect of the propaganda probably won’t dissipate anytime soon, but this shift is significant, for the reasons stated above. Interesting how some anonymous Montana blogger can credibly claim that a small virtual audience got more accurate information here than at the New York Times.

What’s next, accurately reporting the real dynamics of the petrol price war and pipeline politics?

November 30th marked the 15th anniversary of the direct actions that shutdown the WTO meetings in Seattle. It’s encouraging to see direct action once again blooming on multiple fronts. Last night it was the shutdown of city streets and highways over another non-indictment of a dead black man. Before that black Friday protests at Walmarts. Dreamers have brought effective pressure for immigration reform and port workers have stopped Israeli cargo at the docks.

To repeat a phrase from the quotation, the disinformation cannot possibly hold.

And it’s not.


  1. larry kurtz

    https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/dec/04/pentagon-finally-details-its-weapons-cops-giveaway/

    • lizard19

      larry, if you’re auditioning for Swede status with unrelated links, you can stop, because you got it.

    • Yeah Larry, this post is about Ukraine, The WTO, Black Friday at Walmart, dead black men, Dreamers and Israel.

      Stay on topic.

      • lizard19

        you can read!!!

        • Most of those were in the last paragraph.

        • Swede, it’s my impression that you take pride in not reading posts and in being disruptive. Is that your way of bringing your right-minded ideas to us? I am trying to imagine there is a method behind your scattering links over the landscape as you do.

          • Keep imagining. One day you’ll get it.

          • My god, some kind of fricking genius!

            • Shucks Mark you’re embarrassing me.

              Oh, and you don’t have a God.

            • I fail to see the relevance of religious beliefs in political debates, given that religion by definition requires belief in things that cannot be proven. But an authoritarian would indeed insist that all around him believe as he does.

              Your general manner of debate is to seek out evidence in support of a belief or theory, and ignore all evidence that contradicts or does not support your belief or theory. Your evidence seeking is done primarily by use of search engines.

              You then present it to us as fait accompli, as in “here is an expert on the subject, and I am quoting him, so I am therefore right.” You don’t seem to understand that in matters of public policy and foreign affairs, it is rare to be able to grasp all of the necessary evidence to form a comprehensive world view.. i.e. … reading …so that a reference to this or that person as an authoritative source means very little without a comprehensive analysis of your own beliefs. Further, you don’t seem too know that virtually all “experts” engage in special pleading, and so need to be counterbalanced with others of opposing views, whom you avoid.

              I’ve never seen you expound on your internal beliefs or world view beyond a bumper sticker or two, free markets, hatred of minorities … so I just don’t think you’ve got much to offer us. Ergo, people get annoyed with you, as you are not self aware.

              You also don’t seem to grasp nuance, as when someone uses the word “genius” in a debate with you, it is “satirical” and “mocking.”

              I don’t know Swede. Do you think I get it?

              • Can you give the Reader’s Digest version?

              • Yep: Yer a stupid ass.

              • larry kurtz

                right, mark. pot: meet crack.

              • Yep. I deliberately wrote more than I knew Swede could read there just to make a point – he cannot process information. He can only deal in short snippets and video links, and is functionally illiterate. You’re not far behind Kurtz, even though you tell me that you read twelve hours every day.

              • larry kurtz

                hey mark: go take a flying mount at a rolling fried pastry.

              • In the end, you always do a storm-out leaving a childish insult behind.

  2. Steve W

    The Saker has a great read on the South Flow Gas Pipeline Project being cancelled by Russia, and what they are doing instead. Russia just signed a major deal with Turkey (Our NATO Allie, to supply natural gas for years to come. They will be using both Russian rubles and Turkish Lira as their exchange medium They also signed a major deal with China and are on the verge of signing a major energy deal with India.

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-importance-of-cancellation-of-south.html

    And Russia has been buying up tons and tons of gold and stashing it for a rainy day.
    . http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-13/putin-prepares-economic-war-buys-stunning-55-tonnes-gold-q3

  3. The U.S. press has certainly been pushing to demonize Putin with little understanding of the dynamics of the situation.

    Our government has been urged to expand NATO to surround Russia, and this would be a horrible mistake. Stephen F. Cohen (who left Princeton for NYU in 1998) has been articulate in warning the public about this ignorant provacation for years and I’ve seen him on a number of TV networks, both broadcast and cable, for instance Free Speech TV and Link TV, which both carry Democracy Now.

    I think I’ve seen him also on PBS News Hour, MSNBC and/or C-Span.

    No one seems to have bothered to make the comparison, but you could imagine the shit fit that would ensue if North Korea and Mexico entered into a mutual defense agreement, for instance.

    Interestingly, to me, anyway, is that earlier this year Sarah Palin responded to the increasing tension in the Ukraine by stating that she had warned the public about the situation in October 2008, weeks after being chosen by a desperate McCain. What she (or no one else) didn’t say was that she was urged to do so my McCain’s foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, a Likudist whom she kept on the payroll for a couple of years after her loss. Randy was one of the players in the Project for a New American Century, and had Georgia as a client, with NATO expansion high on his wish list. No one like him should ever be given any credence.

    Margaret Warner, who may be the best correspondent on PBS, interviews Peter Pomerantz, a British producer on Russian TV on his new book. This is worth watching, especially from about 3:30 minutes into the clip , when Pomerantz is talking, first about the problems in the Ukraine being presented in Russia as a “war with America” (which is accurate, I think), while America doesn’t see it this way at all. He goes on further about their state controlled TV programming making the Russian viewers “incapable of political analysis,” until Warner finally says, at 6 minutes, “This isn’t just a problem for Russians.” “This has much broader international implications.”

    http://www.thirteen.org/programs/pbs-newshour/how-the-kremlin-uses-tv-to-shape-russian-political-reality/

    She’s dead right, but I’m not sure that’s what she really meant to say. Corporate controlled U.S. T.V. has precisely the same problems, feeding us bullshit, distracting us from reality. I was in Britain 33 years ago when their government was doing the same thing with its marginal portrayal of the Irish “Troubles.” Oddly enough, while I was on the same trip, the BBC had great stuff on the homicidal insanity of U.S. policy in El Salvador, which could never have been shown here, and in Sweden, that country’s TV did justice to the situation in Northern Ireland by showing a French documentary on the subject.

    • steve kelly

      Margaret Warner? Pulleeze

    • If you get right down to it, US media has not changed in the post-war era, almost as if Mockingbird, the CIA media infiltration program exposed by the Church Committee and written about by Carl Bernstein, was immediately effective. So when we do see breakout reporting in mainstrem outlets that is critical of US policy mistakes, it means that there has been a fracture among elite factions.

      That does not necessarily mean that a positive change of course will follow. Defeat in Syria merely caused the spawning of ISIS. Defeat in Ukraine might lead to a simmering of war tensions, but might also merely bring about an attack on Russia from another front.

  4. Duane

    Interesting

    December 01, 2014

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    245

    Ukraine War Driven by Gas-Dollar Link

    Defending Dollar Imperialism

    by MIKE WHITNEY

    “The Fed’s ‘need’ to take on an even more active role as foreigners further slow the purchases of our paper is to put the pedal to the metal on the currency debasement race now being run in the developed world — a race which is speeding us all toward the end of the present currency regime.”

    – Stephanie Pomboy, MacroMavens

    “No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on. NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas. Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale.”

    – Russian President Vladimir Putin

    If there was a way the United States could achieve its long-term strategic objectives and, at the same time, avoid a war with Russia, it would do so. Unfortunately, that is not an option, which is why there’s going to be a clash between the two nuclear-armed adversaries sometime in the near future.

    Let me explain: The Obama administration is trying to rebalance US policy in a way that shifts the focus of attention from the Middle East to Asia, which is expected to be the fastest growing region in the coming century. This policy-change is called the “pivot” to Asia. In order to benefit from Asia’s surge of growth, the US plans to beef up its presence on the continent, expand its military bases, strengthen bilateral alliances and trade agreements, and assume the role of regional security kingpin. The not-so-secret purpose of the policy is China “containment”, that is, Washington wants to preserve its position as the world’s only superpower by controlling China’s explosive growth. (The US wants a weak, divided China that will do what it’s told.)

    In order to achieve its goals in Asia, the US needs to push NATO further eastward, tighten its encirclement of Russia, and control the flow of oil and gas from east to west. These are the necessary preconditions for establishing US hegemonic rule over the continent. And this is why the Obama administration is so invested in Kiev’s blundering junta-government; it’s because Washington needs Poroshenko’s neo Nazi shock troops to draw Russia into a conflagration in Ukraine that will drain its resources, discredit Putin in the eyes of his EU trading partners, and create the pretext for deploying NATO to Russia’s western border.

    The idea that Obama’s proxy army in Ukraine is defending the country’s sovereignty is pure bunkum. What’s going on below the surface is the US is trying to stave off irreversible economic decline and an ever-shrinking share of global GDP through military force. What we’re seeing in Ukraine today, is a 21st century version of the Great Game implemented by political fantasists and Koolaid drinkers who think they can turn the clock back to the post WW2 heyday of the US Empire when the world was America’s oyster. Thankfully, that period is over.

    Keep in mind, the glorious US military has spent the last 13 years fighting sheep herders in flip-flops in Afghanistan in a conflict that, at best, could be characterized as a stalemate. And now the White House wants to take on Russia?

    Can you appreciate the insanity of the policy?

    This is why Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was sacked last week, because he wasn’t sufficiently eager to pursue this madcap policy of escalating the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. Everyone knows it’s true, the administration hasn’t even tried to deny it. They’d rather stick with foam-at-the-mouth buffoons, like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers, then a decorated veteran who has more credibility and intelligence in his little finger than Obama’s whole National Security team put together.

    So now Obama is completely surrounded by rabid warmongering imbeciles, all of whom ascribe to the same fairytale that the US is going to dust-off Russia, remove Assad, redraw the map of the Middle East, control the flow of gas and oil from the ME to markets in the EU, and establish myriad beachheads across Asia where they can keep a tight grip on China’s growth.

    Tell me, dear reader, doesn’t that strike you as a bit improbable?

    But, of course, the Obama claque think it’s all within their grasp, because, well, because that’s what they’ve been told to think, and because that’s what the US has to do if it wants to maintain its exalted position as the world’s lone superpower when its economic significance in the world is steadily declining. You see, here’s the thing: The exceptional nation is becoming more unexceptional all the time, and that’s what has the political class worried, because they see the handwriting on the wall, and the writing says, “Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy, cuz you ain’t gonna be numero uno much longer.”

    And the US has allies in this wacky crusade too, notably Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been particularly helpful lately by flooding the market with oil to push down prices and crush the Russian economy. (On Friday, Benchmark crude oil prices plummeted to a four-year low, with Brent crude sinking to $69.11 a barrel.) The Obama administration is using the classic one-two punch of economic sanctions and plunging oil revenues to bully Moscow into withdrawing from Crimea so Washington can move its nuclear arsenal to within spitting distance of Moscow. Here’s a bit of background from the Guardian:

    “Think about how the Obama administration sees the state of the world. It wants Tehran to come to heel over its nuclear programme. It wants Vladimir Putin to back off in eastern Ukraine. But after recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House has no desire to put American boots on the ground. Instead, with the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with.

    John Kerry, the US secretary of state, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.” (Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia, Larry Eliot, Guardian)

    And here’s more from Salon’s Patrick L. Smith at Salon:

    “Less than a week after the Minsk Protocol was signed, Kerry made a little-noted trip to Jeddah to see King Abdullah at his summer residence. When it was reported at all, this was put across as part of Kerry’s campaign to secure Arab support in the fight against the Islamic State.

    Stop right there. That is not all there was to the visit, my trustworthy sources tell me. The other half of the visit had to do with Washington’s unabated desire to ruin the Russian economy. To do this, Kerry told the Saudis 1) to raise production and 2) to cut its crude price. Keep in mind these pertinent numbers: The Saudis produce a barrel of oil for less than $30 as break-even in the national budget; the Russians need $105.

    Shortly after Kerry’s visit, the Saudis began increasing production, sure enough — by more than 100,000 barrels daily during the rest of September, more apparently to come…

    Think about this. Winter is coming, there are serious production outages now in Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela and Libya, other OPEC members are screaming for relief, and the Saudis make back-to-back moves certain to push falling prices still lower? You do the math, with Kerry’s unreported itinerary in mind, and to help you along I offer this from an extremely well-positioned source in the commodities markets: “There are very big hands pushing oil into global supply now,” this source wrote in an e-mail note the other day.” (What Really Happened in Beijing: Putin, Obama, Xi And The Back Story The Media Won’t Tell You, Patrick L. Smith, Salon)

    The Obama team managed to persuade our good buddies the Saudis to flood the market with oil, drive down prices, and put the Russian economy into a nosedive. At the same time, the US has intensified its economic sanctions, done everything in its power to sabotage Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline (that would bypass Ukraine and deliver natural gas to Europe via a southern route), and cajole the Ukrainian parliament into auctioning off 49 percent of the leasing rights and underground storage facilities to privately-owned foreign corporations.

    How do you like that? So the US has launched a full-blown economic war against Russia that’s been completely omitted in the western media. Are you surprised?

    Washington is determined to block further Russo-EU economic integration in order to collapse the Russian economy and put foreign capital in control of regional energy distribution. It’s all about the pivot. The big money guys figure the US has to pivot to Asia to be a player in the next century. All of these unprovoked attacks on Moscow are based on that one lunatic strategy.

    But aren’t people in the EU going to be angry when they can’t get the energy they need (at the prices they want) to run their businesses and heat their homes?

    Washington doesn’t think so. Washington thinks its allies in the Middle East can meet the EU’s energy needs without any difficulty. Check out this clip from an article by analyst F. William Engdahl:

    “…details are emerging of a new secret and quite stupid Saudi-US deal on Syria and the so-called IS. It involves oil and gas control of the entire region and the weakening of Russia and Iran by Saudi Arabian flooding the world market with cheap oil. ….

    On September 11, US Secretary of State Kerry met Saudi King Abdullah at his palace on the Red Sea. The King invited former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar to attend. There a deal was hammered out which saw Saudi support for the Syrian airstrikes against ISIS on condition Washington backed the Saudis in toppling Assad, a firm ally of Russia and de facto of Iran and an obstacle to Saudi and UAE plans to control the emerging EU natural gas market and destroy Russia’s lucrative EU trade. A report in the Wall Street Journal noted there had been “months of behind-the-scenes work by the US and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when.

    The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh US commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority.”
    (The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria, F. William Engdahl, BFP)

    So the wars in Ukraine and Syria are not really separate conflicts at all. They’re both part of the same global resource war the US has been prosecuting for the last decade and a half. The US plans to cut off the flow of Russian gas and replace it with gas from Qatar which will flow through Syria and onto the EU market after Assad is toppled.

    Here’s what’s going on: Syria’s troubles began shortly after it announced that it was going to be part of an “Islamic pipeline” that would transfer natural gas from the South Pars gas field off the coast of Iran across Iraq and Syria, eventually connecting to Greece and the lucrative EU market. According to author Dmitri Minin:

    “A gas pipeline from Iran would be highly profitable for Syria. Europe would gain from it as well, but clearly someone in the West didn’t like it. The West’s gas-supplying allies in the Persian Gulf weren’t happy with it either, nor was would-be no. 1 gas transporter Turkey, as it would then be out of the game.” (The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis: Syrian “Opposition” Armed to Thwart Construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria Gas Pipeline, Dmitri Minin, Global Research)

    Two months after Assad signed the deal with Iraq and Iran, the rebellion broke out in Syria. That’s quite a coincidence, don’t you think? Funny how frequently those kinds of things happen when foreign leaders don’t march to Washington’s tune.

    Here’s more from Minin:

    “Qatar is doing all it can to thwart the construction of the pipeline, including arming the opposition fighters in Syria, many of whom come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya…

    The Arabic newspaper Al-Akhbar cites information according to which there is a plan approved by the U.S. government to create a new pipeline for transporting gas from Qatar to Europe involving Turkey and Israel…

    This new pipeline is to begin in Qatar, cross Saudi territory and then the territory of Jordan, thus bypassing Shiite Iraq, and reach Syria. Near Homs the pipeline is to branch in three directions: to Latakia, Tripoli in northern Lebanon, and Turkey. Homs, where there are also hydrocarbon reserves, is the project’s main crossroads, and it is not surprising… that the fiercest fighting is taking place. Here the fate of Syria is being decided. The parts of Syrian territory where detachments of rebels are operating with the support of the U.S., Qatar and Turkey, that is, the north, Homs and the environs of Damascus, coincide with the route that the pipeline is to follow to Turkey and Tripoli, Lebanon. A comparison of a map of armed hostilities and a map of the Qatar pipeline route indicates a link between armed activities and the desire to control these Syrian territories. Qatar’s allies are trying to accomplish three goals: to break Russia’s gas monopoly in Europe; to free Turkey from its dependence on Iranian gas; and to give Israel the chance to export its gas to Europe by land at less cost.”

    How do you like that; another coincidence: “The fiercest fighting (in Syria) is taking place” where there’s massive “hydrocarbon reserves” and along the planned pipeline route.

    So the conflict in Syria isn’t really about terrorism at all. It’s about natural gas, competing pipelines and access to markets in the EU. It’s about money and power. The whole ISIS-thing is a big hoax to conceal what’s really going on, which is a global war for resources, more blood for oil.

    But how does the US benefit from all of this, after all, won’t the gas revenues go to Qatar and the transit countries rather than the US?

    Yep, they sure will. But the gas will also be denominated in dollars which will shore up demand for USDs thus perpetuating the petrodollar recycling system which creates a vast market for US debt and which helps to keep US stocks and bonds in the nosebleed section. And that’s what this is all about, preserving dollar supremacy by forcing nations to hold excessive amounts of USDs to use in their energy transactions and to service their dollar-denominated debts.

    As long as Washington can control the world’s energy supplies and force the world to trade in dollars, it can spend well in excess of what it produces and not be held to account. It’s like having a credit card you never have to pay off.

    That’s a racket Uncle Sam is prepared to defend with everything he’s got, even nukes.

    MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

  5. “Two months after Assad signed the deal with Iraq and Iran, the rebellion broke out in Syria. That’s quite a coincidence, don’t you think? Funny how frequently those kinds of things happen when foreign leaders don’t march to Washington’s tune.”

    “Correlation does not imply causation.”

    • Repeated correlations might indicate need for raised eyebrows.

  6. From Bloomberg, today:

    “Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi resisted calls from OPEC members including Venezuela to cut output at a Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna. The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, has maintained an official target of 30 million barrels a day since January 2012.

    OPEC’s 12 members pumped 30.56 million barrels a day in November, exceeding their collective quota for a sixth straight month, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil companies, producers and analysts.

    U.S. oil production expanded to 9.08 million barrels a day through Nov. 28, the fastest rate in weekly records that started in January 1983, the Energy Information Administration reported this week. An estimated 80 percent of shale output next year will still be profitable at $50 to $70 a barrel, Yergin said.

    WTI may fall next week, a separate Bloomberg survey showed. Nineteen of 36 analysts and traders, or 53 percent, predict futures will decrease through Dec. 12, while six forecast a price gain.”

    So, OPEC’s production is about 1 1/2% over its quota. Well, that’s one hell of a difference, isn’t it? It has to be a conspiracy.

    • Steve W

      EV did you check the link I posted to Saker about Russia canceling the South Flow Gas Pipeline? Its got a ton of very interesting gas and oil information. Russia just signed a major gas contract with Turkey. and much more. You might want to read it if you haven’t. Barely reported here (WSJ and Forbes had weak pieces) No major networks no minor networks.

      • evdebs

        My curiosity aroused, I actually read a good deal on that pipeline a few days ago.

        It looked like the U.S. and its Western European allies were probably interfering with the Russians attempts to skirt the Ukraine with a seabed pipeline that routed gas through Bulgaria. In the light of those obstacles, the Russians very recently contracted to substantially increase the amount of gas they were transporting to Turkey by another undersea pipeline which would then travel through Greece. They were hooked up with an Italian corporation, ENI,in partnership, and other Europeans were getting nervous about it all.

        They were offering the Turks a 6% discount on future gas shipments.

        The Turks are in an uncertain position. They want to be the conduit to Europe for gas from the Near East, but the sectarian turmoil has everything in an uproar. Erdogan seems to be getting along with the Russians. His policy vis-a-vis the Syrian rebels is complicated by the long standing PKK efforts to create a greater Kurdistan by breaking away and joining with Iraqi and Syrian Kurds. Another interesting aspect is Iran, which is beginning to provide air support to northern Iraqi Kurds who are mostly Shia, and who are fighting ISIL.

        The Kurds in northern Iraq are mostly Sunni. Al Maliki hugely alienated them for both religious and ethnic reasons, though they had gained some autonomy under Clinton’s no-fly zone.

        Further complicating things is a large minority of Turkmens, who occupy some of the oil producing regions. There has been considerable friction between them and the Kurds.

        The Saudis are supplying the various rebels in Syria, in particular Al Nusra, but probably ISIL as well. They view Assad, who is Alawite, as an Iranian surrogate. They have problems at home not only, with Shia (as do their neighbors) but also with domestic Sunni who want autonomy from the royal family and sheikhs.

        It’s been interesting that the destabilization has largely been generated by Bush’s ouster of Saddam, who managed to keep a relatively stable secular state, most of the time, but the Republicans are blaming all the problems on Obama. That’s easy to do, because Americans generally have no sense of history going back more than a few years and even that’s pretty vague.

        Sarah “Africa is a country” Palin almost got elected by those nitwits.

        • Steve W

          That’s not the story i read.

          • You mean like this part?

            “Before finishing I would however first say something about those who have come out worst of all from this affair. These are the corrupt and incompetent political pygmies who pretend to be the government of Bulgaria. Had these people had a modicum of dignity and self respect they would have told the EU Commission when it brought up the Third Energy Package to take a running jump. If Bulgaria had made clear its intention to press ahead with the South Stream project, there is no doubt it would have been built. There would of course have been an almighty row within the EU as Bulgaria openly flouted the Third Energy Package, but Bulgaria would have been acting in its national interests and would have had within the EU no shortage of friends. In the end it would have won through.

            Instead, under pressure from individuals like Senator John McCain, the Bulgarian leadership behaved like the provincial politicians they are, and tried to run at the same time with both the EU hare and the Russian hounds. The result of this imbecile policy is to offend Russia, Bulgaria’s historic ally, whilst ensuring that the Russian gas which might have flown to Bulgaria and transformed the country, will instead flow to Turkey, Bulgaria’s historic enemy.”

            • Steve W

              Yes, as a matter of fact.

  7. The format here doesn’t allow for author’s corrections.

    Obviously (I hope) there were a couple of typos in my response.

    “…urged to do so by McCain’s…”

    and “…ignorant provocation…”

    • steve kelly

      Maybe this will help put some of the pieces together.

      http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/1996_07_IASPS_Clean_Break.pdf

  8. WTF?




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