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Nasreddin Hodja
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No use to try - meddling causes only trouble. The best policy is to leave them alone, with the understanding that they leave alone the territories controlled by the state. By the way traditional, quasi extraterritorial entities can pretty well govern themselves. An example is the five fortified medieval villages in the M'Zab valley. Not too long time ago you had to deposit your passport at the Algerian gendarmery at the village gate if you intended to spend a few days at a friend's house within the walls. Talking about time travel, inside the village, you felt you were in the 11th century.. and people seemed quite happy with that. (PL: sorry for eventual multiple posting)
Is the breaking up of Iraq and of Syria a possible outcome? If so, would the sunni tribes of Iraq join forces with their kins in Syria? Will a version of Colonel Peters‘ map become reality? Would Israel feel free to expel large amounts of Palestinians and simultaneously make border corrections at the expense of Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt in case of a major war in the region? How about a scenario like this: Syria collapses. The war spills over into Iraq. The Kurds of Syria announce their merger with Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq violently breaks up into three parts. Turkish troops march into Kurdistan and Syria. Israel attacks Hizbullah positions in Lebanon and bombs Iran‘s nuclear facilities. Iran strikes back at Israel. Major casualities give Israel a pretext to use tactical nukes to take out Iran‘s nuklear sites. The international financial system collapses. In the ensuing chaos and protracted war, Israel annexes territories in Lebanon, the Sinai and Jordan, and expels hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
WRC - the EU dragging down the US into the abyss of a cafe lifestyle society? - Germany Uber Alles still behind all problems? - Europe still suicidal and genocidal? With all due respect, let us hope this is not the understanding of history that governs the actions of higher echelon US policymakers. In any case, discounting Europe is premature; it's economy is larger than that of the USA, and Russia joining Europe (the Heartland, the nightmare of US geostrategic thinkers) is always in the cards.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2013 on Martin Bashir and O'Hanlon at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Walrus "the meddling in Serbia that started the First World War" - it was actually Serbia that meddled in Austria-Hungary. With the support of Russia, the Serbian secret service operated Black Hand (Crna Ruka), an underground terrorist organisation that committed diversion and acts of terror in the South of Austria-Hungary. Their aim was to "liberate" their Slavonic brothers from the "prison of nations", i.e. Austria Hungary, a kind of a precursor to the European Union. Austria-Hungary's attack on Serbia in 1914 was their version of the USA's War on Terror. Their 9/11 was the assasination of the Archeduc in Sarajevo by a terrorist handled by the Serbian secret service.The Serbians agreed to comply with all points of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum - with the exception of one: they did not want to permit Austrian police to conduct investigations on Serbian territory. (As far as I know the Taliban also agreed to extradite OBL, with one condition: that they receive evidence about his partication in 9/11.) Austria-Hungary had more reason to attack Serbia than did the USA to attack Iraq: the iraqi secret service did not support AQ, and Iraq did not threaten the integrity of the USA with the support of a powerful ally, say China. The Southern Slavonic project - Yugoslavia - proved to be a fiasco.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2013 on Martin Bashir and O'Hanlon at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Maybe it has to do with the ideas of Ze'ev Jabotinsky about Greater Israel. Benzion Netanyahu, the father of the current PM, was his personal secretary. Bibi Netanyahu reportedly exalts his father and his boss Jabotinsky. The lyrics of the marching song of the Betar, "The East Side of the Jordan" was written by Jabotinsky. With important water reserves, and with territories to accommodate millions of immigrants from the galut, if the need arises, the territory of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an essential part of Greater Israel. The song:
@ Babak Makkinejad (Sorry Turcopolier, this will be slightly off) Algeria is not French because: 1. De Gaulle - very wisely - decided to leave it alone. (Maybe he could have kept a couple of French enclaves around Algiers, Oran, and Bône.) With hindsight, it was a wise decision: the French have enough problems today with the integration of a few million Algerian immigrants in France - just imagine the problems they would have had they kept the three Départments plus the rest. In 1962 Algeria had a population of 11 million people, today it has 36 million. French Algeria would be a fiction, Algerian France a reality.. 2. The 60's were a time of a leftist surge in Europe. A long colonial war was hardly sustainable - the majority of the French were against it. (Today they would gladly let go Martinique, Guadeloupe and all the rest as well! But these territories stick to France, for good reasons I guess.) 3. The United States by and large supported the decolonization movement - idealists say to support freedom, cynics say to get rid of its rivals. In any case, it had to take over the burden of policing the world. This is a continuing story. As for the Algerian insurgency, the FLN, and Islam, it was a complicated story. The oulemas wanted only cultural liberation, but not a secession. The FLN was led mostly by secular nationalists. Their Islam was of a quite moderate blend. And a large portion of the Muslim population was pro-France. In a sense, the movement of emancipation was hijacked by a radical minority.
By the way, belated thanks for your inquiry.. Hey, you know the story with the vizier and his secretary in Damascus? Of course you must know it as a Turcopolier.. a telling name evoking a special type of warfare.
Actually, the FLN was mainly a secular movement, with a penchant for Arab Socialism. They were not very supportive of militant Islam. And later, in the 90s, the FLN in power fought a ferocious war against the islamist insurgency, employing even more brutal methods then the French back in the 50s and 60s. Départements or not, Algeria was a colony. The farmers with European background were called "colons européens" - which they were. As far as I know the King of Morocco is "Amir al-Mu'minin", the Commander of the faithful.
The irony is appreciated.. However, I think the principal motivation for the long war was, sadly, political posturing. Nation building was an attempt to give sense to the occupation. I agree that except a few exceptional cases, COIN is a senseless undertaking, because most of the time you have to do with a national uprising against foreign occupation, colored or not by some ideology.. Sure as hell you are the enemy as long you are there.. COIN is based in a major part on French textbooks from the Algerian insurgency. But the French were wiser: having completely dismantled the FLN on the ground, they quickly negotiated a withdrawal from Algeria with the exiled leaders of the FLN and left Algeria shortly after the agreement (with the exception of some gas fields in the South). And the French position was infinitely stronger: they had one million plus loyal colonial settlers in place (many of whom were bilingual), they had been there for about 130 years, and Algeria is a couple of hundred miles off the French coast. The French have managed to keep urban terrorism at bay ever since by infiltrating the would be terrorists.
Attempts at nation building were a consequence of the intervention, not the cause of it. The US went into Afghanistan because a) it urgently wanted to do SOMETHING after 9/11 - to seriously kick Muslim butts seemed a good way to make an example; b) the mullahs refused to extradiate OBL, who enjoyed guest's protection under Pashtunvali, the medieval Afghan code of honor, without proof of his involvement in 9/11; c) Afghanistan was fair game, because the international community did not care less what happened to it, including its civilian population. The US stayed in Afghanistan for so long because a) neither GWB nor BHO dared to leave, for fear of being blamed of precocious departure in case a terrorist attack originated in Afghanistan b) BHO felt the need of posturing in order to avoid accusations of being soft on national security. Of course Karzai wants to "feather his bed" for the time after your final departure - to save his a** would be a better expression in the light of what happened to Najibullah after the Soviets chickened out and terminated the flow of funds that kept Najibullah going for a while.
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Mar 10, 2013