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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prophet & Loss Statement, 2008

It's that time of year again - time to review last year's predictions against what really happened. As usual, the predictions missed the really big events, which are always, by definition unforeseen: the world economic crisis and the Mumbai massacre. But the other predictions were fairly accurate: 18 of the 21 predictions were right (and one "non-prediction" that doesn't count). That's 86%. Of the additional "non-predictions," none really came to fruition, but Pakistan was certainly a place to watch in 2008. In the list below,"+ means the prediction came true, - - it didn't happen, 0 - can't decide. [more]

by Moderator @ 04:07 PM CST [Link]

Gaza tragedy unfolding

Events in Gaza have the inevitability of Greek tragedy. Could anyone have doubted that Hamas's antics would end in an Israeli attack? Was it really conceivable that Israel or any other country would do nothing in response to daily rocket and mortar barrages? That Israel would not react to the continued imprisonment of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit? As if terrorizing half the Western Negev was not enough, Hamas had to rub salt in the wounds by staging a grotesque victory parade worthy of a barbarian emperor, in which they publicly taunted Israel and the parents of Gilad Shalit. It was the sort of show that is outlawed by international law, that hasn't been practiced since the Middle Ages, but it attracted hardly a murmur of international condemnation. The Palestinians had their gladiator show. The admission price was yet to be paid. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:47 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iraq, America and the Gulf states

In Iraq's Future I wrote,

American withdrawal from Iraq is not an option to be considered, but a fact in the making.The consequences of American withdrawal and how to deal with them must be considered carefully and soberly, not only by American policy makers, but by Middle East leaders.


by Moderator @ 03:31 AM CST [Link]

Monday, December 15, 2008

Iraq's Future

The conventional wisdom seems to be that the United States has won, or is winning, the war in Iraq. According to the SOFA agreement, the United States has until 2011 to finish its business there. After that, it would seem unlikely that the Iraqi government will want the United States to maintain troops there, or that the American people will want to do so. But the powers that be are not worried. Evidently, they are convinced that training of local forces was successful, and that this provides a model for Afghanistan and perhaps, according to Jim Jones, for the Palestinians. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:56 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Revisiting Islam vs Islamism

Forget the `Clash of Civilizations' thesis; the battle lines within Islam have been drawn. Two years ago I published a paper entitled "Between Tolerance and Totalitarianism, Between Islam and Islamism"* The basic thrust of my argument then was that Islamic principles of tolerance and compassion are increasingly being displaced by Islamism. Islamism is a twentieth century totalitarian ideology that seeks to mould Islamic religious tradition to serve narrow political ends of domination. Not only is Islamism totalitarian in character, it is also violent in its methods and, in the process, betrays the very Islamic ideals it supposedly champions. [more]

by Moderator @ 01:55 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Likud and the Hamas: A match made in Heaven?

Too often people vote for a government or support a movement without understanding what it stands for, or at least, so they claim. We are told that Germans who voted for Hitler and the Nazis may have believed that they were simply protesting an impossible situation. Chinese -- and Americans -- who supported Mao Tse Tung often had the impression that he was a mild agrarian reformer. Many Iranians who supported the Ayatollah Khomeini thought that he would bring democracy. Americans who voted for Richard Nixon convinced themselves that they were voting for the "new Nixon." He turned out to be a rebuilt version of the old Nixon. Many Palestinians who voted for Hamas may have allowed themselves to be convinced that they were voting for reformist candidates who would put an end to corruption. The range of evils, greater and lesser, that have been inflicted on the world in this way is enormous. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:47 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai terror and Somali Pirates

The specifics of the Mumbai terror attacks are still somewhat shrouded in darkness, at least for the general public. The big picture is becoming fairly clear, if the information released is correct. The attacks were supposedly carried out by the Lashkar e Taiba group. Though Lashkar e Taiba denies involvement, Lashkar e - Taiba activists were caught "rehearsing" the current operation with a sea landing in 2007. An Indian sting operation planted tracer devices that enabled capture of the terrorists in 2007. This time they were not so lucky. [more]

by Moderator @ 01:35 PM CST [Link]


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