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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 22, 2011.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
'Muslim offenders less likely to accept help after release'

From the Hounslow Chronicle

FELTHAM Young Offenders Institution has reacted to a report from a youth charity which claims young British Muslim ex-offenders are more likely to re-offend.

The Muslim Youth Helpline released a statement on Monday (March 21) saying 48 per cent of young Muslim ex-offenders will not contact services to support them upon leaving prison, making them more likely to re-offend.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, speaking on behalf of the Feltham prison, said re-offending by juveniles is taken "extremely seriously" and that a consultation on plans to break the cycle of crime has been recently completed.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Young British Muslim Ex-offenders and Resettlement Needs’ is the latest report produced by the Muslim Youth Helpline to raise awareness of the challenges faced by young Muslims ex-offenders. Its conclusions are stark and simple, repeat Muslim offenders all assert that if they had received additional support from either their probation officer, prison staff member or a member of their own community they would have been less likely to re-offend."

Posted on 03/22/2011 3:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Libya: British radicals could use attacks to recruit terrorists

From The Telegraph

The Security Service is on heightened alert for the possibility of an outrage, with radicals in Britain using the mission to claim that Islam is under attack by "imperialists". There is a suspicion among analysts that al–Qaeda could try to take advantage of the situation. A number of Libyans, all of them implacably opposed to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, have played a senior role in the terrorist group but sources said the "narrative" of action in Libya could be twisted into propaganda. Any excuse is a good excuse.

Reports in Libya suggested that some Islamists had sided with the rebels. "The al–Qaeda narrative is that the leadership of countries such as Libya has been guilty of apostasy and there is every danger that they will see whatever replaces them, especially if it is democratic, as equally guilty," the source said.

Security Service analysts were thought to have been on alert for increased "chatter" in the extremist community and on websites and chat rooms. There's a phrase to conjour with. "Extremist community". Now I know what Mosque committess mean when they say their proposals for Dagenham, Ipswich and elsewhere are not for a mosque but for a "community centre".

MI5 was less concerned about the threat of state–sponsored terrorism from Libya. "Gaddafi would have to go from a standing start within the space of a week and his attention right now is probably on staying alive," one analyst said. Nevertheless, the Security Service was taking Colonel Gaddafi's threats to attack the West seriously and was examining both possible threats from within the Libyan embassy.

Posted on 03/22/2011 3:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Libya blames Denmark for attack

Fron the Copenhagen Post

Libya’s national TV station this morning reported that Sunday’s attack on Gaddafi’s headquarters in Tripoli was controlled by Denmark. The announcer, who suddenly switched from Arabic to English, accused Denmark of having led a “campaign against Muslims for years” with its insulting Mohammed cartoons..

“The fact that Denmark, which has led a campaign against Islam and Muslims for years with its blasphemous caricatures of Mohammed, is leading the bombings, shows that the aggression is a crusade against the Muslim people, including the Libyan people, with the goal being to terrorise Muslims and to wipe out Islam.”

As of last night, four Danish F-16 fighter jets have been in action multiple times helping enforce the Nato-led no-fly zone over Libya. The Danish jets have yet to fire any missiles, and have not been fired at, Major General Henrik Røboe Dam, the head of Tactical Air Command, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Posted on 03/22/2011 4:53 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Creeping halal gathers apace.

Halal creeps into once genteel Westcliff on Sea.

I don’t want to make this a habit. I take a day out with my family; they stroll along breathing the sea air, while I stalk behind snapping the advance of sharia. But I couldn’t ignore it either.

Following hard on the heels of my observations of the islamisation of Dagenham this is what I observed in Southend over the weekend. For non UK readers, Southend on Sea (aka Sarfend) is a seaside resort in Essex on the north side of the Thames estuary. The original village was Prittlewell which was known for its priory. The south end of the village was where the fishermen lived. It became a fashionable place to take sea air in the early 19thcentury (Jane Austen mentions it in Emma) when the Royal Terrace and Princess Caroline House were built. It has been a good place for Londoners to have (sometimes slightly vulgar) fun for generations and is noted for having the longest pier in the world. In the autumn there are illuminations which were never on the scale of Blackpool’s but still a good night out especially if the fireworks are also on. The Kursaal funfair has been restored and is now a bowling alley.  The old railway posters to the left and the photograph  below give you an idea.

I can remember hearing a fearsome east end Nan (not my own) tell her snivelling little grandson to ‘Shut up whining and breath the nice sea air – it’s doing you good!”

Less than half a mile west is Westcliff on Sea which was more genteel and refined. No pier but a cliff railway and two theatres. It was the sort of place where your dentist would retire to.

We parked in Westcliff and decided to walk to Southend and back for something to eat. Many of the spacious villas are multi-occupancy now. Others are very shabby.  And I was startled to see how many cheap halal chicken and fast food shops there were.

Even a few yards from the sea front, on the corner of the Georgian block which is formed by Royal Terrace, Alexandra Street, Royal Mews and the High Street one of the oldest established traditional fish and chip restaurants, The Royal, now not just looks tacky but is halal.  

Some of the potential clientele are below, outside Adventure Island which used to be Peter Pan’s playground. I think I preferred the Kiss me Quick hats which used to be popular.

This being a family day I didn’t get to photograph Southend’s mosques. But I found out later that they are both in former churches which is my excuse for not noticing one of them when I drove past it.

Our backs are to the sea.

 

Posted on 03/22/2011 9:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
The Libya Fiasco, And What's To Come

The two American pilots are safe, and much has been made of the warm welcome they received.

Ignored is the replacement cost of that F-15, in 2011 dollars: $100 million.

The last time Americans intervened in Libya -- that is, the shores of Tripoli -- they did so to save American lives and American property, threatened by the privateers that the Bey of Tunis sent out (and other Barbary Pirates operated out of the Kingdom of Morocco, and from Algiers). They had a desire to punish the local leader until he stopped attacking American Infidels. As the American Republic could no longer  rely on the British navy for protection, it had to use its own powers of persuasion.

No American lives or American property are at stake in a war in Libya. The Arab League helped inveigle a naive and confused American administration to help rid it of Qaddafy not for any moral reasons, but because he insults the League and mocks various Arab leaders, and he's been a problem for them with his insults, contempt, and general all-round refusal to behave. They have no interest whatsover in the "wellbeing of civiliians." That's a Western projection.  if Qaddafy goes, one of his sons -- Seif al-Islam, the highest on the phylogenetic scale because the most Western and most thoughtful of the bunch --  should not be dismissed as a good candidate for  the next King of Libya. 

This business of "democracies" has been exaggerated. In most of the countries, the problem has been not the despotism, but the corruption of the despots, and the sheer maddening injustice of their wealth -- that comes either from oil revenues, or from their appropriation of massive aid furnished by Infidels. And then they flaunt that wealth, and everyone else who is not in the family or among the elite, sees that wealth, and goes crazy. That's understandable. But not every despot has been such a crook. And if the West stops supplying aid, as it should for other reasons, there will be less to publicly loot, and if the West stops selling military hardware to the rich Arab countries, there will be fewer contracts and less chance for kickbacks and other deals that fuel ruling-family corruption, and if the West stops  supplying quite unnecessary and ultimately dangerous-to-Infidels aid to the countries that are not rich (e.g., Egypt) the military will not be as subject to elephantiasis, but will be cut down to size, as it should be. Why does Egypt need a vast army, supplied so far with forty billion dollars in American aid? It is preparing for war only with one country,  and that country is Israel,  the only certain ally and Western military base that the Americans have between Italy and Japan. Why add to the hellishly difficult task Israeli military planners already have, as they plan and plan for the endless Jihad being waged, and that will be waged, against them?

The intervention in Libya is already, in every way, a fiasco.

What will Obama do when he returns from his Good-Neighbor-Policy tour?

Probably give a solemn address, on the Middle East, in which he will make demands -- he likes to make demands, lay down lines, say what "must happen" and what for him is "unacceptable" as he did with Libya -- on Israel to "make the dreams of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace blah blah blah" and, not incidentally, talking of "sharing the city holy to three faiths."

You think he won't? You think even he wouldn't do that?

After the fiasco in Libya, of course he can. And unless headed off by furious pre-emptive campaigning on the part of others, he will.

So let this little posting be the first stab -- with a bare and pretty odd bodkin -- at such pre-emption.

Posted on 03/22/2011 9:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
So Where Are The Arab Pilots And Planes?

Everyone -- or at least Obama -- thought the Arabs were going to particiate to give the "coalition" something he likes to think of as "legitimacy." There was talk of Morocco coming in. There was a phone call Obama made to the kingling of Jordan, Abdullah of Deerfield. There was mention of the United Arab Emirates, which on a per-head basis is the most heavily armed state in the world, with every military gewgaw the Western world can supply. And there was Qatar, home to the waddling king who pays for Al-Jazeera, the king who along with Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has famously the focus of Qaddafy's insults at meetings of the Arab League..

So now we hear -- but ever more infrequently -- that any minute now the contribution of Qatar to the war effort, presumably its Rafale planes, and its Qatari pilots -- will be appearing over the skies of Libya.

Let us know when you spot the first one.

Posted on 03/22/2011 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
The Fogel Pledge Picks Up Steam

 FrontPageMagazine picked up our NER Fogel Pledge article, "A Pledge Against the Self Destruction of American Jews"  in a NewsReal blog post entitled: "Take Action Against the Delegitimization of Israel today."  This is an important effort against the demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish State of Israel exemplified in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) cmapaign of Pro-Palestinian Muslim student organizations on college campuses and some liberal church groups.

Here are some excerpts:

After some heartfelt well-wishing for the victims of the disaster in Japan, well-know BDS activist and speaker Mazin Qumsiyeh wrote coldly to his followers about “settlers” in “the most extremist of settlements” who were killed by unknown assailants. He didn’t find it necessary to mention the fact that it was a family of settlers, the brutal manner in which they were killed, or that the perpetrators were widely presumed to be Palestinian terrorists. Rather, what Qumsiyeh was more interested in was that the “apartheid state decided to build 500 more houses for more racist settlers on Palestinian lands” after the killing of these unsympathetic, nefarious settlers took place.

Qumsiyeh is a man who “considers ‘Zionism to be a disease,” observes Jerry Gordon in a first-of-its-kind pledge to establish uniform protocols in Jewish Federations across the country that would prohibit funding for BDS activities. Gordon, who is the senior editor at the New English Review, was instrumental in the crafting of the pledge, which he and others wish to carry out in the memory of the slain Fogel family. These concerned individuals have begun to recognize the insidious effects the BDS movement has had on the discourse surrounding Israel. The BDS narrative — that of Israeli apartheid, racism, oppression, occupation, etc. — is becoming increasingly influential, and certainly has pervaded much of the coverage of the Fogel family’s tragic end. Some think it’s time to strike back.

[. . .]

At a time when the BDS debate is becoming more and more prominent, Gordon and other concerned individuals and activists, such as Dee Sterling of Orange County, California, who is known for her opposition to Jewish funding for a student program known as the Olive Tree Initiative, have worked to take the bold first steps of the SFJCF to the national level. With the talent of individuals like Rabbi Dov Fischer, esq. of Orange County and Debra Glazer, esq., a pledge has been devised for all Jewish Federations in the country to sign to ensure that communal funds do not go to BDS activity. By signing the pledge, the federation is not admitting to prior complicity in funding of BDS programming. Rather, the pledge provides simple, staight-forward guidelines for federations to sign to set a standard for the future.

Its makers hope that this unique pledge, which is printed on the following page, will provide the opportunity for many disparate groups in the Jewish community to come together to accept the minimum standard that is necessary to stop the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. It has already received support from the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism, the Zionist Organization of America, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. In addition, an electronic petition is available at www.ha-Emet.com for all community members to send to their federations to encourage them to adopt the pledge. The pledge itself is a wealth of information on the details of BDS, and clearly elucidates why the time for individuals — and Jewish Federations everywhere — to take a stand on this issue is now.

 

Posted on 03/22/2011 3:16 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Rory Stewart On The Apparently Now Unstoppable Impulse To Intervene

Until yesterday, I thought we were at the end of the age of intervention. The complacency that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union had been shattered by the Balkan wars; despair was followed by the successful interventions in Bosnia and then Kosovo; then triumphal pride led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan. Midway through the period, in 2000, it seemed we could intervene anywhere. By 2010, it felt as though we would not venture abroad again. What had begun with the irresistible victory of democracy, the free market and the United States, ended with occupation, financial crisis and American impotence.

It seemed doubly unlikely that we would ever intervene in a country like Libya. Even oil-less, Central Asian Afghanistan was perceived by many Muslims as the object of a crusading infidel occupation, driven by Israel and designed to establish bases or extract cheaper oil. Any move against Libya – an Arab, Muslim country, obsessed with its struggle against colonialism and dripping with oil – seemed bound to be perceived in the most hostile and sinister terms by its neighbours, by the developing world and by the Libyans themselves.

Nor did Libya appear to meet the criteria for intervention under international law. Gaddafi was the sovereign power, not the rebels, and he was not conducting genocide or ethnic cleansing. In Bosnia, by contrast, 100,000 people had died in a few weeks; and it was Bosnia itself – a sovereign, UN-recognised state – which formally requested the intervention. Kosovo was a less clear case, but the intervention targeted Milosevic, and followed the Balkan wars, which he had stoked, and the displacement of 200,000 people and clear evidence of ethnically-targeted atrocities. This interventionist worldview, which might have seemed in 1999 the quintessence of global governance and consensus, had, however, begun to seem a fading Western obsession. By 2011 Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as China, were on the Security Council. And none of them supported intervention.

So I argued on Thursday in the House of Commons that while we had a moral right to protect Libyans from Gaddafi, it would be wrong to act without a full UN Security Council resolution. Britain should use its support of the no-fly zone to give a clear signal of its opposition to Gaddafi and its support for progress in the Middle East. At the time it seemed that a Russian veto would ensure that this would not actually be backed by fighter jets.

But Russia didn’t veto the resolution. And, as of last night, 17 March, the French, British and Americans are cleared to intervene in the Middle East ‘with all necessary measures’. The planes are moving into position. The foreign ministers of minor Arab states are taking calls on their cell-phones from Western politicians. Twitter accounts explode around the Libyan hash-tag. And I imagine that in small executive offices, lit by giant television screens, generals, special advisers, diplomats, press handlers and politicians are trying to work out what to do.

Gaddafi’s initial response has been nimble. Within half an hour of the resolution his spokesman was parroting UN English: ‘the technical aspects of the ceasefire’, ‘some concerns over the text’. He used a translator to turn his English back into Arabic – perhaps his audience was in the Gulf and he wanted to use only the most formal Arabic. But the translator, who was more confident with standard authoritarian phrases about ‘the peaceful intention of the Libyan national security forces’, struggled with the UN jargon and had to be corrected by his boss. On Friday morning, the Libyan foreign minister found his stride and his new persona as a constructive and neutral participant. He spoke in Arabic, talking so deferentially of the ‘Majlis al-Aman’ (‘the Security Assembly’) that it took me a moment to realise he was referring to the UN Security Council, not to some security apparatus of Gaddafi’s.

How about our response? If the crises of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, which have consumed more than 100,000 lives, four trillion dollars and absorbed a million foreign soldiers from 60 countries, have not made us more prudent, they should at least have made us wiser. For two decades our policies in these countries have been described, explained and criticised by political philosophers, civil servants, human rights activists, journalists, development workers, film-makers and 10,000 consultants. Parliamentarians round the world refer confidently to ‘Chapter 7 resolutions’, ‘no-fly zones’, ‘the experience of the Kurds’ and ‘the responsibility to protect’. But the basic questions about intervention seem to remain as obvious as they are unhelpful. You do not need to be able to name four cities in Libya to have four arguments against or for what we are doing. You can simply deploy those which were used in 1960s Vietnam, 1920s Syria and 1860s Afghanistan.


The arguments against intervention are neatly itemised by Albert Hirschman as ‘perversity’, ‘futility’ and ‘jeopardy’: an intervention could be dangerous (for us or for Libya); it could achieve nothing; or it could achieve exactly the reverse of what it intended. This line can be bolstered by the language of medicine or commerce: ‘first do no harm’; ‘it’s none of our business’; ‘we’re broke’. Or even race. Thus Conor Cruise O’Brien in 1992: ‘There are places where a lot of men prefer war, and the looting and raping and domineering that go with it, to any sort of peacetime occupation. One such place is Afghanistan. [here Rory Stewart is wrong in using the word "race" -- Conor Cruise O'Brien was not describing a "race" but a culture of incessant violence and aggression]]Another is Yugoslavia after the collapse of the centralising Communist regime.’

Against these stand the four national security arguments for intervention: fear of a rogue state, fear of a failed state, fear for the neighbours and fear for ourselves. First, we called Iraq a rogue state – the weapons of mass destruction, which could be launched within 45 minutes. Second, we called Afghanistan in 2002 a failed state – the vacuum filled by drug-dealers and terrorists. Third, in 2009, we emphasised the fear for Afghanistan’s neighbour Pakistan: ‘If Afghanistan falls, Pakistan will fall and mad mullahs will get their hands on nuclear weapons in Pakistan.’ (In Vietnam, this was called ‘the domino theory’.) Fourth, we are fearful for our reputation. From Kissinger in Vietnam to the British in Afghanistan there is the eternal anxiety about being seen to be defeated, of giving confidence to enemies, of losing credibility. In Libya’s case, these arguments focus on fear of Gaddafi; fear of al-Qaida in a post-Gaddafi failed state; fear of instability in the region (civil war in Libya shaking North Africa and pushing refugees across the Mediterranean into Europe); and fear for our own credibility (what if he survives our threats and imprecations?).

Then there are the moral arguments. There are the arguments against from international law (‘it is in contravention of state sovereignty’) and arguments from guilt (‘we are the people who armed and supported Gaddafi in the first place’). There are the arguments in favour based on the scale – brought home in continual news footage – of human suffering, which make the point that inaction is leading to more deaths: that we have a right and a duty to prevent the killing, a moral obligation to the Libyan people.

Thus, three arguments against action. Four fears about inaction. And a background of guilt, law and moral obligation. Each position has its own historical analogy. If you oppose intervention, you call it ‘another Vietnam’. If you support intervention on national security grounds, you call the opponents appeasers and invoke Munich. And you could still do a ‘replace all’ and instead of Libya insert Zimbabwe, Darfur or for that matter Abyssinia, the Hejaz or ‘the Kingdom of Caubul and its dependencies’. Here more than ever what seems to matter is not detailed knowledge of the country concerned but a basic attitude of mind: a high optimism, a reactionary pessimism and very rarely anything in between.

This is not to say that the millions of pages produced over the last two decades have achieved nothing. The arguments have been given a makeover and presented in a more contemporary design, encrusted with sparkling statistics, buttressed with new analogies. If you want, you can now replace Vietnam with Iraq, Munich with Rwanda and the Second World War with Bosnia. The ‘forward policy’ is now called ‘state-building’ and ‘pacification’ is ‘counter-insurgency’.

But the basic positions remain black and white. Do it or don’t do it, but no halfway houses. And therein lies the danger. On the World Service this afternoon, I was accused of falling between two stools. ‘On the one hand, you say the no-fly zone is humanitarian and not about regime change. On the other hand, you say that we are taking measures against the Gaddafi regime to force him to step down.’ And when I tried to make a distinction between military measures with a humanitarian purpose and civilian measures with a political purpose, the interviewer countered: ‘Surely this is the worst of all worlds.’ On the contrary, it seems to me the lesser evil. The no-fly zone is preferable to seeming to countenance and endorse Gaddafi’s actions; and better than putting troops on the ground to force regime change. But such measures are difficult to explain and sell.

Perhaps I am simply traumatised by the failure to stop more troop deployments to Afghanistan. Perhaps this time I should welcome the decision rather than offer grudging support and grim cautions. After all, the UN resolution is clearly opposed to occupation. The West is bruised, feels impoverished and its military is overstretched. Its new leaders have so far proved able to circumvent or answer the irrepressible optimism and bleak warnings of the hawks in their administrations. Obama has successfully fought off the pressure to send any more troops to Afghanistan and Cameron has set an unconditional deadline of 2015 for the end of combat operations there. Both have relied on relatively cautious language. It can, therefore, seem improbable that we would allow ourselves to be dragged deeper.

And yet, I cannot get beyond my experience of the way in Afghanistan we seemed to be dragged unstoppably deeper. There, the best arguments against further intervention rely on a level of specificity and detail about the country which is rarely appealing to policy-makers, and rarely seems relevant to their debates. (Try making an argument against the efficacy of sanctions based on a detailed reading of Gaddafi’s regime, its ideology and its attitude to the West.)

By contrast the rhetoric and the logic in favour of doing more felt hypnotising and irrepressible. Yet the arguments used in Afghanistan are already being applied to Libya. All those concerns about Gaddafi and stability can be quickly translated into the ‘existential threat to global security’ and into those four fears, which lead to talk of failure not being an option. They mean that, as an American general recently told me in Afghanistan, ‘Plan B is more of Plan A.’ When we speak of having an obligation (in this case a moral obligation towards the Libyan people) or a ‘duty to intervene’ we tend to imagine it as an almost unconditional obligation. The complex logic, statistics and theories which drove the surge in Afghanistan remain immensely appealing. The same people will soon be working on Libya. And if they find that the no-fly zone is not having the effect they wanted: not toppling the regime, not eliminating human rights abuses, not fostering international security, they will press for more.


We need therefore to work out how best to use the no-fly zone, while recognising how insecure and reckless we can be tempted to be. I had imagined the time had come to remind people that, despite Afghanistan, we can still play a constructive international role. But today, though I am in favour of the no-fly zone, it seems as though the real danger remains not despair but our irrepressible, almost hyperactive actions: that sense of moral obligation; those fears about rogue states, failed states, regions and our own credibility, which threaten to make this decade again a decade of over-intervention.

Posted on 03/22/2011 8:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Leslie Gelb: Hypocrisies And Libya

From The Daily Beast:

 

Hypocrisies

by Leslie H. GelbInfo

 

Neocons and liberal interventionists stampeded Obama into imposing a no-fly zone against Libya—despite the absence of vital U.S. interests there. Leslie H. Gelb on the hypocrisy among world leaders and how the experts abuse historical analogies.

There's nothing like a foreign-policy crisis, real or imagined, to ignite the worst among world leaders and foreign-policy experts. Out pop the nuclear weapons of the trade: phony analogies and unabashed hypocrisy. The manufactured crisis in Libya is a prime case in point. No foreign states have vital interests at stake in Libya. Events in this rather odd and isolated land have little bearing on the rest of the tumultuous Mideast region. Also not to be dismissed, there are far, far worse humanitarian horrors elsewhere. Yet, U.S. neoconservatives and liberal humanitarian interventionists have trapped another U.S. president into acting as if the opposite were true.

Article - Gelb Obama LibyaPablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo; Luca Bruno / AP Photo

Once this terrible duo starts tossing out words like "slaughter" and "genocide," the media goes crazy. Then, the chorus begins to sing of heartless inaction by the U.S. president, blaming him for the deaths. White House common sense crumbles into insanity. The reason why neither President Obama nor his coalition partners in Britain and France can state a coherent goal for Libya is that none of them have any central interest in the outcome there. It is only when a nation has a clear vital interest that it can state a clear objective for war. They've all simply been carried away by their own rhetoric.

The drama usually starts when leaders and thinkers are seduced by the feeling they must do good. Sometimes, they essentially ignore the killings, even as deaths climb into the hundreds of thousands, as in Rwanda and millions as in Congo. Other times, the deaths number in the hundreds or so, as in Libya—and the guy doing the killing is someone they have good reason to dislike, and so they want to do good and stop him. It was just so with the irresistible trio of Senators—John McCain, John Kerry, and Lindsey Graham—and with their counterparts in foreign-policy land.

The kneejerk reaction among interventionists is to see the blood and insist that the United States act right away. There's no time to deliberate, they say. Don't find out about who the rebels are. Don't worry about who else will help. Just do it! In the case of Libya, the call to action took flight as a "no-fly zone." They spoke of it like a pill that could cure cancer. At the time they first proposed it, the rebels in fact were winning the war and Col. Muammar Gaddafi had just begun to retaliate with planes and tanks. There was yet no endorsement to counter him from the Arab League or from the U.N. Security Council, but the interventionists screamed for action anyway. Imagine what the reaction would have been had Western bombs and missiles fell upon Libya without that prior approval.

No one should have deluded himself into believing that chasing Gaddafi's planes from the air would, by itself, save civilians on the ground. Saving those lives always depended mainly on hitting Gaddafi's ground forces—his tanks, artillery, and combat troops. Thus, imposing only a no-fly zone would have been largely symbolic. When it failed to stop Gaddafi's onslaught, voices would have been raised for escalation, for hitting ground targets—precisely as has happened in the last few days. If the goal was to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people, there never was an alternative to impairing or destroying his ground force capability.

The reason why neither President Obama nor his coalition partners in Britain and France can state a coherent goal for Libya is that none of them have any central interest in the outcome there.

But it becomes increasingly difficult to nail down reality, especially when slogans like "no-fly zones" and "act now" are ennobled by reference to Shakespeare. For example, interventionists whose memories of the Bard have frayed might be tempted to compare themselves to Macbeth, a man of action, and portray Obama as Hamlet, a man of self-doubt and delay. Remember Macbeth's line about killing the king: "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well/ It were done quickly." So, Macbeth grabbed his dagger and killed the king right off. And boy did his quick action produce great results: The kingdom was shaken to its roots, his wife went crazy with guilt, and predictably, he was killed by a more rightful heir to the throne. And just as Macbeth's formidable decision-making process receives perennial praise, so does Hamlet get trashed for his supposed indecision and hesitation. Forget the fact that Hamlet's famous indecision was about killing himself ("To be, or not to be"), and not about whether he would seek vengeance on the king who had killed Hamlet's father and married his mother. But to today's foreign-policy experts, Hamlet committed an unforgivable sin: He waited for evidence that the new king had actually killed his father. Thus, he concocted the idea of a play within a play to draw out the new king's guilt. In other words, he violated the first principle of modern American foreign-policymaking: He sought hard evidence.

 

 

 

 

Historical analogies do as much damage to policymaking. Thus, inevitably, erupts the game the current crisis resembles. Foreign-policy experts rush to compare Libya to Bosnia, the Punic Wars, Iraq, Kosovo, Thermopylae, and so forth. Take, for example, the difficulties of imposing a no-fly zone in Libya as opposed to Iraq or Bosnia. Well, it might be noticed that the terrain, cultures, leaders, peoples, and most elements of these situations were quite different from one another. It's not just a matter of sending U.S. aircraft up here and there and expecting the same results. The no-fly zone the U.S. enforced over Kurdistan after the first Gulf war worked just fine. But the one declared for the Shiite southern part of Iraq didn't. That's mainly because the U.S. government said the no-fly dictum applied only to fixed-wing aircraft, not to helicopters. And what Saddam Hussein used to put down the revolt in the south was helicopters, tanks, and ground troops.

That's precisely what would happen in Libya if the no-fly zone pertained only to fixed-wing aircraft. Because Gaddafi's main power flows from helicopters, tanks and troops, no-fly by itself would have been of very limited value. If the goal is to save civilians, there is no choice other than hitting all military targets.

So now comes the ultimate hypocrisy—the one of intoning that a sin is so mortal and a threat so deadly that only somebody else can do the job. Remember the West's joy after the Arab League's blessing of a no-fly zone? Foreign policy experts reacted as if Arabs were putting aside their Arab-first cloak and actually joining the hated Westerners in humanitarian military action. In reality, however, they were just saying, "You do it." Thus, it is no surprise that those Arabs are nowhere to be found when it comes to translating their heroic rhetoric into action. So far, it appears that their contributions will be limited to Egypt providing some arms to the Libyan "freedom fighters," four Qatari jets flying over Libya (as fast as they can, I assume), some cash payments to the Western devils, and other unspecified considerations. Just in case the self-delusory Westerners didn't get the point, the Arab League head Amr Moussa set them straight on Sunday. He criticized the Western devils for killing Libyan civilians in no-fly zone operations. Apparently, the League thought that an effective no-fly zone was like flying kites—just a beautiful thing to watch with no one being injured. Westerners must have been confused and actually believed that the Arab League desired the no-fly operation to reduce Gaddafi's killing Libyan civilians. Apparently, only some Arabs are permitted to kill certain other Arabs. In which event, the Arabs should have gone and flown their own planes against Gaddafi's in the first place. Which is precisely what I advocated in the first place—and still do.

President Obama erred initially by saying that Gaddafi "must go." Maybe he meant of his own accord or by being overthrown by his own cohorts, but he didn't specify. Then, properly, he stiff-armed those demanding an immediate no-fly operation. Instead, and properly again, he waited upon Arab League and U.N. resolutions, and upon agreements from America's overeager French and British allies on their assuming major responsibility for military action over Libya in few days. Pray that he sticks to that course and puts America in a strictly supporting role. Pray he is not drawn deeper into the Libyan snake pit by events or the hypocritical oratory of world leaders and foreign policy experts.

Posted on 03/22/2011 8:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
U.A.E. Was Just About To Send Two Squadrons Of Planes To Libya, And Then.....

UAE Said To Have Changed View On Libya Deployment Due To Bahrain

 

ABU DHABI (Zawya Dow Jones)--The United Arab Emirates was prepared to deploy 24 aircraft to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya but decided not to participate in the allied effort because of U.S. and European policies towards Bahrain, the former commander-in-chief of the U.A.E. Air Force said Tuesday.

"The U.A.E. was willing, and there were preparations, to deploy a significant number of aircraft for the no-fly zone, but a reprioritization--specifically the European and U.S. positions on Bahrain--did not satisfy the Gulf states to this end," said Maj. General Khalid Al Buainnain. Speaking on the sidelines of an Abu Dhabi conference, he said the U.A.E. had been prepared to deploy two squadrons of 12 aircraft each to Libya.

Buainnain said the U.S. and Europe had failed to appreciate the extent of Iran's interference in the Gulf countries, and had misread the protests in Bahrain as a spill-over of calls for democratic change sweeping through the region.

"What's going on in Bahrain is much beyond our Western allies to understand it," he said. "It is a complete conspiracy of the Iranians in the region...The European and U.S. positions are unable to imagine the extent of Iranian intervention in Bahrain."

"Its a matter of political disagreement--not a matter of resources--between the Gulf states and the Europe and U.S.," Buainnain said.

On Sunday, Qatar became the first Arab nation to join international action against Libya's Col. Moammar Gadhafi, saying it was sending fighter jets to Libya to help enforce a recent U.N. resolution. There has been speculation that the U.A.E. would send military assistance as well, though late Monday the country said it is playing a purely humanitarian role in Libya by delivering aid supplies. The U.A.E.'s role is "strictly confined to the delivery of humanitarian assistance," according to a statement carried on the state news agency.

The U.A.E had taken a leading role in the calls for action in Libya, hosting a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Abu Dhabi on March 7 at which the six-member bloc of Gulf Arab nations urged the international community to enforce a no-fly zone.

Bahrain's Sunni ruling family has for more than a month battled protests led by its largely-Shiite opposition, leading King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to declare a three-months state of emergency amid rising sectarian tensions on the Gulf island kingdom. Last week, Saudi Arabia and other GCC states including the U.A.E. sent security forces to Bahrain to help quell the ongoing protests. Soon after the Gulf troops arrived, Bahrain launched a violent crackdown on the antigovernment protesters, clearing them from the capital's financial district and the Pearl roundabout, imposing a curfew and banning all public gatherings.

On Monday, Bahrain's King Hamad said a foreign plot against his state had been foiled -- presumed to be a reference to Iran -- and thanked troops brought in from neighboring Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to help keep security. Iran has condemned the arrival of foreign troops in Bahrain.

Buainnain said the U.A.E considered Bahrain's security "an extension" of its own security, sees it as a top priority. He also said Bahrain risked turning into a third center of Shiite extremism in the Arab world, in addition to the presence of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi group in Yemen.

His comments follow warnings by GCC Secretary General Abdel Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah Monday, at the same conference, that the Gulf states reject any foreign intervention in their affairs, including by Iran.

Buainnain, a former U.A.E. fighter pilot, retired in 2006. He is now president of the Dubai-based security think tank Inegma, or the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

Posted on 03/22/2011 9:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
The Total Arab Contribution To The War Effort: A Piddling Four Planes From Qatar

Qatar's military to begin operations this weekend, US says

Mar 22, 2011

 

 

Washington - Qatari aircraft are expected to join the enforcement of a UN no-fly zone over Libya this weekend, a senior US commander said Tuesday.

Qatar has pledged to send four fighter jets to join the international coalition and would be the first Arab country to join military operations.

The US and French militaries were consulting on how to best use Qatar's contribution and determine its support requirements, Admiral Samuel J Locklear, commander of US Navy Forces Africa, told reporters in Washington via tele-conference from his command ship in Libya's vicinity.

'If all things work the way I think it's going to work ... they will be up and flying in the coalition by the weekend,' Locklear said.

Arabic support for the military action under a UN Security Council resolution to protect civilians in Libya's internal conflict has been seen as critical for the coalition, which largely consists of Western nations. The Arab League has endorsed the no-fly zone.

Posted on 03/22/2011 11:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
A Musical Interlude: Dixiana (Nat Shilkret Orch.)

Listen here.

Posted on 03/22/2011 11:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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