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War on Terrorism (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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I touch on this very point over on Final Frontiers.
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Mick Harper
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Sudan has been on the US terrorism blacklist (and therefore lots of other countries' blacklists because they don't want to be on the US blacklist) since the 1990's, with ruinous effects on its prosperity. Since the revolution in 2018 Sudan has done everything the US asked, including making reparations it could not afford (tough, it was your choice). But just as they were expecting to come off the list Pompeo arrived and said, "Yeah, sure, but you'll have to normalise your relationship with Israel first."

So now you know, not getting along with Israel is an act of terror.
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Mick Harper
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But the true cost has only now emerged. With a new 'democratic' and 'non-terrorist' regime installed in Sudan, and the $360 million for past terrorist crimes safely lodged in the United States, everything was set fair for all sanctions to be lifted. Then came the 'Recognise Israel or else' ultimatum. The Sudanese government were now in a vice: they had to get sanctions lifted at all costs but they also knew the Sudanese people were just as anti-Israel as they have always been.

There was no real choice: they held their nose and 'normalised' relations with Israel. Cue rejoicing for Trump and Netanyahu. Not so hot for the Sudanese government who are suddenly faced with a resurgence of the previous military regime, the people actually responsible for the terrorism, who are now saying to the Sudanese people, "See what happens when a 'western', 'democratic' government is in charge. They are in bed with the Israelis."

It may seem counter-productive to undermine a non-terrorist government for a maybe-terrorist one but this is not so at all. Israel and America are quite aware that Sudan was never a threat in the first place so why not score a cheap electoral success by having yet another Arab state endorsing the Kushner Plan. What do they care if Sudan continues to be convulsed by civil strife?
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Wile E. Coyote


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Is the American plan so daft? Clearly they have worked out that the Palestinians will never trust the Israelis, and vice versa at the present time, so they are working from the outside inwards.

This seems similar to me how the UK forced the IRA to the table, they ramped up the cold war whilst getting the Republic and the US diplomatically on board.

Looks to me they are trying to solve the central conflict in the Middle east by surrounding the antagonists and tying them in, before then trying to broker a deal?
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Mick Harper
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The UK forced the IRA to the table by winning the war. Neither the Republic (who were interning the IRA at the time) nor the US were ever not on board. Traditionally all the powers have adopted the Middle East position of, "If youse guys agree, we'll be real happy to go along with anything you come up with. We are happy to broker a deal if it will help." Are you seriously suggesting that this US regime is 'brokering a deal'?

"Will you accept Plan A, Palestinians?"
"No way, it means we lose too much land."
"OK then, what about Plan B?"
"We give up more land, you mean?"
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Mick Harper
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Bannon Twitter account barred over call for Fauci beheading -- Guardian headline

This was deeply upsetting for me since Steve Bannon is a minor hero of mine (I have, I admit, a low threshold when it comes to intellectuals) so his demand for Dr Fauci, Trump's erstwhile Covid adviser, to be executed in this particularly grisly fashion was offensive -- quite apart from my opposition to capital punishment in general. But, I understand, they are having problems with how to kill people over there ever since the pharmaceutical companies withdrew permission to use their drugs so I thought I'd better check out this new, or perhaps one should say old, method.

"Second term kicks off with firing Wray [FBI director], firing Fauci ... No, I'd actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I'd put their heads on pikes and put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats -- you either get with the programme or you're gone."

I expect they send their P45's on later.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
I touch on this very point over on Final Frontiers.


You were on Star Trek?
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Mick Harper
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The assassination of the Iranian head of their nuclear programme has resulted in some interesting developments. The Iranians are vowing vengeance, as well they might. But how? Or rather, on whom? The media are adamant that this is an Israeli operation done at the fag end of the Trump regime and that Biden would never have given the go-ahead. 'It will,' everybody sonorously intones, 'complicate the new administration's efforts to get the nuclear deal back on, which is why it was done.' The Iranians have publicly blamed the Israelis but not the Americans.

All this is nonsense. The Iranians know full well you can wreak revenge on Americans to your heart's content but you don't mess with Israelis. The decks are now cleared for a complete rapprochement between the West and Iran and, at last, the West can get out of its stifling embrace with people it cannot stand for all kinds of human rights abuse reasons, the Israelis and the Arabs. Whether this will have much effect on Israelis and Arabs remains to be seen -- 'the West' has been a diminishing asset for years -- but the change in 'a moral foreign policy' for the West could be a wonder to behold. Don't blow it, chaps!
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
The decks are now cleared for a complete rapprochement between the West and Iran and, at last, the West can get out of its stifling embrace with people it cannot stand for all kinds of human rights abuse reasons, the Israelis and the Arabs. Whether this will have much effect on Israelis and Arabs remains to be seen -- 'the West' has been a diminishing asset for years -- but the change in 'a moral foreign policy' for the West could be a wonder to behold. Don't blow it, chaps!


Can't see it happening, the era of the west buying and selling almost anything to crackpot regimes and then agonizing over whether it was moral (ie we will sell the Israelis higher tech fighters than the Arabs so they can keep a military advantage) is now over. Nope with the failed military interventions, the only game in town is now sanctions and more sanctions, you might take out the odd scientist as well, of course, but the new era is about economic power not military power. Get used to it Macron, Merkel and Boris, with Joe in charge you will have to actually follow America's lead and apply the sanctions on Iran, till they beg to come back to the table, which was, err, Trump's policy. The only difference being that Joe wouldn't be stupid enough to try and do a one on one deal with an Ayatollah.
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Mick Harper
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I am not advocating a moral foreign policy, only a sensible one. We originally supported Israel for good (or at any rate defendable) reasons to do with holocaustal guilt. That led to hostility with the Arabs who then turned to the Soviet Union which made support for Israel all the more sensible. But, it cannot be denied, Israel has turned out be a considerable embarrassment. Meanwhile we needed Arab oil so that had to be factored in but could be because the Arab oil states were not specially anti-Israel.. They turned out to be a considerable embarrassment too but note, only oil rich states can buy our arms.

Iran in the Shah's time was not a problem either. He bought our arms and was tacitly pro-Israel. The Ayatollahs are unique in a) being anti-Israel and b) having oil. That's what started us on the cleft stick. Two cleft sticks because they are anti-Arab as well. More as I work it out moving cleft sticks around on my desk.
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Mick Harper
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Audits of government agencies found that Mali lost $150 billion due to fraud and bad management between 2013 and 2014 Sky History documentary

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, with potentially among the richest mineral deposits per head in the world. It has been the scene of the costliest of all UN peace-keeping interventions in terms of money and casualties (and time). The fighting in Mali has defied the best efforts of both conventional and special forces from France and the US (and even the SAS and MI5 from Britain). Islamic mayhem operates more or less with impunity and in ever-increasing force -- not just in Mali but spreading all over the Sahel area. Well done, the world community! And all because it always refuses to grasp the same two nettles:

1. Breaking up an accidental ex-colonial administrative unit. Mali is a completely ridiculous conjoining of two blobs of territory: a Taureg area in the north and a black African area in the south. The Tauregs simply won't wear rule from the south and the government in the south won't countenance independence (even regional autonomy) in the north. So the Tauregs fight and don't care under what flag. And won't ever stop until something radical changes.

2. The only thing that ensures Mali will never mend is because it has absolutely crap government. The 'world community' is perfectly content to spend billions, impoverish millions and kill thousands by operating every facet of the country from the economy to the military but won't do the one thing that would work, take over the government. That would be racism.
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Mick Harper
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You may not have noticed but a long war has just ended in the Middle East. A few years back a bunch of despots in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates had grown fed up with Al-Jazeera pumping out reports of their misdeeds to their avidly-listening citizenries. Something had to be done. They declared Qatar, who was pumping out Al-Jazeera, to be guilty of manifold crimes, including being a sponsor of terrorism, with Al-Jazeera tucked away low down in the list.

So the big boys sealed off the little guy -- land, air and sea -- and waited for this tiny international entrepot to buckle. Forty-eight hours should do it. Only Qatar carried on regardless, accepting a bit of inconvenience but otherwise modestly prospering. Not so the Big Jobbies who, for instance, couldn't get the football (rights held by Bahrain), or hold international events ("We're not coming until you lift the blockade"). But above all, it demonstrated to all watching (i.e. everyone in the Middle East) that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates were a bunch of blowhards who couldn't organise a sandcastle competition in a desert.

So now finally they have given up and peace reigns. Whether the despots will continue to do so is something their citizens are pondering.
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