Sunday, November 05, 2006

Badger's Sunday Arts Section (with an interesting update)

A Lebanese journalist, noting the US State Dept's ringing endorsement of a democratic and prosperous Lebanon, commented: There isn't only bombast, there is farce too. The US supports the starvation and killing of Palestinians and the toppling of their elected government, but accuses Hizbullah of illegality for planning a peaceful demonstration. In fact, there is hardly a group of thugs, charlatans or buffoons, writes Rami Khouri in the Daily Star who aren't eligible for US financial and military support provided they promise the harrassment or overthrow of one of the evil governments in the region, such as that of Hamas in Palestine, Syria, or Iran. The Daily Star is a pro-US newspaper.

On the topic of arming thugs, Aluf Benn of Haaretz has been reporting on US arming and training of special Fatah forces for an expected armed confrontation with Hamas, for instance here, and in earlier reports. History tells us these types of US interventions should be covert, and maybe this was supposed to be covert too, who knows? With the Bush team it is often hard to tell.

For instance, John Negroponte, following his discussions with Maliki in Baghdad about bringing Saddam-era agents back into the Iraqi security service, went on to Tel Aviv for discussions with Olmert, where he seemed particularly interested in hearing Israeli ideas on how to topple the elected Iranian regime. Benn reports: "Negroponte met with Olmert and the heads of the intelligence services, and asked them for their assessments of Iran's domestic situation and how to influence it. He was reportedly particularly interested in ideas on how to use Iran's domestic policies to weaken the regime, and whether it was possible to influence Iran via minorities such as the Azeris, who have ethnic affiliations with other states. The issue of Iran's nuclear program, in contrast, received less attention during these talks."

Somehow I feel we can expect human-interest feature writing in the NYT about the colorful and interesting Azeri people and their "complex relationship" with the ethnic Persians, maybe in the Sunday magazine.

(UPDATE: Commenter Annie is a step ahead of me. In the comments, she links to a recent piece in the SF Chronicle where the Azeris' situation is described as "worse than that of the Palestinians").

Funny stuff, this bombast about supporting democracy. Funnier still is John Burns in the NYT yesterday on the Maliki-US relationship. He writes: "The paradox of their [Maliki and the US] animosity is that the primary beneficiary of the rift is likely to be their common enemy, the Sunni insurgents". The paradox of their animosity. Actually the rehabilitation of the Sunni resistance is not "the paradox of their animosity", it is the current aim of US policy. Burns and the NYT ignore the fact that the US is getting ready to negotiate with the Sunni resistance; and that Negroponte is proposing bringing Baathists back into the Iraqi intelligence service, the idea being to bring Iraq into the "axis of cooperation" against the Iran-Shiite threat. By ignoring these key facts, available via the simple expedient of what we call "reading the local newspapers", the regime elements at the NYT are able to present US policy aims as if they were some kind of a "paradoxical" result of irrational behavior by the Iraqis. Maybe funny isn't the right word. Certainly it is an art-form.

7 Comments:

Blogger annie said...

rami khouri link not working

this one?

6:44 AM  
Blogger badger said...

okay I'll check and fix it

7:04 AM  
Blogger badger said...

fixed. If it goes bad again, its today's www.dailystar.com.lb, at the "opinion" section down toward the bottom, called "Is the US promoting Democracy or comedy?"

7:09 AM  
Blogger Mr. Natural said...

Bathists, eh? What part of Negroponte/death squads is difficult for Americans to comprehend? GREAT BLOG, thanks!

11:53 AM  
Blogger annie said...

we can expect human-interest feature writing in the NYT about the colorful and interesting Azeri people

Little-known Arab group in Iran faces persecution
Ahwazis call occupation of their land a plight worse than that of Palestinians

5:12 PM  
Blogger badger said...

thank you Annie !

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Yohan said...

Having trouble with the Aluf Benn links too.

4:40 PM  

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