58 thoughts on “Israel Threatens Attack If Russia Ships S-300 Missiles to Syria – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I share your conclusion, Israel has clearly taken sides — and whenever the US, Britain, al-Qaeda, Israel, and Saudi Arabia all support the same thing, people should think twice about where their sympathies lie.

    1. Daniel,
      Israel’s interests lie in the continued reign of Bashar al Assad…better the devil you know!
      However the presence of these S-300 is a an exercise in brinkmanship and a game changer which Israel cannot accept.
      Among other things,these missiles will be able to track and target all civilian air traffic using Ben Gurion airport and insurance costs for flights using the airport will rise accordingly thus increasing the economic burden on Israel.

      1. “An exercise in brinksmanship” — as opposed to repeatedly bombing targets inside Syria, or repeatedly threatening attacks on Iran? Perhaps I misunderstand you, but if you expect me to sympathize with Israel’s position — an ultra-belligerent, colonial Apartheid state with nuclear weapons at its disposal, and which illegally occupies part of Syrian territory — you are wasting your time.

        Israel should stay the Hell out of Syria. There is a single reason that the Syrian government needs anti-air defences in the first place, and it’s not because the “domestic Syrian opposition” has aircraft at its disposal.

        1. Yeah, a “game changer” is any means that could enhance the defenses of neighboring states against Israeli aggression. Poor Israel – won’t be able to do whatever it wants so easily.

        2. Daniel,
          Israel would like nothing better that to be able to stay out of Syria however the question for Israel is “will the situation in Syria stay the Hell out of Israel”. Israel would like return to the status quo that existed prior to the revolt in Syria.
          Israel now needs to strike the right balance between being proactive and following her tried and trusted credo that the “offensive is the best defense” and the need to not unnecessarily aggravate anybody.
          From Israel’s point of view, Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict is, among other things, an attempt by Iran to place Israel in a compromising position such that any attack on Iran will bring about swift retaliation from a much strengthened hezbollah.

          1. @ Daniel F.: “Israel would like nothing better than to be able to stay out of Syria” — then perhaps it should start by withdrawing from the Golan.

            The historical record shows that Israel in fact loves occupying its neighbours — Palestine, Sinai, Lebanon, Syria; and there is no doubt in my mind that Israel will once again try to enter southern Lebanon if it thinks it can get away with it. Fortunately, regional “game changers” like Hezbollah have made such adventures much more costly for Israel, which is now forced to think twice.

            Can you blame Iran for trying to prevent an attack from Israel, whose government and media — and governments and media in allied countries — speculate every single day about striking or going to war with them? Russia, too, is acting to level the geopolitical situation, which is heavily tilted in favour of Israel, the spoilt brat of the West.

            Again, I have absolutely no sympathy for the Israeli position. They put themselves in this mess. Any further entanglement or blowback should prompt the immediate resignation of this government — of course, the sad truth is that Netanyahu would be elected all over again by the Israeli public.

            The more factors to restrict Israeli — and American — action in the region, the better.

          2. @ Daniel

            1) I do not suggest that you should have sympathy for Israel, what I write is by way of my explanation.
            Sentiment like “Israel wants complete regional hegemony” and “paranoia” are bandied about here but while
            they are not totally untrue they do not serve in truly understanding Israel’s motives and interaction with her

            2) Again, written by way of my explanation and not to curry sympathy I believe that Israel pays a price for her
            interference in the affairs of the Palestinians that she cannot afford, irrespective of international

            3) You say that Israel should withdraw from the Golan but I ask you, did Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon bring
            peace with Hezbollah?.

            4) I do not blame Iran for trying to prevent an attack from Israel.
            I do blame Iran for meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon and Syria, to the detriment of their citizens.

            5) As for the rebels in Syria ,and to quote Nietzsche from the link below from AL MONITOR
            “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster”

            Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-revolution-aleppo-assad.html#ixzz2UyHC2dnh

          3. @ Daniel F.: I understand that the broader spectrum of Israeli motivations also include such things as economic interests. However, the situation in Syria is a matter of such great geopolitical importance, of such enormous moral weight and of such high stakes that it is absurd to hide behind petty details like “insurance costs for flights”. War and peace — especially on a regional scale — cannot be something you make up as you go along, or shrug your shoulders at. The Knesset, just like every other government in the region, is playing chess with people’s lives. They can make all the excuses they like for their cynical, warmongering, destabilizing policies, but only the dwindling ranks of Zionist cheerleaders will listen.

            Let’s be clear: Israel never fully withdrew from Lebanon, and in fact still has not fully withdrawn, as it continues to occupy the Shebaa Farms. Perhaps if Israel actually and fully withdraws one day, we’ll find out how Hezbollah feels about it. Until then, the Lebanese resistance is justified.

            Regarding the Syrian rebellion, I’ve debated it with Mr Silverstein before and my position is no secret; I’m inclined to agree with (the thrust of) Dana and Davey’s points made below — even though I think, as I’ve said before and will freely reiterate, Assad is wrong for Syria, and morally and politically unacceptable as its leader, and must step down. However, that is not for me or any other outsider to decide, but solely for the Syrian people to judge and enact — just as removing and bringing to justice Saddam Hussein should have been a matter for the Iraqi people alone. And I will not support an uprising championed by Jabhat al-Nusra, funded by the Houses of Saud and Thani, armed by William Hague, aided by the IAF, and promoted by Hillary Clinton and al-Zawahiri.

          4. @Daniel
            There is nothing petty about money, indeed it is precisely because humanitarian interests are so often trampled upon in the quest for monetary gain that the world is the way it is. Money as a weapon is very effective. What superpower can remain one if it does not have the economy to match. The projection of power is a very expensive business.

            2) “The Knesset, just like every other government in the region, is playing chess with people’s lives”.
            What would you have them do?

            3) “Israel never fully withdrew from Lebanon”
            How Hassan Nasrallah must be so thankful that he can use those 8 square miles as an excuse, which for me just proves the point that for Hezbollah the problem is Israel’s very existence.

            4) ~Syrian self determination/leadership……”solely for the Syrian people to judge and enact”
            I totally agree with you, Sir! Let the Syrians decide their own fate unhindered by outsiders.

  2. This is about Israel’s belief that it should be able to do what it likes to whom when it suits and has little to do with the civil war. Israel wants to be able to fly over Syria without threat from sophisticated ground-to-air air defence systems. There is no other threat to Israel caused by Syria having these weapons. As for taking sides, my view is that Israel is doing what its benefactor, the US, tells it to do but it should mind the case of the devil you know. Part of ObL’s raison d’etre for al Qaeda was Israel’s suppression of the Palestinians now al Qaeda and Israel are allies? Al Qaeda has decided that Assad is worse than Israel?

    1. Israel’s problem with the S300 is not that will not allow Israeli jets to fly over Syria, but it could also shoot down aircraft in Israeli airspace as well.
      Also, t the radar system of the S-300 will put most if not all of the IAF bases under syrian surveillance and that’s a major inconvenience to Israel.

      I think that Richard’s analysis is correct, and that Assad is lying, simple because its very unlikely that Russia could supply the system so quickly, and the training of the soldiers to operate the system, learn it and adjust the logistics around this system should take months if not more than that.

    2. Al Qaeda’s traditional grudge against Western Democracy is that the West has never willingly toppled a tyrant in a Muslim country. If there ever was to be a deal, thwacking a few tyrants might be the starting price.

      It’s not necessarily Assad which Al Qaeda sees as “worse than Israel”, perhaps it is Iran, sponsors of Assad and Hezbollah which Al Qaeda truly dislikes? Assad’s other sponsor is Russia, and there’s not a shred of doubt where Al Qaeda, with many Chechen and Afghan associates, stands there!

      The West doesn’t want Russia back in the Middle East, but neither does Al Qaeda. Where there’s a common enemy, the most unlikely alliances become possible.

    3. Blabbaer,
      For Israel, this is about protecting her citizens from potential threats.
      I doubt that Israel truly believes that she should be able to do what she likes in the region.
      Israel needs to both protect her own interests and be seen to show respect for the rights of others in the region.
      As a humanitarian gesture, Israel has set up a field hospital on the Golan Heights to treat injured combatants.
      al Qaeda’s raisons d’être have more to do with the Islamic revival, the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the Soviet war in Afghanistan than Israel, which for al Qaeda is a convenient rallying point that generates knee jerk reactions.

      1. Israel’s preemptive “security” policy is unconstrained and rooted in paranoia which sells so easily to the guilty Israelis. The invasion and occupation and de facto annexation of the WB was merely “protecting” its citizens. Strikes on Iran and elsewhere in Africa and the ME are all the same thing. But, ok…only perhaps these “defensive” interludes may just be harder in the future if decent anti-air defenses are available to Lebanon and Syria.

        For the record: Of course Israel wants complete hegemony in the region. Even then, the paranoia would not be sated and the F-16’s and tanks and what not will look for new enemies, more people to kill.

        I am never impressed with Israel’s “humanitarian” gestures given what it has done and continues to do to another (blameless) people in Israel, the WB and Gaza. Nothing offsets the destruction of Palestine and its people.

  3. If the report is true, and Syria has indeed received these missiles from Russia, do you believe there will be an Israeli attack?
    If so, how do you think Russia will respond?

    1. This rhetoric doesn’t seem any stronger than the rhetoric stating they would attack Iran

    2. @Bob Mann: If Syria has the missiles, which is not a sure thing, Israel will attack Syria at the first opportunity. If it does, I think Israeli relations with Israel will be in the toilet. Though Putin is pragmatic enough to realize that he can’t afford to shut off relations with Israel entirely.

      1. Really, how is Russia depending of Israel? It is more likely that Israel can not afford shutting off relations with Russia. The trade between Russia and Israel is not vital to Israel or Russia. Russia is Israel’s 10th biggest trade partner. The Israeli Russian want to keep up relations with their birth country, but is it so certain that are the Russians of Russia ready to pay a high price for “this link”.

        It is highly unlikely that Russia would ship their best weapon export products to Syria unprotected. Russia will not let their arms trade cash cow be destroyed like the weapons of Soviet era in 1967 and 1973. The weapons are protected either by Russian warships and/or Russian personnel controlling and operating the operational S 300 system. The attack on these air defense missiles would be very expensive for Israel.

        On the other hand it was only the question of time, that Israels air superiority, on which its military success has based since 1956, was erased when the neighbors get modern competitive long range air defense. Egypt and Saudis are also interested in S 300 and S 400 systems. There are reports that Saudis discussing of buying S 400. Without air superiority Israelis have a completely new battlefield front of them and much more equal enemy.

        1. @SimoHurtta: I didn’t mean to say that Russia depended on Israel. In fact, you are right. It doesn’t. But I think that there are probably larger issues between them that Putin would weigh before striking Israel militarily. But then again, he might do so. In that case, Israel will have proven to have done something quite disastrous, which is quite possible.

  4. Reshaping the entire Strategic Environment of the New Middle East – with the very practical step of providing modern air defenses to countries such that they can protect themselves from Israeli attacks – would bring a whole new dimension of stability to the Middle East.

    Imagine two things – a Middle East without Israel and an Arab Spring having already overturned dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan Libya, Morocco, Bahrain and knocking on the doors of the Gulf Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran. That’s where we would be without American Neocons and Israel

    Modern effective air defenses means securing the Middle East states from Israeli attacks – it’s a whole new era

    That’s what these s300 air defense system are bringing about and why the Israelis are so frantic to try to stop it. They are also taking Iran ‘OFF THE TABLE’ for Israel

    This new stability in the Middle East is focused on Israel – the prevention of illegal Israeli attacks on each of her neighbors – and not on what Israel would love to have the world to believe – that is Iran which ‘must be attacked’ or Syria or Lebanon or this or that one of Netayahu’s ridiculous comic book red lines.

    The ending of Israeli Apartheid is really critical to the stability of the region as well as to the stability of Israel itself – defending Apartheid is what destabilizes Israel and her leaders and is what is at the basis of the constant Israeli/Neocon bellicosity we have witnessed for years now.

    1- Security of Lebanon and Syria from attack from Israel – later to include key countries in the region esp Iran and Iraq
    2- Ending of Israeli Apartheid
    3- Prevention of FURTHER Clean Break Plan goals – Neocon/Israeli overthrows of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon or other targets
    4- Removal of the Jordanian PlayStation King and popular Arab Spring removal of all other client state socks/dicatorship-‘monarchies’ in the region – eventually to include the prize – Saudi Arabia

  5. Putin did not sell and deliver this defensive systems to syria just for laughs.
    Russia has in place everything it needs to virtually eliminate israels entire airforce.

    and if you are listening Russia has said it will do exactly that if israel again attacks syria.

    these are dangerous times for israel because Putin is NOT bluffing he has seen enough!

    if…israel attacks it will be done without obamas blessing because i do not believe obama will start a war with russia over this.

    i tell you Putin and his top military men can not wait to finally strike back at israels and americas aggression.

    will israel commit suicide or not?

    my guess is they AND obama realize Putin means what he says.

  6. I am sure that if the phased-array radar associated with these missiles were switched on in Syria, Israel would know immediately, as would American and British signals intelligence installations in the Sovereign Base areas on Cyprus.
    (Remember the fuss when Cyprus attempted to acquire similar missiles, which would have been within range of the approach pattern for Ankara airport?)

    Everyone is talking as if these were super weapons, to which the West has no possible answer. They’ve been known about for nigh on twelve years, so I really wouldn’t bet on that one.

    Phased array radars are much more resistant to mechanical damage than conventional ones, but the basic physics involved may allow jamming and spoofing attacks which exploit the phased-array beam steering itself. The Italian partners on the Eurofighter’s electronic warfare suite certainly seemed to think so, and that was about ten years ago now.

    If I were asked to make a guess as to Russia’s real motive in supplying this weapon to Assad, I’d say it was being done in order to find out HOW the West might take out an active battery of such missiles, rather than whether or not they can. So there’s probably a lot of covert Russian electronic monitoring equipment on its way as well. This may be an argument for a creative approach which doesn’t necessarily reveal the preferred option for all-out war.

    1. Everyone is talking as if these were super weapons, to which the West has no possible answer. They’ve been known about for nigh on twelve years, so I really wouldn’t bet on that one.

      Fred – check this out – this is what NATO is saying about the s300 – that they perform with a ‘HIGH LEVEL OF SUCCESS’ despite a complex ECM/EMS(Jamming) envirionment

      NATO exercises in 2005 against s300s from the Slovak Air Force showed that even in a complex ECM/EMS environment the s300s performed with a HIGH LEVEL OF SUCCESS’ (in being able to down top of the line US/NATO aircraft, in other words)

      (From their report of the 2005 NATO Trial Hammer Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses SEAD missions in which they practiced against Slovak Air Force s300s)

      1. Okay, that’s eight years ago, assuming it was completely true at the time.
        It’s not the strength or volume of the jamming, but its sophistication, that counts.
        Extra kilowatts will not compensate for the wrong waveform, the right waveform will stop the phased-array being able to steer beams and correctly determine where a return comes from, rather than blotting the whole sky out in mush, which is what a conventional jammer does to a conventional radar.

        The Italians clearly realized this a decade ago, but it might have taken a few years and a shock or two for the message to penetrate the Pentagon’s “not invented here” defence system against new ideas.

  7. Richard, I can’t believe you are taking the side of the cannibals and the Saudi/Qatari/turkey/US/Israel axis which is intent on destroying Syria and breaking it up into factions. What evidence do you have to sustain your “butcher from damascus” epithet? claims from the so-called “Observer” mission in London or the triply mis-named “free” “Syria ” “army” who have become notorious for their poorly constructed propaganda, including those “chemical” weapon claims? in what way is Asssad worse than the fat greedy kings of the golf states? what have you got against the Syrian people who are doing all the suffering as a result of the external armed intervention in their country?

    May be you should read a little of the cogent analysis offered at moonofalabama.org which appears to have a more astute inside knowledge of the situation not just in Syria but also understands the machinations the west has brought upon to destroy the country of Syria. This site has done great service, helping debunk the most egregious propaganda mounted by the Western “exile” rebels and their saudi–supported Al–Quada friends.

    There was a recent interview with a “leader’ of the original peaceful demonstrations against Assad’s government in Aleppo, one who calls himself Edward Dark (nom-de-guerre). he described the situation in “rebel” (cf cannibal?) -occupied Aleppo as thousand times worse than anything assad has wrought and has become seriously disillusioned with the armed terrorism that has engulfed the occupied part of the city. He described the “rebels” as a collection of unhappy disgruntled people from the impoverished, rural countryside of Syria, who are intent not on democratic governance but on revenge. The occupied part of Aleppo has in fact been looted, terrorized and all but destroyed, and that without Assad lifting a finger.

    Are the armed forces of the Syrian government angels? of course not. But they are up against an absolutely horrendous plot to destroy the country from within and without through a truly unappetizing alliance between the worst despots in the Gulf, the zionist occupation regime hell bent on destroying Iran (an existential threat!) and the most mis-guided, naive collection of pretend-humanitarian interventionists in the West who are committed to carrying the White man’s burden. Apolgists for the old colonial regimes of France/UK along with the killer-drone wielders Empire’s apologists. A fine assortment indeed.

    Behind the concerted campaign against the secular Assad, is a rag-tag alliance of islamists, salafists, badly misguided Turkish faction, israel’s working towards building it’s much coveted corridor elf to attack Iran and keep the Golan heights (and perhaps expand further), and the naivite and disingenuousness of the “liberal”, “humanitarian” interventionists in the west. idiots like Anne marie Slaughter (apt name there – may be she could go see how her “rebels” slaughter civilians they don’t like or who are just in the way) hand in hand with the ever silly John mcCain, posing for pictures with known terrorist kidnappers. i wish, these humanitarians/empire peddlers – Slaughter, Graham, McCain and even Juan Cole (at his worst at least) could be shipped to Syria for a month stay as august “observers” (or may be in the role of advisors to Al-Nusra?). At least the liberal hawks would know what it’s like to have skin in the game.

    OTOH, Russia has been playing it’s hand masterfully. It now seems the “opposition” has failed to reach an agreement about attending Geneva II? having spent nearly a week airing it’s total disarray providing a much welcome entertainment for a weary world to see.

    1. @Dana: Cannibal? You want to talk about cannibalism? Firing missiles on entire civilian neighborhoods? Massive firing on unarmed demonstrators at the beginning of the revolt before the oppostion armed? Destroying your entire country in order to maintain the corrupt, brutal lifestyle to which you, your cronies and tribe have become accustomed?

      You call one horrific incide4nt by one insane rebel fighter any comparison to that? If so, you’ve taken leave of any semblance of balance.

      in what way is Asssad worse than the fat greedy kings of the golf states?

      Because Assad rules his country and not the Gulf States. Nor do they rule Syria. They may be intervening in SYria, but they would not be if Assad had responded differently to the original peaceful revolt. It was Assad’s bloodthirstiness that drew outsiders into the conflict. There is one simply way to end outside intervention: get rid of Assad or create some agreement with the Opposition that will satisfy it. Barring that, it will be a fight to the finish & Assad will not win.

      the Syrian people who are doing all the suffering as a result of the external armed intervention in their country?

      It’s simply unbelievable that you refuse to assign blame where it belongs. THere were no external forces intervening in the beginning. It was only as a result of Assad’s butchery that they did so. I simply find it extraordinary that you’ve become an apologist for such a tyrant. I can understand “a pox on both their houses,” though I wouldn’t agree with it. But taking sides with Assad is beyond the Pale.

      the cogent analysis offered at moonofalabama.org

      Not to mention your offering Bernhardt’s (Moon of Alabama) “analysis” as probative. Though some of his work is creditable (& I even said so here in the past), he also has a bit of an obsessive compulsive disorder about other issues. He’s a mean-spirited rhetorical brutalist. Though I don’t know him, clearly their are demons at work there. He began calling me an agent of the Mossad and stalking me online. He confused nitpicking over minutiae with analysis of overall issues. This is the source you want to offer as having the best discussion of the issues? I’m afraid if he’s the best you can offer, your cause is truly hopeless. I unfortunately had to ban him even because he simply wanted to argue ad nauseam on the same picayune subjects.

      You offer an anecdotal account by a single supposed former rebel leader who’s turned against them? And that indicative of what? That you have overall evidence of any large-scale phenomenon? You don’t even know who this fellow is, let alone what he’s done in the past. And you credit him as your authority on the brutality of the rebels? The fact that you even need to undermine the early stage of the peaceful revolt in Syria is sickening and morally bankrupt.

      an absolutely horrendous plot to destroy the country from within and without

      Sounds like Assad to me. You’re welcome to Assad, you can have him. But you won’t find any sympathy here for your views, nor for your good pal, Bernhardt.

      i wish, these humanitarians/empire peddlers – Slaughter, Graham, McCain and even Juan Cole (at his worst at least) could be shipped to Syria for a month

      This is almost word for word the language used by Israeli nationalists who “sentence me” to a week or month in Israel where they’ll be happy to show me the perfidy of the Arab enemy and the existential dangers faced by the settlers. There is a reason why your language mirrors theirs. Because you too have become trapped in the rhetoric of apology for tyranny.

      Further, your embrace of another tyrant, Russia’s Putin, as a “masterful” player goes even farther in defining the bankruptcy of your cause.

      I really don’t think there’s much more to talk about with you. I must say I never expected to read such delusion from you, someone whose views I appreciated and valued in the past. But then again, I once felt that way about Bernhardt himself. YOu’ve apparently drunk his Kool Aid.

      1. I don’t know — I think Dana has a point. The epithet of “bloodthristy” characterized Sadam as well and helped launch the US into Iraq, ruining the country for Iraqis except for getting rid of Sadam. Today, 30 more dead in a civil bombing in Iraq. You recall the long list of Sadam’s viciousness against “his own people” as the MSM emphasized. You are siding with a very bad group each with an agenda that has nothing to do with making anything nice for Syrians, least of all the US or Israel who will likely rue the day they handed Syria over to extremists. If the US/Israel/Saudi axis prevails, Syria will be an Iraq, nearer again to the stone age and still in a civil war. This is not desirable.

        And putting a damper on Israel’s dominance of the skies would be a giant step toward actual stability in the region and one can only hope these anti-aircraft weapons find good safe homes in Lebanon and Syria.

      2. Alas, Richard, it sure seems like we fiercely disagree on this one. I appreciate your detailed response and frankly, happen to think that there is a place for such debates. may be not on your blog, I agree. just to clarify a few things 9for what it’s worth, may be not much) my take on Syria and related events is really very simple – regardless of whatever is said by MOA or the “interventionists”, humanitarian or otherwise. The key points::

        1. what started as possible rumblings of the Arab Spring with relatively peaceful demonstrations in Aleppo was hijacked by foreign entities and turned – deliberately and methodically into a “sectarian war”. the purpose of which can be readily surmised from the list of participants in the supply-line to the Jihadists, now comprising the majority of “fighters” on the ground in Syria.

        2. Assad for sure over-reacted to the demonstrations – something he must by now regret. This over-reaction was however exploited as a fuse to light up an armed “insurrection” exploiting the existing inequities in Syria (between rural poor and urban not so poor).

        3. The collusion between reactionary and regressive saudi Arabia/UAE axis, israel which has its own designs, and “progressive”interventionists in the west should give any of us a serious pause. What is it they say about lying down with dogs and waking up with fleas?

        4. To support my take on the dubious bed-fellows here – I bring Exhibit A: Bahrain. now where are all the interventionists on that one? last I noticed the crack-down on perfectly peaceful demonstrations for simply greater rights in Bahrain was truly brutal – far more so than anything Assad did. Now, why the incredible silence in the western media (other than a little tsek-tsek here and there)? why haven’t France/UK/US/Israel rushed to arm the rebels in Bahrain? where are the congressional hearings about the tortured bahraini doctors? could it possibly be because the demonstrators were mostly disempowered shiites (now a majority in bahrain)? now, it wouldn’t have anything to do with oil, would it?

        5. Exhibut B: Yemen. why exactly the arrangement in yemen (where the “tyrant” stepped down to be replaced by someone from the same side, following elections in which no other candidates appeared on the ballot) did not draw the wide condemnations we saw over Syrian “rigged” elections” or the Russian ‘tainted” elections? or the suppression of the “Green”s in Iran?. Somehow I must have missed the raucous noise for democracy and the rights of the majority in selecting their leaders in Yemen’s case. Oh yes, do I see SA peeking behind the screen again, uncle sam at his side? must be my fervent imagination…

        5. davey’s point above should again give us a pause (not that I agree with davey in general). Assad and his government were similar to Saddam’s Iraq in many ways, but with Saddam by far the worse “tyrant”, on a “tyrany scale’ that the west is ever so good to provide. The real mission in Iraq – as we can all see – was to break up that country and weaken it – in that the invasion succeeded quite spectacularly. Now it’s Syria’s turn to suffer the same fate? next in line in Bush’s axis of evil, perhaps? That it did not quite turn out so well for Iraqis is a moot point. The “real mission” is considered accomplished. Now all that’s left is to continue to fan the sectarian flames – make sure Iraq does not become a strong country again. Anyways, what’s with the strange silence of the pundits about what’s going on in Iraq now?

        6. I agree it is truly ironic that Putin’s Russia seems like the more realistic and competent agent vis-a-vis the carefully calibrated moves in Syria. I do chuckle at my own praise of his chess game. Nonetheless I know what the neoliberal forces did to russia under yeltsin, and frankly i can see why Putin continues to enjoy the wide support he does in Russia, by the Russians (if not from us out in the “west”).

        7. All that being said, I am kind of surprised at my own take on Syria, bahrain, yemen, Libya etc. For sure I supported – wholeheartedly the wests’s original intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. I was also inclined to support the intervention in Libya. based on what I’ve been reading (and not at MOA either), I have cause to revisit my own position on Libya – there was more there than met the eye, as we are all now finding out. Maybe each country is truly unique, I am now thinking. May be I – like many – am swayed by Qadafi cutting the unattractive figure he did as compared with the seemingly intelligent and rational-sounding Assad. May be. But then, like everyone else here, I am just an observer on these events. My ultimate cause are to help in whatever way i can the cause of Palestinian rights and hopefully, help prevent or at least draw out the fate israel has prepared for them.

        Apologies for the long post and the typos. Please don’t feel obliged to spend time responding. I put my thoughts on whatever blog I happen to read as the inspiration moves me. Won’t blame you one bit for not wishing to carry on, or even if you prefer not to post this response. Also, i think it would be surprising – may be even disturbing – if we agreed on everything?

        Finally, i didn’t realize you had issues with MOA – wasn’t following.

        1. I am surprised too at your own take on Syria. I’m not dismissing some justification for your point of view. It is indeed worrying that the jihadists & Al Qaeda are playing a prominent role in the opposition. I hope that when Assad is overthrown there can be a government installed that maintains a semblance of ethnic & Islamic diversity. But on no account do I believe that the sins of the rebels, whatever they may be, can be compared in intensity, damage or lethality to those of Assad.

          I also think “intelligent & rational sounding” gives Assad far too much credit. Just because he was schooled in Switzerland and wasn’t a 2 bit thug like his father & dead brother doesn’t mean he isn’t essentially cut from the same cloth.

          I do hope our strong disagreements on this don’t overwhelm our agreements on many other matters.

          1. “But on no account do I believe that the sins of the rebels, whatever they may be, can be compared in intensity, damage or lethality to those of Assad.”

            One can’t be that black and white in calling one side’s murder more lethal or more intense than another’s. Out of the 80’000 reported dead, over 40’000 are Alawites in a country where 75% of the population is Sunni. That in itself shows a hugely disproportionate targeting and murder of Shia muslims, and no-one is asking the question of how that reconciles with the thesis of a massive government crackdown by an Alawite dictator. At the very least, it shows a 1:1 kill ratio which supports the position that the rebels are just as bad as Assad.

            There is no moral high ground in murder.

        2. @ Dana
          How can you write “Assad for sure over-reacted to the demonstrations – something he must by now regret” when this is the way Syria has been ruled for the last 40 years.
          The ‘intelligent and rational-sounding Assad” must be a joke. The guy is plain stupid, he doesn’t even have the guts to look into the camera when he’s lying. He’s only where he is because he’s the son of his father – much more intelligent – and because his brother died. “Intelligent”, first time I heard that about the lion cub.
          “Top Goon. Diaries of a Little Dictator” has a perfect portrayal of the guy. They’re hardly exagerating. This episode “Who wants to kill a million” is a perfect introduction to Bashar al-Assad:

          1. Deir Yassin, it sure looks like the Gulf state/Israel/West alliance to destroy Syria has the potential to split those who support the palestinians’ cause. Right down the middle, I fear. perhaps that was the idea behind arming the Jihadis who are injected into Syria, in the first place. Armed and monied to the hilt with Saudi Arabian/UAE currency and salafst/Wahabist ideologies, these are the ones who hijacked the Syrian “Spring”. left to their own devices, there were other ways of supporting the Syrian people’s quest for more equitable system of government. I am convinced that in due course, Assad, would have slowly relented and loosened the grips of the iron rule. Yes, there would have been suppression, but if the revolt was of and by the people, no ruler could stand it for long. Check out what happened in Egypt (even though it hasn’t quite turned out well for the people – yet. But at least the country is still intact and there are no 100’s of thousands of Egyptian refugees streaming across borders). I can’t help but wonder whether things would have turned out the same for Egypt if the Muslim brotherhood did not get the support of Quatar/SA.

            I understand where Richard is coming from – originally I supported the demonstrations against Assad’s rule as well, and was hoping to see a turn for the better in terms of reform and democratization. I turned against the armed foreign-supported battle which had a clear, unmistakable agenda of turning this into a civil war, and have arrived at my current position after reading – extensively – about who those “rebels” are and what they have done to the people of Syria in the areas they came to control. There are basically no positive stories coming out from “rebel” controlled areas, other than more oppression, more refugees and more looting and more death. We have absolutely no reason to believe that what is planned for a post-Assad Syria will be in any way better for the people of Syria. As in ALL the people, not just a replacement of one ruling sect by another.

            There is a reason Assad could make the decisive move against Al-Qusair now and not before. per the transcript of the interview he gave to al-manar, Assad pointed out quite rationally, that any serious assaults on rebel strongholds made had to be made against a backdrop of turn-around in the Syrian people’s views of the conflict. In other words, before he felt sufficiently confident of the majority of the Syrian people’s backing, any major assault on rebel/Jihadi-controlled territory had the potential to be counterproductive. especially given the PR panache the so-called “rebels” were armed with. that level of comprehension of the conflict’s parameters bespeaks of intelligence, whether one likes the guy or not.

          2. @Deir Yassin I am interested in the Palestinian cause. It seems to me that there is nothing in the rebel agenda that could possibly help or promote this ca;use. Assad, at least, has the virtue of not being fundamentalist and not being a US stooge indulgent of Israel. I am curious then what you have said or would say about Saddam Hussein: Have you seen any benefit accruing to the Palestinian cause by virtue of his eradication in Iraq? I don’t and I don’t see anything good coming of a rebel victory in Syria backed as it is by Israel and the US. I’d travel a wide route around any policy supported by these players.

          3. @ Dana
            I’m not into discussing various conspiracies. I was only pointing out that calling Bashar al-Assad ‘intelligent and rational-sounding’ sounds pretty hilarious to me.

            As far as I’m concerned the regime is the primary responsible for what is happening in Syria. They gunned down peaceful protesters in Latakia in March 2011, all while directly accusing the Palestinian refugees there of fueling sectarian strife. Maybe you forgot that, I didn’t.
            And I’m not really into comparing Tunisia with Egypt, and Egypt with Syria, and Syria with Bahrein etc. Each case is different, and so are the ethnic-religious compositions of the countries, and Moubarak is not the Syrian regime and vice-versa.
            Budour Youssef Hassan, a Palestinian female anarchist wrote something deeply moving in an article on the “Syrian Uprising seen through Palestinian Eyes”
            “The Syrian regime has done nothing to liberate the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, let alone Palestine, but even if it were the only entity in the world capable of liberating our land, we must stand against it.
            You can never achieve your liberation on the blood of your brethen and with the aid of the very regime that denies your fellow men and women their most basic rights”. Amïn.
            Ibrahim Qashush that she’s mentioning is the Syrian activist who lead the peaceful protests in Hama with his song “Yalla Irhal Ya Bashar” before being killed by the regime.

          4. Davey, again I agree with your take here, as I see the palestinians; most of whom are sunnis, as being caught in the middle of the sectarian strife, not of their making. I did consider it an extremely positive development that Shiite-dominated countries and groups provided the most support to an uprooted people who happen to be sunni. Such cross-sectarian support is to be lauded, not pulled asunder. The strife in Syria is an especially heart-breaking turn of events for the Palestinian refugees, who, like him or not, were relatively well treated in Assad’s Syria, just as they were under Saddam’s Iraq. I think, while the reasons for such positive treatment may be less than purely humanitarian, and the palestinian plight was manipulated by any and all, the facts are what they are.

            I believe there are forces trying to pull the palestinians into a more sectarian orbit, which is disturbing. The recent actions by hamas seem certainly counter-productive, and one can wonder what pressures were applied. Presumably hamas felt it could afford to lose the support of Iran and the protective umbrella of Hezbollah because Saudi Arabia promised to make up the difference – as along as hamas turned against Assad. this is clearly part of a gambit to bring palestinians into wahabist orbit, never mind their independence or the struggle against the creeping ethnic cleansing mounted by israel. Unfortunately for Hamas, this will likely not turn out so well for them, saudi Arabia/Turkey not being the most reliable of allies. They allowed themselves to be used as pawns, played for profit by those with narrow parochial agendas. This may turn out to have been a foolish move. In due course, i am sure we’ll all be finding out about tacit “understandings” between SA and israel. it’s a shame that at the moment at least, the parameters of this “understanding” are clear only to relatively few of us, the rest being content to sing from the jihadi/neoconish kumbaya song book.

          5. @ Davey
            First, as far as I know, Saddam, a cruel dictator if any, was removed by a foreign colonial-type intervention, and NOT by Iraqis rising to protest his regime.
            Secondly, do you only look at the Syrian ‘case’ through the Palestinian cause ? You don’t care about the Syrian people per se ? You dismiss the hundreds of thousands who protested peacefully during the first months of the revolts, of whom many were killed by the mere fact of protesting ? And you don’t think these peaceful protesters were ‘pro-Palestinian’ ? Don’t you think the Syrian people has the right to choose their own leaders, ? Do you know what living in Syria has been like, also for Palestinians ? In Tadmur Prison (Palmyra), there was a special ‘Palestinian section’. And forget the propaganda about Assad being the champion of the Palestinian cause. Not to mention the Mahar Arar-case.
            The opposition to the regime is not uniform, people like Michel Kilo, Haitham Manna and others have nothing to do with US and Qatari-funded rebels.
            For example: Salameh Kaileh (there’s an article about him on Jadaliyya) is a brilliant (Christian) Palestinian (critical) marxist intellectual, born in Bir Zeit, who lived for decades in Syria. He’s always been equally critical of Zionism, US imperialism and the reactionnary Arab forces (including many ‘left-winged’): he spend 8 years in jail under Assad-the-Father, and joined the uprising from the beginning. He was arrested last year, awfully tortured (again), and dumped off on the Jordanian border.
            Those are the kind of people that I trust in: and I fully agree with Budour Hassan that I linked to above, adding; a dictator who oppresses his own people can’t possibly be for the liberation of another people.
            Omar Chakaki aka Omar Offendum: #Syria (look till the end). And Omar Offendum is very engaged in the Palestinian cause….

  8. It is laughable for Israel to fantasize about striking a Russian shipment at a Russian naval base. The S300 will be delivered to Tartus and there is nothing Israel will do about it. What Israel will do is make strikes against Syrian military & government buildings in Syria, claiming that they attacked weapons shipments being transferred to Hezbollah.

    1. That is most likely the correct analysis i.e. the Russians will set up these S-300 systems in Tartus, meaning that they will be made operational under the missile defence umbrella of Russian warships.

      Then – and only then – will they be handed over to the Syrians.

      Israel will therefore do what they are so singularly good at i.e. smack down some other ill-defended and generally valueless target while spinning some yarn about
      a) how vital that smouldering wreck was for Assad/Nassrallah/Ahmadinejad/you-name-it, and
      b) how daring their can-do fly-boys are at reducing that Absolutely Vital Target to rubble.

      It’ll all be bulls**t.

      The target will be chosen because of its lack of defences, and the reason why it will be attacked will be nothing more than that the Israeli leadership with be infuriated, and the only way they know to feel better about themselves is to drop some bombs on someone.

  9. So, how much of this “Syrian missile crisis” is an edited modern-day version of the Cuban missile crisis? Luck had a lot to do w/ the latter not turning into a nuclear holocaust.

  10. Todays Russia is different than Jelzins from 90s. Putin wants to have Russia a world player, something he could not afford on start of his carrier. Assad is just one of his moves on a way to reach that goal. It is tealing that he did not furfill agreement with Iran over this same type of weapons, but will do with Syria. He feeels strong enaf to go on with war of strategic moves, but I belive if Israel attacks russian personel or warship Putin will go to war. It is on Israel to chose what to do next.

    1. If the Israelis were so rash as to attack Russian shipments or actual Russian naval units and defy Russia to respond meaningfully, I would expect Putin to lob a series of ballistic missiles into Dimona, atomic or otherwise, and cripple the Israeli nuclear deterrent. Game reset in the Middle East.

  11. Israel : The mouse that roared, I am amazed as an Israeli, that the world takes us so seriously, Israel is a paper tiger, I know that because I live here for more than 40 years. This country has no future, in a few decades it will be swollen by an Islamic entity that we Israelies helped to develop in our refusal to the two state solution.

  12. I too must agree with elements of Dana’s comment. The destruction of Syria was intentional from the moment Bush invaded Iraq against the wishes of the Saudi King and crown-prince Abdullah. The shift in political power by the Maliki tyranny in Baghdad, forced the hand of the GCC states and Turkey to look after their own interests.

    Qatar has very selfish interests with their gas pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey wants the economic ties and oil of Iraq’s northern Kurds, Saudi Arabia gives religious support to any and all of the true faith of Islam.

    Israel realized quite late that Assad’s overthrow would offer opportunities, but also danger to its national interest.

    The US just didn’t want to get into another military conflict and put misplaced trust in NATO allies Turkey, Great Britain and France. The theory of the Libya option failed miserably. Hillary “neocon” Clinton and Susan Rice expected Medvedev and Russia to roll over by applying enough political pressure and sustained propaganda from their MSM.

    Besides the neocon manifesto, great article on how the Saudis were undermining Syrian society in the past decade. The succes of preaching the Wahhabist version of Islam in western mosques is a matter of daily news and statistics. Besides the hundreds of European nationals traveling to Syria for Jihad, the “lone wolf” attacks in Boston, London, Amsterdam and Toulouse offer the best illustration.

    1. Qui, thanks for that article on the educational indoctrination in Syria towards wahabism. That was really enlightening – and quite a propo, given what we see (as little of it that we have seen) of the make-up of the so-called “rebels”. One can’t help but wonder whether the entire campaign to tear up Syria as now unfolding was just an attempt to put in place some kind of a sectarian end game.

      We, out in the West, who are not muslim, know woefully little of the forces that continue to whip up sectarian fires within. We tend to dismiss the sunni/shiite divide, seeing it a bit like catholicism vs protestanism – conveniently forgetting how bloody those battles were in the Europe of old. Looking at it from the outside we tend to see all muslims as made of one cloth, though the reality is quite different. Also we have been swayed by the fact that sunnis and shiites in different countries had – over centuries – learnt to live side by side, more or less peacefully. Clearly, there was huge resentment when one sect (Saddam’s for example) came to rule over another )the shiites of Iraq), depriving them of rights and access to the country’s wealth. We often don’t realize how complicated things can get when class warfare is intertwined with tribal and sectarian politics. I think that is partly what we saw going on in Syria.

      Agree with the gist of your other comments. And thanks for interjecting. IMO, this debate over Syria is important – when the wrappings of “bad tyrant” vs “bad jihadists” are lifted, what we have is the reality of geopolitical power plays. Though some may conclude I have somehow turned into a fan of Assad, my reasons for speaking up are that I try to be consistent in putting the interests of the people above whatever heart-felt revulsion against this or that tyrant are. My studies of history led to a deep distrust of all bloody revolutions. In the end they often gain more blood -letting, long before any actual rights for the people come to pass.

      In this context, Assad’s intelligence and legitimacy of rule are basically on par with what we see among despotic rulers in many Arab countries, including Jordan, SA, yemen etc. If Deir Yassin for example supports removal of tribally propped despotic strong-men by tearing countries apart, then presumably he/she wouldn’t object to doing the same in Bahrain as in Syria? except that there is no such call, is there? That’s part of what i ask for – consider that what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. And it is the act of tearing people asunder that is problematic. To me, in the end, people matter more than arguing over shades of of tyrany. that is why i also will not support an outsider-driven armed campaign to depose the Bahraini despot monarchs or the saudis or the Abdullah king in Jordan, no matter how unappetizing they and their rule are. “Kings” have never been my favorites but neither are bloody, foreign-manipulated “revolutions” that end up wreaking more havoc on the very people they professed to help (Case in point: Russia and the Bolshevik take-over. yes, i would have supported the Mansheviks at the time, which would not have been the same as supporting the Czar. Though that would have probably resulted in an untimely demise, so just as well to be here now than there then).

      1. @ Dana
        “If Deir Yassin for example supports removal of tribally propped despotic strong-men by tearing countries apart, then he/she presumably wouldn’t object to doing the same in Bahrain as in Syria ?”
        Could you please find anything in my comments that indicates that I might support the “tearing apart” of Syria ? Only a few days ago I wrote that maybe one of the long-term results of what’s going on could be the breaking down of borders created by Western colonialism. Personally I would love to see the renaissance of Bilad as-Shâm. Bashar al-Assad and his disgusting regime are primary responsible for the ongoing destruction of Syria.
        And talking about Bahrain is really using one of the hasbara procedures. How could you even imagine that I don’t support the overtrhow of the Bahraini regime ? Did we ever discuss that here ?

        1. deir yassin “Could you please find anything in my comments that indicates that I might support the “tearing apart” of Syria?” not literally, of course. But effectively that’s what would happen to Syria if it is broken up along sectarian lines. The kurds want to do their own thing, the Sunnis want their “day in the sun”, which will likely go extreme islamist (see the interesting article Qui brought up above) and the Allawites will want their own piece of the action. The winners of this will be the extreme zionist state, which is laboring under pressure by its own, rapidly increasing fundamentalists. Strangely enough the wahabbis and the ultra-orthodox jews have quite a bit in common.

          So where are the palestinians in all this? anywhere at all?

          Frankly, I think that were you to try some dispassioned, level-headed analysis of the various forces vying with each other for control in the ME, you may end up concluding, as I head, that the loss of Syria as a soverign, unified country, will herald a much greater loss for the palestinians.

          Are you sure you are not coming from a sectarian place? siding with sunnis against the more secular-oriented allawites? I have no proof that this is so, but the strong sentiments expressed in your post make me wonder. sometimes I wonder what’s really going on under the surface among those who profess solidarity for the Palestinian cause.

          An aside: no, I don’t want to do hasbara a la “look there, not here” but bahrain is a good example comparing with Syria, the protests there being coincident in time and also considered symptomatic of the Arab spring. I bring up bahrain because of the different ways saudi Arabia (with the US in tow) chose to intervene in the two places. propping up a despotic regime in one place, sending in the worst of the jihadis to bring down an equally despotic regime in another place. the main difference? Sunnis ruling in one case, Allawites in another. So yes, one can be excused for drawing attention to the obvious contrast and seriously questioning the SA/Quatar motives on Syria.this is not hasbara as much as it is a case begging for comparative analysis.

          one can oTOH, look at Assad’s misdeeds. OTOH, one can look at the strange alliance formed against him, and ask what is it that unites such seemingly disparate entities – SA/Quatar/Israel/US/France/UK – the same alliance that went after Quaddafi, obviously trying for a repeat? Being ever so conspiracy minded, perhaps I choose to do the latter, but it is legitimate to ask why you don’t find that israel/SA/US neoconut axis a bit suspicious. Surely you don’t expect us all to believe that this any operators within this bizzare alliance really care that much about Syria? and if you are willing to fall into lock step with the jihadi-wielding despots, and the neocon destroyers of Iraq, you should not be surprised if some of us look somewhat askance at your professed support for the Palestinians.

          1. @ Dana
            “Are you sure you’re not coming from a sectarian place ? Siding with Sunnis against the more-secular oriented Alawites ? (…..) You should not be surprised if some of us look somewhat askance at your professed support for the Palestinians”
            This is simply a joke ! Who are those “us” a part from you ? My grand-parents were expelled from Palestine (you know, the place where you grew up…..) so don’t you question my support for the Palestinian cause. And I’m much closer to the PFLP than to Hamas. You apparently haven’t read any of my comments on this blog but just judge from what I think about Syria. Amazing ! After two or three comments, you are capable of ‘questioning my support for the Palestinians’. Did you ever bother to look into what Palestinians – including those who live in Syria – think.

            If I’m coming from a sectarian place ? Isn’t that wonderful ? That’s why Christian Palestinian intellectuals as Azmi Bishara and Salameh Kaileh support the revolts in Syria, that’s why well-known Alawites as Samar Yazbek and Fadwa Suleiman are against the regime. The Assad-regime on the contrary has never been ‘sectarian’.
            I realize why I’ve never felt like commenting on Mondoweiss….too much binary ‘thinking’ around.

          2. @Deir Yassin:

            I realize why I’ve never felt like commenting on Mondoweiss….too much binary ‘thinking’ around.

            That’s a subject I could talk long about. But I agree completely with you in this.

          3. I’d be curious to know. Mondoweiss is a valuable site, lots of good articles, Phil writes some good stuff on his ‘Jewish heritage’ too, the daily update with news concerning Palestine is valuable, but the comment section has simply run out of control, the same people ‘discussing’ the same stuff year after year. And the conspiracy theories have a high standing. And I’ve noticed that when there’s an article actually dealing with Palestinian living conditions or Palestinian culture (written by a Palestinian for example), there’re only a few comments. Some valuable commenters around, though, and Annie is doing a great job, and really cares about the Palestininas, so do Phil and Adam.

  13. Eventually all things change. Israeli dominance, other than strategic, is a result of Israeli technology and US provisions with forgiven military sales. Right now most of the Arab countries have great internal problems with the rise of a stronger Muslim groundswell; corrupt leadership; and frustration with the inability to see change in all things from human rights to a Palestinian-Israeli settlement. They are in disarray politically while still having enough weapons to cause many Israeli deaths if conflict arises. Their armies have been trained much better as have their air forces by Britain, the US, and even Russia. Israeli cannot do as it wishes forever. Remember at one time only the US had nuclear weapons, then the list of countries having them grew.

    Iran is not an Arab country but shares with many the Shiite version of Islam. Will they develop nuclear capabilities? Probably no matter what posturing by the US or Israel. Can any other opponent or peace agreement neighbor of Israel purchase or obtain such weapons? Probably in time.

    Russia under Putin is staking their role in the Middle East by supporting their weapon sales clients. No, Russia is not going to bomb or invade Israel but they certainly would suffer fatalities in any Israeli strike and would react with planes, weapons or getting permission from Assad to put Russian troops in Syria to protect his regime.

  14. Daniel F: Words like “paranoia” and “hegemony” do explain Israel’s specific aims of its many incursions into the sovereign territory of neighbors (and elsewhere, of course,) but they are a good backdrop or foundation for starting to piece together its motivations. Second — of course withdrawing from Lebanon did not bring “peace” with Hezbollah and that was not the intent in any case. Neither was the withdrawal from Gaza a peace gesture. Israel has never made a meaningful peace offer but has used a “peace process” to further the occupation, and increase violence against Palestinian. The only peace Israel is interested in is the one in which it grabs the whole of Palestine (and then some) and Palestinians are reduced to a token handful in the extended state. In short, peace for Israel means surrender for Palestinians forever.

    Sadam and Assad may both be rated murderous villains but they share the virtue of maintaining secular regimes that are outside the US/Israeli orbit, major pluses by any calculation, even the calcs of torture and wanton executions. US/Israeli intervention in Syria now will have the result of opening Syria to fundamentalists, endless civil strife, devastated infrastructure and military impotence, all in the service of an Israeli Pax and US commercial interests. Can anyone point to a different future should US assisted rebellion succeed? Iraq is all the proof anyone can reasonably require.

  15. @Deir Yassin — I certainly don’t question your support for Palestinians. Frankly, I come to this blog to be straighten out, to be challenged and get “it” better! Sure, I understand the liberation of one is necessary to the liberation of the other and all of that talk. BUT — in the hard world of real political goals one needs to choose where and how to achieve some movement toward a particular goal. A freedom movement in Syria would, of course, redound to Palestine, but what are the chances of this interventionist mess in Syria resulting in a liberated, non-sectarian outcome? While the US and Israel do not want chaos in Syria, they wouldn’t mind an outcome of political/geographic impotence either. And this seems probable to me, given the array of forces at work. Again and again I see really obnoxious political elements rising to the surface and controlling events. In short — the position of Palestinians is so horrible, so critical, so unacceptable, that it is worth bedding with bad guys if doing so represents any sort of defiance of Israel, if it costs Israel resources and energy to confront. I would resurrect Hussein if I could simply because he had the temerity to fire scuds into the heart of Zion, pushing back in a dramatic way.

  16. @Dana — Interesting comments on the Hamas arrangement with Saudis. Hard to see how any Palestinian representative could deal with the Saudis who, as you suggest, deal with Israel.

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