17 thoughts on “The Jingoism of Anti-Jihadism – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Exactly! This is what I have been blogging about the last 4-5 years of a strand of neocon/pnac/israel lobby that funds Islamophobic politicians across the US and Western old-colonial world.

    This weekend alone we had PM Cameron doing his Islamophobic gig with a terror threat alert and the same with Anne Sikorski-Applebaum of Russia’s nuclear threat on Central Europe. Israel provides military support for the break-away states from the former Soviet Union. Elbit Systems delivering drones to Georgia and doing an upgrade in avionics for the Su-25 fighter/bomber [Tsiblisi production].

    And we had new developments in the libel case of Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis against Mark D. Wallace of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). A year ago, ‘New York Times’ profile of group bent on sanctioning Iran fails to mention Israel connections.

  2. I notice you’re not mentioning Obama here at all. May I hope you are recognizing that he is one of the few power figures i the West who actually understands that it’s not One Big Thing?

    It sometimes seems as if Hillary Clinton has spent 15 years doing nothing but trying to wipe out the memory of how she hugged Suha Arafat once, as if it were the only action of her career she’s ashamed of. It’s too bad, because she showed signs at that moment of having the kind of foreign affairs thinking the US needs. David Brooks doesn’t do any thinking at all; he’s a kind of magpie of the mind, decorating his nest with sparkly bits of ideological litter. I think you should give some credit to Obama for truly getting that it isn’t “one big thing” at all, and putting the understanding to work against tremendous opposition from Congress and even inside the White House, seeking ways to cooperate with Iran and ways to defend minority groups like the Kurds, Yazidis, Arab Christians, and now Turkmen. Combined with the effort (as with this week’s decision not to have an anti-ISIS bombing campaign) to “not do stupid shit”. He’s not a hippy by any means, but he is vastly ahead of the conventional wisdom.

  3. Netanyahu was the arrogance himself, after he managed to ditch Obama and Kerry on the wayside, he was clearly bored by UNSG Ban Ki-moon. As in his best days, Netanyahu came with his ferocious war rhetoric without any visible goal.

    UN’s Ban arrives, says no country would allow rockets to rain down on its cities

    (JPost) July 23, 2014 – Ban praised the Israeli people, saying that “even in the darkest hour the people of this country have such a tremendous capacity for generosity and good.” He then urged Israelis not to despair of the peace process, saying “there is no viable alternative to a two-state solution. No closure, no barrier will separate Israelis and Palestinians from a fundamental truth: you share one future.”

    Netanyahu directly responded to Ban regarding the two-state solution option, saying that Hamas is just another manifestation of violent, Islamic extremist organizations like ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah or Boko Haram.

    Hamas’s grievance, he said, “is that we exist. They don’t want a two state solution. They don’t want any solution.”

    Netanyahu knows better than considering all terror groups similar. By mimicking the United States and CIA intelligence, throughout its history Israel and the Mossad has made use of the emnity between groups to create havoc.

    One day later … UN staff killed in attack on UN-run school in Gaza: Ban Ki-moon

  4. “When I read otherwise intelligent folk like Clinton and Brooks sound like absolute idiots”

    One small correction–Brooks almost always sounds like an absolute idiot. All joking aside, almost everything he writes is propaganda in favor of the (fraction of the ) 1 percent when he writes on domestic issues, and on foreign policy he’s a warmonger with no sense of shame or guilt about any crime committed by the US or Israel.

  5. Richard you hit the nail on the head here. In many places this “crusade against jihad” approach
    serves ulterior political purposes: scaring the citizens to reinforce the security state and taking their mind off actual problems. In Australia Tony Abbott and his merry crew have been using the sense of panic to deflect Labor’s attacks on an unfair and unpopular budget. Labor felt unable to ward this off and when a backbench Labor parliamentarian said the obvious thing and drew attention to the Emperor’s imaginary crusade outfit she was ticked off by the party leadership. Tony Abbott increased the alarmism by getting himself a bomb proof BMW costing half a million Australian dollars.

    Isis had to be defeated to prevent genocide they said and all the while they haven’t spent a word on the slaughter in Gaza. Netanyahu’s opportunism in the matter is so flagrant that one wonders how he gets away with it but he does, helped in this by the opportunism of others. Concern about genocide can be turned off and on, depending on the occasion. When in 1965 in an anti-communist drive by the Indonesian army and the Islamic parties up to a million Indonesians were slaughtered, and hundreds of thousands were thrown into camps where they were left rotting for decades, this was hailed by Time magazine as “the West’s best news for years in Asia”. The American Embassy in Jakarta rendered a hand in the slaughter:

    “Marshall Green, American ambassador to Indonesia at the time, wrote that the embassy had “made clear” to the army that Washington was “generally sympathetic with and admiring” of its actions. U.S. officials went so far as to express concern in the days following the September 30th Movement that the army might not do enough to annihilate the PKI (Partai Kommunis Indonesia. The U.S. embassy supplied radio equipment, walkie-talkies, and small arms to Suharto so that his troops could conduct the nationwide assault on civilians. A diligent embassy official with a penchant for data collection did his part by handing the army a list of thousands of names of PKI members. Such moral and material support was much appreciated in the Indonesian army. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/11/05/the-mass-killings-in-indonesia/)

    You are quite right, I think, in debunking Clinton’s thesis that the US had an overarching approach to what was then the “Red Menace” instead of a series of knee-jerk reactions such as the total indifference to the massive crimes by the Indonesian army and the subsequent long and corrupt dictatorship by what John Roosa and Joseph Nevins call “a taciturn, uneducated, thuggish, corrupt army general from a Javanese village.” Though the slaughter had reinforced greatly the position of the Islamic parties that was of no concern back then. Now the bugaboo of the day has changed. The military-industrial complex is not picky as to who or what figures in that position.

  6. Of course Clinton was talking nonsense, but I would deconstruct her differently.

    During “Cold War”, “Red menace” had a reasonably clear definition and thus the strategy to oppose it was reasonably clear, and here I would agree with Madam former Secretary. However, the support of “our bastards”, however criminal (kleptocracy, torture, genocide), was not an aberration but the cornerstone of far-flanged strategy. And it was not “knee jerk” but systemic, USA built its own institutions operating outside the law that were supervising those policies. For example, torturers could receive training and exchange experiences in the “School of Americas” on US soil.

    It was helpful that major Communists power were all “adversaries”, so all minor Marxists movement and government were adversaries as well, barring situations when they were fighting each other on tribal grounds, like when UNITA was fighting FRELIMO government.

    But “political Islam” does not offer any hope for clarity. Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Gulf monarchs are “our bastards” or even “dear friends”. and they support various folks who we view as “drone worthy bastards” if they fight, bomb, kidnap, slaughter in a wrong place (but not if they do it where they should, i.e. in Syria, or in Lebanon against Hezbollah).

    Netanyahu himself made bedside visit to wounded “freedom fighters” from Syria, precisely of the variety that is now kidnapping UN troops at Golan Heights. The equation Hamas = ISIS excludes those “good fighters”, which is somewhat weird given fluid affiliations and allegiances in Syrian/Iraq civil wars. Funding, supplying the “good fighters” and in the same time giving them as examples of savagery (of which the whole blames is given to Asad and Hebollah) is a convenient trick, but too transparent, plus rather stupid. When the valiant soldiers of freedom go back home to France or UK, some turn to be psychotic and proficient killers, e.g. killing Jews in Toulouse and Brussels.

    Remember the first reaction of Obama to the takeover of Mosul? A request to increase direct American funding of Syrian taqfiris by a round half a billion dollars. The logic of that is incredibly convoluted, and ultimately, silly.

  7. Australia still seems to have a colonial mindset in that it slavishly follows some Big Brother or other in what is supposed to be its foreign policy. Before the Second World War it was Britain but the debacle of the fall of Singapore made it look for a new “protector”: the U.S. Since then it has dutifully followed the US in its misadventures. It was one of the few Western allies in the Vietnam War (New Zealand was the other). It was part of the “coalition of the willing” on the basis of a decision made by the conservative Howard government without the benefit of any parliamentary debate.

    Both military adventures are now regarded by many as unmitigated disasters.
    And now, once again, Australia is following American measures uncritically in Iraq. A proposal of the Greens to have a parliamentary debate about the matter has been voted down.

    The octogenarian Australian conservative ex-PM who during his time in office supported the Vietnam debacle, Malcolm Fraser, now warns against too close an alliance with the US. It has the potential to drag Australia, willy nilly, into a war with China. He has argued his case in a book with the title Dangerous Allies. Admittedly, the ANZUS treaty only obliges its partners to mutual consultations but the military on both sides is already so closely intertwined that Australia will be in the midst of a conflict before any “consultations” can take place. There is also the matter of Pine Gap, the signalling centre in Central Australia that provides, inter alia, information about China’s nuclear arsenal and its possible use. Australia cannot argue that it has no control over it (as indeed it hasn’t) because it is on its territory.

    On Vietnam Fraser now says that the US was deceitful towards its allies and withheld information that, if he had known about it at the time, would have changed his judgment.

    Australia’s slavish following of US foreign policy has also led to its embarrassing position on UN votes re Israel where it has frequently been the only Western country supporting the US and Israel beside such international heavyweights as Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Fraser fully agrees with Bob Carr, Foreign Minister in the previous Labor cabinet, that the pro-Israel lobby has an unhealthy influence on Australia’s foreign policy. An objection by his interviewer that other ethnic groups also lobby the government, as for instance the Italians, was countered by Fraser stating that the Italians don’t try to influence Australia’s policy towards Italy.

    If any other country did what Israel is doing, he said, it would certainly be accused of war crimes.

    Fraser aso dropped a bombshell by stating that he is certain that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the Six Day War was deliberate. The Israelis didn’t want the US hearing about what they intended to do. He could not disclose the source of his information (which is most likely the Australian intelligence service). Of course a man who had equal or superior access to classified information about it, the US’s Secretary of State during the Six Day War, Dean Rusk, was of the same opinion (see his As I Saw It).

    Meanwhile we have again the matter of Iraq. Paul MCGeough, a journalist with personal experience in Iraq during the American invasion there and the chief foreign correspondent of the quality paper Age stated under the headline “Australia still at the US’s beck and call” among other things: “This time around, Australia is interposing itself in a country wracked by civil war – and it seems to be taking sides. Canberra has signed on in circumstances in which it has no control over its own destiny. You’ve seen mission creep before? We’re already seeing it in this effort – last week, we were the nice guys dropping food and water; this week, we’re not so nice because we’re dropping weapons.
    What next, Tony?”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/australia-still-at-americas-beck-and-call-20140831-10albb.html#ixzz3C1sa4Szh

    1. Thanks, quite informative. The brotherhood of the 5 Eyes, though I believe other nations have joined. I understand the Netherlands has a special relationship too with radar facility in Burum in Drenthe, international hub of Internet cables and the Mossad HQ on Israëli territory of El Al @Schiphol airport.

    1. One report says a State Department spokesperson called this latest bit of land theft “Counterproductive.” I’m trying to decide if “counterproductive” is harsher than “not helpful.” Doesn’t really matter anyway since we and Bibi know it’s just lip service.

      1. @ Mary Hughes Thompson: Why doesn’t the U.S. try “really, really bad” or “not such a bright idea” or “about the stupidest thing we’ve ever seen” as alternate forms of denunciation of Israeli state theft??

          1. @ Mary Hughes THompson: They’ve only temporarily suspended a 1 month old plan to build 2,500 new housing units on stolen land. They haven’t canceled or suspended the plan to steal 1,000 acres near Bethlehem.

  8. [comment deleted: Gossip is not credible & not permitted here. Nor are off-topic comments. Since you’ve attempted to publish five comments in a row & clearly have not read the comment rule as directed, you will be moderated. Further violations will cause you to lose commenting privileges.]

  9. Paul McGeough, the foreign policy editor of the Age, rightly spoke of “mission creep”. It now turns out that the Australian planes dropping weapons for the Kurds will have SAS troops on board. In the future these might also be stationed on the ground in case Australia joins any airstrike campaign against Islamic State militants. Allegedly they are there to rescue aircrews in case a plane is shot down. Yeah, one can imagine such actions to be just as “surgical” as an Israeli strike on Hamas.

    The Greens are still clamouring for a parliamentary debate on the matter, joined in this by an independent member for Tasmania, Mr.Andrew Wilkie, a former intelligence analyst (he resigned from this job because of the Howard government’s alleged fraudulent use of intelligence to justify its joining of Bush the Lesser’s “coalition of the willing”).
    But “in answer to Wilkie and others, both Abbott and his foreign minister Julie Bishop said they were merely following convention. No one ever asks the parliament. It’s up to the government of the day to make such decisions.” Funny that “merely following convention”- as if Australia goes to war every other day.

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