After facilitating the atrocities of the Pinochet dictatorship and helping introduce neoliberal policies around the world, Milton Friedman wrote in an essay from 1982 that “Only a crisis–actual or perceived–produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
Updated: March 30, 2018
John Bolton’s career of pushing for bombing countries like Iran and North Korea, and his having played an active role in the Bush/Cheney regime’s criminal war of aggression that destroyed Iraq, makes him a clear and present danger to our country and world peace. He is about to become Donald Trump’s personal national security advisor with a staff of 400 right next to the White House. He must be stopped!
What a disastrous past week it’s been for Saudi Arabia’s international public relations. It’s hard to imagine how it could possibly become more ignominious or cringe making for the House of Saud.
After Paris, macho language about “pitiless war” defines the contours of leadership. Little else is on offer. It is red meat to our emotions.
A week of horrible carnage – bomb blasts in Beirut and Baghdad and then the cold-blooded shootings in Paris. Each of these acts of terror left dead bodies and wounded lives. There is nothing good that comes of them – only the pain of the victim and then more pain as powerful people take refuge in clichéd policies that once again turn the wheel of violence.
As Israel buried Ariel Sharon amid eulogies from world figures, Tony Blair, a Butcher of Baghdad, paid a tribute to the Butcher of Beirut which included the line that Sharon: “didn’t think of peace as a dreamer, but did dream of peace.” Also that: “ … he sought peace with the same iron determination” as he had fought (read slaughtered, across the Middle East.) Re-writing history does not come more blatant, but Blair was ever good at fantasy, think “weapons of mass destruction” and “forty five minutes.”
Saudi largesse is throwing money again – in a bid to cover up its bloodstained hands in violence hitting the Middle East and beyond.
The latest public relations gimmick is the “donation” of $3 billion to the Lebanese army made by Saudi King Abdullah at the weekend.
The Saudi cash – twice the national military budget of Lebanon – is being regaled in the Western media as a noble offer to secure Lebanon from recent terror attacks.
Israel is set to become a major exporter of gas and some oil, if all goes to plan. The giant Leviathan natural gas field, in the eastern Mediterranean, discovered in December 2010, is widely described as “off the coast of Israel.”
At the time the gas field was:
“…the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan came to an end this year, Saudi King Abdullah marked the occasion of Eid al-Fitr with a “generous” donation.
The Saudi monarch revealed that the oil-rich kingdom was donating $100 million to the United Nations’ Center for Counter-Terrorism, based in New York.
The killings of three Palestinian refugees this past week including Ahmad Qassim from Nahr al Bared (‘cold river’) camp near Tripoli and 15 year old Khaled al-Youssef from Ein el Helwe (‘ the beautiful eye’) 30 miles south of Beirut in Saida, and the wounding of more than a dozen others by the Lebanese army were not, as some Lebanese politicians are claiming, “accidental security incidents”. They were avoidable negligent homicides as much so as Zionist occupation forces and settler/colonists in Palestine regularly commit.
In early spring 1983, shortly before her death, the American journalist Janet Lee Stevens urged this observer to visit Libya and meet some friends of hers who were active in the Palestine armed resistance. In those days, thanks to Yasser Arafat’s skill, passion, charm and cash, there were ten Palestinian groups publicly associated, and another half dozen more shadowy ones, sometimes in and sometimes out, depending on shifting political considerations, of the then large tent of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Three or four gentlemen regularly sit outside a small grocery store, opposite this observer’s flat, drinking coffee and smoking argileh water pipes, in the Hezbollah neighborhood of Haret Hreik in south Beirut. I rely on them and value their insights into the swirling events in Lebanon and credit their analyses and gut instincts about developments on the streets.
It might require a semanticist with Noam Chomsky’s erudition to explain to some of us more obtuse the meanings, context, and policy nuances of two similar and repeated phases heard in Lebanon earlier this month by two well listened to guests . During over-lapping visits of top US and Iranian officials to Lebanon; one warned and threatened Lebanon, while the second praised Lebanon’s “achievements”. Admittedly, divining these Lebanese ‘achievements” is no mean task.
It would be an incautious stretch to suggest any sort of parity between Watergate and the unfolding Lutfallah II arms shipment-to-Syria drama, that each day brings more revelations. But some of what we are daily learning about the who, what and why of Lutfallah II reminds some of us of a Watergate, type atmosphere including “bit by bit, drip by drip” revelations, denials, setting up fall guys and remarkable examples of incompetence.