Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘George W Bush

Did George W. Bush created ISIS? George Not that smart. But Satan Cheney and his team

Jeb Bush replied by repeating his earlier criticism of President Obama: that Iraq had been stable until American troops had departed.

“When we left Iraq, security had been arranged,” Bush said. The removal of American troops had created a security vacuum that ISIS exploited. “The result was the opposite occurred. Immediately, that void was filled.”

“Your brother created ISIS” is the kind of sound bite that grabs our attention, because it’s obviously false yet oddly rings true.

Bush didn’t like it: he offered a retort and then left the stage. Meanwhile, Ziedrich had started a conversation that rippled across Twitter, Facebook, and any number of American dinner tables. Who is actually right?

Here is what happened:

In 2003, the U.S. military, on orders of President Bush, invaded Iraq, and nineteen days later threw out Hussein’s government.

A few days after that, President Bush or someone in his Administration decreed the dissolution of the Iraqi Army. (Israel was extremely relieved: Iraqi army was the best trained and equipped in the Arab World).

This decision didn’t throw “thirty thousand individuals” out of a job, as Ziedrich said—the number was closer to ten times that. Overnight, at least  250,000  Iraqi men—armed, angry, and with military training—were suddenly humiliated and out of work.

This was probably the single most catastrophic decision of the American venture in Iraq.

In a stroke, the Administration helped enable the creation of the Iraqi insurgency. Bush Administration officials involved in the decision—like Paul Bremer and Walter Slocombe—argued that they were effectively ratifying the reality that the Iraqi Army had already disintegrated. (A silly argument that many could fall in)

This was manifestly not true.

I talked to American military commanders who told me that leaders of entire Iraqi divisions (a division has roughly ten thousand troops) had come to them for instructions and expressed a willingness to cooperate.

In fact, many American commanders argued vehemently at the time that the Iraqi military should be kept intact—that disbanding it would turn too many angry young men against the United States. But the Bush White House went ahead.

Many of those suddenly unemployed Iraqi soldiers took up arms against the United States. We’ll never know for sure how many Iraqis would have stayed in the Iraqi Army—and stayed peaceful—had it remained intact. But the evidence is overwhelming that former Iraqi soldiers formed the foundation of the insurgency.

On this point, although she understated the numbers, Ziedrich was exactly right. But how did the dissolution of the Iraqi Army lead to the creation of ISIS?

During the course of the war, Al Qaeda in Iraq grew to be the most powerful wing of the insurgency, as well as the most violent and the most psychotic. They drove truck bombs into mosques and weddings and beheaded their prisoners. But, by the time the last American soldiers had departed, in 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was then calling itself, was in a state of near-total defeat. The combination of the Iraqi-led “awakening,” along with persistent American pressure, had decimated the group and pushed them into a handful of enclaves.

Indeed, by 2011 the situation in Iraq—as former Governor Bush said—was relatively stable. “Relatively” is the key word here. Iraq was still a violent place, but nowhere near as violent as it had been. The Iraqi government was being run by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a fervent Al Qaeda foe and ostensible American ally.

In this sense, Ziedrich is right again, at least notionally: some of the men fighting in ISIS were put out of work by the American occupiers in 2003. Still, it’s not clear—and it will never be clear—how many of these Iraqis might have remained peaceful had the Americans kept the Iraqi Army intact. One of the Iraqis closest to Baghdadi was Ibrahim Izzat al-Douri, a senior official in Saddam’s government until 2003. (Douri was reported killed last month—it’s still not clear if he was or not.)

It’s hard to imagine that Douri—or any other hardcore member of Saddam’s Baath Party—would have ever willingly taken part in an American occupation, whether he had a job or not. So, in this sense, Ziedrich is overstating the case. While it’s true that George W. Bush took actions that helped enable the creation of the Iraqi insurgency, and that some leaders of the insurgency formed ISIS, it’s not true that he “created” ISIS. And there’s a good argument to be made that an insurgency would have formed following the invasion of Iraq even if President Bush had kept the Iraqi Army together. He just helped to make the insurgency bigger.

But let’s get to Governor Bush’s assertion—that Iraq went down the tubes because of President Obama’s decision to pull out all American forces, and that Obama could easily have left behind a residual force that would have kept the peace.

I took up this issue last year in a Profile of Maliki, the Iraqi leader we left in place. Maliki didn’t really want any Americans to stay in Iraq, and Obama didn’t, either. But—and this is a crucial point—it seems possible that, if Obama had pushed Maliki harder, the United States could have retained a small force of soldiers there in noncombat roles. More than a few Americans and Iraqis told me this. They blame Obama for not trying harder. “You just had this policy vacuum and this apathy,” Michael Barbero, the commander of American forces in Iraq in 2011, told me, describing the Obama White House.

So, on this, Governor Bush isn’t entirely accurate, but makes a good point: the Obama Administration might have been able to keep some forces in Iraq if it had really tried.

And what if the Americans had stayed? Could a small force of American soldiers have prevented Iraq from sliding back into chaos, as Governor Bush claims? Americans like Barbero—and a number of Iraqis, as well—argue that the mere presence of a small number of American troops, not in combat roles, could have made a crucial difference. The idea here is that after the American invasion, which destroyed the Iraqi state, the Iraqi political system was not stable enough to act without an honest broker to negotiate with its many factions, which is the role that the Americans had played.

This much is clear: after 2011, with no Americans on the ground, Maliki was free to indulge his worst sectarian impulses, and he rapidly and ruthlessly repressed Iraq’s Sunni minority, imprisoning thousands of young men on no charges, thereby radicalizing the Sunnis who weren’t in prison. When, in June, 2014, ISIS came rolling in, anything seemed better than Maliki to many of Iraq’s Sunnis.

Could all that have been prevented? It’s impossible to know, of course, although President Obama, by sending American forces back to Iraq, seems at least implicitly to think so. Historians—along with Governor Bush and Ivy Ziedrich—will be arguing about the question for a long time.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“At least two hundred and fifty thousand Iraqi men—armed, angry, and with military training—were suddenly humiliated and out of work.”

A college student in Reno started a conversation that rippled across Twitter, Facebook, and any number of American dinner tables. Who is actually right?
newyorker.com|By Dexter Filkins

Ivy Ziedrich, College Student, Warms to Role as Jeb Bush Critic on ISIS

Photo

Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old college student at the University of Nevada.
Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old college student at the University of Nevada.Credit Nikita Lee

RENO, Nev. — On Wednesday afternoon, just as she sat down to watch TV and eat a corn dog, Ivy Ziedrich’s phone rang. It was her sister in Montana.

“I am so proud of you,” her sister said, “for yelling at a politician.”

It was the first inkling that Ms. Ziedrich, a 19-year-old college student with a passion for the debate team and the finer points of Middle Eastern policy, had gone viral.

Her confrontation with Jeb Bush, in which she told the former Florida governor a few hours earlier, “Your brother created ISIS,” was suddenly everywhere online, casting an unwelcome hue on President George W. Bush’s legacy from the war in Iraq.

“My sister started freaking out,” Ms. Ziedrich recalled.

In an interview, Ms. Ziedrich described a dizzying 24 hours of social media frenzy, her upbringing in a conservative Republican family, and the circumstances that prompted her to approach Jeb Bush, who was in Reno for a town hall-style meeting on Wednesday.

She had shown up with a few college friends uncertain of whether she wanted to ask anything at all. But as Mr. Bush spoke about the rise of the Islamic State, and put blame on President Obama for removing troops from Iraq, Ms. Ziedrich found herself becoming furious. ISIS, she believed, was the product of George W. Bush’s bungled war in Iraq.

“A Bush was trying to blame ISIS on Obama’s foreign policy — it was hilarious,” said Ms. Ziedrich, who attends the University of Nevada. “It was like somebody crashing their car and blaming the passenger.”

She acknowledged she was deeply nervous about walking up to him after the meeting and asking her question. “I get nervous any time I talk to an authority figure — he wants to be president of the United States,” she said.

Her question and his reply seemed to distill deep, lingering anger of the war in Iraq and encapsulate Mr. Bush’s political challenges as the brother of George W. Bush. Much online commentary has focused on her somewhat aggressive tone, a fact that Ms. Ziedrich finds a bit baffling.

“I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful,” she said. In fact, she said she is grateful that Mr. Bush responded, even if it did not exactly satisfy her.

Ms. Ziedrich, a high school debater who specialized in the parliamentary style and still helps coach her former team, said that all the attention she is garnering from those on the right (who thought she was rude) and those on the left (who want to canonize her) is confounding given her own political journey. Growing up in Northern California, she considered herself a conservative like her mother and father, who is a loyal Fox News viewer.

Then she identified as a libertarian and, ultimately, as Democratic, influenced by her time spent debating and by books like Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

Speaking from her apartment, Ms. Ziedrich says she is busy juggling calls from old friends and media outlets.

“I am still trying to process all of this,” she said.

So far, her mother has expressed approval of the confrontation. But she hasn’t yet spoken with her father. “I am hoping he will be proud of me,” she said.

George W. Bush’s White House “lost” 22 million emails

. March 2015 posted that 5 million were lost in 2007. And the remaining losses in just the next 2 year?

For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration.

Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails.

“It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”

Najat Rizk shared a link.
The outrage and press coverage was nothing compared with that surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails.
newsweek.com|By Nina Burleigh
Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
“That the vice president’s office, widely characterized as the most powerful vice president in history, should have no archived emails in its accounts for scores of days—especially days when there was discussion of whether to invade Iraq—beggared the imagination,” says Thomas Blanton, director of the Washington-based National Security Archive.
The NSA (not to be confused with the National Security Agency, the federal surveillance organization) is a nonprofit devoted to obtaining and declassifying national security documents and is one of the key players in the effort to recover the supposedly lost Bush White House emails.

The media paid some attention to the Bush email chicanery but spent considerably less ink and airtime than has been devoted to Clinton’s digital communications in the past 18 months. According to the Boston social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, which ran a study for Newsweek, there have been 560,397 articles mentioning Clinton’s emails between March 2015 and September 1, 2016.

In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records created after January 20, 1981, be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. The following year, the Reagan administration installed the White House’s rudimentary first email system

Despite the PRA, neither the Reagan nor the George H.W. Bush administration maintained email records, even as the number of White House emails began growing exponentially. (The Bush administration would produce around 200 million.)

In 1989, a federal lawsuit to force the White House to comply with the PRA was filed by several groups, including the National Security Archive, which at the time was mostly interested in unearthing the secret history of the Cold War. The suit sparked a last-minute court order, issued in the waning hours of the first Bush presidency, that prevented 6,000 White House email backup tapes from being erased.

When Bill Clinton moved into the White House, his lawyers supported the elder Bush in his effort to uphold a side deal he’d cut with the National Archives and Records Administration to allow him to treat his White House emails as personal. At the time, George Stephanopoulos—then the White House communications director—defended the resistance, saying his boss, like Bush, didn’t want subsequent, and potentially unfriendly, administrations rooting around in old emails.

The Clinton White House eventually settled the suit, and White House aide John Podesta—now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—even invited members of the National Security Archive into the White House to demonstrate how the new system worked. If anyone tried to delete an email, a message would pop up on screen indicating that to do so would be in violation of the PRA.

“We were happy with that,” recalls Blanton, who edited a book on the Reagan-Bush email evasion, White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Messages the Reagan/Bush White House Tried to Destroy.

Eight years later, in 2003, a whistleblower told the National Security Archive that the George W. Bush White House was no longer saving its emails. The Archive and another watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which had represented outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in her case against the Bush administration), refiled their original lawsuit.

The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC and called gwb43.com. The White House, meanwhile, officially refused to comply with the congressional subpoena.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the president’s actions “Nixonian stonewalling” and at one point took to the floor in exasperation and shouted, “They say they have not been preserved. I don’t believe that!” His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), said Bush’s assertion of executive privilege was unprecedented and displayed “an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government.”

In court in May 2008, administration lawyers contended that the White House had lost three months’ worth of email backups from the initial days of the Iraq War. Bush aides thus evaded a court-ordered deadline to describe the contents of digital backup believed to contain emails deleted in 2003 between March—when the U.S. invaded Iraq—and September. They also refused to give the NSA nonprofit any emails relating to the Iraq War, despite the PRA, blaming a system upgrade that had deleted up to 5 million emails. The plaintiffs eventually contended that the Bush administration knew about the problem in 2005 but did nothing to fix it.

Eventually, the Bush White House admitted it had lost 22 million emails, not 5 million. Then, in December 2009—well into Barack Obama’s administration—the White House said it found 22 million emails, dated between 2003 and 2005, that it claimed had been mislabeled. That cache was given to the National Archives, and it and other plaintiffs agreed, on December 14, 2009, to settle their lawsuit. But the emails have not yet been made available to the public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was operating on a different track but having no more luck. In a bipartisan vote in 2008, the committee found White House aides Karl Rove and Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas in the investigation of the fired U.S. attorneys.

The penalties for contempt are fines and possible jail time, but no punishment was ever handed down because a D.C. federal appeals court stayed the Senate’s ruling in October 2008, while the White House appealed. Rove’s lawyer claimed Rove did not “intentionally delete” any emails but was only conducting “the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly,” according to the Associated Press.

By then, Obama was weeks away from winning the election, so the Bush administration basically ran out the clock. And neither the Obama administration nor the Senate committee pursued the matter.

The committee’s final report on the matter was blunt: “[T]his subversion of the justice system has included lying, misleading, stonewalling and ignoring the Congress in our attempts to find out precisely what happened. The reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up, and the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

At the time, some journalists and editorialists complained about a lack of transparency on the White House’s part, but The Washington Post, in an editorial, accepted the White House explanation that the emails could have been lost due to flawed IT systems.

The mystery of what was in the missing Bush emails and why they went missing is still years away from being solved—if ever. The National Archives now has 220 million emails from the Bush White House, and there is a long backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests already. But not all of the emails will be available to the public until 2021, when the presidential security restrictions elapse. Even then, with currently available archiving and sorting methods, researchers still have years of work to figure out whether Cheney deleted days’ worth of emails around the time of the WMD propaganda campaign that led to war, Blanton says.

“To your question of what’s in there—we don’t know,” he says. “There was not a commitment at the top for saving it all. Now was that resistance motivated by political reasons? Or was it ‘We gotta save money’?”

Like Leahy, Blanton has doubts that the emails were ever truly “lost,” given that every email exists in two places, with the sender and with the recipient. But unlike watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been relentless about forcing the State Department to publicly release Hillary Clinton’s emails, Blanton and his fellow researchers have decided not to press their fight for the release of the Bush emails.

Blanton says he has no idea whether the Bush email record will be found intact after 2021, when his group will be allowed to do a systematic search and recovery process in the National Archives. “Did they find all of them? We don’t know,” he says. “Our hope is that by that time, the government and the National Archives will have much better technology and tools with which to sift and sort that kind of volume.”

Blanton says he’s not expecting that kind of upgrade, though. “Their entire budget is less than the cost of a single Marine One helicopter,” he says. “It’s an underfunded orphan.”

Meanwhile, the episode has been nearly forgotten by almost everyone but the litigants. A source involved with the stymied congressional investigation recalled the period as “an intense time,” but the Obama administration didn’t encourage any follow-up, devoting its political capital to dealing with the crashing economy rather than investigating the murky doings that took place under his predecessor.

Since then, no major media outlet has devoted significant—or, really, any—resources to obtaining the emails, or to finding out what was in them, or what, exactly, the Bush administration was hiding (or losing).

You have a complaint? No problem; (July 25, 2009)

 

            “What?  Your son has been discriminated against in our uniform society?  Watch me jogging right away to the nearest law maker; he is my best friend; I will convince him easily to add a few restrictions to the existing law.  You know, my friend also agrees that laws and punishments should be computerized; sort of the codes be run like an expert system; we certainly have no confidence in shifty judges and their lenient romantic concepts.  I am glad that George W. Bush ordered bonfires all around our mighty Nation to burn those smelly totally outdated and mushy law archieves. I tell you those archieves exhaled a natural lovely smell; I conjecture that it is the mite that gave the fumes their original perfume.”

 

            “Sorry, you misunderstood me. My son is doing fine and he is getting along well with his classmates.  He just love to play and don’t think that deeply.  I have a problem; my son thinks that he needs to increase his strength and is demanding that I register him to body building classes which I cannot afford. By the way, I have been fired last year and cannot find another job.  Anyway, I was wondering if we could not ask schools to add a few heavy books to my kid’s backpack like they do in Lebanon’s private schools.  This extra weight would physically convince my kid that learning is important; it is like hitting two birds in one shot.”

 

            “Hold on. What’s that lebanon? Is it a new slang word? Does it change the meaning of your sentence?”

 

            “I am not sure.  Lebanon used to be prety much redundant for so long.  I hear that Lebanon is a tiny recognized state but it acquired a pass partout meaning in the vocabulary.  The meaning changes every decade or so and I get confused. In the 70’s Lebanon meant civil wars. In the 90’s it meant total chaoes. In 2000 Lebanon meant recovering lands from enemy occupiers. In 2005 it meant chasing out friendly occupiers. In 2006 it meant a local steadfast resistance defeating Israel.  Pick and choose and you are right on.”

            “Hold your horses. How dare you! Do you mean that you are antisemite?”

 

            “Don’t use big word with me. What do you mean by anti-something?”

            “What! Come again! Antisemite is anyone who blaspheme against Noe’s son Sam. Why do you think that we are called “Uncle Sam”?  We take pride in our ancestor of an uncle even if we are a new nation not older than 300 years.”

            “Oh, so you are into Noe and all that?”

            “You are way out of line. You are even anti-patriot too. If Bush Junior, Ramsfield, and Woolfowitz says that Noe did exist then you better agree.  Our government is always right. Capish? That’s how it is.  We are far more submissive to our government than the Egyptians and we are proud of it.”

 

            “Wait a minute. What that with the Egyptians?”

            “I read that the official in charge of the internal re-organization of the Egyptian State Party once said “Whoever the government party select for candidates then they are voluntarily elected by a large margin”

 

            “Whatever.  I don’t think that Obama was elected because the Republican Party allowed it.”

 

            “Don’t get sleazy with me.  I have enough leverage as a State employee to hurt you bad.  Remember, your taxes are mine and I could increase it if you go on upsetting me”

 

            “Jesus. Sorry Yahweh. Sorry Sam. This is kind of a crazy conversation we are having. I just needed extra books for my kid’s packpack.  We always get interesting comunication when we are jobless”

            “Are you insinuating that I get paid for doing nothing?”

            “No, not by any stretch of the imagination.  I am sure that you write plenty of reports that keep everyone busy.  I may say in the expectative.”

            “Your vocabulary is improving. This a very soothing realization that I can make a dent. I am thinking of running for the House of Representatives and improve the level of communication.  Your complaint was a welcomed opportunity for everyone concerned.”

 

            “Hmm. I got a great idea. I’ll add a few dead weights in my kid’s backpack. You may tear up the complaint”

 

            “Are you kidding? I am meeting my good friend the law maker this evening in a cave; a cave with very low ceiling”

Religion resurrects: It must die first

State Ideologies usurping religions: (June 18, 2009) 

            The 20th century was characteristic in serious attempts of replacing State religion by State Ideology.  This was feasible simply because most religions have developed into structured ideologies in concepts and in organization.  Soviet Russia was successful for over 70 years in that endeavor because it emulated communism into religious replica in all premises and criteria.  Soviet communism stated what happens after death, it described what is go and what is evil, it structured its hierarchy on the basis of church, excommunicated the “refusnik”, and it created a God, a semi abstract God with a personified representative on earth.  The Gang of Four in China, after the death of Mao Tse Tong, carried that religion a step forward: all ancient manuscripts of Chinese civilizations were meant to be burned.  The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia went several notches further: every educated person was to be burned; the new generation was to start with a blank brain.

            The trend of State ideologies usurping religions is going on even stronger with a reversed strategy.  State ideologies are basing their premises on a religion; they claim that the concepts of their ideology are consistent to the fundamentals of the original religion.  Those extremist State ideologies are found in all religions: Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddha-based religion.  State ideologies are in Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Burma, and in the USA during the George W. Bush two Administrations.

           

            Religions, monolithic or not (it is primarily a mental distinction and never real), did not mushroom spontaneously in specific regions.  Religion is the same and was translated and interpreted into different languages and cultures. Religions were imported/exported along with the material baggage of trade and commerce; they were built upon and modified to correspond to customs and traditions. Religions developed to extreme abstractions in urban centers or reduced to basic common denominators in remote rural areas; they were the primary cultural communication among people based on trust, confidence, and belief that there is always someone more powerful and more knowledgeable than the lot.  

            It is because people need to create a God that religion was the main communicator among nations; religion transcended peculiar customs and traditions and reached straight to the deep fear and apprehension of man.  Fear of the unknown is shared by everyone and all men are similar in that one characteristic.

            There have always been all kinds of civilizations; that the archeologists failed to uncover relics and artifacts is irrelevant to that fact. Every civilization prospered on slavery; whatever names slaves were given.  Slaves had their own God; at day they shared the God of the usurpers of their freedom and by night they unveiled their “True God” and worshiped him genuinely as only desperate souls know how to pay tribute. A few slave “tribes” revolted and confirmed their nightly God at day break and paid retributions.  Most of these “slave tribes” succumbed to the power to be and its social structure (constructed around a religious hierarchy); a few preferred to be chased out and suffer another kind of life hardship.  No, there was no dignity in the daily life of the forsaken slaves who wandered in the wilderness; even their nights were different: they had to reinvent a God compatible to their wretched new life, an altered the God of the One they used to worship at night before the Diaspora.

            Nomadic tribes didn’t need religious clerics to convince them of a “God”: as they sat around by night they could watch the vault of the sky reaching down and they felt they could touch the stars.  There is overwhelming majesty during the peaceful nights in desert like regions, a sky sparkling with millions of beautiful stars twinkling overhead (a few moving, many fixed) that offered reprieve, courage, and hope for another day of desolation, loneliness, and harsh nature.  Nomads appreciate the varieties of Silence: they can feel the God of Silence before major cataclysms and desert storms.

            It is because nomads needed to believe more in a God than other settled people to ward off the persistent and real fears of the days for survival that their God was more powerful and more compassionate than other Gods; the God of the nomads was personified in the one seeking refuge for the night; the visitor was lavished with the respect due to the wandering God paying visit to the tribe members and he was fed with whatever meager substances the clan had saved.  The God of the nomads knew their traditions and customs and refrained from interfering or crossing the lines; otherwise, the visitor was punished for false representation.

           

            There are various God. There is the God of the nomads, the “Night God” of the enslaved, the God of the urban and settled people, and the God of wandering homeless people, rootless, and abandoned because their God refuses to be set free.  My article concerns the God of the stragglers.  This God was created a brute, ruthless, and blood thirsty; an avenger out of ignorance, an insulated, merciless, and uncompromising hatemongering God.  This is the God of Thunder, War, Lightening, Storm, Sword, and Skull.  This is the God who rebuffs any tender offer to mingle with other civilized Gods, to soften His manner, to come to maturity, to associate, to adjust, and to keep pledges.

            This is the God who obeyed his creators; as He started to appreciate modern and civilized habits He was reminded by his creators, called prophets, that He lost his way and the reason why He was created.  This the God who was resurrected countless time from his compassionate leaning and collaboration with other worthy Gods to lead newer generations, whose hearts and minds were burned alive from birth, to take on a chimerical revenge on real people because chimerical stories and myths are truer than reality.

            The Jewish religion is dead.  It was replaced by a State ideology called Zionism. Jehovah (Yahweh) was again called upon to mete out his benediction to countless genocide against the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, and Egyptians. The ancient “prophets” were rejuvenated into modern-day prophets, very much as archaic as Ben Gurion, Menahem Begin, Ishak Shamir, Sharon, Ehud Barak, and all the lot who want their “promised land” that they usurped by the sword, lies, and blasphemy. 

              The Jewish religion is dead as Israel was recognized in 1948.  It is not what the Books say; it is how it is practiced.  It is how Zionism behaved in Gaza, Sabra and Chatila Palestinian camps, the camps in Jenine, Jabalya, the massacres in the villages of Dar Yassine, Kfar Kassem, Yafa, the shelling of the town of Qana, of the UN compounds in Qana, Gaza, and the West Bank, the execution of over 6,000 Egyptian soldiers prisoners in the war of 1967; the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure 8 times, the destruction of the infrastructures in Gaza and the West Bank, the demolition of schools and hospitals, the routine assassinations of leaders, the apartheid Wall of Shame, the refusal of abiding by UN resolution 194 for the return of the Palestinian refugees, the insistence of refusing to share Jerusalem Capital to the Palestine State, the transfer methods of the Christians from Jerusalem, and claiming that Israel should be accepted as State for Jews before any peaceful negotiation.

            The Jewish religion is dead.  It was replaced by a State ideology called Zionism, founded by the Eastern Europe Ashkenazi.

 

Note: The UN described Zionism in mild terms as “a form of racism”.  As the USA pressured the UN to desist of this mild description then Zionist ideology was no longer restricted to Jews; it transformed to an umbrella for the fascist, Nazi, Stalinists, Gang of Four, Khmer Rouge, Neo-Conservative, apartheid, and isolationist ideologies; it had contacts with Taliban, Ben Laden, Qaeda, and a variety of religious extremists of Moslems, Hindus, and the Christians of the Sirilanka Tamul terrorists.

Uncontested Palestinian Leader: late Yasser Arafat (Abu 3Ammar); June 15, 2009

 

            Known as Yasser Arafat; code-named “Abu Ammar”; full name Muhammad Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Koudwa Al Husseiny was born in Jerusalem in 1929.  He studied civil engineering at Cairo and worked in Kuwait. In the summer of 1965 he started guerilla activities inside Israel with ten feddayins, among them the future leaders Khalil Wazeer (code-named Abu Jihad; assassinated in Tunisia by an Israeli air raid), Salah Khalaf (code-named Abu Ayad), and Abu Ali Ayad (died in battle fighting the onslaught of the Jordanian army in 1970). 

            After the defeat of the Arab armies in June 1967 Arafat decided to take matters into his own hand: the Arab States can no longer be counted on to reclaim the Palestinians right to a homeland and the return of the refugees since 1948 (date of recognition of Israel as a State).  Arafat set out to organizing the Palestinians into a resistance force called “Hurricane” (Al 3asifat) and resumed incursions into Israel at higher rates. An acceptable resolution would be a secular State on the West Bank with East Jerusalem as Capital.  He would repeat: “As I liberate a single square meter then I would raise the Palestinian flag.  One day, a boy or a girl will hoist the flag in Jerusalem” Arafat insisted that “we may differ as Christians and Moslems on many issues but we are unified on liberating Jerusalem and consecrating it our spiritual and political Capital” Jerusalem was the cornerstone in any negotiation of more importance to him than the “right of return” of the UN resolution 194.  In fact, during the Arab Summit in Beirut 2002 Arafat was ready to accept the Saudi proposal of “land for peace” that did not mention the right of return.  Luckily, the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud was adamant on including this cause since the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon question is “a time bomb ready to detonate anytime”.

            The uncontested Arab leader Gamal Abdel Nasser recognized that the nascent Palestinian resistance activities are reactions to the failure of his leadership and he met with Arafat. Gamal Abdel Nasser gave Arafat’s organization political cover to preserve control of Arab politics and introduced Arafat to other Arab State leaders. Thus, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1968 which included many Palestinian factions such as the national and Marxist faction of George Habash and the splintered faction of Nayef Hawatmed.  Syria would later include another faction with a military wing called Al Sa3ikat (Thunderstorm).  Arafat was the leader of the largest faction called Fateh (Conquest) and thus was elected Chairman of the PLO; Arafat was to hold the purse or the treasury of this organization to keep all factions in line.

            King Hussein of Jordan defeated militarily the PLO in 1970 and the resistance fighters fled to Lebanon.  The Egyptian leader forced the hand of the Lebanese government to allocate a strip of land in south Lebanon called “Al 3arkoub” from which the PLO could wage guerilla attacks on Israel.  This was a top-secret deal; Deputy Raymond Eddeh would persist in the parliament to divulge the details of the deal at no avail.  Thus, the mostly Shi3a Lebanese citizens in south Lebanon were caught in between the military retaliations of Israel, the exactions of the PLO and the non-existence of the weak Lebanese government in that region. South Lebanon was de facto controlled and governed by the PLO.  The Lebanese army controlled every resistance movement in the south before 1970 but relinquished its hold after that secret deal.

            The PLO quickly established political and administrative headquarters in the Capital Beirut and was immersed deeply in Lebanon internal politics. The Palestinian resistance fighters occupied all the Palestinian camps and transformed them into bunkers. Israel didn’t mind the transformation and the involvement of the PLO in Lebanon’s politics. Israel goal was to displace the Lebanese citizens from the south and then conquer it. In fact, thousands of citizens in the south moved to the southern outskirts of Beirut in Haret Hrik, Ghobeiry, and Dahieh.  These areas would become the “belt of misery” and shantytowns.

            In April 1973, an Israeli commando (headed by Ehud Barak) assassinated three Palestinian leaders in Beirut Kamal Edwan, Kamal Youssef, and Abu Youssef Al Najjar; it failed to locate Arafat.  In May 1973, the Lebanese army was encircling the Palestinian camps and Arafat took refuge in Embassies.  Arafat had a sixth sense on personal dangers and he did sleep in Embassies when the tough got going.  His best strategy for avoiding detection and maintaining security is to be “unpredictable”; thus he frequently moved from one residence to another and never informed anyone of his displacements, even his driver or bodyguards.

            Arafat highly valued Medias and used it tot the hilt. He also lavished on and befriended the sheikhs of mosques so that their Friday preaches increase his positive exposure. Arafat was not that good in rhetoric but his charisma and large smile compensated greatly on other verbal deficiencies.

            Arafat was super patient, like fish hunters.  He didn’t mind waiting for years until his enemy is caught in his nets.  He fundamentally used persuasion and then extending financial bait and then blackmailing when everything failed.  Arafat could focus under extreme dangerous situations and keep his cool for the sake of his surrounding assistants. He slept a few hours on early morning and then had siesta after lunch.  He extended aid to the needy and took excellent care of the martyrs’ families.  He owned only two military suits.

            Arafat read every piece of mail and replied in details.  He carried a small booklet and noted down information; he once said “if one of my small notebooks is published monarchies would disappear and Presidents fall.”  Arafat was feared by Arab leaders because of his wide connections and the vast intelligence he had on each one of them; thus, the PLO coffer was replenished on demand.

            Arafat visited India PM Indira Gandhi. A guru asked Arafat “How many Palestinians are there?”  Arafat replied 8 millions. The guru retorted “I have 9 million followers who worship me as their God.”  Arafat said with a large smile “The difference is that every one of the 8 million Palestinians thinks that he is indeed God”

            On November 1974, Arafat delivered a speech to the UN assembly and offered two alternatives: the olive tree or the gun.  He also talked to the UN General assembly in Geneva on December 1988 and declared his willingness to end armed struggle and the recognition of Israel; the USA decided then to recognize the PLO.

            Arafat played a central role during the Lebanese civil war that started in April 13, 1975.  He tried to maintain a balanced position in the tag of war between Hafez Assad of Syria and Sadat of Egypt at the expense of the Lebanese civilians.  The leftist Lebanese organizations relied on Arafat for logistics in arms and ammunition and he controlled them completely.  Arafat once declared in Ramallah around 1998 that he was the de facto governor of Lebanon for over 20 years, even before the civil war. Lebanon would have been saved 13 years of mindless civil war if Arafat had decided to relinquish Lebanon to Syria and dealt with Israel in 1977 instead of 1993 for part of Palestine as he was forced to do later.

            After the signing of the Oslo agreement with Rabin, Arafat returned to Gaza on July 1994.  He signed an agreement for the return of the West bank in September 1995.  Rabin was assassinated by one of his body-guard. Netanyahu refused to go along with the agreement but finally submitted to the USA pressures and returned Hebron (Al Khalil) after the negotiation of Wy River in 1998.

            On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon entered the Masjed Akssa during the tenure of Ehud Barak PM.  The second intifada started.  Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister in February 2001 and he invaded Ramallah (headquarter of the Palestinian Authority, al mukata3a) and encircled Arafat in his quarter. George W. Bush said to Sharon “Leave Arafat to God” and Sharon relied “I will give God a nudge”

            Arafat had food delivered through Israeli check points. He suffered acute ailment and knew that he has been poisoned by small doses.  Before being hospitalized in France Arafat said to his personal physician Ashraf Kerdi “The Zionists got me…”  Mohammad Dahlan (Fateh officer) told Arafat “When you are back your authority and power will remain intact” Arafat replied “In that case you are coming with me to France”

            Mahmoud Abbass replaced Arafat and refused to have an autopsy performed.  Arafat managed to hold together an organization of many factions for 40 years by centralizing the disbursement of the financial import he secured from the Arab States and from investment.  Arafat struggled hard to keep the Palestinian decisions independent of the vagaries of the multiple Arab States leaders’ interests of abusing of the “Palestinian cause.”  Probably, most of Arafat’s “peace deals” with Israel emanate from the disunity of the Arab States toward a strategic plan for checking the Zionist plans.  Arafat had to juggle Arab States priorities concerning their proper interests. Arafat sculpted an image of Palestinian resistance by wearing the special “koufieh” headdress and the military attire. He forged a logo for the Palestinian cause.

The Jante Law: Mediocrity is King, (March 24, 2009)

In Scandinavia, the Jante Law said: “You are worthless.  Nobody is interested in what you think. Mediocrity and anonymity are your best choices.  If you act according to the Jante Law, then all your problems will vanish”

This Janti Law is the most common and most adhered to principle by most countries and people, though it was never formulated as clearly or known as the Law of the Lands of Mediocrity. 

The Janti Law was stated in the novel “A refugee surpasses his limits” by Aksei Sandemose in 1933.  This law was disseminated recently when the Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise married the writer Ari Behn.

Ari Behn was a recognized and acclaimed writer before he wedded the princess.  After the marriage, Ari was vehemently critiqued and lambasted by writers for no other reason but for daring to surpass his class status.  That is how the world got familiar with this Scandinavian Law. 

By the way, Princess Martha-Louise embroidered her gown with the names of who counted in her life for her 30h birthday, and many started to emulate her generous spirit.

People always claim that many wars would not have started if an anti-Janti Law was preponderant:

1. That people knew that they are worth far more than what they think. 

2. That what you do on earth is far more important than what you believe in;

3. That acting against injustice and expressing your opinions against tyrants will ultimately prevail.

That might be so, but it was still an abstract notion until 2003, when the King of Mediocrity, George W. Bush, prevailed against all the world community and launched his preemptive war against Iraq.

The Spanish PM Aznar defied the wishes of 90% of the Spanish citizens and so did the British PM Blair. The UN did not cover the operation.

Turkey declined 26 billions dollar in aid and denied the US troops a right to cross the Turkish land or launch military operations against its neighboring State.

Colin Powell was forced to forge falsified proofs, documents, and aerial photographs that Hans Blix, the inspector of Iraq disarmament on nuclear and chemical engines of war, contested for many months.

Britain Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, went as far as justifying this war on moral grounds.

The European Nations and their people were against this war.  The Arab States unified to decry this war.  The entire world demonstrated for two months but the King of Mediocrity prevailed.

No, it was not all in vain. Things have changed even if a few leaders still feel shy to denouncing the genocide that the Zionist State perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza.

The results of democratic elections are recognized, even if they don’t suit the philosophy of a few powerful nations.  A new urgency for diplomatic resolutions is taking over in world politics.  Sure, financial and economic downturns are helping that climate of overture, but Mediocrity is subsiding among nations.

The common people of nations are reawakening to known fundamentals that terrorism and religious extremism are the symptoms of fear, inequality in rights, injustices, and lack of freedom of speech coupled with anemic economies and lack of opportunities and professional diversity in jobs.

In order to establish just, prosperous, and democratic political systems around the world we have got to believe that it is very possible because it is right and urgent.

Note 1:  The theme of this post was inspired by “Like a Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho with re-arrangement.

Note 2: This post was published over three years before the Arab mass uprising and the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US and in Europe


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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