Stench 39


Those Americans struggling through housing repossession, unemployment and medical bills will be delighted to see it confirmed that 6.6 billion dollars of US taxpayers’ money in cash was stolen during the Iraq war, probably by members of the US’ puppet Iraqi administration. Precisely the same thing has been happening in Afghanistan, with less publicity so far.

More details are emerging about the supply of Egyptian natural gas to Israel, way below the world price and reportedly even below the cost of production, and the bribes received by Mubarak, his sons and Hussein Salem, Mubarak’s bagman. But what is going to be really fascinating to see is whether evidence comes out of US influence in the corrupt aspects of this deal, (the origins of which were in a hidden protocol to Camp David, which subsidised Israel and boosted their Egyptian puppet.

The tides of Middle Eastern events are linked in numerous ways. Pressure on Hamas to reconcile with Fatah was not only coming from their own people, but from the loss of Hamas’ support from Syria’s Assad and their operating base in Damascus. Hamas’ links with Syrian Islamic groupings, which are now in the resistance to Assad, led to this breakdown in relationships. The importance of Assad’s logistic support to Hamas has been largely overlooked. Yet the awful Assad is still viewed by the West as more accommodating to Israel than any successors might be, which is one major reason why there is still no concerted call for him to step down, despite the largest scale and most sustained violence against civilians of the entire Arab spring.

Meantime NATO’s continued bombing raids in Libya seem ever more a waste of time and money – something which UK taxpayers currently do not have to spare. That our Middle Eastern policy is based on self interest and not on support for principles of freedom is undeniable, with Bahrain the most glaring example. The medical staff are today being processed through a military tribunal for imprisonment for treating injured protestors, while yet another prominent opposition activist has died from torture, without a peep from our government. So we obviously do not care for human rights. But what preisely we are supposed to be achieving in terms of self-interest in Libya is equally unclear, as our involvement in this low level civil war fritters away money and resource apparently with no plan.

The same is true of Afghanistan, where we seem to have accepted finally that we are not going to create a western democracy, nor is there significant progress in reconstruction. It will make virtually no difference to events if we leave tomorrow or in 2015. We are paying a great price in blood and treasure for the pride and arrogance of our political class.


39 thoughts on “Stench

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  • geomannie

    “More details are emerging about the supply of Egyptian natural gas to Egypt”

    is this right? Did you perhaps mean-

    “More details are emerging about the supply of Egyptian natural gas to Israel”?

  • willyrobinson

    “But what precisely we are supposed to be achieving in terms of self-interest in Libya is equally unclear, as our involvement in this low level civil war fritters away money and resource apparently with no plan.” I like this tone. Sure, you can scream ‘Oil!’, but just when exactly is this adventure supposed to turn a profit or reduce global prices or secure supply? The details are complex and, as you say, unclear – and this oil supply policy will never be debated publicly despite the enormous cost in terms of money and lives.

  • ingo

    After having listened to the R4’s Today diatribe this morn, the simpering of a Bahraini spokesperson, with the next breath talking up the US election for 5 minutes whilst our domestic stirke in the autumn barely got 3 minutes, I have sent the following to the BBC as I do not expect any reply from them.

    To whom it may concern

    Dear dependents

    Would you think it balanced to cover the US elections, over a year away, for nearly five minutes on a news programme, whilst talking about a massive strike involving more than one union here in the autumn, for barely three minutes, if that?

    You are mistaken in your adulation to those who keep you in your jobs, they are not the same people who pay your license fee, their at times dubious agenda, although keeping you in a job as long as you cover their affairs, is not conducive to the day to day news reporting of our domestic affairs and I, no doubt many others, do not take likely to your indoctrination with all things US as it is in part of the problems we face today.

    If the BBC believes that they have an innate inbuilt obligation to cover US elections ad nauseum, with us having to listen, whilst any of our European neighbours where most of our economic activities and markets are, countries far more successful at their democratic endeavours, hardly ever make the news, they are mistaken.

    I despise your junky like dependency, using a tax on us all to proffer and profligate an agenda of decline and war, you make out that you are too feeble to change but when economic cut backs concern yourself, we are subjected to lamentations and self pity on a grand scale, we have to hear about it because you decide that you want to tell us.

    I shall publicise this letter, as I do not expect any changes. You all have learned very well from Herr Goebbels, manufacturing consent and covering up pseudo fascists misdemeanours such as breaking the laws of the sea, shooting at unarmed protesters, or beating up demonstrators, is seemingly passing you by.
    May I suggest to decorate your offices in stars and stripes for the forthcoming re election of Obama, it is a foregone conclusion. Even a black African American man could not cut through the industrial military war mongering you are so enthralled with, or the resource Angst that’s gripping those who don’t want to change their lifestyles, what a pity?

    Make sure to follow Netanyahu’s instructions when he attacks Syria and/or Iran, soon, or when the IDF pirates strike next, mind you he might not want you to tell us about it. Oh and thank you for the excellent cover up of torture and atrocities in Bahrain this morning, what a pleasant coverage for Saudi / Sunni murderers. Would you think goading Shia’s in Iran with exceptionally brutal behaviour over the fence in Bahrain, will make Ahmadinedjad jumpy, make him act in response?
    You are part of this agenda, shame on you!

    My best wishes to the MI team

    Take care
    Yours sincerely

    ingo W.

    PS: what makes you think that what is happening in Bahrain could not happen here?

  • mark_golding

    Good post Craig. I admit I am somewhat confounded by your statement, ‘with the loss of Hamas’ support from Syria’s Assad and their operating base in Damascus.’ I had no real idea and may have judged the situation in Syria differently believing the riots were Western installed. I may have to apologize for misinformation.

  • Vronsky

    I was visiting the American side of my family recently in St George, Utah. Bank repossessions have to be published over there. My sis-in-law held up a fold of the local newspaper; two pages of bank notices, one centimetre each, two columns per page – that in one town. They’re all mostly still right behind the gubm’nt, though, and some chap called God is going to fix it all for them, so let’s not worry.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mark, I think this illustrates the complexity of current events in the Middle East. There are a number of forces contending for power right now. I don’t think the events in Syria are “Western-installed” (in the way the ‘Orange Revolution’ in the Ukraine et al may have been, for example) any more than those in Bahrain or Palestine are. Not to say that elites in the West will not try/ are not trying to ‘run’ them, control them, acquiesce with crushing them (and choose which it is, depending on the country) if they can. But I don’t think they will succeed. One suspects that people who have died or risked death throwing off the iron mantle of secret police/dictator, etc. are likely not to be in any kind of mood to subjugate themselves to the rapists of the IMF. What Asad’s regime is doing to the Syrian people is heinous and deserves equal condemnation with that which we (rightly) assign to Israel when it kills and oppresses Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I see now that there are soldiers and police defecting and refusing to fire on innocent civilians and that they too are now being massacred. Of course, killing lots of people is nothing new for the Syrian regime; think of Hama, 1982. I know a Palestinian poet called Ghazi Hussein – a completely peaceful man – who, as a young man, was arrested and tortured horribly by the Syrian secret police. When he reads his poetry, his testament – he’s a great performer, btw – it is hard for the walls not to crack open and the air to weep.

    People just want to be able to breathe.

    See also Johann Hari’s excellent recent piece, btw, in the Independent, on the IMF:
    johannhari.com/2011/06/02/its-not-only-strauss-kahn-who-should-be-on-trial-its-the-imf-itself

  • spike

    ‘blood and treasure’? To say nothing of the contempt young afghans. libyans, iraqis etc will have for the british for the way we’ve paid no heed to history and just blindly gone in again and again; winning hearts and minds? our foreign policy has long, long ago lost the plot.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Vronsky, one suspects that the USA itself needs a revolution and urgent regime change (but which I mean the political and economic system; the former has been subjected to a gradual coup d’etat, the latter, to ideologically fundamentalist capitalism and mass social engineering with 30+ years of bank deregulation), but first the mass of the people need to wake up and stop drinking the (metaphorical, yet therefore more difficult to get rid of) Valium in their water. As a first step (there are, of course, twelve), there is this: God is dead in Utah.

    Good title for a novel…

  • Vronsky

    Hi Suhayl

    “the USA itself needs a revolution and urgent regime change”

    Funny thing is, I met so many Americans who thought so too. Yet nothing happens. It needs a critical mass of some mysterious kind. I know other, radical, Americans who are warning liberals against against voting for ‘third parties’ because that could put conservatives in power – it’s the conventional wisdom of the American left. Seems to be no understanding that you have to break the circle and be willing to be longtime losers, demonised, abused, ridiculed and dismissed and @[email protected]’d!(trying to defeat the search algorithm) if you really want to change things (SNP activist speaking of matters whereof he knows).

    Look at this from a pal:

    http://open.salon.com/blog/tom_cordle/2011/06/04/paul_reveres_ride_revised

    ..but he also says this:

    http://open.salon.com/blog/tom_cordle/2011/04/10/third-party-poopers

  • Phil

    I’m still not convinced that the west is not involved in events in Syria. Remember Syria is high on the ‘axis of evil’ list of the neocons (who are far from a spent force), as is Libya of course. The West has to play Syria much more cannily than Libya. Syria is rightly seen across the Arab world as the greatest national supporter of the Palestinian people. Israel would love to see Syria with an Egypt-style government. Thus they, and the rest of the NATO governments have been very careful to go very gently in public pronouncements. This does not mean that they do not control armed factions in Syria.

    Some of the events in Syria are certainly very odd if it is just a popular uprising of the sort seen in Tunisia or Egypt, which were peaceful and did nothing to threaten the regime (only a few individuals like Mubarak). Which is not to say that the Syrian regime is not oppressive, and that many people would like to be rid of it, just that the people there may well be being used.

  • Azra

    Western Democracy Craig??? what democracy? do we have any?? wasn’t there nearly two million of people in the street marching against invasion of Iraq? if we had democracy Blair would be in the dock for war crime. If we had democracy we would not say ” How high” when USA ordered us to jump.. Afgans are better off without the version of our democracy, thank you very much!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Israel, it seems to me, was very happy with the Mubarak regime and also with the Assad regime. The last thing Israel – the military-security of Israel – is likely to want is a pro-active representative govt in Egypt and Syria that truly reflects the will of the people and demonstrates real solidarity with Palestinians or else an unstable situation right on their borders, on both sides of their borders. Syria funded some Palestinian groups but mercilessly opposed the Palestinians in Lebanon. It’s all about power; the regime in Damascus doesn’t give a toss about the Palestinian people. In what way are they (the West) “treading carefully”? There’s no oil in Syria, that is a major difference cf Libya. They also seem to be “treading carefully” wrt Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but we know the reasons for that – ah, oil again, and of course those regimes are lackeys. You see, I think it’s far more complex. Yes, of course they – the West – will be trying to use everything they can to facilitate their preferred outcome in whatever situation exists on the ground, that is to be expected in all situations, that is a given. There are a number of such players in all these situations. But I do not think that this whole Middle East thing is a Western creation – which is what some seem to have argued, right from the outset, right from the Tunisian events, onwards. This type of argumentation makes the tacit assumption (Phil, please note that I’m not saying that you’re saying this, though) that Arab people are incapable themselves of struggling against, and overthrowing, tyrants.

  • nobody

    Why are we in Afghanistan? Not democracy you say? C’mon Craig, get with it. Afghanistan had a socialist government back in the seventies that banned the burqa, gave equality to women, and all that other neat democratic stuff. But we in the West were unimpressed and gave funds to our designated guy, a scion of the very Western, very wealthy, and very well connected Bin Laden family who did a yeoman’s duty and created a fundamentalist opposition to Afghanistan’s socialist government. Just like Miles Copeland (Stuart’s dad) did back in the fifties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And NOW you realise we’re not there for democracy. Gee whiz mate, when were we ever?

    Since you’re quoting history (with the Spaniards etc) why don’t I grab for something slightly more recent, and certainly more English, and mention the Opium Wars I & II. Things were different back then and we actually called things what they were. Thus a war fought for the right of David Sassoon to pump opium into China was called an ‘Opium War’, as opposed to ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ or whatever shit it is they come up with now.

    So! There was the English crown sending troops to China in order that it be more perfectly destroyed by drugs: a pretty straightforward logic, no problems. And here we are in Afghanistan, where the Taleban had reduced opium production to zero (I think that deserves caps – ZERO – an impressive figure ain’t it?), but happily under us has now increased to record highs (ahem). Of course, we shrug our shoulders and declare that there’s nothing to be done for it. And all those endless googleimages of Western troops guarding poppy fields don’t mean that they’re actually ‘guarding’ them. The fields are there and the troops are there and there’s no connection between the two, apart from, um… ‘picturesqueness’.

    And where is all that smack going? It wouldn’t be Russia, China, Iran, and pakistan would it? And it wouldn’t be for any reasons that resemble those we fought the previous opium wars for would it? Surely not. Best we scratch our heads and hunt around for other reasons.

    As for Libya, perhaps I was the only fellow who found it amusing that one of the first things the Libyan ‘opposition’ (the leader of which spent the last twenty years living in Langley Virginia) did was to establish their own reserve bank. Wow, such sophisticated foresight! But ultimately stupid when you think about it. As if banking has anything to do with anything? Was a war ever fought for bankers? Of course not. They were fought for oil, democracy, hell, any damn thing you can think of, except banking. Thus we can see that bankers are clearly quite powerless and as such would have no interest in bringing down regimes that ban usury (like Afghanistan in 1978), or otherwise refuse to hand control of their money supply over to them. What was Mayer Amschel Rothschild on about when he said, ‘Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who writes its laws’? What an idiot – delusions of grandeur obviously. And the phrase ‘follow the money’? Ha ha ha, we throw it away as meaningless. Um… unless we’re talking about oil companies and other non-banking corporations.

    I recommend that no one at any time ever mention banking in any of those endless discussions as to why we are bombing the shit out of a given country. The fact that all the countries we are currently blowing up don’t subscribe to the internationally controlled, fractional, reserve-banking ‘money as debt’ system that we are subject to, is little more than a meaningless coincidence.

    Back to the sensible discussions…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Azra, because democracy is the UK and USA has degenerated and has been thoroughly corrupted does not mean that the notion of democracy itself is to be rejected. The point is, to constantly work and struggle to minimise or prevent the tendency towards oligarchy. What would you prefer? Sharia Law and a pantomime caliphate? I agree entirely that democracy does not work when imposed by force on a people and that the imposition of it has failed in Afghanistan. Indeed, we know that democracy was not the aim of that – or any – war, in any case, but was simply another PR tool in the chest of criminals like Alistair Campbell and Richard Cheney. However, all too often, I find that Islamists (though I have no idea what your views are on this) like to state that ‘democracy is incompatible with Islam’ and ‘see- democracy doesn’t work!’ as an excuse for imposing their own sort of oppression on people. We have seen that oppression many times now. We have also seen that Islamism does not deliver what people need. We see it today in (the extremely corrupt and military-feudal-Islamist) Pakistan, where anyone who opposes the Islamists is summarily assassinated. The revolutions across the Middle East would suggest that people increasingly are rejecting the Islamist hypothesis. Conceptually and on the ground, it would appear that both the Islamists and the elites of the West have been overtaken by events. It will be a long struggle, but one senses that at last, the wheel has begun to turn.

    • Azra

      Suhayl
      I should have added, the responsibility is ours, but unfortunately people specially in the west are too complacent . Believe me, I live and working in a fairly affluent, middle class area. people here are either Christians waiting for Jesus to come back and put everything right, or totally indifferent to any politics unless it is affecting their pockets. I work in an office which everyone has had university education yet when once I was talking about Diego Garcia and the shameful way UK and USA treated the islanders and their ongoing fight only one person knew what I was talking about… I suppose what I am saying is what you saying Suhayl, if we are not interested and active then we deserve what we get.

  • Methuselah Now

    Hi,

    Suhayl, you seem to be the only Muslim here. While I appreciate you’re not as far gone as Quilliam, I wish you wouldn’t bring your deep prejudice against wahabis, islamists, etc. to bare on every discussion.

    As an example, the problems in Pakistan have far more to with straight-up corruption and repression, lead by an elite exploiting tribal feudalism, with western govt. interaction and a war machine that further enables corruption.

    It is their faith, as In many parts of the world, that gives the weak and downtrodden, the stregth to carry on, including in these revolutions.

    Just because you’ve been conditioned to to believe in the exceptional virtuous of “democracy”, doesn’t mean it should be judged innately better than other forms of government without recourse to environment and practical outcomes.

    Yours kindly,

    MN

  • ingo

    Suhal,when you say that ” The last thing Israel – the military-security of Israel – is likely to want is a pro-active representative govt in Egypt and Syria that truly reflects the will of the people” you put your finger on the button.

    The crux is that Israel has never had a peacefull relationship with any of its neighbours for very long and in many cases, just to buy it time and keep its back free from attack whilst it is going to war with another neighbour. It is dependent on cease fire decrees and the IDF. Negotiations are undertaken under pretence, to buy time for the expansionary status quo, never to make peace, hence the empasse at present.
    There are not many who have tried to breach this vast casmn, the aloofness and false sense of superiority at the heart of right wing zionism. Even those who call themselves friends of Israel will one day find out that they are not privvy to all they support, that there is an underlying agenda that is kept from them. Aquiring land seems more important than fostering relations at present, although Hizbollah’s last response marked a new chapter. Israel is not immune, the current situation is unsustainable, one day they must realise that no man is an island.

  • mark_golding

    Phil, one thing is certain, the deal to unite the Palestinians was agreed with the support of Syrian President Bachar al-Assad, the country’s vice president Farouk al-Sharaa and its foreign minister, Walid Moallem. The head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal is living in Damascus.

    The Palestinian unity has disturbed both Israelis and the American government. Crucially Fatah and Hamas ended in May 2011 AD, four years of conflict with an agreement that is crucial to the Palestinian demand for a state.

    The agreement certainly ended with a pledge from Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel and one gets the impression that Hamas is prepared to recognise Israel as a valid entity. Action that puts the ball in Israel’s court.

    With these things on the table it is time for Israel to stop the brutal treatment of Palestinian children –

    http://www.citizencam.co.uk/

    I hope International pressure mounts on Israel to pull back, but I hold out no hope. The grand plan moves forward with the inside track suggesting America and Britain are planning a way to covet Pakistan, a move which prompted the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu to warn the US that any attack on Pakistan will be construed as an attack on China.

    The real-time clock in Cyborg Obama relentless ticks away and the Neo-Con end-game routines wait for the hook that moves their agenda forward. Meanwhile Richard Gage and his team are in Ireland and soon London to further the movement and erect their signpost. Trouble is, if we take that direction there will be no way back.

    Who’s got the guts?

  • angrysoba

    Pssst!:

    “David Sassoon”
    .
    “Mayer Amschel Rothschild”
    .
    It’s the Jews again…
    .
    Nobody, your history of Afghanistan is woefully muddled. The US didn’t pay Osama bin Laden to get rid of the people who set up a wonderful flowering democracy which banned the burqa etc… Throughout the seventies there was intrigue with the deposition of the king by his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law was then assassinated by the Soviet-inclined PDPA bringing in “Great Teacher Taraki” who tried to push things too far too fast with girls schools and burqa bans and all the lovely stuff you don’t actually think is lovely until he met resistance in the country and defectors such as Ismail Khan etc… Then he was deposed and killed by an ally and rival Hafizullah Amin who was also deposed and killed by Babrak Kamal with the assistance of the USSR. The US’s role was fairly negligible unless you believe the stories that Amin was a CIA-plant. But, of course you do.
    .
    By the way, a lot is always made of the Taliban’s eradication of the opium crop. They did do this for a year or two but this was largely after growing plenty of the stuff on the condition that only infidels be sold the stuff. The price for Muslims taking the opium was – predictably – death.

  • angrysoba

    “Meanwhile Richard Gage and his team are in Ireland and soon London to further the movement and erect their signpost. Trouble is, if we take that direction there will be no way back.”
    .
    Richard Gage is a charlatan. By the way, when he was in Ireland he was sharing a stage with Andrew Wakefield of MMR vax=autism fame. It has been difficult to work out who has discredited whom the greater.

  • mark_golding

    Angrysober’s returns from his booster shot of JREF poisoned Kool-aid.

    Talking about ‘vax’ I wonder why Baxter attempted to stonewall questions by invoking “trade secrets” and refused to reveal how vaccines were contaminated with H5N1 – a deliberate attempt to start a pandemic? The fact that Baxter mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses is the smoking gun.
    Who had a stake in Tamiflu? Oh yes – George Shultz, Lodewijk J.R. de Vink and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – Clickety-click!!

    No ‘snake-oil’ at the London convention Angrysober just plain ol’ molten metal, iron spheres and Nano technology – Do I hear shouts of pseudo-science and quackery – No – a strange silence – why? – Because the DNA iterations have been completed, published, reviewed and counter arguments have been answered to the satisfaction of the scientific community – one final task remains – to expose the bastards.

    Keep up to date – Webster Tarpley – World Crisis Radio:

    http://www.gcnlive.com/programs/worldCrisisRadio/

  • Azra

    Suhayl, Democracy, Caliphate, Communism ,,, and nearly every other system of government are fine On Paper Only. If you read the system of Caliphate in Islam, if it could be really and justly implemented is actually a true democracy (even if it might bot be called that!). The trouble is systems are run by man..and once man is in power, well you know the saying “power corrupts”..of how many patriots you have heard including the one in Libya! who put their own life on line for the good of their nation, and two minutes later turn more rotten than the one they fought to replace.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Azra, yeah, good point about the human condition. Think: Mugabe and lots of others. That’s one of the reason why no system can be allowed to fossilise – is this an argument for anarchism? I don’t know, truly. Ingo, Vronsky, excellent points.

    Methuselah Now, what a wonderful pseudonym, if I may say! I most certainly am not the only Muslim here. To my knowledge, anno and Azra are Muslim, and there have been many others over the course of time who have contributed to this site, and I’m sure many more read it. I have no time for Qulliam, for reasons me and others – including, I think, Craig – have explained amply elsewhere. I agree – and have made the point at every available opportunity – that Pakistan’s problems stem from feudalism and militarism. I have argued solidly for years that the army needs to be kicked out of the economy, civil society and politics and that land reform, mass literacy and health programmes, etc. need deployed urgently. A lot of Craig’s posts – naturally, he’s an ex-Ambassador – have to do with foreign policy and/or imperial war and/or domestic policy as it pertains to these themes. So my seeming obsession with critiquing Islamism at every available opportunity is entirely appropriate in these contexts, I think. It is human nature that economically poor people – and others – will find solace in religion. Though I recognise the ‘opium of the people’ dynamic, I have no problem with people finding solace and fulfillment in faith, I am not Richard Dawkins. However, what I am attacking is the petrodollar-fueled, (for a long time) US-supported dissemination via the feudal-military junta that in fact rules Pakistan, of extremely reactionary, oppressive forms of Islam, which, over a period of 35 years, has achieved nothing for the poor people of that country and which facilitate the perpetuation of the feudal-military junta. There is little that is remotedly ‘natural’ or ‘indigenous’ or ‘traditional’ (except Deobandism – but Deobandism itself has been influenced by these militarist movements emanting from the KSA) about these postmodern political gangsterist movements. They have indeed filled the deliberate vacuum left by a weak state and they represent the paramilitarisation of the pre-existing hoodlum culture. I have seen what Islamists have done to that country, to the people of that country. It is not – or was not – the normative religion of the villages of South Asia, it is an urban phenomenon. I have also watched as this same pathology has infected the communities in the UK. It was created as a military and political movement by imperial powers – primarily the USA via its pimp, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Iran, of course, disseminates the equally abhorent Shia variety. Anyone who attempts to repeal the terrible laws passed by General Zia ul Haq’s military junta in the 1980s is summarily assassinated. That is the reality of Pakistan today. There is nothing traditional or inevitable about this situation. It has been created and it needs to be opposed at every level. I amke no apology for that. I have no illusions about capitalist democracya dn imperailam also must be opposed at every level. I see the two as part of the same structure, in fact. I think that fundamentalist capitalism and its organs – IMF, etc. – needs to be dismantled, globally. However, I do not beleive the ‘asnwer’ is Islamism. We have seen Islamism in operation in various countries, and univerally it has proven itself to be murderous and unsustainable yet entirely compatible and symbiotic with fundamentalist capitalism – eg. the KSA.

    • Azra

      Suhayl
      I should have added, the responsibility is ours, but unfortunately people specially in the west are too complacent . Believe me, I live and work in a fairly affluent, middle class area. people here are either Christians waiting for Jesus to come back and put everything right, or totally indifferent to any politics unless it is affecting their pockets. I work in an office which everyone has had university education yet when once I was talking about Diego Garcia and the shameful way UK and USA treated the islanders and their ongoing fight only one person knew what I was talking about… I suppose what I am saying is what you saying Suhayl, if we are not interested and active then we deserve what we get.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, I know, Azra. Mass depoliticisation has been rather effective, hasn’t it? Though sometimes we are pleasantly surprised but what people don’t understand any more is that it needs a long and consistent struggle – Vronsky’s point exactly – and that a one million-strong demo on its own, with candles and other paraphernalia, won’t do the trick; the state will still go to war. It’s the long game (though it’s no game, of course). Spartacus…

  • Methuselah Now

    Hi,

    Suhayl, Thanks for the compliment.

    On your main comment, while there’s truth in there, I would have to largely disagree, and yes I’m also familiar with various parts of the world.

    I’m a relativist, I think we are all, at least capable. of being as bad as anyone else whatever their philosophy. I also aspire not to be an absolutist.

    Thinking isn’t the same thing as doing.

    Most people don’t think of geopolitics when deciding in which faith to follow and have their children be raised.

    What I’m getting at is that this easy dismissal of the saudi’s and deobandi’s, etc., which undoubtably do have their faults to outsiders, all-too conveniently dovetails with both the agenda’s of liberalism that believes in great permissiveness, and NeoCons desperate to attack a strident form of counter-philosophy, where both ends of the spectrum aspire to a modernisation of a faith to suit the desires of the individual and western interests: just imagine the interests who lose out in any country that would live by muslim ideals.

    We also suffer in our sphere of both presentism and neutralisation of difference, for anything from the centre must be extreme.

    Do you remember how Tony Blair swore he was a socialist, yet most labour party members would consider many of his policies fitting that of the Tory/right-wing ideology? It doesn’t seem logical that just because someone declares themselves one thing then they should be indulged by those of that group, unfortunately, in the secular illiterate world, we now live in a world where if someone says they’re of a faith, we don’t check how they affirm that faith.

    I not fixed on this, but I’d disagree with the concept of islamism’s spread though that’s not to say its widely spread, while I agree to some elements of truth in historical roots, there are just so many interactions, It might just be a world that has different value-systems and sees how secular societies have developed, it could be simple literacy that actually brings people to faith – I can’t dismiss religion with it simply being “opium” – some might consider that a form of orientalism – it could be shared community and philosophy, it could simply be the counter-parallele of how we had hippyism in the west, and lets not forget that we are talking about a faith that has been practiced continuously for a millenium and a half and finds people to affirm to it in the most individualised and [what some might class, us] educated societies. When you refer to country verse urban, maybe it’s a simple case of no one noticing until there was pushback/blow-back as most normal people do tend to work eat and raise their families until there’s a cause to need self-identifying/affirming.

    As far as I’m aware, there has been no external intervention, outside of their own regionality by any muslim-lead countries.

    Also, among the myriad of, as an example, Pakistani’s, I’ve never come across an unintelligent one; they might not always read and of course have different values v. outcomes (in the way we might label them illiterate), but they’re politically more engageed and aware of their own politicians then, and this applies to most of the non-english un-media-saturated societies, many of our own citizens.

    I’m sure I could go on forever on this issue, so i’ll just hope you best wishes,

    MN

  • angrysoba

    “Who had a stake in Tamiflu? Oh yes – George Shultz, Lodewijk J.R. de Vink and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – Clickety-click!!”
    .
    It all makes so much sense now!!! :eyeroll

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