World view – Thursday

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WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

38 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  December 20, 2018

    Trump administration plans to pull US troops from Syria immediately
    The unexpected White House move comes as tensions increase sharply with NATO ally Turkey, which has promised to launch a military offensive against the US partner forces in Syria, which Ankara considers part of a Kurdish terrorist group. Losing their US ground partner will be a major blow to the Syrian Kurdish forces.

    The Trump administration is planning to pull all US troops out of Syria, a defence official said on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump declared victory against the Islamic State.

    The president, in a message on Twitter, said the United States had “defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12179955
    ……………….
    Seems like a good idea. Victory for the Russians & Turks? Aljazeera tv was saying something about this earlier this morning. Some US senators led by some chap called Bob Corker or a name something like that – usually a Trump supporter, apparently – are opposed to any US withdrawal though, they said, because the US is a force for stability in the Middle East or some such nonsense.

    • Gezza

       /  December 20, 2018

      Aw no, sorry, my mistake: not Corker – Graham.

      “Reacting to reports of a possible troop withdrawal, Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, often a Trump ally, said a withdrawal would have “devastating consequences” for the United States in the region and throughout the world.

      “An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, (President) Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia,” Graham said in a statement.

      Republican Senator Marco Rubio agreed, saying a full and rapid withdrawal of US troops from Syria would be a “grave error” with implications beyond just the fight against ISIL.”
      – Aljazeera

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  December 20, 2018

    Cartoonists are making hay while the sun shines.

    • Gezza

       /  December 20, 2018

      Gawd. What a shyster Trump is. And yet there are dimwitted folk here who argue Trump’s a flawed genius? He’s a bloody fraud genius. What’s wrong with them, Patz?

      • Patzcuaro

         /  December 20, 2018

        I think they suffered from tunnel vision due to a reliance on Fox News etc for there infotmation.

  3. Joe Bloggs

     /  December 20, 2018

    President Trump’s declaration that the United States has “defeated Isis in Syria” and will therefore be pulling troops out seems premature in light of the ongoing task force operations in Syria.

    Latest figures from the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve state that between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15, CJTF-OIR conducted 208 strikes consisting of 378 engagements in Syria. On December 15 alone there were 90 engagements with ISIS.

    A link to CJTF-OIR’s weekly report for the report dated 19 December follows:
    http://www.inherentresolve.mil/Portals/14/2018StrikeReleases/December/CJTF-OIR%20Press%20Release%2020181219-01%20Strike%20Release.pdf

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also advised in the past 24 hours that ISIS militants have executed nearly 700 prisoners in nearly two months in its enclaves on the east bank of Euphrates, and in the Syrian desert north of al-Sokhna area and the outskirts of Deir Ezzor desert west of Euphrates River.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  December 20, 2018

      so much for trump’s bullshit

    • Patzcuaro

       /  December 20, 2018

      If the US pulls out they will be leaving the Kurds at the mercy of the Turks, Syrians and Russians. Thanks for your help, good luck and good bye.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  December 20, 2018
      • The Consultant

         /  December 20, 2018

        Yep. Just like every other US Administration back to Nixon-Kissinger. Feel so sorry for the Kurds, who are one of the few Muslim groups in that area that have a semi-Western approach to society, as evidenced by their ferocious woman soldiers.

        They can’t get support from any other major powers: Russia because they’re aligned with Assad, China because they don’t care and Europe because they don’t care either.

        And of course they’re no mates with Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq because they want to carve out their own nation from chunks of each. Given what artificial borders the latter three have that’s a joke. They’ll retain a fair bit of control of their chunk of Iraq, but only because it’s central government is so weak. I’d long hoped that the US would take the plunge and recognise such a place, but all their “geo-political specialists” have decided that they can’t risk pissing off the Iraqi government. Sad situation.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 20, 2018

          If the US has only 2000 troops in Syria is it really going to make any difference pulling ghem out?

          • The Consultant

             /  December 20, 2018

            Up until now the likes of Turkey, Syria (and their Russian allies) and Iraq have stopped short of an all-out assault on the Kurds because they might hit US troops. With that obstacle out of the way the Kurds are easy meat. The best they can hope for is to retreat inside the Iraq borders where they are already strongest and hope that they can deter a still weak Iraqi government.

        • Gezza

           /  December 20, 2018

          1ewes at 6 item made the point that this is not the first time the US has completely abandoned its local allies after they’ve done the work they wanted them to do.

          That’s what got up Bin Laden’s nose after the yanks left the mujahideen hanging in the breeze after they saw the Russians off out of Afghanistan, and we all know how that ended up.

          Other points made in the 1ewes item were:

          * ISIS has just carried out a significant attack in Raqqa on the eve of Trump’s announcement
          * there are still several thousand ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria
          * with the US gone it’s highly likely the Turks will move against the YPG.

          Mind you, it’s Trump, remember. He could completely change his mind before breakfast, lunch or dinner any day, & nobody would think that was unusual.

          • The Consultant

             /  December 20, 2018

            That’s what got up Bin Laden’s nose

            I suggest you read the following:
            – The Looming Tower
            – Inside Al Qaeda
            – Holy War, Inc.

            All by journalists who spent years on the ground in those areas and well-written in being detailed but not dry academic stuff.

            All three authors make it very clear – as did Bin Laden himself – that his beef with the USA had everything to so with his over-arching view of the world through the lens of Islamic Jihad and Sharia Law. Their perfidy in supporting/not supporting the Mujahadein had nothing to do with it – except when he wanted to use Western criticisms buried within his own (he was a little clumsy at that). For example, in Afghanistan, even though he was a late and minor player like most of the foreign Arabs, he made it quite clear that he wanted nothing to do with US money and support.

            But his real beef started with his Saudi Arabian brothers refusing his offer to fight an insurgents war against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and rely on the Americans instead. It’s a big part of the reason he selected so many Saudi’s for the 9/11 attacks. He wanted to make a point that the Saudi government did not represent the true feelings of Saudi citizens, let alone Islam.

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              I know his beef predated that he was responsible for attacks against US military installations and ships before that – but that abandonment (Charlie’s War covered it in a dramatised fashion) made it possible for him to widen his appeal for recruits.

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              The other thing that intrigues me is that following the Kuwait War the Saudis kicked the yanks out of Saudi Arabia because of the growing popular anti-US Islamic sentiment among the people. Trump’s being used by the Saudis but he’s too dense to see it. The people of Saudi still hate the US.

            • The Consultant

               /  December 20, 2018

              the Saudis kicked the yanks out of Saudi Arabia because of the growing popular anti-US Islamic sentiment among the people.

              I’d like to see some links for that. My memory – and this 1990 NYT article is a good summation – is that the Saudi leadership began to crap themselves after they found their woman watching US female soldiers blatting around in trucks and jeeps with bare arms, pants and open blouses and the Saudi women starting to question the restrictions they were under. A good thing in my opinion, but then I’m pretty much a “Liberal Internationalist”.

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              Since Saudi Arabia houses the holiest sites in Islam (Mecca and Medina), a number of Muslims, including Bin Laden and his supporters, were outraged at the permanent presence of non-Muslim U.S., British and French military personnel. The continued presence of U.S. troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was also one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th terrorist attacks[1] and the Khobar Towers bombing. The date of the 1998 United States embassy bombings was eight years to the day (August 7) that American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia.

              Opinion polls conducted by Gallup from 2006–2008, found that many in Muslim majority countries strongly objected to U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia. 52% of Saudis agreed that removing military bases from Saudi Arabia would very significantly improve their opinion of the United States. Also, 60% of Egyptians, 39% of Jordanians, 40% of Syrians and Palestinians, 55% of Tunisians, 13% of Iranians, 29% of Turks, 40% of Lebanese, and 30% of Algerians gave that opinion, too.

              The U.S. had rejected the characterization of its presence as an “occupation”, noting that the government of Saudi Arabia consented to the presence of troops.- Wikipedia.

            • The Consultant

               /  December 20, 2018

              the permanent presence of non-Muslim U.S., British and French military personnel. The continued presence of U.S. troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was also one of the stated motivations

              Well given that I don’t give a shit about the “motivations” of people who would likely try to kill me for other “motivations” anyway, and given that this dreaded Western influence has finally, a quarter century later, led to Saudi freeing up many of their bullshit religious restrictions on women anyway, then …. yay!

              Sure, there’s the terrorist attacks and death but “shrugs shoulders”, the West has been getting shit like that since at least the The Enlightenment.

              Yes, yes, I’m a Western Supremacist. 🙂 Fuck ’em!

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              My has been & is that Muslims belong in Muslim countries until they grow out of Islam. That the West should just get the hell out of there and let them sort themselves out whichever horrific way they want to. They have hundreds of years of catching up to do with civilisation. The West should just buy oil when it needs off whoever has it at the time.

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              My VIEW has been etc

            • The Consultant

               /  December 20, 2018

              Watch it Gezza, you’ll be turning into a Trumpist before you know it. GOP Isolationism and all that…..

            • Gezza

               /  December 20, 2018

              No, I don’t think so TC. 😀

              Trump to me is the embodiment of The Ugly American. Narcissistic, jingoistic, wifully ignorant, arrogant, smug and fake. And those are his GOOD points. 😎

  4. The Consultant

     /  December 20, 2018

    From James Comey’s most recent testimony to Congress.

    Mr Ratcliffe

    All right, so I guess as I try and summarize what I’ve heard today.

    Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information more than a hundred times.

    She made false statements about it.

    The FBI was aware that at least one of her aides also mishandled classified information.

    And one of the folks employed on behalf of Secretary Clinton intentionally destroyed evidence known to be subject to a Congressional subpoena and preservation order and lied to the FBI about that.

    And on July 5th 2016 you stood before the American people and said that neither you nor any reasonable prosecutor would bring any charges in this fact pattern.

    Is that accurate?

    Mr Comey

    Yep. I believed it then. I believed it now.

    Fucking hell. It would too easy to discuss double standards, so how about the following instead.

    Comey, like everybody else, expected Hillary to win in November 2016, and he wanted and expected to remain as head of the FBI. So the quid pro quo was that none of this obviously prosecutable shit gets actually prosecuted.

    Same pro quo for Trump – except he fired Comey.

    Maybe it’s like the good old days when J. Edgar Hoover ruled the roost at the FBI and blackmailed each incoming President by assuring them that “the information” would remain in his private file – as long as he remained head of the FBI.

    I guess Hillary’s punishment was not winning the election and Comey was satisified with that. Certainly what a lot of Democrats thought, even to the extent of cheering in front of Colbert when the late night show host told them Comey had been fired by Trump – to Colbert’s surprise.

    • Griff.

       /  December 20, 2018

      How many hours were spent on the Hillery emails?
      No charges, nothing. Same goes with the seven inquirys and thousands of hours attacking Hillery over benghazi.
      Zilch, Nada, nothing resulted.

      Trump.
      Five guilty pleas already.
      Mostly from just his campaign.
      Every single part of Trumps life is under investigation .
      Multiple charges will follow . It is almost certain that Trump will be spending years in jail after the end of his term.
      Either the USA justice system is totally corrupted by a massive democrat lead conspiracy .
      Or much more likely the present Republican president is a criminal POS.

      • MaureenW

         /  December 20, 2018

        No charges because those tasked were either partisan or donating to democrats or Clinton Foundation.

        • Griff.

           /  December 20, 2018

          ROFL.
          Conspiracy crank who believes fake news .

          James Brien Comey Jr. (/ˈkoʊmi/; born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer who was the 7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2013 until his dismissal in May 2017.[3] Comey had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life; in 2016 he described himself as unaffiliated.[4]

          Comey was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and the United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005 in the administration of President George W. Bush.

  5. The Consultant

     /  December 20, 2018

    Authoritarianism in America:

    In January of 2017, when the political controversy over Donald Trump’s perplexing win over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 national election was at its peak, my professor began his political psychology course by asking the lecture hall the following: “How many of you wish Hillary had won the election?” The question was voluntary, yet nearly every hand in the room shot up.

    “Okay, and how many of you supported Trump winning the election?” The room was quiet as not a single hand was raised, followed by a few chuckles.

    “Next, how many of you feel that liberals are safe walking across campus expressing their political views?” Every hand once again went into the air. “And how many of you feel that conservatives are safe to walk around campus expressing their political views?” The room filled with laughter as nobody raised their hand.

    One of the main subjects of the course was authoritarianism.

    • The Consultant

       /  December 20, 2018

      Hmmm – interesting argument.

      So the question becomes: Can we redefine authoritarianism to include a cohesive group of non-conformists? I would contend that a much simpler and more fundamental definition of authoritarianism would be:

      The belief that one’s values are superior to the values of others and that one’s beliefs can therefore be ethically imposed upon those with inferior morals.

      Such a definition captures the appalling mentality that allows Nazis to commit genocide, KKK members to lynch their fellow citizens, and Antifa members to attack those promoting ideas different than their own. While the actions of the above groups are clearly not equivalent in severity, the root of the evil is one and the same.

      • Gezza

         /  December 20, 2018

        I think this is an issue of authoritarianism vs intolerance?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 20, 2018

        Add environmentalists to the list.

      • The Consultant

         /  December 20, 2018

        It’s a somewhat self-contradictory argument I admit. After all, I think my values of free speech are superior to those who are opposed to free speech, which means that I think that I have the right to suppress efforts those folk make to stop free speech.

        And guess what – we’ve started seeing arguments that people like me are the facists when we stop people trying to stop free speech.

        It’s clever as long as you never read 1984.

    • The Consultant

       /  December 20, 2018

      Hmmm….

      At the end of the day, what we must realize is that the authoritarian personality falls on a two-way spectrum, and just as authoritarianism has always existed on the right, so too it exists on the left. As such, we as a society need to be cognizant of its expression, be it in the form of physical violence or in simply laughing at the political suppression of those with whom you disagree.

      • Griff.

         /  December 20, 2018

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 20, 2018

          You can make the same diagram replacing authoritarian with conservative. Interesting that libertarian is the common opposite of both though maybe progressive should be the opposite of conservative.