Since 1918 when the defeat of the Kaiser’s Germany triggered the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the West has established a reputation for screwing up in the Middle East. It can be said to have begun with the French and British carving up the place to suit their interests, drawing straight lines where none existed before, corralling often hostile ethnic groups into artificial countries with names like Iraq, Iran and Syria.
For all of that, we’ve never screwed up quite on the scale as our adventures in the Middle East/South Asia in the 21st century.
At the start of this business, almost a century ago, there was a fellow we didn’t listen to, Colonel T.E. Lawrence, aka “Lawrence of Arabia.” We didn’t listen to him then and that was a screw up. We haven’t listened to him ever since and that remains an ongoing screw up.
John Hulsman, president of a global political risk consultancy, writes that it’s time we finally accepted the wisdom of Lawrence.
|Israel’s embattled prime minister|
The Egypt-brokered truce agreement just struck has resulted in two shifts in the underlying political forces in that area.
But this is just a preliminary agreement. The important agreement will come in another month, when both sides return to Cairo to negotiate over core issues like a port and airport, prisoner releases and Gaza’s reconstruction. Over the coming month, the cease-fire’s stability will be tested, and that is the innovation in yesterday’s agreement: The truce is of unlimited duration.
Thus for the first time, Israel has agreed to a confidence-building process with the Palestinian government to which Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also parties.
The negotiations won’t be direct, but this is clearly a pan-Palestinian agreement with Israel.
Thus Israel has not only recognized the Palestinian unity government, but also acknowledged that Gaza and the West Bank can no longer be separated. Without these two facts, neither yesterday’s deal nor those to follow would have any practical meaning. Effectively, Israel has recognized Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups as an inseparable part of the Palestinian polity with which it will also have to conduct broader diplomatic negotiations in the future.
Political rumblings began within the Israeli government Tuesday evening after a long-term ceasefire with Hamas went into effect at 7pm local time and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called for a Cabinet vote on the decision, citing that ministers hadn’t been consulted about the deal.According to Bennett, the decision had been made exclusively by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet members were only updated on the decision by telephone.The Cabinet appeared to be split on the deal, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Interior Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan opposing the decision, and supporting further military action in Gaza.
Central America continues to reel under severe, multi-year drought. Guatemala has declared a state of emergency in 16 of the country’s 22-provinces. Experts believe the impact on agriculture could soon leave hundreds of thousands of families without food.
As America’s west coast and southwest continue to be plagued by drought, an article at Treehugger examines how Americans might look to Canadian waters to ease their pain. The article revives a long-forgotten idea to dam James Bay and divert the excess freshwater via canal to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. Presumably the diverted James Bay water would then be drawn into the U.S. via the Mississippi River.
In Australia, farmers are bracing for a possible, late season El Nino to worsen an already serious drought.
No, really. Maybe instead of giving weapons and ammo and money to the Iraqi army so they can abandon it on the field to ISIS (now calling themselves the Islamic State), the US should be supplying the Kurds, who will actually fight. Just a thought. As for Iraq, the government policy of trying to fiscally [...]
This is bad. Very bad. As the article (which you should read) points out, the Peshmerga had the higher ground, and still lost (holding out all of 2 hours). I don’t expect these are the best Kurdish units and the article does not speak to numbers (though ISIS, traditionally, wins while outnumbered), but it is [...]
Dear Readers: There isn’t anything that is going to solve the problems in the Middle-East anytime soon since some Arab States are committed to the destruction of Israel, and the Jews are committed to populating the West Bank with settlements to the point where the Palestinians are forced out! BUT! The problem with Hamas is […]
Folks, all the local and national media outlets in Canada are suggesting that it’s time for Rob Ford to get out of politics ……….., but let’s face it, deep down they’re really glad he’s back! (Rob also said yesterday that he has tried a lot of different drugs, but never did heroin. Well, let’s face […]
Dear Readers: Your ever humble, and much maligned reporter weeps for society! POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has gripped our land and the nuts are running the show kids! Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian has sparked outrage online after sporting a traditional Native American headdress to her niece’s lavish birthday bash.Listen boys and girls, if some asshole can […]
Nope, everything is as “right as rain” if you will pardon the expression. Yesterday was the famous “Friday the 13th” motorcycle rally in Port Dover, Ontario, and as usual, tens of thousand of bikers gathered for the event. Even the rain didn’t seem to deter the hard-core bikers, as the streets of Port Dover filled […]
Yesterday, at a University of Reading demonstration in London, a computer convinced human judges that it was actually a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. By convincing one-third of the judging panel of its humanity, it became the computer ever to pass the famous Turing Test. ` The Turing Test is a controversial test invented by Alan Turing […]
Kimberley Big Hole – South Africa – Apparently the largest ever hand-dug excavation in the world, this 1,097 meter deep mine yielded over 3 tons of diamonds, before being closed. Folks: These holes are not only amazing, but some are really terrifying – Especially the final one ! The sheer scale of these holes reminds […]
Dear Readers: Don’t say we never say anything nice about Islam, or Muslims in general. We are telling right here that they are NOT responsible!CONTRARY TO SOME REPORTS, THIS IS NOT A MUSLIM CONSPIRACY TO GET RID OF NON-HALAL MEATS, FOLKS! (See our article on British Subway sandwich shops!) —————————————————————– Our “Asshole of the day” […]
Folks, the Sterling scandal has taken on a life of its own, and is getting far too much attention…………………, much more than it deserves! With this in mind I am going to make a few comments, and then never mention the subject again. First of all: Donald Sterling made those unfortunate, stupid and racist remarks […]
Today, for the first time in many years, we are no longer stuck in a hole called Afghanistan. Your much maligned reporter keeps saying we should just build a fence around the Middle-East and only take it down after everyone there has regained their senses, or killed themselves off, but we both know this is […]