Monday, March 20, 2006


Lee Smith who writes for the Daily Star, New York Times and Weekly Standard

Lee Smith at Michael Totten's site -

A Place Called Saudi Arabia

(Double) Guest Entry by Lee Smith

I find it a little hard to believe Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's "The Israel Lobby" was written while sober. In their first sentence, the authors assert that,

  • "For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel."

Pretty much any American who has ever been in a motorized vehicle knows that the centerpiece of US Middle Eastern policy is Washington's relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has been so since the mid-30s. It is a vital national interest – not just because cheap fuel permits Americans to drive SUVs, but because protecting the largest known oil-reserves in the world ensures a stable world economy. Moreover, the US military counts on access to that oil in the event it has to wage war – an activity that demands a lot of oil.

Walt and Mearsheimer's article explains how "the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics," which I agree with, because like many Americans I've ridden in a car before and I believe that the ability to get people and things from one place to another is a big part of successful domestic politics. It's not entirely clear that the authors of this really long article have ever been in a car before, because when they're talking about domestic politics, they're not talking about cars, or the economy or even our military, but "the activities of the 'Israel Lobby.'"

So, how much credit should these guys get for staking out a "realist" position on US Middle Eastern policy that does not account for the existence of cars, or something even bigger than a Hummer – the Arabian Peninsula?

Unless they were drunk, they shouldn't get any at all. If they were drunk, kudos to them for no spelling mistakes! – none that I could find anyway. Maybe they were smoking some ace reef because Walt and Mearsheimer see spectacular forces at work everywhere in US regional policy – and a hangover would surely explain why they totally forgot about Saudi Arabia. Ouch! But that still doesn't make them realists, just big partiers who can type well when they're bombed.

If you're one of Walt or Mearsheimer's drinking buddies, or a bartender serving them, here's a quick quiz, with questions drawn from their article, so you know when to cut them off and send them home – but definitely not to write another article about Middle East affairs.

Discuss: "The first Gulf War revealed the extent to which Israel was becoming a strategic burden."

The first Gulf War, wherein roughly 500,000 US troops were committed to the Gulf to protect our friends in Kuwait and a country called Saudi Arabia, revealed that no matter how many arms we sold to our Gulf allies finally only real live US soldiers could protect them from predators. And yet in due course we also learned that while the Saudis could not protect their own oil, our protecting that oil further weakened the royal family and compromised their legitimacy, making them vulnerable to dangerous domestic forces – like Osama Bin Laden, for instance. Ruling over a country that cannot protect itself, or safely be protected, from foreign threats or its own citizens, a country whose wellbeing is a vital national interest makes the Saudi royal family the Liza Minnelli of "strategic burdens."

True or False. "As for so-called rogue states in the Middle East, they are not a dire threat to vital US interests, except inasmuch as they are a threat to Israel."

False. Israel has a strong military and a nuclear arsenal. Remember guys, the rationale of Zionism is not to control the media and send Christian boys to die in Jewish wars, but that the Jews would not ever again have to depend on the kindness of strangers to defend them, since they did not do so very adequately in the past – hence a powerful Jewish army is trained and equipped to defend Jews.

Of course Israel is concerned about the prospects of an Iranian nuclear program, but not as much as our allies in the Gulf, who have neither strong militaries nor nuclear arsenals. A nuclear Iran is a threat to that big country in the desert named Saudi Arabia and other tiny sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, and getting Gulf oil to market is a vital US interest.

Gut-check follow-up: Discuss: "Even if these states acquire nuclear weapons – which is obviously undesirable – neither America nor Israel could be blackmailed, because the blackmailer could not carry out the threat without suffering overwhelming retaliation."

Well, but what if an Iranian nuclear weapon emboldened the IRI to close the Straits of Hormuz? (That's a narrow body of water between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located.) Could the US and its Gulf allies be blackmailed? Or do realists like you two believe that there is political will in Washington and other Western capitals to "retaliate overwhelmingly" against Tehran for closing shipping lanes?

True or False. "…Unwavering support for Israel … has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world."

True. Nice work, boys – this Goldschlager's on me. But just remember, guys, that those flames of anti-Americanism do not always issue from organic sources; often indeed they are fed by Arab regimes, including many of our allies in a place called Saudi Arabia. (What? Yes, Saudi Arabia is a dry country.) US taxpayers have spent a lot of money to protect the flow of oil over the last seven decades and ensure that the Saudi ruling family keeps collecting receipts. (Yes, just one family, Al Saud, with about 5000 princes on the pad. Yes, some of them drink when they're not in Saudi Arabia.) Sometimes that money is used to incite anti-American sentiment and fund terror operations against Americans and US interests abroad. Think this one over in the morning: Should we stop supporting Israel because that makes us hated by Arabs, or should we put more pressure on Arab allies like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who have institutionalized anti-US incitement at home in their press, schools and mosques, while also funding it lavishly abroad?

OK, OK, think about it like this: Would you bag friend A if friend B was paying everyone he knew to spit in your face and kick your ass just because you were friends with friend A? Wrong answer and you can take my number out of your Palm Pilot.

True or False: "By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby's task even easier."

True – not. Psyche. Yeah, true if you exclude the obviously limited influence that oil companies have exercised in US policymaking over the last seventy years. And it's not just the oil companies doing Gulf bidding; virtually every American ambassador who's served in Riyadh winds up with a nice package to keep selling the Saudi line back in Washington. Yes, you're right, AIPAC's annual budget is a whopping $40 million dollars – or precisely equivalent to the private donation Saudi prince Walid Bin Talal recently gave to two US universities to start up Islamic centers. What? Come on Steve, he gave half of it to Harvard! OK, give me the car keys. The keys to the car, it's how you got here. In a car. It has four wheels and a motor. It runs on gas. Gas comes from a place called Saudi Arabia…

Monday, March 13, 2006



HBO Realsport's Frank Deford profiles Manute Bol and his tragic life after basketball.

Bol tells Deford that during his career he wanted to go back to Sudan and fight alongside his Dinka tribesman in Southern Sudan. Considered the tallest people in the world, Christian and black, according to the show lived peacefully in Southern Sudan - until Arab Muslims from the North invaded with an intention to take over and Islamize them.

Bol and his best friend went to over 39 Congressmen personally and met with the Pentagon in the 90's telling them that their people were being decimated by the Arab Muslims from the North and would disappear if the US did not help. He said they got nothing.

His friend said he told the US the greatest threat they would face in the future would be from Islamist Fundamentalism, at which most laughed.

So Manute reached into his own pockets in the millions to help support the starving refugees who had witnessed their homes and families destroyed.

Eventually the Northern Sudanese government found out he was in a town supplying money and food and moral support to his people so they bombed the Refugee Camp. 13 people were killed that day but he lived. Frank DeFord asks him if he thinks they were aiming for him and he says 'probably'.

Eventually Khartoum in the North invited him to come for 'peace talks' which he did. He now says that was a big mistake and naiveté on his part. ""I should have known who I was dealing with""

After a month he realized that the whole thing was a sham and then the regime asked him to fight alongside them against his own people, which he refused. Eventually he was put into prison. His best friend was eventually able to buy and sneak him out of the country into Cairo. Bol used whatever money he had left to bribe one of his friends out of slavery. His friend was sold by the Islamists into slavery in Sudan after being captured. Eventually Bol escaped to the US as a penniless refugee.

Bol mentions that the only time the US did respond to the Khartoum Islamist regime (which was sheltering Ben Laden) was after the US was attacked in the Middle East in the late 90's. The attacks emanted from Sudan. That was the infamous bombing of the Pharmaceutical plant. Bol said he was only blocks from it when it happened.

The postscript is that Bol is broke and that some former NBA friends held a benefit to raise $$ for his huge Health bills after a drunk Cab Driver flipped a car Bol was in. He has a 50k/yr NBA pension that kicks in next year when he turns 45. He has had 'domestic disturbances' with his wife and they are going to counseling.

However, more importantly here is a famous face, and someone Deford says is truly a 'good guy’ who gave up his entire fortune and good life in the US to try and save his people in Sudan and FROM WHO?

  • The Arab Islamist Regime of Northern Sudan

Wouldn't it be interesting for Manute Bol to meet Juan Cole

IF anyone has video of the show please post a link to it in the comments section.

Manute Bol's Foundation for his people.

Wilkpedia More Information on Manute Bol - Life After Basketball

Friday, March 03, 2006


Bush's appointed UN Ambassador John Bolton is doing phenomenal work at the UN. He personally negotiated the FIRST EVER Security Council Resolution against Syria (not Israel) in the Middle East when it called for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

He has been ripping to shreds the UN's corruption, sex scandals and its doing turning its back on the Genocide in Sudan thanx to its Arab League buddies.

Note, the eminently respected late Senator from NY Patrick Moynihan (Democrat) was also disgusted by the UN and particularly the UN "Human Rights Commission" (Orwell couldn't of dreamed this one up) composed now of -
  • China, Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Cuba to name a few.
  • Btw, the US was kicked off of it.

John Bolton is pushing to get this totally discredited Commission composed of Dictatorial Human Rights violators dismantled and re-formed. However, Jimmy Carter is undermining the United States at the United Nations. The Chutzpah of this guy is amazing!!!!

He is personally making back room deals with totalitarian regimes including Cuba, Egypt, and Pakistan: Carter Seeks Vote in UN Against US.

  • President Carter personally called Secretary of State Rice to try to convince her to reverse her U.N. ambassador’s position on changes to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the former president recalled yesterday in a talk in which he also criticized President Bush’s Christian bona fides and misstated past American policies on Israel.

    Mr. Carter said he made a personal promise to ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba on the U.N. change issue that was undermined by America’s ambassador, John Bolton. “My hope is that when the vote is taken,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations, “the other members will outvote the United States.”

    While other former presidents have tried to refrain from attacking the sitting chief executive, Mr. Carter’s attacks on President Bush have increased. The episode he recounted yesterday showed how he tried to undermine officials at lower levels in an effort to influence policy.

    The story, as Mr. Carter recalled, began with a recent dinner for 17 he attended in New York, where the guests included the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Jan Eliasson; an unidentified American representative, and other U.N. ambassadors from “powerful” countries at Turtle Bay, of which he mentioned only three: Cuba, Egypt, and Pakistan. The topic was the ongoing negotiations on an attempt to replace the widely discredited Geneva-based Human Rights Commission with a more accountable Human Rights Council.

    “One of the things I assured them of was that the United States was not going to dominate all the other nations of the world in the Human Rights Council,” Mr. Carter said. However, on the next day, Mr. Carter said, Mr. Bolton publicly “demanded” that the five permanent members of the Security Council will have permanent seats on the new council as well, “which subverted exactly what I have promised them,” Mr. Carter said.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Wafa Sultan is an Arabic woman appearing on an Al Jazeera debate show and is one blunt and courageous woman.
She takes apart the host and the Imam appearing with her for a debate on the problem with the "Clash of Civilizations".
Towards the end she really takes apart the Imam and Muslim world's hypocrisy in comparison to what she calls the civilized West.


At 4:39 AM, John Murdoch said...
Hang on a minute...

Note that what we watched was clips from the program. We didn't see the entire thing--and we didn't see how it ended.

We did, on the other hand, see what the producers put on the air: an imam (a man to whom the "faithful" instinctively rever), and a clearly secular woman (no hijab, "provocative" clothing, assertive attitude) who goes on to assert that she's not a Muslim, and in fact she's an atheist.

The imam may reject the West--but he followed Lenin's famous "answer to Kautsky." When criticized, Lenin told his supporters that they must not carefully respond to the points that Kautsky raised: the answer was to stand up and pronounce Kautsky a revanchist and a tool of the Czar. And sit down. Don't dignify his arguments by responding to them.

The imam does the same thing here--that's the point of his comment that "you're a heretic, so there's no point in rebuking you." And she falls for the line, and emphasizes just how much of a heretic she is (in a Muslim's eyes).

The producers (actually the director) helped the imam's argument. Note how the camera was framed for both the imam and the host: further "out"--you can see the torso, head, and space above the turban of the imam. With the woman they framed her much "tighter"--and lower. The top of her head barely makes it into the picture, but they get nice and tight to show you the depth of the decolletage. Any Muslim watching this (and of course, that would mean any Muslim man) would recoil at the brazenness of this unbelieving hussy.

To a Westerner, this woman sounds terrific. To a Muslim, I'd bet the "Arab street" would regard the event as a heretic-whuppin' by the imam.

If you will, that's the real problem. The West and the Muslims look at the same piece of tape, and see two entirely different things.

At 8:01 AM, Scorekeeper said...
There are plenty of Muslim women that don't wear any headcovering still in Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon. So you're point is a little overstated.

Your point about the camera angles is actually true but I don't know if it means anything.

Regardless, what she said made it to air and was still damaging.

That there may be many in the Muslim world that would out of hand dismiss her points for whatever reason is just re-inforcing all the more the tremendous problem in that part of the world.

And remember that the Suicide Movie is up for an Oscar IN THE WEST. WHAT A SAD STATEMENT THAT IS!!

- Mike Scorekeeper