Talking Points for 22 May

Thanks to Night Editor Will in Canada. The first thing that stands out is that you want to talk about Lebanon, Syria and Israel, and diplomacy.

So what about we try to pull all that together, mix in a bit of the appeasement row in the US that was sparked by President Bush’s comments in Israel last week and ask when talking starts doing more harm than good? When does diplomacy cross over in to appeasement?

The other thing that caught my eye was this from Dwight. Why are we apparently so eager to believe the worst about people?

57 Responses to “Talking Points for 22 May”

  1. May 21, 2008 at 19:53

    Hello Precious Will… Please, can Lebanon be on tomorrow’s agenda ?! Guys, check this out : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7411835.stm. In my opinion the Qatari government does have the right to be proud of what it achieved regarding ending the Lebanese crisis… I’m satisfied ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna.

  2. 2 Shirley
    May 21, 2008 at 20:48

    Lubna’s Link:
    Lebanon rivals agree crisis deal
    Wednesday, 21 May 2008
    Rival Lebanese leaders have agreed on steps to end the political deadlock that has led to the country’s worst violence since the 1975-90 civil war. The…government and the…opposition arrived at the deal after days of talks in Qatar. Under the deal, the opposition will have the power of veto in a new cabinet of national unity.

    The agreement gives the Hezbollah-led opposition bloc enough seats in the cabinet for a veto. The deal states that “use of arms or violence is forbidden to settle political differences”. Hezbollah has been refusing to give up any of its military capability…

    The agreement paves the way for parliament to elect army chief General Michel Suleiman as president…

    Lebanon has been in political crisis since late 2006… The crisis turned violent two weeks ago…

  3. 3 Adrian
    May 21, 2008 at 21:16

    Hey! I agree, I think the Lebanese government has done what it can to try to hold its country together. I was browsing through a bunch of political websites and blogs and I came across this blog and find it to be very interesting. There are a bunch of others I like too, like huff post, and other news sites like politico. Do you know of any that cover politics and the environment? I saw earthlab.com which has mostly environmental info but some politics. It had a pretty cool carbon calculator (http://www.earthlab.com/signupprofile/) if your interested in that kind of thing. Are there any other blogs you would recommend? Can you drop me a link to your favorites or any ones with green info?

  4. May 21, 2008 at 21:54

    I once stumbled on this study that showed people will sooner believe negative information about somebody that isn’t true then they will positive information that is obviously true.

    Here is the english version:

    Here is the actual study:

  5. May 21, 2008 at 22:11

    Hi Will. Greeting to you from Morocco.

    There are two apparently major events taking place in the Middle East.

    The first is the Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace. This comes, when the two countries are still technically at war and after two known Israeli air raids on Syrian territories in the past years. The latest air raid was in September 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7024287.stm

    Mr Olmert said, “It’s always better to talk than shoot,”

    The second is that Rival Lebanese leaders have agreed, in Qatar, on steps to end the political deadlock that has led to the country’s worst violence since the 1975-90 civil war. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7411835.stm
    What are the chances of full peace in the Middle East, or are agreements and negotiations there just a lull before things get blown up again?

    In general, what should be done to settle political conflicts? Should it be by diplomatic negotiations or by the resort to miltary actions? The Middle East is a case in point. There are Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq where violence and diplomatic initiatives have lived side by side.

  6. 6 Zak
    May 21, 2008 at 22:40

    Do we not get a preview of our comments on this one, if that’s the case disregard this one Will; otherwise my last comments seems to have gotten lost.

  7. 7 Jens
    May 21, 2008 at 22:56

    that does not surprise me, but what surprises me is that there is a funding agency that supports mathematical work on gossip…..

  8. 8 Zak
    May 21, 2008 at 23:08

    This isn’t a major story but it’s definitely disturbing enough about a stamp that got through to print in Germany propagated by a group that I refuse to give the neo- title that the world seems to blindly accept. To me that name just gives them an excuse. The second story is similar and also from Germany. Perhaps it’s time to talk about the real terrorism that still exists beyond the middle-east and is settled right in the heart of Europe. That is a subject that I think should really be explored. How are we going to define terrorism in a post Bush era without it becoming a neo-Bush philosophy. It seems we’re in real danger of becoming blinded by the blunt use of force and hatred; similarly that we will miss the smaller movements that feed off the so called “insurgents” which is as much a product of the Bush administration as it’s enemy. An example is the story below but there is also the growing conflict in Georgia, and Afghanistan, South Africa and Lebanon as Lubna mentioned so perhaps that is the place to start.



  9. 9 selena (Canada)
    May 21, 2008 at 23:37


    It is not surprising that gossip is the foundation of politics! πŸ™‚

    Have a great night, Will!

  10. May 21, 2008 at 23:54

    There are thousands of agencies in the private sector that study efffects of gossip. They are called “marketing firms”.

  11. 11 Shirley
    May 22, 2008 at 00:19

    What if diplomacy alone has not convinced a state to do what is morally right or what it is bound to by international law? What about states that have occupied others for decades: China in Tibet, Israel in Palestine, USA in Iraq, etc.? What about governments that hurt their people, such as the junta in Myanmar with its refusal of foreign aid or Saudi Arabia with its repression of religious minorities and women? What would the next step be in the process of securing the rights of the parties affected by these breaches?

    I have that problem often. I compose posts, emails, and anything else that I plan to transmit through the internet in one file that I save. Then I sometimes spell check before submitting. Obviously, that file gets modified often as each posted piece gets deleted, but at least I don’t lose as many posts.

  12. 12 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 00:35

    Shirley- it’s some combination of words I’m using that won’t pass the auto-mod because it’s interpreting them wrong; it’s really bizarre but thanks I’ll see if I can get it to go once more because it’s never happened to me before:

    This isn’t a major story but it’s definitely disturbing enough about a stamp that got through to print in Germany propagated by a group that I refuse to give the neo– title that the world seems to blindly accept. To me that name just gives them an excuse. The second story is similar and also from Germany. Perhaps it’s time to talk about the real terrorism that still exists beyond the middle-east and is settled right in the heart of Europe. That is a subject that I think should really be explored. How are we going to define terrorism in a post Bush era without it becoming a neo-Bush philosophy. It seems we’re in real danger of becoming blinded by the blunt use of force and hatred; similarly that we will miss the smaller movements that feed off the so called “insurgents” which is as much a product of the Bush administration as it’s enemy. An example is the story below but there is also the growing conflict in Georgia, and Afghanistan, South Africa and Lebanon as Lubna mentioned so perhaps that is the place to start.

  13. May 22, 2008 at 00:42

    Shirley what you have described is a conundrum. It requires at least two and most of the time more situations to line up. First, places like that need people who are ethically strong enough to stand up for their own rights. Second, it would require outside intervention with honest, open and well meaning intentions. In Iraq the US couldn’t trust the people they were claiming to be there to help. The US planners feared that if they gave out guns to the Iraqis, most of them would have been used to shoot them in the back so to speak. If that is the mentality you enter a battlefield with then you are predestined to loose. Unless these stars line up, there is nothing that can be done to free a repressed people. I found some heart in the monks taking a stand last year.

    @ Big oil companies in Congress:
    Talk about people who have no concern for the American public. The state often has taken control of utilities when they naturally gravitated towards oligopolies. The phone companies, Utility companies, ect.. Is it time for The government to say, “you have become too important to national economics and security and you are going to have to be regulated.” to the big oil companies?


  14. 14 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 00:47

    OK well theres 2 links that correspond to my last comment and let me see if it’ll give me the html version because it won’t let them through otherwise — freaking weird. But Mac format seems to be having more trouble lately, dead links, html targeting blank new windows isn’t working anymore either.

    fascist stamp
    Rabbi attacker punished

  15. 15 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 00:51

    I do apologise for coming on so late but I had a family emergency – but I am here now. πŸ™‚

  16. 16 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 00:52

    Hope everything is OK; thanks Will.

  17. 17 Brett
    May 22, 2008 at 00:55

    Whew! Hope everything is OK! Was wondering where you were πŸ˜‰

  18. 18 ZK
    May 22, 2008 at 01:01

    Zak: at a guess, it might have gotten caught by the WordPress spam eater. It’s eating a lot of posts nowadays, especially posts with very little text and just URLs, or long posts with a lot of links. Will, you gotta check for valid posts in there. πŸ™‚

  19. 19 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 01:08

    Eleven elderly people accused of being witches have been burned to death by a mob in the west of Kenya, police say.

    A security operation has been launched to hunt down villagers suspected of killing them in Kisii District.


    Does this bring home the Salem Witch trials?

    Can someone be accused of witchcraft and because of the accusation they have to be put to death?

    The mob dragged them out of their houses and burned them individually and then set their homes alight, our correspondent says.

    Residents have been ambivalent about condemning the attacks because belief in witchcraft is widespread in the area, he says.

    But local official Mwangi Ngunyi spoke out against the murders.

    “People must not take the law into their own hands simply because they suspect someone,” he told AFP news agency.

  20. 20 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 01:10

    @ Brett – the little boy burnt his hand on an electric burner. He’s fine now.

    Thanks for the concern. πŸ™‚

  21. 21 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 01:11

    well those are 2 short links if you click them you’ll see. What I’d like to know is how you guys are getting avatars, my (Change) link above is dead to my Mac.

    Thanks ZK, I always think your title is mine with the A dropped out-

  22. 22 ZK
    May 22, 2008 at 01:21

    Zak: I had an issue on my Mac trying to change my avatar for a while too. Which browser are you on?

  23. 23 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 01:23

    It’s hard to believe in Kenya after all the drama over the elections that they all of a sudden drop 3 centuries of history overnight- 10 women is a crazy lot. It’s different than the incident in Salem though, in the US there never was a rise of ‘Bush Doctor Medicine’ amongst the Colonists like there’s been around the world in Africa especially. That’s what is most puzzling is who these perpetrators are and what group they’re associated with. And what they’re supposedly claiming these women did. Obviously they didn’t deserve it; I also wonder if the new shared Parliament will take a more aggressive stand or will they show that the government isn’t as changed as they want to portray.

  24. 24 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 01:25

    Both Firefox and Safari won’t let me into the (Change) link but is that the one for the avatar? I can’t even remember if I have account settings here.

  25. 25 zakxs
    May 22, 2008 at 02:47

    nevermind nevermind nevermind; not even like nirvana.

    I figured out the whole wordpress connection but we’re having a little issue over the user name. I put the link in here for anybody else who’s as clueless as me.

  26. 26 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 03:04

    Did you have a wordpress.com blog, Zak? Or a wordpress.org?

    If you come over to my blog and hit ‘contact me’ I can talk you through a couple of things via e-mail. πŸ™‚

  27. 27 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 03:08

    We had a list of worst ideas the other day.

    What I would like to ask is who are your favourite five heroes of history – and more importantly – why?

  28. 28 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 03:21

    Last of my spamming is this story.

    Iceland Most Peaceful Nation; U.S. Ranked 97

    The United States is ranked as a little less peaceful than it was last year and a lot more violent than Kuwait, Nicaragua and Libya, according to the Global Peace Index released Tuesday by Britain’s Economist Intelligence Unit.

    The index, now in its second year, ranks 140 countries according to their relative states of peace, based on factors such as military expenditure and respect for human rights.

    The latest index released Tuesday ranked the United States at 97th, one place lower than last year and way below countries such as Costa Rica, Madagascar and Chile.

  29. 29 muzzak
    May 22, 2008 at 04:02

    zakxs. Yuk. Now 2 emails later it’s workin aight. Yeah that’s me in a movie about 20 years ago in the avatar- a co-starring role in the movie Tucker. Some of you may have seen it so this is all the warning I’m giving.

    To try to get back to the real deal here: I must say what’s puzzled me the most is how some people go back and forth between their avatars for effect and not but now I get it log in/out – Steve tends to use his avatar when he wants to emphasize his point with a shot of testosterone. So mine can be the outspoken child. LOL!

    As Lubna says all my precious friends can know me as Zak-
    A professional artist since I was 10 in the studios of THX – my title:

  30. 30 Dennis in the U.S.A.
    May 22, 2008 at 04:04

    Hi Will….

    I am so sorry for not on typing….

    Dennis from Madrid, U.S.A.

  31. 31 Dennis in the U.S.A.
    May 22, 2008 at 04:48

    Browsers i am on:

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  32. 32 Dennis in the U.S.A.
    May 22, 2008 at 05:46

    @ Will….

    I saw your message about the emergency! I hope everything is ok…..

    Dennis >Madrid, U.S.A.

  33. 33 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 05:49


    I saw the story from Qatar, about the government there, using there
    influence to help the good people from Lebanon, in the political crisis….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  34. 34 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 05:52

    I saw the story about the “witches” being burnt in Africa…this remains totally of the Salem trials.

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  35. 35 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 05:53

    @ Muzzak

    Welcome from me to you!

    Madrid, U.S.A.

  36. 36 muzzak
    May 22, 2008 at 06:06

    So there’s really an interest to explore the situation in Lebanon. And it’s no doubt warranted when you consider that Israel is trying to negotiate with Syria. But it seems the problems are similar, in Lebanon there isn’t enough faith in the leaders to keep the people safe so Hezbollah will never truly be opposed by that government. Similarly Israel’s leader is so shrouded in controversy that he can’t really be taken seriously in peace talks.

    So bottom line if Lebanon and Syria can move forward then Israel as well will have to get rid of Olmert – at this point he’s such a pawn that he’s doing more harm then good. He says he’ll resign if he’s indicted as if he’s anticipating it: I say based on that statement the Parliament shouldn’t let him continue to make a fool out of the peace process in the middle east.

  37. 37 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 06:13

    I have a some stories for World Have Your Say on “days ahead”
    1)Manchester United Football Club WINS the Championship…
    [for Will, i am very happy for you…]

    2)South Africa

    Madrid, U.S.A.

  38. 38 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 07:05

    It is late in the East Coast of the U.S. and i have many phone calls
    to make…

    i wish everyone a good morning/good afternoon/good evening…[what part of the world, you are from]


  39. 39 f0rTyLeGz in Portland
    May 22, 2008 at 07:27

    @ Will,

    I read the index of peaceful nations for an hour or more… here is the complete list that leads to more insights. Thanks!


  40. May 22, 2008 at 09:08

    Token peace, Taste of Blood

    TEHRAN – The current Turkish mediated Syrian, Israeli peace talks is welcome news in Iran, a nation plunged into a futile Eight Year War with Iraq between 1980 – 1988. A war designed to saved the minority government of Hafez Assad in Damascus! A war which rid Iranian clerics of the last vestiges of the Shah and his supporters in the armed forces. Syria and Iraq were bitter rivals in the Ba’athist Party at the time.
    Rashid al-Rashidi was Syria’s envoy in Iran in 1979, intransigent in his stance against Iraq and set on war at all costs. Al-Samourai, the Iraqi envoy at the time, was cordial and amenable. The period was notorious for murky dealings, arms smuggling, and guerrilla warfare. We regularly visited Damascus, Beirut, and the littoral Persian Gulf states in that order. We accompanied Sadeq Ghotbzadeh, Iranian foreign minister.
    Beirut is a couple of hours drive from Damascus. We met our man Nabih Berry of Amal and P.L.O. Chief Yasser Arafat, but Syria was the main power broker in Lebanon, with 30,000 troops stationed there.
    Did Syria drag us into the Lebanese quagmire and Iraqi War? The unnecessary carnage, 300,000 – 400,000 Iranians dead, and nearly twice as many injured and mutilated. Was it worth it? Are we the main culprits for instability in the region now? Have we been left holding the baby? What is next?

  41. 41 Vijay
    May 22, 2008 at 09:28

    A solvable dispute?
    President George W.Bush of the U.S.A is ready(coming to the end of his 2nd Term and thinking about his legacy),
    President Musharaff of Pakistan is ready(coming to the end of his political career and thinking of his legacy,plus he was born in Delhi,India)
    Prime Minister Manmohan of India is ready(there is a general election in the offing and the muslim vote is important nationwide plus he was born in Wah ,Pakistan).

  42. 42 John in Germany
    May 22, 2008 at 09:56

    The German supreme court turned down a request to ban the NPD. The general reason given was that V men (undercover agents) are placed in the NPD.
    The minister of the interior is however not very pressing in forcing the issue, due to the same reason.

    Any radical political movement is dangerous to a democracy, whether Left, middle, or right. i would however not call any of the actions taken by the left, terrorism, as they are mainly demonstrations against the very right wingers, that can become aggressive. The right wingers have been very much involved in hatred actions against foreigners , and Synagogues , which could be called terrorism. Sadly the Eastern part of Germany seems to have the most, and younger aggressors.
    i have one problem , it is i believe forbidden by law to cover ones face if demonstrating, it seems however to be tolerated.

    i have a problem in determining the border between criminal, and terrorist actions, and believe it is determined by where your shooting from.

    John in Germany.

  43. May 22, 2008 at 10:39

    Hi Zak,
    ZK is absolutely right, the spam filter often grabs genuine posts if they have URLs in them. You might try registering with WordPress (you don’t have to have a blog) – I’d think it would be less likely to think you’re a spambot if you’re logged on.
    But we do check the spam filter (usually every day but sometimes we don’t get to it for a while) and your comment is now up.

    PS And thanks to everyone who’s told us where and how you listen – it’s always a buzz to find out how far and wide you are all spread.

  44. 44 Brett
    May 22, 2008 at 12:19

    …when talking starts doing more harm than good?

    When Bush is the one talking.

  45. 45 Mohammed Ali
    May 22, 2008 at 13:29

    Lebanon, Hezbollah, Israel Mid East can we just forget about this today and talk about the Charles Taylor Trial and the testimonies of his former Vice President and subsequently President of Liberia, Moses Blah, and the impact it will have on the trial. Will the trial itself serve as a lesson to other African dictators and would be dictators, what signal does it to the military junta in Burma and other dictators around the world.

  46. 46 John in Germany
    May 22, 2008 at 13:56

    May be of interest.

    Herr Kohler, Bundespresident has just announced that he is prepared to go for another term as President of Germany. He is the Right wing candidate, and is an Ideal President. (near the people). The SPD are going to announce on monday whether they will put up their own candidate, or accept Herr Kohler for the second term. I only hope they will accept him, for continuity, and he’s just an ideal man.

    John in Germany

  47. 47 Virginia Davis
    May 22, 2008 at 15:03

    I’m a little late: it is just after 7 am here. Have been reading bbconline/entertainment. And the story about “Waltz with Bashir.” By Ari Folman. encroyable!! At Cannes.
    Virginia in Oregon

  48. May 22, 2008 at 15:13

    I think for the most part that actual negotiations with terrorists is impossible because we all know how difficult it is to discuss anything rational with a mad person – they are mentally deluded and cannot think straight! However, I think the opportunity to meet and talk with terrorists should not be discarded out of hand…
    To stop communicating with any government, any group, any person, is the last straw and leads absolutely nowhere, in my opinion. Most people that we’d like to stop speaking to don’t give a darn anyway!!

  49. 49 Miche Norman
    May 22, 2008 at 17:34

    Very intersting comment by the guy from Iran and it is interesting how Iraq is connected to this all. After the USA and the UK invaded Iraq the balance of power between Iran and Iraq was destroyed. Iraq, which was created by the UK as part of the compensation package for the Hashemites – 80% of mandatory palestine/Israel – thus condemning us to decades of fighting over the remaining 20%, and a mixture of shiites, sunnis and kurds to create a kingdom of Iraq.

    As Iraq unravelled – the Iranian Shiites now have aceess through Iraq into Syria and we have seen from there how successful they have been in destroying lebanese unity.

    Desparate to get out of Iraq and limit the damage -the answer now is to detach syria from the axis of evil. And Israel is supposed to pay the price.

    Do I think Syria wants the Golan which was given to them by a deal between sykes and Oicot – yes – do they want peace – i doubt it. they are offering us peace like we have with Egypt – and that is beasically a state of not war or peace as between the UK and russia at the height of the cold war. Any takers?

  50. 50 Mark
    May 23, 2008 at 00:46

    Akbar Javadi, what next for Iran? At the rate things are going, maybe war, war with Israel, war with the United States, maybe even war with both. Maybe a nuclear war. The threats Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has made to wipe Israel off the map and to create a world without America combined with what many around the world fear is Iran’s determination to acquire nuclear weapons is not being taken lightly. Some of us are surprised that there hasn’t been a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear technology infrastructure already. Iran continues to foment terror and instability in the region by supplying weapons and money to insurgents in Iraq, to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to terrorists in the disputed territories. Hoping that Barack Obama will be elected and prevent a war is a false hope. Even if he wins and talks to Ahmadinejad, all he can tell him is that if his government doesn’t stop what it is doing and move in reverse, there will be war. Obama has already threatened to attack Pakistan. But even if he weren’t of that mind. When it comes to America’s security, as we saw in the Cuban missile crisis, the President may not have the final word, the military could strike after a coup. Likewise in Israel, we believe they have the means to protect themselves from annihilation with a terrible pre-emptive strike. The danger is that in the current course of events, one day in the not too distant future, they may feel so threatened they will act. We known that in Iran’s theocratic dictatorship of the Mullahs trying to masquerade as some sort of phony democracy the people have no way to change their government’s policies in these grave matters. Perhaps all you can do is pray that it will decide to change without listening to logic but for other reasons of its own.

  51. 51 Tino
    May 23, 2008 at 03:59

    “The second story is similar and also from Germany. Perhaps it’s time to talk about the real terrorism that still exists beyond the middle-east and is settled right in the heart of Europe.”

    You claim the ‘real terrorism’ that exists beyond the middle east, then post two stories. One is of a Nazi group creating a stamp of Hess (offensive, but hardly terrorism…I mean come on). The second, is a – straight from the article – Muslim, from the middle east:

    “A German court has jailed a Muslim of Afghan origin for three and a half years for stabbing an Orthodox Jewish rabbi in the stomach in the street.”

    “The rabbi said Aziz had first shouted anti-Semitic slurs at him, then plunged a nearly three-inch (7-cm) blade into his lower abdomen.”

    This may or may not be regarded as terrorism – I tend to think of it more as a hate crime..usually associate terrorism with something targeted towards a larger number of people – but it is certainly not something isolated from the middle east. Merely a manifestation of the anti-jewish sentiments existing in Islam, and unfortunately that tends to follow them to wherever they end up in the West.

    Once again compare the two: Stabbing someone in the stomach for being Jewish (middle east); Make an offensive stamp (Germany). Please do not try to equate the two.

  52. May 23, 2008 at 06:38

    Hi Mark, Akbar here

    You answer many of your own questions. Thank you for the insight.
    A lot is going on. See what happens!
    No one wants to wipe out Israel, but Israel has problems, – with Jews around the world, Palestinians and many other groups. Let’s hope current Tel Aviv, Damscus peace talks are successful.
    Iran is back peddling on nuclear issue. Just as well. It looks like change may be around the corner. Putin is out, Medvedev is in. See what he has to say. Russia is our big northern neighbour. You have Moscow to thank for high oil prices.
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad is one thing, but he doesn’t have the final say.
    It is hard to know what is going on in the States. Best wait for the outcome of the November presidential elections.
    When you say instability, you presumably mean Hezbollah in Lebanon. We have our man there, like everyone else.
    We are still far from a similar scenario as the Cuban missile crisis, Mark.

  53. 53 Mark
    May 23, 2008 at 12:11

    Akbar Javadi

    We know it is hard for people in all dictatorships including many Islamic countries to know what is going on in the outside world. Infomation is restricted by their governments and they tell their people a lot of lies. Besides, their views of the world have been deliberately skewed by a gross falsification of history they were taught in school.

    Israel does not have a problem with the United States. All three remaining serious candidates for President are in agreement about America’s unwavering support of Israel. In a BBC interview about a year or two ago, Britain’s former ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyers said the US had closer ties to Israel than with any other country including his own. The reason the Moslem governments in the Middle East have a problem with Israel is that they dread the existance of a successful democratic society based on Western values in their midst as an example to their own people. That example could serve to undermine their tyrannical hold on power. The war against the Jewish state and the support of the indigineous Arabs they have called “The Palestinian People” since 1967 is a canard they have used to divert attention from the real issues, their own failure to advance and create peaceful prosperous democracies of their own. They blame every problem in the Middle East on Israel but that is ludicrous. Would Iran and Iraq not have gone to war if Israel didn’t exist? Would Kuwait have not been invaded by Iraq if Israel didn’t exist? Would Syria not have tried to take over Lebanon if Israel didn’t exist? Would the Taleban not have imposed their cruel dictatorship if Israel didn’t exist? Would Europe or anyone else even care what Arabs did to each other if they didn’t depend on oil from the Middle East.

    The current so called peace talks between Israel and Damascus will be a failure just like all the other dozens or even hundreds of talks have. Syria wants return of the Golan Heights. Hardly anyone lives there. The only value it has to Syria besides restoration of its hurt pride at losing it is that it is a good strategic vantage point to attack Israel in he next war to destroy it. Why should Israel return it then, they’d be crazy to put themselves in even greater jeopardy than they already are.

    There is no sign in the Western press that Iran is “backpeddling” as you put it on developing nuclear weapons. In fact if anything, it is accelerating its efforts. In testimony before a Congressional Investigating Committee the other day, we heard that Iran has increased its number of cetrifuges for enriching uranium from 3000 to 6000 and should have enough weapons grade uranium in around 2 years or less to build an atom bomb. In fact it is now building its own centrifuges, an improved version of the models Pakistan used.

    Medvedev is a puppet and close collegue of Putin’s. Nothing in Russia is likely to change.

    The oil price rise is the result of increased demand from China and India without corresponding increases in supply. Expect prices for oil to continue to rise, possibly to 200 dollars a barrel or higher in the coming months, the result of an imbalance between supply and demand and speculation. This will be reflected in a worldwide economic downturn and much higher food prices. It will hit everyone but especially the poorest nations hardest. If the US signs a Kyoto like treaty on global warming and institutes a cap and trade system on CO2 emissions, expect American farmers to stop working their land and sell their credits to power companies instead. The result will be worldwide famine and death on an unprecendented scale.

    BTW, your “man” in Lebanon, Hezbollah is a vast army of terrorists who have several tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel waiting for the next war to wipe them off the map. Next time, the result may be the end of Lebanon as a nation. Only Israeli restraint last time kept Lebanon alive.

    Don’t kid yourself. The perceived threat to America’s national security Iran’s nuclear weapons program poses is nothing short of what it felt in the Cuban missile crisis. If ANY nation or terrorist group were to attack the US with even a single nuclear weapon, all suspect complicit nations including Iran will cease to exist within a few hours. That is the danger those hostile to the US face. Whoever they are, they won’t be getting a second chance. We know it, they should know it. Iran’s nuclear weapons program is the greatest danger to itself that it faces. It virtually gurarantees eventual war with the US, Israel, or both.

  54. May 23, 2008 at 13:05

    Hi Mark, Akbar here in Tehran
    I am impressed by your vast store of knowledge.
    The relevance of Israel and Egypt, in some measure, emerged when the power of the Shah waned in 1979.
    Historical precedence is the best premise in this discussion. We talk of the state of Israel, but Israel is different things to different people. It is true that it plays second fiddle to the US, but so what? The notion of assimilation and evolution is very important to Israel, and it usually selects the best models, regardless of Faith or Judaism.
    We shouldn’t over-estimate the nuclear threat which Iran poses, – one Russian consignment was held up in the Republic of Azerbaijan recently.
    There is a lot going on outside Iran, admittedly: But the scenario in Iran has changed dramatically. The power structure, the rise of the party system, public demand for transparency and accountability! I am amazed.
    Many Western travellers to Iran say that Iran is far more liberal than any Arab state. Religion has its drawbacks, it is true; but we are already thinking of a transition to civil rule.
    Ultimately, people will follow their interests. This is a dynamic burgeoning nation of 72 million, don’t forget. We will help, but Israel must choose its own way, albeit, this is a far cry from 1967. Israel is primarily a pilgrim site, and deserves respect. No one is blaming Israel for war in the region, that is the New World Order, but the littoral states of the Persian Gulf are reconciled to Israel. They maintain close economic and political ties with Tel Aviv. Syria and Israel have everything to gain from closer cooperation. There would have been no peace in Lebanon without the consent of the duo.

  55. 55 Mark
    May 23, 2008 at 18:04

    One thing most Westerners don’t understand is that unlike Christianity, Islam is both a religion and a political movement. Literal translation of the Quran reveals that it is the mission of Islam to convert the world. Christianity was once as brutal, cruel, and violent as the most extreme of Moslem terrorists and terrorist states are today and Christianinty was also a political movement. It has taken about a thousand years to bring it to heel and subdue it to the point where it is no longer a threat to the secular world. Islam must do what took Christianity a millenium in only a few short years. Can it be done? About three quarters to four fifths of the world’s population are not Moslems and don’t want to be Moslems. Islam must choose if it will live peacefully with that fact or if Moslems will continue to tolerate the most extreme among themselves who would impose it by any and all force at their disposal, the way for example it is tolerated in the tribal areas of Pakistan. It was bad enough when Christianity tried to impose itself on the world with 11th century weapons. For Islam to try the same with 21st century weapons will result in mass slaughter on a scale we have never seen. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

  56. 56 Shirley
    May 24, 2008 at 16:43

    Mark, a proper understanding of the texts of Islam shows that it is not within the character of Islam to forcibly convert the world to Islam.

  57. 57 John LaGrua/New York
    May 31, 2008 at 20:07

    Steve: The terrorist gangs Hagganah and Irtgun were the precusors of the hugh influx of Jews after 1947. They attacked British troops and Arab civilians prior to the end of the British mandate .the bombing of the King David hotel killed 29 British officers billeted there and wounded many others.Shamir ,Meier ,Peres and others were leaders part of this effort .The Brityish no longer needed Mid East bases after Indian independence and were too broke to continue policing a hostile environment and pulled out .Jews flocked to Palestine and began buliding an army .,now ,euphemistically called The IDF.which began the ethnic cleansing of the Arab population.Funds from the US jews bought weapons from the hugh surplus of WWII and the conflict began in earnest.Ben Gurion admitted that the Arab resistance was a direct result of the Zionist invasion and the genocidical treatment of the Palestinians .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: