24
Mar
09

On air: Your questions to the CIA

West Bank protestors

“Political Islam is not a threat. The threat is if the people become disenchanted with the political process and democracy, and opt for violence.”

Not the words of a Islamist politician, or even a committed left-wing anti-war activist. Those are the views of a former CIA boss, who also advocates talking to Hamas and Hezbollah, both banned by the American government as terrorist organisations. He is our guest on today’s show.
Emile Nakhleh worked with the CIA for 15 years, briefing top members of the Bush administration as head of its Political Islam Strategic Analysis Programme before retiring in 2006.

His views have ruffled a number of conservative bloggers. Should the US administration be speaking to it’s enemies? Or is it imperative that groups and countries considered to be a threat be frozen out until they change their behaviour?

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Emile Nakhleh’s interview with Harper’s magazine here.

Some of you argue that it’s all very well having this open approach now, but isn’t the damage already done in the Muslim world? Can trust ever be won back? And why wasn’t this policy pursued when Emile Nakhleh held his position in the CIA?

You can leave your questions and comments for him below and we’ll do our best to put them to him


82 Responses to “On air: Your questions to the CIA”


  1. March 23, 2009 at 19:15

    It is a real shame that more and more leaders of the war in the Middle East, like the former CIA boss, notice now what they have done, after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over. Nations that existed in poor but stable political systems like Afghanistan or the Iraq are now regions of the world where people have to fight for their life every day. There are some districts without law and order and they only exist because of the inhuman and unjustified revenge war of the United States and their allies. Of course the former CIA boss is right with his comment, but is he really believable as a person who was a part of the destroying system?

  2. 2 Tong Fei
    March 24, 2009 at 04:32

    Not talking to each other is only a thing happened to me when i was very young boy after quarreling with my little friends. Thus i donot think it is a good methods to be applied to tackle international affairs. It is childish to do things like that.

    So when we disagree with each other, the best way to solve the disagreement is sitting down and exchanging ideas. The same pattern goes among countries.

    We are not exclusive to each other, so let everyone come.

    Tong Fei, PR China.

  3. 3 Roberto
    March 24, 2009 at 09:46

    RE “” The threat is if the people become disenchanted with the political process and democracy, and opt for violence.”””
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    ———— Then the threat is the voters themselves and the people who have been elected to the mess called US democracy.

    US is as much a democracy as Mexico or Russia. Politicians ceased representing the people years ago if they ever did. Most of the people don’t even bother to know them much less vote for them. Mr. Nakhleh should know at any rate the historical actions of the CIA have been counterproductive to the democratic process in developing countries.

    The US and Israel are already in talks with Hamas and Hezbollah, so he raises a false argument which is typical of what I would expect out of someone with his CIA background.

  4. 4 Ewewale
    March 24, 2009 at 10:38

    Day by day I see America drifting from being a land of freedom to one I haven’t got a word for right now.
    Why are you trying to make Islamists like you?
    I think that’s called pandering.
    People leave their Islamic countries in search of a free life in the US only to find that what they fled from is introduced into the American system.
    Allow Islamic-whatever in your system, though there are liberals among them, Islam will always be Islam.

  5. 5 VictorK
    March 24, 2009 at 10:53

    My questions:
    *Why is the momentum in the Muslim world so often with the ‘extremists’ and men of violence? Why are so-called moderate Muslims passive and silent?
    *Aren’t disengagement and isolation better options for the West than Mr Nakhleh’s call for engagement with the Muslim world? Apart from oil, what is there of value in the Muslim world that’s worth our while engaging with?
    *Why does Mr Nakhleh maintain the fiction of a ‘political Islam’ that exists as an aberration from ‘mainstream Islam’. Muslims boast that Islam dominates every aspect of their lives (i.e. that it’s totalitarian in nature). It follows that for an orthodox Muslim politics must – like everything else – necessarily be ‘Islamic’.
    *Do you accept that Islam and the Western values of freedom, secular government, tolerance, pluralism, and the equal status of men and women are incompatibles?
    *The Palestinian question is of minimal or no interest to most of us who are neither Arab nor Jewish nor Muslim. Why does Mr Nakhleh think we should care about it?

  6. 6 VictorK
    March 24, 2009 at 10:56

    More of my questions:
    *Do you agree that the Muslim world should be left alone to develop according to its own traditions and values, free of American and Western intervention?
    *Do you accept that the necon project of reforming the Muslim world was an irresponsible fantasy that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands by removing the only kind of ruler who can bring order, & sometimes a modicum of prosperity, to Muslim countries, viz the likes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban?
    *What is unIslamic about terrorism carried out in the name of Islam, following the example of Muhammed, and in line with the precepts of the Koran?
    *You seem to think that the Western world exists for the sake of appeasing and subsidising Muslims –why? ‘…education, economics, commerce, health services, and community services…’ should be domestic priorities for sovereign Muslim states, not areas of ‘common ground’ between them and the US/West.
    *Isn’t the unarguable conclusion to be drawn from the workings of the Palestinian Authority that the Palestinians are incapable of running a modern state, and their cause is therefore directed to an impossible, and so worthless, objective?

  7. 7 VictorK
    March 24, 2009 at 11:01

    My final set of questions to Mr Nakhleh:
    *By any objective and humane standard Darfur and Chechnya – not Palestine & Iraq – should be the top priorities for the Muslim world. Why do you think they aren’t, and are not even low priorities for Muslims, despite a combined death toll (comprising deliberate murders) of some 500,000?
    *Mr Nakhleh’s expertise must surely extend to knowing that the Arab states have repeatedly taken practical steps to exterminate Israel? Egypt aside, and recently, co-existence has never been a serious option. Should Israel have more regard for the promises or for the record of the Arabs?
    *When did Arabs and Muslims ever regard the US as an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East? The US has always been utterly partisan, uncritically loyal to Israeli interests, and unable to contribute anything worthwhile to Middle East peace.
    *Mr Nakhleh talks sensibly about an exist strategy for Afghanistan, then spoils it by peddling neocon unrealities about the US ‘nation-building’ there. Does he or does he not support American imperialism in the Muslim world, i.e. forcing on Muslims – always with the best of intentions – a vision of how they should live that’s alien to their traditions and values?
    *Is Mr Nakhleh’s position that the US should do in the world whatever ‘over 1 billion Muslims’ want it to do? Isn’t it correct to say that the term for this is not ‘foreign policy’ but ‘surrender’?

    I’d be glad to speak to your guest.

  8. 8 Ibrahim in UK
    March 24, 2009 at 11:44

    “Political Islam is not a threat. The threat is if the people become disenchanted with the political process and democracy, and opt for violence.”

    The political process in the Middle East has been destroyed by the US. The CIA has been at the forefront of the war against democracy in the Middle East. The US has consistently supported and armed dictatorships while toppling democracies. How can anyone from the CIA can talk about Iran without mentioning Operation Ajax?
    Aside from their support of repressive dictators, the biggest recruiting agent against the US is their unconditional military, political and financial support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Perhaps Emile Nakhleh would like to elaborate what he means by the “domestic politics” which dictate US policy on Israel and the Middle East. Is it the same “domestic politics” which forced Charles Freeman to decline the job at the National Intelligence Committe?
    The fact that a man as powerful as Nakhleh still can’t bring himself to criticise Israeli crimes or even mention the Zionist Lobby AIPAC, is an indication of just how taboo any debate on Israel is.

  9. 9 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    March 24, 2009 at 12:43

    The world as led by the West is not fair. When a country that is predominantly Moslem wants to be governed under Sharia Law, they cry foul. But why should they not. Every other aspect of their lives is affected by what the Koran says so why should the main body of their laws not be based on the Koran? Why should they be “secular” when in fact thet means adopting a Western style system of laws which is itself very much rooted in the tenets of Judeo-Christian thought? If Somalis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Hamas, Hezbullah and others wish to adopt Sharia Law, the rest of the world should not be concerned. In my own country (Uganda) when the governement wanted to introduce a law (among other things) that would bar Moslem men from marrying many wives, it was the Moslem women who protested the most! They were very prominent (in their veils) in a demonstration against the Domestic Relations Bill. So my advice would be, the West (is there still an East after 1991) should not pretend to know what is best for everybody. Events in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that they don’t.

  10. March 24, 2009 at 12:50

    Political Islam Is a Threat, Mister Nakhleh!
    TEHRAN – Islam is force: Forced dress code; forced moral code; arbitrary rule – rituals, prompt prayers, ablution, self-flagellation.
    Arabs, Turks, Berbers and Africans have felt the sting and turned to democracy and enlightenment thereafter.
    People of Kuwait are also disenchanted at austerity measures – other Gulf states are ready to turn the page.
    The influence of fundamentalism and radical Islam are on the decline here. It will persist in Afghanistan and Pakistan as long as NATO forces are in the region.
    Meaningful Tehran, Washington will never materialize as long as prelates rule Iran because people have lost faith.

  11. 11 VictorK
    March 24, 2009 at 12:53

    @Ibrahim: the basics of good government are internal order, security of property and person, defence against external foes, and prosperity. None of those things necessarily implies democracy. Saddam Hussein, before sanctions and war, did well as far as these went. It’s been downhill since 2003.

    Debate about the Muslim world is too often skewed by calls for democracy in places where there is no democratic tradition. It’s the politics of fantasy. There are forms of government other than democracy, and where those forms deliver the essentials of government, and command the allegiance of the people, they should be respected. It’s not for the US to topple either democratic or dictatorial regimes; it should simply seek ways of coexisting with them. Muslims cannot complain about Western interference in their countries and then demand that the West undermine or overthrow ‘repressive dictatorships’. That kind of regime change should always be an internal matter. We in the West can at best give a good political example: whether Muslims choose to follow it is, and should be, nobody’s concern but theirs.

  12. March 24, 2009 at 16:08

    Salaam… Oh, until a fair, just, perminant and long lasting peace of “equivalents” in the Middle East is reached to, the wounds will remain forever open and actively bleeding… That’s my personal opinion, and I wonder what your guest thinks of it ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  13. 13 Stephen
    March 25, 2009 at 00:34

    The CIA an intelligence agency has lost it’s intelligence. Talking to Hamas and the the rest of the Islamic bunch is absurd. Both historically and politically these groups perceive any type of conversation as a weakness.

    The CIA should know this. Remember Prime Minister Chamberlain discussion with Hitler, that went well didn’t it. The Muslim religion is interested in becoming the power they once were . They are not interested in western culture or opinion.
    They are interested in all non-Muslims dying or erased from the earth like Israel. They want what they perceive as their land back. There are religious reasons also that will not be discussed because that will go down the proverbial rat hole. Unfortunately the Ostriches of the world will keep their heads buried until time has run out.

  14. March 25, 2009 at 12:03

    Mr. Nakhlem,

    In an attempt to avoid mistakes that may lead to dire consequences, what has the CIA done to transform how it vets and supports raw information that is gathered. Has he seen any changes that would have prevented action upon false intel such as that used to invade Iraq. Also is there any changes to how information gets it’s “non-credible” designation and not propagated to our leadership comities. For example how did the information gathered by Joseph Wilson get an agency designation as not credible, not included in the report to congress, and other obviously false information get treated and facilitated as credible when it wasn’t.

    I would also like to know your views on how to make the inteligence branches that thrive on their secrecy more transparent to the public they serve without limiting their impact.

  15. March 25, 2009 at 12:58

    The CIA has always been seen with disfavour because of its operations leading to change of regimes and (indirect) implications in coups d’etat, mainly in Latin America.

    Here are my questions:

    1-To what extent does the CIA shape US foreign policy?

    2-How can the US engage in direct talks with Hamas and Hezbollah when these are still under the influence of Iran with which they share the same ideology concerning Israel?

    3- What are the major failures of the CIA?

    4-How is it a real backup to regimes closely allied to the USA, especially in the Middle East?

    4- Which countries are most cooperative with the CIA?

    5- To what extent does the CIA bear responsibility in the rise of extreme and terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, considering that Bin Laden was supported by the US when he was in Afghanistan as a jihadist fighting the Soviet troops?

  16. 16 steve
    March 25, 2009 at 13:03

    How do you reason with the unreasonable and irrational? We know how well that worked with hitler.

  17. 17 Steve in Boston
    March 25, 2009 at 13:09

    Just one question for Dr. Nakhleh:

    Regardless of whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, wasn’t the United States justified in invading Iraq after Hussein consistently violated UN resolutions, evicted all the UN observers, broke the terms of his surrender in the first Gulf War, raped the UN oil-for-food program, and intimidated the UN into letting him do it all with impunity?

  18. March 25, 2009 at 13:40

    Some of you argue that it’s all very well having this open approach now, but isn’t the damage already done in the Muslim world? Can trust ever be won back? And why wasn’t this policy pursued when Emile Nakhleh held his position in the CIA?

    Indeed – why rendition, why torture? What was it in the neocon Bush administration that led the CIA to believe these things were right and correct to do – and, more importantly, what was Mr Nakhleh role in them?

  19. 19 gary
    March 25, 2009 at 13:50

    Mr. Nakhleh’ comments are well considered. They remind us (well, me at least) that terrorist attacks, Islamist or otherwise, speak primarily to politico-economic problems, rather than a religious ones. Many folks (on both sides of this issue) believe such problems are in the category of soluble by “bomb or Bic®.” (Blow it up or burn it up.). This in spite of copious evidence folks are angry and dismayed upon finding the smoking remains of loved ones, on whose behalf they subsequently swear an unquenchable thirst for revenge. Conversation isn’t just the best answer; it’s the only answer. Accordingly, I would ask Mr. Nakhleh, “How does one start conversation with leaders of groups whose members consider such conversation a crime worthy of death?”
    g

  20. 20 Freddie Singini +260955451015
    March 25, 2009 at 14:04

    I recall that until recently, though not for some, the ANC leadership including the MADIBBA himself was labeled a terrorist, and ANC a terrorist organisation by both the Apartheid Regime in South Africa and( just like Israel) the USA government. The American, against international disquiet, continued to supply and assist the Aparthied regime.

    Change, as has come in USA, did also come in 1994 in South Africa, a new way forward was established and, although still on the statutes of the Amercan congress as a terror organisation, the ANC has governed uninterrupted, and also recieved much needed political and economic support.

    I submit here that Hamas and Hezballer really represent the political will of Palestinians both withiin Palestinian territories and the diaspora.

    Going forward, the way to achieve genuine peace and progress on the two-state soluton in the middle-east is to engage in an open dialogue with those we perceive as terrorists.

    The former boss needs to be lauded, i hope the state department under Mrs. Clinton will support this view.

  21. 21 Tom K in Mpls
    March 25, 2009 at 14:13

    I am glad to see that nobody is taking what has been stated by any CIA member as anything related to fact. Retired or not, they will by the nature of what got them their positions, only say what they want you to hear. It is useful as a basis for discussion for planning, but of no factual value. As a recent example, why do they want us to believe that Gitmo interrogations were recorded and then that 92 tapes were destroyed?

    Regarding terrorists and discussion, it is human nature to try to change what does not suit us. Efforts span discussion, snobbery, legislation, economics, military and terrorism. The point reached is a combination perceived need and achieved results of the weakest. Those in the strongest position have to decide how far they will let things go. It is up to them. Specifically in this case I feel we must work with the nonviolent people that share the goals of the terrorists to find a solution. Also we must never stop attempts to bring the violent individuals to justice.

    As a US citizen I agree with others that the US government has shown very little regard for the laws and the social/political desires of the people. And the focus changes with each new administration.

  22. March 25, 2009 at 14:25

    Steve from Boston.

    It makes no sense to on one hand say, “The UN is the governing body, and we must abide by its laws” and then on the other hand when the UN decides that the actions of Saddam didn’t justify an invasion, one uses its previous authority to justify the actions against its authority. IF the UN is relevant, then its resolutions and its decisions are relevant. If they are not, then a single nation can not hold another nation culpable to the irrelevant resolutions. You can’t have it both ways.

    Citizens as well as governing bodies have been shown to be complicity linked to Saddam’s “raping” of the “oil for food” program. Should the US too be invaded? Even and just enforcement of the laws is what keeps the US a civil nation. North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US have all violated one various rules of the UN. Yet Iraq suffered an unbalanced punishment.

    The better question would be, “is all of the death, destruction, and instability of the global relationship as well as the US economy worth the minor offenses Saddam leveled against the UN?

  23. 23 Luci Smith
    March 25, 2009 at 15:13

    Sorry, guys!
    My faith in the intelligence of the CIA went down the drain with the George W. Bush administration’s reactions to 9-11. Bush, who one could criticize for not even being really elected by popular vote the first time chose to set up Guantanamo Prison Camp, waterboard prisoners and try to circumvent democracies by extraordinary renditions and an inordinant amount of opening people’s mail and listening to communications.
    The result? Nada, zilch, nothing! Obviously, the intelligence was faulty. The means of getting it was in violation of Human Rights and I think that the US should sign up to become a member of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Only by respecting Human Rights and International Law can countries show that they have intelligence. My guess is that there is a lot more Intelligence in countries that stress Diplomacy instead of Military Might.

  24. March 25, 2009 at 15:26

    Hi WHYS,
    My questions to the CIA chief are as follows:
    1. Was there any way the USA could have averted the 9/11 attacks?
    2. In his experience, is there such a distinction between ‘Political Islam’ and ‘Radical Islam’? If there is the basis of the distinction, is it theological?
    3. What do you think Islamic radicals and terrorists really want?
    4. In the face of the Mumbai attacks last year, the attack on the Sri-Lankan cricket players and the moving of the IPL to South Africa, would tourism and sports be in anyway affected by terrorism?
    5. Some analysts are theorising that the current global economic crisis could lead to a surge in terrorism, any truth in that?

  25. 25 Tom D Ford
    March 25, 2009 at 15:30

    Asked with tongue in cheek:

    What are the questions you are not allowed to answer?

  26. March 25, 2009 at 15:31

    Salaam to respected Ross and the listeners

    It’s very easy for ex-CIA or head of states speak out different strategy when they live office. My question is why did they not speak when they had the chance?

    The Muslims have lost trust for the west because of its double standard (Palestine issue) in the Muslims world.

    Last suggestion is let the Muslims decide for themselves and stop the support of tyrants and dictators in the Muslim world another thing there is among the commentators groups who are spreading fear and propaganda among the masses please study Islam more deeply and objectively rather than demonising it and lets all say NO TO ISLAMAPHOBIA.

    Thanks for having me Ross

  27. 27 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 25, 2009 at 15:31

    “Political Islam is not a threat. The threat is if the people become disenchanted with the political process and democracy, and opt for violence.”

    Nonsense. The people of Afghanistan, in the tribal areas of Pakistan and in Iraq have never known anything approaching real democracy. Their old tribal, cultural and religious traditions guide them, not any longing for the foreign concept of democracy, nor any consideration of politics beyond their own groups.

    With the spread of Wahabism and other unyielding doctrines, the violent and totalitarian concept of the “House of Islam” and the “House of War” are moving to the fore. As has been noted, if “moderate” Islam doesn’t concur with Islamic violence, why is the Islamic majority so silent on the issue?

    The CIA is a discredited organization–even to an American citizen like me–but in any case there is very little the CIA or any other security or information outfit can do besides trying to keep tabs on the violent Islamists who have been identified. The only real change that can come is not from politics or democratization: the only thing that can make any meaningful change is for Islamic peoples the world over to actively work to change violent ideology. So far, the Muslims of the world have failed dismally.

  28. March 25, 2009 at 15:40

    Political Islam is a threat and capable of creating problems for us all, i wonder why Mr Nakhleh thinks ifferently.

  29. 29 patti in florida
    March 25, 2009 at 15:43

    I must be an idiot because I don’t understand why people are so afraid of the US holding a discussion with Hamas and Hezbollah. How has the silent (not really so silent) treatment helped all this time?

  30. March 25, 2009 at 15:47

    To me, the issue of connecting the Islam religion with evil is just discouraging (muslims), people who have choosen the religion to be the right way to God. There is no evil permitted by God. Those using Islam as shield to accomplishing their selfish aim, are supposed to charged and prosecuted for Blaspheming. I do no not even have to ask any question regarding this topic.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  31. 31 VictorK
    March 25, 2009 at 15:55

    @Freddie: the ANC was a terrorist organisation; Mandela was a terrorist. The point is that the label ‘terrorist’ isn’t always the end of the matter. Terrorists may have a good cause (which isn’t helped by their terror). Terrorists with popular support often need to be engaged with, at least where they can’t be destroyed; it doesn’t make them any less terrorist. US governments and congressmen were happy to fete the terrorists of Sinn-Fein-IRA; they have no credibility now when they try to ostracise terrorist groups they dislike.

    Hamas and Hezbollah are both terrorist groups: but one is the elected government of Palestine, and the other represents a sizeable body of Lebanese opinion. Those are good enough reasons for engaging with them.

    btw, isn’t there a real arrogance in the assumption that it’s for the US to decide whether to engage with these groups, rather than Israel? Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon are the protagonists here. Not the US, or the EU or the rest of the Muslim world. Part of the region’s problems stem from too many countries who are bit actors at best trying to take centre stage. Being a superpower doesn’t give the US a stake in other people’s business.

  32. 32 Archibald in Oregon
    March 25, 2009 at 15:55

    Hey, Steve, we are only 22 comments into this and Hitler has already been mentioned, I thought this was a current debate?

    My only question to the former Langley man is: How can the CIA truly serve its masters (the american people), when there is such a disparity between its actions and what it must do to ultimately ensure its survival? Is terrorism ultimately a “spare parts” market for the military-industrial complex, keeping the war machine running, lest they lose their validity, due to long term credibility issues?

  33. March 25, 2009 at 16:12

    Hi Again Mr. Nakhleh
    You briefly refer to Iran in part I of your interview. You don’t say how President Barack Obama should engage Tehran. He is repeating what Europe has been saying all along.
    State Secretary Hillary Clinton has distanced herself from traditional US policy on Russia. What are their chances of success?

  34. 34 Bert
    March 25, 2009 at 16:14

    To Steve in Boston, I’d say that it was up to the UN to decide what to do if its demands weren’t met, not the US. We cannot use that as our excuse. The UN was happy to go on with sanctions against Iraq, rather than an invasion, so by definition, an invasion by US was not justified. Not on the basis of UN demands, at any rate.

    However, the point is NOT: “Some of you argue that it’s all very well having this open approach now, but isn’t the damage already done in the Muslim world? Can trust ever be won back?”

    The more important question from our point of view ought to be, should we ever trust Islamists?

    I find it amusing that in these discussions, Moslems often bring up the Israel/Palestine situation. To me, the more relevant topic is the incessant bloodshed among the different flavors of Moslems. Bombings in markets, bombings in mosques, bombinga at funerals. Always with innocent people as the intended targets. That’s why we can’t trust them. Let’s stop pandering, already!

  35. 35 Steve in Boston
    March 25, 2009 at 16:19

    @ Dwight in Cleveland

    It all makes perfect sense. The UN was entrusted with overseeing the conditions of the Gulf War I truce–a war initiated by Iraq’s invasion of our ally Kuwait–and please don’t tell me that invasion was justified.

    When the UN demonstrated itself to be over its head and incapable of performing its duties in Iraq after being manhandled by Saddam Hussein, it ceased to be relevant to the entire process.

    In any event, I would like to hear Mr. Nakhleh’s response to my questions because I happen to know he has strong opinions on the WMD issue.

  36. 36 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    March 25, 2009 at 16:42

    Hmm..

    If Mr. Nakleh feels it is OK to talk to Hamas and other so-called terrorist groups, then why didn’t he do this when he was in the CIA? I can’t stand it when people of some authority do nothing until after they are retired or are no longer in office.

    My favorite quote: “What better way to vanquish an enemy than to make him an ally?”

  37. 37 Anthony Suchon
    March 25, 2009 at 16:43

    As a New Yorker who was a close eyewitness to 9/11 and whose wife, an RN, was a member of the rescue and recovery team, may I ask if the CIA has any credibility or relevance left?
    There was a Presidential Briefing before 9/11 warning that Osama was planning an attack. There was an FBI agent who reported suspicious characters taking flying lessons who didn’t seem concerned about how to land a plane. Was there really no communication between the CIA and the FBI? Why not?
    Not counting the “black budget” (undisclosed) isn’t the U.S. security budget somewhere around $40 billion.
    Why were the only Air Force planes protecting NY dispatched from Cape Cod, MA, nearly 300 miles away. By the time they buzzed Manhattan, most of us they were part of the attack.
    How was the media able to print the pictures and names of the hijackers the next day?
    Somebody knew they were here and had files on them. Who?
    John McCain, in the GOP primaries, said he knew where Osama is. Has anyone asked him?
    Isn’t the “war” (undeclared) in Iraq just feeding hatred against the U.S. and opening up more possibilities for further attacks?
    Islam, like almost all religions, contains bizarre, irrational elements of superstition that can be twisted by so-called clerics or priests or imams to get the gullible to do horrific things (the Crusades, Salem, the “clothing police” who let young girls die in a school house lest their hair be seen).
    What do you propose to do about that?
    How many CIA personnel speak Arabic or any language related to Islam?
    I feel no safer now than before. I joke that Osama is running a 7-11 in Baltimore–a bad joke that could be true.
    Terror is a tactic against which a “war” is futile. Are there diplomatic possibilities?
    I’m still angry about 9/11 and furious over the U.S.’s impotent response, especially as I half disrobe to get on an airplane.

  38. 38 ecotopian
    March 25, 2009 at 17:05

    People having been suggesting for a while that the US should talk to groups like Hamas. People with expertise in the region have been saying this. If Nakhleh thought this way, why did it take him so long to leave the CIA? Why didn’t he say this back in 2006, shortly after he left? If he did say this, why don’t we know about it? If he thought this way during his tenure, was reflected in the advice he was giving? If so, how?

    20/20 hindsight is all well and good, but why didn’t you do this in the first place? Why was the Bush administration allowed to destroy the reputation of the US?

  39. 39 Bert
    March 25, 2009 at 17:06

    About this quote, “My favorite quote: ‘What better way to vanquish an enemy than to make him an ally?'”

    I’d say, we cannot trust them as allies. Talk? Absolutely. Trust? That’s something else.

    My thoughts are much like Anthony’s. However, my approach now would be not be to obsess about blaming the Government’s lack of awareness before 9/11, but rather to heighten the sense of of awareness,now.

    And note well: the UK Government had the same “trust” issues with Islamists in the past, where they thought no way could Islamists who we raised in the UK behave as they do in the Middle East. Well, gues what? They can and do.

    Vigilance at home is what we need. All this “trust” talk is what got us to 9/11 in the first place.

  40. March 25, 2009 at 17:12

    Hi Again Mr. Nakhleh
    Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said: “Former US CIA chief suggested America should engage Iran.” He spoke an hour ago in an interview on Iranian state owned television . Is this part of the Tehran, Washington negotiations in the media which we have been hearing about?

  41. March 25, 2009 at 17:14

    The linguist George Lakoff argues that conservative Americans view our relationship with the world as parent/child rather than equal “adult” nations. Hence, George Bush’s use of the phrase, “we don’t need a permission slip” from the world to do what we want.

    Do you find this attittude to be pervasive in the CIA and the US government in general?

    Thank you,

  42. 42 Maccus Germanis
    March 25, 2009 at 17:18

    There is, with some overlap, fundamental difference between diplomatic relations and intelligence gathering. I do expect the CIA to talk to disruputable and violent regimes. I do not expect the State Dept. to confer undue legitamacy to such regimes. And I’d expect self-supposed strategic analysts to have some understanding of such difference as well as having some working knowledge of the fundamentals.

    The CIA’s need to have contact with dangerous elements is tactical. The State Departments decision to avoid diplomatic contacts is strategic. The threat of “political islam” is fundamental.

  43. 43 haider meghjee
    March 25, 2009 at 17:19

    politcal islam is a threat to the U.S.
    right now the U.S. controls most middle eastern countries via its suppourt for the corrupt dictators.
    eg saudi arabia,bahrain,kuwait,egypt,jordan to name a few.
    if political islam was to take power in these countries then the leaders of these countries will have to serve the interest of their people and not the U.S.
    Turkey is a democracy and rightfully it refused the U.S army to go through its territory on the way to Iraq.the U.S was not happy about this.Kuwait is a dictatorship and the emir was ok with allowing the U.S to invade iraq.
    this is just one example.
    haider

  44. 44 ecotopian
    March 25, 2009 at 17:23

    I’m not sure I can continue to listen to this show. Despite he’s earnestness, I just can’t believe him. Maybe if the CIA hadn’t lied to us it would be different and maybe I could trust him. The CIA broke that trust and it will be a long time for it to be rebuilt.

  45. 45 VictorK
    March 25, 2009 at 17:35

    @ haider: ‘…right now the U.S. controls most middle eastern countries via its suppourt for the corrupt dictators.’

    This is pretty much orthodox with many Muslims. What does it mean? There isn’t a government on the planet that could resist a popular uprising by its people. If the people of the Middle East really wanted regime change they could have it tomorrow, regardless of the wishes of the US. US aid is too small to bankroll these governments; as sovereign states they’re entitled to buy arms from the US manufacturers or those of any other country; their corruption isn’t the fault of the US or something the American’s are obliged to put right. So, on what basis is it constantly alleged that the US – which can’t control Iraq and Afghanistan, despite having armies in those places – controls these places?

  46. 46 Amelia
    March 25, 2009 at 17:36

    Even if we open dialogue with Hamas and Iran and pursue other avenues of dialogue, what is the possibility for really amaible relations with countries in the middle east with the United States unquestioning support for Isreal?

  47. March 25, 2009 at 17:37

    Steve,

    You still don’t address the relevancy issue. You say that the UN was in over its head, however, it wasn’t. It just decided that what Saddam was doing did not rise to the level o putting millions of innocent Iraqis lives at risk. If the UN was so “overwhelmed, why was the Bush administration begging and threatening for their help by the end of 2003? What evidence do you have that the UN was “incapable of performing its duties.” The opposition to the US inside of the UN asserted that the current sanctions had successfully stopped Saddam’s Nuclear program. Guess what? They were right, it had.

    I wouldn’t argue Saddam was right, but I would argue in the grey area that the US wasn’t the just and impartial judge to step in. The weapons he attacked Kuwait with were US weapons. There gets to be a point where a judge (the US in this case) has to remove himself from a case due to conflict of interest.

    One other point is that the citizenry can no longer believe an argument that was fraught with so much deceit and lies as the one the Bush Admin had presented. The major infringements were later proven to be false, and all that was left were the equivalent speeding tickets.

  48. 48 angelique
    March 25, 2009 at 17:44

    I must say that I think it’s ridiculous to blindly believe the propoganda that “these people only view conversation as a sign of weakness” and “there is no speaking to people who turn to violence” – who has told us this? What has proven this to be true? What I witness about the Persian People is that they fight and they fight and they never give in. How many centuries have passed in the attempts to force them to acquiesce to how many different Oppressors? It doesn’t work, can we please try something different than the attempt to obliterate others?

  49. 49 Ali Diab
    March 25, 2009 at 18:02

    I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Nakhleh this morning and have one question for him: Just how much influence does the pro-Israel lobby have over the formulation of US foreign policy and what, if anything, does he think should be done about restraining that influence? The reason I ask is that I think it will be truly difficult for the US to maintain even a semblance of impartiality in the Arab and Muslim world if the current perception that pro-Israel forces drive US foreign policy-making continues, as evidenced by the Obama administration’s response to the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza.

  50. March 25, 2009 at 18:05

    During the Cold War the Soviet Union and the United States were both convinced that the other side was out to destroy them. In retrospect this was arguably a case of mutual misunderstanding: a huge waste of energy and resources.

    The West’s first response to Islamic extremists was to declare War on Terror. Is it possible that Islam feels similarly threatened by the West? What have we got to lose by engaging in diplomacy before armed response?

    The logical outcome of War on Terror is Mutually Assured Destruction.

  51. 51 Steve Egidio
    March 25, 2009 at 18:09

    The only mistake the U.S. has made in the last eight years and in the last 20 years was that we did not nuke Iran, Iraq, Al Cadaidai and other radical and terroristic Islamic group when we had the chance.

    Radical Islamists are not a small minority of the Islamic world and they are definitely intent on taking over the world, inclduing subjegating their own Islamic people to the radical point of view and eliminating any opposing worldview. This is a terrorist agenda.

    Iran is a dangerous country. Iraq id a dangerous country. Afghanastan is still a dangerous country.

    In addition, there non-Islamic terrorists at work, also, including in places like North Korea, Venezula and Russia. We should never doubt that.

    These people are not interested in talking, butonly interested in blowing you up.
    Check history.

    President Obama is wasting his effort to talk to these terrorists.

  52. 52 Philippa
    March 25, 2009 at 18:16

    Humans! We have evolved from our ape state. We have been granted the gift of speech. Let’s use it to speak to our enemies. Of course.

    Emile Nakhleh is right.

  53. 53 Nikolai
    March 25, 2009 at 18:17

    In reality the US so called ‘anti-terrorist” actions have nothing to do with “islam terrorism/”
    It’s only the cover for gaining strategic positions against USSR, RPC, Iran and other rising nations, as against the future revolution in Saudi Arabia and other countries.

  54. 54 Vijay
    March 25, 2009 at 18:20

    Who would you say is a greater threat to world security ,a resurgent Russsia or Americas former pupil Osama bin Laden?

    The CIA is one among 20 or so security agencies of the USA, is it the best,do they get in each others way,where does the remit of the FBI stop and the CIA start?

    If you were starting your career in intelligence again which countries intelligence agency would you want to work for?

    Is the CIA having recruitment problems like the US military,is the quality of the recruits declining

  55. 55 jorge
    March 25, 2009 at 18:25

    Please ask, the following questions to the CIA agent:

    1. Where is the investigation about the planes that were involved at the Pentagon and at Pensylvania ? , 90% of the investigative media and milllions of people araound the world dont beleieve the official investigation of the government of the USA.

    2. Why the USAF F-15 didn’t take off to impede the attack after an hour in the building when they were inthe radar, and to one f-15 will take only 8.0 seconds to shoot down any of the planes?

    3. Why the invetigative commision didn’t take seriously the report done by the Janitor, Mr Rodrigu;ez about the explosions he heard and many firemen and witnesses lilsten to.

    4. Why all the pictures of the airplanes, being myself a witness on the second plane crushing into the second tower were not commecial planes and nay can see that were military plane ?

  56. 56 Bontu Sessa
    March 25, 2009 at 18:37

    All you guys don’t get it. When one looks at US policy towards most Muslims countries, it is clear that the underlying intent is to fight Islam. Its a philosophical and spiritual conflict that has a history of over six hundred years. May Allah help us all.

  57. 57 John
    March 25, 2009 at 18:40

    what do we believe is the root cause of terrorism and what can we / are we doing to address this?

  58. 58 Tom K in Mpls
    March 25, 2009 at 18:41

    Having just reread all the posts, I noticed one interesting thing. In general, nobody is defending or supporting the actions of any organization. To me this is promising. We have seen individuals in various types of organizations doing nothing but trying to validate their personal existence in their professional positions.

    In the Palestinian/Israeli issue, we must realize these people support what is generally a Fundamentalist system. To them there is no separation of of religion or government. To get them to compromise is asking them to compromise on their most fundamental beliefs.

    Due to US financial aid, Israel has always been able to claim their killing was proper and legitimate since they used state of the art military equipment. All the while they were abusing what was originally Palestinian generosity in 1948. As for Palestine, they have been forced to launch largely ineffective rockets into Israel. I do not mean to imply this is right.

    I think what is needed here is not only opening up communications as an alternative to violence, but might be more important to somehow get new people in the key positions. Actually this may be the only credible point in US involvement.

  59. 59 robin wilson
    March 25, 2009 at 18:47

    what is the difference between your guest’s definition of terrorism and the us led invasion of iraq? was that an illegal act? did it have a clear objective? did it subject the citizens of iraq to terror?

  60. 60 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 25, 2009 at 18:49

    I turned off the World Conversation tonight well before it went off-air.

    I was vexed at listening to a misguided, self-serving ideolog with a book to sell.

  61. 61 patti in florida
    March 25, 2009 at 18:53

    With all due respect, it seems to me that Mr. Nakhleh is extremely careful to remove himself from any true opinions. I thought he advocated speaking to Hamas and Hezbollah, but then during the show he said he did not support this. It is hard to get a true sense of how he feels about things, he is being extremely careful. He sounds like a politician to me

  62. 62 Tom K in Mpls
    March 25, 2009 at 18:58

    @ Donnamarie in Switzerland.

    I agree with your view. Also his CIA background undermines his credibility. But it does attract attention that hopefully can help influence a change for the better. If you have noticed, most posts generally agree on the points raised. I say, ‘take what gains you can get’.

  63. 63 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 25, 2009 at 19:03

    @ Patti in Florida

    Hamas’ founding charter, which it has refused to renounce or modify in any way, calls for the “reinstitution of he Muslim state” in ” every inch of Palestine.” All peace initiatives are referred to as “so called peaceful resolutions (that) are contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” It further declares that “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.”

    Thus, the Hamas charter explicitly excludes peaceful dialog. Until and unless Hamas changes its founding principals and charter, any talk of peace will just be useless jawing on the part of Hamas’ interlocutors.

  64. 64 VictorK
    March 25, 2009 at 19:14

    @Donnamarie: you didn’t miss a lot.

    He’s represents no advance on the fals and failed neocon policy positions. In fact he’s worse than the general run of neocons, since as Zionists they can’t afford to share his impossibly rose-tinted view of Islam. What could have possessed the Americans to have taken advice from this man on anything for so many years?

    When I pointed out that, like the neocons, he continued to support intervention by the West in the Muslim world, though in terms of provision of infra-structure, clean water, etc, he point blank denied it, though his own words to this effect are there for everyone to read in his Silverstein interview! And he managed to simply ignore the other points I put to him about the violent nature of Islam and how disengagement with the Muslim world would better serve Western interests.

    Pure neocon evasion of reality, I’m afraid.

  65. 65 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 25, 2009 at 19:37

    “Bontu Sessa
    March 25, 2009 at 18:37
    All you guys don’t get it. When one looks at US policy towards most Muslims countries, it is clear that the underlying intent is to fight Islam. Its a philosophical and spiritual conflict that has a history of over six hundred years. May Allah help us all.”

    @ Bontu Sessa

    Before 9/11, most Americans didn’t know beans about Islam and cared less, with a typical American “live and let live” attitude. American governments and security agencies might have had covert agendas, but the American people at large were ignorant of them. One might hold the American people accountable for their ignorance, but not for any non-existent bad intentions.

    You claim that the USA has an “underlying intent….to fight Islam,” and that “It’s a philosophical and spiritual conflict that has a history of over six hundred years.” Six hundred years ago the colonization of what is now the USA by Europeans had barely begun. Are you seriously suggesting that the Amer-Indians who were the main inhabitants of the part of North American that is now the USA had an anti-Islamic agenda? Are you suggesting that the European colonists, many of whom were fleeing religious persecution in their homelands, commenced an anti-Islamic agenda as soon as they reached North American shores?

    Islamic terrorists themselves actively sought to focus modern American hearts and minds on themselves on 9/11 and they succeeded spectacularly. Many Muslins, far from being appalled at the loss of life in the Twin Towers, danced in the streets to celebrate American “comeuppance.”

    Bontu Sessa, get over your delusion of persecution. Your thoughts ARE delusional because you attribute ill-will to the USA going back centuries before the USA even existed.

    How about this: let’s all stop shooting and bombing one another. Let’s get real and not talk about imagined faults, and even if there is cause for revenge on one side or the other or both, how about we wipe the slate clean and just try to get on with the business of living in peace?

    You are a Muslim and can call upon Allah’s help. I am a non-theist and can only call upon reason….I can HOPE for good will as well.

  66. 66 haider meghjee
    March 25, 2009 at 21:18

    @victor
    there are large U.S army bases in saudi arabia,bahrain,kuwait,united arab emirates,oman,qatar.who and what are they protecting?
    plus other smaller bases in egypt and jordan to mention a few.
    haider

  67. 67 haider meghjee
    March 25, 2009 at 21:51

    @victor
    remember mossadegh
    he was democratically elected prime minister of iran.
    he was toppled by the CIA
    remember salvador allende
    he was democratically elected leader of chile
    he was toppled by the CIA then murdered
    remember patrice lumumba
    he was the leader of congo
    he was also overthrown then murdered
    guess by who
    the last time i checked patrice lumumba and salvador allende were not muslims
    mossadegh lumumba and allende their crime was to follow socialist policy.
    against the U.S doctrine
    haider

  68. 68 baryal
    March 26, 2009 at 05:12

    hey,,what the hell cia is doing there in afghanistan.the problems we are acing today is because o US.because the people they called terrorists now they were their friends when they were working on their agenda ahainst SOVIETS????
    YOUR DOUBLE STANDARDS ARE NOT GOING TO WORK?

  69. 69 Justin Durueke
    March 26, 2009 at 06:01

    It is very sad that decision makers and world leaders ignore their people in making political and economic decisions. The people after elections have no other way of expressing their disgust at their government than demonstration which usually turn violent. In the middle east for instance democracy has not been operational, people see it as a Western way of life. I am of the opinion that countries no matter how big or small should be allowed to practice the system of government they want. Democracy has worked so well for the West that does not mean that it will work for the citizens of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

  70. March 26, 2009 at 07:39

    is not talking to hamas also a kind of terrorism?and was CIA responsible for Bush written speeches that brainwashed even the CIA itself?Does the CIA also think like me that AIG is Another Illegal Group?

    TAMBUA VILLAGE
    HAMISI,KENYA
    (western kenya)

  71. 71 Kashif Saeed
    March 26, 2009 at 10:33

    In my view Islam gives best political, social and justice system. It is complete code of life for all humanity. If anyone wants to knows about Islam It have to do research on Quran and Sunnah and then he knows how today world could become peaceful if everyone follows Islamic teaching. If today western world have made so much progress it is due to Islamic institutions where european goes and learn all knowledge. All countries made their own rules according to their customs and country. If any Islamic country adopt Shahriah that according to teaching of Islam. Then it is their right to adopt these rules as prescribe by Quran and Sunnah. It is enforced in only thast country. West has no objection on any islamic act. So it is also freedom of speech that everynoe in this world should accept other faith and religion. Then this world could become peacful.

  72. 72 silentpicture
    March 26, 2009 at 10:54

    Democracy is a strange word to use in this issue. In England Democracy has all but gone. There is more people control here than there was in Stalins Russia. Control appears to be the ‘New Politik’. I have long been an advocate of ‘don’t dictate to others until your own back yard is clean.
    There are to many political advisors, in to many organisations, in to many political parties, in too many countries trying to tell other countries how to run their affairs. There is little or no thought given to ethnic differences, religous differences, political differences or even goelogical differences. ‘In fighting’ in many countries has been going on since the begining of time. It is based on tribal rites, tribal rights and tribal territories.
    There is no simple for fix for this issue and going in with weapons money and threats solves nothing. History has taught us these same lessons many many times. Maybe it’s time to re-read history and learn from it.

  73. 73 VictorK
    March 26, 2009 at 11:49

    @Haider your anti-Americanism is getting in the way of the facts.

    Lumumba: alienated the West by enlisting the Soviets in the invasion of Katanga during the Cold War. His inept policies led to social disorder in the Congo. His murder was orchestrated by the Belgian government. Some blame also attaches to the UN troops who did nothing to intervene.

    Allende: justifiably deposed. A fellow-traveller intent on Cuba-nising Chile. Pinochet’s rule eventually led to the kind of economic prosperity unknown in socialist regimes and a transition to democracy.

    Mossadegh: a nationalist thief who stole British property in Iran. Was overthrown, though, as a pre-emptive move to prevent his making Iran a Soviet client state. In the context of the Cold War, entirely justified.

    Why shouldn’t the US have bases in sovereign states that are agreeable to that? I’d hope that the US bases you mention are there to protect oil reserves.

  74. 74 haider meghjee
    March 27, 2009 at 00:12

    @victor
    i am not anti american
    i just dont like american foreign policy of controlling others.
    how did the british come to own iranian oil
    have you ever thought about this?
    during pinochets regime thousands disappeared and there was no democracy.
    he even murdered two U.S citizens. because they were pro democracy.
    we claim to be the best democracy in the world.the land of freedom.
    then we suppourt the worlds worst regimes when it comes to human rights.
    it is this hypocracy that i dont like.
    the soviets were never in congo. it was a civil war between nationalist and pro colonial factions.
    in chile allende wanted to distribute the land to the chileans.majority of the land was controlled by the U.S companies.why can chilean not own their own land.
    why can iranian not own their own oil or iraqis own their own oil.
    will saudi arabia be allowed to have a base in the U.S.
    haider

  75. 75 haider meghjee
    March 27, 2009 at 00:15

    @victor
    socialist regimes can have very good economic prosperity.
    eg norway sweden denmark finland.
    very good quality of life healthcare and education
    haider

  76. 76 Ibrahim in UK
    March 27, 2009 at 10:53

    @VictorK

    Toppling elected or popular leaders abroad creates hostility, anger and war.
    Helping a regime commit mass murder, by supplying both the weapons and the names and locations of people to assassinate, also creates hostility, anger and war. Starving half a million Iraqi children to death and calling it “a price worth paying” also creates hostility, anger and war.
    The West may consider that keeping control of client states through force is entirely justifiable in the context of the cold war, or war on terror, or war on whatevernext, but the people at the end of that force consider it an unforgivable crime.
    If we want to convince the world that there are rights and wrongs and rules of acceptability and justice, then we have to follow them ourselves.
    If we want to convince the world that might is right and the ends justify the means by demonstrating our violent power to secure our own goals, then our complaints when people respond in kind are hollow and discredited. We will also have a problem, because most of the world opposes this kind of leadership.

  77. 77 Ochan David J Silvio
    March 27, 2009 at 11:54

    My dear brothers u appear to be good at discussing on terorism only not even implementing the strategic resolution on to get rid of these culprit which once of them claimed to be our president ( think about him)

    how can u talk of terorism when thier chief Bahir is claiming to be the world hero, hence i will only agree with u if he is gone to the vissit Ocampo, what do you think would have happen if Sadam could have been alive, and asked your self who might have been his commander inchief asked Ocampo to explaine it

    Son of South Sudan in Juba
    ochan_davidjehovans@yahoo.com

  78. 78 VictorK
    March 27, 2009 at 12:13

    @Ibrahim: the Arab League intervened to protect the genocidal Sudanese government from UN action, despite its having slaughtered more than 300,000 Darfuri Muslims, and overseen the rape of untold numbers of Muslim women and children. There is no hostility or anger towards the fundamentalist Sudanese government – whose actions are all done in the name of Islam – from the rest of the Muslim world. Let’s be clear: Muslims have no disinterested concern for justice, or peace, or what is right. They want to see Israel defeated and have a general resentment towards the West which arises as much because we are not Muslim as because some of our governments interfere.

    The life and death struggle that was the Cold War justified many unpleasant things. There was an overriding Western interest in containing and defeating the Soviet Union, at least to anyone loyal to the Western way of life and determined to maintain its existence. This is what many Muslims refuse to acknowledge: that where the interests of the West clash with the interests of the non-West, then the West is as entitled to do what serves its interests, as is the non-West. I’d prefer that not to involve intervention. But it sometimes will. It is not for the West to promote the interests of Muslims or any other non-Westerners ahead of our own.

  79. 79 Deng John Akuochmabildit
    March 27, 2009 at 12:20

    Good to join this talk on world terror which has been the most disturbing not to none muslims but to all who criticise the acts of terror world wide which claimed most of inocent lives. example is in Sudan where almost all age is subjected to death execution by the NIF regime whose leadership is sponsored by the terrorist groups like Iran,Rusia,China, Libya, Eriterea, Egypt and Plastine plus some members in AU leadership.
    beware Al Bashir is compaigning for that acts.

    Blessings from our Lord God

    John Deng Akuoch-mabilditu- South Sudan Juba

  80. 80 Ibrahim in UK
    March 27, 2009 at 15:43

    @ VictorK

    Arabs, like anyone else, have an opposition to any foreign power interfering in their affairs. The fact that Arabs are unable to solve any of their problems themselves is due to an absence of leadership rather than an absence of interest. It is also a myth that muslims hate every non-muslim. For example there is no resentment to Austria or Sweden or Belgium or Mexico or Brazil etc because they don’t fly half-way around the globe to drop bombs or send troops to conquer muslim lands.
    If violence and subjugation is the method of choice for the West to secure it’s interests and way of life, then it is doomed to fail, as is any strategy which creates enemies out of the rest of the world. Today the West might secure it’s energy sources through force of arms and installing dictators in the right places, but in the long run, dictators fall, people rise up and inevitably mount a counter-offensive and reclaim their land and freedom but still maintain the hostility to their former tormentors. Take Operation Ajax in Iran as an example.
    The West is at a cross-road, it’s influence is declining while the influence of the East is rising. Is it in the West’s interest to have the entire population of resource-rich Middle East as hostile to the West?

  81. 81 VictorK
    March 28, 2009 at 12:48

    @Ibrahim: I too prefer to see interference minimised, if not eliminated.

    The Arab League showed clear leadership in intervening to block effective measures to save Muslims in Darfur from mass rape & mass murder; & the rest of the Muslim world had no problem with that. That (& Chechnya) is why some of us smile when Muslims claim to support peace and justice in Iraq and Palestine.

    Whether or not Muslims hate non-Muslims is unimportant to me: I just want the West to disengage from the internal affairs of the Muslim world & limit Western involvement with Muslims to trade & diplomacy. In the same vein Islam must stop being an influence in Western societies. I don’t want the West to either hurt or help Muslims: let them succeed or fail on their own.

    You shouldn’t be so pleased with the rising influence of the East: haven’t you heard of Xinjiang? The Chinese are merciless to Muslims. Western efforts on behalf of Muslims in Kuwait, Kosovo, Somalia and Bosnia were largely wasted, given all the ingratitude and hostility Muslims continue to show towards us.

  82. 82 John LaGrua/New York
    April 1, 2009 at 18:05

    Would you agree that the US support for Isreal has aided and abetted the suppression of the Palestinians and that US policy in the Mid East is seen in the Muslim world as driven by the Isreali Lobby which drives efforts to aid Isreal to the detriment of US interests ?.Is it not absurd to suggest that the US can be a impartial negotiator of any conflict between the Jews and Arabs if it funds and supplies the military capability of Isreal to brutally murder hundreds of innocent Palestinians in Gaza.? Is not the continued US military presence in Iraq and Afganistan a serious impediment to any peaceful resolution of the regions many problems?Is not the appointment of Dennis Ross a strong Isreal supporter to lead Iranian -US relations absurd on its face and vitually dooms a fair and honest role for the US?


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