Notes oct 24 2007

October 24, 2007 § Leave a comment

From Asia Times three Iran Kurd articles.

Iran looms over Turkey crisis diplomacy

Feverish diplomacy is under way among major players in the Middle East, including the US, Turkey, Israel and Britain. Even as a large-scale Turkish invasion of northern Iraq grows daily more imminent, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan is away from his country for talks in London. Looming over this extraordinary diplomatic activity is a shadow bigger than Turkey’s Kurdish crisis: that of Iran. Erdogan may have jetted to London wondering if the world war that George W Bush recently warned about had already begun. – M K Bhadrakumar (Oct 24, ’07)

Bush teeters on Turkish-Kurd tightrope
President George W Bush has devoted considerable energy to delaying a potentially explosive referendum on whether oil-rich Kirkuk should be absorbed into Iraqi Kurdistan. Yet if Bush is to get the Kurdish authorities to clamp down on militants engaged in cross-border activities in Turkey, this referendum is the price he might have to pay. – Jim Lobe (Oct 24, ’07)

No end in sight for the Kurdish fight
Drawing revenue from Kurdish businessmen and narcotics trafficking, and sourcing weapons from around the world, Kurdistan Workers’ Party militants have sustained terrorist operations against Turkey for nearly three decades. When they talk of a ceasefire, therefore, Ankara has reason to be skeptical. – Sami Moubayed

And on money

The red herring
of dollar decline

The Fed and the Treasury have decided that they are going to set up a huge special fund, with untold billions of pretend dollars, drawing in more investors to which the banks will sell short-term paper to finance the bailout, so that the banks can trade derivatives around amongst themselves, thus establishing their "market price". This remarkable innovation has given me a terrific business idea!

From Juan Cole

It is, however, not clear why exactly US troop deaths have fallen so much in October. It is possible that they are being given few military missions and spending more time on base.
Indeed, the sort of ground missions that might involve hand to hand fighting and high US casualties may have been replaced by air strikes against suspected insurgent targets. US air strikes on Iraq are up by a factor of four in 2007 over 2006, according to Newsay. The US launched 1,140 bombing missions in 2007 through the end of September, as opposed to 229 in all of 2006. The US has flown as many as 70 such air missions a day this October, more than at any time since the November, 2004, assault on the Sunni Arab city of Fallujah.

Obviously, for an Occupation military to bomb a densely-populated city that it already largely controls is a violation of human rights law. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq has just condemned the US for using this tactic, which inevitably kills children, women and other non-combatants. You can’t drop a bomb on an urban apartment building without killing lots of people, not only inside the building but also all around it.

So the obvious: the way to "win" is to pull out US troops, increase bombing, and note that a large part of the population has left or is dead. This gives good statistics.

The failure of the Democrats in the campaign and congress is the major political event of the summer/fall.

From Agonist

NYT – President Bush is planning to issue a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power changes from one Castro brother to another, rather than to the Cuban people.

As described by an official in a background briefing to reporters on Tuesday evening, Mr. Bush’s remarks will amount to the most detailed response — mainly an unbending one — to the political changes that began in Cuba more than a year ago, when Fidel Castro fell ill and handed power to his brother Raúl.

The speech, scheduled to be given at the State Department before invited Cuban dissidents, will introduce the relatives of four Cuban prisoners being held for political crimes. A senior administration official said the president wanted to “put a human face,” on Cuba’s “assault on freedom.”

The "opportunity" to enter into Cuba would be a natural ideological move for this administration, even though it would be very stupid.

From Scott Horton

Sed iniustitiæ genera duo sunt, unum eorum, qui inferunt, alterum eorum, qui ab is, quibus infertur, si possunt, non propulsant iniuriam. Nam qui iniuste impetum in quempiam facit aut ira aut aliqua perturbatione incitatus, is quasi manus afferre videtur socio; qui autem non defendit nec obsistit, si potest, iniuriæ, tam est in vitio, quam si parentes aut amicos aut patriam deserat.

But with respect to injustice there are two types: men may inflict injury; or else, when it is being inflicted upon others, they may fail to deflect it, even though they could. Anyone who makes an unjust attack upon a fellow human being, whether driven by anger or by some other perturbation, seems to be laying hands, so to speak, upon another human being. But also, he who fails to defend a fellow human being, or to obstruct injustice when it is within his power to do so, he is at fault just as if he had abandoned his parents or his friends or his country.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis lib. i, sec. 23 (44 BCE) (S.H. transl.)

From Think Progress

$2.4 trillion: The potential cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the next decade, “or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.” “The number is so big, it boggles the mind,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL).

from Dan Froomkin – Star Wars, the Sequel –

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains: "They’re afraid to take on Bush, even though this is a massively unpopular war, because they’re afraid that it will somehow, you know, backfire on them. . . . They’re basically trying to keep possession of the ball, and they’re afraid to do anything that might upset things. They’re afraid that, one last time, Bush will pull the national security thing on them. . . . It’s unforgivable, I would say."

Watched Tom frm comments:of the larger frame. He protects his market well. Worth watching

TED  Talks  Thomas Barnett The Pentagon’s new map for war and peace (video)

The problem is, how do we downsize the military-industrial complex, and Barnett appears to have a reasonable sounding backdoor solution. Ultimately, it will be necessary to not only have a Department of Peace, but we will have to convert the military industrial complex into the environmental industrial complex.

And don’t miss TED  Talks  Kenichi Ebina Hip-hop dance and a little magic (video)



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