Romney visits Western Wall, ignores question, Does Israel have a right to annex West Bank

Israel/Palestine
on 265 Comments
Romney
Romney at Wester Wall, photo tweeted by Bonney Kapp of CBS

Mitt Romney just spent 20 minutes at the Western Wall, a few minutes of that time praying. When he was done he jammed a folded note high in a crevice between stones and Dan Senor, his advisor on Jewish issues, turned with a broad smile and gave the high sign to a group of Romney backers as if to say, The eagle has landed.

As the beaming handler indicated, the visit went off without a hitch. The Republican candidate for president wore a black yarmulke and a mannequin like smile virtually the entire time he was in the plaza and only shook a few hands. Several in the crowd called out good luck or said that Romney was the next president. One man chanted Free Pollard. Another chanted, Free your tax returns. Plus Romney visited the wall on Tisha B’Av, a mourning day when Jews commemorate the destruction of the temple. (Take that, Obama!)

I got pretty close to Romney as he came and went from prayers and three times asked him, “Governor, does Israel have a right to annex the West Bank?” He looked at me once or twice but ignored the question. Though others in the crowd corrected me, saying it’s Eretz Israel. I’ll get a video of the visit up soon.

Romney’s wife Anne came and left with him, but she had to go to the women’s side to approach the wall. The governor’s praying spot was right next to the barrier between the men’s and women’s sides of the wall, so that women reporters and staff would be able to cover the event.

Senor said it was Romney’s second or third visit to the western wall. Before Romney prayed, I asked if the governor had prepared a note and Senor said, “Yes” with the air of someone who had spent hours toiling over its composition. When I asked if someone was going to grab the note, he said, “Probably, that’s beyond our control.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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265 Responses

  1. talknic
    July 29, 2012, 9:10 am

    Time for a “what was in the note Mitt Romney stuck in the wall?” competition.

    • Shingo
      July 29, 2012, 9:55 am

      Time for a “what was in the note Mitt Romney stuck in the wall?” competition.

      Oh I doubt we’ll need to guess. As you might recall, Obama’s note was plucked out and made public. Senor would have labored over it for hours, not doubt, hoping that it does get found and made public. The “Probably, that’s beyond our control.” is practially an invitation to do so.

      • German Lefty
        July 29, 2012, 12:44 pm

        Obama’s note was plucked out and made public.
        Thanks for the info. Just googled it:
        “Lord, Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”
        Sounds so submissive. Clearly, the “Lord” forgot to tell him that dropping bombs on innocent Muslims is a crime.

        I would simply write “Free Palestine” in my note.

        I am a little surprised that Mr Weiss was allowed to enter into Israel. Wonder if there was any interrogation at the airport.

      • Charles Barwin
        July 29, 2012, 7:40 pm

        “I am a little surprised that Mr Weiss was allowed to enter into Israel.”

        I was thinking the same thing.

      • Fredblogs
        July 29, 2012, 10:59 pm

        Fair enough, since he also forgot to tell the Palestinians that firing rockets at, bombing, and stabbing to death innocent Israelis is a sin. I don’t believe in Hell, but if there is one, there are probably a lot of very surprised Palestinian suicide bombers there.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 10:43 am

        “I am a little surprised that Mr Weiss was allowed to enter into Israel.”

        He very cleverly disguised himself as a Zionist for the trip through secutity. Once he was stamped with the big “U” (they wouldn’t give him the “u” he preferred) he tore off the false beard and spectacles, shouted “Nyah, nyah” and scampered on his way.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 10:46 am

        So tell me Ferdfortz, do Israelis who kill Palestinians go to heaven and get 72 JAP’s?

        Oh, c’mon, Ferdie, you were asking for it, and I need to do my daily mitzvah. Thanks for giving me the chance.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2012, 4:09 pm

        When Mr. Weiss becomes as famous as Chomsky or Finkelstein, if the current attitude persists, he will probably find his path blocked like they did. But meanwhile his name recognition is nowhere near the name recognition of Chomsky and Finkelstein.

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 4:10 pm

        Fair enough, since he also forgot to tell the Palestinians that firing rockets at, bombing, and stabbing to death innocent Israelis is a sin. I don’t believe in Hell, but if there is one, there are probably a lot of very surprised Palestinian suicide bombers there.

        Fair enough, but there is no Hell in Jewish theology anyway. Palestinian suicide bombers may end up in the same place with all those murderous Jews, whose names are remembered for a blessing. Many of them killed Gentiles in pursuance with mistaken beliefs about the commandments regarding the Conquest of the Land.

        FYI, if Mormon theologians are correct, the Palestinians could be Gods and Goddesses. The sky would be the limit on the number of celestial wives, because the 72 virgin catch limit was just a myth. If Romney is anything like the Prophet Joseph Smith, he may have just tucked a piece of paper containing some additional commandments into that crack in the Western Wall. To nearly everyone’s amazement, Smith revealed quite a few that were purportedly disseminated by the Hebrew patriarch Abraham when he outlined the details about the Gods and Goddesses living on the planets near the star Kolob. See the Pearl of Great Price;-)

      • Shlomo
        July 30, 2012, 4:42 pm

        Prolly selling falafel to Jews residing in Hades who killed their own kids at Masada.

        And those who killed unarmed Arabs to steal their land in the 1940s, led by terrorists wanted by the British Army (later becoming prime ministers).

        Israelis learned a lot from their German masters, including how to attack first, then claim others forced them to. Ashkenazis emulating Nazis.

        Yaweh notices. Rumor has it She’s pissed, too. Apparently 40 years wandering the desert didn’t teach a thing. Instead of being grateful and humble, Israelis drop bombs from jets on Arab schoolgirls.

        How brave!

        The IDF are cowards, always facing weaker enemies…backed by Uncle Sucker. Even during their pre-state terrorism sprees, they used smuggled superior arms from the Czechs and America. When they actually faced adequately armed Arabs, and not helpless Palestinians, Hizbollah cleaned their clock.

        Sooner or later surrounding countries that Israel freely taunts will have state-of-the -art missiles. Israel will then provoke one too many times, causing large guided missiles to land on Tel Aviv and other cities. By the time America responds (IF it does!), half of the “Jewish State” will be gone or rubbled to shitereens.

        You’d think Israelis would wise up. But, no: they insist on indulging their paranoia, false pride, and arrogance. The Greeks said something about the perils of hubris. Too bad Israelis don’t heed the lesson.

      • Shingo
        July 30, 2012, 7:07 pm

        I don’t believe in Hell, but if there is one, there are probably a lot of very surprised Palestinian suicide bombers there.

        They will probably be greeted by Sahmir, Begin, Jabotisnky and Ben Gurion.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:10 pm

        . “But meanwhile his name recognition…”

        Ah yes, Phil’s every action bespeaks an individual slavishly eager for “name recognition”. Well, one thing’s for sure “yonah” (nee’ “Wondering Jew”), he’ll never have the “name recognition” that “Brand Israel” has.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 1:44 am

        Mooser, take pity on Israeli heroes!

        This shows what it takes to take care of even one princess (and her matching luggage): link to dvd-covers.org

        Are you sure it is Heaven?

        Plus, you also need to supply princes for the female heroes (vast quantities that are needed could explain why Mr. Weiss is allowed to enter Israel, perhaps Mooser would be allowed too).

      • SimoHurtta
        July 31, 2012, 4:09 am

        Well some “sources” say that (some) Jews think that stealing from a non-Jew is not a sin or even not killing a gentile. Maybe a pro-Israeli extremist should forget speaking about sins.

        Fredblogs how many Israeli surprised Jewish Irgun and Stern Gang terrorist you suppose there are now in “hell”? Or modern time soldiers who had by”mistake”dropped a 1000 kg bomb on a residential building (or UN soldiers) or fired a tank gun by “mistake” on civilians. Not to mention those who fired phosphorous on schools etc. A lot, if we believe in the concept of hell and morality.

        It is rather absurd constantly to portray the suicide bombers as the top evil in the world. Jewish terrorists left bombs on market places, hotels, trains etc. What is the actual difference? The suicide bomber “punishes” himself, the normal terrorist continues planting new bombs repeating the crime. It is clear to all, even to Israelis, that it is the situation which causes the terrorism, as a form of military resistance, on Palestinian side. Palestinians do not resist because of their religion, they resist because of their assets are stole and life is in danger. Israeli Jews can not say that their religion is not the primary “motive” behind the exploitation, genocide and landgraping done by them. Only Judaism sets out those who are Jews and so Israel as a Jewish state. Jews are a real nation only when a Jew can be a Muslim (or Christian etc) and still be considered as a Jew.

      • German Lefty
        July 31, 2012, 3:51 pm

        @ Yonah:
        But meanwhile his name recognition is nowhere near the name recognition of Chomsky and Finkelstein.
        Strange. I’ve heard of Mr Weiss first. And through his website, I learnt about the other two people.

      • German Lefty
        July 31, 2012, 4:02 pm

        @ Mooser:
        He very cleverly disguised himself as a Zionist for the trip through secutity. Once he was stamped with the big “U” (they wouldn’t give him the “u” he preferred) he tore off the false beard and spectacles, shouted “Nyah, nyah” and scampered on his way.
        WTF are you trying to tell me with this?

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 6:20 pm

        If Mormon theologians are correct, then, not being Mormons, they can’t get the top afterlife prize. One nice thing about Mormons is they don’t think good non-Mormons are going to Hell.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 6:34 pm

        @SimoHurtta
        Since this is all hypothetical speculation, I’d speculate that the ones who targeted civilians would be hellworthy, same as for Palestinians. As for the ones who accidentally killed civilians, I don’t think they would be. I think the terrorists who put military targets in places where civilians are likely to get hit in the crossfire would be going to hell for it, if there were one.

        The difference with a suicide bomber is the surprise, not the speculative destination. I mean, there you are, blowing yourself up and expecting paradise, so certain that you are happy to die, and boom, Hell. Pretty funny.

        Islamic suicide bombers don’t punish themselves, they reward themselves with their anticipation of paradise.

        Terrorism is not a form of military resistance, it is simply murder.

      • jon s
        August 1, 2012, 1:44 pm

        I wonder what Phil wrote in his note…

    • Mndwss
      July 29, 2012, 10:13 am

      Oh lord won’t you buy me a night on the town.
      I’m counting on you lord, please don’t let me down.
      Prove that you love me and buy the next round.
      Oh lord won’t you buy me a night on the town.

    • talknic
      July 29, 2012, 11:52 am

      I O U

    • Daniel Rich
      July 29, 2012, 3:12 pm

      “Dear Lord [of the Rings]. Tumble me five and London is yours. Buga, buga, bling bling [r u a free mason?]. Yours, in bending over backward the farthest.” — Rom, the Trusted, Rustproof Roofer of Rotham.”

    • Daniel Rich
      July 29, 2012, 3:13 pm

      “Hmmm … Carter’s placebo?”

    • seafoid
      July 29, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Please God listen to me in my magic knickers and return your son to Salt Lake City instead of this kip.

  2. Shmuel
    July 29, 2012, 9:21 am

    Time for a “what was in the note Mitt Romney stuck in the wall?” competition.

    “Dear Lord, Please don’t let them find the other note I stuck in when nobody was looking. Amen”

  3. Susie Kneedler
    July 29, 2012, 10:03 am

    Wow, Phil: brilliant work–incomparable, as usual.

  4. chuckcarlos
    July 29, 2012, 10:48 am

    the better question is

    does Israel have a right to exist?

    The USA would be much better off (no Bin Laden strike on New York) if Israel does not and did not ever exist…

    supporting a religious terrorist state like Israel only leads to ultimate catastrophe and collapse and brings embarrassment and disrepute to the USA

    • Fredblogs
      July 29, 2012, 11:02 pm

      Bin Ladin would have struck New York either way. His main beef was the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. After that, the fact that a non-Islamic country is the most prominent in the world would be enough on its own. After _that_ there’s Gulf War I. After _that_ there’s every time we’ve interfered in the Middle East, which we do for oil, not for Israel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 30, 2012, 11:48 am

        ‘Bin Ladin would have struck New York either way. ”

        There is no way you could know that, Fredo. If your country of israel did not exist, my country would have had different relations with the states of the Middle East and the whole history of the region would have been different. Bin Laden might not have amounted to anything. You can’t simply take out one giant cause (if not the main factor) of the disfunction that has hit the region over the last half-century and pretend that everything else in the region would have continued unchanged. That’s idiocy.

      • Fredblogs
        July 30, 2012, 1:23 pm

        Wow, you still persist in lying about what my country is. You have quite a complex about it. Get help.

      • ColinWright
        July 30, 2012, 2:27 pm

        ” That’s idiocy.”

        Is that supposed to refute Fredblog’s post or explain it?

        Anyway, the ‘Palestine had nothing to do with 9/11′ is an interesting — and revealing — claim.

        First off, Palestine — and more specifically, US support for Israel — obviously did have a lot to do with 9/11. Anyone who cares to can look up Osama bin Laden’s biography and discover he was radicalized primarily by outrage over Palestine. Secondly, al Qaeda’s press releases are laced with references to Palestine.

        However, people will keep denying it. I think it is because they feel the need to keep al Qaeda perfectly demonized and the US totally innocent — only motives that we find irrational and repugnant can be admitted as explanations for al Qaeda’s actions. If we start to admit there is a casual relationship between our behavior and al Qaeda’s response, then we start to lose the moral halo of immaculate victimhood. From this perspective, ‘the US troops in Saudi Arabia’ isn’t quite as good as ‘they hate us for our freedom,’ but it’ll do. On the other hand, it wouldn’t do at all to critically examine the rights and wrongs of our support for Israel. So that has to be excluded from the conversation.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 30, 2012, 5:57 pm

        “you still persist in lying about what my country is”

        No, you give away what you think is you real country with every post. I predict that if you are not pretending to be an American that one day you will, like pudracist666, turn traitor and go running to occupied Palestine.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:13 pm

        “read Laden’s biography and discover he was radicalized primarily by outrage over Palestine.”

        You will also discover that Bin Laden, as he promised his Mommy years ago, has never dissembled with anybody about anything. And if you can’t trust a guy when he tells you his reasons for terrorist actions, darn, who can you trust?

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 10:52 pm

        And if you can’t trust a guy when he tells you his reasons for terrorist actions, darn, who can you trust?

        Bin Laden got tired of answering this line of questions and delegated the job to the Swedes. He suggested that the reporter from Al Quds Al Arabi ask them why they weren’t being attacked by al-Qaeda. It still isn’t clear if bin Laden actually had the Swedes in mind or Stephen Colbert.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:37 am

        ‘Wow, you still persist in lying about what my country is. You have quite a complex about it. Get help.’

        I suggest you learn to read. In the post you’re responding to, Woody Tanaka said absolutely nothing descriptive about either Israel or the United States: he couldn’t have ‘lied about your country’ — whichever one it is.

      • MLE
        July 31, 2012, 3:47 am

        There are four reasons Al Qaeda targeted the United States:
        1. US military presence in the Penninsula.
        2. Suffering caused by sanctions on the Iraqi people
        3. US support of Israel and their occupation of Palestinian territories
        4. Support of regimes around the world that surpress and persecute Muslims (frequently used example was Mubarak and Egypt)

        The last two are definitely related to Israel. The first two have more to do with the first Gulf War and our support of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 3:13 pm

        @ColinWright
        Ah, reading comprehension problems. Yours, not mine. Woody makes a habit of lying about what country my country is. I am an American and he lies by saying I am an Israeli. Hence when he said “your country of Israel” he was lying. I hope that clears it up for you.

      • evets
        August 3, 2012, 1:23 pm

        Colin –

        You make some good points.

        I would say however (to Woody too) that trying to flip this around and claiming Israel’s existence as a primary cause for all problems throughout the Muslim world — from Morocco to Afghanistan — is equally tendentious and simplistic.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 3, 2012, 2:00 pm

        “…that trying to flip this around and claiming Israel’s existence as a primary cause for all problems throughout the Muslim world…”

        I think that israel is a primary cause for some of the problems, especially in the Middle East, but it’s not the only one. One of the biggest is the same problem that the rest of the developing world face – predation by the developed world.

      • anan
        July 30, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Fredblog, the Takfiri do find 5 thousand troops deep in the desert who live huge distances away from any Saudi civilians offensive. Ask yourself why.

        They also find all nonmuslims who live in KSA (including business people) to be offensive. Ask yourself why.

        You still don’t get it.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:46 am

        “Fredblog, the Takfiri do find 5 thousand troops deep in the desert who live huge distances away from any Saudi civilians offensive. Ask yourself why…”

        And of course that has to be the sole cause of 9/11.

        And why does it have to be the sole cause? Well, it’s a process of elimination, you see.

        It can’t be our support for Israel — since that would imply that perhaps we should reconsider our support for Israel. I mean, if we actually examine it, we might discover that it’s quite unreasonable, unjust, oppressive, and in general ranks somewhere around rearming Sauron as a moral proposition.

        It can’t be ‘they hate us for our freedom,’ etc since however appealing that might be, it’s just too terminally stupid.

        Ergo, it has to be solely a matter of Muslim fanatics reacting unreasonably to something they have no reasonable grounds to object to. These ‘Takfiris’ were just going to attack us no matter what we did.

        Poor little us. We’re completely innocent. No need at all for us to reexamine our behavior and assumptions. The ‘enemy’ is a monolithic, unconditionally evil block that we should simply exterminate. Why think? Just kill.

        When an individual does this, it’s called criminal insanity. As I’ve said several times, it’s not the ‘Takfiris’ that worry me — I’ll take my chances with them. It’s people like you.

      • Shingo
        July 30, 2012, 7:08 pm

        Bin Ladin would have struck New York either way. His main beef was the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.

        How do you know that was his main beef? He issue his fatwa after teh Qana massacre, and the main perpetrattors of 911 were all promarily motivated by the Israeli/Palestine conflict.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:57 am

        ‘How do you know that was his main beef? ‘

        Fairly obviously, the ‘US troops in the Holy Places’ schtick offered a theological justification for al Qaeda’s actions. However, equally obviously, that al Qaeda was looking for such a justification — and was able to find supporters — owes a great, great deal to our support of Israel. Those Cairene Taxicab drivers weren’t shouting ‘bullseye’ out of joy that at last the defilement of the Holy Places had been avenged.

      • Charles Barwin
        July 31, 2012, 7:33 pm

        Wow, Agent Zelikow still has you guys eating out of his hand.

    • anan
      July 30, 2012, 4:44 pm

      chuckcarlos says: “does Israel have a right to exist?”

      Good question. Does any country have a right to exist? Or are countries immoral ammoral organized human institutions as a matter of principle.

      Finkelstein has said that “Israel” has a right to exist under international law, as does the Palestinian state.

      • Shingo
        July 30, 2012, 7:12 pm

        Finkelstein has said that “Israel” has a right to exist under international law, as does the Palestinian state.

        And yet, he said that Israel has no right to exist.

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 10:38 pm

        Finkelstein has said that “Israel” has a right to exist under international law, as does the Palestinian state.

        Yes, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/48/158D, 20 December 1993 stipulated that the final settlement had to guarantee arrangements for peace and security of all States in the region, including those named in resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, within secure and internationally recognized boundaries. link to un.org

        One of the few areas in international law that do not fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of a state is the treatment of minorities in a former mandated state or UN trusteeship. Guarantees were a condition imposed by the international community of states in exchange for recognition of the sovereignty of the new government and any session of territory involved. Both Palestine and Israel, as well as the United Nations still have binding legal obligations that flow from resolution 181(II).

        The right of Israel and Palestine to exist as duly constituted states with constitutional safeguards for equality and non-discriminatory treatment of women, religious groups, and ethnic minorities is beyond reproach. It has been endorsed in relevant resolutions, like the ones above and Security Council resolution 242 from the very beginning. In the 2004 Wall Case Judge Rosalyn Cohen Higgins specifically addressed that point:

        This is not difficult – from Security Council resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the key underlying requirements have remained the same – that Israel is entitled to exist, to be recognized, and to security, and that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State.

        link to icj-cij.org

        It’s axiomatic that no state which violates the human rights of its minorities has an inherent right to continue to exist.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 12:11 am

        Thanks the the Finkelstein clip. He is one of my favorite commentators on Palestine/Israel. Could you tell me the minute and second where he said Israel does not have a right to exist (or at least a lesser right than any other country.)

      • Ellen
        July 30, 2012, 7:20 pm

        Finkelstein never ever said that any nation has a “right” to exist under international law. He has spoken about this on many occasions. Borders, state institutions etc., may be recognized and honored by 0thers, but that does not translate into a “right to exist.”

        “no international resolutions, no laws require that you recognize a state’s RIGHT to exist.”

        His comments on this start at minute 4:38

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 12:14 am

        Many thanks Ellen. Enjoyed watching that. Very interesting. Learn a lot from Finkelstein on Palestine/Israel.

    • anan
      July 30, 2012, 4:51 pm

      ChuckCarlos, Mooser and Fredblogs, you are all wrong.

      The Takfiri have always wanted to attack the US. They still plan to. They differ among themselves about in what order to take their enemies out. Some say kill the Jews in the early stages. Others say focus initially on mass murdering Shia, Hindus, Russians, Sikhs, Sufis, Communists, Europeans, Atheists, etc.

      They will try to kill all of us (thinking that they are sending us to heaven.) But they are open to sequencing when they kill us.

      Osama Bin Laden wanted to attack the US even in the early 1980s. He just wanted to attack the USSR first.

      Do all of you know how much Osama Bin Laden hated Hamas? Osama Bin Laden hated Hamas so much that he use to blast them in his speeches. Al Qaeda has fought gun battles with Hamas.

      For you trio, a few questions:
      1) Was Osama Bin Laden’s killing thousands of people in Gilgit Kashmir in 1988 because of Israel/Palestine?
      2) Was OBL killing thousands of people in Mazar e Sharif in 1998 because of Palestine?
      3) Were the attacks on Mumbai in 1993 and 2008 because of Palestine? [Evidence is being presented that OBL played a major role in the 2008 attacks.]
      4) Were the AQ linked attacks against New Delhi 2001 because of Palestine?

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:17 pm

        Tell me, “anan” when the Takfiri come over here to kill me, will they purchase individual plane (‘I’m sorry sir, that heavy machine gun will not fit in the overhead rack, it’ll have to go in baggage’) tickets, charter a plane or swim? Darn it, I forgot about the flying carpets! Now I am worried!

        Besides, even if they are fanatically devoted to killing me, in fifteen minutes I’ll have them laughing hysterically, doing the Bob-Bing cross-chatter scenes from “The Road to Morocco” and then, boom, I turn on the Hammond and regale them with my soul-jazz arrangement of “The Sheik of Araby”! They’ll be weeping and offering me their daughters in marriage. I’m not scared. I know how to refuse those offers gracefully.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 4:00 am

        “ChuckCarlos, Mooser and Fredblogs, you are all wrong.

        The Takfiri have always wanted to attack the US. They still plan to. They differ among themselves about in what order to take their enemies out. Some say kill the Jews in the early stages. Others say focus initially on mass murdering Shia, Hindus, Russians, Sikhs, Sufis, Communists, Europeans, Atheists, etc.

        They will try to kill all of us (thinking that they are sending us to heaven.) …”

        And you are using a paranoid fantasy to justify a foreign policy of gross injustice and wholesale homicide.

        Don’t carry this paradigm over into your private life. You’ll be committed to a hospital for the criminally insane.

  5. mig
    July 29, 2012, 11:10 am

    @chuckcarlos

    does Israel have a right to exist?

    No state has any “right to exist”.

    • Fredblogs
      July 29, 2012, 11:03 pm

      Then Israel has as much right to exist as any other state.

      • Ellen
        July 30, 2012, 10:27 am

        Fred, the point is NO nation state has a RIGHT to exist.

        The idea of a State as we think about it is something modern — a few hundred years old at most.

        Such states exist until they do not for whatever reason.

        Like people, they come and go. The world moves on.

        You might want to venture out and test your world view and read about the Punic wars, the fall of Carthage, for example.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 11:37 am

        Of course, it never occurs to Ferdfortz (interesting name, that, it’s Yiddish for “horse fart”. Oy, “there’s some dirty work pulled at the font”) that maybe, just maybe, what Mondoweiss suggests (now read carefully, Ferdie) is not that Israel “has no rights to” or “shouldn’t” exist, it is that anybody, even with the best will in the world towards Israel, can easily conclude it can’t or won’t go on existing if it persists on its current course (nice tagging, Mooser). No, Ferdfortz’s contention is that Israel can do whatever the hell it wants, and it’s our job to support it. And the penalty for not supporting it, of course, is being a “bad Jew” and being denied the succor of Zion when the 1938 boxcars roll again. I wonder, will Israel send me a ticket? I can’t afford the plane ticket.

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 10:04 pm

        And the penalty for not supporting it, of course, is being a “bad Jew” and being denied the succor of Zion when the 1938 boxcars roll again. I wonder, will Israel send me a ticket? I can’t afford the plane ticket.

        No if previous experience with Zionist exoduses is an accurate indicator they’ll:
        *Form a limited partnership with the boxcar operators;
        *Take a third of the typical refugee’s cash when the banks that they own or control exchange their old currency;
        *Create an emotional infomercial to encourage evangelicals to pick-up the costs for the air fare and reception centers for the olim.

      • German Lefty
        July 31, 2012, 3:40 pm

        @ Mooser:

        Ferdfortz (interesting name, that, it’s Yiddish for “horse fart”
        Oh, Yiddish is so funny. By the way, the German word for “Ferdfortz” is “Pferdefurz”.

        when the 1938 boxcars roll again
        Don’t worry. This won’t happen to you, unless you are a Palestinian.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 7:41 pm

        No if previous experience with Zionist exoduses… etcetera

        and…

        * start a fund drive for Darfur.

      • Ellen
        July 30, 2012, 10:59 am

        Fredo, just a question.

        Does the nation of Wallachia still have a right to exist? or re-exist? How about Bessarabia?

        What do you think?

      • Fredblogs
        July 30, 2012, 1:21 pm

        I think there are no such countries, nor any prospect of an emergence of them, so it’s a moot point. A better question would be whether Palestine has a right to exist as a country. So far, I’d say it’s not ready, since they don’t want a country so much as a springboard to conquer Israel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 30, 2012, 6:01 pm

        “So far, I’d say it’s not ready, since they don’t want a country so much as a springboard to conquer Israel.”

        This is more of your typical anti-Arab racism. And given the level and number of psychopathic assaults the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of the dastardly israelis, it’s a suprise that they don’t. They would surely be justified in wanting the destruction of that abomination.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:28 pm

        lSo far, I’d say it’s not ready, since they (the Palestinians) don’t want a country so much as a springboard to conquer Israel.

        So what the hell did you move in next to them for? Why didn’t you wait for the Palestinians to spend all the money and time to gather us all in, and found Israel so they could conquer it?
        Yes, for over 1,000 years the Palestinians sat there in Palestine saying they were going to conquer Israel, and the ZIonists moved in next door. Oh wait, except that there were no Palestinians.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:33 pm

        “So far, I’d say it’s not ready, since they don’t want a country so much as a springboard to conquer Israel.”

        Ahh, no wonder you stay in America! You’re scared to death of them, aren’t you? Plus, you know they will win. I admire you Ferdfortz! That’s pretty smart: stay here safe in the USA, and suck money out of the Zionists. Plus, we all know how the womens react to militant Zionists, it lights ‘em up like a welding torch.

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 9:33 pm

        I think there are no such countries, nor any prospect of an emergence of them, so it’s a moot point. A better question would be whether Palestine has a right to exist as a country. So far, I’d say it’s not ready, since they don’t want a country so much as a springboard to conquer Israel.

        Israel consistently ranks among the top ten military powers in the world. I think you’re projecting way too much about the threat from Palestinian conquest. BTW, “they’re not ready to be country” was part and parcel of Hitler’s modus operandi for excusing the murder of people he had made stateless. What makes Zionists so very different when they try to dispossess and kill Palestinians by making them stateless?

      • anan
        July 31, 2012, 12:17 am

        Hostage, how can Israeli paranoia about Palestinians disliking Israelis and wanting to hurt Israelis be reduced? This seems to be a big problem for Israelis.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 1:12 am

        I think that parliament of Wallachia approved the union that created Romania.

        Besarabia was never a state.

        My favorite comparison is that should the Welch have the right to recreate Arthurian kingdom by kicking out all Angles and Saxons from England?

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 4:04 am

        “…Plus, we all know how the womens react to militant Zionists, it lights ‘em up like a welding torch…”

        Studies have shown that your equipment grows an average of at two inches in length if you support Israel, and whatever they may tell you, size does matter.

        Support Israel. You’ll feel like a real man. Ask Jonathan Pollard.

      • straightline
        July 31, 2012, 5:37 am

        Oh Fred, please don’t keep showing your ignorance! It doesn’t help your arguments one bit – and your minders might reduce your pay. Ellen was making the point that both of these “states” existed as separate self-ruling entities but have subsequently disappeared having been absorbed into the larger state of Romania. One might make the same statement about Moldavia or perhaps Bavaria or Prussia. Did they have a right to exist? Statehood is a fluid concept – they come and go and none have a right to keep on existing. Especially if they behave like Israel.

        I would say that Palestinians would rather like the country that was stolen from them back! That seems to me to be a perfectly rational position to take.

      • MHughes976
        July 31, 2012, 11:20 am

        This comparison concerns me too, since I am sure that I am descended from people on both sides of what must have been a very bitter contest way back in the fifth century, though there is argument about whether the entire British population was driven out into Wales and replaced by Germanic newcomers or whether it was only the ruling class that was dispossessed. I would think that people of Welsh descent (like me) do not now have the right to reconstitute the ancient Kingdom of Britain because peace has been made, essentially on a 1ss basis (with some 2ss features) and we have lived in peace for many generations, thus creating a social contract that is binding on all of us.
        States have a right to exist in the sense that no one has a right to go invading or marauding. You can’t gain rights with your sword or with your nuke but you can gain rights from a peace settlement that leads to the swords being sheathed and the nukes dismantled. The Palestinians are not there because of invasions but because they and their ancestors had lived peaceably there for some time under a working social contract.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 3:19 pm

        @Mooser
        I stay in America because that’s where my life is. Also I don’t speak Hebrew.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 3:23 pm

        Which is my point. Israel has as much or as little right to exist as every other nation that currently exists. It is silly to say that none do, but if you say it, then Palestine has no right to exist either.

      • Shingo
        July 31, 2012, 4:49 pm

        HI stay in America because that’s where my life is.

        Exactly, which proves Israel is an anachronism.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 6:41 pm

        @Shingo
        How does one Jew’s choice to keep living in the country of his birth prove that Israel is an anachronism? Even if all non-Israeli Jews this year chose to keep living in their respective other countries, it wouldn’t make Israel an anachronism since next year could be different. Calling Israel an anachronism because it happens to be a good time for Jews in America is like calling fire insurance an anachronism because there weren’t any fires in town today.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 8:45 pm

        @anan
        They could start by giving up terrorism and stop firing missiles into Israel. It isn’t paranoia, the Palestinians, enough of them and in an organized manner, really do dislike Israelis and want to hurt them.

      • RoHa
        July 31, 2012, 9:46 pm

        No state has a right to exist. The people of a particular territory may have a prima facie right to establish and maintain a state in that territory, but that prima facie right is subject to higher moral considerations. Under those considerations, Israeli Jews do not have a right to establish or maintain Israel.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 3:33 am

        Citizen Fredblogs wrote “@anan
        They could start by giving up terrorism and stop firing missiles into Israel. It isn’t paranoia, the Palestinians, enough of them and in an organized manner, really do dislike Israelis and want to hurt them.”

        Comrade Fredblogs, love ya man. But I don’t understand your comment. Who is using terrorism against Israel? Aren’t the Palestinians actually good people and therefore aren’t they by definition anti terrorist?

        I am extremely pro Israel by the way. But I think you are way off base about the Palestinians, chief. Israelis have been mean to Palestinians. Not to anyone else in the world. You guys rock with anyone who isn’t Palestinians. But you have kind of kicked the your Palestinian sisters and brothers around. So they are a little upset. But once you stop being mean to them, you will find that the Palestinians are very similar to you. They may turn out to be your closest allies and friends. They are part of your family after-all. Psss. You might find out that you actually like Palestinians. :-) They have good music, good food, good families and they live life. The Palestinians are good people; why would they hurt you? I don’t get it.

        Look, there are a lot of very real bad people out there. The Takfiris for example. And non muslim viscerally anti Jewish English. They are a far bigger threat to you. The Palestinians could be powerful allies for you against them.

        Moreover you have first hand experience. 23% of all Israeli citizens are Palestinians. These are your most loyal, patriotic, hard working, anti terrorist, successful citizens. Can you imagine how much poorer Israel would be without their work ethic, brainpower, compassion, culture, family values, etc. Imagine how many fewer successful start ups you would have. Imagine how much worse your universities would be and how much less successful you would be in high tech.

        Obviously Israeli Palestinians ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Israeli Palestinians. :-) I love Palestinians. And Israelis too.

        Since Palestinian Israelis are so cool, ergo Palestinians are necessarily ultra cool too. It is logic, right?

      • Hostage
        August 1, 2012, 11:22 am

        How does one Jew’s choice to keep living in the country of his birth prove that Israel is an anachronism?

        Because the Zionists claim you can’t lead a normal life here among the Gentiles. If you can, then so can they. The bottom line is: there’s no real necessity for us to maintain a Jewish demographic majority by threats or use of force against the Gentile population of Palestine.

      • Hostage
        August 1, 2012, 12:25 pm

        They could start by giving up terrorism and stop firing missiles into Israel. It isn’t paranoia, the Palestinians, enough of them and in an organized manner, really do dislike Israelis and want to hurt them.

        Of course it’s paranoia. Abba Eban called it a “security psychosis”. Even Zionists have web pages which illustrate that you were much more likely to be a victim of homicide here in the US than in Israel or the occupied territories during the heyday of wall and fence construction in 2004. In fact, Jewish perpetrators are responsible for most of the Jewish victims of homicide. link to mideastweb.org

      • Roya
        August 1, 2012, 1:13 pm

        Fredblogs, how about the oppressors-victimizers-Israelis start by giving up terrorism and ending the occupation. It isn’t paranoia, the Israelis, enough of them and in a very organized manner, really do hate Palestinians and want to hurt them (well, ethnically cleanse the land to be more precise).

      • Fredblogs
        August 1, 2012, 2:25 pm

        @anan
        As to the abstract concept of Genocide, a majority of the Palestinians (about 70%) agree with a hadith about Muslims exterminating the Jews. They are not good people. As to getting down to specific atrocities, a significant minority of the Palestinians (about 1/3) think that murdering Jewish babies is a good thing. They are not good people.

        The Palestinian leaders make it very clear that they see any peace agreement as a temporary step to the eventual destruction of Israel and its replacement by a Jew free Palestine.

        In the 1920s, well before Israel even existed, the local Arabs massacred the Jews of Hebron, a Jewish community that had been there since biblical times. It is not a question of “stop being mean to them and they will stop trying to kill you”. They were killing the Jews well before the Jews took the necessary steps to protect themselves.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 2:45 pm

        “As to the abstract concept of Genocide, a majority of the Palestinians (about 70%) agree with a hadith about Muslims exterminating the Jews. They are not good people. As to getting down to specific atrocities, a significant minority of the Palestinians (about 1/3) think that murdering Jewish babies is a good thing. ”

        LMAO. And Elie Wiesel and a number of his associates discussed ways of raping German women and poisoning German drinking water after the Second World War. Here’s a clue, Fredo, when people are oppressed, abused, and murdered, they think revengeful thoughts. That makes them nothing more than human.

        If the places were reversed, how many Jews would agree with the evil bilge in the King’s Torah??

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 3:02 pm

        The Palestinian leaders make it very clear that they see any peace agreement as a temporary step to the eventual destruction of Israel and its replacement by a Jew free Palestine.

        How do you do the “citation needed” thing they have over at Wikipedia?

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Fredblogs, the world you describe is not one I recognize. However, one of my reasons for reading this blog is to understand you better,including understanding why you believe what you believe.

        “As to the abstract concept of Genocide, a majority of the Palestinians (about 70%) agree with a hadith about Muslims exterminating the Jews” That Hadith can be interpreted differently by different people.

        I think you are referring to this one?:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Your question is legitimate and deserves a full response.

        Could a practicing Sunni on this blog respond to this. If no one else does, maybe I will later.
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “a significant minority of the Palestinians (about 1/3) think that murdering Jewish babies is a good thing. They are not good people.”

        Please don’t say things like this. Everyone in the world is at least a little good [maybe mixed with some bad]. Even Lucifer Iblis himself has at least a little good in him.

        Please provide evidence regarding the slander regarding killing Jewish babies.

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Will need to respond to the rest of your points later. Have to run. Could someone else respond to Fredblogs please?

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 4:02 pm

        “Could someone else respond to Fredblogs please?”

        Why? Fredo’s just exercising his anti-Arab bigotry. Responding to him is akin to arguing with a Klansman by discussing his thesis as to the heirarchy of human races. It should merely be denounced as the clear bigotry it is and left at that.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 7:45 pm

        Mooser [July 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm] … ;-) so true.

      • anan
        August 2, 2012, 1:46 am

        Hostage wrote another great response:
        “Of course it’s paranoia. Abba Eban called it a “security psychosis”. Even Zionists have web pages which illustrate that you were much more likely to be a victim of homicide here in the US than in Israel or the occupied territories during the heyday of wall and fence construction in 2004. In fact, Jewish perpetrators are responsible for most of the Jewish victims of homicide. link to mideastweb.org”

      • eljay
        July 30, 2012, 11:09 am

        >> Then Israel has as much right to exist as any other state.

        Israel has every right to exist as the secular, democratic and egalitarian nation state of and for all Israelis, equally. It does not have a right to exist as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Fredblogs
        July 30, 2012, 1:17 pm

        re: “secular, democratic, egalitarian”. It pretty much does. There is freedom of religion, though there is a state religion, like many democratic countries (England, for example). And legal equality for all Israelis. For some reason you keep lumping Palestinian non-citizens of Israel in with the Israelis, but no country in the world treats non-citizens the same as citizens.

      • eljay
        July 30, 2012, 5:48 pm

        >> It pretty much does.

        As long as Israel is a “Jewish State”, it pretty much does not.

        >> For some reason you keep lumping Palestinian non-citizens of Israel in with the Israelis …

        No, I keep them separate. Sometimes, however, the description (oppressive) just happens to cover both citizens and non-citizens.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 30, 2012, 6:04 pm

        “For some reason you keep lumping Palestinian non-citizens of Israel in with the Israelis, but no country in the world treats non-citizens the same as citizens.”

        And no country in the world has de facto annexed a chunk of land equal to 1/2 its size but refused to make the people on the land citizens of the state solely because the bigoted ideology of the state.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:35 pm

        “There is freedom of religion, though there is a state religion”

        Anyone can see there’s no contradiction there! I mean, anybody can be any religion they want, if they can stand the consequences of a wrong choice.

      • Hostage
        July 30, 2012, 9:19 pm

        re: “secular, democratic, egalitarian”. It pretty much does. There is freedom of religion, though there is a state religion, like many democratic countries (England, for example). And legal equality for all Israelis.

        Okay, the State of Israel’s Land Administration controls 93% of the land and develops national land use and planning policy. The Executive Council is comprised of 22 members: 12 represent government ministries and 10 represent the Jewish National Fund. link to mmi.gov.il

        The 4/5ths Jewish majority practically guarantees the election of Jewish government ministers, but the 10 members of the Jewish National Fund are not elected. That organization has advised the Supreme Court that it is only chartered to look after the interests of persons of Jewish descendancy. The majority of lands owned by the JNF were obtained by improper means from uprooted Arab citizens. See With all due respect for the ‘blue box link to haaretz.com

        It’s difficult see how that legally entrenched system of theft and discrimination can be described as democratic, egalitarian, or secular.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 2:29 am

        Of course Israel is not “secular”, and many democracies are not fully secular either. But it is little like arguing that piotr is a genius because like Albert Einstein piotr does not have million dollars.

        For starters, marriage in Israel is only religious (or foreign), and it has to be an approved religion, not something insufficiently “serious” like Reform Judaism. Priests of the state religion who are paid by the state throw curses on those followers of the state religion who rent apartments to infidels. Something that does not happen in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Religious beliefs determine in an intricate way if you have an obligation to military service. There was a recent attempt to give equal treatment at least to the followers of Judaism. It failed.

        I read about an almost hilarious example of religious job discrimination in Israel. Only Jews can be employed in electricity generation. Ultra orthodox Jews cannot use products of Jewish labor on Saturdays, so when they wish to use electricity on Saturdays, they run diesel generators which is bad for the environment. To solve the problem, the respective ministry proposed to pass the control of power stations to Rabbinate. Apparently, that ministry is staffed by immigrants from Chelm (ultra-Orthodox do not recognize the Rabbinate, so the solution was ridiculous to absolutely all) . The idea that you could employ some non-followers of the state religion in the power stations was not even contemplated.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 4:16 am

        “…re: “secular, democratic, egalitarian”. It pretty much does. There is freedom of religion, though there is a state religion, like many democratic countries (England, for example). And legal equality for all Israelis. For some reason you keep lumping Palestinian non-citizens of Israel in with the Israelis, but no country in the world treats non-citizens the same as citizens…”

        Now this is where I always start getting seriously pissed.

        Whatever accusations one can level at Saudi Arabia, for example, one can’t claim that it pretends to be other than what it is. Whatever the hijinks going on in Zimbabwe, no one takes its claims to be whatever seriously: we all know it’s a disastrous mess run by a senile megalomaniac. We can at least discuss the situation and what — if anything — anyone should do about it from a more or less mutually agreed body of accepted facts. It’s not like if I start arguing with Woody about Zimbabwe that he’s going to claim that actually, the per capita GDP there is $40,000 per year.

        But Israel…we keep having to read inanely dishonest nonsense like your post. Israel is emphatically not secular. Palestinians — whether inside the pre-1967 ceasefire lines or not — have no actual equality. Palestinian ‘non-citizens’ are simply those Palestinians who live in areas Israel chooses not to formally annex so that she doesn’t have to confer the rights states ordinarily confer on their subjects. Finally, any state that manages to deny — whatever the formula — the franchise to a third of its subjects is not a democracy.

        People like you just keep trotting out these hypocritical lies. You know they are lies, and I know they are lies, and it’s very annoying to have to hear them.

        There is of course, the meager consolation that what you say implies that tacitly, you admit that your cause is utterly indefensible. To admit the truth is to admit that Israel as it exists should indisputably go.

      • straightline
        July 31, 2012, 5:38 am

        England allows muslim immigrants. And Israel?

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 6:43 pm

        As long as England is an Anglican state, it pretty much does not. Except you probably consider England secular. The question of whether a country is mostly secular depends on things like whether it has freedom of religion, not entirely on whether there is a state religion.

      • Fredblogs
        July 31, 2012, 6:49 pm

        @ColinWright
        The Palestinians are “subjects” of Israel the same way the people of Afghanistan are subjects of the U.S. Are we not a democracy because we don’t let the Afghans vote in U.S. elections?

        What I say doesn’t admit tacitly or otherwise that my “cause” as you call it is indefensible. Only that you and I have different perspectives on the situation.

      • RoHa
        July 31, 2012, 9:48 pm

        Muslim immigrants are allowed into the whole of Britain, not just England.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 3:16 am

        Fredblogs, what are you talking about?

        Afghans vote in Afghan elections. They have some influence over the UN and UN mandated forces in their country but they don’t control them.

        Aren’t 23% of all patriotic, loyal hard working successful Israeli citizens in fact Palestinians?

        When anyone says anti Palestinian things aren’t they really dissing 23% of the Israeli people; and aren’t they really anti Israeli?

      • eljay
        August 1, 2012, 7:39 am

        >> As long as England is an Anglican state …

        But it’s not an “Anglican state”, it’s an English state, a state of and for all English citizens, equally. Just as Australia is an Australian state, a state of and for all Australians, equally. Just as Canada is a Canadian state, a state of and for all Canadians, equally. Just as America is an American state, a state of and for all Americans, equally.

        Israel, on the other hand, is not an Israeli state, a state of and for all Israelis, equally. It is – as Israel, its Zio-supremacist supporters and the MSM never fail to remind us all – a “Jewish State”, a state primarily (thanks to Jewish terrorism and ethnic cleansing) of and for Jews, a state which treats Jews preferentially. It is a state of the “Jewish people” and the “Jewish nation” and the “Jewish ethnicity” and the “Jewish culture” and the “Jewish tribe”.

        It’s funny as hell to see Fraudblogs suddenly claiming that Israel is nothing of the sort – that it is, in fact, a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state, a state of and for all Israelis, equally.

        Nice flip. I have no doubt, however, that in short order he’ll flop back to defending Israel as the “Jewish state”.

        What a joke(r).

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 10:24 am

        “The Palestinians are ‘subjects’ of Israel the same way the people of Afghanistan are subjects of the U.S. Are we not a democracy because we don’t let the Afghans vote in U.S. elections?”

        If the occupation of Afghanastan lasted for three generations with no end in sight, and if Afghan civilians were getting murdered by American settlers, and if Afghan civilians were under martial law, and if there were lunatic American settlers claiming that god gave them ownership of Afghanistan and the right to it, and all of this illegal and evil settlement activity was done with the support and blessing of the US government, then, yes, Fredo, the US would not be a democracy in that situation.

      • Hostage
        August 1, 2012, 12:08 pm

        As long as England is an Anglican state, it pretty much does not. Except you probably consider England secular.

        Thanks I was operating under the mistaken impression that the General Registry Office sanctioned civil marriages and that the Church of England does not control personal status of anyone. I thought that it’s legal purview was limited to a few automatic seats for the Bishops in the House of Lords.

        I’ve never heard of an Anglican claiming that individuals are Anglican if their mothers are Anglican, without regard for their own personal beliefs. I”ve never heard them claim that Episcopalians everywhere are part of an Anglican nation or race, with genetic origins in the British Isles.

        In fact, I’d heard that Brooke Foss Westcott, and his colleague Fenton John Anthony Hort had worked tirelessly to debunk the idea that the Authorized Version of the King James Bible was uncorrupted and authoritative. They were both members of the High Church. Charles Darwin trained to be a clergyman in Cambridge too. He and the likes of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, et al have a public following as large or larger than that of anyone in the Church hierarchy.

      • Hostage
        August 1, 2012, 12:41 pm

        The Palestinians are “subjects” of Israel the same way the people of Afghanistan are subjects of the U.S. Are we not a democracy because we don’t let the Afghans vote in U.S. elections?

        The U.S. didn’t establish colonies in Afghanistan; strip the inhabitants of their citizenship; claim it was the new duly constituted government of the territory; or produce blue ribbon committee reports that claim it isn’t an occupying power. The U.S. did not claim that the Geneva Conventions had ceased to apply to the civilian population of the territory of Afghanistan. The US has not prevented Afghan elections. Other than that, the two situations are analogous examples of aggression.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 3:24 pm

        Hostage, are you saying that the Afghan government is not fully sovereign and legitimate? Are you implying that it is okay for people who do not like the Afghan government to violently attack the more than 195 thousand Afghan National Army soldiers?

        If the Afghan Government chooses to allow the UN to operate in their country and allow UN mandated ISAF forces (which have repeatedly been authorized by unanimous UN resolutions), that is her right as a sovereign country. The Afghan Government reserves to sole sovereign right to accept combat enablers, trainers and advisers from whoever it chooses.

        In the large but not overwhelming majority of Afghanistan, the Afghan Government has a monopoly on force and complete security responsibility. In some places (parts of Kandahar, Nuristan, Kunar, Loya Pakti . . . . mostly a few places along the Durand line), the Afghan Government and its security forces have joint responsibility with ISAF forces.

        Afghanistan is at war with her enemies, enemies backed by two very powerful countries. Both of them more powerful than Iran or Israel. [Iran use to be relatively much richer and more capable in the 1973, but the Iranian economy and security forces have greatly deteriorated since them. Iran's economic depression since 1973 has been orders of magnitude deeper on a per capita basis than America's economic depression in the 1930s.]

        This is the reason Afghans are so insistent that internationals train and surge the capacity of their security forces. There is a wave of anger among Afghans because of the perception that the internationals want a weak Afghan National Army.

      • Hostage
        August 1, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Hostage, are you saying that the Afghan government is not fully sovereign and legitimate?

        No, I’m saying that the US overthrew the government of a UN member state without any UN mandate. After Kofi Anan declared the US invasion of Iraq illegal, he none the less backed a UN mandate for the US and UK to maintain law and order and restore civilian government. The same sort of thing happened in Afghanistan.

        After the last Afghan elections, the ISAF commander reported that “the credibility of the election results remains an open question.” He subsequently said the effect of the Karzai government’s corruption and incompetence was on par with the insurgency, and called it a “crisis of popular confidence”. Under the circumstances, the Taliban would be within their rights to consider the Afghan army a valid military objective.

      • Shingo
        August 1, 2012, 6:19 pm

        Hostage, are you saying that the Afghan government is not fully sovereign and legitimate?

        Of course not. The Afghan government has no legitimacy outside of Kabul.

        Are you implying that it is okay for people who do not like the Afghan government to violently attack the more than 195 thousand Afghan National Army soldiers?

        You seem to have no problem with those who do not like the Syrian government and who violently attack the Syrian National Army soldiers.

        In the large but not overwhelming majority of Afghanistan, the Afghan Government has a monopoly on force and complete security responsibility.

        No it doesn’t, which is why it is completely incapable of doing so.

        There are no limits to your delusion.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 6:47 pm

        Hostage, you are confusing Afghanistan with Iraq.

        Only three countries (Pakistan, KSA and UAE) recognized the Taliban. Everyone else in the world recognized the Northern Alliance as the sole legitimate sovereign Afghan government, including the UN. The Northern Alliance launched a series of offensives and liberated all of Afghanistan in October and November, 2001. They requested and received substantial help from Iran (Yes Khamenei himself), Europe, Turkey, Russia, India and America. In 2001 and 2002, US and Iranian special forces worked literally shoulder to shoulder advising the Northern Alliance, developing friendships with each other. The Iranian Air Force and US air force used the same airfields to drop military supplies for the Northern Alliance.

        It is the Northern Alliance (the sole legitimate sovereign Afghan Government) that liberated Afghanistan with international assistance. The UN unanimously created ISAF and urged all countries to contribute to it. ISAF’s responsibility was to surge the capacity of the Afghan Security Forces and assist with security until the Afghan Security Forces could assume full responsibility.

        When the Northern Alliance liberated Afghanistan, there were only about 340 US special forces in the entire country. And a comparably small number of special forces from Iran, Europe, Canada, India, Russia, Turkey.

        To say that Afghanistan was invaded is to insult the Northern Alliance. The Afghan Government didn’t say that Afghanistan was invaded. Although they profusely thanked Iran, Khamenei, America, Turkey, Europe, Canada and India for helping them liberate themselves. [Russia didn't get thanked as much even though Russia helped substantially for obvious political reasons.]

        The Afghan Government is very corrupt. So is Khamenei’s dictatorship in Iran, Pakistan and India. Afghanistan has been very corrupt for centuries. The Moghul Mongol Seljik Turk empire was deeply corrupt for the two centuries it ruled Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The Persian empire was deeply corrupt when it ruled Afghanistan after that. So was the Afghan state (Durrani empire) from the start in 1747. The Taliban is corrupt too.

        “Under the circumstances, the Taliban would be within their rights to consider the Afghan army a valid military objective.”
        The vast majority of Afghans strongly disagree with this. As does the entire international community. Two countries de facto agree with your position but they do not state this openly. Large parts of the Taliban are veritable wings of two countries.

        The Afghan war is a proxy war between two countries and Afghanistan (and Afghanistan’s international allies). This is a major reason so many around the world are disillusioned about helping the Afghans fight their war against two rival countries. Many see it as Afghanistan’s war and not something that benefits them.

      • Hostage
        August 2, 2012, 12:21 am

        Hostage, you are confusing Afghanistan with Iraq.

        No I’m not. The UN Charter allows the organization to maintain international peace and security, but it doesn’t permit the organization to intervene in a domestic dispute to impose a political settlement.

        Only three countries (Pakistan, KSA and UAE) recognized the Taliban. Everyone else in the world recognized the Northern Alliance as the sole legitimate sovereign Afghan government, including the UN.

        No, the US government gave the Taliban regime a 40 million dollar grant in May, 2001. link to cato.org

        It also demanded that the regime extradite Osama bin Laden. Extradition is an act of state.

        To say that Afghanistan was invaded is to insult the Northern Alliance.

        No it’s a matter of fact and the the applicable law. Whenever American forces advance into the territory of a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions, and the civilians there find themselves in the hands of US armed forces for whatever reason, our international obligations under the laws of armed conflict and the humanitarian laws contained in the Hague and Geneva Conventions are immediately engaged. The Northern Alliance turned wounded and other protected persons over to the US armed forces, who were then illegally transferred across international frontiers to Guantanamo Naval base and a secret network of prisons in violation of the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      • anan
        August 2, 2012, 2:03 am

        Akhi Shingo, see page 2 from:
        link to nato.int

        Green, Yellow and Blue are Afghan lead. De facto the Afghans lead in all these areas already. However in some cases the formal announcement by Karzai will be made in a few weeks as per Karzai’s public relations strategy.

        The Afghan National Army is better than most armies (Mexican Army for example), but it still has to improve further.

        “Of course not. The Afghan government has no legitimacy outside of Kabul.” You are obviously not informed. About 62% of Afghans are not Pashtuns. Almost all of them hate the Taliban. This limits Taliban influence in most of the country. The Taliban have some Pashtun supporters. Although most Afghan Pasthuns hate the Taliban as well.

        The Afghan Government has international and domestic legitimacy. It is also very corrupt, divided, and has many problems.

        Do you realize how much non Pashtun Afghans hate the Taliban? And how powerful the neo Northern Alliance militias still are? Many parts of Afghanistan are presided over by viscerally anti Taliban neo Northern Alliance warlords and militias. They nominally say they follow Karzai but have some de facto autonomy.

      • Shingo
        August 2, 2012, 6:06 am

        Green, Yellow and Blue are Afghan lead.

        Actually, they are not. This “media backgrounder” is typical occuaption progandanda BS, similar to the crap we were few in Iraq. It’s pupropse it to convince the masses that the “training of local police and military” is working and that NATO are in control.

        As the US did in Ira, NATO and Washington have been gradually lpowering expectation as to what can be expected from Afghanistan.

        The basic idea, elaborated in an article by top military adviser Anthony Cordesman, is to lower expectations that Afghanistan will ever be anything other than a war-torn and divided society, while aiming to secure at least a portion of it for extended use as a platform for future U.S. military operations.
        csis.org/publication/time-focus-afghan-good-enough

        NATO and Washington has no concern for what becolmes of Afghanistan, so long as they can maintain their bases there. They will simply exploit the differences between the pro-government Pashtuns and anti-government elements, and it means deliberately rebuilding enough of the elements of the Northern Alliance so they can act as a counterbalance to Taliban.

        However in some cases the formal announcement by Karzai will be made in a few weeks as per Karzai’s public relations strategy.

        False.

        Double blow to Nato as Karzai and Taliban derail Afghanistan strategy
        link to guardian.co.uk

        The Afghan National Army is better than most armies (Mexican Army for example), but it still has to improve further.

        No, it’s a failure. The Afghan National Army is already infiltrated by the Taliban, which explains why they keep turning their guns on their Western “trainers”.

        link to realclearworld.com
        link to dailytimes.com.pk\15\story_15-3-2012_pg3_3
        link to nationalinterest.org

        In fact, it is openly aknowledged that the Taliban are winning adn have been for quiate some time.
        link to bbc.co.uk

        About 62% of Afghans are not Pashtuns. Almost all of them hate the Taliban.

        Almost all of them hate the Northern alliance too, and all of them hate Karzai and the NATO.

        The Afghan Government has international and domestic legitimacy.

        International yes (seeing as they were put in place by NATO) but zero domestic legitimacy.

        Do you realize how much non Pashtun Afghans hate the Taliban?

        Given the dearth of evidence you typically present, I would bet that you don’t. Last weak you were arguing that the Iraqi leadership hates the Syrians, contrary to reports. The Northern alliance have always been decidedly weak. The Northern Alliance militias are propped up entirely by the US/NATO, but even they are openly admitting that they have no option but to negotiate with the Taliban.

        As usual, your comments are totally refuted by reality.

      • anan
        August 2, 2012, 10:52 am

        “No I’m not. The UN Charter allows the organization to maintain international peace and security, but it doesn’t permit the organization to intervene in a domestic dispute to impose a political settlement.”

        We don’t agree. Whether the UN is just or moral is another matter. But the UN security council can authorize a military force to intervene inside a UN member state.

        “”No, the US government gave the Taliban regime a 40 million dollar grant in May, 2001. link to cato.org””
        The DEA did that for drug related purposes. This does not imply recognizing the Taliban government. The DEA can give money to militias too (which is what the Taliban was 1994-2001.)

        “It also demanded that the regime extradite Osama bin Laden. Extradition is an act of state. ” The US asked the Taliban militia to extradite Osama Bin Laden. This is because Bush didn’t want to fight the Taliban and their three sponsors, KSA, UAE and Pakistan. In many ways 9/11 was a state sponsored attack by parts of the Pakistani and Saudi states against the US. The US, however did not respond against the primary perpetrators of 9/11, for fear of fighting a war with Pakistan and KSA. The US responded by attacking Pakistan’s and KSA’s proxies . . . Al Qaeda and the Taliban; and by helping their hated enemy (the Northern Alliance) to remove the deeply unpopular Pakistani and Saudi occupation from Afghanistan.

        “Whenever American forces advance into the territory of a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions, and the civilians there find themselves in the hands of US armed forces for whatever reason, our international obligations under the laws of armed conflict and the humanitarian laws contained in the Hague and Geneva Conventions are immediately engaged” Does this apply even when the US armed forces enter as a guest of the native government?

        “The Northern Alliance turned wounded and other protected persons over to the US armed forces, who were then illegally transferred across international frontiers to Guantanamo Naval base and a secret network of prisons in violation of the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

        Here again we don’t agree. The Northern Alliance hated Pakistan, Arabs and other foreign fighters and was planning torture and death for many of their prisoners. the US “bought” some of the prisoners from the Northern Alliance. The Northern Alliance retained custody for many of the prisoners, who then became prisoners for the fledgling new Afghan Government coming out of Bonn (more than half Northern Alliance with many minorities added in . . . the Norther Alliance merged itself into the new Afghan Government.)

        Whether the US government should have bought some prisoners from the Northern Alliance is an interesting question.

        I am not a lawyer. Could you elaborate on the international law aspects of this? Can a country transfer its “prisoners of war” to an allied country? Do those “prisoners of war” remain “prisoners of war”? Until when?

        Can an armed militia or organized crime prisoner be considered a “prisoner of war”?

        Part of the problem is that as the fully sovereign legitimate government of Afghanistan, could the prisoners of the Northern Alliance be considered “prisoners of war”? If they were correctly referred to as proxies of Pakistan and KSA, then probably yes. But the US was opposed to calling them this. The US wanted only a partial conflict with Pakistan and KSA and was unwilling to actually fight them despite their culpability with 9/11.

        The subject of prisoners of war and the fourth Geneva Convention is something I don’t understand.

        Here is another question . . . what if the Taliban was recognized as the government of part of Pakistan (Sirajuddin Haqqani really does rule parts of North Waziristan and the Khurram agency). Then would it be legal to hold Taliban prisoners as “prisoners of war” into perpetuity?

      • anan
        August 2, 2012, 4:43 pm

        Shingo,

        The Green, Yellow and Blue are areas that ISAF cannot operate in without Afghan Government permission. ISAF conducts no security operations and has no security responsibility. [If a villager calls ISAF and asks for help, ISAF would patch them through to the ANSF or flatly do nothing.] However some ISAF combat enablers might be provided to the ANSF upon their request in areas that the ANSF has complete security responsibility. [One problem going forward is ISAF's reluctance to provide the ANSF close air support upon request in areas ISAF is not present, for fear that Karzai might later blast ISAF and fire the senior ANSF officers involved. This could lead to cascading tension and misunderstandings between the ANSF and ISAF.]

        In areas not highlighted, ISAF “can” conducts actual security operations in collaboration with the ANSF.

        “This “media backgrounder” is typical occuaption progandanda BS, similar to the crap we were few in Iraq. It’s pupropse it to convince the masses that the “training of local police and military” is working and that NATO are in control.”

        Shingo, I have interviewed actual ANA officers. If you are really interested in talking to them directly and getting your views, then and only then please say so. Do you have any Pharsi/Dari speaking friends? Maybe Roya. If so, then you can directly set up a telephone interview with them, call them on their cell phone and get their first hand feedback.

        The Afghan MoD and MoI are terrible at providing this kind of graphically friendly data to the public or being transparent. If you talk to them, then they might talk to you by district, village, city and province; but they might also not talk to you if they think you are a Pakistani Army or Saudi spy. [That is interestingly enough also what the Afghan National Security Forces often refer to the Taliban as.] You wouldn’t be able to understand them unless you already know about Afghanistan. If, however, you talk to their ISAF advisors, they would be able to explain the big picture better to people who know nothing about Afghanistan. Plus they would likely know better english. [Although don't count on this for the advisors from some countries. Some of the advisors actually talk to the Afghans in Russian or through translators.]

        “As the US did in Iraq, NATO and Washington have been gradually lpowering expectation as to what can be expected from Afghanistan.”

        Ask yourself why this is. Many Afghans say it is because ISAF, the UN, and international community backs Al Qaeda and the Taliban against the Afghan National Army and Afghan people. Is this your view?

        For reasons that puzzle most of the international community and Afghans, Obama seems to have decided in late 2010 to cut back assistance to the Afghan National Army. Obama seems to have made this decision talking to a very small group of advisors that didn’t include the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Several countries such as Germany have publicly opposed this decision. India opposes this decision. Putin has publicly blasted ISAF (really Obama since he is the originator of this policy) for cutting back assistance to the ANSF. Khamenei also opposes this decision.

        This is in my opinion the biggest real story in Afghanistan right now.

        “The basic idea, elaborated in an article by top military adviser Anthony Cordesman, is to lower expectations that Afghanistan will ever be anything other than a war-torn and divided society, while aiming to secure at least a portion of it for extended use as a platform for future U.S. military operations.
        csis.org/publication/time-focus-afghan-good-enough”

        I have exchanged e-mails with the CSIS folks. Some of their data comes from my friends. Their paper deserves a full response. I might yet write one up, but I haven’t yet. For now I would say that your summary is incomplete and partly inaccurate.

        What is true is that if Obama’s proposed 35% cut in the size of the ANSF is implemented, and if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan keep backing Al Qaeda/Taliban, then “Afghanistan will [N]ever be anything other than a war-torn and divided society.” With a forever war between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and their proxies on one side, and the Afghans (backed by NATO, Iran, Turkey, Russia, India, Japan, Australia) on the other.

        “deliberately rebuilding enough of the elements of the Northern Alliance so they can act as a counterbalance to Taliban.”

        Obama is not doing this. However India, Russia, Iran seem to be. They appear to be fearful that Obama might be making or considering making a secret deal with the Saudis, Pakistani Army, Taliban, Al Qaeda; maybe even the Ikhwan in Egypt and Syria. Many Afghans are afraid that Obama wants to throw them over the bus.

        The most fantastic of the conspiracy theories argue that the US, Gulf extremists, Ikwan in Egypt, FSA, Pakistani Army, Taliban and AQ networks are forming a de facto partnership to attack Iran, Hezbollah, Afghanistan, Assad, Iraq. With maybe the Europeans and Aussies are not part of this deal, and much of the US government being unaware of it. I don’t think this grand conspiracy is accurate although some of what Obama does seems consistent with this hypothesis. If it were true, India, Russia, Turkey would be forced to support the Afghans against this grand coalition.

        “No, it’s a failure. The Afghan National Army is already infiltrated by the Taliban, which explains why they keep turning their guns on their Western “trainers”.” None of your authors are experts on the ANA. It is true that the Pakistani Army ISI and the Taliban seems to have infiltrated some people inside the ANSF. This has caused some ANSF against ANSF fighting and to a lesser degree ANSF against ISAF fighting. But you exaggerate the scale of it. About a quarter of violent incidents are ideological. The rest are personal. The undercurrent of this is that the ANA is culturally viscerally anti Taliban and Al Qaeda and some of its soldiers are suspicious that internationals support Al Qaeda/Taliban against them. A common cause of violence is when a corrupt ANSF officer or NCO feels that he might be found out.

        When you say the “Taliban” is winning, what do you mean? Do you mean the Peshawar Shura? Sirajuddin Haqqani and his Miramshah Shura? Quetta Shura? Mullah Omar? Gerdi Jangal Shura? Pakistani Army? Saudi Arabia?

        My analysis would be that the Gerdi Jangal Shura is getting pulverized. Mullah Omar centric Quetta Shura is also getting slammed. Power is shifting to the Pakistani Taliban, Siraj, and Peshawar Shura in the North East of Afghanistan and Northern Western Pakistan. The Pakistani Army is very close to them operationally, tactically and strategically. They are deeply dependent on Saudi money, although the extent of Saudi influence is difficult to determine.

        Many in the Pakistani Army and Saudi Arabia do think that they are winning (not just in Afghanistan, but against Assad and Iran as well.) My view is that many of the Afghan Taliban are quietly anti Pakistan and Saudi too, and are deeply fearful of their plans for Afghanistan. They also realize that ISAF and the ANSF have smashed much of the organic insurgency but left the international insurgency strengthened. Mysteriously Obama suddenly cut off the ANSF/ISAF offensive against them just as it was about to seriously demolish the Taliban. This, along with the fact that many Afghan Taliban leaders are negotiating with Obama leads to all sorts of conspiracy theories among low level Taliban that the leaders in Pakistan, the Pakistani Army and Saudis might have an understanding with Obama.

        Is this your view Shingo?

        “Almost all of them hate the Northern alliance too, and all of them hate Karzai and the NATO.” The Northern Alliance no longer exists. Their leaders are divided into many different political parties. Afghanistan’s political process is very competitive and tough.

        It would take 10 pages to explain some of this. What appears to be happening is the growth of anti Taliban Afghan political movements that are opposed to Obama’s unilateral negotiations with the Taliban. They take a very strong anti Taliban line and don’t think Karzai is anti Taliban enough, even though they see Karzai as more anti Taliban than Obama, who are suspicious of.

        The ANA is by far the most popular and respected institution in the country. It is popular with all ethnic groups and comes from all ethnic groups. It has so far managed to float above most of Afghanistan’s harsh internal politics.

        “The Northern alliance have always been decidedly weak. The Northern Alliance militias are propped up entirely by the US/NATO, but even they are openly admitting that they have no option but to negotiate with the Taliban.”

        The Northern Alliance no longer exists as a unitary force. Let us all pray to Allah/Yeshua that it does not come back. All the Afghan militias were disarmed in the early 2000s.

        Most Afghans say they support negotiations. But they don’t support sufficient concessions to the Taliban to make negotiations realistic. Afghans want Afghans to be able to join US/Taliban negotiations. In part, to make sure the negotiations don’t succeed. All of Karzai’s negotiations with the Taliban since 2001 have failed, because Karzai could never sell the concessions the Taliban wanted to the Afghan people.

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Unrelated, Iraqis do hate Assad. They also view the FSA with some concern, since they fought many of the FSA 2003-2008. Much of the FSA are former Iraqi resistance.

      • Hostage
        August 2, 2012, 5:58 pm

        We don’t agree. Whether the UN is just or moral is another matter. But the UN security council can authorize a military force to intervene inside a UN member state.

        As it’s name suggests, the functions and powers of the UN Security Council are limited to the maintenance of international peace and security. It is not empowered to impose a political settlement that would favor one internal faction over another inside a member state. That would violate Article 2(7) of the Charter. That’s the reason the Security Council refused to place UN General Assembly resolution 181(II) on its agenda and impose it by force. The Security Council could only enforce the terms of the armistice agreement that the parties concluded on their own behalf.

        In the case of Iraq and Kuwait, the Security Council was simply enforcing an existing agreement between the two parties. It authorized coercive measures to enforce the terms of the boundary agreement contained in The Agreed Minutes Between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq Regarding the Restoration of Friendly Relations, Recognition and Related Matters, 4 October 1963. The Security Council held that the parties were still bound by the terms of their acceptance.

        The DEA did that for drug related purposes. This does not imply recognizing the Taliban government. The DEA can give money to militias too (which is what the Taliban was 1994-2001.)

        You might want to brush up on law of belligerent recognition of de facto regimes under international law. The grant of foreign assistance to the Taliban to impose a policy on the population subject to its jurisdiction is a classic example. There is an entire chapter devoted to the subject in Ti-chiang Chen, The international law of recognition, with special reference to practice in Great Britain and the United States, Praeger, 1951: link to archive.org

        Does this apply even when the US armed forces enter as a guest of the native government?

        Of course, Common Article 3 of the 4th Geneva applies to non-international conflict between the subjects of a High Contracting Party. Intervention by another High Contracting Party at the invitation of one of the factions would only transform the situation into an international armed conflict.

        Whether the US government should have bought some prisoners from the Northern Alliance is an interesting question.

        The prohibition against forced transfer and involuntary deportation contained in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to foreign nationals who find themselves in the hands of the United States while in the territory of one of the co-belligerents. Needless to say, the United States government is a creature of the Constitution and it cannot acquire some sort of legally secured interest in any human being by selling or purchasing them. The laws of nations recognize a general prohibition against any such practice.

        Can an armed militia or organized crime prisoner be considered a “prisoner of war”?

        Yes, in fact it takes a great deal of sophistry and mental gymnastics to ignore the plain meaning of the obligations under the third and fourth Geneva Conventions regarding members of armed militias or combatants who are hors de combat according to common article 3 and other the protocols.

      • Shingo
        August 2, 2012, 6:44 pm

        The Green, Yellow and Blue are areas that ISAF cannot operate in without Afghan Government permission. ISAF conducts no security operations and has no security responsibility.

        Yeah, wink win, nudge nunge – just like drone attacks right? You seriously don’t expect anyone to believe that crap do you Anan? The ANSF are nothing but useful idiots for ISAF. The truth is that ISAF canb and does go wherever it wasnts whenever it wants.

        Shingo, I have interviewed actual ANA officers.

        I could care less if you have or otherwise – all that proves is that you are getting the BS directly from the horse’s mouth. The ANA officers are only authorized to repeat the official message anywyay. They have jobs and they wish to keep them.

        Ask yourself why this is. Many Afghans say it is because ISAF, the UN, and international community backs Al Qaeda and the Taliban against the Afghan National Army and Afghan people. Is this your view?

        That makes little sense and no it is not my POV. The lowerign of expectations is a consequence of the failure of policy, and a means by which the occupation forces can withdraw or dissenganeg without too much domestic political fallout back in the US and in other NATO states. Surely this simple explaation is not above your limited intellect?

        For reasons that puzzle most of the international community and Afghans, Obama seems to have decided in late 2010 to cut back assistance to the Afghan National Army.

        It was far from puzzling and certainly was not puzzling the international community and Afghans. Nor should it have been puzzling to you had you been paying attention. There were numerous cases of ANA troops turning their guns on their NATO handlers and it soon became obvious to Obama that these recruits primary loyalty was to their tribe and their own population. Why would Obama go on supporting people hostile to the Karzari puppet dictator and NATO?

        The JCS have their onw agendas. The generals in charge of ISAF have a vested interest in maintaining the stagtu quo for their own career ambitions. The same goes for Putin and Khamenei.

        Their paper deserves a full response. I might yet write one up, but I haven’t yet.

        Suit yourself, but who would read it anyway? Do you thknk anyone is going to give any credit to the opinion of some poorly informed ideological nut job against that of someone like Anthony Cordesman? The sheer magnitude and depths of your delusion continues to amaze me.

        What is true is that if Obama’s proposed 35% cut in the size of the ANSF is implemented, and if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan keep backing Al Qaeda/Taliban, then “Afghanistan will [N]ever be anything other than a war-torn and divided society.”

        Duh, that’s what it has pretty much been for decades and remains regardless of US funding. No one but the uterly delusional believe that the US/NATO is achieving anything in Afghanistan. Everything that NATO has tried has failed. Washington had hoped to get lucky a second time with by repackaging the surge, and it failed miserably, which is why Patreaus was shown the door.

        Obama is not doing this. However India, Russia, Iran seem to be.

        Of coursew Obama is doing this – or at least he was. But Washington has been talking to the Taliban since Bush left office. COIN has been a complete failure and Washington know that Talking to the Taliban is it’s last option.

        Many Afghans are afraid that Obama wants to throw them over the bus.

        LOL. The only Afghans afraid that Obama wants to throw them over the bus are Karzai as his cronies. The Afghans can’t wait to see the back of Obama and NATO.

        I don’t think this grand conspiracy is accurate although some of what Obama does seems consistent with this hypothesis.

        Yo kow something Anan, i don;t know what it will take to get this through your skull, but no one on this forum has ever given a crap about what you think. I don’t know where you got the idea that anyone ever did, but you seem to have adopted a familar pattern to resortign to telling us what you think when you have no facts or logic to back up your absurd arguments.

        None of your authors are experts on the ANA.

        You certainlly are not, and you’ve provided no experts of your own. Whatever parallel universe you reside in, it clearly does not comport with the reality being reflected by the facts on the ground. Your arguments all come down to what you would like relaity to reflect as opposed to reality itself. Who are you to decide whether the infiltration of the ANSF by ISI and the Taliban has been exaggerated or otehrise?

        The undercurrent of this is that the ANA is culturally viscerally anti Taliban and Al Qaeda and some of its soldiers are suspicious that internationals support Al Qaeda/Taliban against them.

        You demonstrate a very poor understanding of the situation if you believe that the Taliban and Al Qaeda form any kind fo coaltion. For a start, there is virtually no Al Qaeda left to soeak of in Afghanistan, and secondly, the Taliban cut ties with them long ago.

        My analysis would be that the Gerdi Jangal Shura is getting pulverized. Mullah Omar centric Quetta Shura is also getting slammed.

        That’s what we’ve been hearign for a decade, and every time, they rise from the ashes stronger than before. In any case, the Taliban don’t appear to share you beolief they they think they are losing.

        “The NATO report says the Taliban believes it can win in Afghanistan by outlasting U.S. and Western forces, which are scheduled to leave in late 2014, according to media accounts. The NATO study also concluded the Taliban is in cahoots with senior officials of Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence agency.”

        “This report shows that we are not seeing the signs of progress that we had hoped for,” said Anthony Cordesman, a Pentagon adviser and Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst. “There are few signs these Taliban fighters are willing to compromise or give up”. Cordesman helped U.S. military officials craft President Obama’s revised Afghan war strategy in 2009.

        link to npsglobal.org

        They also realize that ISAF and the ANSF have smashed much of the organic insurgency but left the international insurgency strengthened.

        Wrong again. In fact, it is clear that you are the one exagrerrating the significance of the international insurgency.

        Taliban believe they will take over from US and Nato in Afghanistan – report
        link to guardian.co.uk

        Captives say Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, NATO report discloses
        link to post-gazette.com

        My view is that many of the Afghan Taliban are quietly anti Pakistan and Saudi too, and are deeply fearful of their plans for Afghanistan.

        On the contrary.

        Taliban ‘Winning Afghan Hearts And Minds’
        link to news.sky.com

        U.S. military says Taliban set to retake power: report
        link to reuters.com

        Unrelated, Iraqis do hate Assad. They also view the FSA with some concern, since they fought many of the FSA 2003-2008. Much of the FSA are former Iraqi resistance.

        Again, you seem to have a version to facts and sources, which comes as no surprise.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Hostage, I am learning from you. Love to contact you offline if possible.

        If I could respond to your thoughtful points:
        1) Could you read the unanimously passed UN resolutions on Afghanistan that created UNAMA and ISAF and explain what you believe is ISAF’s and UNAMA’s mandate? There are several relavent UN resolutions. I would be very curious to learn your perspective.
        2) Could you similarly share your perspective on the UN missions in the Congo, Haiti?
        3) Could the precedent in Korea be used?

        The most powerful and lethal parts of the Taliban and Al Qaeda linked networks operate as veritable wings of the Pakistani Army Inter Services intelligence. The Gulf establishment is also closely involved. This has been widely known among those interested in the Taliban since 1994 or those who have followed Osama Bin Laden’s career since the 1980s. However, it was only recently that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States finally admitted this under oath before the US senate. [Al Qaeda was acknowledged indirectly. Sirajuddin Haqqani was acknowledged to be a veritable wing of the Pakistani Army. Siraj sits on the primary Shura for Al Qaeda in addition to heading the most powerful and lethal Taliban militia in Pakistan and Afghanistan. One affect of the surge is that Siraj's relative power has increased within the broader Taliban movement since Siraj's Southern Afghan nominal Taliban allies (which were thought to have more independence from the Pakistani Army) have been significantly clobbered.]

        Could the Taliban/AQ be declared to be Pakistani Army and Saudi proxies and under that context could they be declared as illegal militias killing Afghans? Could the UN authorize and order ISAF to help the ANSF remove them from Afghanistan?

        The reason this hasn’t happened yet is because the major global powers are afraid to openly acknowledge the close relationship between KSA, the Pakistani Army and Al Qaeda/Taliban. Because this would force the international community to change its policy towards these two countries.

        A spike in oil prices caused by sanctions against Saudi Arabia could cause most elected officials in the US, India, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and the world’s other free democracies to lose their reelection. The Chinese government might fall in the upheaval as well.

        This would also not be convenient for the anti Iran and anti Shia folks.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 12:33 pm

        ” law of belligerent recognition of de facto regimes under international law. The grant of foreign assistance to the Taliban to impose a policy on the population subject to its jurisdiction is a classic example. There is an entire chapter devoted to the subject in Ti-chiang Chen, The international law of recognition, with special reference to practice in Great Britain and the United States, Praeger, 1951: link to archive.org”

        Could this precedent be used to declare the Taliban/Al Qaeda syndicate to be a de facto regime independent of their state sponsors [not as a statement of fact, but as a legal device?]? Could their “nation” be undefined? i.e. could they become nations without subjects? And could war be declared on them by the UN on this basis? This would be much more convenient for the international community, which is reluctant to openly acknowledge let alone engage the countries for which Al Qaeda/Taliban are proxies.

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “Of course, Common Article 3 of the 4th Geneva applies to non-international conflict between the subjects of a High Contracting Party. Intervention by another High Contracting Party at the invitation of one of the factions would only transform the situation into an international armed conflict.”

        Would the UN mandated UNAMA and ISAF forces or possibly the UN itself be considered a “High Contracting Party” in this situation? Something to think about.

        I don’t think this is the view of the UNSC. They have unanimously declared the Afghan government to be the sole sovereign legitimate Afghan government. As such they don’t recognize them as a “faction”. Similarly they don’t recognized the Al Qaeda/Taliban linked militias as “factions.”

        Could you share your thoughts on this?

        “The prohibition against forced transfer and involuntary deportation contained in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to foreign nationals who find themselves in the hands of the United States while in the territory of one of the co-belligerents. Needless to say, the United States government is a creature of the Constitution and it cannot acquire some sort of legally secured interest in any human being by selling or purchasing them. The laws of nations recognize a general prohibition against any such practice.”

        To clarify, all the prisoners of the Northern Alliance were “prisoners of war” presumably. If so, who were the Northern Alliance [recognized Afghan government] at war with? Taliban/Al Qaeda/related militias? Or the Pakistani and Saudi governments? If the legal Afghan government recognized their prisoners of war as members of Pakistani and Saudi backed militias (with many of them being actual Pakistanis and actual foreigners), does that mean the Afghan government–and the US government after the US took custody of some of the Northern Alliance prisoners–would have to return these prisoners to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?

        My understanding is that they were sent to Guantanamo precisely so that they wouldn’t have to be returned to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia since it was believed they would immediately rejoin the fight. As it is many of the top current Al Qaeda/Taliban leaders are alumni from Guantanamo released to their home countries.

        What in your view should be done with the Uighur Guantanamo detainees. Many Uighurs from Xiangjang province joined Al Qaeda/Taliban and were taken prisoner by the Northern Alliance. China doesn’t want them back (understandably) and Obama has no idea what to do with them.

        On a side note, there are many Taliban/AQ Uighurs in Pakistan now. The Chinese want drone strikes against them. This causes all sorts of tension in Washtington from people who don’t want to do China’s dirty work. On the other had, these Uighurs are helping AQ/Taliban, which are America’s enemies too.

        Are the Uighurs a “faction” under international law? If so a “faction” of what country? China? Pakistan? Afghanistan? America (for the Guantanamo detainees)? These questions are why I find international law so confusing.

        Your clarity of thought is refreshing.

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “Can an armed militia or organized crime prisoner be considered a “prisoner of war”?

        Yes, in fact it takes a great deal of sophistry and mental gymnastics to ignore the plain meaning of the obligations under the third and fourth Geneva Conventions regarding members of armed militias or combatants who are hors de combat according to common article 3 and other the protocols.”

        On this we are in complete agreement. They are prisoners of war. One reason there is reluctance to declare them as such is because then it might become necessary to identify the party a country is at war with. No one wants to formally acknowledge that the Taliban/AQ are proxies of certain countries. Perhaps the best option to to declare that the war is with the militias AQ/Taliban/Deep State alphabet soup of groups. This saves face for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and lets countries continue to have normal relations with them.

      • MRW
        August 3, 2012, 2:02 pm

        Good stuff, Shingo. How do have the patience?

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 2:45 pm

        Shingo, not sure what you mean by: “Yeah, wink win, nudge nunge – just like drone attacks right?”

        To my knowledge ISAF doesn’t engage in “drone strikes” as you understand them without permission from President Karzai inside Afghanistan. The CIA covertly runs drone strikes inside Pakistan, with the Pakistani government having “co-soverignty” over them. The fact that the ISAF commander [COMISAF] has no authority and in many cases no knowledge about these drone strikes is a problem.

        Shingo, ISAF is a multinational command created by the United Nations. It operates with a limited legal and mission mandate.

        “The ANSF are nothing but useful idiots for ISAF.”
        The genesis of the ANSF are the former Northern Alliance. The ANA is particular is deeply popular among Afghans and feared by the Pakistani Army, Saudi establishment and their Al Qaeda/Taliban proxies. This is why they lobbied so hard to force ISAF and the international community to prevent the ANA from becoming too capable.

        This is the reason it was US policy between 2001 and November 2009 to keep the ANSF weak. Obama changed this policy in November 2009 in an act of great courage. He did so knowing how the Gulf extremists and deep state might react and retaliate. However in late 2010, Obama did not approve the ISAF/McChrystal/Caldwell/Petraeus/Karzai/Afghan MoI/Afghan MoD/NTM-A plan for a large capable ANSF. His reasons for opposing this are not yet fully understood. Afghans have all sorts of conspiracy theories about the Saudi/Pakistani hand in all of this. Or ISAF/Obama backs Taliban theories. Some argue that Obama has made a deal with KSA/Pakistan to go after Iran, Assad; and given KSA and Pakistan what they want [a weak ANA] in return.

        The ANA are not idiots. I certainly wouldn’t call them that to their face if I were you Shingo. I have been told about ANA shooting ISAF soldiers who implied the ANA are idiots. The ANA take this charge very seriously.

        There might be other reasons why Obama wants a weaker ANA. Long term cost. The danger that the ANA attacks Pakistan and drags ISAF and America into a conflict with Pakistan. Maybe because Obama sees the ANA as a close long term ally of India, Russia, Iran and Turkey (which, in all honesty it is.) Many other potential reasons.

        “The truth is that ISAF canb and does go wherever it wasnts whenever it wants.” Legally it cannot. We live in a litigious world. Like all institutions created by the UN, it operates within strict parameters.

        “all that proves is that you are getting the BS directly from the horse’s mouth.” To some degree true. Some ANA have a bit much machismo.

        “The ANA officers are only authorized to repeat the official message anywyay. They have jobs and they wish to keep them.”

        Very astute observation. You are growing on me Shingo bro. There is a difference between what ANA say off the record and what they say on the record. You need to know both. You might become a journalist yet. :-)

        Have to go now. Maybe we can continue later?

      • Hostage
        August 3, 2012, 5:19 pm

        Could this precedent be used to declare the Taliban/Al Qaeda syndicate to be a de facto regime independent of their state sponsors [not as a statement of fact, but as a legal device?]?

        Al Qaeda is not a governmental or territorial entity. Under the public international law of the US and UK, there has been no legal difference between a de facto government and a de jure government since the Tinoco arbitration case. The US referred to the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance, as “the de facto government” and treated like a state with jurisdiction when it demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden.

        Would the UN mandated UNAMA and ISAF forces or possibly the UN itself be considered a “High Contracting Party” in this situation? Something to think about.

        The Geneva Conventions have been universally ratified and recognized as part of the body of customary international law that is binding on all parties who engage in armed conflicts. The Security Council has adopted resolutions and criminal statutes for the ICTY, ICTR, & etc. which direct all members to cooperate with the tribunals to enforce that decision.

        Article 43 of the UN Charter envisioned that the Security Council would enter into treaty agreements granting it dedicated armed forces which would be under its direct day-to-day operational control. That’s never happened. So transitional measures, like those mentioned in Article 106, continue to be employed and the Security Council simply delegates its authority to use coercive force to one or more member states under a written mandate. In the Lockerbie or Libya extradiction case, the ICJ ruled that the “supremacy” and “every assistance” clauses in articles 2(5) and 103 of the UN Charter supercede other international agreements. In the Bosnia genocide case, it ruled that the supremacy clause does not supersede the customary right of self defense in international law and that Security Council resolutions on arms embargoes that violate that norm are subject to judicial review and remedies. So the Security Council is unconditionally bound to abide by the terms of the Geneva Conventions and there are recognized limits to its authority.

        There is general agreement that the prohibition against threats or use of force by non-member states (reflected in Article 2(6) of the Chater and the Declaration on Friendly Relations Between States) is customary law applicable to non-signatory states. The extent to which the customary rules in the UN Charter apply to non-state actors is unresolved in many cases. In the Kosovo UDI case, the US and UK both argued that the UN Security Council resolutions cited by Serbia did not prohibit a unilateral declaration by Kosovo, since SC resolutions are not considered legally binding on non-state actors or parties which are not specifically mentioned – and the resolutions did not deal with a customary rule enforceable against a non-member state.

        The ICJ agreed that the provisions of the Security Council resolutions which prohibited the parties to the conflict from making unilateral changes to the status of the territory did not preclude a unilateral act of secession by Kosovo. So it isn’t clear that the Security Council has the right to intervene, except to maintain international peace and security, or that the Taliban are under any obligation to accept the terms of Security Council resolutions.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 10:20 pm

        Hostage, many thanks again. Could I contact you via one of the Mondoweiss authors please? You are remarkably informed to put it mildly.

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “Under the public international law of the US and UK, there has been no legal difference between a de facto government and a de jure government since the Tinoco arbitration case. The US referred to the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance, as “the de facto government” and treated like a state with jurisdiction when it demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden. ”

        This I do not understand. The Northern Alliance [they use to call themselves the "United Front"] occupied the Afghan UN seat. The Northern Alliance also occupied all of Afghanistan’s international embassies except for three (KSA, UAE, Pakistan).

        Here is a question . . . Is it possible for a nation state such as the United States to simultaneously recognize two governments for the same state? Are there precedents for this? Please elaborate.

        The US requested that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia produce Osama Bin Laden and gave them a time deadline. The Pakistanis and Saudis (as the patrons for their Taliban proxies) chose not to fill this request. The Saudis and Pakistanis sent their own delegation to Mullah Omar and in theory conveyed the request for OBL’s extradition. In my opinion Pakistan and KSA could never have allowed their long time asset OBL to be taken alive, because he had too much incriminating information against them. If push came to shove, they would have killed him themselves. For whatever reason, they chose not to kill Osama Bin Laden. However, the Pakistani Security Forces abruptly withdrew over ten thousand officers and NCOs from Afghanistan. Without their leaders, combat enablers and embedded combat enablers, the Taliban quickly fell into confusion. The Northern Alliance used this confusion to seize all of Afghanistan. The US chose to use its influence to facilitate the Pakistani Army to withdraw as many of their forces from Afghanistan as possible. [Suspect the Bush Administration might have seen this as necessary to avoid open war with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which the Bush administration did not want.] The Pakistani Army exit supply lines were also used to withdraw the senior Taliban and AQ leadership into Pakistani Army safe houses inside Pakistan.

        This gets to another objections Afghans have to calling the Taliban, the “the de facto government” of Afghanistan. What is the Taliban? Karzai himself has publicly said that the Taliban only has one address. Pakistan. By which he means the only institution that can talk on behalf of most of the Taliban and get most of the Taliban to do something is the Pakistani Army. Karzai has also said that the Pakistani Army can arrest the large majority (but not all) of the senior Taliban leadership at will. Since Afghans do not control the Taliban, how can it be a sovereign government? Just to give one example, Mullah Omar managed to sneak the operational leader of the Quetta Shura Taliban (the de jure formal number 2 of the entire Taliban movement in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Former Soviet Union 5 Stans) to negotiate with Karzai. As soon as the Pak Army found out they arrested Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Omar’s hopes of negotiating directly with Karzai without Pakistani Army oversight died.

        It is widely believed that Mullah Omar lives under the protection and at the pleasure of the Pakistani Army.

        The Northern Alliance’s battle cry in the early 2000s was:
        “Death to Pakistan” [Pakistani Army]
        “Death to the Arabs” [Saudi establishment]
        “Death to Osama Bin Laden”
        “Death to the Taliban”

        They regarded the Taliban to be foreign occupation and a puppet government. Were they right?

        This is a long way of saying that the Taliban was not “treated like a state with jurisdiction when it [US] demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden.”

      • Hostage
        August 4, 2012, 3:34 am

        The US referred to the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance, as “the de facto government” and treated like a state with jurisdiction when it demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden. ”

        This I do not understand. The Northern Alliance [they use to call themselves the "United Front"] occupied the Afghan UN seat. The Northern Alliance also occupied all of Afghanistan’s international embassies except for three (KSA, UAE, Pakistan).

        Recognition of a belligerent de facto government doesn’t have to result in the establishment of normal diplomatic relations or functions. It has nothing to do with democracy or legitimacy. In many cases, quite the opposite of all of that is true. A military dictatorship can demand the allegiance of an unwilling population. Other states can’t impose an international duty that requires the inhabitants to disobey a de facto regime, i.e. placing them between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. It’s important to remember that belligerent recognition only requires that the belligerent community be afforded all of the rights and privileges of neutrality and commerce enjoyed by other states.

        The foreign relations law of the United States stipulates that when other existing states treat an entity “as if” it’s a state, that is conclusive evidence of its statehood.

        Is it possible for a nation state such as the United States to simultaneously recognize two governments for the same state? Are there precedents for this? Please elaborate.

        Of course. The USA and CSA were both recognized by other governments during the American Civil War. In the Kosovo case, the ICJ noted that there is no prohibition against secession in international law. In that case, some countries recognized Kosovo as the de facto government, while others continued to recognize Serbia as the legitimate government of the territory in question. You’d be surprised at the number of civilized western states who claimed that the territorial integrity norm trumps democracy and the self-determination norm. The Written statements are available here: link to icj-cij.org

        I’ve mentioned other examples here in the past. Israel and the US routinely describe Hamas as the “de facto government” of Gaza in travel advisories & etc. Under customary international law, they are obliged to treat the thing that Hamas is governing as if it’s a state:
        *The U.S. State Department explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.” link to future.state.gov
        *Israel has legally designated Gaza as an “enemy entity”. It routinely requests Security Council action in response to Hamas violations of international laws and agreements or applies conventional rules of international law that only apply to contracting entities which happen to be states. At one and the same time, Israel refuses to treat Palestine as a de jure contracting party to the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols and claims that it is not eligible to make valid accessions to those or any other treaties because it isn’t a state. Nonetheless:
        –Israeli Military Intelligence Director Yadlin advised US officials that Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza, because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a “HOSTILE STATE”. [emphasis added] link to wikileaks.ch
        –According to the Washington Post and many other sources, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev cited the San Remo Manual and maintained that it was clearly within its rights to stop the aid flotilla, saying “any state has the right to blockade ANOTHER STATE in the midst of an armed conflict.” [emphasis added] link to washingtonpost.com
        –The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the conflict with Hamas is an international one. See the subsection of the ruling in the targeted killings case under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict” link to elyon1.court.gov.il
        –Inexplicably, the IDF targets the Hamas municipal police force, because it’s a uniformed militia that openly carries weapons. But it refuses to treat any Palestinian militia members as POW’s under the general normative framework of the applicable international law. The Israeli Supreme Court also refuses to enforce the prohibition against transferring or deporting them out of the occupied territory to prisons in Israel as part of the protected civilian population. See HCJ Rejects Petition against Holding Detained Palestinians in Israeli Territory [HCJ 2690/09] [28.3.2010] link to idi.org.il

        The US and Israel obviously would like to impose all of the duties of statehood on Hamas and the PA, while denying that either of those entities are entitled to the corresponding rights of statehood. That’s actually a flagrant violation of US and Israeli obligations under customary international law and conventional US obligations under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States and Chapter IV of the Charter of the Organization of American States.

        This is a long way of saying that, yes, the US has treated the Taliban, Hamas, and other entities as states.

      • anan
        August 4, 2012, 1:05 pm

        Many thanks again Hostage. Agree with your comments on Hamas and Gaza.

        “Other states can’t impose an international duty that requires the inhabitants to disobey a de facto regime, i.e. placing them between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. It’s important to remember that belligerent recognition only requires that the belligerent community be afforded all of the rights and privileges of neutrality and commerce enjoyed by other states. ”

        If someone tells you to rape 1000 woman over 1 year, does that mean you have to obey them? Does the UNSC have the power to unanimously order you not to obey the order?

        You know the kind of horrible massacres the Taliban inflicted on non Pashtun Afghans (62% of the population). And the abuse they inflicted on Pashtun woman. Banning girls from attending schools, from working etc.

        Aren’t there international laws or human values that supercede the orders of immoral militias?

      • anan
        August 4, 2012, 1:31 pm

        “You’d be surprised at the number of civilized western states who claimed that the territorial integrity norm trumps democracy and the self-determination norm. The Written statements are available here: link to icj-cij.org”

        I have noticed. Many western diplomats seem to hold that point of view.

        “Israel and the US routinely describe Hamas as the “de facto government” of Gaza in travel advisories & etc. Under customary international law, they are obliged to treat the thing that Hamas is governing as if it’s a state:
        *The U.S. State Department explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.”

        Agreed.

        “*Israel has legally designated Gaza as an “enemy entity”. It routinely requests Security Council action in response to Hamas violations of international laws and agreements or applies conventional rules of international law that only apply to contracting entities which happen to be states.”
        Agreed.

        “Israel refuses to treat Palestine as a de jure contracting party to the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols and claims that it is not eligible to make valid accessions to those or any other treaties because it isn’t a state.”

        I don’t understand this.

        “Nonetheless:
        –Israeli Military Intelligence Director Yadlin advised US officials that Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza, because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a “HOSTILE STATE”.”
        Should Israel treat Gaza as a state? Even now that a unity coalition government seems to be coming together? Israel, some allege wants a 3 state solution. Wouldn’t recognizing Gaza offend Palestinians who want one Palestinian state? I don’t know the answers, but am asking questions.

        “–According to the Washington Post and many other sources, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev cited the San Remo Manual and maintained that it was clearly within its rights to stop the aid flotilla, saying “any state has the right to blockade ANOTHER STATE in the midst of an armed conflict.””

        True. But has the Israeli Knesset declared war on the de facto state entity in Gaza?

        “The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the conflict with Hamas is an international one. See the subsection of the ruling in the targeted killings case under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict””

        I agree with the Israeli Supreme Court.

        “Inexplicably, the IDF targets the Hamas municipal police force, because it’s a uniformed militia that openly carries weapons. But it refuses to treat any Palestinian militia members as POW’s under the general normative framework of the applicable international law.”
        I don’t get this at all. It makes no sense to me.

        “The Israeli Supreme Court also refuses to enforce the prohibition against transferring or deporting them out of the occupied territory to prisons in Israel as part of the protected civilian population. See HCJ Rejects Petition against Holding Detained Palestinians in Israeli Territory [HCJ 2690/09] [28.3.2010] link to idi.org.il”
        The question is why? I don’t understand.

        “The US and Israel obviously would like to impose all of the duties of statehood on Hamas and the PA, while denying that either of those entities are entitled to the corresponding rights of statehood. That’s actually a flagrant violation of US and Israeli obligations under customary international law and conventional US obligations under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States and Chapter IV of the Charter of the Organization of American States.”
        Mostly Agreed.

        I think the US recognizes only one Palestinian state and does not support the partition of Palestine into the West Bank and Gaza to my knowledge. Maybe this is causing confusion.

        Hostage I would really like to talk to you offline.

        I have many questions regarding the Israeli supreme court and judicial system. You are one of a handful of people I have ever encountered that understands these issues.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 4, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Hostage I would really like to talk to you offline.

        what would you say to him you couldn’t say here?

    • ColinWright
      July 30, 2012, 3:35 am

      ‘No state has any “right to exist”.’

      Perhaps not — but most states represent some kind of consensus among those people who found themselves living there when matters progressed to the point of state formation. That there should be a France and it should be about where it is is the opinion of most of the people living in France. Ditto for the Czech Republic. Ditto even for a place like Malaysia, which has had some spectacular ethnic violence in the past but now has an arrangement most of the people there seem able to live with.

      Israel is a glaring exception to this general rule. The dominant population was imported with a variety of subterfuges, has expelled most of the indigenous population, and is attempting to expel the remainder. It’s a necessarily oppressive and almost entirely artificial innovation, with absolutely no defensible rationale for its presence.

      • Blake
        July 30, 2012, 6:26 am

        Absolutely, Zionists got a ready made state (minus 80%+ of the indigenous population). After it self declared itself in ancestral Palestine on 15th May 1948 they took existing structure as it was in that all existing institutions continued to operate whether banking, political or municipal.

      • pjdude
        July 30, 2012, 5:46 pm

        true most state exist because of the expression of self determination of the resident population. Israel is the exact opposite it the expression of want of foriegn invaders.

  6. Blake
    July 29, 2012, 11:15 am

    Are goyim allowed to even pray there? I suppose they make exceptions. How shameless of that mormon. Wonder which “angel(s)” he made his prayer too. Cannot wait for the video tbh.

    • yonah fredman
      July 29, 2012, 11:49 am

      Blake- I don’t know what kind of identity card you need to get past the security gates leading to the Wall, but there is no identity card needed to get to the wall itself. (I have never read a story about anyone being refused passage through these gates for any reason so enlighten me if you have read such a report.) When approaching the praying sections near the wall, men are asked to wear a skullcap and women are asked to cover their bare shoulders and other than that anyone who wants to get near the wall is allowed near it. When women wear religious clothing such as tallit and tefilin, which have traditionally normally been worn by men and not women, then the security is called in to deal with the “disturbance”, but everyone is allowed near the wall.

      • pineywoodslim
        July 29, 2012, 12:16 pm

        So, if a Palestinian from Bethlehem wanted to go to the wall, he/she would not need an identity card?

      • Daniel Rich
        July 29, 2012, 3:14 pm

        @ pineywoodslim,

        Q: So, if a Palestinian from Bethlehem wanted to go to the wall, he/she would not need an identity card?

        R: Only a German sponsored rucksack.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2012, 1:25 am

        If a Palestinian from Bethlehem was allowed past the checkpoint and into Jerusalem, it would be my guess that there would be nothing to stop them from going to the wall. If someone knows this not to be true, please enlighten me.

      • Elliot
        July 30, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Yonah – Those are two rather large “if”s.
        Do you know of any successful Palestinian visit to the Western wall?
        Consider this: if a group of Palestinians from Bethlehem somehow got out of the West Bank, into Jerusalem, past the various roving undercover security agents (whose job it is to identify Palestinians) and made it through the security checkpoint going into the Western Wall plaza and then made it to the wall…..then….Israeli security would be forced to remove them from the Western Wall area, if only for their own safety.
        It’s much, much easier for Jews to visit the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 29, 2012, 4:21 pm

        When I was in Jerusalem in Dec. 2002 I went to the ‘Wailing Wall’ several times, by day and by night. I was never asked for identification. But I was told I shouldn’t call it the “Wailing Wall”.

      • Daniel Rich
        July 30, 2012, 4:05 am

        @ Klaus Bloemker,

        Q: But I was told I shouldn’t call it the “Wailing Wall”.

        R: That’s because you should pronounce it with a thick Irish accent, so it sounds like ‘Whaling Wall.’

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 11:41 am

        “But I was told I shouldn’t call it the “Wailing Wall”.

        Of course not, Klaus. That is in Salem, Mass. I mean, where else would it be?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 30, 2012, 1:34 pm

        Before I started studying Judaism I actually thought The Wailing Wall were a slide guitar version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:40 pm

        “Before I started studying Judaism “

        “Before you started studying Judaism”? Gee, Klaus, as I remember in one of your first comments I read, you touted your lack of knowledge of Judaism. So do you mean ‘before I started reading Mondoweiss’? BTW, did you “study Judaism” in a university or college, or just pick a few impressions while wandering the streets of Vienna?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 30, 2012, 10:03 pm

        Mooser,
        I remember you telling me in one of your first comments that you would like to be an R & B, rhythm ‘n’ blues guitarist – but unfortunately aren’t. –

        Don’t tell me brother, where I picked up my knowledge of Judaism.
        Actually, when I was in Vienna, there is a “Judengasse” – I walked it.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 2:38 am

        Totally, totally wrong, this wall was for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and they did not have no slide guitars.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:14 pm

        “Actually, when I was in Vienna, there is a “Judengasse” – I walked it.”

        Ah, to walk in the footsteps of the illustrious! And did you sell any paintings?

        And I play the organ. I promised my Mother ( aleha ha-shalom) I would never touch an electric guitar, or a drum set.

      • German Lefty
        August 3, 2012, 1:35 pm

        And I play the organ. I promised my Mother I would never touch an electric guitar, or a drum set.
        Mooser, very interesting information. What kind of organ do you play? Male or female?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 3, 2012, 1:54 pm

        I tell you a family secret Mooser, where I picked up my secret knowledge of Judaism. (But this is just among the two of us.) – My mother told me. She taught as a pretty young woman physical education in a Jewish school in Breslau, Silesia in 1931/32. She told me the secret that in that Jewish school kitchen milky and carnal food was seperated. But she also told me not to pass this secret along. – Now that she is deceased I feel free to share it with you.

      • Blake
        July 29, 2012, 5:14 pm

        Yahoo is running this story :
        Romney declares Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital
        link to news.yahoo.com

      • Djinn
        July 29, 2012, 10:10 pm

        Actually Palestinians (especially men between 15-50) are prevented from accessing the area. When I was last in EJ, the movements of Palestinians in & around the area was heavily restricted, ostensibly because Biden was in town but the restrictions preceded his visit and remained in place after it. Not to mention the inordinate number of cops/security/soldiers who aren’t all that ecumenical in their practice have something to do with keeping the Palestinians away even outside officially restricted times.

      • Blake
        July 30, 2012, 6:00 am

        From memory when I was there I do recall looking onto it but not getting near it. To the side there was a small access point where you could look onto it and I remember the military demanding to see my passport. Not a pleasant experience at all.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2012, 4:03 pm

        Djinn- Most of them (if not all) did not wish to get to the Wall, they wished to reach Haram al Sharif, aka the temple mount and the mosques up there. If they are forbidden access to the mosques, of course, they are not allowed into the area. I was not referring to the limitations placed upon getting to the Muslim holy places. I was referring to specific limitations regarding the Jewish holy places.

      • Djinn
        July 30, 2012, 11:47 pm

        Little disengenuous dont you think? If dont technically prevent you accessing your home but I do prevent you from accessing your front door do you think a regular person would describe me as limiting your access to your home?
        I am well aware of exactly which area were Palestinian person non grata, you act like it was just the wall area which according to you no Palestinian ever wants to get to. Never mind they are barred from large parts of the Old City altogether, making travel/shopping/working and a host of other things (INCLUDING VISITING THE WALL AREA) extremely difficult or impossible.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 11:46 am

        “Blake- I don’t know what kind of identity card you need to get past the security gates leading to the Wall, but there is no identity card needed to get to the wall itself.”

        Let the pilpul begin. Of course, everybody knows that dilated pilpuls are a sure indicator of Ziocaine syndrome, right?

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2012, 4:05 pm

        Mooser- Sometimes you are anti Zionist Don Rickles, at other times bizarro Jackie Mason. This time it’s Jackie Mason.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:43 pm

        And you, yonah (that is “Wondering Jew”) remain always the same, a despicable punk, whose politics and integrity reach the lofty heights attained by a goon in flight.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 8:05 pm

        Anyway, yonah, I know when I’m getting to you without your telling me so. But I do appreciate the kindness.

      • Cliff
        July 30, 2012, 10:34 pm

        Jackie Mason is an anti-Arab racist and maniac Zionist. Stupid comparison, WJ.

    • Mooser
      July 30, 2012, 11:54 am

      “How shameless of that mormon. Wonder which “angel(s)” he made his prayer too. “

      Since the ceremonies inducting a man into the Mormon priesthood (and IIANM, that should include Romney) are secret, there is no public proclamation of the principles he intends to follow, or the orders he is tasked with carrying out. So we have no way of knowing if Romney has been released from religious consistency in furtherance of his mission. Always mystified me, why on earth wouldn’t a person want to make a public confession of faith and creed at that point in his religious development?
      Of course, I’ll be glad to retract this if my information is out-of-date, and secret Temple ceremonies have been jettisoned. Anything is possible, you know. A few years ago Mormons even decided to include dark-skinned people among humans.

      • Merk
        July 30, 2012, 8:26 pm

        great, a website where we can mock religion!

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 4:20 am

        Well, to be fair, some religions are remarkably mockable.

        However, I suppose you’re right…

      • Cliff
        July 31, 2012, 9:47 am

        Welcome to the Internet, Merk. Don’t let the tubes hit you on your way out!

        OH, I do wonder how shocked you Zio-sensibilities would be over at JihadWatch.

      • Shingo
        July 31, 2012, 10:04 am

        great, a website where we can mock religion!

        Too right, and about bloody time.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:21 pm

        “great, a website where we can mock religion!”

        And how do I mock “religion”? Religions have many things which are obscure, are impossible of logical or factual proof, which you may choose to believe or not. But religions don’t have secrets. Cults have secrets. That delineation is one of the main ways to tell a cult from a religion.
        In a religion, a person may, on confirmation, Bar Mitzvah, ordination, you name it, make an open declaration of his faith and principles, which he then can be held to by man and God. In a cult, you meet with your leaders in secret, and make secret promises to them.
        But antime you want to show me that Mormons have renounced all secret (or “private”) ceremonies, in favor of open public disclosure, I’ll say I’m wrong, and my opinion of the Mormon Church will go up a notch.

      • Hostage
        August 3, 2012, 6:11 pm

        Religions have many things which are obscure, are impossible of logical or factual proof, which you may choose to believe or not. But religions don’t have secrets. Cults have secrets. That delineation is one of the main ways to tell a cult from a religion.

        Clarification: the ancient mystery religions were cults with secret rites of initiation and hidden or esoteric teachings. There were prohibitions in Judaism against teaching Gentiles the Tanach and Talmud (Oral Torah); or admitting Gentiles into the precincts of the Temple cult, which were reserved for the exclusive ritual use of initiated Jews. There were similar prohibitions pertaining to sharing meals or fellowship with Gentiles in ancient Talmudic Synagogues and curses against anyone who revealed even mundane community secrets. See for example the inscriptions in the Ein Gedi Synagogue regarding curse on anyone revealing the secret of the local balsam industry or the modern-day rediscovery elsewhere of the secret of making Tekhelet dye.
        *http://unitedwithisrael.org/oasis-of-ein-gedi/
        *http://www.tekhelet.com/brochure.htm.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 4, 2012, 2:12 pm

        “But religions don’t have secrets.”

        Mooser is referring to me. I told him that my mother told me the “secret” of Judaism. She taught in 1931/32 at a Jewish school and told me the “secret” of that school’s Jewish kitchen.

      • lysias
        July 31, 2012, 10:27 am

        Just about all adult male Mormons are classed as “priests” (Until the change in doctrine, blacks could not be priests.) So Romney certainly was and is a priest.

        But, beyond that, during his time in Boston he was not only a Mormon bishop (the head of a congregation, sort of like a pastor), but also a “stake president” (head of the church in a geographical region, like a bishop in other churches).

        So I’m sure he must be familiar with just about everything about the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The Romney family has a long history of being one of the leading Mormon families. Romney himself apparently owed his appointment as head of the Salt Lake City Olympics to networking with leading Mormons.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 2:25 am

        Not priest, lysias, Elder.

      • straightline
        August 3, 2012, 10:45 pm

        @MRW: Males while they are on a mission are called elders. Also the title is used for someone very senior in the LDS Church. On the other hand there are many bishops.

        link to lds.about.com

    • kapok
      July 30, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Goyim allowed pray!? Absolutely not. But they can mill about and think of the sea.

  7. Matthew Taylor
    July 29, 2012, 12:51 pm

    great job being there Phil! love your question to him…

    • Philip Munger
      July 29, 2012, 3:33 pm

      A good question. Maybe ask about Bibi and the smuggled Kryton triggers next time, Phil W….

  8. Abu Malia
    July 29, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Thank you Phil for great reporting. I suspect your days of slipping through Ben Gurion without an intense and prolonged interrogation, hard-drive scans and cavity searches are over.

    Thank you again for choosing justice over tribal identity!

    • ColinWright
      July 31, 2012, 4:23 am

      “Thank you Phil for great reporting. I suspect your days of slipping through Ben Gurion without an intense and prolonged interrogation, hard-drive scans and cavity searches are over…”

      So Phil had no problems this time. I just gotta ask — what are the odds Phil would have had problems if he had been gentile?

  9. chet
    July 29, 2012, 1:57 pm

    A Mormon wearing a yarmulke – what’s next – a Jew in “magic underwear”?

    • Mooser
      July 30, 2012, 10:55 am

      a Jew in “magic underwear”?”

      I knew this was going to come up sooner or later, so let’s get it straight once and for all: I have never claimed there is any “magic” in my underwear. I do believe that certain pairs of boxers are “lucky underwear” and I wear them when I need an extra measure of confidence. After all, they’ve never fallen down on me! Unlike my pants.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 2:16 am

        Check your wife, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:24 pm

        “Check your wife, Mooser.”

        I don’t have to. That’s one thing which has never fallen down on me, and always stood up for me. And I know what I was wearing the day we met.

    • ColinWright
      July 30, 2012, 2:31 pm

      Note that for a brief moment, Romney was wearing both a yarmulke and magic underwear. That must have really scored points with the man upstairs.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:44 pm

        And tested his anti-perspirant to the utmost.

  10. Daniel Rich
    July 29, 2012, 3:06 pm

    It’s ‘good’ to see that Israel managed to provide Mitt’s security detail, the one they couldn’t deliver when former president Carter visited the lands [after the publication of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid @ link to amazon.com.

    [sunglasses @ the wall]

  11. seafoid
    July 29, 2012, 4:17 pm

    The Republican party is so extremist it doesn’t matter what it says. Climate change is happening right now in Indiana with temperatures over 100 fahrenheit wiping out the corn and soybean crops and the republicans say climate science is a matter of opinion.

    Same for Israel. The Israeli government is so extremist that they think they can declare the Palestinian issue solved by bending over for the settlers. the Republicans provide the condom.

    I bought a French magazine at the weekend

    La Revue

    link to esope-editions.com
    I was drawn by the headline on the cover page

    Israel: le pays qui avance sans but

    Israel- the country that advances but doesn’t know where it is headed.

    Includes a very smart reference to an old Jewish story related once by Freud. A man on a horse is riding very aimlessly. A man stops the rider and asks him where he is going and the rider responds with “ask the horse”.

    And that was the concluding point about Israel.

    The European elite are not going to buy YESHA= Israel. Forget it.

  12. Klaus Bloemker
    July 29, 2012, 5:11 pm

    “Governor, does Israel have a right to annex the West Bank?”

    That’s the wrong question. The question is not territory, the question is people.
    Thus, the right question is: ‘Governor, should Israel annex all Palestinians?’
    (Grant them full citizenship and equal rights in Israel.)

    • Theo
      July 31, 2012, 8:14 am

      Klaus

      You do not annex people, you annex territory!!
      You enslave, conquer or subjugate people on that annexed territory!
      As Israel is doing so nicely.

      By the way, I also walked down the Judengasse in Vienna and since then can understand yiddish. Do you think if I do it once more I can speak hebrew?

  13. seafoid
    July 29, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Did Romney bring any of his horses to Jerusalem , like Mohamed did ? I guess people in Jerusalem will remember Mohamed long after Romney is forgotten.

    • MRW
      August 1, 2012, 2:15 am

      Did Romney bring any of his horses to Jerusalem

      One is at the Olympics. Gets a $70,000/year tax write-off, too.

  14. Babylonian
    July 29, 2012, 8:05 pm

    His “note” was actually a check

    He figured since he was outside the United States, that it must be another opportunity to hide more of his wealth

  15. talknic
    July 30, 2012, 12:54 am

    Did Phil ask his questions before or after Romney met Peres? link to talknic.files.wordpress.com

  16. Ellen
    July 30, 2012, 5:47 am

    This is not exactly on topic, but in light of the renewed package of money package the US is sending to Israel,, I’d really like to hear from the Zionist supporters after listening to this talk from 20 years ago by an Israeli General who explains how destructive and pernicious US “help” is for the future of any Israeli State. I’d really like to understand why Israel continues to clamor for more and more money, when it appears to be destroying long term viable productivity and resources.

    (and fredblogs, before commenting, — if you dare — this time please look for your headphones or find find a computer with headphones.)

    link to m.youtube.com

  17. Mooser
    July 30, 2012, 10:49 am

    Without a doubt, Romney’s little missive said: “The Mormon religion is the One True Church” Wouldn’t it be hypocritical for him to say anything else? Unless it said “Two quarts low-fat and a pint sour cream, please”.

    • MRW
      August 1, 2012, 2:06 am

      “Two quarts low-fat and a pint sour cream, please” in Kolob, which is Mormon carob.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:27 pm

        Me, I don’t need angles with Golden Plates. I’m just hoping some Laminites will come and do over my kitchen cabinets or shower-stall.

  18. ahadhaadam
    July 30, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Phil, you could have been a bit more creative and used a tongue in cheek approach to mock the groveling of American politicians at the feet of the apartheid state of Israel:

    “Mr. Romney, since you said you would ask Netanyahu what to do with regards to Middle East policy, why not make a shortcut – will you let Mr. Netanyahu command the US military?”

    “Mr. Romney, would you double the military aid to Israel and provide free Kosher food for all Jews of the world when you are president?”

    “Mr. Romney, do you vow to exterminate all Palestinians or at least invade an Arab state or two of our choice?”

    if the answer is no to any of those, then accuse him of antisemitism and that he doesn’t love Israel enough.

  19. Sassan
    July 30, 2012, 3:31 pm

    It’s great to know that multiple posts of mine did not go through. The censorship on this site is ridiculous.

    • Mooser
      July 30, 2012, 7:51 pm

      “The censorship on this site is ridiculous”

      Your definition of “censorship” is ridiculous, Sassan. Try looking the word up in a dictionary. There is no censorship here, it isn’t possible.
      What happened is this: You submitted material (your ineffably ludicrous comments) to a privately-owned website, and this material was deemed not worthy of inclusion. Sorry, please try again, and all of us here at Mondoweiss will watch your future career with interest. I suggest you read what the popular comment authors of the day are writing, and submit something along those lines. And don’t forget to submit your comments to other websites. Persistence pays.
      Oh, that’s all right, Sassan, stop weeping and prostating yourself in gratitude, I give the same advice to all young aspiring commentarians. It’s a tough game, and you can’t expect instant success.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2012, 7:56 pm

        No, really Sassan, stop the prostating! It’s nasty, you know.

      • Blake
        July 31, 2012, 7:59 pm

        Keith Johnson has just done an interview with this Sassan character on uglytruth:
        link to theuglytruth.wordpress.com

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 5:27 am

        Blake, listened to part of it.
        Sassan, why are you atheist? Are you open to being agnostic? What is the big deal about Imam Ali coming back? I don’t get it.

      • anan
        August 1, 2012, 3:32 pm

        Blake that Keith Johnson is awful. The vicious anti Jewish lies and statements. Oh my God. Keith was claiming that Jews have a lot of influence over America and the world.

        This is 100% wrong. For example Jewish Americans are not as rich as many other American ethnic groups. For example one fifth of Indian Americans households are millionaires. Higher than the comparable number for Jewish Americans. Jews do not control America, wall street or any other important country. Jews rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Sassan, I don’t understand your problem with twelverism. What do you think of Ismaelis? Sunnis? Hindus? Buddhists?

        A lot of Hindus, Jains, Taoists, and Buddhists practice a type of religious spiritual atheism. [Not all, some.] Being deeply religious and spiritual while atheist is completely consistent in my view.

        Have you read the famous Sufi poets? In my view to read them is to be transported into the transcendental. You can enjoy them just as much as a practicing atheist.

        Is your atheism inspired by people such as the Hitch? [Long time fan of the Hitch.]

      • Shingo
        August 1, 2012, 6:15 pm

        This is 100% wrong. For example Jewish Americans are not as rich as many other American ethnic groups.

        You write the most infantile and assinine comments Anan. Which Jewish Americans and whoch ther American ethnic groups are you referring to?

        For example one fifth of Indian Americans households are millionaires.

        And how many of them appear in the Forbes too 400 list?

        Jews rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        What a stupid comment. That’s no different to saying that Jews suck.

      • Sassan
        August 1, 2012, 6:40 pm

        I have to read more Sufi poetry. And yes, I know I can enjoy them and feel “transcendental”. In fact, exploring the cosmos through my telescopes make me feel in a way “transcendental”. My favorite poet of all time is the late and magnificent Omar Khayyam.

      • Sassan
        August 2, 2012, 12:16 am

        My comment about my atheism for some reason not posted. I simply stated that I am atheist because I value reason and rationality through scientific evidence and beauty. And I love the Hitch and he is an inspiration to me but I have been an atheist since I was 16; therefore, while I have great admiration for Hitch (especially for his politics and moral stances) he did not make me become or influence me being atheist.

      • anan
        August 2, 2012, 1:03 am

        Sassan, please do read Sufi poems. Rumi. Mansur Al-Hallaj. The Christis. These are amazing reads. Read the stories of Ali and Fatima as recounted by the Sufis. Also read the Taoist poems and the Vedic Mahavakyas. When you read any of them, you are transported to joy and bliss. And I kid you not, it is really hard to tell them apart. Sometimes it feels like the same authors must have composed all of them. It seems like all religions share a common heart. And that all religions are love.

        There is a connection between Sufism and Judaism:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Do you mean the Omar Khayyam who died in 1131 AD. I haven’t read his writings. Maybe I should.

        “In fact, exploring the cosmos through my telescopes make me feel in a way “transcendental”.” Fascinating. And so true. Many of the ancient spiritualists also experienced the transcendent through the stars. This is why astrology with precise scientific and mathematical measurements is closely linked to many ancient religions.

        Look forward to continued dialogue with you Sassan. :-)

      • Shingo
        August 2, 2012, 4:57 am

        I simply stated that I am atheist because I value reason and rationality through scientific evidence and beauty.

        That’s odd, seeing as all you’ve displayed in your comments here and at Foreign Policy is anti intellectualism, irrational tribalism, biggotry, racism, Islamophobia, paranoia, uninformed hysteria, ignorance and deceipt.

      • Roya
        August 2, 2012, 7:04 am

        Sassan, having listened to bits of the interview it is crystal clear that you know absolutely nothing of post-1979 Israel-Iran relations and in the interview you even appear to be content with that ignorance. You referenced the Israel lobby though I doubt you know or care as an American what it has done to undermine American interests, and you’ve made it clear in your posts here that you couldn’t care less about Palestinians. So for now put aside what Israel has done to the Palestinians and to the U.S., and put your self-asserted Iranian “patriotism” to the test. Go to your nearest Barnes and Noble, grab a cappuccino, sit down and flip to page 280 of Walt and Mearsheimer’s book. Read on through to page 305. If afterwards you still have not realized that the Iranian government is not the biggest threat to the Iranian people, then I have nothing more to discuss with you.

      • Shingo
        August 2, 2012, 10:10 am

        Sassan, having listened to bits of the interview it is crystal clear that you know absolutely nothing of post-1979

        Nor does he know anything about fact that all US and Israeli intelligence agnecies agree Iran is not producing nukes.

        Go to your nearest Barnes and Noble, grab a cappuccino, sit down and flip to page 280 of Walt and Mearsheimer’s book. Read on through to page 305.

        If you listened to the interview Roya, you would have heard Sassan praise the Israeli Lobby for what it has achieved and is doing.

        What made me laugh was how Sassan kept harping about the Mullah’s not allowing true elections in Iran, while he fawned over the Shah, who also banned elections from taking place.

        There’s so many mind boggling statements he made, muich of which he has repeated here.

        On one hand, he says he doesn’t want a war against Iran, yet he claims that Iranians the world over say that Bush should have attacked Iran rather than Iraq. Needless to say, this is simply BS.

        Iranian dissidents don’t want war
        link to progressive.org

        The guy is simply an idiot.

      • Blake
        August 2, 2012, 1:41 pm

        Roya: Yeah I have wondered myself why he shows up here as he said there he only cares about Iran, not Palestine (Or even “Israel” supposedly). As for those beautiful things he goes on about about would like to know how those beautiful things came about and what are his thoughts on Zoroastrianism?

        By the way Sassan I can think of 2 comments of mine from yesterday that never saw the light of day. They are not picking on you as you seem to think.

      • Sassan
        August 2, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Of course I am against all religion as all religion is fundamentally irrational and causes divisiveness, but Zoroastrianism has some virtue to its tenets and is in fact an ingrained part of Iranian culture. For example, the farahvar is a symbol that Iranians of all strikes wear as a symbol of Iran and not just being Zoroastrian. The basic tenets of Zoroastrianism taught, “good deeds, good thoughts, good words” and was/is truly a religion of move love than bad (although it did create the polar opposites of good and evil or light and darkness). All our traditions and holidays (i.e. Persian New Years and esfande dood kardan) is ingrained in our culture from our Zoroastrian past. The latter being an incense that is burned for “good luck” to take away the “negative energy” or “dark eye”. But we are in the 21st century, not in the age of complete ignorance of the past. We can hold onto cultural traditions without the superstition. :)

      • piotr
        August 2, 2012, 10:42 pm

        It is OK to be atheist, at least here. Romney seems to suggests that it is not OK as it would lead to inferior culture and be detrimental to GNP/capita. There are more openly gay members of Congress than openly atheist or agnostic (it helps that you cannot be caught on being an atheist). But someone also named Sassan (but with a number) claimed that “twelverism” is a totalitarian ideology, while (a) the ruling ideology in Iran is more authoritarian than totalitarian, more importantly (b) many important clerics view Khomeini’s innovations as wrong, hence the current political structure of Iran has substantial Shia opposition. Moreover, the same Sassan claimed that most of the population in Iran is atheist, which I found simply dubious.

      • Blake
        August 3, 2012, 6:08 am

        I met a Zoroastrian (through a Kurdish Iraqi friend whose family were refugees in Iran – apparently there are thousands of them there), a beautiful person if ever there was one. They are very timid people without a vicious bone in their body. As for “good deeds, good thoughts, good words” you don’t put your money where your mouth is there sassan.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 11:40 am

        For the non Shia readers at Mondoweiss, “twelverism” is the largest subsect of Shia. Why are Shia “totalitarian”?

        “the ruling ideology in Iran is more authoritarian than totalitarian” To a point yes. However Khamenei has committed the blasphemy of Vilayat-e Faqih. Khamenei claims infallibility and absolute power in a way without precedent in Shia history since the 9th century AD. The sheer arrogance of it is mindbloggling. It is like any reader of Mondoweiss claiming to be a perfect follower of God and a perfect knower of HER (or HIS) WILL. And stating that every Shia in the world has to obey their every whim.

        “many important clerics view Khomeini’s innovations as wrong, hence the current political structure of Iran has substantial Shia opposition.”
        Darn straight. The entire Najaf Marjeya and at least 9 of the 11 Quom Marjas. Only one Marja to my knowledge in Quom other than Khamenei supports Khamenei’s blasphemy.

        This is why Sassan, I don’t understand why you and your friends don’t ally with religious Shia and the Marjas in going after Khamenei. After Khamenei is gone, then worry about the rest.

        “Moreover, the same Sassan claimed that most of the population in Iran is atheist, which I found simply dubious.” A majority are not atheist.

        However, piotr, anecdotally many Iranians, Iraqis and other people from muslim families are. Or they are agnostic, secular, or anti muslim “Koranists”. Not sure why. Some would say it is because religion and virtue is forced down young people’s necks and this causes rebellion. Maybe Sassan could share his thoughts on why.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:33 pm

        I’ve heard there’s a lot of dirty stuff in the Omar Khayamm! Anyway, that’s what Mrs. Shinn, the Mayor’s wife, told me.

      • Sassan
        August 3, 2012, 2:32 pm

        I never claimed that most of Iran is atheist. I stated that the majority of Iranians are “fake Muslims”, hence NOT RELIGIOUS. I never claimed and do not claim that the majority of the population inside of Iran is atheist.

      • Sassan
        August 3, 2012, 2:39 pm

        Anan, the majority of Iranians are not religious for two reasons. One of the reasons you highlighted was that it has been shoved down our throats for the last 30+ years and people are sick of it. The second is that our culture is pre-Islamic and we always valued being Iranian first and foremost before anything else. Therefore there are multiple factors involved; but it is VERY RARE to find a religious Iranian. Frankly stated, not many of them exist. In Iran they exist a bit more in the rural areas but in general, Iranians are not a religious people.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 3, 2012, 2:42 pm

        it is VERY RARE to find a religious Iranian. Frankly stated, not many of them exist.

        source?

        the majority of Iranians are “fake Muslims”

        words of wisdom complete bs.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 2:51 pm

        Annie Robbins, many religious Iranians exist. However a surprising number of Iranians are overtly very anti theist and anti religious. Sassan is clearly one of them. Atheist Iranians like him need to be respected and honored by all Iranians. The fact that not everyone in the Quom Marjeya does this is the very reason there are so many overtly and angry anti theist Iranians in the first place.

        Sassan, some of my responses to you regarding atheism, twelverism, Ali, Fatima and the great muslim prophets and saints were blocked by the moderators.

      • ColinWright
        August 3, 2012, 2:55 pm

        ‘ In Iran they exist a bit more in the rural areas but in general, Iranians are not a religious people.’

        This would explain why Iranians are to date the only Muslim nation to actually adopt an explicitly theocratic form of government.

      • anan
        August 3, 2012, 2:56 pm

        “the majority of Iranians are “fake Muslims”, hence NOT RELIGIOUS. I never claimed and do not claim that the majority of the population inside of Iran is atheist.”

        We agree on this. Can I ask you a question? Is there any part of the world where the general population isn’t “fake religious”? Religious hypocrisy seems to be a global problem.

        Maybe all of us should stop using the world “religious” and use the term “spiritual” instead since it carries less negative emotional baggage for most people.

      • Sassan
        August 3, 2012, 3:02 pm

        By FORCE and oppression.

      • Sassan
        August 3, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Anan, if you like email me from an email address I have ([email protected]) and from there let me know who you are and I will give you my information to my facebook account. From there we can communicate. I know how difficult things on here are.

      • Sassan
        August 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

        Annie, start to interact with Iranians in real life and see for yourself.

      • Blake
        August 3, 2012, 6:21 pm

        “wiseman”? These deluded souls sure are a hoot. Don’t let the door hit your huge ego on the way out.

        PS sASSan: I have interacted with many an Iranian from all backgrounds and trust me they are a lot more humble than you are and DO care about the Palestinian plight.

      • Shingo
        August 3, 2012, 8:52 pm

        However a surprising number of Iranians are overtly very anti theist and anti religious

        According to what source?

        Neither you nor Sassan appear capable of producing any statistics to that effect. Sassan seems to believe that becaue eh spent 8 months in Iran, he got meet every Iraninan.

      • Shingo
        August 3, 2012, 8:54 pm

        H Annie, start to interact with Iranians in real life and see for yourself.

        Specifically, the privelaged elite in Sassan’s circle who love dictators like the Shah.

      • Shingo
        August 3, 2012, 8:56 pm

        By FORCE and oppression.

        Which is precisely how the Shah ruled for 25 years, yet you have a man crush on him. Funny how you criticise the Mullahs for nto beign a democracy, but have no problem with the fact that the Shah was not democratically elected.

      • Sassan
        August 4, 2012, 1:43 am

        Ego? It was a random email address I created for RANDOM correspondence. Not my personal email addy. And BTW, I don’t have an ego at all. We are simply a speck of dust in the vast expanse of the cosmos. I see myself as literally nothing in the grand scheme of the universe. It is great that you can judge whom I am via an anonymous email address that I created.

      • Shingo
        August 4, 2012, 4:26 am

        And BTW, I don’t have an ego at all. We are simply a speck of dust in the vast expanse of the cosmos.

        Apart from the fact you consider yourself to be the ordained spokesman on behlaf of 80 million Iranians.

      • Blake
        August 5, 2012, 1:37 pm

        Oh Sassan we are not worthy. And on the point I made that Iranians do care about the Palestinian plight?

      • anan
        August 6, 2012, 8:33 pm

        Blake wrote: “Oh Sassan we are not worthy. And on the point I made that Iranians do care about the Palestinian plight?”

        Why don’t Iranians care about Palestinians?

    • Merk
      July 30, 2012, 8:27 pm

      it is a pretty sad place actually.

      • Cliff
        July 31, 2012, 7:30 am

        Not as sad as a passive-aggressive failure of a troll who is likely a MW past-reject.

      • Merk
        July 31, 2012, 9:50 pm

        why would someone come back to this rag of a blog?

      • Roya
        August 1, 2012, 1:52 am

        Mr. Murky why don’t you make your own blog instead of complaining about those that don’t share racist and apartheidophilic views?

      • eljay
        August 2, 2012, 8:02 am

        >> why would someone come back to this rag of a blog?

        Good question. Since joining MW one week ago (July 26), you’ve racked up 41 posts. Why do you keep coming back to this “rag of a blog”?

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:37 pm

        “why would someone come back to this rag of a blog?”

        Merk, why suffer a blog like this “rag of a blog” to live? Quick, go get a lighter and a can of gas, that’s it Merk, light it on fire! Burn, baby, burn!
        (Make sure to torch the archives, too)

        You Merk, want a blog just like the blog that married dear old Dad, and I honor you for it. Just watch that pyromania, baby.

    • piotr
      July 31, 2012, 2:57 am

      Sorry, Sassan, we have some limits here.

      We tolerate apostasy but not the wholesale defiance of one’s own heritage. For example, I was born Marxist and I moderately lapsed into being vaguely leftist. Didn’t you denounce “totalitarian twelver ideology”, even though some Twelver Grand Ayatollahs are actually pretty non-totalitarian? (It could be another Sassan, in which case disregard this comment.)

      • Roya
        July 31, 2012, 3:49 am

        (It could be another Sassan, in which case disregard this comment.)

        I can assure you it was the same one. He’s all over the web–at PBS, Yahoo, complaining about moderation at the Daily Beast, getting scolded at RaceForIran, and all of this I’ve just come across while casually minding my own business in the past week.

        Btw Sassan, I’m surprised you’re not drooling over Parsi now for last week’s article at Open Zion.

      • Sassan
        July 31, 2012, 3:09 pm

        I think you are mistaken Roya. Daily Beast doesn’t moderate or censor the posts. Race for Iran is on another hand a whole different story. They have self-proclaimed Basiji and Hizbolli operatives on that site.

      • Shingo
        July 31, 2012, 4:50 pm

        They have self-proclaimed Basiji and Hizbolli operatives on that site.

        Another lie, but that’s what one comes to expect from a dishonest MEK operative.

      • Sassan
        July 31, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Just go to the site and read the posts by “Bussed in Basiji” and “Unknown Unknowns”. Two individuals who openly claim to work within the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij.

      • Sassan
        July 31, 2012, 6:43 pm

        A person who calls someone else “dishonest” and then immediately claims the other person is “MEK”. Keep up the comedy show.

      • Roya
        July 31, 2012, 8:36 pm

        They have self-proclaimed Basiji and Hizbolli operatives on that site.

        Haha you’re funny. You weren’t complaining about Daily Beast moderation policies, you were at the Daily Beast complaining about another website’s moderation policies.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:43 pm

        Sassan, who’s your dentist? That is one glorious set of dentition you display in your gravatar.
        My God, has it come to this, sitting home coveting Graber’s hair and Sassan’s teeth? Lo, how the mitely have fallen.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 5:01 am

        “…We tolerate apostasy but not the wholesale defiance of one’s own heritage…”

        As far as I’m concerned, Sassan can defy anything he likes.

        However, is there any particular evidence that ‘Sassan’ is actually Iranian in the first place? He could well be — but on the other hand, a lot of hasbarines like to be ‘clever’ and pretend they’re Palestinians or whatever. ‘Sassan’ might just not be as obtusely obvious as the usual run of these.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:46 pm

        C,mon Colin, where the hell were you in the 60 and 70s that you don’t recognise Sassan’s gravatar picture? It’s a picture of the young Jimi Hendrix.
        Would have thought an old hippie like you would tumble to it right off.

    • ColinWright
      July 31, 2012, 3:22 am

      Considering how heavily I get censored on some sites (I can forget about getting a post on at Haaretz, for example), I have a hard time feeling sorry for you.

      Everything I’ve seen from you has been drivel anyway. I don’t see the loss.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:48 pm

        “I can forget about getting a post on at Haaretz, for example”

        Oy, I feel for you. It’s oppressive to know your life’s ambition will never be satisfied. Yet, somehow I feel you will power-through the pain, to live, fully live, again.

    • Cliff
      July 31, 2012, 7:33 am

      Who cares Sassan. Be thankful you are continued to be tolerated here. You are nothing but a racist and Islamophobic conspiracy theorist. Another example of MW’s Zionist quota.

      • AllenBee
        July 31, 2012, 8:54 am

        Sassan tracks to a location just outside Camp Pendleton.

      • Roya
        July 31, 2012, 11:31 am

        AllenBee how do you track people?

      • Cliff
        July 31, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Sounds like we have another Christian Zionist nutcase or just plain Zionist nutcase (no pulp) sock puppet.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 2:11 am

        AllenBee, I like your style.

      • Mooser
        August 3, 2012, 12:51 pm

        “AllenBee how do you track people?”

        I would guess by IP address. IINM, that gives the location of the user’s ISP, which may be near where they live.

      • seanmcbride
        August 2, 2012, 11:44 am

        For Sassan:

        article; TITLE Iranian dissidents say US/Israeli war on Iran would be tragedy for its democracy movement SUMMARY Human rights activists and civil society actors in Iran say a US/Israeli war would undermine the democracy movement and be an absolute tragedy undoing its hard work for reforms. URL link to stopwar.org.uk

  20. kapok
    July 30, 2012, 3:44 pm

    Wow! Our little mondo going mano a mano with your top lizards. Way2go Phil!

  21. james3
    July 30, 2012, 10:48 pm

    A refugee from Huffington. No matter how damning the evidence that America shares Mitt’s sins it’s impossible to pierce party politics where Israel is concerned. Israel is America and we are beholden to party politics.

    • Ranjit Suresh
      July 31, 2012, 12:20 am

      I daresay, a rather inscrutable comment.

      I’m more concerned with *tribal* politics than party politics, quite frankly. Tribalism was rational and appropriate in the Bronze Age.

      Today? It’s not even an anachronism. It’s an abomination.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:30 am

        Tribal politics I can forgive — whatever their pernicious effects.

        The problem comes when a power like the US decides to back one tribe.

        I imagine that if Israel had just been all on her lonesome for the last sixty years, that by now she’d have come to some sort of accommodation with the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors. It might not be a just accommodation — but Israel wouldn’t be in the news.

        We’ve created a massive power imbalance. The result has been massive and actively continuing injustice. Without us, it wouldn’t be possible.

      • MRW
        August 1, 2012, 2:09 am

        Wait until the American public wakes up. Ain’t going to be a pretty sight. But it’s happening.

      • MRW
        August 3, 2012, 1:59 pm

        Tribalism was rational and appropriate in the Bronze Age. Today? It’s not even an anachronism. It’s an abomination.

        Exactly. But how many even know what tribalism is? Definition is not perspective in this country.

  22. MRW
    August 1, 2012, 2:08 am

    Romney visits the Western Wall and Jon Stewart covers it:
    link to rawstory.com

    For you, Phil. Far away.

  23. piotr
    August 3, 2012, 1:02 am

    Actually, perhaps Romney is not that far from the truth. This is what Jon Stewart mocks: “Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers,”

    The context was a meeting with “some money-making motherfuckers” so indeed, Romney was “looking at the converse” at the time of making those remarks.

  24. smalltownman1905
    August 5, 2012, 5:41 pm

    How ironic and pity for those supporting blindly this lunatic Zionist ideology. No surprise just like any other US politician, now Romney bends over to Zionists. When a man kind will stand up against Zionist thugs?

    • anan
      August 6, 2012, 8:36 pm

      “smalltownman1905 says:
      August 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      How ironic and pity for those supporting blindly this lunatic Zionist ideology. No surprise just like any other US politician, now Romney bends over to Zionists. When a man kind will stand up against Zionist thugs?

      I think that Romney often supports the opposite of what he says. Does this mean that he is secretly pro Palestinian? Worth exploring.

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