Madrid Peace Conference Upstaged by Bush’s Call for More War

A Madrid Peace Conference, bringing together "unofficial" representatives of most Middle Eastern countries has been assembled over the last two days. Coverage of this "second track" effort to gin up momentum for dialogue has not been promising. The two Syrian unofficial representatives were Daoud Riyadi, who was deeply involved in past Israeli-Syrian negotiations, and Bushra Kanafani, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry. None of the regime heavy-weights were there. I had dinner with Imad Mustapha at his residence in Washington the day before yesterday and asked him whether he thought the Madrid exercise would lead to much. He knit his brows and hesitated, looking for the proper diplomatic turn of phrase to let me know that the Syrian government was not expecting much from the meeting. None of the major countries sent high level representatives. Moreover, President Bush's address on the troop surge and new Iraq policy completely upstaging Madrid. The president's message was more war not less, taking the wind out of whatever hopes one might have held out for Madrid. Here is the coverage of the Madrid Conference:

National Public Radio had a downbeat report on the Syrian representation. The Syria part goes as follows:

In the lobby of a fancy hotel in Madrid, Arabs and Israelis who took part in the talks 15 years ago greeted each other warmly, with smiles and laughs and even hugs and kisses.

Their personal relationships have survived, even flourished, despite the flaring hatreds between their peoples.

But two Syrians sitting at a table in the corner wanted nothing of the camaraderie. One was Syrian President Bashar Assad's legal adviser, Riad Daoudi. The other, Bushra Kanafani, is a foreign ministry spokeswoman.

"We are not here to hug the Israelis," Kanafani said. "Thanking them for the occupation of my own territories? Why should I do that?"

Syria demands return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 war.

None of the participants here — including two former Israeli intelligence chiefs — are officially representing their governments.

Still, Kanafani said Syria wants to renew peace talks.

"When the Israeli government decides that looking for peace is the best policy for Israel and the region, then we are going to welcome that and sit again together to talk peace," he said.

The Israeli government hasn't shown much interest in talking to Damascus after last summer's war against Syrian-backed Hezbollah. Some analysts wonder whether Assad is trying to distract attention from his government's alleged involvement in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

UPI addsBut while the 1991 event was sponsored by the Spanish government and involved all governments, the current conference is being staged by private peace foundations and none of the major players in the region have sent senior representatives.

At the opening session, there were repeated calls for an end to violence on all sides and for a greater involvement from the United Nations and the European Union but there were few concrete proposals.

The two-day conference opened with messages of support from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other leaders involved in past efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Click here to find out more!

"The convening of this conference 15 years later could not be more timely," wrote ex-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III in a message read to delegates. He said the current Madrid meeting "offers an opportunity to assist the possibility of moving forward toward Arab-Israeli conflict resolution."

Clinton's message stressed the new meeting showed that there was still hope for the future.

Later delegates broke away for closed-door meetings on bilateral issues such as Israel's relations with the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria. They were to a have closed door plenary session later in the day before attending an audience with King Juan Carlos at the Pardo Palace on Madrid's outskirts.

Spain sees the event as part of its efforts to restart what it sees as a seriously ailing peace process.

Haaretz: Syria diplomat: No preconditions to negotiations with Israel

JPost: Syria diplomat: No preconditions to negotiations with Israel

General articles on Syrian-Israeli Dialogue

US needs help of Syria and Iran, analysts in Middle East say: San Francisco Chronicle: An excellent article quoting a number of Syrian and Iraqi analysts on the Syrian-Iraqi relationship. A frew Iranians as well.
On the road to Damascus: By Elie Podeh
In an article in Haaretz ("Markers on the road to Damascus," Dec. 29, 2006), Itamar Rabinovich states that the Israeli government has two political options – progress along the Syrian track or progress along the Palestinian one – and that a discreet clarification with Syria would enable it to decide which option is preferable. In my view, progress along the Syrian track is in any case preferable to progress along the Palestinian one at this time, for several reasons.

First, the way things look today, the prospects for solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are not promising. The Palestinian political scene is in crisis. The Hamas government cannot control Palestinian society because of its struggle with Fatah, which is challenging its authority. The dispute between Hamas and Fatah is not just political; it is also ideological, touching on fundamental issues such as recognition of Israel and the willingness to negotiate openly with it. As long as Hamas – which represents at least 40 percent of the Palestinian electorate – refuses to negotiate with Israel, the chances of Israel conducting serious talks with the Palestinians are slim. Although Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying his best to convey a willingness to enter into a dialogue with Israel, apparently his ability to control and influence Palestinian society and politics is limited. Thus, it must be concluded that any political initiatives regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict might fail because of internal rivalries and rifts within the Palestinian camp – irrespective of the Israeli government's readiness to make concessions.

The second reason for preferring the Syrian track is the fact that a peace treaty with Damascus would help Israel deal more effectively with the heart of the problem: the conflict with the Palestinians. A treaty with Syria, which would likely lead to a major breakthrough in Israeli-Lebanese relations, would close the circle of Israel's conflict with its neighbors and help improve its relations with Arab states, in the outer circle. If that happens, the Palestinians would be isolated and, naturally, weaker, vis-a-vis Israel.

The third reason for preferring the Syrian track is that it would affect, directly or indirectly, Syria's relations with Iran and Hezbollah. Since Syria is a major player in the axis of radical states in the region, its removal or increased distance from it would necessarily weaken the axis. Some experts estimate that talks with Syria would not necessarily distance it from Iran or Hezbollah; however, practically speaking, it seems reasonable to assume that Syria's participation in diplomatic talks with Israel, European countries and perhaps even the United States would affect its relationship with Iran and Hezbollah.

The fourth reason for preferring the Syrian track is that a political solution vis-a-vis Syria appears less complicated than a political solution in the Palestinian track. Most of the components of a peace settlement were discussed in secret talks in the 1990s and only a few issues (the final boundaries of the Israeli withdrawal, the Sea of Galilee issue and the early-warning installations) have not yet been worked out. However, they can be solved with some creative thinking. A solution in the Palestinian track is more complex because of the refugee question, the Jerusalem problem and the need to contend with a tough ideological core of settlers.

To what extent is Syria prepared to dialogue with Israel? The signals Damascus is sending out apparently indicate a willingness to initiate dialogue. The motive behind this readiness might not be the "right one" – that is, a willingness to recognize Israel – and may rather be the need to deal with various challenges in the regional and international spheres. Nevertheless, the reasons that would bring Syria to the negotiating table are of interest to historians, not to decision-makers. The late Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, launched his peace initiative not because he recognized Zionist claims, but rather because of his domestic political and economic difficulties.

Like the talks with the Palestinians in the previous decade, the negotiations with Syria could collapse. However, if the Israeli government embarks on this dialogue with sufficient determination, and on the assumption that there really is a partner on the other side, the prospects of success exceed the risk.

The writer heads the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Comments (63)

John Kilian said:

I am not totally convinced that the recent saber rattling is completely anathema to diplomacy. The US wants to maintain its posture as a formidable military force with boots on the ground in the region. Coming to terms with Iran and Syria may not be achievable if these governments discount the determination of the President in the region.

The future nuclear threat posed by Iran does present a real reason to suspect that the military action in the offing could target Iranian targets. This week’s seizure of an Iranian consulate should put Tehran on notice of the low esteem the US holds for Iranian sovereignty. For a long time it has been known that antitank ordinance has been fabricated in Iran and delivered to Iraqi based forces. Evidence of this could be made public should the US wish to make a case for direct confrontation with Iran and/or Syria.

Escalation of hostilities are the order of the day, but maybe this will lead to a more meaningful dialog than the Iranians have been willing to entertain, especially with regard to its nuclear program. An alternative to Iran negotiating away its nuclear program might very well be a bombing raid of these facilities.

Diplomacy usually involves a fair bit of bluffing, but I am not sure that Syria and Iran are wise to meet the raise the US is putting on the table. President Clinton was willing to let North Korea aquire nuclear weapons, but this President Bush will not be so tolerant on his watch.

January 12th, 2007, 9:21 pm


Ehsani2 said:


You opening paragraph is spot on. So is the rest of your comment.

January 12th, 2007, 9:27 pm


Rancher said:

Syria will not “flip”, they are in bed with the Mullahs way too deep, IMHO.

January 12th, 2007, 10:31 pm


Rancher said:

Also the way things are now, should Assad negotiate a peace deal, even if it meant getting the Golan back, he would probably suffer the same fate as Sadat.

January 12th, 2007, 11:33 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

both Asad and Bush has one thing in common,they both are running out of time,
Asad played the lebanese card,thru HA and Nabih Barri,he is going no where,he tried to court the USA,he was ignored,he tried spain,italy,England,and germany,he did not get anywhere,he tried the Isreal card,even saying no preconditions to dialogue,he was refused,Putin of Russia did not help,he knows that his alliance with Iran will get him no where,since american troops are in Iraq,in between,some believe that he needs to open up to his people,and turn to democracy,not only the security people will not accept,but democratzation is a long process,it will require long time,he does not even has 1/4 of it,in addition that he usually take small steps at a time and go back and forth,hesitating,he must be frustrated by now.
I go to Syria every year stay there three months,this year I am afraid to go.

January 12th, 2007, 11:45 pm


Enlightened said:

John Kilan;

Dont you think that this upping the ante by Bush is possibly his last card? The news paper and media opinion here in australia is that this escalation is doomed to failure, furthermore the press coverage given here suggests that there is no bi partisan support in the congress for this strategy ( i watched the news last night and saw condi get hammered before that senate committee ).

Australian public opinion has turned quite sharply against the war and the current governments rating has taken a battering!

My personal opinion on the matter is that there is no easy way out, the force destined for baghdad to subdue the Mehdi army and the insurgents will meet with stiff resistance and it will be a blood bath!
Syria and Iran will simply meet this challenge with their support for the respective groups, the way i see it they simply have no choice!

January 13th, 2007, 12:38 am


ugarit said:

If I were Assad, and I’m not :-), I would declare to the world that I’m flying to Tel Aviv tomorrow and begin negotiations. ‘Arabism’ be damned. It’s time for this mess to be over.

January 13th, 2007, 12:48 am


norman said:

The conflict between Syria and Israel is not an emmotional one and the trip to Israel will be a waste of time and dignety ,when sadat went to Israel it after he crossed the suez Canal and proved Egypt abelity to fight and win wars ,Syria has to do that first to show Israel what it made of and that peace with Syria is worth the Golan.

January 13th, 2007, 2:32 am


Gibran said:

You have made a very intelligent and realistic assessment of Syrian situation. We must, therefore, make the obvious conclusion: A desperate regime driving Syrians to desperation.

January 13th, 2007, 3:02 am


Ghassan said:

Asad is a tough situation. One side is the tribunal for the assassination of Hariri and other politicians in Lebanon. On the other side, it is Syrian involvement in Iraq.

Sooner or later, the tribunal will be held and Asad (or may be lower level Syrians) will be prosecuted!

Sooner or later, the Iraqi civil war will spell over to Syria and you will have an armed Sunni willing to take the Alawite regime.

So what Asad is trying to do? Begging Israel to negotiate and will give Israel whatever it wants as long as the tribunal will not touch him. Also, begging the Americans to give him a face saving solution!

I don’t see anyone of the solutions will materialize. I think 2007 will be full of blood, war, coup and killing!

January 13th, 2007, 3:29 am


John Kilian said:

Enlightened said:(January 13th, 2007, 12:38 am #)

John Kilan;

Dont you think that this upping the ante by Bush is possibly his last card? The news paper and media opinion here in australia is that this escalation is doomed to failure, furthermore the press coverage given here suggests that there is no bi partisan support in the congress for this strategy

There is no place in our constitution that says a President needs bipartisan support for an executive decision. There is a clause that requires Congress to declare war, but since WWII the executive branch has skirted that requirement by sending troops without an out and out declaration of war. Korea, Vietnam and the last two Iraqi wars are all techically “police actions”. Congress has always passed resolutions seconding the President’s authority to deploy troops in these police actions, but no one knows what affect it would be for Congress to revoke their sanction since it has never happened. After Vietnam Congress passed the War Powers Act, requiring the President to seek reauthorization every 60 days, but no President has ever submitted to it, and the courts might strike it down as a violation of the constitution’s separation of powers, and so that would leave Congress with only two options:
1) cut off funding to forces deployed in the field, which is unprecedented OR
2) remove the President, which is also unprecedented, although Nixon would have been impeached and it would have occured during the Vietnam conflict had he not resigned.

I believe the only way you are going to see Bush’s authority in Iraq revoked under the US Constitution is when his final term expires at noon on 1/20/09 .

January 13th, 2007, 3:33 am


Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh’s Thread:

“Madrid Peace Conference Upstaged by Bush’s Call for More War”

Professor Josh,

When did President Bush call for “More War”?

January 13th, 2007, 3:48 am


ugarit said:

“How Republicans win if we lose in Iraq

Bush and the GOP are shifting tactics just like Nixon did with Vietnam — to win the next election, not the war.

IF YOU THINK the growing similarity between Iraq and Vietnam is tragic but inadvertent, you’re not being cynical enough……………”


January 13th, 2007, 4:02 am


Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit said:

“If I were Assad, and I’m not , I would declare to the world that I’m flying to Tel Aviv tomorrow and begin negotiations. ‘Arabism’ be damned. It’s time for this mess to be over.”

What mess?

January 13th, 2007, 4:06 am


ugarit said:

“The government [Iraqi] will be given sovereignty. Obviously, because a large foreign military presence will still be required, under U.S. command. Some would say well then you are not giving full sovereignty, but we are giving sovereignty, so that that sovereignty can be used to say: We invite you to remain. It is a sovereign decision.” — Colin Powell

January 13th, 2007, 4:15 am


Alex said:

تقرير في صحيفة السفير : أبواب دمشق مشرّعة أمام تحسين العلاقات مع الرياض

Apparently there are efforts to hold an Egyptian/Saudi/Syrian summit.

تميل مصادر دبلوماسية عربية في دمشق للاعتقاد أن قمة ثلاثية مصرية ـ سورية ـ سعودية، «ستشكل خطوة عملية نحو إيجاد حل للتأزم السياسي الحاصل في لبنان». وتقول لـ«السفير»، في محاولة لجمع المعطيات المتوافرة حول إمكان إحداث تحسن في العلاقات السورية ـ السعودية، والسورية ـ المصرية، إن المدخل لهذه القمة، كما النتيجة، مرتبطان بشكل أساسي بالملف اللبناني. وتشير المصادر نفسها الى أن «الأبواب مشرّعة» لتحسن في العلاقات السورية ـ السعودية، في ضوء سؤالها عن القمة الثلاثية الرائج الحديث عنها، والقائمة على سيناريو قمة مصرية ـ سورية، تتحول الى قمة ثلاثية باعتبار أن العلاقات السورية ـ المصرية لا تشهد الاحتقان ذاته الذي تشهده نظيرتها السعودية ـ السورية. وهو طرح لم يستبعده نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع خلال لقائه الاخير مع وسائل إعلامية عربية وأجنبية حين اعتبر أن كل «الاحتمالات واردة» لتحقيق تقارب بين الرياض ودمشق. وتذكّر هنا المصادر بتطورات العلاقات بين القاهرة ودمشق، حيث استمر «طرق الجليد» منذ آب العام الماضي، حين زار نائب وزير الخارجية فيصل مقداد العاصمة المصرية، ومن ثم قام مدير المخابرات المصرية عمر سليمان بزيارة دمشق في تشرين الاول (كان موضوعها فلسطينيا)، وعقدت اجتماعات اللجنة العليا السورية ـ المصرية في القاهرة برئاسة رئيسي وزراء البلدين، حيث سلم رئيس مجلس الوزراء السوري محمد ناجي العطري رسالة من الرئيس بشار الأسد إلى نظيره المصري حسني مبارك، وتسلم منه رسالة جوابية. وترى المصادر ذاتها أن العلاقات بين البلدين شرعت تنحو منحى إيجابيا، وأنها بانتظار خطوة كبيرة على مستوى القمة لم يتم الاتفاق عليها بعد، وإن كان سعي دبلوماسي دؤوب يجري باتجاهها، حيث تلفت هذه المصادر إلى مؤشر هام يتمثل في عودة التذكير المصري المتكرر بالملف السوري في موضوع السلام، ولا سيما الجولان المحتل، وهو ما يبدو استجابة، كما تؤكد مصادر منفصلة، لـ«عتب سوري عن تراجع الاهتمام المصري سابقا بطرح قضية الجولان في المحافل واللقاءات الدولية بما أوحى لدمشق بإهمالها مصريا». وتحرص المصادر الدبلوماسية العربية على الاشارة الى أن مصر تطالب، من جهتها، دمشق بخطوة ولو رمزية تجاه لبنان (بهدف تقوية الحجة الدبلوماسية المصرية لمساعدة سوريا) ولو أنها تتفهم قلق دمشق المشروع من وجود «مناخ سياسي معاد» لها في خاصرتها اليمنى، لم تتدخل بعض العواصم العربية لتبديده، ناهيك بالضغط الفرنسي ـ الأميركي المعطل لأي تقارب لبناني ـ عربي ـ دولي، مع دمشق. ومن هنا فإن ركيزة انطلاق عودة العلاقات السورية ـ السعودية، يجب أن تكون ركيزة مصرية ـ سورية، تشكل رافعة لتحسين أجواء العلاقات بين الرياض ودمشق، التي تشير مصادر دبلوماسية أخرى الى أنها تحركت وإن لم يكن بعيدا. وتقول المصادر العربية لـ«السفير» إن التعاون بين دمشق والرياض في ملفات ذات حساسية كبيرة ما زال ساريا وبنشاط، وإن لم يكن ظاهرا، إضافة إلى تمكن الساعين إلى تحسين العلاقة السعودية ـ السورية من فصل الملفات المتداخلة والمعقدة لوضع العلاقة الحالي، والمتدرجة، من العلاقات الثنائية البحتة إلى الملفات الإقليمية. وترى المصادر نفسها أن العمل في هذا الاتجاه يمكن أن يثمر في حال استمرت الروح الإيجابية التي عبر عنها الشرع في لقائه مع وسائل الإعلام، والتي تحدث فيها عن عمق العلاقات التاريخية بين البلدين وحجم التعاون القائم بينهما، وكان قد سبقه الى اطلاق كلام مماثل ايضا ولي العهد السعودي في الاسبوع الماضي. وحتى الآن، لا يستطيع احد، تحديد موعد لحدوث هذا الانفراج وتتويجه بقمة ثلاثية، خصوصا أن جانبا إقليميا من هذه العلاقة الثنائية يبقى مشرعا لكل التطورات، وهو الملف اللبناني، الذي ترى المصادر الدبلوماسية أنه «المبتدأ والخبر»، كونه يستطيع أن يكون مفتاح الانفراج، وأيضا نتيجة له. وتشرح المصادر أنه مثلما لا تستطيع سوريا أن تقبل بغير العلاقة الخصوصية بينها وبين لبنان، والتي تعني زوال التهديد الآتي اليها منه، فإن السعودية «تريد حدا سياسيا للنفوذ السوري» في الأراضي اللبنانية، وذلك في إطار قلقها المتزايد من النفوذ الإيراني أيضا. وفي الوقت الذي تنفي المصادر علمها بوجود اي نشاط دبلوماسي على هذا الصعيد، ترى أن الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية عمرو موسى يمكن أن يقوم بهذا الجهد، وأن يتحرك بفعالية اكبر على خط دمشق ـ الرياض ودمشق ـ القاهرة. ولعل المخرج يكون بقيام طائف ثان، برعاية جامعة الدول العربية، على اعتبار أن ما يجري في لبنان الآن، يمكن وصفه بـ«حرب اهلية باردة». على حد تعبير المصادر الدبلوماسية العربية نفسها.

January 13th, 2007, 7:47 am


aussamaa said:

Madrid Peace Confrence? Definitly within three years after the current US Administration leaves office and a new one comes in.

Current calls for a peace conference now are merely a smokescreen or a bone thrown to the “moderate” Arab regimes, to provide them with a face saving cover for the actions and roles requested from them by the US in its so-called “new” attempt to isolate the “rejectionists”.

It seems that the future of the Middleeast under this US administration is “destained” to be formulated through Fire and Blood only. This is the only Language offered to the people here, and it sure is a resiepe for a total disaster as in the past, with many sides ending up paying for Bush’s ego and visions.

Three actions only can check the Bush approach: A determined stand by Congress, a hold it Mr. Bush(you have led us down a blody loosing path) stand by primarily Egypt and Saudi (Europe and Russia supporting), or a strong counteraction in Iraq, Lebanon or Palestine that forces the Bush Administration to cease and desist. Otherwise, it is an escalating storm and a fire ball rolling from Iraq outwards.

Watch what happens in Lebanon, it may give some clues to the directions the different parties are heading.

But a Peace Conference? Not when your policy is still based on shock and awe.

January 13th, 2007, 9:13 am


Gibran said:

You’re quite right about Sunnis of Iraq enticing Syrian Sunnis to take on the ineffectual and unpopular Alawi regime. It is about time. I’m sure also the Syrian Sunnis and other opponents of the regime will receive tremendous Support from the vast majority of the Lebanese. It is only fair. You want to meddle in someone’s affairs you should expect similar treatment. I’m sure this is the general conviction among the Lebanese after the utter failure of so-called Lebanese opposition in its protests. The Arabs will also be happy to get rid of this scum of a band of thugs calling themselves rulers of Syria.

January 13th, 2007, 10:36 am


aussamaa said:

I just thought this a good article…

Weekend Edition
January 12 / 14, 2007

Surge and Mirrors
What Bush Really Said

Bush’s “surge” speech is a hoax, but members of Congress and media commentators are discussing the surge as if it were real.

I invite the reader to examine the speech. The “surge” content consists of nonsensical propagandistic statements. The real content of the speech is toward the end where Bush mentions Iran and Syria.

Bush makes it clear that success in Iraq does not depend on the surge. Rather, “Succeeding in Iraq . . . begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”

Bush asserts that “these two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.”

Bush’s assertions are propagandistic lies.

The Iraq insurgency is Sunni. Iran is Shi’ite. If Iran is supporting anyone in Iraq it is the Shi’ites, who have not been part of the insurgency. Indeed, the Sunni and Shi’ites are engaged in a civil war within Iraq.

Does any intelligent person really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to arm Iraqi Sunnis who are killing Iraqi Shi’ites allied with Iran? Does anyone really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to provide sanctuary for Iraqi Sunnis?

Bush can tell blatant propagandistic lies, because Congress and the American people don’t know enough facts to realize the absurdity of Bush’s assertions.

Why is Bush telling these lies? Here is the answer: Bush says, “We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

In those words, Bush states perfectly clearly that victory in Iraq requires US forces to attack Iran and Syria. Moreover, Bush says, “We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.”

What do two US aircraft carrier attack groups in the Persian Gulf have to do with a guerilla ground war in Iraq?

The “surge” is merely a tactic to buy time while war with Iran and Syria can be orchestrated. The neoconservative/Israeli cabal feared that the pressure that Congress, the public, and the American foreign policy establishment were putting on Bush to de-escalate in Iraq would terminate their plan to achieve hegemony in the Middle East.
Failure in Iraq would mean the end of the neoconservatives’ influence. It would be impossible to start a new war with Iran after losing the war in Iraq.

The neoconservatives and the right-wing Israeli government have clearly stated their plans to overthrow Muslim governments throughout the region and to deracinate Islam. These plans existed long before 9/11.

Near the end of his “surge” speech, Bush adopts the neoconservative program as US policy. The struggle, Bush says, echoing the neoconservatives and the Israeli right-wing, goes far beyond Iraq. “The challenge,” Bush says, is “playing out across the broader Middle East. . . . It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.”
America is pitted against “extremists” who “have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.” “The most realistic way to protect the American people,” Bush says, is “by advancing liberty across a troubled region.”

This, of course, is a massive duplicitous lie. We have brought no liberty to Iraq, but we have destroyed their way of life. Bush suggests that Muslims in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine are waiting and hoping for more invasions to free them of violence. Did Bush’s invasion free Iraq from violence or did it bring violence to Iraq?

It is extraordinary that anyone can listen to this blatant declaration of US aggression in the Middle East without demanding Bush’s immediate impeachment.

Republican US Senator Chuck Hagel declared Bush’s plan to be “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” In truth, it is far worse. It is naked aggression justified by transparent lies. No one has ever heard governments in Iraq, Syria, or Iran declare “their intention to destroy our way of life.” To the contrary, it is the United States and Israel that are trying to destroy the Muslim way of life.

The crystal clear truth is that fanatical neoconservatives and Israelis are using Bush to commit the United States to a catastrophic course.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

January 13th, 2007, 11:57 am


Ford Prefect said:

Good article and thanks for sharing. While attacks on Syria and Iran are one plausible scenario for what the neocons promote as “ensuring U.S. global dominance and radically altering the Middle East to ensure a narrow vision of Israel’s security”, I offer another scenario which might be playing behind the scenes.

Often when heightened threats of war and punitive activities are mentioned – along with rhetoric of increased hostilities, the backdrop of this public circus could be secret negotiations and back door deals. Recall the Iranian hostage crisis at the end of Carter’s term. While threats were flying high, negotiations were well underway and a deal was cut – saving American and Iranian faces.

Of course, I am just theorizing here, but one should look at some indictors around:
1. The rise of the Realists and the decline of the neo-Zionist within the US Administration. (It is noticeable that a backroom realist cabinet composed of Baker et al is at work in Texas – with Negroponte at State’s #2 as one accomplishment.)
2. The 2006 November elections and the impeding Presidential elections where the Republican are not keen into another 50/50 probability of succeeding.
3. The Democratic Congress might not cut funding to add the additional expedition, but can pass a resolution insisting on troops readiness – thereby stalling the additional troops deployment.
4. Bush’s speech, while full of media sound bites of war and revenge, is actually the most sober and pragmatic speech he has ever given. Iran was mentioned 6 times, and Syria only twice. Admitting errors in Iraq is a first, and that is a clear indication of tone and attitude softening.
5. The prelude for attacks on Iran was done last summer in Lebanon: the destruction of Hizbollah and the resulting collapse of the Syrian government. With the demise of that reckless adventure, planners have concluded that the West and even Israel do not have the moral extensions needed for another military operation.

I believe the days of massive fireballs, shock and awe, and imbedded journalist have gone into remission for the time being with the conclusion of the July’s aggression on Lebanon. Waking up Iran at this juncture – Iran can actually unleash a wave of terror in the region unlike anything seen thus far – isn’t going to be a smart idea for Republicans – thus their broad resentment to any further escalation. All eyes are now on finding face-saving exists so Rove and the defeat-averse Republicans can focus on the 2008 Presidential elections.

January 13th, 2007, 12:55 pm


Saladin said:

Mardrid Conference.
completely meaningless and holds no value.

Asad the first worked out a deal. Asad the 2nd will work out another deal. govnts are not keen on entering a war. Israel is rethinking strategy after last summer’s failure to achieve objectives. I think Asad can get the Golan militarily with little Israeli resistance if he tried. Israeli political force is hollow and the cracks are beginning to show. US assertion of strength is clear indication of desperate attempt to mean or stand for something. once that finally continues to descend into failure. Israel better start running into the sea or Pharoe land. MB would take them in with open arms. 😉
AP, i would start packing if i were you.

January 13th, 2007, 1:01 pm


t_desco said:

All you need to know about Wayne Madsen:

“His work, frequently citing unnamed intelligence agency insiders, includes the claim that the USS Cole bombing was carried out by an Israeli submarine firing a cruise missile.”

Case closed.

Regarding the Hariri case, Al-Akhbar had a nice summary of… other wild and implausible rumors yesterday.

The Khaled Taha – al-Qa’ida cell link is included in the list. A good reminder that it is just that: a rumor.

Ford Prefect, I hope you are right, but I don’t see any signs of negotiations. Keep in mind that this administration has a very strange and hostile attitude towards diplomacy. I do hope, however, that the adults will be able to stop the clown show (in Brad DeLong’s terminology).

In the meantime:

– USS Stennis to deploy on Tuesday.
USS Reagan soon to deploy to the western Pacific (just the aircraft carrier, not the strike group).
– Boxer ESG to “remain in the gulf for up to 60 additional days”.
– What will happen in March/April when it is time to relieve the Eisenhower? Will another carrier strike group be sent to the region?

– After a hiatus of several years, the US has resumed F-16 training flights at Incirlik Air Base:

“Sources told The New Anatolian that a group of warplanes that took off from Germany’s Spangdahlem airbase under U.S. Air Command in Europe landed at Incirlik Airbase on Tuesday. A total of 250 personnel responsible for land services also came along with 16 warplanes.

The planes will reportedly leave after taking part in training flights for three weeks before other planes come from U.S. airbases in Aviano, Italy and Lakenheat in Britain.”

“U.S. officials said Friday there was no immediate plan to strike targets in Iran, but they also would not rule out military action.”

“A recent series of American raids against Iranians in Iraq was authorized under an order that President Bush decided to issue several months ago to undertake a broad military offensive against Iranian operatives in the country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.”

“Pentagon sources tell CBS News the U.S. military has planned covert cross-border raids into Iran — but so far none has been approved.”
CBS News

January 13th, 2007, 5:43 pm


Alex said:

Between the very pessimistic views of PCR and the more hopeful ones from FP, unfortunately I find myself closer to seeing more wars and more foolish pride and escalation of commitment replacing logical analysis as the real decision making mechanism in Washington today.

FP, you are a logical man who is an outsider … president Bush is a Texan with severely damaged pride listening to advisers who are trying to expose him to logical arguments … his escalation of commitment was very typical reaction for a risk taker personality, read the article I linked above if you like.

January 13th, 2007, 6:13 pm


aussamaa said:

A bit too late for all that. Is it not?

And do you think anyone who wants to “hit” Iran will take the risk of sending not ONE, but Two Carrier Battle Groups into the narrow Gulf. Where they can be “stuck” if something went wrong, which is a likely scenario? The two groups can operate as effectively from the safety of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean if they wanted, couldn’t they? And if the US needed landing strips they have tens of them from Kuwait all the way to Oman.

What is the word for all this? Empty postouring? Bluffing? Or a real willingliness to get baptized by fire again? Trying to revive the “fear” of adopting the shock and awe approach once again I think, but No One seems to be buying it this time. Notice how Russia, Eroupe, China, Japan and the rest are silent. Heck, Najad is feeling so comfortable as to go on a tour of the Americas while all this is going on! Would the interested parties be so silent if they “really thought” POTUS is “realy going for it”? With all that OIl at risk, and with little dear Israel to pay heavily for any miscalculation after it was forced/cajuled into the Lebanese trap last July. In my humble book, It reads: No Go. Anywhere!!!

It appears as Bush thinks he is playing “chicken”, while everyone else is laughing and saying: WE know you are bluffing!!!

Actually, it takes one to know one, and we in the Arab world have written the book on what is called (Tafnees).


January 13th, 2007, 6:30 pm


aussamaa said:


Nice article. Still, he is only pluffing. He does not have the resources, he can not afford the risk, and he is not brave enough to make the needed sacrifices when it comes to it. That is why he went in with fewer troops than needed in the first round. And his main problem is that he does not know how people here think, act and react.

Incidently, I do not think Bush is a full blooded Texan, I read somewhere that they are from New Jersy. Texans anyway are good gamblers. Not just risk takers. I wish he was one. Then he would have known when to hold up and when to fold up, and when to run….

January 13th, 2007, 6:45 pm


Alex said:


I agree that there is also the possibility he is bluffing. But the problem is, many of their decisions and actions in the past were equally illogical and I was tempted to concluded “they must be bluffing” … yet they did it.

So by now, I do not discount the possibility they will do foolish things, although I hope like you do that they are bluffing this time.

Don’t forget that there are some real US interests to protect after the major damage that inflicted America’s image in the world after its serious failure in Iraq.

Despite all our problems with the Americans these days, it is in everyone’s interest for America not to be totally defeated at the end of this episode. The role the Untied states plays in the world requires a respectable and strong America.

We have to work harder to find president Bush an acceptable formula for him to be able to work with the Syrians (then maybe even the Iranians)

I believe it starts from an agreement between the Saudis and the Syrians .. if Saudi Arabia can accept to reduce its ambitious plans for Lebanon and Syria back to the way they were during Hafez Assad’s time, then a Syrian Saudi agreement can translate to an American Syrian dialogue.

Until that happens, prince Bandar is working hard, and successfully, to prevent American Syrian dialog from starting.

January 13th, 2007, 8:12 pm


Craig said:

US needs help of Syria and Iran, analysts in Middle East say

That’s in the “Things that just make you say WTF!?” category, right?

With analysts like that, who needs idiots? Yeah, lets ask for help from people who want to kill us. Brilliant.

January 13th, 2007, 8:53 pm


3antar said:

Syria and Iran don’t want to kill you.
Do you see any Syrian or Iranian war ships in the Gulf of Mexico or has Iran and Syria sent 20000 troops recently over to North America? who wants to kill who?

January 13th, 2007, 9:05 pm


Ehsani2 said:

The source is quesionable of course……

January 13th, 2007, 11:02 pm


Ehsani2 said:

President George W. Bush acknowledged
that Iraq is more unstable now than when the late Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein was in power, according to excerpts from the CBS
program “60 Minutes” e-mailed to reporters by the network.
“Well, no question, decisions have made things unstable,”
Bush said in the interview recorded yesterday at the presidential
retreat at Camp David, Maryland. “I think history is going to
look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better.
No question about it.”
Bush, in what may be a final opportunity to salvage his
strategy in an increasingly unpopular and costly war, announced
on Jan. 10 that he is deploying 20,000 additional soldiers and
Marines to join the 132,000 U.S. military personnel already in
Iraq. More than 3,000 U.S. troops have been killed since the
start of the war in 2003.
The new troops will assist Iraqi forces in gaining control
of the areas of Baghdad that are torn by fighting between Shiite
and Sunni Muslims and in the fight against the al-Qaeda terrorist
stronghold in Anbar province in western Iraq. Bush told CBS the
violence in Iraq “could lead to attacks here in America.”

`Debt of Gratitude’

Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq, saying the U.S.
“liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people
owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe
most Iraqis express that.”
“Envision a world in which Saddam Hussein was rushing for a
nuclear weapon to compete against Iran,” Bush said.
One of the justifications for invading Iraq was that Saddam
Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction. No chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons were later found, and the country
descended into what critics such as former United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, a
potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, have
characterized as a civil war.
“We didn’t find the weapons we thought we would find or the
weapons everybody thought he had,” Bush said. “But he was a
significant source of instability.”
Bush also told CBS that the execution of the former Iraqi
leader was mishandled. Images from a mobile-phone camera showed
Hussein being taunted before he was hanged.
“I thought it was discouraging,” said Bush, who saw only
part of it on the Internet because he didn’t want to watch
Hussein drop through the trap door, CBS reported. “It’s
important that that chapter of Iraqi history be closed. They
could have handled it a lot better.”

January 13th, 2007, 11:52 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Condy Rice visit to the middle east,is intended to get money from the gulf states,and KSA,to fund american troops surge,telling them a big lie, that their regimes are in danger,the fact that their regimes are in danger if they go against the wishes of their people,what those leaders aught to tell Rice that america and Isreal financial siege on Hamas,and Isreal continuous attack(war) on palastinian leaders are acctually staging war on all arab,and that dividing the arab to moderate and extremist is wrong.moderate means submit to isreal and america wishes,and extremist means resisting american and isreali hegemony

January 14th, 2007, 12:20 am


Ford Prefect said:

Alex, I see you point and I hope you are wrong (for the first time!) about war predictions. Aussamaa’s analysis is more in line with my thinking; this time, and as they say in Texas “dogs that bark seldom bite,” the rubber-stamp congress is gone and there are new realities on the ground in the US: a runaway deficits, sky-rocketing health care costs, and an acute mistrust of all branches of government. My Congressman’s office is reporting that they are flooded with calls and letters from unhappy constituents on issues ranging from education to deficits. As a US voter I am keeping notes, so are all of my colleagues, neighbors, and communities across the US – war, all of the sudden is no longer appealing, and real lives are being lost needlessly. My prediction on this latest escalation is that it is “bluffing 101”.

Aussama, you are correct, the Bush family was imported to Texas from Connecticut, where Prescot Bush (W’s grandfather) served on as Connecticut’s Senator. Oil was the business that attracted the Bushes to Texas. So, yes, they are not full-blooded Texans! This reminds of a story that happened to me last year in Houston. I wanted to buy Joseph Wilson’s “The Politics of Truth” book, which I truly enjoyed, as a gift to one of my dear Iraqi friends who lived in Houston. I stopped by Barnes and Noble across from Houston’s Galleria mall and to my surprise, the book was not on the “Hot Sellers” table. I located one of the clerks and inquired about the book. She led me (she was pretty, so I didn’t mind the effort!) to the back of the store where copies of the book were stacked against the back wall. She told me that since Bush Sr. lives just down the street, such a book isn’t really a good seller and Barnes and Nobles usually respects the communities they serve! Thanking her, I picked up three copies, laid two of them prominently on the hot seller table at the front of the store, and paid for third one. I left the store with a sense of joy of having done something worthwhile in Houston!

T_Desco, I hope I am right – my leading indicators tell me so. But of course, clowns are clowns – espcially when they clown around.

Alex, again I hear you and it is hard to put down your argument; but this time, these boots aren’t made for walking!

January 14th, 2007, 12:57 am


Craig said:


Syria and Iran don’t want to kill you.

Give it a rest. Iran declared war on the US in 1979. Just last year, Ahmadinejad announced a plan to defeat the “Anglo-Saxon” world at an international conference. Iran already has the blood of hundreds of Americans on it’s hands. Give me a fucking break. Are you really that stupid, or do you think I am?

January 14th, 2007, 12:59 am


Craig said:

US: a runaway deficits, sky-rocketing health care costs, and an acute mistrust of all branches of government.

Really!? What year is it, 1979?

What planet are you folks living on?

Who is worse in this comment thread, the liars or the people who live in lala land?

Will somebody PLEASE start a blog that talks honestly about REAL ISSUES and REAL PROBLEMS in the middle east, instead of all these 47,000 agenda driven bullshit blogs?

Fucking hell. Is that that fucking hard? What did you daddy’s spend 300,000 sending you to college for?

I envision most of you working for the UN in about a dozen years. Oh, what a wonderful world we live in.

January 14th, 2007, 1:04 am


Ford Prefect said:

Craig, I wanted to comment on your latest posting, but I decided to count to 10 instead.

January 14th, 2007, 1:06 am


Alex said:

Craig, you think you understand the Middle East?


I hope I am wrong. Don’t forget I am not sure they are not bluffing. I am just worried they are not bluffing.

If you want a more positive scenario from me (since it is all probabilistic at this point),

here is one:

I think there might be a chance that Syria and the US have agreed indirectly to work “together” yet indirectly in Iraq … Syria’s carrots will not come fromt the US, which will continue to officially boycott Syria, but from local US Arab allies… the visits of the IRaqi and Palestinian presidents to Damascus tomorrow and Monday are indications. The news that there might be an Egyptian/Syria/Saudi summit coupled with the calming of the opposition in Lebanon might indicate a Syrian saudi deal through which Lebanon will go back under Syrian co-management with Saudi Arabia.

January 14th, 2007, 1:38 am


Alex said:

Craig, Here is an example of how wrong American mideast policy has gone.

Do you know what that gentleman that Condoleezza is smiling with stands for?

January 14th, 2007, 1:55 am


norman said:

Alex , Is that Leiberman the racist from Israel beitona .?.

January 14th, 2007, 2:25 am


Alex said:

Yes Norman, it is Leiberman.

January 14th, 2007, 2:35 am


norman said:

Things in the midleast are as they seem ,The US is having more troops and Aircraft cariers using Iraq as an excuse to prepare an attack at Iran and Syria with help from Israel before the end of President Bush’s term ,Syria and Iran will propably make America’s life in Iraq a living hell to avoid direct confrontation ,One side benifit could be that the Shiia and the sunni will unite against the US occupation forces.the summer is going to be hot.

January 14th, 2007, 2:39 am


majedkhaldoun said:

certainly,they are not bluffing,they are stupid, but they will attack.

January 14th, 2007, 2:59 am


3antar said:

i optimistically reckon they’re bluffing. The US is up s**t creek. the only reason they are still hanging on in Iraq is thanks to the Shiia tolerance for them. they know very well that starting on Iran is gonna unleash on them endless suicide attacks and retaliations. they wont be able to keep a single US interest site protected.

As for that craig, i think he mistakenly trampled on the wrong blog. you wana find yourself a kinda blog. your not gonn find any anti-middleeastern rhetoric around here my friend. you will only get yourself more wound up reading comments here.

January 14th, 2007, 3:16 am


majedkhaldoun said:

next election,is going to bring more democrat to the senate,and the president will be democrat,so,this is the last chance for the neo-conservative(zionist driven),to cause trouble to the middle east,they are people who hate the arab,and musslems,they are defeated,in Iraq,and in USA, revenge,bitterness,hate is what boil their blood,they are hyperventilating,about to have a seizure,they lost all rational,they are insane.

January 14th, 2007, 3:34 am


norman said:

Majed , Don’t be so sure about the democrats ,Kerry introduced the Syria accountabelity act ,we Arab look always for a new American adminstration that will be more pro international law and rights ,only to be disapointed American policy does not change significantly as long as The Arabs do not get envolved to change it , 1973 was the only time the American policy was shaken after the oil embargo and King Faisal paied by his life for that , At this time Syria is better off making freinds with nonarab state as they are more dependable and indipendent from American influance.

January 14th, 2007, 4:10 am


sam said:

Craig, the U.S. govt. is the reason Saddam had chemical weapons, and used them on the Iranians. The US has the dirtiest bloody hands of them all!

January 14th, 2007, 4:30 am


sam said:

On a different note, imagine how different the Mid East would be now, if the Islamic Revo was 2 years late. The US was going to build the Shaw a Nuke reactor, and procurment of new F-16.

January 14th, 2007, 4:36 am


aussamaa said:


Are TALBANI and ABBAS going to Damascus on their own, or are they advised/encouraged to do it by the Bush Admin which I doubt? And why NOW? When Condie is trying to consolidate the ranks of the axis-of-good? Strange!!!!

If they had come on their own, they will leave a “little” happier than when they arrived, with promises of things to come,that is. If they are “sent” by the Bush team, they will leave empty handed and Damascus will await the real Boss to make a move on his own. I do not see Damascus offering free meals to anyone right now. Worse yet, if they cary a “tough message” message from Bush and a “brotherly advice” to Damascus, an action which I doubt that they will fall for , they will leave very very upset. Damascus is hearing it on the radio from Bush directly, so what are they adding?

Now if they have come on their own, that means that they, and their local supporters, see little hope in Bush’s new approach which is scaring them into taking some intiative into thier own hands before the stuff hits the fan. Let us first see if Abbas comes at all in the end (and notice how nice he is being to Syria by saying that he is coming to meet Khalid Mishaal NOT the Syrian Leadership, in other words, he means Syria is not the bad guy who is instigating the actions of Hamas).

Incidently, How long has Vice President Al Shara’ been at his job??? Mind you, he has seen it all. And now that push has come to shove, let us see who will out fox who.


It is not only guess work. It is simple math in a way. A risk taker or not, Israel’s interests or not, big egos or not, still power, even super-power has its limits. And the current super-power is stretched to its limits now and lacking the necessary home support also. And it is a little misleading to think that the Pentagon has gone crazy too. While I am no military expert (and nevermind how EXPERT military experts’ opinion has proved to be during the past few yeras), yet, what I am saying is that the Bush Admin does not have the “military means” and the resolve to carry out and sustain the consequences of what Bush threatens. If 150,000 troops could not do it in demoralised, sanctions-exhusted, Saddam’s Iraq, can 20,000 more thousands, or a hundred thousands more really get any better results against Iran, or Syria and Iran, or Iran and Syria and Hamas, and Hizbullah, and God knows who else…?

The numbers just do not add up.

And you are absolutely right; someone has also to find a “nice” way out for the US not Bush. But who? That is the cost of the once-celebrated unipolar world. That is when the “rest of the world” has become an adversary (in one way or another) not split between allies and adversaries as it used to be.

January 14th, 2007, 7:44 am


aussamaa said:

Even the die-hards at the Washington Institute For Near East policy have their own doubts:

PolicyWatch #1181
Key Trends to Watch in Iraq

By Jeffrey White
December 28, 2006

The situation in Iraq is not only violent, it is confusing, even for those watching it closely. Dramatic events, searing images, and daily pronouncements by policymakers contribute to a sense of chaos. Nevertheless, some events are more important than others—with trends in events being especially important. Such trends, or indicators, can provide a sense of the direction in which the situation is headed, and the effectiveness of U.S. or Iraqi approaches to the conflict.

U.S. Will

Without doubt this is a key—perhaps the key—trend. Popular support for the war, as measured in public opinion polls and the past election, is declining. The will of the policymaking community in Washington also matters. It is here where ideas are generated, plans proposed, and proposals vetted. But the will of this community also appears in decline. Most—but fortunately not all—of the discussion in Washington now focuses on how to get out of Iraq, not on how to win in Iraq. There is a dynamic between the popular will and the will of the policymakers, and for now this dynamic is producing an overall decline in support for the war in Iraq.

Iraqi Political Culture

This is perhaps the second-most important variable. What is important is whether this culture is becoming more or less conducive to cooperation among different Iraqi groups. Arguably, the political process in Iraq has increased conflict among the various parties and factions rather than reduced it. The creation of the Iraqi constitution and the formation of the government have not resolved the most critical issue in Iraqi politics: the absence of any grand political agreement among the key players on the nature of the state and how it should be governed. Lacking this “grand” agreement, Iraqi politicians have been reduced to using souk-type bargains, threats, and violence to advance their political ambitions.

U.S. Military Capabilities

Despite everything, the U.S. military remains the single most powerful player in Iraq. It checks the insurgency, reigns in the militias, trains the Iraqis, watches the borders, and constrains the squabbling Iraqi politicians. Its presence and demonstrated capabilities serve as a governing force in what would otherwise be a completely out-of-control situation. That is why decisions about the numbers, composition, and missions of U.S. forces are so important. American forces, in fact, now have three major missions in Iraq: (1) suppress, or at least contain, the insurgency; (2) deter the militias; and (3) train the Iraqi Security Forces. Conducting all three missions—with the militia and training aspects growing, and without an increase in the level of forces—is a challenge. The risk is that, in attempting so much, all three missions will not be accomplished.

Iraqi Capabilities

This indicator has three dimensions: (1) the trend in the Iraqi government’s ability to govern, not just at the national level, but at the provincial and local levels; (2) the ability of the government to provide services (such as power, water, and transportation); (3) and, most importantly, the ability of the government to provide security for the people. The government’s capability in these areas varies widely across the country, with the Kurdish areas being best on all three fronts, the center largely in disarray, and the south reflecting a patchwork of local and provincial capabilities. Critically absent is the government’s capability to provide security in any area where either insurgent or militia elements are active. There are some areas in the north and south that do enjoy a measure of security, but that is because the political contests have been settled, or are at least dormant, and the insurgents are not active. Even in relatively quiet areas of the south, there is a violent subsurface—and, sometimes, above-the-surface—struggle among Shiite political factions, as was recently witnessed in the Maysan province with the outbreak of clashes between the Badr organization and the Mahdi Army. In some of the more bitterly contested areas of Iraq—such as Baghdad and the Diyala province—government security forces have become partisans in the fighting.

Insurgent and Militia Capabilities

In opposition to the U.S. and Iraqi government forces stand the Sunni insurgents and the Shiite militias. Insurgent capabilities appear to have remained essentially steady, with most of the increased levels of violence coming from Shiite militias and the so-called death squads. Nevertheless, the Sunni insurgents have made some gains in capabilities and were able to surge for a Ramadan offensive. Militia capabilities appear to be improving over time. In particular, the Mahdi Army has become better organized, better armed, and perhaps somewhat more tactically proficient.

Outside Players

Iran and Syria remain the two external actors with the most capacity to affect the situation. So far they have both used this capacity against U.S. interests and objectives in Iraq. Syria provides important assistance to the Sunni insurgents—including a safe haven for insurgent leaders and their families, financial services, and transportation routes for foreign fighters. Iran is providing arms, money, and training to Shiite elements, including the Mahdi Army. It is the primary source of expertise and materials for the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) employing explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), which are capable of defeating the armor of the most heavily protected coalition vehicles. Both Syria and Iran have the capacity to dramatically increase their involvement if they so choose. Should either decide to become more active against the United States, this could make the situation much more difficult, and Iran could probably make it unbearable.


An important variable in the situation is the relative adaptability, or agility, of the competitors. In this area it appears that the United States is at a disadvantage. Both Sunnis and Shiites have proven more agile than the United States in their ability to adapt to the changing environment rapidly and successfully. Sunni insurgents, tribal leaders, and politicians have all found ways, if not to regain power, at least to remain influential. The insurgents themselves have adapted at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels, and have been remarkably successful in frustrating the United States, limiting the ability of the Iraqi government to govern, and hobbling the economic reconstruction process. Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army have transitioned from open warfare against the coalition to arguably the most important Shiite faction, while enhancing their military capabilities. In the meantime, the United States has remained wedded to a barely functional political process, an uninspired military operational concept, and the chimera of capable Iraqi Security Forces. The United States waltzes while the Iraqis breakdance.

The Violence System

The murderous security environment that pervades Baghdad, the center of the country, and even some areas of the south, is the artifact of Iraqi political actors and their supporters in and outside of Iraq. Their actions and interactions constitute a now well-developed and continuously evolving violence system. The challenge is far greater than conveyed by the concept of the “cycle-of-violence” currently in vogue among analysts and pundits. The violence system is complex, with many actors and processes, and is densely interconnected and self-sustaining, drawing its energy from multiple sources. The trend in the violence system is toward greater, not lesser, violence. Iraq has fallen into a near-perfect manifestation of the Hobbesian state of “all against all.” Remove or weaken the governing force of the United States, and the upward trend in violence will accelerate.


No one has written the algorithm or formula for solving Iraq, but these are some of the key trends to watch as the situation progresses. Because Iraq is complex, it is necessary to look at more than a few of these trends to get a sense of the situation’s overall direction. For now, this direction is negative. Unfortunately for the United States, its ability to change this direction is limited because of a history of lost time, inadequate resources, mistaken diagnoses, and an unwillingness to confront harsh realities. Perhaps that is changing now, but the United States is behind, deep in the second half of the game.

Jeffrey White is the Berrie defense fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of Iraq and the Levant, and a former Middle East intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has written extensively and appeared frequently in the media as a commentator on Operation Iraqi Freedom and postwar Iraq.

January 14th, 2007, 8:13 am


Dameem said:

People, you tend to forget the actual reason why President Bush attacked Iraq, God told him so. I mean why would most Americans vote for such a president? Two reasons I think:

1. Most Americans votes actually didn’t control whether he gets elected or not.
2. They agree with his policies, regardless of his personality (Really, his foreign policy?)

I can visualize It now If things get really bad: “Don’t blame me for attacking Iraq and Afghanistan, blame the high force that told me, God”
(A young boys perspective)

January 14th, 2007, 9:15 am


3antar said:

well, Dameem, you’ve just hit on something that’s been on my mind for a while now. And i would appreciate it if Joshua and others in this blog could shed some light on it if they feel like it.
Does the american opinion or vote make any difference?
if it does, then does it mean that most of american public who voted for G W Bush, strictly the second time, prove that most of them are 1- blood thirsty and agree with the foreign policy. or 2- stupid, in denial, and easily swayed by the media. Many American citizens who were voting against Bush were mind boggled and crushed when they found out that Bush was back in for a second term. As if to them, its clear now that he should have been replaced for obviously being the wrong guy for the job.
From the little exposure i’ve had to the American electoral system and the way it operates, what i could make out at the time was that its structured in a way that peoples votes dont directly or necessarily reflect the result of the election. its possible to win the election without the majority vote. In time, this was confirmed to me by amricans i have met. they gave different reasons for it but thats not important here. funnily enough, some of those very people that confirmed to me the previous point told me that then voted Bush in the last election. now should someone in my position take a disapproving stand on such decision ? or let it pass as their vote probably wouldnt have made any difference anyway?

BTW, yust saw “Good Night and Good Luck” last night. thought it was so relevant for today.

January 14th, 2007, 10:55 am


3antar said:

البيت الأبيض ينفي وجود خطط لشن حرب على إيران أو سوري

January 14th, 2007, 11:09 am


Dubai Jazz said:

67% of the American people are against troops surge in Iraq.
One caricature sarcastically highlighted Bush’s new Iraq strategy:

Surge troops by 20,000 —-> claim that new plan requires two years —-> leave office —-> blame it on successor.

Dr. Landis, I found Thomas Friedman’s stance on dialogue with Syria changing a bit. He used to be a fan of the opening of such dialogue, but in his recent articles in NY. Times he sounded a bit resentful of the fact that Bush’s arm is being twisted toward taking some serious diplomatic initiatives. I can’t but recall how Friedman has supported the war on Iraq.
Are we facing an impasse here? Is the next American war in the ME inevitable? The whole picture looks hairy…

January 14th, 2007, 12:24 pm


RoxieAmerica said:

Actually the entire Middle East is a tinderbox waiting for a spark. Unless all forms of extremism are denounced it is simply a question of time before the fire begins to spread.

Of course, Israel may save the whole Middle East. If Israel does indeed use tactical nuclear weapons to end the Iranian nuclear program, the entire world will unite to disarm Israel. It is one thing to have such weapons, it is another to actually use those weapons. It would be a project that would unify the entire Middle East.

January 14th, 2007, 1:15 pm


Alex said:


Again I agree with your “simple math”, but as Robert Fisk wrote, leaders of strong nations do make simple math mistakes. President Bush made a huge mistake already (The Iraq war). My personality analysis of the man tells me that he will be stuck with one remedy for his initial mistake .. keep escalating his commitment.

the extra marine presence in the waters of teh area are either intended for backup in case Israel decided to deliver a one day strike at Iranian targets, or are there for the bluffing scenario, or the president wants to keep getting closer to annoying Iran with actions like the one his troops did at the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq this week… hoping that IRan will make a big mistake and retaliate by hitting and killing American soldiers .. then he can get the American people, enough congressmen, and journalists to support his retaliation against Iran … he probably would love to do it. HOw do you think he feels when he has to listen to the Iranian president’s irritating statements?

January 14th, 2007, 6:31 pm


Ford Prefect said:

3antar and Dameem,
I have been a DNC voter and volunteer for 20 years. I have voted in local and national elections consistently and found it to be rewarding more often than not. Is the voting public stupid or is it misguided? These two questions were addressed by many experts, but, in general, I feel that voters are knowledgeable and do make a difference. Noam Chomsky, for example, calls certain actions of governments a way to a “manufactured consent”. Mention 9/11, terrorism, and Saddam in the same sentence repeatedly and often in the wake of a national calamity and you get yourself a manufactured consenting public. The American public and its representative, to be accurate, did want to take revenge and felt that Afghanistan was not enough and was too easy. I am not condoning this feeling, but I know it was there – the general consensus in the US was let’s “clean up” the rats’ nest of the Middle East and let’s get it over. After all, they consensus claimed, how can peace be established with people like Saddam in power – even if he signed a peace treaty with Israel? Why Iraq is a question for another discussion, but the fatal attraction of Iraq cannot be ignored: A country sitting on the second largest known oil reserve (113B barrels – Saudi Arabia has twice as much!), a nice tyrant for a target, on the border of the Iranian enemy, and of course has the potential of threatening Israel and the “moderate” Arab regimes. Further, the country is so weak; it can barely stand on its own, let alone gives the invading forces any meaningful resistances. Even Kuwait could have easily invaded Iraq.

The moral divine guidance is not to be ignored either. Evangelical Christians truly believed that Iraqis needed spiritual guidance and were helpless in an Islamic tyranny. After the fall of Baghdad, along with many of suppliers, contractors, and fortune hunters came the evangelists complete with bibles in hand and millions of donated money. Evangelists reported back to their churches in the US mass conversion to Christianity in the Shia slums and the south of Iraq.

The marriage of the neocons (Wolfowitz, Libby, Pearl, etc.), the ultra aggressive Nationalists (Cheney, Rumsfeld), and the Christian Right (Reed, Robertson, etc.) was made in heaven. The events of 9/11 managed to coalesce otherwise converging objectives into a homogeneous collection of “must do acts of leading and changing the World.”

But America is blessed with a self-correcting voting public. The November elections proved the impossible – to the utter shock of many on the inside and the outside of the government. While it is hard for me to say, it is true: the Democrats did not win as much as the right wing of the hijacked GOP lost. And lose big they did. Even the right-wing, anti gay marriage Christians were disenchanted with the Iraq war, the series of scandals and corruption events, and of course the runaway spending of the government. Hence, the agenda-less Democrats win. I am a believer that policies have reached the fringes of extremism and now the pendulum is swinging back to the center – at least in the US.

January 14th, 2007, 6:45 pm


Gibran said:

Experts draw scenarios for US strikes against Iranian Nukes:

دبي- حيان نيوف

إذا كانت إيران في المرحلة الأخيرة لإنتاج القنبلة النووية كما زعمت مؤخرا صحيفة “لوس أنجليس تايمز” الأمريكية، فهل استعدادات الولايات المتحدة في مياه الخليج هي الأخيرة قبل شن ضربة على منشآت إيران النووية؟.

وبالرغم من إعلان الولايات المتحدة عن قرب دخول حاملة طائرات أمريكية جديدة لمياه الخليج، لزمت الحكومة الإيرانية الصمت ، وهذا ما فسره مراقبون بأنها لا تأخذ التهديدات الأمريكية على محمل الجد، رغم تحذيرات خبراء وباحثين إيرانيين من ضربة أمريكية باتت وشيكة على المنشآت النووية في بلادهم.

وفي خطوة عسكرية بارزة ، نقلت أنظار الخبراء حول العالم نحو إيران، أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أنها تنوي تعزيز وجودها الجوي والبحري في منطفة الخليج من خلال إرسال حاملة الطائرات “يو اس اس جون سي. ستينيس” لتنضم الى حاملة الطائرات “يو اس اس دوايت دي. ايزنهاور”، كما سينشر في المنطقة فوجا من الدفاع الجوي مجهز بصواريخ مضادة للصواريخ من طراز باتريوت، وستكون المرة الأولى التي تنشر فيها واشنطن مجموعتين (جو-بحر) في المنطقةمنذ غزو العراق.

وكانت حاملة الطائرات ايزنهاور قد وصلت الى داخل مياه الخليج العربي في 11 ديسمبر/كانون الاول الماضي وعلى متنها 6500 بحار وجندي مصحوبة بعدد من المدمرات والغواصات الهجومية.

ضربة استباقية

وعلى الضفة الأخرى للخليج، لزمت إيران الصمت في إشارة إلى أن النظام الإيراني “لا يهتم ولا يكترث تجاه ما تقوم به واشنطن في مياه الخليج لا بل تعتقد إيران أن واشنطن فشلت في العراق ولذلك خططت لزيادة العدد في العراق ، وستكون مضطرة في النهاية للجلوس على مائدة المفاوضات معها “، كما يقول الخبير والباحث الإيراني د. ما شاء الله شمس الواعظين .

لكن رؤية الخبراء في مراكز الأبحاث الإيرانية تختلف عن الرؤية الرسمية. يقول الباحث شمس الواعظين، مستشار مركز الشرق الأوسط للدراسات الاستراتيجية بطهران، لـ”العربية.نت”: مراكز الدراسات والنخب السياسية الإيرانية ترى في هذا النشاط الأمريكي، وتحديدا نشر صواريخ مضادة للصواريخ أي نظام باتريوت في المنطقة، مؤشرا لعمل ما ستقوم به واشنطن ضد إيران فما يتعلق بملفها النووي أي توجيه ضربات استباقية لها وأخذ المبادرة المسبقة من أي رد فعل إيراني ضد القواعد العسكرية في دول الخليج.

ويعتقد الخبراء والباحثون الإيرانيون- بحسب شمس الواعظين- أن واشنطن ستشن عمليات محدودة من حيث ضرب المنشآت النووية وسترد إيران عليها مع استبعاد الحرب الشاملة كما حصل في العراق.

ويوضح: ستكون حربا تكتيكية، وترد إيران على مصادر النيران أو القواعد التي تشن العمليات ، وربما نقلت الولايات المتحدة حاملاتها لمياه الخليج لأنها لم تنجح بإقناع الدول الخليجية باستخدام أراضيها لشن هجمات ضد طهران فالعلاقات الإيرانية الخليجية وخاصة في الجانب الأمني جيدة.

معرفة نووية ؟

ويكشف شمس الواعظين أن طهران باتت تملك “المعرفة النووية وهذا أهم شئ من المنظور الاستراتيجي بالنسبة لها”، ويضيف:” وبصرف النظر على صعوبة ضربة المنشآت نظرا لانتشارها في مناطق مختلفة، فإنه في حال ضربت هذه المنشآت سوف يتم بناء منشآت أخرى سرا طالما المعرفة النووية الموجودة”.

يذكر أن صحيفة “لوس انجليس تايمز” أجرت تحقيقا على مدى ثلاثة اشهر، اعتمادا على تقارير سرية وتصريحات مسؤولين دوليين وخبراء مستقلين ومنفيين ايرانيين ومصادر استخباراتية في اوروبا والشرق الاوسط، “كشف عن أدلة قوية على ان مشروع ايران النووي التجاري يخفي وراءه خطة تهدف الى جعل ايران القوة النووية المقبلة في العالم”، بحسب الشرق الأوسط اللندنية.

ومن هذه الأدلة ” يشير تقرير سري اعدته الحكومة الفرنسية في مايو (آيار) الماضي الى ان ايران اصبحت على نحو مفاجئ قاب قوسين او ادنى من الحصول على يورانيوم مخصب او بلوتونيوم لاستخدامه في انتاج قنبلة نووية”.

وبخصوص ضرب المنشآت الإيرانية، قالت الصحيفة : التخلص من البنية التحتية النووية لإيران سيكون عملية صعبة بسبب توزيع المنشآت النووية على مواقع متعددة في البلاد فيما لا تزال منشآت نووية اخرى صغيرة خاضعة لاجراءات سرية صارمة، فضلا عن ان هناك منشأة نووية واحدة على الاقل شيدت على اساس تصميم يقاوم الضربات الجوية التقليدية.

ويلفت الباحث الإيراني شمس الواعظين إلى أن واشنطن عندما تصل إلى طريق مسدود في مكان ما فإنها تقدم على نقل الصراع إلى مكان آخر “كما فعلت مع أفغانستان عندما لم تنحل الأمور كما تشاء هناك نقلت الصراع إلى العراق، وهي الآن تنقل الصراع من العراق إلى إيران”.

ويتفق كل من شمس الواعظين والخبير السياسي الآخر حسن هاشميان على أن إيران سوف تستعد لكل الاحتمالات رغم أن الموقف الرسمي لا يزال يعتبر التحركات الأمريكية للضغط على طهران فقط. ويتوقع هاشميان أن تجري طهران مناوارات عسكرية في مياه الخليج ردا على نشر حاملات الطائرات الأمريكية.

حاملات نووية

وفيما يتعلق بحاملات الطائرات الأمريكية في مياه الخليج، كان الصحافي ميسم الأنباري، من مجلة آراء حول الخليج الصادرة عن مركز الخليج للأبحاث، على متن حاملة الطائرات إيزنهاور، وزوّد “العربية.نت” بمعلومات مثيرة.

وقال الأنباري لـ”العربية.نت”: دخلت معها بحر العرب والخليج ورست قرب البحرين لأن الأسطول الخامس هناك. لقد سمحوا لنا برؤية الاسلحة التقليدية ولم يسمحوا لما برؤية الأسلحة النووية ولا مفاعلها الذي تسير عليه. ولكن أخبرنا جندي أمريكي أن توجد أسلحة نووية على متن حاملة الطائرات.

ونقل الأنباري عن الأدميرال ألين جي مايرز، قائد الحاملة والسفن التابعة لها، قوله “الهدف من وجودنا في الخليج العربي هو إسناد قوات التحالف في العراق ومراقبة أمن المياه لمنع أي عمليات إرهابية أو من يخرق القوانين الدولية وجعل المياه آمنة للتجارة لما لذلك من أهمية على الاقتصاد العالمي”، نافياً أن يكون وجودهم متعلقاً بالدرجة الأساسية بالأزمة مع إيران حول ملفها النووي”.

وعند السؤال عن قدرة الحاملة والسفن التابعة لها على التصدي لأي هجوم صاروخي إيراني عليها خاصة بما يعرف بصواريخ تعمل كـ (توربيدو) التي ادعى الإيرانيون بأنه لا يمكن رصدها، نفى مايرز علمه بوجود هكذا صواريخ لدى إيران، كما أكد على قدرة الحاملة على الرد السريع والتصدي لأي هجوم إيراني مفترض.

وأما الكابتن دان كلويد، قبطان السفينة، فقال إن” مهامنا بالإضافة إلى حماية أمن المياه والعمليات ضد أي خطر إرهابي في المياه، القيام بإسناد قوات التحالف في كل من العراق وأفغانستان حيث كانت المهام في بحر العرب باتجاه أفغانستان فيما انتقلت إلى العراق مع دخول حاملة الطائرات الخليج العربي”.

أيزنهاور .. جيش عائم

وتعتبر دوايت دي آيزنهاور ثالث حاملة طائرات تعمل بالطاقة النووية ودخلت عقب غزو العراق الكويت في العام 1990 كأول حاملة طائرات تقوم بعمليات مستمرة في البحر الأحمر، ودخلت أيزنهاور الخليج العربي في 26 سبتمبر 1991 لدعم قوات التحالف في عملية (عاصفة الصحراء) ضد الجيش العراقي لتعود بعدها إلى مرفأ السفن التابع للبحرية الأمريكية في نورفولك لإجراء عمليات صيانة وتعديلات ومن ثم العودة إلى الأسطول في نوفمبر 1993. وعادت مؤخرا إلى مياه الخليج.

ويوجد على متنها حوالي 5 آلاف شخص بين ضابط طيار وبحري وبحار، وتتميز بأن 70 في المائة من طاقمها العامل بأعمار بين 18 إلى 22 عاماً.

ومن الطائرات التي تحملها: أف 18 من طراز هورنيت و سوبر هورنيت، طائرتان إي (2 سي هوك آي) ومهمتها الإنذار المبكر والقيادة والسيطرة للقوة الضاربة لمجموعة حاملة الطائرات،طائرتان (إي أي براولر) لتوفير الحماية للطائرات المقاتلة،. وتحتوي على مستشفى بخمسين سريراً.

وبحسب ميسم الأنباري فإن هذه الحاملة يمكنها إطلاق بين دقيقة وأخرى طائرة وتستقبل كل نصف دقيقة طائرة.

وأما الحاملة “يو اس اس جون سي. ستينيس” فتعمل بالدفع النووي وتتألف من 8 إلى 9 مقاتلات من نوع :هورنت، برولر،فايكينغ،سيهوك، هوكاي. وهذه الطائرات يمكن أن تدمر طائرات مقاتلة أخرة إضافة إلى السفن والأهداف الأرضية. وتعمل حاملة الطائرات على مفاعلين نويين ( الدفع النووي) وهو ما يزيد من طاقتها وسرعتها التي تصل إلى 56 كم في الساعة.

ولديها أسلحة دفاعية مثل صاروخ “ريم 7 سي سبارو” للمسافات القصيرة وأنظمة “رام” لإطلاق صاروخ أرض جو ونظام فلانكس المضادر لصواريخ كروز وأنظمة الكترونية أخرى. وتحمل سبع سفن حربية وغواصتين.

ويمكن للطائرات التي على متنها مثل “اف 18 هورنيت” و”اف 14 تومكات” الطيران لمسافات اطول قبل القاء القنابل. وعلى متنها مستشفى بمخزون المضادات الحيوية، بما في ذلك “سيبرو”، ومضادات السموم، تحسبا لأي هجوم يستخدم فيه الانثراكس (الجمرة الخبيثة) او غاز الاعصاب.

January 14th, 2007, 6:59 pm


Ford Prefect said:

I’d have to agree with 3ntaar’s simple but rational math again: we are not having a war or an attack on any one anytime soon. The adventurism of the Administration has ebbed and ended and Bush is just looking for a way out. I will stick to my previous theory that the “surge” events are covering more intense and secret “way-out” negotiations. Ironically, the interests of Iran and the US are converging nicely in Iraq: they both want an end to the unpredictable events in Iraq soon. Iran already won in Iraq and an increasingly instable Iraq is counter productive if not a direct threat to their windfall win. So in a sense I see both parties looking for the Exit sign. Would Iranian leaders give concessions regarding their nuclear ambitions? Sure they would provided they get in return a flexible civilian nuclear program and an end to the sanctions, in return for providing for a stable Iraq. Practically speaking, there is little the US can do now to keep Iran from pursuing a civilian nuclear program.

The advice that has been widely circulating since the ISG Report came out is now being implemented. Bush has already expended all the capital he earned after 9/11 and he is now pursuing the Vietnam-era mantra: If you can’t win, just don’t loose and pass the problem over to your successor.

January 14th, 2007, 7:08 pm


Akbar Palace said:

RoxieAmerica said:

“If Israel does indeed use tactical nuclear weapons to end the Iranian nuclear program, the entire world will unite to disarm Israel.”

What is more likely is the UN will do it with American pressure. Remember Saddam?

In that case, what will the “entire world” do?

January 14th, 2007, 7:45 pm


Alex said:


I respect your opinion (and Aussamaa’s) as the more probable outcome at this point. But I still think that the start of an armed conflict based on miscalculations and/or foolish pride is always a possibility … just look at every country that decided to get into a conflict that they eventually lost … they always start with a combination of:

1) we’re stronger and bigger than our enemy.
2) we are on the side of good … our enemy is evil.
3) we have no other option … we are forced to do it because of the actions of the enemy.

History is full of these, no?

Let’s ask Joshua what he thinks.

January 14th, 2007, 9:06 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Craig –

Welcome to the forum of “The Absurd”!

As 3ANTAR said, “Syria and Iran don’t want to kill you”.

And if you believe that BS, I’ll tell you another story.

The Arab terrorist apologists on this forum want you to believe that Syria, Iran and their terrorist puppets don’t want to harm anyone except those pesky Joos. Then, while they’re telling you this, they bomb your cities.

So while our terrorist sympathizer editor, Professor Josh tells you about “Bush’s Call for More War”, we wonder why Professor Josh isn’t discussing Syria’s main ally:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “We Will Soon Experience A World Without The United States And Zionism.” AHMADINEJAD: “Undoubtedly, I say that this slogan and goal is achievable, and with the support and power of God, we will soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism and will breathe in the brilliant time of Islamic sovereignty over today’s world.” (Iran’s President Warns Muslims Of ‘Conspiracies Of World Imperialism,’ Available At:, Accessed 10/26/05)”

January 15th, 2007, 2:50 am


ugarit said:


Welcome to this forum where you will have the opportunity to acquire facts that are quite rare in the American mean-stream-press. Discard most of what you have “learned” in the US because most of it is propaganda in support of US and Israeli aggression.

Ignore Akbar Palace. He won’t teach you much since his vocabulary consists only of some undefined concept called “terrorism”.

We all hope that you will learn something here.

January 15th, 2007, 3:33 am


Dameem said:

Ford Prefect said: (January 14th, 2007, 6:45 pm

“how can peace be established with people like Saddam in power – even if he signed a peace treaty with Israel?”
“The moral divine guidance is not to be ignored either. Evangelical Christians truly believed that Iraqis needed spiritual guidance and were helpless in an Islamic tyranny.”

I’m not farsighted enough to answer those questions, but I think according to the current situation, both statements might be considered false and unrealistic.

BTW, Just saw “The Illusionist” and thought it was relevant for today. Why, well, because In both situations you get the feeling “what the hell is happening in this world”
(A young boys perspective)

January 15th, 2007, 7:44 am


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