Aleppo Has Reassured Despots That They Can Get Away with Anything

Dec. 22 2016

Terry Glavin assesses the most recent round of carnage in Syria:

All over the world, every tin-pot tyrant has learned the Syrian lesson. You can get away with it. A United Nations commission of inquiry can declare you guilty of undertaking “a state policy of extermination of the civilian population” of your country, and you can laugh it off, and for any of these “abominable” crimes to be headed off in the dark years to come, the rest of us are going to need to stop telling ourselves comforting lies about “Western intervention.” Entire political careers and the most stellar reputations in journalism have been built around these tawdry, self-exculpating deceptions. They may be ineradicable, but some honest effort should be put into enumerating them and rooting them out. . . .

Oh, but Syria. Fiendishly complicated, [they tell us]. No good guys, and “there’s nothing we could have done” now substitutes for “there’s nothing we can do.” The “we” in that lie is always intended to mean “the Americans.” The record of lost American opportunities and unmade decisions speaks loudly enough for itself.

A no-fly zone before the Russians got involved. Accelerated arming of patriotic and democratic rebel groups instead of letting freelance Gulf-state Islamists fill the blanks. A swift and punishing rain of drone strikes after Assad crossed Obama’s professed “red line” on the use of poison gas. Supplying the early Free Syrian Army units with anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down Assad’s barrel bombers. A green light to the CIA’s proposed long-game overthrow of the Assad regime. No, Obama said. No. I’m smarter than everyone here. . .

It was never about what the United States could have done. It was about what President Obama would not do, and he would not do anything to upset the Khomeinists in Tehran. Hurt their feelings enough and they’d pull Iran out of Obama’s “legacy” foreign policy of nuclear rapprochement. The whole thing has been a failure, from beginning to end.

Read more at Maclean’s

More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy

The State Department Seems to Be Covering Up Palestinian Incitement

July 26 2017

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on global terrorism in the year 2016, and, for apparently the tenth consecutive year, the report defended the Palestinian Authority in language identical or nearly identical to that used in years before. For example, the 2016 report notes that “The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” That same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013. Similar repetition of language from those years and years earlier can be found across the report.

What’s going on? “Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence,” Rafael Medoff writes, quoting the former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker:

[According to Baker], State Department officials seem to be “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant,” instead of objectively assessing the PA’s most recent behavior.

Baker said that not only has the PA failed to take “significant steps” against incitement, but “the opposite is the case—their own actions, statements and publications, naming streets and squares after terrorists, formally paying fees to terrorist families, all point to a distinctive step backward in violation of Palestinian commitments pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

The result, Baker said, is that “the Palestinians see it as a license to continue and as support for their struggle. If the State Department closes a blind eye, this is tantamount to giving a green light.”

[According to a second Israeli diplomat], the State Department slants its reports about the PA because the department “fears that its own words will be used to buttress congressional efforts to cut aid to the PA. . . . ”

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, State Department