Prince Bandar Allegedly Advocating Military Response Against Iran

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Rihab Massoud.jpg
(Close aide to Saudi National Security Advisor Bandar bin Sultan, Rihab Massoud)
The escalating tension between Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the current Saudi National Security Advisor and former Saudi Ambassador to the United States, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, who only this this week resigned his position as Saudi Ambassador in Washington, is taking some new and disturbing turns.
An Associated Press story written by Cairo-based correspondent Salah Nasrawi cites a Saudi official as saying that:

Many in the royal family concluded that if he stayed longer, things might even get worse.

While the AP story cites only one official with “close working ties with the Saudi Foreign Ministry,” the comment sounds seriously at odds with the reports that TWN has received from dozens of Saudi commentators within and around the Saudi royal family and foreign ministry.
What is clear from reports is that while King Abdullah did not stop an escalation in tensions between Bandar and Turki, no one pushed Turki to leave or resign. In fact, the King expected Prince Turki to find his own way of dealing with Bandar and his staff — not to resign. If anything, Turki’s resignation forces the King to find a way to reconnect Turki and his clan of brothers back to the regent and will probably cause damage to Bandar’s loftier ambitions.
Four current Saudi Foreign Ministry officials and one royal family member report to TWN that the “likely source” for Nasrawi’s article and the negative commentary about Prince Turki is allegedly Rihab Massoud, a close aide of Prince Bandar who served as Charge d’Affaires in the Saudi Embassy in Washington during Bandar’s tenure and frequent absences and who — while formally a Foreign Ministry official — is now on leave to serve as Bandar’s “No. 2” in his National Security Advisor office.
Massoud is considered by many to be the person who has played the most active role animating and driving the escalating war between Prince Turki and Prince Bandar. One person called Massoud Bandar’s “Rasputin”. Another called Massoud a “flamboyant, mean-spirited vassal of Bandar” who has tried to maintain power and status through obsequiousness to Cheney and his team.
Sources also confirm to TWN that Ambassador Turki’s decision to resign not only had to do with his refusal to tolerate the unprofessionalism of Bandar and Massoud — but with the signals that Bandar and Massoud have sent to Cheney, David Addington and others on Cheney’s national security staff that Saudi Arabia would “acquiesce to, accept, and not interfere with” American military action against Iran.
While reports of how far Bandar has gone in supporting Cheney’s desire for military action vary, insiders report that Bandar has “essentially assured” the Vice President that Saudi Arabia could be moved to accept and possibly support American military action against Iran. Another source reports to TWN that Bandar himself strongly supports Cheney’s views of a military response to Iran.
This is the core of the deep divide between Prince Turki and Bandar — which is also a divide between Foreign Minister Saud and Bandar as well.
The tension is about Iran and how to contain Iran. While Bandar and Rihab Massoud allegedly have affirmed Cheney’s views and are perceived to be Bush administration sycophants, Turki was charting a more realist course for Saudi interests and advising the White House to develop more serious, constructive strategies toward the region that would produce stability and not lead to “a terrorist super-highway stretching from Iran through Iraq and rushing through Syria and Jordan to the edge of Israel” — as one source stated to TWN.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

98 comments on “Prince Bandar Allegedly Advocating Military Response Against Iran

  1. tower defense says:

    I want the Tribulation to commence pronto, followed by Rapture, then Armageddon, so Our Lord Jesus Christ can Come again to enchain Satan and peace will reign for a thousand years. Praise the Lord, for God wills it as written by the prophets. Our current world must be torn asunder so that the thousand year Rule of Our Lord Jesus Christ can be imposed.

    Reply

  2. miera says:

    great now the world is going to end!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  3. William Simpson says:

    For those watching Saudi Arabia and who might be speculating on the succession issue, or trying to read the direction of Saudi foreign policy, I would encourage you to read my recently published book – “The Prince: The Secret Story of the World’s Most Intriguing Royal Prince Bandar bin Sultan.”
    It provides a penetrating insight into the character of Prince Bandar – a Machiavellian prince and now kingmaker – or perhaps even a future king? Certainly as Secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council and frequent White House visitor, he has his hands on the reins of power.
    Martin Sieff, national security correspondent for United Press International wrote in his recent op-ed article in the Washington Times: “At a time when U.S.-Saudi relations are again on the upswing, with both nations deeply worried about the regional challenge posed by a potentially nuclear armed Iran and the growing chaos in Iraq, “The Prince” is essential reading. William Simpson has produced an exceptionally valuable and sympathetic, but nuanced and fair portrait of this remarkable man. But it is far, far more than that. Every foreign diplomat in Washington and every career official and political appointee in the State Department should read this book as an essential primer on how one of the most successful members of their profession in modern times got the job done. This is the best street-smart, experience-based assessment discussion of the art of diplomacy I have read since former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s famous work on the same subject.”
    Bill Simpson

    Reply

  4. Mac says:

    one of the many ironies of the Turki-Bandar story is the way the administration and it’s defenders portray, of all people, the Saudi’s as the “moderates..” Add to the list other “moderates” like the autocrats in Amman and Cairo. If we cannot remember it is from these so-called “moderate” political cultures that spawned OBL, Zaquari and Dr. Z, then our own collective amnesia would be laughable were it not so damaging to US interests. The bottom line is our MidEast “allies” are not allies at all.
    M

    Reply

  5. daveinboca says:

    Oops, Leo must have fallen off a turnip truck and hit his head so hard that his brain ain’t working. As I recall, Turki was fired a couple days before 9/11 for having been snookered by Osama bin Laden, or so the urban legend has it.

    Reply

  6. Leo says:

    The Difference between Turki and Bandar are cleaer, Turki want a long term strategy for stability while Bandar want to inflame the region just to satisfy America, It was Turki policies since 1970’s untill jun-2001 that have contained every expolsive issue in the region from Afghanistan and Iran, all the way to Iraq and parts of Europe, If bandar view overcome that of Turki rest assure that the Amrican adventure in Iraq in the past 3 years will look like a picnic.

    Reply

  7. winnipeger says:

    btw…
    “So hey, shove it up your ass. Like Den, I am bored with your empty horseshit. You will get no further responses from me, on ANY issue.”
    i GUARANTEE you that poa is lying!
    watch the threads above and see.
    he can’t help himself. i promise.

    Reply

  8. winnipeger says:

    “A shame the sniveling hypocritical fraudulent little pissant will never possess a stool made by me. But hey, maybe someday he will be able to afford one.”
    what have i already told you about commas, poa? …and btw, i’m pretty sure i could afford your “masterwork.” LMAO
    “So hey, shove it up your ass. Like Den, I am bored with your empty horseshit. You will get no further responses from me, on ANY issue.”
    victory!!!
    and, poa… BOO! guess what? you’re a miserable fool. just ask your ex-wife LOL

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off American says:

    I went to Art Center College of Design. Its now in Pasadena, but when I attended it was in Los Angeles, on West Third. Freelance pursuits, and a gal in my Life Drawing class, that needed a ride to Berkeley, superceded my drive to graduate. So winnipeger is right, I didn’t graduate from college. And yes, I work in wood. So that must mean that some lyin’ sack of shit internet troll with a dozen or so different screen names is a better person, is more astute politically, and is definitely of higher character than me, eh?
    A shame the sniveling hypocritical fraudulent little pissant will never possess a stool made by me. But hey, maybe someday he will be able to afford one.
    You see winnipeger, I have no need, no desire and no reason to lie about who, what, or where I am, like you have done here on numerous occassions.
    So hey, shove it up your ass. Like Den, I am bored with your empty horseshit. You will get no further responses from me, on ANY issue.
    Posted by Pissed Off American at December 20, 2006 09:30 PM

    Reply

  10. Matthew says:

    I think the comment that POA weighs what he weighed in college, ipso facto, means that he went to college. Oh well, it’s nice of you to offer to buy one of POA’s custom made stools, though. It proves that trade can bring the world together.

    Reply

  11. winnipeger says:

    poa:
    so i guess the answer is “no,” you never went to college, huh?
    although i’m sure that your furniture assembly “apprenticeship” taught you plenty about the intracacies of geopolitics and foreign policy, right? sheesh.
    further, it’s good to know that you’ve kept your weight down. that is certainly pertinent info *rolls eyes* ditto about the cute animals you see in your backyard.
    i figured that you were not very socialized to PEOPLE, since you come across as such an asshole on this blog. no surprises there. i guess it’s easier to sand wood all day while deeming yourself an expert on everything; wood doesn’t talk back.
    like i said, you uneducated grunt, order me up a stool. i’ll be happy to pay “top-dollar,” or whatever that means to a blue collar hick like you. LOL

    Reply

  12. Pissed Off American says:

    First, I do not live in Bakersfield. Tell me, winnipeger, do YOU wake up to elk in your back yard? Regularly see bobcat, quail, deer and racoons in your front yard?
    Secondly, I served an apprenticeship, starting at fourteen, with the foremost custom furniture maker, (now dead), in the western United States. His client list read like the who’s who of Hollywood and Sacramento. Since that apprenticeship I have continued on with high end furniture and cabinetry. I own my home, free and clear, and live in a rural area that is beautiful beyond comprehension. I am in excellent health, and I wiegh what I weighed in college.
    So attack away, you slimey little piece of shit. Feed us some more lies about your life, using a bunch of different screen names. It really DOES underscore, who, and WHAT, you are.

    Reply

  13. winnipeger says:

    at least i’m not a middle-aged cabinet maker who is living in bakersfield and mad at the world.
    never got your college degree, huh, poa?

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    ” was always taught that, “you get what you give.””
    Thats right. Now, think about it, you pathetic mewling worm.

    Reply

  15. Pissed Off American says:

    Maybe now that winnipeger has revealed his true character, he will stop lying to us about the rest of his story. Doubtful, though.

    Reply

  16. winnipeger says:

    ask the asshole who started it, matthew.
    don’t turn poa into a sympathetic figure here; it won’t wash. he’s called me and others (anyone who disagrees with him) every horrible name and curse word in the book. i was always taught that, “you get what you give.”
    as for me, i’m just playing along and poking the jerk.

    Reply

  17. Matthew says:

    Do you think you demeaned POA–or yourself–in your last post? What were you hoping to accomplish?

    Reply

  18. winnipeger says:

    hey, poa:
    i guess you learned everything you know about geo-politics in cabinet-making school, huh? unfortunatley, i guess you never had the chance to study abroad. but no worries, bakersfield is really a cultural hotbed.
    where’s my stool, grunt?

    Reply

  19. Dan Tompkins says:

    Prince Turki’s name became familiar to many through John K. Cooley’s classic “Unholy Wars,” which detailed US – Saudi collaboration in setting up madrasas in Pakistan and the resistance in Afghanistan. Vali Nasr reminds us of that history — basically the Saudis financing jihad to help the US vs the USSR, and to oppose Iran, noting that the jihadists later attacked the US. Turki had played a major role in creating a monster that went out of control.
    Nasr concludes, “Let us also hope that Prince Turki al-Faysal, the architect of Saudi Arabia’s jihad strategy of the 1980s and 1990s, did not abruptly leave his post as Ambassador to Washington to take charge of the new jihad campaign.”
    http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/americaabroad/2006/dec/18/should_we_worry_about_the_saudi_threats
    I’m not sure who’s right here, and I’m a longtime fan of Steve and this important blog. But we might all gain from having a short list of possible interpretations of Turki’s departure, and we certainly gain from remembering his role in past decision-making. (John Cooley’s portrayal certainly had its positive side, too.)
    Dan Tompkins

    Reply

  20. Matthew says:

    Oh, POA, I just hope each day offers a better alternative to Dubya, and the Democrats just keep underperforming. Tom Vilsak was on the “Daily Show” tonight decrying the Iraqi “culture of dependency,” i.e., the failure of Iraqis to secure their own country after we’ve smashed it. What do you do when the political class of the Greatest Country in the World adopts the morality of a vandal?

    Reply

  21. Pissed Off American says:

    “POA: How is it that I tried to use the word “moronic” in a post and Steve’s filter blocked it, yet you can type “slimey little f**cker” and it gets posted? This is a very strange…”
    Well, if I was to hazard a guess, my bet would be the word “moronic” had nothing to do with your post not appearing. You probably just screwed up the security code or something. Either that, or the moderator agrees with my assessment of winnipeger.
    What do YOU think, Mathew? Should we cast aspersions at all cabinet makers over 50? Or just cabinet makers as a whole? Or hey, maybe just everyone over fifty, no matter their vocation?
    Pretty shallow shit, eh? Like I said, he’s a slimey little fu……oh…uh….never mind.

    Reply

  22. winnipeger says:

    matthew,
    you seem to have a very specific agenda of your own. i do agree with you that their must be some sort of agreement and immediate implementation when it occurs because extreme elements on BOTH SIDES will sabatoge the peace… in fact they will do so even after implementation.
    but, it is NOT true that it is only israel which has and will sabatoge future agreements. the palestinian and other arab extremsists have done MORE than their fair share of sabatoging. to deny this fact is to turn a blind eye to reality… something that many people in the world, and in this forum, apparently have no problem doing.
    …and don’t worry, matthew, imo, the occupation will not continue for another 50 years. i actually think that we are closer to a comprehensive agreement than conventional wisdom would have us believe.

    Reply

  23. Matthew says:

    POA: How is it that I tried to use the word “moronic” in a post and Steve’s filter blocked it, yet you can type “slimey little f**cker” and it gets posted? This is a very strange…
    Winnipeger: It doesn’t matter what the Taba talks in 2000 said. No Palestinian can ever, ever, ever again engage in any talks with Israel that call for agreements without IMMEDIATE implentation. Agreements with Israel on any thing less than final status with NO further modifications are a plain waste of time. Israel will just find ways to either avoid implementation or keep building settlements. And here is the reality. Any argument blaming the Palestinians is irrelevant. Demographics is destiny. Without an independent Palestinian state, in 50 years there will be a Palestinian majority state called “Israel.” I can live with that.

    Reply

  24. Pissed Off Amaerican says:

    Gosh, winnipeger, do you find my proffession dishonorable?
    Why don’t you tell this forum what particular character asset of yours prompts you to insult me because I build custom furniture and cabinetry for a living.
    Oh, and my age. 53, you want to cast aspersion my way for that too? Cool winnipeger, keep it coming. Show this forum what you are made of.
    You are slimey little fucker, aren’t you? And you feel attacked here?

    Reply

  25. winnipeger says:

    robert,
    the vast majority of west bank settlements should be disabled and vacated as part of a comprehensive peace agreement between the israelis and the palestinians. the palestinians should be compensated with other israeli land in exchange for the few settlements which will remain in the west bank.
    the blueprint for this plan has been on the table since the 2000 talks in taba and the majority of israelis and palestinians would support its implementation.
    poa: are you done sanding my stool? please put down the computer mouse and get on it old man.

    Reply

  26. Pissed Off American says:

    “Well Winnipeger, there’s another topic not discussed in this thread, the settlements.”
    Well, Robert, in light of the recent PROOF that Israel has been STEALING Palestinian land, uncovered by Peace Now, why does it suprise you to see some insipid and slimey internet troll avoiding broaching the subject, when the media is ignoring it as well?

    Reply

  27. Robert Blandford says:

    Well Winnipeger, there’s another topic not discussed in this thread, the settlements. There seems to be very little pressure there in the administration and many folks, including Blair, Carter and Baker-Hamilton think that’s at the bottom of all the problems.

    Reply

  28. Matthew says:

    Thanks Billy and Nehemiah and the rest of your fundys for posting on this site. You can take the Klansman to Church, but he never removes his sheet.

    Reply

  29. Marky says:

    Purple Avenger, agreed on the second point, but even Iran the state, who is not our friend, seems to act much more in rational self-interest than is generally granted. I don’t see them as irrational madmen, and the fact that the people like the US gives us leverage, while with the Saudis, it seems that every positive move by the government has to be balanced by millions of dollars going to our worst enemies.

    Reply

  30. Purple Avenger says:

    Seriously, doesn’t Iran seem like a more rational player in the region than Saudi Arabia?
    It’s my personal experience that the Iranians like Americans a great deal
    Iran the state, and Iran the people are quite different.

    Reply

  31. Marky says:

    I’m afraid I have GW Bush’s feel for diplomacy, Publius. By the way, I was surprised and disappointed to read your comment about progressives lack of interest in Iraq.

    Reply

  32. PUBLIUS says:

    “the audacity of hope” … there is Hope, Mark in Texas.
    Marky, do you want a mandate for progressive victory in 2008? Be nice to a fellow progressive in Texas, even if he does not align himself with today’s Democratic Party. Texas has 34 Electoral College votes. Never forget that. Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, Grover Norquist, the Bush dynasty and the rest have not.

    Reply

  33. PUBLIUS says:

    Mark in Texas:
    Thank you for your insightful observation, which is one I have advanced, particularly with respect to moderate and progressive Texas voters.
    I am a realistic optimist. You and similar Texans can and must help steer the Democratic Party towards responsible pragmatism concerning Iraq and many other issues.

    Reply

  34. Marky says:

    Mark in Texas,
    That’s a pretty rich putdown of Democrats, considering that not one Republican would put the good of the country AND Iraq first and say Bush shouldn’t be re-elected in 2004—one of many, many opportunities that those oh so mature Republicans have had to put partisanship behind and rid this country of its pox of a President, or at least rein him in.
    Go to hell—the Democrats are not to blame for not being able to unshit the bed.
    And thanks also to Bush, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting 300,000 in allied troops for Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I think Publius’s suggestion is spot on.

    Reply

  35. DonS says:

    WH sandbagged Flynt Leverett Iran op ed, even though CIA clears it.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/12/15/nyt-cia-oped/

    Reply

  36. Mark in Texas says:

    PUBLIUS
    If I thought there was as much chance as a snowball in Hell that Democrats might behave they way you have recommended, I might contemplate voting for them again as I used to so many years ago.
    But read the words of your fellow progressives in this forum to understand why there is absolutely no hope whatsoever that Democrats can behave like mature adults who understand that events in the Middle East have some importance outside of the opportunities for partisan advantage or snarky blog commentary.

    Reply

  37. Marky says:

    Man, I was just thinking to myself how much I miss the good old days, when all the comment threads were enriched with informative remarks by posters about each other, their backgrounds, their family trees, how much they are obsessed with each.
    PUBLIUS et. al. can go home now—the real grown-ups are here.

    Reply

  38. DoubleYou says:

    …,
    That may be the most offensive post i’ve read on this thread.
    Do you really believe that the Jews “make war around the world,” or are you just yanking Winipeger’s chain?
    It seems to me that your rhetoric proves Winipeger’s point.

    Reply

  39. winnipeger says:

    “…” or should i say mel gibson,
    congrats on the mayan movie. i heard that cortez was a scheming jew also. you’re right though, mel, those dirty jews really do start all the wars in the world.
    p.s. lay off the sauce, merry christmas, and don’t worry, the rapture is on its way.

    Reply

  40. ... says:

    thanks to winnipeger every thread gets turned into a sob story about the poor jews and the rationale for making war around the globe where-ever anyone so much as questions the sanity of this type thinking.. kudos winnipeger, i bit!

    Reply

  41. Carroll says:

    winnipeger,
    Please give your hamfisted Hasbara Handbook tactics a rest.
    For the uninitiated see:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hasbara
    Posted by Mark “Clod” Regev at December 15, 2006
    03:20 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    One of the strangest tactics I see used by the die hard Greater Israel proponants is the claim that Jews invented everything in the world. Reading a diary on DKos today I found a pefect example…. the strange thing is they do this even when their claims can be proven to be wrong.
    I don’t know what it comes from, it’s almost like they have some inferior complex they try to overcome by claiming to be superior to the rest of the world. The Hasbara group should at least train them to not make up facts, it just makes them appear to be idiots. I see this type of thing all the time, it’s just dumb.
    “You do realize that many military items we
    use, including ‘night vision’ goggles, were invented by Israel, right? They also have an anti-RPG weapong that could save many American lives currently being lost in Iraq right now…but the Pentagon want to wait until Raytheon catches up and develops their own version.
    by sternsieger on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 08:54:57 AM PST
    how do you figure? (1+ / 0-)
    that night vision goggles were invented by israel?
    “Night-vision devices were invented during World War II for use by American, British and Soviet soldiers and pilots. Since then, the technology has evolved from bulky devices that amplify light about 1,000 times to compact equipment that can amplify any light source (including faint starlight) up to 50,000 times, and eyewear that allows soldiers to see in complete darkness (such as in caves) by detecting heat differences.”
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/
    William E. Spicer, a celebrated inventor and mentor who taught at Stanford for more than 40 years and co-founded the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), died of heart failure while vacationing in London on June 6. He was 74. Services have been held.
    Best known for the development of photoemission spectroscopy, Spicer pioneered image-intensification technology. His biggest commercial successes live on in medical imaging devices and military night-vision goggles.
    http://news-service.stanford.edu/
    by howardx on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 09:34:35 AM PST

    Reply

  42. b says:

    winnipeger cited an aljazeerah english website article above suggesting the “Wipe Israel off the map” mistranslation was a genuine aljazeerah article.
    He forgot to cite/copy the last line of that link:
    “Source: Agencies”
    Aljazerrah like most other news sites, carries an AP news feed …
    For a real meaning the utterly false translation of “whiping Israel off the map”
    see Jonathan Steele:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1788542,00.html
    quote:
    “Ahmadinejad never said them. Farsi speakers have pointed out that he was mistranslated. The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.
    He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The “page of time” phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon. There was no implication that either Khomeini, when he first made the statement, or Ahmadinejad, in repeating it, felt it was imminent, or that Iran would be involved in bringing it about.”
    endquote

    Reply

  43. winnipeger says:

    winnipeger,
    Please give your hamfisted Hasbara Handbook tactics a rest.
    For the uninitiated see:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hasbara
    Posted by: Mark “Clod” Regev at December 15, 2006 03:14 PM
    snipe away, mark. i’m not part of any organized effort to support israel or defame her enemies. i merely call it like *i* see it, much as you do. one wo/man, one opinion, or do we live in different americas?
    but, i am aware of the fact, and i’ that there is as little room for divergence of opinion in your “pseudo-progressive” crowd as there is in it’s political opposite. strange but true. some folks call it hypocrisy.

    Reply

  44. PUBLIUS says:

    For the record, lest any of the Norquist disciples reading these commentaries continue to labor under delusions similar to those of Jay, LIBERAL democratic rule in Iraq is – of course – better than rule under Saddam Hussein. IN THE PRESENT, strict, majoritarian, democratic rule in Iraq is only slightly better than rule under Saddam Hussein, and in the view of many (most?) Iraqis – whose opinion “learned” neoconservatives frequently prefer to ignore – life was more secure and more peaceful under the dictator than under sectarian dominance. That is reality.
    In the medium term, as many have already observed, democratically empowered-Shi’a dominated Iraq could become a solid ally of illiberal Iran, counter to American interests and counter to the spread of that liberty libertarians and others on the Right purport to esteem. That is reality. (See THE FEDERALIST PAPERS on “factions”.)
    In any event, liberty cannot exist in chaos, as countless political philosophers have instructed through the centuries and chaos is what we have. That is reality.
    Voting fraud under the defunct Saddam Hussein dictatorship is an irrelevancy in the present debate on how to correct the disaster wrought by those currently in charge following the liberation of the Shi’a faction of Iraqi society.

    Reply

  45. PUBLIUS says:

    Methinks Jay has been drinking too much absinthe in the company of Grover Norquist. He has little understanding of the Preamble to the United States Constitution which proclaims a uniquely American but also universally relevant conception of the purpose of government:
    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a MORE PERFECT union, establish justice, INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, provide for the common defense, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America [emphasis added].”
    Substitute “Iraq” for “United States” and ask yourself what the mad scientists operating on the sick patient of the Iraq nation-building experiment have achieved to help Iraq “insure domestic tranquility” or “promote the general welfare.”
    The United States Constitution was ratified a full 12 years following the liberation of the United States from the rule of the British Empire. As noted previously, the Iraq fiasco is a 10-15 year project. The Republican Decider and his partisans will have had 5 years to attempt to get it right by 2008.

    Reply

  46. jay says:

    Nice. In case you didnt see it above, Publius praises the big government control and border discipline of Saddam Hussein. With an argument like that, Publius, yes, I will take the stammering and mumbling Bush, with all his faults, any day of the week.
    Care to tell us more, Publius, of how Saddam won his “elections” by 98% of the vote?
    Must’ve been a quandry, and a tightening in your stomach, for you to see, on that day, all those iraqi people slapping thier shoes on effigies of Saddam, and the big government he controlled, when our tanks rolled into Bagdad.
    At least there are some in today’s Iraq government who are risking life and family to build a democracy(flawed in its early days as you would expect)as hard as the road is. Thier sacrifices deserve more than your insult.
    It would be nice if we had some real progressive heroes with stones, like George Orwell, who took up a rifle and faught fascists in the streets of Spain. He knew that the nature of the enemy determined the tactic.
    Now, all we have are narcissistic bush-hating wannabes, who see an uninspiring man as a devil in office ignoring the obvious “realist” (read previous 30 years of mid east policy) solutions, while the beneficiaries of past “realist” policy pursue nukes and terrorism, in the name of Allah. They cant even utter words of support.
    Is Bush, or anyone for that matter, simple-minded, for calling Iran the bad guys? Is it so silly to do so, when the fascistic Iranian leadership controls the frame, broadcasting thier simple desires, of annihalation of Israel in holy fire via the nuclear gifts of Allah, and the birthright of every muslim to walk the breadth of the earth as conquerors and kings?
    You can come up with a complex equation to feel good about yourself, and sound great at cocktail parties and blog posts, if you like, but besides impressing your friends, does that achieve anything? Are you the man of action and results, promoting the superior benefits of rational negotiation and diplomacy with a regime that imposes his and her elevators on its public? What carrot do percieve to be so tasty to dangle, that they will open up thier weapons producing bunkers?
    If only we had a leader in office, who knew the wonders of big government efficiency! Ah, but hes in the hip pocket of the true evil… Pat Robertson, et al. I see, now.
    This whole situation is eerily familiar to Orwell’s description of England, as the bombs whistled over his head. The left blamed a prosperous England for its troubles then, as well. Nature of the enemy, be damned.
    Oh, Neville Chamberlain, where art thou?
    Makes me almost wish that, if assured Al Gore would have taken the same steps Bush did, mistakes and all, that the negative nancies would be toughminded enough to see thier man’s way thru, I would have voted for him.
    Prolly wouldnt have happened, tho. His pet peeve is a catastrophe that may or may not happen in a hundred years.

    Reply

  47. Mark "Clod" Regev says:

    winnipeger,
    Please give your hamfisted Hasbara Handbook tactics a rest.
    For the uninitiated see:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hasbara

    Reply

  48. Mark "Clod" Regev says:

    winnipeger,
    Please give your hamfisted Hasbara Handbook tactics a rest.
    For the uninitiated see:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hasbara

    Reply

  49. Marky says:

    Oh yeah.. we don’t need to provide food or air for Bush and his pals on Mars, since the Martians will welcome them with oxygen-rich flowers, honey cakes and sweet cream.

    Reply

  50. Marky says:

    Publius,
    Thanks for the response. As a matter of politics, I have to agree that the Democrats demanding “success” is better than aiming for withdrawal, but obviously your suggestions won’t be implemented.
    Might as well ask for Mars while we’re at it.
    Frankly, a space program aiming to send Bush and Cheney to Mars would garner fantastic support.
    More Troops to Iraq + More Republicans to Mars.. I like it.

    Reply

  51. Habakkuk says:

    Amen, Nehemiah, for speaking the Good Word. Woe be to those who question the virtue of our President in the face of the Evildoers as he metes out the Justice of the Good Book. Selah!
    ======================
    001:004 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
    001:005 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
    001:006 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their’s.
    001:007 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
    001:010 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
    001:011 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
    001:012 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

    Reply

  52. winnipeger says:

    amen, publius. your analysis and suggested course of action is right on the money. i agree wholeheartedly.
    i hope that some the democratic leadership pick this up as well.

    Reply

  53. winnipeger says:

    Hey, Winnipeger, I really think M.Simon was being a bit sarcastic there.
    Posted by Grantman at December 15, 2006 01:40 PM
    sorry, grantman. sarcasm is hard to detect online and given some of the heated anti-israel rhetoric around here, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was being serious. i’ve read much worse.

    Reply

  54. Nehemiah says:

    We can save Israel and also bring about a cleansing of our nation’s soul brought about by excruciating hardship not felt by this nation since the Depression when the People were chastised for their roaring twenties profligate ways and came back to the true tenets of what it was to be a God Fearing American. And through the hardships of the 1930s was forged America’s Greatest Generation that defeated the Evildoers of their times and brought America into the All-American family righteous beliefs and life of the 1950s that was the peak of our wonderous ascent onto being the greatest and most envied nation ever to exist on this good earth. From mid 1960s onward we as a nation accelerated into a moral demise only given hope during the Reagan years that the descent could be arrested and we could be restored to the goodness that the greatest generation bestowed upon this great nation. But alas, this was not to be, for the forces of Evil were to great in their momentum.
    Now, we are at a time in history where our leaders can deliver us from further perdition by orchestrating a much needed Tribulation that will send those who truly fear the Lord God of Life, and are humbled by His Presence and awesome Power, to seek the shelter of His Word and return to the principles of what it means to be One Nation Under God.
    Our President, God’s elect, hold the power to send our nation and rest of the decadent western world to into much needed trials and tribulation that bring His people back to the straight and narrow and right our waywardness.
    Our President will initiate the Will of God with a fateful decision soon, and Redemption of the National Soul will be at hand after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, death, destruction, tears, all for our own good.

    Reply

  55. mlaw230 says:

    The most pressing issue for the new Congress should be to expressly withdraw the AUMF as it would apply to Iran. Under the current administrations interpretation they do not need further approval of Congress to commence hostilities. This is specious, but it has been their postion al along.
    My fear is that the President, much like our poster Jimmy, is so enamored of himself and his imagined holy writ that no reason or logic will be sufficient to keep him from his planned attack. The question is whether word will leak in time to take action to prevent the catastrophe and it is quite possible that it will leak first from Steve’s Saudi correspondants.

    Reply

  56. Grantman says:

    Hey, Winnipeger, I really think M.Simon was being a bit sarcastic there.

    Reply

  57. PUBLIUS says:

    Marky:
    No, the better approach is for Democrats to demand SUCCESS in Iraq by 2008, and leave it to The Decider to decide how to achieve success on a tactical basis. The Decider will fail. The voters will agree in 2008 that 5 years to accomplish the Mission was more than enough. All “deciders” and partisans for The Decider will be chastened at the polls.
    Simultaneously, the Democratic Congress must do everything possible in the next 2 years to (1) protect the interests of American troops deployed in the region and (2) shine a spotlight on the still unfolding disaster. This Congress of slim majorities does not have power to force withdrawal of troops before 2008.
    Finally, the Democrats can demand two things as a constructive contribution to the national debate on how to achieve success: (1) 300,000 allied troops for Afghanistan and Iraq to secure borders and provide basic domestic security and (2) a $5 BILLION dollar allocation for deployment of Nye’s “smart power” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cheney and the Republican ideological infrastructure in Washington will run from both like a vampire confronted with garlic. Both options will be rejected by Republican partisans. Option #1 isn’t even viable with The Decider in charge. This is a formula for success whose foreseeable rejection by Republicans is also a recipe for Republican defeat at the polls in 2008.

    Reply

  58. winnipeger says:

    one more thing:
    the u.s allocated $2.63 billion (including loan gurantees) to israel in 2005.
    israel generated $43.82 billion in tax revenue and spent $58.04 billion (including capital expenditures) in 2005.
    israel ain’t going nowhere, with or without u.s support.

    Reply

  59. winnipeger says:

    “Give up Israel and we will have peace. After all giving up Checkoslovakia brought peace to Europe.”
    at least “m. simon” is honest… but he’s also wrong. give up *secular society* and we will have “peace.”
    i will say, however, that m. simons honesty is refreshing. i’m sure that plenty of others in this forum feel the same way as him and ahmadinejad. they too want to wipe israel off the map, but are too cowardly to say so explicitly.

    Reply

  60. R. Blankenship says:

    If you depend on the media for your understanding of the middle east you’re an ignoramus. You people do not understand anything about this issue. You need to develop more reliable information sources.

    Reply

  61. ... says:

    Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition! Amen.
    << bush ideology in a nutshell.. thanks billy, but i doubt that will appease jimmy, lol..

    Reply

  62. M. Simon says:

    It is about time the peace mongers stood up the way the British peace mongers stood up to the Austrian Corporal. They prevented a war. There is no reason we can’t prevent this war.
    We can make a deal. I’m certain, if only the evil neocons didn’t stand in the way.
    Give up Israel and we will have peace. After all giving up Checkoslovakia brought peace to Europe.
    I can’t understand why the Bush admin. doesn’t get it. After all the Iraq Study Group does.

    Reply

  63. owenz says:

    Steve,
    Is it fair to say that Ambassador Turki quit in protest of Cheney’s plan to bomb Iran? That certainly seems to be the subtext here.
    Generally, an Ambassador won’t quit in response to a longterm ally discussing a possible option. Rather, the Ambassador quits because he has failed in his attempt to pursuade the ally to change course.
    This suggest one thing and one thing alone: the White House had already set its sights on attacking Iran. Turki quit because he could not change their minds. Bandar is back on top because he is a Bush family yes-man.

    Reply

  64. billy says:

    I’m with Jimmy,
    I want the Tribulation to commence pronto, followed by Rapture, then Armageddon, so Our Lord Jesus Christ can Come again to enchain Satan and peace will reign for a thousand years.
    Praise the Lord, for God wills it as written by the prophets.
    Our current world must be torn asunder so that the thousand year Rule of Our Lord Jesus Christ can be imposed.
    Our President, God’s Avenging Angel, shall make the necessary decisions shortly to bring God’s will to fruition, and bring his personal Savior, and the Savior of all of God’s elect, back in Judgment over the vast multitude, the Evildoers.
    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition! Amen.

    Reply

  65. Marky says:

    Publius,
    Don’t you think it may be the case that as long as Bush is the “Decider”, the best possibility is that the Democrats force a troop withdrawal?
    Seriously, there is no chance Bush will do any good with our troops there.

    Reply

  66. PUBLIUS says:

    Post scriptum:
    Is anyone surprised that a governing party – the Republican party of Ronald Reagan disciples – hostile to the role of government in the life of a nation (unless military action is at issue) would have failed utterly to conceive of and construct a government in Iraq with a real capacity to exercise its functions and serve the interests of its public? Think Katrina. As I have argued previously, the metaphor applies at home AND abroad.
    Someone suggested above that blaming Bush rather than Iran for the hordes of Iranian agents on Iraqi territory is unpatriotic. Guess what? Under Saddam Hussein, the borders were controlled far better than they are today under the Bush scheme for Iraq’s nation-building. Have you noticed the state of the Mexican border under Bush/Republican rule? Mindlessly small government comes at a price at home and abroad.
    “Government* IS the problem.”
    – Ronald Reagan
    * unless we’re speaking about the Pentagon budget.

    Reply

  67. PUBLIUS says:

    First, I wholeheartedly agree with Steve’s admonition regarding the seriousness of what is at stake in the theatrics occurring in the nation’s capital and abroad concerning the handling of the Iraq disaster.
    Second, I recently had a very interesting exchange with an influential family values + neoconservative activist (yes, the combination does exist) who framed the conflict in Iraq as one between “the good guys and the bad guys”. It is this kind of simplistic nonsense among the decision-makers currently in office and in today’s advisory councils in Washington that has gotten us into the mess we are in.
    More interestingly, an advisor to the ISG confirmed my prior understanding that the ISG principals were nothing more than a gathering of Washington notables brought in to bless a still-born bipartisan baby, purely for the sake of offering useless bipartisanship rather than real solutions to real problems which requires, naturally, the recognition of problems. First and foremost is the problem of The Decider still making the decisions and exhibiting no real intention – so far – to embrace meaningful departures from prior practice. Also without surprise, it was confirmed that the ISG principals – few of whom know a scintilla about the Middle East, its cultures, its religions, etc. – deliberately avoided confrontation of difficult and fundamental issues raised by certain advisors to the panel. Once again, we suffer the consequences of illustrious advisors who know precious little of what they are supposed to be advising on. It is disappointing that a former Supreme Court justice was not especially sensitive to and vigorous in highlighting that flaw in the entire enterprise.
    Finally, Democrats need to wake up. “Withdraw now” is NOT a credible solution. It is not in the American national interest. It is not in the interest of Middle East peace. It is not in the interest of fidelity to progressive values. It is not in the interest of electoral advantage in 2008. Truly progressive actors actively involved in the attempting to repair the mess created in Iraq by neoconservatives and The Decider firmly and correctly believe that withdrawal of troops is immoral, imprudent and a recipe for compounding the disaster spawned by our current commander-in-chief. It is time for Democrats and progressives to awaken to that reality and start to consider serious options for exercising our new-found, albeit limited, power responsibly and prudently if we don’t want the recent (and very slight) endorsement of our positions taken away in the next elections.
    A recent gathering of progressive strategists conspicuously showed positively NO interest in the subject of Iraq. One prominent blogger in attendance stated that his lack of expertise in national security issues was an excuse to have no serious opinion on the subject other than “get the hell out.” That is irresponsible. Even more importantly, with 20,000+ injured and killed American soldiers, countless thousands of dead Iraqis killed in the chaos OUR Decider unleashed and 1 TRILLION dollars on the line, this is inexcusable. This must change.

    Reply

  68. Jimmy says:

    It is amazing to me that a fair number of people on this site are more supportive of the leadership of Iran than the leadership in Washington. Iran has been caught red handed supplying US enemies in Iraq with new and effective equipment as well as money and other supplies and supporting major groups that are creating the sectarian violence there, yet you retards somehow have decided that Bush is responsible for it.
    There are 2 options in Iraq:
    1. The US/Iraqi’s win and there is a representative democracy and relative freedom for all including women.
    2. Iran and Proxies win and there is an Iranian style theocracy complete with the resultant repression and second class citizenship for women.
    It is clear which side you people are on. That is too bad. Anything which means defeat for Iran is a good thing. If Saudi Arabia wants to Join the US and Israel to take them out you have to ask yourself why would this disparate group all individually want Iran taken down. You would also have to ask why all of you people want to save the regime in Iran at the expense of your own nation and indeed the cause of freedom in the ME for the people there? Is your hatred of Bush so strong that you are willing to support the same people that have been supplying the insurgency with weapons and equipment to kill our troops?

    Reply

  69. winnipeger says:

    dons,
    doesn’t translate in farsi, the following article is from aljazeera.net. but, i won’t hold my breath for people here to admit the obvious; bias always trumps reality.
    Ahmadinejad: Wipe Israel off map
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
    Ahmadinejad addressed students at a conference
    “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the president told a conference in Tehran on Wednesday, entitled The World without Zionism.
    “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said.
    “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.
    His comments were the first time in years that such a high-ranking Iranian official has called for Israel’s eradication, even though such slogans are still regularly used at government
    rallies.
    Call for unity
    Addressing about 4000 students gathered in an Interior Ministry conference hall, Ahmadinejad also called for Palestinian unity, resistance and a point “where the annihilation of the Zionist regime will come”.
    “The Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland,” he said in the fiery speech that centred on a “historic war between the oppressor and the world of Islam”.
    The term “oppressor” is used by the clerical government to refer to the United States.
    “We should not settle for a piece of land,” he said of Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip.
    “Anyone who signs a treaty which recognises the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world,” Ahmadinejad said.
    “Any leaders in the Islamic umma who recognise Israel face the wrath of their own people.”
    Major change
    Ahmadinejad, a veteran of Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards, took office in August after scoring a landslide win in a June presidential election.
    His tone represents a major change from that of former president Mohammad Khatami, whose favoured topic was “dialogue among civilisations” and who led an effort to improve Iran’s relations with the West.
    But Ahmadinejad instead spoke of a “historic war”.
    “It dates backs hundreds of years. Sometimes Islam has advanced. Sometimes nobody was winning. Unfortunately over the past 300 years, the world of Islam has been in retreat,” he lamented.
    “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land”
    “One hundred years ago the last trench of Islam fell, when the oppressors went towards the creation the Zionist regime. It is using it as a fort to spread its aims in the heart of the Islamic world.”
    In September, Bahrain announced it was ending a decades-old law banning trade ties with Israel. Earlier this month, Qatar said it was donating US$6 million to help build a soccer stadium for a mixed Arab-Jewish team, the first such financial assistance by an Arab state for any town inside Israel.
    Unprecedented steps
    The modest but unprecedented steps were seen as a response to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September. Nevertheless, Ahmadinejad said, “There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world.”
    “Ahmadinejad has clearly declared the doctrine of his government. He is returning Iran to the revolutionary goals it was pursuing in the 1980s,” said Mohammad Sadeq Hosseini, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs.
    “By these comments, Ahmadinejad is committing himself to those goals. He is also sending the message that his government won’t back down.”
    Israeli response
    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev issued a vague response. “Today, Israelis heard two extremists speak openly about destroying the Jewish state. One was the new president of Iran, and the other was the leader of Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar.
    “And it appears the problem with these extremists is that they followed through on their violent declarations with violent actions.”
    The United States said Ahmadinejad’s remarks proved the accuracy of Washington’s fears about Iran’s contentious nuclear programme.
    “I think it reconfirms what we have been saying about the regime in Iran. It underscores the concerns we have about Iran’s nuclear intentions,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.
    Ebrahim Yazdi, a former Iranian foreign minister, said Ahmadinejad’s remarks harmed Iran.
    “Such comments provoke the international community against us. It’s not to Iran’s interests at all. It’s harmful to Iran to make such a statement,” he said.
    He said the comments gave Israel justification for urging the world to take a tougher stand against Iran and refer its nuclear programme to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
    http://tinyurl.com/yzc7ke

    Reply

  70. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the note p.luk — what you write makes sense, and perhaps I should have been more circumspect on my own advocacy of the significance of turki in the current middle east mess that the u.s. faces. but for the record, prince turki and his advisors are very, very uncomfortable about what i have written — they don’t support it in any way and are not the people feeding me information or confirming what i have learned. if anything, turki hates the airing of dirty laundry — and his close advisors are irritated about anything that looks like disrespect of bandar…. but there are many nonetheless who have been willing to speak to me. on the bandar side, i have tried and will continue to try to get material from “their side” as it would be interesting — but thus far, i have been unable to find anyone — even in the ministry of interior — willing to support bandar’s views on iran.
    best, steve

    Reply

  71. MP says:

    “Yeah, I read somewhere that the translation of “wipe off the mape” doesn’t even translate in Farsi (?). So the idea of regime change in Israel, to make it a more multi ethinic state, not a zionist state, would be far less damning that it sounds.”
    Only if you’re not an Israeli or an Israeli Jew. Zionism IS the founding principle of Israel. No zionism, no Israel. Would the land still be there? Sure. Would a few Jews still be wandering around there? Sure. Despite what you read, zionism is simply the political manifestation of Jewish national aspirations. It was born out of centuries of oppression and quickened by the gathering storm in the 20s and 30s and then the Holocaust.

    Reply

  72. p.lukasiak says:

    Steve, first off, I’ve no doubt that your opinion of Turki is the correct one, just like your opinion of Bolton was the right one.
    But the abrupt resignation of the Saudi ambassador under these current circumstances needs to be explained — and all you are doing is providing the version OF EVENTS that casts Turki in the most favorable light possible — and, IMHO, to the point where your reporting on the events surrounding the resignation begin to lose its credibility. Instead of getting a sense of “this is what happened”, I walk away with the sense of “this is what Prince Turki wants me to believe happened, but it isn’t necessarily true.”
    Yes, this is serious stuff, not just palace intrigue. But the manner in which you are writing about this results in my perception that you are a participant in the “palace intrigue” itself — Turki wants to get his side out, and send a few messages like “The King may be compelled after all of this to return to Turki al-Faisal to succeed his brother as foreign minister to assuage the clan….” and he’s using you to send them.
    We can’t really discuss the “serious issues” because we don’t really know what is going on — all we have is Turki’s version. As a result, the “slapstick/soap opera” aspect of the story becomes a focal point of discussion, rather than the implications of what has happened.
    To sum up….if there was more balance in the reporting OF EVENTS (i.e. if you made the effort to find out what the “Bandar” side is saying, and presenting that as well) it would be much easier to treat your commentary on those events as serious and considered and (most importantly) YOUR OWN, rather than just “what Turki wants us to think.”

    Reply

  73. MP says:

    Steve writes: “If your view is that Turki’s views and activities during his tenure should be demeaned for some reason because he is Saudi or reflecting his country’s views, I’m just not with you. I think that this is a time where we need clear-headed realpolitik in the region — which requires Saudi Arabia to relaunch the Abdullah/Beirut initiative on Israel/Palestine and requires Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries to be ‘real’ with the US about what needs to be done to generate a more stable strategic reality in the Middle East. I think he was doing that far better than his predecessor. If you think that arguing that my preference for Turki arguing that a 3rd option on Iran is preferable over Bandar’s sycophancy to Cheney is “sucking up”, we differ there too.”
    Yes, common sense. Bravo Steve. Don’t worry about the folks who take these matters lightly because, well, they aren’t doing much about them themselves. Thanks for all your hard work and your disciplined stances.

    Reply

  74. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve, unfortunately, a good part of this IS nothing more than slapstick. Who woulda thought Reyes would say that he knows about Hezbellah because he once went through one of their checkpoints? Or the other senatorial ass that said “They all look the same to me”. (?)
    You describe the machinations of the Saudis, or the political intrigue in the Middle East, and who can resist a chuckle at the undeniably ridiculous idea of this damned fool in the Oval Office having even a SLIGHT grasp on how do deal with people that still know how to use their brain cells on the level that the Saudis apparently do? The idea is ludicrous that Bush can out-think or out-manuever these people. Then you see the idiot Reyes is making of himself, and you gotta chuckle at the prospect that the Dems are actually going to do any better at dealing with the Muslim community.
    You bet your ass some of this is slapstick, Steve. And you’re right, the situation deserves better, and hundreds of thousands are dying in this comedy of errors. But you just wishing the United States was not being buffoonish on a giant scale doesn’t make the clowns go away. And make no mistake, I’m not the only one laughing at the more than occassional examples of prime idiocy exhibited by our leaders.
    But what the hell Steve, if a nation cannot cry at its own demise, we might as well yuk it up, eh?

    Reply

  75. DonS says:

    Yeah, I read somewhere that the translation of “wipe off the mape” doesn’t even translate in Farsi (?). So the idea of regime change in Israel, to make it a more multi ethinic state, not a zionist state, would be far less damning that it sounds.
    Come to think of it, getting rid of the ethnically/religiously pure identification of Israel, might be a little like getting a monkey off your back — like a real democracy without religious baggage.

    Reply

  76. Bush is the TYRANT says:

    The Prez of Iraq said the Zionist Regimes in Israel, USUK, would be wiped off of the map. He didn’t say Israel proper or the US proper would be wiped off of the map. The US Corporate Media sure knows how to get stupid American’s knickers in a twist. Regime Change, what a good idea huh?
    How is that Islamic Theocracy in Iraq you have to borrow 2 billion a week from China going, huh?
    The Stupid Ugly Fat USA deserves the s***storm!!

    Reply

  77. kim says:

    If we wanted to weaken Sunni Islam after 911, Iraq would be the perfect lever. (Just a wacky morning thought)

    Reply

  78. Steve Clemons says:

    p.luk — thanks for your many notes. i am not “sucking up” to Ambassador Turki. I admire him and what he was doing here in Washington which was considerable. If your view is that Turki’s views and activities during his tenure should be demeaned for some reason because he is Saudi or reflecting his country’s views, I’m just not with you. I think that this is a time where we need clear-headed realpolitik in the region — which requires Saudi Arabia to relaunch the Abdullah/Beirut initiative on Israel/Palestine and requires Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries to be ‘real’ with the US about what needs to be done to generate a more stable strategic reality in the Middle East. I think he was doing that far better than his predecessor. If you think that arguing that my preference for Turki arguing that a 3rd option on Iran is preferable over Bandar’s sycophancy to Cheney is “sucking up”, we differ there too.
    I think it’s fine for you to keep writing what you are posting — but I do feel the desire so many have to demean or to boil this material down to slapstick doesn’t thrill me. This is serious stuff — not just palace intrigue. The players engaged and what they plan to do, how they communicate, what they think they understand about each other’s intentions — are all extremely important.
    I am reporting and sharing what I can — and I do prefer Turki over to Bandar. Sucking up? or just common sense?
    Best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  79. Dummy says:

    Isn’t Turki and Bandar are brother-in-law as well. I thought Bandar married Tuki’s sister.

    Reply

  80. winnipeger says:

    meanwhile, nary i SINGLE word of criticism for a president that has vowed to “wipe” a neighboring state “off the map,” while he develops a nuclear capacity and who has claimed that the holocaust is a “myth.” but, who cares, right? it’s only the jews he’s talking about.
    from reading these comments, you’d think that ahmadinejad was h.h. dalai llama.

    Reply

  81. ... says:

    these folks are ‘dead’ serious… how very sad they can’t get past their own past in a way that exibits liberation.

    Reply

  82. Carroll says:

    Everyone is trying their hardest to boil the pot over….
    Here’s dumb ass Bolton’s new job.
    Move to charge Ahmadi-Nejad over Israel remarks
    By Mark Turner at the United Nations
    Published: December 13 2006 21:12 | Last updated: December 13 2006 21:12
    In one of his first acts since leaving his post as US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton will on Thursday call for legal proceedings against Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad for incitement to genocide.
    Mr Bolton will join Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian attorney-general, and Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel in claims that a series of public statements against Israel constitute a crime under the Genocide Convention.
    The call comes amid growing pressure on the US to start talks with Iran about Iraq, but also amid international criticism of a conference in Tehran questioning the Holocaust. A 68-page study produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, argues that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s declaration that “Israel should be wiped off the map” is part of a hate campaign punishable under international law…….
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/41381fee-8aed-11db-8940-0000779e2340.html
    Meanwhile pot calls kettle black…
    Netanyahu wants Iran president tried for genocide
    By Mazal Mualem
    Likud chair MK Benjamin Netanyahu has summoned about 70 foreign diplomats stationed in Israel to a meeting next Tuesday, at which he will urge them to end their complacency and join Israel in an effort to halt Iran’s nuclear program, which he says is aimed at genocide of the Jews.
    The meeting is to be the first event in an international public relations campaign. It will include a proposal to file a complaint in the International Court of Justice against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for war crimes, and his plans to commit genocide will be presented……..
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/800838.html
    Next I imagine an Arab group will charge Israel with genocide in Palestine..
    You know this could work,we could gather them all at the Hague for the trials and keep them there.

    Reply

  83. Carroll says:

    Turn the ME kalidscope even a hair all the prisms change. Just what we need a f****** little Prince from Saudi playing pick up sticks with the little Lord Fauntroy in the WH.

    Reply

  84. karenk says:

    Bandar sounds a bit evil. If he’s so hyped on an Iran invasion, he should look into sending Saudi soldiers-not Americans. A US attack against or invasion of Iran would be an error for so many reasons-not the least of which is that it would play right into terrorist propaganda and the fear of moderate Muslims in the ME and throughout the world that we have it in for all Muslims. This would be devastating PR damage for the US. It’ll surely create even more terrorists. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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  85. afp says:

    Israel blocks Haniya’s return to Gaza
    12/14/2006 3:00:00 PM GMT
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    (AFP Photo) Haniya cut short his trip to deal with rising political tensions in Gaza
    Israel ordered the closure of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to prevent the return of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniya of Hamas.
    Israeli officials said Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered EU monitors to close the Rafah terminal, claiming that Haniya is carrying with him “tens of millions of dollars” that he collected during a tour of Arab states and Iran.
    “Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the closing of the Rafah crossing in order to prevent tens of millions of dollars from entering Gaza with Haniya,” an Israeli source said on condition of anonymity.
    “Peretz made the decision and instructed the closing of the crossing in coordination with all the relevant bodies,” he added.
    A spokeswoman for European Union observers at Rafah, Gaza’s only border crossing that bypasses Israel, confirmed that the terminal was closed.
    “The terminal was closed 50 minutes after the arrival of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on the Egyptian side,” Maria Telleria told AFP.
    She added that Israeli authorities were refusing to allow Haniya’s convoy to pass, insisting that the prime minister cross in a bus instead.
    Another top Israeli official said: “We won’t prevent Haniya from entering Gaza, but the money will not reach Gaza.”
    Haniya was due to return to Gaza on Thursday after cutting short his first foreign trip as prime minister to deal with rising political tensions between the Hamas-ruling party and President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.
    The Prime Minister embarked on his trip on November 28, visiting Egypt, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran and Sudan. He was also due to go to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
    Hamas official Ahmad Yussef told AFP that Haniya managed to secure promises of financial aid from all the countries he visited, “especially Iran, which promised to provide 250 million dollars, and Qatar, which promised 30 million dollars”.
    However, it isn’t clear whether Haniya intended to bring in the cash with him.
    The Palestinian Authority has been facing a severe financial crisis after the U.S. and the EU, who classify Hamas as a terrorist group, cut off direct aid to the Palestinians to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel and give up anti-Israeli attacks.
    Israel also suspended customs and tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, making it unable to pay civil servants’ salaries.
    Moreover, Hamas says it is unable to transfer funds to the Palestinian territory because Washington pressures banks not to do business with the Palestinian government.
    Hamas officials have partially circumvented the embargo by bringing in millions of dollars of cash through the Rafah crossing.

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  86. Frank says:

    The Saudis sharing with Israel the issue of how to deal with Iran is now out in the open thanks to the squabble between Saudi wannabes.. It looks like diplomacy has taken another hard hit. The resultant vector ever more points towards an attack on Iran.

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  87. p.lukasiak says:

    “but Turki has a more multiculti view that Clemons obviously adores”
    I keep hoping that steve’s obvious, extreme sucking up is meant to be seen as the obvious, extreme, sucking up that it is, and is his way of passing along information that we are supposed to understand is not “factual” per se, but provides intight to the political and diplomatic situation of the moment.
    Because I really can’t believe he’s this much of a suck-up and doesn’t realize it….

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  88. Freedom says:

    Indeed, we are entering dangerous territory now! Going back to my links on Prince Bandar, I came upon the following texts. Sometimes it is important to read between the lines, the hesitations, and so on:
    http://tinyurl.com/yjpel8
    http://tinyurl.com/ycfnt8
    And there is the excellent New Yorker essay by Elsa Walsh: The Prince
    http://tinyurl.com/yz7cjv
    Re-reading that essay, it struck me how curious that just a few days before 9/11, the Saudi King had been finalizing a peace process in Palestine using a letter that Bush gave him (through Bandar) recognizing the creation of a state for the Palestinians. In effect, the Saudi King was “taking over” the process, almost dictating to Bush what was to be done. That must have put the fear of the Lord in Sharon’s Israel! Is it a coincidence that the attack came just a few days after? And I have always had that lingering doubt that Bandar had something to do with that. He and Bin Laden are “soul brothers” so to speak, both sons of “concubines”. Bandar’s mother was a “family servant” whereas Bin Laden’s mother is a Shi’ite from the Alawites of Syria, a sect not well viewed among the Shi’ites who themselves are not well liked by the Sunnis. But I digress. This is all as fascinating as it is dangerous.
    More interesting twists here:
    http://tinyurl.com/yc542w

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  89. daveinboca says:

    Back when I was still in the mix in the ’80s, Rihab Massoud was constantly playing games in the Embassy trying to corral Bandar. A real snarky dude oozing bonhomie, but you felt you wanted to take a shower after a meeting.
    Bandar once told me very late one evening in the ’70s that he wanted to be king. So one can surmise he’s pruned back his ambitions enough to settle for Foreign Minister.
    This sort of open salvos across the bows in public is very un-Saudi, but Bandar and Turki represent the new generation. They both want the Royal Family to persist in power, but Turki has a more multiculti view that Clemons obviously adores, while Bandar is one hundred percent USA. And Rihab, son of the Foreign Minister before Saud al-Faisal, is obviously aiming to become a player himself.

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  90. S0ft1ntheHead says:

    Golly, the UK Serious Fraud office is dropping its investigation of the BAE scandal on the basis of “Saudi-UK relations”.
    Do you think that the bin Ladens want their wayward boy Osama to come home? He could, you know. No one could touch Idi Amin when he fled to Saudi Arabia.

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  91. Marky says:

    Where is Sen. Hagel now, when it counts?
    His hindsight is eerily clairvoyant, but when it comes to speaking out and acting forcefully to prevent disaster, where is he?
    I speak not only of Hagel, of course, but of all the so-called “sensible Republicans”.
    This country could well be headed towards an offensive use of nuclear weapons on Iran, at the worst, and at the best—assuming Bush/Cheney remain in charge—a “minor” regional war with 6 or 7 figure casualties.
    If people like Hagel step up to the plate NOW, Bush and Cheney can be removed from office; without Republican support, a speedy impeachment of Bush and Cheney is impossible.

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  92. Earl says:

    Steve, you just stepped on my nightmare nerve. The last hope for restraint is off of the neocons now. All W needs now is a voice in his head, and Operation Atomic Persian will be winging thru the air. It would ‘solve’ all those pesky Shi’ite/ Sunni problems, improve his reputation, all that good stuff.
    I think Juan Cole had the admonition for everyone to get a bicycle. Not that we will need to go anywhere. The global depression brought on by the nuked oil fields will mean no jobs. Oh yeah, and the radioactive soot plumes..
    I think it’s time for more happy pills………..

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  93. p.lukasiak says:

    all I want to know is if all this water that Steve is carrying for Turki is in big bottles, or individual servings…. 😉

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  94. Marky says:

    Seriously, doesn’t Iran seem like a more rational player in the region than Saudi Arabia?
    It’s my personal experience that the Iranians like Americans a great deal, while I don’t know that the same is true about the Saudis.
    The Saudis also are most responsible for the worst terror attacks against the US.
    Talking with Iran seems essential at this point, as well as potentially fruitful.

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  95. daCascadian says:

    John B >”…very confusing and murky, and dangerous too.”
    Well the operators on “the other side(s)” like to play murky so what else would you expect ?
    There are things going on “below the surface” which will only surface toward the end of the act we are currently in
    “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

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  96. John B. says:

    Good question jonst…
    I can’t tell if we are playing the Shia in Iraq off of the Sunnis in Saudia Arabia so we can go after the Iranians who are mostly Shia…
    very confusing and murky, and dangerous too.

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  97. jonst says:

    Ok, and all this comes against a backdrop of al-Hakim!!!!!!, of all people, sitting in the Whitehouse with Bush. What in the world is going on? Something very strange, and very murky, I can tell you that. Why would Bush et al, apparently, link up with SCRI? And therefore, apparently, adopt the so called Shia solution?

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  98. gq says:

    Is TWN aware of how much influence Cheney will have in pushing us to go to war with Iran in the next two years? I read conflicting results. Or is the Bush legacy crowd merely using Cheney as a scapegoat? In other words, is Cheney really the only bad spot in the administration?

    Reply

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