The Rise of the Northern Tier

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(Photo Credit: Flickr)
Conflicts Forum Director Alastair Crooke recently wrote a strikingly original article in The Washington Quarterly on the Middle East’s shifting strategic landscape.
In the article, “The Shifting Sands of State Power in the Middle East“, Crooke argues that the Middle East’s “northern tier” – which includes Turkey along with Iran, Qatar, Syria, and possibly Iraq and Lebanon – represents the nascent ‘axis of influence’ for the coming regional era, barring war.”
He says:

Behind the northern tier’s ascendancy in regional politics lies the perception that Syria and its allies have read the Middle Eastern ground better than the United States and its allies, especially since they Iran, Syria, and Turkey judged the Iraq war correctly from the perspective of the region, even though Washington viewed Syrian and Turkish opposition to the invasion as an unhelpful stance. Syria and Iran are also seen to be standing in a pivotal position to shape the future of Iraq. More importantly, all three are seen to have read the prospects for a Palestinian state more accurately than others. Hence, they are in a better position, especially due to their links with Hamas and other Palestinian groups, to be able to craft a comprehensive regional solution and change the present circumstances for the better.
Iran, Syria, and Turkey are, therefore, widely seen to be the coming influence in this new regional era.

Crooke’s article shares similar themes with Stephen Kinzer‘s latest book, Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future, which argues that the United States should shift its alliances away from Saudi Arabia and Israel and toward Turkey and Iran. But rather than focusing on Turkey’s and Iran’s democratic traditions, as Kinzer does, Crooke’s analysis centers on the political, economic and strategic trends unfolding throughout the region.
Perhaps the most disheartening of Crooke’s insights relates to the apparent failure of all three pillars of the Olso accords: Israeli acceptance of the concept of land for peace, the belief that Israel’s settlement process is reversible, and the notion that the United States can persuade Israel to retreat to its 1967 borders.
Crooke’s article, which I originally found at The Race for Iran, can be read here.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

69 comments on “The Rise of the Northern Tier

  1. nadine says:

    You seem to think inventing cut and paste fake quotes makes you look clever, JohnH. It just makes you look stupid — and a liar to boot.
    If true or false doesn’t matter to you, why the heck should anybody anywhere pay attention to your confabulations for a single second?

    Reply

  2. JohnH says:

    What Ben Gurion said in 1948: “This is our plan for this stage

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Cases against soldiers have Israel wondering
    Indictments and disciplinary actions stemming from Israel’s Gaza offensive are raising a prospect many might find unsettling: the controversial Goldstone report may have been on the right track.
    July 07, 2010|By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
    Reporting from Jerusalem

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If known maggots can consistently call me “Piece Of Shit”, surely my posts should not be removed for calling them maggots, eh? And what does THE MAGGOT Marcus need a roaming ISP for? To circumvent banning from the sites he infests, and to conceal the origin of his poisonous spew?
    And, when have I ever claimed “there are no Israeli courts”? Never, thats when.
    But this PIECE OF SHIT Nadine, (I guess I can call her that, eh? That seems to be OK with the moderator.),who has consistently denied crimes committed by IDF soldiers, now says convictions are just a sign of unbiased and just Israeli courts. Shall we take the first Rachel Corrie investigation and court proceedings as an example? Interesting that those proceedings have been exposed as a joke, eh? And how many of the “10,000” cases of crimes and abuses Nadine claims Goldstone found were actually investigated, prosecuted? Point off fact, the indictment/conviction stats are fairly eye opening, aren’t they?
    So, apparently the MAGGOTS here can consistently accuse posters of “siding with the terrorists”, of being “anti-semites”, call posters “Piece of shit, (POS), yadayada, but we cannot call them maggots.

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  5. nadine says:

    Yeah sure, JohnH, I used my telepathic Joooo-beams (they’re infallible, you know) to read and comprehend these words:
    “Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: “We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital

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  6. nadine says:

    Hey, POS, didn’t you say a million times that Israel was a fascist dictatorship that gave medals for machine-gunning innocent civilians.
    How could an ISRAELI court ever possibly convict any Israeli soldier of a war crime? You told us there are no Israeli courts!
    But as it happens, Israel is a democracy whose soldiers fight according to military law and under ROEs, stricter ROEs than American soldiers have. Sometimes they commit crimes and get prosecuted. (That does not mean they committed the other 10,000 crimes Goldstone accused them based on nothing but the sayso of Hamas officials and picked witnesses)
    But of course you are much too stupid to understand that you just contradicted yourself.

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  7. JohnH says:

    Nadine must be psychic–she can read the Palestinian mind with such clarity!
    Or is she merely projecting her own attitudes, stating with absolute certainly what Israeli supremacists would do if they were in Palestinians’ position. (I was going to say Palestinians’ shoes, but I understand that the import of shoes has been banned from Gaza because, as Bush the Lesser learned, they can be used as weapons.)
    My guess is that Nadine has absolutely no clue about Hamas’ intentions, only what she regurgitates from hasbara sites.

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  8. Marcus says:

    Truly great post, Nadine (as usual,you show them all up)

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  9. nadine says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/saving-mohammed-abu-mustafa-1.299481?trailingPath=2.169,2.212,2.213,
    A TV documentary about a Tel Aviv hospital that is trying to save the life of a Gazan baby with a rare genetic defect.
    His mother wants him to grow up to become a shahid and kill the Israelis who saved him.

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  10. nadine says:

    “Nadine – Who has been hurt worse- Israelis or Palestinians by this conflict? Aside from who is to blame for the conflict I think you would agree the Palestinians have been hurt far,far,far worse.”
    Yes, and so what? You could broaden this question to the whole Arab world. For the last sixty years the Arab governments have been telling their people, “You can’t have democracy or economic reform while the Cause of Palestine remains unsettled.” Now, who has been hurt most by this? The Arab world, of course. Does this mean they didn’t make this choice and now have to live with the consequences? Of course not, nations always have the choice to pursue self-destructive policies (just look at current US fiscal policy).
    “Taba would be a reasonable solution to the entire conflict. Under no circumstances would I agree to a full-fledged right of return for Palestinians. However, I do see room for a token, face saving return, of 30-50,000 as has been discussed. ”
    If memory serves, Ehud Barak already implemented a “face-saving” return far above those numbers; I seem to remember 150,000. I could be off. Needless to say, if 50,000 or 150,000 was acceptable, a settlement would have been agreed to long since. It’s not. The Pals have spent a generation absolutely promising 5 million refugees they will get to go back.
    “As I’m sure you are aware Hamas has stated publicly that if such a peace agreement passes in a Palestinian plebecite, they will honor it. I think you underestimate Hamas’ pragmatism.”
    Easy for them to say, they will never hold another election.
    I think you are simply in denial about Hamas’ belief in their own ideology. I hear echoes of “Oh Hitler says a lot of rubbish about the Jews, but it’s just rhetoric, useful for consolidating power. He may seize their property but he’ll be pragmatic in the end.” Well, Hitler wasn’t ever pragmatic, because Hitler believed in his own Nazi ideology. BTW, this was absolutely conventional wisdom about Hitler in the 1930s. Men who saw what he was really about (like Churchill) were few and far between and out of power.
    Hamas also believes. If Fatah and Hamas ever unite, it will be around Hamas’ ideology.
    “The general population of Iran has no permanent hatred of Israel or Jews”
    That will be great if the general population of Iran can regain control of their country from the nutjob mullahs, Revolutionary Guard and Basiji thugs. Until then, we have an Iranian government that has made Holocaust denial and destruction of Israel a centerpiece of its ideology — and is racing to get the means to accomplish it.
    “Last but not least the whole meme of Hamas and Hezballah hiding behind civilians is irrelevent. ”
    How fast you run to make excuses for your enemies. They are fighting the first war in the history of the world where the enemy values the lives of women and children more than their own people do. It used to be that you had to get hostages to have valuable human shields, but Hamas can use its own women and children. That’s because Israel has a culture of life, but Hamas has chosen a culture of death, which they boast of. People who say “we love death” are not democrats and know only one kind of peace — they kind they violently impose on others.
    What is also extremely relevant is that the world is setting up a war-fighting standard just for Israel that says you’re not allowed to kill any civilians even if they are put deliberately in harms way by their own side. If you’re anybody else, fine, you do what you need too, but for Israel it’s a war crime.
    “I was in Israel a lot in the 50’s and 60’s and heard the same “no partner for peace” crap about the Egyptians. It wasn’t true of them and neither is it true of Palestinians”
    It sure as hell was true of Nasser. Have you forgotten that Sadat DID something to change the minds of Israelis? What has Abu Mazen ever done? Nothing. Would Abu Mazen ever address the Knesset the way Sadat did? Not a chance. Abu Mazen is too busy honoring one bloody terrorist after another as a hero of Palestine.
    You are just living in la-la land JD.

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  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Great post, jdledell.

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  12. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Who has been hurt worse- Israelis or Palestinians by this conflict? Aside from who is to blame for the conflict I think you would agree the Palestinians have been hurt far,far,far worse.
    Taba would be a reasonable solution to the entire conflict. Under no circumstances would I agree to a full-fledged right of return for Palestinians. However, I do see room for a token, face saving return, of 30-50,000 as has been discussed. I would recommend Bibi make such an offer and Israel would once again be the darling of the International community. The only caveat I would add is that the Gaza-West Bank corridor not be opened until Hamas joins the elected government and agrees in writing to abide by all peace agreement covenents. Our only disagreement is Palestinian confederation with Jordan is out of the question. Neither side wants it or will agree to it. The same is true of Gaza and Egypt.
    As I’m sure you are aware Hamas has stated publicly that if such a peace agreement passes in a Palestinian plebecite, they will honor it. I think you underestimate Hamas’ pragmatism. Except for some crazies, they realize they could never defeat Israel. I’ve talked with several Hamas members who in a Palestinian setting, talk realistically.
    As far as Hezballah goes,while they hate Israel, they have no territorial designs on Israel. Their concerns center mainly on the plight of the Lebanese shites. You have to agree the 1932 census and Taif Accord really screws the Shites.
    The general population of Iran has no permanent hatred of Israel or Jews. They were allies for a long time. Iran is merely using the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to increase their influence in the Middle East. If Israel were able to resolve this conflict, Iranian inluence would wane considerably.
    Last but not least the whole meme of Hamas and Hezballah hiding behind civilians is irrelevent. Would you have the fighters line up in an open field to be decimated by the IAF and IDF. If it is cowardly for Hamas to hide in buildings to avoid direct line of fire from the IDF, it is equally cowardly for the IAF to fly unmolested at 15,000 feet dropping bombs. Why can’t the IDF fight mano a mano with Hamas in the street with just guns. Of course no side wants a fair fight so each side uses what advantages each have.
    By the way, it is IDF military doctrine to capture Palestinian houses and keep the occupants inside as a way of minimizing possible retaliation from enemy forces while setting up sniper positions on the upper floors. Is that using civilians as shields – You betcha, same as Hamas.
    I was in Israel a lot in the 50’s and 60’s and heard the same “no partner for peace” crap about the Egyptians. It wasn’t true of them and neither is it true of Palestinians. Egypt got back 100% of it’s territory and a deal was done. If Israel offers something close to that for the Palestinians, the deal is done.

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  13. nadine says:

    “What is with yourt paranoia about Hamas?” (jdledell)
    Simple. I take them at their word. They have explained their goals and I believe them.
    “There is a zero percent chance that Hamas could ever seriously threaten Israel or commit genocide of the Jews. ZERO PERCENT!!!!”
    Hamas has already hurt Israel far more than the dead from rockets: it has scored a huge propaganda win through its tactics of firing at civilians from behind civilians and claiming all its dead fighters are civilians. Hizbullah has seen and has imitated it, as the IDF just published: all Hizbullah’s rockets are now in villages, in schools, houses etc. So tell me, do they get immunity now, when they fire the next barrage at Tehran’s bidding? Must Israel just sit and take the incoming missiles?
    You talk as if relative power could never change. Open your eyes; it already has. The world screams at Israel for killing “poor civilians” if it responds to the rockets; it screams at Israel for even blockading “poor civilians”; the Red-Green alliance is working day by day to render every single strategy Israel uses to defend itself from attack illegitimate. You tell me, what is the goal here? Tehran, Hamas and Hizbullah have told me, loud and clear.
    I think the Palestinians should accept something like Taba and confederate with Jordan. But it can’t happen with Hamas in control of Gaza. And don’t bother telling me how “unfair” it is and how they deserve more more more and Israel must accept 5 million Palestinian refugees. It wasn’t very “fair” when Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 etiher.

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  14. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Your hatred blinds you to any concept other than -muslims bad and Jews good. What is with yourt paranoia about Hamas? It’s very clear that Hamas does NOT represent an existential threat to Israel. There is a zero percent chance that Hamas could ever seriously threaten Israel or commit genocide of the Jews. ZERO PERCENT!!!!
    Do you seriously think in the next 100 years Hamas fighters could invade Israel and challange the IAF and IDF? Hamas is the equivelent of mesquitos – annoying,sometimes causing death but can be swatted away at will.
    You constantly claim the Palestinians don’t want a state and reject peace. Can you please delineate the details of a peace agreement you think is fair enough for the Palestinians to accept? Please be as detailed as you can, I am seriously interested in what you consider fair.

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  15. ... says:

    nadine quote “Since there is no partner for peace”
    israels actions certainly portray this nadine… they are not interested in being a partner for peace, and they don’t have copyright control on this line either in spite of how they like to pull it up regularly… fact is, israel has been throwing out a lot of bullshit and riding on a lot of good will that is coming to an end… the hasbara ain’t working much anymore…

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  16. nadine says:

    jdledell,
    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
    Al-Zahhar is not “some wingnut member” of Hamas – he’s a cofounder and leader. Everything he says agrees perfectly with the Hamas charter and how the other leaders of Hamas behave and speak of their aims. All they had to do to be acknowledged as the legitimate government of Gaza in 2006 was not renege on the PA-signed treaties: they reneged on all of them because they won’t recognize Israel.
    What would you have me believe? That Hamas aren’t Muslims? That they don’t really believe Palestine is a Muslim waqf from the river to the sea? That Allah didn’t order them to kill the Jews? In their everyday words, including their instructions to the smallest tots, they have elevated Jew-killing to the highest virtue.
    It’s true, Hamas has some pragmatism, but this extends purely to tactical choices in pursuit of their goals. They don’t want to kill too many Jews at once, because Israel is still stronger than they are, and they wish to limit the reprisals. On the day (God forbid) they become stronger than Israel, the slaughter will begin.
    What the hell is wrong with you that you can’t believe this, jd? Do you know no history? Have you forgotten everything? Hamas is even more open about their plans than Hitler was; all that prevents them is lack of power, and that can change. They feel stronger now that they see the world wants to end the blockade on the “poor Gazans” so Hamas can import 40,000 Iranian rockets to match Hizbullah. When Iran gets the bomb they will feel stronger still, and we shall see another war.
    You think Hamas cares about dead Gazans? The world has taught them that dead Gazans are great! The more, the better! Everybody blames only Israel. Hamas can plan their genocide out in the open, because the world treats them as if they don’t even exist.
    “I was in Israel in May and heard numerous Likud, Shas and YB politicians speak of autonomy for the Palestinian resident aliens instead of statehood.”
    So what? Is it not perfectly obvious by now that the Palestinians don’t want a state? Next to Israel, I mean; they are ONLY interested in one instead of Israel. So why should Israel run after them and beg? “Here, we’ll cut our own throat before you take off our head?” Now, that’s insanity.
    When you speak about Israel exploding if the Palestinians were to be offered a state, you seem to forget they were offered one twice in the last ten years, without Israel exploding; but the Israelis remember what happened afterward, even if you don’t.
    Since there is no partner for peace, and not the remotest prospect for peace, it makes the best sense to talk about how to manage the conflict. For all the number of times the word “unsustainable” gets tossed around, all the major problems of the Mideast have been sustained quite successfully for decades.

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  17. Carroll says:

    “NADINE: “…Israel at least gives us a lot of high tech and intelligence support…”
    Name them nadine..give a specefic example of exactly what israel has given the US in high tech that the US didn’t already have and intelligence that wasn’t false and fabricated for the Israelis own purpose.
    Come on …tell us.

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  18. Carroll says:

    “NADINE: “…Israel at least gives us a lot of high tech and intelligence support…”
    Name them nadine..give a specefic example of exactly what israel has given the US in high tech that the US didn’t already have and intelligence that wasn’t false and fabricated for the Israelis own purpose.
    Come on …tell us.

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  19. Carroll says:

    According to a article in the Economist back in 2000..
    A BREAKDOWN OF UNITED STATES AID TO ISRAEL
    Financial Aid
    The Israeli government is the largest recipient of US financial aid in the world, receiving over one-third of total US aid to foreign countries4, even though Israel

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  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Page 1 of 3
    ISRAEL, PALESTINE AFTER THE FLOTILLA, Part 1
    Change is in the wind
    By Jack A Smith
    There are times in world politics when a relatively small incident can trigger a major chain of events, depending on circumstances. Another way of expressing this is contained in the ancient Chinese proverb, “A single spark can start a prairie fire” – particularly when conditions include a warm gusty wind and the grassland is dry.
    This analogy comes to mind in the aftermath of the violent illegal interdiction by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) of the six ships and nearly 700 people in the humanitarian Gaza Freedom flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea over a month ago, killing nine Turkish supporters of Palestinian national rights and wounding about 50 other voyagers.
    Is it possible this incident may represent the start of a transitional moment leading toward substantial change for the Palestinians, Israelis and perhaps the Middle East in general? We think yes, and the process has already begun. How far it goes, nobody knows, but conditions are ripe for change.
    After three years of increasingly tightened sanctions against the 1.5 million beleaguered Palestinians resident in the Gaza Strip, Israel has been forced to significantly ease its near-total blockade – not because of decisions by the UN and the several big powers that have been working with Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a settlement, but by the action of a people’s movement.
    Israel’s use of brute force on the high seas against a boatload of civilians on a brave journey motivated by compassion for a suffering people swiftly sent a tidal wave of international criticism and anger crashing against Israel’s shores. As always, the Jewish state sought to depict itself as the victim, but times have changed in recent years and the victim of yesterday, for whom humanity still mourns, is now perceived as an executioner of today, extracting 10, or 50, or 100 eyes for an eye.
    Much of the anger directed at the Israeli government last month first began to coalesce when Israel attacked Lebanon and Gaza in the summer of 2006. It grew after Israel’s vicious three-week invasion of defenseless Gaza starting in late December 2008. But it took the bungled flotilla attack for this gathering criticism to breach the levees.
    Now what? In the wake of the flotilla fiasco and public disapproval, obdurate Israel is obliged to make some concessions to the so-called Quartet, which is composed of the UN, the European Union, the United States and Russia – a group formed eight years ago to resolve differences between Israel and Palestine leading to the establishment of two separate states.
    The Barack Obama administration supports Israel politically and militarily, and has raised Washington’s annual subsidy to Israel to $3 billion beginning in October. It believes, however, that the regime’s disproportionate violence, illegal occupation of the West Bank (with a population of 2.8 million Palestinians) and foot-dragging on facilitating a Palestinian state undermines US hegemony in the Middle East and its imperial interests worldwide.
    Obama refused to blame Israel for shooting unarmed civilians at sea, saying only that “the United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries”. Nor has the White House used its decisive power to permanently halt the building of settlements on territory illegally seized from the Palestinians 43 years ago, much less to withdraw from the land it illegally occupies in the West Bank.
    Netanyahu’s governing extreme right-wing and ultra-orthodox religious coalition has no desire to curtail the establishment of Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands, to end its occupation of the West Bank, or to work seriously toward the creation of a Palestinian state. Hardline religious sectors entertain the belief that Israel was “given to the Jews by God”. (Were the Palestinians to make an identical claim based on equivalent evidence they would be dismissed as typical Islamic religious fanatics.)
    In this two-part article, we will discuss all these matters in detail, report on the actions of Obama and and the US Congress, explore the role of Turkey and Iran, the split between Fatah and Hamas, the disunity within the Arab world, and anticipate possible geopolitical outcomes throughout the Middle East.
    continues………
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LG08Ak01.html

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  21. Sand says:

    Example of Israel Firsters in Congress making sure that *NO Strings* are attached to those *Israeli* loans:
    ================================
    JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: “…Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), 31 House lawmakers urged the Bush Administration in a letter on Aug. 6 not to cut loan guarantees for Israel as it presses Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to alter construction of a security fence in the West Bank America’s primary objective in the Middle East peace process must be

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  22. Sand says:

    NADINE: “…loan guarantees to Israel… lots of strings attached….”
    “…Lots of strings attached…” — don’t make me laugh — and where’s the *Monitoring & Enforcement* of those so-called *Strings*…? Answer: there are none.
    However, noting that in 2007 it was reported that the “…Current American aid represents 20 percent of Israel’s military budget and four percent of the nation’s overall budget…”
    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ho38bJDmbODVfYywC66S-wtfxExA
    So, yes Americans should definitely be getting some ‘ENFORCED’ strings attached, on both Loans & Aid — but because we have Israel agents in Congress working on behalf OF Israel — Israel gets away with blue-murder, not to mention screwing hard-working Americans in those *left-wing districts* who barely enough of their own US taxpayer funds to finance district school and police budgets.
    Also, it might come as a shock — but Israel is only a small part of the US Military Industrial Complex — and it will not fall apart if we happen to find customers elsewhere who have something other to offer than US monopoly $$$.
    ================================
    ISRAEL’S LOAN GUARANTEES: “…U.S. aid to Israel has some unique aspects, such as loans with repayment waived, or a pledge to provide Israel with economic assistance equal to the amount Israel owes the United States for previous loans. Israel also receives special benefits that may not be available to other countries, such as the use of U.S. military assistance for research and development in the United States, the use of U.S. military assistance for military purchases in Israel, or receiving all its assistance in the first 30 days of the fiscal year rather than in 3 or 4 installments as other countries do…”
    CRS Issue Brief for Congress
    Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance
    Updated April 26, 2005 BY Clyde R. Mark
    [NB: I couldn’t find him authoring another CRS Report after ‘this one’!]
    Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/IB85066.pdf
    ================================

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  23. Carroll says:

    “Israel and Jews never do anything wrong.”
    This reminds me of a comment I saw on another site, which was:
    “Gee, only anti-Semites think Jews are so clever they never make mistakes, but if you think Zionism is a mistake you

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  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oops….
    heres how the post SHOULD have been composed…
    “Hey, JohnH, in case you haven’t noticed, Israel has had by far the most powerful army, plus nukes, for like forty years now. None of the Arab states can hold a candle to them”
    “So explain to me, genius, how come if Israel has “intentions” to commit genocide on the Palestinians, the way Hamas has intentions to commit genocide on the Jews, that Israel never up and did it?”
    Because by doing it the way they are doing it, they hoped to avoid becoming a pariah state. Its why they pay so much attention to controlling the narrative.
    “Forty years ago there were one million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Today there are three million. No mass graves. No mass expulsions. Triple the numbers”
    Yeah, you effin’ bigoted wretch. Theres alot MORE Palestinians crammed into alot LESS land. And alot more Jews enjoying alot more land. Funny how that works, eh?

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  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hey, JohnH, in case you haven’t noticed, Israel has had by far the most powerful army, plus nukes, for like forty years now. None of the Arab states can hold a candle to them.
    Because by doing it the way they are doing it, they hoped to avoid becoming a pariah state. Its why they pay so much attention to controlling the narrative.
    “Forty years ago there were one million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Today there are three million. No mass graves. No mass expulsions. Triple the numbers”
    Yeah, you effin’ bigoted wretch. Theres alot MORE Palestinians crammed into alot LESS land. And alot more Jews enjoying alot more land. Funny how that works, eh?

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Jul 07 2010, 8:54PM – Link
    Sand, if you examine the loan guarantees to Israel, you’ll find lots of strings attached to lots of American defense manufacturers in the districts of lots of Congressmen. Not even the left-wing Democrats want to stop that money.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    jesus! nadine you are so ignorant it is unbelievable.
    There are no strings to the “loan guarentees”. You mouth off all the time without the slighest idea of what you are talking about. There is “aid” to Israel, then there are straight loans, then there are “gifts” like the 10 million we gave them for Russian refugees and several of their wars and two of their ‘economic crisis, then are loan guarentees the US gives to other nations and businesses that Israel buys from on credit, then there are guarentees the US gives to the buyers of Israeli ‘bonds’ Israel sells around the world to finance their government operations.
    If we cut off the US aid, loans, grants and guarentees, trade exceptions….Israel would very shortly cease to exist as anything except a third world outhouse.

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  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It seems there’s really only one conversation here at TWN”
    You mean Nadine’s bigoted blather? Gets old, don’t it?
    Besides, there IS variety here. I mean hey, once in a while we discuss jackasses and maggots.
    And on a really good day, we’ve got alot of pleasant things to say about dogs.
    Besides, Sweetness, its kinda inexplicable, but it seems a few of you don’t bother to join the debate unless Israel is mentioned in a negative light. Gee, I wonder why that is?

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  28. Carroll says:

    You should listen nadine.
    jdledell is right..Israel has made too many enemies to last. And for all Israel’s bragging about their powerful military they are really a very minor power, capable only of hurting their closest neighbors…and if they were ever to use their nukes, you can be sure they would be wiped out by another country with nukes.
    Although I no longer have any sympathy for Israel and it’s supporters and see the zionist as not any better than racist nazis clones, what continually goes thru my mind is ..how can they be so STUPID? Do they want the Jews to be destroyed again?
    Everything they do, all the shit they stir, is taking them straight toward eventual destruction.
    And I doubt the world will be willing to pick up the pieces for the Jews and the Jewish state after that….not after seeing what a monster the world’s good deeds for the Jews after the holocaust has produced.

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  29. jdledell says:

    Nadine – You are hyperbolizing again. Hamas has no real intention of committing genocide against the Jews of Israel. It’s silly to take references out of the Koran or stupid nationalistic comments made by some wingnut Hamas members. All you have to do is go to shul in Bat Ayin or Kiryat Arba to hear exactly the same commentary as Hamas.
    Hamas for all their outrageous rhetoric is still pragmatic. Would they like to move the Jews out of Israel? Yes, or at least make the remainder resident aliens, like Bibi wants for the Palestinians. Both sides want in their hearts to be free of the people of the other religion.
    I was in Israel in May and heard numerous Likud, Shas and YB politicians speak of autonomy for the Palestinian resident aliens instead of statehood. Eli Yishai,Moshe Ya’alon, and Benny Begin have no intention of allowing a real Palestinian state.
    All this coalition is prepared to offer is to add Area B to Area A along with a small portion of Area C without the Jordan Valley. Providing the Palestinians 60% of the west bank and three bantustans will not get a peace deal and everyone knows it. Get over to Israel and listen to what the Israeli politicians tell their constituents in Hebrew.
    You know as well as I do that if negotiations ever proceeded to the point of a real Palestinian state emerging the West Bank Jews would explode with violence and mayhem. Israel has trapped itself with the settlement project to the point where it has viable options. It cannot allow a Palestinian state and it cannot annex the West bank and impose apartheid. Bibi knows he can’t go forward or backward so he will continue his sideway path buying time since no decision will work.
    For the next 10 years Israel will sit in a cesspool of it’s own making losing more and more International support. Then one day Iranian, or Egyptian or Pakistani nukes will explode over Tel Aviv and Jews the world over will go in mourning wondering how did this tragedy happen? Israel and Jews never do anything wrong.

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  30. nadine says:

    “I guess Israel should have checked out Hamas’ intentions before they helped start the organization!” (JohnH)
    But why should you complain? You love Hamas! You adore them! According to you, whatever Israel ever did for Hamas should be the one really good thing Israel ever did.
    “Actually, Hamas’ intentions sound remarkably like Israel’s. Go figure!” (JohnH)
    Hey, JohnH, in case you haven’t noticed, Israel has had by far the most powerful army, plus nukes, for like forty years now. None of the Arab states can hold a candle to them.
    So explain to me, genius, how come if Israel has “intentions” to commit genocide on the Palestinians, the way Hamas has intentions to commit genocide on the Jews, that Israel never up and did it?
    Forty years ago there were one million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Today there are three million. No mass graves. No mass expulsions. Triple the numbers.
    Wow, some “genocide”. Other people have to, like, get killed, to suffer genocide. Only the Palestinians can get billions in welfare (it’s running about $1000 per year per capita now) and triple their numbers while howling about “genocide”.
    Can facts penetrate into your world view? Ever?

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    Sand, if you examine the loan guarantees to Israel, you’ll find lots of strings attached to lots of American defense manufacturers in the districts of lots of Congressmen. Not even the left-wing Democrats want to stop that money.
    Besides, we throw far more money elsewhere (like Egypt) for no return. Israel at least gives us a lot of high tech and intelligence support.

    Reply

  32. Sand says:

    So if Israel is an ME economic powerhouse — why the hell do we keep extending their loan guarantees? They should be out there getting their own money — taking their own risk.
    — Congress Extends Israel Loan Guarantees
    http://www.wrmea.com/component/content/article/308-2007-march/6597-congress-passes-palestinian-punishment-bill-softened-by-bush-signing-statement.html
    “…On the last day of the lame duck session, Congress passed H.R. 6060, the seemingly innocuous State Department Authorities Act, authorizing certain routine activities of the Department of State. However, the bill also includes a provision extending the loan guarantees to Israel for another three years. In 2003, as part of an emergency appropriations bill, Congress approved $9 billion in loan guarantees to Israel over three years. This was later extended to 2008, and H.R. 6060 further extends the guarantees to 2011. So far, Israel has used about half of the guarantees…”

    Reply

  33. ... says:

    Posted by Sweetness, Jul 07 2010, 10:55AM – Link
    It seems there’s really only one conversation here at TWN.
    welcome to nadineworld…
    every once and a while someone else gets to comment, but trust nadine to steer the conversation back to hasbara central, bought and paid for by the hasbara folks…

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    That’s fine, JohnH; if you prefer PPP lets go with that.
    Here’s the data using that parameter:
    Iran=$876,000,000,000
    Turkey=$863,000,000,000
    Syria=$102,500,000,000
    Qatar=$101,200,000,000
    Total=$1,739,203,700,000
    Total Combined Population=170,072,312
    Now lets compare those four nations (two of which are blessed with enormous energy resources) with one of the nations in Europe with a relatively troubled economy; Italy.
    Italy has a population of 60,231,000 and a GDP (PPP) of $1,760,000,000,000.
    With only slightly more than 1/3 the population, Italy has a GDP (PPP) that exceeds the GDP of the four nations in question put together.
    Yes, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Qatar sure are rich and powerful!

    Reply

  35. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–you continue to mislead. As I explained, I used the CIA’s purchasing power parity GDP figures. This removes the bias in apparent wealth caused by the overvalued dollar. And, using nominal GDP figures, understates the economic power of these countries.
    Maybe you should visit Iran yourself, to see what a “pathetically poor” country it is (not). Iran puts a LOT of money into social programs and very little into defense, which helps.
    Meeting a few ordinary, hard working Muslims wouldn’t do you any harm either.

    Reply

  36. Carroll says:

    Humm…one never knows do they?
    So many things get said and denied. Maybe the UAE didn’t want it said ‘in public’ then again maybe the Ambassador over spoke.
    Googling Yousef al-Otaiba it seems he is “a wannabe man about town in DC”, throwing lavish parties, courting the city’s social elite, a real playboy…maybe he was ‘personally’ a little too eager to ingratiate himself with the very important politicos in DC. I remember Prince Bandar had the same problem, getting too westernized and chummy with the powerful in DC and speaking out of turn to suit the King.
    No doubt the guy said it but it’s very strange, Ambassadors when speaking on policy matters don’t usually talk in terms of “I” and “me” or express personal opinions…they stick to the diplomatic script. Bet he’s gotten in hot water over this. His DC party days might be over.
    AE Disavows Ambassador

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    Using the CIA figures, JohnH, the combined GDPs of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Qatar jump from 1,071,332,000,000 to 1,086,400,000,000. The difference is insignificant and still places the combined GDP of these nations with a total population of approximately 170 million people at less than the GDP of New York State which has a population of less than 20 million.
    These Northern Tier nations are poor, backwards and mostly impoverished. That doesn’t make their citizens bad people and it doesn’t mean that they are destined to remain backwards forever. But it does suggest that they are hardly the powerhouses or budding powerhouses that this post suggests they are.
    These are struggling nations that might or might not come to prosper. It is far to soon to conclude that any of them is on the verge of becoming powerful.
    Muslims aren’t dumber or smarter than people of any other religious/ethnic group. Turks, Iranians, Syrians and Qataris aren’t either (although some of the governments of these nations are odious).
    What this post suggests is that Alistain Crooke is dumber than alot of other commentators; or if he’s not dumber; then this particular article is.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–the World Bank figures show “nominal” GDP. They are useful to those like you who want to bash everything Muslim. They make some countries appear poorer than they really are, because they don’t adjust for the effects of the overvalued dollar.
    The CIA figures adjust for purchasing power, which apparently doubles the effective GDP of these countries. The adjustment is particularly strong in the case of Iran, whose GDP almost triples.
    I had a friend return recently from Iran. He was impressed by the prosperity of the country.
    Alastair Crooke also believes that these countries are much more powerful economically than the nominal GDP figures would suggest.

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    I guess Israel should have checked out Hamas’ intentions before they helped start the organization!
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/07/a-few-remarks-on-israel-and-hamas-richard-sale.html
    Actually, Hamas’ intentions sound remarkably like Israel’s. Go figure!
    But I guess the Jewish supremacists here believe that Zionist aspirations are superior to Palestinian ones. And therein lies the problem.

    Reply

  40. Sweetness says:

    It seems there’s really only one conversation here at TWN.

    Reply

  41. rc says:

    “Since 1996, the American taxpayers are still sending Israel $3 billion a year and providing assorted loan guarantees, waivers, rich technology transfers and other indirect assistance. Before George W. Bush left office a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel stipulated an assistance package of $30 billion over the next ten years to be transferred in a lump sum at the beginning of every fiscal year. Israel

    Reply

  42. Don Bacon says:

    Israel is a good example of how a small state, the same size as New Jersey but with less people, has political influence far in excess of their assets and can thereby lead the mighty USA around by the nose.

    Reply

  43. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag, it’s very simple. National power is not merely a function of population and economy but primarily depends upon political influence. So all your fancy numbers and your slander of the diary author are largely irrelevant.

    Reply

  44. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag would have absolutely no use for the UAE,a tiny non-democratic Muslim enclave, except when the UAE advocates a seminal war between Iran and the USA which leave the UAE untouched but would be outrageously expensive in terms of petroleum supply disruption and amazingly fatal to thousands of people despite the fact that Iran threatens nobody.

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    “In her rush to bash everything Islamic, Wigwag gets it wrong. Iran, Syria, Qatar and Turkey have a GDP closer to $2 Trillion, double what Wigwag claimed.” (JohnH)
    I am afraid you are incorrect, JohnH. The figures for GDP that I quoted come directly from the World Bank and represent the most recent data available for each nation.
    Here is the raw data for GDP (nominal) for 2009:
    Turkey: GDP=$617,099,000,000
    Iran: GDP=$331,015,000,000
    Qatar=$71,041,000,000
    Syria=$52,177,000,000
    Total=$1,071,332,000,000
    Here’s a nice table that summarizes it all for you,
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/07/the_northern_ti/#comments
    If you prefer, you can go to the World Bank site itself. What you will find there are numbers slightly different than the numbers I quoted above, but not that different in the aggregate. The combined GDPs of these nations do not approach $2 trillion as you suggest; at least if the World Bank is to be believed.
    Here is the raw data for population (2009)
    Turkey=72,561,312
    Iran=74,196,000
    Qatar=1,409,000
    Syria=21,906,000
    Total=170,072,312
    My point is not to “bash everything Islamic” but it is to bash both Alastair Crooke for coming up with a thesis that is absurd and young Ben for promoting that thesis.
    Along with Indonesia, Malaysia and Albania, Turkey is certainly one of the majroity Muslim nations that is developing and may have a bright future. But to suggest that the “Northern Tier” nations are poised to play a leadership roll economically, politically, militarily, scientifically or culturally is simply at odds with the facts.
    This post and the article that it is based on is simply dumb.

    Reply

  46. rc says:

    “Israel has a per capita income of about $26,000” (nadine, 2:05am)
    So adjusting for total US aid support (which the others do not enjoy) and what does it come down to?

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    Israel has a per capita income of about $26,000
    This contrasts very favorably with Turkey ($8700), Iran ($4500) or Syria ($2500)
    Nope, non of them are economic powerhouses, except that Iran has oil.

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    “And this is exactly why the US should form an grand alliance with Iran.”
    Carroll, that’s exactly like saying the US should have formed a grand alliance with Hitler in the 30s (I would bet anything that you would have recommended doing exactly that back then. Most anti-Semites did, saying Hitler had the right ideas about the Jews).
    The problem is that Hitler’s vision for the world, just like Ahmedinejad’s today, is totally antithetical to the US’s values of democracy, liberty and human rights. He’s not interested in power-sharing. He’s interested in “Death to America” “Death to the Great Satan”.
    Handing all our regional allies — this includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia every bit as much as Israel, even more so, as they can’t defend themselves — over to Ahemdinejad’s tender mercies will only convince everybody in the world that anybody who ever trusts the US again for anything is an utter fool.

    Reply

  49. Carroll says:

    “There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran. Small, rich, vulnerable countries in the region do not want to be the ones who stick their finger in the big bully’s eye, if nobody’s going to come to their support.”
    And this is exactly why the US should form an grand alliance with Iran.
    Then the small states would have less reason to worry about ever having to confront Iran.
    Iran is the key to the ME. Recognizing Iran is the US’s key to being able to exert some influence in the ME without the use of military power.
    With Iran the US would have a bigger, richer, more powerful ally to defray the cost of being responsible for the security and stability of the ME states like the UAE and Saudi that have always depended on the US power for protection of their status quo.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic interviews the UAE Ambassador, who said in public what many in the region have been saying privately for a long time:
    “I interviewed the ambassador to Washington from the United Arab Emirates, Yousef al-Otaiba, at a lunch program here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he was typically bold and straightforward on the challenges facing his country, one of America’s key allies in the Arab world…. he did say the U.A.E. would sooner see military action against Iran’s nuclear program than see the program succeed. Here is something crucial he said about the price of letting Iran go nuclear:
    “There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran. Small, rich, vulnerable countries in the region do not want to be the ones who stick their finger in the big bully’s eye, if nobody’s going to come to their support.”
    And then there is this: “Countries in the region view the Iran threat very differently, I can only speak for the U.A.E., but talk of containment and deterrence really concerns me and makes me very nervous. Why should I be led to believe that deterrence or containment will work? Iran doesn’t have a nuclear power now, but we’re unable to contain them and their behavior in the region. What makes me think that once they have a nuclear program, we’re going to be able to be more successful in containing them?”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/07/uae-ambassador-on-the-challenge-of-iran/59252/
    That moron Obama is going to hand the whole Persian Gulf to Ahemdinejad if he doesn’t change course. That’s what Ambassador al-Otaiba is saying, loud and clear. A weak protector is a strategic liability.

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    “this is what Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba had to say,
    “I think it’s a cost-benefit analysis. I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what…
    “If you are asking me, ‘Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,’ my answer is still the same: ‘We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.'” (Wigwag)
    Gee Wigwag, the Ambassador must be “anti-Muslim” and never have met a Muslim. Just ask jdledell.

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, the co-founder and leader of Hamas lays out his program on TV, and he is quite explicit:
    “Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: “We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital

    Reply

  53. nadine says:

    jd, and here I thought both the extremists and the moderates were Muslim. So how can it be “anti-Muslim” to side with the moderates in CHP or March 14th or the Green Movement against the AKP or Hizbullah or the Revolutionary Guards?
    It is you who substitute name-calling for realistic thinking. The road that Turkey is taking in following Iran and Syria is anything but new: it is the road of the tyrant, of using external hatreds to keep the people down and the ruler up, that most of the Arab word has been following for the last 60 years, to their immense harm.

    Reply

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wig-wag won’t be happy until the entire middle east is on fire, with the smell of incinerated Muslim wafting through the air. One very sick puppy, that one.

    Reply

  55. Mr.Murder says:

    Get Turkey within the EU, then when the next NATO/SEATO block forms in the Crescent they can be leaders.

    Reply

  56. WigWag says:

    Maybe Steve Clemons who is in Aspen would like to comment on this hot little news item. It looks like the Ambassador from the UAE (who participated in the Aspen meeting)has endorsed an American military attack on Iran in the event that the sanctions regime proves ineffective (as it almost surely will).
    When asked what he thought about the prospect of an American attack against Iran, this is what Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba had to say,
    “I think it’s a cost-benefit analysis. I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what…
    “If you are asking me, ‘Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,’ my answer is still the same: ‘We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.’ I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E.”
    This is a rather blunt formulation from the Ambassador and its actually an extraordinary statement; he wants Iran stopped and he’s willing to pay almost any price to see that happen. Does anyone with any common sense doubt that the Saudi King said the same thing to Obama when they met at the White House last week?
    Here’s the entire story from the Washington Times but its also being reported elsewhere including the Atlantic Magazine blog,
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/6/uae-ambassador-endorses-bombing-irans-nuclear-prog/
    We all know that Obama is only mildly concerned about what the Israelis think about Iran but now that his friends in the Sunni Arab world are lining up in support of a military attack, does anyone doubt what the future holds for Iran?

    Reply

  57. Carroll says:

    Crooke’s on it.
    What is happening was predicted.
    Some ME powers are consolidating to influence and eventually lead the ME region away from the US imposed power balance.
    This exactly what should happen.
    The down side is that the only way the US and Israel can stop this trend is by starting a ME war.
    P.S. Ben
    I would like to see something on Egypt here. I am betting that Egypt’s government will be the first too friendly to the US government to bite the dust in the ME.

    Reply

  58. JohnH says:

    In her rush to bash everything Islamic, Wigwag gets it wrong. Iran, Syria, Qatar and Turkey have a GDP closer to $2 Trillion, double what Wigwag claimed.
    Granted Turkey’s $863 Billion is not huge. It ranks only 18th in the world. But in the region it is huge, particularly compared to Israel, which aspires to regional primacy but has an economy less than a quarter the size of Turkey’s.
    Further, Turkey is not “pathetically poor.” According to the CIA World Factbook, Turkey is about average. And Israel is not exactly among the world’s wealthy countries.
    Finally, Turkey will not develop to its potential if it cannot conduct normal commercial activity with its neighbors. Economic unions work, as the EU demonstrated. Opening markets and reducing trade barriers with its neighbors will help Turkey prosper.
    On the other hand, placing political limits on Turkish commercial activity will stifle growth. The USrael policy has been to cut Turkey off from its neighbors in an attempt to isolate Russia, Syria, and Iran.
    If the US wants to play a constructive role in the region, it has to be mindful of countries’ needs to trade and develop. If the US ignores that reality, then these countries will go their own way and solve their regional problems as best they can.

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    With all due respect to young Ben, this post is nonsense; he’s giving Clark University graduates a bad name! Perhaps Ben is spending too much time with Flynt and Hillary. It would appear that instead of them ascending to Ben’s level, Ben is descending to theirs.
    Yes, Iran, Syria, Qatar and Turkey are just so powerful. Why should we limit these economic and military titans to being the new leaders of the Middle East? Let’s tell it like it is; these four nations are poised to lead the world. Militarily, their strength is astounding. Economically, they’re a wonder to behold. Culturally they’re behemoths and politically they’re islands of stability. Watching their rise has just been an extraordinary experience.
    If you combine the populations of Iran, Syria, Qatar and Turkey; collectively these nations are home to 169,972,312 people. If you combine the GDPs of all four countries, collectively they have a GDP of $1.071 trillion
    By way of comparison, New York State which only has 19,541,000 people living in it has a GDP of $1.144 trillion; Texas which only has a population of 24,782,000 has a GDP of $1.223 trillion and California which has a population of 36,962,000 has a GDP of 1.847 trillion.
    In other words, California with only about 20 percent of the combined populations of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Qatar has a GDP which is nearly 75 percent larger than all four nations combined.
    These “Northern Tier” nations aren’t poor, they’re pathetically poor which is pretty amazing considering the energy resources of Iran and Qatar. Separate it from the others and Qatar is doing extremely well because of its oil wealth, but combine it with the others and despite its wealth it can’t raise the average of its poor and backwards colleagues in the “Northern Tier.” And lets not forget that most of these nations are horribly unstable.
    Turkey is engaged in a civil war with its Kurdish population that has already killed 40 thousand and is likely to get worse before it gets better. Plus it faces the prospect of increasing hostility between its secular and religious citizens. Syria is ruled by a minority clan, the Alawites that is detested by the majority Sunni population and of course Syria has a Kurdish problem of its own. Iran is torn by strife, economically backwards (other than oil, caviar and maybe someday natural gas they produce essentially nothing that anyone wants) and they face the prospect of international sanctions that may very well be the precursor to a massive bombing campaign ordered by Obama. Qatar is a tiny emirate that recently experienced its first Al Qaeda attack.
    The idea that these nations are poised to lead anything, other than perhaps a parade of failed nations is laughable.

    Reply

  60. larry birnbaum says:

    There is certainly some reason to believe that Turkey may wish to throw its lot in with Iran and Syria. I guess my feeling about this is, it’s sad for the Turks. The notion that Syria and Iran constitute the future of anything is absurd. They’re not even sustainable. Syria is a typical Middle Eastern family-run despotism. Iran seems more like late Brezhnev Soviet Communism.
    As for the “analysis” of the failure of Oslo — another sad reality — the ahistoricism is equally surreal. The Israelis soured on Oslo for no reason, apparently.

    Reply

  61. JohnH says:

    I thought Crooke’s piece was a thoughtful analysis of the trends and pressures gripping the Middle East.
    The Middle East is much more than the Israel-neighbors conflict. The Obama administration would do well to internalize that reality.

    Reply

  62. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Your antipathy for all things muslim is astounding. Yet when others show antipathy for all things Jewish, you immediately cry foul. Do you understand how ridiculously anti-intellectual that is?
    Have you ever been in an Islamic country? Have you ever met any muslims? For that matter have you ever been to Israel? Everything you post here is second hand knowledge – out of books or the Internet. Have you ever though for a moment that maybe, just maybe, you don’t have a complete picture of the issues?
    I have traveled extensively thoughout the mideast, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf states and even Iran, as well as every corner of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank I’m sure if you did so, the experience would temper your feelings towards muslims and even understand how these people feel and interact with their governments.
    My grandfather tought me a saying that has served me well all these years – the sh*t of an arab and a jew stink just the same.

    Reply

  63. David says:

    You really got my attention with the reference to Stephen Kinzer. Intriguing post. Where else but TWN?

    Reply

  64. ... says:

    nadine quote “Hamas’ interest is in the destruction of the Jewish state. What comes after is much less of a concern to them.”
    … quote – ‘israel’ interest is in the destruction of the palestinian state… what comes after is much less of a concern to them.
    talk is cheap..

    Reply

  65. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, this development couples a new era of containment, diplomatically, using former Russian states or spheres as new engagement zones.
    Several concerted items were brought forward, most notably a call for sovereignty of the Georgian Republic.

    Reply

  66. frenchconnection says:

    Get over it, Turkey will NEVER become a EU member, at best it can get a privileged trade status and some observers.
    This for the following reasons :
    A possible membership would be round 2020. At that time the Turkish population would be around 80 millions. It would be the single biggest state in the Union and basically “rule” it or be in constant opposition with the triumvirat UK-France-Germany.
    The cultural differences are too big.
    It couldn’t be accepted only the parliamentary way, but referendums would be asked, and couldn’t be refused. It would mean a landslide no anyway and very embarrasing for everybody. Even if “Western” Europe would be subdued in such a process, Eastearn Europe would accept it over their dead bodies, most of its nations have indentified themselves by fighting the Ottomans.
    Finally, the Turks are not interested anymore as the article reports. They keep only the formal process open because it suits tactical purposes.
    so please USA, get your feet on the ground and try to get some knowledge of local geopolitics, instead of taking your whishes (based on what btw ?) for granted.

    Reply

  67. nadine says:

    “Syria and Iran are also seen to be standing in a pivotal position to shape the future of Iraq. More importantly, all three are seen to have read the prospects for a Palestinian state more accurately than others.”
    What is this supposed to mean? Syria and Iran are the patrons of Hamas, who has no interest in a Palestinian state. Hamas’ interest is in the destruction of the Jewish state. What comes after is much less of a concern to them. If Crooke means ‘all three correctly read the dim prospects for the two state solution’ why didn’t he say so? Plus, of course, they didn’t just stand back and ‘read the prospects’, Syria and Iran were front and center in sabotaging the negotiations both in Israel/Pal and in Lebanon.
    I can only suppose that Crooke is saying the ‘Northern Tier’ correctly saw that supporting Islamic extremists over moderates was the way to go: however, since this is their ideology, they tend to do it anyway. Crooke achieves a remarkable sanitizing effect wrt to who has actually done what to whom, and to what ends.
    Crooke also misses the mark wrt to Obama’s influence:
    “Yet, when U.S. policymakers indicate that it was
    unrealistic for the United States to ever expect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be able to freeze settlement expansion, this is seen widely as confirmation that the settlement project has now become irreversible.”
    “Seen widely”? Where? In Syria? Crooke implies something else but doesn’t say. Since 80% of the settlements were offered up for destruction in the Israeli offers of 2000 and 2007, this is a very peculiar assertion. Not wholly reversible, perhaps, but what Crooke chooses to ignore is that Israel didn’t refuse the freeze as part of negotiations, but was ORDERED to make it by Obama in exchange for nothing.
    What Obama vastly overestimated (among many other things) was his ability to force Israel to make painful concessions that Israel thinks will only make its position worse, not better, esp. as faith in ‘land for peace’ has been shattered by the experience of the last 16 years, as Crooke notes.
    It should be noted that whatever Obama got from Netanyahu was more than he has gotten from any Arab state or Iran, whom Obama has tried so hard to engage. Assad said the other day, “Obama is weak.” I don’t remember Assad saying that about Bush or Clinton.

    Reply

  68. Mr.Murder says:

    Turkey to the EU, normalization for Iran, Syria is the fulcrum of regional engagement. Especially Syria due to borders it shares as a sister state to areas long suffering with strife and refugee crises.

    Reply

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