TWN Site: OPEN THREAD

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Well, if the home page is visible to you — post away. Steps are now being taken to move my site to a new host and servers, and the problems the site has been having should be resolved shortly.
I’m still in Muscat, Oman with many thoughtful defense and national security strategists from around the Middle East — and am watching on the BBC and Al Jazeera the Israeli incursion into Gaza.
Should be pretty lively debate tomorrow at this conference. There is an AIPAC staff member here — as well as current and former officials and think tank types from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, India, Europe, Japan and the U.S.
Open thread. . .

— Steve Clemons

Comments

24 comments on “TWN Site: OPEN THREAD

  1. Carroll says:

    Dear Oman Strategist
    Thanks for stopping in…we would like to hear your views also since you were involved in the meeting Steve attended…..
    Most of us wouldn’t have time on our own to round up and sort out all the points Steve delivers here..so anything you care to add would also be appreciated…

    Reply

  2. John Wilson says:

    The biggest problem the United states face now is…
    evidently…The New York Times!
    Now if we could just have anti-flag burning in the
    constitution instead of that weird first amendment…
    Well, we missed that opportunity to save America
    from the multitude of flag-burners– by one vote.
    But as soon as we put reporters of the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times in jail, we
    will be a lot safer and more free.
    Oh. Forget that Financial paper…we’ll forgive
    them, to show how fair and flexable we are.
    Hey, what’s the use of being powerful if we dont SHOW that power?
    Onward! Toward Empire!

    Reply

  3. btree says:

    FYI..
    Pentagon reverses on listing homosexuality as mental illness
    http://pageoneq.com/news/2006/pentagon_062806.html

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Doesn’t the available info indicate the US consciously sought to shatter social structures and social cohesion?”
    Bingo.

    Reply

  5. RichF says:

    steve duncan,
    maybe partitioning Iraq through having it overrun by any and all comers was the point all along.
    Bush has to say these things to keep up the pretense.
    No doubt many believe in the “cause” as being well-intentioned. But it was never given the tools (armor, diplomacy, civil society orgs) to succeed. Doesn’t the available info indicate the US consciously sought to shatter social structures and social cohesion?
    Break it, and it’s tough to put it back together again. Confirming my line of thought above, is the Pottery Barn rule and the way it does the opposite of what it says. If you break a vase, they don’t let you stay in the Pottery Barn and continue breaking vases and not paying for them and not fixing them. Ya gotta leave — and pay.
    Especially when you lose a war.

    Reply

  6. JRB says:

    Glad to have you back Steve

    Reply

  7. Oman Strategist says:

    Dear Fellow Readers and Commentators:
    I came to understand this blogg and to read it as I have these last two days met Mr. Clemons, who was insightful, provocative, and very pragmatic when it came to thinking of the problems facing the Gulf region as well as the complexities developing in Iraq, Iran, and Israel-Palestine.
    I am very impressed by the quality of thinking and much of the discussion within this weblogg and think that serious thinkers in the GCC would greatly benefit from this kind of vehicle to contemplate their policy challenges.
    I want to thank Mr. Clemons who was in our country for too short a time and to encourage many of you to listen carefully to his views. He can be an interesting kind of bridge I and some of my colleagues think on addressing adequately and competently progress on the Israel-Palestine problem and on negotiations approaches with Iran. I have to say that the Iranians were impressed with Mr. Clemons fair-handed approach.
    Thank you for sharing this blogg time.

    Reply

  8. jawbone, aka Rabid Lamb with Venomous Fangs says:

    Steve Duncan @ 7:36am–What you say is so obvious that I’m ashamed I hadn’t thought of it: Of course, if Iraq must be able to defend itself and is not permitted to have the wherewithal to do so, why then we can never, ever leave.
    Iraq–the new Japan…with a big difference (an insurgency resisting the occupation after an illegal invasion).

    Reply

  9. jawbone, aka Rabid Lamb with Venoumous Fangs says:

    Steve–I just came out from receiving a radiation treatment to see on CNN that Israel had sent one of its airforce planes to buzz the house of the president of Syria.
    Has Olmert gone mad?
    What is happening over there?
    Sounded damn scary to me–and I blurted out for all to hear, “Oh, dear God, don’t let them start another war over there!”
    Several people in the waiting room nodded in agreement.

    Reply

  10. Maude says:

    Thank you Punchy
    Maude

    Reply

  11. Linda says:

    Sexual harassment at the military academis is my concern in news of the past 24 hours that might have been missed because of so much else going on. Chris Shays held hearing on this in his Government Reform Subcomittee yesterday afternoon. After years of hearings, commissions, task forces, DOD still does not even have the Congressionally mandated database of sexual harassment/violence cases at the military academies up and running.
    The best summary for anyone interested is in the testimony in the first panel of Beth Davis whose case started the whole thing several years ago.
    http://reform.house.gov/UploadedFiles/June%2027%202006%20FINAL%20DRAFT%20Beth%20Davis%20House%20Statement1%20(4).pdf
    The second panel consisted of all the heads of military academies. Shays (and Carolyn Maloney) really blasted them on their inaction and on their all praising the courage of Beth Davis–and asked pointedly if DOD had ever even sent a letter to Ms. Davis thanking her for her courage.
    As a lifelong Democrat who doesn’t live in CT, I can only hope that voters there re-elect Chris Shays as the kind of moderate Republican we need in Congress.

    Reply

  12. lugbolt says:

    Perhaps I’m paranoid, but it occurs to me that Iraq is being groomed as a market for Carlisle Group and other defense contractors.

    Reply

  13. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons writes:
    “and am watching on the BBC and Al Jazeera the Israeli incursion into Gaza.”
    And on CNN, we can watch Jolie and Pitt prance around Africa.

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    …… “It’ll be cold in hell before any Iraqi government is given the reins to a military on par with their neighbors. Consequently we’re stuck there, in charge of fending off foreign aggressors and trying to keep the most damaging or cataclysmic weapons out of the hands of insurgents.” ……
    Well, they have ALREADY been over-run by a foreign aggressor. US. And I suggest you google “Tuwaitha”, and see if all the evidence about what occurred there has successfully been removed from the cyber world. We ALREADY armed the insurgency with some pretty terrifying stuff.
    Considering that the future “agressor” may well end up being Israel, I doubt we’ll be doing much “fending off”.

    Reply

  15. steve duncan says:

    Loyal? That determination would be based on what criteria? We’d risk a billion dollar embassy and hundreds of lives on a pilot’s presumed loyalty to an Americanized Iraq? Do we do periodic polygraphs on every Iraqi climbing into a fully loaded F-15, hoping we’re correct and that seething anger of bombing his cousin’s wedding party in ’04 doesn’t flip him to the other side? I don’t see how we can ever trust a fully armed Iraqi military, even one slowly built and scrutinized, with all the bad blood we’ve created. My prediction: It’ll be cold in hell before any Iraqi government is given the reins to a military on par with their neighbors. Consequently we’re stuck there, in charge of fending off foreign aggressors and trying to keep the most damaging or cataclysmic weapons out of the hands of insurgents. So what does that mean other than dozens or hundreds of U.S. military deaths and 50 billion$ a year in expenditures for the next generation? Well for one it means Bush is a liar regarding Iraq defending itself. And I still wonder why he isn’t publicly called on it. Mr. Clemons?

    Reply

  16. Maude says:

    Hi Steve,
    Another sight got spammed and it is unusable.
    There’s something going on.
    I’ve been getting more spam in my email.
    As far as Bush’s statement about the NYT article on the financial spying: what’s disgraceful is Bush’s lies that got this country into the war in Iraq.
    Maude

    Reply

  17. Dons Blog says:

    Mr. Duncan,
    I believe “colony” of the US would be closer.
    We’ve removed the previous government and while there were elections, only candidates given US protection were really allowed to run. Not to mention we told them to remove al-Jaafari despite their supposed autonomy.
    With fairly serious talk of permanent US bases I’d imagine the US will be providing the big guns in the area, with proven loyal Iraqis slowly taking a larger role in defense activities at the US bases.

    Reply

  18. steve duncan says:

    Steve, I’ve asked before and I’ll ask again, will you address the folly of Bush stating U.S. withdrawal is contingent on Iraq being able to defend itself adequately from threats to its government? They’re in a neighborhood festering with hostilities and arms. I read little of them being provided fighter jets, attack helicopters, long range artillery, mechanized armor, short range strategic missiles and all the parts and training needed to maintain and operate them. These are all capabilities possessed by nations surrounding or near them, some not so friendly. Of course there’s the fear if they had them infiltrators would turn them on American or coalition forces or use them in sectarian violence. The U.S. is going to be in Iraq for several years in at least an advisory capacity. We will have many troops and other personnel there for a long time. Won’t the fear of a modernized Iraq military not entirely controlled by us mean they’re not getting such a military? Won’t they become basically a protectorate of the U.S.? Nevertheless, asserting Iraq needs to be able to defend itself certainly entails having a complete, modern military force. Bush is not stating they’ll get such a military in his speeches or policy pronouncements. Why isn’t he publicly called on it? Why don’t you publicly call him on it?

    Reply

  19. PrahaPartizan says:

    The “moderate” Israeli government’s response to this provocation, which had yet to play out, sends the wrong message for any Palestinian entity contemplating a “two state” solution. The Israelis have stated declaratively that they will respect no government in what is left of Palestine, other than their own. Let them take it all over and then try to govern twenty years down the road. Stuff it down their craw and let them choke on it. To use a Wall Street aphorism – “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.”

    Reply

  20. Roger says:

    When the world stops bankrolling the world’s mightiest aggressor, I suspect we’ll see many changes.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    All I have to say about Israel’s latest is “told you so”.
    Israel will never stop until someone quashes them….and I estimate that will happen shortly after the US becomes a superpower has been due to it’s Israeli and ME fetish.

    Reply

  22. Chad says:

    Steve,
    Like many of your newer readers, I learned of this excellent blog through the Dartmouth Plan which I was able to get my hands on through a friend at Emory, and I just want to say kudos to you for going all the way to Oman to improve our knowledge of how to approach the difficult problems emerging from the region. That’s truly a serious approach to improving understanding of difficult problems in international relations. Can’t wait to see your blog in its new reincarnation. Keep up the great work!
    Chad
    P.S. Publius is right!!! You need to advertise down here in the South!!! Too good for concerned Americans down here to miss.

    Reply

  23. Dons Blog says:

    Even Jon Stewart commented on Israel attacking right after Hamas agreed to recognize Israel.
    This is similar to the IDF’s targeted assassinations every time Hamas agrees to a cease fire.
    Seeing that the kidnapping of the soldiers happened after several Palestinians were supposedely killed by IDF, does anyone at the conference think the Israeli attack on power stations and other infrastructure (which I think violates many international treaties) a bit over the top?
    Does anyone think that the conservative Israeli government isn’t really looking for a peaceful resolution? Or do they think it takes these threats and attacks to get Hamas to move to more Israel friendly positions?

    Reply

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