Sides are lining up and digging in their heels

Saturday, January 28, 2006
2006 is shaping up to be a strange/frightening year. There have been several events recently that indicate power shifts or expressions of will across the globe. It feels like the chess pieces are placing themselves on the board, standing resolutely, and preparing for the start of the big game.

  • Sharon's stroke
  • Damadola strike and fallout for Pakistan
  • bin laden tape
  • Iran's nuclear rhetoric heats up
  • Canadian elections give conservative govt
  • Portugal elects a right of center govt. First time in decades
  • Chirac talks tough on terrorism and sponsors. Threatens to use nukes
  • Iraqi insurgency turns against al Qaeda
  • Palestinians elect Hamas
  • American people poll in favor of military strikes on Iran with no prodding from Administration
  • Saudi Arabia boycotts Danish companies over publication of cartoons portraying Mohammed

And it's only January.


markg8 said...

What big game is that?

Barry Dauphin said...

Yes, the Iranian situation is more perilous than the Iraq war IMHO. Iran is daring the world to stop them. They almost seem to want a fight. We don't know how good/bad our intelligence is and what the Iranians already have by way of weapons as well as plots in place.

Given all the talk about OBL being in Iran and his latest tape, it is as if the Iranians desire the west to throw the first punch, so they can do whatever is being planned. I thought too many folks were casually dismissing OBLs latest screed, although his offering a truce would seem to be coming from a weakened position. At this point the Iranians haven't quite splintered the west the way Saddam was able to, although they are trying. At this point I agree with you Syl, that it is shaping up to be a strange year, possibly a very consequential year.

Syl said...


People concentrate on the 'truce' bit and forget that it is bin laden's obligation under Islam to warn his enemies and he claimed he had now met that obligation.

(Though I didn't hear the warning before 9/11.)

And if it's true he's in Iran (sometimes I truly believe it) then he may very well have died shortly after he made the tape. (There's nothing in the tape that would pur the record date after the date he supposedly died.)

But, well, who knows. Ahmenidejad seems quite confident, however. Which gives one pause. Though his fierce determination not to be referred to the UNSC shows that it would shame him. So maybe his confidence is a bluff.

David Thomson said...

“What big game is that?”

The Daily Kos crowd vs. the rest of the United States. Place your bets on the latter. Is Karl Rove slipping Kos a few bucks? The guy is the GOP’s best friend.

markg8 said...

Text of Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans published in Al-Quds al-'Arabi on Febuary 23, 1998:

"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it,"

Bin Laden was widely castigated by mainstream Sunni Islamic scholars after the 9/11 attacks. He's taken great pains to mollify his critics in the Muslim world by repeatedly warning us of attacks since and offering us the chance to change our ways and/or convert to Islam.

It sounds pretty goofy to us but he's dotting his "I"'s and crossing his "T"'s in an attempt to be religiously correct in his own milieu which is the same as being politically correct for him.

It's like Bush saying we don't torture. Hopefully that BS doesn't play any better there than it does here.

Barry Dauphin said...

As far as Ahmenidejad goes, there is something even weirder about an Islamofascist who prefers to dress like Jimmy Kimmel. When you're the Iranian President, it's always casual Friday.

Morgan said...


Anything to add to Syl's list? I'm curious whether the circles you run in give you insight into the "events...that indicate power shifts or expressions of will..." that we (right wing nutcases?) don't have.

RogerA said...

Syl--from the item yous identify (and its a very good "global" list) it looks like PERHAPS the west is becoming a bit more conservative than it has been--if you add Nov and Dec from last year(Angelka Merkels victory, albeit late last year and the French Riots) the West AND its leaders just may even be waking up to the fact there is a threat from radical Islam. Add to that, dissolutionment and disintegration within the Moslim countries (Iraqi action against al-queda, and pali discontent with old corrupt Fatah)--VERY VERY interesting things going on--very perceptive, Syl

markg8 said...

Just off the top of my head Mark I'd say the Republican house picking amongst 3 candidates to succeed Delay who are also up to their necks in the lobbying scandal doesn't bode well for the Republican party.

Neither does the WH stonewalling on the Abramoff White House records.
Senior White House budget official, David H. Safavian, has already been indicted in the case on charges of lying about a sweetheart deal he made with Abramoff. Susan Ralston, an assistant who worked for Abramoff now works as one of Rove's top aides.

And does it strike anybody as odd that Bush has nominated the Chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Division, Noel L. Hillman who's been heading up the Abramoff investigation for the last two years to a federal judgeship? A big reason Dems are calling for another special prosecutor.

I'd say this kind of stuff will be a lot more important in the coming year than saber rattling or Bush espousing the exact same position these days he and his cohorts ridiculed Kerry for taking in 2004 vs. Iran.

But then that's just me. Maybe Portugal or France will rescue Bush from his domestic troubles but somehow I doubt it.

Morgan said...


Your list seems a little narrowly focused on US politics, but I suppose that "as goes the US, so goes the world" isn't an entirely irrational point of view.

markg8 said...

Hey you are the guys who say Europe is like a plane augering into the ground and I don't see anybody else in the world picking up Bush's flag so unless the impetus for more jihad against Islam comes from the US it ain't gonna happen. And here in the US you can keep trying to push for an attack on Iran or your latest boogeyman but when Bush tries everybody from the Joint Chiefs on down pushes back with actual facts that make it impractical.

RogerA said...

Mark--Per Morgan's observation: you are focussed a bit more narrowly on US politics--and while I dont often agree with you, I happen to think you are correct that republicans are in a lot of trouble over the lobbying scandals--they may be in the same precarious position the Canadian liberals were. It remains to be seen if they can pull it out.

As to a larger issue, I think Syl's post has some interesting events--the purpose of the post was to (at least implicityly) look at them from an international affairs perspective.

You might not be viewed as such a buffoon if you could stay with the basic thread being posted. Just my .02.

RogerA said...

Actually, Mark--you MISSED the point of the post--I dont think anyone was arguing that Europe was crashing and burning--in fact, just the opposite: there appears to be somewhat of a shift to the right in European politics due in large part to growing awareness of what is going on in the mideast and in Europe based on what the mideast is importing.

terrye said...

Europe survived the dark ages, the Crusades and two world wars...I don't think it is over with yet.

I do think that the unrelenting nuttiness of the Islamists will make the whole Abramoff thing slide back a little. Will it be enough? I dunno.

I do think the Democrats should also worry about Reid [among others] and Abramoff. The Democrats' hands are not clean, far from it.

But I think we could add, shakiness for the encumbents all over the world to the list. People are getting a little antsy out there.

Peter UK said...

Markg8 is a dime a line troll for hire,he has to get all his talking points in to get paid.
If he were reading the weather forcast he would still work them in.

markg8 said...

Ah if only it were true peety. Alas no pays me to come here.

Morgan asked and I gave my take. All of Europe was willing to follow our lead after 9/11. Bush blew that support over Iraq. Any further military (as opposed to peacekeeping) operations will have to come from the US. Because of our overstretched Army and more importantly distrust for any Bush initiative here at home those actions are unlikely. The uniter has divided us.

terrye you're wrong about Abramoff and the Democrats.
More than one non partisan study has shown that giving to Dems actually dropped once tribes hired Abramoff to do their lobbying while giving to Repubs more than doubled. Here is one study with a link to another smaller Bloomburg one. Please stop believing people who lie to you.

When asked Thursday during his press conference if he was surprised by Hamas winning the election Bush answered:

"If there is corruption, I'm not surprised that people say, "Let's get rid of corruption."

Today at least three Republican senators and representatives called on the president to release the White House Abramoff Records. Despite promises earlier this month by the WH press secretary Scott McClellan to release the records the administration is still stonewalling.

Syl said...


Quite trolling and STICK TO THE POINT!

This is not your personal sandbox.

markg8 said...

That is the point syl. In your original post you point to what you apparently perceive to be a gathering storm and prelude to some vast war of civilizations. I'm pointing out why I don't think that's so. The biggest reason is war fatigue and disgust with corruption here in the US. I've done it by responding to posts of others. Seems pretty on topic to me.

Peter UK said...

Markg8,only if you spell Chirac A b r a m o f f.

Syl said...


You are a blithering idiot. I don't know if a conflict is coming, but you in your magnificent obsession with domestic politics shrug that it will not happen because Americans are tired!

What if Americans don't have a choice?

Not everything is about you.

markg8 said...

Spell it out for me syl, what exactly don't Americans have a choice about?

Bush is pushing the same position Kerry did in 2004 on Iran these days. The Iranians say that Russian proposal for fuel rods looks interesting again. The Russians and especially the Chinese want to make damn sure that if push comes to shove and they recommend Iran to the SC for sanctions Bush won't use it as an excuse to stampede off to a military attack on the 4th largest oil exporter in the world this time to shore up his polls at home.

Iraq is devolving into civil war while our Army which thanks to Rummy is still being rebuilt for a sprint is stuck in a marathon occupation.

Look at the polls. Americans no longer trust Bush to run a war because this one has been so utterly botched.

Portugal has a population of about 10 million and Canada
30 million. The Palestinian territories less than 5 million. None of the winners ran on a war platform. The winning issue for the tories in the Canadian election was C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N. Same for Hamas. In Portugal the left split and ran 5 candidates and the center right candidate barely won. More registered voters stayed home than voted for the winner. The prime minister and the parliment remain in the hands of the socialists for whatever that's worth.

I think you're seeing a trend toward some clash of civilizations that doesn't exist because when it comes down to it domestic politics is what counts to most voters and politicians. And that's why Bush's war in Iraq is so unpopular. He's never had the guts to honestly ask us to sacrifice anything for the war but he's willing to borrow trillions and trash our constitution, reputation and Army as if it's his God given duty and right while most importantly failing to win the war. You couple that with the brewing scandals here at home and it's no wonder his popularity has sunk to the low 40s, high 30s.

Sadly even if a serious threat really did emerge the only people who believe Bush
will honestly deal with us and it and is actually capable of handling another crisis are far right partisans.

Syl said...

You're on one-trick pony, Mark.

You couple that with the brewing scandals here at home and it's no wonder his popularity has sunk to the low 40s, high 30s.

Bush approval at 50% at Rasmussen today. You can't even get that part right, let alone anything else.

Peter UK said...

Iraq is devolving into civil war while our Army which thanks to Rummy is still being rebuilt for a sprint is stuck in a marathon occupation.

markg8 said...

syl you cite one poll, the rest have him where I said he is.

Peety constantly linking to the same article that says what Rumsfeld announced months ago, i.e. that he'd shrink the deployment in Iraq after the election doesn't refute any of my arguments.

Peter UK said...

No Markg8 it just makes you look ignorant again.Drawing down troops and letting the Iraqis take over does not look like civil war.
Whence comes your expertise on matters military,as I recollect you never served?

Peter UK said...

and Markg8,twice is not constantly,have you been missing your remedial English classes again?

markg8 said...

"Drawing down troops and letting the Iraqis take over does not look like civil war."
Peety 1/30/06

I'm gonna save that one for you chickenhawk.

Peter UK said...

What the hell do you know Markg8?
The nearest you got to the military is an impersonation of an actor impersonating Patton.
I bet you brag in the local bars you were a Green Beret instead of a yellow shirt and brown underpants.

markg8 said...

I'm still waiting Sir Edmund Chickenhawk.

Peter UK said...

Oh dear Markg8 you're dressing up in womens clothing and hanging around on street corners again.