31 thoughts on “The Road To Damascus

  1. Paul Milenkovic

    Maybe slightly off topic, but Egypt is in flames and I don’t know what you are seeing, but I am seeing gas prices going down, not up.

    My theory is that the Saudis and others with oil money in the absence of help from the USA are making a big, big financial commitment to General Sisi. Just because they have oil wealth doesn’t mean they have the needed cash on hand, so the theory goes they are pumping like crazy to have the money to keep the Generals in Egypt going.

    You remember the slogan “No blood for oil!” That is what we are getting right now — the blood of the Morsi people is getting us (cheaper) oil right now. Not that the Morsi people don’t have blood on their own hands for some of their tactics.

    I am thinking that the Saudis are seeing in Egypt a huge opportunity, not only for containing “the terrorists” and their enablers but actually rolling them back and that is why they are going “all in.” You heard this here first.

    1. wodun

      Good thinking but have you done the research to see if it could be true? Are Saudi exports up? Do they not have any cash reserves? If either was true, would the need to raise funds for aid to Egypt distort the global market?

      I am not sure how the Saudis view “terrorists”. Perhaps they dislike the MB who are not active terrorists, bombing busses and planes, but are burning churches. But they seem totally cool with wahabism.

    2. Godzilla

      The Saudis hate the Muslim Brotherhood. But Wahabism is what got you Bin Laden and his ilk. They are not nice people. At all.

    3. wodun

      Still curious if you bothered to check this out. I am without a computer right now so can’t look into it myself.

  2. Robin Goodfellow

    The whole region is becoming THE geopolitical issue of our time, and yet the administration continues to try their hardest to pretend that it’s really not that bad.

  3. Robert M Mitchell Jr.

    I think the Bush administration understood it just fine. Note that W had surrounded Iran (Which is a lot larger then Iraq, and would have been quite difficult to invade and occupy) with our allies and occupied countries. An invasion would have been quite possible, as was the potential for a lot of leverage, like a successful blockade. But, alas, when push came to shove, the Democrats showed they could not play the “Loyal opposition” role (As opposed to the Republicans in WWII….). From this position of strength, Obama has brought us so low that all our choices are bad…..

      1. dcguy

        and right next to that story is

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/7493690/Taliban-claims-of-Iran-training-dismissed-by-diplomats.html
        “Shia Muslim Iran is deeply suspicious of United States military intervention on its border, but is also believed to be unwilling to see an extremist Sunni Taliban regime as a neighbour.”

        and


        However one senior diplomat told the Daily Telegraph that there was intelligence that Iran was instead holding off support to the Taliban and had recently refused requests for arms.
        Iraqi insurgents inflicted heavy casualties on coalition forces with Iranian-made, shaped explosive charges which could blast through armour plating.
        Iran has so far refused to supply significant quantities of similar high-tech weapons to the Taliban.
        Another source said while there were thought to be modest training camps in Iran, they were “a drop in the ocean compared to what is going on in Pakistan”.
        “Iran is a distraction in this compared to what is happening in other neighbours.””

        but, if you want to go invade Iran, You are welcome to go.

        1. Leland

          Did you check dates on the articles?

          My link: August 23, 2011
          dcguy’s link: March 21, 2010

          But since dcguy likes him some Telegraph stories: Taliban opens office in Iran
          Dateline 1 Aug 2012: “Iran has increased its support for the Taliban by allowing the militants to open an office in the country while considering the supply of surface-to-air missiles, according to Afghan and Western officials.

          1. dcguy

            I checked your first link, which was a bing search.

            Taliban fighters training in Iran, U.S. officials say – CNN.com
            http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/03/23/iran.taliban/index.html
            23/03/2010 · Iran is helping train Taliban fighters within its borders, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

            Taliban claims of Iran training dismissed by diplomats – Telegraph
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Taliban-claims-of-Iran-training-dismissed...
            21/03/2010 · Taliban fighters have boasted of undergoing training in Iran on how to ambush and bomb Nato and British forces in Afghanistan.

            I didn’t follow your second link.
            but if you look at the wikipedia article

            The Taliban were largely founded by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1994.[15][62][63][64][65][66][67][68] The ISI used the Taliban to establish a regime in Afghanistan which would be favorable to Pakistan, as they were trying to gain strategic depth.[38][69][70][71] Since the creation of the Taliban, the ISI and the Pakistani military have given financial, logistical and military support.[16][72][73][74]

            if yoru concern is the Taliban, worry about Pakistan

          2. Leland

            My bing search provided many examples that disprove your simplistic view of the world. You grasped an example that fit your view while ignoring all the evidence that counters your beliefs.

            I’ve never stated a concern for the Taliban.

          3. Andrew W

            Obviously the Taliban wouldn’t know which end of the gun to point at their enemies without having had Iranian experts explain it to them.

        2. wodun

          When you create absolutes based on falty racial and religious stereotypes, like suni and shia never work toward a common goal, you overlook when that actually does happen in reality because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

          When this specific line of thinking got its start, it was a way to attack Bush but now that Obama is using this same narrative as a basis for his foreign policy, you get things like arming AQ in Libya and Syria while installing the “secular and peaceful” MB in Egypt. Or in other words, a failure in every sense of the word.

          What makes effective political rhetoric to portray your opponents at home as uncultured racists turns out to be a very poor foundation for implementing successful policies that benefit our country and not just burnish Obama’s progressive street cred.

        3. McGehee

          A lot of people seem to think Shiites and Sunnis hate each other more than they hate everybody else in the world, so it’s simply not possible for Iran’s Shiite rulers to align with Sunni dictators.

          A lot of people have been living under rocks for the last ten years.

  4. Chris Gerrib

    Invading Iraq proved to be a mistake on many levels, and the relevant one in this discussion is that it strengthened Iran.

    However, bombing people (Iranian or others) in order to “help” them overthrow their own government usually doesn’t work. Stalin was about as popular as diarrhea at the start of WWII, yet Russians fought vigorously against Hitler. Or, see our removal of the Iranian premier Mossadegh in 1953 – we’re still getting grief from Iranians for that one.

    Iran wants to fight a proxy war using Syria and Hezbollah. Seems to me that removing their proxies would be to our advantage.

    1. Godzilla

      It is bigger than that. Iran wants the possibility for increased cooperation with a Shia dominated Iraq. Which was brought into the realm of possibility thanks to the downfall of Saddam.

      The fact is there was a geopolitical equilibrium of sorts stabilized after the Iran-Iraq war and the US had to go in there and much things up.

      1. Godzilla

        The Black Hawk down incident in Somalia also made evident the fragility of lightweight aerotransported forces but the PNAC refused to adjust to reality.

        Now the Army is going the other way around with insane IFV requirements which weight more than an Abrams MBT.

    2. Godzilla

      I should also add that by the time Bush was elected it was obvious the tar sands resource was immense and the US had more to gain by leveraging Canadian and Venezuelan reserves rather than play his father’s war in Iraq. But I digress.

      The PNAC originally wanted war in Iraq and North Korea. i.e. finish the unfinished wars to eliminate US presence in the ground to enable mobile warfare using light troops. They wanted the capability to wage two simultaneous wars at the same time. This cost a lot of money. Some of it like the army vehicle program basically went nowhere once the army realized the vehicles had no viable armor for the conflict they saw in the ground in Iraq proper.

      1. Eric Weder

        The folks who call it “tar sands” these days are either stupid or willfully ignorant watermelon types. Which are you?

        1. Godzilla

          Whatever floats your boat buddy. I have better things to do than keep up with the cool names du jour. Wikipedia says oil sands comes first as a synonym now. We used to call it unconventional oil but that is so generic it made no sense really.

          If I was a “watermelon” would I be in favor of oil sands extraction? You be the judge.

      2. Robert M Mitchell Jr.

        Not “His father’s war in Iraq”, they violated the treaty, and attacked us multiple times. Given that Obama’s weakness has set the Middle East aflame, mocking W for doing what Clinton should have done years ago is very odd. We have had problems with that area since the beginning of the country. “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli”. We didn’t pay the pirates, and when they attacked, we smashed them, and there was Peace. W smashed them, and there was Peace. It didn’t last long, of course, because politics was more important to the Democrats then the safety of Americans, and told the World, loud and proud, they would pay the Dane guild. It’s an old, obvious lesson, which, alas needs to be relearned far too often…..

  5. B Lewis

    On one hand: this bodes well to be a disaster for Obama and gang

    On the other hand: it’s probably going to end up getting a lot of people hurt and killed, most of them little kids

    On the Gripping Hand: My next royalty check from the oil and gas company ought to be light and sweet

    1. Leland

      You also have video tape of both Senator Obama and Biden saying that an attack on a nation not posing a threat to the US without Congressional approval is unconstitutional.

      Either way, its a stimulus for Texas, North Dakota, and Canada.

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