Friday, August 25, 2006


I wondered why Bashar Al-Assad was getting up on his high horse over the UN Peacekeeping mission until I looked at a few maps and at Wikipedia entries for Syrian geography, wondering how much geography they do at State these days.  (In my day, they did plenty.)

Aside from the fact that under several centuries of Ottoman rule Lebanon was part of Syria, Syria has a relatively small Mediterranean coast, and guess what, Homs, its second most important city, is right there up against the border, Damascus is a stone's throw from the port of Beirut, and Lakatia and Tartous, through they may be convenient places to unload Czech arms for Al-Queda, do not link conveniently to Damascus.

UN forces along the Lebanese/Syrian border, on the other hand, will be uncomfortably close to Damascus.

More later...

If it's Friday, it must be super-ironies day.

Shireen Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a human rights lawyer.  She is expecting to be arrested at any time now because of the work she is doing on behalf of Iranian dissidents.......Meanwhile, a New Jersey family of Iraqi origin, with the unfortunate family name of Mohammed, was detained for six hours at Newark airport on returning from a vacation in Jordan.  The mother and four young adult children were among about 250  Middle or Southeastern travellers who were  prevented from retrieving their luggage and questioned.  The mother was threatened with arrest by FBI agents when she requested food and water....An Arab-American is arrested for offering to provide an FBI informant with Al-Manar television broadcasts.  His lawyer is black.....Hugo Chavez was in Beijing signing an oil deal with China, which he hopes will replace the U.S. as his biggest customer  He was recently in Tehran, and likened the Israeli assault on Lebanon to the behavior of Nazi Germany.

In "The One Percent Doctrine" Ron Suskind describes  Cheney's doctrine.  It calls for the U.S. to take all necessary steps to make sure there isnt' even a one percent chance that nuclear arms could fall (sic) into the hands of terrorists.  According to Suskind, that's what the invasion of Iraq was all about, and what the continuing dire references ot Pakistan are about.  The Pakistanis have nuclear experts who are friendly with Al-Qaeda.

Did President Roosevelt really think he could put the genie back in the bottle ?  More likely he thought the U.N. could keep order in the world.  Although he favored decolonization by the French and the British, he probably didn't foresee where that would lead.  And that sixty years after its founding, the world body would still be playing second fiddle to a superpower that is counting on the one percent probability that it's forever.

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