mahnmut: (Super cool story bro!)
Turkey Says Hitler Comment by President Erdogan Was ‘Distorted’

Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

Mr. Erdogan, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers, told reporters late Thursday that “there are already examples in the world.”

“You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany,” he said.
mahnmut: (The Swallows have won!)
Just two pieces for more context.

The US has announced they are prepared to assist the EU with the refugee crisis, but they would not accept refugees on US soil, because "Europe has the capacity to deal with the problem on its own".

Meanwhile, in his typical manner, Putin has said what many are thinking, but dare not say: that the West, particularly the US, are responsible for the refugee crisis in Europe, because they have been pursuing a policy of exporting liberal democracy to the Middle East without taking the local peculiarities in consideration.
mahnmut: (We're doooomed.)
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Jihadists just got pwned!
mahnmut: (Short cut? Must be electricity.)
So, Obama is rushing to Riyadh to lick the ass of the new Dear Sheikh just like he and his predecessors did with the previous one - but he was nowhere to be seen during the huge I Am Charlie march in Paris, which was joined by most of his fellow major leaders? That's nice.

On a more cheerful note, I'm happy to hear that I can now un-boil the eggs that I've just boiled. But srsly, this potentially is great news for medicine.
mahnmut: (Albert thinks ur funny.)

As it struggles to stem the territorial gains of militant extremists in Iraq, America finds itself caught in a love triangle between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Saudi Arabia Considers Nuclear Weapons After Iran’s Geneva Deal

As Middle Eastern nations attempted to elbow one another aside in their efforts to offer encouraging statements about the recently concluded nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers on Sunday, Saudi Arabia took its time. More than a day later the Cabinet offered its own pallid take: “If there is goodwill, then this agreement could represent a preliminary step toward a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear program.” Behind the gritted-teeth delivery there lurked an almost palpable sense of frustration, betrayal and impotence as Saudi Arabia watched its foremost foe gain ground in a 34-year competition for influence in the region.

“It’s as if Saudi Arabia and Iran suddenly traded places,” marvels Riyadh- and Istanbul-based Saudi foreign-affairs commentator Abdullah al-Shamri.
mahnmut: (The Swallows have won!)
So, seems like this time the UK won't be the US's trusted puppy to trot around Amurka's leg and pee with glee whenever a bomb explodes somewhere above Damascus, bringing Freedomdom&Democracycy(TM) to that ancient Al-Qaeda-controlled land.

May the experts in mini-world-wars and grassroots-revolutions start the bomb-shitting spree on their own, then I'm sure they'll make a few heroic movies about what great liberators they were. Perhaps one would present a plausible rendition of the special op that took Assad out and tossed him to the bottom of the sea. After all, there are some Oscars waiting to be distributed for next year.
mahnmut: (We're doooomed.)
So, it looks like someone probably used something like chemical weapons on somebody somewhere in Syria.
I think it's time for me to tune to War TV CNN, then.

In other news, things just went to a whole new level of weird in that Wikileaks case...
mahnmut: (Short cut? Must be electricity.)
Egypt's President Mursi assumes sweeping powers

Egypt's President Mohammed Mursi has issued a declaration banning challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions.

The declaration also says no court can dissolve the constituent assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution.

President Mursi also sacked the chief prosecutor and ordered the retrial of people accused of attacking protesters when ex-President Mubarak held office.

Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei accused Mr Mursi of acting like a "new pharaoh".

In a joint news conference held late on Thursday, Mr ElBaradai and other opposition figures described the declaration as a "coup against legitimacy" and called on Egyptians to take to the streets in protest.
mahnmut: (Default)

On his show, heart-surgeon-turned-satirist Bassem Youssef bridges the gap between the reality of life in Egypt and the disconnected way it's portrayed in the national media. (video 1) (video 2)
mahnmut: (Albert thinks ur funny.)

Road to Whatever House the President of Egypt Lives In
Egyptian presidential candidates face controversy as the country prepares for its first democratic elections since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.
mahnmut: (Default)
Erdogan is simply investing in well-timed and consistent political and diplomatic steps (from his own country's POV) in the conditions of a fast changing Arab region. His visits all look very timely and well calculated and they show that in most cases he's welcomed warmly and approved as a politician by the local people. These investments into useful diplomacy will soon bring him economic dividends too, and that's the most important thing at a time when most of the world is limping or outright taking a plunge. So, disregarding the specifics of this new Turkish "model" and what it means to countries beyond Turkey, I'd venture with a cautious "Kudos, Erdogan!"
mahnmut: (Default)
Read full post )

x-posted to [ profile] talk_politics
mahnmut: (The Swallows have won!)
On the hypocrisy of the so-called "international community", and the blatant double standard in measuring similar situations in different places:

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Just some food for thought. Where are Sarkozy, Cameron, Ban Ki Moon, Hillary Clinton, Obama and Harper when people in Bahrain are being killed on the streets by their own authorities, with the help of Saudi and UAE troops invited by those authorities? Same question about Yemen. Why does Gaddafi matter 100 times more than Bahrain and Yemen? You may not answer. That was a rhetorical question.
mahnmut: (The Swallows have won!)
When Gaddafi's protectors in the West become convinced that he's a hopeless bet they'll turn against him on their own, without needing to be persuaded about it. Thus they'll get rid of the dependencies that he has ensnared them into in such a skillful way. No creditor - no debt...

Too bad but many people will be dead in the process.

The worse scenario: Libya could become the next Iraq. Britain and the US nourished Gaddafi far too long, now they have the indirect power to destroy him indirectly. Later this year the US troops are expected to leave Iraq - they have to go somewhere. Guess where? No, it's not Somalia or Sudan (although there's some oil in the latter).

In Egypt things went kinda more peacefully (or at least that's how it looked). But in Libya, I see little hope for a good solution. The big fish demand and will get the full control on the main resource of the country. In a way oil is like a curse to anyone who possesses it. I can't think of a non-Western oil-rich country which hasn't been plagued with violence and unrest and suffocated with lots of blood.

Let's face it. Despite all the crap you hear from world leaders on your TV, no one actually wants or expects truly democratic governments in the region because these are too unstable and unreliable. Neither does anyone want a well educated and prosperous populace in the region because that would mean it would demand a better control of its own resources at some point. That's not something "WE" desire.

Something curious: the Internet proved to be the ultimate weapon. What thousands of troops, fighter jets and tons of bombs couldn't achieve elsewhere, now the Internet achieved within a few weeks across a palette of countries that looked among the toughest to change. The "social network", IMO, is the most ingenious invention that ever sprang from the labs in Langley. What appears like total freedom of information could easily be swayed skillfully by those who really know how to use it - and thus instead you have total control of information (and disinformation), and total rule over hearts and minds. And mind you, the people it mostly affects are the people who'll be setting tomorrow's agenda in these societies. And all that - done anonymously.

Joke aside, I bet Zuckerberg didn't expect even in his wildest dreams where this would lead.

mahnmut: (An understanding has been reached.)
Here's a quiz.

Two countries.

Country A has a dictatorship. The people rebel and take down the dictator.
Country B has a dictatorship. The people rebel to take down the dictator.

The US response?

The US president mentions country A in his State of the Union speech (wow!): "The USA stands with the people of Country A and supports the democratic aspirations of ALL people".

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State comments on country B, "We're monitoring the situation closely and we call on all parties to show restraint and refrain from violence".

Additionally, a prominent opposition figure said, "We're watching these developments very carefully, and beyond that I will not comment". Well, at least he also openly admitted, "This is a very important ally of ours".

That's the rub, isn't it? One is "an important ally". The other? Who cares. Let'em have their democracy, it doesn't matter.
There's also that: who's the rebelling opposition in country B (the "friendly" country)? Islamist fundamentalists (so, not-good-people, they hate Freedom™).

Did you guess already which country A and country B are? ;-)
mahnmut: (The Swallows have won!)
23 years after the bloodless "Jasmine putsch" brought Zine Abidine ben Ali to power in Tunisia, he was again brought down with a jasmine revolution. And the country which has had only two presidents for its 45 years of independence suddenly changed three of them overnight. After ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia his prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi was given the post, but despite all the revolutionary chaos the constitutional procedure was followed and the presidential chair was eventually given to the speaker of parliament, Foued Mebazaa.

In the middle of furious protests lasting for almost a month now, Ghannouchi announced the new "national unity" government which should prepare the country for elections in 60 days. The key power ministers of defense and the internal affairs were kept, some guys from the opposition stepped in, and the Ministry of information was suspended. The prime minister also announced all political prisoners will be released.

Read more... )

x-posted to [ profile] talk_politics
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
In the light of the recent events in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, one thing makes an impression. And that is the general level of irrationality in the public discourse, particularly on issues that are potentially double-sided (i.e. controversial). The moment something unusual (or often: ordinary) happens, the first knee-jerk reactions of the public are almost invariably predictable to the very last bit. The main element there is, of course, this shrieky histery, conveniently fuelled by the media for the sake of sensationalism, and subsequently, for achieving ratings and/or sales.

And because this sounds too general, here are two examples.

One. A plane carrying the Polish political elite crashes down on its way to Russia because of bad weather and because the smartheads on board insisted that it's very important that the plane lands "here and NOW", thus disregarding the technical capabilities of the craft and the professional position of the pilot.

First public reaction: "Evil Russia. Putin crash plane. Boycott Russia! Putin, confess!"

Two. A fleet of ships carrying aid sets to Gaza despite previous warnings from Israel that they should respect the imposed shipping embargo. As they approach Israeli waters, naturally they're met by Israeli troops/guard, who demand to check the cargo. They check some of the ships, but the crew on one of the ships is carrying knives and has prepared the cameras to shoot what will happen. As the troops board the ship, those guys bring out the knives, the Israelis freak out and start shooting. The same evening, all media are posting pictures of dead bodies being carried out of the ship.

First public reaction: "Evil Israel. Netanyahu murderer. He kill innocent activists. Boycott Israel!"

Naturally, the actual facts about such incidents begin to surface only later and the picture starts to clear out somewhat; but unfortunately by that time the story has already been beaten to death, the public has re-confirmed their preliminarily decided opinions through listening/watching their respectively chosen echo-chambers who've told them exactly what they had expected to hear, and the newly acquired evidence matters no more, and no-one cares about it anyway. Actually, facts and evidence has never mattered that much for this beast that we call the General Public; and given the scope of people's attention span (hint: it's close to nill), it'd be naive to expect that anyone would really care about it.

So, yeah. Do regurgitate whatever talking points you've readily got in store on either of the above stories (or any other, to that matter). After all, we all need to hear our own voices from time to time.

Note: I have not said a word about my position on the Israel/Palestine issue. And why should I? Isn't it more exciting that Israel killed innocent activists?

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