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Has Trump declared war on Iran?

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 The Lemming 05 Jan 2020

Personally, I'd say what Trump did was an act of war.

However was Trump justified in obliterating the second most powerful man in Iran on foreign soil?

Personally I think his actions were measured and sent a message of power to Iran, a country that attacks the USA behind third party players.

However using Twitter to pick a fight/war?

17
 wercat 05 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

it was an act of war.  it's a shame that he will not suffer the consequences.

It is comparable with the Salisbury poisoning

Post edited at 12:45
13
In reply to wercat:

>  it's a shame that he will not suffer the consequences.

This is the problem with the world today. There would be far less wars if our great leaders were on the front lines with the soldier's.  Might just make them think twice. 

1
 neilh 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Dax H:

The same could be said of Quassam. He was happy to put the lives of his fellow Iranians on the line and swan about. It’s about time these top people who preach violence had a taste of their own medicine..

10
In reply to The Lemming:

Do they really need to send a message of power? We all know the US has thousands of nukes. Surely the mature thing to do would be to take legislative action, remove any diplomats from harms way and publicly condemn them. Iran's actions aren't anything new. When you start dropping bombs it just stinks of crude oil.  

 Iamgregp 05 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

What worries me is not the threat of the US and Iran engaging in a conventional war, but the hatred that this act will stir up, and act as a dog whistle for extremist Jihadi recruiters, thus increasing the likelihood and frequency of terror attacks the world over. 

If Trump wanted to ensure extremist preachers are still able to recruit disaffected young Muslims into their doctrine of hatred then he's got a whole in one right here.  This will have had a better effect than any recruitment poster the extremists could have come up with.

2
 Agar Jelly 05 Jan 2020
In reply to wercat:

> It is comparable with the Salisbury poisoning

Minus the deniability

1
 neilh 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

It’s already there.......

 wercat 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

very true - they've gone downhill since the days when they planned a poisoned wetsuit or exploding shellfish for Castro

these days any of us could accept a package express delivery from the Whitehouse.  Oh, there I realize it.  "The President is a marvellous man and this is the best world I've ever lived in".

Post edited at 16:58
 cb294 05 Jan 2020
In reply to wercat:

Much worse than Salisbury. Putin was going after one of their own, undoubtedly criminal (especially the collateral victims), but par for the course for treason in these murky circles.

Murdering a government official of a country you dislike is war, and Iran would be justified to take any action against US politicians.

As for the UK, I can just about still spot Raab's feet sticking out from Trump's arse.

Shameful but to be expected.

CB

4
 JLS 05 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

> As for the UK, I can just about still spot Raab's feet sticking out from Trump's arse.

Dominic Raab has urged Iran to "take a diplomatic route"... I’m sure he’d have urged the US to take a diplomatic route had Iran just assassinated the US vice-president.

1
 neilh 05 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

In case you do not follow events there has been an asymmetric war going on between the USA and Iran for a long time. Unfortunately for both sides this  is just the latest in a long line of events. 

3
 BnB 05 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Iran has this afternoon vowed to escalate nuclear activities. Before anyone reacts in horror, counter-intuitively this is an indication that they want to negotiate rather than fight a war. Always best to start a negotiation with a full hand.

Post edited at 19:12
2
 birdie num num 05 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Perhaps you’re getting carried away. Trump hasn’t declared war on Iran. 

17
In reply to Iamgregp:

> If Trump wanted to ensure extremist preachers are still able to recruit disaffected young Muslims into their doctrine of hatred then he's got a whole in one right here.  

And in the near future as the world goes fossil free there will be many leaving the Middle East, as oil state economies crash one after the other, when the Arab leaders leg it with their billions in the bank.

 JLS 05 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Iran has this afternoon vowed to escalate nuclear activities. Before anyone reacts in horror, counter-intuitively this is an indication that they want to negotiate rather than fight a war. Always best to start a negotiation with a full hand.

And when they do start upping uranium enrichment how long before the US cruse missiles start flying?

In reply to wercat:

> it was an act of war.  it's a shame that he will not suffer the consequences.

Its an interesting observation, though, that you seem to imply that Trump should suffer the consequences of his decisions but that Soleimani should perhaps not have?

4
 wbo2 05 Jan 2020
In reply to birdie num num:

Then what has he done.

The only people benefitting from his foreign policy in the last year is ISIS.  Short of supplying guns he couldn't have done much more to help them regroup

 Pefa 05 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> The same could be said of Quassam. He was happy to put the lives of his fellow Iranians on the line and swan about. It’s about time these top people who preach violence had a taste of their own medicine..

So it's acceptable that all of our highest and the US's highest generals get assassinated at any time by a country we are not even at war with? 

2
 Pefa 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

> What worries me is not the threat of the US and Iran engaging in a conventional war, but the hatred that this act will stir up, and act as a dog whistle for extremist Jihadi recruiters, thus increasing the likelihood and frequency of terror attacks the world over. 

> If Trump wanted to ensure extremist preachers are still able to recruit disaffected young Muslims into their doctrine of hatred then he's got a whole in one right here.  This will have had a better effect than any recruitment poster the extremists could have come up with.

Nah " jihadi recruiters", will be happy at his assassination as they see themselves as enemies of Iran and all Shia. Hence why they were lining up to go cut the heads of Shia and Christians in Syria.

A couple of mentions from others that this is like Salisbury. I don't see how as I think it is ridiculous to suggest it was done by the Russian government, absolutely idiotic to suggest that. 

Post edited at 20:43
12
 Agar Jelly 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> A couple of mentions from others that this is like Salisbury. I don't see how as I think it is ridiculous to suggest it was done by the Russian government, absolutely idiotic to suggest that. 

It certainly is. If one has any sense of self preservation!

Edit this whole murky business, all of it, stinks

Post edited at 20:51
 pec 05 Jan 2020
In reply to wercat:

> It is comparable with the Salisbury poisoning

Except they didn't use banned chemical weapons which they had declared to the world they no longer owned in contravention of legal obligations they had signed up to.

And the intended victim of the Salisbury poisoning wasn't responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and nor was he actively plotting to kill many more. 

So really it's not at all comparable with the Salisbury poisoning.

5
 HansStuttgart 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> So it's acceptable that all of our highest and the US's highest generals get assassinated at any time by a country we are not even at war with? 

It's more like assassinating the head of the CIA in country X if that person was running a violent insurgency against the government/people of country X.

If you have the power to get away with it, fair game to me. Of course, whether the US will get away with it remains to be seen.

4
 Eric9Points 05 Jan 2020
In reply to birdie num num:

Germany didn't declare war on Britain in 1939.

 birdie num num 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

It’s a bit of a stretch to attempt some kind of parallel. 

1
 Pefa 06 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution, urged by its caretaker prime minister, calling for the removal of foreign troops from the country, after the US’ assassination of a top Iranian general and a commander of an Iraqi militia.

https://www.rt.com/news/477515-iraq-parliament-foreign-troops/

 Pefa 06 Jan 2020
In reply to pec:

> Except they didn't use banned chemical weapons which they had declared to the world they no longer owned in contravention of legal obligations they had signed up to.

Who didn't? 

Edit:I won't waste time on an answer/ you're too entitled to answer to a prole. So obviously you mean the Russian government. 

If you were said gov would you use a battlefield nerve agent developed in the USSR for your method of assassination knowing full well it could easily be blamed on you whether you did it or not? 

Oh and right before you host the first ever football world Cup in your country and hope to attract as many visitors as possible and make it a glowing showcase of your country. When you could have easily killed him if you wanted to many many times before when you had him in prison and made up many more easier/believable scenarios than the outrageous fiction dreamed up by the Tories. 

Oh and right after you have intervened in Syria-invite from the Syrian government - and started turning the tide against the islamist jihadi head choppers that the UK has been supporting since 2011 + you have stopped the USA taking over Donbas and Crimea with their Banderov Nazis. 

Post edited at 01:26
12
 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

Higher than that . Quassam  was not a mere general . applies to both sides. 
 

and they are at war, an asymmetric or hybrid war. 

Post edited at 08:00
In reply to The Lemming:

I find Trump's tweet about retaliatory action "perhaps in a disproportionate manner" to be alarming. I always thought taking disproportionate action was a bad thing, something of which to be ashamed.

 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

Yes, and one started by the US with the help of their poodles in London and Tel Aviv.

CB

5
 Eric9Points 06 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

This guy builds a convincing case for the US starting a war with Iran.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1214000990967472130.html

Not sure myself, the basis of his concern is a belief that Trump wants to distract attention from his impeachment. Perhaps he is unscrupulous enough to sacrifice thousands of lives for his own ends, perhaps not. We'll see.

 bensilvestre 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Dax H:

> >  it's a shame that he will not suffer the consequences.

> This is the problem with the world today. There would be far less wars if our great leaders were on the front lines with the soldier's.  Might just make them think twice. 

Fortunately, the trend since leaders were actually on the front line is that war between states has all but disappeared. Still a long way to go and events like this are more than a little scary, but I'd rather be living now than pre-1900's, when war between states was far more common place - and with the exception of the two world wars, far more devastating and longer lasting.

Although maybe we could just put the more annoying world leaders in a ring, and settle it that way. That said, I'm not sure how I'd feel about staking the country's future on BJ's boxing skills. Perhaps slightly worse than staking it on his political skills?

https://ourworldindata.org/war-and-peace

A good reminder of how much better things are (in terms of warfare) than they have been historically. Also, in my eyes, a good reminder of how fragile this era of relative peace is, and an important part of retaining that peace is not taking it for granted.

In reply to Eric9Points:

> This guy builds a convincing case for the US starting a war with Iran.

> Perhaps he is unscrupulous enough to sacrifice thousands of lives for his own ends, perhaps not. We'll see.

And he's ignorant enough to openly threaten to commit war crimes.  Not that he would recognise a cultural site if his helicopter was landing beside the Taj Mahal. 

 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

There are of course different perspectives on that view. 
 

One of the issues being whether the USA really views itself as a global policeman or an isolationist country. 

Trump probably veering towards the later as he wants nothing to do with wars in the Middle East just a quick and easy get out.

unfortunately global politics is not like that.  

 

 Eric9Points 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> And he's ignorant enough to openly threaten to commit war crimes.  Not that he would recognise a cultural site if his helicopter was landing beside the Taj Mahal. 

He'd want to turn it into a golf club.

 MeMeMe 06 Jan 2020
In reply to HansStuttgart:

> If you have the power to get away with it, fair game to me. Of course, whether the US will get away with it remains to be seen.

The "If you have the power to get away with it" philosophy is a pretty grim morally dubious approach that is likely to end in a lot of suffering, death and misery for a lot of people, just look at the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I imagine Quassam is a deeply unpleasant man with a lot of blood on his hands but it's not like the US doesn't happily deal with other repugnant regimes, poking this wasps nest with a stick is unlikely to end well.

 fred99 06 Jan 2020

In reply to:

Isn't he just trying to change the main political talking point from his criminality, to muddy the waters regarding his impeachment.

Also with this he will re-energise his "MAGA" supporters to (effectively) threaten any Republican Senators who might be inclined to vote in favour of impeachment.

I cannot believe that he chose this moment without calculating it in regard to impeachment - and he cares nothing for how many further people will die as a consequence.

 Bob Kemp 06 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> Isn't he just trying to change the main political talking point from his criminality, to muddy the waters regarding his impeachment.

Not to mention his reelection campaign... 

https://condenaststore.com/featured/first-reelection-campaign-tim-hamilton.html

 The Lemming 06 Jan 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

> The "If you have the power to get away with it" philosophy is a pretty grim morally dubious approach that is likely to end in a lot of suffering, death and misery for a lot of people, just look at the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This approach served the British Empire quite well.

I'm guessing the Roman's had the same viewpoint.

2
 MeMeMe 06 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

I guess it depends on your definition of what a successful civilisation is.

The British Empire or the Roman Empire don't really do it for me in terms of the type of society I'd like to live in.

In reply to MeMeMe:

"poking this wasps nest with a stick is unlikely to end well."

and the flip side to that is poking Trump when he has a re election and impeachment issues to divert attention from is also a very dangerous policy 

 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

Look up the history of Iran. Unlike the other states in the region it is/was a state with largely reasonable borders not drawn arbitrarily on some colonialist's map, but instead a rather homogenous country with a majority population unified by the long history of Persia, by a common non-Arabic language, and Shia Islam (I know the issues with minorities like the Bahai).

Post WWII, this country was on an excellent trajectory, with a reasonably enlightened monarch (for the time and region) and a comparatively powerful parliament. This ended when this parliament voted in 1951 to nationalise the oil companies that had, as a consequence of WWII**, siphoned off the vast majority of profits from Iranian oil.

The then prime minister Mossadegh who supported this nationalisation was first sacked by the Shah at the behest of Anglo-Iranian Oil, then reinstated following wide public protests, and the Shah kicked out for selling out his country to the Western oil interests. 

As a consequence, Mossadegh was toppled by a CIA sponsored coup with British collusion in 1952. The Shah was reinstated, leading to mass persecution and torture of his opponents, which lasted until the Islamic revolution in 1979. This is the second example (if I am counting correctly) where short sighted Western politics led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in countries that were well on a course towards liberal societies*, only for this fundamentalism biting us in the arse just a few years later.

To pretend that the aggression against Iran perpertrated by the West ever since is anything but a hegemonial resource ad power grab is just ridiculous. FFS, we even encouraged and sponsored Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in the bloodiest of all the gulf wars, something that no Iranian will forget (even though Reagan at the time also armed Iran, bypassing parliament, to finance another illegal colonial war).

CB

* the Tchador was banned in Iran in the 1930s as discriminatory towards women!

** edit: forgot to mention that Britain and the Soviet Union had jointly attacked and occupied Iran in 1941(?) even though it was a neutral country!

Post edited at 12:17
 RomTheBear 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Not sure myself, the basis of his concern is a belief that Trump wants to distract attention from his impeachment. Perhaps he is unscrupulous enough to sacrifice thousands of lives for his own ends, perhaps not. We'll see.

 

Of course he is unscrupulous enough. He already demonstrated that multiple times. And OF COURSE this is all about re-election. 

In reply to The Lemming:

> This approach served the British Empire quite well.

Not really.... it didn't last that long and ended in humiliation.

 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

The 1941 was if I am correct a race between Germany and Russia/UK to get the oil.

Do not diagree with you. There again if you look at USA policy going back for the last 200 years it can also be argued that it is one of not knowing which way to turn either to isolationism or full blown Empire building. There is certainly an inbuilt aversion to the latter, Trump is an isolationist, he wants out and nothing to do with the mess. And yet at the same time the global view is that of the USA as the global policeman and also the one to take pot shots at.The USA has always struggled with this dilemma.Repeatedly whether its Trump or previous President they just want out and do not want to stick around. Trumps action is just the latest high stakes manifestation of this.

Without Trump I suspect all this would still be going on anyway.

Post edited at 12:27
4
 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

Yes, like in Syria Trump wants out, but only having "secured" the oil. Unlike his predecessors the arsehole is not even coy about it.

CB

 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

Considering the USA is becoming less dependent on Middle Eastern oil I do question this assertion that it is all about the oil. 30/40/50 years ago yes it was ,now alot less so.

You could argue that perhaps if the dependency was higher then it would be in everybodys interest to knuckle down and sort it out.

1
 HansStuttgart 06 Jan 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

> The "If you have the power to get away with it" philosophy is a pretty grim morally dubious approach that is likely to end in a lot of suffering, death and misery for a lot of people, just look at the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

> I imagine Quassam is a deeply unpleasant man with a lot of blood on his hands but it's not like the US doesn't happily deal with other repugnant regimes, poking this wasps nest with a stick is unlikely to end well.


I wrote "if you have the power to get away with it" in the context of the sentence before which specified a situation in which a person was assassinated while trying to organize a violent uprising against a nation. This is a large step away from using it in the context of the invasion of a foreign country.

Furthermore, in the case of US killing QS, "getting away with it" implies more than just being able to kill him. It also means that the act of killing him does not harm US interests in the region. Let's focus on Iraq here. US interests are 1. killing off ISIS, 2. prevent Iranian influence in the country, 3. setting up a functioning Iraqi government so US troops can go home.

Does killing QS contribute to these interests? I don't have the answer. I tend to think the risks involved were too large, but I happily admit that I have much less knowledge about the region than e.g. (some of) the officials at the pentagon who proposed the course of action. Also I think there are large risks involved in not responding to the Iranian military actions in Iraq.

There is currently a lot of suffering, death and misery in the middle east, due to actions from amongst others the US and Iran. I think it is to early to know whether killing QS adds to this or reduces it.

1
 HansStuttgart 06 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> Considering the USA is becoming less dependent on Middle Eastern oil I do question this assertion that it is all about the oil. 30/40/50 years ago yes it was ,now alot less so.

Especially in Syria, there is so little oil there. It won't affect US reserves at all. That was just Trump talking.

1
 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

For your bog standard Republican voter it is also Iran = Evil (not much more subtlety in their tiny little deplorable minds).

However, the orange demented one personally appears to view everything from a business perspective, and has publicly declared the oil reserves in Iraq and Syria US property that they "earned" following their interventions there (see also his comments after betraying the Kurds and abandoning them to Erdogan, when he reversed the pull out to "secure the oil").

He also just today demanded compensation for the airbases and other infrastructure the US built should the Iraqi parliament get its way and expel the US troops following the murder by drone of several people including high ranking Iraqi officials.

Most importantly, having control over oil and oil prices is still economic power that can be projected, in fact especially if you yourself are isolated from any resulting chaos through your domestic oil production.

CB

 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to HansStuttgart:

See my reply to neilh. If you have enough oil at home, control over oil abroad can suddenly become an economic weapon. Much easier to hurt enemies like Europe and China by manipulating oil price and supply if you don't have to care domestically.

CB

 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to HansStuttgart:

> Furthermore, in the case of US killing QS, "getting away with it" implies more than just being able to kill him. It also means that the act of killing him does not harm US interests in the region. Let's focus on Iraq here. US interests are 1. killing off ISIS, 2. prevent Iranian influence in the country, 3. setting up a functioning Iraqi government so US troops can go home.

My take is that the murder of QS and the Iraqis travelling with him was counterproductive with respect to all three aims. As for 1) the brunt of the fight against IS was born not by the US but in Syria by the Kurds he just betrayed, and in Iraq by the Iran backed Shia militias.

2) No idea how it will pan out in the long term, but in the short term at least the previously growing Iraqi opposition against the dominance of Iran in Iraqi internal politics had the rug pulled from under the feet.

3) the US never gave a shit about nation building, except in Germany post WWII, but that was owed to needing a strong outpost against the Soviets.

CB

1
 HansStuttgart 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

sure but the oil of Syria won't help with that. 

If Trump want the oil price to increase, he doesn't need to provoke uncertainty in the middle east. Ringing the House of Saud should do the job.

1
 Iamgregp 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> If you were said gov would you use a battlefield nerve agent developed in the USSR for your method of assassination knowing full well it could easily be blamed on you whether you did it or not? 

Frankly yes.  If I wanted this assassination to act as a warning to others this is exactly what I'd do.

1
 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

The USA has historically always struggled with nation building even going back to the 19th C. 
 

it’s not a particularly new issue.  

 HansStuttgart 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

> My take is that the murder of QS and the Iraqis travelling with him was counterproductive with respect to all three aims. As for 1) the brunt of the fight against IS was born not by the US but in Syria by the Kurds he just betrayed, and in Iraq by the Iran backed Shia militias.

US army/airforce was also quite useful. I agree about the Kurds. Their betrayal is a disgrace. I don't agree about the Shia militia's in Iraq. The brunt of the fighting was done by US-trained Iraqi groups, the Iran backed militia's were often kept out of the conflict because they tended to kill too many civillians.

> 2) No idea how it will pan out in the long term, but in the short term at least the previously growing Iraqi opposition against the dominance of Iran in Iraqi internal politics had the rug pulled from under the feet.

Now the protesters are protesting against Iran and the US at the same time. Which is a good goal, it is just hard to figure how to reduce both military presences in the country at the same time.

> 3) the US never gave a shit about nation building, except in Germany post WWII, but that was owed to needing a strong outpost against the Soviets.

I don't agree with that. I think they do want nation building in Iraq, but the US (and the UK) is quite bad at it. The reason is the same, btw, needing a strong state as a counter to Iran (and Russia).

Hans

 neilh 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

Pretty good job in Germany , Western Europe, Japan , Korea to name a few. 

In reply to cb294:

> where short sighted Western politics led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in countries that were well on a course towards liberal societies*, only for this fundamentalism biting us in the arse just a few years later.

> * the Tchador was banned in Iran in the 1930s as discriminatory towards women!

Enforced secularization was one of the factors that motivated the pious working classes into backing the Islamic parties in 1979, not dissimilar to over the border in Afghanistan. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Iran was "well on course" towards being a liberal society in the 70s. For wealthy urban elites maybe, but not for the masses. It always seemed like a bit of a neo-con myth to insist that Iran is just full of pro-US proto-liberals just waiting to be released from the chains of the mullahs by a bit of well-targeted bombing.

 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Modernisation will always start with the elites. The religious types everywhere need to be dragged into the 21st century (20th then) kicking and screaming. This also holds for Christian or Hindu countries, the progress of entire societies being retarded by religion is no purely Islamic phenomenon.

I thought  that around the mid 20th century they were on a similar course as Atatürk's Turkey, which was largely successful until Erdogan decided to find religion to cling on to power. Remember he, too, started as reformer. And of course there still is a dramatic difference in outlook between a lawyer or academic in Istanbul and a goat herd in Anatolia.

The conservative Shia clerics of course opposed secularization already pre WWII, but they were one political faction amongst many. They enjoyed a significant boost in followers in response to the brutal repression by that Western puppet Reza Pahlevi.

CB

edit: I agree that of course the idea that the "winning hearts and making friends by bombing" approach is blatantly idiotic, and has failed wherever it was tried

Post edited at 15:40
 Gear Lover 06 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Isn’t he just trying to deflect attention away from impeachment and boost his ratings by stoking MAGA/nationalist fervour ahead of the next elections?

He must have watched Frank Underwood do the same on House of Cards!

 stevieb 06 Jan 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Of course he is unscrupulous enough. He already demonstrated that multiple times. And OF COURSE this is all about re-election. 

Iran may be unscrupulous too. They have hinted that Trump properties may be targeted in retaliation. 

1
 RomTheBear 06 Jan 2020
In reply to stevieb:

> Iran may be unscrupulous too. They have hinted that Trump properties may be targeted in retaliation. 

Fair game.

Post edited at 18:33
In reply to RomTheBear:

Could be very entertaining, assuming no one in them. 

Pan Ron 06 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

> For your bog standard Republican voter it is also Iran = Evil (not much more subtlety in their tiny little deplorable minds).

Saw an interesting series of tweets today highlighting this (https://twitter.com/rezamarashi/status/1214031169173348352), quoting one govt official as saying "So many of Trump's top advisors on Iran are military vets who served multiple tours of duty in our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe to their core that Iran is the reason why they lost those wars, and they're dead set on payback - no matter what it takes.". 

Now if the person interviewed was a die-hard, pronoun announcing Democrat, determined to slam the military, I might be sceptical.  But Patreus's interviews don't fill me with confidence that level-heads are at work in their military decision making processes and I wouldn't be surprised if post-Iraq failure emotions are tipping the balance towards hawks.

One area bugging me about the coverage though is how narrow our perspective is. As if the discussion only needs to be about Iran/Iraq/US/Shia with a little bit of EU/Russia/Sunni/Kurdish politics thrown in to add complexity.

I remember back when gender analysis became "a thing" and any essay you wrote needed to include it.  Today we're at a point where any geo-political discussion worth its salt needs a "China-analysis" too.  Yet they're entirely absent from the discussion, despite (via belt-and-road, among other things) being major stakeholders in the Middle East and Africa.  They have massive civil and military infrastructure investments in the region and booming connections on Iran's northern border.  They are probably far more capable than Russia when it comes to standing up to the US on Middle East issues, and are exactly who Iran is likely to turn to as they are pushed into a corner.  If we're worried about the decline of western, democratic, influence, the current miopic attitude to countries China is quietly courting are only going to accelerate our lack of influence.  

A sign of the times that when both sides of the political spectrum are going mad, Tucker Carlson on Fox becomes the measured response -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlcsuJtXYkM&.

2
In reply to cb294:

> The religious types everywhere need to be dragged into the 21st century (20th then) kicking and screaming.

So the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan or, indeed, the US and allies invasion of Afghanistan? Not really case studies in success.

> edit: I agree that of course the idea that the "winning hearts and making friends by bombing" approach is blatantly idiotic, and has failed wherever it was tried

OK for another country to try it is bad, but when domestic elites uses oppression - dragging people kicking and screaming implies violence, both symbolic and actual - against their own people that's OK!?  You used the word "need" after all.

Ataturk's forced secularisation of Turkey was the product of a one party system, and quickly resulted in violent resistance to change, in some cases religiously based and others in ethnically based. Yes, women got the right to vote (for one party) polygamy was band and so on, but probably thousands of Kurds, including civilians, were massacred by the same system.

The wave of "re-Islamisation" across the Arab and wider-Islamic world in the 70s and 80s is generally seen as push back against state-level secularisation moves in the 50s and 60s (Nasser and the Arab Union for example) along with the defeats of the Arab states by Israel in 68 and 73.

Secular and liberal are not synonyms after all.

2
 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

If Nasser had been successful, which would have been easier if he had not continuously been subverted by the West, thus having to align with the doomed Soviet economic system, Islamism would be less of a problem today.

Later, Libya and Iraq were two of the most secular and progressive (if of course not democratic) countries, take any measure you want, from women's equality to education, and f*cked them up for no reason at all (and don't give me that protecting Kuwait and terrorism BS). In response, both Gaddafhi and Hussein first found religion, and when their respective regimes were toppled, both countries fell into the hand of assorted religious nutters.

Conservative religion is evil, it has caused more suffering than any 20th century ideology (had more time to do its evil it as well), and their adherents therefore need dragging into the 21st century sharpish and, if needs be, using suppression. After all, they are happy to suppress others as well.

Domestically I am e.g. all for setting the catholic church an ultimatum of, say, one year by which they have to adhere to labour and equality law (including female priests and bishops) and release all documents about child abuse and the associated cover ups to the relevant state authorities, and ban the organization and seize its assets if they do not comply. Of course, if anyone wants to continue to believe that obscurantist crap, they should feel free to do so in private.

CB

1
 cb294 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Pan Ron:

They are probably right, in the same way that China helped the US to lose in Vietnam. If the war is next to your country, it is both easier and more important to assert your power. In Korea China did this openly, Iran nowadays less so.

Your comments about the blind spot our press and politicians seem to have regarding China's influence and interest in the Middle East and Africa in 2020 are spot on.

CB

1
In reply to cb294:

That's a pretty strong position with I think massive dangers (as forced secularization efforts of the past have shown). Like Year Zero, or the 5 year plan, it seems to run the risk of legitamizing the use of force to replace one ideology with another.

Out of interest, do you have a problem with the Chinese forced indoctrination/re-education/add-your-own-label camps for the Uigurs in Xinjiang?

I find the idea that totalitarian dictatorships, led by military coup winners, like Libya and Iraq were "progressive" a rather dark joke, but perhaps delving into modern Arab history is best left for another thread. Gaddafi in particular saw pan-Arabism and Islam and inherently connected, so Libya was never particularly secular, despite him taking control of religion to fit his political project. But that's not so different from many other Arab states, and, of course, post-revolutionary Iran itself.

1
 krikoman 06 Jan 2020
In reply to MG:

> Could be very entertaining, assuming no one in them. 


Not very likely though is it?

Just watched a bit on the news, the protesters are burning flags, the Stars and Stripes, The Star of David, and the Union Jack.

It's about time we told the US insane clown mother f*cker to piss off, and we should disentangle ourselves from our "special" relationship. The one that's so special that he couldn't even be arsed to let his allies know what he had planned, yet managed to drop a massive hint at some rally or other.

 Eric9Points 07 Jan 2020
In reply to krikoman:

I get the impression that almost everyone, including most in the US are distancing themselves from Trump and his advisors. That sort of thing doesn't have to be done in public, especially when you may have to negotiate a trade deal in the near future, but I'd really hope that we keep out of this. A bit like Wilson keeping Britain out of Vietnam in the sixties while maintaining cordial relations with the US.

 cb294 07 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I strongly disagree with the Chinese concentration camps, as the Han Chinese run a racist campaign against the Uighurs and their culture (and all other non Han cultures in the regions they invaded, e.g. Tibet). I would be OK with banning polygamy or inhuman animal slaughter practises whatever some made up holy book demands.

CB

 neilh 07 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

Nicely illustrates how contradictory peoples positions can be concerning religions......

In reply to cb294:

> 3) the US never gave a shit about nation building, except in Germany post WWII, but that was owed to needing a strong outpost against the Soviets. <

Would not Japan post WW2 be another example?

 wercat 07 Jan 2020
In reply to pec:

> Except they didn't use banned chemical weapons which they had declared to the world they no longer owned in contravention of legal obligations they had signed up to.

> And the intended victim of the Salisbury poisoning wasn't responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and nor was he actively plotting to kill many more.

Rubberish!

Both actions state sponsored and totally ignore the rule of law or conventions that protect us all.  Now even denying contact with the UN so no bridge can be made

 krikoman 07 Jan 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I get the impression that almost everyone, including most in the US are distancing themselves from Trump and his advisors. That sort of thing doesn't have to be done in public, especially when you may have to negotiate a trade deal in the near future, but I'd really hope that we keep out of this. A bit like Wilson keeping Britain out of Vietnam in the sixties while maintaining cordial relations with the US.


Agree, and since we (and other allies ) supposedly had no warning this was going to happen, might give them a chance to put some distance between us and the US foreign policy. The problem being, in the eyes of the Iranians, Iraqis, etc.,  the UK and US are almost the same thing.

Eight other people died in the killing of Soleimani I wonder how Trump and his advisers class them as terrorist too, while not including themselves in that description.

 wercat 07 Jan 2020
In reply to krikoman:

it'll never happen but the UN should convene in Iran specially to help in this situation both to build a bridge and put Trump in his place

 cb294 07 Jan 2020
In reply to oldie:

Same reason, though. Similar with Korea with regards to containing China.

CB

 cb294 07 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

How so?  Chinese colonialism is not directed exclusively against Muslims (Tibetans are Bön or various flavours of Buddhists), and is thus instead rather racist in nature. I also never claimed razing mosques in Xinjiang is OK, same as I would not want to destroy or even desecrate churches. The church as an IMO criminal organization is a different matter.

CB

 neilh 07 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

On the one had you sort of decry religion in the Middle East and the catholics and say in this day and age it should be banned and moved on. Then in response to TobyA's point that usually these things are replaced by a 5 year plan or similar persecuting religions , he than asks you about Xingaing and the Muslim community. You then suggest that this is wrong.

Churches are part of that community, one goes hand in hand with the other.

Surely you can see the paradox in your view , never mind the detail.

 cb294 07 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

I do not want to ban private faith, but organized religion and customs holding entire societies back and discriminating against women, atheists, apostats, member sof other religions.... Some commie five year plan is a shit alternative but luckily not the only one.

I deny that China's treatment of minorities is equal to that POV, as the former is blatantly racist, except for once us whiteys are not the bad guys....

Anyway, the forced modernizations in Turkey and Iran that were the starting point of that sub-thread, were from within the respective societies, and more between eductated, urban elites and backwards looking, piss poor rural populations.

CB

 neilh 07 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

To me you have have confused values on this. Its ok for one and not the other.Anyway each to their own.

 jkarran 07 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

> Personally, I'd say what Trump did was an act of war.

But what matters is how Iran views it and what their response is. If it's showy and messy this could leave Trump little freedom given his domestic situation but to escalate. If it's measured and or covert we go back to how things were, strongman Trump has his impeachment distraction and the deplorables can celebrate another zapped bad guy while Iran redresses the balance quietly.

jk

 wercat 07 Jan 2020
In reply to jkarran:

the UN needs to retaliate against the US attack on its international standing

 RomTheBear 07 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Iran has this afternoon vowed to escalate nuclear activities. Before anyone reacts in horror, counter-intuitively this is an indication that they want to negotiate rather than fight a war. Always best to start a negotiation with a full hand.

It's too late. War already started. It did a while ago in fact.

Post edited at 23:45
 Stichtplate 08 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Iran has this afternoon vowed to escalate nuclear activities. Before anyone reacts in horror, counter-intuitively this is an indication that they want to negotiate rather than fight a war. Always best to start a negotiation with a full hand.

Seems they've opened negotiations with a salvo of ballistic missiles.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51028954

In reply to The Lemming:

They should have snatched the General by picking up his car with a helicopter and magnet. Then with him kidnapped he could have been interrogated. After all he was in Iraq, the US knew where he was and had all necessary resources at their disposal.

1
Pan Ron 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stephen R Young:

> and had all necessary resources at their disposal.

Except the magnets presumably. Otherwise a cunning plan.

 fred99 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stephen R Young:

> They should have snatched the General by picking up his car with a helicopter and magnet. Then with him kidnapped he could have been interrogated. After all he was in Iraq, the US knew where he was and had all necessary resources at their disposal.

Kidnapping someone from within another country, and then expecting the rest of the world - let alone the Islamic world - to be happy with this.

How do you think that would go down ?

 BnB 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Seems they've opened negotiations with a salvo of ballistic missiles.

According to the FT, specifically targeted not to be considered an act of war, with no casualties. Considered to be an act designed for the home audience primarily. All politics is local.

3
 krikoman 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stephen R Young:

> They should have snatched the General by picking up his car with a helicopter and magnet. Then with him kidnapped he could have been interrogated. After all he was in Iraq, the US knew where he was and had all necessary resources at their disposal.


I suggest you look up Abdel Hakim Belhaj, and our shameful part in his rendition, of all the thing Blair did, I class this as one of the worst.

 Stichtplate 08 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> According to the FT, specifically targeted not to be considered an act of war, with no casualties. Considered to be an act designed for the home audience primarily. All politics is local.

Wow. The FT reckons you can chuck a dozen ballistic missiles at two military airbases belonging to a country run by a leader as calm and measured as The Donald, confident in the knowledge that it won't be considered an act of war? State of journalism today, eh?

You sure the FT's not just following it's self appointed role of pouring oil on troubled financial waters?

 neilh 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

Well as Iran is currently claiming 80 plus casualties , it suggests an element of truth in the FTs statement. 
 

and from Iran’s perspective you do not really want a full blown war with the USA......unless you know otherwise 

 ClimberEd 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

no casualties. 

They have carried out their 'tit for tat'. All politicians look good at home (Trump has taken out Iranian arsehole - retaliation has no casualties, Iran (caveat - Ayatollah and Foreign minister are saying different things) has 'hit back at America')

Currently a stalemate and actual war wouldn't be good for either parties. 

1
 Rigid Raider 08 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Discussing the funeral this morning with a Muslim colleague, he tells me that in Iran all civil servants are obliged to attend important state events or risk sacking at the least. Kinda makes you wonder how genuine all that outrage really was.

 Stichtplate 08 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> Well as Iran is currently claiming 80 plus casualties , it suggests an element of truth in the FTs statement. 

> and from Iran’s perspective you do not really want a full blown war with the USA......unless you know otherwise 

I'm not questioning Iran's reluctance to provoke an all out war with the USA, I'm questioning the FT's assertion that they had the up to date intelligence required and precision weapons guidance necessary, to lob a dozen ballistic missiles into US airbases "specifically targeted not to be considered an act of war, with no casualties" (and access to Iranian leaders that could make such assertions within 8 hours of the event). 

 BnB 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I'm not questioning Iran's reluctance to provoke an all out war with the USA, I'm questioning the FT's assertion that they had the up to date intelligence required and precision weapons guidance necessary, to lob a dozen ballistic missiles into US airbases "specifically targeted not to be considered an act of war, with no casualties" (and access to Iranian leaders that could make such assertions within 8 hours of the event). 

Further comment from Iran today is that it "has concluded" its revenge for the assassination. Entirely consistent with my earlier observation.

5
 Stichtplate 08 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Further comment from Iran today is that it "has concluded" its revenge for the assassination. 

You made the assertion of Iran on Sunday that  "they want to negotiate rather than fight a war". Some 48 hours later they launched a dozen ballistic missiles at US airbases. Seems rather an odd way of opening peace negotiations

> Entirely consistent with my earlier observation.

If you say so.

 RomTheBear 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I'm not questioning Iran's reluctance to provoke an all out war with the USA

Iran doesn't need to provoke and all out war. A less headline thumping asymmetric War is already ongoing and has been for a while. And so far, Iran is winning.

Post edited at 19:14
1
 BnB 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

> > Entirely consistent with my earlier observation.

> If you say so.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51043559

Now do you get it?

1
 BnB 09 Jan 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Iran doesn't need to provoke and all out war. A less headline thumping asymmetric War is already ongoing and has been for a while. And so far, Iran is winning.

Notwithstanding my observations about negotiations, you are not wrong. This is still a conflict, bu one in which neither party seeks direct military confrontation.

 neilh 09 Jan 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

Is it? Considering it’s objective is to purge Israel and move the USA away from the Middle East I would suggest it has a long way to go. 
 

And it’s citizens appear to be paying a heavy price economically. Briefly for a couple of years they experienced an improvement and then more sanctions hit their economy.

Post edited at 09:19
 BnB 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

This article from yesterday deconstructs the Iranian response in some detail

https://on.ft.com/2uq2VuG

 RomTheBear 09 Jan 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Notwithstanding my observations about negotiations, you are not wrong. This is still a conflict, bu one in which neither party seeks direct military confrontation.

I don’t think there is a such a thing as a negotiation. Trump just isn’t interested. Just like with North Korea he will just let Iran win, and get on with its nuclear program.

1
 RomTheBear 09 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> Is it? Considering it’s objective is to purge Israel and move the USA away from the Middle East I would suggest it has a long way to go. 

 

As far as I can tell its objective it simply to maintain its independence and security. Which, given their situation, they will truly get only when they become a nuclear power.

Trump has essentially largely OKed it, implicitly.

Post edited at 12:31
2
 neilh 09 Jan 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

Considering their influence in Syria, Iraq etc I am not sure that stands up. 

 RomTheBear 09 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> Considering their influence in Syria, Iraq etc I am not sure that stands up. 

Their involvement is quite limited to keeping their enemies in permanent conflicts with each others. They know full well that their independence and security, paradoxically, rests on that. And frankly given history it’s hard to say they don’t have a point.

1
 Duncan Bourne 09 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

It bears scrutiny that a foriegn power can take out a foriegn general on his own soil and think that is OK.

Had the boot been on the other foot Trump would have invaded Iran in a heart beat.

 neilh 09 Jan 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

But there is always another side in the argument - ie those who have been killed in Syria etc by those same forces. I am sure they would take the opposite view!

It is not a soft benign peace loving influence.

 RomTheBear 09 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

> But there is always another side in the argument - ie those who have been killed in Syria etc by those same forces. I am sure they would take the opposite view!

I’m sure they do. 

> It is not a soft benign peace loving influence.

Nobody said otherwise. But we would do exactly the same thing to defend our interests, and in fact, we did, ten fold.

 Rob Parsons 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> It bears scrutiny that a foriegn power can take out a foriegn general on his own soil and think that is OK.

Just as a point of fact: the assassination took place in Iraq, not Iran.

 Pefa 09 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

> I do not want to ban private faith, but organized religion and customs holding entire societies back and discriminating against women, atheists, apostats, member sof other religions.... Some commie five year plan is a shit alternative but luckily not the only one.

At a townhall meeting for a large US transnational I worked for many years ago I had a quiet chuckled to myself when they announced their new initiative - Five year plans.Comrade Stalin would have been amused. 

When thinking about socialism in the future remember we would not be in the environmental disaster we are in if it was not for capitalism and that the majority of people in former socialist countries who were brought up in socialism and remember it (not the new indoctrinated generations) miss it and wish it was back. 

> I deny that China's treatment of minorities is equal to that POV, as the former is blatantly racist, except for once us whiteys are not the bad guys....

So you are against organised religion discriminating against " women, atheists, apostats, members of other religions.." but you have a go at the Chinese for invading Tibet and freeing " women", and the general populace from feudal serfdom ruled over by Tibetan Buddhists for centuries ? How is the CPC being racist? 

Did you think the Chinese should have let the CIA and British move in and take Tibet rather than China who protected it for centuries? Right on china's doorstep? Your European imperialistic conditioning leaves its mark there. 

You are passionate about Uigurs and their  religion in China yet at the same time you decry all organised religion, well perhaps the Chinese are on the same page as you and want to stop all organised religion. Or perhaps they see islam in this area as being particularly susceptible to foreign outside influence that could pose a threat to their national security, considering the geopolitical coups in many countries by "the West", using organised, funded, trained and armed international and local gangs of extremist Muslim terrorist throat cutters since 2011.

There are over 50 ethnic minorities in China and only one is singled out here. And if the Chinese government didn't take proactive measures they would be guilty of gross negligence to their 1 billion people as "the West", is always seeking to topple their government by war, civil wars etc as per usual. 

Post edited at 17:17
5
 fred99 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> When thinking about socialism in the future remember we would not be in the environmental disaster we are in if it was not for capitalism ...

And what state is the environment in within the former Soviet Bloc ?

> Did you think the Chinese should have let the CIA and British move in and take Tibet rather than China who protected it for centuries?

I suggest that Tibetans have a somewhat different view to yourself on the subject of Chinese "protection".

 Pefa 10 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> And what state is the environment in within the former Soviet Bloc ?

There were indeed environmental catastrophes from the Aral sea to Chernobyl but the CO2 output in all socialist countries was much lower than all capitalist countries. 

> I suggest that Tibetans have a somewhat different view to yourself on the subject of Chinese "protection".

I know that many do as I was a member of Free Tibet organisation for many years but I also know that many are now much happier now they no longer live in fuedalism. 

2
 neilh 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

4 bigggst global polluter

https://gulfnews.com/photos/news/who-are-the-worlds-biggest-polluters-1.1572250802844?slide=1

Well at least Russia is not the No 1.

And that excludes the eniromental issues like Chernobyl etc.

 Harry Jarvis 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> There were indeed environmental catastrophes from the Aral sea to Chernobyl but the CO2 output in all socialist countries was much lower than all capitalist countries. 

I don't know the timeframe over which you are making this claim, but Russia's per capita CO2 emissions are well above the OECD average and are higher than any other European country - of the world's biggest economies, only the USA, Canada and South Korea have higher emissions per capita. 

 Duncan Bourne 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

> I know that many do as I was a member of Free Tibet organisation for many years but I also know that many are now much happier now they no longer live in fuedalism. 

I have a lot of problems with the idea that an invading force makes its subjigated population "happier". It smacks of propaganda.

 Pefa 11 Jan 2020
In reply to neilh:

If you look at what I stated you will see clearly that I was drawing a comparison between socialist and capitalist CO2 emissions ie, USSR not current capitalist Russia. 

Post edited at 16:40
 Pefa 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I have a lot of problems with the idea that an invading force makes its subjigated population "happier". It smacks of propaganda.

Better quality of living through higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality, modern medicine, modern medical surgery, time saving household technology, better housing, better education.... 

Post edited at 16:41
6
 deepsoup 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I have a lot of problems with the idea that an invading force makes its subjigated population "happier". It smacks of propaganda.

At risk of stealing Pefa's gig -  I wouldn't know about the population as a whole but it's certainly not hard to imagine how a lot of women and girls in Afghanistan might have enjoyed a rather better standard of life under Soviet occupation than under Taliban rule.

 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

The way I see it you are spouting government propaganda much along the lines that Trump would regarding political interference in a foriegn country. We are only making life better for them and helping them to get ride of all that pesky oil and stuff.

I am not disputing that Tibet was a feudal society but it was already changing and as the Dalai Llama says ...the Chinese justifications make no sense. First of all, international law does not accept justifications of this type. No country is allowed to invade, occupy, annex and colonize another country just because its social structure does not please it. Secondly, the PRC is responsible for bringing more suffering in the name of liberation. Thirdly, necessary reforms were initiated and Tibetans are quite capable of doing so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi8U-asY1QI&

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngklHpFAf0E&

 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

It was exactly this sort of thinking that justified British rule over India in the 19th century (after it was wrested out of the hands of the East India Company).

Bear in mind that the US and Saudi helped to train the Taliban Although no documentation has officially surfaced that the CIA directly supported the Taliban or Al Qaeda, some basis for military support of the Taliban was provided when, in the early 1980s, the CIA and the ISI (Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms to Afghans resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the ISI assisted the process of gathering radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviets.[1

In reply to Duncan Bourne:

It's a long time since I've read about this subject (in great depth!) But from memory the United States never supported the Taliban. Rather than money through ISI went to groups that were active fighting the Soviet Union, Hekmatyer's group in particular if I remember correctly, without any doubt extremists with a terrible record particularly during the civil war but not the taliban. The taleban formed in refugee camps in Pakistan and wasn't actually involved in Afghanistan until after the fighting of the Soviet Union stopped.

 deepsoup 12 Jan 2020
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I don't think I was trying to justify anything, least of all the behaviour of the British empire in India, just pointing out the fairly bleedin' obvious.

> Bear in mind that the US and Saudi helped to train the Taliban..

Eh?  I mean I understand and agree with all that, just don't see why you're lecturing me about it.

 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

That's what they say but not what other sources say

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone

However after 9/11 the Taliban fell out of favour

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan%E2%80%93United_States_relations

Post edited at 10:55
 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

I am not trying to lecture. Just pointing out that justifying invasion for the "good of the people" is rarely the case.

Countries and ideologies that feel obliged to police the world tend not to be a good idea. The Afghans are a good case. They would in my view be better off without the Taliban, but that doesn't mean that Russia was right to invade.

I suppose what I am getting at is the idea that use of force against a non-aggressive foriegn power is never justified.

 neilh 12 Jan 2020
In reply to Pefa:

You sound just like the Chinese govt in Xiaging province or the old U.K. in India etc etc.  

 krikoman 12 Jan 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

> At risk of stealing Pefa's gig -  I wouldn't know about the population as a whole but it's certainly not hard to imagine how a lot of women and girls in Afghanistan might have enjoyed a rather better standard of life under Soviet occupation than under Taliban rule.


That might well be true, but is the only way to achieve this by going to war and killing loads of people?

Post edited at 11:04
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> That's what they say but not what other sources say

Who says?

That article makes no mention of the Taliban. "Talib" means student, the Taliban began in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan - from memory mainly after the USSR had pulled out of Afghanistan, so the 90s not the 80s.

In my first post I have a typo, (I was actually using speech to type on my phone as my toddler was watching Peppa Pig on the laptop!):

"Rather than money through ISI went to groups that were active fighting the Soviet Union, Hekmatyer's group in particular if I remember correctly, without any doubt extremists with a terrible record particularly during the civil war but not the taliban."

The highlighted "than" should have been "the" or even better "their", as in the US's money. I thought everyone with a passing interest in Afghanistan knows the US and allies (and China!) funded the anti Soviet forces in the 80s - there's even a quite good Tom Hanks film about it! But the US did not fund the Taliban - that was the decade after the Soviet Union had pulled out, and indeed ceased to be.

Post-9/11 it was popular anti-American claim that the US had funded and trained bin Laden, but I don't think any serious researcher or journalist was ever able to find anything that supported this claim.

1
 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

They may not have directly funded them but all things point to them laying the ground work.

 wercat 12 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I seem to remember it was the likes of the Mujahideen who got US Stingers and used them with deadly effect against the soviet helicopters, typically luring them to help ambushed ground forces and shooting down the helicopters from concealed positions on  high ground

Post edited at 15:34
In reply to wercat:

Yep, although all the resistance groups used the term mujahedeen: groups that were quite different to each other and usually ended up fighting each other in the civil war after the soviets had left. The American funding went via the Pakistanis two quite extreme groups mainly in the south of the country. Ironically some of the more moderate, and more nationalist groups like Ahmed Shah Masood's group, failed to attract Western support despite fighting hard against the Soviet Union. Masood was assassinated by Al-Qaeda in the run up to 9/11, most reckon because it was thought that he would quickly ally with America in defeating the Taliban who were the government at the time.

 Eric9Points 12 Jan 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

Things seem to be kicking off again in Iran. While there was a massive attendance at Soleimani's funeral which suggested that Trump had managed to unify Iran there are demonstrations going on in Tehran now with people shouting death to their supreme leader.

https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1216252081029271557?s=09

Seen other reports of much the same.


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