Some kind of DeLay situation; dipping Uzbekistan; Machiavelli in the 21st century; Hey Arianna, we're #1 for "Bolton fake intell

Yeah, I can't bring myself to write any more about the whole arrest incident. So I won't.

Start with Machiavelli for the Twenty-First Century from New Left Review. I liked this.

It is true that Bush sounds like LBJ in 1967 with staying the course. Tom DeLay got indicted, what fun. They are screaming partisanship but the Democratic Texas prosecutor has hit a lot of Democrats in the past.

In Ohio they are trying to un-gerrymander the legislative districts. Good luck folks.

Robert George, a self described "Catholic, West Indian black Republican" asks himself "Why Am I (Still) A Republican?" Indeed. There is a good deal of gloating on the left-blogosphere these days, as conservatives seem to split in all directions and run for cover. Stygius and Laura Rozen note that such luminaries as Andy Sullivan, Dan Drezner and Robert "the ghoul" Novak are running for cover.

I might have the sniffles. I wonder if it is H5N1 KILLER FLU. Which is spreading rapidly.

Arianna is saying what I said a while ago, that John Bolton is quite likely connected to the Valerie Plame CIA case. (antiwar.com was on it a while ago as Raimondo quickly puts on the comments). For more old bits, consider "They Knew" the intel was spoofed in In These Times, Aug 2004. Oh by the way, HongPong.com has the top Google ranking for "bolton fake intelligence," for the excellent post: "More stories of the fake intelligence and John 'the Moustache' Bolton". Hey, not bad!

The US is really leaving Uzbekistan. I really enjoyed this lengthy New Left Review profile about the history and situation of Chechnya. It very astutely points out that no legitimate Chechen leader has ever agreed with the Russians to be part of Russia or the USSR. Also the article adds that the FSB and Putin were widely suspected of orchestrating the 1999 apartment bombings subsequently blamed on Chechen rebels - terror99.ru is a sweet Russian site elaborating on some "conspiracy theories" about why a beam of shining light like Putin would ever dare do such a thing as bomb some buildings to freak out the Russian public.

Check out Arms Control Wonk. It's just cool. They have good info about North Korea among other things.

Oddly, Arlen Specter accused the Pentagon of blocking an investigation in the pre-9/11 "Able Danger" Pentagon intelligence project that people are now saying somehow identified Mohammed Atta, and other weird stuff. NY Times on it as well as CNN. I will spare you the billions of weird theories that could spring from this. Sorry - use your imagination.

The NY Times Company is cutting out 500 jobs.

An American diplomat characterized the depth of Shiite fundamentalist organizations taking solid control of southern Iraq as "our dirty little secret." If you are looking for a more realistic summary of Islamic militant movements and "the far enemy" check out this review of The Far Enemy on the Agonist. Some are arguing that Iran is not a global threat. Try "Give Iranian Nukes a Chance" by Slavoj Zizek (Aug. 2005), a lot of stuff about how the state projects its threat perceptions onto foreigners, justifying ongoing 'security measures' that are in fact the real threats to Democracy & Freedom. I think the truth lies in between, but it certainly is true that MAD logic may get the Iranians peace in the end - or a large glass parking lot. I hope for peace, and I am not a paranoid racist who thinks that Iranian civilization is totally suicidal and irrational.

Slavoj Zizek also wrote this bit about how the WMDs were MacGuffins in the narrative. Old but funny.

The Afghan heroin kingpins / warlords did quite well in the elections. Juan Cole noted that the British agents captured in Basra were apparently active in trying to intercept arms coming into Iraq from Iran. Basra is wack these days (FT adds to this, and Raimondo remarks that we're on the war road to Damascus and Tehran via Basra). Cole adds:

Among the more powerful Iranian arms merchants is Manucher Ghorbanifar, this one with friends in high places in Washington, who is trying to pull the United States into a war against Iran. War is good for arms merchants.

There is also some info about how much be-Baathification has really happened.

Check out this new film, Occupation Dreamland, about how some US troops handle their situation in Fallujah. There are sweet trailers. It looks amazing. Also check out this story about Turkey and its social conflicts.

Some commentary about Katrina's economic effects. The "Fog of Katrina" is being used to obscure unrelated economic information, they say. MorganStanley economist talking about how and when the global economy will get rebalanced. Richard Cohen at the WaPo says choose, dammit, Guns or Butter.

As always, between Israel and Palestine there is plenty of violence and even more spin. The Israelis got mighty angry when Hamas fired a bunch of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, which Hamas justified by claiming that Israel blew up a vehicle at a militant rally, killing lots of people. It seems reasonable to me that the vehicle blew up on its own, but it is certainly possible that Israel did it. So Israel attacked Gaza and arrested a bunch of people in the West Bank. The 'militants' supposedly captured in the West Bank were to some extent part of the militant organizations' "political wings" and some of the more moderate elements, including those that favor reconciliation and intend to run in the upcoming Palestinian elections. I found the following on some kind of rightwing Israeli site, unitedjerusalem.org, where the text was loaded into some kind of interactive bias-judging webpage. Weird. But here is the "political" vs "militant wing" bit, which seems to be on Haaretz's print page here but not here or here. Thanks google.

In the largest arrest sweep since Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, the IDF apprehended 207 leaders of Hamas´ political wing, along with a number of Islamic Jihad activists in the West Bank early yesterday. Most of those arrested are not on the list of wanted men from the two organizations´ military wings, but rather their accomplices or activists in the political and civilian wings.

Palestinian sources said that among those arrested were several local leaders considered key figures in the upcoming third round of municipal elections to take place Thursday in 105 local authorities in the West Bank and in the fourth round of elections scheduled to take place in December, which include the major cities.

Among key activists arrested yesterday were several expected to run on Hamas´ ticket for the Palestinian Legislative Council elections on January 25. Prominent among the detainees is Sheikh Hassan Yusuf, along with his two sons. Yusuf, who was released from prison six months ago, and Muhammad Ghazal, a senior Hamas leader in the Nablus area, is considered a leader of the moderate camp espousing Hamas´ involvement in the political process.

But such a move was probably deemed necessary by Sharon for his own sordid domestic political reasons: On the other side, Sharon narrowly won his battle with Netanyahu over the Likud premiership and primaries, managing to retain the later Likud primary date and blunting Netanyahu's ever-intrigiuing conspiracy to take over the state. In a humorous twist, Sharon couldn't give his speech to the Likud Central Committee because his microphone went dead. This sparked a huge controversy between both sides, with the Netties claiming that Sharon did it himself to posture as a victim. Akiva Eldar always has interesting things to say about "Sharon's Cheerleading Squad", that is, the Israeli Left that now finds themselves in a strange political alliance.

I would like to believe that it was Sharon's idea, but Netanyahu actually approved it, to suit their weird personalities.... Anyway, also Likud members accused each other of ballot manipulation and voting fraud (as has happened in the past).

Israel would like a seat on the UN Security Council. The director of the Shin Bet security service says he expects more attacks from the West Bank now, which seems true as far as it goes tactically, but then again I think we can expect the settlers to Amp their Land Grab up now as well. The settlers are on a mission to persuade Likud Central Committee members of how freakin great they are.

I just found informationwar.org, a UK peace project. Nice name. Did you know that Winston Churchill once praised dropping poison gas on the Kurds? Funny story.

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Tags for Some kind of DeLay situation; dipping Uzbekistan; Machiavelli in the 21st century; Hey Arianna, we're #1 for "Bolton fake intell