Nearing the Outskirts of Damascus?

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According to an "Arab diplomatic official" cited today by the Arabic daily Al-Hayat, the Mehlis report on the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri will be quite powerful, even if it may not be the final word on what happened (link in Arabic).

The report of the international investigator Detlev Mehlis … which will be presented to the United Nations secretary general on October 21, and will be discussed in the Security Council on October 25, 'will not include final results that are 100% conclusive', but [the source] expected the report to reveal that the attack against … Hariri and his assassination were planned months ahead of its execution, and that this plan 'was institutional not the act of an individual.' He indicated that the report would direct accusations against members of the Syrian intelligence services, and it is expected that [Mehlis] will conclude that 'the orders came from a high level.'

This is the most explicit statement yet of what the UN investigators might say, and while reports suggest that Mehlis will be asking for an extension of his mandate until December 15, even a document that does not name all names but does mention Syrian involvement will be particularly grave for the regime of President Bashar Assad, which is behaving increasingly, and probably legitimately, as if it were mortally threatened.

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  1. And now the announcement that the Interior Minister has ‘committed suicide.'[BBC]

  2. I wonder how many shots were fired in the ‘suicide.’

  3. Ahh, behold the power of the UN: strongly worded documents, communiques, investigations. Assad has nothing to worry about.

  4. Good call. CNN reports he died of “gunshots”.

  5. it isn’t he power of the un that syria has to fear, mr coward — it’s what the united states would do with the pretext of an international condemnation. less than two weeks back, the insane contingent of the white house was apparently raving about invading syria. any ammunition the war-crazy up there get will only compound the danger that is hip-deep and rising for us in the mideast.

  6. gaius is correct, it is the threat of american force which now gives the un threat a bit more heft.

    Meanwhile, Assad is slated to give an interview with CNN later today, and his exiled uncle has been hobbing in nobbing in SA for the past week.

  7. I think it was Jon Stewart who said that Bush’s genius is that he distracts the public from each of his disasters by creating an even bigger disaster. As the Harriet Miers nomination tanks, Syria should be getting nervous.

  8. Apparently the interview finished earlier today and the summary is up at CNN.

    “Syria was not involved with Hariri’s death, Al-Assad said, and it was impossible for him to have ordered it.

    He added that if the UN investigation concludes Syrians were involved, those people would be regarded as traitors who would be charged with treason and face either an international court or the Syrian judicial process.”

    I’m guessing that Kanaan had his trial and execution earlier today.

  9. gaius is correct, it is the threat of american force which now gives the un threat a bit more heft.

    Absolutely. With no troops on their border, the Syrians would care about his UN missive about as much as most countries care about them – not at all.

    the insane contingent of the white house was apparently raving about invading syria.

    The astonishing thing, from a military perspective, is that we have respected the borders and sovereignty of Syria. As anti-Iraqi fighters are obviously using Syria as a safe haven, we have every legal and military justification to cross the border into Syria and put an end to hostile activities emanating from there.

    In the larger scheme, though, Secy. Rice probably has the best of the argument. But the case for military operations inside Syria is far from insane.

  10. “As anti-Iraqi fighters are obviously using Syria as a safe haven, we have every legal and military justification to cross the border into Syria and put an end to hostile activities emanating from there.”

    Actually, since the invasion of Iraq was blatantly illegal, no, the US doesn’t the legal justification. A thief who breaks into your house has no right to use force to defend the property; he has the obligation to retreat because his presence on the property was unlawful in the first place.

  11. “Actually, since the invasion of Iraq was blatantly illegal,”

    Iraq’s violation of ’91 ceasefire made it legal. You can question it’s morality or wisdom, but judging it illegal, much less blatantly illegal, is simply incorrect.

    Nice jack though.

  12. “But the case for military operations inside Syria is far from insane.”

    Yep, ‘cuz it says right here in my Constitution that the job of the federal government is to act as World Beat Cop (TM).

    Don’t believe me? Wait, I’ll get you the cite. Oh, yeah, the General Welfare clause…

  13. “Iraq’s violation of ’91 ceasefire made it legal.”

    Nicely sidestepping the issue of who had the power to enforce (assuming that what you say is true, and that’s a big assumption).

    Hey, if I think you’re violating a U.S. law, can I imprison you in my basement for the next 30 years?

  14. quasibill, I ask you to assume nothing. Just go read up on the events themselves, the ceasefire agreement, UN policy, and international law.

    Now let’s get back to Syria, it can’t be more than another hour or so before there’s an Iraq thread where this line of discussion would be more properly placed.

    And to answer your question, it would depend on how nice your basement is and how good of a cook you are, amongst other things.

  15. The astonishing thing, from a military perspective, is that we have respected the borders and sovereignty of Syria.

    from a military perspective, it’s suicidal. exapnding the field of action, bringing the syrian army into the field when we don’t have the manpower to effectively police iraq? and further expanding the potential field of operations for the terrorist insurgency, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the war clan thanks to its plethora of stupid mistakes in initially occupying the place?

    i wouldn’t be surprised if orders to invade and occupy syria were met with mutiny and derelection among the armed forces in iraq and washington alike.

    it is POLITICALLY that it’s amazing we haven’t gone over. the hubris is so thick in the white house that they can’t see their hands in front of their faces.

  16. With no troops on their border, the Syrians would care about his UN missive about as much as most countries care about them – not at all.

    the shocking part for me is that so many think that this is a good thing. to some extent, the un was always merely a velvet glove for western intimidation. now, it is an iron fist for american empire.

    do any conservatives here really imagine that conquering iraq, syria and iran constitutes something other than empire-building? that we would EVER leave those places? or that the intentions of our government in going in there is, as opposed to everything else that government does, purely altruistic?

    what horseshit!

  17. “quasibill, I ask you to assume nothing. Just go read up on the events themselves, the ceasefire agreement, UN policy, and international law.”‘

    Why don’t you save us some reading, and tell us where a country is authorized to enforce a UN resolution without the enforcement mission itself being authorized?

    Would it be legal for us to invade Israel tomorrow? They’re in violation of all sorts of UN resolution, and we have just as many UN votes authorizing us to invade them as we had when we invaded Iraq the second time.

  18. joe,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but each of Israel’s violations is of non-binding resolutions, whereas Iraq’s were a mix of binding and non-binding. For a distinction check the UN charter (articles 4 and 5, I think).

    But I wasn’t discussing the resolution leading up to the most recent invasion. I was referring to the the resolution from ’91 describing the terms of the ceasefire. Iraq breaking these terms meant it was perfectly legal to continue the war the ceasefire had stopped/slowed. This would have been true for Daddy Bush or Clinton as well, though they deemed it unwise/unnecessary to do on a large scale.

  19. chthus,

    You continue to sidestep the issue of the legitimacy of the US enforcing a UN resolution. Since you responded to quasibill’s pointed question with a cute albeit boring joke rather than address the obvious point, allow me to make the point more clear:

    Given that Iraq violated a binding UN resolution, it still is up to the UN to sanction enforcement of the resolution, which it never did. The US has no jurisdiction in lieu of a UN decision on the matter, regardless of the US’s view that the resolution had been violated.

    Clear now?

    Saying that international law is all nonsense has some validity. Saying that the US invasion of Iraq was “legal” because Iraq violated UN resolutions even though the UN never passed a resolution sanctioning our means of enforcing said violation does not have validity.

  20. cthus, now that you mention, I don’t know the binding vs. non status of Resolution 242 and the others.

    “Iraq breaking these terms meant it was perfectly legal to continue the war the ceasefire had stopped/slowed.” Iraq signed that cease fire with the UN, IIRC. It was perfectly legal for the party that the cease fire was signed with – the UN – to continue the war. Not us, for out own purposes. Lemme ask you, could Iran have decided to invade Iraq in 2001 because of Iraq’s violation? Russia? China?

  21. From Resolution 678:

    “2. Authorizes Member States co-operating with the government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the above mentioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the the area”

    I would include the resolution outlining the terms of ceasefire (686) a subsequent relevant resolution. If you disagree, please help me to understand why. When this or any other was broken, the authority was granted by the binding resolution 678 (note: it is actually chapter 7 of the UN charter that defines a binding resolution).

    Now, I’ve heard it said that this would only be valid if all of the same members of the ’90-91 coalition decided to enforce it together. It doesn’t seem to read like that here. To argue this to be the case would be like arguing that some NOPD running out of town in stolen Caddies and others looting stores, eliminated the remaining NOPD members’ authority to enforce the law.

  22. Gaius Marius:

    I’m wondering about how your comments might apply equally to, say the UN operation in Korea, where the US still has troops. Was that equally a mistake, equally merely an expansion of empire?

    And no doubt all the people here complaining were equally complaining about the invasion of Panama, which has certainly had a stable, peaceful democracy since the US went in.

    One hardly would argue that the US government is completely altruistic. But the complainers hardly seem motivated by concern for the inhabitants of the affected countries either.

  23. joe,

    If you give the year on 242, it’d be easier to look up. You can check for yourself at the UN site.

    As for Russia, China and Iran, I do believe that none where countries co-operating with the Kuwait govt as outlined in the part of 678 in my last comment, so the answer is no, they couldn’t have legally done it. As for, say, France to go it alone, I would have to say it would have been legal based on the authorization the UN gave above.

  24. On the narrow question of the legality of the most recent Iraq invasion, chthus has the best of the argument, unless someone wants to make the claim that our multi-year delay in enforcing the post-Gulf War resolutions somehow invalidated them.

    from a military perspective, it’s suicidal. exapnding the field of action, bringing the syrian army into the field when we don’t have the manpower to effectively police iraq?and further expanding the potential field of operations for the terrorist insurgency

    Syria is already part of the field of action – it is a safe haven for our enemies. Our not taking the fight to their safe haven does not change this fact. In fact, the fight would be taken to Syria to remove it from play, thus reducing the Iraqi “theater” to Iraq proper.

    On the manpower question, one of the main reasons that our forces in Iraq are so busy is because there is a safe haven for their enemies in Syria. We are going to be fighting these people somewhere, so it might as well be where a victory for us results in permanent strategic gains, rather than temporary tactical ones.

    i wouldn’t be surprised if orders to invade and occupy syria were met with mutiny and derelection among the armed forces in iraq and washington alike.

    That’s because you have no comprehension of the military culture of this country.

    I doubt we would need to do full-on regime change in Syria anyway. Some cross-border raiding would probably do wonders to both suppress the insurgents directly, and to dry up their support from the regime. I don’t see any troop deployment problems with cross-border raiding, either – we just tell the troops now engaged in “take and hold” on our side of the river to do a little “search and destroy” on the other side, when in hot pursuit.

  25. chthus,

    Well, you seem to have addressed the issue!

  26. Of course, the other take on the “legality” of our military action in Iraq starts from the proposition that international law is irrelevant, and that what really matters is whether the action was properly authorized under the US Constitution.

  27. joe,

    I stand corrected, 242 is a binding resolution, though it doesn’t appear to authorize any response. It does express, emphasize, affirm and request a number of things. The only action it seems to allow is that under chapter 2 of the UN charter, which discusses suspensions and dismissals from the UN.

  28. do any conservatives here really imagine that conquering iraq, syria and iran constitutes something other than empire-building? that we would EVER leave those places?

    Well, I’m not a conservative, but I can think of a precedent or two for the US to install a new regime in a country, hang around for the purpose of protecting the country from hostile neighbors, and withdraw (or at least draw down) its presence.

    gaius, what definition of “empire” are you using? I would assume a classicist like you would like an old-fashioned one.

  29. chthus,

    I note that the language authorizes “member states,” not “each member state” to so enforce the resolution. I read that as a collective security agreement.

    As of the Spring of 2003, a number of the member states (France and Russia, which was part of the 91 Coalition) were actively opposed to this particular method of “enforcing the cease fire.”

    Ultimately, if there is a disagreement on the reading of the language that authorizes collective action, it is up to the collective to interpret the language. The UN itself, through its chief executive and through two of the permanent security council members, made its call.

    I don’t see how you can assert a reading of the UN’s authority that is rejected by the UN itself.

  30. Was that equally a mistake, equally merely an expansion of empire?

    absolutely, mr thacker — as was long-term american involvement in england, japan and west germany post-1945, where american forces have never left. thoroughly-propagandized americans suffer horribly from the arrogant conceit that the only “evil empire” in the cold war was on the other side.

    the domino theory was long ago discredited in historical circles. robert mcnamara’s comments as recorded in “the fog of war” re: vietnam and the domino theory serve as a final fisking.

    But the complainers hardly seem motivated by concern for the inhabitants of the affected countries either.

    i would be a lot more impressed, mr thacker, if we ever listened to those people once we’ve heard whatever pretext it is we feel we need to conquer, build imperial bases and encourage economic dependency.

  31. After reading joe’s post and re-reading the text, I would say the resolution is perfectly ambiguous about the legitimacy of any one of the coalition states acting independently of the others. As if the authors either didn’t even consider the possibility or consciously sidestepped addressing it. Perhaps there’s precedent or some other context to make a determination, but I see no way of knowing just from that text.

  32. it is a safe haven for our enemies

    you accept far too much of american government propaganda on faith, mr dean. have you ever heard anyone who was not an american government official or citing an american government official make that point? i doubt it’s nearly the problem they make it out to be; it is however a convenient pretext for widening the war against the ideological enemies of richard perle, et al.

    more to the point, we haven’t the capacity to invade and occupy syria as well as iraq. we don’t. we don’t even have the men and materiel to adequately occupy iraq.

    We are going to be fighting these people somewhere, so it might as well be where a victory for us results in permanent strategic gains, rather than temporary tactical ones.

    the problem with this justification, mr dean, is that it is an open-ended call for regional conquest. desert borders are and always will be porous. supplies are transiting all iraq’s borders — syria, jordan, iran, saudi, turkey — beyond american control (because we don’t have the men to close the borders ourselves). i sincerely doubt that syria is even the worst offender.

    so what do you propose? invading syria and then iran and then saudi and egypt? some people close to the white house do.

    military culture of this country.

    i have a full comprehension of the armchair warmonger culture, unfortunately. but i hear men risking their lives in iraq and asking what the fuck for.

    don’t assume that the military’s loyalty to the holy nation is as deep as yours, mr dean. you simply bask in the pseudoreligious feeling of runaway hubris. they get shot at for a meagre paycheck — and then told they aren’t going to be allowed to go home as promised — and then told they’re going to be extended without concern — as their wives leave them and they lose their jobs at home. trust me — such abuses have been enough to void the allegiance of every army that ever existed. it’s enough to void the allegiance of large segments of the american armed forces. they’re human, and they have a breaking point. my jarhead pals from high school (both of them) talk frankly about shooting their officers and going awol in iraq.

    I doubt we would need to do full-on regime change in Syria anyway

    we didn’t “need to” in iraq either — but we did, much to our chagrin.

  33. gaius, what definition of “empire” are you using? I would assume a classicist like you would like an old-fashioned one.

    the old-fashioned one is a lot more complex than the roman empire that i suspect you confine yourself to, mr dean. the most effective delineations of what constitutes empire in current publication would be niall ferguson or deepak lal — but these of course have deep roots in western historical works dating even prior to macaulay.

    would anyone seriously assert that british domination of world trade through transit management and colonial seaports did not constitute an empire of global reach vastly exceeding in power its nominal land holdings? control of international commerce and trade is probably a far more important determinant of imperial scope than military power or lands under direct management.

    (it pays to remember that most of the roman empire, fwiw, was not under any unified central roman administration for virutally all of its existence, and their empire far outlasted their military superiority. their subsequent control of commerce granted them empire in defeating carthage, and losing that control in the third to fifth century ended their empire.)

    the united states is a global imperial power without peer, a match for any empire that ever existed on this count as the inheritor and enforcer of the british global trading network. its military is spread over the globe as a commerical police force, and there isn’t a nation on the planet who isn’t managed by washington at least indirectly through trade, aid or threat of arms.

  34. (or at least draw down)

    but almost never actually leave, you’ll note, mr dean, unless beaten out bloodily by the native population in insurgency.

  35. gaius, there are any number of reports from a variety of sources circulating that point to the pipeline of men (and to a lesser extent materiel) from Syria down the river valleys as an essential prop to the Iraqi ‘insurgency.’ Most of them tie back to the US military in one way or another because we are the ones on the ground, true, but that doesn’t mean that the reports aren’t accurate.

    Do you have any evidence to the contrary? I haven’t seen anyone even trying to deny that Syria is trying to destabilize Iraq and channel support to its fellow Baathists.

    I’m not saying or even recommending that we go into Syria in any big way, to occupy or engage in regime change. No need. We have legitimate military objectives across their border, because then cannot or will not shut off the flow of support for the anti-Iraqi forces operating in Iraq. We can address those objectives with current deployments, so crossing the border to deny a safe haven will not contribute to overstretch, and in the long run will help by reducing the long-term effectiveness of the insurgency.

    gaius, I simply cannot accept the moral equivalence of the US and the USSR that you posit, or that the US is sponsoring an “empire” in any strong sense of the term. Where are our vassal states? Not the Germans, who we conquered barely a generation ago. Not the Japanese, either. Neither made a meaningful contribution to this war, and Germany is notably uncooperative on a wide range of issues.

    Where are the gurkhas? Where is the tribute flowing into our coffers? Where are the enclaves where US law runs, not “native” law? Where are the countries where the leadership serves at our pleasure? Not Russia, our most recently defeated enemy.

    We have a position of economic and military dominance, sure. But in my book, that falls short of empire.

  36. that doesn’t mean that the reports aren’t accurate.

    lol! youre so trusting, mr dean! why do you reserve skepticism here — but when its some other nanny state official, you can’t denigraate them enough?

    they’re only honest when they’re killing?

    I haven’t seen anyone even trying to deny that Syria is trying to destabilize Iraq and channel support to its fellow Baathists.

    you haven’t seen me deny it either. i’m simply saying that the bush admin is exaggerating the reports to form a cassus bellum for a war they long ago decided they wanted — just as they did about wmd and iraq.

    We can address those objectives with current deployments, so crossing the border to deny a safe haven will not contribute to overstretch, and in the long run will help by reducing the long-term effectiveness of the insurgency.

    do you sincerely think that it will all go according to plan, mr dean? that we will be able to control it?

    I simply cannot accept the moral equivalence of the US and the USSR that you posit

    i posited no such thing, though i do believe each equally amoral. i’m sure you can’t see it, mr dean, blinded by love for the military machine as you are, but american actions murder millions and that is a fact. or do you think america the first imperial nation with a lily-white soul?

    Where are our vassal states?

    i love it! have you seen the terms of trade we extort from our vassals in the third world? have you seen the base structure report — and how many hundreds of thousands of marchmen we garrison our satellites and client states with around the world?

    Not the Germans, who we conquered barely a generation ago. Not the Japanese, either

    do you really think these nations operate independently of american political will? that they are in a position to seriously contravene american desires? my my my. you must be blind, mr dean, not to see it — though i submit that americans are peculiar in their inability to admit to what they are. perhaps that’s why it takes english historians like lal and ferguson to do good work in the field of american imperial analysis — americans are too well propagandized into believing their own innocence, too wounded at the notion that they might not act only with the best intentions.

    not only are those nations de facto satellites, but england is as well. or do you think it accidental that they are made so often to comply with american will — surely, perhaps with a fuss, but never in open defiance of american power.

    it’s much more subtle when you’re living it, mr dean, than when you’re reading about it two centuries later. most romans didn’t think of egypt as a province of the empire either, at first.

    But in my book, that falls short of empire.

    so would most of history’s empires then, mr dean. you should really read ferguson and lal — both conservatives and pro-imperialists, so you should even find them ideologically palatable.

  37. Where are the gurkhas? Where is the tribute flowing into our coffers? Where are the enclaves where US law runs, not “native” law? Where are the countries where the leadership serves at our pleasure?

    it amazes me that there is so little understanding among americans of what is meant by “american influence”.

    the gurkhas are manning basra at the moment. the tribute comes in terms of trade, which are blatantly advantageous to the united states.

    and “leadership serving at our pleasure” — while certainly what we have in places like lebanon, iraq, ukraine, saudi arabia, and soon syria — as well as dozens of other smaller autocracies — has never been a particularly prominent feature of empires, mr dean. direct control is difficult. the most common arrangement is rather like what we have now — an administrative diplomatic network of civil servants that makes our will known to parties which we have endorsed into rulership, who are kept in line by both a dependency on american aid/economic assistance and the looming threat of military reprisal for disorder. this is how most empires, including the british, were run — it’s far less resource intensive and intrusive than direct control.

  38. though i submit that americans are peculiar in their inability to admit to what they are.

    Bullshit. There is no way that statement can stand. I find all your arguments in this thread intriguing and worth contemplation, but I think you erred big time by making this assertion. Exhibit 1 is what Donald Rumsfeld refers to as “Old Europe”, where they put on a show of enlightenment and tolerance, while their citizens throw bananas and make monkey chants at black soccer players (see: the current HBO episode of “Real Sports”). If you want to accuse the majority of Americans as being “blissfully ignorant”, or “misguided”, or “willing to believe their leaders” I can accept and even partially agree with that, but claiming as you appear to do that Americans turn a blind eye or willingly deceive themselves is unacceptable.

  39. Ok, I did gloss over the remainder of that paragraph, gaius, so you did in a way restate your position a bit to the positions I suggested. However, I still disagree that it is unique to Americans to have an “inability to admit what they are”. It’s called human nature.

  40. RC, “trying to destabilize Iraq and channel support to its fellow Baathists”

    This is deeply misleading. The Syrian and Iraqi Baath governments despised each other. Syria joined the anti-Saddam coalition in 1991. Alleging an alliance based on ideology is nonsense.

    Not to mention, the role the Baath Party plays in the native insurgency, vs. other kinds of nationalist and tribal movements, is unclear, and there are plenty of Baathists and the like working for the govenrment. Allawi, for example.

  41. Besides, RC, aren’t most of the people crossing over from Syria jihadists? Those people are most certainly NOT Baathists.

  42. joe and fyodor,

    I would agree that the language can seem somewhat ambiguous in the resolution as to whether it treats the Member States as a group of individual actors or as a collective.

    That aside for the moment; joe, it is incorrect to say this semantic ambiguity was parsed by the UN. You are perhaps thinking of the debate that went on leading up the second invasion about the definition of ‘serious consequences’ as used in res 1441. Therefore, as far as I’ve been able to determine there hasn’t been a clearly defined debate or stated definition by the UN about the semantic issue we are now discussing.

    As for the reading, I obviously differed from the collective view in my reading. After further consideration, I would still hold that it is speaking of individual actors rather than a collective, for two reasons. First, in my readings of UN resolutions and charter, I’ve seen the terms Members of the UN and Member States used repeatedly. Where collective v. group of individuals can be discerned, it seems to be group of individuals rather than collective, sometimes indicating different choices of action (eg Member States may vote either….). Secondly, it would seem strange that removal of part of the group would remove authorization from the remainder. Had Syria pulled out of the coalition countries at the last minute before GWI, would it have eliminated the authority of the remainder?

  43. joe and fyodor,

    I would agree that the language can seem somewhat ambiguous in the resolution as to whether it treats the Member States as a group of individual actors or as a collective.

    That aside for the moment; joe, it is incorrect to say this semantic ambiguity was parsed by the UN. You are perhaps thinking of the debate that went on leading up the second invasion about the definition of ‘serious consequences’ as used in res 1441. Therefore, as far as I’ve been able to determine there hasn’t been a clearly defined debate or stated definition by the UN about the semantic issue we are now discussing.

    As for the reading, I obviously differed from the collective view in my reading. After further consideration, I would still hold that it is speaking of individual actors rather than a collective, for two reasons. First, in my readings of UN resolutions and charter, I’ve seen the terms Members of the UN and Member States used repeatedly. Where collective v. group of individuals can be discerned, it seems to be group of individuals rather than collective, sometimes indicating different choices of action (eg Member States may vote either….). Secondly, it would seem strange that removal of part of the group would remove authorization from the remainder. Had Syria pulled out of the coalition countries at the last minute before GWI, would it have eliminated the authority of the remainder?

  44. Exhibit 1 is what Donald Rumsfeld refers to as “Old Europe”,

    i wouldn’t not absolve political europe of any sins, mr jf, and i agree that fatuous denial knows no nation — but merely say that the englishmen from macaulay to tennyson embraced empire with gusto, believing it their god-given right. you can read all about it in victorian literature.

    americans, however, have spend their imperial century in denial of what they are. that’s all i’m saying.

  45. Alleging an alliance based on ideology is nonsense.

    indeed, mr joe, both hussein and assad are machiavellian, not ideological. both would have willingly allied with the united states — often did in the past and would right now — to further their interests.

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