July 15, 2006


Report: Israel gives Syria ultimatum (Roee Nahmias, 7/16/06, Y Net)

The London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Saturday that “Washington has information according to which Israel gave Damascus 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity along the Lebanon-Israel border and bring about the release the two kidnapped IDF soldiers or it would launch an offensive with disastrous consequences.”

The report said “a senior Pentagon source warned that should the Arab world and international community fail in the efforts to convince Syria to pressure Hizbullah into releasing the soldiers and halt the current escalation Israel may attack targets in the country.”

Al-Hayat quoted the source as saying that “the US cannot rule out the possibility of an Israeli strike in Syria,” this despite the fact that the Bush administration has asked Israel to “refrain from any military activity that may result in civilian casualties.”

Stop them? We'll help them.

Q: How much fun would it be for W to pull Chirac aside and tell him we'd just done Assad?

A: Almost as much fun as this was, Putin rejects Bush's Iraq democracy model (CNN, 7/15/06)

During a joint news conference Saturday in St. Petersburg, Bush said he raised concerns about democracy in Russia during a frank discussion with the Russian leader.

"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same," Bush said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 15, 2006 11:17 AM

Putin's come-back was pretty good too.

Posted by: Paul Cella at July 15, 2006 11:27 AM


Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 11:30 AM

Interesting that (for now) the Saudis are sounding more like they comprehend the situation than do the Europeans or Putin, both of whom seem to be stuck in an Arafat-era mindset. Odds are the Saudis aren't keen on having the Persians as the overriding political power in the Israeli-Palestinian battle, so they wouldn't mind seeing Iran's representatives in the region taken down a peg or two, or taken out completely (and if Assad is collateral damage in that effort, so be it).

Posted by: John at July 15, 2006 12:08 PM

Need I explain?

Calculate which is worse: nation which suppresses press and speech (heaven forbid), or a nation subject to an unending bloodbath of suicide bombing and ethnic strife.

Posted by: Paul Cella at July 15, 2006 12:21 PM

Both have their fair share of bloodbath and ethnic strife, because they aren't real nations. But, as Solzhenitsyn has explained, Russia has no bass upon which to develop a decent society. Kurdistan does. Shi'astan does. Sunnistan may.

Putoin put Russia's problem perfectl;y today when in trying to criticize America ne condemned his own nation: "Putin also said Russia would not take part 'in any crusades, in any holy alliances'"

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 12:50 PM


Yes, the Sunni are just using the Jews and Christians as their proxies in the war with the Shi'a.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 12:51 PM

"or a nation subject to an unending bloodbath"
To catch up to the tens of millions that Russia murdered in the last 100 years, Iraq would have to get a lot bloodier for a lot longer.

Posted by: lebeaux at July 15, 2006 1:01 PM

To achieve Russia's level of murder today would take a superhuman effort by the Iraqis. Putin leads a country with more abortions than live births by a considerable margin.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 1:06 PM

--Putin also said Russia would not take part 'in any crusades, in any holy alliances'"--

Well, we'll see what the Orthodox Church has to say about that.

If their plan is to stand aside, let the rest of us go down and they think they'll pick up the pieces, their naive, at best.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 15, 2006 2:31 PM

Good point, Lebeaux. I'm just saying that the comparison of Russia today, with Iraq today does not show well for Iraq. Perhaps that will change, as himself Bush replied to Putin's jab.

Posted by: Paul Cella at July 15, 2006 2:36 PM

How's his Chechen model going; I think they've lost three prime ministers so far; they have
a punk kid, as the new one. Two hundred years
of Russian occupation, by the likes of Ermalov
and later the Red Army, have really done the
country good.

Posted by: narciso at July 15, 2006 3:25 PM

"Russia has no base upon which to develop a decent society...Kurdistan does. Shi'astan does. Sunnistan may"

So you're saying three nations, three democracies. But combine them, no democracy? Sounds about right to me.

Posted by: h-man at July 15, 2006 3:43 PM

Two democracies. The Sunni will likely have to leave Iraq.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 3:58 PM

Except that the comparison today favors Iraq as well.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 4:01 PM


The point is that Russia isn't founded on Orthodoxy, as America is on Judeo-Christianity and Iraq on Shi'ism.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2006 4:02 PM

This year n Damascus.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 15, 2006 10:08 PM

Horseapples, OJ.

Posted by: Paul Cella at July 17, 2006 2:40 PM