Feb 9th 2020

Nothing could have been a better gift to Iran in the region than the Kushner Apartheid for Palestinians

by Juan Cole

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. His latest book, Engaging the Muslim World, is just out in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan. He runs the Informed Commentwebsite.

 

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “august leader” of the country, lambasted the Kushner Plan for the Palestinians, and took the opportunity also to blast the four Arab countries whose representatives attended its announcement. Since Saudi Arabia and the others often play the racist “non-Arab” card against Persian Iran, it must have been delicious for Khamenei to be in a position to denounce his Arab enemies as traitors to the Arab and Muslim cause for being willing to throw the Palestinians under the bus.

Nothing could have been a better gift to Iran in the region than the Kushner Apartheid

The United States is in the midst of an attempt to convince Iraq not to kick out US troops after Trump blew away a major Iraqi military officer, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and his colleague, Gen. Qasem Soleimani of Iran at Baghdad Airport.

A complicating factor is the Kushner Apartheid Plan for Palestine, which is as popular in Iraq as a skunk at a New Year’s Eve party. The Iraqi foreign minister, Muhammad Ali al-Hakim, said that his government rejected the Kushner Plan, insisting that “any settlement must guarantee the full rights of the Palestinian people.” He added, “We call on the European Union to play its role in guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people in erecting a unified and viable state with its capital in Jerusalem in accordance with the resolutions of international law.”

The Iraqi government, which the US is trying to recover as an ally after assassinating a state official, is actually asking the European Union to intervene against the United States.

The spokesman for Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has call for million-person marches of protest against the presence of US troops in Iraq, dismissed the so-called “deal of the century” as “the slap of the century,” using a play on words in the Arabic.

Lebanon’s Christian president, Michel Aoun, immediately rejected the Trump administration proposal. Lebanon was mauled by Israeli Occupation itself 1982-2000, and then by the massive 2006 Israeli war on little Lebanon, which set back the latter’s economy by decades. Aoun is part of a coalition with the Shiite Hizbullah, which is strongly pro-Iran, so this so-called “deal” gave the pro-Iran faction in Lebanon a lift.

While it is expected that Hizbullah would reject the American deal, it is unpopular among all the country’s political factions.

Again, this is a big win for Iran and an abject defeat for the United States.

Syria, a close ally of Iran, announced its “absolute rejection” of the Kushner Plan, calling it a plan for “surrender to the usurping Israeli occupation.” Syria has recovered most of its territory after a nine-year failed revolution and civil war, and the regime is seeking renewed legitimacy with the majority Sunni population. Being able to take a stand against US imperialism and Israeli occupation and annexation of Arab land is a godsend to the Damascus regime. That Iran, Damascus’s ally, is also a part of the rejection front that stands for the Palestinians helps make up, among some Arabs, for it being a non-Arab state.

The Houthi movement in Sana’a, Yemen, staged large demonstrations against Kushner Plan, demanding rights and justice for the Palestinians. Saudis and the US accuse the Houthis of being “Iran-backed,” but given popular support for the Palestinian cause, that charge looks different in light of the American plan for Apartheid against the Palestinians.

A24: “Yemen | Houthis demonstrate in Sanaa against Trump deal”

The pro-Iran governments in the Middle East are in green in this European Council for Foreign Relations map:

In fact, since Iran stands so forcefully for the Palestinians, and the entire Arab League voted to reject the Kushner Apartheid entirely, this issue was a godsend for Iran in the Middle East generally. It put the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt– all foes of Iran whose populations are very pro-Palestinian, in a very difficult population. As American allies, they look as though they are helping Jared Kushner screw over their own people.

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Feb 18th 2020
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Feb 15th 2020
EXTRACT: "Global dissatisfaction with democracy has increased over the past 25 years, according to our recent report. Drawing upon the HUMAN Surveys project, the report covered 154 countries, with 77 countries covered continuously for the period from 1995 to 2020. These samples were possible thanks to the combination of data from over 25 sources, 3,500 national surveys, and 4 million respondents. Not surprisingly, the gloomy headline finding – rising democratic dissatisfaction – attracted the most attention. Less widely discussed, however, is the “good news” – that a small sample of countries has bucked the trend, and have record high levels of satisfaction with their democracies."
Feb 14th 2020
EXTRACT: "This is how dictatorships begin. As the US prepares for its next presidential election in November, it is every citizen’s responsibility rationally to examine Trump’s dictatorial impulses, which reelection would only reinforce. It is not safe to assume that he won’t go too far, or that he is too much of a “mediocrity” – as Leon Trotsky called Stalin (an assessment with which many Bolsheviks agreed) – to transform his country......Vladimir Lenin, himself a ruthless Bolshevik, wrote in 1922 that, “Stalin concentrated in his hands enormous power, which he won’t be able to use responsibly,” owing to traits like rudeness, intolerance, and capriciousness. Trump has all of them in spades. The more power he concentrates in his own hands, the dimmer the long-term outlook for American democracy becomes. His reelection could mean lights out."
Feb 9th 2020
EXTRACT: "Does this mean that the dream of European unity is over? Does the exodus of a member state obliterate the vision of Victor Hugo and Václav Havel? Does Europe now fit the description of what the great American president Abraham Lincoln called a house divided against itself? Not necessarily. History is more imaginative than we are. The EU still has the option of keeping Britain close in heart and mind. We can still benefit from our absent partner, by resurrecting the partnership through our actions."
Feb 7th 2020
EXTRACT: "There, no formal change from a republican system to an autocratic system ever occurred. Rather, there was an erosion of the republican institutions, a steady creep over decades of authoritarian decision-making, and the consolidation of power within one individual – all with the name “Republic” preserved.........Will the GOP-led Senate’s endorsement of this defense clear a path for more of the manifestations – and consequences – of authoritarianism? The case of the Roman Republic’s rapid slippage into an autocratic regime masquerading as a republic shows how easily that transformation can occur."
Feb 7th 2020
EXTRACT: "So all that is why Cramer is talking about the death knell of petroleum stocks. We probably agree on almost nothing else, but when people are right, you have to give them credit. He is right."
Feb 3rd 2020
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Feb 2nd 2020
EXTRACT: "Senators will soon decide whether to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump without hearing any witnesses. In making this decision, I believe they should consider words spoken at the Constitutional Convention, when the Founders decided that an impeachment process was needed to provide a “regular examination,” to quote Benjamin Franklin. A critical debate took place on July 20, 1787, which resulted in adding the impeachment clause to the U.S. Constitution. Franklin, the oldest and probably wisest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, said that when the president falls under suspicion, a “regular and peaceable inquiry” is needed."
Feb 1st 2020
EXTRACT: "Britain will be celebrating its glorious independence from the complications of international cooperation at a time when the intellectual, political, and economic hostility between China’s communist leadership and liberal democracies is becoming ever clearer. If liberal democracy is to survive, it must stand up for itself. And we should be under no illusion: open societies under the rule of law, from the Americas to Europe, Africa, and Asia, are in China’s hostile sights. The West should not aim to encircle or pen in China. But liberal democracies cannot allow it to distort international norms in its own favor."
Jan 29th 2020
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Jan 28th 2020
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Jan 27th 2020
EXTRACT: "With the world economy operating dangerously close to stall speed, the confluence of ever-present shocks and a sharply diminished trade cushion raises serious questions about financial markets’ increasingly optimistic view of global economic prospects."
Jan 26th 2020
EXTRACT: "Gibson’s diagnosis is supported by international attitude surveys. One found that most Americans rarely think about the future and only a few think about the distant future. When they are forced to think about it, they don’t like what they see. Another poll by the Pew Research Centre found that 44% of Americans were pessimistic about what lies ahead. But pessimism about the future isn’t just limited to the US. One international poll of over 400,000 people from 26 countries found that people in developed countries tended to think that the lives of today’s children will be worse than their own. And a 2015 international survey by YouGov found that people in developed countries were particularly pessimistic. For instance, only 4% of people in Britain thought things were improving. This contrasted with 41% of Chinese people who thought things were getting better."
Jan 24th 2020
EXTRACT: "........while over 80% of the ECB scheme buys government and other public sector bonds, a huge chunk still goes into corporate bonds and other assets. At the time of writing, the ECB holds €263 billion worth of corporate bonds – a very significant amount in relation to individual firms and the sectors in question. According to the ECB, 29% of these bonds were issued by French firms, 25% by German firms and 11% each by Spanish and Italian firms. As at September 2017, the sectors they came from included utilities (16%), infrastructure (12%), automotive (10%) and energy (7%)."
Jan 17th 2020
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Jan 13th 2020
EXTRACT: "Recent polling from Pew Research demonstrates how the public’s attitudes toward the US and President Trump have witnessed sharp declines in many nations across the world. In Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East favorable attitudes toward the US went from lows during the years of George W. Bush’s presidency to highs in the early Obama years to lows, once again, in the Trump era. And in our Zogby Research Services (ZRS) polling we found, with a few exceptions, much the same trajectory across the Middle East."
Jan 13th 2020
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Jan 9th 2020
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