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Friday, April 19, 2019
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On This Nakba Anniversary, Time to Focus on Palestine

"All is not lost, as many skeptical Palestinian observers of the political scene may believe. There are so many among us – the prisoners, the people in the streets every day in solidarity with them, and the refugees who continue to say the names of their original villages when asked where they are from – who still keep Palestine whole in our hearts and minds. This is our chance to overcome this ridiculous state of affairs and see our struggle for what it is: simple and pure, it is the struggle for Palestine."

Is there a viable strategy here somewhere?

"As for the Palestinian leader, the call to visit the Jerusalem mosques was characteristic of his approach to peace and a two-state solution in recent years: launch provocative initiatives in every regional and international direction (membership in the United Nations, reconciliation with Hamas and visits to Jerusalem) and drop hints about recourse to extreme measures (intifada, dismantling the PA, resignation and detaining critical journalists and bloggers). All this, while confronting an uninterested, settlement-hungry Israeli government with hitherto unheard of pre-conditions for renewing negotiations."

Safe Havens for Arab Despots

"The idea behind prosecuting dictators for crimes against humanity is not just to mete out punishment but to deter other dictators from acting with impunity against their own people. In the Middle East, it appears that the fear of accountability is actually deterring dictators from abdicating power. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that, when it comes to the Arab uprisings, the despots don’t see any downside in a viscous fight to the finish.   Every day they fight, they live and breathe and their families live and breathe. Bashar’s cold calculations are that simple and no amount of name calling or economic pressure will dissuade him from attempting to pulverize his people into submission."

Imran Khan’s turn in fortune in Pakistani politics

"The compromises he is making with the politicians, army and other contingents of Pakistan power politics as a means of gaining power ensures that he will have allies from inside the system, as well as electoral votes on the outside. But as numerous political commentators are inquiring, how much compromise is too much?"

Panetta: Military spending is going up

"The talk of cuts serves more than a political purpose for Panetta and Obama.  It also serves to justify actual cuts to services for troops and veterans even while increasing spending on weapons and occupying new nations.  Also announced on Thursday, Obama is working on re-occupying the Philippines.  To his credit, there has been no mention of the benefits to "our little brown brothers."  There will be an increased Asian presence, Panetta said.  The Marines will maintain their Pacific presence, he noted in particular, horribly smashing the hopes of the entire population of Okinawa.  There will be no cuts to bombers.  We will have a "posture forward" and be able to "penetrate defenses" strengthening "the ability to project power in denied areas," also known as other people's countries.  But healthcare fees and deductibles for troops and veterans will have to go up, Panetta said."