Sunday, July 29, 2012

Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy: The West's real target here is not Assad's brutal regime but his ally, Iran, and its nuclear weapons

    Sunday, July 29, 2012   No comments

by Robert Fisk
Aftermath of terror attacks in Syria
Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I'm not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I'm referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.

While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world. Rulers of both states inherit power from their families – just as Bashar has done – and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the Salafist-Wahabi rebels in Syria, just as it was the most fervent supporter of the medieval Taliban during Afghanistan's dark ages.

  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Does Turkey Want Regime Change in Syria?

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012   No comments
by Halil Karaveli 

 The downing of a Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft in late June brought Turkey and Syria to the brink of war. Following the statement of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the rules of engagement of the Turkish military have been changed and expanded, Turkey has deployed two armored brigades and positioned antiaircraft batteries along its Syrian border. Turkish F-16 fighters scrambled to chase away Syrian assault helicopters, which were within four miles of the Turkish-Syrian border on several occasions during the first week of July.


 Observing that a "new Middle East is about to be born," Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently stated before the Turkish parliament that "we will be the owner, pioneer and the servant of this new Middle East." The Turkish government must act in a way that matches such rhetoric, but that in turn risks inviting a dangerous escalation of the Syrian conflict. Turkey has committed itself, in concert with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others, to bring about regime change in Damascus. It has allowed the Syrian opposition to set up headquarters in Istanbul, and it is arming and training the Sunni rebels. Turkey's main weapon in its escalating confrontation with Syria consists of giving more support to the rebels, something that foreign minister Davutoglu hinted at when he assured that "we are determined to continue to support the Syrian people." 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why the Syrian Rebels Should Put Down Their Guns

    Saturday, July 21, 2012   No comments

by Daniel Serwer

Nonviolent organization has a better chance at unseating Assad's regime than an armed uprising.

A member of the Free Syrian Army gestures during a patrol
in the western border town of Zabadani / Reuters
 
It is remarkable how quickly we've forgotten about nonviolence in Syria. Only a few months ago, the White House was testifying unequivocally in favor of nonviolent protest, rather than armed opposition, against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime's awful crackdown. Even today, President Obama eschews military intervention. Yesterday, Yahoo News' Laura Rozen offered the views of four experts on moving forward in Syria. While one doubted the efficacy of arming the opposition, none advocated nonviolence. When blogger Jasmin Ramsey wrote up a rundown of the debate over intervention in Syria, nonviolence wasn't even mentioned.

There are reasons for this. No one is going to march around Homs singing kumbaya while the Syrian army shells the city. It is correct to believe that Syrians have the right to defend themselves from a state that is attacking them. Certainly international military intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and arguably Libya saved a lot of lives. Why should Syrians not be entitled to protection? Isn't it our responsibility to meet that expectation?


Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Quantum Leap: The discovery of the Higgs boson particle puts our understanding of nature on a new firm footing

    Thursday, July 05, 2012   No comments

By Lawrence Krauss

Who would have believed it? Every now and then theoretical speculation anticipates experimental observation in physics. It doesn’t happen often, in spite of the romantic notion of theorists sitting in their rooms alone at night thinking great thoughts. Nature usually surprises us. But today, two separate experiments at the Large Hadron Collider of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva reported convincing evidence for the long sought-after “Higgs” particle, first proposed to exist almost 50 years ago and at the heart of the “standard model” of elementary particle physics—the theoretical formalism that describes three of the four known forces in nature, and which to date agrees with every experimental observation done to date.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Here's a Map of the Countries That Provide Universal Health Care (America's Still Not on It)

    Sunday, July 01, 2012   No comments

by Max Fisher



The U.S. stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care.


As excited as American liberals and proponents of expanding access to health care might be about the Supreme Court's decision to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. still stands out from much of the developed world in state efforts to make medical care available to the public. If universal health care in the U.S. is your goal, then today was a big step forward, but maybe also a reminder of how far behind America still lags.

The above map shows, in green, countries that administer some sort of universal health care plan. Most are through compulsory but government-subsidized public insurance plans, such as the UK's National Health Service. Some countries that have socialized and ostensibly universal health care systems but do not actually apply them universally, for example in poverty- and corruption-rife states in Africa or Latin America, are not counted. 

Read more >> 

4 Charts That Show Obama's Failure to Sell Health-Care Reform to the Public

    Sunday, July 01, 2012   No comments
by David Graham
Earlier this week, Penn Schoen Berland released a wide-ranging poll on American values commissioned by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute. In light of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, it's worth revisiting a few of the poll's findings about health care.

First, let's look at how Americans feel about Obama's health-care law overall. Here's a chart from RealClearPolitics that aggregates multiple polls. As you can see, Americans have opposed the reform by a solid margin of at least 10 points for most of the last two and a half years:



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