Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 25th, 2011

The Good Intentions Paving Company

Posted by Charles II on March 25, 2011

So, Robert Parry has unearthed a West Point report that will gladden the hearts of those who oppose the support of the Libyan resistance and dismay those of us who believe that the US should support the uprising, even if we disagree with the details of how it is being done. Written by Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, it has to do with records, called the Sinjar Records, released by the USG to West Point regarding 606 foreign nationals acting as combatants in Iraq.

Are these accurate or representative? We don’t know. The estimates of the distribution of nationalities are at serious odds with other reports. Interpreting the data is also not straightforward. Is someone a “foreign fighter” if their family has roots in that country, even if they reside in another? The Middle East was partitioned by outsiders, and people have moved around. Certainly these 606 men were not a major factor in the fighting. And, since over 80% of the Libyans listed as their occupation, “suicide bombers,” it’s unclear how many were available for subsequent engagements. But here’s what Felter and Fishman say:

Saudi Arabia was by far the most common nationality of the fighters’ in this sample; 41% (244) of the 595 records that included the fighter’s nationality indicated they were of Saudi Arabian origin. Libya was the next most common country of origin, with 18.8% (112) of the fighters listing their nationality stating they hailed from Libya. Syria, Yemen, Algeria were were the next most common origin countries with 8.2% (49), 8.1% (48), and 7.2% (43), respectively. Moroccans accounted for 6.1% (36) of the records and Jordanians 1.9% (11).

Now, Libya (and Morocco and Algeria) is a long way away from Iraq. Egypt, the largest country in the region, contributed the fewest fighters. So 112 fighters from Libya is a significant number. Felter and Fishman ask whether the Libyans were affiliated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG). “The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21)…Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid‐1990s.” they say.

Anyway, Parry asks some good questions:

Now, the neocons are baiting Obama into a wider war to overthrow Gaddafi. But they appear as ill-informed about the possible consequences in Libya as they did in Iraq:

If the “rebels” are influenced or controlled by al-Qaeda-style terrorists, would they inflict massacres of Gaddafi’s supporters, thus flipping the notion of a humanitarian intervention?

Would a rebel victory give the Islamic terror groups of eastern Libya a foothold in or possible control of the whole country and its oil wealth?

Would the prospect of an al-Qaeda affiliate in charge of a strategically placed Arab country require the United States to commit ground troops to the conflict to prevent an outcome that the U.S. intervention had unintentionally caused?

I don’t think we can extrapolate from 112 Libyan suicide bombers to anything. But we really ought to be asking these questions. Just because Gaddafi says that people are Al Qaida doesn’t mean we should automatically discount the possibility that they might be.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Iraq war | 2 Comments »

Dream the impossible dream

Posted by Charles II on March 25, 2011

Via Barry Ritholtz, Thought Catalog has devised a useful guide to the Internet:

As the member of MercRising who usually takes the lead in trying to enforce a friendly and constructive atmosphere, well…it’s a model and, like all models, sometimes we actually achieve it.

Posted in Just for fun | 4 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 25, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Carlos F. Lam: Would-Be Agent Provocateur, Proven Dipwad

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 25, 2011

This will almost certainly be the funniest story you read today:

An Indiana deputy prosecutor and Republican activist resigned Thursday after the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism uncovered an email to Gov. Scott Walker in which he suggested a fake attack on the governor to discredit union protesters.

Carlos F. Lam submitted his resignation shortly before the Center published a story quoting his Feb. 19 email, which praised Walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in Wisconsin presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”

“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” the email said.

“Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.”

Donald Segretti, he’s not.

Bear in mind that this was three days before Walker would discuss, on the phone with the man he thought was “David Koch”, the possibility of having some of his people go out and cause trouble while pretending to be union members. And it would be nine days before some .22 caliber bullets oh-so-conveniently made themselves found when Walker needed additional pretexts to justify shutting down the Capitol Building.

Now, either Walker or one of his staff read Lam’s e-mail and got the ideas for both these stunts, or (and what I think is more likely) they didn’t have to be told by anyone to try and pull false-flag stunts — it’s just something that’s hardwired into all Republican operatives to attempt whenever the chips are down.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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