New Maps for a New Middle East

I have long believed that there should be a Kurdistan.

From “Letter from Syria,” Thomas Friedman, NYT:

“Syria is the keystone of the Middle East.  If and how it cracks apart could recast this entire region.  The borders of Syria have been fixed ever since the British and French colonial powers carved up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.  If Assad is toppled and you have state collapse here, Syria’s civil war could go regional and challenge all the old borders — as the Shiites of Lebanon seek to link up more with the Alawite/Shiites of Syria, the Kurds of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey try to link up with one another and create an independent Kurdistan, and the Sunnis of Iraq, Jordan and Syria draw closer to oppose the Shiites of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”  Emphasis added.

Certainly a messy and difficult process, but one that’s worth going through to try to get it right a hundred years later.

Another Clean-Up on Aisle Mitt

Mitt seems to be morphing into Triumph the Insult Dog.  Someone needs to lock him in a kennel, strap the kennel to the roof of a plane, and fly him home.

It’s one think to insult the British, who won’t stop being BFF’s with us.  I can imagine President Obama and David Cameron having a good laugh about Mitt “Middle of Nowhere” Romney.

But now Mitt has insulted the Palestinians, and they’re not going to laugh it off.  In a speech in Israel, he basically called them lazy and stupid because they lag Israel economically and said the Israelis were “culturally” superior.  Cause we don’t already have enough problems in the Arab world.

And once again, Mitt’s crack staff got their facts wrong.  In his speech, Mitt said that per capita GDP is $21,000 in Israel, compared to $10,000 in the West Bank and Gaza.  He got that hugely wrong.  Israel has a per capita GDP of $31,000, while it’s $1,500 for the Palestinians.

Mitt runs around saying this offensive stuff, but the Obama Administration, which actually has to govern and not just cram their mouths full of feet, has to clean up his mess.

 

 

Huma Abedin-like Scandal in Tennessee

It’s not just Huma Abedin coming under attack by the batshit wing of the GOP.

In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Haslam is under siege by the crazies in his party for appointing Samar Ali to be international director of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

Ali, who grew up in Tennessee as the daughter of two Arab Muslim doctors, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (where she was president of the student body)  and Vanderbilt Law, worked in private law practice, and was a White House Fellow.

No one is questioning her qualifications for the job, they are questioning her loyalty to the United States!

This garbage is coming from the same source as the Huma Abedin attacks — ultra-right fringe character Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy.

Friedman Links Messes in Europe and Mideast

From “Two Worlds Cracking Up,” Thomas Friedman, NYT:

“In Europe, the supranational project did not work, and now, to a degree, Europe is falling back into individual states.  In the Arab world, the national project did not work, so some of the Arab states are falling back onto sects, tribes, regions and clans.

“In Europe, the supranational project did not work because the European states were never ready to cede control over their budgets to a central authority that would ensure a common fiscal policy to back up a common currency.

“In the Arab world, the national project did not work — in many, but not all cases — because the tribes, sects, clans and regional groups that make up these Arab states, whose borders were drawn up by colonial powers, were unwilling or unable to meld genuine national communities.”  Italics in original.

And all timed to determine the outcome of America’s presidential election!