Friday, March 16, 2007

Angry Arab at Berkeley

Sean O'Neill (l.) and As'ad AbuKhalil (r.)

Professor As'ad AbuKhalil of California State University - Stanislaus, the man also known as "Angry Arab," addressed a crowd of about 50 student and community activists at UC Berkeley on Thursday night. His short lecture was part of an event organized by Berkeley's Stop the War Coalition. He was followed by a former marine, Sean O'Neill, who started as a freshman at Berkeley after serving two tours of duty in Iraq. The messages delivered by the two could not have been more different.

AbuKhalil spent much of his time criticizing both the anti-war movement at places like Berkeley, as well as the state of campus activism in general. Strangely enough, he began his lecture with an attack on what he called "the new pet cause: Darfur." He then lambasted those devoting their time to stopping the genocide in Sudan:
This is seen as a safe cause. Parents think that this is an issue where kids can be active. They don’t know that the U.S. is an accomplice in Darfur, along with the Janjaweed. I worry about how people like [New York Times columnist Nicholas] Kristof are marketing a tragedy like Darfur as kitsch. It’s used as a substitute for activism that’s needed to prevent crimes occurring at a rate that’s larger than what’s happening at Darfur.
What crimes might AbuKhalil have been thinking of? No doubt, the crimes of the American occupiers of Iraq. Throughout his talk, the professor blamed the U.S. for the "654,000 people who have died in Iraq" since the invasion. Of course, a large number of those civilians who have died in Iraq were killed by fellow Iraqis, most of them "insurgents." But in an amazing exercise in obfuscation, AbuKhalil suggested that most of the civilian deaths were not being caused by the "Iraqi resistance." The proof? A 2005 book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape, according to which only 20% of the acts of violence by anti-American forces in Iraq are aimed at civilians. Of course, AbuKhalil conveniently glossed over the more important statistic: the number of civilian deaths. A car bomb that kills 60 civilians in Baghdad counts as 1 act, while a total of 4 ambushes of Iraqi Security Forces or IED attacks on American soldiers, might kill 5 combatants.

Although AbuKhalil admitted that a small number of the Iraqi insurgents were terrorists, he called the large majority of the "resistance" a legitimate struggle against colonial occupation. The professor chastised the anti-war left in America for accepting the depiction of the Iraqi insurgency as terrorism. From the Western media, he said, you would think that the large majority of acts of violence were perpetrated against civilians. But most are aimed at "American troops and the Iraqi puppet forces." But AbuKhalil did not stop there.

For Angry Arab, the biggest problem of the anti-war movement is that it continues to "worship the troops."
Why should you support the troops when they are on a mission of colonization, destruction of a society. This is the same culture that produced Abu Ghraib, the massacre of Haditha, the rape. Because of the worshipping of troops by liberals and conservatives alike. Even if it will offend many, we have to say no. We oppose the troops, if they’re engaged in a war against a country that is far away and has not hurt us.
He called on the anti-war movement to change course:

We have been way too intimidated on the Left about coming out to support in principle the resistance against the American occupation in Iraq.

AbuKhalil also warned that the Democratic Party would be no better than the current administration. They would simply be smarter about pursuing the "Bush Doctrine." This message was well-received by at least half of the audience, members of which spoke disparagingly about "liberals" and the Democrats. For this hard core, all of Iraq's problems would immediately be solved by an American withdrawal. And indeed, for them, it is America which caused the division and strife in the region in the first place. As AbuKhalil said:
the festering sectarian warfare [in Iraq] is largely the doing of the U.S. government. The U.S. went to Iraq and exploited Sunni-Shi’ite differences. Sectarian warfare began because of deliberate actions of U.S. In Iraq, people married across sectarian lines, unlike in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia is now deliberately funding Sunni fighters. I believe that a secular formula is best in a place like Lebanon or Iraq. But it is not up to me to tell Iraqis what they should do. I believe that no agreement reached by people under occupation is valid. No election under occupation is valid. These are puppet elections. Once the U.S. troops leave, the Iraqis will be more than capable of coming up with their own solutions.
The rest of the audience consisted of activists who probably identified more with the anti-war Democrats, including a number of people who were former servicemen, like Sean O'Neill, who spoke after AbuKhalil. Only in a place like Berkeley, would an eminently reasonable person such as O'Neill have been forced onto the defensive, trying desperately to explain that "you have to speak to Americans in their language" if you want to stop the war. Like O'Neill, I support a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to safer bases in the Gulf. Hence, I hope that the anti-war movement does not listen to AbuKhalil. On the other hand, I do hope that Americans at large do hear what the Angry Arab has to say, for there is nothing more damning to his various causes than his glorification of the "resistance fighters" killing innocent people in Iraq daily, and his derision of the campaign on behalf of the people of Darfur.

Unfortunately, "the professor" - as O'Neill deferentially called him several times - left immediately after he finished speaking and answering questions. To be fair, AbuKhalil had a long drive home ahead of him. But to me it only reinforced my impression of him as someone who put more stock in his celebrity status than in sincere discussion. It was also rather disrespectful.

More to follow from Noah K, who also attended the lecture with me.


Jeha said...

What did you expect from such a moron? It's a waste of good oxygen to try and talk or listen to this guy.

Anonymous said...

Please go to AA blog. AA is supporting the most canibalistic racial antisemitic propaganda. He is clever and cunning enough to keep clean himself. One example, he never but never say anything even slightly negative about Hizb. Which is supposedly, or can be seen as, a clerial, rectionary, anti-liberal organization lead by a Zaim war lord and financed by a foreign very suspected power. Nothing was ever said by him on the fire base built in South Leb. and the invetments of many K X K of $ in this fire base, to defend leb? what a lie. The fact that in great measure Leb. is now a puppet of Persian Imperialism and that Persia will now decide when lebanese will die is totally unknown to him. Why is USA imp. bad in Iraq and Persian imp. OK in leb? this is never discussed by him as well as very many other issues, he is very selective in subjects covered. Note his treatment of the Darfur problem. Some body is gaining from this.
Clearly AA is clever but his record is very tainted. He is not moron. He is the agent of some very dangerous forces. Again, just notice some of the people he is nurturing on his blog.

Amos said...

Jeha - I was mainly interested in what kind of reception this guy would get at Berkeley. I was expecting hundreds of people. In fact, even 50 is an exaggeration. I counted the crowd, and it numbered around 40; I just didn't want to be accused of under-reporting. I also wanted to see what he was like in person. I didn't try to talk to him at all. But I think listening is okay, because you have to find out why so many people like him - Arab-Americans, Arabs in the Middle East, and the post-colonialist crowd. As I said in the blog, I hope as many people as possible hear him talking about America and Iraq - his own mouth is the best weapon we have against him.

Hazbani - don't worry, I monitor his blog frequently. I first heard about him during the war last summer, and I was disgusted by his relentless Hizbullah boosterism. You're right - he is very smart to keep himself clean. He may not be an antisemite at all. But the comments section on his blog is a breeding ground for vicious hatred - it also attracts a few anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racists, but he has a much larger cheering section devoted to bullying "Zionists." It's funny though, there are a few people who are apparently upset that he condemns bin Laden, so they have started calling him a Zionist, too.

I'm not sure though that he's in the pay of anyone. That's what scares me actually. He's a tenured professor as far as I know, and he actually believes in this agenda that he's furthering with his blog and public appearances.

Anonymous said...

lol more or less the whole world sees things like the AA. It's only you insular morons, racists, zionists that still believe in fairytales.
Heil Jehova or how do you people say?

Compulsive Reader said...

You really are stupid to not hold American actions in Iraq for the massive civil war. How could you ignore the consistent reporting by people like Scott Riter about the "Salvadorian Option", in which we trained Shia death squads to go after Sunni organizations? How could you ignore the same parallel tactics used in the Balkans? DIVIDE AND CONQUER, fairly elementary. Look out Anonymous, you are correct to deem the truth dangerous. He consistently disagrees and criticizes Hezbollah on his blog. Learn to read. Go back to sucking the teat of Pelosi, hack.

sherif said...

Thanks for the post. I would just like to point out that As'ad criticizes Hizb on his blog sometimes. From what I know, he is also critical about the Iraqi insurgency. I don't agree with all of As'ad's views, but I invite you to read his posts more closely.


Zionism Is Racism said...

There is no such thing as "israel". The Zionist entity is a settler-colonial state that was built on the destruction of Palestinian Society. The Palestinian Arabs are the indigenous people of Palestine and the rightful owners of the land. The Zionist colonizers have no legitimate claim of right and no historical connection to Palestine. Your lies and delusions notwithstanding.

Israel had no right to exist, and HAS no right to exist. Those who came from Berlin, Moscow, and New York to colonize Palestine must find their way home.

Go visit your little Zionist state soon because it won't be around in 25 years. Israel will not live to a 100

Anonymous said...

Although I disagree with the Angry Arab's idiological standpoints, I strongly support his efforts to change, and get the voices of the unheard heard. I visit his blog everyday, and I learn a lot. He has defended the oppressed everywhere better than the USA and all Islamic and Arab countries.

Anonymous said...

I agree that many of AA's commenters are obnoxious, and some say some terribly racist things, yet I don't think it's fair to judge a blogger by his readers. Your opening statment hardly makes a reasonably reader trust anything you say in the rest of your comment. (And if I were going by your comment, I would automatically discount anything the author of this blog writes!)

Anonymous said...

Oops - The last comment was directed to Hazbani's statements.

Al Arabi Al hurr said...

Why anybody wants to support " "The troops" that they only brought mayhem and destruction to one of the oldest civilisation on Earth,unless if you are Zionist or dumb then thats different story.

annie said...

I love AA and visit him daily ; his positions are always right by me. Only when he scoffs at the hummus revolution do I get annoyed. He lets his racist commentators enjoy their freedom of expression whether we like it or not. He is not a racist himself.

Jeha said...

The "support" for the views of the Angry Arab comes largely from "Moronic Convergence"... I would not call AA "anti-semitic" because Arab and Jews are both semites. It goes deeper, to a much more reactionary hatred. The world is facing a more diffuse danger, which is goes deeper than mere anti-Israel talk.

The dispossession of the Palestinians gives it a unique dimension, but Palestine's Arab supporters are not completely inoccent of the crimes against its people.

Modern Arab history has been unprincipled and dishonourable, to say the least. If Emir Faycal was such a Nationalist, why would he agree to cede to Israeli demands on the West Bank, the East Bank, Southern Lebanon, and the Golan? If they were really sincere in establishing Palestine, why did Arab states move to establish a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, which could have served as stepping stone to liberate the rest of the land? If Nasser was serious about Liberating Palestine, why did he inist on placing all Arab armies under Egyptian command, instead of finding some joint-command structure? More importantly, why did he attack Yemen and Saudi Arabia in the run up to 1967? Why would Arafat feel obliged to challenge the authority of the Hashemite king and later the Lebanese government? Why would Saddam invade Kuwait, if his real intent was to liberate Palestine? ...etc..

There are more questions, but they all show a consistent lack of Arab nationalism among the tenets of this "Black Arabism". I know all the rethoric reasons advanced by all those "nationalists", but I prefer logic and consistency.

Sometimes I feel that if Israel did not exist, AA and those remants of the "Black Arabism" of old would have invented it. It is not enough to dispute Israel's right to exist; no country has the right to exist if its children are not willing to work to maintain it.

It is not enough to state that we want to support a state of Palestine, and to ask for redress for its people; we need to have a clear idea of the goal, and be consistent in our logic. To be sure, the West has made many screw-ups, and the state of Israel may have a lot to answer for, but AA's useless "folklore" is no way to adress those issues.

sherif said...

Jeha, As'ad is not an Arab nationalist. He is an anarchist. He is not engaged in perpetrating the Arab nationalist discourse on historical events and he is very crirical of the role they played.

Virgil Johnson said...

So tell me Kish, how does it feel to be at a historically (at least up until this point) leftist school. I mean, is there any critical apparatus left on the campus?

No doubt you would have been a wallflower at Emma's party, and derided the turnout at one of her meetings. Perhaps you could further elaborate why the turn out was so weak, other than a lack of interest, a deterioration in meaningful activism, and a school full of people born with silver spoons in their mouths.

This just serves as another illustration, for anyone willing to learn, that there is relatively no difference these days, between "left" and "right," it is almost like Washington where one cannot discern a Democrat from a Republican because they are too busy serving a monied elite. It speaks volumes for their larvae, (especially this article) that have a difficulty discerning their left hand from their right.

Anonymous said...

Amos, you say:

Like O'Neill, I support a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to safer bases in the Gulf.

For what purpose should the US military be based in the region? Do you believe that having the military in place to start another war on short notice, or to serve as enforcers for US MENA policy will be welcome in 2009? Is the idea that the current occupation, support for profoundly undemocratic clients, the support for an expansionist israel, etc, would all be just fine and hugely popular if Bush wasn't running it?

Jeha said...


Far be it for me to defent Hafez, but he was actually an Arab nationalist, at least in ideology. The trouble is, he was effectively limited by the sectarian nature of his regime, and his son is ever more so.

The Assad's can only draw whatever legitimacy they lack on the "inside" from the "outside", and in this case it takes the form conflict with an outside ennemy.

Today, Israel foots the bill. Tomorrow, it could be Turkey, or Lebanon, or Iraq... But in its present nature, the regime will always need to "export" instability in order to maintain internal stability, hence the appearance of anarchy.

Virgil Johnson said...

Attacking You?

Amos said...

Nice beats, Virgil. Thanks.

Sherif - I accept your correction (of my comment above) regarding As'ad's criticism of Hizbullah. As for Angry's views on the insurgency, I was reporting what he said at that lecture.

zionism is racism said...

Israel is not a real state. Its just a western military base. It will not live to see a hundred. Just like the Butcher of Sabra and Chatilla, the zionist entity is on life support. Germans, Poles, New Yorkers....its almost time to go back home.

Anonymous said...

Hazbani again.
Do you know where Hazbaya is? AA knows. Talking about ethnic cleaning, the Jews of Hzbaya were cleaned by the Metuali bosses, The great lords, AA family. So they went south, and build a state for themselves. AA, better than all his readers, knows that even after the russians came more than half of the Jews in Israel were born in Muslim or Arab or African countries or in Israel. And those who were born out side Is. were cleaned out by him and his fellows. So what is this talk about Poland. If all the Mugrabies, Boshniaks, Masries, and such were to leave leb. it will be a great exodos. Why are they allowed to come to place in which they were not born and build a state for themselves and the Hazbania are not? Jews in Lab. were cleaned out totaly long after the establishment of Is. Just like the other Jews from other Arb. lands. Ask the Halabies in NY. This talk about all of the Jews and the Arabs are semitic so arabs can not be antisemic is nothing, kalam fadi. And as for jeha listing the sins of Israel, which indeed are many, there are more Arabs-Muslims living inside the green line than in all Pal. in 1946. How many Jews were in Leb. in 1950 and how many are there now? Total extermination ! what are you jeha going to do about that? Why Azmi Bshara (do you know where Bshara is? )can build a state in Israel and Hazbani can not? The fact is that about 8 mil. souls are living now in what was Mandatorial Pal. which prove that the land can hold that many people in war ! How many can it hold in peace?. Before this whole place turns into a radioactive pile of dust it is time to make peace based on two states and let this war monger AA eat his liver in Cal. USA. AA who knows very well the fate of the Jews in the Arab countries want a binational state and some of his followers are calling him "honest"

John said...

Hazbani, you raise an important point: post-colonial-inspired rhetoric that calls for the cleansing of "Palestine" of Jews because they are "not indigenous" is fundamentally racist. It's incredible how the anti-Israel camp gets away with the most vile chauvinism. What many people don't realize is that the Middle East as a whole and the Levant in particular have always been a crossroads for migrants. If someone wants to stake the "right" of a certain group to stay in a country on their alleged "indigenousness" or "nativeness", I say tfaddal, bass be consistent. Are the Egyptian fallahin who migrated to the Negev in the early 1900s more "native" than the Ashkenazi Jews who lived in Hebron or Jerusalem for 9 generations? Are the Syrian Muslims who migrated to Lydda or Jaffa in the 1920s more "indegenous" than the Sephardic families of Jaffa or Tiberias?

Amos said...

In both the pro-Ottoman and Arab nationalist narratives, non-Muslim ethnic minorities of the Balkans, Caucasus, and Middle East who sought national sovereignty have frequently been depicted as either colonialists or collaborators with the imperialists, who preyed on an powerless "indigenous" population. These narratives of course ignore the (imperialist and colonialist?) policies of the Arabs (in a much earlier age) and of the Ottomans, which included the settlement of Muslims among non-Muslim populations, and the (willing) absorption of local converts to Islam into new elites.

Jeha said...

"Hazbani"; Chill dude, or take a pill...

"Zionism is Racism"; do you get paid by the slogan?

We are all mourning for someone, and the entire Middle East is bleeding. At this rate, it will bleed even more, with no end in sight. No need to export it here...

John said...

Crazy isn't it?? I'm glad you're out there to lighten things up a little :) Long live the Jehas of this world.

Jeha said...


No one likes it when you destroy the Golden Calf. AA is nothing more than an elaborate "rant-monger", and there is very little reasonable discourse you can have with him. What galls me is how they gloss over the sheer criminality of Arab leaders; the proportio of Arabs killed by Arabs is far too high to ignore...

The Arab world is rife with amateurish demagogues like that, but much less eloquent than Al-Moutanabbi, but far nastier. At least, Al-Moutanabbi managed to have only himself killed. The cumulative effect of those idiots is to have others do the dying for their own ideas...

Wait a minute. That would be smart, actually...

Virgil Johnson said...

Well John, I would say you need a history lesson. Shed some of that Leon Uris nonsense, the From Time Immemorial fraud, and start being honest. Especially in light of what you say your studies were, perhaps we should have a little conversation about this? All of the slide of hand and comparison of apples to oranges does you no good when faced with the cold hard facts. There is no self-respecting scholar who would deny what I am saying (or who could gainsay), there is no legitimate human rights groups that disagree with my conclusions, and I have the entire array of International Law on my side, as well as the opinion of the world as represented in the UN. So come on, let's have at it, and see who is left standing in the end.

John said...


I know how satisfying it can be to "go at it" with your favourite straw man, but leave me out of it. Don't give me that Uris and Peters crap. This is not kindergarten. We're not out to prove some master victim narrative here, and we gave up trying to reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to some epic moral battle back in grade school.

المستمنئ said...

LOL. Well said, Johnny boy. One week without internet and I come back to this! Who is this Virgil anyway? Sounds like one of Angry Arab's trolls.

Virgil, son, I'm afraid you're a little out of your element here. Please go back to your "slide of hand" (I got a tissue for you) and leave the history to the big girls and boys.

PS: It's "sleight of hand," and John wasn't doing it.

Amos said...

Can we watch the language here? I don't know if Virgil reads Arabic. I really hope he doesn't.

"T" kapara, you owe Virgil an apology. This is no way to treat a guest, even a rude one. John's response was enough.

Anyway, welcome back.

Virgil Johnson said...

Oh, I am sorry to intrude upon your great estate. I will have to tell my associates at OCIS Oxford that you are well above our rank. That we should never even dream of speaking with you - let alone have some fellow recognition. You have relieved my curiosity about your pedantic nature by your response to my post (I so love leaving little misspells just to see the reaction). Predictable American bombast.

However, we are all rather anonymous here, so I will take my leave. Let me assure you that your response has revealed your adequacy, and that I will need a much larger apparatus to address I was so longing to hear your words of learning and wisdom...(P.S. I use a pseudonym)

Anonymous said...

from AA site when I posted that you guys handed virgil his ass

"Virgil Johnson said...

Say anonymous coward, there was no factual exchange - not even an attempt to engage. If you call a "his ass handed to him" a complete blow off, yes.

To be frank, they knew better than to exchange words with me, they would have had there asses handed to them handily. Do you actually think that some snot nosed post grad student can answer what I dish out? Hence, the blow off and my well deserved words of exit.

To date, no exchange - I am here, where are they? A dime a dozen, orientlist trash. Please, everyone, do not take my word or this cowards word - look at the exchange through his link, see what you come away with.

Derisive remarks do not make an argument, especially from U.S. "liberal" punks, whose mommies and daddies feed them with a silver spoon of privilege, they would piss in their pants if they were engaged - and they did before the exchange even happened. Same goes for As'ad, they did not directly answer anything he said, and no doubt obscured the majority of the lecture. "

Amos said...

Haha. This guy Virgil is hilarious. I love the bravado - he makes it sound like he met us in a bar, not on a blog. Pathetic.

Anyway, thanks for posting this, anonymous. Can you also give us the link to that comments page?

Anonymous said...

Sure thing Amos...he is a real windbag

Virgil Johnson said...

Tick tock, I am still waiting for a meaningful exchange...make that anonymous trolls day, engage. Show me how you are beyond "grade school" arguments.

Amos said...


There was no meaningful exchange because you didn't say anything worth responding to.

You threw out some non sequitur about Leon Uris and Joan Peters. What are your "cold hard facts"? What are you talking about? Make a point; maybe then someone will respond. Jeha, John, Hazbani, and I have all stated our positions on various issues. All you did was spout some bombastic stuff about how what you are saying is impervious to contradiction - but what did you say? Your argument was "you're wrong, I'm smarter than you, ergo I'm right." Ahbal.

Virgil Johnson said...


My quip about Leon Morris and Joan Peters was just a reference to this post that was made. It is hard for me to believe that someone who would make an assessment of what is taking place in Iraq currently, particularly the response to As'ad's lecture, would have such a poor grasp of the mechanizations of empire (colonialism, neocolonialism, etc.). Hence my statement regarding Leon Morris, I thought to myself - surly someone this ignorant and dense must believe in the fairy tale beginnings of Israel also. The response in the after comments seemed to confirm my suspicions, particularly with the statement "...trying to reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to some epic moral battle...," if there is no moral issue in what is taking place there, well, I find the view problematic.

It is somewhat late, but let me give you a link to what I am aware of, in regard to what took place in Iraq - it's origins (this current fighting). Coupled with this (the link coming up), how can people divorce themselves (who claim to have some knowledge of these matters) from the historical record of United States incursions? Each having "death squads," each ending with the consequent bloodbath - the pitted of factions off of one another, specifically aggravated by the neocolonial state, etc. . Top this off with the sheer firepower of the "shock and awe" introduction to this massacre (I do not call it a war), the hundreds of indiscriminate murderous campaigns, how does one come away with the majority of the people dying from the "factional fighting?" It is all so lacking reality, that I thought for sure that this same party would opt for "a land for a people, for a people without a land."

I recommend you read this link, and the links you find there before you respond -

Death Squads In Iraq - Salvador Option Part II

Please note when this was written.

Virgil Johnson said...

Sorry, rather than Leon Morris, I meant "Uris."

Virgil Johnson said...

So, let's pick up a few more choice assumptions in the criticism of this lecture. I cannot stress enough the stark absence of reality of what took place, and continues to take place in Iraq in this critique.

As'ad was right to bring up the point about pet causes, such as what is taking place in Darfur. Without getting to enmeshed in the subject, we find this total absence of knowledge of why this conflict is taking place in Darfur in the first place. I do not know why people insist on glossing over the numerous reports of oil exploration and discovery in Darfur - there are enough articles past and present that amply display the issue. However there is this total absence in the movement to save Darfur of what is once again taking place on the ground. The only thing we hear is "evil Muslims" who are doing these atrocious acts - why? You would think that the major thrust is that of hatred of anything other than Muslims - or this is what is implied. All that happens in ignorant outrage like this is the continuation of this orientalist tripe that is cooked up daily and deeply to fuel the "war on terror," and to obscure the underlying factors of what is really taking place.

Note the chronological dates on these reports:

Reuters - Oil Discovery Adds New Twist to Darfur Tragedy

Energy Bulletin - Oil Underlies Darfur Tragedy

Common Dreams - Oil Drives The Genocide In Darfur

Sudan Watch - India Signs New Pipeline Deal

Los Angeles Times Wakes Up - Search for oil raises the stakes in Darfur

Reuters reiteration 2007 - The Race For Darfur's Oil - a Blessing or a Curse?

I think this is quite enough material. Where should the Save Darfur movement be directed? What should be it's target in the light of these facts? Now, compare this with the barren knowledge of the majority of the "save Darfur" movement.

Virgil Johnson said...

Rather than go over the issue of the 600,000 plus dead, and what has caused this (I can assure you it was not the factional fighting, and the pin pointing of it as the cause is nothing but the slow rot of believing this corporate media, not to mention my initial point regarding the origin and probably fuel of this fighting), I would like to ask a few questions:

Why must we just withdraw troops to safer bases in the Gulf? This implies a belief in the occupation that staggers the imagination. Was it not enough to hear about the weapons of mass destruction? Than the excuse of the emancipation of the Iraqi people? I mean, does the individual who pasted this know that this was the primary excuse of almost every occupation from time immemorial? Than suddenly we are going to bring "democracy?" Was this not enough to greatly strain the bonds of credulity - this metamorphosis of purpose?

I suppose someone might say, well, "it certainly could not have been the oil because there is less being pumped now and look at the cost of this war." Well of course, the unrest keeps the cost of oil high, the oil companies make record profits. Than, in regard to the cost of the war, it does not matter to them, why? Because they will spend every red cent of your money, the peoples money, to put a profit in the pockets of the darling corporations. They will spend your dollar to save their dime! YOUR money is no object in achieving their goals.

However, I digress, why would you just pull back to the safer distance? Do you have a mission to mold those poor "backward people," and give them your valuable advice? Hasn't enough damage been inflicted already? Oh, you cannot let Iran get involved - why a whole terrorist nation would sprout eh? Tell me, why must you stand by?

I think these are valid questions, I would say your motives for staying in the region are suspect. Unless, of course, you believe in this "nation building" process that has been used to this point for sheer destruction of people. Is it your duty to help these poor backward nations become "civilized? " I think this is enough for now, my first post has not been addressed, answer some of these question because I have a bevy of other more serious questions.

John said...

What's your point, Virgil? Are you suggesting that the United States wants to invade Darfur to take control of hypothetical oil reserves? If this is the case, how do you explain the obvious reluctance of the Bush administration to get involved?

It sounds like you're repeating the same "Oil War" mantra that the paranoid left was spouting in the run-up to the Iraq War. For the record, the United States economy is now paying for the security premium levied on oil prices because of the instability in Iraq. I remember being lectured by anti-War demonstrators about the "clear link" between the alleged desire of the United States to lower oil prices and the Iraq War. The state of the Iraqi oil industry today has shown how ludicrous those arguments are. Iraq's oil reserves are not being exploited, because the Iraqi oil industry has decrepit infrastructure and needs billions of dollars in foreign investment to become profitable. Those billions are not likely to start pouring in anytime soon, given the instability in Iraq. All of this was actually anticipated by the big oil companies, which did not back the war. They would have been content to sell Iraqi oil and to see sanctions lifted.

But I digress - we were talking about Sudan, not Iraq. What I fail to understand is why you choose to ignore the domestic context of the Darfur crisis. Here we have a central government in Khartoum with a long history of conflict with the regions. In its bid to establish control in the periphery, the government depends on local militias to project its power. You tell me where the "Save Darfur" movement's efforts should be directed. I think it's pretty clear.

Virgil Johnson said...

John, first of all I did not make the argument that we went to Iraq to "lower" oil prices, on the contrary, I said we are there to keep the prices high. One thing you learn about the region after a number of years is that unrest rises profit margins. Secondly, if they (the oil industry) have no interest in the oil, than why are they ruching with break neck speed to sign and own the PSA contracts?

Mission Accomplished: Big Oils Occupation of Iraq

John, do you believe every posture that comes from corporations? I would say it is time to wake up, and understand that corporations have a habit (especially oil corporations) of lying - you would do well to take this advice. Secondly, in regards to keeping prices artificially high, with the attack on Iraq. My recommendation is that you look at some of Greg Palast's investigative work - I have a short note on my blog:

War In Iraq - The Real Reasons

Note the date of the above post.

As far as Darfur is concerned, we do have a military presence there (if you have not noticed), but this a little more of a twist to it. Most of the players in this region are European, as well as India and China. At this juncture, all the US does in this region is make sure that the powers that be, which exploit the oil, which is probably the major cause of these terrible atrocities, is able to get access without being set upon by resistance of any consequence. We play a support role to make their dreams come true. More than likely, we have also been proffered our share in the booty.

In case you were not aware of this, the US position, or how it has positioned itself in the global arena, is as the police. People have sat through countless hours of instruction in Washington for this very purpose - "The Pentagon's New Map," by P.M. Barnett. It is mandatory reading for all star generals, and the entire rank and file of officers have sat through his several hour de-briefing, it is a rigorous indoctrination:

The Pentagon's New Map

to be cont'

Virgil Johnson said...

John, let me offer my apology for sounding gruff, it is just that I am set upon by the likes of "anonymous" on the AA blog - it is a ruff and tumble sort of exchange there. I admit I came out of the gate at a sprint, but I do not normally act this way in a reasonable atmosphere.

As far as your question regarding "domestic context," I chose to emphasize what I DO NOT hear coming from the save Darfur movement. I am well aware of the unrest and the repeated problems in the region. Let me clarify what I am not saying. I am not saying that you should not be concerned for the people. I am not saying that you should not be involved in trying to bring this horrible tragedy to a halt. I am not saying that you should not bring this tragedy to the public spotlight. On the contrary, I think this movement can be very effective if it understands the undercurrents of what is really taking place in the region.

What need to be done is addressing what I consider to be the current heart of the situation - pressure needs to be brought to bear upon the government by spotlighting what it is doing to gain these territory for oil exploration. The very inner workings of the government must be questioned, and those other entities which will benefit from this exploitation of resource. It must be entered as a major element, that it is NOT acceptable to genocide a people for the purpose of profit. That these foreign entities, including the United States are culpable for allowing this to take place. That there must be an equitable agreement not to trash the people in such a manner, and that the riches that ensue from this oil discovery must be equitably used to assuage the misery inflicted on the people to this point.

This will do two things, it will duly uncover perhaps the major reason for the intensity of this terrible process - expose it, bring it to light. Secondly, it will be a signal that the game is up - everyone knows what is taking place, and it will bring further pressure upon the foreign powers that are participating. rather than one prong, as valid as the suffering of the people and the domestic element might be, you need the second prong to be emphasized so that you can effectively "spear" the breadth of the tragedy. This is a rough outline of my recommendation, incomplete, but I trust it was clear.

Amos said...

Virgil - I can live with your last comment on Darfur, even if I do not fully agree with the analysis. In terms of policy, I don't think your position contradicts that of the various coalitions that have sprung up on campuses to stop the genocide in Darfur. I just wonder why it is necessary for people like As'ad to deride their efforts. To me, it sounds like AA would have opposed intervention by the (imperialist?) European powers - Russia, France, and England - to prevent the Ottoman genocide of more than a million Armenians during WWI, too. Is it really worth sacrificing so many people so that one can be consistently anti-imperialist or anti-American?

About your earlier remarks on the number of deaths in Iraq - I really wonder how As'ad can maintain this illusion that it was the Americans who caused all the sectarian fighting. Sure, the Americans certainly tried to use the sectarian and ethnic divisions to their advantage (they actually haven't been all that successful though, when you look at the Shi'a). But why did Shi'i Iraqis make up the underclass in Saddam's regime? And was the conflict between the Iraqi state and the Kurds an American creation? As for the death squads, I think that the U.S. knew that the Ministry of Interior was behind some of these groups, but it doesn't seem like the Shi'a needed much encouragement from the Americans, especially in the light of attacks on Shi'i civilians by the Sunni "insurgents."

Virgil Johnson said...

Amos, I believe that As'ad gets frustrated sometimes, and to be frank he knows the elements I just posted (the oil factor, etc.). I believe he did not mean to deride the effort, but that the effort in it's present form is incomplete, not knowing all the elements on the ground. Sometimes he sounds condescending - however, he is just tired of people taking up causes and not really addressing the the full breadth of what is going on - he gets impatient. He sees it as a derailment of energy and efforts, a distraction if you will, of getting to the real issues (or, those issues which consume him).

Anti-imperialism, or anti-colonialism can devour you, and rather than saying toss the effort (in Darfur for instance), it is better to say "lets look at the entire picture here, and effectively address what is going on in reality, full spectrum awareness of what you are facing. If he were specifically pressed, I am sure he would not say forget the people in Darfur - if we did not have any other course I would say just save the people NOW. However, the element I am talking about, and what I think As-ad, if he addressed it would have in mind, would be a much more potent way of addressing the issue.

On your second point regarding what you call "the illusion that it was the Americans that caused all the sectarian fighting," I really think you should read the link at 1:06AM yesterday, seriously - "Death Squads In Iraq - Salvador Option II" (the II, is a continuation of what I wrote on March 7th, 2006). After you read it, and look at the copious links of that article, i do not think you would be asking that question. Let me give you one other link:

Instruments Of Statecraft

Briefly, what was created in Iraq when Saddam was enthroned by a CIA coup, was a classic neocolonial structure. There is a strong central enfranchised class, faction, aristocracy (if you choose) which is bequeathed with the largess of the country. The rest are disenfranchised (to varying degrees, sometimes one group more than another). This is done so that the entire country is not entitled to the wealth of the nation, it pays off a smaller contingency and ingratiates them through corruption, so that the profit accrued to the principle colonial element.

Over a period of time, after years of disenfranchisement, the "puppet" government needs to apply more and more force to the disenfranchised group(s) (and the disenfranchised group(s) become an ace in the hole , so to speak, just in case the reigning puppet decides to double cross the colonial principle - which seems to be a issue in the ME) making them more dissatisfied as time progresses. In the meantime the colonial principle makes out like a bandit.

If you disband the neocolonial enterprise (as what happened in Iraq), you do so by saying and promising you will empower the oppressed groups (liberate them), even though your policies were the main cause for the oppression. If you read my previous link, and the one I placed in this post, those are the tools you use to create what is known as "death squads." If you read the history of the US post-WW2, there has never been a neocolonial enterprise where these squads, made up of "indigenous" have not been employed. You see the same techniques as are being seen in Iraq - right down to the torturous detail, and the same chaotic result. This is what is known as a slash and burn technique which brings about total destruction, and like the "gods," the colonial uses this to bring "order out of chaos." Seriously, read all of the links, than it will fill in this cursory description.

Virgil Johnson said...

On other point, that might help encapsulate what I am saying, but will not substitute for my recommendation of reading my links is the testimony of an ex-CIA station chief, John Stockwell. Do not balk that this is on YouTube, it is brief but instructive.

What we have in the United States is a massive extra-constitutional edifice, made up of many but linked, clandestine agencies - the National Security State. For years they have waged wars (John calls it WW3) on third world nations, resulting in the deaths of millions of people. You may not be aware of it, or have grasped small pieces or parts - this is due to a complicit corporate media, which either does not report these activities (in the "National Interest," which quite frankly, is never the interest of the people, but an elite which benefits from this carnage) or falsely reports what is taking place. In other words, you have a system here in the United States that functions outside of the purview of the American people, and above the law. I am not joking with you, I am dead serious - it is imperative that you understand this systemic plague. If you do nothing else I have recommended, listen to this, because therein what is going on in Iraq and the rest of the world will echo in your ears -

The Third World War

Anonymous said...

This is a very important message about a terroristic Attack and about Ron Arad.

کیر خر تو کس ننه هرکی سیده.
سنده ملت جهان تو کس ننه حافظان شریعت اسلام

کیر خوک تو کس ننه فاحشه => پاسدار یا بسیجی یا اطلاعاتی یا جاسوس اسلام یا سید یا حزب اللهی

گوه خوک تو ننه امام حسین شد امام حسن

سنده شیطان تو حلق محمد رسول الله قرآن شد.

خرطوم فیل تو کس ننه پیامبر اسلام.

الله اکبر
خامنه ای عنتر
مرگ بر دوست ولایت فقیه
درود بر آمریکا

Dan said...

Hey Amos (and the rest), very nice blog. I wanted to say I fully agree with this post on the Angry Arab's anti-war presentation at Berkeley. I was not there, but I'm well familiar with the man and his views -- can just hear it in my head from reading the page. I took a class from the Angry Arab in the past and his intelligence, sharp tongue and charisma make it very easy for students to fall under his spell (myself included at the time). To his credit he didn't express his personal views in class, though it was clear he was a man of the left -- and this was before he started blogging. But from activities and speaking engagements outside of class the students discovered how truly vile his views could be. Think of the ugliest expressions of radicalism to come out of the Arab/Muslim street and layer it in an intellectual garb. Is there anything more shameful than criticizing opponents of the Darfur genocide because he wants them to be more attentive to his own grievances i.e Iraq and Palestine? Is it a zero sum game? (We can't be opposed to both?) On top of everything he has the chutzpah to call himself a humanist. He's probably the most well read Arab intellectual I've come across, unfortunately it has not made him wiser or more principled -- only more outrageous, vulgar and detached from reality. Criticizing the decent, reasonable, people opposed to the Iraq war won't serve to inspire the bulk of us.

Keep up the good work,

Anonymous said...

"...unfortunately it has not made him wiser or more principled -- only more outrageous, vulgar and detached from reality."

He's become a full-fledged narcissist in my opinion, and I know this from my own personal experiences with him. When we first met, he was charming, brilliant, and convincing. Now he's become so self-absorbed and out of touch with other humans individually, it's pretty sad and it negates so much of his opinion for me, also sad.

He seems to be shallow, insincere, and not a man of his word. But his narcissistic supply candidates (of which I used to be one) are so enmeshed with him, they can't see the truth. Those are the ones always sending him articles and such.

I'm glad to be free of his manipulative grip.