الخميس، مارس 06، 2014

Ja'fari Personal Status Law

The Iraqi Council of Ministers has just approved the controversial Ja'fari (Shi'ite) Personal Status Law and sent the bill to parliament, even after declaring just days ago that the matter would be decided after the elections. If this reactionary bill is passed, Iraqi men will be able to marry girls as young as nine 'lunar' years (a little under nine calender years), and a married woman won't be able to initiate a divorce unless she can prove under oath (with two witnesses!) that her husband is impotent or cannot achieve an erection. Yep. 

There are other goodies in the law such as legitimizing spousal rape, temporary marriage, polygamy; barring married women from leaving the house without permission; reliance on oath alone for proving paternity (no need for any DNA evidence, as it used to be); a husband can deny expenses for his wife if she is unable to satisfy him sexually; a deceased person's will can be decided by next of kin under oath (no written will needed); uprooting civil marriages and alimony for divorced women, etc., but I can't find any version in English. There's absolutely nothing on it from the mainstream media either. 

At the legal level, the law is consistent with Article 41 of the Iraqi Constitution, which reads, "Iraqis are free to abide by their personal status according to their religions, sects, beliefs, or choices, as regulated by law."

In terms of content, civil elites consider the proposed law unconstitutional because the Constitution prohibits any law that is inconsistent with Article 2, which stipulates in Paragraph (b), "No law may be enacted that contradicts the principles of democracy," and in Paragraph (c), "No law may be enacted that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this Constitution." However, the minister of justice is basing his argument on Paragraph (a), which stipulates, "No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam."

That vague and ambiguous article has become a Trojan horse for religious parties to impose their laws. This ambiguity has led to another level of factors, mainly religious factors, which helped the justice minister in his mission.

In principle, no Iraqi cleric can oppose applying provisions that date back to earlier times and which are supported by religious texts. Some of those texts set the marriage age as low as 9 and others relate to the role of women in society whereby a woman is subject to her husband's will and is deprived of all the gains made under the 1959 Personal Status Law, which is considered a civil law par excellence.

The problem facing the Jaafari personal status law is that the normal pattern of laws pertaining to the issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance and women's rights in the world have been evolving toward greater freedom and equality, so why would Iraqi laws head in the opposite direction?

Backward, like a camel's urine, as the old Iraqi proverb says.

هناك 108 تعليقات:

Aishah bint Abī Bakr يقول...

The Iraqi Council of Ministers ate my 9-year-old hamster.

The ghost of P W Botha يقول...

What kind of shit comment is that? Man, this place has been a dump since my voortrekker buddy boy Bruno left for the High Velt.

غير معرف يقول...

Why are you making this a sectarian issue? Most of these sharia-inspired laws were also implemented by the Taliban who are Sunnis. Your anti-Shia bigotry is not the answer to anything.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...
أزال المؤلف هذا التعليق.
Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

If this reactionary bill is passed, Iraqi men will be able to marry girls as young as nine 'lunar' years (a little under nine calender years),...

Blech!

...and a married woman won't be able to initiate a divorce unless she can prove under oath (with two witnesses!) that her husband is impotent or cannot achieve an erection. Yep.

What, Iraqi couples are out there having sex(or attempting to) and inviting guests to watch? Sounds strangely kinky for a conservative society like Iraq.

Your Anonymous friend mentioned the Taliban, but my first thought was of Saudia Arabia.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

P.S.

Nice to see you are still alive, Zeyad. I heard San Antone was getting snow the other day. It sounds like no matter where you go you can't escape it totally. :)

غير معرف يقول...

 
      "Most of these sharia-inspired laws were also implemented
      by the Taliban who are Sunnis.
"

As true as that happens to be, it is also true that religious fanatics behind these types of laws tend to be highly sectarian to their core.  I don't think that Zeyad is claiming that ‘sectarianism’ is an exclusively Shia trait; the flaw exists in both branches of Islam.  Just that, in this particular case, it's Shia powers behind it, or so he's claiming.  If he has a prejudice here it's probably against the religious fundies and religious sectarians in general, not the Shia ones exclusively.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Most of these sharia-inspired laws were also implemented
      by the Taliban who are Sunnis.
"

As true as that happens to be, it is also true that religious fanatics behind these types of laws tend to be highly sectarian to their core.  I don't think that Zeyad is claiming that ‘sectarianism’ is an exclusively Shia trait; the flaw exists in both branches of Islam.  Just that, in this particular case, it's Shia powers behind it, or so he's claiming.  If he has a prejudice here it's probably against the religious fundies and religious sectarians in general, not the Shia ones exclusively.

But, the fact that the other guys do it too doesn't get the Shia off the hook for this one.

Zeyad يقول...

Most of these sharia-inspired laws were also implemented by the Taliban who are Sunnis.

Ah, that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to know that our elected Iraqi lawmakers are now channeling fundamentalist mountain cavemen. By the way, this bill would put us even below Saudia Arabia and Iran on human rights issues.

Marcus يقول...

That anonymous fellow clearly doesn't know you Zeyad. You have been non-sectarian in your postings for as long as I've read them and you've voiced critizism against Wahhabi cavemen of various stripes many times. Which I of course applaud. Naturally you would critizise a shia caveman just as hard.

It's sad to see this happening, really. I was against the invasion of Iraq, while some comenters here were for it. But regardless of that I believe most of us would wish for a functioning democracy, of some sort - not necessarily a carbon copy of a western one - that kept this sort of barbary based on religous superstition at bay. Apparently we won't see that in the near future.

غير معرف يقول...

 
      "Apparently we won't see that in the near future."

Don't get needlessly grim just yet.  It hasn't passed yet.  We may reasonably hope the legislature kills it.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Apparently we won't see that in the near future."

Don't get needlessly grim just yet.  It hasn't passed yet.  We may reasonaby hope the legislature kills it.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

I was against the invasion of Iraq, while some comenters here were for it.

The invasion of Iraq wasn't the cause of this kind of fundamentalist belief. For the takeover of government by extremists to occur you have to have good people who do nothing. I will hope that the Iraqi Parliament votes down this law.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
@ Lynnette

According to one American publication, the average Americans' views on the ‘crisis’ in the Ukraine are roughly ‘evenly split between grossly misinformed and wholly indifferent factions’.

I'll leave it to you to guess who's on which side.

The ghost of P W Botha يقول...

So any of you guys know what happened to Bruno?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Perhaps his employer caught him playing on the internet at work again.

The ghost of P W Botha يقول...

It seems Broony Boy hasn't commented since 2011. Doesn't time just fly! What happened to make him lose interest?

Petes يقول...

[Lynnette]: "The invasion of Iraq wasn't the cause of this kind of fundamentalist belief."

And the pre-invasion scenario wasn't exactly a secular utopia.

Petes يقول...

Haven't mentioned China in a while. I believe 2014 is going to be the year that the Chinese bubble finally bursts, 2015 at the very latest. Chinese private debt has expanded by the size of the entire US GDP in five years. It has increases 1000% in 15 years. The Chinese economy is now basically one big morass of property bubbles, rotten loans, bust companies, corrupt local governments, and crooks trying to stow as many assets outside of Chinese territory as they can before the shit hits the fan (a bit like our Russian friends too). The impact outside China won't be small either. I wouldn't like to be investing in property in London or Vancouver when the Chinese plug is pulled. Or, indeed, in lots of other assets that are already bubblicious due to American monetary easing.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/chinese-economy-crashing.html

Marcus يقول...

About Ukraine here's a transcript of a press conference with Putin. It's a few days old but I think it's interesting:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37889.htm

There are a few answers that I think are obvious lies. Such as that no russian troops were involved in "securing" Crimea but that it was all "self defence forces". I don't buy that for one minute annd I believe Putin is well aware that no one believes that but lies all the same. To avoid follow upp questions on the matter, presumably.

But one thing I like is the guts of Putin holding these kinds of questionings. I've seen on RT several times how he sits before a room full of journalists, both friendly and hostile, and lets them ask what they want and then answers every question. His usual modus operandi is to start by letting them fire off ten or so questions and jotting them down and then giving a speach that covers the jist of the combined questions. After that comes straight answers to specific questions. The man's no fool, that's for sure.

غير معرف يقول...

 
Did you get a chance to watch this last press conference?  I didn't bother (didn't figure an international press conference with a Russian leader would be conducted in English, and I don't have any foreign language capability to speak of), but, I read several reviews of it, and it seemed an almost universal judgement that this was one of his worst since his early days, back when he was still a KGB man suddenly in the top job, before he got comfortable with talking to the press.  Consensus Opinion seemed to be that he rambled and contradicted himself, and just didn't seem to be the ‘tough Putin’ he grew into and that you seem to admire.

غير معرف يقول...

 
Did you get a chance to actually watch this press conference?  I didn't bother (didn't expect an international press conference with a Russian leader to be conducted in English, and I have no foreign language capabilities to speak of).  But,…

I did read several reviews of the press conference, and it seemed the consensus opinion that this was one of his worst performances in quite some time (from back in the early days when he was still a stiff, ex-KGB colonel who hadn't gotten comfortable in front of cameras yet).  Consensus opinion seemed to be that he rambled and contracted himself, and generally struggled through this one.  Not all all the arrogant ‘tough Putin’ that you seem to admire and that the reporters were used to seeing these last several years.  So, quaere here:  Did you see the press conference, or just read the transcript later?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.      يقول...

 
That's odd.  It says it knows me, but reports me as anonymous anyway.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.      يقول...

 
This is just gettin’ weirder all the time.  I posted a question, it said it took it, showed to me as an ‘anonymous’ posting even though it claimed to know my screen name, and then, when I remarked on that, it deleted the comment altogether with nary a trace.  Very odd.

Anyway, the below is the comment that vanished…
 
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Did you get a chance to actually watch this press conference?  I didn't bother (didn't expect an international press conference with a Russian leader to be conducted in English, and I have no foreign language capabilities to speak of).  But,…

I did read several reviews of the press conference, and it seemed the consensus opinion that this was one of his worst performances in quite some time (from back in the early days when he was still a stiff, ex-KGB colonel who hadn't gotten comfortable in front of cameras yet).  Consensus opinion seemed to be that he rambled and contracted himself, and generally struggled through this one.  Not all all the arrogant ‘tough Putin’ that you seem to admire and that the reporters were used to seeing these last several years.  So, quaere here:  Did you see the press conference, or just read the transcript later?

Marcus يقول...

I just read the transcript. I too figured that the press conference would be in russian and they are rarely subtitled.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
You realize, do you not, that Russia Television (RT) is paid to put on a pro-Putin show in those staged ‘Press Conferences’?  They work for him, if he doesn't come off looking impressive, then it means they didn't get the job done.  Somebody ain't gettin’ their Christmas bonus. 
(He's probably not actually writing those questions down.  That's probably a cover for when he checks his notes later as he gives opening statement.)

Marcus يقول...

Possibly. But there are also journalists from not so friendly news outlets. If you read the transcript you'll find questions from Reuters also. I think the answers given by Putin were very informative of his stance on the matter. That doesn't mean I buy everything he claims nor that I agree with everything he says.


   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "there are also journalists from not so friendly news outlets."

Of course there are, but that doesn't mean that Putin doesn't know what their questions are going to be in advance.  Journalists who won't ‘play ball’ are likely to not get clearance to attend the next ‘news conference’.

Obama doesn't do interviews with Fox.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Lee,

lol! Ahhh, the Onion! But still, probably not too far off on what Americans know about Ukraine. Not that I profess to be any expert myself.

I heard somewhere that Russia has set up checkpoints on the Crimean border. Looking for infiltrators who may cause violence in the region, perhaps? If we just sit back and let this play out I have a feeling Russia may shoot itself in the foot. What's so sad though is that Putin's concern about some people's desire to be closer to the West wasn't the threat he or others seemed to think. Now they've stirred up a real hornets nest that has ramifications all over the place. If there really are the extreme nationalist groups in Ukraine, and that is not just Russian psy-ops directed at the Crimean region to make them more amenable to annexation, then future stability in that region has to be in doubt. Great, just what we needed when we are sitting on possible massive climate change that could endanger everyone. What a waste of resources.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

The ghost of P W Botha,

It seems Broony Boy hasn't commented since 2011. Doesn't time just fly! What happened to make him lose interest?

Perhaps the guy hiding in the outhouse finally nabbed him?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

PeteS,

I thought of you this weekend as I was shopping. It seems all the stores are draping themselves in all things Irish in honor of St. Patricks Day. I bought some Irish Soda bread from my favorite grocery store. I don't know if it is really an Irish recipe or not, but I loved it! It's kind of sweet with raisins in it. It goes really well with chili. :)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Hmmm...bad grammar I think. That last sentence would sound better with really "good", not "well". :)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

PeteS,

I believe 2014 is going to be the year that the Chinese bubble finally bursts, 2015 at the very latest.

Hmmm...so not only are the Russians sliding into the war quagmire scenario but the Chinese are trying to create their own Great Recession. Huh! So where is a safe harbor?

Marcus يقول...

Don't be too convinced by Pete's doomsday scenarios Lynnette. Remember he told us a few years back he switched to an all-cash portfolio, which means he lost out on the great comeback for stocks we've had since then, convinced as he was of a global meltdown.

Go back in the archives here on this blog and look at what I said about the Walmart stock some years back and what Pete countered with, and then look at a graph of the Wallmart stock price since then. See who had the better advice.

China has its economical problems for sure. But the debt increase Pete linked to and the debt levels portrayed there can be debated. The public debt has grown yes, but the total debt burden (public and private) is way, way below the US, and even further below that of Japan for instance.

We'll see, I guess, but my bet is that we won't see that severe crash in China that Pete believes is forthcoming in the next 20 months.

Sooner or later Pete will be "proven right" though. Because sooner or later we see financial crisis and recessions in any economy, as it eventually will be China's turn. It's the timing that's of most importance and that has proved itself to be extremely difficult to make forecasts on.

If Pete's so convinced he could find a way to short China, but I doubt he's willing to put his pension funds on such a gamble.

Marcus يقول...

As for where the safe harbor is, you simply need to stick to US dollars in a traditional bank account. It's not completely safe - nothing is - but I'd say it's the safest way to store your assets on the planet at this point. Especially for you who is an american and can have costs, income and savings in US dollars alone.

That said, I believe that while bank account savings is the safest bet you do pay a price, an opportunity cost if you will, by not being in the stock market, in the long run.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Looking for infiltrators who may cause violence in the
      region, perhaps?
"

Just enforcing their new border.  I told ya our right-wingers and neo-cons were highly impressed.  A military response where none was called for, and troops on the border to boot.  (Rudi Guilliani made the mistake of being awed by Putin's performance too close to an open mic; got caught praising Putin's display of leadership onto a hot microphone.)
There are indeed some right-winger extremists, neo-nazi types, in among the reform movement, and the Egyptian ‘Arab Spring’ did get hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, let's remember; so that's always a concern.  But, this is Europe--there's a sprinkling of neo-nazis damn near everywhere, and I don't think they're much stronger in the Ukraine than in other Western European nations.  I don't think they're ever gonna rival the Muslim Brotherhood's performance.  It's pretty much another bogus claim by Putin; like calling those Russian Spetsnaz troopers ‘local self-defense militia

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Marcus,

I just had a chance to read the article Pete linked to. I know these things can be difficult to predict. But according to that piece there have already been bankruptcies and the Chinese authorities have allowed the first corporate bond default. Once the ball starts rolling it can be hard to stop, especially if the public's perception, in this case the Chinese public, is that the economy is tanking.

I know our stock market has bounced back fairly well. But it too may be at a peak.

I think I agree with you about sticking with US bank accounts right now. Both Russia and China have reminded me that there are still threats that make staying safely at home a good idea. I'll take my chances here.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

(Rudi Guilliani made the mistake of being awed by Putin's performance too close to an open mic; got caught praising Putin's display of leadership onto a hot microphone.)

lol! I think, like those who believed that Saddam was a great leader, Rudi Guilliani is under the mistaken impression that Putin needs to be a leader to do what he did. It seems Russia has not strayed too far from the days of the czars. It has just shown that it is not to be trusted.

But, this is Europe--there's a sprinkling of neo-nazis damn near everywhere, and I don't think they're much stronger in the Ukraine than in other Western European nations.

But then other Western European nations are not being nibbled at by Russia. While Putin may have deliberately overstated their threat to the Crimean region under the Ukraine he may have underestimated their threat to him. It would depend on how nationalistic they are, how much they identify with Ukraine and if they are prone to violence.

Lynnette]: Looking for infiltrators who may cause violence in the region, perhaps?

[Lee]: Just enforcing their new border.

A twofer.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "…I think…Rudi Guilliani is under the mistaken impression
      that Putin
needs to be a leader to do what he did."

Perhaps.  (I wonder if you're familiar with the following line of articles?  If I'm belaboring stuff you already know, then my apologies.  But, if any of this is news, you might be interesting coming up to speed.

      Putin's ‘Brezhneve Moment’
      Putin jumps the shark

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Now the problem with checkpoints is that there will always be someone who makes you look bad...er...I'm talking about the soldier, not the journalist.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Thanks, Lee. I've printed out the articles and will read them when I get the chance. I've been kind of busy lately.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Lee,

I had seen the NY Times piece already, but not the one comparing Putin to Brezhnev. When I was thinking about the possible quagmire Putin stepped into I thought about the comparison to Afghanistan but chose Chechnya instead because Afghanistan did not have the historical connections to Russia like Chechnya, the Crimea or Ukraine do. There seem to be different internal dynamics at play here.

There is a possibility that Russia may find itself under similar financial stress as during the Afghanistan period though. A large portion of their income seems to come from their energy resources. If that takes a hit due to another world economic set back (China?), this move into Ukraine will be costly. Also, they are tied to Europe more so now than in the '70's. Europe falling back into recession won't bode well for Russia either. Afghanistan was the start of the end for the Soviet Union.

I am starting to think that the article that speculates that this wasn't a well thought out action on Putin's part is right. The world economy is too connected. I think he forgot that, and apparently there was no one left in his circle who had the guts to remind him...

(Why to I get the feeling Zeyad is annoyed with our conversational tack? :) Seriously, if he wants to discuss Iraq more, he will have to join the conversation.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Why to I get the feeling Zeyad is annoyed with our
      conversational tack?
"

You're empathetic perhaps?

I guess this one's my fault; I put up the link to The Onion, and we were sorta off to the races from there.

Marcus يقول...

Lynnette: "Why to I get the feeling Zeyad is annoyed with our conversational tack?"

You get that feeling? I don't really feel that myself. We've had many debates that veered way away from Iraq on this blog and Zeyad has never mentioned any dissaproval of that that I'm aware of. I thinks he updates when he's got something to say and has the time for it, and joins in the comments when he has an opinion, but is otherwise quite OK with the rest of us yapping about just about anything.

Marcus يقول...

And if you mean, Lynnette, that we ddidn't debate the topic of the blog post enough before we ran off in another direction i think there's a reason for that too.

Your reaction was "blech". We agreed this sort of fundie lunacy is just as bad no matter if it comes from the shia or the sunni side. Lee mentioned that the law has not passed so we can still hope it won't. There's not so much more to be said really.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "There's not so much more to be said really."

I can think of a lot more to say, but not a lot of it any too flattering to our Arab friends (Sunni and Shia alike for the benefit of the Anonymous commentor who thought his sect was getting picked on.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
And, for Lynnette,

David Ignatius is, in my opinion, one of our better pundits on foreign policy matters.  He generally works for the Washington Post these days, but this one looks like it may be a piece of freelance work.  Maybe this is just a reprint from the Post, but I don't see any notes to that effect.
(I don't quite get his reasoning for the proposition that the Russian adventure in Crimea could encourage uprisings in Chechnya and elsewhere, but I generally go with the rest of it.)

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "I can think of a lot more to say"

Yeah, me too, but the point I was trying to make is that we all know what that would be and we would all basically agree. I think none of us felt there was any need for a continued discussion on the matter.

If we'd had some of the previous commenters online I'm sure we would have gotten into whether the US was sponsoring this developen. But there are none left to make that claim, so we few who still linger around just went on ahead debating other stuff.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "If we'd had some of the previous commenters online I'm
      sure we would have gotten into whether the US was
      sponsoring this
[development].  But…"

I'd forgotten that perennial line.  Perhaps that's what happened to Bruno.  He was no longer credibly able to argue that the U.S. was sponsoring the chaos as a gambit aimed at lengthening the U.S. military stay in Iraq, and without that persistent line to push, he just lost interest.

As for me, I hesitated to criticize the Arabs too overtly and specifically because I remember how much it used to irritate me when they blamed everything on the American invasion, totally ignoring their own, Iraqi contributions to the developing chaos.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "David Ignatius is, in my opinion, one of our better pundits on foreign policy matters."

That was an interesting piece. But what I think is lacking, not so much because he claims otherwise but because he doesn't mention it at all, is that Putin is probably prepared to take the international beating in reputation and in the economic sphere that will result from keeping Crimea.

I believe he'd much prefer to see the Crimea as an autonomous region under russian influence rather than annexing it into Russia. That's basically the facts on the ground today and I think he'll try to de-escalate, minimise the obvious russian interference and hope that those facts on the ground will remain solid, meanwhile keep a plan in reserve if it seems to the facts on the ground seem to change.

Lee: "I don't quite get his reasoning for the proposition that the Russian adventure in Crimea could encourage uprisings in Chechnya and elsewhere, but I generally go with the rest of it."

I don't either. Chechnya is performing well these days as far as the Kremlin is concerned. The insurgents there are limited to small bands of jihadists in the mountains and the governance is firmly in control of the Kadyrov klan who plays along with Moscow as long as they get to rule their little turf.

What do you make of this column by a 24 year CIA veteran?

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/10/the-flaw-in-cornering-russia/

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Interesting comments and no time to participate. *sigh* Later...but

...Putin is probably prepared to take the international beating in reputation and in the economic sphere that will result from keeping Crimea.

My guess, so was Brezhnev.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "…he doesn't mention it at all, is that Putin is probably
      prepared to take the international beating…
"

I think that falls into the belaboring the obvious category with him.

      "I believe he'd much prefer to see the Crimea as an
      autonomous region under russian influence rather than
      annexing it into Russia.
"

And I believe Putin is looking forward to and will go through with the annexation.  That'll put a stop to any thoughts of getting them off of the Crimean peninsula and out of their warm-water port and base.

      "I don't either. Chechnya is performing well these days…"

He just didn't fill that thought out at all.  One could speculate at where his mind was going, but it'd have to be pure speculation on what he was thinking there; he just didn't connect that one up at all.

      "What do you make of this column…"

Reads like some others I've read.  I'd say that guy is unduly partisan, but not over the top with it.  The American explanation for the supposed ‘betrayal’ is that it was given to Gorbechov and to the Soviet Union.  There is no Soviet Union anymore, and therefore we're not bound by that promise to a dead empire.  Putin, obviously, does not agree and insists we betrayed Russia.  I think at base this difference of opinion is rooted in Putin's drive to reconstitute the old empire under Russian rule now.  He considers it a Russian ‘right’; we do not.

You might be interested in this article, which touches on some of the same topics and issues.
 
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(And it's my speculation that David Ignatius thinks that the Russians will be ‘distracted’ by the Ukraine and forget to watch over their other hot spots, or, at least, that the locals will so hope, and will start up their insurgencies again in pursuit of that hope.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Post Script:

By ‘unduly partisan’, I meant more specifically that the fella appears to have some unreconstructed ‘neo-con’ leanings which he's still willing to indulge.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "And I believe Putin is looking forward to and will go through with the annexation."

I believe otherwise. Obviously Putin well knows that such an annexation would produce serious condemnation in the west, with more sanctions that he'd rather avoid following. Maybe even "allies" such as China in particular who are really adamant on keeping their borders no matter what local groups may think would be hesitant to back such a move.

What would be the benefit for Putin to go down that road? He's way better off just seeing to it that Crimea remains autonomous and russia-friendly and leave it at that. That way he can wash his hands and just say: "it's up to the Crimeans, we just safeguard their independent region from outside meddlers, we do not wish to rule there."

The article you mentioned was a really good, wery thoughtworthy. One thing I take issues with:

"Of course, the United States has the military capacity to contest Russia’s move into Crimea, but Washington was never going to retaliate on such a level — the only response that could realistically stop Russian incursion."

No, not really. Not in the real world where military planners weigh consequences of actions taken. Even with his caveat I believe that statement to be misleading.

Of course the US has a vastly more superior military force than does Russia, but Russia is still the #2 on this earth and it's nuked up. And in the case of the Crimea it has a serious homefield advantage. For the US to move militarily into the Crimea it would have to go all in, and we'd have a nuclear WW3.

It's not at all possible to put two or three aircraft carrier groups in the Black Sea and go ahead and "shock and awe" Crimea and then simply take it down like Iraq or Libya. Not against a prepared russian military with land routes to the conflict zone, submarines and a capable airforce of their own. Many of those ships would be sunk and there would be no beach-head for the marines to simply walk onto. And if they ever got there, or even if they passed along the long land route through the Ukraine, they'd face a prepared new version of the red army.

You don't do land wars against Russia. We Swedes learned that, Napoleon learned it, Hitler learned it (to his well deserved demise), and I'd dare say any follower would learn the same thing, especially since they've got those nukes now.

No, the US doesn't have the "the military capacity to contest Russia’s move into Crimea", not by a long shot. Not unless it'd be prepared to burn the earth in total by going nuclear first.

There is zero the US can do militarily, and that's a good thing.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "And it's my speculation that David Ignatius thinks that the Russians will be ‘distracted’ by the Ukraine and forget to watch over their other hot spots, or, at least, that the locals will so hope, and will start up their insurgencies again in pursuit of that hope"

Might be. Might also be that outside powers sense an opportunity while russia is preooccupied and tries to inflame locals inside russia. Thinking mostly about our erstwhile Jihadi sponsors in the KSA.

(I long for the day the US finally decides that backing those inhuman, backwards, terrorist-sponsoring, cousin fucking, retarded, superstitious, manevelous, women-hating, self aggrandizing motherfuckers at the helm of the KSA are no longer needed national US assest. Maybe I'll live to see an "arab spring" in Riyad. I'd love that!)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "I believe otherwise."

We shall soon see.  Unlike many of our disagreements, we're gonna have a definitive answer to this one in the foreseeable future.

      "Not in the real world where military planners weigh
      consequences of actions taken.
"

Assuming nobody goes to throwin’ nukes, and we could be sure that would hold; we could take and hold the Crimea.  Folks have taken it away from them before.  That's not the same as tryin’ to march to Moscow.  There is, however, no good reason for us to expend what would be an heroic effort on that piece of land.
 
             ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
      "I long for the day the US finally decides that…those…
      motherfuckers at the helm of the KSA are no longer [a] needed
      national US assest.
"

I've been willing to cut ‘em loose for some time now.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "We shall soon see. Unlike many of our disagreements, we're gonna have a definitive answer to this one in the foreseeable future."

Yep, it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. I give it 70/30 in my favour.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
I'm guessing that your bravado odds-making there came before you discovered that the Russians have already moved to seize assets in the eastern Ukraine beyond the bounds of Crimea.

Marcus يقول...

It did, but that doesn't change my guess that Putin will not formally annex Crimea at this point in time.

The russian move in Ukraine but outside Crimea seems to have been quite limited. I heard 80 special forces troops took control over a gas facility close to the crimean border. Could well be that the russians, who of course have first hand intel from the ukrainian military and security services, got wind of a planned attack/action and acted to prevent that. It doesn't appear to be much of a land grab. And the initial hysteria over it died away pretty quickly.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "…that doesn't change my guess…"

Stubborn.

I read that Putin has had the good sense to withhold release of the vote tally at least until they'd actually voted.
With supposedly 50% of the vote counted it's reported to be running in excess of 95% voting to join Russia.  (Ethnic Russians account for only about 60% of the Crimean population.)

      "Could well be that the russians…got wind of a planned
      attack/action and acted to prevent that.
"

You seem to be going out of your way to dream up possible justifications for the Russians' actions here.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "You seem to be going out of your way to dream up possible justifications for the Russians' actions here."

I was just asking myself what they were doing. They must have been doing something, right? I came to think that possibly they were protecting some sort of installation (a gas facility was mentioned) that either faced some threat or could have an impact on Crimea. Maybe they sought to secure power supply lines for the election day, from that gas facility into Crimea? I don't know, but it does not look like a land grab. It looks like a limited military operation with some purpose. I was just speculating as to what that purpose might have been.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "…a gas facility was mentioned…"

A distribution center, a place where one can turn the gas off, selectively if one so chooses, without blowing anything up.

Marcus يقول...

I haven't read that many details about it. It came online in some media as more or less a Russian invasion of Ukraine proper then faded away fairly quickly. That, and some details such as the gas facility mentioned and the proximity to Crimea, led me to believe it was a limited operation serving a specific purpose.

Marcus يقول...

"without blowing anything up"

I am aware of that, which is why I said "attack/action". Turning off a gas flow, or a powerline with electricity generated by a gas plant, but not blowing anything up, would fall under the cathegory "action". Blowing it up would be an "attack" on the place.

غير معرف يقول...

 
Do you happen to know which way the gas flows through there?  Or are you just making an assumption in support of the theory you would like to advance?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Do you happen to know which direction the gas flows through there; who would be cutting off the gas to whom?  Or are you just making an assumption in support of the theory you would most like to advance?

Marcus يقول...

I have no idea. Like I said I was merely speculating. I don't think that Russia would send in troops just fr the hell of it and I think it was far too small a manouvre to be a warning of invasion.

On that bet of ours, check this interesting piece out:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/ukraine-should-let-crimea-go-but-putin-shouldnt-take-it/article17391986/

He seems to agree with my thinking that Putin would be better served by not formally annexing Crimea at this stage, but he also seems to have doubts whether Putin sees things the same way.

Marcus يقول...

And on the Sakers last blog post the question is asked to him, Pepe Escobar and some other guy. Their respective answers:

#1: "Putin's view is likely to revolve around what will most help his popularity with the Russians, and I would guess that absorbing Crimea will help it the most."


#2 (saker) "Bottom line: if the Crimeans want to join Russia Putin has no option but to agree to this."


#3: "Crimea is much more useful (and cheaper) to Putin inside Ukraine - with a huge degree of autonomy - than re-attached to the Russian Federation. It remains to be seen how the result of the referendum can be used/steered by the Kremlin to get "concessions" from Kiev, assuming Kiev and Moscow start talking (they will have to). What matters most to Russia is the sanctity of Sevastopol and the certainty there will be no NATO bases. I doubt Kiev can assure them in both cases."

Hmmm... according to those sources I guess my odds of winning our little bet here are not that great.

I might have to alter my prognosis to 60/40, still in my favour. :)

Marcus يقول...

Check this out too:

http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/03/the-germans-refuse-to-play-ball/

I see the same sentiments in many swedish comment sections btw, despite our national inherent russiophobia.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.      يقول...

 
      "I have no idea."

The sources I read were a little vague on that, but it read like the gas was coming in to that node from the southeast, under the Black Sea, and from there on to the mainland and to the west.  I'll stand by my position; Russia annexes in short order; vote in the Russian Duma within three months.  (that 96.8% ‘in favor’ vote reported out of the Crimea is most suspicious; although Putin did have the good sense to not announce the results before the voting as sometimes happens in these cases).

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
I think our German friends are finding Russia's interests ‘legitimate’ mostly because opposing Russia on this will involve costs to the Germans.  So long as this remains true in Germany (and Sweden) and across most of Europe, the prospect of any sanctions real enough to deter Putin are minimal.  Putin knows that as well as we do, or better.
If he did not intend to annex Crimea then he'd not have held that fraud of a ‘vote’ in the Crimea.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "I think our German friends are finding Russia's interests ‘legitimate’ mostly because opposing Russia on this will involve costs to the Germans. So long as this remains true in Germany (and Sweden)"

I'd say you can't put that one on Sweden. We have some exports to Russia but it's far down the list of our more important export partners. We have virtually zero imports from there, due to the fact that we never really invested heavily in a natural gas energy structure. We have our plentiful hydropower and complement that with nuclear and have recently gone more and more bio. The small amounts of gas we need are not that important, and we can get that from Norway anyway. As for oil we need it like any other nation but that energy source is much easier to switch from one source to another, because it comes in tanker ships.

Nope, we are probably one of the nations in Europe least affected by what goes on in Russia as long as outright war is not a factor. Scandinavia is not connected to their energy grid. In fact part of their Nord Stream pipelines runs in our territory and while I can't really say that's a source of power for us the russians needed our allowance to get it built, and theoretically we could choke it off, not that we ever will.

Lee: "that 96.8% ‘in favor’ vote reported out of the Crimea is most suspicious; although Putin did have the good sense to not announce the results before the voting as sometimes happens in these cases"

Not so much really. About 60% of the population there are ethnic Russians. The ethnic Ukranians living there have their lives and incomes dependant on their russian neighbors and largely russian tourism. The Tartars, who might have opposed integrating into Russia, apparently boycotted the referendum. So with a large actual majority plus some cheating 97% isn't that big a surprise. Even without any form of cheating they'd have won for sure.

Marcus يقول...

BTW did you notice the completely toothless "sanctions package" brought on by Obama and the EU today? Fact is, there's nothing to do and those sanctions are about saving face.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Not so much really."

I'm nothing short of amazed at the bullshit you're willing to swallow, apparently quite cheerfully.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "Nope, we are probably one of the nations in Europe
      least affected by what goes on in Russia…
"

It is nevertheless true that Sweden has long been one of the nations in Europe least willing to be pissin’ off Ivan for any reason.  Hewing to the Kremlin line, keepin’ Ivan happy, seems bred in the bones there

Marcus يقول...

Where the fuck did you get that idea? You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. " Hewing to the Kremlin line"? Sweden? For fucks sake, we've been of more use to ya'll than basically any Nato country. You have NO IDEA of realpolitics in Europe Lee. Non whatsoever.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "For fucks sake, we've been of more use to ya'll than
      basically any Nato country.
"

A low bar ya set for yourselves there.  But, takin’ in a flood of Middle Easterners don't count as bein’ ‘of use’ to us.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "I'll stand by my position; Russia annexes in short order; vote in the Russian Duma within three months."

You were right about that. Appears I lost the bet. I really didn't think Putin would take that step, and I RREALLY didn't think he'd take it so fast.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "I really didn't think Putin would take that step…"

There was no other reasonable purpose to holding that referendum.  Foregone conclusion after that got scheduled. 

      "…and I RREALLY didn't think he'd take it so fast."

The speed of it kinda surprises me.  But then, I'd been reckoning the odds of Russia taking eastern Ukraine for themselves at just under 50%.  Those odds just went way up.  Odds on bet he starts moving on the eastern Ukraine now, preparing to annex as much of that as he can get.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
The Crimean referendum kinda reminds me of the last Afghan presidential election.  Hamid Karzi lost a lot of support over here for rigging that election.  Not only was it blatant, but it was unnecessary; he was gonna win anyway.  He didn't need to rig the election.  So, our ‘ally’, the guy we'd been supporting, publicly exposed himself as both crooked and politically inept.  Crooked and stupid.  Very bad combination of traits to put on public display.  His image lost a lot of luster over that.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Weeellll it has pretty much gone as I expected (sorry Marcus). Putin has done his snatch and grab thingy. It only remains to be seen how grabby he is going to turn out to be. He knows the West(the United States) won't go to war over Crimea. He was pretty safe that way.

BTW did you notice the completely toothless "sanctions package" brought on by Obama and the EU today? Fact is, there's nothing to do and those sanctions are about saving face.

I've never thought much of sanctions per se. But what I do think should be done is a recalculation of business dealings with Russia across the board. It would be a good idea, I'm thinking, for any country close to Russia to diversify a little more. Also, those missile defense thingies we were talking about awhile back, but dropped, may be worth another look.

So, anybody been following the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia flight 370? Most likely scenario is that it crashed somewhere. But, you know, there is always a but to these things. Especially after hearing about the deliberate shutting off of communications.

Now, I see that PeteS has left a comment about China in Zeyad's new post, so I will have to pop up and read that.

Marcus يقول...

Lee: "But then, I'd been reckoning the odds of Russia taking eastern Ukraine for themselves at just under 50%. Those odds just went way up. Odds on bet he starts moving on the eastern Ukraine now, preparing to annex as much of that as he can get."

I'd oppose you on that bet. But because of my recent loss in the bet over Crimea I won't come out too strong on it. I'd rather ask you: why do you believe Putin would make such a gamble

Lynnette: "anybody been following the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia flight 370? Most likely scenario is that it crashed somewhere"

That's a huge mystery still. But I don't see the "crash scenario" as any more likely than it landing soewhere scenario. Not at this stage. My reasoning: if we allow for the now known storyline that someone actiively took control of the plane then why would they go through all the disguising problems if they mererly intended to crash it?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Most folks know that term by the original version -- ‘smash and grab’.

      "So, anybody been following the mysterious disappearance of
      Malaysia flight 370?
"

I'm leanin’ towards the theory that it was shot down by Emilia Erhart.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "I'd rather ask you: why do you believe Putin would make
      such a gamble
"

He doesn't see it as much of a gamble.  The United State is not going to war with Russia over the Ukraine.  If we were going to war with Russia it'd have to about something that actually affects us.  They got nukes, the Russians do, and they got delivery systems. 

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

   
Finally, I come upon a theory for flight 370 that doesn't have serious holes in it.  Check this out.

Marcus يقول...

An interesting theory. But there may be a hole in that one as well. It's reported that the plane made the U-turn 12 minutes before the co-pilot signed off on the radio for the last time. If the U-turn was made because there was a fire on board and the pilot was looking for a nearby airstrip to make an emergency landing you'd think he might have mentioned that and not just said "All right, good night".

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/missing-jets-u-turn-programmed-signoff-sources-say-n56151

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
I'm afraid you have your facts wrong.  (The Malay government has sometimes been not accurate, to be charitable, with what they told the press at one time or another.)  The radio auto-send that was supposedly ‘turned off’ sent every thirty minutes.  The last send was about 12 minutes before the co-pilot's vocal was heard; the next ping due was 18 minutes after.  That's when they got the indication of the new heading.  All they know, for certain, is that the heading changed sometime during that thirty minute block of time.  Could well have been after the co-pilot's voice was heard.
The theory may well have a hold in it somewhere, but, so far, Occam's Razor rules with me. 

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Correction:  I got that wrong (need more coffee).  It may not have been ‘turned off’ when the co-pilot spoke.  Could well have gone off-line afterwards, during the second 18 minutes. They know the heading changed during that thirty-minute block, but that's as accurate as they know.

Marcus يقول...

OK, well I guess an electrical fire the most likely explanation I've heard also.

To hijack the plane and land it in some obscure location, for whatever reason, and getting away with it... I don't know, it sounds a little too James Bond-ish to be honest. Not that it couldn't be done in theory, it appears it could since there's so much speculation about it. But an accident just seems more likely.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
Or maybe a tire fire.  They pull the busses, just in case, or the fire takes out the electrical system.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

But an accident just seems more likely.

It is certainly the more comforting scenario for some. But they are wisely trying to eliminate other theories as well. It is perhaps unfortunate that the Malaysian government did not allow assistance in their investigation from the beginning.

I see they are reporting that information was deleted from the flight simulator found at the Captain's home. I also note that the US seems to be focusing their search on the southern leg of the arc of the jet's possible path.

Marcus يقول...

Lynnette: "I see they are reporting that information was deleted from the flight simulator found at the Captain's home"

I read a commenter claiming to be a pilot who said that was normal since the logs uses up a lot off memory-space. He claimed that you regurarly delete old data or the system will get slow. Having played computer games before computers got insanely huge memories I can see how that could be the case. You had to uninstall stuff you no longer used or your PC would get slower and slower. But whether the same applies to flight simulators I have no idea, I just mention it because erased logs must not necessarily mean foul play.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

I'd rather ask you: why do you believe Putin would make such a gamble.

Judging by his behavior in Georgia and now Crimea he seems to be intent on reliving the "glory" days of the Soviet Union. And apparently he thinks that increasing territory will bring that back. Takes a lot of money to do, though. And a lot of passivity on the part of many people.

I seriously have to wonder if Putin isn't going through some sort of mid-life crisis.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

I read a commenter claiming to be a pilot who said that was normal since the logs uses up a lot off memory-space.

I don't know. I just read it here. I suppose it can be either a red-herring or a genuine lead. It would depend on what they can recover.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
We have a dissenting opinion concerning the fire theory for Malaysian Flight 370.

Marcus يقول...

I just don't know what to make of it all. There are a number of facts/factoids out there that can support or lay waste to any given theory.

I read the aussies have found objects on satellite images that could be parts of the plane, in the waters way off their coast. We should get more info on that dduring the day.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Nothing on the floating debris. But then it's a big search area. The fire theory doesn't seem to pan out. At least not according to some who have studied airplane fires. And it does seem to me that the timing of when things started to go silent might be critical.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Back to Crimea for a moment:

Do you happen to know which direction the gas flows through there; who would be cutting off the gas to whom?

I don't know about this particular facility, but it appears that Crimea gets all of that from Ukraine. So it is very possible Russia went in to this facility to prevent any shutdown of supplies for now. I hear the Russians are talking about building some kind of bridge between Russia and Crimea to run supplies that way. And so it starts. That's probably just the tip of the expensive iceberg Putin has landed on. lol! Kaching!

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "So it is very possible Russia went in to this facility to
      prevent any shutdown of supplies for now.
"

I believe that station is where the main line branches to Crimea on the one hand and to the Ukraine mainland on the other.  It conveniently for the Russians controls the flow to both.  It was inconveniently not located in Crimea.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...
أزال المؤلف هذا التعليق.
   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
      "‘The Russian forces are reinforcing and bulking up along the
      eastern Ukrainian border,’ a Pentagon official said. ‘Our view
      is they’re preserving all their options, including going in…
"
      NYT

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     يقول...

 
The search for Flight 370 seems to be zeroing in on the southern Indian Ocean, along the route that our Canadian ‘tire fire’ theorist said was the place to look.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

It seems the Malaysian authorities have called it down on the southern route.

There had to have been something that incapacitated everyone on board then. That was a long time to remain flying. Fire causing rapid depressurization before they could reach a lower oxygen rich altitude?

For proper closure they really need to find something.

غير معرف يقول...

Hopefully the moderate moves of Iraqis will counter this nutjob legislation. Been gone a long time...but FloggingButterflys has returned...whatever. Still, I hope this vote is turned down.

غير معرف يقول...

I support this law. Opposition for this bill is likely a feminist propaganda. All over the world , age of first sex is dropping rapidly . So instead of straying for sex outside , its more wise to keep valid age of marriage at 9. It will encourage healthy matrimony.

Zeyad يقول...

Anonymous, feminist propaganda? Would you allow a grown man to marry your 9-year-old daughter or sister?

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