Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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Weekend Reading: Israel’s Left Wing, Islamist Rivalries, and Instability in Libya

by Steven A. Cook
August 1, 2014

Fighters from the Benghazi Shura Council, which includes former rebels and militants from al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, gesture on top of a tank next to the camp of the special forces in Benghazi July 30, 2014 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Fighters from the Benghazi Shura Council, which includes former rebels and militants from al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, gesture on top of a tank next to the camp of the special forces in Benghazi July 30, 2014 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Orit Bashkin examines the role of the radical Israeli left.

Ali Mamouri, writing for Al-Monitorexplores why the Islamic State and other fundamentalist Salafi groups refuse to support Hamas.

Filmmaker Rachel Beth Anderson reports on the growing instability in Libya.

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  • Posted by Writt Woodson

    Subscribed below the title to this post is this sentence, “Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their
    resonance in Washington.” This choice of words allows for a detachment from the developments in the Middle East, which is not appropriate. In a world that recognizes responsibility and accountability, there would be the ability to even hint the detachment of “Washington” from its actions.
    Take the “instability in Libya” for instance. With UN approval The United States bombed Gadaffi’s government into the dust in 2011. What was Obama thinking? Did he think he bomb his way toward peace? Does that make common sense? Libya is now a failed state. Are the gangsters producing the carnage in Libya now better than Gadaffi? Is the UN holding itself accountable? Is the US holding itself accountable? There is no decent news coverage of developments in Libya. The only news about foreigners leaving. So what is going on in Libya. How many people are dying? Who is fighting whom? Who is aligned with whom? Why is it that when Muslims die it does not become news or history in the West?
    I am neither Muslim, Christian or Jewish, but I am trying to understand this. But the news and the history is extremely slanted to the point of uselessness..
    Take Hezbollah. I don’t know Hezbollah from a lamp post, but I want to understand this. CFR has an explanation of the
    “Origins of Hezbollah.” Hezbollah started shortly after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. 2,000 Shia people were massacred in three days in Lebanon in 1982. (Who committed the crime is another matter) Wikipedia calls it the Sabra and Shatila massacres. But the CFR explanation does not mention the massacres. If Hezbollah was established to protect the Shia from additional massacre in 1982, then I understand and commend that. Hezbollah may or may not have gone awry since then, but that is another matter. I think was responsibly informed by Wikipedia as to the origins of Hezbollah.
    “bCook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.” Find find that words to be soaked with conceit and dishonesty. Who excused any American from responsibility for the carnage in Iraq? Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney both supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Blood has been spilled nearly every day since then. Bombs from planes , mortar rounds, suicide bombings, machine gun fire and beheadings have killed Iraqis nearly every day for 11 years. The invasion was worthless before Saddam was captured, after he was captured and is worthless in today’s context. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military hardware paid for by the US is now owned by the Islamic State. How smart was that? Al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the US invasion. The US put al Baghdadi in jail, gave him room and board and allowed al Qaeda to introduce to introduce itself to him. How smart was that?
    I don’t expect a good outcome. A democracy depends on an informed public. What passes for news and history in America is propaganda at best.

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