Sunday, August 28, 2016



Thank you, Carlos Latuff.  We can see that the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) is having an effect by the way Israel in now treating its own as even some of them are under, er, "Scrutiny".  It was amusing to see Jill Stein of the Green Party support the movement with Joe Cuomo, CNN moderator and brother of the Governor of New York who is carrying out his own campaign against the movement – albeit with great "encouragement" from Zionist pressure.

            Is it not becoming tiresome to hear the term "Unintended consequences" used when describing to invasion of Libya (pushed by Clinton and idiots in France) and the destruction of Iraq (started by the Bushes), resulting to the presence of ISIS in both countries?  They had to know that this systematic attempt to dismantle Arab Nationalist governments in favor of theocratic one would result in such disaster.  If they did not, they could have read, right here, that very warning and prediction.

Any one with cognitive functioning of a borderline idiot or above with any information on the subject could have seen this coming.  Therefore, there was nothing "unintended" about it.  In fact, the strategy goes as far back as Kissinger who pointed out that we could say the Soviet Union was officially atheist and that we are not would be an incentive to move these countries away from Russian influence.

Still, there is not much point in saying any more on the subject now.  Whoever is elected will only be worse than what we have now.  Below is an interview that first will talk briefly about the candidates and then use the actions of Turkey to provide a summary of what has happened in the Mideast.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do the U.S. elections mean for what's taking place now?
VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, look, I mean, it's—you can see from your news report at the beginning that, in domestic terms, there is a great difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has not only been absorbed by the white nationalists, but he himself appears to be a white nationalist. But seen from the rest of the world, the difference between the two is minimal. You know, here you have Donald Trump, who is, in many ways, erratic. God knows what he'll do once he becomes president. He will lead a party—
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think God knows what he'll do, once he—
VIJAY PRASHAD: Yeah, I think God knows what he'll do. You know, I mean, I think that if the Republican Party was at such a place where Ted Cruz, who said that he would like to bomb Syria, to see the desert essentially be irradiated—if the Republican Party can see somebody like that as normal, as rational, then, you know, God help us if the Republicans are in charge of things.
But let's take the case of Hillary Clinton. You know, here's somebody who actually pushed Obama to go into the Libyan operation. You know, Obama was reticent to enter the operation in Libya. The French were very eager. And Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, you know, damn the consequences. And I think, therefore, if you're looking at this from outside the United States, there's a real reason to be terrified that whoever becomes president—as Medea Benjamin put it to me in an interview, whoever wins the president, there will be a hawk in the White House.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: An explosion at a police station in Turkey near the border with Syria has reportedly killed at least 11 people and wounded 70. State-run media is reporting that Kurdish militants were responsible for the attack, but there's been no claim of responsibility. This comes as the Turkish military has sent additional tanks into northern Syria, intensifying its ground offensive in the ongoing conflict.
The U.S. military is backing Turkey's incursion, which began earlier this week with an aerial bombing campaign. Turkey says the offensive is against ISIS-held areas along the border. But Turkey says it's also concerned about Syrian Kurdish militias at the border. Those militias are backed by the United States. On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkish-backed Syrian rebels claimed—reclaimed the Syrian town of Jarabulus from the Islamic State.
PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: [translated] As of this moment, Free Syrian Army and residents of Jarabulus have taken back Jarabulus. They have seized the state buildings and official institution buildings in the town. According to the information we have received, Daesh had to leave Jarabulus.
AMY GOODMAN: Turkey's offensive is dubbed "Euphrates Shield," and it's the country's first major military operation since a failed coup shook Turkey in July. On Wednesday, the Turkish president, Erdogan, met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who said the United States supports Turkey's efforts to control its borders.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We believe very strongly that the Turkish border must be controlled by Turkey, that there should be no occupation of that border by any group whatsoever, other than a Syria that must be whole and united, but not carved in little pieces.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says videos posted to a social media website Thursday depict carnage in the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, where two barrel bombs were reportedly dropped, killing at least five people. The group also reported additional strikes across Aleppo and its suburbs, saying the dead were mostly women and children.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The strikes came as the United Nations announced Russia has agreed to a 48-hour humanitarian truce in Aleppo to permit aid deliveries, pending security guarantees are met by parties on the ground. The United Nations has been pushing for a weekly 48-hour hiatus in fighting in Aleppo to assist the city's approximately 2 million people who have been suffering as Syria's five-year-old conflict continues to take a massive humanitarian toll.
A separate United Nations team has concluded the Assad government and ISISmilitants carried out repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2014 and 2015. The report accuses Assad of twice using chlorine gas. It also accuses ISIS of using mustard gas.
AMY GOODMAN: All of this comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, are meeting today in Geneva to discuss details of a cooperation agreement on fighting Islamic State in Syria.
For more, we're joined by the acclaimed scholar who has followed the region closely for years, Vijay Prashad. He is a professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Professor Prashad's previous books include Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.
Vijay Prashad, welcome back to Democracy Now! It's great to have you in studio.
VIJAY PRASHAD: Thanks a lot. Great to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: So, let's start with what's happening right now in Turkey, where Vice President Joe Biden just was.
VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, the situation in Turkey is very dire. As you know, on July 15, there was the failed coup. But the matters in Turkey have unraveled long before this failed coup. You know, the crackdown on reporters has been going on for at least a year and a half, if not longer. The internal politics of Turkey has been in disarray.
One of the interesting things about the government of Mr. Erdogan is that, previously, he had started a peace process with the Kurdish Workers' Party, the PKK, which the United States and Turkey sees as a terrorist outfit. They had started a protracted peace process called the Imrali process. But this war in Syria has essentially unraveled that peace process, and the Turkish military has gone back on the full offensive against the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, and, as well, as you saw this week, the Turkish army has crossed the border into Syria to stop the advance of Syrian Kurds from creating what the Syrian Kurds call Rojava, which would be a statelet of Syrian Kurds which is right on the Turkish border.
You know, the reason that operation is called Euphrates Shield is that the Euphrates runs in that region from north to south. And what the Turkish government would like to see is for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which has a large Kurdish component, to move back east of the Euphrates—in other words, withdraw from Jarabulus, withdraw from Manbij, which they had taken quite—in a celebrated victory, and therefore prevent the creation of this Kurdish statelet called Rojava. On the surface, they say it's about ISIS, but really this is about the protracted war that the Turkish government has begun again against the Kurds.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But interestingly, you mentioned the failed coup. The New York Times, for instance, is reporting today that Erdogan wanted to go into Syria earlier, but the military was resisting, and it was only as a result of his being able to purge and remove so many top military officers that now he's been able to do—to effect this incursion.
VIJAY PRASHAD: This is likely the case, you know, but it's also been the situation that this is not the first Turkish entry into Syria. The Turks had entered previously; the Turkish military had. You know, there's a celebrated shrine, a memorial to one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire, and the Turkish military had entered to secure that monument earlier. Turks had also, of course, kept their border open and had allowed supplies and people to cross the border into various proxy groups, whether it's Turkish-backed proxy groups, Saudi groups, Qatari groups—and, in fact, the Islamic State. You know, they have used for years the Turkish border. And I think that the sheer instability of the war in Syria has returned, you know, the conflict into Turkey—what the CIA, after the successful coup in Iran in 1953, called blowback. You know, this is, in a sense, blowback against Turkey. So, they have previously entered Syria with the military. They have, of course, supported their proxies. But now, I think, with the gains made by the Kurds, this is as much a political entry as anything. You know, the principal reason, I would argue, that they've entered Jarabulus is to stop the creation of Rojava.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Vijay Prashad, and we're going to continue this conversation after break. Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is calledThe Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. We'll talk about, well, Turkey, Syria, Libya, and also the U.S. elections, before we speak with Emma Thompson. The famed actress is now back in Canada after going to the Arctic. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: "Denizlerin Dalgasiyim," "I am the Waves of the Sea," by Selda Bagcan. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We're speaking with Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of a new book. It's called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution.
I want to turn to a novelist who was just arrested. I want to talk about press freedom in Turkey. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Turkish author and columnist Asli Erdogan—no relation to the president—has written about her treatment in prison since her arrest earlier this month, after the government closed down the newspaper where she worked. She now faces a pending trial on terrorism charges and says she's been denied medication or sufficient water for five days and is diabetic. She's one of many journalists and writers who have been arrested on charges of terrorism in Turkey. About 10,000 people have been arrested since the coup, at least that we know, or the attempted coup, though Erdogan, of course, wrested power back. Professor Vijay Prashad, what about Asli?
VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, look, you know, she is one of the tens of thousands of people who have been arrested under so-called suspicion that she was doing propaganda for the Kurdish Workers' Party, the PKK. You know, here's a celebrated novelist, a journalist for a newspaper whose entire staff pretty much, the editorial staff, has been arrested. Newspapers have been facing a great challenge inside Turkey, and broadcasters. If anybody has questioned the fact that the Turkish government, you know, has been allowing fighters to cross the border, they have been arrested. And this has been happening for the last several years. You know, that's why I say the failed coup of July 15th has just provided the government with the opportunity to go very deep into its list of those whom it sees as dissenters, and pick them up.
But they've been going after reporters for years now. Anybody who challenges their narrative of the war in Syria, they consider a threat, and they accuse them of being linked to the PKK. You know, this is one of the simplest ways of delegitimizing somebody, is to say that they are a propagandist for the PKK. And that's precisely what they've said to her. They've also held her in solitary confinement. And she has asked to go back into the general population. You know, that's a—it's a humanitarian thing, on the surface of it. And also, you know, this is somebody with medical problems, and they've denied use of medication and a proper diet. But she's only one. You know, as you noted, there are thousands of journalists who have been picked up. And sadly, a number of them are Kurdish journalists, independent journalists from the southwestern region of Turkey, who have been picked up.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you mention the Kurdish Workers' Party. Clearly, Turkey is a far more developed country than most of the other Middle East countries and, along with Egypt, probably has the largest working class, per se. Has there been any ties between the Kurdish Workers' Party and ongoing workers' movements in Turkey among the rest of the population?
VIJAY PRASHAD: So, the Kurdish Workers' Party starts, you know, as a principally Kurdish nationalist force, separatist force. But Turkey is an interesting country, because, you know, the largest Kurdish population in a city is not in the southeast, but is in Istanbul. So, you know, about 10 years ago or so, the Kurdish Workers' Party began to move from the position of secessionism to the position of more rights inside Turkey. And there have been a series of attempts to unite with the Turkish left, various small leftist parties, to create an umbrella party that would both fight for rights of all kinds of people—gays and lesbians, women, workers and Kurds—inside Turkey. And the most recent, you know, party of this kind was the HDP, which had in both elections in 2015—there were two parliamentary elections—did enough—you know, did well enough to block Mr. Erdogan's attempt to create a presidential form of government. And in a sense, this domestic pressure from the HDP has also upturned the applecart, as far as Mr. Erdogan's domestic agenda is concerned.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, Joe Biden was just there, the vice president. Turkey, Erdogan has been demanding the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, who is in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Biden wrote a piece in a Turkish paper, and Foreign Policyhas said that Turkey has admitted that they have not given evidence that this man was behind the attempted coup. Explain, overall, the significance, for people who have never heard of him. It's not just about the PKK in Turkey.
VIJAY PRASHAD: No, it's not. The PKK provides, I think, the opportunity for the Turkish government to go after a large number of journalists, because many of these journalists that they've picked up are people of the left. The purges in the military, in the judiciary, in those sectors, they've blamed on people with sympathies to the Gülen movement or been members of the Gülen movement.
Now, when Mr. Erdogan came to power in the early 2000s, one of the great fears of this kind of Islamist movement was that they would suffer a coup by the military, that the military, which was largely republican, would go and overthrow them. So, from the very beginning, the AKP party, the party of Mr. Erdogan, has been very careful not to antagonize the military. And through the early years, Mr. Gülen's movement and Erdogan both collaborated in stuffing their people into the military and into the judiciary. In a sense, this is now a family fight, that the very people that they stuffed into the military and into the judiciary have, of course, now turned on Mr. Erdogan. So he is now purging these people from positions of some authority. So it's not untrue that the Gülenists are inside the military and inside the judiciary, but they were put there essentially to facilitate the Islamization of these institutions.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the Gülen movement, in one of the bizarre examples of what's happening in education in the United States, runs the largest charter school network in the United States. They have charter schools across the country, especially in Texas. Is there any indication—and they're bringing in Turkish educators to come into the United States to work in these schools. Do you have a—have you studied that at all?
VIJAY PRASHAD: No, I haven't looked at that, but I've read about it. And the interesting feature, of course, is that this charter school movement or this push towards having faith-based schools in the United States is so closely linked to the agenda not only in Turkey, but in Pakistan, in various other places. And, you know, you see the downside of this: the promotion of a kind of theocratic mindset, the promotion of, you know, a lack of appreciation of the diversity of populations, of minorities, of science, you know, things like that. So, of course, the United States—I'm glad you raised this, because the United States is not somehow outside this process. You know, the United States is very much in this process, not only by promoting this overseas, but, of course, by promoting it from Texas to New York. It's not only Texas, Juan. We like to think of Texas as a sort of, you know, bastion of the American Taliban, but this American Talibanization has been happening everywhere.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to move from Turkey to Saudi Arabia. While Joe Biden went to Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry went to Saudi Arabia. Talk about Saudi Arabia and what's happening today and the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia.
VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, this is actually, I think, the most important meeting. And it's important that Mr. Kerry went to Saudi Arabia before meeting Lavrov in Geneva. And the reason I say this is that, you know, the Russians, the Iranians and the Americans have now come to the understanding that the process in Syria cannot start with the demand that Mr. Assad has to go. And why I say this is that Turkey has in the last couple of weeks come to the same position. So, the current prime minister of Turkey has quite clearly said that they no longer require Mr. Assad to leave as a precondition for the peace process, but he can stay, as the prime minister said, for a transitional period.
The only power in the region, the so-called subjugating powers of the region, that has not accepted this view is Saudi Arabia, and, to some extent, its Gulf Arab allies. You know, Saudi Arabia is fighting an extraordinarily brutal war in Yemen. It is obstinate in that war. It's made no gains, despite the fact it's been bombing Yemen for over a year. And, of course, the United States government has continued to resupply Saudi Arabia through this period. So, Mr. Kerry's—
AMY GOODMAN: Engaged in the largest weapons sale in U.S. history with Saudi Arabia.
VIJAY PRASHAD: Precisely, the largest weapons sale, which Mr. Obama justified on economic grounds, which I thought was the most vulgar thing. In his statement, he said—or his proxy said, his spokesperson said, that this is the largest weapons sale, which benefits most of the states in the United States, because they will have bits and pieces of manufacturing.
But the point I just want to make is that for Mr. Kerry to be in Saudi Arabia is important because one of the features that they need to be pushing is that Saudi Arabia needs to now adopt the view that there needs to be a long transitional process in Syria. They cannot demand the Assad—Mr. Assad leave as a precondition. Everybody else has accepted this except Saudi Arabia.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016


Illustration: How U.S. citizens, and most commentators, get their news.  It is all corporate based.  In fact, if I wanted to take issue with Nietzsche, I'd say God is not dead – He's just been laid off until capitalism runs its course.

Some time ago, actually recently, one of my friends or correspondences (not sure how to make the reference) said "I'm at a loss to understand why Donald Trump is getting so much criticism for this" (referring to calling Obama the Founder of ISIS.  It is actually quite difficult to explain to someone overseas (as most people oversees either think he actually did or at least found them VERY convenient in an effort to overthrow Assad and also take attention away from Israel and its relentless persecution and exploitation of Palestinians).

How explain that, even if true, that fact can never be widely accepted in the United States?  Even consideration of it as true is virtually impossible.  Perhaps understanding our electoral process would help.

Other countries have multi-party systems and are not afraid to run their elections fairly.  Greece would be a good example where a left-wing party was overwhelmingly elected and its members actually acted as they promised.  It turned out that Germany did not like it, so the more honest members were expelled or crushed, but still they had been properly installed in office.  Such things will not happen here.

Yes, we have a Green Party and a Libertarian Party, either of which makes more sense than the Neo-fascist Republicans or Neo-Liberal Democrats, but for that very reason, they will not have a chance.

So what if Trump is right if he said Obama founded ISIS?  Here is another, quoting as best I can from memory:

         So I say to the black people, what do you have to loose? You live in poverty, 58% of your youth is unemployed, your schools don't work [you came over on slave ships, have low IQs, ] your lives suck, your cities are faling apart because of Democrats, what the HELL DO YOU HAVE TO LOOSE?  VOTE FOR TRUMP!!

He also promised that in his second term, he would get 95% of the black vote.  (Obama only got 93% in his second term.)  How can anyone take anything he says seriously?  He is actually the square root of –1 (i) the so-called "imaginary number.

Clinton? Really?  [I've had enough of this and hope I answered the question.]

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fact, The Arab World



This is a before and after photo of Aleppo, not Hiroshima, courtesy of "Regime Change" foreign policy.

After the whelming response to part one, Art asked my to deal with part to to further explain what is meant by the end of fact.  Above is a photo revealing fact.  What we are told, and most people believe, is that it was done in the cause of Democracy.  That is not fact.

How can we explain further why fact no longer exists?  Let us try television.  There are numerous "Reality Shows," and Donald Trump was the star of one of them.  It seems he still is.  At least he gives every indication of thinking his actions and words are real. 

One so-called reality show is "naked and afraid".  I watched a part of one edition, assuming the rest were the same (and I'm assured the genre is consistent) but found difficult to believe that such activity was a part of reality, that it depicted reality.  We are to assume, I assume, that people regularly take off all their clothing and walk amongst alligators and snakes, on purpose.  Happens every day. 

Well, perhaps Facebook is a better example of what reality is.  I had always thought that one is very fortunate to find a handful of friends in real life (if there is such a thing).  The last I heard, there is a limit of 5,000 "friends" one can have on that platform.  Obviously, "Friends" must mean something else.  I am not prepared to hazard a guess as to what.

Obama is the founder of ISIS.  "I was being sarcastic," says the reality star.  So, what has he said that is NOT sarcastic? 

"You will never find out," he replies.

I really can not continue this.  Sorry Art.

This Sunday, the New Your Times Magazine will feature an entire edition about the "Arab World," whatever that really is.  Here is an introduction:


·                                 Iraq
·                                 Syria
·                                 Middle East
·                                 Libya
·                                 Islamic State
·                                 Yemen
·                                 War on Terror


contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, author of The New York Times Magazine feature piece, "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart."


·                                 "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart" (NYT Magazine)
This is viewer supported news
As conflicts from Iraq to Syria have forced a record 60 million people around the world to flee their homes and become refugees, we speak with Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart." Occupying the entire print edition of this week's New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, "Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking with Scott Anderson. The New York Times did something very unusual this weekend, coming up. The entire issue of The New York Times Magazine is devoted to one article, well, which is divided into a number of parts. It's called "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart." Scott Anderson's most recent book is called Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Juan?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I wanted to ask you, one of the people you profiled, Wakaz Hassan, a former ISIS fighter in Iraq—you also interviewed about 20 other formerISIS fighters.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What did you—what did you learn from those interviews and from his story?
SCOTT ANDERSON: There was an amazing pattern. As you say, I interviewed probably just around 20 ISIS fighters, all in prison either in Iraq or in Kurdistan now. The one pattern I found over and over again was that these were—they were all young men, kind of with very bleak futures, either unemployed or underemployed, from working-class families, and not religious at all. None of these—according to them, they were not from religious families. They did not know the Qur'an very well. In a couple of cases, I knew the Qur'an better than they did. They were not recruited in mosques. They joined because their buddies joined, I mean, you know, because they saw stuff on social media. They've all—you know, everybody has mobile phones in that part of the world. And they've all—they had all seen the ISIS videos. And I think it was this kind of decision that young men make, that better to live large for a couple of years, and, you know, the power and the so-called glamour of—but the power that comes of carrying a gun, and then, you know, worry about what happens in the future two or three years down the road. So, I felt it was—certainly, in my experience, of these kind of foot soldiers, the grunts—they were primarily the ISISmembers I've talked with—they had more akin to why somebody might join like an inner-city gang or why in Mexico they might join a narco gang. It's this kind of despair at seeing any sort of future. But it's not political, it's not religious. It's just this impulse to—you know, to have some sort of—I mean, it's awful to say, in terms ofISIS, but adventure.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But that's a quite different perspective from what we get here—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —that these are religious zealots who are willing to die for Islam.
SCOTT ANDERSON: That's right. No, it's very different. And like a lot of cults, what ISIS—you mentioned like the character, the subject of the article, Wakaz Hassan. He joined up—he was brought in by his older brother. Wakaz at that time was 19, his brother was 26. Part of his basic training was to execute six different prisoners ofISIS on six different occasions. So, it was this kind of brutalizing process where they brought him out of the barracks and he was told he had to shoot somebody in the back of the head, on six different times. And he was—at this point, he's in. It's like being in a cult, and now you're there. And at least in his view, there was no way to get out once he had signed up.
AMY GOODMAN: You have an amazing part of the end of part one of your article. It's in October 2002. This was right around the time the U.S. Congress voted to authorize war. Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. You interviewed Muammar Gaddafi, and you asked him who would benefit if the Iraq invasion actually occurred. You write, "The Libyan dictator had a habit of theatrically pondering before answering my questions, but his reply to that one was instantaneous. 'Bin Laden,' he said. 'There is no doubt about that. And Iraq could end up becoming the staging ground for Al Qaeda, because if the Saddam government collapses, it will be anarchy in Iraq. If that happens, actions against Americans will be considered jihad.'"
AMY GOODMAN: These are the words of the Libyan leader, who ruled for what? Like 42 years.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Forty-two years, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: You interviewed him.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about that.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah, he was—he was absolutely prescient of what was going to happen in Iraq. I had been trying to get an interview with Muammar Gaddafi for almost three years. And I finally got it, I'm convinced, because, by October, by the autumn of 2002, the drumbeat for war in Iraq was really building. I mean, it seemed pretty clear that the antiwar demonstrations were not going to have an effect: We were going in. And Gaddafi was worried that he was going to be next, that after the Bush administration overthrew Saddam Hussein, that they were going to come after him. And the Bush administration had already been floating that out. They had a hit list. And, you know, Gaddafi was on there. Then Assad was somewhere down the list, because he—you know, in Syria, they weren't the full-fledged axis of evil, but they were rising up. So, yes, so I went and spent three weeks in Libya and interviewed Gaddafi. And he was absolutely right. Everything he predicted came true to the tee.
AMY GOODMAN: Did he talk about what would happen to him?
SCOTT ANDERSON: No, no. And the interesting thing—a very interesting thing is—one of the most memorable things in the interview is I—it was almost my last question to him, and it was kind of a platitude in this question. I said, "How would you like to be remembered?" And he was so comfortable in the interview and so kind of arrogant about his position in Libya. He started off giving this kind of very, very platitudinous answer. It was like, "Well, you know, I would hope to be remembered as selfless, you know, that I gave to my people, that"—you know, just these kind of throwaway answers. And then he kind of paused for a second, and he chuckled, and he leaned towards me, and he said, "And I hope this is actually really true." You know, in other words, maybe it's always just been all about me, anyway. So, no, he had no—I don't think he had any clue that—what was coming. Nor did—you know, I think, over and over again, I don't think Hosni Mubarak, right up 'til the day he had to resign, he ever thought he was going to go. I think it's part of the nature of these kind of personality cults these dictators build around themselves, that they're so inoculated that they've just really lost touch with reality.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you the bigger question that you try to tackle here: What went wrong with the Arab Spring? Because we're in a situation right now where, both in Europe and in the United States, people are faced with this enormous, one, refugee problem—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —out of the Middle East and, two, these failed states, including Yemen, which we haven't talked about at all.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right. Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And yet, there's no connection made between growing intervention from Europe and the United States is leading to more destabilization rather than less—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —and how you get out of that situation.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Yeah, it's very hard. If there's any consolation in the current situation, I think we're kind of near the—we're near the bottom of how bad it can get. It's hard to see how places get much worse, although Libya is going to get worse next year, because, along with the kind of division between different militias, you're also headed for an economic crash that's coming in Libya next year. They're going to run—they're just running out of money. It's hard to see how Syria gets worse. It's hard to see really how Iraq gets worse.
But I think that—so, it's very hard to see what an intervention actually looks like. You know, I've often thought, well, you know, what is the Obama administration's foreign policy in the region? And I don't think it really has one. I think it's utterly reactive at this point. But then it's hard to imagine what a proactive policy in the region would actually look like. I mean, what do you do in a place like Syria? I mean, at least in Iraq, you've—there now seems to be kind of an operating coalition against ISIS. But I think the problem—and I personally feel that, militarily, ISIS is going to be pretty much destroyed in the near future. But ISIS is not just a military—it's not a guerrilla group anymore. It's an idea. And as I was talking about these young men, you know, you have millions and millions of young men throughout the Middle East with no economic futures, who are not necessarily religious or even political in any way, but also what you have throughout the region is a kind of a built-in resentment against the West. So, that whole breeding ground is just going to continue on, and I don't see how you deactivate that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you very much for being with us.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Any word to the wise on how to read this entire issue, which also has a virtual reality tour of the retaking of Fallujah with Iraqi soldiers?
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right, right. You know, I don't know. It's hard for me to say how to—because it's been my baby for a year and a half now, I don't know how really to suggest how to treat it. You know, I think, like any—it's the story of—you know, the six stories are kind of interwoven. And I think maybe to find the stories that—I think different stories will resonate with different people. I'm going to stay with that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you, Scott Anderson, who has written this remarkable total issue of The New York Times Magazine called "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart." In print, it occupies the whole issue.
That does it for our broadcast. A very special congratulations to Dave Enders and his wife Monica. Their new baby, Sophie Grace, welcome to the world.
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