Iran Didn’t Create ISIS. We Did | The Diplomat

From Ben Reynolds:

….No one is innocent in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars, but Iran is not primarily responsible for the current state of affairs. The U.S. and its allies destabilized Iraq and Syria in turn, creating safe havens for extremists that previously did not exist. U.S. allies provided the material support that allowed ISIS and groups like it to become threats to the entire region, despite lacking any substantial popular base in Syria and Iraq. It is not unreasonable for Iran and Hezbollah to fight against these groups, which murder and enslave Shia and other religious minorities. Their actions conceivably fall under one of the West’s favorite principles of international law: the duty to protect.

Read more at Iran Didn’t Create ISIS; We Did | The Diplomat.

Enough to make Gazputin grin

  • Chinese stocks drift lower
  • Crude oil rising
  • Other commodities weak

China’s Shanghai Composite Index continues to drift lower on the long-term, monthly chart.

Shanghai Composite Index

Apart from crude oil, commodity prices have fared little better. But crude plays such a dominant role in most commodity indices that they appear more buoyant. Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index rallied to 140 before retracing for another test of primary support. Oscillation of 13-week Twiggs Momentum around zero, however, does not suggest a significant trend.

Dow Jones UBS Commodities Index

Crude oil is doing a lot better, heading for another test of $110/barrel on the back of supply threats from geo-political tensions. The ascending triangle is very large, but breakout would suggest a long-term target of the 2008 high at $145*.

Brent Crude and Nymex Crude

* Target calculation: 110 + ( 110 – 75 ) = 145

…Enough to make even Gazputin grin.

Vladimir Putin

Read more at Bloomberg, June 2013: Gazprom’s Demise Could Topple Putin

Desperately seeking moderate Syrian rebels | Threat Matrix

By Lisa Lundquist:

Following the news that the Obama administration, in a sudden about-face, is asking Congress for $500 million to train and equip “vetted” members of the “moderate” Syrian opposition, The Associated Press yesterday published a list, headlined “Syrian rebels likely to receive US aid.” The list raises more questions than it answers — two of the listed groups have been designated by the US as terrorist organizations….

Read more at Desperately seeking moderate Syrian rebels – Threat Matrix.

The tragic record of American policy in the Middle East |

Investigative journalist Charles Lewis, author of 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity tells Bill Moyer:

An outrageous thing happened. We lost $2 trillion. More than 100,000 people died. Folks are going to be maimed for life in the tens of thousands… And no one has ever acknowledged that this [Iraq] was a war on a lark. It was a complete war of choice, because a certain little faction wanted to do it and they orchestrated it… Did they make statements that weren’t true? The answer is yes…


A complicit partner, he says, is a media “intent on preserving the status quo …and never offending the ruling elite”.

Washington Post’s Walter Pincus:

More and more the media become, I think, common carriers of administration statements and critics of the administration….We’ve sort of given up being independent on our own.

Read more at Bill Moyers: Buying the War – How big media failed us

Andrew Bacevich: The End of American Exceptionalism |

Extended Interview: Andrew Bacevich
June 20, 2014


After the broadcast interview, Bill continued his conversation with military historian Andrew Bacevich about what America should do in the Middle East.

Bacevich draws parallels between the current Iraqi crisis and the Vietnam War, discusses our evolving relationship with Iran and challenges neoconservatives for their take on US foreign policy.

“My reading [of history] is of course there is evil in the world that needs to be taken into account and some time must be confronted,” Bacevich tells Moyers. “But let’s not kid ourselves: In somehow imagining that the United States represents all that is good and virtuous, we, ourselves, have committed many sins. And we ought to be cognizant of those sins before we go pronouncing about how the world ought to be run.”

Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.

Why US hard power failed in Iraq and elsewhere | Bill Moyers

Outstanding. Military historian Andrew Bacevich sums up the stupidity of US foreign policy and how repeated failures could be rectified. He exposes the “duplicity of ideologues” on calls for intervention in Iraq and discusses the moral responsibility to the people of Iraq. What can be done to alleviate the suffering of the people in Iraq? “There is remarkably little discussion as to cost if you want to bomb someone, but we suddenly become acutely cost-conscious if there is a proposal to assist them.”


Dick Cheney [at 06:00] in 1993, answering a question on the first Gulf war, predicted what would happen if Iraq was invaded: “…Once you take down Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq, then what are you going to put in its place? If you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily see pieces of Iraq fly off…’s a quagmire.”

Projection of hard power by the US has not solved global problems over the last 50 years. In fact it has exacerbated problems in the Middle East. Soft power is far more effective. But it needs a change of mind-set on the part of the US. Don’t get me wrong. You still need Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” as a deterrent, but soft power — engineers, doctors and school teachers — are far more effective at winning people over to your world-view than B52s and unmanned drones.

Iran readies offer to limit its nuclear program|

Iran is preparing a package of proposals to halt production of near-weapons-grade nuclear fuel, a key demand of the U.S. and other global powers, according to officials briefed on diplomacy ahead of talks in Geneva next week.

Tehran in return will request that the U.S. and European Union begin scaling back sanctions that have left it largely frozen out of the international financial system and isolated its oil industry, the officials said.

Read more at Iran Readies | – Jay Solomon.