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Eric Margolis

Suez: The End of Europe's Empires

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Sixty years ago, I was home after school, sitting in our living room on New York’s Central Park West, reading a history of Rome and listening to Dvorak’s splendid cello concerto when the announcer on WQXR broke in to announced, “Israeli armored forces are thrusting deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.”

So began the 1956 Arab-Israeli Suez war, a conflict that is now all but forgotten though it was a major historic turning point for all concerned.

Algeria has risen up against French colonial rule. A ferocious guerilla war was raging. The Socialist government in Paris was too arrogant to admit that anyone could revolt against the glories of French rule. Instead, Paris blamed the revolt on machinations by Egypt’s nationalist strongman, Gamal Abdel Nasser. In fact, Egypt’s role was minor.
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The Russians are Coming – By Sea!

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Russia’s dispatch of a ten-ship flotilla to the Syrian Coast has raised some outrage and sneers aplenty in the West. Particularly when one of its embarked MiG-29K fighters crashed on takeoff from Russia’s sole carrier, the obsolescent Admiral Kuznetsov which lacks catapults.

Joining Kuznetsov are believed to be two ‘Akula’ class nuclear-powered attack submarines that are much feared by Western navies. On the surface will be the powerful, missile-armed battle-cruiser, ‘Peter the Great.’ Unlike Western warships, which are essentially fragile tin cans packed with electronics, `Peter the Great’ is armored and built to withstand punishment.

Other Russian missile frigates and supply ships are also off Syria.

Washington just hates it when the Russians dare do what the US has been doing since World War II: conduct gunboat diplomacy, however limited.
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Paper Tiger ISIS Digs Into Mosul

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As a former soldier and war correspondent who has covered 14 conflicts, I look at all the media hoopla over tightening siege of Mosul, Iraq and shake my head. This western-organized “liberation” of Mosul is one of the bigger pieces of political-military theater that I’ve seen.

Islamic State (IS), the defender of Mosul, is a paper tiger, blown out of all proportion by western media.  IS is, as this  writer has been saying for years, an armed mob made up of 20-something malcontents, religious fanatics, and modern-day anarchists.  At its top is a cadre of former Iraqi Army officers with military experience.

These former officers of Saddam Hussain are bent on revenge for the US destruction of their nation and the lynching of its late leader. But IS rank and file has no military training, little discipline, degraded communications, and ragged logistics.
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Khadaffi's Murder

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“We came, we saw…he died” boasted a beaming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking of the 2011 western overthrow of Libya’s leader Muammar Khadaffi.

She was, of course, shamelessly paraphrasing Caesar’s famous summary of his campaign around the Black Sea. Mrs. Clinton, who seems ordained to be America’s next president, should have been rather more cautious in admitting to murder.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Khadaffi’s grisly death. The Libyan leader was fleeing in a motor convoy to reach friendly tribal territory when French warplanes and a US drone attacked and destroyed the vehicles. Wounded, Khadaffi crawled into a culvert where he was captured by French and US-backed rebels.

Khadaffi was severely beaten, then anally raped with a long knife. At least two bullets finally ended his suffering. Thus ended the colorful life of the man who wanted to be the second Nasser and leader of a united Arab world. His death was a warnings to others trying to challenge the Mideast status quo I call the American Raj.

I was invited to interview Khadaffi in 1987 at his Tripoli headquarters in the Bab al-Azizya barracks. This was on the one year anniversary of 1986 US air attacks on the barracks that sought to assassinate Khadaffi, described by US President Ronald Reagan as the “mad dog of the Mideast.” But that night, the ‘Leader,’ as he liked to be called, went to his Bedouin tent in the courtyard and thus escaped death – for a time.
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