Loose Links:
(Hey, it’s still August)
20 August 2013

Solow’s Hole — 6.4 acres of waterfront Manhattan controlled by a — by an unpleasant-sounding person who loves to bring lawsuits. Walking proof that “Developer” ought to be a credentialed profession with clear standards of conduct. (NYT)

Since 2009, Mr. Solow’s executive suite has had a revolving door as he fired one general counsel and chief operating officer after another, including Steven Cherniak, a 27-year veteran of the company. His long-running legal battle with Citigroup over a loan for the property ended with an $85.7 million judgment against him.

John Simon, writing about wordplay, quotes a tremendous stunt of de Vigny’s.

Gall, amant de la reine, alla, tour magnanimeGallamant de l’Arène a la tour Magne a Nîmes…

¶ Okay, fun’s over. Michael Ignatieff puts the Syrian disintegration in perspective: perhaps, like Yugoslavia, it will not survive. (We did not intervene to save Tito’s patchwork federation, but on behalf of one of its scraps, the Bosnians.)

Such an analysis helps us to explain why the anti-Assad opposition has been unable to create a believable government in exile linked both to commanders at the front and to the municipal authorities in the liberated zones. Inside and outside, exiles and front-line fighters regard each other with suspicion. There is no effective national command of the insurrection and hence no shared political claim to defend together. In addition there are a number of fighters, the al Nusra Brigade being only one example, for whom the goal is not the defense of a multi-confessional Syria but the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Arab lands. As Western governments have considered their options since the uprising began, they have found it easier to identify those they want to lose than those they want to win.

But the perspective could be longer: wherever we look in the Near East, we see the bungled break-up of the Ottoman Empire. (Boston Review; via 3 Quarks Daily)

One Response to “Loose Links:
(Hey, it’s still August)
20 August 2013

  1. Alexis says:

    cynical,το βρεις δεν το βρεις,εγώ το βάζω εδώ:Από τη FAZ και πάλι,τη μεγαλύτερη οικονομική εφημερίδα της Γερμανίας:άρθρο του Ράινερ Χόφμαν,ημερομηνία 16 JUNE 2012,επιβεβαιώνει ότι η σφαγή στη Χούλα ΔΕΝ ήταν έργο του στρατού της Συρίας,αλλά των απανταχού σουνιτών “ανταρτών”περγάδι (το)A SECOND (*) ARTICLE BY RAINER HOFFMAN ON THE HULA MASSACRESyria: “The Extermination” by Sunni rebel forcesA well reedragd and qualified author of the prime German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)reported how the recent massacre in Houla, Syria, was perpetrated by Sunni rebel forces. In a new piece the reporter, Rainer Hermann, extends on the first one and explains why his reporting is correct and why other reporting was terribly wrong.16 JUNE 2012The Houla massacre was a turning point in the Syrian drama. There was great worldwide outrage when 108 people were killed there on May 25, among them 49 children. Calls for a military intervention to end the bloodshed became louder and the violence in Syria has since steadily escalated. Based on Arab news channel and the visit of UN observers on the following day, world opinion almost unanimously blamed the regular Syrian army and the Syrian regime’s Shabiha militia for the massacre.In the past week and based on reports from eyewitnesses theFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung put this version into question. It reported that the civilians killed were Alawites and Shiites. They were deliberately killed by armed Sunnis in Taldou, a town in the plains of Houla, while fierce fighting between the regular army and Free Syrian Army was taking place at checkpoints around the village. Our report was taken up by many media outlets worldwide and was rejected by many as implausible. We have therefore to ask four questions: Why did the world opinion so far followed a different version? Why does the context of the civil war makes the doubted version plausible? Why are the witnesses credible? What other facts support the report? F.A.Z.Firstly, why world opinion follow a different version? It is undoubted that during the first months of the conflict, when the opposition did not yet possess weapons and was defenseless, all atrocities were done by the regime. The assumption is therefore obvious that this would continue. [1] Furthermore, the Syrian state media enjoy no credibility. They use the standard labeling “armed terrorist gangs” since the beginning of the conflict. Thus no one believes them, when that is indeed the case. Two media outlets, the Arab news channel Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have become key sources even as their owners, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are two states which are actively involved in the conflict. Not without reason do we know the saying “In war, truth dies first.”Secondly, why is, in the context of the civil war, the doubted version plausible? During recent month many weapons have been smuggled into Syria and the rebels have long had mid-sized weaponry. Every day more than 100 people are killed in Syria with about equal numbers of dead on both sides. The militias that operate under the banner of the Free Syrian Armycontrol wide parts of the provinces of Homs and Idlib and extend their dominion over other parts of the country. The increasing lawlessness has led to a wave of criminal kidnappings and also facilitates the settling of old disputes. If one looks through Facebook pages or talks to Syrians: Everyone knows everyday stories of “religious cleansing” – of people being killed just because they are Alawite or Sunni.