Across the Bay

Friday, March 30, 2007

Doublespeak at its Finest

An astute reader alerted me to the following comment that was left in the Oklahoma-based academic Joshua Landis's comments section. I think it says it all, and is a testament to this man's breathtaking lack of integrity:

Behold the Landis doublespeak:

I suspect that the Syrian visions of future Iraq are closer to Saudi Arabia’s than they are to Iran’s.

Compare with Landis from the summer:

I think we are seeing a restructuring. This has to do with Iraq changing from a Sunni to a Shi’ite power - from a power that was aligned against Iran and promoted itself as a defender of the Gulf to a power that is looking towards Iran. Shi’ite success looks like it is going to realign Iraq with Iran and possibly Syria against the Gulf. This will fundamentally change the balance of power in the region.

America is resisting this change that it set in motion because it means oil and gas pipeslines will be running from Iran through Iraq and Syria up to Turkey and on through to the EU. Just as importantly, they will be running in the other direction to China, India and Russia. This will reorient world power towards the East. It’s going to pull Europe away from its dependence on the US security umbrella, which is under-girded by US domination of oil markets and oil producers. Europe will become more dependent on powers like Russia and Iran. The stakes are high for American as it loses control of oil. It will not be able to retain its status as the single great superpower; rather, it will become one among equals, which is precisely what Cheney and Rumsfeld are determined to prevent.

Iraqi technical committees have already been meeting with their Syrian and Iranian counterparts plan for these pipelines. This will allow them to challenge Saudi Arabian dominance in OPEC. It’s what you might call an axis of oil – or access of oil - and the Russians and Chinese are eager to connect to it. As I see it, this is the big battle. My hunch is that within five or six years, when Iraq beings to consolidate under a Shi’ite dictatorship, it will not ask American oil companies to run the show, but rather, Russian and Chinese oil companies. For political and economic reasons, Iraqis will want to move away from American domination. Economic imperatives make linking up to Iran and the East logical. Such a combination will be powerful.

Then Landis had placed Syria (and Iraq) in the Iran-Shi’a axis, against Saudi Arabia and the gulf!

It was made clear in a following post:

How the break-out of Shiite Islam, started by the Iranian revolution but unleashed in the Arab World by the US invasion of Iraq, is changing the balance of power in the region and will force the US to engage Iran and, by extension, Syria and the Shiites of Lebanon.

Back then, Syria was an extension of Iran and the Shi’a!

This guy will say anything the regime says. You can’t take him seriously. He’ll say anything as long as it’s the official line in Damascus.

I became curious and checked those earlier posts by Landis, and found the disingenuity rather phenomenal.

You might recall how Landis started championing "Shiite rights" [read Hezbollah predominance] in Lebanon during the summer (because that is the official policy in Damascus: supporting Hezbollah against everyone else in Lebanon). Landis was talking about how Taef must be trashed and how the Sunnis are dumping Hariri in favor of Aoun and Hezbollah (!!!) and other hilarious stupidities that show how this guy either understands nothing and/or only regurgitates Syrian propaganda.

One telling thing he said back then was the following (emphasis mine):

For this reason, Damascus will join the demand for new elections in Lebanon as soon as the dust settles. It will claim to be on the side of democracy, knowing that pro-Syrian politicians, who were pushed from power last year, may well be swept back into office.

Landis read the script from Damascus to the letter, and went on to make that false "claim" on behalf of Damascus.

He recently did so in his hatchet job against Michael Young. So I found his recent post rather funny, especially where he said this:

But when the US withdraws from Iraq this calculus will change. The alliance between Iran and Syria will face serious strains. It is in Syria's interest to team up with Saudi Arabia in order to tip the scales of power in Iraq toward its Sunni community. This will divide Syria from Iran, which will be pushing down on the Shiite side of the scale.

What happened to championing Shiite rights and all the fantasies about the axis that would challenge Saudi Arabia?! Oh well... It's not that the Sunnis fair any better in Landis's regime-centered universe (where an Alawite family clique rules over an entire country of which 70% are Sunnis, and over 200,000 Kurds are denied citizenship and whose lands are expropriated through a systematic policy à la Saddam). After all, this is the same person who in a 2005 NYT op-ed called on the the US to help Bashar crack down on Syria's Sunnis (not Islamists, Sunnis).

Like his reader said, this guy will say anything and its opposite.