Author Topic: The Middle East Discussion Thread  (Read 30009 times)

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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 29, 2012, 02:51:50 PM »
I'm not sure how to describe it, but the logic is that they're part of the same "civilization." Nations from as far west as Egypt and as far east as Pakistan are composed of a culture whose predominant religion is Islam, and whose primary spoken languages are derivatives of Arabic, Persian, Hindi, or other parts of the Indo-Aryan branch. Additionally, we're talking about disparate countries that used to be part of one gigantic empire.

I'm sure there's someone who can get at it more easily than I can. Basically it's not purely geographical, as should be obvious from including such obviously Central Asian countries whose populace is descended from pastoral nomads yet share cultural affinities with peoples closer to the heart of the region.
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Offline Progmetty

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2012, 03:07:28 PM »
What you said makes sense but as an Egyptian I don't identify with anything from the Iranian culture, they don't speak the same language as I do or practice the same religion. Their conservative values resemble ours but we don't really find that to be common enough grounds. The current Egyptian nationalists are only starting to warm up to Iran because they see it as the only nation standing up to America but the Egyptian Islamic radicals would never be okay with them.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2012, 03:23:03 PM »
Common religion? Aside from the Sunni-Shia dichotomy, I thought there was quite a bit of commonality? But it does make sense that you feel that way; it's the same sort of tension that underlies politics and culture in Europe. France and Britain are a lot more similar to each other than, say, Britain and Greece or France and Poland. And of course there are about a hundred languages there, and Western Europe is different politically from Eastern Europe. But it is clearly part of the same civilization, which is European civilization.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2012, 03:33:27 PM »
Hell, I would even count Afghanistan as Middle East. And if they are, then Iran certainly is. Egypt however counts for me as Northern Africa, and that is very different.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2012, 03:37:45 PM »
I'd say it's a Middle Eastern country. Now if you go anywhere but east of that though, I'd say that's Africa, even including the Maghreb.
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Offline Progmetty

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2012, 06:55:39 AM »
Common religion? Aside from the Sunni-Shia dichotomy, I thought there was quite a bit of commonality?

A little, there could have been a time before globalization where Sunnis and Shias didn't have as much mutual distrust and bad blood as they do now but I haven't seen that in my life time.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2012, 08:15:27 PM »
So hey, apparently Tzipi Livni is considering running in the upcoming election.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2012, 05:11:54 PM »
Something's been on my mind about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the U.S. govt is so interested in oil, then why does it support Israel? Wouldn't it make more sense for it to support the Palestinians and Iran thus getting more oil more cheaply and reliably? Maybe the reason is that neocons calculate that Islamism is a bigger than threat to oil interests than Zionism?

What do you guys think about this?

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2012, 05:15:28 PM »
Although I wish it were otherwise, America's alliance is almost entirely predicated on another vested political interest: the Jewish vote.

This would be a win-win-win situation if everyone just switched over to clean energy (wind, solar, and the like). America wouldn't have to stick its nose in Islamic countries' business and murder hundreds of thousands while paying to keep dictators in power, the Muslim countries wouldn't have any such busy-bodying from America to deal with, and Israel's support wouldn't be qualified by rising oil prices during times of tensions.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2012, 05:22:13 PM »
Although I wish it were otherwise, America's alliance is almost entirely predicated on another vested political interest: the Jewish vote.
The Jewish vote?  Why do you think that?

In relative terms, there IS no Jewish vote outside of New York and a few other metropolitan areas.  It's not because of the Jewish vote.

It's because of the religious convictions of American fundamentalist Christian policy makers.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2012, 05:28:27 PM »
The Jewish vote also exists in Florida. Remember, it's November.

Relevant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Jews#Politics
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2012, 05:30:32 PM »
The Jewish vote also exists in Florida. Remember, it's November.

Relevant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Jews#Politics
That still doesn't have anything to do with the USA's allegiance with Israel. 
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2012, 05:54:04 PM »
Honestly, I'm not really convinced that it's the "Jewish vote" that's driving it. Sure, supporting Israel might be a way of getting campaign funds, but I don't think that's adequate in defining our long term foreign policy. It doesn't really make sense to say that campaign dollars are more important than long-term strategic access to oil.

Plus, I don't think you can say that the "Jewish vote" is the same as the Zionist vote. I'm sure there's plenty of Jewish groups who backed Obama because they thought he would be tougher on Israel as far as negotiating a two-state solution.

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2012, 06:03:11 PM »
Although I wish it were otherwise, America's alliance is almost entirely predicated on another vested political interest: the Jewish vote.
The Jewish vote?  Why do you think that?

In relative terms, there IS no Jewish vote outside of New York and a few other metropolitan areas.  It's not because of the Jewish vote.

It's because of the religious convictions of American fundamentalist Christian policy makers.
The Jewish vote is vital to winning Florida and it's electoral votes.  They make up a sizable chunk of the electorate.  However, I think Adace is correct.  Just winning Florida and getting their gold isn't enough to swing 60 years of US policy. 

However, it's not religious convictions, either.  These are politicians we're talking about.  While religion is everywhere in DC, convictions are few and far between. 

I suspect the biggest factor is just that it's been our policy for so long.  We're a staunch ally of Israel, and that won't change.  We're not going to up and announce that we've been wrong all this time.  We're not going to decide that they're more trouble than they're worth.  As happens so frequently in US politics, the convenience of the status quo far outweighs reason or common sense.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2012, 06:24:44 PM »
Plus, I don't think you can say that the "Jewish vote" is the same as the Zionist vote. I'm sure there's plenty of Jewish groups who backed Obama because they thought he would be tougher on Israel as far as negotiating a two-state solution.

There are many, but it's still not a really mainstream Jewish position at this time.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2012, 06:44:38 PM »
Plus, I don't think you can say that the "Jewish vote" is the same as the Zionist vote. I'm sure there's plenty of Jewish groups who backed Obama because they thought he would be tougher on Israel as far as negotiating a two-state solution.

There are many, but it's still not a really mainstream Jewish position at this time.
That's true. However, I still don't think you can boil down the Jewish vote to Zionism/support of Israel. For one thing, Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic which suggests that economic issues are more important to them.

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #51 on: October 23, 2012, 06:57:42 PM »
Care to elaborate?
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #52 on: October 23, 2012, 08:14:44 PM »
If a candidate is perceived as strong on Israel, but weak on economic issues then I don't think the majority of Jewish voters would vote for him/her. The Jewish Republicans are the exception.

On the other hand, if a candidate is strong on the economy but more or less anti-Israel then that person would probably stand an even poorer chance at winning the Jewish vote than a pro-Israel Republican. That said, maybe you can conclude that Israel is a major issue for most Jews but certainly not the only one.

Aside from that, I really take issue with the notion that "the Zionists" control foreign policy. States act based on their self-interest. Ideology doesn't really matter. It just so happens that the U.S. political/bureaucratic establishment favors pro-Israel policies as a means of securing their interests, but that could change if Israel does something to really piss us off or if we're in desperate need of more support from the Arab world in terms of securing our oil supplies.

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #53 on: October 23, 2012, 08:19:30 PM »
I don't dispute that; I would like to know what you meant about Jews voting Democrat meaning economic issues are more important to them, unless you did merely mean in the sense that Democrats tend to be less forthcoming to Israel.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #54 on: October 23, 2012, 08:31:49 PM »
Actually, let me revise my position somewhat. Based on this article I found, I'd say that Jewish voters on the whole don't care about Israel too much.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/09/american-jewish-voters

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2012, 08:42:41 PM »
Well Jews aren't a monolithic group. There are people who self-identify as Jewish who aren't really into the whole gesheft. I come from a conservative Jewish community, and there's two certain sorts of Jewish social sub-grouping that are generally supportive of Israel. One is conservative and wealthy (at the very least middle and upper-middle class), for whom Israel is not the most important issue, but certainly up there. They vote Democrat but from my own experience their actual views and beliefs tend to lie much more in the moderate end. The other is Orthodoxy of pretty much any socio-economic level, but I don't think I can very accurately quantify it; they do consider Israel very important.

What makes the difference is that it doesn't factor appreciably into electoral decisions, that is true. American Jews express their political stances on Israel through other channels, such as AIPAC.
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2012, 08:48:45 PM »
Well Jews aren't a monolithic group.

Oh.......

So what you're saying is that you didn't all get together and vote on GI Joe Retaliation being delayed until next year?

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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2012, 08:53:13 PM »
We did you a favor, believe me.
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Offline Adami

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #58 on: October 23, 2012, 09:08:59 PM »
What a silly discussion.

How about next we try to quantify who all of the black people vote for.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #59 on: October 23, 2012, 09:17:32 PM »
Well Jews aren't a monolithic group. There are people who self-identify as Jewish who aren't really into the whole gesheft. I come from a conservative Jewish community, and there's two certain sorts of Jewish social sub-grouping that are generally supportive of Israel. One is conservative and wealthy (at the very least middle and upper-middle class), for whom Israel is not the most important issue, but certainly up there. They vote Democrat but from my own experience their actual views and beliefs tend to lie much more in the moderate end. The other is Orthodoxy of pretty much any socio-economic level, but I don't think I can very accurately quantify it; they do consider Israel very important.

What makes the difference is that it doesn't factor appreciably into electoral decisions, that is true. American Jews express their political stances on Israel through other channels, such as AIPAC.

Yeah, I definitely agree Jewish support for Israel is more moral/spiritual than electoral. Just to clarify something about the Orthodoxy though: You're probably right that most Orthodox are pro-Israel (especially Chabad) but there's a very strong undercurrent of anti-Zionism such as that seen in Satmar (the largest Hasidic group) and Neturei Karta.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #60 on: October 23, 2012, 09:31:15 PM »
I mean still, it's a fringe opinion. It's there, but most Jews will at least claim themselves to be pro-Israel, even if they can't all agree what is in the country's best interest.

Hey, kinda like our country. ;)
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #61 on: October 23, 2012, 09:31:44 PM »
What a silly discussion.

How about next we try to quantify who all of the black people vote for.

Um...people do do that. They're called pollsters.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #62 on: October 23, 2012, 09:32:53 PM »
I mean still, it's a fringe opinion. It's there, but most Jews will at least claim themselves to be pro-Israel, even if they can't all agree what is in the country's best interest.

Hey, kinda like our country. ;)
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Offline Adami

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #63 on: October 23, 2012, 10:14:36 PM »
What a silly discussion.

How about next we try to quantify who all of the black people vote for.

Um...people do do that. They're called pollsters.

Well they are silly.


If you guys want to keep trying to figure out what the Jews in America like in politics, feel free.


However the original question was whether or not the Jewish vote (as if it mattered) was the key source of American support of Israel. In which case I will say it's not.

Israel also invents and creates weapons and technology for America. We are your gateway to the middle east, so to speak, we are only actual ally you have in the area and we are your main source of terrorist intelligence.

There's countless benefits to America staying close to Israel beyond a few retired Jews in Boca Raton.

That said, I'd actually register and vote in this country this election if either of the candidates vowed to cut funding to Israel, but out of intelligence, and not dislike of Israel or Jews or something.
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Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2012, 10:47:27 PM »
^Yes, Israel does bring benefits, but if oil is the key concern of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East then why does the U.S. support Israel given that it doesn't have very much oil and the U.S. already experienced an oil embargo over its support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War? From a strategic/realpolitik perspective (not that I subscribe to this kind of thinking) wouldn't it make more sense for the U.S. to support the Arabs/Palestinians and gain more reliable access to oil?

Kinda answering my own question here, but maybe it's that the U.S. feels its supply of oil is reliable enough to continue to play both sides. Add to that the fact that the Arab countries and Iran don't really want to oppose Israel head on and risk losing a major oil client.

Offline Adami

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #65 on: October 23, 2012, 10:48:47 PM »
^Yes, Israel does bring benefits, but if oil is the key concern of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East then why does the U.S. support Israel given that it doesn't have very much oil and the U.S. already experienced an oil embargo over its support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War? From a strategic/realpolitik perspective (not that I subscribe to this kind of thinking) wouldn't it make more sense for the U.S. to support the Arabs/Palestinians and gain more reliable access to oil?

Kinda answering my own question here, but maybe it's that the U.S. feels its supply of oil is reliable enough to continue to play both sides. Add to that the fact that the Arab countries and Iran don't really want to oppose Israel head on and risk losing a major oil client.

If oil was the ONLY concern, sure.

However America also knows that as a non-Arab state, they don't have a strong probability of a long lasting alliance with an Arab country as they do with Israel.

Hell, Arab countries rarely have long lasting alliances with other Arab countries.
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Offline Rathma

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #66 on: October 23, 2012, 10:53:03 PM »
we are your main source of terrorist intelligence.

And a main reason America becomes a target for terrorists.

Offline adace

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #67 on: October 23, 2012, 11:16:40 PM »
Well, the U.S. does have a very strong alliance with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab/Muslim countries. But you're right that there are other factors driving U.S. policy in the Mid East. One of them is terrorism of course and the U.S. sees Israel as its most reliable partner in fighting terrorism.

However, the U.S. has made alliances with Arab countries too on the basis of fighting terrorism. Plus, I don't think you can completely dissociate terrorism from oil.

Another thing which you mentioned before was technology. I know that there are a lot of U.S. tech companies invested in Israel. Probably these businesses see Israel as having a more favorable economic climate than the Arab countries.

Overall though, I would agree that at least in terms of ideology, if not in its actual policies, the U.S. is most committed to its relationship with Israel than any other Mid Eastern country.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #68 on: October 24, 2012, 05:16:35 AM »
we are your main source of terrorist intelligence.

And a main reason America becomes a target for terrorists.

...No, again, that's the oil.
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Offline Progmetty

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Re: The Middle East Discussion Thread
« Reply #69 on: October 24, 2012, 07:19:49 AM »
No SD, it's Israel, take it from me.
I'm an Egyptian who lived and worked in a bunch of Arab countries all my life, sat through hundreds of angry Arabic anti-American rants, during which I honestly have never ever heard "Damn Americans want our oil" rant or any discussion that mentions oil as the reason of the built up Arab frustration with America. It's always been Israel and nothing else, I've only started hearing of all that "Blood for oil" talk when I moved to the U.S and among American people online and I was soaked in this assumption for a while until I started seeing plain "Wtf are you talking about" and "Who cares" faces when mentioning oil as a problem when discussing America with Arab friends again, as I traveled back and forth from the U.S. to U.A.E for work.
And angry rants among moderates are violent retaliations among extremists, only they managed to dress it up in an "Islam VS. America" front and the western media managed to really sell that, they sold it so good for the last decade to the point that now this perception is leaking off to Egypt through social and online media and feed our extremists with more excuses to attract recruits.
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