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By ATWadmin On December 10th, 2006

I was pleased to read the thoughts of my former esteemed colleague Conor Cruise O’Brien on the work of the fabulous Baker boys….

The Iraq Study Group’s report, released to the newspapers on Wednesday, is a rather bizarre document. 

According to the Irish Times: "A high-level bipartisan group has called for the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq by early 2008 and the immediate launch of a diplomatic offensive that would involve Syria and Iran in securing Iraq’s future.


The Iraq Study Group Report also calls for a renewed and sustained US engagement in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict leading to the return of the Golan Heights to Syria and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. It calls for direct talks with Iran and Syria, even if Iran fails to halt its uranium enrichment programme and says Israel should return the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a Middle East peace settlement."


George Bush said he would take "very seriously" its proposals, but he stopped short of embracing them. Israel has not commented on them, but I have no doubt that its reaction will be totally negative, though delivered politely out of concern for Bush. Israel is no doubt alarmed by the anti-Israel stand of the proposals and particularly by the appeals to Syria and Iran and the proposed concessions to those countries, even if Iran continues to develop its nuclear capacity.

Israel’s overriding commitment is with the Pentagon, which for many years now has seen the country as the only thoroughly reliable ally that the US has in the Middle East. Other countries in that region bargain with the US for their own economic and technical advantage. But they do so while trying to bypass Israel. Israel’s primary concern in the region at present is Iran’s progress towards acquiring nuclear weapons. They know that if, or when, Iran does acquire nuclear weapons they will be used first against Israel. On that matter, Israel and the Pentagon have a common interest, and are always preparing for the day when they may have to attack Iran.




  1. Yeah; the ever-so-highly-qualified Iraq Study Group, so highly qualified that it spent a total of FOUR DAYS in Iraq, and didn’t even venture out of the Green Zone.

    Truly makes them fully up to speed with the problems of that truly unhappy country!

  2. The ISG Report tells us to "chat and withdraw" from Iraq, Bolton resigns from the UN, the AP is fed obvious propoganda by Hizb’Allah but will not to admit their product was tainted, Putin is conducting a purge of his critics and seeks alliance with Iran –

    The world is taking a sharp fast turn towards catastrophe. If Ahmadinejad is Hitler, then Putin is Stalin. Why do we have to repeat history? Anyone still worried about "global warming?"

    If Israel is nuked, then what?

  3. CC O’B is a good man.

  4. CC O’B has an interesting past but has nothing insightful to contribute anymore, if he ever did.

  5. Is that you Julius ? Long time no see!

  6. JG,

    CCOB has been one of the great intellects in Irish politicis for decades. A man of principle, who I mostly agreed with, his passing will be a very sad day. I wish him well.

  7. CCoB is a very very good man. I hope he is in good health and stays that way

  8. CCo’B is an absolute fool. He has been wrong – totally wrong – on practically everything he has predicted for years. He is an embarrassment to his supporters and friends and a source of amusement to the rest of us.

    Do you remember how he went on in his Indo column, every weeek for almost, a year and often in exactly the same words, about the Columbia 3 and how this event will mean the end of Sinn Fein, as the US will now force Britain and Ireland to abandon the peace process, if necesary using military force! He even hinted darkly at them threatening the nuclear option at the UK to get rid of Sinn Fein! Precious!

    And the US presidential elections, now that was a laugh!

    He talked of Bush being assured of victory because the college would be swayed by the "Jewish vote" (which of course doesn’t exist) in New York and California under its, get this, Governor George Kazantsakis! The next week, he repeated the article verbatim except Arni’s usurper as Governor was now some George Stephanopoulos!
    Of course, New York and California, and apparently the majority of US Jews, didn’t vote for Bush. So he could hardly have been more wrong.
    The best part, however, was when after the election these facts were pointed out to him and he claimed he had been right all along! What a man!

    Nobody except the owners of the Irish Independent and northern Unionists could take such a goon seriously!

    One good thing I will say about him is that he doesn’t try to hide his stupidity like so many others.

  9. It’s myself alright MR. Long time no see indeed. You haven’t been over on Balrog for a while eh?

    David, I don’t doubt CCOB’s intellect for a minute but the quality of his contribution is nowhere near what it was. Garret Fitzgerald, on the other hand, has improved with age! As for being a man of principle, continually back-stabbing and trying to undermine Séan MacBride when the latter was his boss at the Dept. of External Affairs wasn’t very principled. I totally disagree with CCOB’s views on pretty much everything…

  10. <Q>CCo’B is an absolute fool. </Q>

    where does that leave you then ? You should be so lucky as to have his brains or to have had a career as interesting.

  11. Naturally I’m not a fan. But on this issue he is right. Defeat in Iraq would be bad for America but a catastrophe for Europe. Islamic extremism would be ever bolder and it is in Europe that they will be seeking concessions.

    Europe should be ashamed of itself right now. It was one thing to sit on the sidelines and bitch while America got on with the job in the expectation that they would be successful. But here we have a situation where the greatest fried Europe ever had is in a tough spot.

    Imagine how transformed the situation would be if France, Germany and the rest said they would send troops to stand by democracy in Iraq and stand with America against the terrorists.

    Don’t we owe America that much?

  12. Good to see you Julius – I don’t spend a lot of time on Balrog – why waste my time reading parsifal’s ramblings? And Chris has lost his edge since he moved up in the world 😉

    Sean MacBride ? The French terrorist ? 😉

  13. Ye got to worry about anyone who dismiss CCoB as stupid. You really have.

    "Nobody except the owners of the Irish Independent and northern Unionists could take such a goon seriously!"

    Good to see bigotry alive and and well – not!
    or is this another "joke"

  14. Cunningham,

    CCOB is a gentleman, a scholar and decency incarnate. He may well have predicted somethings that did not happen – I do it all the time. Are you also saying I am stupid? Politics is full of illogic, triangulation and deviousness. CCOB is a RARE beacon in the darkness and I feel fortunate to have known him.

  15. MR,
    French terrorist?? MacBride was a fasinating character. His memoir, That Day’s Struggle, is a great read.

    Balrog gets a bit cosy at times, your interventions are missed in my opinion.

  16. Henry 94, You almost bring tears to my eyes! I wish more people in Europe felt that way, and better yet, were able to express it as simply as you did.

    The situation in Iraq could change overnight if the democracies hung together. As it is we shall all hang seperately.

  17. Like in the run-up to the Iraq war:

    He predicted the US would win the vote in the Security Council – it didn’t.

    He said Germany HAS TO support the US – it doesn’t.

    He said France would "play hard to get" but then fall into line. Well,…

    But the US would never invade Iraq …!

    Instead the US would only carry out air strikes, but ISRAEL would invade Iraq for America!! (the have the most experience in fighting Arabs, the great mind argued)

    It didn’t explain how Israel would get and supply it’s army across Jordan.

    I can easily see why MR and Aileen feel a special kinship with that kind of mind, but you, David?

    O’Brien did write some interesting stuff when he was younger (when he was a liberal socialist!).
    His recent autobiography is also well written, probably got Mary Kenny to ghost it.

  18. "I wish more people in Europe felt that way" – Charles in Texas

    Very few do, thank God!

  19. " can easily see why MR and Aileen feel a special kinship with that kind of mind,"

    Yes I do have an admiration for intelligent charming and basically decent people,

  20. <Q>French terrorist?? </Q>

    According to republican doctrine expounded here to be Irish one has to be born in Ireland.

    MacBride was born in Paris which makes him French 😉

    Terrorist ? Chief of Staff of the IRA, so his terrorist credentials are not in doubt!

  21. "According to republican doctrine.." – MR

    That’s nonsense. MacBride was born in Paris but moved to Ireland in his early years. He spoke fluent Frech throughout his life and was proud of his French background but considered himself Irish.

    It might be better not to get into the whole area of who is and who is not a terrorist! For example, Thatcher sank the Belgrano, a barbarous act, is she a terrorist?

  22. MR

    Anyone who lives in Ireland and chooses to be Irish is Irish as far as I’m concerned.

  23. JG – if someone considers himself a martian, is he in fact Martian ?

    I didn’t expound the Doctrine – it was given here by an Irish Republican. I agree though – Irish Republicanism is nonsense 🙂

    MacBride was cheif of staff of a terrorist Organisation.

  24. Trademark pedantry from you MR! Both his parents were Irish and he lived here from a young age. Nationality is not like ethnicity, you can’t prove or disprove it in the way you’re trying to. A man is a man, a woman is a woman, a martian…… Nationality is different.

    You seem unwilling to say whether or not Thatcher (who has been mourning her friend Agusto today) is a terrorist.

    It’s interesting how people have no difficulty calling a Nobel Peace Laureate how served as a government minister in this state a terrorist, but when it comes to murderous maggie they shy away.

  25. <Q>Trademark pedantry from you MR!</Q>

    Nothing wrong with accuracy. As I pointed out, according to the Irish Republican definition given on this site previously, to be Irish one has to be born in Ireland.

    Mrs Thatcher and the Belgrano has nothing to do with the fact that MacBride was a Terrorist 🙂 that’s JG laying down smoke – though I’m amused to see you supporting Galtieri’s fascist junta LOL

  26. <Q>a Nobel Peace Laureate </Q>

    good company for Henry Kissinger, eh ? 😉

  27. Well I don’t know who gave that definition but it’s rubbish in my opinion. Anyhow, at the very least MacBride was a plastique paddy!!

    There you are shying away from the question again. What’s the big deal? Was she a terrorist in your opinion and why? You began this by calling MacBride a terrorist. Now, I’m wondering how you define that, nothing wrong with accuracy after all!:) Nobody’s laying down smoke, just address the question.

  28. MacBride was a foreign terrorist born of a decidedly dodgy couple! Am I right in thinking he only came to live in Ireland in 1918?

    Britain and Argentina were at War – so sinking an enemy warship can hardly be described as an act of terrorism.

  29. He came to Ireland in 1918 yeah, or there abouts.

    Right, we’re getting closer to the question of what terrorism is. MacBride fought in the War of Independence so he can hardly be described as a terrorist. He was a soldier fighting a war. After the Civil War he severed ties with the IRA and ran for election to the Dáil.

  30. <Q>He came to Ireland in 1918 yeah, or there abouts.</Q>

    when he was about 14 years old … that’s not a "young age" in my book 🙂

    <Q>MacBride fought in the War of Independence so he can hardly be described as a terrorist. He was a soldier fighting a war.

    Cobblers 🙂 the loyalist terrorists claim to have been soldiers fighting a war … Doesn’t prove that they are not/were not terrorists ….

    <Q>After the Civil War he severed ties with the IRA</Q>

    Whoa! you make it sound as if he quit the IRA in the early 20s …. He was Chief of Staff in 1933! That makes him a terrorist.

  31. No no no, MR. What I’m asking you is why you class MacBride as a terrorist. You have not explained what makes him a terrorist. You’re just saying: "he was in the IRA, he’s a terrorist" but that won’t wash.

    You said that Argentina and Britain were at war so it was ok for Maggie to sink a ship, killing 700 sailors who were retreating and were of no threat. During the War of Independence Ireland and Britain were at war and MacBride was a soldier in that war, although he never did anything remotely as evil as Thatcher. Why is he a terrorist and she’s a "Lady"?

  32. <Q>700 sailors who were retreating and were of no threat.</Q>

    Oh Please Julius – It would have taken 30 seconds for the Captain of the Belgrano to issue orders to turn round!

  33. What is a terrorist MR?

  34. <Q>"he was in the IRA, he’s a terrorist" but that won’t wash.</Q>

    why Not ? The IRA was an illegal terrorist organisation.
    He was no different than an Algerian born kid who moves to the UK aged 14 and goes on to join an Islamic terror group.

  35. That’s laughable! MR, you refuse to define terrorism because you know any credible definition will include Maggie and Tony’s crimes.

  36. Julius – the Belgrano ? How come you changed direction ? 😉

  37. Was Kissinger a Terrorist in your book Julius ?

  38. One thing at a time MR. You still haven’t told me what exactly you mean when you say ‘terrorist’ so lets have that first!

  39. <Q>One thing at a time MR.</Q>

    Indeed Julius – you raised the frenchman’s Nobel Laureate status before asking me to give a definition .

    So – was Kissinger a terrorist ?

  40. I haven’t mentioned any frenchman at all. I mentioned that MacBride was a Nobel Laureate. That wasn’t an important point, however. Now you’re using it to confuse things because you don’t want to answer the question I’ve repeatedly asked. You keep using the words "terrorist" and "terrorism", I think it’s fair to ask what you mean. As it is, I’m not sure, so lets clear that up first.

  41. <Q>That wasn’t an important point, however.</Q>

    Tut, tut – you brought it up to imply that the man had to be a saint 😉 So, Was Kissinger a terrorist ?

  42. I was not saying he was a saint. He was far from it. He was a decent, sincere, brave person who stood up and fought for Ireland and I respect him.

    Gandhi said: "Where the choice is set between cowardice and violence I would advise violence. I praise and extol the serence courage of dying without killing. Yet I desire that those who have not this courage should rather cultivate the art of killing and being killed, than basely avoid the danger. This is because he who runs away commits mental violence; he has not the courage of facing death by killing"

    There seems little point in me telling you whether or not I think Kissinger was a terrorist when we may not have the same understanding of the word ‘terrorist’, over to you MR…

  43. <Q>There seems little point in me telling you whether or not I think Kissinger was a terrorist </Q>


    I must away to my pit – but hopefully we can continue!

  44. MR

    From swimming Muslims to the war in Iraq all roads ten to lead home for you.

    One of the things I like about ATW is that international issues get discussed as well as local ones. Is it too much to ask that we stay on topic?

  45. I’m going the same way MR, good to see you, I’ll pop back in tomorrow.

  46. Erm – Henry – this was about CC O’B … and why don’t you have a yap at Cunningham who was first with his 7.35PM rant ?

  47. God Bless you and yours Julius 🙂

  48. MR

    It was about CCO’B’s opinion on Iraq. And if it helps then i also ask Cunningham and everyone else, myself included as I’m sure i have been drawn in on occasion, if we could keep the dreary steeples out of topics where they are not relevent.

    David and Andrew will never leave us short of opportunities to air our views on local matters (I look forward to a DUP/LVF thread after today’s revelations)

    But in the overall scheme of things iraq is more important than Northern Ireland at this point in history.

    I would actually MR be very interested in your views.

  49. <Q>But in the overall scheme of things iraq is more important than Northern Ireland at this point in history.

    I would actually MR be very interested in your views.</Q>

    Certainly Iraq would be of more importance to Irish Republicans as it allows you to indulge in the usual Brit Bashing and to air your anti-American prejudices.

    One of the lessons the US learned is that Terrorism anywhere is a danger to all of us. So Terrorists like Adams and McGuinness are relevent to Islamic terrorism.

    My thoughts on Iraq ? Unprintable. I think Blair is a fool and the US Government made a total Horlicks of the whole situation.

  50. MR

    <Q>Certainly Iraq would be of more importance to Irish Republicans as it allows you to indulge in the usual Brit Bashing and to air your anti-American prejudices.</Q>

    You’ve been paying close attention haven’t you?