The Problem In Brief

A short drama as told through the headlines and lead paragraphs of current news stories:

Iraq seeks help from Iran

Authorities lifted a three-day curfew in Baghdad and reopened Iraq’s international airport today, clearing the way for President Jalal Talabani to visit to Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran is “ready to help” calm Iraq’s fighting.



Iran and China poised to sign pact on oil field
25-year deal could be worth $100 billion
By Marc Wolfensberger / Bloomberg News

TEHRAN: Iran and China have moved a step closer to signing an energy deal worth as much as $100 billion, with the Islamic republic saying it had invited China Petrochemical’s managing director to Tehran to sign an accord first reached in 2004.


Iraq Study Group draft backs diplomacy with Iran and Syria
By David E. Sanger / The New York Times

WASHINGTON: A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which was to be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria, but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document.

But then:

Cheney asks Saudis for help in Iraq

US Vice President Dick Cheney has sought help from Saudi Arabia in dealing with Iraq’s spiralling violence and other trouble spots.

Cheney’s meeting with King Abdullah yesterday was brief, but it underlined the two allies’ concerns over upheavals across the Middle East, which many Arabs blame on US policies.

Cheney: “Abdullah, they say the Middle East doesn’t respect us like it used to.”

Abdullah: “Oh, Mr. Obtruding Arrangement of Flowers, please tell Mr. Vice President Cheney
that subsequent appointments unfortunately beckon.”


[Hanx! to g for the pic]


Comments: 34


This century we will see a war on all fronts between Petrol based societies and Hydrogen/alt fuels. It’ll be like Robotech or something, it’ll be so coool!!!11!


Ah yes, Heartless Dick again demonstrates his ability to completely ignore any facets of reality in favor of his evil, evil fellow despots.


Oh dear, it sounds like the U.S. does not control the entire world. But, but, the necons said…

“Cheney’s meeting with King Abdullah yesterday was brief, but it underlined the two allies’ concerns over upheavals across the Middle East, which many Arabs blame on US policies.

Oh, those silly A-rabs. Where’d they get such a ridiculous idea? o_O

“[M]any Arabs” is just another way of saying “some people,” “some say,” etc.


Yeah, but where does Venezuela fit into all of this?


I’m hoping that Iran and Iraq simply ignore the U.S. and pursue policies that help their own people. Clearly, our government has no interest in helping, and I think Cheney’s entreaties to the Saudis demonstrates that point perfectly. It sounds like Bush and Cheney are now in full-blown “Save our ass” mode, having concluded that they have shit the bed bigtime and knowing that they don’t have clue one as to how to unshit the bed.

But it is true to the histories of both Bush and Cheney. Bush, in particular, was bailed out of most of his business fuck-ups by his daddy’s Saudi business connections. This might be one more instance of Shrub looking for someone to bail him out again.


The problem with Bush’s history of bailing out is that when he saves his own ass it’s usually by throwing someone else’s ass under the bus.


Maybe if Kuwait invades Iraq that would solve everything? You know, like in Bizarro world.



Josh Marshall made an interesting point last week. Now that the elections are over, Bush doesn’t have anything he wants to do. In all his previous life’s failures, when it came tiome to get bailed out by Poppy’s friends, he moves on after whatever destruction he’s created.

But he can’t do that here, and Marshall maintains that he’s just kind of withdrawing, letting everybody else take care of whatever. He’s got no interest.

And I suppose he’s got a PS3, so what the hell, eh?


US Vice President Dick Cheney has sought help from Saudi Arabia

Did he come back with both hands?


TC – at this point in a Prez’s career, they also contemplate what comes after. I await Georgie’s post-White-House career. I imagine it will have something to do with mountain biking.


I like this photo of Dick begging the Saudi’s for support, analyzed over at BagNewsNotes:

Cheney perches uncomfortably on the couch like a black-clas toad, in the middle of all the gilt frippery.


Yeah, but where does Venezuela fit into all of this?

I’ll try this one.


China, Venezuela seek mutually beneficial partnership

Eager for oil to fuel its economy, China has agreed to form a “strategic alliance” with Venezuela, strengthening bilateral ties through oil agreements and other accords.

Analysts claim that in exchange for oil, China’s strategic interest, Venezuela hopes to gain a powerful friend in its quest to weaken the United States and help create a multi-polar world.


But along with developing its political relationships, Venezuela wants to diversify its oil customers. The world’s number five oil exporter depends on the United States to buy 60 percent of its oil exports. Likewise, China needs to diversify oil sources to meet its rapidly increasing energy needs.

Perhaps more importantly, Venezuela wants to stop depending on U.S technology, says [National Assemblyman Saul] Ortega.

“Chinese technology is very important,” he said. “Besides oil rigs and ships, China is offering us a satellite. The technology side is more important than oil.”


Analysis: US foes use oil to close ranks

Iran and Venezuela’s recent agreement to help build an oil refinery in Syria not only tightens the international network of petroleum trading, but also strengthens ties between those politically opposed to the United States, energy and security analysts say.

At the beginning of November, Damascus signed a memorandum of understanding with Venezuela and Iran for the two countries to help build an oil refinery that would be responsible for one-third of Syria’s production.


US to turn on the charm in Latin America

The Bush administration will launch an offensive to court powerful Brazil and other key Latin American nations after a string of setbacks diminished the influence of Venezuela’s populist President Hugo Chávez, a top official said Monday.

Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s acting No. 2, said senior U.S. officials will soon visit places like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile as the region winds up a busy electoral cycle that included more than a dozen presidential races in less than a year.

”By necessity, 2006 was a year of observation, to see what the trends would be in Latin America,” Burns told a gathering at the Council of the Americas, a U.S. group that promotes trade and free enterprise in the region.

Early next year, however, the administration will ”march out” to woo new governments whose election he characterized as an ”affirmation” of U.S. priorities in the region.


Cheney is sealing the deal on the Idi Amin Saudi Arabia palace. I`m kinda curious where Bush will end up.


They are so busy dealing with the cognitive dissonance of recognizing that there is no good way to disengage from Iraq, that they have not yet realized that they have cost the US immensely in terms of prestige and real power.

Well, it was nice having an empire by default for a while. Most empires suffer a lot more in the process of being demoted to regional powers, so I guess we should be thankful for that.


I’ll try this one.

Yeah, it’s really frightening. Iraq seems to be the great Bush/Cheney oil-gamble, while the rest of the world is firming up its alliances against the US.


Hey, Gavin, thanks for posting the photo!


Just the fact that wwe are publicly seen to be BEGGING the Saudis for help is scarey. Can you think of any other president or administration in recent history that would allow itself to be described that way?

And it’s only the Saudis we’d debase ourselves to — not the French; there was all that masculine posturing about how whimpy the hand-kissing Chirac is; Bush loomed over the German Merkel, manhandling her. He puts Tony Blair in a headlock and gives him a noogie.

But Cheney, the face-shooter, is reduced to squirming uncomfortably in a chair in King Abdullah’s boudoir, hoping to be invited to share the princely favors.


You know, adding all those headlines together, the total I come up with is: We. Are. So. Totally. Fucked.

I agree with Derelict, I think the best possible thing Iraq (all sects and factions included) and its neighbors can do now is to sit down together and try to hash out some sort of solution that will involve the least amount of blood and agony.

This is called diplomacy. It involves negotiations.

In the olden days, the US used to do this. Why, I can remember US Presidents actually initiating and facilitating these sorts of meetings. You know, being leaders.

But as I said, that was in the olden days.

The US, since it is currently being ‘led’ by moronic fuckwits and can contribute precisely NOTHING to the diplomatic process, should stay the hell out of the way, and concentrate on getting our military out of Iraq.

And then prepare to pay some hellacious reparations (to the Iraqis, not to corrupt US war profiteers) so that the Iraqis can rebuild what we destroyed.

Yes, bloated plutocrats, it is extremely likely that your taxes will go up. You may even have to give back some of the millions you stole from the actual taxpayers in this country. I would like to see you in prison, however, I think this is unlikely.

The dead, unfortunately, will remain dead.


Interesting timing, non? I mean, they just made the announcement that the Sunni Arab insurgency was financially self-supporting this weekend. So the Saudis can make a big deal out of witholding funds (they will continue to flow anyway – hell, the saudis are still funding Osama, fer cryin out loud) and nothing will change. In the meantime, people keep talking about opening a dialog with Syria and Iran. Ummm, aren’t they missing something? What reason do either of them have for talking to us? They’re both under US sanctions. There’s no trade or financial aid to be impacted. They both get economic investments from other nations, not the US. They both have an interest in seeing the US humiliated and driven from the region. They both have an interest in maintaining a level of support for the insurgency while keeping it from spiraling out of control. My guess is Amedinajad and Assad will play with the US diplomatic approaches like a cat plays with a mouse. But mostly they are going to take this opportunity to shit on the US, as the US has repeatedly shat on them…



“Amedinajad and Assad will play with the US diplomatic approaches like a cat plays with a mouse.”

Cats? That’s the other thread.

Sorry, mikey, for being irreverant toward what was a very reasoned post. I couldnt resist.

Seriously, you are right. The Saudis could totally mediate this thing, and unseat the US at the table. Interesting how humilation at the hands of the oil-plutocracy came due to the incompetency of former oil men and Saudi handholders, Bush and Cheney.


I have found that between Mehitabel and Ganesh cats are regular participants in Sadly, No threadz…



Some cats like the canned food more, but I must say that I prefer the dry food.


Getting Iran and Syria more involved in Iraq is a big mistake. That is why we are talking to the Saudis. No need to stir up the Shi’ite shit pile even more by inviting Iran and Syria into the country to do with as they please more than they already are. Unless of course you want a third terrorist controlled nation running around the Middle East.


How do nations “run around?” Is it like going out and partying with some other nation’s girlfriend [or boyfriend, as the case may be]?

Are the Iraqi Shiites like Britney, who’s like so totally ticked off at K-Fed that she’s decided to round around with Paris and Lindsay? That skanky George Bush said he loved them, but then he went and hung out with his Kurdish pals in Vegas flashing his bling bling, leaving the Shiites home with the baby nation crying and throwing temper tantrums. Fuck him, they’re gluing extensions in their hair, getting a babysitter and going out to Hyde with Iran and Syria.

Smiling Mortician

I have found that between Mehitabel and Ganesh cats are regular participants in Sadly, No threadz…

Given the past couple of days here in SNoville, I’m thinking it might be all-around more productive to discuss matters of grave international importance with teh felines . . .


I now approach each comment thread with trepidation, and frankly I completely skip the longer threads. So I know I am missing a lot, such as the newfound interest in cats. (and is Ganesh a cat? I thought he was a God with an elephant head?). But the alternative is worse.


Yeah. I should have skipped last night’s Thread That Shall Not Be Named. My feeling today is similar to those mornings in grad school when I decided it would be OK to follow up an evening of way too much beer and greasy pizza with several shots of Aquavit and still go to my 8:00 class: a little queasy, a little chastened, and like no amount of teeth-brushing is really gonna take care of it.

Anyway, what’s all this brouhaha about the problem with briefs? Is that why Cheney’s sitting like that?

[/Emily Litella]


If that’s a new picture, they’ve rejiggered Cheney’s heart meds enough that he’s lost a lot of the water bloat. Unfortunately, a healthier Cheney is not a good thing for the rest of us…

I haven’t seen any Maine Coon cats posting here yet. Probably they are too busy murdering baby bunnies and terrorizing dogs, but I am probably required by cat law to point out that our Demon Kishkan could kick Ganesh’s ass, and probably Cheney’s as well, if the Secret Service didn’t get lucky with a mortar round (/g).


Just thought I’d take a moment out of my busy day of mayhem to point out that up here in the great Northeast, we’re all wondering what the hell that Floridian Jeb Bush is doing poking his nose into the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear arguments from fundie Maineac parents who want the state to pay for their kids to go to Jesus-camp schools. Doesn’t he have enough problems to . . . hey! a bunny!


I’ll try this one.

Nice. Iran offers Venezuela development partnership. China offers a strategic alliance (and doesn’t that sound just swell).

What does the US have to offer? Charm.

And even that is couched in militaristic language: “…the Bush administration will launch an offensive…” and “…the administration will ’march out’ to woo new governments…”

“…new governments whose election he characterized as an ‘’affirmation’’ of U.S. priorities in the region.”

Like who? Daniel fucking Ortega?

These people really don’t get the whole “diplomacy” concept, do they?


“the Bush administration will launch an offensive…â€? and “…the administration will ’march out’ to woo new governments…â€?

You know, that doesn’t work with dating and it doesn’t work with diplomacy.


I suspect that is exactly how the BlogsforBushboys go about it.


The buck stops over there, with those meddlesome liberal kids.


the Bush administration will launch an offensive


the administration will ’march out’ to woo new governments…


What does the US have to offer? Charm.

Come on, people! This is too easy!

Obviously, the administration is launching a charm offensive!

Because, seriously, who can resist the C+ Augustus and Darth Cheney when they turn on the charm?


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