Saturday, February 24, 2007

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack

From The Sunday Times, February 25, 2007

"SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”

A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.

The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice-President Dick Cheney that all options, including military action, remained on the table. He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair that it would not “be right to take military action against Iran”......"

AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran

"An American Strike on Iran is Essential for Our Existence"


".....Now, as Israeli calls for a U.S. attack on Iran become more shrill by the day, AIPAC recognizes that the American people profoundly distrust Vice President Cheney and the nest of neocon liars he has sheltered. The Bush-Cheney war machine has been pretty well exposed, and that must worry the warmongers within the group. Israeli Defense Force chief artillery officer Gen. Oded Tira has griped that "President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," adding that since "an American strike in Iran is essential for [Israel's] existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iran issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure." Tira urges the Lobby to turn to "potential presidential candidates. . . so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran," while Uri Lubrani, senior advisor to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, tells the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors that the US "does not understand the threat and has not done enough," and therefore "must be shaken awake."

Many Americans would find such statements deeply offensive in their arrogance and condescension. President Bush has indeed been weakened by the "Iraq failure" Tira acknowledges, arising from a war that the Lobby once endorsed with enormous enthusiasm. (As Gen. Wesley Clark put it way back in August 2002, "Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel." Recall that that weapon was imaginary.) So now, the Israeli war advocates aver, the U.S. president needs to be helped to do the right thing and attack Iran by lobbyists who will use their power to force the fools in the Democratic Party, especially presidential candidates. Because Americans don't understand and have to be shaken out of their current skeptical mode.

By who? By AIPAC, of course!....."

Ali Abunimah discusses current developments on CounterSpin

Audio, CounterSpin, 24 February 2007

"[The Mecca Agreement] is not an obstacle to peace -- what it is is an obstacle to US and Israelis' railroading of the Palestinians into an unjust, untenable and unsustainable deal. The Israelis and the Americans want the Palestinians basically to capitulate, to give up on what Palestinians see as their most fundamental rights." Ali discusses Condoleezza Rice's latest trip to the Middle East in an interview on CounterSpin.

Click Here to Listen

"You and I and the Next War"

by Uri Avnery

Global Research, February 24, 2007

""WE ARE ready for the next war," a reserve soldier told a TV reporter this week, on the scene of a brigade-size maneuver on the Golan Heights.

What war? Against whom? About what? This was not stated, and not even asked. The soldier saw it as self-evident that war will break out soon, and it seems that he did not particularly care against whom.

Politicians are used to expressing themselves more cautiously, in words like "If, God forbid, a war should break out…" But in Israeli public discourse, the next war is seen as a natural phenomenon, like tomorrow's sunrise. Of course, war will break out. The only question is against whom.

AND INDEED - against whom? Perhaps Hizbullah again?

Quite possibly. In the Knesset and the media, a lively debate took place this week about whether Hizbullah has already regained all the capabilities it had before the Second Lebanon War, or not yet......

Our commentators reacted by declaring that "no later than this summer" the Israeli army will be compelled to attack in Lebanon in order to remove the danger, and, on this occasion, also to eradicate the shame and restore to the army the "deterrent power" that was lost on the battlefields of that unfortunate war.

OR PERHAPS Syria, this time? That is also possible. After all, this week's brigade maneuver, the first for a long time, was held on the Golan and obviously directed against Damascus......

Preparations go well beyond training the forces on the ground. They also have a psychological dimension. The day before yesterday, an extra-large front page headline in Haaretz announced: "Syrian Arms Race With the Help of Iran". The other media followed suit. It was said that Russia was supplying Syria with huge quantities of anti-tank weapons, of the kind that penetrated even the most advanced Israeli tanks in the recent war. And, as if that was not enough, Russia is also providing Syria with anti-shipping missiles that would be a real threat to our navy, and long-range missiles that can reach every corner of Israel.

The news story puts together three countries - Syria, Russia and Iran - which are, quite fortuitously, the three members of Bush's new "axis of evil"........

Truth is that no danger lurks in that direction. There is not the slightest possibility that Syria would attack Israel. The military capabilities of Syria, even with all the Russian arms they may get, are vastly inferior to those of the Israeli army. That is the considered view of the entire Israeli intelligence community. If Syria rearms, it is for defensive purposes. They are, quite justly, afraid of Israel and the United States.....

AND PERHAPS these are simply diversionary tactics, in order to shift attention away from the real target of the next war - Iran?......

A cynical Prime Minister, entrapped in such a situation, could easily be tempted to start another military adventure, in the hope that it would give him back his lost popularity and divert attention from his private and political troubles. If this is the aim, it really does not matter much against whom - Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians or Iranians. The main thing is that it should happen as soon as possibly, preferably this summer at the latest. What remains is to convince the public of the presence of an existential danger, but in our country that is not too difficult.

ALL THIS reminds one, of course, of another outstanding leader - George W. Bush. Amazing how these two find themselves in almost the same situation......

But it seems that the American system has created a terrifying situation: President Bush has two more years in office - and in this time he can start any war at will, even though now the American public has clearly shown in the congressional elections that it loathes the Iraq war. As Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military forces in the world, he can widen and deepen the war in Iraq, and at the same time start a new war against Iran or Syria......

Thus, one single person can cause a world-wide catastrophe. He has no brakes, but has a strong drive towards war: to fulfill his "vision" (dictated to him by God Himself in private conversation) and to retouch his image in history......

The neo-cons, who still reign supreme in Washington, are convinced that a rain of many hundreds of smart bombs on all the nuclear, military, governmental and public installations in Iran could "do the job". Their friends in Israel will applaud, since that would relieve Israel of the need to do something similar, if on a smaller scale......

Bush and Olmert and the Next War - HELP!"

Zionism and the United States

The Cultural Connection

A Good Article

"......I agree with Naveh that the US influence over the Zionist enterprise is important. What is less understood is how Israel has become a model for the US. Recently the work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt has raised the question of how Israel, through the Zionist lobby in the US, has perhaps come to exercise a virtually direct control over US policy in the Middle East. This is an important debate in which others, such as Noam Chomsky and Bill and Kathleen Christison have made important contributions. In this debate, in my opinion, the cultural connections between Zionism and the United States should not be minimized......

The associations envisioned by Jefferson are eloquent: the notion of a chosen people-the Elect-to whom providence has assigned a spiritual mission linked to the conquest of a particular land. All this provides the basis for an affinity that is, in fact, more than elective-it is divine. More specifically, both chosen peoples were, ultimately, "people without a land" called upon to colonize "a land without a people".

When we speak of the colonizers, of America and Palestine, it is logical to forget the indigenous inhabitants of both places, for it was the land that was colonized--not the people living on it. The importance of the American Indians and the Palestinians comes from the fact that they have figured as obstacles to the fulfillment of the missions in question. Both groups have, in different ways, been characterized as lower forms of civilization slowing the march of progress. Both peoples have been described as savage and cruel.......

For all of these reasons, the rhetoric of nationalism in the Israel-Palestine conflict tends to reinforce established cultural values, values stemming from American historical experience. It is also why, in the United States, many people find it difficult to take seriously Palestinian claims, just as they could not take seriously the claims of the "Indian Nations". The similarities, in any case, are striking. One century later, the Palestinian resistance to colonization and ethnic cleansing is being dealt with in much the same ways as that of the Indians: forced evacuation, concentration in "reservations" (which could be called "Bantustans" or "autonomous territories"), periodic massacre and racist humiliations......"

Windbag du Jour: Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas Spokesman.

Mishaal: Hamas to maintain political flexibility without bowing to pressures

All Wind...., All The Time....

The New and Improved Hamas.

"CAIRO, (PIC)-- Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of the Hamas Movement, has affirmed that his Movement would continue to pursue political flexibility but would never bow to pressures......"

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

"Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons.

"We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the official, who asked not to be named......

Last week Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, announced that he had persuaded Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad for the past six years and one of Israel's leading experts on Iran's nuclear programme, to defer his retirement until at least the end of next year.

Mr Olmert has also given overall control of the military aspects of the Iran issue to Eliezer Shkedi, the head of the Israeli Air Force and a former F-16 fighter pilot......."

Grandchild Abdullah as Much a Traitor to the Palestinians as the Grandfather Abdullah

Jordan urges Palestinian compromise

"Jordan's King Abdullah has said that the new Palestinian unity government must adhere to the demands of the Middle Eastern Quartet that include recognising Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by peace deals.

King Abdullah's comments, the first from an Arab leader, came in an interview with Israel's Channel Two, and will air on Saturday. His statements are the first from the region to cast a doubt on the willingness of major Arab donors to side-step a US-led embargo of the Hamas-led government unless it commits to the conditions.

'Not alone'

"You're not alone on this," Abdullah said in the interview when asked about Israeli concerns that the power-sharing deal between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah leader, fails to meet the Quartet's demands.

"There's international common ground - not just western but also Arab and to an extent Muslim - that believe that there have to be certain criteria that the new government has to accept if we're going to move the process forward," Abdullah said.......

Jordanian officials have privately supported US-led efforts to isolate the Hamas government that took power after winning the January 2006 elections, unless it embraced Middle East peace moves.....

While the unity government agreement contained a vague promise to "respect" previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements it fell short of what the Quartet wants.

"It's not just ... the international players, but also the Arab countries are also expecting the new Palestinian government to adhere to the policies that we have set out in the Quartet, and in the Arab Quartet also," Abdullah said, referring to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

King Abdullah said Abbas should be given "the mandate to start negotiations with the Israelis," and the new government should be in "full compliance with the Arab Accord as well as international commitments"....."

Tony Blair makes Comical Ali seem the voice of reason

The former Iraqi regime spokesman's boasts seem almost prophetic. Unlike the prime minister's deluded declarations

Marina Hyde
Saturday February 24, 2007
The Guardian

".....And so it was, listening to Tony Blair sing the praises of his Iraq adventure on the Today programme on Thursday, that my mind began to wander. If it wasn't all such a bleeding mess, I thought vaguely, the prime minister's delusions of success would be almost comical......

Listening again to Blair's Today interview, it is easy to imagine his declarations as simply one melody in a discordant symphony, a series of those beloved soundbites that could be spliced with contrapuntal news of actual events. "We should be immensely proud." Crash! A six-hour firefight in Ramadi leaves 12 dead. "What we had to do was rebuild an Iraqi army and police - we did that." Bang! A US soldier dies and three are injured by a roadside bomb in Diwaniya. "It is better now that [Saddam] has gone." Wallop! A car bomb factory is discovered in Baghdad. Just as it was with his apparent inspiration, Comical Ali, it becomes ever more difficult to avoid the suspicion that the prime minister is living in a parallel universe, where success and failure are merely states of mind......

His prime ministerial imitator, however, is assumed to have far loftier plans, with the North American lecture tour a seeming inevitability. Enthralled audiences can no doubt expect more insights such as we gained on Thursday, when the PM appeared to justify Iraq's sprightly journey in the direction of civil war with the observation: "You can't absolutely predict every set of circumstances that comes about." Well quite. You can, however, have a vague punt on possible outcomes, and if you are over the age of 15, not involved in a still-unfathomed platonic infatuation with the US president, and willing to listen to intelligence you didn't pilfer off the internet, you might hazard the road ahead was slightly more pitfall-ridden than seems to have been judged.......

But the smile fades when recalling other pronouncements. "Do not be hasty because your disappointment will be huge," the old crazy warned. "You will reap nothing from this aggressive war, which you launched on Iraq, except for disgrace and defeat." "We will embroil them, confuse them, and keep them in the quagmire," he said later, adding that "they cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege."

There are, of course, rather fewer than 26 million people in Iraq these days, but even those who dispute the precise extent of the population depletion might agree that it comes to something when, in hindsight, several statements by this preposterous character seem more prophetic than anything spouted by the British government at the time......"

US Attack on Iran: An Accident Waiting to Happen

By Linda S. Heard

".......Think about it! As the world goes about its business as usual, the US could well be on the brink of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities using nuclear-tipped bunker busters. Evidence there is such a plan on the table is coming thick and fast but there is nothing we can do about it......

One of the most disturbing things is the way the new US Defense Secretary Bob Gates keeps insisting his country has absolutely no plans to attack Iran.

Dan Plesch, one of Britain’s leading commentators on defense and security doesn’t believe him. “American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day,” says Plesch.

They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran’s military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons.”

Professor of International Law Francis A. Boyle doesn’t believe him. He wants George W. Bush and US Vice President Dick Cheney impeached before they can start a wider war in the Middle East. “I believe that they [the neoconservatives] would like the opportunity to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and indicate to the world -- we here in the United States are fully prepared to use nuclear weapons and we just used them against Iran,” he recently said on Talk Nation Radio.

Former UN weapons inspector, turned peace activist, Scott Ritter isn’t swallowing Gates’ assurances either. Here’s what he said on the subject during a recent lecture: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to war with Iran. It’s going to happen. There’s nothing we can do to stop it.”......

In truth, there could be method in his madness. Various papers penned by his neocon friends before he took office (“Clean Break” and the Project for the New American Century’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”) make clear the Bush administration’s end goal, which is control of this region and its resources to stem the rise of competitors.

There were basically two obstacles to that goal: Iraq and Iran. Iraq has been dealt with and now there is only one. Bush has vowed that he will not leave office with the prospect of Iran achieving a nuclear arsenal any time soon......

Interestingly, former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, once a fervent advocate of full spectrum US domination, recently warned a Senate committee that the Bush administration might resort to such tactics. A false flag operation would allow the US to play victim and frame any attack on Iran in a defensive light. Just as it did before going into Iraq, the White House is demonizing the Iranian leadership......"

The Delusions of Hamas

All Wind...., All The Time.....

مشعل: حماس تحتفظ بمرونة في أدائها السياسي ولكنها لا تخضع للضغوط

"القاهرة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

التقى خالد مشعل، رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" عدداً من المثقفين والسياسيين والنواب ورجال الفكر ورؤساء تحرير بعض الصحف في مصر، بغرض إطلاعهم على الرؤى المستقبلية الخاصة بالقضية الفلسطينية، بعد توقيع اتفاق مكة بين حركتي "حماس" و"فتح".

ومن أبرز الذين حضروا اللقاء المستشار طارق البشري، والدكتور محمد سليم العوا الأمين العام للاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين، والبروفيسور عبد الوهاب المسيري، والكاتب فهمي هويدي والدكتور محمد عمارة.

وقد حرص مشعل، في اللقاء الذي تم مساء الجمعة (23/2) قبل مغادرته القاهرة لاستكمال جولته العربية غير المعلن عن تفاصيلها لأسباب أمنية، وأداره الكاتب والإعلامي فهمي هويدي، على الحديث بلغة متفائلة، محورها أن الموقف العربي ليس كله سيئاً، وأنه ليس صحيحاً أن ننظر إلى الأمور على أن الموقف الرسمي العربي يدار بواسطة الولايات المتحدة.

كما حرص على تأكيد أنه لمسَ مواقف عربية رسمية مشجعة عن ذي قبل، وأن الحالة العربية تتعافى، والموقف العربي بات موحداً أكثر من ذي قبل، خصوصاً بعد توقيع اتفاق مكة والالتزام العربي به، وباعتبار، كما قال مسؤول في وفد حماس لـ "قدس برس"، أن اتفاق مكة المكرمة أظهر الموقف الفلسطيني الموحد الذي تلتزم به الدول العربية، والذي ستتحرك به قبالة العالم الخارجي للمطالبة بوقف حصار الشعب الفلسطيني.

وقد ركز اللقاء على الاستماع لوجهات نظر المثقفين والمفكرين المصريين بشكل أساس في الأحداث بعد إطلاعهم على تطورات الأوضاع الفلسطينية والعربية كما قرأها وفد حماس في اللقاءات الرسمية، ودار حوار حول بعض النقاط بعمق، فيما تم التطرق لبعض النقاط الأخرى بصورة سريعة نظراً لارتباط الوفد الفلسطيني بالسفر.

وقد كان من الحضور أيضاً بعض نواب البرلمان عن جماعة الإخوان المسلمين، والدكتور عصام العريان، ومفكرون يساريون وناصريون، واللواء صلاح الدين سليم، والدكتور حسن نافعة ومجدي مهنا وجمال الغيطاني وعدد آخر من الباحثين والمفكرين.

وقد أظهر اللقاء أن رؤية "حماس" للوضع، خصوصاً ما بعد اتفاق مكة، تدور حول التأكيد على أنه لا يوجد تنازل أو تشدد، حيث أكد مشعل أن الحركة اشتقت لنفسها طريقاً محصلته أن يكون لديها مرونة تتحرك بموجبها، ولكنها لا تتنازل أو تتلقى أوامر أو تخضع لضغوط من أي دول سواء كانت مصر أو إيران أو سوريا أو السعودية.

وأضاف: "إن كل دولة تعلم أن حماس لها أجندتها، وأنه إذا كانت هناك سلبيات في الدور العربي فهناك إيجابيات يجب النظر لها، ولا يجب النظر للأمور نظرة قاتمة".

وقد دار حوار حول التأثيرات المحتملة لضرب إيران على حركة "حماس" والقضية الفلسطينية، وحرص قادة الحركة على تأكيد الفارق بين "التأثير" و"القضاء" على حماس، منوهين إلى أن أي تطور يقع يؤثر، فمحاولة ضرب حزب الله أثرت على "حماس"، وخروج الحركة من الأردن أثر عليها، وكذا غزو العراق، وضمن هذا ضرب إيران لو حدث، فكل تطور سلبي يؤثر على الوضع الفلسطيني، ولكنه لا يعني أنه يقضي على الحركة.

وقد لفت مشعل الأنظار إلى أن غالبية الحديث يدور حول ضرب الولايات المتحدة لإيران وتأثير هذه الضربة عليها، في حين أن لا أحد يتحدث عن قدرة إيران على صدّ هذه الضربة، الأمر الذي فهم منه ضمناً أن مشعل يشكك في قدرة واشنطن علي ضرب إيران لعلمها بقوة هذه الأخيرة وقدرتها على الرد.

وحول الدور المصري في اتفاق مكة، دار حوار مطوّل، لا سيما وأن الأيام الأخيرة قبل وصول وفد "حماس" شهدت مناقشات وكتابات تدور حول ضعف الدور الخارجي للقاهرة الذي تمثل في توقيع اتفاق حكومة الوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية، وكشف النقاب خلال المناقشات عن أن ما جرى في مكة كان مقرراً أن يجري في القاهرة، لأن قادة "حماس" سبق أن عرضوا فكرة عقد هذا اللقاء بين "فتح" و"حماس" في القاهرة، بيد أن الدور السعودي سبق، وكان مكملاً للدور المصري.

وقد أكد العديد من المتحدثين من الطرفين المصري والفلسطيني أن "حماس" لا تلام للجوئها للسعودية وتوقيع الاتفاق هناك، ونفي مسؤولو الحركة أن يكونوا قد سمعوا لوماً من القاهرة لتوقيع الاتفاق في مكة التي رعت الاتفاقات السابقة، مؤكدين أنه لا "حماس" ملومة ولا القاهرة يجب أن تلام لتوقيع الاتفاق بعيدا عنها خصوصا أنه جرى بالتنسيق معها. "

Ashes & Dust ...

By Layla Anwar

".......The American cowards bombed Ramadi today.
Many homes were demolished. A family of thirteen was buried under the rubbles. More than 26 civilians were killed, out of which 4 women and several children. Two infants, the youngest was 1 month old.
Men rushed to the ruins trying to rescue whatever human form they can find.
Bare hands, rugged, dust covering their faces and hair, digging and digging...
Most had nothing but a shirt on. No vest, no sweater, no nothing, just a shirt, in this bitter cold.
And I watched their feet, they were wearing plastic slippers in winter, no socks, no nothing.
I watched even more carefully and most were very thin and looked malnourished...
They finally managed to pull the little infant out from under piles of thick bricks.
A dust covered baby with an ashen complexion and her tiny lips ripped apart.
A small piece of greyish white cloth was handed and she was wrapped in it in a tiny bundle

Then the camera zoomed in on the eyes of the onlookers. They all had this one common, identical expression.
A kind of a hollow, lingering gaze like being here and not here.
Then the camera zoomed in even closer... and behind the hollowness in the eyes, lied the utter void, an endless void. A tunnel of despair that seemed to stretch to eternity...
A younger man, not older than 16 wept then stared back at the camera and he kept staring and I saw a lingering death about to explode, in his deep black eyes.......

A lost infant in the ashes, lost faces in the dust, a lost finger in the garbage dumps, a lost mother in the debris, a nation lost in the fire, a country lost in the greed ....and eyes lost in that endless tunnel of helplessness, anguish and despair...
Lost in the total emptiness, in the void of the living dead

Where is Gilad Atzmon, I need him to hum something to me, I am choking with endless Grief...
You sleep well now."

By Naser Jafari

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lawrence of Arabia was really a Zionist, historian claims

An Interesting Article That Exposes British Treachery and the Pro-Zionist Arab Kings Who Played a Role in the Creation of Israel.

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 24 February 2007

"It appears to be revisionism on a grand scale. Popular imagination, fed on Peter O'Toole's portrayal in David Lean's film classic Lawrence of Arabia, will have a hard time absorbing the startling assertion by the historian Sir Martin Gilbert that its hero was in fact a "serious Zionist" who believed in a "Jewish state from the Mediterranean shore to the River Jordan".

Sir Martin, who plans to back up his myth-challenging claim in his next book, declared here this week that TE Lawrence, long regarded as the unrivalled prototype of the British Arabist, "had a sort of contempt for the Arabs, actually. He felt that only with a Jewish state would the Arabs make anything of themselves."

The British Jewish historian who has written histories of Israel and the Holocaust, as well as his monumental biography of Winston Churchill, made front-page news here when he told The Jerusalem Post during the city's international book fair: "The most interesting thing from an Israeli perspective is about Lawrence of Arabia. The great Arabist, right? The man who supported the Arabs and pushed for Arab nationhood in the 1920s. He is always pictured wearing Arab robes. What is so astonishing ­ which you'll see in my next book, Churchill and the Jews ­ is that he was a serious Zionist."

Sir Martin revealed last night that a series of minutes written by Lawrence, which he uncovered in the National Archive, demonstrated his sympathy with the Zionist cause. Working for Churchill in 1921, for example, he clearly identified "the area of Palestine from the Mediterranean to Jordan" as the "Jewish National Home".

While the discoveries overturn many popular assumptions about Lawrence in Britain and much of the Arab world, they will come as less of a surprise to prominent historians here.

Norman Rose of the Hebrew University, and a leading expert on the history of Zionism in Britain, leaves little room for doubt about Lawrence's admiration for Chaim Weizmann in his biography of the Belarus-born Zionist who became a British citizen in 1910, was the leading lobbyist for the 1917 Balfour declaration pledging a Jewish homeland, and the first President of Israel.

The biography quotes Lawrence as telling the Archbishop of Jerusalem, a sceptic about Weizmann, that the Zionist leader "is a great man whose boots neither you nor I are fit to black". When Weizmann finally settled in Palestine in 1934, and told his friend Lewis Namier that he regretted not having done so a decade earlier, Namier could not resist replying that Lawrence had remarked to him of Weizmann that "one does not build the National Home by living in a villa in Addison Road". This was hardly, to put it mildly, the sentiment of an anti-Zionist.

Lawrence, who had played a leading part in co-ordinating the Arab revolt against the Turks to serve British interests, mediated and translated at the post war Jewish-Arab accord between the future King Feisal of Iraq and Weizmann, which allowed for "large-scale immigration" of Jews to Palestine and implementation of the Balfour declaration in return for the Arab state promised ­ and then reneged on ­ by the British.

Professor Rose said yesterday: "I am no expert on Lawrence, but this was when many people did not see a contradiction between a Jewish National Home and Arab independence."

In 1921, when Churchill was Colonial Secretary, Lawrence worked closely with him as an adviser from the Department's Middle East Department, travelling with him to the Cairo conference when Feisal was assigned the kingship of Iraq and his brother Abdullah the Emirate of Transjordan.

It was from this period that several of the documents uncovered by Sir Martin originate. Lawrence, for example, wrote that part of Abdullah's job would be to "check anti-Zionism" and prevent infiltration from what is now Jordan into the "Jewish National Home".

It seems logical to imagine that working so closely with the minister, he shared at the time Churchill's warmth to the idea of a Jewish homeland, and probably an eventual Jewish state. "Churchill was pro-Zionist," says Professor Rose. "No question." "


It appears that nothing has changed in over 80 years. The Arabs, with their stooge kings and princes, are still doing the bidding of the West and Zionism, while they destroy and colonize the Arab world and finish off what is left of Palestine. The British used the Arabs in the 1920s to fight and expel the Ottomans. For their stupidity, they got rewarded by being divided and colonized and by having Palestine stolen and the Palestinians expelled. Still, most of the Arab world allies itself with the West! Huge U.S. military bases have been established in several Arab countries and these are used to attack and devastate other Arab and Muslim countries. We are told that Iran is the enemy and Israel is our "ally!" Will the Arabs ever wake up from their long stupor and learn?

Darth Vader Spells it Out

Cheney hints at Iran strike

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has raised the possibility of military action to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

"He has endorsed Republican senator John McCain's proposition that the only thing worse than a military confrontation with Iran would be a nuclear-armed Iran.

In an exclusive interview with The Weekend Australian, Mr Cheney said: "I would guess that John McCain and I are pretty close to agreement."

The visiting Vice-President said that he had no doubt Iran was striving to enrich uranium to the point where they could make nuclear weapons.

He accused Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of espousing an "apocalyptic philosophy" and making "threatening noises about Israel and the US and others".

He also said Iran was a sponsor of terrorism, especially through Hezbollah. However, the US did not believe Iran possessed any nuclear weapons as yet.

"You get various estimates of where the point of no return is," Mr Cheney said, identifying nuclear terrorism as the greatest threat to the world.

"Is it when they possess weapons or does it come sooner, when they have mastered the technology but perhaps not yet produced fissile material for weapons?"....."

FAMAS Capitulates One Step At A Time. Celebrate, Now!

Abbas to push PA gov't to fulfill Quartet demands

"Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he was determined to push the planned Palestinian unity government into complying with Western demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Abbas was referring to the three principles drafted by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators ? the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

"We did not change our position, we did not change our principles," Abbas told reporters after a meeting with the European Union's chief diplomat Javier Solana in Brussels. Abbas met Solana as part of a tour of European nations in efforts to build support for an eventual lifting of a crippling international aid embargo.

Abbas said that his Fatah party remained "committed to the principles of a two-state-solution, renouncing violence and terror and reiterating our commitment to agreements signed."....."

Windbag du Jour
All Wind, All The Time

The British retreat from Iraq brings peril for U.S. troops

By Juan Cole

"....In reality, southern Iraq is a quagmire that has defeated all British efforts to impose order, and Blair was pressed by his military commanders to get out altogether -- and quickly. The departure has only been slowed, for the moment, by the pleas of Bush administration officials like Cheney. And far from the disingenuously upbeat prognosis offered by the vice president, the British withdrawal could spell severe trouble for both the Iraqi government and for U.S. troops in that country...."

Amid the Lies and Prevarication in the Lead Up to the Iran Attack, Tony Blair Gets Cold Feet

By Kurt Nimmo

"Over at the Jerusalem Post, unsubstantiated allegation has become bedrock fact, a quite normal state of affairs for the neocon-infested corporate media, determined to set the attack Iran ball in motion.

“Israeli officials Thursday night urged ‘crisper’ and ‘faster’ moves to sanction Iran after a UN report found the Islamic Republic had expanded its program to obtain nuclear weapons,” the newspaper reports.

Last September, the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency made it clear no nuclear weapons program was detected in Iran.

In November, the CIA “found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,” according to Seymour Hersh.....

Confronting a manufactured chimera, “a senior Israeli source in Washington” told the Jerusalem Post “I don’t think we’ve got endless amounts of time to deal with this problem,” in other words Iran must be attacked soon, or sanctions imposed, at least. “This is the time that these things have to be dealt with,” said the anonymous source, citing a recent IAEA report that notes.....

But the Israelis and the American neocons are not keen on accuracy, preferring instead exaggeration, fabrication, distortion, and outright lies—the same sort of fare they produced in late 2002 and early 2003 in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Finally, as the latest IAEA report makes the rounds, the Australian reports “senior British Government officials fear that US President George W. Bush will attack Iran before his final term in office ends,” worries that coincide with “with British Prime Minister Tony Blair declaring himself at odds with hawks [war criminal neocons] in the US administration by saying publicly for the first time that it would be wrong to take military action” against Iran. “I can’t think that it would be right to take military action against Iran…. What is important is to pursue the political, diplomatic channel…. I think it is the only way that we are going to get a sensible solution to the Iranian issue.”

Of course, when it came to Iraq, Blair fell right in with the murderous neocons, preferring mass murder to sensibility.

If ever there is held a Nuremberg-like tribunal for the neocon war criminals—and I’m certainly not holding my breath—Mr. Blair will naturally be right there in the docket along with his buddy Bush and Cheney."

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

Tehran accuses the US of staging covert operations from Pakistan to provoke ethnic and religious violence, and even the breakup of Iran. Tehran is also angered by what it sees as a US-Pakistan nexus manipulating the Afghan situation. Iran could retaliate against NATO in Afghanistan, or try to make Pakistan accountable. Both are bad options.

A Good Article
By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"........The Iranian outburst was, conceivably, prompted by the spurt of trans-border terrorism inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province, which borders Pakistan. Ten days ago, a militant group called Jundallah killed 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in an attack in the city center of Zahedan. Iranian state media reported that the attack was part of US plans to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran. Balochs are Sunnis numbering about 1.5 million out of Iran's 70 million predominantly Shi'ite population.

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi alleged that in the recent past, US intelligence operatives in Afghanistan had been meeting and coordinating with Iranian militants, apart from encouraging the smuggling of drugs into Iran from Afghanistan. He said the US operatives were working to create Shi'ite-Sunni strife within Iran.

American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has copiously written about recent US covert operations inside Iran. With reference to the incidents in Zahedan, Stratfor, a think-tank with close connections to the US military and security establishment, commented that the Jundallah militants are receiving a "boost" from Western intelligence agencies. Stratfor said, "The US-Iranian standoff has reached a high level of intensity ... a covert war [is] being played out ... the United States has likely ramped up support for Iran's oppressed minorities in an attempt to push the Iranian regime toward a negotiated settlement over Iraq.".....

A Washington conference last year brought together representatives of Iranian Kurdish, Balochi, Ahvazi, Turkmen and Azeri organizations with the aim of forming a united front against the Tehran regime. An influential US think-tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), went a step further and prepared a report from the neo-conservative perspective on what a Yugoslavia-like federated Iran would look like......

"The Pentagon is especially interested in whether Iran is prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kinds of faultlines that are splitting Iraq and that helped to tear apart the Soviet Union with the collapse of communism," Bradley wrote......

The irony is that Afghanistan is being put to use as a launch pad by the US for sponsoring terrorism directed against Iran, when the raison d'etre of the US occupation of Afghanistan during the past five years has been for the stated purpose of fighting a "war on terrorism". Besides, Iranian cooperation at a practical level went a long way in facilitating the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Even Iran's detractors would admit that during the past five years, Tehran has followed a policy of good-neighborliness toward the Kabul government, no matter Washington's dominance over President Hamid Karzai. In fact, Iran figures as a major donor country contributing to Afghanistan's reconstruction......"

Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra

By Patrick Cockburn

"The partial British military withdrawal from southern Iraq announced by Tony Blair this week follows political and military failure, and is not because of any improvement in local security, say specialists on Iraq.

In a comment entitled "The British Defeat in Iraq" the pre-eminent American analyst on Iraq, Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington, asserts that British forces lost control of the situation in and around Basra by the second half of 2005.

Mr Cordesman says that while the British won some tactical clashes in Basra and Maysan province in 2004, that "did not stop Islamists from taking more local political power and controlling security at the neighbourhood level when British troops were not present". As a result, southern Iraq has, in effect, long been under the control of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri) and the so-called "Sadrist" factions.

Mr Blair said for three years Britain had worked to create, train and equip Iraqi Security Forces capable of taking on the security of the country themselves. But Mr Cordesman concludes: "The Iraqi forces that Britain helped create in the area were little more than an extension of Shia Islamist control by other means."......

Why is the British Army still in south Iraq and what good does it do there? The suspicion grows that Mr Blair did not withdraw them because to do so would be too gross an admission of failure and of soldiers' lives uselessly lost. It would also have left the US embarrassingly bereft of allies. Reidar Visser, an expert on Basra, says after all the publicity about the British "soft" approach in Basra in 2003, local people began to notice that the soldiers were less and less in the streets and the militias were taking over. "This, in turn, created a situation where critics claim the sole remaining objective of the British forces in Iraq is to hold out and maintain a physical presence somewhere within the borders of the governorates in the south formally left under their control, while at the same minimising their own casualties.' Mr Visser said.

In other words, British soldiers have stayed and died in southern Iraq, and will continue to do so, because Mr Blair finds it too embarrassing to end what has become a symbolic presence and withdraw them."

In praise of ... hummus

Friday February 23, 2007
The Guardian

"The disappearance of hummus from the shelves after a hygiene problem at a plant supplying supermarkets has revealed the depth of popular addiction to this appealing paste. Its taste, at once earthy and refreshing, now has a large place in the British palate. Its grainy texture offers what food chemists call "mouthfeel" at its best. It is as moreish as chocolate or ice cream, yet its healthy ingredients induce a feeling of virtue not available with those of other foodstuffs. Who could shake a stick at sesame seeds, chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, garlic and lemon juice? And who expects to wake up to find that the British Medical Journal has identified hummus as the cause of some feared disease?

It is best made at home, but bought versions are not to be despised. In the Middle East it is a dip about which there are many schools of thought. The supersmooth hummus of Beirut is different from that of Damascus, lighter than that of Cairo, and a world away from the rougher product of Cypriot kitchens, while the Israelis tend to skimp on the olive oil. Apart from using good oil, the most important difference is to do with the chickpea skins, which must be rigorously rubbed off, or else grittiness ensues.
The process through which hummus, pesto and salsa have become essential lubricants of British life, displacing the old trinity of salad cream, tomato ketchup and brown sauce, has been a beneficial one. But while pesto divides and salsa inflames, hummus soothes. May it soon return to the aisles."

The US psychological torture system is finally on trial

America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court

Naomi Klein
Friday February 23, 2007
The Guardian

"Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to "break" prisoners are finally being put on trial. This was not supposed to happen. The Bush administration's plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla's lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government......

It's difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at Guantánamo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of "extraordinary rendition" carried out by the CIA, as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.......

These standard mind-breaking techniques have never faced scrutiny in an American court because the prisoners in the jails are foreigners and have been stripped of the right of habeas corpus - a denial that, scandalously, was just upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington DC. There is only one reason Padilla's case is different - he is a US citizen. The administration did not originally intend to bring Padilla to trial, but when his status as an enemy combatant faced a supreme court challenge, the administration abruptly changed course, charging Padilla and transferring him to civilian custody. That makes Padilla's case unique - he is the only victim of the post-9/11 legal netherworld to face an ordinary US trial......

There is no need to go so far back to prove that the US military knew full well that it was driving Padilla mad. The army's field manual, reissued just last year, states: "Sensory deprivation may result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, and antisocial behaviour" - as well as "significant psychological distress".

If these techniques drove Padilla insane, that means the US government has been deliberately driving hundreds, possibly thousands, of prisoners insane around the world. What is on trial in Florida is not one man's mental state. It is the whole system of US psychological torture."

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Occupied Palestine like apartheid South Africa, says UN report

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Friday February 23, 2007
The Guardian

"A UN human rights investigator has likened Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice.The report by John Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, represents some of the most forceful criticism yet of Israel's 40-year occupation.

Prof Dugard said although Israel and apartheid South Africa were different regimes, "Israel's laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid." His comments are in an advance version of a report on the UN Human Rights Council's website ahead of its session next month.

After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

He dismissed Israel's argument that the sole purpose of the vast concrete and steel West Bank barrier is for security. "It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers," he said.

Gaza remained under occupation despite the withdrawal of settlers in 2005. "In effect, following Israel's withdrawal, Gaza became a sealed-off, imprisoned and occupied territory," he said......"

The Fourth Estate Sale

By Mike Luckovich

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Apartheid looks like this

Jonathan Cook* joins a watchdog group on duty in the West Bank, documenting abuses and numberless humiliations that characterise the daily life of ordinary Palestinians under occupation.

Al-Ahram Weekly

How War Criminal Cheney Was Received in Sydney

See More Photos Here

What is behind Russia’s delay of Iran’s nuclear reactor?

An Interesting Angle
by Peter Symonds

Global Research, February 22, 2007

"Russian officials suddenly announced on Monday that work on Iran’s nuclear power reactor at the southern port of Bushehr would be slowed due to Tehran’s failure to make scheduled payments on the construction contract. Far from being an ordinary commercial dispute, the delay is another pointer to the extreme tensions produced by the Bush administration’s military threats against Iran.

The Russian announcement came just two days before a UN Security Council deadline for Iran to shut down its uranium enrichment facilities. Tehran, which insists that all its nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes, has refused to comply. The Bushehr reactor, which is being completed by Russian firms, is designed to produce electricity and is not included in the UN resolution......

The BBC reported on Monday that the US Central Command had completed drawing up a list of targets for an air war on Iran, including its nuclear facilities and most of its military infrastructure. Among the list of nuclear targets is the Bushehr reactor, even though its purpose is the provision of electricity and an agreement has been signed to return all spent fuel rods to Russia.

In this context, the Russia’s announced delay in the Bushehr project takes on a more sinister aspect. The most critical component of the timetable is the provision of reactor fuel—enriched uranium—which was due to take place next month. Once the fuel is loaded, any air strike on the reactor has the potential to send a plume of radiated dust and debris into the atmosphere affecting not only Iran but neighbouring countries. Russian technicians employed on the site would also be endangered, threatening to provoke an international incident.

The sudden Russian delay raises the obvious question: just what does the Putin administration know about the Bush administration’s plans for a military attack on Iran?"

All Wind, All The Time

The Final Punch

As the voice of reason, from a traditionalist viewpoint, is being hushed or sidelined, the warmongers’ hold on Washington is still as tight as ever, one of whom is Israel and its dedicated friends on Capitol Hill.

By Ramzy Baroud

"The configuration of the New Middle East — as envisaged by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the Israeli war against Lebanon in July-August 2006, most certainly has no place for more than one regional power broker, namely Israel.

Under such an arrangement — subservient Arabs and Iran governed by an all powerful Israel and supervised, even from afar by the seemingly philanthropic United States — would ensure Israel’s ‘security’, which has for long served as a casus belli, and supposed American interests in the region; regardless of what one thinks of such logic, in Washington, it is still prevailing......

It is unlikely that Iran will back down; again the North Korea lesson is too fresh, too poignant to ignore. Moreover, the Islamic Republic has a formidable power base in Iraq and Lebanon: Shia militias and the Hezbollah resistance movement respectively; the former is capable of worsening the US army’s plight in Iraq by several fold if decided to join the ongoing Sunni resistance, and the latter has proved an insurmountable foe to Israel in their latest military showdown last summer.

Naturally, the US — which is caught in an unwinnable war in Iraq, confined and blinded by its bizarre alliance with Israel, which is more of a liability to Washington than a strategic advantage and who is watching its own New World Order faltering under its feet, with Latin America going its separate ways, and China moving into what has been the unchallenged domains of the United States for decades — should be expected to avoid a military confrontation at any cost. Savvy US diplomat and former Secretary of State James Baker had many ominous warnings in his Iraq Study Group recommendations. A traditionalist and a pro-business politician, Baker knows well that without a quick exit from Iraq, chaos will befall the waning empire, which is ultimately bad for business. Baker also knows that without solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, the US regional woes will amplify beyond repair......

Evidently, Israel is a prime cheerleader for war, and most likely Israeli agents are working overtime to provide the needed case for war; at least we know, through news reports that Israeli agents are actively involved in Iraq and there is a possibility that they have penetrated the Iranian domain as well, through the northern Kurdish areas. Last November, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appointed a major war advocate, Avigdor Lieberman, as the country’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and also as Deputy Prime Minister. Lieberman’s appointment was principally aimed at ‘countering’ the Iranian threat; championing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, has recently visited Washington to largely discuss the Iranian threat and won standing ovations and endless praise of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Other Israeli politicians have been adamant in their efforts to convince Washington that a war against Iran will yield strategic dividends and will ease the US mission in reigning in occupied Iraq, and will provide Israel with the security it covets. Of course, Israel knows well the disastrous affect that a war on Iran will bring to the waning American empire (even if merely by observing the Iraqi situation) but it matters little in the end, as long as the Iranian threat is eliminated, or so goes the Israeli logic."

Half of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza malnourished

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 22 February 2007

"Around 46 per cent of Gaza and West Bank households are "food insecure" or in danger of becoming so, according to a UN report on the impact of conflict and the global boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The unpublished draft report, the first of its kind since the boycott was imposed when the Hamas government took office last March, says bluntly that the problem "is primarily a function of restricted economic access to food resulting from ongoing political conditions".

The report, jointly produced by the UN's World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, paints a bleak picture of the impact on food consumption and expenditure throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. It says that the situation is "more grim" in Gaza where four out of five families have reduced their spending - including on food - in the first quarter of last year alone.

The report acknowledges that "traditionally strong ties" among Palestinian families tend to reduce the possibility of "acute household hunger". But it warns that against a background of decreasing food security since the beginning of the Intifada since 2000 and the loss of PA salaries because of the boycott there are now "growing concerns about the sustainability of Palestinians' resilience".

The report is the latest of a series detailing deepening Palestinian poverty as a result of both closures blocking exports from Gaza and the international and Israeli boycott of the PA. Its timing is especially sensitive, coming to light after both Israel and the US indicated that they will maintain the boycott after the planned Fatah Hamas coalition cabinet takes office unless it clearly commits itself to recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and adherence to previous agreements with Israel.

The UN report says 34 per cent of households - with income below $1.68 per day and/or showing decreasing food expenditures - are "food insecure" . The WFP officially defines "food security" as "the ability of a household to produce and/or access at all times the minimum food needed for a healthy and active life". It goes on to say that 12 per cent of households are "vulnerable" to food insecurity.

The report acknowledges that the findings are broadly similar to those - albeit estimated on a different basis - at the peak of the Israeli Palestinian conflict in 2003 but points out that the number of Palestinians suffering, including children, are much higher because of rapid population growth

While recognising that "significant per capita humanitarian aid" is helping to contain the problem, the report points out that some action taken by families to continue to feed themselves - including the sale of land, jewellery and other assets" - will have an "irreversible impact on livelihoods". It also points out that limitations to PA budget support, the private sector and job programmes because of the boycott are likely to exacerbate Palestinians' dependency on humanitarian assistance and postpone sustainable improvement."......"

The retreat from Basra

By Patrick Cockburn

"It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger.

In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day. Food is short in parts of the country. A quarter of the population would starve without government rations. Many Iraqis are ill because their only drinking water comes from the highly polluted Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Nowhere in Mr Blair's statement was any admission of regret for reducing Iraq to a wasteland from which 2 million people have fled and 1.5 million are displaced internally......."

This is driven by poll ratings, not by conditions in Iraq

Jonathan Steele
Thursday February 22, 2007
The Guardian

"Tony Blair has always said that there would be no "artificial timetable" for pulling British troops from Iraq. Their departure would depend on conditions. His announcement yesterday of a minor reduction in troop levels this year reveals what those conditions are: the state of his poll ratings and the degree of movement he is allowed by George Bush......."

Broken more.

Layla Anwar At Her Best

".....Rape may come in different forms and shapes, as various as the forms and shapes that commit it.
And just as it disguises itself under different forms, it also has several levels - the several levels of rape.
The mental, the emotional, the spiritual, the political, the geographic, the economic, the social...
All the above categories necessitate de facto the physical realm of which the body is an essential part.
The body thus becomes the recipient, the receiver, the receptacle, the reservoir...of this ultimate act of violence.
The body is an integral part of rape as it is the gate, the entry point, the door, the orifice...of any forceful invasion, penetration. The body and its inner realms, mental, emotional and spiritual are hence, all non consenting recipients of the wrath coming for the "Other".

Seen in that light, rape becomes the ultimate weapon not only of coercion and domination, but also the ultimate weapon of breaking the Spirit of Resistance of its victim(s)......

I trust you took the time to reflect on Sabreen's words. What strikes you most?
For me, it is the "objectification" of the woman. She becomes literally an object of gratification.
And once a person is objectified, they are already stripped of all humanness.
They become a non-person. Hence they can be disposed of, thrown away, killed...

That is why the first thing a rape victim will tell you is "I feel cheap."
Adjectives like cheap are usually used for objects. This object becomes cheap, valueless, lost its use so it can be easily gotten rid of, thrown away...

And when a woman becomes an object of pleasure, gratification, desire, lust, power, politics...she loses her sense of self, she irretrievably loses herself.
She becomes anything and nothing at the same time. She becomes the public orifice, the public door, the public entry point, the public gate...A non being.

In this light, the whole of Iraq and its people has become an object of rape under its various forms.
From the collective to the personal. From the public to the private. From the general to the particular...geographically, politically, economically, historically, socially, culturally,individually...raped.
In fact, Iraq has become the ultimate object of gratification

Since 2003, this country and its women and men have been raped...over and over with no respite until "they" have reached its break that resisting Self......

For the most part, all the above victims are sunnis and are related one way or another to the Spirit of the Resistance. The rape is nothing but another mean of breaking that spirit.
The highly despicable,corrupt, sectarian "Iraqi" government and its Iran backed militias are accomplices in this collective act of rape. They are faithfully continuing in the footsteps of their masters, the Americans, who have objectified Iraq and her people, rendered them into things to be coveted, used, abused, pillaged, plundered, raped, vilified, tortured and ...killed......

Iraq and Iraqis have become "the object" of the 21st century.
Stripped of her clothes, beaten, relentlessly raped in her body and soul, raped with their collective hands on her mouth so if she does remember her humanness, she must scream quietly or the neighbors will hear her and we don't want the neighbors to be disturbed...we want to break her Spirit in silence...

Out of curiosity, I did check the dictionary even though I did not need a definition of rape and I found an interesting one.
"the residue of grapes, after the juice has been extracted, used as a filter in making vinegar."

Women of Iraq, you owe it to yourselves for you are Iraq herself.
You are the grapes and the juice that has been forcefully extracted and you have become the sour vinegar...So let your revolt be as sour as that vinegar

Speak out and scream louder and louder...
Let your screams fill the air and its sky, reaching up to the heavens.
Break it, roar it, thump it, spit it out back at them with full force.
Reach it, feel it and reclaim it


Bravo Layla; a great comment.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rice Faces Formidable White House Foe

Recommended Reading
Analysis by Jim Lobe

"......Rather, it appears that Rice's own chief Middle East aide when she served as Bush's national security adviser, Elliott Abrams, has become the principal foil in frustrating her efforts to resume a peace process. Until her meeting in Jerusalem last weekend with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the process had been frozen since the last days of Bill Clinton's administration.

Abrams' personal influence over Bush could not possibly match Rice's, but his bureaucratic skills and political connections -- notably to the so-called "Israel Lobby" of pro-Likud Jewish organisations and the Christian Right -- give him considerable clout. According to various sources, Abrams has been working systematically to undermine any prospect for serious negotiations designed to give substance to Rice's hopes -- and increasingly impatient demands by Saudi King Abdullah -- of offering the Palestinians a "political horizon" for a final settlement.

"The Bush administration has done nothing to press Israel to deliver on its commitments, beyond Washington's empty rhetoric about a two-state 'political horizon'," Henry Siegman, the long-time director of the U.S./Middle East Project at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in the International Herald Tribune just last week.

"Every time there emerged the slightest hint that the United States may finally engage seriously in a political process, Elliott Abrams would meet secretly with Olmert's envoys in Europe or elsewhere to reassure them that there exists no such danger," he complained......

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abrams has long been identified with his hard-line patrons, such as Perle and Podhoretz, who have strongly opposed the "land-for-peace" formula that, until the younger Bush, had been official U.S. policy since 1967......

Throughout the 1990s, Abrams denounced the Oslo peace process in the strongest terms -- a Likud government was engaged in it. When Palestinians launched the second intifada in September 2000, he lambasted mainstream U.S. Jewish groups for their continued support for peace talks between Israel and the PA as "self-delusion". "The Palestinian leadership," he wrote, "does not want peace with Israel, and there will be no peace..."

Signs of a serious breach between the two, however, surfaced during the first days of last summer's Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

Rice reportedly favoured a request by Olmert for Washington to discreetly contact Syrian President Bashar Assad about securing the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by the Lebanese group. Abrams not only strongly opposed such a move, but in a meeting with a "very senior Israeli official" in Jerusalem within 48 hours of the outbreak of hostilities, also suggested that Washington would have no objection if Israel extended its military offensive from Lebanon to Syria, a well-informed source who received an account of the meeting from one of its participants told IPS.....

But, as in the Israel-Hezbollah war, Rice is up against a formidable adversary in Abrams and his confederates in the vice president's office who appear once again to have established their own direct line to Olmert, this time through Turgeman and another top adviser, Yoram Turbowicz.

It was that channel that was in play last Friday, on the eve of the Jerusalem talks, when Olmert held a personal telephone conversation with Bush and emerged claiming that the U.S. president had promised to boycott any new Palestinian government of national unity that includes Hamas so long as the Islamist party does not explicitly recognise Israel, renounce violence, and pledge to abide by existing agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)."The American and Israeli positions are totally identical," Olmert declared,......"

U.S. favorite accepts key Palestinian ministry post

"GAZA (Reuters) - A U.S.-educated economist with close ties to the Bush administration agreed on Wednesday to serve as finance minister in a Palestinian unity government, despite the threat of a boycott by the United States and Israel.

Salam Fayyad met Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and told reporters afterwards that he had been invited to assume the post of minister of finance. "I have accepted," Fayyad said.

Fayyad, who has previously served in the post, will be taking on a ministry cut off financially since the Islamist Hamas movement came to power in March.

Palestinians hoped Fayyad's return to the ministry would encourage Israel and Western powers to ease an economic boycott after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction signed a power-sharing pact with Hamas earlier this month.....

A former World Bank and International Monetary Fund official, Fayyad served as finance minister from 2002 to 2005 under a Fatah-led administration before creating the Third Way party and running for parliament.

Fayyad has good relations with President Bush. He met Rice before she had talks with Abbas and Olmert in Jerusalem on Monday.

As finance minister, Fayyad initiated reforms of the financial system that won U.S. and international praise......"

All of Iraq Has Been Raped, Not Just Sabrine.
By Naser Jafari

"Theater Iran Near Term" (TIRANNT)

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, February 21, 2007

"DUBAI, UAE, 21 February 2007. Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, "Theater Iran Near Term" has identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a "Shock and Awe" Blitzkrieg, which is now in the final planning stages.

According to the Kuwait-based Arab Times, an attack on Iran under TIRANNT could occur any time between late February and the end of April. This assessment, however, does not take into account the disarray of US ground forces in Iraq as well as the untimely withdrawal of several thousand British troops from the Iraq war theater, many of whom were stationed in Southern Iraq on the immediate border with Iran......

The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack "which is lacking today" would usefully create both a "justification and an opportunity" to wage war on "some known targets [Iran and Syria]".

Civilian Targets

Press reports in the Middle East confirm that the planned air strikes are by no means limited to Iran's nuclear facilities. Central Command Headquarters in Florida (CENTCOM) has already selected a comprehensive list of military and civilian targets. Industrial sites, civilian infrastructure including roads, water systems, bridges, electric power plants telecommunications towers, government buildings are part of the assumptions underlying the Blitzkrieg. "A single raid could result in 10,000 targets being hit with warplanes flying from the Us and Diego Garcia" (Gulf News, 21 Feb 2007)

Meanwhile, the US has been mustering support for its agenda following the holding of a regional Security Conference in the UAE.....

Redeployment of US Troops

Confirmed by military sources, thousands of US troops are being redeployed from US military facilities in Germany and Italy to undisclosed destinations. One assumes that they are being dispatched to the Middle East war theater in the eventuality that the air strikes will lead into a ground war with Iran......"

EI's Ali Abunimah discusses Rice trip on Flashpoints

Interview, Flashpoints Radio, 21 February 2007

EI co-founder Ali Abunimah was interviewed on Flashpoints Radio on Tuesday, 20 February 2007. He discussed the previous day's talks in Jerusalem with Condoleezza Rice as she presses for Bush's vision for a future Palestinian state. He told host Nora Barrows-Friedman, "The United States and Israel expect Abbas to act as their quisling, really, just a collaborator representing them. And Abbas' transgressions in their books are that he has placed the desire among Palestinians for unity and democracy above the demands of the occupier and the United States."

Click Here to Listen

What Did Begging The British For 90 Years Get Us? Will We Ever Learn?

As Nuclear Deadline Passes, US and Iran Trade Accusations of Bombing Involvement

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The White House has dismissed a suggestion from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would close its nuclear facilities as long as Western nations did the same. His comments came as a deadline set by the UN for Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program expires today. Meanwhile Iran has accused the US of backing a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards, just one week after the US accused Iran of supplying bombs targeting US troops in Iraq. We speak with retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner.A retired Air Force Colonel, he has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College.....

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about these latest revelations of plans?

COL. SAM GARDINER: Sure. Actually, I find the BBC article to be completely credible. Let me take the two points that they make and explain why I think they are. The first thing is they talk about the trigger of a high casualty event in Iraq. That is totally consistent with the plans that were drawn up before the invasion of Iraq. We now know from the released plans, which at that time were classified “Top Secret, Polo Step,” that there was a series of triggers, that if they were to be pulled, the United States would go ahead of its plan in the invasion of Iraq. So, having a trigger is both in the way that the Pentagon does planning, and also it makes sense in the argument that the administration is making about what needs to be done with Iran.

The second thing about identifying a nuclear program is even more concerning and probably the one we ought to worry about. We have to remember that the President has said Iran can't be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. But he has always -- or not always -- mostly adds a phrase beyond that, which says, “or the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons.” That's a very important follow-on statement, consistent with what Israel has said. The way that is generally interpreted is that if Iran can put together 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, they then will have the capability or the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon. That event, according to the head of the IAEA yesterday, could occur within the next six months, so that if you take the President at his word, and if you take the estimate from the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will cross the US red line within the next six months, and presumably we can't stand that. And when we say that, that means we conduct a military operation against the Iranians.....

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the 21,000 extra troops, what the President calls the “surge,” could actually be targeted at Iran as much as Iraq?

COL. SAM GARDINER: Well, let me modify that a little bit. We learned over the weekend that there is a surge within the surge. It is not 21,000 anymore. It's gone above that. It was announced on maybe Friday evening or Saturday that an additional headquarters is going to Iraq, consisting of about a thousand additional people. Now, what's fascinating about that is it was on the same day that the commander in Baghdad said, "I don't need any more headquarters." My interpretation of that is that this provides the capability, if the United States were to put some of these new forces into the border area with Iran, to take control of that. This is not meant, I don't think, to invade Iran. I think that this is preparing for the possibility that if a strike is conducted against Iran, that these units could block any sort of an incursion into Iraq....."

Evasive Diplomacy

Bush Administration Shuns Middle East Peace Talks

A Lousy Article But I Am Posting It Anyway

"Instead of building a diplomatic momentum on the political breakthrough mediated by their Saudi Arabian ally who succeeded in developing an Arab and Palestinian consensus on going along with the U.S.-steered Quartet efforts to revive the deadlocked peace process, the American diplomacy has turned their sponsored Palestinian Israeli summit meeting in Jerusalem on Monday from a promising event into a missed opportunity, thus shaking off a burgeoning potential for a more coordinated regional U.S. Arab front.....

Embarrassing U.S. friends and allies as important as Riyadh, Amman and Cairo, and further antagonizing influential regional players like Syria, who all weighed in heavily to conclude the Mecca deal in order to develop a unified Arab and Palestinian stance that easily could be discerned as distancing them away from Iranian influences, which is a key U.S.-Israeli endeavor, may not harm the U.S. historically-tested strategic alliances with Arabs, but it would certainly put off indefinitely whatever is left for peace-making in the region......"

سلام فياض يقبل تولي منصب وزير المالية في حكومة الوحدة الوطنية

Celebrate! The Crook Is Back!

The same old crook (Salam Fayad) "accepts" position of "finance minister" in "unity government" "offered" to him by Habila. Who is Hamas kidding? Fayad was dictated by Washington and KSA and Hamas had to swallow hard, and it was Hamas that was forced to accept him. With the purse strings in the hands of the same old crooks, nothing will change, except the slogans. But let us not spoil the mood; let the celebrations continue!

Just wait! Save some celebrations for the other important positions which Habila will "offer" to other crooks: Foreign affairs, interior, etc. I am sure that they will "accept" since they have been dictated already. But please save the biggest celebration for.....(drum roll please)....the position of Deputy Prime Minister. I have a sneaky suspicion that Habila will "offer" that position to our "brother" Mohammad Pinochet Dahlan. Don't ask me how I knew that; I have my sources. I have a hunch that brother Pinochet will accept. Man, that will be an occasion to celebrate! Hell, that would call for torching a few buildings, perhaps including the "parliament" building! That would be a sight. Habila and Pinochet, hand-in-hand and beaming with victory signs, with the parliament building ablaze behind them, and the band playing "Celebrate!".

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

أعلن سلام فياض، رئيس كتلة الطريق الثالث في المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني، ظهر الأربعاء (21/2)، قبوله عرضاً من رئيس الحكومة المكلف إسماعيل هنية، بتولي حقيبة وزارة المالية.

ونُقل عن فياض، عقب اجتماعه مع هنية في إطار المشاورات التي يجريها لتشكيل حكومة الوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية: "إن رئيس الوزراء المكلف عرض عليّ تسلم حقيبة المالية في الحكومة الجديدة، وقد قبلت ذلك".

وقد وصف اللقاء الذي جمعه صباح اليوم برئيس الوزراء إسماعيل هنية في غزة بالجيد والإيجابي. وقال إنه تم بحث موضوع تشكيل الحكومة، معرباً عن أمله بتسريع تشكيل الحكومة للتعامل مع المهام التي سيتم مواجهتها الفترة المقبلة.

من جانبه؛ أكد خليل الحية، رئيس كتلة "التغيير والإصلاح" التابعة لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس"، وهي أكبر كتلة برلمانية، تصريحات فياض، بشأن قبول حقيبة المالية، مثمناً قبوله في هذا المنصب. "

Scooter Libby and World War III

How the Libby trial could impact US foreign policy

By Justin Raimondo

".......The Fitzgerald probe is a dagger pointed at the dark heart of the administration, the OVP (Office of the V.P.), and the climactic moment of this epic battle is fast approaching. In the early days of the investigation, left-liberal bloggers were exulting in the possibility that they would see Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House, but the trial has shown that Rove and Libby were antagonists rather than allies. Before it's all over we may yet see the vice president frog-marched out of the White House – at least metaphorically, in the form of an indictment with Dick Cheney's name on it.

What better way to distract attention away from this coming political bombshell than by dropping some real bombs on Iran?

In the midst of the regional conflagration feared by Brzezinski, prosecuting the Vice President for obstruction of justice and/or perjury would be problematic, at best. In any case, the widening of the war would drive the story off the front pages – think of this as a grand-scale version of Clinton's bombing of the Sudanese pharmaceutical factory just as the Monica Lewinsky was returning to the grand jury.

U.S. war plans against Iran have apparently been in the making for quite some time, but the ratcheting-up of both the rhetoric and the actual war preparations indicates a new level of seriousness on the part of this administration. While most reports reassure us that the decision to go to war has not yet been made, one wonders what turn of events would push the key decision-makers, Bush and Cheney, over the line. A direct threat to one – or both – of them coming out of the Libby trial may be all the impetus they need. A cornered rat is dangerous."