Saturday, March 3, 2007

It Was Just Another War Crime Against Arabs....

War Criminal Benyamin Ben-Eliezer

Contributed by Lucia

Former Meretz leader decries 1967 war crimes
Yossi Sarid tells Egyptian daily that killing of unarmed Egyptian soldiers by Israeli army after 1967 war is war crime

Former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid told the Egyptian daily al-Ahram that the execution of Egyptian captives by Israeli soldiers at the end of the Six Day War in 1967 was a war crime.

Israel 's Channel One television aired a documentary earlier this week in which it was claimed that an elite Israeli army unit commanded by Labor MK Benyamin Ben-Eliezer executed 250 unarmed Egyptian soldiers.

"The killing of Egyptian captives in the Six Day War was a war crime … but the problem in the region is that war crimes are numerous," the newspaper quoted Sarid as saying on Saturday.

The claims made in the documentary received intensive media coverage in Egypt.

Sarid told the newspaper that although he had not seen the documentary he was aware that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes against Arab soldiers during the Six Day War.

"Punishing those behind those crimes 40 years after the 1967 war is difficult but history will judge those people," Sarid told al-Ahram.

Israeli-Egyptian relations were strained three years ago when the Egyptian Foreign Ministry raised the possibility of demanding that Israel paid compensations for Egypt for the alleged killings."

From Esther to AIPAC


"......Jewishness is a rather broad term. It refers to a culture with many faces, varied distinctive groups, different beliefs, opposing political camps, different classes and diversified ethnicity. Nevertheless, the connection between those very many people who happen to identify themselves as Jews is rather intriguing. In the paragraphs that follow, I will try to further the search into the notion of Jewishness. I will make an attempt to trace the intellectual, spiritual and mythological collective bond that makes Jewishness into a powerful identity.

Clearly, Jewishness is neither a racial nor an ethnic category. Though Jewish identity is racially and ethnically orientated, the Jewish people do not form a homogenous group. There is no racial or ethnic continuum. Jewishness may be seen by some as a continuation of Judaism. I would maintain that this is not necessarily the case either. Though Jewishness borrows some fundamental Judaic elements, Jewishness is not Judaism and it is even categorically different from Judaism. Furthermore, as we know, more than a few of those who proudly define themselves as Jews have very little knowledge of Judaism, many of them are atheists, non-religious and even overtly oppose Judaism or any other religion. Many of those Jews who happen to oppose Judaism happen to maintain their Jewish identity and to be extremely proud about it[2]. This opposition to Judaism obviously includes Zionism (at least the early version) but it also is the basis of much of Jewish socialist anti-Zionism......

The Book of Esther is a biblical story that is the basis for the celebration of Purim, probably the most joyous Jewish festival. The book tells the story of an attempted Judeocide but it also tells a story in which Jews manage to change their fate. In the book the Jews do manage to rescue themselves and even to mete revenge.

It is set in the third year of Ahasuerus, and the ruler is a king of Persia usually identified with Xerxes I. It is a story of a palace, conspiracy, an attempted Judeocide and a brave and beautiful Jewish queen (Esther) who manages to save the Jewish people at the very last minute......

The moral of the story is rather clear. If Jews want to survive, they better find infiltrates into the corridors of power. With Esther, Mordechai and Purim in mind, AIPAC and the notion of 'Jewish power' looks like an embodiment of a deep Biblical and cultural ideology.......

Since Zionism failed to divorce itself from the Jewish émigré ideology, it lost the opportunity to evolve into any form of domestic culture. Consequently, Israeli culture and politics is a strange amalgam of indecisiveness; a mixture of colonial empowerment together with Galut's victim mentality. Zionism is a secular product of exilic culture that cannot mature into authentic homegrown perception."

Habila's Brain, Ahmad Yousef

The Persecution of Sami Al-Arian

A Federal Witchhunt


"One of the first big show trials here in the post-9/11 homeland was of a Muslim professor from Florida, now 49, Sami al-Arian. Pro-Israel hawks had resented this computer professor at the University of South Florida long before Atta and the hijackers flew their planes into the Trade towers, because they saw al-Arian, a Palestinian born in Kuwait of parents kicked out of their Homeland in 1948, as an effective agitator here for the Palestinian cause. As John Sugg, a fine journalist, then based in Tampa, who's followed al-Arian's tribulations for years, wrote in the spring of 2006 on this website:

"When was al-Arian important? More than a decade ago, when Israel's Likudniks in the United States, such as [Steven] Emerson, were working feverishly to undermine the Oslo peace process. No Arab voice could be tolerated, and al-Arian was vigorously trying to communicate with our government and its leaders. He was being successful, making speeches to intelligence and military commanders at MacDill AFB's Central Command, inviting the FBI and other officials to attend meetings of his groups. People were beginning to listen and to wonder why only one side of the Middle East debate was heard here. That was the reason for Al-Arian's political prosecution."......"

A Forbidden Love

By Layla Anwar

".....Well, Nayla and Sami are terribly in Love.
They met in 2004 in Baghdad. She is a sunni, he a shia. That was never an issue for either nor for their respective families.
They are both young adults and knew that this is "It". The search is over.
They got engaged and were eagerly looking forward to their wedding, their final union......

In early 2006, Nayla's family received several death threats and were forced to leave Baghdad. Her father an ex-government employee understood that he was targeted.
He decided he was not willing to turn his wife into a widow. They packed some of their belongings, took the little savings he had put aside for his daughter's wedding and escaped to Amman......

His turn finally came. The passport controller looked at his passport, stared at him, looked at the passport again, shook his head and said in a stern voice "No entry".
"What, why?" exclaimed Sami, "this passport was issued in 2005, it's brand new. I have a clean record. Here is a letter from my employer, this is my I.D, this is where I will be staying in Amman...."
"I said No entry, it is not possible, yalla next!"
"No, wait. What do you mean it is not possible, I have been travelling for 11 hours and waiting in line for over 4 hours...please don't do this to me".
"I said it is forbidden. Orders."
"What orders? What are you talking about?"
" Forbidden, means no entry...yalla next!"
"But please, understand..."
"Don't make me lose my temper, your passport is an M category. Your goverment gave us clear orders that no M category gets in. Only passports issued in 2006 are valid. Government"......

The passport controller flips through her passport, looks at her, flips again, looks at her again and says "Sorry no entry."
"What? Why? All my documents are in order. Please..."
"No, sorry, no entry, forbidden. Next!"
"Please, please ...why...tell me why?" Nayla is tears.
"Government regulations" he replies abruptly "Next!"
"What regulations? I have a valid passport"
"Don't make me lose my patience" he snapped back "Your passport was issued in 2004, it is no longer valid"
"But it is valid, look at the date"
His voice grew louder "I said it is no longer valid.Government orders. Next!"
"But please, I beg of you."
"NEXT or else..."......

Love was denied entry, prohibited, forbidden and all it needed was a stamp.
But Love remained stuck at the borders, unable to take root anywhere, unable to flower, unable to reach its ultimate destination.
A Love under occupation, a stolen love...a reflection of the land it emanated from.
Each of the lovers returned to their prisons, away from each other, feeling old and used, with broken dreams and hopes, as broken and as hopeless as the "new" Iraq."

Windbag du Jour
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attending a PLO executive committee meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday. (Reuters)
These decrepit old cronies are the leaders of the Palestine "Liberation" Organization; some liberation they have achieved. Celebrate, now!

Nightmares of Bint Jbeil

"Al-Manar special report – Ahmad Ammar – Translated/

Around a 100 Israeli occupation soldiers of elite Golani forces, who took part in Bint Jbeil battles last summer's war, have left their military base protesting against their leaders for not responding to their demands to provide them with psychotherapy to get rid of their nightmares after what they went through in Bint Jbeil fierce battles south of Lebanon. While they are sleeping, the occupation soldiers panicky wake up shouting with their friends killed during Bint Jbeil battles.
The occupation military correspondent, (Nir Devory), said, "Talks focus on soldiers who went to get psychological help after their participation in Bint Jbeil battles, due to the death of 10 soldiers of their battalion, they are demanding psychological help because they are suffering from nightmares during the night and they are taking sleeping pills to be able to go to sleep."

The bad situation of those soldiers due to the fierce battles in Bint Jbeil and their leaders' refusal to meet their demands, led them to mutiny and leaving their military base on foot what forced their leaders to catch up with them trying to persuade them to go back to the base.
The Israeli television described their situation with the real crisis faces the army after the Israeli war against Lebanon.
The Israeli media mentioned before that many soldiers who took part in Lebanon war are suffering from severe psychological crises and third of the north settlers need psychotherapy and they are still afraid of reoccurrence of the war."

Israel Used Palestinian as Human Shield in Nablus

Amira is being led by Israeli soldiers at gunpoint [AP]

Israel accused of rights abuses

"An Israeli human rights group has accused the country's government of using Palestinians as human shields during its raids on Nablus.The Israeli supreme court banned the practice two years ago.

The claim from B'tselem, a human rights monitor, came after video footage appeared to show Israeli soldiers forcing a man to walk ahead at gunpoint.

Sameh Amira, a 24-year-old Nablus resident, said he thought he was going to die: "When I was walking ahead of them, I was expecting they would shoot bullets at any time.

"All the time I was scared, terrorised. I was expecting anything from them. That I would be injured and die in front of them.

"[The Israeli soldiers] said 'come here' and they put me ahead of them and took me up to the house. As soon as they were in, they started shooting at the wardrobe," Amira said.

Jessica Montell, executive director of B'tselem - the Israeli information centre for human rights in the occupied territories - said: "It's a clear case - the Israeli supreme court has determined it is illegal and the Israeli military has committed to not using this 'neighbour' procedure or any other kind of human shield by using Palestinians for these dangerous operations."......"

As All American Politicians Must Do, Obama Appeared at the AIPAC Altar on Friday

"We must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs. This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza" he said. Obama said he was concerned by the agreement reached last month in Mecca between Fatah and Hamas to establish a coalition government in the Palestinian Authority. “This should concern us all because it suggests that Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Palestinian leader I believe is committed to peace, felt forced to compromise with Hamas. However, if we are serious about the Quartet's conditions, we must tell the Palestinians this is not good enough,” he declared.

The U.S. Has Agreed to Attend a Meeting in Baghdad That Includes Iran and Syria
By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Arab "Leaders" Preparing for the Riyadh Summit

Rice Picks Neocon Champion of Iraq War as Counselor

A Good Article
By Jim Lobe

"In a move that has surprised many foreign policy analysts here, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has appointed a prominent neoconservative hawk and leading champion of the Iraq war to the post of State Department Counselor.

Eliot A. Cohen, who teaches military history at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) here and has also served on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board (DPB) since 2001, will take up the position next month that was left vacant late last year by Rice's long-time confidant and "realist" thinker, Philip Zelikow.

A close friend and protégé of former Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and advisory board member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Cohen most recently led the harsh neoconservative attack on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.

Like his fellow neocons, he was particularly scathing about its recommendations for Washington to directly engage Syria and Iran and revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – recommendations which Rice herself has explicitly endorsed in the last few weeks.......

Cohen first gained national prominence shortly after the 9/11 attacks when he published a Wall Street Journal column entitled "World War IV" – a moniker quickly adopted by hard-line neocons like former CIA director and fellow-DPB member James Woolsey, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, and Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney (on whose board Cohen also sits) – to put Bush's "war on terror" in what he considered to be the appropriate historical context and to define its enemy as "militant Islam."......

Cohen has also been quick to label critics of Israel and the so-called "Israel Lobby" in the U.S. as anti-Semites.

"Only a reshuffling of the deck – through the disappearance of Arafat, or an event, (such as the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) that profoundly changes the mood in the Arab world – will make something approaching truce, let alone peace, possible," he argued in a favorite pre-Iraq war neoconservative theme.

The following summer, Cohen achieved new fame when Bush was photographed carrying Cohen's just-published book, "Supreme Command," which argued that the greatest civilian wartime leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, had a far better strategic sense than their generals. It was a particularly timely message in the months that preceded the Iraq war when a surprising number of recently military brass here were voicing strong reservations about the impending U.S. invasion......

Still, while admitting in a Vanity Fair interview late last year that U.S. choices in Iraq range between "bad and awful," Cohen has called for perseverance and played a key role in selling AEI-hatched plan to add some 30,000 troops to the 140,000 soldiers in Iraq to Bush with whom he met personally as part of a small group of "surge"-boosters at the White House in mid-December.

If the surge should fail, however, Cohen's preferred and "most plausible" option, which he laid out in an October 2006 Journal column titled "Plan B," would be a coup d'etat ("which we quietly endorse") that would bring to power a "junta of military modernizers," a development which, as he noted himself, would call into question the administration's and Rice's avowed goal of democratization.

In any event, he argued in the same column, "American prestige has taken a hard knock [in Iraq]; it will probably take a harder knock, and in ways that will not be restored without a considerable and successful use of American military power down the road."

"The tides of Sunni salafism and Iran's distinct combination of messianism and power politics have not crested, and will not crest without much greater violence in which we too will be engaged," he asserted.

In a Vanity Fair interview last fall, Cohen said, "I'm pretty grim. I think we're heading for a very dark world, because the long-term consequences of this are very large, not just for Iraq, not just for the region, but globally – for our reputation, for what the Iranians do, all kinds of stuff.""

Friday, March 2, 2007

Condi Picks Neocon Cohen to Make Her Decisions

By Kurt Nimmo

"No sooner are we told for the umpteenth time Bush has swept a gob of neocons out of his administration, we get word that Condi the Destroyer has picked PNAC forever war fanatic Eliot Cohen out of a line-up to serve as her “counselor, a key trouble-shooting role in US diplomacy,” according to AFP.

Cohen is known as “the most influential neocon in academe” and came up with the lovely term “World War Four” all on his lonesome, although former CIA director James Woolsey is fond of using the term to scare small children and women with weak constitutions, as well as Muslims and Arabs who are afraid the “fucking crazies” will invade their countries and take out their electrical grids, water treatment plants, hospitals, etc.......

It is interesting, in a perverse sort of way, that Condi would pick as her “counselor,” or have picked for her, the guy who coined the term “World War Four,” a “war”—sort of the same way shooting fish in a barrel might be considered a “war”—to be waged specifically against the Muslim world. Condi apparently cannot be trusted when it comes to making sure the State Department is on cue, especially with the all-important shock and awe of Iran campaign deadline closing in."

حرب على إيران...حرب إلى يوم القيامة!

تجنيد أمة لأغراض أعدائها...شراء الهزائم بهزيمة جديدة

بقلم د. عادل سمارة

" "الحرب المقبلة هي حرب السنة والشيعة، فأين تقفون؟ هذا ما قيل لأحد القياديين الفلسطينيين في زيارته للعربية السعودية في وقت قريب مضى. هكذا إذن، تحولت السعودية للمرة الثالثة في تاريخها إلى شريك بل مبادر إلى حرب. كانت المرة الأولى في عشرينات القرن الماضي كي يحسم آل سعود السيطرة على الحجاز وبقية ما اسمي إثر ذلك بالعربية السعودية. وكانت الحرب الثانية ضد الجيش المصري في اليمن الذي حمى الجمهورية اليمنية الأولى، وهو التواجد الذي أدى إلى عدوان 1967. فلم يكن للمركز الرأسمالي العالمي أن يطيق وجود جيش أكبر دولة عربية قرب منابع النفط. أما المرة الثالثة، فهي التحشيد السعودي لحرب بين السنة والشيعة في الوطن العربي. وهي حرب، إن حصلت، فهي مثابة كارثة لن تتوقف إلى يوم القيامة، ولن تكون حرب دول بقدر ما هي حرب أسر وعشائر وعائلات حيث هناك ملايين الأسر المكونة من سنة وشيعة. هي حرب سيقود حصولها إلى تخلف أبدي ومطلق للأمة العربية، ودمار على إيران، وقد يكون الكاسب الثاني منه تركيا ومن ثم إثيوبيا.
إن نفس الأنظمة العربية التي استحلفت النظام الأميركي "بالله" أن يدمر عراق صدام حسين عام 1991، وأن يقتل بالحصار أكثر من مليون عراقي، "دون تفريق بين سني وشيعي" ويحتل عراق صدام حسين عام 2003، ويسقط النظام المتهم بانحيازه للسنّة، هي نفسها التي تزعم اليوم الثأر للسنة في العراق ومساندتهم. ألا يثير هذا حفيظة أي إنسان يحترم عقله وإنسانيته؟
لقد استثمرت هذه الأنظمة العربية إعدام الرئيس صدام حسين حيث كان المنسوب العاطفي للجمهور العربي عالياً جداً سواء كعرب أو كمسلمين، هذا مع التذكير بأن الإسلام ليس للعرب ولا للعرب السنة وحدهم. كان الإستثمار خبيثاً أكثر مما كان ذكياً. فالأنظمة نفسها لا تحترم جمهورها الذي تحركه اليوم للثأر لاغتيال الرئيس صدام حسسن، لا بل إن التي لم "تعجبها" طريقة الإعدام، لم تجرؤ حتى على اللوم، وهي نفسها طالما ترجَّت أميركا لإسقاط الرجل ونظامه. نعم بدأ التحشيد العلني ضد إيران فوراً بعد عملية الإغتيال، بمعنى أن التحشيد كان قائماً في السر.
لا شك أن موقف النظام الإيراني من عملية الإغتيال كان سيئاً وبمستوى عقلية عشائرية متعصبة وطائفية. ليس هذا موقف نظام حكم ودولة حتى من وزن المشيخات او جمهوريات الموز. لم يكن مطلوب من إيران أن تحمي صدام حسين، ولكن كان عليها أن تقف موقف دولة لتقول مثلاً: "كان عدونا، وكنا سنعدمه لو قدرنا، ولكننا ندين إعدامه يوم الأضحى، وعلى يد اميركا". فالإعلام المتشفي لا يليق بدولة. وهذا التشفي قد يشِفُّ أو هو امتداد لتربية دابت الدولة على تعبئة مواطنيها بها، وهي تربية طائفية متخلفة، وجد نظام الحكم نفسه في موقف إذا لم يتشفى، فكأنه خان جمهوره الذي اقام علاقته به على مثل هذا المستوى. وفي هذه الحالة فالوضع كارثي.
ما من أحد يستنكر إدانة موقف إيران من الإعدام، ولكن توظيف الأمر ليخدم حرباً إمبريالية في المنطقة، فهذه الكارثة بعينها.
ولعله من ثالثة الأثافي أن يقوم من اغتال الرئيس صدام حسين، اي النظام الأميركي، بتوجيه نقد فوقي لعملية الإغتيال، كمن يقول هكذا فعل عملائي، وما هكذا تورد الإبل!

توظيف الأمر في مشروع الشرق الأوسط
ليس جديداً أن عملية الإغتيال أميركية قلبا وقالباً. وعليه، فإن إثارة نعرة الطائفية، تهدف إلى اصطفاف طائفي على طول الوطن وعرضه، وهذا الإصطفاف إستبدالي بلا مواربة، استبدالي على مستويين على الأقل:
الأول: إستبدال العدو الأميركي والصهيوني بإيران. لا بل إن مجرد مقارنة الطرفين ببعضهما البعض، هو هروب إلى الأمام، وتضييع للهدف ومكافئة للعدو الحقيقي.
والثاني: إستبدال العدو الداخلي، اي الأنظمة العربية بإيران ايضاً.
فالأنظمة العربية تقمع الأمة بأسرها، أو لنقل أهل الوطن كي لا نتهم بالتمييز بين كرد وعرب وأمازيغ وغيرهم، لا بل هي تحتل الوطن، وتعيق التنمية وتمتهن الكرامة، وتتخلى عن ما وقع من الوطن تحت الإحتلال، وتعرض أهل هذا الوطن أمام العالم كما لو كانوا قطعاناً وسائمة وبهائم. صعب هذا الكلام، نعم، ولكنه حقيقي! فهل يخفى بعد هذا أن معركة أهل هذا الوطن هي مع الأنظمة الحاكمة ومع خالقيها وحُماتها من المركز الرأسمالي والصهيوني؟
إن إغراق الوطن في حرب طائفية سيقود إلى تنفيذ مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير "كسوق" مفتوح لمنتجات المركز، وتفكيك كل قطر من داخله إلى منعزل طائفي أو إثني متقاتل مع الكانتونات المجاورة، وعندها يتحول الكيان الصهيوني إلى القوة الوحيدة التي تدير شؤون الكانتونات العربية التي قد يربو عددها حينذاك على المئة.

النووي الإيراني
هناك جدل كبير حول حدود ديمقراطية النظام الإيراني. فهو نظام إسلام سياسي يمنع اية تيارات أو رؤى أخرى. لكن هذا شأن إيراني داخلي. فإذا كان لأحد أن ينقد هذا النظام، فليست الأنظمة العربية بكل تأكيد. كما أن إيران مدانة باحتلال الأحواز، وجزر طنب الصغرى والكبرى وابو موسى. هذا مع العلم أن إيران حينما احتلت هذه الجزر كان ذلك بموافقة نفس المركز الرأسمالي الذي يدعو السنة لمحاربة الشيعة، حيث كان لا بد من مكافئة الشاه. ومدانة إيران في موقفها من إغتيال الرئيس صدام حسين. ولكن إيران هي التي سلّحت حزب الله الذي مسح هزيمة خلّفتها أنظمة الحكم السنية! قد يكون في هذا تكتيكاً، لا بأس، ولكن هذا ما حصل حتى اليوم. ومع ذلك، لا نبرر لإيران عدوانها باحتلال الأهواز، ولكننا لا نتصور أنها في مقام العدوان الأميركي والصهيوني، كما أن المعركة بالتأكيد ليست معها.
لا يخفى على أحد الدور الإيراني في العراق، ومحاولاتها لجعل جنوب العراق وحتى وسطه امتداداً حيوياً لها. وهي أمور مدانة ومرفوضة، ولكن السؤال الأهم لماذا تحصل؟ لماذا بوسع إيران أن تشكل ذلك الخطر والتهديد؟ اليس لأن الوطن العربي مجزّء. فلو كان الوطن العربي موحداً، لكان للعرب مجال حيوي داخل إيران، أو على الأقل لكان هناك حسن جوار. من الذي مزق الوطن العربي، ومن الذي حافظ على التجزئة ورعاها، ومن الذي يعمل اليوم على إعادة تمزيق هذا الوطن؟
أليس الإستعمار وأنظمة الحكم العربية؟
لقد اقام النظام الإيراني دولة قوية إقليمياً، لها مصالح وتطلعات وأطماع، وهذه أمور مألوفة في السياسة الدولية. وبالتوازي وفرت لها الأنظمة العربية واقعاً عربياً ممزقاً، اي فراغاً بحجم الوطن العربي. فراغ بحاجة إلى من يملئه، بل فراغ تملئه الراسمالية المركزية المعولمة. وهو ما حفز إيران لترى في نفسها طرفاً بوسعه ملىء هذا الفراغ، أو اقتسامه.
صحيح أنه بالمفهوم الأخلاقي لا يحق لإيران التفكير في هذا. ولكن ما ابعد السياسة والمصالح في المجتمعات الراسمالية عن الأمور الأخلاقية! فلماذا نطالب إيران أن تكون ملاكاً؟ ولا نسأل الشياطين لماذا عرضوا مفاتن هذا الوطن لإيران وغيرها!
بقدرة قادر تنبهت الأنظمة العربية إلى النووي الإيراني، سواء كان مدنياً أم عسكرياً، واصطفت إلى جانب الهجوم الأميركي-الصهيوني المتوقع على إيران. وأغمضت عيونها عن النووي الإسرائيلي المقام في قلب الوطن العربي. هذا من جهة، ومن جهة ثانية، لماذا ليس هناك نووياً عربيا؟ بل ابعد من هذا، أليست نفس الأنظمة السنية العربية هي التي "أخبرت" أميركا أن النظام العراقي يقيم ترسانة نووية؟ وحينما ضرب الكيان الصهيوني مفاعل تموز العراقي، يعلم الله كم دولة عربية فتحت أجوائها للمعتدين. ماذا نقول غير هذا وبعده! .

أخطأت الأنظمة، فهل أخطأ الجمهور؟
حينما يخون إمرؤ وعيه بوعي، هل يُغتفر له ذلك؟ هذا ما ينطبق اليوم على كل عربي يصطف في حرب الطوائف. ما معنى أن ننتقل إلى حرب جديدة، ونحن لم نتخلص من الهزائم المتراكمة منذ قرون؟ وأية حرب، حرب هي داخل الوطن، وليست على الحدود مع إيران. حرب ستكون في لبنان والبحرين والسعودية والعراق بالطبع، وكل قطر عربي.
قد يستغرب البعض أن تيارات إسلامية سلفية تغذي وتحشد لهذه الحرب، وهي تيارات نسي الناس لفترة أنها "حليفة للأنظمة العربية، وأن قادتها طالما أكدوا ان لا خلافات بينهم وبين الولايات المتحدة" يا للمفارقة، هل يمكن لحركة سياسية عربية أن لا تكون في تناقض مع الحكام العرب ومع الطبقة الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة؟ وفوق هذا، تحاول هذه الحركة فتح حرب مع إيران.
لعل ثالثة الأثافي أن تيارات سلفية تدعو لمحاربة الشيعة في اقطار عربية لا يوجد فيها عدد من الشيعة مثل تونس، وربما لا يوجد فيها شيعي واحد مثل الأراضي المحتلة.
هذه الحرب كأي حرب، سيكون وقودها ملايين الفقراء من العرب، فهل يُغفر لأي مواطن المشاركة فيها؟ المشاركة في حرب ضد الذات وإلى الأبد، ولماذا ؟ لأن أعداء الشعب فتحوا باب هذه الحرب. كيف يمكن لمواطن عربي أن ينجر وراء هذه الأنظمة ولا يرتكب خطيئة ما بعدها خطيئة؟ أليس من المخجل أنه بعد هذا التاريخ الطويل من مصائب وهزائم هذه الأنظمة أن تجر الناس إلى احتراب داخل الديانة نفسها؟ ماذا سيفعل هؤلاء بالعرب المسيحيين طالما هم جاهزون لقتل الآخر على طائفته؟ ولكن هنيئاً لأعداء الشعب بجمهور من الغوغاء!!!
لقد فتحت الولايات المتحدة والغرب الراسمالي والحكام العرب حرباً "دينية" في أفغانستان بحجة مواجهة الشيوعية، وماذا كانت النتيجة ؟ دمار لا قيام بعده لأفغانستان، واستخدام مهين للإسلام في خدمة راس المال، وتوليد ظواهر دموية لم تتوقف ولم تنحصر في افغانستان نفسها. فهل تقل جريمة من أُستخدموا عن جريمة من استخدموهم؟
وها هو الاستخدام يتكرر اليوم ويبدي الكثيرون تجاوبا معه، فهل يُلدغ المؤمن من جحر مراراًً؟ إن من يدعو لقتال إيران هو نفس المعسكر، وفي بعض الحالات نفس الحكام ، وبالطبع نفس الأنظمة.
إن المهزوم فقط هو الذي يفتح معارك جديدة، هروباً من معارك قائمة لم تُغلق بعد. ولا يغير من هذا الأمر وجود لون جديد للحرب المفترضة، اي استشارة النعرة الطائفية (وتركيبها على بعد قومي- اقليمي). مثل هذه التوليفه الخطرة، عائدة إلى اسباب عديدة، منها ضحالة الوعي وسهولة استخدامه، ومنها جهالة، وسطحية ونزوع للتفريغ عن حياة فردية مأزومة في كل المستويات، سواء كانت الأزمة اقتصادية، جنسية حرياتية ثقافية...الخ. ولعل أخطر نتائج الأزمة هي معالجتها بالانفعال وليس بالتحليل، اي معالجتها بالهروب إلى أزمة أخرى، وما أسهل هذا والعدو متنبه لفتح أبواب أزمات أخرى.
بصراحة، نحن الأمة الوحيدة التي ما زال أعداؤها يقودونها إلى حتفها وبادوات قديمة وبالية (الطائفية، الثأر، القبائلية) أدوات فاتها العصر وما زالت تصلح عندنا. يقودها أعداؤها إلى الحرب التي يريدون ويختارون، فهل هناك أجهل من هذا الجهل! وهم الأعداء أنفسهم الذين اقتطعوا الأحواز لإيران والإسكندرون لتركيا وسبتة ومليلة لإسبانيا، وفلسطين للكيان الصهيوني، وأمس اقتطعو الصومال لإثيوبيا. وهم أنفسهم الذين قتلوا الانتفاضة الأولى وحالو دون انتشارها عربياً، واستماتوا كي يُهزم حزب الله ولا ينتشر كظاهرة عربية. وبعد هذا، سنحارب إيران!
وفي خضم استعداد الكثيرون لاستحضار الجاهلية، تنجح الأنظمة العربية نفسها في استحضار العدو الشيوعي السابق، ولكن هذه المرة في ثوب روسيا الجديدة، اي المعادية للشيوعية. يدور الحديث اليوم عن ضرورة مواجهة المحور الروسي-السوري-الإيراني. فهل هذا المحور، إن وجد موجه ضد العرب السنة؟ أو ضد موارنة لبنان، ومسيحيي فلسطين واقباط مصر؟ من الذي يمكن أن يقف ضد هذا التحالف؟ على الأقل لن يكون عربياً."

Habila is always campaigning for "office," any office.
He will be kissing babies soon.

Lebanon and the Middle East Crisis

A Long and Informative Interview

Gilbert Achcar
interviewed by Paul D'Amato

"THE PRESS here is portraying the opposition movement headed by Hezbollah in Lebanon, that is attempting to challenge the Siniora government, as a movement that is provoking sectarian conflict. What is your take on that? What is the character of the opposition, and what is it trying to achieve?

IT IS already a fact that the whole conflict is increasingly taking on a sectarian character. But it is not the sectarian or religious divide that we were accustomed to in Lebanon's past -- I'm referring to the fifteen-year civil war of 1975–90, which mainly pitted a predominantly Christian camp against a predominantly Muslim one -- although things were never as pure or as simple as that. The sectarian division this time is taking a form that is unprecedented in Lebanon: it looks more like an extension to Lebanon of the division that prevails in Iraq, opposing the two major branches of Islam, Sunni and Shiite. The tension between the two communities is indeed quite sharp at present in Lebanon itself......

THIS SEEMS like a shift since the Israeli invasion last year. After Hezbollah repulsed the aggression, Hezbollah were the heroes of the hour in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East. It sounds like what you are saying is that things have shifted back again toward greater division. What accounts for it?

....For Hezbollah, the present political confrontation is absolutely vital. The party has been the target of Israel's attempt to destroy it. The attempt failed, but the project has not been discarded. Washington took over from Israel and is trying to continue the war by other means. It pressed for UN security council resolution 1701, through which it got NATO forces to deploy in southern Lebanon as standby forces to be used in case of domestic confrontation in the country; that is, in order to give a helping hand to Washington's partners. Since then, Washington has been constantly and actively pushing toward civil war in Lebanon. Actually, if one had to summarize Washington's policy toward Lebanon as well as toward Palestine, it could be accurately described as "incitement to civil war": civil war between Palestinians and civil war between Lebanese, not to mention the unfolding civil war in Iraq. In both Lebanon and Palestine, there is a force that Washington sees as a major enemy -- Hamas among Palestinians, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Behind these two forces, Washington targets Iran (Syria, too, but Iran is Washington's main concern). And in both countries there are partners of Washington: the "majority" and the Siniora government in Lebanon, Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine.
.....(many more good questions and answers) "

Israel's liaison to its neighbors: Saudi Prince Bandar

An Important Story

"The key figure in Middle Eastern diplomacy is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Arabian National Security Adviser. Bandar is the man behind the Mecca agreement between Fatah and Hamas for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government. He was also active in calming the rival parties in Lebanon, and has tried to mediate between Iran and the U.S. administration. Two weeks ago he brought President George W. Bush up to date on his efforts, and last week he participated in a meeting of intelligence chiefs from Arab states with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which took place in Amman the day after the tripartite meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem.

There are many indications that the prince, who served 22 years as Saudi ambassador to Washington, is behind the quiet slide his country is making toward Israel since the end of the second Lebanon war. In September, Bandar met with Olmert in Jordan. The secret meeting was made public in Israel later.

Since their meeting, Olmert has on a number of occasions commended the Saudi peace initiative of 2002, to which Bandar contributed actively.

Israel opposed the Mecca agreement, but Olmert decided to soften the criticism and describe it as an "internal Palestinian agreement." The Prime Minister justified the decision, in part by expressing concern that strong criticism would be construed as an insult to Saudi Arabia and might lead it to alter its position on Iran.

Not first encounter

Bandar's meeting with Olmert was not the first encounter of the Saudi prince with the Israeli establishment. According to statesmen, senior military officers and former intelligence officers, Bandar has had contact with Israel at least since 1990. Bandar was careful to keep his distance from Israeli ambassadors to Washington, and opted for links to Israel that did not operate along the diplomatic channels. The Saudi prince, who is celebrating his 58th birthday, had dedicated his career to furthering stability in the Middle East, which is in the interest of the Saudi kingdom.

His talks with Israelis focused on two subjects: blocking strategic threats from Iraq during the 1990s and from Iran today, and furthering the peace process between Israel, Syria and the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia is particularly sensitive to the Palestinian issue. The weekly cabinet meetings in Saudi Arabia, which take place every Monday and are led by King Abdullah, always begin with a long report on the "Palestine situation," and only then does the meeting move on to other governmental affairs.

In a biography of Bandar, "The Prince", which was published four months ago in the U.S., there is no mention of his meetings with Israelis. But the prince does explain how his interest in Israel began many years ago. It started when he was undergoing pilot training in Britain in 1969 and met another pilot who presented himself as an Israeli......."


Seymour Hersh in his latest article (posted on this blog) identified Bandar as the key figure behind a new and aggressive Saudi role in the region, at the behest of the Bush administration. Saudi money and U.S. intelligence are arming and financing a variety of "Sunni" groups (some linked to Al-Qaida) to fight Hizbullah in Lebanon and conduct terrorist attacks in Iran.

So, the FAMAS "government" is the brainchild of Prince Bandar; what can be bad about that? Celebrate, now!

Read All About it: The Saudi "Peace" Plan is Being Written in Tel Aviv

Israel pushing to improve Saudi peace initiative ahead of Riyadh summit

"Israel is expecting the Arab League to adopt an improved version of the Saudi peace plan at a summit meeting called for the end of this month in Riyadh, senior government sources told Haaretz on Thursday.

"We understand that the intention is to improve the initiative and come up with a better offer," said one.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni presented Israel's demands Thursday. First and foremost, she said, Israel objects to the document's section on the Palestinian refugees, which was not part of the initial Saudi draft, but was added at the 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut.

"A new summit is in the offing, and they ought to know which parts [of the plan] are acceptable to Israel and what seems to us like an absolute red line," she explained in an interview with Channel 10 television.

Livni said that the original draft presented by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia "was, in my view, positive." That draft called for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders in exchange for peace and normalization with the entire Arab world.

"Admittedly, the initiative spoke of the 1967 lines, but I only wish we were in a situation in which the conflict was just a border dispute," she added.

The new article inserted at the 2002 Beirut summit, however, demanded a "just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194," and that resolution calls for allowing the refugees to return to Israel. It therefore contradicts Israel's vision of a two-state solution, which, explained Livni, calls for a Jewish national homeland alongside a Palestinian national homeland, with the latter serving as the solution for the Palestinian refugees.

Livni said that she has presented this stance in conversations with Palestinian representatives with whom she met over the last month. She reiterated it in an interview that was published in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam Thursday, in which she said bluntly, "It is impossible for Israel to accept the Arab peace initiative in its current formulation."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said a few times over the last few months that the Saudi initiative contains "positive elements."

The Riyadh summit, which was called by King Abdullah, is slated to take place on March 28 and 29. The agenda includes the Arab peace initiative, the Iranian threat and the communal tensions in Lebanon. Over the last few weeks, Abdullah has tried to mediate on all of these issues, with the goal of promoting regional stability......"


Palestinians: Celebrate some more! If you liked the Mecca deal, you are going to love the Riyadh sequel, after you translate the deal from Hebrew to Arabic.

Long live Saudi-Israeli solidarity!

Life is good.....No dieting for these two
The weight of an Arab "leader" is usually proportional to his sense of power

Beware the Iraqi boomerang

By Ira Chernus
Asia Times

"The Iraq syndrome is headed America's way. Perhaps it's already here.

A clear and growing majority of Americans now tell pollsters that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake, that it's a bad idea to "surge" more troops into Baghdad, that the US needs a definite timeline for removing all its troops.

The nation seems to be remembering a lesson of the Vietnam War: the US can't get security by sending military power abroad. Every time the US tries to control another country by force of arms, it only ends up more troubled and less secure.

But the Iraq syndrome is a two-edged sword, and there is no telling which way it will cut in the end.

Remember the "Vietnam syndrome", which made its appearance soon after the actual war ended in defeat. It did restrain the US appetite for military interventions overseas - but only briefly. By the late 1970s, it had already begun to boomerang. Conservatives denounced the syndrome as evidence of a paralyzing, Vietnam-induced surrender to national weakness. Their cries of alarm stimulated broad public support for an endless military buildup and, of course, yet more imperial interventions.

The very idea of such a "syndrome" implied that what the Vietnam War had devastated was not so much the Vietnamese or their ruined land as the traumatized American psyche. As a concept, it served to mask, if not obliterate, many of the realities of the actual war. It also suggested that there was something pathological in a postwar fear of taking US arms and aims abroad, that the US had indeed become (in the late president Richard Nixon's famous phrase) a "pitiful, helpless giant", a basket case.

Ronald Reagan played all these notes skillfully enough to become president of the US. The desire to "cure" the Vietnam syndrome became a springboard to unabashed, militant nationalism and a broad rightward turn in the life of the United States.

Iraq - both the war and the "syndrome" to come - could easily evoke a similar set of urges: to evade a painful reality and ignore the lessons it should teach the US. The thought that Americans are simply a collective neurotic head-case when it comes to the use of force could help sow similar seeds of insecurity that might - after a pause - again push US politics and culture back to a glorification of military power and imperial intervention as instruments of choice for seeking "security".......

Put the history of the Vietnam syndrome together with the enduring appeal of America's victory culture, and it's easy to see how the Iraq syndrome could boomerang too. Boomerangs can easily catch you unaware and give you quite a smack. When one might be coming up behind you, it pays to stay very alert."

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Dahlan: The Mecca Agreement has ended the rift between Fatah and Hamas and assimilated Hamas into the political system

Contributed by Lucia

"Gaza - Ma'an - Fatah's Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member, Muhammad Dahlan, who is also head of the interior and security committee in the PLC, affirmed on Thursday that president Mahmoud Abbas will meet with the prime minister designate Ismail Haniyeh next Saturday to discuss the developments in the formation of the coalition government.

Dahlan added, during a meeting with Palestinian journalists and writers in his office in Gaza City, that the Mecca agreement came to comply with Palestinian interests, as well as ending the infighting between rivals. He also welcomed the positive shift in Hamas' stance in preparing for assimilation into the Palestinian political system.

Dahlan updated the journalists on the circumstances that accompanied the Mecca agreement, especially the Saudi endeavors to subdue the obstacles between Fatah and Hamas. He also depicted his relationship with Hamas as positive, referring to the promising atmosphere which prevails in the Hamas-Fatah discussions and sessions in the Gaza Strip. He said that he had been personally calling for the assimilation of Hamas into the Palestinian political arena since 1996.

Israel, explained Dahlan, expresses denial and non-acceptance of the Mecca agreement through incursions and murder. "


"the positive shift in Hamas' stance" is a diplomatic way of describing the capitulation of Hamas; all that remains of Hamas is empty and useless rhetoric and praise for the rotten Saudi royals. That is why Hamas and Dahlan are getting along swimmingly. The resistance has ended, except for a few kids throwing rocks at Israeli armor. The only thing this "unity government" will do is to pathetically beg for a "solution." Olmert has his own ideas of what a solution looks like, and that is what the "Palestinian government" will get: reservations with a Palestinian flag.

Americans Have Lost Their Country

The Tragedy of a Dozen Evil Men


"The Bush-Cheney regime is America's first neoconservative regime. In a few short years, the regime has destroyed the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the Geneva Conventions, and the remains of America's moral reputation along with the infrastructures of two Muslim countries and countless thousands of Islamic civilians. Plans have been prepared, and forces moved into place, for an attack on a third Islamic country, Iran, and perhaps Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.

This extraordinary aggressiveness toward the US Constitution, international law, and the Islamic world is the work, not of a vast movement, but of a handful of ideologues--principally Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Lewis Libby, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Philip Zelikow, and Attorney General Gonzales. These are the main operatives who have controlled policy. They have been supported by their media shills at the Weekly Standard, National Review, Fox News, New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page and by "scholars" in assorted think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute.

The entirety of their success in miring the United States in what could become permanent conflict in the Middle East is based on the power of propaganda and the big lie.....

The Israeli relationship is perhaps even more important. In 1996 Richard Perle and the usual collection of neocons proposed that all of Israel's enemies in the Middle East be overthrown. "Israel's enemies" consist of the Muslim countries not in the hands of US puppets or allies. For decades Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians such that today there is not enough of Palestine left to comprise an independent country. The US and Israeli governments blame Iran, Iraq, and Syria for aiding and abetting Palestinian resistance to Israel's theft of Palestine......

When the American people caught on that the "war on terror" was a cloak for wars of aggression, they put Democrats in control of Congress in order to apply a brake to the regime's warmongering. However, the Democrats have proven to be impotent to stop the neoconservative drive to wider war and, perhaps, world conflagration.

We are witnessing the triumph of a dozen evil men over American democracy and a free press."

Bush's Theater of the Absurd

A Missile Defense System That Doesn't Work for Missiles That May Not Exist


"It has an appealing symmetry. George Bush is deploying a missile defense system that may or may not work to defend against nuclear weapons that might be fired from Iranian secret weapons sites that may or may not exist. This strategy is of a piece with the rest of George Bush's foreign policy strategies that have produced such successes as, for example, Iraq......

Notwithstanding the success of these tests, if a hostile missile were being fired towards one of our friends there would be a 60% chance of shooting it down. There would be a 40% chance of not affecting it. The good news is that that may not really make much difference. Iran (together with North Korea) is the country against whom the defense system is supposed to defend. It now turns out there may not be all that much to defend against and hence the fact that the system may not work may be of no consequence......

As a result of the foregoing, what the world now knows is that missiles that may not work will end up being deployed to defend against missiles launched from sites that may not exist. It proves, if proof were needed, that George Bush never runs out of ideas for pranks to play on the world. The pranks amuse not only the prankster but the sycophants who consort with him and enjoy playing major roles in George Bush's Theater of the Absurd. The audience is not amused. It's terrified."

To All Palestinians: Celebrate!
Olmert and Abbas Will Meet, Again, in Two Weeks to Continue "Dialogue"....
Meanwhile, Tighten Your Belts Another Notch And Send Congratulations to Habila.

From the Geniuses of Hamas.....

Resheq: Makka agreement historic chance before world to correct mistake

"DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Hamas’ senior political leader and member of its political bureau Ezzat Al-Resheq said on Thursday that Israel and its ally, the USA, were the main obstacles that hinder peace in the Middle East and not the Palestinians.

“We believe that the Israeli occupation government was and still is the main obstacle before achieving peace in the region for refusing to recognize the legal rights of the Palestinian people; and hence, the international community should exert pressure on it and not on the Palestinian people”, Resheq affirmed.

Resheq’s remarks came in a statement he made where he also asserted that the file negotiations was left to the PLO chairman and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas who, in turn, would present results of his negotiations before the new national council of the PLO or hold general referendum to endorse them.

In this regard, Resheq regarded the recently concluded Makka agreement as “historic chance” before the world to amend its mistake against the unarmed Palestinian people....."


Amazing insight! Now the "world" will see the errors of its ways and "correct" them, and the Palestinians will live happily ever after. Why didn't we see that for the past 90 years? I guess we needed the genius of Hamas and its "thinkers."

Support The Troops.....
Send Some More to Iraq.....

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

The Palestinian Resistance Was in Full Display in Nablus (West Bank) as the IOF Invasion of the City Continued....

By Tom Toles

An ill wind in Iran

All is not well in Iran, specifically the health of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. One proposed succession plan involves the appointment of a triumvirate, rather than turning to the next in line, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. Such a move, though, would lead to the isolation of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"As the dogs of war ominously circle the Persian Gulf, regime change in Iran could become a distinct possibility - but not exactly according to the desires of US Vice President Dick "all options are on the table" Cheney, whose supreme obsessions are oil, war and their mutual intersection.

A leading Western energy consultant, who prefers to remain anonymous, went to Tehran in early February and personally met with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. He tells Asia Times Online that according to his assessment, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "has a couple of months at most - prostate cancer".

The Western consultant's top sources also told him the Supreme Leader "will not be replaced, but a triumvirate/council will replace him, consisting of Khatami, Rafsanjani and Kharroubi". Former president Mohammad Khatami is a reformist. Mehdi Kharroubi - the Majlis (parliament) Speaker - is a moderate. And former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, a Machiavellian pragmatist, is in fact the next notable in the line of succession, according to the current rules (he would be chosen by the Council of Experts, of which he is the top member)......

But as the diplomatic neo-colonial ballet at the UN drags on, a deadly quartet, in parallel, develops a covert agenda. The quartet consists of Cheney; Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams; former ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad Zalmay Khalilzad; and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi national security adviser and ambassador to the US for 22 years. Their objective: the destabilization and fragmentation of Iran.

A new variable - the Supreme Leader's health - is now introduced. The next true deciders may be much more amenable to serious discussion. But will regime change in Iran - not provoked by bombs but by natural causes - be enough to quench the United States' war thirst? "

The Pentagon plays war games with Iran

Leaked reports of a recent Pentagon meeting only add to the mounting evidence that the US is preparing to attack Iran. In this context the recent "surge" of US troops is not meant to pacify Baghdad but to contain Iraqi Shi'ite fury in response to air strikes on Iran. George W Bush doesn't want to have to go to Syria and Iran and "ask for anything.

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"WASHINGTON - Two weeks ago, Pentagon officials discussed a strategy to escalate US pressure on Iran with the intention of creating the impression that the United States is ready to go to war, according to an account by one of the participants.

A meeting at the Pentagon in mid-February was said by a participant to have revolved around a plan to ratchet up US rhetoric about an Iranian threat and make further military preparations for war in a way that would be reminiscent of what happened prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The account was described by a source outside the Pentagon who obtained it directly from the participant.

The description of Pentagon thinking suggests a strategy that is much more aggressive than the line represented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's announcement on Tuesday that the United States would participate in direct talks with Iran in the context of a conference to be convened by the Iraqi government......"

US commanders admit: we face a Vietnam-style collapse

Elite officers in Iraq fear low morale, lack of troops and loss of political will

Simon Tisdall
Thursday March 1, 2007
The Guardian

"An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.
The officers - combat veterans who are experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province.

But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become a race against time, according to a former senior administration official familiar with their deliberations.......

But the next six months are make-or-break for the US military and the Iraqi government. The main obstacles confronting Gen Petraeus's team are:

· Insufficient troops on the ground

· A "disintegrating" international coalition

· An anticipated increase in violence in the south as the British leave

· Morale problems as casualties rise

· A failure of political will in Washington and/or Baghdad.

Steven Simon, the national security council's senior director for transnational threats during the Clinton administration, said a final meltdown in political and public backing was likely if the new strategy was not seen to be working quickly.

"The implosion of domestic support for the war will compel the disengagement of US forces. It is now just a matter of time," Mr Simon said in a paper written for the Council on Foreign Relations. "Better to withdraw as a coherent and at least somewhat volitional act than withdraw later in hectic response to public opposition... or to a series of unexpectedly sharp reverses on the ground," he said......"

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Investigative Reporter Seymour Hersh: US Indirectly Funding Al-Qaeda Linked Sunni Groups in Move to Counter Iran

Don't Miss This Interview

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh joins us to talk about his explosive new article in the New Yorker Magazine. Hersh reports that John Negroponte’s decision to resign as National Intelligence Director was made in part because of the Bush administration’s covert actions including the indirect funding of radical Sunni groups - some with ties to al-Qaeda - to counter Shiite groups backed by Iran. Hersh also reports the Pentagon has established a special planning group to plan a bombing attack on Iran and U.S. military and special-operations teams have already crossed the border into Iran in pursuit of Iranian operatives.

In an explosive new article, the New Yorker Magazine reports that Negroponte’s decision to resign as National Intelligence Director was made in part because of the Bush administration’s covert actions in the Middle East, which so closely echo Iran-Contra. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration, with Saudi Arabia, is secretly funding radical Sunni groups - some with ties to al-Qaeda - to counter Shiite groups backed by Iran. Moreover, this is being done without any Congressional authority or oversight.

Hersh also reports the Pentagon has established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran. The new panel has been charged with developing a plan that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President Bush. Seymour Hersh joins me now from Washington DC."

Click Here to Watch, Listen or Read Transcript

Oh No!..... Habila is Speaking,..... Again!

هنية: الاحتلال يسعى بعدوانه لإجهاض جهود كسر الحصار عن الشعب الفلسطيني

"استنكر إسماعيل هنية، رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني المكلف بتشكيل حكومة الوحدة الوطنية، التصعيد الصهيوني الممارس ضد أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني، مؤكداً على أن التصعيد يهدف إلى "إجهاض الخطوات الفلسطينية والعربية الهادفة إلى كسر الحصار المفروض على الشعب الفلسطيني".

وكانت قوات الاحتلال قد اجتاحت مدينة نابلس (شمال الضفة الغربية)، فجر اليوم الأربعاء (27/2)، بأعداد كبيرة من الآليات والجنود، وحاصرت البلدة القديمة من جميع الجهات، وشنت حملات دهم وتفتيش في منازل المواطنين بعد أن أجبرتهم على الخروج منها.

وقال هنية، في تصريح أدلى به للصحفيين اليوم الأربعاء "إن التصعيد الصهيوني عبر الاجتياحات المتكررة في نابلس واغتيال كوادر المقاومة الفلسطينية، مرتبط بشكل مباشر بالرفض الصهيوني لاتفاق مكة الذي رسّخ الوحدة الوطنية وشُرع (بموجبه في) تشكيل حكومة الوحدة الوطنية على أساس من التوافق الفلسطيني".

وشدد رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني على ضرورة مغادرة قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني مدينة نابلس والخروج من المدن والقرى والمخيمات الفلسطينية، مطالباً المنظمات الدولية والحقوقية بأن تتحمل المسؤولية الكاملة في "كبح جماح العدوان الصهيوني ووقف حالة التصعيد والمتواصل ضد شعبنا في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة"."


This man is an utter idiot; he makes Arafat appear as a revolutionary, in comparison.

The Union of Oppressors

A Good Article
Contributed by Lucia

By Dr. Salim Nazzal

"Two American meetings in the Middle East, one to agitate, the other to decorate!

Birds of a feather flock together is perhaps the best proverb to describe USA and its friends and allies and in the Middle East, and clearly visible in Rice’s late visit to the Middle East. This opens up the question about the goals of Secretary Rice hoped to reach, in meeting unpopular, if not hated Arab intelligence officers. Also if we apply the saying that says tell me who your friends and I will tell you who you are, we would come to the conclusion that the best friends to the United States is the Israeli apartheid regime and the Arab oppressive regimes. This can easily be seen: America is the oppressor on the global level, the apartheid regime of Israel is the oppressor on the regional level, and the Arab regimes are oppressing their peoples on the local level.

Then, one becomes less surprised to see that the harmony between these three circles is like harmony between the form and the content to use the language of ancient Muslims logicians. This has made some Arabs such as the Lebanese political writer Talal Salman wonder whether the USA will spread democracy with the help of Arab security leaders after it has attempted to spread it in Iraq by the help of the apache and machine guns. While the Palestinian political writer Abd al Bari Atwan observes that the usual thing is that foreign ministers meet and discuss political questions. But when the secretary of the state represents a country various public polls shows that it is hated by most Arabs due to its support of Israel and its occupation to Iraq, meets Arab intelligence leaders known for their ugly records on human rights, the natural question is why the American state secretary meet Arab officers to discuss a political question such as the Palestinian question.

The answer to this does not require thinking about .The Usa looks at the Palestinian question as a security question and not as a question of a nation that seeks to rid it self from occupation. This explains why the American position towards the question of the Palestinian national government has been almost the same position of Israel......"

The Non-Thinking Enemy

Big, Slow, Centralized and Dumb


"One of the rituals attending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when our opponents score a goal, is for an American general to materialize before the press and announce, in his best miles gloriosus manner, that "we face a thinking enemy." Wow. Who ever would have imagined that the enemy might think and learn?.....

What characteristics might a non-thinking enemy have?

First of all, such a military would have to be highly centralized. Decisions should be made as remotely from the battlefield as possible, with layers of middle and senior management given a veto over any new ideas or adaptations. Someone, in some headquarters, is bound to veto anything.

It would help if all headquarters were as large as possible. Not only would this maximize veto powers, it would also ensure that all decisions were made on a lowest-common-denominator basis. Usually, all large groups can agree on is maintaining the status quo.

Senior decision-makers should not be focused on the war. Their "real world" should be as disconnected as possible from battlefield results. Over-concern with bureaucratic empire-building, budget politics and personal career success are all useful tools for attaining this important disconnect.

A non-thinking military's feedback mechanisms should ensure that only good news is sent up the chain. The higher the level of command -- including the nation's political leadership -- the stronger the demand to suppress bad news should be. Messengers with bad news should routinely be shot, or at least exiled.

To maintain its opacity of mind, a non-thinking military should be insular. It should be careful not to look at the experiences of other militaries, historical or contemporary. A general spirit of false pride and bravado is always helpful in maintaining insularity. Past failures can be blamed on someone else.

An excellent means to ensure that thought is suppressed is to contract thinking out. Contractors could care less about truth; their measure of success is profits. Since the awarding of contracts is in the hands of senior officers whose desire to avoid adaptation is well known, contractors' unwillingness to suggest new ideas can be guaranteed. If most contractors are retired senior officers to whom any change would be an attack on their "legacies," so much the better. In the cause of not thinking, billions to contractors is money well spent.

Finally, a useful way to discourage thinking among junior leaders is to try to wage war by rote process. Those processes are developed and dictated downward by the same large headquarters whose inherent aversion to thought has already been noted. Better, those same headquarters control training; soldiers and junior leaders who have been trained in obsolete tactics will have more trouble adapting than people with no training.

Despite all these powerful institutional incentives to stifle thought, the regrettable fact remains that junior levels of command, up through company and sometimes battalion, will still want to think and adapt, because they want to stay alive and even to win. Every effort must therefore be made to ensure they have to fight the system each--step of the way in order to change something. The old bureaucratic rule, "Delay is the surest form of denial," is helpful here. This brings us back to the importance of centralization and large headquarters.

Some may object that a military so carefully structured not to think is hard to imagine in the real world. That is true, since its fate would be so sure. What kind of government would be so corrupt, so unconcerned about the security of the state it leads and the vast sums it would be wasting as to tolerate such a military? Simple self-preservation would dictate sweeping military reform.

Of course, it would be anyone's dream to have a non-thinking military like the one I have described as an opponent. Any thinking military, even one with the most paltry of resources, could look forward to victory presented on a silver platter.

Who might have such exquisite good fortune and vast favor of the gods as to acquire a non-thinking military as their enemy? Anyone who fights us."


His description of a non-thinking military fits all Arab armies, perfectly!

Why Hezbollah poses serious threat on US after Qaeda?

"Al-Manar special report – Rabab Shamas – Translated /
The new American strategy says that Hezbollah poses most serious threat on US security after Al-Qaeda. This is what US intelligence chief Michael said on Tuesday, while delivering his assessment in an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee. McConnell was reiterating comments made by US President George W. Bush in his most recent State of the Union address, in which he said that the Americans are facing an escalating threat from whom he call "aggressive Shiite fundamentalists" and added that Hezbollah comes second after Al-Qaeda. This points to an American campaign being launched against Hezbollah suggesting the party has become a direct target for the US under the so called war on terror. It also raises questions about Washington's attempt to directly target Hezbollah after extracting legitimacy from Americans. A series of information, the last of which was reported by the London based "Daily Telegraph" quoting sources from the Congress and US intelligence saying that Bush has authorized operations against Hezbollah under a secret plan, under the pretext of supporting the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora."

Drums of War Beating Louder

Israel Demands U.N. Halt Flow Of Arms To Hezbollah

"Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - Israel on Tuesday insisted the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) do more to stem the flow of arms to Hezbollah via the Lebanon-Syrian border.

The commander of Israel's northern forces, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, informed UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano of Italy when the two men met in northern Israel that Israel is well aware that weapons continue to reach Hezbollah in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought an end to last summer's war between the Jewish state and the terror group.

While meeting with military officials in southern Israel earlier in the day, Defense Minister Amir Peretz suggested that if the international community continues to fail in its implementation of 1701, Israel may be forced to take action.

"We demand from all international parties involved to put an end to the smuggling," The Jerusalem Post quoted Peretz as saying. "In the end, however, we will take responsibility and will do everything to defend the State of Israel. We will not allow the situation in southern Lebanon to return to the way it was on the eve of the war."

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's deputy chief, Sheikh Naim Kassem, claimed in an interview with the AP that Israel is preparing to attack Lebanon as part of a broader U.S.-led assault on Iran, and that his group is merely preparing for that day."

Iran threatens to pursue Kurdish rebels inside Iraq

"TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards will pursue Kurdish rebels inside Iraq's borders if Baghdad fails to expel them from border zones, the head of the elite force warned on Wednesday.

"I warn the Kurdish movements of Iraq and Iranian anti-revolutionary armed rebels linked to foreigners that the Iraqi government must expel them from the region," said Yayha Rahim Safavi, according to the Mehr news agency.

"Otherwise, the Revolutionary Guards will view it as its right to chase and neutralise them beyond borders to defend its own security and that of the Iranian people," he said.

Safavi was speaking at the funeral for 14 Iranian military personnel killed in a helicopter crash last week during an operation against rebels close to the Turkish border in West Azarbaijan province.

"The United States and the Zionists seek to incite insecurity in Iran by allocating millions of dollars, equipping and financing satellite televisions and buying arms for these groups," Safavi added.

Iran accuses the United States and Britain of seeking to stir violence in its restive border provinces inhabited by ethnic minorities of Azeris, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Baluch.

The guards chief called on "Kurds and Azeris in border areas to cooperate with armed forces to annihilate anti-Islamic rebels", adding "more than 30 rebels were killed" in the recent operations in the area.

Iran said on Tuesday it had killed three local chiefs of a Kurdish rebel group Pejak, which claimed shooting down the helicopter and killing 20 soldiers and senior officers.

The group is linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)."

Sulta (Authority)
By Ali Farzat

The Khyber Impasse

The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan


"It is Year 6 of the UN-backed NATO occupation of Afghanistan, a joint US/EU mission. On 26 February there was an attempted assassination of Dick Cheney by Taliban suicide bombers while he was visiting the 'secure' US air base at Bagram (once an equally secure Soviet air base during an earlier conflict). Two US soldiers and a mercenary ('contractor') died in the attack, as did twenty other people working at the base. This episode alone should have concentrated the US Vice-President's mind on the scale of the Afghan debacle. In 2006 the casualty rates rose substantially and NATO troops lost forty-six soldiers in clashes with the Islamic resistance or shot-down helicopters.

The insurgents now control at least twenty districts in the Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan provinces where NATO troops have replaced US soldiers. And it is hardly a secret that many officials in these zones are closet supporters of the guerrilla fighters. The situation is out of control. At the beginning of this war Mrs Bush and Mrs Blair appeared on numerous TV and radio shows claiming that the aim of the war was to liberate Afghan women. Try repeating that today and the women will spit in your face.

Who is responsible for this disaster? Why is the country still subjugated? What are Washington's strategic goals in the region? What is the function of NATO? And how long can any country remain occupied against the will of a majority of its people?.....

Washington's strategic aims in Afghanistan appear to be non-existent unless they need the conflict to discipline European allies who betrayed them on Iraq. True, the al-Qaeda leaders are still at large, but their capture will be the result of effective police work, not war and occupation. What will be the result of a NATO withdrawal? Here Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian states will be vital in guaranteeing a confederal constitution that respects ethnic and religious diversity. The NATO occupation has not made this task easy. Its failure has revived the Taliban and increasingly the Pashtuns are uniting behind it.

The lesson here, as in Iraq, is a basic one. It is much better for regime-change to come from below even if this means a long wait as in South Africa, Indonesia or Chile. Occupations disrupt the possibilities of organic change and create a much bigger mess than existed before. Afghanistan is but one example."

Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

" KARACHI - The Pakistani establishment has made a deal with the Taliban through a leading Taliban commander that will extend Islamabad's influence into southwestern Afghanistan and significantly strengthen the resistance in its push to capture Kabul.

One-legged Mullah Dadullah will be Pakistan's strongman in a corridor running from the Afghan provinces of Zabul, Urzgan, Kandahar and Helmand across the border into Pakistan's Balochistan province, according to both Taliban and al-Qaeda contacts Asia Times Online spoke to. Using Pakistani territory and with Islamabad's support, the Taliban will be able safely to move men, weapons and supplies into southwestern Afghanistan.

The deal with Mullah Dadullah will serve Pakistan's interests in re- establishing a strong foothold in Afghanistan (the government in Kabul leans much more toward India), and it has resulted in a cooling of the Taliban's relations with al-Qaeda.

Despite their most successful spring offensive last year since being ousted in 2001, the Taliban realize they need the assistance of a state actor if they are to achieve "total victory". Al-Qaeda will have nothing to do with the Islamabad government, though, so the Taliban had to go it alone.

The move also comes as the US is putting growing pressure on Pakistan to do more about the Taliban and al-Qaeda ahead of a much-anticipated spring offensive in Afghanistan. US Vice President Dick Cheney paid an unexpected visit to Pakistan on Monday to meet with President General Pervez Musharraf.

The White House refused to say what message Cheney gave Musharraf, but it did not deny reports that it included a tough warning that US aid to Pakistan could be in jeopardy.

A parting of the ways
The Taliban saw that after five years working with al-Qaeda, the resistance appeared to have reached a stage where it could not go much further.

Certainly it has grown in strength, and last year's spring offensive was a classic example of guerrilla warfare with the help of indigenous support. The application of improvised explosive devices and techniques of urban warfare, which the Taliban learned from the Iraqi resistance, did make a difference and inflicted major casualties against coalition troops.

However, the Taliban were unable to achieve important goals, such as the fall of Kandahar and laying siege to Kabul from the southern Musayab Valley on the one side to the Tagab Valley on the northern side.

Taliban commanders planning this year's spring uprising acknowledged that as an independent organization or militia, they could not fight a sustained battle against state resources. They believed they could mobilize the masses, but this would likely bring a rain of death from the skies and the massacre of Taliban sympathizers. Their answer was to find their own state resources, and inevitably they looked toward their former patron, Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda does not fit into any plans involving Pakistan, but mutual respect between the al-Qaeda leadership and the Taliban still exists. All the same, there is tension over their ideological differences, and al-Qaeda sources believe it is just a matter of time before the sides part physically as well......."

The Biggest Windbag of All and Our Windbag du Jour

It Takes a Palestinian to Appreciate This Cartoon by Baha Boukhari; it Loses Something in the Translation.
Promises (empty) are like breaking wind on a tile floor.....
The blockade reality is putting a lid on all that wind.....

In Iraq, the killing of 18 teenagers is a horrible routine

By Robert Fisk

".....Well, as usual, nothing is as it seems in Iraq. Within hours of the mass deaths in Ramadi yesterday came a disturbing statement by the US military. They knew of no deaths in Ramadi, although - and here was the sinister part of the whole thing - it was true, the Americans said, that 30 people had been "slightly wounded" in Ramadi when US troops set off a "controlled explosion" near a football field. "I can't imagine there would be another attack involving children without our people knowing," an American officer announced. Quite so.

Then he apparently half-acknowledged that there was another explosion near the soccer field, a "barbaric crime" by al-Qa'ida. The police said it was a car bomb. The American-funded Iraqi television service said it was a roadside bomb. A local tribal leader said that of the 18 dead, six were women - not, presumably, football players......

But such is the level of violence and anarchy in Iraq today that all such events are filtered through pro-American Iraqi security officials or through the US army or through insurgents' websites. Insurgents' victims are claimed to have been killed by the Americans, civilians killed by US troops are said to have been murdered by insurgents. Who knows if that did not happen in Ramadi? In fear of their lives, Western journalists can no longer investigate these atrocities. The Americans like it that way. So, one suspects, do the insurgents. Accurate information in Iraq is like water in the desert: precious, rare, often polluted......

The reality is that Iraq's war now exists in a fog through which we can see only vague figures. They may be insurgents or they may be soldiers. Or they may, for all the Iraqis know, be units from the 120,000 - yes, 120,000 - Western mercenaries now believed to be operating in Iraq for any number of legal and quasi-legal organisations. These hired gunmen constitute a force almost equal to the entire US contingent in Iraq. Who do they work for? What are their rules? The answer to the first may be "everyone". The answer to the second question? None......."

These orchestrated attacks on Chávez are a travesty

A social revolution is taking place in Venezuela. No wonder the neocons and their friends are determined to discredit it

George Galloway
Wednesday February 28, 2007
The Guardian

"The chilling Oliver Stone film Salvador got a rare airing on television this week. It was a reminder of a time when, for those on the left, little victories were increasingly dwarfed by big defeats - not least in a Latin America which became synonymous with death squads and juntas. How different things seem now. Yesterday US Vice-President Dick Cheney came uncomfortably close to the reality of Afghan resistance to foreign occupation. On the same day Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez delivered a mightier blow to the neocon dream of US domination, announcing an extension of public ownership of his country's oil fields - the richest outside the Middle East.......

The so-called "dictator" Chávez is nothing of the kind. He has won election after election, validating his radical course. Still the fear of a coup - such as in 2002 when Chávez was removed and imprisoned for three days before millions descended to the presidential palace to reinstate him - is everywhere. One Englishman abroad who welcomed the 2002 coup as the "overthrow of a demagogue" was the foreign office minister Denis MacShane - a humiliating correction had to be issued following Chávez's restoration. That tale underscores the importance of the links being forged between revolutionary Caracas and anti-war London. Chávez is well aware that the people were defeated in Chile, the fascists allowed to pass in Republican Spain. Just as in Venezuela, the defence against counter-revolution lies with the poor and the working people who are shaping the world they want; so too must all those internationally who want to see this ferment reach its potential rally to Venezuela's side."

Cheney Survives Bomb Attack
By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Unacceptable Death Toll in Iraq, Say Americans

"(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Adults in the United States are disappointed with the human cost of the coalition effort, according to a poll by Ipsos-Public Affairs released by the Associated Press.......

Polling Data

Has there been an acceptable or unacceptable number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq?



Not sure

Has there been an acceptable or unacceptable number of Iraqi civilian casualties in Iraq?



Not sure