Saturday, April 7, 2007

We want the Taliban back, say ordinary Afghans

At least we felt safe under the extremists, say Kandahar residents too afraid to go out after dark

"Faiz Mohammed Karigar, a father of two, fled Kandahar when the Taliban held power in Afghanistan because he was against their restrictions on education. Now he wants the fundamentalists back.

"When the Taliban were here, I escaped to the border with Iran, but I was never worried about my family," he said. "Every single minute of the last three years I have been very worried. Maybe tonight the Americans will come to my house, molest my wife and children and arrest me.".......

The failure of Nato forces to deliver security and development and rising civilian casualties inflicted by Western forces in clashes with the Taliban have led to a loss of support in Kandahar. "How can we forgive the Americans?" asked Mr Karigar, who like most people here does not distinguish among the different elements in Nato. "I will fight them any way I can."......

Whatever the cause of the bloodshed, the local population almost always blames the foreign soldiers in their midst. Even moderate Afghans are openly declaring they will join the insurgency.

The British Government calls the Taliban "terrorists" and "extremists", but people in Kandahar associate it with security. Before the 2001 invasion, they say, they could walk the streets safely as long as they complied with the movement's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Now even a simple outing to the local market is seen as a risk, and the Taliban, established as a response to lawlessness in the 1990s, is gaining fresh strength.

"I think life under the Taliban was very good," said Maria Farah, a mother of five. "If we did not have a full stomach, we could at least get some food and go to sleep, and if we went out somewhere there were no problems. How about now? If we go out, we don't know if we will arrive home or not. If there is an explosion and the Americans are passing, they will just open fire on everyone. The security problems are too much here."......."

Video: Mossad In Iraq

"April 7, 2007

This film present the israeli Mossad training in northern Iraq of the "Peshmerga," Kurdish forces, to push them to carry out killing and destruction of the Iraqis and carry out black ops."

Click Here to Watch This Video

The Palestinians Playing "Government" While Their Land is Disappearing Beneath Their Feet......
Playing Chief of the Reservation, Mr. Habila?

Twilight Zone / It's from Allah, the soldier said

Contributed by Fatima

By Gideon Levy

"......The yellow iron gate between the village and the main road was open that night. The Mercedes raced toward its destination; Sana held Khaled, panting and convulsing, in the back seat. After about fifteen minutes, they reached the Atara checkpoint north of Ramallah, one of the toughest and cruelest in the West Bank, especially of late. At this hour there were no other cars waiting.
The driver stopped at the stop sign in front of the checkpoint, as required. After about a minute, a soldier emerged and approached them. In the back seat, Khaled's condition was worsening. His breath was getting shorter and his shaking was getting stronger.

"Where are you going?," the soldier asked, and the driver replied in his meager Hebrew: "To the hospital in Ramallah." The soldier asked for the ID cards of all the passengers. Daoud appealed to him: "Before the IDs, listen to me. We have a very sick baby in the car and I want to get him to the hospital on time, before it's too late."

The soldier heard him, says Daoud, but didn't show any signs of interest. He didn't even bother to glance in the back seat, to see their convulsing baby. "He didn't care. He wasn't deaf. He heard, but he didn't even ask, 'Where's the baby?'"

The Fakihs had passed this checkpoint several times en route to the hospital with their baby, and the soldiers had always let them through quickly as soon as they saw the sick infant. Not this time. This soldier insisted on collecting each person's ID card in turn. "I didn't have a choice so I handed him the ID cards," Daoud says. The soldier took the IDs cards and walked away from the car, toward the checkpoint. Khaled's condition continued to worsen.

Usually, Daoud says, the ID check takes just a minute or two, especially when the checkpoint is totally deserted, as it was that night. But not this time. After a wait of about five desperate minutes, Daoud called out to the soldier: "Soldier, soldier, excuse me, but I want to get to the hospital. My baby is in serious condition." "What are you yelling about?," the young soldier scolded Daoud, "Don't yell." Daoud was upset. "Look at the baby, he's going to die! Afterward you do whatever you want." The soldier turned away without saying anything.

Sana became hysterical. With Khaled in her arms, she began crying and shouting: "My baby... My baby is going to die!" Daould was desperate. "At that moment, I wanted to get out of the car, but I couldn't. They could shoot me, beat me, or delay me even longer. I chose to wait in the car. Waiting was better than getting out."

More long, fateful minutes that felt like an eternity passed. It was almost 1:00 A.M. Finally, the soldier came back. "Open the car," he instructed. The soldier checked the car, going through package after package, the one with the diapers and the one with the medicines and the milk, and so on. Daoud shouted: "I don't have time. Don't make my baby die here. He's dying." Sana's crying kept getting louder, the baby gasped harder for breath.

Sana grabbed the soldier by the arm. "Look at the baby," she pleaded. The startled soldier turned his weapon toward her. Then he relaxed and shined his flashlight on the baby's face. "What happened to the baby?," he asked. Daoud told him the baby was dying. "I'll go and bring you the ID cards," the soldier said, but not before pausing to check the trunk and to inspect the spare tire and whatever was under it - all by the book, the book of the occupation.

But then the most terrible thing of all happened: Khaled suddenly stopped shaking. His tiny hands dropped to his sides and his breathing became slow and heavy. "Our baby is dead!," wailed Sana, while Daoud tried to reassure her: "No he's not, just be patient and strong, now we're on our way."

The soldier brought back the ID cards. "Drive to the hospital quickly," he told them. Sana said there was no point now in going to the hospital. Next to Bir Zeit, they stopped the car to check on the baby's condition. Khaled was no longer breathing. Daoud told Sana that there was no point in continuing. "Our baby is dead." But Sana insisted that they continue on to the hospital, maybe the doctors could revive Khaled.

At 1:20 A.M. they arrived at the emergency room. The doctors examined Khaled, put him into an oxygen tent but then had to pronounce him dead. "There's nothing we can do for him now," they told the parents.

On the way home, having left their dead baby at the hospital, they passed through the Atara checkpoint again. "Where's the baby?," the soldier asked. "My baby died," Daoud answered him. "Died? Why?," asked the soldier. "He died, because I waited here at the checkpoint," Daoud said. "No, it's from Allah," the soldier replied........"

A Beginner's Guide to Combat

"Oh, Boy, I Don't Think They Like Us!"

A Good Spoof



Contrary to numerous reports depicting recruiters as bottom feeders, vultures, flim flam artists, used car salesmen, carney barkers, swindlers, grifters, gutless outlaws, sniggering ne'er-do-wells, heartless card sharps and the like, these honorable men and women offer prompt and accurate guidance to those who wish to serve our country in the present War on Terror. In spite of it being impossible to invade and occupy a concept (On War, Clausewitz , 1832); despite the "coalition of the willing" having nearly dried up; and given that a majority of Americans and Iraqis want the US out of Iraq, such concerns are of minor consequence to those who have full faith in our Commander in Chief.......

Basic Training

......At precisely 11AM drill instructors permit male recruits a one hour nap. Females may elect aroma therapy and/or pedicure. A gourmet lunch is served at 1PM. Afternoons are spent on tennis, badminton, or handball courts. At the 7PM. dinner (jacket and tie or cocktail dress and heels required) appetizers of Cajun Double Seared Shrimp, entrees of Escargot de Bridget, and hefty slices of Black Forest Brownies drizzled with organic fudge flakes are much in demand......


All troops fly Business Class to Bagdad. Second, third and fourth tour vets are issued Very Frequent Flyer Cards. Arrived in Iraq, the new soldiers are awed at the sight of vermillion rose petals which dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.....


Periodically, soldiers may have the urge to fornicate. All fornicatory requests must be put in writing and submitted in triplicate to the Battalion Medical Officer, who will issue one Combat Condom per request. Upon completing the fornicatory act and placing the used Combat Condom in a UCCC (Used Combat Condom Convoy), the soldiers will stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Contrary to reports of male soldiers sexually harassing, molesting, assaulting or raping female soldiers (see below) the Army permits only authorized fornication, with a maximum of twelve fornicatory acts per year. Marines may fornicate thirteen times per combat tour. Navy and Air Force personnel do not have sex.......


Although the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the 2006 opium harvest in Afghanistan will be 6,100 tonnes, more than thirty times 2001 production levels under the Taliban government, there is absolutely no illicit drug use by American soldiers in that country. Instead, during and after combat missions, American troops drink mocha lattes or vanilla frappuccinos to slake thirst, assuage fatigue and increase peer status. In Iraq, soldiers caught smoking hashish are subject to Sharia law......


Books like Cobra II (Gordon and Trainor, Pantheon, 2006 ), The Freedom (Christian Parenti, The New Press, 2005), and others of this ilk purport to objectively examine the Global War on Terror but merely serve to confound the populace, displease the President, and discomfort our fighting troops. The unexamined life is better. To pair and paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld and Hippocrates, "Life is short, war is long." Indeed, war builds character, strong bodies and sound minds. Though it may damage, ruin or scar the soldier, in the end, when we victors survey the beautiful wreckage of plundered landscape, the multitude lost and broken lives, still we lift our heads to inhale the acrid scent of battle, awed by our great endeavors. To be otherwise disposed would invite disaster. Yes, we who are triumphant must hold dear the belief that old soldiers never die but fade away, and we must trust that those younger will shortly follow."

When an Anti-Semite is Not an Anti-Semite

Etymology and the Israel Lobby


"What do Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Ehud Olmert and, yes, me all have in common? We could each be censured for racism according to the European Union Monitoring Centre's 'working definition of anti-Semitism' which was last week adopted by the UK's National Union of Students as official policy.....

So it's actually a bit shocking to discover that it was largely drafted by a pro-Israel advocate who gives talks on how to elide the distinction between anti-Zionism and Jew Hatred. Kenneth Stern is the American Jewish Committee's expert on anti-Semitism and in 'Defining Anti-Semitism', a paper published by Tel Aviv University's Stephen Roth Institute, he explained how he developed the working definition 'along with other experts' in the second half of 2004.

Significantly, it involved crunching religious and racial hatred of Jews with what he labelled 'political' anti-Semitism. This latter, he claimed, has been 'otherwise known in recent years as anti-Zionism, which treats Israel as the classic Jew'. Political anti-Semites could thus include, for example, those who 'seek to disqualify Israel from equal membership in the community of nations', presumably by means of boycott initiatives. Naturally, comparing Israel to Apartheid-era South Africa is also, within Kenneth Stern's framework, 'an expression of antisemitism'......

But it could also include a litany of lobbyist shibboleths, such as:

"Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor); Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation... Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel."

Jewish peace activists have always baulked at this last point, dissociating themselves from war crimes committed in their names. Sadly, Ehud Olmert was not so circumspect when, on July 7, he told the United Jewish Communities that the invasion of Lebanon was 'a war fought by all the Jews'.

By the new standard though, it might be an anti-Semitic 'double standard' to single him out for criticism when the hateful words of the former Indian leader, Mahatma Ghandi, are still being taught in British schools. In 1938, Ghandi said he believed that 'Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French.' Thus might he disbar himself from speaking at a British college today.

Einstein though would really bomb. After the Deir Yassin massacre that killed more than 250 Palestinian civilians in 1948, he signed a letter to the New York Times describing the Herut Party (a.k.a Likud) as 'closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties'. Its then-leader (and Israel's future prime minister) Menachem Begin, represented 'fascist elements' in Israel, and his party had 'openly preached the doctrine of the fascist state'. So Einstein, would flunk the EUMC's 'comparing Israeli policy to the Nazis' test.

But even higher forces than Einstein could fall foul of the Stern exam. After all, in Leviticus 25:23, God instructed Moses to tell the Jewish people that 'the land is mine; you are but tenants and travellers'. What was this if not denying the Jewish people the right to their self-determination? Haul Him up before the AJC, Kenneth......."

"Brother" Abu Mazen Says: "Stop Useless Rockets"

Abbas tells forces to help stop Gaza rocket fire

At graduation ceremony for his presidential guard Palestinian president tells security forces to work diligently to stop anarchy, useless Qassam launching


"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Saturday for his security forces to step up efforts to prevent rockets from being fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

At a graduation ceremony for his presidential guard, Abbas was quoted by the official WAFA news agency as saying it was necessary that "all parties work with maximum effort, especially the presidential guard and national security forces, to spread security and safety in the homeland, end security anarchy and stop useless rockets."......"


What the stooge wants is not "security and safety in the homeland" but the security and safety of Israel and its colonies in the West Bank. These are the conditions of Oslo which he agreed to. His "forces" are primarily for this purpose.

Let us keep the "unity" celebrations going to celebrate this graduation of the "presidential guard."

Neocon Lieutenant Colonel Blames Iraq’s Victims

By Kurt Nimmo

"Perhaps you remember Ralph Peters? He’s the United States Army Lieutenant Colonel formerly assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence who redrew the map of the Middle East for Armed Forces Journal in June, 2006. In the article, entitled “Blood Borders,” Peters wrote that his “hypothetical redrawing of boundaries reflects ethnic affinities and religious communalism,” in other words, Peters has adopted the Israeli idea of busting up the Arabs, Kurds, and Persians into Bantustans.

Now we have Peters interviewed by Paul Kengor for the FrontPageMagazine website, a neocon operation run on Scaife and foundation grant money by the former Marxist turned neocon impresario and confidence man, David Horowitz.

“Once again, the Arab people, within Iraq and without, have failed themselves horribly,” Peters tells Kengor. “Their pettiness, their embrace of corruption, their social structures and their taste for internecine feuds and religious intolerance all have led them to make a hash of this unprecedented opportunity to build one rule-of-law democracy in the Arab world. Arabs have an ineradicable genius for failing themselves.”......

In short order, we have experienced amnesia in regard to the crimes perpetuated against the Iraqi people—indeed, we seem ready to sign off on the next attack, this time against Iran, as we are ignorant of the crimes committed against Iraq.

In the middle of all this, we get the platitudes of Ralph Peters, who is little more than an academic cartographer working in the service of the neocons. Peters’ “solution” to the “Arab problem,” indeed the “Islamic problem,” as viewed through an Israeli lens, is simply yet another paragraph—or more accurately, a footnote—in the clash of civilizations agenda, the racist and hubris-filled parti pris of the neocons who will, if not arrested and punished soon, destroy the planet or, at least, make it largely unrecognizable.

IOF troops kidnap mother of two detainees to force them to confess

Contributed by Lucia

"QALQILIA, (PIC)-- An IOF unit at dawn Saturday broke into the home of a Palestinian family in Qalqilia city and kidnapped the mother of two detainees to force them to confess, father of the detainees told PIC.

He said that Israeli soldiers encircled the house and told them via loudspeakers to get out before breaking into and ransacking it at the pretext of searching it.

The father said that an Israeli intelligence officer called him bad names and told him, "We will take your wife to force your sons to confess".

He said that the soldiers then handcuffed his wife and took her away in one of their jeeps.

Palestinian legal sources said that the mother of Sa'eed and Omar Dhiab was taken to the Jalama interrogation center where her two sons are held to pressure them into confessing under threat of hurting their mother."

The true story of free speech in America

This systematic censorship of Middle East reality continues even in schools

A Good Piece

By Robert Fisk

".......Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles......

The story so far: Sami al-Arian, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, was a respected computer professor at the University of South Florida who tried, however vainly, to communicate the real tragedy of Palestinian Arabs to the US government. But according to Sugg, Israel's lobbyists were enraged by his lessons - al-Arian's family was driven from Palestine in 1948 - and in 2003, at the instigation of Attorney General Ashcroft, he was arrested and charged with conspiring "to murder and maim" outside the United States and with raising money for Islamic Jihad in "Palestine". He was held for two and a half years in solitary confinement, hobbling half a mile, his hands and feet shackled, merely to talk to his lawyers.....

In December, 2005, al-Arian was acquitted on the most serious charges and on those remaining; the jurors voted 10 to two for acquittal......Then prosecutor Gordon Kromberg insisted that the Palestinian prisoner should testify against an Islamic think tank. Al-Arian believed his plea bargain had been dishonoured and refused to testify. He was held in contempt. And continues to languish in prison.

Not so, of course, most of America's torturers in Iraq. One of them turns out to rejoice in the name of Ric Fair, a "contract interrogator", who has bared his soul in the Washington Post - all praise, here, by the way to the Post - about his escapades in the Fallujah interrogation "facility" of the 82nd Airborne Division......

As the reporter who first revealed the death of hotel worker Baha Mousa in British custody in Basra - I suppose we must always refer to his demise as "death" now that the soldiers present at his savage beating have been acquitted of murder - I can attest that Arab Muslims know all too well how gentle and refined our boys are during interrogation. It is we, the British at home, who are not supposed to believe in torture. The Iraqis know all about it - and who knew all about Mousa's fate long before I reported it for The Independent on Sunday.

Because it's really all about shutting the reality of the Middle East off from us. It's to prevent the British and American people from questioning the immoral and cruel and internationally illegal occupation of Muslim lands. And in the Land of the Free, this systematic censorship of Middle East reality continues even in the country's schools......"

Act Seven in the Same Worn Out Play
By Baha Boukhari

Hold Your Breath: Habila Speaks.....Again

Haneyya: Siege on Palestinian people unethical, futile

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier, has described the western-led siege imposed on the Palestinian people as "unethical" and "futile", while charging the US administration with igniting tension in the region.

Haneyya told the Friday congregation in Breij refugee camp in central Gaza that the previous Hamas-formed government was under siege for a year to force it offer political concessions but to no avail.

He pointed out that international changes occurred regarding this siege, noting that a number of countries wished to accelerate political and financial relations with the PA while others declared they would not deal with the Hamas ministers in the new PA unity government, which he said is "unacceptable".

The premier accused the US administration with igniting tension in the region through refusing to lift the economic embargo on the PA government, which prevented local, regional and international banks from transferring funds directly to the government."


Amazing! Such penetrating wisdom. With "leaders" like him the Palestinians will be in the wilderness for the next forty years, at least.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Arab street warms to showman Ahmadi-Nejad

"On the dusty streets of Cairo, once considered the most important capital in the Arab world, Egyptians mulled over the recent performance of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, with most concluding he deserved a thumbs-up.

The Iranian president’s eye-catching showmanship as he announced the release of the 15 British sailors and marines seems to have generated admiration laced with a hint of frustration – why couldn’t Arab leaders be like him and stand up to the west?

The fact that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad is the leader of a Persian, predominantly Shia nation, seemed not to matter. “I consider Ahmadi-Nejad a leader of the Arab people. He has the confidence. It upsets me that we don’t have such a leader,” says Mohamed Ali, a 20-year-old student.

As Sunni Arab leaders voice concerns about sectarian tensions they say are fuelled by Iran and its interference in Iraq and Lebanon and watch Tehran’s nuclear programme with suspicion, other, ordinary Arabs see Mr Ahmadi-Nejad as a breath of fresh air.

The feelings are compounded by the perception that moderate Sunni states, such as US allies Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, simply follow Washington’s bidding, analysts say.

Abdullah Alshayji, a professor of international relations and head of the US studies unit at Kuwait University, says the Iranian leader strikes a balance that resonates in the Arab world: candid and outspoken in his criticism of the west and Israel, while appearing as a humble man of the people......"

Who Needs Liberation When You Can Have Elections: The Palestinian Election Epidemic

No time for lessons during student elections

Dana Shalash writing from Birzeit University, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 6 April 2007

"My students are robots that come in different colors: green, white, and red. Each is representative of a political party: Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front, respectively.

Birzeit University's campus has been overly crowded for the last few days. Eyes from both on and off campus are on the Student Council Elections, which some believe will gauge the outcome of potential early parliamentary elections.

Only eight students -- two were guests -- showed up to Wednesday's class. The other ten not showing up is the norm; out of their moral and/or partisan obligations most students skip classes -- lessons can wait but elections cannot. So we chose to discuss politics rather than English.......

I eventually rose up and closed the door to contain their increasing clamor. Unbelievable! They are all blind to the purpose of such a council. But disrespect, yelling, pointing fingers, and blindness have all become indispensable characteristics of us Palestinians.

They are all in dire need of financial help and counseling services, but none of them thought that this is why this council exists, and that they should elect the suitable individual, rather than the political party, that is willing to support them in their academic pursuits. The aforementioned "students'" parties have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the electoral campaign -- flags, posters, and banners that colored every single spot on campus. The estimated costs are believed to have otherwise financed dozens of deprived Palestinian students' tuition.

Awareness is a key notion that our students lack. They are brainwashed with partisan mantras and slogans, and sadly they are unwilling to hear out the other at all or even accept the others' right to believe differently."

What an Ass and a Palestinian Traitor!
Do The Palestinians Have Any Dignity Left?

Between Good and Evil

A Good Article
By Gilad Atzmon

Contributed by Datta

"......Ahmadinejad doesn’t shy off. He says what he believes to be right. He believes for instance that if the Europeans feel guilty for their past crimes against the Jews, it is the Europeans who should face their past and take responsibility for the Jews rather than dumping them in the Middle East at the expense of the Palestinian people. Again, this thought is rational as well as implacably ethically grounded. Whether we like its implication or not is a different matter. Ahmadinejad may be seen by some as a Holocaust denier, yet as far as I can see, he is one of the very few statesmen who manages to internalise the real meaning of the Holocaust. He says No to racism. Accordingly, he believes that Israel, the ‘Jews only State’, a racially orientated nationalist entity, has no right to exist as such. Ahmadinejad has never called for the liquidation of the Israeli people but rather for the dismantling of the Zionist apparatus. Again, I see nothing ethically wrong with that.

In the last days, Ahmadinejad proved again that as far as humanism and peace seeking are concerned, he is ahead of his Western rivals. Seemingly, we have a lot to learn from our Muslim brothers. In this cultural clash, it is we, the West who have lost touch with the notions of empathy and ethics. May I suggest that we start to assume some level of responsibility for things and admit that it is not Blair and Bush who should be blamed, it is we the people who are failing collectively to listen to the cry of the other. Rather than blaming Blair and his shrinking circuit of supporters, we are the ones, the silent crowd who should launch into a serious self-searching process. If humanism, rationality, analytical thinking and ethics have been seen as Western cultural assets at a certain stage, it is currently the leaders of the so-called Muslim ‘fundamentalists’ who grasp the real meaning of those qualities far better than we do.

Ahmadinejad was there to remind us all what grace was all about. Seemingly, it is Ahmadinejad who evokes the feeling of goodness and it is Blair who couldn’t match it. It was Blair who couldn’t even recruit the minimal dignity and kindness to salute his foe. British columnists should know better. Ahmadinejad didn’t win by points; it wasn’t about winning a political battle. This was just another chapter in an ongoing clash between civilizations, between Good and Evil and as it seems, we are stuck at least momentarily with Bush, Blair and their Ziocon philosophy, not exactly the civilized one and not remotely the carrier of ‘goodness’, so to say."

An Administration's Epic Collapse

By Joe Klein

"The first three months of the new Democratic Congress have been neither terrible nor transcendent. A Pew poll had it about right: a substantial majority of the public remains happy the Democrats won in 2006, but neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid has dominated the public consciousness as Newt Gingrich did when the Republicans came to power in 1995. There is a reason for that. A much bigger story is unfolding: the epic collapse of the Bush Administration.

The three big Bush stories of 2007--the decision to "surge" in Iraq, the scandalous treatment of wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys for tawdry political reasons--precisely illuminate the three qualities that make this Administration one of the worst in American history: arrogance (the surge), incompetence (Walter Reed) and cynicism (the U.S. Attorneys)......"

Why is Hezbollah on the Terrorism List?

And Who Isn't But Should Be?

(Franklin Lamb has been in Lebanon researching a book for the past nine months. Hezbollah: a brief Guide for Beginners in expected in early summer, 2007)


"It was a sign of the times last week (March 27) when House Armed Services Committee Staff Director Erin Conaton declared in a memo to committee staffers that the powerful committee was scrapping the Bush Administration shop worn phrase, Global War of Terrorism. Conaton's boss, Rep. Ike Skelton,( D-Mo) the new Chairman of the Committee commented that "the overused label had become an embarrassment and had lost its meaning".

Recent research in Lebanon has turned up information previously unavailable which sheds light of the misapplication of the Terrorism label by the Bush administration.....

In denying Hezbollah involvement in operations targeting American civilians, their leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah has stated:

"The truth of the matter is that there was something other than Hezbollah, called the Islamic Jihad, who kidnapped the hostages. There exist videocassettes, communiqués that bear the signature of the Islamic Jihad. It is independent form the party. It is absolutely incorrect that the Islamic Jihad is a cover name for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah remains on the US and Israel 'terrorism' list for purely political reasons and to punish the organization for its resistance to Israeli aggressions against Lebanon and Bush administration plans for the region."

It is time for the Bush administration to present its case and prove what terrorism Hezbollah has actually used against the American people in the 1980's in light of US government admissions that since 1999 there is no evidence that Hezbollah has engaged in 'Terrorism'.

It's time for the poker players to reveal their cards, or as they say down in Crawford.. ' y'all show 'em er fold 'em!"

Listing Hezbollah as “Terrorist” Serves North American Imperialism

by Ghada Chehade

"In the so-called war on “terror” the most powerful weapon being deployed is the word itself. In the post-9/11 geo-political climate, throwing in the word “terrorist” automatically mutes coherent and critical debate. Any valid and necessary criticisms of North American governments and their foreign policy are silenced and demonized with the use of that one word, while opposition to foreign invasion and imperialist plundering can be at once quelled and criminalized by deeming it terrorist. Canada’s anti-terrorist list is being used in this very way-as a vehicle for stifling, demonizing and criminalizing resistance to the North American imperialist project and Canada’s role in it. At the same time the word acts as subterfuge from the mass terror perpetrated by the US and its imperialist baby brother-Canada. What Canadian citizens need to ask is just who does this labeling protect? Does it protect the Canadian population who has never suffered at the hands of Hezbollah, or does is protect the Canadian government and business elite who are part of a North American project to ransack the world’s resources while discrediting and eliminating any parties that stand in the way? To understand the distinction we need to understand imperialism, as well as the one-sided and suspect way in which “terrorism” is currently defined.......

Shaping and manipulating public opinion is an essential part of the western imperialist project, and by demonizing their enemies western governments eliminate any need for critical debate. Canada’s terrorist list is currently being used in this very way: to demonize those who resist imperialism abroad and stifle any debate on the matter internally. In the case of geo-politics, governments are careful to package their imperialist resource grabs as “humanitarian interventions.” We need only think back to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, of which Canada was a part from the outset......."

Blitzkrieg Against Iran: Bush-Cheney’s Twisted Logic

by Alenjandro Nadal
La Jornada (Translated from Spanish by Supriyo Chatterjee)

"The crisis of 15 British sailors captured by Iran has brought up close the matter of a possible attack by the United States on that country. Very few think it is a logical option for Washington. But wars almost never start with rational analysis. Miscalculations and malignancy are the most common ingredients in the motives for conflicts.

For the White House, the need to attack Iran becomes more urgent every day. The perception is that as the end of the Bush administration approaches, the window of opportunity for an offensive is closing. As such, although it is not very logical to think that a President of the United States could hand over to his successor a recently-started war, that is precisely what is bound to happen in the current situation in the prevailing delirium in the Oval Office. There is no doubt that all the rules have changed after September 11......

But here is where it is outside the focus of a good part of the international debate. Washington’s objective is not to invade and occupy Iran. The central purpose is to eliminate it as an obstacle to controlling the resources of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. And, to achieve that, it is not necessary to invade the country. It is enough to destroy its military capacity, aerial and naval, something that the armed forces of the United States and its few allies can achieve in some week of selective bombardment. We should not forget that Pentagon has been preparing for decades to keep the Strait of Hormuz open to naval movement (and the Europeans, in an emergency, are going to be thankful).

In reply, Iran can unleash a nightmare for the Americans in Iraq. But the sacrifice of additional tens of soldiers in Baghdad is not something that is going to stop the dream of the Bush-Cheney duo. Within a month, the casualty figures of American soldiers in Iraq will exceed 3,300 deaths. The daily average of American casualties is about 2.3 so far in the war. The White House will not feel obliged to retire its troops from Iraq if the figure crosses four or five dead soldiers each day. The American people can react in other ways but by then they will be faced with a fait accompli.

In the twisted logic of Cheney and Bush, chaos and more casualties is what is going to oblige the United States to remain in Iraq. For these two characters, the Europeans, reluctant or otherwise, will have to accept that it is better to control the hydrocarbon riches of Central Asia and the Caspian than to abandon the region in the middle of chaos. The rules have changed, and Bush-Cheney are not prepared to let the opportunity go."

There will be a reckoning

The devastation of south Lebanon has echoes of Angola's towns shattered by South Africa in the 80s

Victoria Brittain in Bint Jbeil
Friday April 6, 2007
The Guardian

"From the rocky hills above the south Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil you look down over a valley of wild flowers and goats, where the word Hizbullah is scored into the grass. Three miles away is the border with Israel, and the red-tiled roofs of its settlements which face Bint Jbeil, the symbol of the war that Israel lost last summer. In 18 years of Israeli occupation of 10% of Lebanon, Bint Jbeil was the capital of Hizbullah's resistance, and it was unsurprising that it took the early brunt of Israeli air strikes, tanks, and street fighting in the 34 days of war......

Israelis, too, know about the power of memory, and made an attempt here to rub it out. Another of their prime targets was the hill-top prison of Khiam, northeast of Bint Jbeil, where hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians were held and tortured by Israel's proxy, the South Lebanese Army, during the occupation. Khiam was the symbol of Israel's power, and the prisoners' will to resist it. Today, bleak Khiam is a heap of tangled rubble, watched over by a man who spent four years inside the prison and has been telling its story ever since. All he can show now is one small remaining corridor of cells, and an isolation punishment box which he can just fit his body inside.

But three years ago, when I was last here, the anniversary of Israel's withdrawal was a holiday, and there was an atmosphere of celebration under a forest of Lebanese and Hizbullah flags. Khiam then was a Hizbullah museum, where families were shown round by this same former prisoner. The Angolan government produced a white book detailing every attack by South Africa, and today Lebanese citizens are doing the same, documenting civilian losses, damage to housing, land and the environment in a website:

Memory and history will be served by this, but there will be a reckoning beyond it. South Africa learned to live with its apartheid crimes through its truth and reconciliation commission. Will Israel go down this route too?"

Iraqis hold a British soldier's helmet and pieces of a British military Warrior fighting vehicle as they cheer after a road side bomb on British patrol in Basra, Iraq, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Thursday, April 5, 2007. Four British soldiers and a Kuwaiti interpreter were killed Thursday in an ambush in southern Iraq, the British military said. The patrol struck a roadside bomb and was hit by small-arms fire about 2 a.m. in the Hayaniyah district west of Basra.

A Rational Perspective on Our Present Crises

by Gabriel Kolko

"It is understandable that intelligent people should be preoccupied with the crises reported in the daily press, but they are best comprehended in their historical context. That context, and the crucial causes and motives guiding American foreign policy since 1950, are crucial to understanding the often bewildering and multidimensional events since the year 2000. George W. Bush and his cronies have done incalculable damage and committed terrible follies, but it is a fundamental error to assume that he is somehow original and the genesis of our present crisis.

It is much riskier to focus on particulars as if they have no precedents or are not part of an older, longer historical pattern. Indeed, a major fault of many assessments of US actions abroad is precisely such a disregard for the circumstances that led to them and their historical framework......"

A Provocation Backfires

Were the Brits ginning up a pretext for war in the Gulf?

By Justin Raimondo

".....This entire incident has been extremely odd, alright, but it isn't the Iranians who made it so. The behavior of the captured Brits is what struck me as truly bizarre. After all, two of them went on Iranian television, and, standing in front of a map, pointed out precisely where they were picked up by their captors – in what are clearly Iranian waters. Their televised apologies, it's true, were a violation of the Geneva conventions, but we in the West are hardly in the best position to raise that issue......

In any case, that was some pretty powerful – and convincing – video that the Iranians put out there, with relaxed and completely natural-looking-and -acting British sailors basically backing up what the Iranians said from the beginning. I agree with John McLaughlin: the Brits haven't been "entirely level with the world." Not that this would come as a surprise: as McLaughlin points out, Blair has long been among the chief manufacturers of alibis for the Bush administration.

The statements of the British sailors merely tend to confirm previously expressed doubts as to the actual coordinates released by the Brits. And now we hear the news – just released by Sky News – that they had been withholding an interview with one of the captives, Chris Air, filmed before his capture, in which he said they were indeed gathering intelligence on the Iranians. What it all adds up to, given what we know so far, is an incursion into Iranian waters that was in all likelihood deliberate......

Far from signaling a let up in the escalation of tensions, we are bound to see more such incidents – one of which will prove to be the tripwire for war......

We can stop the next war before it starts – but only if we catch the War Party at their game while they're playing it, and not after the fact, as in the case of Iraq. The Democrats are keen to cut off funding for a war that should never have started and could not have started without their cooperation: will they have the foresight and courage to defund the covert war against Iran before it becomes overt? I am not at all optimistic about this, but I'd be glad to be proven wrong......

The regime-changers, after all, are still in charge: Bush is a lame-duck, but he's still the big duck, and Blair is leaving, but isn't yet gone. Together, these two can do a lot more damage before they're safely out of office – and, given half a chance, they will.

The War Party may be discredited, reeling with defections, and genuinely hated by the majority of the English-speaking peoples, but I wouldn't count them out quite yet. The drama of the fifteen captives was just the beginning: there are plenty more provocations where that came from. This one backfired, it's true, but the danger is not past, or even decreased – because the next one may well succeed in sparking a conflict that will make the Iraq war look like a picnic in the park."

Ma'an readers believe the Arab summit mainly benefited Israel and the USA

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - The electronic weekly poll on the independent Ma'an News Agency's Arabic-language webpage has revealed that the majority of participants believe the results of the Arab summit in Riyadh benefited mainly Israel and the USA.

8,610 readers participated in the poll, representing a sample of readers for one week.

15.77% of the participants thought that the results of the summit benefited the Arabs and Palestinians. On the other hand, 72.86% thought that it benefited Israel and the USA.

11.37% of participants did not specify their point of views in the subject.

The Arab summit in Riyadh was held on 27-29 March. It concluded its activities by adopting the Arab peace initiative as the Arab states' approach for reaching a peaceful reconciliation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Arab peace initiative comprises of offering Israel normalization of relations with all the Arab states in exchange for a withdrawal from all the territory it occupied in the 1967 war and an agreed, just solution to the Palestinian refugee question."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Mike Luckovich

Olmert's theatrics

Israel's prime minister is engaged in a public relations exercise. Meanwhile, it is business as usual, as his army plans a wide ranging assault against Gaza

By Khaled Amayreh from East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......Olmert's words are nothing more than double speak. The Israeli premier knows that without giving up the spoils of the 1967 War and allowing for the repatriation of the refugee, the chances of a durable peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and also with the Arab- Muslim world at large, are next to nil. Yet Olmert thinks that spin can replace true statesmanship. He is unwilling to pay the price for peace but instead indulges in diversionary tactics, extolling the need to hold direct discussions with Arab leaders.

Israel has been engaging in peace talks with the Palestinians for 15 years and with the Arabs for decades to no avail. What point can there be in holding further discussions beyond trying to cajole or bully the Arab side into accepting the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land by Ashkenazi supremists?.....

Olmert doesn't stop at refusing Arab and non-Arab peace overtures. He also wants to ignite a civil war among Palestinians and would like to see Arab states augment Israel's callous blockade of Gaza......

Olmert is also very weak politically with a majority of Israeli pundits predicting that his hobbled together government is unlikely to survive to the end of the year. That weakness could hold many problems for the Palestinians as Olmert is tempted to pursue further military adventures and engage in political posturing in a doomed attempt to secure public support. Indeed this week the Israeli chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that Israel was planning to launch a far- reaching incursion into the Gaza Strip to "prevent Hamas from growing stronger".....

Olmert is likely to continue to recite his calls for peace and repeatedly express his sincere and heart-felt desire to hold talks with Arab leaders. Meanwhile his government and army continue to rape the Palestinian people and steal chunk after chunk of their homeland. It is a strategy that will continue for as long as world leaders are willing to remain silent in the face of Israeli recalcitrance.

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made another pilgrimage to Israel to ask for further atonement for the Holocaust. Merkel, who only met non-Hamas members of the Palestinian government, blamed the Palestinians for everything from the stalled peace process to crippling Western sanctions on them. One Palestinian official described Merkel's behaviour as "brazen and shameful".

"This woman, like all German leaders since [Konrad] Adenauer, feels enslaved by the Jews. I believe that even if Israel carried out a fully-fledged holocaust against the Palestinians, German leaders wouldn't even protest... German political whoredom seems to know no limits.""

Back to square one

Tempted by the trappings of statehood, Palestinian leaders forgot they had yet to build a state

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......The PLO was founded as a movement for refugees striving to liberate their land, not as a movement to fight the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It was founded in East Jerusalem at a time when that city was under Arab sovereignty and when the creation of a Palestinian entity meant the creation of a liberation organisation embodying the political aspirations and national identity of the Palestinian people. There was never any question of the creation of a state on only a portion of the land; indeed, in order to receive the Jordanian monarch's approval to hold the PLO constitutional assembly in Jerusalem the founders had to assure him this was not the intent......

There is a big difference between a real state and a hypothetical one, even if the latter's representatives can sit around a table imagining themselves equal to the former's representatives, even if Palestinian and Israeli kids can play in the same youth orchestra, conceived of by some European philanthropist as a way to illustrate the possibilities of mutual co-existence and brotherly love, as opposed to the same kids pelting each other with stones, even if Palestinian writers can engage in fruitful debate with their Israeli "counterparts" as an alternative to the "mutual exchange of violence", and even if Palestinians can "liberate" international peace prizes as the symbolic alternative to true liberation. There is a big difference. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing the consequences of the obfuscation of this difference.....

The result was that Israel was rewarded with a liberation movement that had abandoned its original calling, structures and alliances while the Palestinians were still without a state. The second result was that the 1967 boundaries were transformed from the eventual lines of a peace agreement, as was the case with Syria and Egypt, to the ultimate hope in eventual negotiations over a lasting solution to the Palestinian cause. The third is that the Palestinian people became one of "two sides", and now have to prove themselves worthy in order for the occupying power to negotiate with them. It seems even Islamist resistance movements such as Hamas are being lured into the game of proving themselves in an attempt to win the acceptance of the international community, an almost impossible task for any Islamist movement.

These may be the rules of the game of nations but they are not the rules by which national liberation movements should play. For the moment Hamas is hesitating at the threshold. If it steps across it will go down the same slippery path as the liberation movements that preceded it.

The PLO lost the structure, vision, alliances and rights of a liberation movement before it even became a state. Because it wanted the prerogatives of state so prematurely it had to accept the obligations of a state prematurely. This entailed not only calling off the resistance, as nations do once they achieve independence, but also fighting the resistance, now termed "terrorism"......

It was the Palestinian refugees that created the Palestinian national liberation movement. It was from beneath that umbrella that there emerged the anti- occupation resistance movements, on the one hand, and, on the other, the drive to create a Palestinian state as an end in itself.

Who among us has not met that loathsome specimen that is forever trying to shed his connections with the people who gave him the initial leg up on the ladder to success? Such people's sense of self- importance is so great that they suppress all memory of those to whom debts of gratitude are owed. Such inflated egos quickly reveal a propensity for other evil......

When refugees become too much of bother for the Palestinian state enterprise something is terribly askew. A state without the right to return is not just a perversion, it is a burden on the cause of Palestinian refugees, of Jerusalem and of the struggle against Zionism."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Few Americans trust military or media for information on Iraq: poll

"Most Americans have little or no confidence in the information they receive from the military or the media about the situation in Iraq, according to a poll released Thursday.

The survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 52 percent have little or no faith in the military's portrayal of the four-year war, compared with 60 percent who feel the same way about the press reports of the conflict.

The figures are a far cry from the overwhelming confidence Americans had in the military and the media at the outset of the war in March 2003.

At the time, fully 85 percent said they had at least a fair amount of confidence in military information and 81 percent were confident the press was giving an accurate picture of the war.

Michael Dimock, associate director of the Pew Research Center, said the poll findings mirror the public's perception of how well the war is going overall.

"People are questioning whether they are getting good information about how things are going and it's affecting the public's confidence in the government and military as well as the press," Dimock told AFP......"

Pelosi's Misguided Middle East Visit

Dr. Marcy Newman, Electronic Lebanon, 5 April 2007
(Dr. Marcy Newman is a Visiting Professor at the Center for American Studies and Research at the American University of Beirut and a Fellow at the Initiative for Middle East Policy Dialogue)

"......Twice in the last month Pelosi delivered a speech -- of more or less the same message -- before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference and before the Israeli Knesset. In these speeches, she unequivocally stated: "When Israel is threatened, America's interests in the region are threatened. America's commitment to Israel's security needs is unshakable." Statements such as this have made Pelosi, along with her traveling companion Congressman Tom Lantos, one of the top ten recipients of AIPAC donations. She received a standing ovation for these sentiments in the Knesset where she linked the U.S. and Israel's "common cause": " a safe and secure Israel living in peace with her neighbors."

Perhaps Pelosi genuinely wants to secure peace in the region. If this were the case, however, we would have seen some indication of balance in her fact-finding mission. While in Israel, Pelosi discussed her visits with the families of Israeli soldiers taken last summer in Gaza and Lebanon, naming them and relaying stories about them. Not once was a Palestinian or Lebanese killed or wounded in Israel's wars dignified with any such humanizing gesture. Instead Pelosi focused entirely on Hezbollah's violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 for failing to disarm. Not once did she mention Israel's almost daily violation of that same resolution with military jets invading Lebanese airspace or recent military incursions into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Moreover, she failed to mention Israel's continued occupation of Shaaba Farms and Ghajar, which are also violations of 1701; nor did she engage with serious discussions of the occupation of the Golan Heights or the Palestinian Territories with leaders in the region......."

The Happiest Day in Habila's Life......
He Finally Gets to Sit Down With an Englishman.....
Let the Celebrations Continue....

ماذا يعني تفعيل المبادرة العربية في قمة الرياض؟

ياسر الزعاترة


هكذا تبدو المنطقة برمتها في وضع انتظار لما سيجري بين الولايات المتحدة وإيران، في حين تبدو بعض الدول العربية المعنية بالخطر الإيراني أكثر من خطر المشروع الأميركي الصهيوني في حال من الاستنفار من أجل تسهيل الضربة العسكرية، ليس فقط بتعزيز الحشد الطائفي ولعبة عزل إيران عن محيطها العربي والإسلامي، وإنما أيضا، وهو الأهم، بتهدئة الملف الفلسطيني.

وما من شك في أن إيران بسلوكها الأرعن في العراق مازالت تساهم في تعزيز عزلتها، في وقت ينبغي عليها فيه أن تدرك أن الجماهير لا تأتمر بأمر أنظمتها، ولو لم يكن الموقف مقنعا بشكل من الأشكال، لما كان عزلها يسيرا بحال.

هنا يمكن القول إن القضية الفلسطينية ستدفع ثمن هذه اللعبة بإدخالها في متاهة جديدة تشبه متاهة أوسلو السابقة، في حين أن الجميع يدرك حقيقة النهاية القادمة في ظل معادلة إسرائيلية ترى فيما عرض في كامب ديفد عام 2000 تنازلا لا يمكن احتماله.

في المقابل يبدو من حق الكثير من المحللين أن يكونوا واثقين من أن المخطط الأميركي الإسرائيلي لن يمر، لأن الشعوب وقواها الحية التي أفشلت مشروع الغزو في العراق وأفغانستان وفي لبنان، هي ذاتها التي ستفشل هذا المخطط، بينما سيشكل العدوان الأميركي على إيران ورطة جديدة بما سيترتب عليه من تداعيات سيئة على المصالح الأميركية.

ولن يطول الوقت قبل أن تعود الساحة الفلسطينية إلى فعلها المقاوم من جديد، وبالطبع على وقع تكريس الهزيمة الأميركية في العراق، تلك التي لن تؤثر جوهريا في ميزان القوى الإقليمي فحسب، بل في ميزان القوى الدولي أيضا."

PMO denies peace message to Assad

"The Prime Minister's Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East."....."

By Martin Rawson, The Guardian.

Basra blast kills four UK troops

"Four British soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb attack in southern Iraq last night, the Ministry of Defence said today.

A Kuwaiti interpreter was also killed, and a fifth British solider seriously wounded in the incident, which happened during a patrol west of Basra.

The latest fatalities bring the British death toll in Iraq for the last few days to six, making it the worst week for British casualties since 10 British personnel died when an RAF Hercules plane crashed outside Baghdad on January 30 2005.

Today's casualties were the worst loss in a single incident since four British service personnel were killed in an attack on a coalition boat patrol last November.

Captain Katie Brown, a spokeswoman for the British military in Basra, said the patrol was attacked at about 2am local time in the Hayaniya district, west of Basra.

In London, an MoD spokeswoman said: "It is with deep regret that we can confirm that four British soldiers and a civilian interpreter were killed in a roadside bomb attack against a Warrior patrol west of Basra this morning. Next of kin are being informed and no further details will be released until this process is complete."

The total death toll of British service personnel in Iraq since hostilities began now stands at 140......"

Two Iraqi Children
By Emad Hajjaj

In the heart of Little Fallujah

The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Syria have created their own enclaves, from Little Fallujah to Little Mosul, where many have set up businesses. They pay in US dollars, dance to the tune of their own music and share one desire: to return to an Iraq free of occupying forces. Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have learned a lot if she had taken a stroll in Little Fallujah.

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

""Today's "zero point" returns Iraq to its own history, a history written with the ashes of incendiary fires, with its sons fleeing in all directions on the one hand, and its exiles returning to their own homes on the other. I truly do not know if distance today can be defined through the experiences of refugees, or the masses of displaced people, or the exiles returning to burning cities to live out a sense of loss. Distances begin to take on the forms of lines which have been drawn on ashen roads, resembling the traces of people who have lost their way and have never arrived." - Mohamed Mazloom, Baghdad poet, born 1963, exiled in Syria......

This proliferation of Little Iraqs accounts for the biggest exodus in the Middle East since the Palestinians were forced to abandon their own lands in 1948 as the State of Israel was being created. In every single month in Iraq at least 40,000 people are displaced. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there may be as many as 50,000 a month. Were that rate to continue, before 2020, all the population of Iraq would have been "liberated" from its own country.....

Whichever Iraq one picks in Damascus, the mantra is recited in unison. Any glimmer of hope for the future hinges on the Americans leaving - and the establishment, by Iraqis, with no foreign interference, of a non-sectarian government......

Ammar is emphatic: "There is no Sunni against Shi'ite. The Americans provoked it. Since the beginning they started talking about separate areas. In Baghdad most marriages are mixed." That's exactly his case. He is Shi'ite, his wife is Sunni. He says that "in all Arab countries we feel comfortable", but anyway he has entered a demand for a long-term visa to Australia. "We don't want to put pressure on the kindness of the Syrian people.".....

It's easy to forget that Hafez Assad's Syria and Saddam Hussein's Iraq had no diplomatic relations whatsoever from 1980 to 1997. Now every Iraqi showing up at the Syrian border automatically gets a one-month visa; they then apply for a three-month resident visa. Visa runs are common. Unlike in "liberated" Iraq, in Syria there's virtually no unemployment for Iraqis. Overqualified, young, educated Iraqis at least survive with dignity as Internet-cafe managers or restaurant waiters. Iraqis are admitted to Syrian schools and universities with no special prerequisites. The Syrian state pays half of their medical bills. No wonder there is also a boom in mixed Syrian-Iraqi marriages......

Syria recognizes - formally - that Iraqis are refugees who need to be protected. The administrations of George W Bush and Tony Blair, on the other hand, could never admit to the world they are the source of all this - "the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world" as defined by Kenneth Bacon, president of Refugees International.

Pelosi would have learned much more about the effects of the war on Iraq - and what Syria is actually doing about it - if she had traded the historic wonders of the Old City for a stroll in all-too-real Little Fallujah."

The Farce Known as "Palestinian Government"

Israeli army invades Tulkarem after ordering all Palestinian security forces off the streets

"Tulkarem - Ma'an - The Israeli forces have returned to their policy of prohibiting Palestinian security forces from deploying in the streets during their military operations in the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday evening, the Israeli army invaded the West Bank city of Tulkarem, and broke into several neighbourhoods, following orders to the Palestinian security services to withdraw from the streets.

Our Tulkarem correspondent reported that a number of Israeli patrols passed through the streets of Tulkarem, provoking the citizens. No arrests or storming of houses were reported.

This incursion into the city came after the Israeli army informed the Palestinian side in Tulkarem of its intention to conduct a security operation in the city. The Israeli side demanded that no members of the Palestinian security wearing military uniform or carrying arms appear in the streets of Tulkarem. They were ordered to stay in their bases.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, a Palestinian security force stopped a civilian Mercedes Benz minibus near the Iktaba road junction in east Tulkarem and was shocked to discover six Israeli Special Forces members in the vehicle. It appears that the Israeli soldiers were on a special undercover mission and had sneaked into Tulkarem disguised in civilian dress. The driver of the car showed an ID card revealing that he was from the 'Israeli Defence Forces' (IDF) and left the scene quickly.

Subsequently, the Israeli army informed their Palestinian counterparts to prevent Palestinian security men from appearing in the streets and informed them of their intention to carry out a security operation in Tulkarem.

Palestinian security sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, accused the Israeli occupation authorities of working to frustrate the Palestinian security forces' security campaign in the city. He added that he fears the Palestinian forces will not be able continue their law and order campaign in this atmosphere and in light of this Israeli decision."


"Palestinian forces will not be able continue their law and order campaign"

Some law and order! The law is Israel's law and the order is Israel ordering the Palestinian "security forces" to stay in their base; Whose security is it anyway?

If the Palestinians have any self-respect left, they should be in the streets demanding the termination of this collaborating "Palestinian government." This would be another occasion for Habila to smile and wave to the crowds.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Heroic Abbas Forces Turn the Other Cheek

Palestinian policemen inadvertently stop a minibus full of Israeli Special Forces in Tulkarem

"Tulkarem - Ma'an - As part of the ongoing Palestinian security campaign to impose the law in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinian policemen stopped a civilian vehicle, a Mercedes minibus, on Wednesday. The incident took place in the Iktaba suburb in east Tulkarem. The policemen were stunned when they discovered that the minibus was full of Israeli Special Forces.

Our Tulkarem correspondent quoted a security source as saying: "The Palestinian security forces who stopped the car gave the driver permission to pass because he showed an ID card which said that he belongs to the Israeli army. Then the car left swiftly."

The reporter added that the Israelis informed the Palestinian side following the incident that they intend to undertake a security operation in Tulkarem. Consequently, the Palestinian security forces withdrew from the streets."


"IOF, Have a nice day!"

Stop The Dirty War

Why Should American Blood and Taxes Be Spent on Propping Up a Sectarian Shi’a State Engaged in Ethnic Cleansing and Daily Human Rights Abuses?

A Time For Congressional Hearings

by Tom Hayden

"The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi’a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs.

If this description seems harsh, it is only because our minds are crowded with false or outdated paradigms. First was the dream of Baghdad as an exemplary democratic domino. Then the kumbaya notion of a unitary neo-liberal state with proportional representation and revenue-sharing among Shi’a, Kurds and Sunnis. All along, the US has described itself as a neutral arbiter among warring factions, a promoter of the rule of law and human rights in the Iraqi jungle.

Even as former US ambassador Khalilzad left Baghdad, he was struggling to clinch deals over oil revenue-sharing, reversal of de-Baathification laws, and inclusion of Sunni interests in constitutional reform and local governance. The Shi’a, muttering that Khalilzad was a Sunni apologist, seemed uninterested in anything but window-dressing reforms.

Whether by accident or design, the reality since 2006 is that the Shi’a, with Kurdish approval, are carrying out a sectarian war against the Sunni population with American dollars and trainers......

In short, the problem of sectarian police violence cannot be detached from the Frankenstein state that US policies have fostered in the vacuum after Saddam Hussein. More professional training and human rights seminars will never stop the Shi’a parties from taking their revenge made possible by American money, weapons, and political support. Only a US withdrawal deadline coupled with the urgent diplomatic offensive proposed by the ISG, can possibly save Iraq “from rapid decline to rapid deterioration with grave humanitarian, political, and security consequences” as forecast in the NIE document.

The Congress should investigate just what kind of regime American troops are being ordered to defend with American dollars. If cutting off tax funding for the overall war is too much for our lawmakers at present, how can they justify the funding of secret prisons, official militias, ethnic cleansing of a US-sponsored dirty war? When did that become the authorized mission of our forces in Iraq?

There is a reason for the establishment’s fear of that the story of the dirty war will come out. The American people won’t stand for it....."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Arab puppet is carrying a sign which reads, "down with America!"

Missing the Point: Colonialism, Not an Intellectual Squabble

By Ramzy Baroud

"In a spacious yet fortified United Nations compound in Rome, members of a Palestine committee at the General Assembly repeated old mantras: They vowed support for Palestinians, issued a press release and went for lunch.

The committee consisted of several UN ambassadors; all well-intended, sympathetic and concerned; nonetheless, they also knew too well that their efforts were, more or less, futile. One of the ambassadors, of a country not so friendly by American standards, exclaimed: “No matter how hard we try, America blocks our efforts.”....

These are not mere symbolic problems that can be addressed via a well-articulated Arab peace initiative or that can be solved via dialogue. Israel understands well that a Jewish state can only be established in a domain that is free from anyone who fails to subscribe to such a quality. Joseph Weitz, who was appointed by the Jewish Agency to head transfer committees in 1948 captured the underlying essence of the Israeli project since day one: “Between ourselves it must be clear that there is not room for both peoples together in this country. ...We shall not achieve our goal of being an independent people with the Arabs in this small country. The only solution is a Palestine without Arabs.”

From the early days of Ben Gurion’s transfer to Vladimar Jobotinsky’s “Iron wall” to today’s Separation Wall and purely Jewish colonies, the impetus of the Israeli project has never lost momentum. Meanwhile, Palestinians are in a constant state of transfer and re-transfer. It is undoubtedly clear that Israel will not achieve peace out of benevolence and through unconditional dialogue; it can only be pressured to do so. It neither needs Arab initiatives nor joint parliamentary meetings in which misunderstandings are smoothed over. We must either begin to think on that front, or quit wasting precious time in extravagant conferences, symposiums and NGO meetings."

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of Terror (Part 1)

Charlotte Kates, The Electronic Intifada, 4 April 2007

"Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian political prisoner, is being held in a prison hospital, after a debilitating 60-day hunger strike seeking to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the injustice visited upon him, jailed for his commitment to justice and dignity for his homeland. This is not a scene from an Israeli jail, however, but from a U.S. prison in North Carolina. Al-Arian's hunger strike ended at the pleas of his family -- yet without justice for Al-Arian, whose imprisonment is part and parcel of a U.S. government policy of targeting Palestinian activists, as well as the broader Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, in an internal "war of terror" whose policies run parallel to that being waged abroad.

The case of Sami Al-Arian is a story of persecution, perseverance, and, ultimately, the determination of those in power to criminalize resistance and punish Palestinian activism, subverting not only the principles of justice but also their own criminal justice system in order to do so. Sami Al-Arian, 49, is a Palestinian refugee who has lived in the United States for over thirty years and has, for the last decade, alongside his prominent role as an activist and leader in the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities in the Tampa Bay, Florida area and nationally, his work as a professor of computer science at the University of South Florida, and his personal life as a husband and father to five children, waged a prominent battle to protect fundamental rights within the U.S. from an assault through secret evidence, racist detention policies, and an all-out assault on community organizing and solidarity work within targeted communities. Al-Arian has lived with over a dozen years of surveillance, and eight years of FBI agents shadowing his movements. Today, he is imprisoned, despite the fact that he was convicted of nothing by a jury, despite a parade of witnesses and years of harassment......"

Click Here for Part Two of this Article

Read It in the Israeli Press

What separates Israel from its neighbors is not democracy or respect for human and civil rights: it is the discriminatory fashion by which these rights are denied.

By Miko Peled
Special to

"Thanks to the Israeli press, people in Israel are informed regularly about their government's mistreatment of the 4.5 million Palestinians under their rule. Most of the information regarding the occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people is well documented and accurately reported in the Israeli press. But even the most serious offenses are given a “kosher” stamp, so to speak, once the word “security” is attached to them.

There are ample examples of this, but few are as striking as the one provided in the March 23rd issue of the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. In this issue, there is an interview with the retired Chief Interrogator of the Shabak, Israel's internal secret security service, 79-year-old Arieh Hadar. Mr. Hadar admits to acts taken by the Israeli internal secret security service that have never before been revealed publicly.

Were Israel to be the democracy it claims to be, this man would be put on trial, or at least beg for amnesty in exchange for the damning testimony he provided. If Israel had the least amount of respect for human and civil rights, this interview would lead to an investigation and perhaps even arrests. But in the Israeli democracy men and women of this kind are above the law, and beyond incrimination. In Israel, the security apparatus is a sanctified system that no one dares to question, it is world of shadowy heroes to whom Israelis are made to believe they owe their lives. Mr. Hadar is interviewed as a hero who served his country instead of a villain that brought it shame......"

Zionism, Puppet Regimes and Political Allies

US attack against Iran goes in the short run, ultimately the US loses: The military losses will be felt throughout Iraq, the oil catastrophe will reverberate throughout the world.

An Excellent Article and Recommended Reading

By James Petras

"An understanding of US imperial policy in the Middle East requires an analysis, which centres on four points:

1) The power and influence of Israel and the Zionist power configuration over US political institutions (Congress, the Executive branch, the mass media, the two major political parties and electoral processes), their economic leverage on investment and financial institutions (state and trade union pension funds, investment banks), their cultural domination of journals, the performing arts, magazines, films and newspapers. Zionist political, economic and cultural power is directed exclusively toward maximizing Israel’s military, economic and political expansion and superiority in the Middle East even when it conflicts with other US imperialist interests.

2) The capacity of the US Empire to construct and instrumentalize Middle East client states and mercenary forces to implement US policies. The most prominent and important current instruments of US policy in the Middle East include the puppet regime in Iraq, the Abbas-Dahlan group in Palestine, the Kurds in Iraq, the Sinoria-Harari-Jumblat regime in Lebanon, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organisation, Kurds and Sunni tribalists in Iran and the puppet Somali ‘regime’ backed by Ethiopian-Ugandan mercenaries.

3) An alliance with right-wing regimes and rulers in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel to provide military bases, intelligence and political backing for the colonial occupation in Iraq, the division of Iraq, economic sanctions and war against Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other clerical-nationalist and leftist movements in the Middle East.

4) The capacity to contain, repress and limit the opposition of the majority of the US public and a minority of Congress members to the current war in Iraq and a future war against Iran . The key problem for US imperialism is the discrediting of the civilian-militarists in the White House and their increasing tendency to resort to new political ‘adventures’ and ‘provocations’ to recover support and to concentrate dictatorial powers in the President’s office.

These ‘vectors’ of US Middle East policy are increasingly challenged from within and without, are subject to sharp contradictions and face the probability of failing. Nevertheless the ‘machinery’ of imperial power is still operating and defining the nature of US Middle East policy.....

For the first time in the history of world empires, a tiny ethnic-religious minority, representing less than 2% of the population is able to shape US policy in the Middle East to serve the colonial interests of a foreign country (Israel), which represents less than 1% of the population of the Middle East. The Zionist power configuration in the US with several hundred thousand fanatical activists, throughout the country, can mobilize close to 98% of the US Congress on any legislation favoring Israel , even when their approval prejudices major US oil multinationals. AIPAC (the America-Israel Political Affairs Committee) with one hundred thousand members and 100 full time agents writes over 100 pieces of Congressional legislation affecting US trade, military aid and sanctions policies favoring Israel every year. In March 2007, the leaders of both political parties, Congress and the Senate and over 50% of all members of the Congress attended and pledged allegiance to the state of Israel at the most recent AIPAC convention in Washington . This was despite the fact that two leaders of AIPAC are currently on trial for spying for Israel and face twenty years in prison!.....

However a US attack against Iran goes in the short run, ultimately the US loses: The military losses will be felt throughout Iraq, the oil catastrophe will reverberate throughout the world, the political consequences will be greater polarization against the US-Israel axis throughout Europe, Asia and of course, the Middle East. The result will be the final demise of the Bush regime and the total discredit of the Zionist-controlled Democratic Party. A major economic recession will incite open class and national conflicts. Once again, an imperialist war may be the midwife of revolutions: the Russian Revolution followed World War I, the Chinese Revolution followed World War II; will World War III lead to a new revolutionary cycle?"

Pimping for War

Israelis want rematch in Lebanon

"It seems as though some Israeli military and political leaders are champing at the bit for a rematch with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon after the bloody nose the Israeli Defense Forces got there last summer.

The difference this time around? The IDF will go into Gaza, too -- and it is all part of a plan to neutralize Iranian proxies on Israel`s borders, one element of a strategic effort to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons and overthrow the mullahs in Tehran.

The plan was laid out in Washington last month by Effie Eitam, a hawkish former general and darling of the orthodox hard right who now leads a small religious splinter group in the Knesset.

But Eitam is also head of the Knesset subcommittee overseeing the IDF`s lessons-learned exercise following the disastrous IDF operation in southern Lebanon last year, and on this issue, some analysts say, he speaks for a significant current of opinion within the Israeli military.......

Islamic militants equipped with anti-tank weapons and surface-to-surface missiles like those being stockpiled in Gaza and south Lebanon, he said, were 'something like Iranian missile batteries and Iranian infantry divisions.'

He called Gaza and south Lebanon 'two arms of Tehran closing around us.'

'The question is when and how those arms will be dealt with,' he said, adding it would be answered 'in the context of how we are going to defeat the whole ideological system' the Iranian revolution had spawned.

'If we don`t defeat this regime, this ideology,' and Iran is able to develop nuclear weapons, 'there will not be even one safe place' in the whole world.

For this reason, he said, the question was 'not only an Israeli one, although we are at the front line.'

The mullahs 'have to know that, if diplomacy fails, the alternative of a nuclear Iran is not acceptable.'

'Within the planning for that' confrontation, 'we will have to give consideration to their proxies here.'

Eitam said that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq 'before defeating the Iranian regime ... (would have) enormous strategic consequences.'

'We would witness a total collapse of U.S. credibility,' he predicted

'The only way to bring about strategic change in the region is to defeat the Ayatollahs,' he said, advocating 'use (of) all means' including diplomatic measures and economic sanctions. But 'some military action is almost inevitable,' he warned......"