Saturday, April 21, 2007

Week's toll may hit 1,000 as bombs pound Somali capital

Ahh...American "Democracy" Has Arrived in Somalia

From Dr. Mona El-Farra in Gaza

Occupation did not defeat Mansour -cancer will not

"Occupation did not defeat Mansour - neither will cancer

My friend Mansour Thabet, Abu Ghassan, is a political prisoner. He spent 19 years in Israeli jails. His big "error" was to say "no" to the Israeli occupation, just like all the Palestinian people who have always said "no" to the occupation, each in his or her own way.

Now he is out of prison, but suffering from colon cancer and its aftermath. His right leg was amputated due to a rare complication of chemotherapy, deep venous thrombosis. Mansour was its victim.

But in Gaza there is always more to the story.

In Gaza hospitals lack proper and adequate chemotherapy, because of the embargo and sanctions and closure of border crossings. Mansour was denied a permit to enter Israel for treatment because of his jail record. Leaving Gaza via the Palestinian Egyptian border is a big ordeal and an uncertain route, but he might succeed in taking this option for further treatment abroad.

Mansour is a father, with one son and 5 daughters.

I visited him in the hospital. He was frail but smiling, and I was inspired by his full determination and strong will. He was very enthusiastic in pursuing his very successful important project (new horizons for the children) in the Nusseirat refugee camp. There you can meet dozens of young smiling Palestinian kids dancing, singing, painting, reading and dreaming of a better future. They can tell you their great grandparents' stories of their villages and life in Palestine before 1948,
when Palestinians were forced out by a big Zionist colonial plan to compel indigenous people to leave their homes.

In less than 3 weeks Israel will celebrate its independence day. Palestinians will commorate what happened in 1948, they will tell their children again and again about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Is it just that Palestinian patients have had to suffer twice, from their own illness and then from the Occupation whose rules and regulations deprive people of their humanity and dignity?"

In Celebration of Freedom of the Press in Jordan

Jordan confiscates video of interview with Prince Hassan


"Jordanian authorities on Saturday confiscated the videotape of an interview with the country's former crown prince by Al-Jazeera Television, the Qatar-based satellite broadcaster and a Jordanian official said.

The tape was confiscated as an Al-Jazeera reporter was about to leave the Hashemite kingdom. No further details about the circumstances of the seizure were immediately known.

Nasser Judeh, the chief Jordanian government spokesman, confirmed the videotape's confiscation but said it had nothing to do with the content of the interview with Prince Hassan, the uncle to Jordan's King Abdullah II and one time heir to the Jordanian throne.

Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera aired a statement by Ghassan Ben Jeddou, the network's bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, who had interviewed Prince Hassan in Amman and who said the tape contained remarks by the Jordanian royal claiming that a national security adviser in Saudi Arabia was financing Sunni militants to fight the Iran-backed Hezbollah group. The network identified the Saudi official as Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington.

In the interview, Prince Hassan also sharply criticized United States policies in the region as destructive, Ben Jeddou said.

Ben Jeddou said that the Jordanian authorities informed the channel's office in Amman that the seizure was an official measure by Jordanian authorities and that they have no problem with al-Jazeera.

Ben Jeddou said the confiscation was a mistake by the Jordanians. The reporter also cited the Jordanians as telling him that there were higher interests for the country than dealing with what you reporters call freedom of journalism.

Hassan was the brother of King Hussein but was dismissed as crown prince in a 1999 royal shake-up by Hussein shortly before his death that year. He is a moderate who does not hold any official role in Jordanian politics but is has considerable influence among decision makers.

A spokesman for Prince Hassan declined to comment the incident."


A Comment:

Good for Al-Jazeera; just about the only free and courageous voice in the entire Arab world. The fossilized Arab dictators still want to suppress the truth in this day of information! Unbelievable! Have they heard of the internet and satellite T.V.? No wonder the Arab world still lives in the middle Ages.

What Prince Hassan is saying is the truth and has been reported by highly reputable reporters such as Seymour Hersh. Hersh reported a couple of months ago about the Saudi plan implemented in partnership with the U.S. and Israel to finance and arm some Al-Qa'ida affiliated groups in Lebanon to fight Hizbullah. The key Saudi figure is Prince Bandar (Bush). Some of the billions of dollars stolen from Iraq by the U.S. are being laundered by the Saudis and channeled to the "Sunni" groups in Lebanon as well as to some militias which are supervised and trained by the Siniora government.

Here is the link to Hersh's article, titled "The redirection" published by the New Yorker magazine on March 5; it is a must read if you have not read it. It describes in some detail the emerging U.S.-Israel-"moderate" Arabs alliance against Iran and Hizbullah.

So, little boy king, "there were higher interests for the country than dealing with what you reporters call freedom of journalism." Pray tell like what? Like not exposing the rotten Saudi monarchy and the sinister U.S. plans for perpetual war and fragmentation of the Arab world in the service of Greater Israel? You are indeed a dependable puppet in the service of Usrael.

Bill Maher's "Towel-Headed Hos"

Why is Anti-Muslim Bigotry Tolerated?


"......Unsurprisingly, one important question has not been asked since Imus' downward spiral: what if those "nappy headed hos" were Arab or Muslim? Regrettably, we have a plethora of examples to point to post-911, but we don't need to rehash all of it, one can just watch a nightly episode of Fox News's Bill O'Reilly or CNN's Glenn Beck. Yet, my bone to pick is not with the establishment neocons, Fox News, or Ms. Malnourished herself, Ann Coulter, but rather those "peaceful" and "all-accepting liberals" who complain so frequently about Imus and those like him.

To see how anti-Arab/anti-Muslim bigotry is accepted and applauded in America, one has to look no further than HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, hosted by "left-wing" comedian and political commentator Bill Maher. "Liberal" pundits like Maher pass off their anti-Arab/anti-Muslim rhetoric as an innocent invocation of Samuel P. Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations." Yet, Maher's vitriolic diatribes are no different than one saying, "black people are ruthless, welfare grubbing criminals." Nonetheless, to a "liberal," the previous comment is racist and wrong, because black people, unlike the days of slavery, are now "like us," meaning white Anglo-American society, whereas Arabs and Muslims (as if they are a unitary, monolithic people), can still be labeled wholly as "backwards, ruthless, Jew-hating animals."

In Maher's program, he regularly brings on guests that espouse anti-Arab/anti-Muslim views, some of them being supposed "self-critical" Muslims. These guests, however, principally serve to support Maher's own bias against Muslims and Arabs, bolstering his pro-Israel feelings. These guests include conservative Israeli politician, and former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Lebanese-born neocon and political hack Fouad Ajami, putative introspective Muslim moderate Irshad Manji, and former Muslim, now professed atheist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, among many others.

Showcasing the "tolerance of liberalism," Maher brought on his claimed "hero," Ayaan Hirsi Ali, of the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, to help him explain to HBO viewers just what was wrong with Islam. Like a fat kid in a candy store, Maher looked to Hirsi Ali on his panel this season and stated, "[I] s Islam a religion of peace? You are one of the brave people who say it's not really a religion of peace." More than happy to respond, Hirsi Ali proclaimed, "It's not a religion of peace. Immediately after 9/11 they should have said, it's not a religion of peace, we're up against Islam." That's right because Pat Robertson speaks for all Christians and the list of disgruntled students that have gunned down their schoolmates since Columbine speak for all people under the age of 25. What if Hirsi Ali said, "Immediately after the black thug robbed the liquor store, they should have said, black people are criminals, we're up against black people." After her enlightening comments, while she went on to trash Saudi Arabia for a moment, Hirsi Ali received a huge applause from the audience. Even Steven Weber, an actor who stars on TVs Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, had to jump in and beg the question of whether it was right to characterize a whole religion and the beliefs of 1.3 billion people this way. Apparently it is because Maher, educating the naive Weber (who was talking of moderate Islam), asserted that "no, [religions are] not all alikeno [Islam] was extremist to begin with. Mohammed was a warrior." Maher's lesson on the malady of Islam followed up on his earlier comments in which he said that the West is not only better, but "superior" to the rest of world. Huh, I wonder why they don't like us.

Bias against Arabs and Islam-and bashing them as a monolithic entity-is accepted across the news media, whether it is in reporting or punditry. This makes it even more important, especially in this "gloves off" age of comedy, to make a clear distinction between comedy and news. It is equally, if not more important, to condemn bigotry that is masked as humor......"

Russian Roulette and the War on Iran

Ulterior Motives of a Potential Iran War Profiteer—and Its Risks

by Ali Fathollah-Nejad

Global Research, April 21, 2007

"......But is that ‘talk of war’ made in the noble intention to prevent our world from a terrible, almost unique, disaster—or are their tangible interests behind that?......

While Moscow was the only major global power condemning the kidnapping of Iranian diplomats early this year in Northern Iraq, it sharpened the tone as it considered Iran’s seizure of British spies and its subsequent pursuit of its nuclear research activities despite the latest Security Council resolution a ‘provocation.’ A major commentator from Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti, even concluded that it is Iran that is ‘provoking’ a war......

Russia’s Secret Desires

A lot of evidence points to the fact that in the case of an Iran War, Russia is most probably the only strategic beneficiary of such a scenario. Of course, the United States’ decisive hold on the world’s fossil energy center is destined to provide it with the most powerful strategic leverage enabling Washington to prolong its global supremacy. But assuming the continuity of the neoconservatives’ false—if not amateurish—calculations of the outcomes of their foreign policy initiatives and the evanescent probability of the U.S. remaining the master of an unpredictable situation of a Middle East going up in flames, the profiteer of such a bloody quagmire can be sought elsewhere.

The world’s great powers—i.e. the European Union, India, China, and Japan—have nothing to gain, but much to loose from a war on Iran, as all-time record oil prices will blatantly undermine their highly oil-dependent economies. But Russia, an important oil-producing nation itself, would not be disinclined when such a case turns real.Being a major energy supplier for China and Europe, Moscow disposes one-fourth of the world’s proved reserves of natural gas (before Iran and Qatar) and six percent of petroleum. Therefore Russia’s role as an indispensable energy supplier will be strengthened as a result of war, moreover benefitting from increased world market prices for both petroleum and gas.....

Risky Roulette

But all this does not mean that Russia will be able to occupy a calm seat while making major economic and strategic gains from such a grueling fight. As an all-out war is highly probable, Russia could hardly remain for a long time a mere observer of a theater of war erupting at its Southern flank. As Caspian Sea abutters (above all, Azerbaijan and Georgia) might be roped in a war as they harbor U.S. military bases from where strikes could be carried out, amalgamation with other regional security issues in that geostrategically indispensable part of the world involving Russia cannot be ruled out. In this light, Russia’s interests in Transcaucasia and Central Asia can be jeopardized by U.S. military actions emanating from there. There are signs that American allies will get the green light to go for their interests in the region, which are predominantly in contrast to Russian ones......."

حماس تستنكر تصريحات ملك الأردن لأعضاء الكنيست

"أبدت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) استياءها واستغرابها من تصريحات نسبت لملك الأردن عبد الله الثاني والتي دعا فيها إلى التفكير بدفع تعويضات للاجئين الفلسطينيين بدلا من الحديث عن إعادتهم لوطنهم الأصلي.

وأكد المتحدث باسم حماس بغزة سامي أبو زهري أن الشعب الفلسطيني لم يخول أي نظام عربي للتفاوض بشأن حق العودة أو التنازل عنه.

وشدد أبو زهري في اتصال هاتفي مع الجزيرة نت على تمسك حماس -التي تقود الحكومة الفلسطينية بعد فوزها بثقة الفلسطينيين بالانتخابات التشريعية- بثوابت ومبادئ الشعب الفلسطيني وعلى رأسها حق العودة.

كما استهجن ما نسب لملك الأردن خلال لقائه بأعضاء من الكنيست الإسرائيلي من أقوال جاء فيها "نحن معكم في مركب واحد، نواجه نفس الأعداء".

ووصف المتحدث باسم حماس هذه التصريحات بالمفاجئة للفلسطينيين ولأبناء الأمتين العربية والإسلامية الذين يعتبرون الإسرائيليين المغتصبين للأراضي الفلسطينية أعداء.

ودعا أبو زهري لإعادة النظر في هذه التصريحات التي قال إنها "تمثل قمة التطبيع مع العدو الإسرائيلي في اللحظة التي يواصل فيها قتل أهلنا بالأراضي الفلسطينية"، مشيرا إلى إمكانية استغلال إسرائيل مثل هذه التصريحات لصالحها ضد الحق الفلسطيني.


Hamas, Again, Speaking With Two Voices

Hamas: RoR not for sale

"Hamas Movement affirmed on Saturday that the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees (RoR) is a sacred Palestinian constant that no party can compromise or abandon.

Fawzi Barhoum, the Movement’s spokesman in Gaza Strip, affirmed that Hamas had made up its mind and decided long time ago that the RoR is a Palestinian national constant that none has the right to forgo.

The RoR isn’t for sale”, Barhoum emphasized.

Barhoum was apparently reacting to statements uttered by Jordanian monarch Abdullah II suggesting that the RoR could be “financially compensated”.

“We have defended the refugees’ issue with blood and soul over the past decades, and therefore, those precious sacrifices must be crowned with the return of those refugees and not by financially compensating or naturalizing them somewhere else”, asserted Barhoum.

Commenting on the monarch’s statement that Israel and Arab countries are facing “common enemies” in allusion to Hamas, Hizbullah, and Iran; Barhoum underlined that Hamas Movement isn’t in enmity with any state, and that its only enemy is the “Zionist entity”.

He also underlined that Israel is the enemy of the Arab people as it killed many Jordanian, Egyptian, and Syrian nationals in addition to tens of thousands of the Palestinian people.

“We are not here to react to statements here and there as we know where our direction is, and we have a clear national project, and thus, Israel is our only enemy and we fight it for occupying our lands and killing our people”, the Hamas spokesman further underlined.

Moreover, Barhoum called on Arab rulers and governments to carry out their religious and national duties in defense of the sacred Muslim shrines in Palestine and to enhance the steadfastness of the Palestinian people to enable them retrieve their usurped rights.

In a meeting with Israeli Knesset (parliament) speaker Dalia Itzik, Abdullah proposed paying the Palestinian refugees money sums in return for forgoing the RoR, and described Hamas, Iran, and Hizbullah as “common enemies” for Arabs and Israel.

The monarch is scheduled to visit Tel Aviv within a couple of weeks and is expected to deliver a speech in the Knesset during the visit."


A Comment:

This is really pathetic, if this is the best rebuttal Hamas could come up with. Besides repeating worn-out slogans, the statement is inconsistent and makes little sense.

Barhoum said, "Hamas Movement isn’t in enmity with any state," after the puppet king clearly said what most of the Arab puppet rulers would not say publicly. The recent Arab summit, which Habila and Abbas enthusiastically participated in, was primarily to form and solidify the axis of "moderates" to confront what they consider the real enemies (Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas if it does not join the "moderates"). So, it is nonsensical for Hamas to pretend that the reality is different.

After all the betrayal, the participation in the siege of the Palestinians and the eagerness of the Arab regimes to sell the Palestinians out and normalize with Israel, to concentrate on the real enemy (Iran), how can Barhoum make a stupid statement such as calling for "Arab rulers and governments to carry out their religious and national duties in defense of the sacred Muslim shrines in Palestine and to enhance the steadfastness of the Palestinian people to enable them retrieve their usurped rights?" What kind of political witchcraft is this?

The average Palestinian knows that most of the Arab regimes are the enemy, so why does Hamas pretend otherwise? Giving political cover to all of these puppets who will betray the Palestinians is an act of betrayal on the part of Hamas itself.

Caught in the deadly web of the internet

Any political filth or personal libel can be hurled at the innocent

By Robert Fisk

"Could it possibly be that the security men who guard the frontiers of North America are supporting Holocaust denial? Alas, it's true. Here's the story.

Taner Akcam is the distinguished Turkish scholar at the University of Minnesota who, with immense courage, proved the facts of the Armenian genocide - the deliberate mass murder of up to a million and a half Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish authorities in 1915 - from Turkish documents and archives. His book A Shameful Act was published to great critical acclaim in Britain and the United States......

But Taner Akcam's experience is potentially far more serious for all of us. As he wrote in a letter to me this month, "Additional to the criminal investigation (law 301) in Turkey, there is a hate campaign going on here in the USA, as a result of which I cannot travel internationally any more... My recent detention at the Montreal airport - apparently on the basis of anonymous insertions in my Wikipedia biography - signals a disturbing new phase in a Turkish campaign of intimidation that has intensified since the November 2006 publication of my book."......

"I recognised the page at once," Akcam says. "The photo was a still from a 2005 documentary on the Armenian genocide... The still photo and the text beneath it comprised my biography in the English language edition of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone in the world can modify at any time. For the last year ... my Wikipedia biography has been persistently vandalised by anonymous 'contributors' intent on labelling me as a terrorist. The same allegations has been repeatedly scrawled, like gangland graffiti, as 'customer reviews' of my books at Amazon.".....

So let's get this clear. US and Canadian officials now appear to be detaining the innocent on the grounds of hate postings on the internet. And it is the innocent - guilty until proved otherwise, I suppose - who must now pay lawyers to protect them from Homeland Security and the internet. But as Akcam says, there is nothing he can do......."

Sinister symmetry

Both Iraq's car bombers and the White House see the Shia resurgence and Iran as the main enemies

Mike Davis
Saturday April 21, 2007
The Guardian

"Last Wednesday, following the car bomb massacre of nearly 200 people in Baghdad, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, paid a visit to the lunatic asylum known as the White House to inform its chief inmate that "the war is lost". He referred to the "extreme violence" in Baghdad as proof that US military strategy was now bankrupt.

Reid's declaration is unprecedented in modern US politics, but the senator is no gloating peacenik. Indeed, he angered fellow Democrats last year with his endorsement of the administration's plan for a troop "surge" in Baghdad. If he now risks predictable Cheney-Rove accusations of counselling "surrender", it is because he carries moral power of attorney from influential Republicans as well as Democrats. Just as the Democratic party was splintered in 1968 by the war in Indochina, the Republicans are beginning to split over the madness of the continuing occupation of Iraq......."

Arab Puppets' Idea of "Normalization"
By Hamed Najeeb

Bush's "Security" Plan For Iraq

Habila's Upside Down World

Haneyya: Security plan to protect resistance

"Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier, on Friday announced that the security plan endorsed by his cabinet almost a week ago would protect the Palestinian resistance.

Haneyya, addressing the Friday congregation in Omari mosque in Jabalia to the north of the Gaza Strip, said that the security plan would not harm resistance.

"The plan is not like past ones, rather it will end (security) chaos" while preserving resistance, the premier asserted.

He explained that the plan was designed to end the security mess and to check the unruly families and gangs in addition to thwarting attacks on citizens' property......"

A Comment:

What is he talking about? He must think that we are all stupid and uninformed, like him. The reality is that the "security forces" are under the Usraeli stooge Abbas. These forces are being expanded, trained and armed with direct aid from the U.S., Jordan and Egypt, among others, with Israeli support. We also know that "security coordination" meetings are taking place regularly between Abbas' people, the Israelis, the Egyptians and the chief coordinator and the man who is the real boss of the Palestinian "forces" and that is the American Keith Dayton. The purpose of the "security" plan, as announced by Abbas, is to deploy forces along the Gaza borders to prevent "arms smuggling" from Egypt and to prevent the Palestinian resistance from carrying out any attacks. After the expansion of these forces, the Usraeli plan, to which Abbas is committed, is to disarm the resistance by force.

These are the facts, which we are well aware of. So why does Habila continue to deceive and lie about the "security" plan protecting the resistance? The fact is that this plan is to end the resistance. This Orwellian upside down world of Habila is a direct result of the major contradictions of Hamas (which is supposed to be a resistance movement) forming a partnership with an Usraeli agent such as Abbas, who makes no secret of his plans to end the resistance and to keep his role as Usrael's chief hire-a-cop.

This Habila belongs in a mental institution and not in "government." If Hamas decides to become a resistance movement again (which I doubt), the first act to restore some of its lost credibility is to pull out of this sham "government" and to insist on dissolving the PA, otherwise it should be considered as an extension of the occupation and dealt with accordingly.

Friday, April 20, 2007

One by One, America's Stooges Lining Up to Sell Palestinian Rights

Musharraf: Willing to visit Israel to promote peace

"Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf made a surprise offer Friday to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an interview with the pan-Arab satellite Television Al-Arabiya.

Musharraf told the Dubai-based television that he would be willing to visit Israel in order to help bring peace to the troubled Middle East.

Pakistan - a key ally in the U.S.-led war against terrorism - has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel and supports a separate state for Palestinians with Jerusalem as its capital.

In the interview aired late Friday, Musharraf said he was enthusiastic to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and would go to Israel if his offer to be involved in a mediation process was accepted.

Musharraf said he could also start his talks first with the Palestinians, "or maybe in some third country ... going to Israel is also a possibility."

"It will be an honor, if I can contribute in any way," said Musharraf, although he has so far not been asked to mediate. "If there was a role that I can play, and both sides accept that role, yes, indeed, I would like to play that role."......

Pakistan has not been yet involved in any negotiations concerning the Arab region, but hosted talks in late February in Islamabad, attended by Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, on issues ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the war in Iraq and the standoff with Iran......

Musharraf had defended his government's talks with Israel, saying contact between the two countries is in accordance with the tenets of Islam. Musharraf said Islam allowed its followers to engage with people of other faiths.....

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who was also present in the meeting, said Pakistan would decide about the recognition of Israel "in the supreme national interest after due consultations."

Pakistan had made the decision to hold talks with Israel after the implementation of the 2005 disengagement plan."

The Baghdad gulag

A Repost of a Great Article
By Pepe Escobar

""DAMASCUS - There are three overlapping wars in Iraq: the Sunni Arab guerrilla struggle against the US; strands of Sunni Arab guerrillas against assorted Shi'ite militias/death squads; and al-Qaeda in Iraq against the puppet, US-backed Iraqi government in the Green Zone. Make it four wars: the Sunni Arab guerrilla war against the government inside the Green Zone. Better yet, make it five wars: the Sadrists, from Sadr City to Kufa and Najaf, against the Americans.

All strands of these five overlapping wars will never allow the United States - or Anglo-American Big Oil - to control Iraq's oil wealth. Even if the new oil law is ratified by Parliament before June, implementation will be a certified nightmare, and security for billions of dollars of necessary investment non-existent......

In the last chapter of my book Globalistan - titled "Condofornia vs Slumistan" - I argue that the future now revolves around the tension between gated communities and unruly slums, "secure environments" and black waves of anger. Wherever both meet - from Baghdad to Sao Paulo - we may see endless replays of Black Hawk Down.

The Baghdad gulag is a Pentagon-enforced Condofornia imposed over an Arab Slumistan. Let no one be fooled: it's being conducted as a technical experiment, with live Iraqis as guinea pigs, and is bound to be replicated in other areas of the Pentagon-created "arc of instability" from the Andes to the Horn of Africa to Arabia to Central Asia........

The Sunni Arab muqawama (resistance) has already celebrated the arrival of the Baghdad gulag - by attacking the heart of the system itself, the Green Zone. The bomb that exploded on Thursday in the cafeteria of the Baghdad Convention Center - which houses the Iraqi Parliament, inside the Green Zone - was yet another crystal-clear message: we can strike you as we please, and where we please......

Crucially, this would mean no passing of the Holy of Holies, the new Iraqi oil law. It's also an open secret in Baghdad - as well as among Iraqi refugees in Damascus - that the Bush administration's now famous "June deadline" to the Maliki government is only about oil. If the oil law is not approved by then, "all options are on the table", and that means a white coup with the reinstallation of former Central Intelligence Agency asset, former interim prime minister, former "butcher of Fallujah" Iyad Allawi, whose main task would be ... to get the oil law approved......"

Despair stalks Baghdad as plan falters

Trying to get into the centre of Baghdad earlier this week offered one view of how far away the Americans and Iraqi authorities are from gaining control here.

By Andrew North
BBC News, Baghdad

"We were at the airport. Just before we were due to leave, the entrance car park was hit by a car bomb.

US troops and private security forces who guard the perimeter locked the whole area down for the next four hours. No traffic was allowed in or out.

While we waited with scores of other vehicles, mortars were fired at the airport. Fortunately for us they landed on the other side of the runway, plumes of smoke shooting into the air.

You won't have heard about any of this because at the same time a series of other far more serious attacks was taking place.....

The Sunni extremists held to be responsible for these attacks seem to be making a mockery of the US and Iraqi security plan, which is now into its third month.

So far, their surge seems to be having more effect than the American one.

Last month alone there were more than 100 car bombings, and the number of attacks has continued at a similar rate so far this month. This indicates a high level of organisation....."

Training Iraqi troops no longer driving force in U.S. policy

By Nancy A. Youssef
McClatchy Newspapers

"WASHINGTON - Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important. "We are just adding another leg to our mission," Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq will undertake.

But evidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to discuss the policy shift publicly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made no public mention of training Iraqi troops on Thursday during a visit to Iraq....."

PR posturing

Abbas and Olmert meet again but it appears they have discussed nothing of substance

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Two days prior to the meeting, Olmert was quoted as saying that he wouldn't agree to discuss the main cardinal issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, namely the right of return, ending the military occupation and colonisation of the occupied territories, including Arab-East Jerusalem, and the borders of a prospective Palestinian state.

One Palestinian commentator scoffed at this "game of make believe", wondering if Abbas and Olmert were going to discuss the unseasonably cold weather in Palestine or perhaps the nutritional value of falafel and houmous......

The utter futility of the Abbas-Olmert meetings draws a combination of indifference and anger from the Palestinian public. Palestinian commentators and public opinion leaders have come to the conclusion that by agreeing to take part in such encounters, the Palestinian leadership, particularly Abbas, is indulging either in self- deception or naïveté.

Hani El-Masry, a well-known columnist and political commentator criticised the PA leader for appearing in frequent and "fruitless" high-profile meetings with the Israeli premier.

"Such meetings should not take place unless there are tangible results, otherwise a false impression of normalcy between Israel and ourselves will be created as a result of such meetings," he said.

In fact, most Palestinian pundits here are convinced that the monthly or bi-monthly meetings between Olmert and Abbas are meant to blur the failure of the Bush administration to get Israel to agree to end its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories and thereby realise the possibility of peace.

If so, these pundits would argue, why should the Palestinian leadership continue to play this game of make believe when all indications show that there will be no serious efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East under the current Bush administration?......"

Defining the enemy

Arab-Palestinian Knesset member Azmi Bishara explains to Amira Howeidy the motives behind the Israeli media's campaign against him and how it affects the Arab community

Al-Ahram Weekly

"Israel, it seems, is at war with one man. The Israeli media and politicians from across the political spectrum are up in arms against him, the Shabak (intelligence) is said to be preparing a file on him and his fate could have an impact on 1.3 million Arabs living in Israel.

This might be the kind of attention someone as high-profile as Azmi Bishara expects when faced with accusations of treason. Then again, it might not. Bishara is, after all, not just an outspoken Arab-Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament the Knesset but an embodiment of Israel's paradoxes and its complex relationship with itself and its Arab-Palestinian community......

Their vision, which has gained momentum within the Arab community (known as the 1948 Arabs) insists that Israel should be a state for all its citizens and not -- as it now perceives itself -- a Jewish state. A Jewish state, they argue, defies the logics of democracy because it does not equate between its Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Even more alarming for Israeli nationalists is the fact that such a position could represent the nucleus of a bi-national secular state......

Although Bishara is no stranger to prosecution based on similar allegations -- in the past he has always been found innocent - he now believes that "the rules of the game have changed" and that the target is not just him but the entire Palestinian-Arab community living in Israel.

"There is a decision to end our political stream and the unprecedented challenge it represents for them," he told Al-Ahram Weekly in a telephone interview from Doha. "The message is: Palestinian-Arabs who support us will be regarded as people working against Israel. And to do that they are targeting the head of the movement. They cannot tolerate an Arab Knesset member who refutes their claims of democratic practice and argues that Zionism defeats the notion of democracy.".....

The active involvement of the Israeli left alongside the extreme right in teaming up against Bishara in the current media campaign against him comes as no surprise. "The Israeli left and right stood together during the first weeks of the war on Lebanon last summer and the same scenario is repeating itself with me. They're all united against the path that we chose which rejects Zionism and the Zionist nature [of Israel],.....

Israel, says Bishara, perceives its Arabs as a minority who immigrated to Israel, requested an Israeli card and became Israelis. "And therefore when we communicate with other Arabs we are in contact with the enemy. We have a different perception. We are Arabs and our brothers and sisters in the Arab world are Arab, and we were Arab long before Israel was created [in 1948] and imposed its identity on us. Now it wants to impose its enemies as our enemies. They're not."....."

Shattered illusions

If the fall of Baghdad exposed the dangers of identifying the state solely in its leader, Iraq's past four years show the folly of those -- especially Arabs -- who thought democracy could be imposed by foreign force.

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....The importance of studying the fall of Baghdad resides in the insight it gives into how a regime that rested on a personality cult grew hollow. It sheds light on a type of regime that disengaged itself from the concerns, rights and interests of the people, that lumped its citizens into an amorphous body called "the masses", and that believed that slogans were enough to make this body move, as though it had a single head to process the information it was fed......

In like manner, today's sectarian conflict in Iraq has assumed the guise of a conflict between those with and those opposed to the occupation. Tomorrow, it may assume the shape of a race to oust the occupation and claim the laurels for liberating Iraq -- or for achieving the partition of Iraq, which appears to be the way the current dynamics are heading.....

Democracy is not borne from chaos or from the destruction of a nation, that's for sure. Democracy in Germany and Japan did not emerge from the destruction of those countries, contrary to the ridiculous myth. Democracy is an expression of the sovereignty of a nation and a form of exercising this sovereignty -- the most ideal form of exercising sovereignty, according to advocates of democracy, because it reflects the will of the people. Democracy cannot come into effect by manacling the sovereignty of a nation and dismantling a country as is currently taking place in Iraq and as some mad theorists had envisioned......

The current situation in Iraq marks a historic juncture in the Arab world; a juncture that raises a big question mark over the future of the Arab nation state as it currently stands. Iraq has driven home as never before that if this collection of nation states does not develop a higher level of cooperation on the basis of their common Arab identity it will disintegrate into a morass of warring sectarian and tribal groupings and revert to the pre-state era. Globalisation, as opposed to Americanisation and marginalisation, is a process that the Arabs must not allow themselves or their common identity to abandon in its wake. The Arabic language and culture are inherent media of communication and Arab satellite networks, television stations, newspapers, books, coffeehouses and all other public venues offer easily accessible channels for drawing the Arabs together and unifying their agendas. Unless they take advantage of these instruments to develop closer political, economic, social and supranational bonds, globalisation will bring nothing but the fragmentation of each nation state into sectarian and tribal pawns in the political and economic agendas of others......

Baghdad has fallen, but so to have all the illusions that had been pinned upon its fall. Here precisely is where an intensive reassessment must begin."

One of Latuff's Latest Cartoons

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

To Russia, With Hate

The War Party targets the Kremlin

by Justin Raimondo

Global Research, April 19, 2007 - 2007-04-18

"......The campaign to demonize Russia, and target Putin in particular, is motivated by the Russian president's angular stance against American hegemony, expressed forcefully in a speech to the Munich conference of European nations in February. Russia has opposed U.S. attempts to further destabilize the Middle East, selling defensive weapons to Syria and trying to mediate between the Iranians and the UN Security Council over the nuclear issue. Putin, in short, has failed to know – or keep – his place: this alone puts him in the cross hair of the War Party.

As the U.S. seeks to encircle Russia with a string of "color revolutions" from Ukraine to Georgia to the wilds of Central Asia, a geopolitical game is being played out, one that involves an increasing risk of violent conflict. The volatile mix of ethnic, religious, and political feuds that make life dangerous in the former Soviet republics is a veritable sandbox for the American regime-changers to play in, and the amount of trouble they can cause is considerable. The War Party's relentless campaign to further humiliate an empire already humbled and shattered is playing with fire – nuclear fire, to be exact. The Cold War was a bad idea to begin with; its revival is an even worse one. "

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

US builds Baghdad wall to keep Sunnis and Shias apart

"US soldiers are building a three-mile wall to separate one of Baghdad's Sunni enclaves from surrounding Shia neighbourhoods, it emerged today.
The move is part of a contentious security plan that has fuelled fears of the Iraqi capital's Balkanisation.

When the barrier is finished, the minority Sunni community of Adamiya, on the eastern side of the River Tigris, will be completely gated. Traffic control points manned by Iraqi soldiers will provide the only access, the US military said......

Although Baghdad is rife with barriers around marketplaces and areas such as the heavily fortified Green Zone, this is the first in the city to be set up on sectarian lines.

The concrete wall, which will be up to 12ft high, "is one of the centrepieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence," US officials said.

The officials said the barrier would allow authorities to screen people entering and leaving Adamiya "while keeping death squads and militia groups out".

The construction - which has been nicknamed the "great wall of Adamiya" - is not the first time US military planners have attempted to isolate hostile regions.

In 2005, attempts were made to surround the Sunni-dominated city of Samarra with raised earth barriers to prevent insurgents from entering and leaving. A similar strategy was also deployed in both Tal Afar and Falluja.

General David Petraeus, the new US commander in Iraq, said he believed the tactics in Tal Afar, close to the Syrian border, were successful - but the area has since fallen back under insurgent control.

Critics of the scheme said it had been tried in past counter-insurgency campaigns in Vietnam and Algeria, but found wanting......"


Who said there is no "reconstruction" in Iraq? The Israeli solution to every problem: put Arabs in ghettos.

As Pepe Escobar says (I am paraphrasing), "make no mistake about it, this is an experiment about locking up those who oppose the Empire, and it will be globalized."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jordan's Abdullah tells Israel: We share same enemies

An Important Story
The sellout of the Palestinians.

"Jordan's King Abdullah II Thursday told a delegation of Knesset members that "we are in the same boat, we have the same problem. We have the same enemies." The king reiterated the comments a number of times, which those at the meeting said referred to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Abdullah also emphasized that he spoke not only for Jordan but for a group of states in the region. The king asked at one point: "Do you want Iran on the banks of the Jordan?"

Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said in response: "I have seen Jordanian openness that does not hesitate to scold extremist Muslims." MK Shlomo Breznitz said that the comments raise the first hope that moderates plan to set the tone in the Arab world. "The style and daring are new," he said......

The king responded again and again that everything would be consensual. He claimed the Arab peace plan is not a plan but talking points. After Rivlin said the Arab League secretary commented "Take it or leave it," Abdullah said "Leave him to me." He did say that instead of talking about he right of return, it might be necessary to talk about the right to compensation, and that it was not only an Israeli problem, but also a problem of the wealthy Arab countries......

The Israeli delegation was impressed with Abdullah's frankness but said he demands too high a price."

Would You Buy an Old and Used "Peace Plan" From This Salesman?

Video:Unplugged McCain sings 'bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran'

"......Speaking at Murrells Inlet VFW Hall in South Carolina, McCain was asked when he thought that the US Military might "send an air mail message to Tehran."

"McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular Beach Boys song," the Georgetown Times reports.

"'Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,' he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann," the paper notes.

McCain then added, "Iran is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. That alone should concern us but now they are trying for nuclear capabilities. I totally support the President when he says we will not allow Iran to destroy Israel."....."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

‘Only Free Men Can Negotiate’

By Dr. Daud Abduallah
Special to

".....Silent Exodus

Of all the troubling consequences of the international embargo the most shocking is its contribution to the silent exodus of Palestinians. Israel’s political leadership has no intent of repeating the forced ‘transfer’ (expulsions) of 1948. They are, however, prepared to make life so unbearable for the Palestinians that they would on their own accord resort to ‘voluntary transfer.’ This process has regrettably begun. In 2006, 46,000 Palestinian applications were submitted to foreign consulates in the OT for visas to leave. By keeping the sanctions in place the international community has in effect become complicit in a process of quiet ethnic cleansing.

Unfortunately, the worse may yet to come if the Palestinians fail to preserve their national unity. Recent American moves to deliver $60 million worth of arms to President Abbas’ security guard seem especially designed to undo the process of national reconciliation started by the Makka agreement. The similar arming and support of one faction at the expense of the other in Iraq did not only plunge that country into the inferno of civil war. It also gave birth to the largest refugee crisis in the region since the Palestinian Nakba of 1948. Since both the US and EU seem incapable of adopting an even-handed policy toward the conflict, Arab and Muslim countries share a joint responsibility to prevent a similar scenario in Palestine. With 50,000 Iraqis spilling out across the region every month the Middle East can ill afford a similar catastrophe from Palestine.

At present Palestinians are in need of assistance not to become a source of irritation to the Israelis but in order to achieve their freedom. ‘Only free men can negotiate’. Confining the discussions to security and humanitarian issues would not deliver freedom or independence. It is in the best interest of all the parties including the US and the EU to begin a new political dialogue; not for the sake of talking but in order to build a better future for the region. As a demonstration of goodwill and positive statement of intent this process must begin with the release of the Palestinian prisoners and lifting of the sanctions."

By Jeff Parker

"Peace Initiative" as a Cover for Normalizaion with Israel

Arab Initiative Committee calls for direct negotiations between Arab countries and Israel

"Following a meeting between 13 Arab foreign ministers in the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, the Arab Initiative Committee has called for holding an international conference aimed at launching direct negotiations with Israel, across all diplomatic tracks.

The committee revealed their decision to form a taskforce to contact the Israeli government, and to deduce strategies aimed at reviving and promoting the Arab peace initiative, ratified in the 2002 Beirut summit, and reactivated in Riyadh last month.

The committee also decided to hold an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the first half of June, to be held in Cairo......"


So far the obedient Arab puppets have been executing Condoleezza's orders and script for normalizing relations with Israel. The whole strategy of launching the "peace initiative" is nothing but a cover for all the Arab regimes to start engaging Israel directly in a process of normalization. Olmert and Livni said to the Arabs (by way of Rice) normalize relations with Israel first then Israel might start thinking about some limited withdrawals. Condoleezza laid down the foundation of this evolving process when she met in Jordan with the Security Chiefs of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (so-called Arab quartet) in Jordan over a month ago; that was an extraordinary meeting.

The main objective is to forge a real working alliance between Israel and the surrogate Arab regimes to further Usraeli goals in the region and to try to crush any resistance to these plans. For the Palestinians the stench of a sellout is in the air. The real tragedy is that the supposed representatives of the Palestinians are part and parcel of this sellout.

The next likely step in this Condoleezza-choreographed dance is to have the Arab "working committees" submit the "initiative" to the Security Council to gain "international legitimacy." At that point, the U.S. will see to it that the right of return and the return of East Jerusalem, among other things, are stripped out of it. The Arab quislings will of course go along since this will be the "international mandate" and the will of the "international community." Then the Palestinian "leadership" will have at least three layers of cover to cover this betrayal: the cover of the "unity government," the "Arab consensus" cover and the "international will" cover. They will blame the sellout on everyone else, but themselves. Already Habila says that, "freeing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is an Arab and Muslim collective responsibility."

Along the way, relations between most of the Arab regimes and Israel, at many levels will be established.

So, let us celebrate the emerging Axis of Israel-Egypt-Jordan-Saudi Arabia-UAE (and the rest of the kennel), all in preparation to confront the "real enemy," which is Iran and Hizbullah, of course.

Tony Sayegh

Popular Committee says: Buy Palestinian products, produce locally, and invest in Palestine!

"Ramallah - Ma'an - The popular committee to support Palestinian products has stressed the importance of obtaining the support of all sections of Palestinian society in order to end the Palestinians' dependency on the Israeli economy.

In a statement, the committee secretary Salih Hammad said that it is important to create new peaceful methods of struggle against the Israeli economic occupation. This can be achieved through creating a culture that encourages Palestinians to buy and use Palestinian products, the statement said.

In his statement, Hammad added that it is important to make the consumer trust the product and that can be achieved by advising the producers to improve their products. He also suggested that Palestinian traders be encouraged to refrain from importing products which the Palestinian producers produce themselves. He also said Palestinian capitalists should be encouraged to invest their money inside Palestine and not outside.

He also stressed the importance of the role of the decision-makers in the government and in the private sector. The statement stressed that the media can also play an important role in this regard through publishing the goals of such a culture. "

Petition and Statement of Condemnation of the Israeli Campaign against The Palestinian Intellectual and National Figure Azmi Bishara

Please Sign Petition Below and Circulate

"Every now and then we are reminded by the state of Israel and its institutions, that the Arab Palestinians constitute a strategic threat to Israel. Such a tendency has been always voiced in different degrees of frenzyness and nakedness, yet its current pitch is unprecedented. At this point, the Palestinian Arabs face a trying phase in their relation with the State of Israel as a result of their legitimate and just demand that the state of Israel should be a ‘state of all its citizens.’ The fact that Israel continues to define itself as a ‘Jewish Democratice State,’ trying the impossible mission to be aknolwedged as a model of a modern democracy, yet to the preserve the ‘Jewishness’ of its identity, is no doubt the root-cause of all forms of oppression and discrimination against the native Palestinians. The Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel have continuously and restlessly tried to put an end to the deformed relationship with the State and to right the wrongs by venturing the moral and democratic alternative of ‘the state of all its citizens.’ However, no results whatsoever were realized towards attaining the collective rights of the native Palestinians, nor lifting the barefaced discrimination against them.

The state of Israel has been systematically keen in passing legislations that serve the persecution of the Arab political leadership of the Palestinian citizens. Therefore, the state of Israel is to be blamed for the deterioration of the relationship with its Arab citizens who have been always wronged and discriminated against .The renewed persecution of the the intellectual and political nationliast Azmi Bishara and his Party—who has been challenging the ideological and political foundations of the contradictory Israeli democracy—is, indeed a persecution of the very existence of the Palestinian citizens of the State.

Acknowledging the rights of the Palestinians to their land, and other rights based on their aboriginality and citizenship that should never be compromised under any justification—we condemn all forms of oppression, threats, persecution and any restrictions on the freedom of speech.

The campaign waged by state of Israel and led by the head of its Secret Services (the Shabak) constitute a real threat to democracy and the values of freedom and liberty that are supposed to be guarded by the state itself. The appalling and racist locutions such as describing the Arabs in Israel as a “strategic threat,” and stating that “anybody who tries to change the nature of the State, even via democratic means, would be persecuted”—voiced by the head of the Shabak, reflect the dangerous degree of the formal incitement against the Palestinians. It is a moral obligation to resist this campaign promptly and firmly by all individuals, political parties, institutes, that believe in the human right of the Palestinians to live with dignity in their own homeland enjoying freedom and liberty.

We, the signatories of this petition, based on what has been stated above, declare the following:

We strongly condemn the frenzy campaign against the intellectual and nationalist Dr. Azmi Bishara, and call for an immediate cessation of this political persecution.

We appeal to all political parties and the Arab leadership in Israel to face jointly and firmly this campaign which targets the collective Arab presence on their homeland.

We call upon all Palestinians, friends, and supporters allover the world to unite in putting an end to this racist campaign and use it to persecute the proponents of discrimination and ethnic cleansing instead of persecuting the advocates of equality in "a state of all its citizens." "

Click Here to Sign

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

الإحتفال بالأسرى بتحريرهم

ليسوا مادة مهرجانية

د. عادل سمارة
رام لله المحتلة

ليست هذه كلمة للمشاركة في "هلمَّة" الأسرى. ليس تقليلاً من تضحياتهم ومعاناتهم وأوجاع نسائ
هم وأمهاتهم وبناتهم وأخواتهم وأبنائهم...الخ، وإنما انتصاراً للأسرى ولهؤلاء.
لم تبق مؤسسة رسمية ولا شعبية ولا مؤسسة أنجزة إلا وأشغلت يوم 17 نيسان وشاغلته "بأنشطتها". تحدث البلغاء، وزغردت النساء وصرح الساسة، ورقص الأطفال يحملون الورود ولا يعرفون حقا لماذا! يحمل ابناء الأسرى الورود ولكن لم يسأل أحد نفسه هل تناول هؤلاء الفطور، وإن حصل ماذا؟ وبالمقابل ماذا في معدة رجال السياسة؟ ذوي البذلات والياقات والوجوه التي تقطر حمرة السمنة؟
ولكن، ما غاب عن كل هذا هم الأسرى أنفسهم، ليس لأنهم في معتقلات الصهيونية الممولة من المركز الرأسمالي الغربي، إنما لأنهم غُيّبوا يوم كان يجب ان يكونوا الحضور ألأساسي بعد حق العودة.
وهذا تحد أوجهه لكل من شارك وبارك ونافق وناور في محادثات مدريد-أوسلو وما تلاها. لماذا وقعتم اتفاقات دون تحرير الأسرى؟ إذا كان هؤلاء، ابناء الفقراء واللاجئين والمعدمين بكل تلك القيمة التي تشهرونها اليوم؟
ما قيمة الإحتجاج فيما بيننا كفلسطينيين؟ ما نحتاجه نحن باستمرار هو تعميق حياة المقاومة وقيمها وثقافتها وجمالياتها. أما الإحتجاج للكيان الصهيوني لأنه يحتجز الأسرى، فلا معنى له. فما معنى وجود احتلال إذا كان لا يقتل ويعتقل؟ كان ولا زال وسيبقى وجوب الإحتجاج ضد أكثرية من يحتفلوا، ضد كل من قبل بمدريد ـ وسلو دون تحرير الأسرى، بل دون تحرير الكثير، ولكننا نذكر الأسرى لأن الأمر في اللحظة مخصص لهم.
من الخطورة بمكان أن يسمح الوعي الجمعي، الذاكرة لمن فرطوا بقضية الأسرى أن يكونوا "رواد" هذه التحركات، فكأننا نوفر لهم الغطاء لما ارتكبوه.
من يريد الاستزادة، فليذهب إلى الجزيرة التي كان يُعتقل فيها منديللا، ليجد أنه أُفرغت من كافة المعتقلين قبل قبول راية الاستسلام من قيادة الأبرثايد الأبيض، ولا أبرثايد إلا ابيضاً.
وليذهب إلى الباسك، ويسمع من هيري بتسونا، التي تضع الأسرى في مقدمة المطالب.
لكننا تعودنا على التزلف لمن هو في السلطة حتى لو كان بلا سلطة.
إذن، ليست السلطة وحدها الغارقة في المفارقات، بل الشارع مفارق ايضاً.
حين تسأل وزيرا (بينك وبينه) لماذا لم تفعل السلطة كذا؟ يجيبك: "يا اخي بيني وبينك هو في سلطة او صلاحيات".
لا شك أن الوزير صادق في ما "يهمس" به. ولكن، إذا كنتم بلا صلاحيات ولا سيادة، فما الذي يربطكم بالسلطة؟ لماذا لا ترموا بها في وجوه من أوقعوكم بهواها؟ ما الذي يدفع إمرءاً للتمسك بأمر لا محتوىً له؟ يبقى الأسرى في المعتقل لأنهم أسرى، فهل أنتم أسرى في مواقعكم؟ والطريف، أن من يحسدون أصحاب مواقع أوسلو يتزايدون!
إنما هناك ما يدفع على الصعيد الشخصي والفئوي والحزبي، هناك السلطة (power) ولو في حدود كونها على الناس المحليين، وترجمة هذه السلطة منافع بتعددها.
ما أتمناه من الأسرى ولهم، أن لا يقبلو بمفارقات الخارج ونفاقه. فالنفاق اقل السلع كلفة، واكثرها أربحية. لا جهد فيها ولا مال، لكنها تعطي أموالاً طائلة، هي صناعة بلا مدخلات مادية لكن لها مخرجات مادية هائلة. ربما تحتاج هذه المعادلة إلى "ألعن" من ماركس كي يحللها.

"Double Jeopardy entraps Palestinians"

by Sonja Karkar

"......No one speaks much about the Palestinian prisoners in Israel where they are taken in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting their transfer. Yet, almost every family has experienced the violence of having one of their own taken away. Children are forced to watch their fathers and brothers being herded out of home at gunpoint in the early hours of the morning, blindfolded, handcuffed and secreted away. Pregnant women and mothers have been taken and children as young as 12 are sent to adult prisons. Babies have been born in prison and are then separated from their mothers who sometimes do not see their children again until years later. Sometimes those taken prisoner disappear altogether. The sheer number of Palestinians in prison (currently some 11,000) has made it an unavoidable issue in negotiations and has led to prisoner swaps with Israel. However, nothing much changes because Israel either re-arrests those released or just arrests other Palestinians. This is why the Palestinian National Council decided to declare 17 April as Prisoners’ Day encouraging family and friends to gather throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories and also around the world with photos of their loved ones in the hope of attracting publicity for those in prison and obtaining their release......

There is no excuse for not speaking up, no excuse for accepting Israel’s fantasy of a “beacon unto the nations”. As long as Palestinians are prisoners in the Orwellian world being created around them, as long as their freedom and human rights are denied, as long as their existence is in jeopardy, all the sympathy we murmur to other victims becomes meaningless, just as the noble principles underlying international law and conventions are meaningless. In this dark world of silence, we all become prisoners. "

Israel's Strategic Threat

More than anything else, Bishara constitutes a symbolic threat, since he personifies the recent demand of the Palestinian elite to transform Israel from a Jewish democracy to a democracy for all its citizens.

A Good Piece
By Neve Gordon
(Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University)

"......But what, one might ask, are Bishara's new offenses? It is, after all, highly unlikely that he is a spy on the payroll of a foreign entity. And while one may not like his uncompromising opposition to Israeli and American regional policies and his admiration for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's militancy and strategic intelligence, expressing such views does not in and of itself jeopardize Israel's existence. Bishara, it seems, is a threat not because of any particular action or statement but because he has become a symbol of a new kind of opposition within Israel.

During the past few months, political activists and members of the Palestinian intellectual elite within Israel, all of whom are Israeli citizens, have drafted four documents that articulate how they conceive the state's future. The underlying assumption of all of these documents is that as long as Israel is defined as a Jewish state, its laws will always fall short of basic democratic principles and, more particularly, the right of all its citizens to full equality......

Not long after the documents' publication, Israel's second-largest newspaper, Ma'ariv, reported a meeting between the head of the security agency, Yuval Diskin, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. During the meeting Diskin warned Olmert that the radicalization of Israel's Arab citizens constitutes a "strategic threat to the state's existence." Diskin added that "the proliferation of the visionary documents published by the different Arab elites in Israel is particularly worrisome, [since] the documents are united by their conception of Israel as a state for all its citizens and not a Jewish state." The head of the security services concluded that "the separatist and subversive patterns represented by the elites might engender a new direction and mobilize the masses."....."

Imprisoned PFLP leader urges Shalit's captors to stick to their demands

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - The imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Sa'adat, has urged the captors of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, to stick to their demands to release all long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Sa'adat, who is also a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member, said,
"The captors of the Israeli soldier should stick to this demand, and call for the release of the Palestinian prisoners from Jerusalem, the Arab prisoners, and the prisoners from the 1948 lands."

On Wednesday, the Israeli military court at Ofer decided to extend Sa'adat's detention until the beginning of May."

Speaking From Both Corners of His Mouth

Palestinian education minister denies reports that he criticised suicide bombings in interview with US paper

"Jenin - Ma'an exclusive - Palestinian Education Minister Nasser Addin Ash-Sha'er has denied the declarations which the US daily newspaper Washington Post ascribed to him.

In an interview with Washington Post columnist Robert Novak published on Monday, Ash-Sha'er was quoted as saying that bombing attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets had ruined past peace attempts.

Ash-Sha'er reportedly said that "previous attempts at peace were ruined by suicide bombers. Now, we look forward to a sustained peace."

On Wednesday, in conversation with Ma'an, he depicted the newspaper's allegations as imprecise.

The minister highlighted, "electronic websites took portions of a long interview, and what they took was absolutely out of the real context." It was misinterpreted, he explained......

....he was further quoted as saying. "Without pressure from the president of the United States, nothing is going to happen." "


You can read the article by Robert Novak for yourself; just scroll down 13 posts.

This is not surprising. Hamas is now doing exactly what Arafat did before and what Fatah as well as many Arab "leaders" still do. They give totally different messages when they speak in Arabic to their own people and when they give an interview in English to an American reporter. These people underestimate (and insult) our intelligence and our ability to find the truth, which is laughable in this information age. I still remember Arafat talking about the right of return at the very same time when the N.Y. Times published an article bearing his name, in which he openly said that he would not insist on the right of return, since its implementation was "not practical" as he put it.

I have not used the FAMAS label in a while, but I think I should refer to it more often. The differences between the two groups are becoming increasingly blurred.

The Holocaust as political asset

By Amira Hass

".....Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred.

The phrase "security for the Jews" has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for "the lessons of the Holocaust." It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, "security" has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges.

Security serves the creation of a regime of separation and discrimination on an ethnic basis, Israeli style, under the auspices of "peace talks" that go on forever. Turning the Holocaust into an asset allows Israel to present all the methods of the Palestinian struggle (even the unarmed ones) as another link in the anti-Semitic chain whose culmination is Auschwitz. Israel provides itself with the license to come up with more kinds of fences, walls and military guard towers around Palestinian enclaves.

Separating the genocide of the Jewish people from the historical context of Nazism and from its aims of murder and subjugation, and its separation from the series of genocides perpetrated by the white man outside of Europe, has created a hierarchy of victims, at whose head we stand. Holocaust and anti-Semitism researchers fumble for words when in Hebron the state carries out ethnic cleansing via its emissaries, the settlers, and ignore the enclaves and regime of separation it is setting up. Whoever criticizes Israel's policies toward the Palestinians is denounced as an anti-Semite, if not a Holocaust denier. Absurdly, the delegitimization of any criticism of Israel only makes it harder to refute the futile equations that are being made between the Nazi murder machine and the Israeli regime of discrimination and occupation.

The institutional abandonment of the survivors is rightly denounced across the board. The transformation of the Holocaust into a political asset for use in the struggle against the Palestinians feed on those same stores of official cynicism, but it is part of the consensus. "

Hezbollah's big challenge

In Iraq, the US pits its Shi'ite collaborators against "other" Shi'ites and assorted Sunnis. In Lebanon, the US places its Sunni clients in opposition to Shi'ites, with help from jihadis linked to al-Qaeda. Hezbollah's challenge is to prevent this from developing into a regional Sunni-Shi'ite war.

A Great Piece
By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

".....The game of what many call Hariri Inc was to rebuild the former "Paris of the East" from top - downtown - down during the 1990s, and then the rest of Lebanon would also join the party. It didn't happen. Shi'ites not only didn't profit from it, they were bombed by Israel last summer, after downtown Beirut had become a de facto Saudi playground......

Saudi Arabia's powerful Prince Bandar, former ambassador to Washington, also known as Bandar Bush - who harbors desires of becoming the next Saudi king - is basically pro-US and anti-Syria, thus fiercely anti-Hezbollah. Bandar has been instrumental in convincing other members of the "axis of fear" apart from Saudi Arabia - Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and the Emirates - that the US must attack Iran sooner rather than later.

It's an open secret in Beirut - and across the Middle East - that the US is financing the Fouad Siniora government with Bandar money, not to mention the almost $9 billion which "mysteriously" disappeared from Iraq. A US-pushed January conference in Paris came up with pledges of no less than $8 billion to Lebanon, including more than $1 billion from the House of Saud. Rafik Hariri himself was always very close to the House of Saud, and Prince Bandar in particular.....

This configures the US, plus the "axis of fear", plus Israel all united to, in White House/Pentagon newspeak, "stop Iranian hegemony in the Middle East". It's hard not to agree with Iran's ambassador to Damascus, Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, when he says that the US is using the old British imperial tactic of divide and rule, sowing discord among Sunnis and Shi'ites to try to isolate Iran......

Nasrallah - who night after night is never allowed to sleep in the same place - is the number one target not only of these Salafi-jihadis but also of Jordanian intelligence, faithful to "axis of fear" stalwart and staunch US ally King Abdullah. On an Arab street level, Nasrallah remains the undisputed top politician all over the Middle East, be it among Sunnis or Shi'ites: in Damascus his posters are found even in Christian and Armenian businesses......

Hezbollah is a solid block, the Mehdi Army has splintered into at least three factions. Hezbollah is not sectarian, unlike at least two of the Mehdi Army's factions still engaged in attacks against Sunni civilians.....

It all boils down to the same game: smashing any true nationalist resistance movement, whatever it takes, to the benefit of easily pliable client regimes. Thus the Nuri al-Maliki client regime in Iraq killing Sunnis (and, as much as possible, also Sadrists); the Abbas client regime in Palestine against Hamas; the Siniora client regime in Lebanon attacking Hezbollah. In appropriate newspeak the surge for a region-wide Sunni-Shi'ite war is then labeled as "support for democracy" and spun on pliant corporate media. The repressive, retrograde House of Saud couldn't be a better partner in this "peace process" - as it sees nationalists such as Nasrallah, Muqtada and Hamas leader Khalid Meshal as the plague......

Hezbollah has a sound proposal for breaking the Lebanese deadlock now: new elections or a referendum. The US's clients keep saying no. Nasrallah will have to wait. He may already be the most clever - and popular - statesman in the Middle East. But the true test of his caliber will not be to offer tangible proof that Hezbollah is not a puppet of Syria and Iran; it will be to offset the specter of a regional, US-encouraged, Sunni-Shi'ite war."

Two wars, one approach

By Michael Scheuer
Asia Times

".....Today, the process thus described seems to be ongoing. In Iraq, it seems clear that Afghan instructors have slowly inculcated among Iraqi fighters the skills they acquired while learning to counter Soviet attack and transport helicopters with such weapons as heavy machine guns (12.7mm and 14.5mm) and rocket-propelled grenades.

During the anti-Soviet jihad, the Afghans gradually developed this skill which tellingly punished the Soviet helicopter fleet, and which was later greatly augmented by the addition of shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The transfer of this skill to the Iraqis appears to have taken some time as it is only in the past year that a significant number of US helicopters have been downed.

The other major skill the Iraqi Sunni insurgents have acquired from the Afghan theater is, as noted above, the use of electronic media. The Iraqis' skill in this regard almost certainly represents the major contribution made by the al-Qaeda fighters who came from Afghanistan to support the Iraqi jihad under the leadership of long-time senior Osama bin Laden insurgent commander Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi.

In Afghanistan, the contribution of the Iraqi insurgents is clear in three areas. First, the Afghan Islamists' use of remotely detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has expanded both in number and skillful employment during the past two years. The use of IEDs was haphazard and minimally effective during the jihad against the Soviets and in the first year after the US invasion.

By late 2003, however, the use and lethality of IEDs in Afghanistan were increasing and a senior British officer there attributed that reality directly to skills acquired by the Afghans from the Iraqis. "There is no doubt," Colonel Mike Griffiths told the media. "There are now indications of technology transfer from Iraq. Some of the things we have seen in Iraq we are beginning to see here." Today, highly lethal IEDs are a fact of daily life for coalition forces.

The second contribution from Iraq appears to be the suicide bomber, although the Afghans are not yet as skilled and accurate as the Iraqis in using this weapon. Suicide attacks were all but unheard of during the 13-year struggle (1979-1992) between the Afghan mujahideen and the Soviet and Afghan communists. Since the Afghan election in September 2005, however, the number of insurgent attacks featuring suicide operatives has grown from a few dozen to hundreds, a reality that senior Taliban leaders have suggested is the result of the "Iraqi mujahideen" who are in Afghanistan "to support us in suicide attacks and operations".

Finally, the Taliban appear to have adopted a set of brutal counter-intelligence techniques that are common in Iraq, but have previously been applied in a hit-and-miss manner in Afghanistan. In the last year or so, for example, the Taliban have developed a fairly systematic process of identifying Afghans who are providing information to President Hamid Karzai's regime, coalition forces or Pakistani intelligence, kidnapping and killing them and often members of their family, and then broadcasting the news of the executions to dissuade others from similar activity.

At times, Taliban intelligence has even beheaded suspected informers, an action which has not yet induced the same level of popular revulsion that it did in Iraq in 2005-2006. All told, the 2005 words of Iraq-trained Taliban field commander Mohammed Daud ring true: "I am explaining to my fighters every day the lessons I learned and my experience in Iraq. I want to copy in Afghanistan the tactics and experience of the glorious Iraqi resistance." "

The devil's dictionary of war in Iraq

The Bush administration's war vocabulary and imagery of the past four years is missing in action. The "turned corners", "tipping points" and "milestones" on the way to "victory" have disappeared. A new set of words and images is being implanted, which mine a deep vein in the US national psyche: the belief in an all-American right to a second chance.

By Tom Engelhardt
Asia Times

"......All of this, of course, is an extraordinary language in which to frame events in Iraq so many disastrous years after the invasion, with history's judgment already weighing so heavily on our president's plan to take down Saddam and recreate "the Greater Middle East" in an American image. All of this is no less extraordinary - verging on obscenity - as a collective description of a world of death, destruction, and mayhem in which, in a completely unremarkable Iraqi day - this Monday - the "early" tallies showed six GIs and 69 Iraqis killed and 39 wounded (and we're only talking about immediately reported bodies here); while on the previous day, five GIs, two Britons, and 109 Iraqis died (with 173 were wounded), and on the day before that, 164 Iraqis were killed, 345 injured, and 26 kidnapped. In terms only of the recorded dead of those three "normal" days of "stability and security" under the president's "surge" plan, we're talking, in terms of the dead, about the equivalent of more than 12 Virginia-Tech-style massacres..........

Among the stranger aspects of the war is this: at least three foundational pieces of the American occupation of Iraq have essentially gone nameless. Yet, without them, the last years can make little sense. Amid the endless interviews, news conferences, press briefings, radio addresses, speeches, and talk radio and television interviews that come out of this administration in weekly, if not daily, surges - the tens upon tens of thousands of words that pour from Washington and the Green Zone of Baghdad - these three subjects remain largely unmentioned, largely uncovered in a media that has relied so heavily on the administration's framing of the issues. Where there is no language, of course, things exist in consciousness in, at best, the most shadowy of forms, leaving Americans tongue-tied on matters of genuine import.

Here they are in brief order......

But make no mistake, whatever words may be wielded, that "clock" of General Petraeus's is indeed ticking - loudly enough to be a bomb. Sooner or later, it will go off and whether it proves to be an alarm, waking Congress and the American people, or an explosion demolishing some aspect of our world remains unknown. In June or August or October, when horrific reality in Iraq outpaces whatever the Bush administration tries to call it, we may have our answer and perhaps then reality will name us."