Saturday, May 5, 2007

The One-State solution: my interview with Ali Abunimah

Contributed by Datta

A Very Good Interview
By Laila El-Haddad

"For nearly two decades, the so-called “two-state solution” has been promoted as the agreed upon framework for negotiations- and ultimately peace- to end the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But two decades on, it has failed to bear fruit.

In his new book, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, Ali Abu Nimah (a Palestinian-American writer and commentator on Middle East and Arab-American affairs and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada site) argues that the “conventional wisdom” of the two-state, land-for-peace equation needs to be drastically re-thought. Partition, he argues, is a flawed idea that is ultimately doomed to fail.

The only viable choice is to a return to the proposal of a one-state solution-one country with equal rights and votes for both Israelis and Palestinians. Laila El-Haddad interviewed Abu Nimah by phone about his book.

Q: You go from reluctantly backing a two-state solution to advocating for a one-state solution. When did you make the ideological shift and why?

Ali: I always struggled with it but I did for many years sincerely believe that a two-state solution was the best solution; the most possible; the most pragmatic. I think I sort of made the final shift about 3 or 4 years ago during the [second] Intifada, when I just recognized that all the talk of a two-state solution, all of the diplomatic initiatives, were so divorced from the reality of what Israel was doing on the ground that it became clear to me it was not possible. I learnt more, I read more about South Africa, about Ireland, about Palestine, and this is where I ended up......"

How America Has Changed Iraq

(Click on to enlarge)

The Last Argument of Fools


""If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad."

This appears to be the last remaining, barely-breathing argument of that vanishing species who still support the god-awful war. The argument implies a deeply-felt concern about the welfare and safety of the Iraqi people. What else could it mean? That the US military can't leave because it's needed to protect the oil bonanza awaiting American oil companies as soon as the Iraqi parliament approves the new written-in-Washington oil law? No, the Bush administration loves the people of Iraq. How much more destruction, killing and torturing do you need to be convinced of that? We can't leave because of the violence. We can't leave until we have assured that peace returns to our dear comrades in Iraq.

To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about the daily horror that is life in Iraq: It did not exist before the US occupation.

The insurgency violence began as, and remains, a reaction to the occupation; like almost all insurgencies in occupied countries -- from the American Revolution to the Vietcong -- it's a fight directed toward getting foreign forces to leave.

The next phase was the violence of Iraqis against other Iraqis who worked for or sought employment with anything associated with the occupation regime.

Then came retaliatory attacks for these attacks.

Followed by retaliatory attacks for the retaliatory attacks.......

Remember that we were warned a thousand times of a communist bloodbath in Vietnam if American forces left. The American forces left. There was never any kind of bloodbath.

If the United States leaves -- meaning all its troops and bases -- it will remove the very foundation, origin, and inspiration of most of the hate and violence. Iraqis will have a chance to reclaim their land and their life. They have a right to be given that opportunity. Let America's deadly "love" embrace of the Iraqi people come to an end. Let the healing begin."

Exercise in Escapism

The Real Question Isn't Why Olmert Started the War in Haste, But Why He Started It At All


".....All these accusations are accurate. But they also include a large measure of escapism.

That is a trait of the Israeli people (and perhaps of all peoples): they do all they can to avoid discussing the real disease and busy themselves with secondary, sometimes trivial, symptoms.....

But the real question is not why Olmert started the war in haste, but why he started the war at all.

Every right-thinking person understands that Hizbullah can be neutralized only by making peace with Syria, a peace for which we must give back the Golan Heights. What is more important for us--peace or the Golan? The Golan (and the God-forsaken Shebaa Farms) or peace with Lebanon?

About that no serious debate is being held--not in the Knesset, nor in the media, nor in public discussions. That was not the reason the masses assembled in the square. That is too complicated. That is too controversial. That needs cool thinking, drawing conclusions from what has happened. It is easier to shout "Olmert Go Home!".....

STANDING IN the square, between men wearing knitted kippas and men wearing T-shirts, orthodox women with long sleeves and women wearing very un-orthodox tight jeans, I could not avoid a bitter thought: Where the hell were you when your voices could have saved so many lives? Were you saluting Olmert the avenging Hero, when he sent you into the war?

And you journalists who, almost all of you, called upon the people to come and protest, didn't you call upon the people with the same enthusiasm to go to war?

What do we need now: to prepare for the next war--or to prevent the next war? To set up a government that will invade Lebanon again, and perhaps Syria, too, in order to "restore the deterrent power of the army"--or a government that will start serious negotiations to achieve peace?....."

Thousands gather at pro-Palestinian rally in Rotterdam

"Thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors gathered in Rotterdam Saturday on Netherlands's Liberation Day to demonstrate against Israel, drawing parallels between the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II and Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

Keynote speaker former Dutch prime minister Dries Van Agt addressed the protestors and voiced his regret over Holland's "biased" pro-Israeli stance and boycott of the Hamas.

PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was denied entry to Belgium and Holland, addressed protestors on a TV screen via a satellite connection.

Another Hamas representative, PA Sports Minister Basem Naim, cancelled his participation after he was not allowed to disembark at Brussels' international airport.

"The European and Dutch boycott of Hamas is wrong and even stupid," Van Agt said. "We automatically pardon the occupier and sanction the occupied nation." "

Trying to Catch Up with the Voters


"Both Democratic and Republican politicians are becoming uncomfortably aware that they may have seriously miscalculated just how unpopular the war in Iraq is with a very large number of American voters. And the implosion of the Republican Party--battered by one tempest after another--is getting to be bad as it was in 1932 or 1964. Of course the political system will adapt. Already the National Review's Bruce Bartlett is writing that the party's candidate for the presidency is doomed in 2008 and prudent Republicans should rally behind Hillary Clinton.......

Today the McCain bandwagon is axle deep in news stories freighted with grim talk about his "doomed bid". Mockery greeted his carefully planned photo-op last month in a Baghdad market, where ­- wearing body armor and amid a huge armed escort -- he proclaimed that at last the tide was turning and the US press was ignoring the good news from Iraq. After that debacle, remembering the success of his jaunty call for bombing of Serbia in the mid-90s, "Lights out in Belgrade!" McCain then tried out a Beach Boy-type jingle, "Bomb, bomb Iran" which did him no good either......

So the Democrats are edgy too, though not quite so much as McCain, whose only option is to turn on a dime and come out against the war at the end of the summer. What the Democrats fear is that a very significant number of voters are in a testy mood, ready to punish anyone--Democrat as well as Republican--who doesn't have a clear, simple plan to bring the troops back home. So now they are openly conceding they misunderstood the public mood. But they are also aware that if they seriously tilt towards Gravel's position about the insanity these overseas interventions they will be savaged by the political establishment on every talk show and every piece of political analysis in the mainstream press. So they are caught between the public mood and the imperial imperative and the latter will prevail in their calculations and thus--absent a prodigious orgy of doublespeak -alienate their political base......"

These are the faces of Islamic Jihad fighters who will be murdered next by Israel

Saved by the bomb

Senator McCain has hit upon a solution to all the Republican party's woes: a nuclear war with Iran

Terry Jones
Saturday May 5, 2007
The Guardian

"Campaigning in Oklahoma the other day, the Republican senator John McCain was asked what should be done about Iran. He responded by singing, "Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran", to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann. (Join the hilarity and see for yourself on YouTube.) How can any thinking person disagree? I mean, any country with a president who doesn't shave properly and never wears a tie deserves what's coming to it - a lot of American bombs, with a few British ones thrown in to ensure we don't miss out on the ensuing upsurge in terrorism.

The problem is how to unload enough bombs on Iran before next year's US election to bring about enough flag-waving to get the Republican party re-elected. This is essential if we are to safeguard the revenues of companies such as Halliburton......

......So the only solution is to bomb Iran, as Senator McCain so wisely and amusingly suggests. The real issue is whether to use regular weapons or do the job properly and go nuclear.

Nuclear bombs have the advantage of being much bigger, and they will also pollute vast swathes of Iran and make much of the country uninhabitable for years. With a bit of luck some of the fallout will sweep into Iraq and finish off the job the US and UK have begun without incurring more costs.

But the biggest advantage of nuclear weapons is that the repercussions would be so enormous, the upsurge in terrorism so overwhelming, that the world would be totally changed. A year before 9/11, Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby signed a statement for the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative thinktank. They rather hoped for "some catastrophic and catalysing event like a new Pearl Harbor" to kickstart their dream of a world run by US military might. A nuclear war would do the trick in spades. The Republican party could expect to stay in power for the next 50 or even 100 years.

Of course, a large proportion of the human race could be wiped out in the process, but that shouldn't be a problem as long as there are anti-radiation suits for White House and Pentagon staff. Such a shake-up would give the US a golden opportunity to corner what's left of the world's oil reserves.

In 1955 Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell said the world was faced by a "stark and dreadful and inescapable" choice: "Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?" Senator McCain wasn't bothered by such questions; the human race may be standing on a precipice, but the Republicans have a chance of permanent re-election."

The New Plan (National Unity "Government")
By Baha Boukhari

Azmi Bishara

An Example of the Pathetic, Muddled and Confused Line Hamas is Taking

Hamdan: PA leadership must work to stop IOF aggressions on Palestinians

"BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Hamas’ political leader and its representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan has urged PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to work hard to stop the incessant IOF aggressions on the Palestinian civilians, affirming that Palestinian rockets fired on Israeli settlements were mere reactions to the IOF crimes.

He also affirmed that the difference of views between Abbas and Hamas regarding those retaliatory attacks doesn’t reach the level of political dispute, explaining that there is a national Palestinian stand sanctioning the defense of the Palestinian people against the IOF aggressions with all available means.

“It would be illogical to urge the Palestinian resistance to stop (firing home made rockets) amid a clear failure on the political track (to achieve anything tangible) as far as the Palestinian issue is concerned”, Hamdan underlined.

Commenting on the repeated calls on the Palestinian resistance to stop retaliating to the IOF atrocities against Palestinian civilians and to halt firing the locally made missiles on Israeli settlements, Hamdan charged that such calls harmonized with the USA and Israel's connivance to abort the resistance and to send the Palestinians into the marsh of civil war.[Yes Mr. Hamdan, but the stooge Abbas and his "national security adviser" and CIA asset Dahlan are already part of the Usraeli plan to crush the resistance and instigate a civil war. So, you are pleading with the enemy (Abbas); do you realize that??]

He also charged that the USA and Israel were very much interested in pushing the Palestinian people into the quagmire of internal infighting, as they have their agents inside the Palestinian community who play that role by proxy. [Your "president" Abbas is the chief agent and his forces are Israel's hire-a-cop, so why beat around the bush? When will Hamas be upfront and honest with the people? When will it admit its mistakes by entering politics and forming a partnership with known Usraeli agents? When (or if) will Hamas become a part of a national liberation movement instead of playing "government" that is nothing but a sick joke!]

Moreover, Hamdan urged Abbas to be aware of the USA-Israeli conspiracies against the Palestinian people, to speak of what the Palestinian people wish from him as a Palestinian leader, and not to compromise any of the Palestinian people’s national constants at all cost regardless of the volume of pressures. [Mr. Hamdan, Brother Abu Mazen is leading the conspiracy! He is as concerned about the Palestinian national constants as Brother Olmert; so what is this rubbish you are talking about??] "

Friday, May 4, 2007

Audio: Interview with journalist Jonathan Cook

"On 1 May 2007, The Electronic Intifada's Maureen Clare Murphy and Ali Abunimah sat down with Jonathan Cook, EI contributor and author of the new book Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State. Cook, who resides in Nazareth, discussed the implications of the Israeli Winograd report which faulted the state's handling of last summer's Lebanon war; the probe and resignation of former member of Knesset and Palestinian citizen of Israel Azmi Bishara; as well as his book."

Click Here to Listen

Former Arab-Israeli Knesset MP Azmi Bishara Speaks From Abu Dhabi About Treason Charges

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"......Today, Azmi Bishara is facing his most serious challenge to date. Israeli police have accused him of treason and espionage. The charges reportedly center around Bishara's alleged contacts with members of Hezbollah during Israel's attack on Lebanon last year. There are reports Bishara's conservations were wiretapped. Bishara resigned his position in the parliament and left Israel last month. Israeli police say they'll arrest him if he returns. Bishara's resignation takes away his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Today, Azmi Bishara joins us from Abu Dhabi. And here in the firehouse studio we're joined by Yael Lerer. She is an Israeli Publisher who worked as an aide to Azmi Bishara in 2000.

AZMI BISHARA: Well, both decisions have nothing to do actually with the charges. I resigned from the Knesset because I wanted to -- like a year ago, I felt already exhausted from parliamentary work -- eleven years. This was a very, very intensive year, and I wanted to give more time for my philosophy and literature writing on my books and also for political work, but not in the parliament......

They changed the rules again totally. Now they are not accusing me of supporting the state of the citizens against the Zionist character of the state, or they're not accusing me of saying things. They’re accusing me of doing things. It is totally different. It’s actually -- they’re accusing me of security crimes that, according to the Israeli law, it’s very hard to clear yourself from, because it’s their arena. They can bring the evidence they want from unknown intelligence sources. They can actually impose new things that you did not do and interpret your relationships. For example, they can declare any friend you have or any journalist you talk to in Lebanon or in Jordan or in Egypt as a foreign agent. And this is so, according to Israeli law. Security courts are very different from civil courts, although they are civil courts formally. But the rules of the game are totally different in there, because of the kind of evidence that convinces a court. So I thought it’s very mean, actually, the fact that instead of facing my political and ideological work, that they referred to security tools with which it’s very, very hard to compete. It’s very hard to challenge......

But actually the Israeli security started working against my case a few years ago -- against me a few years ago, because they could not cope with the fact that there is an Arab Palestinian who is trying to take away the democratic liberal discourse from their hand and use it against them. They’re not used to this fact, that there is an Arab national, Palestinian national, who is using a democratic discourse of citizenship and liberalism, etc. They started working a few years ago before the timing of the war. I referred actually to the media and politicians' timing, which has to do with their need to divert attention into my direction......"

Palestinian Ping Pong "Minister" Bounced Back From Belgium

Belgian authorities turn back Palestinian minister despite having a valid visa

"Dr. Basem Naim, Minister of Youth and Sport in the PA unity government, who was on his way to attend a conference on Palestinian refugees in the Netherlands, was turned back on Friday by Belgian police.

Dr. Naim, who arrived at Brussels on board an Egypt air plane on his way to Holland, was prevented from disembarking by Belgian police.

In a phone call to al-Jazeera Arabic satellite TV, Dr. Naim said that he was treated in a "provocative and inappropriate" manner by the Belgian police who did not even allow him to leave his seat.

He was told by the Belgians that his visa was cancelled, but he told the Arabic channel that ministry officials were in touch with Dutch government on Thursday about rumors that the minister's visa was cancelled and they were told that the visa was not cancelled......"


So, this is the Europe the stupid "unity government" is still counting on to break the blockade? How stupid and naive can you be!

Sistani Followers Demonstrate Deep Understanding of Freedom of the Press

Iraqi Shiites Protest Al-Jazeera

"BAGHDAD -- Hundreds of angry Shiites poured onto the streets of two cities south of the Iraqi capital Friday to protest what they considered insults by Al-Jazeera television against Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The protesters were angered by an Al-Jazeera talk show this week in which the presenter questioned al-Sistani's leadership credentials.....

"Today, we burn down Al-Jazeera," chanted the protesters who carried portraits of al-Sistani. Others demanded that the channel as well as Qatar be sued. One Najaf protester carried several pictures of Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, with a shoe hoisted on the images to show contempt for him.....

The furor over the perceived insults against al-Sistani in "Without Borders," one of the channel's flagship programs, underlined the esteem in which the majority Shiites hold their clergy and showcased the sensitivity attached to the question of whether al-Sistani is meddling in politics or simply offering broad guidelines at a crucial time in the country's history.

There was no comment from al-Sistani, who does not grant media interviews, rarely appears in public and communicates his views in edicts, or fatwas. But his representative in the holy city of Karbala told worshippers there Friday that Al-Jazeera was trying to drive a wedge between al-Sistani and his followers by suggesting that the cleric supports foreign occupation....."


" suggesting that the cleric supports foreign occupation."

If the shoe fits, wear it!

Palestinian refugees despair after year marooned between Iraq and Syria

"DAMASCUS, 3 May 2007 (IRIN) - Over 1,000 Iraqi-Palestinian refugees stranded in camps on the Syrian-Iraqi borders are sinking into despair as their situation continues to deteriorate and a solution to their plight remains elusive.

"We are losing hope," one refugee in the Al-Tanf camp, who requested anonymity, told IRIN. "There are problems between husbands and wives because of the situation and we are afraid for the future of our children. We are searching for a solution, but it does not exist."

Over 1,000 Palestinians are marooned in no-man's land at the Al-Tanf and Al-Waleed camps on the Syrian-Iraqi borders as well as Al-Hol camp just inside Syria. They fled the violence in Iraq only to be refused entry into Syria by the Syrian government.

Camp conditions "absolutely dire"

As Al-Tanf heads towards its one year anniversary in June, life in the tented camps is fraught with anguish and daily struggles......."The conditions are absolutely dire, [the camps] are places where people are dying. No man, woman or child should be living in that environment," said Sybella Wilkes, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Damascus, one of the few organisations able to gain access to the camps.

No solution in sight

As the situation worsens, there is no immediate prospect of a solution. The only proposal thus far, an offer by the Palestinian Authority to take in the refugees, was rejected by Israel......."


Long Live Arab Solidarity!


Treasure This Photo

U.S.-Instigated Conference About Iraqi "Security"
By Baha Boukhari

One state, not two, is the solution

By Khalid Amayreh

".....It is abundantly clear though that the statements reflect profound indignation, stemming from the failure of the national unity government to end the hermetic blockade which has already pushed numerous Palestinian families to the brink of starvation.

True, the crisis is occasionally mitigated by some irregular and noncommittal financial aid from some oil-rich Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But this gives Palestinians only a false hope for a breakthrough that won’t be coming anytime soon. In other words, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and the reasons are clear.....

More to the point, the Israeli society itself is drifting menacingly toward right-wing jingoism, if not outright fascism. And the Israeli army, the backbone of the Israeli society, is on its way to becoming a “national-religious army” as a disproportionately high percentage of its officers are affiliated with the messianic and extreme religious camp. This reality finds many worrying expressions, particularly the undeclared but well-known alliance between the army and Jewish settlers in the West Bank where settlers are given a virtual carte blanche to steal Palestinian land and take over Palestinian homes and property as in Hebron.....

Third, as to the European Union, whose rotating presidency is now assumed by Germany, the most pro-Israeli European state, it is equally plain that its overall position is more or less a carbon copy of the American policy.....

Finally, the Arab states don’t lag far behind Europe, US and Israel in tormenting the Palestinians. This is clear from the persistent refusal of these states to allow national banks to transfer aid money to the cash-strapped PA, despite rhetorical claims to the contrary......

Hence, the PA and various Palestinian factions should be facing the hour of truth since the present situation is untenable. Indeed, if the goal of creating a Palestinian state on 100% of the occupied land is no longer possible, and this seems to be the case, the Palestinian leadership should immediately declare the death of the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution, and opt for the one-state solution whereby Jews and Arabs would live in a democratic, unitary and civic state extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean as equal citizens....."

Buying the War on Palestinians: The US Media, The New York Times and Israel

by Patrick O’Connor

"After four disastrous years of US military occupation, Bill Moyers’ April 25th PBS special “Buying the War” attempted to hold the mainstream US media accountable for its complicity in selling the war on Iraq to the US public. Moyers documented how the US media, with The New York Times in a leading role, bowed to financial and political pressure, succumbed to an environment of patriotism and fear of terrorism, and uncritically reported false US government claims.[1] Tragically, despite the terrible consequences of 60 years of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, there is still no significant movement to hold the US mainstream media accountable for a similar, dramatic failure in covering Israel and Palestine, and for its complicity in the US’ uncritical support for Israel.....

Renowned Israeli reporter Amira Hass has asserted that “What journalism is really about – it's to monitor power and the centers of power."[15] The US mainstream media, with The New York Times in the lead, has failed miserably in achieving that ideal, not only in covering Iraq, but also in reporting on Israel and Palestine. Rather than any concept of objectivity, balance or truth, the US media reflects instead the imbalance of power between Israelis and Palestinians, emphasizing the views of the most powerful actors - the Israeli and US governments. Palestinians’ lived experiences - that they are under attack, being killed, impoverished, having their land taken, denied their rights, and the victims of a discriminatory system - are drowned out by the drumbeat of Palestinian terrorism, even when few Israelis are being killed. As with Iraq, this racist narrative of inherent Arab violence is being exploited to justify domination of one people by another. Lacking this analysis, Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” represents only a first step towards exposing US media bias in covering the Middle East."

Warships, Warships Everywhere, and Many a Bomb to Drop

Persian Gulf Update

by Michael T. Klare

".....Today, the Nimitz is rapidly approaching the Persian Gulf, where it will join two other U.S. aircraft carriers and the French carrier Charles De Gaulle in the largest concentration of naval firepower in the region since the launching of the U.S. invasion of Iraq four years ago.

Why this concentration now? Officially, the Nimitz is on its way to the Gulf to replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is due to return to the United States for crew leave and ship maintenance after months on station. But the U.S. Central Command (Centcom), which exercises command authority over all U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf area, refuses to say when the Eisenhower will actually depart -- or even when the Nimitz will arrive.

For a time, at least, the United States will have three carrier battle groups in the region. The USS John C. Stennis is the third. Each carrier is accompanied by a small flotilla of cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and support vessels, many equipped with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs). Minimally, this gives modern meaning to the classic imperial term "gunboat diplomacy," which makes it all the stranger that the deployment of the Nimitz is covered in our media, if at all, as the most minor of news stories. And when the Nimitz sailed off into the Pacific last month on its way to the Gulf, it simply disappeared off media radar screens like some classic "lost patrol."

Rest assured, unlike us, the Iranians have noticed. After all, with the arrival of the Nimitz battle group, the Bush administration will be -- for an unknown period of time -- in an optimal position to strike Iran with a punishing array of bombs and missiles should the President decide to carry out his oft-repeated threat to eliminate Iran's nuclear program through military action. "All options," as the administration loves to say, remain ominously "on the table."......

And so, knowing that his "diplomatic" efforts are almost certain to fail, Bush may simply be waiting for the day when he can announce to the American people that he has "tried everything"; that "his patience has run out"; and that he can "no longer risk the security of the American people" by "indulging in further fruitless negotiations," thereby allowing the Iranians "to proceed farther down the path of nuclear bomb-making," and so has taken the perilous but necessary step of ordering American forces to conduct air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. At that point, the 80 planes aboard the Nimitz -- and those on the Eisenhower and the Stennis as well -- will be on their way to targets in Iran, along with hundreds of TLAMs and a host of other weapons now being assembled in the Gulf."

US holds Iranians as bargaining chips

If US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were to "bump into" the Iranian representative at the Sharm al-Sheikh conference on Iraq, in President George W Bush's words, "Condi won't be rude". All part of Washington's diplomatic efforts to bend Iran to its will in regard to stabilizing Iraq. Also part of those efforts is the US's continued holding of five captured Iranian officials as bargaining chips, writes Gareth Porter. Not to mention stationing the most powerful naval fleet in history off the Iranian coast, Tom Engelhardt adds in a postscript. Needless to say, Rice and the Iranian did not bump.

By Gareth Porter (with a postscript by Tom Engelhardt)
Asia Times

"......The linkage of the five Iranian prisoners with a strategy to get Iran to use its influence with the Shi'ites, the refusal of the Bush administration to release the five, despite Rice's conclusion that they were no longer "useful", and the administration's pursuit of "dialogue" with Iran and Iraq all suggest that administration hardliners have regarded the Iranian prisoners from the beginning as hostages to be given up in return for Iranian cooperation on Iraq......

Iran has always insisted that the US must signal a change in its policy toward Tehran before any direct diplomatic dialogue could begin. That would mean at least reciprocating Iranian gestures of goodwill, if not acknowledging that the US is prepared to address legitimate Iranian concerns about US policies.

Rice's initial suggestion that the Iranians should be released seems to reflect an awareness on the part of realists within the administration that the US cannot have a diplomatic dialogue with Iran while holding Iranian hostages as bargaining chips - and threatening to take even more. But her cave-in to the hardline position suggests that Cheney still has Bush's ear on Iran policy."

"......But something was missing - as it is regularly from American reporting on the US/Iranian face-off. The Bush administration is, at this very moment, sending a third aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, to the Persian Gulf. Although the three carriers and their strike forces will add up to a staggering display of US military power off the Iranian coast, American journalists aren't much impressed. Evidently, it's not considered off the diplomatic page or particularly provocative to mass your carrier battle groups this way, despite the implicit threat to pulverize Iranian nuclear and other facilities. Journalistically speaking, this is both blindingly strange and the norm on our one-way planet. If Iranians send the materials to make some roadside bombs into Iraq (as the Bush administration, at least, continually claims is the case), it's a huge deal, if not an act of war; but put the most powerful fleet in history off the Iranian coast? No sweat. "

Republican candidates: US may strike Iran

During debate in California, republican contenders McCain and Giuliani speak about possibility that Iran would be attacked due to its nuclear program. Critical moment would be when Israel or other countries are under substantial threat, McCain says

"WASHINGTON – Leading republican presidential contenders Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain stressed Thursday that they would not hesitate to attack Iran in order to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

During a debate held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California’s Simi Valley, the contenders directly addressed the Iranian issue. "Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. We all know that," McCain said. "Iran continues their efforts to build nuclear weapons. My greatest fear is the Iranians acquire a nuclear weapon and give it to a terrorist organization and there is a real threat of them doing that.”......

When asked at what point in his opinion should the US launch a military operation against Iran, McCain said that the critical moment would be when intelligence reports indicate that Israel, or other countries in the region, were under a substantial threat......"

Text of U.S. Document:Acceleration Benchmarks for Agreement on Movement and Access as well as on the Gaza Security Situation

"......Security Goals:
Goal: PASF (Palestinian Security Forces) actively enforcing law and order, fighting terrorism, and countering all Qassam launch operations.

Goal: Enhanced Palestinian effort to address smuggling of terror-related weapons and materials and cash destined for Gaza, tunneling efforts thwarted, and improved security and stability along the Palestinian side of the border and at the crossing sites.

Goal: Establish clear, firewalled chain of command and effective operations in order to facilitate support for Palestinian security forces.

Goal: Improved coordination between IDF and PASF forces under President Abbas to facilitate a safe and secure environment in the West Bank and Gaza.

Goal: Improved policing, training, readiness, and response capability of the PASF to promote its overall effectiveness.

Security Benchmarks:
* (Palestinians) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: The Palestinian Presidency will continue to urge PA government acceptance of the Quartet principles, including renunciation of violence, and in that context the release of Israeli Corporal Shalit and BBC reporter Alan Johnston.

* (GOI)(Government of Israel) IMMEDIATE AND ONGOING: Approve and support USSC requests for provision of required armaments, ammunition, and equipment for security forces under the control of and reporting to the PA President in the West Bank and Gaza.

* (GOI/Palestinians) NLT (No Later Than) 1 June 2007, PASF and IDF reestablish the liaison centers in the West Bank and establish border liaison centers for Gaza to implement and enhance regular, cooperative bilateral communication and coordination.

* (Palestinians) NLT 21 June 2007, PA National Security Advisor develops anti-Qassam plan with support of PA President. PA President deploys these forces NLT 21 June 2007.

* (GOI/Palestinians) NLT 1 June 2007, PASF and IDF at Kerem Shalom, and PASF and Egyptian BGF at Rafah form Joint Coordinating Cells to begin synchronization of Gaza Egypt border security.

* (Palestinians) NLT 15 June 2007, PA National Security Advisor and PA President approve the training, equipping and deploying of PASF forces under PA President by the end of CY 2007.

* (USSC/Palestinians/GOI/GOE) NLT May 15 hold Quadripartite Security meeting to continue discussions and develop comprehensive plans for improving border security, anti-smuggling, and anti-tunneling operations along Rafah / Kerem-Shalom border.

* (Palestinians) NLT 15 June 2007, PASF completes coordination with the IDF and Egyptians, deploys, and stabilizes the area between Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossing points.

* (Palestinians) NLT 15 June 2007: PASF deploys and conducts counter-smuggling operations between RCP and the Mediterranean coast, and begins to destroy tunnel networks.

* (Palestinians) NLT 1 July 2007: establishes secure and capable PASF and Presidential Guard to conduct Gaza training and improve unit readiness."

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Misery, Disease, Death: Mission Accomplished

By Kurt Nimmo

"As the corporate media reminds us, we are weathering the fourth anniversary of Bush’s “mission accomplished” declaration, an opportunity for self-righteous Democrats to make political points on the fact no mission, as described, was accomplished.

I beg to differ, as usual.

In fact, Bush and the neocons did indeed accomplish a mission, albeit not the one initially advertised after Bush, reveling like a school boy at the chance to play fighter pilot with a Lockheed S-3 Viking, delivered his nauseating victory speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003—coincidentally, as well I’m sure, the founding date of the Order of the Illuminati.

So, what mission did Bush and crew accomplish?.....

Of course, the real mission is to wipe the slate clean in Iraq and, indeed, much of the Arab and Muslim Middle East, and if that requires killing a few million people, so be it because, as Donald Rumsfeld said before he was shown the door, democracy is messy and stuff happens.

Stuff like typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, cholera, polio, poverty, and starvation."

Complete U.S. Control of Palestinian Puppet Forces

U.S. presents Israel, PA with detailed demands

A Very Important Story:

In effect this will put Palestinian puppet forces under direct Usraeli control and Usrael will use them to crush the Palestinian resistance. The puppet Abbas is already on board with the CIA asset Dahlan. This is the Palestinian version of the Maliki puppet government complete with death squads and the Salvador option in Palestine. Are you paying attention Hamas? Or are you still being fooled by "national unity?" This marks the most dangerous threat to Palestinians and their rights since the Nakba.

"......The document sets a schedule for removing roadblocks and opening passages in the territories and upgrading the Palestinian forces loyal to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Israel is also urged to approve requests for weapons, munitions and equipment required by defense forces loyal to Abbas.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to arrive on May 15 to discuss implementing the plan......

The document, which Haaretz has obtained, sets a rigid timetable for implementing measures on either side.

The document was written by the U.S. security coordinator, Major General Keith Dayton, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dick Jones and U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem Jacob Walles. It was sent to Washington, where it was approved by Secretary of State Rice.....

Palestinian sources told Haaretz that the PA has accepted the document, but it fears that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will sabotage the turning of it into an agreement due to his precarious political situation.

If both sides accept the document it will become a binding agreement......

The document demands, among other things, that Israel approve and support in an "immediate and ongoing" manner the requests of U.S. security coordinator Dayton for the provision of required armaments, ammunition and equipment for security forces under the control of and reporting to the PA chairman in the West Bank and Gaza......

Rice agreed on formulating the document during her last visit in Israel and the PA. The Palestinians received the document last Wednesday, April 25. Senior Palestinian sources told Haaretz that the PA accepts its principles, although the PA has not given Washington an official answer yet.

The PA and mainly its defense forces and national security adviser Mohammed Dahlan are required to take a series of clear steps, limited by a timetable.

Dahlan is required to develop a plan against Qassam rockets with the support of PA President Abbas no later than June 21, 2007. The president must deploy these forces no later than that date.

The Palestinian forces are required to act to prevent arms smuggling in the Rafah area in coordination with Israel.

Abbas and Dahlan must subject the defense forces to the PA chairman by June 15.

Both Israel and the Palestinians are required to reestablish the coordination and liaison headquarters in the West Bank....."

The U.S. Trying to Use its Puppets Against Iraq

A Lousy Interview Between a Pseudo Liberal and a Pseudo Palestinian

“You have to make a choice”: An interview with Sari Nusseibeh

By Jon Wiener

".......Nusseibeh: The first intifada was an explosion of frustration. The challenge at the time was, can we turn this explosion into something with a political objective? There were three elements that helped into making that explosion into a political act. One was the existence of leadership. We had that—it was called the Unified Leadership of the Uprising. Second, it had a vision—the vision was, we want to lead all of this movement toward negotiations with Israel to create a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Third, that intifada also had a day-by-day, month-by-month strategy to bring us to that conclusion. That strategy was primarily civil disobedience, and that is primarily how I was involved in the intifada. We succeeded in the sense that we finally were able to bring the two peoples closer to realizing that two-state solution was the only feasible solution, and indeed we got negotiations between the two parties.

With this latter explosion of violence, which began in 2000, I refuse to call this an intifada, because it had neither a leadership, nor a vision, nor a plan. It was simply—in my opinion—a crazy expression of frustration and anger, totally useless, chaotic and certainly counterproductive, involving acts of violence and of terrorism that only brought ruin to the Palestinian people and to our achievements......"

The Princess of Darkness Training her Arab Pet

What Do You Expect From Liars?

U.S. reporter does not recognize al Qaeda "kidnapper"

"BOSTON (Reuters) - American journalist Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Iraq last year, said on Thursday she did not recognize the photograph of a man killed by the U.S. military as one of her captors, her employer, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The U.S. military said that it had killed Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, who it said was a top al Qaeda operative in Iraq involved in the kidnap of Carroll last year.

But in an article posted to the Monitor's Web site, the paper said Carroll "doesn't recognize the photo released by the military of Jubouri."

The article, which did not quote Carroll directly, paraphrased her as saying "the photo might be of a kidnapper whom she had taken to be a low-status guard."

Carroll was kidnapped in Iraq on January 7, 2006 and held for 82 days before being released unharmed."

One crisis to the next

By Khaled Amayreh and Emad Gad
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......The Arab Peace Plan, adopted by the Arab League during their summit in Riyadh last month, is steadily losing relevance and being eroded, due to American reservations, and especially to Israel's effective rejection of it.

This, coupled with the continuing Israeli siege on the Palestinians, despite the formation of the national unity government, which includes figures acceptable to the West, such as Finance Minister Salam Fayad, is frustrating Palestinians and their government alike.

Indeed, the Palestinian government now feels it has been cheated by the international community, especially the European Union, which had given certain indications that it would relax the economic blockade once a national unity government was in place.

In fact, with Germany, the most pro-Israeli European state, assuming the rotating presidency of the EU, the European stance on the Palestinian government, even including the non-Hamas members of the cabinet, seems to be a little more than a carbon copy of that of the Americans, which is influenced to a large extent, if not completely dictated, by Israel and its powerful lobbies in Washington.

Moreover, the Arab world, too, is displaying characteristic impotence in this regard. Arab states, which lauded and even cheered the Mecca Accord between Fatah and Hamas and went as far as declaring an end to the boycott of the Palestinian government, have done very little to break the economic sanctions. Some Arab states, such as Qatar, continue to give the PA monthly payments which help keep the government afloat. However, other governments, such as Jordan, continue to meticulously prevent financial transactions to the Palestinians from taking place via Jordanian banks, especially the Arab Bank......

More to the point, there is widespread pessimism as to the future of the Palestinian national unity government and its ability to survive. Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh warned that Palestinians were contemplating alternatives in the event the boycott continues. During the last three months, he said, "Palestinians would resort to these alternatives" which he didn't clarify, but may have been alluding to completely ending the already fragile ceasefire with Israel.

Haniyeh's statements were corroborated by similar statements from Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who was quoted this week as saying that a "third Intifada" was in the offing, unless the world community lifted the sanctions against the Palestinians.

In any case, a new outbreak of violence would seem inevitable with or without instructions and warnings from political leaders. The hopelessness and helplessness to which the Palestinians have been subjected as a result of Israeli intransigence and arrogance, coupled with the dismal failure of American policy in the Middle East, and almost complete Arab subservience to Washington's whims, seems to be leading to the inevitable, with all the obvious repercussions which will negatively impact stability in the region and the world at large."

War Pimp Alert: U.S. Vice President to visit Saudi Arabia during Mideast tour next week (Reuters)

Cheney to visit Saudi Arabia on Mideast tour

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney will go on a Middle East tour next week that will include a visit to Saudi Arabia, which has had strained relations with the United States over Iraq in recent months.

The vice president's office said Cheney leaves on Tuesday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan "for discussions with the leaders of these nations on key issues of mutual interest."

His trip will include a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah, who in March said Iraq was under an "illegitimate foreign occupation," a charge the White House rejected.

Cheney will hold talks with the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, as well as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah.

Cheney will also meet U.S. military commanders and speak with U.S. troops stationed in the Gulf region, his office said without providing more details.

Cheney was last in Saudi Arabia in November."


Final preparations before the attack on Iran?? Making sure that the Arab Quarpets stay obedient?

Hours after 9/11 attacks, Rumsfeld allegedly said, 'My interest is to hit Saddam'


"According to NBC's chief Pentagon correspondent, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that his "interest is to hit Saddam Hussein" just hours after the attacks on September 11, 2001, "even though all indications pointed at al-Qaida as the guilty party," a Rhode Island newspaper reports.

At the annual Business Expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center Tuesday, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski "advanced a theme garnering attention since former CIA director George J. Tenet made his public revelations last week," writes Tom Mooney for the Providence Journal.

"Some things are right on the mark, when he says the Bush administration appeared predisposed to attack Iraq," Miklaszewski says of Tenet's book At the Center of the Storm.

The NBC correspondent's "information" comes from "off the record" notes given to him from an unidentified person who was "in the White House situation room in the hours after the attacks."

"However, the notes describe, Miklaszewski said, then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld vowing to avenge the terrorist attacks by voicing frustration that attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 and the attack on the Cole, in 2000, had gone unavenged," Mooney writes. "Reading from his notes, Miklaszewski quoted Rumsfeld as saying five hours after the terrorist attacks: 'My interest is to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time we go after al-Qaida.'"....."

What is the Axis of Evil Smiling About?
A Meeting with Rice, of Course...

The Livni-Rice Plan

We in the peace camp must closely monitor the doings of Livni and Rice. There is nothing really secret; everything reported above has been said or reported upon in the Israeli press. It is simply a matter of connecting the dots, of picking up the hints and half-statements.

A Good Article
By Jeff Halper

"For years I have been one of the doomsayers, arguing that the two-state solution is dead and that apartheid has become the only realistic political outcome of the Israel-Palestine conflict– at least until a full-blown anti-apartheid struggle arises that fundamentally changes the equation. I based my assessment on several seemingly incontrovertible realities. Over the past 40 years, Israel has laid a thick and irreversible Matrix of Control over the Occupied Territories, including some 300 settlements, which effectively eliminates the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. No Israeli politician could conceivably be elected on the basis of withdrawing from the Occupied Territories to a point where a real Palestinian state could actually emerge, and even if s/he was, the prospect of cobbling together a coalition government with the requisite will and clout to carry out such a plan is highly unlikely, if at all. And given the unconditional bi-partisan support Israel enjoys in both houses of Congress and successive Adminstrations, reinforced by the Christian Right, the influential Jewish community and military lobbyists and a lack of will on the part of the international community to pressure Israel into making meaningful concessions, a genuine two-state solution seems virtually out of the question – even though it is the preferred option espoused by the international community in the moribund “Road Map” initiative.....

Which leads us back, then, to apartheid, a system in which one population separates itself from another and then proceeds to dominate it permanently and structurally. Since the dominant group seeks control of the entire country but wants to get the unwanted population off its hands, it rules them indirectly, by means of a bantustan, a kind of prison-state. This is precisely what Olmert laid out to a joint session of Congress last May when he presented his “convergence plan” (to 18 standing ovations). And this is precisely what Condoleezza Rice, together with Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, have been working on during Rice’s monthly visits to the region.

The plan embodies the worst nightmare of the Palestinians. Phase II of the Road Map presents the "option" of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders, "as a way station to a permanent status settlement." Livni is publicly pushing for Phase II to replace Phase I, raising Palestinian fears of being frozen indefinitely in limbo between occupation and a “provisional” state with no borders, no sovereignty, no viable economy, surrounded, fragmented and controlled by Israel and its ever-expanding settlements.....

In the meantime, the no-name, no-publicity, Livni-Rice non-plan proceeds on its course, concealed by seemingly larger events such as the Arab League initiative. But wait! What about the Arab League/Saudi initiative? Doesn’t that call for a two-state solution and a return of refugees? It does, of course, but few in the Arab world take it seriously. People there understand that justice for Palestinians means far less to the Arab governments than relations with the US and, yes, Israel, especially given the common Iranian threat. So the Arab League initiative is intended more to placate the Arab Street than as an actual political position that will adversely affect the Livni-Rice plan......"

Why Israel is After Me

By Azmi Bishara

(This article has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times)

".....These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews.

When Israel was established in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in fear. My family was among the minority that escaped that fate, remaining instead on the land where we had long lived. The Israeli state, established exclusively for Jews, embarked immediately on transforming us into foreigners in our own country......

More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. The Law of Return, for example, grants automatic citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world. Yet Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to the country they were forced to leave in 1948. The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty — Israel's "Bill of Rights" — defines the state as "Jewish" rather than a state for all its citizens. Thus Israel is more for Jews living in Los Angeles or Paris than it is for native Palestinians.

Israel acknowledges itself to be a state of one particular religious group. Anyone committed to democracy will readily admit that equal citizenship cannot exist under such conditions.

Most of our children attend schools that are separate but unequal. According to recent polls, two-thirds of Israeli Jews would refuse to live next to an Arab and nearly half would not allow a Palestinian into their home......

Last year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman — an immigrant from Moldova — declared that Palestinian citizens of Israel "have no place here," that we should "take our bundles and get lost." After I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, Lieberman called for my execution.

The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world. Our community leaders joined together recently to issue a blueprint for a state free of ethnic and religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from our path to freedom now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination we have faced for six decades.....

Why then does the U.S. government continue to fully support a country whose very identity and institutions are based on ethnic and religious discrimination that victimize its own citizens?"

What Muqtada wants

By Pepe Escobar

"......Roubaie left implicit that the key religious parties in government, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Da'wa, are against the timetable [for U.S. Troop withdrawal]......

The Sadrists want an oil law that "is the symbol of the unity of Iraq, and not good only for the Kurds or for the south". Here we find the Sadrists in essence concurring with Saddam Hussein, who nationalized the Iraqi oil industry in 1972.

Once again the criticism of the top government parties, the SCIRI and Da'wa, is implicit. Abdul Adel Mahdi, the SCIRI's No 2, has been one of the top cheerleaders of the oil law; he has been to Washington to assure Big Oil of the "great opportunities" lying ahead. Oil Minister Husain al-Shahrastani, from Da'wa, is also a top cheerleader, arguing that the oil law "will benefit all Iraqis" and boasting that the country may raise oil production.......

There's a real possibility in the months ahead of an Iraqi shadow cabinet being formed - uniting Sadrists and Sunni nationalists. This poses the striking alternative confronting Iraq's government: What will prevail, Iraqi nationalism - as represented by Muqtada - or a semi-alignment with Iran - represented by the SCIRI and Da'wa? As for Muqtada, he will remain the kingmaker......"



I am not so sure about this thug, Muqtada. He is a chameleon, who poses as a "nationalist" when it suits his agenda but in reality he is a sectarian death squad leader. His death squad teams, with their electric drills' torture, have been responsible for more sectarian killing (including hundreds of Palestinians) and ethnic cleansing of entire neighborhoods in Baghdad than any other sectarian militia.

For him to pose as a nationalist is disingenuous when most of his support comes from Iran and when he is a part and parcel of the puppet government. The fact that this interview with Escobar took place "on the outer limits of the Green Zone" should tell us something.

I am one of Escobar's admirers, but I think he is off-base when it comes to Sadr. Muqtada had plenty of opportunities to forge a real alliance with the Iraqi nationalist resistance and to fight the occupation together, but he took the more expedient sectarian route and collaborated with the occupation. His militias, instead of fighting the occupation, work hand-in-hand with the occupation; this is the documented reality.

Sorry, but in my book this thug is not a nationalist; this title belongs to the resistance that has been fighting the occupation since day one.

Lebanon's Palestinian Refugees Learn to Substitute Government

by Dahr Jamail

"......The Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), which began working in the early 1980s before registering as an official NGO with the Lebanese government in 1990, has taken it upon itself to provide environmental services, health education, medical services and community development centers for refugees......

This policy is not just an ideal but a necessity for Palestinian refugees who now comprise at least 10 percent of the Lebanese population of four million, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).......

The need for support to the refugees has become increasingly well recognized among concerned groups. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have social or civil rights, and only limited access to public health and educational services. Considered foreigners, Palestinian refugees are prohibited by law from working in at least 70 trades and professions.

This has led to a very high rate of unemployment amongst the refugee population. A Palestinian refugee in Lebanon still needs a work permit, valid for a maximum of two years.

The refugees are now the poorest section of Lebanese society, and are the poorest group of Palestinian refugees in any Arab country. The Israeli government refuses to repatriate them. Some refugees have been in Lebanon since 1948, the year the state of Israel was created in Palestine.

PARD has found itself campaigning for rights, besides providing services. "We do advocacy work for labor and civil rights of people because Palestinians cannot work here," said Halimeh......."

4 Killed in Green Zone Rocket Attack

"BAGHDAD (AP) - A rocket attack on Iraq's heavily fortified Green Zone killed four Filipino contractors working for the U.S. government, the American embassy said Thursday. It was the third straight day that extremists used rockets or mortars to hit the area where Iraq's parliament meets.

The embassy said Wednesday's attack left it ``with a profound sense of sadness and regret'' over the loss of Filipinos who ``were integral members of our embassy community.''

The brief statement provided no other details about the attack, including the time or location of the explosion in the Green Zone, which is home to the U.S. and British embassies and thousands of American troops. Such information often is withheld to avoid giving extremists information for future attacks on the area......"

By Baha Boukhari

"Pessimists Consider This Lack of Support....but Optimists like us Consider This Increased Support!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Olmert undone by the militia he said he could destroy

Contributed by Datta

By Robert Fisk

"......Looking back at this terrifying, futile war, with its grotesque ambitions to "destroy" the Iranian-supported Hizbollah militia, it is incredible Mr Olmert did not realise within days that his grandiose demands would founder. Insisting the two captured Israeli soldiers should be released and the militarily powerless Lebanese government should be held responsible for their capture was never going to produce political or military results favourable to Israel. One would have to add that Tzipi Livni's demand for the Prime Mnister's resignation sits oddly with her support for this preposterous war......

....shows clearly that it was the Israeli army which ran the military, strategic and political campaign. Again and again in Winograd's report it is clear that Mr Olmert and his Defence Minister failed to challenge "in a competent way" (in the commission's devastating phrase) the plans of the Israeli army.......

......But it only proved the Israeli army, famous in legend and song but not in reality, could not protect their own people. Hizbollah fighters were told by their own leadership that if they would just withstand the air attacks, they could bite the Israeli land forces when they invaded.

And bite they did. In the final 24 hours of the war, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed by Hizbollah fighters and their land offensive, so loudly trumpeted by Mr Olmert, came to an end. During the conflict, a Hizbollah missile almost sank an Israeli corvette - it burnt for 24 hours and was towed back to Haifa before it was able to sink - and struck Israel's top secret military air traffic control centre at Miron. The soldiers captured on the border were never returned - pictures of them, still alive, are flaunted across the border at Israeli troops to this day - and Hizbollah, far from being destroyed, remain as powerful as ever;

And so one of Washington's last "pro-American" cabinets in the Middle East is now threatened by the very militia which Mr Olmert claimed he could destroy."

The real problem with the Arab initiative

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 2 May 2007

"......On the Palestinian side, the national unity government has so far been unable to function. The security situation remains so grave that the interior minister offered his resignation. The international boycott continues. The daily Israeli incursions, killings and arrests of Palestinians have led to the inevitable collapse of the fragile unofficial "state of pacification". Neither Olmert nor Abbas is in a position to take drastic decisions, with the former fighting for his political life in the face of the conclusions of the Winograd report and the poor evaluation the report has given to Olmert's Lebanon war management (in addition of course to his domestic problems), and the latter rushing between Arab and European capitals, seeking to replenish his depleted authority and bankrupt diplomacy after almost two years of sterile movement......

We, and the often misled world opinion, are the ones who need to understand that it is not the haggling over the exaggerated issue of the refugees that is the obstacle. The greater obstacle, rather, are the borders, for Israel is not willing under the current circumstances to negotiate on the basis of evacuating the land occupied in the 1967 war on all Arab fronts, as the Arab initiative requires. Overstating the refugee issue has been a deliberate distraction from the territorial problems which, once implemented in full, would require the removal of all Israeli settlements built on occupied Arab land after June 1967.....

The real problem with the Arab initiative is the absence of Arab political weight behind it. The initiative has been offered from a position of weakness and inability to do better. The Arabs were trying to improve their image in the West, posing as a peace-loving nation that made "peace its strategic choice", rather than taking an effective step towards a decent settlement. When Israel can consolidate all its war gains without risking anything, why should it be tempted by a lesser offer, from an "enemy" which has long been fully taken by granted, an enemy which does not pose any threat.

It is the vast imbalance of power that is the strategic impediment, according to a recent, and indeed an excellent, diagnosis of the situation offered by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley (The New York Review of Books, May 10). "Israel's power," the authors wrote, "provides it with self-confidence, but also lures it away from the necessary compromise. "Without the threat," they add, "there is little pressure, and without the pressure, there is scant incentive to [take] political or military risks for the sake of an uncertain and an ill-defined peace."

The basic problem with the Arab Peace Initiative is in its "begging approach" which surrenders completely to the charitable whims of the aggressor. The victim continues to make gestures and offers without any hint as to what would happen if such offers are dismissed. The power of the law, international law in particular, is not in the voluntary observance, it is in the code of punishment of those who break it and commit crimes. Without enforcing international law, it will be foolish to expect change. Pleading has never been an instrument of policy. It encourages opposite results.

Once more hopes are being dashed. Unfortunately, in the absence of any improvement, the only other alternative is for the situation to worsen. How far can that go?"

Hamas' Windbag du Jour: Mohammed Nazzal

Sayyed Nasrallah: I will not forget the name "Peretz"

Al-Manar special - Mohamad Shmaysani

This is a rare Arab leader you have to respect!

"02/05/2007 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah inaugurated Wednesday the 2nd Arab and international book fair organized by the Islamic Education Association "Islamic Maaref" in Beirut's southern suburb. Political, religious and public figures attended the opening. Speeches focused on the necessity to give heed to education as a means of resistance, particularly in a country that has been subject not only to military aggression, but to negative intellectual invasion as well.
In his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah praised Almighty Allah for granting us success to hold this book fair, despite of the hard circumstances which Lebanon in general faced in 2006, especially this very hall that was destroyed by Israeli fire during its war against Lebanon. His eminence said that this is a sincere expression for the will life and steadfastness. The secretary general added that the effort to realize this book fair is a manifestation for seriousness and optimism in the future.
Sayyed Nasrallah said that the entrance to sovereignty is independence. "When there is an independent people, independent in its thought, will and ability to survive, make life and development, it can be its own master and it can be free," he said. He added that education and knowledge make us an independent nation. "The most important elements of confrontation are research and planning centers, and not only the government. The governments the world encourage such centers and make use of them. However this is not found in our Arab world. We have become the richest nation in the world, yet the most illiterate, subordinate and ignorant nation at a time, we have every resource we need."
Sayyed Nasrallah said that there is an old political decision to keep this nation ignorant and unable to rise, so as to remain subordinate. "The first accused in this are those who govern this nation and rule over its resources," he added. His eminence read excerpts from an article by the "Columnist" magazine which was quoting British Petroleum officials as saying that the world's oil reserve is estimated to be 1.5 trillion barrels in 2005. He said that what's important in the statistics was that Libya will continue to produce oil for 62 years, Saudi Arabia for 66 years and Iraq, Kuwait and UAE for the 100 years to come, whereas Islamic nations will continue to produce oil for the next 92 years.
"Oil is practically concentrated in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile the United States' oil reserve as well as China's will cease to exist in the coming 12 years, while Russia's oil reserve will run out in the next 21 years. So this is how we understand what is really going on in the region," Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized. He explained that when the west anticipates a close end to its oil reserve at a time Iraq will continue to produce oil for the coming 100 years, it means that the American project to spread democracy is a flagrant lie. "It's not about defending human rights. The United States supported and protected dictatorships for more than 100 years. The United States is behind Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and paved the way for its fleets to come to our region from every part of this world. I had said before that the war against Iraq will lead to civil war. This was based on studies made by US and Israeli research centers. It clearly said that the goal is to directly control Iraqi oil on the one hand and protect Israel on the other. This is interpreted today, however we only give heed to skin-deep analyses while the US and Israel plan for the future. Their goal is to destroy Iraq and transform the Iraqi people into refugees in neighboring countries."
Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the United States is facing stalemate in Iraq because it knows that to control this region, the spirit and will of the resistance must be crushed. "As long as there is resistance in the region, the United States will not be able to control our resources. First it must crush resistance movements, enhance Israel's superiority and create subordinate regimes in the region."
His eminence continued saying that this how Israel's 2006 war against Lebanon can be understood. "The goal was to totally destroy all aspects of resistance, which is by far graver that the term "disarm the resistance." In this sense, the comprehensive war against resistance movements in the region. The enemy has one project and one coordinated administration. We fight each in his position, and if we cannot fight together, then let us analyze the situation together," Sayyed Nasrallah said.
On the findings of the Winograd Commission probing Israeli failures in the "Second Lebanon War", Sayyed Nasrallah said that the commission decided on the issue of victory and defeat. He said the word "failure" prompted Olmert to acknowledge his administration's failure to handle the war.
Hezbollah's chief however showed respect for Israeli leaders who give heed to their captured soldiers, whether dead or alive.
"This is Israel fighting for its wrong existence and this is us being insincere to our rights. Israel is a country that's existence relies on its military might and terrorism, nevertheless it cannot tolerate an incompetent leadership that jeopardizes its existence. Israel is ready to sacrifice 1000 Olmert for the sake of its existence, and we respect that the probing panel commissioned by Olmert condemns him. We respect that political and popular powers swiftly move to save their country, while unfortunately in Lebanon, neither an investigation was made nor a probing panel was formed and those who achieve an historic victory get stabbed in the back."
Sayyed Nasrallah concluded that he will not to rejoice at the misfortune of Olmert and Peretz or anyone else. "If Peretz said that Nasrallah will not forget his name as long as he shall live, I say that I will never forget that name because it gave us the opportunity to score an historic victory on Israel.""

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see an American withdrawal from Iraq leading to a civil war?

With over 1,500 responding so far, 78% said no.

The U.S.’ War on Democracy

John Pilger
Interviewed by Pablo Navarrete

"......PN: Could you begin by telling us what your new film ‘The War on Democracy’ is about?

JP: I happened to watch George Bush’s second inauguration address in which he pledged to “bring democracy to the world.” He mentioned the words “democracy” and “liberty” twenty one times. It was a very important speech because, unlike the purple prose of previous presidents (Ronald Reagan excluded), he left no doubt that he was stripping noble concepts like “democracy” and “liberty” of their true meaning – government, for, by and of the people.

I wanted to make a film that illuminated this disguised truth -- that the United States has long waged a war on democracy behind a facade of propaganda designed to contort the intellect and morality of Americans and the rest of us. For many of your readers, this is known. However, for others in the West, the propaganda that has masked Washington’s ambitions has been entrenched, with its roots in the incessant celebration of World War Two, the “good war”, then “victory” in the cold war. For these people, the “goodness” of US power represents “us”. Thanks to Bush and his cabal, and to Blair, the scales have fallen from millions of eyes. I would like “The War on Democracy” to contribute something to this awakening.

The film is about the power of empire and of people. It was shot in Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, and the United States and is set also in Guatemala and Nicaragua. It tells the story of “America’s backyard,” the dismissive term given to all of Latin America. It traces the struggle of indigenous people first against the Spanish, then against European immigrants who reinforced the old elite. Our filming was concentrated in the barrios where the continent’s “invisible people” live in hillside shanties that defy gravity......

President Chavez talks about building "socialism of the 21st Century" in Venezuela. To what extent do you think this project is different to the socialist experiences in the twentieth century?

In the time I spent with Chavez, what struck me was how unselfconsciously he demonstrated his own developing political awareness. I was intrigued to watch a man who is as much an educator as a leader. He will arrive at a school or a water project where local people are gathered and under his arm will be half a dozen books – Orwell, Chomsky, Dickens, Victor Hugo. He’ll proceed to quote from them and relate them to the condition of his audience. What he’s clearly doing is building ordinary people’s confidence in themselves. At the same, he’s building his own political confidence and his understanding of the exercise of power. I doubt that he began as a socialist when he won power in 1998 – which makes his political journey all the more interesting. Clearly, he was always a reformer who paid respect to his impoverished roots. Certainly, the Venezuelan economy today is not socialist; perhaps it’s on the way to becoming something like the social economy of Britain under the reforming Attlee Labour government. He is probably what Europeans used to be proud to call themselves: a social democrat. Look, this game of labels is pretty pointless; he is an original and he inspires; so let’s see where the Bolivarian project goes. True power for enduring change can only be sustained at the grassroots, and Chavez’s strength is that he has inspired ordinary people to believe in alternatives to the old venal order. We have nothing like this spirit in Britain, where more and more people can’t be bothered to vote any more. It’s a lesson of hope, at the very least."

وثيقة كشفتها صحيفة المجد الأردنية عن خطة عربية أمريكية لحرب أهلية فلسطينية

وقد حصل مراسل "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" في العاصمة الأردنية عمّان على نص الوثيقة التي مُنعت بسببها صحيفة "المجد" من الصدور، وهي بحسب الصحيفة "تفاصيل خطة سرية تهدف لإضعاف وتهميش دور الحكومة الفلسطينية وحركة حماس في الساحة الفلسطينية، مقابل تقوية مراكز ونفوذ الرئاسة الفلسطينية وحركة فتح"، فيما يُصار بعد ذلك الى إجراء انتخابات تشريعية مبكرة، تضمن لحركة فتح والرئاسة الفلسطينية الفوز، ثم تشكيل حكومة يمكنها التعاطي والتعاون مع المجتمع الدولي، بما ينسجم مع الشروط التي وضعتها اللجنة الرباعية (والكيان الصهيوني) للاعتراف بالحكومة".

وبحسب الصحيفة؛ فقد تم إعداد الوثيقة مؤخراً من قبل جهات عربية وأمريكية، وقام بتسليمها الى رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس، "رئيس جهاز مخابرات عربي"· وتتضمن الوثيقة محوريْ تحرّك، الأول يطلق عليه "الخطة أ" والثاني يطلق عليه "الخطة ب"، وتقع الخطة في 16 صفحة.

وفي الوثيقة محاور وخطوات تمهيدية، ومطالب، وميزانيات، تستهدف "إبقاء الرئاسة الفلسطينية وحركة فتح في عين المجتمع الدولي مركز الثقل في المشهد السياسي الفلسطيني"، فيما تشير في مكان آخر إلى "ضرب القوة السياسية لحماس" وإلى السيطرة على الأجهزة الأمنية بشكل كامل، وإلى أنّ الأمر يحتاج لتعاون كل من الكيان الصهيوني والولايات المتحدة "على تحقيق الأهداف".

وفيما يلي النص الكامل للوثيقة التي منعت السلطات الأردنية صحيفة المجد من الصدور.

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In Defense of George Tenet

Why do they hate him?

By Justin Raimondo

".......Whether Tenet should or should not have resigned in protest, I'll leave that to CIA insiders to fight over. What matters is that Tenet points an accusing finger at the cabal centered in the vice president's office and the higher civilian reaches of the Pentagon, and rightly so. Except for Scooter Libby, these people have yet to face the music, or any consequences – and yet there are a lot more Scooter types out there, unindicted co-conspirators in the plot to lure us into war under false pretenses. Now they are compounding their crimes, going after their old enemies in the CIA – even as their lie factory begins to crank out a new series of elaborate deceptions aimed at convincing us to go to war with Iran.

Regardless of Tenet's own personal responsibility for the disaster that befell us in Iraq, the story he has to tell is valuable – provided we learn the proper lesson from it. Not that the CIA needs to be "reformed," or that we didn't plan enough for the occupation – nothing could have ameliorated the consequences of a policy that was essentially wrong. No "plan" could have contained the horrific outbreak of "postwar" violence and utter chaos that is now enveloping "liberated" Iraq. The lesson Tenet has to teach us is the relative ease with which it is possible for a very small group of people to seize the reins of government in America. Given the extreme concentration of power in the executive branch when it comes to matters of war and peace, a cabal that has the president's ear can wreak enormous damage on American interests – and the natural resistance of patriots within the government to their dominance can't always be counted on to succeed. This, indeed, is one of the enormous risks of our interventionist foreign policy: coupled with the extreme centralization of policy-making in the realm of foreign affairs, it is a danger not only to our republican institutions, but to the peace of the world."