Saturday, September 1, 2007

Will President Bush bomb Iran?

"......The good news is that this was a war game; for those who fear war with Iran, the less happy news is that the officials were real. The simulation, which took four months, was run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close links to the White House. Its conclusions, drawn up last month and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, have been passed on to military and civilian planners charged with drawing up plans for confronting Iran.

News that elements of the American government are working in earnest on how to deal with the fallout of an attack on Iran come at a tense moment......

The president's intervention came just weeks after leaks from a White House meeting suggested that Vice-President Dick Cheney, who is understood to favour the use of force, has regained the upper hand over the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who both advocate diplomacy and sanctions to isolate Iran. Mr Cheney reacted with fury when the State Department suggested that negotiations might continue past January 2009, when Mr Bush leaves the White House.

So the question is: did Mr Bush last week set America inexorably on a path to the next war?....."

Sarkozy Gives Neocons a Nod and Wink

By Kurt Nimmo

"Now we have the little neocon stooge, French president Sarkozy, characterizing “Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem” and threatening to bomb the country “if it persisted in building an atomic weapon,” reports the Times Online. “The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims ‘are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene’, he said.”

As a French version of a neocon, Mr. Sarkozy is a proponent of “conflict between Islam and the West,” not the other way around, a fact revealed by his comments about Iran building a “nuclear weapon,” a fantasy at best. In order to learn the truth, Sarkozy only need consult the IAEA, or at least read the news......."

When will Zionist Jews stop cursing other religions?

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

"On 29 August, 2007, Israeli soccer fans were heard cursing the Prophet Muhammed (PUH) while accompanying an Israeli soccer team to Turkey.

According to the Ynet, the Yedeot Ahronot news website, a Turkish reporter working for the Channel 24, Elif Ural, who accompanied the Israeli soccer team, Maccabi Tel Aviv on its flight from Israel to the Turkish city of Kayseri, videotaped a group of fans while signing songs cursing the Prophet of Islam and Muslims in general.

Ural, who has been living in Israel for the past three years, reportedly was deeply offended by what she witnessed and heard. Ural was especially upset because the club’s officials failed to intervene to put an end to the offensive behavior.......

I know Muslim-Jewish relations these days are not at their best, to put it very mildly.

After all, Israel, the Zionist entity which calls itself “the Jewish state” has been indulging in every conceivable act of murder, persecution, and oppression against the predominantly Muslim people of Palestine.

Zionism, a project of dispossession and a pretext for a creeping genocide, shows very little respect for religion in general, including Judaism itself.

This is certainly an additional reason why true Jews who value the Torah of Moses should speak up against the blasphemous culture being fostered by Zionism, a culture that has succeeded in eviscerating life of justice and human decency.

Zionism is not only Islam’s virulent foe. It is also Judaism’s grave-digger."

Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran

"THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran “before it is too late”......."

Call to Halt EU Trade with Israel

"BRUSSELS - Trade between the European Union and Israel should be halted in protest at human rights violations in the Palestinian territories, a United Nations conference has heard.

Under a so-called association agreement, Israel currently enjoys free trade in industrial goods, and preferential treatment of farm produce entering the European Union. Luisa Morgantini, a vice-president of the European Parliament, said that her institution has called for this agreement to be suspended. So far, however, these calls have been rejected by EU governments and by the Union’s executive, the European Commission. This is despite how article 2 of the agreement, which entered into force in 2000, commits both sides to respect human rights.

Morgantini was speaking at a UN conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Brussels (Aug. 30-31). She argued that the EU has made “a lot of mistakes” in its handling of relations with the Middle East, particularly over the last year. It was wrong, she said, for the Union to suspend direct aid to the Palestinian Authority in 2006, when the Islamist party Hamas swept to victory in parliamentary elections that the Union officially considered as fair and democratic. She denounced, too, the EU’s decision to focus its support on the West Bank rather than Gaza. “As Europeans, we have to push not to divide but to unite the Palestinian people,” she said. “Our policy is sometimes exactly the opposite of this.”

She also voiced unease about how the EU has since 2005 been operating a border assistance mission in Rafah, the sole connection point between Gaza and the outside world. The crossing has been largely closed by Israeli forces since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June, with the EU staff involved in the assistance mission taking no action to lift restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.

Eoin Murray from the Irish anti-poverty organisation Trócaire said that the EU has become “a subcontractor for the occupation” of Palestine and that the Union’s Rafah mission should be abandoned. Each morning, he told IPS, the members of the EU mission travel to a point beside the crossing known to Palestinians as Karim Abu Salam, and to Israelis as Kerin Shalom. “The Israelis then say that they can’t come in for security reasons,” he said. “And the EU just accepts that.”

Opening Rafah is essential to open people’s minds and end the suffocation of Gaza. At the moment, if you have cancer in Gaza you will just die because the Israelis will not allow you to cross to Egypt for radiological treatment.” Murray called on the Union to rethink the willingness it has shown to repair civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, destroyed by Israel......

Richard Kuper, London-based spokesman for European Jews for a Just Peace, alleged that Israel has carried out “grave breaches” of the Fourth Geneva Convention; agreed in 1949, it sets out the rights of people under foreign occupation. He contended that Israel has been singled out for ’special treatment’ by both the EU and the U.S. Unlike other countries in the surrounding region, Israel has been allowed to develop nuclear weapons and has not been held to account for ignoring UN Security Council resolutions.

Kuper criticised the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia in Vienna (now renamed the Fundamental Rights Agency) for equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism......"


Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Desert Peace


What happens when a former US President refers to Israel as an Apartheid state?
He gets called an antisemite! Simple and to the point...

What happens when a Jewish Professor at a Catholic University says the same thing?
He is denied tenure.

Now, what happens when an Israeli journalist says the same thing at an International Conference?
He is denied the right to speak.

Just how far are the supporters of zion willing to go to hide the truth? Every attempt they have made recently has made headline news.... there is no way they can continue denying the FACT that Israel is an apartheid state...

The following YNet report deals with the latest incident...

Zionist Federation cancels Haaretz journalist

Columnist Danny Rubinstein reportedly likens Israel to apartheid South Africa...."

Back in Uncle Sam's Pocket

Sarkozy's New French Foreign Policy


"One of the best known fables by the 17th century French poet Jean de la Fontaine tells of a fly that buzzed around a horse pulling a heavy coach up a steep hill. When the horse made it to the top, the self-important fly gave himself, and his buzzing, credit for getting the coach to the top.

The new French foreign policy of Nicolas Sarkozy looks like that. Flies buzz around, looking for some event they can claim to influence......

Openly abandoning any notion of a European defense independent of NATO, Sarkozy called for what in Washington is called greater "burden sharing" by Europeans. There was no more talk of a "multipolarity" in world affairs as an alternative to "unipolarity" around a U.S. hyperpower. Rather, like the Bush administration itself, Sarkozy rejected "unilateralism" as a failure, calling instead for "an effective multilateralism"--starting with the Franco-U.S. alliance.

Sarkozy better watch out. The coach he thinks he's pushing up the hill may be about to go over the side of a cliff--taking the rest of us with it."

The Sorrows of Occupation

Life in the West Bank


"Our experience in the West Bank this summer gave us a view seldom seen by Americans of Palestinian life under Israeli military occupation. Disregarding travel warnings from the U.S. State Department, we volunteered at hospitals and clinics, visited aid organizations, and traveled widely from our base in Ramallah. We talked with Palestinians of varying ages and occupations. Most seemed resigned to a bleak future, some feeling hopeless that the 40-year occupation would ever end. We observed widespread anguish and economic and social deprivation from Israeli actions.

Among the most deleterious Israeli policies is restriction of mobility. About 40 percent of the West Bank is off-limits to Palestinians. There are more than 120 settlements built on confiscated land and separate roads for the 250,000 Israeli settlers. More than 600 vehicle checkpoints and obstacles slow travel in the West Bank, an area slightly smaller than Delaware. Therefore, the former 10-minute drive between Jerusalem and Bethlehem took us one hour by a circuitous route. At checkpoints, soldiers pointed guns at us and other travelers while sluggishly checking IDs.......

Israeli policies in the West Bank seem designed to eliminate Palestinians by making life so difficult for them that they leave. A Palestinian Red Crescent official told us that Israel discourages foreign humanitarian workers from coming to the West Bank because "they don't want the world to see what they are doing." Our experiences amply support President Carter's description of Palestine as an "apartheid" state. In pursuit of its self-defense, Israel should not be permitted to act at the expense of the basic human rights, dignity and survival of the Palestinians......"

Phase III of Bush's War

by Patrick J. Buchanan

"Those who hoped that – with the victory of the antiwar party in 2006, the departure of Rumsfeld and the neocons from the Pentagon, the rise of Condi and the eclipse of Cheney – America was headed out of Iraq got a rude awakening. They are about to get another.

Today, the United States has 30,000 more troops in Iraq than on the day America repudiated the Bush war policy and voted the GOP out of power. And President Bush, self-confidence surging, is now employing against Iran a bellicosity redolent of the days just prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What gives Bush his new cockiness? The total collapse of the antiwar coalition on Capitol Hill and the breaking of the Congress......

Last spring, Nancy Pelosi herself, after a call from the Israeli lobby, pulled an amendment that would have forced Bush to come to Congress for specific authorization before attacking Iran. Before the August recess, the Senate voted 97 to zero for a resolution sponsored by Joe Lieberman to censure Iran for complicity in the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The resolution explicitly rejected authorization for immediate military action, but the gist of it declared that Iran is participating in acts of war against the United States, laying the foundation for a confrontation.

What is to prevent Bush from attacking Iran and widening the war, at a time and place of his choosing, and sooner than we think?

Nothing and no one

Angela Merkel named recipient of highest German Jewry honor

"Chancellor Angela Merkel was Friday named the recipient of a top award of German Jewry, the Leo Baeck Prize.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany singled out Merkel for her "continuous and credible commitment in the area of rapprochement between Jews and non-Jews as well as between Germany and Israel."

The chancellor, who was this week named the world's most powerful woman by the U.S. magazine Forbes, will receive the award at a ceremony in Berlin on November 6......"

Strange goings-on here in Lebanon ...

By Robert Fisk

Did you know that the Hizbollah "Party of God" has installed its own private communications network in the south of Lebanon, stretching from the village of Zawter Sharqiya all the way to Beirut? And why, I wonder, would it be doing that? Well, to safeguard its phones in the event that the Israelis immobilise the public mobile system in the next war. Next war? Well, if there's not going to be another war in Lebanon, why is Hizbollah building new roads north of the Litani river, new bunkers, new logistics far outside the area of operations of the Nato-led UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon?

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's leader, boasts of new weapons. The Lebanese suspect that these include anti-aircraft missiles. If this is true – and many Lebanese who have spent their lives under Israel's cruel air attacks, assaults which have often been war crimes, hope it is – then the next war will be anticipated with dark but keen anxiety. Since the Israeli army is incapable of fighting the Hizbollah on its own ground – its collapse when faced by Hizbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon last year proved this – what happens if their awesome air power is also neutered?

Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, ensconced in his little "green zone" in the old Turkish serail, can do little to alter the course of this coming battle. Supplied with bombs by the Americans so that the Lebanese army can continue to blast its way through the Palestinian Nahr el-Bared refugee camp – one of the most uncovered stories of the Middle East year – his government can do no more than wonder at the resistance of the ruthless non-Hizbollah Islamist insurgents who are still holding out there. The US ambassador watches approvingly as the Lebanese army continues to "advance" amid strongholds and bunkers at a cost of almost 140 soldiers' lives although, after four months of "advancing" – as one western NGO remarked to me a few days ago – they might soon, at this rate, reach Cyprus.

One can only reflect on how the US ambassador to Tel Aviv reacts when the Americans supply bombs to the Israelis which are then used on the Palestinians of Gaza. Weapons are always available to blast away at the Palestinians......."

Report: “Full Spectrum” Mass Murder Likely Against Iran

By Kurt Nimmo

"Increasingly, people in the know are revealing what some of us have realized for months, even years: the United States, under the pernicious control of Muslim-hating neocons, will attack Iran, and sooner before later.....

.....In fact, for those of us who have followed the neocons, an attack against Iran is not “likely,” but indeed imminent. It is part and parcel of the neocon master plan to decimate the Muslim world and may be considered the crown jewel, as the neocons believe Iran is far too cheeky. As well, the kissing cousins of the neocons, the neolibs, want to bring the Muslim world down a few pegs, as the tenets of Islam preach against ruinous usury of the sort neolibs love to impose on the world at large. Neocons, on the other hand, simply hate Muslims, as all reactionary and racist Zionists viscerally hate Muslims......

But then the “insurgency” in Iraq is not really a problem for the neocons, as the point is to continue the process of eroding any prospect of civility and peace, even a modicum of humanity. In fact, the U.S. will stay in Iraq until the process is complete and the country is split into three disparate pieces based along ethnic, religious, and tribal lines, and thus more easily managed as weak and malleable vassal states. Iran faces a likewise future, including a ferocious “insurgency,” actually a general form of resistance against occupation, an entirely normal reaction. Again, this hardly matters, as the point is order out of chaos—that is, chaos for the average Iranian, order for the neocons and neolibs. For our reigning war criminals, on par with the Nazis, order is achieved through mass murder, disease by way of depleted uranium and a greatly degraded civilian infrastructure, infant mortality, and the mass exodus of people of somewhat higher means, as most Iraqis able to flee their homeland have done so......

Surely, the “debate” is “bleeding over” (excuse the impending pun) into the presidential selection process, or more accurately the field of potential selectees, for as we know, almost to a man and one woman, the gaggle of pre-approved selectees are on record as stating no options are off the table, in other words they have expressed a willingness to attack Iran with the devastating and criminal results that entails. “U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons,” Clinton told AIPAC earlier this year. “In dealing with this threat … no option can be taken off the table,” that is to say slaughtering toddlers and grandmothers is on the table......

As the Plesch and Butcher report indicates, the “right opportunity” is almost upon us and the neocons are ready—more than ready, in fact chomping at the bit. However, I don’t believe the neocons will bother with formalistic excuses, speeches before the United Nations, or dog and pony shows like the ludicrous charade of chemistry test tubes and helium balloons Colin Powell orchestrated at the behest of the neocons—or as Powell fondly called them, the “fucking crazies”—prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Bush, as the commander and decider guy, will simply launch a shock and awe attack against Iran.

Hillary Clinton will be left with the mess."

Arab New Look!
By Hamed Najeeb

Mearshimer, Walt and the Erudite Hysteria of David Remnick

By Tony Karon

"......Like the tech-bubble and real estate-bubble, Washington’s “Israel bubble” is unhealthy and dangerous — in fact, it not only jeopardizes U.S. interests throughout the region and beyond (by serving as Exhibit A for any anti-American element anywhere in the Islamic world to win the political contest with America’s friends), but it is also exceedingly bad for Israel: Particularly over the past decade, the U.S. has essentially enabled Israeli behavior so self-destructive that it may have already precluded any chance of it being able to live at peace with its neighbors.

It is the lancing of this Israel bubble — in the best interests of the United States, the Arab world, and Israel’s own prospects for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors — that John Mearshimer and Steven Walt have dedicated themselves, first in last year’s London Review of Books essay and now in a new book, titled “The Israel Lobby.”.....

But regardless of a number of specific instances that I might analyse somewhat differently, I have no quarrel with its central argument that U.S. policy on Israel and its neighbors is grotesquely biased in favor not only of Israel, but of Israel’s most self-destructive impulses. As such, it is a policy dangerous to U.S. interests and ultimately to those of Israel itself. This biased is maintained and policed in substantial part by an aggressive lobbying effort by an elaborate pro-Israel political infrastructure. Despite its analytical weaknesses, it is a refreshingly candid and courageous (given the all too common fate of those who tackle this taboo — just take a look at the important logging of this stuff at Muzzlewatch) embrace of what has long been the “third rail” of American foreign policy, insisting that a debate be conducted where none has been tolerated until now......

This phenomenon is reflective of a trend that has been confirmed to me anecdotally dozens of times, both in the U.S. and at home in South Africa, where some Jewish liberals of faultlessly progressive politics on every other issue turn into raving tribal belligerents of the Ariel Sharon hue when the conversation turns to Israel. We’ve all seen it, dozens of times, I’m sure — although I’m pleased to say I know a lot more whose politics are consistent, and are not prone to being possessed by Zionist Mr. Hydes.

David Remnick is not among them, unfortunately. In response to Mearshimer and Walt, New Yorker editor Remnick offers a fresh specimen of the denial pathology.

What is most strking about his piece, however, is that it is more of a kvetch, designed to discredit M&W in the eyes of New Yorker readers, than a serious engagement with their argument......."

Friday, August 31, 2007

Child-killers par excellance

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

"Seeking to demoralize Palestinians into total submission and surrender, the Israeli occupation army on Wednesday, 29 August, murdered in cold blood three Palestinian children in the northern Gaza Strip. According to eyewitnesses, an Israeli tank fired a large artillery shell at a northern Gaza neighborhood, killing three children from the same family. The children, whom the Israeli media, parroting army disinformation, referred to as “teenagers,” have been identified as Muhammed Ghazal, 10, Yahya Ghazal 12, and Sara Ghazal, also 10 years. According to the victims’ family, the kids were playing Tag in the backyard of their home when the artillery shell struck, killing them on the spot and mutilating their tender bodies.

Last week, Israeli soldiers killed two other Palestinian children on the pretext that they approached Israel’s security fence. Following the grisly slaughter, and as usual in such circumstances, the Israeli army switched to the damage-control mode, claiming that the killing “occurred by mistake.”

Israeli officials also sought to deflect blame, claiming that the kids “were hired by terrorists to retrieve rocket launchers,” and that the army “spotted suspicious movements in the area.” More to the point, many Jewish talk-show posters were busy congratulating themselves for the grisly murder and urging the IDF to “keep up the good work.” On Friday, 31 August, the Israeli army retracted earlier statements, saying that “it appeared the kids were playing Tag and were not involved in any terrorist activities.”

Last week, the Israeli army murdered another child in Gaza, citing similar excuses.

Indeed, since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada or uprising against the Nazi-like Israeli occupation in 2000, the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists murdered as many as 1000 Palestinian children and minors. The often pornographic killings raise no eyebrows among Israeli Jews who have come to view the killing of Palestinians, including children, as banal, given the frequency of its occurrence.

Israel often claims its army doesn’t target Palestinian civilians deliberately. However, human rights organizations operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Israel’s B’tselem, have argued forcefully that the Israeli army murders Palestinian civilians with shocking ease, given the enormous number of victims, killed and maimed, in recurrent Israeli raids and incursions.

In truth, the Israeli army murders Palestinian children knowingly, deliberately and even enthusiastically. Indeed, when murder occurs nearly on a daily basis, it means targeting civilians is policy, not an aberration. And when the number of victims is enormous, intent becomes irrelevant. Obviously the two observations apply wholly to the Israeli army, which makes Israeli soldiers, officers and commanders, and also politicians who make policy and issue orders, war criminals who should be shipped, like drugged animals, to war-crime tribunals in the Hague .

This wicked criminality stems mainly from the post-holocaust Nazi-like Jewish ideological doctrine in which many or most Israeli soldiers are indoctrinated. This evil doctrine teaches that non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular are lesser human beings, or even animals in human form, whose lives are worthless, and that in order to avoid the occurrence of another holocaust, Jews ought to commit every conceivable crime and act of evil and strip themselves of any semblance of morality.

This hateful ideology, which few people in the “enlightened west” dare question, apparently for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism, is what made a Jewish immigrant from France, who murdered an Arab taxi driver from East Jerusalem earlier this year, argue that “these people are animals,” and that “ when I killed him I felt I was killing an animal not a human being.” Unfortunately, this murderous ideology is gaining foothold in the Israeli army and in vast sectors of the Israeli Jewish society. A fleeting look at the Hebrew press these days would show the extent to which the Israeli society is drifting toward Nazi-like Jewish fascism.

Needless to say, every time these hateful criminals murder Palestinian children, they hasten to downplay their crimes by arguing that it is the victim’s fault, not theirs. Hence, the ready-made mantras they evoke that the murdered kids were “little terrorists” or “that they threw stones at Israeli forces,” etc.

Well, it is always difficult not to draw analogy between these evil, reptile killers and their Nazis colleagues, the Gestapo, Wehrmacht and SS, who too killed many kids in cold blood and had to concoct lies and other inventions to soothe their conscience so that they could be able to sleep at night.

After all, child-killers are child-killers, irrespective of the “holy book” they claim to follow and the mantra they invoke."

Do We Have the Courage to Stop War with Iran?

Now or Never

Former CIA Analyst

".......It is going to happen, folks, unless we put our lawn chairs away on Tuesday, take part in some serious grass-roots organizing, and take action to prevent a wider war-while we still can.

President George W. Bush's speech Tuesday lays out the Bush/Cheney plan to attack Iran and how the intelligence is being "fixed around the policy," as was the case before the attack on Iraq.

It's not about putative Iranian "weapons of mass destruction"-not even ostensibly. It is about the requirement for a scapegoat for U.S. reverses in Iraq, and the White House's felt need to create a casus belli by provoking Iran in such a way as to "justify" armed retaliation-eventually including air strikes on its nuclear-related facilities......."

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter

Contributed by Datta

"Historian and journalist Gareth Porter, discusses the Israeli government, Israeli Lobby and neoconservative’s responsibility for pushing the United States toward war with Iran since 2002, split opinions in the run-up to war with Iraq, the neocons recently announced upcoming propaganda push and the scoop that he can prove the Cheney regime has known since before they started lying about it that the Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) are made in Iraq by Iraqis not by Iran trying to start a war with us."

Click Here to Listen


A Very Good Article
Osamah Khalil, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 31, 2007

"Over the past two months a coalition has formed around Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to bolster his rule. Desperate to maintain his hold on power, Abbas has chosen to forgo national unity and rely on support from the U.S. and Israel to tighten his hold on the West Bank and target Gaza. Abbas and his benefactors have made it clear to the residents of Gaza that only by abandoning Hamas will the siege be lifted. In the interim, any deaths or starvation, while regrettable, are the requisite price to maintain Abbas' presidency and the position of his cronies. In pursuing this course, he and his appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have tied their fate to American and Israeli officials in the mistaken belief that they will deliver an independent Palestinian state. In doing so, Abbas and Fayyad ignore the personal, professional, and ideological relationships uniting these officials, which, contrary to their public statements, serve to undermine Palestinian aspirations. The result of this delusional strategy will be a cage disguised as a country......

To prepare the ground for this confrontation, the PA leadership has embraced the siege of Gaza. This strategy reached a new nadir when Ambassador Riyad Mansour of the Palestinian Observer Mission to the UN recently blocked an attempt by Qatar and Indonesia to obtain a Security Council resolution expressing concern over a pending humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Mansour explained in a prepared statement that "It is unacceptable for anyone, including friends, to act on our behalf without our knowledge, without consulting us." When asked why the Palestinians did not coordinate with its "friends" to reintroduce the resolution, he answered that there was "no specific need" for one at this time, in spite of the dire warnings from multiple international aid organizations to the contrary. The diplomatic corps, which operates from the former Palestine Liberation Organization missions around the globe, purportedly represents the Palestinian people, but their recent actions and rhetoric culminating in the disgraceful charade perpetrated at the UN demonstrates where their loyalties truly lie.

Moreover, Mansour's statement of "no specific need" is as shockingly inaccurate as it is despicable. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with nearly 1.5 million Palestinians -- roughly 80 percent of them refugees -- crowded into a mere 360 square kilometers. With unemployment of 40 percent and underemployment far higher, the UN estimates that over 60 percent of Palestinians live below its "poverty line" of less that two dollars a day. Gaza has no functioning sea or airport facilities and all human and commercial traffic flows through Israeli-controlled (and sealed) border crossings, rendering it totally isolated. Due to the border closures, there are constant shortages of medical and food supplies, and now fuel supplies are also being used as a weapon, forcing electricity to be shut off across the strip for hours and sometimes days at a time. These actions represent a continuation of the siege and sanctions policy promoted by Abrams. As Dov Weinglass, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained the goal is to "put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." By adopting this strategy as their own, Abbas and Fayyad have demonstrated they are beyond redemption.

With each passing day the depth of the PA leadership's degeneracy is revealed. Their corruption and ineptitude, so blatant and glaring over the past 13 years, has now been supplemented by a cynicism and sadism directed toward their own people with the support and encouragement of the US, Israel, the European Union, and the international community. This leadership, which once proclaimed "revolution until victory," long ago abandoned that mantra and chose to turn rebellion into money. They have shamelessly ignored the needs and will of the Palestinian people and led them to the brink of ruin. Only by abandoning this leadership can Palestinians hope to reverse this course and ensure that they determine their own future. The choice has never been starker or more certain."

Porter: Kill More Iraqis or Pay $9 per Gallon

By Kurt Nimmo

"No doubt, for a large number of Americans, it is a good enough excuse: “Gasoline prices could rise to about $9 per gallon if the United States withdraws troops from Iraq prematurely, Rep. Jon Porter said he was told on a trip to Iraq that ended this week,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. “To a person, they said there would be genocide, gas prices in the U.S. would rise to eight or nine dollars a gallon, al-Qaida would continue its expansion, and Iran would take over that portion of the world if we leave,” said the Nevada Congress critter.

Of course, it hardly matters that genocide is well underway in Iraq—more than a million Iraqis have lost their lives, thanks to the U.S. imposed “liberation,” according to an estimation produced by Just Foreign Policy, based on results by the Lancet and Iraq Body Count—but naturally this is of little concern to the average American worried about an escalating gas bill for his SUV or pickup truck… and that is precisely why Jon Porter mentioned it.

It should be remembered that Porter chaired the Hill & Knowlton front group, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, responsible for parading a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl—known only by her first name of Nayirah—before a complicit corporate media prior to Bush Senior’s invasion of Iraq in 1991. “I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital,” Nayirah lied. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” In fact, Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family. Her father was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S......."

'No elections if Hamas will win'

By Saleh Al-Naami
Al-Ahram Weekly

"In a radical departure from the position he has held since Hamas took over Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas now maintains that legislative and presidential elections should not be held until the West Bank and Gaza are reunited under a single leadership. His prime minister, Salam Fayyad, worded this more explicitly. Holding these elections should be linked to "the end to the manifestations of the military coup" and the resumption of Abu Mazen's control over Gaza......

So PLO elections are not in the cards, and neither are general Palestinian legislative and presidential elections, the main problem being that the West Bank is still under Israeli occupation and Gaza remains effectively under Israeli siege, so that Israeli approval and cooperation would be required in order to ensure that the balloting process proceeds with any degree of smoothness. Israeli Interior Minister Avi Dichter was very clear on this point. On Friday he told Israeli army radio, "we will not approve of the elections until we can be sure that Hamas won't win."

So, as the situation stands, there appears to be a general unanimity among all parties concerned, each for their own very separate and different reasons, over the impossibility of holding elections in Palestine at this time. "

Israeli games again

Ahead of this autumn's projected peace conference, Israeli politicians are stumbling over themselves to set the shrewdest terms for negotiations.

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Once it had ascertained that the Palestinians were solidly split right down the middle, Israel reverted to its old ways. It dug into its all too familiar bag of tricks, lies and sleights of hand while sustaining constant prattle about the need to protect its eternal security and to forefend the threat to its democracy, which entails subjecting the lands and welfare of other peoples to its own domestic squabbling, political party rivalries and media sparring. So, once again, the other side, which had agreed to become the other "party", found itself sucked into worrying about Israel's internal affairs and the call for early elections, the identity conflict between Israeli secularists and religious fanatics, and the national obsession over the soul-wrenching "agony" of having to suppress and subjugate another people. No other oppressed or occupied people in the world have ever been forced into such an unnatural, almost "normalised", concern for the internal concerns of the people who occupied their land and usurped their national rights........

In reality, the Palestinian negotiator, now "disengaged" from Gaza and Hamas, is pawn to these and other ugly Israeli games. And he hasn't received anything in return; Israel has him in its grips with no other Arabs to worry about. It is a very patient player: it will wring every last drop of advantage it can from his delight at having been rewarded with this long sought after "partnership", and his eagerness to vaunt and display the sprinklings of Israeli "magnanimity". How else can one interpret Tzipi Livni's recent announcement ( Haaretz, 15 August) that Israel has linked progress in negotiations with normalisation with the Arab world? Israel has taken Palestinian negotiators hostage and is now blackmailing Arab capitals......"

USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group takes up position opposite Lebanese coast amid trepidation over September presidential election

"Our military sources report that aboard the Kearsarge group’s vessels are members of the 22nds Marine special operations-capable Expeditionary Unit, ready to execute landings on Lebanese beaches.

Wednesday, Aug. 29, Adm. William Fallon, chief of US Central Command and the war on terror paid an unannounced visit to Beirut, although for years US generals have given the Lebanese capital a wide berth. He left after three hours, the longest time considered safe for him to stay. Our sources reveal he reviewed with Lebanese leaders US preparations for military intervention should the September presidential election descend into civil violence or elicit an attempt by Iran, Syria or Hizballah to seize power by force. Such an attempt could leave Lebanon dangerously stranded between two rival administrations.

The posting of the Kearsage and a marine force within reach of Lebanese shores is intended as a deterrent and indicator of Washington’s willingness to send the military over to prevent Lebanon’s takeover by Iran or Syria.

Adm. Fallon also inspected the measures for protecting the lives of the anti-Syrian leaders prime minister Fouad Siniora, majority party head Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and the safety of US ambassador Jeffrey Felton, a key mover in charting US strategy for Lebanon, and the embassy staff.

Portents of coming unrest were seen last week in the hasty departure from Beirut of the Saudi and UAE ambassadors under threats to their lives. Most Arab and European missions have cut down staff in the Lebanese capital......"

Outsourcing the Case for War With Iran

By Jim Lobe

"On the heels of President George W. Bush’s latest threats against Iran for its “murderous activities” in Iraq, the Weekly Standard has obligingly published a 30-page report by Kimberly Kagan, spouse of Surge co-architect and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Frederick Kagan and director of an entity called The Institute for the Study of War, entitled “Iran’s Proxy War Against the United States and the Iraqi Government” . The report seems intended to back up a series of Bush’s assertions from his American Legion speech in Reno Wednesday about alleged Iranian support for and arming of “Shia extremists.” The coincidence of the speech and the report suggests some co-ordination between the White House and the Standard since the report itself would be the kind of product that would normally be put out by the State Department and/or the Pentagon. It would not be surprising if Cheney alludes to it in his next public appearance or media interview......."


By William S. Lind

"As good news continues to flow from the "surge" – some of it true, some of it false and all of it spun – it is easy to forget the bottom line. The bottom line is whether or not we are beginning to see the re-emergence of a state in Iraq. Three recent news stories throw some light on that question, and it is not a favorable light......."

Showdown Over Iran

We can stop the coming war with Iran – but concerned Americans must act quickly

By Justin Raimondo

"More rumors of war with Iran are circulating here (via Juan Cole), with inside scuttlebutt from inside the neoconservative network:

"They [the source's institution] have ‘instructions' (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this – they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is plenty."......

The war whoops are scheduled to reach a crescendo on September 11, at which point I expect the War Party to roll out a new narrative that portrays Iran as the protector and enabler of al-Qaeda, or even the real author of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Perhaps they'll run the complete works of Laurie Mylroie through a word processor, and, in true Orwellian fashion, insert Ahmadinejad's name where Saddam's once appeared, replacing "Iraq" with "Iran."

Presto, change-o! – and we have yet another war myth, a fresh load of prefabricated propaganda with which to bamboozle the masses, befuddle the media, and defuse dissent in the leadership of the major political parties......"

Bush Puts Iran in Crosshairs

by Ray McGovern

"Not another warning about war with Iran! Well, suck it up. President George W. Bush's speech Tuesday makes clear his plan to attack Iran, and how the intelligence, as was the case before the attack on Iraq, is being "fixed around the policy."

It's not about putative Iranian "weapons of mass destruction" – not even ostensibly. It is about the requirement for a scapegoat for U.S. reverses in Iraq, and the felt need to create a casus belli by provoking Iran in such a way as to "justify" armed retaliation – perhaps extending to an attempt to destroy its nuclear-related facilities.

Bush's Aug. 28 speech to the American Legion came five years after a very similar presentation by Vice President Dick Cheney. Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002, Cheney set the meretricious terms of reference for war on Iraq......

Bottom Line

In my view, air strikes on Iran are inevitable, unless grassroots America can arrange a backbone transplant for Congress.

The House needs to begin impeachment proceedings without delay. These, in turn, could possibly give our senior military leaders second thoughts about unleashing the dogs of wider war.

Rabies shots recommended: for this time those dogs can, and will, come back and bite us.

Yes, some of us have been saying that for many months. The deterioration of the U.S. position in Iraq; the perceived need for a scapegoat; the continuing deference given to perceived Israeli security concerns; and the fact that time is running out for the Bush/Cheney administration to end Iran's nuclear program together make a volatile mix."

Sinking together?

President Musharraf is isolated and unpopular, but the notion that Bhutto can deal with the Taliban more effectively is risible.

By Tariq Ali
The Guardian

"For a politician whose sycophantic colleagues boast that she is closer to the pulse of the people than any of her rivals, Benazir Bhutto's decision to do a deal with Pakistan's uniformed president indicates the exact opposite. She is sadly out of touch. General Musharraf is now deeply unpopular here. It is not often that one can actually observe power draining away from a political leader. And the lifeline being thrown to him in the shape of an over-blown Benazir might sink together with him.

An indication that she was not completely unaware of this came a few days ago when she declared that her decision was "approved" by the "international community" always a code-word for Washington) and the Pakistan army (well, yes). In short, Pakistani public opinion was irrelevant......"

There is an eerie familiarity to this 100-year-old pact

Relations were strained ahead of the 1907 Anglo-Russian convention, and the sore points were Persia and Afghanistan

Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Friday August 31, 2007
The Guardian

".......And an important anniversary also has contemporary resonances: today is the centenary of the Anglo-Russian convention of August 31 1907. Relations between the two countries are strained at present, and the Russian government is very unpopular here, as it was 100 years ago, but the issues that the agreement addressed - Persia and Afghanistan, as well as Tibet - are eerily topical. If Sir Edward Grey, the great foreign secretary who negotiated the agreement with Russia, had been told that Persia - now called Iran - would come to be seen as one of the gravest threats to international peace, and that British troops would be fighting in Afghanistan on the centenary of his pact, he would have been perplexed, and more than a little depressed.......

One of the mysteries of our age is why Nato remained in existence at all after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire, let alone why Nato's reach was expanded to the Gulf of Riga and the Persian Gulf as an undisguised agent of American policy, rather than a pact for mutual aid, which allowed the members, as the original Nato treaty said, to take necessary collective action, "including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the north Atlantic area". Quite how that covers the "record drug seizure in Afghanistan" which Nato's website boasted late last year (prematurely, as it may seem) is as yet unexplained.

Another unintended consequence of the 1907 convention was the future of Persia-now-Iran. Writing in this newspaper (then the Manchester Guardian) on the 50th anniversary of the agreement, AJP Taylor said glibly that its work had ensured "the buffer states of Asia survive. Tibet is safe from Russia or the British empire [though not from China]. Afghanistan is still neutral and independent [no more]. Most remarkable of all, Persia still defies imperialist encroachment from every quarter." Since that was written in 1957, only four years after the Anglo-American coup in Tehran that restored the Shah, it was surprisingly obtuse; and Iranian resentment of outside interference goes back not just to 1953 but to 1907......."

Diverging agendas?

No matter what Gordon Brown may say, the main reason for keeping British troops in Iraq is to help the Americans, not the Iraqis.

By James Denselow
The Guardian

"British forces still have an "important job" to do in Iraq, Gordon Brown said earlier this week. The reality, however, is that a continued UK presence in the country has more to do with British-American relations than it does with changing realities in Iraq......

President Bush's desperate attempt to win back legitimacy over the fiasco in Iraq should not compromise British military strategy, and if British soldiers are to remain in Iraq simply to keep up US relations then the public should be made aware that it is for the US, not for Iraq, that future deaths will be linked to. "

Dead in the Water

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

تسعة اسباب ترجح الحرب

تسعة اسباب ترجح الحرب

عبد الباري عطوان


انتهي موسم الصيف، وبدأت عجلة العمل تدور بصورتها الطبيعية في العالم الغربي، وكل المؤشرات" تؤكد ان منطقة الشرق الاوسط ستكون محور الاهتمام الابرز في الاشهر القليلة المقبلة.
ايران هي الهدف المقبل للحرب الامريكية بكل اذرعتها، السياسية والدبلوماسية والاعلامية والعسكرية. وعلينا ان نتوقع تصعيدا في هذا الاتجاه غير مسبوق، لان مساحة الوقت باتت تضيق امام الرئيس بوش، وكذلك الخيارات المتاحة امامه، للتعامل مع الملف النووي الايراني.
هناك عدة محطات لا بد من التوقف عندها، ترجح احتمالات الحرب في غضون الاشهر الستة المقبلة، اللهم الا اذا وقعت المعجزة، او تراجعت السلطات الايرانية عن طموحاتها النووية ورفعت راية الاستسلام البيضاء، ورضخت لكل المطالب الامريكية مثلما فعلت ليبيا وبعدها كوريا الشمالية.
اولا: حرص الرئيس الامريكي جورج بوش علي استخدام تعبير المحرقة النووية في خطابه الاخير الذي حذر فيه ايران من مغبة المضي قدما في مشروع تخصيب اليورانيوم وكأنه يمهد الرأي العام الامريكي، وربما العالمي، الي امكانية استخدام اسلحة نووية ضدها، او لعله يريد تصعيد تهديداته لإرهابها ودفعها للاستسلام.
ثانيا: بدأ نيكولا ساركوزي رئيس فرنسا الجديد، يأخذ دور توني بلير رئيس وزراء بريطانيا السابق كحليف واشنطن الأوثق، وانعكس ذلك في تغييره سياسة فرنسا شيراك من حيث تبني المواقف والسياسات الامريكية في منطقة الشرق الاوسط، وحرصه علي قطع اجازته التي فضل قضاءها في امريكا للقاء الرئيس بوش في البيت الابيض.
ساركوزي ابلغ سفراء فرنسا في 188 دولة اثناء اجتماعه بهم قبل يومين، وبعد عودته من واشنطن مباشرة، بان ايران ستتعرض للقصف حتما اذا لم تتخل عن طموحاتها النووية. واكد ان امتلاك ايران لاسلحة نووية خط احمر بالنسبة الي فرنسا.
ثالثا: الصحافي الامريكي سيمون هيرش اكد لمجموعة من زملائه الفرنسيين الذين التقاهم في باريس قبل اسبوعين بان مصادره في البيت الأبيض اكدت له ان قرار قصف ايران اتخذ، وان معسكر ديك تشيني نائب الرئيس بات صاحب الكلمة الاعلي في هذا الصدد، وانه، اي هيرش، يتوقع استقالة روبرت غيتس وزير الدفاع قريبا لانه يتوقع نتائج كارثية للحرب.
رابعا: نيكولاس بيرنز وكيل وزارة الخارجية الامريكية ابلغ روجر كوهين كاتب العمود الشهير في صحيفة نيويورك تايمز بان معظم الدول السنية في المنطقة تري ايران دولة مزعجة ارهابية تهدد استقرار المنطقة، بل وتراها اكثر خطرا عليها من اسرائيل. واضاف بان هذه الدول، والخليجية منها بالذات، تدرك ان اسرائيل لا تشكل تهديدا لها بينما ايران هي مصدر التهديد.
خامسا: ادراج الولايات المتحدة الامريكية الحرس الثوري الايراني علي اللائحة الدولية للمنظمات الارهابية، وتهديد ايران بعدم السكوت علي هذه الخطوة، وكذلك تصاعد حدة الاتهامات الامريكية لايران بدعم حركات المقاومة وتنظيم القاعدة في العراق باسلحة وقذائف متطورة تسببت في تزايد الخسائر في صفوف القوات الامريكية. وهاتان الخطوتان تصبان في محصلة تعبئة الرأي العام الامريكي ضد ايران، وايجاد الذرائع لقصفها، فشيطنة الحرس الثوري الايراني تذكرنا بشيطنة الحرس الجمهوري العراقي.
سادسا: وقعت المملكة العربية السعودية اكبر منتج للنفط في العالم عقدا مع شركة لوكهيد مارتن الامريكية لتدريب وتجهيز وحدة مؤلفة من 35 الف عنصر لحماية المنشآت النفطية السعودية. وبلغت قيمة العقد حوالي خمسة مليارات دولار.
وهذه الخطوة تعكس مخاوف سعودية من اقتحام مراكز العصب لصناعة النفط السعودية في ابقيق في المنطقة الشرقية وينبع علي ساحل البحر الاحمر. وهي منطقة يطلق عليها اسم G.O.S.P اي معامل فصل الغاز عن النفط، واي ضربة جوية او صاروخية لهذه المراكز او بعضها ستشل الصناعة والصادرات النفطية السعودية كليا، وقد تحتاج عملية اصلاحها الي عامين علي الاقل. وقد حاول تنظيم القاعدة قبل عام مهاجمة مركز ابقيق ولكن دون ان يصل الي المعامل المحصنة بشكل جيد، ولكن استخدام طائرات شراعية انتحارية، او صواريخ شهاب الايرانية قد يؤدي الي تدميرها. وهذا ما يفسر عزم واشنطن تركيب منصات صواريخ باتريوت المضادة للصواريخ قرب هذه المراكز في السعودية والكويت خاصة.
سابعا: استعجال واشنطن عقد مؤتمر دولي للسلام في الخريف المقبل، وتكثيف اللقاءات بين الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس ورئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي ايهود اولمرت من اجل التوصل الي اعلان مباديء قبل انعقاد هذا المؤتمر يصب في مصلحة الخيار العسكري ضد ايران، ولارضاء الانظمة السنية العربية، وتقديم غطاء لها في حال دخولها مع اسرائيل وامريكا، في جبهة واحدة ضد ايران وسورية وحزب الله و حماس .
ثامنا: التغيير المفاجيء للرئيس بوش تجاه المالكي وحكومته، فبعد ان كان عبر عن يأسه وخيبة امله تجاهه، وأوحي عن عزمه ازالته من السلطة، عاد واعطاه تصويتا بالثقة بصورة علنية في خطابه الاخير. التفسير الوحيد والاقرب الي الدقة هو ان الادارة الامريكية لم تعد تملك الوقت الكافي لإحداث اي تغييرات في العراق، بعد ان بات خيار ضرب ايران الاكثر ترجيحا، ولذلك قررت الابقاء علي الوضع علي ما هو عليه لانه لا فائدة من تغيير رئيس وزراء العراق وخلق فراغ دستوري ومشاكل اضافية.
تاسعا: قرار بريطانيا سحب قواتها من البصرة، وتسليم المسؤولية الامنية الي قوات الامن العراقية. فهذا القرار يعكس قناعة بريطانية من شقين، الشق الاول يفيد بان الهزيمة في العراق حتمية وامكانيات النصر معدومة، والثاني ان وجود هذه القوات سيجعلها فريسة لأي انتقام شرس وساحق من قبل حلفاء ايران وقواتها في حال بدء الضربات الجوية لايران، فالبصرة هي النقطة الاقرب للحرس الثوري الايراني، ان لم تكن باتت فعلا تحت قبضته.
الرئيس بوش يواجه هزيمتين محققتين في افغانستان والعراق، ويعتقد ان المخرج الوحيد بالنسبة اليه هو المقامرة بتوجيه ضربة الي ايران تنقذ سمعته ورئاسته وحزبه الجمهوري الذي يقف علي بعد عام من الانتخابات الرئاسية.
الرئيس الامريكي يدرك جيدا ان الصواريخ الايرانية لن تصل الي نيويورك وميامي وواشنطن، وانما الي اسرائيل والرياض ودبي وابو ظبي والدوحة، ولذلك فان الهزيمة ليست مفاجئة، ولكن نجاح هذه المقامرة الدموية ربما يكون عجلة الانقاذ الوحيدة له من كل انتكاساته وهزائمه في المنطقة.
اللوبي الاسرائيلي الذي اغرقه في المستنقع الدموي العراقي، يحرضه بقوة، وبالاساليب نفسها، لضرب ايران، لان ايران النووية ستلغي التفوق الاستراتيجي، وستخلق ردعا نوويا مع الدولة العبرية، تماما مثلما هو الحال بين الهند وباكستان، وهذا يعني نهاية هذه الدولة او بداية النهاية علي الاقل.
الاعلام الامريكي، وامتداداته العربية والخليجية علي وجه الخصوص يستعد للقيام بدوره في التهيئة للحرب، وشيطنة ايران، بعد ان بدأ بشيطنة سورية وحماس وحزب الله، فهكذا كان الحال مع العراق، وهكذا سيكون الحال مع محور الشر الذي تستعد الادارة الامريكية لقصفه بآلتها العسكرية الجبارة ولكن الثمن الذي ستدفعه وحلفاؤها قد يكون كارثيا."

By Abu Mahjoob

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Help! Please Update the Blog!

I will not be able to do more updating of the blog today. So, I am asking all friends and supporters to please supply good links to articles, comments, photos, audios or videos in the comment section. That would be greatly appreciated.

The last time I asked for a similar favor, the response was great with over 50 good links supplied.


I am grateful to Zarathustra, Catholic Sunni Shia, Datta, fatima, compulsive reader, Steven Rix and rj for all the great links supplied.

This is Zionism: Funeral in Gaza for three children killed by Israeli shelling

"Gaza – Ma'an – Hundreds of people took to the streets of the town of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip for the funeral of three dead children killed by Israeli artillery fire on Wednesday as they played near their home.

Ten-year-old Yahya Ramdan Abu Ghazala and twelve-year-old Mahmoud Abu Ghazala died instantly. Their ten-year-old cousin, Sara, was seriously injured. She died later in hospital.

Israeli sources claim the children were playing near a rocket launcher, used to fire missiles at Israeli forces.

There were no tears during the funeral, just shock and grief frozen on the faces of the Ghazala family who have lost so much. "

Bill Hijarah

No word, no poetry, no art, nothing that can be expressed verbally or otherwise may convey the majesty and the glory of the human spirit as it was expressed by this Palestinian mother and her children.

By Fred Habachi
Special to

"......“B’ll hijarah, b’ll hijarah” is a cry I once heard while watching the news on television some decade ago or maybe longer. The cry became so engraved in my soul, I can never watch a spin doctor labor to denigrate the Palestinian people without the scene which gave birth to that cry come to memory and scream at me: “Don’t believe a word of this.”

The scene is that of a young Palestinian woman running out of her house, one toddler on her arm and another toddler following her. She was not running away from something, she was running ahead to confront something. That something was an Israeli tank that was bigger than the house. The monster tank had come to demolish the house, and upon hearing it approach, the woman came out of the house with her children. She put down the child on her arm, picked up a stone and cried out to the toddlers: ”b’ll hijarah, b’ll hijarah,” as she threw the first stone at the advancing tank hoping against hope to stop its advance on the house.

No word, no poetry, no art, nothing that can be expressed verbally or otherwise may convey the majesty and the glory of the human spirit as it was expressed by this Palestinian mother and her children. And no envoy from the Zionist establishment is big enough, smart enough or powerful enough to change this reality. But when someone from that establishment goes on television to try and denigrate the Palestinian people, they only prove that lowlife can sometimes exist alongside a glorious majesty......."

By Mike Luckovich

Dayton Forming His Lahad Palestinian Militias

U.S. coordinator plans 5 new Palestinian battalions in W. Bank

"A new plan by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, calls for the deployment of five new Palestinian battalions throughout the West Bank.

The plan, whose aim is to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, requires the approval of Israel if arms and equipment are to be transferred for the new force, political sources in Jerusalem said Wednesday......

Last week, the U.S. Congress authorized for the first time the transfer of $80 million to the security delegation headed by Dayton, which will be used to bolster the security forces of Abbas. No funding has ever before been transferred to Dayton, and the money will now allow him to carry out his plans.......

In the prime minister's view, the main goal of the international summit scheduled to take place in Washington in November is to include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the diplomatic process, in an effort to broaden the Arab world's support for Abbas.

"I do not need to travel to Washington in order to meet Abu Mazen," Olmert told the visiting Congressmen. "We meet here. The focus of the effort in the international summit will be to include elements that to date have not been part of the process."......"

PA set to close 103 Palestinian NGOs

Report, PCHR, Aug 30, 2007

"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is extremely concerned by the decision taken by the Interior Minister in the Palestinian Government in Ramallah to dissolve 103 benevolent associations and non-governmental organizations alleging administrative, financial, or legal violations. PCHR fears that this step is taken within the context of recent restrictions placed on civil society to undermine its role and restrict its work under the "State of Emergency" declared on 14 June 2007 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)......

It is noted that on 20 June 2007, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree stipulating that all non-governmental organizations must reapply for registration.......At the time, PCHR strongly condemned the decree, and considered it a serious violation of the constitutional right to form associations. In addition, the Centre viewed the decree subjects associations and non-governmental organizations to more restrictions than those already imposed by the Benevolent Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations Law of the Year 2000......

In light of these developments, PCHR:

* Affirms the right to form associations as a basic human right protected by the Palestinian Basic Law.

* Points out that this decision is a violation of the Benevolent Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations Law No. 1 for the Year 2000 that states in its Article 37 that all violating associations must be given a written notice by the Ministry and to be given the legal timeframe to correct its conditions.

* Calls upon the government in Ramallah to rescind this decision that will cut off humanitarian and emergency aid to thousands of Palestinian families.

* Calls for keeping Palestinian civil society out of the ongoing power struggle, and to protect the independence of civil society and its work.

* Stresses the importance of the role of civil society during the ongoing crisis, especially in the provision of humanitarian, emergency, and medical aid to Palestinian civilians."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not Another International Force

Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 30, 2007

"CAIRO, 27 August (IPS) - Since the Gaza Strip was taken over by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas in June, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has twice appealed for the deployment of an "international force" to the troubled territory. But with international contingents already deployed in hotspots from Lebanon to Afghanistan, some observers see the trend as a challenge to principles of national sovereignty.

"The phenomenon represents a return of the region to the foreign colonialism of days past, albeit in a new, internationalized form," Abdel-Halim Kandil, political analyst and former editor-in-chief of opposition weekly al-Karama told IPS. "An international presence in the Gaza Strip would be especially dangerous because many would consider it no different than the Israeli occupation."......

In a case of strange bedfellows, Abbas' proposal has been endorsed by Israeli cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party. In late June, Lieberman went so far as to visit several NATO member nations in an effort to garner support for the idea.

But that Abbas' proposal should find the support of Lieberman -- whose party has openly called for expulsion of Palestinians from lands claimed by Israel -- has only further damaged the PA President's image as defender of the Palestinian cause.

"It's just another indication that Abbas is acting according to the U.S.-Israeli agenda in the region," said Kandil, "and not in the interests of Palestinian statehood.""

The Palestinian Judenrate

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

"On Tuesday, 28 August, the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah decided to close down as many as 103 charities in the West Bank. The bulk of these modest societies are active in assisting the most impoverished sectors of the Palestinian people with money and food stuff to help them survive repressive Israeli measures such as prolonged curfews, blockades and imposed unemployment. The charities also extend a helping hand to poor families whose breadwinners have been killed or are imprisoned by the Israeli occupiers in connection with the resistance or political opposition to the occupation.

Despite vociferous denials from Ramallah, the draconian measure is widely believed to be a message of compliance with instructions to that effect from Washington which has been incessantly calling for dismantling these charities and similar institutions in order to weaken Hamas and undermine its popularity.

It is really lamentable to see the PA regime strive to outmatch the Israeli occupation army in repressing the Palestinian populace. In fact, the Israeli army itself, which controls every town, village, hamlet and refugee camp in the West Bank, has actually refrained from taking such a sweeping measure. Hence, one would wonder if the mass closure of these charities is primarily intended to demonstrate to the Israeli occupiers that the Ramallah government can “do the job” rather superbly on Israel’s behalf.

It is really difficult to imagine any constructive purpose in this stupid and harsh feat which caused even the Israelis to raise their eyebrows. After all these charities enhance the welfare of many poor people who otherwise would form a large army of beggars in the streets and alleys of occupied Palestine.

So, does the unelected Fayad government want these people to become an easy prey for the Shin Beth which would feed them or give them a few shekels in exchange for recruiting them as informers, agents, fifth columnists and traitors acting against the interests of their own people?

Well, wouldn’t that be the ultimate outcome of such a callous act? Otherwise, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wouldn’t have publicly thanked, rather wholeheartedly, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas for the closures when the two met in West Jerusalem on 28 August.

The paragons of mendacity in Ramallah have been at loss trying to justify the measure. They claimed that these charities didn’t have valid licenses and that their heads didn’t submit regular reports detailing their finances?

Well, did Suha Arafat submit a detailed report about the present state of her finances? Did Muhamed Rashid? Did Nabil Amr? Did Jamil and Jamal Tarifi? Indeed, Did Muhammad Dhalan submit a detailed report on his finances? These questions are for misters Abbas and Fayad to answer now, not tomorrow, and without any evasion or prevarication. Besides, what laws these corrupt ignoramuses are talking about? What the hell are they talking about? Are they so blind that they can’t see the Israeli occupation tanks and jeeps deployed outside their own bedrooms? Do they really think they have a sovereign state?

So tell us Mr. Fayad, are we supposed to get permission from the Nazi-like Israeli regime to be able to feed a starving child in Hebron or a starving widow in Nablus?Do we have to ask for an Israeli permission to buy a school kit for a small boy in Dura whose father is languishing for years at the Kitziot concentration camp in the heart of Negev desert, without charge or trial? Do we have to obtain an Israeli permission for helping an orphaned bride have a dignified wedding because her family is too poor to pay for the expenses?

Needless to say, a government that torments its own people, knowingly and deliberately on behalf of its enemy is a treacherous government par excellence. During the Second World War, the Nazis created the so-called “Jewish councils” or Judenrate, to carry out Nazi policies and decrees concerning Jewish communities. The Judenrate thought that they were helping persecuted Jews survive the plight of systematic Nazi persecution. However, as days passed, it became crystal clear that the Judenrate were being used by the Nazis as a mere tool for effecting the genocidal goals of the Third Reich.

Similarly, the PA government may delude itself into thinking that it is serving the national interests of the Palestinian people by pleasing and appeasing Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States. However, it should be clear to every Palestinian that the role being played, so faithfully and even enthusiastically, by the Ramallah regime only serves the ultimate Zionist strategy of weakening and starving the Palestinian people in order to break their collective will to survive Israel’s genocidal designs.

My God, when will these stupid ignoramuses wake up from their slumber?"

Israeli forces storm Qalqilia

"Qalqilia - Ma'an - Twenty Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces stormed the city of Qalqilia in the northern West Bank on Wednesday morning.

Medical sources have confirmed that 18-year-old Ibrahim Hassan Mohammad was shot in the head and is in a critical condition.

He is being transferred from the UNRWA Hospital in the city to Rafidia hospital in Nablus.

After storming into the city Israeli forces imposed a curfew on many neighbourhoods in the west and south of the city.

Ma'an's correspondent reported that the Israeli forces were re- enforced with military vehicles and bulldozers. Journalists were banned from approaching the area. He added frequent gunfire could be heard in the area and that the Israeli forces are besieging many houses.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces have detained many people and they are now interrogating them in a building in the city. The Israeli military forced them to leave their homes and seized their mobile telephones.

Other witnesses said that the Israeli forces had begun to demolish some houses in the area, including that of the Palestinian National Council member, Taysir Qubba'ah."

Audio: Crossing the Line interviews ARIJ director Jad Isaac

Podcast, Crossing the Line, Aug 29, 2007

"This week on Crossing The Line: Host Christopher Brown speaks to Jad Isaac the director of the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), a Palestinian environmental non-governmental organization based in Bethlehem, about the crucial issue of water and how the Israelis have continually denied Palestinians access to a life source that they desperately need. Next, Brown speaks with Nachy Kanfer a Canadian-American environmental activist about the need for Palestinians to determine their own destiny with regards to Palestine's natural resources."

Click Here to Listen

War and the "New World Order"

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, August 29, 2007

".......Countdown to 1984?

“In brief, the U.S policy goal must be unapologetically twofold: to perpetuate America’s own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer still; and to create a geopolitical framework that can absorb the inevitable shocks and strains of social-political change...”

-Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997)

In a twist of Orwellian fate, the earth seems closer to appearing like a rendition of the world in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. [29] However, the road ahead is not scripted. The future is only anticipated and planned, but never certain in a universe of infinite probabilities. Time will tell where the road ahead will guide us. Those that see themselves as masters of destiny have had their ideas proven wrong in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Lebanon. It may look as if opposition to a war agenda is like tiny raindrops beating against an unrelenting mountain, but mountains can be eventually eroded by those tiny raindrops. There exists a “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” commonly called the “butterfly effect,” whereas the flaps of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil may set off a tornado in Texas. Individual actions can offset the march to war that is unfolding on this planet."

Bureaucratic dispossession

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 29, 2007

".......Israel's successful colonization of Palestine owed much to both the brutality of the expulsions in 1948, followed by the creation of a complex web of legislation that served to mask the racist fabric of the state (a truth admittedly that many in the West were uninterested in discovering). The extent of Israel's continued dispossession of the Palestinians, enforced by bureaucracy and the gun, is not, however, difficult to unearth. Encouraging our media, politicians, academics and fellow citizens in this task is a vital undertaking that will create the space in public debate required for a just solution to the conflict in Palestine/Israel to be realized."

A Legacy of Legitimizing Torture

By Robert Scheer

"President Bush lamented Alberto Gonzales’ resignation and insisted that the “good name” of the attorney general had been besmirched for partisan purposes. Good name? Robert Scheer reviews the highlights (or, rather, the low points) of Gonzales’ tenure and looks at the troubling legacy he leaves behind......"

War With Iran

It's already started

By Justin Raimondo

"For months we at have been monitoring the situation between Iran and the United States, parsing the words of administration spokesmen for any hints of when and how hostilities between the two countries might begin. We've been running reports from insiders saying that the Cheney faction is pushing for an attack, that Bush is quite amenable but is biding his time, and that an assault on Tehran is imminent. Now the president has come out openly with his warlike intentions. In a speech delivered Tuesday, he reiterated recent charges by Washington that Iran is arming and training Iraqi Shi'ite groups who are launching attacks on American forces in Iraq, and he announced: "I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities."

Translation: The bombing begins shortly......"

By Abu Mahjoob

New steps in the war dance over Iran

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"In an almost choreographed tango, US President George W Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have lashed out at Iran, both warning of dire consequences over its supposed pursuit of nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Association, meanwhile, is much more sanguine over Tehran's nuclear progress, but it is not the one calling the shots in what Sarkozy labels a looming clash between Islam and the West....."

Bush's brand-new poodle

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"With former British prime minister Tony Blair put out to new pastures, US President George W Bush has a newer, leaner, meaner, adrenaline-packed "Made in France" version of his favorite ally in all things "war on terror". President Nicolas Sarkozy has wasted no time in joining the demonize-Iran campaign, and is taking trans-Atlantic entente to new levels...."

Palestinian police unit attacked near Tulkarem

"Tulkarem – Ma'an – A Palestinian police unit was attacked and shot at in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem on Wednesday as they tried to make arrests.

The police vehicles were attacked as they tried to execute a court order to arrest the men.

Ma'an's correspondent reported that Palestinian security forces besieged the Iktaba neighbourhood, north east Tulkarem, and demanded the men surrender. However, several tried to resist, and they were joined by a group of women, who threw stones at the police vehicles and which enabled some of the men to run away.

The director of Tulkarem police, Mohammad Ayyash explained that the neighbourhood was now under police control and three assailants had been arrested along with some of the women.

Ayyash told our reporter that the men are alleged to have been involved in attacks on homes in the area in an old clan dispute. "

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Abbas' Lahad Stooges Proud of Their Collaboration

PA security forces say Jenin rescue proves their mettle

"Members of the Palestinian security forces in Jenin were very excited Tuesday by the presence of many Israeli media teams in town. They were doubly excited by what was being considered the Palestinian security forces' biggest success in recent years: saving an Israeli officer from being lynched after he accidentally drove into the city.

Commanders of Jenin's main security forces - police, intelligence and national security - said their swift intervention to save the major in the Israel Defense Forces proved that the Palestinian Authority's security teams can deal with real threats and take over security in West Bank cities.

Visiting Jenin Tuesday, the Palestinian security commander in the West Bank, General Ziab al-Ali, told Haaretz that during the past year, the PA's forces have prevented dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers in the West Bank.

Al-Ali said these efforts included finding many bombs and arresting potential suicide bombers. "In Israel these things are well known," he said, meaning among Israel's security services.

He blamed Hamas and Islamic Jihad for planning these attacks, most of which he said originated in the Jenin area........

However, the commander of the Palestinian forces in the Jenin area, Colonel Imran Suleiman, told Haaretz that the troops are ready now, in spite of their limited capability to guarantee that every attack originating in Jenin would be stopped.

He said that his forces have focused on uncovering explosive devices, and that since Hamas' takeover in the Gaza Strip in June, his men have arrested 250 members of the Islamic organization or other suspected members of illegal organizations in the Jenin area alone........

Suleiman met Sunday night with the IDF commander in the Jenin area, Colonel Lior Carmeli, who thanked him for the rapid intervention of his forces and called it proof of the PA's goodwill. The Israeli officer expressed hope for continued cooperation in the future."

Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East

Dr Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher
September 2007

79-page report in pdf format.


The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days, if not hours, of President George Bush giving the order.
This report is focussed on the prospect of the possible attempted destruction of the Iranian regime and state by the United States and its allies. It neither examines the realities of Iran’s nuclear programme, the negotiations between Iran and the international community nor does it examine in detail the human, political, economic and environmental consequences of such an attack.
Nevertheless a number of conclusions can be reached.

1. If the attack is “successful” and the US reasserts its global military dominance and reduces Iran to the status of an oil-rich failed state, then the risks to humanity in general and to the states of the Middle East are grave indeed.
The two world wars of 1914-18 and 1939-1945, the creation of nuclear weapons, and the advent of global warming have created successive lessons that humanity and states cannot prosper or survive long unless they hold their security in common-sharing sovereignty and power to ensure both survival and prosperity.
A “successful” US attack, without UN authorisation, would return the world to the state that existed in the period before the war of 1914-18, but with nuclear weapons.
The self-styled realists argue that this is an inevitable and manageable world, the naivety of imagining a nuclear armed world without nuclear war is utopian in the extreme.
States and regimes in the region may consider that in the short-run they would benefit from the implosion of Iran and the eclipse of Shi’a power. However, the threat from within from disaffected elements outraged at further unabashed Western militarism is likely to threaten crowns and republics alike. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths have had no electoral cost to American and British leaders, the same number of Iranian deaths may have equally little impact in the West, but it is unimaginable that it would not cause far greater spurs to anger than already exist in the region.
The impact of on Turkey of an autonomous Iranian and Iraqi territory of Kurdistan is hard to overestimate.

2. If the attack is pursued with the skill of the Iraq campaign then we face major and unpredictable escalation arising from the fallacy of attempting to make “the last move” on the political game board. Should Iranians rally to their battered state regardless of their, then what has been seen in Iraq will merely become an overture to a larger regional war, and one where a blip in oil prices becomes a prolonged global recession. Regional instability that might follow “victory” will be magnified. The Shakespearean quote, “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war” expresses the simple rule that wars, like fires are far easier to start than to contain or put out.

3. The potential for a major regional war over Iran should give greater impetus to all sides to avoid conflict and act on previously agreed objectives for security in the region as a whole. In this respect the UNSC (687, 1540) objective of establishing a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East should be given far greater political investment by all parties."

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane

"The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.

The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" – written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament – was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo.

"We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quite elementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourced Institutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday.

Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely......"

Who's Killing American Soldiers in Iraq?

Iran or the White House?

"Anyone who doubts that the war party is firmly focused on Iran need only take note of the Aug. 21 lead editorial in the Washington Post, which had the heading "Tougher on Iran: The Revolutionary Guard is at war with the United States. Why not fight back?" The Post, which regularly features neocons like Charles Krauthammer on its editorial page, was a principal cheerleader for the Iraq war. Its editorial accepts at face value Pentagon claims that advanced munitions provided by Iran killed one third of the U.S. troops who died in Iraq last month and that 50 members of the Guard operating south of Baghdad are "facilitating training of Shi'ite extremists." The Post concludes that the Revolutionary Guard is "trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible" and coyly recommends increasing military pressure while labeling the Iranian group as a terrorist organization to facilitate subjecting it to more economic pressure.

The Post's assertion that Iran is already at war with the U.S. has a familiar ring to it. It has already been used by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and was originally coined by the Israel lobby. The big problem with the Washington Post is that it, in knee-jerk fashion, is accepting any Pentagon attempt to implicate Iran in Iraq as fact. It is also advancing the premise that any time an improvised explosive device is used to kill an American Iran must be behind the attempt......"