Saturday, October 20, 2007

Look Who is Talking About "Arab Solidarity" Now!

Iraq says Syria 'crossed red line' over Kurds

"DUBAI (AFP) - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani slammed his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad's support for a possible Turkish incursion into northern Iraq to tackle Kurdish rebels, a newspaper said on Saturday.

"President Assad's remarks are dangerous and run contrary to the spirit of Arab solidarity," Talabani, himself a Kurd, was quoted as saying in an interview with the Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

"Usually I would refrain from commenting on Syrian positions in order to preserve our historic ties, but this time I am unable to support this dangerous crossing of red lines."

On Wednesday Assad said he would support a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq against Turkish Kurdish rebels, calling such action Ankara's "legitimate right."

Syria and Turkey both oppose any Iraqi Kurdish attempt to break away from the central government in Baghdad, fearing that this could fuel separatist ambitions among their own Kurds......"

A Massacre Foretold

Bhutto's Bloody Return



"The massacre in Karachi had been widely predicted. Benazir Bhutto herself has stated that she was aware of the dangers. The government pleaded with her to delay her return. Jihadi leaders, angered by her slavish support of US foreign policy, had publicly threatened to kill her. She survived but a few hundred people have been killed without reason.Her husband, who decided not to accompany her, has accused Pakistani intelligence of complicity in the attacks. Benazir Bhutto herself has preferred to attack the followers of a dead military dictator.

Once it had become obvious that something was being planned, she would have been better advised to make a quiet return, but she insisted on a show of strength. The planning had been going on for over a month. The 130,000 people who were brought to welcome her in trucks and buses from allover the province(how many of them were paid is still not clear). In addition there were 20,000 police and paramilitary personnel for her protection. All to no avail. It ended in a bloodbath, remind us once again of the volatile nature of politics in Pakistan.

More trouble lies ahead. Benazir may be the preferred politician of Washington and the EU, but the Supreme Court is considering five separate petitions to reject the Ordnance that pardons corrupt politicians. Were the court to accept these petitions, Ms Bhutto would have to serve time in prison. This would not displease the government. They would pretend to bow before the dictates of justice.

The tragedy of Pakistan is that the People's Party of Bhutto and its rivals offer no real alternatives to the policies currently being pursued. The State Department notion of Bhutto perched on Musharraf's shoulder parrotting pro-Washington homilies was always ridiculous. Now there are doubts as to whether she will even reach the General's shoulder."

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Chris Hedges

"Chris Hedges, veteran war reporter and author of War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning and many other books, discusses the convergence of the Egyptian and American national security states as their puppet military dictatorship kidnaps and tortures people at the best of the U.S. government, the incompatibility of the rule of law and a republican form of government with empire and oligarchy, the “ghost prisons” and “ghost detainees,” held by the U.S. government around the world, the tortured (and false) testimony of Ibn-al Shaykh al-Libi which was used by Colin Powell in his UN speech to justify aggressive war against Iraq, how Mamdah Habib was threatened with rape by an animal, the perhaps thousands of victims of these crimes, his article about American war crimes in Iraq (soon to become a book), the Egyptian war against domestic dissidents, the long term consequences of abandoning law and the American population’s preference for Amusing Ourselves to Death."

Click Here to Listen

Video: Bush Jokes about WMD; when does this end?

Masri: The PA chief is politically and constitutionally fading

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Mushir Al-Masri, the secretary-general of Hamas-affiliated change and reform parliamentary bloc, has opined that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were "politically and constitutionally vanishing".

A Kuwaiti newspaper had quoted a PA source as saying that Abbas had threatened during talks with American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that he would resign from his post as a PA chief if the autumn conference concluded without results, and that he called on Rice to set a political agenda and a timetable before attending the conference.

In a press release to the Quds Press, Masri doubted the sincerity of Abbas's statements, saying that Abbas is too weak to make such a bold step.

The lawmaker highlighted that the political turmoil in the Palestinian arena is a natural result of Abbas's political choices, who rebuffed internal dialogue and wagered on the Zio-American policies, calling on Abbas to reconsider his positions because the Israeli occupation would give him nothing......"

Iran to fire '11,000 rockets in minute' if attacked

Hanan Awarekeh

"20/10/2007 Iran warned on Saturday it would fire off 11,000 rockets at enemy bases within the space of a minute if the United States launched military action against the Islamic republic.
"In the first minute of an invasion by the enemy, 11,000 rockets and cannons would be fired at enemy bases," said a brigadier general in the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mahmoud Chaharbaghi.
"This volume and speed of firing would continue," added Chaharbaghi, who is commander of artillery and missiles of the Guards' ground forces, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
The United States has never ruled out attacking Iran to end its defiance over the Iranian nuclear program, which the US alleges is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Iran insists is entirely peaceful.Iran has for its part vowed never to initiate an attack but has also warned of a crushing response to any act of aggression against its soil.
"If a war breaks out in the future, it will not last long because we will rub their noses in the dirt," said Chaharbaghi.
"Now the enemy should ask themselves how many of their people they are ready to have sacrificed for their stupidity in attacking Iran," he said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly warned the military would target the bases of US forces operating in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan in the event of any attack and already has these sites under close surveillance. Chaharbaghi said that the Guards would soon receive "rockets with a range of 250 kilometers" whereas the current range of its rockets is 150 kilometers.
"We have identified our targets and with a close surveillance of targets, we can respond to the enemy's stupidity immediately," Chaharbaghi added.
He said that the Guards' weapons were spread out throughout the country and so would not be affected by any isolated US strikes against military facilities. The Guards are Iran's elite army and responsible for its most significant weapons such as the longer range Shahab-3 missile which has Israel and US bases in the Middle East within its range."

Blair's war of words

In a speech last night Britain's ex-prime minister launched an attack on Iran that should cause all of us to shudder.

By Inayat Bunglawala
(Assistant Secretary-General at the Muslim Council of Britain)
The Guardian

"Back in 2002/2003, the Murdoch press lauded Tony Blair for utilising his public speaking skills to press the case for war against Iraq in a far more effective manner than President Bush could ever hope to do.

So, sitting in the audience last night at a fundraiser in New York, Rupert Murdoch must have been pleased when Blair volunteered his services once more, pressing the case for action again, this time against Iran. Iran was sponsoring an evil extremist ideology that needed to be confronted, Blair said:

"Analogies especially with the rise of fascism can be misleading but, in pure chronology, I sometimes wonder if we're not in the 1920s, if not the 1930s, I fear ... This ideology now has a state - Iran that is prepared to back and finance terror in the pursuit of destabilising countries whose people wish to live in peace ... When terror opposes that which is right, we must commit to defeating it not with half a heart but whole-heartedly."

As David Cox suggests in an article on Cif, Blair's speech, which comes hot on the heels of another bellicose warning to the Iranians from the US president, should really cause all of us to shudder......."

Friday, October 19, 2007

A new phase in the race: Clinton is now second

"Hillary Clinton's rise in the ranking is primarily down to one Israel Factor panelist, whose new regard for the Democratic senator was triggered by her new Israel agenda and her vote to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization....."

"My son: Before I die, I want to leave in your special custody the NEGOTIATING TABLE. Take special care of it, you, your children and grandchildren. Don't ever do without it!"
By Hamed Najeeb

Oil pipeline set ablaze near Iraq's Kirkuk

"KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - Suspected insurgents set ablaze an oil pipeline near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday, halting the flow as firefighters scrambled to tackle a massive blaze, police said.

"According to first reports the explosion was an act of sabotage, probably by insurgents who blew up a subsidiary pipeline with an improvised explosive device," a police spokesman said....."

US intelligence does not show Syrian nuclear weapons program, officials say

Cheney hand seen behind leaks of 'misleading' stories

Larisa Alexandrovna

"Allegations that a Syrian envoy admitted during a United Nations meeting Oct. 17 that an Israeli air strike hit a nuclear facility in September are inaccurate and have raised the ire of some in the US intelligence community, who see the Vice President’s hand as allegedly being behind the disinformation....."

In a Slap to American Habitual Liars: Afghanistan says no proof Iran govt arming Taliban

"HERAT, Afghanistan, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Afghanistan said on Friday it had no evidence the government of Iran was behind a shipment of weapons to Taliban insurgents.

The commander of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan said on Thursday a shipment of hi-tech roadside bombs intercepted in Afghanistan on Sept. 5 had originated in Iran and it was difficult to conceive Tehran's military did not know about it.

"Iran is our neighbour, is our friend and Iran has had major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan," Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said during a visit to the western city of Herat on the border with Iran....."

Kurds demand U.S. defense

"Kurdish leaders said yesterday the United States is obliged by a U.N. resolution to defend them in the event that Turkish forces invade northern Iraq in pursuit of members of a Kurdish rebel movement.

They also said they will continue to sign oil contracts with international companies while awaiting passage of an Iraqi oil law, despite objections from Baghdad and the State Department.

"The U.S. forces are mandated by the United Nations to protect Iraq's sovereignty and defend Iraq's people," said Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government's representative in Washington.

But Mr. Talabani, who was accompanied by the head of the Kurdistan government's foreign relations department, said he is worried the United States might not fulfill that commitment......"


When it suits the Kurdish warlords, they are part of Iraq and they expect the U.S. "to protect Iraq's sovereignty." How do you say, having your cake and eating it too, in Kurdish?

Edelman acknowledges endeavor to change LAF doctrine

Mohamad Shmaysani

"19/10/2007 The nervous expressions of US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffery Feltman Thursday morning did not achieve its goals. On that day, Feltman was seen on television screens in a tense mood lashing out at the Assair daily, for asking the Lebanese government to officially deny any "involvement in an unbalanced relation with the enemy's top ally, which will be suicidal", Assafir said. The daily raised in its report the issue of building a US base north of Lebanon and changing the Lebanese army doctrine into one that denounces the resistance and considers Israel not an enemy, but stopped short from accusing the Lebanese officials of involvement. The US diplomat described the report as fabricated, ridiculous, baseless and insulting to the Lebanese army. However, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman implied hours later in a televised interview with LBCI that Assafir's information were not wrong. Edelman spoke about a strategic and fixed partnership with the Lebanese army adding that he had discussions with Lebanese officials about forming a bipartite work group between the US Department of Defense and the Lebanese MoD, to help make the strategy, according to Edelman, the way it should be for the sake of Lebanon and its army. However, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy saw there was no reason for Lebanon to consider Israel an enemy; another dimension, according to Assafir, to the strategy he was talking about and to the position of the Lebanese army in it.

Hezbollah said in a statement that the endeavor to build a US military base in Lebanon was part of a larger scheme to tie the country to the US project under false slogans such as "strategic partnership." The statement added that the Edelman's revelations are far more dangerous than what has been so far published on the one hand and questions statements made by some government officials on the other. "Edelman's statement dealt a severe blow to Feltman's efforts to contain the political storm which the US base reports have created," Hezbollah's statement said.
It added: "This explains why the international tutelage is adhering to the current government, which along with the February 14 powers, shoulders the responsibility of transforming Lebanon into another Iraq." Hezbollah expressed confidence that the doctrine of the Lebanese army will not be shacked by such US projects."

حزب الله والوفاء للمقاومة يدينان مشروع عرقنة لبنان

تقرير قناة المنار – فاطمة الموسوي

"اعتبر حزب الله في بيان له أن تصريحات مساعد وزير الحرب الاميركي تمثل صفعة قوية لتصريحات المسؤولين الحكوميين او محاولات السفير الاميركي احتواء العاصفة السياسية التي اثارها كشف مشروع انشاء القاعدة العسكرية الاميركية.
فقد علق حزب الله في بيان له على ما ورد من أنباء عن سعي الولايات المتحدة الاميركية إقامة قاعدة عسكرية لها في لبنان. فاعتبر أن ذلك يمثل جزءا من خطة شاملة لربط البلد بالمشروع الاميركي في المنطقة تحت شعارات خادعة كالشراكة الاستراتيجية. واعتبر بيان حزب الله ان تصريحات مساعد وزير الحرب الاميركي اكثر خطورة مما نشر حتى الان ويمثل صفعة قوية لتصريحات المسؤولين الحكوميين او محاولات السفير الاميركي احتواء العاصفة السياسية التي اثارها كشف مشروع انشاء القاعدة العسكرية الاميركية. واعتبر حزب الله أن ما كشف عنه الان وسابقاً لجهة التدخل الاميركي الفظ في لبنان في شتى المجالات يفسر اسباب تمسك الوصاية الدولية بالحكومة الحالية التي تتحمل وقوى الرابع عشر من شباط مجتمعة مسؤولية تحويل لبنان الى عراق ثان. وأكد على الرفض القاطع لمثل هذه المشاريع المشبوهة. وقال في بيانه إننا اذ نعبر عن اعتزازنا بالجيش اللبناني فاننا على ثقة ان امثال هذه المشاريع الاميركية لن تزعزع عقيدته الثابتة الملتزمة الدفاع عن الوطن وشعبه. كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة من جهتها لفتت إلى أن ما نُشر من معلومات خطيرة حول امركة لبنان امنياً وعسكرياً وسياسياً سواء عبر اتفاقات مع الفريق الحاكم او بدونها والتي اشار اليها ضمنا وكيل وزارة الحرب الأميركية سيكون موضوع متابعة وتدقيق للتأكد من تفاصيل مضمونها من اجل البناء على الشيء مقتضاه المناسب. ورأت الكتلة في بيان لها أن في التحرك الاميركي المكثف والتدخل في تفاصيل الحياة اللبنانية ودعم فريق في مواجهة مطالب الشعب اللبناني خطوات بارزة لجعل لبنان تحت الوصاية الاميركية. وشددت كتلة الوفاء على أننا سنبقى في الموقع السيادي الاستقلالي لحماية بلدنا من اي وصاية اجنبية وسنعمل لانجاز كل استحقاقاتنا الداخلية باداء وطني يفضح ويسقط مافي يد الادوات التي تتحرك لمصلحة الاجنبي."

Headlong to more of the same

While the US continues to ignore its citizens, next month's peace conference seems fated to mimic the same old empty rhetoric

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Meanwhile, all indications are that the US is irrevocably bent on confrontation in the Arab region, a policy shared to varying degrees by its Arab and European allies and, of course, Israel. Their aim is to expunge such givens as Arab solidarity, the Palestinian cause and even the Arab-Israeli conflict, and to isolate and seal off everything that represents that "past" without resolving any issue unless by settlement with Israeli national consensus.

With the end of the neo-conservatives, the banner of "the spread of democracy" beneath which this clique paraded fell, leaving its less deceptive partner, "the fight against terrorism", in place. The banner that has effectively and flagrantly taken the place of "democracy" is "American hegemony", by which is meant the imposition of a single all- encompassing form of control over the material and mental region located between the preservation of Israel and oil, and the areas adjacent. The fall of "democracy", in turn, removed any vestiges of embarrassment and discomfort among Arab neo-cons and neo-liberals whose regimes, which they served in the days of Washington's neo-conservatives, now feel threatened or at least open to blackmail by America's number one ally. Indeed, gone now is even the slightest compunction at siding with Israel (militarily or non-militarily) in its confrontation against other Arabs.....

The situation as it stands can be broken down into the following inferential equation: the US is pursuing a confrontationist, anti-conciliatory policy in the region; consensus over the presidency of Lebanon (among other things, we add cautiously) is a regional and international matter; and local reconciliation is an unlikely outcome of international confrontation......

On the Palestinian side, when some Hamas leaders say that talks are in progress with Fatah in this country or that, they look like unsteady tightrope walkers. More importantly, they are effectively belittling the importance of discussing opposition to the Bush meeting in November and sidelining the need to discuss the behaviour of the PA. The ultimate effect of such statements is to make Hamas appear interested primarily in returning to a power- sharing arrangement with Fatah.

Yet it is not Fatah that is ruling the PA at the moment, but rather a certain political trend, most of whose main figures either came from outside Fatah or had never held key positions in that movement.....They have a project and they are determined to subordinate any details, such as dialogue, to the implementation of their project and what they hope to gain out of implementing it.

There are undoubtedly many Fatah members who have no objection to speaking with Hamas. There are also many who oppose the PA presidency's way of handling things. Perhaps these are the people Hamas should be speaking with, without claiming that they are speaking with Fatah in general and in a way that establishes common ground to build on towards the development of a political programme. Surely this is the only way to prevent the imposition on the Palestinians of a political map that features only an unjust settlement on one side and a self-serving PA project on the other, with no politicised opposition with a viable political vision in between. "

Just talk

Ordinary Palestinians have no reason to treat the upcoming Annapolis conference as anything but theatre

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Despite her high-pitched pronouncements about George Bush's commitment to "ending the Palestinian problem", US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice achieved very little -- if anything -- in her latest visit to the Middle East.....

It is not only the words of Israeli leaders that make Palestinians sceptical of Israeli intentions. Israel has been working hard to undermine any atmosphere conducive to a successful conference. Israel's occupation army continues to invade Palestinian towns, nearly on a daily basis, inflicting death and havoc on innocent civilians.

On Monday, the Israeli army killed a 70-year-old man and a young Fatah activist in downtown Nablus. The killings, say local observers, give the impression that Israel doesn't have the slightest regard for Abbas and his government. At best such incidents lend the impression that Israel views Abbas more a quisling than an equal partner......

Considering the grim reality on the ground, and the oft-optimistic statements by some PA officials portending the final and imminent arrival of peace, some Palestinian intellectuals have castigated the Ramallah-based leadership, calling it "naïve, stupid and irresponsible".

Ali Jerbawi, a prominent Palestinian academic and professor of international relations at Birzeit University, called PA optimism about American and Israeli intentions "mendacious and misplaced". "Those who think that the American-Israeli stances have changed are infinitely naïve," he said.

Jerbawi accused the PA leadership of trying to compensate for the imbalance with Israel, first with superficial formalities and high-profile meetings and encounters, and, second, with creating false hopes and high expectations of the present process.

"The Palestinians are in their worst situation ever. There is a geographical-political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, poverty is rife and economic collapse is everywhere, and Israeli efforts to obliterate Palestinian presence in Jerusalem continue unabated while Arab support for the Palestinian cause is at an all-time low."

Jerbawi asks: "when will we stop running after the mirage, thinking it is water?""

US Senator Coleman: 'If action is going to be taken, it's not going to be Israel alone'

"If military action is undertaken against Iran, Israel won't be doing it alone, US Senator Norm Coleman told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

"If action is going to be taken, it's not going to be Israel alone," Coleman (R-Minnesota), the ranking member of the Senate foreign relation's Near East subcommittee. "The reality is that Israel would have to have approvals and authorities. If something is taken, the United States is going to be part of that. We have to understand that. There is no saying, 'Israel did it.'....."

Mass Murder in the Horn of Africa

By a US ally, of course …

By Justin Raimondo

"Why is the U.S. subsidizing and supporting murder, rape, and systematic ethnic cleansing in the Horn of Africa? The reason: it's all part of our strategy for "victory" in the "war on terrorism."

The village of Kamuda – a remote outpost in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, where the majority are Muslims and ethnically Somali – had some unexpected visitors last June, when a platoon of Ethiopian soldiers showed up, announcing their arrival by shooting their rifles into the air – and demanding to know why the villagers had been providing food and safe haven to rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). With no satisfactory answer forthcoming, the soldiers took action: they picked out seven young ladies, between the ages of 15 and 18, and dragged them off into the bush.

Three were later found hanging from trees, beaten to death. The rest simply disappeared.

This "anti-terrorist" activity is funded by you, the American taxpayer. It comes out of the $97 million in aid we sent to Addis Ababa this year, including the military surplus and training we provide to the Ethiopian military, which is rampaging through Somalia as well as the Ogaden region. The invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian troops – held up by the American right-wing as an example of how the U.S. ought to be conducting its own "anti-terrorist" operations – has collapsed into a welter of confusion and looming disaster, as the "government" set up by the Ethiopians implodes and the Muslim insurgency shakes Mogadishu, the Somali capital......"

A fight on many fronts

Turkey's vote to sanction an invasion of northern Iraq also strikes a blow against Washington

Jonathan Steele
Friday October 19, 2007
The Guardian

"......The wider issue in the crisis is the question of cross-border sanctuary for guerrilla groups, and the role of foreign governments in supporting them. Turkey's action in threatening an invasion of northern Iraq highlights the double standards of other governments. Although Turkey's preparations for war were denounced by George Bush this week, how does Ankara's sabre-rattling differ from Washington's threats to attack Iran because of Tehran's alleged military support for anti-American insurgents inside Iraq?

What of the fact that another Kurdish guerrilla outfit, an anti-Tehran group that operates in north-western Iran, uses rear bases inside Iraqi Kurdistan just like the PKK? Some of its leaders have been received by Bush administration officials in Washington, and are believed to get CIA and, perhaps, Israeli support......

A Turkish invasion of Iraq would be a highly dangerous move, but it would not be a catastrophe. The aims would be limited, and no one seriously believes that Turkish troops would be trying to occupy the whole of northern Iraq. The invasion that has dealt the biggest blow to stability remains the American and British attack on Iraq in 2003."

Secret armies pose sinister new threat to Lebanon

By Robert Fisk

".....Fouad Siniora's Lebanese government – supplied by the US with recent shipments of new weapons for the official Lebanese army – has now admitted that militias are also being created among Muslim pro-government groups. Widespread reports that Saad Hariri – son of the assassinated ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri – has himself created an embryo militia have been officially denied. But a number of armed Hariri supporters initially opened fire into the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian camp after its takeover by pro-Al-Qaida gunmen last April. Hariri's men also have forces in Beirut (supposedly unarmed) and again this is denied. Those who suspect the opposite, however, might like to check the register of the Mayflower Hotel in the western sector of Beirut......

Military outposts manned by Palestinian gunmen loyal to Syria have reappeared in the Bekaa, closely watched by a Lebanese army which was severely blooded in the Nahr El-Bared fighting. Sayed Mohamed Hussein Fadlallah, one of the most senior – and wisest – Shi'ite clerics in Lebanon, warned last Friday: "Rearming as well as the tense and sectarianism-loaded political rhetoric, all threaten Lebanon's diversity and expose Lebanon to divisions." Fadlallah stated that the US – which supports Hariri – wished to divide the country. The American plan to chop up Iraq, it seems, is another ghost that has crept silently into Lebanon."

Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry

By Leonard Doyle in Washington
The Independent

"The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite.....

Mrs Clinton's wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts...."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you support dropping the right of return of Palestinian refugees in return for establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders?

With 1,600 responding so far 89% said no.

Bhutto bombing kicks off war on US plan

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"The first shot has already been fired in the battle that Islamists have vowed to wage against the Washington-inspired and brokered attempt at regime change in Pakistan. It came in the form of twin bomb blasts aimed at Benazir Bhutto, the lynchpin in US machinations, within hours of her arrival in Karachi after years in exile......

attack was hardly a surprise. Militants see Bhutto's return to Pakistani politics as a Western-backed coup against Islamists in Pakistan, akin to the arrival in the Afghan capital, Kabul, of the US-backed Northern Alliance in 2001......

Bhutto's return to Pakistan is part of a complex arrangement brokered by Washington and its allies to ensure that a pro-Western government gains power after parliamentary elections in about three months' time. The plan was put in train earlier this month with the promulgation of a National Reconciliation Ordinance, under strong US pressure, by Pakistan's current leader, General Pervez Musharraf......"

Who's bluffing on the Turkish-Iraqi border?

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"......The Americans have the ears of Iraqi Kurdish leaders Masoud al-Barazani and President Jalal Talibani, who in turn protect, shelter, and assist the PKK. Had the US been serious about wanting to help the Turks, it could have maintained stronger security on the border. It could have arrested Kurdish leaders calling for violence against Turkey - or at least, placed them under house arrest to send a symbolic message to Ankara. They did none of the above.

Before matters escalated, the Turks called on al-Maliki to find a solution to the PKK. At the time, Maliki was facing a domestic crisis due to the walk-out of Sunni and Shi'ite parties (the Iraqi Accordance Front and Sadrists) from his government. He needed Kurdish support to maintain his shaky coalition. As a result, he snubbed the Turks and cuddled up to both Barazani and Talbani. He traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan, met with Barazani, and promised that Article 140, which calls for a referendum to decide on the future of Kirkuk, is "obligatory".

Article 104 had aroused a storm of controversy. The Kurds support it, claiming that Kirkuk is Kurdish and that its Kurdish population was driven out by Saddam Hussein. Others, however, strongly oppose giving oil-rich Kirkuk to the Kurds. By voicing his position on the subject (after having orchestrated a demographic restructuring of the city) Maliki placed himself at odds with the Turks and Arab Sunni states surrounding Iraq, all of which abhor the idea of Kurdish separatism.

The more the Kurds get carrots in Iraq, the more this will inspire their brothers in neighboring Turkey, Syria, and Iran to demand similar treatment. That explains why, speaking from Ankara, Syria's President al-Assad strongly supported Erdogan's measures as "self-defense". Assad noted, "We support the decisions the Turkish government has put on its agenda against terrorism and terrorist activities," noting that "We see this as Turkey's legitimate right."

The Iraqis seemingly don't want war, but every action they are taking, thanks to al-Maliki, is leading towards war with Turkey. Many believe that the Turks also don't want war and are not serious in their military escalation. Many believe that the Turks are bluffing. That is incorrect, although the Turks certainly do not want war for the mere sake of war; they want self-defense. There is a conviction in the Turkish political establishment that only war will bring the PKK to heel and the Turks would do anything - even cross the world's only superpower - if that is what is needed to protect their own national security. "

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Audio: Crossing the Line interviews Nadia Hijab

"This week on Crossing The Line: With the looming November peace conference almost here, many see the event as nothing more than a mere photo-op for the leaders of those countries who have been invited to take part. The US government's role in supporting the Israeli occupation is not a secret, as the US gives billions in unconditional aid to Israel each year. But has this always been the case? Host Christopher Brown speaks with Nadia Hijab, senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies about why, when and how the US stood up in the past to the Israeli juggernaut.

Next, Jerome McDonnell, host of Worldview on Chicago Public Radio, speaks with professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt......."

Click Here to Listen

Concert cancellation victory against normalization

"The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and all its partners, individuals and organizations active in art, culture and human rights, regard the cancellation of the Jericho-Tel Aviv event, planned by "One Voice" to take place on 18 October, as a substantial accomplishment for the Palestinian boycott movement. A solid partnership between diverse civil society organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has succeeded in thwarting the event's organizers' attempt to mislead public opinion and to use deceptive slogans to market a political program that concedes some fundamental Palestinian rights. Without the broad grassroots support among Palestinian and Arab institutions and leading figures for the statement calling for boycotting the event, the organizers would not have been compelled to cancel this huge production handsomely funded by dubious foreign sources......"

Video: Meeting Resistance

"This video clip from the upcoming, award winning film from Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, Meeting Resistance, portrays a side of the Iraqi insurgency President Bush doesn't want the world to see.

In “Meeting Resistance” we hear the voices and stories of individuals usually simply referred to – depending on your perspective -- as resistance fighters, insurgents, or terrorists...."

Annapolis conference looking precarious, may be cancelled

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Ramallah

"The Middle East peace conference the Bush administration is planning to convene in Annapolis , Maryland , in November, may be postponed or even cancelled altogether due to Israel’s refusal to deal seriously with the core issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinian sources said Thursday.....

The new pessimistic assessment of the American-led peace efforts comes as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrapped up a four-day unsuccessful visit to the region during which she reportedly sought to convince Israel and the PA leadership to show “flexibility and responsibility” to ensure the success of the upcoming Annapolis conference.....

Rice held several meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. However, as Israel refused to commit itself to a timetable for the implementation of a possible agreement, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threatened to boycott the conference, saying that “we will not go to Annapolis at any price.”.....

Abbas reportedly refused the request, saying, in an exasperated tone, that “why is it that the Palestinians are supposed to always accommodate Israeli problems. Don’t we have problems of our own, don’t you know that there are some Palestinians who call me names because I want to reach peace with Israel?”

Following the meeting, a clearly exasperated Abbas refused to hold a joint conference with Rice. He told reporters that “we can’t waste more time, we can’t go to the conference at any price. This is unacceptable.”

One Palestinian official was quoted as describing Rice’s latest visit as “a complete failure,” saying that she failed to persuade Israel to change its intransigent position on practically all outstanding issues. “I doubt if we will go to the conference. The Americans and Israelis are not serious. We don’t want to make fools out of ourselves,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.......

Meanwhile, Hamas has called on Chairman Abbas “ not to allow Israel and the US to insult the Palestinian people through this humiliating game of make believe.” “Abbas should understand that Palestinian rights are not a matter for bargaining in a public auction,” said Yahya Mousa, a Gaza parliamentarian affiliated with the Hamas parliamentary bloc.

Mousa urged Abbas to rebuild the Palestinian House and put it in order and stop harrowing after the Israeli-American mirage."


"We don’t want to make fools out of ourselves"

You are already a lot worse than fools; you are traitors.

المنار تحصل على معلومات اضافية حول القاعدة الاميركية

" علمت قناة المنار أن السفير الأميركي في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان أعرب عن صدمته لما نُشر في الصحف اللبنانية من طلب واشنطن تحويل لبنان إلى قاعدة عسكرية حليفة، لكن صدمة فيلتمان ترافقت مع حصول المنار على معلومات إضافية لما نشرته صحيفة السفير، من بينها القيام بعملية شراء أراض واسعة في محيط مطار القليعات في الشمال تمهيداً لإنشاء قاعدة جوية فيه.
فالمعلومات التي وصلت إلى صحيفة السفير اللبنانية لم تكن هذه المرة عمومية بل موثقة. فالخطُ العريضُ الذي كتب أن واشنطن طلبت رسمياً تحويل لبنان إلى قاعدة عسكرية حليفة لواشنطن، أوضح بعض اللبس الناتج عن أسباب تهافت الوفود العسكرية الأميركية إلى زيارة بعض المسؤولين اللبنانيين، وآخرها وفد وزارة الحرب الاميركية "البنتاغون" الذي ترأسه وكيل وزارة الحرب الأميركية للشؤون السياسية إريك إدلمان. وعلق على هذا العميد المتقاعد امين حطيط وهو خبير استراتيجي بالقول"الخطة ليست بحديثة لقد بدأت الفكرة منذ العالم 2003، واستمرت تتابع تنفيذيا حتى بعد مقتل الرئيس الحريري في العام 2005، اميركا بحاجة الى قاعدة عسكرية على المتوسط في مكان يمتلك المواصفات اللبنانية خاصة بعد ان فشلت اميركا في استعمال قاعدة ( انجلريك) بالحرية التي تريد ومن غير قيود"

مصدر موثوق" بحسب وصف صحيفة السفير سربت لها معلومات أكدت ما نشره موقع دبكا الإسرائيلي على شبكة الإنترنت والمرتبط بالإستخبارات العسكرية الصهيونية بشأن خطة أميركية للتواجد عسكرياً في لبنان باستخدام مطار القليعات العسكري قرب نهر البارد في الشمال كقاعدة رئيسية، والهدف بحسب السفير وموقع دبكا يصب في خانة مواجهة الإستراتيجية الروسية في سوريا.
وإذ كشفت صحيفة السفير بأن مسودة اتفاقية تعاون عسكري عرضها إيدلمان على رئيس الحكومة الفاقدة للشرعية فؤاد السنيورة تتصل بمستقبل الجيش اللبناني وعقيدته وما تريده الولايات المتحدة من لبنان في المرحلة المقبلة، فإن المعلومات التي حصلت عليها المنار تفيد بأن شخصيات سياسية بدأت بشراء أراض واسعة في محيط مطار القليعات بأثمان بخسة تمهيداً لإعادة تأهيل القاعدة الجوية تحت عنوان تعاون أميركي لبناني لتطوير قدرات الجيش. وفي هذا الاطار قال حطيط" يجب ان نفهم لماذا يتمسك بوش بفؤاد السنيورة ويراه قائدا لشعبه بالاتجاه الذي يريد بوش، لذلك رسميا استطيع ان اقول نعم هناك امكانية ان توقع هذه الحكومة بعد ان تجاوزت دور رئيس الجمهورية وارست سابقة في تجاوز دور رئيس الجمهورية في المعاهدات الدولية ان توقع مثل هذه المعاهدة ".

وبحسب المعلومات، فإن مشروع الإتفاقية العسكرية بين لبنان والبنتاغون والتي قالت السفير انه لا يحتاج إبرامها من قبل الحكومة إلى مصادقة مجلس النواب، يقضي بإقامة مراكز تدريب برية في الأرز وسهل الدامور ومحاذاة بلدة عين بورضاي في بعلبك الهرمل، وأخرى جوية في مطار رياق العسكري، وثالثة بحرية في منطقتي طرابلس ونهر البارد. "

US to build "strategic partnership" with Lebanese army, says Pentagon official

An Important Confirmation of the As-Safir Story

"BEIRUT, Lebanon: A senior Pentagon official said Thursday the U.S. military would like to see a "strategic partnership" with Lebanon's army to strengthen the country's forces so that Hezbollah would have no excuse to bear arms.

The comments by Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, in an interview aired on Lebanese television two days after his visit, followed a published report in Beirut that Washington is proposing a treaty with Lebanon to make it a strategic partner to counter increased Russian influence in neighboring Syria.

The report, published by the opposition-leaning newspaper As-Safir, was at the time vigorously denied by the government and ridiculed by the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon.

"This is totally untrue, said Ahmed Fatfat, a leading member of the government team who holds the youth and sports portfolio, adding that Lebanon neither sought nor had the Americans asked for such a treaty.

Edelman's remarks, however, shed a new light on the emerging relationship between the Lebanese and U.S. militaries two months after the al-Qaida-inspired Fatah Islam group was crushed in a 3-month long battle......"

واشنطن تطلب رسمياً تحويل لبنان إلى قاعدة عسكرية حليفة

اقتراح مراكز تدريـب بريـة وبحريـة وجويـة وطلـب تعديـل عقيدة الجيـش اللبـناني

"لماذا يتوافد كبار المسؤولين والقادة العسكريين الأميركيين على لبنان وبوتيرة تكاد تكون متصلة منذ الحرب الإسرائيلية في تموز الماضي وحتى اليوم، والتي وصلت مطلع هذا الأسبوع إلى ذروتها بزيارة «وكيل وزارة الدفاع الأميركية لشؤون السياسة» إريك إيدلمان على رأس وفد من البنتاغون؟!
ماذا طرحت الوفود العسكرية السابقة، وماذا يحمل معه هذا المسؤول الكبير؟! وما مدى صحة التقارير الدبلوماسية والصحافية التي تحدثت وتتحدث عن احتمال إقامة قواعد عسكرية أميركية في لبنان؟! وما هي حقيقة ما يتم تداوله، حتى في أوساط رسمية، عن طلب تعديل في العقيدة العسكرية للجيش اللبناني؟!
في هذا التقرير الذي يستند إلى مصادر موثوقة، وإلى تقارير لجهات أميركية رسمية، تقدم «السفير» صورة تفصيلية لما عرضته وتعرضه الإدارة الأميركية على الحكومة اللبنانية، وفي اجتماعات رسمية تنظم لها محاضر الجلسات، وإن أضفيت عليها السرية الكاملة:
أولاً ـ تمت الزيارة التي قام بها وكيل وزارة الدفاع الأميركية لشؤون السياسات إيدلمان على رأس وفد من البنتاغون، بطلب مباشر من الرئيس جورج بوش. وقد التقى هذا الوفد كلاً من رئيس الحكومة فؤاد السنيورة ووزير الدفاع الوطني الياس المر وقائد الجيش العماد ميشال سليمان، وقد تركزت المحادثات خلالها على أربعة مواضيع رئيسية هي: الوضع العسكري في لبنان، الوضع الأمني الاستخباراتي، واقع الجيش اللبناني وسياسة الدولة اللبنانية.
وعلمت «السفير» أن الوفد الأميركي الذي شاركه في اللقاءات السفير في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان، عرض على المسؤولين مسودة اتفاقية عسكرية لبنانية ـ أميركية مشتركة، تتناول المواضيع العسكرية والأمنية والاستراتيجية، وتتصل أيضاً بمستقبل الجيش اللبناني وعقيدته الوطنية، فضلاً عما تريده الولايات المتحدة من لبنان في المرحلة المقبلة.
والجدير ذكره أن مثل هذه الاتفاقية يمكن إبرامها مع الحكومة وإطلاع مجلس الوزراء على بعض بنودها من دون الحاجة إلى المصادقة عليها في مجلس النواب.
وخلال المحادثات مهّد إيدلمان لهذه الاتفاقية بالإشارة إلى رغبة الولايات المتحدة في زيادة المساعدات العسكرية والأمنية للبنان، والتي ارتفعت قيمتها من خمسين إلى 270 مليون دولار في العام ,2007 وأن ثمة اتجاهاً لرفعها إلى نصف مليار دولار مستقبلاً. إلا أن واشنطن تدرس بدقة واقع الجيش اللبناني وعلاقاته «مع الآخرين»، لا سيما تلك التي سادت خلال العقود الماضية.
وفهم في هذا الإطار أن الولايات المتحدة تركز على الكراس التوجيهي للجيش اللبناني الذي يتضمن ثوابت السياسة التي
يعتمدها الجيش على الصعيد الوطني، لا سيما في البند الخامس الذي يؤكد على «العلاقة الأخوية والمميزة بين لبنان وسوريا»، وعلى البند الثامن الذي يؤكد على «دعم المقاومة».

Meeting Resistance: New Doc Follows Iraqis Fighting U.S. Occupation of Their Country

Contributed by Datta

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"What would you do if your country was invaded? “Meeting Resistance” is a new documentary on the Iraq war from a perspective that few in the West ever see. It turns the spotlight on Iraqi men and women who choose to resist the military occupation of their country. The film takes us back to the first year of the US-led invasion of Iraq and the beginnings of the insurgency in Iraq. This is how a young cleric interviewed in the film explains the roots of the insurgency.

Excerpt of “Meeting Resistance.”

In “Meeting Resistance” we hear the voices and stories of individuals usually simply referred to -- depending on your perspective -- as resistance fighters, insurgents, or terrorists. During the early years of the war, the Bush administration and the mainstream media said they were comprised of al-Qaeda elements and former Baath Party members still loyal to Saddam Hussein. Today the attacks on US-led forces are often blamed on Iran and “foreign fighters.” But “Meeting Resistance” suggests that “ordinary Iraqis,” men and women, Sunni and Shia, form the bulk of the insurgency. Most of them were never Baathists nor were they all religious. This is how one of the characters interviewed in the film describes the composition of one resistance group.....

Meeting Resistance” opens in theaters Friday. Co-directors Steve Connors and Molly Bingham are photojournalists who have worked in conflict zones around the world for over a decade. In 2003 and 2004 they spent ten months in Baghdad interviewing Iraqi resistance fighters. Molly Bingham and Steve Connors join us now in the firehouse studio in New York.

Molly Bingham. American photojournalist and co-director of "Meeting Resistance."

Steve Connors. British photojournalist and co-director of "Meeting Resistance."...."

Academic Freedom is at Risk in America

Campuses Have Become Poisoned by an Atmosphere of Surveillance and Harassment

(professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA and a frequent commentator on the Middle East)


""Academic colleagues, get used to it," warned the pro-Israel activist Martin Kramer in March 2004. "Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you've also posted, will be scrutinized. Your Web sites will be visited late at night."

Kramer's warning inaugurated an attack on intellectual freedom in the U.S. that has grown more aggressive in recent months......

That Israel's American supporters so often resort to angry outbursts rather than principled arguments -- and seem to find emotional blackmail more effective than genuine debate -- is ultimately a sign of their weakness rather than their strength. For all the damage it can do in the short term, in the long run such a position is untenable, too dependent on emotion and cliché rather than hard facts. The phenomenal success of Carter's book suggests that more and more Americans are learning to ignore the scare tactics that are the only tools available to Israel's supporters......"


Contributed by Datta

Bint Jbeil in Southern Lebanon

Bourj Al-Barajneh Refugee Camp in Lebanon

By Mike Luckovich

Devouring What is Left of Palestine From the Fool's Plate

Pearls of Wisdom From Chief Palestinian Clown: Palestinians want accord by start of presidential race

"Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have until the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions next summer to complete peace talks, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Thursday.

President George W. Bush will be preoccupied with the presidential race after the conventions, Erekat told a news conference in Ramallah. "The Republican and Democratic parties will start their conventions for the presidency in August and therefore we have to conclude an agreement by then."

"We have a timeline, whether Israel likes it or not," he said......"


Whatever you say, clown!

This must be your job security since you are chief negotiator for life; keep the soap opera going as long as you can.

The Iran hawks

Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton think a tough line on Tehran will sell politically. They could be right.

By Juan Cole

"......Of the four senators among the Democratic candidates, only Hillary Clinton voted for the non-binding Kyl-Lieberman resolution on Sept. 26. The Kyl-Lieberman resolution, which passed 76-to-22, with 29 Democrats voting in favor, says, "the United States should designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization ... and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists." Jim Lobe, among the best journalists covering neoconservatism in Washington, wrote that unnamed "Capitol Hill sources" told him that the resolution was crafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, interviewed on "Democracy Now," concurred that the amendment was pushed by the Israel lobby......"

Lebanon US base to counter Qaeda, Hezbollah or Russia?

Al-Manar Exclusive

An Important Story
Also watch related video posted below

"18/10/2007 The issue of building a US airbase in northern Lebanon has resurfaced. Senior US political and military officials have been flocking into Lebanon since the Israeli war against Lebanon in 2006, the last of whom is Eric Edelman, the US Undersecretary of Defense for policy, heading a Pentagon delegation. The Lebanese daily Assafir raised speculations of a likelihood to build US military bases in Lebanon and alter the Lebanese army's creed.....

Earlier reports revealed that a US airbase in the north of Lebanon would be built in the model of El-Udeid base in Qatar, for covert operations against the Syrian regime and to safeguard the oil pipelines of Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan and Mosul-Kirkuk-Ceyhan.

“According to the US plan six military bases will be set up, three in Iraq, one in Jordan, one in Saudi Arabia and one in Lebanon. It is believed that the Lebanese government is approving the establishment of the base and the name of the base will be the US-Lebanese Center for Rehabilitation of the Army in order to cover the real activity of the base,” Amin Hotait, a retired army colonel said.

Prominent Journalist Franklin Lamb said that the project is being promoted as a 'US - NATO' base that will serve as the headquarters of a NATO rapid deployment force, helicopter squadrons, and Special Forces units, to make it more palpable.
"The Pentagon and NATO HQ in Belgium have given the project which, will sit along the Lebanese-Syrian border, using this vast area "as a base for fast intervention troops", a name. It is to be called The Lebanese Army and Security training centre". The base will provide training for the Lebanese army and security forces fighting Salafi, Islamist fundamentalists and other needs," he said. As reported by the NATO headquarters in Brussels, an American-German-Turkish military delegation toured and surveyed Akkar region. US Embassy 'staff' have reportedly visited Kleiaat airport earlier this year to look over the site. US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch also had a quick look at the site during his recent visit......

"According to Washington observers watching developments, the base has been pushed by elements in the office of the US Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the urging of Israeli operative Elliot Abrams. AIPAC can be expected to do the necessary work in Congress and with House Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, Intelligence, and Armed Service committees hermetically sealed by stalwarts of the Israel Lobby, it can be expected that it will be added as a rider to an unsuspecting House bill coming along," Lamb wrote.

"We need to get this base built as quickly as possible as a forward thrust point against Al Qaeda and other (read Hezbollah) terrorists", according to AIPAC staffer Rachael Cohen.
"The question for Lebanon is whether the Lebanese people will allow the base to be built. Few in North Lebanon doubt that Israel will have access to the base."

The Pentagon delegation headed by Edelman highlighted the issue of "extensive Russian presence" North of Syria; a threat to US presence in the region. The delegation also pointed to an ongoing "US – Russian cold war", new strategies adopted by Moscow and new moves which require a change of US strategy, especially in Lebanon, which is the closest location to the Russian base on the Syrian Port city of Lathikiya. "

Bush's World War Three

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, October 17, 2007

Grin and Laugh: "Here's his expression while saying the words "World War Three" (Huffington Post, 17 October 2007)

"We are not living a sound and rational World where far-reaching decisions by the US President are based on an understanding of their likely consequences.

A World War III is no longer a hypothetical scenario.

During the Cold War, the concept of "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) was put forth. An understanding of the devastating consequences of nuclear war largely contributed to avoiding the outbreak of war between the US and the Soviet Union.

Today, in the post-Cold war era, no such understanding prevails. The specter of a nuclear holocaust, which haunted the world for half a century has been relegated to the status of "collateral damage"......"

Video: US to build an air base in northern Lebanon!

Click Here to Watch Video

Pakistan plans all-out war on militants

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"An all-out battle for control of Pakistan's restive North and South Waziristan is set to commence between the Pakistani military and the Taliban and al-Qaeda adherents who have made these tribal areas their own. If the operation succeeds, intelligence sources say, the back of the Afghan resistance will be broken and the Iraqi resistance will suffer a severe setback. The militants have little option but to stand and fight, and the battle will be the bloodiest yet seen in the tribal areas......

Underscoring the seriousness with which the military is planning for the coming battle, it is reported that Shi'ite soldiers from northern Pakistan are being sent to the Waziristans. In the past, the Pakistani Army has been plagued by desertions of Pashtun and Sunni troops who refuse to fight fellow Pashtuns or Sunnis."

Illegal discrimination against Palestinians in Lebanon

Report, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 18, 2007

"BEIRUT, 17 October 2007 (IRIN) - The Lebanese government's practices against Palestinian refugees continue to breach the country's obligations under international human rights law and should be repealed immediately, according to a report released here on 17 October by Amnesty International (AI).

"The continuing restrictions which deny Palestinian refugees access to their rights to work, education and adequate housing and health are wholly unjustified and should be lifted without further procrastination or delay," the report by the London-based international human rights group said.

Lebanon has the highest percentage of all Palestinian refugees living in abject poverty, according to the UN's Palestinian relief organization, UNRWA. According to the AI report, disgraceful living conditions, continued restrictions on employment and lack of access to social services 60 years after their parents were driven from Palestine by the creation of the state of Israel, has left Lebanon's 400,000 officially registered refugees facing a daily struggle for survival........"

Rice-Olmert-Abbas: End of the Affair

Contributed by Lucia

By Tony Karon

"......Earlier this year, motivated more by its designs on aggression against Iran than anything else, the Administration appeared to convince itself — and no one but itself — that Hamas’s ejection of Fatah security forces from Gaza earlier this year created an “opportunity” for a process that would achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians at the same time as isolating the likes of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria and Iran......

The expectation that President Bush’s planned November Middle East peace conference will fail is so widespread on all sides of the divide that it might be deemed conventional wisdom. Neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians and other Arabs, nor most longtime Middle East hands in Washington and other capitals are expecting the Annapolis event, as conceived by the Bush Administration, to produce much of value; instead, their shared concern is largely to head off the very real possibility that its failure actually makes the situation in the Middle East a lot worse, by cutting the already slender ground out from under Palestinian and Arab moderates. Right now, the likes of Abbas represent a minority view even in Fatah when they continue to assume that a U.S.-led diplomatic process can bring a fair and credible solution to this most toxic of conflicts.......

The Bush Administration has no intention of doing that, of course. Essentially, it has nothing to offer the very “moderates” it ostensibly backs. Annapolis, if it goes ahead, may simply turn out to be a wake, marking the closure of the era of Pax Americana as the basis of resolving Middle Eastern conflicts."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Help! Please Help Update the Blog

I will not be able to update the blog today, but I will resume tomorrow. So please help me out by posting links to good articles, comments, videos, etc., for that I am grateful.


Thank you Lucia and Catholic Sunni Shia for all your effort and for so many great links! Good to see you back, Lucia, in full force. And I really appreciate that you took the time, away from your own blog, Catholic Sunni Shia, to help me out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rice to her Arab puppets,"OK big boys; you just woke up from your slumber? Line up in front of me to the peace conference!"

The Open Secret About the Israel Lobby

Follow the Leader


"There is an open secret in Washington. I learned it well during my 22-year tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. All members swear to serve the interests of the United States, but there is an unwritten and overwhelming exception: The interests of one small foreign country almost always trump U.S. interests. That nation of course is Israel.....

In 2002, President Bush publicly ordered Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to end a bloody, destructive rampage through the Palestinian West Bank. He wilted just as publicly when he received curt word from Sharon that Israeli troops would not withdraw and would continue their military operations. A few days later President Bush invited Sharon to the White House where he saluted him as a "man of peace."....

The recently released book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," co-authored by distinguished professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, offers hope for constructive change. It details the damage to U.S. national interests caused by the lobby for Israel. These brave professors render a great service to America, but their theme, expressed in a published study paper a year ago, is already under heavy, vitriolic attack.....

I know what it is like to be targeted in this way. In the last years of my long service in Congress, I spoke out, making many of the points now presented in the Mearsheimer-Walt book. In 1980, my opponent charged me with anti-Semitism, and money poured into his campaign fund from every state in the Union. I prevailed that year but two years later lost by a narrow margin. In 1984, Sen. Charles Percy, then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and an occasional critic of Israel, was defeated. Leaders of the Israel lobby claimed credit for defeating both Percy and me, claims that strengthened lobby influence in the years that followed.

The result is that Members of Congress today loudly reward Israel as it violates international law and peace agreements, lures America into costly wars, and subjects millions of Palestinians under its rule to apartheid-like conditions because they are not Jewish......"

The Iraqi Genocide

Blackwater Security, Bush's Private Waffen SS


"Why has not the Turkish parliament given tit for tat and passed a resolution condemning the Iraqi Genocide?

As a result of Bush's invasion of Iraq, more than one million Iraqis have died, and several millions are displaced persons. The Iraqi death toll and the millions of uprooted Iraqis match the Armenian deaths and deportations. If one is a genocide, so is the other.

It is true that most of the Iraqi deaths have resulted from Iraqis killing one another. But it was Bush's destruction of the secular Iraqi state that unleashed the sectarian strife.....

International polls show that the rest of the world regard the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to world peace. Americans claim that they are fighting wars against terrorism, but it is US and Israeli terrorism that worries everyone else. The rest of the world knows that the wars are about US and Israeli hegemony and that the US and Israel are prepared to engage in whatever acts of terror are necessary to achieve hegemony.

That is the bare fact......"

The Mother of All Pretexts

Clash of Civilizations?


"......The easiest way was to repress the problem altogether, ignoring its very existence: the land, we told ourselves, was empty, there was no people living here at all. That was the justification that served as a bridge over the moral abyss.

Only one of the Founding Fathers of the Zionist movement was courageous enough to call a spade a spade. Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote as early as 80 years ago that it was impossible to deceive the Palestinian people (whose existence he recognized) and to buy their consent to the Zionist aspirations. We are white settlers colonizing the land of the native people, he said, and there is no chance whatsoever that the natives will resign themselves to this voluntarily. They will resist violently, like all the native peoples in the European colonies. Therefore we need an "Iron Wall" to protect the Zionist enterprise.

When Jabotinsky was told that his approach was immoral, he replied that the Jews were trying to save themselves from the disaster threatening them in Europe, and, therefore, their morality trumped the morality of the Arabs in Palestine.

Most Zionists were not prepared to accept this force-oriented approach. They searched fervently for a moral justification they could live with.

Thus started the long quest for justifications--with each pretext supplanting the previous one, according to the changing spiritual fashions in the world......"

"NATO OF THE EAST": The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO): Index Timeline

By Sarah Meyer

"....Two events delighted me last week: the Nobel Prizes, and Condoleeza Rice’s initial discomfort while talking with Vladimir Putin in his dacha outside Moscow. Ms. Rice has never endeared herself to Mr.Putin. At this meeting, Ms. Rice said Iran (like Iraq) was "LYING." This from a Gold Star member of the US Lying Factory. The U.S. objects to Iran oil deals as well as the Iranian shift from the Dollar to the Euro. It is really hard for the rest of the world to believe that mainstream media are again drum-thumping the Bush-Cheney nuclear accusations for their next war for oil, in Iran. The real US problems with Iran lie unexplored.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was founded in 2001 by the leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Other countries are clamouring to be part of this group. The SCO's member states cover an area of over 30 million km2, or about three fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion, about a quarter of the world's total.Its working languages are Chinese and Russian. There is a US / Russian 'special interests' tiff over Azerbaijan. "The strategic course of Eurasia and global energy reserves hangs in the balance at the Caspian Sea Summit" in Tehran.

The members of the SCO say NO to American "interests." This is unlike the Arab League, who perhaps succumb too easily to the extortions and $s in Condi's pockets on her imperial itinerary. With the resistance of Russia and China and other SCO members, has the United States met its Waterloo? Is the U.S. intentionally setting up another 'cold war' between US-NATO and the SCO? Ms. Rice said "No". Will the thrust of the destructive U.S. drive be reined in by Russia and China? Further, it doesn't take much imagination to guess which country allegedly wants Putin dead......"

Breaking with the 'National Consensus'

Towards Lebanese-Palestinian Reconciliation

by Fawwaz Traboulsi

[Translator's Introduction: The article below by Fawwaz Traboulsi first appeared in Arabic in the Beirut daily as-Safir of September 13, 2007.....]

"After the battle of Nahr al-Barid, much has been said and repeated about a Lebanese "national consensus" regarding the Palestinians in Lebanon, a presumed rejection by all Lebanese of a final settling of Palestinians on Lebanese soil. Many commentators continue to voice their alarm about the "conspiracy" to permanently settle the Palestinians.

The writer of this article, a Lebanese citizen, wishes to openly declare that he will have no part of such a consensus -- and more, that it is time to expose it for the fraud that it is.

This presumed danger of a final settling of Palestinians is another tale in the politics of lies and self-deception that has prevailed since the Taif Accord. In a complex and diverse country such as Lebanon, this accord sought to develop a consensus based on a deception. It sought to achieve national unity by inventing a presumed enemy of all Lebanese, short of finding a real common enemy, or by fabricating a phony scare that would frighten everyone......

The parties of the Lebanese Front have used the specter of a final settling of Palestinians to justify their blood-soaked history during the 1975-1990 period. They have never tired of declaring that they were fighting "against foreigners". In their account of that period, their history was one of resistance against the "conspiracy" of permanently settling Palestinians on Lebanese soil, conveniently ignoring who instigated the internal wars and who profited from them. Thus, not only have these parties concealed their responsibility for putting the country to the torch, they have also managed to confound the beginnings and ends of the 1975-1990 wars and everything that happened in between......"

Qaradawi: Defend Iran against any possible US attack


"Prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has urged Muslims to defend Iran against any US possible attack against it. In an interview with Islam-Online, Sheikh Qaradawi added that as Iran is a Muslim country, it is “obligatory for all Muslims” to defend it. "The US is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the guise of war on terrorism," said the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars. Qaradawi also voiced his support for Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear technology, urging the regional countries to follow diplomacy to resolve their disputes."

The Normalization Conference
Formerly, The Peace Conference

By Hamed Najeeb

The Israeli Right Has a Peace Plan

"......Listen to the Right

It's important to monitor the Israeli far Right. The settlers' ideology is usually shared by the Israeli military, and the military is the central political agent in Israel, much more important than any short-lived government or prime minister. This is why plans, demands, and suggestions of the Israeli far Right, no matter how lunatic they sound when launched, are often the best prediction for future reality, which usually lags just a few years behind.

For example, I still have in my archives an old ad published by the Moledet Party back in June 1996, demanding "a full, permanent closure on the Arabs of Judea and Samaria" (that's how they call West Bank Palestinians). At that time, only a far-right party could dare suggest such a appalling idea. A few years later, this became a reality, unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Save the Refugees

So what is Benny Elon proposing? At the core of his program is a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. It's indeed touching to see a representative of the settlers – the civilian sector most responsible for the harassment and dispossession of Palestinians all over the occupied territories – so concerned with their true misery. Elon urges to rehabilitate millions of Palestinian refugees by dismantling UNRWA (an old anti-Palestinian dream); consequently, "all residents of refugee camps will be offered permanent places of residence, citizenship, and a generous rehabilitation grant. The refugee camps will also be dismantled following this process."

Sounds great, doesn't it? The only riddle is where these "permanent places of residence" will be. Elon is intentionally vague at this point: he speaks generally of "immigration countries." One thing is clear, though: Israel is not one of them; otherwise Elon couldn't promise that "dismantling of the refugee camps as part of a process of rehabilitation will reduce the Arab population in Judea and Samaria." Clearly, then, the Palestinian refugees now residing in the West Bank and Gaza will be "rehabilitated" somewhere else on the globe (how about Canada, Alaska, or Europe, to strike a familiar chord?). So here it is: the old "transfer" or deportation desires of the Israeli Right, now with a more fashionable haircut. Beyond Left and Right you always find the far Right......."

Another Mideast envoy fed up with quartet

Haider Rizvi, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 16, 2007

".....Expressing his anger and frustration at the fast-deteriorating human rights situation in Gaza and the West Bank, John Dugard, the UN special rapporteur on human rights for the Palestinian territories since 2001, has suggested that the world body quit the Middle East Quartet.

The UN "does itself little good by remaining a member of the Quartet," he said in an interview with the BBC Monday, adding that the Quartet has done nothing to protect Palestinian civilians.

"Every time I visit, the situation seems to have worsened," he said. "This time I was very struck by the sense of hopelessness among the Palestinian people.".....

"Until and unless a just and comprehensive peace is seen by the US to be as strategic an interest as keeping military secrets safe, peace will remain an elusive goal," said Nadia Hijab, a senior fellow at the US-based Institute for Palestinian Studies.

The UN's Dugard has drawn similar conclusions. In his view, the pro-US Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas has raised high hopes among its people. "If those expectations are not met," he warned," there would be serious consequences, including violent uprising against the Israelis."

Dugard is due to present his report on the Palestinian human rights situation to the UN General Assembly later this month. He said he would urge Ban to take the UN out of the Quartet if it fails to address the human rights situation."

The show goes on ... and on

The Middle East peace process is returning to the stage, with no more sense of reality than a Broadway extravaganza.

A Very Good Comment
By Ali Abunimah
The Guardian

"The "Middle East Peace Process" is like one of those big budget Broadway extravaganzas; they go on for years, but with each revival the cast changes. What may seem like a tired production to some nevertheless manages to remain fresh to the gullible throngs willing to hand over the price of admission......

Other key actors include Mahmoud Abbas, a colourless quisling whose only power base is the American and Israeli guns that keep him installed in his Ramallah Green Zone - filling in for the late Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestinians, and Ehud Olmert, understudy to Ariel Sharon who left the stage unexpectedly......

Last week, just after Abbas's representatives met with Israeli counterparts to try to hammer out a "declaration of principles" to unveil at the Annapolis meeting, the Israeli army announced the expropriation of almost 300 acres of Palestinian land near occupied East Jerusalem for the purpose of expanding the already massive Jewish-only settlements which bisect the West Bank and render a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.....

What's more, none of the players has the credibility or strength to negotiate on behalf of those whom they purport to represent. Abbas and his unelected cronies are seen by many Palestinians as petty collaborators determined to do all they can to retain their place at the master's table. Despite an overwhelming desire among Palestinians for unity, Abbas, blackmailed and bribed by the EU and US, refuses to talk to Hamas to heal the rifts caused by the efforts of Fatah militias armed and supported by Israel and the US to overturn the results of the January 2006 election won by Hamas. There can be no serious peace talks without Hamas on board.....

....Last week, Tony Blair met with one of those coalition leaders, deputy prime minister Avigdor Lieberman who heads the proto- fascist Israel Beitenu party. According to Ha'aretz, Lieberman told Blair that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "has to include Israel's Arab citizens as well, when the basis for an agreement should be a land swap and a population transfer." In other words, there can be no peace without the expulsion of over one million Palestinian citizens of Israel......

In Palestine-Israel, this means abrogating all laws in Israel that systematically privilege Jews and harm non-Jewish citizens, ending Israel's military tyranny in the Occupied Territories, and allowing refugees to return home. Nothing like that will be on the agenda in Annapolis which is why the effort will fail."

Putin warns US against military action on Iran

The Guardian

"The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, today warned the US not to use force against Iran in the current nuclear dispute. Any military intervention in the Caspian Sea area would be unacceptable, Mr Putin declared as he attended a five-country regional summit in Tehran.

"We should not even think of making use of force in this region," Mr Putin told his fellow leaders.

His remarks also appeared directed at Azerbaijan, amid Russian media speculation that the US might be trying to negotiate with the republic on the right to use military facilities there, something Azeri officials deny.

"We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state," Mr Putin said.
A summit declaration from the five, which include Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan beside Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, subsequently stressed that "under no circumstances will they allow (the use of their) territories by third countries to launch aggression or other military action against any of the member states".

The first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since Joseph Stalin in 1943, Mr Putin is holding talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, on Tehran's nuclear dispute with the west during the summit......"

It's the resistance, stupid

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The ultimate nightmare for White House/Pentagon designs on Middle East energy resources is not Iran after all: it's a unified Iraqi resistance, comprising not only Sunnis but also Shi'ites.

"It's the resistance, stupid" - along with "it's the oil, stupid". The intimate connection means there's no way for Washington to control Iraq's oil without protecting it with a string of sprawling military "super-bases".

The ultimate, unspoken taboo of the Iraq tragedy is that the US will never leave Iraq, unless, of course, it is kicked out. And that's exactly what the makings of a unified Sunni-Shi'ite resistance is set to accomplish.....

Political deals in the Green Zone are just a detail in the big picture. On the surface the new configuration spells that the US-supported Shi'ite/Kurdish coalition in power is now challenged by an Iraqi nationalist bloc. This new bloc groups the Sadrists, the (Shi'ite) Fadhila party, all Sunni parties, the partisans of former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, and the partisans of former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. This bloc might even summon enough votes to dethrone the current, wobbly Maliki government.....

So now, in theory, everyone in the Shi'ite galaxy seems to want (more or less) the same thing. Tehran worked very hard to forge the recent peace pact between the al-Hakim family and the Sadrists. SIIC and Sistani are now explicitly saying that a unified Iraq must rein in the Pentagon and throw out the occupation - that's what Muqtada had been saying all along. Tehran and Tehran-supported SIIC must obviously have seen which way the Shi'ite street wind was blowing, so now we have a new, anti-sectarian, anti-occupation SIIC.

But it will require concentric halos of forgiveness for Sunnis to forget that the Badr Brigades have been responsible for a great deal of the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, have cynically collaborated in synch with both the US and Iran, and have been focused on building a virtually independent "Shi'iteistan" in southern Iraq......

It has been the Sunni Arab guerrillas that have virtually defeated the US in Iraq. And what's even more remarkable is that, unlike Vietnam, this has not been a unified resistance of Sunnis and Shi'ites......

As far as all the key Sunni and Shi'ite factions in Iraq are concerned, they all agree on the basics. Iraq won't be occupied. Iraq won't hold permanent US military bases. Iraq won't give up its oil wealth. And Iraq won't be a toothless pro-Israel puppet regime.

As far as a concerted Iraqi resistance is concerned, the only way is up. What a historic irony that would be - before the Bush administration is finally tempted to attack Iran, it may have to face a true benchmark imposed on it in Iraq."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hamas: Islamic democracy and national liberation

A Good Piece

By Sukant Chandan, Conflicts Forum, October 15, 2007

"The Hamas election victory in January 2006 has led to an increased interest in the Islamic Resistance Movement. Hitherto little had been understood of Hamas’ history, political and social strategy and tactics. Rather rumors and cheap prejudice against Hamas have been rampant across the political spectrum in the West. Regrettably, progressives in the West have largely dodged the challenges of internationalism and anti-racism in the context of neocolonialism’s racist campaign focused on Muslims and Islam, of which the maligning and criminalisation of Hamas is a component. Democrat-minded and progressive people who challenge the criminalisation of Hamas by the West, in so doing confront the Eurocentric idea that legitimacy is only bestowed upon those that the West consider democratic rather then what the people in the given country have chosen. This article seeks to demonstrate that Hamas’ ideology has as much claim to the values and practices of democracy and human rights as those political movements in the West. The difference is that these values are inspired and rooted in their own religious, cultural and social contexts......

We in the West must accept that secularism is not going to become a leading political force in the Middle East any time soon, due not least in part as it was brought to the region by colonialists. Arab and Muslim people, and by many more across the world who desire independence from US hegemony, see in the West many social and moral conditions that they don’t want to emulate but which Westerners often see as examples of the superiority of their societies. People around the world are developing their own political identities from their own cultural and political roots. Morales, Chavez, Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas are a few such examples. In the process of developing these indigenous movements, there is a move away from the uniform cultural and political forms of Western secular and Marxist models. However it must be stressed that there remain universal principles that these liberation ideologies and Western democratic and progressive ideas share, and there exists the possibility of developing mutual respect, solidarity and unity between the two. This dialogue and solidarity is jeopardized by the twin problems and challenges of Eurocentric prejudice and Western oppression of Third World peoples."

The Question of Suffering

Contributed by Datta

By Nahida Izzat
(a -Jerusalem born- Palestinian refugee living in exile for over 40 years. She was forced to leave her homeland, Palestine at the age of seven during the six-day war. Nahida, is a mathematician by profession but art is one of her favourite pastimes. Please visit her website PoetryforPalestine -

".....The most negative occurrences in the life of a human being can be summarized as such: physical pain, emotional pain (sorrow), and fear.

Contemplating on my own life and like every one on the planet I've experienced all; but with such intensity that some times it felt and feels almost unbearable.

As little girl I survived the horrors of war, I watched my childhood being stolen away from me. I witnessed the destruction of a people. I experienced the loss of every thing I loved; including my home, my garden, my relatives, my friends, my village, my identity, even my much-loved books and school bag.

I had to rely on UN food and cloths parcels in order to survive.

I witnessed fighter planes flying so low in the sky -that as a child you thought they're about to fall onto your head- while bombing villages killing innocent women and children.

At such a tender age, I came face to face with human cruelty and brutality and witnessed their ability to inflect so much pain, suffering, and humiliation upon its own kind.

I left home as a refugee with absolutely nothing except the two dresses and a jumper that my mum had forced me to put on in the burning heat of Middle Eastern summer......

I lived through a kind of fear that had left its permanent mark on me. Until this very day I still jump when I hear a loud noise; I still tremble when I hear the roar of an airplane.

My family of seven and I had lived for some years of our life sharing one room, living with another family of twelve (in Jordan ), then sharing with a different family of ten (in Libya ).

At a very young age, I've experienced pain, fear, and sorrow that many people don't experience in a lifetime.....

The only thing that could ever console and comfort this troubled soul of mine was this faith, this insight and intuition that this can't all be in vain.

And like a tender mother's hand stroking her child

Like a soft warm blanket in a cold winter night

Like gentle rain drops drizzling over a parched piece of land

Like a rainbow flowing piercing through thick dark clouds

I feel God's loving hand


Then this sweet… sweet comfort that overwhelms you, embraces you as you humbly say:

Here I am God… exhausted… come to my aid

Here I am God… in much anguish… relieve me… ease my pain

Here I am God… full of sorrow… soothe my hurt

Here I am God… lonely… be my friend and companion.

Here I am God… tired… help me…hold me… heal me

Here I am God… lost… guide me… show me the way

That distressed soul… that troubled heart would be magically transformed… "