Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dexia Bank Refuses Grant For Jewish Settlements

"The Belgian-French Group, Dexia, refused to finance grants meant for the construction of property in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The decision came after a Palestinian and a Belgium groups filed a petition against financing settlement constructions.

Moayyad Affana, coordinator of the twin-project of the Intellectuals Forum in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and the Artists Against the Wall in Belgium, said that the two groups sent several letters to Dexia group urging them to reject financing constructions in Jewish settlements....

Khaled Jaber, head of the Intellectual Forum in Qalqilia, also thanked the Dexia group for its decision and called on European institutions to practice pressure on Israel to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories......"

Gaza Freedom Marchers issue 'Cairo Declaration': End Israeli Apartheid #GFM

By Ali Abunimah

"January 2, 2010

The Gaza Freedom March has come to an end, but before the protesters dispersed they agreed on the following statement:

End Israeli Apartheid
Cairo Declaration
January 1, 2010

We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South African delegation, state:

In view of:

* Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza;
* the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements;
* the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will tighten even further the siege of Gaza;
* the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006;
* the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza one year ago;
* the continuing discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians within Israel;
* and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees;
* all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the Zionist ideology which underpins Israel;
* in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and allowed it to behave with impunity;
* and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)

We reaffirm our commitment to:

Palestinian Self-Determination
Ending the Occupation
Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine
The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the United Palestinian call of July 2005 for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to compel Israel to comply with international law.

To that end, we call for and wish to help initiate a global mass, democratic anti-apartheid movement to work in full consultation with Palestinian civil society to implement the Palestinian call for BDS.

Mindful of the many strong similarities between apartheid Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa, we propose:

1) An international speaking tour in the first 6 months of 2010 by Palestinian and South African trade unionists and civil society activists, to be joined by trade unionists and activists committed to this programme within the countries toured, to take mass education on BDS directly to the trade union membership and wider public internationally;

2) Participation in the Israeli Apartheid Week in March 2010;

3) A systematic unified approach to the boycott of Israeli products, involving consumers, workers and their unions in the retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors;

4) Developing the Academic, Cultural and Sports boycott;

5) Campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation and/or the Israeli military industries;

6) Legal actions targeting the external recruitment of soldiers to serve in the Israeli military, and the prosecution of Israeli government war criminals; coordination of Citizen’s Arrest Bureaux to identify, campaign and seek to prosecute Israeli war criminals; support for the Goldstone Report and the implementation of its recommendations;

7) Campaigns against charitable status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

We appeal to organisations and individuals committed to this declaration to sign it and work with us to make it a reality.

Please e-mail us at

Signed by:

(* Affiliation for identification purposes only.)

1. Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor/ Women in Black*, USA
2. Nomthandazo Sikiti, Nehawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa
3. Zico Tamela, Satawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa
4. Hlokoza Motau, Numsa, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa
5. George Mahlangu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Campaigns Coordinator*, South Africa
6. Crystal Dicks, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Education Secretary*, South Africa
7. Savera Kalideen, SA Palestinian Solidarity Committee*, South Africa
8. Suzanne Hotz, SA Palestinian Solidarity Group*, South Africa
9. Shehnaaz Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa
10. Haroon Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa
11. Sayeed Dhansey, South Africa
12. Faiza Desai, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa
13. Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada*, USA
14. Hilary Minch, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee*, Ireland
15. Anthony Loewenstein, Australia
16. Sam Perlo-Freeman, United Kingdom
17. Julie Moentk, Pax Christi*, USA
18. Ulf Fogelström, Sweden
19. Ann Polivka, Chico Peace and Justice Center*, USA
20. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA
21. Elfi Padovan, Munich Peace Committee*/Die Linke*, Germany
22. Elizabeth Barger, Peace Roots Alliance*/Plenty I*, USA
23. Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CodePink*, USA
24. Svetlana Gesheva-Anar, Bulgaria
25. Cristina Ruiz Cortina, Al Quds-Malaga*, Spain
26. Rachel Wyon, Boston Gaza Freedom March*, USA
27. Mary Hughes-Thompson, Women in Black*, USA
28. David Letwin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, USA
29. Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery*, USA
30. Gael Murphy, Gaza Freedom March*/CodePink*, USA
31. Thomas McAfee, Journalist/PC*, USA
32. Jean Louis Faure, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, France
33. Timothy A King, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East*, USA
34. Gail Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA
35. Ouahib Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA
36. Greg Dropkin, Liverpool Friends of Palestine*, England
37. Felice Gelman, Wespac Peace and Justice New York*/Gaza Freedom March*, USA
38. Ron Witton, Australian Academic Union*, Australia
39. Hayley Wallace, Palestine Solidarity Committee*, USA
40. Norma Turner, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, England
41. Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black (Vienna)*/ Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East*, Austria
42. Mateo Bernal, Industrial Workers of the World*, USA
43. Mary Mattieu, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland
44. Agneta Zuppinger, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland
45. Ashley Annis, People for Peace*, Canada
46. Peige Desgarlois, People for Peace*, Canada
47. Hannah Carter, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada
48. Laura Ashfield, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada
49. Iman Ghazal, People for Peace*, Canada
50. Filsam Farah, People for Peace*, Canada
51. Awa Allin, People for Peace*, Canada
52. Cleopatra McGovern, USA
53. Miranda Collet, Spain
54. Alison Phillips, Scotland
55. Nicholas Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Jews Say No*, USA
56. Tarak Kauff, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Veterans for Peace*, USA
57. Jesse Meisler-Abramson, USA
58. Hope Mariposa, USA
59. Ivesa Lübben. Bremer Netzwerk fur Gerechten Frieden in Nahost*, Germany
60. Sheila Finan, Mid-Hudson Council MERC*, USA
61. Joanne Lingle, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME)*, USA
62. Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA
63. Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA
64. Anna Keuchen, Germany
65. Judith Mahoney Pasternak, WRL* and Indypendent*, USA
66. Ellen Davidson, New York City Indymedia*, WRL*, Indypendent*, USA
67. Ina Kelleher, USA
68. Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Chicago)*, USA
69. Brad Taylor, OUT-FM*, USA
70. Helga Mankovitz, SPHR (Queen’s University)*, Canada
71. Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Scotland
72. Agnes Kueng, Paso Basel*, Switzerland
73. Anne Paxton, Voices of Palestine*, USA
74. Leila El Abtah, The Netherlands
75. Richard, Van der Wouden, The Netherlands
76. Rafiq A. Firis, P.K.R.*/Isra*, The Netherlands
77. Sandra Tamari, USA
78. Alice Azzouzi, Way to Jerusalem*, USA
79. J’Ann Schoonmaker Allen, USA
80. Ruth F. Hooke, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship*, USA
81. Jean E. Lee, Holy Land Awareness Action Task Group of United Church of Canada*, Canada
82. Delphine de Boutray, Association Thèâtre Cine*, France
83. Sylvia Schwarz, USA
84. Alexandra Safi, Germany
85. Abdullah Anar, Green Party – Turkey*, Turkey
86. Ted Auerbach, USA
87. Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker*, USA
88. Louis Ultale, Interfaile Pace e Bene*, USA
89. Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA
90. Emma Grigore, CodePink*, USA
91. Sammer Abdelela, New York Community of Muslim Progressives*, USA
92. Sharat G. Lin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center*, USA
93. Katherine E. Sheetz, Free Gaza*, USA
94. Steve Greaves, Free Gaza*, USA
95. Trevor Baumgartner, Free Gaza*, USA
96. Hanan Tabbara, USA
97. Marina Barakatt, CodePink*, USA
98. Keren Bariyov, USA
99. Ursula Sagmeister, Women in Black – Vienna*, Austria
100. Ann Cunningham, Australia
101. Bill Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA
102. Terry Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA
103. Athena Viscusi, USA
104. Marco Viscusi, USA
105. Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee*, USA
106. Manijeh Saba, New York / New Jersey, USA
107. Ellen Graves, USA
108. Zoë Lawlor, Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Ireland
109. Miguel García Grassot, Al Quds – Málaga*, Spain
110. Ana Mamora Romero, ASPA-Asociacion Andaluza Solidaridad y Paz*, Spain
111. Ehab Lotayef, CJPP Canada*, Canada
112. David Heap, London Anti-War*, Canada
113. Adie Mormech, Free Gaza* / Action Palestine*, England
114. Aimee Shalan, UK
115. Liliane Cordova, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, Spain
116. Priscilla Lynch, USA
117. Jenna Bitar, USA
118. Deborah Mardon, USA
119. Becky Thompson, USA
120. Diane Hereford, USA
121. David Heap, People for Peace London*, Canada
122. Donah Abdulla, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights*, Canada
123. Wendy Goldsmith, People for Peace London*, Canada
124. Abdu Mihirig, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada
125. Saldibastami, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada
126. Abdenahmane Bouaffad, CMF*, France
127. Feroze Mithiborwala, Awami Bharat*, India
128. John Dear, Pax Christi*, USA
129. Ziyaad Lunat, Portugal
130. Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)
131. Labor For Palestine"

Gaza Freedom March: What We've Accomplished So Far

by Robert Naiman


"CAIRO, Egypt - Some of us reached Gaza and particpated in the Gaza Freedom March as planned. All of us significantly raised the profile of dissent - particularly, American dissent - against the blockade of the people of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt, with the backing of the United States and the acquiescence of Europe. The groundwork is being laid for future campaigning in the U.S. for "citizen sanctions" against the Israeli government that could help change the balance of forces influencing U.S. policy, so that U.S. policy becomes a force for peace, rather than continuing to perpetuate the Israel/Palestine conflict as the U.S. is doing today.....

Greater activity in support of sanctions against the Israeli government in trade unions, universities, and churches in the United States could eventually change the political terrain in Washington, by legitimizing the idea that the Israeli government should face real consequences from the United States for continuing its present policies. This year we saw the Obama Administration's initial insistence on a total freeze of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank fizzle out, in large measure because it wasn't backed by any "or else" - even the idea of conditioning a part of U.S. aid to Israel on a real settlement freeze failed to gain any traction. A newly invigorated BDS campaign in the United States could create hundreds of organizing hooks to build momentum for a real change in U.S. policy."

For CIA, Afghan Attack a Historic Blow

"WASHINGTON - A suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed seven agents marks one of the deadliest blows ever for the CIA, dealing a painful setback to an agency increasingly on the frontline of US wars.......

While more than 500 US and coalition forces have died in Afghanistan this year, Wednesday's suicide attack may show a new level of sophistication for the Taliban who infiltrated the very agency in charge of finding them.

The CIA said that a Taliban bomber managed to penetrate the defenses of a forward base in Khost, a pivotal province near the Pakistan border, detonating an explosives belt in a room described as a gym. "This attack is something that will never be forgotten in Langley, Virginia," said Jack Rice, a former CIA officer in Afghanistan and talk-show host. "The impact can be huge, not just in terms of the capabilities of these particular people, but in the relationships that they themselves have built," he said. "You can't simply go pick up five or 10 more of these guys. They may be the best guys in the world at what they do and they're gone," he said......

It was the deadliest single incident for the CIA since 1983, when eight agency employees were believed to be among the dead when Islamic militants bombed the US Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans and 58 French.

The attack comes as the United States increasingly relies on the CIA and other covert forces to pursue strategic goals. CIA and special forces were at the forefront of the US invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, paving the way to overthrow the Taliban's extremist regime.

More recently -- and controversially -- the CIA has been operating unmanned drones that target extremists in lawless areas of Pakistan....."

Changing the Narrative for War

By Philip Giraldi

"In spite of the calamities of the past eight years, there continues to be no shortage of neoconservatives in one's face in the media, advising their fellow Americans that wars can be won quickly and decisively and that using military force to change how other nations behave is sound policy. The Washington Post features Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, all three Kagans, John Bolton, and Eliot Cohen on a regular basis. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is the epicenter for those who favor muscular interventionism. The New York Times, America's most influential newspaper, is somewhat more circumspect, featuring neocons-lite David Brooks and Thomas Friedman regularly, but also including the more measured foreign policy analysis of Frank Rich and Roger Cohen. But even at its best The Times never really breaks the mold by bringing in someone who rejects the entire American imperial and interventionist enterprise. Such individuals do exist and many appear regularly at Ron Paul events and on Campaign for Liberty, but it is as if the mainstream media has decided that such views are outside the pale, the journalistic equivalent of praising Mussolini for making the trains run on time or advocating the disenfranchisement of women voters. And occasionally the Times features a real game breaker that goes in the other direction in the form of an op-ed that sets new benchmarks in terms of audacious support of Washington's self proclaimed right to enforce its own standards on the world. Such an op-ed was "There's Only One Way to Stop Iran" by Professor Alan J. Kuperman which, ironically, appeared on Christmas Eve.

As a former intelligence officer I frequently shake my head when I read a piece like "There's Only One Way to Stop Iran" because I know exactly how what the Soviets used to call disinformation works. When the policy stinks and you have to create buzz about it anyway, you dig up someone who can plausibly describe himself as an "expert" and then find some obliging folks in the media to publish a piece that enables you to change the story line. That is what I used to do myself back in the days when I was working hard to demonize the Soviets.....

That kind of narrative shift is precisely what Kuperman and those who are like minded are doing, changing the story to turn black into white to make war appear to be the only option to resolve a thorny international problem. Appearing in The Times is particularly damaging because when the Grey Lady gives over its pages to someone like Kuperman they are providing their seal of approval and legitimizing his point of view.....The only problem is that the entire Kuperman narrative is itself nonsense......"

Walls never work: in the Middle East or in Ireland

Israel’s illegal claim to West Bank Arab land is based on holy texts, not on a king’s fiat

A Very Good Comment
By Robert Fisk

A mural in Derry, Northern Ireland commemorates solidarity between Palestinians and Irish nationalists.

".....The story of the Protestant "settlements" in Ireland provides a ghostly narrative of those modern-day "settlements" in the West Bank, where the Israelis insist on fighting the world's last colonial war with the assistance of that great anti-colonial nation known as the United States.

The differences, of course, are legion. Protestantism, in its various Irish forms, aimed to convert or ethnically cleanse the Catholic Gaels. Judaism does not attempt to proselytise – quite the contrary – and Israel's illegal claim to West Bank Arab land is based on holy texts, not on a king's fiat......

....just as West Bank Palestinians are supposed to believe that, since 1967, they have lived in Judea and Samaria). "But all such previous plantations had in the end been failures," writes Kee. "Collapsing for lack of human support or capital, or else being physically wiped out by the rebellion of those who had been dispossesed to make room for them."

This remains Israel's fear: that those Palestinians dispossesed in 1948 will return to take their former lands in what is now the State of Israel, or at least those lands stolen from them in the West Bank after 1967.......

But the Elizabethan settlers came as soldiers who settled. Later Scots Protestants came, like Israelis to the West Bank, as settlers prepared to be soldiers. "The idea of the settlement of underpopulated lands caught the imagination of men in both countries" – I am quoting Perceval-Maxwell's work on Scottish migration, but "making the desert bloom" and "a land without people for a people without land" echoes in the future distance.....

The slaughter at Drogheda and Wexford acted as a catalyst of mass fear, much as the killings at Deir Yassin and many other Arab villages in 1948 led to the abandonment or capitulation of hundreds of other Arab towns in the land that was to become Israel. Most of the best land of Ireland, at least three-quarters of it, was confiscated from its Catholic owners, its original inhabitants expelled to the cold, wild lands of Connaught. By 1688, Catholics held only 22 per cent of the original Gaelic Ireland, precisely the same percentage of mandate Palestinian land – 22 per cent – for which Yassir Arafat was required to negotiate in the hopeless Oslo "agreement". Arab-owned land in "Palestine" is now smaller still, heading inexorably to the mere 14 per cent that the Catholics still clung on to in 1703.....

....So, later Protestant "settlements" were surrounded by vast defensive walls, angled with watch-towers and ramparts and gun positions. The city of Derry has walls above the Catholic Bogside every bit as ferocious as the Israeli wall that now cuts into yet more Arab land.....

But the English and Scots "settlements" failed in Ireland. Protestant hopes of eternal support from London eventually proved false. And so, what of Israeli hopes of eternal support from Washington? I still don't believe in a one-state solution – which the Protestant minority will one day have to accept in Ireland, if they have not, subconsciously, already done so – but colonisation leads only to the graveyard. Walls don't work. Nor "superior" religions. Nor ethnic cleansing. History, which should be studied as eternally as false hopes, is a great punisher. "

Terror and the west: A decade of misjudgment

The Guardian, Friday 1 January 2010

"......This story should serve as the epitaph for the invasion. Far from stabilising, or spreading democracy, the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and Iraq proved combustible. But the follies of the old decade are set to last into the new one.....

....If there is one lesson to be drawn from all this, it is that a military superpower no longer has effective supremacy. The next decade must see the re-establishment of a co-operative international system that was badly damaged by the unilateral endeavours of Britain, America and their few committed allies. Western military powers, especially weakening ones, should bend all their efforts into transforming and supporting international institutions such as the United Nations and the international criminal court. The idea that governments in London and Washington should handpick a general secretary of the UN for his weakness, as they did the current one, is absurd; that was perhaps the greatest error of a decade strewn with mishap and misjudgment."

Vanunu: our duty to speak up

The absurd persecution of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu did not relent on his release

Duncan Campbell
The Guardian, Saturday 2 January 2010

"More than five years ago, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Israeli nuclear facility in Dimona, was released from prison after serving 18 years for revealing Israel's nuclear weapons secrets. This week he was arrested again in Jerusalem, accused of talking to foreigners, in breach of conditions imposed on his release.......

What happens to Vanunu is important for Britain and the British press. It was to London and the Sunday Times that he came with his story. It was from London that the first stage of his illegal kidnapping took place. The foreign secretary has this week rightly protested on behalf of Akmal Shaikh, executed for drugs smuggling in China. There is a similar duty to speak up on behalf of a man who trusted that Britain was a place where he could safely tell the world about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As Yossi Melman wrote in Haaretz at the time of Vanunu's last arrest: "In a proud country that purports to observe the judicial and moral norms of the enlightened world, one might have expected it to take courage and allow Mordechai Vanunu to be free once and for all.""

Miracles Do Not Happen...Whores Do Not Become Virgins Again...Abbas Can Not and Will Not Change....

Abbas: We Will Reconsider Security Ties with Israel


"02/01/2010 Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas said that he may rethink cooperation with Israel in the West Bank, following an Israeli air raid on December 26 that killed three Fatah men.
"Recently their provocations and incursions have increased," Abbas told Palestine Television, referring to the raid on Nablus, in which three militants from his Fatah faction died, as well as Israel's killing of three Palestinians in Gaza that day.
"We find ourselves before the point of review, of considering many of the things that we do," he said. "If the (security) coordination does not lead to a halt in the incursions and the provocations, we will think anew."

In his television interview, Abbas did not elaborate on how he might scale back security ties to Israel. His administration this week spoke of a possible diplomatic breakthrough after Israel held strategic consultations with powerbroker Egypt.[Take my word: he will be brought back to the "negotiation table." This is his role, to keep the charade going, and that is the reason he is paid and supported by USrael.]"

ثمن شاليط والحسابات الخاطئة والمثيرة


عملية أسر الجندي شاليط هي واحدة من أروع العمليات البطولية التي نفذتها قوى الشعب الفلسطيني في تاريخها كله، ليس فقط بسبب الأسر, بل لأنها دلت على إصرار المجاهدين على الإبداع في سياق ضرب العدو
ما تركته عملية الأسر، وبعد ذلك النجاح في الاحتفاظ بالجندي كل هذه المدة من آثار على معنويات المجتمع الإسرائيلي لم يكن عاديا بحال، وهو بالضبط ما دفع ويدفع فئات منه إلى المطالبة باستعادته أيا كان الثمن
ثمة فرق كبير بين من يتعامل مع الصراع على أنه صراع ضد استعمار للضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة، من دولة جارة، ومن يراه مقاومة ضد محتلين لكل فلسطين
هل ثمة عاقل يقول إن ميزان القوى بين المقاومة الإسلامية اللبنانية وقوات الاحتلال كان متساويا عندما تمكنت تلك المقاومة من طرد الاحتلال ذليلا صاغرا من لبنان، الأمر الذي يمكن أن يتكرر مرحليا في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة من دون قيد أو شرط أيضا لو تم التوافق بين جميع قوى الشعب على إستراتيجية مقاومة لا مساومة على أهدافها؟!
ثم إننا لا نزال على رأينا في خطأ دخول الانتخابات بسبب التناقض بين السلطة والمقاومة، وبسبب اعتقادنا بأن هذه السلطة (سلطة أوسلو) قد صممت لخدمة الاحتلال ولا يمكن حرفها عن هذا المسار.

أما الذي لا يقل أهمية فهو أن قطاع غزة ليس لديه سوى الصواريخ، بسبب السياج الأمني المحيط به، وإثر تنبه العدو لفكرة الأنفاق، والإمكانية الحقيقية للمقاومة هي في الضفة الغربية، لاسيما إذا وقع التنازل عن فكرة السلطة أو حلها بالكامل وحرمان الاحتلال من الامتيازات الأمنية والسياسية والاقتصادية التي حصل عليها بسبب وجودها.

خلاصة القول: إن أسر الجندي كان عملا رائعا، وسيبقى كذلك بصرف النظر عن مفاوضات التبادل، بل حتى لو تمكنوا من الوصول إليه حيا أو ميتا دون صفقة لا سمح الله. أما المقاومة فهي البرنامج الذي يستحق التوافق عليه، وليس حماية السلطة، ولو تم ذلك لما كان صعبا أن يحرر الفلسطينيون بعض وطنهم في المدى القريب والمتوسط، مقدمة للتحرير الشامل، ولكن المهزومين لا يعلمون.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tony's Fatwa: Tantawi is an Accessory to a War Crime; Haul Him to Stand Trial in The Hague.

Think about it. Not only this paid mouthpiece of the Pharaoh supports the construction of a steel wall, above and below ground, to complete the total blockade and literal starvation of 1.5 million Palestinians. No, he goes one step further. In his Fatwa he is quoted as saying, "...those who oppose building this wall are violating the commands of Islamic law!"

So, in his opinion if you oppose a war crime against an entire people, then you are "violating the commands of Islam!" He is using fear, hate and religious bigotry and lies to incite for the mass killing of an entire population.

Enough said already. Using his own words, there is enough evidence to convict him of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Haul his ass to The Hague, now!

Leaving Cairo, but taking the struggle with me

By Ali Abunimah, in Cairo

A picture from last night's vigil in Tahrir Square

"Today I leave Cairo after four intense days with the Gaza Freedom March. We did not fulfill our goal of reaching Gaza and being with the Palestinian people there. That was surely painful and disappointing. But that is not the measure of what happened. To talk about the siege of Gaza in the abstract is one thing, but to actually come to Egypt and find that Gaza is harder to visit than a prison is like a bucket of cold water. The Egyptian government may be efficient at few things, but it is highly efficient at maintaining the siege. Buses hired to take all the marchers to Gaza were prevented from showing up. Those who tried to get to Gaza under their own steam were turned back or detained at their hotel in Al Arish. It was very very frustrating. But whatever frustration we felt is one millionth of the frustration of the besieged Palestinian people in Gaza. So perhaps in some way it is better then that we did not get in, because Egypt gave us a small taste of what it serves every day to people in Gaza -- and a small taste of what Egyptians face when they challenge their government's policies.

But the actions at the French, American and other embassies underlined that the siege is not Egypt's policy alone -- far from it -- it is imposed first and foremost by Israel, but with the full complicity of North American, European and other governments. In our meeting at the US Embassy, it was confirmed that the US Army Corps of Engineers is assisting Egypt to build the underground barrier designed to prevent Palestinians breaking the illegal blockade by digging tunnels. So there is a lot of work to do expose and oppose this criminal complicity.

Being in Cairo with so many people from so many countries for the Gaza Freedom March was inspiring, exhausting, chaotic at times, amazingly organized and coherent at other times. People came with so much determination. Many I spoke to said they would go back to their countries with many new contacts and networks, and more determined than ever to work in support of Palestinian people in Gaza to break the siege.

This morning as I left, delegates were meeting to discuss and (hopefully) adopt a declaration drafted at the initiative of the South African delegation, endorsing and affirming the goals and tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions that Palestinian civil society has called for. I had to get to the airport, so I could not stay for the meeting, although I strongly endorsed the draft I saw. In the car to the airport, I saw the action at the Journalists' Syndicate I posted about earlier, and perhaps there will be other actions in Cairo today. Unfortunately I won't be there to witness them -- if they occur -- but like others I met, I will be taking the struggle with me."

Real News Video: Gaza Freedom March

More at The Real News

Also, please see this more recent video.

"For months international, Israeli, and Palestinian activists have been planning the Gaza Freedom March. Organizers hoped an international delegation of 1300 activists from around the world would break the siege on Gaza by marching through Gaza to the northern border and through the Erez crossing, join the Israeli march. The Real News attended the Israeli side of the protest, and though the Egyptian government prevented the activists from entering Gaza, hundreds gathered to raise awareness of the desperate situation in Gaza a year after Operation Cast Lead."

Shame On Them - From The Streets Of Cairo

A Very Good Post

By Dave Bleakney
(Dave Bleakney is a national representative with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, currently writing from Cairo.)

"(Cairo) -- People are surrounded. Some have been beaten and injured. Women for Gaza stand surrounded in front of the Hotel Lotus. Canadian postal workers hold their flags high. Locals on the street pass discreetly while giving thumbs up. In contrast, the marchers who were able to get out of their hotels and hostels this morning and planned to start a march to break an illegal siege and deliver aid to the people of Gaza have been beaten, terrorized, and denied food, water or bathroom privileges. The demonstrators near the Egyptian museum are confined by rows of serious looking riot police and scores of plainclothes agents who direct everyone away from the scene and confiscate cameras.

Presently it is impossible to get an interview with any demonstrators. Even the Reuters team, backed by their large media apparatus, has been refused contact. Canadian reporters, like their embassy, were nowhere to be seen as recently as an hour ago, their silence indicating "a slippery slope to incompetence or fascism" as one put it.......

Such are the results of the policies of the United States and Israel, directing the Egyptian government, a government lacking integrity and independence which requires a massive police apparatus to control the population whether through religion or hate while the people of Gaza starve. Ten percent of children in Gaza currently suffer from severe malnutrition. People here now surrounded by police are prevented from delivering food, medicine, and school supplies and are beaten for it.

This New Year we shall all create our Gaza Freedom Camps.

Indeed, shame on them."

Shoeless in Cairo

A Great Post!

Written by Mary Hughes Thompson, part of the GFM convoy that has been trying to get into Gaza.
01 January 2010

(Left: Mary Hughes on the SS Free Gaza Boat)

"In about an hour the Gaza Freedom Marchers in Cairo will be meeting in Tahrir Square to celebrate the beginning of 2010. January 1st will be the fifth day of my hunger strike.

It was an eventful and exhilarating day for all of us here in Cairo. This morning we began to arrive in small groups at a couple of locations in downtown Cairo, intending to join up and begin a solidarity march to Gaza. We didn't expect to get far before being stopped, so we took what things we had that would make it easier to spend the night in the street. As soon as we got out of our taxi near the Museum, Hedy (Epstein) and I and Hedy's two friends from St Louis were immediately surrounded by security police who tried to lead us away from the area.

All around us we saw other small groups receiving the same reception. After sitting on a bench in front of the Nile Hilton for half an hour, with half a dozen police standing close and trying to persuade us to continue walking away, we suddenly saw a surge of people crossing the street a few yards from us, and we quickly rushed to join them. Free Gaza signs appeared, chants of "Free Gaza" were heard. Passengers in cars and buses gave us a wave and a smile. We were immediately encircled by several hundred policemen who placed barriers around us and began to push us more tightly together. We tried to keep space around Hedy, as we were pushed and squeezed. I feared my ribs would be crushed as I was squeezed tighter and closer to people around me. A few people fell or tried to sit in the middle of the circle and the police went after them.

Suddenly I was pushed to the ground and fell flat on my face. As people around me were pushed more tightly to the center, I feared I would be trampled. Perhaps the police thought I had been sitting, because they grabbed my arms and began to drag me along the ground. I felt my one shoe fall off, then the other I tried to hang onto my things as some French people came to my rescue, reaching out to help lift me to my feet, then leading me away next to the wall and away from the police.

My shoes and my cane were swallowed up and could not be located amid the mass of people. We stayed together for many hours, held tightly in our circle by the police. It was very warm, but as always spirits were high, some enormous signs were raised by young men who climbed the only tree we had in our enclosure. It was a laurel tree, and many people raised branches above their heads as we called for peace and freedom for Gaza. At the moment we knew the march was taking place inside Gaza we chanted again: Free Gaza, Free Gaza. Someone began to play an accordian, and I was pulled, shoeless, into a circle of women, including Hedy, as we danced in a circle while people around us cheered.

Eventually, after several hours, some members of American Veterans for Peace who had been watching over Hedy persuaded her it would be safer if she left. They felt the police were getting more threatening and were worried they wouldn't be able to keep her safe if we were rushed and attacked. Hedy reluctantly agreed to go outside the circle to talk to some press who wanted to interview her, so Hedy, Sandra, J'Ann and I were, after some negotiations, escorted outside where Hedy was greeted by reporters.

So here I stay in Cairo, grateful to be merely shoeless, somewhat bruised and only slightly battered, still strong and determined, proud and humbled to be a part of this amazing family that has come together from around the world to stand in solidarity with Gaza, Palestine and to remember what happened in Gaza a year ago. We may not get to Gaza this time, but we believe we have made a joyful noise in Cairo.

Happy New Year everybody. Free Gaza. Free Palestine....."

Fatwas For Hire: Tantawi and Leading Egypt Clerics Back Gaza Tunnel Barrier. This is Islam in the Service of Dictators.



This "Fatwa" comes from a liar, who after meeting the war criminal Shimon Peres, and shaking his hands, claimed that he did not know who Peres was!

"A council of leading Muslim clerics has supported the Egyptian government's construction of an underground barrier along the border with Gaza to impede tunneling by smugglers, a report said on Friday. The Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, said that the tunnels were used to smuggle drugs and threatened Egypt's security, the Al-Masri Al-Yawm newspaper reported......

"Those who oppose building this wall are violating the commands of Islamic law," they added, after a meeting attended by Egypt's top cleric Sheikh Mohammed Said Tantawi, who is a government appointee......."

The Road Ahead

Another year of debunking the War Party's lies

by Justin Raimondo, January 01, 2010

"You’ll have to pardon me if I utter a long, drawn-out sigh, but the prospect of facing yet another year of phony "crises," official fabrications, and Obama-esque double-talk is daunting, to say the least. My task, as I see it, is to unpack the hyperbole, debunk the hysterics, and give my readers a clear-headed and fact-based analysis of what in the world our rulers are up to. It’s more than a fulltime job, and the holidays provide no respite: indeed, it’s starting early this year, and, nose to the grindstone, I’m on their case ….

The antics of the panty-bomber have certainly provided a lot of grist for the War Party’s mill. Not only is his failed attempt the occasion for the opening of a new front in our eternal "war on terrorism," in Yemen, but now we are informed that ex-inmates of Guantanamo are among the "leaders" of "Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula," (AQAP), which, we are told, planned and executed the Christmas Day incident. That’s the official story – but is it the truth? ......... "

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll asks:

Do you expect American military intervention in Yemen on the pretext of fighting Al-Qa'ida?

With about 100 responding so far (it is very early), 70% said yes.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children

Times Online

"American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed......

“The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.

Assadullah Wafa, who led the investigation, said that US soldiers flew to Kunar from Kabul, suggesting that they were part of a special forces unit......"

The Arab Condition: From Bad to Worse, by Emad Hajjaj

The Years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,....Tumble by.....
And The Arab Condition Gets Worse and Worse....
With No bottom in Sight.

Gaza Freedom March activists target Egypt's complicity

A Very Good Piece

By Sayed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2009
(Sayed Dhansay is a South African human rights activist and independent freelance writer. He volunteered for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2006 and is an organizer of the South African delegation for the Gaza Freedom March.)

"It was another eventful day here in Cairo at the inaugural Gaza Freedom March (GFM). On Tuesday night, organizers informed the 1,362-strong delegation that only 100 of them had been selected to travel to Gaza yesterday morning, Wednesday 30 December. After several hours of heated debate with organizers over whether this was an appropriate strategy, the meeting concluded without a consensus.

As of Tuesday night, only the South African, French, Canadian and Swedish delegations had decided to boycott the 100-person convoy. Although an incredibly tough decision to make, the groups adopted this principled stance because they felt that the offer was divisive and betrayed the very aim of the march -- to break the siege imposed on Gaza......

This morning, Thursday 31 December, hundreds of Gaza Freedom March participants left their various protest sites across Cairo and converged outside the Egyptian Museum of National History, one of the city's most visible and central landmarks. To avoid the detention and harassment experienced at the hands of Egyptian security forces over the last few days, delegates travelled clandestinely to the venue in small groups and pretended to be tourists. Despite these efforts, a hotel housing a large contingent of the march participants was barricaded early this morning by Egyptian police. Nobody was allowed to leave for several hours, causing many to miss the protest.

Outside the Egyptian National Museum, the hundreds of small groups waited for a secret signal and instantly swarmed together, forming one large group, and began marching down the road. This tactic had to be adopted because any large gathering of people before the march would have been broken up by police.

After marching for approximately 20 meters, hundreds of Egyptian riot police rushed toward the crowd and encircled them. In an effort to peacefully hold their ground, marchers sat on the ground. In what was a surprisingly heavy-handed response to foreigners, the police began pulling, beating and kicking protestors to get them out of the road.

While rows of riot police shoved the group from behind, police at the front and sides pushed back, causing panic and hundreds of individuals to fall to the ground. Several women were punched, kicked and dragged out of the road, while many elderly persons were pinned beneath others who had fallen on top of them. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries beyond a few bloody noses and people who had sustained cuts and bruises.

After approximately 15 minutes of this, police managed to corral the entire group into an area just off the road, where the protest continued peacefully for the rest of the day. Although unable to march, the group held a loud and emotional protest in support of those besieged in the Gaza Strip.

The crowd sang, chanted, hung flags and banners from trees and called on the Egyptian government to end its complicity in the siege imposed on the people of Gaza. Representatives of each of the dozens of countries present gave short but moving speeches, demonstrating the truly international show of solidarity for the people of Gaza in this march.

Haroon Wadee, an organizer of the South African delegation, highlighted the similarities between the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the current struggle of the Palestinian people for their freedom and liberation. He recalled the famous quote of former South African President Nelson Mandela who said that "South Africa is not free until Palestine is free."

While it was deeply disappointing for the nearly 1,400 delegates who came from 43 countries that they could not physically be in Gaza today, this was a momentous and historic gathering of justice-loving people from every corner of the globe, united by their common desire to see Gaza free. On the eve of a new year, the crowd vowed to do everything in their power to make 2010 the year that the siege of Gaza is finally and forever broken."

Neither wars nor drones

By Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst

".....Wars, classic or covert, undermine serious political settlements or solutions to problems, whether intra-national or inter-regional.

And neither wars or drones are right to tackle the problem of "terrorism".

Unless the Obama administration recognises that "counterterrorism" is first and foremost political and not military, it will repeat more of its predecessor's crimes and mistakes......"

Video: Only 100 of Intl. peace activists allowed entry into Gaza

Keep Up With The Latest From Ali Abunimah in Cairo

Gaza Freedom Marchers still at Tahrir Square.

People on streets of Cairo saying Free Gaza, Lift the siege.

Hedy Epstein is on the streets of Cairo calling for free Gaza #GFM

GFM marchers hang Palestine flag from pyramid

The Moral Cowardice Award: Karen Abu Zayd

By Angry Arab

"Yesterday, on Aljazeera's Bila Hudud, Karen Abu Zayd (the UNRWA's commissioner) was the guest. She was quite reprehensible: in what she said and what she did not say. Don't get me wrong. I was never a fan of this woman, and I know how appointment to the position of commissioner of UNRWA are made at the US Department of State. I knew Ambassador Eagleton (some) when he was appointed to that position, and he was less bad than Abu Zayd, for sure. The host, Ahmad Mansur, was livid with her: he kept telling her. This is the last day of your service in that position. What are you afraid of? Why are you so scared to speak against Israel? Why can't you say a word about the Egyptian wall around Gaza? And she was exactly that: cowardly in every sense of the word, but I was pleased for Arab viewers to watch this lousy leader--in theory--of an organization that in name speaks on behalf of the Palestinian refugees and cares for them. At one point, she was asked about taking Israel to an international court for war crimes. She said: there is no need for that, because Israel has already apologized for bombing UN buildings and expressed willingness to even pay for reconstruction. So according to this representative of the White Man among the natives, the only crime that can be pinned on Israel is that it bombed buildings of the UN in Gaza. Frustrated by her cowardice, Mansur repeated again, that she was scared and terrified to make the most basic and elementary form of criticisms of crimes against the refugees that UNRWA supposedly care for. Karen Abu Zayd is a disgrace to the position that she holds, and Joe Lieberman would not have been worse in that job than Karen Abu Zayd. When the history of the (victorious) Palestinian resistance movement will be written, her name should be added to the list of people who have been disgraceful in the history of the conflict. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza's war of words - 28 December 2009

Part 1:

Part 2:

"A year has passed since Israel's 22 day war on Gaza, but the war of words continues.

Both sides have sophisticated media strategies, and as the message is ever more muddied, distilling the truth becomes yet more difficult.

Al-Jazeera looks at how the War of words between Israel and Hamas is waged. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Riz Khan - Holding Israel to account - 29 Dec 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"In the year since the Gaza war, activists have stepped up their calls for sanctions on Israel. These include appeals to withdraw investments in Israel (divestment); to boycott Israeli goods and services, cultural institutions and universities; and to prosecute the top political and military leaders behind the war. But generally the diplomatic fallout of the war has been manageable for Israel, so what do the supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) hope to achieve?"

2009 in Perspective: Glenn Greenwald on the Five Wars US Is Fighting in Muslim Countries. (Transcript included)

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"As 2009 comes to a close, today we begin by taking a step back and putting this year of war in perspective. blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses US foreign policy, including the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes on Pakistan, cruise missile attacks on Yemen, operations in Somalia, the ongoing operation in Iraq, and much more......"

Gaza Freedom March

By Jean Athey

(Jean Athey is a retired grandmother of six who lives in Brookeville, MD. She is coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery, a local volunteer peace group in Montgomery County, MD.)

"We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day—they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19.

Typically, they surround us with moveable steel fences, which they line up behind and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice. However, their innocent appearance doesn't mean they won't become aggressive; police today were very rough with several Spanish protesters. As internationals, though, we have great protection not enjoyed by locals. Some Egyptians have joined in these protests, and we find their courage astounding.

This morning, I was at the U.S. Embassy with a group of about 40 other Americans. We went hoping to see the Ambassador, but instead we were surrounded by Egyptian police in riot gear and kept penned in for some five hours. The police told us that they did this at the behest of the American Embassy, but later the "political security officer" of the Embassy denied it. So, who is lying?....

Is this change we can believe in?

We ask our government to live by the words of our President and to help us end the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza."

‘The two-state solution is starting to look impractical’

By Jonathan Cook
December 31. 2009

"NAZARETH // The biggest effect for Israel’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of its assault on Gaza last winter has been to smash any remaining illusions that there is a future for the minority in a Jewish state, the community’s leaders have agreed.

They say that minority voters have almost completely abandoned Zionist parties, even left-wing ones, believing that none is really interested in a peaceful solution to the country’s conflict with the Palestinians..........

That view was shared by Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Arab Association for Human Rights, based in Nazareth. “We need a new way of dealing with Israel. The two-state solution is starting to look impractical and that has given a significant push to the idea that Palestinians inside Israel should be campaigning for a single state for both peoples.”

This new-found political confidence was manifest during the Gaza offensive, Mr Zeidan said, when Palestinian citizens held the biggest protests in their history. The largest, in the northern city of Sakhnin, drew a crowd of at least 100,000.

“There is much more certainty among the Palestinian public and leadership inside Israel that it has a right to speak out on pan-Palestinian issues,” he said. “Once, we tended to remain on the sidelines, waiting to take our political cues from the Palestinian leadership outside Israel. Now, the Palestinian Authority is seen to be damaging the popular consensus among Palestinians and people here are looking for their own answers.”

One Palestinian party, the National Democratic Assembly, even went so far as to call for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, during the attack on Gaza after his Palestinian Authority was seen to be suppressing dissent in the West Bank.

Ms Zoubi, a NDA member, said: “It was clear that Israel would have had a much harder time dealing with the fallout from Gaza, including the Goldstone report, were it not for the silence of Mahmoud Abbas. He is facing a lot of anger and criticism from Palestinians inside Israel.”....."

Egypt's Steel Wall

Of Rumors and Gaza's Pesky Taxi Drivers


".....My father, as many in his generation, fought in the Egyptian army and the Palestinian Liberation Army. Following defeat in the war of 1967, he was hauled along wounded and dead Egyptian soldiers across Sinai, as well as on a floating army bridge over the Suez Canal under intense Israeli aerial bombardment. As a child, I once accompanied him on a journey to an impoverished neighborhood in Cairo to look for an Egyptian war buddy of his. When we found out that he was long dead, my father wept. Confused and scared among the ailing buildings, I too cried. Indeed, the bond between Egyptians and Palestinians is historical, everlasting, cemented in blood, sweat and tears.

Yes, everlasting, despite the responses of the Egyptian government to the more recent suffering of Palestinians in Gaza......

More recently, news of an enormous metal wall that Egypt erected at its border with Gaza has come to the fore. The Egyptian decision is both politically and financially loaded. Considering that the US – spurred on by Israel – has strived to develop ways to completely choke Gaza, one can safely conclude that the decision has not come solely from Egypt, though as a sovereign country the latter must still be held fully accountable. According to Press TV, Karen Abu Zaid, United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General described the wall as more dangerous than the Bar Lev Line, which was built by Israel along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal following the capturing of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in 1967. The Egyptian wall is arguably more dangerous because it will increase the suffering of an already tormented civilian population.

But more than dangerous, it is also disheartening. Palestinians, including some in the Hamas government never cease to refer to Egypt and Egyptians as “Sister Egypt” and “Egyptian brethren”. Why then are Sister Egypt and the Egyptian brethren taking part in this injustice and allowing Israeli violence to perpetuate? Money? Political validation? Attempts at regional relevance and fear of dismissal if they dare defy Washington’s will?......"

U.S. Arms Feed Yemen's Gun Culture

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Dec 30 (IPS) - When Yemen refused to vote in support of a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution against Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, a visibly angry U.S. delegate turned to the Yemeni diplomat and said: "That will be the last time you will ever vote against a U.S. resolution."

Washington's subsequent retaliation, in the aftermath of that negative vote, was predictable. The United States not only downgraded its relationship with Yemen but also cut off all military aid to a country once heavily armed with Soviet weapons.

But since that much-talked-about confrontation in the Security Council chamber, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the fluctuating love-hate relationship between the two countries........

William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New York-based New America Foundation, cites press reports to suggest that Washington will rapidly ramp up U.S. military aid to Yemen over the next 18 months. The projected total, he said, is about 70 million dollars, or roughly the amount provided during the entire administration of former President George W. Bush.[Now that is" Change We Can Believe In!"]......

Hartung said the Obama administration "is essentially initiating a low-level war in Yemen with little or no public discussion about its potential consequences"."

Barack Obama, Interventionist and Ultimate Jihadi Hero

by Michael Scheuer, December 31, 2009

"....In his response to the al-Qaeda attack in Detroit, Obama echoed the identical analytic path blazed by his fellow interventionists George W. Bush and Bill Clinton....

....In a statement of less than a quarter-hour, then, Obama demonstrated how thoroughly he slicked Americans in the last presidential election. The "hope" he offered turns out to be not less but more war-causing interventionism framed by a secularist "moral compass" alien to most non-elite Americans; the "Yes we can" slogan has proven to refer to making Obama’s Washington the agent of forced Westernization from the Congo to Afghanistan, and from Burma to Iran; and the president’s much-touted "audacity" seems nothing more than Obama’s brass in continuing to reassuringly chant the Bush-Clinton-Bush lie to Americans that Islamists attack us because of our way of life not because of our interventionism.

And thus is how a great republic is being ruined by the littlest of arrogant and willful men."

Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history

Extraordinarily, the US is making exactly the same mistake as in Iraq and Afghanistan

A Good Comment
By Patrick Cockburn

".....I have always loved the country. It is physically very beautiful with cut stone villages perched on mountain tops on the sides of which are cut hundreds of terraces, making the country look like an exaggerated Tuscan landscape. Yemenis are intelligent, humorous, sociable and democratic, infinitely preferable as company to the arrogant and ignorant playboys of the Arab oil states in the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.....

Yemen is a mosaic of conflicting authorities, though this authority may be confined to a few villages. Larger communities include the Shia around Sanaa in the north of the country near Saada, with whom the government has been fighting a fierce little civil war. The unification of North and South Yemen in 1990 has never wholly gelled and the government is wary of southern secessionism. Its ability to buy off its opponents is also under threat as oil revenues fall, with the few oilfields beginning to run dry......

There is ominous use by American politicians and commentators of the phrase "failed state" in relation to Yemen, as if this some how legitimised foreign intervention. It is extraordinary that the US political elite has never taken on board that its greatest defeats have been in just such "failed states"', not least Lebanon in 1982, when 240 US Marines were blown up; Somalia in the early 1990s when the body of a US helicopter pilot was dragged through the streets; Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein; and Afghanistan after the supposed fall of the Taliban......

Yemen has all the explosive ingredients of Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. But the arch-hawk Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, was happily confirming this week that the Green Berets and the US Special Forces are already there. He cited with approval an American official in Sanaa as telling him that, "Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If you don't act pre-emptively Yemen will be tomorrow's war." In practice pre-emptive strikes are likely to bring a US military entanglement in Yemen even closer.......

Despite sectarian, ethnic and tribal loyalties in the countries where the US has intervened in the Middle East, they usually have a strong sense of national identity. Yemenis are highly conscious of their own nationality and their identity as Arabs.....

In Yemen the US is walking into the al-Qa'ida trap. Once there it will face the same dilemma it faces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It became impossible to exit these conflicts because the loss of face would be too great. Just as Washington saved banks and insurance giants from bankruptcy in 2008 because they were "too big to fail," so these wars become too important to lose because to do so would damage the US claim to be the sole superpower.....

...But the danger of claiming spurious victories is that such distortions of history make it impossible for the US to learn from past mistakes and instead it repeats them by fresh interventions in countries like Yemen."