Saturday, September 17, 2011

التسجيل الكامل لمقابلة حديث الثورة مع الدكتور عزمي بشارة

تاريخ النشر: 17/09/2011

The Universality of Mendacity and Hypocrisy, by Imad Hajjaj

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - International interest in Libya

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria protesters defy government crackdown

Syria Protests September 16, 2011 : A Video Roundup

(More than 70 videos)

(09.16.2011) Al-Wa'er Homs "Islam and Christianity, we will continue together"

Amr Moussa: Camp David Accords 'untouchable'.... What An Ass!

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"The 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the Camp David Accords, is untouchable, presidential hopeful Amr Moussa has said.

On Saturday Egypt's state news agency, MENA, cited Moussa as telling the Kuwaiti paper Al-Jarida that "the treaty has become a historical record."

In statements earlier this month, Moussa said that the peace treaty could be amended because it is “neither a Quran nor a Bible.”

These statements come amid calls for amending the treaty, which several observers believe does not serve the interests of Egypt......"

How civil society pushed Turkey to ditch Israel’s war industry

Jamal Juma' and Maren Mantovani
The Electronic Intifada
16 September 2011

"....Turkey ditches Israeli war industry

Here, the popular mood is similar to Egypt’s. For a long time, the Turkish government has been aware of the unpopularity of its support of the Israeli war industry and the occupation of Palestine. The people in Turkey have consistently shown overwhelming solidarity with Palestine, most notably with their mobilization for the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which ended in a brutal attack by the Israeli navy. Israel commandos killed eight Turkish citizens and one US citizen of Turkish origin on the Mavi Marmara.

Now, we see the Turkish government taking leads from its citizens, mobilizations in the region, and the Palestinian people. Only two months ago, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) launched its call for a military embargo on Israel (“Impose a mandatory and comprehensive military embargo on Israel,” BDS Movement, 8 July 2011).

This call was supported by organizations and unions representing dozens of millions of people all over the globe.

For civil society in the entire region, beyond just Egyptians and Turks, there can be no question about the power of citizens to affect social and political changes that can undermine Israeli apartheid and neo-colonial policies pursued by neighboring governments.

Meltdown of power structures

Power relations and alliances are changing in the Middle East. The strength of the people’s movements is a driving force in this phenomenon, as well as a result of it....."

Troops in Iraq: Who do we think we are fooling?

By Stephen M. Walt

".....My question is: Whom do we think we are fooling? Surely not the Iraqis, who aren't likely to see much difference between U.S. soldiers and U.S. "paramilitary security contractors." Indeed, the Sadrist movement has already denounced these plans, and is holding a major demonstration in Baghdad today to demand a complete U.S. withdrawal. And we aren't fooling the remaining anti-American extremists in the rest of the region, who believe that the United States is an aggressive imperial power seeking to dominate the region with military force and who will use our remaining presence-no matter how it is camouflaged-as a recruiting tool.

The real answer, I suspect, is that we fooling ourselves. By removing most of the troops, and leaving behind CIA personnel and thousands of contractors, we are pretending to have fulfilled the pledge to leave Iraq. This will make it easier for Obama to claim that he ended an unpopular war and for Americans to think we won some sort of victory. Of course, the fact that the Pentagon still thinks we have to have troops there to "stabilize" the situation underscores how false the latter claim is. But one danger is that we will think we have left Iraq when we really haven't, and so we won't understand why many people there (and in neighboring countries) continue to see the United States as having designs on the region."

Libyan women: it's our revolution too

Women played a crucial role in overthrowing Gaddafi and yet the National Transitional Council has only one female in post

Chris Stephen and Irina Kalashnikova in Misrata, David Smith in Tripoli, Friday 16 September 2011

"They smuggled bullets in handbags, tended wounded fighters, cooked meals for frontline units, sold their jewellery to buy combat jeeps and sewed the flags that fly in liberated cities. But with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi almost complete, many Libyan women are asking whether it's their revolution too.

This week Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the governing National Transitional Council, announced before cheering crowds in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square that "women will be ambassadors, women will be ministers".

To which the question from many women is – when?....."

Thou Shall Not Oppose Israeli Apartheid: Orchestra suspends four musicians who opposed Israeli musicians' concert

London Philharmonic Orchestra punishes cellist and violinists who wanted Proms appearance by Israeli players cancelled

The Guardian

"The London Philharmonic Orchestra has suspended four musicians for nine months for using its name when they called unsuccessfully for the cancellation of a concert by an Israeli orchestra at the Proms.

The move follows the indefinite suspension of an unnamed LPO violinist after she allegedly launched an anti-Israel "rant" when Israeli musicians appeared at the Royal College of Music before the concert at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this month.

In a statement, Tim Walker, the LPO's chief executive, and Martin Hohmann, its chairman, said the suspensions sent "a strong and clear message that their actions will not be tolerated … the orchestra would never restrict the right of its players to express themselves freely, however such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself.

"The company has no wish to end the careers of four talented musicians but … for the LPO, music and politics do not mix [Wagner and Hitler would beg to differ!]."......"

Dueling legitimacies in Libya

Two sides are fighting a cold war over the nature of Libya's new political order.

Soumaya Ghannoushi


"After six months of defiant resistance, countless fiery speeches, chilling threats, and blood-curdling brutality, Gaddafi has finally fallen on his sword. His collapse, however, is far from the end of the story. Instead, it heralds the start of a more complicated chapter in his country's history. As tanks surround Gaddafi's last outposts in Sirte, the cold war over the country's future gathers pace. As the common enemy is forced out of the scene, the vast differences between those he had brought together return to occupy centre stage.
The vacuum created by Gaddafi's departure is now filled by a sharp polarisation between two camps. The first camp is the National Transitional Council, made up largely of ex-ministers and prominent senior Gaddafi officials who had jumped from his ship as it began to sink. These enjoy the support of NATO and derive their power and influence from the backing of western nations. The second camp is composed of local political and military leaders who have played a decisive role in the liberation of the various Libyan cities from Gaddafi's brigades, including the capital. The thousands of fighters and activists they command are now convened within local military councils, such as the Tripoli council, which was founded following the liberation of the capital and which recently elected as its head Abdulkarim Bel Haj. Ironically, this hero of Tripoli's liberation is the same man who, a few years back, had been deported, along with other Libyan dissidents, by MI6 and the CIA to Gaddafi, who was their close ally at the time.....

Libya is set to be a scene of multiple battles: conflicts between NATO's men and the fighters and their supporters on the ground, and conflicts between the foreign forces that have invested in the war on Gaddafi: the French, who are determined to have the upper hand politically and economically; the Italians, who regard Libya as their back garden; the British, who are determined to safeguard their contracts; and the Turks, keen to revive their influence in the old Ottoman hemisphere. Then there are the losing players in the new equation: the Chinese and the Russians."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today is the 29th Anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila Massacres. How Many Remember? How Many Care?

At Last the Truth About Sabra and Chatila Massacres
by Robert Fisk

The Independent

"Journalist Robert Fisk returns to the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Fisk recounts how Lebanese Christian militias who were under the control of the Israeli military murdered over 2000 Palestinians in the camps. Fisk also points to a building in the distance from where he insists the Israeli forces could witness the massacre. The Israeli government's own Kahan Commission found that future Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was personally responsible for the massacre. This is from a documentary Fisk made about "why so many Muslims have come to hate the West." But we know the real reason is because they hate our freedom, right?"


Video: Sabra & Shatila massacre of Palestinians-Eyewitness (Robert Fisk & Odd Karsten Tveit)

Three Big Challenges Threatening the Arab Uprisings

The Arab Autumn


"....However, the popular uprisings sweeping much of the Arab world this year are facing three crucial predicaments. How the different sides in each political theatre deal with these critical issues will determine the future of these societies, as they undergo their genuine popular revolutions, and a change in leadership, for the first time in decades....

Although each country has its own local conditions and special circumstances, there are many common factors facing the uprisings of the Arab spring. In particular, there are three main intricate challenges engulfing the Arab revolts since their inception.

1. The revolutionaries are not in charge

....In short, revolutions are about fundamental transformations to the political structure and power relationships in the country as well as the redistribution of resources within society, not a change in personalities or modalities.

But so far much of the changes have been cosmetic and superficial. Unless those who led the revolutions, sacrificing their blood and livelihoods along the way, are elected and put in charge to lead the reforms and carry out the demands of the people, no genuine change can actually take place.

2. The role of Islam in society

....But the role of Islam in society should not be a source of tension and discord among political groups. There is no denying that Islam, as a religion and culture, has played a major role in shaping the identity and history of the region for over a millennium. This heritage and legacy will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of the region within the democratic nature of the civil state.

Thus for the objectives of the revolutions to be realized, both ideological camps should commit themselves to the principles of democratic governance and respect the will of the people with no imposition of one’s vision over the other.

3. The role of foreign powers

....The continuation of foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Arab World, particularly in the countries where the people have asserted their will and taken to the streets to topple their dictators, will continue to sour Arab public opinion against the West. Because of its unabashed meddling, it is questionable whether the U.S. and other Western countries truly respect and honor the will of the Arab people and their aspirations for freedom and self-determination."

Real News Video: UN Gaza Flotilla Report Gravely Flawed

Michael Ratner​: Palmer report wrongly states Israel's Gaza blockade is legal

More at The Real News

Real News Video: Ain Shams University Demand Dismissal of University Leaders

Dozens of Ain Shams University students protested outside the university administration on Tuesday demanding the dismissal of university leaders and the election of university deans without any interference from state security

More at The Real News

Syria's stalemate raises the spectre of civil war

Assad's opponents are putting pressure on the international community to act in Syria, but who would intervene, and how?

Brian Whitaker, Thursday 15 September 2011

"Syrian demonstrators burned Russian flags in the cities of Homs and Deraa this week in protest at Russia's continuing support for the Assad regime and its blocking of a tough resolution from the UN security council.

After six months of deadly conflict on the streets in which neither side seems able to gain the upper hand, the flag-burning is one sign that the regime's opponents are looking increasingly for foreigners to tip the balance in their direction.....

The Syrians who burned Russian flags in Homs and Deraa probably had the right idea. Pressuring the countries that still back Assad seems the best step forward at present. If a solid international consensus can be established, it will become possible to put a serious squeeze on the regime – diplomatically and economically – from outside, while others work inside until enough of the regime's key supporters decide that the game is up."

Egyptians rally in Tahrir Square against return of emergency laws

Amnesty International describes security move as biggest threat to human rights since January revolution

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Friday 16 September 2011

"Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square to rally against the military junta's reactivation of Mubarak-era emergency laws, and Amnesty International [See post below] has described the move as the biggest threat to human rights in the country since the revolution of 25 January.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak earlier this year and has promised to hand over to an elected civilian government in November, announced that it was broadening the application of emergency law following clashes at the Israeli embassy in Cairo last Friday.

The suspension of normal civilian rights and the existence of special "security courts" were a hallmark of the Mubarak regime, which maintained a permanent emergency law throughout the former dictator's reign.....

Activists fear the legal clampdown will be used to further stifle popular dissent against military rule. The new military decree extends emergency law to cover a glut of vaguely defined transgressions that could easily be applied to legitimate protest, including "infringing on others' right to work", "impeding the flow of traffic", and "spreading false information in the media"...."

Egypt: Emergency law biggest threat to rights since "25 January revolution"

Amnesty International
15 September 2011

"The Egyptian military authorities’ expansion of the emergency law is the greatest erosion of human rights since the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, Amnesty International said today.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) broadened the application of the Mubarak-era emergency law early this week following clashes between demonstrators and security forces at the Israeli embassy last Friday. The confrontation resulted in three reported deaths and some 130 arrests.

Restricted in 2010 to terrorism and drug crimes, the emergency law has now reverted to its original scope, and been expanded to cover offences that include disturbing traffic, blocking roads, broadcasting rumours, possessing and trading in weapons, and “assault on freedom to work” according to official statements.

These changes are a major threat to the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and the right to strike,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We are looking at the most serious erosion of human rights in Egypt since Mubarak stepped down.”

The military authorities have essentially taken Egypt’s laws back to the bad old days. Even President Mubarak limited the scope of the emergency law to terrorism and drug offences in May last year,” said Philip Luther......"

Palestinians left homeless as Israel demolishes West Bank houses

Amnesty International
15 September 2011

"Israeli military bulldozers demolished three homes and water cisterns in ‘Aqaba village in the northern West Bank on Thursday morning, leaving 22 people, including 12 children, homeless.

Since the beginning of the year, over 750 Palestinians in the West Bank have been displaced after their homes were demolished by the Israeli military, nearly five times more than in the same period last year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs....

These repeated demolitions which forcibly evict Palestinians from land they have lived on for generations are outrageous and unnecessary,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The sharp increase in West Bank demolitions in 2011 shows that this is not some administrative mistake but a conscious Israeli government policy to remove Palestinians from the area,” he said......"

"عروبة" أردوغان وأتركة العربان!../


زهير أندراوس

مضافًا إلى ذلك، لا بدّ من الإشارة إلى أنّ تركيّا أعلنت يوم الخميس، الـ15 من أيلول (سبتمبر) الجاري، رسميًا، عن نصب صواريخ الإنذار المبّكر على أراضيها للتجسس على "حليفتها" إيران، الأمر الذي دفع الأخيرة إلى تحذير أنقرة، أيْ أنّ تركيا بالعربيّ الفصيح، تخدم إسرائيل من حيث تدري أوْ لا تدري، إذ أنّ التنسيق الأمنيّ بين واشنطن وتل أبيب هو على درجةٍ عاليةٍ جدًا، أمّا الإدعاء بأنّ الموافقة التركيّة على الخطوة الأمريكيّة جاءت بفعل كون أنقرة عضوًا في حلف شمال الأطلسيّ (الناتو)، فهو عذر أقبح من ذنب، كما نرى أنّ هنا المكان وهذا هو الزمان للتذكير بأنّ تركيّا، خلافًا لـ(الشقيقتين)، بوليفيا وفنزويلا، لم تقطع حتى كتابة هذه السطور علاقاتها الدبلوماسيّة مع إسرائيل، كما أنّ حجم التبادل التجاريّ بين الدولتين، منذ بداية العام الحاليّ، وصل إلى أكثر من ثلاثة مليارات دولار، ناهيك عن أنّ أردوغان لم يُلغ الاتفاقيًات العسكريّة والأمنيّة مع تل أبيب، إنّما جمّدها فقط.


وهناك نقطة أخرى يجب الالتفات إليها: تركيًا حليفة قويّة لأمريكا منذ غابر الأزمان، وتربطهما علاقات إستراتيجيّة قويّة للغاية، كذلك الحال بالنسبة لإسرائيل، ومن هنا، لا نعتقد أنّ واشنطن ستسمح للحليفتين الأكثر أهميّة لها في الشرق الأوسط بالدخول في حرب طاحنة بينهما، وعليه فإنّ تهديد إردوغان بأنّه لا يستبعد إرسال بوارج حربيّة مستقبلاً لمرافقة سفن كسر الحصار إلى غزة، هو تهديد فارغ المضمون، ولن يخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ، ذلك أنّه يصب في مصلحة إيران، التي تناصبها تركيّا العداء بسبب تضارب مصالحهما وتناقض تحالفاتهما في المنطقة.


عند الامتحان يُكرّم المرء أوْ يُهان، هكذا قالت العرب، وعليه نقول لرئيس الوزراء التركيّ: لا نريد بوارج حربيّة ولا نريد سفن معونات، نريد فقط أنْ نعرف الحقيقة، الحقيقة وفقط الحقيقة بدون رتوش: لماذا عدلت عن زيارة قطاع غزة المحاصر؟ ما الذي منعك من ذلك؟ هل صحيح أنّ الحليفة أمريكا "طلبت" منك عدم القيام بهذه الزيارة الخطيرة؟ أمْ أنّك اقتنعت بأنّ هذه الزيارة ستزيد من قوة حماس وستُضعف الرئيس غير الرئيس، عبّاس؟


باسم الشعب العربيّ الفلسطينيّ، وباسم إخوتنا المحاصرين في غزة نقول لك بدون لفٍ أوْ دوران: لا، لا، ومرّة أخرى لا: لا تستغل مأساة القطاع لكسب المزيد من النقاط، حصار قطاع غزة الإجراميّ من قبل إسرائيل ليس معروضًا بالمزاد العلنيّ لهذا الزعيم أوْ ذاك، وبما أننّا من الناطقين بالضاد وحتى لغتنا العاميّة فصيحة نقول لحضرتك وبأعلى الصوت: خيّط بغير هال...مسلة

Time for people power to open Rafah crossing

Haidar Eid
The Electronic Intifada

15 September 2011

"The wolf is more merciful than my brothers - Mahmoud Darwish

Writing about the Rafah crossing, after the spectacular success of the Egyptian revolution in ousting Hosni Mubarak, brings back the horrific memory of the deposed dictator’s regime. There were high expectations amongst the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza earlier this year after former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi described the Mubarak government’s complicity with Israel in besieging Gaza as “disgraceful.”

This was followed on 29 May by an official announcement by the Egyptian government that the Rafah crossing would be permanently opened. Palestinians with passports would be allowed to cross into Egypt every day from 9am to 5pm, except for Fridays and holidays. Palestinian women and children would be able to leave Gaza without restrictions, while men between the ages of 18 and 40 would have to obtain visas to enter Egypt. Despite these conditions, and even though the free flow of goods and materials would not be allowed, Palestinians in Gaza welcomed this move.

This decision, however, was implemented for only two days.....

We Palestinians are engaged in a national liberation struggle and the context in Gaza, especially during and after the massacre, requires a complete paradigm shift in our understanding of the tools of struggle and the political program that is to be used. It is the time of people power as evidenced on the streets of Cairo, Damascus, Sana’a, Manama and Tunis. The people of Egypt with the Palestinians of Gaza can open the crossing permanently and unconditionally, regardless of what Israel and its backers in the White House and 10 Downing Street think. Their man in Sharm El-Sheikh is behind bars, thanks to the sacrifices and courage of ordinary people like Khaled Said and Ahmed al-Shahat and the men, women and children of Gaza who managed to tear down the cement walls on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders twice.

There are lessons to learn from Gaza 2009. We have lost faith in the so-called international community that claims to uphold international law, as their representatives such as the UN, EU and the Arab League by and large have remained silent in the face of atrocities committed by apartheid Israel. They are therefore on the side of Israel.....

The closing of the Palestinians of Gaza’s only exit to the outside world amounts to a crime against humanity, given the Israeli siege and ongoing bombardment of Gaza. Egypt has a moral and political obligation to open the Rafah crossing permanently and around the clock. Egypt cannot continue to support opportunistic interpretations of international law that justify the ongoing deprivation of medicine, milk, food and other essentials to the population of Gaza.

The sanctity of human lives should take precedence over borders and treaties and solidarity activists need to take the lead in making this point to the Egyptian and other governments.....

No misinterpretation of international law can override Palestinians’ right to free movement in and out of Egypt just because they are also at the same time engaged in a struggle against Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid."

الثورة المصرية تنزع 'قداسة' كامب ديفيد

الثورة المصرية تنزع 'قداسة' كامب ديفيد
رأي القدس

"فاجأنا السيد عصام شرف رئيس الوزراء المصري بتصريحاته التي ادلى بها يوم امس ووصف فيها معاهدة السلام بين مصر واسرائيل (كامب ديفيد) بانها ليست مقدسة، وانها قابلة للتعديل، ولكنه لم يضف كلمة 'الالغاء'.
السيد شرف يحاول، وهو الذي اختارته ثورة ميدان التحرير وشبابها لتولي منصبه هذا، التماهي مع مشاعر الشعب المصري المتأججة ضد اسرائيل بعد استشهاد خمسة جنود مصريين اغتالتهم القوات الاسرائيلية على ارض سيناء قرب الحدود المصرية مع قطاع غزة، اثناء مطاردتها لمجموعة اتهمتها بالوقوف خلف عملية الهجوم على اسرائيليين قرب ميناء ايلات.
نعم اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد ليست مقدسة، مثلها مثل كل المعاهدات الدولية المماثلة، وقابلة ليس فقط للتعديل وانما الالغاء، فالامر يتعلق بمدى قوة او ضعف الاطراف الموقعة عليها، ونحن نتحدث هنا عن الطرفين المصري والاسرائيلي الموقعين على المعاهدة قبل ثلاثين عاماً على الاقل.
عندما جرى فرض هذه الاتفاقية على مصر في عهد السادات عام 1979، كانت في موقف الاضعف، فقد كانت خارجة لتوها من حرب، والرئيس السادات اراد ان ينقل البندقية من كتف الاتحاد السوفييتي الى الكتف الامريكي، آملاً في مساعدات امريكية ضخمة، ورخاء اقتصادي بالتالي، وفعلاً حصل على مساعدة امريكية عسكرية واقتصادية في حدود ملياري دولار سنويا.
اسرائيل لم تلتزم ببنود الاتفاقية جميعاً، وعملت على انتهاكها اكثر من مرة، وبطرق مذلة، ليس بقتل جنود مصريين وانتهاك السيادة المصرية في سيناء فقط، وانما ايضاً بشن حروب على الدول العربية، خاصة لبنان وقطاع غزة لاحراج القيادة والشعب المصري معاً واستفزاز مشاعرهما الاسلامية والعربية.
الآن تغيرت الصورة، وبدأت الموازين تتغير، ليس داخل مصر فقط، وانما في منطقة الشرق الاوسط برمتها، بفضل الثورات الشعبية التي اطاحت، وفي طريقها ان تطيح، بانظمة ديكتاتورية قمعية فاسدة، ابتداء من تونس ومصر ومرورا باليمن وانتهاء بسورية.
الشعب المصري استعاد زمام المبادرة، واستطاع ان يتخلص من نظامه الديكتاتوري، الذي رضخ للابتزازات والانتهاكات الاسرائيلية لسيادته وكرامته الوطنيتين طوال الاربعين عاماً الماضية، وباع الغاز والنفط للاسرائيليين باسعار مخجلة في تدنيها بالمقارنة مع الاسعار العالمية، واصبح من حقه ان يضغط من اجل تعديل اتفاقات كامب ديفيد، بل وحتى الغائها في حال استمرت اسرائيل بعدم الالتزام بها، ومواصلة انتهاكها.
اقتحام الآلاف من الثوار المصريين للسفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة وبعثرة محتوياتها، وانزال العلم وحرقه، ورفع العلم المصري مكانه، تلخص حقيقة مشاعر الشعب المصري تجاه هذه المعاهدة التي كان التطبيع والتبادل الدبلوماسي احد ابرز املاءاتها.
حكومة السيد عصام شرف التي لم تصر على الاعتذار الاسرائيلي الصريح والواضح عن قتل الجنود المصريين بدم بارد، واكتفت بقبول الاسف، والمشاركة الشكلية في لجنة تحقيق لم تحقق حتى الآن في الجريمة، هذه الحكومة مطالبة بقرن الاقوال حول تعديل معاهدة كامب ديفيد بالافعال، وبما يؤدي الى عودة السيادة والقوات المصرية الى ارض سيناء بشكل طبيعي مثل اي اراض مصرية اخرى، احتراماً للشعب المصري ومشاعره الوطنية الصادقة، وتجسيداً للتغيير الديمقراطي المشرف الذي فرضته دماء شهداء ثورة المصريين.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Military whistleblower tells of 'indiscriminate' Israeli attacks

Troops fired tear gas during a curfew in a West Bank village to stop peaceful demonstrations

By Donald Macintyre
The Independent
Friday, 16 September 2011

"Israeli troops fired tear gas indiscriminately and sometimes dangerously to enforce a daytime curfew inside a West Bank village to stop Palestinians holding a peaceful demonstration on their own land, a military whistleblower has told The Independent.

The soldier's insight into the methods of troops comes as the Israeli military prepares for demonstrations predicted when the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submits an application for the recognition of statehood to the UN next week.

The testimony also reinforces a report by the human rights agency B'Tselem which argues that the way Israel deals with protests in the small village of Nabi Saleh is denying the "basic right" to demonstrate in the West Bank. The right to demonstrate is enshrined in international conventions ratified by Israel...."

Steve Bell on the Cameron-Sarkozy visit to Libya

This is the Real (Pragmatic) Turkey, Looking After its Own Interests: Turkey blamed after defector is returned to Syria

Lieutenant Colonel Hussein al-Harmoush was first senior military officer to defect during anti-Assad uprising

Martin Chulov, Thursday 15 September 2011


This is a serious lesson for all the Arabs who are getting giddy about Erdogan, as if he is the second messiah and their savior!

"The first senior military officer to defect during the Syrian uprising has been arrested by regime forces after disappearing from Turkey, and is set to appear on state television, prompting opposition activists to claim he had been betrayed by his hosts as part of a deal.

Lieutenant Colonel Hussein al-Harmoush, who defected in June with senior members of an army unit responsible for a crackdown in the town of Jisr al-Shighour, went missing from a refugee camp in southern Turkey two weeks ago.

He had been received by Turkish officials as one of thousands of refugees who had fled Jisr al-Shighour and a series of security sweeps that followed. He had called several times for other Syrian forces to follow his lead.

The Syrian Arab news agency said Harmoush's "confession" was scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday night.

Wissam Tarif from the human rights organisation Avaaz said he had been told that Turkish officials had traded Harmoush for nine members of the PKK Kurdish militant group, which Turkey has proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

"We have heard from the Kurds that there has been a deal done," he said. "The Turks have been extremely interested in finding ways to clearly define the Kurdish role inside the [Syrian opposition] transitional council."....

...When asked on Thursday in Cairo about the missing officer, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, did not respond....."

Coming to Support Their Karzai: French and UK leaders welcomed in Tripoli

Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron offer continued help to NTC leaders as fighting continues for pro-Gaddafi strongholds.


Israel's "Tahrir," by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Remaining Israeli diplomats leave for Tel Aviv

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Israel's remaining diplomatic staff left Cairo on Thursday, following the Israeli ambassador and some other embassy officials in leaving for Tel Aviv after the Israeli Embassy was stormed last Friday.

Sources at the Cairo airport said the embassy staff, composed of Israeli Plenipotentiary Minister Yisrael Tuckachinsky, the embassy’s security chief, and the security chief's deputy, left on board an Air Sinai flight for Tel Aviv.

The same sources did not disclose if any of the embassy’s staff remained in the building....."

This is the "New" Egypt??Military rulers activate Mubarak’s repressive media policies

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"The recent crackdown on the al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel, preceded by a decision to halt the authorization of new satellite channels, has reinforced assumptions that Egypt’s military rulers are reproducing Hosni Mubarak’s oppressive media policies.

On Sunday, authorities raided the Cairo headquarters of the 24-hour news channel Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, confiscated transmission equipment and detained one of the channel’s engineers. Information Minister Osama Heikal defended the clampdown in a press conference held on Monday, saying that the channel had been airing for nearly six months with no license and that its owners had not met paperwork requirements.....

Al-Jazeera: An old enemy

For some observers, the clampdown on Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr is reminiscent of the hostility of Mubarak’s regime toward the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news network. The pan-Arab Al-Jazeera network was hated by the former regime for its critical coverage of Egypt’s politics. On several occasions, the regime had retaliated by detaining the channel’s reporters, barring them from covering crucial events or confiscating their tapes....

Regulating the airwaves

Earlier this week, the information minister told reporters that the government needs to revisit the regulations governing private radio stations and television channels....."

PLO ambassador Maen Areikat offers tacit support for Israeli ethnic cleansing, apartheid

By Ali Abunimah

"In a shocking statement, Maen Areikat, the “ambassador” of the unelected, unrepresentative Palestinian Authority/PLO leadership, has reportedly espoused Israel’s brutal vision of apartheid and racial segregation.

Even worse, his comments provide support for Israeli leaders who advocate expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel.....

However, the real victims of the PA/PLO’s espousal of apartheid will not be Jews – whom the PA already conceded would remain in settlements to be annexed to Israel – but Palestinian citizens of Israel.....

Despite these clarifications, Areikat’s emphasis on people being “totally separated” plays into the hands of racist Israeli politicians who insist that hafrada – the Hebrew term for “separation” which can of course be translated as “apartheid” – is the only way to “peace.”"

State of recognition

Whether the UN grants the PA status as a state or refuses to do so, either outcome will be in Israel's interest.


Joseph Massad

"What is at stake in Barack Obama's vehement refusal to recognise Palestine as a mini-state with a disfigured geography and no sovereignty, and his urging the world community not to recognise it while threatening the Palestinians with retribution? What is the relationship between Obama's refusal to recognise Palestine and his insistence on recognising Israel's right to be a "Jewish state" and his demand that the Palestinians and Arab countries follow suit?

It is important to stress at the outset that whether the UN grants the Palestinian Authority (PA) the government of a state under occupation and observer status as a state or refuses to do so, either outcome will be in the interest of Israel. For the only game in town has always been Israel's interests, and it is clear that whatever strategy garners international support, with or without US and Israeli approval, must guarantee Israeli interests a priori. The UN vote is a case in point.

Possible outcomes
Either outcome will keep the Palestinian people colonised, discriminated against, oppressed, and exiled. This entire brouhaha over the UN vote is ultimately about which of the two scenarios is better for Israeli interests. The Palestinian people and their interests are not even part of this equation.

The question on the table before the UN, then, is not whether the UN should recognise the right of the Palestinian people to a state in accordance with the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which would grant them 45 per cent of historic Palestine, nor of a Palestinian state within the June 5, 1967 borders along the Green Line, which would grant them 22 per cent of historic Palestine. A UN recognition ultimately means the negation of the rights of the majority of the Palestinian people in Israel, in the diaspora, in East Jerusalem, and even in Gaza, and the recognition of the rights of some West Bank Palestinians to a Bantustan on a fraction of West Bank territory amounting to less than 10 per cent of historic Palestine. Israel will be celebrating either outcome."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll asks:

Do you support letting former officials, in (Arab) countries that have experienced revolutions, participate in government?

With over 300 responding (it is very early), 86% said no.

Taliban hijack the US's narrative

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"While this week's Taliban attacks on multiple high-profile targets in Kabul claimed fewer lives than previous assaults, their sophisticated nature, likely use of insiders in the Afghan security apparatus and powerful media impact highlight how the insurgents have in recent months taken the US strategy of crafting a winning "narrative" for the war - and turned it on its head....

The US war strategy has been based at least in part on convincing Afghans that the United States would remain in Afghanistan indefinitely, and that the Taliban would weaken. But the Taliban war narrative that it is able to penetrate the even the tightest security and cannot be defeated appears to have far more credibility with Afghans of all political stripes than the narrative put forward by US strategists."

Israel 'evacuates Jordan embassy' amid protests in Amman

Diplomats reportedly transported home from mission after fears of repeat of violence at Cairo mission last week

Associated Press in Jerusalem, Thursday 15 September 2011

"Nearly all the staff have been cleared out of the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital ahead of an anti-Israel protest, amid fears the mission could be attacked like the one in Cairo was last week, according to reports.

A convoy transporting the Israeli diplomats left Amman for Israel overnight, Israel's Haaretz newspaper said...."

Egyptian junta re-enacts an old law to inhibit press freedom

The Guardian

"Revolutionary change is rarely straightforward and is often characterised by two steps forward and one step back and, sometimes, two steps back.

Look at the latest state of play in Egypt where the ruling military council has reactivated the emergency law once enforced by the administration of deposed premier Hosni Mubarak.

Journalists fear that this law, ostensibly reintroduced in the wake of the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, will be used to muzzle the media.

According to the independent daily, Al-Masry al-Youm, the law allows civilians, including journalists, to be tried in state security courts and to be detained indefinitely.

The announcement came despite the supreme military council's commitment to annul the law by September, which was a core demand of the revolution.

A day later, police raided the offices of an Al-Jazeera affiliate, Mubasher Misr, and shut it down. Broadcasting equipment was seized and the station's chief engineer, Islam al-Banna, was arrested and detained overnight.

The authorities also jammed the station's live broadcasts from another location, at the media production city, outside Cairo....."

Egyptian student protests hit elite Cairo university

American University in Cairo accused of excessive fee hikes, mismanagement, staff exploitation and pro-Mubarak regime bias

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Thursday 15 September 2011

"It started with a refusal to pay the car parking fee. But within a few hours thousands of students and staff at the American University in Cairo had joined the demonstration, bringing Egypt's most elite educational institution to a standstill.

"The revolution has affected all of us," said Sarah Abdel-Rahman, a recent graduate from the $17,000-a-year (£10,800) university. "Now if you have demands, you believe that they should and can be met, and you're not going to give up. It's not like the past anymore, and I think the university administration are yet to realise that."

Egypt's road to reform has hit plenty of obstacles since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak, but that has not stemmed a tide of grassroots action that continues to wash across the unlikeliest of places....."

Syria: Red Crescent Workers Under Attack

UN Commission Should Investigate Ambulance Shooting in Homs

Human Rights Watch
September 14, 2011

"(New York) – A merciless attack on a Red Crescent ambulance is the latest evidence of grave danger to humanitarian workers in the embattled Syrian city of Homs, Human Rights Watch said today.

The September 7, 2011 attack on the ambulance by unknown assailants injured three rescuers and the wounded patient it was transporting. The attack highlights the need for an on-the-ground, independent investigation into human rights violations in Syria, Human Rights Watch said.

If Red Crescent volunteers are not safe from harm, who is,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Attacks on humanitarian workers are unacceptable in any context, and the United Nations commission should make investigation of this incident a priority.”....."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mahmood Mamdani on Libya, an African Union in "Crisis" & the Outlook for South Sudan

Democracy Now!

"As the African Union meets today, Columbia University Professor and Africa scholar Mahmood Mamdani joins us to give his take on the regional and global implications of NATO’s intervention in Libya, which he says threatens to increase the militarization of the African continent. Mamdani is the author of several books including, "Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror" and "Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror." We’re also joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat, who has just returned from 10 days in Libya following the rebels’ victory in Tripoli...."

After Gaddafi’s Fall, A Revitalized Libya Tackles Militarization, Reconciliation & NATO’s Presence

Democracy Now!

"As Libya’s former rebels begin to govern the country after the ouster of longtime leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, we look at those who remain. Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat has just spent 10 days crossing Libya, speaking with fighters, former political prisoners, journalists, and advisers to the new government. "Even though Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown and his sons’ whereabouts remain unknown, in a sense, for most people we spoke to in Libya, it seemed like he had already passed into the dustbin of history," says Kamat. "There’s a real sense of rebirth, a feeling that their lives are starting anew." Still, challenges remain. Kamat says the National Transitional Council must determine "how to rein in these weapons and what to do with the proliferation of the rebel units, the armed brigades that have formed all over the country that helped defend cities and towns across the country." Another unresolved issue is national reconciliation, and the re-emergence of the country’s Muslim community. One point is clear, says Kamat: "Nobody wants foreign troops on the ground. No one wants bases. And no one wants private military contractors, either." ....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Turkish PM slams Israel at the Arab League

"In a sign of Turkey's growing influence in the Middle East, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a rapturous welcome as he spoke at the Arab League's meeting in Cairo.
He delivered a strong message for Israel, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and throwing his support behind the Palestinian statehood bid.
Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian activists reject Arab League deal

Real News Video: Post 9/11 Wars and Violations of Civil Liberties Continue

Michael Ratner​: Obama administration has reversed very little of Bush policy

More at The Real News

Turkey takes over the Arab Spring

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"With the whole Arab world glued to his every word, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his Arab Spring tour to articulate what the whole world, except Washington and Tel Aviv, knows in its collective heart over the recognition of a Palestinian state. Erdogan's tour is a realpolitik master class and leaves Israel up against a wall it hasn't faced since the 1978 Camp David accords...."

Bin Laden's haunting last words, a decade after 9/11

Al-Qa'ida's anniversary video reveals a weakened and inept group

By Robert Fisk

"....But the whole video production, organised by al-Qa'ida's Egyptian successor-leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, only emphasized the decay of the organisation's ideology and its palpable failure to overthrow the Arab dictators who are being slowly pulled from their thrones by secular Arab revolts. True, they needed the help of Nato in Libya, but the tape made no mention of this. Instead, we had to listen to Zawahiri congratulating the Arabs who had overthrown their regimes – without any help from al-Qa'ida – and then sermonising that the "blessed attacks" on 11 September 2001 were "a mighty event which shook and continues to shake the pillars of the global crusade".....

Did Zawahiri think his declining legions would be impressed? Did he really believe that the Arab millions who had paid – thousands of them in blood – for the Middle East revolutions, would thank al-Qa'ida for this encouragement?....

Was the irony lost on him? Yes, the Americans lost. But so did al-Qa'ida. Entitled "The Dawn of Imminent [sic] Victory", the whole video affair suggested that only by "an era of true (another sic here, of course) Islam and Sharia-based governance" would real victory be achieved.

Well, maybe. But how come no Bin Laden portraits, no al-Qa'ida banners, adorned those epic crowds during the Arab awakening?....."

Fears grow for Syrian activists as deaths in custody increase

Amnesty International
13 September 2011

"Fears grow for Syrian activists as deaths in custody increase Amnesty International has urged the Syrian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of four activists arrested last week near Damascus after the dead body of their friend was returned to his family over the weekend.

The four, who include the brothers Yahya and Ma’an Shurbaji, have not been seen since they were detained in Daraya, a Damascus suburb, on 6 September at the same time as Ghayath Mattar, the dead activist. There are growing fears for their safety.

An Amnesty International report last month listed 88 deaths in custody since April, but seven others, including Ghayath Mattar, have died behind bars in recent weeks, bringing the total to 95.

“It is clear that these human rights activists from Daraya are in grave danger given the very suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of their friend and fellow activist Ghayath Mattar,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

The spiralling total of detainee deaths together with the Syrian authorities’ failure to conduct any independent investigations points to a pattern of systematic, government-sanctioned abuse in which every detainee must be considered at serious risk,” said Philip Luther......"

Virtual statehood or the Right of Return

Many Palestinians feel the newest version of the bid for statehood no longer represents them and their interests.

By Omar Barghouti

"“The Palestinian declaration of independence practically constitutes a victory for Israel’s declaration of independence, and this is why Israelis must celebrate in the streets and be the first to recognise Palestinian independence, calling on the world to follow suit.”
- Sefi Rachlevsky, Yedioth Ahronoth, September 5, 2011 (Israeli writer who led a recent Israeli delegation that met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge him to go forward with the statehood bid at the UN)

“Palestine 194” is the name of a campaign called for by Palestinian officials to drum up support for their “September Initiative”, or bid for statehood, in the hope that “Palestine” would become the 194th member of the UN. This same number, however, has historic connotations for the people of Palestine. It has been etched in our collective consciousness as the UN General Assembly resolution stipulating the right of the Palestinian refugees - most of whom were forcibly displaced and dispossessed during the 1948 Nakba by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel - to return to their homes and properties.

Without any sense of irony, Palestinian officials who have time and again colluded in eroding official international support for UNGA 194, as the Palestine Papers have amply shown, are now appropriating that very number and using it in a bid that runs the risk of surrendering the right of return associated with it for more than six decades. This is merely a symbol of the far more substantive moral, political and legal bind that this Initiative may potentially place the Palestinians and their supporters in.....

And if the most parroted goal of having Palestine recognised as a state is to pursue legal channels to hold Israel accountable to international law, why has the Palestinian leadership squandered the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice against Israel’s wall and colonies? Why has it tried to bury the UN Goldstone Report on Israel’s assault on Gaza and, when it was forced to reverse itself, did absolutely nothing to follow up on the report’s recommendations, adopted by the UN?....

The UN has consistently recognised the Palestinian people, regardless of place of residence, as “the principal party to the question of Palestine”, as the prominent Oxford University legal authority, Guy Goodwin-Gil, has argued. “It is thus the people of Palestine, as a whole,” he adds, “who possess the right to return and the right to self-determination.”.....

Some Palestinian analysts have opined that we must endorse the Initiative and try, from within, so to speak, to contribute to its formulation in a way that can protect our rights. The obvious flaw in this path is two-fold. Given the lack of democratic mandate and accountability mechanisms for the current, unelected Palestinian leadership, no one can guarantee any significant influence on its decisions and whimsical adventures.....

Why haven’t they done so, one can only wonder, during the endless rounds of so-called negotiations, while Israel was busy entrenching its colonial presence in the oPT?.....

This could not have happened without the veneer of normalcy offered to Israel by a pliant Palestinian leadership that lacks vision, skills and principles, and that has categorically rejected and undermined every form of resistance, including non-violent methods, as a means to achieve Palestinian rights.

Why should anyone trust this same “leadership” to defend our rights?....

Instead of seeking to weaken Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid to compel it to recognise our rights, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during a recent address to a group of Israeli intellectuals urging him to proceed with his UN bid, declared, "We don't want to isolate Israel".....

Adhering to a discourse based on human rights and international law, the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BNC, by far the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society groups, has raised serious concerns about the September initiative’s safeguarding of the right of return and the PLO’s status, while welcoming international recognition of our right to statehood......

Ignoring the will of the people and potentially sacrificing their basic rights in order to secure some illusory advantages at the “negotiations” table hurts Palestinian interests and endangers the great advances our popular and civil struggle has achieved to date, particularly as a result of the global BDS movement. It would in effect reduce the Arab Spring to a Palestinian autumn......"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turkey strides down the Arab street

Turkey is on a roll in the region, as many Arabs admire its political development – but now it will have to start taking sides

Brian Whitaker, Tuesday 13 September 2011

"...Turkey too, despite its good neighbours policy, has its own fish to fry. Like Syria, Iraq and Iran, it has issues regarding the Kurdish population. It is also firmly in the Sunni religious camp. This may explain why Turkey has given cautious support to the repressive (but Sunni) regime in Bahrain, even though it has backed popular uprisings elsewhere.

There is also the pull of Europe. Long term, Turkey still has aspirations to join the EU and at some point may have to decide whether to face mainly east or west. Close as it may get to the Arab countries, it will always, to some extent be an outsider – for the simple reason that Turks are not Arabs."

Turkey plays high-stakes game positioning itself at heart of Arab world

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been lauded in Cairo for his bold stance against Israel – but just how far will he go?

Ian Black, Middle East editor, Tuesday 13 September 2011

"Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speeches in Cairo were excellent platforms for Turkey's campaign to become a bigger player in the Middle East – against a backdrop of the momentous changes of the Arab spring and a rare sense of movement in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Rousing cheers in Egypt reflect Ankara's strong stand against Israel, rupturing decades of close alliance in favour of an openly critical position since last year's bitter row over the Gaza aid flotilla killings....

Unlike Iran, accused of playing the sectarian card in its alliances with armed Shia groups in Iraq and Lebanon, Turkey looks like a sympathetic Sunni Muslim power with an instinctive feel for the region. Bluntly, Turkey is admired largely because it has been far bolder and more confrontational towards Israel than most Arab states, starting with its outspoken response to the 2008 Israeli offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Beyond that, its political system looks like a useful model for Arab countries emerging from decades of authoritarian rule....

For all the excitement about a new departure, there may be limits to how far Turkey will go. It has been very active over the Syrian crisis but has conspicuously not joined western countries in calling for Bashar al-Assad to go......"

تركيا ستتصدى للعربدة الإسرائيلية (2-2)

"في الجزء الثاني من الحوار اعتبر أردوغان أن ساعة الشعوب قد حانت في العالم العربي، وأن عصر الاستبداد قد ولى، حتى قال إنه من الآن فصاعدا، فإن من لا يدرك هذه الحقيقة أو يتعامى عنها، ويظن أن إرادة الشعوب يمكن أن تقهر وأن صوتها يمكن أن يحبس، فسيدفع الثمن غاليا ولا يلومن إلا نفسه، إليك ما جرى في اللقاء.

Turkey Rising

Erdogan's Gambit



".....In Syria, Erdogan has criticised President Bashar al-Assad’s repression of protests, probably calculating that his regime is not going to survive, at least in its present form. Similarly in Libya, Turkey was at first slow to break with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, but when it did so, it advanced $300m to the rebels at a time when they were short of money. Turkey was heavily involved in construction in Libya.

Overall, the isolation of Israel, the democratic uprisings in the Arab world, the weakness of the Arab states, and the diminished strength of the US in the region have all worked to Turkey’s advantage.

Its influence is growing throughout the region but it is a long way from being in control of events."

Libya's new harvest: the seeds of democracy

Having ousted their dictator, Libyans must now transition from hard power of armed rebellion to the soft power of ideas.

Larbi Sadiki

"Even with Gaddafi at large, Libyans are already buoyant about their future democracy.

Just as they reclaimed the pre-Gaddafi tricolour flag, they have the power to reclaim a rich political history. Moreover, civic struggles have been waged in Libya since 1981 (e.g. the NFSL) - events that remain in the memory of many: a boon for democratic reconstruction. There is already a fierce, but healthy, competition underway amongst the country's nascent civic bodies attempting to construct an indigenous democratic road-map for Libya.

To understand the ins-and-outs of fledgling democratic 'road-mapping', the heritage of the past and the ideational resources of the present must both be considered. There are, for now, four prominent political trends emerging. The explosion of partyism in Libya will be seen in the months to come...."

Bedouin transfer plan shows Israel's racism

The Israeli cabinet accepted plans to relocate Bedouin villages to government-approved towns.

Ben White

"Recently the Israeli cabinet approved a major plan for the Negev that seeks to “relocate” an estimated 30,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens to government-approved townships.

The details that have emerged about the government’s ‘solution’ for Bedouin Palestinians show a continuation of the colonial logic that has shaped Israeli policy in the Negev since 1948. Reports suggest that the state will reject half of the Bedouins’ land claims. For the tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinians in ‘unrecognised villages’, there is now uncertainty about exactly which communities will be ‘legalised’ – and which will be demolished, their residents forcibly transferred....."

Noam Chomsky: Looking Back on 9/11 a Decade Later

"Ten years ago, at a time when lawmakers from both sides of the isle joined together to authorize endless war, Noam Chomsky’s was the leading voice to call for the United States to re-think its actions in the Middle East and across the globe. His 2001 book simply titled “9-11” became a surprise bestseller. The book collected a series of interviews Chomsky had given on the roots of the 9/11 attacks and his prescription for a just response. A decade later, Chomsky has just released an updated version titled, "9-11: Was There An Alternative?," which refers to the U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden and the continuity Chomsky sees between the Bush administration’s foreign policy and President Obama’s. “Right at this moment, Obama has succeeded in descending even below George W. Bush in approval in the Arab world,” says Noam Chomsky. “The policies change, but they are hostile. We should understand where atrocities come from. They do not come from nowhere. If we’re serious, we should try to do something about what is the basis for them.”....."

Noam Chomsky: U.S. To Veto Palestinian Statehood Bid Despite "Overwhelming International Consensus"

Democracy Now!

"President Obama publicly confirmed Monday that the United States will oppose any attempt by the Palestinians to achieve statehood at the United Nations, but Palestinians leaders are still vowing to move ahead with their bid for statehood this week. What will the ramifications of a U.S. veto be? For more, we speak with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky. “If the Palestinians do bring the issue to the Security Council and the U.S. vetoes it, it will be just another indication of the real unwillingness to permit a settlement of this issue in terms of what has been for a long time an overwhelming international consensus,” Chomsky says...."

Jordan supercasino secret deal was personally approved by prime minister

Exclusive: Documents reveal Ma'arouf al-Bakhit gave green light to contract for Dead Sea Casino, despite public denials

See Jordanian PM's letter about the Dead Sea Casino deal

Seumas Milne, Monday 12 September 2011

"Jordan's prime minister personally authorised a secret contract to build an extra-legal supercasino complex, despite publicly denying responsibility for it, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

The multimillion-dollar Dead Sea casino deal is now frozen and has been the focus of anti-corruption street protests and parliamentary crises. It has been controversial because gambling is illegal in Jordan and because the government faces a $1.4bn (£890m) penalty if the 50-year contract is cancelled....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egypt's media crackdown

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptians celebrate Erdogan's arrival

Real News Video: Evidence that Al-Qaeda Killed Hariri

Gareth Porter​: UN inquiry ignored confessions and other facts in-order to pin assassination on Hezbollah

More at The Real News

Real News Video: Bush Ordered Investigation to Suppress Saudi 9/11 Connection

Summers and Swan Pt.2: Sen. Bob Graham wanted to publish results of Saudi investigation, Bush ordered it redacted

More at The Real News

Syrian uprising forces Hamas to consider relocating

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"With governments and political entities across the Arab world beginning to reconsider their alliances in light of the tumultuous political situation in the region, Hamas, the political party that controls the Gaza Strip and resistance movement against Israel, is no exception....

Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, who serves in the Gaza-based government, said on 9 September that all Palestinians in Syria were in “distress,” including Hamas members, and that Egypt was one of the options available to the group in case of relocation, as reported by the Jerusalem Post. However Zahar also stated that Hamas had not officially requested Egypt to relocate.....

As the protests continue in Syria, the pressure on Hamas to take a stand one way or the other is increasing and the current unrest has placed the group in a delicate position. However, the alternatives for relocation of the politburo do not seem to be more viable.

This is all the more pronounced in light of the recent troop movements on the Egypt-Israel border by the Egyptian military and attempts to seal many of the smuggling tunnels that permeate the Egypt-Gaza border. The border has been a hotspot since the August attacks on Eilat that reportedly originated from the Egyptian border.....

“The question also arises about the suitability of Egypt for Hamas; the situation in Cairo will not reassure them because there are powers in Egypt who view Hamas as a threat to its national security,” he adds, “especially with the recent attempts to block off the tunnels.”....."

Back to The Future?? Tuesday's papers: Broadening of Emergency Law evokes fear

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"In the wake of the recent attack on the Israeli Embassy, the Egyptian government has decided to reinstate the Emergency Law, with amendments that will expand its reach to political demonstrations and media reporting. Independent paper Al-Shorouk’s headline on the issue reads, “Politicians describe the amendments to the Emergency Law as a catastrophe.”

By the end of 2010, former President Hosni Mubarak’s government had officially narrowed the scope of the Emergency Law, making it applicable only to terrorism and drug smuggling offenses. State-run Al-Gomhurriya quotes Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) spokesperson Mamdouh Shaheen as saying, “The state of emergency is meant to face organized violence and crime, along with any threat to Egypt’s security.”

Despite the reimposition of the law, Shaheen affirmed that somehow - amid all of the injustice, oppression and violations of human rights that emergency laws have historically afforded Egyptians - that “legal rights of civilians will be observed.”....."

“Just Don’t Call It a Militia”

Impunity, Militias, and the “Afghan Local Police”

"(Kabul) – Militias and some units of the new US-backed Afghan Local Police are committing serious human rights abuses, but the government is not providing proper oversight or holding them accountable, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Afghan government and the US should sever ties with irregular armed groups and take immediate steps to create properly trained and vetted security forces that are held accountable for their actions.

The 102-page report, “‘Just Don’t Call It a Militia:’ Impunity, Militias and the ‘Afghan Local Police,’” documents serious abuses, such as killings, rape, arbitrary detention, abductions, forcible land grabs, and illegal raids by irregular armed groups in northern Kunduz province and the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force in Baghlan, Herat, and Uruzgan provinces. The Afghan government has failed to hold these forces to account, fostering future abuses and generating support for the Taliban and other opposition forces, Human Rights Watch found....."

Read The Report

Download The Report (PDF)

ثلاث مسائل وشكرا

ثلاث مسائل وشكرا
الياس خوري

- تكرار الخطأ/الخطيئة
منذ اندلاع الثورة السورية والكلام الطائفي المعلن والمستتر يستفزني. ما علاقة المسألة الطائفية بقضية شعب يطالب بالحرية ويموت في سبيلها؟ وكيف يجرؤ اصحاب اللغة الطائفية المقيتة والسوداء، على الاقتراب من انتفاضة شعبية تميزت بالنبل والصبر والشجاعة؟
استطيع ان افهم لجوء النظام الى تحريض الغرائز كي يجعل من الأقليات الدينية دروعا بشرية لحماية العائلة الحاكمة والمافيا. لذا كان رد الشعب السوري من خلال تنسيقيات الثورة السورية هو رفع شعار 'الشعب السوري واحد'.
لكن ما لا استطيع فهمه هو لجوء بعض المرجعيات الدينية، وخصوصا في الوسط المسيحي الى التطوع للدفاع عن الديكتاتورية بوصفها حامية للمسيحيين في سورية ولبنان، كأن الأقلية المسيحية تضع نفسها من خلال البطريرك اللبناني الماروني او البطريرك الارثوذكسي السوري وبعض رجال الاكليروس، في صف الاستبداد، وترهن مصيرها بمصير الديكتاتور؟
هنا اريد التذكير بالخطيئة المميتة التي ارتكبتها المارونية السياسية في لبنان، حين استطاعت قوات بشير الجميل التي هيمنت بالعنف المسلح على المناطق ذات الأكثرية المسيحية، ان تفرض تحالفا احمق مع اسرائيل، وان تمشي في ركاب دبابات الاحتلال التي اوصلت بشير الجميل ومن بعده شقيقه امين الى سدة الرئاسة.
كانت تلك التجربة التي شاركت في التنظير لها الرهبانيات المارونية هي اللحظة المفصلية التي ادت الى هزيمة سياسية مروعة للطبقة السياسية المسيحية، بحيث لم تعد تستطيع ان تلعب اكثر من دور الكومبارس في الصراع على السلطة.
كان التحالف مع اسرائيل خطأ باهظ الثمن، وشكّل خيانة وطنية موصوفة، وارتدادا عن كل القيم الاخلاقية والوطنية والسياسية التي صنعتها النهضة العربية. اما ثمنه اللبناني فكان كبيرا، اذ قاد الى حرب اهلية مسيحية- مسيحية، انتهت بالهيمنة المطلقة للنظام السوري على لبنان.
واليوم يتكرر الخطأ نفسه ولكن بشكل كاريكاتوري. استطيع ان اتفهم ان عظامية الجنرال عون وشهيته للسلطة دفعتاه الى التحالف مع نظام الوصاية الذي ارسله الى المنفى الفرنسي، لكنني لا استطيع ان افهم ماذا يريد بشارة الراعي بطريرك الموارنة الجديد. هل يعتقد الراعي انه بدعمه للعائلة الحاكمة واخافة الناس من حكم الأكثرية السنية في سورية، ومن الاخوان المسلمين، يدافع عن المسيحيين؟ ومن قال له ان رهن الوجود المسيحي بالديكتاتور يشكل ضمانة؟ ثم ما هذه اللغة المذعورة التي تتناسى ان المسيحيين مواطنون اولا وان هذه البلاد لهم مثلما هي للمسلمين؟
ما قاله البطريرك كارثة اخلاقية وسياسية. وهو في هذا لا يستطيع الادعاء بأنه يمثل احدا. فلينصرف الى عمله الديني والرعائي، ويترك للمواطنين مهمة صوغ العقد الاجتماعي الجديد الذي سينشأ على انقاض الاستبداد، وهو لن يكون بالتأكيد عقدا بين الطوائف، بل بين المواطنين كأفراد احرار في دولة حرة.
خطأ اليوم يشبه خطيئة الأمس، انهما تلاعب احمق بمصير الأقليات، عبر استعادة الخطاب الاستعماري القديم. البطريرك الراعي يعرف او لا يعرف، لست ادري، لكنه للأسف يستخدم الخطاب نفسه مقلوبا، وينسى ان الحرية هي الضمانة الوحيدة لجميع المواطنين.
شكرا للذاكرة.