Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Arab Nation Today

Did Sharon Order the Assassination of Arafat?

The Revelations of Uri Dan


"Longtime and now recently deceased confidant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uri Dan, published a book in France that may have been his 2006 one titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait in which he accused the former prime minister of assassinating Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat by poisoning him. Dan claimed Sharon got approval from George Bush by phone early in 2004 to proceed with his plan after he told the US president he was no longer committed to "not" liquidating the Palestinian leader who then was under siege and practically incarcerated in what remained of his Ramallah compound, most of which had already been destroyed by the Israelis in a lawless act of retribution against him.

Based on his record during his tenure as Texas governor, when he authorized more death row inmate executions than any US governor in history (and was called by some the Texecutioner), this revelation should come as no surprise. It's even clearer based on Ariel Sharon's boast once about his relationship with George Bush saying: "We have the US president under our control."


Hang ‘em High in Baghdad: the Object Lesson of Saddam’s Execution

By Kurt Nimmo

".....Bush and crew will likely never face justice, or for that matter the prospect of hooded thugs fitting a rope around their necks. In America, war criminals are allowed to retire and write their memoirs.

Saddam was executed not so much as an act of justice—as if a kangaroo court, installed by an occupation military force, can seriously deliver justice—for the U.S. government does not give a damn about justice for the Iraqi people, or for that matter any other people, but rather the execution of Saddam was engineered to serve as an object lesson to those who would resist the combined interests of the international banker criminal cartel, the think tank neolibs, and their neocon kissing cousins who serve the interests of the Likudniks in Israel, with plenty of profitable spillover for the military-industrial-intelligence complex, a behemothic monster over shadowing the threat Dwight Eisenhower warned us about as he left office on January 17, 1961. "

To the Iraqi Expatriate Celebrants in Dearborn, Michigan

by Linda Milazzo

"Tonight in Dearborn Michigan, Iraqi expatriates have taken to the streets to celebrate the hanging of Saddam Hussein. As a non-Iraqi who values the lives of the people living in Iraq today, I have a message for these celebrants:

If you truly believe, as you have stated to American media, that Saddam's hanging justifies the deaths of 650,000 innocent Iraqis under the regime of George W. Bush, you are neither lovers of Iraq nor lovers of Iraqis.

Shame on you!

The death of one man cannot justify the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who survived Saddam, but perished under George W. Bush.

Shame on you for celebrating in the safety of your comfortable Michigan neighborhoods while the people still living in your "beloved homeland" are subjected to car bombs, abduction and torture every day.

As you celebrate your retribution, do so visualizing the faces of your dead and maimed compatriots who have perished since March 20, 2003... all of whom would have preferred an internationally subdued, monitored and intact Iraq under Saddam Hussein, to the violence and anarchy in Iraq under George W. Bush.

If you believe for one minute that Saddam's death justifies the demise of the infrastructure of Iraq. If you believe for one minute that Saddam's death justifies the sectarian violence in Iraq. If you believe for one minute that Saddam's death justifies the current hell of "your" people in Iraq... then trade places with them.

Give them your comfortable homes in Michigan and take their destroyed homes and lives in Iraq. Perhaps then you will stop your celebration and consider the hell they will live through tomorrow even after the death of Saddam.

Millions of Iraqis suffered under the regime of Saddam Hussein. If you or your loved ones were victims of his cruelty, I am sorry. I understand and accept your hatred for him. But to celebrate the current state of turmoil in Iraq for even one night is neither humane nor patriotic to me."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The Question is:

How Do You Consider Executing Saddam On The First Day Of Eid Al-Adha?

With Over 3,200 Responses, Here Are The Opinions:

It Was An Insult..........................93.3%

Cause For Rejoicing By His Victims...3.7%

It Was A Normal Judicial Matter...... 3.1%

Another Palestinian opinion on Saddam, by Christian Sunni

'In this Arpil 24, 2003 file photo, the remains of an Iraqi person is seen in the process of being unearthed at the bottom of a makeshift grave, at a formerly off-limits government cemetery for those who were 'disappeared' by Saddam Hussein's regime and which opened to Iraqi citizens after Hussein was overthrown by the U.S., in the Abu Ghraib suburb of Baghdad. Saddam was executed by the new Iraqi government Saturday Dec. 30, 2006, after a court convicted and sentenced him to death for his role in the murders of 148 Shiite Muslims from Dujail. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)':

The hanging of Saddam Hussein was something truly historic--Arabs have never seen anything like it.

First, let me say that I am 100% against the death penalty--even for war criminals. There is something truly barbaric about a government--any government that engages in premeditated murder.

Second, I thought the hanging of Saddam only shined a giant spotlight on the hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy in the region. For many Arabs the execution of Saddam is bittersweet. Saddam was executed after a trial for ordering the killing of 100+ Iraqis in Dujail, but Palestinians and other Arabs cannot help but notice that no matter how many Palestinians are slaughtered by the Israeli Occupation Forces that the US will never take a principled stand in regards to Israel. Never. As a result many Arabs see the hanging as the racist and bigoted brutality of US foreign policy. The US is a country that suppresses even the slightest condemnation of Israel at the United Nations when Israel engages in the wanton slaughter of a civilian population.

Hypocrisy and bigotry from the US aside, we should not let our anger over US foreign policy blind us to the fact that Saddam was a murderous tyrant.

Iraq: State of the Evidence: Photographs: Mass Graves and Documentary Evidence of Crimes from Saddam Hussein's Regime.

Another group that fell victim to Saddam were the Marsh Arabs, they never did anything wrong. They were ethnically cleansed from their land when Saddam Hussein diverted the rivers and drained the habitat of the Marsh Arabs, forcing their exodus. He ended their way of living, a civilization that was thousands of years old. See picture of Marsh Arab children:

And to the Palestinians who will look back with nostalgia at the "superior" treatment of Palestinians by Saddam--let me remind you that under Saddam Palestinians were not able to own property or become citizens of the state. He only treated them slightly better than other Arab tyrants treat the Palestinians.

"حماس": إعدام صدام مخالفة لكل الأعراف والمواثيق الدولية

اعتبرت توقيته استهتاراً بكل القيم الإسلامية والعربية

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

اعتبرت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" إعدام الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين بأنها جريمة إعدام سياسي، فرضتها الإدارة الأمريكية عبر الحكومة العراقية، مؤكدة أنها "جاءت مخالفة لكل الأعراف والمواثيق الدولية، ومخالفة لوثيقة جنيف الرابعة المتعلقة بمعاملة أسرى الحرب".

وقالت الحركة في بيان لها؛ "إنّ جريمة اغتيال صدام حسين جاءت في توقيت مدروس يستهدف النيل من العرب والمسلمين، فالقضية بالنسبة لنا، ليست دفاعاً عن صدام حسين، وإنما دفاعاً عن الكرامة العربية والمشاعر الإنسانية التي يُستهان بها".

وأضافت إن "جريمة الاغتيال التي ارتكبت، فجر اليوم السبت، في أول أيام عيد الأضحى المبارك هي استهتار بكل القيم الإسلامية والعربية، وما كان للإعدام أن يُنفّذ لولا الهوان العربي والإسلامي".

وأشارت "حماس" إلى أنه "لو كان صدام قد ارتكب أي جريمة؛ فكان الأولى أن يحاكمه شعبه لا أن يحاكمه المحتل الأمريكي، الذي يجب أن يُحاكَم على الجرائم التي ارتكبت وترتكب كل يوم على يديه في العراق وفلسطين وأفغانستان وغيرها من بقاع الأرض".

من جهته؛ قال إسماعيل رضوان، المتحدث باسم "حماس" إن الإدارة الأمريكية أرادت من خلال تنفيذ حكم الإعدام بصدام "خلق حالة من الاحباط والضغط على نفوس الجماهير العربية والإسلامية في أول أيام عيد الأضحى المبارك".

وأوضح أن هذا "الاستكبار العالمي الذي تقوده أمريكا الظالمة لن يدوم طويلاً، ولن يعمر طويلاً أمام صمود وثبات ومقاومة أبناء الشعوب العربية والإسلامية"، مؤكداً أن إعدام صدام اليوم "يمثل صفعة للأنظمة الهزيلة التي تأبى إلا أن تبقى خاضعة للهيمنة والسيطرة الأمريكية في المنطقة".

وتساءل رضوان "من سيحاكم الإدارة الأمريكية ضد ما ارتكبته من جرائم ضد أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني والشعوب العربية والإسلامية في أفغانستان والعراق وفلسطين؟"، موضحا أن "أيادي الإدارة الأمريكية ملطخة بالدماء إلى جانب الفظائع التي تقوم في سجن أبو غريب وغوانتنامو"، مطالباً بمحاكمة هذه الإدارة لتنال عقابها". "

Wage Peace Campaign

"What is this?

AFSC urges peace supporters to organize events in their hometowns the day after the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq is announced.

Together, we'll mourn all the lives lost in this war and call for the troops to come home.

There are currently
243 events planned in 44 states and counting... "

The After-Saddam Era

Hanging Saddam

By Mike Whitney

"The execution of Saddam Hussein is another grim chapter in the catalogue of war crimes perpetrated against the Iraqi people. It is a gratuitous act of barbarism devoid of justice.

What right does Bush have to kill Saddam? What right does the author of Abu Ghraib, Falluja, Haditha and countless other atrocities have to pass judgment on the former leader of a nation which posed no threat to the United States?

Let’s be clear, the lowliest, most ruthless Iraqi has more right to rule Iraq than the most upright American. That’s what’s meant by “self determination”. When we honor “self rule” we avoid bloody interventions like the invasion of Iraq.

Bush believes that killing Saddam will achieve the “closure” which has eluded him through 4 years of occupation. But he is mistaken. Saddam’s death will only eliminate any opportunity for a political solution. Reconciliation will be impossible and Saddam will die as a hero.

Is that what Bush wants?

Or does Bush really know what he wants? Perhaps, he is just a war-mongering psychopath completely disconnected from reality.

Capital punishment is a moral evil. The state never has the right to kill its own people regardless of their crimes; Saddam is no exception. But the premeditated murder of Saddam is particularly appalling, because it is stupid as well as unjust. It cuts off dialogue with the very people (the Ba’athist-led resistance) who need to be entered into the political process to achieve normalization. Bush is destroying his last chance for a negotiated settlement and paving the way for America’s total defeat.

It’s complete madness.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, told the Times Online that “the deposed president could be hanged ‘within hours’” and that his death sentence would be executed by Saturday at the latest.

Munir Haddad, the presiding judge on the appeals court, said, “All the measures have been done. There is no reason for delays.”

Plans are already underway to film the entire event.

It’s impossible to imagine a more fitting summary of 6 years of Bush rule than video-footage of Saddam’s limp figure dangling at the end of a rope. The pictures will no doubt replace the iconic photos of the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner who appeared in headlines across the world.

The United States will pay a heavy price for Bush’s savagery. The war is already going badly and this latest travesty will only quicken America’s inevitable withdrawal.

America has become a moral swamp, its leaders incapable of wisdom or mercy. Hanging Saddam only adds to our mutual disgrace and exposes the real face of American justice."

Saddam at the End of a Rope

What's Good for Saddam May Be Good for Mubarak or the Saudi Royals



"It was symbolic that 2006 ended with a colonial hanging--- most of it (bar the last moments) shown on state television in occupied Iraq. It has been that sort of year in the Arab world. After a trial so blatantly rigged that even Human Rights Watch---the largest single unit of the US Human Rights industry--- had to condemn it as a total travesty. Judges were changed on Washington's orders; defense lawyers were killed and the whole procedure resembled a well-orchestrated lynch mob. Where Nuremberg was a more dignified application of victor's justice, Saddam's trial has, till now, been the crudest and most grotesque. The Great Thinker President's reference to it 'as a milestone on the road to Iraqi democracy' as clear an indication as any that Washington pressed the trigger.

The contemptible leaders of the European Union, supposedly hostile to capital punishment, were silent, as usual. And while some Shia factions celebrated in Baghdad, the figures published by a fairly independent establishment outfit, the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (its self-description: "which attempts to spread the conscious necessity of realizing basic freedoms, consolidating democratic values and foundations of civil society") reveal that just under 90 per cent of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before it was occupied.

The ICRSC research is based on detailed house-to-house interviewing carried out during the third week of November 2006.
Only five per cent of those questioned said Iraq is better today than in 2003; 89 per cent of the people said the political situation had deteriorated; 79 per cent saw a decline in the economic situation; 12 per cent felt things had improved and 9 per cent said there was no change. Unsurprisingly, 95 per cent felt the security situation was worse than before. Interestingly, about 50 per cent of those questioned identified themselves only as "Muslims"; 34 per cent as Shiites and 14 per cent as Sunnis. Add to this the figures supplied by the UNHCR: 1.6 million Iraqis (7 per cent of the population) have fled the country since March 2003 and 100,000 Iraqis leave every month, Christians, doctors, engineers, women, etc. There are one million in Syria, 750,000 in Jordan, 150,000 in Cairo. These are refugees that do not excite the sympathy of Western public opinion, since the US (and EU backed) occupation is the cause. These are not compared (as was the case in Kosovo) to the atrocities of the Third Reich. Perhaps it was these statistics (and the estimates of a million Iraqi dead) that necessitated the execution of Saddam Hussein?

That Saddam was a tyrant is beyond dispute, but what is conveniently forgotten is that most of his crimes were committed when he was a staunch ally of those who now occupy the country. It was, as he admitted in one of his trial outbursts, the approval of Washington (and the poison gas supplied by West Germany) that gave him the confidence to douse Halabja with chemicals in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war. He deserved a proper trial and punishment in an independent Iraq. Not this. The double standards applied by the West never cease to astonish. Indonesia's Suharto who presided over a mountain of corpses (At least a million to accept the lowest figure) was protected by Washington. He never annoyed them as much as Saddam.

And what of those who have created the mess in Iraq today? The torturers of Abu Ghraib; the pitiless butchers of Fallujah; the ethnic cleansers of Baghdad, the Kurdish prison boss who boasts that his model is Guantanamo. Will Bush and Blair ever be tried for war crimes? Doubtful. And Aznar, currently employed as a lecturer at Georgetown University in Washington, DC , where the language of instruction is English of which he doesn't speak a word. His reward is a punishment for the students.

Saddam's hanging might send a shiver through the collective, if artificial, spine of the Arab ruling elites. If Saddam can be hanged, so can Mubarak, or the Hashemite joker in Amman or the Saudi royals, as long as those who topple them are happy to play ball with Washington."

3000 - 2

December deadliest month for U.S. in Iraq in 2 yrs

"BAGHDAD, Dec 30 (Reuters) - December became the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq in two years after the U.S. military reported six more combat deaths, leaving the tally just two short of the emotive 3,000 mark.

Three U.S. marines died on Thursday from wounds suffered in combat in Iraq's western Anbar province. One soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in northwest Baghdad and another soldier was killed in Anbar on Friday, the military said on Saturday.

Another statement announced the death of a U.S. soldier killed by a roadside bomb in southwest Baghdad on Friday.

The latest deaths take the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the invasion of March 2003 to 2,998, according to, a Web site that tracks U.S. deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The number who died in December is now 109, three more than the previous high this year in October, and the highest since November 2004 when 137 U.S. servicemen and women died.

Mounting U.S. casualties are raising pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush to set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from the increasingly unpopular war. "


The Worst May Still Be Coming.

Silencing Saddam

By Robert Scheer

"It is a very frightening precedent that the United States can invade a country on false pretenses, depose its leader and summarily execute him without an international trial or appeals process. This is about vengeance, not justice, for if it were the latter the existing international norms would have been observed. The trial should have been overseen by the World Court, in a country that could have guaranteed the safety of defense lawyers, who, in this case, were killed or otherwise intimidated.

The irony here is that the crimes for which Saddam Hussein was convicted occurred before the United States, in the form of Donald Rumsfeld, embraced him. Those crimes were well known to have occurred 15 months before Rumsfeld visited Iraq to usher in an alliance between the United States and Saddam to defeat Iran.

The fact is that Saddam Hussein knew a great deal about the United States’ role in Iraq, including deals made with Bush’s father. This rush to execute him had the feel of a gangster silencing the key witness to a crime.

At Nuremberg in the wake of World War II the U.S. set the bar very high by declaring that even the Nazis, who had committed the most heinous of crimes, should have a fair trial. The U.S. and allies insisted on this not to serve those charged, but to educate the public through a believable accounting. In the case of Saddam, the bar was lowered to the mud, with the proceedings turned into a political circus reminiscent of Stalin’s show trials."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Mr. Fish

In The Meantime: Scarlett, author of the Iraq war dossier, is knighted

The Independent

"John Scarlett, who took responsibility for the error-ridden dossier that justified the war in Iraq, is knighted in today's New Year's Honours list. The award will enrage peace campaigners, who have accused the veteran spymaster of saving Tony Blair's skin over the flawed case for the invasion.

The news came as a British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra yesterday, the 127th to die since the invasion in 2003.

Sir John, the head of MI6, played a key role in the Hutton Inquiry hearings into the death of the weapons expert David Kelly, three years ago. He steadfastly defended the dossier, which contained the notorious claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. And he dismissed accusations he had bowed to pressure to "sex up" the document's conclusions.

As chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, he told the inquiry he had "overall charge and responsibility" for the dossier.

Sir John allowed last-minute changes that had the effect of strengthening its conclusions, leading Lord Hutton to suggest that he could have been "subconsciously influenced" by his political masters.

One crucial alteration was to cut the observation that Saddam Hussein was more likely to use chemical and biological weapons defensively than offensively - a change was made after Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff, said the passage could pose "a problem" that could be seized on by anti-war critics.

Sir John insisted the amendment "was not as a result of the intervention from Downing Street"."


Ah, The Standards Of The Civilized West!

When All Else Fails, Execute Saddam

"BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- About 90 percent of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before the U.S.-led invasion than it is today, according to a new ICRSS poll.

The findings emerged after house-to-house interviews conducted by the ICRSS during the third week of November. About 2,000 people from Baghdad (82 percent), Anbar and Najaf (9 percent each) were randomly asked to express their opinion. Twenty-four percent of the respondents were women.

Only five percent of those questioned said Iraq is better today than in 2003. While 89 percent of the people said the political situation had deteriorated, 79 percent saw a decline in the economic situation; 12 percent felt things had improved and 9 percent said there was no change. Predictably, 95 percent felt the security situation was worse than before.

The results of the poll conducted by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies and shared with the Gulf Research Center, has a margin error of +/- 3.1 percent.

The ICRSS is an independent institution "which attempts to spread the conscious necessity of realizing basic freedoms, consolidating democratic values and foundations of civil society."

Nearly 50 percent of the respondents identified themselves only as "Muslims"; 34 percent were Shiites and 14 percent, Sunnis."

They Were Afraid Of Him Even In His Death
A U.S. Death Squad Carried Out The Orders Of The Executioner-In-Chief

The Hangman And Executioner-In-Chief

International lawlessness

The US-backed invasion of Somalia to topple its Islamists is a dangerous, illegal act of aggression

Salim Lone
(Salim Lone was UN spokesman in Iraq in 2003 and is a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya)
Saturday December 30, 2006
The Guardian

"Undeterred by the horrors and disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the Bush administration has opened another battlefront in the Muslim world. With US backing, Ethiopian troops have invaded Somalia in an illegal war of aggression. But this brazen US-sponsored bid to topple the popular Islamists who had brought Somalia its first peace and security in 16 years has already begun to backfire. Looting has forced the transitional government to declare a state of emergency. Clan warlords, who had terrorised Somalia until they were driven out by the Islamists this year, have begun carving up the city once again. And the African Union, which helped create the transitional government, has called for the immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from the country, as did Kenya, a close US and Ethiopian ally.

They had little choice: the invasion was a clear violation of international law and a UN security council resolution, which the US itself pushed through earlier this month, that explicitly forbade troops from any neighbouring country from joining even the new peace-keeping force it authorised for Somalia. That still did not prevent the Bush administration from issuing a strong statement of support for the Ethiopian offensive.

As with Iraq in 2003, the US has cast this as a war to curtail terrorism. The real goal of course is to gain a direct foothold in another highly strategic and oil rich region by installing a client regime in Somalia. The US had already been violating the UN arms embargo on Somalia by supporting the warlords who drove out the UN peace-keepers in 1993 by killing 18 US soldiers, in order to push out the Islamists. That effort failed and an Ethiopian invasion remained the only way to oust a group with popular support. All independent experts warned against such a war, saying it would destabilise the region.

Ethiopia itself is highly unstable. Thought of as a Christian nation, it has a sizeable Muslim population which has begun to assert itself after marginalisation in the power structure. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi heads a dictatorial regime which has held on to power with US support after losing last year's elections. But this war, unlike its conflict with Eritrea, will not unify the country behind Meles.

To achieve its goals, the US once again ensnared the UN security council, which cravenly adopted a resolution which will further cement its reputation as an anti-Muslim body. It authorised a regional peace-keeping force to enter Somalia to protect the weak and isolated transitional government and "restore peace and stability". But all major international news organisations had reported that the country experienced this year its first respite from the utter lawlessness and terror that prevailed since 1991. A multilateral force was suddenly deemed necessary only because it was the Islamists that had brought about this stability - and they had done so not through violence but primarily through rallying people to their side by creating law and order through the application of sharia law, which Somalis universally practise.

The Islamists are not angels. But their collective pool of terror acts is dwarfed by the terrorism of the warlords that the US has been supporting in blatant violation of the UN arms embargo.

The US has every right to be concerned about terror. But the best anti-dote to terrorism in Somalia is stability, which the Union of Islamic Courts provided. The Islamists have strong public support, which has grown in the face of US and Ethiopian interventions. As in other Muslim-western conflicts, the way to secure peace is to engage with the Islamists to ensure that they have no reason to turn to terror. "

Friday, December 29, 2006

A dictator created then destroyed by America

By Robert Fisk

"....But history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.

In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent - we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib - and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.

Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him.....

And the mass killings we perpetrated in 2003 with our depleted uranium shells and our "bunker buster" bombs and our phosphorous, the murderous post-invasion sieges of Fallujah and Najaf, the hell-disaster of anarchy we unleashed on the Iraqi population in the aftermath of our "victory" - our "mission accomplished" - who will be found guilty of this? Such expiation as we might expect will come, no doubt, in the self-serving memoirs of Blair and Bush, written in comfortable and wealthy retirement......

But that is not how the Arab world will see him. At first, those who suffered from Saddam's cruelty will welcome his execution. Hundreds wanted to pull the hangman's lever. So will many other Kurds and Shia outside Iraq welcome his end. But they - and millions of other Muslims - will remember how he was informed of his death sentence at the dawn of the Eid al-Adha feast, which recalls the would-be sacrifice by Abraham, of his son, a commemoration which even the ghastly Saddam cynically used to celebrate by releasing prisoners from his jails. "Handed over to the Iraqi authorities," he may have been before his death. But his execution will go down - correctly - as an American affair and time will add its false but lasting gloss to all this - that the West destroyed an Arab leader who no longer obeyed his orders from Washington, that, for all his wrongdoing (and this will be the terrible get-out for Arab historians, this shaving away of his crimes) Saddam died a "martyr" to the will of the new "Crusaders".

When he was captured in November of 2003, the insurgency against American troops increased in ferocity. After his death, it will redouble in intensity again."

Will Bush Be Tried And Convicted?

Review of the year: Iraq

A nation soaked in blood tears itself apart

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
Published: 29 December 2006

"....After the horrors of this year, Sunni and Shia will hardly be able to co-operate closely in future. The sense of Iraqi identity may have been damaged beyond repair. But, more than most states, Iraq is dominated by its capital and Shia and Sunni will continue to fight to rule Baghdad until they either win or know there is no hope of victory."

Olmert and Abbas "push the wedge" in Palestine

James Brooks, The Electronic Intifada, 29 December 2006

"The recent "peace" overtures between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Abbas do not promise significantly improved conditions for Palestinians or an end to the Israeli occupation. More likely results include intensified efforts to split the Palestinian public and undermine their legally elected government......

......If Mr. Abbas were sincerely interested in forming a national unity government with Hamas, he would not have sold their prisoners of state so cheaply. Had he been truly committed to democracy last March, he would have led his defeated party into loyal opposition in the newly elected Hamas government. By closing ranks with Hamas, Abbas and Fateh could have shown the world that Palestinians would obey their own constitution, work out their own issues, and would not be prey to outside interference or blockades.

Instead, he set out to commandeer the PA's security forces and led Fateh into the disloyal opposition they have maintained to this day. Lately he has taken the PA into new constitutional territory by claiming the unilateral power to call new elections. His Fateh-packed Supreme Court recently declared that decisions made by the current PLC are "null and void". Fortified by a significant new supply of US weapons and training, Mr. Abbas appears dangerously close to usurping both the Palestinian constitution and the will of the people by pretending to be the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian Authority.

In following this course, Mr. Abbas has made himself available to external forces that wish to make him the ultimate spoiler of last January's free and fair elections. The ultimate goal of these parties, Israel foremost among them, may be to trigger Palestinian civil war and fatally split the Palestinians' national solidarity, their key to survival. Perhaps to this end, the myth that Israel has "no partner for peace" is being transformed into the myth that Israel has "only one partner for peace", one that, under present conditions, cannot claim to represent the Palestinian people."

Neocons and Democrats Tussle over Long or Short “Surge” of Violence in Iraq

By Kurt Nimmo

".....Most recently, the “surge” concept—basically, throwing more troops into the Iraqi meat grinder—was tweaked by the neocon Frederick Kagan, brother of Robert Kagan, sidekick of top drawer neocon Bill Kristol, “resident scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute, where Bush gets his “minds,” and member in good standing over at the Council on Foreign Relations, the neolib coven. Kagan has teamed up with retired Army General Jack Keane, a former member of the neocon infested Defense Policy Board and director over at the death merchant General Dynamics, and they spelled out their version of the “surge” on the pages of the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post.....

.....Obviously, in order to tell the truth, one has to be far away from the whorehouse, that is to say the halls of Congress, White House conference rooms, and the inner offices of the State Department. Recall Colin Powell, who fondly refers to Kristol and the neocons as “fucking crazies,” on December 17 telling CBS that a troop increase “cannot be sustained.” In short, Bush’s “surge” will be a disaster, but then the neocons deal in disaster, as their master plan is to use up the U.S. military in an effort to destroy the Arab and Muslim Middle East, as the Israelis demand.

“A faction [more specifically, a neocon faction] in the Pentagon among the U.S. commanders in Iraq has been promoting the surge option to useful journalists such as Michael Gordon of the New York Times. In the Pentagon itself, sentiment is against the ’surge,’ at least if you want to believe a report in the Washington Post. In the Pentagon, they know there are no troops available, making people serve longer tours promotes mutiny, and 30,000 more troops would make no difference,” notes the San Francisco Chronicle (see previous link).

But then the neocons running the Iraq “war” are not interested in making a difference—they are primarily concerned with working up a violent lather that ultimately splits the nation into at least three distinct pieces. As well, they need troops positioned for the spillover effect of the coming attack against Iran, on tap before the unitary decider exits office, or rather steps off the throne, as he was not elected in the first place. "

Palestinian Democracy, Condoleezza Style

Rice asked Israel to strengthen Fatah and choke Hamas

"Nazareth – American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Washington this month that Israel must "choke off" Hamas, the Hebrew newspaper Ma'ariv reported.

She added that it is necessary to strengthen Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas in advance of a possible all-out war between militias of the rival Hamas and Fatah factions.

Israeli media reported Thursday that the government approved a shipment of a large number of weapons and ammunition for Abbas's Presidential Guard militia of about 5,000 elite fighters, but he has denied the report."

Sectarian Ties Weaken Duty’s Call for Iraq Forces

“I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer America’s war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war where America is fighting,” Major Voorhies said.

For Maj. William Voorhies, the American commander of the military training unit at the scene, the moment encapsulated his increasingly frustrating task — trying to build up Iraqi security forces who themselves are being used as proxies in a spreading sectarian war. This time, it was a Sunni politician — Vice Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie — but the more powerful Shiites interfered even more often.

A two-day reporting trip accompanying Major Voorhies’s unit and combat troops seemed to back his statement, as did other commanding officers expressing similar frustration.

“I have personally witnessed about a half-dozen of these incidents of what I would call political pressure, where a minister or someone from a minister’s office contacts one of these Iraqi commanders,” said Lt. Col. Steven Miska, the deputy commander for the Dagger Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division, who oversees combat operations in a wide swath of western Baghdad.

“These politicians are connected with either the militias or Sunni insurgents.”

Whatever plan the Bush administration unveils — a large force increase, a withdrawal or something in between — this country’s security is going to be left in the hands of Iraqi forces. Those forces, already struggling with corruption and infiltration, have shown little willingness to stand up to political pressure.

“I believe everyone, to some extent, is influenced by the militias,” Colonel Miska said. “While some Iraqi security forces may be complicit with the militias, others fear for their families when confronting the militia, and that is the more pervasive threat.”


Number of Palestinians murdered by Jewish state tripled in 2006

Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians in 2006 - three times more than in 2005, according to an Israeli human rights group.

B'Tselem, which monitors human rights in the occupied territories, said the figure included 141 children.

At least 322 had taken no part in hostile acts, the group said.

In the same period, the number of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis has fallen - 23 Israelis were killed in 2006 compared with 50 last year.

The Israeli military renewed ground operations in the Gaza Strip after militants captured an Israeli soldier in a border raid in June.

Since June, Israeli troops have killed about 405 Palestinians in Gaza, including 88 children. More than half of the casualties were civilians, B'Tselem said.

As of November, 9,075 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails. This number included 345 minors, it said.

Of these, 738 (22 minors) were being detained without trial and without knowing the charges against them, the group said.

Latest From Riverbend

End of Another Year...

"....2006 has been, decidedly, the worst year yet. No- really. The magnitude of this war and occupation is only now hitting the country full force. It's like having a big piece of hard, dry earth you are determined to break apart. You drive in the first stake in the form of an infrastructure damaged with missiles and the newest in arms technology, the first cracks begin to form. Several smaller stakes come in the form of politicians like Chalabi, Al Hakim, Talbani, Pachachi, Allawi and Maliki. The cracks slowly begin to multiply and stretch across the once solid piece of earth, reaching out towards its edges like so many skeletal hands. And you apply pressure. You surround it from all sides and push and pull. Slowly, but surely, it begins coming apart- a chip here, a chunk there.

That is Iraq right now. The Americans have done a fine job of working to break it apart. This last year has nearly everyone convinced that that was the plan right from the start. There were too many blunders for them to actually have been, simply, blunders. The 'mistakes' were too catastrophic. The people the Bush administration chose to support and promote were openly and publicly terrible- from the conman and embezzler Chalabi, to the terrorist Jaffari, to the militia man Maliki. The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.

The question now is, but why? I really have been asking myself that these last few days. What does America possibly gain by damaging Iraq to this extent? I'm certain only raving idiots still believe this war and occupation were about WMD or an actual fear of Saddam.

Al Qaeda? That's laughable. Bush has effectively created more terrorists in Iraq these last 4 years than Osama could have created in 10 different terrorist camps in the distant hills of Afghanistan. Our children now play games of 'sniper' and 'jihadi', pretending that one hit an American soldier between the eyes and this one overturned a Humvee.

This last year especially has been a turning point. Nearly every Iraqi has lost so much. So much. There's no way to describe the loss we've experienced with this war and occupation. There are no words to relay the feelings that come with the knowledge that daily almost 40 corpses are found in different states of decay and mutilation. There is no compensation for the dense, black cloud of fear that hangs over the head of every Iraqi. Fear of things so out of ones hands, it borders on the ridiculous- like whether your name is 'too Sunni' or 'too Shia'. Fear of the larger things- like the Americans in the tank, the police patrolling your area in black bandanas and green banners, and the Iraqi soldiers wearing black masks at the checkpoint.

Again, I can't help but ask myself why this was all done? What was the point of breaking Iraq so that it was beyond repair? Iran seems to be the only gainer. Their presence in Iraq is so well-established, publicly criticizing a cleric or ayatollah verges on suicide. Has the situation gone so beyond America that it is now irretrievable? Or was this a part of the plan all along? My head aches just posing the questions.

What has me most puzzled right now is: why add fuel to the fire? Sunnis and moderate Shia are being chased out of the larger cities in the south and the capital. Baghdad is being torn apart with Shia leaving Sunni areas and Sunnis leaving Shia areas- some under threat and some in fear of attacks. People are being openly shot at check points or in drive by killings… Many colleges have stopped classes. Thousands of Iraqis no longer send their children to school- it's just not safe.

Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam's execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst.

This is because now, Saddam no longer represents himself or his regime. Through the constant insistence of American war propaganda, Saddam is now representative of all Sunni Arabs (never mind most of his government were Shia). The Americans, through their speeches and news articles and Iraqi Puppets, have made it very clear that they consider him to personify Sunni Arab resistance to the occupation. Basically, with this execution, what the Americans are saying is "Look- Sunni Arabs- this is your man, we all know this. We're hanging him- he symbolizes you." And make no mistake about it, this trial and verdict and execution are 100% American. Some of the actors were Iraqi enough, but the production, direction and montage was pure Hollywood (though low-budget, if you ask me).

That is, of course, why Talbani doesn't want to sign his death penalty- not because the mob man suddenly grew a conscience, but because he doesn't want to be the one who does the hanging- he won't be able to travel far away enough if he does that.

Maliki's government couldn't contain their glee. They announced the ratification of the execution order before the actual court did. A few nights ago, some American news program interviewed Maliki's bureau chief, Basim Al-Hassani who was speaking in accented American English about the upcoming execution like it was a carnival he'd be attending. He sat, looking sleazy and not a little bit ridiculous, his dialogue interspersed with 'gonna', 'gotta' and 'wanna'... Which happens, I suppose, when the only people you mix with are American soldiers.

My only conclusion is that the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq, but would like to leave behind a full-fledged civil war because it wouldn't look good if they withdraw and things actually begin to improve, would it?

Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?"

Inching towards implosion

With thousands of Palestinians facing starvation, Fatah and Hamas increasingly fought one another in 2006, with the spectre of mass civil strife looming at every turn

By Khaled Amayreh from occupied Palestine
Al-Ahram Weekly

"It is doubtless that 2006 will be viewed by historians as one of the most tumultuous years in the annals of Palestinian history.

On 25 January, legislative elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem finally took place after a series of postponements and delays by the Fatah leadership, mainly due to worries that the erstwhile Palestinian Authority (PA) ruling party was not sufficiently prepared for the polls.

The elections were monitored by hundreds of foreign observers, including former US president Jimmy Carter, who testified to their fairness, transparency and democratic nature.

The results of the elections showed that Fatah's fears were vindicated. Hamas won 75 seats of the 132 making up the Palestinian Legislative Council, with Fatah taking only 47, the remainder going to a few independents and a number of small leftist, liberal and secular parties. For Fatah, the outcome represented a humiliating defeat for a movement that ever since its inception in 1965 viewed itself as embodying the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and liberation.

Hence, Fatah found it difficult to accept the results, despite public utterances to the contrary. Hamas also seemed to have outperformed itself; never having imagined it would win so many seats. The big gain for Hamas presented a real challenge to what remained essentially a resistance movement that had few connections.....


End of the neocons

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"...American democratic evangelism ended because the policy was a complete failure. It failed in Lebanon, which liberated the Arabs from the 1967 complex for the second time, because of all the drastic misjudgements over Israeli might, over the power and resolve of the resistance, and over the feasibility of driving a sectarian wedge into Arab society around a successful anti-Israeli resistance movement -- your average Egyptian couldn't have cared less what kind of turban resistance fighters were wearing or how they held their hands during prayers. The policy failed in Palestine where it had been assumed that foreign pressure would sway the minds of voters in local elections that happened to be more about family connections, corruption, the decrepitude of a movement caught in a struggle between the old guard and fresh blood, and, of course, about patriotic issues and self-determination. In Iraq, this policy along with all others proved a total and unmitigated disaster. The dissolution of the Iraqi army and the dismantlement of the state cast that country back to a Hobbesian "war of all against all," whose participants include the occupying power from overseas and the looming neighbour, and in which the primary motive for life is fear of death. In this anarchy, societal affiliations have become politicised thanks to new leaderships put into place by the occupation regardless of their lack of either a social base or a record of political accomplishment. And by tapping into an abundant source of cheap sectarian capital and feeding the occupier handpicked distorted information, these leaderships have lured the occupation into playing along with their agenda. The result is an epidemic of sectarianism where none had previously existed, an epidemic that is all the more lethal due to the lack of any effective immunity now that the conviction in an overarching Arab identity has been thrown out with the filthy bathwater of the old regime......

.....The current "internal" strife in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon is a continuation of the clash with Washington's neoconservative administration by other means. In Palestine, the last of the neocons are to be found in the clique surrounding the Palestinian president, which refuses so much as a domestic compromise on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders. This is the group that insists on meeting US-Israeli conditions, that frowned at the national reconciliation document because it could not serve as a basis for entering into negotiations with Israel, that prayed that the Israeli offensive against Lebanon would teach Hizbullah and all inspired by it a lesson and then lamented the victory of the Lebanese resistance, that wants Europe and the US not to lift the blockade against the elected Palestinian government so as to help it back into power. The remnants of the neoconservatives are still to be found among the 14 March group in Lebanon, who regard the Baker-Hamilton report as a defeat for them, who fear the very thought of a dialogue between the US and Syria and Iran, who rejected a ceasefire during the war on Lebanon before they could be assured that the country could not revert to its pre-12 July conditions, as though they had been the ones to have launched the assault to begin with. The last of the neocons are to be found among the Iraqi forces that restrict even those who could from reining in the militias, who obstruct any possible dialogue with the Baath Party, who have turned national reconciliation conferences into a façade that Bush can use to support his claim that something is moving forward in Iraq, into parleys that succeed in drafting closing statements only because the intent to follow through was never there to begin with, into the type of surgery that can be followed by the pronouncement, "The operation was a success, but the patient died."



By Malcom Lagauche

"......The current scenario just does not make sense. The people who lied through their teeth (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Bremer, Powell, Rumsfeld, et al) and stole tens of billions of dollars that belonged to the country of Iraq, are proudly speaking of creating a new Middle East or conducting booksigning tours for their memoirs. The results of their lies led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; a cost of about a trillion dollars so far to the U.S. public; and the destruction of a country’s culture and infrastructure. Even the history of Iraq has been re-written by people in Washington D.C.

On the other hand, the guy with the moustache who told the truth about all the lies and adhered to the U.N. request for inspections, as well as supplied a 12,000-page report that documented in detail every aspect of Iraq’s former WMD programs, sits in a jail cell awaiting execution. Something is fundamentally wrong when things can get so far out of hand.

Today, Saddam Hussein is the freest man in Iraq, although he is behind bars. His mind is clear and his integrity is nothing short of incredible. He awaits death with dignity. Not once has he cracked under torture or pressure. Even when offered a "get out of jail free" card by the U.S. if he stopped the resistance, Saddam refused to capitulate.

Other leaders, such as Ghadaffi and Noriega did succumb to U.S. pressure. Ghadaffi, once a revolutionary, today is nothing more than the head inspector of the transfer of his country’s oil to the capitalist giants. He no longer has a grand view of society. He may not be in jail, but he is a slave......"

Latuff: Palestinians Right To Exist

(Click on to enlarge)
Latuff: We're always hearing about the Israel's right to exist. But, what about the Palestinians? Don't they have the right to exist too? Don't they have the right to live in their own state?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

3,000 - 4


U.S. Deaths In Iraq Are Running At The Highest Level Of The Year, And That Is Before The "Surge." December has seen the death of 107 U.S. troops so far and is already the year's worst month. Happy New Year Mr. Decider!

U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq......2,996

"Coalition" Troops Killed.......3,246

U.S. Troops Wounded.........22,565

The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter's Book

Carter's Real Sin is Cutting to the Heart of the Problem



"As Jimmy Carter's new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid climbs the bestseller list, the reaction of Israel's apologists scales new peaks of lunacy. I will examine a pair of typical examples and then look at the latest weapon to silence Carter.

Apartheid Analogy

No aspect of Carter's book has evoked more outrage than its identification of Israeli policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with apartheid. Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post called it "foolish and unfair," the Boston Globe editorialized that it was "irresponsibly provocative," while the New York Times reported that Jewish groups condemned it as "dangerous and anti-Semitic." (1)

In fact the comparison is a commonplace among informed commentators.......

...Those sharing Carter's iniquitous belief also include the editorial board of Israel's leading newspaper Haaretz, which observed in September 2006 that "the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact; millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation," as well as former Israeli Knesset member Shulamit Aloni, former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Alon Liel, South African Archbishop and Nobel Laureate for Peace Desmond Tutu and "father" of human rights law in South Africa John Dugard......

...The shrill reaction to Carter's mention of apartheid is probably due not only to the term's emotive resonances but its legal-political implications as well. According to Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions as well as the Statute of the International Criminal Court, "practices of apartheid" constitute war crimes. Small wonder, then, that despite--or, rather, because of--its aptness, Carter is being bullied into repudiating the term.....

...Carter's real sin is that he cut to the heart of the problem: "Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law." "

العراق بالأحمر والأسود...سيخرجوا حقناً لرأس المال وليس الدم

From Ramallah: Dr. Adel Samara
د. عادل سمارة

لمن نستمع نحن العرب، بل العروبيون، فليس كل عربي هو عربي! هل نستمع لتقرير بيكر-هاملتون، أم لتصريحات روبرت جيتس، أم لزيارة جون ابي زيد لإثيوبيا ، أم لتخلي حكام العرب عن السودان: ليدخله وباء جند الإستعمار المعولم ، أم لأقوال أولمرت "أن لا محادثات مع سوريا إلا برضى أميركي". أم نستمع لهذه جميعاً من جهة، أم نسأل التاريخ، والذاكرة والاقتصاد وعقولنا؟
لا جدال في أن ما يصدر عن مركز العولمة مفيد معلوماتياً، حتى لو كان الكثير منه بقصد التضليل، والأكثر منه لا يُقال. فقد يرى البعص في تصريحات جيتس ما يُعاكس أو يرد على تقرير بيكر-هاملتون، أو كأن هذا التقرير هو حالة مهجنة ومركية لرؤية حزبين متعارضين. وقد تكون القراءة الأكثر هدوءاً، أن كله يكمل بعضه بعضاً، وكله في خدمة الطبقة الحاكمة، وفي "الإجتهاد أجر وثواب".
يجدر أن لا يغيب عن البال ان الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي هما حزبان لنفس الطبقة، وليست العلاقة بينهما تقاسم أدوار بقدر ما هي تكامل أداء الوظيفة لأن من ليس في الحكم منهما، هو في المصلحة المشتركة، بمعنى انه حين تم احتلال العراق كان الجمهوريون يخدمون الطبقة الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة التي يشكل الديمقراطيون جزءا بنيويا عميقا منها.
ودون حديث عميق في تقرير بيكر-هاملتون، فالتقرير ينص بوضوح على غرق جيش الإحتلال في إشكالية الهزيمة في العراق، لكنه لا يتحدث أو ينصح بخروج نهائي من العراق. ربما هو تقرير لإتقاء الخسائر الأكبر والأكثر وهو لإنارة الطريق امام السلطة الأميركية نفسها التي تدير الحرب على العراق.
من ناحية جوهرية، فتقرير بيكر-هاملتون وحديث جيتس يكملان بعضهما البعض. فالعدوان الأميركي على العراق كان من أجل النفط، ولم يجف النفط بعد. وإن المرء ليعجب من اي كاتب لا يبدأ من هنا وينتهي هنا. الحرب في العراق هي تعبئة منابع النفط المنهوب بدم العراقيين والجنود الأميركيين، الأحمر بدل الأسود، تماماً كما يضخون الماء ليخرج الغاز إلى الأعلى. هذه هي المعادلة الإقتصادية البشرية في العراق. وليست رؤيتها بعبقرية، بل كل ما يحتاجه المرء، بعضاً من ضمير ليقول ما يعرف ويفهم ويستنتج. وكل الحذلقات والفذلكات عن سوء فهم عربي غربي، أو خلاف ثقافي أو ديني، أو حتى صراع حضاري، رغم أهمية هذا تحديداً، كل هذا ليس سوى رقص خارج الحلبة.
فطالما أن هناك نفطاً، هناك احتلال. وكما كتبنا في هذه النشرة منذ احتلال بغداد 9 نيسان 2003، بأن الإستعمار يبدأ بالجملة ويخرج بالتدريج، لكنه يخرج، نعم، ظل الاعتقاد نفسه، إنما لا يخرج الإحتلال سريعاً ولا شريفاً.
في كثير من الحالات خلق الاستعمار بدائل محلية له. ولكن في العراق ما زال الأمر صعباً ويبدو أنه يزداد صعوبة يوما بعد يوم، حيث يدرك العراقيون، حتى العملاء منهم، ان الإحتلال جاء ليسحق العميل قبل الأصيل. وأن هذا الإحتلال، لا يثق حتى بعملائه لأن مصالحه لا تثق إلا بجلده. ويبدو ان الاستعمار لفرط أهمية مصالحه لا يثق بمن يبدلون جلودهم!
يحلم الاحتلال بتقاسم الأدوار في العراق، ان تشرف حكومة العملاء على "الأمن" الداخلي، وتشرف قواعد بعيدة ومحمية من جيشه على "الأمن النفطي"، وهو الحلم الذي حالت المقاومة دونه وستحول دونه إلى النهاية لا شك. وهذا ما يتقاطع جداً مع حديث جيتس: "نحن هنا إلى أمد بعيد". فهل من عجب إذن ان نقول كما ذكرنا في هذ النشرة منذ عامين بأن الأميركيين ينوون الاستيطان في العراق؟ ألا ينطوي هذا القول على نهب وسلب وقتل واحتقار؟
ليس هذا خيال شاعر. فقرابة 200 ألف جندي هم اكثر من سكان العديد من بلدان عربية في الخليج. وأكثر من عرب هذه البلدان مجتمعة في السبعينات. وقد يزداد هذا العدد. فهناك 9 ملايين حاملي البطاقة الخضراء في أميركا من مختلف فقراء العالم الذين يحلمون بالجنة الخضراء في أميركا، ويفدونها بدمائهم التي تراق في العراق. ولن يحول دون هذا الاستيطان المصلحي سوى الإنهيار الإقتصادي، بمعنى أن ارواح طالبي البطاقات الخضراء، وحتى دماء حمر الرقاب، لن تثني الطبقة الحاكمة عن الذهب الأسود. فالاستعداد لبذل الأحمر مقابل الأسود لا حدود له، إلا حينما تصبح الصفقة غير مربحة قط. بعبارة أخرى، فالإحتلال ذاهب هناك في صفقة اقتصادية، لديه رصيد هائل من الدم ليسفحه هناك دون حساب، والفقر في العالم كنتاج لراس المال قادر على تزويد أميركا بمزيد من الدم ليسفح في العراق.
ولا شك أن هناك جيوشاً أخرى لأميركا في العراق، ودماء جنودها ليست أثمن من دم حاملي البطاقة الخضراء، سواء في الحكومة العميلة التي يكاد دورها ينحصر في إدارة القتل الداخلي المتبادل بين أهل العراق. وهناك أنظمة مجاورة تخدم الإستيطان النفطي. فمن سوء الطالع للعراق ان الوسط المحيط به ليس مع المقاومة، بل معادٍ لها. وهذا دليل آخر على ألمعية هذه المقاومة بمعنى أنها تصمد في واقع مجافٍ إلى درجة كبيرة.
من اين تبدأ الهزيمة إذن؟ تبدأ من الخسارة الإقتصادية. فالمسألة هي حساب الربح والخسارة ولا قيمة للإنسان فيها، فكيف إذا كان غير واعٍ أو جره فقره إلى حتفه وهو يعلم؟
قبل ستينات القرن الماضي (القرن العشرين كي لا يبدو الزمان بعيداً) كان فائض الميزان التجاري الأميركي 10 مليار دولار. وحتى بداية سبعينات القرن نفسه انعكس الأمر ليصبح مقدار العجز بنفس مقدار الفائض الذي كان في الستينات. وذلك بفضل حرب فيتنام التي لم تنزعج أميركا من كونها حرقت دماء عشرات آلاف الجنود، بل لأنها حرقت عشرات مليارات الدولارات. فأصل اللعبة هو المال أو هو البضائع مترجمة إلى سيولة مالية. اي اصبحت المضارية غير مجدية. ولم يسعف الإقتصاد ألأميركي كونه ألأقوى في العالم وحصته من الإنتاج السلعي العالمي أكثر من 30 بالمئة.
صحيح أن الأزمة الإقتصادية العالمية الممتدة منذ 1973 وحتى اليوم، رغم ما تخللها، من صعود مؤقت مرة هنا وأخرى هناك، لمؤشر معدل الربح، صحيح أنها ضربت المركز كله، والعالم كله، وليس المركز الأميركي وحده، ولكن تاثير هذه الأزمة على الولايات المتحدة كان اعظم. فلم يسعف اقتصادها ما قامت به من طباعة الدولارات وضخها في السوق، ولا إلغاء القاعدة الذهبية وتعويم الدولار. فقد أخذ العدوان على فيتنام يلتهم كل هذا، إلى جانب حواشيه مثل، زيادة المساعدات الأجنبية للدول العميلة والإنفاق على قواعدها وجيوشها في اليابان وجنوب كوريا وتايوان "لمواجهة الشيوعية" رغم أن هذه الجيوش لم تكن منشغلة في حروب.
تكمن أهمية هذه التطورات أنها أهلكت الإنتاج الأميركي المدني، ودفعته للتحول إلى اقتصاد يتركز أكثر في الإنتاج الحربي. بعبارة أخرى، ربما لم تتراجع اميركا من حيث المستوى التكنولوجي بقدر ما جرى تحويل في الدور الإنتاجي من المدني لصالح العسكري. وهذا لا يعني أن الآخرين لم يأخذوا من حصة أميركا من السوق العالمي "المدني". والمهم ان كل هذا قد اضعف الاقتصاد وحوله من حربي إلى مدني. وأخيراً هربت أميركا من فيتنام. لكنها لم تفقد المصلحة الطبقية لحكامها في العدوان من أجل السوق والثروة، ناهيك أن الإقتصاد نفسه لم يكن ليغامر بقاعدتة الإنتاجية التسليحية. ولكن، أيضا، لا يمكن للإنتاج العسكري أن يعوض الخسارة في مبيعات الإنتاج المدني. فالإنتاج المدني مطلوب لكل المليارات، أما العسكري فمطلوب، ولو بالجملة، لبؤر التوتر. لذا ربما نفهم لماذا تدعم أميركا العدوان ألأثيوبي على الصومال وذهاب أبي زيد، إلى هناك. فليس من منطق في القول أن أميركا تخشى حكومة إسلامية في الصومال، في منطقة ليس فيها من سوق قادر على الاستهلاك العالي أو ثروة توجب النهب، ولكن إشعال المنطقة يخلق طلباً على السلاح، وبالتالي فإن ما لم ينفقه الناس على شراء الإنتاج المدني او حتى ما ينفقوه يذهب لشراء لأسلحة. فهل هناك أكثر وحشية من هذه المعادلة التي لا يعرف المرء منها للوهلة الأولى سوى أن أبي زيد زار المنطقة!
لم يكن النفط غائباً عن المعادلة في الستينات والسبعينات. لكنه كان في اليد بفضل الحكومات الوكيلة. وكانت طفرة اسعار النفط التي سحبت من الغرب الراسمالي فوائض هائلة، لتعيدها إليها نفس الأنظمة وإن بطرق شتى. فما الجديد إذن في احتلال العراق؟
ليس هنا موقع الحديث المفصل، لكن العراق كان بلداً له مشروع قومي، ونفط مؤمم، ونفط بدأ يبيعه باليورو. واهم من كل هذا، فقد شهدت الثمانينات والتسعينات، وحتى اليوم طفرة إنتاجية في الصين والهند وغيرهما، واصبح التحكم بنفط العالم هو أداة ضبط إيقاع الإنتاج والسوق. وكيف يكون ذلك لبلد لم يعد هو المنتج الرئيسي منفردا في هذا العالم. فبعد تراجع حصة اميركا من الإنتاج المدني العالمي، كان لا بد أن تنافس مدنياً عبر الأسلحة، لا بد من احتلال العراق للسيطرة على النفط والتحكم بتدفقه، وعند الاضطرار ، خلق مستوطنات (عسكرية/مدنية) هناك، لتتحول القواعد إلى مدن عسكرية مدنية. وبهذا تحاول اميركا التحكم بنمو هذين البلدين، بل والعالم بأسره. هذا إضافة إلى تحويل أفغانستان إلى قاعدة لأميركا هناك اقرب إلى كل آسيا. وماذا يهم الطبقات الحاكمة في أميركا ونظيراتها في الغرب الراسمالي لو ماتت جنودهم هناك؟ لا شيىء، فهناك تخريجيتين:
العلنية: الدفاع عن مصلحة الأمة
والسرية: ليموت أبناء الطبقات الشعبية من أجل راس المال.
لذا، كان طبيعياً وضروريا تدمير العراق وافغانستان. كان لا بد من التدمير ليتبعه التعمير، هذا منطق راس المال. وهو منطق لا تظهر بشاعته للوهلة الأولى. فليس الأمر مجرد هدم أبنية وطرقات قديمة لإقامة بديلة جديدة، بل هي ذبح ملايين البشر من أجل تشغيل ماكينة راس المال. ماكينة تدور بالدم والنفط، بالأحمر والأسود. لذا، دُمر العراق بدءاً من حضارة سومر وأكد، وحتى الجيش وذبح مئات الألاف واغتيل العلماء، واغتصبت النساء ولا ندري ماذا بعد.
وكل هذا تم باسم دمقرطة العراق على يد بلد يفاخر ب "المجتمع المدني"، هذا الزعم الذي يصلي في محرابه كثير من المثقفين العرب، تجار استيراد الثقافة "كمبرادور الثقافة".
وهكذا، يبقى الإحتلال في العراق طالما المشروع مربحاً وإلى أن يصبح المشروع خاسراً و/أو يثور طالبو البطاقة الخضراء لفرط خوفهم وموتهم، أو خوفهم من حتفهم وإلى جانب هذا كله، إلى أن يكون في الكثير من محيط العراق من هم أفضل ممن هم اليوم. والى أن تمتد المقاومة إلى وطن المقاومة، وهي تمتد حقاً

The kissing party and beyond

A Great Comment
By Khalid Amayreh

"The kissing, some say “exaggerated kissing” at Ehud Olmert’s official residence in Jerusalem on 23 December looked cordial and surrealistic. Cordial because Abbas and Olmert (and also the old-timer Ahmed Qrei) were smacking kisses on each other’s cheeks like gluttonous lovers.

Well, even the proverbial prodigal son wouldn’t have received this preponderance of warmth, which really surprised political observers and gave the impression that the “problem” between Israel and the Palestinian people was only psychological in nature.

And surrealistic because only a few months ago, Olmert was referring to Abbas as “irrelevant, weak, and expendable” until the Israeli premier was prodded by the Bush Administration to stop it.

This , of course, is added to the thousands of Palestinians, most of them innocent civilians, whom Olmert’s army murdered and maimed since he came to power more than six months ago as well as the concomitant wanton destruction wreaked on Palestinian towns and villages by the Nazi-like Israeli war machine.

So what happened behind the curtains of secrecy that we pen pushers and keyboard clickers have failed to notice? Well, in truth, nothing at all has really happened, apart from a request from Tony Blair that the two sides put up a “positive show” for the cameras to give the impression that “things are finally moving” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Otherwise, the basic realities involving God’s lying people and God’s tormented people remained unchanged. Indeed, no sooner had the kissing party in West Jerusalem been over than the Israeli government ordered the creation of a new Jewish-only colony in the West Bank.

The new colony, the construction of which is already underway, is Israel ’s and Olmert’s peculiar way of displaying good will toward the “moderate Palestinian leader.” And, Abbas, who has not uttered a word in protest against this humiliating affront continues to be almost euphoric about the outcome of his encounter with Olmert.

At the same time, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who has been trying desperately to portray herself as “rational and moderate,” is reportedly working on a new ‘peace’ initiative whereby “the land of Israel” (notice how she doesn’t even recognize the very existence of Palestine and Palestinians) would be divided along the apartheid wall. This is the same wall which Israeli politicians, leaders and spokespersons have been telling the world ad nauseam that it is a security barrier not a political border.

Not only that. Livni, who had opposed Sharon ’s plan to remove Talmudic Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, wants Abbas and the Palestinian people to kiss good-by the right of five million Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages in what is now Israel and also forget about Jerusalem and al-Masjidul Aqsa (the Aqsa Mosque).

A smart lady, indeed!!

Interestingly, all this farce is taking place while Abbas and his cohorts are busy preparing for war against Hamas and other Palestinian factions in order to meet incessant demands to that effect by Condoleezza Rice and her ignorant master of the White House. This is evidenced from the reported “transfer” of thousands of rifles and millions of rounds by Egypt , in coordination with Israel , of course, to Abbas’s “presidential guard” and Fatah militiamen in Gaza .

Isn’t it disgraceful that the movement which for a long time stood at the forefront of Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation has, willfully and happily, thrown itself into the laps our tormentors?

The Persian poet al-Saadi of Shiraz , who lived nearly 800 years ago, wrote that “when money appears, heads bow.” In the case of our hapless Palestinian leadership, it seems that not only their heads are bowing but also their principles, morals, and the proverbial constants of preserving national unity are collapsing like a house of cards.

Well, does Abbas think that placing his eggs, apparently all of them, in the American and Israeli baskets would enable him earn him respect in the eyes of his people, let alone extract Palestinian rights from Israel ’s hands? How many times did Israel and America promise the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but to no avail? Shouldn’t Abbas learn from Arafat’s experience with the murderous liars in Tel Aviv and their guardians in Washington ?

The truth of the matter is that by “blending in” fast, deeply and cheaply with Olmert and the Americans, Chairman Abbas is actually committing a political suicide in the eyes of his people.

One disgruntled Fatah leader wrote this week that the widespread impression that Fatah was joining “the Sinioras and Karazais” (a reference to Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Afghan President Hamed Karazai) of Palestine was seriously undermining the movement’s image among ordinary Palestinians.

“The Israelis and Americans are actually killing our image. So far, we have succeeded in portraying ourselves as sincere fighters for our people’s freedom and independence. But, now with active American financial and military backing, we risk appearing to our people as quislings and agents working in collusion with Israel and its strategic ally, the United States . This is hurting us a lot.”

There is no doubt that Fatah will lose dearly as a result of this de facto collusion with Israel and the US against a segment of the Palestinian people.

But, when will the true patriots within Fatah rise up and say enough is enough. "

America's Puppet Of The Year

Snow covering the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday. (Reuters)

Democracy and Its Discontents in Gaza

A Good Piece
By Ramzy Baroud

"It's all too convenient for the BBC website to describe the ongoing bloodshed between Hamas and Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip as “inter-factional rivalry,” and it’s equally fitting for the Washington Post to narrate the same unfortunate events — which have left many Palestinians dead and wounded — as if they are entirely detached from their adjoining regional and international milieus.

Also puzzling are calls made by “leading moderate Arab leaders” to fighting Palestinian factions to convene in this Arab capital or that to settle their differences and to achieve an increasingly elusive cease-fire, as if they, the Arabs — who cowed to US pressure to ensure the success of the debilitating sanctions imposed against the democratic Palestinian governments — haven’t contributed, actively and knowingly to the unfolding crisis in Palestine.

This is all but atypical, where Palestinians will be gently or harshly reprimanded for failing to sort out their differences in a more civilized manner, where they will be taught a lesson or two by some self-righteous American commentators about the true meaning of democracy, where they will be reminded that they are “their own worst enemies” and that they never “miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Nonsense.

What is taking place in the Occupied Territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip has much less to do with inter-factional rivalries and a lot more with regional and international power plays, in which some foolhardy Palestinians decided to involve themselves for the sake of maintaining personal and factional gains

To avoid delving into self-pity, I wish to emphasize a point that I have made repeatedly in the past: If it were not for the dysfunctional nature and lack of unity within the myriad of political and societal structures that claims to represent the Palestinian people, no political designs, be it American or Israeli or any other, would’ve succeeded in duping the Palestinians into such caustic behavior and self-defeatism. (The gunning down of three kids on Dec. 11 and the killing of other innocent people, including children, in addition to the attack on Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on Dec. 14, have indeed crossed all red lines.)

Self-admonishment aside, however, one must not be too hasty to conclude that the newest episode of violence witnessed in Gaza — following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ suggestion of early polls on Dec. 9, and then his televised speech on Dec. 14 revealing his intention to hold early legislative and presidential elections— was a spur of the moment event, incited by lack of discipline on the part of a few rogue elements. Rather, it’s a facet of the thus-far unsuccessful, prolonged coup d’état to topple the Palestinian government, which was declared candidly by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, demanded by Israel, and entrusted to President Abbas and some factions within his Fatah party, following Hamas’ advent to power in the internationally monitored and transparent elections held January 2006.

Those who might find it justifiable to oust a “theocratic” regime by any means necessary, even by an assassin’s bullet, fail to realize that despite Hamas’ religious posture, it has done very little so far to divert from the dictates of democracy. To the contrary, they seem more keen on adhering to the secular Palestinian Constitution than Abbas himself.

Indeed, this is not a war between religious zealots and democratic secularists; far from it. However, it’s a battle of many meanings, each tailored and defined to suit the interests and manage the concerns of the many parties involved, and indeed, they are not all Palestinians.

Hamas did not come to power on the back of an American tank, like more or less the pro-Washington regime in Iraq, or via an Israeli sanctioned and armed political system of corruption and elitism, like the one concocted following the signing of Oslo in 1993. It neither imposed nor manipulated its way to power. It was the outcome of an overwhelming democratic process, ironically enough, a part of America’s democratic drive in the Middle East, itself a distraction from its horrendous failures in Iraq.

So what went wrong?

The election of Hamas sent shock waves across the Middle East, for it offered an Islamic alternative that didn’t defy the norms of democracy, but seemed capable of locating a method for a lasting union between the two, unlike the Algerian example, which inspired the most destructive civil war.

Second, it crippled the Bush administration’s vision of democracy in the Middle East, one that is cemented with the assumption that pro-American regional allies can possibly achieve a façade of democracy without any major overhauling of their political systems that might endanger US interests. The Iraqi and Egyptian presidential elections were hoped to be the models to follow, not that of Hamas.

Third, Hamas’ win, mostly based on its anti-corruption ticket, has threatened to destroy and filter out an utterly corrupt political system that the Palestinian Authority’s echelons have enjoyed, with full Israeli backing. The authority’s structure, as constructed by Oslo, has produced one of the most corrupt and corruptible political regimes, with full reliance on American and European aid, money that has barely tricked down on the oppressed multitudes.

Palestinians had no illusions that electing a government under occupation doesn’t change the status quo of their beleaguered lives, but it could, they hoped, bring an end to the nepotistic system espoused at home.

The Bush administration, which immediately toned down its democracy rhetoric following the Palestinian elections was hell-bent on toppling Hamas. Although for Israel no matter who is at the Palestinian helm, Israel can never admit to having a trustworthy peace partner (for Israel it has always been about winning time, rather than achieving peace). The Israelis seemed to be enjoying and had actively exploited Palestinian chaos for it represented a historical opportunity to consume Palestinians in endless internal strife, and even better, a civil war. And as the Arabs followed Washington’s orders and as the Europeans waited for further instructions (so much for the European alternative peace broker), Palestinians fell into the trap, turning one of the shiniest moments for democracy in the region, to one of extreme irony, agony and possible defeat.

It is decidedly clear that the policy planners in Washington and Tel Aviv have converged on the need for a prolonged era of Palestinian infighting and to eventually topple the government. It’s also clear that Abbas and his followers have agreed to play their entrusted roles, as have many Arab rulers.

I desperately want to conclude with the claim that Palestinians will once again withstand this harsh, cruel test, and win with their unity and democracy unscathed; but after what I have seen in the last few weeks, and being convinced of the extent of the American experiment that stretches far beyond the crowded streets of besieged, impoverished Gaza, I am no longer certain that they will.

But if they fail, so will true democracy and its advocates, for the word would then be devoid of any meaning, and would once again be demoted to resemble another usual US charade, as it always has."

In Somalia, a reckless U.S. proxy war

Salim Lone
International Herald Tribune

"NAIROBI: Undeterred by the horrors and setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the Bush administration has opened another battlefront in the Muslim world. With full U.S. backing and military training, at least 15,000 Ethiopian troops have entered Somalia in an illegal war of aggression against the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls almost the entire south of the country.

As with Iraq in 2003, the United States has cast this as a war to curtail terrorism, but its real goal is to obtain a direct foothold in a highly strategic region by establishing a client regime there. The Horn of Africa is newly oil-rich, and lies just miles from Saudi Arabia, overlooking the daily passage of large numbers of oil tankers and warships through the Red Sea. General John Abizaid, the current U.S. military chief of the Iraq war, was in Ethiopia this month, and President Hu Jintao of China visited Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia earlier this year to pursue oil and trade agreements.

The U.S. instigation of war between Ethiopia and Somalia, two of world's poorest countries already struggling with massive humanitarian disasters, is reckless in the extreme. Unlike in the run-up to Iraq, independent experts, including from the European Union, were united in warning that this war could destabilize the whole region even if America succeeds in its goal of toppling the Islamic Courts.

An insurgency by Somalis, millions of whom live in Kenya and Ethiopia, will surely ensue, and attract thousands of new anti-U.S. militants and terrorists.

With so much of the world convulsed by crisis, little attention has been paid to this unfolding disaster in the Horn. The UN Security Council, however, did take up the issue, and in another craven act which will further cement its reputation as an anti-Muslim body, bowed to American and British pressure to authorize a regional peacekeeping force to enter Somalia to protect the transitional government, which is fighting the Islamic Courts.

The new UN resolution states that the world body acted to "restore peace and stability." But as all major international news organizations have reported, this year Somalia finally experienced its first respite from 16 years of utter lawlessness and terror at the hands of the marauding warlords who drove out UN peacekeepers in 1993, when 18 American soldiers were killed.

Since 1993, there had been no Security Council interest in sending peacekeepers to Somalia, but as peace and order took hold, a multilateral force was suddenly deemed necessary — because it was the Islamic Courts Union that had brought about this stability. Astonishingly, the Islamists had succeeded in defeating the warlords primarily through rallying people to their side by creating law and order through the application of Shariah law, which Somalis universally practice.

The transitional government, on the other hand, is dominated by the warlords and terrorists who drove out American forces in 1993. Organized in Kenya by U.S. regional allies, it is so completely devoid of internal support that it has turned to Somalia's arch- enemy, Ethiopia, for assistance.

If this war continues, it will affect the whole region, do serious harm to U.S. interests and threaten Kenya, the only island of stability in this corner of Africa.

Ethiopia is at even greater risk, as a dictatorship with little popular support and beset also by two large internal revolts, by the Ogadenis and Oromos. It is also mired in a conflict with Eritrea, which has denied it secure access to seaports.

The best antidote to terrorism in Somalia is stability, which the Islamic Courts have provided. The Islamists have strong public support, which has grown in the face of U.S. and Ethiopian interventions. As in other Muslim-Western conflicts, the world needs to engage with the Islamists to secure peace."

Man Of The Year

Livni holds in-camera meeting with PLO, Fatah officials

"Nazareth - Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has met with two PLO and Fatah officials three days ago in line with ongoing "backdoor" negotiations between the two parties on major issues, according to Ma'ariv daily on Thursday.

The paper said that the meeting was held on Monday 25/12, noting that it came only few days after PA chief Mahmoud Abbas proposed holding such secret channels during his meeting with Israeli premier Ehud Olmert.

It said that Livini has been preparing an initiative to resume negotiations with the Palestinians over final status of major questions according to the Geneva document that gives up the Palestinian refugees' right of return and included Israeli readiness to evacuate a number of West Bank settlements.

The report named the PLO executive committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo and Fatah leader and former PA finance minister Salam Fayyadh as the officials that met Livni."

Peres holds "backdoor" talks with Rejoub, Nusseiba

"Occupied Jerusalem - Israeli first vice premier Shimon Peres held a series of in-camera meetings with Jibril Al-Rejoub, advisor to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas, and Sirri Nusseiba, rector of Al-Quds Open University, Hebrew media reported.

The reports said that Rejoub, who is the former head of the PA preventive security apparatus in the West Bank, and Nusseiba, who previously was in charge of the Jerusalem file and who proposed an initiative that annulled the Palestinian refugees' right of return, traveled to Spain a couple of days ago for the meetings.

They said that the meetings would end on Thursday but could not pinpoint the exact issues discussed in view of secrecy of the meetings, which might end in a joint declaration on Thursday evening.

The secret meetings coincide with Abbas' declaration in Cairo on Wednesday that he proposed "backdoor" talks between the PA and Israel over major issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Abbas told a press conference at conclusion of his Cairo visit that he offered the idea during talks with Israeli premier Ehud Olmert, who promised to study it, and added that the USA did not reject the idea. "

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Arming Usrael's Thugs; How Touching!

Egypt transfers arms, ammunition to Fatah

"Egypt transfered a large quantity of arms and ammunition to Palestinian Authority security organizations in the Gaza Strip Wednesday. The move was carried out with Israel's approval and was made in an effort to bolster Fatah affiliated groups, following clashes with Hamas paramilitary organizations.

The shipment included 2,000 AK-47 rifles, 20,000 magazines and two million rounds of ammunition. The arms and ammunition were transfered from Egypt to Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in coordination with the Israel Defense Force and with the government's authorization.

The four trucks carrying the weapons were accompanied by Military Police, and crossed into the Gaza Strip through the Karni crossing, where PA security personnel received the shipment......

The issue of reinforcing the Fatah forces was the subject of discussions among Israeli, Egyptian and American officials. A decision was made during the meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.

During the meeting, Abbas also promised to deploy men from his Presidential Guard along the Philadelphi Route to prevent smuggling, and also in the northern Gaza Strip, to prevent the targetting of Israeli towns with Qassam rockets."


The Slow Motion Coup Is Right On Schedule; Are You Paying Attention, Hamas? Or Are You Still Waiting For "Brother Abu Mazen" To Restart "Unity Talks?" I Am Afraid You Are Giving Him All The Time He Needs To Set Up The Gallows For You!

Arab Puppets Care More About One Israeli Soldier Than 10,000 Palestinian Prisoners

Egypt: Captured Israeli soldier is alive

"JERUSALEM - The Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants last June is still alive, Egypt's foreign minister said Wednesday during a visit to Jerusalem.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt is mediating between Israel and Hamas to win the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was captured last June by militants linked to the ruling Hamas faction who tunneled into Israel and then fled back to Gaza. Shalit has not been seen or heard from since then, though Israeli officials have said they believe he is alive.

"This is a very sensitive issue," Aboul Gheit told a news conference in Jerusalem. "I hope and believe that he will be released ... but I emphasize that we are working hard for his release and we are sure that he is still alive."

However, he said he could not guarantee Shalit's release.

Aboul Gheit spoke in Arabic and his comments were translated into Hebrew. The news conference was held after a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

The militants holding Shalit have demanded a large-scale prisoner release by Israel."


Bastard, Boot Licker!

2700 Palestinians detained without trial this year

Associated Press
26 December 2006

A top military judge disclosed that 2,700 Palestinians have been detained without trial this year, criticizing the military prosecution for not filing charges against
some of them.

Colonel Shaul Gordon, chief justice of the army's West Bank appeals court, told the soldiers' weekly "Bamahane" that 2,000 of the detainees filed appeals, and their
detention was shortened in many cases. He said even the ones who do not file appeals are reviewed.

The practice of administrative detention has been harshly criticized by Palestinians and human rights groups, who say that if the military has evidence against suspects, it should put them on trial. The military has responded that sometimes evidence is too sensitive to submit to a trial.

Gordon, who is leaving his post after six years, backed the critics in some cases. "Sometimes we get the impression that with a bit more effort in the investigation, an indictment could have been brought, because that is the best way," he told the weekly.

The publication reported that Gordon instituted basic reforms in the military court system during his term.

Until 2002, the military courts were part of the army prosecution system, but Gordon forced a separation, making the courts independent. "Today every defense lawyer knows
the prosecution is a separate entity" from the courts, he said.

Also, until two years ago, the military used army officers with no legal training as judges. The weekly said standard procedure was to run defendants through the judicial
process at top speed, with officers pulling duty as judges regardless of their qualifications.

Gordon scrapped the system. "It appeared absurd and unacceptable to me," he said. Instead, he persuaded civilian judges to serve their reserve army duty as
military judges.

The soldiers' publication said that about 10,000 indictments are brought against Palestinians each year, including 3,600 for security offenses and 1,500 for public
disturbance. Others are criminal and traffic offenses.

Gordon said the most difficult period was during Israel's 2001 sweep through the West Bank that followed a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings. The judicial system was
flooded with thousands of detainees. In one case, he said, a Palestinian was brought before him on charges that he helped plan a terror attack.

Gordon asked for the documentation and was shocked to read that the man was innocent - another person had confessed to the crimes of which he was accused. "That's a story
that shows how we can go wrong," he told the weekly.