Saturday, February 10, 2007

Western Arms Merchants Emptying The Pockets Of Gulf Arabs After Scaring Them About The "Iranian Threat"
Will The Arabs Ever Learn?

Comments on: Feith Takes the Fall

By Kurt Nimmo

".....“In Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward quotes General Tommy Franks—appalled at the quality of intelligence about Iraq—railing that Feith, then the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, was ‘the f—king stupidest guy on the face of the earth.’”

Either Franks is being disingenuous or he is the “the f—king stupidest guy on the face of the earth.” As a former Pentagon bureaucrat, Franks should know about Feith’s shady, traitorous past. Douglas Feith, after all, was deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, the number three position at the Pentagon, from July 2001 to August 2005. Feith was fingered by the FBI as an Israel First traitor, as he apparently passed confidential Pentagon documents to AIPAC, an act that would get Feith lined up against the nearest brick wall and shot by an impromptu firing squad in some countries. Here, he is rewarded with a posh academic position at Georgetown University, thus demonstrating that crime indeed pays.

Franks seems to think Feith was acting out of stupidity when he released all kinds of “cooked intelligence,” i.e., lies, over at the Office of Special Plans, an outfit created the day after the September 11, 2001, attacks by the Grand Wizard neocon, Paul Wolfowitz, an Israel Firster and PNAC insider subsequently rewarded with a position over at the World Bank, the world-class loan sharking operation responsible for untold suffering and misery in the third world.

Feith was not stupid. He is a conniving Zionist agent, tasked with creating scary and entirely implausible camp fire stories designed to push the United States into invasions and wars not in its interest, although certainly in the interest of Israel......"

Ladies And Gentlemen, Please Welcome The FAMAS "Government"
Let The Celebrations Begin!

(I still prefer Barney)

Another War Pimp Threatens

Merkel warns Iran on nuclear issue

"Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said world leaders had resolved to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

In a speech to the Munich conference on security policy, Chancellor Merkel said: "We are all determined to prevent the threat of an Iran with a military nuclear programme."

She said the Islamic republic must conform with international demands to stop enriching uranium "without ifs and buts and without tricks".

"What we are talking about here is a very, very sensitive technology and so we need a high degree of transparency, which Iran has failed to provide, and if Iran does not do this it risks falling deeper into isolation."......"

Iran Attack: Once Again, the New York Times Serves as Propaganda Tool

A Very Good Piece
By Kurt Nimmo

"Recall, back in May of 2004, a superficially contrite New York Times editorial staff admitting it published “questionable” information about claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, information that ultimately paved the way for the slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis......

“We consider the story of Iraq’s weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight,” the newspaper concluded.

Of course, the New York Times didn’t really mean it, as “unfinished business” would necessitate sweeping out the rogues and neocon agents ensconced deeply within its editorial offices. One such rogue is Michael R. Gordon, “the same Times reporter who, on his own, or with Judith Miller, wrote some of the key, and badly misleading or downright inaccurate, articles about Iraqi WMDs in the run-up to the 2003 invasion,” notes Greg Mitchell, writing for Editor and Publisher......

Gordon is at it again. “The Bush administration is expected to make public this weekend some of what intelligence agencies regard as an increasing body of evidence pointing to an Iranian link, including information gleaned from Iranians and Iraqis captured in recent American raids on an Iranian office in Erbil and another site in Baghdad,” the seasoned propagandist is allowed to write.

As expected, the race is on to sell us another murderous pretext, thus demonstrating we are indeed a nation of chumps.....

“U.S. military commanders in Iraq have shown members of Congress explosive devices that bear Iranian markings as evidence Tehran is supplying Iraqi militants with bombs, a senior U.S. government official said Saturday,” reports Forbes.....

In normal, non-Bushzarro times, with a semi-cognizant public in attendance, the fact this “evidence” is vetted by Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a congressional cheerleader for Israeli and American war crimes nonpareil, would be highly suspect, to say the least. “One of the lawmakers, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, said he has seen some of the evidence, though he would not be specific. ‘I’m convinced from what I’ve seen that the Iranians are supplying and are giving assistance to the people in Iraq who are killing American soldiers,’ said Lieberman, who was attending an international security conference in Munich,”.....

So-called “national security officials” are about ready to proffer “materials,” said to consist of in part “slides and 2 inches of documents,” providing “evidence” of “Iran’s role in supplying Iraqi militants with highly sophisticated and lethal improvised explosive devices and other weaponry,” never mind the nagging question of why exactly Iran would collude with the Iraqi resistance, composed in large part of former enemies......

As the Guardian reports, the neocons are antsy to get moving with their mass murder campaign, blaming Bush for apparent reluctance, if such can be believed. For instance, Meyrav Wurmser, wife of David Wurmser, the neocon accused of spying for AIPAC at the behest of Israel, “is disappointed with the response of the Bush administration so far to Iran and said that if the aim of US policy after 9/11 was to make the Middle East safer for the US, it was not working because the administration had stopped at Iraq.” Of course, she really means making the Arab and Muslim Middle East “safer” for Israel, as Ms. Wurmser is a Revisionist-Herut-Likud “scholar” and co-founder and director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, along with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence. MEMRI specializes in mistranslating Arabic and Farsi, most notably the speeches of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, thus preparing the groundwork for an attack designed to kill Iranian toddlers and grandmothers.

Another blood-thirsty neocon, Josh Muravchik, purportedly a “Middle East specialist” at the American Enterprise Institute, the criminal organization where Bush gets his “minds,” is “among its most vocal supporters of such a strike” against Iran, although of late he has voiced frustration with the Bushites, as has Wurmser. “The Bush administration have said they would not allow Iran nuclear weapons. That is either bullshit or they mean it as a clear code: we will do it if we have to. I would rather believe it is not hot air.” In lieu of an attack, Muravchik and Wurmser advocate meddling in Iranian domestic affairs, unleashing officially declared terrorist groups against the Iranian people, including Mujahideen-e Khalq, the wacky Marxist cult led by husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. In the 1970s, MEK killed U.S. military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran, not that Dr. Wurmser and Josh Muravchik can be bothered by such niggling details, as their primary focus is Israel, not America.

Finally, as if to demonstrate hysterical propaganda here in the heartland knows no bounds, the Associated Press tells us Iran school kids are being trained as suicide bombers. “Textbooks used in Iran’s schools are instilling students with hatred toward the West, especially the United States, and urging them to become ‘martyrs’ in a global holy war against countries perceived to be enemies of Islam, a new study says,” the news agency reports. “The books emphasize the teachings of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and repeatedly refer to the United States as the ‘Great Satan’ and to Israel as ‘the regime that occupies Jerusalem,’ said the study by the Israel-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace,” described as “a shadowy pro-Israel group” by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Normally, such obvious propaganda would be discarded out of hand, but then, as the New York Times demonstrates, the point here is not objectivity and unbiased reportage, but rather greasing the skids for an attack leveled against Iran.

No doubt, after the attack, the New York Times may once again admit it was used, although the neocons guilty will likely remain on staff, as they did after the invasion of Iraq. "

Will They Nuke Iran?

Intelligence Briefings to NYT Notch Up Tension


"President Nixon, a very good poker player, once defined the art of brinkmanship as persuading your opponent that you are insane and, unless appeased by pledges of surrender, quite capable of blowing up the planet.

By these robust standards George Bush is doing a moderately competent job in suggesting that if balked by Iran on the matter of arming the Shi'a in Iraq or pursuing its nuclear program he'll dump high explosive, maybe even a couple of nukes, on that country's relevant research sites, or tell Israel to do the job for him......

Gardiner cautioned that "It is possible the White House strategy is just implementing a strategy to put pressure on Iran on a number of fronts, and this will never amount to anything. On the other hand, if the White House is on a path to strike Iran, we'll see a few more steps unfold.

"First, we know there is a National Security Council staff-led_group whose mission is to create outrage in the world against Iran. Just like before Gulf II, this media group will begin to release stories to sell a strike against Iran. Watch for the outrage stuff."

As regards "the outrage stuff", here on cue comes the New York Times' Michael Gordon with a front page story today, February 10, headlined "Deadliest Bomb in Iraq is Made by Iran, US Says", and beginning "The most lethal weapon directed against American troops in Iraq is an explosive-packed cylinder that United States intelligence asserts is being supplied by Iran."......

Another tripwire for escalation would be the UN Security Council Feb 21 deadline for Iran to suspend "all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA," the International Atomic Energy Agency......

The Bush administration is capable of almost any folly, but is it likely that it would bomb Iran's nuclear research labs? Would it really prod Israel into taking on the job?.....

So the job of attacking would fall to the US Air force and US Navy and there are certainly generals, particularly in the Air Force, telling Bush it would be a snap, just as Curt LeMay, at that time head of the Strategic Air Command, told President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis that SAC could "reduce the Soviet Union to a smouldering irradiated ruin in three hours".....

The Democrats take the lead of their presidential hopefuls, who have no intention of being corralled by the Republicans as symps of holocaust deniers who want to destroy Israel. These days, to be a player, any candidate for the US presidency has to raise about $100 million, of which a large tranche will come from American Jews. Barack Obama and John Edwards call for swift withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. When it comes to Iran they roar in unison with Hillary Clinton that no option can be left off the table. In other words, if it comes to it, nuke 'em ....."

Growing bitterness in Gaza

By Amira Hass

"....What is the connection between security equipment, the Presidential Guard and an improvement in everyday life? It can be found in a document the Defense Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) presented on January 12 regarding the "easing of daily life." One of its headings: 'The comprehensive plan for improving the Palestinian population's fabric of life."

The first paragraph is "Steps to empower Abu Mazen," and it includes: "Coordination with the PA chairman's office and those subordinate to him - Approving entry of donations (security equipment) for the Presidential Guard by expedited procedure; easing the movement of VIPs and senior Palestinians...."

From the document we cannot learn about "easing of conditions," but rather about the mentality of an occupier. The document demonstrates that the security establishment continues to adopt methods that played - and still play - a decisive role in the accumulation of tremendous bitterness among the Palestinian public toward senior Fatah officials. It is not important whether the document presented referred to that very security equipment. The important thing is that when the war between the Palestinian security services threatens to turn into a civil war with numerous victims, the security establishment identifies the "empowerment of Abu Mazen" with the strengthening of a security apparatus, and both with an improved "fabric of life."......"

Putin: US seeking to control world

"Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has harshly criticised the US for what he said was an attempt to force its will on the rest of the world. "What is a unipolar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master," he said to an annual gathering of top security and defence officials in Munich, Germany, on Saturday. "It has nothing in common with democracy because that is the opinion of the majority taking into account the minority opinion," Putin said. "People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves."

'World less safe'

Putin said that the US, above other western nations, had repeatedly overstepped its national borders in questions of international security, a policy that he said had not made the world safer. On the contrary, the world had become less safe, he said. Putin said: "Unilateral actions have not resolved conflicts but have made them worse. "This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure any more because nobody can hide behind international law."

He did not mention any specific conflicts, but he has been very critical of the US decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

Missile defence system

Putin also voiced concern about US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe, probably Poland and the Czech Republic, and the expansion of Nato as possible challenges to Russia. "The process of Nato expansion has nothing to do with modernisation of the alliance or with ensuring security in Europe," Putin said. "On the contrary, it is a serious factor provoking reduction of mutual trust."

He also dismissed suggestions that the European Union and Nato had the right to intervene alone in crisis regions. "The legitimate use of force can only done by the United Nations, it cannot be replaced by EU or Nato," he said.

On the missile defence system, Putin said: "I don't want to accuse anyone of being aggressive" but suggested it would seriously change the balance of power and could provoke an unspecified response. "That balance will be upset completely and one side will have a feeling of complete security and given a free hand in local, and probably in global, conflicts...," he said."

Bush's New "Security" Plan In Iraq

A Strike on Iran would signify the Beginning of an Epoch of Nuclear War

by Dmitriy Sedov

Global Research, February 10, 2007
Strategic Cultural Foundation (Russia)

"In my paper entitled “2007: Opening a New Page in the World’s History”, published in September, 2006, I examined the possibility that a US strike on Iran using small-scale nuclear munitions would to be launched, and that the strike would become the beginning of an epoch of nuclear wars. There were various responses to the paper. Some authors, including recognized experts, doubted the possibility of such a development. At present, few people doubt that there will be a strike on Iran. Rather, the question is whether nuclear or conventional weapons will be used in the offensive.......

The coming war between the US and Iran has to conform to certain parameters defined a priori. The US is tired of Iraq, and the public opinion in the country is turning increasingly anti-war. Therefore, the offensive against Iran has to be swift and victorious. This will save Bush’s political group and give it a higher rating in the country. There can be no doubt that a successful aggression will make Bush extremely popular in the US – in this anti-Christian society the pagan god of victory has long taken the place of the Savior. A triumph will make the US public blind and deaf – it will remain unaware of the price of the US victory for the nations of the Middle East. The crucial circumstance is that only nuclear weapons can guarantee the US victory in this war. Knowing that the US failed to win even in Iraq, a country plagued by religious and ethnic strife, one cannot expect it to prevail in the united and spiritually strong Iran. Only the use of nuclear weapons can make it possible to cause severe damage to the Iranian control system hidden in bunkers and, importantly, to behead its leadership no matter how deep underground it might be hiding. Iran without its leaders and with a paralyzed system of control, with an army devastated by “baby nukes”, is the only option which suits the US - it agrees to talk about peace only to a totally subdued offender. Such talks would let the US leaders’ old dream of a Middle Eastern Disneyland, mastered by the US and Israel, come true.

Here are the facts which illustrate the process of the preparations for the devastation of Iran:

- The UN Security Council Resolution envisions that a further tightening of the sanctions imposed on Iran must take place after February 21, 2007. From the standpoint of the international law, this is a pretext (essentially, a poor one, but a one that does exist) to legalize an aggression against the country.

- Two US aircraft carrier groups armed with nukes are moving into the region. The US aircraft carrier groups have been on missions 5 times over the past 15 years. In 4 cases out of the 5, they launched military offensives. In March, 2007 both groups are to take their combat positions.

- Additional ground forces are shifted to the border between Iraq and Iran. Preparations for a new phase of hostilities are underway.

- In February, Patriot missile defense systems will be ready to defend Israel and the aircraft carrier groups from enemy airstrikes.

- British combat engineers are entering the regions of the future fighting, clearly in order to operate in the Strait of Ormuz, where Iranians are most likely to lay mines.

- The US and Israel launched a powerful information and propaganda campaign preparing the global public opinion for the aggression.

- CENTCOM’s Commander John Abizade, an opponent of the war with Iran, resigned. His position was taken over by Admiral W. Fallon, a veteran of the 1991 Iraq and 1995 Bosnia campaigns.

- John Negroponte has been moved from his position as the First Director of National Intelligence for persistently resisting the use of force against Iran.

- T. Blair, the “staff peacemaker” for the Middle East, never mentions a peaceful settlement of the Iran dossier problem. He makes no attempts to find a way to resolve the crisis in a peaceful way, and this is highly indicative.

All of the above constitutes evidence of Iran’s being prepared for sacrifice. Will a major provocation be orchestrated for this purpose? A number of observers opine that Washington needs one. We believe that what we will see is going to be a plain cowboy-style scenario like the one which materialized in Iraq. Media never stop debating the issue of the “Iranian atomic bomb” – just as they focused on “S. Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”. It is time for them to start. It absolutely does not matter that eventually nothing of the kind will be found in Iran. Those who disagree will be silenced by force....."

Words and Deeds: It doesn't matter what Jews say but what Palestinians do

By Gilad Atzmon

"David Ben Gurion, the legendary Zionist leader as well as Israel’s first Prime Minister, used to say: “What matters is not what the Goyim say, what matters is what the Jews do”.

A few days ago a group of Jews who may have been independent at one stage decided to gather and to form a new collective peace-loving humanist synagogue. They call themselves the Independent Jewish Voices (IJV). They are determined to challenge the hegemony of the Board Of Deputies Of British Jews (BOD). I am far from being a supporter of the Board of Deputies, in fact, I despise them. Yet, being a Jew by origin, I have never regarded this body as a representative of either myself or any of my so-called Jewish friends.

Furthermore, being a practicing independent thinker, I regard the BOD as a representation of everything I fight against. Yet, I do acknowledge that this body indeed represents the community of Jews in Britain. I do understand as well that the majority of Jews in Britain and around the world do support Zionism. This is indeed very sad and rather concerning. Yet, far more concerning, is the fact that IJV are not exactly against Israel or Zionism. Like the BOD, they do believe in the right of the Jews to live in peace in Palestine. In their favour it must be said that though they are in favour of the Idea of Jewish state, they want it to be different. They believe in the possibility of morally orientated colonialism in which the colonialists (those who live in Tel Aviv) and the ethnically cleansed (those who live in Gaza, for instance) live in ‘peace’ side by side.

On the face of it, an internal Jewish dispute between two Zionist synagogues shouldn’t really become one of the top priorities of British society. This debate should have taken place on the very yellow pages of the Jewish Chronicle. Yet, the IJV wanted to get the British public on their side. How did they do it? They have peppered their declaration with some humanist post-colonial terminology and planted the word Palestine in every other sentence. It quite important to mention that in the declaration itself the BOD is not mentioned even once. Palestine, on the other hand, is mentioned six times.

Out of the five principles presented by the IJV, three are dedicated to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The author of the declaration must be aware that the British people are gradually becoming more and more aware of the emerging level of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian population. It is rather crucial to emphasize that while the IJV insists upon conveying an image of commitment to the Palestinian issue, they clearly refrain from any substantial ethical commitment to Palestine, Palestinians or humanism. The IJV do not extend beyond the Israeli Left’s Peace-Now rhetoric. Though, they refer to human rights, they clearly refrain from mentioning the Palestinian right of return. They are succumbing to the old leftist Zionist trick; they identify the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as its resolution, with the occupation and its demise. This is obviously a lie and the authors of the IJV declaration are fully conscious of this lie. I would like to believe that more than a few of the IJV signatories are not aware of the sophisticated manipulative document they have signed on.

Once again, the truth must be said. The Palestinian cause is largely about the right of return and a solution to the refugee problem. Though the end of occupation is indeed a necessity, it won’t secure any peace deal. By avoiding the Palestinian cause, the IJV are guilty of dismissing the elementary rights of Palestinians to live on their own land. The IJV may momentarily score some points by taking the Palestinians for a ride while not committing themselves to their real cause. Unfortunately, such an ethical momentum that could be used as a general awakening for Jews was wasted on another exercise in a left Zionist fig leaf operation.

Learning from the success of Ben Gurion and his version of Zionism, I would like to make a suggestion to my Palestinian brothers and sisters. It really doesn’t matter what the Jews say, it matters what the Palestinians do.

Conspiracy of silence in the Arab world

By Robert Fisk

"......They were the same special forces who crushed the Islamist rebellion in Hama in February 1982, slaughtering up to - well, a few thousand, according to the regime, at least 10,000 according to Fisk (who was there) and up 20,000 if you believe The New York Times (which I generally don't).

Either way, I've always regarded it as a war crime, along with the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila camps in Beirut by Israel's Lebanese militia allies a few months later. Ariel Sharon, who was held personally responsible by Israel's own court of enquiry, is an unindicted war criminal. So is Rifaat.....

Now, of course, there are a few discrepancies in the facts. The Syrians did not use poison gas in Hama, as Abdeh claims. They certainly did level whole areas of the city - they are still level today, although a hotel has been built over one devastated district - and when Rifaat's thugs combed through the ruins later, they executed any civilians who couldn't account for their presence.....

But still... What strikes me is not so much the force of Abdeh's letter but that it was written at all. When the Hama massacre occurred, neighbouring Arab states were silent. Although the Sunni prelates of the city called for a religious war, their fellow clerics in Damascus - and, indeed, in Beirut - were silent. Just as the imams and scholars of Islam were silent when the Algerians began to slaughter each other in a welter of head-chopping and security force executions in the 1990s......

Not a word of criticism. Not a hint of concern. Not a scintilla (an Enoch Powell word, this) of sympathy. An Israeli bombardment of Lebanon? Even an Israeli invasion? That's a war crime - and the Arabs are right, the Israelis do commit war crimes. I saw the evidence of quite a few last summer. But when does Arab blood become less sacred? Why, when it is shed by Arabs. It's not just a failure of self-criticism in the Arab world. In a landscape ruled by monsters whom we in the West have long supported, criticism of any kind is a dodgy undertaking. But can there not be one small sermon of reprobation for what Iraqi Muslims are doing to Iraqi Muslims?

Of course, but the real problem the Arabs now face is that their lands have been overrun and effectively occupied by Western armies. I worked out a few weeks ago that, per head of population - and the world was smaller in the 12th century - there are now about 22 times more Western soldiers in Muslim lands than there were at the time of the Crusades. How do you strike back at these legions and drive them out? Brutally and most terribly, the Iraqis have shown how. I used to say the future of the Bush administration will be decided in Iraq, not in Washington. And this now appears to be true.

So what should we do? Allow the Rifaats of this world to go on enjoying Marbella? And the killers of Hariri go free? And the Arabs remain silent in the face of the shameful atrocities which their brother Muslims have also committed? I'll take a bet that Rifaat will be safe from the UN lads. In Iraq right now, he'd be on "our" side, wouldn't he, battling the Islamic insurgency as he did in Hama? And that, I fear, is the problem. We are all Rifaats now."

The Pentagon's not-so-little secret

As the president and Republicans continue to hype the surge -- and stifle debate about it -- Bush's own war planners are preparing for failure in Iraq.

By Sidney Blumenthal

"Feb. 08, 2007 | Deep within the bowels of the Pentagon, policy planners are conducting secret meetings to discuss what to do in the worst-case scenario in Iraq about a year from today if and when President Bush's escalation of more than 20,000 troops fails, a participant in those discussions told me. None of those who are taking part in these exercises, shielded from the public view and the immediate scrutiny of the White House, believes that the so-called surge will succeed. On the contrary, everyone thinks it will not only fail to achieve its aims but also accelerate instability by providing a glaring example of U.S. incapacity and incompetence.

The profoundly pessimistic thinking that permeates the senior military and the intelligence community, however, is forbidden in the sanitized atmosphere of mind-cure boosterism that surrounds Bush. "He's tried this two times -- it's failed twice," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Jan. 24 about the "surge" tactic. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.'" She repeated his words: "'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."....."

Target Iran: US able to strike in the spring

Despite denials, Pentagon plans for possible attack on nuclear sites are well advanced

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Saturday February 10, 2007
The Guardian

"US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration, according to informed sources in Washington. The present military build-up in the Gulf would allow the US to mount an attack by the spring. But the sources said that if there was an attack, it was more likely next year, just before Mr Bush leaves office.

Neo-conservatives, particularly at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, are urging Mr Bush to open a new front against Iran. So too is the vice-president, Dick Cheney. The state department and the Pentagon are opposed, as are Democratic congressmen and the overwhelming majority of Republicans. The sources said Mr Bush had not yet made a decision......

But Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources' assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. "Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place."

He added: "We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous.".....

Last month Mr Bush ordered a second battle group led by the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis to the Gulf in support of the USS Eisenhower. The USS Stennis is due to arrive within the next 10 days. Extra US Patriot missiles have been sent to the region, as well as more minesweepers, in anticipation of Iranian retaliatory action.

In another sign that preparations are under way, Mr Bush has ordered oil reserves to be stockpiled.....

Colonel Sam Gardiner, a former air force officer who has carried out war games with Iran as the target, supported the view that planning for an air strike was under way: "Gates said there is no planning for war. We know this is not true. He possibly meant there is no plan for an immediate strike. It was sloppy wording.

"All the moves being made over the last few weeks are consistent with what you would do if you were going to do an air strike. We have to throw away the notion the US could not do it because it is too tied up in Iraq. It is an air operation."......

Josh Muravchik, a Middle East specialist at the AEI, is among its most vocal supporters of such a strike.....

Mr Muravchik is intent on holding Mr Bush to his word: "The Bush administration have said they would not allow Iran nuclear weapons. That is either bullshit or they mean it as a clear code: we will do it if we have to. I would rather believe it is not hot air.".....

Raymond Tanter, founder of the Iran Policy Committee, which includes former officials from the White House, state department and intelligence services, is a leading advocate of support for the MEK. If it comes to an air strike, he favours bunker-busting bombs. "I believe the only way to get at the deeply buried sites at Natanz and Arak is probably to use bunker-buster bombs, some of which are nuclear tipped. I do not believe the US would do that but it has sold them to Israel."......"

Friday, February 9, 2007

ترشيح دحلان نائبا لهنية.. ووفد حماس حرص علي مداعبته


رام الله ـ القدس العربي ـ من وليد عوض: قالت مصادر فلسطينية لـ القدس العربي امس بان الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس يعتزم تعيين النـــائب محمد دحلان نائبا لرئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني اسماعيل هنية المكلف بتشكيل حــكومة الوحدة الوطنية.
وتكمن رغبة عباس في تعيين دحلان في هذا المنصب حسب المصادر لمكانته في اوساط حركة فتح خصوصا في قطاع غزة ومقدرته علي ضبط ابناء الحركة في القطاع.
وكشف مصدر مطلع علي جلسات الحوار في مكة المكرمة أن أجواء الحوار بين وفدي فتح وحماس كانت مريحة جداً وبعيدة عن الشد العصبي فيما شهدت الحوارات مواقف مداعبة وممازحة تركزت في العديد من الأحيان حول دحلان وعلاقته مع حماس، حيث طلب منه عضو المكتب السياسي لحماس موسي أبو مرزوق أن يتحدث بكلمة ولم يرد دحلان، فقال له أبو مرزوق نريد أن نسمع كلمتك يا أبو فادي ، فرد دحلان علي ابو مرزوق مازحا أرجوكم أن لا تتوقفوا عن مناداتي بالإنقلابي فرد عليه أحد قادة حماس الجالسين علي طاولة الحوار لا تحلم بها لأنك مستفيد منها .
وحسب المصدر فإن دحلان بذل جهدا كبيرا في الحوار وبشكل توفيقي وكان ناشطاً في صياغة الإتفاق والبحث عن حلول توفيقية لدرجة أن الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس قال له شو يا محمد إنت معنا والا مع وفد حماس؟ .
كما تم تناول وجبات الغداء بشكل مشترك ولوحظ أن مداعبات عديدة من قبل قيادات حماس إستهدفت دحلان بغرض تلطيف الأجواء ومد الجسور معه حسب وصف المصدر.

Powell: How America Supports the Troops
By Dwayne Powell

Bloggers in Mideast transforming dialogue but face clampdowns by authorities

"CAIRO (AP) — Wael Abbas hasn't been arrested yet by Egyptian police — but the blogger, who never leaves home without a camera, fears it could happen any day.
State security is keeping a close eye on the democracy activist, most recently for posting graphic cellphone videos on his blog that show what many Egyptians only mention behind closed doors — police brutality and sexual attacks on women.

Egypt arrested a string of prominent bloggers last year, including one who remains jailed and is on trial for allegedly defaming Islam after he published posts criticizing Islamic institutions on his Arabic-language blog.

"I might be next," Abbas said recently at a downtown Cairo coffee shop. He said his family has received anonymous phone calls asking questions about him, which he suspects come from state security. "I think there is a campaign against the bloggers here," he said. "We are exposing what all Egyptians know but weren't talking about."

Abbas is part of a wave of Middle Eastern writers and photographers blogging from a region ridden with censorship and intense pressure not to criticize authorities. Mideast governments for decades have dominated the media, trying to keep a monopoly on information. But bloggers like Abbas are chipping away at that lock, writing about everything from human rights to the region's rulers and even the most taboo topic — Islam.

Weblogs — or blogs for short — started taking off in the Mideast a few years ago as the access to the Internet and technology for creating sites grew. There are now hundreds of Arabic- and Farsi-language blogs written out of the Middle East — many just personal musings but also many that tackle political and social issues.

Bloggers are increasingly getting into trouble as governments crack down by blocking their sites and throwing them in jail. "I firmly believe that blogs now with normal people using them have become the fifth estate. They watch the watchers, especially in this area of the world, because there are no controls over them," said Mahmood al-Yousif, a Bahraini blogger.

Al-Yousif knows firsthand the control his government and others are trying to yield over the Internet. His blog was blocked by authorities briefly last year after he published articles about an election-related scandal, he said.

Rights groups accuse several Mideast governments of increasingly suppressing the Internet by blocking websites and detaining bloggers. Reporters Without Borders has listed five Mideast countries — Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Syria — on a list of the 13 worst Internet freedom enemies.

Governments defend their Web regulations, saying they are protecting citizens from "immoral" and "defamatory" content. But rights groups and bloggers say they overstep their authority.

"Five years ago, authorities didn't care about bloggers because the Internet's reach was less," said Julien Pain, head of Reporters Without Borders' Internet Freedom Desk. "Now, what is most interesting is the Weblogs in the local languages. You look at what the authorities censor, they censor content in local languages."......

Though the number of Internet users has grown nearly fivefold since 2000, only about 10% of the Middle East's population has access to the Internet, according to the online Internet World Stats, which monitors Web usage around the world. The numbers are generally lower in North Africa, including Egypt, where about 7% of the country's 70 million people use the Internet, the website said....."

Bush Surge Means More Horrors in Iraq

An Inteview with Patrick Cockburn


Contributed by Datta

".....DOES THE U.S. bombing in Najaf reflect a greater readiness for aggressive action?

I THINK they're all too ready. You could see it earlier in the week in the attack on Haifa Street, which runs through central Baghdad. They were using missiles and bombs to blow up apartment buildings--to go after the snipers there, no matter who else was in the building.

The fact that they were using large bombs and missiles in the middle of a city as heavily populated as Baghdad seems to me to show a gross disregard for human life....."

Hezbollah unveils Israeli plot to create buffer zone in south Lebanon in collusion with UN

"Al-Manar special report – Mohamad Kazan – Translation/

Member of the Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary Bloc MP Hasan Fadlallah, unveiled an Israeli plot to create a buffer zone in south Lebanon in collusion with the United Nations. In a press conference, MP Fadlallah also renewed Hezbollah's demand to redeem the arms which were confiscated by security forces, according to the Ministerial Statement which recognizes the right to resist. MP Fadlallah said that Israel is seeking to create the buffer zone after it failed in its July war against Lebanon.

He added that a letter was sent from the head of the unconstitutional government Fouad Saniora to the United Nations, requesting a new and unilateral delineation of the border, knowing that the most recent delineation was made only four years ago. MP Fadlallah showed maps and pictures showing the extent of Israel's incursion, in collusion with the UNIFIL, into more than a southern village like Rmeish, Yaroun and Aytaroun in Bint Jbeil. He demanded these unilateral measures be immediately stopped and called on authorities to eliminate transgressions and return properties to their owners. The Hezbollah MP held the ruling bloc responsible for manipulating the border and neglecting the right of the Lebanese. "

Israel welcomes Saniora's govt. seizure of resistance arms shipment; says it's a positive turn for Israel

"Al-Manar special report – Hasan Hijazi – Translated/

Israel welcomed the announcement by the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora, of seizing an arms' shipment intended for the Islamic Resistance. Israeli radio broadcast the news and said that this indicated a new an d positive turn for Israel's benefit. Israeli analysts and commentators quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that they hope Saniora's government would disarm the resistance since Israel's military failed to do so during the war last July. Israeli officials also exploited the seizure of the shipment and the way pro-government media dealt with the issue, to confirm their claims that arms are still flowing from Syria into Lebanon, thus using this as a pretext to continue Israeli violation of the Lebanese airspace. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz also signaled Israel might as well launch military operations against the resistance, under the pretext of fighting arms smuggling. Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot linked between the seizure of arms shipment and the US supply of 60 multi-functional vehicles to Lebanese security forces to help Saniora's government in fighting Hezbollah's attempts to smuggle arms."

Pilgrimage To King Abdullah; All Three Were Bought For Less Than $ 1 Billion.

Hamas Has Let The Palestinians Down

By Tony Sayegh

When the Palestinians voted for Hamas they voted for a change of course on three fronts: Corruption and financial thievery, resistance and the endless "negotiations" under the Oslo fiasco.

Examining the announced make up of the "unity" government and the fact that it is no longer a Hamas government, make it clear that Hamas, by agreeing to be a part of this FAMAS "government", is failing to live up to what the Palestinians who voted for Hamas were hoping for.

On the financial front the same "White House darling" and World Bank favorite, Salam Fayyad, will hold the key financial reins as finance minister, just as before. The corruption file which Hamas promised to open and the prosecution of all those Palestinian officials (associates of Fayyad) who stole and embezzled millions are issues that are not being discussed now, let alone pursued.

On the Oslo merry-go-round of endless and useless "negotiations" the "new government" is authorizing Abbas to continue with the charade, and nothing will change. So the endless circular path in the "road map" of the Oslo wilderness will be adhered to. The foreign minister is another darling of the Americans, so it would not be a great secret to know what policies he will pursue.

On the resistance front, instead of concentrating on it and escalating it, Hamas is now honoring a self-imposed and a unilateral ceasefire. In addition, thousands of Hamas fighters, instead of being underground and involved in resistance, were brought out in public as part of the so-called Executive Force. This force will now be merged in the PA "security forces" under a minister of the interior who is not from Hamas. Is this not partially, and peacefully, eliminating the "infrastructure of terror" as Usrael calls it? Is this not meeting one of the demands of the Quartet? Of course the "new government" will continue to recieve arms and training from the U.S. to control the Palestinian street.

So what is left? Haniyyah acting as a buffoon cheerleader who could not praise the rotten Saudi king enough? And when he gets tired of cheerleading, perhaps his deputy, who is none other than Mohammad Pinochet Dahlan, can be sent to Washington and Tel Aviv to tell them in private what Haniyyah can't say in public.

What a shame and a fiasco. It would have been much more honorable for Hamas to quit this monstrosity of a government and concentrate on resistance instead, rather than be part of a quisling "government" which is just as corrupt and defeatist as before. Those who urged Hamas not to participate in the elections and not to enter the Oslo stable were right all along.

Arabs Less Worried About Iran

By Jim Lobe

"U.S. and Israeli hopes of forging of a Sunni Arab alliance to contain Iran and its regional allies may be misplaced, at least at the popular level, according to a major survey of six Arab countries released here Thursday.

The face-to-face survey of a total of 3,850 respondents in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates found that close to 80 percent of Arabs consider Israel and the United States the two biggest external threats to their security. Only six percent cited Iran.

And less than one in four Arabs believe Iran should be pressured to halt its nuclear program, while 61 percent, including majorities in all six countries, said Tehran had the right to pursue it even if, as most believe, the program is designed to develop nuclear weapons......

But Telhami, who will present his findings at a major Brookings-sponsored conference of Islamic leaders in Doha next week, told IPS he doubts these sectarian tensions are changing basic attitudes among the general public on key regional issues in the countries covered in the survey, with the exception of Lebanon.

"The public of the Arab world is not looking at the important issues through the Sunni-Shi'ite divide," he said. "They see them rather through the lens of Israeli-Palestinian issues and anger with U.S. policy (in the region). Most Sunni Arabs take the side of the Shi'ites on the important issues."....

More than three out of four of all respondents described their attitudes towards Washington as either "somewhat" (21 percent) or "very" (57 percent) unfavorable. Negative feelings were strongest in the three monarchies: Jordan, where 90 percent of respondents described their views as unfavorable., Morocco (87 percent), and Saudi Arabia (82 percent).....

As in the past several years, large majorities of Arabs attribute less benign objectives to U.S. policy in the region, including "controlling oil" (75 percent, "protecting Israel"; 69 percent "weakening the Muslim World"; and 68 percent, "the desire to dominate the region." Only nine percent of the weighted aggregates they believed one of Washington's main objectives was promoting democracy.

Majorities, ranging from 51 percent in Lebanon to 68 percent in Jordan and 77 percent in Morocco, believe Iran has the right to pursue its nuclear program

"Even in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose governments are really frightened about Iranian power, their publics do not define Iran as the major threat," noted Telhami, who added that tended to confirm that Arab leaders and their citizenries do not see key issues through the same prism."

Poll shows Arabs dislike Bush, see U.S. as threat

"WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - A new poll on Thursday underscored deep Arab unhappiness with the United States but said the negative image could be repaired if Washington brokered a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement.

The survey of 3,850 people in six Arab countries rated President George W. Bush as the most disliked world leader, while the United States and Israel were viewed as significantly greater threats than Iran.

Sixty-seven percent of the respondents said the United States could improve its image by brokering a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement.

A smaller number -- 33 percent -- said this image change could happen if Washington withdrew its troops from Iraq.

The results show the Arab-Israeli conflict "remains the central prism through which people are evaluating the United States", even when the international focus is on the Iraq war and nuclear crisis with Iran, said Shibley Telhami of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Major powers recently backed a U.S. push to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planning to travel to the region next week.

Based on face-to-face interviews conducted for the Saban Center by the Zogby International polling firm last November and December, attitudes were surveyed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and United Arab Emirates.

Respondents were asked to identify which world leader outside of their own country they disliked most.

Bush was named by 38 percent, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by 11 percent, current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert by 7 percent and British Prime Minister Tony Blair by 3 percent.


The most admired leader was Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Islamic militant group in Lebanon, with 14 percent.

French President Jacques Chirac followed with 8 percent, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with 4 percent and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with 3 percent.

Hezbollah, Ahmadinejad and Chavez are all adversaries of the United States, while Chirac was at odds with Washington in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Seventy-nine percent of the respondents cited Israel as their biggest threat, while the United States was named by 74 percent. Iran, which Washington considers a major threat because of its nuclear ambitions, was named by only 6 percent of the Arabs surveyed.

Although Bush and some U.S. politicians insist American troops cannot now be withdrawn from Iraq without leaving worse chaos behind, 44 percent of the Arabs polled said Iraqis will find a way to bridge their differences and 33 percent said a U.S. withdrawal would have no effect on the current situation.

Only 24 percent of the respondents predicted an American withdrawal would cause the Iraqi civil war to expand rapidly."

ANALYSIS: New PA government

"The new Palestinian unity government creates a real problem for Israel. It will be headed by a senior Hamas figure, Ismail Haniyeh. Moreover, it will not recognize Israel and does not pretend to meet the Quartet's conditions, as one Hamas leader said.

Yet the same time, it is not a Hamas government, and Hamas will not have a majority in the cabinet. The finance minister-designate, Salem Fayad, is the White House's darling. The foreign minister-designate, academic Ziad Abu Amar, has lectured at many American universities and does not have extremist positions on Israel. And the interior minister, who commands the security forces, will be an independent rather than a Hamas member, though he will be appointed on Hamas' recommendation....."

Lebanon, Again

The Israelis want another go
By Justin Raimondo

"The Israelis, stung by their defeat at the hands of Hezbollah, are aching for a rematch. There have been a number of border incidents since the IDF retreated and the blockade was lifted, the most recent – and most brazen – occurring when the Israelis crossed a security fence, purportedly to search for explosives planted by Hezbollah. They could – and did – use this pretext to launch an invasion, and, in the process, level half the country. The Israelis are merely waiting for the right moment, and that moment, I'm afraid, will come fairly soon unless they're reined in by Washington.

This last is highly unlikely, however: indeed, the dynamics run the other way. Last time around, the neocons in the administration reportedly egged the somewhat reluctant Israelis on, and were sorely disappointed when Tel Aviv relented. Next time, they'll go all the way to Beirut – and won't stop until the Americans get to Tehran.

Those who fear war with Iran had best look to Lebanon, where the first shots are being fired. It is, so far, a proxy war, with the Israelis as our stand-ins and Hezbollah allied with the Iranians. It is only a matter of time, however, before the proxies are dispensed with, and the Americans meet the Iranians on the battlefield.

This is what the American "surge" in Iraq is all about: the White House is preparing for a confrontation with the Iranians. Washington knows full well that, in answer to U.S. airstrikes, Tehran will target U.S. troops caught in the middle of Iraq's civil war. The President has authorized U.S. troops to go after the Iranians supposedly infiltrating Iraq, and the storming of that Iranian consulate in Irbil was not just a random incident. The timing of the crackdown on Shi'ite party militias is also no accident – or does it just so happen that Iran's staunchest Iraqi allies are being suddenly disarmed?.....

Israel's probing the Lebanese frontier is a deliberate provocation, one that will end, if all goes according to plan, in U.S. military action against Iran. Opposing the war in Iraq, now that it's clearly a disaster, is – oddly enough – beside the point. The present danger is the regionalization of the war, which is the real objective of the "surge" – and the clock is ticking. That's why the partisan bickering over how the debate over the anti-surge resolution should proceed in Congress is so dangerous – aside from the sad fact that these wise solons don't even realize what they're voting on. They think they're debating the escalation of the war in Iraq, when what's really going on is an attempt by this administration to extend the war to neighboring countries.

Crippled by their unwillingness to criticize Israel, antiwar Democrats will be sucked into supporting the opening shots of the coming U.S. attack on Iran. The rumblings in Lebanon are the premonitory tremors of a regional earthquake that will shake most of the nations of the Middle East. George W. Bush is far from finished with the long-suffering peoples of the Middle East. The great tragedy is that political resistance to the administration's war moves are too little, too late."


Iraqi insurgents offer peace in return for US concessions

By Robert Fisk

"For the first time, one of Iraq's principal insurgent groups has set out the terms of a ceasefire that would allow American and British forces to leave the country they invaded almost four years ago.

The present terms would be impossible for any US administration to meet - but the words of Abu Salih Al-Jeelani, one of the military leaders of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Resistance Movement show that the groups which have taken more than 3,000 American lives are actively discussing the opening of contacts with the occupation army.

Al-Jeelani's group, which also calls itself the "20th Revolution Brigades'', is the military wing of the original insurgent organisation that began its fierce attacks on US forces shortly after the invasion of 2003. The statement is, therefore, of potentially great importance, although it clearly represents only the views of Sunni Muslim fighters......

There will, the group says, be no negotiations with Mr Maliki's government because they consider it "complicit in the slaughter of Iraqis by militias, the security apparatus and death squads". But they do call for the unity of Iraq and say they "do not recognise the divisions among the Iraqi people".

It is not difficult to guess any American response to those proposals. But FLN [National Liberation Front] contacts with France during the 1954-62 war of independence by Algeria began with such a series of demands - equally impossible to meet but which were eventually developed into real proposals for a French withdrawal....."

View from Iraq: A dialogue with the Sunnis will not help the Shia difficulties

By Patrick Cockburn

".....In June 2004, the US and Britain solemnly returned sovereignty to an Iraqi government. It was always a deception, since real power remained with the US. But in the last few weeks, Washington has increasingly treated the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as an irrelevant pawn which it now humiliates on an almost daily basis. In January, eight US helicopters swooped on the long-established Iranian office in Arbil, the Kurdish capital, and arrested five officials. President Bush has announced that Iranians in Iraq deemed a threat to US personnel can be killed. This seems to open the door to an assassination campaign. On Sunday, soldiers from an Iraqi commando unit in Baghdad under strong US influence kidnapped an Iranian diplomat......

The Middle East was destabilised when President Bush first invaded Iraq in 2003. The US midterm elections and the Baker-Hamilton report calling for talks with Iran and Syria were a chance to start defusing the crisis. This opportunity has now passed. It is very unlikely that the US will succeed in crushing the Sadrist movement, with its strong support among the millions of Iraqi Shia. Nor is it likely that the US will be able to stabilise Iraq while at the same time seeking to destabilise Iran and Syria."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Dahlan, The Deputy Prime Minister!

ANALYSIS: Unity deal is minimum required to remove the siege

Contributed by Lucia

"....There is no commitment in the letter to keep past agreements and no direct recognition of Israel. But its wording is sufficient, at least for Saudi King Abdullah, to lift the siege from the Palestinian Authority. Because it holds the essential turning point in Hamas' position: the acceptance in theory of the agreements and resolutions, including the Oslo Accords and the Arab League resolutions, such as those adopted by the Arab summit conference in Beirut in 2002, dealing with terms of normalization with Israel.....

All the parties, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, seem to understand that in view of the political situation in Israel and Washington's lack of interest in advancing the political process, it is better to make do with managing the internal Palestinian crisis.

Another question is whether the national unity government would be able to function. The portfolio allocation was agreed on before the Mecca gathering, following the monetary temptation the king had offered the Palestinians if they set up a unity government.

Arab sources say the new government will get half a billion dollars now for "routine maintenance" and additional large sums for rehabilitation and development later.

It is not clear, however, whether it will be possible to merge the armed Hamas and Fatah forces into one.

While the agreement is still subject to the approval of various clauses, for example Mohammed Dahlan's authorities as deputy prime minister, Saudi Arabia has good cause for satisfaction. The agreement will not only enable it to lift the economic siege and funnel money to the PA, but mainly to block Iranian involvement in the Palestinian problem and keep it in "Arab hands.""


So Dahlan will be the deputy prime minister! This calls for a celebration; may be even burning another university!

Long Live "National Unity!"

Cheering Movers and Art Student Spies: Was Israel Tracking the Hijackers Before the 9/11 Attacks?

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"A new article in the newsletter Counterpunch examines unresolved questions over whether Israeli agents were tracking the 9/11 hijackers before September 11th. ABC’s 20/20, The Forward, and have all covered the story. But where’s the follow up? We speak to the author of the article, Christopher Ketcham; Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn, and Marc Perelman, the Forward reporter who did one of the first reports on the story in 2002.

Freelance journalist Christopher Ketcham has just published a comprehensive piece on this story in the newsletter Counterpunch. The article highlights various interconnected stories: The five Israeli “movers” who witnesses say were cheering after the first plane struck the World Trade Center; the so-called Israeli art students who were living in concentrated areas where hijackers were living around the United States and how two of the hijackers ended up on the Watch List weeks before 9/11.

Christopher Ketcham, the author of the article, joins us on the line from Upstate New York. Alexander Cockburn also joins us on the line. He is the editor of Counterpunch where the piece is published. And with us here in the firehouse studio is Marc Perelman he is the reporter who did one of the first reports on the story for The Forward in 2002."

To watch, listen or read transcript, click here

Statement by Dr. Salam Fayyad at the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference

January 24th, 2007

This is the man who was the finance minister in the previous, corrupt PA government. Hundreds of millions of donated dollars were stolen while he was carrying out the "reforms" Washington insisted on. Apparently, upon the insistence of the Saudis, Washington and the World Bank, he will be the,....., yes you guessed it, the finance minister in the new and improved "unity" government. Let the celebrations begin!

".....There is no question that there will be stability when the Palestinians are given their freedom. The vision that has been laid out by President Bush and embraced by President Abbas is that of peaceful coexistence......

These are matters that are of concern to Israel. But more importantly, I want to spell out a vision of peace with Israel. I seek a warm peace with Israel. I don’t want it so warm that you are in our backyard as you are now, but I seek a warmpeace. I seek strong political ties with Israel; I seek strong economic ties between the independent states of Israel and Palestine .I seek warm relations with Israelis. Yes, we seek warm relations with you. We do not want to simplyget to a point where we just accept each other – we want to have warm relations where we both recognize the mutual economic, political, intellectual and spiritualbenefits of living and working together. We do not want to erect walls; we want to see bridges. We do not want to close you out of our lives – we want to live with you – as your neighbors and as your equals.

At heart, I am an optimist. Why? How? After so much effort from all parties and after such spectacular failure, many question how I can persist in my optimism. The answer lies in the fact that I know that there is a great deal of depth of goodwill on both sides, and on the part of the international community...."

Poll: Forty percent of American voters believe the Israel Lobby has been a key factor in going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran

What A Billion Saudi Dollars Can Buy:The "Government" Of FAMAS!
One Little Problem: Searching For A State To "Govern"

The Salvador Option in Beirut

Cakewalks, Forgeries and Smoking Guns


""We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Muslim regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan, and Syria will fall to us."

David Ben-Gurion, From "Ben-Gurion, A Biography" by Michael Ben-Zohar, May 1948......

"Regime change is, of course, our goal both in Lebanon and Syria. We wrote long ago that there are three ways to achieve it- the dictator chooses to change; he falls before his own unhappy people; or if he poses a threat to the outside, the outside takes him out..."

-Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), From strategy paper #474 "Priorities in Lebanon & Syria", March 2, 2005.....

From mission statement to mission accomplished, the cakewalks continue. But from Baghdad to Beirut, the forgery looks the same.

Unlike Iraq, there is no 'weapons of mass destruction threat' to facilitate toppling the Syrian regime. This time a United Nations Tribunal could provide the means, deploying Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's murder as the weapon. But like the US show trial to convict Saddam Hussein, the show trial to convict Syria for Hariri's murder, built by the United Nation's International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), has a history of problems......

Did the war on Lebanon cover up exposure of a "Salvador-style" slaying of Rafiq Hariri and and the other assassinations blamed on Syria?
Using the Salvador Option against Syria had first been raised by Newsweek and the London Times in January, 2005. After Hariri's death on February 14, Hariri's long-time personal advisor Mustafa Al Naser said: "the assassination of Hariri is the Israeli Mossad's job, aimed at creating political tension in Lebanon." (Asia Times 2/17/05) The Sunday Herald of Scotland hinted at a US role. "With controversial diplomat John Negroponte installed as the all-powerful Director of National Intelligence, is the US about to switch from invasions to covert operations and dirty tricks? The assassination of the former Lebanese PM has aroused suspicions."...."

Photostory: Solidarity Week in Greece for Palestine

Photostory, The Electronic Intifada, 8 February 2007

"From 18 to 27 January, various NGO's and solidarity groups in Greece organized the Solidarity Week with the Palestinian People. In various cities in Greece events and campaigns were organized. The activities ended with a joint demonstration in Athens that lead to the embassies of the United States and Israel. The week started with a panel discussion in the Max amphitheater of the National Technical University of Athens. Speakers included representatives of various Palestinian movements."

Arab Impotence

The sign says, "God will protect his house!"
All the Arab puppets are helpless "doves"

Saudi Arabia Leading The Usraeli Axis Of Arab Puppets Against Iran
Neutralizing Hamas And Syria Is A Key Objective Of The Saudi Drive
King Abdullah: How About A Billion Dollars Mr. Mash'al? Think About It!

Countdown for Iran: When Commonsense is Nonsense

By Ramzy Baroud

"......Considering these difficult questions, one must assume that any attack on Iraq is both irrational from a military viewpoint and self-defeating from a political one. However, the quandary with any political analysis of this subject that consults reason or even Machiavellian realpolitik is that it fails to consider history, and in this case, recent history which taught us that the Bush administration functions in a vacuum, separate from commonsense or any other kind of sense. It was around this time, some four years ago, that many hoped that the American military buildup in the Gulf region was aimed at strengthening the US political position against Iraq, to simply convey to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that the US ‘means business’. It was clear from the outset to any even-headed observer that a war against Iraq would destabilise the region and harm the United States’ overall interests in the Middle East. I stated that numerous times on American radio programmes, receiving all sorts of censure for being anti-American and unpatriotic.

Now, we stand at the same critical junction, four years later, as US news networks are readying for another awesome fireworks show, this time over Tehran; dehumanisation of the Iranians has already begun; the public is being fed with all kinds of half-truths and all sorts of rubbish about the Islamic Republic and its people; insanity has returned and the voices of reasons are again, labelled, shunned and marginalised. But for obvious reasons, this time around, war is an evident mistake, a fact that should irk and make every sensible American, every Congressman, every commentator question the wisdom of a new war while the country is on the verge of defeat in another.

Such a reality suggests that the Bush administration is working against the interests of his own people and makes Pilger’s analysis the more poignant; indeed, as irrational as it may seem, the US could very much be on its way to war with Iran.

But as explained by Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998-2005, “getting into Iraq and defeating Saddam was easy. But today, America is stuck there and knows neither how to win, nor how to get out.” Fischer writes: “A mistake is not corrected by repeating it over and over again. Perseverance in error does not correct the error; it merely exacerbates it.”

But this is exactly the key trait that has defined the current Bush administration since its early years in office. It’s committed to duplicating failures; instead of abandoning the Iraqi ship, it insists on setting sail in the same tumultuous sea, another defected one......"

An uphill battle on Baghdad's mean streets

By Brian M Downing
Asia Times

".....As attuned as anyone to recent announcements, insurgent leaders, who have thus far demonstrated formidable tactical skills and increased cooperation among factions, know precisely where and roughly when the new phase will start. Preparations have almost certainly begun. Arms caches, observation positions, fields of fire and tiers of explosive devices are probably being set up for a defense in depth throughout Sunni Baghdad.

Insurgent leaders probably know they cannot defeat the US and Iraqi troops in the battle of Baghdad, at least not in the usual sense. They will seek to inflict high casualties on US and Iraqi troops, force US firepower to devastate Baghdad at least as much as it did Fallujah, and attempt to cause Iraqi army units to disintegrate or at least balk.

They will create diversionary uprisings elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle, strike into Shi'ite neighborhoods of Baghdad, and attempt to cut off the city from fuel and food supplies.

Insurgents will be bolstered by the expectation that high US casualties and the devastation of large parts of Baghdad will decisively transform US opinion into wide and intense opposition insisting on a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, however graceless that might be.

The battle of Baghdad will be furious, and because of its proximity to the Green Zone it will be televised. It will be watched with keen interest throughout the Arab world, which sees in these events the possibility, perhaps now the likelihood, of a long-standing hope - Arabs strategically defeating Americans......

A further aspect in gauging a counterinsurgency's prospects is the sophistication of insurgent organizations. The Ba'ath Party, through which Saddam Hussein ruled, provides important organizational strengths. It had existed clandestinely for many years since the 1940s and, either out of paranoia or astute assessment of domestic and foreign dangers, retained, even while in power, the ability to flee underground and fight its way back to power. The redoubtable Ba'athist cell network now serves as a basis for clandestine operations.

The old Iraqi army figures too. Former officers bring organizational skills, an extant command structure and expertise in weaponry, especially in infantry tactics, mortars and explosives. Disgraced by the seemingly invincible US military twice and dishonored by unceremonious demobilization after Baghdad fell, they burn for vengeance. Guerrilla forces, more suitable to their society and culture than conventional formations, are making vengeance look attainable. Tribal and religious networks also provide organizational patterns and impart moral energies to guerrillas......"

Slouching toward D-day

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"The war clock is ticking for the United States, both in Iraq and with Iran. The US-maneuvered United Nations deadline for Iran to stop its uranium-enrichment program is now less than two weeks away. On February 21, the UN's nuclear watchdog will report on whether Iran has heeded the Security Council's demand to stop enriching uranium - to date it has not.......

In reality, the mood in Tehran is increasingly grim. Mohsen Rezai, a former head of the Revolutionary Guards, positively scared state-TV viewers - a rarity in media-controlled Iran - when he said the US will try to strike Iran and he's willing to "become a martyr". It's as if Tehran has finally drawn the implications of a two-pronged hardcore militarization of the eastern Mediterranean region. On the one hand there is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization allied with Israel against Syria, on the other the Persian Gulf, where the US is lining up against Iran......

The Pentagon's new batch of "warrior intellectuals" and counterinsurgency aces dripping with PhDs have begun their Baghdad strike - but so has the Sunni Arab muqawama (resistance), which, according to the Islammemo website, is now polishing its own counter-plan against "Safavid-American aggression". "Safavids" is a common Sunni reference to the Persian dynasty that converted Iraq to Shi'ism in the 16th century. The resistance plan is a mirror image of the Pentagon's. It also divides the capital into military sectors under a central command. Shoulder-fired missiles will be downing more CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters in (still Sunni) western Baghdad - as happened on Wednesday.....

Every major player also knows that the chain of pretexts is already established: the shaky Maliki government fails to meet the United States' security "benchmarks" (as it certainly will); Iran is set up for the fall; Washington engineers a provocation in the Persian Gulf; the path is cleared for a Congress-approved "defensive" US strike. Democrats in Congress are doing little to prevent the escalation, when they could at least organize themselves to torpedo the "use of force" authorization for Iraq and pass a law preventing the Bush administration from attacking Iran. Russia, China and the European (dis)Union also remain paralyzed......."

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Hunger-Striking Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Speaks Out In First Broadcast Interview of His Four-Year Imprisonment

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Sami Al-Arian speaks to us from prison where is on a hunger-strike. The Palestinian professor and activist’s case has been one of the most closely watched – and controversial – post-9/11 prosecutions in the United States. Al-Arian has been jailed despite a jury's failure to return a single guilty verdict. In the four years since his arrest, Sami Al-Arian has never conducted a broadcast interview - until now."

Watch, listen or read transcript by clicking here

Latest Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you support Iraq's neighbors' policy of restricting the number of Iraqis allowed to enter?

With over 2,500 responses so far, here is the breakdown:



7 die as U.S. helicopter crashes in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - A Sea Knight helicopter crashed Wednesday in an insurgent stronghold northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board, the military said, the fifth chopper lost in Iraq in just over two weeks.

A senior U.S. defense official said the helicopter did not appear to have been hit by hostile fire, but an Iraqi air force officer said it was downed by an anti-aircraft missile and an al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for the downing.

The twin-rotor CH-46 went down about 20 miles northwest of the capital, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell. "A quick reaction force is on site and the investigation is going on as we speak," he told reporters in Baghdad.

The military said later that the Marine CH-46 helicopter went down in the volatile Anbar province while conducting routine operations and all seven crew members and passengers were killed in the crash."

Surging Right Into Bin Laden's Hands

Al Qaeda's 20 Year Plan: Escalation


"Lost in the "surge" debate is the unfortunate reality that escalation in Iraq, just like the invasion itself, plays into al-Qaida's ultimate strategy to eliminate America. As revealed in a 2005 strategy document, al-Qaida hopes to repeat Osama bin Laden's victory over the Soviet empire in Afghanistan by eliminating the chief obstacle in the way of establishing an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. The goal is not, as Bush administration and right-wing pundits proclaim, to conquer or directly destroy America. Osama bin Laden wants to provoke the United States into destroying itself.

The game plan owes at least part of its inspiration from Paul Kennedy's book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. In his investigative report The Secret History of Al-Qaeda, Abdel Bari Atwan writes that top al-Qaida ideologist Ayman Al-Zawahiri is a reader and "great admirer" of Kennedy's book. The New York Times Book Review's Michael Howard summarized the book's insights in a manner that must have clicked with budding jihadists observing the Soviet Union's fall at the time: "Power can be maintained only by a prudent balance between the creation of wealth and military expenditure, and great powers in decline almost always hasten their demise by shifting expenditure from the former to the latter.

According to Atwan's analysis of al-Qaida's "20-year plan," the organization aimed to bring about the fall of the American empire by first provoking ­ with the September 11 attacks -- Washington into irrationally invading Muslim lands in pursuit of revenge. Al-Qaida's grand strategists calculated that the invasion would propel the umma, the Muslim community, into joining the jihad. Following the fall of the secular socialist Hussein regime, Iraq has indeed become a training ground for limitless waves of foreign jihadis.

In this context, George W. Bush was a great boon to their efforts. Not only did he invade Iraq, which did not have a thing to do with 9/11, but he did almost everything possible to isolate America from its allies. This policy gave bin Laden ample room to target unpopular pro-American regimes from Madrid to Riyadh. Compared to the Southwest Asian battleground of Afghanistan, Iraq is a more congenial base for al-Qaida, since the language, culture, and terrain are more familiar to most Arabs. The jihadis' strategy is to get America to throw all of its resources into fighting a losing battle against Iraq's lethal patchwork of warring factions.

Bush's "surge" only throws more meat to the jackals, who gain strength and popularity with each web-broadcasted beheading or roadside bomb explosion. Like Afghanistan, Iraq gives would-be jihadis watching the conflict from their computer screens the hope of destroying the military might of the West. The jihadis also hope to expand the conflict to create what Atwan calls a "Triangle of Horror" connecting Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria......"


The Looming Shadow of Nuremberg

An Open Letter to America's Soldiers from the Ranks


"Crimes Listed by the Nuremberg Standard of 1947: a war of aggression, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for its accomplishment; murder or ill-treatment of civilian populations in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war; plunder of public or private property; wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity; crimes against humanity such as murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war.

Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Fallujah, the rape of Lebanon, the concentration camps in the West Bank and Gaza, clandestine prisons, the Iraq embargo of the 1990s, Halliburton, and Black Water. There are more, but these will suffice to compare against the Nuremberg Standard. It will not be a difficult task. For example, start with Halliburton and the plunder of public (American taxpayers') property.

How many of you recognize the name of Army Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr.?

I do because he and I stood on and flew over the same ground nearly 40 years ago. Like him, I left a little blood and a lot of sweat in a Godforsaken place halfway around the world, earning four battle stars in 11 months. Plus some cheap tin and ribbon medals made even cheaper by the good friends who never came home with me. Thompson did, too.

Hugh was a helicopter pilot who aimed his guns at American soldiers--members of my brigade -- to keep them from slaughtering civilians in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai 4. Spotting massacred civilians around My Lai, Thompson and his two-man crew landed beside wounded civilians to give medical help as the infantry company commander and others present kept shooting the wounded. Thompson ordered his crew to open fire if the slaughter continued. No more civilians were shot.

Thompson's story is critical because the march to a nuclear war against Iran has begun, and YOU will the ones carrying it out. There is no way to effectively "confront" Iran except with tactical nuclear weapons. Tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children will die outright or suffer lingering deaths from horrible radiation sicknesses. It will be murder, pure and simple. Look at the suffering around you and multiply it by hundreds.

No doubt you know that back home, 80 per cent of the American people voted in the last election to end the Iraq debacle, but no one in Washington listened. Our two-faced media watchdogs are a gaggle of neocon propaganda peddlers, corporate whores and New World Order shills who helped orchestrate and cheerlead the slaughter, and they sneer at your patriotism behind your backs......"


UNRWA opens tented school for stranded Palestinians

Report, UNRWA, 7 February 2007

"Some 90 Palestinian refugee children whose families have been stranded over the last nine months at al-Tanf border crossing point between Iraq and Syria, living in a makeshift refugee camp, started attending an UNRWA tented school on 3 February.

At this school, UNRWA will provide general education for refugee children at elementary and preparatory levels as prescribed by the Syrian Ministry of Education. Managed by the UNRWA education programme, with eight teachers from the refugee community in al-Tanf serving as staff, the school will help cater for the refugees' educational needs. The school is opened in collaboration with UNICEF, who provided the educational material, and UNHCR, who provided the four tents needed for the school. Eight volunteer teachers attended a training course on teaching methodology in Damascus from 16-24 January. These volunteer teachers also joined a group of Agency teachers in peer coaching sessions in their specialisations in order to strengthen their teaching skills.

Around 354 Palestinians who fled targeted harassment and violence in Baghdad are now stranded at al-Tanf in the no man's land between the Syrian and Iraqi borders. All of them fled Baghdad under difficult conditions and have encountered serious human rights abuses. The group feels it's position on the border is insecure and tensions are rising.

"International support is needed to find a solution for Palestinians from Iraq. They are facing a harsh winter in the desert. We hope the opening of these schools will provide some structure and stability in these children's lives" said Panos Moumtzis, Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria.

UNRWA is a humanitarian and human development Agency providing education, health care, social services, micro-credit and emergency relief to over 4 million registered refugees living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. In Syria, the Agency provides assistance to over 430,000."