Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq

Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis

Peter Beaumont in Baghdad
Sunday August 12, 2007
The Observer

".....Where once the war in Iraq was defined in conversations with these men by untenable ideas - bringing democracy or defeating al-Qaeda - these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of expressing the idea of being weary. It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq. 'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began.

They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out. So that their families know back home. But it's like we've become no more than numbers now.'.....

When the soldiers talk like this there is resignation. There is a corrosive anger, too, that bubbles out, like the words pouring unbidden from a chaplain's assistant who has come to bless a patrol. 'Why don't you tell the truth? Why don't you journalists write that this army is exhausted?'....

The anecdotal evidence on the ground confirms what others - prominent among them General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State - have been insisting for months now: that the US army is 'about broken'. Only a third of the regular army's brigades now qualify as combat-ready. Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers - and the problem is expected to worsen.

And it is not only the soldiers that are worn out. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the destruction, or wearing out, of 40 per cent of the US army's equipment, totalling at a recent count $212bn (£105bn).

But it is in the soldiers themselves - and in the ordinary stories they tell - that the exhaustion of the US military is most obvious, coming amid warnings that soldiers serving multiple Iraq deployments, now amounting to several years, are 50 per cent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress......"

Speechless in Chicago

Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal

"The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has canceled a September speech on U.S.-Israel relations and Washington’s pro-Israel lobby by two prominent U.S. political scientists.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were scheduled to use the Sept. 27 address to outline their upcoming book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," which is expected to be released by Farrar, Straus & Giroux early next month. But the president of the Chicago Council, Marshall Bouton, canceled the event under pressure from critics who were uncomfortable with the academics’ arguments, according to a letter drafted by Mearsheimer and Walt to the Council’s board.

These opponents of the event argued that the two political scientists could only address the Chicago Council if someone from the opposing side, "such as Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, concurrently appeared on stage with the authors......"

Debka Made ‘Em Do It?

By Tony Karon

"Driving down the West Side Highway heading back to Brooklyn on a sunny Saturday morning, I’m suddenly flagged down by one of dozens of policemen, and pulled over.....Were we being profiled? Well, he was African American. But, we both had beards!

Still, I didn’t mind being stopped at a checkpoint on the West Side Highway, a little Ramallah moment in the middle of New York. What irked me, though, was the news that the “threat” that had necessitated this security clampdown emanated not from any serious intelligence quarter, but from Debka, an Israeli pseudo “intelligence” site that the Israeli security establishment will be the first to tell you should never be taken seriously. The site had reported that its monitors had picked up “chatter” on Islamist web sites to the effect that attacks would be carried out “by means of trucks loaded with radio-active material against America’s biggest city and financial nerve center.”

All I can say is that if our physical security is in the hands of people who’re making tactical decisions based on what they read on Debka, we are in serious, serious shit."

A Palestinian Miracle at the UN?

A few months ago, one would have thought such an event to be simply impossible: A Palestinian delegation, lobbying tirelessly at the UN to block a UN call for helping half of the Palestinian population living in complete isolation.

By Ramzy Baroud

".....But this 'miracle' has a bizarre twist. The resolution, drafted by Qatar and seconded by Indonesia, was merely expressing concern over the humanitarian disaster intensifying in the Gaza Strip and the deteriorating plight of one and a half million Palestinians dwelling, or more accurately, imprisoned there, lacking all imaginable necessities — electricity, fuel, clean water, food and medicine.....

Keeping such a legacy in mind, it came as an unparalleled shock to learn of the double 'successes' of the Palestinian delegation to the UN on July 30, with, first, Qatar pulling out its resolution regarding Palestine, and second, the UNSC's presidency refraining from issuing a statement to explain what went wrong.

Qatar's hope had been to support starving Palestinians in Gaza and win some international sympathy on their behalf, which might embarrass Israel into allowing some urgent supplies into Gaza.

A few months ago, one would have thought such an event to be simply impossible: A Palestinian delegation, lobbying tirelessly at the UN to block a UN call for helping half of the Palestinian population living in complete isolation and facing ceaseless Israeli attacks in the occupied territories.

What could possibly justify such cruelty? To ensure that Hamas' isolation is complete? To deny the 'Islamists' of Gaza the opportunity to score a point against the 'secularists' of Ramallah, thus to operate for a few more months before the mass starvation kicks in? Even these pitiful excuses no longer suffice.

However, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, tried his best to justify the scandal on the basis that "it is unacceptable for anyone, including friends, to act on our behalf without our knowledge no one should take such initiatives without consulting us." I wonder if Mr Mansour worried himself too much about the plight of Wael Abu Warda, 27, who died on August 4 from Kidney failure while waiting at Erez crossing, separating Gaza from Israel, or the many such individuals who die everyday in Gaza's rundown hospitals?

Moreover, were the immediate needs of Gaza and its largely unemployed and malnourished population part of the Palestinian agenda when Condoleezza Rice visited Ramallah and met with Mahmoud Abbas, his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his 14-member cabinet? Or did the $80 million Framework Agreement — a US reward to Abbas for following the American script to the letter — set aside a tiny amount for milk, fuel and perhaps couple of dialysis machines for those suffering in Gaza?

Back to the Palestinian 'success' at the UN, the miracle was of course no miracle at all; Palestinians had clearly utilised the same mechanism that Israel had used for years to block the mere possibility of bringing attention to the plight of Gaza. One hates to invoke the proverbial idea of Palestinians being their own worst enemy, but very few terms can describe the unfolding travesty, compounded by the fact that the Zionist lobby at the US Congress is now actively lobbying on behalf of Abbas.

$80 million seems too cheap a price for selling out one's own people. But considering the extreme circumstances, in the eyes of some, the price is just right."

Palestine is Being Sold for a Loaf of Bread

And Few Palestinians Seem to Care.

By Tony Sayegh

Never in the long history of the Palestinian struggle has been so much at stake for the Palestinians and yet so little in the way of a response.

Reviewing the Palestinian history of resistance, all the way back to the Balfour declaration in 1917, reveals this to be the case. At the time the Palestinians were in an uproar for the mere promise by the British to establish a Jewish “homeland” in Palestine. In spite of living under the British occupation, with oppressive laws enacted to repress Palestinian demands for independence and the British military force to impose such repression, the Palestinians acted collectively to press their demands. They protested and agitated against the massive waves of Jewish settlers which the colonial British government forced on the Palestinians. In 1936 a massive general strike throughout the country was declared; it lasted for six months and was finally broken by the force of the British military.

Huge opposition to the partition of the country in 1947 had the support of the vast majority of the Palestinian people who rightly saw in that decision the beginning of the end of their dreams for independence and sovereignty.

Even after the Nakba of 1948, the Palestinians spoke with one voice and kept hope alive for the right to return to their homes from which they were expelled. Equally important, it was unthinkable to have a Palestinian leader, speaking on behalf of the Palestinians, negotiating away their rights. Various Arab regimes participated in the sellout of the Palestinians and their rights, but not a Palestinian leader. Until Mahmoud Abbas became “president.”

Make no mistake about it, what Abbas is “negotiating” secretly with the Israelis is the final liquidation of Palestinian rights. Even though most Palestinian refugees never elected Abbas, he is agreeing to the Israeli demand that the “refugee problem” be permanently excluded from any “negotiations.” The first item Abbas has agreed to is that the Palestinian right of return (UN Resolution 194) is dead. This agreement with Olmert is a precondition to establishing the outline of an “agreement.” Another Israeli demand of the Arab regimes is to settle the Palestinian refugees in the various Arab countries, using primarily Saudi money.

These central issues will be agreed to by Abbas and the puppet Arab regimes even before the conference in New York this fall, chaired by Condoleezza Rice and attended by Israel and representatives of various Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia, to “discuss” the Saudi “peace” plan. In reality the sellout by Abbas and the rest of the Arab puppets will be complete before the conference. The conference will be to formalize the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world, taking advantage of the charade that “the Palestinian problem has been solved.”

The outline of what Abbas, acting as a dictator representing all Palestinians -- even those who remained in what became Israel and are called Israeli Arabs -- is prepared to accept is nothing short of the end of Palestine. Sure, there will be a lot of fanfare and fancy sounding declarations about a “Palestinian state” and the “best chance for peace in generations.” They will probably even fly the Palestinian flag over the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

However, what Abbas has already agreed to in principle is far from an independent and sovereign “Palestinian state.” Abbas is accepting that Israel will keep control of all the major Jewish colonies in the West Bank. He is accepting that vast regions of the West Bank (as much as 40% of the area), including the Jordan Valley, will remain under Israeli control. He is accepting that Israel will remain in control of all water resources, all borders and airspace. What Abbas is accepting is that the Palestinians will be confined, for the time being, in a few Bantustans, surrounded by walls, “security fences,” Jews-only roads and major new Jewish colonies. These Bantustans will remain until the Palestinians are squeezed out gradually by a variety of pressures, including land confiscation, limited water, economic impoverishment and total dependence on the Israeli economy.

In the meantime the starvation of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza proceeds with the vigorous backing of the “Palestinian president” for their daring to insist on Palestinian rights. The message of Abbas and his USraeli backers is simple: insist on Palestinian rights and starve or give up those rights and get a loaf of bread.

While these unprecedented and momentous developments are rapidly proceeding, the reaction of most Palestinians is as if all these events do not concern them. It is mind boggling. During the heydays of the PLO, regional and global meetings and conferences used to be held to discuss and vote on major issues affecting the Palestinians; no more. Elections were held to elect representatives of Palestinians throughout the world to the Palestine National Council, which had the ultimate authority on all major issues; no more. There used to be a great ferment of ideas, books, seminars, etc; no more. Rallies and protests used to erupt in refugee camps, in major Palestinian cities, even in cities in the West; no more. It appears that not just the Intifada is dead, but something bigger is dying inside the Palestinians and I am afraid that it is the death of hope.

The Oslo gang, when they embarked on their treacherous journey in 1993, knew that this would be the ultimate destination. The Palestinian public, due to both gullibility and desperation, acted as an enabler to this gang and now it has to deal with the bitter fruit.

When will the Palestinians rise up? Do I hear someone say Third Intifada?

Israeli Web site causes N.Y. to up counterterrorism precautions

An Important Story

This story, besides exposing DEBKAfile for being the creators and peddlers of propaganda and lies designed to instill a permanent state of fear in the U.S. and sympathy for and alliance with Israel, gives us a hint of the likely scenario of an anticipated, another 9-11 type of attack.

No less an authority than Dick Cheney has repeatedly spoken of his certainty that another 9-11 type of attack against a major U.S. city is coming. He further believes that it will involve the use of "a weapon of mass destruction."

Is this story propagated by DEBKAfile just preparing the U.S. public for what is planned by Cheney and his Neocons? The attack would certainly be what Cheney needs. The evildoers would be traced to, yes you guessed it Iran, which would justify the coming massive attack (possibly using tactical nuclear weapons) on Iran. The event would be used to justify the imposition of what would amount to marshal law in the U.S. It would cause the suppression and criminalization of any dissent. The recently enacted laws to expand wiretapping and surveillance would be expanded further. It would most likely cause the suspension of the next U.S. presidential elections. In short, it would be a gift from heaven to permanently install the Decider as a dictator, a dream he openly relishes.

This "new attack" would probably follow the script outlined by DEBKAfile. Namely that the Mossad, working together with some of Osama's boys, would explode one or more truck bombs with some radioactive material in a major U.S. city. The material would be "traced to Iran" no doubt, and all hell would break loose from that point on. Panic would spread, support for the Decider would soar, revenge against Iran would be demanded and anyone who dares to tell the truth would be called an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo.

Folks, this story is simply preparing and softening the public for the real thing coming down the road.

Tony Sayegh

"New York authorities were taking extra counterterrorism precautions Friday in response to what they said was an unsubstantiated report on an Israeli Web site regarding a radiological threat to the city......

Police confirmed the increased security was in response to receiving information that a dirty bomb may go off around 34th street in Manhattan on Friday evenin.....

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne called the measures strictly precautionary. He said an Israeli Web site reported that online posts were made following a video released Sunday featuring an American member of Al-Qaida threatening foreign diplomats and embassies across the Islamic world.

Browne appeared to be referring to a report published on DEBKAfile, which stated that Al-Qaida communications had accused the U.S. of the "grave error of failing to take seriously the videotape released by the American Al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gaddahn last week."

According to the report, the communications said "the attacks would be carried out 'by means of trucks loaded with radio-active material against America's biggest city and financial nerve center.'"

DEBKAfile added that another message "mentioned New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets."....."

Gunmen attempt to kill Fatah officer in West Bank

"Anonymous persons attempted to assassinate Palestinian police commander Idris al Ja'bari in his West Bank home near Hebron on Saturday. Seventeen shots were fired at al Ja'bari, who suffered critical injures and according to Palestinian reports was taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

Palestinian Authority sources believed Hamas operatives to be responsible for the shooting, as an act of retaliation for the arrest of their comrades by the Fatah government. As of yet these are only speculations, and no one has been arrested in the matter.

A few days prior to the shooting, the PA had carried out another wave of arrests of Hamas militants in most parts of the West Bank, including Hebron, which is considered a Hamas stronghold. Arrests were also carried out in al Ja'bari's village of Khalkhoul near Hebron. Hamas members later wished to protest the arrests in the Hebron area, but were prevented from doing so by the Palestinian police.

Around 3am Saturday morning, Khalkhoul police chief Idris al Ja'bari made his way to his home after a wave of arrests, and was met at his doorstep by anonymous men who opened massive fire at the officer, injuring him critically.

Saturday's attack has aroused concern that if another wave of killings breaks out, it may be very difficult to end.

Hamas sources have warned Fatah over the past few days that their patience was wearing thin and that continued harm of its men could lead to a harsh reaction. "

Repression Under the Palestinian Pinochet

Security services in Hebron disperse a protest rally

"Hebron - Ma'an - Security services have detained ten citizens after they organized a demonstration in the Haras Street in downtown Hebron.

Hebron police commander, Samih Al Sefi, told our correspondent that those arrested "had organized a march, against the law. They were informed of having infringed the law, but they persisted in organizing the march, which prompted us to detain ten of them."

He added that the protestors had been informed that they needed a license for the demonstration to be legal.

Hebron police say that the protestors will be released after signing a pledge not to do organise marches without permission. "


What is notable is how the Maan news agency, with close ties to the Ramallah Mafia, sanitizes the story. For example it omits the most important fact of the story, namely that the march was a protest rally against the continuing campaign of arrests and torture of Hamas supporters in the West Bank by the Vichy government's "security" thugs. These thugs, more politely called PA security, are working like a hand in a glove with the Israeli undercover death squads.

Increasingly, I find that I can get more accurate information about what goes on in the West Bank from the Israeli press.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Marjayoun and humiliation party…

Al-Manar Special - Ahmad Ammar - Translated

"10/08/2007 It is the 10th of August which falls on the first anniversary of the remarkable deed at Marjayoun barracks achieved by Lebanese Interior Minister then Ahmad Fatfat, who saved the Israeli enemy soldiers from the Islamic resistance fighters after turning the Lebanese army and the gendarmerie into human shields to protect the Israeli troops not to mention their honoring by Fatfat's officer Adnan al-Daoud who held them the famous tea party. Who gave the Lebanese security forces, who were supposed to protect the barracks, the orders to hand over their weapons, raise the white flag and offer tea to the occupation soldiers? How did the political connections occur to save more than one hundred Israeli soldiers who were exposed to killing or capturing by the resistance fighters?

While the resistance was achieving a legendary victory, the Israeli army was seeking to establish any achievement even if it was marginal, especially after its reputation became smeared during the battles in Ayta al-Sha'ab, Bent Jbeil and Maroun el-Ras and other villages in the south of Lebanon. For this goal, one of the Israeli journalists was moving in the Marjayoun barracks with his camera to capture humiliating pictures for the Lebanese security forces under the command of General Adnan Daoud, who was taking orders from acting interior minister then Ahmad Fatfat. Instead of giving his orders to the Lebanese forces to defend the nation's dignity, Fatfat gave his orders to offer the occupation soldiers tea. The Israeli Channel was quoted as saying that the occupation soldiers who entered the barracks had faced one problem which was what to decide: Are they going to put one piece of sugar in the cup of tea or two?
At one point in the video, Daoud and an Israeli soldier have the following exchange:
Daoud: "Don't we need to tell our bosses?"
Israeli soldier: "Tell whoever you want."
Daoud: "We need to brief them on what happened."
Israeli soldier: "We briefed (U.S. President) Bush. You brief whoever you want."
Daoud: "We need to brief Bush too."
The Israeli Channel added that Daoud looked weak as he was joking with the Israeli soldiers after he surrendered without any shooting, whereas he looked very strict in giving his orders to the Lebanese forces asking them to get out of the room where he was meeting the Israeli officers. Later on, there were negotiations with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to let the Lebanese security forces leave in peace. The most humiliating scene was the Lebanese forces' lining up to present their military IDs to one of the Israeli soldiers to allow them to get out of the barracks and describing the Israeli soldiers as guests and not as occupation army.
Israeli journalist Nassim Allouni quoted a source close to Israeli Minister Haim Ramon as saying that he had called head of the Future Movement MP Saad Hariri through a third party in order to interfere to protect the besieged Israeli soldiers at Marjayoun barrack so that not to be killed or captured by Hezbollah. The source disclosed that the third party is Ronald Lauder, head of the Jewish National Fund and the Chairman of the Board for "Estee Lauder" the international cosmetics company that opened a branch in Beirut years ago but under different name which is "Aishti". Accordingly, Ahmad Fatfat gave his orders to General Daoud not to leave the barrack and stay inside it to prevent attacking it by Hezbollah. "

Permit Sharon a Comatose Smile…

By Tony Karon

"....Sharon was doing his best to sabotage it, arguing instead that Israel needed to come to mutually beneficial arrangements with Palestinian warlords in discreet fiefdoms. And the source of his delight, today, would be the willingness of Mahmoud Abbas to accept the role of Marshal Petain in a Palestinian Vichy regime. Today, Abbas dines in Jericho with the leader of the occupation, while personally insisting on the maintenance of a blockade on Gaza to starve its people (his people) into rejecting Hamas......

Which means that Mahmoud Abbas is lying to his people and to himself if he believes anything good will come of the ghastly charade in which he has joined Bush and Olmert. Abbas will either be forced to swallow his pride and rejoin a unity government with Hamas at the behest of Egypt and Saudi Arabia (one he realizes how little Washington will really offer him), or else he’ll simply be sidelined. But the last laugh may yet be on Sharon, and those who have bought into his fantasy of peace-through-strength and iron walls. Even in Gaza, bottle-rocketeers are able to construct devices that can sling explosives as far as Ashkelon. Israel still fantasizes about missile shields, but the likelihood of the collapsing Arab regimes around Israel being able to stop Palestinians acquiring weapons that can reach deeper and deeper into Israel is dim.

Israel’s social and political elite, entrepreneurs well integrated into the global economy whose lifestyles are more Californian and than Kibbutznik, will look at the reality unfolding in Israel and wonder why they bother to live there. The world is not a hostile place for Jews, these days, and if your economic and cultural life is so integrated with that of the West, then why bother to risk living at the heart of an increasingly messy and violent Middle East? An Israel that fails to reach peace with its neighbors will likely survive, but it will increasingly start to look like a collection of fiefdoms of religious and nationalist extremism presided over by cynical Russian mobsters. Frankly, I’d say the transition is well underway… "

اجتماعات الرئيس عباس المغلقة

اجتماعات الرئيس عباس المغلقة

An Important Editorial (Arabic)

عبد الباري عطوان

"عندما يعقد السيد محمود عباس رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله مع ايهود اولمرت رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي اجتماعات لمدة ثلاث ساعات في مدينة اريحا نصفها مغلق، ومقصور علي الرجلين فقط، فان هناك قضايا علي درجة كبيرة من الخطورة تتصدر هذه الاجتماعات تتطلب تفاهمات مسبقة.
من الصعب علينا معرفة هذه القضايا، ولكن ليس من الصعب التكهن ببعضها، خاصة اذا وضعنا في اعتبارنا التحرك الامريكي المكثف في المنطقة لعقد مؤتمر سلام في الخريف المقبل وتكوين جبهة عربية ـ اسرائيلية في مواجهة محور الشر الايراني ـ السوري وامتداداته في فلسطين (حماس) ولبنان (حزب الله).
قنابل دخان كثيرة يتم اطلاقها حاليا لحجب الرؤية، وممارسة كل انواع التضليل، لتمرير طبخة التسوية الجديدة التي تعد حاليا علي نيران ملتهبة، كسبا للوقت، وقبل انتهاء فترة رئاسة الرئيس جورج بوش الثانية، وبما يساعده علي الانتقال بيسر الي الملفين الاكثر تعقيدا وهما الملف العراقي بكل ذيوله، والملف النووي الايراني بكل مخاطره العسكرية والاقليمية الاستراتيجية.
ولعل ابرز قنابل الدخان هذه ما يردده الرئيس عباس في مؤتمراته الصحافية حول رغبته في التوصل الي اتفاق اطار وليس الي اعلان مبادئ في اي محادثات مع نظيره الاسرائيلي ايهود اولمرت قبل انعقاد مؤتمر السلام الامريكي في الخريف المقبل. اي مجرد تلاعب بالالفاظ لا اكثر ولا اقل. فالرئيس عباس صاحب اعلان مبادئ اوسلو يدرك مدي كراهية الشعب الفلسطيني لهذه التسمية، وما تحمله اليه من ذكريات مريرة ومؤلمة، حول اكبر خديعة تعرض لها في تاريخه، ولذلك قرر ادخال مفهوم جديد، اي اتفاق اطار للايحاء بان هناك طريقا جديدا مختلفا سيؤدي الي صفقة افضل من صفقة اوسلو سيئة الذكر.
ومن سوء حظ الرئيس عباس الذي يوحي نهجه السياسي بميله الي الغرف المظلمة، والمفاوضات السرية، ان الاسرائيليين لا يكتمون سرا، ويتحدثون عن مخططاتهم بصورة اكثر شفافية عندما يتعلق الامر بمنظورهم للتسوية مع الجانب الفلسطيني، ولذلك باتوا يركزون حاليا علي تصميمهم علي معالجة قضية اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في وقت مبكر، وقبل الذهاب الي مؤتمر السلام في الخريف المقبل، ويشترطون الاتفاق علي هذه المسألة لتقديم اي تنازلات اخري علي صعيد الانسحابات واقامة الدولة الفلسطينية المستقلة.

المعالجة الاسرائيلية لقضية اللاجئين معروفة، ولا نحتاج الي عبقرية خاصة لتحليل مضامينها. وهي تتلخص بضرورة اسقاط حق العودة وجعل الدولة الموعودة، هي القبلة الوحيدة لاي لاجئ فلسطيني باعتبارها نهاية المطاف. ومثلما كانت دولة اسرائيل هي الحل لعودة اليهود الي ارض الميعاد، فان الدولة الفلسطينية هي الحل لعودة الفلسطينيين الي وطنهم الأم.
بعد اسقاط حق العودة في اتفاق الاطار الذي يجري الحديث عنه حاليا، من خلال حلول خلاقة تحدث عنها السيد عباس في حديثه لصحيفة اسرائيلية، تنحصر المفاوضات بعد ذلك في كيفية عودة اللاجئين الي رام الله، وهل سيتم ذلك دفعة واحدة، او بالتقسيط المريح وفق الرؤية الاسرائيلية، ومن هم الذين سيعودون اولا، هل هم اللاجئون في لبنان، ام في العراق ام سورية، وكم هي المدة والجدول الزمني لعودة هؤلاء، واين سيقيمون، وكيف ستتم اقامة البني التحتية الاقتصادية لاستيعابهم وهكذا.
فايهود اولمرت اشترط شرطين لقبول مبادرة السلام العربية، الاول هو حذف بند حق عودة اللاجئين الذي اضيف اليها في قمة بيروت عام 2002، والثاني هو الغاء البند المتعلق بمنع توطينهم في الدول التي يقيمون فيها حاليا. ويبدو ان هناك مرونة عربية في هذا الخصوص. فعملية التطبيع بدأت بشكل متسارع منذ زيارة وزيري خارجية مصر والاردن للقدس المحتلة في الشهر الماضي باسم الجامعة العربية، تحت عنوان تفعيل مبادرة السلام العربية، وقبول دول عربية، وخاصة المملكة العربية السعودية، المشاركة في مؤتمر السلام الذي دعا اليه الرئيس بوش في الخريف المقبل، وهذا يعني جلوس وزير خارجيتها الامير سعود الفيصل وجها لوجه مع تسيبي ليفني وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية تحت رعاية السيدة كوندوليزا رايس.

الظروف مهيأة بالكامل للرئيس عباس للتنازل عن حق العودة بطريقة غير مباشرة ومن خلال الحلول الخلاقة التي تجري حاليا صياغتها في مفاوضات سرية برعاية امريكية ـ اوروبية في اكثر من عاصمة اوروبية، فالرئيس عباس تخلص من عبء الشراكة الثقيل مع حركة حماس ، ومن العبء الاثقل، او مستودع التطرف المسمي قطاع غزة، فقد اغلق ابواب القطاع بالضبة والمفتاح وحاصر حركة حماس في داخله، وبات طليق اليدين تماما، ووضع كل بيضه في سلة امريكا واسرائيل، ولم يعد يعير اي اهتمام حتي لأقرب حلفائه العرب.
ولعل النقطة الاخطر في كل ما يجري حاليا، هي تلك المتعلقة بتبادل الاراضي في حال التوصل الي تسوية، فمن ضمن الحلول الخلاقة التي يدرسها الطرفان بإمعان، تلك التي تقول بالابقاء علي الكتل الاستيطانية الرئيسية في الضفة الغربية، مقابل اعادة اراض الي الدولة الفلسطينية كتعويض. والاراضي المقترحة هي التجمعات السكنية العربية داخل الخط الاخضر، ومنطقة المثلث علي وجه التحديد ذات الكثافة السكانية العالية.
وهذا يعني تحقيق الحلم الاسرائيلي بالتخلص ممن تبقي من العرب في الدولة العبرية، وتحويلها الي دولة يهودية نقية صافية من اي عرق عربي، مع الاحتفاظ بالقدس عاصمة موحدة لها، ورفع علم عربي او فلسطيني علي المسجد الاقصي لذر الرماد في العيون، والايحاء بسيادة فلسطينية منقوصة ومزورة علي المناطق المقدسة.

الرئيس عباس الغي شرعية المجلس الوطني عندما استبدله بالمجلس التشريعي، وعندما سيطرت حركة حماس وبعض الشرفاء من حركة فتح علي المجلس الاخير في الانتخابات الاخيرة بادر الي تجميده والغاء دوره، والتفرد الكامل بالسلطة، مكتفيا ببعض المحيطين به الذين يؤيدون التسوية المطروحة وفق الشروط الامريكية والاسرائيلية.
اهل المثلث او عرب المناطق المحتلة عام 1948 لم ينتخبوا السيد عباس رئيسا لهم، وبالتالي لم يفوضوه بالتحدث باسمهم وتقرير مصيرهم، والشيء نفسه يقال ايضا عن فلسطينيي الشتات في لبنان وسورية والاردن والشتات بشكل عام. ولذلك لا بد من تحرك فلسطيني مكثف للمطالبة بالشفافية، ووضع فيتو علي اي تحرك يريد تسوية قضيتهم من وراء ظهورهم.
فعملية تجويع الفلسطينيين وحصارهم وتشديد الخناق عليهم في الوطن والشتات، لا يجب ان تعطي ثمارها في القبول بحلول مسلوقة لا تحقق الحد الادني من مطالبهم المشروعة في العودة وقيام الدولة الفلسطينية علي التراب الفلسطيني الحقيقي، وليس المزور.
القضية الفلسطينية ليست قضية رواتب، ولا مساعدات اجنبية، مقابل التفريط بالثوابت، ومن الافضل العودة الي كرت الاغاثة والعيش علي مساعدات هيئة الاونروا علي التنازل عن هذه القضية برمتها."

Mahmoud Abbas' war against the Palestinian people

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 August 2007

Contributed by Fatima

".....Channel 10's correspondent spoke of the "hospitality and warmth" that marked Abbas' reception of Olmert and his delegation, noting that "Erekat's wife insisted on personally preparing and serving" the banquet. Olmert, the report added, "was unable to conceal his delight and appetite for the rich food and for the hospitality and generosity" the Israelis received from their Palestinian hosts.....

Yet while he treats Olmert to delicacies in Jericho, Abbas is doing his best to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer and starve due to the closure of the commercial and civilian crossings and tightened siege imposed by Israel since Hamas fighters routed US- and Israeli-backed Fatah militias in early June.

A source who works directly with Abbas' ministers in the unelected and illegal "emergency government" of Salam Fayyad in Ramallah wrote to me that "Abbas has explicitly ordered the Rafah border to close and remain closed with the purpose of strangling Hamas." The source, who was motivated to speak out by his outrage, but requested anonymity because he fears reprisals, added that Abbas "is ready to see his own people die for his political games." The source added that while Abbas' official public relations pronouncements are that the border is to be opened at once, "what is going on in the meetings is the opposite.".....

Abbas' policy of colluding with Israel to starve his own people is having its effect. The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA issued a desperate appeal for the borders of the besieged strip to be reopened....

As the people in Gaza suffer strangulation, thousands of their relatives were stranded in desperate conditions on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, refugees exiled even from their place of exile. Many are people in poor health who went to Egypt to seek medical treatment, and at least 31 have died while waiting to return home......

Abbas, while literally embracing the occupier and colonizer, has continued to angrily reject any intra-Palestinian dialogue. Yet it is doubtful how long this position will be tenable. Abbas, under a veto from the Bush administration refuses to talk, even as some senior Israelis have started to advocate direct dialogue with Hamas......

Unashamed, Abbas carries on; he recently received another large arms shipment -- 1,000 rifles -- coordinated by Israel and Jordan to strengthen his militias against Hamas. All these provocations are having an effect. While Hamas' civilian leadership continues to offer olive branches, the rank and file of the resistance movement are showing signs that their patience is wearing thin.....

...In a 28 July press conference a spokesman for the group -- a coalition of resistance fighters from various factions including Fatah, responsible for capturing the Israeli prisoner of war Gilad Shalit -- "dubbed Abbas, Fayyad and other members of the government the 'Ramallah traitors' and vowed they will receive an 'identical response as to the Israeli occupation'".....

The signs are that unless Abbas and his entourage reverse course and end their war against the Palestinian people, the apparent calm that now prevails will soon be shattered by another storm."

Twighlight Zone / 'The terrorist was neutralized'

By Gideon Levy

Contributed by Fatima

"......On Friday, July 27, the family awoke as usual, the mother of the family went for a family visit and Jihad planned to travel to the university. Nothing in the house testified to what was to take place a short time later. Jihad, like the rest of his family, had never been arrested.

At 9:30 A.M., Jihad left the house and walked the several hundred meters to the taxi stand near the road to Bethlehem. His father, who was at home, says that Jihad took nothing with him. But the armored Hummer was already standing at the side of the road, several dozen meters from the taxi stand. There is almost always a Hummer standing there, a kind of surprise roadblock for the village's residents, where soldiers check papers, harass and humiliate, and maintain proper order on the road.

As Jihad stood alone at the stand, the soldiers apparently called him to approach them. A Palestinian policeman, Musa Suleiman, was riding to Bethlehem at the time in a taxi that was approaching the stand. Suleiman saw Jihad walking "with ordinary steps, in a manner that did not arouse any suspicion," toward the soldiers. He says that Jihad had nothing in his hands.

One soldier stood next to the driver's door of the Hummer, and another three soldiers sat inside. When Jihad reached the Hummer, Suleiman says he saw the soldier grab Jihad by the shirt and pull him forcibly behind the vehicle. Suleiman, who was already about 20 meters from the vehicle, says that apparently an argument broke out between Jihad and the soldier who grabbed his shirt, which developed into a violent struggle between the two. A few seconds later he saw them both sprawled on the ground.

That's when the other three soldiers got out of the Hummer. Suleiman heard two shots. The four soldiers, according to Suleiman, began beating Jihad, who was sprawled on the ground. They used wooden clubs and their rifle butts, while Jihad tried to protect his head with his hands. That was all Suleiman saw, because the taxi, which was traveling slowly, then passed the Hummer.

When the taxi was a few dozen meters away from the area of the beatings, it drove back to see what was happening behind the Hummer. Suleiman says that the soldiers continued to beat Jihad. He saw the club land on Jihad's head at least twice. "I felt that these were fatal beatings," says the policeman Suleiman. He says that Jihad was no longer moving. Suleiman rushed to Jihad's house to alert his father: "Come quickly, the soldiers are beating your son." Accompanied by Suleiman, he rushed in the direction of the stand.

When they approached the area, the soldiers aimed their weapons at them and ordered them to leave. One of the villagers who speaks Hebrew, who also arrived at the spot, tried to explain to the soldiers that Khalil was the father of the battered young man, and all he wanted was to know what had happened to his son. And then the soldier said: "Tell him that his son is already dead."....."

The Truth about the Hebron “Evacuations”

Moshe Levinger and other criminal settlers exploring the destroyed vegetable market

By Kawther Salam

"While the international media around the world are spreading Israeli propaganda, the news of the evacuation order for two Jewish families from the Palestinian vegetable market shops in Hebron which were converted, constructed and occupied by Jewish settlers since six years ago with the help of military headquarters in the city, and while the news of several dozen ultra-Orthodox soldiers of the Nahal Haredi battalion who refused to participate in the evacuation occupied the front pages in international news, the Jewish settlers set fire to Palestinian houses in the old city of Hebron....

The Jewish settlers burnt the houses of Abed Al-Rahman Sammouh, Muhammad Al-Awiwi, and a building belonging to the Hebron Committee for Rehabilitation in the old city. The IDF soldiers stationed at the military posts nearby saw and identified the Jewish settlers setting the fire to this Palestinian property. The IDF soldiers did not stop this terrorist action but contacted the Israeli Police in the meantime. These IDF soldiers stationed at the entrance of Al-Shuhada Street instead stopped the Palestinian fire brigade and denied them the access to fulfil their duties to stop the fire.....

And in the meantime the settlers broke into the Al-Aktab Islamic Mosque at the closed vegetable market, and placed anti-Arab-Palestinian stickers at the doors of the Palestinian shops in the old city. Another settler ran over 22-year old Palestinian Noaman Authman Al-Nather with his car, in an attempt to murder him. The victim was transferred at late time to the hospital after the IDF soldiers blocked the way through Al-Shuhada Street for the ambulance......"
Contributed by Datta

While the genocides against the Iraqis and the Palestinians in Gaza are proceeding, with the full cooperation of ALL Arab regimes, here is how the Arabs in Dubai are spending their time and money....enjoy!

Goading Xerxes

The Looming Strike on Iran


"An American strike on Iran is coming closer.

It probably won't take place in the next few weeks, because Bush is on vacation and will not want to be disturbed. And it probably won't take the form that many have expected (including this writer). But Bush himself has raised the ante in recent days, warning of vague punishments for alleged Iranian misdeeds – and unleashing an outright lie that Iran has openly "proclaimed its desire for nuclear weapons," when of course the very opposite is true. And now McClatchy Newspapers brings fresh confirmation that the decider behind the Decider – Dick Cheney – is calling for airstrikes against Iran. Indeed, it seems Cheney has already chosen the casus belli for such an attack – a provocation that we will doubtless see occuring any day now......

Thus a small-scale raid would actually be a masterstroke in the Administration's psy-ops scheme to build support for a larger action to destroy the Iranian regime. The McClatchy story, like the recent FISA fiasco, is another reminder that the Bush Administration has not lost its ability to advance its agenda and steer the country into more and more sinister actions, even in the face of poor poll ratings and innumerable scandals. As long as they control the levers of power, without any genuine institutional opposition, they will continue to manipulate events to their liking, relying on their tried-and-tested fearmongering techniques (with the mighty assistance of the corporate media) to drag the American people along with them -- either as open supporters or as dazed and confused bystanders, vaguely dissatisfied but unwilling to rise up and cast down the criminals and their accomplices."

Cheney Antsy to Kill Iranian Toddlers and Grandmothers

A Good Comment
By Kurt Nimmo

"If the resistance in Iraq continues to kill U.S. occupation soldiers, the United States will attack Iran, so declared the decider and commander guy during a news conference yesterday.....

Neocons have a penchant for telling the same lies over and over, even though such lies are often roundly discredited. For instance, David Milliband, British foreign secretary, discounted the credibility of the claim that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force “is providing weapons as well as funding, training and arming Shiite and other resistance fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan,” as Stephen Lendman wrote last month, although this received scant attention in this U.S. corporate media.....

Let’s cut to the chase: Cheney is not “skeptical of diplomacy with Iran,” but rather finds it abhorrent and anathema. As a neocon, Cheney wants to bomb Iran and kill untold numbers of Iranian toddlers and grandmothers—anything short of mass murder will be wholly insufficient. As for this purported “truckload of fighters or weapons,” Publisher & Editor notes: “It was reminiscent of the day in September 2002 when Cheney and other officials went on Sunday talk shows and touted the now-infamous Gordon-Judith Miller front-pager in the Times on the ‘aluminum tubes’ in Iraq and the possible ‘mushroom cloud’ on the horizon.” Of course, plenty of clueless and ill-informed Americans bought into this transparent scam and no doubt many will this time around as well.....

....In short, bend to the neocon will or face the consequences—bombed hospitals, schools, mosques, entire neighborhoods, water and sanitation plants, etc., essentially a repeat of the invasion of Iraq with its staggering mortality and disease, thanks to tons of depleted uranium spread liberally about by high-tech serial killers......

....Is it possible al-Maliki will suffer the fate of the “Winston Churchill of Asia,” Ngo Dinh Diem, the puppet president of South Vietnam, assassinated by the United States for his inability to follow orders as prescribed? For now, Bush tells us he will talk to his “friend,” but once the talking stops, as it did with Diem, al-Maliki may show up as a corpse. No doubt a dance with Ahmadinejad has consequences......"

Hamas activist declared dead after being tortured at PA jails

"NABLUS, TUBAS, (PIC)-- Mo'ayyad Bani Oadah, a 22-year-old Hamas activist was declared clinically dead at an Israeli hospital according to PA security sources.

Bani Oadah was moved to an Israeli hospital from the PA Junaid jail in Nablus where he was subjected to torture at the said prison according to Palestinian sources.

The family of Bani Oadah held the Abbas's security forces responsible for the death of their son who was arrested by those forces on the 2nd July from his house in Tamoun village.

The victim's family say that their son used to work in tiling and that he was in very good health before his arrest.

The family said in a statement that they were told by the PA security that their son will be brought before a court in Nablus and that a defence lawyer was appointed to represent him. At the court Bani Oadah denied all charges and said that confessions were taken under torture.

The family also stated that on Wednesday evening they have received conflicting news about their son, one of them says that he was taken to a hospital in Nablus in a critical condition and another says that he was taken to an Israeli hospital. When the family tried to get an answer from the PA security again they got conflicting answers, they were told he was not in Nablus but he was still detained in Tubas, another told them that he was well at a police station in Nablus, a third told them that he was taken to an Israeli hospital because he was depressed, a fourth said that he was taken to an Israeli hospital for tests and a fifth said that he suffered kidney failure and was taken to Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem. After that the PA security in Nablus denied the presence of a detainee carrying such a name in Nablus.

His family further said that they visited their son at Junaid prison in Nablus a couple of days earlier and that he was well and had no health problems.

Hamas for its part said that this case proves that detainees at PA prisons are being severely tortured and called on all Palestinian factions and human rights organisations to condemn such practices and to pressure President Abbas to order the release of political prisoners in PA jails."

When Olmert and Abbas shake hands

Nora Barrows-Friedman writing from Deheisheh refugee camp, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 10 August 2007

"......What does an expansion of cooperation between the PA and Israel mean when the prisons of the foreign occupier, the nuclear state, are filled to the brim with Palestinian political prisoners, as many as 12,000 people who are tortured and broken and humiliated? An expansion of cooperation comes with Abbas' capitulation to Olmert's designs of an ethno-centric state for Jews only, whose second-in-command, Avigdor Lieberman, is an unashamed proponent of ethnic cleansing from Moldovia who consistently demands that all Arabs be "transfered" or wiped out. An expansion of cooperation is called for as Mahmoud Abbas' private militia continues to beg Israel for arms and power moves against the democratically-elected Hamas party, like a kid asking a rich man for a few pennies to buy candy......

Meanwhile, as Abbas thanks Olmert for scraps, life here on the ground continues to worsen and sour. The Israeli military death squads are scooping people up in Nablus and throwing them in prison camps. Or shooting them. Or dropping bombs on them in Gaza. Or sealing off entire villages with the apartheid wall. Or making them wait in the blistering hot sun at some of the 450 checkpoints. Yes, thank you, Olmert.

A friend here in Dheisheh posed this question with a glint in his eye: What will happen when Abbas' constituents, the millions of Palestinians who see right through his capitualtions, go back to the polls and re-elect Hamas? What will he do then?"

Israeli defence minister says meetings between Olmert and Abbas will not lead to peace

"Bethlehem – Ma'an – Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak says Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert's meetings with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, will not lead to a final peace agreement.

Speaking to the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, Barak was quoted as saying "What will determine the situation in the end is if Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and (Palestinian Prime Minister) Salam Fayyad are capable of implementing anything in the West Bank."


He described the idea of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank in the near future as "fantasy." He said withdrawal was not an option until a solution was found to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. This can only be solved by implementing a missile defence system which could take up to five years.


Barak also said he would not endorse the removal of any of the roadblocks in the West Bank, despite the promises made by Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert this week to do so.

Barak was prime minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001. He took part in the Camp David 2000 Summit with Yasser Arafat and former US president Bill Clinton, which ended without an agreement being reached. "

Report: Israelis fighting guerillas in Colombia

"Colombian paper quotes local defense minister as confirming ex Israeli officers helping government in battle against guerillas, drug lords, while guerrilla group FARC claims Israeli commandos also fighting them in jungles....."

Cheney urging strikes on Iran

"WASHINGTON — President Bush charged Thursday that Iran continues to arm and train insurgents who are killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and he threatened action if that continues.

At a news conference Thursday, Bush said Iran had been warned of unspecified consequences if it continued its alleged support for anti-American forces in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had conveyed the warning in meetings with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad, the president said......

Behind the scenes, however, the president's top aides have been engaged in an intensive internal debate over how to respond to Iran's support for Shiite Muslim groups in Iraq and its nuclear program. Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iraq run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in Iran policy.

The debate has been accompanied by a growing drumbeat of allegations about Iranian meddling in Iraq from U.S. military officers, administration officials and administration allies outside government and in the news media. It isn't clear whether the media campaign is intended to build support for limited military action against Iran, to pressure the Iranians to curb their support for Shiite groups in Iraq or both....."

Mechanistic Destruction: American Foreign Policy at Point Zero

by Gabriel Kolko

"The United States has rarely lost any conventional military battle since at least 1950. Nor has it, at the same time, ever won a war. It has successfully overthrown governments through interventions or subversion but the political results of all its efforts – as in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Iran in 1953 – have often made its subsequent geopolitical position far, far more tenuous. In a word, in international affairs it bumbles very badly and it has made an already highly unstable world far more precarious than it otherwise would be if only the U.S. had left the world alone. No less important, Americans would be far better off thereby. Because – to repeat a critical point – it has failed to attain victory in any of the real wars it has fought since Korea. Its adversaries learned as long ago as the Korean War that decentralization would stymie America's overwhelming firepower, which was designed for concentrated armies, and provided a successful antidote for massive, expensive technology.......

We are at point zero in the application of American power in the world: the U.S. cannot win its extremely expensive adventures nor will it abstain from policies which increasingly lead to disasters for the nations in which it intervenes and for itself as well. All the factors I have mentioned – its myopia regarding technology, the policy consensus that binds ambitious politicians and often makes public opinion irrelevant, the arms makers and their local interests, or the limits of rational inputs – have all combined to deliver us to this impasse. It is difficult not to be pessimistic when – as it should be – realism rather than illusions guide our political assessments. But realism is the only way to avoid cynicism."

Taliban a step ahead of US assault

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

"KARACHI - The ongoing three-day peace jirga (council) involving hundreds of tribal leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan is aimed at identifying and rooting out Taliban and al-Qaeda militancy on both sides of the border. This was to be followed up with military strikes at militant bases in Pakistan, either by the Pakistani armed forces in conjunction with the United States, or even by US forces alone.

The trouble is, the bases the US had meticulously identified no longer exist. The naive, rustic but battle-hardened Taliban still want a fight, but it will be fought on the Taliban's chosen battlegrounds. Twenty-nine bases in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan that were used to train militants have simply fallen off the radar.

The US had presented Islamabad with a dossier detailing the location of the bases as advance information on likely US targets. But Asia Times Online has learned that since early this month, neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led coalition in Afghanistan nor Pakistan intelligence has detected any movement in the camps.

Human intelligence on both sides suggests the bases have been dismantled, apart from one run by hardline Islamist Mullah Abdul Khaliq. All other leading Taliban commanders, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, Gul Bahadur, Baitullah Mehsud and Haji Omar, have disappeared. Similarly, the top echelons of the Arab community that was holed up in North Waziristan has also gone......."

British losses soar as they prepare to leave Basra city

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

"Two more British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq yesterday, raising the death toll in the UK's least successful military campaign since Suez in 1956. In both cases the British casualties were low but British forces wholly failed to achieve their objectives.

Two Irish Guardsman were killed and two were seriously wounded in the early hours of yesterday when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb near the Rumaila oilfields west of Basra. The deaths bring to 168 the number of British personnel who have died in Iraq since the invasion in 2003.

British losses have increased as they prepare to abandon their last base in Basra city and retreat to their frequently attacked air base on the outskirts of the city. Here the contingent of 5,500 troops has been hit by mortars and rockets more than 600 times in the past four months......."

Pakistan's people want an end to the nightmare

Declaring a state of emergency would only prove Pervez Musharraf's inability to break from a brutal, shabby legacy

Tariq Ali
Friday August 10, 2007
The Guardian

"Every Pakistani leader, civilian or military, sits on a throne that is placed on a volcano periodically shaken by convulsions. As a crisis-ridden country prepares to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its foundation next week, the government is seriously divided, and its uniformed president was reported to be considering the imposition of a state of emergency, usually the last act of a government about to fall.

In most countries the very existence of a military leader symbolises a state of emergency, but not in Pakistan. The military has ruled the country for more than 30 years, survived the hot lava of numerous uprisings and assassinations, and always returned to power, largely unscathed. This political cycle is now well established: military rule - angry protests - civilian government - corruption, rigged elections and worse - military rule. The country's 200 million people deserve better......"

Palestinian Pinochet Started Producing Corpses

Hamas member dies after being tortured in jail run by Palestinian Authority

A Shocking, yet expected, event; contributed by Lucia

"Nablus – Ma'an – Hamas have said that Palestinian security sources in the West Bank have confirmed the death of a Hamas member they claim was tortured in a Palestinian security prison.

Twenty-two-year-old Mou'aiad Bani Odeh in an Israeli hospital, from Tamon in the north of the West Bank Tobas, died in an Israeli hospital after he was transferred from Al Junied Jail in Nablus.

The Palestinian media centre said that according to Palestinian sources, "Bani Odeh died after he was severely tortured in Al Junied Jail, which is run by the Palestinian Authority.

Bani Odeh's family are blaming the Palestinian security services for their son's death.

In a news conference Hamas said that this is an example of the torture their members are facing in Palestinian Authority jails. "

Gaza: The Auschwitz of our time

As Usual, A Great Comment
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

"In 1940, several months after invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis forced about 500,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounding it with a high wall. Tens of thousands died from hunger and disease. Eventually, 300,000 were sent to death camps, mainly Treblinka in eastern Poland.

Similarly, Israel is now incarcerating nearly a million and a half helpless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into a hell similar in nature to the Warsaw Ghetto. The Gaza concentration camp is not only fitted with a wall, but also with every conceivable tool of repression, such as electric fences and watch towers manned by Gestapo-like trigger-happy Jewish soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later......

As a result of these genocidal designs, Gazans in the thousands are dying of malnutrition and illness resulting from anemia. Moreover, Children in great numbers are surviving on a meager and totally inadequate diet consisting mainly of bread and tea.

This week, this writer contacted several Gaza families and asked to speak with the kids. The answers I received were truly horrifying. I did speak with 10 kids and was shocked to find out that seven of the kids told me their diet during the previous week consisted mainly of bread and tea in addition to some tomatoes.....

In fact, Gaza has been effectively under siege since 2000 when the second Palestinian intifada or uprising broke out. Since, then Gazans have been barred from exporting their products and produces.

Moreover, Israel, which has been telling the world that it had ended its occupation of Gaza, still retains full control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, thus reducing the Gaza Strip into the largest detention camp in the world......

The declared Israeli goal behind starving and tormenting the people of Gaza is to force them to revolt against the democratically-elected government, led by the Hamas movement, and settle for a quisling-like government that would sell-out Palestinian national rights, including the paramount right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and villages by Jewish gangs in 1948, when Israel was created.

It is believed that up to two thirds of the inhabitants of Gaza are refugees. Hence, the intensive repression and coercion being meted out to these people in order to force them to give up their right to return to their homes and villages in what is now Israel......

Unfortunately, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) seems to be conniving and colluding with Israel to keep the unfolding Gaza tragedy as silent as possible. UNRWA officials do make idle statements from time to time, warning of an impending "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. However, the UN agency often refrains from "saying it as it is," probably for fear of upsetting the Israelis and the Americans, who apparently don't like to hear words like "starvation, and concentration camps" with regard to the situation in Gaza find their way to the international media......

However, Israel, as always, has apparently chosen to be faithful to long traditions of callousness and moral depravity, not unlike the way the Nazis treated their victims.......

In fact, American officials keep congratulating their Israeli colleagues on the "success" of the blockade against Gaza. I wonder what kind of politicians are those who enjoy watching children starve to death? Are they human beings or cannibalistic beasts? This question ought to be directed to Condoleezza Rice whose behavior toward the Palestinian people is probably a thousand times worse than the behavior of the worst American white slave masters toward here forefathers. Maybe it is naive to appeal to Rice's sense of justice and morality since her manifestly criminal record with regard to the Palestinian cause leaves no doubt as to the woman's unethical and evil character.....

....the Palestinian regime of Mahmoud Abbas has no excuse whatsoever to collude and connive with Israel against the very people it is claiming to serve. Such behavior, including the tacit and implicit encouragement of Israel to tighten the blockade of Gaza, and keep hundreds of thousands of encircled Gazans hungry and thoroughly tormented, characterizes quislings and agents of a foreign occupation. Clearly, Abbas and his aides have much to explain to the Palestinian people. They also have much to atone for. This is if they still possess any sense of shame. "

Wow! Thank You All!

That was terrific, may be I should not update the blog more often. Thanks to all the contributors, friends and supporters for the large volume of high quality links contributed yesterday. I knew I could count on you:

Thanks to Datta; I hope your health is better.

Thanks to Lucia and Fatima.

Thanks to Catholic Sunni Shia, who took time from her own blog; I really appreciate that.

Thanks to compulsive reader and to Steven Rix.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Help! Please Help in Updating the Blog Today

This is all the updating that I will be able to do today.

I humbly ask all the contributors, friends and supporters of this blog to please post interesting and important links to news, comments, photos, videos or political cartoons in the comments section. If you have time and can excerpt an important part of the story, that would be great.

In particular I would really appreciate if Lucia, Fatima, Datta (health permitting), buh, CSS, Steven Rix and Zarasustra can help me out.

I will resume regular updating tomorrow.

Eventually, the US will have to negotiate its way out

Expectations of an early withdrawal from Iraq are premature. Only broader resistance is likely to break the American grip

Seumas Milne
Thursday August 9, 2007
The Guardian

".....What is clear is that the US has already suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq. A flagrant act of aggression intended to be a demonstration of untrammelled US imperial power to impose its will on the heart of the oil-producing Arab and Muslim world has instead demonstrated a fatal vulnerability to "asymmetric warfare". It's also true that, as a senior US intelligence officer told the Washington Post this week, "the British have basically been defeated in the south". Far from keeping rival militia from each other's throats, over 80% of violent attacks in the area are directed against British troops.......

The greatest danger to both the resistance and the wider campaign to end the occupation remains the Sunni-Shia split, fostered since the invasion in classic divide-and-rule mode. Throughout the occupation, armed resistance has been concentrated in mainly Sunni Arab areas. Whenever it has spread to the Shia population - as it did in 2004, when Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army fought the Americans - the potentially decisive threat to US control from a genuinely nationwide resistance movement has become clear. Now armed resistance by the Mahdi army has re-emerged, against the British in Basra and the Americans in Baghdad, where the US lieutenant general Raymond Odierno has claimed that most attacks during July were by Shia fighters.

But while acutely aware of the need to make common cause with Shia groups and the danger of the breakup of the country, the new Sunni-based resistance front refuses to have anything to do with the Mahdi army because of its role in sectarian killings and on-off participation in the floundering US-sponsored government. Meanwhile, the US is seeking to draw some on the margins of the Sunni-based resistance into the orbit of its anti-Iranian, anti-Shia regional alliance.

The history of anti-colonial and anti-occupation resistance campaigns shows that success has almost always depended on broad-based national movements. But the embryonic resistance front has got to be a positive development if it holds together. Not only could the creation of an alliance with a common programme help open up cooperation with Shia anti-occupation forces now, but if there is going to be a stable post-occupation settlement in Iraq, that will have to include all those with genuine support on the ground. Sooner or later, the Americans are going to have to negotiate with these groups. "

By Abu Mahjoob

Bardawil: Abbas became part of the Zio-American system

"GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, the spokesman of Hamas-affiliated change and reform bloc, has belittled the importance of betting on Egypt's role in persuading PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to return to the internal dialogue and not to ignore Hamas because Abbas is no longer an independent Palestinian party but a part of the "Zio-American system."

Denying reports of media and political circles that Hamas constitutes a fundamental obstacle to any political project of a settlement, Dr. Bardawil said: "These are false claims because, basically, there is no a settlement process, for the fact that the IOA did not declare its readiness to withdraw to the borders of June 4 of 1967, did not stop the construction of the apartheid wall, did not release the Palestinian detainees, and did not allow the return of refugees, so there can be no process that can be hampered by Hamas."

Regarding the statements issued on Monday in Jericho after Abbas's meeting with Olmert, Bardawil stated that Abbas and Olmert "do not possess the ability to conclude a historic agreement that would pave the way for building a Palestinian state," pointing out that Abbas is not qualified to sign any agreement because he goes without popular cover while he is in a quarrel with three quarters of his people while Olmert is politically weak.

Regarding whether Abbas's visit to Cairo would renew hope for dialogue, he said: "Regrettably, Cairo has lost many of the political game cards in Palestine because the Zio-American plans had isolated Egypt and rejected any Arab involvement in the region whether the Arab peace initiative, or the Cairo and Makkah accords. "

In another serious development, the Hebrew newspaper Ha'aretz revealed that Abbas had asked the IOA to approve the entry of shipments of arms bought from Egypt and Jordan to the West Bank, pointing out that the IOA did not respond until now and still holds reservations about some of these requests, lest those arms fall into the hands of Hamas as had happened before in the Gaza Strip.

The new roster of Abbas's requests, according to the paper, includes armored vehicles, thousands of machine guns and rifles, and millions of rounds, armors, grenades and other military equipment."

Good Ol' Bill, the Liberal Hero

by John Pilger

".......The Clinton scam is symptomatic of the death of liberalism – not its narcissistic, war-loving wing ("humanitarian intervention"), which is ascendant, but the liberalism that speaks against crimes committed in its name, while extending rungs of the economic ladder to those below. It was Clinton’s promotion of the former and crushing of the latter that so inspired new Labour’s "project." Clinton, not Bush, was Cool Britannia’s true Mafia godfather. Keen observers of Tony Blair will recall that during one of his many farewell speeches, the sociopath did a weird impersonation of Clinton’s head wiggle.

Clinton is able to make a shedload a money because he is contrasted with the despised Bush as the flawed good guy who did his best for the world and brought economic boom to the US – the fabled American dream no less. Both notions are finely spun lies. What Clinton and Blair have most in common is that they are the most violent leaders of their countries in the modern era; that includes Bush. Consider Clinton’s true record......"

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

by William S. Lind

"......This is a danger sign that should engage the urgent attention of senior American commanders. If we replace a war against Iraqi Sunnis with a war against the Shi'ites, we will not only have suffered a serious, self-inflicted operational defeat, we will endanger our whole position in Iraq, since our supply lines mostly run through Shi'ite country.

I say such a defeat would be self-inflicted because Shi'ite attacks on Americans in Baghdad seem to be responses to American actions. In dealing with the Shi'ites, we appear to be doing what spurred the growth of the Sunni insurgency, i.e., raids, air strikes and a "kill or capture" policy directed against local Shi'ite leaders. Not only does this lead to retaliation, it also fractures Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army as he tries to avoid fighting us. Such fracturing works against, not for, the potential re-creation of an Iraqi state.

A return to practices we know are counterproductive in dealing with Iraq's Shi'ites raises the question of motive. Are we so bloody stupid that at the same time we seem to have learned something about counterinsurgency against the Sunnis we are making the same old mistakes with the Shi'ites? Perhaps.

But perhaps something else is going on here. According to the story by Miss Gamel, General Odierno blamed not his own actions but Iran for the rise in Shi'ite attacks on Americans. Is a war with Iraq's Shi'ites a prelude to war with Iran? For the sake of the army we have in Iraq and our strategic position in the region, let us hope not. Sometimes, sheer stupidity is the most reassuring explanation for our actions."

US Hegemony Spawns Russian-Chinese Military Alliance

by Paul Craig Roberts

"This week the Russian and Chinese militaries are conducting a joint military exercise involving large numbers of troops and combat vehicles. The former Soviet Republics of Tajikistan, Kyrgkyzstan, and Kazakstan are participating. Other countries appear ready to join the military alliance.

This new potent military alliance is a real world response to neoconservative delusions about US hegemony. Neocons believe that the US is supreme in the world and can dictate its course. The neoconservative idiots have actually written papers, read by Russians and Chinese, about why the US must use its military superiority to assert hegemony over Russia and China.......

Russia and China have now witnessed enough of the Bush administration's unprovoked aggression in the world to take neocon intentions seriously. As the US has proven that it cannot occupy the Iraqi city of Baghdad despite 5 years of efforts, it most certainly cannot occupy Russia or China. That means the conflict toward which the neocons are driving will be a nuclear conflict......"

Roadside bomb attacks in Iraq reach an all-time high

The Independent

"Roadside bomb attacks on American troops in Iraq reached an all-time high last month, accounting for more than one third of all combat deaths.

The increase in the number of casualties caused by the explosive devices comes at the height of the "surge' of US forces which, the Pentagon claims, is broadly a success. Washington and London have blamed Iran for supplying the devices which have been used with lethal effect against American and British troops.

Although coalition forces have claimed a number of successes in discovering caches of the bombs, the number of attacks in July, stated as 99, shows the insurgency has had no problem in obtaining supplies......"

Words of An Iraqi Traitor: 'Treat us like you would your own'

Mohammed is an interpreter for the Foreign Office in a volatile Iraqi city

" work in a place in Iraq that has many problems with terrorists. The evil men who shoot and bomb civilians put people like me at the top of their hit list. I know I will remain a collaborator in their eyes, even though I am 1,000% more patriotic than the insurgents.

I chose to work for the British because I love their democracy and passion for human rights and I want to see it in Iraq....."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Contributed by Fatima

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Posing for Israeli Missiles?
How Stupid Can You Be!!

These Dead Were Posing (in uniforms) Just Yesterday...
I Think That Their Leaders Are Stupid and Incompetent

With Both Hizbullah and the Iraqi Resistance to Learn From, There is No Excuse for Palestinian Stupidity.
(AP photos)

In the Hole to China

Uncle Sam, Your Banker Will See You Now ...


"Early this morning China let the idiots in Washington, and on Wall Street, know that it has them by the short hairs. Two senior spokesmen for the Chinese government observed that China’s considerable holdings of US dollars and Treasury bonds “contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency.” Should the US proceed with sanctions intended to cause the Chinese currency to appreciate, “the Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar.”.....

This is a grim outlook. We got in this position because our leaders are ignorant fools. So are our economists, many of whom are paid shills for some interest group. So are our corporate leaders whose greed gave China power over the US by offshoring the US production of goods and services to China. It was the corporate fat cats who turned US Gross Domestic Product into Chinese imports, and it was the “free trade, free market economists” who egged it on.

How did a people as stupid as Americans get so full of hubris?"

War Pimp Alert: McCain: Disarm Hizbullah, tackle Assad

""To achieve lasting peace, sooner or later, one way or another, Hizbullah must be disarmed and its patron in Damascus confronted," according to US Presidential hopeful John McCain, who wrote to The Jerusalem Post as part of the latest installment to the 'Road to the White House' blog on, which addressed the issue of how the US should deal with Syria.

"Lasting peace and security in Lebanon", he stressed, "must include a democratic government that has a monopoly on authority within Lebanon's borders. That means no independent militias, no Hizbullah fighters, no weapons and equipment flowing to Hizbullah across Lebanon's borders. So long as that is not the case, Hizbullah is likely to further regroup, reconstitute, and rearm."......"

The Terror America Wrought

By Robert Scheer

"During a week of mayhem in Iraq, in which terrorists have rightly been condemned for targeting schoolchildren, it is sobering to recall that this week is also the 62nd anniversary of a U.S. attack that deliberately took the lives of thousands of children on their way to school in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As noted in the Strategic Bombing Survey conducted at President Harry Truman’s request, when the bomb hit Hiroshima on April 6, 1945, “nearly all the school children ... were at work in the open,” to be exploded, irradiated or incinerated in the perfect firestorm that the planners back at the University of California-run Los Alamos lab had envisioned for the bomb’s maximum psychological impact.

The terror plot worked all too well, as Hiroshima’s Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba recalled this week: “That fateful summer, 8:15 a.m. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast—silence—hell on Earth. The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. ... Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies—Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.”......"

Israeli Military "Geniuses"

(Contributed by Lucia)

After Peretz, Ashkinazi looks through shut binoculars


"08/08/2007 What's the story of the closed binoculars with members of the Israeli military institution. After former Defense Minister Amir Peretz's famous picture looking through shut binoculars, the new chief of staff Gabi Ashkinazi makes the same mistake. In the Beit Salem camp in the Negev desert, Ashkinzi was watching a military drill through his binoculars, however he seems to have forgotten to open the lenses. Worth mentioning, the Israeli army sought to open the lenses of all binoculars before the drill begins so as Peretz's mistake would not be repeated. Yet, Ashkinazi shut his binoculars and lifted it to watch the drill!"

The myth of mistrust

The US bemoans the lack of trust between Iraq's Sunnis and Shias, which only serves to heighten the contradictions of their own policy in the region.

By Dilip Hiro
The Guardian

"......This is disingenuous. While bemoaning the "depth of mistrust" between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq, the Bush administration has been playing it up in the rest of the Arab Middle East. Two days earlier, Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice announced a massive $63bn arms sale to the Sunni monarchical regimes in the Persian Gulf and Egypt - ostensibly to counter the influence of Iran, a predominantly Shia state.

Their criticism of the Sunni Arab regimes for failing to implement the commitments - specifically setting up embassies in Baghdad - they had made about backing the Shia-led Maliki government two months earlier, highlighted the contradictions in America's policy in the region.....

Tehran is buoyed by the fact that recent polls in Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt have highlighted the popularity of political Islam in the Arab world. In the freest and fairest parliamentary election in the region, Hamas won in the Sunni Palestinian territories. In Sunni Egypt, despite the strongarm tactics of the Hosni Mubarak government to bar Islamist voters from reaching the polling stations, the Muslim Brotherhood won 60% of the parliamentary seats it contested. And in Lebanon, pro-Tehran Hizbullah won a record number of seats allocated to the Shia community.

This enabled Iran's supreme leader, ayatollah Ali Khamanei to declare recently: "Today, if a referendum is held in any Islamic country, the people will vote for individuals supporting Islam and opposing the United States."

Little wonder that the Bush administration has stopped preaching the virtues of multi-party democracy in the Arab Middle East."

Commentary: Embarrassing history

UPI Editor at Large

".....Historic revisionism is now under way. Without fanfare, just below the media radar screen, the Israeli Education Ministry has approved a textbook for Arab third-graders in Israel that concedes the war that gave birth to Israel was a “nakba” for the Palestinians. The textbook refers to the “expulsion” of some of the Palestinians and the “confiscation of many Arab-owned lands.”

Textbooks for Jewish Israelis in the same grade make no such verbal concession. But Israel’s “new wave” historians have been combing through fresh material now available from the British mandate period and Israeli archives that document the history of Israel before and after it became a state. Long-lasting myths are being debunked.

Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian and Haifa University lecturer, whose ninth book is titled “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” documents how Israel was born with lands forcibly seized from its Palestinian inhabitants who had lived there for hundreds of years.

During the British mandate (1920-1948), Zionist leaders concluded Palestinians, who owned 90 percent of the land (with 5.8 percent owned by Jews), would have to be forcibly expelled to make a Jewish state possible. Pappe quotes David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, addressing the Jewish Agency Executive in June 1938, as saying, “I am for compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it.”

Pappe outlines Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), which followed earlier plans A, B and C, and included forcible expulsion of some 800,000 Palestinians from both urban and rural areas with the objective of creating by any means necessary an exclusive Jewish state without an Arab presence. The methods ranged from a campaign of disinformation -- “get out immediately because the Jews are on their way to kill you” -- to Jewish militia attacks to terrorize the Palestinians.

The first Jewish militia attacks, says Pappe, began before the May 1948 end of the British mandate. In December 1947 two villages in the central plain -- Deir Ayyub and Beit Affa -- were raided, and their panicked Palestinian inhabitants fled. Jewish leaders gave the order to drive out as many Palestinians as possible on March 10, 1948. The terror campaign ended six months later. Pappe writes 531 Palestinian villages were destroyed, and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities were emptied of their Palestinian inhabitants.

There is no doubt in Pappe’s mind that Plan D “was a clear-cut case of an ethnic cleansing operation, regarded under international law today as a crime against humanity.”......

The consensus in Israel today, says Pappe, is for a state comprising 90 percent of Palestine “surrounded by electric fences and visible and invisible walls” with Palestinians given only worthless cantonized scrub lands of little value to the Jewish state. In 2006, Pappe sees that 1.4 million Palestinians live in Israel on 2 percent of the land allotted to them plus another 1 percent for agricultural use with 6 million Jews on most of the rest. “Another 3.9 million live concentrated in Israel’s unwanted portions of the West Bank and concentrated in Gaza that has three times the population density of Manhattan,” notes Pappe. Back from the Middle East last week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said prospects are good for a two-state solution. A “viable and contiguous” Palestinian state, pledged by the Bush administration, remains a pipe dream."