Saturday, July 12, 2008

Al-Jazeera Video: Lebanese remember 'Hezbollah heroes' - 12 July 2008

"Villages in southern Lebanon had paid the highest price during the Lebanese Civil war.

Despite the devastation caused by the conflict, Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports on the many families who regard Hezbollah's fighters as heroes. "

The Rabbit Obeys When Summoned by the Zionist Colonial Master....
Now He Will Have Diplomatic Relations With Lebanon.......
But Wait, Wabbit.....The List of Concessions is a Long One......
This is Just the First Item!

The Emir of Qatar: When Do We Eat? That's All I care About!

Talking World War III Blues

From Dylan to Iran


"I’ve been listening to some old Bob Dylan songs, most notably his “Talking World War III Blues,” and “The Masters of War.” Dylan’s protest music was a shattering wake-up call to the country back then, and it is amazing to me how similar the words to those old Vietnam era folk songs are to what we’re seeing today. He sang of war profiteering, of the callousness of sending young men off to war to die for nothing while old men were talking.

When I was in the U.S. Senate, the CIA once held a briefing for those of us interested in Israel’s nuclear weapons program. I rarely attended those briefings, mostly because they swore us to secrecy, then gave us the same information that we could have read in the New York Times. In any event, in the 1970s we were told by the CIA that Israel had some 20 nuclear warheads. Israel had developed its nuclear weapons program with the help of Apartheid South Africa, back then the only country that would allow Israel to conduct nuclear testing.

Mordechai Vanunu, who was jailed for publicly blowing the whistle on that country’s weapons program, spent years in prison for his sins. He is now out of prison, but prevented from leaving Israel or from talking to anyone about his knowledge, which at this time is surely outdated. But Vanunu’s offense was to disclose that Israel had some 200 nuclear weapons at their Dimona facility......

..... “Obliterate” is the word Hillary Clinton used to describe how she, as president of the U.S., would react if Iran attacked Israel.

But madness is the operative word here. Israel’s war hawks, along with the Israeli Lobby, are frothing at the mouth about Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, and, as experts say, are not likely to have them for a number of years. Ahmedinejad may very well be nothing more than a loudmouth and certainly he may be crazy, but the Mullahs who really run Iran are not......"

Talking world war III blues:

The Masters of War:

Cultures of Resistance

Conflicts Forum

"Cultures of Resistance Activism Forum is a project that aims to address the Western hostile use of language intended to restrict debate related to mainstream Islamist movements and currents. The project will explore more effective means to respond to hostile use of language - as well as explore how better to insist on extending public debate beyond its standard focus on ‘Islamist violence’ - by launching a ‘positive’ (non-defensive) discourse on Islamism. In partnership with a wide number of social activist and public campaign groups, we aim to advocate for a shift in language from the defensive to the positive; to learn how others, in different struggles, have achieved this transition; and by this means, and by gaining greater critical mass, to open space in which a discourse of rebuttal and ‘resistance’ can be developed through visual and other means to imposed narratives and stereotyping. The aim is the change the terms of debate and to move to a more directly challenging, but more widely accessible, advocacy of understanding of Islamist ideology.

Cultures of Resistance magazine will be published twice a year by Conflicts Forum."

Why the Socialist Solution in Palestine!

By Adel Samara
Palestine Think Tank

"More than ever before, the One-State Solution (OSS) [i] for the Arab-Israeli conflict jumps to the forefront of the debate by some Israeli and Palestinian activists.

While some returned to this solution after they realized that the Two-State Solution, which they believed in, is vague, others did so because they are accustomed to shift from one position to another.

But most of those who argue for OSS, i.e. those who argue for the so-called Secular Democratic State in Palestine (SDS) have fallen in the trap of ignoring the current situation.

Any argument regarding OSS should consider the following facts:

1) The argument for OSS follows PLO Internalization of Defeat (IOD) [ii] in the struggle against the Zionist settler colonial regime.

2) The reality in Palestine didn’t reveal any hint of change or moderation from the side of Zionist Ashkenazi regime (ZAR) in both, popular and formal circles.

3) Arab and Palestinian ruling comprador is showing more and more compromise of the Palestinian Right of Return (ROR) and all Palestinian rights.

4) The vast majority of Jews in Palestine are still moving substantially towards war and more land confiscation.

5) The ruling classes in the capitalist core countries are preparing more wars in the region, a development that does leave any room for any democratic or humanitarian results.

While these facts on the ground work obviously against OSS, they breed two main points......"

Mubarak Hires the Mosque

Co-opting Al-Azhar

An Important Article


"The English translation of the July 3rd headline in the respected Egyptian daily, Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian) was long and cumbersome, yet unmistakable:

“Ministry of Interior Calls Scholars to Train State Security Investigation Officers on Combating the Shiite Ideology” (1).

The translation of the translation: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is co-opting the scholars of Al-Azhar—its seminary considered to be the highest religious authority in Sunni Islam—to do his sectarian bidding. More disturbingly, Al-Azhar seems willing to comply.

Egypt is now home to approximately 150,000 of the more than one million Iraqis who fled or were driven out of their neighborhoods in the unending aftermath of the 2003 war. A significant number of those in Egypt, if not the majority, are Shiite Muslims. What apparently attracted the state’s attention to these new arrivals were applications submitted to the Ministry of Endowments asking permission to build mosques and other religious gathering places.

As reported in Al-Masry Al-Youm, Dr. Mohammed Abdel Moneim al-Barri, a prominent scholar and professor of Islamic Culture at Al-Azhar University, revealed that the Interior Ministry has called on him and other scholars to lecture and train state security officers on how to oppose the purported spread of Shiism in Egypt.

Al-Barri himself is known to have conspired with the government in the past, admitting to instructing security officials at the notorious Mazra’ Torah Prison on “the danger of Shiite ideology” to Egypt’s security (Mazra’ Torah Prison is where the country’s political prisoners are held. It once housed leading Egyptian human rights activist Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim and is currently where political dissident Dr. Ayman Noor remains incarcerated).

So why does Mubarak, the quintessential Arab dictator who has ruled Egypt under Emergency Law for the past 27 years, feel threatened by Iraqi Shiites?......

Both the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, known as “Sheikh al-Azhar,” and the president of the University are positions appointed by the country’s president. Despite this, Al-Azhar’s acquiescence to and accommodation of Mubarak’s dictates, especially in light of its lofty status it holds in the eyes of the Muslim world, is disconcerting.

Al-Azhar was actually founded by Shiite Muslims of the Fatimid Dynasty, which ruled Egypt in the 10th century. It only changed to a Sunni center of learning after the conquest of Saladin in the 12th century. It came full circle in 1959 when a landmark and groundbreaking fatwa was issued by the renowned Sheikh al-Azhar, Mahmud Shaltut (3)......"

July 12… The Sincere Promise


"The victory we are talking about is that when the resistance survives. When its will is not broken then this is victory. When Lebanon is not humiliated and its dignity and honour are maintained, and when Lebanon remains steadfast alone in front of the fiercest military power and does not accept any humiliating conditions regarding a settlement of the issue, then this is victory…” Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hasan Nasrallah......

According to the Winograd Commission Report, the Second Lebanon War was regarded as a "missed opportunity" and that "Israel initiated a long war, which ended without a defined military victory". The report continued to state that "a semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technology advantages".

And the last words for the master of the Sincere Promise "Sayed Hasan Nasrallah":

‘‘Therefore, as I used to say in the first days of the July war, I used to always promise you victory by relying on God and by Knowing you. You, the most honorable people..’’"

كلا ... لم يصافح رئيس العراق الكردي وزير الدفاع الاسرائيلي

كلا ... لم يصافح رئيس العراق الكردي وزير الدفاع الاسرائيلي

هيفاء زنكنة

"تبدأ القصة، في معجم المحبين، دائماً، بنظرة فحب فموعد فلقاء وبعدها يأتي الزواج. ويبدو ان الخطوات ذاتها تتكرر في معجم ساسة الاحتلال البراغماتية. فالقاء نظرة سريعة علي الصورة التي تجمع بين رئيس جمهورية الاحتلال جلال الطالباني ووزير دفاع الكيان الصهيوني إيهود باراك وهما يتصافحان ويضحكان باسارير منشرحة، يبين بان الاثنين قد تجاوزا، منذ فترة، مراحل الحب السرية الاولي وقاربا، بمباركة العراب محمود عباس الواقف بينهما، مرحلة اطفاء شوق قد طال.
فلا تقولوا كانت مصافحة كردي لصهيوني، خاصة وان نوري المالكي (لاحظوا انه ليس كرديا) لم ينبس بحرف احتجاج واحد متظاهرا بالعمي والطرش والخرس. بل قولوا انها مصافحة رئيس حكومة احتلال مع وزير دفاع كيان صهيوني مختلق، تجمعهما مصالح مشتركة. لأن خدمة الاحتلال لا تجرد الخادم من وطنيته فحسب بل ومن عرقه ودينه ومذهبه وجنسه. انها مصافحة كيانين مشوهين مبنيين علي القتل والخراب ولن يضع حدا لنموهما غير مقاومة الشعب الأبي المتسلح بوعيه ووحدته
. "

IRAQ: Refugees Forsaken Even By Their Own Gov't

By Ali Gharib

"WASHINGTON, Jul 11 (IPS) - As Iraq's refugee crisis continues to worsen, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is failing to help the estimated five million Iraqis who have been displaced by conflict, says a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

"Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon" acknowledges that while things have gotten better for many Iraqis with the relative success of the U.S. troops "surge" strategy, Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries are still living in harsh conditions.

Refugees face a desperate economic situation and rigid policies while the Iraqi authorities and the international community -- especially the occupying U.S. government -- does too little to support them, it says....."

How Britain Wages War

By John Pilger

"......The second photograph is of a 12-year-old boy, one of three children. They are Kuchis, nomads of Afghanistan. They have been hit by NATO bombs, American or British, and nurses are trying to peel away their roasted skin with tweezers. On the night of 10 June, NATO planes struck again, killing at least 30 civilians in a single village: children, women, schoolteachers, students. On 4 July, another 22 civilians died like this. All, including the roasted children, are described as "militants" or "suspected Taliban." The Defense Secretary, Des Browne, says the invasion of Afghanistan is "the noble cause of the 21st century."......

Of course, the image of militarist Britain clashes with a benign national regard formed, wrote Tolstoy, "from infancy, by every possible means - class books, church services, sermons, speeches, books, papers, songs, poetry, monuments [leading to] people stupefied in the one direction." Much has changed since he wrote that. Or has it? The shabby, destructive colonial war in Afghanistan is now reported almost entirely through the British army, with squaddies always doing their Kipling best, and with the Afghan resistance routinely dismissed as "outsiders" and "invaders." Pictures of nomadic boys with NATO-roasted skin almost never appear in the press or on television, nor the aftereffects of British thermobaric weapons, or "vacuum bombs," designed to suck the air out of human lungs. Instead, whole pages mourn a British military intelligence agent in Afghanis tan, because she happens to have been a 26-year-old woman, the first to die in active service since the 2001 invasion........."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see the request of the International Criminal Court to arrest the president of Sudan as political or judicial?

With about 500 responding so far, 90% said political.

Real News Video: What did A. Q. Kahn sell to Iran?

Muhammad Sahimi: Has Iran answered the IAEA's questions about Pakistan's 'merchant of menace"? (2 of 6)

Sarkozy sells a mirage

The French president's project for Mediterranean cooperation has much to do with positioning France next to the US and little to do with Arab interests

By Hassan Nafaa
Al-Ahram Weekly

"........So, I believe it will be quite easy for Sarkozy to sell to the Arabs a French role that stands apart from the American role on the surface only. History teaches us that the French can only play a major part in world affairs if they can operate independently from the Americans. The bipolar order created a window of opportunity for De Gaule to assert a distinct and independent French policy. Such an opportunity does not present itself now, and even if it did one doubts that Sarkozy would seize it in view of how closely he has linked his country with American interests and how committed he is to American and Israeli points of view. Of course, Sarkozy may be driven by his love of the spotlight to do something sensational such as arranging for a "historic" handshake between Olmert and Al-Assad in Paris. But the handshake, if it takes place, will alter nothing on the ground and will only benefit Olmert and Sarkozy.

Arab governments should, therefore, realise that they will be unable to score an achievement of any sort, whether in the negotiating process with Israel or in their relations with governments and regional organisations abroad, unless they put their own house in order, which entails reconciling Palestinian factions first, and then mending other Arab fences. Until they do this in a way that permits Arab governments to act in coordination with each other, no one will take the Arab world seriously. Meanwhile, given the Arabs' current state of fragmentation, Sarkozy will probably be able to sell them his Union for the Mediterranean, which they will grasp only to discover it is a mirage. "

Anti-Zionist Jews condemn Zionist pogroms in WB and strangulation of Gaza

Israel crosses all red lines in West Bank

By Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

"Until a few years ago, most of the Israeli army activities in the occupied territories were aimed primarily at forcing Palestinians to come to terms with their status as perpetual slaves tightly controlled by Jewish masters.

The occupation army would demolish homes, seal college campuses and arrest suspected activists for prolonged periods of time.

The message was clear: Don’t you ever dream of freedom, for whatever you do wouldn’t help you, the world won’t help you because we control America and America controls the world; we are the master race.

Now the Israeli army is targeting the Palestinian society as a whole. It is directly targeting educational, social, economic and even medical institutions.

Interestingly, this is taking place under the scandalous rubric of “peace talks” between the Zionist state and the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) which is supposed to protect Palestinians and their national interests from Israel’s nefarious conduct.........."

الاتحاد المتوسطي: ترويض للعرب

الاتحاد المتوسطي: ترويض للعرب

عبد الباري عطوان

A Good Analysis by Abdelbari Atwan (Al-Quds Al-Arabi)

الحوار بين شعوب المتوسط وزعاماتهم كان في غالب الاحيان بالسيف والرمح والمنجنيق، وظل الحال كذلك حت منتصف القرن الماضي، حين خضع كل الجنوب والشرق للاستعمار الفرنسي والبريطاني والايطالي، واليوم تطل في الأفق محاولة لتغيير الأدوات لتحقيق الاهداف نفسها بطريقة تبدو حضارية في ظاهرها.
نيكولا ساركوزي رئيس فرنسا يريد اليوم بدعوته لزعماء خمس وثلاثين دولة وضع اسس تكتل سياسي اقتصادي جديد بزعامته تحت عنوان (الاتحاد من اجل المتوسط)، يقول ان الهدف الرئيسي من ورائه تعزيز العلاقات بين هذه الدول وفق رؤية جديدة، ولكن الاجندات الخفية، وغير المعلنة، تتلخص في الرغبة في تعزيز زعامة فرنسا في اوروبا، واستعادة دورها القديم في المحيط المتوسطي العربي والاسلامي، وشمال افريقيا خاصة، ودمج اسرائيل بطريقة غير مباشرة مع جيرانها، بتشريع وجودها، وتطبيع علاقاتها مع من يتردد في التطبيع من الدول العربية المتوسطية، وهي قليلة عل اي حال.
ساركوزي يريد ان يعزز دور بلاده الاقليمي الاوروبي والعالمي بالالتفات جنوبا، حيث المستعمرات الفرنسية القديمة، بالطريقة نفسها التي عززت فيها انجيلا ميركل زعيمة المانيا دورها ومكانتها الاوروبيين بالالتفات شرقا، ال دول اوروبا الشرقية، وفتح ابواب الاتحاد الاوروبي امامها.
الدول العربية، والمغاربية منها عل وجه الخصوص، التي فشلت فشلا ذريعا في تأطير نفسها في تكتل اقليمي يرع مصالح شعوبها، ويقرب في ما بينها، كانت الأسرع في تلبية دعوة العم الفرنسي للمشاركة في الاتحاد المتوسطي، لجني بعض المنافع، وتأكيدا لعقدة متأصلة اسمها ضعف المستعمر (بفتح الميم) امام المستعمر (بكسر الميم).
نتمن عل هذه الدول التي يهرع زعماؤها ال باريس اليوم للمشاركة في عرس ساركوزي المتوسطي ان تطلع عل التجربة التركية، وتستوعب دروسها. فتركيا نزعت الحجاب وحفت الشوارب واللح، وألغت الحدود الاسلامية بما في ذلك عقوبة الاعدام، واقامت مؤسسات ديمقراطية حقة، وحققت تقدما اقتصاديا افضل من كثير من اقتصاديات الدول الاوروبية، ومع ذلك ما زالت تستجدي عضويتها في الاتحاد الاوروبي، وهي التي انضمت ال حلف الناتو مبكرا عندما كانت معظم دول اوروبا الشرقية التي انضمت حديثا ال النادي الاوروبي اعضاء في حلف وارسو المضاد وشريكا اصيلا في الحرب الباردة.
ومن المفارقة ان ساركوزي، ومن قبله ميتران وشيراك وديستان هم من ابرز المعارضين لعضوية تركيا في الاتحاد الاوروبي، واليوم يريد ساركوزي اكثرهم حماسة في معارضته، اغلاق الباب تماما في وجهها، من خلال فتح نافذة الاتحاد المتوسطي.
من المؤسف ان كل هذه الاوراق القوية في يد الدول العربية والاسلامية المتوسطية فشلت في وضع ساركوزي وقادة اوروبا الآخرين امام الخيار بينها وبين الدولة العبرية، بل ان قادتها يذهبون صاغرين ال باريس اليوم، وسيجلسون عل الطاولة نفسها مع شمعون بيريز رئيس الدولة العبرية، وايهود اولمرت رئيس وزرائها، ولن نستغرب اذا ما تبادلوا المصافحات والابتسامات معهما.
ففي الوقت الذي يحتفل فيه ساركوزي بتدشين وليده المتوسطي الجديد، يتذكر اللبنانيون هذه الأيام، ومعهم العرب جميعا، الذكر الثانية للعدوان الاسرائيلي عل بلادهم، ويزورون قبور ضحاياهم الذين مزقتهم القنابل والصواريخ الاسرائيلية.
اما هذا الانضمام غير المشروط، بل والمرحب به فهو مرفوض ويشكل عارا عل الدولة الداعية والزعماء المدعوين.
الكارثة الاكبر، التي لا يعي معظم الزعماء العرب المشاركين في احتفالات اليومين القادمين، حجم خطورتها، ستتمثل في ان يفيقوا ذات يوم وقد اصبحت اسرائيل رئيسة هذه المنظومة الجديدة. فالرئاسة دورية وثنائية، رئيس اوروبي وآخر عربي، وهذا يعني ان حق اسرائيل في الرئاسة قانوني وشرعي حسب النظام التأسيسي، فماذا سيفعل السادة الزعماء ابتداء من الرئيس الجزائري عبد العزيز بوتفليقة مرورا بالرئيس حسني مبارك وانتهاء بالرئيس بشار الاسد؟ مع تمنياتنا بالصحة وطول العمر لهم جميعا دون اي استثناء. "

Friday, July 11, 2008

Do no harm: A torture victim remembers

Naji Ali writing from San Francisco, US, Live from Palestine, 10 July 2008

(Naji Ali is the producer and host of Crossing The Line: Life in Occupied Palestine. He is the son of a Black South African resistance fighter. Ali spent 550 days in detention in South Africa and was subjected to repeated torture by the security police. He also lived and worked in Palestine in the Old City of Hebron from 2002-2004.)

"I wasn't really surprised by the watchdog group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel's (PHR-I) latest intervention to Israel's health ministry, in which they accused Israeli doctors of complicity in the torture of Palestinian detainees in Israeli interrogation centers. Indeed, it sounded all too familiar to what I experienced during 550 days of incarceration in a South African prison from 1990 through 1992.

PHR-I reached its conclusion based on the testimony of two Palestinian prisoners who were tortured during interrogation and developed trauma-related symptoms including hearing loss, panic attacks and incontinence. The doctors who treat Palestinian detainees conduct medical checkups on the prisoners during and after interrogation but they fail to report the findings and symptoms, which make them an actor in the torturing of detainees, PHR-I said......."

Dr. Sami Al-Arian Granted Bail

For a change, WONDERFUL NEWS! -- Norman Finkelstein

"In a set back for the government, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was granted bail by Judge Leonie M. Brinkema today. Over the objections of the government and the pre-trial services, Judge Brinkema agreed that Dr. Al-Arian was not a flight risk and no danger to the community. The government has suggested that it may now block release by having Immigration officials hold Dr. Al-Arian for deportation — despite the fact that it is trying to hold him for years under a criminal sentence rather than deport him......."

Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project

by Andrew G. Marshall

Global Research, July 10, 2008

".....An Imperial Strategy

In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry wrote an article for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he outlined a "strategy for Israel in the 1980s." In this article, he stated, "The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel." He continued, "An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon." He continues, "In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul and Shiite areas in the South will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north."[2].....

A Clean Break for a New American Century.....


Clearly, whatever the excuse, or whatever the means of dividing Iraq, it is without a doubt in the Anglo-American strategy for Iraq to balkanize the country. Saying that what is being proposed is not balkanization, but federalism, is a moot point. This is because reverting to a more federal system where provinces have greater autonomy would naturally separate the country along ethno-religious boundaries. The Kurds would be in the north, the Sunnis in the centre, and the Shi’ites in the south, with all the oil. The disproportionate provincial resources will create animosity between provinces, and the long-manipulated ethnic differences will spill from the streets into the political sphere. As tensions grow, as they undoubtedly would, between the provinces, there would be a natural slide to eventual separation. Disagreements over power sharing in the federal government would lead to its eventual collapse, and the strategy of balkanization would have been achieved with the appearance of no outside involvement. "

Iraqi Resistance; What Iraqi Resistance?

Comment by Tony Sayegh

At least for the time being it appears that the Iraqi resistance is just about finished, judging by US casualties. Just look at the very recent trend:

In April of this year US fatalities were 52; in May 19 and in June 29. So far in 11 days in July the total is 5 (probably of vehicle accidents).

To gain perspective, in the period of April through June of last year US fatalities averaged over 110 per month.

I hate to admit it but the US strategy of using the Iraqis to slaughter each other has been a great success. Let us see if the US will try to replicate this strategy in Iran. I doubt that it will succeed there as it succeeded in Iraq.

What a great disappointment those Iraqis turned out to be.

Surprise, Surprise!.....Arab state tells Israel it won't oppose Iran strike

"Official representatives of an Arab country have hinted in meetings with Israeli officials that they would not oppose an Israeli military operation against Iran, sources in Jerusalem said this week.

According to the sources, the representatives of the Arab country said they are worried by Iran's growing influence in the region, primarily among Shi'ite communities in Arab states.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted Thursday that Israel would be willing to attack Iran when he said that "Israel is the strongest country in the region and has proved in the past that it is not deterred from activity when there is concern that its vital interests could be harmed."

The representatives told the Israeli officials that other Arab countries are also troubled by Iran's policy. Some Arab states are afraid that Iran's growing power will create a rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites. That concern is especially rife in Arab countries with a Shi'ite minority........"

A Kodak Moment

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....An Associated Press report, published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, dubbed the handshake "historic". History was supposedly made in Athens on 1 July 2008. Centred in a photo, featuring a widely grinning Barak and Talabani, is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was credited for introducing the two.

The three individuals involved are members of political establishments that are largely funded and sustained by the US government. Both Abbas and Talabani are at the helm of puppet political structures that lack sovereignty or political will of their own, and are entirely reliant on scripts drafted in full or in part by the Bush administration......

To suggest that the Barak-Talabani handshake was "historic" is completely unfounded, if not ignorant. What deserves scrutiny is why the governments of Tel Aviv and the Green Zone decided to upgrade their gestures of "good will" starting in 2003 to a public handshake. Is it a test balloon or is there a more "historic" and public agreement to follow?"

Iran and the Photoshop Threat

In the four-missile version of the image released Wednesday by Sepah News, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, two major sections (encircled in red) appear to closely replicate other sections (encircled in orange). (Illustration by The New York Times; photo via Agence France-Presse)

Tehran isn’t hiding its weapons of mass digital manipulation

By Justin Raimondo

"The Iranians just don’t get it. What they’re supposed to do in response to the superheated rhetoric coming out of Washington – and the full-scale dress rehearsals for a bombing raid on their country coming out of Israel – is cower, downplay their own military prowess, and hope for the best. But – no. Instead, Tehran is puffing up its chest, issuing hair-raising threats of its own – and even Photoshopping its military arsenal to make it look more fearsome.

This last is really indicative of just how much of a real "threat" the Iranians pose. Here they are, testing medium and long-range Shahab missiles, and releasing photos of the launch –except that only three out of the four missiles shown taking off are real. The fourth has been superimposed on the original photo using Photoshop, a computer program that manipulates digital images........"

Congressional Hearings Are Needed to Forestall an Attack on Iran

By Scott Ritter

"There is increasing discussion and speculation about the possibility of an American military strike against Iran prior to President Bush leaving office. The justification for such an attack is derived from Iran's continued refusal to adhere to Security Council demands that it suspend its enrichment of uranium (a program Iran contends is exclusively for peaceful energy purposes) and Bush administration assertions that Iran operates as a state sponsor of terror. While Iran denies any wrongdoing on its part, the Bush administration has successfully positioned itself, both domestically and internationally, so that it is Iran which must demonstrate its innocence of the charges made against it, as opposed to America proving its guilt.

There are those who say that such observations are moot. The Bush administration may want to act against Iran, this thinking goes, but is unable to do so due to an overstretched military strained by open-ended conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and a worsening economic situation at home brought on, in part, by soaring oil prices, and as such any military attack on Iran would be an act of madness. Such reasoning may not be enough to give pause to those within the Bush administration who cling to an ideology which links the national security of the United States to a transformed Middle East, one where regimes such as the theocracy in Tehran must be eliminated if there is to be any hope of long-term peace and stability. For these true believers, it is not action against Iran which would constitute an act of madness, but rather any failure to act........"

نحو تفكير سياسي جديد في الساحة الفلسطينية

ماجد كيالي

"لم يشتغل الفلسطينيون بالقدر المناسب على تطوير فكرهم السياسي، وذلك بسبب تدني مستوى الاهتمام بالثقافة السياسية في المجتمعات العربية، وضعف تقاليد الحوار، وعدم تقبّل الرأي الآخر، ونقص في المنابر والإطارات التي تمكّن من تبادل الآراء وتتيح تفاعل الأفكار.

وفي الواقع فإن الساحة الفلسطينية، مثل الساحة العربية، تتعامل بالخطابات التحريضية والعاطفية، على طريقة الوصفات الطبية والمواعظ الأخلاقية، والفتاوى الأيديولوجية، أكثر بكثير من تعاملها مع موازين القوى والتفاعلات والمتغيرات السياسية، الدولية والإقليمية.

وهذا ما يفسّر جمود أفكارها ووسائل عملها عند النقطة التي انطلقت منها في الستينيات، برغم كل ما مرت به من منعطفات وتطورات وإنجازات وانكسارات.

ويمكن تفسير ذلك بعدة أسباب منها:
أولا: ضعف الاشتغال بهذا الحقل المعرفي الهام، أي التفكير السياسي، وغلبة الروح الشعاراتية والعاطفية والإرادوية في الخطابات السياسية الفلسطينية.

ثانيا: غياب تقاليد الحوار، والتفكير النقدي بشأن القضايا المصيرية، في الساحة الفلسطينية، لصالح الخطابات الدعائية الفصائلية، والخطابات المعنية بالسياسة اليومية.

ثالثا: سيادة التفكير الذي لا يشجّع على الاجتهاد والذي يميل إلى التصنيفات المسبقة والثنائيات المطلقة مثل: وطني أو خائن، مناضل أو مفرّط.

رابعا: الحذر من مغبّة تقديم أفكار جديدة، غير تقليدية، بسبب عدم نضج المجتمع لتقبل ذلك، لأنه لا يملك "ترف" مناقشة المستقبل، في حاضر بائس محيط به، ولأن مثل هذه الأفكار ربما تبدو بمثابة تفريط في الحق والوطن.

خامسا: غياب التواصل والتفاعل والمشاركة بين الشعب والطبقة السياسية (سلطة ومعارضة)، ما يحول دون تنمية ثقافة سياسية مجتمعية.

سادسا: ضعف الحراك في البني الفصائلية، وضعف التقاليد المؤسسية والديمقراطية، وغياب مراكز صنع القرار والبحث، وهذا كله يحد من تطور الفكر السياسي الفلسطيني.

الجدية الفلسطينية الغائبة

الجدية الفلسطينية الغائبة

"اعلن السيد ياسر عبد ربه امين سر اللجنة التنفيذية في منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، واقرب المستشارين ال الرئيس محمود عباس ان القيادة الفلسطينية تدرس بجدية وقف الاتصالات مع الجانب الاسرائيلي، بسبب استمرار النشاطات الاستيطانية كرد فعل عل اعلان بلدية القدس المحتلة امس عن موافقة لجنة التخطيط عل مشروع لبناء 920 وحدة سكنية جديدة في مستوطنة جبل ابو غنيم (هار حوما) القريبة من المدينة المقدسة.
ولا نعرف مد جدية تصريحات السيد عبد ربه هذه التي اطلقها في مؤتمر صحافي عقده خصيصا للتعبير عن غضبه وقيادته تجاه هذا التغول الاستيطاني الاسرائيلي المتواصل، فتجاربنا معه، والرئيس عباس، كانت دائما مخيبة للآمال، حيث سرعان ما تم التراجع عن مواقف احتجاجية مماثلة بمجرد حدوث اتصال من قبل السيدة كوندوليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية مع القيادة في رام الله.
الامر لا يتطلب دراسة جدية، او غير جدية، لمثل هذه المشاريع الاستيطانية الاسرائيلية، وانما اتخاذ موقف مبدئي صلب، بوقف المفاوضات والاتصالات كافة مع الطرف الاسرائيلي الذي لم يحترم مطلقا تعهداته التي قطعها عل نفسه امام اللجنة الرباعية، واثناء اجتماعات مؤتمر انابوليس بتجميد كل المشاريع الاستيطانية، بما في ذلك تلك التي تتم في اطار ما يسم بالنمو الطبيعي للمستوطنات.
انها ليست المرة الاول التي تستفز فيها حكومة ايهود اولمرت العرب والفلسطينيين بالاقدام عل مشاريع استيطانية كهذه، كما انها ليست المرة الاول التي يحتج فيها المسؤولون في حكومة سلطة رام الله، فطالما ان هذه الاحتجاجات تظل في اطار تهديدات غير جدية واستجداء لمكالمة هاتفية من الادارة الامريكية راعية العملية السلمية لتطييب الخواطر، فإننا امام مسلسل استيطاني مستمر لسنوات مقبلة، وما نراه حاليا من بناء وحدات سكنية هو مجرد قمة جبل الجليد

'This is like apartheid': ANC veterans visit West Bank

By Donald Macintyre in Hebron
Friday, 11 July 2008

The Independent

"Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the segregation endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.

Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank.

After a five-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, some delegates expressed shock and dismay at conditions in the Israeli-controlled heart of Hebron. Uniquely among West Bank cities, 800 settlers now live there and segregation has seen the closure of nearly 3,000 Palestinian businesses and housing units. Palestinian cars (and in some sections pedestrians) are prohibited from using the once busy streets.

"Even with the system of permits, even with the limits of movement to South Africa, we never had as much restriction on movement as I see for the people here," said an ANC parliamentarian, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge of the West Bank. "There are areas in which people would live their whole lifetime without visiting because it's impossible."........"

It takes a village

The iron resistance of one Palestinian hamlet to Israel's 'ring of steel' has caught the imagination of the world's media

By Seth Freedman
The Guardian

"After four days of curfew, the village of Nilin is not a pretty sight. Torched cars lie strewn on the sides of the road, bedroom windows sport gaping bullet holes, and debris is scattered the length and breadth of the town: evidence of the brutality meted out indiscriminately by the army against the locals.

As I followed the trail of destruction, the tales of woe grew ever darker and ever more indicting of the Israel Defence Force's cruelty. "Look what they did to me!" screamed an elderly grandmother, hoisting up her robes to display the raw wounds inflicted by soldiers who had thrown her against a stone wall during a raid. She began sobbing as she recounted the events of earlier in the week, utterly bewildered as to how she had come to be mistreated so.......

With the wall getting nearer to completion with every passing day, time is running out for the Palestinians to prevent themselves being permanently sealed inside their concrete cage. But in what little time remains, they can at least take some solace in the fact that they are by no means alone in their struggle. And that fact, if nothing else, strengthens their resolve to keep on with their fight, despite the crushing blows the IDF relentlessly rains down upon them."

Click on cartoon by Steve Bell to enlarge.

Real News Video: What are Iran's nuclear rights?

Professor Muhammad Sahimi challenges assumptions about Iran's nuclear program

"Iran wants to put itself in a position such that if an international crisis arises and there is an external threat to the national security of Iran, Iran can be in a position to make a nuclear weapon in an emergency as a deterrent against a foreign threat. Otherwise, Iran has no intention whatsoever of making a nuclear weapon, because Iranian leaders are fully aware that if they cross the line and somehow they make nuclear weapon, that will start a very bad nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which will ultimately will not be in Iran's benefit or in any body's benefit in that region."

Barak to Tell Bush Time Running Out on Thwarting Iran


"11/07/2008 In a series of consultations apparently aimed at coordinating policies against Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will head to the US on Monday for talks at the Pentagon, days after Mossad chief Meir Dagan was in Washington for meetings with key intelligence officials. Sources told the Jerusalem Post that Israel is urgently trying to convince the US that Iran is closer to passing the nuclear threshold than Washington believes.

Dagan's visit came as Iran held a second day of military maneuvers on Thursday and claimed to have test-fired more long-range missiles meant to show that the country can defend itself against any attack by the US or Israel.

Barak will spend three days in the US for talks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Defense officials said he would likely also meet with President George W. Bush.

A week after Barak's visit, Israeli army Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi will head to Washington for his own round of talks with American defense chiefs, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who was in Israel two weeks ago.

Barak hinted at Israeli readiness to attack the Islamic Republic on Thursday.

"The Iranian issue is a challenge not just for Israel but for the entire world," Barak told a meeting of the Labor Party faction. "Israel is the strongest country in the region and we have proven in the past that we are not deterred from acting when our vital interests are at stake."
But he quickly noted that "the reactions of [Israel's] enemies need to be taken into consideration as well."

A senior government source told the Post that “it would be an exaggeration to imagine that the Dagan, Barak, Ashkenazi visits to Washington had to do with drawing up operational plans for any type of military action against Iran. According to this source, no decision had been made on the matter, and Israel was extremely unlikely to take any unilateral action.”

Also on Thursday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told visiting Irish Foreign Minister Miche?l Martin that Teheran posed not only a nuclear threat, but also a "comprehensive" threat because of its support for Hezbollah, Hamas “and other extremist elements in the region.”"

Ban Ki-moon tool of Security Council

Press TV

"Former UN assistant Secretary-General and former UN chief weapons inspector say that the UN chief is an instrument of the Security Council.

Former assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday and former UN chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Friday morning Tehran time said that the UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has become an instrument of the Security Council in Iran's nuclear case.

Halliday said that Ban Ki-moon has been corrupted by the Security Council and is undermining his credibility. He said that instead of asking Iran to halt enrichment, he should have addressed the dangers Iran is facing in the region.

"Iran is currently surrounded by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran is threatened by nuclear weapons by Bush and Ms. Rice. Iranians are threatened by Israel that is said to have 300-400 nuclear warheads."

He stated that Iran has every justification to be worried.

The former UN assistant secretary-general emphasized that he personally believes and accepts the Iranian position on its right to obtain nuclear energy.

"I personally accept the Iranian position that this is peaceful pursuit of fuel for electric power." "

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let's get some things straight about the upcoming war with Iran

A Good Analysis by The Saker

"The upcoming war with Iran is again back in the news and while the international media is awash with reports and discussions about the recent Iranian missile test, some usually savvy observers, such as Tom Englehardt and Tony Karon, now say that the US-Israeli aggression on Iran will not happen at all. So which is it - Iranian missiles raining down on Israel or no war at all?Neither.....

The reality is that all the actors in the upcoming war as fine ready, as ready as can be.One gut got it right: Pepe Escobar. Check out his article "Iran's Missiles are Just for Show". Not only does Escobar explain that the missile issue is vastly overblown, but he even outlines the *real* preparations the Iranians have made....."

COMMENT: In line with Escobar's outline of Iranian preparations was this article from Al-Manar which I posted here: Iran Setting up 'Passive Defense' Plan. It details an analysis by MEMRI and published in the Jerusalem Post. According to MEMRI, the Iranians realize that the USraeli goal is to topple the regime in Tehran by destroying the infrastructure to turn the public against the regime. The primary goal of the passive defense is to decentralize and to ensure continuity of decentralized government and continuity of services to the public.

Iran's missiles are just for show

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"As a political statement to world leaders gathered in Japan, Iran's test-firing on Wednesday of nine long-and-medium range missiles was impeccable. But even if Iran had the physical means to deliver the nuclear warheads it does not possess, these tests do not mean it has mastered the capability to do so. Iran's real deterrence against an attack comes from the reorganization of its military, giving it effectively 30 armies spread across the country......."

Israeli jets using Iraq's airspace?

Press TV

"The US has allowed Israeli jets to use US airbases in Iraq and fly over Iraqi airspace for a likely attack against Iran, Iraqi media say.

It is more than a month that some Israeli planes belonging to Israeli air force use the US military bases in Iraq to land and take off, Iraqi Nahrainnet news network said Wednesday, quoting informed sources close to Iraq's Defense Ministry.

The activities and traffic of warplanes- especially at nights- has lately increased in the US air bases in Nasiriya southeast of Baghdad and Haditha a city in the western Iraq province of Al Anbar, the Iraqi residents and sources said.

They said the US fighters, cargo planes, helicopters and unmanned planes have intensified their flights in the last three weeks.

The US military officials have imposed severe security measures around the bases, they said.

They said some aircraft suspected to be Israeli warplanes coming from Jordan, have landed in the US controlled al-Assad airbase near Haditha.

It is believed that these activities are parts of a joint Israeli-US training, preparation and coordination to launch an air raid against Iran's nuclear plants.

Israel has conducted a military drill under the supervision of top US military commanders over the Mediterranean Sea from May 28 to June 12, using more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters, along with helicopters and refueling tanks which many consider as a possible rehearsal for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. "

Israel Fears the Womb More Than the Bomb

By Peter Hirschberg

"JERUSALEM, Jul 10 (IPS) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has laid it out in the starkest possible terms for his fellow Israelis. If they do not relinquish control of the occupied territories, he has warned them, Israel will ultimately cease to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

If Israel does not extract itself from the West Bank and a Palestinian state is not established alongside the Jewish state, he said in an interview late last year, Israel will find itself trapped in an apartheid-like reality. "The day will come when the two-state solution collapses and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights," he said. "As soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."....."

It's the Oil, Stupid!

By Noam Chomsky
Palestine Chronicle

"The deal just taking shape between Iraq's Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of their country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalisation during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia........"

West Bank taps run dry due to drought and Israeli controls

"RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Taps have run dry in West Bank towns and Palestinians face acute water shortages as dry weather strains supplies already restricted by Israel, residents and the water authority said.

Parts of major West Bank cities such as Jenin, Hebron and Bethlehem have had no running water for about a month and even faucets in parts of Ramallah, the occupied West Bank's political hub which rarely experiences cuts, have been dry for days at a time in recent weeks, residents said.

"We have had no pumped water for 40 days," said Mahmoud Ibrahim from Jenin in the northern West Bank. "We have to buy water from vendors in the street."....."

Most attacks on Palestinians go unpunished: Israeli group

"JERUSALEM (AFP) - Nine out of 10 investigations into attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank are closed without anyone being indicted, the Israeli Yesh Din human rights group said on Wednesday.

It said that of 163 such completed investigations it monitored in recent years, only 13 led to indictments being filed, 149 files were closed without indictments and one file was lost and never investigated.

Yesh Din said police investigating a case rarely visited the crime scene, often failed to collect testimony from key witnesses and suspects, and hardly ever carried out lineups of suspects.

It said that in the investigation files it had seen alibis presented by suspects were never checked out.

Ninety-one files were closed on grounds of "perpetrators unknown," 43 for "lack of evidence," nine for "no criminal culpability," five for unknown reasons and one was closed for "lack of public interest," Yesh Din said......."

Syria's foreign minister says US is not helping his country control its border with Iraq

"BEIRUT, Lebanon: Syria's Foreign Minister accused the United States on Wednesday of not giving his country the equipment needed to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq.

Walid al-Moallem said Washington fears Syria could use such equipment against Israel. He did not specify what type of equipment he was referring to, but Syrian authorities have complained in the past that their border guards lack night-vision binoculars.

Al-Moallem told Lebanon's Orange TV in an interview that the U.S. was pressuring other countries not to give Syria such equipment......."

Despite Fireworks, War Clouds Recede

By Jim Lobe

"While Wednesday's test-firing by Iran of nine medium- and long-range missiles was strongly denounced by Israel and the United States, there appears to be a growing consensus here that the chances for war, at least between now and the US elections in November, have actually receded in recent days......."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

What is your position on naming (posting) Arab ambassadors in Iraq?

With over 3,000 responding so far, 76% were opposed.

Al-Jazeera Video: Israeli army shuts Palestinian shops and schools - 09 Jul 08

"The Israeli army has raided City Hall in the West Bank town of Nablus, as part of a crackdown on organisations it says are linked to Hamas.

Troops have been shutting down schools, shops and charities as part of a campaign that the Palestinian prime minister says is badly undermining his government."

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel's Separation Wall - 10 July 08

Watch Dov-Put The Palestinians on a Strict Diet-Weisglass Versus Norman Finkelstein

Part 1:

Part 2:

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Boycott committee launches comprehensive website

Announcement, Palestinian BDS National Committee, 9 July 2008

"On 9 July 2008, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) launched a major new online resource for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. will bring together news, campaign materials and resources from Palestinian and global activists in a single site to support, coordinate, and provide information, updates and analysis about the international BDS movement.

It has been three years since over 180 Palestinian organizations, movements, parties and unions came together on 9 July 2005 to launch the unified Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, offering a new way forward to challenge Israel's multiple forms of colonial and racist oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine. Since it was issued, the call has reverberated throughout the solidarity movement. BDS initiatives have been gradually and persistently spreading all over the world, and BDS has become a key tactic for solidarity with the Palestinian people.......

Thank you to the many BDS activists from Europe, the Americas, South Africa and Asia who have contributed with ideas, comments and suggestions to the framework of the site. A special thank you has to be given to the group of Indian and other solidarity activists who contributed financially and volunteered months of hard work to make this website a reality and the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign for taking the initiative to develop the site.
Visit and sign up to the Palestinian Call for BDS to pledge your support to the ongoing campaign to isolate Israeli apartheid.

Palestinian BDS National Committee member organizations include: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, General Union of Palestinian Workers,Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, Palestinian NGO Network,Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Union of Arab Community Based Associations, Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Initiative, General Union of Palestinian Women, Union of Palestinian Farmers, Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba, Civic Coalition for the Defence of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem."

By God, He Has Finally Got it!! What a Genius!

Haneyya condemns Israeli closure of charities accuses Ramallah of collusion

".....During his visit to the ministry of endowments and religious affairs, Haneyya told reporters that the PA leadership and its unconstitutional government in Ramallah is an accomplice in the Israeli war on charitable institutions where the PA had already closed more than 100 charities and orphanages.

The premier described the Israeli closure of about 37 charities and civil institutions in Nablus and Ramallah during the past three days as a "heinous crime against humanity", calling for ending these actions immediately and reopening these institutions which sponsor orphans and needy families........"

زيارة عباس لدمشق .. إعراض عن الحوار مغموس بإساءات للمقاومة (تقرير)

"المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" يكشف المخفي من الزيارة التي أكدت "الفيتو" على الحوار

"دمشق – المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

فوجئ مراقبون لسلوك الأطراف في الساحة الفلسطينية بالتراجع الحاد الذي طرأ على خطاب رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس ومقرّبيه، بعد أيام معدودة من إطلاق الدعوة لحوار فلسطيني لم يرَ النور في واقع الأمر. والتراجع الذي جاء لافتاً للانتباه لمسه المراقبون في ثنايا حملة تهجمات لفظية وتعنت في رفض اللقاء والحوار، أبداها عباس خلال زيارته الحديثة إلى دمشق.
سخرية خرجت عن حدود الدبلوماسية
وقد أثار الأوساط الفلسطينية في دمشق، أنّ عباس لم يترك فرصة لقاءٍ عقده إلا وكان مشعل عمدة الكلام فيه، غير أنّ كلامه عن مشعل هذه المرة خرج عن حدود الدبلوماسية الرسمية المتّبعة عرفاً، فرئيس السلطة لا يزال مصرّاً على أنّ ما قامت به حماس في غزّة في شهر حزيران (يونيو) الماضي كان "انقلاباً"، وأنّ مشعل هو المسؤول الأول عن هذا "الانقلاب"، على حدّ وصف عبّاس.

وفي إحدى المجالس الخاصة أسهب محمود عباس فيها بالإساءة لخالد مشعل وإطلاق النعوت بحقه، وقد وصفه بأنه "ولي الفقيه الفلسطيني"، إذ قال "خلّصنا من ولي فقيه لبنان (في إشارة إلى الأمين العام لحزب الله حسن نصر الله) طلع لنا ولي فقيه فلسطيني" في إشارة إلى مشعل.

هذا واستنكر محمود عبّاس ما وصفها بالاتهامات التي توجّهها له حركة "حماس" والحكومة الفلسطينية برئاسة إسماعيل هنية، والتي تقول حسب عبّاس، إنّ سبب رفضه لقاء "حماس" هي التعليمات التي تمليها عليه وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية كونداليزا رايس، وقال ساخراً "وهل سمحت لي رايس أن ألتقي شلّح، ولم تسمح لي بأن ألتقي مشعل؟". وكان مثيراً إقدام عباس على تحوير اسم عائلة الأمين العام لحركة الجهاد، بهدف الإساءة إليه، تساوقاً مع مجمل الأسلوب الذي خيّم على جلساته مع قيادات فلسطينية في دمشق.

Israel: Hezbollah Trebled Its Pre-War Missile Arsenal


"10/07/2008 Two years after the Second Lebanon War, and a day following an Israeli security cabinet meeting on Hezbollah’s current strength and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, the Zionist entity said that the Lebanese resistance group was rearming at dizzying pace.

Israeli government sources said Wednesday that there are some 2,500 non-uniformed Hezbollah resistance fighters in southern Lebanon, and the organization has trebled its pre-war missile arsenal.

According to the sources, Hezbollah today has some 40,000 short and medium-range missiles inside Lebanon, and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 has been completely ineffective in stopping arms from pouring in to Hezbollah from Syria......."

Condoleezza's Orders Are Quickly Obeyed: The Line is Getting Longer Outside The Green Zone

Turkish PM Makes First Visit to Iraq


"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Iraq on Thursday aiming to help with security and reconstruction efforts and discuss the thorny cross-border issue of Kurdish rebels.

Erdogan was greeted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other senior ministers, including Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, a Baghdad airport official said......"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Urgent appeal for saving more than 500 Palestinian patients

GAZA, (PIC)-- The health ministry in Gaza appealed Tuesday to all humanitarian organizations in the world to urgently intervene to save the lives of more than 500 Palestinian patients in need of immediate life-saving medical treatment outside the Strip, warning that any delay could jeopardize their lives any moment.

In a statement received by the PIC, the ministry also warned that the closure of Gaza crossings claimed the lives of more than 200 patients and the toll is likely to increase.

The statement explained that there are about 450 cancer patients in Gaza almost 35 percent of them are children and 25 percent are women, pointing out that those patients are in need of medicines which are unavailable in Gaza; besides, Israel imposes restrictions on their travel for medical treatment abroad.

The statement also said that there are 400 patients with kidney failure and about 450 heart patients whose treatment depends on medical equipment that no longer work because of the lack of spare parts to service those equipment.

Meanwhile, Palestinian medical sources announced Tuesday that the number of the siege victims rose to 203 after the death of a 59-year-old cancer patient called Hasan Isa.

'It's like living at the end of the world'

Dirty, dilapidated and desperate, al-Ram is typical of the Palestinian towns cut off by the barrier on Jerusalem's eastern outskirts, reports Toni O'Loughlin

Sufian Odeh used to be able to see his cousin's house across the street from his apartment window - until Israel built a wall of concrete down the middle of their neighborhood two years ago.

Standing eight metres high and just 13 metres from his building, it overshadows Sufian's second-floor apartment like the wall of a prison, darkening this once thriving Palestinian district.

"When I look from the window and see the wall, I immediately close the blinds and smoke a cigarette. It's like living at the end of the world," says Sufian, who asked to change his name to preserve his family's privacy.

His neighbours fled long ago, as the West Bank barrier crept down the main street of al-Ram, dividing families, separating children from schools and patients from clinics, and severing the road back to Jerusalem. Stranded outside Jerusalem by the barrier, al-Ram has become a virtual ghost town.

Palestinian customers who came to Al-Ram from Jerusalem's centre in search of cheaper prices have disappeared, as have one-third of its 1,800 businesses.

Putting a name to Gaza's injured

Eva Bartlett writing from Cairo, Egypt, Live from Palestine, 9 July 2008
(Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities)

".....Back in their respective Cairo hospital beds awaiting surgery, Abed and Ziyad are just two of the faceless victims, testimony to the agony of Palestinians in Gaza confronting continued military attacks and a cruel siege which has largely been ignored and minimized by the international community. Abed hopes one day to sit in a wheelchair with his father by his side, and like Ziyad, wants to see an end to Israel's siege and the attacks which brought them here."

Israeli army ransacks, shuts down Nablus organizations

Report, PCHR, 8 July 2008

A Palestinian student at a Nablus school after it was raided by the Israeli army, 7 July 2008.

".....It is noted that the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, signed this week an order closing 36 charities worldwide under the pretext that they are illegal for being members in the "Zakat Federation" that collects money for Hamas. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz indicated yesterday that Israeli security forces will escalate their war on the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank, and that the military leadership plans to close a large number of associations and charities and confiscate their property under the pretext that they are affiliated with Hamas.

PCHR strongly condemns these arbitrary measures that constitute a form of collective punishment that is banned by international humanitarian law. The Centre calls upon the international community to intervene and put an end to these measures, especially since the targeted organizations provide humanitarian assistance to needy Palestinian families during these times of increased poverty."

Legitimizing Permanent Occupation of Iraq

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, July 9, 2008

"Washington is currently negotiating two accords with the al-Maliki government to take effect after expiration of the UN's military mandate on December 31. One agreement is for a long-term "strategic framework" to establish "cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security fields." Or according to the administration - to defend Iraq's "sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, and airspace."

The other is a so-called "status of forces agreement" (SOFA) to provide legitimacy for the US occupation beginning January 1, 2009.......

Indefinite occupation is planned and to be enforced by dozens of permanent military bases, including at least five mega-ones. On June 5, Patrick Cockburn reported in the London Independent that "Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors." Regardless of the November election, US personnel are currently immune under Paul Bremer's CPA Order 17, and a secret deal is being negotiated to make US occupation indefinite on Washington's terms.

Besides permanent bases and immunity from Iraqi law (largely written by Washington), the deal gives US military forces a free hand. It lets them carry out operations inside Iraq, presumably anywhere in the region as well, and grants the right to arrest Iraqis. Cockburn states: this "will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country." Deal or no deal, that's assured as long as Iraq is occupied against the will of its people......."

This is The Zionist Mind: Our enemies no longer scared

IDF must find a way to frighten our enemies as it did in the past

By Dov-Put the Palestinians on a Strict Diet-Weisglass

"......But perhaps Nasrallah has a few good reasons to be satisfied: He proved that he can abduct soldiers and engage in tough talks with Israel on their return. He showed that Israel has no choice but to negotiate in line with his terms and ultimately accept his demands. Yet the most bothersome fact is that Nasrallah illustrated Israel’s weakness and openly presented it as state that should not be feared......

The Second Lebanon War is the best evidence of how important impressions are in the Middle East: Hizbullah’s fortifications, strongholds, and neighborhoods in Beirut were pulverized, yet it still celebrated a victory. The IDF, which has been working to draw conclusions from that war, must find a way to again scare the enemy. The fear will regain (at least partly so) some of Israel’s dignity and security."

The Shift

Is the tide turning against the War Party?

By Justin Raimondo

"......However, some modicum of reality seems to have broken through the solid wall of self-sustaining ignorance that surrounds the Washington crowd with the news that U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has "sent Israel an unequivocal message stating that Israel does not have a 'green light' from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities" and that it will not get U.S. support if it chooses to go ahead anyway.

This is clearly an indication that the revolt of the generals – who are horrified by the prospect of another war in the Middle East – is undergoing a "surge" as fresh war clouds darken the horizon. Whether that is going to be enough to tamp down the war cries of the uber-hawks in the Pentagon and their allies in the chattering classes – and the White House – is doubtful, at best, but, on that score, I'll take what I can get…"

Speaking of Humiliation

By Jim Lobe

" After posting Mohammed Omer’s account of his treatment at the hands of Israel’s Shin Beth ten days ago, I was reminded of a passage I had just read in the New Yorker’s excellent profile by Connie Bruck of Freedom’s Watch’s co-founder and biggest financier, multi-billionaire and staunch Likudist, Sheldon Adelson.......

So, might humiliation — whether in the form of physical beatings by the “Other”, as experienced by Adelson and Podhoretz and their generation; or taunting and social exclusion, as experienced by Perle and his generation; or learning about (through watching old film strips and photos and other means) the mass murder of a collective group of which you are a member, even if two generations removed, or some combination of two of the three, or all three — produce a rage that would translate into extremely and even irrationally aggressive policy recommendations against a perceived threat? At the least, it would make such a result more likely. Yet, while hard-line neo-cons recognize that dynamic in other groups, particularly those they see as enemies, they never seem to see how it might apply to their own experience and outlook.

At the same time, rage and aggression is clearly not an inevitable outcome of humiliation, however it is incurred. Most Jewish Americans have been exposed to one, two, or even all three of these kinds of humiliations but, unlike the hard-line neo-cons like Adelson, Podhoretz, Perle, and Frum, they still oppose attacking Iran and favor withdrawal from Iraq; they still support territorial compromise a two-state solution with the Palestinians for whose plight they even express some sympathy; and they are not obsessed with “Islamofascism,” nor, in Buruma’s words, do they “[long] for power and being tough.” So, while humiliation may well be a necessary condition for the kind of extremism that hard-line neo-cons espouse, it may not be sufficient by itself........"

Manufacturing Consent to Attack Iran: Did IAEA Revive Uranium Paper Issue Under Pressure?

By Gareth Porter

"A 15-page paper on the process requirements for casting and machining of uranium metal into hemispherical forms – said to useful only for making the core of a nuclear weapon – has been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent months as evidence of an alleged Iranian intention to built nuclear weapons.......

The timing of the IAEA's decision in early 2008 to highlight the uranium metal document, after having previously indicated that it was resolved, suggests that it was the result of new political pressures on the agency. The new IAEA hard line on the issue came after Iran had provided new information that resolved the entire list of issues about the history of its nuclear program on which the IAEA had been raising doubts since 2003.

It also coincided with the introduction into the IAEA process on Iran of "alleged studies" of weaponization – documents whose authenticity has not verified by the agency and which it has not been allowed to share with Iran. "

Iran successfully tests long-range missile

Press TV

"Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has successfully test-fired new long and mid-range missiles in response to threats coming from US and Israel.

The IRGC tested the Shahab 3 missile, which can hit any targets within a range of 2,000 kilometers on the second day of a military exercise dubbed The Great Prophet III.

Shahab 3 is equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead.

Nine highly advanced missiles with improved accuracy were simultaneously tested including the Zelzal and Fateh missiles with ranges of 400km and 170km respectively .

The Great Prophet III is a joint maneuver carried out by the IRGC naval and ground forces in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region.

Press TV correspondent reporting from the site of the maneuver says the missiles could strike any target within the specified range regardless of climate conditions or the time.

IRGC Naval Commander Morteza Saffari said various missile, rocket and torpedo launchers as well as military vessels and land-to-sea missiles were tested during the exercise.

"The IRGC Navy is carrying out this maneuver to show it is fully prepared to counter any possible enemy aggression or adventurism," said Saffari.

"The maneuver also sends out a reassuring message to regional countries that together we can secure the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz without the presence of foreign forces," he added.

Meanwhile, IRGC Air Force Commander Hossein Salami told Press TV that the aim of the exercise was to demonstrate 'just how strong-willed the Islamic Republic is in defending its sovereignty against any challenges by those enemies that have used harsh and threatening words against Iran in recent weeks.'

The IRGC is conducting the maneuver amid growing speculation about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran.

Israeli military conducted a Mediterranean maneuver last month -- an apparent rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear sites. "

G8 Summit
By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Video: Iran sends missile test warning

Pictures from Iranian state television show the country's elite revolutionary guards test-firing missiles during war games in the Gulf.

The Guardian

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinians document settler violence - 08 Jun 08

"The victim of a beating captured on videotape outside the West Bank city of Hebron has spoken about the day he was set upon by Jewish settlers.

Midhat Abu Karsh, a 30-year-old Palestinian teacher was beaten for allegedly setting fire to fields in the area.

Nour Odeh reports on how he and human rights groups are fighting back. "

Real News Video: Is the US 'encircling' China?

Aijaz Ahmad: What would a rational American foreign policy look like? Part 3

Livni: We Must Disarm Hezbollah Now


"09/07/2008 As eyes are fixed on the swap deal between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli military and political commands are still uneasy about the what they call “Hezbollah’s regained strength in south Lebanon.”

According to Haaretz, two years after the Second Lebanon War, the ministerial team constituting Israel’s National Security Cabinet is expected to discuss “regenerating Hezbollah” and the “gnawing at the UN Resolution 1701.” Urgent summons for the special cabinet meeting, previously postponed several times, have been issued to ministers recently.

During the discussion the ministers will be presented with an assessment of the situation in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s military activity and its missile stock – currently estimated at almost three times the amount present before the war.......


Earlier on Tuesday Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni toured the north of occupied Palestine along with her Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini. During the tour, Livni displayed before Frattini the reality Israel must face when dealing with the border. Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel, who heads the Israeli army's Planning Branch, explained to the Italian foreign minister about the military ramifications of Hezbollah’s armament.

Eshel and Livni stressed that the expansion of UNIFIL's mandate, its personnel, and its weapons may put an end to the disconcerting phenomenon. "Unfortunately Resolution 1701 was not completed by the Lebanese side and I hope that during the next few days it will be implemented with the return of the kidnapped soldiers," Livni claimed.

"Hezbollah must be disarmed," she said. "We now have an opportunity to disarm Hezbollah, and we must not lose it...if we do not do it now, it will be much more difficult later on."........"