Saturday, April 11, 2009

Al-Jazeera Video: Unemployed in Gaza - 11 Apr 09

"More than 70 per cent of Gaza residents are jobless.

But Gaza's economic problems stem more from Israel's brutal assault on the territory earlier in the year than from the global recession.

Besides destroying more than 20,000 homes, the Israeli offensive left hundreds of factories and businesses in ruins, with devastating consequences.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports. "

Another win that's too good to be true

By Robert Fisk

"At a supposed vote in his favour of 90.24 per cent, Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, the 72-year-old Algerian leader, anointed himself President for an unprecedented – and quite possibly unconstitutional – third term yesterday, provoking riots in the Berber region of Kabilye east of Algiers and the scepticism of all but the entire Arab world......

He certainly follows in the spirit of the Arab electioneering process. In 1993, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt "won" 96.3 per cent of the vote for his third six-year term in office – his fourth victory, in 1999, brought him only 93.79 per cent, bringing him closer to Bouteflika's humble 90.24 per cent.....

Of course, few could match Anwar Sadat's extraordinary 99.95 per cent victory in a 1974 Egyptian referendum. Yet Saddam Hussein claimed a 99.96 per cent vote for his Iraqi presidency in 1993 (we still do not know who the treacherous 0.04 per cent were) but scored a crushing 100 per cent in 2002 elections – which surely puts Bouteflika to shame.....though few can beat Hafez al-Assad's 99.98 per cent for a new seven-year term in the Syrian presidential office in 1999. A mere 219 citizens were foolish enough to vote against him (or cast blank votes)......

It should be noted, of course, that all the Arab presidents above are – or were – allies of the United States, including Saddam. Bouteflika is another "safe pair of hands" in charge of another front in the "war on terror", even if the phrase is now banned by the White House."

Video of Sayyed Nasrallah's Speech, Friday April 10, 2009

حزب الله يرد على الإتهامات المصرية ( السيد حسن نصر الله )
(48 Minutes).

Also, you can see this short Clip in English, from Press TV

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sayyed Nasrallah Denies Claims, Rejects Enmity with Any Arab State


NOTE: I will post the link to the speech (in Arabic) as soon as it is available

"10/04/2009 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah denied on Friday the Egyptian aggressive claims against the Resistance party, stressing that his party has no intentions or plans at all to destabilize the Egyptian security.....


Sayyed Nasrallah then began the first axis of his speech by recalling of the main facts related to the whole case. According to his eminence, the Egyptian authorities have detained on November 19, 2008, a Lebanese citizen and accused him alongside other people of attempting to smuggle arms and equipment to Gaza.

"One month later, the Zionist entity launched its deadly aggression against Gaza," Sayyed Nasrallah noted, recalling that Hezbollah's position during the offensive was transparent and public. His eminence recalled that he has personally urged the Egyptian regime to open crossing with Gaza. "Then, it was our duty to denounce the Egyptian regime for its refusal to open the crossings," Sayyed Nasrallah said. "Right after this stance, a political and commercial huge campaign was launched in Egypt against me and Hezbollah, under the instructions of the Egyptian authorities and intelligence. Yet, we considered the campaign as a reaction and a natural price for our stance and we were ready to pay it."....

Turning into facts, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled that Hezbollah is clear in its positions and has nothing to hide in whatever circumstances. Hence, his eminence declared that the Lebanese citizen Sami Chehab, who was detained in Egypt, was actually a member of Hezbollah. "Our brother Sami, is a member of Hezbollah, we don’t deny this," Sayyed Nasrallah announced. "He was providing logistic help to the Palestinian resistance at the Egyptian-Palestinian borders," his eminence added, noting that this was the only right thing that actually didn't figure in the Egyptian claims. "All other charges against him are false."

"If aiding the Palestinians is a crime, then I am proud of it," Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized. His eminence noted "that the aim here is to agitate the Egyptian people and to defame Hezbollah's pure and bright image. This aims to only please the Americans and Israelis for the Egyptian regime has failed by all means."


Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the one who should be charged and condemned over this case was not Sami or his friends but the Egyption regime. "The Egyptian regime should be charged and condemned for besieging Gaza," his eminence said, noting that the mentioned regime is working day and night on destroying Gaza tunnels......"

Rahm Emanuel's Think Tankers Enforce 'Message Discipline' Among 'Liberals'

The White House is ‘helping’ liberal groups to get their political messages in sync with the official line.

by Jeremy Scahill

"Over the past several weeks, independent journalists and anti-war activists have tried to shine a spotlight on how groups like the Center for American Progress and MoveOn, which portrayed themselves as anti-war during the Bush-era, are now supporting the escalation and continuation of wars because their guy is now commander-in-chief. CAP has been actively pounding the pavement in support of the escalation in Afghanistan, the rebranding of the Iraq occupation and, more recently, Obama's bloated military budget, which the group said was "on target." MoveOn has been silent on the escalation in Afghanistan and has devoted substantial resources to promoting a federal budget that includes a $21 billion increase in military spending from the Bush-era......."

American and European aid convoys Gaza bound next month

"British Legislator, George Galloway, is preparing along with American peace activist Ron Kovic to launch a new aid convoy to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

In a meeting with supporters of the Palestinian cause in southern California, USA, Galloway stated that the convoy will comprise 500 trucks filled with aid and humanitarian supplies.

He added that the organizers plan to collect aid and donations amounting to ten million US Dollars.

Galloway added that there is a new atmosphere in the United States and across the world that is starting to realize the real core of the Palestinian issue.

Last month, Galloway arrived in Gaza with a humanitarian convoy and met with several officials. He said that there could be no better day than the fourth of July, the US Independence day, to launch the convoy.

Furthermore, activist Ron Kovic said that he would start talks with different parties in order to ensure that the new aid convoy makes it into Gaza via the Rafah border terminal."

Obama's New World Order

Michael Hudson's analysis of the financial crisis

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, April 10, 2009

Financial Warfare As Deadly As by Armies

Today's financial strategy is "multilateral (with) the IMF (and World Bank) act(ing) as enforcer(s) for global creditors to appropriate the income of real estate, national infrastructure and industry" by masquerading as a helping hand and seducing borrowers to believe it.

Here's how neo-feudal banking works. It doesn't create credit for manufacturing. Retained earnings and equity do it. It "create(s) credit primarily against (existing) collateral, and by so doing, "extract(s) money from the economy (and) undercuts industrial growth for "short-term speculative gains." This hegemony "took thousands of years to achieve," and it wasn't easy inducing nations into poverty through "debt pyramiding as good economic strategy." It's like prescribing gorging as a way to lose weight or a junk food diet to stay healthy......."

The Politics of Polarization: Iran’s Elections: Why Arab Leaders Want Ahmadinejad To Win

by Rannie Amiri
Global Research, April 10, 2009

".....In recent years, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and now Morocco have found comfort in laying blame for their domestic and regional woes on Iran and their (perceived) allies. The fiery rhetoric of Ahmadinejad, whether pertinent or not, has undoubtedly helped bolster their case.

This has taken shape in many forms, including accusing Iran of “cultural infiltration” as Morocco has recently done, importing the “Shiite ideology” to Egypt, and “interfering” in the internal affairs of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The latter is meant to redirect attention from a purely domestic issue – the fallout from longstanding discrimination against Bahraini and Saudi Shia Muslim citizens – abroad. Meanwhile, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak seeks to ever legitimize his own rule by continuing to foment sectarianism......."

From Deir Yasin to Beit Hanun

By Khalid Amayreh

"Israel has well-established traditions of murder and lies. The so-called “Jewish state,” one can safely argue, has been an ongoing crime against humanity ever since the forefathers of Zionism claimed that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land.

Hence, Zionism will always be a criminal concept if only because its ultimate implication is the uprooting and expulsion of an entire people from its ancestral homeland in order to be replaced by another people.

Zionism has never changed its mind, heart, or even skin. It remains a virulent malignancy based on murder, lies, deception and bellicosity. In a certain sense, this is within the “normal order of things,” given the racist nature of Zionism......"

Muslim Brotherhood: Egyptian Claims against Hezbollah Fabricated


"10/04/2009 The Egyptian aggressive claims against Hezbollah continue to trigger furious reactions here and there…

Indeed, while Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is scheduled to declare his party's official stance over the claims during a speech to be delivered Friday night, the refutation of Egypt's accusations came from its own ground putting these claims as part of a campaign against the Resistance party over its objection to the Egyptian regime's behavior during the Israeli aggression against Gaza.

In this context, the general supervisor of the Muslim Brotherhood's mission in Egypt, Ibrahim Munir, denounced on Friday the Egyptian regime's charges against Hezbollah as fabricated.

Munir said that the feelings of failure and fiasco were dominating on the Egyptian regime nowadays following the Western attempts, namely the American, to approach to Turkey and Iran and also as a result of its deadlock at the internal and external levels.

"The Egyptian regime is seeking, through its claims against Hezbollah, to tell the West and the Zionist entity that it was still able to achieve the goal of wiping out the Resistance in the region," Munir emphasized.

Munir added that Hezbollah Secretary General was very popular among Egyptians for the achievements made by his brave Resistance against the Zionist enemy......"

Arabs Strap Up for Netanyahu Era

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Apr 10 (IPS) - Many Arabs are seeing the emergence of Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel as the death knell for the already moribund peace process....

Netanyahu has also called the extirpation of Palestinian resistance faction Hamas in the Gaza Strip a "strategic goal". According to the new Israeli PM, the outgoing government's recent onslaught against the Hamas-run enclave - which killed more than 1,400 mostly civilian Palestinians and destroyed vast swathes of infrastructure - ended prematurely.

Not unlike his "centrist" opponents, Netanyahu also refuses to rule out an Israeli military strike against Iran, which Israel, along with its U.S. patron, accuses of having nuclear weapons ambitions.

"Strap yourselves in - Netanyahu's arrived," editorialist Abdel-Rahman Al- Rashed wrote in London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Mar. 28. "The big question is, where will Netanyahu lead the region? Will his era be marked by more wars and bloodshed in Gaza and the West Bank - or even in Iran?"......"

Gaza Needs More Aid

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Apr 10 (IPS) - John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, has urged Israel to ease aid flow restrictions that are having a devastating effect on the 1.5 million inhabitants.

Ging says the amount of aid being allowed into Gaza at present is "wholly and totally inadequate. It's having a very devastating impact on the physical circumstances and also the mindset of people on the ground," Ging told IPS.

According to a report released last month by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on average 127 aid trucks a day are entering Gaza.

OCHA stated that this was insufficient and way below the 475 that entered daily one month prior to Hamas's takeover of Gaza in June 2007.

"We need access," Ging said. "It's the number one issue. It's the number two issue. It's the number three issue, and so on. Until we get it, there's nothing as important as solving the access issue."......."

Israel Investigated, But Will It Repent?

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"Any variation of the words 'Palestine' and 'massacre' are sure to yield millions of results on major search engines on the World Wide Web. These results are largely in reference to hundreds of different dates and events in which numerous Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army or settlers. But references to massacres of similar nature precede the state of Israel itself, whose establishment was secured through the ever-expanding agenda of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. Throughout its history, this bloodletting project has been carried out for once specific purpose, that being the illegal acquirement of land and the suppression or extermination of those who dare to resist.....

In a better world, many Israeli political and military leaders would find themselves before an international criminal court answering difficult questions. For now, they remain adamant that the Israeli army is the “most moral” in the world.

One must hope that the term “justice for Palestine” will quit being simply a popular search item, and in fact reflect a tangible reality; so that the extensive list of Palestinian massacres will finally come to an end."

The Suicide of the West

Who killed our economy -- "foreigners," or Washington, Wall Street, and the War Party?

by Justin Raimondo, April 10, 2009

"I had to laugh when I saw the headline blaring from one end of the Huffington Post to the other: “Pentagon Preps For Global Economic Warfare“!

Yikes! Man the battlements! Deploy the credit cards! Unleash the default credit swaps! And for the love of God speed up those printing presses at the Federal Reserve! The story in Politico deadpanned this hilarious news:

The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis.”

Why should these “hostile nations” bother with a campaign to cripple our economy when we’re doing such a good job of it ourselves?.....

Any attempt to blame “foreigners” for our economic ills is letting the Money Power in the US off the hook, and diverting the righteous anger of the American people to a convenient overseas scapegoat. If we’re looking to blame someone for the impending bankruptcy of the United States of America, then the search for the culprits ought to begin on our own shores — and you don’t have to be a modern day Sherlock Holmes to know exactly where to find them. The economic saboteurs aren’t in Beijing or Moscow — they’re in Washington, D.C. "

Anniversary of "Liberation"......

'Fallujah never leaves my mind'

By Laith Mushtaq, cameraman, Al Jazeera

"Laith Mushtaq was one of only two non-embedded cameramen working throughout the April 2004 'battle for Fallujah' in which 600 civilians died.

Five years on, he recounts the events he witnessed and filmed.

"What you saw on your TV sets at home reflects only ten per cent of the reality. Also, if you watch those pictures at home, you can change the channel.

But we were in the middle. We smell. We feel, see, and touch everything. We could touch the bodies, but we couldn't change the channel. We were the channel.

When I think of Fallujah, I think of the smell. The smell was driving me crazy. In a dead body, there is a kind of liquid. Yellow liquid. The smell is disgusting, really. It sticks in your nose. You cannot eat anymore.

And you can't get the pictures off your mind, because every day you see the same: Explosion, death, explosion, death, death........"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The One and Only Credible Arab Leader Speaks to Set the Record Straight.....

Sayyed Nasrallah to Comment Friday on Egyptian Claims against Hezbollah


"09/04/2009 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is scheduled to deliver a speech through a large screen on Friday evening (17.30 GMT, 20.30 Beirut Time).

Sayyed Nasrallah would comment, during his speech set to be broadcasted by Al-Manar TV, on the latest Egyptian aggressive claims against Hezbollah.

Sayyed Nasrallah would also tackle the latest developments in Lebanon and the region, namely the forthcoming parliamentary elections, during the speech.

On Wednesday, Egypt's state prosecutor claimed that Hezbollah was plotting to carry out attacks inside the country and "spreading Shiite ideology in Egypt."

According to a statement from the prosecutor, "Egypt's attorney general received a note from state security about information confirmed by questioning about Hezbollah leaders sending some elements to the county to attract members to work with the organization and persuade them to join its ranks with the aim of carrying out acts of aggression inside the country."
However, the statement did not give details of possible attacks.

Hezbollah stressed on many occasions that it had no activity outside Lebanon and that its sole focus was on countering Israeli threats against Lebanon and confronting any Zionist aggression on its soil."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The poll asks:

Do you believe the charges of the Egyptian government against Hizbullah?

With over 2,000 responding so far, 79% said no.

Israel's Threat to Strike Iran

Obama's Dilemma


"A recent statement by the chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. David Petraeus, that Israel may decide to attack Iranian nuclear sites has been followed by indications of a debate within the Barack Obama administration on whether Israel's repeated threats to carry out such a strike should be used to gain leverage in future negotiations with Tehran.

In the latest twist, Vice President Joseph Biden, who has been put in charge of the administration’s non-proliferation agenda, appeared to reject the idea. "I don't believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would [launch a strike]," he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday. "I think he would be ill-advised to do that."

His remarks suggested that any proposal to exploit the threat of an Israeli attack as part of a "good cop, bad cop" tactic with Iran would run into stiff opposition within the administration, since it would rest on the credibility that the threat was real and that the U.S. would not actively oppose its being carried out......

Bush reportedly feared that such a strike would further destabilise Iraq and expose U.S. troops there to retaliation, according to his top Middle East adviser, Elliott Abrams, who has recently argued that the those dangers have since been significantly mitigated. In the one cautionary quotation that the Journal chose to include in its editorial about Mullen’s views on a possible Israeli attack on Iran, the JCS chief noted that Tehran’s ability to retaliate in Iraq "has not maxed out at all." "

“We Didn’t Create a Paradise in Iraq, We Created a Hell”–Independent Journalist Nir Rosen on 6th Anniversary of US Overthrow of Saddam Hussein

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

".....Obama did not travel beyond the US military base. Time magazine wrote: “In style, substance and photo ops, Obama”s unannounced stopover in Baghdad was straight out of the Bush playbook." His visit came as nearly forty people were killed in a series of bombings around Baghdad. The Guardian newspaper of London wrote “The wave of attacks [were] the largest number of bombs in one day in almost two years."

For more we are joined by independent journalist Nir Rosen who is just back from Iraq. He has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. He is a fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security, as well as the New America Foundation......"

The Abbas-IOF Alliance: Palestinian security forces arrest three Hamas members in Tulkarem

"Palestinian security forces arrested three supporters of Hamas movement in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, including a member who was released on Tuesday from an Israeli detention facility.

The Palestine Information Center, affiliated with Hamas, reported that the security forces arrested Nidal Abu Tharifa on Tuesday night, after breaking into his home in Nour Shams refugee camp.

The Center added that this is the second time the security forces have arrested Abu Tharifa; he was released from a Palestinian detention facility two weeks ago after spending a month and a half in detention.

The security forces also arrested Hazim Al Noury, who was released from a Palestinian detention facility several days ago after spending two weeks in detention.

On Sunday, Hasan Srouji, from Tulkarem refugee camp, was arrested less than twenty-four hours after being released from an Israeli detention facility after 26 months."

Israel’s Arab students are crossing to Jordan

By Jonathan Cook

"NAZARETH // Obstacles to Israel’s Arab minority participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighbouring Jordan, a new report reveals. Figures compiled by Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organisation monitoring education issues, show 5,400 Arab students from Israel are at Jordanian universitieshalf the number of Arabs studying in Israel itself.

Despite the fact that most Israeli Arab students in Jordan interviewed by the researchers expressed a preference to attend university in Israel, the numbers heading to Jordan have grown four-fold since 2004.

College-age Arabs, representing nearly one-quarter of their age group in Israel, are heavily under-represented in Israeli higher education, at about eight per cent of the student intake, according to official statistics. Of those Israelis who pass their matriculation exams, three times as many Jews as Arabs are accepted into Israeli universities......

Years of demands for the establishment of a university, teaching in Arabic, in Israel’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, said Dr Jabareen, had been blocked by successive governments.

Dr Arar noted that the phenomenon of Arab citizens being forced to study abroad because of problems accessing higher education was not new. “From the 1960s onwards the Israeli Communist Party offered scholarships to universities in the Soviet bloc because many of the brightest Arab students were denied places in Israel. As a result, many of our current leaders were educated in Eastern Europe.”"

Netanyahu and Threat of Bombing Iran -- The Bluff that Never Stops Giving?

By Trita Parsi
(He is always worth reading)

"In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to have told President Barack Obama that either America stops Iran or Israel will. Not surprisingly, the interview sparked quite a controversy and only a day later, General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "the Israeli government may ultimately see itself so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it.".....

Netanyahu's threat of stopping Iran if Obama doesn't should be seen in light of the Israeli rights's fear of a US-Iran deal. Talk of Israeli military action has not coincided with major advances in Iran's nuclear program, but rather with hints of an American preparedness to strike a compromise with Tehran that would grant it the dreaded know-how and limit Israel's strategic maneuverability.

The flaw in the Netanyahu's approach, however, is its underestimation of how US-Iran diplomacy can significantly alter Iran's posture towards the Jewish state and reduce the threat it faces from Tehran. Therein lies the opening for Israel's new prime minister that carries far greater promise for Israel's security than efforts to complicate Washington's path towards diplomacy."

The killing of Islamic secularism

Debate about the relationship between religion and state has been stifled by history – and the influence of a colonising west

Brian Whitaker, Wednesday 8 April 2009

"Ninety years ago in Egypt a new political party was formed. The Secular party, as it was initially known, campaigned under the slogan: "Religion belongs to God, the homeland belongs to everyone." The Secular party did not oppose religion as such but objected to the Egyptian king's use of religion to boost his authority.

Today, it is almost unimaginable that anyone in Egypt, or any other Arab country for that matter, would be foolhardy enough to set up a political party with such a name or platform......

....The decline of Muslim secularism reflects the rise of Islamism and the more generalised religious revival that has swept across the Middle East since the 1960s. A key moment was the humiliating defeat at the hands of Israel in 1967 that discredited Arab nationalism, a relatively secular movement. Then came the Iranian revolution, and later the expulsion of Soviet forces from Afghanistan by the mujahideen, giving credence to the belief that with God on their side, Muslims are invincible – an idea that has been further reinforced by the Israeli retreat from Lebanon in 2000 and the futile Israeli onslaughts against Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza earlier this year.

Coupled with that is a widespread and not unreasonable feeling that Muslims are under siege from the west. The response, in many cases, has been to retreat into a protective shell, seeking the comfort and certainties that religion can provide – accompanied by a rejection of what are identified, often mistakenly, as "western" ideas and values, including secularism......"

In the settlers' sights

Palestinians opposing Jewish settlement in Ush Ghrab have shown courage but their efforts are futile without support

Ben White, Thursday 9 April 2009

"The flat top of the small hill is deserted, as we walk among the gutted concrete buildings. The graffiti on the wall declares that "the Jews will keep this land". This is Ush Ghrab, a small piece of land in Beit Sahour, south of Jerusalem, and a target for religious settlers seeking yet another colony in the Bethlehem region......

One of the factors for the Palestinians feeling that it is "hopeless" is the way the Oslo Accords and Palestinian Authority have developed since the 1990s. Qumsiyeh believes that in some respects this "killed activism" on the ground: "Most people I talk to are demoralised. They think the PA is corrupt, that there is collaboration at the highest level, so they ask, 'Why should I put my neck on the line as an individual?'"........."

Here is Some Exciting News to Get You Out of Bed! On Second Thought Skip it and Go Back to Bed.

Bardawil: The meetings with Fatah aimed at creating a state of social peace

"GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, the spokesman for the Hamas parliamentary bloc, stated Wednesday that the continuity and progress of meetings with Fatah is aimed at creating a state of social peace as a prelude to achieving a state of national harmony leading to agreement on the political agenda of the next Palestinian government........"

COMMENT: Say What?? This is a "Revolutionary" Movement leading the Palestinian struggle??

I Give Up, if this is the best that the Palestinians can come up with!

Egypt and the Aggressive Claims Against Hezbollah


"09/04/2009 Israel and Egypt are looking for ways to get even with ‘opponents’ or to escape forward......

Generally speaking, the row between Egypt and the Zionist entity could be settled through diplomatic channels. Yet, Israel’s new extremist government is unlikely to stand silent on Cairo’s stance. Israel has defied the US and the international community and has tumbled down years of hard talks by refusing a two state solution in occupied Palestine.

The Zionist state’s coup de maitre came Wednesday when it warned Israelis of “an imminent attack” in Egypt’s Sinai and called on the several thousand Israelis in the Peninsula to leave immediately and abandon plans to mark “Passover” holiday there.

Meanwhile, Egypt was still disarrayed especially after its isolation by most Arabs was established in the Doha Arab summit, mainly for its insistence on isolating Gaza and keeping the Rafah crossing closed during war.
Cairo has adopted the policy of escaping forward to discharge distress on the one hand and to take vengeance on Hezbollah, the party whose chief criticized the Egyptian regime for its position on the Israeli war on Gaza.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s state prosecutor claimed that Hezbollah was plotting to carry out attacks inside the country and ‘spreading Shiite ideology in Egypt.”.....

Hezbollah stressed on many occasions that it had no activity outside Lebanon and that its sole focus was on countering Israeli threats against Lebanon and confronting any Zionist aggression on its soil. "

دفاعا عن مصر لا 'حزب الله'

دفاعا عن مصر لا 'حزب الله'

عبد الباري عطوان

"هناك الكثير من الأمور تحدث في مصر هذه الأيام تستعصي على الفهم لغرابتها، وعدم خضوعها لمعايير المنطق، من بينها بيان النائب العام المصري الذي صدر امس، واتهم فيه 'حزب الله' اللبناني بالتخطيط للقيام بعمليات عدائية داخل البلاد، وتدريب عناصر مدفوعة من الخارج على اعداد متفجرات لاستخدامها في تلك العمليات
هذه الاتهامات تبدو 'مفبركة' من ألفها الى يائها، تماماً مثل نظيراتها التي تصدر في حق اعضاء حركة 'الاخوان المسلمين'، فلا يمر يوم دون ان تعتقل السلطات المصرية عددا منهم، دون ان يعرف هؤلاء سبباً واضحاً لاعتقالهم
من الواضح ان هناك محاولة مدروسة من قبل الحكومة المصرية لتحويل الانظار عن المشاكل الداخلية المتفاقمة، باختلاق عدو خارجي، ويفضل ان تكون ارضية الخلاف مذهبية، وهذا ما يفسر هذه الحملة الجديدة على 'حزب الله'. وربما يفيد التذكير بأنه عندما توترت العلاقة مع ايران بسبب عرض فيلم 'اعدام الفرعون' الذي تناول محاولة اغتيال الرئيس المصري الراحل انور السادات، شاهدنا حملة مماثلة ضد ايران، واغلاق مكاتب محطة 'العالم' الفضائية التابعة لها.
الحكومة المصرية تريد افتعال معارك مع 'حزب الله' وتعبئة الشعب المصري ضده، تماماً مثلما حاولت تعبئته ضد الفلسطينيين والعرب، قبل زيارة الرئيس السادات للقدس المحتلة، لتبرير الخروج عن الصف العربي، وانهاء حالة الحرب، وتوقيع اتفاقات كامب ديفيد.
فحزب الله يشكل خطراً عليها لأنه يدعم المقاومة في القطاع، وحقق نصراً على اسرائيل قلب كل المعادلات العسكرية، الاقليمية والدولية، اثناء عدوانها على لبنان في صيف عام 2006. فالحكومة المصرية تحارب المقاومة وتضيق الخناق عليها، وتوظف كل خبراتها من اجل عدم وصول الطعام والادوية اليها، ناهيك عن السلاح والعتاد الحربي.

هناك 'ثأر' مبيت لدى هذه الحكومة تجاه السيد حسن نصر الله زعيم الحزب، سببه مطالبته قادة الجيش المصري الذهاب الى قيادتهم السياسية واقناعها بكسر الحصار المفروض على مليون ونصف مليون فلسطيني في قطاع غزة، والتصدي للعدوان الوحشي الاسرائيلي الذي يطحن عظام الاطفال والنساء، ويحرق اجسادهم بقنابل الفوسفور الابيض
الخطر الحقيقي على مصر هو سياستها الحالية المرتبكة، والمساندة بشكل مباشر او غير مباشر للعدوان الاسرائيلي على الامة العربية. وحتى اذا كان 'حزب الله' احد الاخطار فإنه يحتل ذيل قائمة طويلة، وان كنا لا نعتقد ذلك.
فتوجيه دعوة لبنيامين نتنياهو رئيس الحكومة الاسرائيلية المتطرفة لزيارة مصر، والالتقاء برئيسها في شرم الشيخ ينطويان على تصغير لمصر ومكانتها واهانة لشعبها وتاريخه المشرف في الدفاع عن كرامة مصر والامة العربية بأسرها.
فماذا ستفعل هذه الحكومة اذا ما قرر نتنياهو اصطحاب وزير خارجيته افيغدور ليبرمان، الذي هدد بقصف السد العالي واغراق مصر، واهان رئيسها عندما قال 'فليذهب الى الجحيم'؟.
نتنياهو رفض القبول بحل الدولتين، واصر على السلام الاقتصادي كبديل، وهدد باجتياح قطاع غزة مجددا للقضاء على المقاومة وفصائلها بشكل نهائي، وتعهد بعدم تفكيك مستوطنة واحدة في الضفة الغربية، وتبنى سياسة وزير خارجيته في سحب الجنسية الاسرائيلية من الغالبية الساحقة من (عرب 48) بحجة عدم ولائهم للدولة العبرية.
حتى محمود عباس رئيس السلطة الخاضع للاحتلال الاسرائيلي، ولا يستطيع مغادرة مكتبه دون اذن شاويش اسرائيلي، قال إنه لن يلتقي نتنياهو إلا اذا اعترف بحل الدولتين وعملية السلام المنبثقة عن مؤتمر انابوليس. فهل السيد عباس اكثر شجاعة وبطولة من مصر العظمى ذات السبعة آلاف عام من الحضارة؟
نحن لا ندافع عن 'حزب الله'، وانما عن مصر ومكانتها، ومحاولة نظامها جرها الى الحضيض، من خلال تبني سياسات قاصرة، عديمة الرؤية، ومغرقة في عدم وطنيتها، وهي السياسات التي جعلت اقرب حلفائها يتجاهلونها بطريقة مخجلة. وما زيارة اوباما الاخيرة لتركيا، وتجاهله لمصر وازهرها وقيادتها للعالمين العربي والاسلامي الا احد الامثلة."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

U.S. authorities knew of Shi'a militia bomb making cell in Iraq and permitted it to continue its terrorist attacks without interference

Wayne Madsen Report

"WMR has been informed by a former private military contractor in Iraq that the United States was aware of the identities and even the cell phone numbers of several bomb making operatives within Muqtada al Sadr's Mehdi Army. The bomb cells were reponsible for detonating a number of bombs in Iraq that targeted Sunnis and coalition personnel, including Americans.

WMR has been provided with not only details of the U.S. allowing the Mehdi Army bomb cell to operate but also information on high level contract fraud involving companies based in Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Britain, the United States, Australia, and South Africa. The fraud included Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), the former subsidiary of Halliburton, both headed up by Dick Cheney before he became Vice President.

What is emerging from this early investigation is that the United States permitted an international contingent of mercenaries and fraudsters to operate openly and without interference in Iraq, especially in Baghdad's Green Zone. Not only did International Zone (IZ) police ignore the corruption and other illegal activities but also actively engaged in them. The corruption and other illegal activities were also countenanced by top officers of the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTCI), CIA, and the British military and Foreign Office. General George Casey, now Army chief of staff, and General David Petraeus, former U.S. military commander in Iraq and now head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), were also named by our source as key players in the fraud and abuse.

There is also credible information that some of the mercenaries, including ex-U.S. Marine Corps personnel, are now operating in Somalia as "maritime security" advisers but may also be involved in providing cover to Somali "pirate" hijackers in the region.

A number of the personnel involved as private military contractors also exhibited racist behavior toward Iraqi employees.

WMR has received a copy of an email sent by an official of one private military contractor to an Iraqi sub-contractor employee. Part of the email follows.....

"....we overpaid you on two occassions [sic] and you kept the are a are an Ali Baba of the first degree... "...."

Olmert's Nightmare

The Growing Belief in a One-State Solution


"Ehud Olmert's nightmare is at hand. Not only does the former Israeli prime minister now really have to fight those corruption charges. He also faces the realization of his fears that the Palestinians might give up on a two-state solution in favor of a struggle for equal rights that would mean, as he put it, the "end of the Jewish state."

Yo, Ehud, that struggle is a growing movement, and it isn't a threat to Jews -- on the contrary, Jews are very much a part of it.....

Think about it. Who's defending the two-state option today? The Palestinian Authority, its case ever weaker against the decades-long clanging of Israeli bulldozers as they colonize Palestinian land and demolish homes.

And the realists in the United States, Europe, and Israel, whose core argument is that a Palestinian state is the only way to save a majority Jewish state -- an argument that does not inspire......"

Sinn Fein leader visits Gaza, demands siege to be lifted

"The Irish Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams visited the Gaza strip on Wednesday and toured areas that was attacked by the Israeli military during January Cast Lead operation.

Adams told reporters that" what happened in Gaza was wrong" he added that" Gazans have the right to leave in harmony and security." The Irish official also said "Israel must know that Gaza residents have rights".

Regarding the ongoing siege on the Gaza strip Israeli is imposing since June of 2006, Adams commented" Israel should open all crossings, allow all supplies into Gaza and facilitate the travel of patients and end the siege."

Since June of 2006 Israel allow limited amount of supplies into the costal region, UNRWA and other aid agencies operating in Gaza say that those amounts are not enough to cover the needs of the 1.5 million Palestinian living in Gaza......"

Aaronovitch's Tantrum and the Demolition of Jewish Power

By Gilad Atzmon
Palestine Think Tank

"I may as well say it, unlike Aaronovitch and Cohen, I believe in dialogue and I support every form of well-argued debate. In fact, I would debate anyone, whether it is a Nazi or a Zionist, whether it is a white supremacist or a Judeocentric Islamophobe agitator. In my world, platform is granted to anyone who endorses a well-mannered conversation. However, last Wednesday, both Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t want to debate or to argue. They believed that finishing me off would serve their cause. Funnily enough, not only did they fail, they ended up on the defence, begging for the audience to stop applauding and running out of sympathy......."

Obama twists and turns on Iran

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times

"United States President Barack Obama, by repeatedly referring to Iran in his major foreign policy speeches, such as in Prague and in the Turkish parliament, has clearly prioritized the country. The problem is the mixed messages he sends out, which will do nothing to assure Tehran that a "new beginning" is any closer....."

Living Large and in Charge

By Robert Scheer

"Not surprisingly, Lawrence Summers is convinced that he deserved every penny of the $8 million that Wall Street firms paid him last year. And why shouldn’t he be cut in on the loot from the loopholes in the toxic derivatives market that he pushed into law when he was Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary?......"

Civil society shows its moral strength

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 7 April 2009

(Left) Palestinians gather around a crater caused by an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip.
"At a time when Western governments refrain from using their power to stop Israel's ongoing violations of international law, many civil society organizations silently watch the moral corrosion of their governments. At the "Israel Review Conference" in Geneva this month and the Russell Tribunal slated for early 2010, however, civil society will use its power and call Israel to account.....

The first Russell Tribunal or International War Crimes Tribunal investigated and evaluated American foreign policy and military intervention in Vietnam after the defeat of French forces in 1954. At the establishment of the Russell Tribunal, Bertrand Russell quoted the Chief Prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Robert H. Jackson, stating that "If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us." Civil society initiatives towards freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people confirm that the same counts for Israel."

Video: Gaza doctors, world health day and the Israeli siege

Written by Yousef al-Helou, Gaza

Jewish settler terrorists rampage at Arab village, casualties reported

From Khalid Amayreh in al-Khalil

"AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Religious Jewish terrorists on Wednesday attacked a small Arab village north of al-Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.

Eyewitnesses said as many as a hundred settler terrorists descended on the small village of Safa, 10 kilometers northwest of al-Khalil, with the purpose of carrying out a pogrom against local inhabitants.

The terrorists were escorted by several Israeli army soldiers who reportedly made no effort to stop the terrorists who were shouting “death to the Arabs.”

The Palestinians, fearing for their lives, hurled stones at the rampaging settlers to prevent them from setting fire to Palestinian property, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire at the Palestinians......"

It Will Take the World to Save These Homes

By Nora Barrows-Friedman

"EAST JERUSALEM, Apr 7 (IPS) - Orthodox Israeli settlers, backed by soldiers and police, attacked Palestinian residents of the Sa'diyya neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem Sunday evening, four days after the settler group invaded the home of the Jabir family and extra-judicially evicted them......

In the meantime, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem prepare to continue their fight against settler attacks, eviction and ongoing forced displacement based on Israel's institutionalised discrimination against Palestinians.

"There is a big fraud taking place here," Hanoun tells IPS. "We need diplomatic pressure to stop this from happening. We need more time. And now, we are just waiting. I don't know what will happen to us, maybe they will come for us today and evict us. There are no more courts to appeal to.""

EGYPT: State Security Blunts 'Day of Anger'

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Apr 7 (IPS) - Egyptians expressed their discontent Monday with rising prices and political stagnation in a national 'day of anger' organised by online activists. Although smaller in scope than a nationwide strike on this date last year, opposition figures say the demonstrations across the country made their point......

In a statement early last month, group leaders called on Egyptians to peacefully voice dissatisfaction with the political and economic policies of President Hosni Mubarak's ruling regime. Participants were urged to register their displeasure Apr. 6 by hanging Egyptian flags from windows, donning black clothing and refraining from making purchases.

Most importantly, the April 6 Youth called for demonstrations to be staged at locations countrywide, including professional syndicates and universities.

The group also issued a list of basic demands, some economic and some political. These included raising the official minimum wage to reflect rising prices; drafting a new national constitution guaranteeing political freedoms and a two-term limit to the presidency; and a halt to Egyptian natural gas exports to Israel.

The call to action was endorsed by most of Egypt's opposition parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, by far the country's largest opposition movement......."

‘Progressive’ Warmongers

Liberals rally 'round Obama's war

by Justin Raimondo, April 08, 2009

"As President Barack Obama launches a military effort that promises to dwarf the Bush administration’s Iraqi adventure in scope and intensity, the "progressive" community is rallying around their commander in chief as obediently and reflexively as the neocon-dominated GOP did when we invaded Iraq. As John Stauber points out over at the Center for Media and Democracy Web site, the takeover of the antiwar movement by the Obamaites is nearly complete. He cites as a prime but not sole example......

I am truly at a loss to describe, in suitably pungent terms, the contempt in which I hold the "progressive" wing of the War Party, which is now enjoying its moment in the sun. These people have no principles: it’s all about power at the court of King Obama, and these court policy wonks are good for nothing but apologias for the king’s wars.

They are, however, good for an occasional laugh. I had to guffaw when I read the phrase "arc of instability." This is supposed to be a reason – nay, the reason – for a military and political campaign scheduled to continue for at least the next 10 years. Well, then, let’s take a good look at this "arc," which, we are told, extends "through South and Central Asia and the greater Middle East." From the shores of Lebanon to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, and most places in between, that "arc of instability" defines the geographical extent of U.S. intervention in the region from the end of World War II to the present. If any single factor contributed to the instability permeating this arc, then it is the one constant factor in the equation, which has been the U.S. presence and efforts to dominate the region......."

Obama in Baghdad; by Steve Bell, The Guardian

Can Obama turn rhetoric into the reality of peace with the Muslim world?

The President's bridge-building is welcome. But it will take more than words to erase the damage done by his predecessor

A Good Comment

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

"....And as much as Mr Obama would like to treat the Iraq war as ancient history, the US is still struggling to extricate itself. The very fact that the Democratic President had to arrive in Iraq by surprise, as George Bush and Tony Blair invariably did, for security reasons, shows that the conflict is refusing to go away......

Mr Obama's effort to make a U-turn in American policy towards the Islamic world will ultimately depend on how far he changes US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, the occupation of Iraq, the confrontation with Iran and Syria and the war in Afghanistan.

The Iranians, for instance, note that despite Mr Obama's friendlier approach to them the US official in Washington in charge of implementing sanctions against them is a hold-over from the Bush administration.....

The success of political Islam over secular nationalism in the Arab world has largely been because of the former's ability to resist the enemies of the community or the state. In Egypt the nationalism of Nasser was discredited by humiliating defeat in the 1967 war with Israel. In Iraq, for all his military bravado, Saddam Hussein was a notably disastrous military leader. All the military regimes espousing nationalism and secularism in the Arab world began or ended up turning into corrupt and brutal autocracies. In contrast, political Islam has been able to go some way towards delivering its promises of defending the community......

Mr Obama's aim of ending the confrontation between the US and the Muslim world is both easier and more difficult than it looks. It is easier because the confrontation is not primarily over religion or clashing cultures. But the confrontation is over real issues such as the fate of the Palestinians, the future of Iraq and the control of Afghanistan. And even if Mr Obama wanted to change the US political relationship with Israel, it is not clear that he has any more political strength at home than George Bush had to do so.

If these concrete issues are not resolved then America's confrontation with the Muslim world may remain as confrontational and difficult as it was under Mr Bush."

So much for Egypt's 'day of rage'

Facebook-organised protests against a corrupt elite mean little in a country where only 10% of the population are internet users

Jack Shenker, Tuesday 7 April 2009

"It was billed as a "day of rage", 24 hours of co-ordinated protests across the country in which Egypt's 80 million citizens would send a powerful message of defiance to their unloved government. In reality, at best it proved to be a day of mild dissatisfaction; at worst the events of 6 April 2009 may have dealt a serious blow to the country's fragmented opposition movement......

The irony of all this is that Egypt's workers are in fact engaged in a wave of political militancy, which in recent months has seen strikes break out across every corner of the country, bringing everyone from doctors to train drivers on to the streets. On top of this, some public sector employees are for the first time escaping the trappings of the state-controlled union syndicates and instead forming their own private trade unions. A recent report suggested that Egypt will be particularly hit by the economic downturn, with half a million more jobs likely to be lost in 2009. Alongside the already fierce bubbling of social discontent, this will weaken the beleaguered Mubarak regime even further. But as yesterday made clear, it will take more than a few social networking groups to effectively capitalise on the government's problems – something which those 75,000 Facebook group members will be soberly pondering today."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Israel created 'terror without mercy' in Gaza

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Tuesday 7 April 2009

"The Israeli military attacked civilians and medics and delayed - sometimes for hours - the evacuation of the injured during the January war in Gaza, according to an independent fact-finding mission commissioned by Israeli and Palestinian medical human rights groups.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society yesterday said their findings showed Israel's military committed serious violations of international humanitarian law. In their 92-page report, compiled by five senior health experts from across the world, they documented several specific attacks, with interviews from 44 separate witnesses....."

IRAQ: Whither the Palestinian minority?

"BAGHDAD, 7 April 2009 (IRIN) - The remaining estimated 14,000 Palestinians in Iraq or holed up in camps on the Iraqi-Syrian border still face a precarious existence, despite a slowly improving security situation, say observers......

“We’ve been hearing such statements and promises since 2003 and nothing has happened. Instead, our life and situation have deteriorated.”

He said that in 2005 his father was gunned down in a Baghdad street: Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have been killed in ethnic attacks since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.....

Some 35,000 stateless Palestinians were living in Iraq before 2003, but many were intimidated or attacked by armed groups who accused them of loyalty to the Saddam Hussein regime. Killings, abductions and persecution have forced thousands to flee to Jordan and Syria, while others fled to makeshift refugee camps. A few have managed to get resettled abroad."

The Dream, by Mr. Fish

Al-Jazeera Video: Focus on Gaza - Legacy of war - 3 Apr 09 - Part 1

"Focus on Gaza takes a closer look at one deadly legacy of the war on Gaza - unexploded munitions. Plus, we examine the obstacles facing young Gazans as they attempt to pursue an education...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza medic distraught after Israel's war - 06 Apr 09

"Dozens of Palestinian medics died while trying to save lives during Israel's war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera met one paramedic who was injured when an Israeli shell hit his ambulance.

While Ala Sarhan survived, his colleague did not. This is his story in his own words....."

Real News Video: Zinn on class in America

Howard Zinn: In the United States we are brought up to think there's only one class

The Pharaoh Skips the Arab Summit, but Has a Summit With His Real Boss: Bibi Netanyahu

Netanyahu invited to Egypt

"Israeli sources reported late on Monday at night that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, received an invitation from the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, to visit the country and hold talks......

Netanyahu’s office reported that Netanyahu and Mubarak held a phone conversation, and Mubarak invited Netanyahu for talks at the Egyptian resort of Sharm Al Sheik. The two leaders did not set a date for the visit.

Meanwhile, the official Egyptian news agency stated that the conversation between the two leaders did not include an invitation, adding that the two leaders claimed to be determined to work for peace despite the recent tension caused by the statements of Lieberman, who also said that Israel should not be committed to previously signed peace deals......

Israel and Egypt are said to be determined to strengthen their ties......"


By Eric Margolis

"The global financial crisis that began on Wall Street has put the world in a surly, frightened mood. At least 25 million peoples have been thrown out of work by the made-in-USA crisis.
People around the globe are angrily blaming the international crisis on the United States and on their own leaders. Politicians everywhere are in a panic as public unrest grows......

The right answer is make financial institutions come clean and fire the fraudsters who ran them into the ground. Then temporarily nationalize these banks and insurers and break them up into smaller firms that are not too big to fail. The bankers, brokers, traders and credit rating agencies responsible for the greatest fraud in US history, the subprime and Alt-A mortgage scams, should join crook Bernie Madoff behind bars.

The panic of 08 laid bare just how much Wall Street controlled and manipulated the US government. The axis of sleaze between Wall Street and Washington’s politicians has to be broken. But, so far, this is not happening. "

Another Arab "Summit"

Another Arab "Summit" and What it Produced.....
By Emad Hajjaj

The dark side of Dubai

By Johann Hari
The Independent

"Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.....

....Hidden in plain view

There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, like Karen; there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?....."

George Soros warns 'zombie' banks could suck lifeblood out of economy

Julia Kollewe, Tuesday 7 April 2009

"Billionaire investor George Soros has warned that bailing out banks could turn them into "zombies" that suck the lifeblood of the American economy, which he predicted is in for a "lasting slowdown".

He also cautioned that the recent rise in global stockmarkets is a "bear market rally because we have not yet turned the economy around"........"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Am trying to find the artist's name...

New Israeli Government, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Land of Ruins: A Special Report on Gaza’s Economy

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat files a report on the state of the Gazan economy, where unemployment and poverty rates are among the highest in the world. Despite international pledges of over $5.2 billion to rebuild Gaza, in the four months since Israel’s assault the siege has not been lifted and only one truck carrying cement and other construction materials has been allowed entry into the Gaza Strip......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This poll asks:

Do you believe that Obama is serious about a new opening to the the Muslim World?

With over 500 responding so far, 63% said no.

Al-Jazeera Video: Protests greet Obama's Turkey visit - 05 April 09

"They say his visit will bring more turmoil to the Middle East, and that he's armed with demands that could divide Turkey.

Still, Barack Obama, the US president, will be addressing the Turkish parliament, and will work with his Turkish counterparts to mend an alliance badly damaged by the US invasion of Iraq....."

US and Israel may fall out over Iran

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent
The National

".....Aluf Benn, a political commentator with Haaretz, noted last week: “Politicians in touch with Netanyahu say he has already made up his mind to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.”

This view was backed by Amir Oren, an analyst close to the Israeli military, who reported on Friday that Israeli officials hope to persuade the White House to turn a blind eye to an Israeli strike next year, possibly in the summer. By then the bulk of US forces would be out of neighbouring Iraq, offering fewer targets for revenge attacks....

Gen David Petraeus, the top US commander in the Middle East, told Congress last week that Israel was assuming the worst about Iran. “The Israeli government may ultimately see itself so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it.”

Although Israeli officials play up the supposed threat of annihilation from a nuclear-armed Iran, the major concern is that an Iranian bomb would end Israel’s exclusive possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and undermine its dominance of the region. Iran might then be able to force major territorial concessions on behalf of the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu hinted at this during his interview. A nuclear-armed Iran, he said, would “create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area”."

Resist or Become Serfs

By Chris Hedges

"If we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them......

.....We will become Weimar Germany. A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to simpletons like Sarah Palin to loudmouth talk show hosts, who we naively dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal. The elites, the ones with their Harvard Business School degrees and expensive vocabularies, will retreat into their sheltered enclaves of privilege and comfort. We will be left bereft and abandoned outside the gates. "

Lost in the Buffer Zone

By Eva Bartlett

"KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza, Apr 6 (IPS) - "They're always shooting at us. Every day they shoot at us," says Alaa Samour (19), pulling aside his shirt to show a scar on his shoulder. Samour said he was shot on Dec. 28 last year by Israeli soldiers positioned along the border fence near New Abassan village, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip......

At the end of Israel's three weeks of attacks on Gaza December-January which left more than 1,450 dead and over 5,000 injured, many critically so, Israeli authorities declared an expansion of the 'buffer zone' into what they dubbed a no-go zone expropriating yet more land from farmers and civilians in the area.

Prior to the attacks on Gaza, PARC reported that of the 175,000 dunams (42,000 acres) (1 dunam is 1,000 square metres) of cultivable land in the Gaza Strip, 50,000 dunams (12,000 acres) had been damaged by the Israeli army. These are the most fertile and productive agricultural areas, the 'food basket' areas, the group reports. Following the attacks on Gaza, international bodies put the amount of destroyed land much higher: 60,000-75,000 dunams of farmland they say is now damaged or unusable.

In early February, the Guardian reported on the severe hit to Gaza's agricultural sector. The article quoted representatives of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) as saying that anywhere from 35 percent to 60 percent of the agriculture industry was destroyed by Israel's attacks on Gaza, much of it not useable again due to the damage....."

The Af-Pak muddle

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

".....Look at this way: We have enough trouble getting reliable, efficient, and corruption-free government here at home (think Rod Blagoevich, Jack Abramoff, or the State Legislature here in Massachusetts, where the past two speakers had to resign in the face of scandals). So what makes us think we can root it out on the other side of the world? For that matter, what is the model of political transformation that we are selling to the world, given our inability to rebuild or restore deteriorating American cities like Detroit, and the serious problems of governance we observe in states like California? And that's in our own country, which we probably understand fairly well. To imagine that we know how to manage the politics of more than 200 million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- who are themselves divided into a diverse array of clans, tribes, and sects -- is the very definition of hubris......."

The Two Faces of Barack Obama

One for the masses, one for the power elite

by Justin Raimondo, April 06, 2009

"The news from Europe, if you listen to our infatuated media, is that the Euros love President Obama: according to the American reportage, his recent trip there was a cavalcade of photo-ops, cheering crowds, and hugs from the queen of England. Even the French were in awe of him! However, if you look beneath the surface, not that far beneath the gloss and the glam there runs a current of irritation, and, dare I say it, resentment......

What a godsend to the War Party Barack Obama is! As he moves toward confrontations with Iran, Russia, and Pakistan, and continues to unnecessarily irritate China, Asia’s sleeping giant, the media portray him as the Great Peacemaker. As the mask slips, however, and the reality becomes all too apparent, how will his "progressive" supporters react? Will they rise in protest, or sign on to Obama’s war?

Stay tuned to this space for the answer…"