Saturday, November 27, 2010

The 'Lebanonisation' of Iraq

With a sectarian power-sharing agreement and interfering neighbours, Iraq is looking increasingly like Lebanon.

Lamis Andoni

".......The accord would establish a Lebanon-style sectarian and ethnic formula - which might prove to be more of a recipe for constant instability than a guarantor of national reconciliation. It is ironic that we are witnessing the 'Lebanonisation' of Iraq at the exact moment when this type of power-sharing formula may be causing the 'Iraqisation' of Lebanon - as many fear that Lebanon is on the verge of inter-sectarian strife.

Lebanon's sectarian power distribution has not saved it from sectarian rivalry but rather repeatedly plunged it into civil violence and even war. Consequently, Lebanon has become hostage to its sectarian system, with all parties - while competing over their share - constantly seeking to retain it for fear of being marginalised.....

Iraq's emerging political system is a direct product of the US invasion and Iran's complicity in both the invasion and the ensuing occupation. And Iran has, so far, come out of it with the strongest hand - as the prime minister is the main authoritative power.

Neighbouring 'Sunni' Arab countries have also played a role in consolidating divisions within Iraq - either by directly helping the US forces or by failing to help Iraq maintain its unity......

But all the talks and mediations finally failed, prompting the Americans to give their support to al-Maliki, providing that Sunnis are also strongly represented in the government.
Playground politics

Thus what started as a possible challenge to an Iranian-backed sectarian Shia government resulted in an Iranian-approved sectarian/ethnic power-sharing system that gives supremacy to ethnic and sectarian divisions over collective identity.

As alarming as the perpetuation of these divisions is the fact that the ongoing power struggle is essentially among ruling elites who have largely been promoted - or even created - by the occupation, while ordinary Iraqis remain excluded......

In Lebanon, external forces have repeatedly intervened to guarantee stability by maintaining the equilibrium of its sectarian system. In Iraq, however, the arrangement is failing from the outset - leading neither to the formation of a new government, nor to a guarantee of temporary political stability.

Furthermore by preventing the winning coalition from forming a government, Iraqi politicians are not only establishing a flawed sectarian system but laying the groundwork for a system of sectarian dominance."

Al-Jazeera Video: Frost over the World - Ilan Pappe

"The Israeli historian talks about the possibility of a one-state solution in the Middle East peace process...... ."

Al-Jazeera Video: Muslim Brotherhood rally

Who are being used by the Pharaoh's regime as collaborators.

"Thousands turn up at a Muslim Brotherhood rally in the northern city of Damanhour."

Oceans of blood and profits for the mongers of war

By Robert Fisk

"Since there are now three conflicts in the greater Middle East; Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/"Palestine" and maybe another Lebanese war in the offing, it might be a good idea to take a look at the cost of war.

Not the human cost – 80 lives a day in Iraq, unknown numbers in Afghanistan, one a day in Israel/"Palestine" (for now) – but the financial one.....

But then again, talking of rapacity, the Arabs spent $84bn underwriting the Anglo-American operation against Saddam in 1990-91 – three times what Fahd gave to Saddam for the Iran war – and the Saudi share alone came to $27.5bn. In all, the Arabs sustained a loss of $620bn because of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – almost all of which was paid over to the United States and its allies.....

According to Israeli historian Illan Pappé, since 1949, the US has passed to Israel more than $100bn in grants and $10bn in special loans – more than Washington hands out to North Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Over the past 20 years, $5.5bn has been given to Israel for military purchases. But for sheer self-abuse, it's necessary to read of the Midas-like losses in the entire Middle East since just 1991 – an estimated $12,000,000,000,000. Yup, that's a cool $12trn.....

There's a host of other goodies in this appalling list of financial and social horrors. On 11 September 2001, just 16 people were on America's "no-fly" list; by December, it was 594. By August 2008, it had reached an astonishing 100,000. At present rate, the US "terrorist watch list" will reach two million souls in two years' time. Since 1974, UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights have cost $47.86m while the UN has forked out $680.93m for its forces in southern Lebanon since 1978.

So coming soon to a war near you; oceans of blood, bodies torn to shreds, of course. But bring your credit card. Or a cheque book. It's big business. And there may be profits."

The Onward March of Free-Market Prosperity! By Martin Rowson

Memories and maps keep alive Palestinian hopes of return

Refugees remain the most intractable issue of the Middle East conflict, as two new books show

Ian Black Middle East editor, Friday 26 November 2010

"Memories and maps feature prominently in the experience of Palestinians – a people scarred by dispossession, dispersion, occupation and profound uncertainty about their future. So amid the latest wrangling over the stalled peace talks with Israel come two sharp reminders of the depth of the conflict and how difficult it will be to resolve.

Salman Abu Sitta, a refugee from 1948, has spent years cataloguing the course and consequences of the nakbah (disaster) that Israel's "war of independence" represented for his people. Now he has published an updated version of his massive Atlas of Palestine, stuffed with tables, graphs and nearly 500 pages of maps that trace the transformation of the country starting with its conquest by the British in 1917 and the Balfour declaration's promise to create a "national home" for the Jews.....

Abu Sitta is a leading expert on the nakbah and what is nowadays widely described as the "ethnic cleansing" it involved. There can be no mistaking where his sympathies lie and where he stands in the febrile debate about Zionist intentions. Still, large parts of his account draw on the history of the 1948 war as rewritten by revisionist Israeli scholars in recent years as archives have opened up and old myths been demolished......

Abu Sitta leafs through his atlas, which includes detailed plans for refugee repatriation, and insists otherwise. "In the age of advanced technology it is quite feasible to compare the rich and meticulously recorded history of Palestine with the existing electronic Israeli record of every Palestinian house and acre of land, who owned it and to which Jewish body it is leased," he writes. "From this, both cultural and physical restoration of Palestine could take place. What remains is the wisdom, enforced by political will, to implement it."

Social scientist Dina Matar also follows "the trajectory of a continuing nakbah," in her fine book about "what it means to be a Palestinian in the 21st century", but her mission is to record voices that are normally heard only in fragments and at times of crisis. This "composite biography" includes personal stories and "reconstructed experiences" from the 1936 rebellion against the British through to Oslo in 1993, and unifies the disparate worlds of Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria. Individual narratives of suffering, defiance and despair are linked by chapters of factual historical background, and tell of life in refugee camps, the experience of the Jordanian civil war or the first intifada, when the "children of the stones" took on the Israeli military but won only the brief attention of an indifferent world.

Matar, not surprisingly, identifies 1948 as the key date in Palestinian collective memory and notes "the persistent theme that the Palestinian sense of displacement was not the result of one specific event, but an ongoing process, continuing into the present."

Her telling subtitle – "stories of Palestinian peoplehood" – suggests that she too believes that the old aspiration of "statehood" is not likely to be realised any time soon."

Talking to the Taliban about life after occupation

Special report: In the last of his series from Afghanistan, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad asks Taliban leaders past and present what kind of regime they would run – and whether there is a chance of negotiated peace

• Part two: Five days inside a Taliban jail
• Part one: The London cab driver who fights for the Taliban

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Friday 26 November 2010

"......The Americans had a right to know that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for attacks against them, he said, but that was all.

"The Americans have one right only, and that is their right to be assured that Afghanistan will not be used against them and that is something the Taliban should give.

"Apart from that they have no rights, they have no right to tell us about democracy and human rights. That's an Afghan issue and it will be decided by the Afghans.

"The Americans behave with arrogance and if they don't want to be defeated in Afghanistan they should talk.

"They don't belong here," he said. "They are foreigners, outsiders.""

Maariv: Ball in Hezbollah’s Court, Feltman Deeply Involved in Lebanon Quagmire


"27/11/2010 Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday that “there are US-Israeli understandings” on way to counter the repercussions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment against Hezbollah in the assassination case of former Premier Rafiq Hariri.
The newspaper’s correspondent in Washington Shmuel Rosner said that the US administration was working on this track more than it was on the Israeli Palestinian track. He added it was surprising to see how busy the US official’s schedule on the Middle East, be it with Saudi or Israeli officials who have been to Washington lately.

Rosner also quoted a “well informed Israeli official on US-Israeli talks on Lebanon” as saying that “between Washington and Tel Aviv are understandings concerning what we will or will not do, in case of escalation in Lebanon.” He added that “Washington had hinted that Israel could attack Lebanon” and that “this was the most efficient threat available, based on the hypothesis that the Americans will not send aircraft carriers to tackle the problem of Hezbollah in Lebanon....

Maariv also said that US Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman “is deeply involved in the Lebanese quagmire and hopes to create a coalition that can stand in the face of Hezbollah in the aftermath of the STL indictment.....

The Israeli newspaper quoted Feltman as saying that everyone working in Lebanon knows that the situation in this country does not allow those working inside or outside it, to control everything that’s happening there. This means, according to Maariv, that “if Lebanon was simply destroyed, the US would not necessarily be able or even be willing to try to save this country; this is what Feltman and Obama have implied. This is also what the Iranians, the Turks, Hezbollah, and Lebanese Cabinet members already know.”

Maariv concluded that “for the Lebanese, a US intervention does not seem a decisive element in the existent conflict. In fact the steps of the closer neighbors, including Israel, are very much more important (to them).” "

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll deals with Arab "elections"; it asks:

Do you support international monitoring of elections in Arab countries?

It is quite early, but with about 100 responding so far, 68% said yes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Via the Angry Arab

At the rubble of his home--destroyed by Israeli terrorist soldiers. (AP)

عراق ليكس موقع يحاكي ويكيليكس

(Scroll down for more new posts)

"حفزت الوثائق العراقية التي كشف عنها موقع (ويكيليكس) الخاصة بالحرب على العراق، مجموعة من الشخصيات العراقية لإطلاق موقع في شبكة الإنترنت أطلقوا عليه اسم عراق ليكس.

ووفقا للمشرف العام على الموقع الجديد علي الكليدار فإن الوثائق التي نشرها موقع ويكيليكس –رغم كثرتها وأهميتها- تعتبر قليلة جدا، بالمقارنة مع الوثائق التي سينشرها موقع عراق ليكس.

وأشار الكليدار إلى أن الوثائق التي بحوزتهم "تتعلق بجرائم ارتكبتها قوات الاحتلال وعملاؤه منذ بدء الغزو الأميركي ولغاية نهاية عام 2009".

وأوضح في تصريحات للجزيرة نت أن بعض الوثائق تتعلق بجرائم ارتكبتها قوات الاحتلال وجرائم ارتكبتها المليشيات، وأخرى مرتبطة بجرائم ارتكبتها إيران وبعض الدول الأخرى، والمخابرات الإيرانية مع تنظيمات تدعي أنها القاعدة بهدف تأجيج الفتنة الطائفية، وكذلك وثائق تثبت تورط جماعات كردية بعمليات وجرائم هدفها تأجيج الفتنة الطائفية أيضا.

ومضى يقول "لدينا وثائق حول جيش القدس والجرائم التي ارتكبها، وجرائم أخرى ارتكبتها مليشيات بدر، وفرق الموت التي شكلها حزب الدعوة ونوري المالكي التي كانت تطارد وتصفي علماء العراق ومثقفيه".

وأضاف الكليدار "هذه الجرائم التي ارتكبت بحق المواطنين العراقيين، وبحق المال العام، ستقدم مستقبلا إلى المحاكم الدولية، من أجل مقاضاة هؤلاء المجرمين".

ونبه إلى قيام العديد من الجهات العراقية والوطنية بالتوثيق لهذه الجرائم بالأدلة والمستندات ثم تسريبها لموقع عراق ليكس، مؤكدا أن هذه الجرائم تقف خلفها أجندات "إسرائيلية وإيرانية" بالإضافة إلى الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا، على حد تعبيره.

وحسب الكليدار فإنه لن يتم الكشف عن أعضاء فريق الموقع الجديد، مشيرا إلى أنهم من الأساتذة والباحثين والسياسيين، وبعضهم كانوا مسؤولين في الحكومات السابقة منذ عام 2003 ممن يمتلكون الكثير من الوثائق والمستندات، وأضاف "وجهنا الدعوة إلى العديد من العاملين بالأجهزة الحكومية لتزويدنا بما يمتلكون من وثائق".

وأشار الكليدار إلى أن موقع عراق ليكس اتفق مبدئيا مع موقع ويكيليكس على تزويده بملفات تشير للفساد في الحكومة العراقية.

وكان موقع عراق ليكس قد نشر بيانا مطولا تضمن أسماء الغالبية العظمى من الوزارات والمؤسسات وأسماء بعض المسؤولين، مؤكدا أن المعلومات الجديدة ستفاجئ الجميع.

ترحيب بالموقع
من جانبه رحب رئيس تحرير صحيفة العالم العراقية سرمد الطائي بمشروع موقع عراق ليكس، مؤكدا أنه يؤسس لنشر الكثير من الوثائق التي يمتلكها عراقيون ولا يستطيعون نشرها في الصحف ووسائل الإعلام العراقية، مشيرا إلى أنه شخصيا يمتلك أربعة أو خمسة مواضيع لا يستطيع نشرها في صحيفته، رغم أنها معززة بالوثائق، وذلك بسبب "حسابات غاية بالتعقيد".

وأضاف الطائي "هناك من يتهمنا بأننا متهورون لنشر أشياء خطيرة، وهناك أشياء أكثر خطورة مما نقوم بنشره في صحيفتنا، لكننا نتردد بنشرها لتلك الأسباب"، معربا عن أمله بأن يكون موقع عراق ليكس وسيلة لنشر تلك الوثائق الخطيرة، ويكون متخصصا فقط بنشر الوثائق التي تكشف انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان وقضايا الفساد، وتمثل خطوطا حمرا للصحف ووسائل الإعلام.

وحسب الطائي فإن هناك مئات الموظفين في العراق لديهم وثائق تتضمن معلومات غاية في الخطورة، منها قضايا فساد مالي وإداري وقضايا تتعلق بأرواح الناس، "لكنهم يترددون بكشفها لوسائل الإعلام".

بدوره اعتبر مدير تحرير وكالة العراق للجميع الإخبارية سرمد عبد الكريم أن موقع عراق ليكس، سيكون بمثابة نافذة مفتوحة لإكمال رسالة تتضمن كشف الحقائق للقارئ ووسائل الإعلام المختلفة بأسرع وسيلة وبأكبر كمية ممكنة، مؤكدا أن كم الوثائق السرية الموجودة بالعراق منذ الغزو الأميركي هائل جدا.

وأبدى عبد الكريم استعداد وكالة العراق للجميع الإخبارية لنشر جميع الوثائق التي سيقوم موقع عراق ليكس بنشرها.

أمام القضاء
من جهة أخرى أكد الخبير القانوني العراقي طارق حرب للجزيرة نت، أنه إذا كانت الوثائق التي سينشرها موقع عراق ليكس دقيقة وحقيقية فإنه يمكن اعتمادها لإقامة دعاوى ومساءلة الأشخاص الذين أشرفوا أو شاركوا بالانتهاكات وقضايا الفساد، مؤكدا أن هذه الوثائق قد تكون داعمة لوثائق أخرى تمتلكها أكثر من جهة خاصة بالانتهاكات والفساد.

US briefs allies on WikiLeaks dump

US allies around the world have been briefed by American diplomats about an expected release of 3mil classified files by the WikiLeaks website that could cause international embarrassment.

Steve Field, the UK prime minister's spokesman, said on Friday that the government had been told of "the likely content of these leaks" by US Ambassador Louis Susman.

Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said he spoke on Friday with the US state department, which told him that there would be documents regarding Italy in the leak, "but the content can't be anticipated."

"We're talking about thousands and thousands of classified documents that the US will not comment on, as is their custom," Frattini said.

The governments of Canada, Norway, and Denmark also said they had been briefed by US officials.

Further afield
Israel has been warned of potential embarrassment from the release, which could include confidential reports from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

Washington also contacted authorities in Ankara, a senior Turkish diplomat told AFP news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to Turkish media reports, the planned release includes papers suggesting that Turkey helped al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, and that the US helped Iraq-based separatist Kurdish rebels fighting against Turkey.

Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights

More Than a Bribe


"The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward.....

Shall we go on making the same argument, over and over again, or has the time finally arrived for Palestinians to think outside the American box?....

The latest US elections have showed that the Obama hype has run its course in the US itself. One can only hope that Palestinians, Arabs and their friends will realize that it was all indeed a hype -before it’s too late."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egypt's growing sectarian tensions

"One protester has been killed and dozens injured in clashes between Egyptian police and Coptic Christians over the construction of a new church. How might these growing sectarian tensions impact the upcoming elections?"

Arabs Thankful And Pathetic At Thanksgiving


"There is one type of immigrant in our community that we’re all familiar with. All of us have at least one in our family. It is the immigrant with the inferiority complex. They usually change their first name, and some pretend they forgot how to speak Arabic before they even learn English. Another distinguishing characteristic of this type of immigrant is the need to routinely express their patriotism. The constant bellowing of love for America and excessive flag-waving is patently insincere, but nevertheless, a necessary ritual that must constantly be performed in order to compensate for the minority status they carry around like an albatross. The best time of year to spot these individuals in our community is the 4th of July and Thanksgiving, two uniquely All-American holidays.

Ikhras readers will remember David “Go GOP” Ramadan from our previous posts about this buffoonish immigrant and hyper-patriot that specializes in parroting American clichés and regurgitating Republican slogans in Arabic........The despicable Lebanese-American who supported the destruction of his own childhood neighborhood of Southern Beirut by Israel back in 2006, wanted everyone to know how proud he was this American icon had opened its first Beirut showroom.......

David is the shameless self-promoter with very little knowledge of US government, politics, or society, and completely lacking any self-respect, but if you thought it’s only the shallow, political simpletons that engage in this self-demeaning behavior, you would be wrong. Arab-Americans far more capable than David, and able to engage at a much higher level discourse fall victim to the same inferiority complex. One of them is Foud Ajami, a self-hating Arab who is often found in the mainstream media repeating some of the worst stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims and attempting to provide a veil of academic legitimacy to bigotry and racism.

Ajami also figured out that July 4th and Thanksgiving is the best time of year to emphasize one’s “Americanism.” More articulate than David he wrote: “It was ultimately two celebrations of great simplicity that appealed to me: Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. They are both, to the core, celebrations of Americanism, great assimilative affirmations.” Like David, Ajami also mentioned the “troops” and engaged in his own more sophisticated, but no less disingenuous, form of American patriotism......"

A double portion of American pie

How a pact between the food lobby and the US government has made two-thirds of the country’s adults overweight or obese.

Alice Miles
New Statesman

"....It is not as if Americans are unaware that they have a weight problem. They eat grotesquely unhealthy food - too much of it - and get fat and diabetic; everyone knows it. But they do not seem able to confront it.....

Vegetables? You must be joking. On the rare occasions when you do find a vegetable in a restaurant or diner, it invariably comes smothered in gloop or pulverised with butter and dubbed "creamed". It is as if anything remotely healthy has to be disguised as gunk to get it down an American throat. Even the plain fresh fruit in supermarkets is vile, tasting of plastic and tin and chemicals. All this would barely be worthy of comment were it not for the sad tale it tells about the US today.

I refuse to believe that all of these people do not care that they are fat - it must be making them miserable and it is certainly making them sick. And the reason behind it is staring you in the face in every overpackaged piece of chemically enhanced, mass-produced corporate gunk. Like the Pop-Tart.

Do the mashed potatoes

A really good book by the American author Michael Pollan, In Defence of Food, shows how the idea of what constitutes "food" in the US has become hijacked by the food industry and nutritional lobbies, whose influence stretches right up to government advisory boards, so that what is sold as food bears less and less re­lation to anything naturally grown. Result: a food industry as fat as its consumers and a health industry that then feeds off them. It is gross, it is corrupt and, when you see these people, it is tragic.

And it is very hard to fight. The effect is insidious. After a few weeks in America, I find myself thinking that pancakes and maple syrup are a perfectly reasonable breakfast (it's what everybody else has) or that a "chilli sausage and egg breakfast burrito" is healthy because it has a bit of chilli in it! Suddenly, I crave sugar all the time. I think mashed potato is healthy because it's not chips...."

This medieval Saudi education system must be reformed

What Saudi Arabia needs is a modern curriculum that portrays other religions and civilisations with objectivity and respect

Ali al-Ahmed, Friday 26 November 2010

"....In my years of work dedicated to promoting modernity and reform in my homeland, I have always given special attention to education as it is the foundation of social values and a major predictor of the direction in which a country is headed. Unfortunately, the Saudi government realised the same thing and has used the education system to shape societal attitudes towards the country's government and the world at large. The primary goal of Saudi education is to maintain the rule of absolute monarchy by casting it as the ordained protector of the faith, and that Islam is at war with other faiths and cultures. That's what the Saudi monarchy calls "intellectual security," maintained yet further by a ban on liberal arts education, philosophy, drama, and music.

Since January 2001, I have been writing about how Saudi religious education is dividing our country's population over the interpretation of Islam, and turning classmates into enemies because some of them view our religion in a different way. Since then, I have reviewed all the religious textbooks used in Saudi schools several times and found them to be comprised of medieval ideological indoctrination instead of offering a modern education that would prepare the student for the workplace.

The current textbooks do not spare most Muslims from the accusations of polytheism, deviance, hypocrisy, and outright apostasy. For example, the 12th grade book on "monotheism" claims that many in the Muslim world community have returned to polytheism. That could be ignored until you know what the texts teach about polytheists. In the classical Takfiri (declaring others to be outside of religion's bounds) style, the text allows for the killing of apostates and polytheists, and it does not take much to qualify as one or the other. Membership in capitalist, communist or secular groups makes you an apostate, and disagreeing with the Wahhabi/Salafi anthropomorphic characterisation of God makes you a polytheist.

The textbooks take a very aggressive stance against Jews and Christians whom it views as unbelievers and eternal enemies of Islam. And if you do not believe, or even doubt, that Christians and Jews are unbelievers, you are an infidel yourself.

The texts offer a chilling definition of murder as the intentional killing of "protected souls." You won't object very much until you know who meets the definition of a "protected soul". Let us see if you are among those who are protected. The text explains that "protected souls" include free Muslims, free (non-slave) non-Muslim citizens of Muslim countries, and non-Muslims who travel to Muslim countries by invitation of Muslim hosts. The rest are not deserving of the status of a "protected soul". If this is not license to kill the majority of the world's population, I am not sure what is.

One of that most disturbing messages offered by the textbooks is that slavery is legitimate, and that young children can be married by their fathers to adults or other children........"

Israel, U.S. tense as WikiLeaks set to release classified bilateral communiqués

WikiLeaks material includes diplomatic cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world, a senior Israeli official says.


"The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has informed the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem that the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks was planning on releasing hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic cables, some of which might deal with Israel-America relations.

The Americans said they wanted to let the Israeli government know so it would not be surprised and would be prepared for publicity that might cause diplomatic embarrassment.

A senior Israeli official familiar with the contents of the message, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that according to the Americans, the WikiLeaks material includes diplomatic cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world. Sources in Washington said the documents would be coming out soon, perhaps even today....

The American message said that if cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv were released, it could be embarrassing because they relate to relations between Israel and the United States, which are usually kept confidential, or because they involve internal correspondence between American diplomats that do not always reflect the official position of the U.S. administration.

The Americans said that if there was embarrassment, it was important for Israel to know that this was not their intention....."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving: The only thing we have learned from history is that we have not learned from history.

One the tragedies of thanksgiving celebration in America is the myth behind it. The pilgrims were not thanking the native Americans for teaching them how to cook a turkey and eat corn and sing kumbaya together but rather they were thanking G-d for getting rid of the natives so they did not have to deal with them, fight them, kill them or take away their land. They vanished through disease brought by the white man from Europe and the pilgrims saw that as a sign from their God that it was meant to be for them to take over this rich vast land inhabited by the savages. Every year most people celebrate the holiday without knowing the historical context or facts, liberals on the other side (Some at least) remember the tragedy and try to remind the people about what they are actually celebrating.

Hegel said "The only thing we have learned from history is that we have not learned from history" and as I sit here waiting for my Turkey and watch the Lions lose again, I am reminded that we have not learned anything from the crime perpetrated against the native people. True I can not bring them back, I can not change the past, I can not undo the native American genocide, but I know that what is happening today in Palestine is what happened to the native Americans 500 years ago.

European invaders with extreme violence and a "manifest destiny" proclamation came to a land and killed off the natives, ethnically cleansed it and occupied it.

The difference is that the Israelis cannot under daylight kill off the natives the same way the Europeans killed off the natives in America. So they have been doing it quietly and deviously: through sanctions, wars, blockades, land theft, unjust laws, uprooting trees, house demolitions, torture, water theft and deportation.

Israel is creating an environment to kill off the natives slowly (they realized there is no need to kill them, but make sure they leave Palestine and move somewhere else because living in Palestine will mean a slow death and a place with no future or potential for prosperity and a good life.) So we cannot undo the injustice done to Native Americans but we are all witnesses to the injustice being done to Palestinians since 1948 and we can no longer stay silent and pretend it is not happening.
We MUST prevent the tragedy from continuing by supporting BDS and boycott Israel as long as it is determined to act inhumanely toward the people they stole their land from. By supporting every person who stands in solidarity with the natives and tries to expose the injustice done to them. By making sure that 100 years from now Israel will not celebrate their "thanksgiving" where they claim the natives welcomed them and taught them how to make Humus and Falafel.

Let try to celebrate thanksgiving by doing all we can so the tragedy of the native Americans can not be repeated to Palestinians, and that both Palestinians and Israelis can live together in a non racist non Zionist state with equal rights and justice for all in Palestine.

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel demolishes mosque

"Israeli forces have demolished a mosque and several other buildings in the northern Jordan valley.

They say the structure was built without a permit but residents say the mosque was built before 1967 and was recently renovated.

The Palestinian government has condemned the action as state destruction, while Israel continues to fight for Israeli settlers."

Al-Jazeera Video: Empire - Nato: Going Global


"The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the largest military force ever assembled, with a potential armed force of more than seven million. But as its original enemies, communism and the Soviet Union, were defeated two decades ago, what is the alliance's new identity or new role?"

Passenger questioned at DIA after using airplane bathroom several times on U.S. Airways flight

DENVER - Law enforcement briefly questioned a passenger Tuesday who alarmed other passengers when he used the airplane's bathroom several times on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Denver, 9Wants to Know has learned.

The passenger on U.S. Airways flight 1525 was not arrested. Law enforcement is trying to confirm the passenger had a medical condition. He is of Middle Eastern descent.

A K-9 unit was brought on board the plane as a precaution, 9Wants to Know has learned, but it found nothing to concern airport law enforcement.

Egypt detains Christian protesters

CAIRO (AFP) -- Egypt's public prosecutor on Thursday accused 156 protesters arrested in clashes between Christians and police of planning to kill policemen and ordered their detention for two weeks.
The protesters were arrested during bloody clashes with police in Cairo on Wednesday over the government's refusal to grant them a permit to build a church. One demonstrator was killed in the violence and dozens were wounded.
A judicial source said the protesters were accused of "planning to kill policemen" and illegally demonstrating to prevent the authorities from doing their work.
They will remain in custody for questioning for two weeks and will then either be formally charged or have their detention renewed if they are not released.
The Coptic Christians who clashed with the police on Wednesday had been protesting against an official decision to stop them from converting a community centre under construction in Cairo's Giza governorate into a church.

Zionist police beat a 7 year old child to unconsciousness

A 7-year-old Palestinian child from Silwan neighborhood, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, was hospitalized Wednesday, after a number of Israeli policemen violently attacked, kicked and punched him.
FIle - Israeli soldiers dragging a Palestinian child
FIle - Israeli soldiers dragging a Palestinian child
The child, Adam Mansour Al Rishiq, was taken to a Jerusalem hospital and was immediately sent to the Intensive Care Unit due to the seriousness of his condition. 
Adam’s father stated that his child was moved to the hospital unconscious and heavily bleeding, and was directly sent to the Intensive Care Unit suffering from a number of fractures and bruises.

British Novelist John le Carré on the Iraq War, Corporate Power, the Exploitation of Africa and His New Novel, "Our Kind of Traitor"

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Today, we spend the hour with world-renowned British novelist John le Carré, the pen name of David Cornwell. Le Carré’s writing career spans half a century, during which he has established himself as a master spy writer. His latest novel, his twenty-second, is entitled Our Kind of Traitor. David Cornwell worked in the British Secret Services from the late 1950s until the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, became an international bestseller. As the Cold War ended, le Carré continued to write prolifically, shifting focus to the inequities of globalization, unchecked multinational corporate power, and the role national spy services play in protecting corporate interests. "The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done—dare I say it—in the name of God," le Carré tells Democracy Now! Perhaps best known among his many post-Cold War novels is The Constant Gardener, depicting a pharmaceutical company’s exploitation of unwitting Kenyans for dangerous, sometimes fatal, drug tests. In this rare US interview, le Carré also discusses Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq war, US policy toward Iran, and international money laundering...."

Why Gen. Petraeus was Snookered by the "Taliban" Imposter

One Conman Falls for Another


"The revelation that the man presumed to be a high-ranking Taliban leader who had met with top Afghan officials was an impostor sheds light on Gen. David Petraeus's aggressive propaganda about the supposed Taliban approach to the Hamid Karzai regime.

Ever since August, Petraeus had been playing up the Taliban's supposed willingness to talk peace with Karzai as a development that paralleled the success he had claimed in splitting the Sunni insurgency in Iraq in 2007.

It is now clear, however, that Petraeus was deceiving himself as well as the news media in accepting the man claiming to be the second-ranking Taliban commander Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as genuine, despite a number of indications to the contrary.

Petraeus's failure to heed those signals was certainly driven by his strong desire to contrive yet another saga emphasizing his brilliance as a war strategist, judging from his public statements prior to the revelation of the fraud....."

Volvo equipment enabling torture, facilitating occupation

David Cronin, The Electronic Intifada, 24 November 2010

"Volvo prides itself on being a byword for sturdiness, safety and reliability. After a careful examination of the vehicle-maker's investment in Israel, perhaps it should also become synonymous with enabling torture.

The Swedish company has a direct shareholding of 26.5 percent in the Israeli company Merkavim, manufacturer of the Mars Prisoner Bus. This bus has been specifically designed for use by the Israeli Prison Authority to transport Palestinians apprehended in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to facilities within Israel's internationally-recognized borders. The remainder of Merkavim is owned by Mayer's Cars and Trucks, which doubles up as the exclusive representative of Volvo in Israel.

Evidence amassed by human rights monitors indicates that torture is widespread within Israeli detention centers...."

Who Cares?


"The King of “Saudi Arabia” has arrived in the United States for medical treatment. The official Saudi Press Agency says the 86-year-old monarch was greeted by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and a number of top Saudi officials after landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on Tuesday. The Servant of Zionism and Imperialism is to be treated for a herniated disc and a blood clot. Paid mouthpieces for the ruling family have been reassuring everyone that the King is fine, but no explanation was offered as to why the richest oil-producing country in the world the last few decades does not have adequate medical facilities capable of treating the barely-intelligible ruler of the most oppressive regime in the world.

Arab analysts said that even if “Saudi Arabia” did have adequate facilities and personnel, the ruling family prefers the King be treated in a country where they can find atleast a few Arabs and Muslims who actually care about the health of this ignorant and ruthless dictator. The only few concerned individuals were found outside the Arab world in Washington DC. As Abdullah was arriving in New York members of the “Arab and Muslim lobby” in the US canceled all their planned events and rushed to a hastily planned, joint-meeting to determine the appropriate course of action. What occured after that meeting is the following...."

From Habila's Personal Adviser and the "Foreign Ministry's" Spokesman: No Palestinian State without Gaza

By Ahmad Yousef - Gaza
Palestine Chronicle


Have a barf bag ready before reading this claptrap from the charlatan Ahmad Yousef.

"To accuse Hamas of marketing fundamentalism and extremism in the Gaza Strip is false and inaccurate. There is no "Talibanization" of the Gaza. Such a claim is based on Israeli propaganda and the deliberately distorted accounts of those in Gaza who are politically and ideologically opposed to the government of Ismail Haniya. It is true that some individuals in the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs have acted in an overzealous or misguided manner driven by their own concern to preserve what they see as the culture of the community but their actions were not done so on the basis of any governmental decision or a ministerial policy. In fact on a number of occasions the government directly intervened to reverse their misguided actions [when people said enough is enough!].

Palestinian society is inherently a conservative society [was never like this before Hamas' Talibanization], where the values that govern people's lives are mostly pure Islamic [Your definition of "pure"?]. The proper way to correct the kind of public behavior can be threaten those values should be addressed through the existing educational frameworks of the family and the mosque.

Unfortunately the combination of the Israeli misinformation campaign and to the misguided actions of a few overzealous individuals who see themselves as the guardians of public morality provides the Western media with the kind of stories that feed the common stereotypes they have of Islamists. Hamas is portrayed as being a fundamentalist and extremist movement that intends to launch an Islamic emirate in the Gaza Strip!......"

Who Voted for More War?

By Philip Giraldi

"Something strange has occurred in the aftermath of the November 2nd midterm election. Even though the United States is fighting two major wars and is involved as well in a number of lesser military conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, foreign and security policy was not on the ballot anywhere. Apart from a couple of candidates in Illinois trying to outdo each other in terms of affirmation of loyalty to Israel, not a word was heard about America’s international engagements and their consequences. Yet, we find ourselves only three weeks later learning that the election and its Republican Party triumph is an affirmation of the foreign policy of the Bush Administration and a sign that the American people want a more assertive role for the United States internationally. More torture by all means but let’s call it something else, keep Guantanamo open, and don’t forget that pat down at the airport. As the great George Orwell put it, freedom is slavery and war is peace. Ain’t it hell?....

Just as Bristol Palin’s lead footed performance on television’s Dancing with the Stars proves that you don’t actually have to know how to dance to enter the finals of a dance competition in the United States, so too has it proven unnecessary to know anything at all to wind up in congress or to aspire to even higher office. The dittoheads from both parties have taken control of Washington. Being voted into office by a largely ignorant electorate that has been led by the nose for years appears to have become something close to sanctification, turning a used car salesman into a latter day Palmerston. Both voters and those they elect confuse the ability to bomb the crap out of half of the world with sound judgment and statesmanship. What goes through the brain of someone who casts a vote for a Lindsey Graham or a John McCain or a Joe Lieberman? Or, God help us all, a Sarah Palin? Is it a form of mental illness or some kind of Armageddonite impulse that is seeking a war that will terminate the world as we know it? Well, with the new Republican majority and a cipher in the White House they just might get their chance to end everything....."

The man who dares to take on Egypt's brutal regime

Despite beatings and corruption, Ayman Nour still hopes for change. Ahead of new polls, our man meets him

By Robert Fisk

"....Mind you, being Mr Moubarak's rival is not for amateurs. It's cost Dr Nour more than four years in prison and here he is, on the eve of Egyptian parliamentary elections, sitting in Beirut – rather than Cairo – to express his disdain for the 'moderate', 'pro-Western' regime of America's favourite Middle Eastern dictator (alongside King Abdullah of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Bouteflika of Algeria, Ben Ali of Tunis, King Hassan of Morocco and the rest). So long live President Hosni Moubarak.

But how long? Dr Nour's Ghad party – Ghad means 'tomorrow', which may never come – is not taking part in this weekend's parliamentary elections which will, he feels sure, be as rigged as every election in Egypt since the early years of President Anwar Sadat. "I believe that what you are about to witness at the weekend is part tragedy, part comedy, a black comedy," he says.....

....The attack, Nour said, was a message sent in response to his newspaper article. Exactly who it came from he cannot, or will not, say.

From Moubarak's businessman son Gamal, I ask, the ruling National Democratic Party factotum who would be king, the son who swears he does not wish to be president but whose supporters devoutly wish him to inherit the Pharaoh's throne?....

Ask about Gamal, and Dr Nour shakes his head. "I don't have much to say about a man who has no features, no charisma, a man who has not been in any election in his life, who is nevertheless a leader, the decision-maker in an unconstitutional way. He is a president under construction. He is like plastic. He is not human. You can talk about trees and flowers but not something that is made of plastic, it has no life.".

Phew, I say. So what does Nour think of Moubarak the father – who, like Gamal, he has met several times – about the president who at 82 has said that he is thinking of standing for president yet again next year? "He is an inexperienced and uneducated man," he replies. "His mind is set in one way. He doesn't have sufficient knowledge. He is a small dictator who became a big dictator as his age increased. He looks very much down on the Egyptian people. But his barber is a nice guy.".......

Dr Nour believes the Muslim Brotherhood, the illegal but tolerated opposition party which lends a mirage of democracy to Egypt's polls, should not be participating in this weekend's parliamentary elections. "They will regret it," he says. "They have got into a fight which the regime wanted, when there will be an election that will be rigged. By participating, they are giving legitimacy to this. Once, when Moubarak was told he had gained 99 per cent in a presidential election, he told his minister: 'This is far too much – take it down a bit!' That's what Moubarak admitted in a newspaper interview."....... "

The artifice of the Arab flag-waver

The patriotic displays I saw on a trip to the US reminded me of the Arab world. But in America they really seem to be serious


Nesrine Malik
, Thursday 25 November 2010

".....In contrast, in most of the Arab countries in which I have lived or visited, the hyperbolic slogans and images of presidents assail your vision before you even leave the airport. Whether it is Sudan's Omar al-Bashir ("The Leader of the State and Symbol of its Sovereignty"), King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ("The Servant of the Two Holy Mosques") or Egypt's Hosni Mubarak ("Leader and the Bridge to the Future") – posters that would put Big Brother himself to shame – they are the first indication that you have travelled to a less civilised and less free political culture.

Public glorification of the leader and the nation is a classic case of protesting too much. The messaging is imposed from above, inspired by lack of confidence. The more despotic this leader is, the more venerated he is in public. The more a country's concord seems fragile, the more national unity is amplified. The more a president is maligned by the west, the more the country's sovereignty is affirmed....

Political discord, oppression of minorities and an absence of democratic representation render the definition of a country's characteristic values an increasingly lean one. Hence the resort to cliches and outdated views of the nation. Egypt is still the "mother of the world" – a proud reference to its pharaonic civilisation which is a far cry from the Egypt of today. Sudan is "Africa's food basket" due to its untapped agricultural potential, despite barely being capable of feeding itself. Saudi Arabia via its royal family is the humble "custodian of the two holy mosques" in spite of its arrogance and discrimination against Muslim minorities.

This is where my discomfort with the exhibitionism I saw in the US originates. While there is a heritage of saccharine patriotism in America, there is also an aggressive defensiveness to it, perhaps betraying a lack of conviction fed by the fact that the nation, by its own definition the guardian of freedom, is mired in protracted wars abroad and under attack for its interrogation methods and suspension of due process. As in the Arab world, it projects an outdated view of the United States, one wrapped in cliches and a provocative moral superiority......"

Eid Mubarak, Egypt!

As Gamal Mubarak seeks his father's throne, will hereditary succession again restrict democratisation in an Arab state?

By Larbi Sadiki

"....For thirty years, it has literally been 'Eid Mubarak' in Egypt, whether or not it will be 'Eid Mubarak' for another thirty years in Egypt is uncertain, as the next generation of the Mubarak clan seeks to step into the political arena. The phrase has the sound of a neat political slogan as Egypt’s political and civil societies are whipped up by the current moment of transition or more aptly in-transition.

'Eid Mubarak':'Return Mubarak'

'Eid Mubarak' in these days of the Eid of sacrifice somewhat carries a different meaning: literally,'return Mubarak'. Which Mubarak? Does it really matter?....

Gamal: The Making of a'de facto President'

Gamal - the investment banker - comes into politics with a Smithian mind-set for wealth-making. At least for now it is reflected in his own wealth and that made by the class of millionaires and billionaires that staff the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP's economic and political predilections reflect his policy preferences.....

Egypt Matters

Today the Mubaraks' Egypt looks a skeleton of its old dynamic self. It is inward-looking, security-obsessed, role-less, confused, stagnant, ailing and ordinary. In 2010 Egypt is evocative of King Faruk's time in the early 1950s.

But Egypt matters. It matters to the Arab world. It matters to the Middle East. It matters to the world. So much yearning remains for the majesty that is Egypt, Umm al-Dunya,'the mother of the world'. Egypt's genius that once contributed a great deal to Arab, Islamic and world civilization is today admired at a distance and as matter of antiquity. A return – literally 'Eid' – of that genius could fire democratic renewal and cultural renaissance, however this is highly doubtful under a return to dynastic rule."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Muslim Brothers in Egypt Insist on Voting in Meaningless "Elections."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Arabs' Strategic Option? Endless "Negotiations!"

Note: In Arabic the words for cucumber and option are the same.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gaza: A love that knows no boundaries

When Nicole Hamdan, a Jewish Israeli citizen, failed to report for compulsory army service a couple years ago, the military police came knocking at the doors of her uncles in the Tel Aviv suburbs of Holon and Bat Yam. It is only possible to imagine the officers' surprise at learning the following: that Ms Hamdan was now living with her parents and three younger brothers and sister in a two-room house in Gaza – "Hamastan" in popular Israeli politician-speak; that she speaks Arabic as well as she speaks Hebrew; and that she dresses in the conservative ensemble of abaya and hijab favoured by most women in the territory.
The military closed the file on their lost recruit. For Nicole, 21, who also uses the name Yasmin these days, is the oldest daughter in one of the more unusual family units in the besieged territory of 1.5 million people – that of Imad Hamdan, a Palestinian from a refugee family in Gaza, and his wife, Dalia, the Israeli Jew who married 22 years ago after finishing her own army service.
Nicole's parents' life together would not have been easy in the best of circumstances. But for Imad, who speaks good Hebrew, and Dalia, a somewhat less-fluent Arabic speaker, their marriage has had to be particularly strong to withstand war, unemployment, poverty, family ostracism and cultural differences.
Luckily, it shows every sign of being just that. They met back in the late Eighties in what Imad, now 50, clearly regards as the good – and now unimaginably far-off – old days. That was a time before Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Accords, when Gaza's borders were porous and it was as easy for Israelis to go there as it was for Palestinians fromGaza, like Imad, to travel into Israel for work.
He was a construction contractor in Tel Aviv, and the pair were introduced by Imad's business partner and his wife, who had brought the young Jewish woman to a restaurant for dinner. Although she had grown up in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa, Imad's date for the evening came from a rightwing family. "She hated Arabs then," he says, joking. But the couple hit it off over the hamburgers and spent most of the night talking on the beach.
It was not long before the couple married, to the consternation of the Dalia's family. As permitted in Islam, Dalia was Imad's second wife – though his first subsequently died of cancer. For the first five years, with Imad working regularly in Israel, the couple nevertheless lived with Dalia's mother, which was not always easy.
"My mother used to tell him: 'I love you a lot but your problem is you're an Arab'," Dalia says. Imad agrees: "Every Jewish mother wants her daughter to marry a Jew."