Saturday, November 12, 2011

Video: Unreported World - Syria undercover -Ch 4 - مترجم للعربية

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Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian opposition reacts to Arab League's threat of suspension

Syria suspended from Arab League

Member states agree to exclude Syria and impose sanctions over its failure to end government crackdown on protests

David Batty and Jack Shenker in Cairo, Saturday 12 November 2011

"Syria has been suspended from the Arab League over its failure to end the bloodshed caused by brutal government crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in a move that will increase the international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

At an emergency session of its 22 member states in Cairo to discuss the crisis, the league decided to exclude Syria until it implements the terms of an earlier agreed peace deal to stop the violence.

The league also agreed to impose economic and political sanctions on Syria over its failure to stop the violence and appealed to its member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus, the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr bin Muhammad Al Thani, said.....

The deal's failure had damaged the standing of the pan-Arab body, which has largely remained flat-footed as revolutions rumbled across the Middle East this year.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity throughout the uprising, which has killed more than 3,500 civilians and about 1,500 members of the security forces."

الجامعة العربية تعلق عضوية سوريا، وتطلب من الدول العربية سحب سفرائها من دمشق


"قرَّر مجلس جامعة الدول العربية، اليوم السبت، تعليق مشاركة جميع الوفود السورية في المجالس والهيئات التابعة للجامعة، اعتبارًا من 16 نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني الجاري، ودعا الدول العربية إلى سحب سفرائها من دمشق.

وأعلن رئيس الدورة الحالية لمجلس الجامعة، رئيس وزراء ووزير خارجية قطر، حمد بن جاسم بن جبر آل ثاني، خلال مؤتمر صحافي مشترك، عقده والأمين العام للجامعة العربية نبيل العربي، تعليق مشاركة وفد سوريا وجميع الوفود السورية في المجالس والهيئات التابعة للجامعة، اعتبارًا من 16 نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني الجاري، إلى حين التزام النظام السوري ببنود المبادرة العربية الرامية لوقف العنف في سوريا.

اعتراض لبنان واليمن، وامتناع العراق

وأوضح بن جاسم خلال المؤتمر الصحافي المشترك، الذي عقد في نهاية أعمال اجتماع طارئ، عقده مجلس الجامعة على المستوى الوزاري، أن القرار صدر بأغلبية أعضاء مجلس الجامعة، واعتراض لبنان واليمن، وامتناع العراق عن التصويت.
وأضاف أن مجلس الجامعة قرر أيضًا دعوة الجيش السوري إلى "عدم التورط في الاعتداء على الشعب السوري"، وتوقيع عقوبات سياسية واقتصادية على الحكومة السورية، ودعوة الدول العربية إلى سحب سفرائها من دمشق، مع التأكيد أن ذلك الطلب هو قرار سيادي لكل دولة.
وقد قرر مجلس الجامعة دعوة جميع أطياف المعارضة السورية إلى الاجتماع في الجامعة العربية خلال 3 أيام، ثم عقد اجتماع لمجلس الجامعة على المستوى الوزاري مع المعارضة السورية.
وأضاف أنه تقرّر إبقاء مجلس الجامعة في حالة انعقاد دائم لمتابعة الموقف.
وكان مجلس جامعة الدول العربية عقد، بعد ظهر اليوم السبت، اجتماعًا طارئًا على مستوى وزراء الخارجية، تم خلاله مناقشة تقرير أعده الأمين العام للجامعة نبيل العربي، يتضمَّن نتائج الاتصالات التي أجرتها الأمانة العامة للجامعة، واللجنة الوزارية العربية المُكلفة بحل الأزمة السورية بشكل عام مع الحكومة السورية، ومختلف أطياف المعارضة السورية

Al-Jazeera Video: Robert Fisk on the Arab League meeting on Syria

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria Uprising: Latest on the fighting

"Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, who is watching developments from Majdal Anjar, near the Lebanese-Syria border, says "the situation on the ground in Syria is deteriorating very, very quickly.""

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria Uprising: Protesters call for Arab League help

"Arab League ministers are in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for an emergency summit on ending the violence in Syria.

The month of November is shaping up to be the bloodiest since the uprising began in March. More than 250 people have been killed in the last 11 days alone.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports."

Striking Iran: Israel’s War Wager

By Jonathan Cook

Published Friday, November 11, 2011

"....The question is how Obama responds to the pressure. He is facing a presidential election year, and can expect to come under enormous arm-twisting not only from Israel but also from its supporters in the Congress and among Washington’s lobby groups.

How credible the report is is already open to doubt. Yaacov Katz, a Jerusalem Post analyst, noted that Israeli intelligence had provided “critical information used in the report.” That may have included information that Iran had recruited a Russian scientist, Vyacheslav Danilenko, to help in developing its nuclear programme. Almost immediately, evidence surfaced indicating that Danilenko had no nuclear expertise.

In a sign that the White House might fight a rearguard action to try to stop Israel cornering it into military action, US defence secretary Leon Panetta warned today that such an attack should be a “last resort,” and would make little impact on an Iranian programme but would have unintended consequences, including for US forces in the region."

Cape Town Session: Russell Tribunal on Palestine

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Cape Town Session. Summary of Findings, November 07, 2011

".....Following the hearings and the deliberations of the jury, the findings of the third session of Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held in Cape Town on 5-6 November 2011, are summarised as follows.

I. Apartheid

The Tribunal finds that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. This discriminatory regime manifests in varying intensity and forms against different categories of Palestinians depending on their location. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the occupied Palestinian territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognised human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.....

II. Persecution as a Crime against Humanity

Much of the evidence heard by the Tribunal relating to the question of apartheid is also relevant to the separate crime against humanity of persecution, which can be considered in relation to Israeli practices under the principle of cumulative charges. Persecution involves the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights of the members of an identifiable group in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population. The Tribunal concludes that the evidence presented to it supports a finding of persecution in relation to the following acts:

- the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment of the civilian population;

- the targeting of civilians during large-scale military operations;

- the destruction of civilian homes not justified by military necessity;

- the adverse impact on the civilian population effected by the Wall and its associated regime in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;

- the concerted campaign of forcible evacuation and demolition of unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev region of southern Israel......"

UN calls for release of Egyptian blogger

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"GENEVA — The UN human rights office is calling on Egyptian authorities to release a prominent blogger and others imprisoned for exercising free speech.

The military trial and jailing of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah and a hunger strike by his mother have gained wide publicity at home and abroad.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Egypt must "guarantee full respect for the freedom of expression" nine months after leader Hosni Mubarak's ouster.

He told reporters Friday in Geneva that his agency is "concerned about what appears to be a diminishing public space for freedom of expression and association" in Egypt. He also said the agency was disappointed that its calls for Egypt repeal its emergency rules and end military trials of civilians have been ignored."

Fears for missing Syrian activists at risk of torture

Amnesty International
11 November 2011

"Two Syrian activists have been missing from their home town of Aleppo since 2 November, raising fears that they have been arrested and are being held in secret detention where they may be at risk of torture.

The two men, Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz, were reportedly involved in organizing peaceful protests in Aleppo. They were both in hiding from the Syrian authorities at the time they went missing, after security forces visited their homes.

According to sources, Mohamed Bachir Arab was planning to meet his friend Ahmed Omar Azoz on 2 November. The men have not been seen or heard from since.

“We are worried that the two activists have been arrested and are being held in secret detention, not only because of the recent interest the Syrian security forces have shown in them, but also because there has been a widespread pattern of activists being whisked off the streets and held in isolation from the outside world. The authorities should immediately disclose any information they have about their whereabouts,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s acting director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“If Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz have indeed been arrested, they must be allowed contact with their families and given access to a lawyer immediately,” he said.

Mohamed Bachir Arab, a doctor, went into hiding around six months ago after security forces raided his home while he was out and confiscated his computer. He reportedly spent 11 months in prison in 2004, after organizing demonstrations at his university in Aleppo....."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Syrian activists' dangerous haven in Lebanon

Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent has reportedly spread to Lebanon, as activists in exile are targeted.

Basma Atassi

"After being on the run in his country for more than three months, Omar Edelbi, a Syrian poet and an outspoken critic of President Bashar al-Assad, managed to escape to neighbouring Lebanon - fleeing the Syrian government’s crackdown on dissidents.

Many intellectuals in the region call it the Arab world’s "bastion of freedom"; indeed, Lebanon initially appeared to be Edelbi’s best route out of Syria, given its proximity, its familiarity and the many illegal border crossings available.

But a few weeks after his arrival to Beirut, he started receiving death threats on his phone and via his friends. A couple of months later, he found himself at a branch of the Lebanese military intelligence service, undergoing a four-hour interrogation for "attempting to weaken relations between Syria and Lebanon" and for attempting to "disrupt the Lebanese national fabric".

"The investigation led nowhere because they could not charge me with anything," said 41-year-old Edelbi, the spokesman of the Syrian Co-ordination Committees activist network. "But I believe the reason I was called for investigation is because they wanted me to stop what I was doing."

Edelbi, like dozens of activists who took refuge in Lebanon, organises anti-Syrian government protests, contacts media organisations and documents human rights abuses taking place in his country. But he says that the Syrian government has, through its own agents and in co-operation with the Lebanese intelligence, managed to extend its crackdown onto Lebanese soil.....

But while the attacks and the kidnappings have led to a debate about an entrenched problem in the judicial system with no solution in sight, Syrians living in Lebanon continue to wonder who attacked them, where their friends have disappeared to, and even whether it is safe to go grocery shopping in their own neighbourhoods.

Their wait, and the national debate, will inevitably continue."

الفنانة فدوى سليمان: هناك احتمال لإجباري على الاعتراف بالتآمر على سوريا


"الممثلة السوريّة الملاحقة فدوى سليمان، المضربة عن الطعام منذ 8/11/11 تقول في فيديو مصور جديد من مدينة حمص أنه في حال تم اعتقالها من قبل الأجهزة الأمنية أو قوى الجيش، فهنالك احتمال أن يجبروها على الخروج على قناة "الدنيا" الموالية للنظام للاعتراف بأنها متآمرة على سوريا كما فعلوا مع غيرها.

وأعلنت سليمان أنها مستمرة في التظاهرة والاضراب عن الطعام من أجل كسر الحصار عن مدينة حمص، ودعت السوريين الى العصيان المدني من أجل سحب قوى الجيش والشبيحة من المدن.

ودعت الفنانة فدوى الشعب السوري في الاستمرار بثورته السلمية حتى إسقاط النظام واقامة الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية "التي يحلم بها كل سوري" على حد قولها.

Protesters prepare for global day of action against Egypt's military junta

Egyptian activists accuse generals of trying to crush political change, spurring plans for protests in cities including New York

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Friday 11 November 2011

"Protesters in more than 20 cities worldwide are preparing to take action against Egypt's military junta, as part of a global day of solidarity to "defend the Egyptian revolution".

Rallies and marches have been scheduled across four continents for Saturday following an appeal from Cairo-based activists who accuse army generals of launching a systematic crackdown on human rights in an effort to crush political change in the aftermath of this year's uprising, which toppled President Hosni Mubarak and left a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) in his place.....

Al-Jazeera poll: هل تؤيد تجميد عضوية سوريا في منظمات وهيئات الجامعة العربية؟

هل تؤيد تجميد عضوية سوريا في منظمات وهيئات الجامعة العربية؟
الخياراتالنسبةعدد الأصوات
إجمالي المصوتين13353
نتيجة التصويت لا تعبر عن رأي الجزيرة وإنما تعبر عن رأي الأعضاء المشاركين فيه.

Slavoj Zizek and Harum Scarum

By saying "Asian values" have corrupted capitalism, Zizek aligns himself with generations of Orientalist thinkers.

Hamid Dabashi

".......In an interview with Al Jazeera, Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher, made a rather abrupt staccato observation - a hit-and-run strike worthy of an action hero - very much reminiscent of the fate of Elvis Presley and his Oriental sojourn:

"I think today the world is asking for a real alternative. Would you like to live in a world where the only alternative is either anglo-saxon neoliberalism or Chinese-Singaporean capitalism with Asian values? I claim if we do nothing we will gradually approach a kind of a new type of authoritarian society. Here I see the world historical importance of what is happening today in China. Until now there was one good argument for capitalism: sooner or later it brought a demand for democracy ... What I'm afraid of is, with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don't share the hope of my liberal friends - give them ten years [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration - no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over.".....

Overthrowing the regime of knowledge

When people from one end of the Arab and Muslim world to another cry "people demand the overthrow of the regime", they mean more than just their political regime. They also mean the regime of knowledge that does not see from pogroms to the Holocaust as equally embedded in "Western values", does not see Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy and Spain, Totalitarianism in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (Zizek's own backyard), horrid racism across the European history, and all other sorts of diseases spreading from one end of Europe to another as coterminous with capitalism while married to the West - and cherry picks democracy as their only offspring, and when aterritorial capitalism wreaks havoc like a bubonic plague around the globe he looks for an flu strain he calls "Asian values"......"

When The Ayatollahs Sneeze in Tehran......Nasrallah Catches a Cold

نصر الله: أي حرب على إيران وسوريا ستشمل المنطقة كلها


"حذر الأمين العام لحزب الله، حسن نصر الله، من أن أي حرب على إيران وسوريا، لن تبقى في البلدين، بل ستتدحرج على المنطقة بكاملها.
وقال نصر الله بعد ظهر اليوم الجمعة، عبر شاشة علقت خلال أعمال مهرجان "يوم الشهيد"، الذي أقيم في الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت، إن" الحرب على إيران وسورية لن تبقى في سورية وإيران، بل ستتدحرج على المنطقة بكاملها"، وتابع: "سيفشل الرهان على سقوط نظام الرئيس (السوري) بشار الأسد".

Al-Jazeera Video: Rights group: Torture is widespread in Syrian Homs province

"Omar Al Issawi, advocacy and communications director at Human Rights Watch, speaks to Al Jazeera about the organisation's latest report on Syria, which documents rights abuses in the province of Homs."

Al-Jazeera Video: Deaths reported as Syrians stage protests

"Syrian security forces have opened fire on anti-government rallies, as thousands of people take to the streets following Friday prayers.
Activists have reported that at least eight people have been killed.

The latest deaths comes as Human Rights Watch, a US-based global rights group, released a report saying it revealed evidence of crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian government.

Omar al Saleh reports."

Al-Jazeera Video: Yemen troops kill 11 anti-government protesters in Taiz

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian activists: Army planting mines on Lebanese border

"A Syrian activist near Wadi Khaled, near the city of Homs on the border with Lebanon, told Al Jazeera he witnessed Syrian army troops planting mines in farmland in the area.

In this video, he claims to have filmed several mounds of earth where the recently placed mines are located, around 200 metres inside the Syrian border.

Another activist who had spoken with the man who did the filming told Al Jazeera that a third man was seriously injured afterward when he stepped on a mine."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian soldiers clash with 'armed' opposition

عن الممانعة والاعتدال ومشهد المنطقة المركب


"دعونا نعترف أننا إزاء مشهد مركب تعيشه منطقتنا العربية والشرق الأوسط عموما، وهو يحتمل الخلاف بهذا القدر أو ذاك، وإن اعتمد الأمر على طبيعة النوايا، إذ يتوزع من يأخذون هذا الموقف أو ذاك بين من يجتهدون لما يرونه مصلحة الأمة، ومن يتخذون المواقف لاعتبارات قطرية أو طائفية أو مذهبية أو إقليمية أو حزبية لا صلة لها بالقيم ولا بالمبادئ التي يرفعونها تبريرا لمواقفهم.
باندلاع الثورة السورية أخذ الجدل يحتدم أكثر فأكثر، فالشارع العربي الذي وقف إلى جانب معسكر المقاومة والممانعة رغم محاولات ثنيه عن ذلك عبر إثارة الحساسيات الطائفية، لم يجد بدا من مساندة إخوانه السوريين في تطلعهم للحرية، تماما كما فعل مع إخوانه المصريين والتونسيين واليمنيين والليبيين، لكن انحراف الوضع نحو الخطاب الطائفي كان طبيعيا إلى حد كبير، ليس فقط لأن أصابع السياسة كانت واضحة في سياق الحشد، وبالطبع لأن هناك دولا عربية تبدو معنية بذلك من أجل التخويف من إيران ومن الشيعة حتى يكف مواطنها عن المطالبة بالإصلاح السياسي، وإنما أيضا لأن ردة فعل النظام كانت عنيفة ودموية إلى حد كبير.

طبعا كانت رعونة إيران، وكثير من القوى الشيعية في علاج ملف البحرين واضحة (عبر جعله أولوية كبرى رغم ضعف الحراك الذي لا يخفي عدالة الكثير من مطالبه)، وساهمت بقوة في الحشد المذهبي، والسبب أن عاقلا لا يمكنه التبشير بإمكانية إسقاط النظام في البحرين (بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر) في ظل المعادلة الخليجية والإقليمية القائمة (دعك من الدولية ووجود الأسطول السادس)، وكان بالإمكان تأجيل هذا الملف لبعض الوقت، أو التعامل معه بمنطق مختلف ريثما تتغير الأوضاع عربيا نحو معادلة مستقرة تعلي من شأن المواطنة والتعددية بعيدا عن الحساسيات المذهبية. واللافت هنا أن جمعية الوفاق التي تقود حركة الاحتجاج الشيعي في البحرين كانت أكثر عقلانية في خطابها من إيران والقوى الشيعية في الخارج.

ومع استمرار الحشد الطائفي جاء الموقف الإيراني المناهض لثورة الشعب السوري، ومعه موقف حزب الله، وتاليا موقف الحكومة العراقية الواقعة تحت هيمنة القوى التابعة لإيران من الناحية العملية ليزيد في أجواء الحشد الطائفي، وليلقي بمقولات المقاومة والممانعة في مؤخرة العقل الجمعي للجماهير، بينما كانت تركيا تسجل اختراقا كبيرا في المنطقة بخطاب أردوغان القوي حيال الكيان الصهيوني بعد قصة سفينة مرمرة، وقد حدث ذلك رغم أننا إزاء دولة عضو في الحلف الأطلسي وتقيم علاقات سياسية وأمنية وعسكرية مع دولة العدو (قطعت الأمنية والعسكرية). وجاء موقف الحكومة التركية من الملف السوري ليزيد في الحضور التركي في الأوساط الشعبية مقابل خسائر كبيرة لإيران وحزب الله وحشد طائفي يتصاعد بالتدريج.

اليوم، وفي مقابل موقف تركي محسوم من النظام السوري، مع تردد عربي وآخر غربي لم يذهب بعيدا في مطاردة النظام، يحضر الموقف الإيراني الداعم له (بلا حدود) بالمال والسلاح، إلى جانب آخر عراقي يقدم المدد اللافت، لاسيما بعد سيطرة الحكومة العراقية على الأجواء، فضلا عن سيطرة حزب الله العملية على الحكومة اللبنانية.

في ضوء ذلك كله لا يشعر نظام الأسد بقرب النهاية، لا سيما أن إستراتيجيته في القتل والاعتقال بالتقسيط، مع الانتشار الكثيف للجيش والأجهزة الأمنية، لا زالت تؤتي أكلها في تخويف الناس والحيلولة دون المسيرات الضخمة (هنا يكمن سر فشل المبادرة العربية لأن توقف آلة القتل سيخرج الناس بالملايين إلى الشوارع ما يدحرج الموقف نحو إسقاط النظام)، فضلا عن حقيقة أن الحشد الطائفي قد منحه تأييد كتلة كبيرة من السكان الخائفين من البديل، بخاصة العلويين والدروز والمسيحيين.

ضمن هذه الأجواء انقسم الناس، ومالت الغالبية الساحقة من الجماهير العربية إلى تأييد الثورة في سوريا رغم وقوفها السابق مع تيار المقاومة والممانعة، ليس فقط بسبب ميلها الفطري لمطالب الحرية والتعددية بعد زمن طويل من القمع، بل أيضا بسبب السمة الطائفية للجزء الأكبر من حالة التأييد للنظام السوري، معطوفا على تأييد أقليات أخرى (مواقف الجنرال عون والبطريرك الماروني مثالا).

هنا أخذ مؤيدو النظام يصرخون بأن محور المقاومة والممانعة في خطر وأنه يتعرض لمؤامرة، فيما رأى الآخرون أن سقوطه سيوفر الأجواء لاستمرار الثورات العربية، وصولا إلى وضع يسيطر فيه المزاج الشعبي المنحاز ضد الإمبريالية الأميركية والغطرسة الصهيونية على المنطقة، الأمر الذي سيغير ميزان الصراع برمته، مستدلين على ذلك بالذعر الذي يجتاح الأوساط الصهيونية، فضلا عن حقيقة أن محور المقاومة لم يكن يتقدم كثيرا في صراعه مع العدو بسبب وجود المحور الآخر، وبسبب حسابات أنظمته الكثيرة والمعقدة.
صحيح أن الوضع الجديد سيحتاج بعض الوقت حتى يتبلور. وصحيح أن بعض قوى المعارضة المنخرطة في الربيع العربي تمارس بعض الغزل مع أميركا والغرب (لم يعد الموقف الغربي موحدا، كما لم تعد أميركا بقوتها القديمة)، لكن الثورات العربية لن تفرز في نهاية المطاف غير قوىً تطلب ود الشارع الذي يثق المخلصون ببوصلته الصائبة في رفض الإملاءات الخارجية، والأهم بتصديه للعدوان الأجنبي، خاصة الصهيوني على الأمة.

المعادلة هي إذن بين من يثقون بأن الجماهير التي فجرت هذه الثورات بروحية المقاومة التي استلهمتها من فلسطين والعراق ولبنان، لن تكون في معسكر غير معسكر الوحدة والمقاومة للغطرسة الخارجية، ولن تسمح بسرقة ربيعها مهما كان الثمن، وبين الفريق الآخر الذي يثق في نظام بشار الأسد الدكتاتوري الفاسد ومؤيديه على أسس طائفية، ومعهم الحالمون بالتمدد والنفوذ كما هو حال إيران، ويعد هم الأكثرين حرصا على فلسطين وقضايا الأمة، ومن هؤلاء فريق تعشش فيه روح المؤامرة ويرى أن أميركا هي رب الكون الذي يحركه كيف يشاء.

نحن مع الفريق الأول من دون تردد، وبالطبع لأن نثق بالروح الجمعية للأمة أكثر من أي نظام مهما كان، كما نثق بقدرة الشعوب على الفعل وإفشال مخططات الأعداء، ولكل بعد ذلك أن يختار معسكره ويحدد موقفه في ظل اختلاط المواقف وارتباك الرؤى وتعقيدات المشهد

The West's tragedy of capital

While Rome burns citizens should not fiddle, but believe another world may be possible and work together for that world.

By Pepe Escobar


"Here's a crash course on global finance 2.0. The debt is in the Atlanticist, wealthy North. The resources are in the global South. And the (reluctant) supreme banker of the last resort is the Middle Kingdom, as personified by the Almighty Hu (Jintao). The name of the game - Marx revisited by Occupy the World - is class struggle. It's casino capitalism, aka finance turbo-neoliberalism, as practiced by a liquid modernity elite of one per cent, versus the have-a-little-something, have-nots and have-nothing, aka the 99 per cent.There could not be a more graphic demonstration than last week's Greek tragedy takeover of the Cannes debt festival of Slavoj Zizek's thesis that the marriage of capitalism and democracy is over. ....

For the "irresponsible citizenship", the "exercise of political rights is just a ceremony of renouncing political will, and will to govern, to place it in the hands of a new caste of private proprietors of politics, which attribute to themselves the knowledge of sophisticated and impenetrable techniques of ruling and governing".

So the crucial fight is against these "private proprietors of politics" - and their one per cent masters, be it in Cairo or Manhattan, Madrid or Lahore. G20? Forget it; it's more like G7 billion. If we are truly indignados towards a system that must be toppled, we are all responsible."

Nuclear Israel revisited

To have or not to have nuclear weapons is a question of human security and not European privilege.

Joseph Massad

".....The racist policies of the United States as to who should get to possess nuclear weapons and who should not (according to racial criteria of whether they are European or of European stock or not) aside, it must be made clear that the extent to which there is a nuclear race in the Middle East, it is one fostered by Israel’s warmongering and its possession of such weapons of mass destruction. If the Middle East is to be a nuclear-free zone, then the international effort to rid it of such weapons must begin with Israel, which is the only country in the region that possesses these weapons, and not with Iran who may or may not be developing them.

The racism of the Obama administration against Arabs and Muslims clearly knows no limits
, but for the people of the Middle East (Arabs, Turks, and Iranians), Obama’s racist criteria are not terribly persuasive. To have or not to have nuclear weapons is a question of human security, as far as the people of the region are concerned, and not one of European racial privilege. While the US may not fear Israeli nukes, Israel’s neighbouring countries and their civilian populations have for decades been (and continue to be) terrorised by them; and for good reason. Once Obama learns this lesson, the people of the region will reconsider US credibility about its alleged concern about nuclear proliferation."

UAE: Activists Planning Hunger Strike

Five Held Since April, Accused of ‘Publicly Insulting’ Officials

November 11, 2011

"(Abu Dhabi) – Five activists jailed seven months ago for “publicly insulting” United Arab Emirates officials plan to begin a hunger strike on November 13, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists said the hunger strike will continue until authorities release them unconditionally and end all judicial proceedings against them.

In a joint statement on November 11, they detailed violations of their basic rights by judiciary, prosecution, and prison officials, including their prolonged detention on politically motivated charges and a patently unfair trial....."

HRW Video: Homs, Syria - Update

November 10, 2011

"Human Rights Watch's Nadim Houry says Homs, Syria, has emerged as a center of opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. A new report from Human Rights Watch focuses on violations by Syrian security forces, including the deaths of at least 587 civilians, the highest number of casualties for any single governorate in Syria...."

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs

Arab League Should Suspend Syria

November 11, 2011

"(New York) – The systematic nature of abuses against civilians in Homs by Syrian government forces, including torture and unlawful killings, indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the Arab League, meeting in Cairo on November 12, 2011, to suspend Syria’s membership in the League and to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo and sanctions against individuals responsible for the violations, and refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The 63-page report, “‘We Live as in War’: Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,” is based on more than 110 interviews with victims and witnesses from Homs, both the city and the surrounding governorate of the same name. The area has emerged as a center of opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The report focuses on violations by Syrian security forces from mid-April to the end of August, during which time security forces killed at least 587 civilians, the highest number of casualties for any single governorate.Security forces have killed at least another 104 people in Homs since November 2, when the Syrian government agreed to the Arab League initiative for a political solution. Arab foreign ministers will meet in an emergency session on November 12 to discuss Syria’s failure to comply with the Arab League initiative.

Homs is a microcosm of the Syrian government’s brutality,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Arab League needs to tell President Assad that violating their agreement has consequences, and that it now supports Security Council action to end the carnage.”

Homs has emerged as the most restive governorate in Syria since anti-government protests erupted in mid-March. Human Rights Watch documented dozens of incidents in which security forces and government-supported militias violently attacked and dispersed overwhelmingly peaceful protests. A woman who participated with her 3-year-old son in a protest in the Homs neighborhood of Bab Dreib on August 15 described how they came under attack....."

Download the full report (PDF, 790.94 KB)

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support freezing Syria's membership in the organizations and committees of the Arab League?

With about 600 responding so far, 85% said yes.

An All-American Nightmare: This Is What Defeat Looks Like

Tom Engelhardt ( TomDispatch )

"Bush’s American Dream was a kind of apotheosis of this country’s global power as well as its crowning catastrophe, thanks to a crew of mad visionaries who mistook military might for global strength and acted accordingly. What they and their neocon allies had was the magic formula for turning the slow landing of a declining but still immensely powerful imperial state into a self-inflicted rout, even if who the victors are is less than clear.

Despite our panoply of bases around the world, despite an arsenal of weaponry beyond anything ever seen (and with more on its way), despite a national security budget the size of the Ritz, it’s not too early to start etching something appropriately sepulchral onto the gravestone that will someday stand over the pretensions of the leaders of this country when they thought that they might truly rule the world."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video: COURAGE in Palestine

Contributed by Abed

Al-Jazeera Video: Empire - A revolution for all seasons

With Marwan Bishara

"Empire asks what has become of the Arab revolutions after the initial euphoria "

Al-Jazeera Video: Defected Syrian soldiers side with protesters

"The Syrian government has been using its military to crush an uprising that began in March.

However, Al Jazeera has evidence the army itself is split over the tactics being used against civilians.

The defected soldiers say they are now trying to protect peaceful protesters from the government forces and that they are determined to bring down the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports."

Real News Video: Congress for Sale

Tom Ferguson: Congressional committee seats and Chairs appointed based on dollars raised, not seniority

More at The Real News

The Obama Doctrine: Making a Virtue of Necessity

By James Petras

"After nearly 3 years in deep pursuit of the colonial wars initiated by ex-President Bush, the Obama regime has finally recognized the catastrophic domestic and foreign consequences. As a result the “reality principle” has taken hold; the maintenance of the US Empire requires modification of tactics and strategies, to cut political, military and diplomatic losses[1].....

Conclusion: The “Obama Doctrine”

Reactive, improvised policies, with no overarching strategic framework, the so-called “Obama doctrine” shows few signs of reversing the decline of the US Empire. The deterioration of US “forward positions” in the Arab heartland is not linear nor without tactical advances, especially in light of the Obama regimes’ co-optation of several Islamic leaders in Libya, Syria and Tunisia and the recycling of Mubarak era generals in Egypt.....

Ultimately the “Obama doctrine” is doomed to failure as it is incapable of recognizing that the problem of decline is not simply a problem of ‘tactics’ but a basic systemic breakdown of empire building: the cracks and fissures abroad have ignited revolts at home."

Washington Loses on Own-Goal Hat Trick

by Philip Giraldi, November 10, 2011

".....The domination of Washington by a postage stamp–sized country in the Middle East never ceases to astonish. No matter what Tel Aviv does, Washington will always side with Israel. And there should be no question but that blind support of Israel has severely damaged other national interests in the Middle East region and has trashed the international reputation of the United States of America. Now Washington will be crippling itself with a series of self-inflicted wounds before withdrawing into a bunker because it is unable to get its way in terms of how the rest of the world should regard Israel and its policies. It is mind-numbing to contemplate, and every American should be shamed by the spectacle that is taking place, particularly given the issue that is behind most of the sound and fury — statehood and some measure of dignity for a people that has been sorely abused and all but destroyed through Israeli cruelty and American indifference. What does Ambassador Shapiro think when he exits from a session in which he has to first apologize before crawling in front of a puffed-up Israeli government minister? What do Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland really think when they defend the indefensible? Do they care about the damage that they are doing to the United States, its interests, and its people? I fear they do not, but this seemingly endless parade of those in public life prostrating themselves before Israel cannot end until we the people demand that it should be so. May that come soon."

Do the bomb Iran shuffle

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Hardcore neo-con practitioners of the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine are hyperventilating at the possibility of a successful attack on Iran reshuffling all the cards in the "arc of instability" from the Middle East to Central Asia. As the warmongers leer at the targets in the pack, Iran is too enticing. All they have to do is convince President Barack Obama he won't be the joker if he fights another war...."

Egypt: Military ‘Virginity Test’ Investigation a Sham

----------------------------Chief Virginity Tester-----------------------------

Impunity Highlights Lack of Independence of Justice System

Human Rights Watch

November 9, 2011

"(New York) – The Egyptian military has not investigated or prosecuted anyone for the sexual assault of seven women by military officers on March 10, 2011, in the military prison in Hikestep under the guise of “virginity tests,” Human Rights Watch said today. More than seven months later, military prosecutors also have failed to investigate adequately the other documented incidents of torture of those women and 13 others and of up to 170 men on March 9 on the grounds of the Egyptian Museum.

Samira Ibrahim, the only one among the seven women who filed a formal sexual assault complaint with the military prosecutor, told Human Rights Watch that she has received threatening anonymous phone calls. During the presidency of Hosni Mubarak, security forces often used such threats to intimidate victims or witnesses in connection with abuse complaints.

Egypt’s military rulers are trying to cover up one of the most terrible abuses their forces committed this year,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “After the trauma of sexual assault, these women have been denied the protection of the law.”....."

Blasts hit gas pipeline between Egypt, Jordan, Israel

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Saboteurs blew up the gas pipeline between Egypt, Israel and Jordan on Thursday in Northern Sinai using remote controlled bombs, forcing it to shut down, Egyptian security sources said.

The first blast, the sixth since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and the seventh this year, was near Mazar area, 30 km (18 miles) west of the town of Arish, security sources and witnesses said.

Witnesses saw a second, smaller explosion west of Arish near a pumping station, state news agency MENA reported. The report said it was not clear whether any damage was done. The explosions are the first since pumping resumed on 24 October.

"Primary examination showed that Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were put under the pipeline and were detonated from a distance," a security source told Reuters.

"The attackers used two trucks and extended wires were found at the scene," he added....."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Enough black Jews !!

Although the cabinet decided a year ago to bring the last of the Falashmura from Ethiopia to Israel at a rate of 200 a month, an interministerial committee with responsibility for the operation has decided to reduce the rate to 110 a month.
There are currently more than 4,500 Falashmura - descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity - who have registered to immigrate to Israel and are waiting in a refugee camp in Ethiopia's Gondar province. According to a report by a parliamentary delegation from Israel that visited the camp in September, conditions for the prospective immigrants are harsh.
Haaretz has learned, however, that the Jewish Agency, which operates the absorption centers in Israel, currently has available space for about 800 immigrants. Several absorption centers are closed completely. The Finance Ministry, for its part, said the committee decision to curtail the immigration was unanimous and that incentives have been provided to help Falashmura currently in absorption centers to find permanent housing and thereby free space in the absorption centers.

Why do the US media believe the worst about Iran?

In their eagerness to recycle flimsy scare stories about Iran, the US media have failed to absorb the lessons of Iraq and WMD

Brian Whitaker, Wednesday 9 November 2011

""One of the oldest tricks in the run-up to a war is to spread terrifying stories of things that the enemy may be about to do. Government officials plant these tales, journalists water them and the public, for the most part, swallow them." I wrote this paragraph in December 2002, some three months before the US launched its invasion of Iraq, but it seems just as applicable today in relation to Iran.....

Of course, these are extremely murky waters and I'm not at all sure who to believe. There is probably a lot of deception taking place on both sides. But what seems to me extraordinary is the reluctance of journalists – especially in the US mainstream – to acknowledge the uncertainties and their willingness to accept what, as far as Iran is concerned, are the most incriminating interpretations."

Palestinians braced for fresh setback in UN statehood bid

European nations set to back US opposition to move, meaning Washington does not have to exercise its security council veto

Chris McGreal in Washington, Wednesday 9 November 2011

"The Palestinian attempt to claim a moral victory in its bid for UN security council recognition of a Palestinian state appears on the brink of collapse as European nations look likely to back Washington's opposition to the move.

The security council is scheduled to meet on Friday to consider the Palestinian request in September to be admitted to the UN as a full member state. There is no chance of the request being approved, because the US has said it will veto any move.

But the Palestinians had hoped to claim a moral victory by garnering the support of nine of the 15 security council members they need to receive admission. Washington would then have been placed in the embarrassing position of having to kill the request.

However, diplomatic sources at the UN say the prospect of a vote is diminishing because the Palestinians appear able to muster the backing of only eight countries on the security council....."

المسعى الفلسطيني: الاكتفاء بمكانة دولة مراقبة بدون عضوية


"نقلت الوكالة الفرنسية للأنباء عن مسؤولين فلسطينيين قولهم، اليوم الأربعاء، إنهم "يعترفون بالهزيمة في محاولة الحصول على دعم مجلس الأمن في الحصول على العضوية الكاملة لفلسطين في الأمم المتحدة"، وأنه سيتم الانتقال إلى الخطة التالية (ب).

وبحسب المسؤولين، الذين رفضوا ذكر أسمائهم، فإن السلطة الفلسطينية سوف تطلب رفع مكانة فلسطين في الجمعية العامة بما يتيح لها الوصول إلى منظمات دولية مركزية.

وبحسب الوكالة الفرنسية فإن السلطة الفلسطينية تنوي الاكتفاء برفع مكانة تمثيل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية من مراقب دائم في الأمم المتحدة إلى "دولة مراقبة غير عضوة"، بشكل مماثل للفاتيكان
في المقابل، نقلت "هآرتس" عن وزير الخارجية الفلسطينية اعترافه يوم أمس بفشل الجهود الفلسطينية في تجنيد غالبية في مجلس الأمن للاعتراف بالدولة الفلسطينية، وأن السلطة لا تنوي الطلب من المجلس إجراء التصويت.

في المقابل، نقل عن رئيس طاقم المفاوضات الفلسطيني صائب عريقات قوله إن المسألة لم تنته بعد، وأن السلطة الفلسطينية تدرس خطواتها، وأنها ستكرر المحاولة مرارا

Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine

"End the Wars, Tax the Rich!"



Amazing Times

The Occupy movement is bringing new energy, new activists, new ideas, new strategies into our movements for peace, justice and equality. One of the chants I heard last week, from folks at Brooklyn for Peace where I was speaking, seemed to capture the moment particularly well:
How do we end the deficit? End the wars and tax the rich!”
It’s good advice. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Israel's warning from Russia

"In the midst of rising tension and saber rattling between Tehran and the West; could this be a new phase in the confrontation with Iran? And is the IAEA totally free from external influence?"

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera talks to a Syrian activist in Hama

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian MP speaks to Al Jazeera

"At least 3,500 people have been killed in Syria since major protests first broke out across the country in March, according to the latest UN estimates.

The government appears to have ignored an Arab League agreement on Wednesday, to pull troops and soldiers off the streets.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Anas Shami, a Syrian Member of Parliament, says the troops remained in cities to keep the peace[the peace of the grave??]."

Real News Video: The flotilla and the siege of Gaza

Israeli blockade continues to strangle Gaza as Israeli Navy intercepts latest flotilla

More at The Real News

Using Fake Intelligence to Justify War on Iran

by Michel Chossudovsky

"Washington is in the process of concocting a new string of lies pertaining to Iran's nuclear program with a view to justifying the implementation of punitive bombings. Threats directed against Iran have been ongoing for the last eight years. Fake intelligence has been used to justify these threats. There are indications, however, that this time the Western military alliance is not "crying wolf". In the wake of the war on Libya, the implementation of an air campaign against Iran is currently on the drawingboard of the Pentagon. The operation, were it to be carried out, would involve the active participation of Britain and Israel. The criminal process of fabricating lies to justify a military agenda must be understood. Without the lie, the US-NATO Israel military alliance has no leg to stand on. Iran does not constitute a threat to Global Security or to the security of Israel. The antiwar movement must forcefully address the role of these lies and fabrications. Without the Lie, the military agenda has no legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. The following text on the role of fake intelligence was written in November 2010. For the complete text click below:

The Mysterious "Laptop Documents". Using Fake Intelligence to Justify a Pre-emptive Nuclear War on Iran"

Freedom Waves will Reach Gaza

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....Writing in the Huffington Post, Just Foreign Policy Director Robert Naiman claimed, “In practice, the issue of the Gaza blockade has been entangled with the issue of the captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.” He cited a Washington Post article stating: “The blockade was widely seen as a punitive measure driven in large part by the outrage that Shalit's abduction in 2006 generated in Israel” (October 26).

Now that Shalit is free, Israel is clearly uninterested in ending its 'collective punishment' of Gaza. The latest act of piracy is the latest indication that the blockade will remain in place, under an array of pretexts and justifications.

Thanks to Tahrir and MV Saoirse, we know that the siege as a response to Shalit's capture was a ruse, and that Israel has no immediate plans to end the perpetual captivity of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

But we also know with equal certainty that the Freedom Waves will continue. “Despite this Israeli aggression, we will keep coming, wave after wave, by air, sea, and land, to challenge Israel's illegal policies towards Gaza and all of Palestine,” said Huwaida Arraf, a spokeswoman for the activists. “Our movement will not stop or be stopped until Palestine is free.”"

Iran: Five Minutes to Zero Hour

Tehran in the crosshairs

by , November 09, 2011

"If you wade through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s much-awaited report [.pdf] on Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons technology – a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone – what you’ll find is a studious ambiguity. “May,” “might,” and “could” are words that modify practically every assertion of Iranian perfidy.....

What jumps out at the careful reader of the IAEA report is that there is nothing concrete involved in this nefarious plot: only hearsay descriptions of blueprints and computer models, including various publicly available scientific studies authored by Iranian scientists. According to Khan, what was transferred to the Iranians was know-how: theoretical knowledge and contacts with suppliers. Yet throughout the IAEA report, although there are plenty of instances where Iran is alleged to have sought this or that dual use component, we are never told if they actually succeeded in procuring the item. While the report attributes its information to “Member States,” why will I not be surprised if this “intelligence” comes from the same folks who brought us the Niger uranium forgeries?

Although there is no smoking gun, the injection of the A.Q. Khan network into the propaganda mix at this level is a relatively new development, one that links the latest Enemy of the Moment (Pakistan) with longtime-favorite Iran. Why not kill two birds with one stone? .....

In the context of the long propaganda war the neocons have been faithfully waging over the past decade or so, we’re five minutes to zero hour.

The key to understanding the fraud at the heart of the IAEA report is the first paragraph of the summary:

While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Translation: the Iranians have no suitably enriched fissile material – but because they won’t surrender their sovereignty and allow us to occupy their nuclear facilities at will, there is no “credible assurance” of this. Iran is guilty, and must prove its innocence: that’s what the justice of the West means in the context of its relations with Iran."

A bad case of nuclear Iranophobia

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

Dodgy intel

The IAEA insists is relying on "credible" intelligence - over 1,000 pages of documentation - from more than 10 countries, and has drawn on eight years of "evidence".

Yet the IAEA has no independent means to confirm the enormous mass of information - and disinformation - it receives from mostly Western powers. Mohammad ElBaradei - who was the predecessor of the Japanese Yukya Amano as the head of the IAEA - said so, explicitly, many times. And he always disputed what passes for "Iran intelligence" - knowing it was politicized to the extreme, and trespassed by waves of rumor and speculation.

No wonder ultra-conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan had reason to ask whether that was a IAEA report or an American diktat to the meek, easily pressured Amano....

Predictably, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel will keep barking to deafening levels, while trying by all ruses necessary to wag the (American) dog.

The same Netanyahu that neither US President Barack Obama nor French President Nicolas Sarkozy can stand anymore has a single-minded strategy; to draw Washington and a few minions, from the Brits to the House of Saud - and this has nothing to do with "international community" - to exercise maximum pressure on Tehran. Otherwise, Israel will attack.....

So what's left is the possibility of even more sanctions. Four rounds of harsh UN Security Council sanctions already target Iran's imports and banking and finance. But that's the end of the line..... "

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Iran's nuclear programme: the IAEA report (pdf)

Read the November 2011 IAEA report warning that Iran appears to be on a structured path to building a nuclear weapon

(25 pages), Tuesday 8 November 2011

Israel Deports Democracy Now! Correspondent Jihan Hafiz; Most Gaza Flotilla Activists Still Detained

Democracy Now!


"The Israeli government continues to detain a number of passengers seized in international waters Friday while trying to challenge the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza. The passengers were on two boats — one from Canada and the other from Ireland — as part of the “Freedom Waves to Gaza” flotilla — which aimed to port in Gaza. According to flotilla organizers, some 20 activists are believed to remain in custody after refusing to sign statements asserting they had entered Israel illegally. Flotilla organizers have accused the Israeli military of abusing the activists, with allegations of physical assault and the use of tasers. Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz was among those detained in the Israeli interception of the Gaza-bound ships despite her press credentials. While jailed, Hafiz says an Israeli official told her, “the Israeli government does not see my reporting, or Democracy Now!’s, as reporting, as journalism. It’s to them activism. They said that this form of journalism is actually activism.” Hafiz had been filing daily reports for Democracy Now! from the Canadian ship named “Tahrir.” She spent three nights behind bars, where she was strip-searched and denied phone calls to relatives for 48 hours. She was finally deported Monday night and arrived in New York City just hours ago. Israel has not returned her $20,000 worth of equipment or footage. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Hafiz joins us in studio to describe what took place on Friday and her detention. “All of the [Israeli] commandos on all of these boats were heavily armed. They did not look like they were taking two much smaller boats, filled with unarmed people, with activists and civilians. They looked like they were taking on an army of a foreign country,” says Hafiz, noting the soldiers pointed their guns at the heads of those on board....."

There’s Nothing Idealistic About the One-State Solution

Response to Michael Neumann

By Jonathan Cook

"This is at least the third time in the past four years that philosophy professor Michael Neumann has used these pages to lambast the supporters of a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. On each occasion he has offered a little more insight into why he so vehemently objects to what he terms the “delusions” of those who oppose – or, at least, gave up on – the two-state solution.
In his most recent essay, Neumann suggests that his previous reluctance to be more forthright was motivated by “politeness”. Well, I for one wish the professor had been franker from the outset. It might have saved us a lot of time and effort.
Even though I have identified myself as a supporter of the one-state solution, I find much to agree with in what Neumann writes on this occasion. Like him, I do not believe that a particular solution, or resolution, will occur simply because the Palestinians or their wellwishers make a good moral case for it. Success for the Palestinians will come when a wide array of regional developments force Israel to conclude that its current behaviour is untenable.....

Ordinary Palestinians have no power, as Neumann notes, to force Israel to establish a state for them. But they do have the power to demand from Israel a say in their future, and press for it through civil disobedience, campaigns for voting rights, and the establishment of an anti-apartheid movement. Such a struggle will take place within – and implicitly accept – the one-state reality already created by Israel. If Palestinians march for the vote, it will be for a vote in Knesset elections.

None of this will win them either a state or the vote, of course. But the repression needed from Israel to contain these forces will serve to rapidly erode whatever international sympathy remains and to further galvanise the regional forces lining up against Israel into action.

In short, however one assesses it, the promotion of a one-state solution can serve only to hasten the demise of the Israeli elites who oppress the Palestinians. So why waste so much breath opposing it?"

Al-Jazeera Video: Activists deface Syrian official websites

"Despite an apparent agreement negotiated by the Arab League to bring an end to the Syrian government's violent crackdown on protests, fighting still continues in some of the country's major cities.

At least 110 people have died in Homs, where armed opposition elements centred in the Bab Amr area have fought back against security forces, while at least four people were injured in Hama on Tuesday.

One well-known Syrian celebrity, activist Fadwa Suleiman, also lent her voice to the demonstrators, saying children were being killed in the crackdown. The United Nations says 3,500 people have died since protests began in March.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you believe that the Syrian regime's acceptance of the Arab initiative is a ploy to gain time?

With about 800 responding, 89% said yes.

Video: Mass walkout at Wayne State leaves "IDF" spokesman lecturing to empty room

By Ali Abunimah

"Students at Wayne State University in Detroit staged a silent protest and mass walk-out that left Israel Army reserve spokesman and Jerusalem Post correspondent Gil Hoffman lecturing to a virtually empty auditorium on November 1.
A video of the event just posted on YouTube shows Hoffman lecturing to hundreds of students. Many of them have their mouths symbolically covered in red tape, or have signs pinned to them protesting Israeli war crimes and calling to hold Israel accountable.
At a certain point, the students walk out of the large auditorium en masse leaving only a handful of people listening to the speaker.
Hillel, the national pro-Israel advocacy organization which sponsored Hoffman’s talk, billed him as “Chief Political Correspondent and Analyst for the Jerusalem Post.”
But Hoffman’s personal website identifies him as “A reserve soldier in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.” Perhaps only in Israel can someone be taken seriously as an objective journalist reporting on military and political affairs while at the same time acting as an official mouthpiece for the army."

Bracing for the Iran Nuclear Report: Will 'Military Action' Rhetoric Develop its Own Momentum?

By Tony Karon

"If the proverbial "drumbeat" for war with Iran has grown more insistent in recent weeks, it's about to turn into something akin to the opening bars of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". That's because the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected, in a report on Iran's nuclear program due for release early this week, to suggest that the Islamic Republic's nuclear program may include a "possible military dimension", giving Tehran the means -- possibly with the help of foreign scientists -- to relatively quickly build nuclear weapons should it choose to do so.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to publish some evidence -- long ago shared among key international players -- suggesting that Iran may have in recent years conducted theoretical work on warhead design, and experiments on high-explosive triggering systems that don't appear to have any purpose outside of nuclear weapons development.......

It has, of course, become par for the course over the past five years for Israel and its allies to imply that war is imminent whenever the international community's schedule turns to Iran. With Obama Administration officials, speaking anonymously, hyping the IAEA report as a "gotcha" moment that will leave little doubt of Iran's intentions, the saber-rattling fits a familiar pattern of seeking to scare reluctant international players into adopting tougher sanctions on Iran as the lesser evil necessary if only to restrain Israel from launching a war that could set the Middle East ablaze......"

بيروت وكلام الحرية!

بيروت وكلام الحرية!
الياس خوري

"لم تكن الكلمات فارغة من معانيها مثلما هي اليوم. بيروت، وسط ربيع العرب الدموي، تتهاوى كمدينة وكمشروع ثقافي. كلمة حرية التي كانت محور لقاءات معرض الكتاب الفرنكوفوني السنوي في 'البيال'، جاءت ناشفة وبلا معنى.
شيء يثير السخرية والقرف في آن معاً. على بعد امتار قليلة من قاعة 'البيال'، قامت بلدية ضاحية برج حمود بما يشبه التطهير العرقي للعمال الأكراد المقيمين فيها. بؤس العمالة الأجنبية امتزج بالعنصرية، كي نشهد وصول الوقاحة الى ذروتها.
وفي شوارع المدينة وازقتها، تجري عمليات خطف لمواطنين سوريين، وتقوم اجهزة حزبية بالطلب من السوريين تعبئة استمارات، كي يكونوا تحت القبضة الأمنية. واخيرا لا آخرا وصلت الأمور الى حد اعتقال معارضين سوريين في مطار بيروت.
وعلى بعد كيلومترات قليلة تدور المجزرة الأكثر وحشية في تاريخ سورية. ومع ذلك تصمت المدينة، وتتدثّر بالخوف. والخوف في الحقيقة ليس من شبيحة النظام السوري او بعض الأحزاب الفاشية، فهؤلاء لا يخيفون احدا. بيروت تخاف من نفسها، لذا تتقوقع وتستسلم لزعماء الطوائف اللبنانية الذين يشبهون الرسوم الكاريكاتورية، بعضهم يغلّف حقده الدفين وعنصريته ضد الشعب السوري بمعزوفة خوف الأقليات، وبعضهم الآخر ينتظر سقوط النظام السوري كي يصفي حساباته الطائفية الداخلية. لا احد يرى او هو على استعداد لأن يرى حقيقة الانتفاضة السورية بوصفها ثورة ضد كل الممارسات الاستبدادية، ودعوة الى الانعتاق، لذا لا تستطيع ان تكون جزءا من برنامج طائفي عنصري تافه.
نجح النظام الطائفي اللبناني في ان يبرهن انه نظام استبدادي وان استبداد الطوائف هو اكثر انواع الاستبداد قدرة على تجريد الانسان من روحه وتحويله الى كائن عنصري.
السلطة اللبنانية تعلن انحيازها الكامل الى جانب الديكتاتور ضد الشعب. امن اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان رهينة 'اصدقاء' سورية، حيث يقود حزب الله الأمن، تاركاً لحليفه الجنرال عون تقديم التغطية الايديولوجية والسياسية لذلك.
اما على المستوى الاعلامي، فان الثورة السورية اعلنت موت الاعلام اللبناني. ففي ظل انحياز صحيفتين كبريين للنظام السوري، وضمورالصحيفة الثالثة التي دخلت ما يشبه الموت السريري المهني، نستطيع القول ان هناك ازمة حقيقية في الاعلام اللبناني المكتوب، وان الصحافة اللبنانية تواجه تراجعا لم تشهده في تاريخها.
اما محطات التلفزيون اللبنانية فهي خارج الصورة بشكل غرائبي. بعضها لا يملّ من ترداد معزوفات النظام السوري، فيما يعاني بعضها الآخر تخشباً يرده البعض الى ازمة سيولة مالية، لكنه يعبّر في الواقع عن ازمة سيولة فكرية وابداعية ضربت القطاع الاعلامي برمته.
يستطيع الاعلام التلفزيوني اللبناني ان يتذرع بعجزه المادي عن منافسة الاعلام الفضائي الخليجي، وهو محق في ذلك، لكنه نسي انه يملك رأسمالاً رمزياً كبيراً هو الحرية، قام بالتخلي عنه طوعا، عندما صارت القنوات اللبنانية اداة سياسية في ايدي الطوائف وجنرالاتها، وبذا فقدت حريتها، وتحولت الى ابواق دعائية.
اما الثقافة اللبنانية فهي شبه غائبة، فباستثناء تجمع كبير يتيم دعا اليه بعض المثقفين وبيانات متفرقة صدرت هنا وهناك، ، فان مساهمات المثقفين اللبنانيين تنحصر في كتابة مقالات صحافية، والتعبير من خلال وسائل الاتصال الاجتماعية.
وباستثناء تجمعين ثقافيين- فنيين نظما في مسرح 'دوّار الشمس'، الذي يديره روجيه عسّاف، فان اصوات الفنانين والمثقفين اللبنانيين تكاد لا تُسمع. والطريف ان تقنيات الفن المفهومي والعرض (البرفورمانس)، التي كانت سمة خروج الفنانين الللبنانيين الشباب الى عوالم ما بعد الحداثة، تتحول اليوم الى ادوات رئيسية يستخدمها شابات وشبان الثورة السورية، بينما يغيب الفنانون اللبنانيون الما بعد حداثيين لاهثين خلف تجاربهم العالمية!
صورة انهيار بيروت الثقافي والاخلاقي مروّعة وتثير الخوف والقلق، لأنها تهدد بطي صفحة كبرى في تاريخ الثقافة اللبنانية بدأت فصولها مع النهضويين الكبار وامتدت على مساحة المناخ الثقافي اللبناني الذي استقبل الثقافة العربية الهاربة من القمع وتفاعل معها، وصولا الى 'شقاء العرب'، كما كتبه الشهيد سمير قصير.
من الصعب القبول بهذا الخمول الثقافي والسياسي والأخلاقي الذي لا اجد له تفسيراً سوى في مناخات الخيبة التي اعقبت فشل انتفاضة الاستقلال التي استولى عليها الطائفيون، معلنين عجز البنى الطائفية عن بناء افق يوحد الاستقلال بمقاومة الاحتلال الاسرائيلي، ما يعني بقاء الوطن مؤجلا لأن الطائفية في جوهرها نزعة عنصرية، وبنية لا وطن لها سوى مصالحها الضيقة.
الغريب ان الثورات العربية التي تعلن ولادة وطنيات مختلفة بأفق عربي، تعلن في الوقت عينه افول الوطنية اللبنانية وانحلالها الأخلاقي، وتحولها الى اطر للكراهية العنصرية، تبرر الدفاع عن الاستبداد الأسدي بخواف الأقليات وضرورة تحالفها مع الطغاة!
عقلية زمن المتصرفية تجتاح لبنان، وتحيله الى المكان الأكثر خمولا في المشرق العربي اليوم، وهذه نهاية لا تليق بأحفاد احمد فارس الشدياق، ولا علاقة لها بالصورة التي رسمتها بيروت لنفسها، حين كانت عاصمة الحرية والمقاومة.
المأسوي ان اغلبية الناس لا يشعرون بالمأساة. صارت المدينة مجرد مكان لفولكلور ثقافي يبدأ من عجائب الدنيا السبع وينتهي في ازقة الحمرا حيث يعُتدى بالضرب على كل من تسوّل له نفسه اطلاق هتاف مؤيد للثورة السورية، ويخطف سوريون على مرأى من رجال الأمن او بواسطة الأمن اللبناني المولج بحماية سفير النظام السوري، ويرتفع الصراخ العنصري، الذي يحظى ببركة بعض المراجع الدينية، ويعطينا 'سيد المقاومة' دروساً في ممانعة لا تجد لها حليفا سوى في مافيات النهب والقتل في سورية.
انه البؤس.
والبؤس لا يتحول الى حقيقة الا اذا رضي البائسون ببؤسهم، وتأقلموا معه وحولوه الى نمط حياة.
البؤس ليس قدرا ايها الرفاق.
هنا يقع دور المثقفين والشباب، فعليهم تقع مسؤولية انقاذ بيروت من نفسها ومن انتحارها.
وهذه مسؤولية نبيلة تنتظر من يتصدّى لها قبل فوات الاوان.

Why is no one protecting Saudi Arabia's child brides?

The support of the Saudi monarchy and its apologists in the west means the barbaric practice of child marriage is unchallenged

Ali al-Ahmed, Tuesday 8 November 2011

"Atgaa, 10, and her sister Reemya, 8, are about to be married to men in their 60s. Atgaa will be her husband's fourth wife. Their wedding celebrations are scheduled for this week and will take place in the town of Fayaadah Abban in Qasim, Saudi Arabia.
The girls are getting married because their financially struggling father needs the money that their dowries will provide: young girls of this age can fetch as much as $40,000 each.
Many readers might be shocked at this news. How can it be legal? The answer is that Saudi Arabia has no minimum age for marriage, and it is perfectly legal to marry even an hour-old child.....

So far, no UN body, such as Unicef or the human rights council, has issued a single statement condemning child marriages in Saudi Arabia. In fact, not one country has made a statement in the human rights council on this issue, and not a single western government has asked the Saudi monarchy to stop the practice. The ugly tradition of child marriage thus continues with the help of the monarchy and its apologists in the west.

If any governments, especially in the west, are seriously concerned with this barbaric and medieval practice, they should ban the heads of Saudi justice, interior and health ministries from entering their countries. If this action were taken against government leaders facilitating crimes against children we would soon see a resolution of this issue.

Saudi Arabia must be pressured to set a minimum age for marriage and save children like Atgaa and Reemya."