Saturday, March 23, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: الجيش الحر يسيطر على لواء للدفاع الجوي في درعا

New Pope, by Khalil Bendib

President Obama’s Second Term: Selling Death and Buying Assassins In the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

By James Petras

"Introduction: As President Obama enters his second term with a new Cabinet, the foreign policy legacy of the past four years weighs heavily on their strategic decisions and their empire-building efforts. Central to the analysis of the next period is an evaluation of the past policies especially in regions where Washington expended its greatest financial and military resources, namely the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.....

In sum, the past military commitments, the links to Israel, the legacies of political failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragility of new client rulers mean that the OKH regime will play an increasingly marginal economic role in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel troika will do their best to salvage the US military bases and political influence among autocratic petro-states in the Gulf."  

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has reneged on promises to Palestine

21 March 2013

"......But judging from their discourse and performance during the past year, it’s evident that the Brotherhood — including their Freedom and Justice Party and the president — are too eager to prove their power-worthiness by demonstrating “pragmatism” and flexibility to the international community.
Some Brotherhood figures and sympathizers argue that this is vital to securing their ascendance to power in a shaky transition and to quell the fears of skeptics. This might be valid in some cases (where the regional balance of power isn’t in their favor) but it poses compelling questions on how far Morsi will go in Mubarak’s shoes under the pretext of realpolitik — and if he’ll eventually find himself trapped there.

Gaza is the barometer

Gaza, which shares a 14-kilometer-long border with Egypt, is probably one of the best barometers for Cairo’s foreign policy independence — or lack thereof.

It’s where Egypt is forced to be involved in the Palestinian question especially since Hamas’s takeover of the strip in 2007 and Israel’s subsequent land, sea and air siege. Under an expired one-year agreement (2005-2006) between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union, only people (those who are not on Tel Aviv’s blacklist) are allowed though the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing, not goods.
“Approved” commodities are permitted though the Israeli-controlled Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. While Egypt wasn’t party to this agreement, it continues to hold it, seven years after it became invalid.......

The changes at the crossing are one of the few developments that offer some insight into how Egypt under a Brotherhood president is managing the Palestinian file. There is a difference in modus operandi, but the outcome shows no signs of shaping a new reality. Instead of equating it with Egypt’s other international border crossings, Rafah is still hostage to the Mubarak-era’s calculations and commitments to Israel. It might be open daily, but as per Israel’s demands, Egypt will not allow even a cement bag through, directing goods onto Israeli-controlled Karem Abu Salem........

This is an oxymoronic situation: Hamas, Gaza and perhaps the Palestinian question as a whole are paying the price for the Brotherhood’s rise to power, when in fact the group, in the name of “pragmatism,” has reneged on previously declared stances related to the Palestinian question.

It’s tempting to assume that Morsi and the Brotherhood are applying a gradual, tactual strategy that will eventually lead to bolder positions. But this is conditional upon guaranteeing, against all odds, that Morsi will at least complete his four-year term and that the conservative reformist mentality of the Muslim Brotherhood will adopt a revolutionary approach towards the issue. The improbability of both is high and like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendance to power has put to question its raison d’être."

Friday, March 22, 2013

البرنامج - الحلقه 18 كامله

BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus

Democracy Now!

"A shocking new report by The Guardian and BBC Arabic details how the United States armed and trained Iraqi death squads that ran torture centers. It is a story that stretches from the U.S.-backed death squads in Central America during the 1980s to the imprisoned Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. We play extended excerpts of "James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq," which exposes the role the retired U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played in training Iraqi police commando units. "We spent maybe six months trying to track down young American soldiers who served in Samarra," says the film’s executive producer, Maggie O’Kane, who notes the investigation was sparked by memos found in the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks. "But many were too frightened because of what happened to Bradley Manning." A Pentagon spokesman told The Guardian it had seen the reports and is looking into the situation. "As you know, the issue surrounding accusation of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees is a complex one that is full of history and emotion," said Col. Jack Miller. "It will take time to work a thorough response."....."

Al-Jazeera Video:بلا حدود- قراءة تحليلية لزيارة أوباما لإسرائيل

"تستضيف الحلقة الكاتب والمحلل السياسي للشؤون الخارجية بصحيفة غارديان البريطانية ديفيد هيرست، ليقدم قراءة تحليلية للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية تجاه دول الربيع العربي وسوريا والمنطقة في ظل زيارة الرئيس الأميركي أوباما لإسرائيل والضفة الغربية.

Goldstone again? Source: rights groups fear Palestinian cave-in at UN could scuttle action on settlements

By Ali Abunimah

"It was big news when the UN Human Rights Council published the results of an independent investigation last month on Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land, seen by some as opening the door for third states to take real action against Israel, such as holding it accountable under universal jurisdiction, banning settlement products or other measures.

But now, a source has revealed to The Electronic Intifada, Palestinian human rights advocates fear that the Palestinian Authority is about to throw away this major opportunity by sponsoring a UN resolution that falls far short of what these advocates think is necessary to ensure that words are translated into action.
The UN Human Rights Council began debating the report in Geneva on Monday, a session that was boycotted by the US administration of President Barack Obama who is currently visiting the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

Concerns were first signalled in an overly-polite and diplomatic 14 March letter sent by 11 prominent Palestinian human rights organization to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas urging the PLO “to strive to ensure the full implementation of [the UN report’s] recommendations, especially those pertaining to the obligations and responsibilities of Third States, by promoting a strong resolution at the UN Human Rights Council.”

But this cautious public approach masks growing alarm among human rights groups confirmed to me by a Ramallah-based source with direct knowledge of the talks that have been going on behind the scenes between Palestinian Authority officials, human rights groups and diplomats from other countries.
The source asked not to be named because the source did not have permission to share this information received from his communications. It was my view that the information provided was credible and of such significant public interest and urgency that granting the request for anonymity was justified.

Why this report is important


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر- زيارة أوباما لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط

Features Marwan Bishara

Phil Donahue on His 2003 Firing From MSNBC, When Liberal Network Couldn’t Tolerate Antiwar Voices

Democracy Now!

"In 2003, the legendary television host Phil Donahue was fired from his prime-time MSNBC talk show during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The problem was not Donahue’s ratings, but rather his views: An internal MSNBC memo warned Donahue was a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war," providing "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." Donahue joins us to look back on his firing 10 years later. "They were terrified of the antiwar voice," Donahue says....."

The PLO has failed Palestinians; let’s start again from scratch

21 March 2013

".......If Palestinians want a revitalized national movement that is unified and representative, they will need to build it themselves from scratch. They will also need to make the previous body and its leaders — regardless of their revolutionary origins and rhetoric, titles, symbolism and emotional ties — obsolete and irrelevant. With a past marked by failure, Palestinians must imagine and work toward a very different future. Otherwise there will be little hope of finding a successful strategy or vehicle to achieve Palestinian rights."

West Bank wall and settlements an affront to Palestinian rights

21 March 2013

"Israel’s fence/wall through the occupied West Bank cutting off Palestinians from their farmland, and the settlements that take over even more lands, are ongoing violations of international law, Amnesty International said today as US President Barack Obama continued his first presidential trip to the region.

The organization has learnt that, in the last few days, Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank village of Jayyus, who for years have had trouble accessing their land through the military fence/wall (which in this area takes the form of an electrified and heavily guarded fence), are now faced with Israeli settlers setting up additional obstacles.....

"International law demands the fence/wall and the settlements be removed from the Occupied Palestinian Territories but the reality on the ground is so distant from that, that it feels as though bulldozers have been driven straight through the Geneva Conventions and the International Court of Justice....."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you see that Obama's visit could produce progress for establishing a Palestinian state?

So far 93% have said no.

The American Stooge and his Only Constant

The American Stooge and his Only Constant

The crocodile tears of the complicit: Iraq and the cries against humanity

Ten years on, the enablers of the Iraq war are still trying to justify their complicity.

By Mark LeVine

".......In a different world, where journalists still had a shred of their former dignity, those who failed so miserably to do their jobs when they were most desperately needed would have left the profession, and devoted the last decade to working to redress the incredible harm this war did to the Iraqi people, never mind Americans and the world more broadly.

Instead, they merely write about their experiences and "hope [they] are the wiser now", which seems pretty unlikely given the continued sorry state of reporting about the Middle East.

Meanwhile, whatever good might somehow come to Iraq, the reality is that the war was and remains one giant war crime, not to mention the greatest theft of citizens' wealth in American, if not world, history (trillions of dollars and counting). As the drone wars heat up and the vioations of (once) Constitutional rights continues, the mainstream media remains largely compliant with Washington's agenda, regardless of which party is in power. Yet we were constantly learning just how brazen the administration lies were, with new evidence that the CIA and MI6 were told before the Iraq invasion that there were no WMDs......"

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: Obama's Support

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will Israeli Settlers Receive Obama’s Blessing?

Grand Words, Meagre Promises, Total Inaction on the Occupation

By Jonathan Cook

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"Those who hoped that Barack Obama would be arriving in Israel to bang Israeli and Palestinian heads together, after four years of impasse in the peace process, will be sorely disappointed......

The new Israeli cabinet lost no time setting out its legislative priorities. The first bill announced is a “basic law” to change the state’s official definition, so that its “Jewish” aspects trump the “democratic” elements, a move the Haaretz newspaper termed “insane”.

Among the main provisions is one to restrict state funding to new Jewish communities only. This points to a cynical solution Netanyahu may adopt to placate the simmering social protest movement in Tel Aviv, which has been demanding above all more affordable housing.

By freeing up even more cheap land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, he can expand the settlements, further eat away at Palestinian territory, silence the protests, and wrong-foot the opposition. All he needs is Obama’s blessing."

Dahr Jamail Returns to Iraq to Find Rampant Torture and a Failed State Living in "Utter Devastation"

Democracy Now!

"Investigative journalist Dahr Jamail reported for Democracy Now! throughout the early stages of the U.S. invasion of Iraq 10 years ago. Now with Al Jazeera, Jamail has just returned from Iraq once again, finding what he calls a "failed state" living in "utter devastation." In part one of our interview, Jamail discusses the harrowing security situation for Iraqis living in fear of bombings, executions and kidnappings, the widespread torture in Iraq’s prisons, and the breakdown of security in what he calls a "lawless state." Jamail is the author of "Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq" and "The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan."......"

Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers

Democracy Now!

"In part two of our interview, Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses how the U.S. invasion of Iraq has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Noting the birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Jamail says: "They’re are extremely hard to bear witness to, but it’s something that we all need to pay attention to ... What this has generated is from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II." Jamail has also reported on the refugee crisis of more than one million displaced Iraqis still inside the country, who are struggling to survive without government aid, a majority of them living in Baghdad. Click here to watch part 1 of the interview......"

Bradley Manning, by Khalil Bendib

Iraq Anniversary

Steve Sack, Cagle Cartoons, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Palestinians Prepare a Bitter Welcome for Obama

"........This was a security dummy run on Monday for U.S. President Barack Obama’s official visit to Ramallah due Thursday this week. The PA’s security apparatus has been working closely with American and Israeli security personnel to ensure the American president’s safety.

Many Palestinians seem hostile to the visit. Posters of Obama have been torched and vandalised. Angry Palestinians threw shoes at a U.S. diplomatic vehicle in Bethlehem during an anti-Obama demonstration. More demonstrations are being planned during the visit.

These developments came as the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said that Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the West Bank had led to many human rights violations that could possibly be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The U.S. refused to take part in the debate in Geneva on Israeli settlements and their effects on Palestinians, accusing the UN of being biased against Israel.

The U.S. stance on the UNHRC debate came as no surprise to Palestinians. It only succeeded in angering them further at what they say is the U.S. government’s bias towards Israel complemented by massive economic and military aid......"

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Samson Option

In their feverish attempt to grab Egypt now, the Muslim Brotherhood are pushing the millennia old nation to the brink


By Hani Shukrallah , Tuesday 19 Mar 2013

"......Lacking in vision, remarkably incompetent and afflicted by a severe dearth of intelligent cadre (they managed to drive out their best and most politically sophisticated members), the Muslim Brotherhood leadership is driven, frenziedly and feverishly, to “seize the moment”, to capture Egypt’s state and society now, in the full knowledge that by tomorrow it will be never – their decades-old yearning lost forever, their future “bound in shallows and in miseries”.

More than anything else, it is this feverish zeal that best explains the attacks and the bungled retreats, the innumerable barefaced lies, the killings, the torture, the ravenous power grabbing, the always failed attempts at intimidation and terror and the almost indifferent squandering in mere months of a popular goodwill the group had built over a great many decades.

Nothing else, not incompetence, nor lack of vision, nor yet dearth of cadre, but a frenzied, irrational compulsion, bordering on psychosis, can explain political behaviour that – Samson like – is driving both the 84-year old group and the nation to ruin......

Like that compulsive gambler, the Brotherhood – fervently bent on capturing Egypt’s state and society in one fell blow – are inherently unable to cut their losses, but rather are constantly and with growing desperation betting on the next hand, the next throw of the dice, the one that will compensate them for all their losses, and ‘lead [them] to fortune”.

Meanwhile, their chips are dwindling fast, their debt to the House piling up, and the pit-bosses are hovering in the background.

The pit-bosses in that little metaphor are of course the military."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

رام الله: مظاهرات رافضة لزيارة أوباما لرام الله وبيت لحم


"تظاهر حشد كبير من الشبان في رام الله، اليوم الثلاثاء، للتعبير عن رفضهم لزيارة الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما، الذي يزور فلسطين بعد غد الخميس.
وكانوا قد انتظموا في مسيرة شبابية، دعا لها أكثر من تجمع شبابي، انطلقت من على دوار المنارة، وسارت في شوارع المدينة، واتجهت نحو مقر الرئاسة، إلا أن الشرطة حالت دون وصول المتظاهرين إلى المقاطعة.
وهتف المتظاهرون بهتافات رافضة لزيارة أوباما إلى فلسطين، واتهموه بالانحياز لإسرائيل، ووضع بعض المتظاهرون أحذيتهم على صور لأوباما، وضرب بعضهم الصور بالأحذية قائلين إن أوباما شخص غير مرغوب فيه.
وقال منسق القوى الوطنية والإسلامية في محافظة رام الله والبيرة عصام بكر، إن المسيرة تهدف إلى توجيه رسالة إلى أوباما والإدارة الأمريكية بأن الشعب الفلسطيني يريد من هذه الإدارة الاعتراف بحقوقه الوطنية المشروعة.
وأكد بكر أن الإدارة الأمريكية تعادي عبر مواقفها الشعب الفلسطيني، من خلال التصويت ضد مشاريع قرار في الأمم المتحدة لصالح الشعب الفلسطيني باستخدام حق النقض "الفيتو".
من جهته، أكد الناشط الشبابي حازم أبو هلال أن المسيرة تهدف إلى توجيه رسالة إلى أوباما بأنه شخص غير مرغوب فيه في فلسطين، لأنه هو من يمول الاحتلال ومن يدعمه في المحافل الدولية، ومن يحارب الشعب الفلسطيني، من خلال دولة الاحتلال، وفق قوله.
وأكد أبو هلال أن المسيرة توجه رسالة إلى العالم أجمع بأن الشعب الفلسطيني يقف ضد هذه الزيارة ويرفضها، مؤكداً على أن الإدارة الأمريكية يجب عليها فرض عقوبات ومقاطعة دولة الاحتلال على جرائمها بحق الشعب الفلسطيني، لا أن تقوم بالضغط على القيادة الفلسطينية من أجل مزيد من التنازل والعودة إلى المفاوضات.

Iraq war: make it impossible to inflict such barbarism again

The US and Britain not only bathed Iraq in blood, they promoted a sectarian war that now threatens the region

The Guardian,
If anyone doubted what kind of Iraq has been bequeathed by a decade of US-sponsored occupation and war, today's deadly sectarian bomb attacks around Baghdad against bus queues and markets should have set them straight. Ten years to the day after American and British troops launched an unprovoked attack on a false pretext – and more than a year since the last combat troops were withdrawn – the conflict they unleashed shows no sign of winding down.....

The evidence is now indisputable that this went far beyond the promotion of a sectarian political carve-up. As the Guardian reported this month, US forces led by General Petraeus himself were directly involved not only in overseeing torture centres, but also in sponsoring an El Salvador-style dirty war of sectarian death squads (known as "police commando units") to undermine the resistance.

One outcome is the authoritarian Shia elite-dominated state run by Nouri al-Maliki today. His Sunni vice-president until last year, Tariq al-Hashimi – forced to leave the country and sentenced to death in absentia for allegedly ordering killings – was one of those who in his own words "collaborated" with the occupation, encouraging former resistance leaders to join Petraeus's "awakening councils", and now bitterly regrets it. "If I knew the result would be like this, I would never have done it," he told me at the weekend. "I made a grave mistake."......"

The Costs of War: 10 Years After Iraq Invasion, New Study Tallies the Massive Human, Financial Toll

Democracy Now!

"On the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we look at a massive new report by a team of 30 economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts and physicians about the Iraq War’s impact. "The Costs of War" report found the total number of people who have died from the Iraq War — including soldiers, militants, police, contractors, journalists, humanitarian workers and Iraqi civilians — has reached at least 189,000 people, including at least 123,000 civilians. Financially, the report estimates a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $2.2 trillion, a figure that could one day approach $4 trillion with the interest accrued on the borrowed money used to fund the war. We’re joined by the report’s co-author, Neta Crawford. professor of political science at Boston University......."

"We’ve Lost Our Country": An Iraqi American Looks Back on a Decade of War That’s Devastated a Nation

Democracy Now!

"We continue our look at the Iraq War’s 10th anniversary with Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst. Jarrar led the first civilian casualty survey in Iraq as the country director of Civic Worldwide and has closely monitored the issue of civilian casualties as well as the larger fallout from the U.S. invasion for the last 10 years. He’s currently the communications director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Discussing Iraq’s current Shiite-Sunni divide, Jarrar says the U.S. invasion has brought "the complete destruction of the Iraqi national identity. There is no civic identity in Iraq anymore, so people regressed to the other level that they can identify with, and that unfortunately is the sectarian affiliation."......"

Brokers of Deceit: As Obama Visits Israel, Scholar Rashid Khalidi on How the U.S. Undermines Peace

Democracy Now!

"As the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq is marked around the world today, President Obama is heading to Israel for the first trip there of his presidency. Obama’s three-day tour also includes stops in the occupied West Bank on Thursday and in Jordan on Friday. The White House has taken pains to play down expectations of Obama’s visit, billing it a "listening tour." Obama’s supporters say that mission reflects the reality of the Middle East conflict, with the United States unable to forcefully change an intractable dispute. But in his new book, the Palestinian-American scholar Rashid Khalidi argues that the United States could in fact play a decisive role in achieving Middle East peace if it simply reversed decades of policy backing the Israeli occupation. In "Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East," Khalidi draws on his research as a historian, and on his own experience as an advisor to Palestinian negotiators, to argue that far from being an impartial broker, the United States has effectively acted as Israel’s lawyer......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Analyst Joshua Landis : Obama under pressure to increase US involvement

"Joshua Landis, director of Middle Eastern Studies at the Univesity of Oklahoma, tells Al Jazeera that the Syrian strike on Lebanese territory is part of a larger spillover of the Syrian war into neighbouring countries.

He also says the Obama administration is fighting pressure to increase US involvement in Syria."

Real News Video: The New York Times and "Liberal Media" Helped Sell the Iraq War

Michael Ratner: The NYT and other "liberal" commentators led the way in selling the WMD myth and justified the Iraq war; their mea culpas ring hollow  

How US handed Iraq to Iran on a platter

Occupation has transformed a regional heavyweight into a crippled state

By Abdel Bari Atwan, Special to Gulf News

"......Under Al Maliki, the Iraqi people do not have adequate clean water, electricity or sanitation despite $7 billion (Dh25.69 billion) having been spent on the latter. Like all Middle Eastern dictators, Al Maliki retains power by giving his friends, family, tribesmen and loyalists the cream of commercial contracts. Officials admit that either the commissioned sewers were not installed at all or done very badly. Unemployment stands at 30 per cent, and many of those who have a job will have paid an official to secure it. Bribery is endemic from politicians to prison officers.

Administratively, the country is paralysed because many top managers, appointed through corruption, lack the talent and experience necessary to get the country back on its feet.

Some claim that Iraqis are now free of censorship, but the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists reported that, in 2012, “central government officials used threats, harassment, attacks, and imprisonment to suppress critical news coverage throughout the year”. Journalist Hadi Al Mahdi was assassinated in September 2011, just one of many killed for speaking out........

The US occupation has transformed Iraq from a regional heavyweight to a crippled state and this has wider regional implications. The balance of power between Iraq and Iran, which was tested by the 1980-88 war, ensured that no one power could dominate the region. Now, however, by weakening Iraq and placing at its head politicians who have deep-rooted ties with Iran, America has effectively handed the country over to its own nemesis, Tehran. As a result, Iran is emerging as a hostile regional superpower, overtly opposed to Israel......"

سورية: سنتان من الألم والأمل الياس خوري

سورية: سنتان من الألم والأمل
 الياس خوري 

"هل بدأت الثورة السورية في دمشق ام في درعا؟ هذا السؤال الذي شغل بعض الأوساط الثقافية والاعلامية المرتبطة بالثورة، يبدو مثيرا، على الرغم من هامشيته.
هل انطلقت الشرارة في المظاهرة التي خرجت من الجامع الأموي في دمشق يوم 15 آذار- مارس 2011، واخترقت سوق الحميدية، وتم تفريقها بعنف في الحريقة، ام بدأت قبل شهر من هذا التاريخ عندما حصل انفجار شعبي عنيف في الحريقة عندما اعتدى احد رجال الأمن على مواطن، فتطور الوضع الى اطلاق شعار 'الشعب السوري ما بينذل'؟
ام بدأت الثورة في درعا عاصمة حوران يوم 18 آذار- مارس، حين انطلقت اول مظاهرة كبرى في سورية، احتجاجا على اعتقال اطفال درعا، وسقط فيها شهيدان، وبعدها عمت الشرارة حمص وحماه وبقية المدن السورية؟
وما هو دور اعتصام المرجة الذي قام به مجموعة من المثقفات والمثقفين السوريين من اجل اطلاق سراح المعتقلين السياسيين، في خلق المناخات الملائمة لاشتعال الثورة؟
تبدو هذه الأسئلة وكأنها ترف فكري امام الهول الذي يعيشه الشعب السوري وسط الدم والدمار والدموع، لكنها تشير الى علامتين تتميز بهما الثورة السورية.
العلامة الأولى هي اننا امام احدى المرات النادرة في التاريخ التي تكتب فيها ثورة تاريخها وتصنع إعلامها وصورها وايقوناتها بنفسها.
فوسط 'مملكة الصمت' التي أقفلها نظام الجمهورية الوراثية على الخوف وغياب وسائل التعبير، كان على شباب الثورة وشاباتها، ان يصنعوا بأنفسهم تاريخهم وإعلامهم، وسط نضالهم الأسطوري من أجل استعادة صوتهم وحريتهم.
العلامة الثانية هي ان ما يبدو خلافا بين تاريخين، يشير الى مكونين هامين نجحا في اطلاق مارد الثورة من قمقم القمع.
المكوّن الأول هو الناشطون الشباب والمثقفين، الذين خرجوا من الجامع الأموي يوم 15 آذار- مارس، مفاجئين أنفسهم اولا وشعبهم ثانيا، بأن جدار الخوف يمكن ان ينكسر، وان كسره لا يحتاج سوى الى الارادة الشعبية، التي اكتشفت على ايقاع الثورتين التونسية والمصرية، ان الديكتاتور لا يتدكتر الا اذا وجد امامه شعبا خائفا، وان لحظة سقوط الخوف، هي بداية سقوط النظام.
المكوّن الثاني هو الأطفال. اطفال درعا ببراءتهم كسروا الجدار حين كتبوا شعار 'الشعب يريد اسقاط النظام' على جدار مدرستهم. كان في تصرفهم ما يشبه نبوءة الأطفال، فالأطفال كانوا ضمير مجتمعهم اللاواعي الذي ايقظ الوعي.
لم يأت نزق مسؤول الأمن في درعا، عاطف نجيب، وتعمده اذلال الأهالي المطالبين بالإفراج عن ابنائهم، من لا مكان. فابن خالة الأسد الإبن تصرّف من ضمن تقاليد الاستبداد التي سنتها العائلة الحاكمة، لكن لا هو ولا ابن عمته الرئيس كانا على استعداد للاعتراف بأن شيئا ما تغير، فالنظام الذي اطلق كذبة الأبد انتهى الى تصديقها.
هنا في درعا، في ارض السواد الحوراني، انفجرت المظاهرة الكبرى التي اشعلت سهول سورية وجبالها، ففي مظاهرة درعا الكبرى يوم 18 آذار- مارس سقط اول شهيدين في الثورة السورية. واتضح للجميع ان ثورة الشعب السوري ستكون الأكثر صعوبة ودموية، لأنها سوف تواجه آخر مماليك العصر الحديث، الذين لم يكتسبوا شرف هزيمة الغزو الخارجي كالمماليك الاوائل، لكنهم تبنوا الاسلوب المملوكي في القمع والنهب، فتمملكوا على سورية واستملكوها.
بين هذين المكونين التأسيسيين، يتضح كيف تشكلت بدايات الثورة السورية في هامشين:
هامش صنعه جزء من المثقفين والمناضلين والناشطين، الذين استعادوا بمواقفهم وشجاعتهم، معنى الثقافة في وصفها ضميرا وطنيا. من صرخة رياض الترك عشية اندلاع الثورة عن ضرورة اسقاط مملكة الصمت، الى الكتابة واختيار المنافي والموت في اقبية التعذيب. هنا في المشهد الثقافي السوري استعدنا انطون مقدسي وسعدالله ونوس ومحمد الماغوط ونزار قباني، وعمر اميرالاي وزكريا تامر المتجدد دائما، وبرزت اصوات عشرات الكتاب والسينمائيين والفنانين التشكيليين والمسرحيين لترسم صورة شرف الثقافة السورية، ولتجعل من الأصوات الداعمة للنظام او المستعلية على الثورة، مجرد تفصيل يكمل المشهد الثقافي الذي كان انقسامه حتميا. وما الجوائز العالمية والعربية التي نالها ياسين الحاج صالح وسمر يزبك ورزان زيتونة الا اشارة الى الدور الذي يلعبه مثقفو سورية في بلورة ثورة شعبهم.
وهامش صنعته البراءة. من جسدي غياث الأخرس وحمزة الخطيب المشوهين بالقمع والمجللين بالبطولة، تناسل الوف الشهداء، من صرخة اطفال درعا، ونبل الناشطين الشباب في تنسيقياتهم ولدت الثورة السورية.
هكذا اكتملت دائرة الفعل، هذه ثورة صنعها الضمير واطلقتها البراءة، لذا فإن التاريخين يصلحان كبداية، علما ان البداية ايضا لها بداية قد لا نعرفها، والى آخره. لذا سوف يتقرر يوم عيد الثورة بعد انتصارها الحتمي، لكنه سوف يكون تاريخا افتراضيا، لأن عيد الثورة الكبير هو يوم يسقط الطاغية وينزاح الكابوس.

ثورة تكتب تاريخها بنفسها لأنها وحدها. ايها السوريون والسوريات انتم وحدكم، وحدكم في صقيع هذا العالم الكاذب، وحدكم في ظل التواطوء الامريكي والاسرائيلي مع النظام، وحدكم امام تغوّل الحلف الروسي- الايراني وصغار حلفائه اللبنانيين في دعم النظام والقتال الى جانبه، وحدكم في زمن الخبث الأوروبي الذي صنع من التردد سياسة ثابتة، بسبب ذيليته للامريكيين وتعبده للعجل الاسرائيلي، وحدكم في مواجهة البترو دولار ومشتقاته الأصولية الذي يريد تلويث ثورتكم بالطائفية بهدف تملك سورية بحجة اعادة اعمارها!
كل هذه القوى التي تتكالب عليكم اليوم، وسط شلل قياداتكم في المعارضة، يهدف الى تحويل سورية الى بازار للموت، وابرام صفقات تعقد في الظلام، من اجل ضمان مصالح القوى الدولية والاقليمية، وخصوصا ضمان ان تتنعم اسرائيل بأربعين سنة أخرى من الهدوء في الجولان المحتل.
يريدون تلويث ثورتكم المجيدة بكل موبقات الاستبداد والرجعية التي تحيط بكم، معتقدين انكم سوف تستسلمون لهم، بعد ان يستكمل الديكتاتور تهديم بلدكم الجميل والعظيم.
رغم كل الدمار والفوضى، رغم الأخطاء والخطايا التي ترتكبها بعض الفئات المسلحة الملتحقة بالثورة، رغم هذا الألم الذي لا حدود له، ألم الموت وألم التشرد وألم اللجوء، فإن جميع هذه القوى المتكالبة على ثورتكم، لن تنجح.
فهذه القوى تنسى او تريد ان تتناسى ان من صنع هذه الثورة هو الشعب السوري، وان المعادلة الوحيدة الصالحة هي معادلة الشعب الذي صنع الثورة ويصنعها كل يوم.
كنتم وحدكم في الألم وستكونون وحدكم في الأمل الذي ستصنعونه بنصركم على الاستبداد الذي يلوح في أفق عيون اطفال سورية الذي يضيء بلاد الشام وارض العرب.

Israel and the politics of boycott

Zionism and Israel will continue to support any boycott that seeks to institutionalise racism and racial separatism.

By Joseph Massad

".......Boycotting the Palestinians

There is however a different history of the uses of the boycott. In contrast with its uses to force the end of race, class and colonial injustice, boycott would also be deployed as a tactic to bring about colonial and racial injustice. Zionism would be a pioneer in this regard. Upon the formalisation of Zionist settler colonialism in the 1897 First Zionist Congress, Jewish colonists were incensed that earlier Russian Jewish agricultural colonists who had settled in Palestine since the 1880s would employ Palestinian labour in their colonies, on account of its availability and cheapness. It was in this context that Zionism would develop its racially separatist notion of "Hebrew labour", insisting and later imposing its regulations on all Jewish colonists in Palestine, namely that Jewish labour should be used exclusively in the Jewish settler-colony.

Realising the difficulty of imposing its racialisation project on Palestine, a country which Zionism did not control yet, the movement developed the idea of the first racially separatist planned community for the exclusive use of Ashkenazi Jews, namely the Kibbutz, which would develop in the first decade of the 20th century. Lest one mistake the idea of the Kibbutz as a commitment to socialism, Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion, who came up with the exclusive "Hebrew labour" idea to boycott the Palestinians, set the record straight: The Kibbutz was set up to "guarantee [separatist] Jewish labour" and not as an application of socialist theory......"

Monday, March 18, 2013

'HUNGRY' - FREE SAMER ISSAWI - song by Doc Jazz

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online poll

Ten years after the invasion, is Iraq for better or for worse?

With over 1,500 responding, 93% said for worse.

The Muslim Brotherhood has shown its contempt for Egypt's women

In rejecting a draft UN declaration calling for an end to violence against women, the organisation's blatant misogyny is exposed,

"Last week, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood issued a strongly-worded statement unabashedly rejecting the draft UN declaration calling for an end to all forms of violence against women. It claims that the declaration contravenes Egypt's "cultural specificity" and would lead to "the complete disintegration of society" if ratified. Needless to say, the statement has fuelled the anger of Egyptians, especially women.

But why has the Brotherhood decided to embark on this confrontational course through the release of such a belligerent statement at such a critical moment? The president, Mohamed Morsi, is facing huge opposition at home and mounting criticism internationally. In speaking openly, almost defiantly, about the potentially explosive issue of women, the Brotherhood is risking further anger at home and alienating the international powers that have been supporting them......

As modern history is not the Brotherhood's strongest suit, I can only tell them that for more than 100 years, Egyptian women have fought tooth and nail for the right to be regarded as human beings and to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Dignity and respect, my dear Brothers, are not culture-specific, and neither is violence, which cannot be condoned under any pretext, be it religious, cultural or social. The Brotherhood's statement has exposed it for what it really is: a misogynistic, power-hungry and hopelessly anachronistic organisation."

Syria rebels seize security compound near Golan

"(Reuters) - Syrian rebels on Sunday seized a Syrian military intelligence compound in the southern Hauran Plain near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, stepping up attacks in the strategic region which stretches to the outskirts of the capital Damascus, rebel commanders said.

The frontier, quiet since Israel and Syria agreed on a U.S.-brokered ceasefire in 1974, has turned volatile in recent weeks, after opposition brigades stepped up attacks against army and intelligence compounds dotting the agricultural plain stretching from the border with Jordan to the Damascus outskirts......

The compound near the Yarmouk River in the town of Shagara, 8 km (5 miles) from a ceasefire line with Israel, fell after a five-day siege, the sources said.
"We have completely taken over this security compound this morning. It's a command centre for the shabbiha (pro-Assad militia). They retreated after strong blows dealt to them during a five day siege," said Abu Iyas al-Haurani, a member of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade.
"Anyone who was arrested in the Yarmouk Valley was sent to this military intelligence headquarters to be tortured and it has a strategic importance. With its fall we have completed our liberation of the town of Shagara," he added......."

Muslim Brotherhood fortress new hotbed for protests as Morsi sidelined

Fresh protests in Egypt make light of President Mohamed Morsi’s rule, directing anger towards the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader

Ahram Online

"......The presidential palace was a protest hotspot for several months but it can now make way for the building that lies on a hill which overlooks many parts of Cairo in the same way opposition believes Morsi is outweighed by Badie, who keeps a low profile despite being the subject of constant speculation and murmurs over his actual role in Egypt.

Badie, who was elected as the Brotherhood Supreme Guide in January 2010, one year before the eruption of the revolution which eventually propelled his once-banned group to power, is now under the spotlight more than ever.......

Brotherhood-Morsi relationship

Critics of Islamist movements feared Egypt would turn into an Iran-style hierarchy in which the president is overpowered by a cleric. They believe their fears were realized, at least partly, nine months after Morsi became the country’s first freely elected leader.....

Morsi is a helpless president who cannot make any decisions. He simply follows the instructions of the Brotherhood Supreme Guide,” well-known writer Alaa El-Aswany, who supported Morsi in last year’s presidential elections but later became one of his staunchest opponents, wrote in his column in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

“Morsi is the one who ruined his relationship with Egyptians … the millions who poured into the streets to celebrate his success in the elections are now calling for an end to the Supreme Guide rule.”......"

تحذير لحركة حماس عبد الحليم قنديل

تحذير لحركة حماس 
 عبد الحليم قنديل

"لكاتب السطور علاقة طيبة مع قادة حماس في الخارج والداخل الفلسطيني، ويقدر لحركة حماس دورها التاريخي في حياة الشعب الفلسطيني، وعظمة تضحيات شهدائها ومؤسسيها الكبار، وصلابة وحيوية تنظيمها الداخلي.
وقد التقيت السيد خالد مشعل ـ زعيم حماس ـ مرات في القاهرة ودمشق، وفي زمن حكم مبارك، وحيث كان ذلك من المحرمات والمحظورات، وتلقيت من مشعل اتصالا هاتفيا كريما يهنئ بنجاح الثورة المصرية في خلع مبارك، وقبلها بسنوات، التقيت مشعل في دمشق، وكان الرجل غاية في المودة والحفاوة، وبادرني مبتسما مهللا بقوله 'نحن الحركة الاستشهادية وأنت الكاتب الاستشهادي '، وكان مشعل يشير بعبارة 'الكاتب الاستشهادي' إلى ما هو معروف من دوري في قيادة الحملة الصحفية والسياسية لخلع نظام مبارك، وهي الحملة التي بدأتها مبكرا، ومع منتصف العام الأول من القرن الجاري، ولاقيت بسببها ما لاقيت، ومما احتسبه لوجه الله والحق والوطن والشعب.
وقد لايكون لهذا الكلام من محل إلا فيما سأقوله توا، فأنا أريد أن أحذر حركة حماس مما أتصوره أخطاء وخطايا، وبالذات في علاقتها بالمخاض الجاري في مصر الآن، وتزايد وتيرة الرفض لحكم جماعة الإخوان، وتبين فشله الذريع بسرعة خارقة، وهو ما يؤثر بشدة على شعبية حركة حماس في مصر، ونزولها إلى أدنى درجاتها، واعتبارها مجرد فرع فلسطيني لجماعة الإخوان، يحق النفور منها كما النفور من حكم الإخوان، وينظر إليها كميليشيا قابلة للاستدعاء لنصرة الإخوان وقت الخطر، وكلها ـ للأسف ـ افتراضات تلقى قبولا واسعا من غالبية المصريين الآن، خاصة أن وسائل إعلام مصرية كثيرة تدأب على تغـــذية المخاوف، وباستخدام 'وثائق مضروبة' قد يكون مصدرها فلسطينيا في أغلب الأحوال.
أصل الخلل فيما نتصوره قد يمكن شرحه على النحو التالي، فحركة حماس ـ تاريخيا ـ تؤمن بفكر الإخوان المسلمين، وليس واضحا ـ بالضبط ـ طبائع علاقتها التنظيمية بمكتب إرشاد الإخوان في مصر، بعض قادة حماس قالوا أنه لا ارتباط تنظيمي بل فكرى مجرد، وحتى لو كان الارتباط تنظيميا، فليس من مصلحة لحركة حماس أن تبدو كفرع لجماعة الإخوان في مصر بالذات، فالوطنيون المصريون لم يتعاملوا مع حماس أبدا بهذه الصفة، وتعاملوا معها كحركة تحرير وطني فلسطيني، ولم يكن تأييدها محصورا في أوساط الإسلاميين المصريين، بل كان يبلغ الذروة في أوساط القوميين والناصريين المصريين، ولاعتبارات تعلقت بمجرى حوادث وتطورات القضية الفلسطينية ذاتها، فقد بدت حماس ـ لوقت طويل ـ كعنوان لمشروع المقاومة المسلحة، عارضت اتفاق أوسلو وتداعياته، وامتازت بعبقرية تكتيكاتها الاستشهادية، ولعبت دورا مرموقا في الانتفاضة الفلسطينية الثانية، والتي تفجرت في نهايات العام 2000، وعقب نجاح 'حزب الله' في إجلاء الاحتلال الإسرائيلي عن الجنوب اللبنانى، ودون قيد ولا شرط ولا سلام ولا كلام، وفي هذه الفترة، بلغ التأييد لحزب الله و الحماس لحركة حماس إلى ذروته، ولم يلتفت أحد وقتها إلى 'شيعية' حزب الله أو 'إخوانية' حركة حماس، بل بدا 'حزب الله' عنوانا عربيا جامعا بامتياز، وبدت حركة 'حماس' كأنها الحركة الوطنية الفلسطينية الأجدر بالتأييد والدعم، وبدا الشعور 'الحماسي' جارفا إلى أواسط العقد الأول من القرن الجارى، ثم جرى ما جرى، ودخلت حماس إلى الانتخابات الفلسطينية، وما أعقبها من تطورات الصدام فالاقتتال الدموي بين 'فتح' و'حماس'، لكن حركة 'حماس' ظلت تحظى بتفضيل ملموس في أوساط الوطنيين المصريين المناهضين لحكم مبارك، خصوصا بعد أن آلت إليها مقاليد الأمور في غزة اللصيقة بمصر.
وعانت من أهوال الحصار الذي شارك به النظام المصري وقتها، وتحولت قضية فتح معبر رفح وكسر الحصار إلى عنوان يومي في السياسة الداخلية المصرية، وشهد الشارع المصري مظاهرات ضخمة لدعم صمود حماس في حرب أواخر 2008 أوائل 2009، ولقينا ما لقينا من صنوف العنت والمصادرة والتجويع والترويع في مصر، ليس لأننا كنا ندعم حماس كتنظيم إخواني، بل لأن 'حماس' بدت وقتها كحركة مقاومة فلسطينية وعربية باسلة، تؤلف من حولها القلوب والضمائر.
كان هذا ما كان، وهو ما اختلف ـ بالطبع ـ بعد نجاح الموجة الأولى للثورة المصرية، فقد تم فتح معبر رفح بصورة شبه دائمة، وجرى اختراق حصار غزة، وصار الذهاب لدعم غزة من السياحات المفضلة لحركة الوطنية المصريةعلى تنوع تياراتها، لكن وصول الإخوان للحكم خلق مشكلة في الاتجاه المعاكس لما كان زمن المخلوع، فقد بدت دولة خليجية صغيرة وغنية، وكأنها الكفيل المالي المشترك لحكم الإخوان ولحركة حماس معا، وانتشرت في أوساط الرأي العام المصري دواعي الكراهية لهذه الدولة ومكفوليها، ثم بدت حماس كأنها وضعت بيضها كله في سلة 'رئيس' إخواني متعثر، أو كأنها تحارب إلى جانب الإخوان، وفي معركة لا يصح لها أن تشارك فيها، ودون أن تنتبه إلى الأثر الفادح لهذا السلوك في مصر بالذات، والتي تشهد الآن توزعا واستقطابا غير مسبوق، وتتعدد فيها مراكز التأثير داخل بنيان الدولة المصرية ذاته، لم تنتبه حماس لخطأ دخولها في تفاصيل لحظة مصرية مضطربة، ولم تخاطب الرأي العام المصرى بصورة تزيل المخاوف والهواجس، ولم تقدر أنها قد تخسر عطف غالبية المصريين من غير الإخوان، وأنها تضع نفسها ـ ربما دون قصد ـ في عداء ضمني وصريح مع جماعات الشارع الثوري، ومع أحزاب وتيارات وطنية وديمقراطية واجتماعية متزايدة التأثير، وربما مع الجيش المصري نفسه، والذي قدم مئة ألف شهيد وجريح ومعاق في الحروب مع إسرائيل، وهو ما أدى إلى تدافع أزمات مكتومة وظاهرة، فلم تتعاون حماس بما يكفي لإجلاء حقيقة اختطاف ضباط شرطة مصريين بالقرب من الحدود، ولا تعاونت بما يكفي لكشف حقيقة قتل سبعة عشر ضابطا وجنديا من الجيش في المنطقة ذاتها، وظلت تراوغ في قضية الأنفاق، وتصدر عبر ممثليها تصريحات عنترية ضد قيام الجيش بهدم الأنفاق، والتي لم تعد لها من ضرورة بعد فتح معبر رفح، والذي ينبغي له أن يفتح على مدار اليوم لعبور الأفراد والبضائع، بينما 'الأنفاق' خطر أمني داهم، وعدوان ظاهر على السيادة المصرية، وقد يقبل به 'الإخوان' تقديما لمصالح الأهل والعشيرة، لكن الجيش المصري لايقبل، وأغلبية الشعب المصري الساحقة كذلك، وهو ما يفسر مشاعر كراهية خطرة لحركة حماس تنمو في نفوس المصريين، وإلى حد 'شيطنة' حماس بالكامل، وربما شيطنة الفلسطينيين أيضا.
وربما تكون 'حماس' اليوم في حاجة إلى اختبار وقرار بخصوص الوضع في مصر، وفي احتياج إلى أن توازن بين الدخول إلى مصر من الباب الواسع، أو أن تظل في حالة تسلل من شباك الإخوان الضيق، ففلسطين قضية وطنية مصرية بامتياز، وحركة حماس في حاجة إلى إثبات 'فلسطينيتها' بصورة تعلو على 'إخوانيتها'، فالإخوان جاءوا إلى الحكم وسيذهبون، ولا نريد لعلاقة حماس مع مصر أن تذهب بذهاب الإخوان، وإن حدث فستكون الكارثة لحماس أولا، وهذا ما يدفعنا إلى التحذير قبل فوات الأوان.

Iraq, Ten Years Later: What About the Constitution? Read more:

The New Yorker

".....The dominant question that marked the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals—what did the President know and when did he know it?—no longer needs to be asked. We have a President who found a way, last May, to let the world—and, most importantly, those wavering independents in the months before last year’s election—know via the New York Times that he personally participated in discussions about which terrorist, real or suspected, was to be assassinated. The Times quoted John Brennan, then a senior Presidential adviser and now our newly confirmed director of Central Intelligence, as explaining that the suspects went through a checklist that included “the infeasibility of capture, the certainty of the intelligence base, the imminence of the threat, all of these things.” The question about all of these things that has yet to be asked—at a Presidential news conference or during Brennan’s confirmation hearing—is this: How many suspects on your list have been taken off the list because of unreliable intelligence or a conclusion that the “imminent” threat was no longer so imminent? The answer, according to people who know of such matters, is very few, if any. Meanwhile, we are creating more and more terrorists as we drone and predator along.....

Nothing succeeds in Washington like being tougher than the next guy. And woe to those who express doubt. In its article last May, the Times quoted retired Admiral Dennis Blair, the Obama Administration’s first director of National Intelligence, who was replaced after just sixteen months on the job, as saying that the drone and predator strikes were talked about as “the only game in town”—in a way that “reminded me of body counts in Vietnam.” Vietnam. And Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have a lot of anniversaries to forget."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Syria - Where is the Syrian conflict heading?

"It has been two years since the start of the Syrian conflict. What began with peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Deraa has morphed into a nationwide conflict with sectarian, ethnic and regional overtones. In that time, tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed and more than a million forced to leave their homes. A regime that has run Syria for decades is fighting for its survival and in no mood to compromise. On the rebels side, a group of disparate forces are united by the common goal of defeating the rule of Bashar al-Assad."

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة - عوامل وأسباب عسكرة الثورة السورية

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: The Arab League Offers Syria's Seat to the Opposition Coalition