Babel, stad van Marduk (de rechtvaardige)
herbouwd door de Pan-Arabist Saddam Hussein
An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
Amerika: de vrijheid om hypocriet te mogen zijn
Dat principes in het Westen geen rol spelen bewijzen de foto's waarop de Amerikaanse (ex) minister van defensie DONALD RUMSFIELD te zien is met twee Irakese leiders die elkaars tegenpolen zijn. Saddam Hussein (foto hiernaast) was de man van de op geestelijke en materiele vernieuwing gerichte Arabische eenheidsgedachte (het Baathisme, een aan traditionele Arabische waarden gekoppelde sociaal-democratische vernieuwingsbeweging met holistische trekjes).
In de jaren 80 voerde hij een door het Westen gesteunde oorlog die als een van de door ons al belangrijk ervaren doelen had de uitbreiding van de door KHOMEINI in gang gezette Islamitische Revolutie tegen te gaan.
De voorstanders van die Islamitische revolutie zochten hun toevlucht in IRAN, van waaruit zij via guerilla-acties probeerden het seculiere bewind van Saddam Hussein te ondermijnen.
Ondanks het feit dat IRAN werd uitgeroepen tot een van 'de machten van het kwaad' besloot de regering BUSH vriendschappelijke banden aan te knopen met de religieuze partijen die men in de jaren 80 wilde bestrijden met de bedoeling het nieuwe kwaad dat Saddam Hussein geworden was te vervangen door het mindere kwaad van het religieuze fundamentalisme, waarschijnlijk vanuit de neoliberale grondgedachte dat diegene die de economie en de geldhandel controleert de echte baas is in een land.
Op de foto hieronder zien we hoe RUMSFIELD zich kameraadschappelijk opstelt naast Al-Jafaari - die in de jaren zeventig en tachtig als lid van de fundamentalistische AL-DAWAD-partij Khomeinist was.
Nu we in Irak onze 'vrijheid' gebracht hebben is Al-Jafaari plotsklaps onze grote vriend die 'een dam vormt tegen het gevaarlijke Baathisme van Saddam Hussein', dat met wortel en tak uitgeroeid dient te worden, en het spreekt dan ook vanzelf dat op een Stalinistische wijze de geschiedenis herschreven wordt om ons duidelijk te maken dat de religieuze Islamisten de goeden zijn en de seculier-socialistische Saddammisten de slechten.
Kern van het leugenverhaal is dat Saddam Hussein de vijand van 'de sjiieten' was en dat hij alles deed om ze te onderdrukken, een vorm van bedrog die je als eerlijk mens behoort te bestrijden - hetgeen dus nooit zal gebeuren in een wereld waarin de RUMSFIELDS van deze wereld ons voortdurend inprenten dat alleen hij overleeft die vroom, schijnheilig en principeloos is. (23-6-2005)
The Al-DAWAD-movement in Iraq had until the early 1980's been civil in nature. After the Revolution in Iran, it also adopted a militant strategy, which carried out acts of defiance and guerrilla actions against key government targets. Famously, there was an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein in August 1979 and Tariq Aziz, deputy minister, April 1980. The government responded with increased repression and started to expel large numbers of Shi'ites - over 53,000 between 1980 and 1982 alone- into the Bakhtiar region of Iran. Al-Dawa members were persecuted and many voluntarily left Iraq. The Dawa leadership settled in Teheran.
Saddam Hussein also offered his usual carrot. Many Shi'ites were offered access to good government posts as well as the Party structure itself. By 1987 over 33% of the Ba'ath leadership was Shi'ite. The principal areas of Shi'ite revolt such as Najaf, Karbala and Saddam City (now Sadr City) were the object of renovations and infrastructural improvements in the form of greater access to running water, electricity and paved roads for their population... (newnations.com)
Over politiek holisme
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare. In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes. (Veterans for peace 1997)
Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon
"An Open Letter to the Arab World" (15 Dec 2009):
For the first time in many years, we find ourselves on the same side in seeking to quell and defeat the forces of extremism and destruction in our region. While many see the threat from Iran directed solely at Israel, we in the region know differently. Together, we understand the menace that emanates from the extremist regime in Tehran. A regime that seeks to export its extremist ideology across the region and beyond, while arming terrorist groups that seek to destabilize moderate Sunni regimes and aiming for hegemonic control of the Middle East and far beyond.
The Iranian regime has many tentacles spread out across the region sowing destruction and despair amongst the people. The enemy of the people of Lebanon is not Israel, but Hizbullah. The enemy of the Palestinian people is not Israel, but Hamas. The enemy of the Egyptian people is not Israel, but militant Islamist opposition groups. All of these groups, and many others, receive their commands from Iran, who wish to control and suppress any aspirations the region has towards freedom and advancement. (Ministerie Buitenlandse Zaken Israel)
Zoroaster en de Sjia
De iraanse SJIA is in zekere zin een elitaire afwijking van het populistisch ingestelde Islamitische denken dat door de profeet Mohammed werd uitgedragen. Je zou kunnen stellen dat de SJIA op een heimelijke wijze heeft geprobeerd het priestergebonden Zoroastrisme in te bouwen in een Islamitische cultuur die in diepste wezen de wijand is van elke vorm van theocratisch of hogepriesterlijk denken (in de Koran worden mensen die priesters aanbidden - dus boven God plaatsen - vervloekt).
Die afkeer van 'de hogepriester' maakt deel uit van het Arabische denken dat altijd een combinatie is geweest van (tribaal) anarchisme en leiderschapsvererering. De leider is binnen het Arabische denken geen fascistische Messiasfiguur die het volk zijn wil oplegt, maar een eenheid scheppende ordeschepper die Arabische waarden als trots, gastvijheid, gemoedelijkheid en verlangen naar grootheid uitstraalt (waarden die astrologisch gezien bij het dierenriemteken LEEUW behoren).
Het spreekt vanzelf dat de oproep van Larijani om te kiezen voor een beleid dat gericht is op diplomatie en logisch (doordacht) handelen uitstekend aansluit bij Arabisch denken dat bereid is elk conflict via diplomatie op te lossen (mits de tegenstander het principe van de gelijkheid accepteert - respecteren van Arabische trots), zodat je kunt stellen dat zijn afwijzing van het revolutionair Messiaanse denken (dat geneigd is op een starre wijze vast te blijven houden aan tot dogma uitgeroepen principes) een daad is die een bevestiging is van het door Saddam Hussein verdedigde Arabische wijsheidsdenken (over alles valt met iedereen te praten).
Saddam Hussein was een vijand van zowel het theocratisch-Messiaanse machtsdenken van Israel als dat van Iran. De 8-jaar durende oorlog met Iran zou nooit hebben plaatsgevonden wanneer Khomeini zich had gedistantieerd van de revolutionair-utopische golf van hysterie die grote groepen jongeren het hoofd op hol bracht. Samen met Saddam Hussein had hij kunnen werken aan de economische ontwikkeling van de regio, waar hij nu verantwoordelijk moet worden gesteld voor het scheppen van chaos, ellende en verdriet (juist door Messianisme - samenwerken met het verketterde Messiaanse Zionisme - boven logica en wijsheid te plaatsen).
Pleiten voor diplomatie en logica betekent het ontkennen van starre, op vroomheid gebaseerde, dogmatiek. Een nuchter, pragmatisch en logisch denkend mens kan niets - maar dan ook helemaal niets - beginnen met vroomheid. Vroomheid is een eigenschap die hoort bij vrome mensen. Maar niet iedereen wordt geboren als 'vroom' mens. Het zou wijs, verstandig en logisch zijn wanneer vrome mensen in Iran dat zouden willen inzien. Want met dat inzicht zouden ze kunnen terugkeren naar die vorm van Zoroastrisme die in het evangelie wordt genoemd: het magisch-realistische wijsheidsdenken, dat de geboorte van spirituele bevrijding (gesymboliseerd door het kind Jezus) mogelijk maakt.
My Flower to Bush, the Occupier
The Story of My Shoe
By MUTADHAR al-ZAIDI
Mutadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw his shoe at George Bush gave this speech on his recent release.
There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act.
But, simply, I answer: What compelled me to confront is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.
We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shiite would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ, may peace be upon him. And despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than 10 years, for more than a decade.
Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. Until we were invaded by the illusion of liberation that some had. (The occupation) divided one brother from another, one neighbor from another, and the son from his uncle. It turned our homes into never-ending funeral tents. And our graveyards spread into parks and roadsides.
I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.
When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.
After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.
Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after.
US Jews back American strike in Iran
WASHINGTON – Most Jews living in the United States are in favor of an American military strike against Iran's nuclear sites, according to a survey conducted before the second Iranian uranium enrichment site was revealed.
The survey's findings, released Wednesday, point to a change in the opinion of US Jews, who until last year felt there was no need for a military operation in Iran.
The main finding related to the Iranian issue, shows that 56% of US Jews would support "military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons", while 36% would oppose. ...
According to the survey, 66% would support and 28% would oppose Israel taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
Seventy-eight percent of the Jews supported Obama in the elections, but according to the survey only 54% approve of the Obama administration’s handling of US-Israel relations.
The main dispute remains the settlement issue, with a majority of 51% of Jews disagreeing with the Obama Administration’s call for a stop to all new Israeli settlement construction, while 41% agree with that tactic.
Netanyahu's stance that Palestinians should be “required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement" is supported by 94% of American Jews. 75% agree with the statement, “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."
The 2009 survey was conducted for AJC by the Synovate opinion-research organization. (YetNews, 30-9-2009)
Castro beticht Obama van cynisme
TROUW, 10 december 2009
(Novum/AP) - Fidel Castro beticht de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama van cynisme. De 83-jarige oud-leider van Cuba vindt dat het van cynisme getuigt dat Obama donderdag de Nobelprijs voor de vrede in ontvangst neemt terwijl hij dertigduizend man extra Amerikaanse troepen naar Afghanistan stuurt.
Toen net bekend was dat Obama was onderscheiden met de vredesprijs betuigde Castro zich daar verheugd over. Hij is echter van gedachten veranderd. "Waarom aanvaardt Obama de Nobelprijs voor de vrede op een moment dat hij allang heeft besloten om wat betreft de oorlog in Afghanistan tot het uiterste te gaan?", aldus Castro in een column op de website van de Cubaanse regering. Obama hoeft die prijs niet in ontvangst te nemen, betoogt Castro. Dat hij dat wel doet getuigt van cynisme.
Castro stelt voorts dat hij, toen Obama op 1 december bekendmaakte dat het Amerikaanse contingent in Afghanistan er dertigduizend man bijkrijgt, het gevoel had dat hij naar Obama's Republikeinse voorganger, George Bush, zat te luisteren.
Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway
WMD were not vital for war says ex-PM
The Guardian, Saturday 12 December 2009
Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public.
The former prime minister made the confession during an interview with Fern Britton, to be broadcast on Sunday on BBC1, in which he said he would still have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
"If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?" Blair was asked. He replied: "I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]".
He explained it was "the notion of him as a threat to the region" because Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against his own people.
"This was obviously the thing that was uppermost in my mind. The threat to the region. Also the fact of how that region was going to change and how in the end it was going to evolve as a region and whilst he was there, I thought and actually still think, it would have been very difficult to have changed it in the right way."
It is possible that Blair has shifted his ground in anticipation of his appearance early next year before the Chilcot inquiry. The inquiry has heard that Blair made clear to President George Bush at a meeting in Texas 11 months before the Iraq invasion that he would be prepared to join the US in toppling Saddam. (The Guardian Website)
Nearly 1.2 million Iraqis have fled their country for safety in neighboring Syria, a high-ranking Syrian government official said.
The Iraqis fled following the 2003-U.S. invasion and the ensuing upsurge in violence and absence of law and order.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad said Iraqi refugees, though a strain on his country’s economy, had the right to enjoy public amenities like their Syrian counterparts.
"Refugees in Syria have access to all the rights which Syrian citizens enjoy without any discrimination," he said.
He said Syria has been spending up to $2 billion dollars a year on the Iraqis while their own government was offering $15 million a year as direct financial assistance.
The Iraqis in Syria, despite their dire conditions, prefer to stay rather than return home.
Most of the Iraqis in Syria have fled violence-stricken areas such Baghdad, Anbar, Mosul, Salahudeen and Baquba. Many of them belong to the hard-pressed religions and ethnic minorities.(Uruknet.info, 13-12-2009)
Blair sold Iraq on WMD, but only regime change adds up
Hans Blix, Monday 14 December 2009
Before the Iraq war was launched in March 2003 the world was given the impression by the US and Britain that the goal was to eradicate weapons of mass destruction. Recent comments by Tony Blair suggest, however, that regime change was the essential aim. He would have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein even if he had known that there were no WMD, he said, but he would obviously have had to "deploy" different arguments. Must we not conclude that the WMD arguments were "deployed" mainly as the best way of selling the war? Blair's comments do not exclude a strong – but mistaken – belief in the existence of WMD even when the invasion was launched. However, given that hundreds of inspections had found no WMD and important evidence had fallen apart, such a belief would have been based on a lack of critical thinking.
The absence of convincing evidence of WMD did not stop the train to war. It arrived at the front before the weather got too hot and the soldiers got impatient waiting for action. The factual reports of the IAEA and Unmovic did, however, have the result that a majority on the security council wanted more inspections and were unconvinced about the existence of WMD.
At the end the UK tried desperately to get some kind of authorisation from the security council as a legal basis for armed action – but failed. Confirming the fears of Dick Cheney, President Bush's vice-president, the UN and inspections became an impediment – not to armed action, but to legitimacy.
Unlike the US, the UK and perhaps other members of the alliance were not ready to claim a right to preventive war against Iraq regardless of security council authorisation. In these circumstances they developed and advanced the argument that the war was authorised by the council under a series of earlier resolutions. As Condoleezza Rice put it, the alliance action "upheld the authority of the council". It was irrelevant to this argument that China, France, Germany and Russia explicitly opposed the action and that a majority on the council declined to give the requested green light for the armed action. If hypocrisy is the compliment that virtue pays to vice then strained legal arguments are the compliments that violators of UN rules pay to the UN charter. (The Guardian website)
The Road to Re-Election Runs Through Kabul?
By Christian Parenti, December 7, 2009
Like Lyndon Johnson, who escalated in Vietnam, Obama lives in mortal fear of being called a wimp by Republicans.
To cover his flank and look tough in the next US election, Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan. To look strong in front of swing voters, he will sacrifice the lives of hundreds of US soldiers, allow many more to be horribly maimed, waste a minimum of $30 billion in public money and in the process kill many thousands of Afghan civilians.
It is political theater, nothing else. ...
The real purpose of these 30,000 soldiers is to make Obama look tough as he heads toward the next US presidential election.
As a landlocked, underdeveloped, fragmented buffer state with few resources, Afghanistan has long served as a means to get at other issues. Consider the history of how the United States has used Afghanistan.
First, during the cold war Jimmy Carter and then Ronald Reagan used the country as the Soviet "bear trap." Later, George W. Bush used it to trampoline into Iraq. The Bush administration discussed regime change in Iraq at one of its first cabinet meetings. Among other things, the administration wanted direct economic control, and indirect geostrategic control, over Iraq's vast oil wealth. That has been partially accomplished, as witnessed by the recent Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell deals there.
The only credible way into Iraq was via Afghanistan. On September 15, 2001, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz actually suggested that the United States skip an invasion of Afghanistan and go directly to Iraq. But that would have made coalition-building impossible. After all, Al Qaeda was in the Taliban's Afghanistan.
So, the Afghan invasion was done--but on the cheap, fast and light. And then for eight years Afghanistan festered as the forgotten other war.
Then came the US presidential elections of 2008. Obama promised to end the Iraq War. But living in fear of being called a wimp, he too used Afghanistan. It became a rhetorical charm, political mojo in his masculine war dance: he promised to lose Iraq (withdrawal, or redeployment if you prefer) but to do so while salvaging our national honor by winning the "necessary" war in Afghanistan. (The Nation, 7-12-2009)
Een van de eerste daden die de Amerikaanse bezettingsmacht stelde was de privatisering van het Iraakse bankenstelsel, met daaraan gekoppeld de bepaling dat Iraakse banken mogen worden opgekocht door buitenlandse investeerders (tot 50 procent zelfs zonder dat enige toestemming van hogere instanties nodig is)..
Op 17 juni 2004 werd het volgende bericht geplaatst op de website van 'the coalition provisional authority':
Iraqi Bankers Meet U.S., International Financiers in New York, Washington
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (June 17, 2004) -- Reconstruction and modernization of Iraq's banking sector is the focus of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) sponsored orientation visit that is taking place this week in New York City and Washington...
Mr. Kevin G. Woelflein, Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Finance from the Coalition Provisional Authority, is accompanying the delegation. "Reconstruction and modernization of the private banking sector is essential for economic growth in Iraq," said Mr. Woelflein. "This visit has provided the delegates with a valuable opportunity to learn about modern banking practices and will help to make private banks the core of the future banking structure in Iraq." Private banks are likely to play a significant role in the future of the Iraqi financial sector and many steps have been taken to encourage their development...
To attract investors, the Iraq Banking Law permits foreigners to buy up to 50% of an existing Iraqi bank without going through the licensing procedure for establishing a new bank or making a majority acquisition. (CPA website)
More and More, Obama Seems a Faux Liberal
John R. MacArthur, Huffington Post 16-12-2009
Following President Obama's war speeches at West Point and Oslo -- two breathtaking exercises in political cynicism that killed any hope of authentic liberal reform -- I've got only one question: Have the liberals who worshipped at the altar of "change you can believe in" had enough?
There was already ample evidence of Obama's feeble commitment to peace, progress and justice. Ever since he started fundraising for his presidential campaign, it's been clear that the principal change in the offing was skin tone and slogans. One only needed to read "The Audacity of Hope" to see how thoroughly Obama was enmeshed in the neo-liberal orthodoxies of the Robert Rubin-Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. Obama's impeccably establishment party credentials -- that is, his fealty to the Democratic leadership of Chicago and Capitol Hill -- practically guaranteed that he would hew to the status quo when forced to choose. ...
Obama's West Point speech was nothing if not a tribute to fantasy. Almost everything he said about fighting terrorism and "stabilizing" Afghanistan and Pakistan was counterproductive nonsense. As for humane values, it takes more than gall to tell an audience that includes future dead and maimed soldiers that they're going off to fight for a good cause when, in fact, their presence in Afghanistan will create added bloodshed and recruit more volunteers for the Taliban. ...
There's no evidence that Obama and his chief of staff see any limit to their ability to print dollars, sell Treasury bonds and send working-class kids to die in distant lands. And what "progressive" agenda is Hayden talking about? So far, Obama's big domestic goals have been compulsory, government-subsidized insurance policies that will further enrich the private health-care business, huge increases in Pentagon spending and purely symbolic regulation of Wall Street.
While Obama was speaking to the unfortunate cadets, I couldn't help thinking of Richard Nixon and his "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War, a plan that entailed a long and pointless continuation of the fighting. Most liberals would agree that Nixon was a terrible president. Yet, for all his vicious mendacity, I think the sage of San Clemente had a bad conscience about the harm he did, about all he caused to die and be crippled.
Instead of shoring up Obama's image of goodness, liberals really should be asking, "Does the president have a conscience?" Because if he does, he's really no better than Nixon.
Our glorious leader: Prince Charles's sarcasm
By Daniel Martin, 4-1-2010
Prince Charles campaigned actively against the Iraq war and sarcastically referred to Tony Blair as 'our glorious leader', it has emerged.
The heir to the throne, who was privy to secret intelligence, was convinced the war was wrong and broke royal tradition by opposing it behind closed doors. And he was 'scathing' about Mr Blair, a senior royal source revealed.
The prince warned that the 2003 war would only stir up more conflict in the region and accused Western leaders of failing to deal with the real cause of trouble there: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He questioned whether secret intelligence provided enough evidence for the war.
Revealing how Charles did his utmost to oppose the Iraq war, the royal source told a Sunday newspaper: 'The prince thought Blair was making a big mistake and he made his stance clear to influential people and politicians. He believed it would be a disaster to send in our troops and he was proved right.'
'He was scathing about Mr Blair and sarcastically called him "our glorious leader". It was a running joke.'
At the weekend, former Prime Minister Sir John Major also attacked Mr Blair over Iraq, saying Britain's decision to join the U.S.-led invasion had damaged trust in the political process more than the MPs' expenses scandal. 'The suspicion arises that this was more about regime change than about weapons of mass destruction,' he said.
During 2002 and 2003, Charles pressed repeatedly against Britain's involvement. He even visited Arab countries and voiced his opposition to world leaders.
Another senior figure said: 'The prince thought it was madness to go to war and said so - especially knowing what he and the prime minister knew.'
A further source said: 'The prince certainly made his views clear before the invasion and since. Perhaps if the government of the day had listened it may have turned out differently and for the better. 'The prince fundamentally disagreed with Bush and his administration
US President Barack Obama hit the mark when he acknowledged that the Middle East peace process has not moved forward; that “we overestimated our ability to persuade” the Palestinians and Israelis “to start engaging in a meaningful conversation;” and that “we didn’t produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted.” But in the Time magazine interview marking the first anniversary of his inauguration, Obama’s next comment was odd: “If we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high.”
At the UN General Assembly last September, Obama felt it necessary to tell his audience that he was not naive about how hard it would be to make peace in the Middle East. But perhaps he was. His speech in Cairo in June, aimed at Muslims around the world, for a while induced a state of near euphoria among observers who had been fierce critics of the foreign policy of President George W. Bush. He repeated his support for Palestinian aspirations for freedom. And he repeated that America “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
Both Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated unequivocally at the time that Israel should stop building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The reality with which Obama and Clinton are grappling, though, is that Israel continues to expand its settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given every indication that he is in no mood to stop the outposts.
Obama obviously misread the scale of the difficulties. He admirably plunged into the Middle East faster than any of his predecessors and certainly, no reasonable person should have expected a solution in his first year. But Obama opened his push for peace with calls for a complete halt on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank without anticipating that Israel would not deliver. (Arab News, 24-1-2010)
Protests, Boycott Threats Cast Doubt on Iraqi Election
Can March Vote Be Credible Without Sunnis or Secularists?
by Jason Ditz, February 14, 2010
With Iraq’s largest secularist coalition formally suspending its campaign and announcing a boycott of the March 7 parliamentary election and protests among Sunnis hinting at a large-scale boycott, Iraq’s vote is becoming increasingly irrelevant to many.
Indeed, beyond the Kurdish factions, who will predictably sweep the northern regions of the country, the election is shaping up to be a battle against the Shi’ite religious Dawa Party of Prime Minister Maliki, the Shi’ite religious bloc led by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, and the Shi’ite religious bloc led by Ahmed Chalabi.
How credible can the election be without the Sunni Arabs or the secularist Shi’ites? It remains to be seen, but the banning of 400-some-odd candidates on allegations of “Ba’athist ties” has the potential to do serious harm to hopes of sectarian reconciliation in the nation, and has left the Sunnis with a growing sense that they are unwelcome in the nation, at least as a political force.
Ahmed Chalabi is unrepentant over the bannings, however, accusing the US of interfering in the election process. Speaking on Iran’s state media yesterday, Chalabi went so far as to accuse the US of plotting to install banned Sunni MP Saleh al-Mutlaq and others as a new Ba’athist regime as part of a plan aimed at a joint US-Iraqi invasion of Iran. Chalabi played a key role in convincing the US to invade Iraq in the first place. (www.antiwar.com)
Gen. Odierno Blames Iran for Iraqi Election Ban
Top US Commander Notices Ahmed Chalabi Working With Iran
by Jason Ditz, February 16, 2010
The conspiracy theories behind Iraq’s election ban, which destroyed the largest secularist bloc and has drawn calls for a Sunni boycott, continued to grow today, as US commander General Ray Odierno delivered a talk in Washington.
Gen. Odierno accused the Iranian government of being secretly behind the ban, saying that the Quds Force was pushing “very specific agendas” which he did not elaborate on.
Odierno’s evidence was the not-so-secret ties between the Justice and Accountability Commission (JAC) leadership and Iran. Gen. Odierno claimed that JAC leader Ahmed Chalabi, the driving force behind the bans, was “influenced by Iran.”
In addition to maintaining very public ties with the Iranian government, Chalabi was instrumental in providing false intelligence which was used as the basis for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Chalabi has seen conspiracies at work in the ban as well, but naturally not the same ones. Speaking on Iranian state media this weekend, Chalabi claimed that the United States was plotting to install the banned Sunni MPs as a new Ba’athist government, as the first step in launching a joint US-Iraqi invasion of Iran. (www.antiwar.com, 17-2-2010)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Israel Humiliates Biden,
Announces Further Colonization
The far rightwing government of Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel majorly sandbagged Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, demonstrating once again that it has not the slightest interest in pursuing a just peace with the Palestinian people or in trading a cessation of its colonization of the Palestinian West Bank for a comprehensive peace with the Arab world.
Biden went to the Mideast to kick off negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and reassured the latter of undying US support for them. On Chris Matthews' Hardball, Biden explained that when you marry someone, you tell them you love them, but that does not remove the obligation to keep saying it years later. Apparently, however, Washington is henpecked by Tel Aviv to the point almost of being a battered spouse. In response to Biden's loyal support for Israel over decades, the Likud-led government kicked him in the teeth. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai abruptly announced that he would build 1600 new households (for 8,000 people?) in a part of the Occupied West Bank that the Israeli government had annexed to Jerusalem District. It was precisely such new and increasing Israeli building on Palestinian territory that had led Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reject negotiations and to threaten to resign. The announcement put in doubt whether the negotiations would go forward, and made Biden and the United States government look like fools.
Joe Biden should have turned around and left the country. Instead, he showed up 90 minutes late to a state dinner hosted by Netanyahu and dared actually directly complain about the way he was treated, "I condemn the decision," he said, calling it "precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel."
How Bibi lost a best friend
He turned Biden's visit into a diplomatic fiasco
Aluf Benn The Guardian, Friday 12 March 2010
Binyamin Netanyahu, has a bad habit: when things appear to be moving in the right direction for him, he stumbles upon some stupid political landmine, raising doubts about his leadership and credibility. A series of blunders had ruined his first term in the 1990s, and on his way back to power Netanyahu promised that he had changed.
For a year, he stayed away from trouble... But this week, he did it again, ruining the visit of American vice president Joe Biden with an official announcement of a plan to build 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighbourhood of East Jerusalem – despite a well-known American opposition to Israeli settlement expansion.
The Israeli interior ministry announcement, on Tuesday afternoon, put Biden in the worst possible position: rather than visit the Middle East as an honest peacebroker, he appeared as Israel's patsy. And not only Biden: Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, agreed to resume talks with Netanyahu despite Israel's refusal to hold off construction in East Jerusalem. The new project threatened to show Abbas as Israel's collaborator. ...
Biden called Obama, who told him to condemn the Israeli decision in the strongest terms – an unprecedented step in a high-level visit. Netanyahu apologised for the timing, and told Biden that the project in question will be built only "within several years".
Netanyahu's constant zigzagging between his rightwing ideology and political partners and his craving for American support has turned the vice president's visit into a diplomatic fiasco. (Guardian Website)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Netanyahu Humiliates Obama
with another E. Jerusalem Housing Expansion
Israeli Troops allegedly used live Ammo
UK expels Mossad Chief
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sets the tone for Israeli policy-- one that is earning him few friends in the West. Three embarrassments broke for him on Tuesday. First, yet another housing expansion in East Jerusalem was announced while he was meeting President Obama. Then, the cover story of Israeli troops accused of firing live ammunition at Palestinian protesters began to unravel. Then British Foreign Minister David Miliband unceremoniously tossed the Mossad London station chief out of the country for counterfeiting British passports, to be used in an Israeli assassination of a Palestinian in Dubai recently. Netanyahu personally ordered that hit, and is responsible for the forging of real peoples' passports and their use to commit a murder. Netanyahu is the one behind these acts of arrogance, and they are emblematic of his mean brand of politics.
The far rightwing government of Binyamin Netanyahu humiliates American officials every time it meets with them.
Stop Funding the Israelis
It's the only way to rein them in
by Justin Raimondo, March 24, 2010
If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the AIPAC conference isn’t a reason for the US to declare – finally – that they’ve had quite enough of the "special relationship," then nothing is. After ambushing the Vice President of the United States with an announcement that new "settlements" are in the works, the Prime Minister then took his anti-American jihad to the enemy’s very gates, in Washington, D.C., where he invoked what Cato policy analyst Justin Logan trenchantly described as "the fallacy of ‘39":
"Seventy-five years ago, many leaders around the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide.
"Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people. The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself."
It’s always 1939 for Israel’s amen corner, and the Holocaust is always invoked as justification for whatever atrocities they’re whitewashing at the moment, but, really, one has to ask, if the Israelis are so damned independent-minded, why don’t they start "defending" their state all by their lonesome selves? That means we can pull the billions we send them – both economic "stimulus" and military aid, not to mention generous loan guarantees – or, better, yet, let the Israelis send those billions back. Then we’ll see how much actual substance is behind all the bluster, the boasting, the heroic posturing – exactly nil. ...
Contra Netanyahu, the Israeli survival strategy has been the complete opposite of defiant independence and military self-sufficiency: they have been joined at the hip to the US military machine since the Reagan years, and they depend on us to keep their economy from falling apart at the seams.
In return for such unusual generosity, Netanyahu and his fellow ultra-nationalists of the Likud party and its extremist allies are spitting in our faces, very publicly humiliating our public officials, and launching an all-out political attack on the interests of the very country they depend on for their survival. ...
The Israelis are like spoiled children who’ve been coddled and indulged way beyond the limits of reason. If they don’t get what they want the outcry is deafening – and their agents and apologists are numerous, vocal, and well-placed enough in the US to make quite a bit of noise. ...
Cut off their funding – and see how quickly they’ll turn, because they know their survival is at stake. (www.antiwar.com)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said Friday that Israel will not change its policy vis-a-vis Jerusalem despite United States pressure. Netanyahu returned Thursday from a round of meetings in the US during which he was asked to restrict the construction of housing for Jews in parts of the capital city. Right wing MK's and groups are making efforts to show Netanyahu that mainstream Israel is with him on this issue. ....
The Washington Post published an editorial this week terming the deadlock between Israel and the PA as “a US-engineered deadlock.”
Author Jackson Diehl noted that each of Obama's demands on Israel led to Abbas declaring that the PA will not begin negotiating with Israel if the demand is not met. ...
In addition to reducing the PA leadership's willingness to hold talks, Obama “has added more poison to a U.S.-Israeli relationship that already was at its lowest point in two decades,” Diehl continued.
"Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length...,” he said. (26-3-2010)
Israel playing with fire, says Jordan’s king
By ABDUL JALIL MUSTAFA - ARAB NEWS
AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdallah warned on Thursday that Israel was playing with fire with its settlement policy and said the Jewish state must decide whether it wanted peace or war.
“The peace process is now at a crossroads because people are fed up with an open-ended process that does not lead to results,” Abdallah said in a joint interview with chief editors of all local newspapers.
“I think the entire world is facing a moment of truth: Either we achieve real, tangible and quick progress to resolve the conflict on the basis of the two-state solution within a comprehensive regional context which the Arab peace initiative offers, or we enter a new cycle of conflict and violence for which the whole world will pay the price,” he added.
King Abdallah warned that Israel was “playing with fire” by going ahead with unilateral actions in East Jerusalem...
“In all my meetings with Israeli, American and international officials, I have warned that continued attacks on Jerusalem and its holy sites will ignite the region. Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of Palestinians, Jordanians, Arabs and Muslims,” he said.
The comments from King Abdallah, whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, underscore the Jordanian leader’s frustration with recent Israeli announcements of new housing for Jews in disputed East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of a future state.
The Israeli plans came just as long-stalled indirect peace talks were to begin under US mediation.
Despite intense pressure from the US and the international community, Israel has refused to budge on the plans for 1,600 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, insisting the holy city is Israel’s capital and not a settlement.
Abdallah firmly rejected the plans, saying Jordan “condemns all Israeli measures to change the identity of Jerusalem and empty it of its Arab Christian and Muslim residents.” He also reiterated his rejection of the so-called “Jordan option,” an idea espoused by some Israeli hard-liners to turn Jordan into a Palestinian state. “No one can enforce such a solution and whoever speaks of such illusions is talking about an impossible scenario,” he said. (Arab News, 26-3-2010)
Yishai thanks God
Ronen Medzini, 25-3-2010
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (minister behind decision that sparked diplomatic crisis with US) said that he thanks God "for giving me the right to be the minister who approves the construction of thousands of housing units in Jerusalem".
"The Americans' conduct as of late bolsters Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and provides him with excuses to refuse to negotiate," Yishai told Shas weekly newspaper Yom Leyom.
"Since (Vice President Joe) Biden's visit we can see how the Palestinians have repeatedly toughened their stance and refused to even engage in proximity talks with us so that they won't have to live up to their commitments," said the Shas chairman. "This only reinforces what I have said all along – that Abbas does not want peace."
Israel's announcement on the approval of the construction of 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem during Biden's visit to the region sparked a diplomatic row between Israel and the Obama Administration, which is looking to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"The government of Israel won't compromise in the least on its strategic assets. We cannot just give and give. It is time to get something in return," Minister Yishai continued to say.
"The people voted for this government's path, according to which there will be no compromises on issues related to Jerusalem or on goals we deem important," he said. (YetNews website)
Not only Likudniks can be pro-Israeli
Yitzhak Benhorin, 26-2-2008
WASHINGTON – US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday that there are elements among the Jewish community in the United States who believe that being pro-Israeli meant agreeing with the Likud's stances. ...
In a closed meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland, the leading Democratic presidential candidate said, "I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel."
JTA, the Global News Service of the Jewish People, reported that Obama also told the Jewish leaders that "if we cannot have a honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress." (YetNews website)
PEACE AND SECURITY
chapter of the Likud Party Platform
Settlements: The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria [West Bank] and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.
Self-Rule: The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel's existence, security and national needs.
Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem, including the plan to divide the city.
The Jordan River as a Permanent Border: The Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty. The Jordan River will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel. (Bron)
Arab News 8-7-2010
Editorial: Fading hopes
The mood music was noticeably different after President Barack Obama's latest meeting with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and it is worth wondering why. ... Not only had the two leaders not previously hit it off but the Israelis had done little if anything to ease Obama’s frustration at their obdurate policies.
Yet at the end of their talks there was Obama averring that US ties with Israel were “unbreakable”, praising the partial lifting of its entirely illegal Gaza blockade and calling unrealistically for an immediate resumption of direct talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
What on earth can it be that has caused the president to pull back from his increasingly confrontational approach to the right-wing Likud- led coalition? What has caused him seemingly to take up the sterile old Bush song sheet of urging on talks in conditions that he should by now understand are deeply unacceptable to the Palestinian side? ...
At the very least he could have hoped that Netanyahu would agree to an extension to the albeit partial freeze on the building of new illegal settlements on Palestinian land. ... Yet not even that conces-sion was on the table, because as commentators were quick to point out, Netanyahu insisted he could not get his coalition to endorse it.
There was, therefore, little comfort in the apparent outcome of the White house meeting for the Palestinians, no next step upon which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can build. Instead, it just looked suspiciously like a return to US-Israeli business as usual. ....
It looks as if Obama has returned to the old Washington policy of offering Israel a free ride. It is deeply depressing.
US authorities handed over 55 members of Saddam Hussein’s former regime, including the longtime international face of the regime, Tariq Aziz.
Iraq’s jailed ex-deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz was the top figure handed over by the US military to the Iraqi authorities, his lawyer said on Wednesday, warning that his client’s life is “in danger now.”
“Aziz called me and said he was being held in the Kazemieh prison in Baghdad.” “He should have been released. What the Americans did violates the Red Cross code because they handed him over to his enemies. His life is in danger now.”
Aref said Aziz told him that US President Barack Obama “is no different to (former US president George) Bush, and that he will take part in killing us, indirectly.”
Appointed deputy premier in 1991 under Saddam, having previously been foreign minister, he was jailed for 15 years for murder in 2009, and was given a seven-year term in August last year for his role in expelling Kurds from Iraq’s north.
The former Iraqi official hails from a Chaldean Catholic family. (Iran Daily, 15-7-2010)
Israel digging its own grave
By LINDA HEARD | ARAB NEWS
By refusing to make any real concessions to achieve peace, Israel is digging its own grave.
Israelis exist in a state of low-key fear of obliteration that has become absorbed into their psyche. They’re so used to it that it has become part of who they are. The Jewish state may call itself a democracy but in fact it’s a militarized entity always alert to criticism and attacks from its foes within and without.
If Israelis feel vulnerable it’s their own fault. They’ve had several opportunities to make peace during past decades but, on each occasion, they’ve chosen to hang on to Palestinian land illegally grabbed in 1967. They believe they have the right to continually flout international humanitarian law, send assassination squads around the world and militarily threaten neighboring Lebanon, Syria and Iran without any comeback. They see themselves as eternal victims when they are, in reality, the region’s aggressors. ...
Israelis have the necessary, exclusively human, critical faculties to understand that aggression begets aggression but their addiction to power and expansionism acts as a veil over reason.
Israel holds the key but refuses to walk through the door.
On October 31, when a group of militants seized a church in Baghdad, killing and wounding scores of Iraqi Christians, it signalled yet another episode of unimaginable horror in the country since the US invasion of March 2003.
Every group of Iraqis has faced terrible devastation as a result of this war, the magnitude of which is only now being discovered.
True, the situation in Iraq was difficult prior to the war. Having visited the country in 1999, I can testify to this. But the hardship suffered by many Iraqis, especially political dissenters, was in some way typical of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Iraq could, at the time, be easily compared to other countries living similar hardships. But what has happened since the war can barely be compared to any other country or any other war since World War II. Even putting aside the devastating death toll? the sheer scale of internal displacement and forced emigration is terrifying.
This is a nation that had more or less maintained a consistent level of demographic cohesion for many generations. It was this cohesion that made Iraq what it was. Iraqi Christian communities coexisted with their Muslim neighbours for hundreds of years. ...
The fact is that the Iraqi society has long been known for its tolerance and acceptance of minorities. There were days when no one used such references as Shiite, Sunni and Christian; there was one Iraq and one Iraqi people. This has completely changed, for part of the strategy following the invasion of Iraq was to emphasise and manipulate the ethnic and religious demarcation of the country, creating insurmountable divides.
Without a centralised power to guide and channel the collective responses of the Iraqi people, all hell broke loose. ... The communal trust that held together the fabric of the Iraqi society during the hardest of times dissolved. Utter chaos and mistrust took over, and the rest is history.
As for “Iraq’s Christians”, I must disagree with that depiction used widely in the media. They are not Iraq’s Christians, but Iraqi Christians. Their roots are as deep as the history of Mesopotamia, their history as rich as the fertile soil of Tigris and Euphrates.
The writer (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com.
The totalitarianism gaining the upper hand in our lives has to do with the fact that there is no real difference between 'center-left' Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu on the extreme right.
Kadima, therefore, is a disaster for democracy. The totalitarianism gaining the upper hand in our lives - which is mostly of a racist character - has to do with the fact that between Kadima ("center-left" ) and Yisrael Beiteinu on the extreme right there is really no difference. The disappearance of Meretz and the racist ignoring of the Arab public of voters and its representatives in the Knesset are underlining even further how close Israel is to being a single-party state.
Beyond minuscule differences of opinion among the political parties, we are in effect ruled by a single party, the State Party, with its branches: Likud-Mizrahi (Jews of Middle Eastern descent ), Likud-Russian, Likud-career officers and Labor, Likud-ultra-Orthodox and Likud in its two "authentic" embodiments: Kadima and Likud.
Meretz voters - the last Jewish opposition public - voted en masse for the right-wing Kadima. Their indifference to this turnaround began back when their party supported Operation Cast Lead. Security-oriented, gung-ho pricks are more convincing in times of bloodbaths.
Israeli democracy is a military dictatorship of more than 43 years beyond the Green Line. ....
In the State Party's consistent effort to recruit immediate and cheap support for itself, representation of most of the citizens has disappeared.
Uri Avnery - The Original Sin
Thanks to the massive support of the Zionist leadership, the “national-religious” camp grew in Israel at a dizzying pace. Ben Gurion set up a special branch of the educational system for them, which grew more extremist by the year, as did the national-religious youth movement, Bnei Akiva. Members of one generation of the national-religious community became the teachers of the next, which guaranteed an inbuilt process of radicalization. With the beginning of the occupation, they created Gush Emunim (“the Bloc of the Faithful’), the ideological core of the settlement movement. Nowadays this camp is directed by Rabbis whose teachings emit a strong odor of Fascism.
This would not be so terrible if the two opposing religious factions neutralized each other, as was indeed the case 50 years ago. But since then, the opposite has happened.
There are now three religious educational systems – the national-religious, the “independent” one of the Orthodox, and “el-Hama’ayan (“to the source”) of Shas. All three are financed by the state at least 100%, if not much more. The differences between them are small, compared to their similarities. All teach their pupils the history of the Jewish people only (based, of course, on the religious myths), nothing about the history of the world, of other peoples, not to mention other religions. The Koran and the New Testament are the kernel of evil and not to be touched.
The typical alumni of these systems know that the Jews are the chosen (and vastly superior) people, that all Goyim are vicious anti-Semites, that God promised us this country and that no one else has a right to one square inch of its land. The natural conclusion is that the “foreigners” (meaning the Arabs, who have been living here for 13 centuries at least) must be expelled - unless this would endanger the Jews.
From this point of view, there is no longer any difference between the Orthodox and the national-religious, between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Seeing the “youth of the hills”, who terrorize Arabs in the occupied territories, on screen, one cannot distinguish among them anymore – not by their dress, not by their body language, not by their slogans.
The source of all this evil is, of course, the original sin of the State of Israel: the non-separation between state and religion, based on the non-separation between nation and religion. Nothing but a complete separation between the two will save Israel from total domination by the religious mutation.
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