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)
Flashback: Baghdad Burning
verslag van een vrouw die moest vluchten uit 'bevrijd' Irak
Monday, October 22, 2007
Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.
The mountain distracts me, as it does many Iraqis- especially those from Baghdad. Northern Iraq is full of mountains, but the rest of Iraq is quite flat. At night, Qasiyoun blends into the black sky and the only indication of its presence is a multitude of little, glimmering spots of light- houses and restaurants built right up there on the mountain. Every time I take a picture, I try to work Qasiyoun into it- I try to position the person so that Qasiyoun is in the background.
The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere. There are areas like Geramana and Qudsiya that are packed full of Iraqi refugees. Syrians are few and far between in these areas. Even the public schools in the areas are full of Iraqi children. A cousin of mine is now attending a school in Qudsiya and his class is composed of 26 Iraqi children, and 5 Syrian children. It’s beyond belief sometimes.
I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own.
We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting. The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by Peshmerga and the family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.
The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building.”
I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.
Putin: "a medieval crusade"
by Lidia Okorokova at 28/04/2011
Russia toughened its opposition to Western military intervention in Libya this week as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin deployed his strongest criticism yet of NATO airstrikes in the country.
On Tuesday, speaking during a news conference in Copenhagen, Putin said the North African country was being illegally destroyed by “so-called civilised society” and that NATO was going beyond the UN mandate when it dropped guided bombs on embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli. “What kind of no-fly zone is this if they are striking palaces every night?” Putin said. “What do they need to bomb palaces for? To drive out the mice?”
Putin also suggested that Libya’s oil resources could be “the main object of interest to those operating there.” Libyans should resolve the conflict “themselves, without any external help,” Putin said.
The premier’s comments came after he earlier likened the UN Security Council resolution to enforce a no-fly zone in the country to a “call to a medieval crusade.”
On Wednesday, this time in Swedish capital Stockholm, Putin kept up his barrage of criticism, saying that he was “dumbfounded” over how easily decisions were being made to use force against countries. Putin said “this happens despite human rights and humanity concerns which the civilised world is believed to advocate."
"Don’t you think that there is a serious controversy between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “imbalance” should be eliminated. (Moscow News 2011)
Justin Raimondo, May 23, 2011
Fundamentalism is as much a problem in Israel as it is in, say, Egypt, or Jordan. Israel, in short, has returned to its Asian-Oriental roots, and is very far from the idealistic experiment its European founders envisioned at the beginning.
The fundamentalist leaders of today’s Israel are no more interested in peace than the leadership of al-Qaeda, or Hamas. The President may cite the demographic time bomb going off at present in the occupied territories, which he says makes the current situation “unsustainable,” but Israel’s fundies have an answer to that: deportation, ethnic cleansing, and a “Greater Israel” that extends its territory to include “Samaria” (the West Bank) and lands supposedly granted to Israel in the Bible. A debate about this is precluded by the fundamentalist mindset: we’re talking about religion, here, and not anything amenable to rational discussion or negotiation. The ruling Likud party was founded on this fundamentalist premise, and a “Greater Israel” is what the party of Netanyahu represents: it is foolish to think he will abandon this goal because of American pressure. (antiwar.com 2011)
Dagan doubts 'Arab Spring'
Yoav Zitun, 21 juni 2011
Former Mossad chief says Arab regimes being destabilized by 'preexisting rifts, conflicts' which are now taking form of protests, violence; adds Sunni regime good replacement for Assad, as it would hinder Hezbollah .
"Difficult times are destabilizing regimes all around us. They have received labels such as 'Arab Spring' and 'Democratic Tsunami', but I would recommend not making too much of labels and definitions because a deeper look reveals rifts and conflicts that existed before and which have been swept under the rug, but are now bursting out in the form of protests and in many places purposeful violence," he said.
But Dagan also allowed for a sliver of optimism, saying that Sunnis may replace the current Alawite regime in Syria.
"They may not be lovers of Israel, but there is no doubt this would harm Hezbollah, weaken it, harm the strategic backing it receives from Syria, minimize the Iranian influence in the field, increase influence by Saudi Arabia and Gulf States on it, and increase chances it will open up to the West," Dagan said.
He added that the Iranian nuclear threat is not only a threat to Israel. "It is a central challenge for states that reside along the Persian Gulf, the free world, and the US," he told a Netanya College ceremony. Dagan also finds Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood threatening to regional calm. "Here it is also correct to say that Israel is not alone," he said. "This situation requires regional cooperation and the challenges we face are also those of neighbor states and the entire free world." (YetNews 2011)
African Union Statement on the NATO Invasion of Libya
It's Time to End the Bombing and Find a Political Solution in Libya
By Dr. RUHAKANA RUGUNDA, CounterPunch June 22, 2011
At a meeting between the UN Security Council and the African Union High Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya on June 15, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations gave the African Union's stand on NATO's invasion of Libya.
1 . Thank you for organising this interactive dialogue. It is good that the United Nations Security Council has met the African Union (AU) Mediation Committee (High-Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya) so that we can exchange views on the situation in Libya in a candid manner. This should have happened much earlier because Libya is a founding member of the AU.
An attack on Libya or any other member of the African Union without express agreement by the AU is a dangerous provocation that should be avoided given the relaxed international situation in the last 20 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from jail and the eventual freedom of South Africa.
2. The UN is on safer ground if it confines itself on maintaining international peace and deterring war among member states.
3 . Intervening in internal affairs of States should be avoided except where there is proof of genocide or imminent genocide as happened in Rwanda or against the Jews in Germany and the European countries that were occupied by the Third Reich.
4. There are differences on the issue of Libya as to whether there was proof of genocide or intended genocide. Fighting between Government troops and armed insurrectionists is not genocide. It is civil war.
It is the attack on unarmed civilians with the aim of exterminating a particular group that is genocide – to exterminate the genes of targeted groups such as the Jews, Tutsis, etc. It is wrong to characterise every violence as genocide or imminent genocide so as to use it as a pretext for the undermining of the sovereignty of States.
5. Whatever the genesis of the intervention by NATO in Libya, the AU called for dialogue before the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 and after those Resolutions.
Ignoring the AU for three months and going on with the bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-handed, arrogant and provocative. This is something that should not be sustained.
6. The safer way is to use the ability to talk, to resolve all problems.
7 . The UN or anybody acting on behalf of the UN must be neutral in relation to the internal affairs of states. Certainly, that should be the case with respect to African countries. The UN should not take sides in a civil war. The UN should promote dialogue, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and help in enforcing agreements arrived at after negotiations such as the agreement on the Sudan.
8. Regardless of the genesis of the Libyan problem, the correct way forward now is dialogue without pre-conditions. The demand by some countries that Col. Muammar Gadaffi must go first before the dialogue is incorrect. Whether Gadaffi goes or stays is a matter for the Libyan people to decide.
10 . That dialogue should agree on the way forward in the direction of introducing competitive politics. Gadaffi thinks he has the most democratic system in the world of people's authority, elected local committees. Since so much chaos in Libya has emerged on the issue, Gadaffi should see the wisdom of accepting competitive democracy.
11 . A transitional mechanism could, then, be worked out and competitive elections would take place after an agreed timetable.
12 . What about security for the opposition members? We have plenty of experience on such issues. What did we do in Burundi? We provided a protection force (a brigade) for the Hutu leaders who were living outside Burundi or were in the bush.
13. How about those who are alleged to have committed war crimes – including Gadaffi and the rebels? Again, our decision in Burundi is useful here. We used the concept of "immunité provisoire" (provisional immunity), for all the stakeholders so that they could participate in the dialogue. After peace is realised, then a Truth and Reconciliation body could be set up to look into these matters.
14. Long-term safety of everybody can be ensured by security sector reform and especially reform of the army, so that it takes orders from any elected President.
15 . The intervention in Libya was premised on the basis of protecting civilians and preventing further civilian deaths. However, the humanitarian situation in Libya remains serious and continues to get worse with continued hostilities.
There has been no need for these war activities, ever since Gadaffi accepted dialogue when the AU mediation Committee visited Tripoli on April 10, 2011. Any war activities after that have been provocation for Africa. It is an unnecessary war. It must stop.
16. The story that the rebels cannot engage in dialogue unless Gadaffi goes away does not convince us. If they do not want dialogue, then, let them fight their war with Gadaffi without NATO bombing. Then, eventually, a modus vivendus will emerge between the two parties or one of them will be defeated.
17 . It is essential that the UN Security Council works with the African Union to ensure that a ceasefire is immediately established with an effective and verifiable monitoring mechanism and dialogue embarked upon, leading to a political process including transitional arrangements and the necessary reforms. The crisis in Libya requires a political solution and not a military one; and the AU Road Map is the most viable option.
Finally, what is needed on the issue of Libya is a genuine partnership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union. By working together we can find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya.
I thank you.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
By committing forces in Libya on behalf of the rebels based in Cyrenaica without quite knowing who they are, what they believe in, or what kind of government they would institute on achieving power, the NATO allies did something unprecedented in March 2011.
This irresponsible undertaking means that Western forces are engaged in a weird roll of the dice: Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi can inflict relatively little damage on American interests. The Cyrenaica crowd could be Islamist, in which case it might inflict much more damage on those interests.
As we know so little, I propose an unconventional policy which makes sense in these unusual circumstances: Not seek to drive Qaddafi from power but let him survive as ruler of Tripolitania (and Fezzan), while keeping him out of Cyrenaica. Over time, we can see which is the better of the two.
Again, I acknowledge that this is an abnormal policy, not to speak of one directly opposed to the current U.S. policy of dispatching Qaddafi, but NATO's incompetent, amateurish, emotional, and non-strategic policy does push one in an abnormal direction. (June 17, 2011)
Daniel Pipes maakt deel uit van de neoconservatieve, pro-Zionistische beweging in Amerika, een groep die alle jaren door gepleit heeft voor verwijdering van die Arabische en Islamitische leiders die de belangen van Israel (hier 'Amerika' genoemd) schade kunnen toebrengen.
Libya: Nato 'trying to kill Col Gaddafi'
By Alex Spillius and Aislinn Laing - 26 Jun 2011
A senior American general involved in the Libyan campaign has admitted that Nato forces are trying to kill Col Muammar Gaddafi, according to a member of the United States Congress.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command in Naples, said that efforts had been stepped up to target the Libyan leader, despite declarations by the Obama administration that "regime change" was not the goal. The admiral's comments were revealed by Representative Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Mr Turner has opposed the military intervention from the outset was among those who voted in the House of Representatives to deny President Barack Obama the authority to wage war against Libya.
He told Foreign Policy magazine that he came away from his conversation with Adm Locklear convinced that Nato was acting beyond remit of the United Nations 1973 resolution on Libya, which allowed for enforcement of a no-fly zone and the defence of civilians....
Frustrated at their inability to break the military deadlock, Nato commanders in late April expanded the campaign with strikes against military command facilities and other buildings used by Col Gaddafi and his top aides. (The Telegraph 2011)
A shameful situation
By VIJAY PRASHAD - 27 juni 2011
The twelve thousand sorties and the two thousand five hundred targets have done little to stop the Qaddafi regime from trying to assert itself. The Libyan army continues to push against Misrata, the city of perpetual dread. The frontline between east and west remains stagnant.....
Time is Qaddafi's friend. As each day goes by, more and more of NATO's propaganda ploys unravel. Donatella Rovera (Amnesty International) spent three months in Libya, investigating the various claims. She now reports that many of them are figments of the imagination, not the least of which is the one about Libyan troops given Viagra to conduct the mass rape of women (this was repeated as fact by the International CriminalCourt's Luis Moreno-Ocampo). Other crimes are certainly in evidence, such as the bombardment of civilian areas, but these now seem to have been conducted by both the Libyan army and by the NATO warplanes. There is no moral high ground.
The NATO war in Libya is far off from the UN Resolution 1973, and its philosophical underpinning (the Responsibility to Protect Civilians). The International Crisis Group's June 6 report (Making Sense of Libya) points out that no-one seems concerned with civilians, as the refugee crisis explodes without care and the civilian deaths increase. No one has created a humanitarian corridor out of the two sides of the country, to allow war refugees to leave what is plainly a civil war. It is a shameful situation. (CounterPunch 2011)
In America, Lawlessness is Now Complete
A World Overwhelmed by Western Hypocrisy
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS 29 juni 2011
Western institutions have become caricatures of hypocrisy.
US president George W. Bush’s designated lawyer ruled that the president has “unitary powers” that elevate him above statutory US law, treaties, and international law. According to this lawyer’s legal decisions, the “unitary executive” can violate with impunity the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prevents spying on Americans without warrants obtained from the FISA Court. Bush’s man also ruled that Bush could violate with impunity the statutory US laws against torture as well as the Geneva Conventions. In other words, the fictional “unitary powers” make the president into a Caesar.
Constitutional protections, such as habeas corpus, which prohibit government from holding people indefinitely without presenting charges and evidence to a court, and which prohibit government from denying detained people due process of law and access to an attorney, were thrown out the window by the US Department of Justice, and the federal courts went along with most of it. ....
Perhaps the height of lawlessness was attained when the Obama regime announced that it had a list of American citizens who would be assassinated without due process of law.
One would think that if law any longer had any meaning in Western civilization, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, indeed, the entire Bush/Cheney regime, as well as Tony Blair and Bush’s other co-conspirators, would be standing before the International Criminal Court.
Yet it is Gadaffi for whom the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants. Western powers are using the International Criminal Court, which is supposed to serve justice, for self-interested reasons that are unjust.
What is Gadaffi’s crime? His crime is that he is attempting to prevent Libya from being overthrown by a US-supported, and perhaps organized, armed uprising in Eastern Libya that is being used to evict China from its oil investments in Eastern Libya. Libya is the first armed revolt in the so-called “Arab Spring.” Reports have made it clear that there is nothing “democratic” about the revolt.
The West managed to push a “no-fly” resolution through its puppet organization, the United Nations. The resolution was limited to neutralizing Gadaffi’s air force. However, Washington, and its French puppet, Sarkozy, quickly made an “expansive interpretation” of the UN resolution and turned it into authorization to become directly involved in the war.
Gadaffi has resisted the armed rebellion against the state of Libya, which is the normal response of a government to rebellion. The US would respond the same as would the UK and France. But by trying to prevent the overthrow of his country and his country from becoming another American puppet state, Gadaffi has been indicted. The International Criminal Court knows that it cannot indict the real perpetrators of crimes against humanity--Bush, Blair, Obama, and Sarkozy--but the court needs cases and accepts the victims that the West succeeds in demonizing.
As the second decade of the 21st century opens, those who oppose US hegemony and the evil that emanates from Washington risk being declared to be “terrorists.” If they are American citizens, they can be assassinated. If they are foreign leaders, their country can be invaded. When captured, they can be executed, like Saddam Hussein, or sent off to the ICC, like the hapless Serbs, who tried to defend their country from being dismantled by the Americans.
And the American sheeple think that they have “freedom and democracy.” ...
There is nothing left of the American character. Only a people who have lost their soul could tolerate the evil that emanates from Washington. (CounterPunch 2011)
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
France Says NATO Bombing Has Failed
By FRANKLIN LAMB 11-7-2011
On Sunday July 10, France seemingly allied itself with Russia and China in calling on NATO to immediately stop its counterproductive and counterintuitive bombing, as more countries witness public demonstrations against NATO’s actions in Libya. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said in Paris that military action in Libya must end and Colonel Gaddafi be welcomed around the negotiating table. Continual bombing of the country is not working, and diplomacy is the only solution - even if Gaddafi retains limited power, In an apparent U-turn in policy, Mr Longuet said Gaddafi could remain in Libya ‘in another room of the palace, with another title.’
Longuet said: ‘We must now sit around a table...'
'We will stop bombing as soon as the Libyans start talking to one another and the military on both sides go back to their bases.' ... 'They can talk to each other because we’ve shown there is no solution through force.’ (CounterPunch 2011)
France Confirms ‘Indirect’ Talks With Libya Govt
by Jason Ditz, 11-7-2011
Long the most outspoken advocates of the NATO bombing campaign, the French government has shown a shockingly rapid change of direction over the past two days on the war in Libya, with officials not only advocating a rebel agreement with the Gadhafi regime but even engaging in talks of their own to that end.
The latest comments came by way of Alain Juppe, the French Foreign Minister, who confirmed that “indirect talks” are ongoing with Gadhafi regarding an agreement that would include his leaving office.
Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi also confirmed the talks, saying his government is in “serious negotiations” with both the French and the rebels. (antiwar.com 2011)
British DM: Libya War Could Last Months
Rails at 'Pathetic' NATO Nations That Aren't Bombing Libya
by Jason Ditz, 13-7-2011
In broad comments regarding the ever-stalemated Libyan War, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox conceded that his government has no clue how much longer the war will last, and that military commanders are preparing for several more months.
There is growing discontent about the war among member nations, even among initially hawkish nations like France. Fox chided the French for “aiding” Gadhafi by suggesting the war should end.
But he reserved his angriest condemnations for the NATO member nations who aren’t participating in the war, like Germany. He called the nations “pathetic” for refusing to attack and accused them of having a “free ride” on Britain, France and the US. Exactly what this free ride has gotten them, let alone the nations actually spending hundreds of millions of dollars bombing, is unclear. (antiwar.com 2011)
Western plans to divide and rule the Arab world by sowing confusion and exploiting ethnic and religious divides must be resisted in the post-revolutionary period, writes Galal Nassar
The demands of the revolutionaries in the Arab streets aside, I have long been aware of the strategies pursued by the intelligence agencies of various countries with interests in this region, as carried out by these countries' agencies, research institutes, and political and logistical support centres, especially those involved in training and promoting reform movements and civil society institutions on democratic governance. One of the foremost aims of such agencies has been to support minority and separatist movements in a region that is particularly ripe for change due to a long legacy of dictatorship, corruption, poverty and illiteracy, and to try to steer such change in a manner that serves their countries' interests without resorting to more flagrant interventions. ...
Indeed, the most powerful weapon in the US arsenal as far as this region is concerned has been a complex made up of the following components: dictatorship, corruption, torture, injustice, poverty, unemployment, organised protest movements, an easily provoked security establishment, hundreds of dead and wounded among peaceful protesters leading to the rapid collapse of regimes due to popular pressure, followed by proclamations of support from abroad. In order to facilitate reconstruction tailored to US interests, it has been important to fan the flames of revolutionary anger in order to demolish existing institutions....
The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt proved victorious, and the Arab world entered a political spring unlike anything this region has experienced in many decades. The dams behind which anger, hope and revolutionary impulses had been gathering finally burst, with the populations of many Arab countries rising up to demand their rightful share of the new dawn. There was no prelude to this, and nor were there clear political agendas or programmes. Uprisings flared up as though ignited by sparks flying from the Tunisian Revolution inspired by Mohamed Bouazizi or by the epic demonstrations of millions in Egypt. These uprisings then marched against the fortresses of tyranny and despotism across the Arab world. The suddenness, rapidity and force with which the revolutions spread stunned the Arab region and the world as a whole.
International reactions were initially confused and conflicting, yet once foreign powers had realised that the revolutionaries' victory was at hand, they threw their weight behind them and withdrew support for regimes that up until then had been among their staunchest allies. This was the most convenient route to take, for such countries' fundamental positions have remained unchanged, and they remain bent on their pre-existing designs, set since the mid1970s. These include trying to fragment the Arab world into petty states and harmless cantons along the lines of ethnic and religious divides. Such a strategy is today being pursued systematically by the Western powers and by certain neighbours in the Arab world, the tragic events in Libya and Yemen bearing eloquent witness to this. At present, Libya is being torn apart before our very eyes, with various powers manipulating the country's revolutionaries and pro-Gaddafi forces in order to drag out the civil war and wreak as much damage as possible through attrition.
The beginnings of this policy of attempting to sow fragmentation and chaos took shape immediately after the October 1973 War. This marked a turning point in many respects, since it proved that the Arabs could win a war and inflict damage on the Zionist project if they could attain a minimum level of solidarity. It also showed that the Arabs could use their natural resources in the service of their own national and regional interests. The war marked the first time that the Arabs had been able to use their oil wealth as a political card. Regardless of what actually happened, which only subsequently came to light, the move demonstrated that the Arabs could pursue an independent policy when they summoned up the collective will to do so. At the time, the then US secretary of state and US president Richard Nixon's foreign policy advisor, Henry Kissinger, said that the US had to help Israel become the strongest power in the region now that the Arabs had destroyed the myth of Israel's invincibility.
FRAGMENTING THE ARAB WORLD:
It was during the administration of US president Jimmy Carter that the logistical preparations for the Arab fragmentation strategy began. The Carter administration created a rapid intervention force, and soon reports began to leak of training exercises in the Arizona and Nevada deserts. Not long afterwards, in the late 1970s, certain Arab countries began to host American military exercises, code-named 'Bright Star'. Even at that time, journals close to American decision-making circles began to speak of Iraq as a 'soft spot' in the region due to its demographic mosaic, suggesting that occupying the country could serve as a platform for implementing a strategy of regional fragmentation and as a way of guaranteeing a lasting hold on petroleum resources.
US intentions towards the Arab world were revealed by the American Armed Forces Journal in its July 2006 edition when it spoke of the 'map of blood' that defined the scheme to partition the Arab world into petty states based on sectarian and ethnic affiliations. The article cited experts who said that this plan was already in motion and being applied to Palestine, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia and that it could extend to other Arab countries in future. ...
COUNTER SCENARIOS FOR THE ARAB REGION:
It is to be hoped that Egypt's revolutionaries are alert to the appalling scenario that has been hatched for the region and that they will do their utmost to help forestall its implementation in Egypt in particular. It is to be hoped, too, that the Arab revolutions will continue to shine and that they will encourage all national forces to stand alongside them, for while many of these forces are weak, they nevertheless constitute an important barrier to the realisation of the scenario described above.
The traditional political elites may be too old or too feeble to carry the torch of the national struggle, but this is not an excuse for the youth movements to ignore the pan-Arab and national dimension in their handling of domestic problems.
Indeed, perhaps the youth movements' very lack of awareness of this dimension may be related to their own movements' lack of a political project or manifesto. All their attention was focussed on toppling the regime, but they had no clear vision of what should come next, domestically or regionally. (Al-Ahram 2011)
Veel Arabische intellectuelen en islamisten verwijten het Westen dat het geen rekening houdt met de „eigenheid” van de Arabische wereld. Deze Arabische eigenheid werd duidelijk na ?de Iraakse verkiezingen van 7 maart 2010.
Tijdens de politieke stoelendans die na de verkiezingen op gang kwam, waarschuwden diverse politici voor burgeroorlog als hun politieke eisen niet werden ingewilligd. Vrijwel alle politieke partijen in Irak bezitten milities.
De ontwikkelingen in deze jongste Arabische democratie vertonen overeenkomsten met de oudste Arabische democratie, Libanon. Dat land maakt zichtbaar dat de eerste loyaliteit van burgers niet bij de staat ligt, maar bij de eigen groep. Al deze groepen vechten om hun deel van de politieke macht, want dat geeft toegang tot staatsfuncties en tot de schatkist.
Democratische bewegingen van intellectuelen bleken de afgelopen decennia te zwak om de heersende regimes uit te dagen. Veel intellectuelen emigreerden naar het Westen, om van daaruit hun oppositie voort te zetten. Het waren islamitische bewegingen die in de Arabische wereld zelf stand hielden. ... Deze bewegingen vertegenwoordigen echter de agenda van de politieke islam. Het realiseren van een democratische rechtsstaat, gefundeerd op de gelijkheid van alle burgers voor de wet, is bepaald niet hun uitgangspunt en doel. ...
Een harde voorwaarde voor succesvolle democratische hervormingen is het door alle burgers gedeelde gevoel van loyaliteit aan de eigen staat. Dat vereist enerzijds het bestrijden van sektarisch groepsdenken, anderzijds de opleiding van een nieuwe klasse van politici die hun ambt niet zien als de snelste weg tot zelfverrijking.
Zonder deze voorwaarden hebben vrije verkiezingen geen enkele zin. Maar in plaats van het sektarisme in Irak en Libanon aan te pakken, heeft het Westen zich de sektarische spelregels eigen gemaakt en steunt het de ene groep tegen de andere, naar gelang de omstandigheden.
In het denken van veel van mijn Arabische vrienden staat democratie voor afwezigheid van gezag en voor alle problemen van geweld en chaos die hiermee samenhangen. „Jullie in Europa hebben democratie, wij hebben gezag”, houden ze me steeds weer voor. De ontwikkelingen in Libanon, Irak en nu ook in Egypte, hebben hen slechts gesterkt in deze visie. In werkelijkheid is het het heersende sektarische denken dat tot gezagsvacuüms leidt. (Reformatorisch Dagblad 2011)
British DM: Libya’s Rebels Can’t Win
As War Continues, NATO Hopes for Random Palace Coup by Jason Ditz, July 31, 2011
Speaking today on BBC Radio 4, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox conceded that the ongoing NATO-backed rebellion in Libya was unlikely to result in the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, admitting to a “military stalemate” on the ground.
This might sound like bad news, particularly with top leadership from a number of NATO member nations pledging to continue the war until Gadhafi’s ouster. Fox however, suggested an alternative strategy: hoping for a palace coup.
“The key for the Libyan resolution will be whether or not the close circle around Colonel Gadhafi realize there’s no point in investing in him,” insisted Fox. In the meantime, it seems, NATO will just continue on with a war that it doesn’t believe is winnable. (antiwar.com 2011)
Britain's half-war against Libya is careering onward from reckless gesture to full-scale fiasco. As it reaches six months' duration, every sensibly pessimistic forecast has turned out true and every jingoistic boast false. ...
There remains no sign that the terror bombing of civilian areas now is contributing to military victory any more effectively than when Bomber Harris advocated it. The enterprise has been delegated to the navy and air force, each desperate to show its latest kit can be of use. They have duly deployed costly cruise missiles and Typhoon bombers, which have done no more than impose stalemate on a distant civil war at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds. ...
When the army wanted no part of the operation, Cameron should have smelled a rat. By assigning Libya to airmen and sailors, Cameron put in the driving seat the two services without an ounce of strategic sense. His diplomats were equally silent, sidelined by technology and a decade of failed western policy towards the Arab world. The foreign secretary, William Hague, is known to have shared Washington's scepticism of going to war in Libya. But scepticism is not enough in these matters.
Whatever may have been the shortcomings of the civil service at the end of the 20th century, it was minor compared with the chaotic policy formation that took its place. From poll tax and Iraq to the NHS and Libya, the march of folly through British government seems unstoppable. Now each night a pilot flies over Tripoli and drops bombs on it, achieving nothing but death and destruction. Libya is not a dependency of the United Kingdom. It was and is no threat to Britain or its people, and the consequent rise in the price of oil is not in Britain's interest. Libya is in the grip of a wretched civil war that Britain might have relieved with aid, but not bombers. It is a mistake. But who will say so? (The Guardian 2011)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree which will authorize a multi-party political system in the country.
Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Thursday that the president issued Legislative Decree No. 100 for 2011 on Parties Law and Legislative Decree No. 101 for 2011 on General Election Law.
The decree paves the way for the establishment of political parties and allows them to function alongside the country's Baath Party, which has been in power since 1963 with the constitutional status of “the leader of state and society.”
Assad's decree means the law can take effect immediately without approval of the Syrian parliament.
Last month, the Syrian government adopted a draft law on multiple political organizations, which was “aimed at enriching political life, creating a new dynamic and allowing for a change in political power.” The decree prohibits parties founded on the basis of “religion, tribal affiliation, and regional interests.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest in past months with demonstrations held both against and in support of the government. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces killed four civilians and injured dozens of others in several cities across the country on Wednesday. The Syrian opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings, but the government blames the deadly violence on armed gangs.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was described here as the Middle East’s ruler. Commentators spoke at length about “the Ottoman empire’s revival” and used similar superlatives that are largely disconnected from reality....
Rather than securing Mideastern hegemony, Turkey itself may fall apart. This is the case after the Kurdish leadership in the country declared on July 15 the establishment of a democratic Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey, with its capital in Diyarbakir. When Erdogan heard about the declaration he was furious, as the possible future implication of this is Turkey’s collapse.
In Syria, that very same day, we saw another important development. For the first time, a Kurdish liaison committee was established that brings together all the new Kurdish parties in Syria on the basis of the “Kurdish people’s unity.” They demand Kurdish autonomy in the wake of the Assad regime or at least a federation within Syria.
The Syrian Kurds enjoy a particularly sympathetic home front in the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Slowly, the pieces of the Turkish puzzle in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran are connecting into a giant state that will be home to 18 million people. At this time already, the Kurdish region of Iraq is in fact a state with its own flag, leadership and sovereignty.
And another thing: The Kurdish state will be a close ally of Israel, just like South Sudan. The Kurds are close to Israel and view it as a twin sister with a difficult history and non-Arabic identity.
What we see are four states hostile to Israel in one way or another that will have to fall apart in order to give rise to an ally of Israel.
Het oude regime verdrijven is één ding, maar er iets beters voor in de plaats stellen, is een tweede. De Libische opstandelingen hebben vooral de oppositie tegen het regime van kolonel Gaddafi gemeen.
Gaddafi bleek te zwak om de macht te handhaven. ... Het betekent echter nog niet dat de rebellen sterk zijn. Het betekent evenmin dat zij terug kunnen vallen op een overweldigende meerderheid van de Libische bevolking. ...
Het feit dat rebellenleiders in de Libische stad Misrata tegenover verschillende media al lieten weten geenszins van plan te zijn zich te onderwerpen aan het gezag van de overgangsraad, is tekenend. De merkwaardige situatie is nu dat meer dan dertig landen de overgangsraad hebben erkend als wettig gezag, maar dat het nog maar de vraag is of alle rebellen dat ook doen. De opstandelingen vormen een zeer gemêleerd gezelschap, uiteenlopend van liberalen tot fundamentalistische islamieten.
Daarbij komt dat Gaddafi nog altijd op steun van een deel van de bevolking kon rekenen. De eerlijkheid gebiedt te zeggen dat de opstandelingen het zonder de NAVO niet hadden gered.
Zware gevechten ten westen van Tripoli
De opstandelingen in Libië zijn vandaag in een hevig gevecht verzeild geraakt met troepen die loyaal zijn aan dictator Muammar Kaddafi. Dat gebeurde in een stad op ongeveer 80 kilometer ten westen van de hoofdstad Tripoli, dat meldt de rebellenraad, die opereert vanuit de oostelijke havenstad Benghazi.
Het geweld zou zijn uitgebroken nadat mensen de straat op waren gegaan om steun te betuigen aan Kaddafi. Volgens de Arabische nieuwszender al-Jazeera wordt er ook gevochten bij het commandocentrum van Kaddafi in Tripoli en op de kustweg van de stad Zlitan naar de hoofdstad.
In de Libische hoofdstad Tripoli is inmiddels een groot tekort aan medisch personeel. Dat heeft de arts Mohmad Harisha, werkzaam in een ziekenhuis in Tripoli, vandaag tegen de BBC gezegd.
'De situatie is zeer slecht', zei Harisha. 'We hebben meer artsen, chirurgen, orthopedisten en anesthesisten nodig.' Volgens de arts is er ook een groot gebrek aan verpleegsters en röntgenapparatuur en ander materiaal. (het parool 2011)
Kucinich: NATO Not Exempt From Law
John Glaser, August 23, 2011
NATO commanders who authorized the bombing of Libya should be “held accountable” to international law and hauled before the world court for civilian deaths, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Tuesday.
“NATO’s top commanders may have acted under color of international law, but they are not exempt from international law,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his office. “If members of the Qadhafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO’s top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing. Otherwise, we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism.”
Kucinich argued that NATO’s failure to keep to the initial UN mandate of protecting civilians also warrants investigation. “The reasons for the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya keep changing,” he said. “First, it was about the potential for a massacre in Benghazi. When the massacre did not materialize and once the war against Libya was under way, the reasons for intervention changed.”
“Was the United States, through participation in the overthrow of the regime, furthering the aims of international oil corporations in pursuit of control over one of the world’s largest oil resources?” he asked. “Did the United States at the inception of the war against Libya align itself with elements of Al Qaeda, while elsewhere continuing to use the threat of Al Qaeda as a reason for U.S. military intervention, presence and occupation?” (antiwar.com 2011)
The Use of Force Against Libya
Another Illegal Use of Force 20-3-2011
JURIST Curtis Doebbler, professor of law at Webster University and Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, both in Geneva, Switzerland, says the UN Security Council and the military coalition in Libya acted in contravention of international law in its use of force against Libya….
Perhaps the greatest harm to humanity will be the long-term effects on international affairs from the use of force in a manner that is outside of the allowed exceptions of international law. In the Pact of Paris in 1928 and again in the UN Charter in 1945, States agreed not to use force against each other to accomplish their foreign policy ends. The Western world has appeared to repeatedly challenge this agreement in the last ten years, especially by its willingness to take military action against predominately Muslim States. In doing so they have sent an undeniable signal to the international community through their actions and despite some of their words, that international law does not matter to them. If this message is not answered by the proponents of international law then the advances we have made to ensure that the international community respects the rule of law may be undone for future generations. (normanfinkelstein.com 2011)
An Armed Insurrection Supported Secretly by Foreign Powers
H. Sabbagh, 23 Augustus 2011
OTTAWA, (SANA) – Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization Michel Chossudovsky said that what is happening in Syria is an armed insurrection supported secretly by foreign forces including the United States.
In an article published on the Centre's website, Chossudovsky said that armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border into Syria and that the US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting them.
He pointed out that the U.S is expanding its contact with Syrian opposition figures who are counting on a regime change in the country, noting that U.S. State Department official Victoria Nuland stated that her country "started to expand contacts with the Syrians, those who are calling for change, both inside and outside the country."
Chossudovsky said that the destabilization of Syria and Lebanon as sovereign countries has been on the agenda of the military alliance between the U.S., the NATO and Israel for at least ten years, noting that former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark said that the action against Syria is part of a military roadmap and that the Pentagon had clearly identified Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon as targets of an intervention by the U.S. and NATO.
He pointed out that in page 130 of his book, Winning Modern Wars, Clark quoted a senior U.S. army officer as saying in November 2001 that the U.S. was still on track for going to war against Iraq and that there was more to discuss as part of a five-year campaign plan targeting a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan, and that the goal is to destabilize Syria and implement a "regime change" through the secret support of armed insurgency in cooperation with Islamist militias. ...
Chossudovsky noted that mass media purposefully ignored in its reports the mass gatherings of tens of thousands of President al-Assad's supporters in Damascus on March 29th, and in an unusual twist, the western media used images and video footage of pro-government gatherings to convince international public opinion that President al-Assad was facing anti-government rallies.
He went on to explain that objective of the U.S.-NATO-Israeli alliance against Syria isn't supporting democracy, but rather establishing a political regime that is subservient to Washington, and that media misdirection aims at defaming President al-Assad and more broadly destabilizing Syria as a secular state through secret support of extremist Islamist organizations. ...
Chossudovsky explained that Israel and the NATO signed a long-term military cooperation agreement in 2005, and that if a military operation were to be launched against Syria, then Israel would probably be involved in it alongside NATO forces under the bilateral agreement between NATO and Israel. (Syrian Arab News Agency 2011)
Michel Chossudovsky, born 1946 graduated at the University of Manchester, England, obtaining a Ph D at The University of North Carolina, U. S. A., he is professor of economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. (WIKIPEDIA)
A recent poll conducted by Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), showed that 32% of Egyptians will vote for Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in the upcoming elections, while 16% will vote for "revolution youth", 14.2% for the Liberal Al-Wafd Party, 7.7% for Free Egyptians Party, 6.6% for the Salafist Al-Noor Party, and 5.2% for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
Asking which polilitcal party Egyptians trust the most, an astounding 69% of Egyptians responded they do not trust any party, while 11.5% said they trust the FJP, 4.5% said they trust Al-Wafd, 3% the revolution youth, and 2.6% Al-Noor.
Amr Mousa topped the list of potential presidential candidates with 63.5% favorite ratings, followed by Ahmad Shafik 49%, Al-Bastawisi and Selim Al-Awwa equally 40%, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Omar Suleiman 39%.
The Founding Statement of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
"We confirm our deep belief in the need to state in the Constitution that Islam is the official religion of the state, Arabic is the official state language and that the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation, and thus, the application of Sharia in all walks of life; as it is the source of wisdom and divine mercy, and as a response to the demands of the majority of the Egyptian people who believe that the Sharia is the best method to ensure the reformation of the conditions of our society that will lead it to happiness and progress..." (Ikhanweb 2011)
There’ll be no Green Party on the ballot
by Justin Raimondo, August 24, 2011
As the rebels march into Tripoli, and Gadhafi is nowhere to be found, the unelected National Transitional Council (NTC), which claims to be the only legitimate government, has already issued a draft “constitution,” one replete with references to all sorts of “rights” – free speech, assembly, democratic elections, etc. There’s just one little provision – stated right up front, in Part 1, Article 1 – that could throw a monkey-wrench into the new regime’s public relations campaign. It reads: “Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).”
As Lachlan Markay, over at the Heritage Foundation, notes: “Under this constitution, in other words, Islam is law. That makes other phrases such as ‘there shall be no crime or penalty except by virtue of the law’ and ‘Judges shall be independent, subject to no other authority but law and conscience’ a bit more ominous.”
No doubt the Libyans will go through the sham of “democratic” elections, although you can bet there’ll be no Green Party on the ballot. In reality, however, the outcome is being decided in advance. After all, why bother having elections to a legislative body if the laws have already been written?
The resemblance of all this to what happened in Iraq is eerie: the first public face of the Iraqi opposition was Ahmad Chalabi, the trickster-embezzler and “hero-in-error,” who funneled fake “intelligence” to the Bush White House and was paid to lie us into war. Chalabi never talked religion, but only about “democracy” and “liberty.” Chalabi’s group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), was swept aside in the elections, in which the Islamist parties divided up the vast majority of votes... (antiwar.com)
Many are ready to party about the political demise of ... Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi as rebel troops move into Tripoli. I am not partying. Here's why not.
The NATO intervention in March 2011 was done without due diligence as to who it is in Benghazi that it was helping. To this day, their identity is a mystery. Chances are good that Islamist forces are hiding behind more benign elements, waiting for the right moment to pounce, as roughly happened in Iran in 1978-79, when Islamists did not make clear their strength nor their program until the shah was well disposed of. Should that be the case in Libya today, then .. Qaddafi will prove to be better than his successors...
I hope I am wrong and the rebels are modern and liberal. But I fear that a dead-end despotism will be replaced by the agents of a worldwide ideological movement. I fear that Western forces will have brought civilization's worst enemies to power.
Daniel Pipes is jarenlang de woordvoerder geweest van de pro-Israelische (pro-Zionistische) neoconservatieve gemeenschap in Amerika. Zijn moraal is simpel: alles wat goed is voor Israel is in algemene zin 'goed'. Wat slecht is voor Israel is voor de hele wereld 'slecht'.
For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.
With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.
Nato has ordered all available surveillance aircraft, including British spy planes, to focus on tracking Gaddafi. Meanwhile SAS soldiers who had been sent to Libya several weeks ago to coordinate air strikes on key military targets have been ordered to stay on and help the rebels on the ground who are hunting him down.
With snipers trying to pick off anyone using the ports and airports, aid agencies have been unable to deliver fresh supplies of medicines, food or water, and hospitals in Tripoli have been overwhelmed with casualties, who include children.
Rosa Crestani, of the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, said: "The situation is very tough…it's almost a catastrophe. There are clearly shortages of life-saving medication and equipment. There are no antibiotics and instruments for life-saving surgery." (Thomas Harding, Gordon Rayner and Damien McElroy in Tripoli)
US Denies Any NATO Involvement in Gadhafi Manhunt
by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2011
Comments today from the US State Department insisted that neither the United States nor NATO has any involvement in the ongoing manhunt for Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, insisting this falls outside of the UN mandate for their war.
Pentagon officials reiterated this position, insisting that NATO had no role in the hunt, despite British Defense Minister Liam Fox’s claim that NATO is helping “providing intelligence and reconnaissance” to track down Gadhafi. (antiwar.com)
Tribal Divisions, Rebels Increase Chances of Chaos in Libya
by John Glaser, August 26, 2011
As is widely recognized at this point, the ragtag rebel groups the US and NATO placed their bets on to be the next rulers of Libya are facing enormous challenges after ousting Muammar Gadhafi. Considering their organization and capabilities, they may be out of their league.
Tripoli is essentially lawless at current, with sporadic gun fights still breaking out, dead bodies strewn about the streets, no water or electricity. The rebels were able to fight in gun battles, but providing services and stability seem to surpass their abilities.....
The US and NATO are concerned that the disparate nature of the rebel groups could lead to the discovery and subsequent black-market sale of Gadhafi’s weapons stockpiles. The general lack of confidence in their proxies has led various Western leaders to consider expanding on the ground troop presence in the country.
With oil and gas representing about 70 percent of the Libyan economy, rebels are welcoming international corporations back into the country in an attempt to get the funding to secure their rule. At the same time, Obama is working hard at unfreezing billions of dollars of Libyan assets for the rebels.
But none of the plans will go smoothly, for the rebels or the Western powers, if the power vacuum now apparent in the country leads to a descent into bloody chaos, as happened in postwar Iraq. Unfortunately, such chaos seems likely at this point. (antiwar.com 2011)
I was going to write about the NATO bombing of Sirte, where in order "protect civilians" from the now non-existent regime of Moamar Gadafy, the humanitarian lords of the West are now killing civilians at the behest of the new, non-elected regime of the murky and murderous "Transitional National Council."
But as I sat down to the keyboard, I saw that Craig Murray was already on the case. Murray, you'll recall, was the courageous UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who dared expose the horrific tortures being practiced by the "friendly" regime there, which was acting as one of the many foreign proxies for the Anglo-American "war on terror." For his pains, he was dismissed, demonized, marginalized. ...
Here is his quick take on the attack on Sirte:
"The disconnect between the UN mandate to protect civilians while facilitating negotiation, and NATO’s actual actions as the anti-Gadaffi forces’ air force and special forces, is startling.
There is something so shocking in the Orwellian doublespeak of NATO on this point that I am severely dismayed. ... I had hoped that the general population in Europe is so educated now that obvious outright lies would be rejected. I even hoped some journalists would seek to expose lies. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. ...
It is worth reminding everyone something never mentioned, that UNSCR 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians had “the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;” ..... What we have is the opposite; highly selective neo-imperial wars aimed at ensuring politically client control of key physical resources.
Wars kill people. Women and children are dying now in Libya, whatever the sanitised media tells you. The BBC have reported it will take a decade to repair Libya’s infrastructure from the damage of war. That in an underestimate. Iraq is still decades away from returning its utilities to their condition in 2000. ...
NATO intervention does not bring freedom, it brings destruction, degradation and permanent enslavement to the neo-colonial yoke...."
Murray is quite right to point to the "sanitized" version of the war that we have gotten. No doubt in the months and years to come, the true death toll notched up by the humanitarians will come out ... in dribs and drabs, in obscure corners, or even -- why not? -- in a "major" feature in a respectable publication, whose years-late revelations will be swiftly brushed aside and forgotten. ... After all, we live in a militarist-corporatist-police state, but not a totalitarian one; information is out there, facts can be obtained, trenchant criticism can be found .... Our masters learned long ago that manipulating and massaging information (and misinformation) is much more effective, and longer-lasting, than attempts at total suppression and control. (www.chris-floyd.com 2011)
TEHRAN, Aug. 24 (MNA) -- Muslim nations are now more determined than ever in their efforts to liberate all of the occupied territories, including occupied holy Qods, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast. Mehmanparast made the remarks in an interview with IRNA on Wednesday, two days ahead of International Qods Day, which will be observed on August 26.
International Qods Day is a day of solidarity with Palestine observed on the last Friday of the .. month of Ramadan. Anti-Zionist demonstrations are held on Qods Day all over the world, especially in Iran, where the event was inaugurated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The late Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Islamic Republic, made the proposal to establish an international day of solidarity with Palestinians in August of that year.
Mehmanparast called the Palestine issue one of the most serious issues in the Middle East. The pro-democracy uprisings occurring in the region will create a situation where the people will be able to determine their own destiny and governments will no longer be subservient to the hegemonistic powers and the countries which support the Zionist regime, he stated.
MP Mohammad-Reza Bahonar also said on Wednesday that the Iranian people will turn out in large numbers for the demonstrations on Friday. “With the overthrow of dictatorial governments in the region, the collapse of the Zionist regime is approaching,” added Bahonar, who is the deputy Majlis speaker for supervisory affairs.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the recognition of an independent Palestinian state is not the final step. Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a pre-sermon speech at Friday prayers in Tehran on International Qods Day.
He stated, “Everyone should take this point into consideration, that the recognition of an independent Palestinian state is not the final point. Rather, it is an initial step” and a “step forward” toward liberating all of the occupied territories.
Palestinians should not be satisfied with the establishment of a weak government with limited authority over a small part of the Palestinian homeland, Ahmadinejad said. “Palestinians should establish the Palestinian state through unity and solidarity, and take a step forward,” he added.
He also called on believers and those who are pursuing a quest for freedom and justice to focus their efforts on “annihilating” the Zionist regime. ... He added that those who have occupied Palestine and are committing aggression there are “puppets” of the United States.
Ahmadinejad also addressed the Zionist regime, saying, “Do not think that your existence will be recognized with the recognition of the Palestinian state. Be aware that it is only the beginning of the path. You have no place in our region and among our nations, and you will not be able to continue your ignominious life on even a small part of the Palestinian territories.”
With the escalation of the unrest in Syria and the accompanying surge in political dialogue, there has been a resurgence of discussion about the concept of citizenship.
In his book Guide to Citizenship, Hassan Abbas, a Syrian researcher, wrote that it is not enough to define citizenship as acquiring a nationality and enjoying the civil and political rights it offers. The definition includes active participation in public life.
"Freedom is the legal status quo of the citizen meaning that a citizen is free to choose between becoming an active citizen who participates in public life or...being a passive one," Abbas wrote.
"Citizenship means the right of citizens to participate in all aspects of life," Adel, a young theater critic who asked to remain anonymous, told Syria Today. He explained that the concept combines rights and duties, but that in Syria, duties trump rights. Until recently, broader duties and rights as citizens went ignored, he argued, because people were more concerned with their everyday struggles. ...
Lawyers interviewed by Syria Today argued that deficiencies in ensuring citizens' rights in Syria come from flaws in the constitution, where the state defines its idea of citizenship and organises the relationship between the government and citizens. Others said that the constitution guarantees adequate rights to citizens; however, the problem lies in many laws which are, in fact, unconstitutional.
In his speech last month, President Bashar al-Assad said that the new media, parties and electoral laws will allow "citizens to participate in making decisions, monitor and denounce" activities of the state. Making this change, Assad said, might require revising the constitution or issuing a new one.
To implement citizens' rights, as outlined in the Syrian constitution, articles from the very same constitution must be changed and effectively applied.
People's political and civil rights can be found in the first chapter of the constitution titled "Basic Principles". It grants all citizens personal freedom, equality before the law, participation in the political, economic, social and cultural life of society, the freedom of faith, the right (and duty) to work, free obligatory education, the right of free and open expression, freedom of the press and the right to demonstrate peacefully.
However, articles like number 8 – which grants the ruling Ba'ath party a monopoly on political power in the country – contradict and effectively negate the right of citizens to participate in political life.
Nazih Maalouf, a lawyer and former judge and the manager of Syria Court, a legal website that covers human rights and other legal issues in Syria, said the constitution includes many contradictory articles. For example, it states that all Syrians have equal rights and opportunities, but another article says that the country's president must be Muslim and that legislation must be based on Islamic jurisprudence. ...
Another measure that contradicts the notion of universal equality came in with the constitution of 1961, which was drafted following a military coup that ended three years of union between Egypt and Syria, when the Syrian republic was first defined as Arab. This remained unchanged.
"Limiting citizenship to Syrian Arabs is unacceptable," Maalouf declared. "A citizen must be any person who lives in this land and has specific rights and duties. Equality and people's general liberties must be established by the constitution regardless of their religion or ethnicity."
"Individual liberties must be addressed by the constitution and should not be governed by laws because laws are subject to change, according to who is in power and are easy to play around with," Maalouf explained. "The constitution is obligatory and is not easily changed." (Syria Today 2011)
NATO Still Bombing Libya
by Jason Ditz, August 31, 2011
Remember how over a week ago NATO officials were beaming with pride in their “victory” in Libya? They apparently don’t, as reports from the nation indicate that they are not only maintaining a “no-fly zone” but are still bombing the country.
The air strikes, centering around the city of Sirte, are coming in spite of the city having seemingly no air defenses, and are targeting the city’s defenders, apparently helping the rebels poised to attack a city that is staunchly pro-Gadhafi.
This is the latest in a growing number of incidents where, despite claims of being a “neutral” force in the Libyan Civil War, NATO is clearly backing the rebels’ offensives, even if it poses a threat to the civilian population. (antiwar.com 2011)
30,000 Bombs On Libya
By Thomas Mountain, 2 september 2011
After some 8,000 bombing raids, with estimates of 4 bombs used per attack NATO has already dropped over 30,000 bombs on Libya. That's almost 200 bombs per day for 6 months, some tens of thousands of tons of high explosives. ... The rebels  said there have been 50,000 Libyan deaths. One hell of a humanitarian intervention isn't it?
A major problem for NATO and its Libyan Quisling League a.k.a the National Transitional Council (NTC) is that most of rebel military is now under the leadership the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a self described affiliate of Al Queda in the Maghreb (North Africa). The "general" in command of the mainly ethnic Berber rebel fighters that have captured the Libyan capital, known as the Tripoli Military Council, is the head of the LIFG. One of his top commanders is head of the Benghazi based rebel army. With the recent murder of "General" Younnis, former head of the Libyan secret police and once considered the most feared man in the country, the LIFG has now taken over leadership of almost all of the most effective fighting forces of the Libyan rebellion. ...
The "Transitional National Council" now recognized as "the legitimate government of Libya" by NATO governments and their allies is made up of many former high ranking Libyan Government officials and is increasingly caught in a tough spot. ...
How much longer the LIFG/Al Queda lead rebel armies will stand by and allow their former bitter enemies in the TNC to remain in power is the  question. Already the rebel "government" in the port city of Misrata has announced they do not recognize the authority of the TNC and rally's demanding the removal of the former Libyan government officials in the TNC have been reported taking place on an almost daily basis there. ...
So far the Al Queda lead rebel fighters and the west's bully boys in the NTC have yet to begin to eat each other though it seems almost inevitable that internal warfare amongst the rebels will take place. ...
The one thing that is clear is that the Libyan Tragedy has just begun and that the capture of most of northern Libya by the NATO backed rebels is just its first phase. 30,000 bombs over Libya  marks the beginning rather than the end of this disaster. (www.rense.com 2011)
Thomas C. Mountain was a member of the 1st US Peace Delegation to Libya in 1987
Libya’s NTC appreciates Iran’s support
Mehr News, 2-9-2011
TEHRAN, Sept. 2 (MNA) – The chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) has thanked the Islamic Republic for its humanitarian aid and support for Libyans during the hard times. Mustafa Abdul Jalil extended his appreciation in a recent telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
He also emphasized the importance of expanding ties between Iran and Libya, urging Iran to send back its ambassador to Tripoli and resume his activities.
Abdul Jalil also invited Salehi to pay a visit to Tripoli and hold talks with Libyan officials in the near future.
Salehi congratulated Abdul Jalil on the victory of the Muslim Libyan people over the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. He also called for closer ties with Libya and invited Abdul Jalil to take a trip to Tehran at the earliest opportunity. (Mehr News 2011)
AFRICOM and the Neo-Colonialists
NATO’s War on Libya is an Attack on African Development
by DAN GLAZEBROOK - September 6, 2011
Four years ago, the US set up a new “command and control centre” for the military subjugation of the Africa, called AFRICOM. The problem for the US was that no African country wanted to host them; indeed, until very recently, Africa was unique in being the only continent in the world without a US military base. And this fact is in no small part, thanks to the efforts of the Libyan government.
Before Gaddafi’s revolution deposed the British-backed King Idris in 1969, Libya had hosted one of the world’s biggest US airbases, the Wheelus Air Base; but within a year of the revolution, it had been closed down and all foreign military personnel expelled.
More recently, Gaddafi had been actively working to scupper AFRICOM. African governments that were offered money by the US to host a base were typically offered double by Gaddafi to refuse it, and in 2008 this ad-hoc opposition crystallised into a formal rejection of AFRICOM by the African Union.
Perhaps even more worrying for US and European domination of the continent were the huge resources that Gaddafi was channelling into African development. The Libyan government was by far the largest investor in Africa’s first ever satellite, launched in 2007, which freed Africa from $500million per year in payments to European satellite companies. Even worse for the colonial powers, Libya had allocated $30billion for the African Union’s three big financial projects, aimed at ending African dependence on Western finance. The African Investment Bank – with its headquarters in Libya – was to invest in African development at no interest, which would have seriously threatened the International Monetary Fund’s domination of Africa – a crucial pillar for keeping Africa in its impoverished position. And Gaddafi was leading the AU’s development of a new gold-backed African currency, which would have cut yet another of the strings that keep Africa at the mercy of the West, with $42billion already allocated to this project – again, much of it by Libya.
NATO’s war is aimed at ending Libya’s trajectory as a socialist, anti-imperialist, pan-Africanist nation in the forefront of moves to srengthen African unity and independence. The rebels have made clear their virulent racism from the very start of their insurrection, rounding up or executing thousands of black African workers and students. All the African development funds for the projects described above have been ‘frozen’ by the NATO countries and are to be handed over to their hand-picked buddies in the NTC to spend instead on weapons to facilitate their war. (CounterPunch 2011)
DAN GLAZEBROOK writes for the Morning Star newspaper
AFRICOM Mission Statement
Africa Command protects and defends the national security interests of the United States by strengthening the defense capabilities of African states and regional organizations and, when directed, conducts military operations, in order to deter and defeat transnational threats and to provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development.
Our purpose is twofold: 1) to protect the U.S. homeland, American citizens abroad, and our national interests from transnational threats emanating from Africa; and 2) through sustained engagement, to enable our African partners to create a security environment that promotes stability, improved governance, and continued development. Should preventive or enabling efforts fail, we must always be prepared to prevail against any individual or organization that poses a threat to the United States, our national interests, or our allies and partners. (US Africa Command)
Libya is now set to be a scene of multiple battles
Soumaya Ghannoushi - guardian.co.uk, 6 September 2011
After six months of  resistance  Gaddafi has finally fallen on his sword. His collapse, however, is far from the end of the story. Instead, it heralds the start of a more complicated chapter in his country's history. ... The common enemy has been forced out of the scene, and now the vast differences between those he had brought together return to occupy the centre stage.
The vacuum created by Gaddafi's departure is now filled by two polarised camps. The first is the National Transitional Council (NTC), made up largely of ex-ministers and prominent senior Gaddafi officials who jumped from his ship as it began to sink. These enjoy the support of Nato and derive their current power and influence from the backing of western capitals. The second is composed of political and military local leaders who have played a decisive role in the liberation of the various Libyan cities from the Gaddafi brigades. ....
Ismail Sallabi, head of the Benghazi military council, called on the NTC to resign, castigating its members as "remnants of the Gaddafi era" and "as a bunch of liberals with no following in Libyan society".
Two sources of legitimacy now confront each other in Libya: a legitimacy derived from armed struggle on the one hand, and the de facto legitimacy of a self-appointed leadership with western support on the other. The two are locked in a cold (and potentially hot) conflict over Libya's future, the nature of its political order and its foreign policy. (The Guardian 2011)
Libya’s Stockpile of Missiles Vanishing
by Jason Ditz, September 07, 2011
Libya’s rebels are still caught up chasing Moammar Gadhafi across the nation, announcing once again today that they have him “surrounded,” a promise that has fallen through many times already.
But the international community’s biggest concern is not figuring out where Gadhafi is, but what is happening to his tens of thousands of surface-to-air missiles. As it turns out, those missiles are vanishing at an alarming rate.
Reports on the ground have Tripoli’s weapons warehouse coming up empty: empty crates, packing lists for missiles long gone, and inventory numbers that don’t lead anywhere. Others say the same about weapons depots in other cities. ...
Libya’s neighbors have feared this situation from the start, and the flow of weapons across the region seems to be on the rise. With Libya’s economy virtually destroyed in this war, and its only export real industry in ruins, weapons smuggling is likely to remain big business for the foreseeable future — with markets open possibly all the way to Afghanistan. (antiwar.com 2011)
Nearly six months after securing a UN resolution authorising "the [protection] of civilians and civilian-populated areas under the threat of attack", Nato is raining fragmentation bombs on civilian-populated Sirte and other "Gaddafi strongholds" where, says a Channel 4 News reporter, "until they cut off the head of the snake, Libyans will not feel safe". I quote that not so much for its Orwellian quality but as a model of journalism's role in justifying "our" bloodbaths in advance. ...
The action in Libya, says The Times, is "a revolution... as revolutions used to be". That it is a coup by a gang of Muammar Gaddafi's ex cronies and spooks in collusion with Nato is hardly news. The self-appointed "rebel leader", Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was Gaddafi's feared justice minister. The CIA runs or bankrolls most of the rest, including America's old friends, the Mujadeen Islamists who spawned al-Qaeda. ...
They told journalists what they needed to know: that Gaddafi was about to commit "genocide", of which there was no evidence, unlike the abundant evidence of "rebel" massacres of black African workers falsely accused of being mercenaries. European bankers' secret transfer of the Central Bank of Libya from Tripoli to "rebel" Benghazi by European bankers in order to control the country's oil billions was an epic heist of little interest. ...
Nato attacked Libya to counter and manipulate a general Arab uprising that took the rulers of the world by surprise. Unlike his neighbours, Gaddafi had come to power by denying western control of his country's natural wealth. For this, he was never forgiven, and the opportunity for his demise was seized in the usual manner, as history shows. The American historian William Blum has kept the record. Since the second world war, the United States has crushed or subverted liberation movements in 20 countries, and attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratic, and dropped bombs on 30 countries, and attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
Matuzov: There are suspicious groups among opposition,
gunmen,saboteurs among protesters in Syria
MOSCOW– Russian former diplomat and expert in the affairs of the Middle East region Vyacheslav Matuzov said that there are suspicious groups among the Syrian opposition.
In an interview with the 'Russia Today' TV, he added that there are gunmen among protesters and they sabotaged public properties in addition to army and police posts, indicating that the US had been encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood party to create chaos in Syria since the 1980s.
"Russia will not support any side that tries to provoke sedition in Syria… Most of the Syrian people support their government," he added. He said that the US violated the international law when its President asked a President of an independent country and member of the UN to step down.
He pointed out that the US is supporting opposition forces in all the Arab countries, expressing concern that changes in the Arab region will be connected to the US policies and purposes in the region. (ChamPress, 06-09-2011)
Cabinet approves executive list of Parties Law ChamPress, 06-09-2011
DAMASCUS- In the framework of completing and following up the required steps and measures to implement the political reform program, the Cabinet in its session held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adel Safar, approved the executive list of the Parties Law stipulated for in the legislative decree No. /100/ for 2011 which was issued on August 8th 2011.
The Parties Law stipulates for activating the political life and citizens' participation and it stresses commitment to the constitution, principles of democracy and the rule of law and it is not based on religious, tribal, regional, denominational or profession-related basis.
According to the Law, the founding member of the party should enjoy a Syrian nationality for ten years at least, and a party should not accept any sort of donation, merit or benefit from any non-Syrian bodies or legal persons.
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- With the participation of representatives of various popular and unionist activities and academic and social figures from all spectrums of the society and political parties, independent, and opposition representatives, national dialogue sessions continued on Monday in the Syrian provinces and universities.
The sessions aim to come up with a common vision on the national level regarding a number of the political, economic, social and service issues. The national dialogue sessions focused on three axes that deal with the political, economic and service issues.
Participants in the dialogue sessions at Rida Said center for conferences at Damascus University tackled the economic axis and discussed the future vision for the Syrian economy and the financial and commercial policy. Headed by professors of economy and political economy, the participants in the sessions also stressed the necessity of finding mechanisms for implementing procedures to combat corruption and reconsider the taxation system. They called for implementing the principle of equal opportunities and supporting the reform programs and the private and the public sectors.
The participants also called for supporting scientific specialties and higher studies as well as supporting the vocational institutes to meet the demands of the work market.
At Sahara Complex in Damascus countryside, participants in the session stressed the necessity of reconsidering the taxation policy of Syria and achieving the principle of equal taxation and combating tax evasion in addition to activating penalties and fines against tax evasion.
In Lattakia, a dialogue session was dedicated to discuss the political situation and the horizons of the future political process to reach a modern democratic civil state. In the same framework, head of the Engineers Syndicate in Lattakia, Ammar al-Assad, pointed out that the national dialogue is the only way to get out of this crisis, stressing the importance of equality among all participants in the dialogue.
Nabil Farhat, independent, considered that the national dialogue should first deal with people who were responsible for the crisis, asking the opposition to speak transparently. He added that the acts of the previous governments are responsible for 50% of the crisis, while the other half is an external conspiracy.
Kamal Shaheen, opposition figure, Head of al-Balad Website, said "We are living in a real crisis because of the repercussions caused by monopolization of power, corruption of law and the judicial authorities and the rising religious extremism and protests in the Arab country".
The participants criticized the political performance of the opposition, which only raise slogans that call for undermining the national unity without any reform project.
Divisions grow in Libyan ranks
Kim Sengupta reports from Tripoli, 13 September 2011
The antipathy towards the unelected members of the TNC forming the new administration is increasingly widespread and vocal. Most of them are former members of the Gaddafi regime, viewed as opportunistic converts from the old order. There is also the charge that some of them have been in Europe, the US and the Gulf states while young volunteers had been dying in the cause of the revolution. ...
Abdulbasit Abu Muzairik, a senior member of the council of Misrata, the port city which withstood a siege from Gaddafi forces, expressed what he said was widespread frustration. "We are worried about a lot of things which are happening politically. We have not seen Jibril in Libya, he has spent all the time we were suffering outside the country. Suddenly he is here and we have to accept he is the Prime Minister. ...
Mr Belhaj, who, The Independent revealed, was subject to rendition and torture with the help of British intelligence, has been the focus of media attention. Mr Muzairik pointed out that Mr Belhaj, a former head of the LIFG (Libyan Islamist fighting Group), "is just in charge of fighters in Tripoli, that's all. He is not in charge of Libya, even if he thinks he is." ...
Abdurrahman Shalgham, an ally of Mr Jalil who was Foreign Minister in the Gaddafi regime, focused on the role of Mr Belhaj and his conservative Muslim followers, maintaining that he was "just a preacher and not a military commander". ...
One TNC officer, Mohammed el-Fassi, said yesterday: "The problem is that now that Gaddafi has fled, people are just thinking about themselves, their tribes, their own cities. They are not thinking about Libya." (The Independent 2011)
PA Not Deterred by US, Israeli Pressure
by John Glaser, September 21, 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Barak Obama after his United Nations speech defending opposition to Palestinian statehood, saying the US president wore “a badge of honor” by insisting Palestinians abandon their bid for statehood and rejoin the failed pro-Israeli “peace talks.”
In his speech, Obama claimed that peace could only be reached through negotiations, not through a UN vote, which he called a short cut. He failed, as has every US leader opposing the Palestinian bid, to explain why peace could not be reached in negotiations where both sides – Israel and Palestine – are on a level playing field, each having all the rights the international system affords to states. ...
The Palestinian Authority refused to back down, insisting there would be no delay. “We will not allow any political maneuvering on this issue,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and former chief of negotiations.
Abbas will submit his formal request for UN statehood after his speech on Friday. Although the US plans to veto the Security Council resolution, the effort could be the first step towards pressuring the US and Israel to conform to world opinion and end the occupation of Palestinians. (antiwar.com 2011)
President Obama’s mistake
Orly Azoulay - YetNet 22-9-2011
America is about to vote against its very own policy. When President Obama will be asked to raise his hand and impose a veto on the Palestinians’ request to recognize their state, he will in fact be voting against himself and against everything he believed in from the day he entered office. (YetNet Opinion 2011)
Arab News Editorial: Et tu Obama?
THE United States was presented with a historic opportunity this week to demonstrate it believes in what it preaches and it blew it. President Barack Obama’s UN address on Wednesday will go down in history as one of the most disgraceful examples of a US leader’s self-serving groveling before Israel and abdication of leadership.
Addressing a global audience, Obama spoke in defense of Israel and against Palestinian bid for statehood as though he were addressing the annual conference of the AIPAC. Indeed, Netanyahu couldn’t have delivered a more obstinate argument against UN recognition for Palestinian statehood. It was an “I-love-Israel” fest complete with pledges of unwavering support. No wonder a widely grinning Netanyahu profusely thanked Obama afterward, suggesting the US leader’s loyalty to Israel was a true “badge of honor.” (Arab News 2011)
A wonderful speech. A beautiful speech. The language expressive and elegant. The arguments clear and convincing. The delivery flawless. A work of art. The art of hypocrisy. Almost every statement in the passage concerning the Israeli-Palestinian issue was a lie. A blatant lie: the speaker knew it was a lie, and so did the audience.
It was Obama at his best, Obama at his worst.
Being a moral person, he must have felt the urge to vomit. Being a pragmatic person, he knew that he had to do it, if he wanted to be re-elected. In essence, he sold the fundamental national interests of the United States of America for the chance of a second term. Not very nice, but that’s politics, OK?
It may be superfluous – almost insulting to the reader – to point out the mendacious details of this rhetorical edifice.
Obama treated the two sides as if they were equal in strength – Israelis and Palestinians, Palestinians and Israelis. But of the two, it is the Israelis - only they – who suffer and have suffered. Persecution. Exile. Holocaust. An Israeli child threatened by rockets. Surrounded by the hatred of Arab children. So sad.
No Occupation. No settlements. No June 1967 borders. No Naqba. No Palestinian children killed or frightened. It’s the straight right-wing Israeli propaganda line, pure and simple – the terminology, the historical narrative, the argumentation. The music.
The Palestinians, of course, should have a state of their own. Sure, sure. But they must not be pushy. They must not embarrass the US. They must not come to the UN. They must sit with the Israelis, like reasonable people, and work it out with them. The reasonable sheep must sit down with the reasonable wolf and decide what to have for dinner. Foreigners should not interfere.
Obama gave full service. A lady who provides this kind of service generally gets paid in advance. Obama got paid immediately afterwards, within the hour. Netanyahu sat down with him in front of the cameras and gave him enough quotable professions of love and gratitude to last for several election campaigns.
Barack Obama’s miserable performance was a nail in the coffin of America’s status as a superpower. In a way, it was a crime against the United States.
by Jason Ditz, 23 September 2011
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loudly condemned the notion of an independent Palestinian state being recognized by the international body, saying that the Palestinians would have to reach a final peace deal with Israel, something which isn’t even being discussed by the two sides, before independence could even be considered.
As usual this included a number of demands from Netanyahu that the Palestinians would have to accept as a condition for ending the occupation, including recognizing Israel as “the Jewish state.”
Perhaps the most unusual comment from Netanyahu, however, was that Israel would never accept an independent state in Gaza, saying that Israel would only accept an independent Palestine within a portion of the West Bank. (antiwar.com 2011)
Obama is Israel’s friend
Even before his Zionist speech at the UN, Obama was pro-Israel president
Yitzhak Benhorin - YetNet 22-9-2011
Five minutes after Obama delivered his speech, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) claimed that all the "political chatter" questioning the American president’s support for Israel should end once and for all. “As he has proven throughout his presidency, President Obama supports Israel and its people instinctively. Israel truly has no better friend in the world today.."
If there is one clear take-home message from his Hezekiah and Isaiah speech, it is this: The Palestinians (and the world ) can no longer expect anything from Israel. Nothing.
Netanyahu was particularly persuasive when he explained that a Palestinian state would endanger Israel - narrow waist, just hundreds of meters from Israeli cities, thousands of rockets - one giant blah-blah that willfully ignores the possibility of peace. A Palestinian state, perhaps, but absolutely not in our time, and not in our school of thought. ....
Netanyahu, peddler of emotions, did not shrink from or forget anything, save reality. Abraham the patriarch, Hezekiah, Isaiah, pogroms, the Holocaust, 9/11, the children, the grandchildren and, of course, Gilad Shalit - all fodder for the tear wringer that assuredly didn't bring forth a single tear anywhere on the planet, with the possible exception of a few Jewish nursing homes in Boca Raton, Florida. There, perhaps, people were still moved by this kitschy death speech. ...
Netanyahu needed thousands of years of history to obscure reality, but Abbas' sense of history proved to be much more developed: He had no need to call up distant memories to elicit sympathy; all he needed was to soberly depict current events in order to attempt to shape a new history. The world and the auditorium cheered for Abbas because he spoke like a 21st-century statesman, not like a co-opted archaeologist of centuries past. ...
On Friday night the final curtain fell on Netanyahu's masked ball of a two-state solution. Hiding behind the curtain are darkness and gloom. And in that lies an event of historical performance: It proved to the world that Israel wants neither an agreement nor a Palestinian state, and for that matter not peace, either.
In Daraa city, participants in the dialogue session discussed the mechanism of activating the constitutional articles and amending them to go in harmony with the national principles and self-determination and suit the current political developments in Syria.
Participants considered the current constitution as having numerous positive points; however, some of its articles should be amended to suit the current stage in Syria. Participants called for preserving general freedoms and political pluralism.
In al-Raqqa city, participants in the youth dialogue session on the constitution saw that some articles in the constitution can be amended to suit the current developments.
In Damascus countryside, participants focused on some articles of the constitution, stressing the social goals and nationalist thoughts that must be preserved to protect the national interests of the people. In Tartous city, dialogue session dealt with four basic axes: the constitution, basic principles, rights, and freedoms which are guaranteed by the constitution; separating authorities; the current political system and the need to amend the constitution.
WASHINGTON — American media reports on Tuesday said that the administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the "Islamic opposition" in Syria. Within this context, the American "World Tribune" Newspaper revealed that senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the "Muslim Brotherhood" of Syria as well as its lobbyists in the United States.
The US officials said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the "ouster" of President Bashar Assad's regime.
The Reform Party in Syria (RPS) has protested the US administration's meetings with the "Brotherhood". RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the "Brotherhood's" goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority communities.
"This ill-advised policy of the U.S. State Department will have dire consequences, not only for the future of Syria, but also through an immediate increase in violence and the strengthening of the Assad base," RPS said on Sept. 23.
On Sept. 24, the council, regarded as a lobbyist for the "Brotherhood", held a meeting in Anaheim, Calif. to discuss the situation in Syria. The session was addressed by U.S. special envoy Frederic Hof, responsible for U.S. policy on Damascus.
This marked at least the second session between the State Department and the "Brotherhood" in as many months. The first meeting was headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and excluded members of the secular Syrian opposition.
Members of the UN Security Council have voted on a draft resolution on Syria on Tuesday. The resolution was not passed with nine votes in favor, two against, and four abstentions, with Russia and China voting against the proposed resolution. In order for the resolution to be adopted, nine of the 15 Security Council members had to support it, with none of the veto-wielding members voting against.
Many Security Council members do not want Syria to turn into another Libya. Russia and China cast a veto on resolution, as its text left the door open for further sanctions. Russia repeatedly said that it would not support any text in a resolution that would leave the door open for sanctions, so Britain, France, Germany and Portugal dropped the word ‘sanctions’ from their draft resolution.
The US, Turkey, and other countries had independently imposed sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But all this time Russia was spearheading more negotiations, and rejected resolution drafts put forward by other UN members.
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is coming under growing scrutiny today, not just for its growing internal faction fighting, but for the behavior of its fighting force. ... Torture has become increasingly common among rebel fighters, who summarily arrest anyone suspected of supporting the old regime, and Human Rights Watch issued a statement today urging the NTC to stop its fighters from beating and shocking detainees.
Human rights groups are also expressing disquiet about the growing evidence of “revenge killings” against not just defeated regime forces, but suspected supporters as well.
This is not a new problem, but a growing one. The rebel military forces have been dumping bodies en masse for awhile, and being black has been probable cause for arrest virtually since the rebels took over the west. There seems to be little interest among the NTC leadership to change any of this, but as it continues, it remains to be seen how long NATO can turn a blind eye to their “allies” on the ground. (antiwar.com 2011)
Libyan Islamist demands role for "moderate" Islam
By Barry Malone, TRIPOLI, 9-10-2011
(Reuters) - A prominent and influential Libyan Islamist cleric, returning to his native land after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, has demanded a role for "moderate" Islam in politics.
"We call for a moderate Islam," Ali Al-Sallabi said at a meeting late Sunday that included supporters and opponents. ... Though he has no formal political role, Al-Sallabi has become a hugely significant voice in Libyan affairs because he is close to the government of Qatar, an influential backer of interim rulers the National Transitional Council(NTC). He also is a close associate of Tripoli's military commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a rising -- and increasingly divisive -- Islamist figure in post-Gaddafi Libya. ....
Since the fall of Tripoli on August 23, Sallabi has emerged as a prominent spokesman for groups of Islamists unhappy about what they see as attempts by some NTC leaders to exclude them from political life.
The NTC has been at pains to assure its Western allies that Libya will not become a center of militancy now that anti-Islamist leader Gaddafi has gone. Its leaders say they will hold elections and build a democratic society, which though based on Islamic law, will respect civil and individual rights. (Reuters 2011)
MOSCOW, (SANA) Russia said that the Western resolution aborted on Tuesday at the UN Security Council was based on aggravating tension and marked with one-sided accusations against Damascus, and implied a threat of using sanctions against the Syrian authorities.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday: ''This contradicts the principle of peaceful settlement to the crisis on the basis of a Syrian national dialogue and could have incited a wide-range conflict and undermined the regional situation.''
The statement added that the Western draft resolution did not include Russia's proposals that it clearly state that the Syrian opposition abandon the extremists, and the illegality of foreign military intervention. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia cannot agree to a Libyan-style example which is an outrageous misuse of the UNSC resolutions serving hostile unilateral interests to topple regimes.
"We've warned over and over again that we'll stand firm to turning the Libyan scenario into a rule and hence doing damage to the reputation and leverage of the UN Security Council,'' said the statement, adding ''We believe that it is important that the world community fully respect the rule of the international law."
"We are not advocates of the Syrian regime,'' the statement added, ''and we see it as unacceptable for violence to continue and we condemn suppressing peaceful protests, but we also cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the extremist opposition is wagering on the protest temperaments of a portion of the Syrians and does not hide its extremist intentions to resort to overt terrorism."
The statement added that Russia continues to work with Damascus and calls on the Syrian leadership to speed up reforms, free detainees and initiate an effective dialogue with the political opposition and allow international media in Syria.
"We call upon the opposition to take part in the national dialogue as an effective means to agree on democratic reforms and to reject in no uncertain terms scenarios of military intervention," the statement concluded.
UN role is to ease tension in Syria: FM China Daily, 6-10-2011
BEIJING - China said on Wednesday relevant actions taken by the UN Security Council should be conducive to easing the tension in Syria.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu made the remarks after Russia and China, permanent members of the UN Security Council, on Tuesday vetoed a draft resolution, which meant to strongly condemn "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities" and threatened punitive measures against the Middle East country.
"We hope relevant actions of the UN Security Council should help ease the tension in Syria, promote political dialogues to defuse differences, and maintain peace and stability in the Middle East," Ma said in a statement. The draft resolution "put pressure blindly on Syria and threatened sanctions", Ma said. "The draft resolution will not help ease Syria's situation."
During a meeting with members of the Syrian community in Moscow, Assistant [..] Minister Abdelfattah Ammoura reviewed the reality of the situation in Syria, thanking the Russian leadership and people for their support and the use of veto at the Security Council to prevent passing a resolution against Syria.
He pointed out that there are three groups of protestors in Syria: a group with just and legitimate demands, a group of liberal intellectuals that don't represent wide demographics yet are respected and invited to join dialogue, and a third group consisting of armed terrorist groups committing murder, assassination and vandalism and are provided with weapons and money from abroad. ...
Ammoura discussed the vicious media war against Syria in detail, noting that the Syrian media is debunking the lies and misdirection of biased media ... He underlined the package of reforms law being carried out, particularly in the political fields, in addition to the dialogue process across Syria and the upcoming central dialogue conference which will take place in Damascus.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday issued presidential decision No. 33 on forming the national committee for preparing a draft constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic to be issued later according to the constitutional principles.
According to the decree, the Committee must complete its mission within a period not exceeding four months from the date of issuing the decree and it has the right to consult whoever it finds appropriate to accomplish the mission.
Nizar Skeif, Committee member, said forming the committee is a strategic decision in Syria's history at the political, economic and social levels. He added that the constitution is the main law to which three strategic concepts are tied: the state, the authority and the people, indicating that the decision will lead to a qualitative leap in the history of Syria.
Member of the Committee, Qadri Jamil, ''The committee will lay down the draft constitution which, when changed, will signal the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It will be the third Syrian constitution after independence, that's why it should take into consideration the structural changes in society.''
Member of the Committee Kinda al-Shammat said the decision on forming the committee for preparing a draft constitution is one of the most important reforms in Syria, adding that it comes as part of the package of reforms issued recently, including the laws of parties, local administration and elections. Al-Shammat stressed the importance of preserving the achievements of the Syrian women, adding that the draft constitution will be put to public referendum for the Syrian people to have their say
The Associated Press is reporting that its sources in the Obama administration are admitting that all US troops will have to leave Iraq by 31 December, in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated between George W. Bush and the Iraqi parliament. The US embassy in Baghdad announced the US Air Force has now handed responsibility for Iraq’s air space over to the Iraqis. ...
Washington hawks had wanted to keep 25,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely. The Obama administration had decided by this September that that goal was unrealistic, and decided to seek a small contingent of 3,000 or so. But there would be no point in having them in Iraq if they could not fight when necessary, and for that activity they would have needed a new SOFA or a legislated extraterritoriality. They got neither, and so the US has to go. ...
The US will leave behind a failed state. A determined guerrilla insurgency based in the Sunni Arab community (though not necessarily widely supported by the latter) continues to hit Baghdad, as it did on Wednesday in a series of attacks that targeted police and killed 25.
Even though Iraq has a severe shortfall in electricity, its previous minister of electricity did nothing to ensure the building of new power plants, and he goes out of office with charges of embezzlement flying about his head. ... Iraq should be making a lot of money from its petroleum, but you can’t see where it is benefiting the people. ...
There are severe tensions between the Kurds in the north and the Arab government in Baghdad. The inhabitants of Khaniqin in the province of Diyala, who are mostly Kurds, are defying PM Nouri al-Maliki by painting Kurdistan flags on their houses. ...
The US keeps fretting over Iranian influence in Iraq, but that is silly. If you didn’t want Iranian Shiite influence in Iraq you shouldn’t have overthrown the Sunni Saddam Hussein and seated the Shiite fundamentalists as a controlling interest in Parliament. Now that Washington has put the Iraqi Shiites in power, it should expect at least moments of great cooperation with Tehran. ....
And so that is the way the war ends ... In the background, the bombs are still going off and the country is riven by ethnic disputes. The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.