Archive | February 15th, 2011

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NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross 

 

House Votes to Extend PATRIOT Act for 9 Months

 

 

Iran Latest to Face Egypt-Inspired Protests

 

 

Arab League’s Amr Moussa to Run for Egypt’s President

 

 

Egypt Presidential Hopeful: Renegotiate Peace Treaty With IsraHell

 

 

Egyptian Military Tells Country to Get Back to Work

 

 

Iranian Protesters Call for ‘Death to Dictator’

 

 

US State Department Launches Farsi-Language Twitter Feed

 

 

IsraHell foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments

 

 

Compelling New Evidence About Aafia Siddiqui’s Detention by the ISI, and Her Rigged Trial in the US

 

 

Netanyahu: IsraHell army ready for anything

 

 

Reports say Mubarak’s health gravely deteriorated since stepping down

 

 

Barak: Zio-Nazi ‘IDF’  soldiers may be called into Lebanon in the future

 

 

Clinton: People of Iran deserve same rights as Egyptians

 

 

Khamenei lauds Turkey’s ‘separation from Zionist regime’

 

 

Clinton: We couldn’t have predicted Mu-Barak’s downfall

 

 

Larijani blames US for protests

 

 

‘Arab world unrest to US benefit’

 

 

US: Afghan war costs $300mn per day

 

 

‘Egypt army keeps backing Israel’

  
 
 

 

Please check out the brand new book detailing Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS LIBERTY here

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Cairo’s first dividend

Feb 14, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Did you wonder why Jeffrey Goldberg was beating the Iran nukes bongos again this morning? Because the nightclub might be shutting its doors. Aluf Benn in Haaretz (thanks to Scott McConnell):

On the contrary: [Mubarak’s successor] will listen to Arab public opinion, which opposes a preemptive war against Iran. Israel will find it difficult to take action far to the east when it cannot rely on the tacit agreement to its actions on its western border. Without Mubarak there is no Israeli attack on Iran. His replacement will be concerned about the rage of the masses, if they see him as a collaborator in such operation.

 
     

Arab democratization and the future of ‘the only democracy’

Feb 14, 2011

Issa Khalaf

 

Such a pall of darkness had overtaken the Arab lands for so long that one thought Arabs existed in a permanent malaise, a condition of corruption and authoritarianism, their regimes maintaining a lock down on their subject populations and their mutual borders. It’s as if people slept, awoke, lived, and worked without hope, overtaken by the feeling that they could not even effect their own lives, much less something bigger. The Arab regimes’ lack of imagination in opening up to themselves and to other Arabs across the region, their inability to see that the future lies in economic, political, social cooperation and relations, is staggering, their parochialism, suspicion and fear for their power crippling their ability to respond meaningfully and effectively to the region’s multifaceted challenges.

The main issue was always the absence of citizen participation and representation in the affairs of state and society. In the past two decades, the monopoly of information in the public arena gradually stopped being in the exclusive hands of the state, leading to political culture’s democratization. This is why both the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings are inspiring. Hope rekindled was the driving energy and determination of the Egyptian protestors. They saw possibilities. And possibilities ignite the human imagination.

The West, particularly the US was content with the old state of affairs. The lamentation of missing Arab democracy, smugly attributed to Arab/Muslim culture, was a charade to obfuscate the fact that the US in fact required autocrats as lynchpins for its economic and political domination of the region. All the talk about freedom is vacuous, not comporting to actual behavior. The barely cloaked response is one of fear, resentment, and antagonism, for there was not and is not a natural comfort with peoples in weak states managing their own affairs. These, after all, may have their own preferences, interests and needs. But with Egypt, and an American president smart and nuanced enough to understand what he is witnessing, support for mass democratic revolution, for now in Egypt, is better than the alternative if America hopes to maintain influence. Perhaps Egypt may begin to acclimatize Washington to a more imaginative way of dealing with the region. One litmus test will be whether the US suddenly discovers, as they did of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, that, after all, Hamas and Hizballah, too, are sociopolitical movements rooted in their societies and not al-Qaida like terrorists. I doubt this, including that US strategic policy centered on Israel will end anytime soon.

The Israelis for their part exist in a universe of their own, so steeped are Israel’s elites and leaders in anachronistic racist stereotypes of Arab culture, which they openly utter, along with fulminating fundamentalist men of the cloth and neo-fascist nut jobs, unaware of how they look, of the degradation of their own humanity. Many if not most Israelis and Jewish-Americans see the Arabs (and Muslims) as a collection of anti-Semitic tribes, ethnicities, sects, and classes bound together only by their hatred of Israel. This crude, stupid thinking is a product of a state-socialized society nurtured on Arab inferiority, violence, backwardness, etc., unable to see the consequences of its own actions or the humanity of the Other.

It is not, of course, that Israelis do not and should not have legitimate security concerns. It is that they must decide what they want: colonization and war or relinquishing occupation, peace and coexistence. Israel cannot ultimately impose its will on the region. Feeling encircled is more a psychological function than a reality. Israel’s ideological foundations require fundamental reconsideration.

Practical considerations for Israeli opposition to peaceful Arab mass resistance and democratization are the fear of a similar Palestinian revolt, which may very well come, of highlighting Israel’s fierce denial of Palestinian human rights and freedom, and of the bankruptcy of the claim that Israel is the Western frontline against violent Arab and Islamic tyranny. The “only democracy in the Middle East” may begin to look not so democratic or innocent after all, undermining the mantra of American-Israeli shared values. A state, a people, convinced of its normality, its historical and moral rightness, cannot possibly fear others’ democratization unless it fears the consequences of its oppression and violence against them. On the other hand, screeching self-righteousness rationalizes all thought, perception, and behavior. Or, perhaps, Israel is concerned that it cannot maintain the status quo, that is, occupation, expansion, and military primacy, its control and coerced cooperation, when dealing with democratic will rather than autocrats. The Mubaraks of the Middle East, having been neutered by treaties and bought off with US aid, sustain Israeli intransigence and belligerence, such as in Gaza and Lebanon. If extremism and instability are not in anyone’s interest, is it wise to bet one’s security interests on repressive despots who give rise to these conditions?  Surely a state that genuinely desires peace on a legal and just basis has nothing to fear, especially from democratic nations, with whom peace is durable.

None of the old ways of perceiving and doing make sense anymore. They are fantasies. A democratic Middle East, unlike the pretend vision of the neoconservatives whose main concern is Israel, is a stable, legitimate region. Do we want transient regimes or permanent political institutions? Do we want friendship of dictators or independent cooperation based on shared interests and values predicated on people’s decisions? Is it really good for US national interest to advocate and support the needs and whims of Israel, which falsely thinks it requires friendly autocrats, keeping their cutthroat rabble under heel, to maintain its security? Arab democracy will be neither a tectonic nor volcanic occurrence for the US or Israel, but a more complex, fluid relationship. Arab liberal democratic sensibility is an antidote to extremism, a tamer of political Islamists who in any case are themselves fragmented, have evolved towards a more pluralistic power sharing orientation. It is the avenue to open borders, enhanced contact between peoples, Israelis and Arabs, the path to familiarity and humanization.

Democracy is the best permanent guarantor of Israel’s peace and security, but only if Zionism understands that ideologically driven expansion, oppression, and regional depredations must end, and an urgent end to occupation without condition take place. Israelis could have had a two state solution over two decades ago, Palestinians and Israelis peacefully coexisting, the Palestinians the gateway to Israeli-Jewish entry into the Middle East, in trade, social and cultural contact, political cooperation, joint efforts to solve ecological problems and security challenges, perhaps increasing integration, over a decade or two, towards a larger regional entity. Muslims can be most forgiving, and even assume the banner of fighting anti-Semitism. I say this with the certainty of a non-Muslim. Yes, this was, is, all possible, realistic for anyone who knows the Middle East and its historical, psychological, and cultural make-up well. Instead, Israel’s elites choose isolation and domination, deliberately creating enemies and staging provocations for war, emphatically rejecting a goal Israelis say they desire to realize, acceptance into the Middle East. The Israeli poet and novelist Yitzhak Laor argues that Israelis vehemently insist on their identity as Westerners and Europeans, juxtaposed to the Arab barbarians. Israel has long been on the path of suicide, its future in jeopardy, so myopic are Israeli elites, so paralyzed by a mixture of trauma, victimhood, and superiority and enabled by Diaspora Jews politically organized on Israel’s behalf.

The intermediate to long-term future does not bode well. Zionism is ideologically and institutionally incapable of a liberal, pluralistic state. Israel has failed to create a tolerant, moral society. It has not brought peace to its people, despite essentially Arab pleading. It has become increasingly isolated. America, relatively or otherwise, is declining—exhausted by the folly of its elites and, partly, by Israeli scheming to have the US fight wars on its behalf—and it will globally retrench. Some scholars argue in 10 years at most. Signs of a collapsing US-imposed order are everywhere in the region. Middle Easterners will always be there, as witness the history of all previous imperial powers. The Palestinians in historic Palestine are growing, perhaps substantially exceeding Israeli Jews in the next 25 years. If the current trajectory persists, the victims, because of potential widespread destruction in the Middle East, will be both Israeli Jews and Palestinians, for this will not end well nor come to a peaceful conclusion. In this historical moment, it’s in the hands of the US and Western powers, but not for much longer.

Picture the following alternative reality yet again: an Israel coexisting with Palestine, working energetically with Arab democratic states and movements to construct the various facets of confederal arrangements, from Egypt to the eastern Mediterranean to Iraq. Supranational institutions to enhance economic cooperation and integration and accommodate the region’s diversity. A popular US, unequivocally in support of Arab democracy, dignity, human rights. The disappearance of global al-Qaida terrorism virtually overnight. This is not only possible, but also eminently realistic. It must first be imagined.

(12 February 2011)

     

But we don’t live in an ideal world

Feb 14, 2011

Jerome Slater

 

I’d like to continue a recent discussion at this site on the Jewish state and a possible settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and do so by addressing the very interesting and subtle comment by Shmuel.  (And why don’t you, the excellent Shmuel, identify yourself?)

Shmuel begins by quoting my response to another critic: “I am suggesting that in a Jewish state it would be possible to privilege certain matters of particular concern to Jews, but yet not mean that the Arabs would be treated as second class in all other ways of far greater consequence. You appear to be simply denying such a possibility, but you have provided no analysis of why such a system is impossible.”

Shmuel then writes:

“This was actually the premise of Israel’s declaration of independence, the platform of various political parties and governments throughout Israeli history, and it is an idea still espoused by many Israelis. Yet, it has never worked, de jure or de facto. Furthermore, there is an “us or them” attitude – reflected most grotesquely in the Israeli obsession with the “democratic problem” – that is unlikely to change as long as any sort of preference or privilege is afforded to one group over the other. With a Palestinian state next door, this may even get worse. You are basically talking about nuances of identity and administration that require an incredible amount of good will – far more, in my opinion, than the un-nuanced “one man one vote” approach. As Jerry Haber (Magnes Zionist) points out, the part of whatever democratic polity may emerge that will be Jewish will not cease to be so simply because it does not have greater privilege or control than the non-Jewish parts of society. What comes naturally will come naturally, but I believe it is asking for trouble to begin the entire experiment with any kind of declared inequality – even nominal inequality. With regard to Israel continuing to serve as a safe haven for persecuted Jews, I’m convinced (and have heard as much from Palestinians) that a solution is possible, without the need to define Israel as a specifically Jewish state.”

I would like to see Shmuel develop his argument, and I have several queries for him:

       First, you do not appear to reject my argument that in principle there is no inherently irreconcilable conflict  between a formal recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the treatment of its Palestinian citizens as full equals.  Rather, you say that this was the way it was supposed to be, but it hasn’t worked. Does that imply that it can never work?

      Second, if so, what is the alternative?  If I understand your argument correctly, the implication of “the un-nuanced one man one vote approach” that you favor would require a single binational state.  If so, why would you consider that a more realistic alternative than relatively small privileging of Jews in a Jewish state? That a binational state would be morally preferable in an ideal world is not the issue–we don’t live in that world.   If the Israelis won’t grant full equality to a minority currently constituting 20% of a de facto Jewish state, what possibility is there that they would do so if they became a minority in a binational state?

   Third, I agree that the need–or alleged need, if you prefer–for a specifically-defined Jewish state would be greatly and maybe completely alleviated if the Jewish “right of return “ to Israel could be maintained.  Can you develop this?  Has it become part of the negotiating process, even informally?  Would that work even in a binational state?  And if immigration were unlimited for Jews but not for others, why wouldn’t that be an inequality?  And if you concede that it would be, then wouldn’t that undercut the argument that other inequalities–which you agree  might be nominal–cannot be allowed?

Here’s my own bottom line.  Given the history of the Jews, it was necessary to establish a Jewish state, somewhere, and in light of that same history, it cannot be said that the need for a Jewish state—de facto or formal—has definitively ended, for all time. That the creation of that state in Israel in a land already inhabited by another people created an injustice is undeniable, but the dilemma of Zionism—there was an imperative need for a Jewish state, but no place to put it—could and of course should have been mitigated in many ways by the Israelis, none of which they did.

           It’s not too late to mitigate the inevitable injustice to the Palestinians, but given Israeli attitudes,  not to mention the inevitable consequences of more than 80 years of binational conflict, the most that can be expected is an end to the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state, along the lines accepted by practically everyone, including, it now appears, the West Bank leadership.

           We all know that Netanyahu raised the issue of a formal acknowledgment of Israel as a Jewish state as a pretext to avoid any settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but unfortunately the demand apparently has taken on a life of its own among most Israelis.  That being the case, the Palestinians should agree to the demand, but only as part of an overall settlement that created a viable Palestinian state, accompanied by guarantees that the Israelis would now grant fully equal economic and civil rights to the Israeli Arabs.

            This latter argument cannot be refuted by observing that the Israelis have already made that commitment to its Arab citizens and violated it, so what would stop them from doing so in the future? Not much, probably.  But that’s not the point: what is the alternative?  Isn’t it more likely that the Israelis would live up to their principles in conditions of peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole, than under the current circumstances?

            To conclude: we live in an imperfect world, full of injustices, tragic dilemmas, and circumstances we can’t control.  There is no perfectly just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even in principle, let alone in practice.   If those who rightly abhor Israeli policies give up on a two-state settlement in favor of a binational state that under all present and foreseeable circumstances is pure fantasy, they will get nowhere at all.    

     

‘Newsweek”s ‘new columnist’ slings caliphate tripe

Feb 14, 2011

Anonymous

 

This is hilariously stupid, from Niall Ferguson, Newsweek’s “new columnist.” I hear he’s going out with Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Last week, while other commentators ran around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, hyperventilating about what they saw as an Arab 1989, I flew to Tel Aviv for the annual Herzliya security conference. The consensus among the assembled experts on the Middle East? A colossal failure of American foreign policy….

These were [Obama’s] words back in June 2009:

America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

Those lines will come back to haunt Obama if, as cannot be ruled out, the ultimate beneficiary of his bungling in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood, which remains by far the best organized opposition force in the country—and wholly committed to the restoration of the caliphate and the strict application of Sharia.
     

They hate us because of our freedom?

Feb 14, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

King County, WA, is being sued by the Seattle Mid East Awareness Campaignbecause it would not let Israeli War Crimes ads go on the sides of buses. From the Post-Intelligencer account, it sure sounds like the county was manipulated, or that it allowed itself to be manipulated. The P-I:

King County worried about civil disobedience, violence and even “terrorist activity” if ads critical of Israel ran on the side of Metro buses, a federal judge was told Monday.

But an attorney for a group that wanted to run ads that said “Israeli War Crimes Your Tax Dollars At Work” said the county’s fears were overblown and that it had allowed controversial messages to run on buses before…

The County couldn’t fully quantify the number of complaints and threats, something [Seattle MidEast Awareness Campaign attorney Jeffrey] Grant seized on. He said he only identified 37 threatening e-mails. He also said only about 20 members of the county’s bus drivers’ union complained – out of about 4,000 active members.

[County attorney Endel] Kolde said the furor over the ads had been referenced on a website run by Hamas, the Palestinian group that has been classified a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

 
     

Everyone in the Middle East deserves rights except Palestinians

Feb 14, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Hillary Clinton is cheerleading the protesters in Iran, as she failed to do in Egypt. This is the same secretary of state who can say nothing about jailed protesters in Palestine, and unending settlements, and uprooting of Palestinian villages. Clinton:

“We wish the opposition and the brave people in the streets across cities in Iran the same opportunities that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize.”

 
     

Neo-Cons: Egypt shows Bush as prophet and the demise of ‘Arab Exceptionalism’

Feb 14, 2011

David Samel

 

The people of Egypt have toppled their dictator, which surely ranks among the most remarkable and wonderful human achievements in memory. However, every significant event is an occasion for idiotic and offensive commentary, and this has been no exception. Prominent members of the neo-con community have declared that the Egyptian people should acknowledge a debt of gratitude owed to … George W. Bush.

Yes, it seems that Egyptians were only fulfilling the wise prophecy made by that visionary more than seven years earlier. Of course, these same neo-cons previously operated as though poverty, corruption and tyranny for 80 million people was a small price to pay for their tormentor’s loyalty to Western “values.” Now they claim it is their progressive philosophy that deserves credit. Take Elliott Abrams, whose avoidance of a well-deserved lengthy prison sentence would have been far more tolerable had he not remained a high-profile commentator and Bush Administration official. Here’s what Abrams had to say during the demonstrations:

In November 2003, President George W. Bush laid out this question: “Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?” The massive and violent demonstrations underway in Egypt, the smaller ones in Jordan and Yemen, and the recent revolt in Tunisia that inspired those events, have affirmed that the answer is no and are exploding, once and for all, the myth of Arab exceptionalism. Arab nations, too, yearn to throw off the secret police, to read a newspaper that the Ministry of Information has not censored and to vote in free elections.

Here’s what Abrams doesn’t say. Bush delivered this speech in November, 2003, about eight months after the US-led invasion of Iraq by the coalition of the bullied and bought. It already was quite clear that the WMD’s we had been promised were not going to surface. Having lost their casus belli, Bush & co. were scrambling for a replacement, and the cause of Arab democracy was tried on for size: “Sure, we thought Saddam had WMD’s, but even if we were honestly mistaken, we toppled an evil dictator who was oppressing 25 million people.” Those who opposed the war were excoriated for their love of Saddam and insensitivity to freedom for the peoples of the Middle East. The anti-war crowd was portrayed as quasi-racists who thought Arabs were not equipped to function under democracy, when their real position was that the U.S. could not successfully impose “democracy” by bombing, invasion and occupation. Bush faced a small dilemma in extolling the virtues of Arab democracy. He did not want to offend the tyrannical Arab regimes that were recipients of lavish financial and/or diplomatic support from the U.S., including Egypt and the Bush family favorite, Saudi Arabia. Problem solved! With a wink and a nod to his Arab allies, Bush signaled that he was not really serious about spreading the dangerous notion of democracy throughout the region. According to the Washington Post:

[Bush]praised the governments of Egypt, which said “should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East,” and Saudi Arabia, which he said is “taking first steps toward reform, including a plan for gradual introduction of elections.”

Yes, that is the same article discussing the same speech that was linked by Abrams as support for his thesis of Bush as visionary prophet. Abrams actually exalted his former employer as a guiding light of Egyptian democracy based upon a speech in which Bush praised Egypt’s dictatorship as a role model.

Bush gets credit for mouthing insufferably paternalistic platitudes that were a transparent pretext for waging aggressive war that would take at least hundreds of thousands of lives and displace millions more. His administration continued to bribe the Mubarak regime with over a billion dollars a year to toe the US line, with full awareness that the tyrant was lining his pockets while keeping Egyptians in misery. Anyone familiar with Abrams could not be surprised at his dishonesty, but it helps to be reminded of the depths of depravity to which such “respected” commentators sink on a regular basis.

Another entry in the rogues’ gallery of odious neocon punditry is this gem from Charles Krauthammer. The celebrated Mr. K sees Bush and Blair as members of the vanguard that refused to accept the “leftist” notion of Arab preference for dictatorship over liberty:

Today, everyone and his cousin supports the ‘freedom agenda.’ Of course, yesterday it was just George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a band of neocons with unusual hypnotic powers who dared challenge the received wisdom of Arab exceptionalism — the notion that Arabs, as opposed to East Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans and Africans, were uniquely allergic to democracy. Indeed, the left spent the better part of the Bush years excoriating the freedom agenda as either fantasy or yet another sordid example of U.S. imperialism. Now it seems everyone, even the left, is enthusiastic for Arab democracy.

For reasons far too lengthy to discuss here, Krauthammer’s hypocrisy is at least as brazen and contemptible as Abrams’s. It is more noteworthy that Messrs. K and A both employ the same phrase — “Arab exceptionalism” – that has now been proven wrong. A quick google check indicates that it may have been coined in these very articles. Obviously, it bears a superficial resemblance to American and Israeli exceptionalism, with one critical difference. Those exceptionalisms are positive, in the sense that the U.S. and Israel are endowed by their Creator with unique authority to interfere in the affairs of other countries, covertly if possibly but with overwhelming militarily force if deemed necessary; to violate international and even domestic law at whim; and to assert a right of “self-defense” that would be considered outrageous aggression if asserted by an “unexceptional” nation.

By contrast, the now discredited Arab exceptionalism, as described by Krauthammer and Abrams, is the quasi-racist assumption (made by “the left”) that Arabs aren’t ready to enjoy the freedom and enlightenment we take for granted. This neo-con rejection of Arab exceptionalism, however belated and insincere, is good news and has broad implications. In the one-state, two-state debate, it is this very notion of Arab exceptionalism that has been trumpeted in response to those who favor a single democratic state of equal citizens. The argument is that while Jews can survive and even prosper as a tiny minority in a country like the US or the UK, how dare anyone suggest that they subject themselves to the will of the majority when they constitute fully 50% of the population, where the other half is, gasp, unwashed masses of Arabs? The Jews would instantly be victimized by the Arab temperament, which includes not only anti-democratic tendencies but a sworn commitment to impose Sharia law on all heretics upon pain of death. (How the Arab Christians have survived all this time remains a mystery.) Jews require sovereignty and self-rule, even if that means rule over others God placed on Jewish land as a bizarre practical joke. Hasbarists love to note that Jewish presence in Palestine has been continuous for thousands of years, as if that somehow justifies the current regime of Jewish dominance. In fact, the continuous Jewish presence is evidence of acceptance of that presence by the majority population, at least until the complications resulting from the 20th century concept of Jewish sovereignty requiring ethnic cleansing. Even such enlightened countries as the US and UK might get a bit testy if their Jewish populations demanded a swath of territory designated for Jewish rule. Now, apparently, Krauthammer and Abrams have unwittingly joined the growing one-state bandwagon. By throwing overboard the negative concept of Arab exceptionalism, they have removed any objection to the type of one person/one vote system with guarantees of equality for all that we in the “West” take for granted. Whaddya know, Arabs are just like us after all. The logical extension of his newfound faith in universality is that Jews could continue to live and even thrive as equals in an Israel/Palestine and need not insist upon domination and control over the non-Jewish population.

Could this be the beginning of a neo-con wave of conversion to the growing chorus of one-staters? Surely not, but it is one more indication that the miraculous Egyptian revolt is bringing about a sea change in the way the West views all Arabs. Even the neocons are forced to acknoweldge, albeit for cynical reasons, that long-nurtured notions of Arab backwardness are no longer acceptable.

 

     

Naomi Klein: Did Goldstone single Israel out?

Feb 14, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

We’ve been so busy on Egypt we’re still catching up with some other important pieces. Naomi Klein has a great piece about Justice Goldstone in the new Nation magazine. (It’s actually the introduction to our book). In it, she takes on the central criticism of the UN, that it has singled Israel out for criticism, and she does so by citing Goldstone’s lifelong commitment to the principle, Never again.

Israel has no shortage of critics, many of them Jewish. So what was it about Goldstone that ignited this conflagration? The likeliest answer lies in the particular rhetorical techniques Israel’s leaders reliably employ to defend their actions. For decades, Israeli officials have deflected any and all human rights criticisms by claiming that Israel was being unfairly “singled out” by those who claim to care about international law but who look the other way when equally serious crimes are committed by other states. The problem posed by Goldstone was that his record as a judge on the world stage made it impossible for Israel to make this claim with any credibility.

Goldstone began his judicial career as one of a handful of liberal judges serving on the South African bench during the apartheid era. Though required to enforce the country’s brutal discriminatory laws, these judges were also able to chip away at the system from within, helping to loosen the grip of apartheid in its final years. A 1982 ruling by Goldstone, for instance, blocked judges from evicting blacks and “coloreds” from their homes to make way for whites-only neighborhoods without considering whether suitable alternative accommodations could be found, a requirement that made it virtually impossible to enforce the much-hated Group Areas Act. As apartheid weakened, Goldstone began playing a more activist role, exposing a system of extrajudicial death squads within South Africa’s police and military—crimes that eventually came before the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Goldstone’s contribution to building South Africa’s first multiracial democracy eventually took him to the international arena, where he sought justice for war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide as chief prosecutor of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. It was here that Goldstone began to dedicate his life to the post-Holocaust pledge of “never again”—never again to anyone. “If future perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious war crimes are brought to justice and appropriately punished,” he wrote in a 2001 essay, “then the millions of innocent victims who perished in the Holocaust will not have died in vain. Their memory will remain alive and they will be remembered when future war criminals are brought to justice. And, it is certainly not too much to hope that efficient justice will also serve to deter war crimes in the future and so protect the untold numbers of potential victims.” The judge was always clear that this quest for justice was deeply informed by his Jewishness. “Because of our history, I find it difficult to understand how any Jew wouldn’t instinctively be against any form of discrimination,” he told theJerusalem Report in 2000.

It is this theory of justice—a direct response to the Nazi Holocaust—that Justice Goldstone brought to his work in Gaza in 2009, insisting that his fact-finding mission would examine the crimes committed both by Israelis and Palestinians. For Israel’s leaders it was terrifying when Goldstone took on the Gaza assignment precisely because there was absolutely no way to claim that the judge was “singling out Israel” for special condemnation. Clearly and indisputably, Goldstone was applying the same principles to Israel that he had systematically applied to other countries for decades….

But while Western governments continue to protect Israel from accountability, insisting that economic sanctions are off the table, even welcoming Israel into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, civil society around the world is filling the gap. The findings of the Goldstone Report have become a powerful tool in the hands of the growing movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which is attempting to pressure Israel to comply with international law by using the same nonviolent pressure tactics that helped put an end to apartheid in South Africa. A new book, The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, will allow many more people to read the text of the report, along with contextualizing analysis. And they will be free to make their own judgments about whether Israel has been unfairly “singled out”—or whether, on the contrary, it is finally being held to account.

One of the most remarkable responses to the report came in January 2010, when a coalition of eleven leading Palestinian human rights groups called on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to investigate Goldstone’s allegations that they were complicit in war crimes—despite the fact that the Israeli government had refused to launch an independent investigation of the far more numerous allegations leveled against it in the report. Theirs was a deeply courageous position, one that points to what may prove to be the Goldstone Report’s most enduring legacy. Although most of us profess to believe in universal human rights and oppose all crimes of war, for too long those principles have been applied in ways that are far from universal. Too often we make apologies for the crimes of “our” side; too often our empathy is selectively deployed. To cite just one relevant example, the Human Rights Council has frequently failed to live up to its duty to investigate all major human rights abuses, regardless of their state origins.

 
     

Israel still laying down law for Palestinian police in West Bank

Feb 14, 2011

Kate

 

and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Israel to build more East Jerusalem homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Feb — Jerusalem’s municipal council on Monday approved the construction of 120 new homes in the Jewish settlement neighbourhood of Ramot in occupied east Jerusalem, a councillor told AFP … The vote came on the eve of a visit by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has said that east Jerusalem settlement building harms the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110214/wl_afp/israelpalestinianspeacesettlerjerusalem

Beit Ummar residents say harassed by settlers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — A small group of armed settlers entered the town of Beit Ummar Sunday night, local sources said, describing a tense scene in the area and closed roads in and out … Town spokesman Mohammad Ayyad Awad said two armed settlers and a few others were walking around the residential area, causing residents to fear leaving their homes. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359782

IOA planning establishment of 19 synagogues in OJ
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 14 Feb — The Israeli-controlled municipality of occupied Jerusalem is planning to build 19 Jewish synagogues in Jabal Abu Ghuneim south of the holy city, Hebrew press reports said on Monday. Ha’aretz quoted inhabitants in the suburb as saying that the decision would mean turning the suburb in the future into a purely Jewish haredi neighborhood.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Violence

Palestinian injured in Gaza
GAZA, Feb 14 (WAFA) — Israeli forces shot and injured an 18-year-old Palestinian on Monday while he was collecting gravel north of Gaza Strip, medical sources said. Israeli forces stationed near the fence separating Gaza from Israel opened fire at a group of Palestinians collecting gravel injuring one Palestinian, according to witnesses. Medical sources said that the young Palestinian was shot in the leg and transferred to a hospital in north Gaza. His condition was described as moderate.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=15185

Israeli police refuse murder victim Jerusalem burial
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli authorities are still refusing to return the body of a Palestinian murdered in Jerusalem on Friday, relatives of the victim said. Husam Rweidi, 24, was stabbed to death early Friday morning by a mob of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem’s city center. The victim’s cousin Firas Baydoun said Monday that Israeli police summoned Rweidi’s father, Hussein, to the Russian Compound interrogation center in Jerusalem to discuss funeral arrangements. Israeli police told Hussein his son’s body would be delivered to Qalandia checkpoint, and that he must be buried in the West Bank and not in Jerusalem, Baydoun said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360045

Detention / Incursions

Israel detains two Palestinians during a raid in Hebron
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph) 14 Feb — Israeli forces detained Monday two Palestinian youths  from Hebron in the south of The West Bank. Security sources told that two Palestinians known as Raed El-Shwamra and Ahmed Baruosh,25, were captured after raiding their homes, leading them to an unknown destination. Israeli soldiers also severely beat Osama Ghannam from Al-Tarrama in Hebron as they broke into his house and searched its content. Witnesses told that a group of settlers attacked a house owned by Mazen Masouda in the east of Hebron. Israeli forces also raided Bani Naim and Halhoul towns and several neighborhoods in Hebron and stopped civilians’ vehicles to verify their ID cards.
http://www.paltelegraph.com/palestine/west-bank/8467-israel-detains-two-palestinians-during-a-raid-in-hebron.html

Hamas: PA detained 4 supporters
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Hamas leaders in the West Bank accused the Palestinian Authority security services Monday of detaining for supporters for political reasons, and called for their release. The four were detained from Hebron overnight, a statement from the Islamist party said. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359869

4 Hebron residents sentenced to lifetime of hard labor
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — A Palestinian Authority court on Monday sentenced four Hebron residents convicted of treason to a lifetime of hard labor, sources in the court told Ma‘an. The sentence was based on Article 110 of the 1960 Palestinian penal code and may be appealed, court officials said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360032

Activism / Solidarity

Channel 2 covers Bil‘in, Palestinians are nowhere to be seen / Haggai Matar
…I made sure the crew was filming when [Khatib] gave a speech to the protesters at the outset of the demonstration, in the heart of the village, when he spoke about Bil‘in’s solidarity with Jonathan Pollak. I explained to the researchers and the film crew who were with me for the march that it’s important they talk to him, and they did in fact interview him afterwards. Later, at the end of the demonstration, a veteran activist, Wajee Burnat, who was filmed as he received medical treatment, found the film crew and gave a heart-felt speech about his family’s lands which lay on the other side of the fence, explaining that even if the fence is moved as is planned, it will not return all of their lands. But somehow, Khatib, Burnat, and all the other Palestinians just fell aside in the news piece, when it was broadcast last night. The full news item can be viewed here [Hebrew].
http://972mag.com/israels-channel-2-covers-bilin-palestinians-are-nowhere-to-be-seen/

Siege / Restriction of movement

Hamas-Fatah rivalry behind Gaza medical shortages
RAMALLAH (IRIN)  14 Feb — The main reason for the worsening shortages of essential drugs and medical supplies in the Gaza Strip is that the Palestinian Authority ministry of health in the West Bank has not delivered enough drugs and medical supplies to Gaza, according to the World Health Organization, international aid organizations and Gaza health ministry officials … Spokesperson for the PA health ministry Omar Al-Nasser told IRIN $19 million of the PA health ministry’s 2010 budget of $43 million was spent in Gaza. “We refuse to talk to officials from Gaza,” said Al-Nasser. ”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359970

West Bank – Jordan crossing to close Wed a.m.
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — The Palestinian Border Police Administration announced Monday that the Allenby Bridge Crossing and the Al-Karama crossing between the West Bank and Jordan would be closed on Wednesday morning. The closure will affect travelers going in both directions between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on 16 February for what officials said was an Israeli military training exercise. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359927

Zahar to Egypt: Open Rafah crossing to goods, vehicles
JPost 14 Feb — Hamas leader in Gaza Mahmoud al-Zahar called on Egypt to provide electricity and water to the Gaza Strip and to open the Rafah Crossing to allow free movement of goods and vehicles to and from the territory , Israel Radio reported on Monday. Zahar said Egypt should open for renegotiation its peace treaty with Israel so that it would be allowed to deploy troops throughout Sinai.
http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=208141

Israel opens 2 crossings for imports
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli authorities informed Palestinian liaison officers in Gaza City that two crossing terminals would be opened for limited goods transport on Monday, with an expected total of 320 truckloads of goods to enter. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359797

Reprisals

Gaza militants fire projectile into Israel
(AFP) 14 Feb — Militants from the Gaza Strip fired a projectile into the Eshkol settlement of southern Israel on Monday, the Israeli army said, but there were no reports of casualties. A military spokesman said it was not immediately clear if the object was a mortar shell or a locally-produced Qassam rockets.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/5591/World/Region/Gaza-militants-fire-projectile-into-Israel.aspx

Racism / Discrimination / Repression

‘I said I was from Sudan and was attacked’
Ynet 14 Feb — Ali Alhira, who was stabbed in back and stomach by eight men with skullcaps, recounts moments of horror from his hospital bed. ‘They assaulted me and my brother without any reason, and no one did anything.’ I’m sorry I ever came to Israel, he adds
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4028142,00.html

Top Israeli intellectuals to state: Probe rabbi’s alleged link to Rabin assassination
Authors, Israel Prize laureates urge the investigation of rabbi Dov Lior, wanted by police for questioning for his support of a book justifying the killing of non-Jews.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/top-israeli-intellectuals-to-state-probe-rabbi-s-alleged-link-to-rabin-assassination-1.343215

Protecting Israel from its citizens / Avirama Golan
Haaretz 14 Feb –The parliamentary investigative panel to examine organizations’ funding sources actually have no interest in questions of legality and constitutionality. All they want is to delegitimize protest and political opinions, and to scare us.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/protecting-israel-from-its-citizens-1.343274

Israeli lecturers urge state to probe university’s alleged anti-leftist policies
Haaretz 14 Feb — Bar-Ilan University faculty members urge Council For Higher Education to examine claims by lecturers that they were denied promotion because of leftist political activities and opinions.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israeli-lecturers-urge-state-to-probe-university-s-alleged-anti-leftist-policies-1.343236

Political developments

Abbas asks Fayyad to form new government
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tendered his government’s resignation Monday, just months before local and legislative elections are expected to be held … Following the resignation, Abbas asked Fayyad to work to appoint a new cabinet … Officials said at least one new ministry would be created, under the tentative title the Ministry of Civil Society, while seven others would change, including the ministries of health, agriculture, tourism, foreign affairs. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359808

Hamas: PA cabinet shuffle ‘superficial’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — The Palestinian Authority cabinet shuffle is a “superficial change with no hint of reform,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Monday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360016

Hamas, Fatah officials say talks could continue
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Hamas leader Ismail Radwan told rival Fatah leader Nabil Shaath that if intentions were genuine, unity talks between the parties could resume. The breakthrough comment came on a national radio broadcast on the Ma’an network, after Shaath told Radwan that the parties shared the concerns put forward by the Islamist party over “understandings reached in the Damascus agreement.” 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359874

Arab summit in Baghdad on March 29
CAIRO (AFP) 14 Feb — Arab heads of state will hold their annual summit in Baghdad on March 29, Iraq’s ambassador to the Arab League told reporters on Monday … It will be the first summit of the 22-member body since the resignation of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, who led the regional powerhouse for 30 years.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359916

Abbas: Targeting Qatar over leaked papers over
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Sunday, banning local media and officials from abuse and slander of the emir of Qatar and the emirate’s government. The announcement came a day after the resignation of PLO negotiations chief Saeb Erekat, who had made several accusations against the both targets, the most recent of which included allegations that the nation had holdings in companies active in Israeli settlement construction. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359851

Lieberman: I, not Netanyahu, choose Israel’s ambassadors
Haaretz 14 Feb – Foreign Minister rejects reports that Uzi Arad was planning to leave position of national security adviser to replace Ron Prosor as envoy to London.http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/lieberman-i-not-netanyahu-choose-israel-s-ambassadors-1.343359

Friedman: White House disgusted with Israel
Ynet 14 Feb — Senior New York Times columnist describes Israeli cabinet as ‘out-of-touch, in-bred, unimaginative and cliché-driven’; says Jerusalem unable to adjust to changes in Egypt
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4028189,00.html

Analysis / Opinion

For Palestinian police in West Bank, Israel is still laying down the law / Amira Hass
14 Feb — Head of European mission training PA police acknowledges that in training, everything is done with the approval of State of Israel … “Any equipment we bring in has to be approved by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In addition, the police force works under the mental programming of life under occupation. The reality on the ground affects how they see the future. When I meet my counterpart, the head of the Palestinian police force, for example, he is genuinely concerned about the absence of [Israeli] concessions. The absence of concessions makes it difficult to motivate members of his force when they carry out the mission of maintaining law and order…”
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/for-palestinian-police-in-west-bank-israel-is-still-laying-down-the-law-1.343269

Israel and the sudden return of land for peace / Bradley Burston
14 Feb — When the revolution began in Egypt, many in Israel expected it to fail. What is more telling, though, is that so many in Israel quietly wanted it to. … Abruptly, and as a direct result of revolution in Egypt, Land for Peace has returned. Some of the very rightists who for years have pointed to hasty, unilateral Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza as proof that no withdrawal can ever work, that pullouts lead only to war, have changed their tune overnight. 
http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/egypt-israel-and-the-sudden-return-of-land-for-peace-1.343319

Iraq

Sunday: 3 Iraqis killed, 12 wounded
Parliament filled several important posts today but failed to vote on the defense, interior and national security portfolios. Meanwhile, at least three Iraqis were killed and 12 more were wounded in new violence. In one incident, Iraq’s first reported self-immolation protest occurred, significantly ratcheting up demonstrations that have taken place in recent days.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/02/13/sunday-3-iraqis-killed-12-wounded/

Young Iraqis send valentine to leaders
BAGHDAD (AFP) 13 Feb — Young Iraqis are to hold a Valentine’s Day rally on Monday to call on their leaders to love the war-battered country rather than rob its resources, an organiser told AFP. “We do not want Valentine’s Day to be only one day of love but a celebration for reform, democracy, citizenship and freedom,” said Karnas Ali, a young engineer.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110213/wl_mideast_afp/iraqvalentinecorruption

Other Mideast / Arab world

Middle East and North Africa rocked by protests
NICOSIA (AFP) 14 Feb — Shock waves from the ouster of presidents in Tunisia and Egypt continued to roll across North Africa and the Middle East on Monday, with peoples long subject to autocratic rule demanding to be heard … Following is a breakdown of events, both current and planned, in the Arabic-speaking world and in Iran.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110214/wl_afp/mideastmaghrebunrestpolitics

Food, demography are invisible drivers in Egypt uprising
PARIS (AFP) 14 Feb — Huge population growth and food insecurity count among the factors that fuelled the revolution in Egypt and serve as a caution for other countries facing human and environmental overload, say analysts.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=359822

Egypt protests continue in the factories / Hossam el-Hamalawy
Guardian 14 Feb — Egypt’s striking workers won’t entrust the transition to democracy to the generals who were the backbone of the dictatorship
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/14/egypt-protests-democracy-generals

Egypt army orders protesters out of square
(Reuters) 14 Feb — Military delivers ultimatum to dozens of committed demonstrators in Cairo to leave Tahrir Square and let life get back to normal or face arrest
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4028252,00.html

Egypt presidential hopeful: Peace treaty with Israel is over
Haaretz 14 Feb — Dr. Ayman Nur, a secular and liberal member of the opposition, tells Egypt radio that it would behoove the new government to renegotiate the terms of the Camp David accord.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/egypt-presidential-hopeful-peace-treaty-with-israel-is-over-1.343341

Libya’s Kadhafi urges refugee ‘march on Palestine’
TRIPOLI (AFP) 13 Feb — Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Sunday urged Palestinian refugees to take advantage of current unrest sweeping across the Arab world and stage a march on the Palestinian territories … “This is not a call for war,” Kadhafi said, however, urging Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Syria to head for “the Palestinian borders, olive branches in hand in a sign of peace.”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110213/wl_mideast_afp/libyaisraelpalestinianspolitics

Lebanon’s Hariri moves into opposition ranks
BEIRUT (AFP) 14 Feb — Six years after the murder of his father, Lebanon’s outgoing premier Saad Hariri was Monday to announce a shift into opposition ranks after Hezbollah forced the collapse of his frail government.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110214/wl_mideast_afp/lebanonpoliticshariri

US honors Hariri memory, backs tribunal
(AFP) 14 Feb — President Obama says any attempt to interfere with probe into former Lebanese PM’s murder or fuel tensions within Lebanon ‘must not be tolerated’
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4028144,00.html
     

‘Hatred is nothing more than cowardice’ (groovin on Egypt with Cornel West)

Feb 14, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Below are some of Cornel West’s wonderful facebook posts on Egypt. The man got it. They begin January 25 and continue up through the toppling of Mubarak. (If you want to harsh the buzz a little, just compare them to liberal hawk Jeffrey Goldberg calling the revolution “a military coup” that will bring dangerous engagement of the Muslim Brotherhood, or David Frum, saying that the revolution was not representative of the people.)(This post was outlined by Ibn Tufayl). West:

 I give great tribute to the incredible courage of my precious Egyptian brothers and sisters calling for an end to the ugly US-backed tyranny of Mubarak. When I gave the Edward Said lectures in Cairo Egypt three years ago, I compared Mubarak to a contemporary pharaoh.and as a follower of Martin Luther King, I say to all pharaohs, “Let my people go!”January 29

Shame on President Obama and Secretary Clinton for their centrist rhetoric when we all should be extremist for LOVE and JUSTICE! To my dear sister Mona Eltahawy, God be with you in your magnificent eloquence in the midst of this historic crisis. Long live the dignity and decency of my Egyptian brothers and sisters in their quest for a Democratic Egypt! January 29

It takes courage to ask – how did I become so well-adjusted to injustice? The courage to love is one of the preconditions to thinking critically. It takes courage to shatter conformity and cowardice. Hatred at its worst is nothing more than a form of cowardice. It takes courage for folk to stand up (RE: Jan. 25. 2011)…. When ordinary people wake up, elites begin to tremble in their boots.February 2

My deep love goes out to my precious and priceless Egyptian brothers and sisters. My tears flow in deep solidarity with you in the face of an embarrassing 30 years of U.S. backed tyranny in Egypt. Let us pray that the Obama administration is effectively more courageous in this matter. February 5

The precious tears of my dear Egyptian brother Wael Ghonim – one of the many heroes of the Egyptian revolution – bring more tears to my eyes. This is a great turning point in our new 21st Century in the struggle for democracy. How I wish I could be in Liberation Square and stand with my brave brothers and sisters against the 30 year US-backed tyranny. Like Reagan in his equivocal stance on apartheid in South Africa – with only lip service to those struggling and past commitments to those who rule, Obama has yet to take an unequivocal stance on behalf of the suffering yet dignified Egyptian people. Again, shame on him. For me, the greatest tribute to those struggling in authoritarian Egypt is this: Martin Luther King, Jr. smiles on you from the grave, your courage resurrects his spirit! This is a historic moment for the struggle for democracy… when you have everyday people who are willing to die. February 8

Mubarak is gone…Let the people reign! A democratic Egypt is now in the making… Hallelujah! February 11, 2011

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

1979 SADAT-ISRAEL ‘WAR TREATY’ AGAINST PALESTINIANS A & MUSLIMS NOT BINDING ON EGYPTIANS

NOVANEWS

 

Israel never respected the so-called 1979 ‘Peace Treaty’ with former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat as it is still occupying Palestinian lands and stealing more.  A murdering thief who steals people’s homes should neither be allowed to keep any nor be allowed to use stolen property as a bargaining chip.  In a civilised world, stolen property must be returned to their owners under pain of sanction.  For over 30 years the so-called 1979 ‘Peace Treaty’ was used as a weapon to make war against Palestinians in occupied Palestine and Muslims in Egypt.  Sadat’s effective War Treaty with Israel has been the cornerstone of instability, repression and Jewish terror in occupied Palestine and interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries. 

The European-Israeli occupiers of Palestine invaded the Sinai, Egypt in 1967.  In 1973, under President Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian army, led by Egyptian Chief of staff, Saad El Shazly, breached and penetrated the Bar Lev line set up by Israeli military in Sinai along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal and destroyed most of the Israeli air force.  The war stopped after the US threatened to enter the war on the side of the Israelis and poured in more sophisticated weapons into Israel.  However, behind the scenes, the US offered to finance the Egyptian government if they entered into a ‘Peace Treaty’ with Israel which, in turn, would vacate the Sinai and dismantle all Jewish squats therein.  Like any other corruptible Arab leader, Anwar Sadat allowed himself to be corrupted.

However, in his address to the Jewish Knesset, 7 October 1977, Anwar Sadat said that any treaty with Israel should not be at the expense of giving the Israelis a single inch of Arab land : « Expansion does not pay. To speak frankly, our land does not yield itself to bargaining, it is not even open to argument.  We cannot accept any attempt to take away or accept to seek one inch of it nor can we accept the principle of debating or bargaining over it. »  It is too easy for the strong to invade people’s lands and then bargain with the owners pretending that the invaders are making concessions in exchange for ‘peace’ or other benefits. 

A murdering thief who steals people’s homes should neither be allowed to keep any nor be allowed to use stolen property as a bargaining chip.  In a civilised world, stolen property must be returned to their owners under pain of sanction.  However, the so-called Peace Treaty entered between Anwar Sadat and Israel in 1979 did not have the approval of the Egyptian people.  Moreover, Israel never respected the treaty as it is still occupying Palestinian lands and stealing more.  It also used this treaty to build its nuclear arsenal while the Arabs were left behind.

Muslims in the Arab world were shocked by such a treaty, even by most within the ranks of Anwar Sadat himself, including in his military.  Some members in the Egyptian military assassinated President Sadat in 1981 and wounded his Vice President Hosni Mubarak.  Many analysts believed that the US used dissidents in Sadat’s military to assassinate Sadat because they did not trust him after he gave Israel a bloody nose in 1973 and always insisted for Israel to cease its occupation of Arab lands.  Their obvious choice was Hosni Mubarak who succeeded Sadat. 

They financed him and his army with billions of dollars of sophisticated military hardware short of the Israeli military which they dotted with nuclear weapons.  They used him as a ‘democratic’ figurehead allegedly elected by Egyptians when their military aid was used to ban opposition parties not to their liking, to murder, torture and suppress Egyptians.  US-Israel kept their puppet Hosni Mubarak in power for nearly 30 years.  During that time the so-called 1979 Peace Treaty was used as a weapon to make war against Palestinians in occupied Palestine and Muslims in Egypt.  Egypt joined the Zionist entity in staging a blockade against Palestinians and facilitated the bombing of Gaza by Israelis and the killing of Palestinians.  The Egyptians never approved this treaty through a referendum.  It is a warmongering treaty used to benefit the occupiers of Palestine and a few of the Egyptian financial, military and political elite.

When the Egyptian Revolution started on 25th January 2011 with hundreds of thousands, later millions, of protesters converging in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, called Liberation Square, Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt, the US and other European powers kept on interfering in Egyptian affairs by telling their puppets what to do and what to say, and when.  While pretending to understand the aspirations of Egyptians, the US neo-con administration kept on supporting the Mubarak’s regime.  On 5th February 2011, the Zionist Frank Wisner, a special envoy for US President Barack Obama, said that Hosni Mubarak « must stay in office to steer national concensus ». 

When the freedom protestors swelled and Mubarak’s position weakened, Obama alleged that Wisner was only talking in his personal capacity and not for his administration, which is a blatant lie.  On the other hand, the tune of French President Nicholas Sarkozy also changed in line with the developments given the grip of France on her former other dictatorial colonies of Algeria, Morocco, and given that the revolution first started in her former Tunisian colony.

The Egyptian Mujahideen (Freedom Fighters)

It is very odd for the European western media to refer to the Egyptian revolutionaries as « pro-democracy protestors » when the Egyptian tyrant was elected four times 1987, 1993, 1999 and 2005), which elections the UN found to be ‘free and fair’ while the majority of Egyptians always said that the elections were forged with the help of the US and Israel.  Does this mean that the millions who demonstrated against the Iraq War in the streets of London were also « pro-democracy protestors »?  This is just another example how the Zionist-controlled western media manipulate people’s minds.  The Egyptians revolutionaries were not fighting for democracy, which is a corrupt system under which they were victims for 30 years.  They were fighting for their freedom from such corruption and tyranny.  They are freedom fighters (mujahideen).  Their jihad (struggle) is for a free Egypt based on justice and fairness with the capability to defend itself against any form of interference and aggression.  No more will Sinai be occupied again and Palestine must be freed.

Lamis Andoni, Al-Jazeerah’s Middle East correspondent said in his article « The resurrection of pan-Arabism », 11 February 2011, that « The Egyptian revolution has resurrected a new type of pan-Arabism, based on social justice not empty slogans. »  He also said that « The overwhelming support for the Egyptian revolutionaries across the Arab world reflects a sense of unity in the rejection of tyrannical, or at least authoritarian, leaders, corruption and the rule of a small financial and political elite. [..] The Palestinians have been betrayed, not helped, by leaders who practice repression against their own people. [..] The Arab failure to defend Iraq or liberate Palestine has come to symbolise an Arab impotence that has been perpetuated by the state of fear and paralysis in which the ordinary Arab citizen, marginalised by social injustice and crushed by security apparatus oppression, has existed. »  Andoni went on to report that, in Ramallah, protesters are calling for an end of internal Palestinian divisions and demanded an « end to negotiations with Israel ».

Mubarak’s resignation

After trying several tricks in the Zionist book of deceit, Hosni Mubarak finally resigned as President on 11th February 2011 and left the country in the hands of his military while he and his family fled to the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh.  After so many television appearances to tell Egyptians that he is staying put, he did not even have the decency and courage to tell Egyptians he was leaving as they demanded. He let his appointed Vice-President and accomplice Omar Suleiman, nicknamed « The CIA’s man in Cairo », break the news to the people and informing them that Mubarak had handed over authority to the Supreme Military Council he had put in place.  The « highest-ranking figure in Egypt is now Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the country’s defence minister and head of the supreme council. »  But the people want the whole regime, including the top military figures, to step down and be brought to justice for their democratic corruption and crimes.

Conclusion

Mubarak’s US paymaster, Barack Obama, is now urging what remains of Mubarak’s regime to honour Sadat’s ‘Peace Treaty’ with Israel, which seems to be his administration’s main and real concern rather than the Egyptian people, in order to continue their war against Palestinians and Muslims in Egypt.  For over 30 years, Sadat’s ‘Peace Treaty’, War Treaty rather, has been the cornerstone of instability, repression and Jewish terror in occupied Palestine and interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.  The top Mubarak’s military men, who have close links with the US and Israeli military, quickly assured the US and Israel that « The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties ».  The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, while pledging a smooth transition to civilian rule, is not speaking about the wishes of the Egyptian people.  It is already telling them what their future administration should accept without a referendum on their wishes.  This is where the real danger lies while the Mubaraks’ are at their getaway resort, perhaps with the hopes of returning with a vengeance.

In addition to the determination of Egyptian mujahideen, which the world is proud of, the Egyptian soldiers have to be congratulated for identifying themselves with their people who they hugged and, in many ways, even supported to the displeasure of the military elite taking their orders from the US and Israeli administrations.  The soldiers even prayed behind the freedom demonstrators.  Those cracks in the military were apparent from the early days of the revolution.  Even though Mubarak sent his US F-16s fighter aircrafts and helicopters over the heads of the mujahideen to intimidate them in an attempt to break the will of the Egyptians’ struggle for freedom, the Israeli orders to their Egyptian counterparts to shoot fellow Egyptians were not followed. 

Hundreds of members of the much hated Police marched in solidarity with the freedom protesters in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya claiming that they had been ordered against their will to shoot protesters.  This is the reason the Police originally fled and abandoned their posts.  However, now that Mubarak’s military is running the country, things may well take a new turn as the Mubarak’s top military brass praised the ousted President and promised to carry on with the Zionist policies with an allegedly new civil administration while the Head of the military ordered the army to demolish the tents of freedom protesters who refuse to vacate Tahrir Square because the demonstrators argue that no changes have yet been implemented.

The latest is that the Egyptian military has dissolved Parliament and suspended the constitution.  They say they will remain as rulers for six months until elections are held, but no date has yet been set.

M Rafic Soormally
London
13 February 2011

Posted in Egypt2 Comments

Avi Shlaim on the Neoconservative Middle East War Agenda

NOVANEWS

 

By Stephen J. Sniegoski

A friend, Phil Collier, an avid student of and sometime writer on Middle East affairs (and  a National Master in chess),

 recently  informed  me that Avi Shlaim, in his recent book, Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations, had one chapter, “Palestine and Iraq,” that presents a thesis almost identical to what I have written in The Transparent Cabal.  This naturally encouraged me to obtain the book, and Collier’s description turns out to be correct.

Now this similarity is quite significant since what I have written on the neocons regarding their strong influence on U. S. Middle East policy and their connection to Israel is taboo in the American mainstream, with even numerous antiwar individuals (especially those with higher status) and publications shying away from my work. But unlike me, Shlaim, a professor of international relations at Oxford,  is a recognized scholar, with such notable books on Israel and its neighbors as The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2001).  And he is also Jewish and an Israeli citizen, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces (possessing dual British and Israeli citizenship), which shelters him from charges of anti-Semitism.   Undoubtedly because of  his credentials,  his works cannot be ignored, and this book was honored as a  Kirkus Best Book for 2009.    

Now, in his  ten-page  chapter on this subject, Shlaim could only present a much-abbreviated version of the major themes that I elaborate on at length in my 447 page book.   The following are some poignant examples from Shlaim’s work, with my commentary drawing comparisons to The Transparent Cabal.

“The basic premise behind George W. Bush’s policy towards the Middle East reflected this strong pro-Israeli bias,” Shlaim opines. “The premise was that the key issue in Middle East politics was not Palestine, but Iraq.” (p. 297)    This is the essence of my thesis, but it is something many establishment people, including those who have been antiwar, ardently deny when they claim that the elimination of Saddam  not only harmed  Israeli interests by empowering Iran, but that this result  was clearly foreseen by  Israelis and supporters of Israel prior to the attack on Iraq and that the government of Israel thus allegedly opposed the war.  The Transparent Cabal, of course, shows that the entire neocon war agenda in the Middle East was directed to advancing Israel’s security by weakening its enemies and that Israeli leaders did, in fact, promote the war on Iraq.   Of course, in the United States, any  claim that American Jews promote Israeli interests, no matter how well adduced, invariably elicits accusations of anti-Semitism.

“American proponents of the war on Iraq promised that action against Iraq would form part of a broader engagement with the problems of the Middle East,” Shlaim notes.  “The road to Jerusalem, they argued, went through Baghdad.  Cutting off Saddam Hussein’s support for Palestinian terrorism was, according to them, an essential first step in the quest for a settlement.” (p. 297)  Later he observes:  “One of the main arguments for regime change in Baghdad was to put an end to Iraqi support for Palestinian militants and for what was seen as Palestinian intransigence in the peace process with Israel.” (p. 300)

As I point out in The Transparent Cabal, the neocons maintained that it was the removal of not only Saddam, but most “non-democratic” regimes in the Middle East, which was necessary to bring about a  peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue.  However, the “peace” the neocons had in mind was one dictated by Israel. Elimination of the Middle Eastern “non-democratic” regimes would facilitate this development because it was just these regimes  that provided moral and material support to the Palestinian resistance, portrayed by the neocons as “Palestinian intransigence.”  Without outside

support, the isolated and dispirited Palestinians would ultimately be forced to accede to whatever type of peaceful solution Israel offered, which would create nothing like a viable, Palestinian state, but which would serve to remove Israel’s Palestinian problem and thus help to secure the Jewish nature of the state of Israel. 

“The influence of the Likud and of its friends in Washington could be detected across the entire spectrum of American policy towards the Middle East,” writes Shlaim.  “Particularly striking was the ideological convergence between some of the leading neoconservatives in the Bush Administration – such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith—and the hardliners in Ariel Sharon’s inner circle.” (p. 298)

I go to great lengths in The Transparent Cabal to highlight the link between the neocons and the hardline Likudniks. In fact, I show that the neocons’ very plan to reconfigure the Middle East paralleled the Likudnik goal of destabilizing and fragmenting Israel’s enemies, which was best articulated by Oded Yinon in the early 1980s.

In illustrating the neocons’ identification with Israeli interests, Shlaim underscores the significance of the neocons’ “A Clean Break” paper, writing: “In 1996, a group of six Jewish Americans, led by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, wrote a paper for incoming Israeli prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu.  Entitled ‘A Clean Break’, the paper proposed, in essence, an abrupt reversal of the foreign policies of the Clinton Administration towards the Middle East.” (p. 298)  After mentioning the major goals  of the plan, including the removal of Saddam’s regime, Shlaim declares: “Thus, five years before the attack on the twin towers, the idea of regime change in Baghdad was already on the agenda of some of Israel’s most fervent Republican supporters in Washington.” (p. 299)  Regarding the connection of that policy to actual American interests,  Shlaim opines that “While the authors’ devotion to Israel’s interests was crystal-clear, their implicit identification of those interests with American interests was much more open to question.” (p. 299) Shlaim accepts the obvious  fact that the neocons were influential in shaping Bush policy: “The Bush Administration’s entire policy towards the Middle East was similarly supportive of Israel’s short-term strategic interests.” (p. 299)

It should be noted here that Shlaim, in accord with what I write in  The Transparent Cabal,  makes three taboo points that often lead to charges of anti-Semitism when he observes that the neocons are Jewish, that they are devoted to Israel, and that they were influential enough to shape U. S. Middle East  policy in the interests of Israel.     

Shlaim correctly points out  that the neocons’ Middle East war  agenda transcended Iraq: “While Iraq was the main target, the neocons also advocated that America exert relentless pressure on Syria and on Iran.” (p. 300)  In The Transparent Cabal, I show that the neocons only regarded Iraq as the momentary “main target”—it was to be the first step in their plan to reconfigure the Middle East.

Shlaim refers to  Israeli support for the broader neocon Middle East war agenda, which would also primarily benefit that country, not the United States:   “Washington’s policy of confrontation and regime change was fervently supported in Tel Aviv.  Here too the benefit to Israel is much more evident than the benefit to America.   And here too, the US agenda towards the region appears to incorporate a right-wing Likud agenda.” (p. 300)

While fundamentally similar, Shlaim’s analysis does differ with The Transparent Cabal in a few respects.   For example, he depicts the noted Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis as a crucial influence on the neocons, maintaining that he provided “the intellectual underpinning for this policy [the neocon plan of democratizing the Middle East by war].” (P. 299)  While aware that Lewis expressed this Middle East democratization argument, I am not aware that the neocons actually derived this view from him.  To obtain expert opinion on this issue, I contacted Paul Gottfried, probably the foremost historian of neoconservatism, and he also was not aware of any evidence for Shlaim’s claim. Since Lewis is a well-known scholar, some neocons undoubtedly believed that publicizing their connection to him would enhance the credibility of their democratization argument, but whether they actually derived this view from him needs to be proven.  

A more significant difference between Shlaim’s argument and that of The Transparent Cabal  revolves around an assessment of the results of the neocon policy. While Shlaim holds that the  neocons were attuned to the views of the hardline Likudniks and sought to advance what they considered to be Israel’s security interests,  he seems to drift away from this position in looking at the policy’s results.  Instead, he seems to take the neocon rhetoric on democracy at face value and judges the results by both this standard and how the results affected Israel’s security, as he (a left-wing Zionist, not a hardline Likudnik) sees  it.  “The war on Iraq has not gone according to plan,” Shlaim asserts. “Saddam Hussein and his henchman have been removed from power but the goals of democracy, security and stability have proved persistently elusive. Today the shadow of civil war hangs over Iraq.” (p. 305)

In contrast to Shlaim’s view of Israel’s security, the neocons explicitly sought regional instability to allegedly achieve democracy, as I show in The Transparent Cabal.  And the hardline Likudnik position was to destabilize and fragment Israel’s enemies to enhance Israeli security.  The neocons similarly advocated such an approach in their “Clean Break” agenda, which did not emphasize  democratization.  In short, from the perspective of the neocons and the hardline Likudniks, the instability and the “shadow of civil war” resulting from the US invasion of Iraq were neither surprising nor unwelcome.  Thus the neocons’ plans failed only to the extent that the US has not, or at least not yet, moved on to attack and destabilize Iran and other enemies of Israel.

It is certainly pleasing to see themes that I present emerging  in the mainstream, but I am miffed that my much longer account remains largely ignored.  It would be great if  books such as Shlaim’s would serve to open the door to wider publicity for The Transparent Cabal, which would not simply be of personal benefit but would also provide mainstream readers with the most complete account currently existing of the neoconservative involvement in the war on Iraq and overall U. S. Middle East policy,  and thus serve as a guide to analyzing current U.S.  policy.  However, since Shlaim’s theme is buried among 29 other short chapters, its impact will likely be negligible.  And the overall blackout of these crucial themes will likely continue. 

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on Avi Shlaim on the Neoconservative Middle East War Agenda

The Transparent Cabal

NOVANEWS

 

By Ed Warner

 

History is full of examples of a determined minority prevailing over a more passive majority. A case in point is the neoconservative effort to bring the United States into war with Iraq largely for the protection of Israel. Despite the dubious reasons the neoconservatives advanced — Iraq has WMDs, ties to al-Qaeda — they managed to overcome the resistance of the military, the State Department and CIA partly by infiltrating them for their own ends. As the book title suggests, much of this was done in the open, a transparent cabal.

 

The cabal is described in convincing detail by author Stephen Sniegoski, who, somewhat retiring, lets the neoconservatives tell much of it in their own words — and what words! full of the passion of their endeavor: “Creative destruction is our middle name:” “precise military action against Hezbollah and Syria for as long as it takes without regard to mindless blather about proportionality;” “There is no middle way for Americans. It is victory or the holocaust;” “Could World War Two have been won by Britain and the United States if the two countries did not have it in them to firebomb Dresden and nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the willingness to inflict mass casualties on civilians?” Like Gaza? we might ask.

 

The neoconservatives, to be sure, had significant help from the top. President Bush, not well versed in foreign affairs; Vice President Cheney, basically a neoconservative himself; and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who wanted to try out his new concept of a sleek, swift high tech attack, which fitted nicely with neocon plans. Much of the media was also supportive, like the New York Times. Columnist Tom Friedman wrote: “The war is the most important, liberal, revolutionary democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan.” Poor George Marshall, who, as they say, must be rolling over in his grave.

 

But if the neoconservatives knew what they wanted, they were less sure of the consequences, indifferent really. That point was made by General Anthony Zinni observing the neoconservative reaction to the chaos in Iraq following the war: “Maybe some strong man emerges, it fractures, and there really is a Kurdish state. Who cares? There’s some bloodshed and it’s messy. Who cares? I mean we’ve taken out Saddam. We’ve asserted our strength in the Middle East. We’ve changed the dynamic, and we’re not putting any pressure on Israel.”

 

To avoid a global takeover by what he calls “Islamofascism,” former Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz urges war with Iran, no matter what the outcome: “There would be a vast increase in the price of oil with catastrophic consequences for every country of the world. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a love fest.”  Still, the war would be worth it.

 

Sniegoski gives almost equal time to neoconservative opponents, called “realists,” who argue that stability is paramount for the Middle East, while neoconservatives want to destabilize it as fast as possible. Their aim is to fracture the countries of the region into harmless statelets of no danger to Israel. Given the results of the war in Iraq, the realists would seem to have the better of the argument. But why didn’t they act on it at the time? They seemed to be strangely diffident, apparently lacking the conviction of the neoconservatives. Even much respected Secretary of State Colin Powell, who called them “crazies,” eventually gave in and helped bring on the war with his speech to the UN.

 

The realists have another chance to rise to the occasion since the neoconservatives are now gunning for war with Iran,

 

The Author

 

invoking the same fantasies they did with Iraq — the threat of nuclear destruction by a nation that doesn’t have nuclear weapons, while indeed Israel has an estimated 200 to 300 such weaponry.

 

No diplomacy for the neoconservatives. War is the only answer. Before the Iraq war began on specious grounds, Saddam Hussein tried to get talks started with the United States, and so has Iran — to no avail. Once demonized, always demonized. For all the tragic mistakes they have made, neoconservatives continue to exert influence.

 

Is there perhaps an alternative way of looking at the threats, real or perceived, that Israel faces? Are the neoconservatives so certain their policies may not be ultimately harmful to Israel as well as to the United States? Fragmented or failed states are vulnerable to the very terrorists the neoconservatives claim to fear. Contemporary Mexico is a perfect example. A weak central government has lost control of the murderous criminal cartels that have established their own fiefdoms — a state within a state. They thrive on smuggling illicit drugs and human beings to the United States and receive weaponry in return that allows them to keep on killing. Wouldn’t it make more sense to deal with existing centrally controlled regimes, however critical of Israel, than take the chance of a terrorist-ridden region?

 

This deserves debate, but there isn’t any because the major media have ignored Sniegoski’s book. It’s scrupulously written with careful attention to detail. Its drawback? It can bring charges of anti-Semitism because it deals critically with a largely though not exclusively Jewish group. But Sniegoski is at pains to distinguish the neoconservatives from the greater Jewish community that is generally more averse to war than other Americans. So why not some reviews and a debate? It’s only democratic.

 

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on The Transparent Cabal

Review of Justin Vaisse Neoconservatism

NOVANEWS

The Biography of a Movement (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), 366 p.

By Stephen J. Sniegoski

Author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel

Website: http://home.comcast.net/~transparentcabal/

The mainstream media acclaim Neoconservatism:  The Biography of a Movement as the best book on neoconservatism—the definitive account—and portray its author, Justin Vaïsse, a French specialist on American foreign policy and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, as a veritable Alexis de Tocqueville for his masterly insights. The mainstream’s high praise of this book, however, would seem to be due in large part to its minimization of two taboo issues—neoconservatism’s Jewish nature and its focus on Israel.  Where the book breaks through what  was heretofore largely blacked-out in the mainstream media is its discussion of the major role played by the neoconservatives in bringing about the war on Iraq.

The black-out had essentially placed the entire idea that the neoconservatives played a central role in bringing about the US attack on Iraq in 2003 beyond the pale of public discussion.  In its most extreme form, this approach denied the very existence of neoconservatives.  More moderate variants accepted the neocons’ existence but denied their influence on US policy.  Instead the war on Iraq was alleged to have been essentially planned by President George W. Bush and/or  Dick Cheney; or, for the anti-war Left, the  war was brought on by the greedy oil interests or by unnamed nebulous corporatists (presumably gentile).    Even to dwell on the neoconservatives could be taken as a sign of being “anti-Semitic.”

Vaïsse, however, candidly writes “that neoconservatism played an important role in launching the war in Iraq,” pointing out that the “neoconservatives  had been advocating the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, though not necessarily through direct American intervention, since 1997.” (p. 13)  He goes on to show how the neocons, both inside and outside the Bush administration, promoted the bogus intelligence that was able to generate public support for the war.

Vaïsse does offer a faux qualification to his emphasis on the neocons’ role by observing that “the decision to intervene militarily in Iraq cannot be ascribed solely to the influence of neoconservatives.  This book seeks to put the intellectual history of the neoconservative movement in perspective so as to avoid errors of distortion.” (p. 13) Vaïsse presumably wants to differentiate his book from those still taboo ones, perhaps like mine, which mentioned the role of the neocons some time ago.  But Vaïsse essentially slays a strawman since he does not cite any works that actually attribute the attack on Iraq “solely to the influence of neoconservatives,” and I am not aware of any  works making such a claim.  I should add here that although reviewers praise Vaïsse’s book as “definitive,” he refrains from mentioning (much less refuting)  those works (again mine being one of these) that provided an account of the neocons’ primary role in shaping the Bush II foreign policy on Iraq (which Vaïsse duplicates in a briefer form) and offered substantial proof for the truth of the still tabooed topics.

Vaïsse downplays the significance of Israel and the overall Jewish nature of neoconservatism.  At least, that is how the mainstream readers interpret his writing, and that would seem to be the author’s intent since his general interpretations of neoconservatism reflect this minimization.  However, if read closely, one can find that interspersed within this book is considerable information, including the author’s direct statements, indicating otherwise.

In minimizing the Jewish nature of neoconservatism, Vaïsse  writes that the idea that “neoconservatism is ‘in essence’ a Jewish movement” is “unconvincing,” though acknowledging that the perception that neoconservatism is Jewish is “based on the observation that a majority of neoconservatives are Jews.” (p. 273)  He maintains, however,  that “many of the most prominent neoconservatives are not Jewish, and the overwhelming majority of American Jews are not neoconservatives.” (p. 273)  Now it is obviously true that most American Jews are not neoconservatives, but that no more proves that neoconservatism is not fundamentally Jewish than the fact that most Muslims are not members of Al-Qaida would prove that Al-Qaida is not Islamic, or that most Poles and  Polish Americans are not members of the Polish National Catholic Church would prove the latter is not essentially Polish.

Now although there are gentile neocons, it is not apparent that Vaïsse  has actually  demonstrated that “many of the most prominent neoconservatives are not Jewish.”   For example, Vaïsse  places  Patrick Moynihan into this category.  In neoconservatism’s early years, Moynihan did espouse ideas held by the neocons, but he was a significant individual before the neocons supported him, and their backing would simply reflect, in large part,  their need to attach themselves to influential allies who held views consonant with their own.  Moynihan’s positions would diverge from those of the neocons in the 1980s.

Henry Jackson, whom Vaïsse  describes at length, was an unreconstructed  hard-line Cold War warrior and devotee of Israel, who certainly staffed his office with younger neoconservatives, but cannot be called a bona fide neoconservative any more than Dick Cheney, whom Vaïsse explicitly describes as a neoconservative ally as opposed to an actual neoconservative (p. 149), but who likewise served as a neocon patron.  And it would seem that Cheney was more deserving of the neocon designation since he actually adopted the neocon agenda, whereas Jackson’s already existing positions converged  with those of the neocons.

Vaïsse  refers to Admiral Zumwalt as “yet another example of a non-Jewish neoconservative” (p. 108)  because of his support for both hard-line Cold War policies and for Israel.  But Zumwalt is not conventionally known as a neoconservative.  He did not have long-term intimate connections with the neoconservative network, and was simply a significant person in his own right whose views converged with those of the neoconservatives.  Zumwalt  was associated with the neocons far less than Dick Cheney, who, as just pointed out, is described by Vaïsse as a neoconservative ally, rather than a true neoconservative. (p. 149)

It is quite apparent that most major figures in the neoconservative movement such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, and Bill Kristol have been Jewish along with most of their associates.  And those generally identified as  neoconservatives are distinguished by more than just their ideas; they have formed and sustained close working and personal connections between themselves over a long period of time. Neoconservatism essentially involves a network of people which has been perpetuated by becoming institutionalized in a number of influential think tanks and organizations. These close ties help to explain the neocons’ great power, which far exceeds their rather limited numbers.

Social anthropologist Janine R. Wedel, the author of  Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market,  describes the successful neocon network as a “flex group,” which she defines as an informal faction adept at “playing multiple and overlapping roles and conflating state and private interests. These players keep appearing in different incarnations, ensuring continuity even as their operating environments change.” (Quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 29)  Vaïsse  makes reference to this network when he writes of “a definite clannishness to the neoconservative movement” (p. 206),  but nonetheless when looking for prominent gentile neocons includes people outside of this network who simply have collaborated with the neocons, though in a few places he does make a distinction–for example,  when he differentiates  “hard-core neoconservatives” from  “pragmatic hawks such as Nitze and Kampelman.” (p. 195)

While claiming the existence of important gentile neoconservatives, Vaïsse  acknowledges that  Jews make up the majority of its membership, but then goes on to downplay the significance of this fact, maintaining  that there is nothing extraordinary about such Jewish overrepresentation because “Jews are disproportionately represented in almost all left and liberal political movements in the United States, as well as among intellectuals.” (p. 273)   Although Jews may be represented in many groups in numbers exceeding their proportion of the American population,  it is not apparent that most intellectual movements have been, or are, so overwhelmingly Jewish as neoconservatism. Moreover, it should be pointed out that if anyone unsympathetic to Jewish interests were to allege such extensive Jewish predominance, he or she would almost certainly be branded as an “anti-Semite,” not only by the Jewish establishment but by the same mainstream liberals who now applaud Vaïsse’s work.

But it is not solely the numbers involved that leads one to consider neoconservatism a Jewish movement, but rather the fact that it promotes Jewish interests, though the very fact that the group is predominately Jewish would seem to indicate that it would be biased toward Jewish interests.  Certainly, it is unlikely that groups dominated by Arabs or African-Americans would have such a deep commitment to the  Jewish state (which will be discussed next).  In fact, the conventional view in contemporary America is that the  composition of a group does affect its outlook and thus provides the rationale for demanding diversity in all governmental organizations in the United States.  One wonders why Jewish dominance would be any different than white dominance or male dominance?

But more than this prima facie presumption, however,  there is definite evidence of the Jewish orientation of the neoconservative agenda.  For example, the original flagship of the neoconservative movement was Commentary magazine, which was put out by the American Jewish Committee, and was edited for many years by Norman Podhoretz.  The American Jewish Committee pronounced as its mission: “To safeguard the welfare and security of Jews in the United States, in Israel, and throughout the world.” (Quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 26). And as Murray Friedman, the author of  The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy,  notes:  “A central element in Podhoretz’s evolving views, which would soon become his and many of the neocons’ governing principle was the question, ‘Is It Good for the Jews,’ the title of a February 1972 ‘Commentary’ piece.” (Quoted in  Transparent Cabal, p. 27)

Another significant component of the neocon nexus is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which was set up in 1976 to put “the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship first.” In the late 1980s, JINSA widened its focus to U.S. defense and foreign policy in general, without dropping its focus on Israel. JINSA’s advisory board has included such notable neocons and neocon allies as Stephen Bryen, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Richard Perle, Kenneth Timmerman, John Bolton,  R. James Woolsey and Dick Cheney. While the existence of Bolton, Cheney, Woolsey would show the support of some gentiles for Jewish interests, the very name of the organization indicates its ethno-religious orientation.

The origins of neoconservatism sprang from American Jews dismayed about the turn of American liberalism  and the world Left, with which most Jewish intellectuals historically had been aligned, to positions perceived as contrary to Jewish interests—support for racial quotas (which might threaten Jewish predominance in many important fields), animosity to Israel (as a racist, colonialist state), and growing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and other Communist Eastern European states.  Vaïsse goes over these Jewish concerns (pp. 58-64), without, in the end, giving them much importance in his overall assessment of neoconservative motivation.

It would seem that Vaïsse attempts to denigrate the idea of a connection between neoconservatism and Jews by writing that “only the white-supremacist extremist right (Kevin McDonald [sic] in Occidental Quarterly, for example) pushes this ethnic logic to its conclusion by considering neoconservatism as one possible expression of Jewishness.” (p. 273).  Designating MacDonald (correct spelling) a “white supremacist” would presumably serve to make this type of thinking anathema in the mainstream, and it neatly  avoids dealing with the very extensive data  showing very strong Jewish identities and commitment to Israel of the key neocons.  In reality, although MacDonald advocates ethnic nationalism, he is not a “white supremacist” since he does not maintain that whites are the most intelligent race and holds that Jews are actually more intelligent than white gentiles (of which he is one).  MacDonald actually wants white gentiles to emulate what he presents as the ethnocentricity of Jews in “Can the Jewish Model Help the West Survive?” (Occidental Quarterly, Winter, 2004).  Considering the alacrity with which Vaïsse makes his racial supremacy charge (without seeming to know much about MacDonald), it is ironic—but understandable given the requisite intellectual double standards in the American mainstream—that he fails to make any effort to show how  the neoconservatives’ preachment of global democracy meshes with support for the ethnically-based state of Israel, which could be classified as a Jewish-supremacist state.

Also, considering the mainstream hosannas about Vaïsse’s alleged definitive account of  neoconservatism, it is ironic that he fails to mention the Jews who have pointed out the Jewish nature of neoconservatism, which would militate against the observation’s stigma of anti-Semitism.  For example, Vaïsse  does not refer to the aforementioned Murray Friedman or Gal Beckerman, who wrote in the noted Jewish newspaper Forward in January 2006: “[I]t is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants’ grandchildren.”  In fact, Beckerman went so far as to maintain that “[i]f there is an intellectual movement in America to whose

invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it.” (Quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 26)

Vaïsse also neglects the work of Jewish-American historian Paul Gottfried who has written extensively on the neoconservatives for three decades in numerous books and articles, and who clearly recognizes the Jewish nature of the movement.  Gottfried, who wrote the introduction for my book, The Transparent Cabal, states that “the term ‘neoconservative’ is now too closely identified with the personal and ethnic concerns of its Jewish celebrities. . . . It is increasingly useless to depend on out-group surrogates to repackage a movement so clearly rooted in a particular ethnicity – and even subethnicity (Eastern European Jews).” (Quoted in Transparent Cabal, pp. 28-29)

It should be added that none of these three Jewish authors can in any sense be called “self-hating” Jews, the derogatory moniker used by pro-Zionists to delegitimize any criticism by Jews of Israel or other Jewish interests.  Even Gottfried, who is highly critical of neoconservatives, is friendly towards Israel.

And now the issue of Israel, the significance of which to the neocons Vaïsse  explicitly plays down.  However,  while maintaining that  “Zionism is not the right key to understanding them [neoconservatives],” he acknowledges that “The Jewish state . . . had been important to neoconservatives as far back as the 1960s.  As the Middle East became central to America’s geopolitical concerns, unconditional support for Israel became increasingly decisive in their approach to international affairs.  Seeing the Middle East through ‘Israeli lenses’ led to a distortion of perspective that caused them to underestimate the importance of the Palestinian quest for nationhood in the region’s troubles and to mistake the nature of America’s enemies.” ( pp. 264-65)  And he would also write that “in their intellectual and political approach to the Middle East, the close alliance with Israel often led them to identify the Jewish’s [sic] state’s struggle with that of the United States:  the same enemy (Islamic terrorists), the same tactics (preventative war, unilateralism, ‘show of force’) and the same cause (‘they hate us for what we are’).  This perspective was not analytically sound.  Although it was normal for America to worry about the fate of a close ally, this undue identification with Israel and the tendency to see things through an Israeli prism undoubtedly helped to create an inaccurate picture of the region and led to unrealistic policy recommendations.”  (p. 265)

Vaïsse’s  references to the neocons’ “unconditional support” for Israel, identifying Israel’s “struggle with that of the United States,”  “seeing the Middle East through   ‘Israeli lenses’,” are about identical to what I maintain in my book.  In fact, I had a sense of déjà vu when he referred to “Israeli lenses,” since I had used the term “lens” in the same way a number of times in my book, pointing out, for example, that “the neoconservatives viewed American foreign policy in the Middle East through the lens of Israeli interest.” (Transparent Cabal, p. 7)

Vaïsse, however, does not illustrate to any degree the neocons’ extensive personal connections to Israel, though he acknowledges that some were strong Zionists, writing that “It is of course true that many third-age neoconservatives (such as Richard Perle, David Wurmser, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams) were close to Israel’s Likud party, but their hard Zionist positions, which were not shared by all neoconservatives, cannot by themselves explain the neoconservative worldview.”  (p. 274)  Now the individuals he cites have been quite significant in neoconservatism since the 1990s—with Perle and Abrams being so even earlier—so their “hard Zionist positions” would certainly imply the significance of this allegiance in neoconservatism.  In fact, Vaïsse  fails to bring out their close connections to rightwing Israeli government officials with  Perle, Wurmser, and Feith being involved in the 1996 “Clean Break” report, which advised then-incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue pre-emptive attacks on Israel’s enemies in ways quite analogous to what the neocons would later propose for the Bush II administration.

It should also be added that Perle, Feith, Bryen, Wolfowitz,  and Ledeen have been suspected and sometimes investigated for allegedly providing classified material to agents of the Israeli government.  Whether or not they were actually breaking United States laws (and the laws seem to be more relaxed if the foreign state involved is Israel), these episodes clearly illustrated their close connections to the government of Israel.

And the former are not the only neocons to evince “hard Zionist positions.”  For example, as I point out in The Transparent Cabal,  Norman Podhoretz, who as the long-time editor of  Commentary had the power to determine what issues and individuals would be placed in the neoconservative spotlight, identified with the Jewish state to such an extent that, as Murray Friedman writes in The Neoconservative Revolution, “Commentary articles now [1970s] came to emphasize threats to Jews and the safety and security of the Jewish state. By the 1980s, nearly half of Podhoretz’s writings on international affairs centered on Israel and these dangers.”  (Quoted in Transparent Cabal, p. 27)  Moreover, at the onset of the Gulf War of 1991,  Podhoretz “went  to live with his daughter in her home in Jerusalem in order to show his solidarity with Israel, which Saddam had threatened to attack by missiles, and did so to a limited extent.” (Transparent Cabal, pp. 27-28)

Moreover, Vaïsse neglects to show that the neocons, once they were able to gain dominance in conservative organizations,  purged those traditional conservatives who were critical of Israel and American policies that seemed to be guided by Israeli interests.  Though referring to the neocon “takeover of the American Enterprise Institute” (p. 206), Vaïsse, with more than a modicum of understatement, writes of “increasing neoconservative influence over  a number of key institutions in the new [conservative] establishment . . . in other words, a competition for money” and alludes to how this “fueled this bitterness” of some traditional conservatives (p. 208), but fails to mention that the neocons were able to totally marginalize any conservatives who opposed their Israelocentric Middle East agenda—opposition which they branded as “anti-Semitic” —by depriving them of their former sources of institutional support.

It should be noted that there had been a fairly sizeable number of Jewish individuals in the conservative movement for years without arousing the ire of their conservative brethren.  What incensed the traditional conservatives therefore was not the neoconservatives’ Jewishness, but rather the latter’s successful efforts to make support for Israel and a pro-Israel Middle East agenda for the United States a litmus test for  acceptance by the now neocon-dominated conservative institutions.  Vaïsse, however, distorts this episode by implying that the neocons’ traditional conservative opponents were the aggressors and that “a hint of anti-Semitism lay behind these attacks,” and cites long-time conservative icon Russell Kirk, one of the mildest of men, as one of these attackers.  (p. 208)

Another factor ignored by Vaïsse is the connection of Israel to the US attack on Iraq.  Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu,  promoted war on Iraq during the period of the war’s build-up.  And the Israeli government provided some of the bogus intelligence trumpeted by the neocons to generate support for the war.  Furthermore, the very idea of using military force to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s regime would seem to have originated in Israel with Likudnik Oded Yinon’s 1982 work, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” which called for an overall Israeli war agenda of fragmenting its enemies into small, ethno-sectarian statelets for the purpose of enhancing its own national security.  Iraq was designated as the first target.

In short, support for Israel looms very large in neoconservative thinking, but if  Vaïsse  simply means that the neocons’ identification with Israel does not explain the  “neoconservative worldview” in its entirety, this is something with which I concur in my book, The Transparent Cabal.  For example, I write: “Undoubtedly, the overall neoconservative viewpoint does not revolve solely around the security needs of Israel, and the same is true even of the neocons’ positions on foreign policy and national-security policy.  To state that neoconservatives viewed American foreign policy in the Middle East through the lens of Israeli interest – and that this was the basis of the neocon Middle East war agenda – is not to say that their support for Israel has been the be-all and end-all of their foreign policy ideas, which encompass the entire world.” (Transparent Cabal, p. 7)

But the neocons have had their greatest impact on American policy in regard to the Middle East, and this is the fundamental concern at the present time.  Consequently, what Vaïsse refers to as the neoconservatives’ “unconditional support” for Israel that has led to  “unrealistic policy recommendations” is currently far more significant than their positions on Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs or arms limitations agreements with the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s.

However, Vaïsse’s points about the neoconservatives’ “unconditional support” for Israel occupy but a small portion of the book and are thus overwhelmed by a lengthy discussion of the earlier years of neoconservatism, where concern for Israel, though existent, did not loom paramount.  Only  50 pages of  the book’s narrative of 279 pages cover the neoconservatives’ activities from the post-Cold War 1990s to the present—the time in which their focus on Israel becomes most apparent.

Vaïsse also obfuscates the focus on Israel in his “Epilogue:  Interpreting Neoconservatism”—a part that, being at the end of the book, most readers will likely remember and that most reviewers are apt to actually read closely rather than skim.  There he portrays the neocons in the area of foreign policy as fundamentally motivated by a mixture of nationalism and universalist democratic ideals, as opposed to an attachment to Israel. “One can see neoconservatism,” he contends, “as a avatar of American messianism, as the expression of an underlying nationalism that has been present since the country was born, a reincarnation of Wilsonianism in a new, more martial form.  Owing to American exceptionalism (‘a city on a hill’), the United States has swung from protection to projection, from isolationism (synonymous with preserving the American model) to imperialism (synonymous with extending the model around the world).  See [sic] in this light, neoconservatism is above all a sign of the resurgence of this nationalist—but also universalist—faith, on the model of French Jacobin nationalism, an off-shoot of the French Revolution of 1789, which was mixed with a universalist credo.” (p. 278)

Undoubtedly, this type of nationalistic, democratic messianism has existed and still exists in United States, but there would seem to be no reason for this attitude to be connected with what Vaïsse  describes earlier in the book as the neocons’ “unconditional support” for Israel.  True nationalists—who would be focused solely on what is good for their own country—would not be in favor of “unconditional support” for  any foreign country since changing circumstances would mean that such support would not always be in the national interest.  In his famous Farewell Address, George Washington expressed this nationalist belief in his admonition to his fellow citizens to eschew a “passionate attachment” to a foreign country, which is exactly what “unconditional support” for Israel constitutes. And as has been widely recognized by Middle East experts in the United States government since the time of Israel’s creation, American support for the Jewish state makes positive relations with the Arab world, which are of crucial importance to the United States because of the region’s oil resources, more difficult.

In regard to exporting democracy, it is not apparent that some major neocon prescriptions, such as bombing Iran, even have that intent.  As most experts contend, any United States attack on Iran would unify that country behind the Islamic regime and perhaps lead to revolts by radical Islamic groups throughout the Gulf against pro-Western governments.  Moreover, America’s war on Iraq and identification with Israel have made it less popular in the Middle East and the rest the world—the effect of which is to increase the difficulty of extending the American democratic model.  It would seem quite obvious that if the goal were to export America’s form of democracy elsewhere in the world, supporting the policies of the Jewish state and making war against its enemies would not be the way to achieve it.

Regarding Israel itself, it would seem that if democracy were the neoconservatives’ watchword, they would work to eliminate Israel’s undemocratic control over the Palestinians on the West Bank and try to make the country itself more inclusive—and not a state explicitly privileging Jews over non-Jews.  The neoconservatives would either promote a one-state democratic solution for what had once been the British Palestine Mandate (Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank) or else demand that Israel allow the Palestinians to have a fully sovereign, viable state on all of the West Bank and Gaza.  Israeli governments, in contrast, have regarded a one-state solution as anathema and have never offered the Palestinians more than a faux state of non-contiguous bantustans within which Israel would maintain security zones and control vital resources such as water.  Similarly, instead of taking anything approaching a  pro-democracy stance, the neoconservatives do just the opposite, backing the Israeli Likudnik Right, which takes an especially hostile position toward the Palestinians with its fundamental goal being the maintenance of the exclusivist Jewish nature of the state of Israel.

In making these criticisms, I do not want to leave the impression that there is nothing of value in this book.  Vaïsse does a good job of describing some intricacies of the earlier years of neoconservatism (1960s, 1970s and 1980s).  Although he does not seem to provide anything to change the broad outlines of the conventional history of neoconservatism, he does add a number of poignant details.  For students of neoconology, he must be credited for puncturing as mythical the widespread claim that socialist Michael Harrington coined the term “neoconservative.” (p. 71-76)  Vaïsse also makes an interesting point as to how some neocons were still trying to shape the Democratic Party after most migrated to Reagan at the beginning of the 1980s.  And he notes that ultimately, after the end of the Cold War, one segment of the Democratic Party, the “neoliberals,” would adopt much of the neoconservatives’ interventionist foreign policy agenda.

As mentioned earlier, Vaïsse must be credited for accurately pointing out that the neoconservatives were the major factor in bringing about the United States’ attack on Iraq in 2003.  He notes that the neoconservatives laid the plans for attacking Iraq prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that those attacks created a climate of fear and anger which enabled the neocons, with their war agenda, to gain the upper hand in the Bush administration.  He observes that the neocons, both within and outside the Bush administration, provided the propaganda that generated the public and elite support for the war and that even President George W. Bush was persuaded by them.  And he shows that Bush, despite his neoconservative rhetoric, generally moved away from the neoconservative war policy during his second term, though adopting the neocons’ “surge” policy as opposed to the establishment-oriented Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq.  Finally, despite America’s failure in Iraq and the nonexistence of actual neoconservatives in the Obama administration, Vaïsse makes the cogent observation that neoconservatism itself has not died, but remains “a potent force in Washington, only waiting for a more favorable political environment in which to exert its influence on American foreign policy again.” (p. 266)

While Vaïsse deserves credit for showing the neocons’ influence during the Bush administration, he only encapsulates what is often said about the neoconservatives outside the restrictive confines of the mainstream media.  And I should add that my extensive documentation of this subject in The Transparent Cabal far exceeds what Vaïsse provides in a small portion of his book.

Where Vaïsse achieves some degree of originality is in his typology—his classification of neoconservatism according to somewhat overlapping chronological periods, which he terms “ages,” with each having a distinct agenda, political activities, and people (though he is not the first to make such distinctions).  The neoconservatives of the first age, which began in 1965, were concerned about the rise of the New Left, campus violence, the counterculture, affirmative action and the overall leftward drift of American liberalism.  Their focus was largely on domestic policy.  They criticized the unintended negative consequences of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and while they opposed the radical state-imposed egalitarianism sought by the New Left, they were supporters of the traditional liberal welfare state and remained loyal to the Democratic Party.

I should add that in my view this first age, which consisted of many individuals who did not hold the hard-line foreign policy views that would come to characterize neoconservatism, did not represent full-fledged neoconservatism.  Thus, I would describe the individuals of this early period as proto-neoconservatives, with actual neoconservatism not really emerging until the start of the 1970s, as foreign policy became a fundamental concern.

Vaïsse dates 1972 as the beginning of the second age, which he views as a reaction to the nomination of George McGovern as candidate of the Democratic Party.  The McGovern movement embodied the anti-war, especially anti-Cold War, ethos that took hold of American liberalism during the Vietnam era.  The primary focus of the  second age would be on foreign policy, as the neocons supported hard-line Cold War policies against the Soviet Union, in opposition to both what they considered to be the “isolationism” and “appeasement” of the McGovernite Democrats, as well as the Kissingerian détente of the Nixon-Ford administrations.  They made strenuous efforts to reclaim the Democratic party for Cold War liberalism, but when President Jimmy Carter seemed to be continuing in the path of the McGovernites, the neocons reluctantly gravitated to Reagan in 1980, gaining positions in his administration, where they helped to craft his hard-line Cold War positions.

Like the second age, the third age, which Vaïsse has beginning in 1995, would also focus on foreign policy.  With the Cold War over, the neocons would emphasize the need for global democracy and focus on the transformation of the Middle East.  Their more expansive global ambitions reflected the fact that the United States had become the world’s sole superpower.  It was during this age that the neocons would achieve their greatest impact, gaining influential positions in the Bush II administration, where they would act as the driving force for the war on Iraq.

Although an interesting typology, I don’t think the ages are as separate as Vaïsse  often makes them appear, or at least as how his mainstream reviewers seem to interpret his position.  In many respects the ages blend together.  Vaïsse sometimes acknowledges this blending when he writes of the convergence between the first and second ages (p. 207 ), and when he acknowledges strong similarities between the second and third ages. (p. 221)  Moreover, full-fledged neoconservatives from one age, such as Norman Podhoretz, supported  the issues that loomed largest in the succeeding ages. (Norman Podhoretz was involved in all three ages.)  The change in ages, therefore, did not represent so  much a change in the neoconservative core membership, but rather the change represented the need to address new issues as a result of different circumstances, which did lead to changes in the neocons’ allies.

What Vaïsse fails to bring out clearly is the fact that Jewish interests loomed large in all of his three ages.  In the first age, New Left demands for group equality and their efforts to bring chaos to the universities seemed to threaten the higher status of Jews.  In the second age, neocons were concerned about liberal Democrats identifying with Third World attacks on Israel, seeking retrenchment of US military involvement that might weaken support for Israel, and advocating a friendlier policy toward the Soviet Union, which was now seen as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.  In the third age, the neoconservatives’ promotion of a “democratic” reconfiguration of the Middle East would involve the weakening of Israel’s enemies.

What is one to make of Vaïsse’s work?  A positive way of looking at it would be to describe it as the best type of work that can be produced and still receive mainstream attention.  For Vaïsse does point out that the neocons were the driving force for the war on Iraq.  And he certainly does criticize their war-oriented activities.  That he plays down the Jewish nature of neoconservatism and the movement’s focus on Israel could be interpreted as the necessary price to pay for this positive reception; in fact, as  a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, it is questionable if Vaïsse could have produced a work with an accurate discussion of the taboo subjects.  For Brookings includes the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which was created in 2002 largely by the funding ($13 million) of Haim Saban, who has pledged additional financial support.  Saban happens to be a staunch Zionist, who has been quoted as saying: “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.” (http://tinyurl.com/sabanbrookings)

Another way of looking at Vaïsse’s book would be to classify it in the genre of damage control or what Harry Elmer Barnes, a leading revisionist of the history of World War I and World War II, referred to as a “smother-out.”  This approach would allow a partial revelation of the truth, as the complete black-out lost credibility, in order to stave off more extensive revelations.

By downplaying the significance of Jewish ethnicity and the centrality of Israel, however, Vaïsse’s work fails to provide much help in understanding the current push by the overall Israel lobby and the government of Israel for war on Iran, which the neoconservatives intended to have as the next major target for the US after the invasion of Iraq.  More than serving as a guide for understanding the present, however, truth is good for its own sake since presumably the purpose of history is to best describe what actually happened in the past.  What Vaïsse has provided is simply a partial truth that leaves out key elements, which should be recognized by anyone who truly investigates the issue.  It would be hoped that the mainstream would open up sufficiently so that this fuller, unadulterated truth would not be shunted to the margins of society.  This, however, would appear to be but a forlorn hope.  As the 19th century New England poet James Russell Lowell put it:  “Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.”

Stephen J. Sniegoski, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in American history, with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland.  His focus on the neoconservative involvement in American foreign policy antedates September 11,and his first major work on the subject, “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel” was published February 10, 2003, more than a month before the American attack.  He is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.

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BOOKS: GUILT BY ASSOCIATION PART II

NOVANEWS

 

By Tarik Jan

The United States, Israel relations has to be seen from the viewpoint of their respective interests. For example, the U.S. wants to have the relatively cheaper Middle Eastern oil free from encumbrance. Second, it needs to ensure that the Islamic aspirations of the Muslim masses are denied fruition. In the U.S. threat perception the two are interlinked. The United States sees Israel as a natural ally that can act with the U.S. national and military prodding to secure its interests.

Also, the U.S. would not like to let Muslims have an entire Muslim Middle East to themselves with no geopolitical breach in its contiguous boundaries. Israeli presence in the Middle East map provides that breach serving as a watch dog in the region. Besides, in case of any untoward situation created in the Muslim countries that may compromise the American interests, Israel can preempt it, substituting for the U.S. till it lands into action.

On the other hand, Israel wants to see itself as a nation strong enough to deflect any threat that may come in its way from the neighboring countries. For that Israel not only wants to retain annexed territories but if possible to go beyond them. The U.S. is a credible source of money as well as of sophisticated military hardware.

The Judeo-Christian angle also pulls the two together against Islam that they think is an aberration, a major rival which needs to be checkmated and if possible neutralized. Secular

modernity or postmodernity that speaks of plurality is more a rhetoric and not a substantive reality. The world in their perception has to be secularized under the shadow of Western civilization. Islam has no place in it other than as a private religion, without any pretence for collective expression as an alternative civilization or having a sovereign status.

Two instances should suffice to show that the relationship between the two is symbiotic.

In January 19, 1982 Israelis launched a major operation against the PLO bases in Lebanon despite Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s assurance to the contrary. The U.S. responded with an approving silence. In fact, Secretary Haig was jubilant. For him it was an emotional situation; he forgot to distance himself from Israel and told the reporters that the Israeli war was his war. He said “we not only lost an aircraft and a helicopter yesterday…”

Later, on ABC’s “This Week with David Brinkley “Secretary Haig was heard saying that the Israeli strike against Lebanon had created a new opportunity for shaping a new political map in the region.

What was that new map he did not spell out? But it was obvious that if out of Israeli invasion Lebanon was annexed by Israel, the Palestinian movement would be quashed helping a greater Zionist state emerge in the region. The region’s oil resources would be theirs to enjoy. David Frum (The Right Man, 2003), a speechwriter in the Bush first administration, recounts his former boss say that “the war on terror” was designed “to bring new stability to the most vicious and violent guardant of the earth – and a new prosperity to us all, by securing the world’s largest pool of oil.”

In almost all the wars that Israel had with its neighbors, the United States sided with the Israel. To validate my point, one example will be enough.

The cold war had polarized the Middle East. Since Israel was in the United States camp, its neighbors joined the Soviet orbit. The Israeli-Arab wars became the wars between American supplied weapons and the Soviet armory.

Obviously, the U.S. government was keen to have information on the Soviet weapons. The Israelis whetted the American appetite.

In a Washington seminar May 17, 1978, General George Keagan acknowledged Israeli contribution saying “[it] has been a major help in improving our national security. This immeasurable contribution is worth at least fifty billion dollars. Five CIA’s would never have been able to do the same job for us.”

Later when Menachem Begin visited Washington, Jacques Derogy and Hesi Carmel (Untold History of Israel, 1980) recounts the event of Begin handing President Carter a top secret dossier detailing Israeli share in firming up the U.S. defense. Amazed, say the Israeli sources, Carter said to Begin, “It’s incredible! I had no idea of any of this.”

Any military cooperation, of course, leads to intelligence sharing. That this led to closer relations between the Mossad and the CIA was least surprising, though many sane Americans were carried about its ill consequences. In fact, the famous Pike Report cautioned the U.S. government of its fallout harmful to the U.S. in the end.

Jeff Gates 

Tarik Jan is a scholar whose scholarship few can match. His knowledge of the subject and his fluent style of writing makes him stand out from miles. In his scholastic career, he has written several books and published numerous papers in various publications.

One of his most books is, “Secular Threat To Pakistan.” He has also written a book on the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be

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DOWN WITH POWERPLAY, KASHMIR CALLS FOR ACTION!

NOVANEWS

 

Enough is enough; Kashmiris want their right to self determination

By Ayesha T Villalobos

It is sufficient to mention that Kashmir’s protest against India’s atrocities for self-determination  is timely and long

 overdue, while it is complex to locate the origins of Kashmir in those events from the time of the Raj and how it came into existence and how Kashmir were transformed by these events of the late 19th century . From that event emanated a series of bloody era, perpetual uncertainty and suffering among the people of Kashmir. India who occupied the centre was in a privilege position vis-a-vis the source of all power and authority, dominated the social and economic life of the inhabitants. They have power over the whole scenario, denying the meaningfulness of the human existence. It has to be understood that the present Kashmir were a scene of gloominess realm rather than a paradise, an India’s manipulation for its own purpose.

As the people of Kashmir celebrates 5th February 2011, as Solidarity day citizen of Kashmir have made the obvious, the challenges of the present are intertwined with history, the relationship of the past to our times, a time of serious economic crisis, bloodbath, human rights violations, making the call for heroism and patriotism, the merging of the past and its significance to present conditions ever more undeniable.

I have never felt so oblige, to write an essay with a feeling that something is not fairly right in the current situation , I opted to write not on a chronological approach which various historical research  usually undertake, rather I will present the reader the Kashmir that reflected my engagement with the oppress youth from Indian Held Kashmir as it happened and how these events and  the personalities associated with them have animated intellectual life and politics, I will raise the peasant, mothers, fathers, children and adult, Road workers, farmers and martyrs to the dignity of history. I will shun all exegesis of the Law, I will depict them as real people who feel the pain and sadness, and the martyrs as real people not Angels because angels cannot be depicted because they are unseen. I will show pictures and landscapes of Kashmir, those woods, the rivers, set out glimpse at them and you can only judge how marvellous, breathtaking, mesmerising the Valley that is also known as the paradise on Earth.  But weeping, wailing, torment, mourning, miseries and death marked the victory and cursed of material concerns, material progress, material values, the ugliness, and the lower classes as such only are repugnant to Indian society amidst the socio-political chaos. The art of democracy, permeated by deliberate brand of brutalistic tyranny current on the ground scenario of Kashmir.

The landscape now are saturated with a feeling of fecundity, the riverbank are seen languid, dreamy, semi-vacant state that precedes sleep, weigh down by some somnolence and mourning as if about to be absorbed by the soil. Evoking the pessimism of a man’s fallen –state. A feeling as profound as to preclude all faith in social, political and economic progress and ordained to regard all temporal leaders and theories and organizations especially government as irrelevant at best and lethally tragic at worst, offering a vision of the things that torment them- the heart of darkness. The present Kashmir is experiencing a period when all allusions had been abandoned and the air was change by the tumult of human annihilation, ethnic cleansing and brutality. Dis-orientation, alienation, fragmentation, despair, these are for the people – the by-products of sweeping attempt at “might makes right “ .The emotions on people’s faces could be felt, by even, that of someone with a tormented mind.

Kashmir a body composed of other and smaller bodies, separated and in opposition to one another which oppress and despise each other and are in continuous state of war. The degree of neglect and cruelty on obvious facts. There is no coherent strategic lighting; road systems are almost totally undeveloped. Rutted jumpy roads slowed down travellers. This lack of basic services and protections drowned people deep into despair. There was no systematic attempt at education by the government, no encouragement of agricultural reforms and few innovations in industrial methods. India’s intervention in the area was largely aimed at protecting their existing privileges not at reform and welfare of its citizen. Whatever prosperity existed was concentrated solely on imposing brutality and destruction. Poverty was dire and strife continues the quality of land none too bountiful grew worse with each passing day.

Yet despite, all the aggressiveness fidelity some are just attracted to silence, which seems caught in the lull between distant beats of heart, slowed down by deep slumber in the dark – the deepest dark of all –death. Some just “live off life” while some “live off death” standing, pretending to be less aware. But they are all bonded by resistance against the obligation to signify to anything other than their own presence, as if they are swallowed up by the muteness of hopelessness in the presence of cruelty that rules and destroy them, the crushing load of heartaches, and the burden of moral and social miseries. The distrust and resistance to their sad world. But the enigmas of human will, the sheer physical and emotional drive, the intensity to break loss from the shackles, the depth of pain at the glance of death.

For the people of the valley what matters more to them, a landscape of the Earth is the prime depository and the source of nature’s inexhaustible and indivisible energy. All physical manifestations of the same power of life, and it should be lived, with the same majestic breadth.

The people have to contend with a rebellious attitude of the atrocities and brutality. Islam is more than a religion in Kashmir it is the major force in society. Indeed the only force most people recognized. Islam ideally has provided the social organization and intellectual drive that motivates the citizenry. People are victims of top-heavy beurouecracies and political terrorism, suppression, of vital information, imposition of curfews everywhere. Indian authorities rendered it socially impotent and indeed blind to the misery of the people. In short Kashmir economic status is stagnant, if not decadent social organism. It is apt to surmise that India wasted her energies and resources in a fruitless but bloody attempt to become a regional hegemony, to maintain possession of Indian Held Kashmir which only productive for India’s induced cruelty to throw away on the preposterous dream of holding on Kashmir. Hopes are becoming bleak each passing day as the inner lives of its inhabitants are in constant peril. The paradise has turned into an emptiness and low-lines of featureless horizons.

If witches, demons and their relatives indeed really exist, they take shape in the Indian forces of unreasoning madness, stupidity, biases and prejudices that threaten the order of the sensible rational world employing themselves immeasurable chaos to feed their lustful desire of power thereby, coming into a pact with the devil. But finally, young people are aggressive and resolute in keeping the spirit of freedom struggle alive, an energetic class of citizen that contribute a lot in maintaining the revolutionary yeast to the social brew. Their fervent sense of humanity and their passion for reason revealed the concern they felt for their land and their fellowmen. The upsurge of the struggle, present the appearance of a life’s density, the density that fuels to the brim and offers them a solid impenetrable front.

Nothing strikes the Kashmiri psyche stronger than the idea of resistance, which other might consider it , as stupid and insensible but to the people of the valley these are the outcome of their desire to fight India’s evil design whose occupation is slaughter, whose doctrine is hatred and whose treaty is obscurity. Change is imminent, the road to freedom is laden with risks, but how one can live with the sad fact that many are suffering, their lamentations were loud it reverberates towards heaven, young and old are maltreated like criminals if not like animals. They prefer to face death to offer their life in order to liberate so many of their countrymen from this carnage, that they have the moral responsibilities that the current plight, the future and freedom vibrates in their senses to bring about change and redemption in their homeland, to end the sorrows, the melancholy, indefinable loneliness that strangle the soul, deep misery, horrible nightmares, and the agony of death.

They believe that He who does not struggle against oppression in this world is unworthy to savour the taste of freedom, that the provenance of evil should be annihilated and that the freedom struggle must be founded through mans collective capability grounded in the ideology of creating a responsible society. Heroism is not the concern, but the conditions that compel, while there are forces that are perplex, heightened and twisting the present chaos toward their self –serving interests , the majority of Kashmiris are resolute in their collective commitment , and that is to sacrifice for the common good .

Kashmiris are under great emotional, physical and psychological turmoil got caught in this political quagmire of bloody ”power play “ where they have to make an agonizing and inevitable decision , to resists , is a struggle for freedom , freedom against the yoke of oppression who damaged their culture and have afflicted  them with discomfort .Bravery and cowardice are two different things, also what is valiant and what is not, to welcome death that others may live is the noblest end, but for one who chooses to remain silent amidst the cruelty so that their loved ones may live could be dignified  too , but what would transpire in the end ? A far worse suffering. They are calling for actions, for liberation to prevent themselves to be cast down further under the dust of this genocide. To the Kashmiris their homeland remains their common cause and that in the end, reality being permanent, is greater than ambiguity or fiction, which can disappear in a flash. Progress will outshine beauty, awareness will surpass wonder, and cyberspace will modify historic calculations , even laughter may be “ packed in a sachet” , spiritual experience can be found in a pharmacy in the form of “ecstasy “ capsule , saintly scenery inside the hotel lobby and human memory is at the mercy of computer search engines . Would the Valley of Kashmir become only a memory? The Paradise on earth a thing of the past?  Would the happiness, laughter’s, sorrows and melancholia of the Kashmiris become obsolete and buried in oblivion?

Wave of protest from the Valley reverberated internationally inspired by various freedom movements in this diabolical times, cases of extra-judicial killings are ever increasing but “defeat” is not the word, but Hope, Freedom, Victory will be like a burning gleam of sunlight that will penetrate the lifeless crack of dawn as a signal of freedom struggle towards freedom and not sorrow. Kashmiris are people who loathe life that is devoid of freedom; they possess a character of the brave which prompted them to organize not for defeat but for struggle even for bloodbath, as a defender of their freedom. An irresistible force is now equipped to collide against the aggressor with a determined defence.

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India: Human Rights Violations In IOK

NOVANEWS

By Air Commodore ® Khalid Iqbal                                                                                       

 

Recently, Indian Home Secretary, G K Pillai floated the test balloon that Indian government was contemplating reduction of the Force level in IHK by 25 per cent, in the next 12 months, as a confidence building measure. The idea has however stirred up an interesting controversy in India.

While commenting on Indian government’s intent to cut down the troop’s strength in IHK, BJP’s state president Shamsher Singh said, “It is an open fact that India’s administration over Jammu and Kashmir is based on presence of armed forces here. So if there is troop-cut then neighbours like China Pakistan and Afghanistan won’t sit silent… decision of reducing troops in J&K is not acceptable at this point of time. It would be a grave mistake.”

General Officer Commanding of India’s 15 Corps, Lieutenant General S A Hasnain declared that decision for reduction of troops can be taken only after terror infrastructure across the border is demolished. Indian Army chief, General V K Singh, has also opposed the government’s move. He said, “We have not yet felt that we have to cut down our forces. If they want to cut down paramilitary and police forces, I won’t say anything.”

Kashmiris are fighting for their birth right of self-determination by following the principles of United Nations Charter that the link between Human Rights and self-determination is like body and soul. Human Watch (HW) has recently voiced serious concern over the human rights excesses committed by Indian Army and paramilitaries. Extrajudicial executions are common in Kashmir. Impunity has been enabled by Indian Law. Indian forces have shot hundreds of civilians under the authority of laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. 

The Human Watch has accused India for failing in putting an end to the widespread impunity, which the international body believes fuels conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.  The HW says: “Indian security forces have committed torture, disappearances, and arbitrary detentions, and they continue to execute Kashmiris in faked encounter killings”.

About prevailing circumstances in Kashmir, Human Watch Chief said the situation is very critical. “There is fear all around. Every Kashmiri I meet tells me that they are not sure who will be tortured, enforced to disappearances, arrested, and killed in a fake encounter…No civilized state can have security services that have the right to shoot to kill”. He further said, “India is a very large power. It needs to set an example by respecting human rights… It’s absurd that the world’s largest democracy, with a well-developed legal system and internationally recognized judiciary, has laws on its books that prevent members of its security forces from being prosecuted for human rights abuses…It’s time for the Indian government to repeal laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Disturbed Area Act and Public Safety Act, and recommit itself to justice for victims of all abuses, whoever the perpetrators may be.” Despite a wand of constitutional and legislative arrangements, the international laws against Human Rights violations are not ‘self-executing’ in India.

The UN Special Rapporteur, Ms Margaret Sekaggya, after concluding a recent visit to IHK and Indian states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam and Orissa, told media men that the human rights of the people were being violated. The special rapporteur was appointed by the Geneva based Human Rights Council to assess the condition of ‘human rights defenders’ in the Kashmir Valley. She will soon file a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Ms Margaret Sekaggya addressed a news conference in New Delhi, she seriously objecting to the laws, giving Indian security forces, wide-ranging powers of arrest, illegal detention and torture to the people of IHK. She particularly mentioned that, during her visit to the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir, she learnt through the grieved families about the “killing, torture, ill-treatment, disappearances, threats, arbitrarily arrests and detention,” of their loves one by Indian security forces.

Despite Indian agencies’ warning to the locals not to give interviews to the visiting Special Rapporteur, members of civil society, Kashmir University students and a delegation of the High Court Bar Association held separate meetings with the UN Rapporteur in Srinagar, and informed her about massacre of hundreds of innocent Kashmiris and detention of thousands of others by Indian authorities under draconian laws. During her briefings at New Delhi, India portrayed Kashmiris engaged in armed struggle against illegal and illegitimate occupation of Jammu and Kashmir as terrorists. They were linked with Taliban, al-Qaeda and cross border terrorism to raise international sentiments against them.

Indian agencies did not allow Margaret to deviate from the carefully tailored programme, in the name of threat to her life. However, she managed to meet many Kashmiris who gave her fair idea about Indian Army, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies’ human rights violations and war crimes. Margaret maintained that throughout her mission, she heard numerous testimonies about male and female human rights defenders and their families, who have been killed, tortured, ill-treated, falsely charged, disappeared, arbitrarily arrested and detained, or their offices raided and files stolen, because of their legitimate work in upholding human rights. Syed Ali Shah Geelani said: “If the UN Rapporteur is serious, she should visit the jails and families of the victims of Indian state terrorism,” but Indian agencies did not allow her free access there and only those prisoners and families were allowed to interact who projected Indian viewpoint.

Ms Sekaggya particularly insisted for the immediate repeal of two laws viz; the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act. India enforced these inhuman laws in Kashmir, in 1990s, after the massive public uprisings in the State, against the illegal Indian occupation. These special legal provisions contravene most of the human rights provisions laid down in international human rights instruments to which India is a party, notably the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or to arbitrary arrest and detention.

The discriminatory laws permit people to be detained for a period up to two years on vaguely defined grounds to prevent them “from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order”. The broad definition of this act permits the authorities to detain persons without trial for simply asking whether the state of Jammu and Kashmir should remain part of India.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives special powers to the army and other central forces operating in IHK. Act authorises that even a non-commission officer can enter a house, search and can arrest without any warrant, can even shoot on mere suspicion. No penal action can be taken against the forces without prior sanction of the Central Government.

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), is yet another discriminatory law, enforced in the Occupied State to maltreat the Kashmiris. This cruel act allows the authorities to arrest and detain people just on mere suspicion and people can be remanded up to 60 days in police custody. Amnesty International has found that provisions of TADA are a gross violation of the international Human Rights Laws.

It is doubtful whether the observations made by the UN Special Rapporteur’ will carry any weight with the powers that be in New Delhi to take any concrete steps for putting an end to grave human rights abuses which have gone unabated at least for the past two decades.

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Kashmir: A Dangerous Nuclear Flashpoint

NOVANEWS

 

Sixty three years have lapsed but Kashmir dispute remains unresolved. During this period, besides several military

 standoffs, two full fledged Indo-Pak wars and two localised conflictsin April 1965 and in summer of 1999 took place on account of Kashmir issue. India has been defying UN Resolutions on Kashmir and playing monkey tricks all these years to avoid resolving the dispute. Indian security forces have kept the people of Kashmir suppressed through use of brute force and has hid its gross human rights abuses under the cover of blatant lies and deceit. Today Kashmir has turned into a dangerous nuclear flashpoint. 

The peace loving and docile Kashmiris patiently waited for 43 long years in the hope that India would fulfil its solemn commitment and hold a fair plebiscite but when they found that India will never give them their just right, they ultimately decided to pick up arms and push out Indian Security Forces (ISF) illegally occupying their land since 1947. Armed uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in end 1988 added fuel to fire to militancy in Pakistan, which had intensified during the eight-year Afghan Jihad.

Tens of die-hard Jihadi groups cropped up to assist the Kashmiri struggle. Large amount of funds were collected for the cause of Kashmir. The people of Pakistan who have always regarded IOK as part of Pakistan and an unfinished agenda of partition left behind by scheming British were deeply pained over the atrocities committed by ISF upon hapless Kashmiris. The ISF had been given a licence to kill and to use rape as a weapon to break the will of freedom fighters. The world took no notice of worst human rights abuses by ISF nor made any effort to find a political solution on the basis of UN Resolutions.

The US which had drawn closer to India after 1990 started changing its stance by undervaluing UN Resolutions and terming them as outdated. Israel which had also forged special ties with India imparted training to Black Cats Commandoes of India in specialised counter insurgency operations and taught them new methods of torturing detainees so as to break the back of movement. Indo-Israel propaganda machinery supplemented by western media started projecting Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists and Pakistan as an abettor of terrorism. Full throttle was given to the theme of cross border terrorism. Efforts were geared to get Pakistan branded as a terrorist state.

The religious right in Pakistan sympathised with Kashmir cause and took out rallies in their support and also took practical steps to alleviate their sufferings by providing financial and material assistance. The general public filled up money boxes placed in front of each mosque wholeheartedly. The seculars particularly the liberal elite by and large took least interest in the plight of Kashmiris. Rather, they subscribed to Indo-western propaganda and pressed the government to rein in Jihadists to appease India.

Reign of terror unleashed in IOK by over 700,000 ISF, Indian intelligence agencies and Hindu extremist groups have turned the vale of Kashmir into hell. The whole valley is drenched in human blood but the conscience of the international comity is dead. Shrieks and cries of ill-fated Kashmiri men, women and children get drowned under the din of gunfire, one-sided propaganda and patronage of USA and civilised west. Instead of cautioning India to restrain from human rights abuses, the entire pressure was exerted on Pakistan and held solely responsible for worsening security situation in IOK. Despite use of excessive force and worst form of torture, the flame of liberty lit by handful of Kashmiri fighters kept burning vigorously. No amount of brutality could weaken their resolve to keep fighting till the accomplishment of their due right of self determination as provided for in UN Resolutions.

Indian inhuman cruelty alienated the Kashmiris and their hatred for India touched new heights. Except for insignificant number of Indian toadies enjoying fruits of power at the cost of enslavement of five million Kashmiris, each and every Kashmiri yearns to get rid of India. Having seen the ugly face of India and miserable plight of Indian Muslims, they have lost all trust in duplicitous Indian leaders. Conversely, their love for Pakistan is growing by leaps and bounds. They want to be part of Muslim Pakistan and not of Hindu India where Muslims are treated as second rated citizens. They know that secularism in India is a big farce since Hindu extremist forces are far more powerful than Hindu secularists who are too weak to question them.

Takeover of power by Gen Musharraf in October 1999 brought smiles on the faces of depressed seculars particularly when he came out with his concept of enlightened moderation. The fortunes of Kashmiri resistance forces that were giving a real tough time to 700,000 ISF as well as Jihadi forces in Pakistan plummeted in the aftermath of 9/11. New laws framed by USA on terrorism changed the complexion of freedom movements within Muslim world overnight and freedom fighters were branded as terrorists. This rule was applied in IOK as well which impelled India to apply full pressure on Musharraf to change its policy on Kashmir.

Ten month military standoff in 2002 followed by the US pressure forced him to ban six Kashmir oriented Jihadi groups and to freeze their accounts. Besides allowing India to fence the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, he took stringent measures to control cross LoC movement and also started hounding extremists. He also took on board moderate leaders of All Parties Hurriat Conference promising them an out of box solution to the dispute falling outside the ambit of UN Resolutions. These measures favoured India but went against the interest of Pakistan and resultantly rolled back the momentum of liberation movement. Indian military hastened to claim that it had succeeded in crushing insurgency in Kashmir. Pakistan thus lost the lone card of Kashmir which it could play against India which held several cards.      

As a consequent to blocking Jihadi groups from assisting Kashmiris, these groups in revenge joined hands with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and TNSM and started fighting Pak security forces, thus compounding Pakistan’s security problems. These groups facilitated TTP in launching suicide and group attacks within cities. Kashmiris saved the day for Pakistan when they bounced back in the valley in 2008 in the form of violent strikes and protest marches which flabbergasted India. Mumbai attacks were hastily engineered in November 2008 to distract the attention of the world from Kashmir, to put off Indo-Pak composite dialogue which was in advanced stages and to exert pressure on Pakistan to stay away from Kashmir.

Kashmiri movement took a new turn in 2010 when the teenagers with stones in their fists came in the forefront and kept raising anti-India and ‘freedom from India’ slogans despite being ruthlessly killed and tortured by ISF. Unarmed movement of tender age boys captured the attention of the world and for the fist time India found itself short of lame excuses. It could not possibly dub unarmed small boys as young as 8-15 years as terrorists. Nor could it justify its brutal actions against them. Apart from many in western countries, several intellectuals and human rights activists within India have started to sympathize with Kashmiris and are condemning ISF brutalities. Arundhati Roy has taken the lead and has not minced her words in saying that Kashmir is not part of India as claimed by Brahman Indian leaders and that justice should be meted to the people of Kashmir.

In a seminar recently organized in British Parliament, the parliamentarians lent unflinching support to the right of self determination of Kashmiris and have stressed upon their government to use its good offices to solve this chronic dispute. They also called upon India to withdraw its forces from IOK and to facilitate granting right of self determination to Kashmiris. Black day was organized by Kashmiris on both sides of the divide on 27 January and also in Pakistan and other parts of the world reminding India to prevent its forces from massacring innocent Kashmiris and to grant right of self determination to Kashmiris. Rumbling within India for a solution is getting louder.

Indian leadership will never risk holding a plebiscite since it knows that the result would be to its disfavor. It will keep dragging its feet until it is forced to give up its obduracy. The US must play its role to solve this dispute to avoid a nuclear holocaust in the future

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