Archive | May 2nd, 2011




by Gordon Duff 



By Gordon Duff

Libya announced today that Saif Al Arab, the 29 year old son of Colonel Gaddafi along with 3 children were killed in a NATO airstrike today.

Veterans Today offers its sincere condolences to Colonel Gaddafi, his family and the Libyan people.

This was an excellent young man who would have played a significant part in the future of Libya.

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi, a student,  was tasked by his father to open secret backchannel discussions with the United States to bring a rapid end to hostilities and bloodshed in Libya.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

In a process that involved staffers of Veterans Today and their associates, Saif attempted unsuccessfully to open a dialog through Secretary Clinton’s office and through retired members of the intelligence and advisory staff of President’s Reagan and Bush1 and 2.

There are unconfirmed but reliable reports that Saif should have been en-route to Washington at the time of his death, despite the travel ban reportedly imposed on him by NATO.   However, there should have been NO travel restrictions placed on Saif Al Arab but rather his older brother Saif Al Islam.

There has been significant confusion in Washington and among NATO powers as to Colonel Gaddafi’s sons, Saif Al Islam, 39 and his younger son, Saif Al Arab, 29.

Sources indicate that Colonel Gaddafi ordered Libyan security services to remove all traces of his younger son from the internet.  Several websites that had included photos of the younger son are now carrying sophisticated malicious

Netherland’s photo of “Seif Al Arab Kadaffi” one of many..mislabeled, confusing

programs.  (viruses)

Unlike his older brother, Saif Al Arab has no history of involvement in military or security issues.

His death is both unexpected and highly suspect.

However, we will accept the announcement at face value, out of respect, and reserve judgement.

Gaddafi Family Album



Pak-US Relations: CIA vs ISI



By General Mirza Aslam Beg

There are two issues, which are the main cause of strained relations between Pakistan and the United States of America. One is, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), trying to reclaim its territory lost to CIA during the past regime and the second is the Taliban, who have won the war in Afghanistan, and are not prepared to talk, unless the occupation forces leave Afghanistan. Both the demands are related to “territorial sovereignty” of Pakistan and Afghanistan and there is no going back on it. It is upto the US therefore, to accept the reality and concede to the rightful demands and explore new approach to peace.

The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)

It were the ISI and CIA mainly, who supported the resistance against the Soviets during the period 1982-1989, joined by “40000 jehadees from Pakistan and over 60,000 from seventy countries of the world.” Pakistan Army had no involvement, except General Ziaul Haq and a few of his close aids. The Pakhtuns living on both sides of the Durand Line, provided the hard-core base for the resistance against the Soviet occupation forces, who ultimately accepted defeat, in good grace and asked for a ‘safe-exit’, which was granted by the Afghan Mujahideen, and the Soviet troops exited unscathed.

The CIA which had worked hand-in-glove with the ISI, were awed by ISI’s professional prowess, in defeating the Soviets – a super-power. The Americans therefore decided to demonise the Mujahideen and pressurized Pakistan to “clip the ISI wings”. Pakistan government accepted the demand. The serving DGISI, Lt Gen Hamid Gul was replaced by Lt Gen Kallu, a retired officer and the purging of ISI started as early as 1989. The officers and the operatives having any kind of contact with the Afghan Mujahideen, were removed, so much so, that in 1994, when Taliban emerged, the ISI had no role in Afghanistan. In fact, by 2001, when Pakistan joined USA in their war on Afghanistan, ISI’s role was reversed, as the enemy of Taliban.

In 2003, on the issue of involvement of Pakistani tribals in Afghanistan, Musharraf agreed to pull-out ISI from the border areas and allowed the CIA and the Marines to monitor the entire border belt from Swat to Balochistan. This was the time, when RAW had already established its spy network inside Afghanistan, and joined hands with the CIA, infesting Pakistan’s entire border region with their ‘agents and support groups’ and by 2005, succeeded in turning the war on Pakistan. (See my article Global Conspiracies Against Pakistan, The Nation 14-8-2007). Since then Pakistan is fighting its own tribals (TPP) and terrorism, perpetrated by the enemy agents and provocateurs.

With the change of government in 2008, the ISI realized the threat to national security and gradually started reclaiming the lost territory. With the arrest of Raymond Davis, the Indo-US conspiracy was exploded and Pakistan demanded that all US spies and agents working in the border region and other areas of Pakistan must disengage and leave. Thus ISI now has extended its network in the border region, re-claiming the territory lost since 2004. And in so doing, they may have come into contract with the Haqqani Group, operating close to the Pakistani borders. And there is no going back on it. This development hurts USA badly as they need a safe exit from Afghanistan. Targeting ISI and calling it a terrorist organization, is counter productive and demonstrates American frustration at the changed situation, which they have failed to understand.

The Taliban

The Americans have tried several options to negotiate peace in Afghanistan on their terms – “A non-Talibanized peaceful Afghanistan.” Pakistan too has endorsed the idea. Both are on the wrong track, because in this brutal contest, the Talibans have won and have the right, to lay down the terms for peace and not the American and the allies who have lost the war. In fact the Americans have to demonstrate ‘diplomatic wisdom’ to accept defeat, as the Soviets did in 1989 and asked for the ‘safe exit’. In 1989 Pakistan helped the Soviets to withdraw, because Mujahideen were friendly, but now Pakistan has no such leverage over the Taliban. And the dilemma!

The Taliban of today are very different from the Mujahideen of 1989 – their elders. The hard-core of Taliban consists of the die-hard, 20-30 years old Afghans, who have grown under the shadows of war. They are hardened fighters, with life time experience of war. They are brutal and ruthless. They are guided by one single idea, that is, “to defeat the enemy and liberate the country.” That is the single purpose, which is a matter of life and death for them. As early as 2002, they defined it in these words:  “We have resolved to fight the occupation forces till they are routed. When we gain freedom, we would take decisions under a free environment. It is unthinkable for the Afghan nation to follow the American plans, as it was not in harmony with their national ethos and traditions. We will carry the war to its logical end, and Insha Allah we will triumph over the enemy and win our freedom”. Word by word, they have done, exactly what they claimed.

Mullah Umar and the senior Taliban leadership do have a soft corner for Pakistan and USA, for helping the Afghans to defeat the Soviets, but the “hard-core Taliban” consider USA and their allies, including Turkey as their enemy. They consider the Pakistan Army and the ISI as their enemy, because they joined America’s war on Afghanistan. Even Mullah Umar, who has full control over the movement, cannot take decisions against the wishes of the ‘hard-core Taliban’. Therefore, for the Americans, their allies and the Pakistanis, the only course open is to negotiate with the Taliban, who are “prepared to engage with the Northern Alliance to work-out a new constitution for the future government in Afghanistan.” Any other course to be adopted would lead to greater chaos.

As for the Taliban, they are at peace with themselves. They have fought and sacrificed for over thirty years and will continue to fight, because their faith and commitment to the cause, provides them the abiding strength and resilience to face the mightiest of the mighty. They already have won the contest and will wait for the time they will be asked to define the peace parameters. There is a rethink in Pakistan also to establish friendly relations with the Afghans – our neighbours. The ISI is in the process of re-claiming the lost territories. The Pakistan Army is in a different frame of mind, as it punished the NATO and Afghan Army, recently, for violating our territory opposite Parachinar, killing five NATO troops and several others. This change in mood and temper therefore, must be correctly understood, to explore new possibilities, in order to establish a meaningful relationship with Pakistan.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir1 Comment

EGYPTIAN INTIFADA: Post-Mubarak ‘Counterrevolution’ sows chaos, fitna



by Adam Morrow 


CAIRO, May 1, 2011 (IPS) — More than two months since former president Hosni Mubarak was forced from office after 30 years in power, local political figures and analysts warn of “counterrevolutionary elements” still working behind the scenes to thwart Egypt’s ongoing transition to democracy.

“These elements have consistently worked to reverse the gains made by the Jan. 25 Revolution by sowing fear, chaos and fitna(discord) between different segments of society,” Essam al-Arian, spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, told IPS.

In the first days of the 18-day uprising, the embattled Mubarak regime used its expansive state media machine to spread false news reports of murder and mayhem in hopes of terrorising the public and discrediting the revolution. It even went so far at one point as to release convicted criminals from prison.

Mubarak, who relinquished executive power to Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in February, is now under house arrest, while his ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has since been dissolved. Nevertheless, many political observers point to “remnants of the former regime” still actively working to maintain the Mubarka-era status quo.

“The counterrevolution is directed by regime holdovers, including security elements and hired thugs, along with certain politically-connected businessmen,” Diaa Rashwan, assistant director of the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, told IPS.

In an effort to destroy the national unity that had been an essential ingredient of the revolution’s success, these elements — with help from the media — have tried to instigate sectarian conflict, say observers, especially between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Christian minority.

On Mar. 4, for example, certain newspapers reported that several Christians had been killed after a church in the Atfeeh district south of Cairo was torched by a group of Muslims. Although the reports later turned out to be wildly exaggerated, they nevertheless resulted in violent clashes in which 13 people were killed — both Christians and Muslims — and scores injured.

“Media reports about the Atfeeh church incident were based on rumour and exaggeration intended to stoke sectarian conflict,” Ammar Ali Hassan, director of the Cairo-based Centre for Middle East Studies, was quoted as saying in the local press. Hassan went on to accuse elements of Mubarak’s now-dissolved State Security apparatus of being behind the incident.

Even before its demise, the Mubarak regime had long been suspected of instigating sectarian conflict for its own political ends. In the first week of February, information emerged suggesting that State Security had played a role in the bombing of a church in Alexandria last New Year’s Eve. At the time, regime officials had blamed the attack — in which 24 people were killed — first on “Al-Qaeda” and then on Palestinian groups.

Recent weeks have also seen an unprecedented rash of attacks on religious shrines revered by Egypt’s Sufi Muslim community.

Although certain newspapers hastened to blame the attacks on Egypt’s ultra-conservative Salafist movement, little if any evidence has been produced to this effect. Salafist leaders, meanwhile, strenuously deny involvement in the attacks and accuse the media of trying to fan the flames of conflict between the two sects.

“These crimes were not committed by Salafists, but rather by counterrevolutionary elements,” prominent Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan publicly charged on Apr. 20.

Magdi Hussein, secretary-general of the Islamist Labour Party (who is not himself a Salafist), pointed in particular to one recent attack on a Sufi shrine in the city of Qalioub north of Cairo. “Although the attack was widely attributed in the media to Salafists, subsequent police investigations found that the perpetrators were hired thugs with no religious affiliations,” Hussein told IPS.

Even an official security source quoted earlier this month by IPS conceded that authorities could not rule out involvement in the attacks by “counterrevolutionary forces seeking to heighten sectarian tensions between Sufis and Salafists.”

Observers have been quick to highlight the central role played by the local news media in exacerbating sectarian tensions.

“The counterrevolution is being aided by certain segments of the news media, which have been caught publishing false and potentially damaging reports on more than one occasion,” said al-Arian.

Rashwan agreed, noting that “much of the news currently being reported by the local press on sectarian issues is based on rumour, innuendo and exaggeration.” This state of affairs, he added, “has led many Egyptian commentators to accuse particular newspapers of promoting a counterrevolutionary agenda.”

Independent political activist Abdelrahman Abu Zeid pointed to two prominent independent dailies, Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Youm Al-Saabaa, in particular. “Both papers, owned by business interests known for their closeness to the former regime, have actively contributed to recent incidents of sectarian unrest by twisting and exaggerating the facts,” Abu Zeid told IPS.

Al-Masry Al-Youm is owned by a handful of prominent businessmen, including Sallah Diab and Coptic-Christian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. Al-Youm Al-Sabaa’s chief stakeholder, meanwhile, is the son of former NDP secretary-general Safwat Sherif.

Some political figures have also asserted that Egypt’s counterrevolution was being aided by Israel, which had publicly described the Mubarak regime as a “strategic treasure.”

In mid-April, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, Egypt’s leading religious authority, while visiting the district of Atfeeh, said: “The sectarian disturbances that happened here last month are the work of the Zionist state, which wants to break the region into small, ethnically-based statelets.”

Hussein agreed for the most part, saying that, “along with remnants of the former regime, the counterrevolution also involves U.S. and Zionist elements.” He added: “After the fall of their chief agents in the region — Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali — religious discord now represents their primary means of influencing events on the ground.”

But according to al-Arian, such attempts to sow discord in post-revolutionary Egypt are destined to fail, “due to a new political awareness on the part of the public and the solidarity between all segments of the Egyptian people.”

“The counterrevolution has already started to wane with the impending prosecution of Mubarak and his henchmen,” said Hussein. “And with the democratic election of a new parliament and president, it can be expected to die out completely.”

Egypt is scheduled to hold its first free parliamentary elections in September, to be followed by presidential elections shortly afterward.

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

Moves to Undermine Egyptian Revolution


See also: Egypt: In shadow of fina

See also: In Tahrir Square, Muslims, Christians speak with one voice

Posted in EgyptComments Off on EGYPTIAN INTIFADA: Post-Mubarak ‘Counterrevolution’ sows chaos, fitna

What Are They Afraid of?

 by Gilad Atzmon  


UK Zionist network, together with half a dozen Sayanim* within the Jewish Palestinian solidarity network, seem to be strongly united this week.

Acting as a joint effort, they are trying to stifle freedom of speech: they seem to be horrified by the idea that a panel of intellectuals, journalists and an artist plan to explore the intriguing bond between Israel, Zionism and ‘Jewishness’, and thus far they have harassed panelists, threatened an academic institute and have spread lies, smears and defamation.

And yet in doing so they have unwittingly provided us with a tremendous glimpse into a contemporary Jewish secular tribal operation.

And what is at the root of their hysteria? For some peculiar reason, both Zionists and UK Jewish so-called ‘anti Zionists’, insist that discussing ‘Jewishness’ is a taboo which should never be explored, certainly not in public, and definitely never outside of the ghetto.

But isn’t it all just more than a little suspicious? After all, please consider that the Jewish ‘anti Zionists’ operate politically under a Jewish banner; they also clearly carry their Jewish identity with pride; and, like the ‘Jews only state’, they also run a ‘Jews only club’ — yet they want to try to stop us from questioning what this club actually stands for. They want to take it further and even try to stop us from discussing and grasping what the Jewishness of Israel is all about.

Why are they so concerned about others questioning their ideology, an identity which they themselves are clearly and openly so proud of?

Is it that we are not allowed to question ideologies and political precepts?  Should we, then, also have stopped Max Weber from looking into the role of Protestantism in the context of the rise of capitalism?  And if Israel proudly defines itself as the Jewish State, then are we not entitled to also wonder what its Jewishness actually means?

And shouldn’t we also be entitled to refer the exact same questions to the UK Jewish ‘anti Zionists’?

It seems clear to me that we do have that right to know.

A few years ago I invented a spoof character. His name was Artie Fishel. Artie was a satirical, fictional Jewish American musician, a rabid Zionist, convinced that jazz was Jewish.  He believed that jazz music also had nothing to do with America or Africa. He wanted it back, and thus founded ‘Artie Fishel & The Promised Band’.

Artie Fishel was obviously a parody of the Zionist enterprise: if we can take Palestine from the Arabs, then surely we can take jazz from the Americans.

To listen to Artie click here

The Jewish ‘anti Zionists’ here in the UK were the first to oppose the project. The first night on the road, we played in Nottingham. As the gig finished, a ‘Jewish progressive’ promoter (who was and still is a friend of mine)  approached us. She stood there with tears in her eyes : “Everything you say is so true; but why do you have to share it with the Goyim,” she said, in a broken voice.

She wasn’t amused by the satirical Artie.

We realised that we must have touched a sensitive nerve.

Lipstick-Artie Fishel and the Promised Band

Jewish humour is based on self mockery; yet it is very clear to Jews where the boundaries of mockery are. Jewish comedians know where to stop. To a certain extent Jewish humour is a very sophisticated form of ‘discourse management.’ It is there to define the template of self-reflection. In some regards, it openly admits to a certain level of Jewish cultural essentialism; but it insists that such a phenomena is nothing but charming.

Sadly enough though, I  myself do not really find the Jewish State a ‘charming concept’: I cannot see what is so charming about a society that collectively supports carpet bombardment of civilians**.

I also fail to see what is so charming about relentless Jewish lobbying.  And when I look at the reality of Jewish political dissidence  here in the UK; and when I read about Jewish campaigners harassing a fellow Palestinian academic or solidarity activists ( in the ‘name of Palestine’ no less ) it really begins to make me feel sick.

I often ask myself : what is it that they are so  afraid of ? Why are they so desperate to stop us from looking into the meaning of their flag?

I can think of two possible answers:

1.  It could be that they may not even know themselves what  their ‘Jewishness’ stands for – but they are certainly  clever enough to grasp that they had better not find out: they clearly realise that the concept may turn out to be a ‘Pandora box’. Such an answer is consistent with  Judaic teaching, for in Judaism, observance is primary; comprehension is secondary. In other words, Judaism demands blind acceptance.

2.  It could also be that they know very well what ‘Jewishness’ means, yet they know how sinister it may look for the outsider. Hence they use different tactics, just to stop the rest of us from looking into it. If that is the case, such an answer might mean that their apparent attempt to stifle a debate may be inherent to their conception of ‘Jewishness’.

Yet, considering the crimes that are committed by the Jewish state, and considering the measures that are taken by some elements within the Jewish ‘anti Zionist’ network, the time is clearly overdue for us to look into the true meaning of Jewish ideology — what does it stand for; what does it preach; what does it promise, and essentially, what does it insist to take away from us (namely, freedom of speech and expression)?

But here is the good news : it is apparent that many Jews, and even Jewish spiritual leaders are now breaking away from the Jewish ‘left’ in order to find a  meaningful path into true universal empathy as equal and ordinary human beings. I know that is the case, because they ask to meet me. I know, because they talk to me. I know, because they ask questions, rather than repeating ready-made answers.

And most of all I know because I myself left the ghetto many years ago and I see them trying to do the same.

Panel Event: Zionism, Jewishness and Israel

Time:    Tuesday, May 3 · 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Location: University Of Westminster – Cavendish Campus

A panel discussion examining Israeli Criminality in the wake of the Goldstone Retract.

Alan Hart, Gilad Atzmon and others

* Sayanim- Diaspora Jews subservient to Israeli interests. Ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky describes how Sayanim function in “By Way Of Deception”. ‘They are usually reached through relatives in Israel… They perform many different roles. A car Sayan, for example, running a rental car agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment Sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank Sayan could fund someone in the middle of the night if needs be, a doctor Sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police.’

** At the time of Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Israeli polls showed that  94 per cent of Israel’s Jewish population backed the war and IDF tactics.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on What Are They Afraid of?



By Gordon Duff STAFF

Those of us who remember the Cold War, can’t help but reflect on May 1.  Moscow and parades, red flags everywhere, announcements of new superweapons, of 3rd world leaders turning to socialism, the heady days of moral clarity replaced by the lateralism of the 21st century.  On even more reflection, that past we remember gains the stain of the present era, globalists, oil and banking cartels, as alive then as they are now, we just didn’t see it.  Increasingly, history is likely to show that one man, perhaps the most vilified man in history, had foreseen it all.

I’m not going there, this isn’t the day to resurrect the ghost of Adolf Hitler.  Until we do, however, until we deal with it honestly, we will never know how we got where we are today. We have other “fish to fry,” as it were, today.

It’s about truth.  What we get now is mythology, the offal of a long diet of wartime propaganda certified as history and pop culture.  Without truth, there is slavery.  Thus, we move on to Libya and try to play with that evasive and too often esoteric element of perception, “truth.”  Talking about truth isn’t enough.  You have to “do’ truth.  Let’s take a shot at it.


Yesterday, NATO air strikes killed Saif Al Arab, the 29 year old son of Colonel Gaddafi.  Libya, of course, is playing the death to the hilt, milking it for public relations play as best they can.  But, is this wrong?  Let’s take a moment to look at the situation.

Back in February, we recommended quick air strikes against Gaddafi.  Curiously, some purporting to support the rebels opposed US intervention.  All the while, the real rebels were being slaughtered and were screaming for American help.

This early duplicity, bought by Gaddafi and his army of Washington propagandists (mostly Bush insiders and some rented from the Israeli lobby) would set the tone for one of the nastiest disinformation campaigns in history.

Back to reality.

Assessments showed the rebels to be joined by inferior and poorly organized military forces, to have no backing anywhere and to be a genuine reformist political movement as in Tunisia, Egypt and other nations.

“Surgical strikes” on command and control would have pushed the military to the rebels and Gaddafi would have gotten the “deal of the century” to leave.  Egypt and Libya could have formed a loose coalition as had been proposed in the past and a progressive and moderate bloc of democratic regimes could emerge to replace the sheikdoms and dictatorships that have, so profitably for some, helped destabilize the world.

That ship hasn’t entirely sailed already.  Egypt now stands alone in its move to open the Gaza blockade.

If both Gaddafi and the rebels chose to offer support for Egypt in this, it could offer an opening for many things in the region.  This may be a time when something more important than Arabs killing each other should be considered.

Waiting in the wings were two plots.  One was hatched in Switzerland, to force Gaddafi into alienating France and Italy.  The initial move in that plot?  One of Gaddafi’s sons was beaten up and arrested by Swiss authorities in 2008, a “set up.”

Who are the players?  Banks, call them “Rothschild” or call them, more accurately, “the Federal Reserve,” wanted to seize Libya’s cash reserves that were left a bit too vulnerable.  As time has dragged on, that plot is now in full motion and billions are being swindled from the Libyan people.

That should have been stopped and could have been prevented.

The second plot is oil.

The big winners after 2003 were BP and Haliburton.  The ‘Bush/Blair’ camp made and is making billions in Libya.  Not only that, Gaddafi agreed to fund anything else they were doing, as he funded elections in France and Italy.  The rapprochement with Libya was more like something out of The Godfather than international relations.  When Tony Blair went to Gaddafi in 2004, he went as consigliere for the Bush/Cheney/Blair crime families.

He was there to carve out “territories.”  Bush, Cheney and Blair got a big piece of Libya while Gaddafi got, well, the meeting could actually have been out of the movie itself;

Sollozzo (Gaddafi): Bene, Don Corleone. I need a man who has powerful friends. I need a million dollars in cash. I need, Don Corleone, all of those politicians that you carry around in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes

Conciliegere Tom Hagen looks on..

Don Corleone (Blair): What is the interest for my family?

Sollozzo (Gaddafi): Thirty percent. In the first year your end should be three, four million dollars.(plus oil contracts for BP and weapons contracts for BAE)  And then it would go up.

Don Corleone (Blair): And what is the interest for the Tattalgia(Bush/Cheney) family?

Sollozzo (Gaddafi): [smiles at Tom] My compliments [Conciligiere Tom Hagen gives a formal nod]

Sollozzo (Gaddafi): I’ll take care of the Tattaglias (Bush/Cheney), out of my share.

Don Corleone (Blair): So, I am to receive thirty percent for finance, for legal protection and political influence. Is that what you’re telling me?

Sollozzo (Gaddafi): That’s right. 

As the situation has “matured” into a full scale tribal/civil war, with forces from a dozen countries or more “not so covertly” taking part, that second cabal, the “oil thieves” are already carving up Libya and its oil and gas reserves.  This also could have been prevented.

How do we know this?

The United Nations Security Council authorized use of force in Libya to protect civilian lives.  No mention was made of “regime change” or assassination yet, from this March 21, 2011 headline from the Daily Mail:

There had been no value judgements in the United Nations debate on intervention, no decisions as to the validity of the Gaddafi government but rather an authorization of a limited response based on humanitarian issues only.  This was how things began.  As time went on, the rats awakened.

In fact, whenever things seem to move well for the rebels or Gaddafi, either one, there is more than minor evidence that the application of force by NATO was ramped up or withdrawn to “play” the conflict for a broad international audience.

Additionally, wild rumors about Al Qaeda or CIA involvement with rebel forces was played much the same way, filling the press one day and denied as “wingnut conspiracy theory” the next, sometimes by the same sources.

Settle it!  Cease fire!  Gaddafi isn’t leaving, get used to it, certainly not leaving “with his tail between his legs.”

Gaddafi isn’t Mubarak.


Last week, Donald Trump was caught in a lie involving his lack of military service.  He told reporters he had a “high draft number” and missed service in Vietnam because of that.  He thought that story would fly.  Veterans Todaypicked up the story on March 31.

Trump had been approached by The Veterans Revolution, a highly reputable and respected group in Los Angeles that works without funding to support the needs of homeless veterans.  When they asked Trump for help, his handlers gave them a major smackdown.

They very carefully explained that Donald Trump was not interested in working with veterans.

We also knew there was a dark and nasty secret behind “the Donald’s” lack of military service during the Vietnam War.

10 million American served in the military during the war, almost 3 million in Vietnam.

75% of those who served in Vietnam were volunteers.  I was one of them, serving as a Marine infantryman in I Corps.  Like over 2 million others that served in Vietnam, like over 7 million that served in America’s military during the war, I volunteered.

That is simply what most Americans did at that time.  It was considered our duty as Americans.

What we learned is that, for 5 years, Donald Trump received deferment after deferment, first college, then graduate school and finally, after being found healthy and fit for years, when his student deferments ran out, he suddenly became “unfit” for service.

But, it wasn’t just Donald Trump.  Music by CCR with John Fogerty, sit down for a minute and look for some of America’s self proclaimed national heroes:

*Currently, nearly half the people featured on this video are facing indictment outside the United States for Crimes Against Humanity

This is just too convenient.

At that time, reserve units and National Guard did not routinely serve on active duty and very very seldom in Vietnam.

Those with resources who choose to avoid military service but not leave the country typically, if they had either “luck” or, more likely political connections, were put in National Guard units.

Congress is filled with such people, those who back war but ducked service are called Chickenhawks.


Trump was caught in a lie but Trump, at least, took the question.  Did anyone ever ask President Bush, “How did you get into the National Guard when there were no openings?”  Try following that up with questions about going AWOL or failed drug tests and you will be faced with a stonewall of classified documents, things that are public record for every other citizen.  Criminal records?  Yes, those too!

Rather than belaboring the persecution of Donald “the Chump” Trump, the kind of screw-up that President Obama must have been praying for, we can make our minor point, and close for the morning:

The question isn’t whether Donald Trump had his medical records falsified so he could avoid military service.

The point is that Donald Trump believed that claiming to have a “high draft number” was an excuse for not serving his country.  (Notwithstanding the fact that there were no “draft numbers” given out until Donald Trump had already avoided services for over 5 years

Those who volunteered and those who accepted the draft are dishonored by, not only Trump but the entire gang as well.

Singling out Trump isn’t fair.  Nobody has forgiven any of them, and it goes much further than Trump and it never stopped as 10 years of “invisible war” and “throwaway veterans” teaches us every day.

…and so it goes…



Posted in Libya1 Comment

As a Holocaust Survivor, AIPAC Does Not Speak For Me



Israel, of course, would not be able to carry out its war crimes against civilians in Lebanon and Gaza without the United States – and our $3 billion in military aid – permitting it to do so.

By Hedy Epstein


At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible.

The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.

Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians year after year. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a “two-tier” legal system – in other words, apartheid, with one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for Palestinians.

This, however, is the legal system and security state AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) will defend from May 22-24 at its annual conference. And, despite this grim reality, members of Congress will converge to hail AIPAC and Israel . The Palestinians’ lack of freedom is bound to be obscured at the AIPAC conference with its obsessive focus on security and shunting aside of anything to do with upholding fundamental Palestinian rights.

Several years ago near Der Beilut in the West Bank, I saw the Israeli police turn a water cannon on our nonviolent protest. As it happened, I recalled Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 and wondered why an ostensibly democratic society responded to peaceable assembly by trying, literally, to drown out the voice of our protest.

In Mas’ha, also in the occupied West Bank , I joined a demonstration against the wall Israel has built, usually inside the West Bank and occasionally towering to 25 feet in height. I saw a red sign warning ominously of “mortal danger” to any who dared to cross in an area where it ran as a fence. I saw Israeli soldiers aiming at unarmed Israelis, Palestinians and international protesters. I also saw blood pouring out of Gil Na’amati, a young Israeli whose first public act after completing his mandatory military service was to protest against the wall. I saw shrapnel lodged in the leg of Anne Farina, one of my traveling companions from St. Louis . And I thought of Kent State and Jackson State, where National Guardsmen opened fire in 1970 on protesters against the Vietnam War.

So as AIPAC meets and members of Congress cheer, I hold these images of Israel in my mind and fear AIPAC’s ability to move US policy in dangerous directions. AIPAC does a disservice to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the American people. It helps to keep the Middle East in a perpetual state of war and this year will be no different from last year as it keeps up a steady drumbeat calling for war against Iran .

AIPAC pretends to speak for all Jews, but it certainly does not speak for me or other members of the Jewish community in this country who are committed to equal rights for all and are aware that American interventionism is likely to bring further disaster and chaos to the Middle East .

Israel, of course, would not be able to carry out its war crimes against civilians in Lebanon and Gaza without the United States – and our $3 billion in military aid – permitting it to do so. At 86 years old, I use every ounce of my energy to educate the American public about the need to stop supporting the abuses committed by the Israeli government and military against the Palestinian people. Sometimes there are people who try to shout me down and scream that I am a self-hating Jew, but most of the time the audience is receptive to hear from someone who survived the Holocaust and now works to free the Palestinians from Israeli oppression.

The vicious discrimination brought to bear against Palestinians in the occupied territories deserves no applausethis week from members of Congress attending the AIPAC conference. Instead, they should raise basic questions with Israeli officials about decades of inferior rights endured by Palestinians both inside Israel and the occupied territories.

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Questions About “Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation



The White House has now commented on the reported “unity” deal. From Reuters: This indicates that the US position opposing Palestinian unity except on terms acceptable to Israel and the United States, has not softened. Given this, it’s very difficult to see this going very far.

By Ali Abunimah / Electronic Intifada

Big news today about a reported “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation” deal. What does it mean? First, here’s what we know from Reuters:


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement has struck an agreement with bitter rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election, officials said Wednesday.

The surprise deal was brokered by Egypt and followed secret talks between the two sides, who fought a brief civil war in 2007 that left the Islamist Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and the Western-backed Abbas in charge of the West Bank.

Forging Palestinian unity is regarded as crucial to reviving any prospect for an independent Palestinian state.

“We have agreed to form a government composed of independent figures that would start preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections,” said Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s negotiating team in Cairo. “Elections would be held in about eight months from now,” he added.

Ordinary Palestinians have repeatedly urged their leaders to resolve their deep divisions, but analysts had long argued that the differences between the two sides on issues such as security and diplomacy were too wide to bridge.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who participated in the talks, said the agreement covered five points, including elections, forming an interim unity government and combining security forces.

“We also discussed activating the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) as well as forming a government consisting of nationalist figures to be agreed upon,” Zahar told Al Jazeera television in an interview.

He also said Hamas and Fatah agreed to free prisoners held by each side.

What does any of this mean? At this point, neither side has published the text of an agreement – and certainly Palestinians have a right to see one; they have had enough of secret deals and understandings.

Some immediate questions that come to mind and give rise to skepticism:

  • If there is an agreement on a joint “government” how can it possibly function without Israeli approval? Will Israel allow Hamas ministers be able to operate freely in the occupied West Bank? Will PA officials be able to move freely between the West Bank and Gaza? Israel is effectively at peace with the current Abbas wing of the Palestinian Authority and at war with Hamas. Impossible to see how such a government can operate under Israeli occupation. If anything this proves the impossibility of democracy and normal governance under Israeli military occupation.

  • In The Palestine Papers, the main concern of Ramallah officials was always to maintain Western financial aid to the PA, and not to make any agreement with Hamas that would jeopardize American and European financing for the PA. Has the Abbas PA overcome that fear, or have they reached understandings with donors that would allow Hamas to join a Palestinian Authority “government”?

  • Integration of security forces. Currently, Hamas in Gaza and the Abbas-run PA in the West Bank operate rival security forces. The Abbas security forces cooperate openly with the Israeli occupation including “welcoming” and hosting the Israeli chief of staff, as described by the PA’s Nablus governor yesterday. The Abbas forces are financed and supervised by the United States and their purpose has explicitly been to fight Hamas. Hamas’ forces by contrast are viewed as an enemy by Israel, and are frequently subject to military attacks and extrajudicial executions by Israel. Can such opposing forces really be combined without the Abbas side either renouncing its close ties to the Israeli military, or the Hamas side abandoning any commitment to resistance?

  • Elections: What is the point of having elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip once more under conditions of brutal Israeli military occupation, siege and control? Neither the West Bank government nor the Gaza government are truly in control of the fate of Palestinians. The power lies in Israel’s hands. As I wrote recently, such elections only further the illusion of self-governance while doing nothing to challenge or change actual Israeli control. And, when there is so much political repression in the West Bank, and indeed in Gaza, how can we have a guarantee of free elections?

  • Reform of the PLO: If Hamas and Abbas made a deal to reform the PLO which just includes adding Hamas to the dead body of the PLO how will that serve the Palestinian people? What about elections for the Palestinian National Council that include ALL Palestinians, including the majority which does not live in the 1967 occupied territories? A deal where Abbas and Hamas make a cozy deal to share seats in an undemocratic PLO is simply unacceptable.

  • More broadly, the goal for Palestinians should not be “unity” among factions, but unity of goals for the Palestinian people. What is the purpose and platform of the planned “transitional government” other than merely to exist? A real Palestinian strategy that unites all segments of the Palestinian people has been articulated by the BDS movement:

(a) an end to occupation and colonization of the 1967 territories; (b) full equality and an end to all forms of discrimination against Palestinians in the 1948 areas (“Israel”); and (c) full respect and implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Notably neither Fatah Abbas nor Hamas have endorsed this campaign, and neither has articulated a realistic strategy aimed at restoring the rights of all Palestinians.

Your thoughts? Comment below!


The White House has now commented on the reported “unity” deal. From Reuters:

“The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

“To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said.

This indicates that the US position opposing Palestinian unity except on terms acceptable to Israel and the United States, has not softened. Given this, it’s very difficult to see this going very far.

© 2000-2011

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ali Abunimah is the author of “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.”

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Panic from the Houses of Congress and Aipac?



Netanyahu, the conferees were told, wants Congress to flex its muscle with the White House and deliver a strong message to President Obama that his political future is tied to Israel’s.




On April 13, 2011, more than a dozen Israel “First, last and always” US congressional leaders from both houses of Congress held an urgent conference call organized by the pro-Israel Lobby, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).  Their purpose was to discuss how best to promote Israel during next month’s US visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and more importantly how to confront the rapidly changing Middle East political landscape. One consensus was that no one saw it coming and that is was dangerous for Israel.

Among those participating were former Jewish Chairman ofpowerful committees including Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who headed the Banking Committee; Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ex-chairman of the Commerce and Energy committee; Howard Berman (D-Calif.) ex-chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), ex-chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee as well as Eric Cantor, House Majority leader, the highest rankling Jewish member of Congress in history.

What AIPAC operatives reportedly told the conferees was that Netanyahu is once again furious with President Obama and outraged by what he sees as a vacillating US Government attitude towards Israeli needs. They were told that the Israeli PM sees real political danger for Israel in the shifting US public opinion in favor of the young sophisticated attractive Arab and Muslims increasingly seen on satellite channels from the region who remind the American public of their own ideals.

Netanyahu, the conferees were told, wants Congress to flex its muscle with the White House and deliver a strong message to President Obama that his political future is tied to Israel’s. Hence the current “America needs Israel more than ever stupid!” campaign wafting from the Israel Lobby across the talk radio airwaves.

In addition, as more Israeli officials are indicted for various domestic crimes, and some harbor fears of arrest for international ones, 68% of the American Jewish community, according to one by poll commissioned last month by Forward, believe the US Israel Lobby is increasingly fossilized with the likes of ADL (Anti-Defamation League) director Abe Foxman’s vindictive infighting among several of the largest Jewish lobby organizations which continue to lose  memberships, especially among the young.

Congressman Eric Cantor lamented that “Israel is badly losing the US College campuses”, despite heavy financial investments the past few years to curb American students growing support for Gaza, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, all dreaded symbols of the growing opposition to the 19th Century Zionist colonial enterprise. Support for Palestine is skyrocketing he claimed. “Until Palestine is freed from Zionist occupation no Arab or Muslim is truly free of Western hegemony,” according to one assistant editor of Harvard University’s student newspaper, the Crimson.

Admitting that the Mossad did not foresee even the Tunisian or Egyptian uprisings some Aipac  staffers, of whom there are more than 100, admit to not knowing how to react to the topics they were presented with for discussion, some of which included:

  • The Egyptian public emphatic insistence that the 1978 Camp David Accords be scrapped and that the Rafah crossing be opened.  The latter has just been announced and the former is expected to be achieved before the end of the year.

  • The change of regimes and the dramatic rise in publicly expressed anti-Israel sentiment and insistence that Israel close its embassy and Egypt withdraw its recognition of the Zionist state.

  • The apparent rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas which has been increasingly demanded by the Palestinians under occupation and in the Diaspora.

  • The fact that the new regime in Cairo is seeking to upgrade its ties with Gaza’s Hamas rulers as well as Iran.

  • With respect to possible PA-Hamas rapprochement, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor is trying to reassure Israel before Netanyahu’s visit by announcing this week that “The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace, but to play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

AIPAC, frequently knocks heads with the Israeli embassy in Washington for control of visiting Israeli PM’s and important governments schedules will control what Netanyahu says and does.  AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr recently told a group of visiting Jewish student activists from California that “sometimes there is confusion in this town over just where the Israeli Embassy is located but let me assure you it’s no more than 300 yards from the Capitol Dome on North Capitol Street, NW.”

AIPAC, not the Israeli Embassy will write the final draft of Netanyahu’s speeches including the themes he will emphasize.  According to a Congressional  source with AIPAC connections, Netanyahu’s visit will focus on the following:

  • Bashing Iran to please the White House. However, this mantra will have to compete with   the democratic revolutions that are sweeping the Arab world and which are terrifying not just Netanyahu, but also AIPAC and their hirelings in congress.

  • Warning against the dangers to “the peace process” of any PA-Hamas unity government.

  • Warnings about the threats to Israel from Egypt and popular calls for scrapping of the  1978 Camp David Accords, ending the Egyptian subsidy and supply of 40% of Israel’s natural gas, calls for closing the Israeli Embassy, the dangers of permanently opening the Rafah border crossing “that will allow Hamas to in the words of, an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity to the Washington Post that Gaza’s Hamas rulers had already built up a “dangerous military machine” in northern Sinai which could be further strengthened by opening the border.

  • The tried and tested bromide that “Israel has no peace partner to negotiate with will be used but this too has lost its bite given that the Palestine Papers has shown that the PA for five years habitually caved into Israel demands and are widely viewed as collaborators with Israel in preserving the status quo– so what more could be expected from them? The truth is that Mahmoud Abbas and Salem Fayyad are Netanyahu, Leiberman’s and Barak’s favorite “peace partners.”

  • Netanyahu will hint at and AIPAC will drill in the idea that the Obama administration has been too hard on Israel.

While Netanyahu announced this week that “I will have the opportunity to air the main parts of Israel’s diplomatic and defense policies during my visit in the United States”,informed sources report that his main goal and timing of his visit is to undermind a rumored initiative that President Obama’s team has been working on.

Netanyahu, according to AIPAC, also plans to attack the UN’s plan to admit Palestine  and its offices are preparing a media blitz in an attempt to undermine the U.N. recognition of  Palestine  by arguing that such a General Assembly action would not in reality mean Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank and East Jerusalem  because of the fact that Israel currently controls those territories. Aipac is arguing that such United Nations recognition of Palestine would only reiterate theprinciple, previously articulated by the U.N which denies the legitimacy of Israel’s claim to territories acquired by force in the war of June 1967.

In reality, and as AIPAC well knows, UN recognition of Palestine would have a devastating effect on Israel’s legitimacy and would fuel an international campaign to force every colonist out of the West Bank. Given the feelings of virtually all people in the Middle East and North Africa toward Israel this could dramatically undermine the apartheid state. Aipac and Israel’s agents in Congress also ignore the fact that the U.N. is the only the international body that admitted Israel as a member state in May 1949, although the resolution noted a connection between Israel’s recognition and the implementation of resolution 181 of November 1947, which called for partition of what had been British Mandate Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

The reason that intense angst and even fear stalks the Houses of Congress and Aipac is that Netanyahu will remind his hosts in the coming days that Israel has always called “home” is that some US officials are starting to express treasonous thoughts long kept to themselves.

One seemingly shocking statement was made to a visiting Oregon delegation during a recent visit to Congressional offices by a Member of Congress never known for being publicly critical of Israel.  As reported via email:  “He said recent events suggest that while ( the revolts spreading across the Middle East) are not the immediate  end of the State of Israel, he believes they are harbingers and signal the  ‘beginning of the end of the State of Israel as we have known it. And that will be good for America and humanity.”

“What seems to  have particularly upset him was his own  mentioning to the group was a recent report about a conference of Rabbis in Israel who are demanding the expulsion of non-Jews, especially Palestinians, from occupied Palestine in order to maintain the “ethnical and religious purity of the peoples of Israel.

He quoted Dov Lior, the rabbi of Kiryat Araba, an illegal settlement near Hebron, who according to media reports told a conference organized to discuss how to get non-Jews in mandatory Palestine to leave the country for the sake of Jewish immigrants who had no roots in Palestine: “Today there is a lot of land in Saudi Arabia and in Libya, too. There is a lot of land in other places. Send them there.” As scholar Khalid Amayreh reminds us, it was Lior, who in 1994 praised arch-terrorist Baruch Goldstein for massacring 29 Arab worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, said peace in the Holy Land was out of question because the Arabs wouldn’t allow Jews to usurp the land.

Meanwhile, a large coalition  of pro peace and pro-Palestinian organizations, under the umbrella is preparing a new and different American reception for the Israeli Prime Minister.

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IsraHell Slams Bombing of Gas Pipeline & Palestinian Reconciliation and Egypt strongly Responds



“What Mr. Netanyahu is unaware of is the fact that the Arabs currently in revolt, as much as they reject both the Israeli-Egyptian natural gas deal and the Israeli inhuman blockade on Gaza, feel the same way about the Israeli-Palestinian so called peace talks”

“Egypt to officially announce its border with Gaza open in the coming few days”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat


Bombing of Egypt’s natural gas pipeline to Isarel at Alarish terminal.

With the first light of the dawn of Wednesday 27, Egypt witnessed yet another unusually turbulent day of post-Mubarak open display of anti-Israeli sentiments. Those sentiments have been long entrenched in the Egyptian psyche, though not primarily directed at the Israelis but fueled by the Israeli aggressive policy towards its Arab neighbors and above all by its ongoing criminal plan of the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population out of their Arabic homeland.

The pro-democracy uprisings ripping through the heart of the Arab world, besides toppling dictators and corrupt regimes, and aside from being a blatant display of western hypocritical Mideast policy, have been rare historical moments for people on the Arabic street to freely speak their minds and openly express their unrestrained opinions. After all, that what democracy is all about.

Once they have managed to fully implement the famous slogan of the Egyptian uprising “the people want the regime down”, Egyptians insisted the head of the regime along with his inner circle of corrupt aides and officials put on trial and held accountable for all the crimes they committed against the Egyptian people- an unprecedented claim in all of Egypt’s long history.

The list of charges against Mubarak’s regime is a long one that included harming national interests, profiteering, selling government assets and public enterprises, squandering and wasting public money and shooting peaceful protesters. But the deal of exporting Egypt natural gas to Israel that Mubarak himself endorsed back in 2005 stands at the top of the list.

The end of a deal.

Pro-Zionist Mubarak.

According to the crooked deal, Egypt is to sell its natural gas with a fixed price of $1.25 per million British thermal units (Btu) – while Global gas prices in the meantime jumped to $4 per million Btu- for 15 years.
Economists estimated that Egypt wasted at least $714 million in potential revenue from the deal to date, while independent analysts opposed to the deal put the number of losses much higher, up to $8 million per day.

The fervent Egyptian protests never lost its momentum by overthrowing Mubarak. Thousands of angry protesters kept coming back to Tahrir square Friday after Friday venting out their dissatisfaction over continuing to keep Mubarak and his gang of former politicians on the loose.

Finally and to appease the enraged people specifically in regard to the gas deal, two previous oil ministers were arrested and faced legal prosecution and Mubarak himself was indicted over the suspicious deal and held under detention.

Truth of the matter is, that deal with Israel made every Egyptian feel personally affronted. Not only because of the much needed millions of dollars that went right into the pocket of Mubarak and his Zionist friends, but to the audacity of selling Egypt’s national assets and pride to a formidable foe at such a cheap price.
In was hurting the Egyptian sensibility as it dishonored the memory of thousands of fine Egyptian soldiers who willingly gave their lives in the long military conflict with Israel defending their land.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Israeli minister of national infrastructure and Mr. Sameh Fahmy, Egypt petroleum minister at the signing ceremony of the natural gas deal.

When January 25 revolution attacked the natural gas deal with Israel a spot light was thrown at Egypt’s most controversial issues; post-Mubarak Egypt’s political fabric, corruption and Israel.

Egypt has been a key player in the Arab-Israeli conflict since day one of its inauguration. It has engaged in 4 wars with Israel since 1948 till 1973 trying to hold back the Zionist military piracy, and signed a controversial peace treaty with Tel Aviv on 1979.

Mubarak and due to his 3 decades of dancing to the tunes of his Zionist allies in Israel, has transferred Egypt from the leader of the Arab camp to the pro-Zionist circus of puppets and drove the Egyptians into one of their ugliest tunnels of political inertia they have ever been through.

With Mubarak gone, and As Egypt was stripping itself of a long and shameful Zionist kippah, the country felt like coming out of this dark tunnel to the light for the first time. Egypt’s potentials for engaging in the Middle East conflict, with whole new palette of all shades of political colors, have reemerged and come back to life again.

Once the ruling autocratic party in Egypt was dissolved, the country’s political arena began to accommodate parties and groups of all political strata; socialists, leftists, liberals and of course the right wing represented by the Muslim brotherhood.
All Egyptian political blocks regardless of their background ideology agreed on one principle; the Egyptian-Israeli political relations should be conducted from an Arabic perspective that would serve both the Egyptian national security and interests while adhering to an Arabic agenda aimed at resolving the Israeli- Palestinian thorny file.

But while nationalists, leftists and liberal forces believed in conducting the Egyptian-Israeli tangled issues through open political dynamics, other parties, and due to their long history of covert operations and sort of underground organization were inclined to tackle this in a way that only the Zionist machine in Israel are familiar with.

Scenario of the hot Wednesday

  • At dawn break, near the northern Sinai city of Arish, some 50 kilometers away from the Israeli border with Egypt, a group of 5 masked men drove away in a 4×4 car after they bombed the terminal of the pipeline that supplied Israel with 40% of its total requirement of natural gas utilized to generate 80% of its electricity.

  • Leaving the place after remotely detonating the bombs, the whole terminal went up in soaring flames, frightening the nearby residents and forcing the station’s safety department to completely shut down the feed of gas to Israel

  • Though there have been a couple of sabotage incidents aimed at the same pipeline station in the last two months, but compared to this seemingly professional and carefully carried out operation, they were nothing more than amateurish trial to leak out gas.

  • Rafah, Egypt crossing point with Gaza

  • Later in the morning, and for the first time, scores of Palestinian syndicate professionals – doctors, pharmacists, accountants and free traders- protested at the Gaza side of Rafah crossing point- the border checkpoint with Egypt- and while raising the entwined flags of Egypt and Palestine called for putting an end to the siege long imposed on Gaza from the Egyptian side.

  • Before noon, hundreds of college students from Cairo University belonging to The Palestinian Revolution Supporters Group, The Islamic Work Party, Democratic Students and Egyptians against Zionists broke out of the gates of the university and headed in a big march to the Israeli embassy. They burned the Israeli flag and called for the immediate halt of gas supply to Israel, chanting “ wake up Egypt, supplying Israel with our gas is a shame for all Egyptians”

  • After few hours, Israeli Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said that “though gas is one of the most important economic components of the peace treaty between the two countries signed in 1979, nevertheless, our government has to face up to the fact that Israel has to do without Egypt gas from now on”

Following the sequence of events that consequently happened throughout this hot Wednesday, From the blast at the early hours of the morning to the protests in Cairo and Gaza reaching to the solemn statements of Mr. Landau in Tel Aviv, one can’t guess twice that certain elements from Hamas in Gaza- who now regard Sinai as an accessible operational field- in close cooperation with their Egyptian right wing counterparts of the Muslim brotherhood were responsible for this bombing of the gas line terminal in Arish and the protests on both sides.

But then, this would remain purely speculative, with all the legal irregularities involved, as long as nobody claimed responsibility for it.

The new middle east

Post-Mubarak Egyptian foreign policy is bound to show some major changes of strategy. And with a figure like Dr. Nabil el-Araby, Egypt’s new foreign minister, who doesn’t distance himself from his previous calls for Arab states to sue Israel for its atrocities committed against the Palestinians, Netanyahu unreluctantly expressed his concerns over Egypt’s newly evolving and apparently anti-Israeli politics.

As the night was falling on this hot Wednesday, the last hours were yet to reveal the biggest events of that day. And as the morning started with a blast so did the evening.

“Fatah- the Palestinian political organization- has reached an agreement with its rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election” Egyptian intelligence announced on Wednesday evening. And Cairo is to invite both parties, who agreed on all discussed points, to a signing ceremony to mark this historical Palestinian reconciliation.



NaBenjamin Netanyahu

This Egyptian–brokered deal, which came few month away from the expected UN vote on the recognition of Palestine as an independently sovereign state- infuriated the Israeli government and considered it crossing the red line for Israel, as Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister announced.

But as Mr.Landau, said earlier that Israel would have to do without Egypt’s natural gas so did Mr. Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, who declared on response to this reconciliation that Israel would have to find herself another partner to carry on with in the Mideast peace talks.

On April 30th, And in quick response to Netanyahu’s provocative statement, Hussein Tantawi, Egyptian Field Marshal, head of the supreme military council and the Egyptian interim government announced ..

“the latest Israeli threats to the Palestinian coalition government have enraged the Arab peoples and they are totally unacceptable. And he added that the Egyptian military council is to officially open Rafah border crossing point with Gaza on permanent basis in the coming few days to alleviate the suffering of the besieged Palestinians living in Gaza”

Hussein Tantawi, Field Marshal and head of the Egyptian supreme military council

What Mr. Netanyahu is unaware of is the fact that the revolting Arabs, as much as they reject both the Israeli-Egyptian natural gas deal and the Israeli inhuman blockade on Gaza, feel the same way about the Israeli-Palestinian so called peace talks.

The so called peace process has been nothing more than a disgusting and theatrically staged waste of time brokered by the United States to peacefully allow more Israeli settlements to be built and more of Palestinian land quietly annexed.

Israel will have to do without a whole much more than just Egypt’s natural gas in the future. The Arabs will certainly be crossing a lot of red lines in the coming days as they resketch the long advocated for- new Middle East.

A new middle East is emerging, alright, the Arabic version, that is.

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An Arab Spring for Women: The Missing Story from the Middle East



Women Take to the Streets from Tunisia to Syria


By Shahin Cole and Juan Cole


The “Arab Spring” has received copious attention in the American media, but one of its crucial elements has been largely overlooked: the striking role of women in the protests sweeping the Arab world. Despite inadequate media coverage of their role, women have been and often remain at the forefront of those protests.

As a start, women had a significant place in the Tunisian demonstrations that kicked off the Arab Spring, often marching up Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, the capital, with their husbands and children in tow. Then, the spark for the Egyptian uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office was a January 25th demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square called by an impassioned young woman via a video posted on Facebook. In Yemen, columns of veiled women have come out in Sanaa and Taiz to force that country’s autocrat from office, while in Syria, facing armed secret police, women have blockaded roads to demonstrate for the release of their husbands and sons from prison.

But with such bold gestures go fears. As women look to the future, they worry that on the road to new, democratic parliamentary regimes, their rights will be discarded in favor of male constituencies, whether patriarchal liberals or Muslim fundamentalists. The collective memory of how women were in the forefront of the Algerian revolution for independence from France from 1954 to 1962, only to be relegated to the margins of politics thereafter, still weighs heavily.

Historians will undoubtedly debate the causes of the Arab Spring for decades. Among them certainly are high rates of unemployment for the educated classes, neoliberal policies of privatization and union-busting, corruption in high places, soaring food and energy prices, economic hardship caused by the shrinking of employment opportunities in the Gulf oil states and Europe (thanks to the 2008 global financial meltdown), and decades of frustration with petty, authoritarian styles of governing.

In their roles as workers and professionals as well as family caregivers, women have suffered directly from all these discontents and more, while watching their children and husbands suffer, too.

In late January, freelance journalist Megan Kearns pointed out the relative inattention American television and most print and Internet media gave to women and, by and large, the absence of images of women protesting in Tunisia and Egypt. Yet women couldn’t have been more visible in the big demonstrations of early to mid-January in the streets of Tunis, whether accompanying their husbands and children or forming distinct protest lines of their own — and given Western ideas of oppressed Arab women, this should in itself have been news.

Women Take to the Streets from Tunisia to Syria



To start with Tunisia, women there have, in fact, been in the vanguard of protest movements and social change since the drive to gain independence from France of the late 1940s. Tunisian women have a relatively high literacy rate (71%), represent more than one-fifth of the country’s wage earners, and make up 43% of the nearly half-million members of 18 local unions. Most of these unionized women work in the education, textile, health, city services, and tourism industries. The General Union of Tunisian Workers (French acronym: UGTT) had increasingly come into conflict with the country’s strongman, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and so its rank and file enthusiastically joined the street protests. Today, the UGTT continues to pressure the government formed after Ben Ali fled to move forward with genuine reforms.

In all of this, women opinion-leaders played an important part. To take one example, although like most prominent Tunisians movie star Hend Sabry had been coerced into supporting Ben Ali and his mafia-like in-laws, when the anti-government rallies began she broke with the autocrat, warning him in a Facebook post against ordering his security forces to fire on the protesters. Later, she admitted to being terrified at making such a public gesture, lest her relatives in Tunis be harmed or she be permanently exiled from her homeland.

In Egypt, the passionate video blog or “vlog” of Asmaa Mahfouz that called on Egyptians to turn out massively on January 25th in Tahrir Square went viral, playing a significant role in the success of that event. Mahfouz appealed to Egyptians to honor four young men who, following the example of Mohammed Bouazizi (in an act which sparked the Tunisian uprisings), set themselves afire to protest the Mubarak regime.

Although the secret police had already dismissed them as “psychopaths,” she insisted otherwise, demanding a country where people could live in dignity, not “like animals.” According to estimates, at least 20% of the crowds that thronged Tahrir Square that first week were made up of women, who also turned out in large numbers for protests in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. Leil-Zahra Mortada’s celebrated Facebook album of women’s participation in the Egyptian revolution gives a sense of just how varied and powerful that turnout was.

As in Tunisia, Egyptian women make up a little more than one-fifth of wage-earning workers — and labor has long been a powerful force for change in that country. Before they began to mobilize around the Tahrir Square protests, Egyptian workers had staged over 3,000 strikes since 2004, with women sometimes taking the lead. During the height of the protests against the rule of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, unionized workers even formed a new, nationwide umbrella trade union.

In Libya, women’s protests proved central to the movement of entire cities out of the control of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, as with Dirna in the western part of the country in February. What makes the prominence of women demonstrators there so remarkable is that city’s reputation as a stronghold of Muslim fundamentalism. The abuse of women, a central issue in countries like Libya, even burst into consciousness when a recent law-school graduate from a middle-class family in Tobruk, Iman al-Obeidi, broke into a government press conference in Tripoli to charge that Gaddafi’s troops had detained her at a checkpoint and then raped her. Her plight provoked women’s demonstrations against the regime in the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Tobruk.

Yemeni women staged silent protests

On April 15th, Yemeni president for life Ali Abdullah Saleh scolded women for “inappropriately” mixing in public with men at the huge demonstrations then being staged in the capital, Sanaa, as well as in the cities of Taiz and Aden. In this way, the issue of women’s place in the mass protests against decades of autocracy was, for the first time, explicitly broached by a high political figure — and the response from women couldn’t have been clearer. They came out in unprecedented numbers throughout the country, and even in the countryside, day after day, accusing the president of “besmirching their honor” by implying that they were behaving brazenly. (It is a longstanding value in the Arab world to avoid impugning the honor of a chaste woman.) In other words, they turned his attempt to invoke Arab mores about women’s seclusion from the public sphere into a rallying cry against him.

Women of a certain age who lived in the southern part of the country found the president’s taunt particularly painful, given that they had grown up in the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), ruled by a communist regime that promoted women’s rights. They were not subjected to more conservative norms until Saleh united the PDRY with northern Yemen in 1990. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, only about a quarter of Yemeni women can read and write, only 17% have finished high school, and only 5% are wage earners, though most work hard all their lives, many on farms. Still, in urban areas such as Aden, Taiz or Sanaa, middle and upper middle class women have an important place in the professions and business, or as schoolteachers, and more than a quarter of college students are women.

Faced with the power of outraged women, Saleh quickly backed off, maintaining that, as a secular Arab nationalist, he believed they should be full participants in the political affairs of the nation. He had simply been wondering aloud, he claimed, how members of the opposition Islah Party, a fundamentalist Muslim organization, were so willing to allow women to march in the streets against him when they favored women’s seclusion on all other occasions.

In Syria as well, on several occasions, women have shown their strength and bravery, turning out in forceful demonstrations — sometimes without men, but with their children in tow. Near the town of Bayda, for instance, thousands of women shouting “We will not be humiliated!” cut off a coastal road to protest a heavy-handed government policy in which the secret police of President Bashar al-Assad had arrested their demonstrating male relatives. On other occasions, Syrian women have staged all-female marches to demand democracy and changes in regime policy.

Protecting Women’s Gains

Despite the centrality of women activists to the Arab Spring, they have seldom been recognized as of real significance by most of the male politicians who will undoubtedly benefit from what they have accomplished. It was, for example, striking that women were without representation on the commission appointed to revise the Egyptian constitution in preparation for September elections, and that only one woman (a Mubarak holdover at that) was appointed to the 29-person interim cabinet.

In addition, patriarchal forces such as Muslim fundamentalist groups and clergy are determined that women’s rights should not be expanded in the wake of these political upheavals. As an omen in the wind, when a modest-sized group of 200 women showed up at Tahrir Square on March 8th to commemorate International Women’s Day, they found themselves attacked by militant religious young men who shouted that they should go home and do the laundry.

Women’s groups and progressive movements are understandably apprehensive about the possibility that, in Tunisia and Egypt, Muslim fundamentalist movements will become more influential in parliament and push through laws to the disadvantage of both women and secularists. Yet they have been remarkably unwilling to let such considerations deter them from embracing democracy, something secular-leaning dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak had warned them against.

The likelihood of an actual Muslim fundamentalist takeover in either country remains minimal for the foreseeable future. In Egypt, the military government has so far retained a Mubarak-era ban on the Muslim Brotherhood putting up candidates under its own banner. As a result, its candidates will run as the representatives of other small parties. In addition, the organization has pledged to contest parliamentary seats in only a limited number of electoral districts, so as to allay middle-class fears that their goal is an Iran-style fundamentalist takeover of the country. Admittedly, Muslim conservatism will likely burgeon as a political current more generally in Egypt, whatever the shape of the next parliament, posing a challenge to women’s rights.

For instance, some Brotherhood officials have let slip that they will indeed be working for the implementation of a medieval form of Islamic law, which would include the segregation of women and men in the workplace, while the mufti or chief adviser on Islamic law to the government in Egypt has called for a “review” of secular personal status laws that favor women, and which had been supported by Suzanne Mubarak, the fashionable wife of the deposed dictator.

In Tunisia, the long years of repression under Ben Ali left the leading fundamentalist group, al-Nahda or the Renaissance Party, weakened. In any case its leader Rashid Ghannouchi has been speaking of institutionalizing a “Turkish model” and says that, unlike the Egyptian Brotherhood, he supports the right of a woman to become the country’s president.

In this, he is looking to former Turkish fundamentalists like Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Gul who, tired of being imprisoned by and butting heads with the secular Turkish establishment, founded the Justice and Development Party. Since coming to power in 2002, they have fought for a pluralistic system as a way of making a place for more traditional Muslims in society and politics without pushing for the implementation of medieval Muslim legal codes.

Still, as backlash reactions like the attack on the International Women’s Day protest have set in, activists on women’s issues and progressives are wondering how to ensure that women’s gains this spring not be rolled back. In Egypt, prominent newscaster and critic of the Mubarak regime Buthaina Kamel has her own idea about how to gain women’s rights in a new, more democratic environment. She is running for president, something inconceivable in the Mubarak era.

Even if her run gets little traction, her candidacy is nevertheless deeply symbolic and historic — and another strikingly brave act by a woman in this new era in the Arab world. (Her decision is, of course, opposed by the Muslim Brotherhood.) Other Egyptian women are hoping that the constitution can be rewritten to strengthen women’s rights, and that the 64 seats set aside for women in the previous parliament will be retained.

Politicians in the transitional government of Tunisia, for decades the most progressive Arab country with regard to women’s rights, are determined to protect the public role of women by making sure they are well represented in the new legislature. Elections are now planned for July 24th, and a high commission was appointed to set electoral rules. That body has already announced that party lists will have to maintain parity between male and female candidates.

In such a list system, you don’t vote for an individual but a party, which has published an ordered list of its candidates. If the list gets 10% of the vote nationally, it is awarded 10 percent of the seats in parliament, and can go down its ordered list until it fills all those seats. Parity for women means that every other candidate on the ordered list should be a woman, ensuring them high representation in the legislature. This procedure is sometimes called a “zipper” gender quota. Quotas for female legislators are common in Scandinavia and in the global South.

Although the Tunisian requirement for gender parity remains controversial in some quarters, Ghannouchi’s al-Nahda Party recently came out in support of it. In contrast, Abdelwaheb El Hani, leader of the newly founded right-of-center party al-Majd, complained that the rule was “a violation of freedom of electoral choice,” and insisted that he doubted it would be effective in promoting women’s representation. In contrast, the leftist al-Tajdid (Renewal) Party praised the move as “historic” and pledged to make women’s equality an “irreversible accomplishment and an effective reality in Tunisian political life.” Indeed, al-Tajdid wants an explicit equal rights amendment put into the constitution.

Giving Women a Fighting Chance

The Arab Spring has proven an epochal period of activism and change for women, recalling the role of early feminists in the 1919 Egyptian movement for independence from Britain, or the important place of women in the Algerian Revolution. The sheer numbers of politically active women in this series of uprisings, however, dwarf their predecessors. That this female element in the Arab Spring has drawn so little comment in the West suggests that our own narratives of, and preoccupations with, the Arab world — religion, fundamentalism, oil and Israel — have blinded us to the big social forces that are altering the lives of 300 million people.

Women have been aided by this generation’s advances in education and the professions, by the prominence of articulate women anchors on satellite television networks like Aljazeera, and by the rise of the Internet and social media. Women can assert leadership roles in cyberspace that young men’s dominance of the public sphere might have hampered in city squares.

Their prominence in the labor movements and at the public rallies in Tunisia and Egypt, moreover, underlines how much more of a public role they now have than is usually acknowledged. Even the trend toward wearing a headscarf among women in Egypt during the past two decades has been seen by some social scientists as a step forward. It has been a way for women to enter the public sphere and work outside the home in greater numbers than ever before while maintaining a claim on conservative ideals of chastity and piety.

Women activists of the Arab Spring have come from all social classes, since it has been a mass movement. Middle and upper class women often focus their political energies on issues of political representation and on laws affecting women’s equality. Seeking constitutional guarantees of electoral parity is one possible way of responding to any patriarchal political backlash.

Working class women are particularly concerned with wages and workers’ rights. Stronger unions would improve women’s prospects for greater rights. Women’s health, literacy, and material wellbeing are concerns of all women. During the age of the dictators, the nation’s wealth was often usurped by a narrow elite of politically connected families. A democratization of politics could potentially lead to more state resources being devoted to women and the poor.

Keep in mind that women such as Buthaina Kamel knew the risks when they called for Mubarak to step down. Whatever their patronizing appeals to feminist themes, authoritarian regimes like Mubarak’s and Ben Ali’s politically oppressed and stole from everyone in society, including women, and they had proved increasingly unable to deliver the social services and employment on which women and their families fundamentally depend for a better life. Before, women could be marginalized at will by the dictators whenever they made demands on the regime. Now, at least, they have a fighting chance.

Shahin Cole holds an LL.B. from Punjab University Law School in Pakistan and has lived in Egypt and Yemen.

–Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. His latest book, Engaging the Muslim World, is just out in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan. He runs the Informed Comment website.

Copyright 2011 Shahin and Juan Cole


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